Friday, December 31, 2010

A time for reflection - where the heck did 2010 go??

As 2010 comes to an end and I reflect on the year - all I can think of is - heck - that went fast!   It may have dragged for others but I'll bet they are young - Pretty much  for anyone my age ( I'll be coy!) I expect that it flew by!
Creatively 2010 has been a 'so so' year for me.  I've had many great ideas for designs but in reality many pieces have bombed - Firescale - how I hate thee! I've unintentionally melted a few great ideas and I somehow wonder how I managed to solder anything successfully sometimes.  My enameling has been a bit hit and miss but I loved the class I took earlier this year and am looking forward to experimenting more with powdered glass!

On a positive note, I redid my button pendant in 2 sizes. It's evolved very subtlety - but I think they work as well as the original which is currently with my daughter on her backpacking adventures around Europe and the UK and is apparently collecting the occasional compliment when she wears it. .

I was chuffed when, after sending some work to my retail stockist the other week  that  these pieces and another piece sold immediately :)  So, all in all maybe 2010 wasn't too bad after all :)

Anyway, I've decided that for 2011 that I'm going back to basics. I'm going to revisit the techniques I learned as a beginner - piercing, hammering, riveting and yes even soldering, maybe re do a few pieces that were successful, maybe reinvent them a little, but generally hone in on technique. I might even do a few step by step projects from the magazines I subscribe to consolidate the re learning process.

And to finish off the year creatively I made these two pendants. The simple clean lines that I love - no soldering just simple metal forming. I was playing around  to see if I could make a mobius ring  inspired by my friend Annie's love of all things mobius. The ring bit didn't work for me but I loved twisting the metal and these were the happy result.

I'm feeling very positive about it all.........Roll on 2011 ...Happy New Year to you all........ Pin It

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I should be so Lucky - Lucky , Lucky, Lucky!

Yep, not Kylie Minogue but me! (Aussie reference for my US readers!)
 Today the postie delivered a package - I won a prize on a blog giveaway and today it arrived! Thanks so much Jacquie :)

Jacquie makes the most wonderfully luscious Body Products. My prize was the 'Energy' Body Butter from her Empire of Delight collection. And receiving this was a delight. First, the cool Art work on the Post Pak - I'll bet that made the postie smile, then the wrapping which made me smile, then the product packaging which was so classy and stylish and finally the Body Butter which smelt divine. I put some on my hands right away and now several hours later I'm in awe of how soft & smooth my usually wrinkled housewife hands feel.

Jacquie has an Etsy Shop and a web site which she is currently revamping, so check out her blog for updates.
Empire Of Delight sell at selected markets around Perth too so make sure you keep an eye out for her - she has a huge following locally for her awesome bath bombs too. Pin It

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree............

Each year when I unpack the tree,  I look at the box and silently wonder why my tree looks nothing like the picture on the box. The photo on the box is a lush Canadian faux Pine with dense branches full of greenery. On my tree the branches are not dense or lush and I can see the wall behind through all the gaps.

I muse on which family got the got the lovely Canadian Pine that was supposed to be packed in my box ;)

I was thinking about getting a real tree this year instead and found this article online about real versus fake trees. Real trees come out way in front despite the longevity of a fake tree - apparently fake trees are replaced every 6 to 9 years. Using that logic then, if I keep my tree out of landfill  for longer than the average 9 years then I'm reducing it's carbon footprint a bit more to try and even up the score.
So for the sake of the planet it's here to oversee many more Christmases with us. It's already done it's 9 years of duty as I have photos of the kids sitting in front of it in 2001 when we got our first digital camera.

Besides it brushes up pretty well when it's all dressed up.....and it doesn't drop pine needles either...

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Friday, November 19, 2010

Pickle Break out!

The other day I made up some pickle with a mix of vinegar & salt in a little container. I had a copper piece to pickle and I didn't want to use the same solution that I use for my silver jewellery.

I used the satay stick to stir the solution and the plastic forks to get my jewellery piece in and out and when I'd finished I just rested them across the container and walked away. Today I walked past and noticed this rather disturbing but none the less pretty scene.

Little did I know the pickle had aspirations to be a science experiment and would use these implements to transform and attempt an escape  :)

PS: for non  jewellery makers -  I'm not talking about the yummy crunchy green things we eat  but a solution to remove fire scale after soldering! Pin It

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quirky Earring Displays

The tardy blogger is back to show how I've been spending some of my time lately :)

I made a couple of pairs of Stud earrings and it occurred to me how hard it is to display such tiny pieces of jewellery so they aren't overlooked.
I accidentally came across The Graphics Fairy and loved all the vintage images there, I'm a big fan of the old fashioned black and white line drawings and lucked out to find this Phrenology head Image.

