Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Challenge of Color blog hop

And here is my third challenge of the week! Erin of Tesori Trovati set the challenge of making a piece of jewellery with a palette of colours as the inspiration. The palettes she sent out after we all chose a colour family to work with are themselves absolutely beautifully put together and come from Jessica Colaluca's Design Seeds Blog. Jessica's blog is packed full of colour inspiration, and since the challenge started I've spent several happy hours on there. Her palettes and this challenge have definitely given me more confidence with working with colour mixes, and even the new colour scheme in our lounge diner have been inspired by one of the palettes - more on that next month!

I chose red as my colour family, and this is the palette that Erin assigned me - such gorgeous rich colours!

You can find the original palette here

With that rich raspberry red I just had to choose garnets for my design and continuing in my current liking for long dangly earrings this is what I came up with:

Decadent Earrings available here

All the metal components are made by me. The swirls connectors have been sitting in a pot on my desk for over a year, the result of a session teaching my friend Katie how to use silver art clay, and I'm really pleased to have used them finally! I made the settings for the rose cut (ie flat on the back but faceted on the front) oval garnets, and added light amethyst beads to represent the light grey/purple on the palette. Long elegant earwires complete the look!

The other Challenge of Color participants are listed below - I've had a quick look at a few of the blogs and the designs I've seen so far are really beautiful. Erin decided to give herself an extra challenge by picking a palette from each colour family and making a piece of jewellery for each - and they are each of them absolutely gorgeous! You can find her challenge pieces here.
1 Norma Turvey ~ Teal ~ Color Crave
18 Tari Kahrs ~ Orange ~ Citrus Tones
23 Amy Severino ~ Orange ~ Winged Tones
28 Linda Landig ~ Green ~ Cacti Dark
35 CJ Bauschka ~ Teal ~ Teal Air
41 Jenni Connolly ~ Gray ~ Paw Tones

Oak Leaves revealed!

30th November seemed quite a way away when I set this challenge, but it's actually come round very quickly! At the beginning of the month I offered one of my oxidised copper oak leaf hook clasps to the first 5 people who accepted the challenge of making something with it and posting the results on their blog today. The five willing volunteers were

Melissa Meman                Art, Life, Love
Niky Sayers         SilverNikNats
Amber Boorman              Larksong Studio
Kimberley Roberts          Bahama Dawn
Rebecca Anderson          Songbeads

We've all got very different styles of jewellery design, so I've been really looking forward to seeing what everyone came up with! And a little nervous too, to be honest, as this is the first time that I've set up a blog hop myself! The biggest challenge for me has been working with copper as, as I'm sure you've figured out by now, I'm a silver girl by nature. I kept trying out the clasp with different beads, but it wasn't until last night that it all came together! I did worry for a bit that I wasn't going to meet my own deadline as Jamie and I have both had a 24 hour tummy bug, but here it is, a combination of clasp and jump rings by me, lampwork by Mindy Macgregor (of course!), silk by Marsha Neal, Swarovski crystals and copper beads. I would have preferred to have used a blue silk, but I've run out so I may swap to that when my new silks arrive! I did consider adding more blue or purple beads to the mix as I love the combination of browns and blues/purples at the moment, but in the end I decided to keep to an autumnal theme to match the oak leaf.

I'm off to see what the others have made - join me?

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Leaf Green earrings

Thank you so much for the lovely comments about the earrings I made with Sue's gorgeous glass headpins! As promised, here is a tutorial for them. Once I'd planned out what I wanted to do they were actually very quick and easy to make, but to make them even quicker you might want to substitute the silver rings and the ear wires that I made for bought ones. I turned my silver rings into ovals using an oval triblet but if you don't have one the design would work equally well with smaller round rings instead.

