Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year! Bonne année!

Balmedie beach (26/12/2009)

Dernier jour de l'année! Bonne nouvelle année!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Joyeux Noël! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

What I am up to and prize draw

I have not updated my blog for a month and a half ...bad blogger me!

So what I have been doing during all this time? Nothing new really...mostly making beads.

I am enjoying making sea themed beads at the moment and particularly these type of beads below. I call them coast bead, not a very original name (I know at least a dozen of bead makers who make beads called 'Coast' beads) but I could not manage to think of another name as these were very much inspired by the 'Coast' program which shows beautiful aerial coastal views.

I have also been experimenting with and developing some new designs that involve stringer control and precise dot placements. I have nothing worth showing at the moment but I am hoping to have some beads in the near future that combine organic (which I love) and more structured features.

Prize draw:

I am organizing a prize draw. The prize is this bead:

This bead was meant to be a pressed rockpool focal bead. Unfortunately, the bead release on my mandrel broke (the bead release is like a clay product that you put on the stainless steel rod (the mandrel) to stop the glass sticking to it). This usually means that the bead is doomed as it spins freely on the mandrel and you completely lose control of a big bit of molten glass.

I was not happy!!! I had spent an hour to get to this point, so I decided to not ditch it in my water jar (the water makes it explode in thousands of little bits which can be quite soothing in this kind of situation :-) ).

Instead, I decided to stick it in the kiln and give it to my little girl who inherits all my failed beads for her 'collection', gave up making beads for the day and ordered some heavy duty bead release to stop this problem happening again.

I opened the kiln the next day and found a rockpool bead that actually looked like a rock. It was never intended to look like this but it turned out a good bead.

Send me an email if you would like to be entered in the draw for a chance to win it.

Added on the 10th: My email address is (replace at with @). I will draw a name on 31st December.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

...and the winner of the prize draw is...


Thank you to everyone who took part, please keep an eye on my blog as they will be more before Christmas.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Prize Draw - Tirage au sort

I am organising a prize draw!
The bead set that you might win is shown below. This is a set of 18 tiny beads made in silver glass.

Send me an email with your name (or any name that you will recognize if you do not prefer to have your name published in my blog, should you be the winner) and 'Prize draw' in the subject line.

My email address is :

I will draw a name at the end of October.

J'organise un tirage au sort.

Contactez-moi par email avec votre nom ou pseudo en précisant dans le sujet qu'il s'agit du tirage au sort.
Le tirage du gagnant pour le set ci-dessus aura lieu à la fin du mois d'Octobre.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Blowing my own trumpet!

I am one of six people whose work (my carnelian galaxy bead) has been showcased on the weekly 'Beader's Showcase'!

I am delighted at this!

Here is a link for everybody interested:

Thursday, 3 September 2009

The Scottish bead fair (and all the excitement) is over!!!

We started the day early and even had to get the kiddies out of bed (a first! as they are the ones who usually throw us out of bed at the crack of dawn!) and drove down to Fife to drop them off at their uncle Davy, auntie Jill and cousins' house for a day of fun.

We then swiftly made our way to Perth and felt very pleased and smug to have made it just in time (we have always been late on previous occasions...) only to realise that we forgot to take some very nice beads with us (the sea/rock pool themed beads pictured in my previous post)...

We felt a little bit down about forgetting the beads (a lot of work went into the beads and the accompanying display) but we set up our stand, the doors opened, everybody came in and the day soon brightened up.

It was busy day, with a steady stream of people throughout the afternoon. It was a pleasure as usual to speak to so many people who share my interest in beads and jewellery.

The fair is over now and once I have tidyed up my house (which looks like a bombsite at the moment) I will look forward to a little bit of time-off after an extremely busy month of August.

My website will be updated shortly with new beads, plus the nice beads I forgot to take at the bead fair and I will try to add new beads to it on a more regular basis.

Thanks to everybody who stopped to chat and especially to everybody who purchased my handmade lampwork beads.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A very quick post...

