Sunday 28 October 2012

Keum Boo workshop

It's been a busy weekend! A Halloween disco on Saturday evening and a birthday party at the local swimming pool today for Ben, not to mention the usual swimming lesson this morning. We've also go my God-daughter's birthday party tomorrow afternoon - my children have a better social life than I do!

On Saturday, however, it was the Keum Boo workshop, and lots of lovely things were made. For once I remembered to take photos of not only the jewellery that the students made but also some action shots! All of the students had made jewellery before, but none of them had used Keum Boo in their designs before - but all of them made at least two pieces of jewellery, mainly pendants and earrings.

My favourites were the simple two-disc pendant that Peter made and Caroline's pendant and earrings set. Caroline's designs started with a happy accident - when she domed the larger disc the doming punch slipped slightly and distorted the edge of the disc. So she flared out all around the edges of the discs to create a softer look with a random gold design. Peter's pendant, too, is a simple design, but the touches of gold turn it into a beautiful pieces of jewellery. All in all, it was a very successful day!

A Halloween Owl

I actually made some clasps for my own jewellery designs last week as well as fulfilling my etsy orders, so last Thursday evening I put together some new bracelets while catching up with Grey's Anatomy. This is the first one I made - and my entry into the jewellery design category of the Artisan Whimsy Hooters Challenge.

One of my owl clasps in oxidised sterling silver matched with a beautiful pumpkin orange spiral patterned lampwork bead by Mindy Macgregor. I've added in dyed jade and agate beads and sterling silver rings, so that no matter how the bracelet turns round your wrist there's something lovely to look at!

If you've visited my jewellery website recently you may have noticed that I've been moving things around. I've decided to keep my own website for my made-to-order jewellery such as my Golden Collection and for workshops and private tuition, and I've been moving my one-off pieces of jewellery over to Etsy, to a separate shop than my Daisychain Extra supplies. So, you can find my friendly Halloween owl in my Daisychain Jewellery etsy shop here.

Thursday 25 October 2012

A few challenges for you!

There are a few challenges that I'm taking part in at the moment, so I thought I'd share them with you and see if you fancy taking part too!

The first one is the monthly component challenge that has just launched on the Art Jewelry Elements blog. If you have joined in with this one before, each month the blog team take it in turns to design a new bead or clasp or pendant, and then we challenge you to use it to create a beautiful piece of jewellery! It's Lesley Watt's turn in November, and if you go and visit her post on the AJE blog you can enter the draw to win a one of her new pendants and also find details of a discount she's offering on them too - they beautiful and Christmassy!

The other two are both on Artisan Whimsy. The Hooters challenge is one that I've had lots of fun with! This challenge is open to both jewellery designers and bead of component makers - all you have to do is design an owl, or a piece of jewellery with an owl in it and upload it to this page on the forum and you could win a £50 PayPal gift. I've entered one of my owl clasps into the component makers side of the competition, and I've got plans for the jewellery design side too. You've got until this Sunday, 28th October to join in.

The second Artisan Whimsy challenge is perfect timing for me as I'm teaching one of my college classes how to make prong settings, and that's what this challenge is all about - and it even comes with a tutorial! Use the tutorial to make your own piece of jewellery, upload your photo to the forum here and you'll could one of a whole range of fantastic prizes. I've got a stone perfect for this challenge, one that I've started making a setting for ages but it didn't quite work out. All I need now is some time over the halfterm holiday to make it!

Have fun!


Sunday 21 October 2012

Tweet Twoo!

Owls are now available in my Daisychain Extra etsy shop! And a flock of lovebirds and a few houses too.
I do enjoy making my owls. They start off looking like strange almost egg-like pieces of metal, but with a little texturing and shaping, plus some liver of sulphur to highlight the textures, bring them to life! If you haven't had a chance to do so already, do go and have a read of my post on Art Jewelry Elements and you'll be able to have a closer look at how I make them.

My owl clasps are also my entry to the Artisan Whimsy Hooters Owl Challenge. This challenge is open to jewellery makers and makers of components - all you need to do is join the forum and add your blog link to the list! Photos have to be added by Sunday 28th October, and Artisan Whimsy members can vote for their favourites until Halloween (of course!).

And if you fancy owning your own owl, visit my Daisychain Extra shop on etsy!

Saturday 20 October 2012

Keum Boo Workshop Saturday 27th October

There are, unusually, still a couple of places left on my Keum Boo workshop next Saturday. I love Keum Boo - it's such a magical process! And it's a beautiful way of adding a touch of warm 24k gold to your silver work without breaking the bank. The workshop covers all you need to carry out Keum Boo work at home, plus basic silversmithing techniques such as sawing and piercing sheet silver, simple soldering, and filing and finishing your work. A place on the workshop costs £100, a saving of £40 compared to the Keum Boo private tuition I offer. This fee includes a 4cm by 4cm piece of silver sheet suitable for pendants or earrings, any silver wire required for bails or ear wires (I'll teach you how to make these as well!), and gold foil valued at £20. Any gold foil remaining at the end of the day is yours to take home.

