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
Look into My Eyes
Happy Friday readers, I hope all of you are well this fine morning and rocking it with your statement jewellery.
This week started with my muse following one of my previous avatars and going into a mesmeric mode.
I qualified as a clinical hypnotherapist a number of years ago, and still use my skills from time to time, although not as much as I would have hoped - a girl can't do everything! But, when this polymer clay bead formed itself in my hands it reminded me of a traditional stage hypnotist's induction tool. I made two, but lost one to the process ( i.e. it was consigned to the scrap pile) but I saved this one in the nick of time. I put it into my 'orphan beads' box- and one day, my muse decided that this pendant would be made with it, using the tutorial I won from a competition on the lovely Nicole Hanna's website.
I love the way the swirls of colour go towards the centre point - perhaps it should be worn by someone trying to persuade people into following their will - or someone who is trying to keep those eyes focused at a point away from their cleavage!!
There are earrings to match and I have talked about them in a previous post.
Spellbound - The Keeper of Secrets
This jade pendant came from China - I bet you guessed that! I love the face on her - Les Dawson (the late comedian who was famous for his mother in law jokes) would have said that the face reminded him of his own MIL.
In an attempt to soften her profile a bit and make her look less like Les' mother in law, I added a frame of woven wire - I did think of adding other embellishments - but the severe lines of the face go with the straight lines of the frame - curlicues would have been out of place here - although she did get one or two - and a dangling bead, I simply couldn't resist.
Raziel is the Hebrew Archangel and Keeper of Secrets and is the ruling God of the Second Heaven - I think the face on this pendant looks a lot like a Raziel - don't you??
And finally, after all the work put into it, the necklace is a true statement piece - certainly arresting and worthy of a second look when it is worn.
Precious Metal Clay Pendants
I have talked a bit about precious metal clay before - it is a great medium that yields silver that is 99% pure, as opposed to Sterling Silver, which is only 92.5%. The heat in the kiln scared me a bit to start with, but I am rapidly getting more relaxed about it. I made a couple of pendants earlier and strung them on some extremely pretty semi precious gemstone necklaces.
This pendant has tiny feet carved into it, and I set a little red cubic zirconium into the second toe on one foot - like a bejeweled toe ring. Strung with labradorite and peridot the necklace is extremely delicate and pretty. This particular string of beads has exceptional labradorescence - it flashes every time the light shines on it from various angles.
With this little scrap of deeply engraved silver, I went a bit overboard when I was setting the cubic zirconia - I put in so many stones, that the piece twinkles like a starlit sky. I found the beautiful, tiny squares of apatite in India and when teamed together, the result is soothing and pleasing to the eye. Someone who likes their statement jewellery a bit on the small side will love these pieces from my kiln.
A couple of pairs of earrings rolled off my pliers while I was watching late night movies with Mike - there has to be some benefit to being an insomniac! These were made with inspiration from mini tutorials donated to the cause of wire workers everywhere by the very generous Nicole Hanna.
The Dragonfly's Dell
I acquired this slice of agate from my friend BN - it has beautiful striations deep within when held up to the light, but when held against the skin, it resembles the blue green waters of a still and glassy lake - the warm summer weather has brought out the dragonflies and I was reminded of a poem I read by someone who calls herself SusieA, published in Fairies World.
Down past my garden, underneath the trees,
There is a place of magic that no-one ever sees,
A little grassy clearing, plain at ones first sight;
But if you take the time to see, you shall find delight.
If you come to see this place, take heed:
you've found the Dell.
I wire wrapped the stone, and then added a dragonfly to the bail, along with some extremely shiny iridescent Czech fire polished beads - when I finally decided it was finished, I thought any respectable dragonfly worth it's salt ought to love it in this dell!
And finally, my last piece this week - drumroll................
Made with a handmade toggle clasp as the focal, and a string of graduated turquoise heishi beads. Lot's of blue air around me - I dropped the beads, and spent time scrabbling around on the floor on my hands and knees, and then reassembling them into the graduation on a bead board, swearing softly to myself all the while - then stringing them so that the focal bit was to one side with the larger beads at the bottom of the necklace.
One of my friends asked if I would write a guest post for her blog on 'What is Statement Jewellery and How to Wear it' - I began to put some thoughts together - I found that I had so much to say, that I decided to start a mini series here, on the Caprilicious Blog - each week, I'll start off with a paragraph or two on how to rock your statement jewellery - I am very excited about this little project - if you have any questions for me, do post a comment and I'll try my very best to answer them.
