Thursday, 7 May 2015

Holiday by Bracelet - 'Jewellery Maker' Kit

You know the saying, a change is as good as a holiday? That was part of my reason for deciding to try a jewellery making kit. I‘d not used one before, so the idea of indulging in some pre-prepared creativity was appealing. When I began making jewellery it was as part of a silver-smithing course, where the emphasis was on using the metal in ways that didn’t necessarily mean crafting jewellery. In essence, I began making jewellery as a side effect of working with silver. And every now and then, something simpler, not involving hammers and a soldering torch, makes a nice change...

Also, by way of a coincidence, a friend of mine has recently asked me for some advice on jewellery kits as she wants to start creating but is bewildered by the choices available. A lot of people seem to start making jewellery through kits, little collections of (nearly) everything you need that result in a finished piece of gorgeousness that you can also wear. It’s a good place to start and ideal if you want to experiment before committing to buying packets of beads, rolls of wire, and heaps of tools.

Bracelet Kit

So with the idea of a 'holiday' for me, and a bit of research for a good friend, I took up a kind offer by Jewellery Maker to try one of their kits.

The jewellery kit arrived swiftly in the post, well packaged in a jiffy bag and bubble wrap, around a strong cardboard box that contained instructions and ever component of the bracelet I was going to make, carefully separated into tiny plastic pouches. A simple instruction leaflet was included. The bracelet itself, made from silver plated copper, was sturdy and easy to put on and remove, and had an intriguing one-and-a-half wrap design, separated with jump rings - see photos to understand exactly what I mean here. While I used the image on the box as inspiration, it would have been possible to use any of the different parts of the bracelet, or all of them, to fix the gemstones onto; this is a nice touch, the ability to customise and personalise a kit.

Along with the bracelet came a bag of silver plated jump rings, which were used to attach the gemstones, all carefully separated into different bags for the different gems; moonstone, peridot, amethyst and iolite - a great selection of colours that complemented each other beautifully. Every bead was already on a head pin, looped at the top so it could be fixed to the bracelet itself with a jump ring.

Bracelet Kit

Please note that if you are a beginner then this kit, and I suspect many (if not all) others, assume that you have some basic tools like snips and pliers. This particular kit needs a couple of pairs of pliers to open and close the jump rings, and I found a small round-nosed pair handy for straightening some of the loops on the head pins as well. The only downside of the kit was here - a few of the headpin loops were a little too small to fit a jump ring through, and while most of them were easy enough to adjust with the round nose pliers and then use, a couple remained just that bit too small - these were on the smallest beads as well, so I guess that was why. It certainly didn’t detract from the overall effect of the bracelet when finished though, and only added a fine layer of frustration when constructing it - and I could have removed the supplied head pins and added my own to make the beads work.

I found the kit fun to make; mixing the different colours of the beads to suit myself, and slowly attaching them to the bangle was a fun way to spend an afternoon on a rainy weekend. The end result is pretty, full of colour and sparkle, and fun to wear.

If you’re an advanced jewellery maker, then you may find this kit a little too simple - although it is very effective. If you’re only just starting out then the kit couldn’t fail to inspire you when you see what you can make, and how easily. It should encourage you to carry on creating.


Please note - I was given the jewellery kit in return for a blog post about it, but my views are my own and have been given honestly.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Jewelled Web - May 2015 - Link Love

Jewelled Web Link Love May 2015 - Silver Moss

The weather certainly softened and warmed everything up in April and so, hopefully, it will continue into May. Okay, some parts of the UK have had snow last month but nothing is perfect and spring often has its (very cold) hurdles... But just now blossom seems to be everywhere and bluebells are starting to show their haze in the woods by the road.

Here's some links for the month ahead.

~jewellery links~

Sculpting jewellery...

Interviews with jewellers - one about chasing; one about re-purposing, and one about colour.

Polymer clay - more real than the real thing.

A post about cabochons, just because they're beautiful...

I am not alone in my inability to size rings... the post includes this link about how to work all those tricky measurements out...

Inspiring post by Silver Pebble about inspiring businesses in an inspiring booklet... along with a giveaway :)

Another interview, this time with a polymer clay jewellery artist.

A week in the life of a mixed media jeweller.

An A-Z post by Cinnamon Jewellery.

~non-jewellery links~

If you've got a small garden - or no garden at all - then the net is full of tiny ideas to use whatever space you have. This is a great selection of tiny garden ideas to make you think... and then experiment! I love number eight especially...

Fancy trying to make your own soap? This post - the first of four - should hopefully point you in the right direction.

How blogging can change your life.

I was fortunate enough to have clear skies on the 21st of April, and a view of the moon, Venus and Aldebaran a little like this one...

Spring makes me think of cleaning and throwing out the dust of winter. I'm increasingly using natural products to clean with (who would have though vinegar and bicarbonate of soda could clean a bath so well?!) and this looks like a great post full of ideas about the subject.

Know someone who just can't communicate without emojis now? Point them in the direction of this emoji bag.

I love this print - unfortunately, my home wifi/broadband is intermittent and often not working at all of late... but it does make you appreciate it all the more when it is up to speed ;)

How to email anyone in a better way.

Have a great May.