Beads, beads, beads, beads, more beads.... and a few observations about life and other things, too

You can find my beads here Bead Up A Storm

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Green Man

As well as being a hare-loving household, we also seem to have accrued quite a few Green Men over the years!  My husband, Tracy is currently carving his interpretation, which I will share pictures of when he's finished.

My 'Ancients' series of mask beads led me to explore the Green Man in glass.  I used handpulled stringer and ribbons to decorate the base bead, and like most designs it has developed the more I've made.  'I wonder if?' is a question I often ask myself and the best answer is to 'Try it and see!'..

My second Green Man bead (I'd show you my first, but he's AWOL, I expect my son has appropriated him!)

Here's number three - I was so happy with the way he turned out!

I was eager to make more on Thursday but have been plagued by headaches, which don't make for a good day at the torch!  Happily, on Friday I got back into my studio and made some more!

I was delighted to see their benevolent faces when I opened my kiln on Saturday morning.  They kindly lined up for a photo!
Two of them will be headed out to foreign shores next week, the others will make their way into my Etsy shop.

Late summer greetings to you, thanks for reading!  As always, I welcome your comments.
Ness xx

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Ancients Series 2014 - Face/mask beads

I hadn't realised how long it's been since I posted!  Time flies when you're making beads and keeping up with a 6 year old boy!

My favourite series of beads this year has definitely been my mask, or face beads.  I started with the goal of producing a serene Buddha head.  I'm not there yet, I have a tendency to go off on a tangent and I have a low boredom threshold.  I don't enjoy making the same thing over and over, hence my concentration on focals - rather than sets.  But I will make a Buddha head one day!

This is the first of my Ancients - I wanted him to look like a stone relic.

with more work they developed the serenity I was after -

I had to bead around one - it was the perfect time to use the sleek Czech spikes I'd been hoarding.  This is a mixture of little Miyuki cubes, Miyuki seed beads in sizes 6, 11 and 15 and some lovely little pearls in the perfect colour (I can't resist this sludgy green!).

 I'll show you my Green Man beads next time!  Please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Spicy crusted tofu

 My son started gymnastics last summer, it's been great for him - and great for us, as I discovered a Chinese supermarket in the unit beneath the gym.  Their fresh tofu is amazing and has become our regular Saturday night meal.  We ate tofu fairly regularly before, but now I don't pass up the chance to grab some when we are there.  It's less than half the price of the tofu available in the supermarket.

This is my favourite way to cook it.


Block tofu cubed and dried as best you can.
3/4 tsp Garlic powder (granules do not produce the same result)
3/4 tsp Ground cumin
1 tbsp Soy sauce
2 - 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
oil of your choice for frying (I wouldn't use olive oil)


Rinse and drain tofu.  Cut into small chunks and leave to drain sandwiched in kitchen paper.  It helps if it's as dry as possible.
Heat a tablepoon or two of oil in your frying pan and add tofu a few pieces at a time.  You may need to fry in two batches (once one is done pop them in a low oven to keep warm while you fry the remainder -  you can them add the tofu from the oven to the pan and the spices can be added all at once).

I add mine clockwise around the pan so I know the order to turn the pieces.  To start with I cook the tofu on a high heat to drive off the moisture.

Starting at the first pieces you put in, get some plastic tongs and start turning.  Work your way around the pan turning each piece carefully.  You may be able to put a fish-slice underneath a whole load of them and turn them, but this often results in broken up pieces.  Your choice.

At this stage you can turn the heat down - you don't want to burn it.  Keep turning the pieces until you have them nicely browned.

Doesn't that look good already?
Nows the time to add the spices.  I put them in a small dish to prevent the first spice burning while I faff about with the second jar.  If you have cooked your tofu in two batches, now is the time to reunite them in one pan.

Turn the heat right down to low and add the spices.  Shake pan tossing the tofu to distribute the powders.

Now add the soy sauce (shoyu is preferable, but use what you have - it will be delicious!).
I also put this in a dish - tipping a bottle of soy over the pan is a recipe for disaster for some of us...

Oops - I see I had a pan escapee!  Now shake that pan!  Toss the tofu over and over until everything is coated.  I usually have to retrieve pieces from all over the stove top at this stage.

Now shake in the first tablespoon of nutritional yeast - I use Engevita.

The heat under your pan should be minimal - shake/toss it again until the flakes 'disappear'.

Now add the second lot of nutri-yeast and shake/toss to coat evenly.

Now your tofu is deliciously crusted and ready to eat. 

My favourite way to enjoy it is to stuff a panini/ciabatta with tofu and mushrooms, roasted red peppers and some greenery - lamb's lettuce or cos.  So this was the end result.  Some sweet chilli sauce went in there too.  It was delicious!

Any questions or comments are welcome.

This recipe is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian - my most favourite cookery book.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Another heart bead giveaway

I am having a giveaway on my Facebook page 

Here the bead that's up for grabs!

It has sparkling inclusions of dichroic stringer and a wrap of silvered ivory with little spots of fine silver.  The winner can choose whether they'd like it made into a pendant or not.

Drawing will take place on 15th March. All you need to do is head over to my FB page, like it and post a comment in the giveaway thread.  Entries on FB only this time.

Good luck!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Another hare to share

I can't resist showing off more of my husband's carving.  This leaping hare was carved into a piece of oak floorboard - an offcut he had.

I love it and hope you do, too.  One thing you won't be able to appreciate is how gorgeously tactile it is.  It's beautifully smooth and very strokeable.
He is still undecided about whether to gild the moon - we've looked at silver leaf, but gold leaf looks even better - a wonderful harvest moon glow.

Anyway - enough wittering on from me, here it is!

Leaping Hare copyright Tracy Hearn.  2013.

Friday, 4 January 2013

New Year - time for some beads!

Yep, 2013 - bring it on!

I am a terribly lazy blogger and I do thank all of you who drop by to see if I've posted, it's strangely heart-warming to find I have had visitors from all over the world.  I will endeavour to post more often, but I'm not making any promises! *wink*

Want to see some beads? I am in love with a heart press I bought from a forum friend last year.
It's a Bavarian Beads press, and out of the four heart presses I now own (greedy sod!) it's fast become my favourite.

December 2012 was a tough month peronally for me, even more so as I didn't get to make many beads!  So showing these will spur me on to make more and get my Etsy shop stocked up again.

Thank you for visiting with me, may 2013 bring you peace, happiness and good health!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Moon-gazing hare

Hares are very special to us as a couple.  In the first house we rented together, at the end of a dead end lane, we often watched hares in the fields surrounding the cottage.  In fact we very nearly trod on one at the bottom of the garden one day - it ran from it's nest when we were feet away. 

This moon gazing hare is a very personal piece, it is adorned with symbols which have meaning for us.
Five stars represent the individuals in our family (one passed on, but always with us), the heart motif of inlaid African Black Wood is my design and was used for our wedding invitations and even painted on our wedding cake.  The right eye is the Ancient Egyptian Wedjat Eye (the Eye of Horus) - we are both very interested in Ancient Egyptology (we honeymooned in Egypt!).

Up his back is Celtic knotwork and on his right haunch, my stylised sunflower (also carved into my Mother's stone - see previous post)

I found the pewter ankh in a charity shop - a serendipitous find as I had grumbled about providing a piece of silver to make an ankh! (Tight?  Me? Have you seen the price of silver now?)

  He is carved out of lime, with a base of walnut.  I can't tell you how beautifully silky it feels to touch - the urge to kiss his nose is overwhelming!

Carved by my wonderful husband, Tracy Hearn.