There are loads of jokes around Christmas - the best ones I read recently go like this .....
I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, toys not included. ~Bernard Manning
The one thing women don't want to find in their stockings on Christmas morning is their husband. ~Joan Rivers
The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin. ~Jay Leno
Santa is very jolly because he knows where all the bad girls live. ~Dennis Miller
Christmas is a time when you get homesick - even when you're home. ~Carol Nelson
The last one isn't a joke, and it would seem to me that when people have friends and family visiting them, they squabble and scowl, and sit around harrumphing over their sherry and the Queen's Speech, and others, who have no one to visit would give their all to have someone to go to - its a weird old world!
I love Hollywood's version of Christmas - snow, Cary Grant raising an eyebrow and looking all square jawed, rugged, and manly, and Yuletide egg nog. Listening to a reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas is guaranteed to bring a little smile - or tear!
I wouldn't really know, not having any family in the UK - Indian Christmases are entirely different - colourful, crazy, and weirdly/wonderfully unexplainable to the uninitiated, as most things Indian are!!
It is time to thank people for all they have done for me during the rest of the year, and in the last few years, I have been making jewellery as gifts for people. It would be so much easier and less time consuming to just go out and buy a whole load of stuff, all neatly packaged, and walk around handing it out like a (rather well tanned!) Mrs. Santa Claus, but I think it is fabulous to give a part of oneself - I am proud of my jewellery and think that it is almost a gift of a piece of me and my alter ego - Caprilicious - a lot of time, effort and care has gone into the design and creation of my gifts.
All last week, I made three necklaces and bracelet sets, and twelve pendants - polishing, buffing, checking for imperfections (reject, reject!!) packing, writing cards, and loading all of them into the boot of my car took simply ages, but now, I can rest, decorate my tree, and generally make plans for the simple Shilvock Christmas.
I will give you a sneak peek at some of the gifts I made - no one on my list reads this blog ( I don't think) so you are safe to have a look.
Crystal necklaces with bracelets to match
Pendants on organza necklaces / wire chokers
A school mate of mine from India bought Aurora - and she asked for a pair of earrings to match - I made these with tiny labradorite beads and wire. Aurora is a fairly somber piece, and I thought to lighten the mood a bit, and also to make the earrings light. However, she objected strenuously... This is what she had to say ......
" Neen..the earrings you made are not just pretty...they are very pretty :) just felt that Aurora has a classic look to her..you know all beautiful and quiet and strong and dignity flows out of her...and the earrings came across as pretty lil' fun things to wear, plus the turq and wired silver in the earrings are a lot lot more than the Aurora has.
Chunky labradorite earrings is what will go with Aurora..as she is chunky too :)
Thanks a mill. Neen for your patience in listening to my ravings on what is your area of expertise :))))"
Of course, the customer is always right!! So, suitably chastened, I have sent off for some more labradorite, as I had used up all my faceted nuggets, and will send her another pair a bit later on. Have a look at what I made - I would love to hear your views. The colour is a bit mismatched as the pictures were shot at different times of day, in different light, and different backgrounds, so do please bear that in mind.
The earrings that don't match!!
After that stint of wire weaving, my finger tips were sore, so my muse led me by the hand to my bead stash, to make up some strands of beads I bought recently. These beautiful purple agate beads are translucent, and very slightly striated - like a crayon colouring held up to the light. I had just received the amethyst beads in the post that morning - they are carved with a dragon, and inlaid with gold - The Chinese are fabulous with this sort of art - I have some Ink sticks with dragons inlaid into them - gorgeous and opulent, just like the colour of the agate. Matching them was easy, and I teamed them with one of my most recent finds - a toggle clasp with a framed dragonfly - it was too beautiful to be placed at the back, so I put it to one side of the necklace - I love that look and make a lot of my pieces in this way (my jewellery style reflects my personality - what you see is what you get! - I am not from the school of hidden, unplumbed depths which have to be searched for).
Columbines, or aquilegias are spring meadow flowers - they are also called Granny's Bonnets in the UK. I love the delicate flower heads, and they are so easy to grow - and best of all, they are hardy, and come back year after year - I shake a few seeds into my hand from ripe seed pods in my garden, and scatter them into the flower beds - I have had great success with this method - my kind of gardening - eazy peazy lemon squezee!
The Sea Sprite
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Ondine is the story of a sea sprite and her doomed love affair with a knight who betrays her - same old same old - but the music is beautiful and the ballet brings a tear to the eye - I'm an old softie!
This necklace was made with a string of sea sediment jasper, a couple of Nepalese artisan designed beads and an enamelled bead from my cupboard. The Nepalese beads are made of wood, coloured and inlaid with brass wire in the shape of flowers. The sea sediment jasper is so beautiful it doesn't need much effort to create a pretty necklace out of it.
