Thursday, 17 December 2009

Christmas wishes


Oh my ... I can't believe its been almost three weeks since I posted here! It is rather indicative of my life of late though!

Things have been go, go, go, with many commitments for the children - an end of year dance concert and rehearsals, the end of year presentation at school, my son finishing primary school and being enrolled at the local high school - and it culminates this week with a piano recital that somehow I am organising as well!

Naturally things have been busy on the jewellery front (many panicked husbands have been calling me!) with orders left, right and centre. My Coolah show went extremely well and thankfully while hot, it wasn't 45 degrees C plus like my last outing!

I have my final show for the year this Sunday in Tamworth at the monthly Peel Street Handmade Market. I'll be there with the talented Kasia Tatar, a lady who has a great future in jewellery in front of her (I carry a few of her lovely items on my site). As she doesn't have her own site, I will have to tell her all about Ethikl - a new Australian artisan marketplace that I read about on Your Cheeky Monkey.

It's hard to believe that Christmas is barely a week away now! I certainly haven't had time to do any great treks to town for Christmas shopping, so thank goodness for online shopping ... providing they all arrive in time of course! If you're located Stateside and you're still looking for little somethings to add to your gifts, do check out the Vintage Soap Shoppe on Etsy. Angela makes the most delicious looking old-world soaps that I'm sure anyone would appreciate.

Of course, for Christmas around here I think we'd all love about 6 inches of rain - that would make us all feel better and the cows would certainly appreciate the grass! We seem to have slipped straight back into drought, which is both worrying and depressing. Any rain we have had over the last couple of months has been immediately followed by a few days of hot winds and the ground just dries up instantly. Australia - the wide, brown land indeed!

Well, since I can't make it rain and nothing I do seems to entice it, I will just ignore it as much as I can and look at my pretty gems and pearls. The torsade photographed above has lashings of pink pearls, lavender pearls, rock crystal quartz, amethyst and apatite. Far better than looking at dry, brown paddocks!

As I probably won't post again before Christmas, I wish you all the very best of the festive season and hope that Santa brings a special gift, just for you! (Just like he has for this Aussie stockman!)



Cheers
Annette :)

Friday, 27 November 2009

Busy as expected a month before Christmas


It's been another busy week - as expected for this time of the year! I watched my children appear in their school play, had my show in Tamworth in 45+ degree (C) heat, did a morning's baking, celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary, loaded lots of new stock onto the website, almost caught up on my outstanding 'to do' list (we won't talk about the current to do list!!) and have even found some time to entertain a guest visiting from the USA and, amazingly, to make some jewellery! Gosh, I sound like a powerhouse LOL.

But, we all know that I'm just another mother - getting stressed, worrying over my children's schooling and activities, ignoring the fact that Christmas is just around the corner and going gray during the whole process (darn dye never lasts long enough!!)

That's the good thing about being creative, you switch off from the mundane and lose yourself in the creativity! Of course, the school bus eventually brings the children home, or the phone rings, or the computer beeps and tells me there is another message .... and life is suddenly back to normal.

Nevertheless, I keep hiding out in the studio and eventually something gets done. The pretty blue earrings photographed above are from a recent creative burst. Very chic, they are made with royal blue lapis lazuli topped with a small blue sapphire. I'd wear them, would you!?

Next week is my annual show in Coolah so I'm trying to find the time to make just a few more things before hand. Glutton for punishment, eh!?

'Till next
Annette :)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Finding things in common


I'm feeling like I'm back in the swing of things down here on the farm - i.e. I'm starting to get stressed at what I have to do before Christmas is upon me; my bench is piling up with "to do's"; and afternoons spent running the children around to after-school activities is slowly driving me to screaming point. All in all - back to normal LOL.

We're in the midst of some REALLY hot weather this week - it was easily in the low 40's (celsius) today and so very dry. We did have a splatter of rain in a storm but not enough to cool things off. Considering we're still in spring, this could pose a certain worry for the summer that is still to come!

I've managed to catch up on a little bit of blog reading and one thing that I love about reading blogs is the things you find you have in common with people - even if they seem so far removed from you. Whether that be in location or occupation or social status! It's great to find out that a fashion editor in London saves up her special buys and gifts 'for best' (even if 'best' rarely if ever arrives!). And the novelist in rural England who is an AWOL blogger and resident of a very dusty house because life keeps getting in her way. And even the European chef who couldn't decide WHAT to take (foodwise) to a party (nice to know even the professionals can't make up their mind!).

Do you follow a blogger who you've grown to see isn't that different from you after all?

Nancy from Tole4Thee noticed she had something in common with Victoria Beckham. Read her story here as it makes you realise we're really all just human beings sharing the planet!

I've started to make some jewels this past week as I have my first show since my holidays this weekend, at Tamworth. In aid of the Australian Brain Foundation, this annual Christmas fair is eagerly awaited and it is the first year I have been able to get in. I'm hoping for a day of meeting lots of new people and introducing them to the wonderful world of natural gemstones and pearls.

Perhaps someone will fall in love with this new bracelet of Hubei turquoise and sterling silver. It would look great winter or summer, don't you think!?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

The upcoming festive party season


I'm getting back on track (finally!) and been checking out what has been happening in the jewellery world.

There have been a few star-studded events recently and I was pleased to see the gals at the 10th Annual Latin Grammy Awards glammed it up and donned their jewels! And the First Lady's (Michelle Obama's) appearance on the cover of the US Glamour magazine has her frocked up for the party season wearing a big statement necklace.

Yes, unbelievably the festive party season is just around the corner. Eeek. This means our already overfull diaries are going to be even fuller as we work out HOW we can squeeze another Christmas drinks invite in!

I love the opportunity to get dressed up, glammed up and out and about, as out here in the country those opportunities are fairly sparse. But the festive period is different. Everyone starts to unwind from the year, the pressure of school eases, the kids are excited by the upcoming present-fest and all that extra daylight and warm weather has to be taken advantage of!

I must admit to loving the maxi-dress for these events - they hide a multitude of (body) sins, look feminine, are comfortable and are perfect for wearing something sparkly with! The earrings I've pictured above would be great with a colourful dress - not competing with it, but just adding some gleam! Made with pink and regular amethyst they are long and elegant and thankfully light (I find some long styles are just too heavy for me).

If you feel a little worried about the whole party scene, do check out the great post Unleash Your Inner Party Girl at Cherry Mag - lots of great advice!

Have you started to receive your festive occasion invites yet? In fact have you even THOUGHT about Christmas yet - its less than six weeks away now!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

More beach photos

Morning sky at Woodgate Beach


I can't believe another couple of weeks have passed - in a blur! The first week was just my fuzzy 'holiday head' where I was quite content just to kick back.... Then last week we went to Temora for the NSW Aerobatic Championships where I was contest secretary. This involved very long days, extremely hot weather, very little sleep and lots of brain power.... but I survived LOL. We got home yesterday and I'm still exhausted. I'll get back on track soon, promise!

