Friday, 31 October 2008

Busy Times

Well it's been a busy month, what with starting the business and sorting out the wedding.

Mum came to visit immediately after I finished work. She lives down in Somerset and it was really nice to see her. We spent a few days catching up and I took her down to see the wedding venue in all it's glory. As we have been keeping this a secret from most of the guests and the invitations haven't gone out yet, I won't mention where.

A couple of days afterwards Nick went to Eagle Heights for his Christmas present - Xmas 2007 that was! He loves birds of prey and I got him an afternoon flying one of the birds. He was supposed to do it in the spring, but as you know, events kind of overtook us.

He went out with the falconer (and his mad Pointer) and 3 other guys, plus myself and another lady as observers. If you know anything about birds of prey, you will know this is somewhat unusual, as they are all solitary hunters - except the Harris Hawks he got to fly, which hunt in large groups in a Matriachal heirachy (up the girls!). Each guy was given his own Hawk, 1 older male, 1 nearly mature female and 2 juvenile boys. It was really funny to see the looks of nervousness on all of their faces, with this huge looking bird on their fists!

We walked for a while and then let the birds free in a local field. They fly there regularly and know that there are extra tasty things in the hedgerows at the edge. The Hawks hunt the hedge in a sweep, leapfrogging down the trees. The young female was very observant of the older male, knowing that he has something to teach her. In time she will take the lead in the hunt. The 2 boys were a little more confused and kept landing in the field and waddling about like scary chickens.

Finally they did some flying to the hand (for meaty rewards, obviously). Each guy took his turn, his calling one bird, and then 2 at a time. I can't imagine having 2 birds flying at you at once. Did get a brilliant shot of one taking off though.

We went on holiday the week after, but I'll gloss over that as we had horrendous thunderstorms and torrential rain for 5 out of the 7 days!

Other than that it's been flat out making stuff and gathering the information to send out with the invitations. Who'd have thought that this wedding malarkey would be so time consuming!! Been going to Greenwich market fairly regularly, and I'm starting to get to know some of the regulars there, which is nice.
After making lots of promises, I'm going to *try* to do at least a weekly update, so at lest you'll have something fresh to read.................

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

And now the end is near.......

Well actually it's over!!! I'm officially a completely self employed Jeweller (sort of by default).

Last Thursday was my final day of work and I think for everyone it was kind of exciting and sad in equal measures. I had only worked on that site for three years but the guys I worked with were the best group of people ever. For other people it was the last day of 12 years on that site and many more at other locations. The company used to be a job for life. People grew up, married, had kids and retired all with one company, but after the announcements that came out in the last couple of weeks of our time there, I think most people were glad to be getting their redundancy when they were. Everyone was excited about life outside.

And not to rest on my laurels, the very next day I took a stall at the "world renouned" Greenwich Market. Greenwich is quite bohemian in some repects and the covered in market sits in the centre of town, between the Martime Museum and the Cutty Sark (and there's another story!!!), surrounded by trendy boutiques and bars.

This would be the second time I had done the market, but the first stall I had done entirely on my own (OH normally comes for moral support/heavy lifting purposes). When selling "luxury" items such as jewellery, you are very aware that people have less disposable cash right now, and my first time at the market had been pretty dismall. This time however, I did much better and recieved lots of nice comments, which really boosted my confidence. It made me feel like I was doing the right thing. So now it's full steam ahead - I'm doing the Pantiles Sunday Craft Market in Tunbridge Wells on the 5th October and intend to do Greenwich Market as many Fridays as possible. If you're around, come and have a chat!!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

How Time Flies!!!!!

In more ways than one! I've been meaning to post something for days, but keep running out of time. It's only 8 days and counting until I finish work and I've been running around trying to get all the things done to get my "new venture" up and running. Although I registered with the tax people last year, the tax implications weren't as great whilst I was still fulled employed.

