Saturday, 26 January 2008

Random acts of kindness and a pearl and gem necklace

It's the last week of the school holidays and we made a mad dash to the coast for a few days to catch a little summer weather and let the children go to the beach - a rarity reserved for once or twice a year. We also managed to catch up with two sets of good friends that moved that way a couple of years ago and our children are still 'best friends' regardless of the distance. Its wonderful to see them pick right up where they left off and play and play and play and play.....

I was saddened to hear this week of Heath Ledger's death. This Australian actor obviously had a lot of talent and ability. He appeared kind, down to earth and was from a normal Aussie home in Perth, Western Australia. He even attended the same school as one of our family members, which makes his death a touch personal. His death is still being investigated but it certainly brings a dose of reality to our lives - we never know what is around the corner and we should make the most of every day.

Along this line, I vote for some random acts of kindness to make the world a better place to live! I found some great examples here at the Rainbow Designs blog. Have you done any of these? I am pleased to report I have done the majority (though am yet to pay for someone else's toll!!) and I can guarantee they will make you feel better! Go on, try one :)

I haven't made any jewellery this week although I keep looking at my bench longingly. With children back to school next week, perhaps I will have some time to sit there then. In the meantime, I have posted a picture of a piece made a couple of weeks ago in a summer frame of mind. You all know I love pearls and this necklace combines them in the wonderful colours of lime, palest pink, white and lolly pink. Scattered throughout is some rose quartz, rock crystal quartz and peridot gemstones and it is finished with a simple sterling silver toggle clasp. Do you like it?

Saturday, 19 January 2008

A rainy day and a Valentine heart

*sigh* Its raining. Its been raining for a couple of days. Its not stormy, or even that gloomy, but its constant and its wet. Isn't it amazing how the weather can affect your mood? I feel as if I could curl up on the couch and watch a movie (but the children would jump on me!).

In my need to find something fun to brighten up my day, I found these at Beauty Banquet - these soaps look like food - I swear I could munch right into that coffee cake (but I'm sure I'd regret it!!).

Before the weather turned all dank on me though, the sun was shining and it was positively hot - more like our usual summer weather. The bright clear days and the thought of sunshine glinting off the sea, inspired me to make some simple valentine jewellery. I rarely use anything but naturally occurring gemstones (although some may be treated), but I thought these were so pretty and after all, what better way to get the message of love across than a heart and a sparkling, Swarovski one at that!

Swarovski crystal is the diamond of the manmade crystal world - and many of us would have a Swarovski trinket somewhere in the house. Now because they are so brilliant, they really don't require much extra adornment and are really shown off best all by themselves, so I simply made this gorgeous heart into a pendant with sterling silver and hung it on a sterling silver omega chain.

Wouldn't you like to receive one from your loved one?

Sunday, 13 January 2008

A garnet necklace and Audrey Hepburn

I can't believe another week has passed - but this time instead of being busy making jewellery, I have been busy having friends visit and stay, spending time with the family and so on. Really quite relaxing although my routine has flown out the window and getting my basic chores done is proving to be a bit of a problem!

One of my visitors this week is a great friend who in the past has made some stunning jewellery. She has been published with her designs twice and I have had some of her beautiful dichroic pendants on occasion. She has an affinity with gems as well, so of course I had to drag out some of my stones so we could ooh and ahh together! As a consequence I started to feel the old stirrings of desire to design and make some more jewellery.

So, this week I did make two necklaces - one of which is pictured above. It is 5 strands of beautiful, sparkling dark red garnet which feels glorious against your neck and is a pleasant weight - enough to know its there but not to overwhelm. To contrast the darkness of the stones and to add interest to the simplicity of the style, I have used a delicious sterling silver clasp that has a great amount of detail. Of course the clasp can be worn to the back as well. Do you like it?

When I design, I like to think of elegance and sophistication and one of the most inspiring figures to me is Audrey Hepburn. She was style personified (as well as a true humanitarian) and I have many pictures of her adorning my studio. 'Would Audrey wear it?' is a common question I ask myself during the design process! I also have quite a collection of books on Audrey, so was quite excited when I saw Audrey Hepburn: The Paramount Years on one of my favourite online gift stores, Tonic Gifts.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Smoky Quartz and relaxing with the family

Well, we seem to be well into 2008 now and I have had a wonderful, family oriented time! We have visitors - relatives and friends, some outings and lots of time together as a family. I don't tend to realise (until we get the opportunity to spend such time together) that my husband works so much and rarely gets time to do things with us. Living on a farm is like that - always something to do if it is light (and sometimes even when its dark!). But it seems acceptable at Christmas/New Year to take a step back and provided there is not something that badly needs fixing, to realise that it will still be there to do tomorrow and that family time is indeed precious. I found this lovely quote on the Modern Goddess Blog - “As far as living a healthy, happy life goes, I hold loving and being loved right up there with fresh air and water.” Oprah Winfrey. How true!

So, what have you been up to over the early part of the new year? I have been doing relaxing things like reading and watching the odd DVD when the children are off playing contentedly, or asleep. You may recall my almost breathless praise of the recent BBC production Jane Eyre when I managed to catch the first episode on TV in late November. I ended up missing the second episode and so bought the DVD so I could see it in its entirety!

I finally got to watch it just prior to Christmas and was so taken with it - the wonderful cinematography, the incredible acting by the two main characters of Mr Rochester (Toby Stephens) and Jane (Ruth Wilson) who really made you feel as if you were evesdropping on their lives, that I decided to the read the original Bronte story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and if anything it enabled me to enjoy the BBC adaptation even more. I can highly recommend watching the BBC production should you like historical dramas with a touch of romance (eg. if you liked the BBC's Pride & Prejudice - well you will LOVE Jane Eyre!)

On the jewellery front, things have been a lot more relaxed with orders the only new things being made, although having shown my rather extensive stash of gems to visitors lately, I can feel their pull and may have to indulge in my gemmie addiction shortly!

Today's picture is of the most divine smoky quartz. Huge lozenges of almost inclusion-free smoky quartz are so striking that they needed little in the way of extra adornment. So I linked each stone simply with some large linked gold-fill chain to create a timeless necklace suitable for every age.


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