In the meantime here are some more holiday pics (click on them to see them larger!) :)

Shells on the beach



Morning sun filtering through the trees along The Esplanade


Kangaroo on the beach



Till next :)
Annette

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The beach holiday plus kangaroos



Hello all! Have you had a busy couple of weeks? I’m sure you have! I’ve been having a wonderful time kicking back at our beach house in Woodgate, Queensland and relaxing – reading books, running along the beach and exploring what the tide has brought in each morning and generally enjoying family life without the stresses of the every day. Above is a photo of the beach from the entry nearest to our house taken just after dawn. Don't you wish you were there too!?

I mentioned in my last post that I wondered if I would have an unexpected animal popping up in any of my photos – and I didn’t. But I did catch a pic of kangaroos on the beach. This was taken during my early morning beach walk – they don’t go down when the sun is high, preferring to sit around under the shade of trees on people’s front lawns! Apparently they go down to wash in the salt water to remove parasites from their fur. Clever animals.



Here is another one a bit closer this time...this one had just been down to the water and had hopped up to the dune between the beach and the street.



On the return journey I attended the Connect09 Seminar on the Gold Coast where I met so many wonderful women – I knew most online but it was so great to actually meet these people in person, such as the warm and funny Cheeky Monkey herself, Monique, the inspirational Cath from the Squiggle Mum blog (check out her winning the Top AusMumpreneur 2009 award!) and even some people I only know from the C2Ms Goodie Bag group. I saw that Melissa from Business Mums Blog was talking about how great goodie bags are and I have to agree!

I haven’t had much time to do blog surfing this week, but I did see a post by Karen at Winding Threads that talks of addictions – hers is fabric and we all know mine is gems! But we’re quite happy to have these certain addictions in our lives LOL.

No gemmie news this week - I'm sure there has been some but I haven't caught up yet! So, till next week,
Cheers!
Annette

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Finding Treasure and off on Vacation



We survived the dust storms last week with nothing worse than a very thick layer of dust on everything, even inside. It cleared here about 4pm in the afternoon and you could finally see further than a few feet in front of you. The dust apparently continued east visiting Lord Howe Is and some also went visiting up to northern parts of Queensland. Just as we felt like we could breathe again, we got a second one - but this happened overnight so by the morning it was a creamy yellow and cleared mid- morning. I was still hesitant to hang out washing though in case it came back! It has been very windy but no more dust to date. Thank goodness!

Don’t you love the idea of finding a treasure trove? A few weeks ago I heard of a rare gem carving being found in an archaelogical dig in Israel. It is a highly skilled minature gemstone carving of Alexander the Great found in Tel Dor on Israel’s Mediterranean coast, which was an important international port in ancient times. A tiny 1 centimetre long and half a centimetre wide, it is believed to be carnelian, Greek in origin and was found in a building dating from 323 to 146BC.

Now for the great part – it was found by an archaeology student from Philadelphia who was working on her very first dig! She was working on the techniques she had been taught of leveling the floor with her trowel and found the gem, realizing at once that it was different in size and shape than the rocks in the ground, and when it was cleaned up - bingo, a once in a lifetime find! Apparently there are only 20-30 such carvings (probably once set into a ring) in museums around the world and is the most significant find to have come from the area in years!

So do you think you could find some treasure? I saw a great post on Cherry Mag about gem fossicking in the outback and the writer found a nice little handful of garnets!

We’re off on holidays at the end of the week – our annual getaway north to warm weather, the beach and .... eeek! ... no internet connection. I love this pic

that was posted on the blog Casual Cottage – apparently this little squirrel just popped up in time to have his picture snapped by the camera (set on the timer and sitting on a rock) instead of the happy couple behind. Wonder if anything like that will happen on my holiday!?

Pic for today is suitable for some holiday glamour against lightly bronzed skin – fluorite gems cut into a marquise shape in a glorious array of colour.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Amazing dust storm and sharing creativity


Wow, we're in the throes of an amazing dust storm - woke up this morning and the light was orange, it faded to yellow and now its a creamy colour but there is a thick layer of dust everywhere and the gale force winds are blowing more of it here by the second!

The dust has been blown in from central Australia and it caused quite a bit of consternation this morning in Eastern Australia with the eerie colour and low visibility. You can taste the dust every time you breathe and we'll all be in for a thorough house clean when it stops. I heard a woman on the radio this morning say its reminiscent of the dust storms of the 1960s. Is mother nature trying to tell us something?

The end of last week passed in a blur - I had so much to do and it just didn’t get done – but that’s what happens when show season comes around!

I went to the Merriwa Show last weekend and had a blast but I think I’m still recovering :) They certainly kept me on my toes and it was lovely to catch up with clients from previous years. I love how they keep on coming back for more.

Lots of new pieces found new homes and that means they didn’t even get seen by a wider audience as they didn’t actually make it to the website. But I know they’ll be loved by their new owners, so that’s okay. If you make something do you like to know its going to be loved by its new owners too?

I saw this fantastic quote on Jill’s blog Liv’nGood Jewelery, the writer certainly loved her jewels:

The jeweler allows me to wear the sapphire blue lake on my finger, the emerald green leaves around my neck, and take the citrine sunset with me wherever I go. Jewelry has become my daytime link to nature in an office with no windows. And if I have to work late, there’s nothing like diamond stars and a pearl full moon against an onyx night sky.
~Astrid Alauda, “Office With No Windows”


Artisans, artists and crafters all get a real kick out of selling their work – its kind of like sharing a little piece of their creative self with the world. Check out the wonderful repurposed work of Elena, these funky fob tabs by Melanie and these cute 'my little monster's' by Monique – isn’t such diverse talent a great thing to be able to share!

Today’s picture is of a wonderful necklace of ametrine sticks. Ametrine being a combination of citrine and amethyst and these stones have a beautiful high polish finish. Featuring a big silver toggle clasp to wear on the side or the back it is both classic and just a touch flamboyant.

On a completely different note, have you all noticed how fast your children are growing up? My son, at 11 ½ is just past my nose! My girls aren’t far behind him, either! Yet I know they’ll still worry me even when they’re taller than me and looking completely grown up.

Jamie of Destination Handmade got a terrible fright recently when her 19 year old who is away at University was briefly held at gunpoint for his bag and wallet! Hearing this sort of thing just makes me want to freeze the children as they are – at an age when I can still be around to protect them!

So, note to self for today - don't take Mother Nature or your family for granted!

Till next
Annette :)

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Handmade and an Award



I’ve had a busy week! The end of last week was flat out as I prepared for my first spring show at the NEGS Spring Fair, Armidale. The co-ordinator of the fair was very helpful and after a looooong drive, we got set up quickly and for once I was actually ready BEFORE the show started! I even got to do a quick tour around and see the other booths quickly.

I was surprised to find that I was in the vast minority with a handmade product. There were only two other noticeable stallholders with quality handmade items there – a milliner with fun hats for children and women and a fibre artist with the most incredible felt objects d’art. The rest of the stall holders were resellers which was disappointing.

