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
Thank you to all the ladies - and a gentleman, who bought stuff in the Caprilicious Boxing Day Sale - strangely, most of the people who decided to get a piece of Caprilicious were from the USA - your stuff will be with you soon after this blog comes out - and I am sure you will love your chosen pieces. I know people have spent a lot of money at Christmas time - presents and entertaining, and travelling, but a nice piece of jewellery is something to lift your spirits, and I hope Caprilicious can do that for you.
I have been researching Trade beads this last week - they were known as African money, and were used as currency for goods, services and even slaves. They were used by European explorers instead of money, and a lot of them were made in Venice from glass. The African people were thought to love them as decorations for their attire and in jewellery, and of course, this love of colour and adornment was exploited thoroughly and ruthlessly by early visitors who exchanged glass beads for ivory, slaves, gold and other commodities. As making Millefiori is part of attempting to be a polymerista ( I don't consider myself one yet- a trainee maybe!!), I took it on myself to make some chevron beads. I found a tutorial on the internet from the multi talented Desiree McCrorey, and modified it to suit my requirements - and I think for a first attempt at this technique, made quite a creditable job of it.
A complex cane of different colours was constructed as per the instructions in the tutorial, and covered over with a transparent layer of green coloured clay - so far, so good. Then the beads were cut, rolled smooth, and cured - even better! Now for the pain in the proverbial - sanding - every bead had to be sanded smooth under water with five varying grits of sandpaper - finer and finer each time, and then with Micro mesh cloths - ever finer and finer, till the last cloth felt like there was no grit in it at all - apparently, this one is used to polish the wind shields of aeroplanes! A lot of the green/ transparent layer was sanded off, to reveal the stripy lines of the cane within.
Fortunately, I recently moved all operations from the kitchen to my 'studio' ( Ooh la la, aren't we getting grand!) and the mess there was semi contained - at least it was not in Mike's way - he has been very patient so far, but I know not to overstretch the limit of his forbearance - things could get explosive - you can't keep a man from his kitchen especially when he is chief cook and bottle washer!
And then, for the buffing wheel - the beads are so small, the wheel kept snatching them out of my hands and flinging them halfway across the room, leaving a gouge mark on the bead, which I then had to buff out again - what a load of fun! Without this bad boy, I would have to have used the Dremel, and that would have taken ages - even longer than this little lot! I moved it into an alcove, rather than have it on the table, facing the stained glass window - Yikes! - the consequences of a bead flung at the window doesn't bear thinking about.
So finally, with a lot of swearing and huffing and puffing, I produced twelve beads - two hours to roll out the clay and make the beads -and almost five hours to sand and polish them! I was reminded of the time I used to play badminton as a child - the main exercise was from picking the shuttlecock up off the floor when I missed the shot, which was most of the time - I hadn't learned to swear back then, being a good little Indian girl - my, how things change!
Real, antique chevron beads
Anyway, I hope you will all agree from this picture , that my beads look like chevron beads (please agree, oh, please, please agree) and that they shine like glass - that, they most definitely do! I am my harshest critic, and even I have to grudgingly agree that my beads are most definitely usable. I still have some of the cane left, and when I make another batch, I will shave off some more of the green with a knife prior to curing them - and so reduce the five hours of sanding and buffing and picking the beads off the floor...... to possibly, two!
But still, I like the beads, and that's reward enough, for now.
I started to put together a few necklaces this week. Of course the Nepalese pendants had to get a first look in - I have been collecting gemstone bead components with this day in mind for a couple of months - now, finally it is time to introduce them to each other, and arrange their marriage - hooray!
Coloured powders sold in a market at Holi
Holi is the Indian festival of spring. It is a riotously colourful celebration, full of dance and song, and people fling coloured powders in the air and anoint each other with daubs of colour to celebrate the coming of spring.
Of course, by the end of a hard days celebration, the revellers look bedraggled and dirty, and a lot of them are p!££** as newts, but are very smiley, happy, tired people.
As the days are now getting longer, spring will soon be here - after the holiday season is over, this is the thought that keeps us going through the grey days of January and February. Already, the daffodil shoots are poking up out of the hard ground in my garden.
My necklace was made in the colours of Holi, with an artisan- made Nepalese pendant, and dyed mother of pearl shell beads in jewel colours, with a few accents of coral, turquoise and Czech fire polished beads. The beads came all jumbled up on a string, and I spent ages separating them out into little piles of exploding colour, and I am glad I did, as it simply made the colours pop in the necklace.
