Friday, 23 April 2010

Wedding Rings! With Moustaches!

I recently received a request from a friend to make some custom silver moustache wedding rings. I think this has to be the bestest idea for wedding rings I have ever heard :)

Anyway, the original design brief was a silver band, with a heart cut of out one side and a twirly villain moustache cut out the other side. Awesome, thinks I. All I have to do is purchase unfinished wedding bands in the correct size, do the cutouts with tiny sawblades, polish, and done. Simples. No soldering, nothing. Take me a day, tops.

Of course, the designs you think will be the simplest often turn out to be completely horrible to make. Mainly because I am an idiot. For some reason, it didn't even occur to me that trying to saw out a shape from an already constructed ring would be nigh on impossible, due to the fact that the OTHER SIDE OF THE RING is in the way of the sawblade. Duh... The fact that I also chose lovely chunky thick bands did nothing to help the situation.

Anyway, I battled on with the heart cut outs, holding the saw at a ridiculous angle to avoid cutting into the other side. There were some dark mutterings, some occasional swearing and several broken sawblades. After much filing and all the fingers on my right hand going numb, I had the hearts finished. Now they looked okay, but a heart is a pretty fluid and organic kinda shape. A curly moustache, not so much. It was becoming apparent that there was no way I would be able to cut the moustache out of the other side and, with but days to go until the wedding, I had to make an executive decision to alter the original design and cut out the moustaches separately and solder them to the ring instead of cutting them out, which I felt pretty bad about, as I was no longer sticking to the original design given to me. I knew if I persisted with the cut outs, the rings just wouldn't look good though, and I would have felt terrible handing something over that I knew wasn't good enough.

Anyway, amidst the trauma, I managed to take a couple of pictures of work in progress. I also wound up deciding to make little frames for the heart cutouts, so the whole design matched and it wasn't like one side was cut out and one side was soldered on.

And just look at the tiny moustaches - I'm totally going to make more of these and turn them into earrings and bracelets and necklaces and anything else I can think of to put moustaches on!

And the finished rings:

Really happy with how they turned out, despite having to change the original design.

And some more pictures. The rings photographed pretty well, so I couldn't decide which shots to use. So I'm posting them all...

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Art of Doodling

I spend a lot of time on the telephone when I’m at work. Looking back through my message pad before my boss went on holiday to make sure I’d done everything, it appears that I am incapable of holding a telephone conversation without drawing over everything. I am Doodle Queen!

Apparently, this does not actually mean that I’m not paying the slightest bit of attention to the person on the other end, as according to the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology, doodling can actually help with remembering the details of a conversation. It appears that if you are focused on your little picture, it actually prevents your mind from wandering during a long conversation rather than the doodling distracting you.

For me, sometimes my doodles are just random scribbles, but more often they relate to the person I’m speaking to. When I’m on the phone to the boy, I tend to doodle flowers (this may sound unbearably cute, but most of the time the flower has turned into more of a triffid by the end of the conversation!)

I think, even though you’re not really aware of what you’re doodling – perhaps just starting off with a random shape, the doodle can definitely reveal your state of mind at the time. We had a particular client whose name was always surrounded by grumpy thunderclouds, raindrops and lightening by the time he’d finally got off the phone. There’s definitely more doodling going on when I’m talking to people who are annoying or frustrating me. My speciality appears to be unhappy little creatures! Here’s a couple of my favourites...

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Mad Hatters Tea Party

I love afternoon tea. Those tiny sandwiches with the crusts cut off (cucumber, of course), the pretty cakes, the posh tea drunk out of proper teacups. Just the old fashioned englishness of it all, really.

So, off we pottered to the Sanderson Hotel the other weekend for afternoon tea with a slight twist. The Sanderson are currently running a mad hatters tea party, which was supposed to be just for March to tie in with Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland movie, but they’ve extended it now until May I think, as it’s been so popular.

The Sanderson looks fairly unassuming from the outside, but the huge bar inside and the covered courtyard garden where the afternoon tea is served are so very pretty, with lots of natural light and plants and even a fountain.

Whilst it was not as good as afternoon tea at the Ritz, it was half the price! Also, the little sandwiches all had brightly coloured bread – you don’t get that at the Ritz :)

Scones were just so-so, but the cakes were fab! Chocolate and raspberry cupcake had popping candy in it and the queen of hearts cake was a kind of strawberry mousse encased in a strawberry and white chocolate shell. Then, to finish, lollipops that turn from hot to cold.

I may have left on somewhat of a sugar high!

Next stop – Claridges...