Autumn inspiration

I confess it’s been hard to get back to work after our holiday. Still feeling totally chillaxed, I decided to
embrace autumn and spent a happy afternoon cleaning the house and re-arranging bits and pieces. This helps me focus, no really! Changing the energy in each room with a little love and attention and finishing the day with a refreshed house and spirit.

autumn-posyThe garden has lots of berries, rose hips and seed heads and as I went to pick a bunch to bringing to the house I found a magically iridescent blue black Magpie feather, so I added it to the mix. Here is my little bunch of harvest treasure, a faded hydrangea flower, a flash of purple salvia, ivy seed heads, deliciously rusty yellow Crocosmia seed heads, and Rosemary. There is nothing like a bunch of fresh rosemary chopped in a dish to fill the house with fresh green scent.

Our village florist provided the next splash of colour. I love visiting and picking out a selection as a special treat, you never know what they will have in. I chose Goldenrod, spray carnations and fluffy orange flowers along with a tiny cloud or two of Gypsophilia and vibrant pinky orange roses. The florist told me these are her favourite, they’re called ‘Miss Piggy’ and fade to a more delicate colour as they open. Now the house is refreshed and I have no more excuses but to get down to work!



Holiday mood

We took a late holiday this year, two whole weeks in Greece. It was bliss to chill out and just sit and listen to the ocean. I think it took about four days for me to get completely relaxed and slow down enough to appreciate long lazy lunches, to wander with no particular destination in mind and to just sit and watch the sun setting. It was also simply heaven to be in the sunshine.


I didn’t take any beading with me! which had me twitchy at first, but as my thoughts slowed down, my imagination began to explore so many ideas that don’t usually get room to grow.

holiday2We were near to Mount Athos and the amazing monasteries, so local souvenir shops were filled with beautiful Byzantine inspired art and jewellery. I confess to packing a notebook, and gradually filled enough pages with ideas to keep me busy all winter.

My favourite part of the holiday was beach combing, we were on an amazing shoreline, filled with marble and quartz, a beautifully sparkly stone and instead of sea glass, terracotta shards worn smooth as pebbles by the waves. Now we are home and they sit in a dish with treasures from other holidays to remind me of the warm sun as Autumn gets underway here.


Anatomy of a kit

I thought it would be fun to share how kits are built at Heatherworks. After a design is created (which is a story for another day). The beads used in a design are counted (yes, really), then that quantity is counted out (which take ages). These beads are weighed and a percentage is added for just in case.

Materials are ordered in. If a design uses special components it can take a while for them to be made and shipped.
Beads are weighed into little bags and labelled. Sometimes there are willing helpers, this is Fennel sorting beads.

Next the little bags of each bead used, are gathered together and arranged nicely to go into each kit.

kit-contents readytogoThe process is repeated for each colourway, Then the kits are ready to go to a workshop, safely packed in boxes.


Or they are filed in the Heatherworks shelves ready for when a customer places an order.

Wedding Bees

Earlier this year Julia Herdman and her daughter Kelly came to a bumble bee workshop at GJ Beads in Cornwall. Their bees were destined for a very special occasion, a wedding! They had great plans to make several bees so I was enchanted to receive these lovely pictures (taken by the groom)
wedding-beeJulia told me, ‘ We made nine bees, one in the bride’s bouquet and the rest placed in table decorations and given as gifts to seome of the special guests. The bride was delighted with her bee and a lasting reminder of a truly wonderful day”.

I am so touched! what a lovely destination for my humble bumbles, and I just adore the soft vintage colours of the beautiful bouquet. Bumble bee continues to be a popular workshop, and I’ll be posting next years teaching schedule at the end of October.


New in the PDF store

I’m taking a short break from the computer for a bit of R&R before my autumn travels begin, so I’ve added some patterns to the Digital store.
Beloved is now available for download, it is definitely my most worn this summer and now making it in autumn colours pendant! beloved-main

Relic, first created in 2012 and still one I reach for when the leaf colours begin to change, a customer recently requested the pattern so it’s now available again.

relicpic5aQuick make projects are just the thing to use up the bead stash and get the autumn beading started, Kelim beads are quick and easy to do, so like a patchwork quilt, you can just keep adding more. They are also the ideal little sampler to test new colour combinations.kelim6

Take some greens

I’ve just returned from a trip to the Bead Days event in Augsburg, Germany. I could show you lots of people busy beading, shopping for beads, talking about beads, admiring each others beadwork… I could. Teaching at a bead show is huge fun, but full on bead gatherings also needs a counterbalance, so mine is to take a walk.

augsburg parkThis is a view of the park next to the lovely venue. As the sun goes down, I love the way it lights up the leaves, the air smells of warm grass and juicy greens, sun baked soil and frying food, it’s en route to an outdoor Beer Garden, well a girl’s got to eat.

green glass cabsNo trip to a bead show is done until the shopping has commenced, I like to pick out a few pieces to remind me of the show, the laughter, new students and old friends. Bead Days has a wonderful selection of traders. A true ‘Salon’ of bead shows, with artisans, new designers, small family businesses and bead shops who’s owners really ‘get’ their customers quests for the exact mix of ingredients for a project.

I chose these mouthwateringly gorgeous sherbet and sorbet coloured glass cabochons from traditional pressed glass manufacturer Friedrich Seibt.
Some have an iridescent sheen, some change from green to aqua as they are moved, and I love each and every one! I have a project in mind, have the beads already gathered together, but it will be a while before I can sit and create, so for now they are a fresh green promise of beading to come.

On the spot

The lovely people at Facet have put me on the spot and asked five questions about my beady life as part of the National Beading Week celebrations here


Painting Rainbows

I am so happy! well over 1000 beaders have now downloaded my free bracelet pattern for National Beading Week!!! (you can find the free patterns here). I love the feeling this brings, the thought of beaders all over the world sitting and beading ‘together’. It’s a tough old world out there just now, so it’s very reassuring that so many of us find peaceful delight in our ‘weapons of mass creation’, a phrase my lovely friend Huib Petersen shared, inviting us all to show images of our crafts.

I’m so looking forward to seeing everyone’s bracelets. If you’ve downloaded the pattern and are still rummaging thdads paint boxrough your beads in search of perfect combinations? Here are some mixes I found in my studio this morning.

First, my Dad’s watercolour paints, I love the mix of inky dark colours with a dash of bright coral and yellow. The pale grey background gives these colours added vibrancy.


Next is this pilsofter colourse of Miyuki Duracoat permanent finish seedies. When these colour samples first arrived, I confess to bead lust! They are all those in betweeny shades we didn’t know we were missing until they created them. Soft and a bit vintage, like William Morris printed textiles. Any combination of these is gorgeous!

rainbow hair

And, this, a hairdressers sample swatch I begged from my local salon. Lots of fairy dust shades of pastels, with more vibrant accents of magenta and purple. Now if only I had the courage to use them all on my hair, tehehe. I love the teal and lime combo in the centre, so now I’m curious to see how adding a coral or peach to my all time favourites will work out in beads.