Back to School…

Back to School…

Who’s heading off to school?

Erin starting P1 – ten years ago xxx

  • Are you relieved to wave them off back to wonderful school life?
  • Maybe you’ll be looking forward to a moment of peace and not hearing “MUUUUM” repeatedly?
  • Have you started threatening that bedtime will be becoming earlier yet?
  • Does the prospect of going food shopping alone actually sound quite appealing?

Starting School…

Waaaaahhh…The moment feared by many! The BIG day arrives – THEY’RE STARTING SCHOOL!

You feel excited and proud that they are growing up, but sad to watch them becoming more independent and not needing us so much.  Realising how precious those first few years are and wanting them to slow down!!

  • Is your little person skipping off down the school path, beginning their journey into education?
  • Have you been reminiscing and wondering where the hell the last 4 years have gone to?
  • Have you ironed name labels onto every piece of fabric? (Did you see the hack to use your hair straighteners instead of the iron? Personally, I’d rather break my iron than my GHD’s…)

Are you lying awake at 3am overthinking?

  • What if he doesn’t make friends?
  • What if she gets bullied?
  • What if they can’t manage the work?
  • What if they cry when I go?

Stop Worrying!

Be impressively proud that you have created an independent little sponge who is ready to soak up all the new learning and experiences that school will bring them.  Capture this milestone, remember with satisfaction that YOU created this fabulous little human who is now stepping up, and stepping out into their journey.  What better reward could you ask for than knowing you helped them begin their expedition?

Mums know how hard it is to let go of that little hand, and teachers do too. That little hand that you’ve nurtured and watch grow. You held it tight and kept them safe, and now it’s time to let it go…just a tiny bit…

handsSo STOP WORRYING about them, because they will be absolutely, perfectly happy…they will have a coat hook AND a tray…with THEIR name on it.  Your little sponge will be safe, cared for, looked after, guided, nurtured and ready to flourish – Why? Because YOU gave them everything they needed – go you!!

Celebrate the impressive memories of this special day.

Starting school is one of life’s very Impressive Memories.

Letting go of that little hand at the school gate. Trusting your most precious possession to skip off along the path, on their new adventure.That little hand that you’ve held so tightly, has grown, and keeps on growing. Where do the years go??? Your little person has reached ANOTHER milestone.

Here at Impressive Memories we prefer to hold on to these moments. Don’t let them fade to a memory…treasure them! It’s time to reward yourself!

 

Come and Paint a Memory!

Make an impressive memory of that little hand on a beautiful ceramic mug. Treasure the moment and remember how much this little hand has grown, and how much more growing it has ahead of it! A great way to remember this milestone moment.

Why not make one for an Impressive Granny too?

Message me, comment or call to find out more…

Have those cameras poised with stiff new uniforms (with plenty growing room) and smell the whiff of new gym shoes in the air.

Oh, and guess what?…there’s only 38 school days until the October Holidays! YAY!!

Cremation Ash Jewellery

Cremation Ash Jewellery

Cremation Ash Jewellery

Cremation ashes can make you a beautiful and unique piece of jewellery, with a look that is as subtle as you want it to be. Cremation ash jewellery can bring comfort if you are grieving the loss of a loved one. It lets you capture a moment and hold it close when you need it the most.

I appreciate this is a bit of a ‘Marmite’ topic, isn’t it? You might love the idea or hate it…

I get it, I do…but if it’s something you’re not sure about, or you haven’t seen the results of making cremation ashes into jewellery then please take a look…maybe you’ll like what you see. Please feel free to comment below on your thoughts and feelings (please be polite and respectful at all times). 

Cremation ashes all vary a great deal – colours & textures. If you think of cremation ashes as being similar to the sand on the beach…from coloured pebbles to super smooth pure white sand…ever changing and always unique.

I think they give the effect of a beautiful stone – what do you think?

Cremation Ashes hold a beautiful spectrum of natural colours and every example is as unique as the memory it is creating.
  • What do I need to be able to do this?
    You just need a spoonful of cremation ash, often less.
  • How much will it cost?
    From £49+
  • Are there time limitations for this to be feasible?
    No, so long as you have the ashes there is no time limit on being able to create jewellery.
  • Do I need to be able to visit your studio in person?
    No. This can all be done online and through postage (see below). Distance is no problem – keep reading to find out how you can order yours.
  • Can this also be offered for pets?
    Yes. Pet ashes can be used too. 

I have many other pieces of jewellery that can also hold cremation ashes, but as yet I don’t have photographs which are shareable. When I make these it is at the families discretion whether the images are shared. Due to the personal nature they often choose not to.

The following products can also make cremation ash jewellery…

Concerns or Worries…

How do I know that these are definitely the ashes that I send?
  • I only work exclusively on ONE order of cremation ashes at a time. Each item is handmade by me in my studio, undisturbed in a safe and purpose-built environment.
How safe are my ashes while you are working with them?
  • The safety of your cremation ashes is of utmost consideration when in my care.
  • Your ashes are stored with your order paperwork and again have their own designated area at all times.
  • Ashes are touched only by tweezers and individually placed and set within your jewellery. All equipment is cleaned thoroughly between orders.
  • It would be virtually impossible for my system to go wrong and I treat your cremation ashes with the utmost of respect. They never leave the container/sealed bag that you send me.
  • I don’t ever transfer the ashes into anything else. There is absolutely no waste. Everything that is not used is returned back to you along with your impressive jewellery.

