Category Archives: Silver

Sign your name…

I went to the Welsh Entrepreneurs 2012 conference in Cardiff a couple of weeks ago, it was sponsored by the Welsh government and held in the very beautiful City Hall. I have no idea how they found me to invite me, but I’m a sucker for a free day out! And when I spotted a certain Mr Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden was speaking, that made it a definite 🙂

So I got my funkiest suit on and schlepped into Cardiff with the masses on the train. The conference was very good, especially Dan Sodergren’s social media workshop, and Bruce Dickinson’s talk about Cardiff Aviation, Iron Maiden and the idea of 360 degree marketing really got me thinking. I just happened to have a bangle sized strip of brass and a marker pen in my enormous weapons-grade handbag, and as the session finished was first in line to nobble the poor bloke. Anyway, he very graciously signed my bit of metal with a rather bemused look, having not being asked to do THAT before, by all accounts. He had quoted William Blake in his talk, so I asked him to scribble that on there too, and explained I was going to make it into a bangle. I gave him one of our Mantra bangles in return, it has an Einstein quote on that reads “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” – the three of us here at Spiny each have one.

In the meantime, I have engraved it, polished and now silver plated it, I’m just thrilled with it! It has given me the idea of offering the chance for any of you to immortalise your own handwriting on a piece of jewellery that will last forever and be worn every day. You can get yours in my eBay shop 🙂

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Friends

I am very lucky. In that I have a network of wonderful people I can count as my friends. I have outed some users, some abusers. Still, life goes on.

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Market

Had a lovely morning down in Roath at the craft and farmers’ market, sold lots of pretty things, gave loads of nice cakes away, caught up with a lovely friend that I’d lost touch with, spent some time with my mum and drank lots of tea. Job’s a goodun.

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Mantra

I’m nearly thirty-eight. Which makes it my silver jubilee of being an Alarm fan. I vividly remember hearing “Strength” on my Walkman on holiday, aged thirteen with my family in North Devon and I was completely blown away. Over the years, I’ve bought the albums, been to the gigs, worn the t-shirts, met the band and spread the word. My nine year old son is quite a fan, he stood no chance, really. Despite a mad crush on Mike Peters, a lot of their lyrics have had quite a resonance with me, but none more so than this, from “Spirit of ’76”:

“I will never give in
Until the day that I die
Get myself some independence
Carve out a future
With these two bare hands”

It’s with these words at the back of my mind that I have attempted many things in my life. But it’s with starting Spiny Sharkly Things that it’s really come to the fore. While my lovely Beardy is happy to be the main breadwinner in our little family, I want to carve out my own niche in the world, with my two bare hands. And a hammer. And a blowtorch.

So I made this bracelet, to remind me of the words that have meant so much over the last quarter of a century. I can make one for you too – what’s YOUR mantra?

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Branded

Well. Things of the Spiny Sharkly variety have taken off better than I could have hoped for. I’ve been officially in business for twelve weeks now, and I’m happy to say that Spiny is turning a profit 🙂 Sales are good at the Heritage Park Hotel, online and on the stall when we’re on the road, so I’m glad I jumped in at the deep end and started the company.

When I first started, I wasn’t sure it would work anywhere near this well, so for business cards I just picked one of the free Vistaprint designs, white with purple flowers and butterflies. Cos it was free. But having been out and about, I count maybe a quarter of the cards I have seen have been the same design, so it was definitely time to change to something different. Still purple, still got butterflies, but unique to Spiny Sharkly Things this time. I’ve gone for a vintage-y look, as it goes with the stall’s “emporium” like feel, and I hope you like it as much as I do. And I’d like to say a huge thank you to Maggy Corkhill of mecreative for coming up with our new motto, “Turning Art Into Metal” – genius!

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Oh so quiet…

I’ve not really had chance to blog for a little while, it’s been rather busy! Most of my time the week before last was getting my cabinet at the Heritage Park Hotel just right, by adding some mirrors to the dark wood shelves I managed to bounce some more light into it, which really makes things sparkle!

Then, of course, I needed to get ready for Bloomin’ Women! I had a really successful weekend at the show, met lots of interesting people and bought myself a purple rose bush. It’s called Rhapsody in Blue which is one of my very favourite pieces of music. The fragrance is so heady, I shall plant it right by the shed door, I think.

