For the love of silver…for the love of life!!

Posts tagged ‘Solunar Silver Studio’

Eeeeek!…It’s a mouse!!

Well, there I was this morning, around 8 o’clock, still in my pj’s, making a few Argentium silver earwires for my new earring collection, listening to Classic fm on the radio and enjoying the light, cooling breeze drifting in through the open patio door, when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  Oh my…!!  My heart missed a beat.   Something had just run across the carpet and vanished under the cupboard in the corner!  Now I am not known for my love of animals, or my bravery, but I couldn’t ignore this!  So when my heart rate had settled to one more suited to my advancing years(!), I gingerly approached the cupboard and slapped my hand against it and was rewarded by the lightening fast appearance of a small, brown mouse which legged it along the skirting board until I was able to head it off as I didn’t want it to vanish into the depths of the house.  Off it went in the opposite direction – past the open door, of course (typical!) – until it met me on the opposite side of the room and did a 180 degree turn and dived back under the cupboard.  Hmmm – I was not going to be able to deal with this alone, but I was worried that if I took my eye off its hiding place to go and wake the menfolk in my house it could scurry off anywhere in the house and I wouldn’t know where!  Ah!… isn’t this just the situation the mobile (cell) phone was designed for??  There was my handbag – on the chair – I could phone my son to wake him up!!….except that I had put the phone on charge in the next room….aaaaarrrrggghhhhhhhh!!!  There was nothing else I could do but go and wake my poor son up and tell him the story!

Down he came – a little bleary eyed and woosey – and went round the room thumping and banging everything to try and out the little furry creature from its hiding place, but to no avail.  I had to face the inevitable that we now had an unwanted house guest…somewhere in the house!

As I had a meeting to get ready for I had no more time to spend on the mouse chase, so I put a board up against the door of the dining room and the adjoining kitchen to hopefully trap the mouse somewhere within those 2 rooms, and went to get a bath.

I emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel to answer a phone call only to spot the little fellow again.  This time I would not let him out of my sight… and lets face it…a fluffy towel is not suitable  apparel for any type of game hunting!…so I hollered for my son to come back down and help me.  This time, with the two of us there, the little mouse got the hint that he was not wanted and moved towards the patio door and then scurried over the step and out into the garden!!

To be honest, it was a bit of a diversion that I could have done without this morning!  I was already on edge as I was a bit apprehensive of this meeting I was going to.  It was my first attendance at the local Women in Business group and after just a couple of weeks ‘in business’ I didn’t really feel like a business woman and thought I would feel like a bit of an outsider amongst ‘real business women’.  But, as it turned out, I had a really good time – I learned a lot and met some really friendly women.

Perhaps something is trying to tell me that the things I perceive as scary are not really that bad when once I stand up and face them!…be it a little mouse or a room full of formidable and successful business women!

AND I have been having a bit of a battle with another kind of mouse over the past few days….the one connected to my computer….as I have been trying to get my website sufficiently well put together to put it on line.  Well, I have decided to stop dithering and just do it!!  So I now have my website up and running.  It still has a way to go…a few more pages and a lot more of my jewellery to be photographed and uploaded… but it is now there for all to see.  It’s a little scary – but I’m getting more used to that feeling now!  So please have a look at it and see what I have done, and feel free to comment…but be gentle with me!  Find me at www.solunarsilverstudio.co.uk and please keep popping back to see how my website develops in the future!

Big, Fat Raspberries!

Well, they may well be eating strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, washed down with champagne…but I’ve got nothing to complain about!

My little 5 foot by 7 foot studio (workshop) takes up about a quarter of my tiny postage stamp of a back garden but I believe in making that little patch of soil work for me!  Over the last 12 years or so I have planted a rhubarb crown (divided many times since and shared around!), a thorn less blackberry, 2 blackcurrant bushes, 3 red current bushes, 5 blueberry bushes, a gooseberry bush (which is yet to bear fruit so it had better watch out!), a little herb garden with 4 types of mint in pots, 2 types of thyme, chives, marjoram, sage, rosemary, bergamot, horseradish and angelica.  This summer I have also planted out in pots 4 tomato plants and 2 courgette plants.  But as you gardeners out there would know…the raspberry cane I bought about 4 years ago hasn’t stayed where it was planted!!  This year – because I have been too busy with Solunar Silver Studio to do much maintenance in the garden I left the raspberry runners to do much as they wanted and they have crept through the soil unchallenged and taken over the whole place!! …their days are numbered – but not before I take all the lovely fruit off of them.