Although I have clear signage that my jewellery is handcrafted one woman got a huge surprise when I told her I was a gemmologist and she realized my jewellery was ‘real’ and handmade. Another vendor later informed my husband that I need to get some lower priced items to sell – he told her that that is difficult since I make everything at the lowest price I can already. She was shocked into silence for a moment before stuttering….’she makes ALL of that????’ LOL.

When you visit a show or fair (not necessarily a market), what do you expect to see – resellers, imports, handmade/artisan goods?

On to other things, I was pleased as punch to receive The Uplifting Blogger Award from Shraddha and April at the The Self Love Project. Thankyou!



I’m passing this award onto

Keri at Life of Logan for sharing her wonderful family days.
Jennifer at It’s a Beauty Filled Life for posts that always making me smile.
Veronica Lee of OF MICE AND raMEN for posting great pics of amazing things all the time.
Julie at Momspective for making me laugh out loud, even when I shouldn’t !

I must point out a fantastic pic – if you like pink and dogs (yes, I know, you don’t normally consider both together) check out the photo on this post at The Tall Poppy! :D

On another note, I’m still working on my new wordpress blog behind the scenes and will tell you where it is soon (or you can go looking !) but I’m having dramas with technorati and can’t seem to log a help call with them. I noticed that Robin at Sweet Little Memories has been having issues too - anyone else feel like they’re banging they’re head agains a brick wall over there at Technorati?

Pic for today is a pair of lemon quartz 12ct goldfill earrings. These wondrous gemmies have been hiding in my special stash box which is getting a bit full since I've been hoarding them! A cut of gem that is not commercially available they are half carved and half faceted they are stunning quality! Feminine and delicate.

Gosh, look at the time! I must dash – I’m going to be at Merriwa Show tomorrow and Saturday and have to finish piling things up at the door to pack the car at dawn! Wish me luck :)

Till next
Annette

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Spring and amazonite


Spring has sprung downunder and so of course it has turned cold. Can’t win, eh!? Nevertheless it really isn’t too chilly and if we got a bit more rain I’m sure things would look lovely and green.

I have the first of my spring shows this weekend – at a private girl’s school a few hours drive away. It is going to necessitate leaving home at 4.30am (EEEK!!!!) and a late night too by the time we drive back. Grandma is on child minding duties and I’m so grateful that she lives nearby and that the children love to stay there!

I’ve been busy making some spring-like creations in preparation for the show – and particularly since I got rather behind in this department with all that reading I was doing last week! Thankfully the muse came and stayed for a decent visit and things went well!

The photo above is a new piece – isn’t the colour just glorious? It’s bright and breezy and to me just says hot, summer days. The wonderful teal-blue gemstone is Peruvian Amazonite. Amazonite varies in colour depending on its source – the stone just called ‘Amazonite’ is a much paler version and the Russian Amazonite is more green. I read a great origin story on Peruvian Amazonite that says the stone was considered a gift from Copacati the Inca goddess of the lake.

One of the reasons I love to read other people’s blogs (yes, I’m slightly addicted) is to see not just what people think, but to get an insight into their world – particularly if they are located far away from me.

One blog I’ve recently found is Yana, who is a decoupage artist in Greece. She recently mentioned a case of varnishing small quantities of items and leaving them on her verandah to dry. Her neighbours are understandably curious and had to ask what she was doing. Fortunately the enquiry led to a sale and Yana is now somewhat disappointed she doesn’t have more nosy neighbours that can see her patio!

A few weeks ago I mentioned Rae Ann’s blog Critical Mass – I just had to laugh at her most recent entry when she relates the story of hanging a shade blind in her house. She sounds a very capable woman, but oh my, things weren’t going her way on this occasion!

I also like to check out what other artisans get up to. There’s something about this piece made by Joella of Always Wired that struck a chord with me – I think it is the almost ‘princess’ nature, sparkly and colourful - something my 8 year old girls would adore … not that they’d be getting close to this valuable item!

OK, better get back to preparing for this show – I seem rather disorganized at the moment!

Till next
Annette

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Spending time reading...


OK, time to ‘fess up. I’ve read Twilight. When all the hype about it started last year I was missive of it – it was teen fiction and vampires… well, really! So I decided to put it off till I was totally bored or someone gave me the book to read – but I was NOT going to go out and buy it myself. So, what happened?

It all started about 10 days ago when I was really rather unwell. The children had gone to Grandma’s, hubby went to watch the rugby in town and I curled up on the couch under a blanket in a semi-comatose state. To take my mind off my aches and general misery I watched the movie ... and in my weakened state it was quite good. A bit of sucker for a romance and on-screen chemistry I was taken in, hook, line and sinker!

So, when I was in town late last week on my six-weekly visit (not local town, but big town, with more than 2 shops!) I found myself in the bookstore and looking at the novel. Everything I had heard about Twilight said the novel was better than the movie, so I bought it. And while I was there I bought the rest of the series too.

I put off starting reading for a couple of days until I had a somewhat ‘free’ afternoon and in I plunged. I found the first couple of chapters didn’t really grab me, but shortly after this I was pretty well hooked and I’ve been on quite the journey with the characters since. I’ve just finished the final book in the series – 4 books in 4 days. Hmmm. Yes. Not much jewellery work getting done at the moment!

Have you read the series? What did you think? Teen trash or a good story?

Of course I always find the time to browse around a few favourite blogs, regardless of how much time I seemed to spend this week with my head in a book, and I found this on the EP Designs blog and it just made me grin:

“If I spent as much time doing the things I worry about getting done as I do worrying about doing them, I wouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
– Beryl Pfizer

Makes sense to me!

By the way, if you want to read a lovely, family oriented and uplifting blog, pop over to I’m Still Standing – make a cuppa first so you’ve got an excuse to stay a while!

Needless to say, since I’ve spent all my week reading instead of creating, the pic above is just a simple strand of beautiful wine-red garnets - aren’t they stunning, just as they are?!

Till next
Annette :)

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Blog changes and chocolate brownie


Exciting changes ahead my friends – I am setting up a new blog on my site with a refreshing new look and… shock, horror… changing over to wordpress. Eeeek. But I know blogger so well….*warning Will Robinson*… steep learning ahead!

Gosh that takes me back – Lost in Space. Isn’t it amazing how famous lines from old TV shows and movies make it into the common vernacular! Is there a line or two that you say frequently in your house that has a similar origin?

I am also guilty of breaking into song for what my husband considers no apparent reason. Yes my house is a bit like a musical at times. The children sit there, either laughing at or ignoring me as I burst into a refrain set off by something they have said. Sad, I know….

Well, LOTS of comments regarding my cooking burst last week. Particularly, it seems, anything to do with chocolate. Chocoholics of the world unite!!! I have some dietary intolerances, however chocolate is one thing I can still have – thankfully! As my chocolate brownie is in demand all around the neighbourhood – any one who tastes it always asks for the recipe - I shall share it with you all so you can enjoy the chocolate overload with me :) . I will give fair warning though – it is NOT low fat OR low calorie, but is sure tastes great and even better it only takes 10 min to make (plus cooking time).

