Spring Has Sprung!

Despite the cold temperatures outside today, the calendar HAS rolled over to the season of Spring!

While we wait for the temperatures to catch up to the new season – and bring some flowers along with them – we can look forward to a few significant days coming up soon, and make our plans now!

  • Easter:  Sunday, April 5
  • Mother’s Day:  Sunday, May 10
  • Victoria Day:  Monday, May 18

If you’d like to place a custom jewellery order, please think about doing so early to avoid disappointment! Send me a message at sandra@fredastore.com to let me know what you might like, and once your order is prepared I can email you an invoice that is payable by debit or credit card and I can ship your item!

Alternately, have a look at my new Fredastore shop on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Fredastore/app_410312912374011 to see if any of the items listed under the “SHOP NOW” tab near the top of the page are to your liking!

In the meantime, here are a few “Spring” pieces to get the ideas flowing!


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The Wearing of the Green

Living as I do in Hamilton’s Corktown, I like to acknowledge the areas’ Irish history at this time of year.
The first Hamilton map to identify “Corktown” was published in 1842. Corktown received its name from County Cork in Ireland, the major embarkment point for many Irish Canadians.
The best land in the growing town of Hamilton had already been taken by the time they arrived, so many Irish immigrants found themselves crowded into poor housing in the least desirable part of town. While the area was boggy, it was also sociable. Here, on rented ground, the newcomers erected rough shacks, and later, more substantial frame houses. They cultivated garden plots and kept milk cows, pigs, chickens and goats to reproduce their lives at home.
To make ends meet, the Irish families did what they could and received little pay for long hours of work paving roads, laying sidewalks, digging foundations, construction, and so on.
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In honour of these hard-working folks who built my lovely home in 1900, I celebrate them each year on Saint Patrick’s Day – a cultural and religious celebration occurring annually on March 17th, the death date of the patron saint of Ireland (c. AD 385–461).
The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as celebrating the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.On St. Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”). St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.

People who have an Irish background may hold Irish themed parties and serve traditional dishes, and I emulate their lead each year by preparing an Irish feast for my family with dishes such as Colcannon, Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread. and Sweet Onion & Beer Soup (recipe: https://fredastore.com/2014/10/30/ale-hail-the-gangs-all-here/ ).
In the meantime, I have also assembled a gallery of my jewellery creations featuring shamrocks, celtic knots, and many shades of green to help you celebrate “The Wearing of the Green” on St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!
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Surely, Valentine!

It’s that time of year again – yes, it’s my birthday. Oh, and Valentine’s Day, too!

Your special lady might love a token of your affection at this time of year, so you can find the perfect hand crafted item by yours-truly in Hamilton at:

Or, you can always order a custom piece of jewellery for your Valentine any time!

Simply contact me at sandra@fredastore.com and let me know how much you’d like to spend, and I will issue you a gift certificate for a custom piece in that amount.

Your recipient can contact me at her convenience with her specifications, and the finished piece can be picked up during business hours at Textures Craftworks if you like, or arrangements can be made to have the piece shipped.


In the meantime, here are a few examples of what I can do for you to get the wheels turning!


Have a great Valentine’s Day – and I’ll be working on something for your beloved!







Metal Queen!

I usually use nickel-free 18 karat or white gold plated brass ear wires and posts to complete my earring designs. This gives a good quality, cost-effective finish to my work that is wearable by most people. However,  if earrings make your earlobes itch or your necklace leaves a rash around your neck, you may have a nickel allergy. It’s one of the most common skin allergies.

If you do have a nickel allergy, jewellery made of surgical-grade stainless steel or either 14, 18 or 24 karat yellow gold may provide some relief. Other nickel-free metals include pure sterling silver, copper, platinum, and titanium.

Precious metals including gold, silver, platinum and rhodium are used in jewellery making because they are relatively rare and therefore more valuable and highly desired.

Gold is a favourite for jewellery making. An excellent conductor of electricity, it is very non-reactive with air, water and most other substances, meaning it won’t corrode or tarnish. This is generally true of karat golds as well, as long as the gold content is high enough, i.e. about 18 karats.

Because pure gold is soft, it is often alloyed with other metals to give it strength. A karat refers to the amount of pure gold in the gold, with 24 karats being 100% pure gold. 14K indicates a product that is about 58% pure gold, and most commercial gold jewellery is 14K to 18K. The remaining parts are usually silver, copper, or another metal. What the gold is mixed with will affect its colour – rose, yellow or white.


crystal and rose gold dragonfly earrings


Pure gold is yellow in colour. Rose gold, also known as pink gold and red gold, is a gold and copper alloy widely used for jewellery. The alloys commonly used in white gold are gold, palladium, and silver, with palladium acting as a bleaching agent for gold. Nickel used in some white gold alloys and can cause an allergic reaction. Because of this, many countries do not use nickel in their white gold formulations.

