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Friday, 23 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Coin Paperweight

I was working on this paperweight containing a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee coin when we heard the awful news of the passing of our Queen. It was extremely poignant to continue working on the paperweight over the last couple of weeks, and I finally managed to finish making the paperweight a couple of days before the Queen's funeral.

I was contacted a few weeks ago by a gentleman who wanted me to encase a Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee £5 coin inside a resin paperweight, and further personalised with a message. This would then be given to the gentlemen's work colleague as a surprise gift. I purchased the commemorative Platinum Jubilee £5 coin from The Royal Mint and encased it within a resin dome shaped paperweight. I set the side of the coin displaying Her Majesty the Queen on horseback facing upwards within the paperweight and added silver lettering for a message around the circumference; here is the finished paperweight.

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Coin Paperweight
Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Coin Paperweight

One of my earliest memories I have of the Queen was receiving a Silver Jubilee crown coin when I was at Battling Brook primary school, Hinckley in 1977. I am not sure if this was a nationwide thing, but I remember that the commemorative coins were given to every child at the school by the Battling Brook primary school parents/teachers association. I still have the commemorative crown coin today (pictured below), note that the date on the attached note is 28th May 1977. Now this was not the day when the nation celebrated the silver Jubilee (I think that was on 7th June 1977). Saturday 28th May 1977 is a week or so earlier, which perhaps coincided with the Battling Brook School Spring/Summer fete at the time, and the coins were given to the school children at the fete?

Silver Jubilee coin from Battling Brook School
Silver Jubilee coin from Battling Brook School

Many thanks for reading about my memories and I would love to hear about your earliest memories of Queen Elizabeth II.

Mick

Friday, 12 August 2022

Preserving artificial fabric flowers within paperweights

I was contacted recently by a lady who wanted me to preserve flowers that were displayed at her sister’s funeral within paperweights. Sadly, she was unable to dry the flowers in time, but then decided as an alternative that she would prefer artificial fabric / silk flowers to be preserved within the paperweights. The paperweights containing the flowers would then be given to her family members and would then be a lovely reminder of the flowers used at her sister’s funeral.

She sent me a large bouquet of both Carnation and Freesia flowers and asked me to produce four paperweights containing a mixture of the fabric flowers. Unfortunately, the Carnation flowers were far too big for the paperweights, so I had to disassemble the flowers and create miniature versions of the Carnations from some of the smaller petals. I think they looked lovely and were a better size when placed adjacent to the Freesia flowers.

Fabric Carnation and Freesia flower bouquet
Fabric Carnation and Freesia flower bouquet

I cast the fabric Carnation and Freesia flowers into a domed shaped resin paperweight and the results were stunning. The resin really does enhance the colour of the flowers and the silk flowers also look less 'artificial' once viewed inside the paperweight.

Paperweight containing fabric / silk flowers
Fabric flowers preserved in a paperweight

Gill received her paperweights and sent me the following message: "Paper weights all arrived safely, beautifully packaged! Thank you. I love them! I 'm sure my niece's will be pleased with them as reminder of flowers at their Mums funeral. Thank you for the leaflet, a lovely selection of ideas. Many thanks for all your help".

I am so glad that I was able to help Gill and her family by preserving the silk flowers into remembrance paperweights that they can cherish forever.

Mick

Tuesday, 12 July 2022

Football ground turf paperweight

Two and a half years ago I made a paperweight containing a piece of turf from Hampden Park. The small piece of turf was gathered by a Hibernian FC fan, following their momentous Scottish Cup win. You can read about the paperweight that I made for him to preserve the piece of turf here: paperweight containing turf

Recently, I was contacted by a fan of Tonbridge Angels FC who play at Longmead Stadium in Tonbridge, Kent. He stated that Tonbridge Angels FC is installing an artificial pitch over the summer to replace the turf pitch that they have used since the early 1980s. The club invited their fans at the end of their last home match to take sections of the pitch as souvenirs to remember the good times of the club playing on the pitch, which had included several promotions and reaching the First-Round proper of the FA Cup in 2020-21 for the first time in many, many decades! 

The Angels fan was able to obtain a small section of the pitch and was looking at how best to preserve it. He had planted a larger section of the turf within his garden, however, was also considering preserving a small piece of turf within a paperweight or something similar.

