Sunday, 27 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and got to spend some quality time with their families and friends.

Thank you to all my customers for your orders and for supporting my business this year, you have helped to make it grow and have given me amazing opportunities.

I am so thankful to be doing what I love every day and look forward to making some new and exciting pieces in the New Year.

x Narelle

Friday, 11 December 2009

Busy as a Santa elf!


Hey all!

At the moment it feels like I am either working at my bench, or working at my part-time job.

The other morning at 3:30am when I returned home from a shift (I work night shift) I was starving. I then realised that I hadn't eaten for almost 2 days!
When I'm busy it's the little things like, eating & sleeping I tend to forget to do!

I'm not complaining though, far from it. I love being this busy.
If I'm not on a deadline or occupied with something I get bored so quickly.

I did have to be a little realistic this year though. As custom orders take some time to make I had to close my stores to catch up on orders.

I feel really bad for doing this but I didn't want to take on too much & then disappoint people if I wasn't going to get it all done in time.

I hope all is well in the studios of all my crafty friends.

x Narelle

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

I'm still here!


I apologise for my lack of Blogging & for the really bad photo above!
I have been so crazy busy lately, I'm finding it really hard to fit everything in.

Last month I had 2 markets on, one was a Twilight market on Friday night which I really enjoyed.

Also, this Saturday will be the first Blackbird Market
and I am really excited.
There is going to be a few other amazing crafters from the
Made-it community and I can't wait to meet them.

I am a little anxious though, as I am trying to get through a HUGE To Do list of things to take to the market, as well as getting all my orders out, plus working on wholesale orders as well.

Oh yeah, I am now doing wholesale orders for 2 fabulous websites!
I'll tell you more about them a bit later on when I have a little more time.
Gotta get back to my bench, so much to do!

x Narelle

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Going Green!


Over the past months I have been changing little things in my studio to make my practices Greener, not only for the Earth, but for my health as well.

* I finally found a non-toxic "pickle" (cute name given to a bath of acid to clean metal in!) so it's not harmful to breathe & can be diluted & safely disposed down the drain or on the garden.

* I found a "flux" (used to keep areas of the metal clean when soldering) that is non-toxic, not harmful to breathe whilst heated & is 100% bio-degradable.

* I no longer use rolls of paper towel to wipe pieces or my hands with, I use cotton towels & then wash these towels with my shower water.

* I bring home bubble-wrap & packing sheets etc, from work & re-use it in my packaging.

* And just recently I received an email from my metal manufacturer's stating that they now 100% recycle all of their metal! - Yay!
This is fantastic news, one less company mining our Earth!

If you are looking for a metal supplier I highly recommend A&E Metal Merchants.
You can also send your scrap to them to receive either store credit or a cheque.

Every little bit counts!

x Narelle

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Process of a resin ring

One thing I really do enjoy when reading a Blog is being taken behind the scenes with photo's.

I love seeing pictures of people's benches, studios, work areas etc, and just as much as I love seeing the finished pieces they've created in these areas, I love seeing the process of them being created.

So I thought, since my Blog is named 'At the Bench with Narelle' that's exactly what I'll do, I'll take you to my bench!

The above image is some of the steps in making one of my heartbeat resin rings.
1. Measuring up the ring shank so when it's soldered & hammered it will be the correct size.
2. Soldering the ring shank closed.
3. Hand forming the little hearts from bezel wire.
4. Soldering the heart bezel to flat sheet.
5. Polishing the ring.
6. Letting the resin cure.

There are a few more steps in between these, but I thought I'd just share some of them.
Plus is kinda takes twice as long to make something when you're stopping to take photo's!

Hope you enjoyed the process, I will definitely be posting some more.

x Narelle

Monday, 9 November 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award


Yay, I was awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award by Michelle who is a brilliant artist & photographer.
Thank you so much Michelle.
You can enjoy reading her Blog here.

