Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas is getting close!!

I have struggled so much this year trying to get ready for the arrival of Christmas!!  I can't believe I still haven't purchased any gifts other than my husband/daughter's present of a (joint) laptop.

Billie needs it for her school work so she can use it up in her bedroom for revision of her GCSE exams.  She got her Mock results last week and they were pretty good - some better than expected.  Her dragon for her Art & Design mock sadly broke in the kiln (previews in a previous post), she has glued it back together, hopefully with a good paint job it shouldn't be to bad!!  She then has her science resits in January, she got B's in 3 of them so we decided why not give them another go to see if she can get A's in those as well, she was only 2 marks off the chemistry one!!!  She can't lose as she keeps her best grade either way!! 

She will also resit her English language module which the school has agreed to put everyone back into resit it because of all the wooha over the government changes they made mid-year!! She got a D and her target grade was a C she was pretty devastated by that!!!  

So now we are trying to work out what she wants to do for the future, its so difficult making these decisions now, she is still 15 and trying to decide on her future.  She wants to carry on into the 6th Form and do A levels. She is suppose to pick 4 only, so wittling down from 11 has been very mind-blowing!!   I think we're nearly there now!!  Phew!!

Mick needs the laptop to download his music collection (records) when we had to wipe the system on the main computer I didnt know he hadn't saved anything onto disk/memory stick so he lost everything he'd done already!!  He was gutted!! So they are both sharing the laptop, I will need to get him an external hard drive I think to save everything onto so he won't lose it all again!!

So hence Christmas has taken a bit of a back seat, I just cant seem to get interested in it at all. My biggest problem is the fact my oven is cremating everything I put in it!! 80((  Yes its about 23 years old and has seen better days, the thermostat has gone and my hubbie says the parts are now obselete so that means I need to get a new one.  I dont want to get a new one, they don't make them like they used to (mine is a split level one) my kitchen is only half complete and I just didnt want to buy one right now, so what to do?????  January Sales I think cheap and hopefully cheerful!!!   So not much chance of getting a christmas pressie this year! 80((

Its my birthday again in January, only this is a biggy!! 

Yep 50!!

Oh gosh!!  I feel ancient, at 40 I seemed to change over night but 50 I really dont know how thats going to go!  I know one thing I really want to do something a bit different, special ~

a flying lesson!

            No not a glider a real plane!! 

Checked it out and I have found a company on the web

this is at Panshanger in Hertfordshire so not too far!! I am quite excited about the experience but I will wait until the spring for better weather.  I am still trying to work out what to do on my birthday, I am thinking of doing an Afternoon Tea type gathering, I'm working on that one!!  Will update you when I have decided.

Thats it for now, nothing new to show you jewellery/beads wise, I am working on tutorials for Bead Magazine right now so got to keep that under my hat. 

One thing though I can hear my paint brushes calling me from my workshop, I might just have to go answer that call, must be all the art stuff Billie is doing at school, she keeps raiding my art and craft supplies and its making me think ~ I do miss it!  I need to get those canvases out which seem to be cluttering up my space!  Mmmmmmm problem with that though is I love doing life drawing, I might need to go join an evening art class!!

Maybe I'm having another mid-life crisis at 50!!!  Ha ha ha!!

Catch you next time!!

E x


Monday, 17 December 2012

How to make Basic Earwires

Wirework Tutorial

How to make Basic Earwires

In this tutorial I assume you know how to turn a loop in wire!  I also make earwires at the same time this helps with making them exactly alike!

So here we go then ~~~

Equipment and Materials you will need:


Half Hard Sterling Silver Wire 0.8mm
Wire Cutters
Round Nose Pliers

Mandrel - You can use a Ring Mandrel or Multi Tool but
I have used a piece of steel piping, you can also use a pen barrel (make sure it is completely round - no flat edges to it)
Silver cleaning cloth


You also need for forging the wire:


Hammer ~ a Chasing hammer is preferable but a ball pein hammer will surfice (make sure it has a nice smooth head any dents etc. will mark the wire)
Anvil or steel block

Needle file

1.  Take your wire and unravel enough to use approx 8" then to stretch/straighten the wire, run it through your thumb and forefinger a few times (this also helps to harden the wire!)


NB: You don't need to straighten the wire completely this just helps with measuring the amount your require, as the curve already in the wire can be helpful in the process of making the earwires.

Cut 2 x 4" pieces of wire.


2.  Now to make a turned loop in each wire, grasp the wire with the round nosed pliers, making sure it is right at the very tip of the wire.


Turn a loop around the blade of the pliers.


NB: If you left the natural curve of the wire make sure you turn the loop in the opposite direction to the curve (see below).


Repeat to make a loop in the other wire.

