Wild Twinches are ScrapHappy

One of the blogs I follow as a direct result of my occasional #ScrapHappy , is Wild Daffodil.

She’s running a new project, called Wild Twinches and in August I received my little scraps and had a go.

I love embroidery, but I don’t have the artistic flair or patience to do any myself, however back in my teens I bought a book (see below), which is a fabulous compendium of instructions and photos of different techniques and stitches. I often looked through it for ideas, and it’s never lived in a box (unlike some of my other manuals!)

I’m going to double this post as September’s #ScrapHappy because I’m using vintage threads I inherited from my Nan, and beads left over from other projects, mostly again from my teens.

There’s no jewellery element to this at all, which feels extremely weird!

Anyway. I received two layered squares of vintage fabric, and looked through my embroidery book to select stitched. After attempting to use contrasting threads, I ripped out the result, stopped trying to be clever, and ran with what felt right!

It’s nothing exciting, but here’s what I achieved.

(pre embellishment on the blue background, post on the wood)

ScrapHappy is  organised by Kate and Gun (see below) and is open to anyone using up scraps of anything – no new materials. It can be 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 us on the 15th of each month?  Contact Kate , or 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 them know a day or so in advance if you’re new and you have something to show, so they can include your link.

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy – some every month, some less often

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn (well you are here already!)Gwen, Connie, Bekki,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Del and Nanette

Posted in DGDCheeryUppy, friends, ScrapHappy, Stuff I love, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

How did I do that? Flush Setting

I did my first bit of flush setting recently16-IMG_0759
I mentioned this in my last post, and had some enquiries about the efficacy and durability of this style of setting, and also about how it affects the light refraction within stones.
I’ve always felt that every question is a valid question, and it’s been my experience when in a group (or training a group), when one person has the courage to ask a question, odds are someone else wants to know, but didn’t have the courage to ask. so I always like to answer a question when I can (Yes, I have also always been that person with the questions!)
What is flush setting?
Why use it in place of a raised rub-over or claw setting?
What are the pros and cons? Here’s what I’ve learned so far. It’s not a full explanation and I’m bound to have missed lots of the pros and cons, but it should help explain a bit.
Flush setting is also described as gypsy setting and royal flush setting, depending on where you live, and is when a (usually brilliant cut round) gemstone is flat to the top of a piece of metal.
You should be able to run your finger over the piece, and barely be able to feel the stone of the setting.
There’s less wear on the rubover part of the setting, because the table (ie the flat top) of the stone and the rest of the metal sits slightly higher than the metal that’s in contact with the stone
It’s done by drilling into the body of the metal, rather than assembling a setting that sits proud of the metal, which means that it’s ideal for tiny stones where it would be unfeasible to create a setting (see diagrams below), pushing the stone into this recess and then burnishing / rubbing over and down the tiny area of metal that is around the drill hole, over the top edge of the girdle, part up the crown, but not so far it reaches the table
Why opt for a flush setting?
The surface is smooth, so there’s no risk of catching or snagging the setting
It’s ideal for stones of under 3mm , partly because creating settings would be so fiddly, which means it saves time and materials and therefore money
Why not?
You have to factor in the depth of the stone because the point (culet) should not be proud of the reverse to prevent any damage to the stone or the person
Stones have to be hard – 7 on the Mohs scale or more
Light is only going to enter from the crown or the culet
Here’s the result of my test piece*  and 13-IMG_0756how I made it.

Tools required  / used:

Digital verniers, drill, drill bit, ball burrs*, stone setting burrs*, bees wax, steel ball tool

(*see images below)

Three 2.5mm CZ’s bought from one of my regular and local suppliers


I also used a bit of reticulated silver from my scrap pot, that had begun life at 0.8 mm thick, before the reticulatulation
After checking the diameter and the height of the stones with the verniers, I drilled holes of 1.6mm, soldered 2.5mm jumprings to the reverse** to bulk up the thickness of the silver in those areas, and ball burred and cut seats using burrs measuring 2.2mm and then 2.49mm. (I’d have used my 2.3 or 2.4 setting burr, but I couldn’t find them, dammit!)
I had been avoiding learning this technique, as I didn’t think I had the right tools or skills, but after watching a few YouTube videos about grinding down old burrs, I realised 21-IMG_0764I have these tiny balled tools I bought for metal clay work a long time ago (I think they are sold in sets for nail bars)
I used a hole in the centre of my peg rather than any setting cement to brace the back of the piece, and ‘poked’ the silver at compass points to anchor the stones, before simply running the ball tool round and round repeatedly. This tool was perfect. I then flipped it over and tried to prod the stones out.
1-19-IMG_0762 - Copy
**You’ll notice the pointy end of the orange CZ
is protruding exactly as I said it shouldn’t
That’s cos I managed to drill the jumpring off having been distracted whilst soldering it on.
I’m going to pretend this was deliberate, 😉 as I’m going to use this as an example for a customer who wants some large stones flush set into a ring.
Then it’ll be a gift for my mum so she can have something to wear whilst gardening instead of the posh necklaces. Don’t tell her!
Resources for the diagrams – Ganoskin Project.
For the courage to begin – YouTube – Nancy Hamilton and the book Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers by Melissa Hunt
Brilliant cut stone element names   Diagram of the stone after drilling, before setting
Ball burrs                                           Stone setting burr
Ball Burrs Setting Burr
Posted in processes, resources, ScrapHappy, silver, Tech Tip, tutorial, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Ring A Month – August – Celestial