Annette’s Chocolate Brownie Recipe

12oz butter, chopped
12oz block dark cooking chocolate, broken into pieces
6 eggs
12oz sugar
splash of vanilla essence
8oz plain flour
4oz chocolate chips

1.Preheat oven to moderate / 160 degrees. Line baking dish or large square cake tin with non-stick baking paper.
2.Melt butter and cooking chocolate by your preferred method, stir till smooth. In a bowl, beat eggs with hand whisk and slowly whisk in sugar. Add vanilla and mix. 3.Pour butter/chocolate mix into egg mixture and mix well with wooden spoon. Fold in flour. Stir in chocolate chips.
4.Pour into prepared tin immediately and bake till top is no longer wobbly (around 40 minutes but this will vary with your oven).
Do not overbake!


PS If you are gluten intolerant I have used plain gluten free flour in this recipe quite successfully!

Whilst on the topic of baking, if you’re after some great baking tips and cake decorating ideas, check out A Piece of Cake Decorating ;) And then – totally different tangent of course (my brain works like that – here one minute there the next), check out Bags by Melanie , particularly this one – I think I may have a bit of a slight addiction to handbags recently - I seem to keep getting drawn to them LOL. She has a very readable blog too!

I have been very busy at my bench – I finished off those fun multi coloured pieces I was working on for our upcoming summer here downunder. Easy to wear and the focal of a white summer sundress, the necklace pictured above is one of my favourites – very bright and fun – using bright red bamboo coral, yellow calcite, lime green chalk turquoise and black onyx, with just a sprinkling of sterling silver for extra gleam.

Now I’ve turned all girly and feminine and have been making delicate, AAA-grade gem earrings. Sparkly rock crystal quartz, African amethyst, smoky quartz, lemon quartz…set off with a mixture of peridot, pink topaz, prehnite, aquamarine…. you get the picture I’m sure ;) YUM!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Gardening, cooking and renewable energy...


Another week has flown by. I'm getting worried. I'm sure I'll turn around in what seems like a couple of weeks time and Christmas decorations will be up! Someone told me the other day that it was only 130 days till Christmas. Since that wasn't TODAY, its even less now....

We have continued to have quite glorious winter weather here - lots of blue skies, sunshine, soft breezes and mild temperatures. I have spent more time in the garden planting gazanias (I think that's what they are - ask my neighbour - I just do as I'm told!) underneath my roses to help keep the weeds at bay. The knowledgeable neighbour assures me that they will form a thick mat and choke out the weeds. BUT I have to be very conscientious for the next few months and water them regularly (not my strong point, I'll admit). Oh the responsibility! LOL

I also seem to have spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking - brought on by an abundance of eggs from my mother-in-law's very happy chooks (chickens). Everytime she pops in, she brings another couple of dozen eggs so I was up to NINE dozen and really had to step in and do something with them as the odd boiled egg or omlette just wasn't enough. So I've made an almond and carrot torte, a mega-sized chocolate mud cake with chocolate glaze and two slabs of chocolate brownie. That used up two dozen. Then we had a crustless quiche one night and I made double to have for lunches so there's another dozen gone. The torte and cake have already been eaten, so no doubt the family will want me back in the kitchen cooking as soon as the brownie is polished off!

What do you think of renewable energy? Specifically wind power? We have two companies in our town at the moment attempting to sign people up for wind turbines. The turbines are an impressive 80 metres high - and that's just to the hub - plus the blades on top of that! Massive. They came out to visit us today and we find that we're not quite high enough, although we could be considered for a secondary development once the main wind farm is established on a nearby ridge line. There is lots to consider though, one of which is our very scenic views will change quite radically to very scenic views with masses of wind towers. I like the idea of green energy but I'm not 100% about having it surrounding me every time I go outside.

I have also spent some time at my bench although I haven't got as far as taking photos of the new pieces yet. But there are some bright and fun pieces for a lighthearted touch of summer. I really struggled doing the first one - it is a completely different mindset to doing 'bright and fun' compared to 'understated elegance'! But after hours upon hours of moving stones around I achieved the first one and the rest just happened :)

I've been busy loading some recently made stock onto the website now that spring is just around the corner too. AND I've been on facebook, but I'm keeping it under control. I only pop in for a half hour in the morning. I'm happy to say I've already exceeded 100 fans in a week which I'm pretty impressed with!

Today's picture is of a very pretty bracelet - I try to avoid the word 'pretty' as it is just so easy to use for so many things, but it just suits this piece! Palest pink faceted rose quartz and mauve-pink freshwater pearls linked together with 12ct goldfill.

Holidays and vacations seem to be in the air in blog land - two new blogs I've started to check in on recently - Critical Mass and Shwanda.com have both been away and there are lots of wonderful holidays snaps to admire. I love seeing what people go to see and do in other countries!

I also saw on the Michabella Creations blog that she won a print - it's just the most adorable little dachshund picture! I've seen old family photos and recall stories from when my parents had one of these cute (if somewhat strange looking) little dogs.

And continuing the "green" theme - Cherry Mag has a great articles Top Tips for Keeping Green Around the House which has some great, sensible advice.

Ooops, nearly forgot again!!! I have been very remiss in not mentioning a recent award I received! Thank you to Super Mommy to the Rescue for a Friends Award :)


the Rules:

This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. deliver this award to six bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award. I will pass this award to some of my bloggy friends that I find exceedingly charming…


I would like to pass this award onto:
Julie at Momspective
JenJen at Gotta Love Mom
Jackie at 3 Little Ones
Tess at Six Feet Under
Jennifer at Its A Beauty Filled Life
Tammy at Cappucino Confessions

Till next :)
Annette

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Spring jewels and farming life



Another week has rolled around - gosh they seem to go so fast! A combination of more time spent weeding and pruning in the rose garden, co-ordinating a large buy of gems for a group of fellow jewellery designers and keeping the good ship 'family' afloat has just swallowed up the time.

Oh and did I mention Facebook? I've been quite avidly trying to stay away from potential time-drains such Facebook and Twitter as I really spend more time than I have to spare on forums and checking out things online. But I succumbed to the temptation and joined Facebook this week. I still have very vague notions of how it all works, but I have worked out how to put up a personal page and a business page. I'm surprised at the number of friend requests I have had from people who I don't know! And for only being up and running a couple of days I'm surprised with the number of fans my business page has already attracted. BUT I can see time disappearing with continued use, so I'm trying to be sensible. So far. *ahem*

Two blogs that proved interesting reading this week for me were Silver Rose Blog which had an interesting bit on International Friendship Day. What a lovely idea- but I've never heard of it!!! So much for being 'international' ;). The other is Your Cheeky Monkey - Monique does some great work and I know my girls would adore these Tote Bags made out of rescued furnishing fabric!

Onto farming life, I had a request for a picture of the darling little calves that we have dotting our paddocks at the moment, so I have obliged:



They're actually quite difficult to get close to - a little skittish - so photographing them proved more of a challenge than say, the dog ;)



This is our working dog, Patch :) He's a very tall short-haired border collie, with, would you believe by his size - a pedigree? Maybe he had deerhound as one of his ancestors and he's a throwback?

