Category Archives: Choo Choo

Another Count the Ginges Competition

We’ve been so busy running workshops recently that I haven’t had chance to post so here is a quick competition and a promise that I will post again soon !

Every morning I take ChooChoo for a walk along our lane, it gives me chance to see how the seasons are changing day by day.  Each day we are joined by some of our cats – have a look at the photo and count the GINGES.

ginger cats

And click on this link www.lavidalerie.com/Give-Aways.html to see how to enter the draw to win one of my handmade silver Blown Away Wish Charms.

wish charm handmade silver

Ends midnight 1.9.15.

Count the Ginges and Enter The Draw !

May Competition – Count the Ginges !

This morning my walk with Choo Choo was joined by some of our ginger cats – how many can you see in this photo ? You can enter the draw to win one of my new Blown Away Wish Charms, handmade in sterling silver and perfect for a necklace or bracelet via my website – http://www.lavidalerie.com/Give-Aways.html

Ginger Cats - on a walk with Choo Choo

handmade silver wish charm competition

Good luck to everyone !  And if you can’t wait you can also order this charm and even have it personalised for you by clicking on the photo above.

Competition ends midnight Monday 4th May 2015.

Step by Step Setting Cabs using Riveting and How to Make these Mixed Metal Earrings !

I made these earrings recently and it was only when I finished that I thought what a good step by step tutorial they’d make.

handmade silver riveted labradorite earrings

Riveting sterling silver & labradorite earrings – £28

Unfortunately I hadn’t taken any photos so I made different pair in a similar way and photoed each stage.

Handmade riveted mixed metal earrings step by step how to make tutorial

Copper & Silver Riveted Earrings Hanging on my Handmade Wild Garden Straights Ear Wires

tutorial earrings

Step 1 – Cut 2 pairs of triangles our of 0.3mm copper sheet (when the earrings are riveted 2 x 0.3mm = 0.6mm a nice weight/strength for earrings

how to make riveted earrings

Step 2 – 2 discs cut from textured sterling silver sheet = also 0.3mm thick

domed silver discs

Step 3 – Silver discs domed using a metal doming black

Step 4 - holes (a little smaller than diameter of domed discs)  punched in copper triangles.

Step 4 – holes (a little smaller than diameter of domed discs) punched in copper triangles.

mighty punch

Mighty Punch – This was what I used to make the holes.

Step 5 - Pick a hole in the doming block that is slightly larger than the hole in the triangle.  Use a punch to gently flare the hole outwards

Step 5 – Pick a hole in the doming block that is slightly larger than the hole in the triangle. Use a punch to gently flare the hole outwards

step by step mixed metal earrings handmade

Step 6 – Check the silver domes fit the triangles.

Step 7 - Drill 1mm holes for the 1mm rivets

Step 7 – Drill 1mm holes for the 1mm rivets

Step 8 - Handmade fine silver balled end rivets (these could have been made out of sterling silver)

Step 8 – Handmade fine silver balled end rivets (these could have been made out of sterling silver)

riveted earrings tutorial

Step 9 – Put the earrings together remembering to include the domed silver discs – put the silver rivets through the earrings front to back

Earrings ready to be riveted - I added an additional wire rivet near the top. - They are then ready to sand down the edges and add the ear wires.

Earrings ready to be riveted – I added an additional wire rivet near the top. – They are then ready to sand down the edges and add the ear wires.

handmade sterling silver ear wires unique

Wild Garden Straights – handmade silver ear wires – £4 per pair

Handmade riveted mixed metal earrings step by step how to make tutorial

Copper & Silver Riveted Earrings Hanging on my Handmade Wild Garden Straights Ear Wires

handmade silver riveted labradorite earrings

These earrings were made in a  very similar way, I punched the hole for the labradorite cab through both pieces of silver to allow the light to shine through and I riveted a bail on the top.

You can use this technique for semi-precious cabs, round fused glass cabs and domed discs.

Learning how to rivet gives you lots of options in your jewellery making – have a look here for more examples – Riveting Workshop or see more riveted jewellery made by our students on our FB page

Just a Little Bit of Snow This Year – So Far…..

For those of you who missed my snowy pictures on FB – Here are a few of the photos I have taken in our lane whilst walking Choo Choo

LaVidalerieSign

Our lane

Our lane

lunet

This is our closest village – Lunet

And these two photos I’m planning to etch into rings – I’ll post photos when I find the time to do this 😉

snow

Ivy

And Finally… Choo Choo

lhassa apso - snowball legs

Choo Choo after his walk – His legs have turned into snowballs !

Do visit our website and see all the lovely new items by clicking here

And learn more about our fabulous jewellery making holidays by clicking here

Quick GiveAway – UPDATE 1.3.15 – Congratulations to Caroline J – Winner !

