Sunday 21 December 2008

I Flickr

Opened a Flickr account yesterday. Was surprisingly painless! Hopefully this is a sign of my increasing ability to know what I'm doing. It could have had something to do with reading the instructions carefully though . . .

Just photos also on Folksy right now but give it time . . .

Friday 19 December 2008

Butterflies and fallen trees

I saw a butterfly today . . .

And, not exactly winter cheer but certainly some brightness and colour, I took some photos of a fallen tree, dead for a couple of years and felled by a gust of wind too strong for its withered rootball.

Wonderful textures (and I do love texture!) and amazing to see, up close, the life within and upon the tree.

I'd have taken a photo of the butterfly but, in December, I really wasn't expecting to see one!

Folksy result!

Things have gone well on Folksy. I've sold far more than I expected to in far shorter a space of time. Well, let's face it, I did suspect I might not sell anything at all. But, so far (and probably all that will be sold before next year. Assuming anything sells next year . . . ) I've sold five items to four buyers. Yes, someone even wanted two pieces of jewellery which left me feeling just ever so slightly chuffed!

So, if nothing else, I've covered the cost of listing although probably not the hours it's taken me, as I've found it very consuming of time; taking photos, getting them the right size (after finding out how to get them the right size), working out just how the listing works, then going back and doing it properly, then making right what went wrong and I didn't notice had gone wrong etc. But, that aside, it is a nice buzz when someone actually likes your work enough to part with money for it, and even nicer when you find out they really like it when they receive it too! I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever get over jewellery-related low self-esteem . . .

I've been experimenting with backgrounds and props with my photography, making the most of the sun when it came out on Saturday after spending what felt like a brief eternity sulking behind grey clouds. I'm quite pleased with the results and that I got out of my 'comfort zone' and tried something new. It may not seem dramatic but different coloured pebbles seem to have made a big difference to the way the silver looks, even if it's just to me!

I also used the elegant hand/arm prop:

I messed around with a black background as well but it dulled the clarity of the silver and meant the texture of it was lost so unless I learn a little more about cameras and perhaps have a better quality one at my disposal, I might well steer clear of that idea for now. The first photo is, obviously, on a black background. The second is, again obviously, not.

See what I mean?

But this (and Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, writing cards - all of which seems to have taken at least twice as long as it ever has before this year) has meant that actually making the jewellery, you know, taking bits of silver and then fashioning attractive items from them, has been sitting on the back burner, feeling a bit neglected and wondering if I've forgotten it.

I've not. I've got plans for the new year, have been looking through notes, letting ideas formulate and percolate . . . although I must try and remember that just because I've made something once doesn't mean I can't make it again. It'll never be exactly the same, handmade jewellery - made by me anyway! - just doesn't work like that, so I know when I find a design I like I can revisit it, even develop and adapt it. But I always seem to find the urge to try something new just a little too tempting . . . Perhaps a New Year's resolution is in order.

Saturday 13 December 2008

More items listed . . . and a first Folksy sale!

I've listed a few more pieces on Folksy today, although not as many as I would have done as I needed to take some more photos and the weather has bee so dull and abysmal that the natural light just isn't up to it. Must make one of those handy white boxes I've read about . . . although I don't know how much that'll help with the light. Hmm.

But some more listings anyway.

And my first Folksy sale came on Thursday, just before I was heading out to my silversmithing class! One of my leaf pendants, which always attract attention.

I've another finished and one, a smaller one, as a work in progress but nearly done. I've also a tiny one nearly finished, and some potential tiny ones to create. They're all individual which can make them tough to part with . . .

But I've listed one of my silver ladies

and if I can part with them then I can part with anything!

Progress is slow right now though, with Christmas shopping seeming to take several years to finish . . .

Thursday 11 December 2008

Photos sorted! Big sigh of relief . . .

Yes, my photos are looking a lot better now. Phew.

Many thanks to a couple of fellow Folksians who were generous with time and expertise in helping me figure out just what I was doing wrong. It was kind of obvious really. Ahem. But these things often are.

Anyway, check out the wonderful shops of Paperleaf and Random Hamster, both of whom are true stars and sell lovely stuff too!

