Pop-Up Workshop to Celebrate the Bowes Museum's 125th Anniversary

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Last weekend I had an intense but super-fun day! On Sunday, the Bowes Museum held a summer fete to mark the end of a years' worth of celebrations of the 125th anniversary of the museum. There was so much going on... live music, face painting, dance, a wood-fired pizza oven...even a pop-up prosecco bar for the grown-ups! It was a beautiful, hot sunny day and was absolutely packed with happy families enjoying a summer day out. 

And I was there too! Just inside the main foyer I had a table laid out with all kinds of coloured glass, wood and semi-precious beads, tempting-looking metallic wires, and coloured cords for pendants. I'd also cleaned out my workshop of every pair of pliers and wire snips that I could find, plus few pairs of safety goggles for our younger visitors.

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Obviously it's not my usual area of jewellery practice, but for events like this I think it's so important not to get too hung up about precision and technique. For me it was about sharing my enthusiasm for pure creative joy, and making sure that it was a fun thing to do, and also to be very relaxed and accessible. It was clear from so many faces (from little 5 year old faces to the older ones!) that there is a very real satisfaction and sense of reward in creating something new, and navigating all the thought processes that go with it!

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We kicked off at 11am, and I didn't catch a breath all day. I was hoping that people would follow their own creative paths and be spontaneous with what they found on my table, but I had also pre-made a few example projects which people could copy if they were stumped for ideas.

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The most complex was a wire-wrapped ring which was popular with adults, and the simplest was a wire bracelet with hook clasp and a bead or three in the centre which was great for the smallest visitors. I made sure to have alphabet beads as I thought the youngest visitors might enjoy making name bracelets, and even some fun super-detailed Fimo fruit beads which went down surprisingly well with some of the mamas!

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Most of all, I enjoyed working with the younger children. I was amazed at how confident some of them were at creating their own pieces, from their own imagination. Here are a couple of my favourites.

The ring below was designed and made by 7 year old Sophie, all by herself, whilst I was helping someone at the other end of the table. I think this is absolutely fantastic - and could totally see the same ring working amazingly well with 18ct yellow gold wire and drilled diamond beads!

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The gorgeous, free spirited pendant below was made by little Freyja. She took one of the example pieces I'd brought along as her starting point, and she was absolutely adamant that this three-bead pendant was what she wanted to make! So so just went for it, and came up with this utterly joyful "3D scribble". You can see her happy smile in the top right corner!

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By the time 4pm rolled around, just over half of the beads and wire that I'd brought along had been turned into jewellery and was being proudly worn around the museum and grounds. The day had begun with an ordered, well-laid out table, but what with every stool and seat taken all day long (and several layers of people standing behind to wait for their turn) I was left with an explosion of creative chaos! Which I truly believe is the mark of a day very well spent. 

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Our Beautiful Brindle Greyhound Broke Her Leg!

If you would like to support Melzie's recovery, Hannah is hand making sterling silver and 9ct yellow gold greyhound paw print charms to raise funds for her surgery, care and rehabilitation.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

Late last month, we had quite an upsetting drama. We've had to drop everything. Demelza - known to her friends as Melzie and/or Snaz - is our four year old rescue greyhound. She was discharged from racing just over two years ago at only two years of age, and I'm sure you've seen loads of her on this blog and also on Hannah's Instagram stories. She is beloved by many.

A few days before the Easter weekend, when in a field with some local dog friends, Melzie's back leg caught in an old rabbit hole.  As she tripped and fell, her ankle was immediately dislocated so badly that her entire foot hung twisted and motionless at the end of her leg. Melzie was on extremely strong pain medication, together with a variety of anaesthetic and sedative drugs, for over 48 hours with her leg strapped up before she was able to be admitted into surgery for a CT scan.

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They found that not only was her right hock joint very badly dislocated, the tiny talus bone which covered the joint had been pushed out of place right around to the opposite side, and she also has significant fractures to the fibula and tibia around the ankle joint. The joint had to be reassembled, and Melzie needed to have screws and orthopaedic wire fitted across the fractures to repair them.  She also needs to wear a transarticular frame on her leg for at least six weeks to allow her bones to heal properly before she can begin the long and painstaking journey to recovery.

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Whilst we do have a good chunk of insurance for our Snaz-girl, unfortunately due to the complexity of her injures, her insurance policy doesn't cover the full amount needed for her programme of surgeries, aftercare, checkups, and recuperative care. 

Melzie has a loyal fan base with hundreds of people worldwide - you may be one of them! - who enjoy watching her antics on @JewelleryHannah's Instagram stories.  Hannah receives daily messages from people who have had their day brightened after watching what Snaz has been up to - be that running in the forest, chasing seagulls on the beach, or simply lying sprawled and snoring on the sofa. We have already received messages of love and support for Melzie from well over 100 people, and this gave us the idea to create a "Go Fund Me" page for anyone who would like to (and is able to) show their gratitude for all the smiles and laughs they have enjoyed by having a window onto Melzie's world.

 

If you would like to support Melzie's recovery, Hannah is hand making sterling silver and 9ct yellow gold greyhound paw print charms to raise funds for her surgery, care and rehabilitation.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE

 

In less than one week, we are already just over halfway to our target! We would like to extend a heartfelt and sincere thank you to every single one of you who has supported us during this stressful time.

You can read the full story and check up on updates by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/demelzagreyhound 

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Favourite Recipes... Dairy Free Pesto

Earlier this week, we shared some of our homemade food favourites on our Instagram stories, and so many of you asked us if you could have our Dairy-Free pesto recipe, we've decided to share it here!

