Sunday 28 April 2013

Shop Update!

The photos are edited, the descriptions are written - 
the Daisychain Extra shop update begins at 3pm BST this afternoon!

Saturday 27 April 2013

Poorly spotty boy

My poor Jamie is a poorly spotty boy - a chicken pox spotty boy. He seems so far to be having a fairly light dose of it though and is trying very hard to be his usual cheerful self. I've stocked up on children's puriten and I've been putting a couple of spoonfuls of bicarb of soda in his bath though to help with the itching - and of course cuddles with Mummy whilst watching Peppa Pig DVDs are a very good distraction!

I had planned a Daisychain Extra shop update for tonight, but that's (obviously considering it's so late!) not going to happen until tomorrow now. The photos of new designs are edited, the descriptions written, but my poorly boy has obviously taken priority over finishing the listings! I'll be listing some old favourites and some new designs tomorrow evening - the collage above is a taster of what's to come!

Thursday 25 April 2013

A Beautiful Day

It's been a wonderfully sunny spring day here today, and as on all sunny days the radio station has been playing U2's "It's a Beautiful Day". I've now got the lyrics going constantly through my head, but I thought it would be the perfect title for this post!

I'm not that good at showing you what my students make during private tuition sessions, partly as I don't always get round to taking photos of their work before they go as we're so busy making jewellery up to the last possible minute! I do have a back log of student work to show you though, and I thought I'd start with Rachel and Dale who came out to the workshed in February to make their wedding bands and now that they are married I can show the rings off to you! I've helped men make special rings for their girlfriends before, but this was only the second time that a couple have come to wedding rings. I was so thrilled to have played a small part in their wedding preparations!

Both of the rings are beautiful, and of course even more special because they made them for each other. Dale's ring is a thick and wide silver band with a satin finish, and Rachel's is made from round 9k gold wire and brightly polished. Although the designs may look simple that actually means that the finishing of the rings had to be perfect - adding a hammered texture would have hidden any small imperfections in the soldering joins.

Despite never having made jewellery before Dale also had time to use the skills he had learnt in making Rachel's ring to make a bangle as a bridesmaid's present for Rachel's sister. I was very impressed!

Thank you to Rachel and Dale for sending me the photos of them wearing their rings on their wedding day! Love and congratulations to you both.

If you'd like to learn how to make your own jewellery or would like to improve on jewellery making skills that you already have please visit my Jewellery Tuition page for more information on private tuition and workshops. New private tuition dates will be available soon - sign up to the newsletter using the link on the left of the blog to get the new dates as soon as they are released! 

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Happy St George's Day!

When we were in Barcelona the other weekend (doesn't that sound good?!) red roses could be seen everywhere in preparation for La Diada de Sant Jordi (St George's Day) today. St George is the patron saint of Catalonia as well as of England, and Catalonians celebrate in a manner similar to St Valentine's Day with the giving of red roses - by the end of the day some 4 million roses will have been sold, many of them along Las Ramblas, the main street running through the heart of Barcelona, and the city is even more filled with colour, music and street performers than usual! Here in England we haven't really celebrated St George's Day since the time of Elizabeth I - on her death King James, the King of Scotland, also became the King of England and celebrating the patron saint of England wasn't exactly in favour, but there are moves to celebrate more. Even campaigns to create a public holiday, but we'll see!

To join in the celebrations I've got a special promotion running on the Daisychain Jewellery website, but only for today and tomorrow. Use the code "St George" on the Daisychain Jewellery website to receive 23% off orders of jewellery designs in the Bloom Collection - from the stunning Daisy Cuff to the sweet and dainty Red Rose earrings there is something for everyone. However, the celebrations end at midnight on Wednesday 24th April so you'll have to be quick!

Happy St George's Day!

I wrote about St George's Day for my post on the Art Jewelry Elements blog on Sunday, with lovely rose beads and components from some of the AJE team - it's over here!

Monday 22 April 2013

Instant Downloads!

It's been a busy few days - but then again, when aren't I busy?! Not that I'm complaining - it's good to be busy when you're self-employed! We took advantage of the sunny spring weather at the weekend. I was teaching on Saturday so T and the boys went on a bike ride round our local park. Well, T and Ben rode their bikes - Jamie sat in style in the trailer attached to the back of T's bike! Sunday afternoon was spent putting new felt on the roof of my workshed, pressure washing the decking and generally tidying up after a long drab winter. Next up, pots of colourful flowers and maybe a lick of paint on the garden furniture!

Etsy have been doing some Spring cleaning and organising too. Virtual products such as my Macramé, Art Beads and Wire ebook can now be downloaded immediately after purchase - so now whether you order your copy through my website or through my Daisychain Extra shop it will be sent to you for you to enjoy 6 great projects straight away!

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Life begins?!

So here it is, my 40th birthday! Heavens, I just got a chill seeing that typed up in black and white on my computer screen! I still feel 27 years old but according to my passport and my Mum I definitely am 40 years old today. Any you know what? I actually feel relaxed about it. That probably is partly because I'm still relaxed after T took me to Barcelona for the weekend while my parents looked after the boys. We had a fantastic time - Barcelona is such a beautiful city with so much to see and do that despite visiting four times now we still haven't seen everything! Don't worry, there will be photos later, and I'm going to write a new "Barcelona bead shops" post too.

