Hello readers, I hope you are all enjoying the weather, which is slowly showing signs of getting warmer. It is so nice to be able to shed the heavy winter gear, and wear fewer clothes - can't wait to get to the point where the sandals come out of the cupboard and onto my feet.
My mother went on a little tour of South India with her niece, and very kindly brought back some beads for me. I had asked her to look out for a string of Rudraksha beads - more about them later. The ones she sent are about 20mm in diameter, and I was a bit intimidated by their size, I had really wanted them a bit smaller. However, no one puts Caprilicious in a corner, and I decided to rise to the challenge. I made some polymer clay ruffle beads from a tutorial by Christelle Van Lingen, in a blend of red and gold, and put a necklace together with a copper electroplated oak leaf skeleton.
I added a blue agate bead and a copper Bali style bead to provide a pop of colour and extra interest, and little gold plated crystal beads to add some sparkle to the piece - I was quite pleased with the way the necklace turned out. I like the juxtaposition of an ancient, traditional seed bead, and the polymer clay, which is as contemporary as you are going to get - and very different, too from anything i have seen, made with these seeds.
Rudraksha is a large evergreen broad-leaved tree whose seed is traditionally used for prayer beads in Hinduism. The seed is borne by several species of Elaeocarpus. Rudraksha is a Sanskrit compound consisting of the name Rudra ("Shiva") and akṣha ("eyes").
Rudraksha seeds are covered by an outer shell of blue when fully ripe, and are also known as blueberry beads. The berries are strung into a rosary, used for repetitive prayer. The seeds are classified on the basis of the number of divisions that they have, and different qualities are attributed to the rudraksha based on this. A common type has five divisions, and these are considered to be symbolic of the five faces of Shiva.
Rudraksha beads are often worn by Indian 'sadhus' or holy men, who are devotees of Shiva.
The plant and the blueberries that produce the Rudraksha seed
Sadhus, wearing strings of the Rudraksha beads - the one on the right looks pretty pleased with himself!
In a complete about turn from the oak leaf necklace, I made a couple of light and pretty summery pieces to go into the English Country Garden collection - a little pendant - Primrose, and a necklace made of all the shiny, pretty floral elements I could find - The Summer Bouquet. The inspiration for this came from a throwaway comment by a presenter on last Sunday's airing of 'The Antiques Roadshow' while valuing a tiara - he mentioned that tiaras were often turned upside down and worn as necklaces in Victorian times - so I made a modern day tiara/ necklace - it is extremely light and pretty, and looks like a wildflower bouquet.
Winner - Bead Barmy Readers Gallery Competition April 2013
I had news that Katrina won in the 'We've got the Blues' category, and that it sold, all on the same day - I must remember to tell the new owner she has a winner!
Linda Jones, a well known and influential jewellery designer, and author, writes a blog for the WireWorkers Guild, which is a forum for people who love wire. She offered to feature me on her blog in May, and sent me a questionnaire. I filled it out, and she emailed me back - she was so complimentary, I have had a job fitting my head through the door and am literally floating around the room. This is a screen capture of her email
What can I say - other than thank you, Linda Jones! And here it is http://wireworkersguild.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/caprilicous-jewellery.html?showComment=1366967638186#c8771846690699081699
When I finally managed to come down to earth , I finished off the last piece I made this week and took these photographs of The Spirit of Ecstasy. The art nouveau wire work surrounding the focal was behind the idea for the name.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, also called "Emily", "Silver Lady" or "Flying Lady", was designed by English sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes and carries with it a story about a secret passion between the second Lord Montague of Beaulieu, a pioneer of the automobile movement, and editor of The Car Illustrated magazine from 1902 and his secret love and the model for the emblem, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Eleanor was John Walter's secretary, and their love was to remain hidden, limited to their circle of friends, for more than a decade. The reason for the secrecy was Eleanor's impoverished social and economic status, which was an obstacle to their love. John-Walter, succumbing to family pressures, married Lady Cecil Victoria Constance, but the secret love affair continued.
Eleanor died on 30 December 1915 when the SS Persia, on which she accompanied Lord Montague on his journey to India, was torpedoed off Crete by a German submarine, four years after she had been immortalized by her lover.
Spirit of Ecstasy
The rough cut black tourmaline gleams gently, and the severity of the black is relieved by the multi-coloured, shiny crystal spacers, and the graceful swoops of the wings of the focal. The polymer clay 'cabochon' is smooth, although its surface appears corrugated, and was made from a tutorial by Sophy Dumoulin of CraftArt Edu. I just love this technique - although time consuming, it is fabulous - and you have to wait till the absolute end, to see if the piece you have made is any good - for someone short on patience, it is a good exercise! The toggle clasp is pretty too, but this time, I put it at the back of the neck, where it should rightfully belong - when I tried to bring it to the front, as I do with a lot of pretty clasps, it fought a major battle with the focal, and lost. I consoled it by explaining that the back of the wearer is visible too, especially if she has her hair short, or swept up - or it could remain a delicious secret between the necklace and the wearer ( must be going doolally tap - I am now talking to a clasp!).
That's as much as I had time for, sweet people, I am exhausted by the repeated expansion and deflation of my head after all the accolades Caprilicious has received this week - and I know I will have to work hard to stay worthy of what has been said.
Catch you next week, same time, same place
We have been informed (hopefully reliably) that spring has finally sprung - at long last, about six weeks late this year. My thoughts have turned to my second passion, my garden, and the bluebells that are poking their heads out of the cold ground. Coming from a tropical country, as I do, it is such a pleasure each year to ring in the changes of each season, and in celebration of nature's wonder, I have written a new page for the Caprilicious website, soon to be populated with flowers and other pretty things from my garden. This is my first piece on the new page, titled THE ENGLISH COUNTRY GARDEN. Just now this is the only piece I have there, so, to keep it company, I have included a gallery of pictures of my own little piece of England - my garden.
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Tiny butterflies flit around the edges of this piece, and little bluebells and leaves unfurl between tendrils of copper wire in this little pendant on an organza ribbon. A chemical antiquing (stinky) bath, a polish with steel wool, shined up and protected with micro crystalline wax, and the pendant is good to go.
