About Me

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North Somerset, United Kingdom
My parents were worried when I ran around with scissors – now I play with fire and (intentionally) break glass! Based in the beautiful South West of England, close to the sea and often the scene of beautiful sunsets, I am inspired by the countryside around. Working with sea glass collected from remote beaches, soda lime glass from Murano, Italy, Europe, USA and beyond, I create artisan beads, for use in my own jewellery or for you to enjoy in your own creations. But I couldn’t stop there; continuing the theme from round rods to flat sheets, mostly from the USA, I break large sheets of transparent, opaque, multi-coloured and dichroic glass into much smaller pieces to make a kiln-formed range of bright, colourful jewellery and home decoration. Each piece I make is individually designed around the shape, size and beauty of the materials and intended to be unique, wearable, usable and affordable. All my glass work is kiln annealed for strength and durability and designed to give pleasure for years to come.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Stressed cat cuddles mouse


OK, the cat in question wouldn't hurt a fly, in fact he watched a fly walk all over his paws and didn't bat an eyelid, fascinated. The mouse is stuffed and fabric; the one time he brought a real one in he carried it in his mouth for 1/2 an hour before dropping it in the garden totally unharmed (and Ted totally shocked at my over-reaction to a gift).

Ted's had a stressful few weeks. Someone cut his long mane off several weeks ago, just before his mates over the road were snatched by youths under the gaze of their owner who couldn't get to them in time to stop them being taken. It's been a problem in the town recently, cats disappearing, cats being deliberately poisoned by anti-freeze. Then last week his adored brother was really unwell with a temperature of 105F and for a while things were not looking so good for Charlie either. Charlie's now on the mend and tormenting Ted as usual, somehow Ted isn't as annoyed by this as he would usually be.

So, I came into the lounge this evening to find Ted curled up in front of the TV, (good vantage point) having dragged the mouse toy from the basket. Now, it looks to me like he's having a cuddle. He's never taken any notice of the toy before but right now it's a firm favourite.

I think I have a solution ....

to the tote bag display dilemma.

After much reading of suggestions, working through what will and won't work, what fitted the brief (1 foot width) and what didn't (unless I win the lottery and can afford more space), DH and I have decided that although no one actually came up with the winning formula, someone did give me enough to be going on with to hopefully make this happen. I've decided that I will award my prize to Helen of HJ Crafts on Folksy. Helen, I'll be in touch. I'm also awarding a small prize to someone who not only tried to give ideas but also went beyond everyone else and found some links to inspire me. Kelly of Ksewingbasket I'll be in touch.

Pictures of the final effort will be posted on my blog. I need to first find some double ended screw thingies with metal bits I can screw into (I know what I mean) so I can frequently screw in and remove arms for my bags to hang off at fairs. I have no idea what they are called but I have a great fixings store nearby and they are sure to be able to help. They are used to me turning up with a strange item and asking for 'some of these'.

The thingy is basically a double ended screw that screws into a metal threaded thingy in the wood. If anyone knows the proper name for 'thingy' do enlighten me as I've googled a few options and none have returned the right 'thingy'. Picture is of a warping board a wood turner made for me and the 'thingies' were readily available at the time. We've since lost touch so I can't ask.


Friday, 9 October 2009

I've seen it now I want it

but cheaper!

The search for a solution to my 'how to display my bags' dilemma has neared its conclusion. Whilst I was browsing on the web I came across this bag spinner.



Pros
it rotates, so customers can see all the bags, the arms are moveable, so suitable for lots of rearranging

Cons
it's in the US and costs a fortune

the solution?
my current stands rotate thanks to some Lazy Susan mechanisms. I can manage basic woodwork (probably best not scrutinised by professionals) and I think I could come up with something in wood that would knock-down to fit easily in my estate car.

the end result?
give me a week or two to find a way of making it and I'll show you. My only query at the moment is how to fix the pole to the rotating base, I currently use chrome poles that fit into chrome wardrobe fittings but I'm not sure they are strong enough to fit together with a short length of pole.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

My new boxes have arrived!


For some time I have been looking for a supplier to print my logo onto boxes for me. Some were expensive, some couldn't make a large enough printing block. I already had the log in various formats ready for the printers but wanted to be able to use only one size to save having to buy 2 printing blocks. My usual supplier couldn't do it, well not what I wanted for the price I wanted. Looking on the internet I came across the Tiny Box Company.

They've patiently worked with me to create the boxes I wanted, sent me samples to look at and approve, printed my boxes and arranged delivery (then re-arranged, thanks guys) for a convenient day. I'm really pleased with them and, best of all, no more labels refusing to stick to the front of boxes! I have a supply of plain boxes left and these will be used up in time but these lovely boxes are destined for show at forthcoming craft fairs. I'll certainly be using this company again.

Let me know what you think.



Monday, 5 October 2009

Bag sellers, I need your help!


Bag sellers, how do you display your tote bags at fairs?

I'm hoping someone has a good suggestion for this. At the moment I have a piece of collapsible trellis fencing [see right of picture, apologies for quality!] which I attach to the top of a pole, hang hooks off and hang my bags from hooks. They look fine when I put them out but after a while the bags get jumbled together and the whole is not an attractive mess.

Someone else will have a better idea and I need help with this.

Also shown in the photo, my scarves hang from a rotating stand and I had thought of using the same with some small coat hangers to display the bags but they will then be visible side-on, if that makes sense, and as people pull them out have a look, I'll still be left with a muddle to sort.

I'm having a total mental block over this.



Here are the design limitations:

The stand has to be collapsible, take up little space (I have about 1 ft wide space for this) and hold a number of bags of all sizes with straps of different lengths. I don't have room in the car for a traditional coat stand nor space on my stall for something that the customer would need to walk around. It also needs to be inexpensive and makeable by someone with basic wood skills, I made the other stands in the picture with basic tools.

To aid your creative juices, having thought about this some more over coffee, if anyone comes up with a design that I eventually adopt, I will send them a prize, perhaps one of my sea glass necklaces, or a bag - we can discuss when you win. No suggestion is too daft although I won't know it until I see it.

Any questions ask away, I need to get this sorted as soon as possible as my next fair is in less than 3 weeks. Thanks to all who contribute.

Featured by Milomade

Some time ago, Evie of Milomade asked me if I would like to answer 20 questions for a blog interview. Delighted to be asked, I racked my brains for something interesting to say about myself. Evie 's article is now published on her blog. I hope you find it interesting - there is a rare photo of the inside of one of my 2 workshops, sorry but it never looks very tidy as it is a working space and in constant use. Thank you Evie for the great article.

Evie has a beautiful shop on Folksy, and also sells through her own website. Check out her shops and perhaps start your Christmas shopping early with original gifts.

Stop the world, I want to get off!

Large stone caught in metal posts

Phew! what a busy weekend!

First we were up at some ungodly hour on Saturday morning to get to Hereford for a craft fair at the Green Dragon Hotel. The day seemed to pass slowly as there weren't many visitors, apparently there were a lot of other things going on in the town, but the few customers we had gave us a good day; sadly the same can't be said for many of my fellow stall holders. Hereford is about 60 miles from home so, because we went the scenic route through the Wye valley, took us several hours to get there. And several hours to get home!

Sunday saw a a slightly later start as were were going to The Chase Hotel in Ross-on-Wye for another craft fair. Again, we went through the Wye Valley to get there; it has to be one of the prettiest routes to get to a craft fair. Sunday was our day to have few sales, it had to be someones and it must be our turn. There were lots of visitors and many stall holders said they'd had brilliant days but we struggled (but just managed) to cover our table fee. I found this was a problem 2 years ago, when all my October fairs were poor sales so decided last year not to bother with October fairs and go on holiday instead! Then my friends (you meet some lovely stall holders at fairs) said they'd had brilliant fairs in October so I changed my mind this year and booked October fairs. Ho Humm. Certainly Sunday's fair was well attended, at times the room was crammed (and paths blocked by buggies the size of Land Rovers!) but many people weren't spending.

Funny quotes of the day ...

'Oh that's not real gold nor is that a real diamond! [Item was a £1.50 zip tag pictured below]!

Lady to husband talking at length about my wristlet key fobs which she had admired and removed one by one from the display box (over 50 of them) 'I really like them but I can't think of a single person who would be able to use them' - se we assume no one she knows has an arm or keys to a door.

One lady then chose a wristlet key fob, starting with pink, possibly brown, maybe blue? Husband then chose one for her, which she bought, because the black matched the new Aga! I've told Alistair that I'll give him the blue key fob if he buys me a blue aga in exchange. I'll forsake my cooker and a cupboard or two for an Aga!!

So now I just have the sorting out to do. Nothing seems to go in the right box when we pack up and I must find someway of not having to come home with things in bags.

Next fairs are in Salisbury on 24 October and Grittleton House on 25 October. Do come and see us - I'm the one with the blary eyes from yet another early start!