3.  Take the mandrel (piece of pipe) and place the earwire over it, making sure the loop is facing out (perpendicular to the mandrel)


Curve the ear wire around the mandrel, at this point you could do both earwires at the same time, this helps to make them to near 'exactly' the same!


Bend them around the mandrel so the ends nearly touch the loops.  They will spring back and open again.


4.  Still holding the earwires together, grasp them approx ¼" from the end with your round nose pliers, bend the wires back slightly to give them a straight end.

It is your choice how far you want to bend them.


NB: I usually tweak the earwires a little now so that they both look completely even, until I am happy with them.


5.  Trim the ends so they are equal in length, make sure that both the earwires are held in the same position


They should look something like this!!


6. Now the ends need to be filed with the needle file to remove all the rough edges.


First flatten off the end, and then work around the edges, always pulling the file down across the wire with fairly small sweeps.


NB: NEVER file backwards and forwards across the wire ONLY downward sweeps!!


Repeat for the other earwire.


Depending on what, the loop end of the earwire, seems like you may want to file these too. Either before you make the loop or you could twist the loop out slightly so you can get the file in to smooth the ends, don't forget to straighten again afterwards! Or do this before turning your loop in the initial first step.


7. Now to help strengthen the earwires you need to do a little forging of the front part of the wires.  Place the earwire onto the anvil or steel block


With the chasing hammer now lightly hammer only the front part of the earwire, making sure not to hammer the loop,


turn the earwire over and do the same to the other side.


Repeat for the other earwire.


NB:  The forging process can distort the earwires sometimes so they will need a little tweaking to help straighten them again.


8.  Well, all that is needed now is to clean the earwires to give them a lovely shine and remove any dust particles.  I generally use a silver cleaning cloth as they are quite small but if you have a tumbler this can help strengthen them or you can use a Dremel like power tool too (being very careful).


There now your very first pair of earwires!!! All made by your own fair hand!!
I posted this tutorial on my other blog back in 2010 and decided to move it over so you can still have access to it here on my new blog. I hope it is helpful and I will be adding more tutorials in various wire working techniques in the future.
E x

Monday, 10 December 2012

Pendants for birthdays

Thought I would show you some new pendants I've been working on for presents and myself.


Made using one of my own beads from my Dynasty Collection and gunmetal colour coated wire. Wire weaving using various weaves with my own distinct design style, this one is for me.  I love this bead so thought ~ Yep that one is mine!!  Still need to work out what to hang it on, cant decide that one yet!

JosieJ Pendant Necklace
This was made for my friend Josie who just had a special birthday, lots of weaving using pink and black coated wire with another of my own beads in the centre.  She does love PINK!! I have added 2 types of black plated chains with an additional chain which is a shorter length so she has a choice as to which length she would like to wear it ~ long or short!

Few close ups for you

She did get it a day late by the time I'd finished it, well I seem to have lots of friends and family celebrating big birthdays all at once.  Josie was 40 then my husband's cousin was 50 the a friend was 60 and another 70 during last week!  Phew still got christmas to sort out yet!!!

So here is Denise's present for her 50th!

Sterling Silver Initial Pendant
I am thinking I may make up a few of these initial pendants and pop them into my etsy jewellery store, in various different metals!! This one has blue swarovski crystals to add a little sparkle and then hung on a sterling silver snake chain.

There we are then, thats it for now!


E x

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 is Closed!!

I have closed down my website ~~ ChatElaine Jewellery .com but my Etsy stores still remain open. 

It has been a soul searching decision but felt it was for the best.  I fired up my domain name 3 years ago but found that I havent been very successful with sales from my website all my sales have been through craft fairs, home jewellery parties and for my beads from my Etsy stores.

Craft fairs have seen a decline, especially in my area and so I don't sell this way anymore! It is heartbreaking spending so much time making jewellery, travelling and setting up and then no sales, packing it all away again and not even covering the cost of the table, very demoralising!!!  Home jewellery parties are quite hard to come by and so I decided I needed to concentrate on my beadmaking from now on. Jewellery will take a back seat, making mainly for myself or friends and family, also coming up with projects for the magazine.

The way I would like to go is Bead Fairs for my lampwork beads, I am not at a place where this can happen yet but hope to be there in the future!!

The family has taken a bit of a back seat for the last few years but that needs to change, my daughter is in her final year at school and her first Mock exam is this thursday.  So I am concentrating on helping her when she needs me as this first mock is Art and Design.  She is working towards making a sculpture, she has made some preliminary models and so can you guess what it could be????


Ain't plasticine great!!!  Ha ha!!

Its just like being a kid again, of yes she still is really!!!  Silly me!!

We are having a little trouble on how she can do the wings as she really wants them flapping up,  but I really think it might need an armature wire but worried it wouldnt survive in the kiln!!

Its a 10 hour exam which is all day thursday (5 hours) then 5 lessons of an hour each!! So over the next 2-3 weeks she will have to finish it. Her other mocks are next week, her science re-sits are in January and then her proper exams start in May.

