Hello folks, how are you. Brrr, it's freezing cold outside and as you find this blog in your inboxes, I will be driving up to Birmingham, to the Etsy fair at the Custard Factory where I will be all day till 8pm. If you live nearby, do come and visit the stall. There are plenty of handmade offerings for Christmas and I will probably be doing a lot of my Christmas shopping there myself.
I'm told it will not be warm in the market hall - especially for us traders, so I've got my thermals and UGG boots on - as the sun sets and the temperature drops, I will probably bring out hats and scarves and mittens, until you might not even be able to tell it's me under all those layers. I hope the Michelin woman look won't put people off, but I'm afraid I shall have to value comfort more. Mike is going to drop me off, and then pick me up when I'm done, and we might even be able to sample some of the street food that will be available in and around the Custard Factory as it is the First Friday of the month. I shall have loads of pictures for you next week.
I make jewellery because I like to, becauses it relaxes me and is a stress buster and so much fun, not as preparation for a fair or show - so I always have stock in plenty and can probably do a show anytime I'm asked, without too much panic or anxiety. I haven't made many new items for the show, but I made this necklace with some of the beads that came with a large consignment containing the shiny crystals from last weeks post and a pendant I made earlier. The pendant is made from dark green, almost black jade, carved into a pair of fish. I put a wirework fish under the pendant and surrounded it with a frame - I originally strung it on leather, but re-thought the design and made a necklace with green turquoise pumpkin beads and coral - very Christmassy, but it will be great all year round too.
I love the turquoise pumpkins - they are so pretty. The second necklace I am going to show you, I've had for a while. I talked about the making of the clasp on this blog, I'm sure I did, and then I made the necklace and forgot to show it to anybody. The poor thing was sitting all forlorn and unloved in a corner of my jewellery case - and that would never do! So here we are, here's Blue Hibiscus!!
The blue hibiscus is not blue, it is a dark purple, and it isn't a hibiscus - it is a mallow. Nevertheless, it is pretty and well worth a second look. I have some in my garden and took some photographs earlier on in the year when it was in full bloom.
I made the clasp in bronze from a design by Barbara Becker Simon who is a top instructor in anything metal clay.
I do love the hibiscus flower - it seems so exotic to me now that I live in Britain. When I lived in India, we had bushes that grew in profusion in our backyard and flowered all year round, yielding offerings for my grand mother's prayers - she would place the hibiscus flowers reverentially at the feet of the idols of her favourite gods - the lesser ones got a couple of jasmine, and least favoured of them all probably got a leaf if she could spare one. As you probably know, Indians have a whole lot of Gods, one for every purpose, much like the ancient Greeks and each household has its deity - grandmas household deity got the largest share of the flowers and prayers, and all the others had to catch as catch can, and be happy with their lot. It's a wonder that there were any flowers left on any of the plants in the garden - perhaps this is why they grew so tall (not because of the sun and the climate, of course) to escape my grandma's pilfering. If she couldn't get at them, though, she would use the crook of grandpa's walking stick and do her best to pull them down - she didn't care about the plants missing their offspring, her Gods had to be propitiated, or else!
Enough reminiscing, I'd better get my a** into gear as this won't get the baby washed - I need to be in that car in about ten minutes time if I want to get into Birmingham and set up before the hordes ( Oh please, let there be hordes!) arrive.
I'll catch you next Friday, have a fabulous week in the meantime.
Hello everyone, how are you today. I've had a relaxed, quiet week without too many ups or downs, and am grateful for it. One of my customers sent me a package full of beads, broken necklaces and other bits and bobs, asking me to make whatever I could of them and throw the rest away. I love this sort of challenge and sat down one evening with a pair of snips, and put the beads together in piles of varying sizes before I could decide what to do with them.
There was a pile of small beads, and another of very large ones and I wracked my brain cells to come up with a solution. Of course, the challenge is to not waste a single bead so for the first necklace, I collected together all the tiny beads, crystals, amethyst chips and brightly coloured elements I could find and put them in a wirework necklace. The proceeds from this necklace will go to the neonatal unit at the hospital.
