24 Dec 2008

Bob is great

So, my friend Bob Tarling is great. Yes, he's great. Why? Because he fixed the back button on my website!!!!!!!!!!!! hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!
The problem was that if you looked at the details of an item, say a ring, and then wanted to go back to the main list of items, e.g. rings, it always went back to the beginning of the list. NOT where you already were on the list. This made looking through the items somewhat annoying.
It turned out to be a rather tricky issue to fix - not least because it required Javascript tweaking, and I don't really know Javascript, I know HTML. Anyway....just so you can be impressed at Bob, here's a piece of the code that sorted it in the end:

if (page > 0) {
var previousPage = currentPage - 1;
document.getElementById("previous").innerHTML = '';
} else {
document.getElementById("previous").innerHTML = '';
}
var nextPage = currentPage + 1;
if (totalPics > nextPage * picsPerPage) {
document.getElementById("next").innerHTML = '';
} else {
document.getElementById("next").innerHTML = '';
}

Oh YES, read it and be impressed!! or confused, whichever. Keeping in mind that Bob's main thing is not Javascript, that's just one of his many nerd hobbies! (He also has non-nerd hobbies!)
So, anyone out there who wants to offer Bob a job paying loads, please contact me!

End result: browsing my website just got a lot easier!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

23 Dec 2008

christmas tree

This is a photo of our small christmas tree. It actually looks nice with the lights and things...but it was hard to get a decent photo. Oh well, anyway, that's the tree. It was grown potted, so hopefully it'll survive and we can use this one again next year. Which reminds me, I haven't given it any water yet...

22 Dec 2008

holidays....

It's so close...only a few more days and then it's really Christmas holidays! hurrah! Strangely it has gotten quite a bit warmer again, so it's not as wintery cold as it was a couple of weeks ago. Ah well, so I guess I can forget about snow on Christmas day then.
I did a ring for someone, better not say whom just in case, and it's one I have on my website, but a bit wider and hopefully more masculine looking. Here's a photo:
I was going to have photos of a new necklace, but I sold it on Friday, so I will have to make another one and then make some photos. I'm working on another new necklace which hopefully I'll finish today. I'm not sure yet how it will turn out, so I'm hoping to figure out how to do one of those polls on this blog so you guys can let me know what you think. Ok, I better go work on it!

18 Dec 2008

dark at 4pm

oh yes, it's winter alright...dark by 4pm....
I've been putting up loads of new items on Etsy, Folksy and Dawanda...check it out :-)
Finished a ring for a friend today and have been working on two new necklaces...photos soon to see what people think of them...
hope everyone's having a good winding-down-to-Christmas week!!! Nearly the holiday....

17 Dec 2008

yawn

oh dear I'm a bit sleepy today. I went to see a friend in London and had a lovely time. We went to a restaurant which I'd been avoiding because I don't like the name (long story) but she suggested it, so off we went. To my surprise what I had was very tasty indeed. I had farfalle pasta with roasted pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, pesto and grilled artichoke hearts. It was very tasty indeed...especially with pasta dishes I find that often they sound good on the menu but are bland and disappointing, but this one was very good. My friend had a calzone with aubergine and bunch of other veggies and she really liked it too. I tried a piece and it was good! Anyway....that wasn't really my point. My point was that we then went to a pub and were chatting away and eventually decided to go and when I got to Paddington I'd missed all the sensible trains before the last fast one. So I phoned my other half because I knew he was aiming to get that last train, because he was in London with friends to go to a gig. So eventually the boys showed up and we all got the train together, which was much preferable to travelling alone and it was fun. Then we got to Reading and the boy decided he needed some fresh air so we walked home which meant that we probably got to bed close to 1am. So, a bit sleepy today..... long excuse, huh?

16 Dec 2008

for Bea

So I went to the kitchen and took a photo of this box especially for Bea. Just to prove I wasn't making it up....there is vegetarian suet as well. Proof:

15 Dec 2008

mince pies

When I first moved to the UK, I thought mince pies were pies with mince meat in them. A sort of shepard's pie, meat pie, etc. I'm glad someone (probably dougs) showed me they are yummy little sweet tarts with raisins and currants! ha! I just ate one...hmmm yum! Mince pies are filled with mincemeat. You'd think that means there's meat in them, but there only used to be. Nowadays, mincemeat is, according to Delia (the TV chef Delia, I mean):

8oz (225g) Bramley apples, cored and chopped small (no need to peel them)
4 oz (110 g) shredded suet
6oz (175 g) raisins
4oz (110 g) sultanas
4oz (110 g) currants
4oz (110 g) whole mixed candied peel, finely chopped
6oz (175 g) soft dark brown sugar
grated zest and juice 1 orange
grated zest and juice 1 lemon
1 oz (25 g) whole almonds, cut into slivers
2 level teaspoons mixed ground spice
¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons brandy

I just looked that up because I wondered what all was in mincemeat.

Anyway...in other news, the craft fair was a complete dud. Oh well. That'll happen. Happily online sales are going well, so there's that. Now only 10 days until Christmas!! We tried to get a little xmas tree yesterday, but the shop was completely sold out of trees. Sigh. I think we'll go again later this week and see if there are some more.

12 Dec 2008

13 days til Christmas

Oooooh it's miserable looking outside today. Drizzle and about 2 degrees C. brrrrrrrr. Yesterday I managed to get to the post office and post heaps of things (ok, 11) on Etsy, daWanda and Folksy. That involved a lot of picture-taking as most of it was new stuff that I hadn't photographed at all yet. So we'll see how that goes online. I still have some little earrings and a pendant and some more things to add, but that will go up slower since I have to wait until after tomorrow - which is the last craft fair for me for this year!!
I suspect I'm going to be rather on the tired side after this last craft fair so the plan for Sunday is fun - sort out some holiday things. We're going to go find a Christmas tree and make lists of what we need to have in the house so we actually have food when the shops are closed. So that's pretty relaxed. Over the holiday I've promised myself to make time to make two things - one is the ring with a big pearl that is going to be my gran's 90th birthday present - I think it's safe to say that because I don't think she reads my blog, ha! The other is a gold ring that I've been meaning to make for myself as a replacement-of-sorts for the ring that was stolen at the beginning of the year. I've been meaning to get around to it, but because it's for me there has always been something more important to work on! So it will get done this holiday!!!

11 Dec 2008

random stuff and only 2 weeks til Christmas

One more craft fair to go...must prepare! Must also put new stuff on Etsy, daWanda, Folksy...must also post things. must also apply to craft fairs....can you tell I'm in a bit of a panic? Trying to do too many things at once. I will now have a nice calm cup of tea and calmly take photos for the online stuff. I will go to the post office later this afternoon. And I will do the prep for the craft fair tomorrow. And I will merely make a list of craft fairs to apply to and apply to them all beginning of next week. Although I did already apply to one yesterday, so at least I have one out of the way! Hurrah! It's busy here....can you tell? I had sales at the Slough Museum, Etsy and Folksy!! Hurrah! Ok, sorry for the not so interesting post...better tomorrow I hope!

