Self-publishing via Word and Createspace – overview

http://wp.me/p25AFu-2CD

So….I don’t have the skills or imagination to be a proper writer. ACFlory, on the other hand does and is. She has also done some serious research, so you don’t have to…

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New commission equals new tool…and I made a mistake so you don’t have to.

Well. A girl can NEVER have too many tools. Nope. Never. And Grandad always told me to invest in the best I could afford, and assume I would grow into the tool. I didn’t quite understand what he meant at the time..

So. One of my customers messaged me…’I love my Star Trek studs, but wondered if you had ever thought about making some Harry Potter, Deathly Hallows ones?’

Of course I hadn’t. HP, as enjoyable as I found the movies and the book and the Lego PSX games, isn’t really in my Venn Diagram of geek. I looked at our box set. Nothing. I’d borrowed the books (virtually) from the library, so had nothing to use there, and had to resort to the interweb.

There are lots of images, but this seemed to be what was neededDeathlyHallowsFILMMontage. I sent it off to my customer, to see if I was on the right track, and she asked me to try and make some studs, as small as the smallest of my ST ones. Now these, really are teeny. They are 7×5.5mm and I make them using Art Clay Silver, and a mould I made from a prototype I sculpted.

I knew that this was going to be too awkward to make in that way: I was going to need to cut my silver wire and solder it. Unless I wanted to saw it from sheet, but I prefer a more dimensional finish than that.

Now. Each of these elements has a meaning. You can see what that is in the first pic – the Triangle represents the Cloak of Invisibility,  the ring the Resurrection stone set in Dumbledore’s ring and the line the Elder Wand (again, Dumbledore’s). It’s always important to me to try and reflect the meaning behind a commission, so I let that pootle away in my head whilst I got over excited and started a pair, and then, when I completed them sent off the pic to my customer. Lesson learned here?!   ALWAYS REFER TO THE BRIEF. Especially if you are like me, with the attention span of a chicken.

I had reversed the ring and the triangle. You can see that failed pair in the final photo, along with the correct version.

Hash-Tag IDIOT. Still. Having the corners of the triangle so visible means that  I can warrant the purchase of my new tool.. Skippetty-skip.

It was the second most expensive item I’ve bought, after Mr Tumnus, my Ultralight. It is a mitre vice. It is used for gripping and cutting wire, sheet and tube metal. It has fab little grooves in it all the way through, to avoid crushing the tube.

MitreVice.jpgIt is the second most expensive item I’ve bought, after Mr Tumnus, my Ultralight.

It’s awesome.

I can line up the wire in the angles, at 90, 45, 60 or 30 degrees. The finish I can get using this is outstanding. It meant I could saw and file each corner perfectly.

DSC_0006_17Of course. I know that the inside of each corner should be 60 degrees for a triangle like this, but maths has never been my strong point.

2 hours later, with a lot of swearing and close to tears, I have plenty of tiny bits of beautifully mitred 1.2mm wire, that would make a lovely honeycomb. IF THAT WAS WHAT I WANTED

Then. I went out the room in a strop and made something else. Whilst doing that, I realised that if I simply cut one of the internal corners, and laid it flush to the other wire, and then sawed the excess afterwards, I’d have it nailed.

Yup.  I understand now that I could have cut the pieces to 30 degrees and placing the two together would make a 60 degree corner (would it, I don’t really know that. I’m still guessing), but this worked for me. I laid them out on my honeycomb board, with a 5mm jumpring I’d made from 0.8 in the centre, butted them up, pinned the jumpring, and whoosh. They soldered beautifully. Plain sailing thereafter.

I should have taken piccies, but I was so delighted that they worked, I just cracked on. I’m putting them in my shop now, made to order, but I think I’ll make a couple of pairs just to keep my hand in.

Here they are, completed. I made them in two parts; hammering the triangle to give the impression of movement for the cloak, and taking the piece of silver that represents the wand right to the edge of reticulation when I soldered on the ear post, to give it a more organic and wooden feel. I then soldered the two together. As you can see, heaps better than my original attempt, a happy customer and I learned lots.

