Holiday in Norway

I’ve spent the past three weeks in Norway, and now that I’m leaving in a day and a half (early, early Saturday morning) I figured I’d gather some thoughts.

I spent Christmas here along with my mum and two brothers. I won’t post pictures of them because I don’t think they want the fame and fortune (fame, anyway), so you’ll just have to imagine a family of four that look somewhat similar to each other. 🙂

Also cat.

Silke the Cat

This little beast.

The resident cat is named Silke (which means silk, because she’s so soft) and she’s a black, furry little thing with quite the personality. She’s as stubborn as any other cat I’ve met but also very, very cuddly and utterly destructive.

So yeah. We’ve had a few run-ins, me and the cat. But she sleeps in my bed at night, so I suppose it’s ok.

Christmas Tree

I don’t think this is the tree from this year and I don’t know why I have an old picture of our Christmas tree in my folder on the laptop, but there we are. That’s roughly what that corner of the living room looked like. Until we demolished all the presents, mwahahahaha*cough*haha!! *ahem*

The view here is spectacular. I grew up in this very house and lived here until I was 20, so to me it’s perfectly normal. But everyone else oohs and aahs over it, so I figured I’d include a picture.

View from Fardal

“Ooh! Aah!”

So that’s been my holiday. Well, the highlights anyway. I haven’t taken many pictures so this is what you get. 🙂 There are a couple more on Instagram, but I’ve been unforgivably lax with the camera for the last long while so don’t expect too much..!

What Do You Think You’re Doing, Victoria?!

So I desperately need rings. DESPERATELY. Rings, rings, rings. I need to buy them right now.

Ok, so secretly I’m (shh!) planning on going to one of my best friends’ wedding. She’s across the Pond (no, not Amy, don’t be silly. The Big Pond, the… fine. The Atlantic Ocean), and I have procured a barge and everything!

I wasn’t originally going to go, airfare is really expensive after all, but then I heard there will be tacos at the reception! Who can resist tacos, am I right??

However, now I’m thinking… what if someone sees me? I’m not supposed to be on another continent! Even for a wedding! So I need hush money, and quick.

This is where you come in.

I have shared this with you, yeah, just you, so that you can help me out. I don’t need much, most people are falling for my “I need rings” excuse, but you know the truth. You know that a wedding featuring a battle and a TARDIS cannot be ignored. (And the tacos. Don’t forget the tacos!)

Just for you, I have set up a massive discount code in my shop. So I’m not even asking for free money, see? I’m giving back to the community!!!

You can use the code SHHHH (that’s four Hs) at checkout in my Etsy shop to get 20% off! And you only have to spend £15 to qualify!

Quick! I can feel them coming… they might see this blog post… hurry!!!

Shhhh!

Aaaaaaaaagggghhhhhhh

So apparently an entire year has passed again. What have I been up to? I don’t even remember! Karli from Designosaur suggested I look through my phone pictures, but I take entirely too few pictures to be able to rely on that!

I’ve spent a lot of time with my cat…

IMG_2144

And my boyfriend, but he likes to pretend he doesn’t exist so I don’t get to take pictures of him.

I got an engraver which I played around with a lot and I have properly started metal stamping, which means that metal stamped stuff will even show up in my Etsy shop soon!

IMG_2149 IMG_2204

Ph34r my safety goggles! ;)

Ph34r my safety goggles! 😉

I’ve also made a bunch of new stuff through the year, but I think the thing I’m the most proud of is my Life Pendant.

lifependants

This pendant is available in my shop and I’ll be publishing a tutorial for how to make it and also sell kits with the rings needed very soon!

And then some more cat, because cat.

