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Showing posts from 2012

More dash than cash: Bag lady

OH mid-December, time of Christmas shopping panic when, inevitably, you feel bad about “only” giving your mum that carefully-sourced vintage cape with original embellishments still intact and decide you need to add some novelty socks and a cellophane “gift box” of soaps you know, in your heart of hearts, will remain on the bathroom windowsill until March 2015, at which point it will be regifted to a distant cousin who was unexpectedly in the area on their birthday. I’m not, as it happens, going to give you tips on how to avoid last-minute shopping disasters right now (well, maybe one: do try not to get drunk if you can help it). Instead I’m going to address a more cumbersome problem – the shopping bag. Don’t get me wrong, there can be nothing more fabulous than tripping down a frost city centre street, arms bedecked with rope and paper beauties from Harvey Nicks, Selfridges and Boodles… but let’s face it, most of us are not a Delevigne and our bags are more likely to be plastic horror…

Important note: Christmas posting

Christmas is just 12 days away now and thoughts are turning to the turkey. But for those of you with some shopping still to do, most of my jewellery items are sent out first class as large letters, which means the last posting day is Thursday, December 20th. That means purchases must be completed by midnight on Wednesday, December 19th so I can get them to the post office on time.

More advice from the Royal Mail about posting dates can be found here.

The exception to this rule is with my rings - because of their size and shape they need to be sent as parcels so they can be properly packaged. As the last posting date for parcels is today, rings will probably not now arrive in time for Christmas.

If you live in Bolton, contact me as I can hand deliver items.

A little secret

Shhh…. I’m going to tell you a secret.
Next year I will be launching Mrs Gatsby Wears, a diffusion line of vintage-inspired pieces which will complement my main, Made With Love range.
While Mrs Gatsby Wears won’t incorporate vintage finds in the same was as I do for Made With Love, the pieces will be perfect for everyday wear and will provide a fast, affordable fashion fix for younger stylistas or just women who like to regularly change their look.
Unlike Made With Love, I will be able to make more than one of each piece, but my dedication to design and wearability will be the same.
The launch probably won’t take place until after the unveiling of my collection at the Royal Exchange theatre, as I’ll be too busy, but I have placed a sneak preview of just three items in my Folksy shop. The smaller pendants are just £12 each, and the larger one a lucky-for-some £13. 

Forget-Me-Not necklace

Rose Blossom necklace

Winter Blossom necklace

Another photoshoot

Another new photo - my "ice sparkle" reworked vintage necklace (click to see in my shop). Don't forget - there is still time to buy before Christmas! And if you click below you'll see exactly how the photo was made:

Folksy Friday: Fabulous Christmas cards

Found on Flickr

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I administer a Flickr group for people to share their pictures and to give me a constant source of material for this blog. I haven't written about it for a while, but as I was uploading some of yesterday's photo experiments I saw so many lovely things that I wanted to share.

Aileen Clarke visited the Blair Castle vintage fair and took this photo. She also blogged about it for Folksy's Frankly magazine, here.

Incy Wincy Stitches posted this gorgeous picture of handmade owl hand hotties. I hope she'll be adding them to her shop soon! 

Amidesigns contributed this fab bracelet. She has loads of items that woudl look amazing with your Christmas day outfit - check out her Etsy shop

I LOVE this patchwork bag by Kerry Wilkinson's Pennydog Accessories line. It's called a conversation bag and it certainly would start one, mostly along the lines of "I love your bag". She sells an eclectic range of items on her web…

Photo experiments

Not a very wordy blog post this evening, I just wanted to share some photos I've been experimenting with. The top one is my favourite I think. Most of these items are available in my Folksy shop with the exception of the purple necklace and the blue earrings, which are part of my collection for the Royal Exchange. If you wish to purchase either item before I send them off on December 20th, please drop me an email
UPDATE: The blue "Seafoam" earrings have been SOLD!

I think it would be nice to somehow incorporate birds into this, swooping down holding the necklace.

