Saturday, 31 July 2010

A new blog?

(Picture by D Sharon Pruitt)

The other day I was thinking about starting another blog. A shiney new blog all about my the non jewellery part of my life.

 I've started making a quilt, and I also want to get a letterpress kit to play with. To be honest I always have some crafty experiement or other on the go, and as we're planning on moving house soon I can imagine these craft exploits becoming more and more frequent as I try to get the new place (when/ if we find it!) cosy and organised.

I also wanted to have a nice new blog about what I get up to with the kids. Trips out, projects we actually get around to completing. Life in general. All the stuff it's so easy to forget as they get older.

But THIS blog, now this blog is just to document my jewellery making adventures; new designs, inspiration, other lovely stuff I've seen along the way.


I have to admit, I get a lot of my inspiration from nature, and the world around me, but it doesn't change each week.

And as I venture more into silversmithing, given my increasingly hectic "real life" things are going to take a bit longer to make. But I definitely want to blog relatively frequently - because whose going to read a blog that gets updated once a month? - I know I don't.

So to cut a long story short,  to stop beating around the bush, to stop prevaricating..... I thought I'd combine it all into one blog. THIS blog can include all of the different bits of my life that I want to blog about. It will still have the same amount of jewellery, but a little more of the other stuff as well.

If you blog, how do you do it? Do you have separate blogs for different things. Am I making a big bloggy mistake?

Friday, 30 July 2010

Folksy Friday - Bring me sunshine

What a brilliant first week of the summer holidays. We've had loads of fun here ... (hmmm peaking too soon perhaps??) So I thought I'd do a folksy friday full of sunshine.

So, sing along with me now.."Bring me sunshine, in your smile........"

(as ever, just click on the pictures to go through to the shops!)

Mud Puppy Chain of Daisies
Blackbird and Lace Beggars Bowl

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Ah it's nice to have company....

Someone has been watching me make my jewellery...

and yes I do need to dust the printer at some point. .

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Copper creations

The very lovely Anna aka the bunny maker from Half an Acre recently sold me her old mini kiln. (Thank you Anna!!)

This was so exciting because not only can I now fire larger silver pieces; I can now play with copper and bronze clay. I've had some copper art clay for a while. Apparently you can torch fire it, but I wasn't that successful so I've just been looking at it, all wrapped up and looking sad on my shelf.

But now, with my kiln, I can actually make stuff with it.

Here is my first (of many) copper leaves with some of my huge turquoise bead stash.

Don't you just love how copper and turquoise go together.

Just need to get a clasp finished and then I'll probably list it.

The clasp has seen me experimenting with copper plating! It seems to be pretty much impossible to get copper solder, so I use silver. For this clasp I soldered together copper wire to make a toggle, but this meant that the silver solder looked a bit odd. Simple solution - add a spare nail or screw to the old copper pickle pot (where the pickle has turned a shade of blue), and watch it fizz and copper plate over the solder. FANTASTIC.(This is why you only usually use copper tongs in a pickle pot - to avoid accidental plating!)

Love trying new stuff, and using new material. Hope you like my new copper creations!!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

A new craft

As the summer holidays are here I thought I'd take some time to try something new. A new craft obviously. I've always wanted to make a partchwork quilt, and now is the time.

So my eldest and I went off for some supplies; we have a fantastic quilt shop in our local town.

We chose a jelly roll. I know nothing about quilting, so thought it might be the easiest start. Might be, might not...only time will tell.

Lots of beautiful strips of fabric in pinks, yellows, browns and blue (her favourite colour).

But firsts things first, we need to cut some background fabric into strips ready to sew...

We're not scared....

I'll keep you posted!

Friday, 23 July 2010

Folksy Friday - Listings found with the term "Sky"

Moontide Photography lej jewellery
Bubble or Squeak Scape
Quilt Routes hms design and ffflowers

Here are some gorgeous items I found using the search term "Sky" - aren't they fab? Random search terms on Folksy can really make you appreciate the amazing artists and makers who are involved on the site. Click on the pictures to go through to the individual shops.