I am still here ...just very busy preparing for the Scottish Bead Fair in Perth on Sunday and doing some very interesting things like going to a class with Claudia Trimbur-Pagel who I think is one of the best and most creative glass artist in the world. (Check her website here to see her beautiful beads).

I had a fantastic time...nice studio, wonderful teacher and very lovely people. The class was in Dublin at Cadenza studio.

Here are some pictures of beads I have made for the bead fair on Sunday.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Holidays are over - Les vacances sont finies

It has been one month already and we are preparing our suitcases to return to Scotland on Thursday for a very busy but exciting month of August.

I will be an exhibitor at the Scottish Bead Fair in Perth on the 30th of August. I do not have very many beads at the moment, so I am going to have to have to torch very hard to build up my stock and keep my website and etsy shop going at the same time. That is on top of my other occupation which consists of writing databases (I much prefer making beads).

On the 26th of August, I am going to Dublin to attend a week-end class with the very talented and unique Claudia Trimbur-Pagel. I am very excited about this class and I cannot wait.

I will also have to entertain Téo and Juliette (my two kiddies) until the 18th of August when school starts again.
Juliette will start her first year in primary school.

Finally, there is also the fact that we have started a few DIY projects in our house which is in total chaos at the moment, but I guess this is not a priority and tidying up can wait for a little while. I am definitely not a domestic godess! :-D

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Promenade dans le jardin - A walk in the garden

Mes parents sont des amateurs de jardinage. J'aime découvrir les nouveautés chaque fois que je reviens en été.
My parents are keen gardeners. I like discovering the new additions to their garden when I come home in the summer.

Une jachère fleurie
I have no idea what this might translate into in English! (I need to do a bit of research).

La maison des insectes pour favoriser l'implantation d'insectes polénisateurs.
The insect house to help pollinating insects settle down in the garden.

Une des deux maisons pour les hérissons.
One of the two hedgehogs house.

La maison des enfants,complètement meublée.
The fully furnished children's (play)house.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Marche avec un âne dans le Brionnais – A walk through the Brionnais with a donkey

You can find more pictures on Flickr.
Pour plus de photos sur Flickr, suivez ce lien.

Lundi – Bougres d’ânes

Nous sommes arrivés dans le Brionnais, à la ferme de Putinat où nous avons rencontré la famille Crola, des maraîchers bio sympas, propriétaires de treize ânes.
Leur site internet :
Nous avons fait la connaissance d’Olive, un joli petit âne gris, notre compagnon de voyage pour les trois jours à venir.

Céline nous a remis les cartes de notre itinéraire avec des descriptifs très détaillés et nous a parlé des détails du parcours.

Téo et Juliette ont joué avec les trois enfants de la ferme et leurs animaux, nous avons mangé et puis au lit dans une très belle chambre d’hôte.

Monday – Bougres d’ânes

We arrived at the ‘Putinat farm’ in the Brionnais area (South Burgundy) where we met the Crola family. They are a lovely family of organic vegetable growers who owns some 13 donkeys.

We met our nice little grey donkey : Olive, our travelling companion for the following three days.

Céline gave us detailed maps and very precise descriptions of our walk.
Téo and Juliette spent the afternoon playing with the 3 children from the farm and their pets, we ate at the guest table and then went to bed in a beautiful room (more a little flat than a room).

Mardi – Premier jour de marche (12 km)

Olive a quitté son champ, ses copains et copines pour venir nous rejoindre pour un cours d’initiation à la conduite de l’âne, comment l’équiper et s’en occuper.
Nous avons appris à le bâter, équilibrer sa charge, curer ses sabots et puis la balade à commencé.

La première heure a consisté à mieux faire connaissance.
Il s’est collé contre nous quand quelque chose l’effrayait. I l nous a fait des câlins, nous lui avons fait des ‘papouilles’, il a essayé de brouter le long du chemin mais nous avons été strict car brouter ou marcher, il faut choisir.

Quand Juliette est montée sur son dos pour la première fois, la reine n’était pas sa cousine.