Spring is only a couple of weeks away now so I've started loading the new spring-inspired stock onto my website. Lots of work ahead, but satisfying :) If I can find the time to do it of course!! The picture above is one piece that went up yesterday - a torsade of plump pink-peach freshwater pearls, sparkling rock crystal quartz and lovely big drops of faceted rose quartz. It would look great with a floaty dress in spring or summer or even as a bridal piece.

OK, best be off. That nose has lifted off the grindstone a tad too high and I'd better get it back in place ;) Till next!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Working up to spring and summer brights


I'm feeling all summery. I think the weekend of glorious weather - bright, sunny and mild - after some very cold, grey days. Plus the fact that I managed to spend a good proportion of that spring-like weather outside in the rose garden (weeding - yuk! and pruning - ouch!) may have had an effect. Now that I've recovered from the sore back from bending over and the stiff hands from gripping weeds, of course! A good dose of Vitamin D perhaps?

I'm currently finding myself being drawn to all things bright and cheery - like this gorgeous clutch by TiLT Creations and these pretty earrings by Kandi-o Designs and even this swimsuit that Brittany featured on her blog.

To match my mood, I've pictured some earrings made with natural apple green turquoise with fat white freshwater pearls. A fresh, bright mix, perfect for spring/summer!

I'm ordering new stones for summer designs at the moment and of course I'm being drawn to lime green (variscite, green turquoise, peridot), Aegean blue (Peruvian amazonite, Peruvian blue opal, turquoise, larimar, aquamarine) and some coral pinks too .... I love how colour can affect your mood and outlook.

I'm not the only one loving brights - in the latest jewellery news, I've heard that a very rare 5 carat vivid pink diamond is due to go on sale with Christies Hong Kong office in December and they expect it to reach a "stratospheric" price! Ahh to have that sort of cash lying about. Vivid pink is pretty hard to get in natural gems and the colour of this particular beauty is stunning.

Down on the farm, the heifers are almost finished calving and weeks of checking them three times a day is thankfully going to stop! The calves are terribly cute though :).

Of course, after calving we start thinking of our annual holiday. Yes, I know we've only just had term break, but hey, we can dream! I found a great post on the Tilda Virtual Services blog about surviving the school holidays - darn it, should have read it a month ago ;)

I guess I should get busy and before I know it spring will be here :) Have a great week everyone!

Friday, 31 July 2009

Clothes Lines and Artisan Markets


As promised in response to some comments recently, here is my clothes line. Just an ordinary clothesline - although I do believe it folds up - not that it ever has! The bucket is for my pegs - it's tied on, so has to be tipped out when it rains and fills up with water. We are mid-winter here, so no snow, just cold weather some grim looking clouds. Sometimes there are cows over the back fence, but not today.

It appears from comments I received, that having no clothesline is a bit of an American phenomenon. It seems that many people aren't happy with the way clotheslines (full of clothes) look. We Aussies tend to tuck clotheslines out in the back yard, or in higher density areas they might be a retractable set up. So they're not really that obvious in the big picture.

More and more people are thinking 'green' and energy conservation, so the use of a clothes line makes good economic and environmental sense, providing its not raining or snowing outside. I believe this is a driving factor behind the "Right to Dry" groups in the US.

I personally do not and never have owned a dryer. If it's wet for an extended period and I really need what's still dripping on the line, then I get it off, respin it and hang it around the house for a day or so! The wind is pretty strong here since we're situated right atop the Great Dividing Range, so delicates tend to be hung on a rack in the laundry all year round, otherwise they'd either get damaged from the excessive flapping or end up down the paddock where they might get eaten by a cow!

A few of my friends do own a dryer, but they tell me they rarely use them - only on those occasions when they've forgotten to wash something they need for the next day (and its already 10pm) or if something is not quite dry after a day on the line in winter. In my case, I just have to find something else to wear!

When I lived in Sydney (too many years ago to admit) in an apartment, there was a laundry on each floor with a washing machine and dryer that was coin operated. Although they still did have a clothesline tucked away in a corner of the grounds :)

I'm finding this topic rather fascinating, so do let me know what you think about clothes lines, if you have one, if you've ever had one, or even if you want one!

***

Getting on to other things, I admit to being in a quandary about the lack of good artisan markets anywhere close by.

A few months ago I found that Canberra has Handmade - a quarterly market for artisans, designers and artists to show their wares. I was thrilled to see this - its the closest one yet! Perth is blessed a similar market and Sydney has the established Paddington Markets for new, hip, indie and handmade.

Yesterday while cruising around my blog list, I saw that Margarent of Konstant Kaos is attending her first Sisters Market and she also linked to Made n Thornbury - both handmade markets. How wonderful!

Now I know I live in the middle of nowhere (or everywhere?) so I've been looking at the major nearby towns with reasonable populations. There are plenty of galleries, but they only want 'art' and then at the other end of the spectrum there are general markets that have either imported goods or craft. It seems to be a case of And never the twain shall meet.

I appear to be falling through a gap in the market place. I have a great clientele and many admirers of my work, but I still have to get it out there and be seen to attract new clients.

So, what to do? I can see a need for something in say Mudgee - it's a good size town with wineries that attract a lot tourists all year round. But they very much have the gallery/market divide. As the town isn't that huge I wouldn't see a need for something frequently - but even a Christmas Designer Market would be fantastic. There are some very talented artisans in the district that surely could benefit! Am I the only one that sees this gap, and if so, do I REALLY want to be an events co-ordinator!?

OK, enough with the deep & meaningfuls! Think I'll look for a pretty picture instead to brighten my mood....



Ahhh much better :D Till next week!

(Rose quartz and amethyst sterling silver handmade bracelet with freshwater pearls in pinks and purples!)

Ooops, almost forgot to add - I've got 100 followers - YIPPEE! Thank you to Natalee of Raising Normal Kids for being number 100 :)

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Some housekeeping



I've realised I've some blog housekeeping to do that I never seem to get around to in my weekly post - so here's a special post just for those chores ;)

Firstly, thank you to Jennifer of It's A Beauty Filled Life for the Kreativ Blogger Award *mwah* [air kiss ;) ]



Rules for this award:
• Thank the person who nominated you for the award
• Copy the logo and place it on your blog
• Link to the person who nominated you for this award
• List seven things about yourself that people might find interesting
• Nominate and post links to the seven Kreativ Bloggers you nominate
• Leave a comment on each of the blogs, letting them know they have been nominated

OK, seven things you might find interesting (that I haven't mentioned before ... geez its getting hard, you know me so well already!)....

1) I really love amber. It looks awful against my skin (totally the wrong colour for yellow) but that doesn't matter, I love it anyway. In fact, I covet it so much I'm getting a rather large quantity of it because I can't resist it!!! This is starting to cause me some concern LOL. But what the heck ;)

2) I was brought up on diet of show tunes and soft jazz throughout my pre-teens - teenage years.

3) The reason for this is my step mother had been a ballet dancer turned high-speed aerial dancer and singer in nightclubs in the 60s-70s.

4) I spent approximately 8 months travelling around Europe as a pre-teen.

