Monday, 22 September 2014

Monday Makes: Bridesmaid Leaf Necklaces

For today's Monday Makes we're going back to a theme I visited in the very first Monday Makes Post - bridesmaid jewellery.  If you haven't read that first post, all about these beautiful bespoke and personalised acorn necklaces, you can find it here.

Our bride Karla commissioned these unique, autumnal acorn necklaces for her lucky maids. 
Every time I share a picture of Karla's bridesmaid necklaces I get a huge response.  I think it's something to do with the love us Brits have with glorious, autumn days and the beautiful golden colours.  Woodland creatures and natural forms seems to have a special enchantment at the moment!

I also think they're very popular because they look so pretty together in the photograph, three matching necklaces, almost the same, that will no doubt add something special and personal to the bridesmaid's outfits.   It really is a great idea to have some bridesmaid jewellery made for your specially chosen attendants.  Dresses can be tricky to chose, when you have to accommodate different tastes, sizes and shapes whilst also making sure your maids are dolled up to suit your own wedding day style, but having them tailor made can be very expensive.  Many brides now opt for high street dresses to save pennies, which I do believe is a wonderful idea, and if you finish them off with some bespoke jewellery, you can make the high street into something unique that truly reflects the style that you are trying to create for your big day.

Lydia got in touch when she was looking for bridesmaid jewellery to add that special something to her bridesmaids outfits.  She really liked this piece, which was a one off I'd sold some time ago.

Necklace with wooden pearl, gold tone leaf and butterfly.

 Lydia wanted this in silver and so I began the hunt for charms and leaves that would recreate this piece for her bridesmaids in shimmering silver tones.  Unfortunately I couldn't get exactly the same charms, but with the wonders of the internet I was able to send Lydia images of the pieces I could use, with options for her to chose from, effectively allowing her to 'build' her own design.  We finished the necklaces with luxurious Swarovski pearls in crystal white. 

The final design was completely unique to Lydia and her maids, something you just can't get from the high street!

One of my favourite parts of large orders is wrapping them!  I love seeing the pieces all prepared in their boxes, and then tied up with ribbons.  I can't help but think about who might open them, or when or where they might be revealed.  This is especially true of wedding party pieces, as they are often given on the morning of a wedding, adding to the sparkle and magic of the day.

This is also another wonderful reason to commission bespoke pieces for your bridal party.  As it's tradition to give gifts to your attendants, why not make those gifts part of their ensemble?  What bridesmaid wouldn't want to be given a necklace that has been specifically created for them?  And of course, jewellery like this can be worn again and again, a wonderful reminder and memento of when they played a  part in your perfect day.

If you're thinking of having something unique made for your bridesmaids.  Please don't hesitate to get in touch.  You can reach me via my facebook page or e-mail  I have a lovely home studio in Norfolk, where we can chat about your accessories, or, we can discuss your ideas and designs via e-mail, just like Lydia.

I've seen an image of Lydia on her wedding day, and I can tell you she made a truly beautiful bride, I'm looking forward to seeing her bridesmaids soon too!  

Congratulations Lydia, and thank you for choosing Melissa Morgan Designs.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Monday Makes: Bespoke Bridal Bracelets

This week I thought we'd take a break from combs and have a look at the other finishing touches you can make to your bridal outfit.  At Melissa Morgan Designs we help brides with headdresses, combs, hairpins and a full range of jewellery including earrings, necklaces and bracelets.  I've even made hair flowers and boutonnieres in my time! 
Out of all of these, 2014 seems to have been the year for bracelets!  Bracelets are an easy way to finish off your bridal look, as they suit pretty much all dresses.  Necklaces, on the other hand, need to be the right length/style to suit necklines and backs, making choices so much harder.  Many brides (and I was one of them)  leave necklaces alone altogether, but will opt for a little bit of sparkle or pearl (or both) on their wrist.  They make a lovely finishing touch.  My favourite thing about bridal bracelets is that they are easy to wear again, bringing the magic of your wedding day to everyday!

