Thursday, October 2, 2014

Caring for sentimental and vintage jewellery....

How often do you have your sentimental and valuable vintage jewellery checked over or cleaned by a professional jeweller? I have to say when I didn't have children I'd fluff about a lot more and have cleaning days and get all pretty pieces shiny again.  But since having kids, it's just not something I have even given a second thought too.

Recently I shared a post about losing a diamond from my wedding ring and during the time I was having quotes and repairs done, I was prompted to get onto email and have a chat with Christina from Christina Lowry Designs about the whole situation and about what I should and shouldn't be doing in future regarding my pieces.

Christina gave me loads of great advice and information and I thought it would be great to share those insights here, about what it is that we can do to ensure the longevity of our precious pieces. Firstly though Christina advises that people check jewellery yearly (whoops I certainly haven't been doing that) and more often than that if it's a particularly old piece. You may find that:

* Settings may need tightening.
* Claws retipping
* Fine shanks may need new bands
* Bracelet and necklace clasps and jump rings may need to be checked

All the above are easy enough fixes ranging in cost for repairs, but as long as you attend to the matters before you have a major issue, it's fair less cheaper than having to replace an entire piece or precious valuable stone.

Checking Over Jewellery Yourself

Christina shared some tips of things you can check over at home yourself and if you find any of the following issues it's certainly time to get your pieces seen to by a professional. To quote her directly she says:

"In terms of checking jewellery yourself, you can look over your pieces for bent, broken or worn claws and loose stones. If you can turn a stone in a claw setting there's a good chance it needs tightening. If you hold a ring next to your ear in two fingers and tap it with a third and you can hear a rattle if you have loose stones".

So get on to it and check over your pieces. Finally Christina mentioned that your contents insurance generally covers jewellery stolen from home or lost away from home as well as lost gemstone. However most policies need items over $1000 to be individually listed and to have a valuation certificate.

Oh and be mindful of when and where you wear precious valuable pieces where there may be a chance of pieces getting damaged like at the gym or whilst gardening. Remember to also store metal jewellery away from pearls as not to scratch them.

I'm super thankful that Christina gave me so much advice and that I could share it. I'd like to know though from others, seriously though when was the last time you had your precious pieces looked over, if ever at all?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Style Collective and adventures at the Rivermill Cafe....

We are on the last week of school holidays here at the moment, which means Cohen is back to school next week for his last term of the year in Prep. Our last school holidays at the end of the second term were terrible with everyone bar me falling very ill and then Ben suffering a bad back injury. So these school holidays I have been making an extra than normal holiday effort to do fun things.

The kids never have big, crazy requests for the holidays, this time their holiday list has consisted of things like arts and craft, bird watching, beachcombing, going to the park, climbing a tree and going fishing, simple things that cost us nothing really.

Weather has impeded some of their suggestions a few days throughout the first week so I've tried to come up with alternatives. One of the alternatives being this past weekend when I suggested to Ben that we head to the Rivermill Cafe about a fifteen minute drive home. The cafe and grounds are set along part of the river and in the warmer months is loaded with turtles bopping their heads out of the water for a gawk at visitors.

Even though it's only early Spring our days are getting warm and as you can see, I'm already reaching for shorts and singlets. It's the warmer months that see me in more thrifted combinations than all out vintage because of the temperatures we get here, which don't always make it easy or comfortable to wear some vintage frocks.  So the hunt is on like it is every summer for vintage shorts, minis and cotton dresses to bolster my wardrobe and vintage heart. My new to me yellow shorts are recent find for fifty cents at local op shop they have white piping around the faux pocket feature and are an easy wear for a day where are frock wouldn't necessarily be easy or practical running after three adventuring kids.

Heart Print Red Singlet - Retail
 1980's High Waisted Sports Shorts - Op Shopped
Shoes - Retail
Glasses - prescription......good thing I wore glasses those legs need a tan.

