Monthly Archives: May 2014


I finished this.


I started this.


I looked at this.


For a long while.

I cleaned up, blackened, polished and set the stone in the top part of this.


It’s still waiting for its dangles but now I’m wondering if dangles will be too much. The whole thing’s a bit out there really.

I’m mean, good grief, who’d wear something like this anyway?


I finished the top part of this piece.


Which, so far, I’m not liking.

Then I chatted to some strange man on the Apple forums about why uploading my iPhoto’s to Etsy and wordpress has suddenly started to crash Safari on my computer.

He was very helpful, and no doubt handsome, but when he started asking me to send him lines and lines and lines of secret, only rocket scientists understand, computer text, I began to worry about my computer self destructing if I started to invite hackers into its private reactor core parts. So I’ve had to step away from the forums a bit to re group.

I’ve finally come to the conclusion that the only way to proceed now is to follow the route that most normal people choose in this baffling world of computer science.

That is to make an appointment to see the nice Mac guy at the Apple store.

Man! A trip outside the safety of the home base was the last thing on my to do list.

It’s like the trip to replace my acetylene tank all over again only this time, instead of my body blowing up, my brain will explode from the irritation of it all.

And, to top it all off, its probably going to be some simple button that I forgot to press, and the nice Mac guy will look at me with that sorrowful look that says,

You’re an idiot aren’t you.



It was a dark and stormy night.

It’s a lovely rainy day today.

Couldn’t live with it year round, but love it here in Houston when it happens. It reminds me of home. Not that it was always dark and stormy in London, but we got a bit more of it there than here.

Just took the Majestic Willow to the hairdressers.


She doesn’t look too happy about it, but look at those feet.

A good shampoo and set didn’t do anyone harm.

Now I’m off out to the studio.

I always wake up with good intentions of saving the world. The funk has got in the way of that a bit, but I can still pretend.

So today I will use my powers for good.

I will finish the two pieces of jewelry that are on the bench.

Here’s an update of the wonky one,


I brought it inside last night to figure out what to do with it next.

It’s getting there, but it needs a lot of cleaning up.

I also started another painting.


So I should have enough to keep me going until Willow needs to be picked up from the vets.

Now I just have to get up off the sofa and force my way into the studio.

Perhaps a cup of tea first…

Oh, and talking of ‘the funk’, here’s a little something I found wandering around the news today.


Read the article – here, and more about it – here.

It’s amazing what you can get for a million pounds nowadays.

I think I might get two.

As if the funk wasn’t enough

I’ve now hurt my back!

Maybe it’s due to too much sitting at the jewelry table.

Here’s an update.


The bezel is still a little off, (well o.k., a lot off), and I’m not sure I’ve got that much wiggle room to straighten it.

I’m going to try though as it will bother me the whole time if I don’t.

I’m thinking of compensating for the slant of the stone by shortening the left hand link at the top. Actually that piece of wire should have been longer and wrapped a little more around the top.

Oh well.

I’m alternating this piece with a new one.


I’ve just finished the bezel setting, but forgot to photograph it.

This is a nice little piece of Mexican turquoise, and that little black dot next to it is a watermelon tourmaline. All that’s left to make is the large leaf and the dangly bits.

I will leave you with the new addition to the family.



Don’t talk to me about it.

The boy brought it home from college, and however pretty its colouring, and however cute its little chirping sound is,


S named it Guinness. I call it The Beast.

Don’t look at it.

And finally, a photo of my bench when I left it last night.


Not too bad, (you can just see the setting for the turquoise in the lower left corner), but I won’t win any awards for most tidy worker.

Off to work on the bezel.

I just got excited.

I wake up every morning in the funk.

Man! I’m so over it now,

But …

I took this photo last night to show you what’s on my, (I was going to say bench, but really it’s a table), and got excited enough to think about getting out of bed.

A bonus right there.




It’s one of my favourite stones.

Nevada Variscite.


First I make my drawing, and then I try to replicate it.


Sounds easy enough, right?, but apparently I get too excited and carried away to pay enough attention to want to follow it exactly …

That’s a lie people.

I always try to follow it exactly, but for some reason, I haven’t yet figured out how to make it work.

That’s not part of the funk by the way. I actually like trying to figure it out, and it even amuses me that I can’t do it.

In a frustratingly annoying way.

Now, I know there’s some really simple way to do it that I’m overlooking, but I haven’t quite found it yet and I hate wasting silver with my mistakes, hence the copper layer underneath the drilled silver, But, despite all my woes and frustrations I’m learning new things all the time.

And, I actually like the skewed version of this one. It seems to give it more interest.

Although I shouldn’t have enlarged the photo as now I see the copper area on the left is wider than the right and that’s really going to tick me off if I don’t stop looking at it.

So apparently, for me it’s not as simple as drawing out a template and cutting out the shapes to solder together as your sawing skills have to be annoyingly perfect and mine are just averagely perfect.

See that bit of silver  on the top left that surrounds the bezel, that’s the problem right there.

A gap.


