Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Having abandoned you for half the year, I can only promise that 2010 will be different.

With much love to all,


Saturday, 11 July 2009

Family and Friends

Oops! Where did that month go? Sorry, blog readers for neglecting you for so long.

So, what's been happening... Well, there's BIG family news... which I'll tell you about at the end. What a tease!

Sarah and I have done loads of events and most of them were pretty good... in fact, some were excellent! We've got a busy few weeks ahead of us too. Portishead Flower Show, Publow Garden Fete and Bristol Balloon Fiesta! And our monthly appearance at Nailsea Craft Market which is proving to be a super event. On top of all that we have our office selling days which are so enjoyable.

So, it's been heads down working hard for the last few weeks - and for the next few weeks too.

New jewellery... Here we go with a small selection:

The first one is a pendant made with sterling silver wire, which I have shaped, soldered and then hammered to give a 3-D effect... then hung a wonderfully marked ocean jasper bead in the centre.

The next one I made using the same process but filled the centre with squiggles.

For this next one, I hammered the base plate - with one of my lovely new hammers - and then soldered the coils of wire onto the front. Then the whole thing - including the chain - was dipped into Liver of Sulphur to oxidise it - turn it black. I then polished it so that the blackness was removed or lightened on the highlights. I was thinking of ferns... but having consulted pictures of ferns (after I finished it) I find that they curl in the opposite direction! Hey ho, artistic license.

A lady at one of the offices asked me to make an amber necklace for her mum. I didn't have any amber... what a great excuse to go shopping... It's actually quite difficult to find suppliers and in the end, these beads came from Hong Kong! I love the different colours. Here I have teamed the amber with Vermeil (Sterling Silver with a layer of 24 carat gold) and I'm pleased with the results. I'm going to make some other styles - some with Sterling Silver - which I'll try to show you... soon!

What else has been happening... Martha took her grade 1 keyboard exam. I could hear some of it from outside the room and it sounded fine... so fingers crossed, she did OK.

Tom and I have been looking around universities. We had a day at Birmingham Uni and enjoyed that and then we went to Oxford. It must have been the hottest day of the year... we were melting. But, what a great day. We went inside many of the colleges and it was like we'd visited five or six stately homes. Fabulous. Tom loved it... so 'all' he has to do now is get in!! Of course, competition is fierce for places, but he's going to give it his best shot.

Is that the big news? No.

I had my birthday. It was wonderful. We had a barbecue on the Sunday and loads of friends - and my mum - came over and we had a great time. On the Monday - my actual birthday - we went to Bristol Museum and saw the Banksy exhibit. It's just fantastic. I loved it. Do go and see it if you get the chance.

Is that the big news? No.

I had a super night out with chums at Chepstow races. I didn't win anything! But, it was great fun. We had a delicious picnic in the car park (well on a grassy bank at the side of the car park) afterwards and ate cheese and biscuits in the mini bus on the way home.

Is that it? No.

My lovely mum will be having her birthday soon. She'll be 80. But, you'd never believe it. She doesn't look her age - and, thankfully, I inherited those genes and I'm told I don't look my age either. She's pretty sprightly for her age too. Love you, Mum.

Is that the news? No, but close.

OK, I give in. The news is related to Mum's birthday. My brother, four years younger than me, emigrated to Brazil in 1979. And he's never been back to the UK since... and none of us have ever been over there. BUT, he's coming for Mum's birthday. So, I'll be seeing my brother for the first time in 30 years... next Friday! And I can't wait. He's bringing his wife, Kelle, who we haven't met before - and who doesn't speak English - so that's going to be fun. His daughter, Patricia, is coming too. We have met her before... remember me blogging about it? Here. It's going to be just amazing.

See, I told you it was BIG!

Right, better get washed and dressed and get on with the weekend.

Take care, All, and much love to each and every one of you.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Silk, stoppers and squiggles

Here's our stall set up for the craft and gift fair in the Broadmead Mall, in Bristol on Saturday. That's Sarah talking to the daughter of another stall holder. You can see that the fair took up a good area in the shopping centre. However, sales were really poor. People just didn't stop to look at what was on offer. Which was a real shame, because there were some wonderful things (and not just on our stall!).

This is the middle of our table - and I just wanted to show you these new canvases that Sarah has made - aren't they fabulous!

Onto Sunday and our table at Bowood Dog Show and Country Fair. You'll see that with a smaller area we couldn't take the canvases with us. We did quite well at Bowood. But spent almost as much as we made on lovely goodies from other stall holders! Hey ho.

Onto some jewellery. Actually managed to get outside to take some pics today.

First up is a set made with Chrysocolla - which is a new favourite for me. Wonderful colours.

