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  1. Welcome to the Family!

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    I wrote a blog post back in March about how being locked down in 2020 seemed kinda “basic”. That was partly because I’d been expecting hoverboards from 2015 (as Back To The Future promised!) so I had even higher hopes for 2020.

     

    I do think that it was the right thing to do, given the limited knowledge about the virus, and unfortunately, I think there’s still a long way to go before we’re free of it.

    Crying Emoji 

    The point of the blog back then was that even if we were locked down and isolated, at least we had cinema to keep us company. Yes, it’s not *quite* the same, but it’s a pretty great second. We can escape our lives for a few hours by watching a movie, and we can feel part of an online community as we share our thoughts on it afterwards.

     

    As well as watching movies, I love to read. My Dad is a huge reader, and I followed in his footsteps and read a ridiculous amount as a child. My Dad definitely reads more than I do these days, but I do make sure I fit a book in between movies.

     Buying In Book

    My latest book is Buying In, by Rob Walker. Buying In explores brands, how we connect with them, and why we buy from them. Maybe not as interesting to most people as a good novel, but as a small business owner, it’s something that intrigued me.

     

    I’ve only got a few chapters in, but some of what Rob said in the book got me thinking. Rob gives some great examples, but says that we buy from brands for two conflicting reasons.

    1. We want to express our individuality
    2. We want to feel like we belong

     

    Makes no sense, right?

     

    …well, not really.

     

    Humans have lived in communities for millions of years – we all want to belong. There’s safety in numbers, social benefits, skills available that we don’t possess… But that doesn’t mean we’re the same as everyone else. Conflict? It makes complete sense to me.

     Family

    But then, I’m a middle child: Not the oldest, not the youngest. Not the first girl, not the first boy. The middle one. I like to think that I argued with my brother and sister in equal measure when we were growing up (although I have a pretty great relationship with both of them now). We always made up. Why? Because we’re family. I belong to my family, and they belong to me.

     

    Like everyone, my siblings and I are our own people. We like some of the same stuff, other times we will wrinkle our faces and express our confusion at why our sibling is doing something crazy (this is me when anyone eats peanut butter).

     Peanut Butter

    Cinema is the same. We go and sit in the dark with strangers because that makes us feel like we belong. But we interpret and experience the film as individuals, through our own unique filters. We form our opinions of the magical moving pictures in front of us all on our own.

     

    We talk about movies and our taste in movies as individuals, but we talk to a community, that we belong to.

     

    Back in the olden times, before COVID-19, I used to sell jewellery at different stalls. Some were more craft/artisan focussed, some were more movie focussed. One of my favourite things about that was asking people “what’s your favourite movie?” and seeing their reaction. A lot of the time, it was similar to mine – “I have to pick just one?” but sometimes people would know exactly what their favourite was. Even then, their answers could surprise me. They could often give me a few solid reasons as to why their favourite movie was The Greatest Movie Of All Time.

     

    As long as we keep respecting each other’s opinions and talking about what makes our choice of movie great, we’ll have a fantastic community. We’ll be individuals and we’ll be part of something bigger than ourselves.

     

    Welcome to the family!

     

    The Cinema Family

  2. Getting to Know You...

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    Hi, have we met?

    Joy Smith is Cinebling

     


    I'm Joy Smith, and I'm the designer behind Cinebling. 

    I often write about movies and my jewellery inspirations on the blogs here, but I thought it would be fun to do something a little different.


    This reminds me of the chain letters and emails that used to circulate (and most likely, still do!) back in the 90s, although here, there is no obligation to pass it on or be forever cursed to watch bad movies!


    There are 40 questions in total, which will be updated after I send them out to my A List! (Want all the inside news? Join the A List here!)

    Hope this gives you a little more info on me as a person, and if you have any questions I haven't answered, please drop them into the comments and I'll let you know!

    Joy

     

    1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

     

    This would probably change every time I got asked it! I think right now, I’d love to have Gal Gadot over. From what I know about her, she’s a really interesting person (and she could maybe give me the inside scoop on WW84, too!)

     

    2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

     

    Definitely not! When I was younger and wanted to work in the movies, I wrote scripts. You get all the fun and glamour of working in the industry, but mostly, no one knows what screenwriters look like. Definitely not in the way they do actors and directors!

     

    3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

     

    No, but I probably should! Sometimes I hang up and do a bit of a facepalm, but I just go for it!