The grounds and venue of the Rivermill Cafe are filled with lots of interesting things for kids and adults alike to take an interest in. The grounds were once a thriving area were arrowroot was grown and milled along the Coomera River in the early 1900's. The Historic Rivermill was one of the three largest mills of its time from 27 mills, sadly none are operational now and have basically disappeared without a trace or reverted back to farming land. Within the grounds now they have an old Queensland Rail Train carriage which would make a group back drop to photos if one felt so inclined, an animal enclosure that you are free to walk into and visit the animals, swings and fresh fruit and vegetable stall from local producers.

We had a fun time venturing around and having tea and scones for morning tea with the kids. The kids were equally enthralled by all the old wares that fill the entrance to the cafe which is much like a historical museum with items from times gone by. Oh how I would love that beaten up cash register, I just think it's glorious.

We finished off our morning with a swing and letting the kids running free on the great big green open spaces just enough to bring them home sufficiently worn out for some quiet time, a late lunch and a family movie. 

It was a great adventure out it only cost us morning tea as there is no entry fee to the mill. The kids had a wonderful time and are looking forward to more visits over the coming months as it gets even warmer to see even more turtles.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When I lost a diamond from wedding ring...

When Ben an I were planning on getting married we had been together for four years, we were still young, Ben had just turned 22 years old and I was few months shy of my 21st birthday. As young loves do when it came to an engagement ring and wedding bands we didn't have a lot money to flash around and be indulgent, so I suggested to Ben that we use the rings I had inherited from my Aunts passing a few years prior.

For many years I wore my Aunts wedding and engagement rings, but after seven years of marriage we hit a rough patch in our relationship and I stopped wearing my rings. As time went on Ben and I tried to mend our marriage, and I gave him my Aunts rings along with a design I had drawn for a new ring I wanted using the diamonds from her rings. I told him to only have my new ring made when it was a the "right time" for us again.

Pictured with my wedding band there is also my Grandmothers Brooch/Pendant and the pearl bracelet Ben had made for to wear on our wedding day, both precious pieces to me.

Well as is evident that day came because we are still together, still married, very much in love and stronger from that and other challenges and traumas we've faced together. Ben took me out to dinner and made a big fuss and gave me my new ring containing my Aunts diamonds from my original rings she wore whilst alive.

I was thrilled with the ring, my design, and the strength and commitment in our marriage again.The ring was perfect exactly what I wanted. I've never been one for counting carats or being flashy with jewelry, but I'm clearly sentimental. This wide band ring is me all over, being untraditional in design for a wedding band it certainly garners comment when people spot it on my left hand. Quite often it's men who ask if it's my wedding band and are surprised when I say yes and I'm not concerned about carat size.

Recently I've had two incidents occur with my ring causing panic and the other upset. In May I had several hours where I was convinced I had lost my precious ring, but thankfully it was found hours later in one of the kitchen drawers (long story). But even more recently one morning I went to slip my ring on after washing my face to see that one of the diamonds was missing. I was instantly sad, and decided not to wear my ring until I could have it checked over, because I didn't want to risk the loss of further stones until I could have it seen to.

All this has had me thinking about those really precious pieces of jewelry we all own.  I know there are many of us who would have drawers full of vintage costume jewelry, but where and how do you store your really precious pieces? Do you wear precious pieces every day? Do you take them off to shower, sleep or to do house work or gardening? Finally would you be a sentimental goof like me over the loss of a diamond big or small from a sentimental piece?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Encouraging children's individual Style....

I want to share a story about why allowing and encouraging your children to make their own clothing and style choices can reap significant benefits in your child.  So often children are told what to wear, when to wear and how to look. As parents I think we often fear how others (particularly other children) will perceive or child and tease or bully our little ones for being different and going against the crowd. We often parent in such a way to have them conform and be like everyone else so to minimise these experiences. 

It is my firm belief that the leaders of tomorrow are those who will make a change in difference in others, are those children who are encourage to not follow the crowd and answer and honor themselves in all areas of life, including their style.

My boy Cohen is his own man. He dances to the beat of his own drum he is a creative, sensitive and artistic soul. He has quirks and opinions and a driving force that is uniquely his own. Since he was a baby he has been watching me piece together unique outfits of my own and has joined me on countless op shopping adventures.

He has often stood in our walk in wardrobe with me and given input to what I should wear he has picked pattern clashes like a pro. Cohen has always had a bit of interest in his own style but I've noticed how much more he is refining his style since stating prep earlier this year.

