Paris handmade Pearl and Crystal Earrings on Silver

Friday, 4 November 2011

What's in a name?

I'm sure that many of you have found yourselves with a similar dilema, what do I call my business? 

It shouldn't really be that difficult, at least we'd like to think it wasn't, however I have been deliberating for some time over the name Purple Princess Designs.  I decided a while ago that the name does not 'cut it'.  Purple as a colour is great, and many have commented that it is also their favourite, but I can't say it's brought in business. Princess has a connotation of childhood about it, and really does not reflect the kinds of designs I am now creating.  I need something which reflects quality, individuality and style to match my vision of where the business should go, but what?  I have thrown this open to the 'floor' as it were in order to see what ideas people come up with.  Interestingly, most have either suggested names which already exist, or names which just don't work.  Envision Eyes was one, a great name but sounds more like an optician than quality bridal accessories.  Crystal Couture another, but sadly already exists. 

I anyone out there has any suggestions please feel free to pass them along, I am open to anything.  However, i do have a name which I think is going to be 'the one'.  I will keep you posted and let you know my decision as soon as possible.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Autumnal hues

I was idly thinking the other day as I walked to the gym, isn't it funny how we are so driven by the seasons.  The browns and ambers of autumn manage to make their way into our choices of clothes, hair, even food.  Somehow it seems so wrong to wear something of a bright hue, such as orange, red, bright blue and yellow, when all around us we see muted tones, increasingly skeletal trees and dark grey skies.  Similarly, it seems wrong to even think about pastels far more associated with spring and early summer than deep, dark autumn. 

In a month or so we will be inclined to don blacks, deep blues, red and crimsons in line with winter; colours which I suppose, make us feel warm and cosy.  Glittery fabrics and diamane shine will feature heavily in clothes donned for the Christmas season.  Why is is it ok to wear glitter for xmas but not for any other time of year?  is this tradition long associated with the feasts and holidays of mediaeval times, reminding of the warmth of glittering fires and gold goblets filled with warming wines and ales? 

Possibly this is all true, but I think it's easy to forget that we are ourselves, creatures of nature.  Still we are governed by the movements of the planets, particularly of course, the moon and the sun.  As such we are also governed by the relentlessly changing seasons, and yet there is also something very reassuring about this constant cycle of nature.  Nature understands extremely well that death is necessary for new life to spring forth and emerge making the planet and ultimately, us, stronger.

Have a great autumn and look forward to the depth of winter knowing that new life, rebirth and spring are just around the corner. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Phew! busy busy

Well, what an incredibly busy couple of weeks, what with wedding fairs, selling Hallowe'en beads on Ebay and Etsy, then to cap it all my father lost the sight in his left eye.  He couldn't drive, so yours truly has been ferrying him to and from the hospital, and also ferrying Mum to the shops for their dinner!  Dad has an op on the 28th November, in which they will remove the 'jelly' from his eye, and also a small cataract, but at least his sight will be a whole lot better.

In the interim of couse, I have to keep ferrying them both around, as Mother can't drive (probably for the best)  however, i have managed to make a gorgeous vintage hair piece, which I showcase here for you today.  I do hope you like it, let me know what you think :)


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Another blog

'Well yes I do have another blog called 'Writer's Blog', I am a writer as well, that is what I do.  I am currently analysing 'Basil' by Wilkie Collins with a view to submitting a work to be published (hopefully) on the Wilkie Collins website run by Andrew Mangham at Reading University.

I am a huuge Wilkie Collins fan and studied 'Basil' for my Master's Dissertation at Reading back in 2005.  'Basil' is a fascinating story of a young man who proposes marriage to  a young lady, but ends up being usurped  by her tutor. It is a story of madness and monomania, made worse by paranoia.  I will post a section of my submission here, in order that you may read it and make comment to your heart's content.

I wish you goodnight for now... off to read more 'Basil'.

Monday, 3 October 2011

where does the time go?