After playing with it  in Photoshop and Publisher, this is the result. I'm no expert in photoshop, but luckily my son was at hand to help me when I got "stuck".

The cards are two layers so one earring goes on the front and the other on the reverse side. The second photo shows the cards at an angle so you can see the mechanics of it all. They're about 8cm tall.

And just for fun, on the reverse side of the card, I substituted my own  words. (Click on the first pic to enlarge.)

Not actually sure if I'll ever use these, maybe one day at an indoor craft show (they're not windproof!) Either way they were fun to make and I learnt a few new Photoshop skills.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Button It Up!

I've had rather a constructive Sunday Morning today. I got up early with the intention of wasting it reading the Sunday Papers. But alas, it was not to be. The delivery people had thrown the paper under my son's car and there was no way I could reach it without getting on my hands and knees and crawling under the car. Given that I've got a dodgy knee  at the moment that wasn't going to happen, so I retreated back into the house for a sulk and a cuppa.
Instead of sulking though, after my cuppa, I got started on an idea I had been toying with for a jewellery piece. A few hours later this was the result - A Sterling Silver Faux Button Pendant! Hand fabricated and Hand sewn!

Of course, now i have lots of  other ideas for haberdashery related jewellery items, but they'll have to wait as Murray retrieved the paper and I've been catching up on all the non news instead.
Don't know about any one else, but in our house we spend a couple of hours reading the Sunday Paper and when we're finished we announce "There's nothing in this Paper - I don't know why we get it!!  Pin It

Sunday, August 15, 2010

All Fired Up!

Happy to finally put up a blog post to show something I've made. Creatively this year has been a bit of a non event for me, so it's great to be back into it again.
This term I enrolled at an enamelling class down at my favourite place of learning The Fremantle Arts Centre.
I've done 3 classes so far and I'm just loving it. Great teacher (Jacquie Sprogoe), great classmates and a relaxed, informative and enjoyable class.
I've nothing to show off from the class just yet - I'm doing a cloisonne piece at the moment and it's a work in progress but today, inspired by my lessons,  I fired up my kiln at home, (yes that poor neglected piece of equipment I purchased last year!) and had a play.
Just did a couple of simple sifted pieces but it gave me a bit of a feel for the firing times, how thick to put the layers on etc,  so all in all a good afternoons work and I realized I don't have to be scared of my kiln - it's actually quite user friendly! Using the kiln in class has given me a bit of confidence I think.

Here's the results - first one opaque white over copper and the second one was an unintentional but pleasant surprise with opaque white over opaque black. I've oxidised the edges of the copper too as I love the look of the blackish border around the pieces.

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Friday, August 06, 2010


In July we had the pleasure of a week's holiday in Bali.
Aussies, particularly those of us from the West are very spoiled in that it's a mere 3.5 hours flying time to Bali. We can be in a tropical paradise in the same travel time that that it would take to drive down to our State's beautiful South West Wine Region.  That and the fact that there are in excess of 60 Perth/Bali flights per week make it a popular international travel destination when we're not travelling locally.

Jewellery making readers of this blog know Bali as the place that those intricate Granulated and Filigree Sterling Silver Beads come from. And while Bali is the home to many talented Silversmiths it is so much more.


It's a place of contrasts - it's a place where you can trip over the uneven pavements and jump over the open drainage holes while making your way into the latest designer stores, or you can find yourself bargaining vigorously for a pair of "faux" designer sunglasses that end up costing a mere $3 in the markets.

Left: Gridlock Bali Style   Right: Kuta Roadside Temple

It's a place where you can pay $10 for a glass of wine in the hotel or opt for a cool Bintang Beer straight from an Esky for under $2 from a local beach bar while sitting under the shade of a tree on Kuta beach.

Left: Under the Shade At Kuta Beach   Right: Legian Beach

I looked out from my 4th floor balcony of the hotel and looked over thatched rooftops of people's homes. But it's not all shopping, eating and drinking. Away from the shops, and the motor bikes and scooters, Bali has beautiful countryside and culture to explore - Kintamani & Ubud and lots more.

View from our 4th Floor Hotel Balcony - The Haven, Seminyak

We took a day trip to the Ubud Area, renowned for it's Art Markets. I bought this beaded Wicker Basket. The bead weaving is done in 2 drop peyote stitch. This was a stitch I enjoyed in my Bead weaving days.Having bought this,  I was thrilled and horrified at the same time. Thrilled to own a piece of this work (I got it as a pressie for my daughter) but sad at the low price we paid for the hours of work that this would have taken. We paid 100,000 rupiahs which is about $12AUD.  Having said that, our driver said we paid an OK price (as in weren't ripped off) but 80,000  rups would have been better!


