Friday, 28 September 2012

An apology and a little present!

I have been running a giveaway over on FB this week, and yesterday I discovered that the way I was running it was in breach of their rules, and so I can't pick a winner. I'm very, very sorry - all those kind people sharing it and now they are not in the hat after all.

So, by way of a little thank you, I'm offering 20% anything in my online shop this weekend only! You can find it here...

Happy shopping!

Monday, 3 September 2012

The occasional surprise

Today, among several other more common names, I've been working on this one. I've probably done half a dozen men's names in the last year, plus another dozen that could could be either (Alex, Harry, George). Anyway this one got me thinking... Are they for men? I'd assumed they were for new mums - the names of their babies. But maybe not? Hmmmm....

Friday, 31 August 2012

And the winner is...

Well the winners are, to be more precise! You'll have to look at my FB page to get the full list, click here, but the first name out of the hat was Kirsty Elson, whose work I love, love, love! Have a look at her work here. But to avoid cries of FIX, I decided to pull another name out of the hat. So have a look at the lucky winners - remember there's a further 10 people who've got a whopping 31% discount from my online shop..... it could be you!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Not long now....

Don't forget to enter the giveaway - only a few days before I draw the names out of a hat. Feel free to share if you're feeling generous!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

It's giveaway time again!

To celebrate reaching 500 likes over on my FB page, I'm giving a way a pair of wild roses stud earrings to one lucky winner, and a further 10 people will receive a unique discount code to use in my online shop. The draw will be on the Friday 31st of August, so a 31% discount seems in order!

All you have to do is leave a brief comment below, or one over on my FB page.

Feel free to share because if I'm feeling extra generous, I may just make two lucky people out of the hat!

Good luck!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Just three more to go...

Would be great to start next week, when I'm back form my damp Welsh holiday, with a competition! Just three more FB likes needed - go on, tell a friend!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Almost there...

Just 10 away from having 500 likes on FB so planning a little competition... watch this space to find out how to win a pair of my roses earrings. And if you've not liked my page over on FB yet, you can do it  here and help me reach the half century even sooner! 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

An oldy but a goody!

A couple of weeks ago I had an order for one of my old favourites - this cuff that I've always called my Diva cuff as she's such a showy piece! I thought I'd photograph the silver sheet as it gradually became a cuff, so here's the result...

This shows the silver with the tracing paper drawing stuck on to the sheet of silver. I have textured the silver beforehand.
I've drilled holes in the areas to be cut out so that I can get the blade of my saw into the area. Then I cut out each piece starting at one end and working my way along the length of the silver.
All the 'holes' have now been pierced out.

Then I saw around the outside.
This is the silver with the tracing paper removed, and then I file every nook and cranny, inside and out to remove any saw marks and to soften all sharp edges.

Once all the filing is done I shape the length of silver around a steel mandrel, gently hitting it with a hammer made from leather to prevent it marking the silver. 

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Landscape Magazine

Well, I have been unbelievably lazy when it comes to blogging. Utterly useless. Still, I have been busy on lots of fronts. The most exciting is the article in Landscape Magazine that came out last week -  here's a picture of the cover, though I do apologise for the quality...

Much more sensible to see it clearly on their website - click here to do that. I've no idea if it has generated any sales, but I have been madly busy with online sales generally, and what with half-term and a virus I just can't shake the last two months have been pretty full on.

I've also had my website redesigned (by a company called netspin in Bristol) who have been a joy to work with - professional, speedy and understanding what I wanted. Have a look - it's not much changed visually, but in terms of how it works, it's leagues ahead of my old one! Click here to have a look.

Meanwhile, at home I'm desperate to get crafty again, and have signed up a sewing course with a friend who runs classes for sewing dunces like myself. Here name is Grace and she has been highly recommended to me by people she's helped, so now it's my turn! I went on a research trip (!) to John Lewis yesterday and managed not to buy a sewing machine. My wise and sensible friend Vic persuaded me to come back after our lesson and buy then. What I'm desperate to do is quilting - have always loved it, and one of my wonderful customers Ann writes a fascinating and inspiring blog that has urged me on. She's also written very kindly about me, but it's her quilting blogging that gets me excited.

So finally here's a picture of the fun my daughter and I had this weekend making something crafty! Going to be strung together in a long line, with beads or ribbon between them, and a bell on the end (thanks to my lovely friend, colleague and another inspiration) Kate Tarling!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Oooooh! Guess who's going to be in a magazine!

This is a picture of the very lovely Tom Bailey who came to take photos of em and my work, and me at work, in fig yesterday for Landscape magazine. They are doing a profile on me in the next issue which comes out in the middle of June - hooray!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

and the winner is....

Huge thanks to everyone who entered my competition, and for the lovely messages! Very much appreciated. So here goes.

My fabulous assistant Ruby picks out a name...

She tries to read my writing.....

And the winner is Nikki! Congratulations!

Thanks again - one week ago I had 300 likes and today I'm up to 382, so thank you all for your help. And as it's gone so well, I will be doing it again very soon.... keep your eyes peeled!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Not long now....

Just 24 hours to go until I draw a name out of the hat. Don't forget to enter if you haven't already.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

giveaway time again!

I reached 300 likes on my facebook page very recently, so in the spirit of spring time generosity, I'm giving away another pair of earrings. These little daisy studs have been popular for some time now, so this time next week, Sunday afternoon, I will pick a name out of the hat and a pair of them will be winging their way to the lucky name.

To enter, simply leave a brief comment below and then hold your breath! If you want to like my FB page too, then do! Good luck!

Friday, 24 February 2012

A steep learning curve....