I think the necklace is particularly pretty - a riot of colour, with every single bead coming from the stash donated by the lovely D - thank you very much. My contribution is the non tarnish silver plated enamelled wire and the skin off my fingertips! All the little beads in the bead soup were used up in this necklace, and I am pleased with the result.
In the second pile of large beads, I found some silvery turban beads and turquoise nuggets. Put together with a faux amber donut pendant I made a few months ago and some red agate beads and there appeared a pretty necklace that I was proud to wear to work on a test drive.
Spindle whorls are African trade beads made predominantly in Mali. They were used worldwide for thousands of years, originally as tools in the cotton spinning industry to increase or maintain the speed of spin. In more recent years they have become much sought after as interesting beads and incorporated into the very fashionable genre of 'Tribal' jewellery.
The whorls were made from clay, amber, antler, bone, coral, glass, metal and wood. Local materials such as chalk, limestone, mudstone, and soapstone, have been used in those found in Mali and Guinea.
Used as weights for traditional cotton spinning, the whorls are fitted at the bottom of the spindle shafts, which are used as supported spindles to spin very fine threads. The bottom tip of the shaft rests in a small bowl placed in the weavers lap or on a table to one side.
I made facsimiles of the spindle whorls using polymer clay - a tutorial was featured in Bead and Jewellery Magazine earlier on in the year entitled 'Doodle Beads', referring to the doodles drawn on the polymer clay once it had been daubed generously with pastel chalk. I had some white ceramic beads that I bought on a trip to India and a couple of coral chunks which I put into a necklace. An Afghani coin decorates the handmade extension chain at the back. The coral appears aged and the necklace appears like an ancient artefact.I took it for a test run, and I got loads of compliments so I took a selfie at lunchtime while I was standing by the microwave waiting for my food to be heated.
This weekend, I shall start to pack my jewellery into a case ready to take to the IDEAS Etsy Craft Market at The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday the 1st of December. If any of you are around, do drop by.
The Custard Factory is where Bird's Custard Powder was first made - all the way till 1964 when production moved to Banbury.
The Custard Factory is the most powerful collection of creative and digital businesses, independent retailers and event venues outside London. Along with its sister project, Fazeley Studios, it forms the heart of Birmingham’s creative and digital district. Just over five minutes walk from the Bullring, it is home to over 500 businesses and hosts a regular calendar of fairs, festivals and gigs, as well as corporate and private events and weddings.
Digbeth comes alive on the first Friday of each month with exhibitions, late-night openings, special events, culture in unexpected spaces, live music, street food and more.
With different things to see and do each month anything could happen on a First Friday night out which runs from 6pm ‘til late. Maps are available online a few days before the event and at participating venues on the day. The Custard Factory venue will be open till 8pm on the Friday so it is bound to be a long, but hopefully a fun day meeting real people who like my jewellery, rather than the virtual reality of a www address.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello folks, thanks for joining me once again. I do so enjoy this weekly chat I have with you, my invisible friends. It would be nice if you posted back at me occasionally - are you sure I can't persuade you to leave me a comment?? I read them all and respond, I promise. We are soon to go on a short break to the Cote d'Azure, so I'll be telling you all about that next time. It will be nice to get some R & R for a short while and we are looking forward to it - except WIlfred the cat, who will have to go to prison for the duration.
I was only sixteen when this song was all the rage, in the Indian equivalent of a sixth form, or pre university college. The songs of Abba always make me shudder slightly as they bring back memories of the late seventies when I was young, diffident, and in a co-ed environment for the first time.
The boys at the college were extremely gauche and unsure of their reception should they make a move on the girls. I know the same is true of teenage boys everywhere, but especially and markedly so at this place, where the boys were in a co - ed environment for the first time themselves, in a fairly repressive society where the segregation of the sexes is the norm.
