We adopted a Donkey! (well 2 actually!)

A few weeks ago we were stuck for something to do a on a Sunday afternoon.
My husband had been told about a donkey sanctuary not too far from us that had opened recently so we thought we would give it a try.  We arranged a family afternoon out, myself my husband, our two children, my mother-in-law and also my brother and sister in law and their 2 children!!!

When we arrived at the Wonkey Donkey Visitor Center, the car park looked a bit empty. The doors were closed (the weather wasn’t the best that day) but there was a sign outside saying that they were open and we were welcome to come in.

To be honest I wasn’t expecting much, my memories from childhood of visiting horse and pony sanctuaries were of limited facilities, muddy dirt tracks, smelly stables and cold outside toilets.   I was most pleasantly surprised to walk in and find a lovely warm cafeteria area, serving hot drinks, home made cake and selection of other snacks and sandwiches, etc. There was also a beautifully stocked sweet cart which of course the kids spotted straight away.  There was plenty of seating, and there looked to be even more in another area, so we said that we would see the donkeys and then come back for hot chocolate!

We were greeted by a lovely lady (sorry I can’t remember her name) who took us around the center and introduced us to all the donkeys.  There were 17 at the time we visited, and each has it’s own story to tell, some of them extremely sad stories of neglect and very bad treatment.   Despite that, most of the donkeys were extremely friendly an happy to have visitors.  The weather was a bit wet and since donkey’s coats aren’t waterproof they opted to stay inside their stables for most of our visit, although they did come to the doorway to have a good fuss and find out who we were.  We also met Jenny, the founder of the sanctuary and heard a bit about how it came to be. It’s a great story but I shall leave that for another day (or better still go and hear it for yourself!).

The last three Donkeys we saw were new arrivals, Rolo, Finn and Isaac the mule. They had been brought over from Ireland where they had been very badly treated.  They donkeys weren’t ready for too much human contact yet, they were still very nervous but the lady we spoke to seem confident that it wouldn’t be long before they managed to start to trust people again.
The kids fell instantly in love with them, and that’s when we started to think about adopting one. Here is my daughter having a little kiss with Finn!

My daughter having a cheeky smooch with Finn her adopted donkey.

My daughter having a cheeky smooch with Finn her adopted donkey.

£25 to sponsor a donkey for a year is very reasonable considering what it costs to look after these animals properly, we were told that if we decided to adopt a donkey we would get photos and a letter from our donkey and be able to come to special members only days to spend time with our donkey up close.

We went inside to get a hot chocolate.  The chocolate was beautiful, and the comfy seating and log burner in the cafe just made it perfect (I hadn’t seen the log burner when we first arrived as it was round the corner in the extra bit). We took our time and looked again at all the donkey’s information.

Well you guessed it our two children couldn’t decide! They had each fallen in love with a different donkey, and so we ended up adopting 2!  My daughter chose Finn in the picture above, and my son wanted to adopt Isaac the mule after hearing how horribly afraid he was of people after beg starved and beaten.  He’s hoping that one day Isaac will let him stroke him.
My brother and sister-in-law adopted Magic on behalf of my 3 year old niece too.

A week or so after we adopted the donkey’s we received in the post a letter and a photo of each donkey.  The kids couldn’t wait to take them into school to show their friends.

We can’t wait to come back another time when it’s drier and the donkeys will be able to come out and say a proper hello.  In fact we have a visit planned this weekend, and we are bringing more family members!!

The kids are looking forward to lots of visits and coming back on members days to make lots of memories with their new donkey friends!!

Secret Prints Memorial Fingerprint Jewellery

hidden fingerprint jewelleryI was recently asked by a lady if I could make her a piece of memorial jewellery with her mum’s fingerprint.  Her mum had recently passed away and she wanted something that she could wear and feel close to her mum all the time.

Traditional fingerprint jewellery usually has the fingerprint on the front of the charm or pendant.  The back is often left plain or a message is engraved on it.
Memorial fingerprint jewellery can be done the same way and many people do like to display the fingerprint facing forwards on their necklaces, but this particular lady wanted something with the fingerprint on the back.  There were two reasons for this, one was to keep the fingerprint discrete and personal to her, and the other was the very special way she wanted to hold the memorial necklace to feel close to her mum.

My Mum died 7wks ago and I’m 29. I won’t have her there if I get married or have children… Even if I’m having a tough day! I chose to have it on the back because of the way I hold my pendants when I’m anxious; I put my thumb on the back and wrap my fingers round the front so my thumb will be on the top of her print. It’s as close as I can get to her now. It’s also like it’s just for me; it’s not obvious that the print is there but I will know.Helen Knight

Helen and I discussed in detail what would go on the front of the pendant, she had seen a piece of silver jewellery that I had made of out a real leaf and really liked the idea of a natural leaf print on the front, her mum is buried in woodlands and her body will provide nutrients for a tree so it was a perfect choice.

leaf used to create fingerprint jewellery

When the prints arrived I took them out with me in search of the perfect shape and size leaf to fit the print, in the end I settled on a hydrangea leaf as it had beautiful detail and was just the right shape.
I showed Helen and she was delighted.


Next came the tricky part, turning the leaf to silver and getting the print on the back. I had to use a different technique to how I had made previous silver leaf pendants, but it worked and this is the finished piece of hidden fingerprint jewellery.

The leaf is because she was buried in a woodland and she will feed a tree.
Gemma was so good, I got the finger printing kit the following day. Even though I couldn’t face sending off the mould for a while, she was kind enough to let me know she had received it so I didn’t worry. Gemma has been fabulous at such a difficult time for me. I had seen another leaf she had done and felt it was the right design to go for. I can’t wait to see it.” Helen Knight

Leaf print pendantHidden fingerprint jewelleryIf you would like more information about how to purchase a piece like this please visit this link.
Silver leaf pendant with hidden fingerprint


Check out what people had to say when I showed this pendant on the Lasting Touch Facebook Page

Cremation Ashes into Silver

Are you wondering what to do with your loved ones cremation ashes?  Maybe you have looked at those little ‘jewellery’ urns and they aren’t quite your thing. A different option would be to have something made from my ‘ashes into silver’ range.

I have developed a technique that allows me to mix a small amount of cremation ashes into silver itself so that it actually becomes a part of the piece.  Unlike an ‘urn’ where the ashes could be emptied out, my technique embeds the ashes into silver.

Because I work with silver clay, it is possible to craft pretty much any design. Texture mats enable me to incorporate beautiful patterns into your design.
ashes in silver pendant Silver jewellery with cremation ashes textured silver charm with cremation ashesYou could even have the ashes put into a charm that features your loved ones fingerprint, handprint or handwriting.  I can make the ashes visible in the silver (the lumpy effect), or I can hide them underneath the top layer of the piece so that you still get the smooth, shiny finish and no one needs to know that you have ashes  inside.  Only a tiny amount of ashes is needed, half a teaspoon will be more than enough to create this effect, leaving you with plenty of ashes to scatter or be made into other items.
Handwriting charm.cremation ashes in silver

If you are interested in having some cremation ashes added to your piece please do get in touch.  gemma@lastingtouch.co.uk

UPDATE:  I now also have a range of ashes in glass jewellery
Ashes in glass pendant