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!

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Ness Gardens – Artists and Makers Christmas Fair

artists and makers at ness

So I got an email yesterday to tell me that I had been selected to sell my Jewellery at the artists and makers Christmas fair at Ness Gardens. Woo hoo! It’s been a while since I have taken my Jewellery to a fair so I am pretty excited and as it is on the 29th November it should be fairly festive which will get me and the visitors into the Christmas spirit.

Set in the Hulme Conservatory at the visitor centre of Ness Gardens there will be beautiful views of the 64 acre gardens which will be a gorgeous backdrop to the event. It is free admission to the fair itself and Ness Gardens are kindly offering 2 for 1 tickets to the gardens after any purchase from one of the stallholders which is another incentive to buy some goodies for Christmas presents.

Japanese floral jewellery

Floral Textile Jewellery

Many of the Jewellery pieces I will be selling include floral patterns which will fit in nicely with the surroundings of Ness Gardens; something to remind you of your day out at the gardens. I will let you know more details nearer the time of the fair; for now I will get making and organising for the event. Hope to see you there!

Swarovski Pearls

When I am not using freshwater pearls in my jewellery designs I love to use Swarovski pearls. Although these may be a simulation of a natural pearl, they are perfect imitations and ideal if you are wanting to recreate the look of a perfectly round cultured pearl which can be extremely expensive. Swarovski pearls provide the best alternative to an Akoya or Mikimoto pearls at the fraction of the cost.

Created with a crystal core, Swarovski pearls have a flawless lustrious finish due to their unique coating. The finish of the crystal pearls almost has a ‘glow’ about it which is created using ‘the first production method in the world to combine the quality of a perfect crystal core with the exquisite beauty of a pearl coating,’ according to Swarovski.

Although these pearls are imitations, I love to use them in my designs as they still have the qualities of natural pearls and in some cases may be even better. In the way that natural pearls feel cold to touch and warm up to your skin, Swarovski pearls will adapt to skin temperature making you feel like you are wearing the real thing. They are resistant to wear, perspiration, scratches and perfumes and this means that if they are looked after well they can last a lifetime. Swarovski pearls also have a good weight to them which I always think gives the feeling of a good quality product.

I like to use a number of different sized pearls for different pieces, whether it be 4mm pearls for earrings or 8mm pearls for necklaces and Swarovski pearls are great for this as they range from 3mm all the way up to 14mm and are available in most sizes in 29 different colours giving my customers a great choice when they are using my bespoke service.

So, when you are deciding what type of pearl to go for in your custom made jewellery do not count out simulated pearls as Swarovski pearls could be just what you are looking for.

Take a look at my designs on www.laloudesigns.com.

Freshwater Pearls

One of my favourite things to work with when I am creating bridal jewellery is pearls. Always a favourite with blushing brides, pearls create a traditional feel to jewellery but can also be modernised with the use of Swarovski crystals or by combining them with a bit of colour. There are a number of different pearls on the market with the most favoured being freshwater pearls.

Traditionally, pearls are taken from saltwater mollusks and many people see these pearls as better quality than freshwater pearls but this is not necessarily the case. Freshwater pearls, taken from mussells that live in ponds, lakes and rivers can be a variety of shapes and natural colours and this makes them particularly popular and gives me as a designer a lot of choice when creating pieces.

Freshwater pearls are created when freshwater mollusks are nucleated. This is done by creating a small incision in the mantle tissue of a young mussel and then inserting a square piece of mantle tissue from a donor mussel. The mussel is then returned to its freshwater environment where the mollusk will coat the donor tissue with a substance called nacre. Overtime, this will develop into a pearl which although irregular in shape can be as high quality as a natural pearl as the solid nacre is durable, resists chipping and degeneration.

Although they usually come in a number of shapes such as drop, button, oval and baroque they can also be round. The mussel can be bead- nucleated by adding a spherical bead inside the mussel to encourage growth. The round freshwater pearls are the most expensive, although I prefer to use the irregular shaped pearls as it makes each necklace or bracelet that bit more unique.

 My preferred colour of pearl are the more traditional white and cream which also seem to be the most popular with today’s brides. However if you do want something slightly different, that is still natural, this can be created. By adding small amounts of metal to the freshwater environment the colour of the pearl can change to produce peach, silver and other subtle colourings.

Check out my designs at www.laloudesigns.com and if you have any comments join us on Facebook and Twitter.