March Shop News

March is here and spring is on our doorstep. Probably…

I have added some new clipon earrings to my Etsy shop, varied and fun!

Sunday was, apparently, International Women’s Day and I am, as always, late to the party. However, I couldn’t let that pass without a few links to posts about our awesome women. These ladies prove you can do more than you ever thought possible!

Joan Macdonald (74) achieves amazing weight loss!

Yvette Lundy: French Resistance fighter from World War II. She died last year, at 103

Mary Eliza Mahoney became the first African American licensed nurse, graduating in 1879

Eleanor Wadsworth, currently 101 years old, is the last surviving female pilot from WW2.

Emmeline Pankhurst is best remembered for organising the UK suffragette  movement and helping women win the right to vote.

Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.

Boudicca was queen of the Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the the Roman Empire around AD 60

Oh, and on the subject of amazing women, for those of you celebrating at the end of next week, have a great Mothers’ Day!

February Shop News

We’ve had some hefty gales hammering the UK recently – I hope the weather is nicer where you are!

Its nice and warm indoors, so that’s where I’ve been hiding, busily making stuff…

I’ve got a new selection of beautiful handmade ceramic earrings with Czech glass beads. These little darlings are available on my Etsy Shop.

Summer dangles!

My clearance range is growing rapidly and still has lots of cool stuff, with lots of bargains still to be found. Check out my SALE!

February houses Valentine’s Day, and I hope you have a lovely day with your partner, or perhaps find somebody to share the day with. In the UK, Valentines’ Day is primarily for romantic couples, but I gather that in the USA, the love theme expands to include family and friends and I think that’s rather nice.

If you want a laugh, scoot over to YouTube and take a gander at Simon’s cat’s (I love these cartoons!) Valentine’s Day story ‘Love Me, Love My Cat’.

January shop news

So. Been a busy girl this week! I promised you some new products, and the first of these are now up at my Etsy shop. There are four, for now, very pretty Swarovski crystal heart earrings with sterling silver ear wires. They come in colours (the crystals, not wires!) of Siam red, Fuschia, rose, and heliotrope.

I’ve also been doing a bit of housekeeping, so to speak. I’ve been making a lot more earrings and to emphasise this, I have re-arranged the categories into alphabetical order.

In addition, I’ve added a new clearance line. There are only a few things there so far, but I will be adding a lot more soon – and the best bit is – because I’ve dropped prices on those, you get some great deals!

First post, new year

Happy New Year! I hope that 2020 will be great for all of you!

Did you all have a good Christmas? Are you keeping warm in this cold weather? Or cool, if you hail from somewhere warmer…

Rosebay hasn’t been posting much lately but I have been making some lovely things and I promise there will be some exciting products coming along very shortly. Please keep watching this space and I will keep you informed. I will also endeavour to make a quick weekly news post so that you know that I’m not skiving or eloped with the milkman. Although, he does do a nice line in dairy…

New Bag Charms and Christmas Ordering Dates

Hi all!

I have some brand new leather hand-plaited bag/purse decorations inspired by the brilliant cultures of Celtic and Viking. These are part of my new range of historically inspired jewellery and accessories and these will be introduced to you soon. In the meantime, these are already up on my Etsy shop, and retail at £14 – £16.

If you love Christmas you will be all excited by my next topic, and if you aren’t, you might want to find somewhere safe to gibber quietly until I’ve gone away again.

Did you know there are only 35 days until Christmas? Yeah… 35. You’re glad you popped in now, aren’t you?

With this revelation in mind, here are my last ordering dates for Christmas:

Monday, December 16 for UK first class mail

The rest of the world using the International Standard (formerly known as Airmail) service the dates are:

  • Saturday, December 7 for Eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand
  • Tuesday, December 10 for Canada and USA
  • Thursday, December 12 for Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Portugal, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland,Spain, Belgium, France, Ireland and Luxembourg

I will be closing for Christmas after my last date for UK orders (Monday December 16) and will reopen again after Christmas – usually Boxing Day. (December 26)

Right then. Lets have some fun links now, shall we?

Have you ever wondered what is the most expensive piece of jewellery ever? Here are the top 7

History of high heels

The Cheapside Hoard – jewellery hidden for 300 years

Discovery of Bronze age sword

Butser Ancient Village

If you like your history hands-on, this could be the place for you.

