• How I Make the twopennylane Packaging

    Before I opened my twopennylane online shop, I thought long and hard about my 'branding'. And before I decided on the airmail theme I currently use, I thought long and hard about how to package my jewellery. I wanted the packaging to represent what was inside, so it had to be cute, intriguing, and exciting. The anticipation of opening the box is key. I think that excitement is a feeling I will never grow out of. That's when I remembered the song, 'My Favourite Things' from The Sound of Music. They sing, 'Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favourite things!' Right there and then I knew exactly how I wanted my packaging to look! So here is a little guide to how I make the packaging.

    Step One
    The plain boxes I buy are made from recycled material. I buy them in various sizes depending on what needs to be stored inside them.

    Step Two
    I apply the "address" to each box manually with the aid of a rubber stamp and an ink pad. I designed the rubber stamp myself and had it custom made at a local shop in York.

    Step Three
    Once the ink has dried, I apply a sticker of the twopennylane postage stamp in the top right hand corner. I get the stickers printed by a company, although I designed them myself in my ancient (1995!) version of Photoshop. I'm much better with Photoshop now, but at the time I remember it took ages and I found the whole experience really frustrating!

    Step Four
    Once the box has its jewellery inside, the finishing touch is to tie the brown string around it. I'm now an absolute pro at this!

    So there you have it! I do tend to make the boxes up in batches of a hundred. It takes me about an hour to make them up but it saves me time in the long run. You may even have seen me making them up behind the stall when I sell at vintage fairs!

  • Custom Designs: Anne Boleyn Charm Bracelet

    Custom Designs: Anne Boleyn Charm Bracelet

    Recently I was commissioned to make an Anne Boleyn themed charm bracelet for a customer who met me at York Does Vintage. I was a little bit nervous about the whole experience to be honest. It is one thing to make a piece of jewellery to order for a friend, and quite another to make one for a complete stranger. I have to admit I was quite taken with the idea of the project though, as my Mum used to be a history teacher!

    I started off by doing some research.The last time I can remember learning about Anne Boleyn was about 15 years ago so I hit good ole' Wikipedia up for a quick summary of her life, and explored paintings of Anne, and contemporary jewellery styles, for some inspiration.

    My customer had been quite specific about what things she wanted to be represented on the bracelet down to charms and even bead colours, so I did some supply research and then collated all my options into a Pinterest board for her to view and tell me which things she preferred. I've since removed the board as it is no longer relevant but you can check out twopennylane on Pinterest here.

    After purchasing my supplies and waiting for them to arrive I was able to mock up a layout of the bracelet for my customer to approve, and ask if there was anything she wanted changing, and then I started to assemble it!

    I was asked to put in red and black beads, so I chose cloisonné beads because they remind me of the rich brocade and heavy fabrics used in Tudor costume. I was also asked to put in some glass pearls, so I went with teardrop shapes reminiscent of Anne's famous "B" necklace. The main features of the bracelet are the six cabochon images of Anne which I made with images supplied by my customer and set beneath resin in antique silver plated bezels. Dotted in amongst the bracelet are other charms such as books and a crown, to represent elements of Anne's life.

    I was really pleased with the finished bracelet, and my customer was over the moon! It was a sixteenth birthday present for her daughter, who apparently cried a little when she was given it. It made me really proud that something I've made brought so much pleasure to someone.