Eco-friendly · Out & About in Kent · shop local · Uncategorized

A Visit To Local Flower Farm, Blooming Green

Do you have a local flower farm or cutting patch? A beautiful place where you can visit and gather yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers to take home? I was delighted to discover Blooming Green, a flower farm where you can pick your own seasonal, organically grown flowers.

I wanted to share you with you some pictures of my visit there last summer. These were taken last June, but better late than never!

Blooming Green Loddington Farm Linton Kent
Beautiful cottage garden flowers, freshly picked!

 

 

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Blooming green gardeners hard at work keeping the cutting patch looking fabulous

 

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Beautiful candy colours!

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Blooming Green local flower farm the little red hen jewellery blog
There’s always time for being silly!

 

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I even roped my husband in to help 🙂
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So much choice! Enjoying a peaceful moment gathering my bunch of flowers
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Pretty pickings!
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I love the dolly mixture colours of these cornflowers!

I bought my gorgeous bunch of flowers back home, where they filled 3 large vases and enamel jugs and amazingly lasted for well over a week!

Blooming Green are open every Friday April to October, 10-4pm for PYO flowers

Travel · Uncategorized

Beachcombing in Cornwall, Summer Holiday Inspirations

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It’s been a good few years (make that a few decades!) since I last visited Cornwall. After enjoying many family holidays there during my childhood and beyond, I felt it was time to take my own little family on a Cornish adventure!

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We stayed a few miles away from the beautiful Sandymouth Beach, near Bude in the north of Cornwall.  This spectacular beach is owned by the National Trust and like many  beaches in Cornwall, is lifeguard patrolled during the summer season.

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I love the rugged landscape of Cornwall; Sandymouth Beach has some fantastic rock formations and freshwater streams cascading over the cliffs and flowing down to the sea.

the little red hen jewellery Sandymouth Bay Cornwall

The Little Chick and I had a great time dipping our toes in the sea, followed by some serious wave jumping later on!

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We even saw a jellyfish wash in on a wave beside us!

 

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With so many amazing rockpools, we had lots of fun searching for hidden treasures. Look at this incredible sea anemone!

 

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Best of all, I got to indulge in some beachcombing- collecting shells, sea glass and pebbles is one of my favourite holiday pass times!

Now I’m back home and looking forward to getting back into the jewellery workshop. Look out for some beach inspired designs coming very soon!

Jewellery Designing

Woodland Inspired Fern Jewellery

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I’m pleased to share with you my latest makes! Inspired by peaceful woodland walks along paths shaded with ferns, I’ve created a beautiful eco silver pendant and earrings. These pieces are made using Precious Metal Clay; the clay is imprinted with a real fern leaf from my garden, fired in a kiln and then oxidised for a beautiful rustic finish. The finished pieces are 99.9% pure silver.

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Precious Metal Clay is a fabulous eco-friendly material which uses silver recycled from industrial processes. I love using it in some of my designs as it easily takes impressions from my nature finds!

Handmade silver clay rectangle pendant leaf pattern

And here’s the matching earrings…

oxidised leaf pattern fern nature inspired drop earringsecosilver clay fern pattern dangle earrings

I love them so much I decided to make a pendant using copper clay too. Matching earrings will be following soon, so watch this space!

With autumn fast approaching, the lovely warm tones of this copper jewellery complement the season perfectly!

This handmade fern leaf pattern jewellery is available to order from my Folksy shop.  Let me know what you think? I’d love to hear from you!

Out & About in Kent · photography

Bluebell Magic in The Woods

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It’s that time of year again. Each spring I have to go to the woods and visit the bluebells.  As I was driving through the country lanes one afternoon, I spied a few bluebells nodding their heads by the edge of the hedgerow and it reminded me that it must be bluebell time again. We’re so lucky to be living in rural Kent where there are many ancient woodlands carpeted with bluebells. I took a short detour home through the lanes to my favourite bluebell woodland and I wasn’t disappointed!

Each year the mass of blue flowers seems even more vibrant than the last.  This year the wild garlic was in abundance, its pungent but not unpleasant scent, mingling in with the perfumed bluebells.

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All was quiet in the lane. I had parked my car and switched off the engine. I couldn’t resist jumping out and taking some photos to share with you here, then stayed a moment longer to breathe in the beauty of the woodland bluebells until next year.

Jewellery Designing

Autumn Inspiration

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Orange coloured quartz (looks like amber) & Sterling silver earrings.

After a glorious Summer, with hot sunshine continuing well into September, we’re only just beginning to feel the chill of Autumn. Although I dread the return of dark mornings and even darker nights as the evenings draw in, I do love the Autumn for the creative inspiration it provides.

As you know, I love using copper in my jewellery designs and what better time of year than autumn to create some new autumn inspired pieces!

