Sooz Jewels. Sue Doran's lampworking blog - handmade jewellery made with sterling silver, copper and lampworked beads. Based in Cambridge, UK.
View Article  New Blogger blog

My blog is moving to - I have decided that it will be easier and quicker for me to update a Blogger blog. I can also keep track of other people's blogs much easier as most of them use Blogger too.

My old burblings will still here here and linked to from it's new home.


View Article  Anthony Head day

Today has been Anthony Head day in our house!

This morning I made some recycled beads out of Perrier bottles whilst listening to his album "Music for Elevators" on my MP3 player. He has got a really good voice, I think he enjoys singing. My favourite song is "This Town in the Rain". He was really good on the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Once More With Feeling. Occasionally during the seven series he gets his guitar out, Spike interrrupts him when singing one of my favourite songs, Freebird (I have that song on an album but sung by Lynyrd Skynyrd not AH!) Once More With Feeling is one of my favourite episodes, coming a close second to Band Candy with Family third.

My absolutely favourite Buffy moment involving Anthony Head is during Once More With Feeling when they are all singing a song together, one of Buffy's lines is to sing "Hey I've died twice" and AH does this absolutely lovely smile. I have no idea how to go about it, but I'd really like a still of that moment.

Anyway, enough Buffy ramblings .... after lunch, I made jewellery with yesterday's batch of beads whilst watching a DVD of The Invisibles in which Anthony Head stars. It's a TV series but I must've missed it if it was aired. I've just finished watching the Merlin DVDs last week, in which AH is really really good and so I was casting around for something else and I only found it when doing a routine search on LoveFilm. (I rent DVDs from them and they come by post - most convenient!) When Merlin was on TV, it was a Saturday night and I was usually having dinner after the market so never got to watch it; the series was halfway through before I realised it was repeated on Sunday nights!

I've got some new designs to photograph tomorrow; when I wasn't bead making much last week, I did some new silver designs with my trademark hammered silver, so hopefully there should be some new jewellery to look at tomorrow!

View Article  I am still here really

Loads of reasons why my blogging has been tardy, sorry they're all excuses (but good ones!)

My dog got attacked last week, two vet visits, £60. I won't bore you with many details but I was very silly in taking on two full grown labradors that had Missy round the throat. I was trying to give off "Leader-vibes" so they wouldn't bite me as well but the "calm assertive" attitude you need according to Caesar Milan doesn't work when you're screaming at them at the top of your voice (I think it surprised them cos they let go!)


Missy has got some nasty looking wounds but she's going to be fine apart from some scarring.

I also had a health scare of my own involving GP and hospital visits which fortunately turned up (next to) nothing and I'm fine now.

My two sisters and their partners plus my mum and dad came for a visit last Sunday to see the snowdrops which are on the land adjacent to our house belonging to the farm. I made lunch for us all so there was eight of us altogether. It's a good job Sandy (one of my sisters) made dessert - a lovely chocolate orange trifle - don't think I would've had time! This is a photograph my husband took (of the snowdrops, not the trifle!) - they have been out ever since the snow melted. Aren't they beautiful?

View Article  Emerald Reichenbach glass

A customer recently admired this pendant on the Sooz Jewels website and has commissioned me to make a pair of earrings for her with some Karen Hill Tribe silver beads and a dangly silver flower on the bottom that she supplied herself. But ... Trubble!!! (with a capital T!) I have run out of the Reichenbach green glass called Emerald that I need to make some more of the beads.

Reichenbach is a German glass company and my usual suppliers don't carry this particular colour. I just had the one rod which came in a sample pack. I put a plea out on the Frit-Happens forum and the lovely Beadysam, whose frit blends I use all the time, has come to the rescue! She says she has 5-6 rods she can sell to me so I am extremely grateful to her.

View Article  Mailing list

I have set up a page on my website where you can add yourself to my mailing list. Just fill in your name and e-mail address and I will make sure you receive future newsletters from me letting you know about competitions and special offers etc.

If you've ordered an item from the website or used my contact page to e-mail me in the past, you should already be on it

Sandy - I have added you manually!

View Article  Better late than never!

All the new items that I photographed last week have been added to the Sooz Jewels website, here is a small selection:

Sterling silver hammer finish ring Hand made lampwork orange bead on a sterling silver chain with sterling silver beads Sterling silver hammer finish rectangular earrings Hand made lampwork bead bracelet

As you can see, I have added a ring - this is a first for Sooz Jewels so I have had to create a new rings page to the website but it only has that on it at the moment ... must remedy that soon. I was very pleased to sell one from my stall the first time out! I made three sizes and fortunately one of them fitted!

There are lots of goodies made with my lotus fruit beads on the Lampwork page. Plus new hammer finish stering silver rectangular beads.