And as I've gone with a sky theme I couldn't resist adding in an item of my own...

a fine silver cloud with turquoise raindrops!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Caring for your silver jewellery

When you first buy your silver jewellery, it's bright, shiny and beautiful, but in time silver tarnishes from the interaction of silver and sulfides in the air. (Incedentally I often purposely darken some aspects of my designs, using liver of sulpher - but that's a different story!)

First the tarnish will take on a golden hue, and eventually, it will turn the piece black. This is a completely natural process. In more humid conditions, the sulfide levels are likely to be higher, and so it follows that your jewellery is more likely to tarnish quicker.

BUT there are things you can do;

1) USE a soft cotton cloth to polish away light tarnishing. Regular buffing in this way should keep your  jewellery shiny. A special silver cleaning cloth makes the job a lot easier and faster.
2) If the tarnish does not come off, try WASHING the piece in soapy water using a soft bristled brush (like a toothbrush). This should prove effective in most cases. 
3) If all else fails - silver cleaning dips/liquids are fast and easy, but be warned, do not use these with fingerprint jewellery or that with any darkened design aspects, as they will remove the blackened finish. Also they can easily take off the polish of many gemstones. If you do use a dip please please please don't leave it in too long and make sure you rinse extra well with water or a residue will form which is tricky to remove. I would recommend sticking to the simple methods 1 and 2 above if at all possible.
3) AVOID - wearing your jewellery in swimming pools - silver and chlorine do not mix well. And be careful when handling chlorine cleaning products and bleaches. What better excuse not to clean the bathroom !!
4) Finally when you're not wearing your item - STORE it in a sealed bag or similar to stop the reaction with the air.

You can expect your silver to look fantastic and last for generations with just a little tlc every now and then.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Photo background

On a trip this weekend to the local pet shop to buy a goldfish for the girls I finally spotted some grey slate stone in a dark corner to use as a background in my pictures. I've been looking in garden centres and the like for ages!

These are some rather hurried photos I took in the garden this afternoon, without a light box - so please excuse the poor lighting, overshine, and reflection of me and the camera in the shot!

I will re-do the pictures when I have longer than five minutes to spend, but I really needed to get them listed.

I really like the dark grey against the silver - it really makes it stand out, so you can see the all the detail, which I usually find really tricky with my the more subtle silver and crystal jewellery.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Flutterbies to be...

For Christmas this year the girls got a butterfly farm - which is a habitat for butterflies, and a coupon for some caterpillers. We send the coupon off about a month ago now, and got a little pot of 5 teeny caterpillers through the post.... the got bigger and bigger until...

 here they are as chrysalides (chrysalis, them what you will)

and this is their home, where they have been for nearly 10 days now.... I'm hoping we'll have butterflies within a day or two. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Blog background - heeeeeelp

Ok I need some help....

I am feeling a little indecisive today (this week) - and while procrastinating recently, was tinkering with my blog design.... what do you think?

Should it stay like this...

or should I switch...

or maybe I should look elsewhere..

Which looks best do you think?

Monday, 5 July 2010

Giveaway alert!

Have you seen the UK Handmade website recently? If you haven't why on earth not? - it's fantastic, and also if you had you might have seen my earring giveaway that's just gone up.

My little leaves are one of the most popular items that I make, so I have teamed up with UK Handmade to offer a pair to one lucky winner.

The catch?

There isn't one - you just have to leave a quick comment about which item you like best in my folksy shop on the UK handmade website, and that's it - you're entered. Simple

Tell your friends!! keep those fingers crossed and these lovely leaves could be yours. (Good luck)

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Work in progress - the mountain crumbles..

Some may call it a lack of focus and concentration, I prefer to think of it as a creative drive to try new things... and ....erm ...yes that does result in a large pile of unfinished bits known as my Work in Progress pile (or mountain).

So with all that lovely stuff just sitting there half done, I thought it was about time I got some stuff finished, especially as I've just joined the listing a day clubs again on Folksy and Etsy for July.

So here are a few bits a bobs that I'm working on at the moment...

I've been practising with bezel setting cabachons - expect lots more of these from me in the near(ish) future...

Sorry the pictures are rubbish! But you get the idea...

And a nice simple summery pendant.
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