Hello folks, thanks for joining me again. Last week, Mike and I went to the ballet - he got us tickets to The Sleeping Beauty in Birmingham. To avoid the nuisance of having to find a parking space and driving around the one way systems which are totally clogged up due to repairs and urban regeneration projects, we took the train in to Birmingham and made a day of it. I love all dance forms, and this ballet, with the evocative music of Tchaikovsky is close to my heart. Mike has the music on vinyl which he sometimes plays when we are in the garden and it is quite magical.
Before the matinee they had a short programme about how the show was made and set out costumes and ballet slippers for kids to try on and have their pictures taken. While I waited for Mike to deposit our coats in the cloakroom I saw this young family with their two daughters delighting in the costumes and took some of my own pictures with their permission. These kids were a delight to watch - just look at the expressions on their faces, they were quite the divas!
This pendant has been a long time in the making. I made it bit by bit, gently feeling my way through the mist of a lack of formal design - I started with a butterfly and then added a flower, and then snaky vines and a waterfall of a tassel and created a mini scene from a rainforest, with the butterfly flitting over an exotic flower. I added three rows of crystals and a beautiful abalone clasp and suddenly it was done! As with many other Caprilicious pieces it is a showstopper, for extroverts only!
And if you think my made up flower is a bit strange, check out this flower that grows in the rainforest - when I first saw this picture I thought it was 'fake news' but no, it is called the Hot Lips Flower (Psychotria poeppigiana). It grows on a small shrub that lives under the rainforest canopy. The bright red color attracts birds to pollinate it.
Well, that's all I had time for this week folks. I hope you enjoyed your little read of my ramblings. Have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, nice to be able to chat to you again today. In a marked contrast to the last couple of weeks, I've had a couple of days off which made all the difference and gave me a bit of a respite from the usual grind.
When I can, I like to go down to London - it is only an hour and ten minutes away from me on a train and the tickets are relatively inexpensive these days if booked in advance.
I had to go down anyway for a meeting to do with work, and rounded off the day by meeting Nimmy Victor of Sanskara Designs. Nimmy mainly makes beaded necklaces with gemstones and silver elements in a beautiful ethnic Indian style and I have often admired her designs from afar. We've never had the occasion to meet, and I thought it was time to remedy this. We arranged to meet at Camden Town tube station and spent the afternoon together checking out the shops, eating street food, and finishing off with a drink at the bar in Gilgamesh. It was great to meet someone like minded and bounce ideas off each other. I took her a polymer clay pendant I made, and she brought me some gemstones. She also gave me a carnelian cabochon and a Pietersite tumblestone saying, 'I'd like you to make something for me with these two, please.' That was it - no instructions, no colour choices- no pressure then! Here are some pictures from our visit to Camden town.
As you can see Camden Market is quirky and colourful. It was a bit quiet, but that was because it was a Monday afternoon, I'm sure it gets really busy around the weekend. It was freezing too, and we downed loads of hot tea to keep ourselves warm. We felt really sorry for the poor traders - they were in unheated premises, and weren't allowed electric fires due to the risk of fire. I caught the 9pm train back from Euston tired, but happy.
I decided that I was going to set the carnelian cabochon in a bead and soutache pendant. The tumblestone of course, would have to be wire wrapped. It's a long time since I've been back to the basic wire wrap that I learned six years ago, using square and half round silver wire, but I was determined that I would succeed in wrapping an awkward shaped slippery stone, which was also rather pretty, so I'd need to allow most of it to stay on display, rather than cover up it's beauty with wire squiggles and curlicues.
I glued the carnelian to a piece of backing and beaded around it until it was firmly held in place by a bezel of beads. Many soutache pattern books attach braid directly around the glued down cabochon, but I've never trusted glue as a permanent attachment and feel that if I'm going to take the trouble to make an elaborate piece of jewellery, I'd like it to last a little longer than the unknown lifespan of the glue I've used.
