Monthly Archives: March 2012

Spiralling out of Control…

A very slow start to the day (I got eaten by the duvet monster this morning) made me think I’d get nothing done, but Beardy wanted to reacquaint himself with his cavernous garage and have some “man time” in there, so I snuck out to the shed when nobody was looking. My mum had made a heavy silver pendant with a panda on a swirly background a little while ago, but the two got separated while in transit to the Assay Office. Both parts were hallmarked, so we decided to keep them separate and rework them to make two pieces.

I needed to think of something nice to cover the flat part in the middle of the background piece, and toyed with the idea of a cluster of rubover set stones, but didn’t think that it would suit the rustic shape I had to work with. So I reached for the copper and made spirals – inspired by the Celtic Triskele, a symbol I have always loved. They echo the embossed spirals on the background and tie the whole piece together very nicely.

Triskele Pendant

Past, present and future – or maiden, mother and crone? Up to you to interpret it as you will.


Fabulous Fluorite

I bought this flourite cabochon a little while ago but it’s taken me a little while to come up with a way to set it. It has quite intense colour striations, especially the purple, and I was concerned it would look dark and muddy once set.  So I put it to one side, got on with other things and kept it on the back burner.  Luckily it didn’t fall down the back of the cooker!

I came up with the idea of putting a gap between the stone and the back of the setting, to allow light to enter the stone from behind, and figured a shiny surface would act as a mirror as well.  I’d textured an oval with a leaf skeleton using the rolling mill, and soldered an oval to the rear of it for strength.  Initially I added a cross of wire to the back, bent up around the oval to form claws which would be soldered to the bezel, but it looked a bit too Heath Robinson, even for me! So I took that off, and cut small lengths of 2mm sterling wire to use as upright posts.  I soldered these to the base oval, squared them off and added a ring of reticulated silver to the top post before soldering the bezel (also leaf textured) on top.  A few hours in the tumbler while I went out for lunch, a quick dip in liver of sulphur to oxidise it, and then the polishing begun! Once I had a finish I was happy with, I set the fluorite into the bezel and gave it a final polish, before hanging it from a black satin cord with sterling silver ends and a twist of fine wire just above the pendant to stop it from slipping.

Time to test the theory and emerge squinting from the shed… I’m delighted with it, it worked really well.  I’d love to know what you guys think!

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And up yours too!

I’ve been waffling on about spiky rings with tube set stones both here and on the Facebook page recently, I’ve got a fab one to share but am just awaiting delivery of the last of the precious stones, so keep your knickers on for that one. Anyway, I showed the designs to Beardy, who jokingly suggested I do one to look like a one fingered salute. So that’s what I did! Set with five sparkly CZs, and made from sterling silver: the Foxtrot Oscar ring 😉

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Simplicity – ish.

Like many jewellers in the UK, from professionals of many years standing to hobbyists, I buy a lot of my silver, gems, consumables and tools from Cookson Gold. I get a lot off eBay too, but that’s for another day.  Cookson recently launched a range of cast ring shanks and settings called Simplicity – basically you can pair up a shank with a setting and make whatever ring you like. They do them in silver, various golds and platinum, but being a bit skint I tend to stick to silver!  I ordered a couple of the heavy shanks, a 6 mm and a 5mm setting and as usual, they arrived the next day, together with some 2mm precious stones for another project, but more on that another time.

I’ve not done any casting, or used cast silver before, so it was all a bit of an experiment.  Rather naively I assumed all I’d need to do was solder the setting to the shank, pop a stone in, give it a polish and Bob’s your auntie’s live-in lover 😉 Once I’d wired the ring together with binding wire and soldered it together, I spent quite a bit of time tidying things up – polishing out casting marks and giving the rings a nice satin finish.  The crossover shank was a lot harder than the D-section one to assemble, and took me a few attempts to get it to stay together – that’s most likely down to my own inexperience, as I tend to stick to rubover settings made from scratch. Still, got there in the end!

I didn’t realise I’d need to cut grooves in the claws for the stone – and never having done it before was stumped for a few minutes.  A needle file was too big, so I used a 0.8mm engraving burr on my Dremel’s flexishaft to cut some grooves and that worked well. After some polishing (to a satin finish), the CZ stones clipped neatly into their settings, and it was just a case of bending the claws into place and tumbling.

