Friday, 25 March 2011


I just completed my silversmith class taught by Jess Noonan who makes amazing jewellery herself and also teaches both day-classes and term-long courses in the Midlands.

We were working from Gallery 18 in Loughborough

I've made a pendant, four rings, a bangle and a chain bracelet. Jess is a fab teacher who gives you a lot of scope for doing the work that you're interested in while learning the techniques.
The space had benches for six people (the maximum on the course) and all of the equipment that you would need. Also at the start of the course you get some pieces of metal and other essentials which you can supplement later as you decide what you're going to make.
This is the plain D-shaped ring that I finished last week and haven't taken off since.
Towards the end of the course I started playing with silver plated forks to try and create some rings and other jewellery out of them. This one is the most successful of the fork jewellery, it's made from nickel silver and I've not found anything to do with the handle yet but the tines were great to work with and have made a lovely ring. The outside two tines can either be twisted as shown below or can be bent backwards to hold a stone.
This is the under-side of the ring with the two inner tines bent around to form the ring itself and then sanded to make it comfortable to wear.
Can you tell I like chunky jewellery? I'm going to spend a few months sourcing some more nickel silver forks and hopefully some sterling silver as well (plate did not work well!) and then take another class with Jess to work on them further. I might even get myself a blowtorch. You have been warned!

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Apologies in advance, this has turned out to be a rather odd blog post but then it's been a rather odd weekend.

I went into Nottingham this morning to pick up some books from Waterstones. Well that was only one reason, but listing my entire shopping list is a bit much even for me, and really who's all that interested in which colour nail varnish I bought?

The top book, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry was a World Book Night book that the lovely folks at Nottingham Waterstones kept aside for me because I was stuck on a train that night and couldn't make it in. The other three are all books that I'm quite ashamed that I didn't own already, that's remedied now.

While we were parking a man walked along the street with a thin gauze bandage around the top of his head, soaked in blood. His white t-shirt also had large patches of thick dark red blood on both front and back and his face & arms were splattered with it. I think the thing that shook me was that his face had streaked and splattered dried blood almost all over it. I didn't register why he caught my attention from a long way away but the few seconds eye-contact as our car passed him walking on the street stayed with me all day. I don't mind sounding like a bit of a wimp, it really got to me.

When something upsets me my brain deals with it in the only way I know how - creatively. The more I thought about the less I thought of myself seeing this poor young chap and the more it became an abstract narration. I love trying to understand how my brain works, I don't think I'll ever truly comprehend how amazing it really is that we all (more or less) function.

Last night I took my much more prosaic lens attached to my camera out to look at the moon. The pictures were pretty rubbish as you can see but the view from the binoculars was pretty awesome and the photos are a nice memory-aid.

I should get back to sorting clothes out, I'm packing for two holidays at once. This is a bit much for a girl who normally packs two weeks in advance for a weekend away!

Hope everyone is looking forward to a new week.


p.s. Rather than listing all my interweb-ness as normal I'm going to link to my website as it should now re-direct to my page...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Too Many Cookies.

No, really. I've read almost a hundred cookie recipes today (I know, the best possible use of my time) trying to find something like the recipe I want.
I know which ingredients it needs to have but I want a base recipe for amounts and rough oven timing before I start playing. I can't find ANYTHING suitable.

Very good but a double-choc and not quite right yet.

Here's the kicker - it absolutely has to be a crunchy biscuit. I despise chewy choc-chip cookies, they give me uncontrollable rage. It's so disappointing buying a cookie/biscuit and that first split second when you bite in and there's no crunch - aaagh.
I went to school in the very centre of Leicester and when people used to bring Millie's Cookies back I couldn't even bear that horrid artificial smell. I am indeed a cookie snob.
It has to have flour, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla, oatmeal, huge amounts of dark chocolate chips, no cocoa, preferably some golden syrup, possibly either eggs or butter but definitely not both, bi-carb or baking powder, coconut and treacle.
Situation so bad I don't even have two picture of cookies yet
Any suggestions? Secret family recipes you can tease me with or at least give hints about? Non-secret family recipes I can have? Something on the internet/inside my recipe books that I've missed?
There's a lot of great looking US recipes out there but they all seem to be for chewy (rage) cookies.
See this is the frustrating bit because once I have a basic recipe I can start playing around. This is stage one, I have a vaguely okay recipe that is going to be tested tomorrow if I find nothing better before-hand. So if nothing else this is warning for a glut of cookie posts to follow.