So today I'm celebrating some of the bracelets I've been asked to make this year, starting with Gwen, who got in touch after she'd ordered one of our pearl and diamante bridal bands.  Gwen wanted a bracelet to compliment her headband, with small, delicate beads.  I sent over some photos and also made up a little row of beads to show her my ideas and how they looked next to the band (something I will often do, allowing ladies to personally chose the look of their jewellery).  Gwen loved the design of round Swarovski crystals and pearls, interspersed with diamante rondelle beads.   She also also commissioned a comb and jewellery for her bridesmaid, but that's for another day!

Close-up of Gwen's bridal headband and bracelet

Delicate bridal bracelet made of Swarovski and diamante

Carla was a bride just looking for a bracelet to make the finishing touch to her outfit.  She contacted me after I'd closed the orders for 2014 (we shared wedding and due dates) but I just couldn't resist helping.  I sent her over some images of bracelets I'd made and she fell for a double row version of our popular 'Penelope' design.  This piece fastens with a secure magnetic clasp that Carla, as her piece was made especially for her, was able to chose.  I've had wonderful feedback from Carla.  I hope you like her bracelet too.

Double row bridal bracelet made from diamante rondelles and crystal white Swarovski pearls

Next up is Holly's delicate double row bracelet, made from tiny silver seed beads and Swarovski pearls.  This design was one I made a while ago but (as often is the case) I hadn't really gotten around to making it available.  Eagle eyed Holly spotted it at a bridal fair and loved the tiny silver beads.  Holly also picked one of our vintage headdresses and had the seed beads incorporated into some finishing touches on that too.  In fact, she loved this bracelet so much she comissioned one for each of her bridesmaids and a co-ordinating necklace for herself.  It's fair to say that Holly's order was a mammoth one and I can't wait to blog about it all and share some photos of how beautiful she looked.  It's also made me fall back in love with those delicate beads, so look out for more work with these soon.

Delicate double row bridal bracelet of seed beads and Swarovski pearls. 

The final bracelet wasn't actually for a bride, but a piece commissioned by Michelle for a dear friend.  It was inspired by our bridal pieces (you might note that it's a lot like Gwen's but with slightly larger beads) and just goes to prove that these styles, with their classic pearls and crystals, can be worn for any occasion and make wonderful gifts.  Michelle was happy for me to work with beads I had readily available (this was another quick turnaround) and wanted to incorporate initial charms and a heart into the design.  I felt that with the added charms, the design needed the larger beads, and I'm really happy with how this one turned out.  

Bridal bracelet made with Swarovski AB crystals, white pearls and diamante, initial and heart charms have been added

Thank you to all of the ladies mentioned above who allowed me to help them with their bridal jewellery and gifts.  I loved making the bracelets and I want to wish you all congratulations for your Summer weddings! 

If you're interested in having something made for your 2015 wedding, please don't hesitate to get in touch.  We can discuss designs via e-mail (as many of these brides did), or you can visit my home studio in Norfolk, where we can look together at ready made pieces and all of my pretty beads, to develop your own personal design.  It's not expensive to have bespoke jewellery made for your wedding but it can make you feel really special!

I'm now in the process of developing jewellery collections for next year and I'm using these pieces as a starting point for the designs, with plans for matching necklaces and earrings.  I'd really love to know which of these is your favourite and if you could leave a comment to let me know, it would so helpful!

Thank you!


Monday, 8 September 2014

Monday Makes: Lilac Bridal Comb

I love colour.  And I love it when brides decide to inject some life into their bridal attire with a little  colour, whether they go for vibrant, splashes of bright shades, or muted, subtle hues, it always shows a little daring and a lot of personality.

There are many ways to do this.  Some of the easiest are coloured wedding shoes (or even wellies), a showy umbrella, or my current favourite, a bright and cheerful cardigan!  Of course, all of these can be hidden when you want to go for the traditional bridal look, but some brides prefer to be a little more creative.  Our bride Sally got in touch after she'd seen our English Country Garden Headdress on Twitter.  Unfortunately this was a one-off vintage creation that had already sold (a bitter-sweet moment, it was and still is, one of my favourite pieces).  However, Sally came over to the studio so that she could see my collection of colourful brooches and vintage flowers, in the hope that we could recreate a similar design for her upcoming wedding.

One of my favourite vintage designs, image courtesy of Amy Lewin Photography

Sally explained that she wasn't just going for colourful accessories, but a bespoke lilac bridal gown too!  She wanted something to match this and decided that the flowers might not be the right way to go.  Like many, many brides, she was drawn to our Vintage Inspired Bridal Comb.   