 

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Ideas…

I guess it must be much worse for writers.

I get asked about inspiration quite often. All sorts of things contribute to an idea for a design; the weather, the allotment, my enthusiasm for geek. Fashion rarely plays into it, but the stones I plan to use combined with my self-selecting-skill (and tool) limitations often does.

TV, however regularly offers me up an idea. BonesEarrings01

Mostly something I like such as this:

Dr Temperence Brennan. ‘Bones’.

Super smart (all my favourite characters appear to be geniuses – or doctors it seems) and look  her jewellery is comfy and not at all matchy-matchy and also looks handmade. What’s not to love about this?

 

 

Sometimes something that makes me howl with laughter, such as this….

DroxineEarrings02Droxine, (Episode 21, season 3 TOS) with earrings that not only scrape her shoulders, but appear to have been made from left over wind chimes.

Sorry Star Trek. Much as I love you, there is no question as to which of these two characters I would choose to dress as, and which inspires me most.

 

In other news….I bought a new toy tool and it arrived yesterday. It’s to help me with cutting angles, so I can mitre corners more accurately. I love a new tool. It’ll be a rolling mill next if I’m a good girl.

MultiVice

 

 

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Happy Dance

Sometimes a week can’t get any better; and this, so far, has been one of those weeks.

I’ve had some jewellery accepted by a lovely, small, family run gift shop in Tavistock (on the edge of Dartmoor since you ask!)  and was beyond excited to be told by the owner I’d sold a piece within the first week.artichokestuds
It’s the first time I’ve had my jewellery in a real, physical shop. I packed up all the items I thought would work better in reality, rather than virtually (this includes things like these artichoke studs that I find are too shiny for me to photograph properly)  and I really didn’t expect them to want to stock anything. However, the owner, was lovely and generous and supportive, and was the second person in two days to give me a ticking off; saying that I should be more confident in my work, so I’ve promised them I’m going to try harder!
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve completed a few commissions; have a few more on the go and the results of two of the completed items are now shareable!
I’ve also lots of items to list in Etsy; but I need the sun to come out on a day when I’m not instructed to dig at the allotment so I can take the listing photos.
You might have picked up from my previous posts; I’m a big believer in reusing whenever possible; which is one of the reasons I welcome people asking me to repurpose or repair their special items.
Special to me means sentimental; not financial value, but as a result I find there is a different and often greater level of pressure. This is a good thing (I tell myself)!!
I was contacted last week by one of my customers asking me to adjust a pendant she loved. dsc_0001
She sent me her piece, including a couple of garnets she wanted me to use to replace the coral you can see at the top, (on this photo )   →
We then exchanged messages via FaceBook and Twitter – including a couple of brief videos to help her decide between some detail options. (This is standard practice for me; if a person asks me to make something special; it needs to be bang on, and I like them to be fully involved.)
I was rather pleased with the finished article, and from the lovely message sent to me and review left, so is my customer.
She stumbled across me through Twitter I think; way back when I just started tweeting, and that’s also how I discovered that Brocante Of Devon were looking for local crafter/makers, so I’m very pleased I went to the effort of trying to use it!
I made two delicate and beaten jumprings to punctuate the stones, allowing for fluidity of movement and sparkle (one can never have enough sparkle!) and an optional chain with hematite, peridot and garnets punctuating the clasp.
lisahardipendant
Only one of the other two commissions is ready to fully share; this is another example of social media being handy – my customer placed a shout out on her social media for jeweller recommendations, and one of my earlier customers recommended me.
She wanted a pendant, made from silver to reflect her logo.
donnanobleyogaicon
Sometimes these things just design themselves, so I sent her an estimate, with the logic behind my interpretation of her brief, and then once she expressed an interest I mocked up and posted her a dummy pendant in quite cruddy polymer clay.
I hadn’t realised how dried out my Fimo had become, so had to hope she could see past the dodgy texture and visualise it all shiny and sleek. Fortunately she’s clearly a woman with vision (!), so was able to see past the rubbish polymer clay and commissioned me to make her a fine silver pendant.
I always tell people that I’m not an artist; I’m a craftswoman – and still learning, so I’m rubbish at drawings and sketches, but I am quite good at practical problem solving. I also hate to reinvent the wheel and am super lazy, so in case you are a fellow clayer; here’s ‘how I did that’Enlarge the design on the pc to a variety of sizes.

