Say Hello to - Ellymental Jewellery

Vintage Kitsch Dragon Fly Necklace

Ellymental Jewellery

This week we say hello to the very talented Elly Englefield-Morgans, British jewellery designer-maker and founder of Ellymental Jewellery.

"EllyMental vintage styled kitsch jewellery is designed and made by Elly who is inspired by designs based on her own fervent interest in kitsch nostalgia and animals. She incorporates her designs with found ephemera and delicate home-made papers. Items are multi-layered and multi-varnished to create a strong and robust end piece. All items are lovingly and meticulously hand crafted"

How did your jewellery making and design business start?

I started making jewellery full time in April 2011 - before then I had been doing it part time whilst working another job which I was able to quit once I was making enough money making the jewellery. My background is in textile design & practise so jewellery making was a natural progression and I made my first owl necklace after somebody told me my designs would make nice pieces of jewellery and I decided they were probably right!
Vintage Styled Kitsch Owl Necklace
Vintage Styled Kitsch Owl Necklace

Allen Ginsberg Brooch (Beat Generation Poet)
Allen Ginsberg Brooch (Beat Generation Poet)

Your work has a very particular style, where do you take your inspiration from?

My inspiration comes from what I like; animals and books and a vintage appearance. I regularly go to the book town Hay on Wye and get old books to use in my work and my dogs have featured as brooches.
Kitsch Swallow Necklace 'Lover's tale'
Kitsch Swallow Necklace 'Lover's tale'

Does paper jewellery last? How should we look after it?

Yes it does last, I have even put it through the wash and it has come out fine, although this isn't recommended! It is also thickly layered and compressed with metal so this also makes it more robust. I have experimented with various varnishes over time and I have settled on a good couple that I use to protect the paper. For longevity it is best to wipe clean only and avoid using harsh chemicals or hairspray near it as this could take the sheen off a bit if exposed a lot.
The Queen Bee Necklace
The Queen Bee Necklace

Will you be producing any new ranges soon, what do you have planned for the future?

I produce new items on a monthly basis and I am currently working on a range based on A Midsummer Nights Dream. After that I will be doing a writer range using my drawings of my favourite writers mixed with their books. So far I am thing George Orwell, Charles Dickens, Jack Kerouac, Sylvia Plath and I have already completed an Allen Ginsberg brooch by request. I also do wedding commissions whereby I take details such as names, dates, lyrics and incorporate them into designs for necklaces, cufflinks etc for the couples special day or as a keepsake.

Varnished Paper Fish Earrings
Varnished Paper Fish Earrings

If you love this unique, handmade ( and delighfully kitsch) jewellery, visit Elly's shop at  - Ellymental Jewellery

Pinteresting Stuff - The Organic lifestyle

This week we thought we would highlight a favourite 'pinner' of ours.  Recently discovered on Pinterest, we think her collections are breathtaking. Vicki Horton, is an interior designer from Colorado - her boards are  impeccably organised into colour tones and combinations.

A snapshot of how beautiful organic living can be!

We have chosen a few of our favourite images from her 'Organic Lifestyle' board to share, the colours are wonderful, wheats, taupes and soft greys.  The colours are so well matched and carefully coordinated that it looks as if it were all shot in one location. 

fabric balls organic hemp hessian

Source: via Vicki on Pinterest

basket of string

log wall and bicycle

Organic jumper

organic wool throw

We'll have more from our favourite Pinners next week - do you use Pinterest? We'd love to see your boards and highlight them here on the Not Mass Produced blog, please do share your Pinterest links in the comment form below :)

Easy Shoulder Bag Tutorial

tiny happy shoulder bag

TinyHappy Market Bag Tutorial

This is a fantastic free shoulder bag tutorial - it's easy to sew up (I've made quite a few of these for personal use) and if you already have a little experience of sewing it won't take you long to make up.  The trickiest part is joining up the straps so they appear seamless, but that just takes a little practise and patience. If you google 'tiny happy shoulder bag' and do an image search you will see just how many people have made lovely bags as a result of this tutorial, with the image above from Ruby Chickadee on Flickr being just one - it's a very pretty version!

free shoulder bag tutorial pattern

shoulder bag tutorial

The tutorial is from blogger Tiny Happy - it's one of our favourite blogs here at Not Mass Produced, be warned, if you click to see it you may find yourself completely immersed in this TinyHappy world and the wonderful posts archive (so beautiful!) -  you may not have enough time left to make up this lovely shoulder bag!