Phewwww!!  Cant believe it, seems only yesterday she was starting school, now we have to start working out what she wants to do for her future career!!  Very hard decisions to make ahead!!  Mind boggling!!

Catch up soon.

E x

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

More Tutorials

Well here is the latest issue of Bead Magazine which is the Winter Special Edition which has a theme of 'Through the Decades', issue 42. 

I chose the decade of 1910 which is Art Nouveau style so for my design I came up with a wirework brooch called Nouveau Vines Brooch. 

Wire is copper in 1.25mm with green wrapping wire in between copper leaves with vine type tendrils and a pin with a 3 petal flower at the top. The green wire I chose to emanate the colour of enamels used in the jewellery of this period. I always think copper and green look great together and I am particularly pleased with the final piece.  

This will hold an open/loose weave scarf or shawl maybe you could also use it as a hair barrette, the pin has a slight curve to it to allow for fabric or hair!! I think I need to come up with other designs to add to my wirework collection.

I so love copper and have decided that it will be one of the main metals of wire I will use, along with brass and bronze too. I do use the colour coated wires as well this has a copper base but as for silver, which is expensive now, I won't be using that very often ~ its mainly due to the hallmarking which we have in this country for silver with the weight exceeding 7.78grams. The extra costs this entails is not feasible for me at this current time.

I have now been trying to come up with some future designs for the magazine and bangles were ideas I have come up with.  That one won't be in the magazine until next year now and I also have a linked necklace on the agenda too.

I have a sample bangle I can show you and this was made using a basketweave around the back.

Bit funky but fun!!

Very enjoyable but it took longer than some of the other weaves to do but very effective.

Love the turquoise wire,  weaving is much easier to do in the coloured wires as they are softer to work with, not so demanding on the fingers but they do start to get a little sore about a few hours!!    I love this weave.

No lets see if I can actually publish this post now???  Internet not playing ball, very frustrating taken be ages to get it to work!!

Ta ta for now

E x

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Tutorials for Bead Magazine

I have been making tutorials again for Bead Magazine, I enjoy making them especially if they go well. I get a little worried when the deadlines come around but I just about make the deadline in time ~ phew!!

Its a ring called Hugging the Rose made using bronze wire and a lovely pyrite rose bead, I do love bronze wire, mmmm gorgeous colour and a very sophisticated feel to it!! 

This is the article photo ~ so as you can see its a very professional composition unlike my own photos, not my fortee I'm afraid, I would love some photographic instruction, its also the props that make it look so good too.

I have another tutorial coming up in the next issue as well, this is a Special Winter Edition with a Decades theme. My project is a brooch with an Art Nouveau inspired design.  Cant show that just yet as it wont be out in the shops for another couple of weeks. Will post it then!


Life is a little hectic just now as I am doing more hours at work so finding the time to fit beadmaking in seems to be limited to tuesdays and weekends mainly.

I have a new venture too, back in september the family and I went to Brighton for our annual visit (we love Brighton)  I did my usual seafront gallery visiting and got chatting to the gallery owner of the Cactus Gallery and she wants to have some of my beads in the gallery.  So lots of brightly coloured hearts to make and buttons too.

I've started!!!

Many more still to do!!

Show you more next time as torch was lit again yesterday!!

Ta ta for now!!

E x

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I've done a little tweaking

As you can see I have done a little tweaking here and there!!  As much as I liked the flames I think this background is a little easier on the eyes!!  Not completely sure if it will stay like this but for now it's OK.

I have also been making some decisions and thought I would let you in on them!

I have decided to let my website domain name go and shut it down.  While I was ill I couldnt keep up with anything at all and it made me realise that I have too much on my plate to deal with comfortably, so to be able to cope better I had to cut down on what I do! on-line! 

So from now onwards I will only be selling through my Etsy stores and that is it. Less is better for me! I dont deal with the selling side of things to well so this way I can try and keep on top of things better.

Jewellery making is another thing I feel has taken over my whole life for many years, so again I have decided to cut down on what I make and concentrate more on my beadmaking. I will still make jewellery just not as often or it could be just to make things for magazines, friends or family not quite so much for selling.  I will show you any pieces I make but they may not be for sale but commissions are always welcome 80))

Beadmaking ~ well I havent been at my torch hardly at all this year.  I would like to get out into my workshop a bit more often and get the torch fired up and me along with it!!  Ha ha!!  Great ideas are a brewing but I need to get practising so I can fulfill my ideas!!  More on that another time, hopefully with photos to show how I'm getting along.


