Category: editorial

Lovely vacation time

I’ve had a fun couple of weeks, taking some time off from my day job to be with family and to have some “me” time as well.  I had fun taking my toddler daughter to the park, out shopping, and to the Museum of Nature (she loved the animals and the dinosaurs, but the highlight was the elevator.  Toddlers!).  We went out to visit some family, both close to home and further away.  It was lovely to get away from the office and focus on the more important things.

I had two fantastic events on my kid-free vacation days.  I went with a friend to a local hidden gem called the Wallingford-Back Mine.  Formerly a major feldspar and quartz mine, it has been closed and abandoned since 1972 and is open to the public, via a rather rocky and challenging road.  We hiked around the top of the hill, taking loads of photos and taking a few samples of the gorgeous clear quartz and other local minerals.  We then went for a chilly swim in the mine itself, which was well worth the cold for the view of the cathedral-like cavern inside and the brilliant turquoise-blue water.

Wallingford-Back Mine

I also had the chance to learn a new jewellery technique at one of my favourite local bead shops.  A friend and I signed up for a class in pearl knotting.  We were given a kit with some cute mushroom pearls, which are a little bit flat on one side, meaning we had to be careful to have them all face the same way.  I got off to a rough start, making a tangled mess of my first knot, but I caught on pretty soon after and now have a gorgeous necklace to show for it.  I’ve picked up some more silk thread and all the parts to make more.  You can never have enough pearls.


Knotted pearl necklace

Birthday bling – custom designs for family

This past weekend I helped my mom and sister celebrate their birthdays.  Since their birthdays are only three days apart we tend to only have one event for them both.  We had a lovely birthday barbecue, and some relaxing family time.  The nieces had a great time running around the yard and giggling.  🙂

One of the fun things about making jewellery is being able to craft some extra special gifts.  My sister tends to wear funky jewellery, so I started with a blister pearl pendant.  It’s pretty and eye-catching all by itself so I didn’t want to put something with it that would detract from it.  I chose some Amazonite tubes and simple silver glass bead spacers, and I think it turned out quite well.

My mom favours more delicate, understated jewellery.  I wanted to do something simple that would have a good pop of colour.  I went with some tiny peridot coin beads, lovely for this time of year.  I went with a split-strand necklace style, attaching the beads to some fine silver-filled chain.  This is my first time trying this style of necklace and I like it very much.  I think I’ll be doing more split-strand designs in the future.


What do you think about these designs?  Which one is your favourite?  Let us know below!

Birthday Bling

Top 5 Tips for Choosing Wedding Accessories

It’s wedding season, and inspired by a recent Twitter conversation, I’m offering my top 5 wedding accessory tips. Having accessorized several weddings and bridal parties, including my own, I’ve picked up some advice on how to add bling to your big day.

1) Match jewellery to your hair accessories. If your hair bling has a very different style than your jewellery, the effect could be distracting.  Having a similar look and style brings the whole outfit together and keeps the eyes right where they belong – on you!

2) If wearing a headband, hair piece, tiara, or any other hair accessories, make sure you bring them to your trial hair appointment. It gives your stylist a chance to practice with your hair accessories, and gives you an idea on how they will look, and any adjustments you’d like to make. Also, if you’ll be wearing a tiara, try to choose one with small loops or combs on the ends of the band, as this will make it much easier to anchor into your ‘do.

3) If your dress has any crystals, rhinestones, pearls, or other bling on it, try to match your jewellery to them. If your dress has ivory pearls but your necklace is white, it will stand out and look out of place. If you’re having your dress made, put your dressmaker and jewellery designer in touch with each other so they can coordinate materials.

4) Think about how much jewellery you want to wear, and how big and showy you want it to be. If you’re wearing a big Cinderella-style dress, a tiny chain might get lost in the look. If your dress has a lot of details on it, you may want to keep your jewellery simple, with just a strand of pearls for example, so the jewellery doesn’t compete for the viewer’s eye. Also, remember that you’ll be wearing it all day. Make sure your pieces are a comfortable fit and not too heavy.

5) Jewellery and hair pieces are an accessory, and should accentuate your overall look. Think about your dress and hair style when selecting pieces. What is the neckline of your dress? Think about the shape when deciding on a necklace: sweetheart and v-neck necklines suit pendants, drops, and y-shaped necklaces, whereas a scoop or square neck looks best with single- or multi-strand necklaces without a pendant or drop. If your dress has long sleeves you may want to skip a bracelet. Choose earrings and hair accessories that will work with your hair style.

