Tuesday, 2 June 2015

My latest jewellery designs.

I have been trying to write this blog post since last week and I have only just finished it today. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I wanted to get it exactly right, but the result is that my blog post is a week late and I'm annoyed at myself. I am going to from now on, stop tweaking my blog posts to death and just write them, proof read them and post them.

When I sit down to write, I spend ages weighing up what subject to write about, then a flurry of subjects start whizzing around my head at the same time and I quickly write them down before I forget them. I'm a major note maker, meaning that I have a note book with notes about what I'm going to be doing that day and what needs to be done that week. Well, on the top of my 'To Do' list, is to finish off three new christening bracelets that I have been working on.

The designs are simple, using just white pearls and silver plated crosses. I think jewellery made for a baby/toddler should be not flashy or over the top and as these were christening/baptism bracelets, I wanted to keep to that format. 

So here they are, they are nearly finished I just need to add on the extender chains, which are always a good idea, as babies and small children can grow fast and if it has been bought as a gift and the buyer is not sure of the wrist size, then an extender is needed incase the bracelet needs to be expanded.



The finished bracelets are now listed on my website at www.michelleshandcraftedjewellery.com and in my Etsy shop at www.michelleshandcrafted.etsy.com



Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Making a Glossy Accents Pendant

I bought a bottle of Glossy Accents the other day from my local craft shop, after coming across a picture of a bottle cap pendant necklace on Pinterest, that someone had made using Glossy Accents. You might be sitting there thinking, 'what is Glossy Accents, well Glossy Accents is a 3-dimensional clear gloss medium, used by crafters and it can be used to accent, brighten, magnify, dimensionalize, bond and protect embellishments and designs.  Phew, that was a mouthful and if you wondering yes, I did just copy that description off the back of the bottle. Basically, it's a type of resin that you pour straight from the bottle and you can add it to any paper project or embellishment. It dries to a clear hard shiny finish and also doubles a glue!





In some of the projects that I have seen using Glossy Accents, the makers have used bottle caps, but I did not have any, however I did have some pendant trays that I'd bought a while ago. I'd not used them, because I'd had trouble finding any clear glass domes to fit them, as they were not a common available size. So I'd given up in looking for the domes and just put them away in a draw. When I saw what could be done with a bottle of Glossy Accents, I straight away thought about my unused pendant trays and what I could do with them. 

I found a background image from a magazine, this was cut into an oval shape. I then sealed the front and back of the image with PVA white glue, I did this twice, each time waiting for the glue to be completely dry before I added the next coat. After the final coat, the image was ready to be glued to the back of the inside of pendant tray. For this I used E600 glue. I love this glue, it does not smell that great, make sure the room is well ventilated when you use it, but it is what I call jewellery cement, once you use it, nothing moves, it dries rock hard. 

I left this to dry overnight then, the next day I was ready to fill the tray with the Glossy Accents. I'd noticed in pictures of resin jewellery, the makers sometimes added a small object to their pendant tray, I had a small silver key on my desk, it was left over from a project and I decided to put the key in the tray before I poured in the Glossy Accents. 




I filled the tray to the edge, then left it to cure over night. The next morning, I noticed that it had set, but it looked a little sunken around the key. So I thought it could not do any harm to add some more Glossy Accents to fill up the tray, so that it looked more level. When I filled up the tray the first time, I remembered to leave it on a level surface, but this time don't ask me why, I decided to put it in another place. Little did I know, but this place was not as level as I thought it was and the tray ended up leaning slightly to one side. The Glossy Accents had spilt slightly over the edge and some of it had seeped underneath!




How could I have been so careless, I could have kicked myself for not paying more attention to what I was doing. I managed to scrape some of the Glossy Accents off, but you can still see some of it on the back of the pendant tray. I learnt a lesson that you should take your time and not change the way you perform certain tasks, unless you want the results to be different. If you don't want change, then don't change a thing and that's my quote for the day!


I still like the pendant, I popped it on a chain and have been wearing it and I've have had some lovely complements about it. I've still got a near full bottle of Glossy Accents and some more of those pendant trays, so I will be making some more pendants in the near future.



