Monthly Archives: September 2011

Not a Cannabis Leaf

When I had my son eight years ago, we bought a maple tree to celebrate his safe arrival and I’m proud to say that they both seem to be surviving my tender ministrations so far!  It has some very frilly leaves which I wanted to transfer to silver, and clay was the obvious choice (until I get a rolling mill, mwahaha!).  A simple disc which I domed and set in a circle displays the texture beautifully.  A little natural oxidation as it is worn means this pretty, natural piece will only mature and improve with a little age…  It moves freely on the bail, just like leaves in the wind.

Think I’ll make some more before autumn!

This one is being donated as a raffle prize for a Welsh Blogger’s event being held in Cardiff next month. Really looking forward to that, watch this space for my report on it.


Back to Beading

For those who don’t know (I moan about it often enough!), I am a slave to back pain, and have been for the last twenty years. It’s been especially bad the last few weeks, so I haven’t been able to get much done in the shed 😦 So without access to hammers and blowtorches, I’ve been playing with beads and made these bracelets. Something I can do on a tray on my lapped while propped up by lots of cushions!

These ended up being a bit weather related – I’m lucky to have a big picture window which gives me a wonderful view up the Rhondda Valley, and we often just sit and watch the weather roll in.  By weather, I usually mean rain, this is Wales after all!  I had recently acquired some lovely hand made glass beads, so decided to make these pretty bracelets…

Grungy Monochrome Black White Grey & Silver Beaded Bracelet

Droplets of glass hang from this pretty silver plated chain which measures 18cm (7") plus an extender chain. The beads have a grungy monochrome colour scheme, off-whites and cloudy greys contrast with distressed blacks and metallics highlighted by bright flashes of shiny silver. Thunder and lightening for your wrist, perhaps?

Just £12 with free postage, you can buy it here:  Grungy Monochrome Beaded Bracelet

Pretty Hippie Boho Rainbow Festival Beaded Glass & Silver Bracelet

Sunshine on a rainy day gives you a rainbow 🙂 Just in case the weather doesn't oblige, why not wear your own personal flash of brilliant colour? Lovingly handcrafted in a purple shed in the heart of the Rhondda Valley, each individual glass bead hangs from a high-quality silver plated chain which measures 7 1/2" (19cm) plus an extender chain.

Just £12 with free postage, you can buy it here: Rainbow Beaded Glass & Silver Bracelet

I was lucky enough to find some very pretty lace when I was out and about with Liz in the week, so I thought I’d share that with you too!  Some will be incorporated into a couple of Steampunk projects we have on the go, so do come back and see just what we do with it!

Quite an impressive array of vintage lace!


I really love bugs, except for real ones… I like cute, shiny bugs that don’t scuttle, bite, sting or generally move.  Nature hasn’t supplied my world with any of those particular ones, so I have to make my own.  I made my first one back in February as a way to use up some PMC3 I had left at the end of a class, and he came out really well.  Bob (sorry) sits on my workbench and keeps me company in my shed.  I tried making him some friends a couple of months ago, but they all came out a bit deformed and currently reside in a comfortable old tobacco tin for special needs bugs who find it difficult to find gainful employment.


So bugs went on the back burner a bit, until today.  I dug out my box of dichroic glass cabochons that I had selected as good bug bodies and cracked on.  I use ArtClay silver 650 slow dry clay with glass that has an expansion coefficient of 90 (COE90) and as the clay shrinks, the glass expands and they fuse together.  That’s done with the science bit!

A little spell in my new tumbly machine to harden and burnish the silver, and we have two lovely, shiny bugs – one beetle and a dragonfly.



Dead Dragonfly!

We have Lift Off…

Anyone who knows me will tell you I don’t like Mondays (tell me why) and I especially don’t like mornings.  Combine the two and you have a miserable Mel 😦  Strong winds also scare me silly…

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I was organising manchild for school at half past eight this morning when an ominous flapping caught my eye… the felt started peeling off the shed, so Beardy and me dropped everything, legged it outside and tried to hold down a sheet of flailing roof felt with sharp nails sticking out at all angles! In our pyjamas.  The felt got away from us, injuries were only minor, and dignity was (just about) maintained.

Problem is, windy weather tends to come with wet, so we had to come up with a way of keeping the rain out until we could refelt the roof – cue Beardy and his magnificent bodging skills.  So now I have a ghetto shed.  Courtesy of the Soweto Roofing Company…

All Choked Up

I’ve always had a penchant for Gothic and Vampire style jewellery, and bought some stunning black and purple lace last time I was visiting my mum.  I have had huge fun over the last couple of days combining chain, skulls, beads, leather, you name it!  There will be more soon, just waiting for some more sparklies to arrive!

These are all for sale in my Etsy shop at just £15 each.

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Making my Mark

This weekend I arranged for manchild to go to his dad’s and for Beardy to be busy mending his mate’s bike so that I could have some quality shed time. I had applied for my maker’s mark with the London assay office last month and ordered a few chunks of silver from Cookson’s soon after, but due to the running aboutiness of the school holidays, didn’t get chance to make anything. Until today!

Just to test the punch, I tried it on a bit of scrap copper, and that looked good, so I did another on a little lump of 2mm sterling.  With a bit of texture and some fancy bezel as detailing, it makes the perfect focal point for a very personal piece of jewellery.

The lumps of silver I have had taunting me for the last three weeks finally became pendants.  A lot of hammering, annealing and filing turned two quite rough cut pieces of metal into lovely smooth shapes.  The only decoration on these will be a hallmark – vanity pieces really, but why not?  The long one is for me and the other for my mum, but I’m planning on making some earrings to match mine next.

So now I’m busy temporarily reclaiming the silver goodies I have made for friends and loved ones, so I can send them off to get assayed and hallmarked.  I really want to do it asap as the date letter for this year is an “m”!

Cabin Fever (or lack of…)

It’s the last day of the school holidays, and I’m bursting with ideas and frustration!  I really need to get back into making things for the sake of my sanity (or whatever passes for it these days).  My hallmark registration has gone through, and I’m the proud owner of a hefty punch with my maker’s mark.  I’ve got some sizeable chunks of sterling to make into pendants where the decoration will be just the texture of the metal and hallmark – vanity pieces really, but why not?  They will make really personal gifts for the special people in my life who have helped me get this far.

I found some beautiful lace when I was up at Mum’s in the summer, and have been experimenting with making Steampunk chokers with lovely Swarovski crystal beads, silver chains and the occasional skull.  I’ll be listing these for sale over the next few days, now that the final elements to finish them are on their way (Royal Mail permitting).

I have also been playing with wire wrapping and when I have had a chance, some leaf textures.  This lovely labradorite is going to become the focal point of a lariat with silver and moonstone elements, and maybe some leaves…

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