Saturday 29 November 2014

Gift guide for men

As promised, my latest handmade gift guide is for the men in your life. I find the men on my list so tricky to buy for. My husband doesn't like "stuff" and I think (but might be wrong), that it's a fairly typical male trait.

Sterling silver cufflinks - Becky Pearce Designs

I spent years when we moved in together persuading R that cushions are essentials for a comfy sofa and not just unnecessary soft things that clutter up the living room. Seriously.

So, with that kind of tricky male psyche in mind, I enlisted some help from the wonderful Folksy sellers, and came up with this list of goodies that would go down pretty well with all of the men-folk of my family.

All are practical as well as beautifully made and designed. With the exception of the lab print, which can't really be called practical, but IS Man's Best Friend? And it's gorgeous.

football journal ipad sleeve

mens scarf glasses case

leather journal choc lab print

1 - Recycled football journal
2 -  Ipad sleeve
3 - Charcoal scarf
4 - Specs case
5 - Leather sketchbook
6 - Chocolate lab print

Of course, some gorgeous silver never goes amiss either. The silver bark cufflinks at the top of the page are always a big hit. Practical, subtle and gorgeous. 

Silver ring - Becky Pearce Designs
This chunky sterling silver ring is also a bit hit. Understated but meaningful. I've had people stamp a special date on the inside. This ring can be personalised with letters or numbers.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Last order dates for Chrismtas

As I sat here working on Christmas pressies, it occurred to me that I hadn't actually let you know my last order dates for Christmas this year (or...ahem.... actually decided them myself).

So, after a quick scan of the calendar I figured out that the last dates to order from my folksy, etsy, Becky Pearce Designs shops are:

  • AUSTRALIA - 27th November (eek - today!!!!)
  • USA and WESTERN EUROPE - 6th December
  • UK - 16th December

I often close my shops at this point, so that people don't order "just in case" and then get disappointed. But this year I will leave the shops open throughout the Christmas period.

Monday 17 November 2014

The five reasons I buy handmade.

Regular readers of this blog (or my facebook page) will know that I am a bit of a handmade junkie.

And I get particularly excited about the handmade world at this time of year. I love a bit of gift hunting. Obviously, I could make everyone I know some jewellery, but I think they might just get a little tired of that after a while. So instead I go browsing. Usually online,  from the comfort of my old sofa, with a nice glass of wine in hand.

Labradorite earrings - Becky Pearce Designs

There are so many reasons to buy handmade, especially at Christmas... and here are my top 5!

1 The items are generally much higher quality - each item has been given 100% individual attention, and has been finished and quality checked by a real person. Even the materials are sourced individually. The maker wants their items to last, and takes pride in their quality and longevity - there's not that " how quickly/ cheaply can we make it" mentality. No maker is going to let a substandard piece go out of the studio with their name on it.

2. Each item is individual. There won't be anyone else who has an item exactly like that. And usually there'll be lots of "wow, where did you find that it's perfect" comments flying around.

handmade bag
Messenger bag by Sail

3. Speaking of "perfect" another top reason is that you can often have your item customised or even commission a custom item  That means getting just the right size, colour, material, shape. Most makers are people you can contact directly to discuss getting your item made to your specification.

4. Buying handmade is more ethical and environmentally friendly. Your items won't be made in a wasteful factory and flown half way around the word, with the huge carbon footprint that brings. And you won't find child labour involved. Though my littlest is a very keen helper, given half the chance - hmm.

Handmade items are made with limited waste, and are much more eco friendly. Buying handmade means you support local artists, designers, craft people, makers. You support them, and that helps their local economy, and community. And we all know that supporting and buying local is a good thing. Who needs things shipped over from China, when we have such a fabulous supply of handmade wonderfulness on our doorstep?

Set of 4 stoneware bowls by Stoneware Studio UK

5. As well as that there is that connection you have with the maker, and the item being made. I often post work in progress pictures on my facebook page, which I really love to do, and I also love it when other makers do it. I don't know about you, but I think there is something really amazing about seeing your own items being made.

6. You get more value! You don’t have to pay the person at the till, the supervisor, manager, and the supplier and the designer and the manufacturer, because just one person is all those things! Your items may not be cheaper, but they have have that intrinsic value because of all the above reasons.

Okay, okay, there are six reasons not five. But there are just so many reasons to support handmade that I really couldn't stop at five!

I would encourage everyone to go out and buy handmade this Christmas. Go to a local craft fair, or gallery. Go online at wonderful market places like Folksy and Etsy and have a browse around. There are hundreds of fantastic makers and hundreds of thousands of perfect items - just waiting to be matched up to the lucky recipient.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Gift guide - Teens and tweens

Gifts for teenagers

Tweens and teens are so tricky to buy for at Christmas. They're often too old for toys, and everyone else will be stuck for inspiration too, so will get vouchers - so what else is there?

In my mission to spread the word about handmade goodness here's some of my top handmade picks that would make perfect gifts for teenagers (and tweens) this Christmas.  

notebook Girls chalkboard
emoticon cushion fairytale zine
iphone case football girl box

1 - Upcycled postage stamp notebook
2 -  Girls chalkboard
3 - Smiley emoticon cushion
4 - Fairytale Zines
5 - iphone cover
6 - Football girl box

Of course, I've got some rather lovely pieces of jewellery that would be perfect for teenagers too. Often schools allow girls to wear earrings as long as they're discreet and small. These fine silver stars are a great option. 

Fine silver stars

 My birthstone rings range are also a lovely option. Choose their birthstone for a gift with extra meaning, or their favourite colour. My soon to be 10 year old has requested one for her birthday in a couple of weeks.

Turquoise birthstone ring
These delicate vintage glass necklaces are something a little bit special, and something no-one else will have. The monochrome colouring is a teen favourite.

Vintage glass pendant
I'd love to know what you think of these; and if you have any other great ideas to share please put them in a comment below. 

Monday 3 November 2014

The Birthstone for November - Citrine

Or topaz...! 

Citrine ring by me! Click pic for more info.

Both citrine (a form of quartz) and topaz are recognised birthstones for November. And I use both in my designs. Although topaz comes in a huge range of colours, it's the browner (imperial topaz) hues that are traditional for the November birthstone. 

Citrine on the other hand can be found in shades of yellow ranging from pastel to a deep brownish orange. I must admit, in smaller stones I prefer the deeper shades, but I have used gorgeous pastels for rings before and they were just lovely. 

These shades just fit the time of year perfectly. Everywhere I look at the moment the lush green is giving way to yellow, gold and brown.

Sunny dog walk at Denbies Vineyard

Some citrine themed goodies I found recently....

Skydancer on Folksy

Amber wisp oil lamp (CatMacKGlass)
So gorgeous for this time of year.

I particularly like how citrine works in a stack of birthstone stacking rings.

I appreciate I'm not the best model with my sausage fingers, but doesn't the citrine just make the other colours sing.

I'm completely won over by it. My eldest is a November birthstone, and I admit, I haven't made a birthstone stack yet, but once the Christmas rush is over, I'm definitely on it!
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