10 Dec 2008

I was working on craft fair applications for next year - yes believe it or not the deadlines are SOON - and I made a much better photo of the sunken texture collection with the pendant included this time. Here it is......click on it to see larger image (and now I'm off into the freezing cold to my lesson! brrrr!)

9 Dec 2008

Rising Sun Art Market 13 December

Music and stuff

I'm back after a weekend at All Tomorrow's Parties in Minehead in Somerset. It was brilliant, lots of interesting bands and music and people. It was COLD but happily it's all indoors so aside from a quick stroll on a very cold beach the weather didn't affect us. Fun was had by all! The Melvins were brilliant - they played three times, as they were the curators. Each time they were quite different but excellent. So now it's back to work and getting ready for my last craft fair of the season - this Saturday at the Rising Sun arts centre in Reading!
Here's a photo of me on the cold, cold beach:

5 Dec 2008

update

Ah ha, just got an email from ACJ and it turns out that the administrator type person only works there 2 days a week! No wonder! Anyway, it's all sorted and fine now. Phew.
I've been making good progress on a new collection...just need to do the fiddly bit of polishing on the buffer to get most of the items finished. I also want to make a bangle to go with this collection, but I haven't finished that yet. Should all be done next week and then I can post some photos.
It's nearly the weekend!! yay!

4 Dec 2008

still freezing cold

It's still cold - that's hardly news though, is it? I am in a state of confusion. I am trying to become a member of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery. I downloaded the application form, filled it in, wrote out a cheque and posted it all. More than two weeks ago. I haven't heard one little teeny weeny pip squeak. So I phoned the number listed on their website and got a strange answering machine - you know how most answering machines say something like "You have reached X but we can't come to the phone, please leave a message" or something along those lines? This one says "This is an answering machine". Erm, ok then. As if you'd mistake it for a real person or something. A bit odd. Anyway, so I left a message and for good measure also emailed them at the general enquiry email address listed on their website - which, incidentally, also states "We welcome information FROM YOU". <-- odd caps and bold theirs! So...no response. Hmmmmmm....
Short of going to their office in London, I'm not sure how to proceed.....

3 Dec 2008

cold!!

It is very cold here today - the kind of day that reminds me of winters in Pennsylvania - where the temperature is measured in wind chill factor. It's about -1C in wind chill temperatures here today. I walked for a bit without gloves and that was a mistake - frozen fingers!!!
Anyway...another busy week...I'm applying for next year's craft fairs with all that that entails. More photos, application forms, updated CV, etc. I'm looking forward to it all already, seeing as the craft fairs went very well this year! I'm hoping to do more and be in more galleries as well.
An item sold in the Yorkshire gallery (Projeto) and on DaWanda, so things are looking good! Also sold some more small earrings and have plans to make more for the 13th December Rising Sun Art Market.
I'm also excited about the christmas holidays in general - some time off to eat nice things (xmas lunch is already planned - nut roast, roasted parsnips, garlicky salad, date pudding for dessert!) and to go into London and see some exhibits. I'm interested in seeing the exhibit which I believe is on at the Hayward Gallery of the South African artist who does chalk drawings and photographs them. Oh drat, I just found it on the Hayward site, it's Robin Rhode, but that exhibit's only on til 7 Dec. sigh. Hm. Oh well, there is a big Rothko exhibit at the Tate Modern. I do like Rothko and I've seen lots of his work in Houston, where he made a special chapel with huge black paintings. Well, they were black. He used cheaper paint, so it's kinda purpley now!

1 Dec 2008

Gift and things

Here's a photo of my stand at the Gift show in Farnham over the weekend:

It went well but it was pretty quiet, not as good as the other two craft fairs I've done recently. There just weren't that many people there, but oh well, I still did well and met lots of nice people. I have another stash of business cards from interesting people who make wildly different things - from clothing with antique lace to recycled handbags to paper clay ceramics.
I have to admit I was pretty tired when it was over and did a whole lot of nothing much on Sunday. One more craft fair to go - in Reading at the Rising Sun Arts Centre - on the 13th of December. Hard to believe it's December already!! On the other hand, it is easy to imagine because it is COLD today! yikes! I have to find where on earth I put my snazzy fingerless gloves...I have some that my sister made and some that knithappens made. Hm, they are somewhere in my closet!!

28 Nov 2008

crafty craft craftness and stuff.

well, according to the brochure, "contemporary accessories" :-) In about half an hour, I'm off to Gift at Farnham Maltings. I'm nervous because I haven't been there before, so I hope it all goes smoothly. The show is open to the public from 5pm - 8pm today and 10.30 - 5pm tomorrow. Tomorrow some friends are showing up which is fun :-) Nice to know someone is coming for moral support!!
Anyway, I've ironed all the cloths again and packed everything up and have it all ready to go in the car, so I think it's all ready to go! Here we go again!!!

ps. I had another sale on DaWanda yesterday, hurrah!! To someone in Barcelona. I love Barcelona - such a brilliant city - it has everything. Beach, art, architecture, crooked back streets, fascinating history, etc. There are several excellent books about Barcelona - I'm trying to remember the titles. I think one is just called Barcelona, by the art critic Robert Hughes. The other is....something about miracles...City of Miracles? I know I read that one in Spanish, for a class I was following on Spanish Literature. Hm, well, if I think of the name I'll post it. And of course there are the fantastic Orwell books - I love his books, but especially the one about him in the Spanish Civil War - he went to Spain to fight. He was in Cataluna, so it makes me think of Barcelona. Ah, just looked it up, that book is called Homage to Catalonia. If I remember correctly, he was shot in the throat and was lucky to survive. I have a bit of a fascination with Catalonia and Catalan because I spent quite a few summers there when I was small. I really like the Catalan language and wouldn't mind learning it...except I wouldn't have much chance to use it. I like the words, like obert, tancat, es prohibit d'incendre foc. (=open, closed, prohibited to start a fire). anyway....tangent...ok, off to Gift now!!!

27 Nov 2008

25 Nov 2008

Projeto Gallery

Here's a photo of the gallery in West Yorkshire where two of my collections are available:

The gallery is now open: Open Mon-Sat 10am-4:30pm

24 Nov 2008

two remain...

So on Saturday we had the Art Market at the Rising Sun which went pretty well. It was COLD though, very cold. Much tea was consumed. Much shivering was done. And despite all that, the promised snow did not materialise either Saturday or Sunday. Anyway, the art market went pretty well and so now there are two fairs remaining for me this year - Gift in Farnham this weekend and then another Art Market at the Rising Sun on the 13th of December. So, getting there.
In other news, I had my first sale on Folksy, which is quite exciting!! hurrah!!
Now I have to get ready for Gift!! Here we go again.....

19 Nov 2008

necklace commission

This is a necklace I made commissioned to match the earrings in the second photo. (I also made those, but they were to replace a pair...one of the earrings was lost from the original pair so I made a copied pair.) You can see the necklace much better if you click on the photo to get a larger view!!