Add a comment with the name of our closest village to be included in the draw for a pair of my new handmade silver crescent moons – winner can choose hammered or sanded finish – Draw ends Sunday midnight 15th Feb 2015 (don’t worry if your comment doesn’t appear – they won’t until after midnight on Sunday)

artisan silver findings crescent moons handmade

Handmade silver crescent moons – Sanded finish – £5.50 a pair

handmade silver findings

Hammered Moons – £5.50 a pair

A Day Off and A Picnic on the Aubrac – Day 30

After a strange summer we are having wonderful weather, chilly in the morning and hot in the afternoon.  Yesterday we had a day off to reminded ourselves why we came to live here in the Aveyron.  We took Choo Choo up to the Aubrac, a beautifully unspoilt high plateau where the cows graze during the summer and skiers visit the ski stations during the winter.

Here are just a few of the photos Tim took to give you a taste of the beautiful area we live in.  We started off with a picnic at a deserted lake (clicking on the photo should take you into a larger version).

Aubrac

Followed by a (for me) very long walk behind the Royal Aubrac, a large building originally built as a sanatorium for patients to benefit from the pure clean air.  We met cows on the way and here’s Choo Choo hairing (well he is a ball of hair) back to us after deciding the cows were rather larger than he thought.

Lhasa Apso

First or last crocus

First or last crocus

Tim found this beautiful crocus, the Aubrac is famous for it’s rare orchids but you also see wild daffodils and narcissus in the spring – I don’t know if this is the last crocus of this year or the first of next (if that makes sense).

Dry stone walls - these are all over the Aubrac and around us - it never ceases to amaze us how much work must have been put in to make these.

Dry stone walls – these are all over the Aubrac and around us – it never ceases to amaze us how much work must have been put in to make these.

I was keeping an eye out for etching subjects and Tim took some photos of trees including this one….

DayOff5

…that I have edited in the hope that it will be suitable for etching

.

This is the image so far - I will need to make it completely black and white before printing it onto PNP paper for transferring onto metal.

This is the image so far – I will need to make it completely black and white before printing it onto PNP paper for transferring onto metal.

Join me tomorrow and see if it made a good subject for etching.

Students Work & A Lampshade Dog

Students Work
We’ve been super busy with workshops recently and as always I am so impressed with the beautiful jewellery our students produce.   Here are some of the group photos with links to the FaceBook album where you can see the photos individually.

Shona – Introduction to Silversmithing – July 2014
silversmithing workshop in france la vidalerie
It was Shona’s first visit to La Vidalerie, she chose a one to one workshop incorporating a silversmithing taster, wire work and stringing.  She made some gorgeous silver studs & stacker rings as well as learning how to make wire wrapped loops and stringing.

Handmade earring - jewellery making class La Vidalerie
And these lovely earrings Shona made with lampwork beads by Trudi at Glitteringprize (click on the image for Trudi’s Etsy shop).

Laura – Riveting, Chainmail and Wirework – July 2014
We were so pleased to have Laura back for her 3rd visit,  she felt that she needed a creative break and chose a one to one workshop having the cottage to herself –

one to one jewellery making tuition holiday in france

We had great fun with riveting, byzantine weave earrings, fold forming and sawing and a whole set of dangle rings.Handmade crocodile silver pendant la vidalerie jewellery making workshops students work
And this is Laura’s fabulous crocodile pendant – drawn then sawn from silver sheet, textured and riveted.

Carolyn & Vicki – Mother & Daughter Break – July 2014
This was Carolyn & Vicky’s 2nd mother & daughter visit to La Vidalerie. Vicky has been silversmithing for about 3 years and Carolyn is a relative beginner. This time they wanted to explore more silversmithing, glass fusing, etching and rivetingmother & daughter craft holiday jewellery making in france la vidalerieNight Market St Geniez d'Olt

It’s amazing how many techniques we used and the number of pieces they made – and we even had time to visit the night market at our local village St Geniez d’Olt and enjoy the fireworks (the night markets are run every other week in the season and the fireworks once or twice a year – both great fun and very French !

Jean & Joan – Wonderful Week of Jewellery – July 2014
It was Jean’s 2nd visit to La Vidalerie and she had booked a 3 day workshop but by Friday decided that 3 days just wasn’t enough and extended her stay – we were really pleased to see her again and glad to have the extra time.  Joan wanted to expand her jewellery making to include stone setting and we all spent the week  silversmithing, stone setting, fold forming, riveting, glass fusing and etching.wonderful week of jewellery
AB -  (11)
The music school was performing at the night market making the evening perfect.