If you have any questions or queries, no matter how small, please just ask…I’m human! I’m here and I’m happy to answer any questions you might have…go on…ask me!!

How do I order?

Ordering ONLINE

If you order online, follow the various options on the item you are ordering and add it to your basket.

For postage options choose EITHER –

a. All inclusive – I will send you out a prepaid, ready to return box for you to send me the cremation ashes. You may wish to upgrade the postage to return the ashes to me, for their own safety during transit. Proof of postage should always be requested but think about the consequences if anything were to happen to the ashes.

b. Arrange delivery of the ashes yourself and opt for the £7.95 Special Delivery option to return your finished jewellery back to you when completed.

Legally it is no problem to post up to 50g of cremation ashes via Royal Mail.

How do I order?

Ordering IN PERSON

If you’d like to order in person, make a booking to come to my studio HERE.

When you come to your appointment bring with you the cremation ashes. It’s best to keep it in a sealed plastic envelope.

If you have an idea or a request that isn’t shown, please just ask…it may be possible to create something unique, exactly what you are looking for.
If you’d like advice on any aspect of creating jewellery with locks of hair…please ask.
Best Wishes,
Jen x

TESTIMONIALS

“I wear mine every day without fail, and I can’t imagine not wearing it now.

It keeps me sane a lot of days and it helps more than I thought a little locket ever could ❤”

Louise

Learn More

If you’d like to know more about what happens at Impressive Memories…head on over to the ‘Learning Centre’ and take a look!

Family Hand Casting

Family Hand Casting

Family Hand Casting

When it comes to capturing memories, who better to do it with than your very own family?

Who would YOU create a family hand clasp with?

Whatever combination our families are made up of – whether it’s mums, dads, stepfamilies, brothers, sisters, grandchildren or even our pets…Who better to capture a memory with than those that stick by us through thick and thin?

A Memorable Family Casting…

Back in November 2017 I was awaiting the arrival of my last lifecasting appointment before Christmas. I was exhausted, up to my eyes in hands, feet and fingerprints, the phone never stopped ringing and I remember thinking “Just one more…just one more…you can do this…”

The car arrived…

Out gets one young man, followed by another…and another…the lady driving gets out, as does the gentleman in the passenger seat…

Where was the baby???

This wasn’t a baby casting…it was a very poignant family casting.

Mum had organised a hand casting for three sons and their Dad.

**usually once you make a booking I get in touch and we have a chat about what you’d like created…somehow in the festive madness, I hadn’t done this…I should have known it wasn’t a baby arriving!! I’ve now amended this on my website…

family hand cast 1
family hand cast 2
family hand cast 3

Here we are trying to organise the four of them. What a giggle they all had trying to arrange themselves.

Sadly, the reason this family were capturing a memory was due to David (Dad) having a terminal illness and a prognosis of only weeks to live.

Read more

Making Jewellery with Locks of Hair

Making Jewellery with Locks of Hair

Locks of Hair Memorabilia

Have you kept that first lock of hair from your baby?

Or

Are you holding onto a treasured lock from a loved one that you’ve lost?

Keeping a lock of a person’s hair is not a new idea, it began back with the Victorians. Hair was seen as a precious memento, and it still is…

Why is this a problem?
Well, let’s be honest – how many of us just have it tucked away in a ‘safe’ place? hidden away and not seen and enjoyed…
Instead of leaving it to lie in a dusty old drawer, why not create something beautiful to last a lifetime?
  • What do I need to be able to do this?
    You just need a little lock of hair (or pet fur)
  • How much will it cost?
    From £45+
  • Are there time limitations for this to be feasible?
    No, so long as you have a lock of hair there is no time limit on being able to create jewellery.
  • Do I need to be able to visit your studio in person?
    No. This can all be done online and through postage. Distance is no problem – keep reading to find out how you can order yours.
  • Can this also be offered for pets?
    Yes. A lock of pet fur can be a lovely way to remember a treasured and loved pet.

Keeping a lock of hair in a locket or charm is a subtle way to hold onto a memory – take a look…

How do I order?

Ordering ONLINE

If you order online, follow the various options on the item you are ordering and add it to your basket.

For postage options choose EITHER –

a. All inclusive – I will send you out a prepaid, ready to return box for you to send me the lock of hair.

b. Arrange delivery of the hair yourself and opt for the £7.95 Special Delivery option to return your finished jewellery back to you when completed.

How do I order?

Ordering IN PERSON

If you’d like to order in person, make a booking to come to my studio HERE.

When you come to your appointment bring with you the lock of hair. It’s best to wrap it in a piece of tissue and keep it in a sealed envelope.