That's it for this week folks, have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for dropping by. We've had some wonderful weather in the UK and the garden is coming along nicely, although it is way away from being at top dead centre. I have been out and about with my camera, recording what is for us, spring in full cry.
This is my neighbours Laburnum tree - it is beautiful in spring, and then fades away into obscurity for the rest of the year - but isn't it just so beautiful??
My muse decided that I would go back to my roots this week. The first piece I felt compelled to make was with the last of my Nepalese pendants - that reminds me, I really ought to go and hunt down some more.
I found the pendant in my hoard, and teamed its coral and turquoise inlay with bronze shell pearls, blue dyed jade and red agate - the birth of Zeenat, which means decoration, or adornment in Arabic.
Mushika and his Master
Ganesh, the Elephant God has the head of an elephant and the body of a man. The story my grandmother told me about this was that one day Ganesh's mom was bathing and she had asked him to mind the door against intruders. Halfway through her bath, his dad wanted to come indoors, and was refused entry by the lad - his insolence irritated his dad ( who was well known to have anger management issues) so much, that he cut off his head in a fit of pique ( he did much worse things when he was really riled! although in the picture he looks like butter wouldn't melt in his mouth). There were no social services in those days, unfortunately or dad would have been in BIG TROUBLE.
Mom then gets out of the bath, humming to herself, and is horrified when she sees what has happened to her darling, obedient son - she threatens dad with murder and mayhem, and following a ding-dong row, he agrees to put things right and is issued with a high decibel deadline .....'or else'.... - he sends someone out for a new head - the half blind idiot who went looking (the calibre of servants was shocking in those days) brought back an elephant's head - the deadline was upon him and dad thought he'd just stick the head on and hope for the best, maybe even hide mom's glasses so she couldn't see too well........and the rest is history! Ganesh is known to love his food - well, you would comfort eat too if you were a cute little boy one day and this happened to you - and besides, he is half elephant, and everyone knows elephant's eat a lot (that's his excuse and he's sticking to it).
As for Mushika, he was once a beautiful and vain celestial being, who got on the wrong side of a sage and was turned into a mouse for his pains! He made such a nuisance of himself with his bad behaviour (everyone knows that mice are ill mannered), that eventually Ganesh caught him and decided to sit on him much like other children ride on their dogs. Poor Mushika was in deadly danger of being squashed to death by this portly elephant/child, and begged him to loose some weight - but we all know how hard that is, so by a sleight of hand, the elephant god made himself lighter (wish I knew how to do that) whenever he rode the mouse, and they lived together happily ever after.
I managed to run through approximately 2 Kilos of wire and had to send off for new supplies - this is in addition to the fine weaving wire, and the silver wire I have used over the last year and a half.
I brought this piece of glass back from Murano - it looks like someone has dropped a pebble into a body of water and made a SPLASH! Embellished with miles of wire, it makes a beautiful pendant.
I am now officially the jewellery designer for Look in the Bag's new collection of silk scarves. They are a small company, founded by a graphic designer and her husband. She draws and paints the designs and then transforms them magically into silk scarves - well it is magical to me, because I have no idea how it is done - probably child's play to her! They market the scarves, each with it's own little bag and a piece of jewellery to match, on their website - I have bought some as gifts myself, and am proud to be associated with the brand. Andrew, has some fantastic tales to tell about the 'models' who wear their scarves ( He's definitely a budding novelist), and Neelam designs the scarves and draws all the illustrations - I just love the whimsical way they present their wares.
Here they are, worn by Neelam's models - my photographs are from the ones I sent out for approval as I went along making the collection to her specifications.
I made them up one design after another earlier on in the year, with Neelam abroad having the scarves made up to her satisfaction. I must acknowledge 2good claymates for the fabulous tutorial they posted on their website, from which I took some of my ideas for the scarf jewellery.
The photographs of the prototypes went back and forth, till we agreed on the design, and I made the requisite number up for her. Each time I made one of the pieces, I fell in love with the scarf and decided that I was going to have to buy it - until the next one! Fickle, huh??
That's it for this week - hope you've enjoyed the read - have a good week, and see you next week, same time, same place
When I first started to make jewellery, I was given a piece of advice which has stayed with me - a pretty clasp lifts a simple necklace to greater heights, like nothing else can. Since then, I have been a clasp junkie, spending prodigious amounts of money on store bought clasps. When I had the exhibition over in India, I watched ladies walking around the room, and to a (wo) man they all noticed the clasps. In fact, one woman chased me around the room asking me where I had got them from, and would I please sell her some, forgetting that this was an exhibition of jewellery, not jewellery findings, and that I was highly unlikely to be carrying extra clasps in my suitcases!
