Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Photography and magnesite



Christmas is over for another year, in fact another year is almost over - only hours to go until 2009 shows its face!

Our christmas was very family oriented and the children had a wonderful time, as they always do. Did you receive anything you just LOVE? I did! I received an autographed copy of the wonderful book A Grain of Sand by Dr Gary Greenberg. I've mentioned it on my blog before as a wonderful look into something so mundane yet so startingly beautiful that you will never look at sand the same way, ever again! Not just a gorgeous coffee table book, there is wonderful information on both Dr. Greenberg's microphotography and on sand itself.

I was contacted by a fellow who saw my admiration of macrophotography and sent me a link to his photos on flickr. He has taken some wonderful shots of stones that would make great wall art.

Bright blue-greens are always popular in summer and I found a great strand of treated magnesite (pictured above made into a necklace) that gives that wonderful aegean green colour. I haven't dealt with magnesite before and was interested to learn more about it. It is commonly found in a massive form (more rarely as crystals) in white/grey/yellow-brown. Fairly soft at 3.5-4 it has been used for sculpture for thousands of years. (A small Mesopetamian lioness sculpture made of magnesite c. 3000-2800 BC was sold by Sothebys in 2007 for over US$57 million!)

Metaphysically it is said to bring deep peace to meditation. It promotes a positive attitude, stimulates ideas yet has a calming effect on emotions. Said to detoxify the body it acts as a muscle relaxant, treats bone and teeth disorders, speeds up fat metabolism and helps deal with fevers and chills. Sounds like I should save a piece for the medicine cabinet! ;)

My family (and I imagine half of Australia) are off to a New Years Eve celebration tonight. If you have such a gathering to attend I hope you have a wonderful time and I look forward to catching up with you in 2009 ;)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Ho Ho Ho - less than a week to go!



Less than a week to go to Christmas! My children have finished school for their christmas/summer holidays and they're almost jumping out of their skins. (When they had to go to school of course, they were dragging their feet and telling me how tired they were. Good to see that hasn't carried over to the holidays ;) ).

The dancing concert went beautifully - the choreography was brilliant and the story clearly relayed. The girls were lovely little white doves in the opening act and my son was a shiny diamond dancing in the mine during the hip-hop segment. I must say he has finally got his dancing together - it has taken two and a half years but he looked great!

We've also had the christmas carnival, christmas pageant and end of school presentation in the last week. So it's been all stations go, go, go.

I have been able to get into the final handmade market of the year in Tamworth, so tomorrow will be a very early start for the 2 1/2 hour drive. Hubby is coming with me this time to help me set up and pull down and has grand plans of buying a newspaper and sitting in a coffee shop for most of the morning!

I have the Christmas letter written and will attempt to write out some cards today in the hope that I can get them all in the mail on Monday. I must be genetically programmed to do the cards late LOL.

The piece pictured today has gone to a new home already - in fact it was purchased as a Christmas gift. The most wonderful druzy chalcedony (little baby crystals that have naturally grown on a chalcedony base) pendant has been matched with peacock pearls of a wonderful lustre and colour and the smallest highlight of sterling silver.

I may not post before Christmas, so if I don't - all the best of the season to you and yours!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Countdown to Christmas


Can you believe Christmas is less than 2 weeks away!? I have (finally, after a dash or two to some favourite online stores) finished my Christmas shopping. (I do still have a couple of gifts to make, but they're achievable!) I've even bought wrapping paper... in fact I'm feeling pretty organised in the pressie department.

This organisation is actually rare for me, so if you find yourself still going "uh-oh" (and you're downunder!) then check out My New Shiny Shoes - a site that specialises in online shopping sites in Australia.

I received lots of wonderful commments about my 'shop' for a day as pictured last week. I also love seeing other people's displays and work and I found that the TiLT Creations blog has posted a great story on a recent handmade show they attended. I wish I would have been there to have a look (and probably buy) some of the wonderful things pictured there!

I have a busy weekend with my children's dancing concert. They're doing a production of Snow White. The twins are doves (classical ballet) in the opening act and my son is part of the diamond mine (hip-hop). The dancing teacher is a wonderful young lady who has much talent and vision and she is taking all her students on an amazing journey through dance. We have dress rehearsal tomorrow and official photos and then two performances on Sunday. I'll post some pics when I get them, although that may not be until next year.

Oh my, that statement has just made me realise that 2009 starts in less than 3 weeks! Eeek. Does that mean I have to think of some new year resolutions too...

Hmmm, might just ignore that for the moment and concentrate on today's picture LOL. I have a large photo that I take to shows that is of a purple bracelet - a lady at Tamworth was so taken with the picture that she requested a bracelet inspired by it and this is it. It's just so rich and lush - amethyst nuggets and big freshwater pearls in imperial purple and a peacock-blue, all on argentinium sterling silver.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Coolah open day



My open day(s) in Coolah went really well - the weather was fairly uncomfortable - it was boiling hot on the Thursday with storms in the afternoon and Friday was pleasant to start with, then hot and humid then storms with HAIL! But, many turned out despite the weather and I had a great time all in all.

I was in town on Thursday this week and some people asked if I was open again that day...

Anyway, here is a pic of my 'shopfront' for the two days - looks pretty doesn't it!



I'm in wind down mode at the moment - I even went Christmas shopping today. Mind you I have bought quite a bit on line, with more to go. And I had better get organised as it is only three weeks to Christmas - eek!

I have to spruce up the house this week and get it ready for the decorations :) Oh yes, I'm getting very much in the 'mood'. Mind you this is regardless of the heat we are currently experiencing. It was high 30s today (celsius) - and what was it - two weeks ago we were huddling around the fire!

I really have to do my Christmas cards soon too. I've already received an indecent number of them. Really, some people are SO organised! If you're running late (like me!) do check out Macaroni & Glue - Kelly has some beaut cards - very different from the run of the mill cards you get at this time of the year. She is also running specials for another week, so hop along and grab a unique bargain!

I haven't had time to load new stock onto the site - but the ring above will be one of them put up soon. Made with peridot (one of my all time favourite stones) and 12ct goldfill. Do you like it?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Christmas state of mind


We're having unseasonally cool weather down here ... in fact, last Saturday I was in Orange and it SNOWED! I've never actually seen snow falling from the sky and was amazed at how soft it was. And boy, was it was COLD. Of course, I wasn't expecting that sort of weather - summer does officially start in less than a week after all - but it was still bitterly cold.

Sunday was still very chilly and we weakened and lit the fire! Ahhh, snuggly warm again. Yesterday we were in t-shirts and then this morning dawned cool and rainy so we're back into sweaters. Whatever is going on with the weather it's decidedly strange!

I must say though, Christmas is easier to think about when it is cool. I find this quite bizarre, as I have never experienced anything but Christmas in summertime. Maybe all those movies and stories of Christmas in the northern hemisphere have addled my brain? Whatever the cause, I find myself thinking more and more of Christmas and definitely starting to feel a little jolly!

We have had a 'pretend' tree for the few years so the children can enjoy the Christmas spirit for as long as possible. This year they are going to be almost 8,8 and 11 so we've decided to go back to the family's traditional way of doing things - which is to get a live tree a day or two before Christmas.

