Thursday, 31 July 2008

Prizes, Spinners and Hannibal Lecter...

OK, let me put your mind at rest... all the stock was still there when we got back to the marquee on Friday. Everything was EXACTLY as we'd left it... PHEW!

The show was great - not hugely financially rewarding, but great nonetheless. Really friendly stall holders, customers and fair organisers. And yummy cakes in the refreshment tent (which might account for the half a pound I put on at WW on Tuesday!).

We did give out loads of leaflets about our parties, so fingers crossed, we might get a booking which would be brill.

We did have some excitement though - all the stalls were in a class for judging - we were in 'Non-horticultural trade stands' - and we came THIRD!! We were thrilled. We got a certificate and everything. Not that it has made us complacent... Sarah and I spend an hour on Monday scrutinising photographs of our stall trying to see ways to improve it. We realise we still have a long way to go - but if we can improve each time we set up, then we're heading in the right direction.

To that end, yesterday we bought a card spinner - a revolving stand like they have in card shops... you know the sort of thing. We're going to use it to display our 'non jewellery' items, like bookmarks, spectacle chains, key rings, mobile phone charms - and some of Sarah's hand-made cards - to get them off the table and create more space for jewellery. We got an absolute bargain off Ebay. God bless Ebay.

And God bless Vistaprint. For anyone who doesn't know them, they are printers - who constantly have great offers - with many items printed for FREE - yes, FREE. You do pay the postage, which is minimal especially if you are prepared to wait a few weeks, but I recommend having a look at their website. I have ordered some postcards which I have designed myself to act as backing for the items to go in the spinner. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Update on George: he's coming along in leaps and bounds (well, he's not exactly leaping and bounding yet, but progress is pretty rapid). On Tuesday, they got him to stand - strapped into a Hannibal Lecter type contraption. He could only take his weight momentarily with his knees locked, but that is great news. When pressed for a timescale for going home, they have said - with a big 'ish' - minimum of two weeks, maximum of four. That has given him great hope and he's striving for the shortest time. He's like to be at home by the time the GCSE results come out on 21st August. Let's all hope that he makes it.

Still no jewellery to show you, but I'm going to be on a big making session this afternoon, so I'll try to get photos done too and then you can see what I've been up to.

Hope to get back to you tomorrow. In the meantime, take care and much love to all.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Happy Birthday, Blog!

It's a year today since I started my blog! I don't post as often as I would like, but I really enjoy sharing my thoughts, pics and news with you all.

Such a lot has happened in the last year... who knows what the next 12 months will bring!

Still worried about my stock being there at the show when I get there this morning... and it's pouring with rain at the moment... Hey ho.

Much love to all.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Hot, hot, hot!

Phew! It's baking here today. And guess where I'm going to be for the next two days... yup, in a marquee!! I'm sweating just at the thought of it...

Talking of which, when I was little, I thought the rhyme went:

Horses sweat,
Men propose...

Anyway, it's Portishead Flower Show tomorrow and Saturday. Portishead is the next town to Clevedon, so it's very local. So local, that we have been down today and set up the stand, so that we don't have so much to do tomorrow (when we're selling from 2 to 8). It felt SO strange driving away from the show ground leaving all our precious stock. There is overnight security, but even so, I shall be itching to get back there and check everything is OK. It will be a long day tomorrow as we have to be there from 12 for the 'judging'! And then Saturday is from 10 to 6:30. Think I'm going to be truly cream crackered on Sunday...

Good bit of family news: Tom passed his grade 6 keyboard exam - with distinction. We're very proud of him.

George continues to make progress. When we saw him yesterday, he was completely tube free! Which was great. He is starting to get some movement in his legs now and is having two physio sessions a day. There is talk that he may be able to go home the week after next. Fingers crossed.

Expect it will be next week before I get back to the blog, so have a lovely weekend, everyone, and stay cool!

Love, hugs and kisses to all.

Friday, 18 July 2008


That's the sound of another week flashing by!