We went out to the pub for Sunday lunch - when I got back, I found that Pearl Blay of The Beading Gem's Journal had posted a blog about Glacier Inspired Jewellery featuring Caprilicious Jewellery. It really made my day - thank you so much Pearl. You can read about it here -
Before I got this news, I was a bit fed up (that's me being polite and restrained). I had spent the day before making some really pretty beads - for once they were all equally measured and sized, and had a blue and white stripey veneer, attempting to resemble an African Trade Bead. I also made some polymer clay canes - this is a big deal for me, as I have shied away from making canes for a long time now. I constructed a complex cane of a lions face, so I could make a bracelet for a friend of mine, who is a dedicated big cat person. Although it wasn't my best effort and would have ended up a practice piece, a whole day was spent, happily wallowing in clay (brings to mind a hippopotamus), and late in the evening, the finished pieces were popped in the oven to cure. A moments distraction, and I set the oven to 225C! - 100C higher than it should have been - the result?? billows of horrid smoke, and a horrendous smell - and a load of cinders. I had to scrub the oven clean before we went out to lunch - all that hard work wasted!
They say everyone does it once, but I had hoped to be the exception - alas, it was not to be, and I joined the long list of people who have had burnt offerings to throw away. Pearl's mail on my return was a sight to gladden my heart and raise my spirits.
To cheer myself up, I made Reika - Portrait of a Geisha, using three faux black jade pieces I made earlier from a tutorial by Lynda Moseley. Reika means Beautiful Flower in Japanese - apparently the same word can have more than one meaning, if pronounced differently. As for writing Japanese names........
Kanji, one of the three scripts used in the Japanese language, are Chinese characters, which were first introduced to Japan in the 5th century via Korea. Kanji are ideograms, i.e. each character has its own meaning and corresponds to a word. By combining characters, more words can be created. For example, the combination of "electricity" with "car" means "train". There are several ten thousands of characters, of which 2000 to 3000 are required to understand newspapers. A set of 2136 characters has been officially declared as the "kanji for everyday use".
Suddenly, the complexities of the English language seem like child's play - I don't think I could cope with the Kanji concept - I hated algebra, so it's no good asking me what A+B equals, apparently the Kanji for electricity + car = train (?? !!) Not to me, it doesn't!
I do speak at least four Indian languages tolerably well, and can write in one of them, so I suppose there's hope for me yet - not that I'm planning to take lessons in Kanji anytime soon!
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The Kanji tattoo for Reika
The fluorite flower dangling from the tip of the pendant echoes the shape of the flower beads on either side of the pendant, and the colour echoes the little nuggets of the necklace.
Four polymer clay 'fossil' cabochons sat waiting in my finished-but-waiting-to-be-made-into-something box. I gave one of them to my new friend BN - we decided that we would both have a go at them and compare notes. I dug up my Wigjig, and made a surround for one of them with wire, intending to hang it asymmetrically as a focal bead in a string of graduated blue agate rondelles from my stash.
The Wig Jig has been waiting patiently for me to use it - I made a bracelet for one of my colleagues at work, a long time ago, and then forgot all about it. It has movable pegs that fit into the holes of an acrylic block, and the wire is coiled and swirled around these pegs, to give perfectly formed coils, each one with the exact same dimensions as the last, without any tool marks marring the wire.
I bought the Jig because it reminded me of the Rangoli patterns drawn on the doorsteps of Indian households every morning, and more colourfully at festivals - the nostalgiascope at work again! The ladies draw a grid made of tiny dots, and then draw a pattern looping around the dots with white or coloured powders, and get some very pretty decorative effects. All good little Indian girls know how to do this - and I did too, once - when I was a good little Indian girl, a long long time ago
There is a WIG JIG 'University' with free online patterns to be used with the Jig, and the thought of attending University again, albeit for such a fun lesson, tickled me pink!
Rangoli Pattern around a grid of dots
A more complex 'festival' pattern waiting for colour
A pattern filled in with coloured powders
The 'cabochon' was made using a fossil technique taught by Sophy Dumoulin on CraftArt Edu, and wire wrapped using the WigJig Centaur.
I named the necklace Silver Shadow after that hallmark of luxury and elegance - The Rolls Royce. The emblem on the front of the Silver Shadow Roller is a glorious Art Noveau Lady, with her hair and wings streaming backwards in the wind - elegance personified.
The faceted blue agate beads are like fat little droplets of water around the neck - I do love this piece, simple, yet dressy and elegant.
I made a cuff bracelet with a blue agate geode - I seem to gravitate towards that stone - the blue is so pretty. This piece was commissioned by a friend of mine in Mumbai - and I am so relieved that she likes it.
Well folks, here it is - Caprilicious is officially a Jewellery Design Star on the Artbeads.com website. Thank you for taking the time to vote for me. People have asked me what the prize is - it is recognition and exposure - a physical prize is not important, and wasn't the reason I entered the competition. I love it when people like my jewellery, and if I could afford to, I would give it away to all those who expressed a desire to wear it - as it is, I keep it affordable and within the remit of most people, so I am almost giving it away - it must be some deep seated need to be liked - fortunately, I'm not a psychiatrist, or I would have divined some weird and wonderful reason for this pattern of behaviour.
Thanks once again for stopping by, and for voting. Catch you same time, same place next week, have a fabulous weekend - we're off to the garden centre
Thank you to everyone who voted for my design 'Glacial Fantasy' in the Artbeads Jewelry Design Star Competition. It only went and won!! I am speechless and so, so, so, thrilled. I was informed by email, and they have had my details as well as a couple of other designs from Caprilicious for their website. When I hear more from Artbeads.com about the official announcement, I will let you know. In the meantime, I have another pair of earrings made, to complement Glacial Fantasy - the first two were not deemed 'delicate' enough, and I was politely requested to think again - the customer is always right - right? So.........
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These were made with wire crochet and crystal beads, and the pictures sent on for approval - I hope she likes them, or, its back to the drawing board for me. They look pretty delicate to my eyes, but I am not the one going to be wearing them, so I shall just have to wait and see. I have no problems doing them over and over until I get it right - I just see it as another challenge.
I thought Betty was a bit lonely, so I found her a friend - meet Barbara - she is a half bust, but what is especially nice about her is that I can insert an earring so I can get a good picture of the way the earrings dangle from the ear lobe. I had just made this pendant with a red banded agate stone, and I hung it around Barbara's neck - her neck is a bit scrawny, but, hey, anything's possible if allowed a bit of artistic license. The pendant looks huge around Barbara's neck, but that is because she suffers from turkey neck disorder, but one mustn't mock afflicted chickens!