I was in a group of three girls, and there was this lad who followed us around carrying a portable cassette player in bright red plastic playing 'Nina, Pretty Ballerina' on a loop. We didn't know his name and he was known to us as 'Red Cassette'.
Mind you, at the time, in common with most teenage girls, I was conscious of my weight and felt more like a galumphing elephant than a ballerina.
This lad got on the bus with us every evening and walked 5 paces behind me all the way from the bus stop like a good Indian wife, till I reached my mother's house and went in past the huge iron gates - there was never a word between us in two years and this went on for the whole time that I attended the college. Today, it makes me laugh, but then, at the age of sixteen, it was a bit scary, as I had no idea how this saga would end - as it happened it was a damp squib, but at the time it seemed a lot like harassment. In hindsight, I should have turned around and asked him what the hell he wanted and he'd have probably slunk off, but he could have just as easily got his friends to follow me around making my life hell for the duration, so I was probably wise to leave him alone to his madness.
I have a confession, this was originally two necklaces - one with a single strand of feathers and the second, with three strands of nugget beads and Nepalese spacers. I just felt they went together and Ummmed and Aaahed all evening - I went to bed and woke up ready to remake the necklace - I cut them up before I could change my mind. I find that it is often difficult to make the decision to undo my work at the end of an evening when I am tired. I spend time telling myself that it is fine, and that it will be OK - but 'OK' is not what I'm aiming for and I always end up redoing the piece. I ought to know better and not bother wasting time trying to talk myself out of it. I hope that when it finds it's forever home, the woman who wears it feels like a Dancing Queen.
I've been playing with folding metal, fire, soldering, and patinas with some degree of success. I forgot to neutralise the piece I had left in an acid bath and absent mindedly wiped it on a skirt I was wearing only to find later on in the day that the acid had burned a big hole in my skirt - a bit more respect for the acid pickle is warranted, I think.
And no, I didn't make the flowers, they were bought pre made and I practiced sweat soldering them onto the copper circles that I cut with another of my new tools - I love new tools!!
I received a copy of Bead and Jewellery magazine, vol 80 in the post with a tutorial I wrote in it. The beads I submitted will be back soon and I will have to make something interesting with them.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for dropping by. This week, with a few days off from the day job, I had time to try everything my heart desired - I whacked copper into kingdom come with hammers, soldered wires onto the hammered jewellery, embellished a pendant with wire work and then hung it on a beaded necklace. I've said this before, and I'll say it again - it gives me so much pleasure to make my own components, much more than using shop bought.
The Copper Beech or Sylvatica Purpurea
Last week I played with hammers and fire, and boy, was that addictive. I had a few days off work and caught up with all the chores I had set aside for this week, all the time champing at the bit to get back to the conservatory and play with fire again. I cannot trust myself to use a torch in my craft room - for one thing I share it with Michael and our sizeable collection of books and waving a torch about in it would not be the sensible thing to do.
I made this leaf following a YouTube tutorial by Nicole Hanna, who apart from being a whiz with wire is one of the most generous people I know. She gives of her knowledge so freely and is extremely helpful to newbies in the wire world.
I set an aventurine onto the leaf in a fine silver bezel wire - I only melted one bezel, so that was pretty good going as this is only the first time I've attempted soldering a cabochon since I went to a class with Anna Mazon over a year ago.
The hardest task so far was cutting the copper sheet with the shears without injuring my fingers with the cut edges of the sheet of copper, and filing the edges of the leaf once I'd finished forming it. My hands looked as rough as a bear's backside by the time I had finished, but at least I hadn't cut or burned myself, or the house down.
The next step was to decide whether I'd done enough and use the leaf as a simple pendant, or to carry on embellishing it - and of course there was no contest. Given the chance I embellish anything that is stationary long enough for me to attack it with frills and furbelows.
I once again took a leaf out of Nicole's book and embellished one edge with copper wire work, and then antiqued the piece with Liver of Sulfur and shone it till it gleamed, with steel wool. When I was done, the piece resembled a leaf from the copper beech tree in my neighbourhood. The simplest thing to do would be to hang it from a jump ring as in the picture, but I decided to try and put it on a horizontal slant.
