Thursday 30 July 2009

I'm in love....

....with my new earrings! I don't usually show you a picture of new earring designs being worn, but I've decided to keep these ones for myself for once, so what do you think?

I love the soft sheen of the gold, and they are really comfortable to wear. I'm already planning stud earrings, a couple of pendants and a pair of cufflinks along the same line! Can you tell that I still really love doing keum boo?

If you fancy a pair for yourself, have a look here. They are included in the sale on my website which ends on 14th August.

P.S. If you like the look of the keum boo technique too then you may like to know that I will be offering keum boo tuition days as from the autumn. Watch this space for more details!

And the winner is.....

Kathryn Abrahams (aka Lazy Daisy Glass) - congratulations Kathryn! I'm not sure whether it was your blog comment entry or your newsletter entry that won, but I'll be in touch later today to get your address and your goodies will be with you soon! Thank you everyone for your lovely comments, and I'm sure I'll be doing another couple of giveaways before Christmas!

I set the photo studio up this morning in the hope that there would be a break in the clouds - and not only did the sun shine but I managed to get the shots before the sun went in again! I'll try and edit the photos this evening and post them as I'm really pleased with these earrings!

Wednesday 29 July 2009

A Flock of Lovebirds

Well, I think I might be waiting a bit longer for the sun to come out! I'd better go and collect my daylight lamps from my friend's house (she's been taking taking some photos for me) so that I can use those instead! Meanwhile, this is what I've been working on today, well, mainly this evening in fact as I picked B up early from his childminder today as he'd been poorly. He was okay about an hour after I'd got him home, so I think it was just too much running around and excitment and eating his food too fast, but we'll have a quiet day at home tomorrow just in case.

First, a flock of golden lovebirds with their gold wings attached, cooling down and waiting for their polish and finish and chains attached. 5 of these are flying off to new homes (one of them literally flying to the States) on Friday, but the 6th is still looking for a new home - any takers?

And secondly, a pair of daisy earrings for Eve. If you read the comments on my blog you'll know that it was Eve's birthday last week, and these are her birthday present to herself. They will be on their way to you either tomorrow or Friday Eve, and Happy Birthday for last week!

Anyway, if you haven't yet entered my giveaway you have two hours left in which to do so! The draw for the butterfly pendant, jewellery making tool kit and felted bag will end at midnight tonight, and B will pull a name out of the basket tomorrow. Visit this post to find out how to enter, and good luck!

Monday 27 July 2009

Just waiting for the sun to come out....

Thank you for all the lovely comments you've been leaving on the giveaway post, and if you haven't left a comment yet then there's still time! The giveaway closes at midnight this Wednesday. I have read all the comments, but I haven't added my own to reply to them as I didn't want to confuse the count (and I'm easily confused during the school holidays I've found!).

I've got a new pair of earrings to show you, but I'm waiting for the sun to come out so I can take some photos to show you. Hopefully I'll be able to take them this afternoon, if so, I'll be back this evening!

Sunday 26 July 2009

When knitting becomes an obsession......

I found this clip on Ravelry - don't worry, my obsession hasn't got this far yet!

Thursday 23 July 2009

All done!

The last big project that has been keeping me busy over the last couple of months is my waistcoat - yes, it's finally finished! Well, actually I say finally but it's really only taken me since the middle of April and two months for a finished knitted adult garment is pretty good for me, but the last couple of bits have seemed to drag on. I've decided that I don't mind sewing up any more now that I use crochet to do that wherever possible, but I really, really don't like having to pick up and knit over 100 stitches. So why, do you ask, have I cast on this project?! It needs 260 stitches picked up for the neckband alone! The yarn is lovely, though. I bought it from Knits in the City, the website I found when I was looking for a picture of the finished waistcoat to show you last month. Christine, who owns the shop, was really helpful and got me in the yarn in the colours I wanted for the vest top and also the crochet wrap on the cover of this book. I was hoping to make the wrap in time for my cousin's wedding in September, but there are so many other projects I'd like to do too, including a shorter version of this waistcoat for my Grandma's birthday in October (don't worry, she doesn't go anywhere near computers, let alone read my blog!).

One thing that I didn't like about the pattern is that I'm certain that there's an error about where to make the button holes - if you follow the instructions to the letter the holes are far too low. I'm going to sew them up and just have one button at the top, but in the meantime I'm using a pin that I made using my daisy motive to hold it closed and it works rather well!

By the way, Christine has offers on some of the Rowan and Debbie Bliss yarns at the moment, so if you're after yarn for a project to take on holiday with you get in quickly as I'm not sure how long the offer lasts for!

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Giveaway time!

Okay, okay, so I get the message - my idea of a messy desk is clearly no where near as bad as yours! Thanks for the comments, they did make me feel better about the state of my desk, but of course I didn't show you the floor behind my chair or my paperwork.....but we'll leave that for another day as today is

Giveaway Day!

This is post number 200 of a blog that, when I started I didn't know whether I'd find enough to write about and didn't think that anyone would read. Well, I've obviously found somethings to waffle on about and share with you, and the stat counters tell me that there are readers out there all over the UK and around the world, so I've been storing up a few things to put in a giveaway for you.

The first is one of my new pendants. I really love using this techniques, the way it adds gold to my designs in a way that is still affordable. I've got a whole pile of sketches I want to work into designs, including some for personalised jewellery. Anyway, the first prize in the giveaway is the gorgeous butterfly pendant that I've made in the same style as the gold daisy and heart pendants - you can see all three in the picture above. The cupped disc
is sterling silver and the butterfly itself is 24k gold. There's a hidden bail on the back, and it comes with either a 16" or an 18" chain. These pendants are on my website for £42 (well, £37.80 in the summer sale), so this is a very nice prize.

The next prize is something that will hopefully pass on the addiction of jewellery making!
I got this lovely set of tools as my subscription present from Beads and Beyond, but as I've got more pliers etc than I can count for the workshops that I run, I thought I'd pass them on to someone else. There's all the tools that you need to get started in here, and more, and the case isn't bad either! From what I've seen in online stores these sets retail for about £35.

And lastly, I've been making some felted bags recently, so I thought I'd throw in a pink felted bag of those too. I've made a couple for myself and I use them to hold the small knitting projects that I'm doing - but no, you can't have the knitting - that halfdone pair of Fetching fingerless mitts is mine! I gave the other 4 pairs away so I decided it was about time I had some!

So, now for the rules..... I've looked at a couple of other giveaways that recently have been on blogs I read, and based the rules on theirs:

To enter the giveaway either:
So, you could enter the draw three times.
The other bits of info you need are:
  1. The draw will end on Wednesday 29th July at midnight, and I'll post on my blog who the winner is on Thursday 30th.
  2. I'll need to ask the winner to make a donation for the postage, so if you're not happy with that please don't enter!
  3. You will need to email me to claim your prize as I can't get your email address from comments you leave. If you don't claim your prize within a month then I'll draw another name out of the hat (or bag or basket, whichever I decide to use!)
Good luck!

Saturday 18 July 2009

Messy messy messy

How on earth does my workbench get so messy so quickly?! I mean, all I do is work on several projects at the same time so that while one is in the pickle after being soldered or annealed, I've got another to file and sand. I suppose I could put tools away as soon as I've finished with each of them, but then I'd only have to get them out again 10 minutes later. Seriously, I do tidy up every day, but it doesn't take long for my bench to look like this:

If you look closely you can see the orders and commissions I've been working on over the last couple of days: a pair of cuff links (a wedding commission), a love bird pendant (the third of those I've made this week), a small daisy cuff (coming soon to the website), a larger version of my bloom necklace (another commission) and a pair of bloom earrings. I was merrily filing and sanding this little lot tonight and only realised how late it was when the news came on Radio 2!

Those of you with time on their hands may have noticed that a) I haven't shown you the latest 24k gold and silver designs that I promised you and b) that this is post 199. If you have read all 199 of them then I am impressed - I don't think that even my Mum has done that! Anyway, I thought that I'd combine the two and over the next couple of days expect post number 200 with lovely pictures of my lovely new designs (can you tell that I'm pleased with them?!) and also a


I haven't done one for a while, and I thought that this would be the perfect excuse. I've got a pretty nice things to giveaway too, so watch this space.

Thursday 9 July 2009

Beads and Beyond

This is going to be one of those posts with lots of pictures!

The August issue of Beads and Beyond is out today - and I'm in there twice this month!

The first is a project using silver art clay textured with rubber stamps. The finished pieces are oxidised with Liver of Sulphur (a reminder of how to use this can be found here). There are a couple of pairs of earrings, a bracelet, a pendant and the necklace pictured below that you can just about see at the top of the front cover of the magazine. It's a great project (if I do say so myself!) for showing you that you don't have to use the whole of a rubber stamp in your designs.

And the second article is a masterclass on soldering. In my experience most people tend to get into using silversmithing and soldering techniques in their jewellery through two routes - either, like me, they are confident in their wirework, want to extend their skills but are a bit nervous about turning a flame on their work in case it all goes horribly wrong! Or, like the students I teach at college, they've bypassed wirework and gone straight to a course that teaches them soldering from the start.

I wrote the masterclass with the wireworkers in mind, and have written about techniques that use soldered wire to create hammered rings and chains. There are step by step photos to show you each part of the process and 6 ideas for how to use your new skills, and information about the tools and materials that you'll need. My favourites of the designs that I came up with are the pendant and the bracelet that you can see here.

I've got another project coming out in the September issue too, and I'm taking part in the Designer Challenge too - I've been sent the same beads as three other designers and I bet we all come up with completely different ideas!

If you fancy a bracelet or a pendant like the ones here but don't fancy making them yourself, I've put them on the website here and here!

Monday 6 July 2009

And relax....

I meant to post last night about Handm@de Winchester, but I sat down after unpacking everything and you know how fatal that is!

Handm@de was a great event, and very well organised, much better than others I've been to, and I've been to lots - thank you to Raspberry for all her hard work! It was great meeting lots of people who up to now have been usernames and blog names, and just as great to catch up with people I hadn't seen for a while and meet some new people. It was also great to chat with visitors about what I do and about jewellery tuition. There are some photos of the fair (including a rare photo of me!) on flickr here.

I did do a bit shopping myself - well, with all that temptation, how could I resist?! I bought a pink sock bunny from Half an Acre for Gracie, something for my mum (not saying what that in case she reads this before I give it to her!) and something for me - my first skein of hand dyed yarn - isn't it gorgeous?

I bought it from nimu. She's got an etsy shop here, that she'll be stocking with lots of loveliness as soon as she comes off maternity leave! I've already decided what I'm going to use it for. I spent a lovely hour searching for scarf patterns on Ravelry, and I'm forcing myself to finish at least one of the projects that I'm knitting at the moment before casting on this one. What's the betting I give in to temptation (again!) and cast on before the end of the week?

A quick note before I go and sort my workshed out and put things from yesterday away properly - I've got some more new gold and silver designs to show you tomorrow, and they'll be on the website too soon!

Thursday 2 July 2009

A sneak preview

Just a very quick post to show you one of the new designs I've been working on recently. The flower in the middle of the pendant is 24k gold, bonded to the silver using a process called Keum Boo, the process I mentioned I've been teaching at college recently. The way the gold bonds to the silver is almost like magic! I've got several other designs to show you, and some work-in-progress photos too, but you'll have to wait until the weekend for those! The new designs will be on the website in the next couple of days.

By the way, if you live in the Southampton area and fancy learning you to make your own jewellery then follow this link. As from September I will be teaching a new jewellery making/silversmithing evening class aimed at beginners and those with a little bit of experience. I'm teaching it for Eastleigh College (who I teach the advanced course for) but the venue is Bitterne Park Secondary School in Southampton.


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