It took me a while to get a decent photograph of my new creations, with so little sunlight about, and very little time due to the demands of the day job. I decided that some of my old pictures were rubbish, so I retook them as well. When I finished, I had a large pile of colour sitting at one end of the living room, and when a ray of sunlight fell on it,the colours shone like a glass picture in a kaleidoscope.
With the next Nepalese pendant, I used some amber beads - amber is pine resin which can be many years old, and contains fragments of the hapless creatures that perished when they got stuck to it, when it was still soft and newly dripping from the tree. The colours are so pretty, they remind me of the toffee my mother used to make when I was a child.
A third pendant got a coral heishi ( pronounced hee-she, as in hee - haw! ) bead necklace, with brushed silver tone accents.
I got a bit 'over - pendanted', and made a piece without one - I used some lapis chunky nuggets, with extremely pretty, and colourful, orange jade beads - a few silver tone accents, and it was done - the clasp was meant to sit to one side as a focal, but it didn't seem right, so I cut it up and started again, this time, putting it where clasps are usually - at the back of the neck - it seems such a shame though, to have something so pretty where it is not visible - the wearer will just have to present her back to people and wear her hair up - or simply revel in her secret.
Named for the orange of the jade beads, henna is a plant whose leaves when crushed give out lawsone, a burgundy organic compound that has an affinity for bonding with protein. Lawsone is primarily concentrated in the leaves, and is released more quickly when in contact with a mild acid such as lemon juice. The Henna paste is piped onto the skin like icing on a cake, in what is basically a Zentangle pattern, and when it dries and is washed off, it leaves a deep orange stain, which lasts until the skin exfoliates. I have added a video of such an application, for anyone who may be interested.
My pièce de résistance this week is a piece entitled NIGHTFALL. It is made with onyx squares which are actually meant to be wired together for bracelets - the beads have two holes each. After a lot of tweaking, cussing and manipulating the engineering, I made a necklace using turquoise spacer beads, and added a showy Nepalese triangular pendant, and some pipe shaped turquoise beads - a contrast of shapes and colours that is very very stand outy ( for want of a better word).
I am quietly pleased with my little collection of necklaces this week, they are different, and colourful - I would wear them!
That's all for this week folks, have a good week and I'll see you same time, same place next week
That's another Christmas done and dusted, and it will soon be 2013. I hope all of you had a fabulous time with friends and family, and that Santa recognised all your efforts to be good in 2012 with loads of nice things in his sack for you.
I have been requested to lay on a Boxing Day sale by my junior doctors at the hospital - now that Caprilicious is a commercial venture, they don't see why I shouldn't fall in line with the rest of the commercial world post Christmas - so, if Santa has been particularly forgetful (or mean), you can always indulge yourself here.
All this being new to me, I did not have the time (or the know how) to set up a slick system with a code at checkout and an automatic discount, so I have requested people to contact me with the names of the items they want and I will send out an invoice - apologies for this cumbersome way of doing business in advance.
I had a few days off at Christmas, and took over the kitchen to play with polymer clay. I could see my husband wincing, every time he walked into the room and saw my stuff spread out all over the counter tops - but he bore it manfully - a tiny shudder shook his frame, and was the only sign of what he was thinking! Of course, I made sure Santa rewarded him well for his forbearance - I will elaborate no further!
I cleared up to cook our turkey on Christmas day, but other than that, the kitchen looked like it had been hit by a cyclone.
This is a photograph taken of Einstein's office in Princeton, just as he had left it, within hours of his death. Now, I'm no genius, creative or otherwise, but I am quietly proud that my kitchen looked worse than this for a few days!
That's my excuse, and I stick to it!
I made a few bits and bobs, but mainly played - wallowed, really, in clay - I pulled out all the tutorials I had collected, either paid for, or freebies found on the internet and stored on Pinterest for a rainy day - and how it rained! I didn't really want to produce anything - just to know that I could, if/when I wanted to, if you know what I mean. I ended up with more scrap clay than I started with, from abortive attempts, as well as some pretty cool stuff, but that's the way it goes.
Polymer clay artists are predominantly women, and kitchen implements, and other items around the house are press ganged into service in the name of art. Thinking outside the box is the name of the game - I even used the metal tube around Mike's cigars as a form, for a faux bone/ivory tubular bead! The dinks made in the piece to distress it and give it an aged look are from rolling it in coarse and fine salt, and washing it away once the clay is cured - got that from a tip off Pinterest, and it worked well - hooray!!
Unfortunately, once used the implements cannot be reused in the preparation of food - indeed, they are quite ruined by the plasticisers in polymer clay - the surface goes all dull and horrid - Oh well, that just means one more implement taken out of commission from the kitchen, into my craft cupboard.