IMG_2225

I drank a lot of Coffee…

IMG_2350

I took part in two awesome Christmas markets – The Fairy Tale Fair and the Etsy Made Local Brighton Market! Here is a picture from The Fairy Tale Fair:

The Fairy Tale Fair, Brighton. Photo taken by www.sarahlondonphotography.co.uk

The Fairy Tale Fair, Brighton.
Photo taken by www.sarahlondonphotography.co.uk

I finally got some big girl chainmaille pliers! I’ve been using less specialised ones up until now, but my amazing friend gave me these for Christmas! 😀

IMG_2509

And all the way through the year I have had so much support from Craft Britannia and the Brighton Etsy Team! You are all the BEST! Yay! 😀

New and exciting stuff awaits in 2016, there will be more, more, MORE new things, exciting things, fabulous things, metal things, awesome things and other things!!!

Yay!

“So how long does it take you…”

One question I get a lot as a chainmailler is “So how long does it take you to make a bracelet?” When I tell people, they tend to go wide-eyed. Some people are under the impression that I buy the maille in sheets and only roll it up and hook it together. Nooo. This is all made from individual rings. I would say I slave over my workbench, but truth is I love doing it and it never actually feels like work. Having said that, though, I’ve spent practically the entire day on one bracelet which is still not finished, so my brain went a little weird…

Elfsheet

This is how far I got Tuesday.

So naturally I’ve been posting my progress on Instagram. (Follow me! 😀 ) And answering questions. Like “How long did it take you…?”

Well.

This one has so far taken me two albums by Poets of the Fall, one by Saint[the]Sinner, two Sugarcult ones, a Trust Company one and I’m on the second by Vampire Weekend. And there was a mixed playlist in there somewhere as well. And counting. So we’ll see!!!

(I took half an album’s break after typing that. So I guess the second Vampire Weekend one doesn’t fully count.)

I was going to schedule this post for tomorrow (Thursday), but my brain is so tired I can’t figure out verb tenses and day sequences, so you’re getting it Wednesday evening instead. Yay!

Have some more pictures of the process while I’m at it. As of posting, the last picture is up to date. 🙂

A little chainmaille game!

As some of you know, I’m fairly active in one of the biggest chainmaille groups on Facebook. A few days ago, I decided to make a little game for us obsessive maillers to play – all in good fun and to laugh at ourselves and our weird habits.

The game is simply a list of common things for a chainmailler to experience, with various points values attached. I haven’t balanced it out to hit a round number, and the number of list items is 37 in the end, but for those of you who have some knowledge of maille, or even jewellery making in general, this will probably sound very, very (very!) familiar.

So without further ado – on to the points gathering!

Got Maille?

1. Dreams about maille – 5pts
2. Sleep walked to your work station – 10pts
3. Slammed pliers down in anger – 5pts
4. Thrown pliers or half finished projects – 10pts
5. Made rings fly – 1pt
6. Made half finished projects fly (without throwing them!) – 10pts
7. Knows five weaves without looking at the tutorial – 5pts
8. Knows 20 weaves without a tut – 20pts
9. Knows weaves whose name you can’t even remember! – 25pts
10. Has five unfinished projects on the go – 5pts
11. Has 20 unfinished projects on the go – 10 pts
12. Has 5+ bags/boxes/bowls of unfinished projects – 50pts
13. Found rings on the floor – 5pts
14. Found rings on the pet – 15pts
15. Found rings in the shower / toaster / cup of Coffee / other insane place – 20pts
16. Has a mailling specific music or video playlist – 5pts
17. Played a spot-the-chainmaille drinking game – 10pts
18. Made armour – 10pts
19. …For a soft toy – 20pts
20. …For a pet – 25pts
21. Made your own picture/banner out of maille – 20pts
22. Has war wounds / scars / permanent injuries from mailling – 10pts
23. Makes own rings – 15pts
24. Has a pliers collection bigger than the cutlery drawer – 25pts
25. Has a bigger supply of rings than food at any given time – 15pts
26. Can use more than two pairs of pliers at the same time (juggling included) – 50pts
27. Poked self in the face/nose/eyes with pliers – -5pts
28. Makes Freudian slips with maille jargon – 15pts
29. Named pet after chainmaille (weave, jargon, etc) – 25pts
30. Named kid after chainmaille – 100pts
31. Considers two hours of sleep to be perfectly acceptable in exchange for 12 hours’ mailling time – 1pt
32. Can identify wire gauge on sight – 15pts
33. Has worn out more than five pairs of pliers – 20pts
34. …In one year – 50pts
35. Drinks more cold Coffee/tea/”hot” drinks than fresh ones due to maille – 10pts
36. Can make at least one weave blindfolded – 25pts
37. Can make five or more weaves blindfolded – 50pts

