Thursday 4 December 2014

Jewelled Web - December 2014 - Link Love

Jewelled Web - December 2014 - silver moss jewellery

As you can tell by the tardiness of this post, December/Christmas/the end of the world year has caught me a little on the hop this time around. It feels like everything I do is pretty much playing catch up. But I figured a little respite through blogging would serve me well, if only in creating the (entirely false) impression that I really am on on top of things...

So, if you're feeling a little like me, put aside the online shopping, cast away the pile of Christmas cards to write and post, and entirely ignore the pile of bags that contain numerous gifts that needed wrapping... and take a look at some of these links instead...

~jewellery links~

A wonderful collection of stunning rings. (Be careful with the Bored Panda site as it's addictive. It's also got the kind of name that makes people wonder just how bored you were to find it...)

Searching for a genesis moment to define what you make?

A couple of great photographing jewellery posts, here and here.

Beautiful bird earrings!

It make feel quite wintery now (i.e. cold, dark, grey) but the thought of making sea glass jewellery takes me straight to the summer again...

I also must must must make one of these wrapped bead rings - I just love them.

~non-jewellery links~

Every year I get out a small plastic bag which contains a knitting pattern, wool, and a pair of needles. And every year I am yet again bested by yarn crafts. If I could knit, and well, I would knit these beautiful Mermaid gloves.

See how dangerous Bored Panda is? Check out these video-camera-toting squirrels. Also, fantastic DIY Christmas trees. Also, amazing photos that look like dreams. Also, the memories this little boy will wonder why he hasn't got when he looks at these photos in twenty years time. Also - okay, I'm stopping now.

What would your four-year-old self do?

Such a pretty notebook.

How to keep your arms warm in winter (and feel like an elf!).

Too many choices can be worse than not enough?

And, finally, I shall be listening to my wonderful digital radio this month, mainly tuned to Smooth Christmas - well worth a listen if you love Christmas music.


Enjoy your December as best you can - I will try to do the same! Now, where are those Christmas cards...?

Thursday 27 November 2014

The Round The World Blog Hop - Silver Moss Jewellery

baroque earrings - silver moss jewellery I must confess that when I was first contacted about being involved in the Round The World Blog Hop, I'd not heard of it before. Perhaps part of the reason why it hadn’t crossed my notice is that no one seems to know where it was started or by whom... (if you do know, then do share the information please!)

So, if like I did, you need bringing up to date then let me tell you that the idea behind the Blog Hop is for creative bloggers, of any kind, to write a post based around four simple questions. The answers they provide gives an insight into their creative thoughts and processes. The blog ‘baton’ is then passed on to another artisan and so the trip around the globe continues.

Emma from Little Cherry Hill has passed this baton to me. Her blog centres around her wonderful jewellery, consisting of silver and gemstones, put together with heaps of inspiration and imagination to create stunningly beautiful jewellery. It's well worth checking out as her her own great Round The World post here.

Here are the four questions, and my answers, along with a few photos as well. Hope you enjoy.

1. What am I working on?

I've just finished making a gift this very day, but aside from that I've been working on creating silver leaves from wire (which I love to do) and developing an idea I had earlier in the year for simple circles of wire combined with circles of melted silver.

jupiter trio - silver moss jewellery

Heart shapes have apeared on my work bench lately (another design I love to make), as has a little copper wire. My stash of gemstones is a little neglected at the moment, as is my copper clay, but I'm hoping to at least utilise the former very soon as I've been playing around with some 'charm' ideas to use with them.

I've also been making some silver leaves as I find they tend to inspire at any time of year, whether it’s when they fall to the ground in the breeze and pool in stunning colours, when they start to shrivel and hide under snow, when they begin to bud and are so fresh and new, or when they’re in their prime, rich with summer colour and life.

new leaves - silver moss jewellery 

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

My work tends to be quite personal and led by the materials I have at hand - I don't tend to order supplies in very often and like to find inspiration in what I find in front of me when I open my box of wire, sheet and remnants from previous projects.

Much of what I create is very delicate-looking, a style I've always enjoyed working in. Whilst silver sheet has many uses, the way wire can be moulded and manipulated with pliers (and fingers!) allows me to express designs in a satisfying manner most of the time anyway. I also enjoy the challenge of making sure the finished piece is far tougher than it looks by work-hardening it with hammers and polishing.

citrine and silver - silver moss jewellery

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

I create silver jewellery because I love to do so. I find it frustrating, difficult and even painful at times, and yet the joy of a finished piece is pretty wonderful. I'm often tempted by the thought of dabbling in other crafts, but have built up years of experience working with silver and find that is so valuable in helping me create when I have in my mind's eye. I also believe that focus is very important and that concentrating on one craft will allow that focus to become ever more sharp and honed. I also know that I need to keep reminding myself of this as it’s too easy to get distracted!

dragonfly - silver moss jewellery

I love being inspired by the natural world, as in the dragonfly pendant I made (above) and enjoy creating variations on what I originally make - the wings of the dragonfly 'evolved' from the designs of the earrings shown in the photo right at the top of this post. I enjoy developing style ideas, especially in my wire leaves and hearts; they both lend themselves to this as it’s far easier to make them different than to make them alike!