My love affair with the clasp has continued to the extent that I am now making clasps for myself, in an effort to make them one of a kind and different from the ones that other jewellery makers use. Tutorials from the likes of Nicole Hanna and inspiration from Sharon Solly have helped, as well as a book by Denise Peck in my latest endeavour. I sent a sample to my friend BN, and she used the clasp in ten different ways and sent me photographs to show me what she had done with it - she still hasn't told me which one of the ways was her final choice for the necklace she made!
Ten Ways to Use a Clasp, by BN
I also made some faux lamp work glass toggle clasps out of polymer clay and wire using a tutorial written by Amber of Caterpillar Arts and inspiration from work by Sharon Solly - these are colourful and playful and I will need to find the right beads for them.
Another toggle clasp inspired by Nicole Hanna was used in a necklace made of wood grain jasper and gold coloured crystals - I tried to break up the browny - golds of the necklace with blue crystal beads and dichroic glass.
Dryads are tree nymphs in Greek mythology, each one looking after a particular tree in the woods, punishing thoughtless mortals who injure their trees.
This necklace was named after the beautiful mystical, serene, angelic face in this pendant. The Archangel Ariel, predominantly in Hebrew writings, is thought to be the angel of nature - had she been Greek, she would probably have been closely related to a Dryad, as she too guards nature and trees and punishes humans who harm them.
The quartz needle points in the necklace have been heat treated and coated with titanium and gold vapour, and teamed with green crackle quartz.
I made the wire accent beads myself out of yards and yards of fine wire wrapped over a frame.
It was a beautiful weekend, the sun was shining, the peonies were out and we went to the pub for Sunday lunch. These hollow faux ebony and ivory focal beads in my hoard were just right to wear with white linen summer clothes - I strung them on waxed linen cord, with bone beads and cowrie shells - summer necklaces for the boho chick!
Spirals are a compelling shape and have universal appeal - I'm not sure why this is, perhaps because they are the most natural shape seen by our eyes and enter the subconscious right from the very beginning. The spiral shows up often in nature - in the pattern of seeds in a seedhead, in the growing tips of ferns, in the pattern that leaves grow on a stem, in the shape of a nautilus shell, and imprints itself deep into the subconscious mind, so that when seen again the shape is familiar and pleasing to the eye.
I too love spiral patterns, and made these faux bone hollow beads with spirals of bright coloured 'zippers' wound around them. Teamed with faux ostrich egg beads and a large chunk of sponge coral, they make a light but chunky necklace - another one to go with the summer linen outfits.
I found these two shell pendants in a most unlikely place in the house - I think my house elf got fed up of hiding them from me and tossed them out for me to find - I quickly turned them into pieces of jewellery, before he pinched them again. I asked my Facebook fans to help name the one and Minerva's Prize was the name bestowed on it. I called the second one the Whirly Shell Pendant. With both, I have echoed the pattern and shapes in the shells with the wire.
I hope you've enjoyed looking at this weeks 'makes' - catch you next week, same time, same place - have a fabulous week
Hello readers, I hope you are all feeling better than I am today - Mike and I have had the flu for nearly two weeks now - I had a week off work and spent Easter in bed. But, things are looking up now, and I am looking forward to the weekend.
This whole week I stayed warm in my armchair, making little bits and bobs with wire and beads.
The Islamic origins of these Moroccan beads are obvious - they come from a shop in Casablanca, as do these pictures of the Hassan II Mosque.
The amazonite slab nuggets in this piece are cut in such a way that when strung, it gives an illusion of there being two strands of beads - a very clever way to cut the stones, as two strands of these undoubtedly beautiful gemstones would be too heavy - and expensive!
The Butterfly's Wedding
I acquired a pendant made of a sheet of mother-of-pearl from my friend BN, and it lay around the house for a while, my house elf moved it from spot to spot - until one day, I decided to make something with it before the elf 'disappeared' it forever! I sat down with it one evening, and played with wire - I meant to cover over the brown markings on the edge of the pendant - to my mind, they marred what would otherwise be a pretty, shiny sheet of MOP. But by the time I was done, I had used the entire pendant as a backing sheet for a profusion of leaves, vines, and tendrils in a fanciful garden populated by crystal butterflies. The piece reminded me of a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen called 'The Butterfly' - you can read it if you have the time and want to find out what happened - just click on the link - it is the story of a butterfly who was looking for a bride, and the most famous quote from that tale is “Just living is not enough, said the butterfly, one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower for company.”
