Tuesday 25 September 2012

Jewellery you don't make for yourself

When I started making jewellery I also started making gifts of it to family and friends, for Christmas and for birthdays. Conversely, family and friends stopped buying me jewellery of any kind for any occasion. I bought into this for a while, and even refrained from buying myself anything that I thought I could possibly make for myself.

But eventually I started feeling a little denied. Since making jewellery tends to involve an investment of finances in materials, and time in learning skills, many of the pieces I saw and liked just weren't getting made. Since much of my jewellery is silver, then that was all the jewellery I was making, and so that was all I was getting to wear.

So this year, with a birthday on the horizon, I explicitly stated that I would be more than happy for people, who were buying me gifts anyway, to give me jewellery if they so wished.

And they did.

I received a total of three necklaces and a pair of earrings which isn't bad at all after a jewellery-gift-drought of several years.

First up I received a silver and coral necklace via a shop called Babalu in Forres, a fantastic treasure trove of a place to look around and full of locally sourced Scottish crafts.

I also received a silver and garnet necklace via Aviv Silver.

And a butterfly necklace and pair of earrings came via Kate Hamilton-Hunter, who makes much of her jewellery from recycled biscuit tins.

I also treated myself in the sales of a high street jewellery chain (tut tut) when I had some money left on a gift card...

All in all, I'm rather pleased I'm back in the market for jewellery gifts...

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Silver by post

I ordered some silver and a few other items from Cookson Gold last week and they arrived as promptly (and as well packaged) as ever. I was struck, as I am every time I order precious metals, by how small the parcel is when it arrives. Sterling silver is still not getting any cheaper to purchase...

When I started working with silver, a little over ten years ago now, although silver wasn't cheap and I was soon taught to squirrel away all the offcuts (and even the dust) to reuse, refine and recycle, it was still possible to have some fun with it, to experiment with it, and to try out new ideas. Now that experimental medium has become copper, or aluminium, or even steel. Don't get too excited though, as the price of base metals has also increased dramatically over the last decade.

My silver purchases - jump rings and wire

Cookson has, amongst other gems on their website, a rather neat little page for checking metal prices, both current and up to 20 years in the past. You can chose from silver or gold or various other precious metals like platinum, and discover how the prices have altered over time. The hikes in the price in the last five years are quite frightening...

Back to my parcel. I've also invested in something a little new. A few years back I did a short course in silver clay (pmc), but thought I'd now try some copper clay. As I've not used this before, or indeed any metal clay for a while, I'm approaching this with some trepidation. I've yet to open the packet - must know what I'm going to make first! - but it's quite slim so I'll chose my project with care.

Anyone else used copper clay? I'd love some hints and tips, or links to any creations.

I also purchased some anti-tarnish pads but, trust me, they're not worth a photo...

Monday 17 September 2012

Handmade by Edwina - I'm a winner!

I was very fortunate last week to win a blog giveaway by Handmade by Edwina. My parcel of exquisite goodies arrived with me today and I took my time opening it, with my camera to hand. Once the outer packaging was removed, I found this beautifully wrapped package...

...and once I'd carefully opened it I found...

Drawstring bag

Clutch bag


Rear-view of notebook

The drawstring bag is made from the most wonderful material, very rich in colour and lovely to the touch. The finishing touches on the clutch bag are wonderful - the ribbon and lace, and the fab big button set it off a treat. And I love the fabric 'Handmade by Edwina' labels sewn inside both.

But I think my favourite is the notebook which has so much detailed work on it - each piece of fabric it's been covered with is carefully stitched together, layered and built up with a wonderful eye for pattern and colour. All the buttons on the front have been carefully stitched on as well, and the whole creation is just a delight. I like to keep picking it up and admiring it, although it may be too nice to write in!

Do check out Handmade by Edwina's pretty blog and her Folksy shop as well - if you're looking for handmade bags, purses, journals and notebooks then her beautiful products are really worth a good look.

I'm off to enjoy my goodies...

Friday 14 September 2012

Folksy Friday - Red, White and Blue

Okay, the Olympics and Paralympics are done and past and while it's still Jubilee year the big celebrations are over, but a little bit of flag-waving can still be done. 

Here's a collection of red, white and blue themed jewellery -

1- Beautiful and simple garnet and silver wrapped earrings by Nanfan

2 - These made-to-order beads are something special and are created by klassbeads

3 - Organic and stunning, Deborah Jones makes these hallmarked silver tribal earrings with red aventurine beads

4 - This intricate necklace is made from hand-woven Swarovski pearls by Chikako 

5 - These amazing earrings are made from powder-coated nylon by Laura Madden

6 - Inventive and exquisite, this silver and pearl ring has been carefully crafted by Silvene

7 - Textured silver and a dash of blue enamel = this stunning ring, crafted by Katie Johnston

8 - A wonderfully styled silver-clay necklace by Artisan Silver

9 - A striking enamel and silver flower pendant by Contemporary Jewellery

Hope you enjoyed the treasury.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Crafting in York

I've been fortunate enough to visit York twice this year, although both times it rained rather heavily. Not that that's surprising, given I went in the summer. The Shambles is always worth seeing and gazing out of the rain into a shop window, I recognised a name I knew from Folksy and Twitter - Noodle Bubble.

I took a snap - 

but, foolishly, didn't go inside, and instead continued on my way, brolly in hand.

Then just recently I read this fantastic guide to craft shopping in York by Made by Lolly (who seems to have visited on a much sunnier day), and rather regretted not having read it before I visited. Ah well. It's just an excuse to go back sometime soon.

It was wonderful to read that The Gift Gallery, where some of both Noodle Bubble's and Made by Lolly's beautiful felted goodies reside (follow the links if you can't get to York), only stocks handmade items crafted in the UK and Ireland. Very nice indeed.

I'm afraid I don't have any crafty haunts in York to recommend (I just don't go often enough!) but if you fancy something very tasty to eat (and aren't a vegetarian) then do try the York Hogroast and the stunning roast potatoes they sell. Wonderful even if it is chucking it down...although do bear in mind it's takeaway only...

Anyone else have any excellent craft shops in their local towns, or in cities they love to visit?

Sunday 9 September 2012

Late summer flowers... a folksy treasury

It may be September but it seems summer has returned, and is with us for just a tiny bit longer...

Here are a few beautiful pieces of jewellery I found that make me think of flowers, gardens and warmer weather, with just a hint of the autumn to come in some mellow tones.

Late Summer Folksy Treasury

1 - Sterling silver earrings with a touch of copper in their centres by Alison Moore, a jewellery designer and maker based in Orkney.

2 - An oh-so-chic bracelet by Piccolissimo, something subtle to wear in elegant situations, with a hint of sweet summer.

3 - These earrings by the multi-talented Cinnamon Jewellery are made from enamel and fine silver.

4 - Made from sterling silver by Jennie Swift, this necklace has wonderful detail in the centres of the flowers.

5 - Created by Annie's Land in acrylic, this necklace is such a beautiful shade of heather, and the blue circle sets it off to perfection.

6 - Made from pure silver, an imprint of a sage leaf has been used by Wild Silver (great name!) to make this unique necklace.

7 - The pendant for this necklace is made from polymer clay, with rich colours. Created by Nicola Morse.

8 - Earrings inspired by passion flowers and created in sterling silver by jf jewellery.

9 - Ceramic flowers give a real earthy and rustic feel to these earrings by Blue Forest Jewellery. Perfect for the autumn.

Well, we can't hide from it forever...

Happy end-of-summer!