Sunday, 30 December 2012

Sorry I broke my promise...

Oh dear, I know I actually promised to blog within a month and then it got really busy with Christmas and now all of a sudden it's nearly January!

So, a quick resume: decorating got done, see before (well, during) and after photos below. Lots of horrible dark mahogany-ish stained wood painted a billion coats of white paint, walls painted "water" and a new stair carpet.

 I've had the busiest ever Christmas shopping season on the website, which was great. I barely had time to make any jewellery as I was packing orders and doing daily trips to the Post Office. Most popular this year were steampunk cufflinks, pocket watch charm necklaces and glasses chains. I sold a few steampunk designs in my Etsy shop too and have had lovely feedback from my customers. It's always nice to hear that people are happy with their purchases!


 As it's the end of the year, I'm having a sale on the website at with 15% off lots of designs - do come and have a browse! While that's going on, I've done a quick stock-take and am making more of the repeatable designs to replenish those running low after the Christmas buying frenzy! Once that's done I can make a start on using all the fantastic new charms I have, there will be some great new necklaces and some interesting cufflinks. That's all I'm saying for now, you'll have to visit the website or Facebook page (not making any more blog post promises!) to find out!

Bye for now,

Friday, 26 October 2012

News from Pirate Treasures!

Ahem, it's been a while (again) hasn't it?! My excuse this time is that I've been decorating non-stop for what seems like forever. I'll blog about that soon, with photographic evidence, when it's all finished.
Apart from painting, painting and more painting, I have opened a shop on Etsy at last. I've been intending to do it for a year, since leaving Folksy, so now it's done. I only opened it at the weekend so it isn't fully stocked yet, but I had a sale very quickly so that's good news!
At the moment there is some Day of the Dead inspired jewellery, steampunk jewellery and vintage inspired Paris charm jewellery in the shop. I will of course be adding more as soon as I can.

The website has some cool new jewellery too. I have been using some more of the charms I bought in the summer to make things like hot air balloon necklaces
and octopus earrings. These can be found in the Steampunk and Vintage sections on the website.

I have also been making some more Day of the Dead jewellery for the website, which is in the Contemporary jewellery section. I recently bought some glass chilli pepper charms, so have been adding them to the designs, along with some sugar skull beads I made myself from polymer clay and decorated with acrylic paints.

I'd better get back to painting the walls and leave you with a promise that I'll blog again within the next month!!

Monday, 30 July 2012

Lots of Vintage style and charms!

Hello again!
Over the last month I have bought a load of "vintage style" charms to make jewellery with. Okay, they aren't real vintage, but they are inspired by a vintage or retro style. Antique bronze and antique silver colours are very popular at the moment and there are so many lovely charms I could easily spend far more money than I actually have buying them all! So I have started with some and plan on more over the next few months. It's taken a few weeks to make jewellery with the ones I've bought so far and I still have drawers with things I'm planning on using when I have time. 

All these necklaces are available at the website here
in the Vintage necklaces section.

As the weather was hot and sunny last week I spent most of the time in the garden catching up with the weeding. The ridiculous amount of rain in June and the first half of July meant the garden had become rather overgrown. I'm a bit of a "fair weather gardener"! Yesterday we had lots of heavy showers so I designed two more necklaces and made eight of each.

Over the last couple of months I have read the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and absolutely loved it! Well, maybe "loved" isn't the right word. I was engrossed anyway. Then I came across some Mockingjay inspired charms and I had to make myself a necklace with one! So I decided to make a few necklace and earrings and dontate £4 from each necklace and £2.50 from each pair of earrings to the War Child charity as I thought it suitable. The necklace is here and the earrings here

I recently had a lovely customer who commissioned me to make a special necklace for her friend - I can't put up a photo yet as the birthday hasn't happened yet - but this customer also purchased two other of my necklaces, the really full statement charm necklaces, so making more of them is on my list of things to do. As well as all the other things. I'd better get on with it then hadn't I?!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Paris trip 2012 Part 2

Well goodness me, I'm at it again with another blog post!

I thought I would share some photos, experiences and travel tips of last week's trip to Paris.

