Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas is getting close!!

I have struggled so much this year trying to get ready for the arrival of Christmas!!  I can't believe I still haven't purchased any gifts other than my husband/daughter's present of a (joint) laptop.

Billie needs it for her school work so she can use it up in her bedroom for revision of her GCSE exams.  She got her Mock results last week and they were pretty good - some better than expected.  Her dragon for her Art & Design mock sadly broke in the kiln (previews in a previous post), she has glued it back together, hopefully with a good paint job it shouldn't be to bad!!  She then has her science resits in January, she got B's in 3 of them so we decided why not give them another go to see if she can get A's in those as well, she was only 2 marks off the chemistry one!!!  She can't lose as she keeps her best grade either way!! 

She will also resit her English language module which the school has agreed to put everyone back into resit it because of all the wooha over the government changes they made mid-year!! She got a D and her target grade was a C she was pretty devastated by that!!!  

So now we are trying to work out what she wants to do for the future, its so difficult making these decisions now, she is still 15 and trying to decide on her future.  She wants to carry on into the 6th Form and do A levels. She is suppose to pick 4 only, so wittling down from 11 has been very mind-blowing!!   I think we're nearly there now!!  Phew!!

Mick needs the laptop to download his music collection (records) when we had to wipe the system on the main computer I didnt know he hadn't saved anything onto disk/memory stick so he lost everything he'd done already!!  He was gutted!! So they are both sharing the laptop, I will need to get him an external hard drive I think to save everything onto so he won't lose it all again!!

So hence Christmas has taken a bit of a back seat, I just cant seem to get interested in it at all. My biggest problem is the fact my oven is cremating everything I put in it!! 80((  Yes its about 23 years old and has seen better days, the thermostat has gone and my hubbie says the parts are now obselete so that means I need to get a new one.  I dont want to get a new one, they don't make them like they used to (mine is a split level one) my kitchen is only half complete and I just didnt want to buy one right now, so what to do?????  January Sales I think cheap and hopefully cheerful!!!   So not much chance of getting a christmas pressie this year! 80((

Its my birthday again in January, only this is a biggy!! 

Yep 50!!

Oh gosh!!  I feel ancient, at 40 I seemed to change over night but 50 I really dont know how thats going to go!  I know one thing I really want to do something a bit different, special ~

a flying lesson!

            No not a glider a real plane!! 

Checked it out and I have found a company on the web

this is at Panshanger in Hertfordshire so not too far!! I am quite excited about the experience but I will wait until the spring for better weather.  I am still trying to work out what to do on my birthday, I am thinking of doing an Afternoon Tea type gathering, I'm working on that one!!  Will update you when I have decided.

Thats it for now, nothing new to show you jewellery/beads wise, I am working on tutorials for Bead Magazine right now so got to keep that under my hat. 

One thing though I can hear my paint brushes calling me from my workshop, I might just have to go answer that call, must be all the art stuff Billie is doing at school, she keeps raiding my art and craft supplies and its making me think ~ I do miss it!  I need to get those canvases out which seem to be cluttering up my space!  Mmmmmmm problem with that though is I love doing life drawing, I might need to go join an evening art class!!

Maybe I'm having another mid-life crisis at 50!!!  Ha ha ha!!

Catch you next time!!

E x


Monday, 17 December 2012

How to make Basic Earwires

Wirework Tutorial

How to make Basic Earwires

In this tutorial I assume you know how to turn a loop in wire!  I also make earwires at the same time this helps with making them exactly alike!

So here we go then ~~~

Equipment and Materials you will need:


Half Hard Sterling Silver Wire 0.8mm
Wire Cutters
Round Nose Pliers

Mandrel - You can use a Ring Mandrel or Multi Tool but
I have used a piece of steel piping, you can also use a pen barrel (make sure it is completely round - no flat edges to it)
Silver cleaning cloth


You also need for forging the wire:


Hammer ~ a Chasing hammer is preferable but a ball pein hammer will surfice (make sure it has a nice smooth head any dents etc. will mark the wire)
Anvil or steel block

Needle file

1.  Take your wire and unravel enough to use approx 8" then to stretch/straighten the wire, run it through your thumb and forefinger a few times (this also helps to harden the wire!)