I wanted to be able to build up the layers of design around the stone, so you see it wasn’t just as simple as soldering the bezel onto the sheet. And every time I tried to cut out the shapes separately they never quite fit as perfectly as I wanted them to around the bezel collar. Even with a template, and my super, let’s try to concentrate so hard your eyes pop out with the strain of it all, sawing attempts I always seem to get gaps between the bezel and the sheet.

This time (above) I soldered the bezel on the sheet and then cut away the bezel from the outside leaving the shape free, but I still have that tiny, annoyingly irritating, oh for heaven’s sake gap.

I think the solder may fill this in, but I’m determined one day not to have to worry about it.

You know what I really think.

I think I am just so concerned about wasting silver that I’m not leaving myself enough fiddle room.

And I need fiddle room.

Don’t get me wrong, this piece will turn out fine, (famous last words), and, as I mentioned before, I did end up offsetting the cabochon as I was playing around with it as I found it more interesting.

Perhaps I wasn’t meant to be a production jewelry maker (not that I ever thought of that as an option) as I really do enjoy making it all up as I go along, but it sure would be nice to be able to have the skills to be able to do something I set my mind on without making it so hard for myself.

Here is a little something I’ve been thinking about for a while now.

But have only just passed Stage Two of the adventure.


Purple Burro Creek Jasper.

Yes, my very own slab of rock!

Stage One was thinking about  it. And I thought about it for a long time because lord knows I don’t need another hobby.

Stage Two was buying the slab. This one was cheap enough for me not to worry about messing it up – which, believe me, I will.

Stage Three will actually be getting it off its new shelf and looking at it for a good long while.

I can’t think beyond Stage Three at the moment …

I don’t want to get into having to buy a lot of new tools to do this. I already have a grinder, a wet saw thingy, and loads of books, but I might not be able to even think about moving on to Stage Four, which I can only imagine will be touching the slab, for a while yet.

So get the band aids out and stay tuned for my adventures into Lapidary.

If it ever happens.

And, lastly, some new stuff.


African Green Opal


Ocean Jasper


My attempt at funky enamel charm things and turquoise.


Carnelian and Corel Fossil.

You know, I’m not sure that what I’ve written today makes any sense whatsoever, but it’s all I have.


Silver Link Bracelet.

Before Christmas I was invited to contribute a tutorial to Art Jewelry Magazine.

It made me smile


Because I’m on the front cover!


Who would have thunk it.

Funk, funk, funkity funk.

Yep, it’s that time again.

I’m in a funk.

This one has been lingering for some time now. A good month or so. Hence the lack of posts I suppose.

This is the time when I give up everything.

Jewelry, because I’m no good at it.

Painting, because I’m more than no good at it.

And everything else, because it’s all boring.

I sometimes think it’s because I go, go, go, and then it all collapses, like a balloon deflating.

I actually think now that it’s part of my makeup. I get to do all my creative stuff and then have to rest. Except, when I rest I get in a funk.

I still go in the studio and make stuff. It’s getting into the studio that’s the problem.

So, I’m writing this post today to pretend that I’m not in a funk.

Wallowing time over people.

It’s time to move onwards and upwards.

I’ve been working on enameling.


The colours on these were perfect, straight out of the jar colours, to begin with, but I found them too boring, so after the enamel had set I heated them from the top. These were cream to begin with and as I passed the flame over them they started to bubble, and I suppose burn a little, as the cream turned this nice ochre colour.

I was much happier with these. I’m sure the purist enamelist out there will disagree, but I really have become more and more able to try to forget the rules. Simply put, if it works for you and you like the end result, it doesn’t really matter how you get there.

My new mantra.

These ones had a little mishap, and the enamel chipped off the right one. I’ve fixed them now, and so experienced another learning curve.


Now these ones (below) might look like a mistake, but it was actually intentional. They’re not particularly my favourite, but I’m enjoying experimenting with different outcomes.


Below is an ongoing project for me to practice chasing and repousse.

I’m going to try to make a box. I’m enjoying it as suddenly I found it easier to have the tools ‘chase’ along the metal instead of digging in and going nowhere fast. Not a great outcome yet, but it’s definitely becoming easier with practice.

I kind of like this box as it reminds me of those samplers that children made back in the day where they honed their sewing skills.

Blood and all.


Finally I present to you.


Who is completely shattered after doing absolutely nothing all day except for digging in the dirt and getting filthy.


Man it’s a hard life.


And, the not often photographed Pickles.

Who only allowed me this one shot if I promised not to show all of her fat.


She’s a bit of a diva in that respect.

I had a bit of an incident.

With the bag and the phone.

I love my bag.



I even have another.


It’s perfect for me, as I’m not really that into stuff, but when I do want stuff, I like nice stuff that doesn’t scream, hey look at me, I’m really into stuff.

You know what I mean.

I’m kind of understated like that.

Anyway it’s perfect for me. I can chuck all of my gear in there and not look back.

Unless of course you chuck your water bottle in there.

Without the screw cap on it.

Now, here’s the problem with that if you have a waterproof waxed canvas bag.

When you spill your water inside of it, the water accumulates in the bottom of the bag to the point where you could actually take a swim in it.

