Hello folks, how are you today - still rocking the statement jewellery look, I hope. The sun is shining, well, most of the time out here in the UK and all's well with the world.
I decided that I have done all I can in readiness for the Craft Fair next weekend. As you know, it was cancelled a few weeks ago and rescheduled to the Guildhall in Worcester on the 25th of this month. Now that the date is fast approaching I find that I am packed and ready to get on with it, and in my mind I have already moved on to other things.
I bought a couple of leaf skeleton pendants when I was in the USA. I made them myself in previous years, and it isn't a difficult process; just a bit laborious and time consuming. However, this time, I took a short cut and brought a few leaves back with me.
Oh, to be in Baja, California where the sun shines relentlessly, the sea is a deep blue, with dolphins and whales frolicking around you when you go for a swim, and the surf is always up. Pamela Anderson lookalikes, all bosoms, teeth and blonde hair jog along the beach in tiny bikinis, and golden athletic men in budgie smugglers ride the waves towards you (no, not the Hoff, never the Hoff, this is my daydream, thank you very much) ........and POP! the bubble bursts - I am in green and cloudy England with my lovely silver top man and I am content. I can lounge around in my PJ's and not worry about sucking my tummy in, or the state of the hair on my legs - yes, readers, all women do that when they see good looking men in budgie smugglers, it isn't the prerogative of the young!
The cottonwood tree is indigenous to America and provided wood for dugout canoes to the Native Americans. The leaves are very distinctive, but what I liked best was that there was space between the veins for me to embellish the leaves further - if you know me, you'll know that I can embellish in my sleep - Mike swears he'd wake up with braided eyelashes with pom poms on the end if he lay still for any length of time (and I wondered why he thrashed around so much through the night - it is out of fear of being a sitting duck target for my creative talents). I added little turquoise seed beads, labradorite and faceted red jade - and as if that weren't enough, a wire swirl carrying gemstone dangles in front of the leaf.
I love the kyanite nuggets used in the necklace, but it felt like they would make the necklace a bit dark, so I jump started it to a brighter level with seed pearls between the nuggets and luminous coin pearls as accent beads. A butterfly toggle clasp, and I decided I could do no more. Kyanite is a beautiful gemstone - an inky blue with a silvery tinge which comes from aluminium deposits in the stone. I am sure that wherever it ends up, this necklace will be well loved.
Listen to the Rain
A maple leaf skeleton on a turquoise bead necklace, broken up by dyed blue paisley howlite beads and crystals makes this a beautiful summer necklace, light and easy to wear with summer whites. I bought a pair of Xuron super fine Round Nose Pliers to satisfy my inner tool junkie, and wanted to try them out. I undid a string of tiny apatite beads and wired them into a chain. It was very hard to do as the beads are tiny and the bead holes smaller still and I had to use very fine wire. However, it was worth it in the end, though my hands were sore and I was going blind from squinting at it. The addition of Czech glass 'raindrops' at the end of the chains reminds me of raindrops dripping from a windowsill.
I have to share this email with you - this is from a lady I have never met, all the way from Singapore. She took the time to write to me, and she doesn't even like necklaces! I was fit to burst with pride when I saw it. Thank you Mary, I really appreciate the gesture.
That's all I have to share with you this week folks. The garden is responding to all the care we are lavishing on it, but the cats are turning into murderers. In fact we might just as well call our garden 'The Killing Fields', the number of decapitated, dismembered bodies we find regularly in it. The bodies were at first brought indoors as gifts, but I soon disabused them of the illusion that I like cheap presents - I like mine boxed and beribboned, thank you very much!
Have a fabulous weekend - we are looking forward to some sunshine and I, like everyone else in the UK have got into the habit of looking at the long term weather forecast and tapping the barometer hopefully on a daily basis.
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for joining me. Finally the frantic preparations for the big day are at an end - every last parcel wrapped, every last one mailed out. Thank goodness for that!
Now I can look forward to my Christmas meal - we're having roast beef this year with all the trimmings, especially as I'm not working this year - if Mike ever get's over the man-flu he's had for over a week. The sighs and groans emanating from his corner of the room have been getting louder and more piteous all week and he must have developed bruises on his chest from all the thumping he's been giving it. 'My chest, my chest' he moans while I steadily go about my business, handing him pills and potions as I keep a wall eye on him and I carry right on with whatever I am doing.
Another one of the pendants from Afghanistan went into this necklace along with handmade polymer clay beads. The beads were made a while ago and it was about time I put them to good use. I saw a picture of a tribal necklace worn with a mini dress and boots and it struck me that there are no boundaries any more - only those we apply in our own minds. 'East is East.....' and all that jazz is just that.... a whole load of Jazz!!
Although you might not want to wear a piece of jewellery that jingles to work - teamed with leggings and a T shirt, a loose cardigan and slouchy boots, Boho tribal jewellery is an excellent choice for a casual evening or lunch with friends down the pub.
Last week I made earrings with the offcuts from a polymer clay cane I constructed, attaching them to a wire framework. With a few more offcuts left in my stash, I made a wire torque to match.
