27 Feb 2009

excitement in jewellery land

Well, the bloke didn't call me back because he got the number wrong, so I called him and hey ho, I have the sticks already!! Haven't tried them out yet but they look good!
In other news....it's sunny. That's pretty amazing. I'm starting to feel like I am emerging from the gloom! I think all those months of darkness were getting me down, because just a wee bit of sun is making me feel lots better!! Actually I quite like the darkness in about October, November time because at first it feels cosy and christmas-like. But by February it's just gloomy. So, the days are getting longer and so hopefully we'll have a nice spring!!
Tomorrow I'm off to a masterclass with the Berkshire Designer Jewellers. I'm very excited about it - a super guru jeweller has a list of questions from us and is going to show us some tips and things to sort out those little niggles. I'm looking forward to it!
What else...one of my cousins has had a daughter so now my gran has more great-grandchildren than she can shake a stick at! I think there are 10 or 12 now...something like that.
Ok, people, I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! And here's a photo for you of the front of a postcard that I'm having printed. Or not. I just tried it and the colours turned out all funky on blogger...hm. Well, suffice to say that I will have postcards soon....and I'll see if I can sort out the image and post it...

26 Feb 2009

polishing sticks and things

Polishing sticks are little fiberglass sticks that are useful for getting into small areas to polish them - for things like this ring, the part around the gold ball:When I last went to the jewellery quarter to get some supplies, none of the suppliers had these sticks. So I was asking around and it turns out that one of the suppliers has them - either they just didn't have any the day I asked, or they've reintroduced them. I haven't used their website in ages because it wasn't that great. So I looked on their site and it seems to have gotten a makeover, which is good, but when I did the order for these sticks, at the last minute it failed. After I had put in my details, the site froze and I got a 'can't connect to network' type message. Sigh. So I phoned and now the sales dude is supposed to be calling me back....I certainly hope he will. I never like it when a 5 minute job takes ages to sort out! At least if he calls back, then it'll all be sorted....no call yet though. Sigh.
In other, more exciting news, I'm working on a custom engagement ring!! Right now it's in the design stage - it's a commission so the people involved are thinking about what they want, the design and the look and the stones and all that and I'm thinking about feasibility! I have to make sure the design is actually possible, especially because it's a very small ring size. Anyway, always exciting to work on wedding or engagement things - feels like a privilege to be working on them!

25 Feb 2009

Projeto Gallery

The Projeto Gallery has just put up some new photos over on Flickr. On the second page you can see the shelf with my pieces on it - it has MagpieNest written in the caption! You can also see more photos of the inside of the Gallery - it's looking good!

24 Feb 2009

hi again

There's a nice blog post over at Handm@de today about the fair and how it started. You can read about it by clicking here. November seems like a loooooong way away, but I know from last year that before you know it, it'll be here and I'll have to have everything ready - jewellery, boxes, ads, display, transport plans, etc. etc. At least this year I have a better idea how long it all takes and what I need to do before hand!!
I had a sale on folksy over the weekend, which is always exciting! Now I have three commissions to finish and a pile of items to polish. Lots to do!

23 Feb 2009

Northern Ireland

We went to Northern Ireland to visit some friends over the weekend and on Saturday we walked over to Giant's Causeway, which is a weird natural rock formation. Follow the link if you want to see some photos of the Causeway...otherwise, here are some of the best photos from our walk there:

19 Feb 2009

handm@de in Oxford - accepted!

Yay! I've been accepted to Handm@de in Oxford - a craft fair held in Oxford Town Hall on the 29th of November! Fantastic! I'm really happy about that and will be emailing all my Oxford friends to spread the word...closer to the time, of course...bit early now!
You can see the website here: www.handmadecraftfairs.co.uk/upcoming-shows/oxford-291109/
But the blog is better, it will have information about all the different craftsters/artists/makers. The blog is: http://handmadeoxford.blogspot.com

18 Feb 2009

middle of the week...

So, it's the middle of the week and I'm still working on the new ring. New designs often take quite a bit of time to perfect. The first one shows me how not to make it, the second one shows me how to make it even better and hopefully the third one is the good one!! It depends how complex the design is, of course...sometimes it takes much longer to perfect a particular idea. In any case, I'm working on it and in the meantime trying to finish lots of half-made pieces. I had a pile of rings that were done but not sanded or polished so I worked on those a lot yesterday...it's a lot of repetitive motion so my fingers are a bit sore! I also nearly finished a bunch of new cuff links - they are heavyweight uber-sleek cuff links...to match this ring:photos coming as soon I've polished them!!
Incidentally, I tried the onion bhaji crisps and they are by far the best of the options, so if you like onions, try those if you get a chance! :-)

