Beads, Blog Hops and Challenges

The Haberdashery Blog Hop: Signups open now

If you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while you know I join lots of blog hops and challenges, it’s a way of making me stretch myself and try new things. Anyway, I’ve had this idea in my mind about a blog hop for quite a while now, and I think it’s time to put it into action!

So, without further ado, I’m introducing The Haberdashery Blog Hop (or Haby Hop for short, we Aussies like to nickname everything)!

Haby hop button

(you can use this image as a blog button, just copy the image to your own blog!)

It’s time to pull out your ribbons and buttons, trims and fabric scraps to create beautiful and unique pieces of jewellery. Pinterest is a fantastic source of ideas—take a look at the board I’ve been putting together for some stunning examples, and a few tutorials too. It can be as simple as adding a beautiful ribbon or scrap of sari silk to your necklace or bracelet, or a complex collage of beads, buttons and more.

Haby hop inspiration
Some examples of jewellery I have made using sari silk ribbon

Take yourself off to your local big box craft store or fabric store and peruse the goodies there. Op-shops and thrift stores can also be a good source, particularly if you like vintage buttons and ribbons. Raid your mum or grandma’s sewing box (or your own if you are a craftaholic). Look for interesting scraps of lace, unique buttons, felt flowers, yarn and embroidery silks, zippers, anything you can incorporate into jewellery! Think of unusual ways to incorporate your finds, and stitch, embellish, string away!

Haby hop supplies
From top left, clockwise, my great aunt’s button jar, a selection of ribbons and fibres, lace ribbon from the scrapbooking aisle, a fabulously decorative (and very large) button.

Some books with good ideas include Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel’s book Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry and Melinda Barta’s Custom Cool Jewelry.

To sign up, email me at melissa_trudinger at yahoo dot com, with your blog name by July 1st. I’ll send out a reminder email a week or so before the hop, and a list of participants too! The blog hop itself will be on Saturday August 2nd, so you have all month to create something fabulous!

I’m excited, are you??

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Beads, Markets

Setting up at a craft show (and another Bead Soup delay)

A couple of days ago I did my first craft show with my jewellery—The Handmade Show, a monthly market for handmade goodies. While it wasn’t a roaring success—I sold four pieces, all to friends—I was really pleased with how I set up my stall and I got some lovely compliments from people about both my designs and my display! So I thought I would show you how I set things up.

But before I get to that, I need to update you on my Bead Soup Blog Party reveal. Our gracious hostess Lori Anderson has had some pretty serious health issues this year and with great reluctance, she had to delay the third reveal by another week. So it is definitely, definitely going to happen this Saturday 27 April—come back then to see, finally, what I made with the beads that Jane Pranata Lim sent me.

Back to the show. The internet is of course a great resource for seeing how people display jewellery at home, at craft shows and in galleries, and I have a Pinterest board set up for jewellery display ideas to save images that I like (feel free to follow it!). I also wanted to keep the boho feel that I think my jewellery designs have in the way I displayed them, so I have been collecting bits and pieces here and there for a few months now. Happily for me, the vintage-y, boho look is quite in at the moment, and some of our local chain stores had some good props.

Here is a picture of the whole table, just before the show opened. My sign is on a little chalkboard—I have no banner as yet. The table covers are seersucker tablecloths in a somewhat lighter seafoam blue than in this photo (which has a lo-fi Instagram filter on it).

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After I took this photo, I put a little blue bird (about 6 inches high) at the back, behind the display tray in the middle, with a bracelet draped across it. It had been moved behind the other displays by accident.

The tray in the middle comes from Kaisercraft, a local scrapbooking and craft company that has an outlet in my local shopping centre. Here’s a closer, although slightly blurry picture. It comes as a bare frame, which I painted with acrylics and lined with scrapbooking paper (isn’t the faux wood cool?). It’s meant to be hung on a wall, with interesting knobs to hang your jewellery from, but I think it works well for my purposes lying flat. I might have to make another one to hang on my bedroom wall though!

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I found paper-maché busts at the local big-box craft store and painted them for necklace displays. I also had several clipboards lined with scrapbooking paper as necklace displays. That was an idea I came across on Pinterest. I propped them up on metal display stands I got for $5 at a discount store.

