31 Mar 2008

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, I certainly did! I'm going to find out more about Google Ad Words, Ad Sense and Checkout today so will report back later!

29 Mar 2008

well the pub crawl today went very well!!!!!!!!!!!

28 Mar 2008

Wheeeeeeeee I'm joining yet another networking site....the DaWanda one on Ning...Of course, I can't be super active on all things - Indiepublic, Etsy forums, blog, other people's blogs, facebook, etc etc and this one as well. So I just flit between them all and do a bit of all of them every now and then. Otherwise I'd spend ALL my time behind the computer, instead of the 99.999999% of my time I spend behind the computer now. hmmmmmmmmmm
I dreamt of ring designs again. I really must write them down in my idea booklet because otherwise I will forget them all.
Yesterday I applied to another craft fair - Gift - which is in Surrey in November. A friend of mine went there and said it was brilliant, so I'm really hoping I get accepted. I also like the look of the items they have on their publicity materials. Anyway, we'll see. I'd give you a link or something, but they don't appear to have their own website and what there is, is limited and not very exciting looking. I hope they put up something more later in the year. They probably will, it's only in November after all.
It's back to dreary-ness today after a relatively sunny day yesterday. It's gloomy, but now that I have flowers (thank you Marianne!!) at least I can think of the rain as being good for the garden. I realise I write quite often about the weather. I think I am quite affected by the weather even if I don't go outside all day. When it's so gloomy I find it hard to get going. I'm laughing though because it's such a British/Dutch thing to do - talk about the weather. Nice safe topic. Although not always safe. One of my aunts gets all annoyed if you mention the weather, particularly over the phone. She thinks it's a waste of time to talk about the weather when you're phoning each other half way across the world (she lives in Qatar). Well, she does have a point. Unless it's exciting weather, like a hurricane or lots of snow or a flood or something.

So I've made a bunch of cuff links and a pendant, but the thing about larger items is that I need to get them hallmarked. And in order to do that, I need a decent amount of things to send all at once. Which means a general slowing down of the whole process. But then when I get them all back, I have loads of stuff all at once. So I better get moving and get enough together to send off for hallmarking. And not forget that they need *all* components in order to hallmark. Last time I got a note scolding me because I didn't realise this and sent some cuff links without the bars on yet, thinking I could add those later. Oopsie! They have to have the whole finished item to make sure that you don't do something naughty like add cheap tin bars on silver cuff links or something.
Anyway....ok...must go do stuff.

27 Mar 2008

ah ha! Found it! A treasury I was in made it to the front page of Etsy last night! Treasury made by paperiaarre (who has a lovely shop, check it out).
This morning I had a peep at my Etsy store first thing, as I am wont to do, and one of the items has a huge amount of views. It didn't yesterday. I looked through the treasuries, and was very surprised to see that some of my items were in treasuries - but not that particular one! So I wonder where it was shown when it got so many views. Hmmmm it's a meeeeeeeeeeestery.

I'm working on posting things on DaWanda, which is going to take a while. I can't quite figure out the pinboard do-dad. It's like the hearting on Etsy, but I don't seem to be able to see where my favourites go, or who favourites my shop. And the English forums on DaWanda seem to be rather....slow. I posted a question and didn't get an answer or even a response. On Etsy it only takes about a nanosecond before someone answers, if only to say that they don't know, ha!!! Anyway, so I'm kind of wishing I had kept up with my French/German so I could join those forums. I can read, understand, follow the conversations, but I can't really write much beyond the basics. I used to be able to, but it is tragic how quickly one can lose language abilities. sigh.

Yesterday I was quite productive and made cuff links, earrings, and even a pendant. Photos to follow soon, of course. Also got feedback for the cuff links with the Japanese paper which I posted about before. The recipient was very happy with those, so that is very good. Today I need to send a ring off to an engraver, send off some rings, make some more cuff links ready for Japanese paper, and post more on DaWanda. I already posted some new earrings on Etsy, using a technique I learned at my lessons from my fabulous teacher. Here's a photo:

26 Mar 2008

I couldn't sleep last night so I finally got a start on opening my DaWanda shop!!! It's here. I will be adding items, of course, and figuring out how to add links to this blog and so forth. I am still getting the hang of the format. It's obviously similar to Etsy, but everything is slightly different. It is very useful that it's in Euros, makes it super easy for the rest of Europe.
I made some new earrings yesterday which I will be photographing soon, maybe even today depending on how it goes.
I also got a very kind email from the woman who ordered the gold ball ring and the sheet ring. It's so fantastic to get encouragement from people who know their jewellery. She has just been to Metalab, which is in Australia and her favourite jewellery shop. She also recommended my work to them! Have a look at the website, it has some beautiful things!

