Friday 16 December 2016

Christmas lights like jewels...

Christmas lights like jewels - silvermoss jewellery blog

Canterbury city centre, including the Christmas Market, is lit up like jewellery this year. I love Christmas lights; they make cold warmer and add such an air of comfort to a cold and dark time of the year. Plus they look a little like gemstones set against a background of ever-changing blues, from gentle shades to deep hues, and everything in between.

I also enjoy the lights much more now I shop more online -  avoiding the long, fraught queues in shops; the noise of Christmas music cashing between shop doorways; the anxiety of what to chose and who to chose it for... okay, shopping online doesn't remove the latter but I did enjoy my trip out to the shops all the more for only having a very short shopping list in my hand.

I hope your Christmas shopping is going well and isn't getting in the way of being able to pause and enjoy some of the (less commercial) magic that this time of year can bring.

Friday 9 December 2016

Jewellery Book Wish List - Christmas 2016

I've not made a (public) jewellery book wish list for a few years now and I thought twice about doing this one because, to be honest, I've not yet asked for any jewellery books for Christmas this year and I'm not sure I will. This isn't because I don't want any; reading through this list below may convince you of how little that statement applies to me. But I have a good collection now and I don't use and read the books I do have enough.

I've tried to be good last year and the year before, thinking perhaps it was time to show some control, and ease up on the bookshelves, but the odd book still slipped through the net and onto the list and I can't say that won't happen again, not with these books to tempt me.

In no particular order, here are the books that I'm most in hope of...

three jewellery book covers

Successful Jewellery Maker by Frieda Munro
I first saw this book a little earlier this year and I bookmarked it straight away. So many jewellery books focus on the 'simple' things, the designs, the materials, the how-to-put-things-together, but less focus on what to do when things go wrong, as they often do. A detailed resource close at hand that can point out simple errors and help clarify more complex one, is a real boon and this looks like an excellent place to start.

Metal Jewelry Made Easy by Jan Loney
This looks to be a more traditional craft book, with chapters on tools, techniques and materials, but the projects look detailed and interesting. Books that cater for beginners can be frustrating for more advanced makers but they often contain new nuggets of information, and nearly always include new aspects of design and inspiration.

Soldering Made Simple by Joe Silvera
I'm not sure how I've missed this book before now, but a dedicated guide to soldering, at the heart of much of metal jewellery making, seems a wise investment to read and study.

three jewellery book covers

How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line by Emilie Shapiro
This book must be ideal for anyone who is trying to sell their jewellery on sites like Folksy and Etsy. Unlike the other books featured it, it isn't about the practicalities of making jewellery, but instead focusses on how to run a small business and all that goes along with that. It's written by an American jeweller who has a successful jewellery business and so, while the slant will no doubt be towards a US view of things, I would hope much of the information will apply wherever you live. I do think this could be useful.

Making Wire Jewellery by Janice Zethraeus
I love working in wire. A brief look at my work would tell anyone this. Creating shapes out of simple wire is addictive and yet also a fascinating process, as you work through what works and what doesn't. Books on this topic appeal to me no end and this one, by a British writer and jeweller, looks to be no exception.

Cool Copper Cuffs by Eva M Sherman
The cover of this book caught my eye immediately I saw it. The mix of textures and colours seems to typify copper and what it can offer in terms of jewellery. Plus, I still have a stash of copper that needs to be used...

Have you read any of these and can recommend them to me? What's on your own jewellery book wishlist this year? Do leave a message in the comments below as I'd love to hear from you!

PS. If you fancy seeing what jewellery books I've wished for in past Christmases then do check out my lists for 2013 and 2012.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Jewelled Web - December 2016 - Link Love

Cafe with mirrors on wall - Jewelled Web December 2016 Silver Moss

It's the coldest month of the year. Okay, that can actually be January or February, chilled as they are without the lights of Christmas to look forward to. But it's so cold this year, icy cold at times, with a harsh wind and an increasingly odd-looking world whichever way you look at it.

So this month I will trying to mostly keep warm but stay cool, to remember to relax and not be stressed, to try and enjoy the people I love who are in my life, and the good things they bring to me, and that I try and bring to them. I'll also try not to get too sentimental...

Some links I've enjoyed over the past month an that I hope to read more carefully before the end of this month. I hope you enjoy perusing them too.

~jewellery links~

Jewellery made from coins isn't hard to find now but this is the first time I've seen such a delicate adaptation as this design - that's some mean piercing...

A few years back I made some brooches from copper wire and loved doing so - stumbling across this simple (but helpful) tutorial has reminded me that I must make some more...

A tutorial for a wire and thread bracelet.

I'm falling in love with the possibilities of bronze clay - this work is amazing and this bracelet tutorial is fascinating...

Wonderful resources from Kernowcraft on setting stones.

I have a decent amount of copper pipe offcuts collecting in a large cardboard box - these examples of etching on copper are very enticing...

A tutorial for making an ivy copper clay bracelet (pdf).

~non-jewellery links~

Utterly beautiful photograph of a white rainbow in Scotland.

If you're looking for an excuse to take lot of photographs this month then this may be worth checking out - a wonderful way to take, and share, images and ideas for this last year.

Non-jewellery ideas for polymer clay...

I don't know about you but I subscribe to things I'm even just half-interested in and I need to stop, and I need to unsubscribe more.

Gift wrap for the dedicated cat lover in your life - we all know at least one, surely...

And these photos will be adored by anyone who loves dogs. In fact, even if you don't love dogs (really? Is that possible?) you'll love them.

Giving a compliment is always nice.

A reminder, if we need one, of the frightening impact of litter on wildlife, everywhere.

~My Own Personal Book Club ~

This month I've started reading Great North Road by Peter F Hamilton - I've got it as an eBook which helps disguise the fact that it's over a 1000 pages long... I'm not expecting to be finishing it this side of, well, next year... but I am enjoying the 14% I've read so far...

Speaking of embarking upon long books, I've also made a start on Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, after realising I've not read anything by him for a few years now, and also realising that if I don't start reading his novels soon then I won't get to read them all... (this is over 800 pages so I must find something a little shorter to read to get me through those spells when a long book just feels too long...suggestions please!)

I've also been leafing through and getting distracted by a Mollie Makes book, this one being Woodland Friends - it just makes you want to create tiny and gorgeous little creatures for no reason other than the fun of doing so.

(affiliate links included for the books listed here - please check details here for more info.)