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

Much of my inspiration comes from nature, seeing the lines and curves that exist in trees and leaves and plants has a big impact on me. Once I have an idea the best way to hold it so I can work on it later (because, of course, inspiration strikes when you're nowhere near a workbench) is to do a very rough scribble of it in a notebook. That allows me to return to the idea and elaborate upon it which I normally do by working in the material I want to create it in.

jupiter earrings - silver moss jewellery

This allows me to know whether the piece of jewellery will actaully work in its finished form and whether I have to tools to create it how I want to make it look. Then, once I have a prototype made up I can develop the style to add flourishes and refinements.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading through my responses to the questions. It’s been an interesting process answering them; although they seem quite simple queries, you can mine them fairly deeply to find things that clarify why we do what we do.

I'm passing the Round The World Blog Hop baton onto Heather from Moon River Jewellery who works in silver clay and creates the most beautiful leaves and butterflies, as well as special 'fingerprint' jewellery amongst other wonderful items.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Instant fame

As I mentioned in my last Jewelled Web, I've been featured in a magazine this month, the December (I know! I never understand magazine dates either...) issue of Make and Sell Jewellery, which is a very nice magazine even if I do say so myself, and am slightly biased this month at the very least...

I often have a bit of trouble finding the magazine but, this month, eventually spotted a copy tucked away at the back of the shelf at WH Smiths, who obviously don't appreciate how important jewellery mags really are.

make & sell jewellery magazine dec 14 - silver moss blogmake and sell jewellery magazine dec 14 - silver moss blog

Rather nervously (how odd to feel that) flicking through the issue (too impatient to check the contents...well, I did try but realised I wasn’t sure what subject heading I’d be under) I found myself (so to speak) on page 18, (subject heading - Bookmark This! (sub-heading - Blog of the Month)) along with several photos of my work and a link to this very blog.

It was a slightly awkward feeling... I've noticed many jewellery makers seem to be very much behind-the-scenes type of people, letting the jewellery they create do the talking, and I guess I'm no different, so being in a magazine, even in a small way, feels a little... revealing.

Anyway, do let me know if you pick up a copy and check out my mini-interview and my moment of glory!

Monday 10 November 2014

Interview - KS Jewellery Designs

Welcome to the first of my interviews with fellow jewellery makers.

One of the joys of blogging when you also craft is 'discovering' other makers on the net, and Kristin of KS Jewellery Designs has always been one my favourites.

Kristin's work is characterised by its intricate use of silver and often includes gemstones in a variety of different types. She also sells detailed tutorials of some her wirework designs.

I hope you enjoy finding out a little more about her and her beautiful work...

When and how did you start making jewellery?

I first decided to have a go at making jewellery back in 2007.  I bought a cheap ‘Make Your Own Bracelet’ kit from eBay which came with materials and instructions.  Using my husband’s old tools, I made a bead charm bracelet.  I was very proud of it, although it didn’t last long and the charms kept falling off!  It was then I decided to look into better methods for attaching beads and, following a book I borrowed from the library,I learnt how to make a ‘wrapped loop’.  My journey had started.

I developed my wirework skills over a number of years and then in 2013, I attended an adult education class for one day a week in silversmithing.  I challenged myself to learn a new skill or learn how to use a new tool every week.  My teacher was brilliant and I tried to absorb as much information from her as possible, asking lots of questions and picking her brain about soldering issues I was having at home.  She was very patient with me and, after two terms, I felt I was able to go it alone and learn from my own experiences, in other words ‘mistakes’!  I am still learning and experimenting but it’s so much fun.

How did you think of your shop name and does it have a story behind it?

I started off selling my jewellery under the name ‘K S Sparkles’!  I had a small stock of beaded jewellery for sale in my local post office and was delighted if anyone bought anything.  However, after reading a book entitled ‘Marketing and Selling your Jewellery’ by VikiLareau, I learnt that ‘brand’ is very important and it said that ideally your company name should include what you do/sell.  As I design and sell jewellery pieces and wirework tutorial designs, I ended up with ‘K S Jewellery Designs’.  Not very exciting I know!

Where do your design ideas come from and what is the process that sees them through to the finished product? Do you doodle on paper or take photos for inspiration? Do your designs then evolve on paper or in your hand as you make them? Do you experiment with the metal you create finished designs in, or do you use a base/cheaper metal for experimentation?

I love using flower and leaves in my jewellery designs, so I suppose I am influenced by nature.  However, in saying that, you will not find me sketching real flowers and trees.  I do take lots of photos of flowers but I like to zoom into the centre of a flower with my macro lens to capture pattern and shapes.

I regularly use a sketchbook in my design process, sometimes just to draw out a quick idea that I don’t want to forget and other times to develop a swirl or a shape into a jewellery design I will then go on to make.  My designs are simplified versions of nature, focusing on shapes and lines. I always say to people that the flowers in my jewellery are like the flower doodles I drew through my childhood but now I am doodling with wire.

KS Jewellery Designs - Tutorial image

Sometimes my jewellery designs come from playing with wire and a pair of pliers.  For example, the subject of my latest wirework tutorial, Swirl Leaves, came about when I was at a craft fair looking for something to do during the quiet times.  I picked up my tools and started making shapes with wire.  I used to use plated craft wire to practise my designs but it has its limitations and becomes brittle with too much bending.  Now I prefer to trial designs with copper wire first. It is very soft and malleable, as well as being much cheaper than sterling silver.

Where do you create your jewellery; do you have your own studio or use a kitchen table? Does your physical space affect how you work and what you create?

