Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Silver bracelet

I sent this newly designed silver bracelet to the Assay office yesterday to be hallmarked with my mark along with some other silver items. They should be back by Friday so I can put them on my stall on Saturday.

This one is a variation on my Asterope range, it's a double strand of random sizes of round sterling silver links which have a hammer finish and includes 5 small hammered disks at intervals along the chain with a lucky 4 leaf clover silver charm dangling on the end. The size is adjustable by attaching the lobster clasp to any one of the links and letting the rest dangle. If you're on the lookout for a bit of good fortune, this is the bracelet for you!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Commissions picked up

Had a lovely day on my stall in Cambridge yesterday, the weather was gorgeous and sunny all day - makes a change! It's still chilly but I'm definitely not complaining about that.

As I've not been posting many pictures of jewellery lately, I thought I'd show off photographs of the necklace and earring commissions I mentioned I'd got a few weeks ago when I took my latest bead creations in to show my customers. Two were collected yesterday and the other is being picked up shortly. I'm pleased to report that so far, they have been well received!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A 20 minute phone call from Anthony Head!

How would you like a 20 minute telephone call with Anthony Head? I know I would! Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know that Anthony Head is my number 1 favourite actor. Occasionally, I have Anthony Head days where I spend the morning making beads whilst listening to either the album he made with George Sarah or the Once More With Feeling CD issued after the musical episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and then in the afternoon I make jewellery whilst watching Buffy and/or Merlin DVDs (or Manchild or The Invisibles if I've got them from Lovefilm).

Anyway, Anthony is holding a charity auction in aid of the Mental Health Foundation. The highest bidder gets a 20 minute phone call from Anthony himself.

All the instructions are on this page I've linked to on the Official Anthony Head website. As I type, the bidding is up to £320 and bound to go higher before it closes. I am sooooo tempted, it's for a very good cause. Having suffered a bad bout of depression coupled with disabling panic attacks in the early 90s and come through it, it's something that I would like to support. If only my business hadn't suffered so badly with the snow last Christmas, I might just have gone for it (and not told DH!) Ha, this will be a test to see if Geoff reads my blog, he says he does ... but sometimes I doubt it! He seems to tolerate my Anthony Head swooning in much the same way as I do his intent interest in Julia Bradbury (of Countryfile fame) whenever she's on TV wearing a t-shirt without a bra on underneath!

Since the news was announced on the Anthony Head newsletter, I have been fantasising about what I would talk to him about, I'd like to ask him about his music, I really love the album he made with George Sarah, will he do another (acoustic version this time maybe, he does Freebird in an episode of Buffy). My favourite track is This Town in the Rain. I'd also tell him which are my favourite Buffy episodes and ask him if any stick in his mind. I'm fascinated how someone I find so appealing can be playing Geoffrey Howe in Iron Lady, a film due out this year about Margaret Thatcher. It will be quite an acting feat (which I'm sure he will carry off extremely well). I didn't fancy Geoffrey Howe in the slightest so I'm really intrigued to see his performance.

I'd ask him for a signed photograph and what he means on his website when he says "RIP Ripper"? Giles didn't die in the 7th series of Buffy though he did disappear back to England for quite a time. In a panic, I went on line checking I hadn't missed series 8 and I think it must've happened in some comic book that Joss Whedon was tied up with and apparently there are some novels that have been written carrying on where series 7 finishes. All I can hope for really is that he has another auction when I'm not quite so strapped for cash!

I bet I'd probably just get all tongue tied and starstruck and not be able to think of a single thing; I imagine I would probably just spend most of the time just listening because he has such a lovely voice! Ah, and then the fantasy goes to what he would say to me - I'd best not go into any details ... ;-)

PS Many thanks for permission from Liz (who runs the Anthony Head website and newsletter) to use the photograph of Anthony on the phone.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Help for Japan

Whilst working making beads this morning, I was thinking about how lucky I am not to be affected personally by the awful events in Japan and feeling somehow that I should be doing more. I was fortunate to have my best day of the year so far on my stall on Saturday. The weather was kind and my customers were out in force; I was grateful therefore to be able to make a donation to the Red Cross to help Japan.

