Personal jewellery as a special wedding gift

I recently went to a wedding of a good friend of mine.  We had lived together in a flat in Sydney, Australia together with 3 other girls about 10 years ago now.  Doesn’t time fly!  It was a two bed flat just back from Bondi Beach. Five Irish girls having the time of our lives. We spent Christmas 2004 together. (A total of 37 people at a restaurant at the beach on Christmas day, complete chaos and carnage) good times. We met our partners at various stages of our travels and we were there for each other when it was tough.

I didn’t know what to get Rachael and Peter for a wedding present.  My husband suggested I make them jewellery.  It seemed obvious as that’s what I do.  But I hadn’t really thought of jewellery as a wedding present.  Up until now I have (rather traditionally) thought that the only jewellery involved in a wedding is bought before the day to match the Bride and Grooms outfits and as gifts for Groomsmen and Bridesmaids.

I thought about it for a while and figured if I could think of a way to make matching jewellery but not making it naff that would be a great personal gift.

I have been really into customising tools recently so I thought I could use the same texture but a different design for his and hers.

I used a customised hammer to texture the jewellery. Same same but different.
I used a customised hammer to texture the jewellery. Same same but different.

I made Peter personalised cufflinks with R&P stamped.

Silver cufflinks for Peter

And I made Rachael a pair of earrings and a necklace using the same hammer and a design that I really love.

Silver earrings and necklace

I thought it important that they both come from the same sheet of metal.  Maybe that’s me being sentimental. But I like the idea of jewellery that was once one piece of metal becoming separate pieces for people who want jewellery to link them.  I did something similar a few years ago for a friend.  She wanted to give her sister a ring for her 18th birthday.  She wanted the same ring for herself. I made them out of the same sheet of metal so that no matter how far apart they are they still have the rings that were once one piece together.

Same Silver sheet

The wedding was held at Castle Leslie in Co. Monaghan. What a venue!

ME at castle leslie

Lord Leslie is a cousin of Sir Winston Churchill and Churchills Christening gown is actually on display in the castle. A wonderful member of staff took the time to show me the paintings and connections and then pointed me in the direction of the gown.  I had been taking photos all over the place so it was fairly obvious I was interested. I LOVE history and seeing pieces of history and being in those rooms is an amazing experience.

Sir Winston Churchills Christening Gown
Winston Churchills Christening Gown

I had an amazing day at the wedding and I was really pleased that I had taken the time to make a personal gift for the bride and groom.

Combination of all Combo

They had a beautiful day and we rocked the dance floor. What a day.  Weddings are a great reminder to us all of the love in the world.  And my only chance to dance the night away these days 😉.

Dance the night away

If you are interested in buying that special couple something they will treasure this set is available here:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/244526256/silver-earrings-necklace-and-cufflinks

Or I can customise something just for you.

Thank you for reading

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The how to of cufflinks

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Personalised cufflinks was one of the first items of jewellery that a friend asked me to make for her husband.

Here are the steps involved in making these cufflinks.

First you cut out your desired shape.

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Then you file down the edges and corners to make sure you don’t get any sharp edges.

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Next comes the personalisation, when stamping always place on an anvil.  If you stamp on wood or anything else you won’t get a great impression. You need one STRONG hit of the hammer. Practice elsewhere in case the letter / number is the wrong way round.  (I learned this the hard way)

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Next step is soldering!  Some tips to solder.

  1. Set up is key, once you are in the middle of soldering you don’t want to be searching around for tweezers or solder etc.
  2. A clean join will mean a solid join
  3. Keep breathing ☺

20150715_211029IMG_20150716_000741Once the soldering is done you need to pickle each piece to clean it up.

And next is riveting. I rivet my own cufflinks as I don’t risk melting the little spring inside the cufflink.

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Once the cufflinks are one piece it is time to oxidise the top to show up the lovely stamping done earlier.  This is done with liver of sulphur which stinks like Rotorua! This needs to be done outside, unless you don’t mind the smell of rotten eggs of course….

