29 Sept 2009

brief update

Just a quick one 'cause I have lots I want to get done today! This morning I passed my driving theory test, hurrah! I'm so relieved. So, now on to the harder part - driving lessons. I haven't booked anything yet, so I should get looking.
I'm drooling over the hand engraving course being offered by the Hand Engraver's Association. I think I will try to do it in the spring, when they will hopefully be running it again. It's a wee bit too much to do the course now (well, it starts in November) because it's the busiest time of the year.

28 Sept 2009

bump bump

I thought, I must post something because I must bump that annoying photo of the cheery chef lady further down the page! Ha! Well, I did make the 13 course meal (6 were actually cooked, the rest were more bought or just assembled) and it was enjoyed, so that all ended well! Today I am sorting out lots of bits & bobs. Yesterday I sorted out a package and thought about what I'm doing this week. It's a busy week, I have lots of jewellery to make plus lesson tomorrow and various social engagements. Also, tomorrow I have my theory test for a driving license! Wish me luck - I really, really, REALLY want to pass in one go. Oh please please let me pass straight away! First of all because it would cost me money to fail and second of all because it would be a tad embarrassing to fail the theory bit! Yesterday was full of quizzing about pelican crossing, motorcycles, lights, lines, lanes, etc. I hope I pass! It's going to be soooo useful once I can actually drive and we get a car - I will be able to get to more galleries, not need to hire cars for craft fairs, etc etc. So, I'll hopefully have some good news tomorrow!

25 Sept 2009

oh boy...

See this lady? I don't feel that way about cooking. Cooking is alright every now and again, but I find it rather boring and I'm better at chatting to the cook and setting the table and things like that. Anyway, so it's a novel situation today because I have promised to make my husband a 13 course meal!!!!! That's 13 very small courses. Very small. There will be some weird things, some hopefully tasty things, and some things that I buy ready-made....because there's no way I can cook 13 different things for one meal. Well, I could, but it would take forever! ha! So, that's my story today. Tomorrow I'll be working on my lesson plans for South Hill Park. Oh yes and today I'll put some more earrings on Etsy/Folksy from the Lingerie & Lace collection. I was going to put a photo here, but I just realised I've never taken any photos of these earrings...so I'll add that later....

24 Sept 2009


I nearly typed, oh it's Friday...but of course it's not, yet! So in an unexpected turn of events, I will be teaching one of the jewellery/silversmithing courses at South Hill Park arts centre starting next week! So, preparations are underway and induction was yesterday. South Hill Park is a lovely arts centre with a grand old building. I say grand old building because it looks like it's old, but I don't actually know the history of the building. I guess I'm going to find out more about it! Yesterday Bev and I were introduced to most of the staff there and they all seem really nice and friendly. I think it's going to be a very pleasant place to work! Bev is also a jeweller and will also be teaching. The current artist in residence, Ciara Lennon, will also be teaching. So there are three of us. I already knew Ciara and Bev from the Berkshire Designer Jewellers group. Incidentally, our current secretary is moving so I've become the secretary of the group. So, I'm busy busy!! Being busy is good for me, I actually get more done when I'm busy. So, that's the update!

22 Sept 2009


As the culmination of months and months of work and planning, I've started adding pieces from my Lingerie & Lace collection to Etsy and Folksy. This collection of tactile silver jewellery is inspired by and handmade with imprints of luxurious lingerie. Each piece is unique – only yours.
Below are some photos of the pieces already up on the sites. I'll be adding more (including another type of ring, small earrings, tie clip and bracelets) throughout the month. Each piece comes out slightly differently, showing a different part or type of lace. It's a great collection for weddings, since the pieces can be 'matching' for men and women, but not the same, so it's not too matchy-matchy, if you know what I mean. Anyway....have a look and maybe let me know what you think?

21 Sept 2009


good morning....it's Monday again, hurrah. Ok, it's not too bad. It's sunny (sort of) and there's a lot to do this week. In the meantime, here's a photo of part of my perfume bottle collection. I really like small perfume bottles and over the years I've received rather a lot of bottles. Word got 'round that I like these teeny tiny over-designed bottles and my grandmother and her friends found out, which meant lots of donations to my collection! I think over the years I may have purchased a bottle or two, perhaps a total of five. All the others are empty bottle donations or gifts. So I have rather a lot...I think this photo shows about half of the collection. I like the way so much thought and effort has gone into the designs and how they look (in my opinion) so much better in miniature. I keep thinking that I ought to trim down the collection, perhaps only keep the small bottles (not vials) and get rid of all the duplicates. But thus far all I've managed to do is put the large bottles in a cardboard box for storage. I'll sort it out some day....in the meantime, I like looking at the mini bottles :-)

17 Sept 2009


This week is flying by faster than you can say September. I can hardly believe it's Thursday already! I sent out my newsletter on Tuesday. Of course I tested it and tested it and all was well. Then I sent it out and the main picture didn't show up! Argh! So I had to send another one after it with the photo...oh dear. Well, lesson learnt and next time I'll attach the photo with super glue...ha! Of course, the craft fairs draw ever closer, so preparation continues. I've also added a page on my website about commissions. Hopefully today I'll add a page about my latest collection. And hopefully today I'll also add a new pair of cuff links to Etsy & Folksy. I'm not sure what to do about Coriandr. I get the feeling that site isn't doing that well. For starters I can't find any sellers on there that have had more than a handful of sales. Also I had a pair of earrings on the main page and the views didn't even increase, which makes me wonder who is looking at the front page! I think it might be better to focus on the sites I know are working - Etsy and Folksy. For now I'll keep the Coriandr shop open, but maybe not for much longer, unless there's a change! What else...I'm still working on a tricky commission that involves lots of stones. I'm hoping to finish the first version of that ring today. It's been a busy week and I have some big-ish news as well, but I want to be 100% sure about it before posting, so that'll have to wait until next week!

