Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I love surprises...

... I really do!
There's nothing that makes my heart pound faster or my cheeks blush to a crimson red than a surprise email!

Amanda from Calico & Co. wrote to me this morning to let me know that my 'Hoppity Hop Easter Bunny Earrings' were featured on her blog!
Thank you ever so much, Amanda!


A little gift box,
sent on its way...

...filled with treasures,
to a happy new owner...

My Monday was complete because of you!

Happy Day!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gems in my Pocket...

So I guess you're wondering if I really DO have gems in my pocket?...

..well, in a word, YES!

I carry gems, already set in lovely pieces of jewellery, in a sturdy box in my bag.
Every day.
Without fail.
I show them to my friends and colleagues.
I look at them and draw inspiration from them.
I sometimes have cabochons and faceted stones with me too so I can stare at their beauty and devise a new piece of jewellery to make.

But there's also another reason I carry gems in my pocket.

The little courtyard at work that has recently been landscaped provides an excellent opportunity for me to photograph my newly finished jewellery (during my break times of course!) and have them ready for listing in my etsy and madeit shops.

During the winter months when it's dark before I leave for work and even darker on my drive home, I'll be able to photograph my new items during the day (provided it's not raining!) instead of waiting until the weekend when I'm at home during the short daylight hours.

So there we have it!
I really DO have gems in my pocket!
Kinda like a walking, talking pirate's treasure chest!

Here's a photo I took in the courtyard today ...

... and these cute little bunnies will be in my etsy and madeit shops tonight!

Happy Day!

Mariann Monika

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

... Simple Things ...

Sometimes it's good to slow down,
And listen to the hum of the world.

It's a weight off the shoulders,
A lighter feeling,
When one considers the simple things in life.

I stop and smell the roses. LITERALLY.
I watch that noisy miner outside my window until it pulls a wriggly worm from the earth,
And devours it whole.
I watch and wait patiently until my kitty has finished licking her paw and washing her face,
before giving her a pat and a scratch behind the ears.

Simple things.
Captured in a simple ring.

With a simple bezel setting,
Plain round ring band,
And the deepest red garnet cabochon you have ever seen.

Hand formed, shaped, soldered, polished and set.
Sterling silver.

With all my love.

So you can enjoy the simple things, too.

Available in my etsy and madeit shops this evening.

Happy Day!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cuddly Kitties...

Allow me to introduce my lovely girls...

Tiggy is the tabby one
Shadow is black and white

Here they are having cuddles and being extremely adorable!
(a common occurrence)
We set out one sunny Saturday morning in late September last year to get a letterbox for our house...

...We came home with kitties!

We adopted Tiggy and Shadow from the AAPS Keysborough Animal Shelter. They care for cats, dogs, bunnies, guinea pigs and other strange and wonderful creatures while they wait for a new home and a loving family to adopt them.
The passion and warmth of the staff and volunteers is immeasurable.
They are a non-profit organization and rely on donations and sales from their opportunity shops to keep the shelter running.
I advise anyone in the area to donate their unwanted towels, blankets and newspapers to them, and for anyone who shops at Ritchies IGA Supermarkets, take a moment to put them on your Community Benefit Card, as a little goes a long way for giving these loyal companions a voice when they cannot speak for themselves.

Shadow and Tiggy love to cuddle!
If we're not paying attention, Shadow will paw our arm until we pat her.
Tiggy always lets me know that her bowl is empty or her water needs a top up with a long winded "Meooooow!" and a glance from her big, pretty eyes.

They are about 4 years old. We think their owner fell ill and couldn't return to feed them, so they were taken to the shelter by a family member and put up for adoption.

I think they are very grateful for having been adopted,
and we feel blessed to have found them!

Heaven is a kitty...
...napping on your lap.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my darling fiance!
I made pancakes for him this morning...

Happy Day!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Results

I've got great news!!

My '30 minute ring' challenge was HUGE a success!!

I finished it right on time without a hiccup!