There are 6 rules to keep this award growing:
1) Copy the award picture and post on your blog -
2) Thank the person who gave it to you and link to their blog - ✓
3) Write 7 things about yourself we don't know:
1. I was a professional dancer for 10 years.
2. I travel overseas every 18 months.
3. In high school I was infatuated with Corey Feldman. (Stand By Me, Lost Boys)
4. I work a part-time Night-shift job three nights a week.
5. I am a vegetarian.
6. I have a phobia of feet.
7. I am a control freak!
4) Choose 7 other bloggers to pass the award to - ✓
5) Link to those 7 other bloggers - ✓
Smooch Designs
6) Notify your 7 bloggers -

There, all done. The hard part was choosing only 7 great Blogs I read to give the award to!

x Narelle

Sunday, 8 November 2009

I miss this already!


Now don't get me wrong, I love coming home & there is no better feeling than when the plane touches down on home ground.
But I do really miss seeing the gorgeous beach above, the shopping & looking for things to do to fill our days or even doing absolutely nothing.

My holiday was fabulous & so relaxing, probably a little too much because I think it's going to take me a couple of days to get back into the fast pace I need to be at to get everything done for the next month!

Aloha for now.

x Narelle

Monday, 19 October 2009

Blackbird Summer Market


I got in!!!!!!!!

I am so excited.
Blackbird is a summer market that will be held monthly at The Newtown Worker's Club, corner of Brunswick St and Gertrude St, Fitzroy.

The market will have:

  • Vintage fashion
  • Up and coming Australian fashion and jewellery design
  • Artists and Craftsmen (and women)
  • Live music
  • Hot DJ sets
  • Awesome food and drinks
    ... all in the one place on a chilled out summer Saturday!

  • The first market will be on Saturday the 5th of December from 11am to 4pm.
    If you will be in the area on that day, pop on by my stall & say hello.

    Off to make some serious 'To Do' lists!

    x Narelle

    Sunday, 18 October 2009

    Lights, Camera & Action!


    Just a quick post to mention that my jewellery was seen on "Sunrise" on Friday morning - Joy!

    And a BIG thank you to all that purchased a cupcake charm to help raise money for Lort Smith Animal Hospital's 'Party for Strays' campaign.

    You still have today to get in and purchase yourself one if you haven't yet, here or over here!

    x Narelle

    Monday, 12 October 2009

    Featured


    Yay!

    I found out a few days ago that I was featured on a fantastic Blog;
    Handmade Kids
    - 'Unearthing funky handmade finds for kids.'

    It is a fantastic site with lots of wonderful ideas for gifts for friend's kids, nieces, nephews, grandchildren or even for your own little tykes.

    They feature great items fresh from the creator's crafty hands and Jemma usually updates the Blog every day.

    I am honoured to have had my baby/child's ID bracelet on there and will wear this badge proud!



    x Narelle

    Thursday, 8 October 2009

    It's beginning to look a lot like....


    ...a handmade Christmas!

    For all of those crafty little fingers out there, now is the time to start whittling away at your handmade Christmas goodies to do lists.

    I rarely go shopping in department stores, so when I had to pick something up from one the other day I was rather shocked at the amount of Christmas stock on the shelves already.
    I have been working in retail now for 21 years, so I really should know the deal by now!

    Only 78 days till Christmas people..........yipes!

    How about buying all your gifts handmade?
    Sound good? Well, it's easy too.

    Here's a handmade gift guide full of wonderful items from all the talented crafters/artists over on Madeit, updated regularly to give you some fabulous gift ideas.

    Better get back to the bench.
    Happy (online) shopping!

    x Narelle

    Thursday, 1 October 2009

    It's the simple things....


    ...that make me happy!

    I have been after a stump for my studio for a while now.
    Every time I see one, by the time I go back to pick it up with someone, it's gone.
    People with open fire places really have a radar for these things!

    It got to the point that even my neighbours would wave hello and shout out,
    "Hi Narelle, any luck with a stump yet?" - I have become the crazy tree stump lady!

    My friend text that she had just seen the council cutting down a tree in someone's yard.
    Bingo!

    So instead of sneaking back when it's dark and grabbing it (my style) she suggested we knock on the owner's door and politely ask (her style.) And that we did!

    I am now proud owner of not one, but two stumps.
    We picked the first one because it was the shape of a butterfly, ha ha!
    We rolled it to the car and heaved it up........ then we saw the bigger one.
    My friend said,
    "yeah, we can lift that." And we did.

    It has made my stamping and hammering so much better and I'm sure the neighbours are much happier now too since the stumps act as a noise buffer.

