Objects old, vintage, hand made or upcyled, and old techniques with a modern twist

Archive for the ‘Jewellery’ Category

Monday Mood Board: Sketch Book

I’ve been having a flick back through some of my sketch/scrap books for inspiration…Sketchbook- Plant Drawing

They contain a mixture of sketches, material samples, scraps, magazine articles and artists cards- in fact, anything I find interesting! In the picture above I had glued a (dried) pressed plant stem on a page next to a sketch of the living plant.

Sketchbook Page 1-001

I try to arrange individual pages around a particular theme, often exploring an idea for a project (in the picture above and the picture below I was looking at the theme of wings and feathers whilst developing a jewellery design).

Sketchbook Page 1-002

In contrast to my slightly obsessive quest for a neat finish when crafting, I quite like the slightly haphazard nature of my sketchbooks, and enjoy spending time adding new ideas.

Leather and Crystal Cuff

A few weeks ago I posted a leather bracelet DIY project: I recently found a small scrap of lovely salmon pink leather, and this seemed the ideal purpose for it.


Monday Mood Board: Decorated Tools


In between craft projects (and waiting for inspiration to strike) I decided that I fancied giving some of my craft tools a quick make-over. I use these tools a lot (mainly for jewellery making), and why shouldn’t they be beautiful (or maybe just a little more decorative) as well as useful?


It’s also nice making something that you own unique, especially when the item was shop-bought. It was rather like doodling: a calm and quiet project that gave my brain time to think of what I would like to make next…


Leather Tassels DIY


After making the leather flowers I featured in a post a couple of weeks ago, here is another DIY project to use up even smaller scraps of leather- tassels! The tassels can be made to any size, from teeny-tiny to big and chunky, and you can use any type or texture of leather and/or suede, making it an excellent stash-busting, thrifty project.

MATERIALS- You only need:

  • Sharp scissors
  • Leather/suede
  • Glue


Choose your leather, and cut strips of the length and width that you fancy. The more strips, the thicker the finished tassel will be. To save time when glueing, several strips may be left joined together (like a short length of fringe)- if you are making a single-coloured tassel, then you can leave the strips joined at the top (like one long strip of fringe), and just roll it up to form the body of the tassel.

As I was using scraps of suede (and in different colours), I wasn’t able to cut my strips as one long fringe: this does, however, enable you to mix the colours up how you want when assembling the tassel.


You also need one long strip of leather to form a loop, so that you can hang up your finished tassel (all the better to admire it of course!).

The loop forms the centre of the tassel, around which you start to glue the strips or fringing. If making a multi-coloured tassel, then this is where you get to choose which colours go where.


Working from the centre outwards, keep adding strips/fringe until either you have run out of pieces of leather/suede, or the tassel has reached the size that you want.


To create a neat finish, cut out a small rectangle of leather and glue it around the top of the tassel. At this point you may want to trim the bottom of the tassel so that the fringing is all the same length (or you can leave it a bit uneven if you fancy a softer look).


And there you have it, one finished tassel! Depending on the size, these tassels can be used to make jewellery, to embelish clothing, as an interior decoration, or even to decorate a present for a friend.

I quite fancy making a huge chunky one now…


Leather Flowers DIY


I have been inspired by all of the lovely summer flowers blooming at the moment; these little flowers can be made from leather, suede or felt, and are a great way of using up small leather scraps. The flowers can be uniform in colour, or you can go wild and create a multi-coloured bloom!

Soft, relatively thin leather and/or suede works best, as it allows the petals to fold open rather than appearing stiff and upright. The flowers can be made to any size, and can be attached to brooches, hair clips/bands, bags, hats etc.



  • Optional: brooch back, hair clip etc as desired.
  • Leather scraps (not too thick)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Glue

First of all cut out the flower petals, plus some narrow strips to form the flower stamens. The petals don’t have to be perfectly shaped, as long as the edges are cut neatly and they have a straight bottom edge: different sized-petals work best.  For the red and purple flower I used 18 petals and nine stamens (six short blue ones, and three longer green ones).


First of all glue the stamens together in a bunch to form the centre of the flower:


Next, start gluing petals in place: start with the smaller petals, and attach them a little way up from the base of the stamens.


Keep adding petals, using larger and larger ones, with the final few being attached level with the bottom of the stamens.


Et voila, one finished flower!


suede-flower pink-leather-flower

Monday Mood Board: Vintage Brooches


Inspired by a recent post on the lovely re:retro blog featuring 1950s brooches, I thought I’d dig a few of mine out. I wear them a lot in the winter on jacket and coat collars/lapels (and sometimes on hats), but am going to try to remember to wear them more in the summer too.

Making brooches is also a great DIY project, as so many different designs and mediums can be used. Here are a few I have made over the years, using techniques including crochet, enamelling, embroidery and silver smithing:


The brooches I have collected tend to fall roughly into one of three categories: brooches made by contemporary designer-makers, vintage sparkly brooches, and ‘novelty’ brooches. Here are a few of my favourites:

Contemporary designer-maker brooches:


Vintage sparkly brooches:


‘Novelty’ brooches:


Well-chosen brooches are like a little artwork that you can wear, and it’s nice to see that more and more contemporary designer-makers in the UK seem to be including them in their collections. Long live the humble brooch!

Leather and Diamonte Cuff DIY

I was looking through some scraps of brightly coloured leather and came up with this easy DIY project. As only two small strips of leather are required, this is a good way to upcycle part of a damaged vintage leather article such as a glove or leather jacket.



  • Two leather pieces long enough to reach around your wrist
  • Two rectangular end caps/crimps with integral loops
  • Diamontes/crystals (either individual or a strand)
  • A jewellery clasp (I used a lobster clasp)
  • Snips/wire cutters
  • Flat-nosed pliers
  • A leather punch
  • Scissors
  • Glue


First cut two strips of leather the same width as the end caps. When deciding on the length you need to take into account the extra length added by the clasp, jump rings and end caps.

Two strips of leather are used to hold the diamontes securely, and to make sure that the bracelet is comfortable to wear. At this stage leave the bottom strip of leather a little wider than the top piece, it can be trimmed after the diamontes have been set into the leather.


(yes, I have to label my nice sharp fabric scissors so that I don’t absent mindedly blunt another pair by cutting paper, wire etc!)


On the back of the top piece of leather mark where you want the diamontes to sit (you can see the blue dots that I marked on the back of my piece of leather below). For my design I found it easier to start in the middle of the strip and work outwards.


Next, cut the holes using a leather punch. Piercing round holes for the square diamontes helps them to be held securely, but the outer edge of the holes must be no wider than the outer edges of the diamontes and their settings (slightly too small holes are better than too large).


For my bracelet I used individually set diamontes/crystals that came as a strip, and I cut off each one that I needed using wire cutters. To set the diamontes into the bracelet, push them through the holes from the back of the leather, and then glue the top strip of leather to the bottom strip.

For the design that I used it was easier to only set one or two diamontes at a time, glue that section of leather to the bottom strip, and then set the next diamonte, and so on from one end to the other.


Now trim the bottom piece of leather so that it is in line with the top strip.


Next place a small amount of glue on the short edge on one end of the bracelet, and using flat nosed pliers squeeze an end cap closed around the end of the leather. Repeat with the other end of the bracelet.


The final step is to attach one jump ring to one of the end caps, and use the other jump ring to attach the clasp to the other end cap.

blue-leather-bracelet      blue-leather-cuff

Et voila, one finished leather and diamonte bracelet/cuff!




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