Monday, 9 August 2010


Well, another month has gone by with no blog! What am I like? No, don't answer that, please.

And, I don't really have time to blog now... the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta starts on Thursday and runs for four days, so I need as much stock as possible... busy, busy, busy!

I will try and pop in and give you some updates and occasional photos, but realistically, I think it's going to be September before I get back to regular blogs.

Lots of big things coming up - Tom's A level results, Martha's GCSE results, my brother visiting from Brazil, a camping holiday in Devon plus all the usual goings-on that seem to fill every waking moment.

I hope you are all having a lovely summer.

Much love to all,

Friday, 9 July 2010

Excuses, excuses...

Been sooooo long since I blogged because:

- I have been mega busy
- Got very caught up in A levels and GCSEs
- My mojo took a long holiday
- Didn't have anything very interesting to tell you
- Spent too long on Facebook and Twitter
- Been doing lots of selling events
- Just not felt like it

All of these excuses have some truth in them, but mainly they are just that - excuses.


Will try to do better. May even be back later today!

Much love to all.

Sunday, 2 May 2010


You'll see there's a definite theme to the pieces I've been making this week... ceramic and spiky!

I've been lusting after these colourful ceramic washers for a month or so. I've been using the silvered ones in my designs for a while, but these coloured ones are so vibrant, I couldn't wait to get my hands on them.

Here's the purple and blue mottled ones with some silver washers and the spikes. These give the necklace real drama and look fabulous on.

The back of the necklace is leather and the sterling silver fastening is on the side.

This next one uses the same design, but with the blue and turquoise beads.

This one uses just the smaller washers - along with the silver - in the really, really bright colours. Fabulous for holidays. I do wish I'd made these before we went away!!

And then, lastly for today, a different look where I've used the spikes with lampwork beads by Tania Grey of Tan, Of Course and freshwater pearls.

I have made a whole batch of lampwork pendants, wine bottle stoppers, bottle openers and letter openers too this week, but haven't had chance to photograph them. Hopefully, I can show them to you next posting.

Tomorrow (Monday) Sarah and I are selling at the North Somerset Show. This is our local agricultural show and very popular. We've not done this one before, so fingers crossed that the sun comes out (it's pouring down with rain as I type) and there's hoards of visitors - and some of them want to buy some jewellery! Will let you know.

On the family front, Tom's exams last week were all 'OK' or 'Not bad' - so that sounds hopeful!

Martha's prize giving on Thursday was a nice event, celebrating the successes of the school. The guest speaker was the Olympic gold-winning athlete, Jason Gardener, who was a great speaker and his recounting of the 100 metre relay race when he won gold was totally gripping so that we all felt we'd run it with him and had tears in our eyes as the National Anthem played as we stood on the rostrum...
Martha's prize was for Excellent Attitude... yes, you can imagine the comments from all the parents of teenagers who'd won a prize for Attitude...

We had a lovely time yesterday afternoon and evening when some of Brian's family came over. I say 'some' of them... we were twelve to sit down for dinner. We did the calculations and if ALL of his family had come, it would have been 31 people!! He's one of nine - and then with husbands, wives, partners, children... it's a crowd and a half.

Hope you're having a great weekend - and enjoy the Bank Holiday if it's happening wherever you are!

Take care, all.

Much love

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sadness and Sunshine

I'd like to thank everyone who sent message of support and love after my last posting. Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away in the early hours of Easter Sunday. Rest in peace, Pat.

It might seem very strange, then, that we went on holiday the next day. But this was done after consultation and with the blessing of the rest of the family and safe in the knowledge that the funeral wouldn't be until after our return.

So on Easter Monday we left for Corfu. Despite the circumstances we had a wonderful holiday. The villa was superb and the views from its terrace were just amazing:

The hills opposite are Albania and the ones in the far distance are in mainland Greece. The weather was perfect for us - in the mid to high twenties. We spent lots of time reading and lying in the sun. Brian and Martha braved the pool - in their wetsuits!

It was freeeeeezing! Eventually they did go in with just their bathers, but Tom and I only managed to get in up to our ankles...

