Thursday, 29 January 2009


So I've been looking at this picture for the last two days and thinking that the shape near the top reminded me of something...

And then tonight, it struck me...

See what I mean?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

A really good day...

You know how some days, everything just goes to plan... I had one of those yesterday and this is the result...This first one, I am SO excited by. I have, for the longest time, been an Art Nouveau addict and I've tried to express this in my jewellery... and yesterday I finally got it. This piece is three squiggles soldered together. I'm keeping this one for myself, but you will be seeing lots more of this type of thing.

This was the stage before - two squiggles joined together. I love the organic internal shapes that are formed.

This sweet little ring I made using an excellent on-line tutorial from Evan Hollander. Here's the link...

And this one is a simpler ring, hammered to give texture.

Then, more etching. These were done at college - still waiting to pluck up the courage to try this at home.

These first ones I drew the pattern on with a pen that's used to make printed circuit boards. It doesn't give a crisp design, but I like that. These look like they could be of archealogical interest, don't they? The thing I was trying with these was to get a border - and that worked.

For my next experiment, I pinched a couple of stickers from Martha's card making kit and burnished them onto the silver to make sure they got a firm hold. As you can see, this gives a much sharper outline than the pen. Both of these pairs will be made into stud earrings.

Then one that also used the pen - I really like this one. A pendant, I think...

And this last experiment used strips of address label. I'd read that they could be used as a resist, so thought I'd try it. The paper started to peel off quite quickly once they were in the acid, but obviously the solution was hot and strong enough to have already had an effect.

So, that was yesterday.

Today has been more of a paperwork day, so nothing new to show you. But who knows what tomorrow will bring!

Hope you have had a good day too.

Much love.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Sorry, Mum.

How gorgeous is this?

Well, in fact, even more gorgeous in the flesh... as the colours are darker and richer than they seem here.

It's a jacket that I'm knitting for myself for the spring. The yarn is like a thin ribbon - you can see it just by the needle and is mainly merino wool. I can't usually bear to have wool next to my skin, but this is so soft and non-itchy that it'll be fine.

And as it's knitted on 8mm needles it's growing really fast. I only bought it yesterday lunch-time and I'm already three quarters of the way up the back... and I was out at a meeting most of last evening! I should get onto the front tonight - you knit the back and fronts all in one go!

The pattern was in a booklet, so I've got other patterns that I'd like to have a go at - one of which uses some really funky wool and is knitted on 15mm needles! Be like knitting with tree trunks!

Oh and why am I apologising to my mum? Because I hate sewing up my knitting and Mum will get that job. Sorry.

Have a super weekend, everyone. Take care and have fun.

Much love.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Further to my waffling about naming pieces in a previous post, this next set's name was a gift. The lampwork beads are by the ever-talented Julie Fountain of Lush Lampwork and she calls this style 'Rolling Stones'... and as they are a lovely shade of green... this set is called Gathering Moss.

The beads are threaded onto Sterling Silver wire which has been shaped and hammered to give it texture and strength. The pendant is quite big, so it's rather a statement piece. I can't wait to take it out to earn its keep and see the reaction from customers.

This set features one of my favourite stones, multi-rutilated Quartz. The big square piece is just gorgeous as you can see from the picture below.

I love all the little indentations which must be little holes inside the stone and therefore don't get polished with the smooth surface. The round beads are River Stones and compliment the quartz well, I think.

The next one is made with three different shapes of Amethysts and two different shapes of pearls.

The big irregular nuggets on the front are just lovely and lend an organic feel to the necklace. The second lot of Amethysts are irregular ovals and then at the back are some round ones. I love those big pearls, they're pearls with attitude!

This last picture shows a pendant - with a chain made with gold plated and antique copper rings in a Byzantine chain maille weave.
It gives a really fluid chain and compliments the pendant which is glass and gold plated beads on copper wire.

All these are on the website now, along with a huge batch of spectacle chains that I'd promised myself I'd get on there this week. Yes! Something to tick off the ever-growing list!!

Just got back from taking the cat to the vets. It was only her routine innoculations, but she really HATES going to the vets. As I've said before, she's not an affectionate cat. She rarely sits on anyone's lap and really, really doesn't like being picked up. Last year, the vet couldn't get near her and abandoned all hope of checking her teeth, ears, heart etc. This year was a bit better - I held onto her really tightly and she got a clean bill of health. Phew! That's done for another year...

