Saturday, 30 August 2008

All grown up!

My little boy is growing up! We finally moved B into his new room today. You may remember that the room was my old workroom and that I decorated in time for T's Dad to stay in when he visited at the start of the month. We decided to take it a step at a time. For the last week B's new bed has been up and he's been playing in it as it's a car shaped one, so he's been getting used to the room. This morning T and I moved the last few bits over from one room to another, and then we went into town together to buy B a duvet and pillow. I've never known a child to be so excited about getting a duvet! Anyway, he slept in it for his naptime, and went to bed really well tonight. I guess the real challenge will be tomorrow morning when he realises that he can get out of his new bed and come and wake Mummy and Daddy up!

Now that we've decided where the furniture goes I'm going to test my (appalling) painting skills and stencil some cars and trains on the walls. I'm sure I'll let you know how it goes!

Anyway, something more business related, Monday is the 2nd anniversary of me registering as self-employed and officially setting Daisychain Designs up, so look out for a few new things and a special offer!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

And now for something completely different....

Once upon a time I did a lot of papercrafting as well as making jewellery, but since B has come along and I started my business properly it's taken a back seat. I've packed up some of my materials and other bits and pieces and put them in the loft for when B is older and can use them or for when (one day!) I have a bit more time, but I've got a few bits and pieces in my workroom too, and got the chance to use them yesterday to make a small photo album.

I've already made a couple of these for my mum to give as christening presents for her friend's grandchildren, so I obviously had to make another one when the third child was born! It's a simple accordian album with little pockets behind the photomats for tags for journalling. I've cut out titles for each page, and packaged up some embellishments too. I know that the children's mum liked the first two albums, so I hope she enjoys filling this one up too.

It made a nice change cutting paper and cardstock rather than silver today. I don't think that I'll ever spend as much time as I once did on papercrafts, but you never know, I may finish the scrapbook I've started for B's first year before he starts school!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

My very first cufflinks

These are the very first cufflinks I made - yes, I know I said I would show you these at the weekend, but I had to find where T had hidden them so I could photograph them! They are made from silver art clay and have B's fingerprint in the middle - and that took longer to do than I expected!

I had been told that it was better to make a mould of B's finger print and then use that to make an impression into the art clay as that would give a better impression, so I mixed up some two-part moulding compound. B loves playing with play dough, so you'd think that getting him to press an index finger into the moulding compound before it set would be no trouble at all, but it took a few attempts! I then used fimo to make a 'finger' that I could bake and then press into the art clay. It's not that that clear in the photo, but I also scratched B's name and the date into the back of the dried cufflinks before I fired them. The finished cufflinks were lightly oxidised to make the fingerprints easier to see. Thankfully T did like them alot after all that work!

By the way, the cufflinks that I posted on Friday are finally on the website here!

Friday, 22 August 2008

My cufflinks!

There is a category on the front page of my website labelled 'Bridal and for him', and up until now it's been empty apart from a sign saying 'coming soon'. At last I have something to put in it! I've decided to take out the bridal part, as I realised that alot of the designs I was thinking about putting in there are ones that I'd put in the Limited Edition section anyway, and I don't see the point in having the same items listed twice, it only makes the site more confusing. Anyway, the bridal commissions I've done so far have been either completely new designs or variations of existing designs that brides have seen in the Exclusives or Limited Edition sections.

So, the category has been renamed 'For Him' and these are the first items going in. Each cufflink has been made using silver art clay, so the front design is fine silver while the chain and bar on each is sterling silver. I love the feel of finished silver art clay - it is so tactile. I've lightly oxidised them to give an antique effect and given them a satin finish, but I'm also going to make some that aren't oxidised.

I have a confession to make though - these aren't the first I've made, just the first I've actually photographed and shown you! The first pairs I made were for T and my Dad for Father's Day. I've made some for Spice Art Studios too, and just finished a couple of commission ones, but I can't show you those yet! I'll photograph T's to show you tomorrow as I'm really pleased with them!

P.S. It was my neighbour's funeral today - it went as well as these things ever can. There was a lovely turn out, and I'd say about a third of the households in the street were represented - a lot in this day and age. All this has definitely made me want to get to know my neighbours better. You can't predict what your neighbours are going to be like when you move into a new house, and we have definintely been lucky with ours.

