Sunday, 28 September 2008
Saturday, 27 September 2008
I think the walking, the sunshine, the excitement and the ice cream (which, as you can see, he enjoyed!) wore him out though, as he's had a lovely nap this afternoon. I've had time to tidy the house up and do some more work on the experiments I've mentioned before. They are almost ready to show you - hopefully I can show you the first by the end of next week! No work for me this evening though as I'm off on a rare night out - a hen night!
Friday, 26 September 2008
4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil
3 Tablespoons chocolate drops (optional)
Run a knife around the sides of the mug, and tip the still warm cake out of the mug on to a plate - you wouldn't believe how hard it was persuading B to let me take a photo before he started eating!!
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Anyway, I promised you photos, and as you can see, I've kept my promise. These are some of the daisies I made on Tuesday. They are still one of my favourite designs to make, which is very good as they are also the design that I sell the most of at the moment! Creamy freshwater pearls and lovely fresh turquoise - they will be on the website very shortly!
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Anyway, the biggest event that I've got coming up next is a fashion show in aid of Sophie's Appeal, a charity set up by Lin and Mike Barringer after their daughter Sophie was diagnosed with a form of cancer of the kidney. Sophie died when she was six, but the funds raised in her name are used to fund research into childhood cancers, sponsor dream holidays for terminally ill children and their families and to establish 'Sophie's Place', a dedicated children's assessment centre.
The fashion show is being organised by James and Sarah Beattie (ex-Southampton footballer, currently plays for Sheffield for those of you, like me, who don't follow football!), who are patrons of the charity and it's being held at the Botley Park Hotel just outside Southampton on Sunday 19th October. I've been involved in a few of the charity's events before, and this is definitely the biggest so far - Southampton's Daily Echo have been promoting the event and ran a competition to find models for the event, the finals of which were held last weekend. There'll be an auction (fancy winning a holiday in the Beatties holiday home in Malaga, anyone?), dance acts, and lots more - oh, and a few stands of fashion related goodies, including me and my jewellery! I'm also lending some of my jewellery to the fashion show, so I'm working on some bigger pieces to show off on the cat walk. I'm really looking forward to it - and so is my mum! I've asked her to come along and help me out, but I think she may be a bit distracted by seeing if she can recognise the footballers and their wives who will hopefully be there!
If you are interested in finding out more about Sophie's Appeal or, if you're in the Southampton area and fancy coming to the fashion show, then please visit http://www.sophiesappeal.org/
Monday, 22 September 2008
One of the jobs I have to do tomorrow is take some photos. I'm really conscious that I haven't shown you any new jewellery for a couple of weeks. It's not that I haven't made anything - I have been busy making and designing, honest! It's just that several pieces have been commissions that I couldn't show you straight away, and it's taken me a while to get the new improved lighting for my photo studio set up. Anyway, tomorrow there will be no more excuses - you will have some photos!
Wednesday, 17 September 2008
The three tutorials that I've uploaded are on eye loops, wrapped loops and coils. These 3 are, I think, the most important techniques for a beginner to learn and, even, better, they are FREE! I decided that most of the technique tutorials would be free, and the project ones would just have a small charge. I've been teaching jewellery making for over 6 years now, and the tutorials are a way of using my experience to help you if you can't make it to a workshop, and a way of refreshing your memory if you've already got some experience!
The next tutorials I've got planned are on making your own head pins from sterling silver, making your own earwires and information on wireworking tools. If there are any tutorials you would like to see, please let me know!
You can find all the tutorials here.
Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Anyway, Tutorial Tuesday......after distracting myself by giving the kitchen a thorough clean, I got on and did quite a bit of admin and phone calls etc. Not all the phone calls I wanted to make as my phone is playing up again, but I managed to tick quite a few jobs off my list. I also uploaded the tutorials I've written onto my website. You can't see them on there at the moment as I've still got to double check that they've uploaded okay, but as from tomorrow my free tutorials on basic wire work techniques will be available to download. My plan had been to get them on the website by the end of August, but although they were written by then I decided I wanted to trial them at a couple of workshops first. So, tomorrow the next stage of my mission pass the addiction of jewellery making will be under way!