If you have an idea or a request that isn’t shown, please just ask…it may be possible to create something unique, exactly what you are looking for.
If you’d like advice on any aspect of creating jewellery with locks of hair…please ask.
Best Wishes,
Jen x

TESTIMONIALS

“I wanted something personal of my mum I could wear and it holds a very precious memory. It brings me comfort knowing I have a little piece of mum with me always”

Pamela

“I wear mine every day without fail, and I can’t imagine not wearing it now. It keeps me sane a lot of days and it helps more than I thought a little locket ever could ❤”

Louise

Learn More

If you’d like to know more about what happens at Impressive Memories…head on over to the ‘Learning Centre’ and take a look!

Photographing your baby

Photographing your baby

Photographing your baby

So you’ve had 3D impressions created of your gorgeously Impressive baby…now it’s time to choose a photograph to complete your framed work of art. Your 3D life casts will be of the highest standard (because you’ve been to Impressive Memories) and you want your photograph to be fabulous too.

Your photo should compliment your casts and also capture the moment of your impressive little person too. The photograph helps to tell the story of those unique wrinkly toes and chubby little fingers.

HELP!! Where do I start?

  • Which pictures work better than others?
  • What should I avoid?
  • What will compliment my casts the most?
  • Should it be in colour
  • Is black and white better?
  • Can I take a picture myself?
  • Should I use a professional photographer?

Don’t panic…I’ve teamed up with the pro’s on this!

A few weeks ago I asked on Facebook for recommendations for great photographers of babies and children – did you see it?  I contacted as many as I could over the next couple of days and asked if they’d help, and lots of them said yes!!

I asked them for their personal thoughts on what photography worked well in a framed cast and their professional opinion on how best we can achieve this.

I also asked them what we SHOULDN’T do if we are taking the photos ourselves…and how to avoid photobombing cats and my pet hate…out of focus pictures…with shadows!!!

Top Tips from some of the best local children & baby photographers – as recommended by customers past and present.
Here’s what the professionals said…

The order of appearance is chronological (as each photographer responded to my questionnaire)…There is no favouritism or bias, just gratitude that they each took the time to help put this guide together.

Sara Webster Photography

Sara Webster

Lochgelly, Fife.

07921215005

[email protected]

Who’s behind the lens?

“Sara. Mum to 3 boys and owner. My studio is on Main street in Lochgelly. I tend to advise that mums book newborns in advance using their due date to secure a place however occasionally I can take on last minute bookings

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

“It will complement the time, effort and detail put into their cast”

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

“Something that is in keeping with the cast colour and frame. Nothing too busy or that will date. The image should be timeless.”

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips? 

 

1.Make the main focus the baby and no busy backgrounds.

 

2. Don’t have colours that are too harsh for baby’s skin.

 

3.If using a professional photographer and know in advance that you want an image for your frame cast, ask for one to be shot in portrait to best suit the frame.

Cherry Blossom Newborn Photography

Michelle Sinclair

Thornton, Fife.

[email protected]

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

“A beautifully framed casting with a professional image.”

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

All about the baby .”

If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer 3 top tips for us to get the best results?

  1. Plain background
  2. Be still
  3. Nice light

Leigh Tilley Photography

Leigh Tilley

Rosyth, Fife.

Facebook page – Leigh Tilley Photography

[email protected]

Who’s behind the lens?

“My name is Leigh, I’m 19 and I am studying higher photography at Fife College. My love of photography really started as a child. Instead of being in front of the camera, I was always behind taking images of my family. That’s when I realised portrait photography was my passion. I now focus more on newborn photography and although newborns are my passion I love to photograph children of all ages and also family images. “

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

Clean, sharp, stunning images that will be an amazing memory to cherish forever and pass down to family.

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

“A simple, clean image will add so much to the simple beauty of the castings helping you remember how your baby looked and also how their hands or feet looked that small.”

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips? 

 

“Try out your baby on a bed or something that has a nice background so it’s harder for photobombing pets or anything in the background. Normally a white bed sheet is perfect.”

 

 

Laura Spence Photography

Laura Spence

Fife

www.lauraspence.com

Who’s behind the lens?

“I’m Laura, Crazy busy, business running supermum! “

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

“When you choose a photographer your image will be styled to be pleasing in composition, you get a photo that is high quality and in focus and your photographer will know and use best lighting to flatter the model. Will settle and pose babies (with knowledge of baby safety and confidence) meaning they look relaxed and comfortable.”
 

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

“For me, it’s a photo from that same age showing them how you want to remember them being at that age for the rest of your life. You will look at this for years and years to come so I’d want it perfectly lit with a comfy and happy baby. high quality with no background distractions. “

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips? 

 

1. Make sure there is plenty light! on camera flash on compacts or phones can often create harsh shadows, startle babies or cause red eye…not good.

2. get rid of all distractions in the background, your baby should be the main focus of the photo your eye shouldn’t be drawn to what’s in the background.

3. avoid filters and over-smoothing on apps etc.

 

 

Lorelle Elizabeth Photography

Lorelle Elizabeth

Glenrothes, Fife.

I work from a small studio. Bookings can be made online via my website and an online booking calendar.

www.lorelleelizabethphotography.co.uk

07757251180

https://www.facebook.com/lorelleelizabethphotography

Who’s behind the lens?

