Quick Tiara – Wall of Fame JM

Woohoo I got on the Wall of Fame (again)  fingers crossed for a win one day …..

With this quick make, inspired by the amazing Gemma Crow (JM Guest Designer) although mine is slightly different, this is the basis of my darling daughters easter bonnet (aka easter princess tiara) for the school competition.

I created it using 2 rose gold hair combs, a rose gold tiara band, copper wire (as it goes really well with the rose gold colour) and some shell pearls, 10mm in size, peach in colour so the entire hair piece is co-ordinated.

It appeared on the JM wall of fame Facebook page on the 23rd March 2015, it made me so smile :)

Pearl Tiara
Pearl Tiara


Suffragette Pendant – Auction Fever!

An Edwardian Suffragette pendant brooch recently sold at a local auction house for almost 4 times the estimate, a whooping £1800.

The brooch, whether worn or not, was a symbol of support for the suffrage movement, in a time when Gentlemen who opposed the right of votes of women on the basis amongst others that women were too emotional and therefore not logical in their thinking to hold something as powerful as the vote.

Just imagine how those suffragettes would feel less than 100 years later when we have experienced a Lady Prime Minister, Women in key cabinet posts, many women working who are also married, with children. The world has most definitely moved on, but I think this is stunning piece that carries so much history with it, I can’t imagine why the owner sold it, but the new owner I hope will hold the piece in high regard.

An Edwardian Suffragette pendant brooch, set with diamonds, emeralds and amethysts, of pierced form centred with a bow, the oval set central stone surrounded by small emeralds, above a further bow and a drop stone, with a chain back, white and yellow metal backing, unmarked, 8.5cm high, fitted in C A Barrington case.

I can’t enlarge the image very well without it being distorted, but isn’t this a fascinating piece of history. A Pendant which is also a brooch, sold at a local auction house for a whooping £1850, nearly 4 times the estimate  @ GoldingYoung Auction House in Grantham, Lincolnshire.

The Suffragettes fascinated me, the extraordinary lengths these originally society ladies or ladies of leisure, many of whom were highly educated took on “the establishment” and effectively won was inspirational.

Its almost ludicrous to think how these ladies starved themselves, chained themselves to railings, threw themselves under horse drawn carriages and even died in order to get a vote which sadly these days many people (and not just women) fail use. The extreme lengths they went too, and sheer press coverage they got, given the lack of internet (not even the ZX Spectrum was in existence in those days, and motor car was rare) was admirable.

Emmeline Pankhurst is the name many remember from history, in fact I have been to the cemetery in London where her gravestone stands proud. It was a very calm, quiet, peaceful spot to enjoy a walk from my hotel to the tube, (not the nearest tube I might add) but was an escape for a hour from the hubble and trouble of the big smoke.

The lack of women’s rights is incredible, I was shocked to discover (as one example) that a married woman was the “property” of her husband, thus this gave him the right if he chose to dress her in her Sunday best, tie a rope around her neck and take her to market to sell to the highest bidder should  he feel  he wanted to dispose of her. It’s interesting to note that whilst these markets were technically unlawful, owing to the acceptance that a husband owned a wife very little was done to bring these auctions to a halt.

Bizarrely women were not permitted to leave the home unaccompanied unless it was for charitable purposes, and  let’s  not forget that in in the early 1800’s Negro Slaves were also socially acceptable, many of whom were women, this point was used in many flyers & was fundamental in the ladies who  were heavily behind the anti slavary organisation, to the point that campaigns were driven by women, they petitioned parliament to abolish slavery, they lobbied ladies to boycott groceries who sold products from the West Indies (sugar) which enhanced and encouraged slavery.

Just incase you are interested in the Suffrage movement, there is an excellent wiki page on the subject!


In the meantime I am adding this brooch to my items I am inspired by, and will attempt to reproduce (one day!)

Wirework Cuff with Pearls

Wirework Cuff #jewellerymaker kit
Wirework Cuff

This is my finished cuff, inspired by Laura Binding, a JM Guest Designer, and using the kit.

The kit contained Bronze coloured copper wire, bronze coloured Pyrite, larger pink cultured pearls and some seed bead style tiny potato pearls.