I live on the South London/Surrey border, so once we'd got on the second train at East Croydon, the first being too full (why use small trains with only four coaches on a very busy route in rush hour??), it was only a matter of a few stops to St Pancras International. That too was really busy and we got stuck behind a family of eight Americans with what appeared to be at least twenty pieces of luggage and no idea of how to proceed through customs ("you want me to take my belt off?", "a cell phone, yes I have a cell phone, oh I put it in the tray?" - how did they arrive in the UK in the first place? Anyway, after all that it was time to board straight away. 
There's not a lot to say about the Eurostar - it's a train that goes from London to Paris and takes about 2 1/2 hours. One thing I would recommend though, is to buy a pack or two of Carnet if you are planning on using public transport in Paris. These are books of 10 tickets which you can use on bus, Metro or RER trains and I was given a little map too. I had worked out our itintery mostly in advance so bought 3 Carnets. This made it easy when we arrived at Gare du Nord as we just headed for the Metro. Last year we got a taxi outside, but being a bit more familiar with it and looking at the routes in advance it was really easy to get to our hotel.
I booked the hotel and train tickets together on the Eurostar website. We stayed at the Tonic Hotel Louvre Tripadvisor link which was a bit shabby but the reception staff were friendly and spoke English and we were only staying for three nights. We didn't have the hotel breakfast - I has read that it was a bit pricey (most of Paris  is!), so I had packed cereal bars to eat in the room before we went out.
view from hotel room 

 The hotel is just a couple of minutes walk from Porte Pont Neuf entrance to Les Halles Metro station (line 4) which is in an underground shopping/leisure mall. The view from the hotel window above is looking towards Pont Neuf which crosses the river over Isle de la Cité where Nortre Dame cathedral is situated.
If you stay in the area, I'll point out that there are a few "corner shop" type shops selling fruit and groceries and there is a small supermarket on the corner of Rue du Louvre and R. Berger which is cheaper! There are loads of sandwich (think huge baguette rather than M&S) stalls and cafes around the north of Les Halles area but we found a nice boulangerie in Rue Montmartre where we bought ours for just under 4 euros.
Dinner can be a bit tricky if you have a vegetarian with you and are on a budget, but we found a nice Italian restaurant (la Perla) on rue Montorgueil where we ate pizza the first evening.
On Friday we went to Shakespeare & Company book shop, sat in a pretty garden, wandered around oustide Notre Dame and along to Jardin des Tuileries back on the other side of the river to eat our baguettes. We used to eat our morning pains aux chocolates here last year in August when it was very hot! This day it was sunny and then whoosh! the rain came down very heavily and the park was full of people trying to shelter under the trees! After the shower it brightened up again and we went out onto rue de Rivoli and caught the 69 bus to Champ de Mars where the Eiffel Tower is located.
Jardin des Tuileries
Tour Eiffel

After another vegi-friendly restaurant struggle we found another nice reasonably priced little restaurant called the Royal in rue de Grenelle (just a couple of roads off the park or the bus area). My internet research has suggested that buses stop running at 8pm so I had worked out a RER route back. However, this isn't true as the pocket map and the timetables on the bus stop showed that some of the buses stop at 10pm. We got the 69 back to rue de Rivoli.
On Saturday we took the Metro (line 4 to Porte de Cliggnancourt) to Les Puces (flea markets) I had read so much about. It's a good idea to Google first to get an idea and find directions - I used this blog for directions and somewhere (can't find where!) I printed off info about all the markets - there are several in the area so it's best to have an idea if you want to look at bric a brac and vintage bits (and overpriced tat too!) in the little alleyways of Marché Vernaison or more expensive designer furniture of Marché Dauphine etc. We didn't look much further as there was a LOT of walking involved and some people aren't keen on walking and shopping! We got crepes from a stall in the slightly intimidating Malik modern clothes market for lunch and headed back to the station.
From here we went to Abbesses Metro to visit Montmarte and Sacre Coeur.
Abbesses Metro station