18 Nov 2008

gorgeous ceramics

I saw some ceramics at the craft fair over the weekend that I really liked - elegant and minimal. Really lovely things! They are made by Lauren Denney who lives very close to me, it turns out! I especially liked a beautiful tourquoise green small vase...I wish I had a photo of it, but I don't. Anyway, you can see some her work on Etsy and on her own website. These are the links:
http://www.laurendenney.com
and here on Etsy.

17 Nov 2008

yay!

The South Hill Park craft fair went really, really well!! Hurrah!! I met loads of nice, interesting people - exhibitors and visitors! I sold loads and even sold out of a bunch of items. I got lots of compliments - particularly on the large silver bud necklace - which was great and made the weekend very enjoyable. Exhausting, but enjoyable! Everything went so well, it's great! So now I need to prepare for the Rising Sun Institute art market, which is this Saturday....!! so, busy busy! I also saw some lovely things at the fair so once I've cleaned up a bit I'll unearth the business cards I gathered and post about the artists whose wares I liked :-)

UPDATE: here's a photo of me at the stand - this was in the theater part of the building, so that's a balcony above me!

14 Nov 2008

South Hill Park Christmas Fair

This is it!!!!!!!!!!!! Months of preparing!!!!!!! Tomorrow is the first of two days at the South Hill Park xmas fair. Come and see me! :-) I hope to see lots of people there, I'll let you all know how it went!!!

fawlty towers

My dealings with the company that I buy my boxes from (Lynco) has descended into a Fawlty Towers-esque situation. I usually go to the store to buy what I need. When I was there a week ago, they said, 'oh it's better to phone to get what you want'. The woman working there was also clearly irritated that I was asking questions about the merchandise and even told me at one point to "stop bothering" her. Anyway, they said they had the boxes I wanted but they couldn't get them from the basement, I had to phone to order them. So, this week I phoned with the correct box code and ordered the boxes and some black earring stands. (Not so amusingly the person on the phone told me it was better to go to the store!!!!) I was assured they were in stock and would have them by the end of the week. Yesterday, I got a phone call that the boxes were labelled incorrectly so actually they wouldn't have them until after Christmas. Not much use with all these craft fairs being, unsurprisingly, before Christmas. Add this to the long list of items I was after that they did not have in stock - stud earring holder, long earring holder, etc. Anyway, in the end, I just cancelled the boxes order and said, well, just send me those earring stands that I ordered. So they arrived this morning - in the wrong colour. ARGH. It clearly says on the invoice accompanying the stands, "Black", but no, they are not black. I mean, how hard is it to see that?? It's just irritating because obviously I can't fix this before the craft fair TOMORROW. And now tonight I still need to go to another store and hope I can find appropriate boxes. Sigh and more sighs.
Not only that, but their catalogue is a pathetic collection of photocopies that gives you hardly any idea what the products are like and their website is totally rubbish....if you don't believe me, this is their website: http://www.lynco.co.uk/

13 Nov 2008

grrr

Just when everything was going along smoothly.....now the internet connection is on the blink (quite literally, it only mildly works) and the pendant boxes I ordered and was assured were in stock....are NOT in stock so I have to find a solution by...oh, Saturday! argh!!!
On the plus side, the posters/postcards are out for the Rising Sun Institute Christmas fair and one of my rings features on it! So that is nice and once the internet connection works properly I'll upload that!

11 Nov 2008

Slough Museum

So it's official! MagpieNest jewellery is now available at the Slough Museum!!!Yes, Slough has a museum! ;-) Slough Museum is at the end of the High Street in Slough and is starting a programme of promoting Berkshire artists....enter me with my jewellery and hopefully lots more artists/crafters to follow! Plus you get to find out all about Slough's history...I bet you don't know much about it...I didn't!! If you're an arts/crafts person in Berkshire, why not give Slough Museum a call? They are looking for more people who want to show off what they can do!

10 Nov 2008

MagpieNest available in West Yorkshire!!

So there was a gallery which was online only, called the Projeto Gallery. It is now also a real, brick & mortar gallery in Silsden, West Yorkshire. The lovely woman there was interested in having some of my jewellery for the gallery opening and it was arranged!! So, if you're ever passing Silsden, West Yorkshire, have a look around the brand new Projeto Gallery!! I have the sphere collection and light pink version of the crystal collection available there now!
Coincidentally, I went to a friend's lovely wedding over the weekend (held at the Bodlean Library in Oxford, not too shabby!!!!) and it turned out that she got her wedding dress in Silsden - as it happens, Silsden has one of the best bridal wear shops in the country!

6 Nov 2008

South Hill Park craft fair 15-16 November 2008

I just got the catalogue for the South Hill Park Christmas Craft Fair. MagpieNest is stall 51!! Please come and see me if you can :-) There will be loads of interesting and creative arts on display! You can see the full layout and explanation of who is exhibiting by clicking HERE. That will bring you to a .pdf detailing all the stallholders!

5 Nov 2008

sleepy...

Well, after a late night of trying to stay awake long enough to get some idea of the election (I didn't stay up that long!), I am feeling rather sleepy.

Randomly, in Camden we also went to a small shop called Robot and it had lots of fun stuff. Bits of 1980s and random children's shows' things like My Little Ponies and Rainbow Brite and things like that. Fun t-shirts and cute plastic wallets and just quite unique fun things. Their website is http://pinkkat.co.uk/ - you can see some of their things on the site, but the photos aren't great. If you get the chance, definitely a shop to go have a nose around in Camden!

all eyes on america

watching the elections on the New York Times, CNN, Guardian, and CNN.......!!!!

3 Nov 2008

pretty yarns

Skein Queen, who makes absolutely gorgeously coloured yarns, has revealed her new website and brand new online shop. Anyone into knitting......go have a look:

website:
http://www.skeinqueen.co.uk/

or straight to the shop:
Skein Queen

Camden

We went to Camden Market yesterday in London for the first time in ages. It was brilliant - so many interesting things and crafts and little shops! It had changed too, there was a whole section which is now covered over which I think was open before. They've made this incredible entrance with huge bronze horses and the whole ceiling is covered with material that looks like Chesterfield couches. It's very impressive! And new cafes and new stores and it was all quite exciting. Here's a photo of me (in the red coat) in front of the entrance bit with the horses:
In other news, I got a lovely award from Something Just to Start:

31 Oct 2008

new men's ring

commission for a men's ring: it is a single ring, made offset. (finished yesterday)

30 Oct 2008

opportunities

hmmmmm interesting opportunities flying around the magpie nest this week....!! All I'm saying for now is that it's about two galleries and a Canadian magazine!! ooh er!! I'm hoping these will all work out, and am thinking that even if just one does, that would pretty darn exciting!!
So now I'm going to try to get that photo off my phone which I took yesterday of the snow. Ok, got it, this was on my way to my jewellery tutor's house: not bad for a camera phone, even if I do say so myself...

29 Oct 2008

snow

It snowed!! Not only did it snow last night, but it's really cold today so lots of it stayed on the ground. Amazing...it doesn't happen often that the ground gets covered with snow here and it doesn't just melt straight away. According to the newspaper it's colder here than in Moscow at the moment. Brrrrrrr
Ok, I have to keep it short because of the monitor situation, but hopefully a new one will be appearing soon and then I can type again normally without getting a crick in my neck!!!

