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 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.
Hiya readers, thanks for coming back to the Caprilicious blog today. Easter came and went and everyone scoffed their chocolate eggs and hot cross buns - squillions of calories all in one large collective gulp. I was curious about the Easter egg and tried to find out it's significance.
Apparently, the custom of giving eggs at Easter celebrates new life. For Christians the egg is a symbol of Jesus' resurrection, and when they are cracked open they symbolise the empty tomb. Eggs are rolled by children as a symbolic re-enactment of the rolling away of the stone from Christ's tomb and they are painted (originally red, but now in every colour imaginable) to commemorate the blood of Christ.
The Easter bunny is a throwback from pagan times when the Anglo-Saxon Goddess of Spring, Eostre, had a hare as her companion. The hare symbolises fertility and rebirth, and so does the egg. Later Christians changed the symbol to the Easter bunny which is fluffier and cuter than a hare.
While everyone else was eating their eggs, I was being industrious and making up a few pieces of jewellery for the Handmade Fair. Everyone who reads this blog know that Caprilicious is going to the fair, but if you've just joined us, welcome, I have put this poster on these pages just for you, in case you should wish to come to it.
This week I was attracted to shiny - all the beads that came out of my stash were shiny, quartz chunks and needles electroplated in a precious metal or titanium vapour. I felt like the proverbial magpie that is supposedly attracted to shiny objects.
It started with a remake of my fantasy flower out of bronze clay. I went very slowly and carefully and was rewarded with a large flower that fit in the palm of my hand, about 5" across when I finally opened my kiln up. Here it is, strung on a necklace of Titanium coated quartz needles.
By this time, 'shiny' had engraved itself deep into my psyche and everything I was compelled to make was that way inclined. Without ever making a conscious decision, I was soon well on the way towards making part of an evening wear collection of necklaces.
Both the Hamsa pendant and the beautiful tassel came from Turkey and I made all the clasps myself, to add further interest to the jewellery. The brown rough cut nuggets in the tasselled necklace are gold vapour coated quartz and they have a lovely dull sheen that a still photograph cannot really do justice to.
While my bronze clay flower was going through it's cycles of creation and drying before going into the kiln I sat with Mike and watched a couple of old musicals while I stitched beads around an ammonite fossil, to end up with this cuff bracelet. The bracelet has an aluminium form inside it to keep it flexible, light and adjustable.
I also put together another version of Berber Sunrise, with faux amber beads, some of which I made earlier right here at Caprilicious and others that I bought in India. The pretty little green patinated beadcaps came from the USA and the enamelled bead came from Morocco.
And that's a wrap for this week, folks. I aim to finalise the way my stall looks this week - it has to be stylish but simple to set up and I have a friend who is going to show me how to do this as she is a 'visual merchandiser' and knows all about these things. Have a lovely weekend, I'm on call at the day job and hope it won't be too busy. Take care of yourselves and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello good people, and a very happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it. Easter eggs are everywhere and I'm going to resist them this year, as always figting a loosing battle with the flab. This year I have the whole of Easter off work and nothing planned, and it feels glorious to think I have no responsibilities except to relax for four whole days. I shall however be making more pieces of jewellery for The Handmade Fair. I spent ages thinking that I had a lot of stuff ready and then someone bought up a bunch of necklaces, leaving me with a hole in my inventory which needs filling, and quick!
Seal of Approval
I love pendants made of handcarved jade and buy them regularly, forgetting each time how irritatingly annoying they are as they never have an integral way to hang them. Perhaps they are meant to be displayed on a plinth or little easel - but as far as I'm concerned, as jewellery, I need to find an engineering solution each time. Each one is different, so one answer doesn't fit all, unfortunately. However, I've always loved finding solutions to problems and enjoy a bit of a challenge.
I managed to hang the pendant on an improvised bail made of coiled wire and added prehnite nugget beads in a lovely shade of pale green. I left the necklace overnight, and by the time I woke up, had decided that it needed a bit more 'Zhoosh'. Four more strands of beads were added, and only then was I satisfied. Turquoise, ruby with zoisite and Czech glass seed beads went into the necklace in a tousled, bohemian look.
