Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges, Uncategorized

A BSBP Delay and the Liebster Award!

The Bead Soup Blog Party reveal has been pushed back a week, to allow our Hostess-with-the-Mostess Lori Anderson some time to recover from recent ill health. I have to say, I breathed a small sigh of relief at having a few more days to play with beads (and take photos and write up my blog post). In the mean time, I’ve got a post or two up my sleeve for you this week.


A month or more ago, I was tagged by Sandra Wollberg—my BSBP partner and fellow beadlover—with a LIEBSTER award. The LIEBSTER award is a chain letter of sorts, which is supposed to bring new visitors to small, comparatively unknown blogs. “Liebster” is a German word, and basically means “dearest”, “most favourite”. As with most chain letters, there are a few rules to follow:

  • You have to link the person who nominated/tagged you.
  • You have to answer the 11 questions your nominator asked you
  • Pick 11 bloggers whose blogs have less than 200 followers, tag them, and don’t forget to inform them about it.
  • Come up with 11 new questions for the persons you’ve tagged.

So, here are my questions and answers. Hopefully you’ll find a little out about me, that you might not have known before.

Which three tracks are a MUST on your current playlists?

I got Lana del Rey’s album for Christmas, and I have to say I love her song Summertime Sadness. I also find myself bopping along to Pharrell William’s Happy when I hear it on the radio. It’s such a, well, happy song isn’t it? For number three? Let’s go with my all time favourite Paul Kelly song Deeper Water.

Sparkly or matte?

Mostly Matt. He’s my husband. But if you really want to know, I like both. Although I am probably more drawn to matte textures.

Imagine you’re lucky and win a large sum of money. What would be the first thing you spend it on?

I do need a new car, and the mortgage can always use some help, but if I had my druthers, I’d take the family on a round the world holiday! Oh and beads of course!!!

BTW, what was the last thing you’ve purchased?

Winter clothes for the kidlets and a new pair of ankle boots for me. Oh yes, does pizza for dinner count?

How is the weather, right now, at your place?

I’m always surprised by the speed that winter arrives here in Melbourne. It’s like a switch is thrown in late April, early May, and all of a sudden, it’s cold and wet. Today it was damp and cold, tomorrow we’re expecting rain, thunderstorms and even hail. Sadly our school is holding its biggest fundraising event of the year tomorrow, and it’s mostly outside. So I know I’ll be cold and wet tomorrow!

Do you have allergies/intolerances? Would you share which ones?

I am allergic to a lot of trees—birch, maples and the like. And grasses. When I lived in Northern California I sniffled and sneezed from early Spring until mid-Autumn. It’s not quite so bad here in Melbourne, but I definitely suffer in Spring.

What kind of character trait do you hate in other persons?

I really dislike it when people blindly follow someone else’s beliefs without thought, whether political, religious or otherwise.

What kind of character trait do you like in other persons?

Compassion, and a sense of humour.

Which metal do you like best?

My current favourite is copper.

Is there a person in your life you’d consider a soul mate?

My husband.

To which country would you love to travel if you had the chance?

In a list a mile long, I think South Africa would be near the top. And Vietnam. And I’m always up for a trip to the US or Europe!

Now, these are the bloggers I am nominating to continue this chain letter!

Corrie at

Lennis at

Ann at

Andrea at

Cory at

Tiffany at

Solange at

Karen at

Tracy at

Lee at

Patti at

And my questions for you are:

  1. Dog or cat?
  2. Dark chocolate or milk?
  3. What’s your favourite time of year (season or holiday) and why?
  4. What’s your favourite recipe? Link to it if it’s online!
  5. Where in the world would you most like to travel?
  6. Name three books that you really really enjoyed reading.
  7. If you could travel in time, which period would you most want to visit?
  8. What’s your favourite gemstone?
  9. When was the last time you dressed up in a costume? And what did you wear?
  10. What craft or technique would you really like to learn?
  11. Do you live close to where you grew up, or far away?




How do you like your blogs served?

I’m sure most people know by now that Google Reader is shutting up shop at the end of this month. I was pretty bummed when it was announced as I have quite a list of blogs that I like to read on a regular basis.

Anyway, I’d like to let you know that there are a few options out there if you want to keep reading via an RSS feed. Personally, I’ve switched to Bloglovin, it has quite a nice format that is easy to navigate, it gives me a daily update on what’s out there, and it gave me a nice big fat button to put on this blog to let others add it to their feed. It will happily import your Google Reader feed too. And I love that it has an iPhone and an iPad app.

