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Friday 31 December 2010

Thank you 2010 and Welcome to 2011

Just a few more hours left of 2010 so I thought I would post one last blog post for the year to wish everyone a happy New Year and hope 2011 is going to be a great year for all.

The year 2010 has been a great year for Shpangle. I started the year with a new year’s resolution to concentrate on my online business and not to do any craft fairs throughout the year. This has certainly been extremely positive; the custom jewellery side of my business has certainly taken off and it has also meant that I am able to spend more time with my family rather than to have weekends planning or attending craft fairs.

Year 2010 jewellery
Name on Rice Pendant - 2010

The Shpangle New Year’s resolution for 2011 will be to take myself more seriously; I have many ideas for new ranges of jewellery and other handmade goodies that I have promised to make all year. I don’t know where the time has gone because all these ideas are still tucked away in my mind. I think the only new designs for 2010 were my name on rice jewellery items, so for 2011 I am going to channel a lot of my energy into new releases.

I know this next year is going to be a great year for handmade crafts and I look forward to sharing all of our makes with each other in the coming year. Happy New Year to all! Mick

Sunday 19 December 2010

Custom Jewellery and Wedding Keepsakes for Christmas

I thought I would squeeze one last blog post out before the Christmas festivities start and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy New Year! I have been having a very busy time here at Shpangle with lots of custom jewellery orders keeping me out of trouble. I am certainly looking forward to having a rest over the Christmas period, locking my jewellery making bits and pieces away and coming back refreshed with lots of new designs in 2011.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all the custom jewellery makes leading up to Christmas but there are a couple of items that I particularly enjoyed, so I thought I would show them off.

The first custom jewellery order I want to show off is from a lady who lives in Canada. She first contacted me last July prior to her sister’s wedding and wanted me to set some of their wedding keepsakes into jewellery. I received a package containing items from her sister’s wedding a couple of weeks ago. In the package were a few small flowers from the wedding and small pieces of her sister’s wedding dress.
wedding flowers keepsake
Pendants for Wedding Flowers

She wanted a pendant making for her sister using the wedding flowers and inspired by my previous blog post about wedding dress cufflinks, wanted a pair of cufflinks for her brother-in-law containing pieces from her sister’s wedding dress.

Wedding Dress Cufflinks
Wedding Dress Cufflinks

The second custom jewellery I want to show off is from a repeat customer of mine. It is always nice to have a returning customer and in this case the lady was also kind enough to send me a lovely Christmas card! For her fist order I made a small silver charm for her charm bracelet containing some of her dog’s fur and last week she asked me to make two more charms. The first charm contained some more of her dog’s fur and the second charm contained some of her wedding dress material with some small crystals also taken from her wedding dress.
wedding dress keepsake
Wedding dress keepsake charm

I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and look forward to seeing all your lovely makes in 2011. I think 2011 is going to be a great year for handmade crafts and I look forward to being part of it.

Have a good one!


Wednesday 8 December 2010

Keepsake Jewellery for my Wife

You may remember a recent blog post where I had made a name on rice necklace for our daughters’ birthday – Personalised Birthday Presents. Well, it was my wife’s birthday a few weeks ago and one of her birthday presents from me was, guess what, yes a name on rice necklace!

Personalised Birthday Jewellery
Name on rice pendant

The keepsake necklace contained four grains of rice each one with our names on; my wife, me and the two children. I set the grains of rice within a glass vial that had a glass daisy fused onto the outside of the vial, I also coloured the preservative oil within the vial a tint of pink.

My apologies for the quality of the photograph but my wife has worn her name on rice necklace every day since her birthday and I haven’t had chance to photograph it properly yet. She even managed to get an order for four pendants the first day she wore it from her friend at work!

Making name on rice pendants is proving quite useful when it comes to family birthday presents and gifts. It was my wife’s uncle and aunts Ruby wedding anniversary recently and we thought it would be nice to give them something handmade and personal as a gift, as well as being a keepsake to their Ruby Wedding
Ruby Wedding Jewellery
Ruby Wedding Jewellery

 I made a key-chain for her uncle and a necklace for her aunt, each with two grains of rice, both with their names on. I also included a tiny Ruby Swarovski crystal bead to make it even more personal to the occasion.


Friday 3 December 2010

Buying local – buying from the high street

It is very busy in the land of Shpangle at the moment with the Christmas rush that, to save my sanity, I am now turning away any more pre-Christmas orders. So when I awoke at 3 o’clock this morning with my mind buzzing with jewellery related buzzes, I just needed to write about something totally un-related to jewellery making.

Although I am always preaching about buying handmade and buying local, I must admit that we as a family have always bought our weekly shopping from a supermarket (which kind of goes against all my principles). I suppose it is the ease of parking and then having everything under one roof, and it has become quite a routine, knowing where everything is and then being confused once in a while when they decide to change the shop layout.

Supermarket Trolleys
The Supermarket experience - Trolleys

But over the years, I have become more and more despondent over the tricks these big supermarkets play on us, what with their pricing wars, buy one, get ten free offers, the way they are squeezing our farmers and the general lack of quality food. So four weeks ago we decided to boycott supermarkets altogether and get all of our weekly shopping from the local high-street shops.

And it has been fantastic and I will never go back to buying from a supermarket. OK, it has been taking us longer to complete our shopping (but that is getting easier and quicker every week) we also make it more of an event, having a stop off at the local cafe for a bite to eat. The quality of food is far better and fresh fruit and vegetables seem to be lasting longer. We have also been eating a lot healthier; where before we may have bought a ‘ready-made’ pie, we are now baking our own and actually filling them with proper meat.
Local Market
Buying Local - The Market

Best of all, we are supporting the local high-street shops, many of which are sadly suffering from the un-caring, un-sharing hands of those money hungry supermarket giants. I would highly recommend giving it a try to anyone like us who regularly shops at supermarkets...

OK, back to the jewellery making, I hope everyone is well and looking forward to the Christmas break!