The Beachcomber necklace is made from selected contents from my box of Things, which were collected over many years, and not necessarily always intentionally. Originally the box was somewhere to put unrelated might-be-useful-one-day small objects; eventually it became more curated as I realised that all the bits and pieces might one day become new pieces of jewellery. And one day they did:
This necklace is a longer length than many of the necklaces I make, measuring 64.5cm. It’s made with upcycled twisty gold-toned chain from a broken necklace that I inherited from somewhere (a friend of a relative who was having a clearout and sent their broken things to me? Although this seems to happen so often that I don’t remember who it was, now…). There are all sorts of old and new, found and donated things attached – old coins, a ceramic miniature teapot, beads and buttons and charms, a ring, seashells and a wooden carving.
Necklaces like this one are among my favourite things to make because they’re unique, unconventional, and mostly recycled. (They’re also a useful conversation-starter when I wear them to parties.)
You can find out more about this necklace (or even buy it!) here.
I’ve just been updating the button drop earrings section of my button jewellery shop. For a long time I’ve been making button earrings with multiple buttons in rows, or stacked on top of each other, like this…
…and I’ve added a few new designs in these styles. But I also thought it was time for something new, and I’ve also added a whole bunch of more minimalist button earrings, made with just one quite small button on each earring hook. There are some made with the 9mm buttons I use for my stud earrings, in lots of different colours – plus a few with flower shaped buttons, and some made of wood. You can browse the whole collection here.
Last month I made an interesting bundle of custom wedding jewellery. Jenny from Kendal spotted my bunting necklaces with the map design, and got in touch to ask whether I could make some similar ones for her bridesmaids, but with maps of her chosen locations on the bunting pieces. She supplied me with map snippets as a pdf, which I printed out and used to make the necklaces.
On one side all the necklaces are the same, featuring places around Glaramara in the Lake District. These necklaces aren’t usually double sided, but these ones also have maps on the back of each piece – featuring places connected to each bridesmaid, so they’re all different.
These necklaces are great for petite necklines and people who want something subtle and buttony. They also make good presents for children, who can wear them as a longer necklace when they are small (I’d suggest around age 8 and up) but also continue to wear them as they grow, as they still fit as a shorter necklace on an adult.
The buttons used to make these necklaces are usually between 8 – 11mm across, and the necklaces measure around 45cm (exact lengths are specified on individual listings).
You can browse my button necklace collection here.
I am quite proud of these because they are a physical viola joke.
As I’m a violist, I’ve been hearing viola jokes since I was seven years old. The idea is that viola players are not as intelligent as other musicians, but this is, of course. nonsense*.
These cufflinks are based on the following joke:
‘ A violinist noticed at the end of each rehearsal break, one of the violists would look at the inside flap of his jacket before he sat down to resume rehearsal. This continued for several decades, and the violinist became quite curious about it. One day, during hot weather, the violist took off his jacket and went off on break. The violinist waited until everyone was off the platform, looked around, and sneaked over to the jacket. He pulled back the flap and saw a little note pinned on the inside. It read: “viola left hand, bow right.” ‘
While continuing my process of delving through boxes of leftover materials and forgotten bits and pieces, I found a bag of jigsaw puzzle pieces. There were still a few left that were similar enough to each to make pairs, so they’re become earrings. Each pair is unique, and these ones come from a vintage puzzle which had a bird design on it.
It was donated to me because too many of the pieces were missing for it to be completed without being incredibly irritating – but it could still be turned into other things…
All of these jigsaw puzzle earrings are for sale at the Unexpected Boutique. Each pair is one-of-a-kind.
Last year I made a batch of safety pin drop earrings using gold safety pins with green and bronze rocaille beads. These earrings were popular with customers, so I’ve made some more, in several new colour schemes: red, peacock blue, and multicoloured.
At the moment I’m doing some using-up-of-leftover-materials from previous projects (as with my upcycled bead bracelets) and next in the queue was my box of felt beads. Previously I’ve made big batches of identical necklaces, but with the odd ones left over, over the past couple of days, I’ve made the first few of some one-of-a-kind felt necklaces. There are some more lying in a big fuzzy pile on my workbench waiting to have their clasps put on, but these three are finished and available to buy at Unexpected Boutique’s felt necklaces page.
For ages now I’ve had a stash of beads that have been waiting to be made into jewellery. However, out of the whole box, there’s probably only about ten percent that were bought by me as beads. That ten percent are leftovers from other projects; the rest of them are there because, over the years, some beaded necklace or other has broken. Some of these were from jewellery that I owned myself, and others came from other people’s broken jewellery clearouts, and were given to me because people thought I was the sort of person who cold make use of them. The thing is, I mostly haven’t, because I’ve mostly been making things out of buttons rather than beads. I never really got into the whole “bead” thing. But a few weeks ago, I thought: they’ve been sitting there for years. (And I really mean years – I’ve had some of them for getting on fifteen years now.) They are not achieving anything at all by sitting there in a box. So I sat down and made a small fraction of my bead collection into bracelets.
I’m fussy about bracelets – or, specifically, bracelet fastenings. Obviously, as a person who uses their hands a lot, I need a bracelet to do two things: not get in the way too much, and not fall off. Otherwise I just don’t wear them. But I equally despise the kind of bracelet fastening that always requires another person to fasten it for the wearer. That’s just annoying. So this limits me to the alarmingly small number of secure clip fastenings that are easy to do up and take off with one hand, or elastic bracelets. Or so I thought. All this time I’ve been ignoring one really obvious solution to the bracelet problem: memory wire.
Memory wire is basically a hard steel spring, and comes in a big coil that looks like a slinky toy. To make into a bracelet, you cut off a section of one or two coils, and basically just bead it up however you like. When you put on a memory wire bracelet, it does two things – stretches and bends briefly so you can get your wrist in, before returning to its previous shape when on your wrist. As well as this, it gently moulds around whatever size wrist it finds itself around, so will fit snugly on a variety of wrist sizes larger than its resting size (or will be like a round bangle on smaller wrists).
So, memory wire is what my new collection of boho-looking beaded bracelets are made with. You can get them at the Unexpected Boutique, and also in my Etsy shop.