I got a lovely thank you e-mail from my competition winner last night which got my day off on a shiny positive note - I feel like I must have another competition soon, so check back regularly!

View Article  Competition result

... and the Academy Award goes to ... oh, wait a minute, that's happening somewhere else isn't it?

Here is a photograph showing everyones' names in a hat as promised. The winner was drawn out by the owner of the hat, Geoff (otherwise know as DH in my blog - stands for darling husband).

The name of the winner was Michelle Bluman! Congratulations, Michelle - I will be emailing her separately to ask which colour she would like and where to send her prize of a Georgia necklace and matching earrings to.

Thank you to everyone who entered.

View Article  Still time to enter!

Just a quick reminder about my competition, see my 12 February blog article; there's still just over an hour to get your entry in!

I'll be posting the result of the draw on the blog this evening and also e-mailing the winner. At the same time I'll be adding the photographs that I took on Friday to the website, but I have changed my mind about the name of the blueberry crush beads. A lady who purchased a pair of dangly earrings made with these beads from my stall yesterday said they reminded her of lotus fruit, as I've never seen lotus fruit, I'm taking her word for it and calling them that instead!

View Article  Socks!
First pair of hand knitted socks

As promised, here is a photograph of my very first pair of knitted socks. They're not very exciting, I made them out of left over wool that has been in my knitting bag since ooooh, way-back-way-back-when! However, I've jazzed them up a little by making the heel and toes in a different colour! I'm very pleased with them and they fit a treat.

Now I have a choice, I can either spend a couple of hours updating my website with photographs of jewellery that I've made this week or I can get started on knitting a new pair of socks with some very jazzy wool that I bought on-line ... um, sorry but there's no competition. It's really nice to be doing something creative that isn't jewellery related. I love - really love - making jewellery, but at the moment, I'm on a sock kick (geddit??!)

Anyway, here's a taster of some new beads that I made this week. I'm calling them blueberry crush, I'm really pleased with them and I have made loads of jewellery with them this week. I will update my website with all the new things on Sunday. If you want to see them before, you'll have to come to my stall tomorrow at the Cambridge Art & Crafts Market on Trinity Street!

View Article  Silver core progress

I made a couple of nice beads for trying out with my silver coring machine earlier in the week. I was attempting to line them this afternoon but I managed to break both of them.

I went back to the plain practice beads that I made a couple of weeks ago - and they didn't break (sigh). It's like the machine knows when I've got a bead that I really really don't want to break and those I'm not so bothered about.

More practice is needed before I manage to make any Pandora/Biagao style lampwork beads that are good enough to sell - I will get there though!

On a more positive note, I have recently been inspired by Laura Sparling's socks! She has been knitting some lovely ones and posting about them on her blog. It has inspired me to get all my knitting stuff out of the loft. I used to knit and crochet all the time when I was younger; I've never knitted a sock before so I bought a book and some double ended knitting needles and my first handknitted sock has emerged! I am well on the way with the other one, too - I'll do a photograph tomorrow.

I may even get to finish them so I can wear them when I'm on my stall at the market on Saturday!

View Article  Stuck in half the house

The last of the snow disappeared yesterday. It seems to have been with us for a long time. Now it's gone it's really wet underfoot when walking the dog.

Generally DH takes Missy out for her morning walk whilst I'm getting showered and dressed. In order to limit the amount of floor that has to be cleaned up after they get back and Missy has walked over it, very sensibly, he has been closing the doors to the hallway before he goes out.

DoorknobMy hands are really dry at the moment and so I've been lathering them up with lots of intensive handcream. This morning, I'm coming down the stairs rubbing it into my forty-something hands, thinking about how this cream is going to transform them into those of a twenty-something, when I am confronted with this doorknob ...

 This doorknob is my enemy.

Because my hands were so slippery, I couldn't open the door and get through to the other half of the house which contains all my favourite rooms - the kitchen (where tea and breakfast lurks) and the dining room (where nice view into the garden when eating breakfast is). More than that, both external doors are on the other side of it so I also can't get out into my studio and turn the kiln on (unless I want to go out of a window!)

I was trapped! It was so ludicrous, I was laughing like mad whilst trying to get a grip. In the end, I had to go back upstairs and wipe off all the excess handcream with loo roll before I could get on with the rest of the day. It could only happen to me!


Here are details of a competition that I am running here on my blog in celebration of the launch of my new Georgia range of jewellery. The prize is a Georgia necklace in the size and colour of your choice along with a matching pair of earrings. Here is a photograph of the pink version of the necklace and a close up of the earrings.