How about a market bag / shopper that's all ready been handmade from Not Mass Produced -  We think this floral shopper from Dish Dash Bags is perfect for a trip to the market (farmers market or just your local Sainsburys!)  It has a very sweet little heart detail on the front to add a bit of personality.

shoulder bag

Have you found any excellent bag tutorials (or written any) we'd love you to share the link, add a comment below :)

Tips for a stress free Summer!

Beach Cushion from Betsy Jarvis

With summer approaching there will be many parents faced with the daunting prospect of keeping their kids entertained over the summer.  Even if it's just for a two week staycation whilst you have time off work, it's a good idea to plan in advance what you'll be getting up to.

We've put together some tips for surviving the holidays by having a plentiful supply of activities to keep the kids occupied and avoid the nerve grating 'I'm bored' syndrome.  As you may have guessed it's all about planning!

Make A Family Summer Calendar

You need a calendar that you can all refer to.  Get together with your kids and start planning your calendar.  Give every day of the holiday enough space to write an entry in and allow input from all members of the family - it can be tricky to do activities that cover all ages.

How about a diy magnetic calendar? Try this tutorial from 'The Qilted Fish' for inspiration

Use stickers and marker pens or even give the task to a computer savvy child to make up a spreadsheet with some fun clipart, they learn IT skills from preschool now so it will probably be done in a flash.  

The goal is that you all work on it together - it's a great way to begin to brainstorm ideas whilst you're busy making it -  for days out, or activities that your kids will really enjoy.  You need to commit to anything that's written in black and white on the calendar, so check your own commitments thoroughly before you start so you can add in all the important adult stuff that needs to get done, including any days where you have to be at work or have to do housework.  Your local authority is likely to run a summer camp for children with working parents.

Add in 'surprise' days out that will give your children something exciting and mysterious to look forward to.

If your kids know that Monday mornings are 'pyjama days' were they can veg out and Fridays are 'treat days' where you will take them out somewhere special it gives structure to the week. It also gives you a little leverage for good beahiour during the week too!
eco jewellery making kit

Brainstorm with Friends

Invite other Mums and Dads you know for a diary and brainstorming day / evening.  Teamwork is a great idea when it comes to parenting. There's a double bonus to this - you get to have fun with your friends!

Get out the tea and cake or head down the pub, just remember that you must all bring your diaries too so you can make some firm arrangements. They may have some great ideas for days out that you hadn't heard of.  Also you can organise group days where you can save some money on entry by having a large group rather than a family entry cost - or enable you to share petrol  if one of you has a people carrier that will take 2 families.

Swap Days 

Having extra kids around, especially ones that get on well can take the pressure off a bit.  Arrange in advance mornings or afternoons where you will look after a friends kids in exchange for them looking after yours on another day.  This makes sense, it gives you time to charge your batteries or get some work done and it also feels like double the fun for the kids.

Planned Activities

Ask your kids to help choose activites in advance so you can be sure to have all the supplies you might need ready.  Dragging children around craft supplies shops or garden centres can be expensive and tiring.  If you order online and get it all available in advance you can avoid all of that unnecessary stress and you will probably find a few better deals too.  Clubbing together with other parents and buying 3 for 2 offers could also save you some money - it's definitely worth doing your homework and it may pay for that night out you have!

We've created a Pinterest page full of boredom busting activities for kids - The Summer Holiday Survival Guide, there are more than enough ideas to play with here! Crafts, gardening, cooking. You don't need a Pinterest account to look at them, just click the link and double click on the images to head over to the bookmarked web page.

