The legend Of The Welsh Lakes

In this blog I am going to talk about a faerie legend in Wales. I feel privileged to live in such a beautiful country that is steeped in rich legends and which is often the backdrop for my photographs. I am also going to look at the development of The Earth Faeries and show you some of my new products lines that I am working on as well as tell you about the stories behind them.

The door way to the other world

Lakes in Wales are seen as a port hole to another world. A world where another species live – faeries as is the case of red lake, Llyn Cwm Llwch, and Llyn Fach. According to legend it is through this port hole that fathers, brides, and their sisters from the faerie kingdom can pass through into our earthly realm. Legend has it that humans have been able to pass through this other realm each May day but the privileged was stopped as it was abused. I believe that one has to learn to look after our own world and each other before we explore others. What do you think?

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The lake at Llyn Fach

Wales is spectacular and is every artists, historian and craft persons’ dream as it is steeped in rich history and legends. It is one of the reasons that I love to live and run my business here. When I look out of my windows at the dramatic landscape of the hills and hear the rapid running river I often see stories there and wish that they could talk.

I often go hiking where I live as this gorgeous vast terrain of hills, forests, mountains and rivers is all on my doorstep.  Some times when I am looking for different back drops I will take my products with me to photograph. I was up in the forest yesterday. It is only a short walk; about ten minutes away from my house. I was equipped with my phone camera and a box full of my new products plus a Labrador racing in front of me to smell all the scents of the tracks that the wild life leave.   The forest I visited today was the same location that I celebrated my birthday in with my family.

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This was part of my picnic for my birthday in October that was held in the forest.

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My birthday picnic in October with my loved ones!

As I took my socks and hiking boots off to walk barefooted on the damp moss (called earthing) I was wondering about the folk lore of where I live and particularly this forest. I haven’t found any folk lore attached to this forest yet so I have widened my search to other places in Wales and will be writing about them soon.

I was taking pictures of my products on the logs whilst our family dog was chewing sticks and rolling around on the spongy ground that was covered in moss.  However the lighting wasn’t right so I didn’t get all of the pictures that I was hoping for. Although I did manage to get the right light to get this picture when I got home.

 

Hand made peach rose
A hand made rose in a peach hue with a beautifully crafted poem especially for you.

It was still an eventful day as all of the fresh air made me feel creative and I began to think up some new designs for my products. Plus I got to take my pet dog for a walk and play some frisbee with her which I thoroughly enjoyed.   Having fun certainly stimulates the imagination as I was feeling super creative when I got home and began to doodle some new designs.

The challenges I have encountered

The past couple of weeks have been productive ones. I have been designing and am still designing a new product range. I have found this to be the easy part however the real task has been photographing them.

I am not a professional photographer so I have had to learn really fast and am still learning. My daughter told me me it takes her friend who is a professional photographer thousands of photographs to get the perfect handful and hours of editing. This made me feel better and got me to realize I was having way to high expectations from my handful of pictures that I had taken. After weeks of taking pictures and editing I finally managed to get some of my products up on my online Folksy shop. You can check my products out here

I have been doing some online learning about the rule of two thirds and also how to get rid of the blue tinge that my pictures so often have. And as I have said before although I am no David Bailey ( I wish I was) I feel I am making progress.

Here is one of the products that I have made

 

Hand made accessories
A hand made flower hair comb in a natural shade

Who has influenced my designs?

I was asked by a customer where I got my inspiration from for the peach rose hair comb above. I love stories and this one was an interesting one so I was happy to share it with her. When I was 13 I was a member of a dance school and used to perform on stage doing ballet, tap, jazz and modern dancing with a group of about 25 other girls.

We performed on the theater, in clubs and even in residential homes for senior citizens. My friend had a starring role singing somewhere over the rainbow. I dreamed of the day that I too would have a staring role and perform a solo. Sure enough it happened and I was given my own slot singing Modern Milly. I remember feeling elated but slightly nervous. Maybe nervous was an understatement as my knees had started to knock together at the thought of performing in front of a crowd.

I always remember how happy I felt wearing the white satin Charleston style dress and green head dress that my dance teacher had made for me. I was still nervous to perform though.  However once in my new attire I took on a new persona and my confidence soured! Clad in tap dancing shoes and a long string of faux pearls around my neck I created happy memories for myself and the lovely people who were watching me. It was from then that my passion for the Charleston era began including the music, fashion and accessories. I feel this has influenced my new collection.

Who else has their own business making things? And what has influenced your designs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What It Means To Me To Be A Sustainable Business.

Daisy hair comb

In this blog I’m going to talk about why I decided to rebrand and become a cruelty free business. But also to tell you about why a rebrand can take so long and why it is  not an overnight solution.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. And this metaphor can be applied to everything in life. Indeed it applies to my own business. I started out making authentic pearl jewellery, and for ethical reasons decided to make my entire range cruelty free to reflect myself and my brand. That meant my brand going vegan and myself!  This meant a total rebrand of my business which is still a work in progress.

