Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Secret Santa Present and work in progress

So I got a secret santa partner who loves silver and turquoise...great, I think, except there's a pretty strict amount of money we should spend. So, presenting Tara:

I'm sort of taking this just as a sweet stocking filler bracelet, made from stabilised turquoise and stardust beads, with silver plated fixings. The next one, I'm not entirely sure what to do with. The focal beads are by Julie Fountain, of Lush Lampwork (I think!); mixed up with coated czech glass and these gorgeous, massive jet rondelles. It's going to be finished with a decent weight silver chain, or perhaps a nice ribbon. I've got to get cracking on something to wear at the staff Christmas party, I'm thinking...peacock pearls, onyx and maybe rock crystal...

Monday, 29 November 2010

My new enterprise begins :)

My new enterprise begins...Just ordered my first resin mould and I have my eye on some casting resin...

I've got a target for getting this business off the ground. There's a show I want to exhibit at, next September. I've been there before, visiting, and I think resin jewellery would go down really well with the type of people who go there. The only downside...I've got to have enough stock to fill up 10 feet of frontage, for three days! I've got a million and one ideas, so fingers crossed I'll be able to bring this plan to fruition!

Barry is adamant that I should be exhibiting at Sandringham next year, but I'm not so sure. It's a lot of wedge to part with (over £300), and while it's well attended, the looks on the faces of the stallholders this weekend didn't make it look as if they were doing a roaring trade. People have to spend so much money to get in to the place it seems as if they don't want to spend when they get in there. Perhaps when I've got myself a reputation built up, and a good amount of stock...but until then, I'm going to focus on smaller enterprises. I'm adamant that I'll get to Clutter City, I've been longing to exhibit there for a couple of years now.

I'm hoping that this resin idea will take off, so watch this space!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Links I'm Obsessed With

This week I've mostly been looking at:

Penny Dog Jewellery - Penny Dog not only has GORGEOUS resin jewellery, but she has fab supplies too and she's one of the first helpful sites I found for creating resin jewellery. She's really original and I love reading her blog and seeing how some of her designs come together. As if all this wasn't enough, she also donates money to the retired greyhounds trust with each sale, a fantastic cause which I feel is truly worth supporting.

I Love Spoilt Pig - Earlier this year I was bought a gorgeous resin pendant from this site, which sparked a faint idea in the back of my head that I'd like to start making resin jewellery alongside the other style I enjoy...so here is my original inspiration for my next project! Spoilt Pig has the funkiest, coolest jewellery that I have ever seen, and I aspire to be able to create as well as this!

Etsy Open Studios - I long to have a studio like some of these places of gorgeousness! I've been mentally designing my studio for years, and when Barry and I got back together and started looking for houses, he promised me I would have one. Of course, now he has started silversmithing, he is intent on sharing it with me. If any jewellery maker that is reading this has a whole day that they can spend entranced with these photographs, click this link!

My new enterprise

Well, it hasn't started yet, but I'm gathering the knowledge and supplies to start making resin jewellery. It's all I think about at the moment, and I've got 101 designs floating around in my head that I can't wait to try out. I feel that this could be really good for my business; it'll be fun jewellery that makes you smile but doesn't cost a packet. I'm also intending to do more gifty things, like Christmas decorations and coasters, but we'll have to see how it goes.

I've tied all this in to my plan to lose weight; two years ago I was 12 stone, having got there from being 18 stone. I got on the scales this morning and found myself at a more than hefty weight of 15 stone 9.5 lbs. So the plan is to get with the programme and lose weight properly, none of this crash dieting rubbish. I know it'll be hard work and take a long time, but I know I'll get there eventually, and I'm quite enjoying it at the moment. So what's the tie in with resin jewellery? Every time I get a certain amount of 'good food' days, I buy myself a mould, or some new beads. That way I've always got a target in sight and I can keep myself going to do the things I really want to do. I have this annoying habit- when I can't eat, I spend; when I can't spend, I eat. This is me trying to get a handle on both my finances and my weight, so we'll see how it goes. It feels good at the moment.

I'm still beavering away at silversmithing class; currently attempting in vain to solder a bail to my setting. It's really not going very well; I thought I had it but then...clink, it's fallen off. Going to attempt it again tomorrow, this time with a more flattened edge to give the solder some more purchase. Which reminds me, I really need to pay the second installment for the course, whoops!

I'm also starting a feature on this blog...I may not have many readers, but those who do read this seem to be fellow jewellery makers...so, I'm going to start a weekly 'Links I'm Obsessed With' feature...or maybe monthly, my obsessions are pretty long lasting! These are going to be jewellery related sites that inspire me, or make me drool, or smile, or anything! I'd love some suggestions, but for starters, I'm going to put up the sites I've been looking at most in the past few weeks. The original intention of blogs was to share information about the world we live in through links and stories, so it'll be me using a blog properly for once. I hope it leads to people discovering something new, and maybe giving some very talented people some business.

Time to get started then!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Life moves along...