Have any other wedding accessory advice?  Tell us below!

Drakestail Jewellery Bridal Collage

A cozy night in – Valentine’s Day guide

Valentine’s day is drawing near, and many couples will soon be planning how to celebrate. It’s easy to go overboard when one wants to spoil the one they love, so we’ve put together a gift guide for a romantic night in that kicks up the romance without breaking the bank.

1. Have a romantic dinner

As fun as it is to go out for a fancy Valentine’s dinner, with a little planning you can create a perfectly romantic meal chez vous.  Start with a sexy fig, prosciutto and mozzarella salad. Next try some Arctic char and vegetables cooked in heart-shaped parchment paper.  Don’t forget to finish off with some homemade chocolate truffles!

Dairy-free chocolate truffles. Photo courtesy
Dairy-free chocolate truffles. Photo courtesy

2. Movie time

Cuddle together on the couch and watch your favourite romantic movie together.  Don’t have a popcorn popper?  Do it on your stovetop instead!  Pick your favourite romantic movie, or choose from a list, such as this list of the top 100 best romantic movies of all time.  Then cozy up under a warm blanket together and enjoy.

Love You More throw blanket
Love You More throw blanket. Perfect for snuggling during a movie.


3. A cozy soak for two

After the credits roll, get even cozier with a bath for two.  Light some candles to set the atmosphere.  Add in some bath salts, like these Super Spicy Chai Bath Salts, and soak and relax together.  Once your fingers and toes are sufficiently wrinkly, towel off with some extra fluffy towels.  Bonus points if they are still warm from the dryer.

Gorgeous emerald clawfoot tub. Image courtesy
Gorgeous emerald clawfoot tub. Image courtesy


4. Stargazing
If you have a clear night on Valentine’s you can step outside with your “sun and stars” and look up at the vast night sky together.  Grab a star guide, wrap yourselves up in a cozy blanket, and maybe even a telescope. Bonus points: bring some music and dance together under the stars.

The Stargazers, by Kirsten Bailey
The Stargazers, by Kirsten Bailey

Drakestail in 2015

We’re more than halfway through January, and well into 2015.  The holidays are now just a warm glow of memory, and it’s time to take on the new year.

Roxy is a near-perpetual traveller these days due to work. She is in Ottawa for a short time, and we got to have a business lunch on Sunday, catching up and doing a little planning. Fuelled by sushi and dim sum, we came up with some ideas, including some brainstorming on a new product line to come out this year. All I can say for now is that it’s going to be fabulous.

I’ve also been mulling over some goals for Drakestail this year and doing a little organizing. Not as exciting as product design but just as important.

Looking back, 2014 was a great year for us. I kept busy in the early months with the 100 Day Challenge.  It was a huge undertaking but I’m very proud of the work I produced.  The Exchange Uporium was a fantastic opportunity in Winnipeg’s trendy Exchange district, a gorgeous mix of handmade and vintage sellers. I participated in 5 different craft fairs, two new and three old favourites. The year wrapped up at the Boutique Pop Up Aylmer, a cozy temporary shop full of local handmade goods.

I’m looking forward to everything 2015 brings, and to having you, dear reader, with us for the journey!


Drakestail Jewellery Robyn Roxy

Pantone 2015 Colour of the Year: Marsala

The Pantone Colour Institute is *the* name in colour trends. They produce gorgeous palettes in the spring and fall, and come out with a colour of the year for each year, drawn from the spring palette.  This colour ends up appearing just about everywhere, from fashion to paint and home decor.

Pantone Color Institute Marsala

Named after the fortified wine, Marsala is the 2015 colour of the year. It’s a deliciously earthy red. My favourite colour is red and I’m excited to see this colour as it makes its appearance in stores and on the runways.

True reds are hard to come by in gemstones. Dark carnelians come close to this colour, with their deep and earthy orangey reds. Poppy jasper is a brick red colour with small streaks of black and grey. Garnets are another great choice, often occurring with warm red tones. Tourmaline can also come in a deep warm red.

Of course, the colour is popping up already in a variety of products. I’ve put together a warm and earthy treasury from some of the loveliest items I could find in Marsala. I can’t wait to get a lip colour in Marsala. Where are you looking forward to seeing this colour pop up?

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