It is surprising how many people I have spoken to who told me that they make sure that they source out cruelty free clothes and house hold items etc but have never considered that this applies to jewellery. And this applied to me too.   My research left me stunned and I thought  that I would use my blog to educate others.

It hasn’t been an easy task sourcing out cruelty free supplies as I have had to source out new manufacturers and new materials. Some of them replied promptly whilst others never replied so the search went on to find good quality materials that were ethically sourced and cruelty free.

Lots of the professional pictures I had taken when I first started out making my jewellery had the old products featured in them i.e pearls so were no longer suitable. ( I will tell you more about why later). The hardest part was taking the pictures of my jewellery off my blog and website as hours of work, creativity and love had gone into the wedding shoots that had brought together a photographer, event organizer, hair stylish, make up artist, bouquet maker, a model and obviously myself who had designed the jewellery.

I will admit I was a little disheartened at having to go back to basics, new materials,  new suppliers and new photographs. It seemed such a big task but well worth it because it’s important for my business to reflect my ethics.  To make the whole process easier I broke the goal down into small components and began tackling each one. I had to source out animal free glues, animal free clay’s, and faux pearls. I soon discovered and to my surprise that even faux pearls weren’t all cruelty free. All faux means is fake so beware of this when your shopping for your jewellery.

It was a costly mistake I made as after ordering some beautiful faux pearls in a vast array of colours I began to question how they had got the beautiful colours of their faux pearls. It was a good question and sent me on a quest to enlighten myself.

I soon learned some faux pearls have animal by products in. It was big learning curve! Thankfully I hadn’t sold any as I was just in the middle of making the new product line with them. I contacted the supplier and she told me that she wasn’t too sure what the colours were made of but would contact the manufactures. That supplier never replied back to me so those faux pearls ended up in my draw never to be used. However I learned a lot from this experience and it helped me improve my customer service by making sure I always kept in touch with my customers each step of the way.

Exactly the same applied to my ribbons.  I had to go and find suppliers who didn’t use any animals or by products in their ribbons. I was always taught good business practice is knowing what your products are made of. It was surprising to find that so many businesses had no idea whether their products were vegan or not. And I was astounded to realize that I had been one of those people. I just presumed that Faux pearls meaning fake pearls had no animal by products in.

Some times I’d make progress and other times I was hitting brick walls.   I was surrounded by so many good people who told me to keep going, it would work out for the best. And it did because I managed to find all of my new suppliers so I could begin making my hair accessories again. I eventually chose Swarovski pearl beads which the company assured me were cruelty free and sent me an information pack over of how they are made and what they are made of. It was a good start and so I started making my products again.

However with no professional pictures and no professional photographer to help me this time round to put together the photo shoot and style it etc I had to learn photography skills as soon as possible and fast. I had so many great people around me giving me tips and I enrolled on some online courses, read everything in sight and just kept practicing. It is surprising what you can do when you are passionate about something and determined to learn.

I experimented with flat lays, different backgrounds, props, and through trial and error learned what looked great and what didn’t. It is all still a work in progress and I’m no David Bailey but I finally have some pretty decent picture of my products to put onto my shop now.  I used hair dressing dolls to photograph my products on and my daughter has kindly let me photograph the hair accessories in her hair.  Where there is a will there is always a way I have always said.

I was asked why I had decided to make my hair accessory range vegan. Up until my re brand I was a vegetarian and had been for about 8 years. I had become vegetarian purely for ethical reasons.  A friend of mine sent a video over of what they do to the mollusks in order to get the pearls.  See it here. I think that was a life changing moment for me and so the re-brand of my business began.

Several weeks after watching another video of what is happening in the dairy & poultry industry I finally became a vegan. I knew that I couldn’t make jewellery and claim that I was making something magical when living creatures had suffered to make others feels beautiful. Was there anything magical about that? I couldn’t see anything magical at all.

It is surprising how we can wear things without even questioning what they are made of or what the process is to get that product. I had loved pearls for as long as I can remember, having no idea what happened to the mollusks to get them. Did you realize that they actually place irritants into the mollusks to create the pearl. This causes the mollusk great distress and the pearl is the result of the protective barrier that the mollusks makes.  My love affair ended with pearls when I realized this and I could no longer glamorize or justify  wearing lumps of  materials that were basically a result of an irritant. And yes it is true that this does happen naturally in the sea to them when a grain of sand gets inside of their shells. But mother nature always knows best and does not mass produce. Whereas the mollusk farms do. I don’t think I’d like an irritant stuck in me on a continuous basis. Find out more here

Here are some of the new product lines that I have made. I have just had them measured so I can send away for some boxes for them. They don’t fit into standard boxes so I am having to have them made to measure. I am just in the process on deciding on the colours of the boxes so it fits in with my branding. My logo is aqua so I am thinking about going with that colour. Although I am drawn towards white too so I’m going to take time out to think on this.

These are made out of clay, the finest Swarovski crystals and Swarovski pearls which are all 100% vegan. Just got to cut the ribbon off the hair comb and then ready to go!