27 Oct 2008

inconvenience

The computer monitor broke and I'm using a friend's old monitor in the meantime, just got it this evening as he kindly donated it to me. So my access to internet is limited because the functioning monitor is huge so doesn't quite fit on my desk....bear with me and when i get this sorted i can answer emails properly!!

23 Oct 2008

So I have been tagged by Something Just to Start

So, 7 random factoids about me:

1. I don't have a TV because I have no willpower to turn it off so if I had one I'd watch it too much. This whole idea has been slightly undermined now that you can watch lots of TV free online....

2. I like crackers with ketchup. I don't know if I should admit that.

3. I actually dream about jewellery designs. Maybe that's a bit odd, but I guess I used to dream about my work when I worked in an office, so maybe it's normal.

4. Kettle crisps are my favorite, particularly the ones in a red packet, I think they are mesquite flavoured. However, I also like walker's chunky paprika flavour crisps. And if they count as crisps, walkers also have these lime flavoured mini poppadoms which are fantastic. I totally love crisps and it's a battle not to eat too many.

5. I love scrabble. It's by far my favorite board game. I was worried when scrabulous disappeared from facebook but happily there's now an official scrabble game on it. phew! I particularly like playing scrabble with Marianne (who can still remember particularly fabulous words we've managed over the years!!) and Alana.

6. my two favorite art "isms" are Abstract expressionism and minimalism. My favorite artists are my mom and Robert Rauschenberg.

7. i'm going to have a hard time tagging 7 blogs so I might do less.

I'm tagging: Bea, Dave, and skein queen.

22 Oct 2008

shiny nails

I have very very shiny nails. I've been buffing lots. A pair of collar stiffeners, 3 pendants, and 4 pairs of cuff links. Shiny shiny!! It's amazing how shiny it makes one's nails. However, I wouldn't recommend it because although the nail is super shiny, it is also, erm, black underneath and I've scrubbed and scrubbed and cannot get all the black off. Oh wellsers.

21 Oct 2008

Holland and holidays

I went to Holland over the weekend to see my gran who wasn't that well for a while. Happily now she's much better and nearly 100% back to her usual self. She had shingles, which I've had as well, and it takes ages and ages for it to stop hurting. I also saw my cousin, an old friend, and even my aunt & uncle, albeit briefly. So it was a social and relaxed weekend. Yesterday I failed miserably to get much of anything done at all. Today I'm aiming to be a lot more productive. I guess I am getting nervous about the craft fairs - not because I'm not prepared or anything like that, but because this is going to show me whether my enterprise will work as a business in the long run. In other words, if I can break even and hopefully make a bit more!! There are a lot of costs involved, as in any small business, which are not directly associated with the jewellery, such as insurance, display set-up, business cards, transport to fairs, etc. Anyway, I am overall feeling quite positive about it all, so we will see how it goes!!!
Randomly, the shops here have started putting up Christmas decorations. It's OCTOBER. pf!!! In the US, there's still Halloween and Thanksgiving to go. But here there aren't any big holidays between August bank holiday and Christmas. Well, there is Guy Fawkes in November, but that's not really associated with decorations per se, nor is it commercial beyond lots of firework purchases. So here we are already, as one of my friends said "heading towards Christmas season"!! Maybe the UK needs to have another holiday somewhere in the Autumn....

17 Oct 2008

peek ring

new version of peek ring !! with ruby or sapphire:

16 Oct 2008

To-do lists......

It's a bright and sunny day here and I hope it stays that way. I have loads of items to finish today and I will do so!!! I'm having a hard time focusing because there are so many things to do, but I have a clear plan today so I should be fine! I read an article in the paper, I think it was the Guardian, about types of to-do lists and what kind are best. Of course, some people don't use to-do lists, but the article acknowledged this and also said those people are clearly nuts. Ha! I had to laugh at that because I always have a list on the go!!! I also read a piece in one of my newsletters about to-do lists and how to best use them. The newsletter argued that it is much better to have only ONE master list so that you don't lose the list or get confused about which list you're working from, etc. The Guardian article said it's important to have TWO lists - one for long-term-might-never-do-it type things and another for short-term-must-do things. I try to keep my lists in the same booklet (not always successful which means that I end up writing the same list in loads of different booklets/slips of paper). I do write two lists though: jewellery vs non-jewellery!! And sometimes I split the jewellery one into actual jewellery vs related things like display, business cards, boxes, etc. Anyway...I think the main thing I don't do well is write the lists consistently in the same booklet, so I'm going to try to do better with that.
Oh yes, and grocery shopping lists are totally separate but we have a good system for that....the cutlery drawer in the kitchen has a space for some pens and a small pad of paper and when we think of something we need to get, we put it on that pad of paper. Then whoever goes to the grocery store can get what we need and just take one piece of paper off the pad. It works!
Any tips from anyone out there? What's the best way to have lists that help instead of hinder??

14 Oct 2008

I just added a couple of things to Etsy, DaWanda and Folksy. Will be adding things more frequently now, I think. I'm also getting back a whole bunch of items from the hallmarking office today so tomorrow will be finishing/polishing those items, including the new edition of the peek ring with sapphires or rubies. I'm also working on a necklace for my sister, trying two versions and then she can see which she likes better....
It's pretty darn gloomy outside today but I need to go to the grocery store as there is not much food in the house because we were away.
My mom sent me some interesting material that she bought in New Zealand. It's called Paua Shell Laminate and it is, as far as I can tell, a composite piece of shell found in New Zealand and then polished. It looks a bit like opal or mother of pearl. There's a bit of information on the packet, which says:
New Zealand has a small group of shells collectively known as paua, unique to New Zealand. The group comes from the worldwide family Haliotidae, which contains nearly 130 species from oceans in both tropical and temperate zones. These shellfish have been used for food since ancient times and have figured largely in the diet of coastal Maori. Most countries have their own local names, Abalone (North America), Ormer (Guernsey), Mutton Fish (Australia and early NZ) and Awabi (Japan) being some of the best known. Paua is the most colourful shell in the world, other abalone have some colour, but not the brilliance of Paua.

I'm looking forward to trying to use it for earrings or a pendant and of course photos will follow at some point.... in the meantime, here's a photo from our canal boat trip:

13 Oct 2008

Home again after a week on a narrow boat!! The weather went from terrible - rain and cold - to fantastic - sunny and warm!! This weekend was great. Friends came to join us on the boat and we pottered up and down the locks along the canal. The boats go about 4 miles per hour, so it's all at a lovely slow pace. I will post some photos very soon, took loads!

Along the way we stopped at a lovely little town/village called Hungerford. It was a kind of funny little place with mostly either antique or second hand shops. I usually don't even look at antiques because I'm more into modern, minimalistic styles, but I looked in the window of an antique store and saw this miniature desk which was just amazing - a completely working desk but only about 8 inches high. So I made an effort to go to the shop the next morning before we set off to see how much it cost. The woman in the shop told me it was an 18th century Dutch desk made from walnut wood. I thought it would be between £200 - £500 but when I asked I was shocked to find out it was £1450!!!!!!!! wah!!! That's a lot more than I thought it would be - not that £500 would have been ok, that's still way too much for me. Oh well, it was interesting to see!

