Do you have a local flower farm or cutting patch? A beautiful place where you can visit and gather yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers to take home? I was delighted to discover Blooming Green, a flower farm where you can pick your own seasonal, organically grown flowers.
I wanted to share you with you some pictures of my visit there last summer. These were taken last June, but better late than never!
I bought my gorgeous bunch of flowers back home, where they filled 3 large vases and enamel jugs and amazingly lasted for well over a week!
Blooming Green are open every Friday April to October, 10-4pm for PYO flowers
It’s been a good few years (make that a few decades!) since I last visited Cornwall. After enjoying many family holidays there during my childhood and beyond, I felt it was time to take my own little family on a Cornish adventure!
We stayed a few miles away from the beautiful Sandymouth Beach, near Bude in the north of Cornwall. This spectacular beach is owned by the National Trust and like many beaches in Cornwall, is lifeguard patrolled during the summer season.
I love the rugged landscape of Cornwall; Sandymouth Beach has some fantastic rock formations and freshwater streams cascading over the cliffs and flowing down to the sea.
The Little Chick and I had a great time dipping our toes in the sea, followed by some serious wave jumping later on!
We even saw a jellyfish wash in on a wave beside us!
With so many amazing rockpools, we had lots of fun searching for hidden treasures. Look at this incredible sea anemone!
Best of all, I got to indulge in some beachcombing- collecting shells, sea glass and pebbles is one of my favourite holiday pass times!
Now I’m back home and looking forward to getting back into the jewellery workshop. Look out for some beach inspired designs coming very soon!
I’m pleased to share with you my latest makes! Inspired by peaceful woodland walks along paths shaded with ferns, I’ve created a beautiful eco silver pendant and earrings. These pieces are made using Precious Metal Clay; the clay is imprinted with a real fern leaf from my garden, fired in a kiln and then oxidised for a beautiful rustic finish. The finished pieces are 99.9% pure silver.
Precious Metal Clay is a fabulous eco-friendly material which uses silver recycled from industrial processes. I love using it in some of my designs as it easily takes impressions from my nature finds!
And here’s the matching earrings…
I love them so much I decided to make a pendant using copper clay too. Matching earrings will be following soon, so watch this space!
With autumn fast approaching, the lovely warm tones of this copper jewellery complement the season perfectly!
This handmade fern leaf pattern jewellery is available to order from my Folksy shop. Let me know what you think? I’d love to hear from you!
It’s that time of year again. Each spring I have to go to the woods and visit the bluebells. As I was driving through the country lanes one afternoon, I spied a few bluebells nodding their heads by the edge of the hedgerow and it reminded me that it must be bluebell time again. We’re so lucky to be living in rural Kent where there are many ancient woodlands carpeted with bluebells. I took a short detour home through the lanes to my favourite bluebell woodland and I wasn’t disappointed!
From the car window…
a beautiful carpet of blue
Each year the mass of blue flowers seems even more vibrant than the last. This year the wild garlic was in abundance, its pungent but not unpleasant scent, mingling in with the perfumed bluebells.
All was quiet in the lane. I had parked my car and switched off the engine. I couldn’t resist jumping out and taking some photos to share with you here, then stayed a moment longer to breathe in the beauty of the woodland bluebells until next year.
After a glorious Summer, with hot sunshine continuing well into September, we’re only just beginning to feel the chill of Autumn. Although I dread the return of dark mornings and even darker nights as the evenings draw in, I do love the Autumn for the creative inspiration it provides.
As you know, I love using copper in my jewellery designs and what better time of year than autumn to create some new autumn inspired pieces!
Leaves feature heavily in my jewellery designs, my favourites being my eco silver leaf range. I’ve recently been experimenting with a product called Copper Clay. It’s handled in the same way as Silver Clay, when fired in a kiln, you’re left with a product that’s pure copper. Copper Clay produces a more organic, grainy texture than jewellery made with sheet copper. Pictured below are some examples.
copper clay leaf pendant
copper clay leaf rarrings
My favourite autumn inspired piece of jewellery has to be these cute copper pumpkin stud earrings, fully handmade from sheet copper and perfect for Halloween!
You can take a look at all my copper jewellery by visiting my Folksy and Etsy shops.
Leaves, recycled silver & lots of elbow grease! That’s what is involved in creating my eco silver leaf pattern pendants.
These pendants are one of my favourite things to make. They are always popular, as being simple and elegant they can be worn for a variety of occasions, if not everyday!
My leaf pattern pendants are handmade from Precious Metal Clay, a fantastic material which incorporates fine silver particles in a non-toxic binder. There are lots of different products available, I like to use Art Clay Silver which has a slower drying time and less shrinkage than other metal clay products I’ve tried.
Another reason I use Art Clay Silver is it’s a great eco-friendly product. It uses silver recycled from items such as circuit boards, dentistry and photographic processes and mixes them with an organic, non-toxic binder. This binder burns off when fired in a kiln (it can also be torch fired) to leave behind a piece of jewellery that is 99.9% pure silver.
First the clay is rolled and shaped (a bit like play dough), then I use a leaf from the garden (a skeleton leaf from craft shops works well too) to make an impression on the clay. I have a collection of clay cutters, which are a bit like miniature pastry cutters, to cut out the desired shape of the pendants. My favourites are the heart and teardrop and these always seem to be popular with my customers too!