Right, off to get wrapped up to go to bed now! It may be sunny during that day at the moment, but it's definitely chilly at night! I can't bear being cold at night. No matter how tired I am I can never sleep when I'm cold, so tonight, if anyone is really interested, I shall be wearing winter pyjamas and bed socks (from a trip on a British Airways flight pre-B!), and I've put the blanket back on top of the duvet on my side of the bed. What on earth am I going to be like when winter arrives?!
Monday, 15 September 2008
I feel a lot more productive when it's sunny, so I was really pleased to be able to have some time in the shed this afternoon. B has more or less stopped having naps in the afternoon now, so I'm having to get used to doing without my hour or so work time each afternoon. Today, however, B fell asleep in the car on the way home (we'd been to see Laura and then to see Nicky during her lunch break at work) and slept in his bed for a couple of hours. A perfect length of time to do some housework and then hammer some silver, and even more perfect as it was unexpected!
I thought that I'd show you what I got up to - the photo shows a couple of rings and what will eventually be a necklace sitting on my desk. You can also see some of my favourite tools, some new and some older than me! The older ones are my two favourite hammers, both given to me by a friend whos parents were goldsmiths. The metal hammer is pitted with age and gives a beautiful texture to the silver. My newest toy, erm, tool is my Pepe disc cutter. I've used it to cut the discs that you can see - I've domed them using a doming block. The cutter arrived last month, a couple of months earlier than I hoped, after being on back order for a few months. I'd decided to buy a decent one rather than an Indian made one that would only last me a few years, and the wait has definitely been worthwhile! In the background you can also see the silver tubing I bought from Laura this morning - she'd decided not to use it to make silver cores inside her beads, and I've got a few designs sketched out that can use it - some of those experiments I mentioned a while back that I promise to show you soon!
By the way, B is still sleeping well in his new bed. He loves it, and stays in it all night until we go into him in the morning. I'm sure this honeymoon period will come to an end soon though! He's got his first pre-school session tomorrow afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes!
One of the stands that really caught my eye was Naive Textile Art....well, just look at the photos to see why! Naive is run by mother and daughter team Becks and Susan Jennings who use wool, fabric and felt to create what they have termed 'jewellery pincushions' - a great way to keep your jewellery organised and on display even when you're not wearing it. My favourites are the chocolate & trinket tray jewellery box and the ice cream jewellery pincushions. I think that a few people will be getting an ice cream with their jewellery from me this Christmas! I love the fact that the pincushions are practical as well as gorgeous to look at, and that Becks and Susan obviously really enjoy what they do! I think some of my jewellery in amongst those chocolates would look perfect, don't you?!
Sunday, 14 September 2008
Wednesday, 10 September 2008
Sunday, 7 September 2008
The lows first, as they explain where on earth I've been. B and I had a couple of trips to the doctors which then led to a trip to the hospital on Thursday, but he's fine thankfully! He had a rash that they eventually decided was an unusual ezecma rash, and you have to search for it now it's so much better. I did try not to panic though, when the triage nurse we saw on Wednesday called in the duty doctor who then called in the pediatrican! I was given some creams for B and asked to bring him back on Thursday, and then tried not to panic again when we were sent to the hospital. B was fantastic and took it all in his stride. We did have our humourous episodes - B won't use a potty yet (he'll sit on it happily but not yet use it!) and the hospital wanted a sample. So they said to take off his nappy and gave me a pot about a quarter the size of a potty - I'll leave the rest to your imagination!
And the highs - I did manage to finish some commissions this week, and had some nice sales. I'm very pleased that I managed to do the commission despite not having a work day on Thursday (I shouldn't have said I was looking forward to it, should I? I jinxed it!). Anyway, that's where I've been - and tomorrow I'm off to visit a trade show with a view to exhibiting there next year, so I'm off to pack my bag now!