  • Print them off.
  • Trace them onto shrink plastic to effectively create cookie cutters and then use the right sized one to press out the design.
I did this, to give me options making it easier to factor in the shrinkable rate of the plastic and the silver
I wanted to reflect the ethos of my customer’s business, so my intention was to make the yogi curvy and sensual both visually and in reality.
I accomplished this by:
  • Roll Art Clay Silver to 6 cards thick
  • Trim to slightly larger than the planned piece
  • Lay some cling wrap over the clay and only then
  • Press out the shape.

The cling wrap forces in a graduated curve, which gave me exactly the result I wanted

I made  a former from 1mm wire, to use for the indentation for the leg, and then, once she was dry I refined the clay as usual, firing with my Ultralite. Especially wonderful to do that on a cold February day!
Whilst the clay was drying I had prepared a couple of jump rings to act as a bail – my customer really liked the idea of the bail being sparkly and moving about, so I made my jumprings from 1.5mm fine silver wire, hammering on the sides and edges.
Once she (this yogi is most definitely a she!) was fired, I soldered a little fired ACS ball between her palms, sawed open the selected jumpring; re-soldering it once I’d connected it.
Then it was time to polish.
Throughout the process, I was in touch with my customer, by social media, using photos, videos and also by phone. It was a truly lovely commission and she’s been enjoying the whole thing greatly – it’s been such fun, ad it’s another piece I’m pleased with as is my customer. Yay!!
In fact, I’m enjoying sending people videos so much, I have opened a YouTube channel, specifically for this purpose – I can’t send a video via Facebook message, and doing so via a direct Twitter / Instagram message doesn’t allow for the recipient to share if they want; whereas a link to the YouTube channel does.
Here’s a selection of the photos I sent her of the pendant’s progress, along with the final shot.
donnanoble
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Adventures with an Ultralite Kiln – Keum-Boo

Oh my, but I love this new toy, oops – tool

Let me count the ways, as I believe Shakespeare may once have written (warning – here any resemblance to fine writing endeth)

First. I can anneal bits of silver without a flame. Perfect for beaten jump rings, for regular ring resizing, softening work hardened wire or sheet before sawing  / whilst dapping. Particularly fabulous for those items I have already soldered, and don’t want to melt the solder.

Second. I can fire silver clay in it, without having to clear the kitchen hob, so I can multi-task during jam season.

Third. Keum-Boo with no risk of scorching my eyebrows orf from the naked gas hob

Fourth. I’m assured I can do tiny bits of slumped or fused glass with it

Fifth. I’m also assured I will be able to do small bits of enamelling with it

Finally (so far) I can do all this at my desk, upstairs, sitting down, and it will heat the room for me. And, I can do all this safely, using the electricity we generate through the PV cells on our roof, effectively meaning it is free and carbon neutral. SMUG FACTOR!!

I’ve been able to find very little useful information about how to use the Ultralite, unfortunately, so I thought I would log everything I learn here, in case anyone else is trying to suss theirs out. I’ve done quite  bit of silver clay firing now and have learned some useful things- (there was only a minimal amount of melt!)

However – I’m not an expert at any of this, by any means. It’s trial and error with me, but I love to see other people’s tutorials and goes at things. If you are thinking about an Ultralite, or just wanted to know how this was made, this is for you.

So. Today I did some Keum-Boo trials.

I’d researched this using the internet, and this, in summary, is what I found out.  Keum-Boo is traditional and ancient Korean technique, where gold is bonded at a molecular level to fine (aka pure 99.9) silver using heat and pressure only. The literature I found says you can do this with sterling silver (if you deplete the copper from it) and also with other metals.

