Monday 25 April 2016

Monday Makes: Bespoke Bridal Comb

Over the weekend I've been trying to work out which of my planned posts (I say planned - they're not written yet) would be best to kick start the blog with.  I've decided to go with a Monday Makes and a rather special bridal comb.  Firstly, because I love Monday Makes, and secondly because this comb has been so popular since I first shared pictures of it last Summer. 

Taking bespoke orders was really tricky last year.  Juggling a little one, going to work and the weekly orders is tough enough.  Bespoke orders take a lot of time.  And it's not just the physical time of making, working designs out, taking photographs, sending e-mails and meeting brides.  It's also the mental time, and the worry that I what I make won't be right or perfect enough.  The worry is the most exhausting.

So I had to ask my brides to be patient, to meet in my living room when I my studio was too messy to welcome clients and I hadn't had the time to tidy up.  Luckily I have lovely, understanding brides and several still came to visit last year, one of which was Laura, who came knowing exactly what she wanted - she just hadn't seen it yet!
As a designer these words can be terrifying.  And yet they're also the most exciting.  When brides ask for something different, something even they haven't seen then they'll always be a chance you'll get it wrong but when you get it right, it feels great!

I sat with Laura and we talked about her hairstyle, where she wanted her comb to fall and picked out flower buttons, pearls and leaves to put together a rough design.  She wanted a comb that would trail around her hair.  It needed to be noticeable, pretty and elegant. 

I promised Laura a series of images throughout the design process.  I think this was to keep both of us happy.  I didn't want to get it wrong and wanted to make sure Laura was informed throughout.  Each time I sent an image she asked me to carry on and thankfully, she loved the final comb!  Hurrah!

I don't normally do this, but I thought it would be of interest to see how the design took shape.  So here are some of Laura's design images:

Laura also sent me this fabulous image just after the wedding!  It shows exactly how the comb trails around the hair, just as Laura had asked.

Laura had a beautiful wedding with some of the best Norfolk wedding talent around, including Katherine Ashdown Photography and Styling from The Little Lending Company.  Her beautiful bridal look was created by Love Moi Make-Up and Hair by Tracey Ward.  If you'd like to see more from Laura and Mike's stunning day (you really do need to) then head over to Katherine Ashdown Photography's blog to see their 'Favourite Five Moments'.

I'll leave you with this stunning professional image which I adore.  I can never take pictures that really show off my pieces and this one has received so much amazing feedback on my facebook page.  In fact so much that this evening I'm starting on a design for a 2016 bride, inspired by this very piece, and I can't wait!

Image Courtesy of Katherine Ashdown Photography

If you're looking for a bespoke bridal piece please don't hesitate to get in touch.  I'm based in Norfolk and my home studio is now open again - no more living room consultations!


Monday 11 April 2016

We're Back!

Hello all and welcome to my little space of the internet.  You may have seen, I haven't posted in over a year and to remind me of this fact the previous post is called 'Hello February' (2015).  Just fab.

I love the idea of blogging, I really do.  Part of my degree is in creative writing, so a little outlet where I can log my musings with the written word, well it's perfect really.

Only it can be so difficult to fit it all in, as I'm sure so many of you will know.  If you're reading this and you're one of my friends or family, or if you follow my facebook or instagram, you will know what I've been up do in the last 18 months.  It's called parenthood.  And yes, I did manage to blog for the first few months of Ted's life but then I went back to work. Like all big changes, it took some adjusting and balancing and tweaking of how we work as a family, to make sure we all had the time to do what we need to get done.

But here we are.  All tweaked and adjusted (I think).  I've spent 2016 making some changes to my business and I think I've finally worked out what this blog will be for, and how it will work with my other platforms.

So for now, here is my cheeky little monkey (taken at nursery, in November).  Yes, he is adorable.  And whilst I don't want to call him an 'excuse', I'm sure his cheeky grin will be enough to help you understand why it's been quiet!

Melissa x

Photo Credit: Tracey Lorraine Photography

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Hello February!

I like February.  Cold it may be, but it's pleasant and positive.  Everyone has been paid, we no longer feel so rubbish about the Christmas pounds we've put on, the evenings take a little longer to darken and little spikes of fresh green start to push out from the ground, reminding us that Spring is only just around the corner.  And then of course, there's  the St Valentine traditions, which, I'm not ashamed to say, I absolutely love!
I never managed to write a post on my 2014 highlights or on my plans for this year, even though I wanted to.  At the beginning of January I was far too busy enjoying my wonderful new family.  And let's be honest, my 2014 highlight is pretty obvious, so I doubt you'd discover anything new!
So here's a challenge I've set myself instead, to write a post at the beginning of each month with our plans for those few weeks.  To keep me focused AND to keep you updated on what you can expect from MMD in the upcoming month.

So here's what we have planned for February:

1.  A SALE!

Yep, we're having a clear out and I've found a box of bits I'd totally forgotten about that are doing nobody any good gathering dust on my shelf. The sale will be on Sunday 8th February and will be mainly headdresses, pins etc.  Certainly a date for your diaries!