Saturday 6 December 2008

More listed

More items listed now. A bit tricky getting the hang of the cropping of photos. And I'm not happy with the quality of the photos I'm using anyway, although some seem better than others.


I've had a go at sorting things out but it's not gone too well. Or rather, I haven't been able to get the results I want. Google is all fine and dandy when you know exactly the right words to use . . . !

Thursday 4 December 2008

The shop is open!

Well, just.

I've got one item up so far although I'm hoping the first one is the trickiest to do!

Have a look-see here if you fancy:

Saturday 29 November 2008

Silver Hearts

A selection of pretty silver hearts, all easily strung on ribbon, although a chain necklace could also be used.

All these hearts measure around 2cm (about three quarters of an inch) and I use about 28 inches of ribbon, to make it easy to tie a bow at the back.

Silver heart 1

Silver heart 2
on purple ribbon

Silver heart 3
on lilac organza ribbon

Silver heart 4
on round purple ribbon

Silver heart 5
on pale blue ribbon

Wednesday 26 November 2008

First Craft Fair Done!

The First Craft Fair is over. It's unjust to call it a disaster but not quite right to classify it as a resounding success. Jewellery was sold (two necklaces, two pairs of earrings), business cards were taken, compliments were received (more than sales!).

It wasn't an auspicious start though. Being my first craft fair as a stallholder I can't deny that I didn't really know what I was doing. So I rolled up at the venue, a couple of helpers at hand, and found the map that directed me to my table. It was by the door, the wide open door where all the other stallholders were entering and exiting by as they set up, and, confusingly, it was at an angle, as if it was an entrance table where people paid their fee before perusing the rest of the stalls.

So was I sharing the table with the entry fee takers?
Was I meant to be the entry fee table?
And just where was I going to put all my bags and bits and pieces if the back of my stall was in the middle of the room?

The kindness and helpfulness of other stallholders I'd heard rumour of came to the fore and the consensus seemed to be that this was the entrance only for stallholders, and it would be shut when the fair started, and my table moved in front of it (despite the fire exit signs above it . . . ).

Which meant I now knew just where the front of my table was and could start to dress it. Not easy to do though when you're as good as in the centre of the room, generally in the way, and having to contend with the cold from the door and the increasingly strong breeze that was making its way in as well. The latter certainly isn't ideal when the things you're laying out tend to be on the light side, especially pendants strung on ribbon, and the organza bags I was using as part of my table display (doubling up as gift bags) really didn't like this!

But we prevailed and the stall was set up (which takes longer than you think when you've nigh on 70 items of jewellery to lay out!), mostly to the plan I'd been practising with at home. The table was then, very carefully, lifted and moved into place. And nothing fell over or out of place! A success!

Here's what it looked like, although it was still a bit of a work in progress at the stage, and the table hadn't been moved into place:

The people who, apparently due to bad signing, thought this was the entrance to the fair weren't quite so impressed however, when they had to go all the way back around the building to the official entrance.

But, hey, I was set up, the (official) doors were open, and people were actually stopping to look at the jewellery on my stall! I decided against grinning like a loon and just sat looking interested but not pushy. Well, that's my hope anyway.

It took nearly two hours for any sales to occur and I was a nervous, but happy, wreck by the end of the transaction. Not long after, someone else bought a pair of earrings, one of my favourite pairs that had taken a fair bit of work and were made purely from silver. She seemed to really like them, and was buying them as a gift, which was quite a buzz.

Then a long lull. Admittedly I was pretty happy now I knew that I wasn't going home having sold nothing, but, still, I was rather hoping for a bit more selling than just interest. The interest was good though, don't get me wrong, and it was fascinating to hear people's comments. "Delicate" seemed to be a common one.

But the long lunch-time quiet came and went. Sandwiches were consumed - by pretty much all the stall holders - and for a while the room was empty of fair-goers.

I nipped to the loo. I returned to an interested customer! She liked two pendants and I offered her a deal but, sensible shopper that she was, she decided which she liked best and bought that.

And then it was almost time to put the jewellery back into all the tiny plastic bags I'd fetched it in, as neatly as rushing slightly allowed, and discover if it was possible to fit everything, including display props, back into the bags I'd fetched it in. It wasn't . . . And this discovery wasn't helped by the fact I was by the door the other stallholders all wanted to leave by. In the end, it was easier to carefully shift the table back into the middle of the room again, but that bit of added pressure may just have made it trickier to make all my things fit where they should. But, with minimal damage, and at least some sales, the day was done.

