Tuesday, 25 May 2010

100% recycled - well nearly

On Friday night The Boy and I were going out for dinner with his sister and her new husband.  Not a formal, dressy occasion but a girl likes to look her best.  I was ready with about an hour to spare, apart from jewellery that is.  Odd as it may seem, I don't actually have a large, personal jewellery collection.  My top was green and sort of low cut so I wanted something to fill a space.  I decided my green wedding jewellery was just a bit to flash for the occasion so I gathered together my box of beads and bits that I've scavenged from other pieces of jewellery and set about looking for inspiration.  I think I did quite well in the time I had:

There is actually more green in these than my photography shows up.  The beads and metal components started off as parts of 3 different necklaces.  I even managed to recycle the jump rings.  Sadly, I can't claim they are 100% recycled as I had to use new elastic and beading wire to string the beads but there was hardly any new stuff included, honest!

Unfortunately, I didn't leave myself enough big beads in matching pairs to make earrings with so I may have to steal the end beads from the necklace to do that.  What do you think?  They don't look like they've been used before, do they?

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Summer is here!

Summer seems to have arrived at last.   That hasn't been too good for my jewellery making so far because the garden has been a bit neglected and I've been taking advantage of the decent weather to get it back into shape.  I've spent  three days in the garden over the last week doing a bit of weeding and tidying up so I now have sore hands with grimy finger nails (yuck) and a full garden recycling bin. On the other hand I have a garden that's a pleasure to sit in now.  The Boy got the lawnmower out yesterday as well so the grass is neat, if a tad dry looking.  How it looks dry with all the rain we get here is a mystery to me.  Look:

To celebrate (and also because I'd forgotten to take anything out of the freezer for dinner) we had a barbecue yesterday afternoon.  It's not a big garden but it's private and now that the trees in the church yard next door have been cut back it's also a little sun trap.

I planted out some herbs and put some seeds in pots so hopefully we'll be able use our own home grown herbs soon.

Right, it's time I was out there taking advantage of the sun.  The Boy is away to Glentress to throw himself and his bike down a mountain.  I prefer the more sedate, less dangerous environment of the cycle path.  The biggest danger there is families with dogs and small children who wander all over the path.  A couple of weeks ago some idiotic dog owners left their small highland terrier off it's leash and failed to control it as I passed by so that it chased me, barking it silly little head off, until I managed to outrun it and leave it behind.  I think they got a bigger fright than I did.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

I'm getting more productive again

For the last week or so I've been busy getting my new website up and running.  It's nothing fancy but I think I finally managed to get all my jewellery on there.  If I ever have time to read up about web site security and Paypal I might eventually manage to use it ot actually sell stuff rather than just have it pointing to my Etsy shop.  Some day....

Needless to say, spending all that time on the web site has had a negative impact on my creative time.  In other words I've had none and I've had itchy fingers. This week I've managed to be more productive again.  Admittedly it's been at the expense of other things, like going to the gym but I feel like I'm back on track :o)

See what I made this week (you can see details in my Etsy shop or on my new web site):

Now I just need to work out how to have a full time job, make jewellery, run a house and still have a life.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

I finally broke into web design - or - New beginnings part 4

I've been wanting my own web site for my jewellery for a long time.  The Boy has succeeded in talking me out of it until now.  Someone just made me an offer I couldn't refuse so I am now the proud owner of my own domain name. :D

I did a little 'teach yourself' course on HTML programming at the end of last year, well I did most of it I think.  At least I learned how to do the basics so that should stand me in good stead.  The web hosting company provides an interface for people who don't know how to program web pages. It lets you use a menu to create stuff so in theory you don't need to know programming.

So..... last night I sat down in front of my PC and took the bull by the horns.  Really you should sit down and plan it all out properly but I was too excited for that.  I browsed some web sites to see if any of them had a layout I liked.  Next I tried to create a home page layout that was similar to the ones I liked.  That was when the frustration and hair tearing started.  Things just wouldn't go where I wanted on the page!

After getting half way through the home page layout I ended up starting to create some of the other pages.  Then I decided I didn't really like where the home page was going.  It wasn't really going in the artistic direction I had intended (dahlings).  Artistic what?  So I currently have a skeleton web site that points to my Etsy shop.  It will most definitely evolve, into something better I hope.

Not bad for a first attempt.  What do you think?

My shiny new web site

For now I want to give people the opportunity to view the items for sale in my Etsy shop in different ways, eg show things by colour, show matching sets, etc.  If I ever work out how to do it securely I'd like to be able to sell things through the web site and take payments through Paypal.  That way I can price things in Sterling and stop scaring off people in the UK with prices in dollars.  I suspect I have a steep learning curve before I can achieve that.

Please feel free to go in and try to break it or see if I've done anything stupid.  My next plan is to add a guest book so that people can leave comments, although I've already added the facility to e-mail me from the Contacts page.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Thread, wire and frustration

So I was browsing the web and came across a pattern for making a bracelet with fimo roses:


It just so happens I have some sweet little pink clay roses that I've been dying to use so I thought I'd try it out.  Unfortunately, it's not clear from the instructions what type off stringing material is supposed to be used so I used my initiative and used Flexrite 21 strand stainless steel wire.  I also used glass beads instead of Swarovski crystals, which might have been my mistake. The holes in the beads were anything but consistent in diameter.  To make the bracelet you have to thread all the outer loops first, which went swimmingly.  To add the fimo roses you have to thread back through the loops and that's where it all went horrily wrong. :o(

The fact that, even wearing my glasses and with all the lights on, I couldn't see the holes in the pink beads properly only added to my difficulties.  I had real problems threading the wire back through the beads so I fished out my big eyed beading needle (a total godsend) and used that.  Unfortunately, due to the inconsistent holes in the beads it kept getting stuck.  I had to resort to using pliers to try and pull it through some of the beads to the point where I broke one of the pink beads and mangled my big eyed needle.  I also stabbed my finger and drew blood.  To add insult to injury, the finished product, while it actually looked fine, apart from one missing pink bead, was way too big for my wrist:

So, the following night I decided that I'd dismantle it and try again using Nymo thread.  I also started with 2 x 3 foot lengths instead of 1 x 6 foot length so that I could thread the roses as I went along.  That was a whole lot more successful.  I had 4 threads each attached to a needle.  I decided to make it with 4 loops instead of 5 so that it would be a neater fit.  I had no stuck needle, broken beads, punctured skin traumas to deal with either, so a less frustrating beading experience altogether.  I did end up with a knot in the thread about an inch away from where I had intended to tie it, but, hey, that's minor:

Guess what?  It's still too big! Because the thread is softer, the loops don't stay loopy, LOL.  So the end result is a longer bracelet.

The shape was better using the wire.  The loops were much better defined.  If I ever try this type of breacelet again I will use 2 lengths of fine beading wire and thread the loops and the roses at the same time.  I don't intend to have a third attempt at this one.