The next few are a new design. Beads are threaded onto dyed silk ribbon ((by Diane Turton of Sowzere Designs) and the ends of the ribbon are then threaded through a matching bead and knotted. This means it can be slipped over the head and then the bead moved up so the necklace is the correct length. (Thanks to my lovely mate, Julie Fountain, for this wonderful idea... which I have shamelessly pinched!) I've been wanting some of these ribbons for the longest time, but always seemed to miss them on Diane's website. Once I got my hands on some, I couldn't wait to make them into something lovely. I just love the colours.

The first one has beads by Clare Scott and the ribbon is threaded through a large-holed Sterling Silver bead and then back through the bead.
These beads are also by Clare and again I've used the Sterling Silver beads.

The beads in this next one are by Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork and I've knotted the silk between the beads.

A similar method using more of Julie's wonderful beads.

As Father's Day is approaching and we've got Nailsea Craft Market the day before, I thought I'd better make something suitable for men. So, here are some bottle stoppers onto which I've added lampwork beads. The beads are by various artists including Julie Fountain and Clare Scott.

And lastly some new Sterling Silver Squiggles. Two textured, one not.

Not much else to report - having been out selling all weekend, there wasn't time to get up to much! However, we don't have any more events now until 20th, so I've promised myself some time with the silver - watch this space for the results.

Take care, all, and I'll be back soon.

Much love

Friday, 5 June 2009

A quick hello!

Just wanted to run past you with a quick wave!

Mega busy at the moment - this week we've already had two office sales - one not so good, one absolutely brilliant (go figure!) and then tonight we're setting up to sell in the big shopping centre in the centre of Bristol and then on Sunday we'll be up at the crack of sparrows' to go to Bowood Dog Show and Country Fair. Should be a great weeekend.

Monday, I think I'm going to stay in bed all day...

Family news: Tom is in the middle of his AS levels and they seem to be going OK. Martha is in the finals of a poetry slam at the end of June and has to perform at the Old Vic! She's very excited about that.

As for me I've been beading, silversmithing, beading and, oh yes, beading. Talking of which, I'd better get my nose back on that grindstone. Things are a bit calmer over the next two weeks - beading-wise - although I do have my birthday to think about - it's on the 15th in case you feel the need to dash out and buy me an present ;-) So, hopefully, I'll be back soon with some photos. There's loads to show you, just no time to get it all photographed.

I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine and taking care of yourselves.

Much love and hugs.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Guess who's got new hammers!

They've come all the way from America and I love them!

There are actually two hammers with four different textures. The first one has wide ridges and gives this ripple effect:

The next one - and my favourite - has raised circles which give this lovely texture which reminds me of fabric.
Narrow ridges give this tree bark - or pouring rain effect.
The fourth one has little squares which give an effect like basket weave.
These are really sample pieces - just to see what the effects would be. I'm excited now to use them in more complex designs. Watch this space!
At last I've used one of my etched pieces (blogged about here). This reminds me of a tattoo - hence its name, Love Lies Bleeding.

And lastly, a new shaggy loop bracelet. This one is made with copper rings and glass magatamas in greens and purples and is called Lavender Garden.

Sarah and I are off to Devizes tomorrow to sell at a Craft Fair.

I hope you have a great bank holiday weekend and that the sun shines on us all.

Much love,

Friday, 15 May 2009


I have been tagged by Kelly, so here's some facts about me:

8 Things I am looking Forward to.....

  1. The next Harry Potter film. It should coincide with Martha's birthday.
  2. The summer - let's hope it's better than the last two years.
  3. My birthday. I love birthdays and don't have any hang-ups about my age.
  4. Selling at the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. It's going to be a mad four days - but it'll be great fun!
  5. My chum, Mike, arriving for the weekend in a couple of hours.
  6. Finishing doing up our house. We've still got loads of rooms to go, but the ones we've done are wonderful. I'm waiting for the whole house to look as good.
  7. The next two episodes of ER. I can't believe it's finishing. I love it. I was a great Dr Green fan, but still watch every week. I blubbed for England after this week's ending with Neela going off to be with Ray.
  8. My hubby being 50 next year. Not because he'll have reached that milestone, but because there will be a party and I'm a party animal. I LOVE to dance!

8 Things I Did Yesterday...

  1. Had my beady chums over.
  2. Watched ER.
  3. Put a plaster on Brian's head when he came home injured from basketball.
  4. Cuddled all my family. We're very big on cuddling.
  5. Talked to Mike.
  6. Made some jewellery.
  7. Read my book club book. The one I should have finished weeks ago. There's another one I'm supposed to read before 5th June!
  8. Ordered some findings. It's always more exciting to order beads, but without the findings I can't make them into anything!

8 Things I Wish I Could Do....

  1. Eat what I want without having to worry about my weight.
  2. Have more than 24 hours in a day.
  3. Enjoy housework... as it is I hate it. There's always something much more interesting to do.
  4. Swim better. I do a slow breast stroke but I don't really enjoy being in the water.
  5. Gymnastics. I love to watch them and wonder what it must feel like.
  6. Give my lovely, lovely friend, Sarah, the use of her hand back again.
  7. Have my dad back.
  8. Whistle with my fingers in my mouth.