In jewellery making, ‘plate’ is a very thin layer of gold or silver which is electroplated or electrochemically applied to another cheaper metal, usually brass. It is about 1/1,000 of an inch thick.

Gold ‘filled’ refers to a layer of gold or silver applied to a cheaper metal with heat and pressure, and it is up to 100,000 times thicker than regular plating.


pink freshwater pearls with Swarovski crystals, 24K gold-plated loops and 14K gold-filled earwires



Something referred to as gold or silver finished consists of a base metal that has been electroplated with a non-standardized thickness of gold or silver.


Swarovski crystal clip-on earrings with sterling silver plated clips


Sterling silver is another favourite of jewellery makers. It consists of an alloy of at least 92.5% silver and another metal, usually copper. Because of this, sterling silver will tarnish over time, and will have to be cleaned periodically unless an antiqued look is desired. Fine silver (99.9%) is generally too soft for producing functional objects, so the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength.

Platinum is a very hard silvery-white metal that is resistant to corrosion, wear and tarnish. Because it is more rare, it is more precious (and expensive) than silver or gold.

Rhodium is a very hard silvery-white metal that is closely related to platinum, but is liquid in its raw state. Because of this, it can be applied to base or precious metals to give them a platinum-like appearance that resists tarnishing.


crystal and antiqued copper plated earrings



crystal, glass and brass earrings with 18K gold plated earwires


A base metal is any metal that is not precious. Common examples used in jewellery include copper, brass and nickel. Brass is an alloy of 70% copper and 30% zinc. Copper is a soft metal that is not very durable. Many findings are copper-plated rather than pure copper for strength.


crystal and gunmetal finish earrings


Gunmetal is a dark coloured antiqued brass. Pewter is an alloy of tin and various amounts of antimony and copper. Genuine pewter contains lead, but lead-free pewter is available.

Stainless steel contains more than 10% chromium and may contain nickel, titanium, niobium and other elements. Stainless steel is considered hypo-allergenic and does not rust. Items like stainless steel that are called nickel free are still allowed to contain a very small amount of nickel!


crystal, brass and titanium-plated quartz point necklace – yes, they can even metal-plate stone!


Niobium is a hypo-allergenic metal that is usually anodized into a range of colours, and most metal-sensitive people can wear it. Titanium is a lightweight metal that can also be anodized into a range of colours, and can be worn by most with metal sensitivities.

So, for those who do suffer from metal sensitivities, some good options are niobium, titanium, sterling silver, 14K gold, or plastic.


freshwater coin pearl earrings with 14K gold-filled earwires



turquoise earrings with 24K gold plated marquise loops and 14K gold filled earwires



cherry quartz & Swarovski crystal earrings with 14K gold-filled earwires






Bring it on Back!

Last week I was feeling a little depressed with my never-ending hunt for a ‘day job’ as an admin assistant. I was finding it difficult to concentrate on making some new jewellery to complete an actual order I had from my pharmacist. But after stepping outside of my usual day-to-day activities and changing things up a bit, I was finally able to sit down at my desk and apply myself…


I had a mobile jewellery sale scheduled for last Friday back at my former workplace, and I had been asked for something bright red with gold accents – either a necklace or a bracelet – that my pharmacist could wear with her new red pants.



After procrastinating for a few days, making other jewellery, and staring into my red bead stash, I finally came up with a few pieces for her to choose from:


glass, crystal and acrylic necklace and earrings with brass and 18K gold plated earwires 



crystal, brass and red coral necklace with 18K gold plate


red lampworked glass heart pendant with brass accent bead and 18K gold plated chain 

I recently embraced new technology and finally got a new cell phone, then ordered ‘The Square’, since I am doing a few mobile sales this fall. It arrived in the mail the day before my sale, so I was able to set it up and figure out how to process credit card sales using my cell phone now, in addition to accepting cash sales. It was a little fiddly to figure out at first, but eventually I was able to get it to work as advertised. A great little gizmo to expand horizons for small businesses like me!


Things went well on Friday (after slow sales on the last few outings), and it was great to catch up with some of my former co-workers again!


As for the red jewellery creations for my pharmacist, can you guess which piece she picked?







Fred – a store – handmade gifts & costume jewellery design

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I’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’

Opening up Facebook today, it was serendipity that I was faced with an article in my feed from The Muse.com called 12 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Creativity.

