Trials with technology!


Back in the old days, pencil and paper ruled the world. I, like everyone else, learnt to write with a pencil and I still love the feel and sound of it against the paper. But this archaic method of communication apparently is no longer up to the job – it no longer cuts the mustard, it has been declared passe. I’m told that I now need to do things electronically!

I have accepted letters, email, facebook, twitter, web pages and on-line shops but now the time has come to commit my diary to electronic media. I have resisted, continuing to carry round a veritable tome in my bag, in which I plot the daily movements of the whole family – keeping us all on track and on-time (mostly) like the captain of a ship.

We have simply become too busy for the whole family to rely on me and my book – we all need to make appointments when we’re not together to check if the others have any commitment clashes – “oh no I can’t do that”,I cry, “I’m supposed to be taking Little Miss to x,y,z!”

And so I have taken the plunge and got myself a Google calender (other online calendars are available) and synced it to my phone – get me! Just how efficient this will turn out to be remains to be seen – I’ve spent the past 4 hours sorting it all out and it involved the creation of numerous email accounts and access to several mobile phones. I’m not convinced and it was alarming looking at dates for Christmas.

Hopefully it will work though – I might save at least a little weight in my bag – but in the mean time, if I’m not somewhere when I’m supposed to be, please, dear friends, it’s not my fault – blame it on the technology.

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Baby, baby!

At the weekend I attended a fantastic event! The Cheltenham Pregnancy and Baby Fair organised by the Gloucestershire Breastfeeding Supporters Network (GBSN).

My involvement with the organisation began years ago when I had my first child and helped out in one of their groups supporting mum’s during breastfeeding. Although I haven’t been involved for years, it was lovely to be able to take my stall along to their event and support them on the day. 

I thought I’d show you just a few of the people I met there – if you see anything you think you might be interested in then please click on the images and you should be taken to their website (if I have done all the magic linking correctly!)

Firstly, I really should give you a link to GBSN themselves:



They run a network of groups to support you though the highs and lows of your breastfeeding journey – I highly recommend them. If you don’t live in Gloucestershire then I’m sure there will be something similar near you.

I had a lovely lady each side of my stall – one was from Tread Lightly Toys. She sells ethically sourced toys and has a fantastic selection – do go over to her website and have a good look around.


On the other side I had the fabulous Lotusbud – providing specialist pregnancy yoga and massage.



It was wonderful to see the team from Blueskies – now open in Cheltenham with their stay and play cafe in their natural parenting centre. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it there. From slings to massage, music and dance classes to fun and of course coffee!



The Camomile Rooms provide maternity and reproductive reflexology as well as cranial osteopathey and much more:


Tatty Bumpkin provide yoga inspired classes for 0-7 year olds – plenty of music and and fun!


Mini Moments run a whole host of courses in baby massage and baby yoga:


And finally visit The Stripy Company for some gorgeous gifts and products:


There were so many others there that I didn’t get to talk to, so sorry to all those who I haven’t talked about. 

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Sol sistere – Midsummer’s Folksy Friday


The summer solstice arrives today – it is now midsummer, although that’s fairly hard to  believe from the weather. The word solstice comes from the Latin word sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).Scientifically speaking, the solstice is the moment when the tilt of the earth’s axis is closest to the sun and the sun reaches it’s highest point in the sky. (Don’t all complain if I’m not quite right – I’m no exert!) The upshot though is that Midsummer’s Day will have the most hours of daylight (the flip side of course is that it’s all downhill from here until mid-winter). In honour of Midsummer’s Day I’ve been having a browse for some lovely handmade sun themed goodies – if you like what you see, do go over and have a closer look at the makers’ shops – click on any of the pictures to follow the link . Have a fantastic mid-summer’s day, whatever you do and however you keep it – I’m considering getting up to see the sun rise, but I don’t expect I made it!


Montgomery Sun by Glass Island Photography


Rising Sun Necklace by Claire Gent


Sun, Moon & Star brooch by Ruth Makes Jewellery


Sun Suncatcher by Joysofglass.


Ceramic Sun by Leadon Valley Crafts


Sunshine garland by Pelemele


Sunshine Cushion Cover by Spotty Cottage


Sun Mounted Print by Carey Creations

There are more lovely pieces on my Pinterest Board at

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Midsummer’s Eve


Midsummer Eve by Edward Robert Hughes.

This has always been a favourite picture of mine, for years I had it as a poster on my bedroom wall but in many house moves it got lost. It’s everything I like to think about a magical moonlit night in the woods surrounded by the fairies. I’ll have to get another copy.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some Midsummer inspired Folksy finds.

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The Road Not Taken……


This has long been my husband’s favourite poem but I can’t say I’ve ever paid it all that much attention. But now I have, and I love it. Which path should I take? And will it matter it the end?

