21 Dec 2007

It's nearly Christmas! Just wrapped the boy's presents, with poems. Nearly everything is ready for our party this evening. The tree still looks great. Nearly finished with the big secret project for the boy!!!!!!!! Will post some photos once he's seen it.
Going for a jog this afternoon, then last minute preparations for the party and then it's officially the holiday! hurrah! I hope everyone has a fabulous holiday break!!!!! :-)

20 Dec 2007

It's cold again. You can see the frost clinging on where the shadows remain:

19 Dec 2007

I'm trying to beat this cold over the head so it runs away fast....having fruit only smoothies, weird vitamin drink I got for free at Boots for some random reason, chewable vitamins, lots of sleep, and medicine. Surely all that ought to work?!

I love the little felt sheep on a swing that's on the outcast blog today.

18 Dec 2007

I have a horrid cold. It is making me ache. Anyway, today a randomly slightly technical post. Here's what happened: friends told us we must watch this tv series called Heroes. We don't have a tv, so they put the episodes on our memory/usb stick so we could watch it on the computer. So, we put the memory stick in the computer, click on the files that appear, and it there's the sound, but no picture.

All the files were video files, with extension .avi -- so first issue is which program to run it in. It opened with Windows Media Player and Real One Player. The first point I want to make here is that you can get up-to-date versions of these players for free - just google the name of the program and you will get to a page where you can download the program, which is usually just a series of clicks and you're done. I think people aren't aware sometimes that you do not need a new computer or to buy a new edition. The version of Windows Media Player that we had did not accept .avi files, so we had to download the newer version....it's not necessarily the newest version you want, because it has to be compatible with what operating system you're running - Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows Vista. (Most people do run Windows.)

Anyway, if you can get past all that fiddly-ness, then if you try to play your file and it still has no image, it will give you an error message saying either "the right decompressor is not available" or "codec missing" or something with the word "codec" or "decompressor" in it. You don't need to know what that means exactly (I don't) but in Windows Media Player, you will get a little error icon (in LIST view only, not icon or thumbnail view). When you click on the error icon, it will give you an option for "web help". When you click on that, it will give you the name of the codec you need, which you then Google and you can find where to download it from. Once you've downloaded that, hey presto, the files can play!

Erm, I meant to write this to show that it's not that hard to sort out problems with software if you persevere. However, as I was writing it, I realise it does presuppose you know what operating system you're using, what downloading is, how to see file extensions (in Windows, known file extensions are not shown as the default setting), etc. So...I guess the point of that whole story is, you *can* do these things, but perhaps it is easier to ask the nerd in the family :-)

Ah well, we did get to watch an episode of Heroes...so far quite good!

anyway, in other news, this is the commission I made that involved bending tube:

and here's a close-up (it's a leather band going through the silver)

17 Dec 2007

We have a proper xmas tree! hurrah! it's great! Here's a photo of it:

14 Dec 2007

Thank you, Marmalady!!!!!!!! My etsy swap pressie arrived today!! Hurrah! I will be toasty warm with this lovely hat & scarf combo! With a handmade card and everything! This was a fantastic surprise, very exciting to get a random package in the post! Thanks again, Marmalady, they are brilliant!

13 Dec 2007

It is cold out. Cold for the UK, that is. It's 11.41 and still plenty of frost on the roofs of the houses.

Yesterday I put out a bunch of holiday decorations. I don't like too many colours all together, so what I do is get out all my flower vases and fill them with silver and black Christmas tree balls. I also filled a shallow, large dish with some tinsel and then arranged a bunch of silver Christmas tree balls on top, along with a couple silver snowflake decorations. I also filled a vase with red tiny LED lights and tinsel. You just wrap the lights in the tinsel, hide the battery box in the middle, and the lights look really nice that way. I copied that idea from a display I saw at John Lewis :-) I also got the little lights there.

and, randomly, here's a scarf my sister's working on that is really lovely!!

12 Dec 2007

I thought I would drag out some photos of a commission I did...for my mom :-) My mom found a pearl that matched her dress for my sister's wedding. The idea was to make a ring with the pearl...and this is what I came up with:

The photo below is of the first pearl ring that I made. I made it ages ago, I think at least 2 years ago, when I was still taking classes. I remember that I was taking classes because I had a panic that I had lost the pearl. I was working at the bench in the workshop and had the pearl sitting on a dark surface, so I accidentally left it in the classroom. I got home and couldn't find it, so major panic! I went to the school at some crazy early hour the next morning and had the janitor guy let me in the workshop - and there was the pearl, exactly where I had left it!! oops!!!

