Thursday, 27 May 2010

Eisteddfod Success!

I've been distracted most of this past week - firstly because my kiddos did so darn well in their eisteddfod (basically a competition for non-professionals in dance, speech, singing and instruments for those who asked!) then the 'high' of having won followed closely by a commitment to buy another, better piano for them.

Firstly, the eisteddfod. Well, our teacher definitely knows what she is doing and I can clearly say that her students were the best prepared out of any there. They played note perfect, their style was lovely and each was truly a little 'performance' rather than just 'playing'.

My heart was beating so fast as each of them went up to play and until the whole class was over and the winner announced the adrenalin was pumping! Of course the children themselves were fine and relatively unconcerned.

Of course, very proud parent here as you can tell (sorry!). If you know me, I am NOT one to talk about how amazingly talented my kids are - they've have never really been achievers so it has been a wonderful boost to everyone to have this success under their belts!

As they did so well, Hubby gave approval for the expenditure on another piano for them. The teacher has been warning us for a while that their skill has exceeded the capabilities of our current 80+ year old Beale Elfin (a small Australian made 'parlour' piano). So there's been lots of phone calls around the State looking for pianos.

Tomorrow we are off on a two day sojourn to look and try out an 8 year old baby grand. Hopefully it will be wonderful, we can get it and I can get back to something a little more productive than having a phone dangling from my ear and dreams of pianos!

I am sure I will need a dose of inspiration to get back into creating next week - and I think one of the best places for that is at the Additions Style blog. Valerie always writes posts that pushes my brain into 'what if I did this ....' I highly recommend a visit there if you need a creative push!

Since I haven't created anything brand new this week, I thought I'd show you a piece that I made just before the Scone show earlier this month that found a new home while I was there. It's a lovely mix of freshwater cultured pearls in cranberry, wine-purple, lime and khaki green with a sprinkling of peridot and garnet. Yum!

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Endless eisteddfod preparation ... and a touch of glamour

Its a cold, dreary sort of day here on the Great Dividing Range. We've had some gorgeous autumn weather of brilliant blue skies and sunshine and its been lovely to soak up some of this milder warmth - but it gets a little chilly when there's no sun out. Like today! A good day for staying inside near the fire and doing 'inside jobs'.

It's been a bit of a manic week with lots of running around - the children have had daily piano lessons in preparation for their participation in the eisteddfod and when you live 25 km out of town, daily trips there add up pretty quickly!

I'm sure I'm more nervous than they are - they seem remarkably unconcerned. Although they've done a small concert last year, tomorrow is their first competition and I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing all the talented young pianists out there.

It's been an alternately exciting (when they first master their song or play it perfectly ) and frustrating (when they can't be bothered or have had enough) ride getting them up to the expected standard, but I must admit I'm looking forward to hearing some new songs next week. Perhaps Bach, Haydn and Dvorak can take a breather for a week or so!?

On the jewellery front, for a good dose of bling we need to move to Europe for a while! I saw some fabulous jewels (and some rather over the top ones) photographed at the Cannes Film Festival that is currently running. Diamonds, a few more diamonds and the occasional emerald and ruby. Oh and I did see one big amethyst necklace that was spectacular. For a nice change there were statement necklaces everywhere. Plus a liberal helping of cuffs and bracelets, huge rings and even bigger earrings. One could say they were dripping in jewels and you wouldn't be far wrong!

But there must be an element of excitement for all the guests - choosing dresses, jewellery and shoes. A bit like an overblown prom I'm guessing! I saw this great post on Tiffani's blog about her daughter's prom and I just love the photos she posted showing a very glamorous young lady in her gown and jewels!

Today's pic is of some delicate drop earrings with gorgeous green peridot gems suspended under 12ct goldfill chain. Perhaps not in the Cannes bling category, but certainly enough to add a touch of glamour to most mere mortals!

Till next :)

Friday, 14 May 2010

Rose Quartz and a bit more about Creativity

I had another brilliant day last weekend at the Scone Grammar School annual fete - lots of stallholders this time and a real market feel to the whole event. People kept milling about and there was a real reluctance for people to go home! I caught up with lots of clients, some ex-Coolah residents and sold lots of jewels. It's wonderful to watch people see "the" one piece of jewellery for them. (Of course, I have a couple of clients who find "the" one, each time they look LOL. Addicted to beautiful stones - what a way to be!)

I've had a few questions recently about specific stones and realised I haven't really written about the stones themselves for a while. So this week I thought I'd do a run down on rose quartz since I use it quite a bit in my designs.

Rose quartz, a member of the quartz family, is found abundantly in Brazil, Madagascar, India, Mozambique, Namibia, Sri Lanka, the USA and in smaller quantities elsewhere in the world. Of course, the grade of rose quartz varies considerably and it is often crackled and usually turbid rather than transparent. Some higher quality rose quartz is softly glowing pink and rather than completely clear it is often as if it's just a bit misty. With a hardness of 7 it is a sturdy stone although care should be taken to avoid hard knocks or impacts as these can cause conchoidal fractures - which will look like 'chips' to the naked eye.

Rose quartz is named after its pink colour and this colour is thought to come from titanium. Although its crystal structure is trigonal, it is usually found in a massive form (so found in chunks rather than crystals).

A popular stone, its use in jewellery goes back to 7000BC in Mesopotamia where it has been found in the form of beads. The Assyrians used it during 800-600BC and the Romans used it for seals.

Many cultures believed in its metaphysical properties, notably for love and matters of the heart. Egyptians believed it prevented aging (quick, give me some!). It is still used by crystal healers in a variety of ways, predominately to restore calmness, balance and clarity to the emotions.