Well my lovely blogging followers and friends.  Just where does the time go?  I can't believe it's a month since I last blogged.  Not good!  What has happened in that month? I hear you ask, well I've started the wedding fairs again, the first of which was in a barn.  It was a 500 year old barn on the outskirts of Basingstoke.  Fabulous! I hear you cry, and it was all Tudor brickwork and high oak beams.  The only problem was that it was freezing inside and lovely and sunny outside.  No, that wasn't the only problem actually.  The floor was pure concrete; all dust and feathers from the birds nesting in the roof and the arrow-slit windows.  On arrival most of the exhibitors hearts sank as, although the barn was beautiful, a wedding venue it was not!   

however, we all laid out our wares, and once all the tables were covered and balloons were placed, the barn looked beautiful once more.  One exhibit which really caught my eye was the fruit and vegetable carving.  Yes indeed, these lovely people had carved flowers and leaves out of fruit and vegetables to make the most exotic display I think I've ever encountered.  it was gorgeous!  if you want to see some gallery pics have a look at

here's to the next blog, and I promise it won't be as long as last time.


Monday, 29 August 2011


Just attempting to make some buttonholes, or boutonierre as they are otherwise known.  Crumbs they're not as simple as they look.  I think crocheting 9ct gold was slightly easier :?

still I'll soldier on and I will solve the issue, I'll post some pics as and when I think they're good enough.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Wow! A big welcome to all my new followers

Thank you to all of you who have decided to follow Purple Princess Designs, aka Purplepolly on

Here I will post news of new items, articles of interest and new design innovations, where possible, from stages such as London and Paris Fashion weeks.  If anyone has an idea for a blog, or would like to guest blog, please do feel free to contact me, I'm more than happy to accept suggestions and ideas.

Recently I have started a bead club in our local area, we are small, yet perfectly formed so far.  Our last session saw us beading in the most wonderful wooden structure in the garden with sunshine flooding through the 'windows'.  Some call it a gazebo, or a small summerhouse.  it's circular with built in bench seats and a huge round table in the middle, perfectly set for beading.  The windows are canvas and plastic 'roll uppable' shutters allowing for light to flood in, and yet keeping the rain well and truly out.  what a wonderful session, and some beautiful, yet simple articles made by the lovely beady ladies present.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

who thought you could crochet with wire?

Yes it's true, a couple of years ago, even a year ago I would not have thought it possible to be able to crochet with wire, and yet voila!  here I am crocheting, not only with wire, but also with 9ct gold wire! 

I attach a photo for your perusal.  As you can see the bracelet consists of Swarovski pearls and crystals, and diamante 'disco balls' for extra sparkle.  My bride was extremely happy with the result, as the powder almond and light creamrose pearls fitted perfectly with her theme, dress and tiara.  Personally I don't think this photo does it any where near the justice it deserves.  Let me know what you think.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Another shop closes in the High Street

Sadly, I have to report that the Bead Box in Knaphill has had to close it's doors for the last time today.  I knew they were working on a two day week, and thought I would just mosey over there to have a mooch.  In my pocket I had a very small budget of £20 for some goodies, but as it happened they had a 50% off sale on... and a lot of sad people talking to Blair, the owner.  He was telling me that there just is not the footfall nowadays  to warrant keeping the shop open.   He partly blamed the internet, but also, should we not consider our own behaviour when it comes to shopping?

More and more shops are closing on our high streets, and frankly I'm with Mary Portas here, I don't want to see ghost towns with myriad empty shops.  I want to be able to see and feel the quality of what I'm being offered.  Sadly it seems that we are so lazy that we'd rather risk purchasing items from the internet than make the effort to mosey into town and support local businesses.  I think, as Portas says, we will regret this, maybe not now, but in the future we will certainly miss them.

Please whatever you do, make the effort to support local business, it's really important that we don't lose the identity of our towns, and also that we support each other in business.  Do we really want to deal with faceless individuals who trade with us on the internet, people we can't talk to, and much less complain when things are not right?

I don't think we do, not really. 

Happy Shopping

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

a dalliance with fascinators

Hallo All

it's been a while since I was on here, this is largely due to working at a local mental health hospital.  Ha! no not what you think, I am doing them a favour and training the staff on a new computerised patient notes system.  Odd? well no not really, this is the kind of thing I have done for many many years, in my previous life.  I have been a lecturer at a local college, and also ran an IT HelpDesk for Going Places for about 11 years.