Over the past few days, as the weather here in England has been warming up more and more, I have taken to wandering out of my studio between silver fusing activities to have a bit of a break and I have indulged myself by plucking a handfull of raspberries straight off the plant and popping them in my mouth – still warm from the sun and oh, so fragrant!  What little treasures!

Today the weather has been really hot and heavy as we wait for the promised thunder storm to break.  For lunch I sat on my tiny 2 flag stone ‘patio’ under my little strip of canopy and sipped a cup of tea.  As I drank I looked over to the straggly raspberry area and saw how many raspberries had ripened over night.  A little more than a handful I can tell you! – so after I had finished my tea I collected a plastic punnet from the kitchen and began to pick.  There was hardly a breath of wind and the heat from the sun was making the sweet aroma from the raspberries hang in the air – quite intoxicating!  It took me about a quarter of an hour to seek out the majority of the ripened fruit and by the time I had finished my fingers were running red with the raspberry juice.  How delightful the simple things in life can be!!

There will be a few more punnets of raspberries before this year’s crop is exhausted and then we will move onto the blackberries, which are currently still green, and so on through the summer.

I will make something of the raspberries this evening to eat after dinner – but much of this year’s bumper crop will end up as jam – to continue to delight the senses throughout the winter.  Nothing can beat the intensity of flavour of home made raspberry jam!

I will uproot many of the raspberry runners after the crop has finished and share them around so that others can enjoy the same experience next year.  I know my 6 year old granddaughter and her 8 yer old brother are fascinated by the whole process of soft fruit growing (and eating!!)  so I will definitely be giving some to their Mum to plant!

My Dad learned all about gardening from his Dad and I learned from him…now it’s my turn to pass the baton down to the next generation or two!  That’s how life is!

Getting a Grip

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have had to delay the date that I officially start my new business – Solunar Silver Studio – until the first of July.  This has given me time to get to grips with building a website and doing all the other advertising paraphernalia that I feel I will need to get a good launch.  I was hoping to be able to pass this responsibility over to someone who has more IT skills than I will ever have but that has never quite happened and so I have been working at it …a little bit here…and a little bit there…   I am slowly getting the idea…and today I finally worked out how to get my Solunar Silver Studio logo incorporated into a repeat design that I could use as a wallpaper for my website!  I am inordinately pleased with myself!!  The image above is an enlarged section – just to give you an idea…and a preview…because, of course, you will all come visit my website when I get it going… won’t you!!!

I still have a way to go yet but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel – and believe me – it has been a long time coming!

I have also had the time to build up quite a stock in decorative silver chains (mainly bracelets) which is my main interest and delight when it comes to making fine (pure) silver jewellery.  This is just a small section (about a third) of the chains I am about to send off to the Edinburgh Assay Office to get my personal hallmark applied to the little heart shaped tags I attach to  all of my handmade chains.

So – I think I can be forgiven for leaving a bit of a gap between this and my previous post…and anyway – people seemed to be interested in my ‘Rose Nose’ post as there has been a pretty constant number of visitors each day over the past week.  And, for the record…for anyone wanting to know how the  hay fever remedy is working – I have had a couple of days when I was wondering if the effect was wearing off as my nose was itching (but not intolerably) and needed blowing a few times but that was when the pollen count was really high.  I have not yet had to resort to any other type of medicine to control the symptoms – I have just continued to use the device as indicated and I have been fine.  I’m still reluctant to say it is ‘cured’ but I am having a much more comfortable summer that I usually do!

Well, I must get back to doing a bit more on my website building.  I’ll let you know when I ‘open the doors’ to Solunar Silver Studio’s on-line presence and look forward to getting some feedback from you all!

Rose Nose

I have suffered from hayfever for nearly 40 years.  I have dreaded the summer coming round each year and have missed out on enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities because of it.  I’ve tried all sorts of medication over the years and have even had de-sensitising injections but nothing has really made a long term difference……..could this year be different???