     

    4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

     

    Easy! A lie in, a spot of brunch, and then a triple-bill at the movies with a sundae and lashings and lashings of popcorn. Just don’t ask me to narrow it down to only three movies!

     

    5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

     

    About five minutes ago! I seem to have a very wordy brain, and will often find myself singing apparently random songs. I then realise it’s linked to an earlier conversation or something by the lyrics.

     Cinebling Scared Kitten Under Sofa

    (Turns out my singing makes cute kittens hide underneath sofas!)

     

    6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

                                                                                         

    This is tricky! I’d like to think that I’d learn a lot between being 30 and being 90, which would make me lean towards body, so my mind could grow… but then it would be great to have the enthusiastic outlook of 30-year-old me and brighten up the 90-year-olds. Toss a coin!

     

    7. What do you find relaxing?

     

    The seaside!

     

    8. What's your least favourite sound?

     

    Any recording of my own voice.

     

    9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

     

    Wow, there’s so many to count here! Probably my family. They can drive me crazy sometimes, but they’re pretty awesome.

     

    10. Can you describe your taste in interiors and design?

     

    Erm, not really! I don’t think I know enough about it. I think I err slightly towards minimalism, as I don’t like too much pattern on things. I did read something recently that patterns can trigger migraines, which I’ve had really badly, so maybe that’s something to do with it.

     

    I don’t it when things look too plain though – I like a house to look like a home, not a showroom or a museum.

     

    11. How would you like people to feel around you?

     

    Happy! If that’s not possible, I’d have to go for relaxed and inspired.

     

    12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

     

    It’s got to be the ability to fly, right? Reading minds sounds great in theory, but in practice people are so complicated it’d be mind-boggling. Flying is simple, cool and also useful!

     

    13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

     

    Wow, it’s so hard to narrow it down to just one thing, especially with all the uncertainty that’s going on right now – so many questions!

     

    14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

     

    I’ve always wanted to live by the seaside. Why haven’t I done it? Well, where you live is complicated, and it also affects more than just me – my family too. So, it’s still on the agenda, but I’ll get there when things line up right.

    Seashells on Sea Shore 

     

    15. What tiny accomplishment are you proud of?

     

    Last Friday (after I sent the email!) I went swimming and managed to swim 1500m. That’s only 100m (or 4 lengths) short of a mile. I’m pretty happy with that! Unfortunately, the pool is now closed for two weeks due to ‘technical difficulties’ (which I expect is a staff member testing positive for Covid). I’m hoping to hit the one mile mark soon after I can get back in the water.

     

    16. When did you get a surprise?

     

    The world is full of them! Pretty much every time I watch a documentary or something on Quest. People surprise me all the time too, which

     

    17. What item of clothing do you treasure?

     

    A red jumper that used to belong to my Mum. She was tall like me, and the sleeves are just perfect!

     

    18. What's your favourite flavour?

     

    Cherry! And as a bonus, my worst is coffee. I drink black coffee, and can’t stand anything that has a coffee ‘tint’ to it. Why spoil perfection? So I guess if you really wanted to torture me, you’d force-feed me cherry-flavoured coffee… although hopefully that doesn’t exist. (Googles it.) It does exist. Yikes!

     

    19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, what would you do?

     

    Probably do a couple of mega world cruises for the first six months, then spend the last six months with my family (assuming I couldn’t take them all with me!)

     

    20. What does friendship mean to you?

     

    Funnily enough, I posted this pic on Instagram yesterday. It’s not my words, but it’s a pretty good summary. It also applies to movies!

    Good friend

    Numbers 21-40 are coming soon!

     

    Got any questions for me? Ask them in the comments!

  3. Popcorn, Movies and Me: A Love Affair

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    Want to know why I love popcorn so much I decided to immortalise it in sterling silver? Read on to find out!

    Cinebling Popcorn

    If you’ve checked out any of the Perfectly Popped collection pieces, you might have read that the kernel represents potential, which I believe we all have, and the popped corn represents the realisation of that potential – when you make something awesome, whether it’s a performance, a script, or, in my case, some jewellery.

    You might not know this about me, but I was the only girl in my entire year at a pretty large college that studied Physics A level. Lots of physics looks at energy, and for me, that’s what a kernel has – a lot of potential energy.

    Here's a my college bus pass photos to give you a little chuckle!

                          Cinebling Joy Smith College Bus Pass Photo                                                     Cinebling Joy Smith College Bus Pass Photo2

    (Sorry about the resolution - they're from a loooooong time ago!)