I am very lucky to have my workbench in our sitting room overlooking the back garden which is a step away through a patio door.  We have a large open plan L-shaped room and my workspace covers one wall.  I used to do all my jewellery making at a small computer table but now I have a long workbench with storage and shelving that my clever husband built for me.  Working within the family living area has its advantages and disadvantages.  It is good because most of the time I can get on with my jewellery making and still be aware of everyone else and not feel cut off from the rest of my family.  However, as you can imagine, sometimes I would love to have a door to shut so I could concentrate without the distractions.  I am quite a messy worker with tools and materials everywhere but because my workbench cannot be hidden away, I do have to keep it tidy especially if we have guests.

How do you motivate yourself to keep on creating?

In the past I have had periods when I have felt my ‘mojo’ has left me.  It would often happen after a long holiday or maybe after Christmas when I had hardly thought about my jewellery making let alone created anything. I am pleased to say that motivation is not a problem for me at the moment as I always have lots of things to keep me occupied and seem to never have enough time.  With the onset of Christmas, I am trying to build up my stock for future craft fairs.  I get quite a lot of ring orders from my websites so I regularly have custom orders to complete. There are often new wirework designs I could develop into a tutorial, as well as new designs I want to try and make.

KS Jewellery Design - silver heart ring

What jewellery making tools could you just not do without, and what tool/item is on your wish list?

My chain nose pliers are the most important tool to me, without them I couldn’t shape wire.  I have had several pairs over the years and have learnt to buy the best quality I can afford.  After that, I would have to say my hammer and little stainless steel bench block.  Most of my jewellery gets some form of hammering or texturing at some point.  I also have a little set of needle files that are in constant use along with lots of different grade of sanding pads and emery paper.

If money was no object, I would buy a rolling mill.  I used one during my silversmithing class and it was so much fun and I realised it offers endless possibilities of adding texture to metal.  I can only dream about that.

Do you take your own photos, and if so do you have any photography hints?

I take lots of photos of my jewellery, not just the finished article but often photos of work in progress for my records and also to post on my Facebook page.  My camera is Fuji Finepix and I love the macro setting as it means I can get real close-up photos.  I take all of my photos in natural light from the patio door near my workbench and use a large mirror to one side to reflect light back onto my jewellery pieces.  A bright cloudy day is best.  Full sunshine is impossible to take photos in, so I try and take my photos in the earlier or later part of the day.

Which social media platform do you find the most enjoyable and helpful, and how do you use it?

I am on Facebook several times a day and try to post to my business Facebook page every day, if possible.  I try to vary what I post about, so as well as posting about new jewellery pieces I have for sale, I like showing work in progress, giving information about my next craft fair or maybe detailing a giveaway.  I also follow lots of other crafters and designers on Facebook and love seeing and reading what they have been up to.  There are so many talented people out there in this big wide world.

KS Jewellery Designs - selection in silver and amethyst

Thanks so much for the interview, Kristin. If you'd like to see more of Kristin's work then check her out elsewhere on the net -

Saturday 8 November 2014

Ahoy, Nautilus Earrings!

Okay, please forgive the truly awful title for this post... I have been to the sea today and I have finished some sea-inspired earrings and it all got too much for me... well, that's my excuse anyway...

While I don't have any photos of the sea (which is unfortunate as the waves were truly magnificent in the stormy winds, despite the gentle sunlight), I do have some images of nautilus shell earrings I've made and listed on Folksy today.

nautilus shell earrings - silvermoss jewellery
I really enjoyed making these, despite the difficulties of getting the curves just right (without using a jig), and making sure I created two that matched as well as possible.

nautilus shell earrings - silver moss jewellery

I'm going to make a matching necklace and perhaps a bracelet too, and I have some very sweet little pearl beads that I think would look wonderful with this design.

Hope your weekend, whether filled with sea spray or not, is a good one.

Monday 3 November 2014

Jewelled Web - November 2014 - Link Love

jewelled web nov 14 photo jewelled_web_nov14.jpg
Such a mild and sometimes sunny October we've had in the UK! It's been quite wonderful. A couple of days were so mild it was t-shirt weather and I dreamed of how much nicer the colder months would be if the temperatures were only just that little bit warmer than it really is... I know, I know, be careful what you wish for or you end up with climate change and the seas covering the land...

I'm a little late with posting my Jewelled Web links this month - unfortunately I've been spending some time at hospital with family lately and it takes it toll in lots of ways, but it's good to be able to float around the net, when I can, all the same.

Here's some of what I've discovered on the web and what I'm looking forward to reading this coming month of fireworks and frosts...

~jewellery links~

 Nice, bold and bright beads create a simple necklace from polymer clay and cord.

3-D jewellery printing sounds exciting and ambitious. And if this algal bloom pendant and these bird and cage earrings are examples of what can be created using computers then it must be worth keeping an eye on. This starfish necklace is also pretty amazing...

If it isn't wrong to buy yourself a Christmas gift then I may have to treat myself to this bronze fox ring...

although I also love these Steampunk rings...

and I'm rather partial to a unicorn pendant as well...

Some great ideas for making your own earring cards - my personal favouite is the paint colour cards; look out DIY shops!

Pricing jewellery? These two features here and here both look interesting and helpful.

A great tutorial on making simple hammered hoop earrings.

More stone setting. It's on my list. I think these posts and pictures might inspire; here and here and here.

~non-jewellery links~

I love this map of the constellations of autumn...featured on this great web site They Draw and Travel.

A list of Google's easter eggs. Ideal for a rainy afternoon if you've nothing else to do...!

How to turn a day from a snail into a hare. Metaphorically speaking.

I reckon batching might speed a day up as well, productivity wise...

Very handy (and pretty) infographic cheat sheet about photography and what all those numbers really mean...

How to empty the container; wise words indeed.