We did some sightseeing - in Corfu Town and we toured most of the rest of the island which I can report was beautiful... but closed! Their season doesn't really start until 1st May, so most tavernas and shops were either completely shut or were sprucing themselves up for May.

This is taken from the Old Fort in Corfu Town.

Brian at Agni Bay, If you look above Brian's head you can see two villas nestled into the hillside. The upper one is 'our' villa... well it was ours for a week!

The jetty at Agni Bay. In the summer months they rent out boats from Agni so I imagine the bay is teeming with people and boats. In April there was just us and a couple of chaps repairing another jetty. I know which I prefer. And yes, the sea really was those incredible colours.

Martha, me and Tom at Paleokastritsa which is on the other side of the island to where we were staying. It's a fabulous resort and one where there were a couple of tavernas open! Coffee and baclava... YUM!! The co-ordination of our outfits (including Tom's socks) was purely co-incidental!

Refreshed and relaxed we returned home just two days before the volcanic ash closed British airspace. Thank goodness. However, Brian's sister, Eileen, was stranded in New York and missed their mother's funeral which took place on Monday. Through the miracle of the internet, Eileen was able to see and hear the service, but obviously was without the support of her siblings, friends and family. And, a week on, she's still not home.

And so to jewellery. We had a fantastic market at Nailsea last weekend. The sunshine put everyone in a good - and jewellery buying - mood! It left my stock a bit depleted so I've been busy replenishing. There's still loads to photograph - and some, I know, won't get snapped, but here's a small selection of what's new. You'll notice that the colours and the names of the pieces have been influenced by our holidays...

This one features lampwork glass by Tania Grey of Tan, of course, along with freshwater pearls, Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver.

The next two have lampwork by Ellie Welch of Stardust and Dreams.

This week we have one of our offices and then on May Day Bank Holiday Monday we're selling at the North Somerset Show. We've not done this event before and we're really looking forward to it. Do come and find us in the craft marquee if you're visiting the show.

Also this week, it's school prize-giving for Martha, when we'll find out what she has won a prize for! We're all intrigued.

Tom has got two Chemistry practicals and then two papers about the practicals. This is the start of a big couple of months for Tom. He's got to get all A grades in his A levels in order to be able to take his place at Oxford. It's such a lot pressure for him, but so far, he's taking it in his stride...

OK, time to go and enjoy some more of this wonderful weather we're having. Hope it's as beautiful where you are.

Take care, everyone.

Much love

Friday, 2 April 2010

Cheltenham and Chums

Last weekend I met up with lovely, lovely chums at Cheltenham Bead Fair. We all congregated around Julie Fountain's Lush Lampwork stall and went off on various forays to buy beads, cabochons, meet other beadery friends and feed and water ourselves.

Here's a link to a photograph of some of us: photo courtesy of Nia

I didn't buy too much... just a few beads and a few cabochons for more rings and pendants. I did buy some fabulous glass beads from Celia on the Jencel stall and couldn't wait to get home and get making:

Yesterday we were selling in one of our offices, and I'm happy to report that all, bar one, of these were sold. Guess what I'll be making more of today?

I also bought some more enamelled ceramic beads - I love them:

In both these sets, I've teamed the beads with Sterling Silver and Troubled Water also features Swarovski Crystals which pick up the oil colours beautifully.

Also this week I have been working on a commission for some pearl and vermeil (sterling silver covered in a layer of 24ct gold) earrings. These were my first pair:

which the customer liked, but wanted rounder pearls and longer chains, so:

which she loved. Another happy customer. :-)

Recently I have been using these stretch bracelets to attach my magatamas to. I'm still making the more traditional chain maille ones, but these are great for anyone buying a gift as they are not so size dependant.

At events, I do alter bracelets to fit, but if the customer is buying for someone else then that can present a sizing problem. Of course, rings are even more tricky... a matter of a fraction of a millimetre can be the difference between fitting and not fitting.

This necklace I made a little while ago, but hadn't photographed it. I bought the shells at Spring Fair. Shells, I hear you ask, what shells? Click on the photo to see it larger and you'll discover the teeny tiny shells. Aren't they lovely... but can you imagine having to make the holes in those?

