It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

What feels like a lifetime ago (but was actually about fifteen years ago) I did a series of jewellery-making courses. I’d experimented with beading at home but wanted to make rings, so I enrolled on a mixed media jewellery course. I ended up buying some tools and equipment, so I could continue at home, but I haven’t done any silver work for years now. I’ve continued the beading, albeit sporadically, which is a lot less time-consuming (and easier on the hands and nails!) than metal work.

I feel like it’s time to start making jewellery again on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the imminent arrival of Spring that has stirred the desire to be creative. You may have seen some of the jewellery I’ve made before on the blog; it’s a total coincidence that I posted about my handmade jewellery almost three years ago to the day. After the wrap dress February flashback last week I’m beginning to think I’m seasonally programmed!

I’ve always been drawn to big, bold jewellery, so the chunky semi-precious gemstone necklaces and bracelets are my favourites.

To kickstart my jewellery making I gathered up some pieces that I’ve made over the years for inspiration. I’ve always been drawn to big, bold jewellery, so the chunky semi-precious gemstone necklaces and bracelets are my favourites. I have so many beads in various colours and shapes just waiting to be made into something – I just need to get organised and start creating again!

It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

Making beaded jewellery is actually a lot easier than you might think: if you can tie a knot and thread a needle you can make a necklace or bracelet. The rest is all about design. You just need a few basic tools like small pliers (unless using elasticated thread) to close the bead end caps. If you’d like me to do a tutorial let me know in the comments.

I’ve bought loads of necklaces in charity shops and recycled them into new pieces.

You don’t have to spend a lot on beads and findings (the metallic pieces such as clasps and bead end caps). I buy beads, findings and thread from various sources, including eBay, Hobbycraft, Jewellery Maker and even charity shops. I’ve bought loads of necklaces in charity shops and recycled them into new pieces. The gold pendant on the purple necklace above was an old, odd earring, and the centre piece on the bracelet was originally on a necklace.

It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

The bronze ring and stick pin above were some of the first pieces of metal jewellery I made in class. We worked in copper first before moving on to silver. I really like copper jewellery, although it does tarnish very quickly. The silver bezel set rings in the photo below are among my favourites. They require a lot of time and patience to make, but they were very satisfying to finally finish.

The ring under the crossover bangle is a plain silver band, still waiting to be finished after all these years!

Working with metals is much easer when you have a workshop as you need a blowtorch and heatproof brick to solder, plus an acidic solution to remove the oxide released during annealing (heating to make pliable). You also need various shaped files, hammers, mallets and a bezel setting tool to push the metal over and hold the stone in place. The ring under the crossover bangle is a plain silver band, still waiting to be finished after all these years!

It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

Below is some of the more delicate jewellery I’ve made using Swarovski crystal beads and glass pearls. The bangle was a bit of an experiment; my original plan was to have three hoops to attach beads to, but after a few unsuccessful soldering attempts I stuck with one and used a scorper (engraving tool) to creat a frost-like pattern. It could do with a bit of refining and a proper polish…maybe a job for a rainy day.

One of the best things about making jewellery is being able to choose your own design and colours…you can guarantee no-one else will have one the same!

There are so many different techniques to learn with making jewellery, and maybe one day I’ll take classes again. They don’t come cheap, but there are residential courses in beautiful countryside locations that look very tempting. Making things is very satisfying and often relaxing. Of course things go wrong, that’s all part of learning…it requires lots of patience! One of the best things about making jewellery is being able to choose your own design and colours…you can guarantee no-one else will have one the same!

It's Time to Start Making Jewellery Again

Speaking of learning new techniques…I recently picked up my knitting needles after a two-year hiatus and made my first ever hat! I was very apprehensive about knitting in the round but now I love it! Maybe next time I’ll try a jumper!

Do you love to make things? What’s your favourite craft? If you’d be interested in some simple jewellery tutorials let me know in the comments…I might even get my act together and do some for YouTube 😉

hand made bobble hat


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A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion

I love to buy new clothes (as I’m sure you know by now) but sometimes it’s good to bring out an old favourite. I’ve had this wrap dress for years, in fact I wore it before on the blog almost six years ago to the day! A classic wrap dress never goes out of fashion, and best of all, they can accomodate minor weight fluctuations.

I’m even wearing the same necklace as last time, but I’ve changed the boots and bag. These Cara London boots are much more comfortable than my other brown pair, although they are a bit lighter in colour. Because of that I matched them to this big Sara Berman bag (last seen here…also in February which is another coincidence!). It was bitterly cold yesterday when we took these photos in my lunch break, so I layered a vest under my dress.

A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion

I’ve been looking for an elegant top handle bag in dark brown vegan leather, but I just can’t find one.

