ScrapHappy

One of the things I love about t’interweb, is how connections are made. I posted an article about my celebratory giveaway (still running til the end of July) and one of the people who stumbled across it, had some really interesting posts, and runs a blog linking challenge-y thing called ‘scraphappy

It happens on the 15th of each month and from what I can see is a group of fellow crafty bloggers, who create a post specifically about what they have made from leftovers, aka scrap. Perfectly in line with my #ReuseIsBetterThanRecycle mantra that MrG and I apply to every area of life, much to everyone’s annoyance.

Now, as a silversmith, not only is my scrap precious in that there is a finite amount left in the world, it’s also jolly costly. I save everything; every last grain of dust resulting from sawing or sanding and filing, and every last little snipple of wire or sheet.

When I sent my first (ever the optimist) batch of jewellery to QuirkeyHQ in April, I made all of it using recycled elements – many parts of it being items I had smelted and reformed myself, some incorporating parts of old jewellery gifted to me but all of it involving recycled wire and sheet that was sold to me as part of the silver reclamation offered by my bullion dealer.

That was a beautiful challenge I set myself because Quirkey’s USP is that they also upcycle things – but do so incredibly sensitively with great inventiveness and beauty.

Anyway – to get back to my point. Kate left me some very kind comments, and invited me to join in her little gang of scrappers, so I thought I’d post something to show what I have done with a piece of scrap. Because this is my first post, I thought I should start by introducing you to the nature of silver scrap.

24-scrapI have a number of scrap pots. One big one for all the gribbles that I can’t possibly use myself (too tiny, contaminated with wood dust from my benchpeg, or solder) – this will eventually get sent back to my bullion dealer once it has 1/2 a kilo of scrap in it (queue manic laughter – 1/2 a kilo? that’s going to take me a very, very long time!) Lots of smaller ones (contact lens pots!) for fine silver, 9carat gold and white gold and a tub for sterling.

When I started making stuff for Quirkey, I sorted that last tub into big and little bits, placing them in my usual devices of choice – old washing liquid dispensers. They are nice and soft, so the silver doesn’t bounce out so much as if I used ceramic or glass ramekins.

I started with a leftover piece of sheet that I’d sawn off the length of a ring – it’s too wide for an ordinary ring, and too narrow for a spinner.  Applying the pattern has some cost to add to the silver – both in time, energy and cash – and of course it’s beautiful, so I don’t want to waste it. This has been sitting in my pot since December.

I’ve made it into two pendants and a pair of studs. This way I have a set of jewellery and a spare, or 3 pieces which I’ll take to my first fair at the beginning of August.

I made it using all my favourite tools, which is always an added bonus! The very expensive mitre vice, my upgraded vallorbe files (so fine they practically smooth the silver away) and a cheap as chips beginners doming block.

Here are some snaps of the process. Hover over, or click through to see the explanation of what I was doing

followed by soldering the bails on – again I’ve used bit of wire that were left over from another project (the wire I flatten for the Harry Potter inspired pendants I make). Again, hover / click through for captions.

And there we are. my first scraphappy post. I hope it suits, Kate !

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Posted in Giveaway, processes, ScrapHappy, silver, Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Celebratory Giveaway!!!

I can’t really believe this happened – I have had my 300th customer on Etsy. Not my 300th sale – 300 people from all over the globe – that I didn’t know – have chosen to pay me for something I made.

I hoped I’d be able to make some sales, and I hoped to cover the start up costs incurred with a new business, but I didn’t really expect it to happen, especially as I haven’t done any of the things that people said I should – craft fairs, paid adverts on social media, traditional advertising, loss leaders, sales, coupons and the like.

I want to thank all the people who have supported me so far, so I’m running a giveaway.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

“You’ll be able to pick any one of these items, all of which are currently listed for sale in my Etsy shop*. There are pendants and earrings to choose from, which means there should be something for everyone.
I’m asking that you leave me a comment to say whichever is your favourite item, and then I’ll ask LovelySue to pull a name from my sunhat at the allotment.

I’m sharing this post on my Instagram, Twitter and WordPress accounts, so you can comment on all or any of them (and each will count as an entry)
It doesn’t matter if you are UK based or not – I’ll happily post overseas if you win.
Sharing / reposting etc is in no way obligatory to enter (and neither is a previous purchase) but I’d love it if you would do so – as one of my glass artist chums always says ‘sharing is caring’

*Slight caveat – if one of these pieces sells before the end of the giveaway; I’ll make a replacement for you. I’ve included links in case you would like to see more photos of an item

And boring official bit ….As I’m sure you know, running a giveaway on social media is in no way endorsed by said social media, and I’ll need to contact you for your address once I draw the winner.”