You will need:
  • two glass bead headpins from Suebeads
  • two silver rings - mine were made from 1.2mm wire and had an inside diameter of 13mm
  • two 7cm lengths of 0.8mm wire
  • mandrels - I used the body of my 24mm wooden doming punch and an 8mm mandrel
  • round nosed pliers
  • nylon jaw pliers
  • wire cutters
  • hammers and bench block
  • nylon hammer
  • oval triblet
  • needle file
  • sanding pad

1.  Wrap the headpin around a large mandrel as show.
2.  Twist the end of the headpin around the wire just above the glass to form a wrapped loop.
3.   Use your fingers to pull the circle of wire into an oval.
4.  Make sure that the glass is facing the right way - see, easy so far isn't it?

5.  Holding the glass safely off the edge of the bench block hammer the steel oval to texture and strenghten it. Hammering the steel would have damaged the hammers that I use, so I used the one I keep for hammering the disc cutter and doming punches.
6.  Use a nylon hammer to shape the silver ring into an oval around a oval triblet - I made these ages ago and they've been sitting on my desk for months!
7.  Check the fit of your silver oval. Push it thinner with your fingers if need be and hammer it.

8. Start the earwire with a small eyeloop.
9. Bend the wire next to the loop around a small mandrel.
10. Hammer the front of the earwire to strengthen it and to give it a more finished look.
11. Use flat nosed or nylon jaw pilers to flick out the last 5mm or so of the earwire and file the end smooth. Make a second earwire, loop on the ovals and there you are!

Leaf Green earrings available on the website here

Monday, 28 November 2011

Challenge Time!

I'm currently taking part in three challenges, and they are all due this week so be prepared to see quite a few new designs! As well as the Color Challenge organised by Erin Prais-Hintz and my Oak Leaf Challenge (both due on Wednesday!) I've was lucky enough to be picked as one of four people taking part in Sue's glass headpin challenge - and today is the day we reveal our designs!

These are the headpins that Sue sent me - a beautiful shade of leaf green embossed with a flower pattern on steel pins. I've often admired glass headpins but I've never worked with any before, and I was determined that I was not going to go the more obvious route and make a pair of earrings with them. However, a friend was with me when I opened Sue's parcel and immediately said what a great pair of earrings they would make - so that was that!

And this is the pair that I made. I used the lovely long steel pins to create long oval shapes that I then hammered both to strengthen the shape and to give it a more finished look. I then added silver ovals inside the steel and hung the earrings from long silver earwires. I was going to oxidise the earrings but decided that the brightness of the silver was a lovely contrast to the steel and gave them a brushed finish instead. You can find them on the website here!

I took photos as I made the earrings, so do come back tomorrow for a tutorial on how to make them! And meanwhile please do go and have a look at what everyone else made:

Sue - SueBeads
Kay Thomerson - KayzKreationz
Kristi Bowman - Kristi Bowman Designs
Courtney Breul - Beads by Breul
Krisi Jaro - Curiosities by K

Sunday, 27 November 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Well, actually today I feel mainly tired and will be off for an early night very soon, but yesterday with Christmas music playing in Winchester Guildhall and lots of fairy lights twinkling on stalls (must get some new ones for my stall next year!) and between 5.5 and 6 thousand people through the door (so many the clicker counter couldn't keep up!) it definitely felt a lot like Christmas in Winchester!

We had an amazing day, and the atmosphere was wonderful right from setting up to packing away. Handmade Winchester has always been my favourite of all the craft shows I've ever done, partly because I get to meet up with friends I only usually get to see in real life at the show, partly because absolutely everything for sale is handcrafted by the people behind the stalls, and partly because the atmosphere is so wonderful. Everyone is so cheerful and smiling and so delighted to be there taking part again, or so delighted because although it's their first time everyone is welcoming!

Thank you for the comments on Friday's post. I didn't sell the necklace (I'm not too upset about that as I am still rather tempted to keep it myself - afterall, I have to wear my jewellery to advertise it, don't I?) but did sell two of the bracelets, and in total I sold nearly 30 pieces of jewellery with prices ranging from £10 to £80, the best I've ever done. My stud earrings sold very well. I put the tags I showed you a few months ago pegged onto cord running across a painted canvas this time, which showed them off very well. It made it easy for people to compare the different styles.