If only I had got my act together earlier and procrastinated rather less, this would have done double duty as August’s #ScrapHappy!!

This month the theme was ‘Celestial’

I had lots of ideas, (rather too many, to be honest!) ordering some sunstones and lapiz lazuli to use in my project, but then I received a few orders for reticulated silver pieces, and, whilst repeatedly describing the texture as moon-like, I realised I could utilise some left overs plus incorporate a new technique – it’s always really important to me to keep waste to a minimum, but at the moment there’s a particularly relevant financial issue – have you seen the current price of bullion?!

I had my first go at flush(also known as gypsy) setting this month.04-IMG_0747

Oh, but that’s fun!! I made a pendant, again using some scrap reticulated sheet, and some 2.5mm cubic zirconias. I am very happy with the result, and have started ordering in teeny tiny gemstones to use wherever and whenever I can now!

To make this ring, I looked through my scrap pot and retrieved the disc I had sawn from my earlier ring from June’s (travel) ring, firstly filing the edges smooth and round, and then heating it to the cusp of destruction. I used some old leather from my bookbinding days, and my doming block to reshape it to a gentle cup, soldering the beautifully textural disc to a ring band I’d made for an order that hadn’t completed and added a fine silver ball, that I created from a failed nose ring I’d made ( I made a few of those this month, and had a few failures whilst I ascertained the optimum length and ball size)

I wanted to use the flush setting technique again whilst I still grasp how to do it, and as it happens, I have 14 tiny weeny dark blue sapphires that I liberated from a ring I found in 1995, in Covent Garden. I’d reported it to the police, but no-one ever claimed it, so it became mine. It was a little battered, and not to my taste at all, but I never quite knew what to with it. I sawed the gold off and used it to embellish some other projects, and reserved the sapphires, the largest of which is 1.8mm.


I picked out the pointiest of them, and using a variety of drill bits and burrs and my new flush setting skill (!) set it into the ball on this ring, which I’m calling ‘Moon Landing’

It stacks beautifully with other rings, and again, it’s a ring I’m regretting not making in my size!

I’ve put it in my shop, at a bargain price, because it’s part of the challenge 🙂



Posted in #HandmadeHour, Challenge, RingAMonth, Ring a month, RingAMonth2020, SciFi, ScrapHappy, silver, Uncategorized | 21 Comments

ScrapHappy August – or Travel With A TARDIS

You might have spotted my Doctor Who obsession enthusiasm, well, I make quite a few Who and geeky themed pieces, all of which are available on my website, and many in my Etsyshop.

I have a no- quibble guarantee with all my work, and occasionally I have a return.

This week I was contacted by someone who’d been bought one of my TARDIS pendants as a gift

The story was as follows:

“…my gorgeous tardis fell from my neck. I searched everywhere and remarkably it turned up a week later on my driveway. It would appear it fell on my way to the car and was then picked up by a bird and left on my roof until heavy rain washed it down.

It looks like it has been run over. Would you consider reviewing the damage and repairing?..”

Well, how exciting. And how lovely to have one of my pieces described as gorgeous.

That’s a #HappyDance right there

For those of you not in the UK, we’ve been quite restricted in our movements – although not actually ‘locked down’ like some areas, we’ve been asked to stay home as much as possible. It seemed to me that my customer’s TARDIS had, true to the original, taken it upon herself to go for a wander, properly travelling in Relative Dimensions In Space and quite probably in Time too, before choosing to return home.

This made me very happy.

As did the opportunity to repair her.TARDIS_Repair_01_20200812

My customer has returned her to me and I reviewed the damage.

