30 Mar 2009

hee hee

Oh so funny...my parents live in Japan and my dad delights in forwarding me emails from his Japanese colleagues. They are usually in Japanese and then in English at the bottom. Well, sort of English! It's pretty hilarious, the English is quite good but still pretty muddled. I used to teach English and my Japanese students often had brilliant vocabularies. They knew all these lovely long words, but really had no idea how to use them. Cue lots of "word salad" essays. Lots of lovely words, just randomly strung together. Ha! I think I'm allowed to laugh because I've been on the other side, making a mess of other languages. One of the emails my dad got at work said something like "Please accept my apologies for your errors!" hahahaha! oh...funny!
Anyway...it's Monday again and I'm sorting out lots of little jewellery-related things including getting prepared for the Norden Farm show. I need to polish the pieces that I'm putting in the show and have an appropriate amount of boxes ready, as well as the price list. I think I'm fairly prepared except that I wanted to put in my gold ball collection, but only the bangles are hallmarked. So I'll have to see what I do about that!

27 Mar 2009

my super talented sister

Just look at this amazing shawl my sister made!! I'm totally bowled over by it - so intricate and pretty and lovely and other nice adjectives!! I just wanted to share because this is very impressive:

26 Mar 2009

Handm@de craft fairs

As I mentioned before, I'm going to be at the Handm@de craft fair in Oxford. There are another two - one in Cambridge (4 April) and another in Winchester (5 July). I've sent a whole pile of snazzy postcards to be put into the goody bags. Oh yes, that's right, if you go, not only do you get to peruse a wide selection of amazing crafts, but you also get a goody bag (while supplies last, so probably the first couple hundred people or so). You can see my postcard here. Plus you can see all kinds of crafts and interesting new items on the Handm@de flickr group - and here you can also see all kinds of other items which are going into the goody bags!

25 Mar 2009

arty farty-ness

I had a very pleasant evening yesterday at the Slough Museum. The museum is doing an admirable job of showing and promoting local Berkshire area art to the community. Yesterday evening was a talk about Idea Bank 2009 - an art exhibit of paintings (mostly) of artists from the Berkshire area. The artists who were there did a short (about 5 minutes) talk each about their art, how they make it, what it means to them and also what it means to them to be artists in this area. It was, I must say, better than I expected and quite interesting. There's a bit of a blurb up on the Slough Museum website here: http://www.sloughmuseum.co.uk/exhibitions.htm and I believe the talks are going to be transcribed so will also be up on the website at some point.
While I was there, I also dropped off some more jewellery - namely some items which are now on sale. I've put these items for sale because I'm moving on to making different collections and am doing a sort of spring clean of older designs which I probably won't be repeating. So, for your chance to get these items at a very low price, get ye down to Slough Museum (it's on the High Street in Slough, very easy to get to!) These are the items that are on sale there (the bottom ring is available with a green, blue or yellow stone):

24 Mar 2009

first newsletter

Yesterday I sent out MagpieNest's first newsletter! Woo hoo! It was kind of exciting but kind of annoying because I think that the ones sent to hotmail addresses didn't reach their destinations. I'm not sure, but I think they didn't. I'll figure out something around that at some point, though. I think emails to hotmail addresses just need to be sent individually, which can be done. If you didn't get a newsletter but would like one, please sign up here: www.magpienest.co.uk/newsletter.html
Now it's time to get prepared for the exhibit at Norden Farm! I need to get 20 pieces together to display there. That won't be hard, it's just a case of deciding which pieces!
Tonight I'm going to an artist's talk over at the Slough Museum. I'm looking forward to hearing it and seeing some local artwork. I believe it's the last evening of the art exhibit there. I'll let you know all about it tomorrow....

23 Mar 2009

Monday blues

Well, it's Monday again and the start of another week. It's weird how fast the days fly by...
Ehm, the weekend went by way too fast and so now I'm just going to say - here are some bangle photos.

20 Mar 2009

Tomorrow, tomorrow is only a day away

Hm, what's that line from?? I think it may be from Annie, the musical. Oh dear, that gives away my age/country of upbringing, doesn't it?!?! How was that ever popular? Oh wells. That reminds me, oddly, of something else 80s. I think pretty much only my sister will remember that cartoon called "Fat Albert". Ha, that was brilliant...I wonder if there are clips of it on the internet somewhere. Fat Albert, now there's a character that should be brought back. Let's see if I can find a picture of him.... oh! Amazing - there are clips online and here's a picture of Fat Albert and his gang:
ANYWAY....so instead of writing this, I should be getting ready for tomorrow, for Tomorrow is my first fair of the year: the Spring Fair at Kendrick School in Reading. It's open from 2-5pm and is in town so hopefully the nice weather will entice loads of people to attend!! It'll be good for me to have a show - a bit of warming up for the year!! Plus I have lots of new things, so it's good to see reactions to new designs and see if I need to tweak them or make different sizes. I'm curious to see how many people are interested in bangles - I've showed lots of friends and there is definitely an interest in bangles - especially since I can customise the size. I never bought bangles myself because I have weirdly skinny wrists so the bangles, although I like them, were always too big. So now I can make just the right size - for me and for any customers as well!
Right, I should go polish and pack now!!

19 Mar 2009

New Items on my website!!

After some hard work, I have managed to make a couple of big updates on my website:

- a page for new items: www.magpienest.co.uk/new.html
- a page for bracelets and bangles: www.magpienest.co.uk/bracelets.html
- and I've added loads of new items, which you can see on the new item pages or just on the item
and collection pages!
- I've made loads of small improvements, which I won't list here in detail but it should make the overall look of the website more uniform. I've also removed some old items which were sold!