I don’t often wear brown, but when I do I tend to pair it with green. The bag I wore with this dress before is a lovely chocolate brown, which matches the dress so well, but unfortunately the buckle broke. I never did manage to get it fixed, which is a shame because I bought it in Italy. I’ve been looking for an elegant top handle bag in dark brown vegan leather, but I just can’t find one. Maybe it’s not a popular shade? Never mind, I love a challenge, so I’ll continue looking.

One thing I haven’t had any problem finding is more wrap dresses. Given how easy they are to wear I’m surprised I don’t have more. Over the coming months I’ll be adding a couple more to my wardrobe 😉

Are you a fan of wrap dresses? I’d love to know what you think of this classic style. And if you know where to find good quality vegan leather bags please pass on your recommendations!

A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion

A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion

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A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion A Classic Wrap Dress Never Goes Out of Fashion

Wrap dress (old, similar) | Sara Berman bag (old, similar) | Cara London boots (similar)

 

Last week’s favourites were…

Jonet of Fabulously Chic Over 50, Nistha of Fashionistha and Suzanne of Crazy Blonde Life!

 


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Fun Facts About Valentine's Day

Whether you love it or loathe it, there’s no escaping Valentine’s Day. Emails with gift suggestions are landing thick and fast in my inbox, and the supermarkets have their usual displays of overpriced chocolates and flowers. They are nothing if not predictable. At the risk of sounding like a right old misery, I really don’t see the need to splash out on gifts and cards on one particular day of the year. It has become a money-making event, like just about every other occasion in the calendar. But the day that’s synonomous with hearts and flowers actually has rather dark origins.

Pagan origins

Valentine’s Day is thought to have originated from the pagan festival of Lupercalia. It marked the official start of springtime for ancient Romans. Young men would strip naked and use goat or dog skin whips to slap the backsides of young women in order to improve their fertility (sounds a bit kinky to me!). Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity, but circa AD 496 Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day. This effectively “Christianised” the popular pagan festival.

Who Was Valentine?

The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered his execution.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman prisons. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young woman – possibly his jailor’s daughter – who visited him during his captivity. Before his death, it’s alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “from your Valentine”. This expression is still used today.

 

Oldest Recorded Valentine’s Note

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, although written Valentine’s notes didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The first recorded note was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London.

Origins of Modern Valentine’s Day Cards

In the mid 18th century the passing of love-notes became popular in England – a precursor to the St Valentine’s Day card as we know it today. Early ones were made of lace and paper. In 1797, the The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was published, suggesting appropriate rhymes and messages. As postal services became more affordable, the anonymous St Valentine’s Day card became possible. By the early 19th century, they had become so popular that factories start to mass produce them. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced cards in America. Howland made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.”

Mass Commercialisation

Around one billion cards are now sent for Valentine’s Day each year. It is the second-biggest card-exchanging holiday after Christmas, when about 2.6 billion cards are sent annually. Last year the average spend on Valentine’s Day in the UK was £45, but people in Preston were the most generous, spending on average £53!

Fun Facts About Valentine's Day

It’s Not Just For Couples!

People are now purchasing Valentine’s Day gifts for a number of different people in their lives. Galentine’s Day is only a few years old, but it’s an increasingly popular holiday. As the name would suggest, it’s a day for women to celebrate their female friendships. Rather than taking place on the same day, Galentine’s Day is on Feb13th so that women can still celebrate Valentine’s Day with their romantic partners. Data from Pinterest reveals that searches for “Galentine’s Day Ideas” have seen a whopping 1780 per cent year-on-year increase!

Pets are getting in on the action too. In 2016, a reported 19 percent of people bought Valentine’s Day gifts for their furry friends for a total of $681 million!

Over half of Americans are single, and many choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Singles Awareness Day was created as a reaction to Valentine’s Day and is celebrated on February 15th.

Fun Facts About Valentine's Day

Thinking of Tying the Knot on V-Day?

Couples who get married on February 14th are 37 percent more likely to get divorced. They are also 45 per cent less likely to make it to their third anniversary than couples who marry on other days. The study by the University of Melbourne looked at more than 1.1 million Dutch weddings. It found that six per cent of Valentine’s Day marriages had failed within three years, compared to the four per cent average. One of the reasons is thought to be people rushing to get married on Feb 14th. The study found that couples who tie the knot on Valentine’s Day are more likely to have lived together for less than a year.

So that’s my round-up of fun facts about Valentine’s Day! Do you buy cards and gifts for your loved ones on Feb 14th?