5) When in Morocco we ventured into the medina of one of the cities and by dusk were quite lost in streets becoming increasingly narrow with rather scary looking chaps wearing scitmars standing in doorways!

6) Also when in Morocco my father was offered a camel and assorted other animals for me as a bride to a rather scrawny young man. Luckily my father said no - even though he said in my later teens that he should have taken the offer!

7) I could smell out a patisserie at approximately a kilometre distance when in France! Yum!!

Now, I’d like to nominate these seven blogs:

1. Glitterfelt Felt Stories
2. Piper & Lily
3. Handmade Kids
4. Inspired by Children
5. SquiggleMum
6. Mama Loves to Shop
7. Heavenly Handmades

Next, thank you to Momma Such of Raising My 4 Sons for the One Lovely Blog Award.



I hope she will forgive me for this link to my last 15 newly discovered blogs instead of listing new ones - I haven't had time to find another 15 just yet!

And lastly, I want to share some love - specifically with the following blogs from Bloggin Moms for Technorati Authority on the Mom Bloggers Club :)

http://www.dominiquegoh.com
http://www.golfersmom.blogspot.com
http://jeanstockdale.typepad.com
http://momcooks.net
http://brainfoggles.com
http://conniesview.com
http://mychroniclife.com
http://mickeyfanatic.com
http://table4five.net
http://mainfo.blogspot.com/
http://www.atticgirl.blogspot.com
http://artsnark.blogspot.com
http://table4five.net
http://momreviews.net
http://momcooks.net
http://www.myleahrose.com/blog/
http://www.ageorgiaangel.com/blog/
http://www.whenwelisten.blogspot.com
http://poshmomdiary.com/
http://www.hereallalong.blogspot.com
http://www.anutinanutshell.com
http://www.thetamom.com/
http://childhood101.blogspot.com/
http://lusciousdeals.blogspot.com
http://www.amymusings.com
http://iamharriet.blogspot.com
http://sitedandblogged.com
http://thecontesthub.com
http://mommynotguilty.blogspot.com
http://ahensnest.blogspot.com/
http://www.ashbarnett.blogspot.com
http://www.thedivinemissmommy.com
http://www.crazysuburbanmom.com/
http://mommynotguilty.blogspot.com


Back to normal programming now :D

Ooops, forgot to say, the pic at the top is a pendant of serpentine and sterling silver - I love the unusual shape of this stone with its attractive patterns of black and silvery-grey on the green background. On a shorter length sterling cable chain. Quite eye catching :)

Cheers!
Annette

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Paris Couture Week ... and more mundane things!


Earlier this month was Paris Couture Week, when the famous names lit up the runways with their haute couture designs - good and bad (!). Some of the stand out fashions in my book were by Armani Prive, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Valentino and Dior (I probably wouldn't be game enough to wear most of the Dior collection, but it certainly grabbed my eye!).

I was happy to note that jewellery was quite in evidence on the runways too - particularly statement necklaces with Armani Prive, long (and multiple) necklaces with Jean-Paul Gaultier, very long chain linked earrings (aka 'shoulder dusters') for Chanel, and Dior was into 'bling' and pearls both in necklaces and big drop earrings.

Of course, life down here on the farm is a bit more basic that the wearing of any of these couture fashions, and with three children running rampant, definitely not the place for high fashion. But it is nice to admire and daydream about :)

Term break is still in full swing here and yes, still lots of visitors and jobs to do. Unfortunately the rose garden is now overdue for both a prune and a weed - NOT my favourite job. Yep, it never ends.

By the way, I was interested to note the comments I received on my last post (re: my washing being on the clothes line for days) and found out that clothes lines are a thing of the distant past for many in the USA. This amazes me as of course I don't even have a clothes dryer! Then I found out about "The Right to Dry" group and well... what can I say!? Do YOU have a outside clothes line? What do you think about clothes lines vs dryers?

I have had a tiny amount of time to do some blog surfing and want to mention Mezz of Creative Outlet. I met Mezz in person quite a few years ago at the Sydney Bead & Gem Show and was glad to get re-acquainted with her recently. I have since started to read her blog more regularly -she writes great posts - do check them out!

The other blogger I was glad to see was Hilary from 57 Design Studio. Hilary went off and renovated her house a few months ago and was so busy she didn't get to blog much at all. But she's getting back into the swing of it now and has been creating, not just jewellery, but has branched out into paper crafts as well.

If you are an Aussie blogger, are you a member of any Australian blog groups? Through Anne of The Tall Poppy I have found both Aussie Bloggers and Blog Chicks - do check them out if you don't know of them already and join up! The more the merrier :)

For today's pic I chose a piece where I had a bit of a play with colour - in a subtle way. To add some fun to this unusual shaped agate I added some neon blue apatite. I like how the clasp reflects the shape of the agate too. It's a long strand that can be wrapped around into a two strand short necklace as shown in the picture.

I also had a query that it wasn't too obvious where you could see my other work, so please check out my website at www.annettepiper.com to see more!

Till next week - have a good one!
Cheers
Annette

Friday, 17 July 2009

Rainy days and school holidays



My life this week has been a whirlwind of visitors and cooking, children darting everywhere you turn and a laundry mound that is rapidly becoming Mt. Washmore!

Our school term ended last Friday with a talent show at which two of my children participated. My son, who has been playing the piano for six months got up in the very first spot. He was embarrassed - at 11 remember how you got embarrassed about everything? The realisation that he rushed a bit and made a few small mistakes made him (after it was all over of course) want to do it again - but better this time! We had to explain that life is a lot like that - full of occasions where we wish we could do it over again differently! You've just got to give it your best shot when you have the chance.

One of the twins also played a couple of short pieces on the piano and considering she's only been playing for less than three months, was very brave to get up there in front of the whole school and associated parents!

Since then, the weather has been, whilst not bitterly cold, definitely wintry and drizzly. The washing hung on the line for four days as it just never cleared long enough to dry it. Children on holidays + mud = more dirty clothes, so the piles of laundry have been steadily rising.

We've been inundated with visitors which is fairly unusual. One of the things about living out in the middle of nowhere, is that most people don't visit very often at all. It's just too far out of their way to pop in. Things must have changed, or maybe they're bored with the wet weather too, and we've had people in and out every day this week.

This has also meant mounds of cooking. Over the past few years I've managed to reduce the amount of time in the kitchen (outside of mealtimes) to only cooking a batch of biscuits every so often to keep the children and husband happy. Well this week I've done deserts, roasts, some of my 'special' meals, biscuits, cookies, scones, pancakes..... And just to add to it, hubby brought in a huge bag of grapefruit to make into marmalade.... *sigh*.... so 17 jars later....

Needless to say, there's not been much time for surfing around the web and checking out other blogs and sites. Although I did get time to see the gorgeous work of Gretchen of Chichiboulie. Gretchen lives in the north of France with her family and does some gorgeous design and illustration work. To look at her art makes you feel young and fancy-free (like a child on school holidays perhaps!?) Do have a look at Gretchen's Boulie Blog - it's beautiful!