I hope your December, your Christmas and New Year are all special and warm.

PS. If you need more links (and sometimes we all need more) then check out this post full of link love.

Friday 25 November 2016

Six Things I've Learned Without a To-Do List

I've just done battle with some online Christmas shopping and forgotten passwords. I still have a scribbled list of gifts to buy and anxieties over getting it wrong. So I've come here for a change of scenery and some respite.

View down a long flight of stairs - 6 Things I've Learned Without a To-Do List

It's nearly the end of November which means its nearly December which means a mass of busyness and 'hecticness' and worrying about if you've bought/made the right gifts for the right people and if they'll like or appreciate them or even remember who're they're from by the end of Christmas day.

It also means 2017 is painfully, frighteningly close.

And it also means it's a time to carefully review the detailed To-Do list you made for 2016 in your very neat virtual/real notebooks, make insightful comments about what worked well, and then dream up ideas for the coming year.

Or, perhaps more likely, it's a time to wonder where the year went and how come you never actually got around to writing down any plans for this year. And so the possibility that you could have achieved anything must be equally remote.

If you haven't already guessed, the latter is a fair description of me. My life sometimes feels like a avalanche of chaos, tempered by mere minutes of clarity and resolve, which crumble so fast under the weight of overwhelm and lack of focus.

Obviously next year will be different... But then I tell myself that every year.

I didn't make a To-Do list, or even any notes, although I meant to do so. I had plans and ideas and hopes and dreams and then, as always, the reality of living got in the way. But I've become a little fed up at berating myself yet again and so instead am trying to look at not what I didn't do, but what I did.

I've come to realise that it's the little changes that make a difference. Like, for example, if you want to improve your diet then every time you don't buy a chocolate bar it's a win, even if it only happens once a week. It's still a step down the better road.

So here a few notes I'm making now about what I've improved on and learned this year. Don't worry, they're not long...

1) Make a decision, focus on what you're doing, & finish what you start

Okay, that might be three things technically but combined they can make a plan of any kind happen. When it comes to jewellery in particular, every time I begin to make something and then finish it, it's a win. I have endless small plastic grip seal bags of even smaller works-in-progress that, mostly, stay that way. So when I take an idea, focus on it, develop it step by step (see number 4, below), make it work by overcoming any and all obstacles (again, step by step), and then finish it, that's my win. It's even a win if I get one of those works-in-progress completed too.

2) Pay attention and take a break

The Pomodoro Technique has helped me with focussing and progressing no end. It basically carves time up into 25 minute portions. You set a timer for 25 minutes, and work on whatever you're doing for that period of time. Then you have a five minute break. And then you go back for another 25 minute section of time. It seems easier to turn distractions off when you're working against the clock and the five minute refresher clears your head; apparently if we focus on something for too long we start to lose brain power, even if we don't realise it. I sometimes decrease the times involved, but the principal seems to still work as well, the idea of balancing concentration with a little distraction.

This is a handy timer that I use online, but any timer at all will do.

3) Nothing is perfect

My jewellery is hand-crafted. I don't have that many tools. And I like the little signs of 'work' that remain on it, even when it goes into the 'Finished Work' box (yes, I do have a box labelled that, something I labelled this year to help with getting things finishing). Everything I make is individual and that's the joy of handmade; if all the tiny marks of uniqueness are removed from it, then it might as well have been made by machine.

And it's better to finish something than have a pile of 'not-quite-perfects' that are never completed...

4) Small steps make a path

Every tweak I make on improving the look of my blog is another win, even if no one ever notices it (I altered the font of my main text earlier this year, which pleased my eye no end but doubtless went unnoticed (as it should) by anyone who reads my blog).

Every minute I can spend on making jewellery can be productive. I often don't have the time to make a piece of jewellery from start to finish. Sometimes I don't have time to do pomodoros. But if I take a few minutes when I can and follow the simple steps I know I have to take, then I get to the end product, eventually. I find having a plan for more complex pieces, as well as a few simple ideas, means that I'm never at a loss for something to do, even if I don't have time to set up for soldering or polishing.

5) The web is a tool, not just somewhere to waste time.

I will probably nearly always have to remind myself of correct HTML or CSS formatting when working on my blog, and I think that's okay because that's one of the things the web is for - learning (even re-learning and re-learning again).

6) Try something new but not too often.

I always want to try something new; sewing, felting, model-making, watercolour painting, silver-clay... Then I have to remind myself to focus on what I am meant to be doing. But, sometimes, if what you're meant to be doing isn't quite working, then something new can provide a different and, perhaps, better focus... well, that's my theory.

I've used this idea over the last few months, relaxing more with my jewellery making, letting myself play with creating and using more beads (and colour) and less solder, and I've enjoyed taking the (self-imposed) pressure off. Sometimes a new space, whether physical or mental, is a good thing. As long as I remember to focus and not turn to another new thing...

How about you? What have you learned this year and how has it helped you? Do share in the comments as I'm the first to admit I need all the help I can get...

Okay, back to Christmas shopping for me.

PS. if you're looking for more distractions from Christmas shopping and/or working out what you did right/wrong this last year then check out my link love post from a couple of Christmases ago.

Friday 18 November 2016

One Amber Bracelet equals One Amber Bracelet and One Amber Pendant

I get a little nervous when someone asks me to adjust an item of their jewellery. Perhaps not quite as nervous as I get if some asks me to mend some jewellery, but still nervous. You only seem to get asked for help with items that mean a lot to the owner and non-jewellery makers, understandably, don't know any of the potential horrors that came come with trying to turn one size of jewellery into another...

Amber bracelet

I was asked to adjust a bracelet that was so large that the owner, despite loving the piece, was just unable to wear it without fearing she'd lose it. I said I'd look at it but made it clear that if I didn't think I could do the adjustment safely then I wouldn't do it at all. Given the bracelet in question was set with stones, and amber ones at that (an incredibly soft stone as I mentioned in this post), I felt justified in my apprehension.

On being given the bracelet and sitting down with it, doing some thinking and doodling some ideas, I came to the conclusion that I was able to do what I was asked, and that was not only make the bracelet smaller but also make a pendant out of the stone-set link that I would be removing.
Despite my anxieties when I actually picked up my pliers and piercing saw I was surprised, and pleased, at how easy (relatively speaking) adjusting the bracelet and making the pendant turned out to be.

Audible sigh of relief.

