How Did I Get Into Jewellery Making

I have always been creative my whole life, I think I get that from my mum and from my grandma on my mum’s side. Both these women had to be creative, my grandmother lived through World War II and my mum was worn during an air raid. My grandmother came from a rather well to do family who thought when she married my grandfather that she had married out of her class. My grandfather came from the East End of London and from a big family, my grandmother on the other hand was born in India during the Colonial times and her father was a manager quite high up in the Railways.

Anyway the her family moved back to England and my grandmother when she left school wanted to open a flower arranging shop, my great-grandfather was horrified and said no, she was to work in an office so that was that, but it never stopped that creative spirit in her and of course she got married and had 7 children. She made all the girls clothes, kept all christmas cards, birthday cards, wrapping paper, ribbons and she had the most wonderful tins of buttons with the most fabulous buttons in them. I used to when i was young go to visit and sit going through her button tins say oohhh ahhh look at this one and look at that one.  So I think my creativity came down through my mum’s family because my dad’s family doesn’s have a bean of creativity at all.

My mum I think you would call her practical creative because she can wallpaper and make something out of nothing, she sews the most beautiful curtains and has made wedding and bride’s maid’s dresses. She can also put together a room like you would not believe. My mum is a pretty clever woman and had she had the opportunities that young girls have today I think she would have her own restaurant because she is a brilliant cook. She taught us all to cook and sew both my brothers and sisters, so when we left home we would at least be able to feed ourselves and sew on a button.

Being left handed I was always cack-handed so I never quite got the nack of knitting or crocheting. I remember my sons first cardigan which i took great care to knit ended up having one arm longer than the other. However, i did improve but only slightly and everyone would laugh at the way I knitted so I dont do that now. Crochet was completely over the top of my head, i just used to end up with a long line of stitches so I gave that up as a bad job. I took up embroidery which I have to say I’m pretty good at but these days my eyes just cant deal with those tiny stitches.

Anyway about 3 years ago just before christmas I purchased a bag for my daughter in law. It was a Kathy Van Zeeland bag and attached to the bag was a bag charm. I had never heard of these but I thought it was such a neat idea I wondered if i could make one myself.  So I ordered one from a seller on ebay and when it arrive it was horrible,  no disrespect to the person who made it but seriously it was vile, it was badly put together and it had no thought for colour or design, I just knew I could make a better one if I the right tools and all the things that went into making it. So then I had to find out what each item was called and order some tools. No easy feat when you dont know the names of things.

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Christmas is Over

Another Christmas is finally over, all that frantic shopping, spending money and stress means I can finally get back to work! I think Christmas is for kids and if you are like me and your kids have grown and left home then it never feels the same. I have to say and I am being honest now that I hate Christmas shopping! We have tried this year and last year to do as much online shopping as possible but both years have been a disaster with presents not arriving; this year in particular was bad because of the “adverse weather conditions”!

Why oh why is it that every year there is a reason why things cant run, “leaves on the line, the wrong sort of snow and this year adverse weather conditions”.

So we have decided that next year we are going away to hotter climes to spend Christmas on the beach. I know, I know I sound like the Grinch but if you were really honest with yourselves which would you prefer, freezing cold, snow, rain, wind and frost or sun, sea and sand, there really is no argument is there?

Anyway what with trying to get the kitchen floor tiles finished; which we have, wrapping presents, baking Christmas cake (another disaster, it was a sad cake a very sad cake) and cooking Christmas dinner and not letting the turkey breast get dry courtesy of Jamie Oliver’s stuffing idea (that didnt work either), I haven’t had much time to make any jewellery.

However, I did buy a tutorial to learn how to make a wire wrapped bail. The first bail made with copper wire didnt turn out so good, it might have been the gauge of the wire. The first photograph is that little gem; I am saying that with some sarcasm!

I found the copper wire not hard to use but when I formed the coil and shaped it, the coil opened up more than I wanted. I used the Smoky Quartz briolette because it was close to hand and this particular stone has many faults.  This was my first attempt so hopefully I shall be forgiven for that.

My second attempt was I felt so much better. This time I used Sterling Silver wire 26 gauge wire for the body and 28 gauge fine Silver wire for the coiling and the Citrine briolette is well I can only say is stunningly gorgeous and contemporary looking. It is an eye clean stone AAAA quality, huge in size and the faceting is different, its more minimal and longer rather than wrapping around the stone, the facets point down the length of the stone. Its 40 ctw in weight and measures a hefty 31 x 14.5 x 14.5mm. Well anyway you shall see for yourself in the next photograph.

I am going to put another photo of this in because I am just showing off really. Actually thats not it at all, I just love this stone and I am quite happy with the wire wrapping.

