Saturday, 29 November 2008

Time for bed!

Well, the new jewellery is priced up, all my pendants are displayed on boards so that I can hopefully just put the boards up on my stall and save myself some time in the morning, everything I need for tomorrow is (hopefully!) piled up on the dining room table ready to pack in the's definitely time for bed!

B and I did manage to get most of our jobs done yesterday. He's really proud of his new car seat, bless him, and loves the fact that the base of it has two pull-out holders for his drink and snacks! I love the fact that it's not so far off the main car seat so that if he drops something he's more likely to be able to pick it up himself. The only thing on my list that I didn't manage to get done yesterday was soldering, but I've been able to make up for that today as T and B went over to my parents for the afternoon. The soldering jobs I had to do were putting bails on the backs of these pendants. The leaf is sterling silver with autumnal tourmaline beads. The tree is fine silver, made with precious metal clay. I've oxidised both pendants to highlight the texture. I've decided to make the tree a made-to-order item on the website, maybe with the option of different beads - you can just about see these in the picture. What do you think?

Anyway, I'm off to get some sleep before tomorrow! Night night!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Rush Rush Rush

That's what I seem to be doing this week - rushing everywhere! It's partly because B and I have had a bit more of a social life this week (birthday lunch with a friend and her little boy on Monday for example - quite a relaxed lunch too considering pre-schoolers were about!), partly the usual rush on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to get lunch finished before preschool, and partly because I've got my last show of the year this coming Sunday.

I know I've got enough stock, but I'm having the usual last minute panic about needing more in different colours, different sizes etc. I had thought that I was getting over this but obviously not! I've also been busy designing and making more made-to-order items for the website, including the moonstone and sterling silver earrings above. These were textured with my favourite hammer - and if anyone had told me a few years ago that I would one day have such a thing as a favourite hammer I would have thought them slightly mad! I do love the texture this hammer gives - you can see it on my silver birch bangles as well. It's a hammer that I inherited, and I love the fact that it's got so much history.

The show that I'm doing on Sunday is the University of Southampton Christmas Craft Show. It's in the Staff Club on University Road from 10am-4pm, and it's usually really well signposted. It's quite a big show - my mum usually does half her Christmas shopping there when she comes and helps me out - and there's live music and good food too! If you're coming along please stop and say hello! And if you end up being tempted by the lovely sparklies on my stall and spend £30 or more I'll give you 10% off!

The necklace above is one of the items that will be on the stall if it's not bought off the website before then - the beautiful bead was made by Becky at Chameleon Designs. I've got another two beads of hers in the same style, and I just love them. The colours are just gorgeous and the beads are so tactile - have a closer look!

Right, that's it for now as I really must get to bed - B and I have to be in town early tomorrow to get him a new car seat and me a couple of last minute display bits for Sunday, then it's back here for lunch and Nicky's little boy is coming to play for the afternoon, then some friends are coming over, then I've got some soldering to do ........... and hopefully I'll get a couple of minutes quiet sit down too!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

All hammered out!

At first glance this photo may not look much different than this one, apart from the angle, but I promise you that a lot of work has gone on between each photo shoot!

Today has been a day of hammering, and my shoulders are definitely telling me that I need to do something else tomorrow! Each of these rings has been hammered on both sides, half of them have been cut open (I have to close them before hammering them otherwise they lose their shape), and in the middle of the picture you can see a chain that I have started. Once the rings have been linked together the next stage is to solder closed the ones I re-opened, link through the next row of rings to make a double chain and solder those links closed again. It takes quite a while, but it's worth it! This lot of rings will become a necklace and a couple of bracelets, both for commissions and to go on the website after hallmarking.
On a completely different note......Happy Birthday Nicky! I hope you've had a lovely evening and I'll see you tomorrow.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Lots of thinking time

B and I got back at teatime from a loooong journey Up North - and I am allowed to write it with capital letters as our weekend destination was Stockton-on-Tees, 300 miles from home. I know that that won't seem that far if you're reading this from the States but the roads over here aren't long straight highways and it's the furthest I've ever driven on my own. We went to visit a university friend and her husband while T had a much deserved weekend off. It was so good to see them, especially as we hadn't met up since last December and they are off to Texas for a year come January. We also stopped off at T's mum's on the way there and back for a rest - it is definitely very handy having relatives who live halfway along a long journey!