I tested new systems and logged all the problems then when the time came, I contributed to all the documentation, and where necessary trained it on to the staff.  So actually it makes a lot of sense.   It's been interesting these last few weeks, well since May really.  Organised is not a word I would put to this lot, but they seem to be getting to grips with it all now.

what has amazed me is just how many people have no idea how to use a computer.  No idea at all, incredible that in this day and age, there are still people who just don't own a pc, or a laptop.  They can't type, and have no idea how to navigate around a computer screen.  Funny how we imagine that everybody will have these facilities and skills, why should they really?  it's their choice not to.  The only problem is, of course, that they will find they'll now have to find those skills from somewhere.  Trouble is that the hospital won't train them.  hey ho, fun days.

Hope everyone is well.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Posting at last!

Well, dear friends it's been a while since my last blog.  Been busy busy with repairs, alterations, working at the local mental health hospital, teaching, and writing books.  I'd forgotten about the blog post. 

I have a young lady who wants an Alexis tiara in black, silver and clear crystals, it's going to look fabulous.  Her overall colour scheme is black and white; her Berkertex dress is white with beautiful black embroidery detailing.  I can't wait to see Alexis in these colours so I will post a pic once it's completed, but I just know that it will stunning.

Did you know that tiaras can be worn in two ways, often people are unsure of how to put them on, but the idea is that they stand proud of the head.  If they are worn like a headband, and there is no reason why they can't be, then the prongs or fronds should be gently moved to an upright position so they can be seen.   They should not be flat on the head.  The other way to wear them is as though they are a crown, this suits some people if they have the right shaped head, but not others. 

Placing the tiara further back will make a rounder, dare I say, chubbier, face look slim.  Placing it forwards will complement a slim, or longish face.

However, you wear it, make sure that it looks as good as it possibly can.  After all, you want it to show everyone, that you are the bride.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Royal Wedding 'stuff'

I'm not going to 'go on' about the Royal Wedding and what Catherine's dress will be like.  We just have to be patient, although I think that 'Sally Traffic's' prediction of long sleeves is way off kilter! 

I'm looking forward to the event, but I find it very very sad that so many people feel obliged to 'diss' the whole thing.  We are all going through very difficult economic times and the Royal Wedding is a boost and a lift for us all.  A day in which to take some time out, courtesy of our lovely sovereign, and kick back for a few hours.  It's a bit of a fairytale, and I for one wish them much happiness.  I don't care if they are rich by an accident of birth to be honest.  Being rich does not make you happy after all.  Similarly, I would hate to be constantly in the public eye the way they are; constantly criticised for one thing or another.  After all if I want to go out in ripped jeans with unbrushed hair, that's my business, and nothing to do with the nation.  Just think, they can never do that! 

Good luck to them I say, and let all the religious nutters and fundatmentalists stay away and not spoil it for everyone.

best wishes to you all, have a great day tomorrow.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Don't forget about being yourself as well as being fashionable

Gosh I can't believe I haven't blogged since the end of March, how time flies.  I have been reading a lot about the Royal Wedding, well who hasn't?  I found a post which rightly said that Catherine Middleton should let her own personality do the 'walking' when it comes to her dress and overall outfit. 

I agree, there's a lot of talk at the moment, for example, about 'Vintage' style and fashion.  Even I am being 'dragged' into the vintage craze, and yet it's one style which I have never enjoyed; give me fresh and pretty every time.  Are we really that spoon fed by hype and media that we begin to forget who we really are? 

Remember Carrie in the first 'Sex and the City film'? when she arrived at the church wearing a sort of 'bird' confection in her hair, although she is a fashion icon to many, she actually looked ridiculous,  (by her own admission in fact in the second film).  What Carrie forgot was that fashion is all well and good, but what about how she really felt, and how she really wanted to present herself to the world. 

