Friday 29 November 2013

Being Thankful

I've just got back from a great day out in London visiting the Cockpit Arts studio. We had a great day out - so many studios, so much to see! It was great talking to other artists and seeing where they work, a real treat after our hard work putting the Sorting Office Open Studios together last weekend. I will have some photos to show you in a few days, but I need to get them all together first!

In the meantime, as our Open Studios last weekend and today's trip out have most definitely put me in the festive mood I thought I'd continue the Thanksgiving celebrations from across the Atlantic with a Daisychain Extra discount code for you......

Remember that the designs in the shop are the last ones I'm doing - once they're gone that's it!

And if you prefer to wear jewellery rather than make it, remember that there's a discount code running on my website as well....

Thursday 28 November 2013

What a day!

The Winter Open Studios was a fantastic day, a great success - so much so that the studios have been rather quiet this week as we've all been recovering!

Our first visitor of the day was Father Christmas, and as soon as he settled into his colourful grotto the doors opened. I hardly stopped all day, talking to people about my tuition and workshops, showing some of the pieces I'm working on at the moment, discussing commissions and generally showing off my lovely studio! I also had a gratifying number of empty displays at the end of the day.

I had planned to take lots of photos of the open day, but in the end I hardly left my own studio and when I did I only got as far as Denise's studio next door.

Thankfully there are a few more on the Sorting Office facebook page here, and even a quick video tour!

We're all off to London tomorrow, a Sorting Office studios trip out to the Cockpit Arts Open Studios. A treat after our hard work, a day off from Christmas orders! I'm really looking forward to it - and hoping that I can do some more Christmas shopping!

Friday 22 November 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We've all been busy down at the Sorting Office this week, getting everything ready for the Winter Open Studios - which is tomorrow - eeek! Where on earth has the week gone?!

The building of Santa's Grotto

We now have Santa's Grotto in the Production House where I teach my group workshops, fairy lights hanging from the rafters, snowflakes decorating the walls and windows and beautiful artwork and crafts on display.

A very messy studio after a couple of days teaching - I haven't even got any jewellery on the walls since taking it down for the Christmas Gifts Bazaar last Friday!
 I was teaching Wednesday and Thursday so I had to wait until today to get my studio ready. It was rather messy to start with, and halfway through it looked worse than when I started but I got there in the end! You can find more photos, including some of my studio neighbours work, on my Facebook page.

Jewellery back on display on the walls, more jewellery on display where my computer, photography set-up and polishing set-up usually are. It was a long day but  it was worth it!
I'd love to show you round if you can make it, and you can find all the details here. But whether you can make it or not I have an early Christmas present for you....

If you can make it tomorrow just print out the voucher above or show it to me on your phone and you will get 15% off when you spend £45 or more. If you can't make it, simply enter "openstudios" at check out on my website and until the end of November you will get the same deal!

Friday 15 November 2013

Last Ever Daisychain Extra Shop Update!

I had meant to post this yesterday to give you a little more notice but I spent the whole day on the computer editing photos and writing descriptions, and by the evening I just had to have a break! The hours spent on the computer have been worth while though, as the last ever shop update for Daisychain Extra is ready to go at 1pm! All the stock has been checked, the last pieces given their patina and polished, holes drilled etc etc.

I have some new pieces to offer you, including the pieces above. The heart toggle clasps are my favourites, especially because they use my favourite hammer with the lines radiating out of the hole for the toggle. Other pieces are variations on old favourites, sometimes with a new texture. I've got lots of lovely new pieces with an embossed linen texture, such as on the daisy and bird above.

This really is the last time I will be putting new stock in the shop and once it's gone, it's gone - so get in there quickly! Everything will go live at 1pm today.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Tutorial Tuesday - Nothing goes to waste....

Part of the design for the earrings that Brenda (one of my regular students and the woman behind the beautiful stones at Iced Hot Rocks) was making during her session last week needed some rectangular wire, and none of the wire I had in stock was quite right. Ten minutes or so with a length of 2mm round wire and the rolling mill soon sorted that out, but after Brenda had cut off what she needed we were left over with a very short piece that I rescued from the scrap pot saying that nothing goes to waste and I was sure that I could use it in something. "Go on then!" came the reply - so I did!

Brenda set me the challenge of making a pair of earrings using only that short piece of flattened wire and any other bits and pieces that were sitting out on my desk, and as I was making them during her lesson while she was filing or doing other bits and pieces that didn't need my help they had to be relatively quick too. And here's what I did!

A very pretty pair of earrings, even if I do say so myself! I'm very pleased with how they turned out. I've made a couple of projects recently that were just made from pieces that were already sitting on my desk or from pieces rescued from my scrap pot, and I've really enjoy the challenge that brings. So, your turn....what can you rescue from the waste basket or scrap pot?

I've been especially organised and these earrings are already available on the website here, looking for a new home for Christmas!

Monday 11 November 2013

Can I mention Christmas yet?!

Despite starting to plan new products for the Christmas season and Christmas events in the spring, I still dislike talking about Christmas too early! However, I heard my first Christmas song on Radio 2 this evening so I think it's time!

Unfortunately my favourite show of the year, Handmade Winchester isn't running this year but I will be showing my jewellery at two events - two different events but I am very excited (and rather nervous!) about both of them.

The first event is this coming Friday, 15th November - the Christmas Gifts Bazaar that a friend and I organise to raise money for the Wessex Cancer Trust each  year. This is our fourth year and we've got more stalls that before, live music, wine, mince pies, a raffle - what more could you want?! The reason I'm nervous is that we've worked so hard on this and I'm at the waking up in the middle of the night stage praying that it will be a success! I know that it will be as people have been talking about it and tickets have been sold, but that doesn't stop the nerves!

And the second event is our first annual Open Studios at the Sorting Office - the nerves this time are because I've never had to opportunity to open my studio up to the public before! I'll tell you lots more about this later in the week, but for now all the basic information you need is below.....

It would be wonderful to see you there!

Sticks and stones!

So, we're a sixth of the way through the academic year already, just over month away from Christmas Day (sorry!), we seem to have gotten used to the clocks falling back and with the wind and rain that we've had this last couple of week it feels that winter is replacing the gentler autumn.

We did manage to find a little bit of sun this weekend though, perfect for a walk through the park to collect sticks. No, we don't have a dog to throw sticks for, and no, we weren't collecting for a bonfire to go with the fireworks we shared with our neighbours and their son, Ben's best friend. My boys, in fact quite a few of the boys we know, just like collecting sticks! And stones, shells, conkers, sycamore seeds - our local park is a treasure trove at this time of year! The boys never seem to do anything with them - they just build up in piles in the car boot, in the porch, by the back door until I finally decide that enough is enough  - and then the piles start again from scratch!

I don't mind too much though. Piles of sticks waiting to trip me up are a small price to pay for encouraging the boys to play outside. I know I've said it before, but we are lucky about the part of Southampton we live in. No big city neighbourhood is perfect, but we've got a fantastic park with the River Itchen running through it just at the bottom of our hill. And I'm now off to walk through it again on my way to pick the boys up from school - only this time I think I'm going to need my umbrella!


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