NB: You don't need to straighten the wire completely this just helps with measuring the amount your require, as the curve already in the wire can be helpful in the process of making the earwires.

Cut 2 x 4" pieces of wire.


2.  Now to make a turned loop in each wire, grasp the wire with the round nosed pliers, making sure it is right at the very tip of the wire.


Turn a loop around the blade of the pliers.


NB: If you left the natural curve of the wire make sure you turn the loop in the opposite direction to the curve (see below).


Repeat to make a loop in the other wire.

3.  Take the mandrel (piece of pipe) and place the earwire over it, making sure the loop is facing out (perpendicular to the mandrel)


Curve the ear wire around the mandrel, at this point you could do both earwires at the same time, this helps to make them to near 'exactly' the same!


Bend them around the mandrel so the ends nearly touch the loops.  They will spring back and open again.


4.  Still holding the earwires together, grasp them approx ¼" from the end with your round nose pliers, bend the wires back slightly to give them a straight end.

It is your choice how far you want to bend them.


NB: I usually tweak the earwires a little now so that they both look completely even, until I am happy with them.


5.  Trim the ends so they are equal in length, make sure that both the earwires are held in the same position


They should look something like this!!


6. Now the ends need to be filed with the needle file to remove all the rough edges.


First flatten off the end, and then work around the edges, always pulling the file down across the wire with fairly small sweeps.


NB: NEVER file backwards and forwards across the wire ONLY downward sweeps!!


Repeat for the other earwire.


Depending on what, the loop end of the earwire, seems like you may want to file these too. Either before you make the loop or you could twist the loop out slightly so you can get the file in to smooth the ends, don't forget to straighten again afterwards! Or do this before turning your loop in the initial first step.


7. Now to help strengthen the earwires you need to do a little forging of the front part of the wires.  Place the earwire onto the anvil or steel block


With the chasing hammer now lightly hammer only the front part of the earwire, making sure not to hammer the loop,


turn the earwire over and do the same to the other side.


Repeat for the other earwire.


NB:  The forging process can distort the earwires sometimes so they will need a little tweaking to help straighten them again.


8.  Well, all that is needed now is to clean the earwires to give them a lovely shine and remove any dust particles.  I generally use a silver cleaning cloth as they are quite small but if you have a tumbler this can help strengthen them or you can use a Dremel like power tool too (being very careful).


There now your very first pair of earwires!!! All made by your own fair hand!!
I posted this tutorial on my other blog back in 2010 and decided to move it over so you can still have access to it here on my new blog. I hope it is helpful and I will be adding more tutorials in various wire working techniques in the future.
E x

Monday, 10 December 2012

Pendants for birthdays

Thought I would show you some new pendants I've been working on for presents and myself.


Made using one of my own beads from my Dynasty Collection and gunmetal colour coated wire. Wire weaving using various weaves with my own distinct design style, this one is for me.  I love this bead so thought ~ Yep that one is mine!!  Still need to work out what to hang it on, cant decide that one yet!

JosieJ Pendant Necklace
This was made for my friend Josie who just had a special birthday, lots of weaving using pink and black coated wire with another of my own beads in the centre.  She does love PINK!! I have added 2 types of black plated chains with an additional chain which is a shorter length so she has a choice as to which length she would like to wear it ~ long or short!

Few close ups for you

She did get it a day late by the time I'd finished it, well I seem to have lots of friends and family celebrating big birthdays all at once.  Josie was 40 then my husband's cousin was 50 the a friend was 60 and another 70 during last week!  Phew still got christmas to sort out yet!!!

So here is Denise's present for her 50th!

Sterling Silver Initial Pendant
I am thinking I may make up a few of these initial pendants and pop them into my etsy jewellery store, in various different metals!! This one has blue swarovski crystals to add a little sparkle and then hung on a sterling silver snake chain.

There we are then, thats it for now!


E x