What fragrance does the moon have?

The About Page. Does your need work? Mine does so I'm collecting advice about how to re-do it. Here's where I'll start reading... Then I'll visit this article... and then I'll stop off here too...


Hospital visits aside, it's an exciting month coming up as I'm featured in a magazine, Make and Sell Jewellery (I've yet to get my hands on a copy but I will very soon!), and I'm also starting a series on my blog of interviews with other jewellery makers...the first feature should be appearing perhaps later this week.

And, as an aside, if you regularly read the Jewelled Web posts and wonder if the photo I've used this month looks familiar, then it is... trawling through my archives I discovered I used a similar image for October 2013... obviously those leaves in the garden persuade me to get my camera out every year...! I'll have to check the dates of the photos to see if I took them at around the same time, or if autumn really is later this year...

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Simple Circles within Simple Circles within...

juiter ring 2 photo jupiter_ring3.jpg
Sometimes it’s the simple things that capture your attention and fire your inspiration. I’ve always been attracted to shape-making in silver wire, and have loved creating leaves and hearts and getting them to look as sweet on the eye as I possibly can. But geometric shapes are something I’d not really explored that much in their own right yet.

So with my new mandrels to hand I came up with a simple ring design, a circle set on a circle, both made from round wire, and I then added a tiny semi-spherical silver button I’d created. And voila...

jupiter ring 1 photo jupiter_ring2.jpg

Although I say so myself, I do love the simplicity of this, the circle of the body of the ring, interrupted by the open circle of the top of the ring, interrupted by the small, solid circle, offset to one side...

The solid circle addition may well have been inspired by seeing the moons of Jupiter surrounding the planet earlier this year through a small telescope in a back garden on a chilly night, very tiny circles of bright light circling a slightly larger one; I chose to place the tiny circle within its 'planet' rather than without though.

I like the fact the ring can be worn either way, tiny circle top or bottom, to create a bit of variety.

jupiter ring 3 photo jupiter_ring1.jpg

This is a personal favourite of mine but I hope to make some more soon, as well as explore other shapes... well, I do have those mandrels now...

Friday 10 October 2014

New Tools for a New Season

Shiny new tools are one of the strangest things you develop a fascination for when you fall in love with making metal jewellery…The arrival of tool catalogues was always received with joy at my silversmithing classes, along with much disappointment if we didn’t have enough for everyone…

Not that tools are particularly indulgent. It may well seem that way when you find a bargain set of pliers on a market stall for a couple of quid, and yet a top of the range pair can easily cost well over fifty pounds. And I’ve been told that you really can notice the difference, both in terms of the quality of the tool and also the way it treats your work.

My own pliers are, on the whole, a motley collection assembled piecemeal over the years (and all have different coloured handles, which is such an unlooked-for bonus) - I have used high quality tools and can verify that the difference often isn’t in how damaged your bank balance looks but in the marks, intentional and not, that are left on the precious metals you're working with…

But I also have some super-cheap tools that really are super. A set of reverse angle pliers, one straight and one angled, are truly excellent and have done me great service for many years now - they came into my hands for around a pound each. I’ll happily seek out some of a similar calibre (and price) when these finally succumb to time but, looking at them, it won’t be for a while yet.

My latest tools aren’t not of the expensive kind but are decent quality and do a wonderful job. Plus, they were gifts, which makes them even sweeter.

The first is a set of two tiny mandrels, perfect for rounding up jump-rings ranging from pretty small to, well, far smaller than would fit on a typical ring mandrel.

tools-metal mandrels

Having used a variety of ‘home-made’ mandrels for such tasks in the past, it feels rather indulgent – and yet so much easier – to now have a metal tool that can tolerate a little more hammering than a leaky Biro.

The second tool is another mandrel, this one most certainly plastic (and so needing of slightly more careful treatment) but also made for the job and, so far, pretty sturdy.

tools - beadsmith plastic mandrels
The Beadsmith multi-mandrel consists of a handle and four interchangeable mandrel heads – in round, oval, square and triangular shapes. So far, oval and round have got the most use, but I’ve long been intrigued by the idea of softly curving triangles and hope the mandrel for this will prove helpful in future experimentations.

These are the first new tools I've had in a while now and I've been pleased at how they seem to expand not only what I can do (and the ease I can do with it) but also ideas and inspirations seem to flow more easily...anyone else experience that, and does anyone have ideas for tools that I should add to my wish-list?

{NB. The link to the Beadmsith mandrel from this post is an Amazon  UK affiliate link. This means that if you click through to the mandrel and then go on to buy it on Amazon, the nice people who run the company will give me money. From their own stash! And it will cost you nothing!! If I ever earn enough to qualify for payment, the money will go to my very needy rolling machine fund which currently contains only copper coins. For more info on my affiliate links, take a look at the bottom of my about page. Ta muchly.}

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Jewelled Web - October 2014 - Link Love

I hope you've had a good September. Mine has been full of sun and mists, not too bad a combination really, although I do prefer the sun far more than the mists...

I'm not looking forward to the long and cold nights of winter, so am hoping the mellow (and currently mild!) early autumn days stretch out as long as possible.

Hope you enjoy catching up on what I've discovered this month on the net...

~jewellery links~

On my list of things-I-really-should-try-doing-one-day is how to make a hinge from silver. This tutorial looked very helpful.

A wonderfully simple way to hold/display/just show off your jewellery.

How to make safety ear wires.

Problems with solder not flowing? Check out this long and detailed forum post from Etsy. So much good advice and help.