If you're interested in finding out more or booking a place, just follow this link
and if you enter the discount code "blog" at checkout I'll refund you 10% of the workshop fee!

All places are now booked, thank you! 
More workshop and private tuition dates for the New Year will be available soon.

Friday 19 October 2012

A Parliment of Owls

And a street of houses and a flock of birds and a .......what would you call a group of butterflies? Ah, good old Google, it's a kaleidoscope - what a great name!

I've spent this evening editing about a hundred photos of new clasps, so be ready for a Daisychain Shop update tomorrow afternoon!

Thursday 18 October 2012

A new toy!

Ok, so this isn't exactly brand new on the market, but it's new to me! For the last couple of years I've resisted getting a Knew concept saw. After all, the saw frame I had, despite being about as old as I am, had done me very well for the last five years or so, my sheet metal sawing was accurate and efficient. And, as I kept telling my students, it was having good quality saw blades that was far more important than spending money on an expensive saw frame.

And then Cookson Gold had 10% off and free postage at the start of the new term, and I thought why not? I'd had some really good orders since getting back from New Zealand, and to be honest it had been a while since I'd bought a new tools and I was having withdrawal symptoms!

And the verdict? I love it! It hasn't made my sawing any more accurate, as I had that sorted anyway after so many years of practice, but it's certainly lighter, almost effortless to use. I don't know why I waited so long! And if you'd like to see what I've been sawing out with my new toy, head over to the Art Jewelry Elements blog to read my first blog post there as the latest member of the AJE team!

Sunday 14 October 2012

Brit Pack Beaders Challenge

It's the second Brit Pack Beaders challenge. It was Rebecca's turn to choose our inspiration - and I love it!

(c) The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2012.

The beautiful work of art above is called 'The White Rose and the Red Rose' and the artist is Margaret MacDonald MacIntosh - you are probably more familiar with her husband, Charles Rennie MacIntosh and his rose motives that have become popular on everything from posters to mugs. Margaret and Charles were both part of the Glasgow Four, and you can see definite links and mutual inspiration between the two. They did alot of work together, creating everything from menu cards to furniture. The work that Margaret produced on her own has a softer feel to it though, and I love this gesso panel - she's painted thin lines of gesso over a burlap background, almost piped on like icing. You can read about her on wiki here, you can see more of her images here, and there's more about The White Rose and the Red Rose here.

 As Rebecca choose the inspiration it was also her task to send out the clasps. Lesley supplied the stringing materials, a lovely mix of silk ribbons and cotton cords, Claire the beads that match the colours perfectly, I made some hammered silver links and some little poppy charms and Teresa has made a couple of gorgeous focals. I've got a couple of ideas floating about for the lilac flower pendant, but the cream face focal is definitely going to be more of a challenge! I'm looking to see what ingredients the others have - I sent the same to everyone but a couple of things Teresa and Rebecca let slip makes me think that we may have different clasps at least!

Please do go and check to see what ingredients the others have to play with, and we'll be back with our finished designs on Wednesday 24th October!

Lesley Watt - Thea Jewellery -

Rebecca Anderson - Songbeads -

Claire Braunbarth - Smitten Beads -

Teresa "Bo Peep" Hulley - Bo Hulley Beads - Bo's Facebook page

Monday 8 October 2012

Are you up for a challenge?

I mentioned last week that the new Artisan Whimsy website will have at least two blog posts a day, covering all manner of topics - materials, tools, sources of inspiration, tutorials, and giveaways and challenges too! Today is the first post of the UK Blog team, which, so far, is made up of Lesley Watt, Rebecca Anderson, Teresa Hulley, Pippa Chandler, Natalie McKenna, Claire Lockwood, Claire Braunbarth, Fiona MacNeil - and me! Our first post is a bit of an introduction to each of us (well, those of us who had joined the group before I wrote and scheduled the post last week!), and also a challenge.

We're all of us influenced by what we see around us, but can you be inspired by the places the UK Blog team live? Our blog post gives you a little bit of information about where we each live, and your challenge is to pick one of our home towns, do a little research and get designing! You do need to be a member of Artisan Whimsy to join in as we're asking that you post your creations on your profile page on the site on Monday 12th November, but it's quick and easy to join.

We're also offering a prize for each challenge location, so for example everyone who enters the Southampton challenge (my home town!) will be entered into a draw to win two of my clasps, one of my new butterflies and a lovebird clasp, both in oxidised copper.

