making friends

I bought a dog bead from Lauren at Maybeads a while back, he usually lives on the dado rail opposite where I have my laptop so I see him everyday. Recently I showed him to someone, put him in my pocket where he lived for a couple of days (it was nice having the bead in my pocket, beads definitely aren’t all about jewellery for me) then I put the cardigan in the washing machine without checking the pockets…and was sad when I found the bead lying in the bottom of the steely shiny drum with a broken ear (and somehow looking up at me) when I took the washing out later. What a twit, first rule, check pockets! I told Lauren what had happened, and for quite a few days the little dog bead found various places to sit, a shelf in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, and the chest in the bedroom until he finally made it back to the dado rail. He’s such a character, and amuses me. I got home yesterday lunchtime just as the postman had delivered mail into my husband’s hand, there was a small packet with a customs label, and Lauren’s name on it, and I guessed immediately what would be inside, I started squealing in a very girly manner causing David to ask hurriedly, ‘What’s wrong? What’s happened?’ but he got no sense out of me, I was Being Girly. Inside I found another dog bead, and a note –

‘Min, I know that awful feeling of finding a broken bead all too well, so I’ve sent a reinforcement. It’s not a duplicate, but I think he is from the same litter : )’

Isn’t that sweet? I was so made up.

But then I had the challenge of being able to find the words to say ‘thank you’ properly, because I’m finding it harder and harder to know how to say thank you when people are kind/sweet/thoughtful/caring, and it keeps coming up which means that I must know some jolly decent, caring, thoughtful, kind people.

making friends…

Dear Lauren,

That was adorable of you, I am massively touched, so much so that I had to wait a day before I could string some words together to say so : )  I love my new addition, they’ve made friends and will live happily on the dado rail and won’t be seeing a washing machine from the inside ever again. Your generosity of spirit is inspiring and heart warming, I’m sending a big hug all the way to Buffalo Grove : )




Bead Day at Broadfield House, May 14th 2011

Bead Day at Broadfield House, May 14th 2011

The Bead Day event at Broadfield House Glass Museum in Stourbridge on Saturday was brilliant, I loved it. I didn’t have enough time to explore the museum properly, so a visit when I’m not selling my work or demonstrating lampwork is definitely on the cards. I was almost afraid to take on board what I was seeing as I rushed past the display cases of beautiful glass exhibits, they were so impressive. Fabulous.


After a long while of being frustrated with dear MrSite, I have abandoned him without mercy, care or consideration. I begged, pleaded and slaved, made sure he got his pocket money without delay, but he never really got that what I was asking for was so simple, and if he had been willing to make a few changes, I would have stayed. Mind you, intrinsically, MrSite was never going to be the Red Hot Lover, and the new beau is making up for lost time, what muscles, what shiny buffed features, and Oh…the plugins…joy…

Many Thanks a Ton!

For all the spammy comments, especially this one : )