The Road not Taken – by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


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MoonRiver has green fingers……

……well sort of!

Today I’ll introduce you all to my little garden. All of you probably realise by now that I’m quite ‘into’ all things green and natural; leaves and bushes excite me as I walk along and interesting wildlife catches my eye. However it may come as a surprise that I’m not so interested in growing pretty flowers as I am lovely vegetables.

When we moved into our house about 2 1/2 years ago the front garden was just open grass onto the footpath.

What a waste of perfectly good garden I thought to myself – so I set about fencing it in to keep passing dogs and footballing children trampling everything. Several injuries later, my do-it-myself picket fence was finished (and I’m pleased to say is still standing!)

First we used the space to keep our two hens but having moved them to the back garden over the winter where it’s more sheltered, I decided that I liked them better there and started to dig up all the rough grass to make a veggie plot. My goodness was that ground hard work to clear – it had been laid to grass since the house was first built and wasn’t going to give in lightly.

Then I set about building the beds – having put all that effort into digging already, I prefer the raised bed no-dig method! And then disaster struck and the awful weather of last year killed off pretty much everything that I had growing.

I’ve begun this year with great enthusiasm again though – all the collected compost from the bins along with the ‘waste products’ of the various pets have been buried in the trenches (more digging!) and all the creeping cinquefoil and dandelions removed, root by root. Some seeds are starting to appear and I’ve just planted out beans, peas, lettuce, squash, cucumber and courgettes. Oh and the strawberries seem to be settling in quite well.

This is the garden as of today:





I’ll do another picture later in the year if it all grows!

Now all I need is time and patience (something which my youngest clearly hasn’t got as he asks every 5 minutes if he can pick the beans yet) – here’s hoping that the weather’s a bit kinder this year!

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If you go down to the woods today……


Today with the sun shining we set off for the deep dark woods. After a picnic on a convenient log under a flowering rowan tree came a lovely walk through the trees of the Forest of Dean.





The bluebells were ringing all around us and a little friend flew over to sing his hello – he sat so close for such a long time!


These photos really don’t do it justice. What a lovely day full of inspiration.






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To mark or not to mark….. that is the question……


Today’s blog is all about hallmarking. I’m sure most of you have seen those tiny little imprints on the inside of your ring bands – they’re the hallmarks and they have a purpose!

Hallmarking was first introduced in 1300 under Edward I – and the basic concept hasn’t really changed today. Can you tell by simply looking at a piece of jewellery whether it’s made of gold, or silver? Could you be sure that the gold piece was 18C or only 9C? And is that lovely piece of silver really sterling silver or only silver plated?

Hallmarking is there for the protection of customers. A hallmark can only be applied if the assay office have tested the piece to check that it is indeed made of what you’re claiming it to be made of. There is a legal requirement for hallmarking too! I’m going to talk about silver from now on as that is what I work with, but the hallmarking act applies to all precious metals.

Any piece of silver over 7.78grams MUST be hallmarked before sale if it is to be advertised and sold as being silver rather than white metal. Up until recently all my pieces came in under this weight so I didn’t need to comply, but lately I have been working on several larger pieces that needed to be hallmarked so I took the plunge and registered with the Birmingham Assay Office for my very own sponsor’s mark and recently received back my first batch of hallmarked items.

You’ll forgive me if I do a little excited dance here – it really is quite something to see your own mark applied to a piece of work! So my first batch of hallmarking came back marked like this:

hallmark 1

hallmark 2

It really is quite small and the camera hasn’t picked up the detail very well so I’ve done a little sketch for you all to see (don’t laugh!)

my maker's mark

For any of you who don’t know (and that included me until quite recently) a legal hallmark is made up of three parts. The sponsor’s mark, the fineness (or purity) mark and the assay office mark. The sponsor’s mark is a design containing the sponsor (or maker’s) initials which is registered with one of the four UK assay offices. It’s a bit like an artist signing a painting – any piece can be traced back to the maker from this mark. The fineness mark tells you what your piece is made of. For silver this can be 800, 925, 958 or 999. This tells you how pure the silver is; for example 999 is 99.9% silver and is known as fine silver, whereas 925 is only 92.5% silver and known as sterling silver. The assay office mark tells you which of the assay offices have tested and marked the piece.


So here’s how it all works! I make my piece of jewellery and carefully pack it up ready to send to the Assay Office, filling in all the paperwork required and putting it into the parcel. I then post the package at my local post office. When the packet arrives at the Assay Office, it is checked in, tested and stamped before being re-packed and sent back to me.

