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How to: Rain Drop Necklace

You might notice we love working with these tiny glass beads, and the blue/white/yellow combo is one of our favourites for the summer months. This tutorial uses similar tools and techniques to last week’s eyepin necklace, but this one we make with craft wire instead of ready made pins, as it bends a bit better and gives us more length!

You will need:

42 x 3mm blue beads, 32 x 3mm yellow beads, 22 x 3mm white beads (or whatever colours you have/like!)

3 x 12cm strips of 6mm craft wire

Flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters

Chain in your choice of colour and length

1 x 8mm ring

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Firstly, using your round nose pliers, grip the end of one piece of wire 1cm down from the top and bend at a right angle. Turn your hand up and over, wrapping the wire around the pliers and making a loop. Don’t panic if it’s not right first time – keep practising!

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Thread 42 blue beads on to the piece of wire, and then trim down so you have 1cm left on the other end too.

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Repeat the earlier steps to make a loop here. You can then bend this into a rain drop shape – pretty!

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Repeat this all with your yellow and white beads to make decreasingly smaller rain drop shapes.

Grab your flat nose pliers, and gently prise open one of the loops on your blue drop by bending it towards you. Now hook the other loop through the open one, and close again. Repeat with the yellow and white drops.

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If your 8mm loop is a jump ring that can be opened, use your flat nose pliers to open it and thread all 3 of your drops on through one of their loops. If your ring doesn’t open (like mine!) you’ll need to reopen your loops, hook on to the ring and close them again.

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Almost there! Choose whichever length and colour of chain & thread you like and simply pop through the ring.

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Voila! One rain drop necklace all finished. Do in many different sizes and colours for much fun and jewellery making joy.

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The Importance of Sequins

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Ever since I’ve been old enough to dress myself I’ve been old enough to not just want, but need to wear sequins and at any and all given opportunities. So imagine my pure joy to read that not just sequins, but casual sequins were going to be a hot trend for Fall 2016….pass the glitter bucket, I need to submerge myself.

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The love of sequins is a straightforward one – they’re sparkly and bright and attention grabbing and make you look like a walking talking disco ball. Maybe you have to wear a boring uniform to work, or your life is difficult and tedious and you’ve not been having much fun lately? Put on a sequin dress and get ready to be cured of your day to day problems, mainly through the sheer mass of compliments you’ll get from drunk girls in toilets – generally known to be the best people in the world. And if the thought of turning all heads as you Beyonce stride your way into anywhere frightens you, remember that this is yet another joy of sequins: if people are blinded by how fabulous your outfit is, they’re pretty unlikely to notice your adult acne or wonky teeth or that one of your arms is longer than the other. Sequins just give, give, give and ask only that you hoover them up off your bedroom floor on a semi regular basis.

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Even better than this is that this emerging trend absolutely encourages the casual sequin, and presents itself in some awesome daytime staples: sequin jeans, sparkly bomber jackets, shiny silver sweatshirts? Yes please. Why should the sequin queens among us be restrained to nighttime activities only? Pop a sequin jacket on for your morning commute and tell me you don’t feel like a fabulous cross between Lady Gaga and and attendee of Gatsby’s mansion.

Mermaid Sequin Jeans – Topshop

And although writing about the important of sequins makes me feel a bit like Elle Woods writing about the ‘History of Polka Dots’ in Legally Blonde, I think there’s a lot to be said for finding happiness in the small things. Call me shallow or silly but wearing glitter shoes for the day would make me feel just that little bit better about life, and seeing someone on the bus with the confidence to rock a sequin bomber jacket would make me unquestionably joyous.

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Put perfectly for Vogue by Julia Hobbs: “My advice? It’s time to ditch the round-the-clock wardrobe staples. Fail-safe shopping is now a shopping fail; it now pays to look like you’ve had fun in making an effort to dress up. Particularly when your dress lights up the room. Like, actually.”

The timing of this fits in perfectly with the event of the summer: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. What better advocate was there ever for OTT dressing than Eddie? In her sunglasses, towering platforms and ‘Lacroix’ emblazoned tops, if we ever needed a poster girl for the fancy-dressing-at-all-times movement it has to be Jennifer Saunders in this 90’s role.

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This is the kind of trend that obviously makes us deeply happy in craft land because what it means to us is: embellishment. We sell beautiful sequins on their own and by the metre, so you can buy whichever colour you like, and spend an evening adorning all the boring old t-shirts you own. And why stop at sequins? There’s a massive selection of beads that would do just as wonderful a job – tiny glass rocailles to created intricate patterns with, to multicoloured crystal hexagons to stitch around a neckline. More is more with this trend – there’s no such thing as overdressed in this world.

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5 Reasons We Love The Contemporary Craft Festival

With the Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey having finished over a week ago, we’re only just getting ourselves settled back in to normal shop life; featuring indoor trading, ant-free lunches and a notable lack of bar. In memory of another awesome year selling at our favourite show, I thought I’d put together a list of reasons why we’re still quite so obsessed with it. Enjoy!

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1. People appreciate a good button

This is in no way to suggest that our regular shop customers don’t appreciate a good button, but if you were to take all the ones who REALLY appreciate a good button and put them all in one place, that place would be the Contemporary Craft Festival. We can take our fanciest, most beautiful, most special buttons and be safe in the knowledge that lots of punters will be excited about them as we are. I suggested this theory to one lady buying some of our enamelled shank yellow flower buttons (swoon), who replied “Yes! I absolutely appreciate a good button.” Case closed.