Basilique du Sacre-Coeur
Just a word of warning - it is VERY steep and there are about a million steps to climb to get to Sacre-Coeur! Well, it is the highest point in Paris. You will take photos of the view, but to be honest, it's not a very nice one, just some tatty rooftops and no pretty architecture from this angle!
After sitting for a while, buying souvenirs and wandering round the square and the town (we went the wrong way to the Metro, don't use their "you are here" maps - they point the wrong way!!) we went back via Line 12 to Concorde and Line 1 to Louvre-Rivoli. 
We had dinner just round the corner to the hotel in the Indiana Bar (how French!) on the  corner of rue Berger and rue Prouvoires. Enchiladas and burgers!
As it was a nice evening we crossed Pont Neuf and had a walk along the river and around the side streets. 
Pont-Neuf Metro station

Pont Neuf

Dude on a Horse (Henri IV)

In the morning we had crepes and hot chocolate/coffee in a pavement café on the corner of rue Montorgueil before we caught the Metro back to Gare du Nord and home.

I hope you've enjoyed reading and have a pleasant stay in Paris either in real life or imagination!!

Oh yes, it also inspired me to make these, available now here, more to come in a similar theme at very soon...


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Paris Part One - Pop'pea

I've just come back from a few days in Paris, so thought I would do a couple of blog posts.
Our first evening was spent at the theatre. How grand!

It was by lucky coincidence that one of our favourite musicians, Carl Barat (the Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things and now a solo artist) was starring in a modernised version of Monteverdi's opera "L'incoronazione di Poppea" retitled "Pop'pea" as it is now a pop/rock/opera combo. It happened to be school half term that week and  we were able to get tickets for the last night, 7th June. 
Theatre du Chatelet has massive glass doors and a huge foyer, but inside the auditorium it's a lovely old gold and red velvet traditional theatre.

Theatre du Chatelet
 Our seats were in the Amphitheatre - the highest you can go, but apart from the railings which were at my eye level we had a good view.

Rebecca & Jimmy

Gary & me

I really enjoyed the play. It had an eclectic mix of music played by a live band and sung by the actors (rock, opera, ballad, hip hop) telling the story of Nero's infatuation with Poppea. There is passion, betrayal, murder plots, bribery, fire, cake, love and more murder as the tale unfolds! 
The costumes were great, the sets were minimalist BUT used some interesting multimedia effects. It's quite difficult to describe the use of blue screen and on-stage props as they were at times a bit bizarre - for example Nero (Carl Barat) was amongst some giant cakes and Ottone (Benjamin Biolay) in one scene is sitting on a dinner table and either he's become tiny or the table is huge! I have a drama student daughter and I thought it was perhaps Brechtian in the way the props (eg wires to move a motorcycle and the rider's scarf) were operated on stage with  no pretence. My daughter thought the multimedia was a bit over-used like a child with a new toy!
When in one scene Carl as Nero plays guitar it did make me miss seeing him play his own music though (it's been over a year since we saw him at the 100 Club and Koko)!
It's too late for you to go and see it, but fingers crossed it may be released on dvd. Have a look at the Pop'pea blog for photos and video clips of the show.

I'll be back with a blog post featuring various Parisian lamp posts and Metro signs in the next couple of days. I'm off to drink some coffee and make some Paris inspired jewellery now...


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Make do and Mend and other stories...

Well it's been over a month again, so what have I been up to all this time?
One thing is sewing. I'm not exactly perfect at this, as my Needlework teacher ("needlework", were we in Victorian times at my school?) would tell you, poor woman, my inability to read a sewing pattern was astounding and I handed in two unfinished and quite horrible blouses for my exam piece. But in these times of austerity one must "make do and mend", so as I dicovered a lack of wearable trousers in my wardrobe, I decided to turn bootcut ones which had been hanging there unworn for a few years into straight legged ones. Simples, as a meerkat would say. I pinned the legs into a straight shape and tried them on - probably should have tacked them first as pins are a bit pointy, they were a decent fit so out came my trusty sewing machine which my parents bought me for my 21st birthday. All was going swimmingly until it came to the hem. I'm short (5 foot nothing) so had taken the hems up a fair bit prevoiusly and didn't think to unpick the hems before whizzing along with the machine. As you can probably guess, it all got into a tangled and jammed mess, the needle wouldn't budge so I had to dismantle it and somehow jabbed it down my nail (ouch) and after about 10 minutes of fighting, bits of threads and a small amount of blood everywhere (luckily they were black trousers!) I got it all free and managed to finish it off. What a drama! Anyhow, I've now got two extra pairs of trousers to wear - hurrah!