Good news on George. We went to see him yesterday and he could move his arms and wrists... and he'd had some proper food. This progress means that everyone's spirits have lifted. There is still a long way to go, but at least he's heading in the right direction.

On Wednesday we were in Clerical Medical - our 3rd visit. We were rather disappointed with our sales, but it was the week before payday and with the kids breaking up next Friday, I expect lots of our customers were saving for their hols. But we did get a party booking, which is great and lots of lovely comments. We have to think of it as putting down a good base for the autumn/pre-Christmas sales. Fingers crossed!

Not done huge amounts of making this week, so don't have any pics at the moment. I'll try and get some posted up early next week.

We're off to see my lovely mum for the weekend as it's her birthday on Monday. Can't tell you about her present, as I know she's an avid blog reader!

It's also my brother's birthday this weekend - in fact, tomorrow. However we won't be seeing him in person this weekend as he lives in Brazil! Although we do hope to be able to see him on his webcam! Don't you love technology?

Let me tell you a little story about my brother... when he was about three, he wanted to know what an experiment was. My dad said that he'd show him. Dad took us to the top of the garden. Dad told us to flap our arms very hard as the experiment was to see if we could fly.
We all started to flap...
"But, Dad," my trusting brother said, looking at my dad, "when we get up there, where shall we go?"

Hope everyone has a fab weekend and I'll see you next week.

Hugs and kisses to all.

Friday, 11 July 2008

I made lampwork beads!!!

Not been very productive this week with one thing and another.

Firstly, a quick update on George. He is having some new treatment and which seems to be having good results. We're hoping to see him tomorrow morning, so I'll report back then.

Yesterday I had a wonderful day out with my chums, Kathy and Suzy. We went to visit Julie at Lushlampwork
We had such fun - and actually made a few beads!! Here's a pic:

I think the ones I made are the pink/purple one at the front, the amber one at the back and the turquoise/green one at the back on the right. And one of the plain ones.

I can see why people get hooked on this bead making malarkey! It was great fun. But, I'm going to stick with the jewellery and buy my lampwork beads... but I now have an even greater respect for those who make these amazing little works of art.

So here's a set which features the work of one of the best lampwork artists around.
This for my lovely friend, Anne, whose 50th party we are off to tomorrow. The lampwork is by the wonderfully talented Helen Brodt-Savage and I've teamed her beauties with Sterling Silver, Sand Opal Swaros and lovely deep blue pearls.

The second one is made with Tagua beads. I first saw these at Spring Fair and have been itching to get some ever since. A couple of weeks ago a new shop opened in Clevedon, mainly selling gifts, but with a small bead room at the back - and what had they got? Yep, my tagua beads. They are very light - also called Vegetable Ivory - and are the dried seed pod of a tropical rainforest palm tree . They come in a wonderful array of colours and shapes and don't break the bank. You'll be seeing more of these!
Here I've threaded them onto beading chain and teamed them with Thai Silver.

So, tomorrow we're off to see George in the morning, then to Tintern for Anne's party - which should be great fun as she's dusting off the disco that she and her husband, Pete, used to run back in the 70s! I shall be dancing all night to the hits of yesteryear!

I hope you have a great weekend.

Much love to you all.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Update on George

We have been to see George this afternoon and I'm afraid his condition has worstened. He now can only move his hands and his arms up to his elbows. He is being fed through a tube and they are monitoring his breathing and swallowing.
This, apparently, is the way of this syndrome - it will get worse, then plateau and then begin to get better. Let's all hope the plateau is not too far away for George.
I have told George and his mum that they have people all over the world sending prayers, thoughts and healing. They were very touched and asked me to thank you all.
Please continue to keep George and his family in your thoughts.

Thank you.

As you can imagine, I'm finding it very hard to even think about jewellery at the moment. But I hope I'll have something to show you by the end of the week.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Your prayers and healing vibes, please

Tom's friend, George, on Thursday night, suddenly lost the use of his legs. He is in Bristol Children's Hospital and at present, they don't know what has happened. An MRI scan hasn't shown any trauma and so they are awaiting tests next week to see if it's viral.