This weekend, Sarah and I are selling at a two day craft fair in Wells Town Hall. It's a BIG one with over 80 stalls. Should be fun!

What news on the home front?

Martha is to be awarded a prize at the annual school prize giving. We don't know what for, but hey, a prize is a prize. Well done, my lovely girl.

Tom is making a good start on his revision for his A levels this summer. Hopefully over the Easter holidays he'll really get into it and go into the exams feeling confident.

Brian went walking on the south coast last weekend with some of his friends from football... 19 miles, they went!! He was totally wasted when he got home!

After the craft fair at Wells, we are away for a few days... so I'll catch up with you when I return.

Lastly, please send prayers and good thoughts for my mother-in-law who is very poorly.

Have a great long weekend, All.

Much love and hugs,

Friday, 19 March 2010

You can't always make what you want...

... But if you try sometimes you might find
You make what you need...

(With apologies to the Rolling Stones for altering their words slightly...)

All week I've been trying to get to do more of my silver, but it just didn't happen (apart from two hours in my class). But I did do my accounts (all up to date!), made some things for the website and finished a commission.

First of all, here's a photograph of Tom manning our stall at last week's market in Weston-super-Mare.

It wasn't the most successful event, but hopefully it will build as people get used to us being there. As you can see we had a lovely bread stall behind us - and over to the right where you can see a person in a red and white coat, that was the hog roast! Wonderful smells all morning... and all I had was an unripe banana. I'm being SO good at the moment... can you see my halo from where you are?

Here's some of the things that got made/onto the website this week:

Some spectacle chains. This is why most people come to my website, so I try to keep a reasonable stock on the page. I think I added 10 this week!

And then I made some wine charms... these go well at the markets.

My friend, Lynne, asked me to make a handbag charm/keyring and mobile phone charm for her sister. Here's one in blues:

And I also made one in pinks and purples, so she had a choice:

And, good news, she liked them both... so she had them both! What a lovely customer!

And that's the lesson for today... You can't always make what YOU want... you have to make what YOUR CUSTOMER wants. No point in having masses of stock if it's not the sort of thing you can sell from your website or at your venues... and if you know what your customers ARE looking for, then that's what you need to make.

OK, I didn't get to make what I wanted - but that didn't stop me enjoying making the things I did make. And hopefully, next week there will be time for more silver.

My rings and pendant that I showed you last time have gone off to be hallmarked - how exciting. I'll show you when I get them back.

Tomorrow, our regular monthly craft market in Nailsea starts up again after a break for January and February. It will be nice to be back, we have some really lovely regular customers there. And, in honour of St Patrick's day this week, we're having some young Irish dancers performing. Should be fun.

Not too much to report on the home front this week. My kitchen is currently full of teenagers discussing Biology! They're setting themselves up some revision sessions in preparation for the A2 exams in May/June. They're doing the heart and respiration today.

Right, I'm off to my book club in a minute, we've been reading The White Tiger. An interesting read. Have you read it? What did you think?

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

Much love to all,


Friday, 12 March 2010

Setting the Scene...

This week there has been a lot of setting going on... stone setting that is. Here's what I've been up to:

For those that don't know, stone setting is quite a tricky business... First you make the bezel (the bit that goes round the stone) - this has to be a good fit, you cut it to length then solder it to make it into a continuous piece. Then you solder the bezel to the back plate and then spend hours filing and sanding to get the bezel and back plate to be flush. Then you attach the bail or the ring or whatever you need to make it into a functional piece of jewellery and then, and only then, you put in the stone and rub the bezel over the edge of the stone to hold it in place. Phew! You can see why it's taken so long for me to make these pieces!

I'm really pleased with them. The rings won't be on the website for a little while as they are going off to be hallmarked (my first hallmarked items! - very posh!).

Talking of posh, I've also completed a commission this week for a spectacle chain, bracelet and earrings set... but this was no ordinary set. Have a look:

Yes, lots of freshwater pearls and loads and loads of Swarovski Crystals. Very, very twinkly!

