Hello folks, how are you on this cold and frosty morning? It snowed for twenty four hours here in the UK, and the country came to a standstill. Roads were closed, airports and train tracks were backlogged with travel chaos and schools shut down leaving parents in the lurch, looking for emergency childcare. At the hospital, half the staff and patients didn't manage to make their way in. The snow fell over the weekend, but the temperatures have been so low that we still have snow drifts five days on, although a lot of it has melted. I am more anxious about the ice that forms on the roads and pavements when the thawing snow freezes over at night - you can imagine that it is hazardous to drive, and walk.
However, it looks pretty when the snow is pristine, and I busied myself over the weekend taking loads of pictures.
We knew that snow was on it's way, so I quickly put my Christmas tree up and decorated it - the tree is usually set up in the porch, which can get pretty cold when the temperature falls severely as it relies on the light of the sun to keep it warm. As you can imagine, it is pretty warm in the porch most of the year as our geraniums do well overwintering there, as do the ferns - all that green stuff you see in the picture is real. I love the silver baubles I got from the Christmas shop, which predictably is open all year around to serve the tourist trade in Prague, when we went there about ten years ago. I wrap each one in tissue paper and put it away almost reverently when we are done with the season and this strategy has served me well as they have lasted out over ten Christmases.
Four days down the line, our street is still covered with snow and ice and I'm being driven into work as my little car is totally unsuitable for this weather. It still looks pretty, doesn't it, in spite of the tyre treads that have messed the road up. They should make it illegal for people to muss up the snow and make it less picturesque.
It looked like a complete white out in front of our house, and the back garden was no better. So there wasn't much else to do but stay warm, and play with beads and post on Instagram, where I've been testing out hashtags and trying to improve my visibility.
I bought a bunch of tiny crystal beads a while ago, at the same time as the floral micro pave clasp. One of my customers liked the look of the crystals so much, she asked me to make a necklace up for her using the floral clasp. The beads are tiny, no more than 3mm in diameter and they resemble little sugar crystals that have been artificially coloured. I made an ombre necklace which she loved and I posted it out to her well before the last day for Christmas post approached - the last day for the post, in case you don't remember it is the 20th of December after which you'll have to go out in the cold and do your own shopping. I didn't get a chance to take a picture on a model, all I have are a quick couple of photographs shot using my phone, so many apologies for picture quality. Perhaps the lady will send us pictures wearing the necklace, and I can share them with you later on.
That's all I made this week folks, these beads were so tiny that I almost went blind trying to string them. They were pretty badly behaved as well and kept jumping out of my hands and scattering all over the floor making the cat leap out of his skin everytime he heard the skittering of a bead across the parquet floor. As they were pretty expensive, I made sure I picked the beads up and put them into the necklace - not a single one escaped its fate!
That's me for this week, folks. I am going to be wrapping presents and writing cards out this weekend. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for joining me today. It has suddenly gone all sunny and warm on us here in the UK, but since Monday is a Bank Holiday I can almost guarantee that it won't last. After the debacle of the Handmade Fair I decided to take it easy - one of my oldest friends was visiting me from Vancouver and I had the pleasure of having her and others who live in the UK come and stay. It was fabulous to catch up and discuss old times and find that although so many years had passed since we last met (about 40 to be precise) we had not changed fundamentally. The weekend flew by and her visit was over too soon, unfortunately. Now that we've met up, we've pledged not to leave it so long again.
I spent some time taking photographs of the creations I had left over from the Fair. I had made some necklaces using a technique taught by Loretta Lam. The beads and pods are made from a very light clay - Ultralight - which handles like marshmallow when uncured and is very light when it comes out of the oven. The beads are cured and then a veneer and embellishments are applied in stages. They float when placed in water and are light and easy to wear.
As you can probably see, the embellishments and veneers have been applied so that the necklaces are reversible. The technique is labour intensive but interesting and the necklaces are chunky but light, different and most definitely fun.
