29 Jan 2009


Ok, I may have been one of the last people to twig to lastfm.com but just in case I'd thought I'd write about it today in case someone out there doesn't know about it. If you're into music, any music, this is a great website. You just go to the website www.lastfm.com and in the black box (right hand side of the screen) you type in the name of any band you like and it will play tracks from that band and other bands in roughly the same genre or that other people who like the band like. It's a great tool to get into new music without wading through too much stuff you don't like. Plus you can 'heart' or 'ban' tracks that you like or don't like, so it gets better the more you use it. There are more sites like it, but I reckon this is the best one....not that I've extensively tried other sites because this one was great straight away. So, there we go - a potential web tip if you hadn't heard of lastfm before!

28 Jan 2009

blades and ants

So the day before yesterday I was working and *ping* my saw blade broke. Ok, put another one on. *ping* it broke just from the tension of setting it in the saw! That's a new one! A bad new one - saws should not be that wimpy, especially when they are not a fine grade. So, another one...saw, saw, saw, *ping*......grr....and so on....12 blades broke! TWELVE! So I concluded that they were poor quality blades. So I've bought some new blades, which I thought would arrive today but haven't yet. Which randomly made me think about blades. Saw blades, blades of grass, razor blades, and roller blades. The last of these, I feel, is conceptually quite loose... I mean, all other blades are sharp, or have a sharp edge. Roller blades do not. But they are in comparison to roller skates. So, interesting choice. And interesting connection made in the head of some marketing person, since I assume roller blades are pretty new and the name is a marketing tag (because they are also called in-line skates).
Ants...I don't like 'em. But I do like these ceramics:

Also I really like this elegant little flower vase:

26 Jan 2009


I had a commission for a pair of cuff links....same as my lace imprint cuff links, but different shape to match a pendant. Here are some photos:

Monday, monday

Fabulous weekend - saw Slumdog Millionaire, which I thought was brilliant. Met up with a bunch of friends and talked lots of rubbish. Planned and sorted out our holiday in June. Ate some chocolate. Excellent :-)
So today it's back to the bench and hopefully a bunch of cuff links and rings will emerge. I struggled with the pendants I was trying to make at the end of last week. I had some problems with the design, they weren't turning out how I'd envisioned, so I need to leave them for a bit and think about how better to do them.
I think I'll listen to my Crystal Castles cd today. I got the cd for Christmas and it is very, very good. Electro-thrash I think they call themselves, but it's not as hardcore as I thought it would be. It's overall quite chilled electronic with vocals and a couple of screamy tracks to get the energy levels up. Excellent album - definitely one of the best of 2008!

23 Jan 2009

rain, rain, go away

More rain today and I'm waiting for my lift to the Berkshire Designer Jewellers meeting. I met up with a friend last night - my friend who runs www.todryfor.com - and it's doing REALLY well!! I'm so excited for her! Designer tea towel madness! There is a chance that they are in the Guardian newspaper today! So I'm going to go check later. She liked my new collection lots - her favourite so far - so that is encouraging and I'm going to go work hard!! :-) Hope you all have a good weekend!!

22 Jan 2009

new stuff

Here's a photo of the bangle of a new collection.... (click on the photo for a much better, closer look at it!!)

21 Jan 2009

plodding along...

It's the middle of the week again and I'm just making, making, making. The plan is to make 3 pairs of long earrings, a ring and 6 pendants today. Might be a touch ambitious, but I'll try. I've got some new necklaces to put pendants on - silver cable which is quite sleek and sky blue silk which is nice for a splash of colour. I'll be putting sapphires on a pendant to go with the blue silk necklet. That'll take a while before it's actually completely finished because I need to send the pendants to get hallmarked without the stones in yet. Which means I have to collect a decent amount of things to get hallmarked because there's a minimum cost so it's much more expensive per item if I send only a couple of things at a time.
Also have a custom job coming up - some lace imprint cuff links in a different shape. Photos to follow...
Other than that, just plodding along. Well, I will go to my first proper meeting of the Berkshire Designer Jewellers on Friday, so I'm looking forward to that.

