Tuesday, 27 October 2009


I was invited to a friends 40th Birthday Dinner Dance this weekend and the dress code was Black and White.

We had a wonderful time, with good friends, good food and good music. A chance to catch up and exchange news and relax a little in this busy time.

I pondered for a time on whether to get a dress with both black and white in it, but decided in the end that this was a wonderful opportunity to make a piece of jewellery in the theme.

However, after several weeks of trying to come up with something completely new - I was still drawing a blank. Why does my muse disappear at the most needed moments?

So I decided to try something new with an existing design. Here is the result. A faceted silver bead threaded into each cockleshell with looped wire. It took ages to make, but the ends justify the time spent I think. Extra Texture and extra shine and reflected light.

I love it when something evolves!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Sweetest Thing

Madame Butterfly
Originally uploaded by beetreebyme
I wanted to share with you all the work of one of my fellow Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy members, M.E. of BeeTreebyme.

She creates the most gorgeously detailed and intricate pendants and beads. This little beauty, titled Madame Butterfly, is one of my all time favourites. I love the colours and the wonderful details in her dress and wings.

This attention to detail is evident in all her work and is quite astounding. From incredible petals, to tendrils of vines and tiny fans held in the hands of her delicate Fairies. Amazing.

You have to have a look at her Etsy Store :http://www.BeeTreebyme.etsy.com and just lose yourself in her garden of delights.

Flowers, fruit, tiny pumpkins and beautiful Fairies all abound there.


Monday, 21 September 2009

A Little Of What You Fancy....

...Does you good!

I really felt like doing some Mokume Gane with silver leaf, simply because I had not done any in ages.

Sometimes it does you the world of good to revisit an old favourite and I was really happy with the way these turned out.

Lovely shades of Lilac, Teal and Aqua with the silver leaf just showing through. The colours went really well with each other and after masses of sanding and buffing, the beads just glow!

Hope you all like them as much as I do!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Normal Service Will Be Resumed......

Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
......as soon as someone sends me a few more hours to add to each day!

Well August is over and the children are back at school again. The house seems overly large (not an easy thing as it is very small!) and very quiet without them.

Now it is time to get back into the routine of work again. Trying to spend more hours at the clay table, get my stock levels up ready for the Christmas rush and trying very hard not to play!

I have needed to develop more of a "production line" attitude to making the jewellery, which I hate doing, but I need much, much more stock if I am going to get through the next four months. I have 19 Craft Fairs between now and mid December - yes NINETEEN!!!

That is a lot of stock! So playing is definitely not on the agenda. January will be a time to have a rest and play with some new designs, but for now I need to just work, work and perhaps do a little more work!

The picture is of my Curve Necklace (more on Flickr if you want to see the matching bracelet and earrings). This is using Dan Cormier's Cutting Edge Technique. The man is a genius in my humble opinion!

Now, must get back to the clay table....

Thursday, 30 July 2009

What - No Tutorial?

Sorry! I know I promised to post a tutorial this week, but I just did not get round to it. Some strange things have been going on with my blog that I have been trying to work out.

Since Sunday I have had over 11,000 new visitors. Now, I think my blog is quite good, well in my humble opinion anyway, but not THAT good. The unusual number of visitors is about 3 or 4 a day, so something was definitely going on! Try though I might, I cannot find where all these people are coming from (although I am pretty sure it is Stumbleupon, but I cannot find the page). So, if you are one of the 11,000, then Welcome, nice to see you here and I hope you enjoy looking around and please leave a comment telling me how you found my blog, I would love to know!

I have managed to get some new work done as well, in spite of all the detective work. I got some wonderful Filigree Wraps from the brilliant http://www.dichro-findings.co.uk/. This has got to be my all time favourite site for wonderful settings, blanks and unusual findings. I highly recommend it to everyone.
Here's what I did with them.

I have also done a little Mokume Gane Technique in the clay and made these double drilled beads. Tricky to string, but worth the effort in the end!

A couple of other bits and pieces too!

So, hopefully, next week will be a little quieter, although the children are on Summer Holidays now so who knows how much I will get done, but I will try, honestly, to get that tutorial up.
We are hoping, crossing our fingers, toes, arms and legs, that the weather will improve soon - for our Holiday in Cornwall.

Keep your fingers crossed for us as well!
A Quick Update...