So, what can I tell you about Southampton?

Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. We're best known at the moment for Southampton Football Club (go Saints!) and for our docks - a large proportion of the goods exported from the UK pass through the Southampton Docks in massive container ships, and we also play host to many of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Our maritime history has international links. The Titanic set sail from Southampton on 10th April 1912. Four in five of the crew on board the vessel were Sotonians, with about a third of those who perished in the tragedy five days later coming from the city. Over 500 households in the city lost at least one family member. Three hundred years before the Titanic the Mayflower set off carrying the Pilgrim Fathers to their new home in what is now the USA.

Southampton is also home to the Spitfire, the greatest fighter plane ever built, and WWII hit the city hard as the Spitfire factory and the docks were bombed. A lot of the city was destroyed, but when the rebuilding started there was a lot of careful planning, which is one of the reasons that although we are a large city we have a lot of green spaces, with many local parks and Southampton Common which runs the length of the city right to the city centre. The area that we live in, Bitterne Park has quite a village feel to it, mainly due to the large park that runs along side the River Itchen, one of two rivers that runs through the city.

So, will you choose the romance of the Titanic as your inspiration? Or do you have relatives who went over the USA with the Pilgrim Fathers? Or maybe the Spitfire and Southampton's contribution to WWII will inspire you? Head over to the Artisan Whimsy website to see where the rest of the team live and what they are offering as prizes to tempt you!

Saturday 6 October 2012

Artisan Whimsey

Today is the launch of a brand new beading and jewellery forum! Artisan Whimsey has been set up by Karen Totten, Marla James, Linda Younkman and Melinda Orr with the hope and aim that it will grow into a jewellery version of Ravelry with tutorials, patterns and masses of inspiration. There will be at least two blog posts every day posted by a variety of teams, including a team of UK designers - including me! I'll tell you more about us on Monday as that is when our first blog post is scheduled.

To celebrate the launch, all this weekend we're having giveaways and competitions, including a giveaway to win one of my oxidised copper lovebird clasps. All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is to leave a comment on the giveaway posts. One member will also win a fantastic prize of $150 worth of tools and jewellery supplies this weekend - all you need to do is join by Sunday 7th October 10pm EDT. To join in the fun visit Artisan Whimsey at

500th sale giveaway

Thank you to all of you who placed orders in my Daisychain Extra shop over the weekend of my 500th sale! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to post the winner of the two clasps, but at long last I have the results!

The two clasps I was offering in the giveaway were one of my little house clasps and a brand new design....that I can finally reveal below! It's a sweet copper butterfly with a soft texture, which has been highlighted with liver of sulphur. A hook has been soldered onto the back, and the wings have been gently bent to bring the butterfly to life. The butterflies will be listed in the etsy shop over the weekend, as will some new little house and lovebird clasps.

They are now flying off to Samantha Copestake - congratulations Samantha!

Friday 5 October 2012

A perfect way to start the day....

It all started 50 years ago today.....

Who else grew up listening to the Beatles? Or probably a better question to aks is, who didn't grow up listening to the Beatles? I think I must have started learning the lyrics to many of their hits before I was born, and I know I played their albums full volume in the car while I was pregnant with my boys to get them started on the right track!* Yet they had their first hit 10 years before I was born, while my parents were still at school. Happy 50th Anniversary to the greatest band in the world!

*pun intended!

Thursday 4 October 2012

Let's get back on track

Let's get this blog back on track, shall we? It's taken me much longer than I thought it would to get back to feeling normal and on top of things after comings back from New Zealand. I think part of it is that I've actually felt quite homesick for Auckland! Hellie, my friend we stayed with, sent me a gorgeous photo of her daughter Eliza laughing with Ben in their sitting room - it's actually one of my favourite photos of the whole trip, but it actually made me feel a bit sad when I first opened up her email! It's framed on the sitting room wall now though.

I've also been wonderfully surprised by the number of orders I've had since coming home and opening up my various shops again - were some of you waiting for me to open up my Daisychain Extra shop again?! All the orders I've had, and the amount of teaching that I'm doing now have finally led me to taking on some regular paid help with the business. I will still be making all the clasps and jewellery, but Nicky is going to be helping me with the paperwork, with packing orders, and with some of the jobs like making jump rings and oxidising the finished pieces. I'm really excited about this as Nicky is a lovely friend who I haven't spent as much time with as I'd like recently, so I'm expecting her work sessions to be full of gossip and laughter and generally catching up and setting the world to rights!

I'm painfully aware that I haven't yet announced the winner of my 500 etsy sales giveaway, so that will be done tomorrow - and tomorrow there will also be the announcement of a great new online jewellery project that I've been asked to be part of, so I will be back then!



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