All I seem to write here are 'I'm Back!' posts! Okay, I'm a bad, bad blogger. But life is moving at a startling pace, and I find that when I get time to do anything not work related, I find myself asleep instead. I got through another birthday, which actually was lovely- my sister, brother-in-law, boyfriend, mother and I sat and had a massive Indian takeaway and had such a good laugh. Barry bought me two rats and a cage for my birthday; we named them Apple and Crumble and they are so gorgeous :)
I've not been making much jewellery in the grand scheme of things; I did however do a craft fair in my local village which was an unprecedented success, I made £45 after taking off the table fee. I think the fact that my display was better than it had been in previous years was a great help, and that I had a bit more courage to talk about the things I'd made helped to draw people in. I know I was undervaluing my work a lot, but it has helped to get my name out there. There were nit pickers and people that made disparaging comments, but I suppose that is to be expected, and didn't dent my confidence. I was thinking that I'd like to try helping with the organisation of the craft section next year; they took in some of my feedback and it seemed to help greatly with everyone's sales.

Craft fairs are an interesting beast; they can be both the best and worst places to sell at. This is summed up perfectly in A bedtime story for craft stall holders, which Nemea linked to on UKBeaders (w00t, linkfest). Everyone should read this! Even people who don't run stalls, you might spot yourself as one of the customers!

In other jewellery related news, Barry and myself have started a silversmithing course. We both made silver rings in the first few weeks; both of which currently adorn my left hand (what can I say, I'm a magpie!). Barry is clever and textured his, it looks very much like a wood grain effect; I left mine plain. We've now moved onto our own projects; Barry is making a ring box and I'm concentrating on stone setting. One of my classmates fuses glass and whilst I was perving over this box of pretties, he said I could have my favourite. So the one I picked became my first challenge to set. I decided to set in copper because it suited the colours in my cabochon so well (okay, and also that I was too disorganised to order the silver); the first photograph shows post soldering, midway through trimming off the excess. The soldering is very messy I know, but the tutor tells me that silver is easier, so hopefully I'll manage better on my next attempt. I also gave myself a massive bloodblister on the palm of my hand shortly after I took this photo. I'm such an amateur! It took me five failed attempts to solder this piece; the instructor started me off and I managed to do the rest by myself. I did end up feeling like I'd melted most of my face off from the heat. The second photo shows a much tidier looking version; post trimming, mid filing. I slotted the gorgeous cabochon from Simon as CS Creations - his cabs aren't on the site at the moment, but they should be! Stunningly gorgeous. Only one oversight made on my part- I haven't soldered a bail on yet. I was thinking just something simple, along the lines of a loop of copper, I've got plenty of offcuts. Will post more photos when I've been to my next class!

In other news, I'm getting ready to move in with Barry in a couple of months. We've got a gorgeous little one bedroom house in Kings Lynn and are currently saving for a house deposit. I never saw this coming seven months ago; but here it is. There was always something missing from my life after we split up last year; I could never put my finger on it until we saw each other again, as friends. All those old feelings came flooding back, so I rejigged my life so we could be together. And it worked...well, not to say that he doesn't still drives me crazy, and I don't still drive him crazy, but what couple doesn't? We know that now. And he told me that he loves me. I should have known that all along, he showed me every day, but it's amazing how much we have both changed in a year, for the better. He lets me in now, and I don't go crazy paranoid-insecure every five minutes. It works :) Anyway, enough with the emotional faff, we have work to do! Need to try to design a website, stat!

Thursday, 1 April 2010


Sweet and simple. Mindy is the name of a character in the early seasons of Boston Legal, which I was watching while making these. Apologies for the awful photo, will replace them with some nice ones if the sun ever comes out. Made these in four colourways- purple, as shown; orange, green and blue. Decided I'd try to use up some findings then do a total restock at some point (though as my wages are set to drop over the next few months, I'd better make the most of the splurge power I have now!). Update on real life will come soon. Until then.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Monday, 22 March 2010

Some new photographs and pieces

This is a far better picture of the Amelia necklace I made myself for the work Chrimble do. I was looking quite done up little black dress style so just wanted something subtle but classy- I think I went the right way here.

I've been doing lots more stud earrings; even the two pairs I gave to my sister I think I should have about 35 pairs in stock now. Quite pleased with myself really; mounting 4mm cabs it a very fiddly task and I'm pleased it's done. Well...almost done. I've ten pairs of 4mm pearl cabs to mount and I know that is going to be the trickest task so far.

This is Naomi. Made from recycled glass (the ovals) which I think is just fab and reminds me of the marbles I had as a child, yellow crackle glass and druk beads, and also the tiny orange cat's eye beads which I won in a contest many moons ago and I think help to pick out the orange in the recycled glass. My only regret is that I made it a little too long I feel- it sits quite low and I feel I would prefer it as more of a choker. However, I can see this being worn with a lovely summer dress, so I'm not going to pull it to pieces (crimping is not my forte and I hate having to redo for that reason). I'm trying to find some leetle flower beads in order to make a complementing set of earrings. Hopefully I will have some in my stash but last time I hauled it all out I got fed up and put it all back in no logical order.