Now it's Monday morning again and I have loads to do!! Lots of sorting out and making a to-do list for the week.

3 Oct 2008

So I am sort of repulsed and fascinated by my toe nails at the moment....the nails are all weirdly puffed up because of the blisters underneath and are sort of oozing water. gross. bet you really wanted to know that. Anyway, at least they are hurting less and I hope that walking will stop feeling unpleasant soon. I would take a photo and put it up here, really, I'm tempted, but that's just too gross. I think the world can live without a photo of my decidedly gross looking toe nails. I think I'll take my sister's advice and paint them a nice colour.....one of the millions of colours I got from her, probably! I have to go look into the nail colour collection.....
On the jewellery front, bit of a slow week although I did get a fair bit sorted when I went into London. Just need to finish a bunch of stuff today, some sanding and polishing. And I need to finish polishing some collar stiffeners. Now, about 3 weeks ago I had never even heard of collar stiffeners......apparently I was the odd one out though because everyone I spoke to about it knew what they were. They are long, thin, flat pieces of something hard, either plastic or metal, which go into small pockets at the inside end of the collar men's formal shirts. It's to make the point of the collar neater or something. Sounds Victorian to me!! Anyway....a friend of mine wanted silver ones for her fiancé because he got it into his head that he'd like silver collar stiffeners. So, they are in my workshop and waiting to be polished!

2 Oct 2008

Yesterday was a super busy day. I went into London to the jewellery quarter and met a friend for lunch who works in that area. Then I ran around to all the various supplier shops and got some chain, some tools, some earring displays, etc. Then I met up with another friend for dinner and we had a lovely dinner at Sofra, which is a chain restaurant but it's a small chain, I think they only have 5 restaurants. It's mostly Turkish and I really like the vegetarian meze platter, which is plenty for a meal. It has some hot and some cold dishes with things like hummus and aubergine and felafel. Anyway, it was really good :-) After that I went home again and watched another James Bond movie with the boy. I really like James Bond and have all the books as well. I'm waiting for the new movie, it's out the end of this month!

1 Oct 2008

On our way to the beginning of the Ridgeway walk over the weekend, we walked past some shops in Goring. And hidden in a little row of shops was a miniatures store! hurrah! So of course I had to go have a look and they had these amazing tiny handmade glass vases. So of course I had to get one. Here is a photo....the stopper actually comes out, too! The vase looks like a regular glass vase in the photo, so I put a 20 pence piece next to it to show the size, which is about 2.5cm high.

30 Sep 2008

We got back home yesterday after a fantastic weekend walking part of the Ridgeway, which is an 85-mile public footpath in the countryside. It was perfect weather so we were very lucky - lots of sunshine and gorgeous views. Here's one view:
I now have a lovely big fat blister under each of my big toenails...bet you really wanted to know that. I'm hoping the nails won't fall off. ew. We'll see....
So today it's lots of little errands, final polishing, deciding what to make the rest of the week and tomorrow I'm going into London. I need to go to the Assay office and get a couple of things like a reversible tweezer stand - that's a stand which holds the tweezers in any position you want, sort of like giving you an extra hand so you can solder things in a slightly easier fashion. It looks like this:

25 Sep 2008

I'm working on a new version of the peek ring. Basically just making it a bit stronger and adding proper stones, ruby & sapphire so far. It'll take a while to get photos of the new version because I have to get them hallmarked before I put the stones in. I should have them back from the hallmarking office in 2 weeks. This is the old version:

24 Sep 2008

Phew, trying to sort out insurance as a working artist is not easy. I tried a bunch of different places but there aren't many that aim to insure artists, plus then there's the question of jewellery, which has high value in small items. Anyway, there's a very useful website which has loads of info for all kinds of different art-related things: the Artists Information Company. I decided to become a member and am eagerly awaiting my first magazine. I do get an American jewellery magazine, but it will be nice to read something UK-based. Happily the membership includes public liability insurance, which is something you need if you participate in exhibitions.
Right, well, that's all because it's gloomy out and I need to do some exercise and fill out this insurance form to get a quote!

23 Sep 2008

Hello again to you lovely 4 people who read my blog :-) It's a gloomy morning and I'm hoping it doesn't rain. This is because I actually have to venture outside to go to the gym.
I got a packet of fliers for the Gift show in November which I am supposed to distribute. I'm not sure how far in advance to start putting them in the usual spots around town. Also, I got some complimentary passes to hand out to friends to get into Gift for free, so if anyone's interested, please email me and I'll send/give you one. Which reminds me that I need to sort out a rental car for these shows in November. Neither are close to a train station and I obviously will have to bring my jewellery plus display items, quite bulky. So transport must be sorted...
That's all for now...hope everyone's week is going fine.

well, scratch that, apparently actually Gift is located quite close to the station: Farnham is approximately 50 minutes from London Waterloo and there are regular services (ranging from half hourly to hourly). The Maltings is then a five minute walk from Farnham Railway Station.

22 Sep 2008

Hm, now that I look at the video below, I do believe I may have been a bit delerious. It doesn't seem so funny now. Or it's just Monday morning. Or both!!!
It's a grey Monday morning and this week I am going to be making lots of STUFF. well, lots of rings, some earrings, some more star pendants, and fixing some star necklaces. Well, not exactly fix, because they aren't broken, but strenghthen so that they don't break in future!
I desperately need some tea, it's chilly and my head is still fuzzy thinking it might be asleep.

19 Sep 2008

Well, I may or may not be addicted to cuteoverload.com - according to me, not, according to my husband, probably. anyway, they had this competition over there to make something from an already silly video and the results are posted at cuteoverload now. I just had to share this video, I just thought it was hilarious and inspired:

18 Sep 2008

A date for your calendar, perhaps? Come see MagpieNest:

17 Sep 2008

Busy day today! Been to my lesson...still working on this same design I've been working on for weeks and am now very close to finishing it. phew. I do think it'll be tres chic when it's done though :-)
went to the gym....the gym is nice and quiet in that time right after lunch. one lady in some seriously scary shorts though. they were teeny. eeks.
I've been adding stuff to Etsy/DaWanda and Folksy....all slowly gathering pace again.
This blog cracks me up, just thought I'd share it: http://gofugyourself.celebuzz.com/ It's not exactly intellectual, but it's amusing.

16 Sep 2008

Yesterday was ok and today feels like a Monday. must be because I ended up waiting for a delivery all day yesterday and this morning it showed up. At least it showed up early. And I got a sale on Etsy, so I need to go to the post office and send that off. which is a good thing. just having a grey day....

