I have a particular fondness for key rings, my current one is a silver rough collie, and he also looks wonderful as a decorative dog on my handbag. I've selected a few examples of sterling silver key rings I've made together with a few personalised lapel pins and brooches which can easily be turned into key rings. Hope they inspire you. They make great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries or for Christmas (not long now!)
Silver Yacht Keyring
Handcrafted silver yacht on a silver key ring.
Kate says: Unique and shimmering in polished silver this keyring is a gorgeous and was a pleasure to make.
Kate suggests: If you are looking for an unusual gift for someone who loves all things maritime then this could be the perfect piece. Great as a key ring of course, it could also be hung from a handbag or computer case.
Silver VW Style Keyring
Handcrafted silver VW on silver key ring.
Kate says: Dedicated to Dilys, former work colleague and friend, this fun key ring brings back great memories of my early days in nursing. Dilys’ “bus” was cream and orange and I was not the only one who loved travelling with her at the wheel.
Kate suggests: I guess this iconic van is now referred to as Retro. Do you know someone who would love to own this? Perhaps they have a special birthday coming up or they have just treated themselves to a “new” camper van.
Silver Guitar Pin
Polished sterling silver guitar pin with tie pin style pin and protector
Kate suggests: Suitable for a special man or woman in your life this would make a great gift
Sterling silver tractor pin with silver pin protector
Kate says: I'm a farmer's daughter, so couldn't resist making this!
Kate suggests: I think this would make a great gift - the tractor idea could also be translated into cufflinks, key ring, earrings... just let me know and I'll make something especially for you.
FRESH FROM THE WORKSHOP
Sterling Silver Poppy Key Ring
I hope you enjoy this blog, and if you have any questions of queries, please feel free to call me or email me, by clicking on Contact. Have a lovely day. Kate. x
Lapel pins are the perfect gift for that certain someone special, or even yourself, as they're simple, stylish and elegant, and although they're often very small, they're incredibly effective at making a BIG statement, as well as adding that essential touch of individuality to your outfit. Therefore it's always best (rather than picking a generic lapel-pin from a selection in any high-street jewellers) you should consider a special design which is very specifically "you". It should express who you are, where you're from, where you are going and - more importantly - what you truly love.
If you haven't had a look at this before, take a peek at my Inspirations page, which shows you a variety of the products I can create, and what inspired me to make them.
Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you have a smashing day.
If you haven't visited us yet, please do. It's packed full of loads of brilliant Shropshire-based artists and artisans such as Lyn Evans (torn paper collage artists) Lisa Fox of Fox & Boo (illustrator), Sandra Owen (glassware), Tilly Tea Dance - Textile Artist & Tutor (textile art), Sue Chadwick (silver jewellery), Emma Lawrence (illustrator), Lesley Palmer (water-colours and pastels) and A J May (chalk and ink art). All of them are amazing.
Have a great week
Well, it's been a very productive month for Manor House Designs; I've been a busy-bee in my workshop designing and making new pieces ready for autumn, winter and (dare I say it) Christmas, as well as doing my shifts at Anne Reeve's jeweller's with a wealth of local designers. And now, I can also announce some really exciting news, in conjunction with the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.
Manor House Designs are taking a "Pop-Up" shop in Telford Town Centre from the 1st October to 31st December 2017 and one of the large display windows will feature a Remembrance Day display with a donation area and poppy silverware sales in-store."
The Royal British Legion is a fantastic charity which provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community whether serving men and women, veterans, and their families for the future, as well as ensuring a lasting memory to those who have fallen.
Therefore, for Remembrance Sunday and all of the important events and appeals which the Royal British Legion run across the year, I wanted to create a strong symbol of remembrance in silver which can be worn on any occasion across the year.. These sterling silver poppies will be available soon via Manor House Designs and in the Royal British Legion's Poppy Shop.
Thank you and best wishes
I am delighted to announce Manor House Designs will be hitting the high-street this Friday, as several local artists (who specialise in a variety of crafts whether using paint, stained-glass, felt, paper and silver) will be displaying their work at the fantastic Anne Reeves Jewellery in Shrewsbury (Shropshire).
This excellent initiative is in association with our good friends at Buy-From-Shropshire who actively encourage customers to buy handcrafted and locally-sourced products from a wealth of skilled Shropshire artisans. Please support this worthwhile endeavour and join us for the BIG LAUNCH on Friday 23rd June 2017 @ 18:30 at Anne Reeves Jewellery (127a Frankwell, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY3 8JU). You may even meet a "celebrity"? Ooh.
Each of the artists will be "manning the shop" a few days a month, so once we've sorted out our rota, and worked out how to use the till (but mostly the kettle for a nice cuppa), I'll post further details so you can meet us all. We'd love to see you.
Thank you for your support of local business.
As the final part of this month's blog about June's gemstone of the month - pearls - here's a helpful list of my do's and don't's for looking after your pearl jewellery.
Top Tips: Caring for your Pearls:
I love making jewellery using pearls, if you'd like to see some exmaples, simply click on this link - pearls - or visit my studio and try on something special.
Enjoy your pearls
Guess what I got for my birthday? It's a kit for enamelling. I've recently done some training in the skills of enamelling and have been itching to get started on some pieces in my own workshop. First things first, though. There's not a great deal of space left in my workshop (below left)... and I love the way my studio is (below centre).
So, in a subtle bid to take over the entire building and extend my silversmithing kingdom, I've moved the gym into the packing area! I now have a brilliant and bright space for drawing and enamelling. Can't wait to get started now. I've got lots of design ideas and have been scribbling away for weeks.
Eventually I want to enamel this piece. It's a work in progress. Made up of two parts, a pendant featuring Japanese ladies and a wisteria design brooch the two can be attached together to form a large and striking brooch. The sterling silver has been etched to highlight the design and I'm planning to apply some gorgeous enamel colour to really bring it to life.
I'll keep you updated
Thanks to Lana Crabb at Cooksongold and Denise McGowan (evanji.co.uk) for their tuition and inspiration.
As promised, here's the second part of my blog for June's gemstone of the month, -pearls - focusing on its many colours, shapes and interesting facts about this natural gemstone.
Pearls: interesting things you probably didn't know?
Next week: Part three of Gemstone of the Month - Pearls, featuring my top tips on how to look after your pearl jewellery. And if you enjoy wearing pearls as much as I enjoy making pearl jewellery, take a peek at these pieces I have made.
Enjoy your pearls
Kate Buchanan-Dunne is an artist, designer and silversmith based in Shropshire.