2. The level of craft wonderfulness

The foundation to why this show is so successful and so popular must be that the level of crafters showcasing their creations inside (and outside!) the marquees is so high. How exciting to walk around the tents, cooing and swooning over all these original handmade products and ideas and to discuss it with the maker face to face. This year both Mattie and I bought something awesome from the gentleman at Vinegar and Brown Paper, which made me proper giddy with excitement. There was also some beautiful work in the start up area, and we both fell for the geometric jewellery at Eleanor Jane Jewellery. I think even with an infinite budget, you couldn’t buy everything you wanted at this show….

3. The community spirit

Mattie thinks this is possibly the 8th/9th year trading over at Bovey, so every year it’s great to catch up with the familiar faces & friends. One of my favourite groups of people to catch up with the show are the guys from Pocketwatch Theatre company, this year dressed up as the Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts and Alice. They’re some of the friendliest people we get to hang out with every year, and I loved sitting round a toadstool table with them while they drank tea, having a chat with the Mad Hatter about his wooden-spool needs and seeing them under huge rainbow umbrellas when the rain hit. There’s also our lovely friends who run Felt Folk, who truly out glammed us at the private view event on the Thursday – we’ll remember to up our game in 2017!

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4. The Little Touches

The whole event was rebranded as a ‘Contemporary Craft Festival’ rather than a Craft Fair a couple of years ago, and when you visit it’s easy to see why. The whole atmosphere of the event makes me feel like something quite like a festival (but much less muddy) – seeing the same people every day, eating all the delicious food (waffles were the best!), seeing people asleep in deck chairs, chatting with strangers all day, and my favourite: 4pm bar run time. Working at the festival is weirdly knackering, so we always treat ourselves to a cheeky glass of wine from the lovely bar around 4pm. It’s a hard life…

5. That’s the way to do it

I’m aware this is an entirely personal one, but for me it’s always Punch and Judy –  potentially, I think, one of the most undervalued comic performances ever. We’ve been there enough years now that we recognise the puppeteer, and I feel in a major way that he is my hero. Last year my mum bought me one of his colour-in posters, which is a very cool sentence and I have no shame about this. The baby getting made into sausages, the crocodile eating people, the devil having fights with Mr Punch? It’s utter madness and I just can’t get enough of it.

This really only covers a very small selection of reasons why this event is so fabulous, and that’s before you even get to the masses of hard work that must go into it from the organisers. If you haven’t been before, we’ll be sure to remind you about it constantly in June next year. See you then!

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Be Our Valentine

Valentine’s Day

It’s finally getting too near to deny it anymore. This Sunday. It’s happening. We’re not overly keen on the celebrations here at Bunyip, since we’re all working or away entertaining the extended family, so we’ve put together a collection of wonderful things you can make for yourself, or a loved one, or your cat. We’re not here to judge.

Wooden Heart Hanger

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For the minimal effort enthusiasts – we sell these awesome cut out wooden hearts in loads of beautiful bright colours. String one on a pretty piece of thread and hang in the window for instant prettiness.

Button Hearts

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One of our favourite things to make ever, button hearts are easily whipped up out of your button stash. You need some craft wire (we go for 0.6mm silver plated, grab some here) and lots of pretty buttons of a similar size. Lay them out first so you know what you’re doing, and then cut yourself a nice long piece of wire – exactly how long depends on the size of your heart. Start by threading on your button that’s right at the bottom of your heart onto the middle of the wire, and then thread your others on evenly to either side, shaping nicely at the top into an attractive heart shape. Once your buttons are meeting at the top, twist the two ends together, snip off any excess and tie on a nice piece of clear nylon or thin ribbon.

Felt Hearts

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What better way to fill those lonely hours than cutting out loads of felt hearts, popping them all through a sewing machine and making yourself some lush felty garlands? Pro tip: make these in black and grey to curb your romance induced nausea.

Heart Charms – Earrings

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For instant jewellery making gratification there’s always earring making too. We have lots love and heart based things you could pop straight on an earring hook – just use a flat nosed plier to open the loop at the bottom of the earring hook, pop your charm of choice on, and close it! Note: we also have charms with skulls on. Just saying.

Beaded Hearts

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Not enough heart shaped wire fun for you? These beaded hearts are so sweet – a bit more complicated to make, but luckily we’ve whipped them up in lots of lovely colours already so you can just grab them straight from us. You’re our valentine really, lucky thing!

Heart Charms

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Another fun and easy jewellery make is just to pop one of these amazing charms on to a matching chain or sturdy piece of cord – then keep it for yourself. You’re the best.

There you have it, a whole host of things you could do this Sunday that don’t involve going outside or even opening the curtains. Add a large glass of wine and you’re kind of having the best day ever – win!

(P.S – we do have some secret actual Valentine’s cards to buy in the shop too – just don’t tell anyone.)

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New Kit: Pretty Jewellery Set

Introducing our newest jewellery making kit: the Pretty Jewellery Set!

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This necklace & bracelet kit has been designed to fill the gap between our classic Kids Necklace/Bracelet Kits and our other range of making kits. For the age range who love to string beads and are capable of working with a slightly thinner thread and smaller bead size combination, Mattie had her almost 6 year old little girl in mind.

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The kit is made up from a (obviously!) pretty selection of shiny 6mm plastic beads in either clear, pink or blue, and a beautiful rainbow selection of our crystal butterflies & shapes. These have already been attached to bails so no fiddly plier work, and you’ve got a sturdy cotton thread to string these on. Finished off with a chunky screw clasp to tie on so you can make it to any length you like and enough elastic to whip up a matching bracelet – we’re so pleased with this one!

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Our kits come with full instructions to follow and so make an ideal gift for the budding jewellery making enthusiastic – no extra beads or tools are required, you get absolutely everything you need all packaged up beautifully.

You can grab one of these kits here. The difficult part is choosing which colour to start with…