If you would like to see my other handmade jewellery, please visit my online store at www.michelleshandcraftedjewellery.com

Bye for now!

x


Monday, 9 February 2015

Aluminium Wirework Jewellery

Last year I spoke about wanting to work more with wire in my jewellery making and expanding into wire work jewellery. Well, I have being doing so, I've been experimenting over the past couple of months, when I've had a spare couple of hours, with a my tools and a roll of inexpensive wire. To make the most basic, to the most intricate designs, only requires confidence in the tools that you have and your imagination.

At first I started with a piece of shiny brown aluminium craft wire, that caught my eye in a local craft shop. Aluminium craft wire is a soft a malleable wire, that can easily bent with your fingers and is available in many colours. It also can be rigid enough to hold it's shape. At first I made into an oval shape, then I added some tiny turquoise blue seed beads, that I found in my bead stash, which I have wanted to use for a while, because they are soo pretty. I strung them onto a piece of thin silver wire and then started wrapping them around the oval frame.


This is what I ended up with, yes I know it looks strange, it reminds me of something you'd find in the ocean, some sort of sea creƤture. The fringe bits at the bottom, were made from uneven strips of wire, that I just bent and curved around a round nose pliers. After I made this, I thought it would make an interesting pendant, but I've not got around to making it into a necklace. I'm not even sure I will make it into one, it's one of the most unusual pieces I've ever made. If there is anyone out there that can suggest a suitable stringing material, I would love to hear from them. 

After making this pendant, I wanted to make a pair of earrings, I did not have a design in my head, I just bent the wire around into a circle, then made a spiral shape and added some blue Czech glass nugget beads, that hung from the base and created some movement and these are the earrings I came up with!




Again, they are an unusual  design, but that's what I love about making jewellery with wire, the designs don't always turn out how you expect them to turn out, there are no hard and fast rules about jewellery making, just the freedom of creating whatever your tools, hands and imagination lets you create.

Most of my handmade jewellery is one-off pieces, if you would like to see my work, then head over to www.michelleshandcraftedjewellery.com



Thursday, 6 November 2014

Christmas Bag Charms - Work in Progress

Summer is long gone and it's time to think of winter, in particular Christmas. In a jewellery designers calendar, Christmas is one of the most important times of the year, everyone is looking for gifts for friends or love ones, or they might be looking for something new to wear to an event over the Christmas season.

I've already started adding several new items to my websites, the earlier you make them available to potential customers, the sooner they can make their purchases and avoid disappointment if there is a delay in the post and it arrives after Christmas Day.

I've been working on a couple of new festive bag charms. I had a custom order last month for a Christmas style bag charm, so I thought I'd make a couple of them to add to my shops.

The first one is similar to the one I made for my customer, it's in traditional Christmas colours, with  snowflake, holly bush and flower charms.


The next one is, what I've called a Snowflake bag charm, this time I've used white, silver and pale blue glass pearl beads, crystals and silver charms.


I love making bag charms, I just grab my tools, chains and beads and let my imagination take over, all the bag charms I make are, one off pieces, making them unique and special.

Now I just need to take decent pictures of them both, so I can add them on my website and Etsy shop.

If you would like to see my other bag charms, head over to my websites, at
www.michelleshandcraftedjewellery.com
www.michelleshandcrafted.etsy.com

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Clean Eating - A New Way of Eating

Since April I have been discovered a new way of eating and it's called clean eating.  I bet your wondering what is clean eating, well I thought the same thing when I came a across a Youtube video and the person was discussing what she was eating and why she was eating it. At first I thought what do you mean, I don't think anybody eats dirty food on purpose, I know that sounds silly, but  I was a bit confused, but I started watching more videos and reading about it online and then it all started to make sense.

Eating clean or clean eating, is eating food that has not been processed. The food has not been refined or tampered with and is kept to it's natural form, without any unnecessary extras added to it.

This means ready meals, takeaways, fast foods, e.t.c are all to be avoided. The food needs to be whole and be in it's original form, just how nature made it. So it would mean eating fresh fruit and vegetables, Lean proteins such as fish or chicken and whole grains like brown rice or wholemeal pasta.

I researched all the different types of foods that were allowed, some foods I was unsure about, I like an easy life, so I thought I'd share with you the food I would eat in a typical day.