The excitement of going looking for a tree and then the decorating will whet their appetites about Christmas to a crescendo I reckon!! How about some of these gorgeous handmade glass decorations to go on it from Daydream Art Studios?

In the light of all this festive thinking, I have even been considering Christmas gifts. We have a system in our family where draw a name out the bag and buy for just that one person. They usually co-operate and tell us what they want which means everyone gets something they really desire.

The children are exempt from this however and get pressies from everyone. I think I may have found something for my little neice - this great art apron/smock from Poss Bloss. It is made with PVC that has handpainted with flowers and has full sleeves so it will keep her clothes (and sleeves) nice and clean. I love the pretty flower pattern too - the colours are very much her as well.

As usual, I have been busy on the jewellery front as well - I have caught up on all my orders and made the last of the new stock before my open day in Coolah this week. Today's picture is one of the new pieces.

A myriad of stones are featured in this statement necklace - amethyst, citrine, rock crystal quartz, mookaite, aventurine, banded agate, pyrite, fluorite, blue lace agate, chalk turquoise, rose quartz, lava, Russian rhyolite and moss agate. The whole is brought together by the absolutely luscious natural lavender toned freshwater pearls and little drops of almost pure silver. See more pics of it here.

Have a great day!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Some of my favourite blogs



I can't believe it's already Friday! Just like Christmas is creeping up on me, so the weeks are flying by.

I was warmly received in Tamworth last weekend and there was a lot of interest in my work. A number of ladies have asked me to come back to the next handcrafted market, so I hope that I will be able to return for the last market of this year on the 21st December.

I am in the midst of packing to go to a private showing in Orange. And then next week on Thursday and Friday I have my open day in Coolah. It will be held at the Dream Dance Academy - Thursday is a special preview for existing clients from 11.30 to 2.30pm with some champers and nibblies :) Friday will be open to all from 10am to 6pm.

As well as preparing for these two shows, sending out orders, preparing flyers for the open day etc. I even managed to get some new pieces made! Creating really is the best part of my job and its even better when you don't have to push yourself but it just flows. I was lucky enough that the flow went beautifully and I have some new pieces to show for it. If they don't sell this weekend I will be sure to put them on the site next week!

I also received an award from my good blog-friend Michelle of Michabella Creations. Michelle and I met on the great little site, Skwiggazine, and we seem to hang out on some other sites too as we keep bumping into each other!

Anyway, Michelle, very kindly, awarded me with this:



Here are the rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
6. Give a reason why you consider their blogs cool

Now I'm not going to leave meme notifications for these blogs as I just admire them and want to share them with you!

Here are my Cool Blog Picks:

Bent Objects - this blogger creates the most amazing critters and scenes using not much more than wire!

Collective Creatives - This is a group blog that I participate in and some very talented artists and artisans talk about various facets of their work and the challenges they are confronted with.

Lights Camera ... History - This blog is about period dramas - new films, tv shows and actor/actress profiles.

London Daily Photo - See London in a different light - a different look at the non stop city.

Luann Udell - This is the story behind the artist. Lots of great advice for anyone in the art/craft field.

Three Channels - Elizabeth is a mum of three whom she homeschools. One of her sons is gifted and gives her life an interesting twist or two!

Unearthed Tees - This is a great little blog with a geologic/rockhound twist.

Jane Austen Festival - For lovers of the author, downunder. Experience regency life at the yearly festival.

I'm Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor - The hectic life of a mom with 2 sets of twins!

Christa Taylor - Fashion smarts, hints and tips.

Bronte Blog - All things Bronte!

Todays pic is a beaut necklace done this week and one that I could actually keep for myself with VERY LITTLE prompting! Lovely big nuggets of turquoise (stablised), separated by little droplets of almost pure silver and a wonderful slightly oxidised silver bead as a feature on the side. Yum! I would of course love to use completely natural turquoise, but until I win the lottery will just have to be content with natural turquoise that has been treated *sigh*. It is pretty, isn't it!?

Have a great day!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Only six weeks to Christmas!


Someone mentioned to me that it is only SIX WEEKS till CHRISTMAS! EEEK! Now I feel really disorganised!! I've been concentrating so much on my spring shows that I haven't done anything about Christmas - not even a gift list. I'm really flat out for the next few weeks, so it's just going to have to wait. Hope I can find my thinking cap at the same time I find some time ;)

I had a minor setback in my health recently and all those treats I've been letting myself have have to be kept as 'treats' rather than as everyday food! It has made me realise, again, just how much our bodies are affected by the environment and the foods we eat. I've tried to go as natural as possible in the products I use and was pleased to find that Aussie company Joliv produces completely handmade, natural skincare and home cleaning products.

Now I'm obviously still in a 'green' phase as the picture I have selected today is a lime green and creamy white blister pearl and icy rock crystal quartz torsade. Totally scrumptious for a fresh, cool look. And I'm so organised it's already on my website!

I will be at the Peel Street Handmade Market in Tamworth this Sunday from 8.30am to 1pm, so please come and see me if you're in the area or visiting the market to pick up some wonderful handcrafted goodies for Christmas.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Melbourne Cup and green amethyst earrings


It always seems as if I'm busy these days. Even though my calendar is fully booked for the next few weeks, I'm already looking forward to summer when I can sit back and just be a mum (well, most of the time, anyway!).

I did have a lovely day off this past week on Tuesday when I attended a girl's luncheon for the Melbourne Cup. If you're not in Australia this is our 'national' horserace and it is tradition to have a bet or a sweep, perhaps get dressed up in the best race inspired fashions (including the hat) and watch the cup (yes, most business in Australia stops for a few minutes on the first Tuesday in November each year)! The state of Victoria even has a public holiday to celebrate it ;). So this year it was lovely to be in the company of some great women who live around here and have a good old chat and a few laughs!

As this is only a quick post (my time management skills are severely lacking this week!) I will get straight to the pic of today.

I was very fortunate recently to get a shipment of AAA-grade gems. They are absolutely delicious and I have made a few of the absolutely stunning long faceted drops into some very classically styled earrings. The pair pictured above are green amethyst that I have matched with smooth and lustrous freshwater pearls. They sparkle and just exude quality and I'll be loading them onto my site soon.

OK, back to my 'to do' list...hope you're having a great day!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Some feminine teamwork


I'm feeling a little behind this week. I seem to have my hayfever back in full swing (darn those 10 cedar trees along my fence that are flowering!!) and it's so tiring! Add to that children who have still got a cough after weeks and I'm fondly remembering what a sound night's sleep used to be like LOL!

Thank goodness the children are old enough to help me do some basic things these days. Langdon has become quite good at mowing and as he is my ONLY child that doesn't get hayfever, he does ALL the outside jobs at the moment! The girls are suffering like me but they're not adverse to helping me tidy and clean and they absolutely love helping me with my work. I wish they were old enough and skilled enough to help making jewellery - but they're not. So, I often get them to help me with more 'chore-like' jobs such as refilling my packaging.

