Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Didn't we have a luverly time the week we went to Wales...!

I'm back after the luckiest week weather-wise of the summer! I don't know how that happened, but I was very grateful for it. Sun, sun, sun - ahhhhh! :) What a stunning place Snowdonia is. Our cottage was right on the coast, literally garden and a very infrequent railway between the 'cliff', beach and the sea. I even got a room overlooking this view, so woke up to the sounds of the sea and little birdies singing every morning. Bliss! Apparently you can see dolphins and seals... apparently! Not the week I was there, though, allegedly, another family staying in the cottage next door who arrived a couple of hours before us saw 4 dolphins when they arrived. Bah!

So, yes, as usual, I was 'snap happy'! Just the 201 photos this time (after the naff photo cull!) so for me, that's not very many!! I've been told I take a good photo so that was nice to hear. If you've got a spare moment to kill and you'd like to see them, they're on flickr here, or click the 'play' button below.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

We have our first 2 uBou artists (that aren't me or Tash!)

It's official, uBou is totally up and running now as our first 2 artists sign up. We welcome to the fold Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork and George Harper of By George.

Both design and hand make jewellery, but in very different styles. Julie is a glass lampworker - she makes her own deliciously desirable glass beads over a lampwork flame, selling the beads for others to make into jewellery (or horde!) as well as creating her own jewellery pieces too.

George is an expert in metal maille. She creates exquisite chain maille and metal weaves to form bracelets, necklaces and rings. Her work is predominately maille (why fiddle with perfection!), but she also uses handmade lampwork glass beads and gemstones in her designs.
More uBou artists coming to this blog soon!! :)

uBou - website nearly there!

Been working more on the uBou website, to get it more or less finished before my hols on Saturday. I'm already getting great feedback on how it looks, as well as lots of positive comments on our ethos - to bring art & craft up-to-date. I even had a seller approach me to be involved today, all buzzing with excitement over our uBou event. We must be hitting the right chords!

"What an EXCELLENT idea! What a treat to be able to do something a bit more contemporary!"

I'll be adding artists as they sign up to uBou and each one will have their own gallery page, including a personalised artist's statement. We're hoping these will show the human side behind us crafty folk and enhance the talented work and uBou experience.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The uBou : Unique Boutique website is coming together

Well, instead of doing what I was meant to last night (fill up the kiln with other glassy goodies around a lattice bowl commission in reds), I worked on the uBou : Unique Boutique website. It's looking really smart and I'm so pleased with how it's turning out. I aim to have more info on it before the end of the week when I go away. Tash has made great headway on our designer/maker application packs which I can use as a basis for some of the website copy. I don't want to leave her in the lurch while I gallivant off to Snowdonia(!) so I wanted to crack on with the site to get it up and running, as we all know websites are great marketing tools :)

The uBou website address is: http://ubou.co.uk/

Here's a screengrab from the 'uBou : Arstists' page. It will have some pretty pictures on very soon and lots more of our talented artists.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Advanced warning: I'm off on me hols :)

Yes, I am actually going to take a break from my very hectic life for a week! I can't wait. No commuting, no work, no internet, no phone. Ahhhh, I am relaxing already :) I'm off to stay in a very pretty cottage, right on the Snowdonian coast. It's going to be a bit of a drive to get there but I'm looking forward to the simple life for a bit - reading, taking walks, sitting out (if the weather is ok!) and having a meal on the patio, chatting away. *grin*

So, Handmade Heaven will be 'closed' from the 20th September to the 27th and, of course, I won't be able to blog. I will no doubt bore you with holiday snaps on my return though! :D

Monday, 15 September 2008



Yay! Ordered some filters for my fancy camera and they arrived today. I was even more excited at the little pouch they came in (which I didn't spot in the photo). I can't wait to try them out, especially the macro one which gives an extra 4x zoom :)

Preview of new ring design...