After 10 years at my last job, I have been unemployed for 11 months now, and I am as shocked as anyone that it has been this long and I still haven’t secured a “day job” as an admin assistant. I have sent out plenty of applications and have even had a slew of interviews, but nothing has panned out for me yet.

I have been blessed with plenty of folks who are rooting for me and who have been very supportive during this difficult time, and that has helped enormously. But every so often I get discouraged by how long this is taking, and I worry what will become of the life my husband and I have been trying to build. Today is one of those days.

I have also maintained a home-based jewellery design business as a sideline for the past 18 years since I had to close my brick and mortar shop, Fred- a store, and I have kept busy in between sending out job applications by ramping up my jewellery business, creating this website and blog, as well as creating a social media profile for the business. The thing is, feeling down does not inspire creativity when it comes to making jewellery. Who knew?

I have a mobile sale scheduled for Friday and although I do have a large hockey bag full of jewellery creations ready to go, I did get a special request from my pharmacist.


have jewellery, will travel!

She told me she bought a new pair of red pants and would like something bright red (with gold findings) to accent them. It could be a necklace, earrings or a bracelet – she’s open.

While I do have a few pieces made already that might fit the bill, I do like to come up with a few options for people to choose from when I do custom work. I did try to make a few red things yesterday, but I wasn’t feeling the love and just made a slew of silver clip-on and lever-back earrings instead. Procrastination rears its ugly head!


I got as far as taking out the containers of red beads and staring into them, waiting for inspiration to strike. Oh well.


Then I looked at the infographic on 12 Ways to Instantly Boost Your Creativity. Have a look: https://www.themuse.com/advice/12-ways-to-instantly-boost-your-creativity

In the past 24 hours I have done five of the suggested twelve creativity-boosters:

  • Go on a walk– I walked to the bus stop. And back.That counts, right?
  • Take the bus– Took the bus to the other side of town to run an errand. And back.
  • Listen to music– I have music playing in the background all day as I work. The radio is on now, in fact.
  • Do your thing– Since no one has hired me yet to do their thing, I fill in the days doing my thing – a.k.a. Fred – a store things.
  • Try a new ice cream flavour– I was most excited about trying this idea since ice cream is always appropriate, but then I remembered – I already tried a new flavour last night! Häagen-Dazs was on special at the grocery store on the weekend and my husband and I decided to get some. But since the selection was VERY picked-over, I ended up trying something new – Limoncello Gelato. And it was delicious!

hey – apparently there was vodka in here! No wonder it was good!

So, I have started down the road toward ‘instantly’ boosting my creativity – aaaand it’s time to start making dinner before my husband gets home. Do you think the creative sparks will hold on until tomorrow? Stay tuned and we’ll see what new red creations emerge from my bead containers!









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Rock On!

October already…and there is something that Emma wants to let out of the bag:


Emma is letting something out of the bag…

it’s the time of year when my bag of rocks (doesn’t everyone have a bag of rocks?) begins to transition from this –


bag of rocks, don’t you know!

…into something like this…


…and then this…


…and then a table full of THIS…


But after standing up for a moment to stretch my legs and get a drink of water, I come back to find my spot has been claimed:



What? The chair was free, and it was also warm!

Once Nelson vacated “my” chair, I was able to put the finishing touches on this year’s crop of stone pumpkins…




And there you have it – the 2014 stone pumpkin patch by Fred – a store!







Fred – a store – handmade gifts & costume jewellery design

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Go Ahead – Make My Stuff!


Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery”. – Charles Caleb Colton

Imitation may be flattering, but stealing is not!

I am often inspired by the beautiful work of other people, but one should NEVER steal someone else’s ideas and recreate them exactly – one must always take inspiring ideas and use them as a jumping off point. Change them enough to make them your own.

If you have ever sold things at a craft sale, you would probably be very wealthy if you had a dime for every person who visited your booth and admired your work before walking away and telling their friends, “What a great idea – I think I’ll go home and make one!”

I have always found that the more things you make, the more new and ORIGINAL ideas come your way…for instance:


This necklace features hand-crafted floral cluster made with white beans, pumpkin seeds and crystals and is strung on multi-strands of crystal, glass and candy jade with 18K gold plated embellishments. I have admired various necklaces I have seen with floral focal points, but never have I seen another made with seeds and beans!

I created a line of jewellery 20 years ago which I named Seeduction, and I am pleased to say I have never seen anyone else work with these natural materials in quite the same way. Will that change now that my work has gone online? Only time will tell…







Fred – a store – handmade gifts & costume jewellery design

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