19 Jan 2009

First show as part of the Berkshire Designer Jewellers

I am a member of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery and as part of this, I'm also a member of the sub-group for this area, which is the Berkshire Designer Jewellers. I met most of the members in December at a pre-Christmas get together and now I'm going to my first proper meeting this Friday. The exciting thing is that there's an exhibit planned already in April and I get to participate in that. It will be held at the Norden Farm centre for the arts, which is in Maidenhead. If anyone's interested in the details already, this is the link. I'll post more about it closer to the time.

16 Jan 2009

bye bye balloon man and other things...

I sold an old game of mine on ebay this week. It's now winging its way to another corner of Europe. I can't believe how collectable those old nintendo hand held games are!! Amazingly lucky sequence of events, really. That was the only electronic game I liked - so I kept it in its original box. I got it as a gift from my aunt when I was 11 and played it for hours on end. It didn't have a pause button! Anyway, I had a fondness for that game that I never had for any video-type game and that turned out to be a very good thing. I hope the new owner is happy with it too. And now I can afford to get some friggin new socks!! All my socks have holes in or are grey - not good grey, used-to-be-black grey. So I'm throwing away all my old socks and getting new ones! hurrah! :-)
In other news, yesterday was amazingly productive and I'm a long way into a new collection which is destined, hopefully, for a special project. All will be revealed when I actually finish it! I'm delighted to report that the bangle mandrel works like a charm - a very good purchase!
Oh yes and a school nearby emailed yesterday to ask if I would participate in their Spring Fair - always nice to be asked!! Plus it's close by and a very nice school, so I think I'll do it. It's in March so that gives me something to aim for before the fairs in the autumn.

14 Jan 2009

blogs and walking like an Egyptian

Freezing fog this morning. How.........lovely. not. What is lovely is that two charming blogs have chosen to show a bit of my jewellery this week. One is Hannah Mary Pinnock (silver bud ring). The other is a bunch of artists (feltgiraffe wrote the post) with a blog called Autonomous Artists (one of the Japanese paper pendants). So a big thanks to them!! :-)
In other news, I finally got a bangle mandrel. That's a bit of steel for forming bangles around. (did anyone get that Bangles reference in the title of this post??? ha ha I'm so funny...or something.) So today I can finish a bunch of bangles I'm working on. That's including the bangle to go with this collection, which is silver with an 18k ball. This is the first time this photo is public!! Ooo er!! Oh yes, world premier of this collection, soon to include a bangle which I shall photograph once it's ready. Anyway...here's the photo with ring, pendant and earrings:

13 Jan 2009

Craft in Focus

Just a quick note today to say hurrah! because I've been accepted to participate in the Crowthorne Craft in Focus show! It will be on from 30 October until 1 November, so a long weekend. I'm excited to be in a Craft in Focus show, since they are well known for their quality and because when I was a student jeweller I had some pieces in a show on the college's stand!

12 Jan 2009


I was in Glasgow over the weekend, visiting friends of mine. It was a very relaxed weekend, with lots of chilling and a bit of wandering around Glasgow. And by "wandering", I don't really mean strolling. I mean walking while battling the rain and wind hoping to find a warm, dry, indoor place quickly. The weather was quite terrible. We were waiting to cross a street and looking at the stoplight - waiting for the little man to turn green, as one does - and the whole green lamp part of the stoplight was ripped off by the wind and propelled down the street! That's some serious wind. Anyway, we did make it to the Macintosh house, which I'd wanted to see for ages already but somehow didn't get around to seeing last time I was in Glasgow. Unfortunately only half of it was open because they were cleaning it or something, but it was still interesting. Bit gloomier than I thought it would be, though. Also I hadn't realised that the original house was destroyed in 1963 because of issues with subsidence or something and so the house is actually a replica. They kept it as much like the original as possible, but it did remind me of visiting sites in Japan - there we often went to see some ancient building and then when we read the info boards, at the bottom it would say something like "rebuilt in 1980 in ferro-concrete". For some reason ferro concrete was mentioned a lot, so it started being rather amusing to try to find the line where it said the ancient temple/pagoda/castle was actually rebuilt in ferro-concrete. In any case, here's a photo of the Macintosh house through the heavy rain:

