Category Archives: Other Stuff

Well that was fun wasn’t it!

As you may know I was suspended.

Now I’m unsuspended.

In the interim I paid for a domain name and host for a new blog.

Not too bad really, only $150 for three years and as I thought that I was done for this site I went along and bought it.

I was completely locked out of this blog and couldn’t get access to anything or anyone to figure out what was going on.

I did find a way to move my content over to the new blog which was great, but couldn’t get any of my images, so the new blog looked awful with all those empty squares with that little tiny blue box in the middle.

Hate those squares.

I always feel as though I’ve not been picked to play on their team.

Could be my abandonment issues.

So I made all of the content private and thought I’d just start over.

I wasn’t too bothered about that.

What I was bothered about was never being able to talk to you guys again.

I’ve come to like it.

A lot.

Not that we’re engaged or anything…

I spent all day trying to figure out how I could transfer my subscribers list to the new blog.

I even downloaded a plugin.

Who the h#** knew what they were?

O.K. you probably did.

Don’t judge me…


and only then WP e-mailed me, apologized for the inconvenience, and told me that they’d made a mistake and I could have my blog back.

Now, you may think that this is all well and good, and I would have to agree, EXCEPT for the fact that the people who subscribed to my new blog received 563 BILLION e-mail notifications as all the content became unlocked.

I sure hope it was only the new subscribers, because otherwise I’m going to go hide my head in some sand.

If you’re one of the ten.

Sorry again.


To be honest I’m not going to blame WordPress. As a blundering blog user I can usually muddle my way through. Unfortunately this time some of you suffered during my learning curve.


As I’ve paid for the new blog I think I’m going to go ahead and use it.

I’m not completely happy with the look of it yet as it seems so white that it hurts my eyes, and it’s a little sterile, but I’m working on it.

I’m still not sure about how to transfer my subscribers over, but I’m working on that also.

In the meantime I promise you that if you do subscribe to my new blog you won’t receive all of the e-mail notifications that the world has to offer.

O.K. perhaps I shouldn’t promise, but I’m pretty sure that now the drama seems to be over we’re safe to come out to play…

HERE’S the new site.

I’d love to see you there.

And now… Jump Rings…

I have struggled with making my own jump rings ever since I’ve been, well… making them. The only thing, in my opinion, more annoying than making jump rings is wire wrapping.

Fortunately I don’t care to make wire wrapped jewelry, but on the odd occasion that I need to make something requiring even the simplest wrapping technique you can believe me when I tell you it involves a lot of swearing and oftentimes the throwing of pliers.

I’ve tried lots of different methods and bought different contraptions to make jump rings, all of which make me want to pull my hair out.

I have this.


The Pepe Jump Ring Maker



Which is great at making coils, but I’m darned if I can get that special little cutting device to work as well as it’s apparently supposed to.

When I put the coil inside the doohickey thing and run the blade through it, all of the rings smoodge down, bend out of shape and down right refuse to co-operate.

I’ve even tried taping them to keep them all lined up tightly.

But no.

I did watch a lady on Youtube yesterday thread the rings over a length of dowel, which I’ve thought of doing myself, but have never bothered with as it would mean going out and buying every different dowel size that I need.

Which is most all of them.

Still, I might give it a go as I do like to let my pent up anger out at least once a week and I’m sure this will help with that.

Until then that sweet little cutting vise thing just sits there on my table taunting me.

I think I hate it.

 I also have one of these.

314f82CoOyL._SY300_Which looks as though its only existence in life should be to do something wonderful.

Turns out, however, I was using it wrong.


I was supposed to be using it like this.


Should have read the instructions first I suppose.

Even so I still find it fiddly, awkward and annoying.

Aside from using these fine tools I’ve tried taping the coils and sawing them using all manner of painful hand positions.

I’ve cut them on the outside.

I’ve cut them on the inside.

I’ve used the saw by placing my hand in-between the blade and the saw frame.

I’ve even filed a groove in my trusty bench pin to lock them in place.

It has been a war people.

A war I am still determined to win!

So a word of warning:


even think of telling me that you’ve been using this simple way of cutting jump rings all of this time as it might well be the end of our good relationship.

Yes it’s simple.

And yes I’m annoyed with myself.

But this duh moment has definitely brought a little more sunshine into my life.

So without further ado…

Make the coils and tape them.


