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

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

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 :)


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