25 Mar 2008

Chocolate overload time is over....that's how Easter was for me. I have a teeny bit of a chocolate egg left, though!
Now it's into super busy time. I'm going to a Google information session in London on Monday, hopefully will be doing a free course on tax self-assessment soon, maybe another financial information course in London, and trying to get into more craft fairs.
I'm definitely doing craft fairs at the Rising Sun Institute in Reading on April 26 and then another one in November and December. I'll be posting more about those closer to the time.
So right now I really need to make loads of items!! I have to have enough for these shows.
I can't quite believe how cold it is outside - it's supposed to be spring! And I'm supposed to do a 10K run in a couple of weekends but haven't done any preparation!!! Eek! I will do a run tonight though. I have been saying that for days but it keeps being really cold and snowing and raining and generally being dismal outside. I hope it warms up a teeny bit, at least!!

21 Mar 2008

Well, I have been tagged by Aisha Wood, fellow UK etsian!

The rules are:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I don’t have a hometown, since I’ve lived all over the place and don’t remember anything about the place I was born since I left there when I was two.

2. I like crackers with ketchup.

3. My nickname was given to me when I was 6 by a neighbour because nobody could pronounce my full name.

4. I don’t like beer or coffee.

5. I hate butter. It makes me gag.

6. I don’t have a tv.

7. My favourite band is Underworld, because they are the best ever.

I am tagging: and I know it's only 6, but oh well...


Skein Queen

Knit wit

Bea pea



20 Mar 2008

Successful change yesterday to a functioning phone and internet connection, hurrah!
I am working on some cuff links at the moment - it's taking ages to get the finish right. It's hard to get a large-ish piece of flat sheet to be completely glossy. I'm using a wire brush finish, which means a lot of polishing, re polishing and some more polishing to make sure there are no stray marks. Also finishing off some rings and then I need to think about what order to do the rest of the things in.
It's very gloomy today, lots of rain. I'm waiting for a package - boxes for cufflinks and large earrings. I hope they arrive today because the postage cost a lot and was supposed to be 48 hour delivery.
Ehm, can't think of much else inspiring to write...just looking forward to tomorrow because the boy has the day off. It's a bank holiday for Easter.

19 Mar 2008

I'm switching from BT to Virgin for phone and internet today, so lots of people running around with cables and such. This will mean that at some point today I will not have an internet connection. I hope it all works again soon though. Virgin will be cheaper and it's going to be better quality because the BT cable has had some problems with it for years.
So, more later if all goes well...

18 Mar 2008

Ok, first of all, here is finally a photo of my new gloves from my exchange with knithappens: are they great, or are they great? I am typing with them on right now!

Secondly, I was asked to make a pair of cufflinks . This is the result: I will be making more cuff links and should hopefully finish another pair today (different style). I have a lot to do today, again, so I will keep this short. I just want to say, though, that I made a decent stock inventory spreadsheet yesterday so I can track not only how much stock I have at any time, but also how much worth of stock I am making every week. That way I can tell if I have enough stock and if I am working at a decent rate.

17 Mar 2008

Monday morning and it's sunny. How odd. It is cold, though, below 10C according to my not very accurate thermometer. It's usually saying it's about 5 degrees warmer than it actually is.
Anyway....so on Saturday I went to the Slough council and Business Link organised course "cash flow basics". It was, thankfully, very useful. The course took about 4 hours and could have *easily* been condensed into less than an hour. I think they were just trying to make it a day seminar, but it's not a huge topic. Since it was free, of the ten people who were supposed to attend, 4 did. When it's free, people decide at the last minute whether they are going to attend or not, in my experience. Apparently this was a pilot run though, so next time they will charge a bit.
The course was held in a fairly grim area of Slough, lots of boarded up houses and so on. But oh well, I didn't have to walk there in the dark so it was ok. At least it was walking distance from the train station.
So, the useful things I learned were:
1. how to set up a cash flow spreadsheet
2. Inland Revenue does free courses on how to do your tax self assessment and what can be deducted as business costs
3. Simplex D is an easy peasy accounting system

Now, the first one, I sort of was doing already but not quite in the right format. So on Sunday I just rearranged my spreadsheets to show incomings and outgoings in a better format and I must say it makes it a lot easier to see where I'm at, what I need to sell, how many things I need to sell, etc. There's a free cash flow spreadsheet on the business link website here. <-- This link will open the Excel spreadsheet straight away.
The Simplex D is a useful booklet set out by week where you put your sales and your expenses and stick your receipts to that page for that week and then for taxes all will be easy and simple. However, there's no way I'm doing accounts on paper. So I'm searching for an Excel equivalent.
So in the end, it showed me how to better format my accounts. I need to rearrange my files. I currently have invoices listed by type - supplies, hallmarking, etc. and then by date. But I need to change it to the other way around - I should have files by date and then state the type on the accounting sheet.
So that was my fun use of a Saturday!! I did do other fun stuff, though, some friends came over for dinner and such!
I also got my package back from hallmarking and one of the necklaces broke in the post, which is a real pain. I've sent that type of necklace before and never had a problem. Snif.
And I will get around to taking a photo of my new gloves at some point today. I've already used them lots!