Amber bracelet and jewellery illustration

My initial plan had been to cut through two of the connecting links, as shown in my illustration in the photo above, but on looking more closely I realised the clasp hadn't been soldered on and so I was able to prise it apart from the bracelet. I then cut through a connecting link and removed that and the stone-set link next to it. The clasp was then reattached to the bracelet which was now one silver connecting link and one amber stone-set link smaller.

When it came to making the pendant I decided against attempting to resolder the connecting link that had been cut through. A little research showed me it would probably be an error to trust to heat protecting compounds to protect amber from a soldering torch, and the general advice was that the best option in this situation is to remove the stone from its setting, perform the soldering, and then reset the stone. As I hadn't set the stone in the first place I did not want to do this, especially as, like I said earlier, amber is such a soft stone and could easily be damaged both in removing it from the setting and when putting it back in. The connecting link is made from thick, work-hardened silver and I felt confident that it would securely hold the pendant on the necklace.

Amber pendant

I also decided against removing the extra 'loop' of silver that had connected the stone-set link when it when it was within the bracelet. This was mainly so that if the new size bracelet didn't fit (which was a concern as the stone-set links were quite large so the adjustment was kind of all or nothing) then it could be put back together again and a different option sought.

Despite my initial concerns at the request, I was pleased with how the adjustment went. And the owner of the jewellery? Well, the bracelet now fits perfectly and they have a matching pendant to boot.

Friday 11 November 2016

Denim Lapis Lazuli - Casual Class

Denim Lapis Lazuli beads
Denim Lapis Lazuli beads

A few years back I bought myself a few strands of small, round gemstone beads. You might have some yourself, stretches of thread or nylon strung with gems of wonderful colours. I bought some and used some and put the rest away for later. 'Later' having arrived at last, I delved into my work-box of beads and gems and found I fell back in love, and fast, with denim lapis lazuli.

Denim Lapis Lazuli beads in close up
Like tiny planets of sea & sky...

The beads are just stunning, aren't they. Each one is so unique, and so perfect. Denim seems such a casual word for such a beautiful stone. It's interesting to discover that this particular type of lapis lazuli is essentially a marketing success story. The white (which is calcite, a relation to humble chalk) component in the stone was originally considered to make it inferior to the deep blue shades, with touches of gold-coloured pyrite, that were preferred and sought after. Turning the supposed 'flaw' into an attribute was a clever idea.

Denim Lapis Lazuli beads on silver earrings
Silver and denim lapis earrings, made by myself

Whilst wondering why I haven't used my bead stash more, and secretly being glad I haven't so I could discover it all over again, I've been adding beads to silver like a cook who has recently discovered Muscovado after only ever using white caster sugar before...

Friday 4 November 2016

Book Review - Metal Clay Jewellery by Natalia Colman

Metal Clay Jewellery by Natalia Colman
Published by Search Press 2015 - 144 pages (pb)

Metal Clay Jewellery - book review by Silvermoss Metal Clay Jewellery - book review by Silvermoss

I still have both my small stash of silver clay pendants created at a day class, and my slightly larger stash of metal clay in its sealed pouch. The reason the latter is still unopened is partly due to the complexity of working well with metal clay, at least as far as I’m concerned. A big part of this is the kiln or soldering torch to fire issue, which for me revolves around the fact that I don't have a kiln. I suspect if I had originally begun making jewellery using metal clay, rather than metal itself, then my attitude would be reversed and I’d find all the paraphernalia of silver-smithing as dense a prospect as I do the list of tools needed to make items from metal clay.

The (slight) block I have about working with metal clay (and my aforementioned stash) is probably what leads me to feast on metal clay books as if they’re Wispa bars and I’ve been on a health kick for a not inconsiderable amount of time. Metal Clay Jewellery by Natalia Colman is no exception to this. The cover is bright and colourful with clear and bold text in different colours that, I soon found out, indicate that this book covers silver, copper and bronze metal clay.

Inside the book, the clays are introduced individually and techniques for working with them are shown, all clearly and comprehensively photographed. And this is one of this book’s great strengths, the quality and amount of photographs used to illustrate each step and idea. Some books can be a little limited when it comes to showing rather than telling how a topic works or is created, but here the visual side of things is very much to the fore and this is only to the book’s credit.

The book next goes into detail about how to actually turn the clay into jewellery by using beads, findings and stringing techniques, and the tools that are needed.

As is normally the case with jewellery books, the main section consists of projects that show how to use the previously introduced techniques. Here the subjects of texture creation, bas reliefs, connections after firing, working with coils, adding colour, setting stones, and using hot connections, as well as finishing touches, are covered. The projects each include a list of materials, written instructions and those clear and copious photos I mentioned earlier. Many of the projects I found to be inspiring and exciting, showing me techniques and ideas that I’d not come across before and bringing me closer (I do so hope!) to tearing open those metal clay pouches.

At the back of the book is a handy chart which provides firing times for each project as well as different options of firing it - on a gas stove, by torch or in a kiln. Charts giving information about firing natural gemstones and cubic zirconias are also included, detailing the author’s own experiences about which gemstones are safe to fire and how firing can affect their colour. As an aside, much of the information here relates to firing in a kiln, at a variety of temperatures, rather than using a torch.

The book finishes with a page of templates for use with some of the projects and a short glossary, as well as an index.

In terms of comprehensiveness - dealing with three different metal clays - this book is a fascinating read, full of ideas and imagination. The flip side of this is that it cannot go into great detail on any one clay or technique it shows, but this does not detract from the broad base of information it does cover. As an introduction to metal clay it’s a good read, and as a way of stimulating ideas for those jewellers who are a little more experienced I think it is also worth a detailed peruse.

A nice find.

Find more jewellery book reviews here - the latest is at the top, do scroll down for more!

Please note, this post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing if you click through but may make me a few coppers if the stars are right that day... For more info check out my about page.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Jewelled Web - November 2016 - Link Love

Pink cyclamen - Jewelled Web November 2016 Silver Moss
Ivy-leaved cyclamen, growing in the garden

Can it really be November? Perhaps the cliche is true, that the years seem to move faster as we get older... Or perhaps it's just the thought of how much I meant to get done this year, and how much time I had left just a couple of months ago, or so it seemed, that's making me wonder. Now, suddenly, it's fireworks and bonfires and full-pelt leaf fall and, yes, baubles and glitter and mince pies in the shops.

Despite having started Christmas shopping already ("I will be prepared this year, I will be prepared this year") I'm going to try and enjoy the fact it is still Autumn and an awful lot of leaves still have to fall...