Breakfast: 

Banana and Berry Smoothie
I never use to eat smoothies, but now I have one every day for breakfast and this is my favourite one, at the moment. It is made with bananas, summer fruit berries, a spoonful of fat free Greek yogurt , half a cup of Almond milk and some ice.  All of this is thrown into a blender, whizzed for a minute then poured into a tall glass. This makes a yummy breakfast, that keeps me full, so no diving into the biscuit tin. Speaking of biscuits, I have lost the taste for them and I don't really miss them.




Lunch

Greek Pasta Salad
For lunch I am loving my Greek Pasta Salad, I have it every day and I'm still not bored with it. It's made with green and black olives, chopped up cucumber, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, wholemeal fusilli pasta. I also make my own dressing, consisting of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano.




Dinner

Baked Chicken with Rice and Vegetables
Dinner time is usually fish, or chicken, with a cup full of any vegetables and 1/2 cup of carbohydrates, this could brown rice, roasted sweet potato, quinoa, e.t.c. One thing I have learnt about, is to remember portion size, think of your plate as a clock, 1/2 of it should be vegetables, 1/4 your protein, i.e. chicken or fish and 1/4 your carbohydrates, such as brown rice.




I had this last night and it was yummy and very filling, before I started eating clean, I would want something sweet after dinner, but this has disappeared. I do remember being told by someone years ago, that it usually takes 2 weeks to lose your taste for sweet things, I think it's true, I no longer crave biscuits, cakes or chocolate bars, I do have the odd biscuit, but that's it really.

If I do want something sweet, I have found a healthy alternative them, but I will share that with you another time. I eat clean 99% of the time, rest of the time I might have the odd guilt free meal, don't judge me I'm human.

I don't see clean eating as a new diet fad, I really enjoy it., I just see it new way of eating. It's also spurred me to get fit, so every morning I do 30 mins of cadio or toning exercises. I use to go to the gym, but I would just get bored and find excuses why I couldn't go that day, but now I definitely prefer exercising at home, there are loads of great exercise videos on YouTube,  I even bought myself a set of dumbbells to use, I don't see exercise as a chore any more, I love doing it.

There you have it, my new way of eating healthy. In the forthcoming months, I'll share with you how I'm getting on and maybe a couple of recipes, I'll surprise you.

Bye for now.

M.  x


Monday, 18 August 2014

Flower Girl Bracelets

I'm back! It's been a few months since I posted a blog, the reason being is that I've been busy with my websites, designing new jewellery, getting orders made for customers and enjoying family life. I'm going try and get back into blogging, I have to say I have missed it and I'm going to try and blog weekly and not beat myself up about it, if I miss a week or two. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you might of noticed that I've been posting a few 'work in progress' pictures of my flower girl bracelets, they have been proving quite popular with customers.

They have been on my website and in my Etsy shop for several months now,  I already have a range of bridal jewellery available to purchase on these venues, but I did not want to leave out the flower girls. They deserve an extra special gift to say thank you for taking part in the happy couple's wedding and also they would make a nice memento of the day. They all can be made in petite sizes from the ages of 3 - 13 years of age and are available in a range of colours.


This pink flower bracelet is made with 6 mm pink glass pearl beads and 6 mm pink crystal beads. There is a 1.5 inch long extender chain a silver heart shaped charm, with the words ' Flower Girl' engraved on it.




Another popular bracelet chosen by many brides this year is this one, made with white and blue 6 mm glass pearl beads. To give my customers more of a choice, I now offer the option of choosing up to 17 other pearl colours, which can be matched to a brides wedding colour scheme. 



Now, this bracelet is a little bit different from the others, instead of a flower girl charm, there is an initial charm. Initial jewellery is more personalised, so if your your flower girl is called Sophie, you would choose the letter S and also you can pick from 9 crystal colours to add to the bracelet. 





This bracelet has a simple design, it's made with ivory pearls, a smoky grey crystal bead, small silver beads, a flower girl charm and a singular pearl dangle.  



I know brides sometimes struggle to think of a thoughtful gift for members of their wedding party, just to say thank you for making their big day so special. These bracelets would be ideal, they are made with pearls and pearls never go out of style and the flower girls can treasure their own bracelet as a keepsake gift, forever.