I had a little factory going the other day - just before the Spring Gardens Festival my packaging drawers were empty so I had them making up boxes, cutting ribbon, lining boxes with tissue, putting care cards in organza bags, making up bonus partner bags, putting labels on bags... you get the picture. It was a huge help. The job that would have taken me a good half a day by myself was all done in just over an hour. Great teamwork girls!

I was recently reading on the Business Mums Magazine Blog how work at home mums manage to blend family and work. If you find yourself in the same position as me - of getting the kids to help out with your work, why not leave a comment to share your story on the Business Mums Blog.

I've seen notices of it everywhere but was still startled to see my whole local town looking decidedly PINK over the last couple of weeks. Even the men working in the rural supplies were wearing pink shirts when I ventured into town on Monday! Of course this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there are lots of fundraisers going on worldwide for this cause. One of my great blogfriends is Michelle of Michabella Creations. She has got a pink theme going as well with a good portion of all her sales going towards this charity. She has done some very pretty pink and sparkly jewellery too of course! Do check it out!

I haven't made much in the last week it seems, but one new piece is pictured above. Red seems to be an eternally appealing colour for jewellery and I often get requests for something in red. Now, barring rubies and very expensive large garnets, rubelite and so on, the best red impact at a reasonable cost is often found by using coral.

The necklace above is sponge coral (treated of course, as coral will bleach when removed from the water) in a lovely brick-red colour. This type of coral usually only has a very low sheen or is even matte, due to its fibrous structure, so it is really lifted with the addition of some fantastically gleaming white keshi pearls as I've done above. The red and white presents a classic look, however the top drilled keshi petals give it just that extra touch so it looks modern and of course, eminently wearable!

OK, off to rub my eyes, try to clear my blocked nose and wish those cedar flowers would all blow OFF!

Till next :)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Coolah Spring Garden Festival and a tagging game




Well the Coolah Spring Garden Festival was wonderful! I was at the delightful "Pilca Butta" garden and my hosts Ian and Liz were wonderfully accommodating and helpful. Both days were bright and sunny (the second day got a little too warm!), the garden was in full bloom and really couldn't have looked better, and all in attendance had a marvellous time. Here is a pic of my set up on part of the homestead verandah:



I had beautiful old-fashioned lilac and snowball bushes right near my display - can you see them? Here was my view from my 'perch':





Don't you wish you were there!!!!?

Now last week I mentioned I was tagged and given an award :) Firstly, thank you to Commotion from the Ocean of Life for this award!



Now how special is that!!! I love reading this blog - always something different to read about! Thank you so much - I guess that will make me comment some more ;)

Then Olivia from Piktorize tagged me. Do check out Olivia's blog - she has a photo of the week which is often amazing and she honoured me with featuring my ring photo from last week too!

Now the tagging game rules: Share 7 things your readers may not know about you and tag 7 others to do the same thing, then include a link in your blog back to the person who tagged you.

OK, 7 things...(having done this a couple of months ago, this isn't so easy....)

1. My favourite pets have been golden haired dogs. The first one, when I was a little girl, was an Irish Terrier called 'Goldie' and the second, as an adult was a labrador x red cattle dog called 'Sunny'. Yeah I know, original names, lol.

2. We have a very bad record with keeping cats. We're up to number 5 in about three years. Mostly they just disappear one day although the last one we think met with a snake :(

3. I HATE snakes. Like REALLY HATE. They make me squirm and scream.

4. I hate spiders. Not as much as snakes but then again, they're not as big!

5. My Dad took me out of school at the end of year 6 and we travelled around Australia for a few months. They were going to make me repeat since I was too young to go to High School, so he thought travel would be better than doing the same work twice. Go Dad!!!

6. I travelled around Europe for 8 months in Year 7 with my schoolwork never quite catching up with me! When it did though, all I did was WORK! The trip prior to that was fun though and I saw a lot of the world from the window of a Bedford van!

7. A young man tried to buy me in Morocco for a camel, a donkey and something else I can't remember. I was 13 and the perfect age for a bride (!). My father kept reminding me for a number of years that he turned down a camel that would have been worth a fortune!

OK, this time I'm going to tag my Skwiggazine friends:

1. Designing Hilary

2. Tulip's Talking

3. Michabella Creations

4. Inspired Designs by Teresa

5. Daydream Art Studio

6. Cherished Dreams

7. Who Says 8 Is Enough?

Speaking of number 2 above, check out the pics from Lily's fishing trip and sequential sunrise shots.

Ooops, almost forgot about the pic at the top of the page. Don't you just love the sparkle and the impact of the black onyx and the red jade. Yum! Definitely a statement piece.

I made this one after a client had asked me to make an asymmetric necklace of red white and black (by the way I don't do asymmetric easily, so it was a real challenge!). The strength of the contrasting colours encouraged me to make this necklace - all the sparkle you would need for a night out, don't you think!?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

New website and a cocktail ring


I did it. I'm live!!! My new website that is LOL. I almost hyperventilated when I turned it on, but I did it!!! I'd love to hear what you think - go to Annette Piper Dip. Gem. Handcrafted Jewellery and check it out. (Hopefully I haven't made too many mistakes on it!)

It has been a bit of scramble with taking new photographs or re-editing good older pics, writing descriptions and loading stock onto the site, along with doing shows, having the children on holidays and making orders and new stock. Yes, I feel a little in a whirl!

Now begins the slow process of building my rank up in the search engines and getting 'noticed' all over again. *sigh*. Maybe I should ask Designing Hilary for some tips - she recently had a wrist slap by google for being naughty for repeat content and as a result her page rank plummeted ... but I see it is making a return to the higher numbers. Good girl!

I have the Coolah Spring Gardens Festival this weekend and will be at the Pilca Butta homestead on both days if you happen to be wandering around the vicinity! I really must get organised for that. I note I have been tagged AND received an award too - I will post on those next time (never enough hours in the day!!!).

After MANY requests for rings, I took the plunge a few months ago and started with delicate little gem rings which have been really well received. Then the requests escalated to not just 'rings' but to 'cocktail rings'. OK. I took up the challenge and have a made a couple to see how they're received. One is pictured above and I just love the amethyst focal stone which is surrounded with more amethyst - light and dark for gleam, sparkle and interest, all put together with argentinium sterling silver. The rings are very comfortable and sit snugly along your finger yet still make quite a statement.

Till next!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Everything has a story



On our last day in Temora the 30 knot winds blew our tent down and one of the poles actually snapped (!), so we spent our final night in a B&B (guest house) at the airpark. The hosts are expats from the USA and they had us giggling far into the evening with stories of their lives.

Throughout the house was an eclectic range of beautiful things - artworks, heirloom pieces and the like. The bedrooms had handmade quilts that were absolutely incredible to look at and I was told that our hostess's mother had made them over 40 years ago, yet they looked brand new. They reminded me of the beautiful quilts that Karen from Cherished Dreams makes. Everything in the house had a story. It made me consider my special things - everything does have a story, but sometimes its only a little story - so far.

The piece photographed above has actually already found a new home recently, but it has a little bit of a story already and I'm sure the new owner of it will add much more to it!

The stones were bought from a company that I had never dealt with before, and obviously on-line where you rely on pictures and descriptions. I was merrily ordering away and thought "Hmmm, soo-chow jade 16mm rondelles, well, I can certainly throw some of them in my designs. Yes, I'll get them." And added them in.