Bali's a great holiday with lots to see & do and lovely countryside and culture to explore but by far, the greatest asset Bali has is the Balinese people :) Pin It

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

What's Black & White & Read all Over?

During the last few years, within the extended family we agreed to give money instead of buying Birthday Presents.
It's Dad's Birthday this month and he'll get money too. He's really good and when he spends the money he makes a point of telling us what he's bought. He never lets it be absorbed or just disappear into the household budget.
There's good and bad to this system. Good because it's so easy for the trawling the shops wondering what to buy and will he/they like it etc etc...but it's bad because I always feel a little guilty at the lack of effort required on my part and maybe it's a tad boring for the receiver.
To ease my guilt I always try and wrap the money nicely, so it looks gift like rather than money just shoved in a card! 
Dad follows the stock market so I based my wrapping on the share price page from the newspaper.  I  made a gift bag from an A4 copy of the page (the actual newspaper was a bit flimsy to use), and copied a second page to make the gift card and Heart. Trimmed with red card and sealed with a red paperclip, it's all set to soon as I put the money in it, that is! 

I've really enjoyed looking through all the paper craft blogs to get gift wrap ideas. I'm going to try not to use any commercial gift wraps this year.
I found  two versions of the Gift Bag Tutorial, here where the sample is a music score/page and here where they've used pages from discarded children's books. And while I'm throwing links around, here's a Paper and Craft Paradise  where I've dropped quite a few hours - enjoy! Pin It

Monday, May 31, 2010


I've looked back through my posts so far this year which have been few and far between and I can't help noticing that I was Gunna Do this or Gunna Do that.
Well I'm reporting back and to tell the truth not a lot of it has been done.
For instance I haven't touched the negative scanner that I blogged about in January, it is sitting here mocking me as it gathers dust. In fact it's dropped of the To Do List indefinitely now!
In that same post I mentioned Decluttering and Healthier eating etc. The Decluttering is an ongoing thing - sort of one step forward and two steps back. The more I get rid of,  it seems the more other "stuff" comes into the house -usually via the other family members! It's like the universe is saying to every piece of stuff  "Hey come over here - we've got some free space to fill now - you'll fit right in!"
The good news from that blog post is I've decluttered a couple of kilos, I'm exercising fairly regularly and I'm generally healthier than I was then!

My blog post in March I was gunna create wonders with my new dies and the hyraulic press - well I did manage to create a mess!

My hydraulic press is manual and I obviously gave it one too many cranks as I broke the die and the metal cut through in places - that was not meant to happen! Shame because that was my favourite shape but I do still  have the large size and the small size die left to play with later....probably a lot later.........

It's not all negative though, I've had sporadic bursts of creativity and made myself a ring with an enamel dome I made when I first got my kiln last June, when the kiln was my hot blogging topic and I was gunna do lots of enamelling.
Here it is:

I really want to fire up the kiln again and start experimenting with more enamel work but well.........I'm not gunna make any promises about when!! Pin It

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Six of The Best........................

Western Australia is full of talented Artisans and today I'm promoting some of my  friends that I have met and befriended via the online crafting community. I hope to feature other Artisans from time to time in Future posts too.
As we all need to do our bit for the environment by shopping locally where possible, I hope you'll support them too :)

In no particular order I present:


Modern Homewares Beautiful Fabrics transformed to brighten up your Ironing Board or cover and carry your Casserole Dish or keep that Tea Pot warm and cosy.

 Empire Of Delight Luxury luscious Bath Products. Spoil yourself or someone special with Strawberry Surprise Bath Bombs, Secret Devilry poppyseed Soap, Exfoliating Scrubs, Silky Lip Balms and much more.

Letters For Lilly  Made to Order  Bespoke Bridal Design -  Featuring a delightful and modern version of a bridal bouquet,  beautiful, whimsical and everlasting - a memorable keepsake that  can be handed down as heirlooms.

 Polyclarific Beads, Buttons, Magnets, Jewellery expertly made from Polymer Clay. A diverse collection including beautiful organic Necklaces and the Cool Retro 1950's collection. Sign up to their newsletter for offers and discounts.

Tea For Bini  Fun painted 'paper' Airplanes swoop across canvas skies.
Painted Mixtapes, Typewriters and Videos live on to adorn our walls, or keep your notes and secret writings in a cute decorated Moleskin journal.

I Heart Charlie Wonderful textile creations from our Beautiful South West. Find one of a kind or limited edition Journals and Tote Bags and pouches. Pleated and Pin tucked goodness. Pin It

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When snow turns to sludge!