If you were a tiny, bag sized, human being that is.

Who could swim.

I think I poured out more water from the bag than was in the bottle. It was like watching the genie of the lamp come out. The flow never stopped.

And, my friends.

That was the end of the phone.

Here’s to getting annoyed with the kids for all these years for dropping their phones in glasses of water – (on accident (Becky)), and not taking care of their stuff.

I have joined the ranks of the clumsy.

Some other stuff not so traumatic.

New painting.


And new jewelry ideas



That’s a little crumb of McVities digestive biscuit left from my mid afternoon pick me up cup of tea. I usually dunk them, but this crumb obviously got away.

Two biscuits crossing the road.

One gets run over by a truck, the other one says,

Oh crumbs!

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

What to do with it all.

I did a little research this morning on my top favourite charities.

And I still can’t make up my mind which is the best.

So this time I sent my jewelry money to Save the Children because I had to stop thinking about it all before my head exploded.


So, thank you to everyone who bought from me this past weekend, I’ve just sent off $1,000.

Feeling a bit low this morning, but am determined to get on with a few things I’ve got going.

This is a new piece I’m working on.


I’m really starting to pay attention to every detail in my work, and feel as though I’ve come a long way in my craftsmanship even over these past couple of months.

And I’m really enjoying it.

It bothers me that I still can’t seem to figure out the best way to put these designs together and have to do a lot of fiddling with it all to make it work, but I also realize that the more I practice the easier it will become.

It’s kind of exciting in that way.

I think I get down because I just don’t know what to do with it all once it’s finished.

I’ll be like one of those old biddies who dies and her family finds tons and tons of stuff she’s made squirreled away under mattresses and in the back of cupboards.

Still, at least then I won’t have to worry about it.

Here’s the beginning of another painting.

Yet another to add to the hoard.


And I’m making the chap on the right a little friend.

See they’re reaching out to one another.


Art can be so romantic.

I’m on a roll!

Two more finished.

Quick! Someone restrain me before this gets out of hand.



I call them my, Harbour Series


Since the art fair I’ve slowly been putting my jewelry back on Etsy, but I’ve kind of lost heart a bit. I think that maybe I’m just a little lazy at trying to work this thing.

But, before I start to wallow, I’d like to talk to you about my latest teacup disappointment.

As you all know, I am particularly fond of my tea. Some might say that my four cuppa a day habit is a problem waiting to happen, but you know, I watch it carefully, and it doesn’t affect my day to day functioning so I’m not too worried about it at the moment.

If it ever gets out of hand I promise I’ll let you know, but I really don’t need the intervention thing yet.

I have spoken before about the qualities required for the optimal tea drinking experience, so I was slightly surprised when I threw caution to the wind and bought this cup at the Bayou Art Festival this spring.


It’s lovely isn’t it? But don’t let that fool you. There is danger lurking in its form.

Suffice to say it meets all the necessary requirements except for the handle.

You just cannot hold the cup safely when it is filled with tea. Aesthetically the form fits the bill, but functionally, and let’s face it, if you’re going to be drinking tea from it four times a day that’s the most important thing, it fails miserably.

Even P, when he lovingly makes my first cup of the day, cusses as he brings it to me.

You can carry it, but it’s touch and go that it won’t tip in your grip, and I feel that the strength you need in your finger to keep it steady will require daily strengthening exercises which, quite frankly, I haven’t got the time to spend on.

So this lovely cup is now relegated to the back of the teacup cupboard with all of the other, nope, that’s not going to work, cups.

It pains me to see them abandoned as they are, but just ask the Japanese – they know, tea drinking is important business.

Thank goodness I’m taking Desmond Tutu’s Forgiveness Challenge!

I am working on forgiving the potter as I type.

Doesn’t Desmond make you smile every time you see him?


Optimal Tea Drinking Requirements

1:  Rim thickness.

It’s not that I discriminate, but thick rims are for coffee drinkers. For tea more delicacy is required.

2: Form.

The cup should function efficiently, this means that you should be able to use the handle.

3: Size.

A cup that is too small is not worth the time or effort.

4: Aesthetics.

Of course it has to be beautiful.

5: Clay body.

There are just some clay bodies that simply make the tea taste bad. Don’t ask me why. It’s just one of those crazy tea phenomenons.

Happy Monday.

The art festival on Saturday was a little slower than usual, but it was a really nice day. A little too windy for the paintings I took which kept falling off the panels I’d set up, and so eventually I took them down.


I did sell one of them.

A first!

And it was the freaky one!


This lady also bought one of my favourite necklaces.


So thank you to her :)

All told I made just shy of $900 which is a little lower than usual but still nothing to sneeze at.

The day before I sold another $100, so I have a thousand to send off this week.

If anyone reading this came to Market Street in The Woodlands on Saturday.

Thank you!

I have to mention that we met many nice people including one lady who had bought from me on Etsy which I thought was really neat.

And finally.

To any of you who might have been worrying about my painting phobia.

I actually finished one without fretting!



So today I’m going out there to start another :)

Happy Monday!

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