I recently  saw an advert on the televison for a new form of allergy relief which really took my attention…it was for some device that you clip up your nose for a few minutes each day.  Sceptical that this could help my hayfever I did a bit of research on the internet.  The customer reviews seem to indicate that it works really well…but they all mentioned not to use it in public places because it makes you nose light up!!  “Curious”, thinks I…..but I decide to buy one and give it a go.  Even if it doesn’t work it certainly raises your spirits because it makes you laugh every time you use it as it really does make your nose light up like a Christmas reindeer decoration!!!  Far from not using it in public I have decided to use it in front of the world!!!…because I think it might really work!!!

I know that it is only really the beginning of the grass pollen season in the UK but I have been using it for the last few days and decided to give it a baptism of fire yesterday.  I went to my favourite local ‘chill out’ location (Norton Priory Museum and Gardens)  in the  afternoon as it was beautifully warm and sunny and was fortunate enough to arrive just before the start of a guided tour of the Walled Garden.  I’ve been to this location dozens of times but have never heard the history of the gardens so this was really interesting – and the gardens are really lovely.  They have all sorts of ‘old fashioned’ roses – you know, the ones that actually have a fragrance!! and a walk in these sheltered walled gardens was like being in a box of ‘Turkish Delight’ (a soft jelly confection flavoured with rosewater) – soft, fragrant and indulgent!!

At the end of the tour the guide suggested that we take a walk through the ‘wild flower meadow’………hmmmmm.  Normally I would have run a mile at the thought but I decided I would give it a go to see if this device is really making a difference.

It was really lovely – although there was a haze of grass flowers, just above the oxeye daisies, across the whole field – and I walked the path that surrounded it without so much as a sniffle!  Amazing!!

I guess time will tell how effective this thing is as the hayfever season progresses but I am very impressed so far!

My afternoon was rounded off by meeting a lovely Irish lady called Louise from Crewe (and originally from Dundalk) who was kind enough to stop me and tell me that she had been admiring my jewellery!!  Needless to say – I was a walking advert for Solunar Silver Studio as usual!!  …but I have never had this experience before – and it made me feel wonderful!!  So thank you for your kindness Louise! – you really made my day!!

And I hope condron.us will keep me on a high by sending lots of lovely visitors my way!!!

Argentium Rules….UK!!

As previous readers of my blog, and followers of Thing-a-Day 2009, know – I work in fine (pure) silver, mostly making decorative chains, but I also dabble in PMC (precious metal clay).  I have never liked to add sterling silver to my work as sterling silver tarnishes so easily – and fine silver doesn’t!!  So I feel that sterling doesn’t fit in with the style of jewellery I want to promote at Solunar Silver Studio.  Now the only drawback of fine silver is that it is a little weaker than sterling silver.  Generally this doesn’t matter but it is a real problem with making earwires for earrings…especially if you hope to sell them.  I am happy to wear fine silver earwires because I am aware that I might have to reshape them a bit if the grandchildren swing on my earrings!!  …   But you can’t sell earrings with that warning on them!!

For a while now, I have been aware of the existence of a metal called Argentium – which is basically sterling silver with about 1% of germanium mixed in with it.  Now that little bit of germanium has the benefit of making the sterling it is mixed with much more tarnish resistant and it makes it even stronger than standard sterling silver…….I thought – “Bring it on!!” – but what is this????   It isn’t available in the UK!!!!   WHAT!!!!!!!  How cruel life is!!  But that is all in the past as since the beginning of June, it has been available in limited forms from one supplier in the UK – Cookson Gold.  It is currently only supplied in sheet, wire, earposts and a few other odds and ends – but no earwires!!

Ho-hum!  Out comes the jig thing I use on occasion, and in goes an order for a couple of metres of 0.7 Argentium wire to have a play with.

So today I have been having a play – and I am sold!  It makes some very acceptable earwires.  It is surprisingly strong and springy and I do believe I am going to order some more…and at last….. I can start making some earrings to go with the rest of the  Solunar Silver Studio jewellery range I make!  Of course – it will take a bit of time to see how quickly it shows signs of tarnish but so far – so good……Argentium Rules….UK!!

My apologies to condron.us readers – I have been neglecting posting recently!

Spots Before the Eyes

I am really sorry that I haven’t posted anything for over a week but so much has been going on here I have barely had time to draw breath.