Hand made rose bridal hair comb
A handmade hair comb with Swarovski Crystals & Swarovski pearls

 

 

A flower hair comb
A hand made flower hair comb in a natural shade

 

So what have I learned from rebranding? Be patient, trust the process of life to work for you and know why you are doing it. Plus think of all of the questions that you need to ask your prospective suppliers before hand to save making costly mistakes like I did.

Do you have any rebranding tips to share with me? Please share in the comments section below.

 

 

11 Tips On How To Find The Energy For Biz Life Balance

The Earth Faeries Garden

In this blog I am going to show you how to replenish your energy so you can maintain that business life balance, and get that momentum to keep doing what you love most.

Running a jewellery business is a full time career. It involves all the usual tasks such as selling, marketing, making, gaining inspiration, developing new product lines, managing social media accounts, doing your books and processing orders to name but a few. And whilst I am  doing all of this I am striving to have a social life and keep that business life balance going. Not to mention looking after and exercising our family dog and cat.

The Earth Faeries Cat
He some times keeps me company when I am working on my designs
The Earth Faeries dog
The light of my life

 

This is the big pup we all love and adore very much! She is such a character and often also keeps me company when I craft!

Some times I am inundated with orders and other times there are quiet periods which are all normal parts of growing a new business.  In those quiet moments I will be working on new ideas for new inventory, marketing on social media platforms or learning new jewellery making skills so really there is never any quiet moments when running a business.   I may have done all of the above in the early part of the day and then later on in the evening I will start making the orders I have received during the day.  I also have another business so not only am I juggling one business but two.   And If I’m honest it can take it out of me if I don’t watch the balance.

I thought I’d share how I keep my balance and replenish. The following information can be applied to anyone with their goals. Whether you are organizing a wedding, running a business yourself or any other type of event or projects.

  • I take some time off and smell my roses. I literally take myself off the computer, away from the phone and emerge myself in what I love most which is my garden. It really energizes me.
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Here is my little summer house which I craft in when it’s too hot or rainy outside.

 

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The Earth faeries garden
My garden where I gain my inspiration and keep my peace in mind
My magical garden where I am just designing a faerie garden and planning to plant some more roses. My friend is making a plaque for me saying Melanie’s Rose garden which I’m really excited about.
  • I eat good quality foods and reward myself with some dairy free vegan desserts  such as this yummy recipe my daughter made me today. Click here to see the recipe.

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  • I write a progress list of everything I have done in the year and give thanks for it all. This reminds me how far I have come, increases my confidence and gives me the momentum to keep going.

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  • I look around for inspirational quotes that inspire me and make me smile.

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  • I make time to meditate and if weather permits I will do it in my garden in my little woodland.
  • I’ll take an hour or two for myself and lay in my hammock watching the world go by. Often with big pup on one side and my cat on the other. But there is something really energizing about being with too super cute furry characters. Purring apparently is really good for our well-being!
The Earth Faeries Garden
My place to unwind and just be!

My hammock where I just relax and unwind each day!

  • Pure silence. Not a thought in my head only the sensation of the rocking motion of the hammock. I feel like a baby again in my mums arms.
  • I live in Wales in the countryside so I go out walking and hiking each day and often take our family dog with me. She’s a curious soul and often makes me laugh. Laughing is so uplifting and gives you surge of energy.
Our Labrador enjoying her walk
Our Labrador enjoying the summer here in Wales

Here’s the big pup!

  • I’ll relax of an evening and read two of my favorite magazines which is wander lust and country walking.
  • I write in my gratitude diary every day and thus always get more to be grateful for. After doing this I am always presented with solutions which helps me retain my energy.
  • I make it my mission to laugh about something every day. Laughing is good for the soul and I get a great energy boost.

Do you have any tips you would like to share how to replenish and juggle your business and life?

4 Tips To help you achieve your goals!

In this blog I am going to look at the things, experiences and people I am grateful for. Gratitude is in my opinion one of the most magical and powerful ways to change every aspect of your life and it has certainly helped me to expand my business so I  can do more of what I love – which is making more of my jewellery for fabulous customers and have more freedom to do more of what I enjoy. It is also a great way to note your progress which increases momentum and gives you the confidence to go forward. You can apply this with any of your goals including business and your wedding.

This week I am thankful for:

  • For my designer Roberto drawing one of Earth Faeries Characters for me. Her name is Princess Onyx and she is the keeper of Onyx crystals. Here is a sneaky preview of her being drawn. This was the first two drafts and am waiting on the final drawing now. I’m so excited to see the final draft. She is going to be used for my stories, my stickers and other literature. Plus I’m planning on having her made into a henna tatoo and silicone moulds. They are copyrighted to me so my customers won’t be able to get her from anywhere else so they can have something totally unique. A big thank you Roberto.
The drawing stage of The Earth Faeries
One of my Earth Faeries being drawn!