A string of green turquoise slab nuggets were pressed into action and Sylvatica, named after the copper beech appeared.
And I was hooked!
I made a pair of earrings - the copper sheet was fold formed into little half hoops, and I then soldered a sterling silver wire to one end and a jump ring to the other to make a flamboyant, but very light pair of earrings that resembled Fulani earrings from Mali, on a smaller scale, of course.
I made a couple of other little bits but they have yet to be refined and made up - as I said the worst part of this is filing the really sharp edges that appear when the metal is bashed repeatedly with a hammer.
My website is still playing the Scarlet Pimpernel, now you see it, now you don't - the good folks at Weebly are supposedly looking into it, but nothing has changed so far and I am fed up talking to them. I get a new person each time and have to begin the story all over - they don't seem to have any notes, or previous history they can look up - oh, for some continuity of care! I now know how patients must feel and yet I appreciate why I cannot deal with the same person each time. However, at least I have notes that I can refer to beforehand when I see my patients.
That's me for this week folks, have a lovely week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello everyone, I'm glad you could join me today. We are bang in the middle of summer and at last the sun was shamed into showing his face - but who knows what next week will bring? Rather than worry about what is to come I decided to make the best of what we have and spent every day of the week splashing paint onto my garden furniture until it was all painted a uniform shade of sunlight yellow.
I'll bet you're thinking what on earth I was doing painting the furniture a 'Hi-Vis' colour. Well hold on, and I'll tell you. There is a method to my madness, I promise.
We were about to have a retractable poly tunnel like pool cover installed and I wanted to draw the eye away from what I thought would be an eyesore in our little garden. We needed the cover though, cleaning the pool was becoming increasingly a chore as the trees in the surrounding properties shed their leaves and seeds by the lorry load on a daily basis. It was quickly becoming a nuisance rather than a pleasure and something needed to be done, and quick.
This was the end result, and I think the two go well together. We will be able to extend the number of days we can use the pool and reduce the heating bills besides keeping it clean.
I bought a string of coral fossil slab nuggets - I'm not usually one for beige and brown, but these beads are so pretty I couldn't resist them.
Corals are invertebrates that are made up of colonies of tiny polyps, which secrete calcium carbonate to form an outer skeleton. We only get to see the exoskeleton part of the organism, eventually left behind once the coral dies, and turn these into pretty beads and jewellery. Most coral is beige, cream, yellow or black and very occasionally pink or red. .
Millions of years ago, coral lived in warm shallow water. Over time, as plates below the ocean floor shifted, the coral became buried under layers and layers of sediments. As the temperature and pressure changed, the coral eventually fossilised and turned into rock. Fossil corals are actually natural stones that formed when ancient corals were replaced by agate, their hard skeletons fossilising when they were saturated with silica rich water bubbling from limestone. Coral remains were gradually replaced with agate, a variety of naturally occurring chalcedony, or micro crystalline quartz. The fossilised coral typically appears as small flower-like patterns in the stone. You can read more here, if you are interested.
Hand carved bovine bone flowers, copper spacers and a pop of colour with turquoise beads were added to the piece ( I simply couldn't resist adding a bit of colour to what would otherwise be a very sombre necklace) and I think the necklace is very fetching. A couple of copper beads were left over and I added some bone flowers to make little earrings to match. As the necklace is pretty striking, all it needed was an unobtrusive pair of earrings.
That's me for this week folks. Next week I have a bit of time off and hope to play with a bit of fold forming and metal smithing. I will probably end up with lumps of twisted misshapen metal, or I might surprise us all and make something really interesting - who knows? I will keep you posted, as usual.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
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
Hello lovely readers, how are you today?? I hope you are fighting fit this winter and keeping snug as bugs in rugs this winter.