Place them on the edge of a wooden block or table.


And saw them.


O.K. so I couldn’t hold the camera and the coil, so…

Now don’t laugh because however simple this seems to you I just didn’t ever think about putting the coil over the edge of a wooden block. I did it every other way imaginable, but…

O.K. so you can laugh.

It’s not actually as awkward as I make it look in the video because here I’m using a very large diameter coil which has made it a little wobbly.

Smaller coils cut like butter.


(These coils are brown because I annealed the wire first.)


Here’s what I did with mine…


16 x 10.5 mm 18 gauge ss wire jump rings.



Then stretched on round nose pliers.


Trying as best as possible to keep them uniform in shape.


16 x 1.5″ lengths of 18 gauge ss wire.


Ball up the ends trying to maintain a uniform length.


Buff off the roughness of the ball.


Buff down the soldered area of the links.


ALWAYS use safety goggles and a mask.

Bend the balled up lengths.


And attach one of the links to either side.


You might need to pry open the center of the link to get the ball through. If you do, make sure you re-form the link.

Close the ball completely so that the link doesn’t move out of position.


Now you can complete the chain.


Until you have the length you desire.

To make a clasp cut a 1.75″  length of wire and ball both ends as before.

This time just bend one end the same as the others and shape the other end into the clasp end.


Rhodochrosite and Moonstone.






I’ve got some things done.

It’s been like pulling teeth.

Every day I go into the studio just to find some excuse to take a break.

Even after just fifteen minutes.

When I can’t find a reason to leave the studio I just decide that I’m so thirsty I’ll die if I don’t get a drink stat!

What’s all that about?

Remember this.


That wouldn’t cooperate and decided that it just didn’t want to be made even though it deigned to pose to show you what you can do with all your broken pick sticks.

Well it took me three days by Jove, but eventually I was able to finish it in-between all the drink breaks and consequent rest room trips.



Not completely sure about the beads though.


And I ordered an I.D. stamp.

Ain’t it cool :)

From Infinity Stamps.

They’re very expensive, but I’ve had one before and I really like the quality.

You just design your logo and send them the pic.


It also took me five years to make these.


Ocean Jasper


Ocean Jasper and Chalcedony

In the meantime, while I was procrastinating going into the studio by ordering more stuff, I bought a sand casting kit.


The wrong one as it turns out.

It all looked so easy on the videos, but man, that sand went everywhere. I even got some in my mouth.

It was like I was a child again.

O.K. still…

I couldn’t keep my space clean to save my life, yet the man on the video didn’t get a grain out of place.

It was very depressing.

My first casting came out so horribly that I just packed all the stuff back into the box in disgust and put the whole thing down as a waste of money.

But I really, really wanted to do it :( and if that man could do it, so could I damn it!

I’d bought it on Amazon and decided to go back there to buy some different sand and try again.

The same sand that the annoyingly good at it man used.

And, while cursing myself that I always get things wrong, I decided to read the reviews on the kit I’d bought.

Now I always read the reviews before I buy anything.

Always… except for this time.

Should’ve read the darn reviews.

Everyone complained about the sand, and when I came to think about it, I couldn’t quite remember why I had bought the brand I’d gone for in the first place when it was more expensive than the brand I’d originally gone onto Amazon to compare pricing on.

The funk’s messing with my brain man!

Then I got a bit ticked off because it was 120 odd dollars and it didn’t work even though it said, new and improved sand, in big letters on the tub.

That should’ve been my first clue.

So in a fit of determination I sent the whole package back even though I’d used the sand and the casting flask had burn marks around the funnel area where I’d poured the silver in.

I told them on the little return box that I’d used it, but that it was horrible, but Amazon refunded me straight away, even before the company had received my parcel back.

I was quite impressed.

Don’t know if the sand casting people are going to be though.

Now I’ve ordered the one I wanted in the first place.


Stay tuned…

Emboldened I next contacted a nice lady on FB who reps for JoolTool.

I’d decided that I’d had enough of defective tools and products.

If you remember some of the discs that came with my JoolTool (seven of them!) kept spinning off the spindle when I was using them because their threads had worn or something.

These things are expensive and so are the adhesive pads and papers that you stick to them.


I mean this bunch right here cost over $400!

(I shouldn’t have looked at the price…)

I’d already contacted the shop a couple of months ago and no one had answered me, so I was feeling pretty taken.