14 Mar 2008

Etsy is focusing on the theme of "homemade weddings" at the moment and Capitolagirl has been following that theme on her blog. She has kindly included one of my rings on her blog today! Check it out here. Exciting!!!!!
I did an exchange with knithappens - gloves for earrings! And I love my new fingerless gloves, they are perfect!! What I wanted was some gloves to keep my hands warm while typing/being on the computer. My fingers get soooo cold in the wintertime, even if the heating is on. So these gloves are the solution! hurrah! I will post a photo in a bit....I need to change the bulb in the light. (I could take a regular photo but then I have to adjust all the menu options on the camera and that takes more time than just taking a photo in the lightbox!)
Incidentally, I'm very happy with my new lightbox. The old one worked ok but not great. Dougs made this one for me while I was away (I guess he was bored!!!) from white foam board, so it's all white, which means less dark reflections. It's definitely an improvement!
So tomorrow I'm going on a "financial confidence" course. There are four seminars and I've chosen the "cash flow" one. I guess that means they will say what the cash flow is supposed to look like and how you're supposed to keep tabs on it and maybe how to tell there's going to be a problem. I keep good records, but I'm curious to see what they say. I hope it's useful because it's 10am-4pm! yeeks! on a Saturday! I can't find it anywhere on the internet, no information at all. I got a flyer through the door so that's how I know about it. I'm always amazed at some of these government/council things - they seem to be light years behind any regular business in terms of the internet. A couple of years ago, when I voted in local elections, I tried to find out local politicians positions on issues by looking them up on the internet. I looked at the council's website and elsewhere and anywhere I could think of, but there was nothing. Well, their photo, name and email address were on the council website, but that's pretty much it. That's quite pitiful, especially since a lot of younger people would rely on the internet to get this kind of information (I think). Or even older people, some older people who can't get around easily will also rely on the internet. Anywaysssssssss so I'll see how this seminar is tomorrow.

13 Mar 2008

Yay! Near finished with the gold ball ring!! Just needs a little more polishing to get rid of some residual fire stain, but getting there!! Here are the pics:
Aaaaarghhh!!! So I just looked closely at the gold balls I ordered and over half are cracked!!!!!! grrrr!!! So it probably wasn't my soldering that cracked the last one, it probably already was cracked. SIGH. what a pain. So now I have to send these back, get a refund, wait for more, hope they aren't crap. What a pain! What's with the suppliers at the moment!?? First the hammer, now this. I'm also on my third attempt at the silver part of the ring because it's not easy to get the size right when the ring isn't a straight forward circle. I don't mind that though, I'll get there. But faulty supplies really slows me down and wastes my time. :-(

12 Mar 2008

Windy, windy, windy. As I was walking to my lesson this morning I was actually mildly afraid that the trees in the park were going to fall on my head. The wind was whipping around them and they were leaning and creaking and moaning. Plus a few large branches had already fallen off!! But I obviously made it in one piece and am back home again after yet another inspiring lesson. Learned another new technique and will be testing it this afternoon if I have time. I have been working on a ring, another commission and have been having some difficulties. Namely, the gold ball cracked. So I have to start over. This is the photo of the ring with the cracked ball. It actually looks a lot more obvious in the photo. In regular lighting it's actually quite hard to see the crack. But it's there and I know it, so back to square one. Happily the size just happens to fit my middle finger perfectly, so all is not lost because at least I can wear it - the easiest advertising! In other news, I ordered a cross pein hammer from Rashbel and although it arrived today I was most disappointed because it has rust on it and the head is loose. Bah. So I called and happily they are dealing with it very well and will send me out a new one today. I've been waiting for this hammer for a while. A cross pein hammer has a wedge-shaped head instead of a round one. That means when you hit the metal, it will spread in one direction. With a round head, the metal will spread in all directions. So the cross pein hammer is the one to use for the fold forming technique, which produces things such as this:Charles Lewton-Brain developed this technique and you can see more examples on this website.
Anyway, now I am off to attempt once again to make the gold ball ring.

11 Mar 2008

So first of all, to anyone out there, if someone posts a comment on your blog that says "see here" and it's a link - don't click it. It's most likely to be junk or a virus. Just so you know...
So yesterday was a big pain in terms of soldering. Some days, all goes smoothly. Yesterday was not one of those days. One thing refused to solder, another cracked, another soldered badly. So I had to reorder more gold - unpleasant due to the cost of gold. Sigh. I hope today goes better.

