Tuesday, 22 June 2010


I'm sporting a new look today.  After a lovely sunny day and a delicious pub lunch by a canal, I've come home to find that the left half of me is lobster pink.  Silly me, with hindsight I would have turned 180 degrees during dessert to baste the other side!

Hopefully there will be some sunshine tomorrow so I can stand in the garden for half an hour and even up the sunburn.  I might even pull a few weeds while I'm there.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Here's the next lot of goodies up for grabs.  A couple of necklaces this time - one chainmaille, one wire wrapped.

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, let me go through it again quickly.  I'm offering these pieces at absolutely knockdown prices.  If you like them, all you need to do is email me at aerisdesigns@live.co.uk with your name, the name of the piece you like, and the highest price you're willing to pay for it.

I'll choose the highest bidder by 12 noon this coming Wednesday and the piece is yours if you want it at the price you've picked.  It's that simple.

Purple Shaggy Chainmaille Necklace
Sterling silver chain, enamel-coated copper rings.
Measures approximately 16" or 40.5cm in length

Original selling price: £22.00

Make me an offer starting price:  £5.99

Sterling Silver and Glass Bead Wire Wrapped Necklace
Measures just over 16" or 41cm in length

Original selling price:  £28.00

Make me an offer starting price:  £8.60

These are both very labour-intensive pieces, and I'm loathe to take them apart (but I will if nobody bids on them).  Grab them quick if you want them, they'll be in pieces by the end of the week otherwise!

We have a winning bidder...

Well, that didn't go too badly for a first attempt! The Flower Post earrings were a clear favourite, the winning bidder being the lovely Tracy from DK Crystal Designs on Folksy. Tracey sells some really unique things in her shop, my favourite being her little wood and button bag charms:

The other 3 pieces up for bidding... well, they were clearly not so popular, receiving a total of 0 bids! I shall attempt to turn them into something far more stunning by the end of the week. Or I might just melt them down, it really depends on my mood...

I'll post up another showcase later on tonight, this time there'll be some necklaces too.

Happy Fathers' Day!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Make Me An Offer...

Over the past couple of years I have made a lot of jewellery. I mean hundreds of pieces. Some have fitted beautifully into my Folksy shop and become repeat sellers. Some I have loved so much I've kept them for myself (oops!), and some have been one-off designs that have gone to new homes and are hopefully loved and cared for.

Then there's the others. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them, they're all made with care and attention to detail, but despite listing them on Folksy and Etsy over the last year, they just haven't sold. Maybe the price is a little too high, or the right person just hasn't spotted them.

Whatever the case, they're now languishing in a big cardboard box doing absolutely no good to anyone. Which makes me very sad.

So, here's what I've decided to do. Twice a week (Wednesday and Sunday) I will be showcasing a selection of undiscovered treasures here on my blog. The price shown next to them will be the absolute minimum price I can sell each piece for without making a loss. It will include the cost of materials, a small overhead and a little extra to cover postage costs.

Here's where you come in. If you spot a piece that you love, email me at aerisdesigns@live.co.uk and tell me the name of the piece and the price you're prepared to pay for it. At the end of the showcase I'll contact the highest bidder and the piece will be yours.

Wednesday showcases will end at 12 noon the following Sunday.
Sunday showcases will end at 12 noon the following Wednesday.

Ready for the first "Make Me An Offer"? Here goes...

Little Fishes

Original price: £14

Make Me An Offer Starting Price: £4.30

Flower Posts

Original price: £21

Make Me An Offer Starting Price: £5.00

Crystal Drops

Original price: £17

Make Me An Offer Starting Price: £5.70

Silver Doughnuts

Original price: £18

Make Me An Offer Starting Price: £6.20

All earrings are sterling silver, with handmade earwires.

Don't forget, email me at aerisdesigns@live.co.uk with your name, the name of the piece, and your best price (P&P is included already), and you may find yourself getting a real bargain!

I'll let the winning bidder know on Sunday, and then I'll be posting some more treasures up here for another Make Me An Offer showcase. Good luck!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Textures and Turquoise

I love playing with textures on plain silver. I think it's because it's such a forgiving technique. You can change the look of a piece completely by using different hammers, or by holding the hammer in different ways.

The two rings below were originally hammered with the ball end of my planishing hammer. Somehow they felt very "beginnerish", I felt I could have done more with them. So I threw them on my worktable and left them there for months. I was originally planning to melt them down, use them in my blob rings or something. But I felt guilty (silver's not cheap!), so one day I picked up a different hammer and went for it!

I'm so much happier with them as they are now. I used the same hammer for both rings, but by holding it at different angles I was able to achieve vastly different textures. Adding a patina and shining up the high spots really brings out the pattern. Now they're sitting on my worktable, waiting to be listed on Folksy!

I do seem to have a very bad habit of half making a piece and leaving it unfinished for ages. Maybe it's a good thing - making a piece when it doesn't feel right usually ends up with a pile of scrap and a bad tempered me. Waiting for my mojo to reappear is probably the right decision.

This first ring, again, has been sitting around for months, waiting for me to finish it. I've been setting stones for a while now, but was never satisfied with my bezels (that's the piece that holds the stone tight). Having invested in a graver, which is a little sharp steel tool that shaves tiny slivers of silver off the top of the bezel, I'm finally ready to reveal my settings to the public, with only the tiniest of cringes.

The second ring is one I made with the help of Jinks McGrath's "The Rings Book". Playing around with the shape of the shank is something I couldn't wrap my head around, but I think I may finally be getting somewhere. This one is contoured so it's a little thinner around the back, making for a more comfortable fit.

Now I'm all fired up and ready to attack my stash of stones. Maybe some earrings next? .....

Friday, 12 March 2010

Folksy Friday...

Ok, it's Friday again. This is my first attempt at a Folksy Friday treasury, so please be gentle with me!

Today it's all about my favourite colour - PURPLE!

Hand-cut Flowers by Wepocards
LOL Emoticon Mittens by Mouthy Mitts
My Cardboard Life Vol 4 by The Juzzard
Purple knitted flower purse by Sarah Elizabeth Designs
Hand felted flower corsage by Tamsyn Amber
Felt flower bowl by Gillian Chapman

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Behind the scenes...

I have a little pair of sterling silver stud earrings listed in my Folksy and Etsy shops. When I priced them up, they came to £12. I wondered if anyone would pay that for a pair of studs, then I thought about all the work that goes into creating them, and realised I couldn't charge any less.

Instead of trying to justify the price, I catalogued the process when I was making them. So, if you're interested in the work that goes into making this simple pair of earrings, read on.

Take a big box of scrap silver (yes, I know, I'm very wasteful!)...

Put little piles on your (cruddy) soldering sheet, and melt into balls... well, they're not really balls, as they have flattish bottoms - what would you call them?

When silver is heated oxidisation makes it turn a lovely blackened colour. Give it an acid bath in safety pickle and it looks so much better!

See? Almost pretty again!

Now for the bit that makes my neighbours hate me. Take a large flat headed hammer and BANG - a lot. Then take an aspirin or two.

Select a pair that look matched for size and shape. These ones will do nicely.

Solder the ear posts onto the back of the flattened studs. Hmmm, not shiny any more again. Back into the pickle you go.

Out of the pickle and sanded with two grades of wet and dry sandpaper and a little steel wool, all ready for the polishing wheel.

A thorough polishing with tripoli and then rouge turns them back into beautiful, shiny silver. Yummy! Next, a wash and brush up with good old soap and hot water and a toothbrush (an old toothbrush, I should add), and they're ready to be parceled up and sent out.

You can see the finished product in either of my shops. I'm off to wash my hands!