Thank you so much to the Wonderful Hannah of Spans-Stitchin' who found the Stumbleupon Page that was sending all the Traffic to here. Hannah makes the most beautiful crotchet and sewn items - have a look here at her blog! http://spans-stitchin.blogspot.com/. Now I can stop trawling the web trying to it and get back to claying!!! Many thanks Hannah - you are an absolute star!

Friday, 17 July 2009


I have had a busy week.
Lots and lots of beads made!
I am trying to increase my stock levels, so that when the children break up for the summer holidays next week, I am not spending all my time working at the clay table, but will actually have some time to spend playing with them - well, that is the general idea anyway!
Here is what I have been making:

A lovely blue Swirl Ring, a Tile Bracelet in shades of lilac with green leaves and a Leaf Pod Lariat. I have not made a Tile Bracelet for ages and it was fun to revisit this style. I love my Leaf Pod Lariats, but they do take a huge amount of time to make, so I don't do them as often as I should.
The Cascade Necklace is made from Skinner Blend Trumpet Beads from Pearl through to Red. I have made a bracelet also, but this is the first time I have made a necklace to match. I hope you like it.

I am hoping to post a tutorial on Mica Shift Technique next week. It is a favourite with me, I am just hoping that I can photograph the wonderful 3D effect with my not-so-wonderful photographic skills! Watch this space!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Here's what I did...

Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
...with the sunflower cane!

A multi-coloured sunflower necklace. Fun, summery and will go with absolutely everything.

More to post next week on some new beads, but if you cannot wait, they are all on my flickr site.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Bloomin' Lovely!

I am hopeless at making flower canes, usually!

My petals always get squished at the top and my packing is not very good and they always seem to come out slightly lobsided!!

But for some strange reason this one worked out far better than I had even hoped for!

I am so happy with it! It has already been used on some of my multi-coloured sunflower beads for a new necklace today (there is a photo on flickr of one I did ages ago!). They are always popular and I am happy to have loads more cane now to be able to make some more.

I might just have to have a go at some more flower canes now! Any suggestions? What sort of flowers would you like on beads? I would love to hear from you all with your thoughts!

Friday, 19 June 2009

New Beads!

Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
I feel a little like I have been in the desert for the last few months.

But now I feel as though someone came and gave me a lovely long iced glass of water! That someone knows who she is! The water tastes great and has revived me!

Creativity is a funny thing, it comes along and everything is just buzzing. So many ideas, not enough hours in the day to make them all a reality, so many possibilities, the future is crammed full of things you want to make and want to make possible. Then suddenly, for no apparent reason - gone - all gone. It is the strangest and most disconcerting feeling. You find yourself questioning whether it is gone for good - that muse of yours, fickle thing she is!

Suddenly all is dry and grey and nothing is working. All the excitement, all the possibilities are as if they never were. Not a good place to be.

I hope that I have learnt patience from this episode, because that is what is needed. Patience to know that from somewhere, when you least expect it, and when you are not exactly looking for it, then things will change again.

So, at last....at long, long, last, (it seems like a very long time to me anyway!).....some new beads as promised.

I have lots of pendants, earrings and beads in this series, but only these photographed as yet. I am excited as to where these may take me - lots of ideas running around my head.

It is nice to be back somewhere green again!

Thursday, 18 June 2009


There are some new designs coming - honest!!!

Pictures will be posted tomorrow (hopefully). I have been having fun, fun, fun! It has been so long since made a whole new series of beads and I am very Excited! Can you tell?

Thank you Lynda!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Devotion to Duty

Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
Writing this blog post is definitely devotion to duty tonight! It is Sunday Evening - I have done two Craft Fairs, getting up at 5.30 a.m. on Saturday morning and getting home at 6.30 p.m. and then getting up at 7.30 this morning and getting home again at 6.30 p.m.

Wonderful husband had made tea for us all, and I then did 2 hours of ironing (well, I think the children would have been in danger of being squashed if the pile had fallen on them, it was that big!).

So, I am somewhat tired, but thought if I did not post even a little entry in this blog then you would all get pretty fed up of popping in and finding nothing new, yet again!

I have a couple of ideas floating around in my head for new styles of necklaces that I am hoping will get made this week and I will post some photos for you when they are done.

But for now....... a cup of coffee and then bed! Tomorrow is a whole new Clay Day!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Compact and Bijoux!