Here is a link to follow me with Bloglovin, just to make it easy for you!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

There are a few other readers out there too, Feedly is one of them that is a bit more traditional, and NewsFire is a Mac-oriented RSS feed. They mostly have apps too, so you can read your blogs on a tablet or phone. And there others, try a few out and see which one works for you.

If you prefer, you can also subscribe to receive an email each time I update this blog, which is generally not more than 3-4 times in a week. There is a box there on the right which you can use to do that.

And if you’re a WordPress user, you can opt to follow through the WordPress reader.


One year on … and the year ahead!


So, a couple of days ago marked the first anniversary of my blog. As of today I have made 64 posts (including this one) and have 66 followers (so I’ve kind of added a follower every post if you like!). I’ve published more than 20 posts with recipes and nearly 40 about beads and jewellery, with one that included both of my passions and a few posts that I have not categorised (note to self …).

When I started this blog, I didn’t really know what to expect from it, didn’t know if I would be able to find my voice. I am a writer by trade, but I write about science and business, not about beads and food! But over the course of the past year I feel like a little storyteller inside me has come to life.

One of the things I have really enjoyed about blogging has been the way that it has shown me the way to the beading community, through blog hops, bead swaps, forums and Facebook friendships. I’ve taken part in more than half a dozen blog hops and challenges, each time pushing myself to try something new.

Some of my favourite posts have included the first blog hop I entered—Tracy Statler’s Wrapped, Stacked and Layered Challenge—and Erin Prais-Hintz’s Challenges of Literature, Travel and Colour, not to mention the biggest one of all, the Bead Soup Blog Party!

jewellery collage for birthday
Clockwise from top left: Wrapped, Stacked and Layered challenge; Challenge of Literature; Bead Soup Blog Party; Challenge of Travel.

It has also helped me to push myself into a new challenge for 2013 … actively selling my creations. I hope to set up a stand at a local craft market in a few months, and I’m in the process of setting myself up to sell online, probably via Facebook initially, and eventually through one of the online sites like Etsy or Madeit. I’ll blog more about this soon.

As my blog name implies, the other half of this blog is about food and cooking, and this is more for me, to help me record and share recipes I love. I’m thinking that in a few years I’ll collect all of the recipes from my blog and collate them into a book for my kids. Among my favourite recipe posts are the jams and the lemons, the delicious lamb and silverbeet parcels and all of the Christmas recipes!

CLosckwise from top left: preserved lemons, candy cane marshmallows, lamb and silverbeet parcels, plum jam two ways
CLosckwise from top left: preserved lemons; candy cane marshmallows; lamb and silverbeet parcels; plum jam two ways.

Well, that’s the year past, so what have I got planned in the coming year? Aside from the plans to sell my jewellery, I have a number of challenges and hops coming up in the near future. This coming weekend is sign-up time for Bead Soup Blog Party 7, and I’ll definitely be putting my name down for that. I’m taking part in Lisa Lodge‘s Sand and Sea Blog Hop in March.  I hope to do all four of Erin Prais-Hintz ‘s quarterly challenges (if last year is anything to go on, the first one for the year is likely to be announced in February) and at least a few of the Art Bead Scene monthly challenges too.

I’m also planning to learn some new jewellery-making techniques. I’ve been playing with clay (both ceramic and polymer) and I would like to do more wire-work. Sadly, there are only so many hours in the week when you have 3 kids, including a very busy pre-schooler and a part-time job, so I have no doubt things will happen far slower than I plan.

On the recipe side of the blog, I have a few recipes floating around that I would like to play with and, if they work, I’ll share them.

And in general, I plan to work on my photographic skills. For Christmas my husband gave me a fabulous new tool to help me out—a clever device that functions as both a light tent and a camera stand from a company called Modahaus. It has already changed the way I take photos and I intend to keep refining my skills. Stay tuned for more about that too. Look out too for a blog mini-makeover, I’m updating very soon!

I’m looking forward to 2013. It should be a fun year and I hope you will join me!


Pay it Forward—Handmade

If you’re looking for my Bead Soup Blog Party reveal, click here.

And if you’re looking for my Challenge of Travel post, click here.

There’s a new game doing the rounds for bloggers. It’s called Pay it Forward—Handmade. I’ve seen a similar thing on Facebook, now blogs are joining in the fun! I came across it on Karen Mitchell’s blog Over the Moon Design, and since then I’ve seen a few more bloggers playing too.