If your style is flambouyant and 'out there' great, run with it, but don't be coerced into a style that is not right for you, just because it is fashionable.  Stay true to yourself, you can be comfortable and wear fashion as well, they can and do mix.  Shop around for different ideas and remember this is about you, not the shop or the fashion or the fashion designer.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Here Come the Maids! - Don't forget the bridesmaids!

  Brides, do not forget your bridesmaids!  Bridesmaids are an important part of your day.  Whilst you, as the bride, wish to be the centre of attention, and rightly so, the bridesmaids want to be a part of your stratosphere.  They want to complement you and what better way to do this than provide them with their special jewellery.  This can also double as the bridesmaids' gifts, special items of handmade, unique jewellery to remind them of their fantastic day with their friends.

Brides of Winchester and Purple Princess Designs have collaborated in producing a unique range of simple, yet stunning jewellery which is not available elsewhere.  This includes a full 'made to measure' service, so you can be confident that all the jewellery fits each bridesmaid perfectly.  The range can even be adjusted in order to provide a totally unique piece for each lass or lady, making the whole service really very special.

Don't forget if your bridesmaids feel special then you will feel extra-special.  It will be a day for you all to cherish and remember each time their fabulous pieces are worn. 

Friday, 25 March 2011

What a fantastic day yesterday!

I travelled down to an Oasthouse near Sevenoaks, Kent yesterday for a training day with top jewellery designer and wireworker, Linda Jones.  What a very inspirational lady, and what fun she is too.  I have now picked up some very interesting and useful wireworking tips which I would never have thought of myself.

Did you know that you can actually make a fitted tiara?  Yup, made to measure so that it fits the bride or bridesmaid absolutely perfectly.  Did you know that, also, you can make different coloured and indeed, textured tiara bands?  I didn't, but I do now, and i know how as well.  I expect you think I'm going to say it's easy, but no actually it isn't that easy.  Linda makes it look easy, but it needs a lot of manipulation, strength and practise to get it right. 

However, once it's right you can strengthen the band, and also shape the hair grip holders to ensure that the band is the perfect fit, and will not come loose.  Just what the bride needs for her big day, not something that is uncomfortable, too tight, and simply doesn't fit! 

Watch out then, for some new designs which reflect this innovative style and way of working.  The possibilities are endless!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Well today certainly has been a 'Freaky Friday'

Bacon butties with hubby and the plumber, followed by a visit to an antiques house in Runfold with said plumber, I know, random isn't it.  First student at 1pm, he is normally a fairly quiet lad of 28... yes 28 years old.  However, today he was animated, I wonder if that has anything to do with his gym visit!  Went to Fleet on a couple of errands, upon arriving back home I was greeted by an old friend and his wife, who had come down from Gobowen.  I had completely forgotten they were coming, it was just fortunate that Mr G arrived about 10 minutes after they got here to let them in!  DOH! 

The second student of the day was simply hyper, I thought only girls could talk like that, but my goodness me he was on a roll.  I gave up trying to teach him how to write a decent essay, we merely discussed the merits of 'Of Mice and Men' instead!  Mind you it was good to turn him around from a dodgy answer to a good answer (I'm good you know!)

on the way home I received a message I've been waiting for for some three weeks.  All very bizarre indeed.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cake Toppers and hairdressers

An unusual combination no?  well yes it is and they're not connected at all.  Just thought I would blog about what is happening with them.

Meeting with Trevor on Tuesday to show him two new cake toppers, the tropical flowers and a new pink 'posy' with crystal 'sparklers'.  I think these will go down very nicely indeed, they're unusual and can be kept forever as a reminder of a special day.  They can also be re-arranged to create a lovely feature piece for lounge, bathroom or anywhere where flowers may not grow very well.  I'll keep you posted on how they do.