The white 6mm CZ ring I made for myself as a replacement engagement ring – my previous (also homemade!) one had got too big after I’d lost six stone, and I’d got a bit bored with it anyway – not as heartless as it sounds, Beardy and I have identical heavy twisted silver bangles that are our real “commitment” jewellery – my silver wedding ring was 10p from the local charity shop!  So I make myself a new one every now and then 🙂  The turquoise 5mm CZ is for a designer craft show we’re doing next month in Hereford – really looking forward to that.  Although if you’d like to buy it, it’ll be listed in the eBay shop tomorrow!

I really enjoyed using these very reasonably priced ring components – will definitely be making more! Although I’d LOVE settings for different shaped stones – how about it, Cookies?


Work til dark = Crappy iPhone pictures

I have had an epically creative couple of days in the shed, thanks to an incredibly forgiving husband, a couple of desperately fabulous friends and a child who is quite happy to sit with me as long as he has his iPod and doesn’t have to converse.

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I made five rings from silver, getting some new shinies ready for the Killer Heels event in Hereford on April 14th. So when I emerged from the shed it was pitch dark, and the only way to get a shot of the day’s labours was to shine a torch on it and use my iPhone… A crappy picture, but you get the idea! I shall photograph them properly tomorrow, but just couldn’t wait to show them off tonight 🙂


Welsh Grand Slam, Triple Crown and Six Nations – Oh Yes!

As an adopted Welsh (with some Welsh blood), I’ve been watching the Six Nations avidly, and was biting my nails last Saturday in the hope that Wales would win not only the Six Nations but the Grand Slam as well – on top of the Triple Crown.  For the uninitiated, the Six Nations is an annual rugby tournament between Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.  It is a BIG thing here. The Triple Crown is awarded if one of the UK home nations beats the other three – and the Grand Slam is if a team beats each of the other five.  Wales have now won three Grand Slams since I moved here 🙂 So with this in mind, I made these…  Just £12 each, and with the option to have “Grand Slam 2012” or anything you like engraved on the reverse, click the picture to go to our shop.


Ruby Red Dragonfly

I love making bugs, as regular readers will remember! Here is my latest creation, a ruby red dragonfly.

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With a body of vivid red dichroic glass encased in hallmarked fine silver, delicately veined wings and sparkling eyes, who could resist such a little charmer? He is for sale in our eBay shop, at a very reasonable £60 with free postage.

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Rebuilding the Shops

I. Really. Hate. Technology. But love it at the same time. I love it when it does what it’s supposed to! My iPhone crashed totally this evening and I was bereft for the half hour or so it took me to get it up and running again.

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I’ve totally revamped our eBay shop now, and am adding items as I photograph them. It’s taking a while but please bear with me on this one! The Etsy shop is going great guns, so is the best place to find more of our shinies. hopefully it will be easier to find things and I can link photos in the gallery to where you can buy them. We’re getting there…


Happy Mothers’ Day!

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Happy Mothers’ Day to all you mummies out there 🙂 Despite being one myself, it’s always been a sad day for me, now it’s more bittersweet. To cut a long story short, I was adopted as a baby with all the best intentions and for all the right reasons. I always have been and always will be happy with that. My adoptive parents were so lovely, and I consider myself very lucky. Sadly, my adoptive mum died very suddenly in 1998, when I was just 24. I was absolutely devastated, and still am. Time doesn’t heal pain like that but it does make it easier to live with.

My parents were always very up front and open about my adoption and told me as much as they could about my origins. I wondered about my birth mum pretty much every day, and eventually I was ready to track her down. I obtained my records from social services in 2003, and learned a bit more. I was pregnant with Scroticule at the time, and was content to leave it at that.

One Wednesday in September 2010, I had that raging desire to use what I had found out and just find her. A quick search through the online electoral roll plus some rifling through the BMD records to double check, and I had an address that I was 99% confident was the right one. It took less than an hour.

So I wrote a letter. I should have gone through official channels, I know, but I had to strike while the iron was hot! Actually I wrote two letters, a covering one to ask if I’d got the right person, and another, more personal one with photographs for if I had. I had a wonderful email the next evening, and we emailed for a few days before speaking on the phone. We met up a couple of weeks later, and it’s gone from strength to strength since then. We are so similar it’s frightening! But fabulous 🙂

I’m lucky enough to have learned from the mistakes I made in my relationship with my other mum to really try and get this one right. It’s a rare oppurtunity that very few people get. I made this pendant for her for Mothers’ Day so that she knows how loved she really is.

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So happy Mothers’ Day to both my mums. Thinking of you both, as I do every day xxx


Welsh Grand Slam

Oh hell yes 🙂

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