Jewellery I have  made over the last few weeks includes a couple of charm bracelets in the Contemporary and Vintage inspired ranges, pirate theme bracelets, "Skeleton Lady" necklaces and increasing stock levels of some of the pirate hair beads which have been quite popular recently.

Birds & Bees bracelet in the Contemporary range
Paris theme bracelet in the Vintage collection

Pirate charm bracelet

Skeleton Lady choker
Skeleton Lady beaded necklace

 For my blog about the stamping course I went on and cards, gift tags and arty stuff check out my other blog at the Emporium of Curiosities. I've been adding more stuff to the Emporium on the Pirate Treasures website, I've sold quite a few ACEOs since I opened the Emporium, which is really cool. I just wish there were more hours in the day to sit and make jewellery and get inky with my stamps as I have loads of ideas! So on that note I'd better click "publish" and get on with starting the next lot of bracelets and necklaces I have planned. All I'm saying is Day of the Dead. Details in the next blog...(or probably on Facebook first!)


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Pirate Treasures is popular on Facebook!

Last night the Pirate Treasures Facebook page reached 500 Likers. Pretty cool, eh? So I decided to do a little giveaway to celebrate. As you may know, it's against Facebook rules to do giveaways (not sure why), so this is called the Pirate Treasures Market Research Campaign. To enter all you have to do is be a "liker", comment on the post I made (on the Facebook page) saying which category of jewellery from the website you like most (pirate jewellery, Steampunk, vintage inspired jewellery, contemporary, kitsch or men's jewellery). You have until 6pm on Thursday 22nd March. After that I will put all the names into my trusty bowler hat and pull out a winner. That person will get a prize based on the type of jewellery they chose. Makes sense?

Aside from devising competitions, I have been mostly making pirate theme charm necklaces with my Pirate Treasures logo plectrums. I have both silver and gold versions in five different colours - red, purple, blue, black and white.

I've just done a stock take and I'm about to go and make more of some of the repeatable designs which are running low. 
On Saturday I'm going to a rubber stamping class in London, so no doubt will then be in the card and gift tag and ACEO making zone - expect more of them on the website over the next month!


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pirate Treasures is 5 years old!

Hello again!
It's just occurred to me that the first incarnation of the website went live 5 years ago (Well, 5 years last week, but I only just realised!). So to celebrate I have decided to give everyone 10% off their orders (excluding p&p) from now until midnight on Friday 24th. All you have to do is enter the code 5years2012 when you go through checkout.
I must have subconsciously remembered as I decided to revamp the homepage a bit. Well, the website as a whole now has a fancy frame border and the homepage has new photos. I think it looks pretty stylish. I will get round to taking new photos for the category pages too, but have to wait for a nice bright day! 

My Twilight saga inspired jewellery range is nearly all sold out. When it's gone, it's gone - I won't be making any more and will be deleting the section from the website, so if you want some you'd better hurry! 10% of the money from the Twilight range is dontated to the British Heart Foundation, so it's all for a good cause - to keep more human hearts beating...

Latest makes on the website are:

< this necklace with a china owl, scissors and heart charms and beads, which can be found here.

A whole bunch of steampunk jewellery here 
New necklaces, rings, cufflinks, brooches and earrings made with lovely mechanical watch and pocket watch movements and parts. I couldn't resist keeping one of the key necklaces for myself!

The Contemorary range has some new lariat style necklaces. I sold two the day I listed them, so have made some more!
 Right now, there's red & black, green, pink, silver and brown in stock and I'm planning a purple one to make next. Some are on silky cord and some on faux suede. Some have beads and charms at each end and some have them interspersed at knotted intervals all along the length of them.

Well that's all for me for now, got to go and pack an order, plan the purple necklace and get pancakes made!