You could use a blow torch, or a hob, an open fire or a commercial hotplate. Or of course a  (drum roll) kiln. Anything that will take the temperature of the silver to 840 oC, ideally holding it there steadily because it’s important to be precise with the temperature – too cool and the gold won’t bond fully; too hot and it will be absorbed fully by the silver. I’ve tried this with my gas hob, and also with a blow torch. Both were a bit of a struggle  and I also felt that hovering closely over a naked flame wasn’t the safest of options!cupcakecharm2014

This is one of 3 items I completed in this way, back in 2014, which was a cupcake for a charm bracelet. I’d also made a couple of pairs of studs, one of which was a leaving gift for one of my colleagues. All the others I managed to overheat and the gold sank into the silver.

I felt so nervous poking away with my agate at something tiny over a roaring flame, and it took so long for a – mostly – unsatisfactory result, I decided just not to attempt any more. Then I stumbled across this YouTube video of  Celie Fago using an Ultralite and my 3 reasons rule was fulfilled. 😀 (see Make it count…)

I figured once I reached £1k profit, I could justify purchasing one of these, and started pricing them. Then, I lucked out and found one with all I needed (plus stuff I don’t, of course!) on Ebay

So. Keum-Boo.

I can’t be arsed with depleting sterling silver (I’ve always been a bit lazy, loving my short cuts) 1-Pictures4

so I thought I would try using  0.3 fine silver sheet that I had bought from my regular bullion dealer, intending to use it for bezel setting these lovelies……………..⇒

and also on some fired Art Clay Silver charms I’d made – a couple fully polished and a couple that were unpolished and unbrushed. This is because one of the articles I found talking about this suggested it would be easier to apply the gold to the clay if it hadn’t been brushed.

I can’t abide waste, and I’m terribly impatient, so even though I’m effectively making myself a sampler, I thought I’d try for a pair of drop earrings at the same time. I’d also read about using crafting stamps to cut shapes out of the gold foil / leaf and applying it.

I used my magic disc cutter I may have mentioned a few times already (!) to whack out a couple of medium discs, filed the edges and then domed them. Then I got out my gold….

I studied bookbinding and paper conservation at college back at the beginning of the 1990s, and because I loved the process (and it was so flippin’ expensive), I have kept all my tools and kit. It’s been in storage a few times, moved house many times, and now it’s in the loft. HA! Hoarding vindicated!!

What you can see in the first photo montage is the magic disc cutter and my pair of cut 999 discs; my gold leafing setup – a special cutting board and windbreak I made back in the day and my gilders knife; the handbeaten  book of gold leaf that cost me the equivalent of 1 weeks rent in 1992 (that’s not kept up with inflation – I assume because they are no longer hand beaten); and a sheet of 24carat gold from the book, folded over multiple times and put between tracing paper.[*]  I’ve then punched out a couple of pieces of the gold.

Folding it over wasn’t an exact science, I guess it’s now about 8-10 times thicker than the original leaf, which was very, very thin. I did this, because everything I read said to use thicker gold foil, rather than leaf (but that is the only difference between the two, the thickness)keumboosetup_01_2017

Whilst I did this my lovely Kiln (I must think of a name for it) was heating up, with the copper disc on the top, and the lid above that to speed up the heating. I used the disc with the dome in it as a number of the items I wanted to apply the gold to were curved.

I got a clean artists paint brush, licked it (sorry if that sounds a bit gross – that’s what all the research said to do, and it fit with my bookbinding training!) and dampened the inside of the curved discs. Then I laid the cut piece of gold leaf on to the discs, and placed the first layered disc  on the copper sheet that’s acting as a lid to the kiln.

I learned from this, that

  • the gold needs to be really well smooshed together and
  • if precision is needed, lay the gold on the silver whilst it is OFF the kiln and
  • it’s worth getting the silver quite damp if there is detail in the cut out.