I purchased the tutorial from It came with a lesson on how to make a butterfly and although I didnt need all the other bits and bobs to make the butterfly it was well worth paying for the tutorial just to find out how to make coil this bail.

I have wanted to learn how to do it for a long time. I had to make a few adjustments to the tutorial with this stone because it is quite heavy and wouldn’t take the normal way of wrapping a briolette with the small wire sticking up and then wrapping down over it, the wire just fell out under the weight of the stone, but I am happy with the results and I know that I shall be able to improve on this!

Now the next question is what am I going to do with this stone, do I just leave it and let it speak for itself or do I add some black Spinel rondelles or maybe some Pyrite, Smoky Quartz and Citrine rondelles in a cluster above it…decisions, decisions! I can’t make up my mind at the moment so I am going to leave it for the time being and see if an idea springs to mind.

Anyway yesterday I sat and made a pendant and matching earrings from some Cubic Zirconia that I purchased from a seller on Etsy months ago. They are a beautiful red orange. I did think I might wire wrap them right down over the stones but when it came to it and I tried it the briolettes are quite thin at the top and the wire didn’t cover so well. So I wire them loosely with gold filled wire added some beautiful little Peridot rondelles I have and voila a delicate pendant and earrings.  I also created a pair of earrings from some beautiful Keishi pearls I purchased recently. They were large and although white have all the colours of the rainbow within the nacre. I added some tiny Citrine rondelles, some gold vermeil brushed discs in two different sizes with the same Citrine rondelles and I wired a couple of tiny Lemon Topaz to dangle in between. They came out like little clusters, the gold and the pearls look beautiful and I am really happy with those.

I havent managed to get a good photo of those as yet but when I do I shall add them to this blog.

Anyway, I suppose I should go and get dressed as I have been sitting here in my pj’s now and the day has just slid by without  me seeing the going of it.

So if I dont speak to you before the New Year, Happy New Year to everyone and lets hope that its a Prosperous one too.  xxx

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The Snowy Jewellery Party

It has been snowing here in the UK for days and days, it melts a little and then it starts snowing again.  I had recently held a Jewellery party at my local pub! Now why I hear you ask would you hold a Jewellery party at a pub? Well when you live out in the middle of nowhere and you’re nearest neighbour lives a mile across the fields you have to take your opportunities where you can find them. Well that Jewellery party was a real success; I sold loads of my old Jewellery, things I had created way back when and some of my newer items. So the pub owners asked would I be willing to hold another in late November.

So this Tuesday just gone 30/11/2010 it was bitterly cold and snowing yet again, we loaded up the car and went down to the village of Freiston to do the next Jewellery Party and it was a disaster. Well I suppose thats a bit of an exaggeration it wasn’t a total disaster but nearly. Of course only someone as stupid as myself would venture out in the freezing cold and snow to sell Jewellery, but I didnt want to let anyone down, it had been advertised and you never know who might turn up.

I did manage to sell a few items that I had created, the necklace you see above is dyed Peach Jade large nuggets with smaller Amazon Jasper rectangles and Karen Hill Tribe Silver. The reason I loved these two colors together is because the Amazon Jasper which is mainly green actually has peach eyes within the stone, quite amazing really to look at and perfectly matched the Peach Jade.

This pendant also sold.  I created it using one of Kristan Child’s hand torched encased flower beads. She torches the most wonderful beads and this one has topaz and cream flowers on a dark topaz base colour. I complimented this bead with Topaz Swarovski Crystals and Karen Hill Tribe Silver bead caps, suspended from a Karen Hill Tribe Silver pendant bail and a Sterling Silver Chain.

Julio Wray of RedSide Designs created this stunning hand torched focal bead. Although both Julio Wray and Kristan Child collaborate, their shared goal is to produce beads that are completely unique as well as beautiful always astounds me. They have different styles but perfectly compliment each other. This large focal has a dark Violet base with dark Topaz swirling flowers edged in cream. I have accented this bead with Violet and Topaz Swarovski crystals top and bottom with a large cluster suspended from the bottom crystal.  Each of the crystals has been hand wire wrapped onto a fine Silver ball headpin, these were handcrafted me. All the other Silver is Karen Hill Tribe Silver. At the ends of the Sterling Silver chain I have also wire wrapped matching Violet Swarovski crystals to finish the whole pendant necklace off. This pendant also sold on Tuesday.