10 Pyrites on each strand of wire, so 40 in total for the bangle portion, these are just threaded

I have lots of the kit left, and a strand of pearls that I haven’t  opened, so I may make a ring next, I will say the wire is lovely to work with, and really soft in your fingers, plyable to, but I did find it tricky not to mark it.

Using 0.6mm wire to criss cross wrap the bangle frame to add strength and then enabling the wire excess to form the hook and loop.



Jewellery Party – Happy Birthday

Jewellery Birthday Party
Jewellery Birthday Party

So last weekend we had a birthday party! A jewellery birthday party, 7 girls, all around 12 years old all wanting to make different things.

My basket was raided, absolutely raided, I took seed beads, elastic, silk cords, waxed cords, sari silks, general findings all sorts of jewellery items and the girls had such fun.

The creative juices were flowing, initially we all made a sari silk bracelet with a magnetic clasp, they each chose a silver finding to thread on, and then as the glue dried they moved on to threading seed beads on elastic or wire, they made rings, bracelets, choker necklace, long stringy necklaces, sari silk and seed bead hair grips each taking home several items, in a pretty fabric party bag.

The party was hosted by #craftybetty and some of the stringing materials we used were from #jewellerymaker, the silk was from #yarn-yarn, it was great to see the girls having fun and learning too.

IMG_5244 IMG_5245

Inspired by Laura

1.00 Bronze coloured wire, and 0.25mm wire

So, after re-winding the you-tube designer inspiration show several times I discovered that Laura Binding doesn’t follow a script, or a pattern her creations evolve.

Thus I concluded it was therefore pointless continuing to watch, as my creation no matter how hard I tried would never look like hers, as her demo piece wasn’t going to look the same as her original either!

So, on a positive note it means that what I create can’t be wrong, because I am no longer following a pattern, but am simply inspired by one of Lauras designs.

Once a good weave has been started, it needs to move to the centre of the wires, then its time to add a pearl
Once a good weave has been started, it needs to move to the centre of the wires, then its time to add a pearl

Firstly I cut 4 very long (hand to shoulder) lengths of the 1mm wire, and started to wire wrap them together in a V type weave using the 0.25mm bronze wire from the kit. I did just enough so that as I looped the weave around a pearl it encased it beautifully.




The wirework is now evolving
The wirework is now evolving…….

I then continued to weave, add pearls and bronze coated pyrites ….its not finished yet but it is evolving.

So it still looks a little disjointed, and Laura did say that she only used 10 pyrites on the band, I think I may need a few more than that! I have remembered to keep 4 strands of wire for the sides, so will see how big it finishes up once I have used up what I now call the 4 working wires.

Working Wires getting shorter
Working Wires getting shorter


Kit time! #jewellerymaker


this week I fancied trying a kit, but actually using the kit as suggested by JM, I selected this one, the vintage cuff kit inspired by Laura Binding.

My kit cost £24.95 + p&p

It contained, bronze coloured wire 0.80mm, 0.60mm and 0.25mm

Light Purple cultured poimagetato pearls 8x7mm

Bronze coated Pyrite rounds 6mm 

Lilac freshwater cultured pearl rice bead 7x5mm

Bronze potato pearls 3x2mm

I have never wire wrapped previously, and Laura’s opening lines are this is an advanced piece, oops maybe not a first attempt piece then!

So so I pull out the kit, set you tube up on the TV and off I go

Gemstone Collar

Sari silk & gemstone beaded collar
Sari silk & gemstone beaded collar

Inspired by the lovely JM designer Sheila Davies I have been busy working on this sari silk and gemstone collar piece, using a variety of sari silk ruffles & flowers meticulously sew in to place then decorated by a variety of gemstones from a bead scoop this collar piece is truly original.

It’s quite heavy so more of a winter piece of jewellery to wear than a summer collar, this means that the necklace needs to be durable and in keeping with the collar so I am considering kumihimo with sari silk ribbon intertwined with a length of  chain.