A hint of autumn is in the air so how about making jewellery inspired by it -
an acorn pendant from an acorn,
leaf earrings from polymer clay (and eyeshadow!),
and a ring from (imitation) gold leaf (ahem)...

And something else in gold leaf, a wooden pendant tutorial.

More autumn-y jewellery items, already created, and this time with a hedgehog theme -
I love this brooch in polymer clay and paint,
this pendant in broken china,
and this brooch in felt.

~non-jewellery links~

Inspiring art for your desktop (or to print) showing up in your inbox once a month? Yes, please!

I adore these DIY vases; copper and glass is such a wonderful combination.

Social media tips from the Folksy blog.

How to speed clean your home. Seriously. I always change the duvets to music...

Great ideas from the Design Trust about selling online.

Gorgeous shoes... here and here. And amazing slippers...

This may come in handy if you spend too long every day hunched over a desk making jewellery... three simple exercises to improve posture... I personally would be lost without Pilates.

Make your own foaming facewash - I've yet to try this but I love the idea!

I also fancy making my own lip balm, so have bookmarked this page of links.

And I can't help feeling this wonderfully sweet way of storing flowers seeds would make a special gift for quite a few people in the upcoming festival of Chr- erm, giving presents (it's just too soon to say the c-word yet...).

Hope you enjoy exploring the links and have a good month online and off...

Sunday 31 August 2014

Jewelled Web - September 2014 - Link Love

jewelled web september 2014 link love by silvermoss

August has been a month of highs and lows, many of them weather related. I was fortunate enough to enjoy some wonderful summer sunshine, and then I also experienced the tail-end of Hurricane Bertha...which was certainly an experience...!

I have a pile of silver close at hand (a very small pile, admittedly!) and am hoping September will also involve some solder, a pickle pot and near-endless tumble polishing. And no hurricanes of any kind.

Here's some discoveries from the net to peruse as the leaves start, just a little bit, to think of changing their colour... yes, I've already noticed this happening...)

~jewellery links~

This must be one of my favouite ever Pinterest pages - I see jewelry  - a wonderful board of those little things you spy that spark some jewellery inspiration.

A collection of DIY jewellery tutorials - I know these might be a little simple for some jewellery makers but I love to look at these...either you gain some knowledge you didn't have before, or you at the very least gain some inspiration.

Despite not having done a craft fair for a good long while now I still love ideas for creative displays like these here and here. Both links from a neat American site about crafting businesses.

A couple of free tutorials on working with polymer clay. I've not experimented with clay for ages but I'm very tempted by translucent clay when I see designs like this, this and this.

Two of my favourite jewellery bloggers have both been featured in Making Jewellery magazine this month - well done to both Cinnamon Jewellery and KS Jewellery!

Have a magpie's collection of pretty stones and sea glass, and not sure how to turn them into jewellery? Take a look at these hints about drilling holes in them, here and here.

~non-jewellery links~

Such stunning photographs and a beautiful, honest explanation behind them... my favourite might be this one...or perhaps this one...

More beautiful photographs, full of imagination and wit.

Free tutorials covering everything from Photoshop to painting to sewing.

I sign up to far too many interesting and free web apps designed to make your life easier, which I then forget to use, but, still, I'm intrigued by Trello. I've not signed up just yet though...

I love how generous the net is, and full of tiny pieces of useful information that people are so willing to share - like when to use an 'a' and when to use an 'an'.

Someone forwarded me this quiz - ten simple questions reveal whether you're in the right career or not... erm...

For a more ordered life, organise like a chef. Seriously. 

Enjoy the links and have yourself a good September :)

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Jewelled Web - August 2014 - Link Love

jewelled web august 2014 - silvermoss
It's the middle of summer, weather permitting as always, and it feels like the perfect time for all things flowers, hence my favourite photo of my favourite flower (this week anyway!), a simple poppy.

The light shining through its delicate petals kind of sums up how fragile and fleeting summer can be, how we should enjoy it while we can... If you know anything about poppy flowers, you'll know how brief their life is, their paper-thin petals falling to the ground within days of blooming... but they're beautiful all the same.

Hope you enjoy the links I've collected from my travels on the web lately.

~jewellery links~

Easily made mistakes that are made when photographing your own jewellery. And how to avoid them.

This applies to any small business type set up, but also to selling jewellery - (deep breath) how to create a simple and streamlined order processing system. This is a long one so worth bookmarking and giving it time and thought.

How to get somewhere fast with your jewellery.

From horticultural supplies to faux gold jewellery - a how-to necklace in leaves.

More faux gold, more leaves, but this time with an owl as well. Seriously.

If you're doing any shows this summer then this list of different ways to display your wares may come in handy.

46 simple DIY jewellery makes. Enough to keep anyone busy through the holidays. Also nicely inspiring even if you're a dab hand. This is one of my favouites as the matt muted colours are just gorgeous...

A Folksy blog guide to customer service - not just for jewellers...

~non-jewellery links~

Paper-cutting as you've never seen it before.

Very scary images from the 70s as photographer Arthur Tress brings children's nightmares to life - I'm so glad he didn't do mine...

Speaking of photos, share your own images this August on Susannah's Summer Break

Have a coffee break to fill and fancy some ultimately pointless online quizzes? Check these out:

Can playbuzz website guess your age? Well, they failed to guess mine, but since they shaved well over a decade from my real number, I'm not complaining ;)

Which generation do you belong to? They got me right on this one...

If you were a classic children's book describes your life? I know, slightly unlikely question, but it turns out I'm Pat the Bunny. No, I've not heard of it either...

