Monday, 24 September 2012

Just Banter…

When I did my post about making the Baptism Invitations the other day, I forgot to mention that my Mum has bought me a Grand Calibur from Create and Craft.
Grand Calibur
At the time of writing this post, C&C have a ‘Blockbuster’ price of £62.99 for members (£69.99 for non-members).  She’s bought it for me as a ‘thank you’ for looking after her when she was poorly - although I didn't do it to get anything in return – as you don’t!  However, she was adamant that she wanted to get this for me because I’m not currently in a position to buy any more crafting stash so I am so grateful she’s done this.  It actually arrived on Saturday, but I was finishing off the invitations following working on them late on Friday.  This had sooo done me in, so finishing them off was really slow going and just putting the cross through the Cuttlebug was so painful.  I know that the Grand Calibur will be brilliant at helping out with the bigger crafting commissions such as wedding stationery – obviously if it involves dies and embossing. 

Baptism cardI calculated that it would have saved 80% of my time if I’d have used the GC because I did 20 cards. Each card had 5 die cuts on them, which I did one at a time (although I did manage to cut some of the smallest crosses at the same time as doing the bigger ones).  Imagine I didn’t.  Lets say that I actually did them one at a time.  That’s 20 of each die cut making 100 die cuts in total for the order.  Had I have used the GC – I could have worked out the sizes of my pieces of paper for each die cut beforehand – and seeing as I did this each and every time anyway, I wouldn’t have been spending more time on this but may have saved time in doing it all in one go.  I could then have put all 5 dies on the A4 plate at the same time so saving 80% (plus) because for each pass, I was only loading and uploading the plate once too and that is the most time consuming part.  However, if I could have done 20 passes rather than 100, I probably wouldn’t have felt so rough afterwards… Then again, I could have used the Cameo!!!

I haven’t unpacked my GC yet.  I didn’t feel up to spending too much time in the craft room today.  I was there long enough to mostly write my previous blog post, but the temperature got the better of me because I decided it was too cold eventually so I up sticks and went into the lounge – while it was quiet and free of teenagers.

I would love to be able to do a craft stall at a fayre of some kind.  My friend has told me about one she is involved in helping out with.  She asked me if I would be interested, of course I said yes.  I just need to sum up the energy to make stuff to sell… My mum has made the most gorgeous jewellery.  She only uses precious or semi precious gem stones and as far as possible, 925 sterling silver – although she does use stuff like the stainless steel tiger tail wire of course.  She has done quite a few commissions and makes to order too.  Do you have a favourite gem stone?  Would you like to commission a piece of jewellery?  My favourite stone is actually my birth stone which is aquamarine. My mum has some of it – in fact I don’t think there is any gem stone she doesn’t have – and many things she has in different sizes or cuts.  

Here is a small selection of some pieces she made for a neighbours wedding.  There were bridesmaids comprising 3 adults, a child and a toddler, then the bride.  My mum made all the jewellery using rose quartz, crackle quartz, genuine pearls in several colours silver charms, silver chain and silver findings (note it wasn’t silver coloured – it was all 925 sterling silver apart from the tiger tail which was used for actually threading the beads).  

Top row: various pics of the bridesmaid sets
Middle row l-r : the bigger feature bead and sterling silver ‘spacers’ on the toddlers bracelet; the sterling silver signature charm at the back of same bracelet; the brides set rose quartz and cream potato pearls
Bottom row, l-r: the brides bracelet, sterling silver butterfly signature charm on the bridesmaid necklaces – dangles down centre of the neck; the brides necklace gets a double drop signature charm of 2 flowers.  The toddler bridesmaid is actually the brides daughter, so the gems and charms match up.
 The other bridesmaids all got butterflies.

Each of the bridesmaids got a pair of pearl and sterling silver stud earrings, a bracelet and matching necklace.  She did the brides jewellery slightly different and gave it to her free of charge and said it was a gift.  My mum charged £150 for all the bridesmaids sets which comprised genuine precious and semi-precious gemstones, all hand made and carefully matched to the wedding colours while ensuring each set matched the other (well, for the 3 adult bridesmaids anyway). You can easily go into several high street retail stores and buy a necklace, earrings and bracelet separately for £30 – even less, but it wouldn’t be 925 sterling silver.  It wouldn’t consist of genuine pearls, rose quartz and crackle quartz.  Then you wouldn’t get a set of matching brides jewellery for absolutely nothing comprising the same genuine stones.  Do you know what they said to my mum?  “We weren’t expecting it to be that much”.  I was horrified.  

A lesson learned too for my mum – who usually gives stuff away and is one of the most generous people I have ever known.  She would give anyone her last penny if their need was greater than hers, and if she could make do with what she had.  I pointed out that in future, she needs to ask people what their budget or expectations are and work around that.  She said she doesn’t want to make a profit – as long as she’s not out of pocket she’s not bothered because she just enjoys doing it. Well I think they got a bargain, because they’ll have that jewellery far longer than any high street plastic stuff. They did pay it though.  Well, the dad did!

My mum loves her jewellery making and living on her own, it gives her something to do, and something to take her mind off her illnesses.  She can’t do it all the time though as she has Osteo Arthritis, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia (and other stuff).  She’s been suffering from the odd bout of gout too, which until recently, we didn’t know was a form of arthritis.  We always thought it was to do with the diabetes… that’s as much as the doctors tell you.  I found out by looking on the internet for something completely different then came across this.

When I had to stay with her last month (or was it the month before – they all roll into the same thing sometimes), I couldn't do much because of how my condition affects me day to day, but she has a few adaptations around which I benefited from too.  Just being with her made the world of difference.  She recently had to have a cortisone injection in her shoulder which she had an X-ray on recently.  The doctor said that it is severely affected with Osteo Arthritis so the injection was the only option at the moment.  She had this a week after she had one in her arthritic knee.  She has been told by the surgeon and doctors that she needs to lose a lot of weight before they'd even consider operating.  Thing is, how can someone with severe arthritis in the left side possibly exercise.  She eats pretty sensibly - although she's been told off about her salt intake and has another appointment with the doctor tomorrow to discuss her high blood pressure.  Best sign off because I’ve got to get up early to take her.

If you like anything in this post, or can identify with any of the content – whatever that might be, please leave me a comment – and if you want me to, just ask me to get back to you.  I’m always happy to do that – unless I frighten you off and bore you to death with my waffle.

Happy crafting.
Paula x x x


  1. Oh Paula, it really makes me see Red when I hear of people quibbling over the prices we charge for handmade items…….just don’t order from us if you don’t like what we charge.
    I’ve had the same problem in the past with commissioned cross stitch even though they are told the price beforehand. I’m sure these people have no idea of the amount of time and effort we put into making them but they must know it’s not that simple otherwise they would make them themselves. Now, I always make sure I charge a non-returnable deposit to cover the actual costs incurred so I’m not out of pocket.
    The jewellery is absolutely beautiful by the way and I think £150 with a gift for the bride too is a real bargain.
    Happy Crafting!
    Oh, and enjoy your new toy, lucky you!


Thank you for your super scrummy spangly comment and for spending your valuable time letting me know what you think...

Crafty hugs, Paula x x x


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