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'Grace', the pendant in question is made of banded red agate - a beautiful waxy, translucent, rectangular stone. About six feet of wire went into the swirly wraps, and a few more feet of fine wire for the web like weave. I had to add a bit of movement, and a shiny Aurora Borealis coated crystal from my stash was just the ticket.
I played with polymer clay and alcohol inks and produced these faux red jade pieces from a tutorial by Lynda Moseley of Diva Designs. I love the large 25mm focal beads, with a floral etched pattern and I made a chrysanthemum type flower to be the pendant in this necklace. It is called Cinnamon because of the beautiful burnt sugar colour of the faux jade. The other alternative for a name was Creme Caramel - betraying my sweet tooth and secret gluttony - a Freudian slip, if ever there was one! Three strands of carnelian nuggets, held together at intervals by pewter spacers toned well with the focal pieces - a monochromatic necklace, which is quite rare for me - I don't know how I resisted the impulse to add a bit of green or turquoise blue, but I do like how Cinnamon came together in the end.
From Russia With Love
I made this necklace a few weeks ago, and I saved three rainbow titanium coated quartz needles to make a pendant and a pair of earrings. When they were made up the three little pieces resembled the Matroshka dolls sold to tourists in Russia - except, of course that I have attempted to match the earrings, as far as possible The quartz was mined near St Petersburg and has an extraordinarily beautiful sheen from the fine coating of titanium vapour wafted over it.
I spent most of this week catching up on paper work and other stuff at the day job - sometimes it doesn't pay to have too much time off, everything is just waiting for you when you get back to the grindstone - no rest for the wicked!
I did have time to tidy up my website, move my necklaces around - I have new pages now - Chinese Inspiration, Out of Africa, and Leafy Glade are now added to a Treasury of Statement Necklaces, and all the other bits and bobs are grouped under Mini Statements - I believe that all jewellery makes a statement - it tells you about a woman's inner self and expresses her thoughts, feelings, and mood, sometimes, who she would like to be but finds difficult to express - an alter ego. I know that this is certainly true about me - what about you?? Have you ever thought about what your choice in apparel says about you to the world - a non verbal clue to those who might wish to detect what makes you tick! Have you ever thought what women who don't wear jewellery are saying - I think it may be that they don't want people to get clues to their personality - you have to work just that bit harder to know them and what their raison d'être is.
That's all I had time to make this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place, thanks for stopping by my blog, and once again, thank you for voting for my design in the competition
I hope you have all had a good week - I had the week off from work and decided to use it productively - was meant to drive to Shrewsbury, an hour away, to take an enamelling class, but snow and ice precluded that enterprise, and we had to reschedule. So I was forced to stay at home, and play on my own with my baubles and beads, and my computer.
I entered Ariel onto a colour palette design challenge and bloghop hosted by Bonnie Coursolle of Jasper's Gems from Ontario, Canada. http://www.jasper-moon.ca/JaspersGemsBlog.htm
She posted three colour palettes, and Ariel was made in the colours of the first one she gave the participants to work with. It is nice sometimes to accept a challenge and work within its confines - it gives the mind a focus.
Just after I posted last week, I found out that I had won a £10 voucher from a trade magazine called Beads and Beyond - I had submitted a picture well before Christmas 2012 to their inbox, and quite forgot about it - in fact, I had to ask members of a jewellery forum if it was true that the picture had been published when I got the email that I had won the voucher, I thought it might be some sort of pre April fool prank. One of the ladies sent me this picture - I should really go out and buy the magazine now.
I entered Glacial Fantasy in a 'Jewellery Design Star' competition on Artbeads.com - this is a company in the USA that sells jewellery making supplies. I don't usually have time to hunt down competitions, and enter my jewellery, so it was nice to be able to do it this week.
I sent Pearl Blay, the author of The Beading Gem's Journal a picture of Glacial Fantasy. She writes a daily blog http://www.beadinggem.com/
where she posts
'the best Free Jewelry Tutorials,
Tips,Trends & More'. I have been following this blog since the day I started to make jewellery, and have learned a lot from her writings. Her blog lands in my inbox with a 'ping' every afternoon - she is in Canada-her advice is sound, and she has an archive of tutorials on almost everything to do with handmade jewellery making. I have approached her twice in the past, and only got as far as being allowed to submit a picture of one of my necklaces to her 'Readers Gallery of Inspirational Designs', but Glacial Fantasy piqued her interest and she wants to do a feature on Caprilicious Jewellery sometime in April. She contacted Manish, who took the picture of the glacier in Ladakh, and will put his picture on the blog as well. It is a big deal for Caprilicious, as her blog is extremely zealously curated, and I am suitably thrilled and grateful to Pearl. I will keep you posted when the feature comes out - it is fabulous to have one's work recognised by one's peers, especially someone who has been there, done that and seen it all.
I had a vague idea of what I wanted to make, so I made these little pieces - I embellished black clay with real gold leaf from Thailand, and made a few faux bone elements. I wasn't sure how I was going to connect them, till I remembered a roll of hemp tucked away at the back of my supplies cupboard. While I pondered this weighty question, I was thankful that there wasn't much clearing up to do - this was a clean technique and my table didn't look like a bombsite at the end of it.
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As my school reports said - 'could be tidier' !
I watched a late night movie, with subtitles, from Senegal - I watched the griot sing his soulful song - the Mandinkas pass on their history from generation to generation through songs sung by griots, accompanied by a kora-a stringed instrument. The marabout (and the protagonist visited quite a few in this movie to help restore his potency) was laden with bones and cowrie shells, and all I could think about was how this scene could be incorporated into a piece of jewellery. I think this necklace was conceived that night - there has to be some benefit to being an insomniac .
Cowrie shells were used as currency in Africa . Their symbolic qualities and beliefs led to them becoming a popular and valued object of currency for hundreds of years. During early colonial times, many Africans preferred being paid with cowrie shells over gold coins- which was a surprise (and an unexpected windfall) to the first Europeans who went to trade in Africa.