11 Dec 2007

I have sent the rings plus various bits & bobs off to the Hallmarking office using their "Early Hall" service, i.e. next day service. I haven't used this service before, so I am hoping it's good because it'll give me an indication of how reliable it is for future use. I should have the rings back and off in the post by the end of the week, all being well!
Today I'm working on more crystal earrings....the funny thing about these earrings is that most girls pass them by, but guys tend to really like them. This is probably an overstatement...but it seems like I'm getting more orders/enquiries from guys asking about them as presents. interesting...
Anyway, I also need to prepare a bit for my WINE meeting next week. That's Women in New Enterprises :-) heh heh, the name makes me laugh. Which reminds me that one of the members of WINE was supposed to send around her business plan for perusal....I need to go chase her up!!!

10 Dec 2007

Ok, you're going to have to take my word for it, but this is Portishead:

And this is the fantastic Thurston Moore:

And the very impressive F Buttons:

and the boy:

and me:
and it's Monday again!!!! madness!!! had a fantastic weekend at All Tomorrow's Parties music festival. Portishead were even better than I had hoped for! They were brilliant and her voice is completely brilliant. Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth) was also completely excellent, as were the F Buttons. I hadn't heard of them before and they were amazing.
The weather was suitably terrible. The wind was constantly howling and bits of trees were falling off and cars were shaking when parked. That was a good excuse to have a nice long lie-in and that was lovely.
I didn't take a camera, but did take some photos on the phone, so hopefully will be able to upload those later.
Now I'm working on a bunch of orders and hoping to get them done today!! Lots of rushing around!!

7 Dec 2007

and, a bit belatedly, these are the photos of the clip on earrings...
and i'm very excited today because I got an order for 2 rings on Etsy! hurrah! :-) One of them is my favorite ring, so I'm extra excited!

6 Dec 2007

Here are some preliminary photos of a new pendant....

Well, the clip on earrings are nearly ready. I'll upload some photos later today. The tube situation is more or less under control. Except when I thought I bought a piece of leather cord, it turned out to be regular cord. So now I think the tube might be too big. sigh. I'll just order some leather and see how it looks. The complications of custom orders...
More later with photos!

4 Dec 2007

I got this survey from a fellow estsian: http://stilettoheights.blogspot.com/

Do you send out Christmas Cards? Explain. Yes and they're all written because if we didn't do it last weekend, it wasn't going to happen. I've posted some and most will be sent next week.

When do you start shopping for gifts? usually about October, depends if I see something good for someone in particular.

Who do you shop for? the boy, parents, sister, anyone I'll see on Christmas day and a couple of friends.

How are you doing so far with your shopping? just one present to go for a friend.

Do you put up a Christmas tree? If so, is it real or fake?
We haven't really before. We had a fiberoptic mini one, but it broke. We had a mini real one, but all its needles fell out. This year we're going to try to get a proper real tree - but closer to xmas so its needles don't fall out!

Do you like tinsel? yes but only in silver or black.

What do you do for Christmas Eve? Is that the 24th? I get confused about the dates because in Holland there's 1st Christmas day and 2nd Christmas day. growing up we didn't do anything in particular Christmas eve...maybe we got to open one present or something.

Do you hang your stocking? no. never have either....but I used to set my shoe on 5 December - for Sinterklaas...Dutch tradition.

Does your family read ‘T’was the Night Before Christmas’? nope.

What’s your favorite Christmas movie? I don't really have one, but I like The Snowman.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
ugh, carols seriously get on my nerves.

What’s your favorite Christmas TV special? don't have a tv.

Eggnog or Cider?
oooh cider. American hot cider or British cold cider :-)

What do you have for Christmas dinner?
veggie stuff....nut loaf or mushroom wellington. and roasted parsnips!

Do you participate in Secret Santa?
well I guess so because I'm doing a UK Etsy secret swap...

Do you bake cookies? I eat them.

Well I got the clip on things in the post today, and it's not obvious how to solder them on. So that's going to wait for my lesson tomorrow. I have lessons with Janet Richardson. She's a very experienced jeweller/silversmith. You can see some photos of some of her work on her website:

3 Dec 2007

I can't quite believe it's Monday again. Or that it's December already. This whole year is just flying by. I'll blink and it'll be 2008.
So I bent the piece of tube, or rather, Dougall did. It was a brute force and ignorance approach that ended up working. If anyone out there needs to bend a piece of silver tube (unlikely, I know) then be warned - the shorter the piece of tube, the harder it is to bend.
I'm working on some japanese paper earrings again - this time clip-on style. The clips should arrive in the post tomorrow morning. I've made the main bit, so I just need to solder on the clip. I hope it's obvious how to do it, as I haven't done it before. It should be pretty straight forward though. Amazing how expensive those clip thingies are!!
I'm also working on a pendant which is quite involved - lots of separate pieces to solder. I hope it works though, because I've used pure silver for the bulk of it, instead of sterling silver. Would be a shame to have to scrap that!!