The first  disc worked really well, but the second dried out whilst I positioned the first and the layers of insufficiently squished gold separated. Fortunately because I didn’t have it on the kiln,  I was able to whisk it off, and use it on the other items.

keumboo2

In this second montage, you can see the gold laying on the silver domed discs on the left ready for the heating process (this is where the lower one dried out, and the layers separated when I lifted the top layer of tracing paper off) In the centre photo, you can see how it looks whilst rubbing the gold to the silver on the brass plate, and in the photo on the right, you can see the completed disc.

The actual Keum-Boo process is very basic. Simply place the silver on the hot brass disc on top of the kiln. If the silver is already up to temperature when the gold is placed on it  you can actually see it cling and fuse – a bit like sequins and static, or when you put cling wrap over a hot bowl. Then, use a burnisher (steel or agate, each with it’s pros and cons) to gently tap on sections of the gold to ensure it’s anchored, before rubbing the gold to the silver. Failing to tap sufficiently will allow the gold to shift, even if you are holding  your breath with excitement, as I was 😉

Once it’s all safely fused, either leave it to cool naturally, or quench it.

I wondered if I would be able to see when it was fully fused (it was really hard to tell this using a torch) but it turns out that it is one of those indescribably beautiful moments in nature and alchemy when you can. Next time I might try and video this stage; I didn’t expect it to be so dramatic and obvious.

I repeated this process on the silver clay pieces; I had a couple of flowers with silver clay balls in the centre that I wanted to pick out in gold as I knew from my studs that was beautifully effective and subtle; a charm I had made as a test piece, having made a cookie cutter style mould of a cherub that was smooth clay and the back of a charm that I had impressed with a skeleton leaf as I wanted to see what sort of depth the gold would get to – would it leave the crevices or fill them, or would it fuse evenly allowing all the texture to remain? I also had a random flower, that I thought might work with a ‘splodge’ of gold, before attaching to something with a headpin and a bead

These photos show the tiny crumbs of layered gold prior to fusing, on the brass disc; all the pieces quenching after the bonding, then before polishing and finally after 50 minutes in my barrel polisher.

keumboo3

I only have one agate burnisher at the moment; one termed ‘knife’ shape. It works really well for burnishing silver clay, and it worked fine for all my pieces that were flat or convex, but it was a challenge for the concave pieces. you can see all these little marks on the disc; they look like scratches, and are made as a result of only being able to get the point of the burnisher in. They vanished when I polished the piece up, although using my lens I think perhaps I may have pushed through some of the gold. So. more and varied agate burnishers are now on my shopping list

The pieces that were unbrushed – the flower with the dimples in the petals and the oval pebble charm – were incredibly easy to apply the gold. It tacked on really quickly and evenly. The gold in the flower is only 3 layers thick, but the difference isn’t noticeable, even with my lens

You can probably also see, in the quenching photo; I managed to get the gold to places other than the target areas. I would like to say that this was a purposeful error, to test how easy it would be to remove it – but as I said – I’m very lazy!

As it happens, the flower with the streak of extra gold, was gold that just moved onto the petal by accident; it didn’t tack to the ball fully, so drifted off. (I’d not left the charm on the kiln for long enough). I carefully tried to ignore it, and hoped it would either come off when I wire brushed or when I barrel polished the piece. I thought the same thing would probably apply to the overhang of the gold on the cherub, and yes, this was the case. All these pieces were brass brushed with light soapy water, before I tumbled them using stainless shot.

I’ve patinated some of these pieces, because I wanted to see the contrast. I’ve applied Renaissance Wax to all of them as a light protective layer over the gold even thought it appears to be very durable. The oxidisation on the discs was unexpected, as fine silver doesn’t usually oxidise on heating, but I removed it and then used liver of sulphur to apply a more aged and interesting patina. Rubbish extreme close up photos at the end of this article.(It’s still raining here in Exeter!)

So. what have I learned from this, my first attempt using the kiln?

