Monday, 27 July 2009

Nautical Hats/Fascinators

They are now available in my store - http://www.laurenandgrace.etsy.com/, together with the bumblebee and ladybug hats. Yay!

It turns out that my camera is much happier about taking pictures of hats than it is about small shiny things.

Finished the mannequin head on Saturday night, then did a little hat photoshoot. I think they turned out okay, and definitely way better than my original hat pictures!

And here they are...




Saturday, 25 July 2009

Silver Roller Derby Charms and Photography Fail

Thought I'd best have a go at photographing the new charms.


Sadly, it turns out my camera is a bit rubbish at capturing shiny things and refuses to focus most of the time. Eep!

Did a bit of research on the interwebs and have decided I would either like a Canon SX10 IS or a Canon G10. Currently, I cannot afford either, as they're both around £300, but I figured if I can clear out my wardrobe and sell enough stuff on Ebay to pay for it, that's like getting a free camera, right...?

Anyway, after much muttering and a large glass of wine, I managed to get a couple of shots that are kind of okay, and will do for now until I can afford a better camera.


So, there you go. I now need to learn how to be a jammer, as that helmet's my favourite I think. If you've ever seen me skate, you will realise how likely that is to happen ;)


Now I just need to finish the mannequin head and get some decent shots of the hats. It has progressed slightly and now looks like this:

Still needs some more work. That is what I shall be doing tonight, seeing how the bank says I'm not allowed to go out and all...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Roll Britannia

Well, it's over.

I had a great weekend and got to see a ton of people I've not seen for ages, due to my self-imposed social exile, and also see some great roller derby games.

London Rollergirls emerged victorious after two days of solid roller derby, beating the Birmingham Blitz Derby Dames by 346 points to 13. Eek! Glad I got to see the Birmingham v. Edinburgh game too, as it was so close and very exciting. First prize for style, attitude and unicorns definitely belonged to Team East Angrier though :)

And, all the hard work I put into the stall was definitely worth it, yay! Here it is:




Everyone was so lovely and positive about the silver derby helmet and stripey sock charms and I sold things to a couple of complete strangers as well as my friends, which was very exciting. I didn't even come close to covering the costs of doing this, but it didn't matter a tiny bit!


I even had my own lovely hat model. I think it kind of suits him :)

To be honest, even if I hadn't sold a single thing, it really wouldn't have mattered. Having the deadline of Roll Britannia to work to gave me a real kick up the bum to start making stuff again, otherwise I would probably still be in the middle of the circle of eternal procrastination, where I often find myself. But now that I have lots of lovely new (not to mention alarmingly expensive) tools and equipment, I'll definitely be carrying on with the making of stuff. I have my next collection all designed in my head and have even put pencil to paper so am very excited to be starting on the new stuff.


Thanks to everyone who was lovely and supported me and put up with my tired grumpiness :)


This weekend was also ace due to getting to hang out with Amy Nitrate, formerly of the London Rollergirls and textile maker extrodinaire, on Saturday, who has been running her own creative business for ages and gave me loads of tips and advice on one day starting mine.


Oh, and I spent some of my profits on this rather fab Licorice Allsorts bracelet from the lovely ladies at Short and Girly ( http://www.shortandgirly.co.uk/ ) who also had a stall this weekend. I keep wanting to eat it, but am assured that they don't taste nearly as good as they look...
So, onwards and upwards. Tonight I will be mainly remembering what an arse it is to take pictures of tiny, but very reflective, things whilst trying to access the part of my brain that remembers what an f-stop is.

I am doomed.

Friday, 17 July 2009

The Countdown Begins

One day to go until Roll Britannia! Eep!

Stayed up until 3:00am this morning making my tablecloth. Very much wish my living room was at least 6 foot bigger in each direction. Suspect tablecloth may be miles to big, but I will artfully drape if that is the case.

Boxes have arrived to put hats in. Also, against all odds and blowing rasperries in the general direction of Royal Mail and its strike, my cute little black and pink jewellery boxes arrived at work this morning. I now wish I hadn't spent yesterday afternoon running round and spending money I don't have to buy more boxes. Bumhats!

Anyway, this evening I will be mostly soldering jump rings onto tiny silver stripey sock charms and trying to finish little hats. And possibly collapsing.

So, my first ever stall happens tomorrow! Even if I'm not quite ready, and even if I don't sell anything, I've learned a whole bunch of stuff in the past couple of months and given it everything I've got. I can say for definite that I couldn't have worked any harder, so all in all I'm pretty happy with what I've achieved, especially given my tendancies to self-doubt.

I'll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck...

Monday, 13 July 2009

And We're in Business

After a super-hectic weekend, I finally got around to playing with Photoshop. You may have noticed that my blog has had a little bit of a makeover, yay! I've designed my own header and changed it from it's previous gloomy black. What do we think? I think a white background is always easier to read, no?