Knowing how well the turf is preserved within a resin paperweight, I offered to help. The Angels fan sent me a couple of small pieces of the Longmead Stadium turf to be preserved within two paperweights. The following photo is an initial design for the paperweights. The piece of turf would be set within the centre of a square resin paperweight with text 'Tonbridge Angels FC' and 'Tonbridge Angels FC', printed in the Tonbridge Angels FC blue colour above and below the piece of turf.

Longmead Stadium Turf Paperweight Design
Longmead Stadium Turf Paperweight Design

And here is one of the finished paperweights containing the piece of turf from the club. One benefit of having a square resin paperweight is that it can either be displayed on its flat base or upright.

Football Ground Turf Paperweight
Football Ground Turf Paperweight

With more and more football clubs installing artificial pitches at their grounds, it is really good to see that some of these clubs are offering their fans pieces of turf in this way. After all, there is so much history and memories that have taken place on these pitches. I feel honoured to be able to preserve these memories for the fans.

Many thanks for reading about how I preserved a piece of the Longmead Stadium turf within a resin paperweight.

Mick

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Converting our shed into a bar

Well, it is more of a summerhouse than a shed, but we affectionately call it the ‘shed’ (so not to sound too posh). We purchased this summerhouse during Spring 2016, and I began work to convert it into a family bar over the summer months.

Construction of our home-made bar

The basic structure for the bar was to install a length of shelving around two internal sides of the summerhouse with a central island that drinks could be served from.

Summerhouse to bar conversion
Summerhouse to bar conversion

So off I went to B&Q and purchased shelving, and various pieces of wood for the central island/bar. The shelving was quite straight forward to install. The vertical support struts to the Summerhouse making convenient locations to attach the shelf supports. The following picture is taken internally to show how the shelving was attached.

Bar conversion - internal structure
Bar conversion - internal structure

The central island was achieved by firstly constructing a wooden frame which was clad with pine cladding. I extended the above shelving to form the bar surface and additionally to form an overhead beam. I also included a pine turned newel post to complete the look of the bar area, as well as providing some support. All very straightforward to make, and it took me a couple of weeks off and on to convert the summerhouse into a working bar.

Decorating the home-made bar

Now the fun stuff starts, decorating the bar! Firstly, for the optics, I purchased a wall mounted spirit drinks dispenser from Amazon and a lovely bar mirror, advertising my favourite tipple, Newcastle Brown Ale. I also sourced bar drip towels, bar mats and a Carling ice bucket amongst other things.

Home-made bar - decorations
Home-made bar - decorations

My greatest expense by far was an Angram beer pump, complete with beer tap and engine that I purchased directly from the manufacturers.

Home-made bar - Angram beer pump
Home-made bar - Angram beer pump

I asked a fellow crafter to make me a bar-sign to hang on the outside of the bar, and he did a fantastic job! The sign read 'The Cluley Tavern Est 2016'.

'The Cluley Tavern' home bar sign
'The Cluley Tavern' home bar sign

Connecting a bag of Ale to the pump

I managed to get some real ale from my local micro-brewery 'The Elliswood Brewery', and the Ale was supplied to me as a bag in a box, with the Ale was aptly named 'Just One More'!

Elliswood Brewery Real Ale
Elliswood Brewery Real Ale

I removed the bag of Ale from its box and placed it within a cool box, drilled a hole into the cool box lid and fed the hose from the beer pump to the bag of ale.

Real Ale bag connected to beer pump
Real Ale bag connected to beer pump

Several ice packs were placed around the bag of Ale, and I even included a simple temperature monitor so that I could ensure the temperature of the Ale remained suitable. 

The grand opening of our garden bar

I arranged July 10th to be the Grand opening of our bar and invited close family to attend. My Mum and Dad were asked to perform the task of cutting of the ribbon, I even tied balloons to the corners of the shed, I mean bar!

The garden bar grand opening
The garden bar grand opening

Everyone had an enjoyable time, and it really did feel like a real bar inside the shed, and I had fun pulling pints!

Home-made bar - me pulling pints
Home-made bar - me pulling pints

Many thanks for reading about our home-made family bar and if you want any information about how I made the bar, please ask in the comments below.

Mick

Monday, 13 June 2022

Earring studs containing hair - smallest hair keepsake?

I made these earring studs containing horse hair recently and they were very fiddly to make! The sterling silver earring studs containing the horse hair measure just 10mm in diameter and each individual strand of hair is meticulously positioned with resin inside the circular setting. This makes the earring studs one of the smallest items of jewellery that I currently make!