If you would like a closer look at these bracelets, you can see them on my website at www.michelleshandcraftedjewellery.com

Also if you like to see what I'm up to on Instagram and feel to follow me on instagram.com/michelleshandcraftedjewellery 

Bye for now
x

Friday, 16 May 2014

My Top 5 Gemstones

I had a lovely surprise a couple of weeks ago, when I checked my emails during a break while taking pictures of some new jewellery. It was an email from Frances from the company JewelleryMaker. JewelleryMaker is a family owned company that specialises in jewellery making supplies, especially gemstones from all around the world. Frances had seen my blog and my wire wrapped rings on my website and she wanted to know whether I'd like to write a blog post and share my top 5 gemstones. I've never done a top 5 of anything on my blog, so I was happy to do so. Gemstones beads fascinate me, because each type of gemstone is unique, with their own qualities, colourings, properties and meanings.


Well here goes!

1. Labradorite

This is a stunning gemstone, it was first discovered  in 1770 in Labrador in Canada. It's usually a dark grey colour, with flecks of green and black, that show iridescent flashes of blue, blue-green and silver.
I like this gemstone a lot, to me it looks expensive and luxurious. I did buy some coin Labradorite beads and made a pair of earrings and a bracelet out of them.
Labradorite Bracelet

There is a vast selection of Labradorite beads on the JewelleryMaker website http://www.jewellerymaker.com/en-gb/search.aspx?parentcategory=gems-and-beads&gemstone=labradorite

2. Rose Quartz

I like pink. Rose Quartz is pale pink in colour and can range from very light to medium pink, in colour. Sometimes they can almost be transparent, but his is very rare. I've made a wire wrap ring with a Rose Quartz bead and brass wire.  

Rose Quartz Wire Wrapped Ring

Rose Quartz  is considered to be the gemstone of love, so they would be the perfect gemstone to choose, when making something special for a customer, for Valentine's Day. http://www.jewellerymaker.com/en-gb/product.aspx?c=pmkz36&d=80cts-pink-quartz-faceted-rounds-approx-6mm

3. Haematite

The word Haematite comes from the Greek word meaning blood. It's colour can range from steel grey to almost black. I like this bead, because it always looks super glossy, sleek and elegant. I think it also looks slightly masculine, so that's why I chose to use Haematite beads to make one of my gent's bracelets.

Haematite Bracelet

You can see here that you can get Haematite beads in other colours and finishes.  http://www.jewellerymaker.com/en-gb/search.aspx?parentcategory=gems-and-beads&gemstone=haematite

4. Unakite

Before I bought these Unakite beads, I wanted to know where Unakite came from and I found out that it was first discovered in the United States, in the Unakas mountains of North Carolina. It's a form of granite and it comes in various shades of salmon pink and green, all mottled and blending into each other. Unakite is a hard material, so it is resistant to abrasions, so I used some Unakite beads to make another one of my gent's bracelets. I think I like this gemstone because the two colours seem to clash with each other, but side by side, they work so well together. 
Unakite Bracelet

5. Rainbow Fluorite

Rainbow Fluorite beads are mostly translucent, with shades of purple, green, yellow and some with a hint of blue. You can even get more than one colour in as single stone, giving a rainbow like effect. I bought these rainbow fluorite chips last year in the hope of making them into a piece of jewellery for the summer, but I never got round to using them. I like the soft transulcent shading, I can imagine making them into a necklace, they would add just a hint of colour, against the skin. You can also get rainbow fluorite beads in other shapes such as tubes, barrels, rounds and cubes. As well as rainbow fluorite, there is also multi-coloured, green, blue, purple and yellow fluorite beads, for a closer look.  http://www.jewellerymaker.com/en-gb/search.aspx?parentcategory=gems-and-beads&gemstone=fluorite&page=1



Rainbow Fluorite

That's it for my top five gemstones, let me know what are your favourite gemstones are and what is it about them, that you like when working with them.

If you would like to see more of my handmade jewellery and accessories on my websites, head over to www.michelleshandcraftedjewellery.com

Bye

x