Sewing and Lace workshop @ JM Towers

Sheila Davies with my lace and pearl piece
Sheila Davies with my lace and pearl piece
Pearl & Lace Collar Piece by Sheila Davies
Pearl & Lace Collar Piece by Sheila Davies

On Valentines day I got up ridiculously early, bag packed the night before, tool kit at the ready I had my travel tea cup filled, my breakfast bars on standby as I zoomed off in search of Redditch!

My destination was the Sewing and Pearls workshop, taught by Sheila Davies (resident designer at jewellery maker). I made it in plenty of time, not liking pearls nor lace this was going to be a challenge.

However, that is precisely the reason I decided to take the workshop, sometimes you learn more whilst working out of your comfort zone. My comfort zone is tiny beads, peyote, right angle weave, brick, albion, herringbone stitches and shortly the hubble stitch (watch this space but the awesome Bead School Mel has designed a new stitch, a book is being written as I type!) and french wirework beading.

Asymetrical Lace, Wire, Chain and Pearl Necklace by Sheila Davies
Asymetrical Lace, Wire, Chain and Pearl Necklace by Sheila Davies

I have been to Jewellery maker before, so the building, the layout was familiar to me, the workshop environment wasn’t. Previously I have only attended a sunday experience, I am desperately trying to get on another but try as I might I haven’t been successful yet :(

Fascinator with Pearls & Feathers by Sheila Davies
Fascinator with Pearls & Feathers by Sheila Davies

I was expecting a kit, demos, instructions, and finished items to view as inspiration pieces, interaction with other guest designers & presenters etc However, this wasn’t quite what the day turned out to be…….

Cabachon, & Gem pendants by Sheila Davies
Cabachon, & Gem pendants by Sheila Davies

I will say, Sheila is a wonderful lovely lady, who is kind, generous and incredibly helpful she allowed us the freedom and creativity to design our own pieces as the day progressed, I actually moved away from lace and on to Sari silk ribbon which I have to say I much prefer to work with.  Sheila, I love, she isn’t your conventional teacher, but she is a patient, and thought provoking one. As such there were no instructions, no detailed diagrams of the course objectives for the day but there were inspirational pieces. Including those I have pictured throughout this blog post.

Around the room she displayed her pieces, allowed us to use her stash of pearls, lace, needles etc without the need initially to dip into our “kits” which consisted of a strand of pearls, 2 backing pieces of material, monofilament, and pieces of white lace.

Lace, Soutache, Pearl, and Chain Hair Comb by Sheila Davies
Lace, Soutache, Pearl, and Chain Hair Comb by Sheila Davies

Sheila dished out bead scoops, cut additional backing material up for us to use, gave us access to her pearl stash, quartz etc so I ended up making a piece that isn’t at all something I would of ever dreamt of creating, and then I moved on to creating (and am still creating) what I think will be my favourite piece using Sari silk ribbon and the bead scoop.

Pearl Bridal Collar by Sheila Davies @ JM
Pearl Bridal Collar by Sheila Davies @ JM

Another part of the course is the opportunity to meet the presenters and guest designers on the shows that day. I would love the opportunity to become a guest designer, sadly I suspect my area of specialism is too small & time consuming for JM, bead weaving is my passion, I love creating a bezel for a cab using peyote or albion stitch, adjusting the size of the beads to enable a tight secure bezel, cubic right angle weave, basic right angle weave (ladder weave to JM viewers) and much more, not all bead weaving needs to be done with tiny seed beads and personally I think there are many jewellery makers out in the big wide word who would love to learn a simple daisy stitch, create cubic weaves one day maybe my dream will come true!

I have to say some presenters & guest designers were much friendlier and lovely than they come across on the television, others sadly for whatever reason failed to acknowledge the workshop attendees, or if they did, it was glaringly obvious to several workshop attendees that the acknowledgement was done begrudgingly.

Pearl and Lace Hairpieces  by Sheila Davies
Pearl and Lace Hairpieces by Sheila Davies

Two of the presenters on Saturday were Ali Defoy, and Lucy Nicholls. Ali & Lucy are simply the loveliest, kindest friendliest most down to earth hilarious people I met on the day, along with the lovely Scott who was standing in for Wendy (workshop co-ordinator), and obviously Sheila. Each of these people took time out of their busy day to come into the workshop room, interact with the attendees, delight, encourage oooh and aaahhh over the our creations, share the delights of the strands which had been or were going on air.  This was before Ali went on air, & after Lucy had been on air, and then they popped back again a few hours later to make sure that they both the time to say goodbye to us, just as the lovely Elena had done when I met her on the Sunday experience last year.