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  • For the professional photographer who selected me as one of the crafters to feature as part of his project. He is coming on the 15th of this month to my house to photograph me making my hair accessories. It’s my first time having anyone watch me make my inventory so I’ll keep you posted.
  • For my lovely customers for giving me such a fabulous review. I custom made some rose hair accessories for her and her reaction brought tears of joy to my eyes. To view the video please click here which will take you to my Earth Faeries group so you can watch it click here
  • For the encouragement I have received off my clients, their glowing reviews and for them being part of the Earth Faeries experience and helping me to create a brand they love and I love too.
  • For my beautiful garden and the place I live in wales that is often my workshop as I sit out in my garden and in a little summer house to make my inventory. I’m also grateful for all the flowers in my garden that inspire me to make my roses.
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  • For my daughter, friends and Facebook friends for sending me all of the right contacts in order for me to re-brand and turn my business into an eco friendly one which is suitable for vegans.
  • For my friend Natasha for telling me about the craft stall in Whittington and booking it for me so I can join her for a lovely day out in August to showcase my inventory as well as meet more fabulous people.
  • For my friend Rik and my family for always listening to my ideas on what jewellery I am going to make next. I know I eat sleep and breath it and they always show their interest in what I’m doing and encourage me so thank you guys. I’ll try to talk about other things too!
  • For the internet for allowing me to connect with my customers and the rich source of information on it that has really helped take my jewellery business to the next level.
  • For the blogging community, my customers and Facebook friends for showing an interest in my blogs and for following me.
  • For the customers who have bought my jewellery and enabled me to support the charities that I care deeply about The farmhouse Sanctuary supported by Joanna Lumley and forget me not which also provides a sanctuary for rescued farm house animals and other animals. 10% of each of the items I sell goes to these two charities.
  • For my daughter Chelsea for paying me to make a gift for her friends birthday. It is lovely that my own family love and value what I do that they are willing to pay me for my services.
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Classic white hand made rose hair slide

 

These are the hand made and sculptured rose I made and customized for my customer.

  • For my best friend Jaswant for always listening to me, encouraging me, sharing my vision for The Earth Faeries and for sending me inspirational ideas through.
  • For all of my new Earth faerie group members for following my status, interacting with me and also posting beautiful inspirational pictures up on my group. For a daily dose of inspiration come and join me here
  • For the abundance of boxes that have been given to me to package my inventory in. I use either recycled or up-cycled. Thank you mum for your help, support belief in me and encouragement.

I always write my gratitude diary every day. It’s an excellent way to see how far I have come and gives me the momentum to go forwards to achieve my objectives.

Here are some tips on how to go forward in life:

  • Forget the past, learn from it and move on. You can’t change the past but you can change your future and create a better one for yourself by starting where you are now and focusing on where you want to be.
  • Keep a daily gratitude diary so you can count your blessings no matter how small they may appear to begin with. You’ll be nicely surprised to see how little things become huge things eventually.  You can use this for your weddings, your business or any other goal that you have. The power of gratitude shifts your mood and puts you on a frequency to receive lots more. It also helps you to keep track of your progress.
  • Be mindful of what you have and the progress you are making, the people who are helping you – it really will help shift your mindset into a more resourceful stage.
  • Be patient with yourself. You have come so far! Acknowledge this and celebrate your mile stones. Give yourself a pat on back. You deserve this as much as anyone. Know this, believe this and others will too. As they say confidence is all an inside job and it’s really working for me.

Do you have any other tips you can share that have helped you go forwards in planning your wedding, expanding your business or in any other goals? Please share in the comments section.

 

With love

Melanie

 

 

 

 

 

5 tips To Gain Inspiration For Your Wedding Theme Or Creative Projects

In today’s blog I’m going to show you some tips for gaining inspiration. Feeling inspired is not just necessary for creating inventory but also for designing your wedding themes or building your business to name but a few.  In fact everything that you can see around you from the chairs you sit on, to the house you live in, the food you cook, the forms of transport you choose and the architecture you admire started off from someone being inspired.

People often ask me where I get my inspiration from and I often reply nature but there are so many different places and things that you can spark your imagination from. So I decided to do something different and go out with a friend to UK’s largest craft and haberdashery in North Wales called Abakhan. Crafters, dress makers, brides sit up and take notice as this is like an Aladdin’s cave that is well worth a visit.

My friend is a crafter so she was like a child in a doll shop, mesmerized with the different colours and different types of textures. I must admit I was impressed and we both loved being surrounded by such a vast array of gorgeous colours.  If you are a tactile person then you will love this place.

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Whilst my friend was looking at the materials I gravitated towards the end of the shop where I spotted beautiful tiaras, head dresses and even a bridal gown. You can guess who was trying them on can’t you.

A sparkly tiara that would make any bride feel like a princess

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Beautiful hats for special occasions.

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A good selection of veils

Next was the home interior section that offered a made to measure service. My friend went straight in but I was finding inspiration everywhere. Even from the doors so I stopped outside to take a picture.  I was imagining it much smaller and on one of my trees in my garden. And faerie doors are going to be some of my future project’s so I was paying attention to detail.