Do you remember the old chestnut that Estate Agents would roll out in the 80's and 90's? "This lovely studio apartment....all mod. cons..... central location......compact and bijoux!" It would turn out to be a slightly over sized airing cupboard in central London that would cost almost as much monthly as a mortgage on a 5 bedroom property in the Cotswolds! (Lovely, leafy, desirable area in Gloucestershire, in the West of England for all international readers!).

Now the phrase is never used in that context, well not in the Estate Agent's particulars that I read anyway, but is popping up all over the place in connection with beads. In Bath, there is a lovely shop called Bijoux Beads, and I see the word in connection with beads all over the Internet. Of course it is a French word meaning small, compact, neat or little (if my French is incorrect here, please someone correct me!). It fits well in front on the word "bead".

It also fits well as a description of my working area!

A fellow member of the Craftsman's Market in Cirencester, recently saw a photo of my so called "studio area" and was astounded that I could get anything done in so small a space! "How on earth do you manage?" he asked.

Well, it is a matter of having to! I feel very lucky to have a dedicated area to work on - it used to be the dining room table! - at least I don't have to clear away half way through a project so that the children can have their tea! Ahhh happy memories (not!).

It maybe small, it may be bijoux, but to me it is a little slice of heaven, where I feel totally comfortable and have everything around me that I need!

Mind you, that is not to say that I would not like a studio down the garden! The plans for that are just awaiting the lottery win!!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Coral Grove

Coral Grove
Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
I have had quite a few comments on this new style of bangle, when I posted the picture of it first on Flickr.

I did not plan this style at all, it was just one of those "Oh I'll try doing this" sort of moments. The Bullseye Cane had been made for a different project and was just sitting there on my desk and I suddenly thought it would look good on the bangle.

I love textural pieces. Jewellery that not only looks good, but also feels good is a winner in my book!

It reminded me of coral, but the most interesting comment I had was that it looked like "octopus tentacles!" I know exactly what she means!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009


I am beside myself with pride!

My beautiful, wonderful, talented and lovely daughter Katie, has won the first "Holt's Got Talent" competition!

We are so amazingly proud of her!

Singing on Stage

We live in a small village, not far from Bath in Wiltshire. It has an amazing community spirit and there is always lots going on. We have many clubs and organisations and a very thriving and brilliant Amateur Dramatic Society. They decided to hold a competition along the lines of "Britian's Got Talent" and they had the auditions last week. Katie got through, along with 14 other acts, ranging from pianists, dancers, bands through to singers, with ages ranging from 10 years old right through to OAP's.

Katie decided to sing "Colours of the Wind" from Disney's Pocahontas. She sang totally unaccompanied! She is only 13 years old, but she showed a maturity far beyond her years on the stage.

I have to say, that as her voice rang out over the audience, I got covered in goosebumps and experienced one of the happiest and proudest moments of my life.

Receiving her prize, a beautiful bowl, a certificate and £50.00 prize money.

With the Judges

Well done Katie - our own Wondergirl, because you are wonderful and I wonder how on earth I could have produced such an amazing person!

We love you so very much!

Monday, 11 May 2009

What a Find!

Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
I am a Polymer Clay Artist. I work with polymer clay and occasionally Art Clay Silver, and I am quite nifty with wire if I put my mind to it, but I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a metalsmith. So, much though I would like to make my own settings for my polymer, the reality is that I can't, not yet anyway!

Trying to find a really great setting to show off my creations is a constant search. I have lost count of the hours I have spent trawling the web in search of good settings/blanks/bezels. Most of them have had to come from Canada or the US.

So to find a really great UK company that have just about every setting I could wish for (over 215 products listed!!), was like a dream come true! Add to the equation, a really lovely lady behind the company, who cannot do enough for you and really goes the extra mile in customer service, then you know you have hit the Jackpot!!

The company is http://www.dichro-findings.co.uk/ and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Beautiful products, fantastic service, speedy postings and the human touch as well.

What more could anyone ask for!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Looking Up!

Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
When I was little, about 8 or 9, I remember there being a craze at school for Erasers. Everyone tried to get different colours and styles and to show them to their best friends and swap them and collect them.

My favourite one (and does anyone else remember these?) were the sort that had a type of building brick around them. As you used the eraser and it wore down, you would remove the brick at the top and restack it on the bottom, revealing more clean new eraser at the top. The bricks were all different colours and I think there were about 10 of them.