Let the entries commence !!

Item one – Pendant – fine silver – ‘Bird in Heart’

(on Etsy here)

1-FSBirdHEartPendant

Item 2: Pendant – fine silver acorn and sycamore key, with citrine and sterling hoop – ‘Acorn’

(on Etsy here)1-HedgrowPendants1

Item 3 – Earrings – drop sterling silver and yellow sapphire earrings – ‘Sapphire’

(on Etsy here)

1-HoopDrops-YellowSapphire

Item 4: Studs – sterling silver beaten hoops studs with turquoise ‘Turquoise’

(on Etsy here)

1-HoopStuds_Turquoise

Item 5: Earrings – fine silver textured flowers with sterling earwires ‘Floral’

(on Etsy here)

FloralDrops

Item 6: Studs – Sterling posts with either copper, brass or sterling forged flowers – ‘Posy’

(on Etsy here)

PosyStudsVariants

And here they all are in one picture for you to think about.

Good luck everyone, and thank you for all your support, you are wonderful.

Kisses 🙂

 

Posted in DGDCheeryUppy, friends, Giveaway, silver, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

For my Gluten intolerant chum…

I found that Ruth had big batch of gluten free (GF) cake recipes, but with neither of us being GF, and there only the two of us, I rarely make cakes.

Biscuits however – I don’t get a huge number of visitors to our home, but I do prefer to have some biccies to offer if someone does rock up, so a new range of GF ones to have in hand is excellent.

Now – I’ve not trialled any of these, (yet) but they will make a nice change from Rachel Allen’s Almond Macaroons.

Let me know if you make any, and how they turn out – and how they keep especially.

Ruth’s blog starts:   “….I have always loved biscuits and cookies. They come a close second in my heart to cake. So when I became Coelaic I had to re-look at how I made them and through trial and error I came up with 13 Tempting Gluten Free Cookie Recipes. There is something for everyone in this list. From…

via 13 Tempting Gluten Free Cookie Recipes — Craft with Cartwright

Posted in Baking, friends, Uncategorized | 12 Comments

Inspiration from Bath

This is supposed to be where I write about all things jewellery related (with the occasional allotment post for light relief) but last week MrG and I went away for a couple of nights. It’s very unusual for us to do this (I’d have to get a proper job if we wanted to do it more often!) but an online pal from the USA messaged me last year to say that she was coming to the UK for a research trip and would be visiting Bath whilst over here – would it be possible to meet up?

This was too good a chance to miss, despite being way outside my comfort zone (meeting new people, travelling away from home) so I organised a new railcard , booked train tickets and accommodation and started researching. I’ve not visited Bath since I was a student based in Bristol over 25 years ago, so I was guessing it had changed a bit, and also that I’d not consider it quite as hideously expensive now I’m in my middle age!

I took it upon myself (as Nicole Kidman says; that’s assertive, not bossy!) to try and find somewhere to eat and meet my chum in person – we’ve only corresponded online up to now, so I was very nervous that we might not get on. Or that our partners might not. Or both. I thought that interesting food would make for an easier situation – there is always something to start a conversation if you have some dishes you’ve not tried. I opened up the internet, and hunted out a selection of restaurants.

Bath has lots of highly rated places to eat, so I started at the upper end of the budget, and longlisted any that sounded like they’d be eventful (in a good way)

Then I shortlisted to the ones that were actually open on Sundays and Mondays. Fortunately the two I liked the look of most were – they were  @yakyetiyak Yak Yeti Yak on the Sunday and @CorkageBath the Monday Corkage

I sent my chum the shortlist, with my personal favourites, plus a link to the review I had found from the super picky Jay Raynor (Review in The Guardian) knowing that she had a background in wine, I was hoping that this would be of interest. Then, once approval was given (!) I booked both restaurants. I learned the hard way, when flying to Washington that one should prepare if travelling any distance

Yak Yeti Yak serves Nepalese food, and did so in a very casual restaurant which felt like a proper family run business. It was friendly, no nonsense with beautifully fragrant, delicately spiced and herbed dishes. We ordered a good selection of about 8 mains (recommendation was 2-3 per person. 2 plus the starter was exactly the right amount for us) after a few starters and a couple of bottles of wine. This was a delicious meal and as a bonus was ridiculously good value, so gets a 5 star from me!

