Tuesday, 26 February 2008

website headaches nearly over - I hope!

Still no new jewellery photos to show you, sorry! I've been busy trying to sort my website out, but I'm going to use what ever sunlight we get tomorrow to take some photos, promise!

My website has been giving me headaches for a while. On the advice of my first webhosting company I had bought a template using zen cart software (free fantastic ecommerce software) and for months I've been getting frustrated that no matter how many times I followed the instructions in zen cart's online help forum certain functions just wouldn't work e.g. changing the size of the pictures so that they were clearer, adding text to the front page (new workshop date added, last posting date for Christmas, don't forget Mother's Day, that kind of thing). At about 1am the other morning I finally found out that it wasnt' me, it was the template all along! Apparently the people who designed the template I bought over-rode alot of important programming so that although their templates look pretty the can't be personalised properly and alot of the 'behind the scenes' functions no longer work. The template company (who aren't anything to do with the people who wrote the zen cart software itself) sell alot of templates, so there are alot of frustrated people ranting about them on the zen cart forum! So, I have now downloaded the free zen cart software and a couple of other bits and pieces and I'm part way through setting up a new improved website that will hopefully do everything I want it to! Big thanks go to Hannah (Kutuu) who reassured me that yes, I can do this!

Anyway, my eyes are turning square with all the time I've spent in front of the computer this evening, so I'm now off to bed!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

The best laid plans....

Well, that week didn't go to plan!

I haven't posted for over a week as I've had a horrible cold that's been going round. As it was half term I've been busy teaching youth group jewellery workshops and also running jewellery making birthday parties. In between those I've been looking after B (of course!) and nursing a very sore throat. I lost my voice completely on Wednesday which meant that I was reading stories to B in little more than a whisper - which meant that he kept saying "Mummy sad" as he thought that was the reason I was so quiet! I had to keep reassuring him! Teaching on Thursday (2 jewellery parties and 1 workshop at Spice Art Gallery) was interesting as my voice kept coming and going. Those of you who have ever done any teaching without much of a voice will know that you can, for a short time, force your voice to a quiet croak, but you definitely pay for it later!

Anyway, life is back to normal now, whatever that means! Last week I didn't even have enough energy to make jewellery outside of the workshops (very unlike me!) but I still had ideas coming. This week I've got to catch up with work and hopefully try out some of the ideas. I've got some admin to catch up on and I need to do some work to my website, and I need to put together some samples for a couple of possible new outlets. Oh yes, and photograph the silver clay jewellery I made over a week ago! I've just made about 100 head pins this evening, so that's a start. I really enjoy melting the end of the wire to make headpins - it's very therapeutic!

Below is some jewellery I have managed to photograph. It's the present I made for Mum for her birthday, a byzantine chainmaille bracelet. I added a small amethyst to the clasp as it needed something extra and its her birthstone. I even made the card - I used to make lots of cards but my rubber stamps etc are mostly sitting collecting dust now that making jewellery takes up most of my craft time! I was a bit nervous about giving the bracelet to Mum as it had taken me so long to make, but thankfully she loved it!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Happy Birthday Mum!

My mum is 30 again today. I'm not sure she'd want me to put her actual age, but just so you know, she doesn't look it. In fact my Grandma (Dad's side) is 90 but looks about 70, so I'm hoping I've inherited the 'looking younger' genes from both sides of the family! And to think that I used to want to look older.....

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM! I hope you had a lovely day and that Dad is spoiling you this evening. See you on Sunday!

I've had a lovely surprise... Laura has sent me a 'You make my day' award - thank you! There are rules attached to this award, however, so I've got to get thinking - not what I find easiest on Friday evening, but I'll try my best!
To pass the award on, here are the details :
1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make me think and/or make my day.
2. Acknowledge the post of the award giver.
3. Display the “You Make My Day Award” logo
4. Tell the award winners that they have won by commenting on their blogs with the news.