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Blimey, I haven’t posted in a while.
What’s been happening in my world in all these months, let me think…umm…well, I’ve been making beads (as usual) and wondering how best to market them, which reminds me – I need to say a few words about Twitter (you’re off the hook, as you don’t have to read any of this, I won’t know). Many of the people I know make beads and jewellery, some of them tweet about new listings on their websites, some of them do it just a bit too often, and I don’t enjoy it. Those are the people I un-follow rapidly, it’s so uninteresting to have one’s time line filled with over-excited hyper posts about newly listed jewellery and so on – does advertising on Twitter work for them? If so then I admit it, I’m a bit envious, but un-following persistent self marketers is like putting the phone down on double glazing salesmen and their ilk – a relief. There is already too much bombardment with over use of exclamation marks, so I like to follow occasional tweeters who have something to add to my day (yes, even Brian Belo, no apologies for following Big Brother contestants).
When it comes to my own Tweets, they’re pretty dull, I realise that Tweeting is an art form in itself. The well known people I follow (mostly) have something interesting to say because they are going about their famous fabulous business and letting the world in on snippets of it. I can’t help but be interested in what they are doing, whereas in my quiet and unremarkable life I might be so pleased that the cat let me cut her nails again that I feel it is worth tweeting about, but who wants to know about that? Maybe people who know and love my cat (or me) or people who wish their cat would let them cut it’s nails? In case you want to know, my cat lies back and practically holds her paws out for me to trim her nails, so it’s not as if I have a big cat nail clipping secret or anything.
One of my favourite tweeters is my friend Sue. Sometimes all she writes is a word like ‘can’t’, and because I know Sue, I get (I think) what she means. Sue isn’t famous, but she is thoughtful, quirky and often funny. When I go to bed the last thing I do is check Twitter on my iPhone, you might think this is a bit sad, however, I’m using Twitter to overcome my habit of checking the Sky News app before I go to sleep. The last news story that upset me so badly and made my heart leap with shock was not floods in Pakistan, but Sydney the pygmy goat being attacked by people who ripped his horns out and left him to die after what must have been a bewildering attack. I do struggle with my inclination to feel more strongly about animals than human beings, because the inbuilt message I have is that it is wrong to put animals before people, but I can’t help feeling that Sydney was just fine snoozing away in his dark hollow under the trees until pointless premeditated selfish human action killed him. Floods are part of what happens in nature, and terrible as it is, we have little control over it and just have to do the best we can to overcome what is thrown at us. I say ‘us’, truth is I have never had to contend with losing my home and most of my family and friends, I don’t know what it is like to lose the entire structure of my life and face living in camps with little food, sanitation or comfort and a formless future. One might argue that human nature means that animals are tortured everyday, it’s part of life. I’m not aware of animals torturing people everyday, although doubtless it happens that animals attack humans. The difference is that most adult humans have a choice in whether they maim and torture, they just don’t make it. Anyway, I decided it would be better to go sleep with something less awful than horrible news, and as I am permanently attached to my iPhone, it may as well be Twitter.
I used to read books before I went to sleep, but after moving back to England David and I were very happy to discover Radio 7 and let it read us to sleep, it also removed the problem of me reading in bed and therefore having the light on which disturbed him, after all, he’s the one who gets up and goes to work in the morning. Unfortunately, Radio 7 repeats so many programmes that I am now less enthralled, although I can listen to Russel Thorndike’s ‘Doctor Syn’ stories read by Rufus Sewell over and over, it’s a joy, so they can repeat that as often as they like.
The ‘bad’ thing about this reading compromise at bedtime is that I haven’t read a book in ages, and I mean at least two years. Ok, so I borrowed the latest Stephanie Plum novel from the library recently and whizzed through that, but The Lovely Bones remain only two thirds read, and its such a great book too. I hate not reading, I also miss tv programmes in the evening because I’m in the shed making beads. I have a tv out there, but the reception is laughable.  Mind you, while I’m out there I listen to audio books, we have a great library service here and don’t even have to pay to borrow them, so I feel I have some contact with books, even if a lot of them are a bit smushy. Yes, I could read books with the Kindle app, but I haven’t yet found a book I really want, perhaps because I like the feel of paper and a proper flick through the pages to get a taste of the author’s style, samples online somehow don’t feel real. I have downloaded several books, but actually, reading in bed on my side while wearing glasses doesn’t work for me, and no, sitting up in bed neatly propped up against perfect pillows doesn’t really work for me either. Or I don’t work it…whatever. So, I might have to accept that I am no longer the avid reader I was, or knuckle down and make reading time again. Public transport was always useful for that, I read most when I was working and had to get a bus or train. Maybe I ought to get a different job, one outside of the house? I’ll think about it. For a while. Quite a long while, and then, perhaps for a very long time after that. I’m very glad, and fortunate, to be making beads and selling some, it’s all very modest, there will not be holidays overseas and a second car, but I am spared the frustration of a job for the sake of having one, I won’t ever be rich or famous (thank God for the latter) but somehow I have the luxury of being free.
I really ought to go and do something with that freedom, right now.