By coming to the studio she was able to try our sample, check it fitted in her hair and gain an idea of size.  It ticked all the boxes but it needed some colour!  This is where having your accessories handmade, but a small business, really has its benefits.  We talked about the shades in Sally's dress and I was able to show her the pearls I already had in my (rather large) stock that I thought would match.  We picked out Swarovksi Crystal Pearls in Mauve as a perfect match and so the ever popular design had a little transformation!

The cool lilac tones work really well with the silver and I was really pleased with the result.  Sally commissioned some co-ordinating earrings, finished with the Swarovski white pearl, to complete the look.

And after the wedding she send us a picture of how she styled the comb in this beautiful updo!  I've seen some front shots on twitter too, and believe me, she looked amazing!  

Whether you go for bright colours or something more subtle, using colour is a great way to add some individuality and personality to your wedding day.   If you'd like to commission a bespoke piece (just like Sally) don't hesitate to get in touch.  I welcome visits to the studio and I'm happy to send out colour samples of pearls and crystals so that you can have a perfect match to your wedding colours/theme.  

Congratulations Sally!


Thursday, 4 September 2014

10 Ways With Washi Tape

A little update...

In the run up to having a baby it's inevitable that you will google almost everything.  From how to swaddle a baby (like a fajita apparently) to whether sausage fingers and stretch marks will disappear after birth (sausage fingers will, but stretch marks we're stuck with).  And when you do this, you nearly always end up on Mumsnet.  Even Mr. Morgan started a conversation last week with  the words, 'You know when you google something about the baby and then end up scanning the mumsnet forums?'  Hmmm, not sure I know of many men who admit to browsing Mumsnet, but I did have to smile at myself, at least by his admission he was googling things about the baby, so he must care!  On my most recent visit to the site, I found that a trending topic was a 'bucket list' of things to do before your baby is born.  Sounded interesting, so I read on.  Most of the things we'd thought of and made sure we'd done, like date nights and short breaks.  Some replies went in for a 'let's scare those naive first time mums' with stories of how you need to enjoy a hot cup of tea now before a toddler takes even this small luxury away from your life!  One of them struck a chord though, and it was the suggestion that in the run up to the arrival it's a good idea to get crafting!

Obviously I love to make and create but even combs and hairpins can lose their shine when you have deadlines to meet.  Making something for yourself, with no pressure, and having the satisfaction of saying, 'I did this,' is really wonderful.  With this in mind I have a few little projects I'd like to get started on, some for the baby, some for me and a few just well, just because.

And this is where my new series of crafting blog posts come in.  They may not always be about jewellery, but I like to think of this blog as a meeting place for my business and personal interests - which are more often than not creative pursuits.  My business has its foundations in craft, so I'm not going to make anymore excuses, just make, and then write about it!

Washi tape was something of a mystery to me when I was first introduced to it by a fellow crafter.  Erm... why would you want coloured masking tape?  Isn't the idea of using sticky tape when wrapping things that you can't see it?  The perfectionist in me thought this was just too messy and not at all something that would take off!

But then I was looking out for something to seal the tissue paper wrap on my jewellery orders. Printed stickers were becoming expensive, and I came back to washi tape, bought some and voila!  It did the job perfectly and prettily!  Faced with several rolls of the stuff I started to explore Pinterest for some more ideas and to my surprise found, that if used in the right way, washi tape really could be of some use!

So here's my first craft post, dedicated to the wonderful washi stuff!  After months of searching for ideas I've picked out my ten favourite washi tape projects.  Most of them are simple and really effective, one or two may be a bit wacky!  This week I'm going to try a few of them out and update you with my results on the next crafty post, so please don't forget to stop by again!

1. Pegs

Really simple, buy some wooden pegs and add a strip of tape along the side.  I'm not sure I have the patience to washi up my whole peg bag but these would look wonderful if you attached a magnet strip to the back and used them as noteholders on the fridge.  They'd make a lovely gift too.

2. Glass Bottles

This one uses a wide washi tape as well as small strips, that I've seen in some craft shops and in abundance on etsy.  A simple whip around with tape and tie of string and you have a pretty stylish table decoration, perfect for your dining room or a relaxed wedding.