P.P.S. I haven't been able to post since Monday. To cut a long story short I'd tried out a new comments box that blogger had come up with, but I didn't like the look of it in the end. I couldn't upload the backed up original of my template that I had thankfully remembered to save until I remembered older versions of IE sometimes work better with blogger templates than the latest, so uploaded the backed up template through that - and here I am! Maybe now I'll learn not to mess around with my template - maybe!

Monday, 18 August 2008


A quick update on the reduced silversmithing tuition - there are is now 4 3 2 1 places place no places left at £100 for the whole day or £60 for half a day. Just so you know!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Workshops update

I realised, as I was talking to people this weekend about my workshops, that I haven't posted about the next set of dates on here - oops! So, here are the dates of my next workshops, and also news about something I'm really excited about!

Wednesday 24th September 7.15pm-10.15pm – Jewellery workshop
Suitable for all abilities. I will teach you the basics of jewellery making, after which you are free to copy or adapt one of the couple of dozen of projects on offer or to create your own design.

Saturday 11th October 10am-4.30pm –Sterling silver charm bracelet
An all day workshop suitable for those with some experience of working with wire - as long as you've used a pair of round nosed pliers to turn eye loops before you'll be fine, I'll take you through everything step by step! The workshops will cover techniques including making clasps, chains, jump rings, ear wires, wrapped eye loops and coils, and an explanation of the different gauges and types of sterling silver wire. The photo above is an example of the style of bracelet you will make.

Wednesday 22nd October 7.15pm-10.15pm – Sterling silver earrings workshop
Learn how to create a base for your earrings from sterling silver wire, solder the shape closed and then decorated it with fine sterling silver wire and semi-precious stones. You will also learn how to oxidise your earrings if you wish to give them an antiqued look, and to make your own ear wires. No previous experience of working with wire is necessary.

For more information on any of the workshops look here. You can either book via the website or email me.

And now the bit I'm really excited about! You may have noticed by now that I am rather addicted to beads and all things related to jewellery making, and that I like passing the addiction on! When I set up my workshop (okay, shed!) I had a surprising number of people ask me whether I would be adding beginner's silversmithing to the list of workshops I run - so, after checking my insurance, equipment etc, I decided I would. I have had a couple of willing volunteers to help me work out how much jewellery people are likely to make during a day or half a day’s tuition and everything is now in place to start taking bookings.

More details of the tuition will be available on the website as from tomorrow, and I will be offering full day tuition at £120 including the first £10 of materials and half day tuition at £70 including the first £10 of materials. Places are limited as I will usually be able to take only one, sometimes two students a month initially. As a special offer for those signed up to my newsletter and you lovely lot the workshop fee for the first 5 people to book will be reduced to £100 for a day’s tuition and £60 for half a day’s tuition. For more details please email me or use the 'contact me' form on the website!

Is it Sunday already?!

Well that weekend went quickly! The Hobbies Festival was a success - only a couple of sales but lots of people had a go at making their own jewellery. My mission to pass on the addiction of beading and jewellery making is going strong! I had lots of interest in my workshops and jewellery parties, which is obviously good, and a few workshop bookings as well. With this type of event the emphasis is on encouraging people to have a go at a new hobby rather than selling, and I won't really know what will come of it all for months. I'm still getting workshop bookings and other business from a similar event I did last year. All in all it was a good weekend, but tiring! Thank you to Sam who came and helped me on Saturday afternoon - she was an absolute star! - and to Nicky who came to give me some moral support and a quick (much needed!) break this afternoon!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Hobbies Festival

I meant to post this reminder a couple of days ago, but this has been one of those weeks - very busy, and with some unexpected horrible news.

Anyway, the reminder first...this weekend is the annual Royal Victoria Country Park Hobbies Festival. It’s a great day (or two!) out with lots of hobbies and crafts being demonstrated and opportunity for you to have a go at many of them too. I will be demonstrating jewellery making and will also be exhibiting my jewellery, so come along if you fancy seeing my work, including many of the jewellery workshop projects, in real life. More details can be found here on their website and the Festival starts at 11am each day. I was there setting up this afternoon and it was looking busy already with childrens activities including crazy golf and small fair ground-type rides being set up and other demonstrators getting organised. If you're in the area and haven't been to the Park before it's well worth a visit - B loves the miniature railway there - well, he loves all trains!