It's been on of those weeks! I've been contemplating, sketching and generally tiddling about with a commission from one of my favourite customers for a few months now, on and off of course. Harriet, my old tutor, suggested I try a technique called Keum-boo, which is Korean, and is a method of attaching pure gold leaf to silver. It's a strangely simple technique, but there are lots of individual steps, and missing one, or not doing it properly can result in a complete failure. Also, it is really difficult to find out much beyond the absolute basics of the process, and by the end of day one I had at least a dozen questions that weren't being answered by the few pages I'd found in my extensive collection of jewellery technique books. And more than a few unsuccessful attempts...

Luckily I have a friend who I was at college with, who was on hand to have her brain picked. And there's YouTube! Between the two of them, Day Two was rather more successful.

My customer came in today to take a peak at the testers and all systems are go for the final cuff. Gulp. One large hunk of silver, and only a few skinny test pieces to feel confident about. Double gulp. So Monday I will start again - a few more sample pieces I think for some jewellery Dutch courage and then I will have to go for it. Won't I? Sigh....

Sunday, 12 February 2012


It's all done - the pieces are made, the photos taken and the jewellery available to order on notonthehighstreet! I've got a favourite (it's the swallow) but it's the most pricey, as it's quite big, so obviously the material costs are higher. I'm hoping that some orders will come in for these, rather than for my old style name necklaces, which I'm now keen to do fewer of! But I always feel like that about new items - I'm dying to make loads of them for a short time, then I fancy something new. So, strangely it's back to the drawing board, well sketch book, and looking for a new idea. Though perhaps I'm not quite finished with tattoos....

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Step by step - making a word necklace

Recently an old friend came into see me at the shop, and was surprised to see me drawing some of the names that had been ordered as necklaces. She had assumed that that part of the 'job' was done on the computer. I was taken aback as I thought that she would somehow know that I did the whole things myself from start to finish, but then again, why should she! So below is a short step by step sequence to show how I go about making the necklaces - from pencil to tracing paper, to silver and finally to the finished piece.

This is the initial roughs and you can see I've tried two different styles of 'H' to see how best to connect it to the letter 'e'. These roughs are about 10cm wide - almost double the final necklace size.
I've settled on the H and e style and have worked up the thickness of the letters, and drawn in the circles above the first and last letters where the chain will connect.

Then I trace over the pencil on to tracing paper with a very thin and scratchy pen, so that I have a single, clear outline.
Here I have reduced the word on the photocopier to about 60% of it's original size, and traced over it again. It's at this point that I reconsider all the areas that connect letters to each other as these are the weak points. I might thicken up these parts. 

With double-sided tape, I attach the traced name to the sheet silver, which I have previously put through my rolling mill to get the texture and pattern on the silver. Then I drill holes in the small parts that need piercing out - the centre of the e's and a. I also drill holes in the connector circles.

You can see here that I've put the blade of my saw through a hole so that I can cut out the centre of the letter.

A view of more of the saw through the silver (and a little of my messy desk!). This is  rather a large saw for such a  fiddly job, and I'm not entirely sure why I had chosen this one!
Once the centres are cut out, I go around the outside, again being careful of the areas where letters connect, and sometimes increasing these parts further. Then I remove the tracing paper and clean off any sticky residue. I often rub the surfaces to get rid of any really sharp edges.

I file all the edges inside and out, mainly using watchmakers files, or escapement files to give them their proper title, and attach the chain using oval jump rings. I add a clasp and ring to the end of the chains, and solder all the open jump rings. Then it's into the pickle to clean off the blackening that occurs when you solder, and then into the polisher. Ta-dah!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sometimes I just LOVE Monday's!

When I've got a new idea on the go, there's nothing better than a Monday morning to start it. Though, technically I didn't get going until the afternoon, as I had a couple of things that had to be done first so that they are ready for the post. But by the end of play (3.15pm on a Monday) I had made the first three of my new tattoo er... range? Collection? I need the collective noun for tattoos. A team of tattoos? I've looked it up - there isn't one. I feel a facebook post coming on.

Anyway, this weekend was spent drawing and sketching an idea that has been lurking around the periphery of my imagination for sometime. Tattoos - mainly those created by Sailor Jerry - have long been  something that has interested me, though I would never have one done to myself! But those vintage style, 1950's ones, I just love the imagery and simple shapes. So here are some early sketches....

And then some more worked up drawings...

 And finally, today's pieces, pierced and ready for filing tomorrow!

Also today, my interview with Folksy appeared here in Frankly magazine, and tomorrow (all things crossed and breath held) one of my name necklaces should appear in Heat magazine! Oooooo - I do hope it is in there - I've always wanted to appear in it's pages (preferably on the arm of Jonny Depp or David Tennant, but I'm that fussy) so I'm really, really excited (though very quietly, just in case).

Sunday, 29 January 2012

PR or not to PR

Have been musing recently on whether I should try to find someone to do some PR for me. I'm not exactly a consistent blogger, facebooker or tweeter, so the likelyhood of approaching magazines, websites etc and trying to get a mention, small feature etc is so unlikely. But I know I should. So the obvious answer is a PR person isn't it? One who would do small amounts of work here and there, so probably freelance, but in the right field (fashion/crafts/accesories) right? Great idea, but where to start.

Meanwhile, without lifting a finger, I've got some work in Red Direct March issue, out on the 1st of Feb, it's also looking promising for Heat Magazine on the 7th of Feb (another name necklace, naturally!) and now an interview (don't know pub date yet) wtih Frankly, Folksy's online magazine. So all this with no PR person.... should I let things rumble along with the hope that other publications will pick up the phone, or a PR person to keep the ball rolling? Hmmmmm....

Any thoughts on the matter gratefully received!