Toral – Wonderful Week of Jewellery – August 2014
Toral came all the way from Jamaica via Canada for a week of jewellery making. She wanted to explore ways of using sea glass and to learn new jewellery making techniques. We had a great time with silversmithing, riveting, stringing and drilling glass and here are some of her wonderful creations. jewellery making holiday in France la Vidalerie

Toral came for the jewellery making but took some wonderful photos whilst she was here – La Vidalerie and the beautiful countryside around us  – please click on the photo to see the rest of this album.
Beautiful aveyron
she reminded us why we came to the Aveyron – Thank you Toral !

A Lampshade Dog !
Poor Choo Choo, he’s walking around bumping into things at the moment due to the lampshade he’s having to wear following his little operation to stop him making more little Choo Choos – The good news is the lampshade comes off soon and in the meantime he isn’t letting it stop him running around the garden and enjoying his walks.
Lhasa Apso

We’re trying to convince him that all the best dogs are wearing them but I think the cats are making fun of him – darn ginges !

 

 

 

 

Lots of Jewellery Making Workshops & A New Puppy !

June was wonderfully busy with lots of workshops and a new puppy (more of him later 😉

Glass Fusing & Jewellery Making – 30th May to 2nd June 2014

Glass Fusing Workshop

Chris & Annie

It was Chris & Annie’s 3rd visit to La Vidalerie and we had 2 wonderful days of fusing dichroic glass in the mornings and making it into jewellery in the afternoons – the photo shows some of the lovely things they made using riveting and traditional silversmithing stone setting techniques.  We made bails from silver sheet and glued some of the pendants and earrings.

Fold Forming & Riveting – 3rd to 7th June
We keep our class sizes very small to make sure everyone gets lots of 1 to 1 attention.  Iseult and Paula had visited La Vidalerie before but Anne was a new student fitting in some jewellery making whilst on holiday from Australia.

Fold Forming is a fascinating technique for adding texture and creating 3D forms from delicate to chunky (everyone made lovely delicate fold formed silver earrings and a chunky copper cuff).  And as I’m sure you know – I love riveting – it’s great for joining metals (and things) together without worrying about solder bleeding and can be used purely decoratively.  We of course managed to fit in some general jewellery making and some silversmithing.

Fold Forming Riveting and silversmithing workshop jewellery making

Iseult – Riveted Bangles & glass, sea glass & silver pendant, handmade silver toggle & lovely silver & copper flower pendants

Riveted glass pendants workshop class

Paula – Wonderful Fold Formed cuff with silver rivets, riveted dichroic pendant bangles and silver stacker rings

Riveting jewellery workshop

Anne – Lovely silver fold formed earrings & copper cuff, drawn then etched copper key rings & lovely riveted double wrapped bangle.

Oh – and everyone drew then etched a copper keyring – really great fun project.

Special Workshop – 15th to 19th June
Carol & Pat booked a workshop holiday together with the aim of making a ring, bangle & earrings – as you can see they made much much more.

beginners silversmithing workshop holiday

Carol & Pat

We started with a simple soldering project making soldered rings for dangly earrings and moved onto silver studs, a pair of leaf shaped studs (to go with an existing bracelet), bangles, a ring with a domed and textured disk and more (the lovely stripey light blue lampwork beads are by Trudi at Glitteringprize).

Stone Setting Workshop – 23rd to 27th June
It was Jane & Wendy’s 2nd visit, they met by chance at a La Vidalerie Introduction to Silversmithing workshop last year and got on so well that they decided to book again this year and extend their skills into stone setting.

stone setting, bezel setting, class, workshop, holiday

Jane & Wendy

We had a relaxing 3 days and Jane & Wendy managed to make and set a ring and pendant each, make lots of earrings and even a silver spinner ring each !  Making a spinner ring is a great project but lots of work and you have to be very disciplined in annealing the silver – Spinner rings are basically an anticlastic ring with 1 or more rings that are trapped but spin freely (I think the photos make more sense 😉

You can see individual photos of each piece on our FaceBook page under albums – June Students Work –  or click here –
The most recent workshop photos are at the bottom of the page

PUPPY !
We’ve been planning to get a puppy for ages and finally Tim saw (and fell in love with) a little Lhassa Apso.  He took me to see it and we couldn’t walk away. He’s called Choo Choo (long story) and is just so full of fun, inexhaustible, loves water and makes us laugh just looking at him.

Lhassa Apso Puppy going for a swim

ChooChoo discovering the River Lot

Cooling his feet after a long walk

Cooling his feet after a long walk

And for those of you who have met our cats – They are getting on remarkably well and are on their way to accepting this new, funny looking (and smelling) cat 😉