Friday 24 April 2015

Upcycled Display Case

Totally inspired by this blog post from Honey Girl Studio I've been after a hard-sided suitcase for a little while. Luckily we're very well-provisioned with charity shops in my town, and one even has a specialised vintage section, which is where I found this:

Isn't she a beaut? The clips work perfectly and it even had two original keys with it. I decided to use wooden pegs covered with the washi tape I've used on the rest of my display to make it tie in, and when I tried those against the lining I found they matched very well, so hurrah - no need to alter the interior! 

This was my first rough layout, using a board I'd used for display previously for size as I knew they were still stocked in my local Wilkinson (and for just £2!). I decided on two rows of pegs for necklaces on the left, and pegs for cards with earrings on under the board. I'd at this point not decided what would go on the cork board (impulsive, moi??)! So the next stage was using blu-tak to mock up the layout and check distances etc.

This was a very useful stage as it helped me to realise I'd need to stagger the pegs for necklaces to allow the upper row space to hang properly. The pegs were then glued down (I used acrylic glue and it seems to be holding well so far, touch wood!) and a new cork board painted and trimmed with lace & more washi tape. For the pendants I made swing tags to hang over the pegs to clearly display the price & any other details from the same Kraft card tags I used for the earrings plus some blue & white twine I had.

The cork board I had a little more trouble attaching due to the slight curve of the outside of the case, so in the end I used Command Strip(TM) picture strips and they were brilliant. Then it was just a case of working out what was to go where!

This Saturday will be the case's first official outing, at De Bradelei Mill in Belper, and I'm very looking forward to seeing how it all works together! I'll be sure to post some 'in use' pictures when it's all set up.

Monday 12 January 2015

Welcome 2015!

So it's the New Year, and we're already racing through it! This year I'm hoping to focus on growing the online side of my business. Alongside my own website selected items are now available through Folksy, and I'm also starting to get the hang of Instagram!

In terms of new products, I'm focussing at the moment on The Big Three for Spring: Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and Weddings. My new line for Mother's Day is my first made from silver art clay. I really enjoyed experimenting with this, and I'm super thrilled with the pendant that I made. It is embossed with lace and aged to bring out the pattern. I love wearing mine, which has my children's initials on it.

My 'Message in a Bottle' range is perfect for Valentine's Day. They're totally unique and I'm taking bespoke orders for that super personal gift. I've used resin to set the items and message and they're available just as they are, to use as a keepsake, with a coordinating chain, or with a large clasp to use as a keyring or bag clip. These three are ready to post. One has a paper white rose in shimmer resin with a Victor Hugo quote: 'Life is the flower for which love is the honey'. The middle bottle has sand and blue tinted resin, with the words: 'You're the only fish (a picture) in the sea for me'. Finally with gold glitter & pearl hearts is a metal script 'Love'.

I'm hoping to attend a few wedding events this year, so I've been developing my range of suitable items. These wine glass charms are perfect for the top table as they double up as place settings and favours too. Each one is handwritten so can be done with any lettering.

I've also been experimenting with polymer clay as I think it's so perfect for wedding jewellery because of the amazing array of colours. I already use it in my Rose Collection, and now I'm developing these initial pendants which I think would make amazing keepsake jewellery for bridesmaids, what do you think?

I'm so bubbling with ideas for this year, its so exciting! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and all of my best wishes for 2015.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Christmas is coming...

With seven (SEVEN!?!) events in November, its definitely gearing up for Christmas! Popular so far have been these wine glass charms, an evolution from my butterfly jewellery.

Each charm is totally individual. I tend to use the shapes & patterns from nature but change the colourway, often making it more vivid - after all, once your glass has been refilled a few times you still want to recognise which one is yours, without having to squint!

I've even managed to source some good quality gift boxes for them too, meaning less faffing with cellotape in the run up to the Big Day. This weekend I've been working on a commission of a set of charms using British birds, a bit of a challenge but I'm thrilled with how they've turned out, and I'll be quite sad to see them go! 

With three young children, I'm also chock a block with Christmas prep for the family. Last year I did nearly all of my Christmas shopping from artists & crafters and it was so much fun I'll be doing the same again this year. Just this week I got a fab parcel of goodies from the wonderful Seana Doherty art. Obviously I can't share the contents with you yet, but her page is definitely worth a look - just look at these lovely hearts!