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Textured copper bar pendant, Sterling silver chain.

Leaves feature heavily in my jewellery designs, my favourites being my eco silver leaf range. I’ve recently been experimenting with a product called Copper Clay. It’s handled in the same way as Silver Clay,  when fired in a kiln, you’re left with a product that’s pure copper. Copper Clay produces a more organic, grainy texture than jewellery made with sheet copper. Pictured below are some examples.

 

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Hammered copper bangle with oxidised silver detail
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Abstract floral pattern copper pendant
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Photo credit:Yeshen Venema for Folksy
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copper handmade pumpkin stud earrings

My favourite autumn inspired piece of jewellery has to be these cute copper pumpkin stud earrings, fully handmade from sheet copper and perfect for Halloween!

You can take a look at all my copper jewellery by visiting my Folksy and Etsy shops.

 

Jewellery Designing

Making Eco Silver Leaf Pattern Pendants

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Leaves, recycled silver & lots of elbow grease! That’s what is involved in creating my eco silver leaf pattern pendants.

These pendants are one of my favourite things to make. They are always popular, as being simple and elegant they can be worn for a variety of occasions, if not everyday!

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My leaf pattern pendants are handmade from Precious Metal Clay, a fantastic material which incorporates fine silver particles in a non-toxic binder. There are lots of different products available, I like to use Art Clay Silver which has a slower drying time and less shrinkage than other metal clay products I’ve tried.

Another reason I use Art Clay Silver is it’s a great eco-friendly product.  It uses silver recycled from items such as circuit boards, dentistry and photographic processes and mixes them with an organic, non-toxic binder. This binder burns off when fired in a kiln (it can also be torch fired) to leave behind a piece of jewellery that is 99.9% pure silver.

Circle silver clay leaf pattern pendant

First the clay is rolled and shaped (a bit like play dough), then I use a leaf from the garden (a skeleton leaf from craft shops works well too) to make an impression on the clay.  I have a collection of clay cutters, which are a bit like miniature pastry cutters, to cut out the desired shape of the pendants. My favourites are the heart and teardrop and these always seem to be popular with my customers too!

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Rolled soft clay and craft shop skeleton leaf.

I like to use a cocktail stick to make a hole for the pendant jump ring to go through, being very careful not to disturb the delicate design before it’s dried.  Then comes the drying, which can be done at room temperature over twenty-four hours, or in a cool oven within an hour. There’s always drying instructions included in the Metal Clay packet and I’ve found oven drying to be the best and speediest method for me.

It’s important for the clay to be completely bone dry before it is fired in the kiln, as any residual moisture can cause the silver to crack. Any little imperfections can be sanded away at this stage, however this has to be done with extreme care as the dry clay will be very fragile! I’m afraid I’ve had a few casualties in the past, so have learnt the hard way to be very careful.

Following the instructions on my clay packet, I then fire my dry pendants in my table top kiln. This little kiln is one of my favourite tools as it’s so versatile and easy to use.  I always look forward to hearing the timer ping and seeing what the pendants look like, once they are cooled down.

Fine silver heart pendant leaf pattern elegant

I like to burnish my fired pendants with a brass brush; this brings the fine silver to the surface and gives them a subdued, satin finish.  I tidy up the edges and reverse side with polishing papers, this is where the elbow grease comes in! Then give them a quick spin in the tumble polisher too if they need it.  All that’s left is to buff and shine with a silver cloth and then the finished pendants are ready to be boxed up awaiting their new homes.

I love wearing these pendants as they go with everything and suit every occasion, but are really special too. They are available to order from my Folksy Shop and Etsy Shop

Why not take a look and let me know what you think!

 

 

 

Out & About in Kent

A Walk in The Bluebell Woods

May bank holiday weekend, we decided to make the most of the sunshine and visit our favourite bluebell woods. During late April and early May, the woods on the National Trust Sissinghurst Castle estate are carpeted with bluebells. We’ve been eagerly awaiting their arrival all through this dismal Spring and when we finally saw them, we weren’t disappointed.

One of my daughter’s favourite outdoor games is Pooh Sticks and hidden in the woods is the perfect Pooh Sticks bridge. There’s even a handy box provided for the purpose!

We followed the path around the estate, spotting some fairy doors along the way…

The Little Chick found a big stick, which of course she insisted on carrying the rest of the way! We discovered the jetty on the lake and watched the ducks and moorhens. We even got a glimpse of some fish, swimming in the depths.

All too soon it was time to return home, with the beauty of the bluebells still fresh in our minds.

Where’s your favourite bluebell wood? Have you been able to visit this Spring? I do hope so! I can’t wait to visit the bluebell woods at Sissinghurst again next year.