16 Feb 2009


Well, the ring photos are going to be a bit later than I expected because the ring is rather complicated to make so I'm still working on it!!
So I thought I'd just mention what loads of people seem to be talking about - walkers' new crisps! ha! Yes, there are 6 new flavours that are out now and the public is supposed to vote for the best one of those six to become a regular flavour. I think crisps and crisp flavours is a bigger thing in the UK than anywhere else I've lived...perhaps because of the special place in the national psyche of the phrase '2 pints and a packet of crisps'??? In any case, the six flavours are (all vegetarian, by the way, despite the names!):
1. cajun squirrel (a cajun flavour, not bad, bit like paprika crisps)
2. onion bhaji (haven't had this one yet)
3. builder's breakfast (ok but reminded me too much of buttered toast and I can't stand butter)
4. hoisin duck (not bad, the taste was a bit too mild though)
5. chocolate and chili (yech...I didn't like this one! not much chocolate flavour though)
6. fish & chips (the shop we were in had tried all the flavours and didn't have this one for sale because they had tried it and reckoned it was disgusting! so haven't tried this one!)

So, have any of you tried them yet? what's your favorite? I know this whole thing is unimportant, and a very good publicity exercise for walkers, but it is kinda fun...

Which new crisp flavour is your favourite??

13 Feb 2009


I'm working on a new, new range - so far I'm liking how it's going!!! New design, new technique, new look!!!!! But the first one didn't go exactly right so I'm going to make another today and then soon I shall have photos and then I will put a poll on here and see what you all think :-)
that's all for now 'cause I have to get back to my bench...but photos to follow!!

12 Feb 2009

handm@de in oxford

I'm just sending off my application today for Handm@de in Oxford, which will be held 29 November. I really hope I am accepted for this, because I know a decent amount of people in Oxford. A lot of those friends wanted to go to and asked about other events but weren't able to get to them because they were too far away. So if I can participate in this fair, it would be brilliant!! So I'll keep you posted :-)
Ok, off to check on the last bit of polishing on a secret project. I better not say anything other than that it's fun to work on a secret valentine's present :-)

11 Feb 2009


Yes, porridge. It's healthy and filling and warms you up on cold winter mornings. Especially nice with lots of currants. If you like currants, that is. Or raisins, they are fine too. If I talk to people here in the UK about eating porridge, they say - oooo yes porridge, I used to have it as a kid - with milk and cream. And I say, oooo yes I used to have it as a kid too - in little sachets that you just add boiling water to and then it had these other little sachets with some disturbingly chemical looking jam-like matter that you swirled on top to add a bit of sugary goodness. Ha! So - English childhood porridge = milk and cream and a saucepan. US childhood porridge = instant porridge out of sachets with gooey sugar stuff. I'm amazed my parents let me eat that weird gooey stuff that came with it.....although maybe they noticed because I only remember having that porridge for a short while. Mostly I had cornflakes. I still make the porridge with water though. Sounds like it would be gross, but it's not. Really! So there you have it, a totally random story for this freezing cold Wednesday.

10 Feb 2009


Are any of you also on LinkedIn? I've updated and expanded my profile there - so if you want to connect with me on LinkedIn just click here.
I'm also thinking of making a facebook 'fan' page but I'll have to look into it a bit more to see if it's worth it.
I had a nice weekend in Holland - saw my cousin+wife and my grandmother. My gran was in good form and we had a good chat about all kinds of things. It was snowing on and off there and it's still cooooooooold here too. Roll on the spring, I say!!

5 Feb 2009

white stuff and good news!

And we have more of the white stuff!! My mini garden gnome is snowed under, as you can see. Well, there are actually two and one is hidden under the snow and the other is the one you can see in the photo. I got these brilliant mini gnomes from my friend bob - who just got brilliant news! His gf has just received the news that her visa application to come to the UK has been accepted!! HURRAH!!

4 Feb 2009


His full first names are Pepe Romero, but my mom insists on calling him Peppy. Here he is:

3 Feb 2009

more snow

It's snowing again....and apparently it's supposed to keep snowing lightly all week. I don't think we're going to get packs of snow here, like there were in parts of London. It looks nice, but it's so cold and I'm getting tired of all the cold weather. Winter is fine but by February I'm already looking forward to spring and warm days. Last spring, on one of the first nice sunny days, we went over to Wargrave and sat on their huge patio next to the Thames and lazily watched the rowboats go by. That was a good way to spend an afternoon. The pub has a website, www.stgeorgeanddragon.co.uk, but sadly the website does not have a good photo of their fabulous patio/outdoor seating area. Well, in case you're ever around Wargrave on a warm, sunny day...now you know where to go.

2 Feb 2009


Snow! Lots of it! Well, as much as I can remember getting here before....