At the beginning of the year I decided to find out a bit about becoming self employed to see whether it was something I could do with Solunar Silver Studio.  I made enquiries at the local council and discovered that they have an ‘Enterprise’ initiative going at the moment and I was assigned a ‘Business Advisor’ to have a look at what sort of business I was proposing and whether it would be a viable proposition.  He has been a great help over the past few months  – not only in helping me to develop a Business Plan and Cash Flow projections but in simply saying “I think you have the makings of a nice little business here”…WOW – was that a boost to my confidence!!

Anyway – he has helped me to submit an application for a start up grant, and although it is not for a huge amount, it would make a big difference to me.  So I am awaiting the results of that now.  Whether I get the grant or not, I plan to start Solunar Silver Studio officially on 1st June 2009.

To that end I decided to use up the stock of fine silver wire and precious metal clay that I already have in making findings that I can use in my jewellery in June – thus giving me a bit of a head start.  So I was just about to start annealing wire and winding jumprings when I get a panicked request for a birthday cake required in 10 hours!!…that is from request to delivery, and I didn’t even have the ingredients in the house!!  Now my madeira cakes take in the region of 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cook – and at least 3 – 4 hours to cool down enough to decorate.  Adding the shopping time to that left me with less than an hour to slap on some form of decoration!  Fortunately there had been no request for any specific decoration – in fact they had said just cover it with white icing and leave it at that, but my personal pride would not allow me to go quite that minimal so I quickly coloured the offcuts from the white sugarpaste icing red, yellow and blue and using a set of geometric shaped ‘canape’ cutters (dating back to the 70s!) I stamped out a hand full of shapes  for each colour and stuck them on the cake at random.  Total sugarpaste icing time 15 minutes!  And – surprisingly – it didn’t look too bad at all!!  Very bright and cheery and sort of … well … nondescript – but definitely partyish!  Anyway – it went down well, or so I am told!

So, I am back to the jumprings now.

I have also spent a bit of time over the last week making my workshop ‘Studio’ into a rather more hospitable place since I am going to be spending a large chunk of my day working out there in future.  I have added a layer of wool insulation to the interior of the walls and roof and covered that with hardboard which I have painted a bright sunshine yellow to help to brighten up the space both physically and psychologically…with the morning sun shining through the window and reflecting off the walls it really is a lovely little place to work!  It has been physically demanding though and there have been times – particularly when trying to secure sheets of hardboard above my head with no one to help me – that I have literally seen spots before my eyes!

Although I have to share my 5 foot by 7 foot Studio space with the freezer and the gardening and Do-It-Yourself equipment I have built in plenty of shelves and drawer space and I have thick carpet tiles, a chair, ‘arty’ photos that I have taken on the walls, and a radio tuned to Classic FM to help me focus – what luxury!!….Oh! … and of course, my kiln(s) and ‘hearth’ and the rest of my ‘kit’!   So I am sure I will have no problem working out there during the better weather months, but as I learned at the beginning of the year – the winter is a different matter!  It is still a L  O  N  G way off though!

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I hope I haven’t lost all my condron.us visitors by not posting for so long….please come back….I promise I will post more often!!

Good Job!!!

I had a job interview yesterday…

It seemed like as good a time as any to make use of my new chrysocolla stones which I showed you last week – particularly as chrysocolla is supposed to have properties which help the throat chakra and therefore are good for public speaking and are overall good for keeping a calm and serene countenance!!

Using my handmade fine twist pure silver chain I added some of my newly made pure silver coated ceramic beads (which I made last week) to give a bit of a build up to the stunning chrysocolla teardrop focal bead which I used as the pendant.

I made a pair of very simple earrings with the small rectangle chrysocolla beads and a couple of small pure silver coated ceramic beads.  They have a lovely weight to them which served to remind me every time I moved my head that I was wearing these eye-catching stones!!

I love them and was really proud to wear them.

It was a panel type interview – which was a bit daunting – but I felt very positive and happy with the way I performed…

OK – so I didn’t get the job…

…but I did get complimented on my jewellery!!!!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .  R     E     S     U     L     T  ! ! ! ! !

Every cloud has a silver lining so they say – and not getting this job means that I can spend all those extra hours that I would have been working for someone else working on making my jewellery at Solunar Silver Studio!!  So I’m still smiling!

I haven’t mentioned condron.us in my blog lately so there are loads of people who might have missed out on my recent jewellery experiments!!

Hopefully you will enjoy seeing the jewellery that I have just made….let me know!!

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