This is a necklace made of faux ivory made while I was playing with clay. I made a tubular bead, and few others, and had a lot of fun antiquing the pieces, and polishing them on the buffing wheel. They were teamed with onyx, lava beads in different shapes, black onyx, haematite, a hefty chunk of coral and a few jasper beads. A single turquoise nugget provided an extra splash of contrasting colour.
I love tribal inspired jewellery and this one is definitely African - the look and feel of it is rugged, chunky and interesting, and it is for someone who likes the avant garde, and is not afraid to experiment - girly girls, look away!!!
Chunky coral and lava beads add texture and colour, contemporary jewellery is all about drama, contrast and vibrancy, and I have tried to bring all of these to this piece.
A few more presents were required, and I made a couple of bracelets and earrings to be gifted to some of my favourite people at work. My pliers mysteriously jumped into my hands as I was walking past, so I made a few pairs of earrings so as not to hurt their feelings, they were feeling a bit put out when I was playing with clay.
I saw these beads on a website, and they were so colourful and pretty, I had to buy them. They are called rainbow jasper and it may be that they are a mosaic of different types of jasper - nevertheless, they were just too nice to pass up. I teamed them with ceramic electroplated spacers and turquoise and made this pretty necklace.
Once I had cleared the kitchen in time to cook Christmas dinner, I was informed by Michael that he would do it all - my presence was not required - sweet!
I sat down in front of the telly to watch Ben Hur - again - with a roll of wire and and a bloodstone cabochon. Bloodstone is a dark green, almost black coloured stone, and to my mind needs brightening in some form - you might not agree with me on that - but I am sure the pendant I made was worth the effort - it took simply ages to form all the curlicues and swirls - this is my favourite pattern from a tutorial by Gailavira, from whom I bought the tutorial originally.
That's about all I had time for this week - now to get ready for the New Year. I am working at the day job on New Year's Eve, and New Years Day - clearly, I drew the short straw this year, but somebody has to be at work, while all the rest of you have a good time partying. Catch you in 2013, have a lovely time on new year's eve if you are out and about, and stay safe.
Speak to you soon,
Christmas is here folks - by the time I write next week, the goose will be well digested and we will be looking forward to the New Year! Here's wishing all of you a Joyous and very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.
Melusine, the lady dragon
Melusine was a fresh water sprite in sacred springs and waters around Luxembourg. This tale, from medieval times, told by ladies when they sat spinning at their looms claims her as an ancestress of the rulers of Luxembourg, who
magically made the castle of Bock appear the morning after her wedding. On her terms of marriage, she required one day of absolute privacy each week (only one???). Unfortunately, her husband could not resist temptation, and spied on her in her bath - she was discovered to be a mermaid! When he let out a surprised shout, her bath immediately sank into the solid rock, carrying her with it.
Melusine surfaces briefly every seven years as a beautiful woman or as a dragon, holding a small golden key in her mouth and legend would have it that whoever takes the key from her will set her free and may claim her as his bride!
I used her as inspiration for the necklace that bears her name, of beautifully marked, glamorous, tactile dragons vein agate rondelles. The addition of sparkly crystals as spacers made the sheen of the gemstones even more prominent - I love this necklace.
This one is yet another 'wear three ways' offering from Caprilicious - the abalone clasps I have in my stash have green, purple and a golden yellow colour to them, and I have already made necklaces in green and purple - this is the golden yellow one - the colour resembles fine cognac, when poured into a crystal brandy balloon - all warmed up and ready to slip down your throat like honey.
More Arabian Nights Dreams
I hate the thought of being a one trick pony - stringing beads onto a pretty clasp is a lovely way to get instant results, but I'd get a bit bored if I did that all week - so, I alternate making up necklaces, wire work, claying (clay - polymer and precious metal) and now enamel. I don't mind admitting, I am not enjoying the enamelling quite so much, especially after my last debacle! Mike laughs at me - he says I think I should have been born with a perfect skill set - I don't enjoy the learning curve - maybe he is right. Next year, I shall set aside one weekend every month to play with enamels - till I get it right. Just now, it's a bit of a sore point.
So, I went on to play with wire - a couple of weeks ago, I set out to make a pendant in the shape of a lotus - it took me a while, and some very sore fingertips, but I cracked it. The pendant ended up extremely colourful, with the addition of loads of coloured alexandrite, apatite, jade beads, and onyx danglers, and instead of just leaving the pendant as a stand alone piece, I hung it on a necklace made of tektite - meteoric glass, from Australia, and freshwater pearls. I particularly like the tactility of the tektite - and of course the rough, sparkly centre of the druzy cabochon.
