Monday, 9 February 2015

BubblyDuck is Moving!!!

Too many blogs and platforms, several months of tiredness and de-motivation related to ill health - which has thankfully now been sorted - means that I am moving the blog to my own domain 
I will be keeping this blog open simply to keep up to date with Blogger blogs I follow. 

Where possible, I might re-blog posts here. But in the meantime, update your bookmarks to !!!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Stash busting photos!

I cannot believe how long its been since I last posted! I am so sorry!

This isnt really much of a post today. Just putting up some photos!

Two tone CRAW rope with swags and a small blue opal slab

 Shell and swarovski pearl headband perfect for bridesmaids!

Analternative to the traditional buttoniere or button hole flower, made from shell and swarovski pearl, plus swarovski crystals

Monday, 30 June 2014

Top 5 Gems

I saw a blog challenge on Jewellery Maker TV's website the other day, asking jewellery makers to name their top 5 favourite gemstones, and why or how they are used. I thought this was going to be a bit hard for me; how wrong I was!

I know straight off my top 2 are Opal and Rose Quartz.

Opal is my birthstone, and I love every version of it. I must admit though, I have a soft spot/magpie eye for Fire Opal. The colour change which can happen depending on the light it is in and the iridescence that can also happen always catches my eye.

I'm a sucker for vintage things. Proper vintage that's pre-1950's and 1950's too. Rose Quartz has the ability to create a vintage look and also a modern look with very little effort. Last year I bought some carved Rose Quartz from Jewellery Maker TV, in the shape of a Rose - I couldn't help myself, they were beautiful - I used them to make classic pieces within a couple of days after I received them! Versatile is an over used word, but with Rose Quartz it's too true.

Rose Quartz rose and leaves with pink banded agate and dyed purple Jasper

Rose Quartz leaves with purple dyed jasper

close up of the Roze Quartz rose and leaves
 These are available as unique pieces at my Etsy shop, BubblyDuck Beads

 The next 3 of my favourite gemstones are in no particular order.

Like me, Snowflake Obsidian is perfectly imperfect. The natural inclusions which make the "snowflakes" are why I love it so much! It makes classic black and white or black and red jewellery zing with that added dimension which the snowflake provides with no effort or gaudiness. I have lots of strands of this, and generally will team it up with dyed, ethically sourced coral or blue goldstone for that starry night piece.

Snowflake Obsidian with dyed coral and metallic silver beads, also available on Etsy

As I said on my previous post, I love pearls and pearly things. I love Swarovski pearls for the colours they provide, and I love shell pearl for sheer availability and affordability. Real pearls are for when I have a little bit saved up, or I get them in a bundle or kit. Always classic, evoking vintage era designs for fashion and jewellery, pearls are an evocative gem. English Poet Laureate  Carol Ann Duffy even wrote a poem about pearls. Look it up, it's beautiful and captivating, just as a pearl should be.

Not real - re-purposed glass pearl necklace given to my cousin as a present, she too loves anything vintage

 Haematite (also known as Iron Ore Stone) is one of my basics. I find it in almost any shape I can imagine, and often pay no more than a couple of pounds for an 18" strand of fancy shapes. I recently purchased some "mystic coated" haematite double holed spacers which I re-dubbed "disco coating" because it reminded me of dance floor lights, sparkly shoes, dancing around my handbag and rock music fashion (don't ask me why about the latter - I just thought they would look good as an edgy rock-chic piece). It also does pretty good for jewellery that pays homage to Art Deco & Art Nouveau styles and periods,

My favourite earrings - haematite chevrons and milky glass diamonds
Inspired? I hope you've enjoyed this little look into how I tick. If you want a little more inspiration, you can always go onto the following links via Jewellery Maker TV!,-20cm-strand.,-18cm-strand.,-36cm-strand.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Stash busting, pearly dreams and festivals

Well, after a rather swift accumulation of Swarovski and shell pearls for pieces I will be creating for the craft fair I'm appearing at in July, I felt that I needed a good dose of stash busting (especially as I haven't been let off the norty step by my fellow beaders at Operation Tackle That Bead Stash for months!).
But what could I do? What could I make?

A few magazines and websites later, I decided to have a go at a piece of Cubic Right Angled Weave (CRAW). I must admit, I love the straight forward RAW, but had been a bit apprehensive about trying CRAW, especially as a lot of the written instructions I found a tad confusing. Then I saw a wonderful video how-to on that was straight -forward and easy to use (go to beadmavens then look up the post from 9th September 2011).

My Mum was going to a wedding reception, and had a beautiful dress which obviously needed a new and beautiful necklace to go with it! Approximately 30g of size 8 seed beads later, a gorgeous rope had been created! The addition of a couple of little swags and a small slab of blue opal which I designed to simply fill the "V" in the neckline of aforementioned dress. I haven't taken enough photos of the full piece yet, but these will be up here very soon!!