So, if only as a form of distraction from any thoughts of Christmas, here are some links to stay busy with this coming month.

~jewellery links~

I adore this beautiful mountain-scene necklace

A massive boulder of jade has been found in Myanmar; it weighs 175 tonnes and could be worth £140 million and looks nowhere near as pretty as you'd imagine!

In jewellery making, sometimes, accidents can be happy, as in the case of the creation of these earrings.

A tutorial on etching silver.

If you have any undrilled gemstones (and I know I do) and have been unsure what to do with them, then consider this idea for creating the sweetest little boxes.

Ever wondered how to make a spinning ring? This tutorial looks like a good place to start. It also involves Tipp-Ex!

For the person who has pretty much everything, then how about the ability to time travel wrapped up in sterling silver, gold and a few gemstones. This ring is a little cheaper and probably works just as well...

This Steampunk jewellery is so inventive and looks quite wonderful.

~non-jewellery links~

Have you heard of hygge? It's a Danish concept which, to me, roughly translates as wrapping yourself in the softest blanket possible when it's dark outside and lighting a candle or two. Oh, and you pronounce it 'hue-gah', although I like to think of it as saying 'hug' but with a bit of a Scandinavian accent...

Seriously amazing photos from around the world.

I've heard a lot about free university courses being available online but have only recently looked more closely at them. Quite a few portals exist, sites that collect the courses from the universities, and I've been using this one, Future Learn. The courses are genuinely free (I have had trouble with family members believing me on this!) although if you want a certificate to say you've done the course in question, then that costs. I've really enjoyed learning again, and love how accessible the courses are.

And speaking of online courses, I've also been looking at this bundle, consisting of eCourses and eBooks by fellow bloggers, about blogging. It's a fascinating collection although I'm not quite sure where to start! I also blogged about it here.

And speaking of education generally, how about trying this spelling test? Despite doing it twice I can still only get 14 out of 15 right...

And speaking of words in particular, the long-running mystery of who the best-selling author Elena Ferrante really is may have been solved but the story, and controversy, isn't over.

More photography, this time from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards. If you've not seen the amazing orangutan photograph that won then please do take a look - it is a truly marvellous image.

Beautiful film of whales at sea taken by a drone camera.

I know Hallowe'en is over but in the UK we still have Bonfire Night to come, and so these amazing toffee (or 'candied' as the US calls them) apples are still seasonal. I've never seen them on a cake before. One for your very own GBBO, or how about a cake that looks as wonderful as this?

~My Own Personal Book Club ~

I love to read at any time of the year but when the nights begin lengthening then it really feels the right time... This month I've been reading...

Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel - I am currently reading this and am utterly engrossed in it. It's a thoughtful read, often not what you'd expect from a 'post-Apocalyptic' novel (much of it is 'pre-Apocalypse') but it's absorbing and a little hypnotic, with careful prose creating an unsettling mood. Do give it a try if you can.

Some more sci-fi here in Beacon 23 by Hugh Howey. Howey is a self-published Kindle sensation (and blogs about his yacht to prove it) and this is the second book of his I've read. With surprisingly little dialogue, especially at the start, this is quite a thoughtful read about how conflict damages people and how to end the cycle of war. It also has a large telepathic dog-like alien in it, so it's not all philosophy.

Metal Clay Jewellery by Natalia Colman, inventive designs and helpful instructions. I've really enjoyed this book and will be reviewing it here very soon.

(affiliate links included in the books listed - please check details here for more info.)


I will do my best to embrace the need for soft blankets and fleeces and bright candles and large tins of chocolates - well, I might be getting ahead of myself with the latter as it's best, if you can, to save that kind of indulgence for next month... which we mustn't even think about yet. Have a good November.

Friday 28 October 2016

Blogging genius?

genius blogger's toolkit logo - silvermoss

Blogging is still an ever-growing field, despite the rise of other forms of social media. I still prefer blogging, the feeling of publishing my own little web magazine. But the size and scope of the medium can feel overwhelming at times, especially in terms of learning new systems and methods, and just simply trying to get people to read your blog.

I've created a few blogging tutorials in the past (and hope to do so again too) as I find understanding more about how blogs (and the web) works gives me more control over how I can say and show exactly what I want to here. Understanding and learning new things has always mattered a lot to me and my tutorials allow me to consolidate that new knowledge.

And much of my knowledge of blogging has come from other bloggers. By reading their blogs and learning how, and why, they do things the way they do, and what encourages me to return to their blogs. And also by indulging in blogging courses and books. I say 'indulging' but I've actually found the courses I've done illuminating and helpful and this is why I was a little excited when I heard about this bundle of courses and eBooks which is on sale for the next few days.

The list of eBooks and courses available is long. It includes 24 eBooks, 33 eCourses and audios, and 5 printable packs. I've linked to it linked to it here, which is where it is also available to buy, and the variety on offer seems to me to be exceptional. And the cost isn't 'giveaway-cheap' at $97 (which, at time of writing, translate to around £79 - do check currency rates before you buy though, especially if you're in the UK) although the individual cost of all the courses included adds up to something like £3,000, which, I have to say, is a small fortune. £79 is far more reasonable and is quite a saving if you're interested in a few of the courses. The list on the selling site, called Ultimate Bundles (they do a few of these type of offers throughout the year), shows the normal selling price of the courses and books, so you have a clue as to how much you could save.

None of the books or courses are about making or selling jewellery, or any other kind of craft, but several of them cover photography which is always a topic that fascinates me. The focus of the courses is more on blogging itself, how to make your blog work better whatever your reasons for having it, as well as figuring out Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat - basically all kinds of social media (which seems a never-ending and forever-changing topic in itself!) and how they can help your blog, and the technical side of blogging - HTML, CSS, SEO, all those letters that are both scary and, for me at least, quite fascinating.

If you think it might be right for you then do click through, or click on the image above, and have a look at more detailed information. The bundle also comes with a 30-day guarantee. It is only available at the reduced price until the end of Tuesday 1st November, at midnight in the USA although, if my very-rusty understanding of the time difference serves me correctly, we in the UK get an extra 7 hours till it ends. If my understanding of the time difference is wrong then please let me know!

I hope this is of some interest to you, especially if you're looking to improve your blog and social media presence to showcase your jewellery or crafts.

(PS. If you do click through then a video starts auto-playing - just a warning in case you're somewhere you'd rather that didn't happen!)