Cool Water Woman
The lovely blue of these dyed lava rock beads reminded me of the ad for Davidoff's Cool Water Woman - these beads are flat and lie against the wearer in a most flattering way. A pair of Nepalese wooden beads and a dragonfly clasp, as well as a pyrite slab nugget add interest to the wonderfully tactile necklace. The Nepalese beads have a Yin Yang design with inlaid brass wire, and are coloured blue and lavender, a fairly rare colour combination - very pretty!
That's all for this week folks, have a fab weekend and don't wear yourselves out over Christmas. I will catch up with you next week, same time, same place,
The Denise Cuff Bracelet
I finally finished the floral cuff bracelet for my friend Denise - and I named it in her honour. Last week it was almost done except for a touch of varnish, and I thought the leaves were a bit bright, so I dulled them a bit before varnishing the cuff.
Denise visits us in late August, and I will ask her to carry a gift for a friend who lives in 'Vegas. She took one look at the Enchanted Garden collar, and asked if I could make her a headband - I thought long and hard, before I made it - a clay lining to the headband would make it too heavy to wear - instant headache! I prefer to keep my friends, so decided to make some roses with the wire cured into them, and wrap them onto a headband with beads and leaves, almost like a tiara. I named it after Anna Karenina, the ultimate romantic tragedy heroine.
The Anna Headband
She looks like she might wear my headband!
I'm not sure who this actress is, but I'd make her a headband any day of the week - isn't she romantic looking? This picture is from an advertisement for the movie.
Rather than make beads, I preferred to make the individual roses around a long stem of wire each, and cure them upright, so the wafer thin petals didn't bend or fold when cured in the heat of the oven.
I took this picture on a glass dummy Mike brought back from a junk shop many years ago - it sits in a corner wearing a Chinese silk cap with a queue attached to it and a spare pair of my glasses on its nose. I wasn't allowed to use this picture on my website or Facebook page - Mike said it looked too weird (did he mean wired ??) and might put people off - wonder what he meant!!!!! I think it's quite funny, actually.
Begin the Beguine - brings back a night of tropical splendour....
I am very proud of this piece - it evolved from a butterfly I made when making some faux ivory pieces - I coloured it with alcohol ink, and put it away. Something made me bring it out again, and I made some more butterflies, and my favourite - a dragonfly to go with it. I made this necklace with some jewel coloured quartz nuggets and crystals, and it is so tropical and summery, I just had to call it Begin the Beguine.
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I love the Louis Armstrong version, but couldn't find it, so have found a French version by a woman who is fast becoming a favourite of mine - Laura Fygi - what a beautiful voice - this is music to make love to, ladies (and gentlemen)!
These are a pair of beautifully cut, matched cushion cut citrines, and they have an asterisk shape cut into the back to allow even more light through. They were wrapped in square sterling silver wire which was then fashioned into heart shapes. They are very light and pretty, and I have had to provide rubber ear stoppers to prevent accidental loss - we all know how painful it is to lose a favourite earring, I won't let that happen to any of my patrons!
Begin the Beguine wrung me out - all those intricate butterflies, each one different from the other, and then putting them together so it would look like they were all fluttering around the necklace - but it was worth it for the message I received from the lady who bought it - she loved it, and I am so happy it went to a good home.
I also had a phone call from India, from the lady who bought Meluhan Sunset - a piece conceived by her imagination, translated into a piece of jewellery by me. It was taken to India by my mother and then couriered to New Delhi, to her office, where it sat, waiting for her to pick it up. Of course, she didnt't go to her office for one reason and another that week, and mum and I sat on pins, praying that it wasn't lost.
Anyway, she has it in her hot little hands now, and said she was drooling all over it, she loved it so much - it was fantastic to hear from her, and the relief that she had it, and loved it, was almost palpable.
I made this Dove of Peace brooch a while ago - it is a wire dove, attached to a vintage brooch. It has a twig and a leaf in its 'beak'. It languished quietly on my website for a while, until it was rescued by a discerning lady, who posted a picture of her wearing it on Facebook - suddenly it had so many 'fans', and an order for another followed - so thank you Debbie!
I made the brooch myself this time with polymer clay and attached a wire dove to it. I am enjoying these little brooches - polymer clay is such a fantastic medium to play with. I concealed the wire holding the dove deep inside the brooch, and it is such a pleasure when the engineering of a piece works just so!
Last week, The Bollywood pendant was snapped up almost as I posted this blog, and an old school mate from Melbourne asked if I could make her another, with a pair of earrings to match. She is a wedding gown designer and makes evening wear as well, she says they will match the new gown that she will wear to a Fashion Award affair. Check out her designs on Facebook - Arlene D'Monte Designs and at Brides on Main http://www.bridesonmain.com.au/collection/collection.html
Here are the pieces I made for her.....
My designs on a red carpet - would you credit that??? - Hollywood next, I suppose!