8 Jan 2009

in which i waffle

I need to go to the post office again. sigh. it's still cold out. My gran called this morning to tell me that where one of my uncles lives, it's -21 C. I reckon that's the coldest it's been in Holland since I lived there in 95/96. That winter was the coldest in 100 years. I even got to skate - in proper wooden skates - on a frozen canal. I was frozen too. The room I was living in (in a shared house) had no heating. It was also the attic room and had no proper insulation. So I had a space heater and I could feel the wind from outside when I was laying in bed. I used to go over to my friends' house to sleep on the couch in their kitchen because it was so much warmer.
Happily, these days I live in a properly insulated house with functioning heating. Also the boy is not one of these people who goes around turning down thermostats. I'm not silly, I don't heat all the rooms when I'm not in them, but I don't have to worry about someone opening a window or turning off the heat. I even have a hot water bottle and a proper nice thick duvet.
Anyway...in other exciting news, I ordered a sort of posterboard thing from the Assay Office which has all the info about hallmarking on it. I didn't think I needed one, as I've already got their small hallmarking information cards, but it turns out that strictly speaking, if you are selling silver/gold in a public space then you have to display one of these hallmarking info boards. So I ordered one (not that bad, only £10) and lo and behold it arrived. Sort of. I opened the envelope and there was just two pieces of plain brown cardboard in it!! Ha! They forgot to put the board in! So I called them and they're going to send me another one. They sounded a bit suspicious...like I'm running a racket selling Hallmarking boards. Please, like at £10 a piece I'm really going to make a killing or something...pff.

7 Jan 2009

shiny shiny

I'm gearing myself up to go into the cold and go to the post office. brrrrrrrrrrrr. The post office is a mere 5 minutes' walk, luckily. So at least I don't have to go far. Yesterday I worked on some stuff that didn't go very far - one thing didn't work as expected and another I can't finish because I don't have the right material. So today I'm going to work on a bunch of other stuff, hopefully to get me going again and get lots done in a push to get myself back up to speed.
One thing I did do over the xmas break was make a ring for myself. This ring is sort of taking over from the ring that I used to wear every single day but on the one day I didn't wear it, it was stolen. Snif. Anyway...so this is one of my regular rings, but this time in 18k gold. So although this one's for me, I now have decent photos of what this ring looks like in gold so I can offer it for people who prefer gold. Here are some photos of it:

6 Jan 2009


So it's officially a cold snap here in Britain. It's supposed to get down to minus a trillion degrees Celsius tonight. Ok, *slight* exaggeration, but it might just be the coldest I've felt here. Thus the plan for today is to stay inside. Any venturing outside is probably a bad idea. Argh! Just remembered that I need to go to the post office. Perhaps that can wait until tomorrow. Hmmm...
I'm applying to two more craft fairs, both in Farnham, and need to send the applications. One is Gift and the other is the Festival of Crafts. I have realised that these craft fairs require not a covering letter, but rather an "artist's statement". Yesterday I was struggling with writing one - I want it to give an idea of what I make and what my style is, but I don't want it to sound like every other artist's statement. I think it's ok now, but I think I may pester my marketing friends and see what they think. It's hard to write something about yourself without thinking it's pretentious or lame or boring or whatever. I looked at heaps of artist's statements on the internet and some are too long, some are not very interesting, and some are ok. It's always going to be better just to look at a photo of the work. Ah well, anyway...I'm now going to try to finish this statement and maybe, just maybe, I'll post it here and see what you think.

5 Jan 2009

welcome 2009

Happy new year to everyone!! I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday and enjoyed themselves!
It is cold, cold, cold and I just looked out the window and it's snowing!!! I had a lovely break and am all ready to go for the new year. It's 2009 - in September, Dougs & I will have been together for a decade already! wah, time flies!!!!
I made some jewellery during the break, of course. One of the things I made was a pendant for my mum. It's made with a piece of mangosteen - that's a tropical fruit and happens to be my mom's favorite. She cut off the top of it and flattened & dried it. I made a silver pendant to hold the piece of mangosteen. Instead of gluing the piece into the pendant or using bezel, I made some rivets to hold it in place. Here's a photo: