Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Mothers and Daughters

I caught my eldest daughter (15 yrs) typing away frantically at the computer the other night. When I asked what she was doing, "Nothing!" she sang. I've now found out that she was setting up her own Folksy account called MyMumMakesSilverThings. When I asked her why she'd done that, she said in the hope that someone might come across her account and be redirected to my shop. In her bio, this is what she has written:
"I'm no good at making things, or being creative in any artistic way, but just in case someone comes across this profile in some unknown way, I just want to say that my mother goes by the username 'TheSilverMoon' and she makes some really gorgeous silver jewellery. She also has a website: Tammy Kingdon Fine Arts - Google it. She really is amazing, but she's too modest to advertise how good she is, so I thought I'd help her out without her knowing. She really is an incredible artist, and just if you visited her website or looked at some of the jewellery she makes, we'd both appreciate it massively. Thankyou"

I found this out because she sent me a message via Folksy:

I Just Wanted To Email You Regarding How Beautiful Your Jewellery Is...

Hello, I was just searching Folksy and couldn't help but notice some of your jewellery. It is amazing how you make it, and I'm very proud of you. The time that you put into all of this really pays off. Well Done :)

I wanted to post about this because it's so unusual for her to be demonstrative in any way and I had a really warm feeling inside when I realised what she'd done. Don't get me wrong, the next day we still argued about whose job it was to clean out the rabbits and walk the dogs- she hasn't suddenly morphed into a Stepford daughter, but it made me realise that certainly as our children get older and we have less cuddles, pictures and love notes from them, we must take any positive we can and treasure it, embrace it and squeeze the living daylights out of it, if only to remind ourselves how much we love them despite (and sometimes because of) their teenage behaviour.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

(Only Just) In Time For The Snow

I've been busy making myself a new coat for the winter. It was supposed to have been made about 3 years ago, but I kept putting it off, sure I'd make a mess of it. Well, at the end of last winter I donated my old coat to a worthy cause which kind of forced my hand to produce something. I wanted a cross between a great coat ( think male outerware in Tess of the D'Urbervilles and Wuthering Heights) and a woman's 1940s style coat, but couldn't find a suitable pattern so had to adapt what I had and make bits up. Here she is:

Complete with paisley lining

and handmade ceramic buttons from dotterypottery on Folksy. They were a bit lighter in colour than they looked on the website, but they look just fab and look at how they arrived complete with a little thankyou card:

I love buying handmade!

I had to finish it for today as it was my Grandmother's funeral and I didn't want to go wearing my camping coat. Nanny always wore high heels and a hat whenever she went out, so I couldn't turn up to see her off in any shabby old thing. I think she'd have been pleased.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

When Even a Cup of Tea Won't Do

We've been struck down with a cold virus ( of course to the men in the family it's the 'flu). Luckily I've a cupboard full of homemade remedies which are easing us through our illness. I've discovered a fantastic liquid remedy quite by accident. On Saturday I had a stall at a new arts and craft fair which was to be quite a big deal and of course I was developing the lurgy and felt dreadful- even a good strong cup of tea held no appeal! So I filled my flask with boiling water, half a lemon sliced and a few cm of ginger root also sliced. Topped off with a generous slug of rosehip syrup, it infused throughout the setting up and initial flurry of excitement. Just before the doors opened, I poured myself a cup of the infusion to mask the menthol eucalyptus smell from my throat sweets and it was so soothing- the sweetest tasting medicine ever. Well, I've been adicted ever since- it got me through that day and all my jobs in the following days.
The fair was a reasonable success, this beauty sold before I had chance to list it on Folksy:

It was made by pouring molten silver into water. I absolutely loved it and didn't expect it to sell ( yes I was hoping to keep it for myself). But someone I know bought it, so at least I get to visit it occasionally.
 The artwork I'd finished didn't sell, but I wasn't surprised, this was in Hinckley after all- not exactly known for its appreciation of fine art. The linocut reduction worked well:

And the plain linocut looks good too. I can't decide which I prefer;

For now, I'm continuing to list stuff on Folksy and am toying with the idea of adding prints to my Folksy range. So many ideas, so little time (and energy; cough, cough)

These now available here

Thursday, 28 October 2010

More Remedies to Store Away

This is my first attempt at Rosehip syrup; just look at all that beautiful bounty from Mother Nature

I plan to use it as cough/cold medicine. Personally, I've never found cough medicines to be effective unless it's the drowsy variety which simply send me to sleep so I don't notice the fact that I'm coughing. Incidentally, in a very poorly moment, I once had a dose of said cough stuff just before having to collect the kiddies from school with disastrous results (stumbling along, forgot I'd taken the dog with me and left him tied up outside the library- only noticing he was missing at tea time when he wasn't scrounging for food!) Anyway, Rosehips are filled to bursting with vitamin C so I figure the syrup will make excellent medicine.

On the creative front, these beauties are winging their way to their new owner after being in my shop for less than a week- time to buy in fresh supplies, I think

I've decided to think positive and make as much as I want to sell, although actually it's usually when I've been thinking pessimistically that I then seem to sell stuff - perhaps I have quite a delay between my thoughts and their fulfilment?

As I have a stall next weekend, I thought I'd better replenish some of my fine art stock and I've been really missing doing some printing. When I was in college a few years ago, I made this ceramic fish plaque to go on the wall outside (it's still not there yet):

Before I'd glazed it, my then glass tutor told me I could use unglazed ceramic pieces as a mould. I decided to use lots of pieces of glass with blue frit ( tiny pieces of glass). But when it came out of the kiln, the pieces hadn't fused together. So I placed all the pieces onto a plain piece of glass with deliberate spaces in between the pieces, and this is how it looks:

I'm going to have a go at setting it into a piece of wood with a night light behind it (put it on the list). Anyway, this is my inspiration for a lino cut. I've reused the lino from a reduction linocut that I did last year
It might look quite pretty printed from this side.
Before cutting my design into it, I've printed the fish shape in blocks which I will then print the carved one over:

The design will be a celtic pattern that I thought up whilst sitting on the sides of the roller disco last Saturday- forced to rest after a particularly nasty fall and injury- waiting for it to heal before I carve this design into the lino:

I know, I should know better at my age

Friday, 22 October 2010

Let Winter Begin

Back in February (I can't believe it was THAT long ago) I mentioned the fact that I was decorating the lounge. In anticipation of cold draughts, we had the radiator moved from the bay window and onto an internal wall. Having the radiator under the window meant we had to have short curtains which looked ridiculous on a large Edwardian bay, and we must have lost loads of heat through the wall too. Having started the job, we naturally unearthed loads of things that needed attending to which is why it's taken so long to finish (actually, I still need to buy a nice big rug to hide my high quality but revoltingly patterned carpet; plus make cushion covers). The last job was making curtains and what a job! I settled on upholstery grade carbon chenille with heatsave linings. Now, each curtain measures 9ft x 9ft and boy are they heavy. At one point I couldn't even lift the fabric up to feed it through the sewing machine- then I realised it was because my little 'helper' was lying on it

It was only when I'd completed the first curtain that I realised our lovely new curtain pole would no way support it; so pause again while the window frame and pole received extra reinforcements. But now it's all finished just in time for the hard frosts we've had this week- the room is even tropically warm with just the log fire going- think of all that energy I'll be saving!

Onto more pleasureable creative activities: After a succesful sale the other weekend, I realised that having also sold pieces on Folksy and by word of mouth to acquaintances, my stock was now one third of its original size- Hurrah!
So more supplies were bought, new pieces designed and made and going into my shop here all ready for the Christmas rush.
A sneak preview of two new designs that of course I love and want to keep:

 Maiden's ring inspired by a time gone by

and the Fiddler's Labyrinth Ring which has a spinning disc- I'm so pleased with this design in a jumpy up and down sort of way and available to buy here

Sunday, 26 September 2010

New Designs

I mentioned in my last blog entry that I had an idea for a new design of ring; well.. tada!

This silver ring with copper spirals is available here

Sticking with the copper theme, I made these chain-maille inspired earrings with embossed cross detail:

..which I think are cute.
However, when I came to make my star earrings, for some reason the tiny bit of silver solder I'd used seemed to multiply under the flame and flow everywhere! I'll just have to keep them for myself I think!

Any jewellers out there who know how to prevent this? Advice much appreciated.

By the way, find a nice crop of elderberries, because it's time to make this ready for those winter chills

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Back in the Creative Saddle

Inspired by six weeks of living cheek by jowl with nature has prompted me to get busy. I've decided to stock up with beauties ready for the Christmas rush:

These lovely copper and silver earrings can be purchased here,

Another copper and silver pair:

and a lovely pair of reticulated silver drop earrings will be listed soon:

I need to get busy making some more rings as I've had two sales from my shop and a request for another, but I fancy some different designs so watch this space.

In the meantime, I've been busy turning scrummy Victoria plums into jam:

and my first attempt at spiced chutney:

The jam is apparently delicious and disappearing fast, but the chutney needs to keep for at least 6 weeks before sampling so I'll let you know about that one.

At the weekend, little helpers came on a walk,

and one puppy went for a swim in the canal, before learning how to pick these

Unfortunately because he picked them with his mouth, we didn't fancy using them, but youngest pixie face and I picked enough to make one of these:

..and some of these:


Sunday, 5 September 2010

The Girl Is Back in Town

After a really traumatic start to the summer, I decided to get back to basics. I took my three babies (OK, one teenager, one pre-teen and a five-going-on 15 year old) and went camping for six weeks in Cornwall. It was make or break time in terms of the upset we'd had, but it was hard to imagine that a holiday wouldn't set right some wrongs, things were so bad. Now when I say camping, I mean camping, I hooked up my trailer, packed my tent and stuff  (including 11year old Laborador and 3 month puppy) and we camped in a field for 6 weeks- a cold water tap and a toilet 200 metres down the road, no TV, no computer or phone and do you know what happened?... My kids started behaving like kids again. They enjoyed the compulsory walks, early nights, make do cooking and washing, all of it Hurrah! We found mermaids on the beach:

Some were forced to swim in the sea:

Whilst others followed unwittingly, realising just in time that they could swim after all:

A great adrenaline-rush for some: tombstoning, not my cup of tea at all

Daddy joined us briefly to build a fortress against the sea:

Which didn't last for long

We played magical games with just a silk shawl for a prop:

Learnt new skills

Met magical creatures:

Won first prizes

Saw fantastic sunsets

But mostly we did this:

Lots of it

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The New Man in My Life

Well I succumbed to temptation. Just the thing for a troubled teenager's birthday on Sunday ( plus many years of trouble to come no doubt). I hatched a plot with my friend, a 5am start for me and this was the sight that met my number one daughter when she opened her eyes:

Meet Pablo
He comes complete with a mongrel's birth certificate ( sorry, PC term is cross breed- but look at those mongrel markings) . He's made up from black laborador, golden retriever, border collie & other little bits, so goodness knows what he'll end up like. He is, however, pouring oil on troubled waters and bringing much needed joy to a family in need.

I'm not sure if Benny Boy quite agrees:

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Soothing My Soul

I've been puppy sitting for my friend's 9 new(ish) additions:

Not exactly tranquil, but soothing nevertheless.
Also, turned my attention to my needy creative side. My need to heal showing slightly?