So to the hairdresser, a lovely lady from Basingstoke who loves my 'Gina' that's a hairband by the way, and also loves my hair accessories, which is fabulous.  I would download some pics, but for some reason it won't let me do that.  no idea why.  This is all great news of course, and can only be good for the business.  so I'm very excited about all the new 'happenings'.  Again I will keep you posted on progress with this as well.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Loving this little beauty, Valeria after the protagonist in a Wilkie Collins Novel.

everything ok from the Endoscopy side of things :)

well, had the endoscopy on 17th Feb, so it's been a while since my last blog hasn't it.  Well, the news was brilliant thank goodness.  The oesophagitis has completely cleared up and the biopsies showed nothing sinister whatsoever.  Thank you dear Lord (she says looking heavenward)  The only thing now is that I have to be careful with what I eat and drink.  No more heavy evening meals, and easy on the alcohol.  Frankly it's probably easier just to give it up, but well you know.  The worst bit is no more curry, well not of the hot variety anyway, keep spices to a minimum!  I had no idea that curry could cause such problems.  Basically I was unable to swallow properly due to the inflammation in my foodpipe.  The Doctor thought it was 'the worst', but thankfully no.

Don't ever be afraid of the endoscopy though chaps, it's a doddle. they politely knock you out, and then when it's all over, you don't remember a thing.  if you're lucky your other half allows you to sleep off the anaesthetic for the rest of the day! 

Thank you for your good wishes, that meant a lot actually.  Look out for more posting :)  xx

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

probably the last blog for a few days at least

Yep,... for the next few days I could well be incognito.  It's back to hospital tomorrow, for another endoscopy, oh deep joy! and to see what they have found from the biopsies.  I'm always positive, so I don't think it's owt to worry about, but I'm definitely not looking forward to tomorrow's procedure.  Especially given that I have a cold and sore throat into the bargain.  They said I should still go in, oh well, it's up to them if they want my cold isn't it?

so, I'll report back in next week, and continue with beady and weddingy bloggy things.  have fun everyone whatever you're doing.

for now


Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Want to see how the writing's going?

check out my writer's blog, on these pages, it's my second blog home.  extracts of the novel are there too. 

Networking - Good idea, bad idea?

Today I 'networked'.  Networks 4 u meet on a regular basis in Fleet, and the idea is to swap information and business cards with a view to creating business for each other.  Does it work? 

Well, I certainly had some very interesting conversations, one of which was with a graphic designer.  He was extremely helpful with some great ideas about branding and presenting one's work to the public.  It's interesting how people really need to be fed with information, rather than being able to work it out for themselves.  his message was clear, branding, branding, branding. 

However, to join the 'club' is a costly exercise, but until one joins, one cannot evaluate the benefit of it.  The benefits only become clear after about a year. 

To be honest, contacts can be made by visiting websites, and shops and communicating with others anyway, so, whilst they were a lovely bunch of people, I have to say that I remain sceptical.  What's your experience, have any of you 'networked' and what did you find?  Did you join?

Until next time


Thursday, 10 February 2011

time for another post I think

Well, Trevor adores his new beaded cake toppers!  he's a lovely man, who makes the most amazing cakes, especially his profiterole tower which is covered in edible glitter!  lovely. 

The cake topper looks amazing curled around the tower, and has apparently already drawn much comment from shoppers.  I'm currently working on tropical flowers for him now, in vibrant oranges, and yellows, should be gorgeous.  As soon as I can I will post pics on here for you all to see.   The toppers promise to be popular I think.

Of course, they're not only cake toppers, they can be made in to corsages, tiaras, brooches and all sorts, why stop at toppers after all! 

Friday, 4 February 2011

Fashion and jewellery

One of the things I am often asked is 'how did you get into jewellery making', well it was a bit of a journey, and something of a mistake, that is a mistake in that it was not my intention to pursue this route at all.  however, I started making table cloths which then led to cloths with novelty things on like Christmas trees with real minature baubles etc.  this led to me developing an interest in beads and all things beady!  Big mistake, once you're hooked that's it.

I then discovered I had a 'quite a talent' for jewellery making and off it went.  What it also meant was that I discovered my own style.   So much jewellery is large and chunky, and that is just not me.  I'm far too small boned, in spite of my current size, to be able to wear chunky jewellery, so I concentrated on delicate designs which would suit the smaller, slimmer lady. 

Also, I am not a dedicated follower of fashion... never have been.  That is not to say I don't like it, but I'm no slave to what others seem to think I should wear. 