The parcel duly arrived a few weeks later and I thought, "Gee, I must have ordered more than I thought, it's rather heavy." I opened it up and was absolutely struck by these MASSIVE soo-chow jade rondelles. The measurement for rondelles is usually done across the widest part of the stone but these were 16mm WIDE and 30mm across! What the ???

Whilst gorgeous in colour and finish they were just so big and heavy that I didn't think I would ever end up using them. Just over a month ago I took the plunge and sat down with these beauties to think what on earth could I do with them to make them into something wearable. The answer was to use less of them of course so they needed spacing out which I did with (very large) sterling silver balls.

The first time I put them out they drew a lot of attention and on their second outing they sold. Just goes to show....

I have an extra busy couple of months ahead of me - I will be at the Pilca Butta homestead at the Coolah Spring Garden Festival, the WHHC open day at Binnaway, the Cassilis Fair, hopefully the Tamworth Handmade Market, a private showing in Orange, and my usual Coolah showing. Plus I am still trying to find time to work on the website and get it live asap.

I am so busy that I won't have a motivational problem, but sometimes I do. I found a great article on motivation recently on the Pink Heels blog that you may find interesting if you have a problem in this area on occasion (don't we all!!).

Well, speaking of being busy and motivation, I have to go, go, go. I have a busy day ahead and need to get into it :D

Have a great day!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Temora - 2008 NSW Aerobatic Championships

Day 1: Getting ready to fly...finally.




A quick note on the run from rainy/sunny/windy Temora in southern NSW. I am down here for the NSW Aerobatics Competition and the weather has been rather challenging! Only a few flights on day 1 (much delayed to rain), but a very full schedule yesterday with a slight delay due to low cloud. It's blowing a gale today, so no flights so far - but they're still hopeful!

Results of the competition can be seen HERE.

Anyway, just a few pictures to post from the comp for interest - no jewellery today ;)

Day 2: And it's go, go, go. Get those aeroplanes out and lets FLY!









The judging line :)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

You find the nicest people on the net...



There really are some special people out there in the world and I feel fortunate that the internet has allowed me to find some of them! I have 'net' acquaintances worldwide and find myself getting concerned when they are in unpleasant weather cycles, I worry with them when they are going through problems with their families and feel happy when they share their celebrations and milestones. Others are artisans or businesswomen and I get to see their beautiful creations, their businesses blossom and their goals met.

Do you know some wonderful people that you have met online too? Someone who has enriched your life just a little bit - either personally or professionally? Here are just two kind souls I have met:

Debi from Who Says 8 is Enough is an amazing woman. She has NINE children (yes, you read that correctly) - a mixture of her own and adopted children. She is so giving and loving to her family that she is quite inspiring. Goodness knows HOW she manages to find time to write her blog .... secretly I think she lives on an hour or two sleep a night and lots of caffiene to be able to do all she does. Her youngest children are twins who are almost two and Debi has featured some of their first artwork.... doesn't it just make you go "awwwwww" ;)

Elena of EP Designs is creative and talented. Elena recently participated in a pay-it-forward 'game' - a concept meant to share the love by giving and receiving gifts. What a lovely way to make you feel great!

Of course there are many, many more women just like Debi and Elena out there - why not go looking through some new blogs and discover some of the fun characters that are waiting for a visit from you!!

Update on my back - thanks for the recovery wishes and I glad to report it is much, much better. It's perceptibly better each day so back to normal can't be far away (never thought I'd look forward to doing a sit-up lol).

The website is nearing completion - won't be long now!!!

The picture for today is a necklace of multi hued fluorite which has a tactile matte finish, along with shining sterling silver balls. Simple, but oh so yummy.

Till next :)

Friday, 26 September 2008

My back, ouch, my back!


My back is 'out'. OUCH. There I was, basking in the afterglow of a great show in Merriwa... I leant over to get something out of my handbag and it got me. A great big pain in the lower back. This isn't something that happens very often although it has been known to be a bit sore for a day or so. But this is ridiculous. Makes me really want to do situps to help protect it. But of course I can't. I can hardly sit down, bend down, lie down .... sheeeeesh. Anyway, it IS improving so fingers crossed by next week I'll be fine and dandy (and able to do some of those situps....)


Merriwa was fantastic. The weather was beautiful (if even a little hot) and there were lots of people who had travelled for the centenary celebrations. As I left on Saturday evening there were people piling into the showground and utes, trucks and akubras everywhere you looked. It seemed the whole community had turned out. The ladies pavillion had a few more exhibitors like myself too - Chris Mathews, a colour and image consultant from Dubbo was next to me and was on a mission to get the ladies into red lipstick (of the right tone of course) and day 2 even I, rather shyly, tried it too!

I saw lots of clients and familiar faces from last year and the committee always go out of their way to ensure we had everything we needed and were as successful as they could manage.

A question I often get asked, and of course, was asked at Merriwa, is how long does it take to make a piece of jewellery. I saw this article on Heart Harmony entitled 'it takes time to create quality' and this is so true. Even though the article is on photography, which is often seen as even more instant than jewellery, the idea is still the same.

For me, there is the time to find the stone/pearl that will feature in the piece plus the time it takes to get to me (often weeks). Firstly I weed out anything that isn't the best it can be (eg. too many inclusions, surface marks etc.) Then the creation process can vary from minutes (if lightning strikes / the stars are all in alignment lol) to days. The construction can be straightforward (under an hour) or it can be very labour intensive (hour upon hour). The piece then has to be checked to make sure it sits correctly, has the right 'look' I was after etc. before it is completely finished off. Sometimes it's not right and has to be redone. My pieces aren't churned out - each is one of a kind and I take alot of time to make sure the item is of the best quality.

Today's piece is one that inspiration was relatively quick to take but execution took a while to get the look just 'right'.

This necklace is extra long and can be worn wrapped twice or three times around your neck. Wear it at different levels or the same for extra looks. It looks particularly stunning as a choker and longer length. The smoky quartz gems in the piece are smooth clear orbs of smoky brown colour, the mother of pearl discs have a wonderful sheen and the peacock freshwater pearls have a gorgeous lustre. Lashings of 12ct goldfill balls were added in various sizes to add a richness whilst not taking away from the gems and pearls. Do you like it?

Well, the children are now on holidays for a fortnight and spring has most definitely sprung. Trees are in blossom, flowers are budding and lots of green, green grass in evidence everywhere you look. Once my back is feeling better there is lots of work to do and I'm steadily working on my website too (heee heee - so excited to unveil it shortly!).

Till next :D

Friday, 19 September 2008

Quirindi last week, Merriwa this week...



I feel a bit like that old saying about tours "if it's Tuesday it must be Rome" LOL. Although I'm not quite going to such exotic locales, doing two, two-day shows a week apart is surprisingly tiring - I keep feeling like I've forgotten something and my to-do list never seems to finish!

Last weekend was Quirindi and I had such a wonderfully warm welcome from the organisers and lots of ladies I met on my recent appearance there in July. I was tickled pink when one woman told me that she saw the advert for the Quirindi Show - it mentioned 'jewellery' and she had hoped it would be me! :) There were only a few other exhibitors selling items that were non-sideshow alley and they were lovely, friendly people.