3. Mini Bunting

I love this and it has so many uses.  Decorate cards and gift bags, or add to various sized cakes for instant cuteness.  If you're great at baking but not so good with sugar paste then it's a winning idea. 

4. Bicycle 

I imagine this is cheaper than a profesional spray and it will certainly be a talking point.  Not so good if you don't like to stand out and I'm not sure how it would hold up in the rain.

5. Colourful Cords

This is definetly one I will be trying (if only to keep Mr. M off my phone charger).  It's a simple way to brighten up such a mundane object.

6. Greetings Cards

I'm not a fan of too much tweeness on homemade cards (some I've seen are shocking) but washi tape enables you to create such stunning effects so simply.  Here they've used simple strips and a pen to turn make candles, genius!

7. Tealights

Again, something simple, made ultra pretty with a little wrap of tape.  I put tealights in my homemade Christmas crackers this year, and I wish I'd thought of this.  Turns an inexpensive item into a lovely gift and would be great as wedding favours or decoration.

8. Gift Wrap

Much like the cards.  Here just three strips and a doodle make a cake.  How wonderful!

9. Keys

A super idea, especially if your keys all look the same!

10. Pencils

Ahhh, who can't love a pretty pencil?  Another cheap gift/stocking filler idea.  Ideal if you're a teacher looking for unique class gifts, or for party bags!

All images have been collected, with thanks, from Pinterest.  For links to the original sites that are not provided here, please see the Melissa Morgan Design's Pinterest Board 'Things to do with Washi Tape.'  You'll find a few extra ideas there too!

Thank you for reading!


Monday, 1 September 2014

Monday Makes: Bespoke Bridal Comb

A little update...

So we had a break from our Monday Makes posts last week.  It was the Bank Holiday and there has been so much to do.  If you follow us on facebook or have read our other posts, you'll know that Mr. Morgan and I are expecting our first baby.  Well, I'm now over 38 weeks pregnant and it could be any day now!  It's all exciting stuff and I guess I imagined that by now everything would be organised, calm and serene, that days would be spent lazily supping tea on the sofa with my feet up and a good book.  Of course, life isn't like that and I'm sure all mothers will tell you that those last few weeks are anything but serene!  In our house all energy is being pumped into completing the decoration of our hallway.  It's been a hard and long job but the end is in sight - a good thing of course, when the nursery beckons!  We now have just a little bit of painting left and a carpet to be fitted but we couldn't have got this far without the tremendous efforts of our wonderful family who have turned up to help strip doors, hold ladders and paint walls!  We really have been blessed.  Last Monday was one of those days when family members came along and got stuck in for the day.  I had some combs to finish and then joined in with painting and providing food for our merry workers.  It really wouldn't have been fair to sit and blog, so I decided a week off was for the best.  Whether there will be a Monday Makes post next week, I have no idea!  Anything could happen in the next seven days.  But I know I'm enjoying writing them, and having just one regular post a week is helping me to focus on the blog and I hope to start fitting in some more themed/regular posts in the upcoming months, to really get things rolling.  I hope you're enjoying these little insights into my making too!

This week is all about our bride Chloe's bespoke comb.  Chloe came to visit the studio a few months ago looking for a comb.  Like so many brides before her, she really loved our vintage inspired pearl and diamante comb.  I always love it when brides pick up this piece, because it was one of the designs I put together.  It's also available with Swarovski crystals in place of the pearls, although I don't have a great photo yet, this was the version that Chloe really liked as she didn't want pearls, just lots of lovely sparkle!

Chloe was drawn to many of the pieces made with the navette (or 'little leaves' as some of my brides like to call them) shaped diamante stones and asked for a piece that was along the lines of the original comb but with navettes instead of so many round stones.  I love working with the navettes and couldn't wait to get started.  It took a couple of attempts but I was really pleased with the final design:

I'm sure you'll agree that Chloe made a truly beautiful bride, and I was so thrilled when she took the time to send over a little collage of wedding images so soon after her wedding.  She was a bank holiday bride, so whilst we were getting covered in paint and dust, Chloe was busy looking stunning!  

Congratulations Chloe!  We wish you all the best for your married life!

If you'd like to purchase your own Chloe Comb, it's now available here.