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The grand entrance to the home interior section

Inside was a welcoming sight with beautiful furniture, fixture and fittings. The colours blended seamlessly together and I admired the person who had put in so many hours of creative thought into making it so appealing.

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Inside there was a room full of sewing machines, all modern apart from the old singer in the corner of the room. A beautiful dress adorned in butterflies stood proudly in the other corner. I wondered how long it took the creator to make something like this.

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A beautiful work of art – a dress adorned in butterflies.

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And in between visiting all of the craft shops that were all several feet apart from each other I was being inspired by the water features and even the plaque that told of the history of the place.

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It also has a beautiful section for craft lovers too with ink pads, embossing tools, paper, polymer clays, jewellery findings and everything you need to get lost in hours of creative fun. This section was housed in a beautiful log cabin surrounded by trees making it look very picturesque and inviting. Needless to say this was the section I spent most of the time time in.

It also has a restaurant there with a good selection of vegetarian meals and a beautiful gift shop next door.  After an abundance of food – food portions were very generous – we continued on our shopping day out for a couple more hours.

I left there feeling truly inspired and with a huge smile on my face and so did my friend with her huge bags of materials. It’s a place I will be definitely returning again soon to.

I thought that I would give you some tips on how to find your inspiration:

  1. Do something different. If you normally look on the internet for pictures look in another place i.e the countryside, a craft stall or shop.
  2. Carry a camera with you. I only use my Samsung camera phone and I take pictures everywhere I go to save having to rely on memory.
  3. Take a walk in nature. All of the fresh air delivers more oxygen to the brain cells meaning more thinking power and thus more ideas.
  4. Try to be more tactile and feel your environment, objects etc. Feeling them helps to create vivid images in mind and create strong associations which will help you recall memories easier and spark ideas.
  5. See through the eyes of a child. Go out with your fun head on as I call it.
  6. Ask yourself questions when you see things that inspire you. For example what can I make from this. What color would contrast well with it? What can I do differently? How can I make it better? These type of questions facilitate your thought processes and before you know it you’ll have an idea for a great project or theme.

I’m always interested in learning how my readers find their inspiration so please let me know in the comments box where you get yours.

Lots of love

Melanie

(The Earth Faeries)

 

 

5 Unusual Ways To Display Jewellery

Creative Items & Places To Display Your Jewellery

It has been quite a while since I wrote my last blog because I have had writers block & repetitive strain injury.  Not a nice words I know and something I’ve never been able to understand as have never had it until now.   Plus more recently I have also been nursing my little furry friend (my cat Mr D) back to full health so took a break from writing.  However I am back now feeling as creative as ever and note to self to slow down! Despite not updating my blog there has still  been a lot going on behind the scenes of The Earth Faeries from booking craft stalls to improving my photography skills, servicing my clients and having my new logo designed to name but a few.

I have been playing around with different types of back grounds to display my jewellery. I’m very close to opening my online shop ( it’s a choice between Folksy or The Craft Stall Collective) and regardless of which one I choose I need lots of pictures. That’s okay if you are a professional photographer but I’m not so its been a huge learning curve and I’m still learning. Nether the less it has been a fun & magical experience. I thought I would use this blog to show you some of the unusual places or things I’ve used to photograph my jewellery. Some of them I have tried and some I still have to try.

White Card

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Pale yellow rose bobby pin
A delicate yet striking rose bobby pin

 

I found a piece of cut off wood in garden shed for this picture. My other house mate always uses them to photograph his art work so I thought I’d give it a try.

Back of glitter felt

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I ordered some silver glitter craft felt to make another product and used the back of it to photograph this. I loved the way there was little pieces of glitter in the felt but not many so it didn’t detract from the jewellery.

 

Swarovski jewellery collection for brides
My Swarovski collection photographed in my friends garden

This shot of my jewellery was taken on a sun dial by Philip Antrobus who is a professional photographer. I’ve collaborated with Philip on several projects and he has a  wealth of ideas for great places to display items. Here’s a another photograph he did for a wedding shoot I was show casing my collection in. The wellies featured Ann Dibs beautiful handmade bridal bouquet. We wanted a Welsh countryside theme as that’s where my handmade jewellery is created hence the garden and the wellies.

My friends flower bouquet

Photograph by Philip Antrobus

Other ideas I haven’t tried so far are hanging earrings on painted milk bottles, tree branches, insides of books and even displaying other items of my jewellery on table coasters made out of sliced logs. You can get as creative as your imagination allows you too. When I was in school all those moons ago my teacher used to say to me Melanie stop your imagination running away with you! I say now to anyone ‘if you want to build a business or in fact do anything that requires you to step out of  comfort zone let it run and let it run very far!’

If you are avid photography fan or have a business yourself what have you used to display your jewellery or other products on?

To have a look at my range of products please click here

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Five top inspiration tips for your wedding day!

