Hello folks, how lucky I am that we can meet like this today - and I mean this quite literally!! I'm sure you've noticed that my blog posts have all suddenly gone pale this week. I've had so much trouble with my website over the last couple of weeks, I was almost ready to throw in the towel and go to another web host. Weebly, the people I am currently with suddenly decided to update their software and it no longer supported some of the changes I had made which were working perfectly before they tinkered with it. My site suddenly disappeared from view and no matter how many times I refreshed it, I could not see any of the content. I couldn't think what happened and eventually, over a number of emails, late night phone calls to the USA and a bit of hissing and spitting and lot of alterations, I finally ended up with this new look website and blog.
The problem here is that I am a one woman show - apart from designing and making the jewellery having sourced the components, I take my own pictures, edit them and upload them onto the Caprilicious website, writing descriptions of each piece along the way. However, I am semi computer literate and mainly self taught. What they say about the maternal proclivities of 'Necessity' is quite true.
I changed the 'theme' of my website thrice in the last week, which meant that all the headers and fonts disappeared each time and yet another phone call had to be made. I now know the number to the Weebly help line off by heart and can recite it in my sleep. Hissing and spitting, and of course swearing under my breath, I repeated the boring task of uploading all the pictures onto the headers over and over until soon, I was no longer doing it under my breath and the air was blue around me. I used the word for intercourse more times than the good ladies in the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I arrived at the point where I have a website and a blog and could spend a couple of enjoyable hours making up a necklace that I had designed in my minds eye while lying in bed last night.
Xanadu is the summer capital of the Mongol warrior Kubla Khan in a poem written by Coleridge - he thought it up one night whilst lying in an opium fuelled stupor - I thought it a fitting name for a necklace I conjured up in bed while lying in a Weebly induced coma! Xanadu was thought to be a luxorious place of great beauty, riches and contentment. I bought the sterling silver pendant while in Jaipur a year and a half ago and it is so pretty, I've been sitting on it like Gollum and his 'pretties'. Only recently I decided it would be a shame to hoard it and brought it out of my stash to turn it into a piece of jewellery.
I added slices of bamboo coral, turquoise beads, silver beads and some pretty blue brass beadcaps to make Xanadu. It is longer than I usually make, about 25" long, and meant to be worn over an outfit with a high neckline. I love the combination of coral, turquoise and silver and the little silver box clasp finishes the piece perfectly.
Last weekend, I spent the days scrubbing my cast aluminium garden furniture with bleach, pressure washing them and sanding down all the paintwork - I used my Dremel here and was so pleased that at last I had a multipurpose piece of kit that actually worked well for me. Mike and I painted the table with some trepidation, I had chosen such a bright colour, but I think it looks good. We have done bits of the chairs, and will have them done by the end of this week, I hope.
I don't mind admitting that I am exhausted this week folks, I've had a busy time at the day job, as well as the mind numbing evenings with Weebly to contend with. I hope that this will be an end to my tale of woe. I apologise for crying on your shoulders, but Hey! what are friends for?? I'm going to settle down this weekend with a good book and a cuppa tea, I think I deserve a rest!
That's me for this week, take good care of yourselves and do keep your fingers crossed for me and the Caprilicious website. I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hiya folks, how's tricks? We've just had our summer, I think - a whole scorching week of it, and now it's gone, all gone! Ah well, at least we've got a holiday in the South of France to look forward to later on in the year. It was almost a tropical heatwave and fabulous while it lasted.
While we sizzled and roasted, I made floral jewellery - I seem to make flowers when I am cold, and also when it is warm - I have yet to get used to the fact that I like making flowers. This is very strange to me, because I like to wear chunky jewellery and tribal artefacts myself. When I am inspired to make jewellery however, out come the flowers and I just can't understand it
I made two of these necklaces, and one of them went to the Mitchell art gallery in Warwick. Wire, semi precious gemstones, lucite leaves, crystals and little Czech glass flowers were all used in these necklaces and they do look very summery and pretty.
This is Poppy, with the petal shaped bamboo coral beads that I really love and buy regularly in many colours. The beads satisfy my requirement for irregular shapes, lots of colour and interesting jewellery. Combined with blue black oil - slick rainbow peacock pearls, they make a striking necklace and the floral shell clasp complements it.