Once that was done, I encircled the stone with soutache braids and made some pretty curlicues at the ends, filled with corals and pearls. More beads and even more braid followed until I decided that I ought to stop before the pendant became too unwieldy. There was more to do, I had to embellish the edges with a picot and cover the back with ultrasuede. I also had to devise a method to hang the pendant. Decisions, decisions!!
And then a minor mishap occurred, and I ran out of beading thread! I hadn't kept up with my supplies, or lack thereof, and had run out of thread in the middle of a project! There's nothing worse than having to stop when you've just had an idea how to do something that seems incredibly important and ephemeral. I went online and bought another reel immediately, and was surprised and pleasantly astonished when it arrived in the post the next morning.
Ta Dah!! The Reveal
And it was done - I put a bail on it using beads, backed it with ultrasuede and that was it - or was it? I kept looking at it, and the bail seemed so plain, there wasn't any oomph! to it. So I picked it up again and added two more beads and all of a sudden, I was satisfied. Phew! There wasn't any more space to add a single bead - although momentarily I considered adding more to the picot edge, or even another edging behind the picot. But no, I put my foot down with a firm hand and that was definitely that. Besides, I still had the Pietersite tumblestone to deal with, so I got busy looking for my stash of silver square wire and clearing the decks of beads and other detritus from the soutache pendant.
This one had to be really, really simple, in stark contrast with the previous piece - after all, this is Caprilicious Jewellery, and I cater to every mood and caprice including my own. I went back to basics and made a spartan setting for this stone. It is a lot harder to do than it looks, but very rewarding. The stone was too fat and odd shaped to do much else with it unless I used my new found skills to solder together a frame. This way is just as nice, in my opinion - what do you think? Will she like it?? The pietersite itself has a chatoyancy that only just shows up at the bottom right of the stone in the photographs and is very pretty.
Caprilicious will be at The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday, the 1st of December - if you are in the area, do drop in - we are there till 8pm.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, and how are you today. This week has been dogged by rain and has literally been a wash out.
I've been having trouble with my website all week and the folks from Weebly seem to have no idea how to deal with it - indeed, as I type these words, I have no idea whether they are going to reach anyone at all, and if this is a complete waste of my time.
I pay these guys a hefty sum of money each year and if I cannot reach customers and readers, there's not much point to it, is there? I used to see a blank page when I tried to load my website on previous occasions, and now to my horror, the message above is what I can see.
We hosted a barbeque last weekend - and that was a washout too - it didn't rain heavily, but kept up a miserable drizzle which meant that everyone came indoors and the house was in a terrible state by the time we finished, with around twenty people tramping through it. Cleaning up has taken the bulk of my spare time, but everyone enjoyed themselves, and that was the main thing. Michael insisted on cooking outdoors on the barbeque - which although meant to be portable, is so heavy that we would need to harness it to an elephant to move it. The last time this happened to us a few years ago, four strong men were required to move the damn thing from the garden into the garage. With all the uncertainty and moving from the garden into the house, back and forth I was quite exhausted and forgot to get pictures, which is quite rare for me as I am generally quite snap happy.
Between furious bouts of cleaning up, redistributing leftover food into the freezer and to people who would take it home, I set out to create a soutache pendant and am still at the stage where it is only half finished. I've taken some pictures quickly with my phone, so that you can be part of my journey, as ever. Hopefully you will get to see it shortly when the guys from Weebly wake up and come to work in a couple of hours and I can set them to work sorting out my website.
This is how I intend to complete the piece next week, and find some way of stringing it into a necklace. The dichroic glass cabochon at the centre of the larger piece was bought at an art fair and is really pretty. Unfortunately, I cannot remember who the artisan was.
That's me for this week, folks. I shall go to work now, and sort out the good chaps from Weebly when I get back. If you can read this and have any suggestions for me, do share them in the comments below. I am thinking of moving over to Wordpress - what do you think? I know it will be hell on legs to make the move - but what choice do I have? This is annoying me so much, I've taken to grinding my teeth when I think of my website, and very soon I shall have no enamel left on my molars.
Catch you next week - hopefully, 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.