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here’s one I made earlier

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You know when something makes you so happy that you want to tell everybody about it? I’m not entirely sure that, given my single figure page views, everyone reads this blog, but anyway, here goes…

Elderflowers, picked from wherever I spotted them, Hampshire, Kent, Clapham Common, a lovely activity in itself has resulted in bottles and bottles of cordial and champagne. The cordial tastes so wonderful compared to the shop bought stuff that it’s like comparing an oozing Christmas Vacherin to rubbery cheese strings. And I’ve cooked up a real alcoholic fizzy drink, which tastes absolutely delicious and has made me slightly tiddly on a couple of occasions.  There’s something deeply satisfying about creating something so exciting out of almost nothing. I feel like an alchemist.

This week I’ve finally finished my acorn brooch, which will no doubt eventually make it into its own post eventually.  Very rarely have I made something that’s turned out EXACTLY how I wanted it to.  The fastening is discreet but in keeping, and the soldering is just so.  The pin is beautifully sharp and springy. The gold plating worked and glistens like gold should, and in contrast with the outside which I’ve oxidised, looks really beautiful. Usually when I’ve finished something, I’m pleased that I’ve done it, but I wish that I’d done this that or the other better. This time I’m just happy. I know it’s not very British to show off, but I think it looks lovely.

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Yesterday we went for a long, rambly walk in Hampshire. An hour from London on the train and we crossed one road and saw four other people all day.  This alone is enough to make me feel joyful.  Meadows humming with bees and butterflies, hedgerows entwined with wild roses, streams for paddling and woods for just well being woods, which are possibly my favourite things.  But the best thing of all was walking barefoot. I’m not sure who started it or why, but early on in the day, one of the children took off their shoes and started walking barefoot. So we all had a go, and it was truly wonderful. The grass was cool and comfortable underfoot, the mud beautifully squishy and the stream freezing but lovely. I don’t know why I don’t do it every time we go for a walk. Putting shoes on at the end felt odd and stuffy.

Life is often wonderful, isn’t it?

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It started when I was experimenting with enamel colours.  You can just test them out on flat strips of copper, but that’s a bit dull isn’t it?  So I cut out some moustaches and hammered them until they had a flowing, bushy shape.  The colour I liked best was this one, apricot, which works perfectly with the blackened, oxidised edges.  It was far too lovely to hide away in a box of bits and pieces, it had to be given a purpose.

If you can’t laugh in life, then what’s the point? This necklace is for laughing. I cut out a little stick, which I oxidised the match the blackened edges of the moustache, then I added two tiny rivets, one to attach the moustache to the stick and one to hold the moustache in a horizontal position when you need to use it. If you are having a non-moustache moment, you can fold it up and it hangs from the blackened chain vertically.

Say cheese!

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It started life as a bone ring.  A relic ring to go with the relics and charms on the pin brooches I make.  The first thing anyone who saw it said was, “It’s a dog ring!” There’s a round of Family Fortunes in there somewhere; I’m betting religious relic would be a big fat cross and dog would be top answer.

Then a the owner of a lovely Labrador called Harry saw it, and asked if it could be turned into a necklace.  Anyone with a Labrador must have good taste, so I said yes.  I made a Harry tag, a dog tag if you will, with an oversized jump ring, to echo the ring of the bone and the ring of the catch.  Soldered the bar and ring onto the chain and that’s pretty much it.  It’s simple, but I like simple.  And the ring could still be worn as a ring, so it’s two pieces of jewellery in one.  Bargain.

 

 

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When I rescued these once-loved religious charms from a Brussels flea market, they were dangling on a little safety pin.  A used-to-be-married-to-a-catholic friend said it’s because you pin them to your bra for protection.  Which got me thinking.  We all need a bit of protection from time to time, don’t we?

So all I’ve done is give them a new lease of life.  I’ve made a sterling silver pin, just like the tiny brass one they came on, adding a brooch bit at the back for attaching to your coat or jumper.  I wouldn’t recommend attaching it to your bra, it’s a bit pointy.  And I’ve made a geniune, silver clay relic, guaranteed from the body of an actual saint*, for extra protection.  Just in case, I’ve also cut and stamped two little tags saying ‘devotion’ and ‘protection’, partly because I like words, and partly just because.

This actual one in the photo has been sold, but I have lots of lovely charms and bones, just waiting for a new owner who will love them and look after them.

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*please read small print, bone authenticity not guaranteed