Gold leaf embellished ametrine slab with brass swallow and vintage earring - £25


"Dancing Queen" earrings perfect for that NYE outfit - available here

Celebrate the announcement of the royal baby with these regal earrings - available here

Debutante reworked vintage earrings, £15, available here; Seafoam earrings, sold; Tarot earrings, £12, available here.

The Christmas Mar-Kat

In Manchester we have an annual Christmas market which, while great fun, is getting steadily and alarmingly more expensive. After a couple of pints of ale in the pub last weekend we decided it would be a much better idea to host the "Christmas market" at home. And so the "Christmas Mar-Kat" (geddit? Sorry) was born.

Of course, as with most things, half of the fun is in the planning and I've been gleefully pinning to my Christmas decor inspiration Pinterest board. Here are some of my favourite finds - click to see the originals:

I love the idea of clusters of baubles hanging like this

I don't have a bell jar, but I'll be doing something similar with a clear glass vase

Love these lights against the mountains

The colours in this pic are amazing

Something else I can do at home

With enough blu tac I can also do something along these lines
I'm feeling very excited - I promise I'll post photos of the house when we have finished decorating

More dash than cash: Coral

Coral might not look like a neutral - but team it with turquoise, navy, sand, gold, chocolate... That's a pretty versatile colour if you ask me. And now the thermometer has gone beyond brisk and into the realms of downright chilly it makes sense to invest in a stylish sweater that you can pull on with trousers, leggings and skirts.

Proenza Schoeler knitwear (left) is the stuff of legend, but at £405 this jumper is likely to leave you unable to pay your heating bills. Head instead to super-coll label Uniqlo (right), who have a v-neck number in exactly the same hue for a gobsmacking £19.90. Yes, you read that right. That leaves you plenty of change to treat yourself to these little beauties:

Djinn reworked vintage earrings, £15 from Made With Love by Kat

More dash than cash: Statement earrings

Few things add glamour to an outfit like a great pair of statement earrings – Prada restarted the trend with their rose and diamante beauties...

...and net-a-porter are currently featuring this gorgeous pair by Marni:

Yep, utterly stunning, but at £255 way beyond most people’s pre-Christmas purse strings, as are many (but not all!) of the selection chosen back in October by Elle magazine, which you can see by clicking here
Luckily there is a host of independent designers out there who have created statement jewels that are far friendlier to your budget:

These filigree and aqua jewel beauties are just $27 (£17.27) from Lazy Owl Boutique on Etsy.

These rhinestone and rose earrings have more than a touch of Prada about them, and would grace any Hollywood starlets ears. $57.99 (£37.10) from Queen Me Jewellery on Etsy.

Add some cocktail hour glamour with these Swarovski crystal drops, $64 (£40.94) from Eldor Tina Jewellery on Etsy.

Stretching the budget slightly more are Anthropologie’s dangli…

The First Cut

I’ve been meaning to blog about The First Cut, the latest exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery, for a while as it involves one of my absolute favourite crafts – paper cutting.
I was lucky enough through my work as a press officer to attend a special private viewing and chat to the curator, Fiona Corridan, who talked about the resurgence of paper cutting in art. I also spoke to three of the artists – Nicola Dale, James Aldridge and Andrew Singleton.
Nicola Dale’s work Sequel depicts a real “tree of knowledge” – with leaves made from reference books covering all areas of learning, while Downed (pictured below) features a drift of paper feather made from Ordnance Survey maps which were being thrown out by her local library. 
Nicola Dale - Downed
She said: “Because we are moving into a digital world books are suffering – particularly reference books. Consequently, charity shops are full of reference books so I go in and hoover them up! At least I’ve rescued them and turned them into som…

Do it like Dior

I'm still not quite sure about Raf Simons' collection for Dior. I like the classic shapes, but does anyone else think the models' lack of curves make it look like the dresses are going to fall off? The colour palette is gorgeous though, and I would love to see my Grace Kelly necklace (£30, bottom centre) teamed with the pink frock pictured.