This new bracelet of mine reminds me exactly of those, and also of a City Sky Line full of Skyscrapers.

Isn't it strange the places and memories that inspiration comes from?

Friday, 1 May 2009

Peacock Bangle

The other day, my friend Jo from Muddle House Mosaics, came to have a Play with the Clay Day! She wants to learn to make canes so that she can use them in her mosaic work. We had a great day drinking coffee, chatting, and eating the lovely cake she made.

We did actually get some claying done as well, I showed her how to make a leaf cane and I made one at the same time to demonstrate. Hers was really beautiful, she has a great eye for colour and it showed. Considering this was the very first time she had tried her hand at polymer clay, the results she got were fantastic - I could have some serious competition here!

Anyway, I have used the cane I made in several different projects (have a look at my flickr pages if you would like to see more) and had a go at making a bangle. I got these lovely bangle blanks from the US and am really happy with the way this turned out. I will be making a few more of these I think.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Beautiful Birds

Sage One 1
Originally uploaded by DivaDesigns1
Please let me introduce you to the work of my very special Friend, Lynda of Diva Designs.

This stunning pendant is part of her series of Bird Beads and I think it may be my favourite yet. This newest series of hers has become incredibly popular, not surprisingly and Lynda was recently featured on Polymer Clay Daily.

Lynda has a way with the clay that is elegant, original and always beautifully finished. And I mean Beautifully Finished! We have had many conversations regarding the merits of sanding, sanding and then sanding some more!


Friday, 24 April 2009

A Rest, A Restart and a Revisit!

I have had a bit of a break from the computer for a couple of weeks, over the Easter Break, but now I am back!

I feel much better for my little holiday, not that I went anywhere, but it was good to try and recharge my batteries, they were running on nearly empty I think!

So we tried to have some family time, and not think about work too much! My contribution to time was to stay off the computer (except for essentials!) The children really appreciated having us all to themselves for once and we had some lovely days out!

It has been back to the routine this week, children back at school, and us back at work, and so to the revisit...

..I have not made any Faux Jade for a long time, but thought it would be interesting to revisit it. Sometimes it is good to go back to basics and do something that I tried way back when I was first starting to work with Polymer Clay. It was very soothing to make something really simple for a change, my hands just knew what to do, while my mind was going down various other routes of things I might try next week.

Hope your weekend is a good one!

Friday, 27 March 2009


Originally uploaded by Pips Jewellery Creation
I think that Spring must have gone to my head this year. I have not created so many flowers since I used to make Wedding Cakes and made them in Sugar Paste!

This bracelet has over 60 little flowers and Ivy Leaves and each one has been individually wire wrapped onto the bracelet links. It took ages, but I am so happy with it, and it sits beautifully!

This is the reason I love Polymer Clay so much. It does not matter what idea/inspiration/brainwave I get in my head, I do not need to source beads, or try and find the correct sizes, or try and match colours. I do not need to spend hours trying to find what I need (I can spend that time making it instead). I do not need to worry that I will not find what I have imagined. I know that my imagination can be made a reality. I can do it all with the clay.

What a wonderful medium!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Blossom Branch

At last I have had a little time to play with the Art Clay Silver.

This little brach of blossoms was inspired by a photo my friend Kate from Organic Odysseys posted on our Forum. I had at first, decided to inlay one of the blossoms with Polymer Clay, but that proved a lot more tricky than I had imagined! So the tiny centres of the blossoms are polymer in shades of pearl, lilac and cerese instead. Just that little touch of colour really makes the pendant "pop" and shows off the silver that little bit more.

It is a steep learning curve, making things with Silver Clay, not least because of the short time you have before the clay starts to dry out, but I am enjoying trying things with it. I made a few more dics to inset into polymer pendants as well and will make those up next week. I have a lot of beads I need to make up into a pebble fringe bracelet and a couple of pendants that need wire work and they all have to be done before Saturday so I can take them to Cirencester.

I think I will have a busy day tomorrow!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Ocean Currents

Just had to show you my latest pendant.

This technique is called mokume gane. There are many different ways of doing MG, but this particular technique was shared with me by the wonderful Linda of NK Designs, please check out her blog, the link is on the right in the list of my favourite blogs.