Horse hair earring studs
Horse hair earring studs

Another example of the horse hair ear studs can be seen below. Individual strands of the hair have been set within the earring settings, forming a criss-cross pattern.

Ear studs containing horse hair
Ear studs containing horse hair

And for completeness, here are similar ear studs containing a loved ones human hair.

Earring studs for a loved ones hair
Earring studs for a loved ones hair

But the circular horse hair earring studs above are not the smallest item of jewellery that I make, this honour is awarded to my rope edged silver earring studs that can be made as small as 5mm in diameter. The example below contains the smallest curls of hair that I have ever seen, also demonstrating how the resin setting containing the hair can be coloured to any colour.

Rope edged stud earrings for hair
Rope edged stud earrings for hair

And here is a picture of similar earring studs containing pet hair.

Earring studs containing pet fur
Earring studs containing pet fur

Slightly bigger, measuring just 6mm in diameter are these bead-edged earring studs. The hair or fur is again encased in resin within the circular settings and is surrounded by a single row of silver beads. 

Bead-edged earring studs for hair
Bead-edged earring studs for hair

The earring studs can be made larger to accommodate larger locks of hair and therefore creating a statement piece of jewellery. These teardrop shaped earring studs are approximately twice the size of the above, measuring 10mm x 7mm and the locks of hair are encased within resin inside the teardrop or pear-shaped silver setting.

Teardrop earring studs for a lock of hair
Teardrop earring studs for a lock of hair

I am not sure if there is a world record for the smallest piece of jewellery containing a lock of hair? Although very unlikely, but if I ever make anything smaller than the 5mm setting, I will let you know!

Mick

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Musical Themed Hair Keepsake Pendants

 I was contacted recently with a request for me to make a hair keepsake pendant with a musical theme. I was asked to make a resin heart shaped pendant containing a small lock of hair. In addition to the hair, I was asked for the pendant to contain a small message and a musical reference such as a musical note or cleft.

So, this is what I made; a resin heart shaped pendant containing the lock of hair a small message and a musical clef placed within the top corner of the heart.

Musical themed hair keepsake pendant
Musical themed hair keepsake pendant

Inspired by making a musical themed pendant (I also had a small sample of unused hair that I could use), I decided to make another pendant as an additional gift to my customer. This additional pendant is sterling silver in the form of a musical note and contains a small lock of hair, encased with resin within the sterling silver setting.

Musical note shaped hair keepsake pendant
Musical note shaped hair keepsake pendant 

If anyone could let me know if this musical note symbol has a better technical term, please let me know?

In 13 years of making jewellery, these are the first musical themed hair keepsake pendants that I have made, and I am incredibly pleased how they both turned out.

Mick

Monday, 25 April 2022

Paw print pet memorial jewellery

Understandably I am often asked to add a paw print to my pet memorial jewellery for pet hair and ashes. This is usually a single silver paw print inside the pendant and is often accompanied by a silver name or initials. An example of a pet hair keepsake pendant that I have previously made containing a single paw print can be seen below.

Pet hair keepsake keyring with paw print
Pet hair keepsake keyring with paw print

I was recently contacted by Kathryn who wanted to preserve some hair from her much loved pet within a resin keepsake pendant. Kathryn supplied me with a sketch for her personalised design for the pendant and said "I attach a photo of a basic idea of what I am thinking about - the main question is do you think you will be able to get the four paw prints in as I've drawn? I was just thinking I like the idea of the four as if he were walking / standing there!"

This is the first pet hair pendant that I have made to contain four paw prints, and it is a lovely idea!

Pet hair pendant with paw prints
Pet hair pendant with paw prints

After receiving her pet memorial keepsake pendant, Kathryn sent me this lovely message:

“My jewellery has arrived safe and sound - I absolutely love them they are exactly what I wanted and just perfect. I cannot thank you enough for your amazing kindness in sending the additional pendant and charm - I was overwhelmed! For the first time in so long I cried happy tears...

Thank you so, so much. Now he will not only be forever in my heart but physically close to me as well. I miss him so very much - knowing I have a little part of him with me all the time helps. 

Once again thank you...

Kathryn"

I have been making pet hair remembrance jewellery for many years and I love how the designs keep evolving. Also receiving lovely messages like this after people have received their keepsake jewellery means the world to me. 

Mick