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So, this time of year seems to be a bit quieter with shops – but I’ve been lucky enough to have been kept busy with some interesting custom orders :)

Here are some pics of some of them – a nice variety, I think!

PicMonkey Collage

Have a great day :) xxx

Ok, it’s been many moons since I last blogged, but I now feel like I have something to blog about – so here goes!

A little bit Hedwig, a little bit random owl – I just wanted to make an owl pendant.. However, I think I have a slight mental block against sitting owls – my gran used to collect porcelain owls, and they were all just sitting there! So, I endeavored to find a great reference picture of a flying owl, and went a-designing from there..

I found a couple of nice pictures online, just to use as references – it’s nice to see how other designers transform & detail a 2 dimensional image, so I often use these as starting points for my own designs..

owl references

In this case, I traced the outline of the silhouette of an owl, and then started filling in extra linework, as I felt the outline on its own too plain – I wanted to show more detailing. I used the idea of the other designs to add extra cutout detailing – knowing I would later blacken for extra effect. (A little side note here – I really wish I could draw by hand but, hey, I recognise my own weakness in this regard, so I use a computer as best I can!)

It’s really not as easy as it sounds, however, as I always need to keep in mind my metal thickness & strength, the smallest drill bit I work with (0.6mm!), and therefore the smallest holes I can drill.. I also decided that I didn’t like the way the left wing was folded in the image I used as a reference – so I copied and flipped the right hand wing details, and adjusted to fit to the left wing – which I felt worked better.. This whole process can take hours, which is why I have to charge more for custom orders!

Once I had finished the design, I sized & printed it – ready for manufacture.

owlcutting2

I pasted the image onto my prepared metal (1.4mm thick silver plate), and proceeded to drill holes, pierce out the details, and then pierce the whole pendant out – which again takes a few hours.. Once this was done, I forged it flat, sanded, and then polished to to a high gloss finish..

I’m really happy with how this piece turned out – I like the idea of moving away from really simple designs, to more naturalistic detailing (although I will still be adding hearts and stars from time to time – I am me!) ;) Hope that my customers will agree!

owl finished

Hi all.. Can you believe it’s October already?! This year is flying by faster than the Man of Steel & his sonic booms! Anyhow…

webpage 1

I’ve just been updating the custom orders page on my website, and wanted to share a few words.. After a really good conversation with my husband yesterday, I realised I am charging far too little for custom pieces.. I so want to be able to accommodate everyone, but the truth is, custom work takes 2-3 times as long as any other work – from designing (with options!), meeting clients, working out costs & quotes, and actually manufacturing – often trying something I’ve never done before! Anyhow, I’ve realised that I need to actually start charging for my time, or else it’s just not worth it for me to do :/

So – if you check out my website’s custom orders page, you can see a new pricing guide, with some minimum costs.. As you can see, I’m keeping custom name necklaces as low as possible, as these don’t take me long to provide a few font options – but for necklaces and rings, well, those have definitely gone up! I hope this doesn’t put too many people off – you will be getting absolutely awesome custom pieces if you order, but they will cost a little more..

Name Necklace Gerri

Click here to see some new pics of custom orders recently made up, as well as new pricing guides: http://www.starbrightgirl.com/custom%20orders.htm

Have a fantastic day everyone :) Megs xxx

So, I’m reaaaally close to 500 likes on my Facebook page – and to celebrate, once I’ve reached 500, I’m going to give away this brand new pendant :)

Facebook Giveaway - Africa Bird Pendant

Facebook Giveaway – Africa Bird Pendant

 

This pendant is sterling silver, with the bird detail hand-cut, and is approx. 20mm in length.. It will come on a sterling silver 50cm chain :)

To enter, all you need to do, is leave a comment below (and your email, so I can contact you if you win! Promise I won’t spam you!)

Also – please share this with your friends on Facebook – remember, I will only draw a winner once I have reached over 500 likes!

Thanks again to everyone for the continued support – getting “likes” on Facebook for pictures of items I’ve made always makes me so happy!

Please note – this particular giveaway is unfortunately only open to South African residents – if you’re not based in Durban, I will post the prize to the winner.

Winner will be drawn at random from a hat! ;)

Happy Weekend!! Love Megs xxx

 

Phew, I have to say, I’m glad it’s Friday – even though I’ll be doing some work this weekend.. It’s been a super busy week – with stock finished off & sent off to both Fringe Arts Cape Town shops, as well as the new Lonehill shop (JHB), as well as stock being dropped off at the KZNSA gallery, and a number of smaller orders!

(Update: I’m publishing this on Saturday – have to wait until some of the gifts at the bottom have been given! ;) )

But, the week has ended on a really good note – as I received some jewellery production tools, which I ordered from overseas, this morning..

New Jewellery Tools

My awesome new jewellery tools

On top, in the picture, you’ll see a brand new, aluminium saw-frame. This is absolutely wonderful, as it’s really light-weight & nicely balanced, which I think will definitely help reduce the strain my arms and wrists have been taking! I know some jeweller’s who use these, and only have good things to say about them – and, so far – so awesome! The other nice thing (a technical detail), is that you can set your tension for your saw-blades – which means my chest/shoulder can rest easy – as I used to have to push my old frame against myself to tension it!!