L’aprés midi nous a réservé une bonne grimpette et notre rythme de marche à commencé à ralentir sérieusement et finalement Téo et Juliette ont calé.

Heureusement, super Olive est arrivé à la rescousse et les a poussé à petits coups de nez dans le dos pour les faire avancer, déclenchant l’hilarité de tous.

En fin d'aprés midi, Françoise nous a accueilli au Coq à l’âne, une ancienne chèvrerie convertie en gîte de caractère, entouré de petites poules, lapins, ânes, cochons d’inde, oies, chats, chien…
Nous avons mangé comme des rois et je repars la tête pleine d’idées culinaires.

Salade de fleur du 'Coq à l'âne'

Tuesday – First day on the track (12 km)

Olive left his field and friends to come and join us on an ‘Introduction to donkey walking for Dummies’ class.

We learnt how to install the little wooden saddle (le bât in French), lead him and look after him and then we started walking.

The first hour was spent getting better acquainted with our new friend.
He was a very cuddly donkey and we gave him loads of affection back.
He tried to graze on hoof along the way but we were strict because in the hard world of hillwalking it is either walk or graze.

Then Juliette climbed up on his back for the first time. She was proud as a peacock.

We came to a steep hill in the afternoon and the walking crew seriously slowed down. Téo and Juliette eventually stalled.

Fortunately, super Olive came to the rescue and nudged them in the back with his nose, to everybody’ s great amusement.

We arrived at the ‘Coq à l’âne’ at the end of the afternoon where we were welcome by Françoise.

Her guest house is a converted barn that at one time used to keep goats. It has been completely refurbished, is very comfortable and full of character. It is surrounded by little hens, cockerels, rabbits, donkeys, Guinea pigs, geese, cat, and a lovely sheep dog who was trying to herd Téo and Juliette…

We ate a delicious meal which left my head full of new culinary ideas.

Mercredi (12 km)

Nous avons quitté le ‘Coq à l’âne’ pour une marche de 12 km par des chemins de traverse et de jolis sous bois, en passant par le très joli village fortifié de Semur en Brionnais.

Malheureusement, Olive a eu vraiment très peur des plaques d’égout et a eu soin de toutes les éviter en faisant de grands écarts. C’était assez comique mais il n’a pas apprécié la traversée du village.

De retour dans les bois tout s’est arrangé et nous sommes arrivés à ‘la vie en rose’, superbe ferme restaurée par un couple Belge très convivial, Luc ,brocanteur de charme et Mireille, patchworkeuse de rêve.

Là, nous avons mangé les meilleures canellonis du monde.
Leur site internet :

Wednesday (12 km)

We said our goodbyes to the ‘Coq à l’âne’ and started a 12 km walk through beautiful field and forest tracks and through a beautiful village called Semur en Brionnais.

Unfortunately, Olive was very frightened by manhole and drain covers on the road and was very careful to go a long way round them. It was quite funny but he was a nervous wreck after crossing the village.

Things improved for Olive once we were in the woods again and we made our way to ‘La vie en rose’, a beautiful farm restaured by a very welcoming Belgian couple, Luc and Mireille.

We had cannelonis for dinner (amongst many other tasty dishes) which John claims are the best he has ever eaten ! (even after living in Italy for 2 years)

Their website :

Jeudi (8 km)

Nous avons quitté ‘La vie en rose’ (recette de canellonis en poche) pour retourner à notre point de départ, à 8 km de là.
Nous avons fait nos adieux à Olive et sommes repartis à Nogent, la tête pleine d’une belle promenade bucolique de trois jours, charmés par la gentillesse de tout nos hôtes et par la qualité de leur accueil, ravi par la personnalité de notre compagnon de voyage.
Une expérience que nous recommencerons sans aucuns doutes.


We left ‘La vie en rose’ (with Mireille’s recipe for the cannelonis) to walk the very pleasant, last 8 km back to our starting point.
We bid farewell to Olive and drove back to Nogent, our heads full of a relaxing and bucolic 3 days wak, delighted by the kindness of all our hosts and by the quality of their welcome, accomodation, food and charmed by our little donkey’s personality.