Photography by Philip Antrobus

In this article I’m going to be looking at things that have been used in my photographs to make my pictures look more appealing and fit in with my branding. Some of them were my own ideas and others from the rest of the creative team. I’m going to talk about where I get my inspiration from so you can follow me with the development of my new business an get ideas for your own wedding day.  Plus I’m going to be giving you some interesting information about the props that I and my photographer have used.

I was very fortunate recently to be given the opportunity to have a life style wedding shoot in a beautiful rural setting in Wales.  It took place in my friends own garden that happened to have a gorgeous sun dial in it. I wish I could take credit for the idea behind the picture below but it was the idea and work of photographer Philip Antrobus. http://www.facebook.com/philipantrobusphotography/?fref=tsl

Since my faerie helpers live in gardens and woods;  don’t have watches and use more natural methods to tell the time I thought that the picture told you a little more about how my faerie helpers live. If you want to find out more about my faerie helpers and there lives and life styles then read more here https://theearthfaeries.wordpress.com/2016/10/27/chapter-three-ruby-starlight/

Swarovski crystal & pearl set
The professional photographer used my friends sun dial to get this shot

Here’s a project that I designed and made for the wedding shoot in Wales. It’s a beautiful faux pearl and pink and clear Swarovski crystal set with 925 silver clasps and dangle earrings.

Sun dials make beautiful garden features and they are great as props when photographing  products. I think it gives the picture a lovely old authentic look and tells a story.  So what exactly is a sun dial and what is it used for? Well people back in time didn’t have watches and they used to tell the time from the sky. You can tell the time by looking at the shadow cast as it shines on the pointer of the sundial. The length of the shadows are also effected by the seasons. The winter shadows are longer than the summer ones due to the sun being lower in the sky than in winter.

Another great prop to show case Ann Dibbs work our accessory designer’s bouquet  was a pair of pink wellies. https://www.facebook.com/anndibbsartisan/?fref=ts

It’s surprising what you can find if you have a look around. These were bought by myself (a last minute buy)  for my daughter to wear for the wedding shoot. I knew she wanted some wellies so we did a trade off. Her – very kindly giving us a couple of hours of her time away from her own business to model for myself and a team of other creatives in return for wellies. Which is quite ironic considering her life style blog is called http://www.lovinglifeinwelliesblog.com

She actually got a lot more than the wellies I may add as I made her a pair of earrings to say thank you for all of her hard work. She was there from 11 for make up, dress and hair.   The photo shoot started at 1 which didn’t finish until about half six so it was the least I could do. And she was chauffeured in the car to the location whilst I and the wedding co-coordinator had to climb the hill to get there. But it’s only a 2 minute walk up quite a steep narrow country lane which I do most days with the dog and at least I arrived with colour in my cheeks. And it does have gorgeous views.

Thanks to my friend Sharon Roberts who kindly let us use her picturesque garden and beautiful retreat http://www.penyfedwcottage.co.uk.  She put the bouquet in the wellies to ensure it wasn’t left on the grass. It looked great and our photographer thought so too  as you can see from this picture below. Some times the pictures that are not planned make the best pictures.

My friends flower bouquet
It is surprising what props you can use to get great pictures. My daughters wellies came in handy!
Swarovski bracelet - bridal
A model wearing my Swarovski bracelet whilst on location

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When I was visualizing the wedding shoot in my mind I could see a horse. I wanted a life style shoot and so did Donna Maria Oconnor the wedding consultant and coordinator who brought all of this masterpiece together. Plus she also provided the bridal gown which is available to hire for your own wedding. http://www.facebook.com/oconnor111?__mref=message_bubble

I knew a friend who had a gorgeous horse who I thought would have been perfect for this so I asked her could I partner with him and thankfully she said yes. Drum roll for Alton.  A beautiful curious chestnut gelding who was a perfect gentleman. He wasn’t too keen on the wedding dress so we didn’t get chance to have the model sitting on him but we did manage to get some lovely pictures with him by her side.

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As well as designing and making jewellery I also design accessories; faerie jars with jewels and other pretty trinkets in them. They can be used as  keep sakes and a variety  of things as they are very versatile – name places and favors to name a few of their uses. The following pictures below were taken by myself. I’m not a professional photographer as you can probably tell but I am learning as I’m going along. I wanted to photograph them with something natural that would tell you something about my faerie helpers lives and make the picture more interesting. A quick look around my garden gave me some lovely ideas and I decided on some fallen rose petals that grow in abundance in my garden.

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A silver leaf in a faerie jar that I designed and made

Tips on getting inspiration

  • Look around the garden for twigs, leaves, petals and various other items that represent your brand.
  • Wellies, hiking boots and even riding boots can give a twist to your luxurious wedding and give it a real country feel. Plus it can make it fun and memorable. If you are getting married rather than doing product shoots communicate your ideas to your photographer. They have a wealth of inspiration and are sure to find something that tells your story.
  • Take regular walks in the countryside or park and look at the different colored leaves and their contrasts. Autumn is alive with chocolates, russets, reds, burnished oranges, greens and yellows. It certainly gives me ideas for my designs and it may give you some for the color of your theme.
  • Look on Pinterest, Instagram and other visual platforms to gain inspiration so you can start your own inspiration boards.
  • Look in your cupboards or in market stalls for vintage or vintage looking items for example tea cups. Your jewellery looks great displayed upon them and they also look beautiful on your tables too.