“I am Lorelle and I am the only photographer. I have owned the business for 6 years and photograph newborns, children, families and weddings.”

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

Using a professional photographer allows you to get fantastic photographs. I have taken part in numerous training courses and ensure baby’s safety is a priority.

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

A beautiful posed newborn image

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips TO AVOID? 

1 Photographs with babies posed in unsafe ways

2 Bad lighting ie too dark or too light

3 A very patterned background that will detract from the child

 

 

Helen Jones Photography

Helen Jones

Glenrothes, Fife.

https://m.facebook.com/helenjphoto/

07909901563

Who’s behind the lens?

Helen. I’m a freelance portrait photographer who loves baby shoots.

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

Sharp focused images in large format with good contrast and detail available.

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

Sharp focused images of the required areas. An opportunity for several images to give all-around optimal visual representation.

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips TO AVOID? 

1 Hurrying to take the image.

2 No stability in the subject.

3 Poor lighting.

Sarah White Photography

Sarah White

Ilford, Essex.

https://www.facebook.com/SarahWhitePhotography

[email protected]

Who’s behind the lens?

Hi I’m Sarah and I’m a big believer in there being Beauty in Everything. I love to capture those special moments in life and know it isn’t always smiles and flowers.

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

You are hiring someone with the correct knowledge and equipment and eye to capture something precious. Not only is it their job but it is also their passion.

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

Something simple so you see the beauty and detail of the item.

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips? 

Use natural light, no flash.

Make sure that backgrounds a clean and tidy.

If the item is small enough just a clean white sheet of paper can work in a nice crisp look.

 

Clare Gourlay Photography

Clare Gourlay

I cover Dunfermline area and ideally, I prefer customers to message me with days and times that suit them so I can fit them in on days that work best for them so they don’t feel rushed.

People can contact me via facebook page which is clare gourlay photography or by my contact number.

Who’s behind the lens?

“I am Clare Gourlay I have been photographing babies/kids for 4/5 years now and I love it. Love interacting with little ones to get the perfect shot “

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

They will have precious memories of their little ones to cherish and have images that capture their little ones and there personalities which sometimes you cant always capture with a phone

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

I think the process of it would compliment it. From start to finish. You can capture a behind the scene shot for the memory for the client then the finished design of the cast

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips TO AVOID? 

“I would avoid anything in the background of the photo so move away from any items that shouldn’t be there. Also, I always try to avoid using natural lighting as well as sometimes you can gain dark shadows in the images which sometimes doesn’t look great.”

 

Anna Moffat Photography

Anna Moffat

Edinburgh and the surrounding areas

[email protected]

www.facebook.com/annamoffatphotography

@annamoffat

Who’s behind the lens?

I am a baby and family photographer specialising in taking natural, unposed photos.”

#1 What are the main benefits a parent will get from using a professional photographer to take the image for them?

Your image should be of exceptional quality, just like the casting! 

#2 What do YOU think makes the perfect image to compliment an Impressive Memories casting?

“An image which makes your heart sing and reminds you a very special time in your life.”

Not everyone can use a professional photographer.
If parents choose to use their own images, could you offer any photography tips? 

1. Good light is key – avoid overheads and opt for natural light instead – moving near to the window when taking your photo is a great idea.

2. Focus – I am a total ‘pixel peeper’ and like the eyes to be super sharp.

3. Don’t over process – filters have their place but if you’re editing an image I think it’s nice to keep things simple and clean.

 

Conclusion

A professional photographer will have the skills and knowledge to capture the best (and safest) results for you and your baby. Have a look through their work and decide whose style of photography you like and who feels a good fit for you and your baby.

If you’re using a picture you’ve taken yourself, take advantage of all these great tips and advice from those who know best!

Think about:

  1. Good lighting
  2. Simple backgrounds
  3. Clarity & focus
Thank you to all these great photographers for taking the time to offer their fantastic help and advice.  

 

Hope you have an Impressive day!

Best Wishes

Jen x

What is a Hallmark?

What is a Hallmark?

Impressive Memories now has its own unique Hallmark

I am delighted and quite proud, to say that I now have my own Sponsors Mark registered with the Edinburgh Assay Office. To me, this means a great deal but I suspect you read that opening sentence and thought – “So what? Who cares? Does that matter? Is that important?” or something along those lines…hopefully this article helps to explain why it is important.

What is a hallmark?

A hallmark is a legal mark stamped on to articles of gold, silver, or platinum by the British assay offices, certifying the metals standard of purity. It’s impossible to tell the purity of metal by just looking at it. It has to be tested at an Assay Office.

There are four Assay offices in the UK – London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. You won’t be surprised to know that I chose to register at the Edinburgh Assay Office.

A Hallmark consists of four parts of separate information

Three are compulsory, the fourth is optional

1 Sponsor’s Mark

2 Fineness Mark

3 Assay Office Mark

4 Traditional fineness symbols and date letters indicating the year the piece was created

What is a Sponsor’s Mark?

This is the part I got excited about! The Sponsors Mark is the stamp (or punch) that is unique and created for each individual person. There cannot be two the same in the world, or in history, so you are given a choice of letter combinations and various shapes to choose from for your unique sponsor’s mark.  