Seana Doherty Art
My order books for pre-Christmas delivery will be closing on 30th November, but I will be posting in stock items from my website up until 15th December. I'll update on my Facebook page if I have to change these dates. 

Sunday 12 October 2014

Textiles Collection

Let's start with a confession. I HATED textiles at school. I just didn't get it. It was very dry, lots of pattern cutting, no creativity. I get that it's best to learn the basics of something before you go advanced, but honestly, I don't work that way. My working tends to be more like this:

  1. Buy lots of craft stuff
  2. Throw out instructions / rule book
  3. Attempt craft
  4. Swear
  5. Attempt crafting again
  6. Throw it at the cat
  7. Cup of tea and a cake
  8. Pick up instructions, read around stain from discarded tea bag
  9. Realise the 36 mistakes I was making
  10. Take a deep breath & try again....

So really, maybe its more a fault of my brain than my textiles teacher, but still! These days I love textiles, and have started to incorporate them into my work. I did a needle felting course a while ago at The Bead Shop, Nottingham, which was lots of fun, allowing me lots of creative freedom while providing lots of information & inspiration. Lately I've taken to experimenting with incorporating needlefelt into jewellery and I've come up with these pendants:

I also did a course in Freehand Machine Embroidery with the amazingly talented Emily Smalley, who is based at Long Eaton Art Rooms. This is a fantastic technique, and very addictive, but I've not really had chance to explore it thoroughly as yet. 

It did get me thinking of different hoop art designs though, I think this is my favourite so far:

I also got a commission for some 'toy tidy' bags in a similar style, which I'm pretty pleased with. Apologies for the poor photo though!

I've had loads of fun developing this textiles range, I hope you like them! I've also started some Christmassy textiles too, with glitter & jingle bells! Any orders or commission requests please drop me an email: 

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Rainbow Party Preparations

Later this month is my second child's 3rd birthday. We're having a party at home with a rainbow theme, and I've been pinning like mad! (See my Pinterest board here)

The party bags were inspired by this pin, using small strips of tissue paper, about 3cm in width and 20cm in length. They're laid along a strip of tape, overlapped. I then snipped the ends to make the paper move better. The tape is attached to the back of the 'cloud', cut from white card, which I then stuck onto the bag using sticky fixers to give a slight '3D' effect.

The paper bags were purchased from Ebay and will be filled with tubs of playdough in rainbow colours (the tubs I also bought from Ebay here) so the guests can make their own rainbows when they get home!

I also made these coordinating decorations, one for the door & the number '3' for inside. I'm also hoping to do something like this paper chain rainbow for our archway, and the remainder of the tissue will be made into these tissue pom poms (I won't do a tutorial for these, Martha's done one, I can't beat that!)

I'll add some pictures of everything up and in place after the big day!

Thursday 25 September 2014

Nursing Necklaces

These necklaces were designed on the basis of my own experiences, nursing my three children. Once they reach a few months old, it can be difficult to get babies to focus, and not pull on your clothes, hair and so on.

These necklaces feature a large, smooth gemstone, which is very tactile and perfectly rounded for little fingers. The leather cord is adjustable using sliding knots so the pendant can be lowered for nursing or raised to suit your neckline or while babywearing.

I've also been lucky enough to make this bespoke nursing necklace using a handmade wood bead the customer was given at her Blessingway. Combined with a smooth Rose Quartz donut that echoes the bead's shape this was finished off with coordinating beads.

My ready-to-post items are available here, but if you'd like to discuss a custom order please feel free to contact me.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Wedding Collections

Although the wedding jewellery I make tends to be bespoke, it generally fits into three ranges so I thought I'd take some time to introduce them all.

Pearl & Lace, the classic combination for a vintage, elegant look. I use Swarovski crystal pearls for a touch of quality and they also allow me a high degree of creative freedom because they come in such a variety of colours.

English Garden contains, amongst others, my Rose and Butterfly Collections. These nature inspired designs add a pop of colour to a wedding and are all available in any colour you can imagine, making them perfect to match in with your scheme. 

If you like a bit more of a sparkle, or maybe you're planning a Hollywood glamour or 1920's inspired wedding, then maybe the Crystal Shine range would be more your thing. Using the finest Swarovski crystals and genuine gemstones I have created eye catching designs, traditional in nature but with a modern edge.

If you are planning your wedding and looking for jewellery that is truly unique, without the designer price tag, then please contact me to have a chat about your requirements.