Monday, 16 November 2015

A Distinct Lack Of Copper Studs

I've had some time recently to catch up with all those little jobs that tend to be pushed aside when I get busy. One of them is reviewing what jewellery I have for sale and making new stock to fill any gaps. Well one of the gaps I noticed was copper studs - they are fairly low in price so tend to sell quite quickly and I hadn't had much chance to make any new pairs.
So I made some more!

Studs are a good way of using up small pieces of metal sheet and I have a lot of those, especially etched and embossed copper sheet. I went for a variety of shapes - square, triangle, flower and teardrops. I do love a heart stud and they do sell well but my plastic heart shape template is a bit weird. The point at the top of the heart shape always comes out slightly off centre when I use a felt tip or scribe to mark the heart shape on the metal. I press that part down to stop the pointy bit moving but it nearly always comes out a bit off and can mean a lot of filing to get the two hearts exactly the same. So I don't use it that much. Maybe I need to find a better one :D

Luckily my other shape templates for teardrops, triangles and squares aren't weird.

These triangle studs make me think of pyramids.

Rounded square and teardrops shapes in good old leaf vein texture.

I also found some stamped copper sheet and used some of it for these teardrop studs. I love circles so tend to stamp circle designs a lot!

Cute etched daisy studs.
 They were originally going to be round then I decided to cut around the petals to make them a bit more interesting.

So that's the copper stud deficit sorted. 
  Next: bronze studs!

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 6 November 2015

New Sterling Silver Bangle Designs

In my last post I mentioned that I'd been busy finishing a batch of sterling silver bangles so I could get them sent off to the London Assay Office for hallmarking. Well I did just that and got them back last week. After finishing them {they always come back a bit out of shape and with a couple of scratches when they've been hallmarked} and oxidizing the bangles that needed it, I finally got round to getting them photographed. 

I made a few new {to me} designs including this hammered "bark" texture set using flattened 6mm and 4mm round wire.

I got busy with the masking tape for this bangle...

Creating this texture involved cutting very thin strips of masking tape then sticking them to the flattened silver before rolling it through the rolling mill. The textured areas are where the tape was and the raised smooth sections were the bits without any tape. I like this texture! 
I was going to try to achieve the look by wrapping 20g/0.8mm wire around the flattened silver but that would have left the texture on the inside of the bangle also and I wasn't sure if that would cause problems during hallmarking. So I did it the fiddly, playing around with a scalpel and tape way.

This is probably my favourite design. I love the coil and twist texture and it does look cool when it's oxidized.

I made some more bangles with a leaf vein texture too. One set of three made from flattened 4mm sterling silver wire and a single leaf vein bangle made from flattened 5mm wire.

I made a silver version of my loopy bangle too.

I also made a couple of my silver poppy bangles as they are popular - one with an oxidized finish and one shiny shiny.

 I left more than a few of this batch of bangles with a shiny shiny finish which is strange as I usually lean more to the dark {oxidized} side. Some textures just seemed to work better when they were left to their own shiny sparkle-y loveliness :D

I'm currently adding the bangles to my Etsy shop and will be adding them to my website very soon.

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 23 October 2015

New Jewellery And A Pile Of Silver Bangles For Hallmarking

My recent break a few weeks ago gave me the chance to make a few new pairs of earrings and a couple of new bangle designs. I didn't go for anything too tricky with the earrings - I really wanted to use up some of my etched and patterned silver and copper and some of the {way too} many cabs I have at the moment!
I also made a couple of pairs of enamel earrings.

The above pair are made from copper sheet etched with a nail varnish resist to create a drop pattern. I used some half-drilled pearls that I sanded on the bottom to make them level then set them in fine silver bezels.

I also made some copper and carnelian earrings using some more etched copper.

I made both pairs with a stud fitting just for a change too.

 I also experimented with a wooden background as I fancied a change from the usual slate I use but I'm not sure about it and will probably go back to slate next time. I do like the weathered wood look for a background but finding a bit of weathered wood the right colour isn't that easy! I bought a wooden chopping board and stained it but it's not the same and not enough of a contrast in colour especially with copper and bronze.