Situated about 5 miles south of Petersfield in Hampshire, England, Butser is an open air museum, a ‘living history’ experiment, that tries to re-create the bygone ways of life. It now has reconstructions of ancient homes from the stone age and includes Iron Age and Anglos Saxon dwellings, as well a Roman villa, all of which you can wander around.

Butser was originally funded in 1970 by the Council for British Archaeology, and was intended as a working archaeology experiment to learn more about the old ways of life, and to test theories on agriculture and domestic economy. Butser now has a number of rare breeds on site, such as Manx Loaghtan sheep from the Iron Age and Soay sheep from Scotland and these are said to be be typical of the sheep around in the Bronze Age and early Iron Age. These are very independent animals that cannot be worked by sheepdogs. Butser also has goats and, sometimes, pigs, although these are more seasonal to the site. Apparently the Celts regarded pigs in very high regard.

The site is open to the public most of the year, but check for times as the winter season has shorter hours. Butser gets a lot of school parties, and on occasion they do hire the venue out – not surprisingly a lot of filming has taken place here – and at certain times they run workshops and courses for visitors. Sadly there was none of these in operation when we visited, which was a little disappointing.

However, this made no difference to our enjoyment of the day. We visited on a glorious summer day – there was a school party but they didn’t really bother us and it was otherwise fairly quiet. It was quite amusing to watch the children encounter the various unfamiliar animals and dwellings, and in predictable child humour the outside loo created lots of ribald hilarity!

My favourite was the Saxon Longhouse, based on excavations of an Anglo-Saxon settlement found in the nearby village of Chalton. The archaeology discovered a large rectangular structure with opposing doors in the middle of the long sides of a dividing interior wall. The structure made at Butser is primarily of English oak, sweet chestnut and hazel, and has a thatched roof.

The building was really cosy inside, with an open fire on the left hand side when entering, and with benches huddled around on three sides. We were told that Butser sometimes has evenings with the public where everyone gathers here and tells stories. That sounded like huge fun and we were sad to have missed that – we would be tempted to go back to the village just to take part!

The work on all the buildings is ongoing, and we particularly noticed this at the villa. This was the first Roman villa to be built with authentic materials and techniques for over 1,600 years. Work on the floors began in 2017 and when we visited, they were installing a real mosaic floor. It looked intricate and fiddly and I’m sure it will be beautiful when its finished, and the process looked fascinating. Apparently Butser has its own Roman re-enactment society, and this makes the perfect headquarters for them!

All in all it was a really enjoyable day, and although the village was smaller than we’d expected, it was still really worth the journey to see it. I had hoped for more insight into the fashions and jewellery of the time, but there was very little on view for those. The location is very open and the view down over the surrounding countryside is lovely. Most of the village is fairly flat and would be fine for most people, and the management state that the site is completely wheelchair accessible. However, the area is pretty much all grass and I would imagine that on a very wet day, it could get very muddy and probably hard going for anyone with mobility issues.

A great day out for the family!

Fun bag decorations and fun links

I have 6 new beautiful, and colourful, Sari Silk bag decorations. These pretties will add a lovely splash of colour to your bags, belts, rooms, or anywhere else you want to display them!

No two are alike – different colours, different swivel claps, and differing lengths from around 9 – 16 inches! (or 24 – 39cms) These are fun and funky and the Sari Silk comes from an ethical supplier dealing with women’s co-operatives in India.

These start at £14 and will be on sale between my Etsy and Folksy shops.

Okay, so how about a bunch of fun links?

New clothes for Barbie’s 60th Birthday

Fabulous Bronze Age Necklace found and giving insight into life 4.000 years ago

Roman glass found at Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire, believed to have come from Ukraine.

Make-up tips from the Ancient Egyptians

And the man who wears Regency

What is Steampunk?

What is Steampunk?

That’s a good question, as it seems to mean different things to different people. Even the definition of Steampunk alters depending on who you talk to, so for the purposes of this simple guide, I am giving you the definition as I understand it. Any products or accessories from the genre can only be subjective, for that reason. When people ask me what Steampunk is about, they don’t want a long-winded explanation, they just want a short answer, and in that case, I will generally call it ‘Victorian science fiction’. Its more complicated than that, of course, as we shall see.

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When did Steampunk start?