We would love to hear about your plans for entertaining the children over the summer, please leave us a comment below :)

Gorgeous Gifts for Dog Lovers

dog lovers gifts

Hello Dog Lovers! Woof Woof...

Today we have some decidedly doggy handmade finds to share - perfect gifts for dog lovers.  So if you know someone who is dotty about their dogs but also likes things environmentally friendly,  they will certainly appreciate one of these not mass produced, handmade gifts.
  1. Love is a four legged word plaque
  2. Scottie dog cushion
  3. Tony the Bulldog
  4. Personalised handmade dog lead hook
  5. Fox terrier embroidered purse

Big Fish and Sustainable Development Rio+20

Breathtaking Images - these giant fish made from discarded plastic bottles can be found on Botafogo beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Rio is host to the 2012 Sustainable Development Conference aka Rio+20
"At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, will come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want.  
Twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, where countries adopted Agenda 21 - a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection - the UN is again bringing together governments, international institutions and major groups to agree on a range of smart measures that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources.
Rio+20 is a chance to move away from business-as-usual and to act to end poverty, address environmental destruction and build a bridge to the future. "
The conference ends today June 22, top on the hit list is the subsidy of fossil fuels and the needless pollution of our oceans.

Lets hope the outcome document created can set the world on the right path to sustainable development. We're looking forward to hearing Ban-Ki Moon's summation today and the what commitments to REAL action (not hollow promises) from world leaders, will be happening as a result.

Images via - FeelDesain

How to Make Raised Beds

raised beds veg plot envy
Image via Country Living

Do you have veg plot envy?

At this time of year you may be peering over the neighbours wall and feeling a little more green eyed than green fingered when met with a beautifully laid out veg plot, complete with raised beds and perfect gravel paths between them.

Growing veg is certainly not all about being neat and tidy, but making a few raised beds can have a really positive effect on your crops success as well as looking good and being practical to manage. So why not use the (hopefully good weather to come) and spend a weekend making up some raised beds, there's still lots of salad and veg you can plant to harvest this year.

We've discovered a fantastic tutorial to make your own raised beds from scratch, which we have shared at the end of this post - but first we thought you should understand why raised beds can really improve your crops.

neat veg garden with raised beds
An amazingly neat and tidy veg garden, see more of it over at blog 'Marks Veg Plot'

Why are raised beds great for growing vegetables?

  • Easy crop rotation -  If you have space for more than one raised bed you can rotate crops yearly. Crop rotation helps with the condition of the soil and can eradicate pests and diseases from particular families of plants. (in theory)
  • Warms the soil - because it's raised up it warms much quicker in spring allowing for earlier planting
  • Easy to improve and change the soil type - for specific plant families as you can add whatever you need to improve just that raised bed.
  • Focused watering - some plants are much thirstier than others
  • You wont stand on and compact the soil - your beds should be of a size so you can reach the centre without having to walk on the earth. Also the added bonus is clean shoes :)
  • Good drainage - because the soil is not compacted
  • Soil will not wash away - in torrential rain you don't need to worry about all the nutrients running away.
  • Easy to garden - If you build them fairly high it can help with bad backs, less leaning means more enjoyable gardening.
  • Can be covered - They can be made to take a cover, cloche or netting, which can be rotated or removed seasonally.

Raised Bed Tutorial

raised bed tutorial

We think this veg bed tutorial from fantastic blog 'The Pioneer Woman' is the most easy to follow - we have looked at a fair few to find the best one to share, some seem to assume you are a diy expert but this one is suitable for complete novices.  The full tutorial can be found here How to build your own raised veg bed

The instructions are step by step and the images are really clear to follow, so if you have the tools (or could borrow some) you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary expense from the ready made or kit raised beds that are sold in garden centres and diy shops.

raised bed tutorial

We have lots of gifts for gardeners available at Not Mass Produced, for example this essential gardeners handcream and a traditional trug for gathering up your salad and veg, both  perfect for green fingered fanatics :)

traditional gardeners trug

We've been having fun searching Pinterest for our 'Veg Plot Envy' board - some absolutely stunning gardens as well as some ideas for growing veg in constricted spaces. Are you a keen gardener we'd love to hear your tips for success!?

