Thursday, 27 October 2011


I'm enjoying making very dangly colourful earrings at the moment. Maybe it's the time of year - it's been so wet and grey here for the last few days that I need more colour in my life! It's also partly due to the fact that I've been blow-drying my hair straight again recently and I like dangly earrings peeping out - and these ones are looong, with lots of movement.

These are the first two pairs. I should have taken photos of the purple pair a week or so back as they are actually for a friend who claimed them as her own when she saw me planning out the stones while she was filing her pendant during a recent tuition session. Anna - they're ready! I was going to solder long earwires on the back but Anna requested stud fittings, and they look fab like that, even if I do say so myself. The stones are smoky quartz and amethyst (one of my favourite combinations at the moment) with phospsidarite cabochons - a stone that I hadn't actually come across before but I love. You can find out more about the stone here if you like. The longer earrings are red onyz in a lovely rose cut cab, orange aventurine and smoky quartz again - very autumnal! These are actually my favourite of the two pairs, and I'm going to treat myself to some more stones so I can make myself a pair.

And these are very different from my usual style - lovely Sea-urchin ceramic cabs in a prong setting, separate earwires for lots of movement and forged drops of silver wire dangling underneath. I've been wanting to make a prong setting like this for ages, and I'm really pleased with it. It's the perfect setting for these cabs as I didn't want to hide any of the gorgeous texture. I've cut discs from the centre of the back of the setting so that you can still see the stamp that Lisa puts on all of her work. These are actually my entry to the Love My Art Jewelry monthly art spark challenge "colour and movement" - when I read the challenge this month I knew that I had the perfect design sketched out for it, but I've only just met the deadline - all that wallpaper stripping took up so much time this week!

The earrings will be on the website by tomorrow evening!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


 Another work in progress photo from me this week! It's been a busy half term week so far. I've just about recovered from the 4am wake up Ben and his friends kindly gave me on Monday, and we've been busy building lego models, sorting out Halloween costumes, playing with friends and, of yes, stripping the wallpaper off the walls in the lounge diner. As you do when you've got two children to look after and gallery orders to complete, but more of that later! These are some of the pieces I made this evening for a gallery.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Time for Cocktails

Look, look! I actually remembered to photograph a magazine project before sending it off to the magazine! This is my project in Beads and Beyond this month. It's the magazine's 50th issue this month so one of the themes that we were given to get our creative juices going was the 1950s - a time when jewellery was big, blog, and glamerous. Cocktail rings were very fashionable, so I designed this ring with a rose cut smoky quartz cabochon set in ornate gallery wire. It gives the sparkle that a faceted stone in a prong or claw setting would have, but it's much easier to make - and, of course, it uses my favourite stone. Gallery wire comes in a wide range of designs, and the most important tip to remember when cutting it is to make sure that your two cut ends match up perfectly so that the pattern contimues seamlessly around the bezel. Cut the wire slightly too small if necessary and then enlarge it on a triblet for a perfect fit.

Five children and a baby

Yes, that's how many children I cooked tea for yesterday - which will explain why I took the boys out for pizza this teatime, and also partly explain why I felt like this for much of the day today!

Ben had two friends over for a sleepover last night. It's the halfterm holiday and Ben had been asking if David and Sam could sleep over for ages, so despite T leaving for the airport to fly to Spain for a few days Sunday afternoon and the sitting room being packed up so I can strip the wallpaper and generally prepare for the plasterer at the end of this week (yes, we're finally decorating!) the boys came over midafternoon. We made cakes, they made a den under Ben's cabin bed and lots of lego models, and it was lovely to hear them play. We also had my god-daughter Gracie over for tea as her mum phoned the night before to say that they'd be in the area, and then my friend across the road knocked on the door with her boy who was apparently desperate to see Ben after being away at his Grandma's for the weekend - as I was serving up and there was spare I thought he may as well find a seat at the table as well!

They did have a lovely time, and were very well behaved, but to be perfectly honest I could have done without the 4am wakeup this morning. Yes, 4am. Jamie thankfully slept through the boys getting up, Ben creeping (like an elephant) into my room to ask if they could go downstairs and watch a DVD. A stricter mum probably would have sent them back to bed - this realistic one realised that that would only lead to a stressed mummy going in every 10 minutes trying to get them to be quiet, so off they went. And bless them they were quiet, but there was no way I could get back to sleep! Oh well, at least Ben (and the other two apparently!) fell asleep almost as soon his head hit the pillow tonight!