What a difference a week makes... This is George on the left, with Tom and their friend, Cary, last Friday as they were going off to their prom... where they danced the night away.

This Friday George was stuck in a hospital bed, unable to walk and suffering the indignities of not being able to get to the toilet.

Please send your thoughts, prayers and healing vibes to George and his family. We are all praying that he will be fully fit for his 16th birthday in a couple of weeks.

Thank you.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Mostly maille

I've been doing loads of maille recently - and as I only do it in front of the TV, I must have been watching far too much telly! It's really thanks to the Euro footie and now Wimbledon. Who are you rooting for on Sunday? I'll be shouting for Rafa myself!

This first one is a Y-shaped necklace in antique silver plate and clear AB magatamas - the 'dangle' is double shaggy loop (four bead bearing rings per base ring) and the rest is single (two beady rings per base ring). I really really like this set and think I might have to make one for myself...

The next one is a set that I've made in loads of different colour-ways - here are just two. Silver plated rings with magatamas and toning anodised aluminium rings. The earwires are niobium.

And then onto bracelets... The first one is Byzantine in silver plate and copper. I wan't sure about the combination of metals, but I think it works. I'm currently doing a necklace in the same design.

Then an aluminium and rubber ring bangle. The rubber rings mean that the bracelet is stretchy. These bangles are great fun and always attract attention at parties and shows.

A double shaggy loop bracelet - that is mine, all mine! I so rarely actually make something for myself, but I had to have one of these bracelet and mine is blue, turquoise and clear magatamas. I just love it. And doesn't Perky model it well?

And lastly, just to show that I've not only been mailling - a rose quartz rondelle and hematite bracelet.

On the home front we had Martha's report home tonight and she's got really excellent results and the teachers are all so pleased with her progress. She's gorgeous and a great kid, too.

I hope you all have a good weekend. The forecast for this part of the country is pretty dismal - with a gale warning! And we were hoping to put together our new garden furniture and eat out... ah well, we'll have to wait. If we get it put up, I'll post up a picture... it took us ages to find exactly what we wanted - only for it to be in B&Q all the time!

Love and hugs to all. xx

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Jewellery jottings....

So, a month ago, I promised to bring you news of the big show that we did...

Well, it wasn't our best ever event. Sales were pretty poor, but we did clear the table and petrol costs and made some profit - which was more than some stalls did. The problem was the weather. It was an absolutely fabulous day - gorgeous sunshine - which was lovely for those attending the event, but it meant that it was sweltering inside the craft marquee and people were too hot and bothered to be bothered. People were coming in, feeling the heat, and going straight back out again.

Our stall was in the middle of the tent and we kept asking people around the edge to open up the sides of the marquee to try and get some breeze, but it only gave a bit of relief. Also, because we were so hot, we became lethargic and so didn't engage with the customers in the way that we would normally. A lesson learned... we'll take fans to the next event in a marquee!

However, we had two parties at the end of that week and both of them were a great success. An evening one which broke our previous record for a party and then a daytime one which was a really lovely event... with great food! They restored our faith in our products and overall it was a super week.

We are back at Clerical Medical on 16th and then our next big event is the Portishead (next town to Clevedon) Flower Show - which is a two day event. Well, Friday 12 - 8 and then Saturday 10-6. We're hoping to go down on the Thursday to set up to take the pressure off ourselves for Friday and leave us more energy for the event itself. Will let you know.

Let me have a look what jewellery I've got to show you:

These first four pictures are sets that I've made with Sterling Silver beading chain. I've not used this much before, but I love it and will be certainly using more of it in the future. The chain actually goes through the beads - which can be held in place by using crimps, or as in the case of the black and white striped agate beads, can run freely along the chain. It's great for making earrings too - as I've done with the pink set.
You'll also see here my new favourite earwires. These giant kidney wires are great - and I've made myself a few pairs with these - I love 'em!