Used and Worn - The Violin Maker

USED AND WORN : Violin Maker Documentary from Harald Spjelkavik on Vimeo.

This is a beautifully crafted video  from Harald Spjelkavik.  Creating a musical instrument is perhaps one of the most skilled crafts, the violin maker in this piece not only trained for four years to learn how to make violins but also trained as a professional violinist - it must be rare for the two passions to collide in this way, and yet so important for the maker of the violin to understand the needs of his customers.

making a violin

We hope you enjoy watching this fascinating video, it's very inspiring to watch such skilled craftsmen at work and to know there are still people left to repair all the beautiful musical instruments that are old and worn, but still have a little music left in them.

Winner of the Shabby Chic Cushion Giveaway

We hope you all have a lovely Father's Day today, has he earned a lie in? Our tribute to all the top dads out there is here in our latest Pinterest board - Daddy Cool, with lots more wonderful images to make you go "awwwww" like this one above from Alex Wurditsch!

Well that's enough about Dads - back to the main purpose of this post! Thanks to everyone who entered for a chance to win this very soft and snuggly looking Irish Bow cushion, designed and handmade by 'Random Button' one of our favourite artisans at Not Mass produced.  The competition is now closed and we have picked a winner.

shabby chic cushion

The winner has been drawn at random from all of the entries, drum roll please....

Congratulations to Selena!

Selena blogs over at Selenarte Decoupage - she's clearly a lover of all things shabby chic so the cushion will fit right in! :)

Commiserations to all of those who didn't win but we'll be back with more giveaways from our very talented designer makers soon.

My First Fifty Years - a wall hanging by Mrs P

Mrs P wall hanging WI

Mrs P, a WI member turned 50 years of learning and life into this fascinating embroidered wall hanging.  Titled my first fifty years, it's an inspiring piece of work, we'd love to see it close up, just look at the detail in the text and those beautiful miniatures illustrating all the crafts she learned during her time with the WI.

Head over to the original post on Gills Blog at the official online home of the WI, to read more clearly all the wonderful activities that Mrs P recorded on this wall hanging.  Also take a look at this follow up post with more interesting information about the life of this talented crafty lady.

It's great that so many people are now as enthusiastic about craft as Mrs P obviously was.  This beautiful wall hanging will be really appreciated for generations to come.

Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2012

London creativity and wellbeing week 2012

London Creativity and Wellbeing Week 2012

We spotted this great series of events happening in the capital - such a fantastic initiative that will hopefully be replicated outside of London too if it's successful and well attended.  Art and culture is what makes us human,  it's excellent to see the creative community and health services coming together in this way and working as a team.

Ethical Fathers Day Gifts

Fathers day is on the 17th June 2012! What would he like this year?  We've put together a few great gifts from the designer makers at Not Mass Produced, so you can show your appreciation for your Dad, without having to buy anything that's been mass produced and shipped half way across the world.

There's some great ethical gifts here for new Dad's too - that first Father's Day should be one he can always remember :)

The Boss cushion

Unique Handmade Jewellery

We have a growing collection of fantastic jewellery designers at Not Mass Produced.  Here we have posted just a small taste of the truly unique handmade jewellery available, to whet your appetite.  

We think handmade jewellery is particularly special. Jewellery is a gift to be cherished, kept safe and worn close.  When given as a gift it often represents a special event in our lives, or a connection with someone special.  

silver and green resin ring

Random Button - Designer Giveaway!

We're really excited as today we have our first artisan interview including a fantastic giveaway to win this beautiful shabby chic cushion, pictured above, part of the 'Parlour Chic' collection from Random Button.

 Details of how you can win this pretty cushion are at the end of the post, but first lets meet the talented designer maker behind it -  Laura Sollis of Random Button.