ETSY: New Products!!!

Hi all,

It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally got our new range of jewellery up on our ETSY page!

We’ve got new earrings, necklaces and collar clips which are perfect little gifts for Christmas. I have a few already made up and all are make to order. So please check out our page and see if there’s anything you like!

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I hope you like them!

Take care,

Elisa Signature

Feature Friday! Interview with Black Box Boutique.

Hi all,

Eeek it feels like I’ve been away¬† for ages! Victoria has been doing a great job while I’ve been tottering around the Scottish lands. I had a great time, thanks for asking. Lot’s of walking, seeing sandy beaches and fun family times! A much needed break!

I didn’t forget about you guys though! Whilst on my travels I was looking out for things to report back to you all and success! As I was puddle hopping my way around the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh (a place I highly recommend you all go. Now!) I stumbled upon a wondrous, almost magical, find: Black Box Boutique!

Black Box is the wonderful creation of Hannah and Sarah: together they have created this charming boutique shop, almost like a bricks and mortar ETSY shop!

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Situated on the winding West Bow street in Edinburgh’s old town this little treasure trove is stuffed full of imaginative and creative products. Not only was I in awe of the hand crafted jewellery, illustrations, cards and supplies but the interior was magical!

 

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I love these sort of finds; I love being transported into the world independent shops like these create. But rather than me gab on about it why don’t we hear from the lovely ladies themselves! I was able to ask Hannah and Sarah a few questions so I hope you enjoy!

1/ Please introduce yourselves and your business.
Hello, I am Hannah, and I run Black Box with my good friend Sarah. Black Box is an independent design boutique based in the heart of Edinburghs Old Town. We stock a wide range of stationery, illustration, homeware and gifts, but at the heart of it we are a jewellery boutique. All of our products are made by British-based independent designers and small companies, with a few from a bit further afield. Both myself and Sarah are jewellers, and we have our workshop at the back of the shop so our customers can peek at jewellery being made.

2/ How did you start out and how did black box boutique evolve?
Black Box is a family run business, but to begin with we were starting from scratch. Our initial vision for Black Box was to be a sort of wonderland with the jewellery displayed in unusual ways, enabling the customer to feel like they were discovering hidden treasures throughout the boutique. So often jewellery stores are rows of endless glass cabinets, where the jewellery almost becomes lost. We wanted to have each cabinet tell it’s own story, and in turn the jewellery comes to life!

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We’ve come a long way from when we opened, and our designer base has risen from 25 to begin with, up to around 100 at the moment. It’s a constant learning curve, so we continually update our displays, and strive to deliver something fresh.

3/ You have so many amazing handmade goodies in your shop; what are you loving right now?
It’s so hard to choose, we love all of our designers! Wolf & Moon and AndSmile are going down a storm with our customers, as is the new collection from DeeLyn made from recycled guitar strings. Both myself and Sarah are totally in love with Yasmin Everley’s Entomology collection, and I might just have to treat myself to one of Myia Bonner’s new initial necklaces…!

4/ What or who inspires you most?
Black Box grew from a love of fairytales and secret things, childhood curiosities and particularly books like The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. It’s always been important for our boutique to mix the old with the new, so we source old furniture and objects to include in our displays. I’ve collected ‘antiques’ for years, not for their value (which is little) but for a love of imagining what sort of history the item could have had; who owned it, what sort of life did they lead, if the object could speak what tales would it tell? etc. There is such value in history, it’s all so fascinating, and really the only limit is your imagination!

5/ Do you have any advice for those creative people out there looking to open up a crafty business?
Make sure that your craft is your passion. Being a creative and a business owner is often difficult, as the two tend to be at crossed purposes in terms of motivation, but it can definitely work. I’d say that feedback is invaluable, because it’s always vital to gain a fresh perspective. Listen to your customers, and don’t give up. Persevere and believe in yourself – You can do it!

A huge thank you to Black Box Boutique for answering all of our questions! We hope you all enjoyed hearing what they had to say and if you’re in the Edinburgh area get your Google maps out, type in this address: 98 WEST BOW, EDINBURGH, MIDLOTHIAN, EH1 2HH, and get your behinds down there!

Take care,

Elisa Signature

Tutorial ~ Beaded ‘U’ Necklace

Hi all,

Is it just me or does anyone ¬†else get really¬†hooked¬†on particular crafts or ideas? At the moment I’m captivated by beaded jewellery and dip dye crafts.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon making loads of beautiful beaded bracelets. I love them.