10 Mar 2008

We are in the midst of a winter storm with high winds and lots of rain. Indeed, as I look out the window I see sheets of rain rolling across the houses. Thank goodness I don't have to go outside today!!!
One of my rings, the notch ring, is a cast item. That means I made it out of wax first and then got a mold made. The mold is then used to make multiple copies of the ring. With this particular ring, it doesn't really need to be cast because I can also make it from sheet. The problem with the cast rings is that the range of sizes is limited...you can't just keep stretching the ring because it will distort the shape too much or crack. So while I was in Singapore someone asked for this ring and I have made it out of sheet. But the result is actually much crisper and now I think it looks better without the notch in it. I have emailed some photos to the person who wanted it, so I'll see what she wants!
In other news, my friends Sally and Dave have launched their online tea towel business. Yes, that's right, designer tea towels! Need some encouragement to do the drying? Bored of tired old tea towels? Can't think of a gift for someone with quirky taste? See www.todryfor.com !!!!!!!!
So today I am aiming to finish one other commission ring and nearly finish two other rings. Then I will be ready to send a package for hallmarking. Hopefully all will go well with that plan and tomorrow I will be able to focus on replenishing my stock of small stud earrings - possibly with some new designs thrown in!

7 Mar 2008

These are the seven pearls from Singapore :
The first 6 are about 1 centimeter long and have a single hole - perfect for rings or pendants. Not so good for earrings because each one is different. The color is really lovely. It does strike me as funny for some reason that these pearls are kept on bits of cardboard with blutack! But then I guess blu tack does not leave any marks on the pearls! This large 2 centimeter long teardrop pearl is for a top secret project. (Bea, if you want to know, email me and I'll let you in on the secret!!!)

6 Mar 2008

Thursday already! Today it's grey out - warmer than yesterday though. At least my fingers don't feel like ice blocks anymore! I sorted out my Singapore photos yesterday and a lot of them turned out pretty well so I'm pleased with that. I need to take a photo of the pearls that I have now! Here is a close up photo of one of the shophouses that are typical of Singapore:On the airplane I read a book called Tanamera, which is an excellent read. It's set in Singapore so I enjoyed it extra because I recognised the street names and store names and so on. I highly recommend this book, it is really hard to put down. Luckily, since the flight back to the UK was about 13 hours, I didn't have to put it down! ha!
While in Singapore, I met some of the people my mom has met there, one of whom was Marlous. She showed us her fabulous jewellery collection and it was super interesting. She has gold, silver, plastic and fabric jewellery - all really different and stylish. It was fun to look through a whole bunch of jewellery collected over time from many different countries. She has some really beautiful items!
I did go to a lot of jewellery shops, nosing around to see if I could find something special. Unfortunately most of it was not my taste - lots of diamonds! Also a lot of jade with gold - which is ok but too ornate for my taste. I almost bought some expensive gold earrings, but I'm glad I didn't because I think the only reason I liked them was because everything else in the case was so ugly (in my opinion!) that those earrings looked good by comparison! ha!
I did notice that there were a lot of earrings with the ear thread style, like my ball & chain earrings. I don't see those here much, so that was interesting. I did get two pairs of earrings from my mom from a jewellery shop that did only silver jewellery - an Italian chain shop. All their jewellery was fairly simple with neat lines (although they also had lots of hearts...). I got one pair of ear threads with pearls on the end, which I like but they are a touch heavy so I have to keep checking that they're not falling out! I do like them lots though. Hm, I just went to their website and it is supremely annoying and it doesn't have the pairs I got there. And even though it seems to be an Italian company, it's only in Asia, so maybe it's not an Italian company...who knows...
Anyway, I have to go sort out another Etsy order now - my first one to Denmark! Hurrah!

5 Mar 2008

I'm back from a fantastic trip to Singapore! There was a LOT to see and do there!! I got some pearls (a present from my mom) with a single drilled hole to make new rings/pendants and some little gift bags for posting items in and various others bits and pieces. It was an amazing trip which also gave me plenty of inspiration and encouragement for my jewellery! I also bought some earrings which will remind me of this holiday - they are rhodium plated seed pod earrings and look like this:

Now I am cleaning up my emails, sorting out some recent Etsy orders, updating my spreadsheets and making a list of things to do! I got 3 commissions from friends of my mom's so I am going to be busy for a while!! Unfortunately today I got a letter that the jewellery category was already full for one of the craft shows I wanted to participate in, but they are keeping me on the waiting list in case there are cancellations. Ok, so now I need to sort out my photos from Singapore and empty my suitcase!! More tomorrow...