Sticking with the same muted tones is this belted silk gown by Lanvin, £3,675 from net-a-porter. Yes, so it's probably way out of most people's price range but it's nice to dream, non? And at least my raspberry drop earrings, which I would team it with, are only £12.

Finally for this montage is another of my perennial inspirations - Blair in Gossip Girl. Yes, Blake Lively might be the one all the fashion mags want, but Leighton Meister's top-end eclecticism appeals to me. I'd accessorise her outift here with my Falling Leaves necklace (£29, bottom left).

To see more of my reworked vintage collection, click the shop …

Today I'm wearing...

…a necklace I made last night! I’ve been wondering what to do with this small red and gold brooch and with a large carnelian drop I had for some time, but inspiration hit when I was playing about with gold leaf (my new favourite thing). I embossed the drop, which just so happened to match the central stone in the brooch perfectly. The chain is embellished with glass pearls, to pick up the tiny pearl detail of the brooch, a very old brushed metal gold bead I had, an unusual twisted brass hoop and two beautifully mottled chunks of fire agate. This necklace is actually long enough to slip over your head, but I have added a feature heart and arrow clasp at the front.
Apologies for the awful pic. Hopefully I will have time to photograph this necklace – and the other new pieces I made last night – properly this evening. But if you would like to reserve it at a special price of £28 (RRP £38), drop me an email. First come, first served!

From Russia With Love...

As part of my shop overhaul for Christmas, I have added styling tips to each of my items (I've also reshot my photographs on a white background - would be interested to know what you think. I suspect I'll be going back to using books in the background in the New Year). This is based on my love of the "magazine" pages of shops like Net-a-Porter, and I wanted a way to incorporate that into my Folksy shop. However, the Folksy set up means I can't show you pictures of suggested items to match each piece - so I thought it would be the perfect subject for a series of blog posts, starting with…

Anna Karenina 

I love the opulence of the Russian tsars in film and TV, and with all those muffs, furry hats and velvet layers it's perfect for winter. The look is perfect to accompany some of my deeper coloured items (a range I'll be adding to over the next week - I have some exciting new pieces waiting to be photographed!)
Team my Naryshkin and Anastasia necklaces or Empr…

A romantic Exchange

Fans of my jewellery and this blog may remember that a couple of years ago I was asked to design a collection for Manchester’s Royal Exchange theatre, to be sold in their gift shop in the run-up to Christmas. Well I’m thrilled to say that they have asked me to work with them again, this time to create a collection to be sold over Valentine’s Day.
Naturally I’m thrilled, but I was very aware that I wanted to create pieces especially for them, and with the romance of Valentine’s Day in mind. I’ve started building a Pinterest board to help me research the collection. It contains images of my major, regular inspirations – including ballet dancers and classic 1940s and 50s styling. I have added some images from the recent film version of Anna Karenina, which has really caught my imagination, but I’m not sure yet if I will use them for this collection, or for a winter collection on my website.
What I really wanted to avoid were the clich├ęd “Valentines” images – the occasional discreet love …

Falling for autumn trendsetters

It feels like Autumn already here in the North of England, what with the rain, and the ever-present clouds, so it’s only natural that our minds start turning towards what to wear in the colder weather.

However, I can’t say I was overwhelmed by the Guardian’s list of 10 style inspirations for fall. Sade? Princess Diana? And, worst of all, sulky Kristen Stewart who it appears no-one has noticed actually looks like a boy wearing a binbag no matter which couturier she wears.

That said, I wouldn’t complain to much if the boyfriend started dressing like Ben Whishaw, although possibly not in his role as Richard II, as excellent a piece of acting as it was. Rather, the Guardian hails his turn as Q in the new Bond flick – a role it seems Whishaw was born to play. For his hair alone, much more tousled than the current neat side partings on Burberry’s catwalk, Whishaw is the male fashion pin-up du jour.

They also do well to mention the forthcoming film version of Anna Karenina (screenplay by my …