I read at lunchtime that Laura Sparling is having sales on her BeadsbyLaura blog to help and then I read Erika Price's blog, which gives an excellent cut-to-the-chase summary of the awful events so far. I "met" Erika through the British Sellers on Etsy team; she has long been making stunning jewellery and donating her profits towards good causes. For the next two months, all her profits will be going towards relief in Japan. As I was reading, a lightbulb went off and I offered her some of my beads free of charge to make into jewellery for this cause. I'm so glad she has agreed. The bracelet pictured is an example of her absolutely beautiful work, featured here by Erika's kind permission

I'd like to recommend all my readers to go to Erika's Etsy shop to see if there's any of her lovely jewellery that you'd like to purchase in the knowledge that you will be helping people get over the devastation they have suffered.

Other British Sellers on Etsy team members are making Treasuries featuring items in shops that are being sold to help Japan, MakeMeSparkly (great name!) has created this Treasury, full of items also being sold to help Japan. Likewise, lovisetto has created this Treasury - please visit and support the shops if you can.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Cobalt blue; Kate I thank you

I'm not much into fashion. It's not that I'm not interested, I am (a bit) - it's just that it doesn't seem to apply to my lifestyle.

I spend a lot of my time in my studio making beads which means my clothes are at risk of being burnt by stray bits of hot glass if I'm not paying very close attention. In the afternoon I'm making jewellery which is a little less hazardous but I can't be bothered to get changed into better gear in the afternoon. Plus I have to walk the dog later on which means I have to wear flat shoes or boots and again - I can't be bothered to get changed so I pretty much live in practical jeans or cords, hand knitted socks (always), and a T-shirt with a sweater or sweatshirt over the top when it's cold. I put on training shoes, big heavy walking boots or wellies on depending on the weather and location for the afternoon Missy walk so skirts and dresses are pretty much out of the question.

I did used to wear suits and nice blouses and make up to work in the old days when I was a PA. I even had a couple of designer suits and wore 10 denier tights, lipstick, hairspray and stillettoes. Gosh, I can't walk in anything over a two inch heel these days! I was well paid and could afford to splash out a bit - those were the days (but I don't miss them that much!)

So I tend to rely on others to inform me of the ways of the world of fashion and when I was reliably informed by a fellow Etsian who works in the fashion industry that cobalt blue is all over the catwalk this season, I decided I had better get in on the act. So here are some cobalt blue beads, now on sale in my SoozBeads Etsy shop ... I have even worked out for myself the reason for this obsession. It has to be the colour of the lovely dress worn by Kate Middleton upon the occasion of the announcement of her engagement to Prince William.

Plus I am even more impressed with myself for being minorly ahead of the game because, even before she told me this, I already had these earrings in my SoozJewels Etsy shop, made with beads I made by melting a Harveys Bristol Cream sherry bottle.

Who says I'm not bang on trend?!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Three glassy things

This little lady leapt into my life yesterday with the postman. I bought her from a lovely lady called Rachel Elliot of flyingcheesetoastie a fellow British Sellers on Etsy team member. Last weekend the team had a buy and replace (BNR). The organisers create a Treasury made up of team member items from their shops. If you buy something from one of the shops featured, one of the items from your own shop replaces the one you bought. It sounds complicated but it's a lot of fun. I sold some Harveys Bristol Cream sherry beads and I'm looking forward to seeing what my purchaser makes of them (cue future blog post!)

Anyway, my little glass leveret is called Warwick. She's adorable, keeps me company in my studio and eats surprisingly little so she's cheap to keep too! When she arrived, I instantly called to mind some Reichenbach glass (from the top of my head it's called Antique something-or-other). I made some very simple beads, today I etched them and I'm really pleased with the colour match!

She also called to mind a vintage bottle that I dug up from my garden nearly 20 years ago. It has the name "Warwicks and Richardson" (hence my leveret's new name) on it and also "Stoke on Trent". This is one bottle I wouldn't ever melt to make beads as it has sentimental value.
I don't think the brewery is still in business.  A quick search on the internet revealed their premises on Northgate in Newark that are still standing - impressive looking and converted into apartments from what I can gather.

The beads' shape I'm calling curvy cubes. When the glass was still molten, I roughly mashed them into cubes and then a couple of the corners have been flattened on each one. After fire polishing to a smooth finish, they're popped into the kiln to anneal. Acid etching after they've been cleaned takes off the shine and gives it a similar finish as my vintage bottle.