Anyway, I spent about half of the journey singing 'Old MacDonald' with B or playing 'What can you see?' (our version of I spy where we take it in turns to ask what each other can see - well, he can't spell yet!). During the other half I discovered that travelling a long distance with a sleeping child in the back allows alot of time to think up jewellery ideas! I only hope that I can remember them all to sketch them down! I hope that I can get the opportunity to get into the shed tomorrow to get working on a couple of them too so that I can share them with you. I think I will be hammering some of those rings too......

Now, however, I am off to bed to catch up with some sleep- night night!

P.S. If anyone knows of any craft classes/workshops running next year in the Dallas area, please let me know so I can pass them onto my friend. She's planning on using the year in Texas to catch up with lots of crafting!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Anyone built a cloning machine yet?

As that's the only way that I'm going to be able to get all my non-business related crafty projects done! I found the Purl Bee blog via another blog I read a while back, and I keep adding more of their brilliant ideas to my list - because, of course, the 4, no make that 6 knitting projects, 2 cross stitch pictures and the 4 scrapbook albums that I've currently got on the go, not to mention all the instructions and materials that I've been gathering for other 'must do' projects, aren't enough. I know I don't have to explain myself to the rest of you addicts out there!

Anyway, here are my current favourites from the Purl Bee tutorial list - enjoy!
Table Runner
Bobble Dress
Connect the Dots pillows
April Showers scarf
Purl Beret

Thursday, 13 November 2008

On my desk today

Today has mainly been a day of napping in bed to try to fight off a cold (I just haven't got time!), doing admin jobs and preparing for a couple of commissions. You can see the results of the preparation above - lots and lots and lots of jump rings of various sizes and wire gauges! They've all been soldered closed and the next job is to hammer them, cut half of them open, weave them together to form an interlinked double chain and then solder the rings closed again. It'll take a while, but it will be worth it!
You might also be able to see a couple of small flowers cut from silver sheet in the background - they will be turned into a couple more pendants like the tourmaline one I posted a couple of days ago.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Fancy some new earrings?

Just a quick post tonight to let you know that the random number thingy as come up with number 64 which counting down my newsletter mailing list means that the winner of the October earrings is.....

Congratulations Veryan, I'll email you for your address.

If you fancy trying to win the earrings for November then click on the brown box to the left to join my mailing list. This month's earrings are crystal and sterling silver, the type of earrings that go with everything!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

P.S. Nearly forgot...

I will be sending out a newsletter with advanced warning of my new workshop dates tomorrow, as well as doing the draw for October's earrings. So, if you fancy trying to win a pair of earrings and would like to know the new dates before they go on the website, click on the big brown box on the left!

A very pleasant afternoon...

I spent a very pleasant afternoon today doing a talk and demo at the Hedge End Arts and Crafts society down the road from us. It's been a while since I did a demo, and it's certainly the first demo I've done where I've taken along my silversmithing equipment - or some of it at least! I obviously couldn't take along the bigger heavier bits of kit. I had lots of fun talking about how I got started jewellery making, the materials I used and some of the techniques I use. I demonstrated the different stages in making a bangle, with a few 'Blue Peter' moments where I got out one I'd made earlier to speed things up a bit! I took along the gorgeous lampwork beads that arrived last week from Mindy too, and they were very much admired and rightly so. I have such plans for these beads!

I've been busy with commission work over the last week or so, and also trying to rebuild my stock of the goodies I know sell well at Christmas shows, namely simple lampwork pendants and my daisy pendants. I've got to make some more though as they seem to be selling nearly as fast as I can make them at the moment and faster than I can get them on the website! A friend popped over at teatime to buy a birthday present and went home with two pendants, and I sold 3 more when people popped in over the weekend. Not that I'm complaining, of course, but the ones I'm planning to make tomorrow will definitely be on the website before I show anyone else! I've also been doing a lot of pierced work, and this simple but sweet tourmaline pendant below is my favourite so far. I've got some more polishing in the tumbler as I type, and I think I'm going to add sapphires to one of them. I think that they will become a made-to-order item.

As a family we've also been busy spending time with my friend's beautiful miracle girl - Gracie came home last week! Considering that they had been told initially that she may not survive, that fact that she's out of neonatal, let alone home, is definitely a miracle. Thank you to those who texted/emailed/phoned etc to say that you were praying/sending positive thoughts - it was really really appreciated. The doctors still say that brain damage is a possibility, but I find that so hard to believe when I'm holding her as she is just so perfect. I guess only time will tell, but all the signs are looking positive so far.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Never talk about politics or religion....