I suddenly find that my trip to India is fast approaching and I have nothing sorted out, with loads of loose ends to tie up at the day job. However, I've still found time to pursue my passion - playing with beads and baubles.
This week has all been about rivers and flat beads, but the two pieces that were born are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. Both focal beads have been in my stash for a couple of years. I tend to do that - pick them up when they catch my eye and leave them lying in the drawer until I suddenly get a flash of inspiration or they call out to me with a game plan.
The huge orange yellow focal bead has sat in my stash for almost three years and I had no clue what I was going to do with it. Inspiration struck over the weekend. I rolled out some polymer clay and cut out loads of flat beads from a sheet of clay. Cured, and strung with a couple of faux spindle whorls that I made earlier, and a few agate beads at the back of the necklace, the necklace is what Mike called 'a brave piece'. He almost didn't believe that anyone could wear it until I wore it to work on Monday morning! I think it looks just fine and it is so light for such an impactful piece that it is a pleasure to wear. Test Drive successful!!
The 'brave piece' needed an equally brave name and with it's African and tribal overtones, I called it Zambezi after the mightiest river in the world. And just so people weren't anxious about how to wear this piece, I threw in some styling suggestions when I posted it on this website. As you can see, I wore it with a simple black dress.
The Karnali is Nepals longest river, originating on the Tibetan Plateau near Lake Mansarovar. It joins the Sharada in India and they form the Ghaghra River, a major left bank tributary of the Ganges.
I bought the two focal beads for an arm and a leg (well, they were relatively expensive for two small beads) from a lady who sells artisan made Nepalese beads. They are so pretty I almost didn't begrudge her the price. Sat in the drawer for a couple of years, they saw a string of turquoise heishi beads that arrived in the post and jumped up and down to get my attention. 'Me,me,me', they cried. 'Oh, ok', said I, and put them in a necklace with a few exorbitantly expensive lapis lazuli heishis that arrived in the post on the same day.
I must start to get my clothes sorted and set out for the marathon packing session I have to go through next week. Have a great week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Good morning readers, as you open the Caprilicious Blog this morning, I am frantically getting stuff together for the Artisan Market tomorrow. This is the first time I have taken Caprilicious to a fair in the UK and I most definitely have butterflies in my tummy. One of my friends is kindly coming up from Cambridge to help me on the Saturday and hopefully all will be well. Do spare a thought for me tomorrow, and if you can come up and see me. As I said last week, introduce yourselves as readers of this blog, and I will give you a 15% discount - a kick start to your Christmas shopping!
Aida is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi. Set in Egypt, it was first performed at Cairo's Opera House in 1871 and continues to be a staple of the standard operatic repertoire.
As the story goes, the Egyptians capture and enslave Aida, an Ethiopian princess. An Egyptian military commander, Radamès, struggles to choose between his love for her and his loyalty to the Pharaoh. To complicate the story further, the Pharaoh's daughter Amneris is in love with Radamès, although he does not return her feelings. And on goes the triangle that is the basis of many a love story.
Coptic crosses are influenced by the Ankh, the symbol of eternal life - the Coptic Christian religion follows the Gospel of Mark and broke away from mainstream Christianity due to theological differences.
Modern coptic crosses incorporate the ankh, circles representing divinity and the resurrection, and the lotus flower, another important symbol in pagan Egypt, relating to creation and resurrection because of the way the lotus appears to emerge from water in the morning and descend in the evening.
The cross I have in this colourful necklace comes from Ethiopia and I teamed it with hand carved jade beads, chunks of waxy orange carnelian and colourful African seed beads in a necklace of many strands, all carelessly tousled into an attractive and messy necklace - I was trying for the inarticulately articulate look, and I hope I have achieved it.
Forever in Blue Jeans
An old favourite, Neil Diamond with Forever in Blue jeans on Jools Holland's show - he has aged well and thankfully is performing in his blue jeans rather than the awful spray on tight trousers he used to wear until not so long ago.