Thursday, 20 October 2011


The broadband "improvements" in the area have finally finished, so I finally have my internet connection back! So, this is going to be the first of quite a few posts catching up on everything I've got to show you!

This was the inspiration for the Art Bead Scene challenge this month. I have to say that I thought I'd be sitting it out again as the pinky brown colours in the painting aren't usually ones that I use on their own, but then a beautiful lampwork bead by Isabelle Anderson caught my eye - the advantage of keeping a dish of beads on my desk! The ivory stringer and fine silver encased in the bead reminded me of the hedgehog, and as I'd just made some more oak leaf toggle clasps one of those got added to the mix too together with a length of brown silk ribbon and my favourite stone, smoky quartz. I did try to keep to just the colour palette, but it just didn't work. In the end I decided that the important thing was to use the picture for a starting point and see where it led me - and so aquamarine and amazonite joined the mix! So, this is what I ended up with!

I started cutting out some copper oak leaves this afternoon with a new clasp design and a giveaway in mind. I'll let you know more soon!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Backwards Shuffling Baby

I have so much to show you - beautiful jewellery from yesterday's tuition, new clasp ideas, new jewellery from me - but it'll have to wait until tomorrow now as after a busy week of general family things, teaching college, private tuition yesterday and making quite a few lovely orders I am giving myself a night off! I think I may have a bit of an early night too as I need to catch up on some sleep. It was my monthly appointment at the hospital on Tuesday - a general checkup, keeping an eye on how everything is healing and I guess keeping an eye on how I'm getting on mentally too as everything happened in such a whirl, so fast. Everything was fine at the appointment, but I can't seem to stop myself worrying at night for a few days before each appointment - a natural reaction to it all apparently! I will be going back into hospital for a day operation at the start of November so that they can loosen a very tight scar under my chin, but that's all. So, tonight T has gone out with a couple of friends from work so I've got the remote control to myself and I've ordered Chinese and I'm going to watch Love Actually. I think I may be watching it curled up under the blanket as although today was beautifully sunny it's gone quite cold now.

Anyway, the post title......

Jamie is trying his best to learn how to crawl and I'm torn between cheering him on and groaning a little bit because as soon as he's on the move that boy is going to be into absolutely everything and I'm going to have to completely rearrange the house to keep things out of his reach until he's a bit older! At the moment his progress consists of pushing himself up fully on his arms and pushing himself backwards, which seems to surprise him. He keeps backing himself into a corner and getting stuck as he can't go forward yet. This is causing a few problems at bedtime as we put him down on his back in his sleeping bag, he then turns on his front and starts shuffling backwards, gets stuck at the bottom of the cot and cries angrily! So back into his room we go, put him back up the top of the cot, he puts his fingers in his mouth (he favours two fingers rather than his thumb, just like his Mummy did :) ) and off to sleep he goes. He's also started to kneel up and rock back and forth, so I don't think it'll be long now before he's on the move. He's going to enjoy it so much - so much more to explore, pull apart and chew! The photo above, by the way, was taken after his afternoon nap on day in July, but I can't seem to capture his backwards shuffling on camera and I had to share this cute one with you anyway.

Oh, and remember me moaning about the dodgy internet connection this week? Things were a bit better Wednesday and yesterday, but again today it worked perfectly just before the school run when I checked on something for Ben's homework but as soon as I came home again it stopped. I had a prefect connection to our wireless network, but no internet, almost as if someone had flicked a switch - which is more or less what they had done! Upgrades in the area meant that they kept turning the internet on and off again according to the man I spoke to at Virgin Media. At least I know now that I wasn't going crazy, and today was the last day. Isn't it awful how dependent we've become on the internet?!

Thursday, 13 October 2011


These are the fruits of my jewellery labours today - silver clasps almost ready to fly off to their new owners! As we speak they are in the tumbler being given a lovely shine but I like to do a little bit of polishing with my pendant drill attachments first as the shot in my tumbler doesn't always get right next to the centre of the flowers.

As this is what my poppy clasps can look like in a finished piece! This lovely braclet is by Sue Doran, my first ever etsy customer. She bought a copper poppy at the same time as this silver one but the bracelet she made with it sold before she got a chance to take a photo!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - earring display cards

Yippee! I'm back on the internet! We've had a very erratic connection over the last four or five days. We've tried everything we can to sort it out at our end but we've come to the conclusion that it must be to do with the work that Virgin (our provider) is doing in Southampton at the moment, as the problem only seems to be during the working day! I was very annoyed yesterday as I finally had sometime during the day to get some admin jobs done and couldn't do half of them.