A Posy of Sweetpeas
A client who returns to Caprilicious time and time again asked for some sweetpea earrings, 'in as many colours as they come', she said. We settled on six colours and I set about making them up for her. As I was making a job lot, I threw in a few pendants as well.
I think it’s important to step away from my bead addiction from time to time and dabble in another creative endeavour. This weekend, I have decided to take on a project in the garden - I plan to renovate the cast aluminium set of garden furniture.
Just now our 10 year old furniture is a faded drab green, covered with algae from being outdoors all winter, and has bits of flaky paint coming away from it. I plan to sand down and repaint the six chaire and table with a bright signal yellow - when Mike heard my plans he sighed, 'they will be visible in the dark from outer space' he said.
I've had my way of course, and have gathered together all the supplies - this weekend, I shall hopefully make inroads into my new pet project. I hope this exercise will expand my aesthetic and artistic muscles and that will overflow into other areas. Although painting furniture is not a particularly artistic endeavour, the colour I have chosen I believe, will elevate the project from the mundane. Only time will tell, and I will have some pictures for you next week.
Have a fabulous weekend and I will catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, hope you are well this fine morning. The sun is shining and all's well with the world - well not all, given recent events in the UK, but it feels like it in the sunshine. Those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere know the importance of going out in the sunshine and basking in the rays - we see the sun so little. I've was out in the garden, weeding and sorting out the pot plants, spraying the roses and generally getting my hands dirty.
Between times, I embarked on my most ambitious project yet. A client in India handed me an old necklace of her's to remake - two strands of lovely jet beads with a few tarnished diamante spacers, and when I told her I was planning to make a soutache pendant in blue, she said she'd prefer green. So I picked a couple of colour treated green solar quartz cabochons out from my stash and started to think about what I was going to do with them.
The jet beads were so shiny and beautiful, it had to be an evening necklace. I decided to add diamante chain, and a couple of beetle wings to the mix with no idea about what I was going to do with them. I fixed the cabochons and wings onto Lacy's Stiff Stuff which is a felted stiff card for beading and set out to put them all into beaded bezels - by now I had decided that it would be a two part pendant, with the wings flanking the oval stone,
I beaded away well into the night every evening after work. It was like watching a story unfold as I really had no set plan - the whole thing was evolving as I went along and I was keen to see how the piece would look at the end. I made the bottom part of the pendant first and embellished it with beads and soutache braids that accentuated the green of the cabochon and the jet beads in the necklace.
And then came the top - the cabochon was vaguely teardrop shaped and I had to decide which way it was going to hang - with the pointy end or the broader end, and place the ends of the soutache braid accordingly. Decisions, decisions!
At last it was time to see how the two went together, and hey presto, it was a good fit. My only criticism was it looked a bit top heavy, so I had to come up with some way to increase the bulk of the lower half.
I added another row of Japanese Miyuki square glass beads and edged the top part of the piece with green crystals, as by this time I had decided that this pendant required, nay, deserved, a tasseled fringe.
This piece was becoming a tour de force - and I toiled over the tiny beads every night, only stopped by the fact that I ran out of the pale green crystal beads and had to order some more, praying that the colour would match the ones I had already used. If they didn't, I was getting ready mentally to cut the fringe out and start again with the new string of beads as nothing was going to stop this baby from being a beauty.
Fortunately for me, the colours matched and I finished the fringe off - all I needed was four more beads, wouldn't it have been such a shame if I had to start over for the want of four beads? That'll teach me to count my beads before I start! For one reason and another, work was ever so busy but this pendant occupied my evenings so gainfully that the week flew by.
The back was lined with blue felt to add colour between the Miyuki squares and the whole thing backed with black ultrasuede. And finally, it was time to join up the two halves of the pendant.
I strung the jet beads simply, using little green seed beads as spacers, and an extension chain with a Baroque crystal on the end and it was done.
Ta Dah!! - The final reveal
Would you agree that it is fit for a princess?? I certainly think so and hope that Omana, for whom it is designed, agrees with me. I hope she feels like a princess when she wears it - I know there's nothing like it in Bangalore where she lives and she should certainly have all eyes on her at whatever event she decides to wear it to Here she is in another piece by Caprilicious. I can so see her in this necklace, can you??
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place. Until then
Good day good people, and thanks for joining me today. I write to you on a rainy summer's day, having been on a long weekend break in Amsterdam. It was raining when we left the UK and raining when we got back, and has done so steadily ever since. Oh, well, at least we got some Vitamin D, albeit for only a few days in Holland.