I started to make a soutache bezel around an ammonite fossil, not sure what exactly I was going to do with it - perhaps a centrepiece for a cuff bracelet? or a bail for one of my jade pendants? - in the end it seemed to cry out to be strung simply on a strand of Biwa pearls, rather than be part of another piece. The reds and greens reminded me of the military uniforms worn by the Cossack Guards and the Russian folk song 'Kalinka' began to play in my head.
Beetle wings are a tour de force of nature - the jewel colours are amazing. This will be my sixth necklace made from these beautiful wings that once belonged to the Indonesian Jewellery Beetle. My very first necklace was commissioned by Meghna who wore it to a cocktail party thrown by her parents.
Two rows of wings, with a glass tear drop adding a bit of weight to the centre of the piece, drawing it down into the decollete' - a simple, yet effective piece. These necklaces are difficult to photograph lying flat, the wings seem to have a mind of their own. I used up my entire stash in this necklace and hadn't planned on buying any more. Mike was aghast and twisted my arm into placing another order from the shop in Thailand, so it would appear that there are to be more of these on my pages. I will have to think up new and novel ways to make the necklaces as I don't really like to repeat myself. As an aside, the owner of the online beetle wing shop in Thailand is called Ronnie Biggs!! It is either a joke or he is named after his notorious ancestor, in which case, Trains, beware!
That's all I have for you folks. Have a fab Easter break and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
It's Friday, and we meet again. Hello, readers, I am so glad to see you. This has been a busy week at the day job and consequently I am tired and exhausted at the end of it. The weather is slowly warming up and I spent a bit of time in the garden, weeding and clearing out the detritus from the winter and feeding my plants. People who aren't used to seasonal changes in the garden cannot understand how miraculous the regeneration of the garden feels like in the spring and how much it uplifts you. I thank goodness for my garden and Caprilicious this week - they are a balm for my soul.
As it gets dark later and later on in the day, it is wonderful to be able to sit out in the garden with a cup of tea and watch the cats (yes, they are now just over one year old now and not kittens anymore) play in the greenery that is only just breaking free of the ground. Once it gets too cool for that, we go indoors and then I get to play with my beads and wire while Mike idly flicks through the channels looking for something on the TV to round off the day. I am completely addicted to these two entities that keep me sane and punctuate my day with pleasurable moments that make it all worthwhile.
I fell in love with all things Moroccan a long time ago and even made an effort to import one of these tiled Moroccan Zellige fountains for my garden. Unfortunately, the deal fell through. Oh well, it was simply not to be - but isn't it ever so pretty?? It has a tap in the mosaic wall from which water pours into the trough below and is recycled by a pump - not good if you have bladder problems, which, fortunately, isn't a worry, for the moment anyway!
The beauty of the distinctive pink walls of Marrakesh which are made of a red clay and chalk is the inspiration for this necklace. The slab nuggets of quartz have been electroplated with titanium and a couple of gaily enamelled Berber beads are accents that are reminiscent of a Bedouin tent.
A tassel from Istanbul with an opulent bead cap, decorated with Hamsa hands and cubic zirconia arrived last week and went straight into a necklace of amethyst beads. The pendant calls forth memories of beautiful Byzantine architecture conjuring up the Aya Sophia on the banks of the Bosphorus. I attempted to get the necklace to match the opulence of the pendant, using pyrite, shiny crystals and a couple of bronze clay beads I made in my kiln, as well as a baroque crystal dangling from a chain at the back. Tassel necklaces are extremely fashionable at the moment and never let it be said that Caprilicious hasn't got its finger on the pulse. The gemstone beads in the necklace are pretty too and are in the colour I call 'Iced amethyst crush' rather than the usual deep purple that is the norm.
Steel and Rust
I bought the stripy lucite focal bead in India a couple of years ago and had it stashed away. I brought it out and fondled it regularly like a worry bead, without any idea what to do with it - just knowing that it was pretty was enough for the time being.
And then, I set eyes on this picture - a picture of rust growing on a steel door and that was it, like a thunderclap, I suddenly knew what to do with it. The fabulousness of the mouldable colour of polymer clay swung into action and I made the beads in order to create this necklace in the colours of Steel and Rust.
Birds Do It, Bees Do It.......
This lampwork glass bead is almost translucent. Heart-shaped, with a sprig of blue flowers on it, and wrapped in about twenty-five feet of wire it makes a very pretty addition to the series.