So the upshot of the past week is that I'm basically feeling over-domesticated. I'm ready to hide my head in the sand to get five minutes peace and my bench is looking very neglected - even though new stones have arrived that are just screaming out to be made into something. Perhaps next week will be quieter?



The picture for today is a necklace I managed to make BEFORE the school holidays - I love the slightly eclectic and rich combination of oranges, yellows with a touch of green and red. Made with carnelian, sardonyx, agate, sunstone, citrine, garnet, prehnite, calcite and freshwater pearls in green, bronze and russet.

Full of impact, life and colour it's perfect for taking my mind off the semi-feral children that come with a term break. Do you agree? :D

Till next!
Cheers
Annette

Thursday, 9 July 2009

A creative burst



Creativity has been flowing since my big pre-spring clean up last week! I'm still feeling refreshed and have energised and consequently I'm starting to see the new pieces for spring come together in soft, muted and pastel colours. A couple of quite bold ones appearing too! I'm glad I'm getting a bit done now as the next two weeks are school holidays. Trying to concentrate with three children rumbling around - playing, fighting, practicing the piano, practicing dance and of course, just being children (AKA sweet but annoying) will be difficult!

There was a great response to my new blog finds list last week - its great to check out new places and people, isn't it!

With my creative rush I haven't had a lot of time for browsing around, however I did venture onto Kelly's blog at Macaroni & Glue. She's a valued member of Creative Bloggers but I haven't looked at her paper goods in a while. Last time I did there was an emphasis on retro style but I'm impressed to see she now has a fresh, modern style going as well under another shopfront on Etsy. Great work Kelly!

I always try to return the favour of a comment if I can and while I was doing so at EP Designs, I notice Elena has a "pink Saturday" feature. What a great idea, particularly if you feel drawn to a colour. Of course, mine would have to be green ;).

Today's pic is a really chic necklace - quite modern yet I think it will fit into any fashion era comfortably. Made with matte black onyx given a lift - subtle yet full of impact - with the addition of sparkling faceted gems - grass green peridot, golden citrine, rich red garnet and deep purple amethyst. Do you like it too?



Back to the workbench before the holidays begin! Till next :)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Winter mistaken for spring - but not for long!


I did it, I did it! I spent two whole days in the most disorganised room in the house (see post last week) and it is now pristine! I threw A LOT of stuff out, re-organised and moved things around and I feel so much lighter in myself!

Hubby is really pleased as he finally has his table back in his possession and although he hasn't finished re-organising that little area it is well on its way.

Of course, the rest of the house is suffering somewhat in comparison now...but I think I'll attack that another day.

The weather has turned very icy here - although the skies are a vivid blue and the grass is green due to rain we've had over the last month. So it is easy to lull yourself into a sense of spring from the warmth inside the house - until you go outside of course! Then you feel the wintry bite and retreat inside very quickly.

The springlike looking weather has inspired me to work with a burst of soft, pretty colours so I thought I would share these delicately coloured earrings that are of new jade (serpentine), freshwater pearl and rose quartz.

I found a great group - Unique Women in Business at the by Earth Expressions blog. I love the idea behind this group - it's fantastic to see women banding together to help each other towards success!

Recently, I received the same award from two fellow bloggers - Miriam from Angelshair and Terry from Magicalbeadstalk gave me this:



The rules of the award are:
Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award."

So here are my 15 newly discovered 'lovely' blogs!
thirtysomethingLand
Theta Mom
Mommy Words
5 kids, 2 labs, 1 lizard and a hermit crab
Piece of Cake Decorating
I'm Still Standing
Shabby Chicks
Paris Couture Antiques
My Insanity
Inca Kids, Fair Trade & Sustainable Living
Keeper of the Cheerios
Click Here
The Crazy Suburban Mom
Sweet Serendipity
Witchetty Art

Gosh, that's a list and half!

Cheers for now,
Annette

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Organisation and Mookaite Jasper


It's a dreary, grey winter's day today - brrr. Its hard to get motivated when the weather is so dull and cold. Overall though, Australia has it so easy in the winter stakes. Imagine having snow and ice for months each year! Whilst we would all say, oh, but wouldn't it be great to have snow.... I think we'd tire of it pretty quickly as the numbness from the cold set in! So, even though this is a mild winter by some standards, I'm not planning on getting too far from my fire today :)

I must admit that I am feeling the need to organise my life again. It's really not as drastic as it sounds. It's just that stuff tends to build up - how do I aquire so much "stuff" anyway!? Then before I know it, I'm digging under stacks of papers looking for that form that had to go back to school. Or I'm moving piles of things around trying to make space to write out a note. Whilst in general things aren't that bad, some areas are getting a bit TOO random for my comfort zone!

Our study for example is a multi-purpose room. It is where hubby and I do our bookwork and work on projects, have the computers and store textbooks, trade magazines/books, accounts and papers associated with clubs we're involved in. I also can't bear to throw out packaging boxes etc - they always get used (evenutally) so I have a cupboard full of those. Plus I store my display materials for jewellery shows which gobbles up quite a bit of space. The room is quite large (a converted garage) and the children love to play in there too.

This is the room that probably bothers me the most but I have to think of a plan of action before just launching in and getting in a bigger mess LOL. Maybe I need to take some pointers from the Organise Your Life Now blog!

I don't seem to have had a lot of time for checking out my favourite bloggers this week - will have to remedy that soon. I did come across a funny post by Amanda at Household Six that shows you do have to be rather careful of your language around young children :)

Today's picture is of a gorgeous necklace of big slabs of mookaite jasper, large freshwater pearls and deep red garnet.

I love the rich colour of this mookaite - a light heathery-purple through to a rich maroon. Mookaite is an Australian jasper (actually radiolarian siltstone) found under the Mooka Creek bed in the Kennedy Range in Western Australia and is often spelled in a variety of ways - eg. mookite, moukaite and so on. It often comes with a mustard-yellow combination but these ones are all in the purple tones (except for just a touch of yellow on the stone right at the very end if you look closely). Its a jasper that you don't see all that often which only makes it all the more special.


Till next!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Nurturing Creativity in our Children


Where has the last week gone? I know I've been busy but I don't seem to have an awful lot to show for it! It has been one of those weeks that has required lots of time out and about, and whilst I enjoy the social aspect, it isn't too good in the 'getting things done' department.

My son was selected by his school with three other children to attend a creative arts workshop in Mudgee this past week. His strong point is DRAWING - so he ended up making a SCULPTURE! LOL. Oh well. His teacher was rather surprised as well.

Whilst there I attended an interesting parent's workshop on nurturing gifted and talented children and it brought home how important it was to encourage their adventures in whatever fields they are interested in (not just creative arts, but all areas - scientific, mathematical, leadership and so on).

Whilst I always dabbled in arts/crafts I was never really encouraged and it took until I was in the last half of my 30s before I was able to explore this passion and change direction somewhat. Were you encouraged in your gifts, talents and interests as a child?