This vintage gold and pink headdress will be on SALE! 

2.  New Decoden  Pieces

Last year you loved our decoden combs and recently we've discovered some gorgeous suppliers of miniature flowers and birds.  Look out for copper hairslides and golden necklaces, all inspired by this trend.

Pretty decoden combs

3. New Jewellery Items
I've got lots of pieces planned for this year.  In February we'll be adding some different colours to our flower stud range and updating an old favourite!

Our pink rose earrings

4. New Bridal Ranges
My very favourite!  I've already shared a few sneak peeks on facebook, but there's lots more to see, including a freshen up of our bridal jewellery and easier ways to buy.  Hopefully we'll have lots of this available by the end of February.  Make sure you keep up to date on our facebook page!

One of the new comb designs

Wishing you all a fabulous February!


Monday 26 January 2015

Monday Makes: Bespoke Bridesmaid Collection

You may remember that last year I blogged about a series of bridal bracelets that I had made (if not, have a nosey here).  One of those bracelets was for our bride Gwen, who got in touch after ordering one of our bridal headbands.  Gwen wanted a bracelet to match and I was only too happy to help her out with a custom design.

Gwen also wanted something special for her bridesmaid.  Gwen lived further away, so it wasn't possible for her to visit the studio.  This isn't always a problem though, as Gwen was able to let me know the styles she liked and I was able to send her images of pieces I'd made that I thought she would like and of the sparkly materials in my collection that I could use.
I always offer to remake or redesign pieces as many times as needed to get the designs right for my clients (although I'm very proud to say that this is something I rarely have to do).  Gwen loved the floral comb that I designed.  It was made with a central diamante flower button, co-ordinating diamante leaves and was then surrounded with more diamante shapes and twists of beautiful, clear Swarovski crystals.  Such a glamorous, glitzy piece!

To finish the bridesmaid's look I made a simple Swarovski pendant and matching earrings, using the same sparkly crystals and some diamante rondelles.

This is a really pretty set and as I write I'm already thinking about how I can adapt it for a new collection piece.  What I particularly like is the potential this has to be worn for other events, like balls and proms.  Sparkle never goes out of fashion!

Congratulations to you for your wedding Gwen, we hope both bride and bridesmaid had a magical day!


Thursday 22 January 2015

Gorgeous Gifts and Special Friends

I'm taking a break from pearls and sparkle today to talk to you about some rather fabulous gifts we received over the festive period.  We are always so lucky at Christmas to be gifted beautiful things (I can't remember the last time I got something I didn't like) but this year there were a few personal things that are really quite special.  They would all make wonderful gifts for your loved ones, especially if you're looking for unique and original wedding or anniversary presents.  I'm so pleased with them all and wanted to share them with you so you can see too.  And of course, as a thank you to the wonderful businesses and friends behind them.

Just before Christmas it was Mr. Morgan's birthday (a special one, although I don't think I'm permitted to reveal which).  Our plan was to have a family shopping trip so he could stock up on some new clothes but I also wanted to get a special gift for him to unwrap in the morning.  I struggled to think of something and I then left it very late, mainly because I'm so indecisive and I was finding it difficult to put my head in 'male mode'.  I knew what I would appreciate, but would he like the same things?  After toying with the idea of printed song lyrics, or a map graphic of our favourite place, I found these personalised memory prints from Milly's Cottage on Not on the High Street.  It didn't take me long to think of some of the special events in our relationship to have transformed into a print and so as soon as Mr. M went to work the next day, I got busy with my order.  I can't recommend Milly's Cottage enough.  I left it really late to send in my order and then decided to upgrade to a larger print at the last minute, but they were so accommodating.  When Mr. M opened his present he was lost for words.  I had imagined it would go in our bedroom, but no, within minutes he had his hammer out and now it takes pride of place in our hallway.  It's such a lovely reminder of all the memories we have made together so far.  

The next gift was actually another of Mr.M's birthday presents!  We have a super friend called Amy Lewin (you may have heard of her, she's the lady behind Amy Lewin Photography).  Amy has an equally super husband called Andy.  Now Andy is a rather talented designer and is the man behind these awesome personalised 'mini-pop' prints:

He made this one of Mr. M, me and our two black cats, Leonard and Sheldon, and gifted us an amazing framed and mounted version as moving in present.  It stands on my piano in our dining room, and we both simply love it.  However, you will be aware, we have a new addition!  And so the clever Andy made this even more amazing, new version for Mr. M.  Can you spot how cute little Ted has squeezed himself into centre stage?  It was Mr. M's gift, but I was really touched too.  What a smashing present!
You can find out more about Andy's mini-pops and how to order one here

So now you've seen how talented Andy is, this is where Amy comes in! 
Not long after Ted was born, she popped by with her camera and got a few snaps of him looking scrummy in his stripy cardi and knitted hat.  She sent me a pic, which I loved but I had no idea she'd ordered it to be printed as a fabulous acrylic block for Christmas.  It's gorgeous and once again, we all absolutely LOVE it!  It's the first picture we have of Ted on display, and is just so special! 