    I ♥ my stumps!

    x Narelle

    Friday, 25 September 2009

    Sweet!


    Once again this year I am participating in the Lort Smith Animal Hospital fundraising campaign "Party for Strays."

    Lort Smith Animal Hospital helps over 100,000 animals every year.

    Their campaign 'Party for Strays' helps to create awareness in the community and raises significant funds to save the lives of animals in dire need of medical treatment and loving homes.


    The lovely Leigh and Laura over at That's Noice blog wrote a post about my little party cupcake charms I am selling to raise money for Lort Smith.


    They describe their blog as an Aussie-centric blog full of things considered awesome,

    and I agree. They show and discuss lots of great items from toe socks to cupcakes and I am so honoured to be mentioned on their wonderful blog. Thanks ladies.


    My cupcake charms can be purchased here.

    They are only $20 each. 100% of sales goes to Lort Smith and postage is FREE!


    It's for such a great cause so head on over, purchase a cupcake charm and Party for their lives!


    x Narelle

    Saturday, 19 September 2009

    Stitches & Craft Show

    (click image to make bigger)

    In August, 19th to 23rd Madeit attended the Sydney Stitches & Craft Show.

    Bec organised a booth & displayed a range of beautiful handmade products picked from crafters that have stores on the Madeit website.

    I was lucky enough to have my daisy studs chosen to be displayed alongside all of the other talented people that were accepted.

    The Stitches & Craft show is Australia's longest-running craft show, it had:
    • Craft Bars: where you could learn a new project in under 30 minutes
    • Reconstruction Zones: Where you could take a garment and re-fashion it on the spot
    • Handmade Nation: watch a film about the DIY craft and design movement in the US
    • Studios: presented by craft retailers
    • Fashion Parades: Wardrobe Refashion & Burdastyle
    • Inspiration: Lots of pop up displays around the show for you to be inspired by
    Phew, I would have had a ball!

    Some of the fab things on the Madeit stall were:

    In the yellow box the Little Babushka Doll - Little Wise Owl

    In the pink box the Little Blue Shoes - LoveBird

    In the red box the Daisy Studs - Narelle

    In the blue box the Madeit Recipe-zine edition 1 - Madeit

    So click on the links & get shopping!
    A big 'Thank you' to Bec for doing such a wonderful job on getting Madeit out there & for the amazing opportunity it gives all the talented crafters/artists around Australia.

    x Narelle

    Thursday, 17 September 2009

    Prepping for market


    This week I have been busy in the studio getting some pieces made for a market on Sunday.

    As scary as it sounds, I did actually want to have a few of my Christmas lines ready to go as well, but they will have to wait for the one next month.

    The pieces on my bench at the moment (seen in the photo) are small bezels that I will be using to make resin & paper dangly earrings.
    I have some smaller ones made too for studs, but they were a little shy and hid in the pickle when the camera came out!

    x Narelle

    Sunday, 13 September 2009

    Finally!

    I have a store on Etsy!

    Okay, well I opened a store on Etsy back in August 2007 but I have only just got around to listing a few items.

    I guess I just felt that I'd get lost amongst all the other beautiful items for sale, especially in the jewellery section.

    Then I thought 'what the hey' may as well give it a go and already I've been quite surprised.
    I've had a few looks & someone has even hearted an item.

    I have so many photographs to take of new items I need to get listed in all three of my stores but there is never enough time left in the day.
    Fingers crossed tonight I'll get a couple of hours to take some pics before I have to go off to work.

    Which is something I really need to think about. Night shift just doesn't seen to be working for me anymore, it's making me so tired I have no energy left for the day to be creative.

    Okay, away goes the violin, enough of the sob stories. I'm off to finish a couple of orders.

    x Narelle

    Wednesday, 9 September 2009

    Truly touched


    A few weeks ago I completed a custom order for a gorgeous customer.

    It wasn't a complicated piece, but I think it came out really elegant.
    It was a double sided charm so I got to use 2mm sterling sheet, which I love because it's so thick & chunky!

    Once I packaged it up & sent it off I emailed my client to let her know it was on it's way.
    She replied to my email with the story of what this piece represents & a little information on its meaning to her.

    Every day since, I have thought about that piece.

    It may have been rather simplistic in design.
    It may have not have taken me days or weeks to make like some pieces do.
    But that charm now sits as one of my biggest accomplishments.