  • As always, prep is everything. Have everything to hand
  • Work in a draught free area. This means factoring in staying at your station for an hour or so, so get your drink, take your comfort break, keep your phone within reach.
  • If using one of these Ultralites, set it up so that the ‘window’ is away from your dominant hand (it was a cold January day here, so the mild toasting mine got was very welcome on this occasion, however I’m delighted to report that  my eyebrows remain intact)
  • Make sure all your tools are clean and grease free – gold loves grease as much as I love wine; if you rub your skin lightly and touch a tool, there will be enough oil transference for the gold to adhere to the tool. Great if tooling a leather bound book, not so much for this.
  • Don’t bother finishing your silver clay; leave it unbrushed after it’s firing / soldering, but do make sure that all soldering is completed and any pickling done should there be any firescale on an area you want to apply the gold before starting.
    • I think I may need to buy something with a hole in it / try some kiln fibre, or drill a hole in one of my brass sheets for earwires to poke through
  • clean up any fine silver sheet really well, and degrease it prior to the application of the gold

Essential tools are

  • fine tweezers for moving the gold leaf. Mine are reverse lock paper-cutting tweezers with incredibly delicate points. Make sure they are grease free.
  • something on which to cut your gold. My gilder’s block is simply natural suede, laid over a piece of blanket, nailed round the edge with upholstery tacks. It’s then been liberally dusted with ground chalk (talc or gypsum will do if you can find it in a pure form)
    • you could just tear or cut all your gold with fine scissors, or of course punches, but having a block like this made it easy for me to fold and smoosh the leaf into a thicker layer. It was the work of moments and a massive financial saving. I used the same kind of motion as when prepping ink for lino printing, or reconstituting silver clay
  • gold cutting implements. Punches / fine scissors / knife. Mine is a gilder’s knife, but any traditional style unserrated  knife will work as long as it’s not terribly sharp and clean

So. that’s it. What I learned from my first Kiln Keum-Boo. I am very, very happy with my purchase. Next up, might be a mini post on annealing with it, and firing ACS.

As I said above – I’m not an expert at any of this, by any means. It’s trial and error with me, but, if you have a question do send it to me via the comments. I’ll share my thoughts – for whatever they may be worth!

keumbooextremecloseupcollage

[*] When tooling leather bindings in gold, the principle is to build up the layers of gold leaf, resulting in a deeper and more durable finish – think French polish, rather than polyurethane. The foil sold designated as suitable for Keum-Boo is described as 24 times the thickness of leaf contained in the gold leaf books – these tend to have 24 sheets. This would suggest that it should be the equivalent price of the book, as although it will have fewer customers, it’ll take less work. As it happens, it’s nearly 3 times the price of the book (in the jewellery bullion dealer – the books of leaf are cheaper from art / bookbinding suppliers), so I think I’ll continue folding my sheets over and over!

 

Posted in Keum-Boo, processes, silver, tutorial, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Make it count…

So. 2017. I for one am pretty pleased to get rid of 2016. It was (to say the least) quite possibly the most unpleasant ever year for a number of my pals, so the commencement of a New Year is particularly appreciated here. I’ve no doubt that 2017 will be challenging, but I am hoping it won’t also be terrible.

I’ve never been one for resolutions, never wishing to set myself up to fail; but this year I thought I might give myself a motto. Working for myself, from home, with no real external pressure is delightfully luxuriant, but I do often feel as though I’m lacking focus.

I already use the ‘three reasons’ method to ensure I don’t buy too much stuff (ie three reasons why I need the item, other than ‘ooo, me likey’) and if I cared more about my appearance, I’d probably apply it to my diet and exercise regime (those who know me will be laughing at the words exercise and regime).When I was first released from the 9-5, I started a mini journal, having been advised by everyone immediately after their retirement that their days just blurred into one long nothingness.

I used that diary to note what I did each day, but only noted down tasks. I didn’t note anything that I considered indulgent; like reading a book, or taking a walk, sitting in the garden, playing PlayStation – you know; holiday type things!

I stopped recording things when I got to the end of 2014, having felt that I no longer needed it. 2015 was just busy, busy, busy; cracking on with the jewellery, getting to grips with using Etsy for sales and of course, that’s when I got a KOBO and I discovered Twitter and WordPress.