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I was really pleased with the stall layout, with practice it’s getting quicker to set up and take down.

I ended up in hospital again, not quite as bad as May’s episode, luckily. Now that I knew what symptoms to look for, I managed to get to hospital before the pH levels in my blood started dropping too far. So I have a fresh set of IV marks, just as the others had begun to fade 😦 Still, all is well now, but I’m pretty wiped out.

We were doing the Treorchy Festival last Saturday, but Beardy confined me to the sofa and took a selection of my stuff to sell alongside his. He set up my table pretty well, I reckon! And even sold some stuff, so it was an easy day’s money for me 🙂

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I’m working on a few interesting projects this week, all a bit top secret I’m afraid. But if they come to fruition, I’ll be plastering it all OVER the interweb 😀


Cooler than a polar bear’s frosty bits

I’m not one to share secrets, but this one is just too good to keep to myself!

If you are using silicone moulds for polymer clay or PMC, do you find it can get a bit squished when you try to get it out? I do, especially with deep moulds, like Lego bricks. The answer is so simple I could slap myself. Put your clay in the mould as usual, and freeze it. Then it goes nice and hard and is easy to get out. Once it’s defrosted, you can add surface details. And then fire as usual 🙂 Who knew?


Bike Rally #1

Well, we’re home and dry. Literally rather than figuratively! Friday’s wintery storms delayed us to Saturday, and we arrived at the Welsh Coast MCC’s rally site at middayish. It took a little while to work out whether/where to set up and we decided that as the few people that had made it to the rally had decamped to the local pub, that we’d do our thing there. Once we’d got the permission we needed, we were up and running in a couple of hours.

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Being the first time we’d set up our own self contained unit, it took a little longer than we’d hoped, but this should get quicker with practice. We came up with a few ideas to make it quicker and better, but I won’t bore you with them here! My biggest issue is the sheer volume of stock I now have, and being jewellery it’s lots of small items, which takes AGES to lay out. I’m thinking about ways to speed things up, perhaps by making some pre-loaded display things that just need placing on the day. Any ideas would be hugely welcome!

There were probably around a hundred people at the pub, and less than half that number in the beer garden, where we were set up. But of all the folk that came to see us, nearly everybody bought something. All the other traders that were due at the rally had abandoned ship because of the weather, but because we didn’t even ATTEMPT setting up on the Friday, we benefitted hugely from that. We donated a pair of lovely solid silver Celtic rings as a raffle prize, so I hope they’ve found a good home.

The really good thing to come out of the weekend (apart from making money, of course!) was that people from other bike clubs were there, and we were asked if we’d like to do their rallies as well. So we’ve got three pencilled in this summer already. We’re gonna need a bigger car…

A huge thank you to the Welsh Coast MCC for having us, a nicer bunch of folk you couldn’t wish to meet. Looking forward to the next one!


Upcycled

I just love creating something new and beautiful from something that has been discarded. I am renowned for rummaging through skips to find stuff, or scrap bins, or even the local tip. I picked up a set of bar stools, an outboard motor and a set of Audi alloy wheels on my last trip. Oh, and a Sony car stereo 🙂 My Dyson was dumped at the side of the road, all it needed was a new filter.

So, from waste Welsh slate, I have been very busy making pendants. By adding some sparkly CZs and an accent of solid silver, I’ve turned somebody’s crap into one-off, designer jewellery. This is the first batch, priced at just £24 each with free postage to the UK and available in my ebay shop. If you’d like one with a specific combination of stones, do get in touch!

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Made of Wales

My first working day of being self employed and I’ve been taking a long, hard look at what I’ve sold most of so far on eBay and Etsy. Despite my love of funky silver statement pieces, the things that sell best are the “Made in Wales: Made FROM Wales” pieces. The slate domino pendants and earrings and the square bead bracelets in particular have been literally flying out of the shed! Often with a little added engraved personalisation, names and personal messages, these pieces are very special to the folk who buy and wear them.

I have drawn up some more designs for pieces using little square slate tiles, so watch this space! I feel a choker coming on…

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