I was flicking through some of the wirework books I have in my little library, and I found a piece by Lisa Barth that I liked. Having made it before, I decided to up the level of difficulty by putting the stone at the end of a torque necklace and instead of attaching it at the end, I started with the pendant which meant that I had what seemed like miles of wire flailing about all over the place until I put my ring clamp to good use, helping me to hold the wires together.
I love the torque style that curves around the neck and can instantly be made bigger or smaller by moving the ends.
Wish me well and spare me a thought over the weekend. I hope it won't be too cold, and the weather will play nicely, unfortunately these are all variables that can make or break a weekend market in the UK. Have a great week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place
Hello folks, how are you today - still rocking the statement jewellery look, I hope. The sun is shining, well, most of the time out here in the UK and all's well with the world.
I decided that I have done all I can in readiness for the Craft Fair next weekend. As you know, it was cancelled a few weeks ago and rescheduled to the Guildhall in Worcester on the 25th of this month. Now that the date is fast approaching I find that I am packed and ready to get on with it, and in my mind I have already moved on to other things.
I bought a couple of leaf skeleton pendants when I was in the USA. I made them myself in previous years, and it isn't a difficult process; just a bit laborious and time consuming. However, this time, I took a short cut and brought a few leaves back with me.
Oh, to be in Baja, California where the sun shines relentlessly, the sea is a deep blue, with dolphins and whales frolicking around you when you go for a swim, and the surf is always up. Pamela Anderson lookalikes, all bosoms, teeth and blonde hair jog along the beach in tiny bikinis, and golden athletic men in budgie smugglers ride the waves towards you (no, not the Hoff, never the Hoff, this is my daydream, thank you very much) ........and POP! the bubble bursts - I am in green and cloudy England with my lovely silver top man and I am content. I can lounge around in my PJ's and not worry about sucking my tummy in, or the state of the hair on my legs - yes, readers, all women do that when they see good looking men in budgie smugglers, it isn't the prerogative of the young!
The cottonwood tree is indigenous to America and provided wood for dugout canoes to the Native Americans. The leaves are very distinctive, but what I liked best was that there was space between the veins for me to embellish the leaves further - if you know me, you'll know that I can embellish in my sleep - Mike swears he'd wake up with braided eyelashes with pom poms on the end if he lay still for any length of time (and I wondered why he thrashed around so much through the night - it is out of fear of being a sitting duck target for my creative talents). I added little turquoise seed beads, labradorite and faceted red jade - and as if that weren't enough, a wire swirl carrying gemstone dangles in front of the leaf.
I love the kyanite nuggets used in the necklace, but it felt like they would make the necklace a bit dark, so I jump started it to a brighter level with seed pearls between the nuggets and luminous coin pearls as accent beads. A butterfly toggle clasp, and I decided I could do no more. Kyanite is a beautiful gemstone - an inky blue with a silvery tinge which comes from aluminium deposits in the stone. I am sure that wherever it ends up, this necklace will be well loved.
Listen to the Rain
A maple leaf skeleton on a turquoise bead necklace, broken up by dyed blue paisley howlite beads and crystals makes this a beautiful summer necklace, light and easy to wear with summer whites. I bought a pair of Xuron super fine Round Nose Pliers to satisfy my inner tool junkie, and wanted to try them out. I undid a string of tiny apatite beads and wired them into a chain. It was very hard to do as the beads are tiny and the bead holes smaller still and I had to use very fine wire. However, it was worth it in the end, though my hands were sore and I was going blind from squinting at it. The addition of Czech glass 'raindrops' at the end of the chains reminds me of raindrops dripping from a windowsill.
I have to share this email with you - this is from a lady I have never met, all the way from Singapore. She took the time to write to me, and she doesn't even like necklaces! I was fit to burst with pride when I saw it. Thank you Mary, I really appreciate the gesture.
That's all I have to share with you this week folks. The garden is responding to all the care we are lavishing on it, but the cats are turning into murderers. In fact we might just as well call our garden 'The Killing Fields', the number of decapitated, dismembered bodies we find regularly in it. The bodies were at first brought indoors as gifts, but I soon disabused them of the illusion that I like cheap presents - I like mine boxed and beribboned, thank you very much!