As usual at the craft shows that I do, if you spend £30 or more on jewellery on my stall and mention my blog I’ll give you 10% off. Remember, too, that by putting the code ‘daisy’ into the relevant box at checkout on my website that you get 10% off your first jewellery order of £30 or more. Well, I have to be fair to those who live to far away to come to a show, don’t I? Please feel free to pass the offers onto friends and family.

Okay, non-jewellery news now...

The unexpected horrible news happened yesterday. One of our neighbours died very suddenly. Wednesday afternoon he was getting the caravan ready to go on holiday with his wife first thing on Thursday morning. He and I did the usual British thing of joking about the British summer weather, and he said it looked like he would be taking the bad weather away with them according to the weather reports. Thursday morning he collapsed and died of an aneurysm. I saw his son and daughter trying to put the caravan away after I came back from taking B to his childminder (Thursday is my work day) so went out to give them a hand and asked if everything was okay, and they told me what had happened. We must have missed the ambulance coming up the road when we were getting B up, but no one else in the road knew that he had died, not even those who had come out to offer help when they saw the ambulance. I offered to let people know as we're a fairly close-knit street (as streets go these days!). We've only got 30 houses in a cul-de-sac, so most people know each other, pop round for coffee, stand in the street chatting, take in parcels for each other, that kind of thing. We're lucky in that. There were two general reactions from everyone - complete disbelief as he was one of those people who was never ever ill, who you assumed would live until he was 90 (he was mid 60s at most), and most people said "but I only spoke to him/waved hello yesterday afternoon". I found that second bit really heartening. His family are keeping busy, and I suppose all that we as neighbours can do is keep an eye on his wife (his children are grown up but live in the area), and try and make sure that she knows that we're there for her while trying not to intrude at the same time. Life is really sh*t sometimes. Sorry, I'm not being my usual cheerfully blogging self at the moment, but hey, it's my blog and I made the decision from the start to not make this just about my business. If you read to the end - thanks for putting up with it!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

All in a good cause....

It's late, and I'm tired but happy after a day teaching silversmithing so this only a quick post to pass on a link to these great Awareness Pins.

They were designed by Kerrie Slade, a seed beader who has had several projects published this year in both UK and US magazines. She originally designed them to raise money for the hospital where her mum received breast cancer treatment, but she's now made the pattern available to everyone. She says on her blog:

I would like to encourage as many people as possible to get on board with this project and to make these pins in any colour they wish to represent the causes closest to their hearts. I am happy for people to donate them, raffle them, sell them to raise money for the charity of their choice - whatever, so long as the money goes to charity. I am hoping that this could actually be a lot of fun and a great way to raise money for local hospitals, hospices, education and support around the world.

The pattern is available here. All funds raised by the sale of the pattern until the end of September will go to cancer charities. Kerry has given permission for anyone to use the pattern to sell pins, but only in order to raise money for whatever charity they wish. There is also a second part to the fundraising - the opportunity to win the two pins in the picture.

Visit Kerrie's blog ( for more details!

Sunday, 10 August 2008


Just a quick note to let you know that I've added Poppy and a few other new pieces to the website. One of the pieces is this one, Papillion, that I actually finished a couple of weeks ago - I must must get quicker at taking photos and uploading them to the website but it takes longer than you'd think to do it and I much prefer creating new jewellery. am I going to sell if I don't upload my new pieces? I know I do quite a few craft shows, but not everyone lives down here on the south coast!

Anyway, I'm really pleased with Papillion. It was one of the rare pieces that I had sketched out and made exactly as I'd sketched it. More often than not, the pieces I make insist that I adapt my designs as I'm working - yes, silver and beads do talk to you as you work with them! Didn't you know?! I cut both layers of the butterfly from sterling silver sheet, hammered the bottom layer to give a line texture, soldered the layers together and finally oxidised the pieces to highlight the texture. You'll find Poppy here and Papillion here. Poppy is obviously unique due to the beautiful bead, and Papillion is part of my Limited Edition collection.

By the way, I've made a few changes to the website menus as it was all getting a bit cluttered. I haven't removed any information, but some links have been moved from the menu on the left to the bottom of the page, and some pages (the jewellery party ones and the jewellery information ones i.e. the ones about the materials I use) have been made into one page. I think the website looks a lot neater and easier to find your way around - I hope you'll agree!