    Without boring you all (hopefully!) potential energy is basically stored energy, which can be changed into something else. A book on a table has the potential to convert that energy to movement and fall on the floor. The food we eat has the potential for us to convert that energy into movement, or heat.

    So, what’s all this got to do with popcorn? It’s all about the kernels and what they have the potential to become, just like we have the creative potential inside us.

    Cinebling Close Up Popcorn Kernels Unpopped 

    Another cool science-y thing is that for a long time, scientists didn’t understand exactly why and how popcorn popped. You can’t pop just any corn. The kernels have to be right.

    When the kernels are heated, the tiny amount of water inside them becomes steam. This builds pressure that the thick walls keep in, until it builds and builds until it explodes! How amazing is that? It takes around 135 psi to pop the corn, which is approximately 9 times the normal pressure in the atmosphere. No wonder popcorn can pop up to three feet in the air!

    The corn has to be heated to around 200-240C (or 400-460F) before it pops. Corn can also expand up to 30 times it’s original size when popped. Wow!

     Cinebling Popped and Unpopped Corn in Bowls

    Popcorn has two shapes – mushroom and snowflake – and it’s usually the snowflake shape that is the most popular. You never get the same shape twice, and that’s one of the reasons I think it makes fantastic jewellery. It truly is a piece as unique as you are.

    People had eaten popcorn at carnivals for many years before popcorn made it’s way into the cinema. The world’s oldest known corn popper was a shallow vessel with a handle and hole on top, and was designed around 300AD. There is even evidence that the Aztecs used popcorn during their ceremonies, and it has even been found in Peru, dated around 4700BC.

    But, Joy, what about the movies?

    Cinebling Popcorn with Movie Tickets


    In 1885, the first steam powered popcorn maker was used, which meant that popcorn making became mobile. You didn’t need to make it in a kitchen, like hot dogs or crisps (potato chips).

    The first cinemas were a lot like theatres, and their owners didn’t want to lower their image by letting in carnival food (even if it was popular and incredibly tasty!). In the days of silent movies, you had to be able to read to go and watch one and follow the story. It’s something that most of us take for granted these days, but in the mid to late 1800s, it wasn’t something that everyone could do then (and, sadly, isn’t even in some countries now).

    It was only really during the Great Depression in the 1920s that popcorn and cinema began their wonderful union. Sound was added to films in 1927, which opened movies up to a much wider audience. Popcorn was cheap to make and so cheap to sell, which meant that it was an affordable treat for ordinary folks. If the theatre owners still didn’t like the idea of popcorn, it didn’t matter, as the street vendors had them beat. They just wheeled up outside the cinema, sold the popcorn, and wheeled on their way again.


    Cinebling cinema seats


    Eventually, the cinemas caught on, and allowed snacks to be sold inside the theatres for a fee. Later they cut out the middleman and sold snacks themselves – the beginning of the modern concession stand.

    Throughout World War 2, popcorn continued to flourish, with Americans eating three times as much popcorn. While sugar shortages created problems for other snacks, popcorn thrived, tasting pretty close to perfection when air popped (if you ask me, anyway!)

    Cinebling Popcorn Close Up


    Popcorn is also a pretty healthy snack:

    • It has more protein than any other cereal
    • It has more iron than eggs or roast beef
    • It was more fibre than pretzels or crisps (potato chips)
    • Popcorn is high in fibre
    • It is very low in fat, and contains no salt or sugar (until it is added)
    • There are many other vitamins and minerals in popcorn.
    • It is also rich in polyphenols, an antioxidant thought to be beneficial
    • A cup of plain popcorn contains just 31 calories, or if you want a bigger serving, two tables spoons will make a quart of popcorn, and contains just 120 calories
    • Three cups of popcorn will provide you with a serving of wholegrains
    • Popcorn is gluten free


    But it wasn’t all roses for popcorn and movies. During the 1950s when the first televisions started to enter homes, popcorn consumption dropped. People actually stopped going to the movies. They didn’t eat much popcorn at home either.

    Cinebling Empty Popcorn Container


    Luckily, the draw of ‘freshly popped’ movies and the enduring appeal of the cinema experience won out in the end.

    Stuart Hanson, a film historian at De Montfort University in Leicester (UK) once said, "One of the great jokes in the industry is that popcorn is second only to cocaine or heroin in terms of profit." Give me popcorn any day!

    Cinebling Loves Popcorn Heart on Red Background 

    You can check out the Perfectly Popped Collection here, and find out more about popcorn at popcorn.org.

