Birthday giveaway!

It’s my birthday this week! My first as a Mummy! Last year’s celebrations were pretty muted as I was the size of a whale and couldn’t really do much, but I’m sure Jack and Isobel are planning a lovely day for me this time round ;)

Anyway, in celebration I have decided to do a giveaway! And, you lucky things, I’ve picked my most ‘favourited’ design – the 1920’s style chrysocolla and pearl necklace. I am really proud of this design, I think it came together really well and is a little bit unique.

Little Koo chrysocolla and pearl 1920s style necklace

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this necklace is to leave a comment below telling me what your current favourite colour combinations are. As a starter for ten, my current favourites are mint and coral, and gold and white.

This giveaway is international.

You have one week to enter – the giveaway closes at midnight (PST) on Monday 6th October.

Good luck!

Rachel

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Little Koo summer sale!

The Little Koo Summer Sale is now on! 50% off a wide range of designs until the end of August. Below are a selection of the items in the sale. Click on the ‘SALE – 50%off!’ section in the Little Koo Etsy shop to see the sale items. All sorts of lovely designs!

Little Koo summer sale

Please click here to take a look at the sale!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Bead stash busting

Recently I looked over at my ever growing pile of beads and decided to challenge myself to create new designs using only materials that I already owned. Have you ever done this? It could be called bead stash busting! I have loads of pretty beads and it seems a shame not to use them, in fact some of them have never been used in designs at all before now.

In order to help inspiration to strike, I took a few beads of each type and mixed them up together. This was actually really useful as it helped me to see how beads look next to one another and which beads go with which. I also realised that I have two main colour palettes – pinks and blues/greens! Maybe I need to branch out…

Random mix of beads

Anyway, after a fun couple of evenings playing around with beads, these are the finished designs. I’m really pleased with them! I think they may make their way into my Etsy shop soon :)

These designs are made with jewel coloured crystals:

Little Koo - Purple crystal earrings

Little Koo - Blue crystal earrings

Little Koo - Jewel coloured crystal necklace

These ones are in pretty pastel mint and pink, with pearls:

Little Koo - Mint crystal and pearl earrings

Little Koo - Mint crystal and pearl necklace

Little Koo - Pink crystal and pearl earrings

Little Koo - Pink crystal and pearl necklace

And finally, a couple of random designs, firstly one that reminds me of Arabic style patterns. I think I may make a necklace of this design too!

Little Koo - Cushion style earrings

And some fun drop earrings with large sparkly goldstone beads at the bottom:

Little Koo - Blue goldstone earrings

What do you think? I hope you like these designs!

Have you ever tried challenging yourself like this? I think you could do stash busting with all sorts of craft supplies. They really build up!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Little Koo jewellery giveaway!

I’ve decided it’s time for a giveaway! Up for grabs is this charm bracelet with your choice of coloured bead:

Little Koo sterling silver heart charm bracelet

It’s very simple, all you need to do is leave a comment below telling me which are your favourite Little Koo jewellery designs (you can pick up to 3 separate items). Please visit my Etsy shop to see the jewellery you can pick from.

You have one week to leave your comment to be entered into the draw. The giveaway closes at midnight on Friday 9th May. Only one entry per person (extra comments will be disregarded). This giveaway is international.

Take a look at the Little Koo Etsy shop to choose your favourites!

Good luck!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Featured blog: The Beading Gem’s Journal

After a bit of a break I’ve decided it’s time to re-start my regular posts featuring other Etsy shops and blogs that I love. I’ll be doing this once a fortnight. Today it’s the turn of Pearl from The Beading Gem’s Journal!

I first came across The Beading Gem’s Journal when I was researching various jewellery making techniques and other aspects of jewellery making. It just kept popping up in my searches with great articles so I added it to my Feedly and now I get a daily dose of jewellery goodness, from new techniques and online tutorials to features on other great jewellery makers. If jewellery making (or indeed jewellery in general) is your thing then I’d recommend you take a look!

Here is Pearl to tell you more about it…

Describe your blog in one or two sentences

I write an inspirational jewelry blog where readers learn all about jewelry and the art of the craft in an entertaining manner. Hence “Jewelry Expressions in Bloom” (Editor’s note: this is the tagline of The Beading Gem’s Journal)

green onyx earrings small

What made you decide to start a blog?