Cowrie shells are also tagged with a mystical quality, and have played a role in West African fortune telling, and are an integral part of music and indigenous instruments, as well as gambling games. They are also used as fertility symbols and brides wear them in a waist belt. One of these found its way into my hands, but it was all broken and tattered, so I rescued the cowrie shells from it - reuse and recycle - that's my motto!
I was trying to replicate the mood of the music, and the picture above in my photograph. I was clearly underemployed this week, so I played with my little camera - I lit a joss stick and tried to take a picture inside my light box, with the smoke wafting over the necklace - but I soon found out that this was easier said than done - smoke just doesn't do as it is told - I discarded a whole bunch of pictures - thank goodness for modern technology - imagine how expensive all this would have been if I had to develop all those pictures to find one that I liked!
My most recently ordered leaf skeleton pendants arrived, and I wasted no time putting the aspen leaf into a necklace of lemon quartz and pyrite. The pale gold of the quartz contrasts with the dark gold of the pyrite - Lemon quartz is so pretty, it reminds me of the weak first rays of the sun, the first thing in the morning - a wistful light, yet so beautiful. My husband liked it so much, he even wore it for a couple of minutes - yes, I got a picture, but I am not allowed to post it ( thank goodness, you say?? - you are absolutely right).
I was asked to make some earrings to go with Glacial Fantasy - I decided to have another look at Manish's pictures from Ladakh for inspiration - I found a couple that set me thinking of icicles, and I made these for the ladies who had commissioned necklaces from me.
Zahra - the Luminous one
The pearls I chose for this necklace, brought the word 'luminous' to mind - when I looked for a translation in Arabic/Persian, this flowery language came up with 'Zahra'.
We have some large holly bushes in front of the house, and I boiled up some leaves - I thought that their skeletons would be an interesting shape - but in the end, it was all 'Bubble. bubble, toil and trouble' for no reward - man, those holly leaves sure are tough! Eventually I gave up, and when I rang the lady who electroplates the leaves for me, she said she had the same problem, so she just electroplated the entire leaf as it was. I cheated, and bought this pendant from her - I was fed up with the whole holly debacle by then.
Being used to the delicate skeletons I am now accustomed to, I was a bit surprised by how substantial the holly leaf was, but in the end, I think it came good and I love the way it turned out.
I ended the week with a birthday, my colleagues from work threw a surprise lunch party for me, and some of them even wore their necklaces from Caprilicious, as did I. It was a lovely thought, and a really nice afternoon - thank you to all the ladies who turned up and made me feel special.
And, that was the week that was! Catch you next week, same time, same place, take care and have a great Easter break
Sara is a lady who draws, paints and crochets - she also runs a Flickr group to support 'quality art and handmade'. She selects five designs as her favourites of the week and allows people to vote for them on her blog. My JuJu Woman necklace was selected this week - if you have a moment to spare, do visit her site and cast me a vote in the next seven days, please. http://sara-artstudio.blogspot.co.uk/
The pictures above are, from left to right, jaggery, citrine nuggets, and brown sugar. Jaggery and brown sugar are cane sugar with a higher content of molasses than white sugar - this makes the partially refined sugar moister. Jaggery is sold in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean, and I have seen it piled high in the Asian shops in the UK just before Asian festivals, and sold in 5 kilo doorstop sized lumps wrapped in jute sacks.
My mother always had some in her pantry, and as children, we would sneak in and steal a few chunks, stuffing them into our mouths with a handful of raisins and cashew nuts and run into the garden, before we were caught and given a good hiding for our trouble. It is no wonder then, that I love citrine nuggets - they remind me of my childhood.
I have come to the sad conclusion that I am a bit of a glutton - I often describe beautifully marked gemstones as 'almost edible', though why anyone would choose to eat a stone is beyond me. It may be because I fall in love with the gemstone on the basis that more than one sense is excited - it not only looks good, but it looks like it might taste good! I do, however, stop short of actually putting them in my mouth - even though they have no calories.
When I made this necklace with citrine nuggets, all I could think of was brown sugar, no other name seemed to fit -so, that's what I called it.
I have had the carnelian leaf pendant in my collection for ages, as well as the opalite leaf in the next piece I am going to show you. The waxy translucence of the carnelian seemed to go perfectly with the crystalline structure of the citrine.
The opalite leaf in the next piece glows as if it has been touched by the light of the moon. I teamed it with faceted blue chalcedony and banded blue agate - I made the entire piece up, and then felt that the leaf, on its own, was too small for the size of the stones in the necklace, so I unpicked the whole piece, and make a wire frame for the pendant.
I had a new weave I wanted to try out, taught by a wire artisan called Mary Tucker. Her weaves have a flat appearance, almost like a woven fabric - I tried out a short segment, and when I separated the wires, I liked the result so much, I incorporated it into the frame for the pendant. Once I had enlarged the pendant, it fitted well amidst the large stones in the necklace. I originally bought the blue chalcedony because the blue reminded me of the baroque palace of Catherine the Great in St Petersburg and I remained true to that idea with the name for the necklace. Until St Petersburg, I had never seen such a brilliantly coloured palace - and it is indeed magical - I was there so many years ago, but have never forgotten its beauty.
.....a young, lithe and graceful human being with unfathomable eyes. she hides her soul within her and rarely lets anyone else see it. A laila takes a long time to let somebody into her life and past her defenses, but once she places her trust in them completely, she finds it near impossible to let go.
Some beads are too pretty to languish in a dark corner, and these Nepalese wooden beads, as well as the coral, fall into that category. The coral has been dyed black - it is illegal to make jewellery out of real black coral, as it is a protected species by international law. These tear drops are made of sponge coral, which is from a sustainable source, and dyed black. Nevertheless, the tear drops are very pretty, and I have tried to use them to their best effect in this necklace. The origin of the name is Arabic where it means 'dark as the night, and mysterious', but when I dug a bit further, it would appear that the Urban Dictionary has claimed it as a noun - the definition of 'a laila' is interesting, to say the least.
I love agate beads that have markings on them - they are so delicate, it is almost impossible to believe that this artistry is wrought by nature. With these waxy translucent whisper pink Dragon's vein agate beads, I found it easy to design a piece adding just a soupçon of bling - a couple of magenta agate beads and a carved amethyst dragon bead, a few spacers - and there it was - the colours remind me of a fuchsia.