I enjoy the versatility of polymer clay and that through this medium, I am making jewellery that is definitely one of a kind - even I cannot make another - similar, perhaps, but never the same. Making a lot of the components myself gives me a lot of pleasure - it is great fun to string beads and make a piece of jewellery, that is all about style, and the ability to put colours and shapes together- however, it is so much more satisfying when you have made the beads yourself, in the colours you want, and the clasp, and perhaps even the pendant! Flower Festival was an absolute pleasure to make.
Now that all the presents have been handed in, I can show you what I made for my juniors - Pixie People necklaces. I give them something I made each year - it seems so much more personal than handing out smellies or chocolate - unfortunately the men on my list got chocolate, I haven't got around to making man jewellery - yet.
These cuties were made with little polymer clay elements I made a while ago - they seemed to fit together. In shades of froggy green, the little shield shape seemed to be sitting under a floral umbrella - I am quite taken by these earrings, they are certainly unusual.
The postman delivered a hank of coloured freshwater pearls - and I just had to make this necklace with every colour in the package. They looked so perfect, all twisted into a hank of multi colored beads and I didn't have the heart to separate them when they were playing together so nicely. There were seven colours of teardrop shaped pearls, but the seven strands looked extremely bulky at the back of the neck. Replaced with a string of colourful agate beads, the necklace was less bulky and sat comfortably around the neck.
Well, here we are, the weekend before Christmas. Have a fabulous Christmas with your families and I'll catch you next week. I hope Santa brings you all you wished for - provided you have been good - I of course have been an awful good girl and I'm expecting to be rewarded amply for that!
Catch you next week, same time, same place,
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery everywhere, it is nice of you to drop by the Caprilicious blog. This week I've had time to put together a few multistrand necklaces - getting ready for Bling season in the main - there are only 89 days to Christmas and it will soon be the time of year for pretty things and gifts. I hope that some of you will be sufficiently enthused by what you are looking at to pick up your gifts from Caprilicious. I am happy to gift wrap and send the parcel to an address of your choice with a little card from you, all you have to do is ask.
The Shaman's Necklace
'Shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. Unlike some other mystics, shaman commune with forces that are not strictly benevolent. The elements are chaotic, and left to their own devices, they rage against one another in unending primal fury. It is the call of the shaman to bring balance to this chaos.'
Labradorite is a Feldspar with a rich play of colours called Labradorescence, first discovered in Labrador, Canada. The North American Indians call it the Stone of Shamans - it is meant to aid clarity of thought, protect against negativity and from misfortune, thus bringing balance to chaos.
I love it because it shines so beautifully when moved in the light -at one angle it is a boring grey stone, but move it a bit and Wow! it flashes with such brilliant colour one is simply carried away by its beauty. Combined with rare and beautiful grossular green garnets and a copper wire surround, the labradorite is superb.
Inspired by Isabella Rossellini's shirt necklace in Death Becomes Her, this is my first 'Bling' necklace of the year. Ms Rossellini would look beautiful in a sack, but when she rose out of the water and glided over to her robe purring like a little panther, I just knew that one day I would make a necklace like hers. With plenty of crystals and hammered gold tone links, it shines beautifully, and although I haven't gone overboard, it is still pretty opulent.
Coral, freshwater pearls and an ornate clasp - my muse was in seventh heaven. A pair of earrings complete the parure which is going to be worn with a black and cream lace dress and a little black net fascinator at a wedding.
Daytime Bling - Monet
This painting of water lilies by Monet has so many beautiful colours, and I have been collecting pictures of them to use as inspiration for a piece of jewellery for the longest time - here is the picture, and the necklace - You like?? I love...
This necklace was made for a moonlit walk along the edge of the sea, the breeze blowing in your hair, scarf and skirt billowing - dancing in the moonlight. The pearls and blue jade are ethereal, lending themselves to romance on a moonlit night. If I knew the lady in the picture, I would offer her this necklace.
These two pairs of earrings are so organic, they almost made themselves - I just took the wire where it seemed to want to go and after a while, the earrings appeared as if by magic - they both started with the same material in the same quantities, but ended up being so different. The difficulty with organic designs is to know when to stop with the curls and squiggles and say "The End" !
That's it for this week folks. I have to report that my kittens are pretty useless at being helpers - they sleep most of the day and when awake fight with one another or eat me out of home and hearth - I sound like my mother complaining about her 'helpers' !! I go to my third Polydays in the Cotswolds this week and am sure to bring back some fabulous ideas to Caprilicious. See you next week, same time, same place
Hello, fancy meeting you here - yes you, in your statement jewellery by Caprilicious, trying to blend in with the furniture and failing miserably in the attempt. Let me ask you a question - why did you wear Caprilicious if you didn't want to be noticed?? You should have known you'd turn heads - what you're wearing is making you sit up, walk tall and look happy - and that's what people notice about you when you wear your Caprilicious Jewellery.
I love this song - the word 'Happy' is repeated so many times, it's almost an affirmation - all you have to do is sing along.
Affirmations work by breaking patterns of negative thoughts, negative speech, and in turn, negative actions and by helping us believe in the potential of an action we desire to manifest. Try it sometime - acknowledge your own self-worth; and your confidence will soar. Look good, walk tall, feel great - you are a powerhouse; you are indestructible.
