Summer is here…and a new royal baby

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Summer’s actually been here for about two weeks, and though we’ve all been looking forward to it, it didn’t come without it’s most frustrating companion – hay fever. While many look forward to its arrival with anticipation, I and some others look forward to it with mostly trepidation as I usually have hay fever for the whole of summer. If it’s hot, the pollen count high, and pollens flying like a legion of demons, it usually spells a summer doom for people like me. So, I’d been having particularly bad summer until my colleague suggested I try homeopathic remedy about three weeks ago. And did I notice the difference? Oh yes! I have had almost two weeks free from sneezing, itchy eyes, nostrils and palates, and the incessant nose-blowing that is so typical of hay fever. It’s unbelievable!

The thing with homeopathic remedies I gather is, there’s no ‘one medicine cures all’. I was interviewed by the pharmacist who noted all my symptoms before giving me a prescription. I don’t claim to understand how it works, but I’m a very happy bunny at the moment, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of the summer, and very many more to come, I hope.

And we have a new royal baby boy; congratulations William and Kate. May you have many, many happy time with your new bundle of joy.

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Where…

…have I been?

Good question. It’s been a long time since I posted. Reason? Work. I’ve found it very difficult combining that with jewellery making and home-keeping. During the past 7 months, I often wondered how a lot of jewellery artists who have full-time jobs combine the two. By the close of work every day, and after running after the little ones, I am so tired that I usually doze off while using the laptop. The fact that I do not have a dedicated work area I think is a contributory factor, because I seem to spend more time setting and packing up than actually making things. Oh how I long for SPACE… (sigh)

That said, I made some virtual friends during my sabbatical and learned new skills (not quite to perfection, but practice they say makes perfect). I came across Nancy LT Hamilton and her very educative videos on you tube. She also has a blog with numerous great tips which I find very useful.

Though I didn’t do much in terms of creating, I did a lot in terms of self-development. I spent more money, bought yet more tools (am I alone? I think I must have bought more in those months than previously put together). I learnt basic silversmithing and stone-setting with the help of John Cogswell and Joe Silvera (no, I didn’t attend their classes though I wished then that I live in the US, I had to make do with their books), and of course from the numerous tutorials/videos that abound online from generous teachers. Thanks to all the wonderful people who take time out to enlighten people like me with free materials.

There were a great deal more frustrating moments than successes, but I picked up a lot of skills along the way. Will try to put up pictures of both the successful and the opposite. Till next time, thanks for stopping by.

I am well…a lurker


A fellow Folksy crafter, Lu of Found In Keswick, wrote about this topic in this post – “Are you a lurker?” – sometime ago, and it struck a cord with me. I read it and said to myself, “I am well…a lurker, but I can’t help myself”.

I joined the Yahoo Metal Clay forum about a year ago (and many more since). It’s a fantastic forum of fabulous and generous people who do not hold back at sharing their knowledge with lesser knowledgeable people like me, and I find myself looking forward to the almost daily questions, answers, tips, etc. BUT I don’t think I’ve ever answered any of the questions even though I know the answer. My excuse? I’m an almost novice in the medium, and someone else may have a better answer.

We all have different reasons for lurking. Fear of saying the wrong thing, lack of time, or just plain nonchalance, but the fact is we’ll learn more by sharing what we know because who knows? it might be that we actually don’t know.

At last

Okay, here we go. This is very new to me, so forgive me if it seems like I go on endlessly. I decided to write this blog after much deliberation (can I? should I?) so that others can gain from the little experience I have, as well as from the ones I intend to gain from further working with it. I’ll share tips and tricks I’ve been taught, learnt from articles, tutorials, etc. as well as the ones I learnt the hard way.

I started making jewellery using metal clay seriously in September 2011, so expect to hear of some experiments gone wrong, as well as successes. In all, I hope that you will learn useful things from reading my blog.

Metal clay is the general name for all the types of clay in that category, and believe you me, there are lots, and more are still been developed as I write.  It is a revolutionary product that first came on the market in the 90’s. The first of these many clays are the precious metal clays (PMC and ArtClay Silver) manufactured in Japan. These are an absolute wonder to work with, with no idiosyncrasies whatsoever – just roll, texture, texture not, refine, fire and voila, you have a solid piece which is 99.9% silver and can be hallmarked as such. There are other silver metal clays, PMC Pro and the newly developed sterling silver clay. The PMC Pro is not as popular as it is 90% silver, but the newbie (sterling silver clay) is proving popular in certain circles.

There are also the base metal clays – bronze, copper, brass, steel, and their various alloys – that have been, and are still been developed. These can be tricky to work with as their firing is not as straightforward as the precious metal clays.

Enough said for today. In my next blog, I’ll talk briefly about the tools I use to create my pieces (you really don’t need a lot). Guess how I figured that out? Yes, you’re correct, the hard way.