I also had simple brown paper bags to put the jewellery boxes and bags in this time, something I've been meaning to do for ages, but I've got a few things I want to do before or at the next show I do:

  • get a sign/banner made similar to the one my gorgeous friend Helen had made - a great way of showing people that she made everything that she had on her stall. Helen and I always have a stall next to each other now, but we didn't have much of a chance to chat yesterday as we were so busy!
  • get a stamp made with my logo on it to stamp the brown paper bags.
  • put a leaflet about my classes and private tuition in the brown paper bags ready to go. I got bags ready with two business cards in (one to keep, one to give to a friend), I don't know why I didn't put the leaflets in there too!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Ready for Winchester!

Well, I'm all packed, everything's priced and labelled, my new business cards have arrived, I've even packed my lunch for tomorrow - yes, it's not yet midnight and I'm ready for the Handmade Winchester show! I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Handmade Winchester is my favourite of the shows I do (not that I've done many this year with a new addition to the family!). It's got such a wonderful atmosphere and, of course, all of the crafts on display are wonderful. It's the only show I do where you can guarantee that everything you see for sale will have been beautifully made by people in the room, that you can talk to the designers and makers about how they work, where the inspiration for the piece you're interested in came from. And this time it's going to be even better as my Mum is coming along for part of the day - which means that I get a rare chance to wander round myself and do some Christmas shopping!

I promised you photos of some of the pieces I've been working on this week....

These bracelets are a design I've been wanting to make for ages. I really like lampwork bead bracelets but I don't like wearing them while I'm working or typing. These bracelets are great as they're really comfy, they don't twist round as you wear them so the lampwork you want to show off stays on top, but there's no lampwork under your wrist to catch on anything.

However, they're not the easiest of designs to photograph, so I decided to take an "in-action" shot so you get a better idea of how they look - and that turned out to be not so easy as well! After several dozen takes the best I got was a shot of me taking a ball of yarn out of my new Raspberry bag - and Alice (Raspberry) is going to be at the show too - of course, afterall, she organises it!

The next design nearly didn't make it to the show. I am so pleased with how it turned out. It's one of those rare situations where I planned how I'd like to set the lampwork cabochon before it arrived and the design has barely changed as I've made it. Am I allowed to say that I absolutely love this necklace? Is that too much showing off considering I made it? What the heck, it's my blog I can say what I like! I LOVE this necklace, and if it sells tomorrow there definitely a part of me that will be very sad!

T is calling me, reminding me how late it is and how early I've got to get up, so I will leave you with this reminder the show details. Have a great weekend, and Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Today started off with a maths lessons! Ben's school has been holding maths workshops for parents first thing in the morning each day this week so we can find out more about how the children are learning their numbers. It was fun! We've been doing some maths with Ben at home but it was useful to learn more about the language his teachers use so that we can use the same terms at home.

I spent the rest of the day working on some new pieces for Handm@de Winchester on Saturday. I'll take some better photos for you tomorrow but here's a quick view of some of the pieces - I'm watching an episode of Alphas and cleaning up after liver of sulphur!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - necklace display stand

It's the Handm@de Winchester show this Saturday (you can see more details below and visit the new Handm@de Blog here), so my thoughts are turning to stock (need to make lots more stud earrings and some more pendants, but my fingers are itching to make a couple of new designs!) and also my stall display. I'm always on the look out for things I can make to display my jewellery, especially things that won't take up too much room when I store them, and this necklace display stand fits the bill perfectly! You can find the tutorial for it here at Black Daisy Designs.

And for those of you who live locally, here are the details of the Handm@de Winchester show - with over 70 stalls you can probably do all your Christmas shopping here, and feel very virtuous at the same time about supporting local independant businesses!

Where to start?