This week, I set about remodelling my website - I now have a new page called 'She Sells Sea Shells' - I love shells and abalone, and have a number of pieces that seemed to group themselves together and demand a page of their own, and I gave in.
Two abalone pendants, set in silver were the basis for a couple of necklaces - teamed with Biwa pearls - unusually shaped cultured pearls from freshwater mussels.
First produced in the 1930s in Lake Biwa in Japan, their quality rivals that of cultured saltwater pearls, and they are just as beautiful. I love Biwa pearls because they are so different from the usual image one has of pearls.
Naiads were water nymphs who lived in the most beautiful streams and rivers, and spent their days gently washing the freckles from the faces of the girls who bathed in the water and generally being sweet and gentle - until of course an unwary young man came by - and then they all rushed up and threw themselves at him, until the poor sap was overwhelmed and gave up his life to join them in the underwater world.
One of these is a bit more unconventional than the other - but it's that unconventional asymmetry that makes it a piece by Caprilicious. The colourful crackle agate lozenges go with the lilac Biwa pearls and the abalone - lilac was a colour much beloved by my grandmother - every year my mom bought her a saree in either 'lilac or ash colour', as requested by her on her birthday. Much as I loved her, I wouldn't really want the jewellery I make to be grandmotherly in any way, Heaven forbid!!
Kohima is the capital of Nagaland, a north eastern border state in India, sharing boundaries with Myanmar. When I was little my cousins, with whom I spent a lot of time, moved to Nagaland with their father who was posted there by the Indian Army - they came back with the most beautiful artefacts and shawls - I think some of the artefacts still exist in their house after all of 45 years - I would have loved to go and visit them there, but it never happened, perhaps I was too young to make the journey.
I got the little brass medallions and spacer beads from a vendor in Nagaland and strung a two stranded necklace, with a simple button clasp.
This picture was my inspiration for my next piece - it is made from stock photo manipulation, an art form I recently discovered, by LeeAnne Cortus. In this art form, bits of stock photographs are Photoshopped together to form a coherent picture and you can see more by clicking on the link above.
I went to an all day party on Sunday - Nicole Hanna was celebrating 5000 'likes' on Facebook and handing out wirework designs to party guests all day, one or two every hour. It was a fabulous day, with hundreds of virtual guests held fast in front of their computers. She handed out about sixteen of them - I got all but one, and that was because my cousin phoned me from Toronto and we had a long natter,forgetting all about the giveaway.
I stayed up till 5am on Monday morning - she released one every ten minutes in the last hour, and then fell into a deep and grateful slumber. I made up one of the designs, putting a Caprilicious spin on it and this is what appeared......
I had the design from an earlier giveaway and these were the first pair I made - they went in a diplomatic pouch to live with a nice lady in Bangladesh!
As I've been writing , we've had a minor panic - Wilfred just tried to go up the chimney - all I could do was watch with my mouth open as his brother Charlie chased him up the flue till all I could see was the white tip of his tail. I yelled for Mike (which probably frightened Wilf into going further up into the space) and we had to coax him down with some food - I had visions of having to call the fire brigade and a bunch of men in hob nailed boots tramping all over my floor - and no, that is not one of my fantasies! We've now stuffed the flue with newspaper - Phew!
That's it for this week folks, have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, thanks for stopping by to read about the statement jewellery made at Caprilicious this week. It was my privilege to provide a piece of jewellery to the Children's Unit at the hospital as a raffle prize - the manager who requested it of me was very complimentary about the piece I handed in - I was quietly pleased with it myself, and the reaction on the Facebook page was heartening when I posted some pictures there. The carved jade flower had been lying around in my stash, just waiting to be used and this is a very worthy cause, very close to my heart.
If you're wondering what the mention of statement jewellery in the opening line was all about - I've been reading blogging guides - and the theory is that a googlebot, which in my imagination looks like the picture above, worms it's way into a website and if the raison d'être of the blog is mentioned in the first few sentences, the botworm gets the message - and when people look for 'Handmade Statement Jewellery', the Caprilicious Jewellery website comes up in a Google search - having done this for a few weeks, I was quite gratified to find that I haven't been misguided by the bloggers guide.
However, I don't know any woman who goes to Google when she wants to look for handmade statement jewellery! I certainly wouldn't do a Google search to look for jewellery, would you?? What beats me is that knowing this fact doesn't make me chase the botworm any less frantically - just shows how competitive I really am, I suppose, and also that I like to test a theory before I accept it as common wisdom.
Anatevka was a fictional shtetl in Imperial Russia where the musical Fiddler on the Roof was set. We went to the Eutin Festival in Germany, where they had this musical on, inspiring me to create this necklace.
I acquired a necklace of hand knotted shell pearls in beautiful colours of bronze/ cream, peach and shades of grey - the pearls are large and very beautiful, and though I normally would have cut up the necklace to restring the pearls, this one was so well made, I couldn't bring myself to wantonly destroy someones painstaking work - in fact, I had to agree that I couldn't have done it better ( a rare admission for me ).