So what’s your score? Tell me in the comments. 🙂

The #btnetsy Tools and Work Habits Blog Challenge

So I was asked to write up a blog post which would start a blog challenge for the Brighton Etsy (#btnetsy) Team, all about tools and how I work and all that good stuff. This is my attempt at making a few starting point questions without making it sound too much like an interview. 🙂

Show us a picture of your work station.

It's never usually this tidy!

It’s never usually this tidy!

This is the small area in which I make all my chainmaille. It’s about the size of a third to half a desk, with the laptop to my right, Coffee cup within easy reach and tools and supplies scattered around in a “creative” way.

The cardboard boxes you see are the containers I use to keep my rings from being swept onto the floor, and the like. I keep the rings in zip lock bags when I store them, but they need to be in easy reach when I work. Hence cardboard boxes and lids!

The desk itself has definitely seen better days. It has paint stains, bits of glue that won’t come off and even knife marks from cutting plastic. Not to mention the marks I’ve intentionally put on it, which measure out the most common bracelet sizes so I won’t have to always bring out the tape measure. It’s a good desk, though. I like it. 🙂

What are your favourite tools, and how do you use them?

My favourite tools are my pliers. You can see them in the above picture, with the blue handles. They’re hardware shop pliers rather than jewellery pliers, but they work great for my purposes. I use them to open and close each ring individually, weaving them together into the beautiful patterns of chainmaille. I even have a video showing how to do one particular weave!

What time of day or night do you do your best creative work?

My favourite creative time is somewhere between 2am and 5am. Just around 3am I hit my peak. Unfortunately I live in the real world and I can’t help but appreciate sunlight, so I don’t work during that time much. In practice I work during the day. Probably around 11am-2pm for the creative stuff, with admin and other boring things surrounding it. Then I get a second wind in the late afternoon – early evening and do some more. 🙂

Do you prefer working in silence, with music or with something else as secondary entertainment?

I prefer working with music on. I have several playlists, but my most used one is one simply called “Metal”. Lately I’ve been listening a lot to Vanity Draws Blood, Prolong the Agony and Saint[the]Sinner, all sort-of-local bands who are really, really good. (Check them out. 😉 )

I also keep the TV on if I’m not listening to music. I’ll be watching a sci-fi show or Mythbusters, or something else that doesn’t take too much concentration. I don’t work well in silence. I think it’s a psychological thing.

Describe how you structure your work

I really, really don’t! I try to fit in everything I need to do in a day, but it rarely works. Between creative work, admin work, social media and general household chores, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve been thinking of trying to adhere to a schedule (I even made one!) but my brain just doesn’t work like that. I fail miserably, and then spend time feeling bad about it rather than, you know, working. Humans. Pah. Honestly. 🙂

I hope this has given you some more insight into the enigma that is yours truly. I’m a simplistically complex person, and everything makes sense in my head, honest. Hopefully some words work together in coherence in writing as well!

If you’re a Brighton Etsy person and want to join in with the challenge, just copy the questions from here or the forum and make your own post. And please do comment with the link. I’d love to read it! 🙂

Survival Without the Internet

I lost my internet connection today. When I got out of bed and went to the computer, I couldn’t connect to anything. Here follows a log I wrote to keep my sanity while cut off from the world.

Hour 1 without Internet

I feel vaguely lost, is if a part of me is gone. I can’t check Facebook. I can’t go on Etsy. I can’t even watch Netflix! The latter realisation hit me hard. That was my backup plan. I suppose I’ll have to resort to… dee-vee-dees. I vaguely remember the concept of these things. We’ll see if I can figure out how to use them.