Trying to figure out where to start can stop me from getting back into blogging after an expected break. So much happens in just a few days in our household that it can just be overwhelming when I try to write anything about it! Maybe I'll just leave it as that - I've been a bit overwhelmed over the last week or so. My plan after the last operation a couple of weeks ago was to take the weekend to recover (mainly by staying in bed and sleeping while T looked after Jamie and Ben had fun with Grandma and Grandad!) and then get back into the swing of things the next week - general family and household stuff, teaching at college Tuesday night, private tuition Wednesday, orders to complete, last minute arrangements for charity Christmas Shopping evening on the Friday (forgot to tell you about that - doh!) etc etc. I was doing fine - and then Jamie got hand foot and mouth with a nasty rash and very very sleepless nights. Poor love! The virus is doing the rounds at the moment because of the mild weather we've been having. He's absolutely fine now, but we had three nights when I took him downstairs to try and get him back to sleep so that T could sleep and function at work the next day. I don't do well on only a couple of hours sleep a night, so something had to give so that I could concentrate on the urgent things - and that was the blog for a couple of weeks, sorry!

Anyway, the whole family is currently bug free - a rare miracle in the winter months, so I'm back! The Christmas Shopping evening was fab, by the way. We raised a few pennies under £280 for the Wessex Cancer Trust, the turnout was fantastic and the rooms are booked again for next year - and next year I willl blog about it before it happens!!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Oak Leaf Challenge

The oak leaf clasps have now been posted to their new homes - three in the UK, one in the States and one in the Bahamas - and me in the UK of course. Hopefully the UK ones have arrived now and sitting on work desks waiting for their designs! The challengees are:
Jo Tinley (me!)              Daisychain Designs

Melissa Meman                Art, Life, Love

Niky Sayers         SilverNikNats

Amber Boorman              Larksong Studio

Kimberley Roberts          Bahama Dawn

Rebecca Anderson          Songbeads

We've all got very different styles and the colours we tend to use are very different too, so I'm hoping that we'll all come up with very different designs to use the oak leaves in. The rules of the challenge are very simple - create something, not necessary jewellery, using the oak leaf and on Wednesday 30th November post pictures of what you have made along with some information about the other materials used and where your inspiration came from.

I'm planning another challenge in the New Year, but in the meantime if you would like your own oak leaf I've just added clasps in silver, oxidised silver and oxidised copper to the daisychainextra shop and the coupon code OAKLEAF will give you 10% off all daisychainextra orders placed during November.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The point at which I ask why....

  • why did I say yes to booking the plasterers in during halfterm?
  • why did I say yes when they phoned last Tuesday morning and ask if they could come a day early, Thursday and Friday instead of Friday and Saturday?
  • why did I insist that T go away climbing in Spain for a much needed break after a very stressful halfterm, while also saying yes to the above?
  • why did someone think that woodchip wallpaper was a good invention? (unless they were a plasterer?!)
It's always halfway through big DIY jobs that I start asking myself questions like these - the point at which the house is filled with a horrendous mess and the end is definitely not in sight! Thankfully now the plasterers have finished skimming the lounge diner, the plaster is almost dry despite the horribly damp wet and my thoughts can turn to paint colours. Half of the dining room is still in the kitchen (good job we've got a big kitchen!) and our bedroom is filled with boxes of books, ornaments, DVDs, definitely not the oasis of calm I would like it to be, but the end is now in sight. Most of the plastering dust has now been cleared up but I expect that we will still find the remnants of it in December as it gets *everywhere*. The new sofas (2 two seaters, one of them a sofa bed) are due in about three and a half weeks, so I'd better choose those paint colours quickly! While I do, though, do you fancy a look at what I found under the woodchip?

The lounge diner was originally two separate rooms but the dividing wall was removed by a previous owner. We decorated in a deep red and also a mustard yellow above the picture rail ten years ago. Definitely time for a change! Obviously we're usually a bit tidier than this!

This was under the wallpaper above the sofa! Parts of it are missing and patched up with filler but you can tell that it was once really beautiful. I know the grand-daughter of the people who lived here during and just after the war. Apparently wallpaper was both scarce and expensive, so her Grandad painted the walls!

The painting of the ship was in the dining room, and the rest of the walls in there were painted with mock panelling. The two round scenes were either side of the fireplace in the sitting room. Such a shame that the plaster was so badly damaged and crumbling away, but at least I've got the photos. Every time a door opened or closed more plaster came off.