Anyway, at least it's working again now so I can share this very quick tutorial with you. I'm constantly thinking of ways to improve my displays for craft shows, partly to make everything look more attractive, and also so that I can set some jewellery up at home and so reduce the time needed to set things up on the stall on the day. I'm selling alot of stud earrings at shows at the moment and I did have them on brown card folded in half to form a tent. They didn't stand up very well after a little while though, and didn't look that attractive. This is my next idea, and Mum is going to be trying it out for me at her coffee morning on Thursday. I've used a punch to cut out little tags from brown card and I've used watermark ink to stamp a flower on the front. I use the same tags and stamp to make the tags on my gift bags, but a pink flower on ivory card. Dusky pink ribbon has been threaded through the top and holes pushed through for the earwires. I've started making a display board for the tags to hang from, but they actually stand up really nicely as they are so I'm going to leave them like that for Thursday! I'm going to write the prices in pencil on the bottom corner so that they can be rubbed out and the whole tag put in a gift bag.

The tags were very quick and easy to make, and I was especially pleased that I only used materials I already had. even the display board is being made from things I already have around the house. So, a quick question for you - what quick, easy and cheap ideas for craft displays do you have to share?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


I'm lucky at the moment as I can usually get out to the shed or do some admin for about an hour while Jamie naps. The rest of his nap time gets used for housework (exciting!). I'm not quite sure how much time I'll get out there when he drops down to one nap a day - we'll have to wait and see!

Anyway, my hour today was spent finishing off some orders from the weekend, and this was the state of my desk this evening! Sorry about the awful pictures but the days of lovely, perfect for photos sunshine streaming in through the windows in the evening have disappeared until next year!

Fancy a few close ups?

From top left to bottom right the pictures are:
  1. Some wooden pendants waiting for their silver daisies to be riveted in place, to make more Simply Wood pendants, this time in a couple more shapes too.
  2. A stone setting for a beautiful rutilated quartz teardrop I bought from my friend Brenda
  3. Possible beads for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge
  4. A variation of the necklace I made for the Bead Soup Party, this time using a beautiful cab from seaurchin
  5. Stud earrings ready to be posted out to their new owners tomorrow morning
  6. Moogin beads ready to be made into pendants starting tomorrow
  7. Oh look! More Moogin beads - fancy that!
  8. Lampwork discs from Outwest, again ready to be made into pendants.
Hopefully I'll be able to show you at least a couple of these finished tomorrow while Jamie is at the childminders!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - how to make a jewellery leather cushion

I love this simple tutorial for a leather cushion! No, it's not for a cushion to go on your sofa - it's for your jewellery workbench! Jenni wrote it as she wanted to use upgrade from a folded towel for cushioning her bench block when she was hammering. I've bought a leather cushion years ago when I first started out, and not only are they horribly expensive but as they are heavy the postage is usually expensive too. So, save yourself some money, grab some offcuts of leather from a friendly upholsterer and head over to Jenni's blog!

A bbq? In October?!

I'm not going to harp on about it, honest, but the weather here over the last week or so has been just beautiful - temperatures more usual for August, beautiful blue skies, hardly a cloud in the sky. The poor plants and animals must have been very confused, but I loved it! It's definitely turned autumnal again today, but that's fine, I'm ok with that now that I don't feel that we've been cheated out of a summer!

We spent the weekend up in Oxfordshire at a family get together. It was T's stepmum's 60th and her children had organised a great party for her on Saturday night, and then we had a family BBQ on Sunday. T's Dad and brother and his family were there too, and it was so good to meet up with them. With everything that's been going on this year T's brother and sister in law hadn't met Jamie until this weekend! Poor old Ben got really confused at who everyone was though as he's only met T's step family a handful of times - T's got two step brothers, two step sisters (identical twins to add to B's confusion, although they look less like now than they did as teenagers when I first met them) and four step nieces and nephews. There were lots of children to play with though, so he had a great time. Jamie did too - lots of cuddles and kisses, but not much napping. That boy is far too nosey to nap if he thinks that anything else is going on! One of T's step-nieces is four weeks younger than him and crawling already. I was torn between urging Jamie on to copy her and being thankful that I don't have to move everything out of his reach just yet!

Thank you to those of you who took advantage of the discount at the weekend! I'm going to have a busy time making up orders this week, mainly clasps and a few of my new Simply Wood pendants, but the parcels will be on their way to you within a couple more days!


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