Please note, this post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing if you click through but may make me a few coppers if the stars are right that day... For more info check out my about page.

Friday 21 October 2016

It's a total fix


I've not made many brooches and the ones I have, have been in copper. I don't even wear brooches that often, although I do find them rather beautiful - and it's a rare type of jewellery that sits on clothing rather than the body.

The brooch that I do wear with any regularity is a gift I received several years ago, an amethyst set in silver. I've worn it on a hat for years now, and it's stayed firm, never coming loose. This summer, when I decided to wash the hat, I naturally removed the brooch. That was fine. When my hat was dry and I went to reattach the brooch... it broke.

Breaking jewellery is not a nice feeling. The pin at the back came away from the main part of the brooch and as I looked down at the two pieces I immediately assumed something had disastrously snapped, delicate and difficult soldering would be needed, I wouldn't be able to protect the amethyst and, essentially, it was game over for my brooch.

When I looked a little closer I saw that the pin, which I'd never thought to examine before, had simply pulled free from the pressure setting it was normally enclosed within. Five minutes with a pair of pliers and the brooch was fixed and I was suitably pleased.

Photographic proof above. Including wonderfully-aged tarnish on the back of the brooch...

Friday 14 October 2016

An amber & silver pendant, plus a theory of gifts

The amber cabochon, set in silver, held up to the light

It's easy to be so caught up in the minutia of life that birthdays sneak up on us and the best gift we can find at hideously short notice is whatever comes to hand in the right price range at (gulp) the supermarket. It's not good, is it.

I'm very aware that, since I've been making jewellery, I've made a lot of it as gifts. And, as the years have passed, I've wondered how many recipients are smiling through gritted teeth rather than really liking what I've made for them. Most women will appreciate jewellery as a gift but jewellery is also very personal and, even if you know someone well, what you think their style is may not be what they really like. I think I would be suspicious that they were trying too hard if someone wore what I'd made them every time we met, but when I never see them wear anything I've made it does lead me to wonder if they ever do...

So, a combination of this apprehension and trying not to overwhelm with sheer quantity of jewellery has led me to be circumspect when I decide to make a friend or relative a piece of jewellery for their special day. But another combination of a special birthday, a hankering to set a stone (something I've not done in ages), and a bit of a tip-off came together to prompt me to make this pendant for a relative. And I planned it long enough in advance that, barring major soldering disasters, I could avoid any fear of a last minute supermarket dash.


I've not set amber before but I have used amber beads and so knew it was quite a soft substance - just 2 - 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which is extraordinary for something that has survived for many millions of year. In deference to this, I bought myself more than one gemstone, just in case... plus, as I was buying online I figured I should then have at least one good-looking piece to set if I had a few to chose from.

The whole project was quite a process of remembering how to do things, and finding ways to make techniques fit the finished-item-image that I had in my mind (and doodled on a piece of paper). My favourite part was when I, finally, set the amber into the setting. Whether that was pleasure at being near the end, or just the sheer satisfaction of carefully pushing the silver round the stone, I'm not entirely sure. Despite giving myself enough time to finish the pendant, I was always aware that something could go wrong as any moment and I'd have to start over - not that I'm always a pessimist but working with small pieces of silver with a soldering torch and hammer carries obvious risks.

While I made a host of notes of things to do differently, and better, when I next set a stone, the amber survived unscratched and, perhaps even better, the finished necklace was liked and - wait for it - worn...

Friday 7 October 2016

Book Review - Learn to Make Bead Jewellery

Learn to Make Bead Jewellery - by Lynn Davy
Published by Search Press 2016

Learn to Make Bead Jewellery - book review by Silvermoss Learn to Make Bead Jewellery - book review by Silvermoss

I think silver jewellery will always be my first love. The cool colour, the texture, the workability of it, and the fact it was how I began making jewellery, all seal my ardour for it. But even silver, beautiful as it is, can sometimes really fizz if its mixed with other materials, and in this case the materials in question are beads.

The paperback edition of Learn to Make Bead Jewellery has a bold front cover, mostly white with blue writing and a mass of blues in the necklace in the main photo. Four smaller photos show a variation of blues and this attention to detail in the colour indicates one of the features of the book - its projects are colour coordinated by way of descriptions of the natural world. So the project categories cover Ocean (blues and aquamarines), Beach (browns and creams), Meadow (bright shades of many hues, like a wild flower meadow), Woodland (browns and greens), Forest (reds, purples and deep greens), Mountain (greys) and Volcano (oranges and reds).

I'll return to these sections and projects shortly but here I'll detail the first few pages of the book. Like many others of this type it has an introduction and then sections on materials, tools and techniques. Lots of clear, colour and vibrant photographs are included and six pages cover the topic of beads themselves, including a section on how to chose beads to buy. A page each on stringing materials and findings is followed by two pages on tools and four pages on techniques, covering the basics with a series of step-by-step photographs.

 Complete Jewellery Maker - book review by Silvermoss Complete Jewellery Maker - book review by Silvermoss

The book is finished by an index and a credit page but the majority of the book consists of the 35 projects it contains. Each project covers two pages (occasionally four) and has a list of beads, findings and tools required to complete the design. Every stage of the project is numbered and has photos and brief instructions, along with handy tips and extra techniques (as is often the case with jewellery books, developing skills and adapting projects is encouraged). The instructions are concise but useful and clear, and the photographs are bright and helpful.

Whilst this isn't a book for a single-minded silversmith, it's still interesting if you'd like to extend your skills. And if you're already a bead aficionado then, at the very least, the beautiful use of colour combinations in the projects should provide something new to learn and experiment with. The techniques are, I think, simple enough for a novice to understand and such a jeweller would find the book a helpful guide - it has detail enough to assist the growth of new skills, and also to inspire the creation of original designs, which is always the sign of a good jewellery book.

Find more of my jewellery book reviews here (the latest will be right at the top, so do scroll down!)

Please note, this post contains affiliate links, which cost you nothing if you click through but may make me a few coppers if the stars are right that day... For more info check out my about page.

Saturday 1 October 2016

Jewelled Web - October 2016 - Link Love

Scotney Castle - Jewelled Web October 2016 Silver Moss
Scotney Castle in Kent, glowing in the early Autumn light.

October is here and this year it feels gentle, with soft skies, sunshine, and only a light dusting of leaves although they are now falling daily. But it's still October after all, and I know I'll have to dig out my wet-weather boots and a jacket soon. Still, the abundance of leaves always provides wonderful jewellery and design inspiration in terms of colour, shape and texture. I'm thinking of making some more silver leaves...

