After a long while trying to fit hexagonal pegs into triangular holes (that is, trying to make the two divergent styles of jewellery that I now make fit into the two shops I created for the types of jeweller I was making ten years ago) I’ve got a New Plan For Drastic Change. (hahahaha, yes, I may have said this before.)
I’ve built two completely new web shops! One is for my bright and bold jewellery – such as the the button stud earrings and felt bead necklaces – and the other is for my weird one-offs and pieces made from fabric scraps and beads from broken jewellery and other assorted rusticity.
It was time to retire the Unexpected Boutique – simply because over the years I’ve moved away from the found-objects (dice, safety pins and things) towards recycling old beads from broken jewellery, and scraps of fabric and yarn. I’ve called one of my new shops Patchwork Jackdaw, which I think is a much better fit. That’s where you’ll now find my more intricate stuff in muted colours, the one-offs and rustic fabric pieces.
The other shop – the bright and bold one – is called Florence Loves Fridays, and has felt jewellery, some of the brighter button necklaces, my range of bright button stud earrings, plus brooches, purses and…. some new things coming soon!
Both of these shops have blogs attached to them, and as this blog that you’re reading now mostly refers to my old sites, and quite a few jewellery lines that I don’t make any more, I thought I’d archive it and focus on writing blog posts on my new sites, about the jewellery that they each sell. But I’m leaving these posts up for now in case anyone wants to read them…
(My shop at buttonjewellery.co.uk is staying for the moment – as having all of my button themed stuff in one place is pretty handy for some people.)
Last year I made some felt jewellery from the last few felt beads that I had left in stock. I was expecting this to be a finishing-off process, but the jewellery was so popular that it’s turned out to be a rejuvenation process instead. I was going to stop making felt jewellery because it’s so different from my other jewellery that it always looks out of place in my shops alongside the more delicate pieces – it overpowers them because it’s so chunky and eye-catching. But I had a bit of think, and decided that that’s not a reason to stop making it – it just needed its own place. So I made a new Etsy shop that just sells felt jewellery, nothing else.
I’ve recently made a few one-off, unique pieces of recycled fabric jewellery. These two necklaces and a bracelet are mostly made from tiny scraps from a bag of offcuts that are too small to be used for most purposes. But they’re still useful: really small bits of fluff can still be used for stuffing into a fabric bead, and bits of thread can be woven and stitched onto an appliqué fabric necklace.
This fabric wrap bracelet (available here at the Unexpected Boutique) is made with memory wire, brown and green thread and fabric scraps, and also two beads from my collection of mostly secondhand materials.
I had a few small pink felt beads left over from my big felt-jewellery-making extravaganza, but not enough to make a whole necklace. So instead of buying new felt beads to complete an entirely felt necklace, I stitched some rustic-style fabric beads from some scrap fabric in a matching colour scheme. (Also available in my shop, here).
I’ve also made a long, tapered, entirely recycled fabric necklace, with no metal parts, which just slips over your head. It’s made with all kinds of fibre in blue, green, pink and brown – jersey and woven fabrics, wool, embroidery thread, cotton, and anything else that matched and was knocking around in the offcuts box.
A while ago I made two long length button necklaces as a commission. Longer cord button necklaces are actually something I had in my mind to make for a long time, so making those has inspired me to make some more and them as a new range to my site. You can see them here.
There are only three colours available at the moment, but, I’ll be adding more when I get a spare moment (ha) – and in the meantime, if you’re looking for one in a different colour scheme, I can make custom necklaces at no extra change – get in touch!
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.