What is a fineness mark?

Even precious metals are rarely used in their entirely pure form. They are alloyed (have other metals added) to make them more durable, workable and wearable. You cannot tell the fineness of a metal by sight, it needs to be Assayed (tested). This is what the assay office does – it tests the pieces by removing a tiny sliver of it to make sure the metal is the purity that the maker says it is, and the stamp then guarantees this.

What is an Assay Office Mark?

This mark tells you which of the four UK offices tested (assayed) and hallmarked the piece.

What will my hallmark look like?

My Sponsors mark is “IM” representing Impressive Memories and the letters are in a cartouche shape. This punch has now been made for me and can only be used at the Edinburgh Assay office on work that I submit, that has been made by me.

Impressive Memories Hallmark

Is silver Jewellery stamped with 925 hallmarked?

No. Some jewellery is stamped with 925 which is the symbol used to represent sterling silver but this is NOT a hallmark, it is just a stamp. Anyone can stamp 925 onto metal but without the other Assay office stamps it is worthless and cannot be a sure sign of the metals purity. You can buy a 925 stamp on eBay and do this yourself…you cannot stamp a hallmark yourself!! That is the difference.

My advice on 925 stamps is to consider the reputation of who is selling the jewellery. If I bought a ring on Ebay and it was costing 25p and being shipped from China – I’d suspect this was NOT an indication that the item was genuine sterling silver. If I was buying jewellery from a trusted and well-known supplier, I would be satisfied that it was more likely to be genuine sterling silver.  

Interesting fact No.1

The number 925 indicates the amount of pure silver per thousand parts. The other 75 parts in sterling silver are made predominantly from copper. 999 silver is the purest form of silver you can buy and is quite a soft metal which can scratch fairly easily. By adding copper and making 925 silver you are making it more hard wearing and durable…

Interesting fact No.2

When people say they are allergic to silver, it is usually NOT the silver that irritates their skin, it is the additional copper.

If you think you can’t wear silver, but wish you could…ask me about making your jewellery in 999 pure silver instead.

Have I been breaking the law by NOT having a hallmark before now?

Eek…if you’ve bought jewellery from me in years gone by, you’re maybe now wondering if it has been illegally sold to you??? Don’t panic!!! I haven’t been breaking the law…I promise!!!

Not EVERYTHING needs a hallmark. As I make predominantly silver jewellery the law states that an item weighing less than 7.78g does not need to be hallmarked. (It’s less for gold, an item made in Gold over 1g must be hallmarked)  My jewellery weighs less than 7.78g so there was no need for me to invest in my own hallmark.

It cost me approximately £200 to register myself and have my sponsor punch made. Because the jewellery I made wasn’t over this weight limit and I don’t mass produce items it just wasn’t cost-effective, or necessary to do it.

BUT THEN THIS HAPPENED…

You might have read my recent blog called ‘Losing my mum’, where I shared my personal story about my grief journey and how I made myself a stacking necklace with four generations of fingerprints on silver teardrops, all soldered together onto one pendant. This piece exceeded the 7.78g limit. Legally it was OK as I wasn’t selling this, I made it for myself.

BUT when other people saw it, they liked it too and people began to ask if I would make something similar for them too – my answer had to be ‘No, sorry I can’t – I don’t have my own hallmark, and would be breaking the law to make this and sell it to you.”  

This was when I decided to go ahead and register myself at the Edinburgh Assay Office.

I started the process in the first week of January 2018 – it was one of my New Year Resolutions – to stop faffing, and just do it!! So I did…

Will all jewellery I make now be hallmarked?

The simple answer here is – No, for two reasons.

  1. Legally it is unnecessary if your piece weighs less than 7.78g
  2. It is not cost effective – yet!!!
How much does hallmarking cost?

Due to the fact that all the jewellery I make is so unique and I don’t mass produce things, it makes the cost of hallmarking quite expensive. For one or two pieces to be hallmarked costs £15 with approx £15 spent to safely post and return it to and from the Assay office.

Would you be willing to pay £30 more for your charm to be optionally hallmarked? Probably not.

If, however, I send 26 or more items to be hallmarked the price drops down to 45p. Splitting the same £15 postage over the value of 26 items and adding 45p to a charm is not expensive.

For now, it will only be offered on pieces that legally require it, and sadly it will cost the higher rate – but who knows what the future might bring???

Conclusion

As I said at the start, I am proud to now have my own sponsor mark and I am looking forward to having my own jewellery hallmarked with it. The first piece I send will be the necklace made in memory of my mum.

One of the hardest parts of coping with bereavement is that life carries on. It has to.

Of course, I wish I had done this before losing my mum, I reckon she would have been really proud to have seen it.

I don’t know about you but I am guilty of putting off doing things – either because

  • I lack the confidence in myself
  • or I wrongly assume I can do it tomorrow…

Does that sound at all familiar?

Is there something you’re putting off doing?
Maybe you should just go do it right now?
What are you waiting for?

Hope You Have an Impressive Week!

Jen x

Christmas Cast Competition

Would you like to win £100 towards a life cast of your choice this Christmas?