It's All Coming up Roses
I have a fairly sizeable collection of rose quartz in various shapes and shades of pink, and decided to use some of it - pale pink is a very subtle shade and difficult to design with unless the wearer is a Barbie doll. It is extremely easy to design a piece for myself, but as I am not a Barbie, I needed to think outside the box to come up with these two designs. Now that they are made up, I think the chunkier one would be what I would instinctively pick in a shop, if I had to buy pink - the addition of the bright colours in the spacers would appeal to me. I made the spacers in both necklaces myself out of wire and some fire polished beads. I do like Rosy Posy as well - it will be interesting to see which one gets picked up first, and by whom - watch this space....................
I spend as much time looking for fancy clasps, as I do beads and gemstones, as I think that often a clasp elevates a piece of jewellery from the ordinary to something special. The other side of that coin is that I design my jewellery with the clasp as an additional focal point - and I think you would agree that the butterfly in this necklace deserves to be seen, sitting sweetly on the shoulder of the wearer.
Last Tango in Paris
In a complete departure from the 'pinkness' of the last two pieces, I made use of some cinnabar beads I happened to have lying around - I meant to make one necklace with red and black elements, but in the end, two of them emerged - can't think how that happened. The combination of red and black is so aggressively sensual, that it brought to mind a Tango - The Last Tango in Paris, Bertolucci's beautiful film with the fabulous Marlon Brando. Cinnabar beads are made of a soft wood that takes a heat impression, so the beads have some very detailed design work imprinted on them. I added lava rocks and a couple of large bean shaped crystal beads, to add interest.
Flavia Cacace and Vincent Simone are Tango dancers par excellence and we were lucky enough to watch them live in a show down in London last year - I have a little clip for you here that illustrates the power of red and black when put together - sizzzzzle.......
Every day this week, a bit at a time, I wrapped a pyrite chunky fan shaped nugget with antique brown wire, added gemstone beads, dangles and embellishments till it begged me to stop - no more, please, it cried - I was surprised, as I had planned many more additions and curlicues and beads, and..... and..... and....
But, I heard the piteous cries of the pendant, and let it go - last seen, it was on a simple memory wire choker, legging it in the direction of my storage box - I wouldn't admit this to anyone but you - in the end, it seemed like it was right to stop me from over egging the pudding.
I thought I would take a short break over the next couple of weeks, and chill out over Christmas - at least that was the plan, but I found that my fingers developed a mind of their own - pliers and snips seemed to attach themselves mysteriously to me! No matter how much I try, I can't seem to get away from them - I tell you, it is an addiction!! So, I gave in and decided to make up some earrings, to replace the ones I sold at Caprilicious' birthday bash - I shall take my time photographing them and uploading them onto the page - perhaps as one lot in January.
By request from some of my favourite customers, I have put on a Boxing Day Sale for a week - please have a browse and message me with the name of any piece you like and I will invoice you with the discounted price.
Have a fabulous Christmas, catch you next week, same time, same place
What terrible weather we've had - rain, rain, and more rain - floods in parts of the UK, though luckily we haven't been affected too much around where I live. The whole of the UK has been covered over by a blanket of cloud - even the weather girl on the TV has lost her perky smile - she has a squeaky, high pitched, chirpy, birdie voice and usually ends with a 'bye bye' - now she slinks off apologetically, having delivered her message of doom with a semi grimace - more of the same!
Anyway, the rain has kept most people at home, and out of the hospital, so the worried well have kept dry and snug. This meant that I was free to play with my kiln all weekend, while on call - I made some pendants and focal toggle clasps with copper clay, and tried to enamel them in cheerful colours - or at least that was the plan.
These are the pretties I made, after I scrubbed the fire scale from them and cleaned them up, all ready for enamelling.
The bottom two are 'Hamsa' hands -
The Hamsa is a palm-shaped object popular throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and usually made into amulets for jewellery and wall hangings. Depicting the open right hand, the Hamsa is believed to provide defence against the evil eye. The symbol pre dates Christianity and Islam. In Islam, it is also known as the hand of Fatima, so named to commemorate Muhammad's daughter Fatima Zahra. Christians call it the hand of Mary, for the mother of Jesus, and the Jewish community calls it the hand of Miriam.
In the Middle East, the Hamsa has been adopted as a symbol of hope for peace, and the Hamsa prayer goes
Let no sadness come
to this heart
Let no trouble come
to these arms
Let no conflict come
to these eyes
Let my soul be filled with the blessing of joy of peace
and I concur with this sentiment!