This is what I've been doing online this last month, and what I will be catching up with in October.

~jewellery links~

Such a sweet idea and done really well - Jewellery made from children's artwork.

Jewellery (okay, headdresses) for mermaids.

A simple tutorial for creating simple but pretty marbled polymer clay earrings.

The perils of a friend or colleague asking you to repair an item of jewellery...

These shell earrings by Tanith Rouse are just so beautiful.

An Iron Age brooch has been recreated using a 3D printer.

A handy tutorial for wire-wrapping briolette beads.

A slightly less conventional tutorial - how to make denim earrings. Fabric earrings can look so good, and can be large without being heavy.

~non-jewellery links~

I love this idea for using natural fragrances in a home in a pretty and practical way.

These beautiful examples of needle felting, along with handy tips to get started, make it seem like a wonderful craft to do while the leaves fall outside.

Living in the Antarctic, but in style.

It's the time of year when certain types of plants just appear - yes, I'm talking fungi. Here are some amazing examples.

Dinosaur planters - with Christmas coming, such oddities suddenly start making sense...

More plants, at the most dangerous garden in the world.

One of my favourite videos, a deer bouncing along the beach. And then I saw this, a young rhino playing with dogs and responding to his name. Oh, okay, a panda has a bubble bath. That's it now. No more.

Flying with swans.

~My Own Personal Book Club ~

I have been reading...

My first John Le Carre novel - Our Kind of Traitor. I totally missed this at the cinema but found myself with a copy of it on my Kindle; it's a simple story really, about betrayal and trust, with a strong humanity at its core.

We Were Liars by E Lockhart - another Kindle find, and a very readable book, although with a devastating and affecting plot twist.

Learn to Make Bead Jewellery by Lynn Davy (reviewed by me here) - wonderful photos and beautiful beads make some imaginative designs.

(affiliate links included in the books listed - please check details here for more info.)


It's been such a mild end to the summer but the signs of change are to be found at the turn of October - the leaves are slowly growing golden and falling copper and bronze, and the nights and mornings are closer together now. But, as I write this, the sun is shining and bright, and the air warm. I hope your Autumn is wholly mellow.

Friday 23 September 2016

Jeweller Interview with Moon River Jewellery

Moon River jewellery photo - SilverMoss blog
Here is another instalment in my slightly sporadic series of interviews with jewellery makers. Please welcome Heather from Moon River Jewellery.

Heather makes wonderful jewellery in silver wire and silver clay, including fingerprint work. She also uses gemstones and is inspired by nature and the natural world.

How did you decide on your shop name and does it have a story behind it?

My shop name comes from the song Moon River in my favourite film, Breakfast at Tiffany's. I wanted something that reflected natural inspiration of my designs so it worked perfectly. Family later told me that it was the song that my Great Uncle was always singing so they were really pleased with it which made it extra special.

Where do your design ideas come from and what is the process that sees them through to the finished product?

Most of my designs are inspired by nature – what better influence is there! I am fascinated with trees and leaves and love the patterns and textures created by their branches and roots. How I design pieces varies depending on how it will be made. I usually start out with rough sketch and then either go straight into production letting it come together as I work or sometimes I do several more detailed drawings before I start.

My wire work Tree of Life pieces tend to evolve in my hand and find their own way to go, which I think best suits the depiction of a tree. I use mainly silver clay so I usually experiment with the real thing as it behaves in its own unique way but when I'm developing new wire work ideas I sometimes use copper or silver coloured wire first to make sure I don't waste the good stuff!

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 work from my home in Gloucestershire – technically I have the end of the dining room to use as my work space, but in reality that means I take over the whole thing. It is certainly a challenge sharing my workspace with a study, a piano, guitars, a violin, and that's before we get to the basic function of using it to eat in! As a result, my space is very untidy where I keep moving things around to make space for other activities. I'm hoping to be able to transform our old garden shed into a dedicated workspace next year – it might be chilly in the winter but at least it will be mine!

Moon River jewellery - SilverMoss blog

How do you motivate yourself to keep on creating?

I don't find it too difficult to come up with ideas – it's finding the time and money to put them into practice that slows me down! Like everyone else out there, I get stuck in a rut every so often but I find that being asked for more stock by a shop focusses my attention and soon gets me back to work. Although they can be exhausting, I don't think anything beats a really good craft event to get you feeling inspired – it's fabulous to have the opportunity to talk about your work with so many generally interested people.

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

My favourite tools and ones that I wouldn't be without are my kiln and my tumbler. They are my most expensive and my cheapest pieces of kit respectively. My kiln has revolutionised how I work – previously I had been firing all my work by hand using a butane torch which limited the size I could work too but also was incredibly time consuming and terribly tedious. Now I can concentrate my efforts on all the lovely making and then put lots of pieces in the kiln in one go while I carry on with something else. This has really helped me increase my production which has meant that I can better stock my online shop, my stalls and the shops I sell though. My tumbler was free - I won it in an online competition (which goes to show it IS worth entering)!

What is your favourite part of making and selling jewellery?

My favourite part is that someone goes away with something that has come from my imagination and that in some ways has a little life of its own. I hope that they will enjoy wearing it for many years.

Moon River jewellery - SilverMoss blog

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

Yes I do – and it can be hard. Silver is shiny which presents issues to the camera. Lighting is the key thing – everyone says that outside in natural light is best but I have had no success whatsoever with that technique. Up until now I have been using my bath – yes, don't laugh! It's white and I have three spotlights in the ceiling so don't have issues with shadow. I have been fairly pleased with the results and have had many compliments on my photos but there are issues with the method (such as when people want to use the bath!) so I have just invested in a table top portable studio to help me. I've been really pleased with it so far.

As for hints – be prepared to take and retake your photos until you are happy with them. Also – the best thing I've found is to use a tripod (or to rest the camera on the side of the bath!) and to use the macro mode on the camera and turn the flash off too. Also – if you can try and use the timer function so pressing the button doesn't vibrate the camera and cause blurring. It's always important to edit the photos too, crop them, resize them and alter the brightness/ balances if needed before you publish them.

When did you start your blog and how much input have you had in its design? How do you maintain and update it?

I started my blog in January 2013. It was originally using Wordpress but in February this year I moved to Blogger as I found I preferred the format there. I've designed it all myself and have chosen to keep it fairly clean and simple – I'm no tech expert so I had some fun and games installing the Folksy and Instagram feed widgets but I got there in the end.