Today I’m going to share a tutorial with you on how to make your own Beaded ‘U’ Necklace. I love these and have been making a few recently with the seed beads I discovered the other week. Don’t you just love the colour of these beads?

tools and materials

You will need the following

~ Wire cutters
~ Round nose pliers
~ Chain nose pliers
~ Chain
~ Wire (I used 4mm)
~ 3 jump rings
~ 1 larger jump ring
~ Trigger clasp
~ Beautiful beads (around 10g)
~ 2 decorative beads for the ends (optional)

Step 1. Cut your wire to your preferred length. I cut mine to about 15cm.

Bead and wire

Step 2. Create a hoop at the end of your wire using the round nose pliers

wire end

Step 3. If using an alternative bead for the end, thread this onto your wire. Ensure it is secure and it doesn’t come off the end. If your hoop was tight enough it should be secure
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Step 4. Thread the other beads onto the wire, leaving about 2cm.

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Step 5. You should now have about 2cm left. Add the second of the alternative beads if you are using them. Then using the round nose pliers create another hoop with the wire ensuring it closes tight next to the bead at the end. Once complete it should look something like this.

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Step 6. Now to turn it into a necklace. Cut two strips of chain of equal length. I made mine 20cm again but this was too long. I would recommend 15cm so that it doesn’t hang too low.

chain

Step 7. Using the jump rings nd the pliers attach one end of the chain to the hoops on the wire. add chain

Step 8. Using the pliers and a small jump ring attach the trigger clasp to the end of a piece of chain. connector

Step 9. Again using the pliers attach the larger of the jump ring to the end of the other piece of chain. I added a bead for decoration.¬†end of chainStep 10 . It’s complete.¬†necklace

Enjoy!

Victoria Signature

Tutorial ~ Washer Bracelet

Hi all,

It’s been a pretty rubbish day at work. It started out badly when I woke up convinced it was Friday and went downhill from there. I rarely have bad days and find it hard to shake the feeling even when it’s home time. To try and get my mind off the ¬†day I decided to finish one of the projects I’ve had in the making: washer bracelets.

This came about when we put our new BBQ together and there were a few spare washers kicking around. The same day I had got my hands on some mint coloured nail varnish and just by chance the two kind of ended up next to each other which gave me an idea: diy painted washer bracelet!

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To make your own you will need:

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  • Nail polish
  • Connecting rings
  • Chain and Clasps
  • Jewellery pliers (which I don’t own so I used the pliers from my tool kit!)

Step 1// Paint your washers with the nail polish.

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Step 2// Connect your washers with the rings. You’ll need the pliers (sorry for the blurred picture):

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Use two for each link as this gives the final product better movement. Using just one to link the washers make them a bit stiff.

Step 3// Measure and connect your chain and clasps:

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We think this is such a nice up cycling idea. What do you think?

We hope you feel inspired and maybe if you’re having a bad day too then try a craft to take your mind off it – trust me it works.

Take care,

E x

ETSY: NEW Products – Check it out!

Hi all,

So I’ve been super busy putting all of our new products up on our ETSY page! So please head over and check out all the handmade items we’ve been busy making!

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We always appreciate feedback so please make sure you send us a comment!

Take care,

E and V x

 

Events ~ Bewl Water Kent and Sussex Show.

Hi all,

Long time no speak on my part! You ever have one of those weeks where you don’t have time to breathe let alone keep up with writing!? Well it’s been one of those weeks, which has been made worse because the weather is so perfect right now and all I want to do is be outside :(. I think I might be cold blooded because I love basking in the sun.

Anyway today was another one of those glorious days and we spent it at the Kent and Sussex Show at Bewl Water. Now Bewl Water is my idea of perfect. If I was asked to describe my happy place it would be like one of those places in those American Camp movies: lakes, boats, green hills all around and happy families running around – well this is Bewl Water! I loved it.

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See what’s not to love? There were boats and everything!

Unfortunately we were stuck in a little car park and not over looking this view so I couldn’t enjoy it fully.

Doing the fair was a bit of a last minute deal and I’ve spent all week frantically getting together a gazebo, a table and then making more products! It’s really worth just going for these things even if you’re not fully prepared – I had only 5 evenings to organise myself and I managed to borrow a table and a gazebo (I just harassed everyone I knew and those I didn’t too!)

I may have also managed to blow up a glue gun, but we don’t like to talk about that!

I was a bit apprehensive because I wasn’t sure what to expect and the title ‘Kent and Sussex Show’ made it sound like a big trade show – I pictured wall to wall stalls of professional craft businesses. Even though I felt we might be a little ‘handmade’ for the show we went for it, because after all what’s the worst that can happen?

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Lots of new and awesome products we made for the stall and for ETSY. Victoria has made some really great jewellery. Talented that one, ay!

Unfortunately the day was quiet and the sales were low. However it was still worth it to meet some of the other stall holders and get to work on building a network and community.

