Back from a break with new Fabric Earrings

Realign

It’s been quite some time since my last post as the last few months have been a bit all over the place and Lalou Designs has unfortunately taken a back seat. Starting with bad news, I unfortunately lost a good friend to Cancer and this took a lot out of me emotionally,  meaning I wasn’t really in the frame of mind for jewellery making. My friend, Rich, was always very supportive of Lalou Designs and was very positive about my business which spurs me on now to keep motivated and build my business. Secondly, good news; I put an offer on my very first flat which was accepted! I am currently going through the buying process and again, with all the paperwork, this meant Lalou Designs was not my first priority. Things are going pretty smoothly with the buy and hopefully (fingers crossed) I should be exchanging soon!

After some time out, I did a little reset in my mind and was ready to get back into jewellery making. My large fabric pendants are one of my favourite things to make as I just love all the different patterns and colours you can find within textiles. These fabrics give me a world of patterns to work with and I especially love finding new fabrics in places that I visit on mini breaks or day trips around the UK. So far, I have only made fabric pendants so I thought it was about time I extended the range and decided to make some fabric earrings.

Fabric floral earrings

Grey Cotton Earrings

I have always been a fan of ‘dangly’ earrings and this encouraged me to make some hoop style earrings with a small fabric button style drop to the earring. When I was on holiday in Cyprus, for my sister and brother in law’s wedding, I bought some spring back earrings which I absolutely adore. The spring back earring finding is so easy and comfortable to wear that I knew I wanted this type of earring for my collection. So far, I have only created a handful of designs but I am currently on the look out for new fabrics to create more so keep a look out.

China blue fabric earrings

Blue and White Floral Earrings

For more Lalou Designs earrings look at my Etsy store.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Laloudesigns

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New Fabrics and Pendant Designs

Last month I took a trip to Swansea with my best friend Felicity and one of the first things I did was search out the fabric shops so that I could buy a little more craft cotton to make some new fabric pendant designs. The first shop I came across was Lee Mills Fabrics in Swansea town centre which had a huge array of cotton fabrics (too many to look at properly to be honest) and the second was a gorgeous little quilting shop in the Mumbles, Red House Quilting.

Fabrics from Swansea

Fabrics from Lee Mill Fabrics in Swansea and Red House Quilting in Mumbles

I love to find new fabrics wherever I go, to make new fabric necklaces. Swansea had a lot to choose from but my favourite purchase was the flying birds design as it was very apt after taking a trip to the seaside that day.

Flying Birds Pendants

Flying Birds Necklaces

Daisy Pendants

Daisy Pendants perfect for summer

All of my new designs can be found in my Etsy store or for sale in Gifts For Me and You in Thingwall, Wirral.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/your/shops/Laloudesigns

Lalou Designs at Gifts for Me & You

gifts for me and you display

The month of May has been an exciting one for Lalou Designs as we are now one of the latest suppliers to the wonderful store, Gifts for Me & You! Run by the talented and hardworking Stephanie Fuller and her brilliant team, Gifts for Me & You is a gift shop full of gorgeous handmade items perfect for birthday presents, anniversaries or simply a treat for yourself (after all don’t we all deserve one of those once in a while!)

The shop started life in New Brighton but quickly outgrew their small premises and are now situated in a much bigger shop in Thingwall. A few weeks back, they held a launch party (with yummy cakes, thanks Shirl!) which was packed with people and was a nice chance for me to meet some of the team. As well as selling handmade items they will be holding craft classes, first aid and social media lessons as well as opening late night on a Wednesday and hosting tea/coffee mornings. It seems that Gifts for Me & You is going to be very popular in its new spot.

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For anyone wanting to check out some of my jewellery or any of the beautiful gifts on offer at Gifts for Me & You the address is:

523 Pensby Road, Thingwall, Wirral, CH61 7UQ.

You will get a lovely warm welcome!

Ness Gardens Spring Fair

Ness Gardens Spring Fair

Last weekend, myself and my glamorous assistant (also known as my sister Faye) set up shop at Ness Gardens for the day. Each year, Artists and Makers at Ness run by Natalie Bosworth, hold four fairs throughout the year for local craftspeople in the beautiful surroundings of Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral.

The first craft fair we attended at Ness Gardens was their November fair last year; which was busy with lots of people looking for Christmas presents for friends and family. The weather in November was absolutely horrendous with the wind howling and the rain pouring. Last week however, the sun was shining (if not a bit chilly) and this seemed to bring a lot of customers to the fair. As always it was lovely to talk to lots of people and we even had a few ladies visit us who had bought things at the Christmas fair.

Hopefully we will be able to book a stall for the fairs later in the year and will get a chance to see more lovely customers in this lovely venue.

Jewellery Tools – Drill Bits

So as I mentioned in my New Year’s post, my brother in law Matt, gave me a gift of a jewellery tool shopping spree for my 30th birthday present. As I started to touch up on my jewellery making skills last year, using YouTube and jewellery books, I realised that you need so many different tools for even the smallest of projects! At the beginning of 2015 I set up my spare bedroom as a jewellery workshop but quickly realised that even after buying soldering equipment to add to my tools from uni; I still didn’t have everything I thought I needed for creating my latest jewellery collection. With my funds from Matt I managed to add to my tool collection with a large doming block set, rawhide hammer, ring clamp and a toggle clamp. Thanks to my uni friend Stu and his birthday present to me, I also added a ring mandrel to my workshop. I did well with all these birthday presents!

One thing I have always been unsure of though when it comes to buying jewellery tools is what type of drill is best to use with precious metals. One of my favourite things to do in jewellery making is piercing work and I love to spend time with my piercing saw at the bench. Before you can start actually sawing you need to drill holes to enable you to insert the saw blade into the metal and cut out your design. The ideal drill to use and something I used at university is a pendant drill; although this is pretty expensive and can be hundreds of pounds to buy which is currently out of my price range! As I was a bit anxious to use a large rotary tool for drilling I was contemplating buying a hand drill however I was unsure that this would have enough power to drill into thick pieces of metal.

 

Swiss Shank Drill Bits

Drill bits for drilling precious metal

As I wasn’t sure what drill type to go for I asked some advice from a fellow jewellery maker who I became friends with on Facebook, Meg Darlington-Myatt. Her jewellery, featured on http://www.megdarlington.co.uk, includes sea glass and ceramics with sterling silver and it is clear she uses a drill for a lot of her work so I knew she would have some good advice! She told me to stick to using a rotary tool, which I have been using for polishing, and to buy some Malliefer Swiss Shank Drill Bits from Cookson Gold at http://www.cooksongold.com. She advised that these have a thicker shank than most drill bits which makes it easier to get them central in the collet of your rotary tool and it also means that they are less likely to snap.

I went ahead and purchased the set from Cookson Gold which features 12 drill bits ranging from 0.5mm up to 1.6mm for a price of £21.59. I thought this seemed steep at the time but after using them I can see that they are high quality bits and well worth the money. They are easy to change in the rotary tool and there is no messing about with getting it central as it is central as soon as it is inserted. I was a bit anxious to get started but once I had drilled my first hole I was at ease as the drill bits are extremely smooth and work through the metal well. Great advice and a great buy!