Hallmarking isn’t an option for those of us making and selling our jewellery, it is a legal requiement, but that doesn’t stop people from flouting the regulation. So next time you are buying jewellery, ask the seller about hallmarking or look for the Dealer’s Notice in their shop or on their website. This is what you’re looking for:


And you can see it on my own website at

Hallmarking does add a cost to my jewellery, but I feel happier knowing that I am complying with the law. All of my heavier pieces will now be sent off to the Birmingham Assay Office for hallmarking and some of my smaller pieces as well.

You can find out more about hallmarking from the British Hallmarking Council at

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I see the Moon and the Moon sees me….. Folksy Friday


Yes, it’s true – I love the moon! Isn’t it just about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? I love the fact it changes, that it marks the passing of time. I love being out on a night with a really bright moon and seeing the shadows cast in the moonlight. I love looking at it through a telescope with my daughter and watching her face as she sees all the fantastic detail revealed. And of course, the moon features heavily in one of my favourite picture books……

I wanted to blog today about some of the wonderful items I’ve found on Folksy and chose the marvelous moon as a theme – I hope you enjoy looking a them as mush as I did.


£18 by SummerIsle on Folksy

Angel Mosaics

£15 by Angel Mosaics on Folksy

Enlightened Cushions

£32 by Enlightened Cushions on Folksy


£12 by Fizzstudio on Folksy

peony and thistle

£4.50 by Peony and Thistle on Folksy

Silver Fingerprint Moon and Star Locket 2

£95 by MoonRiver on Folksy

Mauve Magpie

£8 by Mauve Magpie on Folksy

And yes – my favourite picture book is Guess How Much I Love You, so to both my children:

“I love you to the moon…..and back.”

You can see more of my moonlit wanderings around Folksy on my Pinterest board at

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The story of a beech leaf………

Beech leaves

“A copse which had worn it’s firs all the year round seemed old and dowdy now beside the new green lace which the beeches had put on so prettily.” – A.A.Milne, Winnie the Pooh

It feels as though spring has finally sprung in my small corner of Gloucestershire. Everywhere the trees are bursting into leaf and almost overnight there is blossom everywhere. For those of you who know me, or have read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know that I have a thing for trees and leaves. And so it will come as no surprise to you all that I came over all creative when I saw my parent’s beech hedge just starting to throw open its new delicate buds in a vivid splash of almost lime green.

I took just a few leaves away with me to see if I could turn them into silver. I thought you all might be interested in the stages a leaf goes through from tree to a finished piece of jewellery – so here goes……..

Firstly it’s important to choose the right leaves for your purpose – I recently found a perfect heart-shaped ivy leaf that was just crying out to become a pendant – so I usually sort through them to choose the ones that will work best. I wanted to make a pendant and a set of earrings and so I chose three leaves.

The perfect shape for a pendant.

The perfect shape for a pendant.

After being washed, the leaves are painted with thin layers of a paste form of precious metal clay. I recycle all the left over clay in my workshop into paste I can use like this, so the end product is really rather green! Between each layer the leaves must be left to dry. How many layers depends on how thick I want the finished piece to be – usually around ten, but I always lose count!

How many layers? I've lost count.

How many layers? I’ve lost count.

When the last layer is dry I roll out a piece of silver clay and cut a rectangle to make a bail on the back of the pendant, I prefer this to drilling a hole through the finished leaf. Look at my glamorous piece of kit, the drinking straw! I always drill my earrings after firing as I find they work better this way.

A ball of clay about to be rolled out.

A ball of clay about to be rolled out.

This has to be left to dry overnight before sanding and smoothing and filling and finishing it to perfection.

Waiting to be sanded and filled to perfection.

Waiting to be sanded and filled to perfection.

Then I fire the piece by hand using a butane torch. The original leaf itself burns away leaving pure silver behind with the impression of the leaf print. The pieces are always white straight after firing – this is the pure silver in its unpolished form.

No - this isn't a leaf but there was no one around to hold the camera at the time!

No – this isn’t a leaf but there was no one around to hold the camera at the time!

I then brush the piece with my soft brass brush and polish and oxidize if I want, before finishing with a chain and earring wires!

So here they are:

Beech leaf jewellery by MoonRiver.

Beech leaf jewellery by MoonRiver.

Fine silver beech leaf pendant – £35 – Fine silver beech leaf earrings – £25

Ivy Leaf Pendant by MoonRiver.

Ivy Leaf Pendant by MoonRiver.

Fine silver ivy leaf pendant – £35

All prices excl. p+p – please contact me for details or to buy!

So there you are – now you know! I hope you enjoyed reading – I’m off to find some more leaves, I’ve spotted some lovely strawberry ones!

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Inspiration is all around for those who choose to find it.

Inspiration is all around for those who choose to find it.