I've tried to award blogs that inspire me and/or make me laugh, but not those that Laura has already awarded so that the award gets passed on rather than go round in circles!
So in no particular order I award:
1. Hannah at Kutuu - beautiful silver jewellery
2. Jo at Gemheaven - a gorgeous mix of silver, gemstones, lampwork and seaglass
3. Kerry at Kab's creative concepts - amazingly colourful beads
4. Bakerella - you just have to see these mouthwatering cakes!
5. Project Felt - practical 'green' advice and lovely felted products - I love knitting and felting bags and bowls!

So, I'm off to post on their blogs to let them know! By the way, my silver art clay jewellery is now on my website. I've been playing with the clay again today, so I should have some more to show you in a day or two.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Valentine Hearts

As it's Valentine's Day I had to show you photos of the hearts I've been making over the last couple of days, didn't I? I'm really pleased with the pendant (below). I did a day's workshop with Hilary Bowen (http://www.silverclayjewellery.co.uk/) in December and absolutely loved it. I had been promising myself a place on the course for a couple of years and the friend who wanted to come with me and I finally managed to find a date that we could both do. It was the first jewellery workshop that I had been to where I hadn't been the teacher, and it was very relaxing! I was given a starter kit for Christmas and have since bought some more clay, some of which you can see below! I've added garnet, rose quartz and peridot and hung it on a long chain. I'm making one for myself, but this one will be on the website tomorrow.
I've used silver art clay to make these heart earrings too - one small pair and one larger. I'm going to put these on the site as 'made-to-order' but I'll keep a couple of pairs in stock for those urgent orders!And lastly, another pair of silver heart and garnet earrings. I've used rounded chips of garnet in this ones rather than the drum beads that I used in these as I used the last of the drum beads in my butterfly! I love those beads though, so I'm going to have to visit http://www.b-for-beads.co.uk/ and get some more! As it's been a lovely sunny (but cold!) day here today, I've had a fun day making jewellery and a fun evening teaching a workshop at Spice Art Gallery I'm extending my 10% off offer for a week - spend £50 or more on jewellery via my website before midnight on 21st February to receive 10% your order. Just use the code 'Valentine' at checkout. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


Well, what do you think? It's finally oxidised, polished and photographed, although the light wasn't fantastic this afternoon. It was lovely and sunny but by the time B was having his nap and I could get outside and photograph the sun was still in the garden but only on the back fence!

I also managed to take photos of the studs that I've finished so far. I'm really pleased with them and they will be on the website soon, probably as 'made to order' items.

I've been on a bit of a roll jewellery-wise over the last couple of days, so I'll have a couple more pictures to show you tomorrow.

And one last thing - one of the women who came to my workshop on Saturday (Lisa, but not the same Lisa as I mentioned in an earlier post!) was quite rightly showing off what she'd made - and has had lots of orders from her family and friends! How cool is that! Congratulations Lisa!

Monday, 11 February 2008

Party time

The workshop went really well on Saturday. Everyone enjoyed themselves (well, they said they did anyway and I certainly did!) and everyone made a charm bracelet and a pair of earrings. I remembered my camera.......but forgot to take any photos. How dumb was that?! Thankfully Lisa took some photos of her bracelet which she posted on the UK Beaders forum here. Thank you for your lovely comments Lisa!

I've got several jewellery birthday parties booked in the diary for the next month or so, including two during next week's halfterm holiday. Basically, I take myself, my beads and everything else we need to make beautiful jewellery round to the birthday girl's house/party venue and we then spend 2 hours making the aforementioned beautiful jewellery. The photos I've added to today's post show the most popular projects. I love running birthday parties as everyone's there to have fun and everyone goes away with at least one piece of jewellery and some skills to help them make more jewellery.

I've oxidised the butterfly pendant but I haven't had a chance to take a photo of it yet as I didn't finish polishing it until this evening. It's got freshwater pearls in so I couldn't get the tumbler to do the polishing for me! There'll be a photo of it tomorrow, promise, plus some photos of some stud earrings. I would have posted a picture of some on Sunday, but a friend popped over and bought them before I could photograph them!

