Saturday, 30 June 2012

More Stuff!

Loud knocking at the front door this morning. Guy with a delivery.

We were expecting maybe a small order of wires or something, but no. It's the next two shipments from China. Six extremely heavy boxes full.

So tonight will be like Christmas all over again!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Backgrounds (1)

Paul has finally worked out how to put background pictures on the blog. This one is a small sample of our gemstone strands, agates specifically.

We'll change these around from time to time. Maybe even to match whatever we have posted about sometimes. But one thing's for sure, no photos stolen off the internet. Everything you see here is in  stock at the shop right now whenever we posted it.

Friday, 15 June 2012


I promised you a post about tools.

We carry a lot of tools, ranging from your basic standard pliers through jigs, winders and miscellaneous twisty things all the way up to devices that would look more at home in a mediaeval torture-chamber. So far, though, we don't sell all that many of them, probably because most of our customers are already into making jewellery and if they are anything like us already have more tools than they actually need!

Plus, if you see all these things all at once, it is a little bit daunting. So here's a quick run-through of some of things we have. We're hoping to follow up with some more detailed posts on what these are and how to use them - Paul has volunteered to act as guinea-pig for this, as if he can work how to use them it must be easy for anyone.

This would be roughly your basic toolkit - a range of plier-shaped things, most of which are actually pliers. We carry several ranges of these, from basic to smart colour-co-ordinated toolkits. The ones in the picture are the cheapest imports that we have, and they perform surprisingly well.

At the top left are some side-cutters for chopping bits of wire up and cutting stranded wire (don't use these for memory wire though, they'll go blunt very quickly). These are amazingly popular: all but one of our current stock has either been sold or stolen by our tame local shoplifters. That's kind of annoying for Paul who wants to buy one, and Ann won't let him as customers take priority. Luckily there's a bunch more coming next shipment.

Bottom left is a set of tapered round-nosed pliers for making loops in wire, which is what you need to do for hanging stuff off other stuff. There's a bit of a knack to using them but it isn't as hard as it first looks. Grab a bit of wire and play around with it for a while and you will get the hang of it - certainly beats watching a 20-minute video on Youtube.

The other two red-handled ones are ordinary jewellery pliers. Like household pliers but with narrow jaws and used for squashing things, holding things and bending things. Also handy for picking up small things you have dropped if you have recently cut your fingernails. If you're doing much work with wire you'll probably want two of these (one straight-nosed and one bent-nosed) so there's one for each hand.

And the blue ones at the right are crimping pliers used for squashing crimp beads on to wire or thread to hold other things in place. It is possible to use ordinary household or jewellery pliers for this, though your squashed crimp bead will look flat rather than round, and there's definitely a bit of practise needed to get the technique right. We can always show you to do this in the shop if you aren't sure.

This beast of a tool turned up a few days ago. It is like a monster version of asymmetrical bailing pliers (and no, I haven't yet worked out what bailing pliers do or why they are asymmetrical or we have so many in stock in different sizes). Will have to come back to you on that one.

It claims to be a bracelet-making plier, though it looks like it would be spectacularly effective for crushing somebody's knuckles. Don't try this at home.

When we have worked out what it does we will tell you.

And this beautifully shaped and weighted object is a chasing hammer. Traditionally it is used for fine-grained punch-work on metal, but for us it is for flattening and shaping wire. Should also be good for juggling with if you have three of them, but again I wouldn't suggest trying this at home, not if there is anything fragile in the room like your head for example.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Open again today

That was a good day off. Open again today.

Later - that was quite a hectic morning. New record for number of people crammed into the shop - ten customers plus Ann & Paul, and noisy with conversation and banter like a good pub. Not, so far, our best morning for sales but easily the best in terms of atmosphere.

We like it like that.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Twelve days in ...

We've been trading now for 12 straight days, and the shop won't be open today (Monday).

We do need a bit of a rest, and so far it looks like Mondays is the best bet, other than Bank Holiday Mondays of course.

Open again on Tuesday.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

More boats!

We have got two more of these things on the way, with between them another third of a ton of stock on them (plus, I guess, several thousands of tons of stuff for other people too). Some of it should turn up end-June and the rest mid-July.

Thursday, 7 June 2012


Phew. That's the end of our first week trading, and a very strange week it was too.

For starters, with all the rush to get the shop stocked, labelled and tidy before opening we hadn't got as far as understanding how the till worked before we opened. Tills are harder than they look (at least this one is). So a few early transactions went through a bit more than once before we got it right. Maybe we'll talk a bit more about tills later (when we run out of other stuff to say).

First day was really promising. Steady stream of customers from early on until mid-afternoon. After that it was a bit more varied, especially given the rotten weather and the fact that more people wanted to be rained on in street parties over the Jubilee weekend than wanted to be rained on in Weston town centre.

But what I really hadn't anticipated is just how interesting most of our customers would be.