17 April 2015

A 16th Birthday commission

It's lovely to take on a commission that appeals straight away. I was given free range by a mummy to design a birthday necklace for her 16 year old daughter. For a 16 year old, it needed to be young and contemporary. The daughter's name was Jasmine. 

By e-mail we agreed I would do a little J, and a tiny jasmine flower. I hand cut both and domed the little flower over a punch to give the petals some shape. I wanted to add a birthstone, but April's birthstone is a diamond. Luckily I had a small batch of rose cut diamonds that I had picked up, which fell within budget. I made a tiny silver bezel setting on a jump ring, and set the diamond with a rub over setting.

We decided on a small fine chain, and I finished it with one of my logo tags. The necklace was carefully wrapped in tissue paper, placed in a little drawstring bag, and tucked into one of my logo boxes, before being gift wrapped.

I love that the necklace still retains the feel of the things I like to design, small elements, hung together, while still hopefully meeting the customer's brief. What a super mummy to commission something so special for her daughter. I do hope Jasmine likes it.

2 April 2015

Escape to the country and coast

Bah. I was planning on moving house this school holiday. Somehow the sale and purchase are slipping and slipping, and now it will be after the holidays after all. Thinking I would be busy with packing, and moving, and painting, and unpacking, I didn't plan anything for the three weeks the kids are off. I thought there would be more than enough going on to keep us busy. But just as school broke I got the news it wasn't happening yet. (Frown) It feels like it's taking forever. I am frustrated, exhausted, and quite over conveyancing solicitors (except mine of course). I'm quite done-in with the whole house buying / selling, packing, de-cluttering, downsizing thing, all while running a business, bringing up two children, and also training for a marathon taking place in about three weeks time.

When the chance of a last minute get away came up, I jumped at it. Boy did I need to get away from it all. My kids work very hard at school and life is rather unsettled for them at the moment, so  a complete switch off and some great R&R is just what we all needed. With about 24 hours notice, we were packed, cat and chicken feeder organised (thank you lovely Rose), and were on the road West, with my wonderful parents in tow.

Our destination was the holiday let of a fellow maker Claire of Little Burrow Designs. She rents out a barn she converted on her Devon farm. 

We stopped at Lyme Regis on the way down. The family of one of my very best friends, has a house here, and visiting Lyme brings back happy memories of time spent here with her in the Summers of our teenage years.

We armed ourselves with a £10 hammer from the fossil shop and tramped off down towards the cliffs searching for fossils. This beauty was too big to bring home, and remains on the shore for others to enjoy.

Small boy and my mother went searching for the thrill of some sea spray on the Cobb. I think they got more than they bargained for. How we laughed!

We spotted pirates in the harbour...

..and fed hungry seagulls the remains of our seaside chips...

...just before we spotted this sign. (Ooops)

Home for a few nights was The Burrow at Burrow Wood Farm, near the village of Ottery St Mary. (Photo taken from Burrow Wood Farm website.) Although owner Claire currently spends her days making tiny story boxes, with beautiful vintage textiles and objects; she used to be an architect, so the Burrow is wonderfully designed, done to a really high spec, but also has a designer's touch in the way it is decorated. It definitely did not feel like your average holiday let. Claire set out to give it more of a boutique hotel type feel, and she has managed to do just that. It was perfect. I would thoroughly recommend it, and hope to visit again.

There's quite a menagerie resident at the farm - llamas, pigs, terrapins, a parrot, a multitude of cats and dogs, chickens, cockerels, ducks, the very angry geese (whose photo doesn't do justice to their head down honking as they followed me around!) sheep in the field, and currently five lambs and their mums in the barn that my boys got to bottle feed. It's fair to say Claire is a bit of a soft touch when it comes to rehoming unwanted animals. I wonder what she will take in next?

The next day we headed to Sidmouth, and the boys proved that you don't need it to be Summer to enjoy the beach. After a bit of poking about in the sand, there were stones to be skimmed, and a metal detector to test out.

We ended the day with a wander around the town, a visit to the tiny local museum, we listened to a talented busker, and then rounded off the visit with a warming coffee for the grown ups and huge Gelatos, made on the premises of Taste coffee shop, for the boys. This is one scoop(!) of Ferraro Rocher flavour for Ollie. I think he charmed them to get one this size.

It doesn't take long for weariness to be washed away, and batteries to be re-charged. Now to enjoy Easter before throwing myself headlong back into this house business again.