Tuesday, 2 September 2008
I forgot to post this yesterday, sorry! Nicky and her two came over yesterday and after lunch we had some cupcakes I'd made at the weekend - and because it was Daisychain's anniversary Nicky decided we had to have candles on my cake - so here it is!
The ouch part is that I gave myself my first silversmithing burn yesterday evening. It was so stupid, I'd started to heat a piece for soldering, it moved as I touched it with the piece of wire I wanted to solder to it, so put the torch down and then I touched the silver with my finger to move it back into place. How stupid!! I was lucky that I'd only just started to heat it, and just as lucky that the burn was on top of a silversmithing blister (not my first!) and so didn't actually do any harm. In fact, it's actually made the blister better, but I don't recommend this as a cure for blisters at all!
I've been able to get some time in the shed over the last couple of days and I've been experimenting. They're not ready to show you yet, but it hopefully won't be long. The experiments are currently at the "I'm not sure about this any more, it doesn't quite look right" stage, but I keep reminding myself that I thought that about the first round of these experiments and they worked out really well. You'll see what I mean soon! I've also been busy with some commissions, but you'll have to wait until the new owners have seen them before I can show you, sorry!
I am really looking forward to Thursday. It's been 3 weeks since B has been to his childminder as she had to take some time off to look after a relative. He only goes one day a week, but it makes so much difference having a whole day in which to work. B starts preschool two weeks today - and I can feel myself getting a lump in my throat as I type! I'm sure all mums say this, but it has come round so quickly. I am so torn between excitement at the thought of some more time to get things done, guilt at feeling excited and sadness at how quickly this precious time is passing. Ho hum!
Monday, 1 September 2008
It didn't take me long, though, to remember that official phone calls and form filling aren't the reason I started up Daisychain Designs - it's the excitment at making unexpected sales (one from Zurich and another from New Zealand were particularly lovely recently!), at meeting people by chance who have heard of my work and (I'm blushing now) admire what I do, at the eureka moments when a design I've spent ages perfecting comes together beautifully, at opening up parcels of gorgeousness (such as the beautiful focal bead from Mindy the other day!), at the satisfaction when a student is surprised and delighted at what they've created in one of my workshops. I can honestly say that leaving mainstream teaching and setting up the business was the third best thing I have ever done - falling in love with T and having B being joint first, of course!
Now, before I start gushing even more (although if you want to read lots more gushing go and read Kerry Bogert's gushing contest!) I have a couple of things that I hope you may be interested in. Firstly, you may have noticed that a link to sign up to my newsletter appeared at the side of my blog over the weekend. For ages now I've been sending out my newsletter using MS Outlook, and while that's worked well up until now, as my mailing list has been getting longer and longer it's become a rather inefficient method. I'm now going to be using a newsletter service to organise everything, so if you are already on my mailing list and would like to stay on it or if you would like to join up then please click on the link below or at the side. As an incentive (as if getting news of the events I'm attending, special offers and advance notice of new workshop dates and designs isn't enough!), each month I will be running a prize draw - and yes, that draw will be open to everyone, even those of you not in the UK - don't you just hate it when competitions are only open to those in a particular country?
Secondly, because it's always nice to get a little extra and because they seem appropriate (and I like making them) every order of £20 or more placed through my website during September will receive a present of a pair of little daisy studs (see right for an example). That includes workshop bookings. The studs are fine silver with sterling silver pins.
Thirdly (what a long post this is turning into!) I've got another little competition for you. If you fancy winning the earrings to the left then leave me a comment below to say hello. The deadline is a week today (8th September) and I will get T to randomly choose a winner. Again, you don't have to be in the UK to enter. The earrings are sterling silver, oxidised to give an antique effect, and freshwater pearl. If you fancy learning how to make a pair of these yourself, please visit the workshops section of the website!
P.S. Completely off topic here, and I'm probably going to jinx it now, but B LOVES his bed and has, so far, slept really well in it! There you go, jinxed it now, and we will have sleepless nights for the rest of the week!