Do you have any ideas for props that can be used for pictures for your wedding day. If so please share as I’d love to hear them.

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How is Swarovski Crystal made

Swarovski jewellery collection for brides

Hands up who loves Swarovski crystals. Both of my hands are up at the moment. I have a passion for these sparkling little wonders which are available in every colour that you can think of but my favorite is clear and pink.  I have smiles of glee as I surround myself with them and happily thread them onto my wires or sprinkle them into my faerie jars.

 

It’s surprising what I can do with them when I let my imagination have free reign.

 

In this blog I’m going to show you where Swarovski crystals come from, what their made of and what other things they are used for besides jewellery making.

They are loved and adored world wide and are used by the top fashion houses such as Christian Dior.  You will see them adorned on models on the cat walks of Milan, New York and Paris. Swarovski crystals made history at New York’s fashion week this season by featuring almost 700,000 during the week. An Austrian jewellery company gave financial support to collective designers for spring 2017. Big names name designers and brands have used them in their collections too.

And whilst most people have an item that is made of them in their jewellery box  how much do you know about these beautiful timeless crystals. I don’t know about you but I love learning about the pieces of jewellery I am wearing as it makes me appreciate it all the more.

Swarovski crystals surprisingly are not grown in the earth like quartz crystals although some of their ingredients compose of quartz. Rather they are man made and made by Danial Swarovski. Danial Swarovski, formerly known as Daniel Swartz was born in Northern Bohemia . He was the son of a glass maker who owned his own little factory. He served there as a young apprentice and became skilled in glass cutting.

In 1892 he invented and patented an electric cutting machine that facilitated the production of crystal glass. And thus the Swarovski empire was born. The Swarovski empire also has another business which is producing and selling loose elements to the industry. The Swarovski crystals are used in decor, on clothing, chandeliers and to make figures. The figurines have a huge following and fan base.  In fact I felt inspired by this parrot figurine. parot

Up until then I had only been using them to make jewellery . I decided to get creative and started making accessories for customers weddings and for children. Perhaps you would like to read about my recent project where I collaborated with the tooth faerie to make faerie jars for two lovely little girls https://theearthfaeries.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/a-recent-faerie-jar-project/

I have also just made my customers this bespoke faerie jar as a keep sake and wedding favor. It feels like I’m in faerie land making them.

 

So what exactly are these beautiful crystals made of. They are made of high quality lead glass using quartz, sand and minerals. The rainbow spectrum that you see which is called refraction is the special metallic coating that lets light refract in all colors of the rainbow.

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So what makes these different to just normal glass you may be wondering. Swarovski uses only the finest materials, superior production, cutting and polishing process and is what sets these crystals apart from other glass works. It is easy to see why top fashion houses and designers including myself enjoy working with them.cropped-cropped-wales-131.jpg

According to Swarovski “cutting hard materials such as crystals and gems in such a way that they a hundred identical facets in several directions is a very complicated process; each direction of the reflected light must be first calculated by a computer, then this has to be stimulated in 3D optimized and finally converted into control programs for complex machinery”.  This laborious  and complicated process brings us beautiful crystals that have the brilliance and beauty of diamonds at affordable prices.

So next time your wearing your beautiful collections which have been set with Swarovski crystals now you know the love time and effort that has gone into creating such a beautiful piece of jewellery.

 

What is your favorite colour Swarovski crystals?

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Top tips for your wedding day!

In this blog I’m going to look at behind the scenes of a  wonderful wedding shoot that I was asked to be part of (I designed and hand made the pearl collection Jewellery.) I no longer make authentic pearl necklaces but instead design faux pearl due to ethical reasons. 

Photo-credits:  

Makeup & bridal consultancy service – Donna O’Conner

Jewellery design The Earth Faeries – Melanie Molloy

Dress by Petticoats-A-Plenty – Andrea Sef

Photography by Philip Antrobus

Venue by Bubble Beach Club

https://www.4g-events.com/

This exciting wedding shoot was held in an exclusive venue in Liverpool  This beautiful first of a kind water front beach club is located in the pier head with a two story luxury campaign lounge and is the choice of famous celebrities.

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I’ve interviewed the organizer Miss Donna O’connor proprietor of Liverpool bridal consultant, on how it all came together.  She kindly gave me some tips to help you create your own perfect wedding day.

The Earth Faeries: How did you pull something like this together?

Donna: After weeks of planning (lots of to-do lists)and putting a team together of wedding creative professionals the day finally arrived on Sunday 14th of August 2016. It is the most amazing experience to have a vision and to see it manifest and come alive right before your eyes during a photo-shoot.It’s like putting together pieces of a jigsaw, each professional involved in the photo shoot will have their own expertise and field that they work in.