I decided to make a pendant for it, and string it onto the necklace directly. An agate druzy cabochon, surrounded by wire lace, with pearls and crystals thrown in just grew and grew until two days later, my muse declared it finished. Although wire lace looks pretty, it is hard work on the finger tips which resembled Shreddies by the time I was done - but hey! I love the way it looks, so won't complain. The pendant is very baroque in appearance, and suits the necklace - and the name!
If you want to know what shell pearls are, here's a link to a very well written article I found during my research - I couldn't have put it better myself.
And with this, I decided to put my Lacemania aside for a while - and my fingertips heaved a huge sigh of relief!!
I've had two new helpers this week - Charlie and Wilfred have moved in with us - they must have been techies in a previous life, they are fascinated by the moving cursor on my laptop screen, and keep trying to help me type this blog and won't take no for an answer.
They are also interior decorators of sorts, and are helping me to remodel my house and change the decor, by systematically destroying anything they dislike - Mike's 40 year old German oil lamp (he's had it 40 years, but it was an antique when he first bought it) is something they have taken a dislike to - only he refuses to part with it - the boys are most annoyed that it is now out of reach!
With my fingertips sore and out of commission, I decided to give them a rest. I have these peacock feather pendants in from Indonesia - the ends have been fringed, much like a Rastafarians dreadlocks, with beads, and I love the effect. I used shards of electroplated quartz needles in the necklace, strung with spacers of crackle quartz in a deep peacock blue and a couple of enamelled beads from India. The quartz needles remind me of the silver rain that sheets down during a monsoon - the rain in the UK though persistent, is usually gentler.
Durga is a wrathful form of Parvati, otherwise known as Mrs Shiva, and the mother of Ganesh the elephant God. Kali is an even more angry form - women of all ages, at different times of their cycles have fleeting resemblances to one or another avatar of this multipurpose Goddess.
According to legend, Parvathi was peed off at something- or someone (possibly, but not necessarily hubby), and she knitted her brows together in a frown - a third eye originated there ( watch out - the gaze from that third eye when provoked into opening can burn you into a frazzle). When someone else peed the already irritated Durga off, she went wild, hair unbound, arms akimbo - and she didn't stop until she killed the annoyance, hung his head around her neck and drank his blood.
She laughed and laughed, and did a dance that a whirling dervish would have envied, until suddenly to her horror, she found that she was trampling on her poor husband Shiva - Oops! she said and stuck her tongue out - and an ancient photographer took her picture (or maybe the wind changed and her facial expression stuck), so she is doomed to being immortalised as the crazy one with her tongue stuck out, hair wild, with strings of demon's heads hung about her person.
This story, I am sure will resonate with my female readers - we've all been there, pootling along, minding our own, when along comes this nuisance - whether we turn into Durga or Kali depends on the irritant!
Anyway, I digress - this necklace is made of a pendant from the Banjara tribe in India, with two paisa coins from 1962. I put them on a rope, which can be tied so that the pendant sits where you would like it to and can be worn with all sorts of necklines. It looks like something Durga might like to wear - well, she's most definitely a Caprilicious woman....................
That's it for this week folks. Charlie has destroyed a bunch of silk flowers I had prettifying a dull corner of the house, and the two brothers are now flicking the flowers around the house like crazed confetti - I'd better go and rescue what's left of those poor flowers. Have a fab weekend, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Share and share alike - that's what a good marriage is all about, right?? Well, if that's the case, ours must be solid - or Mike is being too literal - he generously gave me a good lashing of his cold. Oh, the muzzy head, the aching joints, the stopped up sinuses (and now I sound just like Mike - minus the Tarzan-esque thumping of the chest)- I just crawled into bed on Saturday afternoon, and stayed there all day, every day till Thursday. The weekend was all nice and sunshiny, but I couldn't go out - nor did I have the energy to play with clay - I knew all my efforts would turn into mud!
Sitting in front of the telly of an evening, I picked up my pliers and an oxbone face - I thought I'd make something from an idea I had earlier - it took me two days to wrap the face and give it a head dress - and I just couldn't see how to take it further - a complete constipation of ideas.
I took a photograph of the half finished piece and put it on a couple of wire - worker's forums on Facebook, and posted that I was planning to cut it up to salvage the beads. It was almost as if I was punishing the little piece of jewellery for my cold - childish?? - of course, but I was way beyond rational at that time. A very gratifying hue and cry went up - after that, I had to save her from the knacker's yard and make something halfway decent with her, if only to justify comments like these -- 'you were going to cut that up are you mad, it's stunning, must be the cold, hope your feeling better', and 'This piece of art is beautiful. Please don't cut it up. It would be a crime. xx'.
So, onward I went!
This is a mask I bought last year when in Venice - everywhere you turn, it would seem that there are masks for sale - at first I said I would absolutely not buy one, but, by the end of the holiday, I had got so used to seeing them around I felt I would miss the damn things if I didn't have one of my own!
The history of Venetian masks goes way back to the fourteenth century, and there are many types, with names of their own. Colombine is the type of mask that fits over the eyes and is held on by a baton or with ribbon - probably because the first woman who wore one was too vain to hide her face in it's entirety. One can only imagine the intrigue and skulduggery that went on behind the mask, not to mention the bad hair days that were hidden by the wigs which were part of the ensemble.