2016 was far less focused, in no small part due to the challenges I mentioned earlier, but mostly because I think I became a little complacent in my freedom. (I can’t imagine the hours surfing the net helped either!) It left me feeling as though I had wasted much of my time. I don’t need or want to always be busy, but I do want to end each week – ideally each day- feeling that it was a day well lived. To this end I’ve chosen ‘make it count’ as a motto for the year.

I might even make myself a piece of jewellery to wear all the time, prompting me.

My first Make It Count of the year, is to nail Keum-Boo.

I’ve had a productive week so far; spending Monday prepping estimates and prototypes for potential commissions (work) revisiting the address book (personal) and fighting for hours with the wifi extender for the router (both, nearly culminating in a small meltdown!)

Yesterday was more jobs in the morning, and a lovely visit from a pal for lunch, with more wifi-war in the afternoon

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Today I appear to have fixed the wifi, tidied up all the ebook reviews I’ve been meaning to do and I completed my first batch of Keum-Boo on the new Ultralite Kiln I showed you in the autumn.

I’m very happy. Have learned lots, haven’t scorched my eyebrows orf and I really made the days count this week. YAY ME!

img_fvctpu

Picture is of a rubbish Twelfth Night cake I made after realising that I’ve been spending 20 years rushing to complete a Christmas cake for the 25, when of course, it’s far more traditional to have one for twelfth night . The sweets all came in the post as a surprise Christmas gift from my pal in Sweden.

It’s not very well made, but I don’t care. I had fun, it made MrG and I larff and that’s all that mattered. Happy 2017 chaps. Next post will be my adventures in Keum-Boo.

 

 

Posted in Baking, DGDCheeryUppy, Stuff I love, UltraLite, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Giveaways! — DV Berkom Books

One of my favourite authors is running a giveaway. I already own all her books, so shan’t be entering…take a look if you enjoy #thrillers

 

Hey there! I mentioned I’d be back with some giveaways today, so here’s 3 🙂

(Contests end Monday, December 12) Giveaway #1: Win a signed paperback copy of Vigilante Dead from Goodreads. (For some reason the widget isn’t resolving correctly on the blog, so you’re going to have to click on the link to go […]

via Giveaways! — DV Berkom Books

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Baby steps…

Well, that went better than I anticipated.  Remember I told you about my plans for an ‘in person;’ event?  That my favourite independent boutique (Leela) had offered me a chance to have a stall outside her shop for the duration of the local Christmas Market, and although I love her for it, it was just a big, scary, step too far.

But. She is right. I really should try a market. So, as you know,  I emailed my old employer, and asked if I could venture in with my stuff one day. Bless them, they said yes. I did this on Thursdaywp-1480759151872.jpg

and people were sooo lovely! I met up with some old colleagues who I see very rarely, some I see regularly, and lots of people I had never met before came to have a look over my display. They were kind, polite, supportive and I learned lots – all of it positive.

I even sold things…to people I don’t know…in person…and did math (I only reversed the carbon paper in my invoice book the once!) I didn’t give anything away for free by failing to account for it, nor did I over charge anyone. And most of the sales felt genuine, with very few pity purchases !!

So, for me this is a massive success. I have broken through the fear factor. A little late for this year, but that’s fine. I’m not trying to conquer the world, just make nice things, that people can afford, and not undercut those people who have more bills to pay than I do. There will be next year. Then I shall make sure I have a better display, and possibly rope in an assistant for the invoicing!!collage2decpromo2016.jpg

Before the event the venue was kind enough to put out a couple of emails in which I described my jewellery, including some images (here’s one-)

and also put flyers by all the staff entrances and then the day before they also erected big trip hazard AFrame boards, with posters. That was definitely worth doing as people told me that they had forgotten and the stands reminded them. Now, as a result of Thursday and some other customers, I have my bespoke commission order book filled for the remainder of the month. Excellent, although it might meant I have to wait til the new year to play with my newest toy….an UltraLite Kiln.  This is beyond exciting for me. I will be able to fire silver clay, keum-boo, anneal metals, without having to use my as hob or a blowtorch (a result for my eyebrows and the utility bills) Additionally I’ll be able to enamel and fuse glass. And I found a new, unwanted one for less than the listing price at the link I’ve included on Ebay. This is it on it’s initial fire to make sure it worked ;-

Now, I know that is just white noise to most of you, so once I get going I will do some proper posts, with pictures and information about how it all works – I may even attempt a video, just so you can see the total awesomeness of it all. Oh and it really is tiny. The tile it is standing on is about a foot square.