I also designed and maintain my own website – being a one woman business means that there isn't always the money available for fancy web design services. It's not perfect but I'm really pleased with the result. I have a few changes planned for the future but I think they will have to wait for the new year as I get fairly busy in the run up to Christmas.

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

I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I probably prefer Facebook but I find Twitter really useful. I love the simplicity of Instagram too. What's really interesting is how people behave differently on different platforms – I find people chat more on Facebook but that I get more people clicking on my links on Twitter. I need to be better with social media – I'll add it to my to do list.

Moon River jewellery - SilverMoss blog

How much time do you spend online promoting your work and how do you balance making with selling?

Not enough time! That's the thing – promotion is key to getting views and sales but you have to balance that up with the time it takes you away from designing and creating. I've taken the 'a bit here and a bit there' approach which isn't always great but something is better than nothing. I've just recruited my husband to help me out with Twitter, he's much better at it than I am.

Heather, thank you so much for the interview and the insight into your work, it makes great reading and I especially love your bath-based photography hints!

If you want to find more of Heather's beautiful work then click through on these links -

All photographs in this post ©Moon River Jewellery

Friday 16 September 2016

Celtic-style Curve earrings

Celtic scroll earrings-Silvermoss Blog

Earlier in the year I was playing with curves in silver wire, mixed with some solder, and I ended up with these earrings. They were created as a gift, and I've now made three pairs as presents. I also have another pair in my shop.

I find them satisfying to make, especially the challenge of matching the curves as I'm forming them, and the finished loops as well as possible into pairs. The wire is pretty fine but a good amount of hardening the silver through planishing and polishing imparts a lot of strength; that and a fair bit of solder holding the curves together - each earring is soldered in six separate places.
The tiny pearls, used with even tinier silver beads, added a little weight and swing. Pearls can sometimes seem a little old-fashioned (or perhaps that's just me) but these ones are so sweet, and gently irregular in their shape which I love. I've used the same pearls before, when I made this necklace, and I'm pleased that I still have quite a few remaining.

Monday 5 September 2016

Jewelled Web - September 2016 - Link Love

Late Summer sun-bleached grass, wildflowers and heather

September is here and while the weather is still pretty warm down here in the southern part of the UK, I've noticed that the nights are definitely starting a little sooner, and the days beginning a little later. A fair few trees seem to be shedding leaves already, but it's been very dry and I think that is playing its part - trees can drop their leaves when they lack water as part of a self-preservation trick. I'll keep telling myself that even when Autumn kicks in for real perhaps...

My blog has been a little quiet recently but I've been making a few things in the background and am planning some posts about those soon. Here's some of what I've been reading, and bookmarking to read later, when I've not been otherwise occupied this Summer...

~jewellery links~

As I said above, lots of bees around at the moment. Here are a couple of tutorials on making a bee pendant in silver clay, and a bee bangle with enamel.

If you need some more bee inspiration take a look at this silver pendant, this gold one, and this fantastic wooden honeycomb necklace.

A detailed article on work hardening jewellery made from wire.

If you are willing to deal with Autumn being just around the corner then do look at these exquisite lampwork acorns.

Little tutorials for thread earrings, crochet and knotted earrings, and paper earrings.

Fantastic flower stud earrings. Fabulous flower ring. Floriferous flower necklace. From Folksy.

~non-jewellery links~

Magical photos with old cameras and film, taking in woodland around an ancient castle in Wales. I love how the mass move to digital photography has created a new appreciation of film photographs.

Beautiful books made from fabric.

Weird and wonderful houses from around the world.

Preparing a handmade business for... Christmas... (gulp)

To Anyone Who Thinks They're Falling Behind in Life (caution - contains some strong language).

Wonderful photos show the story of a wolf and a bear in Finland, living wild and living as friends.

Self compassion instead of self esteem?

If you're trying to improve your English, written or spoken, and are looking for a word to replace 'very',  then this is a handy and pretty comprehensive list of 128 alternatives.

~My Own Personal Book Club ~

I have been reading...

The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan - set in a strange future world of water and tiny islands, this book is about how to find love and how to accept who you are. Beautiful, in lots of ways.

A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman - evocative and imaginative prose, delicate and sad stories, but with hope shining through. I can understand why this book was so successful. I've yet to read When God was a Rabbit, by the same author, but it's on my (hideously long) to-read list.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers - I've not read much science fiction before but I loved this. So much imagination in one book, different characters, species, worlds. I'm looking forward to the sequel (and was very pleased when I found out the author was writing one).

I've been reading a good few jewellery books too; reviews to follow (hopefully) soon...

(affiliate links included in the books listed - please check details here for more info.)

It is still Summer. It's still warm, flowers still bloom, bees and butterflies still abound (kind of). I hope the rest of your Summer, as long as it lasts this September, is good.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

A Tale of Two Soldering Blocks

I have a new soldering block.

My old soldering block, pictured below on the left, has seen me through a lot. In fact, it's as good as the only block I've ever used when I've soldered away from the class environment. And it had got to the stage where to find a small patch of level surface involved balancing the block on its side and really wasn't ideal, to put it mildly.


I've always used powder flux and when this is heated it becomes molten. Then it hardens to an almost glass-like quality, as you might be able to see in the photograph. It also becomes sticky and hardens rapidly as soon as the heat is removed, and can quite easily hold the work being soldered onto the soldering block. This is, to put it mildly, far from ideal when you've finished the soldering part.

Eventually I was given the handy hint of reheating the area very slightly, just enough to make the flux molten again, and then lift the work off without any resistance. But until then I used to pull until the silver came free, and it normally came free with a small piece of the soldering block.

So my old block is a mixture of miniature valleys of missing block and mountains of glass-like flux. It's still usable and will be used, but for delicate, more precise work, having a smooth soldering surface feels like the most extravagant indulgence and I'm still enjoying the clean and smooth expanses, and doing my best not to create any more landforms than I'm sure I inevitably will, however careful I am.

Do leave a comment or get in touch if you've any hints to share about dealing with soldering blocks - I've love to read them.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Jeweller Interview with Little Cherry Hill

little cherry hill jewellery photo - silver moss blog
Last year I started doing interviews with fellow jewellery makers and here's another one now, this time with Little Cherry Hill Artisan Jewellery.