BUT this rep was great and Anie, the product designer and owner, phoned me and walked me through fixing them and now they are perfect and ready to go!

Great result.

Great customer service.

Very happy camper right here.

To celebrate I have a little pair of earrings you can make.


All for you :)

First take 18 gauge sterling silver wire and wrap it around a mandrel six times.


I’ve used the largest ring on this pair of pliers.

It always irritates me when I get this particular pair of pliers out because I can’t remember why there is a number 1 and an asterisk on them.

I don’t think I put it on them, but why would I buy a pair that were marked?

Just another of life’s mysteries to mess with my mind…

Now snip and solder them.


Shape them into rough ovals and haphazardly hammer them.


And group them into threes.


As always I’ve forgotten the next photo which would have been of making a loop out of a thicker piece of wire.

I used 8 gauge half round wire.

Now loop the three wires through it and solder the top of the loop together.

Because the half round wire is thick I left the top of it shaped as a teardrop instead of trying to get it perfectly round.

Now find two large silver balls that you have in your silver ball scrap box and solder one onto the rounded part of the thick tear drop ring.

The next photo’s are fuzzy, sorry. I tried hard to get good ones, but, as good as I am, I couldn’t hold everything at once.

Hold the tear drop point facing down in your third hand tweezers.

If you haven’t already got third hand tweeter, get some.

They’re invaluable.

Saves a lot of hospital visits.

Now make sure that all of the soldered areas of the thin large rings are facing down away from the tear drop and place one of those old pick sticks through the tear drop to separate the three rings from the soldered part of the tear drop.

This will help prevent the tear drop solder flowing onto the three rings while you’re soldering the ball onto the round part of the tear drop.



Put some flux on top of the round end of the tear drop and on the bottom of the ball.

Heat the bottom of the ball and pick up a melted ball of solder with it.


Now heat up the round end of the tear drop and solder the ball onto it.

Turn the tear drop over and clasp it in the third hand, again putting the broken pick stick between the bottom of the three rings and the inside of the round end of the tear drop as before.


Get a little jump ring and place it in your third hand with the join facing downward and put some flux on the bottom of the jump ring and on the tear drop end of the large ring.

Gently heat the jump ring and pick up a small piece of solder as you did with the ball.

Now heat the tear drop end keeping the jump ring away from the flame, but close enough to stay heated and when the solder is ready touch the jump ring to the tear drop end.


Pickle the earrings.

Make some ear wires.

And polish the way you desire.

And voilà!

Your earrings are ready.


Now you can knock yourself out and make as many variations as you want.


I tried a different way to connect the ear wire here, but don’t like it as much as the other way.

Always good to experiment though


I leave you with the progress of the painting.



you might want to look away…

a poor me sawing injury

because when you’re in a funk normal activities take on a life of their own and like to do things to make you swear.


I’ve made it small for grossing out purposes.

A lot.

So the plan was…

That the chunky chain got a home.

Didn’t happen.

Instead I started a new painting.


Yes, I know I said I’d given it up again…

So I got this far and then decided I was bored with it.

So I moved over to the jewelry area and half heartedly played around with some sketches and stones.


And decided on the spider one.


Even though I knew that it really wasn’t ever going to be the same as the drawing.

Just to step it up a bit I used one of my new stamps on it.


And then soldered it onto a back plate that was way too large for it.


That annoyed me as I usually pay a lot of attention to the amount of silver I waste to the point that I often have zero wiggle room to work with which also annoys me because then it’s touch and go that I’ve enough silver around the piece to do what I want with.

Guess the search for a happy medium continues…

Now I will share with you a tip for what to do with all your old pick sticks.

I don’t know about you, but after a while my picks start to loosen from their wooden handle. Even though I try to ignore it for a while they eventually start to swivel in the handle when I’m doing the picking thing with them.

I still try to ignore it, but then it just begins to get ridiculous and I can’t do a thing with them.

That’s when I get excited because I remember that hey! I can just buy a new one.


I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes.

So, not one to be wasteful, (apart from the huge amount of silver waste above), I keep the pick ends and use them to prop up pieces when I’m soldering.



Anyway, long story short, it all looks good here, but the soldering flopped due to the funkness and then I had to go in to make dinner…

Not before I added a bit more to the painting though.


So… that’s it.

In other news, while I was bored with it all and in one of my funks, I bought a new table top to add to the jewelry bench area and now it feels more complete.


