Monday, 23 December 2013

The Jewelled Web - December 2013

It's been a busy, busy month in the-run-up-to-Christmas, and I know that once it's done it will then be like a huge intake of breath before the new year (with or without big celebrations) begins, and it'll feel as if the pressure is let off, just a little, tiny bit...perhaps.

I'm doing an early web round-up this month, it seems a little easier to do it now when I've got time, rather than just schedule it to post later on - and it means I can combine it with a wish for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ;)


Great looking guide to setting a stone in a bezel - lots of lots of detail in this tutorial.

Working with copper and silver - hints and tips galore.

A good advert for investing in a disc cutter on this blog post...

More bezel info...

This fishing rod ring (at the top) is just so, so beautiful, both in design and execution.

Simple but effective wire-wrap earrings.

Beautiful gems and a gratuitously sweet photo of a puppy.

Q and A about opening a bricks and mortar gallery.

Cuttlefish casting. Love the use of something so organic to create something so beautiful.

Stunning buttons made from polymer clay and transfer paper.

Made from one piece of copper - inspiring and beautiful.

Jewellery from concrete? I love these.

~Other things~

I have never been organised enough, so far, to do this type of beautiful but simple gift wrapping, but I wish I was...Instead it's just a case of double-wrapping in whatever flimsy, reindeer covered 10 metre wrap the local supermarket has left by the time I get to the aisle...

Free printable, and editable, calendar.

Tiny, Christmassy-spiced cookies.

Stunning leaf bunting.

Love this blog - wise words, great photos, and wonderful Folksy Fridays.

Download, print, and organise the whole next year... well, that's my plan anyway.

Something else to download, print and fill in...

A truly wonderful Christmas tree - but too late for me to build for this Christmas.

Something else that's too late for this year, a sweet gift for those separated by the miles

A nice and brief post about images on the net - what can you use without upsetting anyone?

This is sad and beautiful. And this is amazing and transient.

How to make your photos better by using the scary manual button on the camera.

Inspiring feature about making a living from selling crafts online.

If you come across any fallen branches from the gales currently sweeping the UK, then consider browsing this collection of what to do with wood to make it into, well, anything and everything.

You can't have enough lip gloss - tutorial on how to make your own.

Hope your year has been good, your Christmas is wonderful, and 2014 is even better for you - thanks for reading :)

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Shopping and silver on the radio

How busy is this December? And just how slow is the internet on a December evening? I have a feeling that come dusk, everyone goes on the net and hunts furiously for Christmas gifts for several hours, pausing only to sleep, go to the shops, and then repeat the same routine...

I went out yesterday to the shops, literally fought my way across a Tesco Extra (or was it an Express? I'm never sure which is which) to find one small item, fought my way back again to the self-serve tills to the strains of Jona Lewie's Stop the Cavalry, queued, noticed a monitor informing anyone who cared to look that the same self-serve tills had experienced slightly over 1,600 customers that day so far (it was around 1.30pm), paid for my solitary item, and legged it, breathing gulps of fresh cool (okay, cold) air as I left the place.

Every year I say I'll Christmas shop in June, every year I don't quite manage that...ahem.

But my main reason for this post (no, I'm not just using up bandwidth to state the obvious, that the shops are busy in December) is I caught the end of an interesting show about silver and silversmithing on the radio today, and thought it worth sharing the details as it's on iplayer, but only for a week.

Hope you enjoy a listen, and hope your Christmas shopping is going, well, easily...!

(no photo - the net is too slow!!)

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Jewelled Web - November 2013

Jewelled web - Link Love - November 2013
Another month, and ever, ever closer to Christmas...that kind of sums up how I'm feeling right now, and also slightly freaked out at how few weeks are left on the calendar until the new year. As ever, I'm wondering just where the time has gone...

I started off this month with a productive, and early, Christmas shop extravaganza, but am ending it in my usual manner of casting around anxiously, and trying to guess if I've enough wrapping paper for the presents I've not yet bought...

At least the web is a place of shopping and making opportunities so this month's roundup may well reflect that...

For a start, how about these sweet hand-crafted necklaces as stocking gifts?

I suspect if I bought this fox ring, I'd only end up keeping it for myself...

Great tutorial for using up old eggshells and making jewellery. Seriously.