Fuchsias have always brought to mind a lady in a ball gown being twirled around in a fast quickstep that imbues her antebellum gown with a life of its own, ballooning around her, so her ankles and delicate dancing slippers are visible .
Thanks for stopping by my blog folks, I hope you have enjoyed this weeks efforts. Catch you next week, same time, same place
I have been a doctor for thirty years now - so what is it that draws me to creating jewellery and all the other things I do around Caprilicious? - photography, writing blurbs, posting on Facebook, setting up and modifying my website regularly, writing this blog, marketing, sales, packaging and posting, trawling the internet for unusual elements and beads, entering into bidding wars with unseen enemies for beads I crave, learning new techniques on line, taking classes - and all this while keeping a stringent eye on the day job! I am a long way from retirement (it seems like a long way just now) and there is no room for error - I have to keep up with the advances in medicine as they occur, and the job itself is pretty stressful.
A good friend of mine asked me the question, and this set me thinking - what have I gained from all this activity - am I just a busy fool?
Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time ...
Thomas Merton 1915 -1968
Trappist monk, poet, activist and student of comparative religion
For 'art' insert jewellery making in my particular case! I have found friends in quarters I would never have thought to look, met some really interesting people, and of course, the people who buy from me are the tops! After all, Caprilicious is my alter ego - every piece in it speaks to, and of, me - as a corollary to this - anyone who likes my jewellery is a kindred spirit!
OK, enough of this introspection, let me show you what I made this week. And so, without further ado......
Roya was made with snow white jasper lozenges with inky blue agate nuggets and blue - black crystals. A few silver tone spacers and four Shiva eye beads add a pop of colour to an otherwise sober piece. The Shiva eye is the operculum or lid of the sea snail, and has recently become very fashionable. It is usually circular and fits snugly, sealing the entrance to the shell. These beads are filled with an orange resin, giving them their colour - if not for this, Shiva Eye beads are usually white.
ROYA is an Arabic name, meaning vision. This ties in with the Shiva Eye - according to mythology, Shiva and Parvati, his wife, were having a bit of a romp in the Himalayas, where they lived. Parvati came up from behind, and shut both his eyes with her hands, and the world went dark for a few seconds. Shiva, who had a really bad temper (and by all accounts, no sense of humour) opened a third eye in the centre of his forehead. He would rather be disfigured for life, than be blind for a few seconds??? - I don't know! someone should have sent him directions to the nearest sense-of-humour shop in Nepal!
My mother suggested that it might have been because he wanted to keep an eye on his mortal subjects at all times - who knows?? In his place, I would have added a fourth eye for good measure, this time in the back of my head, just to keep a watch for those naughty people behind my back - lack of foresight (or is it hind??) I call it!
Wake up, Titania
I spent an enjoyable day with polymer clay and wire, fashioning what looked like the seed pods of the 'Honesty' flower, a project from a book by Rie Nagumo. Translucent clay is difficult to work with as it becomes brittle very quickly, and I had to coax it and speak to it sweetly ( threats and the swear words flying around weren't working on the darn thing) to stay attached to the wire frames until the curing process was complete. I made quite a few, and only managed to lose six.
Honesty seed pods
I called this the 'Hell on Wings' project - I enjoyed it really - masochistically!
Titania Meets Oberon - Kay Konrad
These are paintings by Kay Konrad, a German painter who painted these beautiful imaginary scenarios from A Midsummer Night's Dream. The one above is called Titania meets Oberon and the one below is Träufelnd Oberon, Titania Asleep. As the mood of my necklace was evocative of these paintings, I requested permission from him to reproduce them on these pages. Have a look at his art on http://www.kaykonrad.de . I think his paintings are so dreamy and fairy like. I sent him a link to Caprilicious and he said my jewellery was beautiful - what a nice man - I am anybody's for a compliment!
Träufelnd Oberon, Titania asleep by Kay Konrad
In the painting above, Oberon is just about to drug Titania in her sleep with fairy dust so that when she wakes up she falls in love with the first person she sees. A lot of people have had that problem, even without the (non) help of Oberon's magic - or there wouldn't be so many divorces in the world - so I called my necklace Wake up, Titania, in an effort to save her from falling for a wrong 'un. Seed beads and coiled segments were wired onto fairly stiff copper - I wanted the necklace to be robust, and not become misshapen too easily. The seed beads I chose were a pinky - purple to go with the mood of the paintings, but the copper wire inside the glass shines through, and only the more strongly tinted beads show up pink.
My poor Muse was exhausted after this effort, so I gave her a rest, and entertained myself by exercising my right brain - reading a fabulous book called Wire in Design by Barbara Mc Guire. It is a compendium of a whole load of wire artisans' work - I then Googled each artisan in the book and drooled all over their stuff, until I could coax my muse back through the door, all rejuvenated after a couple of days off.
Eva Cassidy was a hugely talented American jazz vocalist who died tragically of a melanoma at the age of thirty three. Terry Wogan introduced her to the UK listener by playing her music on his show on Radio 2, well after she died, and her album went to the top of the charts in the UK and Europe. This necklace is a tribute to her amazing arrangements and vocals - the silver electroplated maple leaf, with the pewter leaf spacers interspersed with faceted onyx olive shaped beads is called Falling Leaves. The maple leaf has a few onyx beads on a little chain dangling in front of it to provide extra movement to the piece, without detracting from, or obscuring the beauty of the leaf skeleton.
That's all the Muse and I had time for this week, have a nice weekend, and we'll catch up with you next week, same time, same place
Hello folks, I hope you have all had a good week.
I have been busy at the day job, and picking out a present for my husband - he has just had a birthday, and we have a wedding anniversary later on this month. Please forgive me if I go all romantic and soppy on you, but that's the way I'm feeling - I will snap back to the more recognisable snarly, irritable self - he's sure to annoy me soon enough!
So this week its all flowers, and sweetness and light - as I said, do forgive me, it's not often I go soppy like this.
The week started with a bunch of coral tear drop beads I teamed up with some really bright red and green Nepalese Yin Yang beads - when I first had the Nepalese beads, I wondered what on earth I would do with them - they were that bright - but nestled in the middle of this Lei, or garland, they look very much at home.