It's pretty cool having such a brilliant photographer as a friend, but Amy is so much more than that.  Since I've had Ted she's been amazing, bringing us copious amounts of delicious food and thoughtful gifts and she always being there when I need a chat.  Thank you Amy.

Please stop by Amy's website and blog to find out more information about her services.  She does some awesome wedding and lifestyle photography.

Personal gifts are definitely the way forward and it's so lovely to be able to look up and see these presents throughout the day.  They remind us of our happy little family, and what special friends we have.  I highly recommend you think about something personal next time you have a gift to give!


Monday 19 January 2015

Monday Makes: Vintage Pastel Flower Comb

When I started my maternity leave last Summer, I had a making drought, so to speak.  There were orders coming in and bespoke pieces to make but I'd lost my 'mojo' for making new pieces.  I spent the first part of last year buying copious amounts of vintage treasure, and putting in place some grand plans for what could be created.  And I'd been so excited to use my last few months before Ted arrived making new pieces.  Maybe it was the tiredness of pregnancy, but whenever I got some free time, I just wanted to put my feet up, close my eyes and sleep!

I needed to snap out of it, and so planned a special week where I would make at least one new thing everyday.  I decided that it could be anything, a bracelet, some earrings, something big or something small.  The rule was that I had to use pieces I already had in my making stash.  NOTHING was to be purchased to complete these makes.

Today's 'Monday Makes' showcases the first of these pieces, a comb that was made on the first day of the project.  I wish I'd taken a picture of the 'ingredients' of this comb, but I didn't think about it at the time.  You'll just have to take my word for it that before I started on this piece, I had laid out before me a gold and pastel vintage bracelet, some luscious shades of Swarovski, peachy vintage leaf beads and a few opal vintage tube beads.  

I spent the day wiring, re-wiring, arranging and re-arranging the pile and then started work on this splendid gold tone comb.  I took inspiration from the delightful AB hues of the bracelet pieces and added co-ordinating crystal flowers, hand wired from Swarovski xilions.  There are more vintage flourishes - golden leaves and iridescent tube beads and finally some sprays and twists of extra delicious Swarovski.  Can you tell I love this piece? 

I adore colour and this floral comb is as colourful as they come. I think it would make a great accessory for a vintage/pastel/garden themed wedding.  Maybe there's a daring bride who wants to add some colour to their outfit?  Perhaps it would make the perfect finishing touch for the chief bridesmaid or mother of the bride?   It would certainly be a talking point and what's more, could be worn again and again!

It's not always easy for me to get pictures of my pieces being worn, especially the one-off creations like this one, so I was over the moon when Love Moi Make-Up contacted me to see if I could loan some combs for an upcoming shoot.  I think it looks stunning in this relaxed up-do!

Image: All About Image  Make-Up: Love Moi Make-Up  Hair:Tracey Ward

If you love this comb too, it's available to purchase here.


Monday 12 January 2015

Monday Makes: Holly's Headdress

I'm very excited about the first 'Monday Makes' post of 2015 (indeed my first post of 2015, our end of year posts are running a little late, but they are coming, I promise).  This week is dedicated to one of the prettiest vintage headdresses I think I've made. 

This piece was a little labour of love and was made just after my studio was finished and I was sorting and organising all my bits and pieces.  I started to play and before long I had a little pile of silvery pieces that I wanted to transform into an original headdress.  A combination of vintage brooches, silver leaves and flowers, seed beads, bugle beads and Swarovski pearls all came together to make this headdress.  I spent several afternoons working on it, adding a bit, leaving it for a while, then adding a bit more, until I was happy that something beautiful had been created.

Not long after its completion we had a wonderful day at King's Lynn Wedding Festival, where this piece took pride of place on our new stand layout.  I was so pleased when it got so much attention, and I think there were several ladies who had their eye on it, but Holly got there first!   It was great chatting to Holly about her wedding plans and we spent quite a bit of time at the fair, discussing her accessory needs and picking out complimentary pieces for her bridesmaids.  Holly decided to have the band finished in the tiny silver seed beads that feature in the design, and then commissioned a matching jewellery set too.  That's one of the great things about having your wedding accessories handmade, you can make sure everything co-ordinates, even if you pick a one-off design like Holly.

Holly also had pieces for her bridesmaids and flowergirl, which I'll be sharing with you in a few weeks time.  For now, here is a stunning picture that Holly sent us, from her big day in August.  Doesn't she look beautiful?  The dress is simply amazing and all of her photos really have the 'wow' factor!

Congratulations Holly!

Photo courtesy of Paul Macro Photography

I'm looking to make some pieces similar to the style of Holly's in the next few months (but not the same, our vintage pieces are always one-offs) but if in the meantime, you think you'd like to commission something similar, please e-mail and we can chat about your ideas!