This one was the one the customer went for, the one below was my first attempt which wasn't quite right. The spectacle chain and the bracelet will be on the website shortly.

On the home front, Martha got excellent results in the GCSE modules she took in January. Tom didn't do quite as well as he hoped, but hopefully this will encourage him to work really hard for the summer exams.

I heard this week that a friend had died from a brain tumour. She was way too young and full of life to be taken. A beautiful, vivacious lady with whom I shared many, many laughs. Rest in peace, Polly.

Tomorrow is the first of the new craft markets in Weston Super Mare. I'm doing that one with Brian and Tom while Sarah is doing another event in Nailsea. This is one of the very few times that we've split our stock and done separate events. Fingers crossed it will work out well!

Then straight after the market, we're up to Leicester for the rest of the weekend. Out with friends on Saturday night and then with my mum, brother and sister-in-law for Chinese on Sunday lunchtime to celebrate Mothering Sunday. If you are celebrating, I hope you have fun!

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Much love to all.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Party, party, party...

So how are you all? Hope you're well and happy.

Well, the big news it that I'm now the mother of an 18 year old! Tom's birthday on 20th February was wonderful. We took him to the pub at lunchtime to buy his first legal round of drinks and then in the evening we had a big family party. It was great fun.

Here he is cutting his cake.
Also in this picture are Sarah, who is my partner in crime when selling jewellery, my fabulous hubby and my lovely, lovely Mum.

On the jewellery front, I've been hard at work finishing my project for my jewellery course. Here it is:
The basket is brass with copper foil woven in and out of it, the handle and rim are copper and the bail (more of that in a minute) is brass and copper. The necklet is silk.

This is the reverse - a piece of shiny brass.

The bail was the bit that caused me most headaches. I wanted to try making one of these woven bails, but, boy, are they fiddly!

Here are my attempts to get it looking neat...
The first attempt I made (somewhat foolishly) in Sterling Silver, I then switched to copper and then the final one is brass and copper.
To make them you form a skeleton of wire and then wrap hair thin wire round, in and out, round, in and out, to form the weaving. I'm glad I persevered and hope to make some more, I do think they're attractive.

It's been a busy couple of weeks with sales in offices, a great party last night and trying to build up stock. But I've loved every minute.

Right, that's it for now. Short and sweet just to keep you up to date. Will hopefully be back soon with more things to show you.

Take care, all, and have a great weekend.

Much love

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Anyone who had a heart...

This was my haul from the Chepstow Bead Fair at the end of January - and as you'll see, there were quite a few hearts! The lampwork ones are by my lovely mate, Julie of Lush Lampwork. The bright coloured ones are fossil beads - not quite sure what they are fossils of, but that's what it said on the label!

Since then I have also been to the Spring Fair at the NEC and bought a 'few' more beads, but they are already in the process of being turned into lovely things, so you'll have to wait to see those!

Here's what happened to some of my Chepstow beads... These are all Sterling Silver earrings:

These three feature little porcelain hearts that I fell for in a big way! I love the mottled colours.

And these three are enamelled ceramic beads - aren't they gorgeous? I've got some more of these, so expect to see a few more yet!

I have got some more things to show you, but haven't got round to the photographs yet. Hope to get to them soon!

And I must get on and use some of the lovely beads I've bought over the last couple of weeks - not to mention the hundreds that I've already got! So many beads, so little time.

And I've got to finish my project for my evening class soon. I've done the (more interesting) practical part, now I've 'just' got to do the write-up. I'll post up a picture of what I've made in the next post.

On the home front: Tom is away on a field trip this week. He's on Exmoor. Don't envy him at all, it's bloomin' freezing! The house is very quiet without him. He's due back tomorrow. And then it'll be just over a week until he's 18. Still trying to get my head around that one.

Martha is on cloud 9 at the moment as she's going on a school trip to Barcelona. Now that one I am envious of. Barcelona is top of my 'places I really want to go' list.

Happy birthday, Dad. Love and miss you, every day.

Take care, everyone. Keep warm!

Much love,