Tuesday 30 October 2012

The New Forest Ponies

My daughter and son in law live in Southampton, a short drive from the New Forest. The promised artic blast fortunately did not get this far south at the weekend and so our planned walk in the New Forest was cold but not bitterly cold. We decided to walk in a different part of the forest this time and started our walk from Burley. We walked the bridle path and were quite surprised that it was not too muddy; our aim was to find some of the famous New Forest ponies.
As always the boys strode out ahead whist Milly and I caught up with all our news ;0) This picture is quite deceptive as although it was beautifully sunny with pretty floating clouds it was cold. Hats, scarves and gloves were the order of the day as well as lots of layers!
We did not need to walk very far at all until we found the first of these sweet creatures.

This one was not too shy at all and allowed us to pet him ;0)

New Forest Ponies do have owners but have an almost feral existence in the forest. Every year they are rounded up and checked. They also have their tails clipped in a particular way which links them to their owners.

On we walked to see how many more we could find.

Hello little fellow, another real sweetie who was happy to be petted. We also found lots of other wild life on our walk including....

cattle, we did not go too close to this one..we thought that was the wisest thing to do ;0)

Amazing big beetles

and more sweet New Forest Ponies. This little group were very shy, if you look closely there is actually a dapple grey pony hiding on the right here.

We also found some great Sweet Chestnut trees and we gathered lots of chestnuts from the forest floor to take back with us.

We were able to find a whole bag of chestnuts but needed gloves to pick up the very prickly shells.
We then headed back to Burley to look for somewhere for afternoon tea.

Burley is a pretty little village and the Old Farmhouse is a delightful thatched roof tea house with beams. We found a snug table and ordered 2 cream teas to share between the 4 of us.

Mmmm raspberry jam, clotted cream and freshly baked scone with a warm cup of tea. It was a perfect end to our cold but pleasant walk. By the time we left it was getting dark as we made our way back to the car.

This was the view as we left the village and as we walked along the road we were really surprised to see an old stone direction marker. These are quite rare as many have just eroded but the writing on this one was quite clear and written in old English

"Rest and be thankful" what an apt saying having just enjoyed our afternoon tea.

The clocks went back on Saturday night and we are now plunged into our darker evenings. At 4.30pm yesterday it was already dark. November will have arrive on Thursday and there are only 56 days til Christmas. I am really gearing up my Christmas card making and I will soon start my annual hand made crackers as these do take some time and there will be 8 of us here on Christmas day. My card challenge today features a fun stampendous jolly snowman stamp and a lovely silhouette stamp with Santa and his reindeer from Visible Images.

I stamped the Santa in black and added some holographic embossing powders to make it shine, it's hard to show it in the photo. I coloured my snowman with Promarkers and highlighted them with Prismacolor pencils. I used some more LOTV stamps on the blue back paper and the sentiment  and tags are LOTV too. Everything got a dash of glitter glue and the pearl snowballs were make using a Viva pearl pen.

This card is for sale here in my Etsy shop

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;
The Crafty Pad #194 Christmas is coming
Joanna Sheen Silhouettes my silhouette is the silhouette stamp of Santa in the sky with his reindeer
Dream Valley Glitter and bling #44
Party Time Tuesdays Anything Goes #92
Natalie and Amy #3 colour me happy This is my favourite colour combo of the moment, blue and pink

I would also like to mention that the Ribbon Girl is offering a £15 voucher as part of their new products launch. Do go and check out their great on line store.

I have a rare luxury of a day in my studio today so I am catching up on some bag charm orders and making some more cards. Whilst I am snug in my studio I will be thinking of some of my American friends who may not feel so safe with the terrible Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast. Stay safe and my thoughts are with you all that it does not do it's worst.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Friday 26 October 2012

Happy New Year of Silversmithing Part 2

After the interest shown in my recent mixed metal earrings post I thought I would share another of my creations that I finished at the end of last term at my Silversmithing class. Do you remember the Peas in the Pod I made for my darling daughter for her birthday in March? This has become one of her favourite pieces of jewellery, she was so thrilled with it.

If you have not seen this piece in detail  have a little read here Well I did promise in that post that I would show you the design process behind making the lovely organic pod. As well as making her the peas in the pod I made myself some silver earrings using the same process of fold forming. It is a fun process involving lots of hammering and lots of annealing and it all starts with 2 rectangles of silver sheet. The same process was used for the pod and the earrings with just a difference which part of the form is hammered.

Each piece starts off life as plain flat 8mm silver sheet. For the earrings I cut 2 smaller rectangles.

I marked the middle of each of these with red marker.

I then placed each sheet into a vice at the level of the marked line

and carefully tapped each piece to fold over using a hide mallet. Once I had a bend in the metal I took it out and continued to tap it flat. Next I cut these flat pieces into a more oval shape using a saw, as shown below.

  Then I started gently tapping just the outside edge of the silver with a flat head hammer, which slowly thins the edge.

As the silver work hardens very quickly when hammering I had to keep annealing (heating to a rosy red using a blow torch) to keep the metal soft and workable.

By just working on the outside edge the metal starts to curve as it thins. Once I was happy with the size I needed to open up the folded metal again. (When I made the pea pod for my daughter's earrings I had to hammer along the folded edge to create a cup rather than a splayed piece).

This was very fiddly indeed!

I had to use a steel ruler to start this off and then got in with my pliers and slowly pulled the piece open. Again I had to keep annealing the piece to keep it workable.

Finally after lots of gentle pulling my earring began to emerge....

I teased...and teased until they were the shape I was happy with.

I made the leaves more shapely by using a good old permanent marker to curve them over.

Next I needed to make some ear wires so that I could put them through my ears. I wanted them as hanging earrings rather than studs.

I soldered a silver wire to the back to the "leaf" and then bent the wire carefully into shape to form the ear wires.

So are you ready for a Ta Dah moment..

well here they are...and as usual they are just so hard to photograph...this time I used the rim of a cup as even my trusty garlic bulb didn't work as a prop.

I hope you get an idea of them, in real life they are fun and very apt for this time of the year....my silver autumn leaves ;0)

 Now I don't "do" Halloween or autumn type cards so my card challenge today will follow another thread instead. I decided it would be in honour of the upcoming Bond movie which is on general release from next week. I am a huge fan of the James Bond Films and have seen nearly every single one at the cinema. The first one was came out 50 years ago so no, I didn't see the very original ones..I'm not that old ;0) I really think that Daniel Craig is up with Sean Connery as the very best Bond. The latest film is Skyfall and is filmed in London, my favourite city in the world. I watched the coverage on TV of the premier earlier this week and loved seeing the stars on the red carpet. We will be off to see it as soon as it is in our local cinema.

 So what would you associate with James Bond ............................................well of course a

" Martini.................................................shaken not stirred"

Meet Martini Nikki, a fab stamp by my great blogging buddy Kerry from Ladybug Crafts Ink. Yes she is sipping her Martini looking nearly as cool as Daniel Craig.
I coloured her with Promarkers and highlighted her with my Prismacolor pencils. My papers are Nitwits. I added some fun embellies including a Tibetan purse charm from my bag charms stash. The cocktail shaker and glass are buttons. The sentiment is Lili of the Valley.
I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Ladybug Crafts Ink I need a "P" This is fun challenge where you need to include as many "Ps" as possible. The "P"s in my card are; Promarkers, Prismacolor pencils, Poodle pooch, purse, pink, paper, patchwork pattern on the paper (LOL I think that just that is 3 Ps!!), punched photo corner (and around the sentiment) Phew....that was a few !
Emerald Faeries Challenge Anything Goes
Passion for Promarkers Pets #172
Papercrafting Journey Ribbon or twine
Stamping for the Weekend anything goes

I have just finished making a rather interesting silver chain at my class this week and I promise I will not leave it so long to write up a post for it and share it with you. It is half term next week and after half term we are "knitting" in all sorts of ways with silver wire...that should be fun.

It looks like our cold snap will arrive by tomorrow. We are off to see our daughter and son in law tomorrow and hope to go walking in the New Forest. The colours there are this time of year are stunning. We will need to wrap up warm.  We will no doubt find somewhere to enjoy afternoon tea (and cake of course). Have a lovely  weekend and thanks as always for all your kind visits to Jane's Journal. It's always lovely to see you here.

Keep warm,

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Monday 22 October 2012

My Open House and an invitation for you too

Yesterday afternoon I held my annual Jewellery Open House. This is always a fun afternoon. There is lots of laughter and tea drinking. It also gives me a chance to get out all my stock. I usually hold jewellery parties during the year but this year has been so busy that I have had to turn them down. I decided that to make up for my lack of parties I would offer a special pre Christmas 20% discount on all my current jewellery stock. I also offered my bag charms for £6.25 instead of the usual price of £6.75 and 10% off my handmade cards. As you can imagine this was a pretty good incentive.
Here is a photo of some of my "pearls and shells" stock laid out to sell. I have collected lots of shells over the years and they are also very pretty to use as props.

Here are some other photos taken just before my guests arrived.

My bag charms were also very popular.

And  so were my handmade cards.
Business was brisk and I really enjoyed catching up with everyone over tea and biscuits.

My blogging friends often say that it a shame we live so far away...some are all the way over in the States, as they would loved to have popped in and browsed my stock over a cup of tea.
With this in mind have decided to put a couple of things up for offer here on my blog with the same 20% discount as I offered at my Open House from my current stock.

Here are a few things I held back which will eventually go in my Etsy shop if they are unsold.
Some of these photos are a bit blurry as I took them on the table at the open house, but they are lovely and very sparkly in real life.

Blue one of a kind lampwork focal necklace with lapis lazuli and rock crystal. 18" length.
20% discount,
Now ;£17.20

Lava, coral and haematite bracelet. 8" length.
20% discount;
Now; £12.80

Swarovski crystal dangling earrings.
Light sapphire blue.
20% discount;

A couple of the pearl necklace in the very first photo of this post are also still for sale so do email me if you are interested in any of those. The purple dagger pearl necklace (middle of photo with matching bracelet) for example (19" length) is reduced to £19.60 from £24.50

I will also make any of my bag charms up for £6.25 and offer 10% off any of my cards. You can see lots of my cards for sale in my Etsy Shop here If you see anything of interest I can deactivate it for you to buy from me directly. Please don't combine Etsy purchases with this offer, just email me to deactivate anything you would like to add to your direct order from me.
I charge £1.10 postage and packing in the UK for a single item. 2 or more items (I can fit anything up to 750g weight in this package) is £2.20
For the EU my postage is £2.70 for a single item and £3.30 to the States. Please email me if you want more than 1 item. I only charge the true cost of postage.
All my jewellery and bag charms come in a pretty organza gift bag. An example of this can be seen with the lava and haematite bracelet.

Just email me with any requests, my address in on my profile. This is found on the top right tab of my blog. Look for "about me" Just click where it says view my complete profile. I will leave this offer open for 2 weeks so do email me if you are interested. You may be able to solve some of your Christmas gift headaches. All my jewellery (bag charms excluded) are made with only sterling or fine silver findings/clasps/ ear wires etc so there are no problems with skin irritation etc.
Payment needs to be by Paypal or by Bank transfer (UK Only).

I am offering this as a big thank you to everyone who reads my blog, I really do enjoy your visits. You could say that "Christmas has come early ." I couldn't share tea and biscuits with you...this is a "virtual" alternative to join the fun.

My card challenge card is a Christmas card to reflect this sentiment.
I used a new stamp I bought from my beloved Lili of the Valley called Christmas Bunnies stocking. It is actually from a release some years ago but I think it is so sweet. I won a £25 voucher and  this is my first spend from my voucher. Isn't it a cutie ;0) I went for some very non traditional colours this time. I am not a pink girl but I think pink and blue always look great together. 
I coloured my stamped image with my trusty Promarkers and highlighted them with my Prismacolor pencils. The snowflake paper is also LOTV as is the round sentiment. The little joy sentiment is from Whimsy stamps.  I added some glamour dust glitter for some bling around the stocking and to the hats. The die cuts are Memory Box and I think Martha Stewart. 
I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

The Crafty Pad Use an animal #193
Cute Card Thursday #239 Got Glitter
Totally Papercraft Christmas 9 weeks and counting
Crimbo Crackers Pink #26
ABC card challenge Z is for Zoo use an animal
Penny Black and More Animal magic
Make it Monday Linky Party #112
A and T Emerald Faeries Challlenge #34 anything goes

And after my party you can guess who grabbed back his chair can't you.

Today we woke up to fog...and it is still so misty out even now. We are also forecast a very cold snap by the end of the week so it may be time for me to dip out my scarf and gloves. It may well be the taste of the weather to come.

Enjoy the week. Keep warm and Carry on Crafting ;0)

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Thursday 18 October 2012

Autumnal gardening

We really are in autumn now, a lot of my more tender annual plants are dying off and my beans and tomatoes have finished fruiting. All the trees are showing off their gorgeous golden and red hues and there are plenty of ripening berries appearing, like the holly below, ready to feed the birds for the winter months to come.

 It was time at the weekend to have a clear up in my tiny garden and get some new plants into my pots to give me some autumn and winter colour. It was also the time to get my bulbs planted into their compost blankets and tucked up to see the time through until next spring.

As you know my favourite flowers are daffodils so I bought some of these and also some parrot tulips. I also plan to plant some hyacinths which I hope I can force into flower by Christmas.

I have a fun glass holder which I fill with water and pop a hyacinth bulb on and then keep in the dark until a shoot appears.  I love watching the roots pushing their way as a tangled white mass into the water. I also put one into compost this year to see what it does.

Other "must haves" for me are violas and winter flowering pansies. Their little "faces" are just so cheerful to see in the garden. I also find they are so hardy and even with the harshest frosts or deepest snow they carrying on flowering bravely. These are unusual trailing violas and they have a very sweet scent to them.

I also found some frilled pansies in some gorgeous colours.

So I emptied and washed some of my pots, filled them with bulbs and plants and stood them in the sunshine.

I then found places to put them on the walls of my patio.

And all this time you can imagine "You know Who" was busy "helping".

I'm not really sure I could describe it as help, more like being very nosey.....

But Billy certainly loves to be involved with all the decisions made regarding his garden ;0) It was good to be out in the sunshine. We have not had our first frost yet here in the South but I am sure it is on it's way as the North of England certainly has. I am pleased that my pots are ready to face the elements and my little bulbs can snooze away until spring time.

My card challenge today is inspired by the holly berries in my first photo and the thoughts of winter and Christmas. How the days are racing by now. This little sweetie below seems quite relaxed about the whole thing ;0)

Again I have used my one of my favourite Lili of the Valley stamps, Moonlight Wishes, but this time I had used the more traditional colours of Christmas. I coloured the stamp using my trusty Promarkers and highlighted using Prismacolor  pencils. I hand punched the holly leaf embellies and used red pearls as berries. The sentiment is LOTV too. She sold very quickly in my Etsy shop but there are other traditional coloured Christmas cards for sale there. Can I ask what most people like? Do you prefer the traditional golds/greens/reds? What do you think of the blues/pinks I have used on other cards? I used to be very much a traditional girl but I have had such fun with other colours that I think I have changed my mind!

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;
Totally Gorjuss Traditional Christmas colours #153
I love Promarkers Anything Goes #139
ABC Christmas "U for up to You" 
Bearly Mine Anything Goes #57
Fashionista Anything Goes #8
Holly Jolly Photo inspiration I was inspired by the snow and the traditional colours.
My Mum's Craft Shop Sketch #80
Lili's Little Fairies anything goes

Today is my day off work and I am going to be busy getting ready for my annual jewellery Open House this Sunday. This is such a fun occasion and there is lots of tea and coffee drinking too. I also have a few commissions, both cards and jewellery, that I am working on so this is keeping me super busy outside of work. I shall be beavering away in my garden studio...how I love days like this ;0)

Happy Thursday everyone, thanks for all your kind comments about my earrings in my last post. I will try to get another post up soon showing more of my recent creations from my silversmithing class.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x