24 July 2016

Sunday self-portraits: Hair

Just a quick look at the before and after of my new haircut! I've kept it long at the front and got it cut shorter at the back which makes my thick hair so much easier to live with!
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22 July 2016

Buckhaven and Kirkland photo walk

My Dad wanted some photos taken at his old workplaces, Buckhaven and Kirkland High Schools, which are due to be demolished soon (the schools have been merged into a brand new building). And, since I love taking photos of post-war architecture and decay, it was a perfect idea for a father-daughter photo walk!

19 July 2016

Spa in the City

After enjoying Spa in the City so much last year, I had marked it in my calendar as a must-do in May. May came and went, with no sign of Spa in the City, so I thought they were not having it, or that it had come and gone without me noticing, but it turned out that it was in July instead, so I hadn't missed out! This time I dragged along my friend Caroline (not that she needed much persuasion!).
I knew from the queues last year that it would be a good idea to be there at 8.30, but this seemed like less of a good idea when dragging myself out of bed at 6.30 for a 7.30 train... on one of the few days of the year that I was guaranteed to have a hangover, since the previous day was the end of term!

But we got there in good time, got a decent place in the queue, and (eventually) got our goodie bags (they ran out at one point so we went back for them when we spotted other folk getting theirs!).
We booked appointments in the Toni & Guy tent, got a free taster of frozen yoghurt, went to a tea and chocolate tasting by the East India Company, got our makeup done by Glamcandy. Then we went to the Toni & Guy tent where we allowed the stylist complete freedom over how she put our hair up - Caroline ended up with an Ab-Fab style that was knotted up the back, and I had a bun at the back made of complex twists.
Then we went to a cocktail demo by Elements (mmmmmmm, those cocktails were tasty!) and to an eyebrow demo by Benefit.
After all that we were starving, so headed to McDonalds!

16 July 2016

Acrylic jewellery making class

This is the final post about the three jewellery classes I've been to recently. This one was run by I Am Acrylic, and was held at Hannah Zakari in Edinburgh.
Brendan and Ruth had sent out a helpful PDF in advance, explaining the size of the acrylic pieces and giving some ideas, so I did some sketches and came up with a design of two blue birds and a heart.
The technique we used for cutting the acrylic was the same as I'd used for silver in the past, so I got the hang of it pretty quickly (and amazingly I managed to get through without breaking a saw blade!). I was surprised at how achy I got while cutting the pieces out, especially in the hand that was holding the piece. Ruth and Brendan were very attentive, coming round and making sure that we all knew what we were doing.
When the pieces for my necklace were ready, Ruth drilled them and, when I'd filed them and given the edges a run with vaseline, added jump rings and chains. While I was waiting for this, Brendan told me that I would have time to make another necklace, so I decided on a quick lightning bolt.

After the class I couldn't resist buying their cloud and lightning earrings to match my lightning necklace!

14 July 2016

Ring CARVE-ing

You may remember that this spring I went to a ring carving class with CARVE in Dunfermline. Well, I enjoyed it so much that immediately afterwards I booked to go to another one at Brewdog in Dundee.
It was a smaller class this time, just 6 people around one table, and I felt this worked really well as it gave us a better chance to get to know each other and to see what everyone else was doing.

I wanted to do a ring inspired by chunky minerals, like iron pyrites. There were a couple of the sample rings that I liked, so I kept them handy for inspiration.
I really enjoyed seeing what the others were up to, and one of them was carving a Totoro inspired ring with a rubber-stamped soot-sprite!

Because I'd done a class before, I had a good idea of what I needed to do and was able to do it quite quickly. But the others were also finished fairly quickly so we were all able to enjoy the lovely food and drink that was included in the price - some tasty nachos and flights of beer. I liked having the smaller glasses of beer as I can never finish a half pint!

12 July 2016

Titanium ring making class

Recently I've been going to quite a few jewellery making classes, and I'll tell you about the other two later this week. But the first was this one at Process Studios in Edinburgh, to make a titanium ring.

I've always loved titanium jewellery since I first came across its brilliant colours in the 1980s, and in fact I still have a pair of titanium hoop earrings I got in that era!

Titanium is very light, so you'd think it would be easy to work with. But it's actually also very very hard, difficult to bend and to file.
The tutor had already cut out strips of titanium for us to use, so that part was easy. We then used a ring sizer to get these to the right length, and cleaned them up with sandpaper. After bending them into shape we drilled holes and added rivets made of tiny pieces of silver tube. This was extremely fiddly!

The fun part was heating the titanium and watching the colour changes!
There was time left at the end, so we were free to make another ring or pendant. I made a pendant with some marks filed into it for a pattern, and I'm really pleased with how vividly the colours came out on it and my ring. I like the industrial look that the rivets give.