All of our new items will be up on ETSY by tomorrow, but why not head over there now and take a look at the new flower crowns?

Take care all and enjoy the sunshine!

E x

P.S I realised half way through the day I’d dressed like Rosie the Riveter! #wecandoit!

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Tutorial ~ Seed Bead Bracelets

Beads! I love them, ever since I can remember I’ve had a stash of beads in my home. A few years ago I amalgamated my many bead supplies into my mum’s old sewing tin (shhhh, she doesn’t know I ‘borrowed’ it when I went to uni). There are some beads in there that I have had since I were 7/8 years old… can they be called vintage?

Whilst sorting through my craft supplies recently I came across a variety of seed beads in my tin and felt inspired to make use of them and in preparation for our stall next week I decided to make some bracelets with them.

 

seed bead bracelet complete

 

 

 

To make your own you will need the following

equipmentStep 1 . Take your wire and cut it to size. I cut mine to 2 inches.
Step 2. Using the round nose pliers, at the end of the wire create a tight loop.
Step 3. Feed your seeds onto the wire. Leave at least 1cm to finish the wire.

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Step 4. Once your wire is complete, finish the wire off with another loop using the round nose pliers.

Step 5. Prepare your chain. Using the wire cutters, cut the chain to the desired length.
Step 6. Attach your findings to the chain at either end, in this example I used a clasp and split ring in my example. I also added a bead to the split ring for decoration.
Step 7. Cut your chain in half using the wire cutters
Step 8. Attach the chain to the wire using the split rings.collagestep 678Step 9. And your done! Time to wear your seed bead bracelet with pride.

 

braceletHope you’ve been inspired.

Enjoy!

Vx

Tutorial ~ DIY Tree Branch Jewellery Stand

Hello there,

Many moons ago (about 3 years ago in fact) I lived in the middle of the Welsh countryside surrounded by nothing but fields, trees and mountains. It was peaceful and very idyllic. The only problem was to get anywhere it was miles away, I mean it. The nearest town, Machynlleth was 3 miles away. The next biggest urban area was Aberystwyth, that was 21 miles away.

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Beautiful wouldn’t you agree?

 

As a result of my rural isolation I became very frugal, to be honest I always have been but at this point I took frugal to the extreme. Making use of everything and anything.

One thing I needed was a jewellery stand for the many necklaces I had been creating in the peace and tranquility of the welsh mountains. I came across a wonderful piece of drift wood down at Aberdovey (a very beautiful beach might I add) and decided it would be handy for making a jewellery stand. Soon after this was born out of the remanants of paper, string, a tin,  lentils and the drift wood.

 

branch jewellery stand

Tutorial

You will need:-

  • drift wood
  • a clean food tin
  • dried lentils
  • scrap paper (long enough to go around the tin)
  • string

1. Ensure the tin is clean and dry.
2. Wrap the paper around the tin and tightly tie the string around to secure it. 3. Fill the tin with the dried lentils.
4. Stand your drift wood in it and done.

Hang your jewellery and admire it.

 

Have you made any of your own? We’d love to see your DIY jewellery stands.

Enjoy!

Vx

Tutorial ~ Big Bead Necklace

It must be holiday time for me, multiple posts from me in one week. I bet your surprised.

This week I went to Cardiff to visit my Mum. of course I had to visit¬† the Crystals and Ice bead shop, I’ve been visiting the shop for years to purchase bits and pieces for making jewellery. I spent a fortune on bits and pieces; I’m feeling rather inspired at the moment and had to stock up.

Again it wouldn’t be a visit to Cardiff if I didn’t visit the button shop. I’ve been buying buttons from there for many years. In fact I have one button from the shop that I purchased¬† just before I went to university in 2005; I’ve still been unable to use it in a way to show off it’s beauty. I really must find something to do with it, it’s a shame for it to sit in the button jar¬† looking pretty. Anyway whilst in the button shop I spotted some fantastic wooden beads. I like to call them Big Beads… self explanatory really.

As soon as I saw them I instantly had an idea. It was time for a DIY Chunky Necklace.

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To make your own is really easy.

You will need

  • big beads of your choice
  • leather thong or similar jewellery making thread
  • a button

Step 1.  Cut your leather thong to your desired length.

Step 2. Decide on the arrangement of your big beads and thread your beads onto your  leather thong.Bead ArrangementStep 3. On one end of the leather thong make a double overhand knot so you have a hoop. knot

Step 4. On the other end of your thong thread a button of your choice and tie a knot to keep it on. Check to ensure the button goes through the hoop you have made. If so then you are done. Simple hey?

Button Up

Big Beads

Enjoy!

Vx