A Haku (Hawaiian) is a braid - I got this from Wikipedia, in the process of researching my coral Lei. In my heightened state of hopeless romanticism, I thought this was soooo sweet (sick bucket, now, quick ) so I thought I'd share this with you.
Haku mele - to braid a song. A song composed out of affection for an individual is considered a lei.
Anyway, the Lei I made is not sickly sweet, fortunately my muse isn't following my mental state, I am lucky in that, if nothing else!
Of pomegranate studded fish and love - the moon
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After waiting a fortnight, the full moon is here, and just as it rises to kiss the tide, pomegranate fish far and wide, fall in love, lock eyes, and smile!
This is the painting I bought for Mike as a wedding anniversary present. I saw it while browsing idly on Face book - the artist was from Bangalore - I come from there too, so it seemed like kismet that I should find it at a moment when I was at my most romantic (!). I originally thought I'd visit the artist in India, later on this year, but the jewel colours of this painting attracted me so much that I could not resist it. I found her shop on Etsy - here's a link, http://www.etsy.com/shop/youandispelljoy?ref=seller_info and bought it straight away, so that it would be here in time for the day.
This is what the wonderful Kalyani Ganapathy has to say about herself in her profile on Etsy - and I think that exuberance of feeling is well demonstrated in my painting - can't wait to get it back in its new frame - I am sure he will love it too.
'While I have strands of gray, I merely am a child in thought, an adult in body. I draw straight from the heart. Everything on my canvas makes me smile. And, you guessed right, I am on a quest for joy! Unadulterated, pure and simple joy!
I believe you and I are both creative, as creative as we want to be. To me creativity is that silver lining on a dark day, the sugar rush from a hot fudge Sunday on a bright sunny day, and my channel to reach out to the world. So welcome to my world, my blanket of happiness...'
More flowers! I have got it bad, haven't I ?? - never mind, this phase wont last too long!
I made another Nepalese pendant oriented necklace, and used some carved coral roses - they are so pretty, and they contrast so well with the bland white howlite beads also in this piece. To add texture and interest, I put in some translucent black crackle agate - I would love to make a necklace of just these beads, but really nice ones are quite expensive, so I just bought a few - maybe one day!
Still on a floral note, but this time, a darker theme ( yes, slowly getting back to normality, then), Nightshade comes from a genus that produces the potato, tomatoes, petunias, gooseberries, aubergines, chili peppers, and tobacco. Deadly Nightshade produces belladonna or atropine which has been used as a poison.
The lovely puffy, faceted onyx squares (which gave me a whole load of trouble - well, I would insist on using what is meant for a bracelet in a necklace, so its really my fault), contrast with the coral roses and turquoise pillars - very showy, and definitely night time jewellery - worn on a cruise perhaps?? - who knows where it will end up!
One more necklace in The Eastern Promise series - I tried this pendant on one or two different strands of beads, and what seemed to be just right for it was a lovely strand of light orange sponge coral cylinders, and some large turquoise beads. The coral is lighter coloured than any I have used previously, a pale orange rather than red, and it struck me that the colour was like a Persimmon or Sharon fruit. I had been hoarding these beads for a while now, and this seemed the perfect time to use them - the pendant was so large, it needed to be balanced with a multi strand necklace, or one with chunky beads. When finished, the name Persimmon Poetry just came to mind - and stuck - so here it is .......
And finally, I decided to go back to wire wrapping a cabochon - with a simple neat wrap - the kind that attracted me to wire work in the first place - I just wanted to see if I could do it again, after all the wild and woven stuff I have got used to making - this piece is simple and sweet, but I couldn't resist twisting the square wire and making loops around the cabochon with the addition of tiny green aventurine beads, like little planets surrounding the sun. The cabochon is a green and black druzy, and is very pretty - a very soothing shade of green.
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The back of the pendant
That's as much as I have had time for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, see you next week, same time, same place
No, I don't mean blood from a stone, you read it right first time - Light from a Stone - this epitomises Labradorite. This greyish brown stone is, at first sight boring - in fact it resembles something you might find lurking at the bottom of a cat litter tray - but, wait .... move the stone till it catches the light - and you get that fabulous flash of light from within it's depths - a flash of yellow, blue and green - and you are hooked!
Labradorite is a feldspar, first found in Canada, formed by the slow cooling of magma, giving the crystals time to arrange themselves in large clusters before being locked into place in layers - these layers reflect light at different angles, giving that characteristic flash - the Schiller effect.
The Inuit thought the Northern Lights had been captured by the stone, it is that beautiful. I once bought a bracelet with a large slab nugget - and was immediately hooked - grey brown is difficult to design with, and of course, the stone needs to move to catch the light, so still photographs do not do it justice - Oh well, I can but try - I am not sure if any one will be discerning enough to actually want the necklace, but I love it, and will happily wear it myself.
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This is a little National Geographic clip of the Northern Lights - I have tried heroically to get the stones in my necklace to bring forth the fire in the stones - but this tends to happen when they are moved in the light - so do bear with me.
We were lucky enough to catch a tiny glimpse of the Northern lights last August around the coast of Norway - and they are mighty beautiful - but it has to be really cold and clear to get a good display - Brrrrrrrr - I say, stay warm and wear my necklace!
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These are the hardest photographs I have had to take - I positioned each bead so it would catch the light, and unfortunately this is the best a still camera could do - you can see flashes of fire here and there.
The Harnessed Peacock
This is my nod to Mary Wesley, whose books I read and enjoyed a long time ago - she published her first book at the age of seventy, and wrote a number of best sellers after that - the women in her books are all extremely unconventional, and she has a sharp and dry wit. Harnessing Peacocks is one of her books, and it was also made into a motion picture. Mary had a red lacquered coffin made for herself by a local artisan, and kept it in her living room - she offered to be photographed in it for an interview by a magazine - politely declined, of course! I love that story, she must have been such fun - even her biography is called Wild Mary.
The copper non tarnish wire bird has a crystal tear drop dangling from its beak, and brilliant green and blue crystal and glass 'tail feathers'. I kept the chain simple, but not so simple that I didn't embellish it with a few crystal dangles.
This one was made to complement a turquoise clasp - I used zebra howlite, square onyx beads, shiny crystals, blue glass beads, dichroic glass rectangles and pressed glass beads in the shape of pansies all the way from Czechoslovakia. I love Czech glass - they have some beautiful beads, and I buy them whenever I can find them. They looked like sweeties from my childhood when I finished the necklace, hence the name.