In addition to this there's all the promotional stuff to make, improvements to my stall display, packaging to order, oh yeah, and jewellery to make so all of the other stuff is worthwhile. I've loads of ideas in my head, but they need a full day to work on them so they will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Just to be kept busy, we are also going to 40th Birthday do this weekend. Our friend Fran is having and End of Summer ball to celebrate and we are all supposed to wear our summer frocks and floral shirts and shorts. Being a jeans kinda girl, I'm seriously thinking about invoking the British tradition of dressing to suit the weather. Given the last three months, I think that will be wellies and raincoats though.

I'll tell you all about it when we're back and hopefully have some pictures to back up the floral shirt claims.


Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Time Out!!!!!

Not for me as such but the OH really needed a break, so we decided to go camping over the Bank Holiday weekend. We didn't want to go far so ended up 40 or so mins from home at a place called Upper Morgay Wood campsite just outside Hastings. This is a fairly small campsite where you are allowed to have fires (although they were a bit smoky as it was so wet!)

It's pretty darned relaxed here and the owners pretty much let you get on with it. There are chickens roaming free and their eggs are for sale and although we didn't know it when we arrived there is also a donkey.

Donkey was making an awful lot of noise on the saturday night, kind of annoying and hilarious at the same time. We found out why on the monday when we found this little fella in the field next to the toilet block. He can't be much more than a couple of days old.

To be honest we didn't do much at all, late breakfasts, afternoon visits to the pub and evenings stoking the fire and drinking wine, were the main activites. On monday we also went to Bodium Castle. Although this is mainly in ruins, there are some intact sections which are very well presented and you can get an idea of medievel living. (especially the bathroom facilities!) I think the best bit for OH was listening to the bats that were living in one of the gatehouse rooms.

OH really relaxed (til the phone started again on Tuesday) and I came away with loads more ideas.........

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Mojo is Back!!

I have to say that the past few months have been quite difficult and this has stifled my inspiration a great deal. Since we were told about the site closure at work at the end of March there has been so much uncertainty, not only around the job, but also about Nick and my wedding. We were committed to paying for certain things so we've had to do some serious rethinking about other stuff we wanted!!
This had a knock on effect on the jewellery making, which got so bad at one point that I was terriffied of going in the workshop (back of the shed) because everything went wrong when I did! Luckily the mojo has started to come back and I've made a few things in the last couple of weeks without messing them up. I've even managed to take photos and will be adding these to my website tomorrow.

Polymer clay is a new thing for me and I keep practicing the swirly lentils but can't always get them consistent so I'm really pleased with this one. Red is not normally my colour either, but I think this has really worked. As for the silver and gold bracelet, this is where I'm more comfortable, but I like building in a challenge so the clasp is my first try at a box clasp and just to make it extra tricky, it's a cylinder as well. Again really please with the outcome. I'll have some more to add in a couple of days.
I've also added to the blog links to my two favourite forums. The UK Beaders quenches my need for all things beady (as well as other media). Girls being girls, I've been on other beady forums and found them to get quite caustic at times, but I can honestly say that I have never seen a truly cross word on here. There are girls and guys from all walks of life, beginners and the unbelievably talented such as Emma Ralph and my favourite critter creator Emma Green . I've learnt so much from here and have hopefully been able to help others. In addition KitschKitty
runs the main UK Beaders website which has a huge suppliers list.
The Craft Forum covers all crafts and is again a really friendly place. It helps give a general perspective on us (soon to be) struggling artistes and broadens my world past jewellery. I expect that I'll be on these more and more in the next few months.
Wow! Looks like the gift of the gab has come back too! I'll shut up now!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Er.... Welcome!!

Well this is the first post so I guess I'll say hello to those that find it.
As my profile says, my name is Nettie and I make jewellery, which, by the end of September is going to be my living. When I say jewellery I mean both silver metalwork and beadwork (did you guess from the title?) and making stuff has become more and more of an obsession over the past few years. It was always my dream to do this full time as, to sound a bit cheesey, I'm really not happy unless I'm doing something creative. Having said that, life has always gotten in the way until now and in an eventful year, I've got engaged, been made redundant and hopefully started a successful business. How's that for a kick up the bum?

So anyway, hello to everyone. I hope I have something interesting to say over the coming months, years etc and should you be interested, here's my website where you can see some of the stuf I have made.