I like the colours -the carnival effect is played out by the colours that my hands chose instinctively - I say that, cos I sure didn't do it consciously with that muzzy head, no way!
I slept most of Sunday and Monday away, and on Tuesday, feeling only a little better, stayed off the day job for yet another day.
While idly surfing the web, I found this image of Barbie in India - actually this is the least hideous one I found - all the others are even more over the top - I found myself wondering whether the designers at Matel had been dropping acid when they put together these caricatures of Indian womanhood. And then I remembered blue eyed, blond haired, Barbie - yes, of course they are on acid - they probably live on LSD fuelled dreams of what their dream woman/ Stepford wife would be like, and go through later life in a permanent fog of disappointment, not being able to find her when reality bites.
I decided I'd design a piece for Barbie - if she actually came from Bollywood.
Maybe I should change the name - to Pink and Pretty (using the 'say what you see' rule), rather than associate Caprilicious with Barbie ? Oh well, it's not her fault, poor thing, that she has an image problem - would you agree??
The Bollywood Barbie Earrings
Wednesday rolled by, and by now we were both deaf as well as anosmic, coughing and spluttering in tandem. The house stank to high heaven - Mike poached smoked haddock in milk - that's what his mother gave him as a lad when he was sick - normally I protest at the smell, but this time I was blissfully unaware.
The Modern Victorian
I learned a new weave called the Kokkocik weave from a wire worker in Poland and thought I'd use it to make up a little pendant. Using a beautiful labradorite cabochon, which flashes the most fire of any I've ever seen, I made a little pendant with seed pearls, copper wire and ruby quartz.
Seed pearl jewellery was especially popular from the last quarter of the 18th century and throughout the nineteenth century, when the burgeoning middle-classes of Europe and the United States grew fascinated with pearls and had the money to purchase them. The Victorians favoured the look of these delicate, almost lace-like pieces against the skin and often associated seed pearl jewellery with purity. They were especially fashionable as bridal gifts and refer to natural pearls that are 2mm or less in size.
Drilling holes into pearls of any size is difficult enough - imagine how difficult it was to drill into a pearl that was as small as a seed before the advent of lasers and other aids used today. I don't suppose the Victorians really cared too much about the eyesight of the people involved in the making of their intricate jewellery.
Each week, I tend to make three different kinds of jewellery - with polymer clay at weekends, a piece or two with beads and gemstones, and have a bit of a play with wire. With Mike and I having the dreaded lurgy, it has meant that I have almost exclusively stuck with making small pieces of jewellery with wire for two weeks - and this is the result - wire worker's thumb nail! This comes from scooching the wire along while weaving it with my right thumbnail, rather than using pliers which might mar the wire or break it. I wonder if I should submit this picture to the British Medical Journal, to the column entitled Minerva on the last page - after all, we have 'pigeon fanciers lung','malt worker's lung' and even 'hot tub lung' - I now present 'wire-worker's thumb nail'!!!
What's that you say?? - stick to gynaecology and wire work and stop this madness ?? - OK, right you are then - it must be the head cold making me go doolally!
That's all for this week folks, catch you next week, same time, same place
Good day to you readers, I trust you have all had a great week. I certainly have - but more about that later.
People in the UK awoke to find a fine covering of dust all over their clean cars this week - a sandstorm in the Sahara desert had picked up fine particles of sand and blown them all the way overland to us, and a light rain had deposited them on cars and other stationary objects. People had loads of fun writing on car windows - the favourite witticism was 'I wish my wife was as dirty as this' and the newspapers coined a new term 'Sandageddon'!
It seemed just right that I should make 'Dune' - a little pendant I made out of a composite or Intarsia cabochon and wire work.
Derived from the Latin word Intersere, meaning 'to insert', Intarsia is a form of marquetry in wood or stone. The composite is made of a number of pieces of stone, each one cut and faceted to fit exactly into an adjoining piece. Sometimes areas of the pattern are raised to create more depth. Once the individual pieces are complete, they are fitted together like a jig-saw puzzle and fixed to a stone backing which is sometimes cut to the outline shape of the image like a border.
The cabochon in the piece above contains jasper and amazonite, surrounded by onyx and marble. As the cabochon is a work of art in itself, I framed it simply, with wire curls embellished with turquoise and coral. The artisan who cut the jasper and amazonite to fit the pendant probably had a picture like this one I took in the Sinai desert last year in his mind's eye.
The amazonite sky in the pendant has to my eye, the beginnings of a sandstorm, due to a smudge like marking in the amazonite - but I'll bet the artisan who cut it didn't imagine this uniquely British reaction to a sandstorm. I saw this van in the car park of my local supermarket and was compelled to take this picture. I wonder what his wife thought when she read that??
The wire frame was antiqued and embellished with a little wire rose containing a red coral at the top right corner and turquoise beads down one side.
I had a fabulous birthday - I was treated to a long weekend at the Savoy in London as part of a theatre break - we saw The Jersey Boys which I enjoyed very much, ate our weight in food and sweets, wandered hand in hand like young foolish things (ageing by the minute) in Covent Garden and the West End, met friends, had drinks at the American Bar, were treated to lunch - all sorts of fabulousness - I hope it was a harbinger of the year to come.