This necklace was literally made from left overs - a veneer from a class I took in March, canes from last year, a sunflower from a tutorial written for Bead and Jewellery magazine and some orphan beads in my collection of beads that I made earlier on and didn't use up. The lady pounced on it, and tried it on - that was it, love at first sight! She refused to take it off, bought a pair of earrings to go with it and wore it around the show. I hope she gets a lot of enjoyment from it, bless her cotton socks!
I was given carte blanche to modify this necklace into something a bit more sophisticated by a client in India. She came to my show, made a few purchases and came back for more - on the second day, she carried a bag of beads which she trusted me to take back to the UK and modify in my own time, at my own pace and to my own design. Now that's a whole bowl of trust! And I mean to deliver to all her expectations, of course.
These are rather beautiful tourmaline beads, but strung together on cheap thread, with an adjustable gold thread 'clasp' and don't look terribly special.
I added rice pearls in a random manner to bring a bit of brightness to the necklace, and a beautiful diamante clasp to one side to take the degree of sophistication up a notch and I hope you'll agree that it makes the necklace fit for a queen. The lady I am designing for is sophisticated, smart and smouldering with a distinctive style of her own. Her style is certainly unique and she dresses like a diva with well thought out, dramatic accessories. I think this one will suit her personality down to the ground.
I spent the rest of the week at a conference in Leeds related to the day job and am due to be involved in some very interesting and exciting developments.
Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello readers, thanks for joining me once again on the Caprilicious Blog. This week has been a bit of a washout as far as making jewellery goes, mainly because I have been nursing my poor husband through a bout of food poisoning. He probably got it from a dodgy egg that he cooked himself
and because we tend to eat almost separate meals - me with a bit of spice and Mike eating the blandest food in the house, I escaped the actual symptoms myself. I didn't escape them entirely, however because I lived through them vicariously, minute by minute. I wasn't spared a single second of them, and I have to say they certainly didn't improve with the telling. I learned one thing through this - I am absolutely not cut out to be a nurse!!
Just before the explosive effects of the egg took over my week, I spent some time sorting out the seeds I had collected from various seed pods in my garden last year. The soil will warm up once Easter is done and I want to sow these directly into my flower beds. One of these is Nigella, or as it more commonly known, Love in a Mist.
Love In A Mist
Just the thought of these pretty flowers prompted me to unearth all the blue gemstone beads I have in my stash and put some of them into a necklace, using one of the diamanté clasps I showed you last week. As blue is one of my favourite colours, I found plenty to choose from and picked blue agate and jade teardrops to use in this necklace which sits close to the base of the neck in asymmetric beauty.
The Takeover - Inch by Little Inch
This, readers, was what my conservatory once looked like - a sitting room with cane furniture which we used very occasionally - when it rained in the summertime perhaps, or where Mike puffed on a contemplative stogie while he used the telescope to do a bit of stargazing.
This was well before Caprilicious was part of my life. Once I got involved in writing my website and posting pictures of the jewellery I made, I realised that I had to take a good picture - shoddy, unfocused photographs simply wouldn't do. After all, I was asking people to fall in love with my jewellery without having to touch and feel it - my photographs would have to be the next best thing.
I already owned a little Canon point and shoot camera and to get the best from it I invested in a Modahaus tabletop stand on the back of a review in the Beading Gem's Journal and a collapsible PhotoBox for larger necklaces.
Mike's little keyboard, where he pounds out his five stride jazz when I am at work is slowly disappearing in the detritus of my photography, and the treadmill, which has always been parked in one corner, used only by my eighty-five-year-old mother when she came to visit (shame on us!) three years ago, is no longer visible, hidden behind a backdrop.
And the irony of it all, is that I still sit in my armchair in front of the telly, a tray in my lap with my beads and wire to make my jewellery, while the photography of the finished article has taken over an entire conservatory! I hope you will agree though, that it has all been worthwhile. I know there is always room for improvement, but my photography skills have come on in leaps and bounds.
That's it for this week, folks. I am working part of this weekend and hope to correct some of the sleep deprivation I have suffered this last week while I (sort of) nursed my poor husband back to health. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place