    Thank you to all that have let me share a little in their lives & to allow me to make a special keepsake for their memories.

    x Narelle

    Sunday, 6 September 2009

    To all the Dad's....


    "Happy Father's Day!"

    I hope you all have a fantastic day & hope you enjoy all the ties you receive!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    To my dad:
    Words can't express what you mean to me.
    You have always been there for me, standing proudly by my side.
    You are the most caring, sharing, unselfish, funny, supportive man in my life & I am truly blessed to have you, not only as a father but as my friend.
    You are the best male role model a girl could ever look up to & I will continue to look up to you forever.
    You are an inspiration & I am so proud to be your daughter.
    I love you.

    x Tot

    Thursday, 3 September 2009

    My Contribution


    The button swap went really well. Reading through all the participants blog's there was a lot of gorgeous handmade goodies shared by all.

    Thanks again for everyone that participated. There's nothing better than receiving a beautifully wrapped parcel on your doorstep, knowing that so much love & thought went into each piece.

    Above is what I made for Caryn of Smooch designs, you can visit her store here & blog here.

    I made a sterling silver button necklace from flat sheet & blackened it a little to give it that old rustic, found button look.

    I had 2 gorgeous coloured pink buttons that I wanted to use, so I made some bezel cups for them to sit in. I stamped & domed 2 circles, soldered some prongs onto them so they would stand up above the buttons - like they were floating.
    Then I filled the entire cups with clear resin. I think they turned out pretty well & making them has given me a few more ideas to play with.

    I blanket stitched a little pouch to put everything in, which I'm now kinda embarrassed about because Caryn is an amazing seamstress & my sewing skills are not the best!

    Overall it was really great fun & I look forward to the next one.

    x Narelle

    Tuesday, 1 September 2009

    My parcel!


    Yay!

    Over on the Made-it website forum, I organised the 2nd button swap.
    Same rules as last time - 2 x crafty projects involving buttons
    - 1 x bag of 30 buttons

    My gorgeous parcel of goodness was sent to me by
    Jacqueline (zippyzippy) and you can visit her store here and her blog here.

    She sent me a beautiful hand-made book cover, the sewing is perfection at its best. The fabrics she used are adorable and it's padded!
    Jacqueline was also kind enough to include a visual diary inside it and it happens to be the exact type I use - double yay!


    I also got a hand-made/sewn card that will be perfect for a friend's birthday that's coming up and I got 30 of some of the cutest buttons I've seen.

    Even the presentation of the parcel was well thought about, all colour themed and gorgeous.

    ThAnK YoU
    JaCqUeLiNe! I love it all.

    Soon I will post what I sent my recipient.
    Unfortunately I was a little tardy with my parcel but it will definately arrive on her doorstep tomorrow.

    x Narelle

    Friday, 28 August 2009

    New business cards


    Yay, They arrived!

    When I only have around 20 business cards left, instead of just ordering more, I design new ones.
    Different sizes, different pictures, different layouts etc, I'm not sure why, I just do.

    Maybe it's because I keep my brand colours and packaging all the same so this is a way of freshening up something.

    Anyway, I was once given a business card by a fellow jeweller and her card was only 30mm x 30mm square. Instantly I loved it.
    It was cute, could fit in any wallet/purse/pocket and really got your attention.

    My last business cards were the average size, so for these ones I thought I'd go with something a little smaller.
    They are approx. 25mm x 70mm and made from a really nice (sustainably sourced) cardstock.

    I ordered a pack of 100 and have already handed out 30!

    x Narelle

    Thursday, 20 August 2009

    Keeping busy.


    This is the current situation of my bench today.

    It is wet and raining outside and as you can see by the photo, it makes my studio a fair bit darker.
    Yesterday was such a gorgeous day, so sunny and cheery and full of light. Oh well, Spring is on it's way.

    I have a big handful of orders I'm working on plus some side projects, plus I also have some new lines coming into fruition.
    So my hands are keeping very busy indeed.

    On the week-end I am heading up to Bendigo to have a look at a store that has asked to hold some of my work - Yay! So that should be fun.

    Well, I'd best get back to it because no matter how tight you close your eyes and how hard you wish, pieces don't solder themselves!

    x Narelle