As far as I am concerned, of course, it is a pretty object - I don't actually care whose hand it is! I saw some beautifully coloured ones in Morocco, and I thought I'd make some with brightly coloured enamels.
Unfortunately, I proved unequal to the task of enamelling them - I have successfully enamelled onto silver clay and copper sheet metal - but just couldn't get it right this time around. Fortunately, I only ruined two of the pieces - I will do it someday - just have to get a bit more research in - reminds me of the years where my sister and I used to attempt to bake cakes and end up with pancakes - she is now a fabulous cook, and knocks out cakes at the drop of a hat, and I can too - if and when I want to (very rarely).
So to cheer myself up, I made some simple pendants with wire -at least wire wont talk back and give me cheek! I made three little pendants, and an ear cuff - bending and twisting away my irritation with the enamelled pieces ( or more correctly, non enamelled rubbish).
The Queen of Siam
I'm usually a bit of a hoarder, and like to keep pretty things for a while, but I have realised that this strategy is pointless - if, indeed, one can call it a strategy. Now that I have all this coral and turquoise in the house, I decided to make up the rest of the pendants I bought from E. Limbu, the Nepalese artisan - they were too pretty to languish in a cupboard till I felt like sharing them with somebody. So I made one with teardrop shaped coral and pyrite slab nuggets. As soon as Mike saw it he said how Russian it looked - and I did a double take - Russian??
But when I looked at it again, I saw what he meant - the sponge coral looks decadently opulent, so I called it Czarina.
Eastern Promise - Czarina
Eastern Promise - Carnival
The second pendant was a bit more ornate, so I put it into a fairly simple necklace with chunky coral and turquoise nuggets, and Mother of Pearl heishi beads - these tiny, flat little beads came strung in a jumbled up mass of vibrant colours, and I spent some time separating the colours - this worked well, and the necklace looks as exuberant as a carnival - hence the name. I used some pretty brushed silver tone flowers as well, and they set the carnival beads off perfectly.
Sweet Jade Orchid
I had this beautiful clasp in my stash for over an year - and I felt so mean for ignoring it, in spite of its piteous cries. When made up into a necklace with aventurine nuggets to match, it was too heavy - felt like a yoke around my neck - I was unable to raise my head after a few minutes. I was so annoyed, I had to cut the necklace up - and then I had to bag all the elements up - I try not to lose any beads if I can help it, as I always plagued by the thought that I might end up needing just that one that I was careless with some day in the future - and that would seriously exasperate me. So there I was, on my hands and knees, chasing beads around the room, - when I finally finished, it was back to the wire, to sit down, manically twisting and tweaking away, weaving the vexation out of my system. When I felt better, I had five little pendants with green jade beads, and I remade this necklace using them. The pendants remind me of the inside of an orchid, and that's how this necklace got its name.
A jade orchid
The Latest Trend - apparently.................
I wore ear cuffs in my early twenties - I vaguely remember a plain and simple silver band fitting snugly around the cartilage of my ear. People have been making and wearing them in the last couple of years, but I am reliably informed (!) that they are going to be the latest, must have accessory in the spring of 2013 - if we all survive beyond December the 21st! - we'll all know then how reliable my source is. While I was playing with wire this week, I made a couple of them - mainly as give away items - I found these pictures of various celebs already wearing them and a picture showing how they are worn which I shall keep for people who aren't in the know. The ones on the green back ground are mine, and they are quite comfortable to wear.
Thanks for stopping by the blog - I now know that more than ten people read it (the blog has ten official 'followers') , but a lot more have sent me comments or clicked the 'like' button on Facebook - its nice to know I'm not rambling to myself like a lunatic, but as Mike says, talking to yourself is OK, its only when you answer yourself back that you need to worry!
That's all I had time for this week folks, catch you same time next week. Have a great weekend,
Hello everyone, the honorary employees of Caprilicious Jewellery ( Mike and I ) celebrated the first birthday of the company with a couple of mince pies donated by a friend!
I had this Ghau box that had been clamouring for attention, and a hundredweight of beads accumulated so that I could have every conceivable type of coral and turquoise to go with this - I wanted this to be a pièce de résistance. I did not wish to think later on that I should have used this, or that shape of bead - so I collected coral and turquoise in different shapes, colours and sizes, over the last few weeks. I think I have done the Ghau box justice with the necklace that finally emerged. I took my inspiration from ancient Aztec jewellery, with coral and turquoise - the Aztecs used silver a lot, probably because it was so abundant in Mexico - I think they might go a bit pale and gulp, if they looked at the price of silver today!!