Lots of beautiful pieces (a lot of them new, including the piece featured in my last blog post)have found new homes where I am sure they will be loved!

This weekend I have Merriwa Show and get to see all my lovely clients from that district and maybe some new faces too. This is the 100th anniversary of the Merriwa Show so it promises to be a big weekend. I hope the weather holds out! Once again I will be located in the Fairfax Pavillion so come and say hello if you're at the show.

I am very behind on my blog reading however I was doing a scan of the Small Business Diva's blog and found a wonderful quote I would like to share: “Really big people are, above everything else, courteous, considerate and generous - not just to some people in some circumstances - but to everyone all the time.” Thomas J. Watson, 1874-1956, Founder of IBM. Something we can all aspire to.

I must also say thank you to Elaine from Commotion from the Ocean of Life blog for her award (received while I was on holidays thus my tardy response!). This blog is a great read and one that I love to catch up on. Thank you!!!



The rules of this award are:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.

So, in the interest of sharing the love downunder, I've picked some Aussie blog favourites:

1. Tickiboo
2. Ickle Kids
3. La Toriana
4. My Day Off
5. Marnie B
6. Small Business Diva
7. Australian Women Online

Ooops, almost forgot today's jewellery picture! This is a beautiful banded agate and freshwater pearl bracelet that tinkles as it moves. I've used Argentinium sterling silver to help prevent tarnishing and keep the silver wonderfully shiny. A timeless combination of black and white means this one will be worn for many years to come!

Till next :)

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Back from vacation



Well, I am relaxed, recharged and raring to go!!! What a wonderful holiday we had ... the weather was gorgeous, lovely warm sunshine and a couple of days light rain (but not cold) in the middle of our holiday to relieve that monotonous sunshine ;) The children had a wonderful time and spent their time darting between the house, the beach, the house, the playground, the house, the beach.... you get the idea, I'm sure!

I was also very productive and managed to make lots of beautiful jewellery inspired by the beach, the rather tropical feel and the warm, lazy days. Even though I spent some days 'working', being able to do so in comfort and still hearing the waves crash on the beach was very special.



It was marvellous to see our house again (once a year really isn't enough) and even though we have been there a few years running now, the number of kangaroos that hop around your yard, the street and even the beach is a bit amazing. We had a rather large male almost come into our garage and you can routinely get within a foot or so of them before they shy away. Of course, getting that close isn't really recommended as they are wild creatures, so its better to sit back and just watch! Although I had heard of them being on the beach, this was the first time I had seen it as this picture shows a couple of them that had been nibbling the grass on the dune in front of the beach! I can't understand why they don't promote Woodgate Beach a little more to our overseas guests who would love to see the 'roos hopping around the little town.

I am just about to start my spring show season - nothing like jumping right back into the thick of it! This weekend (13-14 September) I am off to Quirindi Show on both Saturday and Sunday and will be located in Pavillion 2, so if you are planning on attending the show, please drop by and say hello! The following weekend (20-21 Sept) is Merriwa Show and I get to catch up with all my lovely clients from that district. Luckily there are school holidays in between those two and my next 2 day event at the Coolah Spring Garden Festival on 18-19 October.

I was working on my website just before going on holidays and fingers crossed I may even get to work on it a little next week as well. I can't wait to unveil it all to you and am still so thrilled to have found the wonderful Emma of Morris Bear who created it for me. As I mentioned before I have looked and looked and looked for web designers and really had trouble finding anyone that could do what I was after at an affordable price! Well, I was pretty chuffed to see that there is another Aussie woman doing web design templates (not specifically e-commerce) at very reasonable prices - Jenni Markham Designs. She also creates the cutest stationery! Well worth a look if you are in the market for something like this.



The piece I've picked for today's pic is beautiful teal coloured, highly faceted jade (treated of course) which is incredibly sparkly. Would you believe the lovely sterling balls in between actually calm the sparkle down to a managable level? It's summery, shiny and sparkly - everything you need to wear against your skin or summer fashions.

It's great to be back although I'm still a bit behind on responding to comments... but I'll get there!!!

Cheers!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Spring and Fall


Well winter must be coming to an end - we have had some beautiful days recently, very reminiscent of spring. So, in an effort to keep up that feeling I thought I would do a quick rundown of spring fashions. Oh, and since half my readership is on the other side of the world where thoughts are turning to autumn (fall), I've done a quick onceover on fall colours too!

I am also getting ready for our annual holiday! We are heading north to warm sunshine and the beach - so I've been a bit disorganised on the home AND work front. But I'm always up for a bit of surfing and on my travels around my favourite sites found some personalised prints on My New Shiny Shoes - a particularly suitable idea for children with unusual names (ahem, like mine!) And then I was reading Daydream Art Studios blog and saw the wonderful collection of freebies Corinne had from other artists to give away at her local art & craft show. Now that is certainly sharing the love :)

Now onto the fashion colours/update:

Spring 2008 for those of us 'downunder'-

*What you will see lots of - shirt dresses, thin belts, head scarves, pencil skirts, high (but naturally high) waists, feminine dresses.
*Fabrics/Colours - silk, jersey, chiffon, a touch of metallics, black and white, white, prints
*Dresses - Feminine, floral and abstract prints (and pair them with delicate shoes), white white white sundresses, ballerina-chic.
*Overall impression - elegant and classy, think quality not quantity.

Fall 2008 colours for those 'up top'-
*Colours: rich, vibrant. Cool hues with bright undertones. Blue and purple tones are a firm favourite, followed by warm reds, oranges and yellows.

The jewellery item I've selected for today is a brand new one of a kind necklace from my new spring collection - in fact, you're the first to see it! Lemon citrine and 12ct gold fill - the lemon citrine has been cut into the most beautiful abstract shapes and are lightly faceted and incredibly clear. I think it would look very elegant with either the spring or fall fashions! Scrumptious. :)

Due to my above mentioned holidays I will be away in the sun, sand and surf so won't be posting till mid-September. BUT I am taking a LOT of jewellery projects with me (yes, woe is my long-suffering family) so I promise to come back laden with new pretties to look at!

Till next....

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Roses, gardening and lots of other things too!


Yet another busy week has passed (when are they NOT busy these days)! My back is stiff, my hands are sore...and no, jewellery isn't that hard a job most of the time :) The cause of all this discomfort is the rose garden - it has now been pruned, somewhat weeded, fertilised and mulched!

We have a formal rose garden at the front of the house that contains about 70 rose bushes, mostly hybrid teas and old fashioned roses, all scented. The smell in summer is quite divine (when I don't have hay fever that is lol). Divided into quadrants and with five rows - the outside is white, the second row in pink, the third and fourth rows are red and the centre was supposed to be red but we made a little mistake so its actually red AND white.

They put on a lovely show and I really am very naughty at taking care of them. They get pruned heavily in late winter (now), they may get a spray for aphids (should they arrive in plague proportions) and they get another light prune in summer. They get mulched every 3 years and weeded maybe 3-4 times a year.