Back to School…

Is this their first day at school? This milestone needs to be remembered! It’s time to hold on to these memories.

Cremation Ash Jewellery

Have you considered jewellery made from cremation ashes? They can make beautiful and truly unique memories to wear and bring a lot of comfort too. Keep reading to find out more…

Family Hand Casting

Have you thought about creating a family hand cast? Read the story of David and his family making memories as he faced a terminal illness…

12 ways to clean your silver keepsake jewellery

12 ways to clean your silver keepsake jewellery

12 ways to clean your silver keepsake jewellery

When you first buy silver keepsake jewellery it will be super shiny and beautifully perfect.

  • Wouldn’t it be great if it stayed that way forever?

Trouble is…you also want to wear and enjoy your jewellery – and that means it’s gonna get grubby!

Here are 3 ways I recommend (and 9 that I don’t!!) to look after your keepsake jewellery – to keep it as clean and as shiny as the day you bought it.

#1 Silver Polishing Cloth

The quickest and easiest way to keep things shiny is using a silver cleaning cloth. A silver cleaning cloth is impregnated with an anti-tarnish product. This will remove surface dirt, makeup and grime. Just rub your jewellery and watch it come back to life.

You can do this every day if you like…I do!! A cleaning cloth only costs a few pounds and lasts for years. I would recommend ‘Town Talk’. You can buy it online or from Argos.

#2 Liquid Dip Cleaner

This little pot of liquid is good at cleaning charms but it is even better for intricate jewellery – like chains and necklace links. The liquid can access all the places that get grubby. Be prepared for a nasty smell of sulphur and rotten eggs…this will stink if your jewellery is tarnished…but it works well. 

Don’t leave jewellery in the solution or it will damage it. Just dip it in, then rinse it in clean water. Also, need to be careful not to dip certain metals and stones – read the instructions carefully!

If you have mini print jewellery (jewellery with miniature prints of your child’s hands and feet) where the prints have been made black, this is done by oxidising the silver. If you dip it in this solution it can lift off the black oxidised patina. Don’t panic! It can be redone.

#3 Ultrasonic Cleaner

  1. Ultrasonic Cleaner £30 – £300

With an ultrasonic cleaner, you submerge your jewellery in a tank with liquid, which is then hit with high-frequency sound waves. The sound waves create bubbles and a gentle but powerful cleaning action in the fluid that cleans all surfaces of the jewellery.

Ultrasonic cleaners are great but you need to be careful if you clean jewellery with stones as it can dislodge them! This is the machine I use and it costs about £30, a bottle of the cleaning solution is about £10. (Some ultrasonic cleaners can cost hundreds of pounds).

**WARNING** TRY THESE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!

The following 9 methods involve weird household things that MIGHT work  –  I have no idea and I don’t plan to stick my precious jewellery in any of these!! What do you think?

#4 Tin Foil

Bring one litre of water, one tablespoon of baking soda, and one piece of tin foil to the boil. Drop silverware in the pot for 10 seconds (longer if it’s very tarnished), then remove…

#5 Laundry Powder

Line a medium-sized bowl with tin foil and fill it with hot water. Mix in one tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent, then soak your silver for one minute. Rinse with clean water, and air-dry.

#6 Ketchup

Squirt a small amount on a paper towel, and rub gently over the tarnished areas. If your silver isn’t getting shinier, let it sit in the ketchup for 15 minutes, then rub with a soft cloth and rinse clean.

#7 Cornstarch

Make a paste of cornstarch & water and apply with a damp cloth, let dry, then rub off with something very mildly abrasive, like cheesecloth or a rough towel.

#8 Hand Sanitizer

Squirt a few drops on a damp cloth and watch the shine appear…and the germs disappear!

#9 Fizzy water with lemon and lime

Leave your jewellery in a glass of fizzy water and lemon and lime for about an hour…(best not to drink it afterwards!)

#10 Toothpaste

Rub a small amount on a cloth and watch the shine return.

#11 Window Cleaner

For the thrill seekers…personally it seems a bit extreme to hang out of windows just to clean your jewellery…but each to their own.

Alternatively, you could give your jewellery a skoosh of good ol’ Mr Muscle and that should clean up your silver too…and needs less danger money.

#11 Vinegar

Is there anything vinegar CAN’T do???

Soak it in 1/2 cup white vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse under cold water, and dry thoroughly.

So there you go! No excuses for mucky jewellery…I’d definitely stick to option 1, 2 or 3 – but the choice is yours.
Let me know how you keep your keepsake jewellery in tip-top condition. Comment below…

If you don’t comment I’ll suspect you’re one of the grubby ones…

Be your own boss

Be your own boss

Impressive Memories

What's it like to run your own business?

What was your dream job when you were growing up? Did you ever think about becoming an entrepreneur?

If you could change your job now – would you?

I received a letter recently asking me about being self-employed…

be your own boss

At Glenwood High School one of the S3 elective subjects is “Be your own boss”. The class have been learning about entrepreneurs and were asked to make contact with a local small business. One of the students decided to get in touch and ask a few more questions about Impressive Memories.

I’d have loved to be taught about being self-employed when I was at school.

