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 : )





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.


Well, I’m busy making beads again after a little backing off period, and have found (again) that if I don’t make beads for a while I have to fight to get back into the happy beader zone. It’s like having a row with someone and then taking those tentative first steps to making up. The good bit is getting back onto the same page as the glass and becoming as one, which makes opening the kiln in the morning a pleasure rather than an anti-climax.
My new neighbour Jane, and I, bustled up to West Kilbride recently, the home of Scotland’s craft town to see if The Gallery would be amenable to selling my beads, and after a meeting with Maggie a couple of days later, I am happy to have another outlet. This means actually having stock to take up there, hence the renewal of my rampant affair in The Shed of Destiny, and what with the four craft fair bookings slowly creeping up, I absolutely must be in there lustily following my passions.

I met Louise Nelson, a glass artist, at The Gallery, and we had a fun day when she visited, her main comment being ‘I thought you’d have a sign on your shed with ‘The Shed of Destiny’ on it, I’m going to get a sign on my garage before you get your sign up’. So, a challenge. Hah! Will I be beaten? We shall see. Somehow I think her sign ‘Gorgeous Garage’ (don’t tell me anything you don’t want in my blog he he) will be more professional than mine. I might get a plank and write on it in white paint, then nail it over the door, done in ten minutes. Luckily that look works by the seaside. The long term plan being to totally rebuild my shed and have a big neon blue sign Vegas style, arrow pointing downwards, lighting up the Saltcoats sky.

We’ve had fab fab fab weather, absolutely beautiful. People have flocked to the beach, and I love watching them enjoying the view and the space, although I am a bit baffled by those who bring folding chairs and sit on the verge by their cars, they are most fascinating. Yesterday there was a marvelously pot bellied granddad in full topless glory kicking a football (while attempting to avoid the dog shit) with his grandson…this is people watching paradise on a sunny day. But who are the people who spend a day on the beach and see fit to leave piles of rubbish behind them? Who are the people who don’t pick up after their dogs? All the facilities are there for them. They are candidates for being made to run naked through briar patches, that’s who, and me behind them if they snivel (I would be dressed by the way, don’t get your hopes up). The alternative would be quite simple, a full month of spending all daylight hours litter and poo picking (NO fag or burger breaks) and signing a promise that, ‘I, the Foul Rubbish Tipper and Dog Poo leaver, promise never to litter again in any way (including chucking stuff out of car windows) or Min will be allowed to punish me however she sees fit’. The consequences would depend on whether I was pre-menstrual, or not, and one would hope for the latter state.
In South Africa they have ‘PIKITUP’ written on bins, which I find humorous and direct, an almost subliminal instruction to be tidy, no threats. ‘Huh?’ you think, ‘and there I was thinking that Min condoned threats after what she said in the last paragraph’. Well I do, and I don’t, it depends. That’s a whole new blog.

I’ve been making beads and not taking pictures of them so my best ones are currently unrecorded. I hope to turn that around soon and give my visitors something new to see, a couple of days should do it. Unless I find myself back in the shed, in which case we’re back to square one.

Probably I should get dressed and make a plank into a sign now…and of course when I have, there will be a photo of it on the site, and an email of triumph to those who doubt my true dominance in shed signage, he he he…

1st UK Flame Off Weekend

Well, I’m looking forward to blogging about the Big Event this weekend, along with many others, I have been looking forward to it for some time. I’m hoping to hook up with like minded people and get some feedback on where I’m at with my bead making, and I’m especially interested to see some well known and excellent bead makers giving demonstrations.

After last week’s crazy, obsessive time in the Shed of Destiny I decided to step back from bead making a bit, it was all getting too much. I want to be good at what I do but in pursuit of that I became hyper-critical and perfectionistic, it was so tiring! I banned myself from the shed and took photos of beads and posted them in my website shop instead, something I had meant to do for ages but always opted for making more beads, whereupon I felt bad about making beads and letting other important things slide. Ugh, it’s tough being a wilful artist! Anyway, I felt much better for the break and managed to get a better perspective on life for a few days.
Today I fired up the torch and had the pleasure of introducing a creative friend, Tako, to the process of bead making, his beads are in the kiln right now, and we have the anticipation of seeing the beads in the morning.

And here they are – Tako didn’t really think they were that good, but most bead makers would acknowledge that they’re pretty amazing for first ever beads. If I remember correctly, the bead on the right was approx 3cm high, so he’s started out big. Excellent. Shame he doesn’t have access to bead making equipment where he lives, but who knows, maybe one day…

I got my replacement phone today. Apparently this Nokia model will ‘improve’ my image. Hah!

Now I must do a bit of ironing for my trip, which is why I’m writing this, anything to avoid ironing! Actually, being overweight is quite useful at times, providing one can actually get the item on, filling out a piece of clothing with plumpness means less ironing : ) Silver linings and all that.

sunny sunday

My friend Rose was here for the weekend, she travelled up all the way from the south of England, which I appreciated. We mentioned a couple of times that I would do a bead making demo in the short time that she was here, but on Saturday it was so cold and wet (and the boiler had given up the ghost on Friday) that I wasn’t feeling too enthusiastic about it as The Shed of Destiny is a bit basic when it comes to heating. Brr!
I always worry a bit if I don’t fancy making beads, I think ‘Oh no… the passion and interest have waned, I’m a fraud…’ but I know myself well enough and the moment does comes round again, suddenly I just can’t wait to get in there and fire up.
That’s how I woke up on Sunday morning. The Shed was calling to me, and Rose and I didn’t have to run the gauntlet of a high wind between front door and Shed door (for a change) so off we went over a few puddles.
I demonstrated the making of a few beads, then Rose had a go and managed a well balanced bead, I was very pleased for her, but she wasn’t bitten by the bug (this time) and I soon found myself back in the hot seat, during which some unexpected but welcome beads emerged.
It was a real treat to make beads with such a great (and patient) friend by my side, thanks Rosie!