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When you live very rurally, like we do, the option of popping to the corner deli or organic market for some delicious just-made pesto doesn't exist, so when we get a craving for something like this, we have to make it ourselves. 

Luckily, our amazing local greengrocers in the next village (3 miles away) sells huge bunches of fresh herbs. These fabulous bundles are our go-to winter food treat to keep morale up and remind us of summer, as well as boosting our immune systems. One of my favourite things to do - apart from the usual culinary uses for herbs - is to make my own pesto.

My husband is severely allergic to cheese and milk, so unfortunately the usual pesto recipes don't work for both of us, so with some trial and error I invented this one.  

It's extremely easy, fast, and isn't fixed with its ingredients. It doesn't matter what herbs you use. It doesn't matter what nuts you use. The quantities don't really matter either, just put in however much you have, or however much works for you and your personal taste. For example, I like my pesto to be pretty lemony, so I put in lots of lemon.

This is also a great recipe to use up any more flavourful, non-watery salad leaves (such as kale, rocket and watercress) which need finishing to save them from being wasted. Sometimes I make lemon rice with big wedges of lemon cooked in with the rice, and afterwards I rinse off the now-soft lemon and save it to chuck in with my next batch of pesto, rind and all (unwaxed is of course better if you want to do this)!

This dairy free pesto takes around 5 to 10 minutes to make.

The only major bit of kitchen equipment which you'll need is a blender/food processor/nutribullet.

This amount makes around one medium jam jar full. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3oz nuts - my favourites are cashews, walnuts, and Brazil nuts. Use just one kind, or mix them.
  • 2 large bunches of fresh herbs - at the moment I like mostly coriander (cilantro) with some parsley in there too, but use whatever is available to you.
  • Juice of 1 lemonor more if you want.
  • Olive oilI like organic and unfiltered.
  • Crumbly sea salt and fresh pepper to your taste.

First of all, toast the nuts either under the grill or on the hob. Their natural oils can make them heat up quickly, so watch they don't burn!  

Roughly chop or tear up the herbs, and pack them all into your whizzing machine of choice. It'll look like there's way too many, but just squash them down.

Add the cooled nuts, the lemon juice, and some salt and pepper. Pour in a good slug of olive oil - a small cupful should do it. It does seem a lot, but it's important because it helps to preserve the freshness of the herbs once everything has been mixed together.

Whizz until all is evenly combined, then put in a squeaky clean jam jar. You might want to add a little more olive oil on to depending on consistency, as this again helps with preserving the herbs.  Your pesto will easily keep in the fridge for up to one week, but it probably won't last that long because it's so delicious!

 Here, the pesto has been in the fridge for 24 hours so the oil has solidified, making the pesto hold together more. It will return to being more runny when it's back at room temperature. 

Here, the pesto has been in the fridge for 24 hours so the oil has solidified, making the pesto hold together more. It will return to being more runny when it's back at room temperature. 

As well as being amazing with any kind of pasta, we also like to eat it spread on hot toast or our favourite crackers, as an accompanying condiment to salads, or mixed into hot steamed greens like peas or purple sprouting broccoli.

If you like this recipe and would like us to share more of our easy food favourites, please leave us a comment below! We'd love to know what your favourite pesto combination is...

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spread the love! our brand new website

Today - Valentine's Day, no less! - we are delighted to launch our new-look website, especially as we have been closed for maintenance since early January. 

We thought it was all getting a bit complicated, far too many menus and sub-menus, and web content that even we had forgotten about (!). So we have come up with a more simplified and streamlined look, have removed old content, and added around 50 'new' vintage/antique and handmade pieces to our online shop. We've also re-photographed all our existing stock so that you can enjoy clearer, more true-to-life images.

You'll see that we have a new section called INTO OUR WORLD. We decided to introduce this because we receive so many messages from you all about how much you enjoy our Instagram stories. It you're not already following us, please do check out @JewelleryHannah on IG for up to-the-minute snapshots of what we're getting up to!

In this new section, we'll try to write more regularly about the things we love, and the things we love to share with you... namely our adventures in the beautiful northern-English countryside we're so lucky to call home, the antics of Demelza (greyhound) and Echo (white cat), what goes on behind the scenes in our studio, and anything else we think you might enjoy. And of course, if there's anything you'd like to find out more about then please do get in touch!

We have also simplified our online shop. There are now just six sections, but with more pieces in each. We've tried to curate these sections by style, so that if you're interested in (for example) chunky tribal and bohemian silver jewellery, you can check it all out in one place. IF you're interested in finer, more delicate antique and vintage, that's all under one roof too...

There's also a new section for CRYSTALS & GEMSTONES. Many of you are taking up jewellery making as a hobby, or as part of your own jewellery businesses, so we thought why not have a little section to share some of our favourites with you? In early March, we'll also be adding more feature crystals, rocks and minerals to this section - the sort of pieces which look stunning on a windowsill or mixed in with your favourite houseplants. We're very excited about this section, as Hannah's first love (above jewellery, even) was rocks and crystals!

Later in 2018 we'll be bringing you a new collection called WILD & HIGH. We can't share anything about this yet as it's top secret, but we've just begun working on our first designs and prototypes.

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There's also clearer information about our MAKE YOUR OWN WEDDING RINGS workshops and also our BESPOKE & CUSTOM jewellery.

That's all the main points to cover, but hopefully you'll find our new layout easier and more enjoyable to navigate. We always welcome feedback, so please comment below!

Oh, one more thing...to celebrate our return, please use the coupon code SPREADTHELOVE from 14th February until 16th February to enjoy an extra 10% off everything. Don't say we're not good to you!