All in all a pretty stone with nice connotations!

On to other things, the topic of creativity has featured prominently around here lately. I worked with the local preschool on a mother's day project where the children could make a bracelet for their mum. I took in a vast array of beads and my not-good-enough-to-use-in-my-jewellery gems and pearls, some memory wire (it springs back into shape) and my pliers. Over the course of a week, the children strung their selections onto the wire which I then made into bracelets. The results were incredible. There was the occasional mish-mash and the occasional child that obviously wasn't really interested, but most of the bracelets were amazing. There were some real stars too in the colour combination category! The feedback from the mothers has been overwhelming - the preschool teacher even called me last night to tell me how thrilled the mums were.

Is this creativity innate or do you think it's inspired by things they see or their play? Do you think it fades as we grow older or it just needs topping up?

I saw a great post on the Heart On My Sleeve blog about a couple of university graduates being so inspired by the often colourful washing hanging on lines that they took photos of clothes lines in over 22 countries! Some of the pics ARE inspiring too, particularly with the varying backdrops. And if creative play inspires, then I think the cute little knitted finger puppets at Your Cheeky Monkey would be just the thing to get the children in the mood.

Given the run down on rose quartz, today's photo is of a rose quartz and freshwater pearls sterling charm bracelet. Very feminine and very spring inspired (even though we're going into winter - like I said, the muse takes me where she will, regardless of what's going on around me! *sigh*)

Till next :)

Friday, 7 May 2010

Something colourful for World Colouring Day

I really should be abed - I have the show in Scone tomorrow, but I realised I hadn't blogged this week and with the show Saturday, Mother's Day on Sunday, plus a jaunt out on Sunday afternoon for the children's eisteddfod rehearsals, it's now or never ... but I will keep it short!

I've had a wonderful creative week and so its been very satisfying. It didn't start off that way and I spent many hours trying to make it to the bench but was either too busy, unwell with a rather nasty case of the flu or just not feeling in the mood (creative types can be so annoying eh?!). But eventually I just sighed and sat down to finish some half finished earrings off after the kids left for school and the next thing I knew the kids were walking back through the door and the day was almost over.

Naturally the muse took me where she will and I ended up with a variety of styles and colours, but I've learned to take this in my stride these days. Do you find that you have the desire to create anything - a piece of art, craft or even just doodling or making dinner and you end up doing something completely different from your first idea? Yep, that's me ;) Of course, this tendency plays havoc with custom orders where I have to fight my instinct and stay on track to what the customer wants!

Did you know that one day this past week was World Colouring Day? According to the Business Mums Blog it was May 6, so if you did something colorful, or your children did, good on you! Even though I've officially just missed it by a day, I've decided my contribution to this day can be my photo for today's post - a bright combination of red, yellow, black and teal blue. It's a long chain linked necklace with bright red bamboo coral, black agate and lava, yellow aragonite, citrine and honey jade and blue-green Xianjiang and Hubei turquoise. And of course, masses of sterling silver. It coloured my day, how about yours?

Hope you have a lovely weekend and Happy Mums Day for Sunday!

Till next :)

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Blink ... and another week is gone

Gosh the weeks are just blurring together. I always seem to be out and about during the week and before I blink the week has gone with not much to show for it! It seems to be a bit that way though - a frantic week with lots getting made and done and then a week that just whizzes past that I don't even get to my 'urgent & important' list! Maybe that means that next week will be an achieving week??? For some reason I don't think so...

Thanks for the many commiserating comments last week on the state of my weedy garden - it's good to know I'm not alone! The weather has cooled down dramatically this week (a good temperature for weeding - not that I've done any more!) and I've started dropping hints to hubby about 'firewood'. He hasn't taken me up on the hint though. Ah well, it will get cold enough eventually that he won't be able to ignore it anymore.

I played farmer again this week, fortunately only for a morning. Luck wasn't on my side though and my ignorance played against me - I ran out of fuel just after moving the stock. I pushed the bike about a km to the nearest cross-track and then walked the remaining couple of km home. Lesson learned. I'll check the fuel tank next time!

I was reading a post today at Dana's about vintage items and a woman returning a 1960s purse that she was unhappy with as it wasn't 'new'. Poor Dana feels sick about a customer not being happy, and I can certainly sympathise with that - we all want our customers to be thrilled. But I would imagine it's a little hard to find 'new' and 'vintage' unless you come across a warehouse of untouched stock?

I've not really dealt with vintage before - unless it is a restoration job on someone's favourite old jewels, which probably doesn't count! There seems to be a fair population that do though. Do you buy vintage? If you do, I'd be interested to hear what your thoughts on vintage - both the positives and the pitfalls - are.

My extra good news this week is that the Mega Mums Giveaway was drawn and one of my entrants won it! Jenny from Mendooran is the lucky recipient and is still stunned by her win. Her husband thinks she's never won anything before except an argument with him, so it sounds like it is well deserved!

Next weekend I am off to the Scone Grammar School's annual Fete. I have attended the last two years and last year already had some 'regulars', so I'm looking forward to catching up with them again. They have changed the set up this year with lots of outside vendors so it should be a fun market-like atmosphere. If you're in the vicinity, drop by to the school on Saturday between 10am and 3pm.

Today's photo is of a handmade chain of sterling silver, dusky rose rhodonite nuggets, chocolate jasper ovals, big rectangles of rose quartz and huge white freshwater pearls. It's a long necklace with chain at the back but as you can see is easily doubled to a chunkier shorter style.

Till next :)


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