Tom has now finished his first batch of AS exams and feels pretty confident about them. Now Martha has a week of exams. Hopefully these will help her with her decisions about which GCSEs to opt for. Because she has several that she doesn't have any choice about, she, in fact, can only choose two others, so that's quite difficult.

Is it time for a coffee? Thought so. Black, no sugar, please.

Take care and much love to all.

Friday, 16 January 2009


Whoa, three posts in a week! I'm spoiling you...

I have been at the extremes of my jewellery making spectrum this week. These first three items - although good little earners, don't exactly stretch me.

A memory wire bracelet, commissioned for a young man (8) to give as a birthday present to a young lady he has a soft spot for:

Then two spectacle chains. They continue to be the Google search that brings the majority of people to my website, so I really must get more on there. I practicaly sold out before Christmas!

Then two sets. The first one features lampwork beads by my chum, Suzy Hannabuss. I fell in love with the colours in the focal and even though I'm not usually too keen on 'bumpy' beads, I had to have this one and its accompanying spacers.

It is teamed with some fabulous Thai Hill Tribe beads, loads of Swarovski crystals and sterling silver tubes.

I have named it Tyuratam - the place where Sputnik was launched from in October 1957.

As an aside, I love the mini-adventures I have when naming my pieces. I usually have some sort of idea what I'm going to call something as I'm making it, but I then like to take it off at a slight tangent... which involves delving into the thesaurus, Brewers dictionary of phrase and fable and Google. I know all sorts of facts as a result that I don't suppose I will ever need in my day to day life... but I'm getting pretty good at quizzes!

The last one to show you, showcases the work of the supremely talented Isabelle Anderson. I adore Izzy's beads and have to really sit on my hands not to click and buy way more of her beads. I bought these back in November and already had an idea how I was going to use them, but then had to wait for the Christmas rush and the move to the new workspace to get to it. Then, I ran out of chain and had to wait for that to arrive... But, at last here is Tribal Arcs:

Tribal - because Izzy named the beads 'One Tribe' and the Arcs is pretty self-explanatory. I have hammered the curves of silver to give them texture and strength. I think when you have such wonderful beads to work with, they don't want to be fussed over, but shown in a way that gives the spotlight to the bead in an interesting way.

The same goes for the earrings, which I have simply teamed with a couple of sterling silver beads and dangled from my favourite large kidney earwires.

So, what are you up to this weekend? Now we've got the accounts out of the way, I'm hoping we can have some fun. Maybe the cinema - there seems to a loads of good films out at the moment. Brian mentioned doing a bit of gardening... but that's not exactly my idea of fun!

Hope whatever you're doing, you have fun.

Take care and much love to all. xx

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Mother's pride...

Just a quick post to let you know that Tom passed his grade 7 keyboard exam... with distinction. I'm so very proud of him.

Also to show you this photograph of Cleo taken on Christmas Day. She loves to get into really tight spaces for a sleep. This box was just big enough for her.

We had Cleo as a rescue cat - in fact, we took her from the person who had originally rescued her as her other cats didn't get on with Cleo. They reckoned she was about 8 then - which was 4 years ago. Where had she been before then? What sort of life had she had? What makes her want to always get into tiny boxes to sleep?

Although she's not an affectionate cat, she isn't aggressive - except if you are on the stairs when she'll try to hook you through the bannisters. Why?

I'll never know the answers to these questions, and I guess it's the same for anyone who has a rescued animal. You just wonder, don't you? And hope that the love they are getting now makes up for any mistreatment in their past.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Come up and see my etching...

Woohoo! It's finally warmed up - and I can be in the workshop without the extra heater on... at least for some of the day!

Had to come and show you what I've been up to. We did more etching in my class on Monday and these are the results.

This one is an 'inny' - the letters are lower than the rest of the surface.

I did this one by rubbing on some letter transfers, painting the whole thing with the resist (stuff that stops the other silver being etched) then carefully scratched away the letters.

I was a bit disappointed that this didn't come out very clean - the acid had eaten away at the resist and given it this rustic look. But it's growing on me!

I expect I should have put the resist on thicker and/or not left it in the acid so long.

And this one is an 'outy'. The design is higher than the rest of the metal.

I drew the design onto the silver with a resist pen - and so the acid ate away at everything else. I'm really pleased with this one and think you may see more of this kind of thing... very soon!

I'm gradually gettting all the bits together to be able to do this at home... My mum has dared me to post a picture of myself when I'm all togged up to do it... pink rubber gloves, mask and protective goggles... watch this space!

Much love xx

Friday, 9 January 2009

First items from the new workshop!