The real deal - I like mine better - no calories!!
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I love this clip of Scherezade by Rimsky Korsakoff - I have played it before on this blog - but am playing it again, as it is appropriate here - this is only part of it, but the music is so haunting - do listen to it - and of course, the Kirov - Mariinsky ballet needs no introduction.
I made these pendants for Scherezade - to wear when she told her prince stories, night after night, holding his interest by withholding the ending - just to live another day, and tell yet another story - a cruel tale, but, we got all these stories from her plight, and she got a stay of execution - and he got the girl - a win win (win) situation, by all accounts!
The druzy cabochons came all the way from Jakarta, I love the crystalline centres that sparkle in the light - once again difficult to photograph. I have been taking online photography lessons and tips, but might make my way to some real ones at the local college come January, I so hate not being able to share my enthusiasm with you. Lashings of wire, and tiny gemstone beads embellish the druzy, but I have kept the whole thing simple, on a ribbon instead of making a whole necklace around it to keep the focus on the pendant itself - this will turn heads anyway, so a whole 'statement necklace' will probably be a bit of overkill.
I have just about managed to capture a bit of the sparkle at the centre of the gemstone here
I have a few more cabochons, and have been trying to set one into a pendant in the shape of a lotus - and struggling, I don't mind admitting. There's something missing, and I just can't put my finger on it - don't you just hate that feeling - but I have put it away for the time being and hope that when I look at it again, inspiration will strike me like a bolt of lightning and I can show it to you next week. Till then, have a lovely weekend, and a fabulous week. See you same time, same place,
It has been a bitter sweet year - in the effort to take my mind off the loss of my brother, I ended up creating a monster that has taken me over - what has now become my passion - the reason I wake up every morning - I now dream, sleep and think jewellery when I am not at my day job, and have to tear myself away from my jewellery making to go to bed at night. It is official - Caprilicious is my obsession!
I have learned to bead, make wire jewellery, use a kiln, enamel, and overcome my fear of power tools to now become comfortable with my Dremel, and even a bench buffer! Who would've thunk it!
It is very difficult at a certain stage of competence in one field (not to mention a certain age), to try and learn an entirely new skill and become a beginner - all fingers and thumbs, being told off by the teacher for making a basic mistake, and feel like a complete fool. I now have a lot of sympathy for my juniors at work - indeed, I have become a much more patient teacher, as a result of revisiting my learning skills!
I am used to learning in a class and by following a teacher on a one to one basis, so I chose this route - and I think I benefited from it - although expensive this way, I cut to the chase and learn the little tips and tricks that click into place when I fly solo - especially with quality control!
I had no idea I could be creative - but the ideas seem to come - and people seem to like what I make - I even surprised my mother - getting a compliment from her is like extracting hen's teeth ( and you have to catch the dratted hen first!) - and she has volunteered her approval - WOW!!
Michael, my long suffering husband, has been very supportive throughout, but I tend not to take his compliments too seriously - he gives them to me easily, and I can't help thinking that his vision is a bit rose tinted where my endeavors are concerned - sweet man, but I don't want to make the mistake of believing my own hype!
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Thanks to all of you who have supported Caprilicious Jewellery, bought some pieces, been my fans on Facebook, commented on my efforts, and generally been good eggs. I will work hard to live up to the expectations Caprilicious has generated in the past year, and .......... The Only Way is UP!
I have been on a crazy-mad spending spree at my Nepalese artisan's shop, and bought a few bits and bobs. Having used up the last of the previous stash in the weeks before, I felt I could justify buying more. I have some truly beautiful pendants, and have promised myself that I will make a necklace using the Ghau box as the focal for Caprilicious' birthday this week, and have bought loads of little turquoise beads to this end. As this ghau box is a bit more expensive than the other pieces, I have spent a lot of time designing the necklace in my mind - it will have to be as spectacular as the box deserves.
While mulling this over, I made a necklace with coral, free form lapis lazuli nuggets and a turquoise and coral pendant - very colourful and bright.
A real winterberry on a bush
Winter months can be so dark and dreary, rain and snow, mist and fog - enough to drive the most hardy soul demented - my necklaces are designed to raise the spirits and drive all vestiges of Seasonal Affective Disorder out of the wearers consciousness - that is my raison d'etre.
I picked some colourful crackle agate beads - they have such beautiful markings, and are gently faceted - smooth and cool to the touch, and ever so pretty. These were teamed with crystals in many colours and shapes, and silver tone spacer beads in a seemingly random manner - the whole time, the gemstones reminded me of berries and it was all I could do to restrain myself from trying to eat them - they look so very edible! This, then, is ..............................
I love beads that aren't round - if they happen to be round, I like them to be faceted, or marked beautifully - in other words, I just like them a bit different to the general idea of a bead being round, with a hole running through it. Imagine my surprise and pleasure, when I started making jewellery, when I discovered that anything with a hole running through it is classified as a bead - it doesn't have to be round to qualify - Hooray!!!
I bought these graduated pale pink sponge coral rondelles - now, I am not a pale pink person, but the texture and the shape of the beads appealed to me. I thought long and hard about how I was going to brighten the necklace - and then - in an 'Eureka!' moment, I teamed it with a clasp inlaid with lapis lazuli and coral from my favourite Nepalese artisan - I set the clasp so that it was to one side of the graduated beads and added stardust gold tone beads and a few lapis beads to tie in with the clasp - I think it looks Very Elegant
For the last two or three months, I have been slowly accumulating a stash of bling - both vintage and new items, to assemble into a Tom Binns inspired necklace - after all it is party time, and in my youth (!) I would have given anything to own one of these. I made two last year, and thought I would do the same again. Michelle Obama is a dedicated follower of Tom Binns, among others.
Of course, Tom makes his necklaces from scratch, although he was known as the 'King of Junk Jewellery' and why ever not?? - his necklaces start from about £500. Caprilicious brings you a toned down version with vintage diamanté (always more plentifully available at Christmas time) - a sort of Tom Binns meets Desperately Seeking Susan, they fall in love and run off together - a happily ever after kinda story.
