Saturday, 24 April 2010

My gardening wall of shame!

Another week flies by and lots of average excuses for posting this late! I won't bore you with them all though ;)

Hubby and son returned from their Boy's Own Adventure, crossing the continent and back, covering 3500 miles and with thoroughly sore rear ends LOL. I survived being Farmer Piper again (apart from a seriously trying morning moving cattle with two 9 year old girls helping - I'll leave that to your imagination!) - luckily the split water pipe didn't appear until the morning after hubby's return as that's really something that I couldn't have fixed!

I started the mammoth job of weeding my rose garden last weekend. And if you wonder why, after a week I've only weeded half of it, I will now post a photo on my 'wall of shame'! I need a lot of coercion to get into the garden at the best of times so I ignore it all through summer, apart from watering if required. Well this year we have been blessed with regular rain, so I haven't even had to do that. This is the consequence though.

Yep, that's a tangle of weeds folks, and in the centre of this photo is supposed to be a path - you can see it at the top of the photo, in the half that's weeded. No, it's NOT a pretty sight. My keen-gardener-mother-in-law has to force herself NOT to look when she visits as she is totally appalled. Amongst some very spiky rose bushes there is a mixture of 'paddy melon'-like vines, kikuyu and rye grasses, lucerne, a variety of burrs and thistles and the odd nasty patch of 'sticky-beaks' that are even taller than the roses!

It's taken quite a bit of persistence on my part to get as far as I have. If you had been watching me I'm sure you would have opened your eyes just a tad wider at my numerous vocalisations, which basically centered around the word 'OUCH' and the odd, colourful adjective. Luckily roses are hardy and some lovely blooms are still coming forth in what will be probably their last flush before the cold weather closes in. This is a David Austin double pink with a terrible, rangy habit, but gorgeous scented flowers.

I'm feeling a little floral at the moment ... the roses in the garden, photos of spring blooms at every turn on the web and my girls have been making paper flowers which currently have pride of place in a vase on my dining table.

Have you ever made flowers with some sort of medium? I've made some floral designs with gems in the past and I saw today that Phersmay had posted a photo of some organza flowers that she has made to attach to headbands, brooches and hairpins.

Totally NOT floral, however, today's jewellery piece is a wonderful long, long (did I mention it was long!?) strand of lustrous peacock freshwater pearls in semi-baroque, stick and coin shapes. It's so long it makes a decent length 2 strand necklace or a brilliant shorter length 3 strand. I've added in a sprinkling of amethyst, iolite and tanzanite gemstones to enhance that purple-blue hue that I love so much, and a gorgeous starfish sterling clasp. Do you like it?

Till next
Annette :)

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Watching children create

Another week has flown by and school holidays are coming to a close. I waved my hubby and son off at "O-dark-hundred" this morning as they took off for Perth and the Red Bull Air Races. They left 13 hours ago and in another hour they will have crossed the continent and arrived in Perth - which I find mind blowing in a small, two seater aircraft! They have phoned me at every stop - Broken Hill, Ceduna, Forest and Kalgoorlie. They will be gone for about 5 days so it's all girls in the house which the younger two are thrilled about. It also means that my guise as Farmer Piper has reappeared - I'm almost getting used to it!!!

In an effort to have some time with the girls yet still be productive, I let them loose on my bench today and let them create a piece each which I then made.

I am constantly surprised at what they come up with - their sense of colour is superb and they keep that while thinking outside the square. I watched with amazement as they went through boxes of stones looking, collecting and discarding. The results were combinations of 1) black lava, golden topaz and grass green peridot with a sprinkling of gold and 2) red bamboo coral, Peruvian amazonite and silver. They also chose the clasps and length and stood at my shoulder making sure everything was just 'right'. I remain impressed!

I'm a member and ambassador of the wonderful Australian group Connect2Mums. We had our inaugural conference last year and what a fun time we had - the ultimate in social networking! There was much laughter and lots of dancing at a nearby nightclub after hours that had fantastic duelling pianos. The 2010 conference is coming up at the end of July - Monique has blogged about it and put up a photo of the C2M leaders from last year's event which I've copied here

I'm third from the left - it's rare that anyone gets to photograph me but at least I'm all dressed up here ;)

If you want a dose of colour inspiration, check out Julie's site where she features lots of scrapbooking layouts. The colour combinations are just fantastic :)

Today's picture is of some golden-wheat coloured freshwater pearls in a funky stick shape. Eye catching and different, yet light and easy to wear.