Katrina is a little girl of 9 years old who loves my dogs Sarah and Rolo. Sarah and Rolo always come to the pub with us when we go down for dinner and they love to be fussed by everyone. I met Katrina and her mum because of Sarah and Rolo.  She also loves jewellery and beads, so when she knew I was holding a jewellery party at the pub, which she often goes to with her mum and dad for dinner she asked me to bring in my bead box so she could look at my handmade beads. Her mum asked me to create a bracelet suitable for Katrina for her 10th birthday, as special bracelet only to be worn on special occasions. So Katrina and I sat down together with my bead box and she pointed out all her favourite beads. I knew she loved the pink and white heart bead because she went crazy when she saw it.  That little heart focal bead was hand torched by Dawn M. White of Dudabeads. I have purchased several of her beads because she also makes the most wonderful rose bud flower beads and a few of my customers really love earrings made with those beads. The other beads on the bracelet were created by Carrie McKinney of CEM Lampwork, these beads can be seen on her website under the name Black Razzberry. I accented these beads with two little Karen Hill Tribe Silver ladybug beads and two Karen Hill Tribe Silver flower beads. Swarovski crystals in Rose colour and to finish a Karen Hill Tribe Silver filigree heart toggle clasp to compliment the focal bead. There were several other sales at the Jewellery party but I wont bore you with more photos and blab on about those.

This is a pendant her mum purchased. She said she wanted a ribbon attached to the bail rather than a Silver chain. I purchased the hand dyed ribbon from Kasbeads who makes the most beautiful ribbons from silk which she dyes herself in various colours.  The pendant focal bead was handtorched by Crystal Brashear who creates little glass pieces of art,  is the only word to describe her beads.

Today is the big day for my kitchen install. I have waited 6 years for this day, removing 2 main walls and knocking three rooms into one has taken us 9 months and you know what its like, when you move into a house the purchasing costs are considerable so we had the time but no money, then the children all moved back home so we didnt have the space, then they left, then they came back again with girl friends in tow, now they have left we had the money but no time. However, since going on holiday last year and then purchasing the apartment down in Portimao, Portugal we have really got our act together and once again got enthusiastic about moving the restoration on. So today my bespoke kitchen is finally here…yipeee I cant wait to see it. So I am off now to make coffee and keep the workers happy with bacon rolls and cups of tea!

Speak again soon, Di xx

P.S. I do have a Jewellery website if you wanted to take a look at my jewellery, its on

P.S.S. Its snowing here again…big flakes!

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Painting, Painting and More Painting..Yuck

I am sick and tired of painting! I have been painting for 3 days now and I have to say I shall be glad to see the back of white emulsion for a very long time! My hands feel like sandpaper and I could probably sand down the doorframe just using them, no need for sandpaper. My hair is covered in paint where I have leaned over and brushed against the Paint! I have no nails because they are all broken! I think I will need a chiropractor when I’m finished to fix my back and neck…who’s great idea was it to take down the walls and make the kitchen larger I wonder..actually it was mine! Lets knock 3 rooms into 1 and make a 34 foot long kitchen I said, I’m sure in a house this big a large kitchen will be the Wow factor…little did I know that it would take 9 months to get to this point…me painting.

Hellooo I must have been bonkers or something. I am sitting here thinking that I have one more length of ceiling to paint and then I am finished…well unless you count the gloss painting of the door, skirting boards and window frames which by the way we don’t have at the moment because the new window frames don’t arrive until after Christmas but still the oak beams look fabulous and the room is now bright and clean.

We were sitting in our local pub the other evening talking to someone whose family used to own the house we live in. The wife said have you got rid of that really large pantry…erm yes we said we have knocked the kitchen, pantry and the old dining room into one long room, she was most put out…I would have loved that pantry she said…Hello the pantry was 9 feet by 12 feet, I couldn’t make enough jam, chutney to fill that pantry if I had 10 years…a complete waste of space.

I believe that you should make the space that you live in fit your needs, so rather than going under the stairs every time we wanted to go into the kitchen like something out of “Harry Potter” we have now opened up the space and the house flows so much better.

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Gemstones and Painting

Well yesterday the gemstones I had purchased from a seller in the USA finally arrived and with them came a lovely bill from customs and that was a really nice start to the day. Luckily it doesn’t happen very often and the gemstones more than made up for the fees. The seller is perhaps the best seller I have ever purchased gemstones from. She is always honest in her descriptions and mentions any faults, chips, rubbing or scratches and that’s perfect because I do hate surprises and I have found it’s rather hit and miss when you are buying gemstones.

There are so many sellers out there who don’t tell you if the drill holes are damaged or if the gemstones have rubbed areas where they have been packed close together and I have purchased so many gemstones that are completely unusable because of their lack of honesty.

So I went a bit mad and purchased the most beautiful dark pinky red Topaz in a really nice size, a pair of sky blue topaz with fantastic facets and colouring, hints of lilac would you believe. My most favourite has to be the largest Citrine I have ever seen in a long triangle shape with a smaller triangle at the bottom. The facets rather than being over the whole stone run down the stone and its fabulous, so fabulous in fact I’ve a mind to keep it myself. Some tiny green Topaz rondelles, tiny micro faceted Carnelian rondelles, green mystic quartz cubes and a beautiful Madeira Citrine briolette. All the stones are eye clean AAAA quality; so as you can imagine I cant wait to start working with them.