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Workshop day

Just a quick note before I set off for my advanced sterling silver wirework class. I enjoy all the jewellery teaching that I do - children's birthday parties, youth group sessions, classes for adults - but this class is definitely my favourite. It's an all day class so I must go and pack my lunch in a minute. I forgot it last time, which was a bit embarrassing as all the students remembered theirs! I must also remember my camera so that I can show you what everyone made.

I've finished the butterfly necklace, just need to oxisdise it and photograph it, which probably won't be until tomorrow now as it won't be light enough when I get back this afternoon. I've had to put Laura's idea of amethyst and moonstone on hold as I didn't have enough beads of the right size (how come I NEVER have enough beads?!). I've also got some studs to photograph and show you, so check back tomorrow!

Monday, 4 February 2008


Okay, the AGM yesterday......

Every year there's a Secretary's Challenge and guild members are challenged to produce a piece of work on a particular theme. As the guild members include workworkers, spinners, embroiders, potters and many more the entries are varied. This year the theme was 'Holes and Cavities' - maybe Sue (our Secretary) had been to the dentist? - and I was determined to enter something this year as I hadn't done before. As I've mentioned just a few times before I've been practicing my soldering and I've had an idea for a double chain with large round hammered links floating round in my head, so I decided to give it a go.

And 'Bubbles' (below) won!

What do you think? The chain and the clasp were hand fabricated, soldered and lightly hammered, and I decided that some beautiful lampwork by Izzy Anderson was perfect for the theme as the beads contain 'bubbles' of fine silver. It's a long necklace - 25.5" with 1" extender chain (about 69cm in all). I've cut the rings for a matching bracelet and for a finer version of the chain too, so I'll be soldering again this week!
I've also soldered frames for a butterfly and a daisy shaped woven wire pendant. I've made a butterfly before without soldering the frame and I'm expecting that a soldered frame will make life easier when it comes to wrapping the finer wire around! The butterfly below was pictured in the second issue of Beads and Beyond magazine. I put it in one of the galleries that displays my work and some lucky girl was bought it for Christmas!

I haven't decided what stones to use in my new butterfly - unless I have any requests/suggestions I guess I'll see what takes my fancy tomorrow!

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Busy, busy, busy

It's been a busy weekend here. B and I went to a fancy dress birthday party yesterday afternoon. He went as Bob the Builder and wore his hat all the way there, but took it off as soon as he got inside! I guess it's because we always take his coat, shoes etc off when we get inside. We had a fun time playing pass the parcel and playing with the birthday boy's toy cars. T took the opportunity to mend his bike without B around to 'help'!
Today, T took B swimming while I did some more soldering and finished a project that I'm really pleased about (more about that tomorrow when I can take some photos to show you!) and then Nicky and I went to the Wessex Guild of Craftsmen AGM. AGMs are never wonderful fun, but I rather liked this one (for reasons that I will tell you tomorrow when I can show you the photos I need to take!). I've offered to help the show organiser with promoting the Guild shows. I wanted to contribute to the Guild (afterall, it benefits me too) but I can't commit enough time to be a committee member, so I decided to offer to help one of the committee members with what is probably the biggest job in the Guild.
I've been busy soldering and creating with silver art clay this week. I've made the start of a few pairs of stud earrings but I'm waiting for my order of studs backs to arrive so that I can finish them off. They should be on the site soon, as will the earrings I posted tonight. These chandeliers are a design that I used to make in silver plated wire and I decided to resurrect them this week. I've used garnet, tiger eye, amazonite and turquoise in these ones.

And last, but definitely not least, for tonight, as it's Valentine's Day in less than a fortnight I am offering 10% off any jewellery orders of £50 or more placed between now and 14th February. Just type the code 'Valentine' into the relevant box at checkout. Prehaps time to drop a hint to your Valentine or to stock up on a few birthday presents? This offer includes commission pieces, so if there is something that you would like me to make especially for you please do contact me.


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