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Friday, 23 September 2011

Custom paperweight with a lock of hair

I have been asked several times in the past to make paperweights containing locks of hair for people who want to preserve a lock of hair from a loved one, baby or pet. They don’t necessarily want an item to wear such as my hair keepsake jewellery; but they want to preserve the lock of hair within a custom made object that they can view every day.

Custom paperweight

So a couple of weeks ago I started making my first paperweight containing a lock of my own hair tied with a pretty purple bow! This paperweight took me at least 10 days to make because I wanted to take my time and also wanted to prevent any heat build-up that can occur when working with large quantities of resin. The finished paperweight is dome shaped and measures three inches in diameter and approximately 2 inches high. The lock of hair is suspended within the centre of the resin paperweight and surprisingly the paperweight has quite some weight, weighing over 100 grams (about the same as an apple when I weighed them).

Paperweight with hair

These custom made paperweights are going to be an ideal solution for people who want to preserve an item and don’t want an item of jewellery. They are also going to be great for the larger items such as large flowers, pieces of fabric and other items of memorabilia that would be too large to incorporate into an item of jewellery.

I am going to have some great fun making these paperweights and my mind is already full of ideas for things to encapsulate into them. Make the most of this as it will be the last time you will see my hair tied with a purple bow but I must admit I don’t think it has ever looked so nice, what do you think?


Sunday, 18 September 2011

What to do with Wedding Flowers?

I had a great little project to do last week; I was given the opportunity to preserve some wedding flowers in resin pendants for a lady who recently got married. She actually contacted me before her wedding back in July wanting to know the process and how to go about sending the flowers to me after her wedding. At the time I gave her help and advice on how best to dry the flowers and a couple of weeks ago I received these:

Preserving wedding flowers

Most of the flowers were unfortunately too big to include in the items of jewellery whole, however I prepared a few designs for her and she decided upon a teardrop shaped pendant containing a selection of her wedding flowers. I have tried to make all of the pendants similar to each other where I could and have included small flower buds, petals and gave them a little sparkle with some glitter dust. I eventually made these pendants which are bursting with the lovely colours from the flowers.

Preserved wedding flowers

The pendants containing her wedding flowers are to be given to her mother and the bridesmaids as keepsakes or their wedding day. I think they are a lovely memento of such a special occasion and a unique way of preserving those sentimental items.

Wedding flower jewellery

So the next time anybody asks ‘What can I do with my wedding flowers?’ you can tell them to send the flowers to Mick at Shpangle Jewellery!

Please visit my website page Wedding Keepsakes for other ideas and inspiration for preserving those special items from a wedding.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Memorial Jewellery – Keepsake Jewellery for Ashes

A little while ago I made a pet hair keepsake bracelet for a lady who wanted to be able to wear the hair from each of her six dogs. The lady runs a puppy and dog training academy and has since given me lots of publicity and help. After receiving her bracelet she asked me if I had ever considered making memorial jewellery and in particular preserving the ashes from pets within keepsake jewellery.

To be honest it wasn’t something I had ever thought about, mainly because I haven’t previously been given the opportunity. She very kindly sent me the ashes from one of her dogs so that I could try and make a few items. I was very happy with the finished items and was quite amazed at how little ashes were actually used. I obviously sent her all the items that I made with them and thank her so much for giving me the opportunity.

The following are a couple of the items of jewellery that I made with the ashes. This resin heart shaped pendant also includes a small pressed Forget-me-not flower:

Keepsake Pendant for ashes

With this pendant the ashes are encased in resin against a sterling pendant bezel. I also engrave the back of the pendant with names and messages:

Memorial Jewellery for Ashes

Unlike traditional glass memorial jewellery, this type of jewellery is unlikely to break or smash if accidently dropped or knocked. Also there is the artistic element in that the ashes have been crafted into the object with care. I think the best description of this memorial jewellery though was made by one of my Facebook page followers yesterday. She said that they look like ‘little pieces of angel dust’; a very appropriate and beautiful description for these extremely important items of jewellery.

If you would like to read more about my new range of memorial jewellery for the ashes of a loved one or pet, please visit my new website page Keepsake Jewellery for Ashes.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Wood Crafts - The National Forest Wood Fair

I have always had a real fascination with wood crafts; from a young age watching my father making me toys from pieces of wood and to the present day when I visit craft fairs and spending most of my time admiring wood turned objects of art. So last weekend I had a great day out at The National Forest Wood fair. Set in the Beacon Hill country park in Leicestershire, the wood fair provides an opportunity for woodland related businesses and craftspeople to demonstrate their skills and showcase their wares.

national Forest Wood Fair

This year’s wood fair included many woodland related crafts including furniture makers, wood turners, wood carvings and even longbows. There were also several demonstrations and displays during the day including woodland survival crafts, lumberjack shows and even clog dancing. There were also plenty of hands-on things to do as well from having a go at Pyrography to paddling coracles!

The first highlight of the wood fair for me was watching Dick Tilley – Spirits of Wood; a chainsaw artist who was turning a couple of tree trunks into works of art. I was amazed at the workmanship and how much detail and delicate touches that were being made with such heavy equipment. These people certainly know how to handle chainsaws and the sculptures they were making were incredible.

Spirits of Wood

The next highlight for me was watching the New Forest and South East Axemen put on their show. This small group of young (and some not so young) men put on a great display of axe and cross cutting and the crowd participation was great. They made the cutting down of a tree look so easy; the picture below shows one member of the group demonstrating the old style lumberjack techniques of cutting down a tree. He is actually standing on a plank that he has just wedged into the tree-trunk!

New Forest and South East Axemen

It was a great day out at the National Forest Wood Fair this year. The weather could have been better but it certainly didn’t spoil peoples’ enjoyment and fascination of this wonderful craft.