I have lost a couple of bushes over the years and a friend who is an avid gardener and owns a nursery asked me how often I feed them. "Feed them?" I say. "Hmmm" she answers as she notes down her favourite fertiliser and instructions on how to give the poor suffering plants a little bit of tender loving care. So I left armed with instructions and a beautiful pair of leather rose pruning gloves. Yes, I know. The gloves weren't exactly a necessity, but my they're lovely. And I really haven't bought myself anything new in ages :)

So, a HUGE sense of achievement at having it done, but it couldn't have been done without a good friend's assistance (what a trooper, coming to face 70 odd roses!) and of course hubby who did the heavy work (aka shoveling!).

Whilst my hands survived relatively unscathed - thanks to the gorgeous gloves - I did take them off and replace with normal gardening gloves when I was clearing the mulch and doing some weeding. So they are looking a little worse for wear. I saw this wonderful looking Wild Citrus Grove body butter, hand balm and soap on one of my favourite online gift stores, Tonic Gifts. Perfect for a gardener's hands I would think!

Well, what else has been happening this past week? Ooooh, I was featured in the eSMArts blog last week - a whole article just on me :) And I got to write an article there this week on statement jewellery. Very much my thing!

Speaking of eSMArts, one of the wonderful eSMArts artists, Kari of Novel Approach Designs tagged me. But as I am SURE I can't think of another 6 things to tell you all, I am sure she will forgive me for not completely following through!

I also tidied up my bench. I was glad to see a recent post by Teresa of Inspired Designs had the same problem with her bench mysteriously filling up and becoming messy ;)

She has the most brilliant quote which I have now stuck to my desk:

"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries." A. A. Milne.

Love it :D

My son received a new puppy - a little smooth coated border collie who is so happy and so intelligent. He has been dubbed "Patch" and it suits him perfectly.

The other HUGE piece of news is I found the MOST brilliant web designer who has built me a site!! Emma does limited edition and one of a kind e-commerce sites and has a real flair for what she does. She's super friendly too and I would highly recommend her if you are after a boutique e-commerce site but don't want to break the bank to do it! And please ask her if you have something in mind but can't see it there as she has other designs not up yet. I still have quite a bit of work to get stock in and refine it somewhat to how I want it to look, but it's very exciting. I hope you like it when all is revealed!

My goodness, I HAVE talked a lot today - look at the length of this post!!! A quick pic for today. A pretty, summery pair of freshwater pearl earrings to remind me of the gorgeous colours that will bloom in that freshly pruned rose garden in a few months time!

Have a great day!

Monday, 11 August 2008

First impressions and more


The cold weather has continued and so last Saturday we had a bonfire. I know these are traditionally held in June, but we weren't that organised then! The kids had a wonderful time dancing around the fire - it was easy to see the primitive side of humans - the mesmerising heat and dancing flames, the joy at watching the flying sparks (and trying to catch them!).

First impressions are important, but not ALL. With the bonfire it was all about heat and light, but there is also danger. Of course, not everything that isn't first apparent is bad - sometimes what is hidden can be the best thing of all!

Take a look at this amazing quilt square posted on fellow Skwiggler Flory's blog. At first glance it is attractive, but then you find out how it was created and it just means so much more. It adds depth and layers that you can't quite 'see'. It was created as a round robin with many friends from all over the world completing a little before passing it on to the next. A little piece of friends and their creativity, as well as a long standing memory of a wonderful project.

I also read this story on The Modern Goddess recently. It certainly made me smile (if somewhat ruefully as I thought "ha!, that'll show him!"). Go on, read it - it's worthwhile!!

Here is a pic of a recent necklace. This is a pearl and gem torsade made with golden yellow and bronze coloured freshwater pearls, garnet and citrine.


I can promise nothing but good surprises with this necklace - it is even more goregeous in real life and feels divine on :)

Till next!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Cold days, learning something new and tagged again!



We've had a pretty cold snap up here on the Great Dividing Range over the last week - the fire has been roaring away trying to keep the chill at bay, and those earmuffs that everybody laughed at when I bought them last year are perfect - even hubby is looking slightly envious! Well, he DOES have to work outside most of the time, but he wears a nice wool beanie so it's not as if I'm letting him freeze!

With the cold weather, the huddling near the fire and more grey days than normal, I got a bit of a shock when I realised that my first spring show will be on 13-14 September! Thats just over a month away!! I've really got to dedicate some time to creating. Now that's going to be hard as looking at my calendar every weekend is busy until NOVEMBER! Ahem. Yes. Going to have to be very productive during the week I think. :)

I'm pleased to see that Blog Whammy has re-opened after a change of management. We have more bloggers on board and it will be great to revisit some of my old favourites soon.

Don't you love to learn something new? It's great for keeping your mind fresh. I have a friend who firmly believes this and is currently working on expanding her vocabularly by adding a new word at least every week and seeing how many times she can use her new word in a day. Last time we spoke the word was "adjectival". I think she had started using it as a swear word LOL.

I'm getting to learn lots of new things regularly as I am currently writing a Q&A column on Skwiggazine. Obviously I don't know everything and have to research the answers, so I learn a lot in the process. Missy has done a great job with the recent makeover from Everything Swkiggle to Skwiggazine and it is attracting lots of great artisans.

I've also found another networking site (yes, I know, time, time, time) but early indications show there are a great group of women to be found on Business Women Unite.

Do you like today's picture? Isn't the garnet glorious! The picture is very accurate and the stones really are that luscious red. Although each stone is quite diminutive, there's quite a lot in total when you consider the contents of a three strand bracelet! The garnets have a brilliant shine and the bracelet feels quite delicious on. Here is a pic of the whole bracelet - I've used a sterling tube clasp for a clean, crisp, finish.



I can't believe - I've been tagged AGAIN. Not once, but twice in one day! Geesh, at this rate, I'm not going to have any secrets ;) My taggers were: Lois at A Beaded Affair and Tina at Links and Loops.

This time I am supposed to list six of random things about me and then tag six other people. Well here we go on the 'random':

1. I love chocolate (who doesn't?)
2. I'm 5ft 5 1/2 inches tall - that extra half an inch makes ALL the difference.
3. I love reading Austen and Bronte novels again, and again, and again...
4. I have lost count at how many times I have watched Pride & Prejudice, in all its different versions. Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle is my favourite one though.
5. I really dislike gardening and my rose garden often shows the effects of this dislike.
6. I spend time reading blogs when I really should be working.

Here are the rules:

1. link the person(s) who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

OK, guys, consider yourselves TAGGED:

1. Mom Squad
2. Stone Soup
3. Stay Classy
4. Minna's Favourites
5. The Creative Junkie
6. Fractured Toy

Have a great day!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Sunrise


I experienced this beautiful sunrise yesterday morning. The colours that mother nature gives us...not just amazing gemstones, not just gorgeous plants and wildlife, but sunrises like these.

I had a great time on my recent visit to Quirindi. I met some lovely ladies who ventured out on a cold day to come and see what was on offer. I was glad to hear it was a very successful day for the town. I have also been invited to attend the Quirindi Show in September which I am hoping to do.