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Then brush back and polish! And there you have it.  Some awesome personalised cufflinks.

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Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed it.

New jewellery

Hello Again 🙂

I have been very busy over the last couple of months.  Mainly with my first craft fair!  It was a really great experience and I am looking forward to my next one in July.  First Saturday of the month at Lewes Craft market.

In the meantime I have been working on various new designs.  Working in wax, working with new tools and experimenting with new metals and finishes.

These are a few of the little bubble pieces that I have just received back from casting.  I am going to make some earrings, tops of rings, tie pins and maybe a necklace or two.  I am also planning on experimenting with gold plating them.  Yay!

New silver casting pieces

And this is the entire lot.  So I have new rings in there.  And more little blobby, bubbles (I have no idea how to name them) and a triquetra which started out as a commission.  I spent just over three months working on that and really grew to love it.  So I think some earrings and a necklace will be an awesome addition to my collection.

New silver casting pieces necklaces earrings tie pins

Watch this space for the finished pieces!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Further studies in green

First of all Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh.  Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  I will be celebrating my nations National day by judging a St. Patrick’s Day themed cake challenge and partaking in an Irish dancing lesson organised by the wonderful Sports and Social club at work.

How fitting to post something green today.  Enjoy.

So I decided to paint ANOTHER piece of furniture in Antibes green.

We have a radiator cover in our hallway that we bought in a local big DIY store as an unpainted flat pack.

 

I first painted it grey.

Radiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green before aRadiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green before b

(I had started my green painting before I realised WAIT!  I need to take a photo or two, so I can do before & after shots.  I can sometimes be a little impatient…)

I thought I quite liked the idea of a grey feature piece in the hallway.  In my mind I was thinking chic and statement.  But as soon as I painted it my husband and I knew it just wasn’t right. We wanted COLOUR!  So as I had just done the bed (see previous post) I thought green it is!                   I actually started this the same day as the bed. But life got in the way, so it took a bit longer to complete than I first thought…

Anyway!

BOOM!  SOOOO much better in green.

Radiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green before after paintRadiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green before tip

TIP alert!  When painting something like this use diagonal strokes across the piece.  You waste less paint that way.  I had a fair bit dripping down the opposite side before I figured this out.

So the main painting is done.  (one coat, it needed two plus wax) And this is where I stopped for a while.  I later got the idea about the top of the cover.  So actually sometimes a bit of time between finishing projects can be a GOOD thing.  (tell that to your partner next time you are half way through a project that you said you would finish two weeks ago).  I have done several pieces of furniture with Annie Sloan chalk paint and the tops have not all stayed as pristine as I would like.  A hallway radiator cover is going to see a LOT of traffic in its lifetime.  So I decided I needed to protect it with more than just paint.  I have used mod podge on a previous project (as yet unfinished completely – 3 years later ooops!!)  Mod Podge without getting too technical is a type of glue sealant thing.  (I said it wouldn’t be technical)  I found a good explanation here:  http://easycrafts.wikia.com/wiki/Mod_Podge Anyway!  I had to buy mine on Amazon a few years ago due to it not being available in the UK.  I don’t know if you can get it now.

I digress…  Anyway!  I decided on paper plus mod podge.  I found a beautiful piece of wrapping paper  with badgers and the same colour green acorn and sycamore leaves as the radiator cover.  Cute and quirky, just how I like it.

What you need:

Pretty paper, mod podge (I used the matte version but there are LOADS of different types of finishes available), a paint brush, a card.  A used gift card is useful.  If you use a credit or debit card you will get glue all over it and may never be able to take it out of your wallet again.  Which if you are trying to save money might be a good thing but you have been warned….

Radiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green mod podge tools

Measure out how much paper you need.  Unfortunately, the pattern repeat on mine was impossible to match.  I probably should have bought two sheets to match it correctly but that would be a lot of wasted paper.  And to be honest it didn’t cross my mind to check until I was at home and crafting.  It didn’t really bother me so I just carried on.  If this bothers you, think about pattern repeat beforehand.

