Wednesday 16 March 2016

Descended From Dragons

I'm going to start this post the same way as I seem to start all of my blog posts... it's been such a long time since I last blogged! Sorry folks. I do have a special tutorial and a great new beading resource to tell you about which I hope will make up for my absence.

Some of you will be mourning the loss of the beading magazine 'Beads & Beyond' which sadly published it's last edition in December. If that's the case then you will be pleased to know that Editor Helen Bowen has a new project on the go - The Beading Library.



More and more crafters are now using online sources for everything from supplies to tutorials and advice. YouTube has become a great source for free and accessible tutorials, facebook for contact with like minded folk and sites such as Pinterest are providing us with great visual inspiration.

Helen, former editor of Beads & Beyond recognised this shift from paper to digital and has this year launched 'The Beading Library' a new online resource for jewellery makers, TBL is a virtual archive for all things jewellery related.
 From product and book reviews, interviews, fashion news and competitions to projects spanning multiple mediums and exclusive offers. Most of which is free and available to access via Facebook, the blog and Pinterest.

If you like the sound of this you can sign up for the newsletter via The Beading Library website, you will find the link below along with links to facebook, pinterest and Helens gorgeous tutorial.


Each month Helen publishes a tutorial which you can get your hands on by signing up to her newsletter. Her latest project 'Descended from Dragons' has a whopping 7 designs included.  The gorgeous bracelet above is just one of the beautiful creations, if you fancy a bash  you can find in the tutorial link at the bottom of the blog. In addition to using Smittens Crystal spikes you will also see our matte black peanut oval chain and Vintaj creative hoops incorporated in the designs.

Find the Beading Library at:

Download your  Descended From Dragons tutorial, free to Smitten subscribers for a limited time

Thanks for reading folks 

Saturday 9 May 2015

Smitten Open House Classes

We have two fabulous classes for you this year as well as an opportunity to see how a lampwork artist creates her beads and a chance to craft your own. 

I'm very happy to welcome back talented bead weaver Charlotte Rosser from Wild Strawberry Designs. Charlotte has designed an absolute gem with the BEADED MANDALA  - this versatile piece once learnt can be adapted by using different amounts and sizes of beads; a clever component which can be incorporated into your jewellery making. We also have a great new teacher -  Dawn Gatehouse from Polly Red is a bit of a dab hand with wire work - Dawn will be teaching her beautiful ENDURING LOVE design, this pretty and delicate piece will be a pendant to treasure. 

Sadly we are unable to offer a class from Rebecca Anderson this time, unfortunately Rebecca has had to bow out due to family circumstances, we are sorry she won't be with us, wish her well and hope to see her next time.


Class Fee - £15
Teacher - Charlotte Rosser

Friday 29th May- 11 am 
Saturday 30th May- 1.30pm
Classes will start promptly so please make sure you arrive early

Learn the basics of tubular peyote stitch and embellishment netting to create this versatile big hole 'Beaded Mandala' using size 6/0 and 8/0 seed beads. Each student will have their own little pack of coordinating beads to work from and instructions sheets to take home. Once you have learnt the techniques involved you can expand on the design to create stacking bangles. Beading needles, bead mats and thread will be provided.You are welcome to use the skills you have learnt in whatever way you would like but we ask that you do not reproduce the instruction sheets for resale or distribution in any way.

Class Fee - £15
Teacher - Dawn Gatehouse

Friday 29th May- 1.30pm
Saturday 30th May- 11am
Classes will start promptly so please make sure you arrive early

Join Dawn and learn how to make her "Enduring Love" heart pendant in beautiful Smitten colours. You will learn wire working techniques including shaping, hammering, wrapping and coiling. Each student will receive a pack of beads to make the piece and will be given wire, findings and full colour instructions to take home. Tools and bead mats will be provided. If you prefer to work with your own tools please bring them with you on the day. We ask that that you do not copy, sell or distribute the instructions and the design is for personal use only, however the skills you learn will be yours to take away and use to create your own masterpiece.

per session - £10
Teacher - Linda Newnham

A fantastic opertunity to learn to make your very own glass beads - Each session will be approximately an hour long with a maximum of two people per session to ensure you get a close up view. Once Linda has walked you through the process you will have a go at making your own bead hopefully completing at least 2-3 beads during the session. All equipment and materials will be provide. 
Booking is now open - Please make sure you have read all the information before you contact us to book as we want you to make sure that the classes are right for you. Payment via PayPal is required at the time of booking to ensure your place. We are offering 2 sessions for each class, there will be a maximum of 10 students and the classes will last approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours long, all the materials are included and any specialist tools will be provided for you to use.