I could tell after a few minutes that my gut instinct had been right, and the four of us were going to get on very well.

PHEW!

Having narrowly avoided a hangover, MrG and I went a-wandering on Monday, following the civic trail around the very compact area of Bath. I had done this before, but it was his first visit. The architecture really is very lovely, and we were fortunate in that the rain stopped for almost the whole of the day Monday, so we didn’t have to lug about coats. It’s not a challenging walk although it is steep in parts with flagstone pavements; we ambled along, veering away from the route up little alleys and into shops as the fancy took us, but there is a bus tour that you could do if you don’t fancy walking. (I think you could easily do it all in about an hour, it’s only about 3 miles)

I took just a few photos, (all at the end of this article) to have as a reminder; my favourite parts were the exhibits in the free to enter abbey – a selection of modern calligraphic panels of biblical texts for the Easter period, paired with embroidered/quilted/appliquéd panels representative of these texts. The work was breathtaking. I’ve a few photos of these taken as best as I could – they were behind glass and the abbey is quite dark, so they aren’t great, but they give you an idea of the inventiveness and skill of the fabric artists.

There was also a beautiful hanging mobile, made of hundreds of paper butterflies. It fluttered subtly in the inevitable thermals you have in such a large building. A must visit if you are in Bath.

Another great free to visit place was the Victoria Art Gallery We nipped in here when the rain started; it had a great variety of art through the ages, all of which looked exceptionally well looked after. There were also tables with art goods to encourage visitors (of all ages!) to sit and have a go at creating their own art. That’s an unusual thing to find in the UK I think.

Then back to the hotel to spruce up for our visit to Corkage, and meet our chums for a pre-supper drink in The Stable . Much as I hate visiting chains, this chain supports small, artisan cider makers, stocking lots from our very local favourite Sandford Orchards  and I wanted to ensure that our visitors got a taste!

Corkage was fabulous. Wine offered to try, then buy to have with the meal with dessert wines and port also to try and buy. We stuck to old world as the USA contingent don’t get to do that so much, and it was lovely. I wish I’d made notes!

I don’t recall drinking Sauternes before, as I usually opt simply for a LBV port or a Madeira to have with dessert but I’m now a convert.

Again, we ordered a selection of dishes – they do small plates, mezze sized here, and a really good range, all of which are explained by the wait staff before you choose. This can be a tad pretentious in lots of places, I think, but this gave us the chance to really think about what we wanted, what would pair well and what would be interesting. Everything was cooked to order and brought out to add to the table as it was ready.  Again this was an evening of deliciously flavoured, seasonal, ‘not mucked about with’ food and exceptional company. I’ve tried to recreate the dishes at home so I even gained a new way to cook parsnip and potato (not my favourite of veg, but an allotment staple that the boy loves, so we have a lot of them).

Again, really reasonably priced. I’ll be leaving them a 5 star review too.

And our new chums? Fabulous. Best couple of days we’ve had in ages. Lesson learned? Step outside your comfort zone more often, Gilly.

 

This building is in the centre of town. zoom in to see the sculptural frieze at the top 

I love a bit of stained glass. If it had been a sunny day, this would have been breathtaking

Remember to look down as well as up. (I’m thinking texture on silver)

Still of the butterfly mobile, followed by a brief video so you can see the delicate movement

The fabric panels telling the Easter story

Video of the Royal Crescent. My allotment neighbour, Garry (originally from Bath) tells me this is where they filmed Oliver! but I think that may be an urban myth

If you fancy doing the walk; here’s a link to the map we used for it.

Yes, as narrow as it looks

The Ustinov Studio

 

A particularly amusing photo of chickens and bunnies I sent to our neighbour as her ‘don’t forget to feed them’ reminder

Sandford Orchard ciders

 

Posted in Brave, DGDCheeryUppy, friends, travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Ooooh. I was ‘interviewed’

It’s been ages since I did any WordPress blogging (bet you didn’t miss me in the least)  – I participated in a virtual interview with Ruth of @craftcartwright last month, whilst recovering from a rootcanal; so here it is. Thanks Ruth for inviting me!

 

I’ve always been a big fan of Silver Jewellery, I hardly own anything made of gold apart from my Wedding band. It just goes with everything! So when I virtually met Dawn from Dawn Gill Designs I knew I have to take a closer look at her work. Read more about her jewellery in this…

via Dawn Gill Designs Creative Corner Interview — Craft with Cartwright

Posted in processes, Uncategorized | 3 Comments