I've been experimenting with using donuts as focal beads, held in an asymmetric wire weave, which is harder than you might think. These donuts have no aperture where the wire may be passed vertically through them - the central hole has to accommodate the wire, which has to pass through it gracefully, and yet securely. I tried out yet another method, using approximately four feet of the heavier gauge wire, and twenty feet of the fine weaving wire - and another evening bit the dust! The stone here is a blue agate geode with druzy, which is a coating of fine crystals on the stone fracture surface, in the centre.
More Earrings and a Giveaway
Although I felt better with each day, I hadn't the strength to summon my muse and put her to work - I felt as if I was chasing her all around the room, and boy, was she eluding me.
I gave up in disgust, and made some earrings with ideas I had had earlier, but just not executed yet.
My mother turned 87 on the 22nd - she is fit and well - in fact she's fitter than I am - she walks on a treadmill every day for an hour, and takes painting lessons, to which she has to climb two flights of stairs. On that day, I felt well enough to want to play with clay, and although I didn't spend too much time in my craft room, I managed to make these little sweetpeas, and turned them into earrings that evening. I decided to host a giveaway - yes I know the last one was a disaster, logistics wise, but what can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. So, the earrings are on Facebook till Sunday the 27th - all people are required to do is to like them and share the image on their page - I will draw the five people who win the earrings from a random number generator.
That's me for this week folks, thanks for stopping by, have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, 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
I deserve my halo this week, I really do - the sand from the Sahara has blown over to the UK and it feels like every grain has ( at least he thinks so) firmly settled on my poor husband's chest; making him wheeze and groan and thump his chest, in an effort to expel it.
I watched him, unmoved - and unmoving; until he began to cough like a dog - a dog with diphtheria! I had to sit up and take notice then, and thought it was time to minister to him - but now, even my halo aches with fatigue!
Mike is no different to any other man who gets 'man-flu', and he loves to exaggerate - so usually I just allow him to malinger on. This time however, the half human/ half Baskervillian-hound cough scared me (and I don't scare easily), so I bestirred myself with inhalers and steam, antibiotics and rice pudding (??!!) - he's still moaning and groaning , so I've sent him off to bed for a bit, while I write this.
Betwixt and between playing an angel, I took time out to play with wire - the easiest medium to work with, as I can put it down when summoned to fetch a cold compress to soothe a fevered brow. Having pulled out a couple of glass donuts, I made a couple of pendants and connected them together to make one piece - this was inspired by a conversation between two ladies on a wire-work forum on Facebook about the difficulties people who are left handed face when they try to follow instructions written for right handed people. I thought I'd try to make two mirror image pendants and link them together - it is good practice anyway and comes in handy when making earrings. The second donut is a bit smaller than the first, and the central bead is a little faceted agate.
My friend's daughter Meg, took me out to lunch on my birthday, and she was wearing some earrings that I had made a while ago.
In this picture she is wearing them on holiday in St Lucia - the design is quintessentially Indian - called a jhumka - a sort of an umbrella or bell shaped earring worn on a hook or attached to a flower shaped post earring. I decided I'd make yet another pair using only wire and a couple of shell beads I had bought from a friend recently. The shell beads are a beautiful silvery blue, and have black squiggles on them - they are fairly rare, and very pretty. Once the earrings were made, I put together the rest of the shell beads in a necklace, along with cylindrical beads made of wire.
The hyacinths are out in the garden - this is the first time I planted some, so I am very pleased to see them pop up for me. We have some bluebells and primroses as well, and of course, the daffs are out. It will soon be warm enough to go out and do stuff in the garden - not yet, and certainly not this week, I would only be followed by a plaintive call for a cuppa and a paracetomol and a hacking cough that was feeling very sorry for itself indeed!
My house elf has been at work again - I bought some beautiful earring components shaped like little orchids - and they have been spirited away, never to be seen again. I wonder if there is a little dead letter office-like space in my house where this elf is secreting all my lovely stuff - if so, I am in for a fabulous surprise one of these days. I only hope my stuff hasn't gone into one of our 'circular filing cabinets' and thence to the tip!
That's all I've had time for this week folks. I'd better go and fill the hot water bottle, twitch the blankets, plump up some cushions, and generally soothe the fevered brow - honestly, this angel lark isn't a barrel load of fun.
Have a good week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, thanks for stopping by - it is a great pleasure to meet up with you again, albeit virtually.
It gives me a great thrill to announce today that I have a new collection - a 'Luxe' collection for you, made using silver pendants I have sourced on my travels, and semi precious gemstone beads. I did a lot of shopping for Caprilicious from the earnings of my first ever exhibition in January, and it has taken me a couple of months to work away at them patiently, so that I would have a coherent body of work to display on the website.