Put the paper on top and crease down the side so that you know where to cut.  Cut the paper to size.  Make sure you know which piece is going to go where.  Because once you get the glue on you need to move quite quickly.  Paint on a layer of mod podge with your brush like so….

Radiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green before

Then carefully lay the paper on top, using the card to push out any bubbles.  Then seal the top of the paper with another layer of mod podge.  Once again using a handy used gift card, smooth out all the bubbles, or if you are feeling rebellious your credit or debit card – Just kidding DON’T DO IT!!! unless you are TRYING to save money and you don’t WANT to be able to get your cards out of your wallet…  In this pic you will see some of what I mean, to the left of the pic there are little bubbles at the edge where I have pushed them out from the middle.  Keep pushing and it should stick ok.  You might need to add a little more mod podge underneath (use the card to get it in) this should  properly stick the paper to the wood.

Radiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green after top

Ta dahhhh!!!!!

Radiator cover upcycle furniture annie sloan antibes green after

There is no natural light in my hallway so the chances of good pictures (taken on my phone) are slim.  But you get the idea.  I LOVE my new radiator cover.  As does my husband and daughter, phew!  A nice little piece of personality when you enter the home.

PS. Remember to clean the glue out of your brush.  DON’T get lazy and leave it in the sink thinking “I’ll do that a bit later” because you know what glue does?  It hardens and this will ruin your brush.  Not that I did that or anything.  Of course not.  Ahem….

Commissions

Making a bespoke piece of jewellery is a honour. Here are a few pieces that I have had the pleasure to make.

My lovely friend Dan is modelling the first ring (the chocolate cake behind him was for a birthday if I remember correctly). This ring was made as a gift to a Gemini man who loves Tribal tattoos.  I worked with his beautiful wife (a good friend and very talented make up artist) and finally settled on this design.

Sterling silver mens ring sterling silver ring mens jewellery mans thumb ring silver   Sterling silver mens ring sterling silver ring mens jewellery mans thumb ring silver a

Next up is another mans ring, but not a thumb ring this time.  It is a chunky silver wedding ring (replacing a previous ring lost in the sea!) Oops! This is one that I made for my brother, so an extra special honour for me.  He very kindly sent me a pic of it as I neglected to take a picture of it when I made it.  It went all the way to Australia.  (my nephew is an amazing artist you can see his picture in the background)  And the ring fits!!!  Phew!  He has been wearing it whilst out training as a volunteer lifeguard and so far it is still there.  Job well done.

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The next commission is an extra special AMAZING piece that I had the pleasure to design and make.  It was also commission for a man.  Hmmm maybe there is a pattern forming here…Silver Dragon, silver pendant silver dragon pendant with peridot

I call this Minas Dragon.  It is a strong dragon with a beautiful peridot set for the eye.  I didn’t know how it would turn out, but I think you will agree, it is pretty special.  It was intended to be interchangeable as a pendant or a key ring.  This took me many hours of carving and redoing and making sure the scales were “just right”.  I am very proud of this one.

Not the end of my commissions, but the end of this post at least.  A pair of cufflinks that my husband asked me to make for him.  He loves them so much he wears them regularly to work and gets LOADS of compliments.  So now I stock them in my etsy shop!!!  I present to you da da dahhhhhhhhh  paper clip cufflinks.  I made these in silver but they can also be made in gold.

Cuff Links silver cuff links paperclip cuff links novelty cuff links 1

I think I should follow this up with the commissions that I have made for the ladies.  I have quite a few to choose from that I can share with you.  Bangles made as bridesmaid gifts, a necklace with a princess cut stone, a backdrop necklace, matching sister rings, dangle textured oxidised earrings and a triquetra pendant for an 18th birthday.

Thank you for reading.  Let me know what you think!