I also believe that what you wear on your wedding day, should not only be comfortable, but also unique to you hence the bespoke/commissions part of the business was born.  The number of commissions has risen, and has incorporated cheaper end pendants, with sentimental value, nestling among Swarovski pearls and crystal rondelles, to pieces of lave retrieved from a beach in Iceland!  Sounds horrible? actually it was stunning, and the chap who commissioned it said it all by saying 'WOW!' upon opening the box.  very satisfying indeed.

my Master's degree in Victorian Literature and Culture has also increased my interest of late, in Victorian style jewellery.  I've yet to master the jewellery making as well as I have mastered the literature etc. but I will get there.  In the meantime, I continue to make what is, I hope, gorgeous jewellery, for those ladies who appreciate the finer side of bodily adornment!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Follow my Writer's Blog on the address below.

Here I talk about writing, mostly my novel at the moment.  Although I have another idea for a project up my sleeve. 

The novel is slow but sure, a bit too slow really, but then running a business and writing are not necessarily conducive to each other, particularly when I am very serious about both.  The novel follows the story of Barbara, a sixteenth century noblewoman accused of attending witch's covens.  At this time this was an offence punishable by death; not buring at the stake as many believe, but far far worse. 

read some extracts on my Writer's Blog, and let me know what you think.

best  Pauline

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

new cherish bracelet with Freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystal heart

Cake Toppers

mmm the Cake Toppers are looking particularly good, even if I do say so myself.  The beaded flowers are neat and tidy, and very different.  Trevor has offered to put thim into his shop window, and to display them on cakes for me.  awesome!

I just need to source the holders and finish them off, and hey presto!

Monday, 24 January 2011

at last! inspiration!

An afternoon of banging my head on the desk did nothing to help me find the inspiration I needed for the new venture.  Every idea I have currently buzzing around I cannot currently bring to fruition until my next order for beads and pearls arrives.  As a result I'm having to cook something up with what I currently have available.  Aha!  freshwater pearls and a Swarovski Crystal Heart pendant have gelled nicely together in a little bracelet.

I rather like this, it's simplicity itself and will go with anything at all.  I'll try and photograph it and post it up here so you can all see. 

Hope you like it too.


Monday, 17 January 2011

Beaded Flower cake toppers

Yup! that's the next project on the go.  I need to perfect the art of french beaded flowers as well as weaving seed beads together to make gorgeous little flowers.  They really are very effective.

Trevor Cruickshank of Cruickshank's cakes is giving me some shop space to display the toppers once they're finished.  If I can I'll post them up here for all to see.

By the way don't forget to check out my Writer's Blog which should be found somewhere here on blogspot under the same email address!  have fun everyone.

Still thinking about the Vintage 'stuff'

Marvellous isn't it!  when you don't need vintage findings they're everywhere, as soon as you need them, they seem to disappear like the mist on Bodmin Moor in the mid morning of a sunny day!  (is that the writer coming out in me?) 

But what is vintage really?  Strictly speaking vintage should be old pieces of a certain age.  Much of today's 'vintage' jewellery is comprises modern design coupled with aged items sourced in junk shops or Granny's old jewellery box.  Nothing wrong with that in itself, but should we rethink the description?  After all there are quite definitive ages for Veteran and Vintage cars, and never the twain shall meet.

Whatever, it is an interesting journey, which is really pushing my imagination, and my reseach skills to the limit.  Thank goodness for university and the research skills I learnt there! 

Monday, 10 January 2011

Hatch Warren Wedding fair 16th January 11

Off to the Hatch Warren wedding fair this Sunday coming.  The cloths are washed and need to be ironed, the exhibition lights are looking wonderful and new signage going up.  A new brochure to be handed out, and new designs on board. 

Here's hoping it'll be a good one!  :)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

A new line in vintage jewellery?

I must confess that vintage jewellery is not really my bag. However, I am inclined to branch out to this style in order to gain further experience and continue to expand my repertoire.    I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

I am also very interested in the beautiful beads created by BeadsbyLaura, her lampwork is amazing and has to be viewed.