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Monday 29 March 2010

Custom Jewellery - Customer Testimonials

Today I am going to show off a little with one of my custom jewellery orders completed last week. However it is not the item itself that I am going to show off with but the response from the lady who ordered the item. It is the kind of response that is the main reason why I do what I do and is worth much more than money or material possessions.

Wedding Keepsakes - Confetti and Glitter Pendant
Wedding Keepsakes - Confetti and Glitter Pendant

The custom jewellery item I made for this lady was to be a keepsake of her father. Understandably, I am unable to post a photo of the actual item but it was for a resin teardrop pendant. The pendant contained a photograph at the front and then the back of the pendant was extremely colourful with confetti, glitter and then a lock of her father’s hair.

When she received her pendant she immediately emailed this to me:

I have literally just received the pendant and I am so ‘over the moon’ with it - it is beautiful but has made me very emotional. The pendant is gorgeous and such a personal thing to have containing my Dads hair. It is so good that you have put a blue star in and a red one – my Dads favourite colour was blue and mine is red! You are a true credit to your profession and I wish you many, many years of success with your business. I will certainly recommend you to people. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH - I AM DELIGHTED WITH THE FINISHED RESULT."

Customer testimonials like these are so inspirational and drive me on to do even better things. Words like these mean more to me than any money involved, and it makes me so happy knowing that I have genuinely given happiness to somebody else.

Visit my website to see more lovely comments and customer testimonials.

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Busy Making Custom Jewellery Orders

I was extremely busy yesterday morning with five custom jewellery orders being carried out simultaneously. It may look like chaos in the photograph but believe me it was organised chaos.

Custom Jewellery - Keepsake Jewellery
Custom Jewellery - Keepsake Jewellery

The first order is for some horse hair to be embedded in a pendant heart. The customer also wanted the pendant to be translucent green in colour and I have made a few examples but my preference is one with a green backing so I will see what she thinks. I will also be giving her a teardrop version because I had some left over horse hair which she didn’t want to be returned.

The second jewellery order is for two pendants containing pet fur. I am not sure what type of pet but the fur is gorgeous; both black and white and silky to the touch and it looks fantastic in the pendants. I wasn’t sure how the white fur would look in clear resin but it lovely set against the black fur.

The third order is for a lock of hair to be set within a sterling silver keyring. The keyring is for a lady who has just got engaged and wants to present it to her fiancé. I have also made a resin phone charm containing her hair and engraved the back of the silver keyring with her chosen message.

The fourth order is a photograph pendant. But it is more than just a photograph pendant as it contains a photograph at the front and confetti and glitter at the back followed by a lock of hair. This is an extremely happy pendant and is a pleasure to make.

And the fifth and final order is a real fuchsia flower pendant for Angela my wife. Well, I could tell that she was a little annoyed that I sold the last fuchsia pendant I made so thought I would make another just for her!

Visit my website for more keepsake jewellery ideas.

Monday 22 March 2010

Handmade Jewellery Marketing Ideas

I have recently been asked by several shops and other businesses interested in stocking my jewellery items if I had a brochure...and I haven’t! I have business cards and single sided A4 flyers but have never got around to producing a brochure.

So I have spent the last few days putting this together. I decided to have a 3-fold leaflet/brochure because it effectively divides a single A4 piece of paper into six sides. I can then cover I different aspect of my jewellery on each side. (Apologies for not being able to read the text but you get the general idea).

Shpangle Jewellery leaflet - Front
Shpangle Jewellery leaflet - Front

I decided to keep it simple and let the pictures do most of the talking and keep the words to a minimum. The style of the brochure follows quite closely to the style of my website, so it appears quite familiar when people visit my website. I used Microsoft Publisher to develop the brochure and it is extremely easy to use because it has lots of templates and useful add-ons that can be incorporated.

So when folded you are presented with a title page that summarises the contents of the brochure and then sides devoted to Lock of Hair keepsakes, Real Flower Jewellery, Pet Hair Keepsakes and then general keepsake gifts. The back of the brochure covers my online shop and summarises this with a series of jewellery pictures.

Shpangle Jewellery leaflet - Back
Shpangle Jewellery leaflet - Back

The beauty about this 3-fold design if that if I wanted to introduce a new line of jewellery in the future all I would need to do is to update one of the six sections. The final brochure is a simple but effective way of marketing your jewellery items, and the next time anybody asks me for a brochure...I have one!

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Transforming Recycled and Everyday Objects

I have always had an interest in taking everyday and recycled objects and transforming them into pieces of art, and this has been my main inspiration when making my jewellery. This interest however became even more apparent when I met my wife Angela and we started to frequent a local pub ‘The Flintlock’ pub in Hinckley.

After many happy hours drinking and chatting, we had this overwhelming urge to start taking things from the pub, from ash-trays, brooms, bins and even a bar stool! This went on for months, but we weren’t taking these things with the intent to steal them, we wanted to add our artistic flair to the items and return them for the enjoyment of others.

These are some of the items we created (I apologise for the poor quality of the photos but they were taken before the advent of digital cameras).

The first one is a brush (I can’t remember her name but seem to think it was Billy – which is a bit of a strange name for a lady brush).

Recycled Brush from the Flintlock Pub
Recycled Brush from the Flintlock Pub

The second one is a bin that we decorated with stickers and then put a plant in! This plant is still growing today in the front garden of the pub but is about 10 ft tall!

