Tuesday, 6 December 2011

I love Bournemouth!

Did very well at the BIC in Bournemouth on 26 and 27 November.  Sold lots of things and gave out lots of my business cards.  Since then a lady who bought quite a few items has phoned to order something else.  We had a lovely weekend.  We stayed in the Norfolk hotel and had two great evening meals with wine etc.  I have had the best Christmas this year despite not doing well at the two school events.  I think I need to stick to larger events next year.

My fibromyalgia is playing up at the moment - did a lot of hammering and I am having a lot of pain in my fingers as a result.  The cold weather doesn't help and on top of all that, I have a cold. 

The upstairs of our house is nearly finished apart from our bedroom which will be started in the new year.  My sister Gill and her husband Richard and our mum are coming on Christmas eve to spend a few days with us.  Richard will be cooking the turkey and I will be having nut roast!

Off to Columbia for Aaron and Luz's weddding on 15th December.  We fly out on Saturday to Miami to stay overnight in a hotel at South Beach and fly on to Columbia the next day.  I am dreading the journey as I hate being trapped in a plane for 9 to 10 hours!  I will take some Valium and try to relax.  It will be in the 80s in Columbia so that is certainly something to look forward to.

Still managed to make some jewellery.  The wrapped ring was bought by my friend Penny and my sister has her eye on the wrapped bangle.  The other bangle consists of two sections of sterling silver wire twisted together and then soldered.  Check out my website to see full details, but I will attach piccies of them all as usual.  Well, I guess that will be it until next year.  Very happy Christmas and New Year to all my followers!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

I am up to my eyes in dust and rubble!

Not really, but it feels that way.  We now have 4 rooms completed and our tradesmen are working on the next 3.  The new rooms look great, we can't wait for it all to be finished.  S&M are having great fun barking at the workers and Megan loves to run behind them biting their trousers.  This is a bit of a problem for those wearing shorts! 

Anyway, I have been working.  I did the psychic fair in Alton which was no good at all!  OK if you were a tarot card reader but not selling jewellery.  Then I did the Winchester Discovery Centre and sold several items.  I also re-opened my Folksy shop which I decided to do because my jewellery has changed a great deal over the years.  I sold a ring - a lovely amber ring which was wonderful!  Tomorrow night I am doing Ladies Night at Hursley school and then off to Bournemouth BIC centre for a 2 day Festive Gift Fayre on 26 and 27 November.  Then I am back to Hursley school for their Xmas Bazzar. 

I have been busy making things and trying to promote my shops.  I am going to the Desire jewellery and silversmithing show at Winchester Guildhall on Friday with Wendy and Penny.  I can't wait to see all the lovely things I can aspire to!

I used some square wire (2mm) to make a bangle and a ring - I found it much harder to line up for soldering than round wire.  Maybe it's just me. 

Still haven't sold our house in Somerset, we may have to rent it out.  We have been lighting our log fire, despite the fact that it's not that cold yet.  I just love it - we are getting through so many logs.

Well, I am going to try to upload some piccies and then off to feed S&M.

I forgot to mention that the silver hammered heart ring is featured in the Christmas Showcase on www.ukhandmade.com, click Christmas Showcase, then jewellery.  I was so chuffed!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I got my mojo back!

Yey, I have been working!  Made a lovely mixed freshwater pearl necklace (see piccie) and a couple of pairs of small earrings.  I have done 3 craft shows in the area and have sold 8 pairs of little earrings.  I also sold my lovely silver ring with the cut out circles.  I have lots more shows to do before Xmas.  I guess people buy earrings because they are cheaper than necklaces and bracelets and with the current climate people are not splashing out.  I was asked if I had "anything for less than £1" by a little boy and a girl who wanted something for £2.50.  I may try little things for kids to give their mum's for Christmas. 

We have asbestos in all our artexed ceilings - we had no idea they used asbestos in artex.  Apparently you either skim over the ceilings or take them down - I know which option I am going for!

Our gas boiler packed in yesterday as well and I am waiting for the gas man to turn up.  Sophie and Megan are being groomed this afternoon - they don't know it yet!

Megan is OK now but on her special diet, which she doesn't mind.  Anyway, back to work!

Monday, 19 September 2011

It's all taken off!