What do you give a jewellery maker?? Why, jewellery that she can't/wont make herself, of course. This necklace is from Tibet and is embroidered onto a backing of cloth, with a sash to tie it around the neck - I love it - thank you Michael! The Savoy of course is lush, as one would expect and we enjoyed being waited on hand and foot, and then some. Breakfast, which is a meal I do not usually eat, was a must have and we sat down at the American bar both evenings - their mocktails, and they have but two - the Cucumberland and the Savoy Ice Tea are both to be recommended. We were there at Earth Hour, and the whole place was lit up with fairy tale candles - who needs electricity??
Earth Hour at The Savoy
Pearls are in this season as a hot jewellery trend, but I've never really been a pearls person. Being a bit of a trend watcher I have now decided after a bit of soul searching, that actually I do like them, just not in grandmotherly mode - growing old gracefully and wearing age appropriate jewellery - what's that all about?? There are tons of modern ways to wear pearl jewellery - and none of them prissy.
I have made it a personal mission to look for different ways to wear pearls and create looks that even the most non grandmotherly Caprilicious woman will love. Baroque or misshapen pearls have a more contemporary look and the design possibilities are endless.
In this necklace, I have put together five strands of pearls and interspersed them with raw uncut nuggets of garnet. The clasp is pretty too, and can be worn to one side - it is a blister pearl, which is a pearl still attached to the shell of the oyster. The necklace can be worn twisted into a rope, or with the strands still separate, with the clasp in different positions - on the back, to one side or to the front.
Pearls and garnets are a well known combination, the twist in the tale here being the raw nuggets which give the piece its Noir Baroque look.
The rest of the week was spent making little earrings while watching television of an evening - I seem to always have a project on the go, and when I don't, making earrings are a fall back way to enjoy an evening!
That's all I had time for this week folks, have a good week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hi readers, hope you've all had a successful week, and are in the process of getting ready for a fun weekend. We have friends arriving to stay with us, and thankfully Mikes 'project' is almost finished. The garden is looking close to normal again - but only just. Turf may have to be relaid a bit later on as it looks like it has been trampled on by a herd of rampaging bull elephants, but at least there isn't one big churned up pit of mud in the middle of the lawn.
As the 'girly' one in the family, I always wore jewellery and makeup, loved lace and pink (shudder), perfume and stiletto heeled shoes - thankfully, I am no longer a pink person, and comfort has won over vanity. Jewellery however, remains a constant and my taste for it now veers towards the outrageous and wild. Even the simplest piece, in my hands will go slightly off kilter to produce a very different look from what one would expect normally - I see the puzzlement on some peoples faces - they either get it and are fans of my stuff - or they hate it for being odd and having dog legs where canine limbs are not meant to be!
I started out designing for myself - the rationale was that if nobody liked it, at least I would have jewellery I wanted to wear. I have indeed found a lovely bunch of like minded people, who share my enthusiasm for wild things and we are very happy with one another. This next piece is for one of them....or me!
Worn To Be Wild
I just love this necklace and can't wait to test drive it. It is all be-silked and beribboned with sari fabric ribbon as I thought the black and faux bone could do with being zhushed up.
I have the attention span of a gnat, and a low boredom threshold - I need to make different things to hold my interest. Each week I might start out as I did, with a tribal piece, then make a sweet and simple one, and then play with clay for a day or two, and then some wire. Just the one genre, churning out the same old, same old, would bore me to tears.
A couple of fibula brooches for Look in the Bag appeared mysteriously one morning - I must have made them while watching telly or it was the house elf! I have a malign elf in the house normally - all I have to do is put something down and look away - count to five - and it's gone - completely vanished, never to be seen again.
I had myself a load of fun playing with an extruder and making some brooches - I couldn't believe that the strings of clay wouldn't all stick to one another when they were forced out of the extruder - I spent a whole lot of time separating the strings and hanging them over my pasta machine, till in the end, once I realised that it wasn't necessary, I was putting them together like a pro! The brooches are for Look in the Bag, of course, and Neelam will unveil them properly once the time is right for her - this is just a sneak peek, just for you, my readers.
I realised that my little collection of silver had dwindled considerably since the exhibition, in fact, there were no earrings left at all. I picked up a solar quartz pendant set in sterling silver and teamed it with Peruvian opal nuggets and seed pearls - very evocative of the deep blue sea, which one assumes is teeming with mermaids. Solar quartz is a transverse section of a stalactite, and is usually cream coloured - this one is dyed blue, and is particularly vibrant. This is a sweet little necklace - a complete volte face from Worn to be Wild!
I have been hoarding these stylish ear wires for just such a moment - vibrant and pretty dyed jade beads dangle from sterling silver ear wires. I love the colours of these beads - just wish my ear lobes were strong enough to support earrings.....sigh!
South Western Sunset
This picture was taken a long time ago during my travels in the USA. The colours of the sunset are so pretty, although muted and I decided to put them together in a necklace. I admit, this is an unusual combination and I turned it over in my mind for a couple of days before deciding that I would go all out to make an eclectic piece that would be truly one of a kind.