Not only did I have no idea what job I wanted to do when I was 14, I don’t think being self-employed was even mentioned as being a possibility.

Could this mean more students will become entrepreneurs?

Here are the questions Mollie asked me…

Questionnaire

Name of business:

Impressive Memories – where I make your memories tangible. To touch, hold & treasure for a lifetime.

Reason for choosing the name:

Initially, I called my business Impressive Babies because I predominantly worked only with babies and I took their impressions…which were impressive. As my business progressed I didn’t only work with babies but children, adults and pets too, I was also creating jewellery and ceramics – the name no longer felt right…so in 2011 I changed it to Impressive Memories.

The name to me means I capture memories, through impressions – and I still always aim to be Impressive!

When did you start the business?

I started lifecasting when my daughter Erin was born in 2003. I created casts for friends and family for several years. In 2011 I registered my business with HMRC and officially became self-employed.

Why did you start the business?

I wanted to capture memories of my daughter as she grew up, then realised other people wanted to do this too.

I enjoyed helping people hold on to tangible memories of moments that were important to them. I wanted to prove to myself that I could make a living doing something I loved with no one telling me what to do!

How long did it take to start the business?

Initially, I started my business working only part-time on it, while still teaching part time too. Soon it became clear that both jobs needed more hours than I had, and I needed to decide how to go forward.

The dream of being 100% self-sufficient sat in the back of my mind until 2013 when I started working in the funeral industry capturing memories for families who’d lost a loved one. It made me realise that life is short, often shorter than we’d expect. You only get one life and I knew I’d regret it if I DIDN”T go for it. I kept asking myself “What are you waiting for?” It’s easier to make excuses and NOT do something

I knew I wanted to work on my business full time but it is a scary prospect to leave a secure career, with a salary, a pension and stability. As a solo parent, I had no backup plan and had to make a lot of changes if I was to make my business a success.

In 2014 I resigned from my teaching career and decided to focus 100% on Impressive Memories.

Do you enjoy being self-employed?

Yes, I love being self-employed. It’s hard work…constantly, the hours are long and it’s hard to switch off and stop working – especially because I work from home. It is a rollercoaster and no two days are ever the same…or predictable, which I really like. I have no intentions ever to work for anyone else again.

If you could go back would you change anything?

I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done. I have always made the best decision I can, at that time. You never know what’s ahead of you, and you can’t change what’s already happened so you should always trust your gut instinct and do your best…that’s all you can ever do.

Is it easier having your own business than working for someone else?

Neither option is easier or harder than the other, just different.

Being your own boss needs more than just the ability to create the product your service you plan to sell. You need self-discipline, a lot of hard work, tenacity, determination and bucket loads of courage.

Running a business successfully you have to become an expert in so many different things…not just making/doing the thing you think you’re good at!

Possibly the biggest misconception people have about being self-employed is that you can do what you want, when you want and never have to do things you don’t like to do…erm…WRONG! The only thing I outsource is my accounting & tax…everything else I do myself. From CEO to cleaner.

I can only spend about 20% of my time actually doing the hands-on making of products, 80% of my time is taken up running the business properly.

I have had to learn about finances, accounting, marketing, time management, advertising, IT, web design, budgets, investment, communication, customer care and not forgetting all the laws surrounding your industry too.

Would you recommend starting a business to other people?

Deciding what to do in life is a decision only you can make. What’s right for me might not be right for someone else.

My advice would be to ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen?” if you can answer every single question and scenario, and be brutally honest, then you’ll know if you can do it, or not.

Small business survival rates are as high as 91 per cent after one year of trading, but after five years just four in ten small businesses will still be trading.

If you think you’ve got what it takes – go for it!
I did and I love it.

Have an Impressive week!

Best wishes

Jen x

Tell me more about Impressive Memories...

I’m interested in LIFECASTING

Show me more JEWELLERY

Tell me about CERAMICS/CLAY

4 Reasons Not to Buy My Keepsake Jewellery

4 Reasons Not to Buy My Keepsake Jewellery

4 Reasons You Might NOT Buy Jewellery from Impressive Memories

Sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? Usually, a business would try to convince you that you simply HAD to buy their product…bombard you with adverts and reasons why you should BUY NOW…

And here’s me telling you 4 reasons why NOT to buy from me…

Have I gone completely nuts?

But what if you maybe shouldn’t buy keepsake jewellery from Impressive Memories?
Zig Ziglar said “Every sale has five basic obstacles
  1. No Need
  2. No Money
  3. No Hurry
  4. No Desire
  5. No Trust

Why might I not be the best fit for you?

#1 “I don’t need what you’re selling”

The jewellery I make is created for you with YOUR memory, YOUR moment in time. It captures an emotion and has way more sentimental value than monetary. The necklace I make a mum with her baby daughter’s handprint will be priceless and precious to her.

There won’t be a designer label there…If you like things with labels then my jewellery is not for you.

Maybe you need an instant purchase? I can’t do that either… I don’t have duplicate stock in lots of different shapes and sizes, and I do need time to make your piece. All my jewellery is made by hand and only made by me…I’m not Elizabeth Duke!