As the Ghau box is a dull gold colour, I matched it with gold tone stardust beads - I love those stardust beads, and buy them all the time in preference to plain silver or gold tone ones - they have a sandpaper like surface, and gleam gently in the light - much prettier and more subtle, I think - texture is very important to me.
The only other piece I have had time to put together this week is one I called Deep Purple - I used to listen to that band all the time in my misspent youth. It is made with different colours of purple crystal, teamed with silvery crystal beads and a lovely abalone shell clasp. The crystal tear drops I so love fill the bottom row of the necklace, and shine in the light due to the AB coating. Purple is a colour that gives a regal feel to the wearer, and this necklace is no exception. It can be worn in three ways, depending on the position of the clasp.
Have a lovely weekend people - I shall be slaving away, working at the day job all weekend. Catch you later, 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,
Guess what I bought this week.......... a Dremel! - I realised that there was no way I was going to realise my ambition to get bigger and better with my ideas for precious metal clay and polymer clay unless I conquered my irrational, rather girly fear of power tools. Also, one of the ladies from the Polydays 2012 group had a lovely power tool with a cute silver carry case and she made light work of the drilling part of making the hinged bangle - I wanted one immediately (mainly for the cute case though). Alas, the one I bought has a boring case - it is cordless, and can do hands free operations though, which will be ideal for coiling wire - which is another thing I have always wanted to do - yippee!
Since I posted last, my fingers have been flying - why, I'm surprised that I have any left at all and they haven't been worn down into stumps, like an old pencil!
I was on a roll, and all the components in my stash were fighting to come out of the cupboard and join the melee'.
I used up components I have been hoarding for over a year - who knows what I was saving them for. I figured that instead of buying more, I ought to make an effort to put what I have into my designs.
This one was made with a Chinese jade carved Endless Knot, strung with rice pearls, emerald chips and other tiny beads. The Endless Knot symbolises Eternal Love and friendship - it has been integrated into many cultures, and has mystical connotations - the Celtic knot is one example.
Some beautiful Turquoise spike beads arrived in the post that morning - and I could not resist them - just had to make them up to see what they looked like in a necklace. One of my favourite ways is to add an asymmetrical focal element, but this time, the spikes themselves needed to be the focus of attention, so I chose to use dull gold pyrite chunks instead, to break up the line of spikes. I thought Cleopatra might have fancied this one - but she apparently didn't pay for her jewellery - and cut the fingers off her favourite jewellery makers for the privilege of creating her bijoux, just so they wouldn't replicate the necklace - so, thanks, but, no thanks Cleo, someone else can have it instead - but only if they promise to leave me my fingers.
Ode to the LBD
I love pearls, but I prefer the modern way of wearing them - in multiple strings, and ropes, swaying in gay abandon - I am not a fan of the single string. However, there are times that one requires a bit of simple sophistication, when 'swaying in gay abandon' may be inappropriate, but something makes you want to step out of the Doris Day mould - this next one is for those times. Black onyx squares in two strands interspersed with silver tone spacers in different shapes, suit this requirement. This is surely a lyrical verse inspired by the little black dress.
Forever in Blue Jeans
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I had these beautiful blue crackled agate flat beads in my work tray for ages - I had no idea what to do with them, but they were so pretty, I was happy to touch them once in a while. They look like crackle glazed pottery, are flat and gently faceted, and are so tactile - I simply love them. It came to me suddenly - to put them with a large prehnite carved flower.
I remade the necklace thrice before I was satisfied with the elements - it seemed best with shimmering Swarovski crystals in different colours and shapes between the flat cream and blue of the agate. A twisted lapis and pyrite rectangle, a jade flower and a butterfly were added to the mix, and my work here was done. The necklace, when finished looked like something I would wear with blue jeans and a casual jacket - hence the title.
I like a reel of wire and a pair of pliers in my hands when hubby and I sit in front of the mind numbing programmes we have on the telly. We aren't hooked into the satellite channels, so watch whatever the terrestrial channels and Virgin Media choose to throw at us. We must have watched some of the worst 'tax dodge' movies made in the world - but, that is our time together, and we set the world to rights, sitting in our armchairs like a pair of old 'uns - what am I saying - we are old 'uns! So, I ply away, like Madame DeFarge. This is what I made in the armchair this week.