That's me for this week, folks. I did start a wire dragonfly, but I soon realised that it was going badly when it began to resemble a cow, with wonky wings at that. Note to self: Don't try to make anything when mentally exhausted. It only turns into a mangled lump of rubbish. I have had to cut it up and rescue the bead, which was rather pretty. The wire went into the bin.
Thanks for dropping by, it means a lot. Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers, and thanks for joining Caprilicious today. It has been a hard week, I worked all over the weekend, and one day seemed to run into the other seamlessly. I did have time to play with clay and a few beads though, and here are the pieces of jewellery I made.
The focal bead in this piece is a lucite bead which resembles a salted duck's egg yolk. One of the methods by which these eggs are made is called Pateros. The duck eggs are buried in clay taken from termite hills, mixed with salt and water, and slowly dehydrated in this mixture at room temperature for over two weeks. The salt enters the egg shells by osmosis, and at the end of the curing period, the eggs are dyed a pretty pink with food colouring to distinguish them from ordinary eggs, and then hard-boiled. The eggs have a salty smell, the whites are gelatinous and the firm yolks are a bright orange-yellow in colour. The yolks are used in Chinese Moon Cakes and as a condiment in bland rice-water gruel and are a delicacy.
I made the black and gold heishi beads as well as the faux amber beads from polymer clay, and put this necklace together.
I ran a little competition on the Caprilicious Facebook page - people had to guess why the piece was called Pateros to win a discount on anything they wanted on the Caprilicious website - and only five people made the connection - congratulations!
Ms. Muse was going crazy this week - I wanted to make necklaces for the last couple of tribal Afghani pendants I had - but she could see the pendants that had arrived from Istanbul last Friday and was itching to get to them. She stamped her little foot and tossed her ringlets - 'I'll thcweam and thcweam until I'm thick' she said, paraphrasing Violet Elizabeth Bott out of the Just William books. I paid no attention and went serenely on my way, collecting materials for and assembling my necklaces - and I must have done a halfway decent job despite her non-cooperation, because one of them was bought within minutes of me posting it on the website.
So have a look at my Tribal necklaces first, and then I'll show you what she helped me make.
The Funky Tribal
I love this pendant - it is just the right size and colour and I teamed it with purple and gold marbled beads.
Midnight in Moscow
And then, finally, it was time to let Ms. Muse loose on the Turkish beauties. The first was a beautiful 22K gold plated bead cap, studded with rhinestones and little Hamsa hands, with a tassel of teal blue crystals. Teamed with titanium plated quartz needles which remind me of the night sky in Red Square, and a large blue agate, this necklace is arguably the best piece Ms. Muse has come up with in a while.
The Topkapi palace in Istanbul is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. I was in awe at the huge uncut emeralds, some weighing a few kilograms that are in the treasury. It also houses one of the largest collections of Kaftans or robes from the middle East. This pendant is an enamelled kaftan with tassels - it was so unusual, I just had to buy it for Caprilicious. I hung it on a simple necklace of creamy white faceted shell pearls, and a few steel grey ones left over from a previous necklace as accent beads.
Sufism is a religion whose roots are in Islam. Jalaluddin Rumi is the best-known scholar, poet and founder of Sufism.
'Sufism espouses a well-founded and thoroughgoing interpretation of Islam, which focuses on love, tolerance, worship of God, community development, and personal development through self-discipline and responsibility. A Sufi’s way of life is to love and be of service to people, deserting the ego or false self and all illusion so that one can reach maturity and perfection'
Dervishes appear to whirl in a hypnotic trance to the untrained eye. However, it is actually a ritualistic dance where the Dervish performs a ritual or a 'Sema' in order to be one with his God.
The Dervish in this pendant is beautifully fashioned, with Arabic calligraphy across his robes. Hung on a necklace of black onyx, I think he looks sumptuous. A bronzite flower, given to me by my friend BN and the enamelled bead caps donated by another friend, Sheela have only enhanced the beauty of this necklace.
Gather Ye Rosebuds
This pendant was made in stages over a few weeks - it is meant to resemble a piece of ceramic pottery - I used alcohol inks to colour it and then coated it with resin to give it a beautiful sheen. The 'rosebuds' - agate beads - were added at the very end. It must be something about spring and the new shoots poking their heads above ground that make me go all floral with my designs. Whatever the reason, I like this little necklace and the earrings I made with the leftover clay to go with it.
That's it for this week, folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place