What did I learn?
Well, chances are you'll always find someone who has sold less than you and more than you - in this case it was on the stalls either side of me.
That other stallholders are pretty nice.
That a big dish of sweets on the front of your stall could be a good idea.
That cheaper prices is probably a better one.
And that my stall lay out seemed a little . . . flat.

So that's quite a lot to work with and be getting on with until . . .

The Second Craft Fair!

Right. Where next...?

Thursday 13 November 2008

And, at last, here's some jewellery . . .

I should also very soon have some items for sale in my Folksy shop - I'll post the link here when it's done!

Wednesday 12 November 2008

First Craft Fair approaches!

Another long gap between blog entries. This time my excuse/reason/feeble explanation is by way of a trip to Scotland to see family. Naturally enough, this took place when snow appeared in October for the first time in officially yonks. I was lucky - flights were not affected (and Gatwick wasn't too busy despite an airline going bust on the morning I was due to fly). And I was even luckier when the plane began to descend above mountains in Scotland and I was rewarded with the sight of, well, why bother with words when I can show this:

Of course, snow means cold and we had a chilly few days but then things heated up (okay, weren't so cold, but the contrast with the snow-cold meant things seemed warmer than they were!) and the sun could be felt. We headed off to Roseisle

where I found a few of the wonderful pebbles that cover parts of the beach here, and at nearby Findhorn, and have fetched them home with me, hoping to be able to incorporate them with silver somehow,

and Dulcie Bridge, or rather, the view from said bridge.

But, hold on. Isn't this blog about, er, silver and jewellery and stuff like that? And doesn't a certain First Craft Fair appear to be looming on the horizon? Yes and yes. And so, back in England, I've been busy working through several lists (I made one big one then cannibalized it into three smaller ones, the first about jewellery itself, the second about how to display it and the third about everything that didn't fit into the previous two headings), and getting things done, making up on lost time a little too.

I changed the soap in my tumble polisher which has made a massive difference to the quality of the shine on the jewellery (um, hang on. I've just remembered I set it running and it needs checking. Back in a minute! Wait, I'm going to save this first . . . Right, Back again. Just swapping over from one chain to another as, having spent a good 15 minutes untangling two chains (despite them being wrapped around separate bangles) yesterday, I'm now polishing them one at a time . . .). And I finished this afternoon four pieces, two pendants and two bracelets that had needed doing for a long while now. I've also been making up some chains (hence the polishing) and finishing up any little things that should have been done and hadn't been done. Which seemed to be quite a lot . . .

I’m also working on how I’m actually going to set my stall out, how the table will be designed, where the various bits of jewellery will go. Apparently, the thing to do is take a photo of it when you like it, print it up, then use it as a guide on the day. So I shall try to do this, even as I’m increasingly convinced that as long as it all fits on the stall and can be seen then, this time at least, I’ll be happy.

Quick update before I post this! Today, I managed to break a plastic crate that I was going to store things in; I discovered three chain necklaces I'd made up were not able to be used as I'd managed to solder the clasps I'd also made on incorrectly; and the jump ring on a pendant came off as I tried to fix it to one of the chain necklaces that did work . . . Oh well. Let's hope I'm getting it all out of the way before the craft fair this Saturday . . .

Wednesday 22 October 2008

Over the sea and back again.

Been a little quiet as my boyfriend visiting and a trip away have put jewellery making very slightly to one side. We went to Guernsey in the Channel Islands, and were incredibly fortunate with the weather for such a late season holiday. Hence much wandering around in the sun, commenting on the sun and wondering just why this wonderful sun was out and was shining on us so warmly when instead the weather should really have been either raining or windy. Or both.

Despite Guernsey having several silversmithing and jewellery workshops open to the public I managed to not get to see any of them. Probably down to that sun just keeping appearing and distracting me . . .

