Tag Archives: Mum

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.


All you need is love. La la la la la.

Not done any blogging for ages, what with Beardy being unwell, and all.  I’ve kind of got out of the habit.  He’s a lot better now, although there’s still a way to go before anything is back to normal.  Whatever that is!  Not sure we’d recognise it though…

With Valentine’s day now being rammed down our throats by every shop in the land, I thought I’d make my contribution.

I had enormous fun making this heart! I blasted some silver with the blow torch on a firebrick and when it was all melty, I teased it into a heart shape and quenched it.  By repeatedly heating it to just under the melting point and cooling, you achieve this fabulous textured effect called reticulation.  I’ve been trying it with copper as well.  When I had a shape I was happy with, I carved away the sharp edges and soldered a loop onto the back for the silk cord.  The engraving (below) was done with my lovely new Dremel kit – my Christmas present from Beardy and my mum.  Cariad is the Welsh word for love, so it seemed like a good place to write it.  My son wants it for his girlfriend’s Valentine’s present. But as they are eight, I politely suggested that he gets stuffed and made him a pretty little copper ring with a heart on it instead.

These are for sale in my Etsy shop, the bangle here and the pendant here.

Stop press: The pendant is now sold, but if you’d like something similar, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can. 🙂


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.


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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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…


Back to the Coal Face

I arrived home last night after a lovely few days with my mum to an impressive pile of boxes that had arrived while I was away…

Mostly from Vistaprint, I’ve been making the most of the free offers they keep sending me, and as a relatively new enterprise, we can certainly use some stationery!

I’ve been using the shed as a bit of a dumping ground over the last couple of weeks, so I had nowhere to create, sit down, or stand up, if I’m totally honest.  Add to that the three tons of banners, posters, cards, t shirts, magnets and other stuff, and SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.  So I did it.  Beardy will be expecting me to do the same thing in the house at this rate…

Ready to MAKE STUFF!


Hoping for it NOT to be Grim Up North.

Well, I’m heading north for a few days to see my mum. One of the aunties very kindly gave us a voucher for a pampering, makeover and photoshoot day, so we’ve finally plucked up the courage to go.  It’s not that I’m scared of cameras, I just never know how to arrange my face! So I’ve chosen my five outfits (with the help of the very marvellous Liz), picked as many Spiny Sharkly Things to go with them as I can, and added a significant proportion of my shoe collection.  Watch this space!

The very marvellous Liz, taking a break from cackling.


Button It

I’m totally obsessed with buttons. One of our favourite weekend sans enfant activities is to mooch around the junk shops of places like Hay-on-Wye, and Beardy loses the will to live while I spend hours fossicking through baskets of buttons looking for inspiration, ideas and things to spend his money on. One of my favourites is an old five-hole jobbie I found in the soil on my allotment a few years ago, so I made a mould and cast it in silver… Cracked bakelite buttons don’t look much in the flesh, but turn them into metal, and they are quite something – it’s the texture that does it for me. And of course all those holes are just begging for something sparkly…

I think it’s rings I like to make best of all, and buttons are just perfect for that, a little bit of whimsy on your finger goes a long, long way. I’ve been mixing silver with copper, making shanks from hammered silver, woven wire (well, my mum did that bit, years of plaiting horses’ manes and tails certainly came in useful!) and plain copper with a silky satin finish.

I’ve made some copper buttons too, so will be busy over the next week turning them into something wearable too – as well as some wonderful vintage mother-of-pearl buttons which are begging to become bracelets and pendants.

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Discovering Silver

Being a crafter for more years than I care to recall, and a magpie to boot, it was only a matter of time before I turned my hand to making jewellery. I just never really got round to starting, except for a day’s silversmithing that I did with some close friends in lieu of a hen night three years ago. We learned a little about wirework, making balls and some simple soldering, and I made a pretty ring and a slightly less elegant pair of earrings!

I was adopted as a young baby, and recently got in touch with my bio-mum, Pauline.  Turns out all my crafty tendencies were inherited (who knew there was a gene for that???), as well as most of my other traits, and we’ve been getting on like a house on fire.  We thought it would be nice to go away for a mother-daughter weekend, to get to know each other a bit better, and booked a course in precious metal clay at Zantium Crafts in Derbyshire for February this year.  Precious metal clay (pmc) is basically very fine silver particles mixed with water and an organic binder which you mould and shape like any other clay, than fire it at very high temperatures to burn away the binder giving you solid silver.

It seemed like a great idea to do a course in a craft neither of us had tried before, but neither of us could wait until the February and we were both kitted out and producing silver by Christmas! Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all…  Still, lots of the rellies had handmade silver jewellery for Christmas, so it all worked out.

The course itself was great, taught by the lovely Xuella Arnold.  We both learned a lot, drank a lot and laughed a lot.  Mum showed a real talent for making leaves and birds, while I had fun making bugs.  We met some very interesting people and bounced lots of ideas around the studio.

I actually found it quite hard working in a big open studio with other people watching me and coming to see what I was doing.  Quite a few of my projects broke apart after firing in the kiln, which was so frustrating, convinced it wasn’t firing hot enough, I repaired them and refired using a blowtorch.  That seemed to do the trick, and has really put me off using a kiln.  I definitely work better without trying to have a conversation at the same time.  Luckily Mum and me can work in virtual silence together.  My studio until recently has been the breakfast bar in my kitchen, and my firing and soldering was done with a blowtorch on the cooker!  My husband got a bit fed up with scorch marks on the worktop and swarf in his coffee, so now I work in a shed.  Maybe I’ll get a kitchen revamp now I’ve ruined this one 😉

Since the tsunami in Japan in the spring, prices of pmc have doubled, so I’m spending more and more of my time working with traditional silversmithing techniques, with both silver and copper.  I love using a wide range of stones, from locally found sea glass to stunning black opals, via big sparkly CZs and semi precious amethysts, labradorites and moonstones. Mum and me, with our friend Sally formed Spiny Sharkly Things as a collective to showcase and sell our designs.  There is a link to our eBay shop at the top right of the page if you’d like one of our shinies for your own.  The gallery post below this one shows some of my earlier work, and there’s a lot more to come!


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