I love this set - but sadly if I wear green, I look like I'm going to throw up! It features beautiful pearls - the large green ones at the front and then ivory dancing pearls separated by some green rice pearls. It's fab, isn't it?!
And a slightly more understated green pearl necklace!
I'm all behind with my photographs, so there's lots to show you. I'll get onto it and report back. Been doing loads more chain maille, so I'll let you see that too.

The other thing that's happening on the jewellery front, is that my new workshop (in the old kitchen) is getting closer. The electrician should be coming to do the wiring in the next week or so, and then it'll be on with the plasterboarding and the plastering. Then, hopefully, we can start kitting it out. I can't wait to get installed. I'm itching to do much more with my silversmithing. Watch this space.

Phew! I think I'm all caught up now. Although I'm sure loads of things will occur to me that I should have told you about.

Many apologies, once again, for my lack of posts. Hope this marathon has made up for my absence, in a small way.

I'll try to do better! Four out of ten, more effort required! LOL!

Much love to all.

Family matters...

So, let me catch you up on family stuff...

Tom has finished school! Well, he'll be going to 6th form college in September, but he's finished at his present school. His GCSEs went well - just the looooooong looooooong wait for the results in August now. I know he'll have great results... he's a clever old stick and has put in a lot of work.

On Friday it was his last day at school. They had a leavers' mass in the morning and then in the evening it was his prom. So, last week was spent dashing back and forth to Bristol (a 20 mile round trip) to get him measured for his suit, to fetch his suit and then take it back again. But, it was worth it. He looked gorgeous (although I admit to being rather biased!). Here, judge for yourself.

Nice picture of our kitchen radiator too! LOL!

Tom had a great time at the prom, dancing the night away with a bevy of beautiful girls!

He's got a great smile, hasn't he?

Also, I had my birthday in June. I had a super weekend. On the Saturday night I went with the rest of the family and my lovely friends, Mike and Helen, to see Bruce Springsteen at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. He was fantastic - as always. I danced for the whole evening - much to Tom's embarassment! But at least he knows where he got his dancing skills from, that stood him in good stead for the prom!!

Then on the Sunday, my actual birthday, which I shared with Father's Day, we had some chums round for a BBQ. The weather was brilliant and we had a fab time.

My mum came for my birthday and then stayed for a week. Whenever she comes to stay the time always flies by and we're saying goodbye almost before we've said hello.

On the weight front, I was going great guns and I'd lost 9lb between coming back from Spain and my birthday. I put on a pound for my birthday - well, if you can't indulge for your birthday, when can you? And then I lost that and another half last week. Stayed the same this week. So nine and a half altogether since Spain. I really must get back on track now and lose the other five that I promised myself I'd get rid of before the school holidays. Whoops, only 25 days to go... Better be good!!!

I think that's about it on the home front.

I'm back!!! And thank you!

Hellooooooooo, my lovely blog friends. I'm SO sorry to have neglected you for the last month or so. I'll try to do better in July.

There is loads to tell you, so it may be spread over several posts. Please don't feel you have to read all of them!

Firstly, I have to say thank you to several people who have given me awards. Alison of BeaDangles Jewellery , Chris of Kiamyka Gemstone Creations and Nia of Gemwaith Nia Jewellery, I am delighted and flattered to receive your awards. Thank you and big hugs and kisses all round.

I now have to pass on this award to five other bloggers. I could, of course, pass the award back to these three lovely, lovely ladies who all write fascinating blogs... but I thought I'd spread the love around a bit more.

So, my awards go to - in no particular order:

Hannah of Kutuu who makes gorgeous jewellery and is a role model for us all in terms of her business acumen and presentation - I literally drool when I read her blog!

Jo of GemHeaven - again beautiful jewellery and a lovely friendly blog

Mandie of JewelleryCraft - lovely jewellery and a very entertaining blog

Liz of The Crimson Moon who is the most consistent blogger I know - and who not only makes beautiful jewellery, but also fabulous cards

and last, but certainly not least - Kerrie - an absolute whizz with the seed beads and who finally prodded me back into posting here (with help from Chris) - thank you both - I needed that virtual kick up the pants!!!