The Alice in Wonderland Collection - Tom Binns
Mrs O wearing Tom Binns
The inimitable Madonna
Emma Watson aka Hermione wearing Tom Binns - she's all grown up now!
Rock Chick Bollywood
From a Polyvore album I made up
Rock Chick Gothic
Casual disarray, dripping with diamanté tassels, crosses, hearts, keys, skulls and other fetishes - Party time has arrived!!
A couple of weeks ago, I offered to take the pain out of Christmas gift giving - a gift wrapping and delivery service - this was accepted with alacrity by one poor chap, who confessed to being all fingers and thumbs when it came to tying his own shoelaces, let alone a package for his special lady. He bought a pretty piece of Bling! and I wrapped it for him in boxes I have in for this purpose - it is now under his bed - or wherever he hides his presents, waiting for the big day.
'All earrings in the Caprilicious shop reduced by 10% - have a browse and send me a message with the name of the piece you want so I can invoice you correctly and take it out of the shop.'
I have a birthday week offer running in my Facebook store, with 10% off all the earrings in store, and am happy to extend it to the website as well - if any of you reading this fancy a pair of earrings as a treat, or to buy for friends as a gift, send me a message via the contact page with the name of the earrings you like and your email id, and I will sort it out for you.
I know I am a bit early with this weeks blog, but I wanted to post on Caprilicious' first birthday. I have some ideas about what I will make today with the Ghau box, and I will post them later on, at the week end, as usual.
Once again, thanks for all your support, and the wishes I have had on the Facebook page today - couldn't have done it without you, catch you soon, wonderful people,
I love unusual elements - I was sorting out my bead stash, and trying to get tangled strings of beads back into little labelled pouches, with prices for each of the different types of gemstones, when it struck me - I dont have too many round beads in my stash - in fact, the only round beads I have are left overs from jewellery I have conceived around a focal piece, and then had to buy in with that particular piece in mind. A quick rummage revealed oval beads, and square beads, pumpkin shaped beads, rugged rough nuggets, freeform tooth shaped beads, smooth nuggets, floral shapes, coins, rondelles - a few round glass beads I got when I first started out still languish at the back of the stash, and I could hear them pleading with me to be used - 'me, me, me', they cried!
I also have a stash of pendant beads and cabochons - mainly druzy - I love that rugged, excavated, sugar crystal look. I have started to collect little tiny gemstone beads, to put in the Caprilicious silver collection, and I now have a box full of those, and will soon have to get a bigger container.
This week, I was exhausted from making 'The Mermaids Song' and the other pieces I put together last week, so I slacked off for a couple of days, until I felt the urge to pick up a pair of pliers and play with some wire. Sometimes, I make a few wire elements and then put them together, and at others, I find a focal, and plan the execution of a piece of jewellery, knowing that I will change my mind halfway, and add something unexpected into the mix.
I started out with this pendant bead ( a bead is anything with a hole in it, and does not need a separate piece of metal to surround it- it doesn't necessarily have to be round). I, however, treat most pendant beads like cabochons, that have no hole, and frame them with my own bezel. This one is one of the Intarsia beads I had sent out to me from Italy. It is made of marble, inlaid with jasper, so beautifully, one would be forgiven for thinking it was all one piece of stone, the clue is in the white frame around the inlay work. I love the intricacy of Intarsia work, and have a few pieces in my collection. They are difficult to use, as, strung alone, the piece looks a bit bare, and a frame to show it off is required - in my opinion, anyway.
The first one I made way back in February, reminded me of cherry blossom, and I gave it a floral polymer clay frame. It was called Spring Fever. This time, I pulled out a piece of marble inlaid with yellow jasper - it looked like an explosion of fireworks in a night sky to me. The romantic in me remembered the fireworks that go off every time one falls in love, and I designed a heart shaped double frame around the Intarsia, to be carried by needles of yellow jasper. However, by the time I finished the frame, shiny silver lined seed beads had jumped onto it and twined themselves around it, and I was forced to continue the theme with the same beads in the necklace. The yellow jasper needles were put away, to be used another day - I did apologise to them first for raising their hopes!
I think I did that magnificent piece of Intarsia art justice with my frame. I wish I could find the artisan and ask him/her what they thought of it.
A True Blue Affair
My first love when I first got into the jewellery making lark was druzy - and that hasn't changed one bit. I love the way these stones are cut, displaying imperfections, rather than cutting or polishing them out. None of us are perfect, and we all employ a bit of camouflage here, a bit of subterfuge there - and titanium druzy is just that - a bit of camouflage to cover up what would essentially be a dull stone - among other druzy, that is. A lot of geodes/ druzy have natural striations and facets, which are so pretty, no further efffort is needed to prettify them. But what of the poor piece of stone, that has nothing to edify it, apart from nature's embellishment with a surface crystalline texture - camouflage with a thin vapour of gold, or platinum, or titanium, of course! Titanium, in particular gives the stone a blue green oil slick sheen, and is very pretty. I had a pendant, bought in the USA, with such a stone set in Sterling Silver, just a bit bigger than a 50 pence piece. Teamed with lapis lazuli beads and loads of silver-tone spacers, I made a Lariat style necklace, with the pendant incorporated into the toggle clasp - this can be worn long, or shorter, wound twice around the neck. I personally prefer it short.
The final piece for the week before I took off on holiday was a necklace made of really unusual banded green agate. The beads are cylindrical, and faceted in such a way that some of the facets are smooth and shiny and the others are gritty, with the appearance of ground glass. I saw them in a picture, and had to have them. The gerrn and red bands that make up this gemstone can be a bit dull though, so I livened it up with a central silver tone flower pendant- I looked at it from all different angles, and decided I didn't like the effect - a tad too symmetrical for me, and the flower seemed too small to balance the size of the beads. So, copper wire to the rescue - I whipped up a three dimensional orchid, and studded it with turquoise beads - and this brightened the piece up considerably - so, here is the Blue Orchid Corsage Necklace.....
I hope you can see the beautiful facets in the beads
The shiny black beads are haematite
We flew out to Santorini last week for a few days in the sun after our abysmally dull summer. I post this from the hotel in Santorini - it was written before I left home, but is a few days late - have been too busy climbing the volcano, swimming in the blue Aegean sea, and sunning myself like a lizard on a rock. Catch you when I get back,