Have a fabulous weekend - we are looking forward to some sunshine and I, like everyone else in the UK have got into the habit of looking at the long term weather forecast and tapping the barometer hopefully on a daily basis.
Catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello readers and lovers of statement jewellery, thanks for joining me again today. I had a couple of 'catch up' days off from the day job this week,doing nothing but lounging around the house, catching up on the energy that needs replenishing from time to time.
We had news that the show in Worcester that was cancelled a few weeks ago has been replaced by a smaller one-day affair, this time in the Guildhall in Worcester city centre. The event is on the 25th of July and if you are in the area, do come up and say hello, I'd love to see you.
The Pink Planet
The pink planet was discovered by NASA in 2013 - they haven't as yet given the poor little orphan a name - it is called GJ 504b and is dark cherry blossom/magenta in colour. The quest to find out more about it began in 2009, and the astronomers say GJ 504b is about four times the mass of Jupiter and has a temperature of around 237 Celsius. It's star is slightly hotter than the sun, and the pink planet orbits its star at nearly nine times the distance Jupiter orbits the sun. Don't my polymer clay beads look exactly like the pink planet?? I was really struck with the resemblance, which is entirely coincidental.
The beads for this necklace come from all around the world. The brass lost wax cast beads come from Kenya, the luminous ceramic beads, from my visit to the USA, the crystals are Chinese and I picked up the flat blue ceramic bead in India, and of course, the polymer clay pink planet beads were made by me here in the UK from a tutorial by a Frenchwoman on her blog Parole de Pâté - a truly international effort!
A Moroccan enamelled pendant teamed with dyed branch coral in black and gold form the basis of this necklace. The coral beads are light and because they are separated by tiny seed beads, they sit comfortably around the neck. The vendor of the pendant sent me the little Sufi dervish as a gift and I hung it on a chain on the back of this necklace to add a pretty touch to the back.
A beautiful silver tone bead came from Morocco, in the same parcel that delivered the pendant for 'Maroc'. I had a strand of amazonite slab nuggets and I decided to remake a necklace I had made previously, albeit slightly different from the first one.
When first put on, the necklace beads have to be settled around your neck by gently arranging them so that the ends of each consecutive bead faces in the opposite direction and gives the appearance of two rows of beads. Once that is done, it stays put for the entire time the necklace is around your neck. I love the seafoam green of the amazonite - very cool and refreshing on a summers day.
I love the teardrop shaped coral beads that go into this necklace - I've used these beads in various necklaces in all sorts of colours, but red is the one that attracts my eye the most. As I strung the necklace it struck me that the scarlet of the coral looked so much like poppies. Cats eye beads give the necklace pops of contrasting colour at irregular intervals, and a large Moroccan bead in contrasting navy blue provides focal interest.
The origin of the name of this necklace is instantly obvious, given the colour of the beads. Turquoise blue is one of my favourite colours and teamed with copper coiled wire beads and a handmade clasp, this necklace is made so that it can be worn in two ways and still have the copper beads to one side in an asymmetrical presentation - with the clasp at the back, or to one side. The copper wire was coiled on a mandrel, and the resulting coil was coiled again on a thicker piece of wire. The wire is coated invisibly with a coat of polymer so that it does not tarnish or react with the skin.
Although I had loads of time on my hands, I didn't spend any of it cooped up in the house playing with wire or polymer clay. It was sunny and warm, and a lot of my days off were spent playing the hedonist, lying in the garden under an umbrella, drinking pink lemonade, eating al fresco, reading and playing with Charlie and Wilfred.
I know a lot of my regular readers were surprised that I wrote a mid week post - didn't you see it?? Well, it was called Alchemy and you will find it here. It was entirely unrelated to jewellery and you will have to take a look to see what it was all about.
That's me for this week folks. I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place - have a lovely week in the meantime