    Hope the rest of your day is positively poppin’!
    Joy


     

  4. Wax Carving and Why I Love It

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    If you’ve heard the story of Cinebling, you’ll know that the start of it goes like this: I had a job in a large organisation that required me to travel a lot. When I was stuck in a budget hotel for a week, I went along to a wax carving class.
     
    This is the ring that I made:

    Cinebling Wax Carving Castle Ring Before and After


    I’d made jewellery as a child, and that one evening rekindled something within me. I’d been more stressed out in that job than I realised, and an evening of relaxation and creativity had done me the world of good.
     

    I started to practice wax carving whenever I could – sometimes even on the train if I had a particularly long journey! Wax is a great material to use to create pieces of jewellery, which are then cast into precious metals such as silver, gold, rose-gold and more.

    This is a picture of me by my casting machine (it wasn’t deliberate, but it worked out pretty well!)

     

    Cinebling Joy Smith and Wax Casting Machine

     
    The wax used is a special type of wax, that is blended for it’s strength and how it burns out. It’s important that the wax doesn’t leave any residue, otherwise this ash would be mixed into the jewellery.
     
    Wax carving is a very accessible way of starting to make jewellery, and I believe this so much, I started to sell wax carving taster kits. You can check them out here. Your only limitation is your imagination!
     
    For more information about wax carving, check out the infographic below:

    Cinebling Wax Carving Process Infographic

  5. To Indie Week and Beyond: Woody, Buzz and What Just A Card Means to Me

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    “To Indie Week and Beyond” – I should start by saying that I have shamelessly stolen this headline from one of the recent Just a Card Newsletters. But it’s a movie reference, so I love it, and it’s a Toy Story movie reference, so I love it even more!

    Just A Card Logo

     
    I can’t quite pinpoint when I first found out about Just A Card, but I know it was quite early on in my small business journey. I remember telling an artist about it at the second stall I ever did, at the beautiful Oakwood Market Square, in Leeds. I still follow the very talented @jo_dunn on Twitter -check out her work!
     
    You should probably go to JustACard.org to check out the official story, but the short version is that the phrase is taken from a notice that was in a closed gallery – “If everyone who had complimented our gallery had bought just a card, we’d still be open.”
     
    It is a harsh fact of any business that compliments don’t count for much. Sure, they’re nice to hear, but they don’t pay the bills, keep the lights on or ultimately keep the business running. There are lots of other ways that you can help a small business if you can’t buy from them, especially with social media. Unfortunately, the sad fact is that if a business doesn’t make money, it can’t survive. This is where the Just A Card philosophy comes in. Every purchase, no matter how small, helps to keep a business going. It applies to every single business in every single sector.
     
    Just A Card often say that their message is more than Just A Card. Two of my favourites are ‘just a cuppa’ and ‘just a cake’, but the list goes on and on. Why buy from a chain when you could help a small business keep going? (and in my case, also make your tummy happy at the same time!)

     

    Coffee and Cake in a Cafe

     
    I’m not going to say that I think big businesses are bad, evil corporations (although I think they should pay their share of tax). I do think that we could share things out a little more evenly. Small businesses often work even harder than big ones for your business and big business often won’t really miss the small purchase that will help a small business keep going. We’re talking about the multi-billion-pound businesses here – even a few million shaved off won’t really hurt their margins, but it would definitely help a lot of small businesses.
     
    I don’t mean to sound too preachy, but this is something that is very close to my heart. My parents raised me to think about these things – my Mum was refusing plastic bags way back in the 80s! The thing is, it’s very easy not to think about it, but when you do, it’s also very easy to make a small change that adds up to a big difference. That’s the message behind Just A Card.
     
    As almost every one of my friends and family told me, I started Cinebling at a hard time for business. The world is definitely going through a lot of change right now, and some of it is bound to be painful. That’s where Just A Card comes in. Running a business is often a solitary occupation, and it’s very easy to feel like there’s no one out there who ‘has your back’. Just A Card do. They’re out there, all day, every day, banging the drum for small businesses like mine, making sure that we have a voice.
     
    Together, we are strong! We can make a big impact on the world. We can hold corporations responsible through the way we spend our money – and we can watch small businesses blossom, too.
     
    If I had to sum up what Just A Card means to me, I’d have to go back to that brilliant movie that we stared with, and say that it means “you’ve got a friend in me.”

     

    Woody and Buzz from Toy Story