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


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


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


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.