So, that’s it for me for a week or so. Thank you to all of you who encouraged me earlier, I had no idea doing this little bloggy thing would make me feel so much part of a community and so supported. Hugs.

Posted in Brave, Gems, UltraLite, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Stepping out of my comfort zone..

I love to make things. You might have noticed that. You also might have noticed that there’s not a lot of socialising mentioned in any of my posts. That’s because I’m not very good at it. I sell almost all my jewellery via the internet; only occasionally does it involve a face to face meeting, and then it mostly is with just the one person, and also mostly with someone I have come to know (interestingly I feel I have got to know many of my customers quite well, I consider some to be friends now; whether they return the compliment is another matter!)

Most of the other people I know that craft, and sell their craft (be it as a business , or simply to help finance a hobby and get their stuff out the loft) undertake at least a couple of shows or events each year.  I haven’t done a stall in over 25 years, and the last time I had small items, I lost quite a few due to shoplifting.

My favourite local boutique offered me a stall at their street market, on the first Saturday in December. So kind and generous of her, but the more I thought about having to stand in the outdoors on the pavement in front of her shop, in the cold, probably in rain, with my small pieces of jewellery, having to attract and converse with people I don’t know AND then do some maths; adding up their purchases, calculating change etc, the more anxious and uncomfortable I felt. So, I went and spoke to her, last week, and bless her heart, she wasn’t at all concerned by my ingratitude. What a star.

Still. I felt like I had welched out a little. So. I gave myself a shake and a talking to and thought…baby steps. That’s what I need to do.

I emailed my old employer yesterday and asked if they still allow small businesses in at Christmas time. It’s a large employer with about 400 employees in the centre of the city. Since I left them in 2014 quite a lot of my colleagues have also moved on, but I figured I know the location, and some of the people, and it would be a good beginning. I didn’t really expect them to say ‘yes, of course you can come in’ which they did, really quickly.  And emailed to all the staff twice today, really kindly telling everyone I’ll be there, and reminding them who I am / was.

So. I’ve been in the loft and got out the display stuff I bought when I first contemplated a small event in 2014 and I have spent the day today making a range of things that I think will fit the clientele.

It’ll be an adventure.

Or a disaster.

Or possibly a success. Yes. A success.

To be honest – just rocking up, getting a display set up without personal injury, and not giving stuff away for free due to my arithmetical stupidity will be a success. fisherpricetill

MrG is so amused he said he is going to find me one of these to help with the maths..

I will let you know how it goes. I have set myself a sales target, and made a plan for how and when I’ll get everything accomplished.

Of course, I’ve broken it already! tomorrow was going to be a day in the kitchen with my torch and hammer as Mr G will be in the real office instead of cluttering up my studio, but I’m now stressing about how to display stud earrings, so will make up some card hanger things instead, just so I can get some sleep. Man I’m a wimp!!

In more exciting news, here is a new CheeryUppy. Given how  blue most people are still feeling, I figure we could do with one.

Mr G and I went to the local park during his lunch break yesterday to collect some of the fallen leaves for our chicken run. They were so excited we picked up some more. Here’s a photo of the beautiful colours. Beautiful on the leaves anyway. That’s not a very good photo of the lichen, but look at the colour! It really was that blue

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Posted in DGDCheeryUppy, Gems, processes, silver, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Daisy, Daisy…

​Time for another CheeryUppy.

This time I am trying to balance out all the pusscat photos with a rare close up of Daisy enjoying some apple branches from the allotment 

He doesn’t usually like me getting this close; but I think he thought I had some dried bread for him to snaffle 

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments