Scraphappy April 2021

‘Draw the spaces’ is a mantra I often hear when listening to podcasts, and after sawing out some Bat’leth necklaces I was left with a gorgeous negative space that demanded specific use, rather than merely being consigned to the scrap pot.

Given April 5th is #FirstContactDay it seems appropriate that I used this piece of scrap for this month’s piece 🙂

There’s a pleasing asymmetry to the shape, which I felt works best horizontally rather than vertically, and as I love a brooch, and am gradually creating a range of more modern interpretations of one of the oldest forms of adornment AND wanted to echo the exploration and space travel that is Star Trek it seemed perfect.

Looking through my collection of rescued, vintage stones (mostly from orphan earrings and broken jewellery given to me over many years) I found a particularly interesting teardrop rainbow moonstone that has both a milky area and gorgeous blue flash – the perfect embodiment of warp speed, worm holes and space travel !

So – how did I make it?

File all the edges

Sand and polish front and back and the edges

Make a bezel for the moonstone*, sand the base flat and reduce the top so that there will be an optimal amount of silver over the stone

Decide if less is more or if more is more (ie shall I add lots of recycled balls to this, or not?)

Solder the bezel to the back plate using ‘hard’ solder – pickle and clean

Saw the tube for the hinge that holds the brooch pin, file and sand the edges, file a flat area in preparation for soldering to the back of the brooch

Find an offcut of 1mm sterling wire for the brooch hook, and select a small jumpring** to help brace it

Solder the fixings to the brooch using ‘medium’ solder

Pickle, clean, polish

Apply liver of sulphur to patinate the inside of the setting, seal with Renaissance Wax (rainbow moonstone always looks more impressive with a dark background)

Set the stone

Form the pin using stainless dental wire**

Shape the hook – at this point there was a slight disaster – I had forgotten to triple check the security of the solder joint and the wire detached. So, I removed the stainless pin, smothered the stone in Technoflux and resoldered the joint, using ‘easy’ solder – this is always a bit of a gamble, but moonstone is mostly a heat-safe stone, as long as it’s not heated and cooled too dramatically – I approached it cautiously with the torch, held my breath and sent a plea to the soldering gods, applying heat as minimally as possible finally allowing it to cool naturally before pickling and repolishing

Surprisingly the colour (patination) I’d applied to the inside of the setting survived this process

After further polishing I was then able to reform the hook and the pin

I’m really pleased with this, it feels really appropriately modern yet classic, and is in my shop. I think I’ll take care over the placing of my templates to create more interesting negative spaces and more pieces

*This actually was a left over bezel I had made previously that was too large for the stone I was using (this is irritatingly common!) I keep them all with my freeform cabochons, in case I find a stone that they fit

**These are the only elements that aren’t from my scrap pots

ScrapHappy is run by the wonderful Kate in Oz and her friend Gun in Sweden and is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. I’ve found it a fabulous way to refocus my #ReuseIsBetterThanRecycle efforts.

You can make a quilt block, pincushion, bag or hat, socks or a sculpture

Anything made of genuine scraps is eligible. If your scrap collection is out of control and you’d like to turn them into something beautiful or useful instead of leaving them to collect dust in the cupboard, why not join in on the 15th of each month?

Either email Kate at the address on her Contact Me page, or leave a comment on her blog. You can also contact Gun via her blog to join. We welcome new members. You don’t have to worry about making a long term commitment or even join in every month, just let either of us know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you’ll have something to show, so we can add your link. Regular contributors will receive an email reminder three days before the event.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post scrappy stuff every month, but their blogs are still worth a visit).

Kate Gun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChrisAlys,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn (me!),
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, NancyDawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, Preeti and Edith

Posted in Uncategorized, Gems, silver, SciFi, tutorial, geek, Tech Tip, ScrapHappy, Other Blogs | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

How did I do that – Daffodils?

It’s not all #HookerRing and #StarTrek here at Gilly Towers you know.

I receive quite a few commission enquiries. Some I have to turn down because they involve a skill set beyond my abilities some because I know I’m not going to be able to create the piece within the budget or the deadline.

It’s always helpful when the person contacting me has an idea of what they want, a budget for me to work within and a sensible time scale. Sharing the available budget helps the designer to tailor the design appropriately; for most designs the most costly part is my time, so it’s important that expectations are met or exceeded rather than falling short.

Here’s one of the recent commissions I was asked to make.

My client contacted me in good time and had a good idea of what she wanted – to involve significant things that her Aunt would love, related to her birth month (March).

She wanted a statement necklace, designed around a daffodil bloom and involving an aquamarine. Knowing the budget meant I didn’t raise expectations by involving any gold in the ideas I shared with her, and I kept the piece modest in weight to try and keep the materials to a minimum.

Involving some premade elements was also useful for this, but I included a handmade clasp and extender element to the delicate chain, so that it would be easy to adjust depending on neckline and – crucially once one gets past 50 😉 – no fiddly fittings

As it happens, daffodils are one of my least favourite flowers – I don’t like the way they smell, nor how their sap seeps over everything when they are picked, so this was an occasion to visit the books and internet to check that I was getting the petals and trumpet correct. And also, how to keep the piece so it would be recognisable yet wearable – and …. trumpet! How to make that effectively yet stay in budget? Keep reading to see how I overcame that issue!

Firstly, I mocked one up in paper, and created templates for the petals.

Glued the templates onto the silver sheet,

Sawed them out using my finest sawblade

Filed the edges, sanded the edges and the front and back

Annealed them and textured them lightly with my riveting hammer

Here you can see the sawn and textured elements on the soldering brick, before and after soldering.

With items like this I like to break with convention and use soldering paste – the advantage I find is that paste will hold the pieces together a little before the soldering actually occurs.

I made the trumpets from pre-prepared tube. Tube is used for all sorts of things; stone setting, hinges and in this case trumpets. It’s quite possibly the most expensive way to buy silver, but it’s made in one piece without any joints and is definitely worth having.

I’ve shared the magic mitre vise with you before – here I’m using it to hold the tube securely and without risk of damage.

I tightened it, and used a knife file to file the serrations / frills into the top of the trumpets, before then sawing a small length of tube off.

I then used a dapping punch to flare the top of the trumpet out a little

I soldered these to the two smaller daffodils

The central daffodil was to have the faceted aquamarine so the next task was to solder the three blooms to the textured ‘stem’ I’d created and the setting for the stone. So far all the elements had been soldered using ‘hard’ solder. At this stage I used ‘medium’ which has a slightly lower working temperature, which enables the next stage to be soldered without too much risk of melting the earlier solder joins.

After clean up, the elements went for pickle bath and I made the extender chain, hammering the links to echo the texture on the ‘stem’

Finally all the pieces went for a tumble and I gave the trumpets a golden patination before setting the aquamarine and adding some small, micro faceted aquamarines to make a feature of the joins for the chain

As usual, I sent regular updates and WiP pics; I’m terrible at sketching, so like to take photos and send those over via what ever social media my customer prefers.

Posted in Gems, processes, resources, silver, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Celebratory Draw Winner!!

I’ve got (almost) all my commissions in the post / collected and today I wrapped some of the gifts I’ve been buying from small independants.

I felt it was time to make the draw from my celebratory giveaway, which, if you recall I started on the 2nd November.

Blimables, how this year is flying for me. Anyway, I wrote out all the names of anyone who commented on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or WordPress and Mary-The-Magnificent has just drawn the winner of the £50 DGD gift voucher (either for them to spend or for them to give away)

And the winner is….

Donna Robson, please send me a message and let me know how you would like your voucher – electronically or in a more traditional paper format

This weekend we’ll be bringing in our tree and starting the decorating.

No this isn’t my Dalek, but I might make some like him this year 🙂

Posted in cheeryuppy, DGDCheeryUppy, Giveaway, Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Celebratory Draw!! 6 years and over 800 customers

Whoop-whoop and wowsers, I can’t really believe it. November 2020 marks my 6th anniversary of my Etsy shop and also my 800th sale. I’ve now sold to every continent, and almost every country (west of the Black Sea, that is!). My World Map Of Domination is looking smart

As usual, with a milestone I like to do something to mark it, and as this year is particularly challenging for just about everyone I know* I want to offer a way for us all to feel a little more empowered – I think the lack of autonomy is where most people I know feel hit the hardest.

Bear with me, this is likely to be a long and rambling post, and there are fewer photos – please stick with it 😉

Rather than offer a piece of my jewellery to win, I’m going to ask everyone to give a shout out to a small business / artist / craftsperson / independent that they love who they know could do with some support so that we can all go and visit their social media pages and see what we can do to give them a boost at this time.

Not all of us will have any money to spend on gifts this year and most of us will have less cash and fewer spending opportunities – but the upside for many is that reduced socialising often comes with a small saving of time and money, so perhaps you could utilise that for good and feel as though you are being supportive in the process.

Here’s how:

Look though my suggestions, and those of the comments made by everyone else. Look at the pages / accounts I follow for ideas and inspiration, I can’t put everyone I love into this post, because it would be far too long. Visit my Facebook and Instagram accounts to see other creatives I love who are amazing artists and allow yourself some fabulous glass / ceramics / art / embroidery / jewellery on your screens

Visit the websites and social media pages of the people and small businesses mentioned. If you see something that you love, or that resonates – you don’t have to buy it, you could just put a comment on the page / post so that the person running it feels a little bit of support. I promise you it will give them a lift and will really cheer them. If you’ve used them in the past and have been meaning to get around to leaving a review now is the time to do it. Go on, you know you want to 😉

If you can share their shops / blogs / businesses online with your friends, even better. Bookmarking them for when you do have occasion to make a purchase? Awesome. Making a purchase? Outstanding. Thank you

Think laterally about your gifts this year – perhaps your favourite therapist can’t open for treatments, but they offer gift vouchers (Tola Health is mine).

My hairdresser (Fika Salon) had only just opened for business on her own, after having cut my hair for years (AshSalon). I’ll be asking if she’d like me to prepay for my next cut that was due during November

Have you thought about what you are planning to do about Christmas and birthday cards? Here are some of my go to sellers (some of you may have received a #CheeryUppy card made by them over the past year)

Heather Riches; Michelle Broad; Ruth Thorp;

Local delis and favourite suppliers will be offering deliveries, as will many florists (I haven’t forgotten the surprise and delight of a bottle of Northmoor gin that appeared at my door earlier in the year) Here are some of my locals: Bon Gout Deli in Magdalen Road, Daisy Cafe Fore Street, Heavitree

And random #CheeryUppy gifts from Madeline Bunyan; Chloe Lamb; Francesca Kay; PopupDesignGifts;

Is someone you love self isolating? Perhaps they’d like a craft kit or course, or a book to read or listen to – here are some suggestions

Cath Janes; Sarah-Jayne Fragola; JJ Marsh; DV Berkom; Jane Davis

Perhaps you could you give something similar to someone you love, or perhaps they could organise one for you.

If you feel you need to shop with one of the larger chain stores, that’s fine, don’t beat yourself up – after all, they have staff employed too and will be paying business rates, tax etc, which we need, but do, please, choose wisely. Are they an organisation you feel cares for their staff, paying them properly, with decent working conditions, or are they only interested in their bottom line?

Finally – Please, Please, Please share your favourites and your recommendations in the comments below. I’ve only listed UK small businesses, but don’t let that stop you doing this for your local favourites. At a later date (after this current UK lockdown) I’ll put the names of everyone who commented into a draw, and I’ll send them a virtual gift voucher they can spend in any of my shops – on something shiny for them, or if they want to regift the voucher they can do so.

In the meantime, stay cheery and stay safe.


*I’m particularly thinking of those working in the NHS many of whom are close to collapse, physically and emotionally; teachers finding it close to impossible to balance the demands placed upon them; people home-schooling; furloughed staff no longer with employment or wages; small business having to close, with minimal or no support and that’s before I even think about those people who are finding the enforced isolation beyond challenging. Hugs to you all, I hope that this helps you find a way of creating some positivity

Posted in cheeryuppy, Crochet, DGDCheeryUppy, friends, geek, Giveaway, Stuff I love, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

Cross posting – That Which is Kept Locked Away — the fiction phial

I do very little cross posting here, on WordPress – I mostly prefer to use Twitter to shout out about other people’s work, but this super-short story popped up in my feed today, and I thought the beautiful prose and imagery could justifiably be shared – especially as I have a customer coming round today to pick through some gemstones for her next project. Follow the link below to go to Kat’s page and her exceptional talent.

‘Go anywhere,’ you said, ‘but not there. That’s all I ask.’ The door was unvarnished wood. Tucked under a stairway, slightly too small to enter straight-backed, locked with cast iron. You kept the plain key in your pocket, always. I wondered, of course. Sometimes I thought of little else, my mind swirling with possibilities, bright […]

That Which is Kept Locked Away — the fiction phial
Posted in Other Blogs, Stuff I love, Uncategorized | 13 Comments