Saturday, 29 September 2007

Spiralling out of control vs. achieving

Do you ever feel like your life is spiralling out of control? I am a bit of a 'control freak', so it doesn't take much for me to feel like this LOL. But I certainly feel like it at the moment!

There are so many demands on our time - especially if we are mothers and trying to meet all the commitments in our communities, in our families, in our hobby/business and so on.

Take this week for example. Outside of the home/studio I had a family function, took the children to a birthday party and two after school activities, attended a school function and my town's street fair as a stallholder. This meant that I was out 6 out of the 7 days! For the scant few hours that I was home, I was doing things that a mother and wife does around the house, and squeezed in some work on my jewellery in preparation for the fair. I am just starting the next week and find myself surrounded by a messy studio with boxes and stock everywhere (I've just started to unpack it all from the fair last night), mountains of laundry and a list a mile long of things I have to do!! I am also looking after the farm whilst my husband is away, but what the heck, just add a few more lines to the To Do list.

However, although I feel rather overwhelmed I really have had an extremely satisfying week as well! I got to see family I haven't seen in months, I watched the children enjoy a birthday party with their friends and improve at their dancing classes and even saw them perform, caught up with other parents at the school function and had a brilliant day at the street fair (once the wind died down LOL).

Its important to be able to look at the positive side of things and see what you have achieved rather than seeing the downfall in everthing. I read a post on the Etched in Memories blog and although is about achieving success, it does point to the positive aspect of it all and I can see comparisons to our daily lives.

After all that I need something pretty to look at....

I sold this lovely necklace last night to our Mayor's wife. Although we are going into summer here and this piece is almost autumnal, the colours looked lovely on her and I am sure she will enjoy it. It is made of pearls in tones of gold, green, cranberry and creamy apricot, plus BC Jade, citrine and garnet.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

A great show and a summery jade necklace

Well, the Merriwa Show has been and gone and what a great time was had by all! You may or may not have heard but there has been an outbreak of Equine Influenza in Australia and all horse movements have been banned to limit its spread. This of course has had a huge impact on regional and local agricultural shows where horses still play a big part in the program. The number of attendees were reportedly down, but the organisers had a great idea of doing the events withOUT the horses. For Merriwa, this meant, for example, replacing the horses with quad bikes in the calf-roping competition and the barrel race! Apparently it was great entertainment and perhaps it will become a fixed part of the show scene - after all a lot of farmers (around here at least) use bikes instead of horses (us included!).

I didn't actually get to see any of this - only had it reported to me. Why? Well, I was exhibiting in the 'ladies' pavillion along with the cooking, craft, horticultural, art and flower displays, and all the lovely people coming through kept me exceedingly busy! I usually try to take an assistant to an event as it just gets a tad busy trying to talk, to process transactions, to wrap and give general assistance to people trying on necklaces, etc.. I DID take my husband, but he decided he was no help at all and disappeared for most of the day!!! I told him that I could use some help wrapping and he said to my (luckily very friendly customer), "Madam, would you like to wear that?" lol. Ah well. At least he was invaluable during packing up!

All in all its been a particularly popular time for my jewellery - the warmer weather perhaps, or have I just been recognised? I even note that in my very favourite shopping blog My New Shiny Shoes that one of my bracelets was listed a couple of weeks ago :) See it here. I have found so many wonderful bits and bobs to buy from this blog that I am sure I would never have found by myself!

I also sold the bracelet featured in my last post! Inevitable really, it was soooo pretty. And it has gone to a lovely young lady who I know will look after it and cherish it.

I have included a pic for today's post - its just such a summery, pretty piece! It is a necklace of Soo-Chow jade (treated) and lovely big fat white freshwater pearls. Its so simple, but the colours of the jade are vibrant and the flattering glow of the pearls onto your face is an added bonus ;)

Jade is a tough stone with a hardness of 6.5-7. Although encompassing two distinct minerals - jadeite and nephrite- they are better known and treasured as simply 'jade'. Translucent to opaque it is cut en cabachon to highlight its beauty. These days a lot of jade is treated to some amazing colours, which obviously don't occur naturally, but make for beautiful jewellery! Jade has been used throughout history - in early times for weapons, and in China for over 2000 years for carved figures and symbols used in religious and mystic rites. Valued more than gold in pre-Columbian Central America and its name derives from piedra de ijada which was a reference to its metaphysical properties of healing and protecting the kidneys. The particular stones seen above, are from the Soo-Chow area in China.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Enjoyment in what you do and a favourite bracelet

I am just soooo in love with this bracelet - I'm showing it off to everyone at the moment! In a way, this bracelet defines the enjoyment I get from designing and making jewellery, although it took reading to make this connection ;)

I love how I can put stones and or pearls together and it works - the result of the whole is even better than the individual pieces that went into it. Yes, the lime green pearls are beautiful, and so is the amethyst, the aquamarine and the other pearls - in lavender, purple and grass green - but put them altogether and WOW - it really 'pops'!

