Tag Archives: Welsh

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.

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Domino Dancing

Slate. The backbone of Wales which was laid down some 500 million years ago in the Cambrian period, taking it’s name from Cambria, the Latin name for Wales.

Apart from the fine dust, it’s lovely to work with, being relatively easy to hand cut, split, shape, drill and dress. Apart from being very dusty. Did I mention the dust?

I was cutting some squares the other day for bracelets, when I had an idea to make dominoes! I made some sterling silver balls for the dots, with silver wire dividing each domino in half. The sterling silver bails on the pendant and the earrings are all hand made by me, as are the earring hooks.

Part of our Made in Wales: Made FROM Wales range, I really like these, I hope you do too!
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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. 🙂


A real live shop!

We’ve got our first ever proper stall at a craft market! We are pretty excited about this, it’s one thing selling online, but quite another fronting a shop and selling to people face to face.  We’ve done a couple of little table sales at things we are already involved in, so they should be good practice for the real thing.

I’ve been reading up on the new Welsh carrier bag charging  system, and I think I’ve got it worked out… Little paper bags (sort of greetings card size) are OK, but anything bigger and with handles attract the 5p charge, which we will donate to Help for Heroes.

We’d love to see you there, it’s free to get in, and under cover, so the Welsh weather can do what it likes 🙂


A Very Happy Customer!

We’re big lovers of nature and finding things when we are out and about here at Spiny Sharkly Things, and a particular favourite haunt is the beach at Llantwit Major, in South Wales.  It’s a fabulous stony beach with a very sharply defined set of dinosaur footprints in some petrified mud flats, and there are many other fossils to be found – from ammonites embedded in rocks the size of a VW Beetle to more manageable fragments of dinosaur bone, shellfish and plants.  I regularly go down there with my husband and eight year old son to just mooch about – “fossicking” as we call it in these parts.

It was on one of these outings that I found this lovely nugget of seaglass – it just glinted at me from amongst the pebbles, so I just had to pick it up.  I gathered a fair bit of driftwood that day too, and when I was back home and rechained to the kitchen sink, I decided to create a ring inspired by the finds of the day.  This was back in the days when my workshop had to double up as  kitchen (or was it the other way around?) and I was only using precious metal clay instead of the sterling bullion that I work with mostly now (in the shed).  I love the way the clay can be easily textured, and until I get a rolling mill, it’s the only way I can get texture into silver that isn’t hammered.  I took a mould of an especially nice piece of driftwood, and made the ring shank from that.  It oxidised beautifully in the liver of sulphur and really gives the feeling of the wood on which in is based.  In my opinion, a perfect combination, and I was really pleased with the final result.

It’s been languishing on eBay for a few months, but that never fazes me, all our creations are individual, unique, and just waiting for the right person to stumble across it and fall in love…  I’ve not been silversmithing for all that long, not even a year yet but I really think I’ve discovered my vocation in life.  I just love working the metal, it whatever form it takes, and what craft gives you chance to hit things with big hammers as well as twiddle about with fine details and create something beautiful, wearable and above all, SHINY!  So everything I make has a lot of myself put into it on the blood, sweat and occasionally tears front (often quite literally!), and it’s usually quite a wrench to let something go.  I’m always happy when they go to a loving home!

As my regular readers will already know, I have just registered with the London Assay Office so I can get my jewellery properly hallmarked, and this ring went off to be verified and stamped a couple of weeks ago.  Sod’s law struck, of course, and I had an alert come through on my phone that the ring had been sold to a lady in Canada…  Cathy had already been in touch to arrange International shipping and so forth, and explained that she had Welsh ancestry, and she had relatives an many parts of Wales, so wanted something Welsh!  After explaining that it would take a week or so before I got it back from London, and all was fine, the ring was sent across the Atlantic to Ontario.

I just wanted to share this lovely message I received yesterday from Cathy…

Hi Melanie, I wanted to tell you how amazingly beautiful this ring is! I’ve been wearing it since it arrived and it’s incredible — when the light hits it, there is an inner light that shines like a tiny beacon and is wonderful to behold! Also, the surface markings and crenellations are so exquisitely intricate, it’s great to observe how it responds to all light patterns! I’m so thrilled with it and it’s especially dear, because it’s Welsh — Diolch yn Fawr! I used to know quite a bit of Welsh, but most of it has slipped away with the passing of time — my Mother-in-law is a native Welsh speaker and used to be a teacher, so hers is still beautifully perfect. Thanks again for all your help and I do hope that you’re having a wonderful evening. Cathy

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That will do nicely 😉


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