Wednesday 28 October 2009

Out of hibernation

It's taken me much longer than I expected to get back into the habit of blogging after coming back from holiday, mainly as it's taken me a while to get used to my new routine of B at preschool three mornings a week and at his childminder's one and a half days a week, and of teaching two evenings a week. The second evening class, a beginner's jewellery class at our local secondary school on Wednesday evenings, started the day after we came back from holiday and it's going well, lots of fun to teach and everyone's very enthusiastic. I've also been really busy with orders from a couple of galleries for their Christmas stock, and with orders from and my website. It seems as though the Christmas shopping season has arrived!

I have been planning blog posts as I've been sitting working in the shed though, so I thought that rather than write one long post of what we've been up to I'd actually write up the ones I'd planned in my head, so if you want to catch up with everything and see what commissions and projects I've been working on have a read of the posts below!

Right then, back to work - I've got a magazine project to finish!

Saturday 24 October 2009

Halfterm glow stick fun

It's amazing how much fun you can get out of a tube of glow sticks from the local £1 store!

Friday 9 October 2009

A couple of repairs

I don't often take on repair work. I've only once needed to repair a piece of jewellery that I've made, and that was because I'd sold the bracelet to a friend of mine who has a habit of catching bracelets on door handles and breaking them. I don't really like repairing jewellery made by other people as a) I can never be completely certain exactly what materials have been used to make the piece, b) repairs can be time consuming and so take time away from the work I really want to do and c) to be blunt it's rarely worth my time doing the work as people generally do not want to pay very much for the work at all and although the repairs rarely require much in the way of new materials they do take a lot of time and my time is money! So I don't advertise that fact that I can repair jewellery, but every now and then I'll repair something that a customer has brought in to a gallery I supply work to or that a friend or colleague needs mending.

T brought the ring in these pictures home from work one day, with a note from a colleague of his asking if I could mend it. As you can hopefully see the 'before' photos the band of the ring had completely snapped. Soldering it back into place and cleaning up the new soldering wasn't actually going to be that big a job, but the first thing that I had to do was remove the turquoise as that would be damaged by the heat from the torch, and that was where the problems started!

The bezel setting was very rough and quite sharp in places, but it wasn't too hard to gently pull open. However, what looked like quite a big stone actually turned out to be a thinner cabochon with some kind of packing behind it (an unfortunately common trick to make stones appear bigger and therefore more expensive) that had just crumbled away to leave a right old mess. So, after repairing the band of the ring I had to clean up the inside of the bezel setting and then file and sand the bezel down so that it fitted the stone properly. The bezel actually ended up looking a lot better than it had originally!

It took a while, but I was actually quite pleased with myself when I had finished and oxidised everything so that it had the same finish as before and I'd reset the stone. I still prefer making my own designs though!

Thursday 8 October 2009

Grinning from ear to ear!

My copy of the latest issue of Beads and Beyond arrived through the door today - and I'm feeling rather happy! Not only have I got a Masterclass article in there (this time on how to make your own ear wires in various styles, with a bonus web project showing you how to make the earrings below) but there's also a review of my silversmithing tuition!

Becky (assistant editor of the magazine) came down to spend a day making beautiful jewellery in my workshed at the beginning of September. We had a great day, a really fun day, and Becky made a couple of beautiful pieces - a bangle and a gorgeous pendant in the shape of a swallow that she cut from silver sheet. It was a really complicated shape, especially for a beginner, but she did a fantastic job. Apparently the necklace was going to be a birthday present for a friend, but Becky couldn't bring herself to give it away!

I'm going to try and get hold of a photo of what she made, but in the meantime, go and buy a copy so you can see it for yourself - oh yes, and learn how to make your own ear wires too!

Saturday 3 October 2009

Holiday projects

I didn't take any jewellery projects away with me on holiday this year, as I thought that as much as I love making and designing jewellery a complete break would probably do me a lot of good. That didn't stop me from drafting out three new magazine projects on the flight on the way home though - or maybe my mind was fresh enough to come up with those ideas precisely because I'd have a break?

There was no way on earth that I was going to go on holiday without craft projects though - and you wouldn't really expect me to, would you?! I took three balls of yarn for each of two crochet projects, the Victorian cardigan/wrap for me that I've shown you pictures of before and a waistcoat for my Grandma. I got a fair bit done on each and should have taken at least one extra ball for each project! I nearly finished the back of the waistcoat, but I'm not going to show you that one as Mum comes on here sometimes (hello Mum!) and I want the waistcoat to be a surprise for the family until Grandma's birthday at the end of October. It's proving to me a quick project.

I've made a good start on the Victorian wrap, but that's going to be a longer project. It's crocheted all in one piece, starting at the bottom of the back, going up the back and increasing for the sleeves and down the front, dividing for the wrap's fronts. The lacy cuffs and bottom of the wrap are then crocheted on. I've got as far as the sleeves, and something tells me that I'll still be working on it in the New Year!

Thursday 1 October 2009

Sunshine and floods

We're back! We've had a lovely break, very relaxing, but with very mixed weather! We spent most of the first half of the week at the beach, and that stretch of the Spanish coast has mile after mile of beautiful sandy beaches. B had his first proper swim in the sea (well, with arm bands and help from Daddy) and loved it - it took a lot of persausion to get him back out again! The second half of the week wasn't exactly beach weather, but we did go for a short walk on the beach in the wind and rain anyway! Rather then bore you with a blow by blow account of the holiday, I thought I'd share a few pictures instead......

Being chased by the waves!

Decisions, decisions

The biggest ice cream in the world!

Isn't it supposed to be sunny on holiday?

We're going to the beach, no matter what the weather!

The rain in Spain - this is a road!


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