I started the blog simply because I did not have a website.  I needed something online to publicize my workshops back in Nova Scotia where I used to live. Initially I featured many of my students’ final creations.  The blog grew from there.

Blue Cord and Ribbon Necklace 1

Where do you get your inspiration?

Pretty well everything!  Nature, museum trips, historical jewelry,- even wallpaper patterns!  I have an open and imaginative mind and am prepared to try anything.

s Wire wrapped All My Love Inside Necklace modeled

What has been the highlight of working on your blog so far?

The most pleasurable part of writing the blog is the wonderful community that resulted. I have “met” so many inspirational designers and really warm and friendly people who share this craft.  When I started the blog, I wasn’t really keen on writing but after more than 7 years, I have grown to enjoy writing as another creative outlet.

Tagua Twist

What do you like to do when not working on your blog?

Making jewelry naturally!  But I also enjoy other crafts like crochet, sewing.  When the weather is better, I also like gardening. I enjoy photography and gawking at great designs – architecture, furniture etc.  I am also a bit of a bookworm.

crystal wire wrapped pendant s

What is coming up in future posts?

I never know what I might discover and share in future posts.  My blog is very fluid –  I try and share trends and great ideas as they happen.

What are your top three favourite blogs?

I have many favorite blogs covering a wide variety of topics reflecting my interests – so it is hard to choose.   PetaPixel is a photography blog I love.  I also enjoy the quirky Book of Joe. I used to write a lot for Trendhunter and I still enjoy reading their giant blog.

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Thanks Pearl! Please check out The Beading Gem’s Journal to dive into the beautiful world of jewellery crafting!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Bead making in Ghana

A few years ago some friends of ours lived and worked in Ghana for a couple of years and Tom and I took advantage of having friends in such an unusual location by popping over for a visit! We had such a great time seeing a country so unlike anywhere we’d been before (well, Tom went to Tanzania when he was quite young but he doesn’t really remember it) and seeing how our friends lived out there. I have a lot of respect for them, it was so much more of a lifestyle change for them compared to us moving to Hong Kong!

Our friends worked for an organisation called Global Mamas. The aim of the organisation is to employ local women to make handicrafts which can then be sold abroad, mainly in the US, at a profit to maintain the business. The idea behind it was to empower women to generate their own income as the male incomes are often unreliable. Our friends set up a new site for Global Mamas on the edge of a village called PramPram near Accra. They learned the process for batiking fabric and sewing clothes and then turned an abandoned site into a workshop and employed local women to create Global Mamas garments. Impressive stuff!

This is where our friends lived (by the sea – beautiful!). They had to make the house habitable before they could live there, it looked like really hard work!

Our friends house

While we were staying with them, we visited another Global Mamas site and my friend and I did a bead making workshop. It was such fun! We made very simple one-colour beads, although they make much more complicated ones there as well. So this is how you make beads:

1. Crush glass with a weighted pole (very heavy!) until it resembles a fine powder

1 Glass crushing

2. Sieve the glass to get out any large particles

2 Sieving glass powder

3. Take your moulds, which have holes in the bottom. Place a stick into the hole and cut with the blade so that the end of the stick is level with the top of the mould

3 Putting sticks in bead mould

4. Mix dye of your chosen colour into your glass powder

4 Mix glass powder with coloured dye

5. Fill your mould with the glass powder

5 Fill bead mould with glass powder

6. Put your mould into a kiln and leave for 15-20 minutes. The stick burns away leaving a hole in the middle of the bead! (clever!)

6 Put bead moulds in kiln

7. Remove the mould from the kiln and leave to cool

7 Cooling handmade beads

8. Tip the beads out of the mould and make a bracelet or necklace!

8 Finished handmade beads!

I have to admit I’d never given much thought before before to how beads are made. It was really interesting and the guy who showed us how to do it was lovely. He does this all day long, hot work in a hot country. Here are some of the other beads he makes:

Global Mamas handmade beads

You can buy jewellery made from Global Mamas handmade beads online, just click here to have a look!

Ghana was a lovely country to visit, full of very friendly people. It’s quite poor though, and people live pretty simple lives. It’s also very un-touristy so I think it would be a difficult country to visit if you didn’t know anyone there. I feel very privileged that we had the opportunity to see it.

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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