Many people believe the genre to be rooted in the 19th Century novels of the French author, Jules Verne. Of course, he didn’t know he was writing Steampunk – or science fiction, for that matter – as both terms hadn’t been invented then. H.G Wells is another candidate for the steampunk storyteller crown, and after the term was introduced – around 1987, there have been plenty of authors actively writing in the genre since.

What elements make up Steampunk?

If you want to write in the genre, or make your own costumes, jewellery and accessories, you’ll want some clue as to where to begin. I don’t think you can go too far wrong by starting in the Victorian era, and then adding layers. Or distorting layers. Corsets, for instance – we all know that the ladies used to lace them up and then hide them under their dresses and bodices. Not so with Steampunk – wear them loud and proud ladies! (or gents, if you are so inclined…) Use bright colours, fancy materials, or moody leathers, and pop them on over your dress or shirt for maximum impact! No longer need they be devices of torture, they can now be fun and sexy.

Time is a prominent component and gadgets feature heavily, too. The quirkier the better. Have them steam-powered, or using technology available in the Victorian era but spiced up as much, or as little, as you want. Fancy having a steam-powered computer? Why not? Its your world – play with it!

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Materials for making Steampunk jewellery

The world is your oyster!

Think found objects – you can have such fun scouring car boot sales, thrift stores and charity shops for the items listed below, and once you get your eye in, I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with lots of your own ideas, too.

Think mad scientist – curiosities, test tubes, scientific bits and pieces

Think mechanics – copper, steel, brass, locks and keys, valves, small nuts and tiny machine parts

Think Victorian – lace, cameos, chain, charms, flora and fauna, old broken jewellery and watches (please be careful if you disassemble old clocks and watches with glow-in-the-dark hands, as they may contain radium)

Think stones – amethyst, coral, jet, turquoise, pearls, onyx, ruby, etc

Think colours – black, grey, burgundy, red, purple. Mostly the colours were fairly natural in the Victorian era so not as bright as we’d be used to. Purple was discovered by accident by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. He was looking for an alternative to quinine (used to treat malaria) and started the trend for synthetic dyes instead when he discovered mauveine, which was made from aniline.

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Is Steampunk the only genre of its type?

Nope! 

Whereas Steampunk is generally Victorian/Edwardian, rough timelines for some of the others include:

Cyberpunk – 1960’s and 1970’s

Dieselpunk – war eras 1920’s to 1945

Atompunk – atomic age, circa 1945- 1965

And then there’s

Solarpunk – a wonderful, positive, Utopian world where everyone is equal, power is clean and renewable. I think I like that optimistic future… lets try for that, shall we?

Bath Fashion Museum

My design inspiration can come from anywhere – a random comment from a friend or family member, an interesting colour combination, or something I’ve seen while out and about. But because I love historical jewellery, often the initial spark will come from that, and there is nothing quite like actually going to visit a good fashion or jewellery collection to see the item sitting in front of you.

Earlier this year we scooted off to Bath to visit the Fashion Museum. It’s a beautiful place and was certainly well worth the journey. The museum has a lovely selection of clothing and often does extra exhibitions. It was one of these that I wanted to see – namely a collection called Royal Women. This exhibition has finished now, but if you are in the Bath area, please go and visit; their standard exhibition is worth the trip on its own!

A quick warning about Bath if you have mobility issues. This area of Bath is very hilly, and something of a mountain goat trek, but there is one of those on-off tour buses that covers all the main attractions and costs around £16. The museum itself is in a very old – and very lovely – 18th Century Georgian house with lots of stairs. The conveniences are down a couple of flights of stairs but the museum is accessible for all, just speak to a member of staff who will escort you to the lift. For the record, all of the staff we spoke to were extremely polite and professional, and I’m sure they will be able to sort out any problem you may have.

This elegant house was designed by John Wood the Younger and finished in 1771. There are some impressive inter-connecting Assembly Rooms, picture of the Ballroom below, and these, as are many old buildings in Bath, also available for public hire. The Assembly Rooms are lit by nine 18th Century chandeliers, measuring an average of 8 feet in height and were made from Whitefriars Crystal (from the Whitefriars Glass works in London). These chandeliers were originally lit by between 40-48 candles per chandelier, changing to gas in the 19th century and then altered again for electricity.