Silk Sari Ribbon
Silk Sari Ribbon
Sari Silk & Gemstone Collar piece, designed by Fiona, inspired by Sheila Davies - work in progress
Sari Silk & Gemstone Collar piece, designed by Fiona, inspired by Sheila Davies – work in progress

During the day Sheila gave us an insight in to stiffening lace, staining white to an antique tea colour (using a tea bag!) and some of her design methodology. She virtually emptied her stash of lace encouraging us to take more pieces to create with, she willingly (or so it appeared) popped here there and everywhere looking for glue, wire mesh, sari silks, and other samples of products that we may not of used or tried previously.

I love teaching myself, but I also love taking classes. I am always looking to learn something new, the inspiration you can get from being around other jewellery designers makes for a vibrant buzzing atmosphere – I really would love to go again and learn something new, maybe a silver clay or wirework workshop next!


Weddings in the Air

Wedding Tiara
Wedding Tiara

What is a wedding without a Hen Party?

Well, the Great British Sewing Bee is back on the TV, Celebrity Great British Baker too, why not combine the two and book a Crafternoon Hen Party at one of several beautiful venues? You can learn to sew, make a tiara, make jewellery using precious gemstones or pearls, combined with afternoon tea, and then add on a spa trip, or overnight stay to make your weekend complete.

Do contact Michelle @ CraftyBetty for more information including how to book.

Crafty Betty
Crafty Betty

Fireline and tiny Gemstones

Fireline & 2mm Gemstones
Fireline & 2mm Gemstones

So, a quick glimpse at my beading board….notice I use a foam beading mat not a macrame board, or any other kind of board – the reason is that this beading mat at a cost of less than £1 holds the beads perfectly, quite how the “expert designers” on JM manage with a macrame board I have no idea, because when I try using on for basic beading my beads fly everywhere!

Anyway, I have drifted back to bead weaving, and really fancied using up some 2mm and 4mm rounds, so have a combination of quartz & jasper in various sizes on my board.

I decided to do a Cellini Spiral as this stitch looks amazing and is incredibly easy to learn, it’s basically a tubular peyote stitch but uses different sizes of beads so the end result is absolutely stunning.

To start the peyote, ideally you need 4 different colours of bead, ideally at least 2 of these are graduating in size, hence I used 2mm and 4 mm, the effect of this is that as the tube grows the beads appear to spiral.

The basic steps are to load 6 A beads, 2 B beads, 2 C beads, 2 D beads, 2 C beads and 2 D beads, take the thread back through the first 2 A beads and then step up, so the golden rule is quite simply which bead you are exiting, pick that up for the next stitch, so it’s a standard peyote. Go through a bead, pick up a bead, miss the bead and go through the next, thus producing an almost brick work effect once a couple of rows have been stitched.

Once you get round to the beginning, don’t just go through the next bead, but also go through the first bead added on the row you are just finishing, i.e. the step up, then continue adding beads as you spiral around. The pattern will commence quite quickly, but pay attention as it will be obvious if you get the wrong bead!

So I was busy beading away,  my fireline snapped :( beads fell everywhere ……..I needed the chocolate orange to console myself.

This was quite unexpected, as fireline is quite hard to cut – in fact I have a special pair of scissors just for wildfire and firemen. It will blunt normal snips & scissors as it’s quite a tough thread to use. These threads are thermally bonded,  traditionally used by fishermen but my gemstones cut through the firemen …… so I have no picture to show you – however I won’t be defeated I will get some larger gemstones, and do the same but with a wire threading material. The end result won’t be a dainty, but should still have some impact, depending on how tight I can get the tension on the wire.

Watch this space!



When using wildfire or fireline you may find it tricky to get through the eye of the needle, if this is the case, use your flat nose pliers to squeeze the end of the thread, it will make it go flat which you can then turn on its side and slide thorough the needle eye :)