I strive to keep my jewellery interesting, one of a kind, and affordable - the 'Luxe' range will perforce have to be at the higher end of 'affordable' - but I promise to always do my best by you, my Caprilicious ladies.
It is my birthday this weekend, and I decided that this date would be the deadline ( I like working to a deadline - although I'm usually late! ) to place before you...... (drumroll) the Silver Seduction page on the Caprilicious website.
I play this piece of music for you for no reason - other than because I love Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grapelli - they are fabulous together and this swing interpretation of J'attendrai is something else - enjoy it while you read on.
J'attendrai translated means I will wait - as do I, with bated breath to see how my Luxe collection will be received by you, my readers. I love to hear from you, so do drop me a line in the comments section and tell me what you think.
This is a sneak peek at some of the stuff I will have up on the website tomorrow...............................
There will be lots of pictures on the Caprilicious Facebook page and of course, on the website page, Silver Seduction. Mike is taking me on a short mystery theatre break to London for my birthday (I just happen to have seen the tickets as I know all his hiding places - but we wont tell him) so I will be posting these on the website a day earlier than I originally announced - on the 29th of March, before we take the train down.
That's it for today - have a great week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
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
The oldest child always has it bad - conformity, and the setting of a good example are phrases one hears ad nauseum. So I conformed, people, I did as I was bade, until I was sick to the back teeth - but yet, somehow, I didn't fit in - wherever I went and no matter what I did, I couldn't put my finger on it, but I just didn't fit the mold. Of course, I soon tired of the quest to conform - I do what I do, in my own way - take it or leave it - I guess that's what's called growing into your own skin - or even growing up!
The magic of making my own jewellery has allowed me to be non conformist in glorious technicolour - now, my quest is to find other people, who like me have gone with the flow in their murky past, but are ready to shake their bootees and sing! C'mon out people, wherever you are................. let's have some fun!
One of my role models is a woman called Kat O'Sullivan - she makes and markets upcycled sweaters - they are snapped up within minutes of being posted on ETSY, and I am the lucky owner of a couple of them. She owns a house called Calico, otherwise known as 'The House That Sweaters Built'. She is most definitely a non-conformist par excellence. She is only a young thing, and I admire her self assurance and insouciance.
The Grow Your Blog Party Giveaway
Jennifer LaVite wins Jungle Drums - a bangle, earrings and pendant set. I hope she reads this and contacts me with her address so I can send it on to her.
I bought these beautiful hollow beads from a shop that sells Moroccan artefacts. The first piece I made was with rough cut black tourmaline nuggets fuchsia pearls and agate beads, and I called it Some Like It Hot. My friend Sheela picked it up while helping to arrange the display for my exhibition. 'Just to save you from finding somewhere to display it' is how she put it - not that space was at a premium, but we didn't argue the point too strenuously. She wore it to the exhibition, 'as a walking advertisement' she said - and then halfway through the day, she found other things she liked, and changed into them instead.
Now that the first bead had found a home, I decided to use a second one from my stash - but this time make it as different as possible from the first. It is always a temptation to make the same thing over and over again - but, that is laziness, and no longer a 'one-of-a-kind' endeavour. I have two more beads, and will endeavour to make each necklace as different from the last one as possible - a challenge! - I love challenges!!
Here's Sheela looking very pleased with herself for snafu-ing Some Like it Hot, and beside it is Mountain Mist, the second necklace I made using the Moroccan bead.
I made this necklace using some of my collection of 'vaseline glass' beads. The colours are very soothing - the pale blues and greens in the original African vaseline trade beads came from uranium mixed in with the glass - these beads of course are contemporary, and thankfully they have no uranium content - you will not glow in the dark!
The Kiss of the Dragon
An ox - bone carved Chinese dragon was the focal point for this piece. Embellished with antiqued copper wire and red howlite beads, it was ready to be hung on a necklace, which I made using fire agate - it seemed appropriate to have a dragon on a fire agate necklace.
I spent a pleasurable weekend, wallowing in clay making scarf jewellery for my friends at Look in the Bag. It has been fun translating my friends ideas into my work - a learning experience for me as I usually make my jewellery to my own specifications. It is nice to have a focus, while I am having fun creating something pretty.
Before I go, let me share this with you - a friend of mine who couldn't come to the show sent a couple of her friends instead - this is what her friend had to say about Caprilicious - I was deeply touched.
That's all I have had time for folks, have a great week, and I will catch you next week, same time, same place