That's all for this post, see you again next week, have a good weekend
This week, I put together a small collection of fine silver pieces, made in my kiln. I have restricted myself to copper and silver plate so far, but I think the time has now come to treat myself - and you, of course, to a precious metal. I have been laying the ground work for a while now, collecting supplies of silver chains, jump rings, head pins, clasps and all the other bits and bobs I needed for this task. Obviously, this has taken a while, but it has been so much fun, to compare prices, pick out pretty, shiny chains - this of course, is a never ending process, but at least I now have the basics to start up a small collection. I made some little earrings and pendants from Precious Metal Clay - this is silver combined with a starch binder in the form of a clay - it needs to be shaped and prepared with a design in mind - when this goes in the kiln, the starch binder burns away to leave an almost pure silver - 99.9% silver.
To go with these I bought some very pretty semi precious gemstones - faceted apatite, carnelian, citrine, tourmaline, labradorite, blue chalcedony - all shiny and so pretty - I am really enjoying this!
One of my earrings is a semi lunar shape, embossed with a design, one in the positive, and the negative on the other. I was thinking of the 'far side of the moon', which we earthlings never get to see - the hemisphere that faces away from the earth, and was first seen by the Soviet Luna 3 probe in 1959. The earth's gravitational force has stopped the moon from rotating, and the far side of the moon was found to be smoother, with fewer craters when finally seen by human eyes, when Apollo 8 orbited the moon in 1968.
Another of my earrings was stamped with a cherry blossom motif, and I added pink jade butterflies and Swarovski pearls. I also made a snowflake shape in two sizes - a pendant with a pair of earrings, which I wire wrapped with sterling silver wire, little coral Heishi beads and Swarovski pearls. A slender sterling silver chain was added to the ensemble, pretty!
I had a couple of tiny enamelled charms, just one of each, so I used them as charms on curb chain bracelets, with tiny gemstones as added charms - pretty everyday jewellery. A motley collection, but I think it is a good start. I intend to make at least one item with silver each week - so I shall be busy - I have to start the enamelling up as well - my kiln awaits me eagerly!
So there you are folks - my first bits of silver - perfect for little inexpensive trinkets or presents, I have done my best to stay with the Caprilicious ethos of being just that bit different from what is found on other sites and in the High Street - I hope you like them.
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This is the best jazz rendition of 'That Old Black Magic' I have heard - I know this is one of ole Blue Eyes' famous numbers, but I like this version - have a listen, I bet you agree with me.
I had a faux bone/ ivory leaf - the last but one piece I made before my mother arrived in the UK, and decided to use it with some leaf shaped spacers and black pressed glass beads in a pretty and light necklace. I tried my best to add an asymmetrically placed brightly coloured bead - but for some reason, I was dissatisfied with the result - so in the end I gave up and the necklace is all black and white and silver. I did in the end add a tiny chunk of turquoise - just to confound my Muse - I stamped my foot with a firm hand, and added a molecule of colour - I was going to have some, no matter what! Some earrings appeared in my hands, as I sat in front of the TV with my husband, they have an extra wire loop in the centre, to add to the swaying movement with movements of the wearers head - by that I mean, instead of making it all with one piece of wire, I used two. I was sorely tempted to keep the piece for myself - but I think I enjoy the pleasure people who wear my jewellery get, more than wearing it myself. Anyway, as the designer, I get to test drive it first! - just to iron out any problems and kinks, of course!
I love carved ox bone - now that ivory is banned - and rightly so, the artisans who learned to carve it have turned their hand to ox bone. Because of the intricacy of the work involved, and the wastage of the raw material, carved ox bone is expensive, but I have managed to find a dealer in China who seems to be fairly reasonable. He says, absolutely correctly, that Chinese carving is superior to that from the Indian Subcontinent and this is probably because the ivory trade flowed mainly from poaching the Indian and African elephant, and exporting the tusks to China. However, I don't much like the conventional pieces this vendor has for sale - he has some beautiful pendants and bracelets, on cheap elastic, with ugly clasps, all put together, to my mind, most boringly, one bone bead after another with no relief whatsoever. I bought a few bracelets and necklaces from him, and cannibalised them. This throws up its own engineering problems because of the way the pieces of bone are pierced, but I spent much thought and time on this knotty problem and came up with a pair of earrings - I will look for different ways to use the bracelet tiles as the weeks unfold - my motto is, have wire, can do!
So here is the first of my Chinese ox bone offerings - it is now as far from the original as is possible, I think. Anyway, lots of possibilities have opened up, and I will address them as I go along. It is all about engineering, as well as beauty, and is a challenge I will relish.
Chinese Scroll Earrings
Beautifully carved ox bone tiles
I am still waiting on the Chrysocolla with Lapis Lazuli gemstones I need to make a Rainforest Symphony Mark 2 necklace, so while watching TV, I put together some rainforest insects for when the stones arrive which should be any time now. There appear to be two dragonflies, a butterfly like insect and a cross between a dung beetle and a lady bug. Here is a picture of the first one - hopefully, next week should have the second one made and sent off - and loved!
Rainforest Symphony Mark 1!
Catch you next week folks - I hope you have enjoyed this weeks offerings