She sent me the tutorial last night, and I couldn't wait to have a go at it. I am so happy with the way this turned out and of course it is in my favourite shades of teal and green. Mind you I did do some pink ones as well! I will post those on flickr later today I hope.

So just a huge thank you to Linda - what a great artist and a great friend. Please check out the link and have a look at hers, they are amazing!

Thursday, 12 March 2009


It's been a hectic few days for me. Lots of family things to sort and not a lot of time for bead making.

I had a disappointing time with a new style of bead that I spent at least 4 hours on, only to find that I had pierced them incorrectly and they would not string properly. Very frustrating and it wasted time that I did not really have.
So I was really pleased that a pair of earring that I made in a completely new style worked out just how I wanted them to!

I have called them Leaf Flowers and am hoping to make them in different colours and some slightly different styles.

Then yesterday I was so happy to find I had my Monochrome Necklace included in a beautiful Treasury on Etsy, compiled by a fellow PCAGOE team member Chicki. She called the treasury Monochrome, after my necklace, which was a lovely touch. Thank you so much Tina - you made my day!

I have also made a necklace from the Lady's Slipper Beads and love it! Hope you do to!
I have a busy week next week, I will keep you posted - I am hoping some Art Clay Silver will make an appearance!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Lady's Slipper

One of the difficult things in this Polymer Clay Life, for me, is the balance between making pieces for my Craft Fair at Cirencester each week and Creating.

I want so much to create something new, something different, something that pushes the limits. I want to play. I want to experiment. I want to just see where the clay takes me.

Making pieces for my Craft Fair is wonderful work. I hope that each piece I make will connect with someone, that a colour will draw someone closer, that a pattern will intrigue. Often it does. My most satisfying moments are when someone wants to talk about what I have made, how it makes them feel, what they like about it, what they don't like. Making that connection - it's heady stuff.

Creating. It takes time, more time than I have to give, so I have to do it in little ways. A twist on something, looking at something from a different angle, a change of colours, a change of shape. Sometimes I am lucky and inspiration will come all in one go and I have the chance to run with it. Other times I have to be patient. But all the time I try and look at my work with new eyes and hope to see a way to move forward a little.

These Lady's Slipper beads are a twist on my cockleshell beads. Something a little bit different. A stripe instead of a circle. Little steps, building to new things.

How do you make the balance between what you need to do and what you want to do? Let me know, I would love to hear your views.

Friday, 6 March 2009

That Something Gorgeous!

Just a quick post to show you what I made with the Kaleidoscope Cane of yesterday's post.

This is probably my most favourite style of necklace. These square beads always sit beautifully when worn and the black and white will go with just about anything!
And a close up of the beads so you can see the detail in the pattern.
If this has inspired you in anyway to have a go, then please let me know how you get on! I would love to see. Have some fun!

Thursday, 5 March 2009

How To Make a Complex Kaleidoscope Cane in Polymer Clay - It's Simple!

Kaleidoscope caning is one of my favourite techniques to use with polymer clay and lots of my beads are made using these canes. I thought it might be fun to show you how I make one.

First choose your colours, for this cane I have decided to go monochrome.

Condition your clay really well. You can use a Pasta Machine or a roller or your hands, whichever is easiest for you.

Here are my sheets after I have finished conditioning and I have put them through the Pasta Machine on a medium setting, about #4 on mine.

Next, make some interesting elements. Here I have made a Jelly Roll Cane, a Striped Cane and some plain "sausages". I have a couple of small sheets also.

Then combine them in whatever way you like, I try to keep them in a general right angle triangle shape, loosely speaking!
Then I reduce the cane, refining the shape as I go into a more recognisable right angle triangle - please note that this is not an exact science in my case!

When the cane is about 4 inches long I cut it in half and then combine the two halves, mirroring the image.
Now we have an almost square shape. Reduce the cane again, refining the square as you gently pull, squeeze, tug, smooth or whatever your preferred method of reduction is.
I then cut the cane into four equal lengths and again, mirroring the images, combine the four into one larger square.

One more final reduction and here is your finished Kaleidoscope Cane.
Of course, it does not need to finish there - you can reduce yet again and recombine, change the shape of the cane from a square to a circle for example. Add another cane , or several. Cut the cane in half and then cut lengthways and recombine. The possibilities are endless!
Here are my beads I made from this cane, cut, pierced and awaiting baking!
Now I just have to make something gorgeous with them!