Anyway, it's been a good 5 years or so since I even peeked a glance at Photoshop, so it was an interesting experience. On opening up the program again for the first time, I mainly just stared blankly at the screen, going "huh?" That didn't really get me anywhere, so I pretended I was in Star Trek and tried yelling at it. "Make file bigger! And....go! I said go! File...bigger...? Help...?" Yeah, that didn't work either. Eventually googled Photoshop instructions. Apparently, it's Edit, Transform, Scale. Of course it is. Obvious really... :)

I did finally get the hang of it, and happily my refusal to flatten any of my previous images meant they were all fairly easy to mess about with.

So, here is my business card design:




I wanted to keep it pretty simple and also wanted to stick with the heart type logo that my old flatmate (somewhat of a graphics genius) designed for me. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, but I've had to order them via an internet business card type place, so I've no idea how they'll turn out. Fingers crossed they look okay...


I also bought some rather lovely (and expensive - eep!) fabric to make a table cover out of:


There will be a panel of this in the centre, with a black panel either side, as I couldn't afford to do the whole thing in this stuff. I'll hopefully have time to edge it with rope cord and put some little tassles on the corners too, but suspect this may be a little over-ambitious...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

I Survived!

Obviously :)

My house also survived my blowtorch experiments and I've not yet blown anything up, hurrah! Actually, the blowtorch is rather wondrous and lovely and soldering with it is super-easy, like a billion times easier than with the old ones. Because it gets hotter, so the solder melts quicker, see? It felt a bit unwieldy to start with, but by the end of the day I was merrily waving it around in my left hand so my right hand was free to poke hot things with tweezers. Yay! I have now been admiring my perfect little solder joins, and all helmets now have chinstraps and a little ring on top to dangle them. Oooh, and I soldered teeny tiny bolt rings onto fine chain with no problems either. I love my new blowtorch soooooo much! I may have mentioned that...

So, whilst initially the synchronised death of all my old equipment seemed like the end of the world, from a financial point of view especially, it turned out to be a good thing, as the new stuff is so much easier to use and saves much time and frustration.

I actually feel like a proper jeweller for the first time ever :)

Sunday, 5 July 2009

I Has a Blowtorch

Wheeeeeee! Blowtorch finally arrived at work, along with my lovely barrel polishing machine. Was a bit scared taking the torch home on the bus, as I thought the combination of hot weather and bus vibration might make it explode. The boy pointed out I was being a retard and I did have to concede that he was correct after making it home without incident.

Slightly alarmingly, the instructions made a whole lot of assumptions that if you were buying this piece of pretty dangerous equipment, you probably had a pretty good general idea of how it works. Alas, no. It sat in my living room glaring malevolently at me for a couple of days, before the boy and I finally took it outside and, using a combination of the instructions and looking at the picture on the front of the box eventually figured out how it was supposed to fit together and made the required tiny blue flame. Which, it turns out, is very hot. Who knew...?

Anyway, did some practicing on scrap silver and generally melted stuff. Eep! The flame burns way hotter than my old torch and I think I'm going to need some practice before I start on the helmets. Also, soldering outside on a hot sunny day is not really ideal, as you can't see the metal do the glowy thing it does just before it melts, so today I will try again, but indoors, and with a bit more care and attention.

Also, I just changed a tire on my bicycle all by myself, as I'd been getting a ton of punctures so purchased a new armoured road tire. It was a bit of a struggle, but am happy I got it done with no help whatsoever from boys, yay!

Off to play with the torch now. If I don't burn my house down, I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tiny Silver Crash Helmets

They have arrived! Picked them up from the casters earlier this week at a cost of £200. Eek! Although, I had made a vaguely educated guess at £150 from some previous castings I had done about 5 years ago from a different place, so I guess my estimate wasn't far off. I had rather hoped I was over-estimating though. Future casting runs will be cheaper, but I had to pay the initial costs of having four molds made this time.

But they do look cute :) Much better quality casting than the old place I used too, as I got a recommendation from my friend Dave, who is a proper jeweller and knows stuff.

So, without further ado, here is a pile of little crash helmets:




This is how they come back from the caster, with little wires sticking out, called sprues, which are used to pour the molten metal into the mold. Now I just need to saw them off, give the castings a quick sand, solder on the little chin strap to each one and then chuck them in my new barrel polisher, which I have decided to invest in and which arrives on Friday. Yay!


I also played with my new drill briefly this evening. I love it! Drilled a 0.8mm hole through 3.2mm silver sheet in about 3 seconds, wheeeeeeee!


My new blowtorch is sadly yet to arrive though. I really hate companies who guarantee delivery by a certain date, yet entirely fail to actually deliver it on said date. Bah! Hopefully it will arrive tomorrow though...