This is an experience that we definely want to repeat.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Les vacances - Holidays

Nous sommes partis d'Aberdeen Mardi matin par une belle et fraiche journée d'été pour nous plonger dans la chaleur étouffante de Paris.

Une différence de 20° C en deux heures, ce fut un choc pour nos organismes mais cela nous a également bien réchauffé les os.

Nous avons emmené nos deux enfants (Téo et Juliette)faire une promenade en bateau mouche au crépuscule.

La lumière était dorée et l'ambiance conviviale le long des quais de la Seine.

Le lendemain matin, nous nous sommes rendus à la tour Eiffel et nous avons monté les deux premiers étages à pieds. Juliette en révait depuis qu'elle a vu Ratatouille au cinéma.

Aprés ce court séjour à Paris nous avons pris le train pour nous rendre chez mes parents à Nogent en Haute-Marne, une petite ville de coutelliers au sud de la région Champagne-Ardennes où j' ai grandi.

C'est un endroit trés boisé, vert et rural. Un havre de paix où les choses n'ont pas trop changé depuis que je suis partie habiter en Ecosse, il y a 17 ans.

Demain, nous partons randonner pendant trois jours avec un petit âne.

A bientôt

We are on holidays!

We left Aberdeen Tuesday morning on a sunny and cool summer day and arrived in a very hot Paris 2 hours later.

The difference of 20°C was a bit of a shock to our systems but it certainly warmed up our (old) bones.

We took our two children (Téo and Juliette) for a visit of the city on a boat on the river Seine at dusk.

The light was rich and warm and so was the atmosphere on the banks of the Seine.

It was very enjoyable.

We went to the Eiffel tower the following morning and climbed up the first two floors under an oppressing heat.

Juliette had been dreaming about the Eiffel tower ever since she watched Ratatouille at the cinema.

We then ended this short stay in Paris and took the train for the 3 hours journey to my parents house in Nogent (Haute-Marne). Nogent is a little town in the south of the
Champagne Ardennes region where I grew up. It is known for its industry of quality knives and scissors.

It is a very woody, green and rural part of France, a very peaceful place which has not changed very much in the last 17 years that I have spent in Scotland.

Tomorrow, we are off on a three days walk (from farm to farm) with a little donkey.

Monday, 15 June 2009

New ventilation and beads just for me

I have been out of action (beadwise) for a few days as I have upgraded the ventilation system in my studio.

I now have a very powerful fan that bends my flame, give me a cold nose and pulls all the fumes away. I will now feel safe venturing into the world of enamels which I am really looking forward to as I really love the effects that can be achieved.

Anyway, I decided to test my new set up and made tiny little beads for a macrame bracelet with Griffin silk.
I made the blue purple beads a few weeks ago but I don't think that the colour goes well with the colour of the thread that I have ordered, so I made some new ones in a golden, irridescent glass which I think will co-ordinate in a much nicer way.

Then, I decided to attempt a tutorial by a very talented and famous beadmaker called Jennifer Geldard.
I managed to put my own little spin on it and I am very pleased with the result.

I think I am going to expand on this theme.

Here is the window bead:

A bientôt pour l'article en Français!

Friday, 12 June 2009

La langue de Molière et la langue de Shakespeare.

I live between two languages. English is not my mother tongue and although I am fluent, there is much space for improvement. French is my native language but unfortunately I have lost my confidence in speaking and writing it after so many years of not practising it on a daily basis.

I am hoping that this blog will help me improve my skills in both languages.

J’évolue entre deux langues : au cours de mes 17 années de vie en Ecosse, j’ai perdu la spontanéité de la langue de Molière et son écriture. L’anglais, ma langue d’adoption, reste à améliorer.

Ecrire un blog bilingue peut être une source de perfectionnement linguistique. C’est le défi personnel que je me suis lancé en ouvrant ce blog.