All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment here on my blog - that's it - no purchase is necessary!
The necklace and earring sets are available in pink (pictured above), red, orange, black, blue, green, purple and white on the Lampwork > Lampwork Jewellery page of my website

I have also made the Georgia necklace and earrings in recycled aquamarine coloured glass (from a Bombay Sapphire gin bottle) and you can see these items on the Lampwork > Recycled blue page of my website

The jewellery is made with my own handmade lampwork glass beads, a variety of gemstones (depending on the colour selected) along with swarovski crystal pearls and/or swarovski crystal bicones, sterling silver tubes and sterling silver 4mm beads. The items are strung on nylon coated stainless steel; the clasp and earwires are 925 stamped sterling silver. Upon request, I can convert the earrings to be screw type clip ons for anyone without pierced ears. Just send me an e-mail if you win!

Any comment left on my blog between now and noon GMT on Sunday, 22nd February will be eligible; one entry per person. You will need to leave your e-mail address at the same time as your comment but this will only be visible to me so don’t worry about anyone else seeing it. Any abusive entries will be removed and the entrant disqualified from the competition.

The names of all the entrants will be placed into a hat and the winner drawn out on the afternoon of the closing date. The name of the winner will be posted on my blog and the winner will also be notified via e-mail. The judge’s decision (ie me!) will be final.

With very best wishes and good luck if you decide to enter!

View Article  Silver core bead

The last couple of days seem to have been all about my new Jim Moore bead press. Yesterday the postman brought me a note from Parcelforce saying they were holding an international parcel for me but there was VAT, a small import duty charge and Parcelforce's handling fee of £8 (that's a bit of a rip off when they've already been paid to deliver it). Anyway, the bill to pay in order to receive the press came to £60.66! I completely forgot when I ordered it that I would have to pay VAT. I rang the depot and paid over the telephone as their on-line system wasn't recognising the parcel reference number.

Then my credit card bill arrived this morning with the bead press on it - £292 - the exchange rate is really bad at the moment! So, adding the two together it has cost me the grand total of £352.66. I will have to sell a lot of beads to recover that much!

My first silver cored bead

Having said all that, a delivery man brought a big package just before lunch and it was the bead press itself - suddenly all monetary matters were forgotten and I excitedly had to have a go at lining a big hole bead.

Here is my first successful attempt - fortunately I had some practice big hole beads made up ready and waiting. I deliberately made some that were quick to make just after I placed my order for the bead press. 

This one is just a plain black bead with a bit of silvered ivory stringer that was lying about the place melted into it. I didn't want to practice on a bead that I had lavished lots of love and attention on in case I broke it. I made ten to practice on but I only broke one. For a second attempt, I'm quite pleased with it!

I haven't forgotten about the competition I mentioned yesterday, info will follow a bit later today.

View Article  Advance competition news

We only got another half an inch of slushy snow and it seems to be thawing out now so hopefully that will be the end of the cold weather. This morning was f-f-f-freezing. I made the mistake of not dressing warmly enough in the studio and so I only managed a couple of hours of beadmaking before having to come back into the house.

So today I have been making some hammered sterling silver rings, they don't photograph very well I'm afraid so you'll have to come to the stall to see them! Plus I have added two new pairs of Bombay Sapphire earrings to the Recycled Blue page I thought I had photographed all the Georgia earrings but I just realised when updating the site that I missed off the white ones ... bother!

When I get that done (the light has gone now unfortunately), I am thinking of having a competition to launch the new Georgia range which has now replaced last year's Athena II range. If anyone still wants Athena II items, you can still order from the site but they won't be available on the stall any more unless pre-ordered.  Contact me if you do. The prize will be a Georgia necklace in the colour of your choice and you will have to post a message in the blog in order to enter! I'll post more details in a day or two but how embarrassing will it be if no-one enters ... hmm, oh well, I'll just keep the prize and wear it myself - I think I'll have the blue one!

View Article  Georgia - new colours
I added some more colours to the Georgia range yesterday when updating my website in pink and black. The pink is extra-special delicious in my opinion! Most of the colours are on the Lampwork > Lampwork Jewellery page. There are some photographs missing of the matching earrings, these will follow shortly! There is also a brown recycled glass version and blue recycled version.
I've also added a new "Romance" bracelet with matching earrings on the Lampwork Jewellery page. The name was inspired by the pretty, feminine colour combo (and also hoping for Valentine's day sales!) Hearts in tanzanite, tiny butterflies in light amethyst and swarovski pearls in the palest pink.
Our window cleaner came to do the windows this morning, he comes every five weeks and the time has just flown by, it was icy and cold last time he came so we have had over a month of this freezing cold weather. The novelty of the snow is wearing off a bit now! It hasn't defrosted all week and apparently there is another dollop of the stuff on the way tonight. Anyway, poor Vincent's van got stuck in our driveway; I had to find the shovel so he could dig his way out. Fortunately DH was here working from home so he gave him a bit of a push and he was away!

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