Recycled Bin from the Flintlock Pub
Recycled Bin from the Flintlock Pub

The third one is a bar stool that we ‘borrowed’, added some fabric, a tail and a toy horse head (that also played a tune when you squeezed her ear). The landlady of the Flintlock fell in love with this and would bring her down on New Year’s Eve for people to have a ride.

Recycled bar stool from the Flintlock Pub
Recycled bar stool from the Flintlock Pub

I hope you like them and if you want to see some more everyday objects transformed visit my Handmade Keepsake Jewellery website.

Friday 12 March 2010

Double Celebration Day

It is a double celebration day today, not only have I just achieved my 1000th Facebook friend, I have also got my 50th Blog follower! Not bad since I only started blogging four months ago - hasn’t time just flown by! Anyway, thank you ‘Lisa D’ for being my 50th follower and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing it.

Shpangle Jewellery Celebration
Shpangle Jewellery Celebration

Wow, with all these blogs to keep up-to-date with and Facebook friends to keep in touch with it doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Having said that I have been quite busy today making a pendant custom order. In fact so busy I forgot to eat lunch! The lady wants a double sided resin pendant that includes a photograph at the front and colourful confetti at the back followed by a lock of her late Dad’s hair. I am always up for a challenge and this pendant has certainly been that.

Right, must dash off and grab a sandwich before my tummy really starts to complain. I would love it if you visited my Facebook page.

Wednesday 10 March 2010

More horse hair jewellery keepsakes

I have been quite busy this week with several orders for horse hair pendants. I really do love to incorporate horse hair into jewellery as not only does it give fantastic results, it really does give a keepsake for the recipient to treasure forever.

The heart pendant takes about a week to make. I build the pendant up with three or four layers over several days. Within each layer and using tweezers I place each individual hair down, this can be quite fiddly but it ensures that each horse hair has been placed with care and respect. The finished pendant has an effect almost like rutile quartz and is fascinating to look at.

For the teardrop pendant I take some of the horse hair and tie with thread at one end. This is then placed into semi-cured resin and left to cure over night. It is then finished with a further two or three layers of resin and left for several days to cure. The pendant is then sanded, drilled and jewellery findings attached. I really like this pendant as I think the shape of the horse hair really does compliment the teardrop shape of the pendant.

These are the first two orders for horse hair jewellery I have completed this week. For the first pendants, the hair was taken from the horse’s mane and layered within resin hearts.

Resin horse hair jewellery
Resin horse hair jewellery

For these pendants the hair was taken from the horse’s tail and set within resin heart and teardrop pendants. At first glance the hair appeared to be a lovely chocolate brown in colour when in fact on closer examination it was actually lots of different shades of browns, blocks and even yellow.

Horse hair necklace
Horse hair necklace

For more details and examples of horse hair jewellery, visit my horse hair jewellery website page.

Monday 8 March 2010

Why is this handmade card so cheap!?

Have you ever made something with the intention of selling it, only to feel that you just can't part with it?..I often do. Have you ever bought something with the intention of giving it as a present only to find that you just have to keep it for yourself? Well, this happened to me recently... 

 I was selling my jewellery at a local craft fair and the stall next to mine was selling hand-painted crafts, cards and some fabric goodies...all very lovely. Anyway, this particular item caught my eye and I just had to buy it, with the intention of giving as a present one day.

Handmade Card with hand painted portrait
Handmade Card with hand painted portrait

It is a lovely handmade card. The basis of the card is handmade paper and then the artist has painted a portrait using water colours. The portrait has been adorned with some pressed flowers, a shell necklace, vintage lace, beads and glitter. Then the card has been finished with an organza and bead tassel, and then presented in a lovely box.

And she was selling it for....£1 !!!!! What is going on!!! I would have paid at least £5 for the work that had gone into that. Just shows you though that when pricing handmade items, what might be worth a couple of pounds to one person might be priceless to somebody else.

So, I will be keeping this card for myself and have it safely stored in one of my craft drawers. I get the card out regularly, sometimes for inspiration and sometimes to remind myself that I am worth more than the price of a loaf of bread....

p.s. This is my first go at trying to photograph a card and I didn't realise how difficult it is, so hats off to you card makers who have to do it regularly!

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Confetti - Weddings, Parties or just for fun!

I do love confetti...I love it sprinkled on tables at weddings or parties, I love throwing it at newly-weds and I especially love combining it with my jewellery. I have more confetti than you could ever wish for in my craft collection and this is why this week I decided to do something with it and made these.

Confetti Jewellery - Confetti Pendants
Confetti Jewellery - Confetti Pendants

These pendants contain multicoloured confetti stars embedded in resin. I have also added a sprinkle of glitter dust to give them even more of a twinkle.

There is something about Confetti that evokes happiness and pleasure, but where did it originate?

The throwing of Confetti can be traced back to Pagan times. During the wedding ritual the Pagans would scatter grain over the happy couple. It is thought that the Pagans believed that the fertility of the seeds would be transferred to the married couple.

The actual word 'confetti' is derived from the Italian word for confectionary and was used to describe the sweetmeats (sugar-coated grain and nuts), that were often thrown over newly-weds.

Today the rice and grain has been replaced by tiny pieces of coloured paper in all shapes and sizes. Often this coloured paper has been made to resemble flower petals, which dates back to the tradition of throwing rose petals before the bride as she walks down the aisle. The throwing of flower petals was said to ward off evil spirits and grant fertility to the newly-weds.

I just love confetti for its beauty, the shimmering colours, and the happiness it gives people. You can view more  confetti pendants on my website.