Amsterdam is built around a number of canals and although not the most beautiful place to visit like Paris or Vienna with their grand buildings, boulevards and parks, has a unique charm of it's own. I found the canal boats on which people had made their permanent homes extremely quaint and interesting. The city has become so overcrowded that people living on these permanently moored boats have built extensions, connected them to the mains for electricity, gas and more recently, the sewers, and have settled down to a life on water. They have built little gardens with pot plants and garden ornaments, and sit on deckchairs in their gardens seemingly oblivious of the tourists who gawp at them as they walk past.
The bicycle is ubiquitous in Amsterdam and one has to skip nimbly out of the way to escape the ignominy of being run over by one, and to avoid being sworn at in Double Dutch. Worn out bicycles are apparently recovered from the canals at a rate of fifty a day.
This is a combination of a bicycle, shopping trolley and stroller - I thought it was a joke contraption until I saw a woman riding one with a child strapped into the seat!
As the sun's warmth got stronger, people came out of the woodwork like roaches, shedding their clothes and lying on the banks of the canals and in the green spaces of the city.
We found ourselves in Amsterdam just as the Red Light District had put on a free Jazz Festival. The girls remained behind their glass windows, and the rest of us jived to the sounds of the trumpets and saxophones played on every street corner. We went from one street party to another, having a grand old time till the wee hours of the morning. This is a little video clip I shot using my new phone, I uploaded it to YouTube so that I could share it with you. I feel rather grand now that I have my own YouTube channel!!
The famous Bulldog Cafe, named after the owners dog, now deceased
We walked and walked until our little legs wouldn't carry us any further, stopped at kerbside cafes, and took taxis on to the next point we wanted to visit. We managed to cover a fair bit of ground in that way, spending as little as possible on taxis and had time to pursue our favourite activity - people watching, eavesdropping on snatches of conversation and making up stories about them. I bet the stories we made up were much more interesting than reality.
I hope you have enjoyed my little glimpse into Amsterdam - I'm sure you are wondering where the pictures of the Rembrandt museum and the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum are among others that are glaringly absent from this album - well, we got so carried away by the jazz that we spent a lot of time in the Red Light District, walking along the canals, and cafe hopping that we had no time to go to the museums on a three day visit. Perhaps we will go again, Amsterdam is only 55 minutes away from Birmingham airport. This is my fifth visit to Amsterdam over the years and each time I have discovered different delights - Mike however has never been and was simply entranced by the relaxed way of life along the waterways. Wilfred, our cat was certainly pleased to see us back so soon from our Adventure in Waterworld.
That's me for this week, folks. Take care of yourselves, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you today? This part of the year is so rejuvenating, with the greenery breaking out, lengthening daylight hours, increasing warmth and sunlight.
I've had a hectic time at the day job, but haven't slacked of on the Caprilicious front, having promised a soutache cuff bracelet to a customer in the US of A. I've made one of these before, but the one on my books is meant for a narrow wrist and I promised to make a slightly larger one for her after the handmade fair.
I Love Manchester
I thought I'd play the song that has become the anthem for Manchester - Don't look back in Anger by Oasis - my blood runs cold at the thought of all those kids at a concert, and now lying silent and still. RIP
This necklace belongs to one of my customers in India - she liked the colour enhanced agate leaves I had used in one of my pieces and asked if I could remake this necklace using a few of them. It has taken me forever to get to this task, but now that I have a bit of free time I thought I'd make it up this week.
I restrung all the beads on beading wire and added the leaves and a pretty clasp and made the necklace in the draped 'messy' look that is all the rage these days. I hope she likes it. She loved the tourmaline necklace I made for her last week.
The rest of the week was spent taking pictures of the earrings I made earlier - it is hard work as each pair is photographed in three different ways, a collage is made of the edited and cropped photographs and only then is the photograph ready to be uploaded onto the website. I have about 100 photographs taken and edited, which have yielded about twenty collages. I will post a few on here - theres more work to be done next week, and I haven't yet described them, or loaded them onto the website!
These are just a few of the photographs I took and put together. You can imagine why I'd have trigger finger by this time, and there are quite a few to go still! As I said, I have yet to upload them onto the website and Facebook, so there's a mammoth task ahead of me. In the meantime, we go to Amsterdam for a long weekend break and I will have loads of pictures to show you next week.
Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.