I’m telling you, that small Swedish store is a blessing when you need a funk distraction.


Now my jewelry area is fantabulous.


And I feel very fortunate.




And just so the painting side of the studio didn’t feel left out I bought it a new table and drawers also.


That side is still a bit of a mess, but I’m working on it…

But look at all my pastels!

They have a happy home…



AND last, but not least, I have to tell you that I’ve hit another milestone.


Next stop $50,000.

See where I’ve sent it – HERE


So I think what happens is…

I go go go go go on the creative front and then

I flop.

It’s probably that my brain needs a break and shuts down for a while.

It can be dangerous when that happens as you know it will just come back with a vengeance.

The funny thing is that I never thought of myself as being creative.

Someone had to tell me.

I’ve had a great run on sales just this past two weeks.

It’s incredible really.

Just when you start forgetting about what to do with all the ‘stuff’ you make it kind of starts taking care of itself.

I’m very lazy on the selling part though.

I don’t list as often as I could on Etsy or my website.

I’m liking my website a lot more than Etsy, but I don’t know if anyone really goes there. I’ll have to figure out the SEO stuff.


(tapping the keyboard, eyes off to the left top corner…)

My brain’s still shut down and I don’t know what else to tell ya.

Except that I’m thinking ceramics, embroidery, and more sorting and throwing away the remnants of three grown and flown kids.

I’ve also started some more paintings.

No, not the paintings I was talking about in a previous post, but my fun, piddly ones.

I’ve resigned myself to just enjoying them for what they are and stop moaning about it.

That just gets boring and I have to lay down on the sofa again.

Not cool.




And here is a chunky chain I’m working on.


And I finished a pair of earrings.


And a bracelet.


And these.


All while Spud defends her sovereignty as Queen of The Table.


Don’t mess with the Spud.

I don’t know where I’ve been all week.

It’s just flown by.

I have been a little bored with the jewelry and just can’t seem to be bothered to start anything new.

I finished this for Serina.



And then decided to use up some more of my larimar beads.

IMG_6772 - Version 2

That bead cap needs a little adjusting.


And then I started a new chain.


But apart from that not a lot going on really.

I’ve been watching some BBC videos on artists that I found on Youtube. The series is called, What do Artists do all day? And I’m really enjoying that.

My favourite one so far is the one on John Byrne.

It all started when I stumbled across a series on Youtube called JTV Rock Star Designer because I was too bored to bother going into the studio and needed some inspiration.

I’ve suffered through all six episodes so far, and now have to wait until next week to find out who the two finalists will be. I think the winner gets to design a jewelry line for JTV.

I’m actually very surprised at how horrible the jewelry is and that, in the six hours they’re given to complete a piece, they can’t seem to make something that looks a little more professionally finished, but I suppose they’re under a lot of pressure. Also they’re only given half an hour to come up with an idea. That would be the hardest part for me as I generally make it up as I go along.

They’re also given some pretty gruesome materials to work with.

I’m not particularly impressed with the show, but of course now I have to finish watching it.

Then I discovered the artist videos and I love them.

It makes me want to go back to art school.

I went to Winchester School of Art in the U.K. What I wanted to be was a painter, but somehow I ended up in the sculpture department. I still would like to be a painter, but I’ve never given myself enough time to really get into it and now I just end up making piddly paintings which I enjoy, but which aren’t real paintings in my opinion.

Now these artists are making me a little sad that I never really gave myself to it.

I did love making the sculptures. I especially liked working out how the darn things would actually stand up and not kill someone.

I still think about making a sculpture of a woman sitting with her beautiful legs crossed in her beautiful designer clothes using nothing but used fake finger nails. I mean, what do they do with all of them once they’re done. I imagine that there are bazillions of them, in all shades of lovely, somewhere out there filling land fills and waiting to destroy our world.

Perhaps she could be having drinks with a refugee.

Who knows.

So I got my degree and then, nothing.

Well, there was the marriage part, and then the kids part, so it wasn’t exactly nothing.

Now it’s my part, and I’m really enjoying it.

Problem is that I’d have to get up before yesterday and go to bed after tomorrow, to be able to do all the things I’d like to.

Just pick one laddie!

Anyhow, so while I’ve been away I’ve been dreaming of all the things I started out to be and how I need to start being them.

The time is now people!