and now, for the weather

Country brought to standstill by snow terror attack! Weather girls in too tight skirts report on calamitously crippling conditions, “I can’t sit down in this skirt” wails Lucy….more on this story later. First in the news today, apart from the unusually heavy snowfall, life goes on as usual in this new year 2010. Unrealistic expectations that a date change will make a positive difference to thousands of lives perceived as ‘unsatisfactory’ and ‘not very good really, it’s all The System’s fault’ have already been dashed and disappointment is setting in. New Year’s resolutions are forgotten along with promises never to drink again after that hangover on Jan 1st. Confused smokers gather in huddles in doorways, was that cigarette smoke they saw billowing from their lips, or their breath in the cold air? They discuss freezing temperatures and the cost of living, ‘it’s terrible, everything’s so expensive, we have to choose between fags and other essentials, and we’re forced out into the cold to smoke, it’s all wrong’.  ‘If I get sick because I have to smoke outside it won’t be my fault’ says one.
Penguins at London Zoo would help their keepers today if they came out to smoke, the zoo is beginning it’s Annual Animal Audit today and some of the penguins are in their burrows, reluctant to emerge into the cold, confounding efforts to count their numbers.
Meanwhile, on an even lighter note, across the country stalwart lampworkers insist on trekking out to their various out buildings in complex layers of clothes, often carrying concealed hot water bottles (no licence required) simply to indulge in the curious obsession of glass melting in order to make beads, ‘we won’t give in, it’s only weather!’ they cry, ‘bead pics online tomorrow!’

‘And that’s the news, over to the weather with Lucy….Lucy?’


As my few readers will have noticed, I was a bit disgruntled with the Troon craft fair on October 17th…so I thought it only right to redress the balance and say that the fair at Troon on November 14th was full of affirmation of what I do from the stalwart customers who went to the trouble of turning up on a blustery, wild, wet day. Thank you to those people who were so encouraging and complimentary, I felt so much more hopeful and inspired by the end of the day.

As usual there was only very dingy light in the hall, made worse by the dark weather, but that’s all due to be modernised in the new year, so I’m hopeful that the lighting will be changed. Someone told me that the floor is perfect for dancing, and it was a whole new picture to imagine the hall full of dancers.

Despite some progress made with new designs, I’ve had a bit of a slump in my confidence regarding bead making, as I’ve been through a period of focusing purely on pushing myself as an artist. I’m surprisingly competitive and want to stand out as a bead maker, I like being like this, but it is also quite alarming, I’m scaring myself! However, if I can push myself as far as I can as an artist, then I will have achieved something that I think is worthwhile, on a personal level. There is no room for resting on any kind of laurels, certainly not the ones I have as yet, there is far to go.
My latest beads are large, they take about two hours each, by the time I’m nearing completion of a bead, just when I need to be on top form, I’m flagging, especially if I’ve already made a couple and it’s nearing 3am. I have made some decent strides in artistry, but I need to perfect the technical aspects of the beads I want to make, I’m grateful for the new kiln programme from Sean at OffMandrel, which will anneal these big beads…I’m very excited about my new beads.
As always when I have had a bit of success, there is a sudden come down from which I must pick myself up, I can’t rely on achievement to give me some sort of peace, I’m already chasing the next thing I want to do. It’s not easy being like that, and combined with recent events, I have found myself in a familiar space which mostly involves wondering what the point of my being alive is. ‘Blimey,’ you might be thinking now, ‘here she goes again, getting heavy’ but it’s the truth for me, and as far as I know, creative people (and especially depressives like me) get like that, and while it might not be ‘normal’ to say it out loud, it’s pretty normal to think it occasionally, for a lot of people. It doesn’t mean I want to be dead (although I occasionally I hit the depths where I feel being dead would be a nice ‘rest’ – how thick is that?!!! or does it just mean I’m tired?) I’m just thinking about my place on the planet, and what’s the betting that a lot of women whose children have left home find themselves in this position, rethinking what they are actually ‘for’ now that their roles as mothers have diminished?

Even two years after leaving London (and thereby our son James at uni there) and moving to Scotland, I am not sure what I am ‘for’, what is my role and purpose in life? While I figure that out, I’m just trying to make the best of the life I have been given, one day at a time. Sometimes I am very bad at that, and need a little nudge to see the bigger picture, so, when I met people at Troon last weekend who were complimentary about my glass work, who bought some of it, and even those who were returning customers coming to get their ‘Min bead fix’, I felt affirmed, and as if there is a point to making beads, and being me. Glass beads give me a place in my world, they challenge me as an artist. I know I’m a daughter, wife, mother and friend, and being those things is important to other people (thanks guys) but first and foremost is the relationship I have with myself. After all I have to live in my head, and that takes some managing…oh to be simple and uncomplicated, and not to think too much…