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