Now that I had given myself the go-ahead, I made some faux amber and faux sea glass beads, and put together a necklace. A vintage Indian pendant was hung on a Tibetan bead, and dangled from a filigree wire woven circle that resembles a dream catcher - in keeping with the South Western theme. I have liberally mixed East and West, and I think they go well together - this necklace has extremely eclectic origins, and is most definitely one of a kind.
I like the way the necklace is showy, without being completely over the top - do you like it??
That's as much as I had time for folks, catch you next week, same time, same place. Have a great week
The 'Unfinished Symphony' saga
Hello readers, how are you this fine morning?? I thought it was time we had some music - it's been ages since I played some on the blog. You will see why I chose this song in a minute - apart from the fact that this is one of the few I can play on the piano - I have to tell you that it was not my ambition to be a pianist, and that reflected itself in my playing, which was truly terrible - I needed earplugs when I played, but I somehow got to Grade 5, which has more to do with persistence than enthusiasm - I got out of it as soon as possible, which annoyed my mother no end - she envisaged this super daughter, who would be at concert pianist level, probably a brain surgeon, and a nuclear physicist/ mathematician in her spare time - no pressure then!!
Spring is in the air - and how do I know this for certain?? Not because of the beautiful primroses that have obligingly come back, or the skies growing lighter, or the temperatures rising - Oh, no, I know this for sure because my husband has his annual project on the go. My lawn, tended lovingly by a chap called Mr GreenThumb has been dug up and is, as I write a churned up, horrible mess.
Being a retired builder, Mike seems to need the annual fix of concrete and mud to keep him satisfied - this year he says the lawn isn't good enough, and requires a pad of some kind for the garden furniture. I hope that when I retire, I don't suddenly develop a penchant for my earlier career - stop me, won't you, if I start eyeing up uteri, and please, call the men in white suits if I attempt to extract body parts with my bare hands.
Anyway, he needs his annual fix, and I let it happen - this allows me to put my foot down with a firm hand the rest of the year, and still feel virtuous about it! - only one project per calendar year is allowed here.
Nicole Hanna, most generous weaver of wire and writer of tutorials, threw us a challenge - to finish one of her tutorials in any way we saw fit, with a tight control on the ingredients used. She has published an album of all the pieces entered in the competition, including mine, which you can see here, should you be so inclined.
It is certainly amazing how the design has been interpreted in so many different ways. The contestants were all sent the finished tutorial, and a chance to vote for a design to win. Here's a picture of my piece, and the piece as Nicole Hanna envisages it - just proves there's more than one way to skin a cat; or weave a pendant, even. Mine looks so complicated and tangled - perhaps reflecting my state of mind when I made it - who knows??
I swapped some beads my mother gave me for a bagful of gemstone beads, so I spent some time making a couple of pendants with rhodochrosite beads- they were meant to be earrings, but midway through the process, I realised they would be too heavy for the ears, so they have now been converted into pendants. This, of course meant that I didn't have to make them exactly alike - so though I started off making them together, and duplicating each flourish and swirl, I let go of this painful process once I decided they were in fact destined to be pendants.
I spent the rest of the week making scarf jewellery for my friend from Look in the Bag - some to go with scarves she has designed, and others made to be sold exclusively through their outlet.
This is one of the wire designs I came up with, and no doubt there will be more. In the meanwhile, I have played with the Bargello cane, taught at a class by Jana Benzon Roberts - I just love it so much, and I feared that I might forget how to make it if I left it too long, my memory is like a sieve these days.
While playing with designs for scarf jewellery, I came up with various prototypes to pick from. One of the rejects was this cane, which I then reduced further and turned into a kaleidoscope cane. I have been talking about these bits of scarf jewellery for a while now - you must think they are a figment of my imagination, as nothing has appeared on these pages. Not so, friends - I am waiting for the scarves to be made up - and all will be revealed by Neelam, on her website/blog - after all, she commissioned them, and so they are hers to reveal, when she sees fit.
And here's my very first kaleidoscope cane! Now I have something completely different to work with, once I am finished with the scarf jewellery in a couple of weeks. This is one of the things I love about polymer clay - there's absolutely no wastage at all - it gladdens the heart of a woman who chases after every dropped bead, giving it a stern telling off for daring to run away from home.
Here are some earrings I made with the first two pieces I cut from the cane - I think they are sweet.
More Biker Pearls
Pearls have come into their own - they are no longer the preserve of the cologne scented, blue rinse, toffee nosed brigade, and I have been looking for funky and different ways to wear them. I have made this necklace before, but couldn't resist making some more - this time, I got some large black and grey pearls, as well as the regular creamy ones, and black, blue and white leather.
Won't these look fabulous with your denims and leathers and perhaps a biker or jeans jacket - boho biker pearls for casual wear!
I must go now and make sure that Mike's enthusiasm isn't running away with him - I now know why builders often give you a quote that doesn't resemble what you end up spending - it's because of all the last minute 'lightbulb moments' that happen along the way - however, to be fair to him, he does do a great job, and I have enjoyed the fruits of all his previous labours.