And another time-waster/article of irrelevance - famous people who look like historical famous people, or just historical unknown people...

Get your brain back into gear and discover why we like to name things we own or use.

Do enjoy and savour the rest of your summer...

Monday 30 June 2014

Jewelled Web - July 2014 - Link Love

the jewelled net - by the sea - july 2014 - silvermoss
June has gone by so, so fast this year. I seem to have been running to catch up with myself, and not quite making it, nearly every day.

And here I am, at the end of the month, with a cold. In summer. That just seems wrong.

I hope you like my links for July though - don't worry, you won't catch my cold just by clicking ;)

~jewellery links~

Wire bead tutorial, courtesy of Blue Forest Jewellery. Lots more tutorials dotted around this blog too...

Making domed shapes in resin, a simple tutorial I'm filing for future reference.

Cozy Sister is a great web site full of information and tutorials about wire jewellery.

Great post by Nan Fan about choosing the props she uses when styling her jewellery photographs.

Some help on how to make faceted polymer clay beads - with some links to more help.

I didn't know it was possible but it seems you can make your own metal clay. Here's a tutorial on making bronze and silver clay, and here's one for copper. I haven't tried this, and may well not do so (toxic chemicals and all) but the fact it's possible is fascinating.

~non-jewellery links~

Silversmithing is dirty, messy, and carries with it the perpetual risk of setting the table on fire but despite that I hanker for any single one of these tidy, bright and non-burning creative work spaces.

Such sweet illustrations - could anyone not love these?

Amazon reviews with just a hint of humour to them...

I like this formula for looking after yourself, something we should all do more of, I suspect...

Which browser do you use and just how out of date is it?

I don't think I use the net as efficiently as I could or should. I often feel like I'm 'wasting' time, even when I'm trying not to, if only because download speeds are painfully slow more and more frequently. So here's a little list of web tools I either use, have signed up to, or (most likely) think would be great to use if I ever got round to figuring out how they work - 

Dragdis - A neat tool for simple bookmarking - I overuse both Firefox and Chrome's handy drag-the-address-to-the-toolbar ability way too much and would like something with the same speed and ease of use, but Dragdis hopefully means that I can impose a little more order on my new bookmarks. The old ones are just a jumbled mess unfortunately...

Flipboard - Create your own 'magazine' from everything that interests you on the net. In theory, should save you having to hunt around for that same 'everything'. And it makes it pretty.

Feedly - seems bit similar to above, but perhaps more of a feed reader. This needs a bit more exploring.

Simplenote - A little like Evernote but perhaps more simple...? And it's free.

Instapaper - I've heard good things about this as a way of saving things from the net to read later. I'm guessing it's not that free though as it says you can 'try' if for free... hmm

Do let me know if you use any of these and they're worth taking the time to learn and use, or if you find anything else makes the web a little easier to navigate and explore.

Hope your June has been long and leisurely and that you have a good July...

Friday 20 June 2014

Midsummer - endings and beginnings, and the unfinished bit in the middle

I do love midsummer - just the word is so wonderful - but it also makes me feel a little sad. It's like the year is turning and, to be blunt, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and winter is on its way.

Of course, this isn't quite true. The next two months often contain the most sublime and beautiful weather of all; the slow encroach of darkness is just that - slow; and the nights don't start drawing in at all yet, as sunset times keep getting later for a little longer after the equinox. So we still have most of summer to come and, hopefully, a gentle slide into the colours of autumn.

midsummer skies - silvermoss blog

But, all the same, it feels like a change, and to mark the end of something and the start of something else, I'm going to make a concerted effort to finish things myself, to allow myself to start new things.

I surveyed my silver supplies the other day, or rather the silver that is in any form other than the original packets I bought it in. I looked through all the things I've started making, experimenting with, but that I haven't quite finished. It was a significant amount, not in terms of weight of silver, but more in terms of ideas and imaginings and industry that hasn't yet been fulfilled.

So my plan is to finish some old things, things that deserve to be finished, and that way I can start something new.

And also, it will keep my mind off the fact that winter is coming...

(Rather than share a photo of my unfinished jewellery, I chose instead to show an image my other half took the other day, just as the sun moved behind the houses.)

Monday 16 June 2014

Less than a word - singular letter jewellery

Since a special birthday often calls for a special gift, I pondered just what to make a close relative a little earlier this year. I'd already made her a necklace and earrings, and probably a bracelet too, once upon a time. I'd also made her a ring, which meant options were increasingly a little short in terms of originality. So I did some browsing, seeing if inspiration would hit me, and eventually it did.

Pinterest is always a wonderful source of ideas when your own mind just needs a jump-start for prompting and letter jewellery (does it have a better name than this?) is pretty popular right now when it comes to personalised jewellery gifts.

Some perusing later, a few sketches, a prototype in copper wire and a few more sketches, I came up with this...

Letter ring by Silvermoss

Letter ring by Silvermoss

Made with two separate pieces of silver wire (just to complicate things), a little bit of soldering and a lot of polishing. So far it's needed adjusting twice but that can only mean the recipient really wants to wear it...! Do let me know if you've made any letter jewellery lately, and have photos to share, or if you have come up with a better description of, ahem, letter jewellery... seriously, it must have a better name that that...

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Book Review - Setting Up a Successful Jewellery Business by Angie Boothroyd

Another book from my wish lists has made its way into my hands, Setting Up a Successful Jewellery Business by Angie Boothroyd. This is only a slim volume (128 pages) but don’t be fooled by its size; it contains a plethora of information and it isn’t full of unnecessary padding but sticks closely to its remit. It’s also, rather surprisingly for this type of book, geared towards a UK market. Yippee.