Today we have been working on the house again, this kitchen is such a big job, it’s taken us 9 months just to get this far and we are on the last leg. Painting the walls and the mist coat..the dreaded mist coat which is for anyone who doesn’t know the 50-50 water and emulsion to seal the plaster and its horrible to paint with it! It get everywhere, down your arms, in your hair, in your eyes, on your face, you just get completely splattered with it. Today I started painting at 9.30 and didn’t get finished the walls with the mist coat and the first coat of paint until 6pm this evening, but I have to say its looking fantastic. We were thinking of putting colour on the walls but to be honest I am so happy with the white that I am leaving it white to give it that country kitchen look. So now I’m cream crackered as they say. Tomorrow we start again only this time I have to paint the ceiling. Thank heavens I only have to paint for the next two days and then the majority of the painting in the kitchen will be over, I can’t wait!

So now I am going to put my feet up for the night, hopefully there wont be anymore snow in the night because its been snowing here all day off and on, very early the snow is this year normally we don’t get it until closer to Christmas…still that’s global warming for ya..haha

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My First Blog

Well this is my first time of writing a blog so you will have to forgive me any mistakes. I have been sitting here for weeks thinking I should get around to doing a blog but could think of nothing to say, which is weird because I have always got something to say about most things. Now for most of you who don’t know, I design and create handmade Jewellery which is a big passion for me, however, we are also in the long drawn out process of renovating an old Blacksmiths shop which is roughly 350 years old and lucky for us not listed, it also has various other buildings attached to it that have been added over the years, a 2 up 2 down farm workers cottage, stables and a shoeing room. All of which have been redesigned into other rooms over the years, some usable some not!

Now you might ask what has this to do with designing and making Jewellery? Well nothing actually apart from the fact that my work space is gradually decreasing to the point where I eventually will be sitting with all my beads piled high on my lap trying to wire wrap a briolette one handed whilst juggling a sheet of plasterboard in my other hand. They always say that women can multi task I didn’t realise when we moved here that I would be doing just that.

I didn’t want to write a blog just about Jewellery and what I have created that particular day because that could end up being so boring, so I decided to also write about our antics renovating this house and all the other stuff in between.

We have lived here for 6 years this coming Christmas and we thought when we purchased the house that it would be a quick renovation to finish what other people had started…little did we know…if you ever saw the movie with Tom Hanks in called the “The Money Pit” then you will know what I am talking about, if you haven’t seen it you should its hilarious and that is our house! We thought we had a 3rd of a house to renovate, how naive we were, we will end up renovating the whole house because of the bodge job the sellers builder (I say builder with a dash of sarcasm because you wouldn’t want to know what I really think, its way to rude) did on this poor old house.

Anyway Christmas is coming and I thought this year, I am going to make all the women in the family a piece of jewellery. For my mum I have made a long flapper necklace in Black Onyx and Green Onyx large faceted rondelles wire wrapped to each other in Sterling Silver. After making this really long necklace I had enough of the beautiful semi precious stones to make her a matching bracelet and earrings.

For my youngest sister Lucy I have made her a Titanium druzy pendant and matching earrings again wire wrapped in Sterling Silver. The pendant has been hung on a hand dyed silk ribbon courtesy of Kasbeads who makes the most beautiful ribbons and if my sister doesn’t like it…I am gonna grab it back off her and keep it for myself because those druzy’s are gorgeous and so blingy with purple, cobalt blue, gold, green colours running through it and I love it!

For my mother in law this year (last year she got a pearl and a lampwork heart bead necklace, the lampwork heart was handmade by Aimee Suzanne of Monte Verdi who creates the most fabulous beads) Smoky Quartz faceted briolettes in 3’s like petals with the most beautiful AAAA olive coloured freshwater pearls which have hints of copper and in the centre a chocolate brown with hints of gold AAAA freshwater pearl. Lots of small Karen Hill Tribe stick beads in two different sizes and all suspended from a Sterling Silver chain.

For my bestest friend yes thats right bestest! I have made a necklace using rough hammer faceted semi precious Carnelian rondelles and these are quite a large size. In between these stones more Karen Hill Tribe Silver beads and in between those the most beautiful rough hammer faceted Smoky Quartz. She loves those rough stones because they are so organic in shape and rusty dark orange is her favourite colour so I hope she is gonna love this necklace and that is as far as I have got.

Well I suppose I should go and get dressed because I am sitting here in my pjs still not dressed and the day is getting away from me.

I hope all this will be interesting reading to all you out there, but if its not then perhaps you will enjoy my next installment. Bye bye! xx

P.S. I will put photos up of the Jewellery mentioned in my next blog.

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