Sooz Jewels. Sue Doran's lampworking blog - handmade jewellery made with sterling silver, copper and lampworked beads. Based in Cambridge, UK.
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!
View Article  Bombay Sapphire
Gin decanter tonic water and glass with gin in it

As my decanter is nearly empty, I have purchased another bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin.

I need the bottle to be empty before I can remove the labels and melt the glass. However, when I filled up the decanter with the new bottle, there was some left over ... anyone for a gin and tonic? (it's a bit early for me!)

The empty bottle is soaking in a bowl of water and fairy liquid as I type and I shall be making more beads in the very pretty light blue tomorrow so my recycled Bombay Sapphire glass products will be back in stock soon!

View Article  C-c-c-cold yet again!
Look how pretty our home looks like in the snow!

And this is what greeted me when I went out to the studio this morning, nearly three inches of snow on the roof and a row of pretty icicles along the roof line.

Whilst I was beadmaking this morning, they dropped off and made tinkling noises!

If you look closely at the close up of the icicles, you can see a bird hovering over the half coconut feeder dangling from the right hand corner. Unfortunately, you can't see it very well because it's disguised by the hedge in the background, oh well - I know it's there!

I always feed the birds because I love looking out at them when I'm working but I think the need is even greater when they can't grub out food from the ground. Before starting work, I topped up the three nut feeders, refilled the four half-coconuts hanging from various points with fat and birdseed, and I scattered more birdseed and dried mealworms over the ground. No birds will go hungry in my garden today! Although it's a distinct possibility that we will - Tesco rang this morning to say they wouldn't be delivering my groceries today. I hope my hairdresser will be able to come tomorrow for my trim - I haven't had it done for weeks and weeks and really need it doing!  

Right, I have an appointment with a sheet of silver and a hammer - I hope anyone who has to travel has a safe journey.

View Article  Marathon web updating

Phew - after all that photography on Friday, I have today finished updating the Sooz Jewels website with all the new products I have been making lately. I have added 29 in total today (and that's in addition to the few that got done last week). So hopefully, you will forgive me if I don't list them all in the blog. Here are a few of the pictorial highlights, but to see them all, go to the Lampwork Jewellery page

Blue handmade lampwork stripey bead bracelet with swarovski hearts and bicones

Hand made lampwork orange bead on a sterling silver chain with baltic amber and swarovski bicones Handmade transparent purple lampwork beads gathered together with amethyst and sterling silver beads into a sterling silver tube earrings Hand made lampwork beads peridot and swarovski crystal necklace

Yesterday in Cambridge was fine and dry (but c-c-c-c-cold).  As I type though it is snowing like mad! Fortunately, DH is working from home tomorrow, neither of us have to travel and so I don't mind - it looks really pretty!

One of the other stallholders who makes her own jewellery bought a pair of my purple Batik flowers earrings yesterday, I think it's a really big complement when another jewellery maker likes one of your designs enough to buy! Thanks, Sarah-Jane!

Sooz Jewels website

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