I bought some fabulous Agate Drusy cabs and decided to set one in a ring. I didn't want anything fancy - just a nice simple bezel type setting.
As you can see below, that's what I made - all went well with the metal work, making the bezel setting and all that - here's the finished ring.......

Actually though, it all went pear shaped at the last minute.
The stone started off as a lovely snow white, frosty, sugary WHITE stone. By the time I finished it was a GRAY! My snow had turned to sludge!

Here's what happened - The stone was straight sided so I couldn't set the bezel in the traditional way of pushing it over the stone. I decided to use 2 part epoxy. I had done some research (um, web surfing) and discovered that the use of glue to set stones is frowned upon in many jewellery circles -Warning: please turn away now if that's you ;) - but as I didn't want to do other fancy settings, it was my only option.
So, I carefully selected a top of the range Ultra clear epoxy - (8 mls for $9.40 - hey, that's only the equivalent of $1175 a litre - it should do the job - argh!!)

Meanwhile, the white stone against the polished silver looked a little bland, so I oxidised the ring with Liver of Sulfur to get a bit of contrast. I did this before setting the stone so I wouldn't discolour it (Ha Ha - that's ironic!). I gave the inside of the setting a quick sand to remove the oxidisation there and later on I glued the stone in and set it aside.
On checking it later, I was shocked to find my white stone had turned gray.

I'm thinking that I mustn't have removed all the oxidisation properly inside the setting and a chemical reaction of some kind occurred that caused the remaining oxidisation & the epoxy to be absorbed into the porous stone. Any metalworkers or lapidary people out there who can shed some light on it? All suggestions and theories welcome as I still want to make myself one of these rings with my remaining stones and I'd like the stone to stay white next time!

The story does have a happy ending though. My stockist liked the monochromatic purple/gray shades of the finished ring anyway and happily took it to put in her shop. Pin It

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dieing to Press

Last year we bought home a hydraulic press that my late Dad in Law made. It's a heavy, rusty, oil leaking contraption that looks like it's more suited to a torture chamber but I'm excited that it's going to help create some things of beauty...!

At the time, I managed to get a small Acrylic offcut from a Shop fitting Laser Place and sawed out my own die. My piercing went a bit wonky - I don't think I had the right saw blade for Acrylic - yes I know - Excuses Excuses, but it did the job and I managed to Die Press this elongated oval shape. You pretty much sandwich the metal between the acrylic die and a piece of polyurethane and press away. The pressure pushes the flexible polyurethane into the metal which in turn pushes the metal into the void of the die to make a domed shape. Very cool!
Here's my first can see that my die isn't symmetrical or smooth but I was happy enough with the resulting metal piece.

Today the postie bought me these super duper laser cut dies below. I couldn't decide which shape to get, so I got the lot. Designed by Nanz Aalund, see how smooth and symmetrical they are...and in asst sizes and great shapes too!

I hope to introduce my new dies to the hydraulic press and give them a workout this weekend! I'll report back......... Pin It

Friday, January 15, 2010

2010 - Happy New Year!!

The Tardy Blogger is dropping in to say Happy New Year!

I haven't made any resolutions for this year. The pressure of keeping them is too hard. Instead I have my "Perpetual To Do List" to work my way through.

I'm going to mention a couple of things on the list publicly because somehow I feel that makes me accountable and they may actually get done!

First, Personally - Just the usual one - keep fit, eat healthily etc etc. (Ho Hum - I hear you say!) So far so good,my first mini goal is to lose the Xmas weight, We (Murray & I) are actually calorie counting and exercising and I'm spending way too much time on this website. It's a mine of info - did you know that a mini candy cane has 16 calories/67kilojoules? Armed with this vital info, I've been able to eat many a day and still stay within my daily calorie allowance ;)
Hopefully they'll be finished soon.......

Second is to organise the photos (yes, I can hear you rolling around the floor laughing at this one) I have 25 years worth, since we madly started snapping when the firstborn came along - not doing anything fancy - no scrap-booking - just going to get them in date order and scan them - if I can identify the dates that is.
Murray heard this one and bought me this handy little gadget above for scanning in negatives. Looks promising but we're still experimenting with it.

I won't bore you with the details of the other personal goals, they generally involve, cupboards/cleaning/de cluttering. All words that strike fear into the hearts of my family members.

Creatively though - I've already completed one task I set my self which was to list some stock on Etsy.
I went one better and listed the items on Made It too for those who prefer to shop in our local currency. Tick!

Secondly, I also intend to do some more enamelling. After the fuss I made waiting for my kiln, I'm ashamed to say I've done nothing much with it since the initial rush of enthusiasm some 6 months ago. I plan to rectify that this stay tuned....

PS: a Ferrero Roche chocolate has a mere 72 calories! Pin It