Monday 24 July 2023

Glass Buttons


 This week I had a play with a new set of mandrels - these have two prongs and allow you to make beads with two holes, like for instance a button.

I got two sizes as I wasn't sure which would work best.  Plus I had two ideas in my head so again one might work better than the other.


My first attempt was proably a bit too small and so shattered when I tried to get the glass bead off the mandrel.  But 'im outdoors made a little jig (a piece of wood with a slot in it) and gave me a baby hammer and the next lot came off nicely with a little soak in water first.

And I've found I can either make something a little rounded or with a bit of work something flat with strong edges.  The ones in my photos I tried making with stripes of two coloured glasses, but you could decorate them in any way you want.


This is exciting for me, thinking about up coming knitting projects that will need buttons.  I can find it hard to find buttons of the right size and colour so this opens up a whole new world of button choice for me!

I love it when disciplines intermingle.

Sunday 9 July 2023

Glass Beads and Metal Leaf

Beads with copper leaf

Now I've got some time again, I had a lovely afternoon in the studio experimenting with glass and metal leaf.

When I was at The Glass Hub a couple of weeks ago they showed us some of the effects we could make by adding different types of metal to our work.  I particually loved the copper leaf which turns blue and bubbles.  I made a paperweight with copper leaf in it and it now has pride of place on my desk.

But could I do the same at a smaller size with my beads?

Beads with aluminium leaf

I bought some copper leaf, but while ferreting for something else in one of my drawers found some metal leaf from a project ages ago to make a star to go on top of the Christmas tree.  It didn't say what sort of metal most of them were but I thought I'd give them a go too.

I tried all with clear glass and then on vanilla, encased with clear as I know that vanilla has a tendancy to react with 'blue' colours.

Beads with variegated red leaf

First up was the copper leaf.  This gave the lovely blue and bubbles I was expecting with the clear glass, but then looked a bit muddy on the vanilla.

Next was some aluminium leaf.  This kept it's silver colour and made lots of bubbles.  It's an interesting look on both the clear and the vanilla and will be something to play with more I think.

The next set were called variegated red.  This one turned blue in the clear glass and sort of muddy on the vanilla.

Beads with variegated blue/green leaf

Variegated blue/green did the same.

And lastly was imitation copper leaf which also went blue in the clear but with streaks and muddy on vanilla.

Beads with imitation copper leaf

Interestingly the copper leaf I bought was loose, so while hard to work with sticks to the glass easily.  The other books of leaf all had the leaf attached to paper, which makes it easier to work with then working on paper, but did mean the paper set on fire when I touched the hot glass to the leaf!

I'm going to keep playing with the copper and aluminium but the others will be going back in the drawer for another day.

Sunday 2 July 2023

Salomon Serpent Trail 50km Race


Yesterday I finally ran the Salomon Serpent Trail 50km race.  

Although I've been training for this since Feb, I've only ever run a marathon distance before so this was a totally unknown quantity.

My main aim was to complete it and still be able to walk after, and if I could do it in under 7 hours, well that would be a bonus.

I was up at 05:30 and at the Petersfield Rugby Club for 06:30 to catch one of the 5 coaches taking us to the 50k wave 1 start.


The weather gods were very kind to us.  Although it rained over night it stopped before we got to the start, and the day was mostly mild but overcast with a cooling breeze.  Perfect running conditions.  We had had a little rain last week so there were a few muddy bits, but compared with when I ran it in Feb, it was lovely underfoot. 

The first couple of miles we were all a bit bunched up, but it soon settled down and I enjoyed running through the chestnut plantations, now fully in leaf and looking green and lush.

Photo by Will Harper-Penrose

There were some great bits where I could just see the chap in front through the trees so knew I was on the right path, but couldn't hear anyone behind me, so it felt like I was running by myself as normal.

The more stressful bits were some of the narrow paths when you could hear people coming behind you.  Do you just keep going or step aside and let them pass?  It's very hard to work out just from the sound of their breathing and footsteps.

Photo by Will Harper-Penrose

At mile 19 I ran past a field full of the 20k race field.  They all cheered us as we ran past, which was cool, but we knew they'd be overtaking us quite soon.  I'd made it to the aid station at mile 20 and had carried on into the woods when they all started to pour past me.

My mantra for the race was 'my race, not their race', reminding me that it didn't matter what anyone else was doing, I was running for me.  If I felt good but others had stopped to walk, it didn't mean I needed to stop to walk too, and if the 20k runners were pushing hard I didn't have to join them.  This seemed to work for me.

(For everyone who asks; No I didn't run all of it.  Aways walk up the hills!)

It was a beautiful route through a mixture of woodland and commons with the odd bit on roads.  Having run it in Feb I knew it was pretty, but it was in its summer finery now and looking great.

While I did have my normal assortment of sweets and flapjack I also had more tailwind to drink and I think this had a good impact.  By mid race I didn't really want the sweets as my drink seemed to be hitting the spot, but I did really enjoy some watermelon at a couple of the aid stations.

The first 10 miles felt ok, but I got a stitch around mile 13 so the middle felt a little harder.  The last 10 miles were hard, my feet really hurt, but I was counting down single figures now and feeling strong.  Looking at my watch I realised I wasn't as late as I thought I might be and started to push a little bit more - could I do this in under 6hrs?

I didn't, coming in at 06:14:39 but I'm dead chuffed with that time.  I was 252 out of a field of 557 and 63rd woman out of 222.  Even better I was 23rd woman in my age category!

While this was a hard race, I did enjoy it.  It was well organised and through beautiful countryside.  And all that training paid off so I was even able to do a sprint finish!

I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a 50k race.  The website tells you everything you need to know and they sent us useful emails in the couple of weeks leading up to race day.  The route was very well sign posted, I think there was only 1 place were there was slight uncertainty over the whole 50k.  All the aid stations were well stocked with everything you might fancy and the race crew were brilliant.  And I loved knowing that if it all went wrong I could walk it and get in before the midnight cut off. 


I'm going to take a week off running now, but I'll be back to it, I've got all these interesting footpaths I've seen during training that I want to explore...