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The earrings in the picture above are pinned using mini clothes pins onto one of those wire jewellery trees that are so popular in the shops at the moment. It worked quite well, but the other earring display I had was even better:

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This was from a chain of hipster stationery stores called Typo, and is for hanging on the wall to stick cards and photos into for display. I first thought I could dangle each pair of earrings from the little hearts, but then I realised that my business cards, which double as earring cards, would fit in very nicely! It holds 24, although maybe it’s a bit crowded with one pair in each slot, what do you think?

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Kind of behind and next to the earring display, I had a wooden mini-crate (also from Typo) which I stood on its end so I could put a small display of bracelets inside it and also one of necklaces on top. It also came in handy for putting all of the display bits and pieces in when I was carting stuff to and fro from the market. Did I tell you it was literally around the corner from my house? I walked there in less than five minutes! Here’s a picture of me all packed up and ready to head home at the end of the day.

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All in all it was a fun day, and a learning experience. I already have ideas on how to improve things next time (I’m doing it again in June and August). Any suggestions will of course be gratefully received! Hopefully next time I won’t be right in front of the entrance—I found that people walked in and either turned down one way or another and never really came back to see me. Sigh.

Recipes

Christmas treats for everyone

Well, Christmas has come and gone, the leftovers are have been eaten (or stored in the freezer), the tree has been undecorated, and the wrapping paper is in the recycling bin. But I did promise to share my recipe for the best chocolate truffle slice ever, and I’m going to start off with a recipe for a super quick and easy sweet treat.

This treat is something I found on Pinterest and made for my younger daughter to take on her last day of school as a birthday treat (her birthday is in late December) to give her class mates instead of cupcakes. You could even pop these onto the side of a mug of hot chocolate to pep up a warm treat!

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There’s no real recipe for this one, simply poke a candy cane into each marshmallow, dip the bottom of the marshmallow into a bowl of melted chocolate, and roll in crushed up candy canes (it’s quite therapeutic banging away at a zip-lock bag of candy canes with a rolling pin!). The chocolate sets quite quickly and they can be piled up in a bowl, or if the marshmallow is big enough (mine weren’t) stood up on their bases.

Now, back to that chocolate raspberry truffle slice. It’s amazing. I kid you not. The only thing that stops me from gobbling the whole lot down in one sitting is that it is so incredibly rich, that I physically can’t eat more than a couple of pieces at a time.  And it’s easy too. The hardest part is sieving out the seeds from the raspberry mixture.

Now, you will need to seek out fresh raspberries for this one, as the frozen variety tend to be a little too juicy. Sadly, that means it’s not going to be particularly suitable for the Northern Hemisphere at Christmas, but I urge you to think about making it when raspberries are at their peak! Use a good quality dark chocolate too, it’s definitely worth it.

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Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Slice

Adapted from a recipe first published in Australian Gourmet Traveller, December 2006.

Makes approximately 60 squares

300g fresh raspberries
200ml pouring cream
50ml Framboise
600g dark chocolate
Dutch process cocoa (optional)

Combine 200g raspberries with the cream and Framboise in a small saucepan, and bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Process in a food processor and then pass through a fine sieve to remove the seeds.

Clean and dry the food processor and add chocolate, broken into chunks. Process until the chocolate is finely chopped.

Transfer the sieved mixture to a clean saucepan and bring back to the boil. With the motor running, pour the raspberry-cream mixture into the food processor and process until smooth.

Pour about half of the chocolate mixture into a baking paper-lined 20cm X 30 cm tray. Scatter the remaining raspberries evenly across the tray and pour over the rest of the chocolate mixture. Use a spatula to make sure the top is smooth and the depth is relatively even.

Refrigerate overnight, then use a warm knife to cut the truffles into squares and if desired dust with cocoa. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes:

1. I find that if I want to double this recipe I really need to do two batches, as that much liquid won’t fit into my food processor.

2. Sieving the raspberry-cream mixture is difficult. If your sieve has very small holes, it can help to sieve it through a coarser sieve first. And a spoon is useful to gently push the liquid through the sieve too.

3. The original recipe called for dark chocolate with 57% cocoa solids. I can’t always get this percentage, so sometimes I mix two different dark chocolates, say a 50% and a 70% to get a good flavour.

4. If the raspberries are large, they can be gently broken apart (NOT crushed) before scattering over the chocolate mixture.

5. In theory this will last in the fridge for up to a month if stored in an airtight container. I challenge you to keep it for that long!