#2 “I can’t afford it”

There are cheaper alternatives out there. You could jump on eBay and look for something which looks quite similar – on the surface – and it will cost less…initially.

I don’t sell cheaper items because I value the item I am making for you, just as much as you do. I want your jewellery to last and I want it to bring years of memories.

Could I make my jewellery cheaper?

  • I could not have invested in a kiln – just given it a quick blast on the gas stove or a blow torch. Yup, you could make a charm that way…plenty of sellers do this (and plenty buyers don’t know this).
  • I could make you a tiny charm with much less silver.
  • I could not solder the jump ring that will hold your jewellery to your necklace. Chances are it would fall off in no time at all, and be lost forever…
  • I didn’t need to buy machinery to polish and harden your piece before you took it home, but because I did – your piece will be significantly stronger for it too.
If you’re looking for the cheapest option, not the best value option – I’m not the person to make jewellery for you.

Is there a better solution?

There are ways to make everything more affordable and jewellery is no exception.

Split the costs

If you would like jewellery made but just don’t have the budget for it right now…ask about splitting the cost over a couple of months, or longer. I’m happy to set up a payment plan option for you to pay what you can when you can. It will take longer until you own your jewellery – but you know what they say about being patient 😉

Only buy the kit just now, not the jewellery

If you would like to invest in the best but you just cannot justify the expense…right now…you could just buy the kit. You can capture the moment or the memory now and keep it safe for as long as you want to. When the time is right for you, you have the memories and you can have your jewellery created.

#3 “I’m not ready to make that decision right now”

Zig Ziglar calls this is the stage that you have no hurry or desire to buy – right now.

Buying jewellery isn’t a top priority – I get it!

We’re all so busy. If you’re like me you probably know it is something you’d love to do, but day-to-day ‘stuff’ gets in the way!!

Maybe these moments don’t feel too precious right now. When you have a newborn baby you’re so enthralled to sit and watch your new little miracle that you forget this moment passes in a flash. But it’s too late once the moment has gone. Milestone after milestone your child grows and changes…will you remember just how tiny those hands and feet were in years to come?

People are not in our lives forever.

Whether we choose to forget this or don’t want to accept it…none of us are here forever and what if the day comes and you regret not holding onto a fingerprint of a loved one?

Maybe it’s too painful or emotional to face some situations? I get that…it can be very tough.

Maybe you’re worried about lifting the phone and trying to ask for help on how to capture a memory?

“What if I cry?” Chances are I will cry with you!! I always have a big box of tissues to hand…you’d be amazed how many tears I see on a daily basis. (Just to confirm…you can cry and be happy too!! I don’t just have miserable customers!!! Promise)

But if it’s easier you’re welcome to talk to me by email, or text, or my web chat option…go for it!  All the jewellery I make can be made from a distance too…if you don’t fancy being here face-to-face, its no problem at all. I am more than happy to arrange everything by post.

If it doesn’t feel emotionally right for you to do this, if you’re ok letting these moments fade to memories, then you probably shouldn’t be ordering from Impressive Memories.

4.“I don’t trust you yet”

That’s understandable – why should you? Why should you trust me with your money or your memories? Well, here are 8 things I’ve done to try and help.

  1. I’ve been in business since January 2011, and plan to be around for many more.
  2. I have 32 five star reviews on Google added in 2018. I also have a one-star review from someone who’s never set foot in my business or had any contact with my business, but he felt the need to be nasty…hmmm I wonder why? Ah well…the other 32 are genuine.
  3. In 2016 I was voted by my customers as ‘Fife’s Best Home Based Business’ and got through to the national finals with http://www.scotlandsbusinessawards.co.uk (I didn’t win a national award…yet)
  4. My website is built on a site that I have made as secure as I can. In the address bar, you’ll see an https address with a little green padlock – The ‘S’ at the end of HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’. It means all communications between your browser and my website are encrypted (that means your details are safe).
  5. There are a few other things I do with my website to keep it safe and secure…it doesn’t cost a huge amount more…a few hundred pounds invested in MY website each year means that YOU can feel safe making a purchase. I think it’s worth paying it.
  6. I use PayPal to process your web transactions. Most of us know and trust PayPal.
  7. My invoicing is done online using STRIPE. They are a very similar company to PayPal but not quite so well known (yet).
  8. I accept all major cards for payment, I don’t ask customers to pay using cash – you’re very welcome to use cash, but if you make a card payment you have more security. All purchases on payments cards are recorded, with a paper trail. This safety feature comes in handy when you need to dispute or cease an unauthorised transaction. I would hope you would never need or want to raise a dispute, but should the need arise, you can.
If you still feel there’s a risk, then maybe Impressive Memories isn’t right for you.

Final Thoughts

Not everybody needs what I make and maybe you don’t either. I don’t want every customer to come to me…but I do want the right customers to come to me. When you leave with the item I make you I want you to be 100% happy with it, I want you to love it and tell others that you love it too.

If you think I AM a good fit for you…I’d love to help you further…

What would you like to do now? Come and visit me, buy online or maybe you’d like to have a chat?

Come and visit me…
Buy from my online shop…
Get in Touch…