 I did manage find a new larger piece of slate to use for my photos on the Topps Tiles website though. The slate I currently use is from a set of place mats and the pieces are a bit small for certain photo angles at times. You can order sample tiles on the website so I ordered a 30cm x 30cm slate floor tile for £2.49 with free posting. Bargain! It's a bit lighter in colour than my other pieces of slate so what it looks like in the photos and whether I like it remains to be seen ....:D

New silver studs

Speckled enamel earrings

I have also been busy making a pile of sterling silver bangles that will need to be sent off to the London assay office for hallmarking.

I have left it a bit late as I seem to still be in denial about Christmas and how close it really is. Once I get this lot back they need to be finished and polished, photographed then listed so I really do need to get them posted off as soon as possible.

I made quite a few flatter style bangles for hallmarking this time as it's a design I'm liking more and more. The width gives you more scope for texturing the silver and also makes soldering any decorative bits onto the bangle a lot easier. Always a plus!

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 16 October 2015

What I've Been Doing Lately...Etched Bangles

One of the joys I've found with making bangles is the infinite variety of designs you can make. I use a lot of copper for bangles and up to fairly recently most of my designs have been made from round wire that I've hammered. It wasn't until I had a custom request for a "bark" texture bangle in sterling {think flattened shape with hammered line marks} that I made my first flat bangle.

Having a flat surface gives you more options for design so I decided to try some etched patterns on the flat style bangles.

I started with lengths of the round copper wire which I annealed to soften it then rolled it through the rolling mill until it was flat enough for what I wanted to do.

I then annealed the flattened wire and straightened it on a steel block before cutting it to size and filing the ends flat

The bangles ready for soldering.

After soldering the bangles, cleaning up and shaping them the next step was to apply the resist on the areas of the bangle I didn't want to etch. I used a Sharpie and covered the inside of the bangles and then around the edges.

I'd never etched anything with a solder join before so I made sure the solder join on the bangles was covered with the Sharpie too. I didn't take any photos of the "design" part but I basically drew lines in different thicknesses on the front of the bangles with the Sharpie.

 I also tried another way to etch the bangles by applying the resist before the bangle was soldered. Having the metal flat worked better for the stamped designs as it was impossible to stamp the formed bangles without the ink smudging and it looking a bit of a mess - so I did it on the flat piece of metal and soldered the bangle afterwards. The only drawback with doing it that way is you remove some of the etched design when you're cleaning up the solder join.

I forgot to photograph the etching bit {sorry!} but I etched the copper for about 30 minutes. The time it takes to etch depends on how fresh your ferric chloride is and how deep you like to etch.

Cleaning off the Sharpie marks after etching.

The cleaned up bangle.

I then oxidized the bangles and cleaned them up with wire wool. I also tried using vinyl stickers as the resist on some of the bangles. I liked the subtle effect of their patterns. The zigzag {2nd left} is my favourite.

Overall I like the "stripe" design best. It was fairly time consuming to do but I love it's rustic charm. 

I think I could achieve a similar look without etching and doing lots of tedious colouring in with Sharpie pens. The rolling mill and some thin gauge wire beckons......

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 9 October 2015

My Amazon Handmade Store Is Now Open!

You may or may not be aware that Amazon have branched out into their own handmade department. Yes, Amazon is slowly taking over the world and their newest venture is Handmade at Amazon. Previously handmade items were available on Amazon but they were lumped in with everything else but now if your items have been approved they have a new home in Handmade.

Above is a screen shot of my shop on Handmade. The screen shot only captured the top half of the page but I like the way it looks. I'm trying my copper and bronze bangles on there to start with and only have eight listed so far. I'm planning on listing some more soon....

It's been a bit of a bumpy ride getting to the point where I'm ready with my shop and items. Never again will I grumble about Etsy and the tweaks they make! Using Etsy as a seller is a breeze compared to Amazon! Amazon is clunky to list on in some ways - no copy function, no paragraphs in descriptions and strictly no using html to create line breaks and paragraphs in descriptions resulting in one long block of text. Not easy to read and we creative souls do like to set out our item pages nicely and include important info which may be missed in one long ramble of words. Oh well.

Setting up shipping is not as easy as it is on Etsy either - for example you can't create shipping profiles for specific items as far as I know. There are also sections for your own shipping and returns policies and useful info like an FAQ page but when you fill them in and save them they don't appear anywhere in your shop.....