In my usual trawl around my favourite blogs I came upon a post by Monique at Your Cheeky Monkey. Monique makes gorgeous baby products and her blog mentions some great artisans. She posted about the Aussie Handmade Giveaway blog which I had never heard about. As the name suggests, this blog features giveaways by some of Australian artists/artisans/craftspeople and I fell in love with this week's featured giveaway - Leanne from Rainbow Revolution. Leanne is a colour therapist and her colourful wraps and scarves are completely uplifting!

Then I popped over to Casto Creations. I've known Megan's work for years and I just love her Wilma necklace - its right up my alley!

I've talked about studios and creative spaces and I see on Kim's blog The Polka Dot Press she has photographed her VERY neat studio. I could settle in there quite happily!!

There are so many wonderful and beautiful things in the world to admire, isn't there!

Today's pic is over a fun pair of fairly sizeable earrings! Big 12mm button shaped freshwater pearls and 14mm red sponge coral. Add a bit of colour to the dull and boring winter wardrobe here downunder, heh!?

Friday, 12 June 2009

The trauma of being offline


Arrrggghhh. I've been offline for over a week with my satellite dish going 'fizzzzzzz....kaput'. Now, I know I've had trouble going on holidays (read that as "away from my computer" but I've had time to get used to the idea beforehand, and of course, lots of activities to keep me busy while away. But this was awful.

I could use the computer but couldn't CONNECT with anyone. It really made me realise how many acquaintances I've met online and while I may only briefly touch on these lives, how important they can be! So I'm feeling very out of touch and in a flurry to catch up.

Of course, it was great on the creative front once I stopped staring at the no connection icon ;) I made some great new pieces and the orders didn't stop just because I was offline, so some are already gone! I was doing a tally the other day and realised that almost every piece I've featured here on my blog has gone, usually pretty quickly!

Today's piece is from my 'week off'. A prime example of how simple can be totally stunning. Big overlapping discs of poppy jasper - chocolate with raspberry overtones. Yum!



In my short time of catching up I notice more and more people are turning to twitter. I know a bit about it but can't devote the time that I know it would take, as with my personality (the all or nothing type) it would become totally addicted! I did see a great how-to article on getting started with twitter at Tilda Virtual Services, for anyone who's ready to jump on though!

Catching up with my artisan friends I see that Teri of S&T Creations, who I feel like I have known online for years is tackling a big re-organisation of her studio. I can sympathise, although in chatting to a friend the other day I realise my left and right hemispheres really battle with one another - if I'm feeling creative then chaos HAS to reign in my studio. However if I need to do some bookwork for the farm, then everything has to be neat and tidy so that I can think logically and not get sidetracked. Consequently my studio is alternately neat or chaotic depending on what I'm doing LOL.

And I really want to mention the most wonderful fibre artisan - Sara of Woolies. This woman makes THE most adorable handmade and knitted toys. I'm totally in love with Raspberry, the knitted teddy. Don't you just want to take him home!

Till next :)

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Ahhh to be in Paris...


OK, it's my birthday week and I've decided that I'd like to be in Paris. This, of course, is not possible when you're situated in the middle of rural NSW, on a farm, with cattle needing to be fed daily and children caught up in the daily school grind. So I will just have to dream that I am there instead.

Why Paris you ask? Well, this week - tonight in fact - around 75 of the most prestigious galleries will be open, as they do annually, for the Nocturne Rive Droite. This is an eagerly awaited evening event by collectors and art lovers to go into some exclusive galleries and view antiques, paintings, furniture, sculpture, tapestry, jewellery and objects d'art. As well as the opportunity of mingling with art professionals and experiencing their enthusiam for their field. A worthwhile experience, don't you think!?

In my reality though, I have to admit that life just keeps getting me sidetracked from what I want to do!

I saw a great quote on fellow Creative Blogger, Coco's blog - by William Wordsworth - "To begin, begin". Great advice, but all artists and crafters suffer procrastination! Amber at Yellow Flower has had start her packing in preparation for her imminent move. (Love the pics she has taken on her blog of her little knick-knacks around the house that need to be packed by the way.) I found a new art-crafts blog Konstant Kaos and Margaret there has been yearning to learn screen printing. She needs to take Wordsworth's advice too!

About today's picture - I made myself a black and white version of this and it gets such great feedback when I wear it I made another - this one in black in silver. The contents of each vary considerably just the overall design is similar. This one contains, lava, faceted onyx, agate, hematite, silver and peacock freshwater pearls and sterling silver.

It's definitely a statement necklace but not as heavy as you would think for a big piece. Maybe it would be suitable to wear with a little black dress in Paris for tonight's event!?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Patter of Rain on a Tin Roof



As I type this I hear the patter of rain in the background. Rain against a tin roof - there's nothing like it, especially when you really need it! Australia is such a big country - and while the central part of the eastern coast has been literally submerged in wet weather we have remained dry. Living on a farm makes you attuned to the weather and what it can do - and the lack of grass is having an effect, with the need for supplementary feeding. Changing the stock into new paddocks is more to give the cows a change of scenery than more feed! So, I am enjoying the raindrops for as long as they last and wish those affected on the coast could blow some more this way!!

Have you ever looked at where your web visitors come from - I've been watching my blog visitors lately and its amazing the way they find you, the most random searches - albeit for me it is something to do with either gemstones or jewellery. And the locations! There are some places I've never heard of (which I actually find rather embarrassing!). In the last week I've had lots of visitors from the UK, whereas my visitor list is usually dominated by US or Australian locations. I wonder why? Where do most of your visitors come from?

I must thank Anne of The Tall Poppy for a recent award - the Welcoming Blogger Award! She reckons I'm always popping up and welcoming newbies along and I must admit that I do like doing that - after all, you never know who you could meet!



Of course I've been doing the rounds of my arts/crafts online buddies and this week I must draw attention to two outstanding artists.

The first is Carol of The Blue Cat. Carol stumbled on my blog a few months ago, followed me over to Creative Bloggers and has been a stalwart supporter there. I love popping into her blog and seeing her gorgeous artwork - she has an affinity for our feline friends and imbues such personality into them that they are just adorable! She sells on various online marketplaces and they're certainly lucky to have such a talented artist on their books!

The other talented woman is Sayo - a fellow maker of jewellery and I just love her big silver rings with a lovely big fat natural crystal! It really appeals to the gemmologist in me I guess!!! Do check out her blog where you can see her great work - bet you buy a piece ;)

I would also like to urge any ladies downunder to join the marvellous Connect2mums network - I have already made some wonderful friends there and I'm sure I will find a lot more. It is so wonderful to have such a network for those of us down here in Australia as usually our only option for such camaraderie is based overseas. Of course, in true spirit of my above award I'm welcoming everyone aboard!

OK, I had better include a picture of something I've made recently. Ah yes, a torsade. I only make these occasionally as they are very time consuming - getting the colours just right and not just the combination, but the percentages of each colour. The last one I featured here on my blog sold the first time it was seen in real life, so I decided to make another. This one is a little more subdued in the colour, but very delectable! Made with freshwater pearls in sage, bronze-copper and cranberry, rich red garnet and some sparkling smoky quartz.

Till next :)

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