The happiness I get from the design and creation process is why I keep doing what I do, and my passion (and we ALL need to have a passion in some aspect of our lives) is what makes my jewellery appealing to others - people want to have a piece that is not only attractive to them but because it has a tiny piece of my passion in it - they remember my eagerness and happiness when talking about it to them.

I think myself fortunate to be able to do what I love as a 'job'. It makes the not so nice work that is involved quite bearable.

What is your passion?

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Sunstone and first spring show for 2007 a success

Well, I'm back! I had a wonderful time in Nyngan - the View Club ladies were so very welcoming!! A big thank you to Di who organised for me to come out there and to Ruth for billeting me out for the night :)

I went with fellow Coolah resident, Eleanor Cook, the NSW Rural Woman of the Year who was speaking to these groups about herself and how she got to be voted as the NSW Rural Woman of the Year. It was fascinating to hear her story as one of 12 children (11 girls and 1 boy) in suburban Sydney, her life in PR and marketing, and her move to the country. As part of her new community she saw the town with the fresh eyes of a non-local and saw there was a need to revive the town which, over a period of many years, she worked so tirelessly on. The current town of Coolah, also recently voted as "community of the year" really has a new view on its existence and is determined to survive regardless of the closure of a large employer a few years ago and the rather devastating drought from which most of us are still recovering. It is wonderful to see the difference that one person can make - we tend to take these people for granted, but they work very hard to improve the lot of the majority, which they really should be recognised for! Eleanor's message to the ladies of Nyngan was to work out a plan - find what everyone agreed was important to improve, then work on it - keep the big picture, but work on the project in small bites - and as these projects are successful, celebrate your achievement with the community to keep them motivated and involved. By the time Eleanor had finished her talk, there were lots of motivated ladies, some of who needed new jewellery ;) - the feedback on my spring collection was dazzling! Thank you ladies!!

Speaking of dazzling I wanted to share a pic of this beautiful sunstone necklace that has gone to a new home with one of the Nyngan ladies - it was only made a couple of weeks ago as were a few of the pieces I sold this week - so I won't get the opportunity to share it again I less I post it here!

The necklace is made of large, smooth nuggets of sunstone - a plagioclase feldspar which has shiny flecks of orange-red suspended within the stone which catch the light as it moves and give a beautiful, understated flash. Of average hardness (6-6.5) it is usually transluscent and one of the most well known sources of sunstone is Oregon in the USA. When I was looking at designing this piece I was in a conundrum - it's such a unique colour that other stones and pearls didn't enhance either the sunstone or themselves so what? I tried silver with it - but it drained the colour. I tried gold but it was too 'brassy' looking. Then I had tried silver and gold together and hey presto - just enough and not too much.

Metaphysically sunstone instills good nature, restores a good view on life and allows the real self to shine through. Traditionally it is linked to luck and good fortune.
No wonder I like it! Do you?

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Nerves, challenges and a flower necklace

I'm off to Nyngan tomorrow for my first spring showing and I'm running around like a 'headless chook' as my Dad says. At least I now have a huge pile of boxes/bags to put into the car, so I am almost there. But I'm a bit worried about the drive - getting there on time and safely and a little nervous about the show itself! I have so much new stock that I have never displayed before, so the whole display will be different and new and take some 'tweaking'. A couple of shows in, I'll know exactly what has to to go where and I will feel like an old hand at it again!

I've been reading more blogs (yes I know - I should be working *guilt* LOL) but I loved this post on The Tall Poppy blogsite It initially got my attention with the picture and story of a cow (since I'm surrounded by them on a daily basis, they're a bit hard to ignore ;) ) Anyway, is a brilliant, uplifting story and does indeed make you wonder what is possible if you put your mind to it!

Keeping that idea in mind, the piece pictured above is one that took a lot of courage/commitment to make. I have made a couple of the gem 'flowers' before but they're difficult for someone who doesn't do a lot with wire wrapping and in the past very sore fingers from manipulating the wire has been the side effect! Nevertheless, I had this picture in my mind of a feminine choker or necklace made of flowers and I think it worked really well. It took well over a day to make it plus time to refine the design. And yes I did get sore fingers and a few broken nails too. But it just went to show that 'doubting' part of me that I can succeed if I try!

The necklace is made of many feet of sterling silver wire, the flowers are made of amethyst (purple), rose quartz (pale pink) or rock crystal quartz (clear), the centres are citrine (pale yellow) and the ends are peridot (green) representing the foliage. It is ended with an extension chain so that it can either be worn as a choker done up fully or as a necklace utilising the extension chain.

Do you like it?


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