Anyway, my birthday - fancy helping me celebrate? For the next 40 hours, use the code "BIRTHDAY" to get 15% off orders in my Daisychain Extra and of course on my own Daisychain Jewellery website too. So, if you've been waiting to treat yourself, you have until 4pm GMT on Thursday 18th April to make it an extra special treat!

P.S. I have decided to delay the changes to the Daisychain Extra shop that I wrote about here because of this sale, so the shop will be closing temporarily on the evening of Thursday 18th April - but don't worry, when it opens again there will be lovely new designs along with the old favourites!

Monday 15 April 2013

Soup is ready!

My apologies to those of you who visited on Saturday hoping to see my Bead Soup challenge piece - as I was going to be away for the reveal I scheduled the blog post - and managed to schedule it for the wrong weekend! Ooops! And I thought I was being so organised.... 
Anyway, I'm home again now so here it is....better late than never?!

To be perfectly honest I was a little bit worried when I opened the bead soup ingredients Deborah Read that sent me as, lovely as the lampwork and dichroic glass pieces, they were on the opposite side of the world from anything that I would normally use - but that's what this challenge is all about, right? If you'd like a reminder of what Deb sent me please have a look at this post from last month. I did my usual bead soup trick of putting all the ingredients in a lovely wooden bowl that sits on my desk and every now and then I pulled a few pieces out, added some extras in and generally had a play. In the end, however, I decided to use just a focal and one of the two clasps that Deb sent, and this is a little hint of what I did.

I took part in an Artisan Whimsy challenge last year that used a tutorial by to set a flat back stone or found object in prongs that started life as rivets. The rivets were pushed through holes drilled in the backing plate and soldered into place so that they were strong enough to be pushed over the object being set. I set a beautiful Botswana Agate cabochon in silver for that challenge, and loved the technique, so I decided to use it again to set one of the pieces of dichroic glass that Deb sent me.

And this is the glass set in place. I love the contrast of warm patinea'd copper with the blues and greens in the glass. You've probably noticed that I haven't used the clasp yet. I realised once I'd made the pendant that I didn't have enough of the leather I wanted to hang it from, so as soon as the postman brings it I'll be using a clasp, promise!

Please do go and see what Deb made with the ingredients I made I sent her  - you can see her post here, and for a full list of all the people taking part visit

I'm actually away this weekend (T's taking me away to Barcelona for an early birthday treat!) so I've scheduled this and I will start visiting the other blogs taking part when I get home!

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Non-stop Mayhem!

Or, as those of you without young children will probably call it - the school holidays. I do love having Ben and T home more and the mornings are definitely more relaxed without the school run, but this school holiday has left little time for any Daisychain business other than filling orders. Blogging and work on new designs etc will have to wait until school starts again next week! I have had time to plan out the next few months for the business though, and I'm going to be making a few changes that will hopefully make things a lot more efficient.

One of those changes, probably the most visible one from the outside, will be that I am changing my Daisychain Extra shop from one with a few ready-to-ship items and mainly made-to-order designs to one with just ready-to-ship items. At the moment I rarely have time to build up much stock because as soon as I make something it flies out the door to the post office - which is a good thing for orders but not so much for my creativity. So, each week or so I will be doing a shop update that will be partly current designs but also new designs -and I will be able to spend more time creating new designs as making stock and listing it all at once if more efficient than making smaller batches a little at a time.

I hope that all makes sense! Basically, what it will mean for you is that everything that you see in the Daisychain Extra shop will be available and ready for dispatch and you won't have to wait for me to make it for you. It will also mean that there will be more new designs available more often as I will have more time to make them.

I will be putting my Daisychain Extra shop in holiday mode for a few days as from Monday 15th April (next Monday) and open it up again with a shop update and new designs, so if you need to stock up on any of the current designs you have until Monday!

P.S. Orders placed from now until Monday morning will be processed on Tuesday as T is taking me away for a long weekend for my birthday!

Monday 1 April 2013

AJE March Component of the Month

As I think you may have guessed by now, it was my turn to design something new for the AJE Component of the Month challenge, and I sent out lovely copper hollow beads to my team mates and to some of the AJE blog readers. Normally we have the challenge reveal on the last day of the month, but as we thought we'd all probably be a bit busy on Easter Sunday we'd do the reveal today instead.

And this is what I made....

This pendant is actually the third piece I made for the challenge. I kept thinking that I had to make something more elaborate as it was, afterall, a challenge with my own component, but nothing seemed quite right until I kept it simple. I've used a gorgeous lampwork bead by (of course) Mindy Macgregor (Moogin Beads), a palm wood square bead from Smitten Beads and a purple Czech glass bead. I've been wearing it strung on a length of purple silk from Marsha Neal Studios, but I think that this particular pendant will be better on a length of brown leather - which I haven't actually got yet, which is why I'm showing it to you like this!.

I'd love it if you could take the time to visit the designers taking part in this month's challenge - I am really looking forward to seeing what they all made with their beads!

The guest designers this month are:
(Kathy  (Northern Light) hasn't been able to take part due to her mother's illness -
I hope she gets better soon Kathy!)
And the AJE contributors taking part are:


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