Surprisingly minimal – the bail on the back was properly crushed, and there were some serious scratches on the back too, but the front is mostly undamaged. Here she is, on my (new) peg, whilst I reviewed the damage to see what needed doing. You can see she’s also got a bit of a wonk going on, which definitely wasn’t there when I sent her off to this lady’s partner back in May

TARDIS_Repair_02_20200812Repairing was a simple task – just heating to melt the solder that was holding the (now useless) bail on; a bit of judicious filing some serious sanding and polishing back to remove the scratches and the remnants of the excess, old solder and then making and applying the replacement bail, (utilising an off-cut from my scrap pot) with a polish and a trip in Betty-The-Barrel-Polisher

Finally I gave her a waft in some XL Gel (my favourite liver of sulphur solution) to bring her back to full glory

I always check back with my customers throughout the process of making or repairing a special item. It’s amazing how often a request will evolve during the process of a commission,. To my mind, half the point of commissioning a crafts-person is for the interaction and the other half is the resulting uniqueness.

Because this TARDIS had been off on her own adventures, I thought it would be nice to reflect that in my repair, and keep the wibble-wobbly-ness in. My customer agreed, and so the finished, repaired TARDIS is nearly as good as new -in fact she’s arguably better than the original because she has such a delightful story to tell.

So, I got to repair something for someone, enabling her to wear something she loves, and because I was able to reuse my offcuts, I was able to do so at minimal cost.

A two-fer. Splendid. And double duty for August’s #ScrapHappy

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn (me!)Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera   Del and Nanette


Posted in cheeryuppy, DGDCheeryUppy, geek, processes, SciFi, ScrapHappy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments

The New Normal?

I’d just got the hang of fairs and organised a whole load of them for this year, when UK anti C-19 measures were imposed. Now I don’t know how many (if any) will be available for me to attend with my shinies this year.

I’ve always welcomed clients to our home by appointment (which, as you know is where I have my workshop / studio) for jewellery consultations or fittings and ‘try ons’ but that too had to pause for a while.

However, as we are now permitted visitors back into the workplace, I have devised a protocol that should comply with the anti-infection requirements, with the minimum of inconvenience to visitors and the maximum comfort I can manage!

Hello Visor!! wp-1595666143328.jpg

It’s only me that needs to wear it, if we sit in this room, I can have the patio doors at one end open, and the front room window at the other – because this part of Exeter is reasonably high, there’s a generous blow through, which combined with staying on opposite sides of the table, means we’ll be well over 1m apart, enabling you to look through and try any of my jewellery at your leisure.

Current guidance is that the virus lasts no longer than 72 hours on metals and hard surfaces (such as gemstones) so I will simply keep visitors to no more than one appointment every 3 days. If you want to come with a friend or family member who’s not in your household or bubble this is permitted within the guidance, but we will need to apply extra care over trying on the jewellery, to reduce the risk of you contaminating each other as one of you picks it up, and the other tries it on for size

I had my first visitor formally try out my ‘new normal’ procedures yesterday – it was such a joy to have her in my home, and have a proper chat.

The process, if you’d like to visit to discuss an order, or a purchase is:

Contact me (email, social media message) to tell me the days you’d like to come / are available for appointment, along with how many people of how many households you’d like to bring with you

We will then make an appointment, and I’ll send you details of what I’m doing to comply with the necessary protections

The morning of the appointment / the afternoon before, I’ll message you again, reiterating the standard questions** and confirming that I’m still safe. You will need to reply so that I have a record of the check list. This will also double as my ‘track and trace’ should it be necessary for us to use it

*Before you arrive I will have cleaned down any and all surfaces you might come into contact with, placed a hand sanitiser by the front door, set up liquid soap and freshly laundered towels in the kitchen (you can choose between the hand sanitiser or soap and water) and also have cleaned the bathroom thoroughly – again there will be liquid soap and a freshly laundered towel for your use should you need it. I’ll also have thoroughly washed my hands, and I’ll have my glamorous visor on rather than a mask so you can see what I’m saying.

During your visit I’ll give you a car parking permit if you drove (this is essential – don’t let me forget it!!) , I’ll wash my hands again after showing you to your chair, and after your visit I’ll re-clean everywhere, and put the towels through the wash.

If you choose to make a purchase, we’ll be able to do so using my contact-less payment device to avoid you having to touch any cash, which I’ll have cleaned since it was last used

After you leave I’ll put all the jewellery back in it’s isolation cupboard, clean down all the surfaces and ring / bangle sizers / tape measures and payment device

I’ll be retaining your contact details for 21 days, in line with the England track and trace requirements.

** Have you had C-19? If so when? Do you currently have any symptoms of C-19? Does anyone that you’ve been in (unprotected) contact with? Have you attended any mass gatherings? If the answer to any of these is ‘yes’ we may have to reschedule.

Email me using DawnGillDesigns@virginmedia.com, pm me using my social media @DawnGillDesigns, or through the contact options in my Etsy shop or website 


Posted in #HandmadeHour, geek, Gems, Meet The Maker, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments