Thursday, 27 January 2011

How To Handle Being A Bike Widow

My other half, who I shall call The Partner Who Is Not My Husband (* see footnote), has been obsessed with motorbikes ever since I first met him at the age of 15. 30 years later, that obsession has not waned in the slightest. Now as for me, I am less enamoured, unless we're talking cruisers, all shiny chrome, leather tassels, saddlebags, etc: e.g. Harleys or my personal favourite: the Yamaha Virago. But of course we're not. Oh no, we're talking big beefy, roaring exhaust, lean mean speed machine! Although I have to concede that his sports bike fetish has morphed into the tourer with his latest acquisition the Honda CBR600F. It's a step in the right direction, I suppose, as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, while I am not particularly fascinated by bikes per se, there are certain bits of them that I do find rather appealing. I'm talking things like brake discs and sprockets, which are rather aesthetically pleasing to my creative eye! So while The Partner Who Is Not My Husband is tinkering away at the endless adjustments and polishing and constant admiring, I am looking at it from quite a different perspective.
As a child I was a huge fan of Blue Peter (toilet roll tubes, washing up liquid bottles, sticky backed plastic, here's one I made earlier!) and so when my Aunt bought me a book called "Something Out of Nothing" (100 projects to make from household junk), I was hooked on recycling big time! (Although I don't think the term was even invented then). I loved, and still do, being able to make something pretty or better yet, useful, out of other peoples junk.
So, fast forward a few decades and back to the bike... Hmm, those brake discs are very attractive and pleasing to look at, totally wasted on a bike, all that heat and dirt ruining their prettiness. I have a much better use for them! Now, not wanting to be a genuine bike "widow", I am not prepared to steal them from The Partner Who Is Not My Husband's pride and joy. So a quick foray into Ebay is called for and a few days later I am the proud owner of some beautiful wavy brake discs! I already have a huge collection of washers, nuts and bolts, amassed from my dawn raids on The Partners Sanctuary, from which I am banned (His Garage!). Now for some tinkering of my own! Voila: the bike brake disc clock is born! Of course by giving the prototype to The Partner Who Is Not My Husband, I escape rebuke for daring to violate the sanctity of his garage!

There was a slight difference of opinion over the pretty Baroque Style hands I chose to complement the design, he said plain hands would appeal more to blokes. I resolved this by opening it up to debate amongst my Facebook fans. I had a good response and he got a huge ego boost from most of them proving him right! Although a male fan did agree with me. Ha! It was further resolved by deciding to offer my customers their own choice of hands, so now I can please all of the people, all of the time!
So this, folks, is how I cope with being a bike widow. I get involved with all things bike related, though not neccessarily in the way The Partner Who Is Not My Husband may have hoped! And, yes, his prototype now has large plain hands, that he can see better and he is a very happy bunny!

I have since found a drilled brake disc that makes an equally attractive clock.  So above are photos of the different variations available. They will shortly be listed for sale in my Etsy shop and are currently available through my Facebook page.

(* "The Partner Who Is Not My Husband" was a phrase first coined by Rebecca Fleming, from Take A Break magazine. Her partner is now "The Husband" so I figured she wouldn't mind me borrowing the original. Especially as it is so appropriate for me).

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Tiz Designs: Where it all began...

I've always had a love of cherry blossom and my partner lived on the next street to a beautiful cherry blossom lined avenue. Every year we used to walk hand in hand through the pink confetti, kicking it up and taking photos of the trees. My first foray into ebay was when he put some money into paypal for me and told me to have fun. I stumbled upon some beautiful beads which reminded me of my beloved cherry blossom, so I bought them, not really knowing what I was going to do with them. As I searched further an idea came to mind. I found some complementary components and a design for some cherry blossom jewellery was born in my imagination! 

I had dabbled with making some safety pin bracelets and the odd pair of earrings in the past, but never really seriously considered making jewellery. Anyway the beads arrived, the cherry blossom set was created, and then my partner came upon an advert for craftmakers wanted at Saddleworth Crafts Co-operative (the first craft co-operative ever in the UK, est 1979 & local to me). I hurriedly made a few other pieces and presented my work to them for consideration. I was accepted as a member (that was in 2006) and I haven't looked back since!

Of course my skills have improved considerably since then. I have taught myself many new techniques, through research, but mostly through trial and error. I have become much more advanced and adventurous in my designs and become very well known as the jeweller at the craft shop.

And the best of all, I now live with my partner and so our Annual Cherry Blossom Pilgrimage is only a street away! That really is the icing on my cake!