15 Sep 2008

Monday morning again!! I got a very, very useful email from a friend of mine with all the last niggles and typos on the website, so it's in good shape now! :-) I want to change the "about" page to add some more information about me...initially a friend of mine who is good at writing copy wrote a blurb for me and I've been using that blurb ever since...but it's kind of been altered and tweaked so many times now that I need to write a piece myself. Ah well, another thing to go on the "to do" list.
Today I'm going to finish a bunch of small things (literally small, as in very small earrings) and hopefully finish a new item which I've been working on for weeks. I'm also waiting for a delivery because the barrel of my barrel polisher needed to be replaced....the lid stretched so it wasn't working because the water was just dripping out of the barrel. Hopefully I'll get the delivery today!!
It's somewhat sunny today, which is nice after all the rain lately. It was the least sunny August in 150 years for the UK. Somehow I didn't really mind....might be because I've been in the UK for nearly a decade now!! amazing....

11 Sep 2008

This week is whizzing by.... and I've stumbled upon a new UK-based craft site which is very similar to Etsy & DaWanda..... it's called Folksy and it's still in beta version. This is my shop on Folksy:
http://www.folksy.com/shops/magpienest -- you can explore the whole site by just clicking on the "Folksy" logo in top left hand corner. It would be very nice indeed to have a successful UK-based site!! It's looking good so far....
Several people have been clicking away on my own site to help me make sure there are no errors...it seems that all is well in that arena. If you have a spare minute, have a look and let me know what you think of the new design! www.magpienest.co.uk
In other news, my friends over at www.todryfor.com are doing very well and are going to be mentioned in the Telegraph this Saturday!! Not only that, but they are in the current Elle Decoration magazine and are going to be featured in a bunch more magazines in the coming months! Well done, tea towels :-)

10 Sep 2008

I had my lesson as usual this morning...I've been working on a new design which requires a special clasp. Clasps are quite tricky since they are small and need to be very precise. Usually you can buy part of or the whole clasp. That's more efficient because to make a clasp can be very time-consuming. But of course sometimes the design requires something a bit different or bigger, smaller, wider, etc than the ones you can buy. So I have made a box clasp, which was pretty tricky but I got it. However, now I've decided that's not really what I needed, so I'm working on making hinges. I made one yesterday and it turned out pretty darn good for my first one!! I made the space between the two sheets too narrow though, so I'm on my second go already. Hopefully soon I will actually be able to finish this item!! It's going to be good for either bracelets or a choker-style necklace or both. Photos will follow once it's done.....
back to the bench now...

9 Sep 2008

Well, some small niggles have been fixed on the website, I've had my first sale on DaWanda and I'm putting new items on Etsy & DaWanda again.....so the ball is rolling once again!!
I still need to make a lot of items for all the craft fairs coming up in November though, so I better get back to the bench!

8 Sep 2008

LIVE LIVE LIVE LIVE LIVE LIVE

The new website is now LIVE!!!! Please, if you have a spare moment, check it out! www.magpienest.co.uk
Let me know if you spot any missing pictures, broken links, spelling mistakes or anything that doesn't look right. I appreciate all help! I've done all the work myself so it's easy to overlook mistakes.

There is one problem I already know about - the shopping cart doesn't work properly in Internet Explorer if there are more than 2 different items in the cart. This will be fixed, I'm just waiting for Google to release the latest version of the shopping cart which they told me would solve the problem! UPDATE: actually I just realised what I hadn't done and this is fixed now! hurrah!

Also let me know if you like the new collections :-)

p.s. you may need to hit your "refresh" button to get the new site!

Some of the new features include:
- shopping cart!
- a cufflinks section
- refine your search option
- lots of new items
- new item photos on the homepage
- new, clearer design
- new homepage that looks like the rest of the site
- upcoming shows section
- direct link to this blog :-)
- MagpieNest logo in the corner of every page that links to the homepage


5 Sep 2008

A very good friend of mine is visiting at the moment and she brought me a fantastic little gift. The important word here is "little". This is the cutest little teeny tiny teddy bear ever!! So so cute! Here he is next to a silver bud ring:

3 Sep 2008

Still a couple of photos away from putting the new site live. It always takes longer than I want!! Also I really should wait until the new version of Google's shopping cart is released because there's a problem with it in Internet Explorer. In Firefox all is well, of course. I urge anyone who will listen to switch to Firefox. It's free, so why not!! it's soooo much better than Internet Explorer....faster, safer, better. You can download it here: http://www.mozilla-europe.org/en/firefox/

I have loads more ideas for new items, so I want to get the website up and working so I go back to the bench!! And of course I want to start adding items to my Etsy shop again, but I told myself I wouldn't do that until I have my site sorted!! In the meantime, to give a taster, a little picture of some new cufflinks: (matching pendant, earrings and ring will be on the new site)

29 Aug 2008

getting closer and closer to putting the new MagpieNest site live!! Hurrah for Google and all the useful tools available from them!! I will now have a proper shopping cart on the site! Soon, soon.....

7 Aug 2008

Another quick note to say that my website will be re-launched in September! New look, new collections! www.magpienest.co.uk

25 Jul 2008

Just a quick note to say I have been accepted for these two curated shows:

Gift - info can be found here.

South Hill Park Christmas Fair - info can be found here.

I will also be at the Rising Sun Institute for the 22 November and 13 December art markets!

1 Jul 2008

just doing some minor changes to my logo, since I kept hearing people getting confused about the name. It's MagpieNest, not just magpie. So hopefully this is an improvement....

15 May 2008

Just sneaking a wee post in here, even though I said I wouldn't blog for a while :-) Here's a photo of that engagement ring plus the two options for the wedding ring (top and bottom). The engagement ring is in the middle. The bride-to-be chose the top ring as the wedding ring and may go for the bottom ring at a later date as a sort of eternity ring. She actually wears the ring the other way around, with the loop facing the hand instead of the finger tips.

11 May 2008

I am taking a wee break from this blog because I am focusing on developing my new collections. I am also taking a break from Etsy and DaWanda so I can focus on the production side of things for the moment. I will be relaunching on Etsy, DaWanda and on my own website, www.magpienest.co.uk in the autumn. I am aiming for 1 September. I will be blogging frequently again towards that date. New items, new collections, new ideas!!!

6 May 2008

What a fantastic weekend!! Picciolo is totally right, I did not need my waterproof shoes at the Real Ale festival. The summer has arrived! Hurrah! The Real Ale festival was great - we were there with a whole bunch of friends and conversation was great and the band that was playing was good but not too loud, so you could still hear each other. Saturday was relaxed. Sunday I dropped my jewellery off at the Barn Acre Gallery - what an idyllic setting - a lovely house and barn in a big open field with a beautiful stream down the bottom of the garden replete with weeping willow trees and chirping birds. A fantastic setting!! If you are in the area, well worth a visit during the open days even if you don't want to buy any art!! Although if you do, it looks like there is going to be a very good selection of various arts - paint, jewellery, and I think I spotted some pottery.
Yesterday was the birthday of a close friend and so we had a gorgeous afternoon just lazing on the patio of a lovely pub, the St George and Dragon in Wargrave - right on the Thames. We just watched the boats going up and down and had a supper relaxed afternoon.
This morning I saw my jewellery teacher and got her seal of approval for the wedding ring that I wrote so much about previously. I promise a photo tomorrow!!!
It's still beautiful weather today and it's supposed to stay like this all week! yippeeeee!!! :-)

2 May 2008

Ok, so *now* it's Friday! hurrah! Not hurrah because it's the end of the working week. I like my work so much these days, that's not a problem. But hurrah because it's the Reading Real Ale Festival and almost all our friends in Reading will be there! There will be Morris Dancers! There will be a giant tent! There will be funny t-shirts (I don't know why, there's only about 2 stalls selling items at the beer festival and one of them has these hilarious t-shirts.) It's even sunny right this second....I hope it stays that way! Even so, I think it's probably better to wear some waterproof shoes this evening because the event is held in a huge tent in a field next to the Thames.
Anyway............I better go finish the earrings I was working on yesterday!!