This piece is named for the focal piece - a black onyx pendant carved with the face of Kwan Yin. She is the Buddhist goddess of mercy and unconditional love. I love the statues and sculptures they have of her in Thailand and Indonesia - she has such a beautiful compassionate, serene face, and a curvaceous feminine body. I wrapped the graceful face in square wire, and attached it to a wire collar - I thought I'd go with a monochrome pallete this time, and used white howlite beads to contrast with the pendant.
A copper wire branch with little leaves, on a sweet little necklace of coral spikes, pearls and crystals.
Enter the Dragon
A carved turquoise pendant with a dragon motif was hung on a necklace made of such diverse elements as Rowan branches cut into beads, yellow agate, coral, turquoise and even a freshwater pearl. It is a very 'on trend' Tribal Chic piece and very comfortable to wear.
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A complimentary bracelet, made with the beads left over from the necklace
In between making all of these, I played with enamels in my kiln. When I went on the enamelling course, a lady dropped by - she was selling her mother's collection of enamel colours and other paraphernelia - I picked up whatever I could lay my hands on - as always the start up costs are expensive - especially as the first pieces are usually rubbish - but I surprised myself, and Mike, and made a couple of nice pendants. I also made a little dog, a butterfly and a heavily pregnant teddy bear - but the pendant holes got blocked up by the glass - I probably overloaded them with the enamel powder - I shall keep them as souvenirs of my journey into new horizons - and to remind me not to do that again.
That's all for this week folks, I'm off to play with my Dremel, finally finish off the lentil beads I made in Polydays 2012, buff up some pendants, redo the enamel on the one pendant..... a woman's work is never done.
See you next week,
The view from the Tea Bar - is my gurning little friend trying to tell Mike something?
Hello all, I hope you have been enjoying your summer - in the UK we have had approximately 20 days of warmth, mainly in dribs and drabs - last weekend was good though, with a chance to sit outside in the sun - barbeque food flying off the shelves in the supermarkets - no one celebrates a sunny day like we do in the UK - we have so few. We have a thermometer mounted on the fence outside a kitchen window from the counter we call the 'tea bar' ( we drink a lot of tea in this house) and Mike tells me the temperature on the fence about twenty times a day - and it has been .... warm ... ish.
To celebrate our 30 seconds of summer, I made a couple of pieces with warm coral - I had some enamelled pendants made earlier, to which I had added polymer clay bezels, and I pulled out my collection of coral and turquoise and set to work. The first piece was inspired by the pendant, which reminded me of a tropical sunset, and the Flame of the Forest trees which are so common in India. We had some in school, and they had long flat seed pods, which we used to cover with silver paper from cigarette packets - we had no access to foil in those days, or Toys'rus - heaven forbid - and use them in mock sword fights. They are certainly a beautiful tree when in bloom, and the coral shards I used mimic them perfectly.
The Flame of the Forest tree in full cry
By the time I was done, it turned into a necklace full of the promise of tropical
warmth - I wore it to work even before I photographed it - and then it rained!
The second pendant was made using a cloisonne technique, where cells made of wire are used to keep the enamel colours apart - I made something resembling a 'tablet' - perhaps for a shy person as a gift to express his love - what can say it better than hearts and flowers - and very non calorific too. I added wire flowers and a heart, and more coral and turquoise, and this one is one of a kind - most definitely. A lot of people from a jewellery forum I belong to recognised it as my work, even before they read my name on my post - I think wire is truly something I love to play with, and obviously, it shows!
My newly acquired stash of crystal beads was by now feeling ignored, after all the attention it got last week, so to placate it, I made some dragonfly earrings - what better symbol of summer than a dragonfly - and here they are. The wings are made of Czech pressed glass daggers, and the earrings are on extra long kidney earwires.
I acquired a number of pendants, beads and baubles from a Nepalese artisan of the Limbu tribe in Kathmandu. The owner of the company supports indigenous tribal women, and the designs are made in the mountainous regions of Eastern Nepal, bordering on Bhutan and Sikkhim. Although relatively expensive, they are so beautiful, I was not able to resist them.
I want to make 'East meets West' fusion pieces of jewellery, that go with any sort of apparel, and have scoured the recesses of my mind for new ideas with traditional elements. The artisans themselves are well paid by the company that sold them to me, it warms my heart to find ethical vendors from the East, there is so much to be said for paying a fair price if it gets back to the right people.
Do feel free to leave me a message if you like the pieces that follow on these pages, as I use up the stuff I bought - they are too pretty to be put away in a drawer and forgotten about. I have enough for two to three weeks of enjoyable creating - it is bound to take me that long to find different ways of showing off these beauties, as I am keen for them to be as fantabulous as they deserve.