In other news, yay I will get my new car tomorrow! Can't wait.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Guess what I'm doing?

Oh yes, mounting more earrings. Got some gorgeous cabs from Marquise Jewels, though I didn't realise my earring posts (surgical steel ones) had 6mm pads...damn, so I had to get some more! There's some really lush cabochons on there, so I've just suggested that they be added to the UK Beaders Directory. If you haven't visited the directory, do so! I never knew how many bead stores there were until I found this place, and the support you get on the forums is fantastic.

Anyway, back to the point...I will add some photos of some of the jewellery I've been working on later :) Until then!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Earrings Mounted

Well, these are what I was working on yesterday...there's some carnelian, some rose quartz, haematite and a lot of pretty abalone. I ordered loads more bits yesterday as I've got a bit of a penchant for creating these now, and I think they could be nice as a little non-expensive treat or as a free gift...well, if I ever get around to doing parties; I haven't got the nuts to do them at the moment! Though I do know a lovely lady I work with who does Party Lite; we've chatted about doing a combined party one day but I don't know if we'll ever get around to it!

Just updating this post...the sun has gone in, flippin typical! Did just fly into Dereham though and had a little mooch around Bead This, Craft That. It's really nice to see a mixed craft store not getting the jewellery department gradually (or rapidly, sometimes) taken over by cardmaking and scrapbooking stuff. In fact....I do think the beads may be taking over! Anyway, I got some goodies and skipped off back home (after setting the world to rights with the wonderful shop staff of course).

Not only have I finally taken a few pictures of the set I've been babbling about; I made another couple of pairs of stud earrings. These ones are a bit more...bling? Kitsch? Kitsch is probably the right word and I got the idea from a suggestion in a magazine. They're experimental because they're more chunky than the sort of thing I normally do, and I don't know if putting the post dead centre in the bead is the best idea. I might have to er...keep a set of these for myself, as a test pair...you know how it is! Anyway, while the main photo I took of the 'Amelia' set is rubbish, the photo of the earrings and a detail photo came out pretty well, so those two photos are at the end of this post.

I really do need to find that charger. I have a Sony Ericsson Satio which has a 12.1 mp camera on it, with a seemingly decent lense, but it's not really a match for a proper camera. Then, having said that, my digital camera is no match for my film camera...you'd never guess I was a secret luddite!

Anyway, that's enough faff and ramble now. Visit Bead This, Craft That if you ever get a chance! It's in East Dereham, Norfolk. Have a good day anyone reading this, and I hope your weather stayed sunnier than mine did!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Oh Em Gee! Actual jewellery...

Well, in progress anyway.

I liked the idea of making miiiillions of studs; when you sell at school craft fairs dangly earrings don't seem to sell well...well I found out why when my niece decided she'd like to have a yank on mine! So absolutely ages ago I bought lots of pretty cabs; I've just gotten around to gluing the backs on. I've used epoxy glue, so it should be a decent bond. There they are sitting on a bit of CD case on my perfume shelf (yes, I have a whole shelf for perfume! When the boys at work tell me my clothes are budget I wholeheartedly agree; I have nicer smelling things to spend my money on!). Will take another photo when they're mounted on nice card holder thingies :) Sidenote, this was taken on my camera phone...not arf bad eh?

Where I've been...

Well, it's been pretty eventful here at Ooh Miss towers; not only did I graduate with a blessed 2.1 from UEA; but I also gained a new boyfriend...so the excitement of a new relationship and the hard work of finding a proper job to take over from my student ways has taking it's toll severely on my beading time! It is my aim to get back to it though; I guess the blessing of having an arty boyfriend is that he wants me to be arty too! In fact, up until recently I think I had only made one set of jewellery in about a year and a half...how depressing is that? The set is very nice though, that's my excuse. I will post a photograph as soon as I can find that elusive charger for my camera battery.

As for work...I now work full time at a children's home; I don't think anyone who knew me previously could imagine me working in this environment, let alone working 15 hour days in it, but I absolutely love it! The lads are hard work, don't get me wrong, and some days I leave work in tears because it's been such a tough day. But every please and thank you that I get makes it worth it! I've even been told on occasion that I'm 'safe'; quite a decent compliment from a teenage boy I hear!

Where else have I been? Oh I've been on holiday too, a rare occurence for me! I went to the Isle Of Wight with the boy; we had a fab time, took hundreds of photos and were just ecstatically happy for a whole week. I cried when we queued for the ferry to get home, it was just that heavenly. We went to see the Needles, wandered around Ryde, went to the zoo, and just had a lovely time.

Anyway, as it is Mother's Day I'm now off to make some scrummy cheesecake and see if the carrot cake I made last night is still in tact!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

I'm back!

I'm back, and beading! It's been all change here at Ooh Miss Towers; working on cleaning my life up (well, mostly my bedroom but hey ho!) And I've set myself a challenge to use my beads up and sort some new storage! Will be back with some new photos of creations when I can find my blinking camera charger, and some more news about where I've been tomorrow :)