For those people who start making jewellery as a hobby and then find they have a business on their hands this book is an ideal companion. It would also suit graduating students, anyone who would like some guidance when striking out on their own, and those who would like to know what they might be getting into before they consider following this particular career path.

This book basically deals with the ‘difficult’ bits involved in selling the jewellery you make, and not how to actually make the jewellery in the first place.

Legal issues of setting up a business are dealt with, along with bookkeeping, tax and administration information and advice. The book also extends its scope by exploring how to price work for both wholesale and retail markets, and how to set up a website, as well as exploring the subject of exhibiting your work, and maintaining a business long-term. In terms of both breadth of information and specific detail the book is very helpful, without being overwhelming, and is a very good guide to its subject matter.

Setting Up a Successful Jewellery Business also has some crossover appeal - whilst it, obviously, focuses closely on jewellery making, many of the subject areas it covers would also apply to anyone setting up a small creative craft business. That said, it has most to offer those who wish to set up a jewellery business, and it is well worth a read if this applies to you.

{NB. The links to the book from this post are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click through to the book and then go on to buy it on Amazon, the nice people who run the company will give me money. From their own stash! It will cost you nothing. If I ever earn enough to qualify for payment, the money will go to my very needy rolling machine fund. It currently contains only copper money. For more info on my affiliate links, take a look at the bottom of my about page.}

Sunday 1 June 2014

Jewelled Web - June 2014 - Link Love

photo jewelled web june2014

If you've read any of my Jewelled Web posts before then you may have have noticed that I normally create them for the month that's just passed - in other words, this post, appearing around the end of May, should refer back to the May we've just experienced.

But I've changed things around a little, and have decided to look forward instead... so while I'll still mention the past month, and share links to things I'd discovered and read, I shall also include links for posts I want to read and study in more detail, and things I hope to explore in the future generally, and in June specifically...

It's a slight change, perhaps largely unnoticeable other than to me, but I thought it worth a mention... think of it as a mind shift as well, a way to look forward, focus on what's come, positive vibes etc etc...

Enjoy the links!

~jewellery links~

How to photograph small things (i.e. jewellery!)

A great collection of tutorials about making jewellery from spoons and forks - if I ever get my hands on a stack of silver spoons, this is where I'll start.

Beautiful drawn brooches.

Neat solution to resizing costume jewellery rings - and perhaps even metal ones if you don't fancy the drama of cutting, soldering, checking, cutting again, soldering again (ahem)...?

Such sweet origami earrings, and with a tutorial too.

Fantastic necklace for anyone who remembers, and/or loves, typewriters...

~non-jewellery links~

Folksy blog interview with Gilbert and Stone, maker of pretty and quirky ceramics.

Still baffled by twitter? Here's some basics to start with (or refresh yourself on); how to reply to just one person, or everyone.

A new find - if this then that - aims to streamline all your social media connections, and more...I've only just started exploring this.

Atmospheric, and slightly spooky, photos of trees. Reminds me of the cold winter days to come, which in turn reminds me to enjoy the warmer weather right now, even if it isn't that sunny!

Ever fancied learning how to paint digitally? Check this link out for (nearly) endless tutorials...

A handy video tutorial on taking Instagram photos.

Hope you had a good May and have an even better June!

Wednesday 30 April 2014

Jewelled Web - April 2014 - Link Love

April 2014 Jewelled web link love

Another quiet month in blog-land - in terms of posts, and also being on the net in general (bad reception, slow web connections...) but I've still found a few items that I think are worth sharing. And, look at the photo... sun! Hope you've had some sunshine this last month, of all kinds.

Enjoy the links.

Here's a few ~jewellery links~

Thoughts on reticulating silver...

And an experiment in fusing fine silver and argentium

And some words about silver tarnish and whether it's good or bad... or both...

I do love seeing what people can make from 'waste' silver (and gold)...

Great tutorial on how to make moulds/molds for polymer clay jewellery using seeds and flowers.

Speaking of polymer clay, love this grinning cat earring - makes me smile!

And some ~non-jewellery links~

Informative and helpful post on Folksy about photographing your crafts, with equally helpful before and after photos.

Great collection of DIY goodies to make or just dream of making...

I've only just found this blog, Three Beautiful Things, but love its simplicity, honesty and reminders of not only the beauty around us everyday, but that we need to remember to notice and be grateful for it...

How blogging can change a life.

Hope you had a good April, and an even better May.

Monday 31 March 2014

Jewelled Web - March 2014 - Link Love

 March Jewelled Web 2014 Link love

March has been a busy month in the 'real' world, but less busy for me virtually, hence my shocking lack of posts. I am pleased to report my jewellery-making muscles have been exercised though, and with the normal result of satisfaction and frustration... I was also fortunate enough to wander through a daffodil field, when the sun was shining - and warm! Photographic proof of the former, at least, above. And I've still made time for a nosy around the net ...

~Jewellery links~

Amazing bangle, just love this, and a beautiful ring.

Texture ideas for metal clay (and polymer too). They're everywhere! So much info here I've not yet read it all...

Photos and photos and photos of stunning wooden jewellery.

I love how simple and effective these earring cards are.

A photo of a cat's paws can inspire some very nice jewellery indeed... how playing with colour can work.

Simple guide to ageing copper - both ways smell though... and more on copper, how to create head pins. And some info on soldering with copper solder paste here too.