More about these new hammered sterling rings soon :)

Luscious 'Lavender Drizzle' coaster quad

I love these brand new 'Lavender Drizzle' coasters!! A gorgeous, sophisticated mixed set of subtle shades of purples and brown, each with a layer of tiny bubbles for extra depth. These are now available to buy in my online shop.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Photos from today's show

Well, busy as it was, I didn't do so well at today's country fair. Hey ho, it got me out the house :P

Here's a couple of photos of the stall, with my glassy goodies and Tash's contemporary canvases. We got a lot of favourable comments and oohs and ahhs but not many people were reaching into their pockets. Credit crunch? There were quite a few people asking me to events, and one that caught my attention was in a local heritage shop. Will let you know if that goes anywhere.

At least I have lots made, ready for the uBou Unique Boutique Shopping Evening at the Royal Oak on the 2nd October. See you there?? :)

My glassy goodies, with Tash's canvases on the left
Tash's fab contemporary canvases

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Busy busy busy!

So, Frampton Country Show tomorrow so I'm getting all my stuff together, ready to lug across a field at stupid o'clock(!) for a Sunday and into the craft marquee. I'm praying for good weather, so fingers crossed!

Before I pack things up, I've been photographing my latest glassy goodies. Here's one of many photos - some of my super-cute 'love token' handmade fused glass keyring fobs. The one I put on my house keys back in july is still going strong so they certainly pass the endurance test :) If any make it back from Frampton, I will add them to my website.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Yummy kiln goodies!

Oh wow! These turned out so well. Not bad for a rush job starting at 6.30am this morning before 'proper' work :) LOVING the purples, browns and greens. So, we have a plain swirly set of four chocolate coasters, 5 new 'love token' fobs, a mixed set of drizzle coasters (tan, lavender, lilac and berry), a pair of lavender mint trifles and a set of four heathland lattice coasters. Not bad eh!

Notice anything different?

Did you spot anything different about the blog? I've made my own 'favicon' to go with my blog. What's a favicon? Well, it's the little picture that sits next to the web address of a site, in the url address line box (or in some cases, in the tab before the site title). Anyhoo, Laura, of Beads by Laura blogged the 'how to', so I did!! Not sure if it's the best image but it will work until I find something better. It's a scaled down photo of my business cards. If you want to make a favicon for your site, check out Laura's blog.

A reminder: Frampton Country Show, 14th September

In case you're in the area and looking for something to do, come see me and my glassy goodies at the Frampton Country Show @ Frampton-on-Severn, THIS SUNDAY the 14th September, 10am until 5.30pm.

Craft marquee photo from the 2007 show.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

New glass: 'Eastern Sunset Lattice'

I took some photos this morning of new rings (totally new style from last time) and coasters (lattice & patchwork styles) but I only had time to tweak one photo, so here's a preview of my latest glassy goodies...

This is a detail shot of 'Eastern Promise Lattice', made with rich oranges, gold, lilac and lavender glass.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

uBou - Unique Boutique shopping

The uBou website is a work in progress but I'll keep you informed of the evening's & the website's progress as we go along. I designed our logo a while ago and, with a little refresh, we both love it. Hope you do too!

Hooray! Our first local craft fair booked

So, it's on...

We have our date - Thursday, 2nd October.

We have our venue - The Pavilion @ The Royal Oak pub in Prestbury, Cheltenham.

We also have a long list of excited, local, mega-talented artists.

All we need to do now is organise this special event. This will be Tash's and my baby - a local event featuring oodles of local talent in contemporary, handmade crafts, art and design. An evening of informal shopping which we are hoping to make a regular event. I'll post more on the details as we get the plan together over the weekend/early next week. Wish us luck!

'Fiesta' featured

Another etsy.com treasury featuring my glassy goodies. This time it's my rainbow-coloured stripy pendant, 'Fiesta'.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Underwater photography...ish!