1 May 2008

I was just going to write that it's Friday, but it's not, is it?! Ah well, Thursday, nearly! I need to get a bunch of things in order because on Sunday I will be dropping off items for the Henley Arts Trail '08. I was asked to participate by the Barn Acre Gallery in this event and am delighted to do so! I'm very excited about this opportunity and look forward to seeing how it goes! Sorry to keep this so short, but I need to get my items ready!!!

30 Apr 2008

29 Apr 2008

back to this wedding ring again. sigh. it's such a difficult shape. but today I'm going to get it finished. definitely. then i will have 2 rings and the person can choose which one they prefer.
That's pretty much all the news from here. It's vaguely sunny, it's vaguely warm but still chilly enough to wear a sweatshirt. It's time to go to the bench!!

UPDATE: getting there....two rings in the polisher, just waiting for them to get shiny to see if they really are ok. getting closer!!!

UPDATE: they are out of the polisher and looking pretty decent.....photos soon I hope!!!

28 Apr 2008


The craft fair on Saturday was pretty successful!! Although it was not busy and not that many people came, I still sold a decent amount. I was also invited to participate in another event at the end of May, so that's very positive. I'll be posting about the where and when of that event as soon as I get the info in electronic format. My display was much better than at the christmas fair I did last year, so that was also good. Got a lot of nice comments and interest. So it was a good experience! The next one will be 5 July!
Today it's back to the wedding ring again. Hopefully today I'll succeed in getting that right. Then I need to plan what I'm doing for the next couple of weeks carefully so that I have enough items for this event at the end of May! So it's still going to be busy...

24 Apr 2008

Yesterday was a lovely day. We just walked around town and took it easy and enjoyed the sunshine while it was out. We did a bit of shopping, a bit of eating, and a bit of watching some Sherlock Holmes :-) A relaxed birthday!!!
On Tuesday we went to IKEA to go look for something that would function as a display for craft fairs. I knew what I wanted, but unfortunately it doesn't exist. Or at least not at IKEA. So we ended up buying a bunch of sheets of glass and I can arrange them at different levels and in different ways by putting them on blocks of wood. Nice, neat blocks of wood painted in nice colours would be ideal, but I don't think that's going to happen before Saturday. But I think it'll be fine with regular blocks of wood for now. I need to test it on the table at home today or tomorrow to make sure it'll all be fine.
I'm still working on the wedding ring and need to sort out some earrings for Etsy. I wasn't intending on making those earrings again. I only made one pair and they were sold. But someone on Etsy asked for them, so I am attempting to make them again. I have one, but the second one is slightly not right and after taking photos I think I need to tweak it a bit more. So I need to get that finished today! Also need to make more earrings for the craft fair, finish a bunch of cuff links, finish 3 rings, and then tomorrow do all the remaining preparation for the craft fair! Yesterday I also brought the fliers for the fair to some places in town, so hopefully that'll help. I have a couple more fliers which I'm hoping to put up in the shops near my house - there's a shop that usually has fliers for stuff happening around Reading. Right, well, I better go do these things!!!

23 Apr 2008


It's Saint George's day!!! And it's Shakespeare's birthday! and it's my birthday! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

22 Apr 2008

I had a fab weekend in Holland visiting my cousin and his wife. This week is going to be all about getting ready for the craft fair Saturday!!! I have flyers that I need to pass around, items I need to polish, display that I need to sort out, etc. I have loads of earrings ready and I'm also trying to finish a wedding ring commission. Busy week! It's also my birthday tomorrow and I don't know what the plan is because the boy is keeping it all a secret, so I'll find out tomorrow! hurrah!

17 Apr 2008

Yippee! I got accepted to the South Hill Park craft fair!!! That's in November, so it's a long way off. I'll post details closer to the time!
Also got the advertising flyers through for the Rising Sun craft fair and they used a photo of my peek ring on the flyer! hurrah!

15 Apr 2008

Struggling with the ring that needs to be re sized today....nearly finished but now need to get it back into a nice round shape and more polishing. Getting there....
Feeling rather blah this week thus far, hope things look shinier as the week goes on....

14 Apr 2008

I did it! Or rather, we did it! My friend and I managed to RUN the whole 10 kilometers yesterday at the race at Dorney Lake. The weather was pretty grim, with freezing cold rain ahead of the race. There was no shelter except one very small tent that not everyone could fit under, so we were very cold. Then the race was delayed 15 minutes because some people were still registering. So we got even colder. Eventually it started though and off we went. There were actually quite a lot of people there, at least 300, which is amazing considering the terrible weather. Anyway, off we went and the super fit serious runners whipped to the front and the rest of us just trudged along, hoping to make it the whole way. At least it didn't rain much during the actual race. I made it the whole way without stopping and managed it in one hour. I was very grateful to reach the finish line!!!

12 Apr 2008

Heh, exciting, I just figured out how to get that little icon in the address bar of your browser for my website. Hm, probably not very clear from that sentence, but you can see it clearly in this screenshot: (I've only put it on the homepage of www.magpienest.co.uk but it seems to be showing up on all pages, not sure if that's just my cache though...)

11 Apr 2008

Ok, I thought of a little tip I could tell you about that might be useful for some people. You know those sites that you visit over and over again? (*cough* that means you, Etsy addicts!) You may already have bookmarked those sites, or listed them under favourites. But, an even faster option is to have a link on your browser bar so all you have to do is one click to get to the page you want. Here's how to do it:

1. Go to the site that you want and highlight the URL:

2. Put your mouse on the URL or the little icon on the left of the URL if there is one - in this case the little orange "E" icon:

3. Hold down your left mouse button and drag the URL down to the bar right under it. I know the picture is a bit small, but you can see in the picture below that it now has a button that says "Etsy::magpienest::" and if I click on that, it will bring me straight to that page.
4. If this doesn't work for you, it could mean that your browser bar is locked. OR you're using Internet Explorer and this is another useful reminder why Firefox is better than Internet Explorer :-)

(thanks to Bob for this post, as he showed me this shortcut this morning!)
blah. I think my head's not functioning today. Yesterday I prepared lots of information and projections and what not for a year plan for my business. Today I just need to work at my bench. And right now I can't really think. Maybe I just need some more tea. Or a nap. Or some form of caffeine. blaaaaaaaaaah....ok I better stop writing.....