If you would like more information or to book onto either the Beaded Mandala or the Enduring Love heart pendant class please email me at: To book the Taster Sessions please contact Linda directly either through her Earthshine facebook page or via email:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Smitten Open House 2015

I need to start with an apology as this is my first blog for almost a year! It's been quite a year, Smitten has been busier than ever and with the Bead Fairy (my helper Julie) moving of to a very much warmer climate, so something had to give.... However I'm back with a bang as I have news of this years OPEN HOUSE! Yup that time is upon us again, the sun has been shining and my energy levels are rising so it's time to get out the beads and show them off.

ARTISAN BEADSTERS - We have the usual suspects joining us this year, Bo Hulley, Pips, Earthshine and The Curious Bead Shop but we also have a very special extra guest in Faerystone - Lucy the head honcho and chief metal basher will be joining us with her superb chain and findings. I will be back soon with more info about all these talented ladies.

WHAT'S NEW AT SMITTEN - The Smitten section will have some rather interesting new beads this year, I've just taken delivery of a huge range of FRESH WATER PEARLS just for the show and today found  some rather gorgeous HEMP CORD in 25 stunning shades. As you would expect there will be lots of new and beautiful CZECH GLASS beads including ETCHED FARFALLE, STONE BEADS and the gorgeous ENGLISH CUTS in 3 & 10mm. We will have the new MATTE HAEMATITE range and the SNAKE SKIN FIRE POLISHED beads on display and of course it will be your first chance to see the beautiful GREEK CERAMIC and GREEK CAST METAL beads that were added to the website just before Christmas.

Some of our latest Czech glass beads

A selection of Greek Cast Metal beads

Etched Farfalle (peanuts), some of the new chain from the US and 4mm leather cord.

 SMITTEN DESTASH - Over the last week I have been spring cleaning the bead room and deciding on which beads are going into the Open House destash in order to make way for all the new beads. There will be some serious beady bargains to be had, as ever Mum (The Duchess of Destash) along with my niece Emily will be on hand to help you.

CLASSES - I'm happy to report that Rebecca Anderson and Charlotte Rosser are both back teaching this year along with our new tutor Dawn Gatehouse. I will be posting again at the end of the month with details about all three classes and information on how to book.

LAMP WORK TASTER SESSIONS - Last year Linda Newnham from Earthshine treated us to a fabulous demonstration of how she makes her stunning beads, this year she plans to offer you a chance to sit at the torch and make your own. I will be posting more details and how to book this along with the the class information very soon.

EATING CAKE FOR A GOOD CAUSE! - Guilt free indulgence!...Last year I asked you all to bring a cake or a tray bake to share in aid of a good cause. Your donations for the refreshments along with the raffle raised over £150 for The Born Free Foundation and this year I would love to top that. The Bead Smitten facebook group every year raises money for charities for the two legged but as I'm a bit of a fan of conservation and animal welfare charities I've chosen another close to my heart the WWF. I have discovered that I make a mean chocolate fridge cake so I will be whipping one up for the day, I shall be asking Pauline to do her (and my favourite) mushroom quiche and Auri (Mr Smitten) will be making us a lovely summer punch (non alcoholic!). So if you can please make something scrummy, sweet or savoury to bring with you to share I would be very grateful.

HOW TO GET YOUR INVITATION - If I've tempted you with the above and you would like to come and visit us on the 29th or 30th of May then here's what you need to do - Email me with your name and the names of anyone you would like to bring and your preferred day to visit, I will then reply to let you know that I have added you to the guest list. An email will then be sent out about 10 days before the event with your invitation which will include all the relevant info for finding us and parking.

To be added to the guest list please email me at -

I look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you in May.

Sunday 6 April 2014

April Open House


We are holding two really interesting classes this year at the Open house, both of which are more than half full already! But if you would like to join us here is a little information.....

We have two fabulous teachers lined up... Charlotte Rosser from Wild Strawberry Designs and Rebecca Anderson from Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop. There has been such a great response to the classes already, even before I had advertised the details customers were asking to be signed up. Thankfully we do have about 4 or 5 spaces left in each class so if you are interested please get in touch asap.........However, please, please do read the information underneath before you contact me to book, we want you to make sure that the classes are right for you. I am asking for payment via PayPal at the time of booking to ensure your place. 

Each class will have a maximum of 12 students and will last approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, all the materials are included and the specialist tools will be provided for you to use (you will need to bring flat and round nose pliers for the Deco Rose class).

Class fee - £15
Teacher  - Rebecca Anderson

 Friday 25th - 1.30pm
Saturday 26th - 11am
Classes will start promptly please make sure you arrive half an hour early.