But I did find some wonderful beaches with shells in abundance and shells mean jewellery. I made up a few pendants last year, with shells garnered from beaches in Jersey, and I decided to collect a 'few' beauties from this holiday as well. So small bags in my handbag would just keep filling themselves up . . . I found a stunning array on a west coast beach on our first full day on the island :

And a day trip to the island of Herm led to the famous Shell Beach which, naturally, had plenty on display, but also the discovery of Belvoir Bay where the amount of shells, many so so tiny, piled up in swathes around the rocks made me a bit giddy in a Shell-heaven way . . . :

Again, on Herm the truly beautiful weather made a lovely day even more special. The beaches were almost deserted -as was the entire island - but the weather, while not balmy hot, was certainly short-sleeved quality:

Back to the real world now . . .

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Signs . . .

I have a sign now. For the craft fair, mostly, although it's kind of nice to look at anyway, and a good reminder of the work I still need to do.

Back to my silversmithing night class this last week, as well, where a fair bit of nattering and catching-up ensued and a little bit of filing some silver as well. It is possibly to to both simultaneously but it's not quite as much fun so first night back is always a little slow on the work front.

Saturday 13 September 2008

A slow week for making things . . . but always a silver lining . . .

Not been the best weeks for actual jewellery making but rather more successful in finding things to display jewellery on! Yes, thoughts of the craft fair remain ever near . . .

A charity shop (Help The Aged - I'll give them a credit although it's never easy to find the same thing in other branches . . . ho ho) had a bundle of items out in the street (pedestrianised) and sitting right on top of them was this:

A potential jewellery display stand!

I hmmed and ahhed a bit. It was £2.99 which isn't much but is if you're trying to make money, not spend it. Then, indecision over, I bought it. The woman on the till (young. For some reason, Help The Aged seems to attract young volunteers, far more so than any of the other charity shops. If anyone knows why then please share! It's not important, I'm just nosy . . . ) asked what it was. I was stumped.

"I don't know," I said, "but I'm planning on using it to display jewellery." Which she agreed was fair enough.

Then I noticed a ring of metal within the structure, not dissimilar to the support you'd find . . . for a lightbulb in a lampshade. We commented a little on this, trying to work out exactly how the actual shade would fit over the curves.

I still have no idea. But I'm not too worried as I have a nice jewellery stand to go with . . . my other one!

This one is not second-hand and is what it says on the tin, or whatever metal it's made from. It is for jewellery display and should prove pretty handy for bracelets and earrings.

The first one will be more suitable for necklaces, I think, although a little experimentation at home led me to realise that it wasn't as tall as I thought and the necklaces wouldn't hang straight down. But it turns out this means the last third of them can be laid artfully on the table so not a disaster, in fact, probably a more effective display than if they just hang vertically as, this way, they should be 'more available to the eye'.

I decided to put that in quotations because it sounds like something someone who knows about such things would say. Ahem.

So, some photos, at last.

But, no, none of my jewellery yet. I see a new goal ahead - and will attend to it shortly! Honest! Otherwise you'll start to wonder if I actually make jewellery or just fantasise about it . . .

Sunday 7 September 2008

A First Post

The blog has to start somewhere and this is where mine does. My first craft fair looms - okay, it's slightly under three months away but I want to be ready early.

So now I have a goal, an aim, and that's what I'm going to do, focus on that. And if it doesn't go too well, then a lot of family and friends are going to get jewellery as gifts this Christmas . . .

And since I have this aim, I decided I should start the blog I'd been meaning to start for quite a while!

Works in progress:

Two necklaces
One bracelet
Two pairs of earrings

All embarked upon with a soldering torch this past weekend, although they've been in production since I discovered the wonderful things you can do with a rolling mill.

Actually, the bracelet has yet to go under the soldering torch. That should happen today. Or tomorrow . . .

Other works in progress:

Pretty much everything else because, let's face it,most things always need a little more tweaking, cleaning, polishing, refining.

So my aim at present (as a minor aim to the major aim of the craft fair, if that makes sense . . . ) is to have a box of 'Completely Finished Items' and to ensure it grows weekly.

Also a work in progress is My Ultimate Craft Fair Preparation/To Do List. You can never have enough To Do Lists. I'm trying to keep this one to one page though . . and to avoid writing a To Do List about it . . .
You never know, it might even get posted here.

Tune in soon for pictures! No, not of the List . . . of the jewellery . . . but you knew I meant that.