We just need to get down and be the people we know we are inside and stop fussing around with all the other stuff.

O.K. Well I do anyway.


Chain making mania

I have it.


And now I can’t stop even though they take ages to make


And it means my prices will have to go up


And I’ll never sell anything any more


But they give so much more depth to the pendants that I don’t think I can turn back now.


Off to make another one

I’ve got water and protein bars stocked up so if you don’t hear from me for a while I think I’ll be o.k.

The 20 gauge fine silver by 8mm mandrel chain

With the bracelet.



Back in the saddle… almost.

It takes me a while to get back to normal after my family leave.

I like to sit around wallowing for a couple of days.

I also like to give up cooking, stop going to the grocery store and stay in bed for a little longer.

O.K. so I always stay in bed for a little longer, but now I have a reason to.

My brain stops thinking about anything much and my head becomes a dull vacuous cave with barely enough sunlight for even the dust motes to play in.

(Too much?)

But I have got a great new studio to get back to.

When K was here we found a small backwoods furniture shop called IKEA and bought me some new stuff :)

It was a great opportunity to get this done as my sister was able to lift all the heavy stuff while I directed.

She didn’t complain once about her RA, but I did have a sore finger and couldn’t quite manage.

Actually we found a nice man who put everything into the back of the car before I could turn around to help him.

If only he’d waited.

Now I have drawers.




And super solid work surfaces instead of the jumble of old tables I used to have.



I still have my old table that I do most of the work on because the new ones were too long for the space, but I put a plank on two of my little drawer things and now I have a shelf and even more drawers to keep my bezel wire, silver plate and the small useful things which clutter the table when they’re not being small and useful.


I’ve still got more putting away to do, but to be honest, without K here I’ll probably try hard to ignore it, but ain’t it great :)

Just wait until I show you my bead drawers!

You’ll die.



So where were we …

Well my dad left


And then my sister left


And once again I find myself here, all alone, in this strange land they call Texas.

It was great to see them. I really had a good time.

Dad was here for three weeks, which seemed like only one, and my sister was here for two.

Now they’re both gone.

Back to the Mother Land.

Without me.

And I had to have a little cry on the way home from the airport.

Well a howl really.

It happens.

I didn’t do much of anything during their visit which was nice.

Dad liked to sit outside in the 100 degree heat and read his book. I could only manage ten minutes at a time and I’ve lived here for twenty-six years.

My sister also liked to sit outside in the 100 degree heat and read her book.


You know what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen.

I’ve never been able to sit outside in the heat. Of all the people to come live here in sunny Houston, I was probably not the best first choice.

We went to the theatre to watch The Foreigner by Larry Shue which was really good and we had to laugh out loud.

Except it was FREEZING inside the theatre and we almost had to cry also.

I know, I know.

It’s too hot, it’s too cold. What’s a girl to do.

Live in Hawaii that’s what…

Anyway we didn’t ‘do’ the Space Center because it was like 100+ degrees and the thought of being outside on their little open air tram tour seemed a little…well, hot, but P did take my dad fishing  five times! because out in the bay where the air is so still that the water doesn’t move and the heat beats down on you to the point where you think your brain is frying and you can’t see the shore line which is your only hope for survival and you begin to think you’re living in some strange hallucinatory land from your worse nightmare is exactly what the doctor orders for all 85 year old men.

Did they listen to me?


And what did we get to show for the worry?

One little fish.


Dad survived to live another day and I think enjoyed living on the edge even if it did nothing but to prove that we’d never survive on their hunting and gathering skills.

My sister, on the other hand, found that worrying about whether your fishing skills are sufficient for survival meant nothing compared to being taken aside into the ‘special’ room at the airport because your hands show evidence of recent exposure to explosive materials.

We think that the only possible explanation for her detainment could be that we had been in my studio just before we left for the airport. Who knows what chemicals are lurking there. Fortunately I don’t know what to do with any of them except to make jewelry and my sister definitely doesn’t know what to do with them.

Thankfully she passed their second test and so avoided the ‘extra special’ room where she believed that the latex glove worn by the nice security lady may well have been put to good use.


Sorry K.

So, now they have gone


And I’m still here


It will be O.K.

Send chocolate…

I leave you with a photo of the only family I have left.


Aside from the two humans who live here.


And Pickles who doesn’t like to socialize with the local riff-raff.

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