It has been a quiet week on the jewellery front as my son was home all week while the rest of his class was on excursion. This meant 'home schooling'. And I now have a HUGE appreciation of how difficult this must be for those mothers that choose to do this full time. Whilst I enjoyed him being home and got great satisfaction out of his progress in certain, basic areas that the school system seems to ignore, I got basically nothing else done!

So, no jewellery pics from me this week - the sunrise is more than beautiful enough to admire!

Till next :)

Friday, 25 July 2008

A visit to Qurindi, a pearl and gem torsade and a tagging game!



I'm running a bit late with my blogpost this week...so much to do (as usual) and so little time to do it in (even MORE usual)! One day I'll be organised....HA!

I've had quite a social week this week, even though I couldn't really spare the time. But some things just have to go on the backburner for a little while don't they!? Of course I'm rushing around like a 'headless chook' now (one of my Dad's favourite sayings lol).

I am attending the Christimas in July market in the main street of Quirindi this Sunday 27 July. Not having been to Quirindi (apart from driving through it once or twice) it will be a whole new experience, with lots of new people to meet and show my jewellery to. It will be an INCREDIBLY early start as the market opens at 8am - and I am two hours drive away! But it finishes at 3pm so I will be home at a decent hour at least. Of course I always feel the compulsion to make new things for a show, so I have been busy at the bench for the last couple of weeks in readiness. Naturally, being a new 'crowd' everything I have will be new to them, but I like the 'fresh' feeling of having new things even if I am the only one who knows!

Today's picture is one of the new necklace - isn't it absolutely GORGEOUS? (Detail pic up the top)! I'm always deeply enamoured of my new pieces - only slightly biaised, promise ;). A beautiful torsade of three strands of deep lime & bronze-green freshwater pearls, deep mint green keshi pearls, faceted smoky quartz rounds and labradorite wheels and little nuggets of peridot. Scrumptious!!



On other notes, I must thank all those people who commented on my bridal necklace shown recently - such wonderful comments and obviously lots of people like bridal! I admit I do too, even though my wedding was almost 20 years ago (!) and so I thought I would share Michabella Creations bridal earrings page - she has some lovely designs that would look very chic and elegant.

I have mentioned the wonderful Mom Bloggers Club before. Well, through this site I met Celeste, who has 'tagged' me. I am supposed to list six of my quirks and then tag six other people. Well here we go on the quirks.

1. Although my mind is organised my studio rarely is!
2. I have to have a deadline or things won't get done.
3. I love to make lists.
4. I love to cross things off lists, even if it means I have to add on things that WEREN'T on it(but I've done anyway) so that I can cross them off *snicker*
5. I still haven't mastered the URGENT vs. the IMPORTANT (i.e.from the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that I read well over a decade ago).
6. I stay in my PJs far too late in the morning in the effort to get something done first!

Here are the rules:

1. link the person(s) who tagged you
2. Mention the rules on your blog
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged.

OK, guys, consider yourselves TAGGED:

1. Jennifer - Happily Ever After Land
2. Cindi - Moomettesmagnificents
3. Regina - Margarita Bloom
4. Sarah - In the Trenches of Motherhood
5. Angie - Seven Clown Circus
6. Rebecca - Musings of a Mum of 4

Till next!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The wonders revealed by macro and micro photography



We have had some wet, wintry days the last week although today we have one of those brilliant blue skies that Australia is renowned for! With hardly a breath of air, the temperature is brisk it would be a beautiful day for flying. It definitely makes you want to get outside and DO things :) Of course, I could feel especially like that as I have been concentrating so hard on my computer screen working on my new website - I'll show it all to you soon, still some work to go!

I often encourage people to look closer at gemstones and to see the intricate colour play, patterns and so on. Consequently I'm pretty enamoured of macro and micro photography. Well this gallery on the Discover Magazine site, has me glued to the screen. I want to keep returning to look at the beautiful pictures. What are the pictures you ask? Is it worthwhile having a look? My word it is! Entitled, Each Grain of Sand is a Work of Art is intruiging enough by itself. They are photos taken by the book A Grain of Sand by Dr. Gary Greenberg. With photographs typically 80x magnification and above you see a minature world of shells and coral, minerals and gemstones that you never knew existed and will make you look at sand in a completely different way. Bet you add the book to your wish list (it's added to mine!)

Cruising around looking at more pictures I also found this gorgeous pendant made by Tulips Treasure Box on Etsy. It reminds me of the sea, the sky and the stars.

Hmmm, MUST stop 'surfing'... for now anyway.

Well, what can I show you today? Given my penchant for closeups, I've selected a close up of a piece of ocean jasper - wouldn't it look amazing on even higher magnification - I wonder what secrets it would reveal?

Have a great day!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Diamonds falling from the sky, freecycle and a timeless black necklace.



Yay! Some progress made in the last few days with all those orders and remodelling jobs and I feel quite liberated from my to-do list now! I still have plenty to do of course - I'm starting to get a hankering to create some new things and I really want to re-do my website.

I belong to a huge number of groups and forums some of which I have mentioned before. The wonderful thing is with such a diverse group of places is that you can sometimes find out things that you never would have found for years! One such place for me is a rockhounds group and through there I found the following article "Diamonds Rained Down During Ice Age". The article details claims made by Allen West, a retired geophysicist, that after a 3-mile-wide comet hit eastern Canada about 13,000 years ago, rocks (including diamonds and some precious metals) were blown out of the Candadian earth and rained down over the eastern United States. It's only a theory of course, but wow, what an explosion that would have been. And it's certainly being a nice neighbour sharing your wealth in that way LOL!

On the idea of sharing - have you heard of Freecycle? I had kind of heard of this before but found details on it on the Busy Mommy Product Review site. Freecycle is a grassroots movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and in this day and age of high pollution, the perils of greenhouse effects and a shortage of natural resources, it's a worthy idea. I did a quick search and found there are 151 freecycle groups in Australia and one is in a neighbouring town! Certainly something to investigate.

A picture of a simply stunning and classical necklace today - the black stones are agate – thick cut slabs in rather soft geometric shapes that have the most wonderful dark gleam. These are enhanced ever so slightly by balls of argentinium sterling silver (tarnish resistant) for some added shine and sparkle. Finished with a gorgeous sterling silver clasp that you may want to wear it on the side as a feature rather than hiding it to the back! These stones sit so beautifully around your neck and feel cool, heavy and smooth. I can see this necklace being worn with a charcoal suit and crisp white shirt for work, or a linen day dress in white or neutrals or even a little black dress at night. Basically it speaks about refinement and pizzaz.

Meanwhile, down here on the farm..... lol. Ah well, if I couldn't live vicariously through my clients, then it wouldn't be nearly as much fun!

Till next!

Saturday, 5 July 2008

One step forward, three steps back.



It's been a week of mixed achievements - I finally put aside a day to start completing orders and repairs and felt so wonderful after a day full of finished jobs (and ticks on my list) that I came to a grinding halt.

Oh well.

Plus I have gained a few more orders in the last couple of days so I really need to get into the studio...but the children have just started the school holidays, the house looks like a tornado has been through it (no, just three children feeling footloose and fancy free) and I have a client booked in to visit in about 48hours time! Hmmmm.