Please let me know what you think!!!

16 Mar 2009

Norden Farm Exhibition

Here's the poster for the exhibition at Norden Farm of the Berkshire Designer Jewellers: (click on it to see it larger!)

13 Mar 2009

Private view at Norden Farm

The Berkshire Designer Jewellers, of which I am a member, are having an exhibition at Norden Farm in Maidenhead. We are having a private view on Thursday, 9 April from 6-8pm. If you are interested in attending, please email me!! It would be great to see you there!!
The show is on from 7 - 15 April, so even if you can't make it for the private view, you can go on a day that's more convenient :-)

In other news, one of the jewellers in the group can fix drill bits. So if you're a jeweller somewhere near here, and need to have your broken drill bits rehabilitated, I have a contact for you :-) Hey, might as well mention it, in case someone out there needs just that!!
It's Friday already! Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

12 Mar 2009

matching cuff links

A while ago I mentioned that I was making matching cuff links for my notch ring. Here they are - they are heavyweight with a satin finish and of course a notch:

10 Mar 2009


Yay - I'm on a blog post over on the Handm@de blog - check it out: http://handmadeoxford.blogspot.com
In the post, I mention my mom a little bit - that she's an artist. She's also very good at interior design. At the moment, my mom is in Japan and one of her Japanese friends also writes an interior design blog. I think she also works freelance as an interior design writer, but I'm not sure because the site is all in kanji (Japanese) so I can't read it - too bad! But anyway, so Yuri has written a post about my mom's latest wall decoration - which is folded cranes out of washi paper and other types of paper like newspaper. Washi paper is Japanese handmade paper, which I also use in some of my jewellery. You can see a photo of the cranes on the wall over on Yuri's blog, even if you can't read it: http://artsliving.exblog.jp
Interestingly enough, a couple of weeks ago the Guardian came with a fashion magazine supplement and in one of the photos they used the same sort of idea - they had folded butterflies across a wall!!

9 Mar 2009

Jewellery show in December

So I am going to do that jewellery show in a mansion that I mentioned previously! It's at Wrest Park in a mansion which I believe is run by English Heritage. It's huge and looks very interesting and lovely - a great setting for a jewellery show just before Christmas! Apparently the house has just been all done up, so it will be looking amazing! The show I'm participating in is a long way off - 5 and 6 December. But no harm in checking out the website now!! :-) Ooh in fact I just saw MagpieNest is already on the page - on the right hand side!
I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend - the highlight for me was a trip on the Real Ale Train - a fabulous 1940s steam train with wooden interior and lots of happy people drinking real ale and hanging out the windows to see the steam! It was fun and friendly!

5 Mar 2009

the price of chips

Ok, not really the price of chips - the price of gold. The price of gold is now sky high...it goes up as the economy goes down. Confidence in the stock market goes down equals confidence in precious metals goes up. Which is lovely for anyone who has invested in gold! But it's not so lovely if I want to make some jewellery out of gold. It means that the end retail price ends up being very high at the time that consumers are cutting back, spending less, etc. Hm. So, that means I will have to try harder to re-use the gold I have. My grandmother kindly rounded up bits of broken jewellery and then roped in all her buddies to do the same, so I have a teeny stash of gold that I can use. However, it's scrap, so I need to get it into the right shape (wire, sheet, etc) which means that the cost increases anyway because of the amount of time I have to spend on it! Hmmmm....
Anyway...I got my fabulous promo postcards yesterday. They do look good!! So those are being sent off to Handm@de today!!
Right, I have heaps to do today, so I better stop writing now...!!

3 Mar 2009

newsletter and cute stickers

I've added a "join my newsletter" option to my website! Want to know where and when MagpieNest will be - just sign up for my newsletter! I'm not going to be sending out many newsletters, I doubt it will be more than 6 a year. I think that's better because I know what I do with newsletters that I have signed up for - the ones that arrive infrequently I usually have at least a brief look. The newsletters that arrive every other day, I usually just delete them!! I can't read that many things every day, and anyway if they arrive that often, then how can they really have that much new information!?! Anyway, so please sign up for my infrequent and informative newsletter! :-)
In totally unrelated other news, my mom sent me a bunch of super cute Japanese stickers (probably made in China, but oh well) with animals! They are super cute! I love these little stickers...when I went to Japan I got some and when I was in Singapore I also went to a Japanese shop and got some more. You can never have too many cute little stickers! Ok, maybe you can, but I just love these teeny tiny random stickers. I have a sort of mini collection now. Here are some photos, with the newest ones first (note the usual Japanese funny English - Kira Coat Seal...??!!)

2 Mar 2009

masterclass and a craft fair in a mansion

As part of the Berkshire Designer Jewellers, I had a masterclass on Saturday which focused on problem solving. It was fascinating and informative - definitely a great experience just to hear what a master jeweller has to say about the common technical problems facing jewellers working with silver and gold. There's always more to be learned and I picked up a few very useful tidbits, which will hopefully save me time in the future!
I also got an email over the weekend from another craft fair - this one in December and it looks beautiful. It's in a lovely mansion and I'm fairly certain I will apply this week, so I'll be passing on information about that in the future. The only reason I'm hesitating is because I spoke to someone for whom these particular craft fairs didn't work out financially, so I need to think about how I'll get there and how to cut some costs. Either way, I'll make a decision this week.
Besides that, I need to send off an order from the weekend (Etsy, hurrah!) and a box of things to be hallmarked and so on. I have about, at a guess, oh, about 4 million items on my to-do list! eek! ok, it's not really that bad, obviously, but somehow it feels that way. It's Monday and the morning has already melted away!! I'm off to plow through my to-do list now!