I've been busy-as-a-worker-bee preparing my artist's submission for Lark Books,

so I haven't taken a pic of last night's 'Rough & Smooth' ring as yet,

but I'll add the photo to this post tomorrow, I promise!

...and here it is!...

I'm looking forward to the long weekend.

Monday will be Labour Day here in Victoria,

and true to form I'll be making jewellery...

...all day!

Happy Day!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The "30 Minute Ring" Challenge

For all my fellow jewellers and friends of the crafty kind, you'll be pleased to know that Lark Books is currently taking submissions from jewellers for their new book in the '30 Minute' series.

This book will be focused on rings that can be made within 30 minutes, and as you know, I'm always up for a challenge!

I decided on my
'Rough & Smooth' ring design for this challenge, and with the help of my lovely hubby-to-be (who kindly took photos while I was feverishly making the ring) I rolled up my sleeves, found some elbow grease and got cracking at making it in 30 minutes flat!

All was going well, until it came time to rivet the ring to close it shut.

ALAS! My rivet with the rivet head formed and ready to go was nowhere to be found!

It must have dropped on the floor, and, being such a tiny little thing I wasn't able to find it!

So, with a sunken heart, I quickly got to work making another one.

This put me behind schedule, as did waiting for the acid pickle to work its magic on removing the flux following the reticulation process, so it was back to the drawing board... with a great solution to my woes!

I've now got a little container to put my tiny bits & pieces in so they don't get lost...

AND I've realised that reticulation doesn't require flux at all! Therefore no more waiting around for the acid pickle to remove the flux!


Below are the pics and the processes in making my 'Rough & Smooth' Ring:

(images and design are copyright)

...sawpiercing the sterling silver band...

...reticulation of the sterling silver using my torch to melt the surface...

...forming the rivet head on sterling silver wire...

...filing and polishing...

...forming the band into a ring...

...securing the flush rivet...

...final finishing touches...

...and it's finished!...

I'll be doing the whole process again and making another ring tonight, without losing the little rivet and minus the flux and acid pickle!
Be sure to have your fingers crossed for me and I'll post the results tomorrow!

...until then...
Happy Day!


Monday, March 1, 2010

First Things First...

Allow me to introduce myself:

My name is Mariann and I am a jeweller.

(I love the way that sounds! My heart goes thumpity-thump!)

I'm a rockin' receptionist by day,
Jeweller extraordinaire by night!

I live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne
(where there's four seasons in a day and the summers are hot)
with my darling fiance, our two lovely kitties
and a bright red fighter fish called Nitro.

My workshop is my sanctuary where I create the designs I've dreamed up during the day.

My profile from my MadeIt and Etsy shops sums up
what I love to do:

Sometimes I think the Lord was sitting at His jeweller's bench when He created me.
He placed two shining green emeralds as my eyes,
pure spun gold as my hair,
platinum for my pearly complexion and a heart of silver,
passionate, kind and creative.

Ever since I was a child I was drawn to the shiny,
precious gems my mum wore
on her fingers,
on her neck
and ears.

This was confirmed to me as my one true passion when
Metals was offered as a subject in high school.
It seemed natural to take the path towards studying
an Advanced Diploma in
Engineering - Jewellery Technology
at TAFE in Melbourne, Australia.
They were the best years of my life,
spent with the most inventive students and
teachers that taught with flair and inspiration.
I developed my design skills into
shapes and colours.
My mind forever spinning with designs,
my eyes never resting
as they attend to the minute details while I
create and forge
and solder and sawpierce
and set and polish.

Perfection is my motivation as I enjoy the process of making each
piece of jewellery.
It is my happy place,
my comfort zone
when I come home to my little jeweller's bench
after a full day's work.
I try to imagine the lovely person that comes to treasure the pieces I am making,
and I see them,
with a smile on their face and the sun in their hair as they wear my unique creation,
feeling as much joy as I did
when I made it.

Happy Day!