Festival fashion has been thoroughly on my designing brain this month, and some beautiful and colourful clothes and jewellery have been released in time for the festival season. I'm no exception; again using my stash of dyed shell-strands, neon swarovski pearls and a beautiful strand of orange dyed shell pearl.

If you want to see a sneak peek, go to either or my new facebook page

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Don't you just love being a jewellery maker?

Well, the title says it all quite frankly, and no more have I found this than the last fortnight.

A couple weekends ago, a good friend of mine came to visit friends in Liverpool. On her birthday. 
Typically, as the good friend I am, I had totally forgotten!
So a quick dash home for my purse (I was meeting her in the pub) and a fast birthday present was needed. 
I'd been busy making a stack of necklaces from a beautiful set of bright green birds by Blueberri Beads, and knew that one particular would be perfect for her! Sadly in my rush, I didn't manage to get a photo!! If I can, I'll get my friend to send me one and then I will put it up here!

Then, at the weekend, me and my parents were visiting some long-time friends, and both mum and I decided we needed some new necklaces. A few hours later and two new necklaces,  a air of earrings and a bracelet were ready! 

We got quite a few compliments from our friends and from their friends in turn. 

It's a good feeling, after all the work that is put in, that you can "pull off" something quick!

A double strand necklace made from Swarovski pearls and seed beads
A long a-symmetric necklace made from a selection of agate and blue goldstone the main focal is a glass coin that I picked up at the April BeadsUpNorth event
Another focal bead from Blueberri Beads with agate, all on silver coloured coated wire

Hope this post has inspired you to make a few "emergency" makes!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Bad days, Good days and holidays

In April, I had a bit of a "funny turn" in work, which made me feel unwell for quite a few days. I'm still under investigation, but when it happened, it led to a couple of really stressful and unsure weeks for me. So I decided one Wednesday, to visit the guys at The Bead Shop Liverpool and do a class. As I'm working full time, and have rather busy weekday evenings, I simply give Vicky at the shop a ring to see if there's space, and I will then just turn up!

So that's what I did, not caring what I would do, and if I've done it before, but wanting some lovely beady time.

Olygalala (sorry for the spelling) bracelet. I tried desperately to steer clear of the colours I usually gravitate to (blues and greens) and went for a lovely red and white.

Here's the result

pretty isn't it? The first time my naturally tight tension has worked in my favour! I had a few issues with thread snapping (crystal + tight tension + friction = snapped thread) but eventually, I got there.
Here's a tip for this kind of bracelet: don't wear it every spare minute you get, or regularly with sleeves. If you do, it might end up like this...

In a sandwich bag, given to me when I visited my cousin the week before last. It snapped very discretely, very quietly on the train, and began raining little red seed beads on my Metro newspaper. A sad moment.

But that didn't matter, I was going up to The Lake District with my cousin Emma (from for a few days, and then I was joining her at her jewellery making class at the end of the week, doing silversmithing.

The Lake District is a wonderful place for inspiration, whether it is in the crafty sense, or literary sense (I also write poetry and short stories). There are loads of small independent craft and designer-maker shops, galleries and stalls in Windermere, Grasmere and Ambleside alone!

As I said, I learned some silversmithing techniques from Deliah at The Jewellery Maker, Lancaster.
I was lucky, as normally I would need to learn the basics before doing the stone setting. This includes soldering, shaping and firing. The nearest I've ever been to these, is sawing and soldering copper pipe for my dad a few years back.

Well, with help and support from my fellow learners, and the wonderful tutelage of  Deliah. I completed a beautiful pendant!

 I've got the bug now, but with silversmithing courses in Liverpool too rare and prohibitively priced for me, more Lancaster trips for me, me thinks!

It's been quite a while

I have no explanation or excuse (well not good ones anyway) for why I've been away for so long. I do, however, have pictures about what I've been doing in the meantime!

Well, firstly, I've turned my "lounge" into a more crafty place....

Pretty good eh?
I live with my parents still, and have my own "lounge" area, which I decided to turn into a place where I could create, store and keep my makes.
I'm naturally not a very organised person, and need something where I can put my hand immediately on what I want and know where exactly it is.
My seed bead stash is in the blue boxes, which were found in a skip!! Seriously folks, found in a skip, given a good wash and new lease of life.

Secondly, I've been getting ready to put some creations on Etsy, by getting my Dad, an amateur photographer to take the pictures. He's a natural talent of the whole "use what you have in the house to create what you need" and DIY-ness in general. This is what I found the other week when he had been photographing....

A bench clamp, an old mop pole...

with a camera mount

and easel - sorry, I cant seem to get it the right way up!

 All put together so pictures like this

can be taken without any camera wobble, and with a basic DSLR lens!

So yes, this means I am now on Etsy! Find me on