We aim for you to complete at least one clasp maybe two and to learn how they can be embellished with tiny beads. You will be using antique finish copper wire as we are unable to use raw copper and age it during the class (it's a bit too smelly). However Rebecca will be happy to explain the process to you. Wire and small beads for embellishment will be supplied. Bail making pliers, hammers and blocks will be provide but you may need to share with your neighbour (If you have your own please feel free to bring them with you) For this class you will need to bring your own round nose and flat nose pliers (contact me if this is not possible I'm sure we can sort something out). We suggest that you mark your own tools before arrival so that they don't get mixed up with ours.

NB. You are free to remake the deco rose clasps for resale within your own jewellery, but not as a single item ie. you may make one and use it in a bracelet to sell but not the clasp by itself.  We ask that you please give credit to Rebecca Anderson as designer if using this design within your jewellery. The instruction sheets are for your own personal use and we ask that you do not reproduce them for resale or distribution in any way.

RIZO SEA URCHIN (and beaded bead)
Class Fee - £15
Teacher - Charlotte Rosser

Friday 25th - 11 am
Classes will start promptly so please make sure you arrive half an hour early

During this class you will learn to make at least one Sea urchin bead using seed beads and Rizo beads plus another beaded bead design if there is time. Each student will have their own little pack of coordinating beads to work from. Beading needles, bead mats and thread will be provided. Instruction sheets will also be provided for each bead design. 

NB. You are welcome to use the skills you have learnt in whatever way you would like but we ask that you do not reproduce the instruction sheets for resale or distribution in any way.

If you would like more information or to book onto either of the classes please email me (Claire) at:  

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Spring Open House - April 2014

Hear ye, hear ye, calling all bead lovers.....It's time for the Smitten Open House again!

Once or twice a year I like to open my home to all you lovely beaders for a good old session of buying beads, eating cake, getting to know other beaders and hopefully having a giggle or two. We had so much fun at the last show in October that this year I have decided to have a Spring show rather than wait until the end of the year. Well I can't wait and boy do we have an exciting show planned - Apart from the usual Smitten goodness we will have 4 Artisan bead stalls with us, demonstrations in wire work and lamp work, for the first time we are going to be running 2 classes and as if that's not enough we are on for an extra day!

Has that whetted your appetite, would you like to know more about our artisan bead stalls? Then keep reading.......

I'm happy to say that back with us for another year will be Bo Hulley Beads, some of you may already know about Teresa's lovely ceramics as we sell a range on the Smitten website. Well this will be your chance to have a look at her latest ceramic creations here on the mainland as she will be winging her way over from the Isle of Wight to be with us. Here is a little taster....

 Bo Hulley Beads - Heart Headpins

 Bo Hulley Beads - Ceramic Shards

Bo Hulley beads - Owl pendant

Travelling a slightly shorter distance, Pippa from Pips will also be selling her polymer clay components again this year. We will be treated to a stall full of her amazing creations, I can't wait to stock up! Here are a few examples of her latest designs...

Pips - Snow drop pendant

Pips - Bunny pendant

Pips - Bird house beads

Linda from Earthshine will be having a stall for the the first time this year, she's a wonderful addition to our merry band as she makes the most beautiful lamp work beads, her flower headpins are to die for! She will also be demonstrating lamp work bead making which is a treat not to be missed!

 Earthshine - Flower headpin sets

 Earthshine  - lamp work heart bead 

Another new face for this year is Rebecca Anderson from Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop. Flying in! from Belfast, Rebecca will be selling her stunning handmade findings in addition to teaching a class. Here are just a few of her antique copper pieces..

 The Curious Bead Shop - Heart pins

 The Curious Bead Shop - Contemporary earwires 

The Curious Bead shop - Edison Hook Clasps

If you would like to come to the open house on the 25th and or the 26th 
please email me at: to be added to the guest list. 
Invitations with details and directions will be emailed about 10 days before the event.
Please note that as the show is in my home the event is by invitation only.

Well that's it for today, 
My next post will have information about our CLASSES and how to book! 

Claire xx

Sunday 23 February 2014

Spring Fever Design Challenge

If you're feeling a little gloomy and fancy the chance to take part in a little challenge to pull you singing and dancing into spring, then pop over to the Gossipping Goddess blog. Lesley of THEA Elements and Caroline from Blueberri Beads have a fabulous challenge afoot with a combination of ceramic beads cheerful enough to lift the darkest day....Oh and you might find a little bit of my sari silk in there too!

Saturday 11 January 2014

New Inspiration pack

This is a speedy post just to show off the new inspiration packs that will be added to the Smitten website tomorrow, I hope you like them, most were inspired by my recent visit to Cornwall and the Jewellery I made there :) ..

 Cornish Cream Tea

Dark Heart

Bridesmaids Posy

Somewhere in Time


Peach Blossom

Mint Julep

 That's all for today folks 
Claire x