Have a great week, and I'll catch up with you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, and thanks for dropping by the Caprilicious Blog. I hope you have all had a good week - we have rising temperatures here in the UK, and this has naturally turned our thoughts to the summer that is so tantalisingly near, but yet,..............
But first, I took on a couple of challenges this week - I do so love a good challenge. To my mind, it sets the creative juices flowing, and focuses ones mind on a task, rather than thoughts aimlessly milling around like a swarm of ants.
I spotted the first challenge on Facebook - it was a 'finish this' challenge by Nicole Hanna - she published half a tutorial for a piece of wire-work jewellery, and the competition was open to anyone who cared to join - I saw the notice only two days before the competition ended, so I set to work almost immediately. I'm aiming for the completed tutorial that she is offering to all the participants, that's prize enough for me.
The Unfinished Symphony
We were given a recipe for the ingredients, and weren't allowed to make more than one substitution, or add any others. The results will be shown in an album on Flickr, and when I have the whole tutorial, I will make the pendant accordingly and am most interested to see how different it will be from mine.
I played with clay all last weekend, and made up a bunch of scarf jewellery for my friends from Look in the Bag. Once I had finished, my workspace looked like a bomb had gone off over it and I despaired of ever tidying it. I find it hard to work in a messy environment, and when I saw the next challenge, it inspired me to try and clear my table of all the stuff I had on it.
"Clean-up, Fix-up" your workspace BLOG HOP
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson of Sharyl's Jewelry and Reflections challenged us to clear up our workspace and blog about it. She has a long list of participants from all around the world - jewellery making, chronic untidiness and the internet, have brought us together. If you clink on the link above, you will find the list of the other participants in this challenge.
Well, I have two workspaces - one for the weekends, when I have time to play with clay, and another where I sit of an evening, in front of the telly with Mike, and the beads and wirework come out to play. There is a third, in the conservatory where I have my kiln and enamels, but as it isn't very active, there isn't much point talking about it for now, although I hope this will change fairly soon.
I had just finished making the multi strand necklace with beads, and wire and polymer clay pieces you will find below, and my stuff was all over the place. I keep a limited amount of beads and some findings right by my chair, in boxes on the floor, being too lazy to get up and walk to my storage area each time I need something. Unfortunately, I do not have a 'before' picture to show you, just the 'after' one - you can see the boxes balanced precariously on each other, but all the beads went back into their respective boxes without too much trouble, and the wire was coaxed into going back onto the shelf, so the area looks relatively tidy - and that's the best I could do! As you can see, the pliers refused to move and stayed sat on one of the last naughty spools of wire in a sulk - they should have gone onto the plier holders on the top shelf - I left the refuseniks be, as I didn't have any energy left after that monumental effort.
This is the room where I play with clay - it is only tiny, and I have a trestle table to work on, a trolley with paints and stuff on it, a computer table with the buffer, all jostling for space with a filing cabinet, a cupboard that holds our coats and outdoor wear, another cupboard meant for cleaning implements which I share with my cleaning lady ( and am sneakily encroaching on when she isn't looking, shelf by shelf ), a wall that is lined with books, and shelves that hold photography equipment - a lot to fit into that tiny space. I consider it nothing short of a miracle that I can see the white ceramic tile I use as my work surface.
I took all the clay off the table and put it back into boxes under the table, all my implements were wiped down with wet wipes, and stashed in their mugs and glasses - all the mugs that get chipped in our house find their way to my work space - they know I'll give them a good home in my efforts to stay organised. A set of library steps have been encroached on - I use any flat surface to hold something temporarily - and that quickly becomes a permanent fixture, but as these steps are my husband's pride and joy, I daren't do that for longer than a day or I will find all my stuff unceremoniously dumped on my table when he goes in to look for a book!
Anyway, this is as tidy as it gets - but very far from being all shipshape and Bristol fashion. I have to tell you that before I went all 'crafty' the room was a third bedroom, converted into a sort of library for all the books Mike and I own. I used to play with clay in the kitchen, but that meant I had to clear up my clutter every evening, and projects had to be finished or binned at the end of the day - we all know, that doesn't work one little teeny weeny bit!
I made this polymer clay veneer for another project, but then ended up using it to make a few small pendants instead. I used one of these pendants in a bohemian necklace in bright colours - just right for the summer ahead. The inspiration was beach jewellery from Thailand - usually made with macrame, but I decided to use the look, and recreate it in my own way.
There were a pair of earrings to match, and I think this necklace will look great with summer whites. I used polymer clay beads, wire, African trade beads, which my sister in law kindly found for me when she was on a safari holiday, and I had a ball putting this piece together.
That's it for this week folks, cleaning up after myself has exhausted me and I need to lie down with a cold compress on my head, catch you next week, same time, same place - have a lovely weekend
I'm Neena Shilvock, and I'm crazily addicted to jewellery. I've been designing and making quirky and interesting statement necklaces for the last five years and my passion hasn't cooled off one little bit - in fact it has got worse, such that I'm even dreaming jewellery.
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I would love to hear from you - please leave a comment on the blog or send an email to jewellerybycaprilicious(at)gmail.com
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