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 :)


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