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The Earth Faeries: What advice do you give for brides wanting to know what type of make up to wear for their big day?

Donna: For Bridal make up I always aim for a fresh flawless natural look, using brown or bronze coloured pigment on the eyes, with natural strip lashes.

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Peach or pink blush is used on cheekbones to give a healthy glow,and nudes, pinks or peach lipsticks are used on the lips. Peach looks great on red heads, pinks on pale skins and blond hair. Neutral is a versatile colour and can work on all complexions. A natural make up applied well is very effective.

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Brides tend to opt for natural make up applications on their wedding day because they don’t want to look too much different on their big day from what they usually do. A Bride will want to look and feel like the star of her event and feel amazing . The aisle will be her catwalk and all eyes will be on her.

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The Earth Faeries: Where does your inspiration come from?

Donna: My inspiration for this wedding photo shoot came from what I feel represented all of us as a team. We all have a similar vision of what our individual businesses are about and what message we wanted to send out there to prospective clients. We wanted a high end sophisticated look at affordable prices so that everyone can enjoy our services. So I would say it was sophistication we were aiming for, something feminine, timeless with an editorial modern feel to it.

The Earth Faeries: Do you have any tips for others who would like to walk in your footsteps?

Donna: My advice is build a team with people who have the same values and work ethics. This is good for team building. When everyone is on the same wavelength and working towards the same goal as a team it just flows and everyone helps each other to make it a success.

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This positive vibe flows within our team. Our team works like a family, we work smarter, we have fun and we bring the vision into reality. This is all captured on camera and it’s like magic taking place. It certainly shows on the images taken by the photographer. This means that everyone is comfortable with each other, the models are relaxed and its all natural. Working in this way brings out the best in each other.

The Earth Faeries: What does a typical day include?

Donna: There was an air of excitement on this shoot right from the start, we all met outside the venue and then we set up at the venue. The video cameras were set up and the make overs on the models began. There was lots of fun and laughter and a lot of banter took place.

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The wedding gown was hung up on another side of the room we were in on a large ornate mirror.

When the Makeovers were complete the models got dressed in their attire. The Bridal model Stacey Mellin was helped into the Bridal gown by Andrea Sef who supplied the wedding dress. Andrea’s business is called Petticoats a Plenty. The dress was called Isobella which was absolutely stunning. It takes her six months to design and make the dress and about three week to design and make the petticoat.

There was a gasp in the room when Stacey was dressed complete with bridal gown and the Bridal jewellery was placed on our model.

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The jewellery was delicate and oozed sophistication. It was designed with love by Melanie Jane Molloy proprietor of The Earth Faeries, who designs and hand makes bespoke jewellery. She is a very talented creative lady who I have known for many years now and has just recently started a new business venture making her own jewellery.

 

The completed look was breathtaking, complemented by hair and make up by myself Donna Maria O’connor. I am the owner of a new business venture Liverpool bridal consultant that provides a bespoke wedding design service from make up, hair design to planning for your big day.

Our model Stacey had a modern funky hairstyle, which I session styled on the day. I felt that her hairstyle gave a modern twist on the sophisticated look we were aiming for.

The Earth faeries: What did you think about the venue?

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Donna: It’s every brides dream. The venue I chose was amazing. Bubbles Beach bar is a new venue here in Liverpool. It has a roof top terrace, champagne bar, beach awnings,and four poster beds that you can relax on in the sun. It has a seating area with outside huts where you can order soft drinks and coffee.

 

In fact it looks like a venue you would find on a luxury holiday location abroad and yet its situated at the Pier Head waterfront here in Liverpool. The back drop is of the liver buildings which is a main landmark here in this wonderful city.

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I chose the venue because I felt it represented Liverpool weddings. I believe that this venue was perfect for the editorial look we wanted to portray and it represented the fashion aspect of Liverpool; as women here take a lot of pride in the way that they dress. It really is the capital of fashion in the north.

The Earth faeries: What were your highlights to the day?

Donna: The highlights to this wedding shoot were images taken of our models on the four poster beds, by the vintage car which was on the venue grounds and images taken on the roof top terrace.

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The Earth Faeries: Do you have anything else you’d like to add?

Donna: Yes, I would like to say a special thank-you to Rob and Maria Jones of 4G Events for videographing and capturing the essence of such a magical day. Photographer Philip Antrobus our very talented photographer who shared our vision and made it into reality. Andrea Sef who is very creative with her wedding gowns and beautiful petticoats.It takes her six months to make her hand made gowns and we were delighted with the results. And not forgetting my lovely friend Melanie Jane Molloy founder of the The Earth Faeries jewellery company for making the fabulous Bridal Jewellery.

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The Earth Faeries: Thank you Donna for the interview and thanks everyone for helping the day be a success. I enjoyed collaborating with you all.

Behind the Scenes Video Here