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Made in Earley Exhibition

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The jewellery classes I attend are at Maiden Earley School in Reading. This week I submitted a piece for display in the Made in Earley exhibition.

The Exhibition blurb:

“Adult silver jewellery students and RGA Fridays artists attend classes in our studios.  This joint show of their diverse work is inspired by major London exhibitions such as The Cheapside Hoard and other, more local, themes.”

My piece was inspired by the Cheapside Hoard. One piece that really caught my eye was a tiny emerald pocket watch:

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The watch is over 350 years old and was designed so that the time could be read even when the lid was shut!

My clock (which I’ve titled “The White Rabbit’s Pocket Watch” for the exhibition) is much bigger,  at 20cm across diagonally. It’s made from copper which I patinated and silver for the dial. It even works! It took probably half a term to make and is full of imperfections to my eyes, but I’m still quite pleased with it.

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It is both quite exciting and nerve wracking having work in an exhibition for the first time ever! However I’m pleased that I have and am pleased that I tried something completely different to my usual makes.

If you’re local, pop along to the exhibition.  If not, I hope to show you some other gems after the private view this Friday night.  Eeeeeeek!

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7th Bead Soup Blog Party – My Reveal

I first came across the bead soup blog party last year, not long after starting my blog. I thought it was a great idea and I saw some really inspirational pieces. When I saw the sign up for this year’s bead soup I had to sign up. My jewellery making skills are very basic compared to a lot of people, but I hoped to still make something nice.

In my first blog soup post I explained the principle behind the idea of bead soup. When I wrote that post I didn’t take some of the beads out of the bags they came in as I was a bit scared to lose any beads. I can show you these beads better now.

In your make you have to use the focal and the clasp supplied by your partner. I was sent these:

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If you look closely at the focal you will see little pearls, so I decided to use these, from my soup, in my piece:

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I used some silver coloured beads from my stash in addition to these. 
Here it is:

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And up close…

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I was also given an assortment of quartz beads:

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I wanted to use these to make a separate piece and decided to make a bracelet.

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I didn’t use all the quartz beads as there were quite a few. I’m sure I’ll use the rest of the beads relatively soon.

So there you go, that’s my little contribution to the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party. Why not visit some of the other blogs? You’ll find some far more impressive pieces. The main Bead Soup Blog Party website has links to all 541 people taking part.

7th Bead Soup Blog Party

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The makes in this year’s Bead Soup Blog Hop have been as inspiring as ever. I’m in the third reveal (rescheduled now for Saturday 27th April), and hopping through the first two reveals is a lot of fun.

Links to all in the first reveal

Links to all in the second reveal

My bead soup partner is a very talented jewellery artist. I am really looking forward to seeing what she makes with the soup I sent her. She wrote a lovely blog post sharing the beads I sent her.

To see the delights Jenny sent me, see my previous Bead Soup post. You will have to wait until the reveal date to see what I’ve made with it. I hope she thinks I’ve done it justice!

International Craft Swap – Part Two

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I was very lucky with the goodies Jo gave me as part of the International Craft Swap (see here for details). I thought I would share what I gave her with you.

Jo commutes into London by train every day, so I thought a notebook which is portable enough for use on the train would be a nice idea.

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The booklet is roughly A6 in size and has 72 pages, so should have enough space for a few notes / scribbles.

I tied it in with the nautical theme with the anchor button and anchor lining.

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The paper is a free printable download found here

I have treated myself to both black and white thread for bookmaking, but decided that I liked seeing the binding on the outside,  so went for white.

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Jo makes her own clothes and I decided to make something to go with her outfits.  The nautical theme made me think of the sea and I had some beads that seemed perfect.

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The blue beads are see through,  like the sea! Blue and white together seemed quite nautical too. I’m pleased to tell you that Jo put the necklace and bracelet on straight away.

We also had a exchange a small gift of less than £3 in value.  As I mentioned in my last post,  I heard about this swap whilst on holiday in Malta. I bought this there:

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It’s an eye of Osiris and you find these on traditional Maltese boats. They are supposed to guard against bad luck etc. This admittedly is a fridge magnet, but I thought it linked well with the theme.

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Jo seemed to like her goodies. I have since found that Rachel at House of Pinheiro organises a swap once a year. I’ve enjoyed this one and will definitely sign up to whatever she organises next year!

Bead Soup!

If you read blogs of jewellery designers/crafters, then you may well have heard about bead soup. In bead soup you are paired up with another jewellery maker and you swap a collection of beads, from which you make something (it doesn’t have to be jewellery) and reveal it on a set date. 

I have been paired with Jenny Vidberg of Shyme Design. She has been making jewellery for 5 – 6 years and seems to be a really talented designer. I hope my skills don’t disappoint!

So, what do we swap?
You need to send:
A focal
A clasp (not lobster)
Coordinating beads

Whatever you make must include the focal and the clasp, but doesn’t have to use anything else (although I will as I received some lovely beads).

I have been a bit of a nightmare partner for Jenny as I sent my bead soup to her very, very late. I sent it after our half term holiday and struggled to make it to the post office after work, but hopefully she will have it very soon! The beads Jenny sent me were waiting at our local sorting office and I only collected them on Friday morning (our sorting office has poor limited opening hours that don’t work well if you work). I’m sorry Jenny!

I love what I’ve been sent 🙂

The focal is pretty unique:

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It is very pretty and sparkly. If you want to see more like this then pop over to Jenny’s Facebook page and you’ll spot more in her header.

The clasp is pretty and heart shaped:

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As for the other beads – wow! Jenny has been generous. I have photographed them still in their voile bag as I don’t want to lose any! She sent me pearls:

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and a variety of quartz:

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She also spoilt me with some Swedish chocolate!

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It is very inspirational – thanks Jenny!

If you want to know what I sent her, pop back soon and I will show you once she has received it and has blogged about it.

Coin Cufflinks

Mr M and I enjoy travelling and exploring places all over the world. When you read this, I’ll be in Malta 🙂

Whilst on this holiday we will be using the Euro, we have used many different currencies. I have enjoyed taking out millions of dong when in Vietnam, but there, and in many places in Asia (or indeed the States) I do get frustrated with the number of notes I have to carry. I like coins for small purchases. I guess that’s what I’m used to!

When packing for Malta I found a few small coins left from our travels last summer. It seemed a pity to just resign them to a jar of loose change, so I got out a few bits:

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And with a bit of glue, and some drying time later, Mr M has some new cufflinks!

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The coins are 10c pieces from Singapore. I like both sides, but didn’t have enough coins to make two sets.

There you go, another very quick and easy make…

Quick and Easy Brooch

This almost feels like cheating rather than making!

All you need is a pretty button, strong glue and a brooch finding:

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You may recognise the button as one I bought in Cardiff. It was bought for this purpose. All I did was glue the finding on the back:

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And ta dah! I have a brooch (or my mother in law will do).
Here is is pinned to my jumper:

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And in a box to give to her:

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Please excuse how dark the photos are – artificial light and phone cameras aren’t a great match!

This is made with an expensive, hand painted button bought for this purpose, but you can use plainer buttons. I have previously shared button brooches made using a plastic button and a painted wooden one layered together and plainer buttons layered for the diamond jubilee.

Hopefully the original Mrs M will like this!