Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Daily Mail Feature and Jasmine Harman Necklace

It has been a hectic but extremely enjoyable week at Shpangle Jewellery. I woke up yesterday to find my website stats had gone through the roof, and after a little investigation found my lock of hair jewellery had been featured in the Daily Mail newspaper! Not only had I been featured in the online article titled The art of pregnancy: The weird and wonderful ways modern mothers are celebrating having a baby I was also in the paper copy (page22) if anybody still has it. As a result I spent yesterday and much of today answering phone calls and emails from potential customers of my keepsake jewellery.

Daily Mail Shpangle FeatureAnd it doesn’t stop at the Daily Mail; it appears that several newspapers around Europe also ran a similar article with references back to my website so I have been a busy boy! The other news is that I was asked last week to make a name on rice necklace for the lovely TV presenter Jasmine Harman who amongst other things presents the Channel 4 program ‘A place in the sun – Home or Away’. Jasmine HarmanThe necklace was to be a gift for Mother’s Day and contained two grains of rice both with names on. While I was at it I made a name on rice pendant for her as well! It is a single grain of rice with her name and the glass vial has a daisy fused on the outside; I included a little glitter as well and here it is:

Jasmine Harman NecklaceSo far this year Shpangle Jewellery has been in a Movie, had a Radio Interview and now a newspaper article...what is next, a TV program maybe? Well, guess what...one phone call I had yesterday was from Scottish Television wanting to show my jewellery on TV, so watch this space!

Mick

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Blog Giveaway! - How many letters on a grain of rice?

I was asked by Laura of 'Cards and Candles for all Occasions' recently if I would like to make her a name on rice pendant. The pendant was to contain grains of rice containing her Mums name, her Mum’s kennel club affix and her dates of birth and passing. Everything sounded fine and then I counted the number of letters in her Mums name – nine eek! I haven’t previously managed to write more than eight letters onto a single side of a grain of rice before. But then the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that I had probably restricted myself to that number because I just haven’t been asked to write more, and I am always up for a challenge!

Name on Rice JewelleryI found writing nine letters onto a grain of rice was relatively easy and felt I could even go for more! But writing on both sides of a grain of rice still proves to be quite a challenge, in fact to some extent I find writing on both sides of a grain of rice more challenging than the writing itself. It is a psychological challenge of knowing that I am writing onto the back of a grain of rice that has already had successfully completed writing.

I made two pendants for Laura, the first contained three grains of rice with her mums name on one grain, kennel club affix on the second grain and the third grain with the dates written onto both sides of the grain of rice.

The second pendant (as seen below) contained a single grain with her mother’s name and a tiny red flower.

Name on rice necklace
Blog Giveaway

To Celebrate 150 blog followers I have decided to do a Blog giveaway and here it is: I have decided to set myself a target this year. I want to get all the letters of the alphabet onto a single grain of rice, and here is where you can win my giveaway. Firstly follow my blog and then place your bets (by commenting on this blog post) on how many letters I will achieve (the closest guess will get a little gift from me at the end of the year). Duplicate correct entries will be decided by the ‘drawn out of the hat’ method and sorry you have to wait so long for your prize...but I hope it is worth it and it will make an unexpected present at the end of the year!

If you are interested I have put together a small tutorial with advice and a few tips for writing names on a grain of rice onto my website. It can be found here: How to make name on rice jewellery.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Shpangle Jewellery’s new company vehicle

No more one hour round trips to the post office or into town to get those urgent craft supplies...I now have a new mode of transport, my new bike!

I haven't ridden a bike for a few years and when I picked the bike up from the shop on Saturday, I had the immediate challenge of having a three-mile cycle home. It went very well and the main thing I noticed was the car fumes yuck! Not a very nice experience when you are whizzing along with the wind in my hair only to get mouthfuls of exhaust fumes. Anyway, got home safely, stepped off the bike and almost collapsed...talk about jelly legs! I must have used muscles that have been lying dormant for the last few years and they certainly got woken up and then complained like a teenager.

Shpangle Jewellery Bike
On Sunday my wife wanted to go to the local Garden centre. What did I suggest? Yep, that I would go on my bike and meet her there! What was I thinking! The garden centre was a good four miles away and most of it felt like it was all uphill. After a couple of hours it was time to leave and I had the daunting task of having to ride home...it did cross my mind to somehow force the bike into the car, but no I resisted the temptation and had the long long ride home. I still don’t understand how on earth it was uphill on the way back as well.

I love my new bike and think it is really going to pay for itself; I won’t have so much lost time as well as keeping me fit! I am so happy that I have finally gotten around to parting with my money and buying her. I haven’t given her a name yet so any ideas would be appreciated!

Mick

Friday, 18 March 2011

Staying Safe - Recycled Crafts and Vintage objects

I recently had the urge to make some Steampunk jewellery using old and recycled watch and clock parts. Like anything that I make, I looked into any potential dangers with using the materials and came across a startling discovery.

The problem is with the phosphorescent compound coated on many old vintage watches. The compound contains Radium and was used to coat the watch faces and hands so that they would glow in the dark. The radiation from the Radium coated watch faces has the potential to cause serious health risks and the problem doesn't stop at the watch face and hands...Over time the paint breaks down and will become very dusty and it is important not to breathe any of this dust. This dust can in turn contaminate the work area and the watch mechanism itself.

Recycled Watch Parts
If you are interested in reading more about the risks and history of working with luminous watch dials please the following website. The website also includes a link to an article about the Radium Girls who used to paint the watch hands and dials. They were instructed to point their brushes with their lips when their brushes lost their shape!

http://www.midwestcs.com/elgin/help/luminous_dials.html

Hopefully I am not scaremongering but it is extremely important as crafters that we stay safe and any items that we sell to others are safe for them. We need to be aware when dealing with recycled and vintage objects that we understand what materials were originally used and any potential hazards with them. This can be anything from old watch parts used in jewellery to the paint used on old wooden items and fire risks associated with recycled fabric.

Let’s face it, at the time many vintage items were made without knowledge of the potential health and safety risks associated with them. We are more aware of these risks today and anything that we buy ‘new’ would have had to pass health and safety assessments.

Personally and as recently advised by a Steampunk forum, I am going to borrow or invest in a Geiger counter to eliminate any radiation risks and will certainly wear a dust mask when handling old watch parts in the future.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Onion Cufflinks and Onion Rings

Warning – This blog post contains over-use of the word ‘onions’. In fact I have managed to reference the word ‘onion’ 17 times within this blog post!

Spring will soon be here and what do we with think of when it comes to springtime; spring-onions of course. Well, perhaps not but I needed something to lead me into this blog post which is all about, yes you guessed it, onions.

You may remember last spring when I blogged about a pair of onion cufflinks I was asked to make. Well, at the time I thought it was a strange request and never found out why onions; also at the time I would never have imagined to be asked to make any onion jewellery again. But since making that blog post I have made another five pairs of onion cufflinks for people!

Onion Cufflinks
Firstly there was a fellow jewellery maker who asked me to make her a pair as an anniversary present for her husband who likes pickled onions. And then last week I was asked to make four sets of onion cufflinks by a lady who is getting married soon. The onion cufflinks are to be given to their best man and the ushers at their wedding as the couple are going to become Mr and Mrs Onions!

So seeing how popular the onion cufflinks seem to be I have added several sets to my online shop here: Onion Cufflinks

Also while I was at it I made some onion rings and have lots of other fruit and vegetable jewellery planned including garlic and peppers!

Onion Rings
So, if you are into your onions and vegetables you know where to come!