Emma, who is Little Cherry Hill, creates wonderful work, carefully detailed and intricately finished, often set with gemstones and always made with great skill.

When I first discovered Little Cherry Hill I fell in love with the silver and the gemstones, and the sheer imagination and variety Emma shows when crafting her designs.

I hope you enjoy looking through Emma's jewellery and reading about how she makes her art.

When and how did you start making jewellery?
I started metal smithing in Oct 2009 – my first child was a year old and I was making some stamped disc pendants with her name and birthdate etc on them. It was when it came to hanging them on a chain that I realised a simple closed jump ring wasn’t going to secure the pendant very well – at least not well enough for long term wear (which is kind of the purpose of such jewellery, no?) So I started researching how to solder a jump ring and, well, the rest is history!

How did you think of your shop name and does it have a story behind it?
My brand name began when I started teaching myself to sew. It’s personal to me and it’s a part of my last name, so it was easy for me to remember – it has stuck with me throughout all my ventures.

Where do your design ideas come from and what is the process that sees them through to the finished product?
My design ideas are purely from the top of my head. Sometimes I work around a stone, sometimes it just pops into my head and I go from there. It doesn’t always work out – but that’s part of the process.

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 create my jewellery in the garage of our home. It’s a great place for metal smithing as I don’t have to worry about dropping things or making a mess as the floor is concrete. But it’s not an insulated space – which does affect my work at times as it gets way too hot to be soldering or enamelling. So during the Summer I can tend not to venture to my bench for weeks at a time.

little cherry hill jewellery - silver moss blog

How do you motivate yourself to keep on creating?
Motivation or my ‘creative mojo’ as I like to call it, comes and goes as it pleases. This of course makes it difficult to build my little business and even harder to build my skill set. I am extremely critical of myself and my work, which makes it even harder to get the motivation to work at my bench.

What is your favourite piece of jewellery to make?
My favourite jewellery to make would be pendants – probably because you can go larger when making them, say compared to the size of earrings or rings. And I absolutely love large statement pieces.

What jewellery making tools could you just not do without, and what tool/item is on your wish list?
The tool I could not do without the most would be my Flex-shaft. So many little drill bits and finishing/sanding tools can be equipped into this wonderful contraption that mean less wear and tear on our precious hands – always a good thing! One tool on my wishlist that I hope to get early 2015, would be a Delft Clay sandcasting kit. This is something I really want to teach myself to do.

What is your favourite part of making and selling jewellery?
My favourite part of making a piece of jewellery is the finished product. Seeing it all come together and work out from imagination to reality is really fun. The part I love about selling would be somebody choosing to spend their hard earned savings on a piece that I made with my two hands from scratch – especially given there is so much to choose from on Etsy, so many beautiful pieces. When someone chooses to wear something I’ve made it’s a little thumbs up to the work that I do and I thrive on that.

little cherry hill jewellery - silver moss blog

Do you take your own photos, and if so do you have any photography hints?
Yes, I have always taken my own photos. Photography is something I enjoy as a hobby alongside metal smithing. I would recommend using natural light always, flash is awful and I never, ever use it, ever. Not for anything. Take your photographs in a neutral setting with minimal distraction and near a window out of direct sunlight.

When did you start your blog and how much input have you had in its design? How do you maintain and update it?
I started my jewellery blog when I began learning to make jewellery. I wanted to connect with others in the same field and also document what I was learning/doing. I try to design everything myself when and where I can. If I need help to see a vision through I try to go to other Etsians. At the moment I don’t update it much – I haven’t the time right now. But I do check in as much as I can.

Which social media platform do you find the most enjoyable and helpful, and how do you use it?
At the moment my favourite social media is Instagram. I love photography and looking others pictures. I use Instagram to connect with others and to share my favourite things and a little from my life and mostly my work process.

How do you hope your jewellery making will evolve over time? How do you see your shop changing?
I hope my jewellery will evolve as I teach myself new skills. At this point in my life my children take up much of my time, so new skills and making new jewellery as quite stretched out over time. I do hope one day to build my little business up to something more than a hobby, but right now I just enjoy what time I can get at my bench.

little cherry hill jewellery - silver moss blog

Thanks so very much for the interview, Emma, it was fascinating finding out more about your work.
All photographs in this post ©Little Cherry Hill Artisan Jewellery

If you want to find more of Emma's beautiful work then click through on these links -

Friday 1 April 2016

Jewelled Web - April 2016 - Link Love

The sea in the spring...

Easter was very early this year and perhaps that's why the weather seemed a little colder than normal. Okay, Good Friday was sunny and bright and quite beautiful, but the following days had a sting of cold in the air, rain and strong winds. The occasional blast of sunlight was noticed and enjoyed though.

This Jewelled Web comes closer than normal on the heels of my previous one but I still hope you find something of interest - after all, the web turns up gems pretty much every day of the year...

~jewellery links~

Much of the jewellery I make - and that I own - is pretty small and delicate so I loved the finds in this post about tiny necklaces.

I've never added a patina to my silver but I must try to do so, and sooner than later. I've bookmarked this, this and this in preparation. Next is to invest in some chemicals (or eggs). Any hints welcome in the comments!

Aluminium as an alternative to silver? I love this and this.

Fusing rather than soldering is a fascinating topic (video) ... as is soldering with an iron rather than a torch.

Bored Panda is as addictive as ever and it does jewellery! Carved silver bookmarks that tell a story and tiny scenes set in resin rings.

~non-jewellery links~

How to build a minimal wardrobe - lots of links.

A fascinating library to explore online.

More Bored Panda ... Norway in the winter and a Nap Bar in Dubai (hands up who needs one of those lounge-chairs at home?).

Decorating in black and white.

How to have a holiday in an owl.

I'm not on Instagram. I do think about going on Instagram. Then it seems that lots of people want to leave Instagram 'cos of an algorithm. This might explain it a little. I hope.

Such a beautiful quilt. If I only I could sew...

A steampunk elephant, from start to finish.

~My Own Personal Book Club ~

I've been reading...

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman - sad and beautiful all at once. A writer always worth reading. If you loved the film Practical Magic, based on one of her novels, then you'll love this.

The Watchers by Neil Spring - spooky and eerie and a little bit odd... The same writer wrote the book that Harry Price - Ghost Hunter (on UK TV over Christmas) was based on.

(affiliate links included in the books listed - please check details here.)

The clocks have just gone forward and the evenings are lighter, so spring must be on its way now, surely. Hope you have a good April.