10 Apr 2008

If you've read this blog for a while, you might know that unfortunately, I lost almost all my personal jewellery in January due to a burglary. One of the items was my favorite gold ring, which was a present for high school graduation from my mom. I don't want to make an exact copy of that ring because it just won't be the same. However, I am going to make a gold version of this ring. Yesterday I went into London and bought the piece of gold for it. I might have time this weekend to work on it. In any case, I bought the gold and the ring will be for me, but I can take photos of it and thus offer a gold version of this ring on Etsy and so on. The gold prices are very, very high at the moment, although down from the all-time record high that it reached last month. That makes it a bit scary to work with gold, because every filing, every little piece that falls on the floor, all of it counts. I guess it's just part of having a business, there is always some type of risk. I could use 9k gold (which is cheaper), but it's quite pale compared to 18k gold, so I really prefer the 18k because it's a much warmer colour and it's a nicer contrast to silver.

9 Apr 2008

Blue skies again, and it is *cold*.
I've been vaguely trying to make a treasury on Etsy and I think I can forget about it, because the treasury is always full. Every single time I check it's waaaaaaaaaay over the maximum number, so the chances that I check right when it's open are very, very slim indeed.

My friend lent me the box set of Sherlock Holmes and I'm really enjoying it. Way back when I was still living with the parentals, I always used to watch this program on Saturdays called Mystery. It was on PBS and it rotated between showing different British series like Inspector Morse, Miss Marple, Poirot, Prime Suspect, and Sherlock Holmes. I think this Sherlock Holmes is most definitely the best one, with Jeremy Brett. Anyway, Sherlock Holmes used to be one of my all-time favourites and I'm glad it's still as good as I remember. It's interesting, well-acted, and suspenseful. Plus it's kind of amusing that now I recognise the place names of the different locations they go to - Aldershot, for example. I went to 221 Baker Street in London once, just to see what was there, but it was just the Kuwaiti Bank. Maybe I got the address wrong, because surely there would be some Sherlock Holmes type museum or shop or something somewhere on Baker Street. Hm, I'll have to check again sometime.

8 Apr 2008

Blue skies, people, blue skies. Worth writing home about if one happens to live in the UK. Photo taken just a few seconds ago as proof!
Yesterday was happily productive. I also had a few sales on Etsy, which always cheers me up and so I need to get those in the post today.
I am working on resizing a ring which is a tricky situation. If you want to make a ring bigger, ok, fine, plenty of options. If you want to make a ring smaller, it's much trickier. Not a problem if it's a straightforward metal ring. Then you take a piece out and solder it back together. If the ring has any type of setting with a stone in it, however, and it's hard. As soon as an item has a stone set in it, you can no longer solder it. Which means you can't take a piece out of the ring, because you can't put it back together. Well, you can get the stones taken out and then solder it, and then put them back in again. However, the stone in this particular ring is very soft and already got a bit scratched when it was originally put in. So, unwise to take it out. So I've wrapped a piece of silver around the base of the shank of the ring. It's going to take quite a bit of fiddling to make it look good. Oh well, I'll keep trying and see how it looks once it's polished and such.

7 Apr 2008

Yesterday evening I ran a practice 6 miles, which took me about an hour and six minutes. Not too bad (for me) and I didn't have to stop even once. I hope that on Sunday I can do similar or slightly better. I just don't want to be the very last person. Well, even that would be ok - as long as they don't close the course before I finish! haha!
Anyway...Monday again. I have loads and loads to do today and I hope that I manage to get most of it finished. I want to send off a bunch of stuff for hallmarking Wednesday. So, I better go get started!!
Must have more tea....it's very cold again and I haven't had enough tea yet this morning!

6 Apr 2008

Interesting things afoot today. First waking up to a big fat blanket of snow, quite unusual for Reading and even more unusual for not melting away in a couple of hours.
Also had a look at a new blog by a keen Californian shopper and baker. Have a look: http://somethingjusttostart.blogspot.com
Things are also moving again on the website front. I will be making another big change, this time to add a shopping cart! Thanks to Google, it looks like that is going to be possible!! Hurrah! It's still in the beta version, but with some adjustments to my website, it should do the job fairly soon. That is all good news, as it will make the site more user friendly!
The craft fair in Reading at the Rising Sun Institute is coming closer, so I am in the process of making a whole load of rings and cuff links. They need to be made first so I can send them off to be hallmarked and still have them back on time. Then it'll be more earrings! I have an idea for another large necklace - large in the sense that it is a whole necklace, not only a pendant. Hopefully I will have time to work on that this week. It'll be hard if I also want to get around to the website changes! And a ring should come back from the engravers...and I have a ring I need to re size.
So, it looks to be a busy week! It'll be getting up early and squeezing as much as I can into every day. It's good that I have this craft fair coming up, it makes me get more done!!

4 Apr 2008

Here's a photo of a new collection. I think if you click on it, you can get a bigger version!

3 Apr 2008

It's already April 3rd. That means 10 days until the 10k run and 23 days until my first craft fair of the year. So in turn that means I need to run more (eek!) and I need to make lots of items so I have enough for the craft fair!
I thought I would mention something I did a while ago today. I joined Indiego, which is a site where you sign up, you enter your info and a photo and thus create a little ad for yourself. Then you add a bit of code to your blog so that other people's ads show up on your site. The idea being that everyone helps each other -- the ads that show up rotate, so your ad will show up somewhere and so will everyone else's. You can see at the bottom right hand corner of this blog that there is an ad...for something homemade. So somewhere out there in internet land, my ad is showing up on someone's blog or website. How many times someone clicks on your ad is measured so you can see how effective (or not) this is. According to Indiego, my ad has been clicked 4 times. That's in about 2 months or so. So it's not much. But hey, it's also not nothing. So, might be worth considering. It's free, you're potentially helping out other artists and/or yourself, so why not.

1 Apr 2008

YAWN. At first I thought, gah, it's hard to get up today, but then I realised that the hour change is what makes me feel still sleepy. Ah well, it'll wear off. Yesterday I jogged (think extremely slow running) 4.5 miles and man was it difficult. I just felt like a tortoise, just plodding along. sigh. I fear this 10k is going to be humiliating, with people whizzing past me. Well, I still have a week and a half left for practice.
So another little interesting tidbit I learned at the Google info day was the three busiest online shopping days of the year (in 2007). I thought it was interesting to know, in terms of having stock prepared and website in order. The online shopping trends, apparently, are more than ever mimicking the troughs and peaks of the offline shopping world. So it's normalising to some extent, becoming mainstream. Anyway, the top three busiest online shopping days were, in order:
1. 26 December (aka Boxing Day)
2. 10 December
3. 25 December (Christmas, obviously)

Another interesting thing I learned was about water filtering. Oh yes, water filtering. No, Google doesn't filter water as well.....this was just a woman I met on the day. She and her husband have set up a business selling Japanese bamboo charcoal, which is a natural water filter. It's a completely eco business. They have researched all aspects of the environmental impact of the charcoal and it's much, much better than Britta filters with all their plastic and so forth. Anyway, I thought it was quite fascinating and a very good alternative to Britta filters. I read the instructions on their website and it's a bit of a nuisance because you have to boil the charcoal every so often so it stays clean. But it's so much more natural and when you're done with the charcoal you just put it in the garden. Anyway....you can read all about it on their website, which is www.charcoalpeople.co.uk