He likes button up shirts, belts, jeans, slacks, scarves, ties and hats and he likes things with texture, print, pattern and colour too. Cohen recently had a school disco with a Superhero's vs Villains theme. When it came to him choosing the clothes he was going to wear with is Batman cape from the dress ups suitcase, he came out sporting this unique combination.

His own shorts and shirt which were op shopped and dark green vintage corduroy hat (also op shopped) which he grabbed out of the dress ups suitcase. He walked out of his room hands and his pockets and I instantly said to him:

" Wow baby you like great, you look really cool, like undercover detective on summer holiday".

He smiled and thanked me and walked around with confidence knowing he looked good. I asked him about the Batman cape and after he motioned back and forth to is room a few times, he said quietly:

"I don't want to wear it mum. I look good in this and I think the cape is a bit silly with this a bit too much. I just want to wear this".

I supported his confidence but did ask if he wanted to take the cape along just in case when he saw his friends at the disco he didn't regret not taking it and want to join in the superhero antics. But he firmly assured me he didn't need to or want to. I was so proud of his conviction and confidence.

He came home from the disco having had a great time, he was also keen to tell me that the older child he had issue with at the start of the year calling him names and bullying him had approached him. The said child had approached him to apologise for his behavior towards Cohen, and complimented him on his outfit and told him he was a cool dude.

Cohen has battled with this bully throughout the year but I believe because he was able to show his true self and his personality in his outfit (rather than his school uniform) his confidence shown through. Perhaps the bully didn't see just another target in a blue school shirt, perhaps instead he saw a boy with confidence and saw the real person he has been distressing. But either way whatever it was, it was Cohen's outfit that broke the ice and allowed for a resolution and repair.

Do you encourage your children to have their own style?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My first time experiences doing a Vintage Fair vs Weekend Market.....

On Sunday just past I pitched my stall at my first proper vintage fair. I'm not a stranger to pitching my gazebo up and selling my wares in person, but until now I have only had stalls at weekend handmade vintage markets and suitcase street markets.

The Collectorville Fair on Sunday was a wonderful introduction to selling in a vintage fair setting, and I am so happy with the experience. I'm thankful for having Ben's assistance and support in the lead up to the fair as well as on the day. We had to travel in two vehicles to the venue as we were without available babysitters. Ben not only helped with setting up, but took the kids all day and came back to help pack up.

The fair started at 9am but we had a 4am start with travel time and set up at the venue. I was thankful that my stall site was next to my most loveliest of vintage gal pals Celia from Kittys Vintage Kitsch. When I was getting frustrated with finessing my display at just before 8am, she encouraged me to take a walk. It was just what I needed to be able to come back to it with fresh eyes and have everything ready in time for the gates to open to the public.

The fair went from 9am to 3pm and from the moment people started coming through the gates I was busy and it was wonderful. It was a great joy to have people tell me about their collections and passions. I made new vintage friends, had many a happy customer walk away with goodies and was visited and surprised by old vintage loving friends of the special kind that are delicious to squeeze.

It wasn't until around 1pm a had a chance to grab a quick bite to eat in a lull and take stock and go to battle with the winds that were picking up and causing problems to some stallholders gazebos and displays......nothing a few minor adjustments in my display didn't fix.

I rounded off the day with my final sale whilst packing up and the final fair goers were making their way out, when I had a gorgeous lady come back to purchase a vintage Mabel Melamine Tray with a beautiful scene of two girls having a tea party.

I really enjoyed doing the fair and much more than I have had doing a weekend market. Those attending a fair are collectors and appreciators of vintage and precious items. People understand the experience, effort and knowledge that goes into providing quality items for purchase and don't scoff at prices. Where as those attending a weekend market are frequently looking for a bargain and wanting rock bottom prices and bargains.

I will certainly be concentrating my efforts on fairs, festivals and events going forward in conjunction with my Etsy store and other sales means. I'm far less likely to be attempting the weekend market scene again anytime time soon. Fairs, festivals and events are a lot easier for me to plan for and manage with pre-planning without causing changes to our family life and routine every weekend.
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