Another polymer clay tutorial; a method for adding a photo to clay.

Five gold rings...
1) Dramatic and dazzling
2) Reticulated and beautiful
3) Indulgent and stunning
4) Simple and delicate
5) Five gold rings...

Love this idea for recycling old silver spoons.

Beautiful necklace, and a tutorial that shows you how to (half) create it.

Simple yet striking gold earrings.

A new shop to rival Folksy and Etsy?

If you do craft fairs then you might find this post about jewellery displays inspiring

How to sell more on Etsy (but much of it applies to any selling platform)

~A few non-jewellery bits and pieces~

These vases are gorgeous and inventive but not something you want to rush making for Christmas, given you need to use a rather scary electric saw...

I must knit more... this hat should inspire me, along  with the cold temperatures...

Fantastic, and free, way to make your own calendar (using any version of photoshop) for the new year... which isn't that far away *gulp*

Looking to get away from it all over the holidays?

From cereal box to art journal.

These photos are nearly as good as actually going to Norway...

Amazing calendar, especially if you love owls - you chose your favouites, then download and print the resulting PDF. Wonderful.

Lots of free collage sheets.

Wonderful list of blogging resources, like a little gold mine of blog goodies.

Unless you're super-fast it may be a little late to make your own advent calendar but, ah well, always next year...

Beautiful image, beautiful poem, beautifully matched.

I'm thinking this could be the most helpful post ever if you've had someone to stay and they left a unattractive mug ring on your chest of drawers... ahem...

Hope the run up to Christmas isn't too hectic, and you get some moments to just enjoy the time of year, the winter season, and whomever you love that you are fortunate enough to be near to.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Jewellery Book Wish List - Christmas 2013

Around this time last year I drew up a wishlist of jewellery books I'd love to look through, learn from, and generally indulge my reading head in. Looking back through the list, I see I managed a paltry two out of six in terms of this goal. Not great really. But rather than rehash the remnants of that old list, I've come up with a whole new set of books I'd love to find in my Christmas stocking...

I have a hankering to set stones again. I've done it on occasion in the past and loved how relatively fast it can be to gain amazing results, but I could do with some practice and a few refresher pointers. I  have a small selection of beautiful gems I would love to be able to wear, so Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewellery Makers by Melissa Hunt could help me out very much indeed.

I've read a little about Polymer Clay Master Class, on the web, how innovating and exciting it sounds, and would love to look, and learn from its pages. I treated myself to a pasta maker with some birthday money earlier this year, and not to make pasta with, but as yet it's still sitting in its box...this book could change that.

I love to solder. Yes, it always makes me slightly nervous, the naked flame, the heat, and the need to be ever so careful and then some. I keep a fire extinguisher near at all time. But I still love the alchemy of it, it and The Art of Soldering for Jewellery Makers by Wing Mun Devenney, would no doubt allow me to increase my skills and enjoy it that little bit more... (and I did get this for Christmas!)

Copper intrigues me but I have found it, at times, challenging to work with after spending so long soldering, piercing and hammering a totally different metal like silver. A book like this one, Contemporary Copper Jewelry by Sharilyn Miller, may either give me some hints, inspire me, or hopefully both.

Hot Connections Jewelry: The Complete Sourcebook of Soldering Techniques by Jennifer Chin, would sit very nicely with both the book above on soldering, and a book I already own on cold connections...

The breadth of this book, Silversmithing for Jewelry Makers by Elizabeth Bone holds a great deal of promise. It looks like it may well cover everything, a review of old skills and an insight into new ones, and that kind of book is pretty wonderful to discover...

Do let me know what's on your book Christmas list, and if you have any of the ones listed here. I'd love to learn more about them.

PS. This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. This means that if you click through to the book in question on one of those links, and then buy it, Amazon will credit me a small amount of money, from their profits! that I will then spend on buying silver wire. It won't cost you anything. I signed up to their affiliate program a while ago but the last time I used any of their links on this blog was around this time last year when I did my last Christmas book list...I suspect I'm not going to make my fortune this way...

Monday, 18 November 2013

Busy, busy, busy

It's been a quiet month online for me so far... life has a habit of getting in the way and I've also been creating some jewellery for a special occasion that still needs to be mostly kept under wraps for now. I've also been experiencing the joys of the cold season; and by 'cold' I don't really mean only the weather...

Anyway, here's a photo of just one tiny (unpickled) part of what I've been making in my workshop.

soldered flower by silver moss

It's been a very intense period of solder, flux, and a lot of butane gas, but I'm looking forward to sharing photos of the finished item(s) very soon.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Jewelled Web - October 2013

It's Hallowe'en... and the end of October, month of falling leaves, gales, and surprisingly warm temperatures this year.

Life has got a bit hectic towards the end of this month but I've made a little jewellery, and also pushed on with some alterations to my blog design, so I'm pleased enough. I've also spent time browsing around the net in search of goodies to look at, and read, and share...hope you enjoy too.

Velcro necklace? An intriguing make-your-own-jewellery idea...

How to clean gemstones without destroying them.

On the subject of cleaning, how to clean silver without any really scary chemicals. An old post but a good one.

Wear the universe (OK, a galaxy) around your neck. Another make-your-own-jewellery post.

Fantastic youtube silversmithing tutorials (link via K S Jewellery Designs - thank you!)

A fascinating list of the top 100 jewellery sellers on Etsy. It may be over a year old now but it's still guaranteed to make you feel inadequate!

Yet another make-your-own-jewellery tutorial. This time a ring. I'll stop now.

And now a few non-jewellery links...

On the subject of blogging, a great set of simple design hints.

Some beautiful photos on a beautiful looking blog, from Folksy sellers

Wonderful desktop calendars are found here each month, although November's has yet to be revealed as I type this...

Speaking of desktop wallpaper, these floral Vera Bradley ones are stunning.

Also, via the same blog, a wonderful idea for creating a kind of pinterest for an individual museum.

More free desktop wallpaper? Okay!

Fancy a new font? This llama one (yes, you read that right) is quite the most unique I've ever seen...

Amazing styrofoam cup art. I thought it was a hoax at first...

Sweet (and reusable) gift tags tutorial.

Want to kind of spooked and entranced all at once? Go to the Land of Oz theme park, open for one day a year only...

More spookiness at a Bolivian witch market.

And one of my most practical finds so far. If you run Windows Vista then follow this simple tutorial to remove red eye on photos - so, so simply. Also, try this neat online gadget which does the same thing. Masterful.

Hope your month has been good. Feel free to leave any excellent links in the comments below.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

How to add a background to your blog

how to add a background to a blog - silvermoss
As part of a currently ongoing redesign I'm doing of my blog I've been working in a test blog, but I am also making some changes in my blog here.

I've added a new background to my blog, replacing the plain background I used to have. Now it may not seem amazingly different or remarkable but, as part of the overall new design, it should look just right in the end.

I think it's important to remember that it's a background and so is meant to be subtle and not draw attention away from the main point of any blog, which should be the content; what you write and the images you include.

For this simple background change I’ve used the system Blogger has in place. And yes, this is another how-to for Blogger. If you’re using Wordpress then check this tutorial out, and for Typepad look here. For other platforms, do some googling, read through a few tutorials, and always back up your template before doing anything.

Here's how I started.

Finding a background image

After working through a design for how I want my blog to look, I did some hunting for a suitable background image online. Yes, it is possible to make your own image, but the resources available on the web are incredible, and it’s fun and inspiring to look through them. Of course, I found lots of images I loved but I managed to be good and stick to my original plan...

Blogger itself offers images to use as backgrounds so if you don’t feel confident enough to download images from the net then you can still change the way your blog looks - see note 3 below for more information .

You can use an image that spans the width of your blog (or rather, the screen size it’s displayed on) but do bear in mind that such a large file will will slow down the time your blog takes to load. If you use a lot of photos/images on your blog anyway, it might be wiser to chose a small image file that is repeated - this tiling of images is commonly used to allow a seamless background without a large file size. It makes everyone happy.

The website Subtle Patterns is a wonderful resource, has over 300 images available, and is a real goldmine for blog backgrounds. They’re all free to use, although the site does like credit given, which is fair enough. This is where I found the image I’m using at present. Browse around until something catches your eye and then preview it to see what it looks like full screen. Do bear in mind the colour and design of your own blog may make it look different when in situ.

Here's what I did, after downloading my image of choice.