Quirky recreated vintage jewellery.

And some ~other links~

I love these trompe l'oeil pillow covers.

Great hints on product photography here and a simple idea for backgrounds here too.

Ever fancied learning more about printing, and being inspired as well? Check this out.

Enough audio books to keep anyone happy - 550 free to download and stream

I love the colours of this simple painted bouquet.

Something to read and think about...

Beautiful, creamy and so relaxing just looking at these images...

Hope your March was good, and your April even better.

Friday 28 February 2014

Jewelled Web - February 2014 - Link Love

 photo jewelledweb-feb14-550.jpg

February has been an odd month for me, one where I simply feel I haven't had a chance to get going. Which may go some way to explaining the lack of posts on my blog this month... I still like to think I'm coming out at the end of the month knowing more than when I started it... hopefully... and I hope you enjoy checking out some of the reading I've done online this wet and windy February.

First up,

~Jewellery links~

Sweet little knuckle rings, simple to make and customise.

A tutorial for a paper necklace...

and a silver-coloured necklace DIY. With some gold too.

I love discovering these jewellery maker interviews on Etsy... this one is via Australia. (Also, check out where Maria is storing her hammers - I love this!)

The competition attached to this post may have ended, but I'm still fascinated by the photos of polymer clay beads that has something of the quality of sea glass...

Or how about some craft or polymer clay for personalised pendants, made with love.

But I do still love silver... and this bunny especially.

Ideas for how to display and organise jewellery, and a whole pinterest board of inspiration on the same topic here. And some more to ponder here too - including a nice idea for a business card holder.

And now for some

~Other links too~

Wonderful photo, no photoshopping required...

I would like to make these tea light holders, this (sneaky) letter holder, these gift bags.

This interview, and photos, are beautiful enough to make me give up silver and turn to wood...

I also love this clay creation..., made with "clay, kiln, patience, feelings, emotions, turning wheel, clay tools, knife, mould"

Neat and simple printable goal-setting sheet.

It's easy to feel life is passing you by but this set of interviews shows you can create at any age.

Love this print - makes me dream of summer and hazy sunshine... more beautiful art here.

A beautiful studio to dream of designing in...

Full-time artist interview via Folksy's blog? Yes please.

Time management hints and some of those wonderful pictures made up of words (and design too...;) 

Hope your February has been a good, if short, month, and that spring is on the horizon for you - I took the photo above just yesterday, dodging bumble bees as they hunted down any and all available flowers... the air feels mild and soft - and I'm going to stop now as the forecast says snow...!

Friday 31 January 2014

Jewelled Web - January 2014 - Link Love

Jewelled web January 2014

The first Jewelled Web of 2014 and I've found the internet to be no less distracting and absorbing than I did in 2013... to that end, here's some more goodies I've found these last few, and new year, weeks...

~Jewellery links~

Measuring up for rings, never an easy task, but made simpler after reading this...

Fantastic tutorial/personal experience on how to combine soldering and enamel by Tracey from Cinnamon Jewellery, one of my favourite haunts for down-to-earth blogging and beautiful jewels.

Jewellery tutorials coming out of your ears... this site also has tutorials for pretty much every other craft in existence. Well worth a browse though.

Branding your jewellery ranges - how to and why.

More magazine fame for Rachel Lucie - well done!

Neat tutorial on just how to make ball chain look a little more hand-crafted.

Pretty wire designs.

Interested in making wedding jewellery?

Limited time only - reduced price on wirework tutorial by KS Jewellery

~Other links~

This may be a couple of years old now, but I love this post about the sea, such a wonderful place to be at the start of a new year...

How-to calligraphy by Mo.

Where people craft - photos of real work spaces, reassuringly normal, so you don't wonder how anything creative can happen at all... unlike these photos which is, of course, exactly how crafting work spaces should look.

If you're ever not busy (!) then you can take a look at these ways to pretty up your work space.

Inspiring website of art which often features a monthly desktop calendar, free to download...

Pretty freebies - in exchange for a tweet or FB mention, you can have a calendar and some beautiful illustrated flowers.

Getting serious about your crafting business this new year? Check out some of these articles, a great resource.

Blogging tips for arty/crafty bloggers. And some more from the same site... And just one more...

Great photos and interview from the Folksy blog.

Oh, okay. Yet more blogging resources. If you ever read all these articles then you deserve a nice cup of tea. And probably a lie down in a darkened room.

Try this one out too - words of wisdom on how to write engaging, crafty blog posts.

Hope your January was a good one - the photo at the top was taken when the waves were well past their worst! Here's a to a less blustery (and drier) February.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Silver, citrine, topaz and toil... the finished jewellery

Recently I showed some photos of the cut gemstone beads I'd bought for a project. Here are some images of the finished jewellery items themselves.

citrine and white topaz silver necklace

citrine and white topaz silver necklace

The plan was a to make a necklace for a very special birthday, falling in November, so being able to incorporate birth stones was important. I also wanted to make something wearable so, while it may look delicate, the soldering and strengthening of the silver through hammering means it's pretty strong.

citrine and white topaz silver necklace

citrine and white topaz silver necklace

The earrings were less planned and came about as I didn't have enough citrines to use for both items, but this also allowed me to play with the varying sizes of the white topaz gems. I was also able to use one of the little soldered silver designs from the necklace, and echo it in the earrings.

white topaz silver earrings

It was a time-consuming and absorbing project, and took a lot of preparation, but the final piecing together of the necklace especially was surprisingly quick. Hope you enjoy seeing the results of the toil!