A more traditional use of the Nepalese pendant, but in keeping with its style
The Focal Bead, placed asymmetrically
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Branch coral spikes
Blue coral fossil beads
Sea sediment jasper
Hand carved bone beads and black onyx
Yes, I have been busy - what with buying these, looking at them over and over, rummaging in the old stash, making the necklaces, photographing them and putting them online, both in the Facebook shop and on this website, doing a weeks work at the day job - Phew! - but I just got so excited when I acquired these, I couldn't resist making them up. I did buy a few more, but I have had to go looking for Lapis Lazuli beads to make them up - what I have is so pretty, it needs just the right beads to go with it - so have spent time sourcing the lapis beads, as well as all the other things I have had to keep up with this week.
Next week, I look forward to a visit from an old friend - we haven't met since 1971 and I might not have time to do much in the way of jewellery making. I leave you with a picture a friend from a jewellery making forum put up on her site. See you next week.
Oh well, it would seem I spoke too soon - even as I hit the 'publish live' button with the last instalment of my blog, it started to rain, and has continued to, in sporadic bursts ever since. Just the kind of weather to snuggle up with a pair of pliers - so I did!
We have been busy with last minute preparation for a visit from my mother who will be with us for four weeks. So, I had to put my foot down with a firm hand - no more playing with wire for a bit! - having given myself a good telling off for putting it off till the last minute, I set to with a Hoover, dust pan and brush, picking tiny bits of wire off the floor, and bringing in fresh flowers and food supplies, and generally behaving in a daughterly manner!
So this means I haven't made too many pretties this week - I decided to stick to little things that would take small amounts of time - every time I tired of housework, I made a pair of earrings - judging by the number of earrings I made, it is obvious that I tired soon, and often!
Mum turned up - she's 84, and made the journey from India to Birmingham looking fresh as a daisy - that's scary - cos I always look wiped out when I make that journey - she says she doesn't suffer with jet lag, so having unpacked her bag and handed out the presents, she is raring to go - shopping to refill her cases - excuse me while I go and lie down for a bit!
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THAT'S ENOUGH EARRINGS ALREADY!
This seems to be the time for me to work on objects I got from Tina Holden's shop, Beadcomber, on Etsy. The first was a blue glazed pearlescent face cabochon, and I fell in love with it - when it spoke to me, it said 'Medusa'.
Now, most people would be forgiven for thinking that Medusa was ugly, because one look at her, and a man would be turned to stone - this of course is the legend, but prior to the legend she was a beautiful maiden, who was extremely vain and knew just how alluring she was. She p***ed off Athena, the Goddess of beauty, and guardian of Athens by boasting about it constantly. This, Athena could put up with, with gritted teeth - you don't want a reputation for being mean to a pretty virgin now, do you? but the straw that broke the camel's back was when Medusa had torrid sex with Poseidon in Athena's temple - that was it - she was cursed into being ugly forever - not just any old ugly, but so plug ugly that anyone who looked at her would turn to stone. Not happy with that, her innocent sisters were made to meet the same fate as well - I suppose they got theirs by association!
Mike, my dear other (and much better) half, took mum off for a walk in the park, and I had time to play for a while.
My Medusa ( or more accurately, mine and Tina's Medusa ) is pre curse Medusa - a precursor?? - sorry, bad joke - she is still beautiful at this time, but the wire work around her prophesies her fate. The wire work is from a tutorial by Donna Spadfore, once again on Etsy, but I had to adapt it from fitting a smallish pendant bead to a large cabochon, by adding a wire bezel and frame. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it once wrapped, but when finished, it was ornate enough to be a stand alone piece, so I added a wire bail and an organza ribbon, and that was Medusa finished.
Medusa has become a symbol for female empowerment in recent times, and is also on the logo of Versace - not as pretty as my Medusa, though!
The Coral Tide Pool Necklace
I had a sea urchin I made using one of Tina Holden's moulds, to which I had given an antique bronze effect, and I put it together with some branch coral in a creamy white and gold tone cloisonne beads and Chinese electroplated crystals in a honey tone. To set these off, a copper segment appeared as if by magic, in blue jewel colours with Czech fire polished beads, and shells that I tinted gold and varnished, to match the sea urchin.
I also had the time to string together two rows of Royal blue Swarovski crystals with some lovely channel set rhinestone spacers to make what I called the 'Bewitched' necklace. I put the spacers in at an angle, to make their own pattern in the necklace, rather than using them as spacers normally are.
That's all for this week folks - catch you next week - need to go shopping with my shopaholic mother now :)