Changing the background image

1. First, I backed up my template. Just in case... Then, in the Blogger dashboard, I went to Template, and clicked on Customize.

2. I clicked on Background, and then on the little downward pointing arrow set to the side of the Background image box.

3. A pop-up then opened with a whole host of blogger backgrounds on offer - you can use one of these if you'd prefer; just click on it, click Done, then Apply to Blog and that's it, it's your new background.

I had the image I'd downloaded from Subtle Patterns already saved on my computer so I clicked on Upload image.

4. I browsed to where I’d saved the image to on your computer. Make sure you save it somewhere that’s simple to find, like your desktop - you can move it later. I then clicked on Done and the image uploaded.

5. Check how the image looks on both the miniature in the screen preview shown under the Background image heading, and further down the page, where a mock up of your blog is shown, with your new background.

The Alignment button doesn’t matter too much if your image is abstract and a small one. If it has a right way up, then make sure it’s displaying that way, and adjust the alignment if you need to by clicking on the tiny downward arrow next to the word.

My image was a small one that I wanted repeated/tiled so I chose Tile to ensure it tiled across and down the entire background of my blog.

I’ve kept Scroll with page checked as I find background images that remain static while the content moves can be a little distracting, but feel free to uncheck the box or to experiment and see what you prefer. Scroll with page means the background will move as the page scrolls down.

It's as simple as that. Click on Apply to Blog if you’re happy, and check your blog out to see the finished effect.

I experimented a little with some other background images to see how much changing it can affect how a blog looks.

The green background image, below, was one I found on the wonderfully named Squidfingers site -

The purple background image shown here, below, was created by me at BGPatterns, which is a clever site allowing you to adjust colours, symbols and transparency, amongst other variables -

Both these backgrounds are small images that take very little time to download from the net, and are used tiled.

As I say, I wanted something pretty neutral in both colour and pattern, but it’s still fascinating to see how different images can alter what a blog looks like, and the perception of what it’s about. So do experiment, but do back things up so you know you can always go back if you need to!

More Info - 

Sites for backgrounds used in this tutorial - 

Subtle Patterns

Squid Fingers

BG Patterns

Also, do some googling for backgrounds, and check out Pinterest too.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also check out this tutorial about how to change the colour or transparency of images found at subtle, to personalise them and make them suit your blog even more.

Blogger's own brief tutorial about backgrounds.

Let me know if this has been any help, or you have any queries and I'll do my best to help. And do leave a comments if you follow the tutorial - I'd love to see your revamped blog!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Pendants plus cords equal necklaces

A little while ago I wrote about having a heap of gemstones, some threading materials, and not yet having put the two together in a logical manner... well, that's changed.

I've still some gemstones that aren't strung, but now, more than not, are officially necklaces...

pendant and cord equal necklace
rose quartz and tiger eye

I've also begun the slow process of working through my extremely-badly-put-away silver-smithing gear and trying to to turn it back into a functioning set-up... stay tuned!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Pretty my blog

Image from one of my Pinterest boards, via The Graphics Fairy

I've decided to embark on a redesign of my blog. I want to change the way it looks - colours and fonts etc - and the way it works, to allow things to flow more smoothly and to make them easier to find.

I did a course or two in web coding and design a while back and have done a couple of redesigns of other people's sites, but haven't paid much interest to my own. So now I think it's time.

I'll be staying with the Blogger platform for now, partly because it's free, but also because, despite the rise of Wordpress, Tumblr, etc, it's still managed to hold its own, perhaps mainly because so many people use it, but that in itself means innovations keep happening, and I still see some wonderful designs on blogger blogs, not just on other platforms.

So that will hopefully explain some of the changes you'll see around here, and may also make the little blogging tutorials that keep popping up a little more understandable - I figured they'd help remind me of things I'm doing, and changes I'm making, and if I'm going to record that information, then I might as well share some of it as I go along.

I hope you enjoy the changes...!

(linking up with Handmade Harbour's Handmade Monday)

Friday, 4 October 2013

Buying handmade when you also make...

Sometimes a cake just isn't right for a birthday. Muffins won't do. It has to be cookies, or biscuits if you're more traditional, in the UK, and just prefer that word. Last week I baked a batch of cookies twice (no, not the same ones twice, new ingredients the second time...), refining the recipe for the second batch, and then putting the survivors (freshly cooked biscuits always seem to make the kitchen an attractive place) into a sturdy parcel and dispatched them to the grateful recipient.

cookies - buying hamdmade when you also make
Yes, I did feel good about myself. I'd made the effort, and helped make someone's day a little more special. And that made me wonder what it is about handmade things that make people feel pleased when they've created them, and does that feeling also translate into buying handmade gifts for others...

I have to say, when I buy homemade and give them away, I feel happier with myself than when I buy mass-produced from the high street (or worse, a supermarket). I feel like I've tried harder and haven't gone for the easiest option.

So even though I haven't made the item myself, my appreciation of the time and work that's gone into it, the fact that it wasn't created on a machine, along with hundreds of others that look identical, means that the handmade 'magic' rubs off on me as well.

I can't deny that I do sometimes feel the tiniest bit guilty that instead of buying handmade, I should have made it... I must confess to having a list of crafts, as long as the scarf I've not yet figured out how to knit, that I'd like to learn how to do...

But for now I'll muddle through, dabbling every now and then in other creative pursuits, but trying to focus on the many-faceted medium of jewellery... as I say, for now...

ps. The cookie recipe was this one. When I adapted it for the second batch, I added a little more flour and used both dark chocolate chunks and white chocolate chips. They're not massively sweet biscuits, but they are very mmmm...

Monday, 30 September 2013

The Jewelled Web - September 2013 - Link Love

Jewelled web September link love
Perhaps it's a sign of impending autumn (and winter), and less outsidey-weather, but I've found lots of goodies to share on the web this month...

Sweet little bracelets to make with great photo instructions. These bracelets are great too, from the same blog.

Wonderful solution to keeping dust off your work surface, however long it's neglected for!

Ways to package jewellery, this and this.

When I finally get round to digging my polymer clay haul out, this stamp and roller DIY may come in handy. I am also a sucker for anything about handmade tools...

Questions to ask yourself about your newly crafted jewellery. Or anything.

If you can get to London between this October and April next year, then consider checking out the Cheapside Hoard, an amazing collection of Elizabethan and Stuart jewellery, and the mystery of who buried it centuries ago.

Such pretty beads!

Fantastic website and slightly unnerving jewellery by Julia Deville. Also check out this short feature about her in a great looking new Australian magazine (not sure if it delivers to the UK yet).

How wallpaper can look even better when squashed by a jewellery rolling machine.

Clever earrings made from paper.

And in non-jewellery news...

Love this tutorial for a beach hut cushion... it's like summer all over again...

Beautiful images, colours, and ideas - illustrations by Sanna Annukka

News via Folksy about the Post Office's Drop&Go service... not so good for those who live in the sticks with just the one counter in their local branch but still worth a read.

This print actually makes me look forward to winter and being cold and all that. Seriously.

I'm not sure what the taste of honey lavender macarons would quite be like, but the thought of them (and the beautiful photos) sounds pretty great right now.

Brr. Have you dug out your jumpers yet? A great selection of photos here to make you like the cold. Kind of.

Some rather pretty flowers made with old eggboxes, paint, and imagination/talent. (You can translate the site but the photos are very good and self-explanatory.)

Hope your month was good :)

Linking up with Handmade Harbour's Handmade Monday

Saturday, 28 September 2013

How to create a Blogger Favicon

how to create a blogger favicon
You know when you open a blog in a tab, and you have a little icon to the left of the blog title in that same tab? Well, that's a favicon. It also shows up in bookmarks, and sometimes next to the blog name itself in the address bar on your browser.

If the blog is a Blogger blog, then the default setting for the favicon is a not-very-attractive white stylised 'B' on an orange background. This standard favicon is eye-catching but not necessarily for the right reasons...

Even if you do think that design is pretty, it still does nothing to distinguish your blog from any other Blogger blog someone may be reading. It just tells everyone your blog is a Blogger blog.

To help you stand out, and to make the overall design of your blog a little more cohesive, you can, using your own images, create your own favicon and use that to replace the Blogger one.


Read on...