Now onto something a little different. My daughter Billie seems to be getting a bit of an interest in STEAMPUNK style right now so I have been searching for watch parts and bits and bobs like that for her. She loves to frequent Deviantart and has now made me a profile on this art based site, this is where she has seen Steampunk jewellery and wants to give it a go!  So from time to time I may well pop her work on here too, to show you how she's getting along. I may also have to show her some other skills she has yet to learn so she can achieve some of the ideas she has in mind.  It will be great to work along with her to help her progress but she has a big year ahead of her as she goes into Year 11 her GCSE year when she goes back to school in September. 


And for my final bit of news, my family has had a busy time recently.  My brother Vince and his family have all had an interesting year.  My niece Lucy has finished her degree and passed with flying colours just after her 21st birthday. My nephew Jack got married just over 2 weeks ago so lots of shopping for that had to be done!!  So now Vince and his wife Maxine are having a big party to celebrate, as they too have been busy finishing there extension on the bunglow ~ I've nicknamed it the Cathedral!!  Ha Ha!! So something else to look forward too.

A few wedding pics for you

The nervous groom with my Mum

My brother, Mum and Me
The Happy Couple being confettied

Vince and Maxine
Cutting the Cake (including Maxine's elbow)

Billie trying out hats!!!

Well there's me thinking I didnt have much to tell you and look at the length of this catch-up post!! 

Lovely to be back!!

Hope to chat to you again soon.

E x

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

I've been away a looooong time!!

Yes I have!  Where have I been?  I'm sorry to say I've been ill.

I am getting better all the time but still not quite right.

My unusual condition is called Erythema Nodosum which has painful lumps over my legs, hands and a few up my arms. Swelling of my legs/ankles and wrists includings my knees recently. It also came with a fever which has gone now but my lumps keep coming up and going away but still it lingers on. Doc is now sending me for blood tests and I've just had a Chest X-Ray so maybe we can get to the bottom of why it isnt going. I do have an idea that maybe I've had something else with it that hasnt come to light but.....  who knows!!!!!!!

Right thats enough of the boring, self pity!!!! 

Down to business, well actually there hasnt been any!!  I have done a little bit recently as I have just completed a project for Bead Magazine for one of my wire rings but that wont be out until September, so cant show you anything of that yet.

I am working on the next project for Bead Magazine which is for there special winter issue, I am not going to give that one away just yet.  You will have to be patient!!

Now because I havent been on here for so long I cant remember what pictures I've shown you so here are a couple just so the post isnt too plain!!!

Triton's Treasure Ring

This has my own bead made with Triton DH glass ~ I love this glass


Katie's Ring

I made this one for my friends daughter Katie for her birthday
and she is modelling the ring for you

It has a pink tourmaline gemstone bead on copper wire

I know finally have some liver of sulphur gel and so I will be able to patina the copper so it will be darker. I think it will look much more rustic then.

Well thats it for now, hope to be a bit more active and write much more often. Right I'm off to Inspiration Avenue to see what the challenge is for this week!!

See you all again soon.

E x

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Torch Fired UP for 2012!!

Yes siree!! I cant believe how long its been since I have been at my torch, when I finally got out to my workshop, dusted off the cobwebs and set my baby alight ~ it felt so goooood!!

I seemed to have lost some confidence in myself but I kicked my own butt and got myself walking up the garden on a mission to make cabs for my customer. 

She purchased Pinkii from me to make into a ring and found when she received it she wasnt to sure if she liked the silver infused finished that the gunmetal glass creates on the surface.

So I told her I would be happy to make her a new one with a different black base glass.  Oh can I change the pink to turquoise/blue, no problem!!

So here is Blueii, cant wait to see what my customers' creation turns out like!! 

So torch is fired up, kiln dusted off and now I must get cracking and


Only after my stinker of a cold has disappeared!!  On my second box of tissues already!!!

Boo hoo!!

Till next time!

E x

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Rings R Us

Yep ~ the old ring mandrel has been out AGAIN!!  I am enjoying experiementing with different types of rings.   

arent my hands wrinkly!!!

I am sure its a little unbalanced but I do think I like the idea of this one. I am not sure about the bead as it is a white quartz with a mystic coating on, (you can see it more in the top photo)  ~ its the hole, it is very transparent and very obvious you can see the wire showing through which I don't think I like!!

This one I used the basket weave, this is a bit harder to do as you work with 3 main wires but I got the hang of it in the end.  The main wires I used 1.25mm (18ga) copper wire and wrapping/weaving wires were 0.4mm (26ga). Its quite difficult to finish using the 1.25mm as it doesn't lie so flat as the thinner wires.  I might try 1mm wire next time to see if it is just a strong and stable as the 1.25mm.  I love trying the different weaves I especially loved this one.  

I have made a few other rings since this one but I haven't taken pics of those yet.  And I am still working on a framework for a cabochon, cant let you see that one as it could be a tutorial for magazine.  I am working on other tuts right now as well have been given a theme to work on, so off now to do more research!

Catch up with you all soon.

E x