Till next :)

Friday, 9 April 2010

A late bunny story, Sydney jewels and hectic holidays

It's been a busy week with Easter and the associated family gatherings, children's piano lessons (even though school is on holiday, piano definitely isn't!) and my rostered morning at the local saleyards canteen (and the baking of the fresh blueberry muffins before I had to leave). In fact I can't believe it's already Friday - half the term break gone already!

I know Easter is past, but I couldn't resist sharing this photo and story that I stumbled upon a couple of days ago.

This is the world's biggest rabbit. Named Darius, he is just 12 months old and at 1.3 metres and 22kg hasn't finished growing yet! Apparently he eats 12 carrots, 6 apples and 2 cabbages a day. Geez, I hope his owner lives on a farm and grows her own veggies, otherwise this big boy would eat her out of house and home rather quickly!

In jewellery news - if you like looking at gorgeous mega dollar jewels (in particular diamonds), then Sydney is the place to be this month. Sotheby's is hosting an auction on Monday 12 April of Australian Argyle diamond and other fine jewellery items. Then, at the end of the month, Bvlgari is opening a retrospective of their jewels in their Castleraegh Street store from April 28 featuring more than 60 masterpieces from their archives. A visit to Sydney is sounding VERY appealing about now!

In my other wanderings around the web, I was inspired by Melanie - she normally makes bags, fobs and purses but she has recently taken a slight detour into needle felting and has been showing her readers the most adorable toys on her blog recently.

And if you have a blog but, unlike me, don't feel comfortable just chatting away into the ether, then have a read of Melissa's blog where she has some great suggestions on how to find something to blog about.

I did manage some creative time in these hectic holidays - it was night and silence descended early with the children watching an early movie and then going to bed. I just beavered away at my bench, a bright glow amongst the darkness. The photo at top is one piece that was made that night. Although its design is plain, the dark agate stones are just gorgeous - rich, glossy and totally desirable!

Till next :)

Friday, 2 April 2010

A big week for jewellery

Days are dashing past lately faster than I can keep up with! I hope this isn't an indication of life in general and getting older though...otherwise things will get pretty blurry as they speed past soon! My eldest has just turned 12 - we've already started the moodiness, the switching off (my voice just becomes a background buzz I'm sure!) and the attitude. I gather its only going to get worse so I'm taking it all one day at a time.

We've had more rain this past week - quite incredible after years of drought to have this regular rainfall. The pastures are responding beautifully and the cows, I'm sure, are feasting on the feed. Hubby has gone away for a few days flying aerobatics (at the National Aerobatics Competition) and so I'm back on duty as Farmer Piper. Fingers crossed I don't have any 'stories' (aka problems!) to relate to you on that front next time I write ;)

I had a fantastic day at Mendooran Show last weekend. The ladies were incredibly welcoming and fitted me into their pavillion beautifully - just like I was meant to be there. It was a bit on the hot side, made worse by the uniquitous Australian tin shed we were in - very practical, but hot in summer and cold in winter! But regardless of the heat lots of ladies went home with some new jewels and big smiles which is just the way I like it :) The photo above is of a piece that found a new home - lashings of freshwater pearls in all shapes and sizes and colours.

In fact its been a big week on the jewellery front. I've been very busy doing orders, remodels and sitting down designing with clients. One remodel was different - to turn a bracelet full of Pandora charms that the client no longer wears into a necklace. It is actually looking rather lovely with the charms mixed amongst black lava.

One client came over and choose a pair of elegant citrine and gold earrings to go as a gift to Italy and ended up leaving with a gorgeous pair of pink amethyst earrings for herself as well. I like the way she thinks - "one for a gift, one for me... "

I also had a wonderful meeting with one client who in her younger days (1950-60s) worked for a jewellery house in the city. She regaled me with her wonderful 'tiara' story - lets just say the tiara - which had also been designed as a necklace - got a night out on the town unexpectedly and she got to look literally like a million dollars!

Sometimes jewellery can be a fascinating field to be in - you get to meet wonderful people, hear riveting stories and get to touch on people's lives all over the world :)

Till next :)


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