Here’s How It Works
I’ll send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this blog post. The gift will be a handmade surprise by me and will be sent to you some time in the next 365 days (yep, mystery gift at a mystery time).

Here’s what you need to do, leave me a comment and make sure you include your email address (if your profile doesn’t include it). I’ll email you for your snail mail address and ask a few questions (likes/dislikes, favourite colours, sizes, general stuff like that). And I’m happy to send gifts overseas!

To complete signing up you MUST play along too. To do this you must blog a similar post and pledge to make a surprise gift for the first three people who comment on it.

So, do you want to play? Comment below and I’ll sent a thoughtful handmade gift to the first three people who do.

Let the fun and games begin!


Two giveaways

No not me. But I get extra entries for promoting them on my blog 😉

The first is from Lori Anderson and her Pretty Things blog. It’s a great blog, and she has a great giveaway from Beads Direct, a beading supplier in the UK. Gosh the world is getting smaller isn’t it?

This is what she is giving away! A couple of magnetic clasps, some braided leather and some wooden beads in several different styles.

The second giveaway is from another one of my go-to bloggers, Lorelei Eurto. She has a copy of Lisa Niven Kelly’s book Stamped Metal Jewelry and some stamping blanks to give away, courtesy of Beaducation.

Here’s a picture …

I have to say, Lori and Lorelei are two of my favourite bloggers and jewellery designers, love both their blogs AND their jewellery!

Beads, Uncategorized

Bracelets on my mind

I’ve signed up for another challenge. This one is the Wrapped, Stacked and Layered Bracelet Challenge started over at Tracy Statler’s Make Bracelets blog and it’s all about stacking and layering bracelets to create a unique-to-you look.

The big day is 21 April, when all the participants (and there seem to be quite a few signed up!) post pics of their bracelet on their blogs.

The thing I like about layering bracelets is that it’s all about texture, mixing different beads and techniques to get an eclectic effect. Different metals, like silver, copper or brass, beads made from glass, clay, semi-precious stones, dangling charms and beads sliding along, leather, chain and fabric all mixed up together.

I’ve got a few bracelets I’ve made, and a few more that I have acquired along the way, and I’m putting together some more in the next couple of weeks, so hopefully I’ll have a few to choose from. And I’ve been having a lovely time fossicking around the web, looking for inspiration. I think I could almost start a separate Pinterest board just for ideas!

Some of the bracelets I have already made include this wrap bracelet in the Chan Luu style. It’s made from brown leather and pink rhodonite beads and finished with an antique silver button. I’ve got earrings made out of the same pink stone too.

This one was made by knotting together a set of Gaea ceramic beads on natural leather. I finished it off with antique brass findings. But I think I need to hang something else from the closure side, to balance it a bit, as it keeps sliding around so that the pretty beads don’t keep ending up on the inside of my wrist.

Now I just have to decide whether to go for a silver bling-y effect or an antique-y boho look. Or maybe I’ll do both! See you on the 21st for the big reveal!


Back to school

It’s that time of the year here in Australia, and this year I have three kids in various states of new. Ella, the veteran, is starting her second year of primary school. Poppy is mega-excited about starting prep, the first year of formal schooling here in Victoria. And Jack starts 3 days a week in creche this week.

He’s the one I’m most worried about. Such a mama’s boy, it’ll be good for him in the end I think. But it’s so hard to hear him wanting his mama, when we had an orientation session last week. Poor little guy.

But the flip side is that I will get a chance to work, something I haven’t done too much of in the last 2 years. I’m looking forward to it, and dreading it too. Too much time off has not really been great for me. It’s such a personal thing — the decision to work when one has small children. And I’m certainly not working for the money, child care will gobble up most of that. Don’t get me started there!

In the meantime, I’m hoping to find some moments to cook and to create. This last week has mostly been about finding a new routine, and that’s going to continue for the next week or two. But I managed to find some time to make some more gemstone necklaces last weekend when we were away. I’m just waiting for some new clasps, as the ones I have are a bit large for the petite chain. When I have them, I’ll post a picture or two, promise!


Hello world!

Well, here I am. I’ve finally taken the plunge to start this blog. It’s part of my plan to get myself writing again, to get myself to create … things. Jewellery. Food. A part of myself that is quiet, that has been lying dormant while I spend all of my energy on my young family. This is the year that I get back to me. I hope.