I like to use a cocktail stick to make a hole for the pendant jump ring to go through, being very careful not to disturb the delicate design before it’s dried. Then comes the drying, which can be done at room temperature over twenty-four hours, or in a cool oven within an hour. There’s always drying instructions included in the Metal Clay packet and I’ve found oven drying to be the best and speediest method for me.
It’s important for the clay to be completely bone dry before it is fired in the kiln, as any residual moisture can cause the silver to crack. Any little imperfections can be sanded away at this stage, however this has to be done with extreme care as the dry clay will be very fragile! I’m afraid I’ve had a few casualties in the past, so have learnt the hard way to be very careful.
Following the instructions on my clay packet, I then fire my dry pendants in my table top kiln. This little kiln is one of my favourite tools as it’s so versatile and easy to use. I always look forward to hearing the timer ping and seeing what the pendants look like, once they are cooled down.
I like to burnish my fired pendants with a brass brush; this brings the fine silver to the surface and gives them a subdued, satin finish. I tidy up the edges and reverse side with polishing papers, this is where the elbow grease comes in! Then give them a quick spin in the tumble polisher too if they need it. All that’s left is to buff and shine with a silver cloth and then the finished pendants are ready to be boxed up awaiting their new homes.
I love wearing these pendants as they go with everything and suit every occasion, but are really special too. They are available to order from my Folksy Shop and Etsy Shop
Why not take a look and let me know what you think!
May bank holiday weekend, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and visit our favourite bluebell woods. During late April and early May, the woods on the National Trust Sissinghurst Castle estate are carpeted with bluebells. We’ve been eagerly awaiting their arrival all through this dismal Spring and when we finally saw them, we weren’t disappointed.
One of my daughter’s favourite outdoor games is Pooh Sticks and hidden in the woods is the perfect Pooh Sticks bridge. There’s even a handy box provided for the purpose!
We followed the path around the estate, spotting some fairy doors along the way…
The Little Chick found a big stick, which of course she insisted on carrying the rest of the way! We discovered the jetty on the lake and watched the ducks and moorhens. We even got a glimpse of some fish, swimming in the depths.
All too soon it was time to return home, with the beauty of the bluebells still fresh in our minds.
Where’s your favourite bluebell wood? Have you been able to visit this Spring? I do hope so! I can’t wait to visit the bluebell woods at Sissinghurst again next year.
A few weeks ago, the gardens at Sissinghurst Castle opened to the public for the spring and summer season. We’re lucky to live just a short drive away from this beautiful place and look forward to the spring opening weekend. So we set off to enjoy the gardens in the Sunday afternoon sunshine!
The Tower and Rose Garden
The Tower at Sissinghurst Castle
The Little Chick leads the way to the rose garden
The Rose Garden Gate
My daughter (aka The Little Chick) was very excited to be allowed to climb up to the top of the tower for the very first time, under Daddy’s strict supervision! She really enjoyed waving to me, way down below on the ground.
A view of the Orchard from a gap in the fence!
Daffodils in the Orchard
Looking towards the Moat
One of our favourite parts of the garden is the Orchard, with its carpet of daffodils. Unfortunately, due to the recent wet weather, the Orchard was closed to prevent the ground becoming a swamp! Luckily we could still enjoy the glimpse of daffodils, narcissus and snowdrops through the low fence and across the moat.
The Lime Walk and Nuttery
Other special things to discover are the Snake’s Head Fritillaries, mini-irises and Hellebores. These can be found flowering in the Lime Walk and the shady Nuttery.
Snake’s Head Fritillaries in the Nuttery
Beautiful Hellebores in a shady corner
Mini Iris flowering in the lime walk
My favourites (this time!) are the camellias; they really are magnificent and a must see for any camellia fan.
Pink double camellia, covering the garden wall
We really enjoyed our first visit of the year to Sissinghurst and can’t wait to come back in April to see the bluebell woods!
Although I had the best intentions of blogging regularly, I’m afraid those intentions have fallen by the wayside! A busy family Christmas, winter bugs and lots of jewellery orders have meant that it’s been put very firmly on the back burner. I’d like to change that though, so here I am, hoping again to share a glimpse into my world of jewellery making!
I love to use copper frequently in my jewellery designs, here’s 5 reasons why:
It’s versatile. I love the many different ways you can treat and create using this metal. It can be polished to a high shine, given a wire-brushed, rustic finish; oxidised for an antique effect; stamped and textured to create interesting patterns.
It’s easy to work with as it’s relatively soft; can be soldered with silver in the same project, using silver solder; so doesn’t require any extra equipment than needed when working with silver.
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It’s inexpensive. As much as I love creating beautiful jewellery in silver, it’s great to offer the same designs at a more affordable price. As copper is such an attractive metal, nothing is compromised. (I hope!)
Using copper is a perfect way of practising a design idea before I make it in silver. Mistakes are often inevitable when trying out a new design and it’s cheaper price makes copper the perfect ‘model’ material.
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The gorgeous autumn tones of copper really lend itself to designs based on natural forms. My jewellery is often inspired by the beautiful countryside where I live and I use copper to reflect that.