My boyfriend is almost as confused as I am. He told me the oven doesn’t require the internet, so he can still cook something. I remain unconvinced.

Addendum: I can’t even check my ***** email!!!!!

Hour 2 without Internet

I have put my laptop to sleep, finally. I kept it on, just in case, but I fear the Internet will take its time coming back to me. Oh, Internet. Why did I not appreciate you more when I had access?

The boyfriend is trying to make the home network come to life, so we can watch videos from his computer on the TV. The desperation in his voice is clear. Something must stream! Unfortunately his computer is laughing at us both and refusing to transmit the right files. I feel like all technology has turned against us. It makes me fearful.

Addendum: The oven is spreading smoke all over the kitchen. I told him it wouldn’t work without the Internet.

Hour 3 without Internet

The Kitty has come to me, complaining that her wi-fi is down. She must have used up her 3G data allowance. She will not accept that I cannot help her. The entire household is falling apart.

I am watching Captain America. They have an Internet connection. That’s so unfair.

Hour 4 without Internet

I have resorted to the ancient technology of dee-vee-dees. Good thing I’ve kept these things around. Score one for the hoarding tendencies!

Hour 5

The Internet is back! Praise Jove, Zeus, Odin and all the others! If there is a god of technology, I shall build a shrine to her.

Web hosting and chainmaille

I found out today that I had some trouble with my webhosting. I won’t go into details because I feel like it may be a rookie mistake and I can’t figure out how to fix it. Suffice to say I spent much time being rather frustrated.

Now, I’m a geek through and through. And I’m stubborn as all… well. I write my own HTML and CSS rather than use any kind of editor, because I like the control it gives me, because I like learning and because I’m too stubborn to use software to do something I can type out on my own. So not being able to fix something web based was… frustrating. Very, very frustrating.

Angry looking cat

I may have been growling.

Eventually I gave up and emailed Customer Support. We’ll see what they say.

The rest of the day so far has been spent making chainmaille. New chain, new thingie up in my shop (link in top menu), pleased Victoria. I have a fair few Valentine’s products now. Perhaps I should start thinking about colourful spring type things from now on.

I’m also having Skyrim cravings. Teh boyfriend plays it constantly and I can hear it from my desks. I may have logged over X hundred hours in the game, but I think I could eek another Y hundred out of it. I may take some time off from the internet and jewellery to play some sweet, addictive, Tamriel based “crack” later.

For now, I think I need more Coffee. And some hugs from the cat.

All excited!

I got my Rainbow Hematite! It’s so rainbow-y! I immediately made something and put it up in my shop. Valentine’s bracelet, yay! It’s a thin chainmaille chain with rainbow hematite and goldstone hearts as charms. Go, have a look! I’ll wait!

Did you see it? It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Here’s a close-up of the hematite, which is really, really hard to do justice in photographs.

Close-up of green rainbow hematite

Shiny!

Of course, right after I’d received that order the same shop goes and restocks the craft wire I use. Which they were out of. Which I needed. So I had to make another order.

Big pile of craft wire

I may have gone overboard.

I plan to make many rings. And many wire wrapped things. Quite what things are yet to be determined. Probably more hearts for a start.

I went to a local Etsy meet on Wednesday evening, which was great but overwhelming. I ended up ill for the next two days as a result. I consider it to have been worth it, though. Shout out to new friends, yay! I don’t even remember everyone’s name, but I’m hoping to see them all again next time. I have my sociable moments.

This morning I got one of my weekly emails from Pinterest and I was inspired to make this:

Necklace with Jasper bead charms

Jaspery.

The beads are Jasper, or at least I think the rectangular ones are. The round ones definitely are. So that’s now also up on Etsy.

I’ve really fallen in love with Jasper. I have about four different kinds in my bead box now, and they’re all amazing. I don’t really have a favourite semi-precious stone, but various kinds of jasper definitely reach my top five. (Other top fives would probably include smoky quarts, moonstone, lapis lazuli and about three others I can’t think of right now. I’m not a stickler for mathematics.)