I may be a bit quiet here over the next couple of days as I'm popping back into hospital for a spot of day surgery tomorrow. They're going to sort out one of the scars under my chin left from February's surgery. It's horribly tight and uncomfortable at the moment, although apart from that everything is healing well. So tomorrow evening I may look as though I've been in a fight, but things should then improve!

A quick update - the surgery went well, and despite the stitches the mess under my chin actually looks better already! I'm feeling a bit battered and bruised, but should be back to normal (whatever that is!) by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Challenge accepted!

No BTW post from me today. I've spent most of the day at college, firstly at a small craft fair that one of the ladies from HR (who's also one of my beginner students) organised, and then up in the adult ed office sorting a few things out for my classes and generally catching up with the ladies up there. The craft fair was a small one, 9 stalls with lovely goodies made by college staff, but we had a good trickle of people coming in during their breaks and lots of lovely comments. Beverley had the idea of organising it so that the staff who have creative hobbies could show what they do and raise some money for the college charities at the same time. She was really nervous about it, but all her hard work paid off and it was great. I was particularly pleased (and proud!) that one of my old advanced evening class students who works at the college had a stall with beautiful and beautifully made jewellery and made lots of sales - one very proud teacher here :)

Thank you to the five of you who have accepted my oak leaf challenge! I will be in touch with you tomorrow to get addresses and to give you a bit more information!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Sweat Soldering

I'm going to be teaching my beginners college class how to sweat solder, amongst other things, this halfterm, so I thought that this tutorial from the Etsy Metal team blog would be a perfect one to link to this week! If you haven't come across the EM blog yet, do go and have a look. There are over 100 members of this Etsy team, and the jewellery they create is gorgeous, and in so many different styles that you are sure to find great inspiration. They have recently started an "ask Auntie EM" feature, answering readers questions on everything from what type of stone setting to use to what tools are best for a particular job, and this tutorial came about because a reader was having trouble with sweat soldering and asked for advice.

If the term sweat soldering is new to you then here's a quick definition before you have a look at the tutorial! Sweat Soldering refers to the technique used to solder a (usually) flat piece of metal on top of another larger one. Solder is gently melted on to the back of the smaller piece - melted just enough so that it flows as evenly as possible across the back but not so much that it actually starts to sink into the metal itself. This smaller piece is then put in position on top of the larger piece, the work is then refluxed and the solder melted again. The trick is to make sure that this time you keep the heat mainly on the larger piece of metal so that you don't melt the smaller piece. The jewellery that you can see here are examples of pieces I make using this technique.

Onyx Pebble, Dusky Rose and Russian Circles pendants

Common problems with this technique include the solder not flowing evenly or at all on the second melting and the small piece moving about on the second melting of the solder, and the Etsy Metal tutorial helps with this and more with clear photos - you can find it here!

Anyone up for a challenge?

Do you remember this picture from a just over a week ago?

Well, they've now turned into these - cute little copper oak leaves with a hook on the back, a hook version of the oak leaf toggle clasps I sell in my daisychainextra etsy shop. I've hammered veins onto the leaves and oxidised them to highlight the texture, and then curved them slightly to give them a more natural look. Each leaf is slightly different as they are sawn out by hand and textured by hand, but they measure approximately 20mm by 13mm.

So the challenge - what do you think you could create with one of them? Each oak leaf is now wrapped up in one of my chocolate brown organza bags waiting to go to a new home and be made into a stunning piece of jewellery, and that new home could be yours! If you would like one of them then all you have to do is:
  • leave me a comment on this post, complete with your email address
  • grab the oak leaf button on the left to put on your blog with a link back to this post
  • make something beautiful with it and post pictures of what you have made on your blog on the last day of November, Wednesday 30th November. 
You will also need to tell us a bit about your design process, what other ingredients you used etc, and link to the other people taking part. I'll be taking part in the challenge too as soon as I've made myself a leaf! You don't have to make jewellery - if you think of some other creative way of using your leaf, go for it!

The first five people to leave a comment asking for a leaf will get one, and this is open to those of you overseas too!


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