A couple of orders in my partially completed and to-do piles are for weddings. I love weddings and all that they entail although it can be a very stressful time for the bride and groom. Stacy, a fellow blogger from Skwiggazine, is preparing for her imminent nuptials and has selected a retro black and white theme which should look great.

Jewellery is just one of the things that the bridal party need/want but I've found brides either take one of two approaches - either they leave it completely up to you or they micromanage the design process. The first can stress me as a designer as I worry that they will like it and it will be "right". The second can also stress me as what they are thinking of may not actually work. Ah well - human nature is a funny thing.

I thought since I've been working on bridal orders I would include a picture from a wedding I did a little while ago. To emphasise the detail of the plunging back on this dress we did a long silver chain from which hung natural peach toned freshwater pearls that alternated with faceted rock crystal topped with a little green peridot. The chain wrapped around the bride's neck once and then hung down the back, glinting, sparkling and swaying when she moved. The great thing with this design is that the bride has been able to wear it just wrapped around her neck as a 'normal' necklace in a multi-strand version with or without a drop. Do you like it?

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Kyanite and getting distracted



I'm having trouble concentrating. It's sad but true. Fact. Not deniable. Not even defendable. I'm just getting way too distracted.

I decided I would start a list so accordingly made one (a rather a long list too) and looking at it over 24 hours later there are still quite a few things there. Normally that's okay. But I seem to have ticked off all the inconsequential things instead of the productive things that have deadlines!!

Perhaps I'm still in recovery from our weekend away? We went to visit my dad - "grandfather" to the children and it was great to see him and for the children to see him ... living 6+ hours drive away is not very handy, after all. But all that travel really takes it out of you and I get a little unsettled away from home too.

So, that's my excuse. For now. One of the things I did do today was catch up on my blog reading (see, not exactly a NECESSARY task LOL) and found that fellow blogger & jewellery designer Hilary has had the same problem. Makes me feel MUCH better :)

Today's pic is of some simple, but nevertheless stunning kyanite and sterling silver earrings. I love the silvery blue flash of kyanite and given that it is a stone used for balancing, cutting through ignorance & confusion, increasing logical thought and many other metaphysical benefits - it's no wonder I like it!

Often a fibrous looking stone and therefore exhibiting a streaky appearance, it is challenging for a gem cutter to cut due to variable hardness and cleavage. It's hardness also varies depending on if it is tested along or across the crystal axes, so I would avoid having it in a ring or bracelet where it could take an unitentional knock. An aluminium silicate, its name comes from the Greek word for blue 'kyanos'.

In ancient times it was believed that a kyanite suspended from a human hair could follow the Earth's magnetic force like a compass needle. Cool!

Till next, when hopefully I have achieved a little more than today!!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Colour


I was looking at some fellow artisan's work today (Cherished Dreams - who makes some exquisite children's quilts and wall hangings) and found myself drawn to one in particular that was bright, cheery and fun. The image on the hanging is quite serene, but the colours really grabbed me. I am sure she won't have the piece for very long at all!

I do one of two things when it comes to colours - either tonal (classic) or I go all out and mix it all up (the result can be heady or eclectic). Interestingly, when I DO mix it all up, I haven't successfully used a colour wheel - for some reason it always looks wrong! I find that I am drawn to mix certain colours up and 99% of the time my 'instinct' works and people love them. Sometimes these combinations are happy accidents, and sometimes they take a lot of work (experimenting) to get not just the colour combinations but the percentages of those colours in the finished piece right.

I do a number of pearl and gem torsades that are popular and have featured them often here on my blog, they can take an incredibly long time to get the colour proportions 'just right' - but they look effortless (until you try one!)

I've included a new cuff bracelet today - all freshwater pearls but in such striking colours - bound to go with anything you throw at it, don't you think!?

Monday, 16 June 2008

A day out at Dunedoo


I had lots of fun at the fundraiser yesterday that was held in Dunedoo. All the ladies were very welcoming and my display was set up in plenty of time with the help of my assistant, Trista.

As there was a fashion parade included in the day's events, I approached the woman organising it and she allowed me to select some jewellery for the models to wear down the catwalk :). The shoes at another stall were absolutely divine - but with only a sample shoe for each style the models didn't get to wear them!

A couple of my pieces found new homes in Dunedoo and one heartwarming purchase was by a mother for her daughter's upcoming deb ball. The daughter's eyes just sparkled as she was trying various necklaces on. It's such a delicious moment seeing the spark of recognition at finding the perfect piece.

I am sure that before I know it, my daughters will be at that stage too - and I really must slow down occasionally and enjoy them while they are young :) I've spoken before on how they're little art-addicts - always drawing and now I've found the perfect holder for their works. Its an art file found at Officeworks that comes in two sizes and was mentioned on the A Good Sort blog. Thanks for the heads up ladies (they're always so organised)!

I have now had my last scheduled show until spring so (hopefully) have lots of creating time before the new show 'season' arrives. I will also be using this time to concentrate on my online presence too as after all winter here is summer in the other half of the world!!

Today's piece is just divine - smooth, velvety chocolate colours in the sardonyx stones which I have kept simple with the addition of a little silver and some white freshwater pearls. This keeps the piece fresh and adds a little interest without detracting from the gorgeous patterns in the stones. Its finished with a little sterling silver toggle clasp that reflects the shape of the stones, just for that extra touch of something special.

Have a great day!

Monday, 9 June 2008

A foray into making rings



It's been a week of achievements and some moments I could have well done without! Well those bad moments were when I was suffering from a bad case of the flu - but I am almost better now and rather embarrassed at my lack of inner strength in the face of feeling unwell. And to think I tell my children to be 'brave'!

My son also dropped my camera *eeek*. I loved that camera and it took such lovely shots (after taking me two years to work out how). But I bought a new camera and since it is the same brand it's not so different to use *big sigh of relief*.

Feeling well again has also brought a buoyancy to my outlook, helped along by some great fellow bloggers at the Mom Bloggers Club. What a great group of upbeat, fun women! So you can add them to my list of networking sites from my last post!

Overall I feel very lucky to have fallen in with a such a variety of women in my endeavours to network effectively. I can learn something new, be inspired or just laugh along with them. I was reading the very inspirational Pink Heels blog today and came across this wonderful picture

now take a good close look... doesn't it just makes you giggle? I wonder what men think of it? It MUST have been designed by a woman :D

As far as achievement goes - well I finally made the foray into making some simple little rings. Clients have been asking me for well over a year to make some rings but I haven't had the time to practice and despaired of ever being good enough to confidently sell them. I did briefly entertain the thought of making traditionally styled rings but I eventually decided on a more 'fun' type of ring - something casual yet refined, sturdy but not heavy and a bit different to the average type you find. The one's I have made so far are all made with Argentinium sterling silver and pearls/gemstones. I have shown them to a couple of clients this week with great feedback, so will have to spend some more time making some in a variety of sizes. Do you like the couple you can see here (below and at the top of the page)?



Show Reminder: Charity event at Dunedoo - chicken and champagne lunch in support of the World Youth Day - St. Michaels School Hall, Dunedoo, this Sunday 15th June. I'll be there with my jewels, along with local exhibitors of shoes and clothing.

Till next - have a great day!

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