I have been busy finding venues for craft shows and I am now signed up for 8 shows before we go away in December. 
I did the Discovery Centre in Winchester on 10th September.  A very nice venue with a huge window behind me which showed off my silver very well.  I did OK for September.
I am doing the Discovery Centre again in November.  Check out my website for the other shows I have lined up.
Poor Megan has been in the wars since I last wrote.  She started weeing all the time and eventually had blood in her urine.  We took her to the vets who said she probably had a urine infection.  She had an injection and some antibiotics and away we went.  She seemed to improve but then it started again and she passed a stone about the size of a cherry stone.  We thought that was the end of it and then she couldn't wee.  That obviously is very dangerous so she had to have a scan and they found another stone stuck in her urethra which she was trying to pass but couldn't.  They had to operate, and having just found out that she  has a heart murmur we were very worried.  She had the op and everything is fine now, apart from the fact that she has to be on a special diet for the rest of her life to stop her from getting further stones.  No more treats - poor little thing. 
I did a taster session with the World of Beads in Winchester on lampwork beadmaking.  Great fun made quite a few beads but not sure whether to spend out to buy more equipment. 
Other than all that, everything is fine and we are settling in very nicely in Hursley.  I'll keep you posted on how the shows go.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Yes, I am still around!

Just realised I haven't written in my blog since May.  I have been so busy - I haven't made any jewellery since then either. 
We moved to Hursley and the last of our possessions are coming from Somerset on 15th July - can't wait, although we will have so much furniture - we need to get rid of one bed and probably some other things. 

The sale of our Somerset house fell through and it is back on the market which is annoying but what can you do eh!

Still settling in here - went back to London once to get my teeth done and am going again next week for a further dental appointment.  May need to find a local dentist.

Had a great holiday in Sardinia - I definitely recommend it.  The weather was so hot.

I have to go now and sort out my studio and then maybe make some stuff.  S&M are fine - they love it here as at the back of the garden there is a wooded area where they can run around.  They have so much freedom compared to London.  Not sure the postman is thrilled about them.  All the neighbours here are lovely and Richard is settling into his commuting to London. 

No jewellery so you will have to make do with a couple of holiday snaps.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Less than two weeks to go!

Getting very close now - very exciting.  The Somerset house is on the market and we have had a couple of viewings. 

I did a jewellery sale at Abbey View Nursing Home in Sherborne yesterday and we raised £141 for their charity.  I was selling off my old stock at rock bottom prices. 

I made this lovely summery necklace and earrings in blue dyed agate yesterday.  My first try at forming corners in silver (the pendant).  Tempted to keep it myself but I have already made a peridot set to go with my new green dress so I mustn't be too greedy!

Not long til our holiday - off to Sardinia with Gill and Richard II (sister and brother in law) and of course Richard I.  S&M are going back to Victoria in London as we haven't found anyone in Winchester yet and they do all love each other. 

Gill and Richard II 1st wedding anniversary tomorrow - can't believe their wedding in Bath was a year ago.  Me and Richard will be celebrating our 12th anniversary on 29th May.

What do you think of my handcrafted earwires - I love the fact that they are so curvy. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

No longer Londoners!

We completed on our flat on Friday - hurray!  Our flat was featured in the Evening Standard because it was in the same Mansion Block as Yoko Ono used to live when she was seeing John Lennon (Hanover Gate Mansions).  Not missing London yet but I will be going back soon to get more jewellery supplies and go shopping!  She picture of Megan in our garden - does she look like she's missing London????

I have made a few rings and bracelets since my last entry (see pictures). 

We have exchanged contracts on the Winchester house and are due to complete on 3rd June.  We have also put the Somerset place on the market (where we are living now).  Richard is finding the commute a bit challenging but he does manage to do his emails on the train which is good.

We are off to Sardinia with Gill and Richard on 15th so it's all happening.  I need to get talking to people in Winchester about the craft fairs etc and get myself booked in before its too late. 

I must say it's nice to be able to hammer without the neighbours complaining.  Talk soon

Saturday, 23 April 2011

hello from sunny Somerset

I haven't written for ages! I have been very busy trying to move house. We have almost sold our London flat - just waiting to exchange and complete. In the meantime we have all moved to Somerset. Me and S&M are loving it but poor Richard is having to commute to London every day. It's a long commute which is why we have put an offer in on a house near Winchester. At the moment we are in limbo land until we exchange. All our London furniture is in store and I have had to cram all our stuff into this house. We have been so lucky with the weather - it's been glorious since we moved here 3 weeks ago.
I have been making jewellery as well as all the other stuff. Not as much and quite a bit of it is for myself. I am loving my tumbler. The things come out of it so shiny - its amazing. Here's a few piccies of some things I have made.

Friday, 11 March 2011

She liked it!

I gave Amanda the bracelet this morning and she was thrilled with it. I am so pleased. What a challenge that was - I learned so much from making it.
I am doing an Art and Craft show in Highgate at Lauderdale House on Sunday. Fingers crossed that I do well. I will be showing my new silver creations for the first time. I'll let you know.
I have been using my disc cutter but have found it so hard to cut the discs - I know I am weak but that is crazy! I am taking it to Somerset where I can use the garage and not annoy the neighbours with my hammering! With Richard's assistance I managed to make some earrings from discs of silver and copper (see picture). I cut the discs out and then used the doming set to dome them. I then drilled holes in them and added jump rings and handmade earwires - pretty good eh!
I have also been using my new tumbler. It is great - I leave the items in it for about two hours and they come out really shiny.
We have sold the flat in London (subject to contract) and hopefully nothing will go wrong. We should be moving to Somerset within a couple of weeks. Then we need to find a property in Winchester as the commute to London is shorter. We are off to Somerset tonight, taking lots of things with us. S&M are with Victoria for the weekend and coming back on Monday morning. I am going to miss Regent's Park, it is beautiful at the moment with all the daffodils.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

I got a scary commission!