Saturday, 9 August 2008

I got there!

Well, I've painted the spare room and sorted everything out in there enough for T's Dad to sleep in this weekend, so that was one goal met this week! Now I just need to sort out the rest of my papercrafting bits and pieces and move B's things in there. I think I'm going to have to ask my parents to look after B for the day or at least wait until T has a day off (he's due a few) so that I can move everything around without trying to entertain B at the same time. This is not exactly something that I can do while he's having a nap!

Anyway, despite the almost wintery weather here I've been able to take some photos, and the ones here are of the necklaces I mentioned here on Wednesday, the ones made with Mindy Macgregor's beautiful beads. The first designs that I had sketched out for the ivory and black bead used patterned silver discs (I was going to make some myself using a disc cutter and my lovely rolling mill - more about those 2 tools to come next week!), but I realised that using that much silver took the focus away from the bead, and I really didn't want to do that. So, I re-visited and adapted a design that I came up with years ago before I started using much silver. I put the bead together with Swarovski crystals and hung it from 2 strands of seed beads and one strand of silver chain. I like how this one turned out so much that I decided to use the same idea for the red and blue poppy bead.

It was only when I started editing the photos of the necklaces that I realised why the seed bead/silver chain combination looked more familiar that a years-old design usually would - have a look at these gorgeous bracelets by US lampwork artist Kerry Bogert. If you stay for a read you'll see that she's made several different colours and adapted the idea into necklaces too. Her blog Kab's Creative Concepts is one that I read nearly every day, and I guess that more stayed in my subconcious than I realised! Oh well! Kerry, if you ever read this I really hope you don't mind!

"Ivory" was sold the day after it was made - a friend was over when the post arrived one day and I unwrapped the beads and made me promise to show her what ever I made with it before I showed anyone else and she bought it! "Poppy" will be on the website tomorrow.

Crafty Synergy

I just found another blog to add to my 'must check every day' list - Crafty Synergy. It was created by Patricia, a graphic designer and paper crafter from Texas, who describes ber blog as "a collection of interviews with inspiring artists. We learn a little about each of the creative businesses they own. My hope is that you find reading this as interesting as I do and that it will give some of you the inspiration to follow your dreams as well."

There are some great interviews and some really lovely pictures to feast your eyes on. I definitely recommend a visit or two - or several visits as you'll keep finding more and more delicious handcrafted goodies!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

I'm getting there!

I've realised just how often I say that - I'm getting there! I seem to constantly be working on a project either for the house or for the business that I'm certain will make a massive difference to our lives and when it's finished I can have a short rest. But it never stops! I always find something else that I just have to do, and I am definitely too hard on myself when I feel that the list of jobs is getting too long. Take the windows that I painted the other week as an example - I just had to get them done that week, but as soon as I'd done them I was telling myself that I just had to fix the paint in the hallway where we had had a leak ages ago, that I had to replant the front garden, that I definitely needed to sort out the spare room before T's Dad visits this weekend. I realised at the weekend just how hard I was being on myself, so the front garden, the hallway, the utility room ceiling etc etc etc can wait a while longer and I'm going to do one thing at a time!

So, this week I've been sorting out the spare room. This is the room that used to be my workroom, and since moving into the shed the room has been a bit of a mess. It's got the rest of my craft stuff (mainly paper craft things that I just don't have time for any more) and also several items that appear to have been dumped in there - you know what happens when you've got a spare room - stuff just accumulates there! The plan is that this room will becomes B's, and I was rushing to get it done so that B could move in there in time for T's Dad to be able to sleep in B's old room this weekend. In the spirit of givning myself a break, though, I've decided to just paint it and tidy it so that T's Dad can sleep in there, and then B can move in there when it's done properly.

All that was a long winded explanation of why I hadn't posted yet this week - sorry! I have managed to squeeze in some jewellery making though. I've made some lovely (well, I think they're lovely!) necklaces using Mindy Macgregor's beautiful beads. Actually, I can't be the only one who thinks they're lovely as one has sold even before I've had a chance to put it on the site properly. I've also been making lots of bangles as commissions. I love making bangles! My favourite bit is when I hammer them around my bracelet mandrel after I've soldered them as they don't just look like strange silver shapes then! I've also been working on a couple of other things, so I'm going to stop now, get some sleep, and take some photos for you tomorrow.


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