8 Shows I Watch....

  1. ER
  2. Heroes
  3. Desperate Housewives
  4. Neighbours
  5. The Mentalist
  6. Lark Rise to Candleford - can't wait for the next series
  7. Coast
  8. Match of the Day!

Those are my 8's. My turn to tag....YOU! Come on, you know you want to! Here's the rules, just in case you want to follow them:
1) Mention the name of the person who tagged you.
2) Do the lists of 8.
3) Tag 8 bloggers of your choice.
4) Let them know that they have been tagged!

I'm not going to tag individual bloggers - as most of the ones I'd tag have already been done. So, if you'd like to answer these questions in your blog, leave a comment and I'll put a list at the end here.

Eve has taken up the tag challenge.

Much love and information,


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Jewellery Catch-Up

Phew! So, North Somerset Arts Week is over for another two years. I don't know how long it's going to take for me to recover - I'm SO tired. Tired but very happy. We had 400 visitors through the door (and trampling on Sarah's cream carpet) and they were all very complimentary and lots of them purchased from us which was fantastic considering how much choice there was - over 100 venues!

It's an age since I showed you any jewellery - some that was made has already sold - and lots of it I didn't get time to photograph. But, there's still plenty for you to see:

I've made quite a lot of this type of set, using lampwork beads from different artisans. Both of these feature beads by Tania Grey of Tan, Of Course. They are threaded onto leather with Sterling Silver beads and all the fittings are Sterling.
Continuing with lampwork, these wonderful etched beads are by Suzy Hannabuss of Moonlight Beads - aren't they great? I've teamed them with lots of Sterling Silver, including my favourite mirror ball beads, so this set has great twinkle.
I love this design so much, I've made it with three different coloured beads. The main part is made with top-drilled ivory pearls which give this lovely patten and then coloured pearls to add a zing.
One of my favourite stones - Picasso Jasper. I've put Sterling silver between the rondelles in this one to lighten it... I know from experience just how heavy these necklaces can be!
Another favourite - Spiderweb Agate - here coupled with Black Onyx and Sterling Silver.
And this is Feldspar - which is a new stone to me. I really like the veining on it though, so I think I'll be using it again. Here I've used it with Black Onyx and some lovely Sterling Silver rectangles to echo the shape of the feldspar.
And last, but not least, this marriage of turquoise and silver, which is a favourite combination. I've used both chips and rondelles here with Sterling leaves at the front of the necklace and textured tubes at the back. It comes with a choice of earrings because I couldn't make up my mind...

So, that's a quick selection of what I've been up to. I'll be back with some more soon.

Take care, all.

Much love.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

North Somserset Arts Week - a virtual tour of venue 73

Our welcome table with a few examples of the work on offer and our visitors book.
Firstly our felt artist: Sarah Quick with a super picture and some cards.
More of Sarah's felt including the cake shaped pin cushions which have been selling like... well, hot cakes!
Bags, hats and bangles in felt on the right and framed photographs by Denise Thomas on the left.
Denise Thomas's main display of photographs of all sizes. Many are local to North Somerset.
Fabulous fused glass by Sarah Aumayer of Mydsomer Studio.
Jewellery by yours truly and fused glass by Sarah Aumayer. If you study the photograph on the middle shelf you'll see that it's Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork, pictured doing her thing!
Corner jewellery display. The bottom shelf and the mirror show off my Sterling silver squiggles. And yes, I have replenished the second shelf!
The main jewellery display. We're really pleased with the way this turned out. The glass shelves are taken from my cupboard, the supports are gift wrapped breeze blocks and bricks. The mirrors are all from IKEA.

Display of earrings and chain maille bracelets and watches. White shelves curtesy of IKEA... what would we do without them?
We're offering tea and coffee... would you care for a cup?

Toys and books to amuse our tiny visitors and discourage them from playing with the displays!
More fused glass by Sarah Aumayer.
And on your way out a last display of fused glass.

Please do sign our visitors' book and thank you for coming.

If you're in the area and would like to see it all in person - we're in Lower Langford - just off A38, near Churchill. And we're open 10-6 until Sunday.

Much love.

End of the Road...

Sorry it's taken a while to finish up the blog about our trip to the USA. As soon as we got back I was headlong into the preparations for Arts Week... see next post.

The last full day in San Francisco saw us in China Town: even the lampposts are in tune!

I saw this lady on the cable car and thought she looked so wonderful I had to secretly take her photo.

And then to Alcatraz. It's a fascinating place and there is an excellent self guided tour.

Then all too soon it was time to come home. The bitter pill was sweetened by the fact that we got bumped up to Business Class! Talk about how the other half live. It was marvellous.

I can't believe that we were there this time a month ago. It was a superb trip - one that we'll all remember for the rest of our lives.

Hope you enjoyed coming along with us!

Much love