Well, those are the two topics you're not supposed to talk about over dinner, aren't they? I've never really been one to talk about politics, especially those of another country, but I must admit that I did breathe a sigh of relief this morning. Well done America for not just continuing with the same old tired tune. I just hope that Obama keeps his promises, because, whether we like it or not, what he does now will affect us all.

My head hurts!

I had one of those days yesterday when I had so many ideas coming into my head that it hurt! I think the problem is that I haven't been able to get into the shed much over the last week or so, and so haven't had the opportunity to do more than sketch my ideas down. Never mind, I suppose it's better than having the opportunity and no ideas of what to make!

I did manage to finish some new earrings, though, so I thought you might like a preview before they go on the site. I may not have been able to get into the shed, but wrapping briolettes and polishing is something that I can do in between setting up train sets for B! As you can see, I'm still playing around a bit with the settings on my new camera. I'm also experimenting with a new fabric background - I wanted a 'softer' look than the paper I'd been using. What do you think!

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Highs and very low Lows

It seems so much longer than 8 days since my last post. So much has happened and to be honest it's been an emotional rollercoaster. I think I'd better start at the beginning....

We travelled up to Suffolk for a family wedding on Monday afternoon. We left an hour later than planned and for once that was not my fault! Katie, one of my closest friends, called to say that her waters had broken and she was sending her husband over to collect a few bits. She didn't actually need them for a few weeks at least, but what a woman in labour wants, she gets!!
When we got to Suffolk we called in to see my Grandma for lunch, another high, and then continued onto another very close friend, Kate, as we were staying with them. It had been far too long since I had seen her last and it was so fantastic to see her. Her little boy is 7 months younger than our B, and has the same name! They got on brilliantly together.

There was another high on Sunday too -a friend that Kate and I went to 6th form with came over with her husband. Their first baby is due in December after a long long battle to get pregnant.

A lovely lazy morning then the boys (2 dads and 2 Bs) went to the park while Kate and I sorted lunch and wedding presents etc. The wedding was wonderful. Very small and low key and intimate and fun. We actually introduced Debbie and Marcus, but for once I hadn't been trying to match make, just inviting lots of people round for Sunday lunch! I used to work with Debbie and Marcus, to borrow a phrase his brother uses, is my sort of cousin. Our Dads were each other's best men, they've known each other since they were teenagers, that kind of thing. My parents were obviously at the wedding too, which B loved! I forgot to take my camera to the wedding but as soon as Dad emails me some photos I'll add one here!

So, another day of highs with one slightly worrying low - Katie's labour hadn't progressed and she was now due to be induced Tuesday morning.

We wanted to be able to stay longer in Suffolk but T had to be on the Isle of Wight for work in the evening so we had to leave after lunch. We decided to take the boys to Felixstowe, though, and have a run on the beach and have lunch there. They loved it, as you can tell from the big grins! We did have to bribe them with chocolate, though, to get them to stay long enough for the photo! I am so pleased that the boys got on as well as their Mums do. Little B was apparently really upset when Kate packed the bed that my B had slept on, and my B keeps asking when little B is coming to his house to play. We're not leaving it nearly so long this time, February halfterm hopefully.

So another day of highs with a couple of small lows - saying goodbye to Kate and her family, and worrying about how Katie's induction was going.

Wednesday and the rest
I can honestly say that Wednesday and Thursday felt like the longest and lowest days of my life so far. I hadn't slept well, partly as T was away and partly as I was worrying that I hadn't heard from Tim, Katie's husband and was imagining the worst. You know how everything seems worse at night!

Tim phoned at just gone 9am with the news that I'd been dreading. Everything had been going really well until the last ten minutes. To cut a very long story short, the baby was oxygen deprived and had to be resuscitated twice and then rushed to neonatal. Tim was initially told that she may not survive. By the time he started making phone calls Gracie was nearly 9 hours old and improving by the hour, and things have been getting better and better since then. Thank you so much to those of you who knew what was going on and were praying for Gracie! Katie has now been able to hold and feed Gracie, and I've been into see them twice so far. As I said, it's been a long and initially very low few days, but as they say, things can now only get better! Gracie is a big full term baby, and she's got everything going in her favour.

So, that's been our week. Sorry for the long gap between posts, but I hope that you can understand why!


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