 

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Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

Jeans and a jumper is my go-to winter outfit when I’m at home. Working freelance means I’m at home quite a lot so I’ve no need to dress up. When I’m working in the newsroom I usually wear trousers and a lightweight sweater, or a dress with tights and boots. But when I’m doing the school run, volunteering at the wildlife hospital or just running errands I always wear jeans and a jumper in some form.

Pairing these snakeprint skinny jeans and slouchy cable knit jumper creates contrast between casual and dressy.

Although new denim trends come and go I don’t think I’ll ever tire of skinny jeans. They are just so versatile and can be dressed up or down. For me they are a wardrobe staple. This is the second pair of black coated skinny jeans I’ve acquired recently (you may remember the glitter jeans from a few weeks ago). Pairing these snakeprint skinny jeans and slouchy cable knit jumper creates contrast between casual and dressy. Having a loose fitting top with the tight jeans also balances proportions.

Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

You have so many styling options with a pair of black skinny jeans, especially when they are coated or have a subtle pattern.

These jeans from Simply Be are incredibly good value for money – they are currently reduced to just £14! They start at size 10 and go up to 32, although some sizes are no longer in stock. They have a little bit of stretch – enough to hold their shape but still be comfortable. You have so many styling options with a pair of black skinny jeans, especially when they are coated or have a subtle pattern: you can team them with a smart blouse and blazer for an office-appropriate outfit, a camisole top for evening, or a jumper as I have for daytime.

For footwear I chose a pair of studded court shoes because I’ve been wearing boots non-stop for months and really needed a change. Ankle boots or funky metallic trainers would work really well for a more casual (and practical) option. The orange bag and earrings add just enough colour to lift the grey and black. I tried the outfit with a hat to see if it worked (as you’ll see in the last photo) but I think it’s a bit busy with the earrings. Alas, there was no way of hiding a bad hair day!

What’s your favourite way to wear skinny jeans? Do you like coated/embellished jeans?

Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

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Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, orange leather bag

Snakeprint Skinny Jeans and Cable Knit Jumper Simply Be Chloe snakeprint skinny jeans, F&F grey cable knit jumper, Ted Baker studded shoes

Snakeprint jeans c/o Simply Be | F&F jumper | Ted Baker shoes (old, similar) | Joe’s sunglasses (similar) | Alexa bag (old, similar) | earrings from eBay (similar) | ring from Pia (old) | hat from a market stall in France (similar)

 

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Disclaimer: I was gifted the jeans in exchange for a review. My opinions are completely honest. This post contains affiliates links which means if you click on them and/or purchase via a link I may earn a few pennies, at no extra cost to you. This helps towards the running costs of the blog and is very much appreciated.

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Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

When I want to make a statement with my outfit and stay warm, an A-line skirt with boots is one of my favourite winter combinations. Plus, choosing a skirt with a dark colour palette in a more structured fabric gives you plenty of styling options.

For a smart daytime look I teamed this gorgeous jacquard skirt and navy flared sleeve jumper with burgundy boots and bag.

You can easily dress up a flared skirt with a camisole and heels for evening, or toughen it up it with biker boots and a leather jacket. You could even wear it with a slouchy jumper and trainers. For a smart daytime look I teamed this gorgeous jacquard skirt and navy flared sleeve jumper with burgundy boots and bag. My first thought was to choose a black top, but I decided to pick up on the blue in the skirt with this navy jumper instead.

Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

I love the mix of colours in this skirt, and the sheen on the fabric makes them really vibrant. It has a rear zip fastening but also has elasticated sections at the sides which makes it very comfortable. The icing on the cake is the pockets! This skirt is from the Joanna Hope range at Simply Be. I had always (mistakenly) thought that Simply Be started at UK size 14, but in fact the clothes range from size 10 upwards.

You could easily switch from a daytime to evening look by changing your top and shoes.

I would say that the the fit is on the generous side, especially with the elasticated sections on the waistband. I’m 5’8″ and the skirt is what I would describe as a longer length midi on me. The material is stiff enough to hold its shape, making it quite a statement piece. You could easily switch from a daytime to evening look by changing your top and shoes. I’m looking forward to seeing how many different ways I can wear it!

How would you wear a statement skirt? I’d love to hear your styling tips!

Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

 

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Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

Jacquard Skirt and Navy Flared Sleeve Jumper

Joanna Hope skirt c/o Simply Be | Warehouse jumper | New Look boots (old, similar) | Paul Costelloe bag (similar) | ring from charity shop (similar) | earrings c/o LOTD

 

Last week’s favourites were…

Lisa of The Sequinist, Yvonne of Funky Forty and Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style!

 


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Disclaimer: I was gifted the skirt in exchange for a review. My opinions are completely honest. This post contains affiliates links which means if you click on them and/or purchase via a link I may earn a few pennies, at no extra cost to you. This helps towards the running costs of the blog and is very much appreciated.

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