Do you think it's ever going to warm up? Ever again? I'm so fed up with being cold, aren't you? I've got the new heater in the workshop, and it's a bit warmer but it's still quite cold in here. Hey ho. Remind me of this when I'm moaning about being too hot in the summer, won't you!

Anyway, I've finally got round to making some jewellery! Just a pair of earrings, but it's a start. This is a design I've had in my sketch book for months, just waiting for time to get to it. I'm pleased with how they turned out and will probably make some more.

I have shaped and hammered the curves to give them texture - they really catch the light well. The beads are faceted Amethyst rondelles.

The next two photographs are of a project I did in my silversmithing class. We had to make beads. The first one is copper.

It started life as two squares which I textured with a tiny 0 punch and then domed. I then turned the corners and soldered them together.

The next one was as a result of me not wanting to do what I was told (nothing changes!). The idea was to make a round bead. So, you cut out two circles of silver, dome them and then solder them together. But, my urge was to kick against the norm and so I soldered my hemisphere's back to back to make a sort of egg cup shape.

I incorporated it into this necklace, with Tanzanite coloured Swarovski crystals nestling into the cups. The rest of the necklace is (ready made) sterling silver beads and smaller Tanzanite Swarovski Crystals.

We started on the etching project on Monday - it was very exciting - and I've bought some bits and bobs to have a go at doing some at home too. It's a bit scary as it uses strong chemicals, but I promise I'll be careful!

Hope you've got a lovely weekend planned. We're going to be doing accounts :-( Hey ho, it has to be done.

Whatever you are up to, have fun and keep warm!

Much love xx

Monday, 5 January 2009

Look now... it'll never be this tidy again!

I'm in the new workshop! Yippeeeee! Although I can only spend a limited amount of time in here at a go as - despite the new radiator - it's flippin' freezing. I've got another heater which should be arriving tomorrow, so hopefully, I'll be all cosy by the end of the week. I hope so as the weather forecast is for this freeze to continue for a while.

Anyway, here's the computer bit... so that's where I'm sitting typing this! The bear on the shelf was part of one of my Christmas presents from Martha... he came with a bottle of Bucks Fizz and a little box of chocs!

Please ignore the huge stack of filing on the left... I hate filing!

This view shows my lovely cupboard... which is filling up way too quickly!
This is the jewellery bench side of things. Brian has cut a groove all the way round the workbench so that beads and things don't roll off. How clever is that? The meters will be boxed in... there just wasn't time to get that done before I had to move in. And the shelf under the window has got half its tiles... they should be finished off on Wednesday.
Another view of the workbench. This time showing my new bench vice. I've been waiting for this for ages. The little drawers hold my collection of semi-precious beads - all sorted. Some drawers need a label, but I'm getting there. At the near end, where my little torch is, that's where the soldering hearth will be. Soon!
This gorgeous suncatcher is hanging in the little window. You can just see some of the colours in the photo above. It was part of my Christmas present from Lynn (Tinkerbell) on UKBeaders forum. We were paired up to swap presents - and Lynn and I exchanged ours across the Atlantic as Lynn lives in Canada.
Long view on the other side. The interesting 'sculpture' in front of the cupboard is my spinner. It comes in two halves and this is the easiest way to store it. The black tree is nothing to do with it, but I thought it looked good there!
I managed to clear my old room in time for the party... and then no-one used it! Ah well, it got me moving. I've not got everything transferred into the new space yet, there are 'one or two' boxes full of bits and bobs that were pushed into various cupboards on New Year's Eve. I wonder if I'll find them all?

I hope you all had a terrific Christmas and New Year celebrations - whatever form they took. Our party was super - lovely friends, great food (Brian cooked) and a great start to a New Year.

Once all our guests had left, we pulled up the drawbridge and the four of us had a Lord of the Rings marathon. We watched a film a day (the extended versions), snuggled on the sofa, ate chocolate and popcorn and emmersed ourselved in Middle Earth. It was wonderful.

My jewellery class starts up again tonight and we're doing some etching this term. I've never done any of that before and I'm really looking forward to it. Watch this space for the results.

Sarah and I are having our first meeting of 2009 tomorrow to plan out our world domination scheme for the coming year. I think we both realise that we made some good decisions last year, and some not so good ones. But as long as we learn from those mistakes, we're heading in the right direction. All businesses are going to find it hard to grow in a recession, but we'll be trying our best!

I'll catch up with you later in the week. Going for a warm now!

Take care, keep warm and much love. xx