Not to mention some of Amazon's rules - the seller pays shipping cost for returns, the seller makes sure any possible additional costs to the buyer are paid for at time of purchase such as import fees. I've set up my shipping for the US, Canada and Asia so I shouldn't have a problem with customs fees as their goods value thresholds for any duty are set at a sensible level unlike the UK! As for paying shipping for an item to be returned - that's part of selling on Amazon so that's what I'll have to do.

Handmade at Amazon is just on the .com site at the moment which is fine but does create issues for anyone from the UK selling there. One issue being I can't set up UK shipping separate from Europe as the UK is part of Europe when listed on an American site. I get that and I'm not complaining! Maybe one day Handmade at Amazon will appear on the .uk site too.
Being an American site listing prices and shipping in dollars is easy enough but means I'll need to check my prices occasionally as the conversion rate obviously varies.

The main grumble I've had joining Amazon as a seller in the run up to launching is the inconsistency in the answers given to various questions lots of sellers have asked the Amazon admin {me included}. The main one being do we have to post everything with a tracking number. The answers from Seller Support pinged around the handmade forum like a ball in a pinball game - "Yes you do need to send things tracked", "No you don't need to send things tracked", "Yes, you do", "No you don't", "Yes", "No", "Yes", "No" and finally in the revised Handmade seller guide they issued 2 days before launch - No you don't.
Great news for me as tracking doubles my international postage cost but for God's sake! I had set up my shipping to include Tracked and Signed and have now changed it to normal International Standard.

There are a few other issues but I'm sure they will be ironed out eventually as it rolls along. I've no idea if my bangles will sell but I wanted to give it a go at least until the shop fees start in August 2016. Then it's $40 a month on top of the 12% fee for each transaction. Time will tell!
In the meantime look out for the Handmade banner and check it out next time you're on

handmade at Amazon

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.

Friday, 2 October 2015

A DIY Revolving Soldering Board And Some New Enamel Earrings

So, it's been a while. My last blog post was the end of August. I decided to take a few weeks off in September to just have a break and to get over the "bangle-burnout" I was suffering from. July and August were very busy in my shops for bangles especially and everything else {ironing mostly} was just not getting done... plus I just felt like a break. 

I had a long list of things I had to do during my break which included doing some decorating, make new stock, make some new silver bangles for hallmarking, do the ironing {!}, tidy kitchen cupboards, clean my shed and varnish my jewellery bench, register on Amazon Handmade, update my website and mourn my sweet cat Tuppence. Hang on! That last bit wasn't part of the plan but sadly old age caught up with her and she was put to sleep on Sept 2nd.

So I spent a couple of days feeling sad and missing a cat who had become my constant companion for the last few years. She liked to sit on my knee when I was at my computer and would stare intently at the screen as I attempted to type and quite often would help me to type too, adding a long line of 0000000000000000's to my text when I least expected it. 

I did get quite a lot of the things on my list done despite feeling a bit down. I made some new stock, including the enamel earrings above, which I'll post about next week plus I came up with a really cheap alternative to the shockingly expensive revolving soldering stand that Cookson Gold sell for £43! Ok, the Cookson Gold stand is made of cast iron and it's a lovely shade of blue. Mine cost me just over £2 and bit of Super Glue.

I bought some lazy susan bearings from which are very cheap - £2.19 and free delivery - took an old soldering board and some Super Glue and glued the bearings onto the board.

I was going to screw the bearings onto the board but it just started to crumble when I tried drilling a hole in it so I tried attaching it with the glue and it worked fine.
I then put another soldering board on top and ta da! A revolving soldering board!

The board sits quite safely on top of the bearings and I can raise the height of it if I need to by just sitting it on top of a few more boards. I'm sure a slightly bigger board would work ok on it too. I've used it a couple of times and it's great! It's really useful for the type of bangles I make with a length of wire coiled and twisted round the bangle as I like to solder the wire in place around the bangle.

Being able to turn the soldering board as I pick solder the wire in place makes life a bit easier and I'm all for anything that makes soldering easier :D

Copyright © 2015 Cinnamon Jewellery. All rights reserved.