Chose your image


You can use a stock image (either free or paid for, but do check conditions of use) for a favicon, but for the purposes of this post I'm going to assume you have a pile of your own photos that you use widely on your shop and blog. A good idea can be to take a detail from the header you use on your blog, and that way common colours and images it may display will also be apparent in your favicon.

Size is everything

Do bear in mind that favicons are tiny. I know, that's kind of obvious, but it does have a bearing if you wish to use an image of something specific, rather than just a colour or a letter - it needs to be well defined enough that people can recognise what it is. And if that isn't possible, then the colours it displays should make sense within your banner or blog colour scheme.

What I did... 


Chose a photo 


I decided to stick with my current muted colour-scheme of silver and grey, and so chose this image from my virtual stack of photos -


Edit the image

1. I uploaded it to picmonkey, rotated it, and then cropped it square.

I lost a little bit of the top and bottom of the leaf, but figured it would be easier to work with if it was a square photo from the outset, as favicons are always square. Making the dimensions exact can be tricky in picmonkey, so just get them as close to equal as you can.

2. Then I resized it to around 70px square, to make uploading it later on easier - it's only going to get smaller, so image quality loss isn't an issue here. Also, resizing at this stage gives you an idea of how small the photo is going to get, and how well, or not, your chosen image may work. Concentrate on light, shade, and colour and that should give the best result - you can always resize the image even smaller in picmonkey, to see how it works as a tiny image.

I saved the image to my computer in picmonkey, using a simple filename that made sense. Also I saved it to my desktop, somewhere I could easily find it again as I needed it straight away

Create the favicon

Next I opened up - this site helps you actually create the favicon itself, turning the small photo into a favicon.

3. On the left hand side of the page, I clicked on Import Image.

4. Then I was taken to an upload page - (this is why you need to know where you've stored the image) - to browse and find my edited photo.

Here I also chose Keep dimensions as I'd already made my photo square, but if you haven't cropped it already, you can chose Shrink to square icon - if you think your image is too far from square, despite your best cropping efforts, then chose this option, but do bear in mind it may well change the way it looks a little too much.

Next I clicked on Upload. My file size was small so this didn't take long.

5. The site took me back to its main page... and my extremely pixelated favicon...

This is normal. And correct. The favicon is so tiny that it can easily be shown pixel by pixel like this.

(It also gives you the opportunity to experiment with changing the colour of pixels, if you wish, by using the Color Picker to the right of the favicon. This is fun, if potentially disastrous! I couldn't find a back or undo button although I would imagine one exists somewhere.)

Save the favicon

Anyway, I then saved the favicon by scrolling down the page and clicking on Download Favicon. When given the option in the pop-up download screen, I clicked on save. (The file was saved to my downloads on my computer automatically - I wasn't given the option to chose where I wanted to save it, as happens on picmonkey. If you have trouble finding where your downloads are, and consequently the favicon, you're looking for a tiny file named favicon.ico)

Upload favicon to blog

The final thing I had to do was upload the favicon to my blog.

6. I went to layout in Blogger, and clicked on edit in the Favicon box

7. I then browsed to where the favicon.ico file was - I'd moved it to my desktop - and clicked on save to upload it to blogger.  

8. My new favicon showed up on my blogger layout screen straightaway but took a little longer to filter through the system and show up when I opened a new tab, so give it time if this delay also happens to you.

You can edit or change your favicon whenever you like. I redid mine after the first attempt looked vague and unclear when downsized to such a small size. I also edited using the pixels on the favicon site, adding brightness where the leaf was a little shady. I'm still not entirely convinced I'll stick with this one, but it's good enough to be getting on with.

Do leave a message if you've made a new favicon, I'd love to go and have a look at it!

More info

You can do a lot more with the website. You can find and use favicons that other people have created (click on Latest favicons and Top Rated favicons on the site), and that have been released under a CC (Creative Commons) license which means you are able to use other people's work. Or you can try creating your own favicon from scratch, by filling in pixels with various colours. If it's any good you can use it on your site or release it for others to download and use.

Happy pixelling!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I not only make jewellery...

plum and apple crumble
... I also bake. Ok, not that often and sometimes not as often as I like, but I do do it sometimes, and I tend to enjoy it when I do. Sometimes anyway. Mainly if it's pudding.

Last week I had some plums (fresh and home-grown, although not at my home), and some little ramekin pots. I think you may know what this means!