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The standard exhibition here is ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’ and shows off a fabulous collection of items from the 1600’s to the present day and includes dresses, shoes, underclothes and men’s wear as well. Alongside the Georgian and Regency clothes you will also find more contemporary fashion sporting names like Christian Dior and Norman Hartnell.

But my reason for visiting the Museum was to the see the ‘Royal Women’ display, and in particular, this stunning mauve/purple wedding dress originally belonging to Princess Alexandria in 1863.

It did not disappoint, and my picture doesn’t really do it justice, but it was every bit as beautiful as it looked in the pictures I’ve seen of it.

The Royal Women display also included clothing from Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret.

The Museum has a small display of clothing for dressing up purposes, for both adults and children. Several children were having a whale of time in there when we passed through, but sadly there was nothing in there in my size.

Children can also take part in a sticker trail (info from reception) and there are drawing cards in the galleries to amuse them.

There is cafe which serves a variety of tasty items but we can personally vouch for the delicious cake on offer!

A nice shop selling books and knick-knacks was available, too. I bought a book covering the ‘100 objects’ collection and a little booklet for the visiting Royal Women collection as well.

Bath has an abundance of museums and art exhibitions as well, and you definitely should see the Roman Baths – yes, the remains are really that old – and still pretty impressive. If you intend to visit both the Fashion Museum and the Roman Baths, you can buy a combined ticket to save a little money. We didn’t visit the Baths on this occasion, as we’ve been to the city before, but the Bath complex also houses the ruins of the Temple Sulis Minerva and a bronze head of the Goddess is on display in the adjoining museum.

Jewellery for all

It surprises me how many people have difficulty finding the right jewellery. I’m not talking here about the difficulties of choosing between that lovely pair of red drop earrings or the spectacular emerald green ones (buy both!)

I firmly believe that jewellery should be available to all, and yet, so many of us struggle to achieve this simple goal, and for many different reasons.

Sizing

Not being a standard size myself, I do understand the frustration of not being able to find something to suit your personality. This is actually one of the reasons I started to make my own jewellery in the first place. I think its better now than it used to be, but the situation is still far from perfect. For this reason, I now use extension chains on a lot of my jewellery to make them adjustable, I might make them multi-size or sometimes do a selection of sizes but not only can this can get very expensive, but isn’t really practical as quite a few of my designs are one-off unique creations.

Some of my pieces are in ‘an average’ size, simply because I have to choose a size to make the item in, and since I am running a business, this needs to be what most of my customers require. However, I am aware that there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ and not everyone fits neatly into one category. Nor would I want them to. Wouldn’t that be boring if we all had the same shape?

Materials

Lots of you have allergic reactions to standard jewellery components. The most common is with ear wires, and because of this most of my wires are sterling silver. Unfortunately, a surprising amount of you can’t wear sterling silver, and this is where it gets interesting because in spite of what the manufactures tell you, there is no such thing as ‘safe for everybody’ wires. Most of my wires are fairly safe. I use lots of sterling silver, hypo-allergenic niobium, goldfill (these are 14k gold-plated) stainless steel, and occasionally, titanium as well. If you have sensitive ears it might be best to steer clear of copper ear wires. I stock them because so many people like them, and copper earrings are beautiful, but they are not hypo-allergenic and the copper has a tendency to go green, so these might best be avoided if you have problems with jewellery components.

A selection of wires from my current stock

Ability

Jewellery can be fiddly for the best of us, and if you have, for instance, arthritis or mobility issues, putting on jewellery can, quite literally, be a pain in the neck. Even something as simple as being left-handed can be a nuisance in dressing day to day. I know you get used to it. Yes, I’m sure you can cope perfectly well, but if it bothers you, why suffer when you might not need to? There are often ways around these problems. But I can’t help if I don’t know what the problem is.

What to do

Come and talk to me. I will not share anything you tell me with anyone else unless you want me to. Nor will I judge you. I just want to help you find the fun and pleasure that everyone deserves. Nobody should be excluded from expressing themselves in this way simply because of their size, age, gender, or physical ability. I like to think that between us, we can find a style that will work for you. I don’t generally make custom pieces, but usually that’s not necessary. I would be happy to advise on which of my products could be suitable for your needs, and a lot of items can be adjusted to work for you – like changing a fastening, ear wires, or adding an extension, for instance. In special circumstances I would consider making something just for you, but unless you ask, that’s not going to happen, is it?