Since I last wrote I have had another birthday and decided to move house and put our flat on the market! I also got a commission from a friend I see in the park while dog walking. Her granddaughter gave her some rubies (red beads) for Christmas and she wondered if I could make a bracelet for her from the rubies. I was rather nervous with my silversmithing skills being rather new but said yes. She gave me 8 rubies. I decided to make silver bezels from bezel strips, solder them into circles (all the rubies were different sizes) and then solder the circles onto silver sheet. Only one of the bezels was successful. I could have cried! They either melted as the bezel strip was only 0.3mm thick or they didn't solder because I was too worried about melting them. I wanted to give up and tell Amanda that I couldn't do it but decided to have another go. Eventually I had my 8 circles and soldered them onto 8 pieces of silver sheet, pickled them, sawed them out and filed and polished them. Then I had to join sterling silver jump rings either side of the bezels. I was most worried about this bit but only one jump ring gave me a problem. I put the rubies into the bezels and joined the links together with more jump rings and added a toggle clasp. I had to make some adjustments to the size and only needed 6 rubies in the end. Here is a picture of the finished article - I am amazed I managed it. I will take it into the Assay Office in Hatton Garden for hallmarking and will let you know if she likes it!
My wonderful husband gave me a doming set with punches, a barrelling unit and a disc cutting set from Cooksons for my birthday. My sister gave me two books - Two-in-one manual on jewellery by Madeline Coles and Tips and Shortcuts for jewellery making by Stephen O'Keeffe - both great books! Victoria who looks after S&M when we are away gave me a schnauzer bag charm/key ring.
Made a few other pieces recently - see piccies. My fibromyalgia is flaring up at the moment so I am going back to Prof Davies for some help.
S&M are doing fine - still haven't had their hair cut since November! It's a bit matted.

Monday, 17 January 2011

4 pairs of earrings and a necklace!

After practising my silversmithing techniques since getting back to London after Christmas, I finally made some of my more usual jewellery when we went back to Somerset over the weekend. I made a lovely necklace - all mauve and pearls and sparkly crystals - it really is pretty and lovely to wear. Took me a long time to wire wrap all the stones and crystals. I also made 4 pairs of earrings. I have just put them all on the website but will post the pictures on this blog as well.
Rained so much this morning I had to dragg S&M down the road to the park. The only way I can get Megan to move is by running and then she runs with me - otherwise she stands and shivers and digs her heels in!
I have so many ideas in my design notebook that I can't wait to make. Don't know where to start. Have to pick up my hallmarked items on Wednesday so will have to do something with those. It's all go!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Happy New Year! The joys of stone setting

Back in London now. Having made 4 sterling silver bangles and 4 rings, I decided to try setting a gemstone in a ring. Have been using my new book, Jewellery Making - a complete course for beginners by Jinks McGrath - very much recommended for an introduction to silversmithing. I bought a couple of amethyst cabochons - 4mm - big mistake as they are so tiny. I decided to use a 6mm purple zircona instead. Made a ring band from sterling silver sheet and hammered it. Not too bad apart from the fact that it started to melt and I had to file some off the top! I then had to make a bezel cup from bezel wire. I made that, so I now have two rings in effect. Both soldered with hard solder. Then I had to solder a silver backing sheet to the bezel with medium solder and saw round it making a small bezel cup. (found out later that you can buy them in Cookson's for about £1!) My cup then has to be soldered to the ring with easy solder which has a lower melting point than hard and medium solder which means the other joints will not unsolder. Are you still with me? That worked fine. Then I had to fit the stone. - it was a very tight fit and I struggled. Richard had to help and eventually managed to push the bezel top over to hold the stone in place. It looks OK and is wearable but I won't put anything on this site unless it is perfect and it isn't - see picture. So I am keeping it for myself. With all the time it took to make it I would have to charge about a million pounds for it.
I have now got another book from Amazon about art clay called Magical Metal Clay Jewellery by Sue Heaser - another wonderful book with amazing things in it. I have a 20g pack of slow dry silver art clay so I will make some things with that to attach to a ring or bangle - watch this space. See picture of the art clay pendants I made recently that are waiting to be hallmarked.
S&M are doing fine - I am letting their fur grow as it's so cold - they look very cute.