Plum crumble. Mmmm. Although after I cooked them, the plums melted down into not-quite-enough so I added an apple as well. So plum and apple crumble. Or, as was suggested to me, Windfall Crumble.

They had a little too much plum juice in, hence it creeping up the sides, but I like it when home-baked things look home-baked. And, although it's me saying this, they did taste rather nice...

Saturday, 21 September 2013

How to back up your blog content and template

how to backup your blog
One of the most important pieces of advice that I've been given is, before you even think of making any changes to your blog design, to back it up. And, perhaps more importantly, also back up your content. Here's why.

Back up content because it's valuable to us, we spend time writing and creating it, and it would be awful to lose it. Plus, if you blog on Blogger, then you don't own your blog site. This means that your blog could be removed without warning (not likely, but not impossible), or inadvertently deleted. Both of these would be catastrophic if you have no backups of work you've created in the blog.

To avoid this, backup your content, perhaps once a week, and that way your words and images will be safe. At present Blogger still hosts my photos but this is something I'm planning on changing soon. I do however hold onto copies of all the images I use on my blog. But I often write my posts in Blogger, from scratch, and don't have any separate copy of them unless I back up my blog. If anything does happen to my blog, I can start again, using the backups to rebuild the blog. That's the theory anyway. It's an insurance policy really, and chances are I, and you, will never have to use it.

Back up the template in case you inadvertently make alternations that you can't undo, and that change the look of your blog irreparably. Once it's done, it's done and such mistakes can happen even when you're trying to do something else. If you back up the template before you make any changes, even very simple ones, then you never have to worry about having to start from the beginning again.

I have made this mistake in the past, playing around with my blog and then discovering I couldn't change back what I'd done - this doesn't always involve opening the template up and editing it. Sometimes a simple widget addition can alter things in a way you don't want, so having a backed up template means you can retrace your steps with ease and not hours of angst instead...

Here's how to go about backing up your blog.

To backup the content

how to backup your blog - step 1
1. First, in your blog's Dashboard, click on Settings, and then Other.

how to backup your blog - step 2

2. Then click on Export blog - this will export all the posts, images, and comments from your blog in an .xml file - to open this again you'll need a blog platform, either Blogger, Wordpress, or Typepad perhaps. Other platforms are available!


how to backup your blog - step 3

3. Download your blog to your computer.

how to backup your blog - step 4

4. Save the file - it will save wherever your downloaded files normally save. I move my saved file to the folder I keep everything for my blog in, so I know where it is, and I rename it something I'll recognise easily. It's also worth putting it on a memory stick as well, as extra backup. Well, you never know...

To backup the template

how to backup your blog - part a
a. Find Template and click on it. Then click on Backup/Restore.

how to backup your blog - part b

b. Download full template - again, it will save to your downloaded files area. And again, it's worth moving it somewhere you know you'll be able to find it easily, renaming it, and backing it up yet again as extra insurance.

I think once you get into the habit of doing this, it doesn't take too much time and effort. We all know we should backup and we never do it enough. I know I have some photos on my computer that are only on my computer at the moment...and that makes me nervous. I must back up!

Hope this has been some help.

Further information  - Basic Google/Blogger instructions

Geekalicious -

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Things have been very quiet on the jewellery-making front for me lately, and for a while really. A combination of factors - health issues, other commitments, downright bad organisational skills... I also made the foolish mistake of packing everything up in a hurry when family were coming to stay and now, naturally, most things are in the wrong place, together with other things that were already in the wrong place, alongside the remaining things which are just...well, I'm not quite sure where they are.

So, yes, the noise of making jewellery has been ringing very, very quietly...

But a while back I was given some gems, all ready with the tops drilled out and bails fitted in.

Gorgeous gemstones

I then, slowly, added to my pile of ribbons and stringing materials with a few extra pieces of cord and faux suede... and, of course, nothing happened.

stringing threads
Faux suede in autumn-y shades

But now I'm making a concerted effort to do something with all these goodies. To that end, they're sitting out on a  table, reminding me that they need putting together, making into jewellery, and then good homes finding for them.

That's all that's needed.

Nothing much.

Well, aside from time, inspiration, energy... and a little more motivation it seems.

It'll get done. And soon.


I hope...