Love and calories,

Friday, 11 March 2011


Today is one of my very good friends' birthday. Seeing as the world seems to keep falling apart I'm going to stick up some pictures that make me happy. Apologies to people who know me through Etsy - this is mainly a series of my own pictures and nothing businessy at all! Now if only I could find that picture of my friend in his pink stetson...



My thoughts are with all of those affected by the earthquake and it's after-effects. I hope everyone has at least one reason to smile today.

With love and smiles,

Thursday, 10 March 2011

I 'like' my 'fans'

For a long time now there has been a gap between the items that I sell online and the pieces that I sell at craft fairs. Sometimes it's not worth putting things online either because of the admin/postage costs or because they don't take clear enough photographs.

I've been trying to figure out a nice way of showing my online friends the pieces of jewellery that I sell at fairs and in shops. So I'm going to try a giveaway. Yes, free-ness. Goodies, treats, presents, gifts, shiny things! The plan is to send a piece of jewellery that I don't sell on Etsy to one of my Facebook fans. I'll promote on here and Twitter as well, and of course I would love it if you guys would tell people as well. The plan is to say thanks to everyone who supports me and hopefully meet some new people in the process. This piece is made from irregular oval shaped acrylic beads in jet-black and gold. The piece pictured is the one which will be sent.

This is open to everyone (worldwide) who is a fan on my Facebook page at 5pm (GMT) on 15th March 2011. I will randomly select one winner and then put a notification of the winner on this blog, facebook and twitter (isn't social media exhausting!). The winner will need to contact me at with their postage details and I will send it asap. I'm paying the postage (obviously!) and you'll get a fancy little gift bag as well (see picture). If the winner doesn't want it (why?!) or doesn't get in touch within three days I'll launch the number generator again and pick a second winner. I'm sure I've forgotten details - if so I'll amend asap here or in the comments.

Go forth and spread the word. Fingers crossed we make some new friends, maybe some new fans and someone will get a shiny gift at the end of it!
Happy Thursday everyone.


Branding Round-Up

I spent a good amount of time working on branding my business and this is the conclusion of all of that work. Pictures in here are of my latest work. I'm also going to be running a giveaway very soon from my Facebook page so stay tuned!

Things I have learnt:

Firstly that the Etsy community is amazing, I've never felt so much support for my work and art.
Also that this is a very hard thing to be doing and so many people are trying to make it work that there is a big risk of failure. I am still certain that trying and failing whilst working on something I love is better than hating every second of work. 

Passion is vital.
The internet is an amazing resource and there are hundreds of ways to use it to your advantage as a small business owner, I'm sure I've only scratched the surface so far.
It's useless being fixed in one idea, when something doesn't work you need to be flexible enough to change and find ways of making your ideas work.
Branding is a continual thing and I need to keep working at it.
I need to know my audience better.
The main thing that I have learnt is that I am really very lucky to have the chance to do something I enjoy.

Things I am going to do:
Look for more ways to work on the business side of my business as it seems both interesting and important
I am going to keep making cards as they seem to be the most marketable. I am also looking to do more specific cards such as Wedding invitations.

I am going to explore ways of making new sizes and shapes of collages. I've made some much larger ones and have been going back and doing some more comic-book based ones.
I am going to sell art unframed on the internet and framed at craft fairs as the postage for framed collages, especially with larger pieces is a bit extreme.

I am definitely going to focus on collage rather than jewellery for the moment.
I'm looking for more mainstream work that is still connected to something creative so I can build up my savings without doing something that I hate, fingers crossed I can find something!

This all became a bit complicated as I decided to have a complete rethink of my plans but I hope that my working more on bradning, marketing and audience I will keep making the business better. As well as my own round up please do leave a comment or drop me a line if you have done something similar with your business as I'd love to see how other people tackle this sort of thing!


Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Sherwood Forest

I have loved Sherwood Forest and the surrounds for most of my life. I went back last week and although the visitor centre was closed it was great being back.