My trip to Blackpool (read 'dump'!) on Monday was good fun. We went to the Sea Life Centre, out of season, on a weekday - the perfect time to go to have it all to yourself! Many, many moons ago I did work experience there for 2 weeks, building tanks, feeding fish and sharks and cleaning many windows covered in fingerprints! It's changed a lot and is well worth a visit. We spent at least 2 hours in there. I was practising using the manual settings on my fancy digital almost-SLR camera and took a few good shots. I love taking photos and even if some of them are a bit blurry, I still think they're pretty cool! Here are a couple of my faves from Monday:

Very cool 'crystal ball' type image

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

Liking this photo!

I have to say though, from what I could see of the illuminations along Blackpool prom, they're really a bit of a cop out these days. Moulded plastic shapes are definitely not as good as lots of coloured bulbs. Bring back the old-style illuminations!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Southport Airshow

Sunday I was at the Southport Airshow. Along with being a creative type, I'm also a bit of a nerd! Planes and helicopters are totally one of my 'things' - I was even going to be a helicopter pilot in the Navy - it was either that or a graphic designer. Unfortunately/fortunately(?!), graphic design won. Anyhoo, the Southport Airshow is always amazing, played out across the vast expanse of flat sandy beach, as you watch planes and helicopters demonstrate their amazing skill from the prom. They even have simulated battles with gun & bomb pyrotechnics which made a few folk jump and set off car alarms! Very cool :)

The Red Arrows opened the show. Go boys!

This dual-rotar Chinook helicopter really did fly at this angle, I was holding the camera straight! Crazy!! They fly over where I work all the time, but definitely not like this!
The bombing run left a massive smoke ring which flew off over Southport which was very surreal. This is it after a couple of minutes, high in the sky. I didn't realise I'd managed to snap it with a cloud which framed it perfectly behind!

Etsy.com treasury fame for 'Caramel Mocha Moods' coaster duo

It's always nice to have my work selected to be featured in an etsy.com treasury, but especially so when it reminds me of past designs I have forgotten about. When I first made 'Caramel Mocha Moods' I couldn't keep up with all the orders I was getting! They are so tasty-looking, you have to agree.

Friday, 5 September 2008

World domination ahoy! Muhahaha!

Just received the latest folksy.com newsletter and guess who seems to have been picked as one of three featured sellers.... that's right, little old me! :D They chose my fave photo of the moment, the detail shot of 'Blackjax' birch-framed handmade fused glass artwork (which is still for sale if you fancy owning it!!). Check out my framed artwork page.

If you don't hear from me for a bit it'll be because I am off 'oop narth' to my folks' place for a long weekend. Have a good one yourself :)

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Wedding present commission

Here's a work in progress shot of a commission pair of coasters for a friend. He's best man at a wedding and wanted a pair of my 'Happy Ever After' coaster duos to give as a gift to the happy couple. He was also after the date on the back so it has finally given me an excuse to get out my glass paints! I am particularly impressed with my red hearts :)

This is the top view of a similar pair of coasters:

Warm and fuzzy

My 'day job' is as a graphic designer in children's publishing. We get marketing reports every month and I just had to share this comment on one of my latest titles I designed:

"This is My Monster: This has to be the cutest monster in the world. When a jacket elicits so many "oohs and aahs" from fully-grown adults you just know you have nailed it. The touchy feely and sound chip element seems to be a pretty strong combination and delivers a product that everyone wants to have in stock."

Makes it all worthwhile :)

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Lots more glassy goodies on the way...

Here's a quick snap of some of the new ring tops ready to be made up into my handmade fused glass rings. Really pleased with these. A few new designs in addition to the 'Stax', 'Bubblz' and 'Blox' ring designs, yet to be named. Hope you like the new ideas...

Photo taken on my very expensive metal candle plate from Sainsburys. How could I not buy it when it was in the sale for 58p?!?! Bargain :D

Monday, 1 September 2008

Featured on 'Simply Sentimental' blog

Just got home to check my emails and see someone else has decided to feature my work on their blog. This time it's Sydnei of 'Simply Sentimental' who found my work on etsy.com.

"I wanted to let you know I found an item in your shop that I thought was just TOO great and featured it on my blog"

Thank you Sydnei! (I'm in the 'colour of the week' section on the left hand side).