ps. if you're in or near Reading, something different to do this Sunday in town:

14 Sept 2009


So some of you may recall I have several items of my jewellery available at Slough Museum. Alas, alack, the curator at Slough is moving on to bigger and better things. She has an amazing opportunity which sounds fantastic. I think she's going to do great, she has great enthusiasm for art, history and is just a really nice person and easy to work with. In any case, she's moving on and new curator has not yet been appointed. Thus I am collecting my pieces at the end of this week until a new course of action has been decided there.
This weekend we inched a bit closer to finishing the backdrop for my show at Crowthorne. It's nearly finished! hurrah! Just a few more bolts and bit of paint and it should be sorted. Speaking of the fabulous show at Crowthorne (30 Oct-1 Nov) - the normal entry fee for adults is £4 but I have in my possession several discount vouchers for £2 off. So if you'd like to go, please just drop me a line with your address and I'll send you the discount voucher! Also, I have a few FREE entry tickets for the show at the Festival of Crafts at Farnham (17-18 October) - again, simply drop me your address and I'll post one out to you!
(my email is machi at magpienest.co.uk)

11 Sept 2009

busy again...

Just a quick post today. I sent off a big box of many items to get hallmarked yesterday. That means that soon I'll be putting up a lot of new things on the various websites! This month, definitely. I wanted to send out a newsletter this week, but I was just too busy so it's going to be next week instead. So, lots of new things coming up... Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

10 Sept 2009


Here are some photos of a pendant commission. It's with a flower lace imprint and has a gallery through the middle to make it more delicate.

8 Sept 2009


Before I fall asleep at night I think about jewellery. I either go over the design and building of a new piece I'm working on, or I think about new designs. I find it useful to turn the design over and over in my head, mentally building it so I can spot potential difficulties before I actually sit down at my bench. Last night I was thinking about these earrings, of which I've only made one pair. They have sold now, so I was thinking about making some more and creating a necklace, bracelet and smaller earrings to go with them. I will get around to that this year, I hope, but I have a lot to do still with existing collections! I need to make sure I have enough for the craft fairs and I need to replace a whole bunch of different items that have now sold out. I might manage to sneak in a small version of these earrings and put them on Etsy to see if they go down well, though :-) So, it's going to get busier and busier until Christmas!

ps. I'm posting some new earrings on Etsy today - new design and texture!

7 Sept 2009

ruby pendant

I had a commission to put a ruby in a small, silver pendant in the shape of a teardrop. I've finished it and here are the photos:

5 Sept 2009

to continue a theme

And while I was on the subject of cats, my friend has a super cute cat too. He's called Maurice and right now he's a cat teenager so when I do see him, he tries to bite me. But when he was a kitten, he was still all sweetness and light. Here's a photo of little Maurice when he was but a young wee kitten (click on the photo to get a super close up of Maurice cuteness):

4 Sept 2009


I really, really like cats and when I was little, we had a cat at home. When we got Pepe, I was allowed to name him because I was very upset about our old cat (who was called Gnoes) passing away. So, having just seen the Romero brothers (classical Spanish guitar), I named our new kitten Pepe. Full name Pepe Romero. Ha!! I think it took about, oh, say approximately one nanosecond for Pepe to be converted to Peppy. He is peppy, and he's very cute. He's a very relaxed cat and he's still going strong. He's now 20 years old and still chilling out in Houston. He's about to move in with my sister in California. Anyway, basically this is just an excuse for me to post some photos of Pepe (aka Peppy). For your viewing pleasure:

3 Sept 2009

nearly the weekend?! wot?!

Ack, this week is flying by! And I still have so much to do! Could it have anything to do with my dear husband having yesterday off? No, no, nevermind that I did no work whatsoever yesterday. Oh, wait, I did post an Etsy purchase package. But that's all I did. So now I am feeling a slight rising panic about when I am going to get everything done. But I have a plan of attack and I'm going to have a very productive weekend getting lots of things done, so next week will be all shiny and new and I'll be ready! Hopefully this weekend I'm going to be building the backdrop frame for the Craft in Focus show at the end of October. That's the only show that requires me to bring a backdrop, so it's a lot of extra work. It would be fabulous to get that done this weekend so it's ready to go and I won't have to worry about doing it too close to the show. So hopefully that'll happen. Plus I had the genius idea of sorting out the garden by ordering 200 flower bulbs. Yes, it was a special offer, a mere 5 quid for 200 bulbs!! But of course now I have to plant them all....and do the weeding first so there's even room to plant them. So, it's going to be a busy weekend.....with hopefully the reward next spring of a ton of lovely flowers....maybe something like this:

1 Sept 2009

Monday...oh, wait, no it's not

So today is September 1st - which means I've been in the UK for TEN years! A whole decade! I'm now officially schooled in the art of pints, bangers and mash, music festivals, London trips, Guy Fawkes day, bank holidays, rubbish trains, good trains, rain, understatement, etc etc etc. It's been a mad, mad ten years. Well, here's to the next ten years, then! And for Lina, here's a photo of the moo cards :-)