In the box, is another totally awesome tool – a mini belt-sander for the bench.. I’ve been trying it out today, and it really is great.. Basically, it clamps to the bench, and then you connect your pendant motor to it. As I have a Foredom, variable-speed, motor, I can control the speed it runs with my foot pedal, which means no hot/burnt or sanded-off-skin-fingers! I ordered a variety of sandpaper belts to use – but must say, I’m taking a while to get used to the different grits – here it’s all 400, 600, 800 etc, but these are American, and so are 320, 500, 1200.. Sigh, why can’t the world be more standardised! ;)

Anyhow – here’s a pic of me using the set-up sander (yes, I’m normally right-handed, but that would have been an awful picture!)

Using the Wolf Belt Sander

Trying out my new Wolf Belt Sander

I was honestly surprised by how beautiful and flat the pieces are sanded – which is just perfect for my style & designs! To be honest, it is a bit of a mission to change the sandpaper belts, but for assembly production sanding – I can tell this is my new best friend!! :D

To end off, here are just a couple of pics of things I have been busy with this week.. The Converse pendant isn’t quite finished – but I’m just so stoked with how it’s looking – must make more! The others are mostly gift items, so I’m just hoping they have all been given to their recipients by now! ;)

Orders August 2013

August 2013 – some custom orders

And that’s all from me – hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend :) Megs xx

So, it’s been a very topsy turvy few weeks for me – which started with my first ever Etsy return.. I have to admit, I was pretty devastated to begin with – but as the whole situation worked itself through, I decided to take it as a learning tool..

Basically, some of the items I offer on my Etsy shops, are blackened. To do this, I use a Liver of Sulphur solution, on a heated hotplate (standard for all jewellers), into which the item is dipped.¬†However, in this case, the blackening didn’t take properly, and wore off within a day. The customer requested a refund, as they wanted a blackened piece.

Supernatural Pendant

I did try and offer a few alternatives, which to their credit, they did try, but unfortunately none worked, so I accepted that I would need to refund.

Luckily, Paypal is very sorted these days, so I asked for them to post me the item back, and Paypal would only refund once a tracking number had been entered! Quite impressed with that :)

In the meantime, I went back to the studio, and did multiple tests with the blackening solution – and determined that the solution was too old, and I needed to start fresh. I also did lots of research online, and found that adding ammonia to the solution helps the blackening – which I did. Lo and behold, I finally had perfectly blackened pieces! So, whilst not being a pleasant experience, I did learn something, and will definitely take added care when blackening in future (and will always test that the blackening holds well!) (I have also made adjustments on my Etsy shop for customers to note that it is a surface solution, and will eventually wear off – so they know it’s not permanent!)

Yes, it smells as bad as it looks!

Sulphur Powder – Yes, it smells as bad as it looks!

So, that was one aspect of the last few weeks – there was also a death in the family (my hubby’s grandfather, who will be greatly missed), a friend wrote off his car, another ended up in hospital, and my tendinitis in my wrists has flared up quite badly, so it’s been physio visits, and cortisone injections (with side effects!) for me..

But – there’s also been a lot of good – my business is going well, and I had a wonderful day at the I Heart Market last week. One of my best friends was out from the UK, so I got to spend lots of time with her, which was lovely – and another set of friends had their first baby – who we get to meet tomorrow.. :)

So, it really is about taking the bad with the good – learning from the bad, and just appreciating & enjoying the good..

This has been a deep post from me today (as deep as I go!) – so I’m going to sign off, say Happy Thursday – and enjoy the long weekend everyone in South Africa! Megs xxx

PS – One more note, for the geeky Supernatural fans (who’ll be the only ones to get this) – ironic isn’t it, that SULPHUR is used to blacken the pendant!! :P

 

Hi again – and welcome to the new week – hope it’s going to be a great one! ;)Today I thought I’d write a little bit about custom orders..

I really enjoy doing custom orders for people – even though they stress me out, to be honest! Trying to match up with a vision in someone’s head is not always easy! But, I like to tackle them.. Plus, I have one fallback – I NEVER start making things up until people are 100% sure about the design!

I’m pretty lucky in that I do all my designs on the computer (vector files) – so I’m able to create a jpeg, and email to customers to check.. This is also useful when I have to make sure of, for example, a ring size – when the customer is on the other side of the world! I send a 100% scaled image, they can print it out, cut it out, and wrap it around their finger to check! I did this recently for a ring headed to Germany – and thankfully, it apparently fits perfectly! (Plus, I love the fact that most Germans I have met are really accurate – and these customers were great and gave me perfect diameters!) ;)
Here’s a pic of the design, and the finished ring :)

Cthulhu RingIt’s also really helpful for designing – I get some interesting requests, where a customer will ask, for example, if I can combine a variety of images to form 1 design – see the example below:

BuffyAngelPendantIt was highly useful to be able to send a rough design first, to make sure I was on the right track, before spending ages fine-tuning it all!

So basically – I really do love doing custom work, and I’m always happy to be able to work with people all over the world, to create something they’re going to love! ;) I’ll leave you with a few more examples of work I’ve done this year.. Have a great week!! :) Megan xx

Comp Design Collage

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