Wednesday 11 May 2016

Hello, and other ramblings...

 Hello there! It's been a while since I carved out a little spot of time for blogging - even though I frequently think to myself "I must blog about this or that", somehow the time slips through my fingers like so much sand. I am now feeling like my blogging muscle is a little rusty, so I am just going to do one of those rambling posts; lots of pictures, telling you a little bit about the pieces and what else has been going on, in no particular order. Ok? 

If you follow me over on Facebook, you'll have seen that I recently returned from a fab surprise holiday in Tenerife. I know a lot of people are a bit snotty about the Canaries, but I absolutely love them! Sunshine, gorgeous coastal climate, great food, lovely people - what's not to love? We stayed in the north-east of the island, doing the Air BnB thing, and this meant we were in a totally non-touristy thing too - an added bonus, as far as I'm concerned. As usual, I packed up a shit-ton of beads (I have problems...!) so that I could sit in the evenings, and make away to my heart's content. All accompanied by a glass or 4 of local Sangria! I say local in that way that local somehow makes it classier, but what I really mean is local i.e. from our local supermarket. Like a glass of local Lambrini here in the UK. (Although I'm sure you will agree, local Sangria over local Lambrini EVERY TIME.)

Sometimes when I go on holiday, I must admit, my eyes are bigger than my bead belly, and I end up coming home with a pair of earrings and half a bracelet, but not this time. I was seriously productive! We were in a lovely wee apartment, complete with a mountain-view balcony (we were very lucky - right on the edge of the capital, Santa Cruz, which is all industry and skyscrapers, but the from the block of flats we were in you would never have known) and so we ended up eating in most nights - fresh veg, fresh bread, local (ACTUALLY local) cheese and the occasional Gambas Pil Pil (a long-standing family favourite), all washed down with the aforementioned Sangria. Slurp. 
Anyway, this wee bracelet is one of the first pieces I made on holiday. I've made a few of this design lately, and I do love it - the combination of the larger elements with the double-stand of more petite beads - artisan elements here from Soul Silver, Something to do with your hands and myself, along with a heavy helping of freshwater biwa petal pearls.  I'm really enjoying using those teeny tiny seed beads more in my work - linking my handwoven {song}beads with the rest of my designs in an organic way. 

Another holiday piece here - a really easy-to-make, easy-to-wear piece. Birds, flowers, artisan quirky beads and my favourite red and turquoise palette.  
I bought a whole bunch of different sterling silver clasps from a new favourite findings supplier, TH Findings, as I'm finding with my own metalwork, I'm using silver more and more. I still love my patinated copper and brass, but it's great to have silver as an option too. This is such a simple bracelet, it would be easy for it to be a little nondescript, but I think that wee heart clasp really makes this piece work. 

 As you may be picking up, I'm going through a bit of a bracelet-y phase. I know, I know - what's new?! - but I'm just going with it. The bead shop, it's fair to say, had a fairly slooooow start to the year, but things started to pick up in March and April, and so my time for making became a little limited. For that reason, I'm just going with my gut when making at the moment, rather than imposing my brain upon the process too much - must make more necklaces! must make more links and earwires! - and such like. The ebb and flow of Curious is back to a bit of an ebb again, and so I am anticipating having a little more time over the next week or so - which is always the silver-lining of a bead shop ebb :-) This bracelet is one I've made since getting back from holiday, but I feel it's got some of the lightness that a good holiday always leaves you with. 
That cool bottle bead is one I snagged from Lorelei Eurto's recent destash. No idea what Nehi is but I love the colour and design of the bead nonetheless! Again, you can see those seed beads doing multiple jobs here - my beaded beads, spacers between the larger beads, and forming a wee extension chain. I can't tell you just how long these take compared with popping a bit of chain or a few links on the end of the bracelet, but I love the visual texture of them, and how they keep the colour going within a piece. 

I know on the other side of the pond - and Australia too, I think? - it was Mother's Day last Sunday. We had ours a while back, but Sunday *was* my Mum's birthday. Mum is a great supporter and wearer of my jewellery and whilst she of course has a great deal of patinated pieces (which is own my preference for most of the time), she is a shiny silver girl at heart. It was the push I needed to get back to the torch - sadly neglected by me this year, despite the acquisition of a proper bonafide jewellery bench. The torch came out, the hammer and block came out, the pickle was switched on - the tumbler did its magic, and so Mum ended up with some shiny shiny earrings and a shiny shiny necklace. 

 A break from my bracelet addiction....
More beads acquired from Lorelei here - I just love this soft Spring colour palette. I made those tiny peach {song}beads just for this necklace - just the right shape and colour to go with these sweet pink/purple freshwater pearls - as well as that gorgeous bouquet on the ceramic pendant. 

 More pearls here - I go through phases - quite long phases(!) - with pearls, and this phase shows little sign of waning - more peachy, subtly textural pearls in this new bracelet below.

Another bonus of the holiday was the amount of swimming I did over there. Ok, not all swimming, there was a lot of obligatory bobbing around in various pools in the sunshine, but also swimming. I made a point of starting the day by having a bit of a lie-in, but as soon as I was awake, getting into my costume and hitting the pool attached to our apartment block. I really wish my flat here in Edinburgh had a pool out the back! Although I think indoors would be vastly preferable here in Edinburgh. I did a short blast of 20 lengths each morning, but the routine of it reminded me just how much I enjoy swimming. Believe it or not, when I was in primary school, I went swimming 4-5 times a week with Heart of Midlothian Swimming Club . Over the past fifteen years, I've tried again and again to get into running, going to the gym, yoga, pilates etc. and all without real success i.e. being able to stick to them. (I actually really enjoy yoga and pilates, but find that I am a quite intimidated by the idea of joining a class - I imagine everyone else will be lean and beautiful, and live off green smoothies and little else - you get the picture. The type of class where I'd stick out like a sore thumb, in my mind at any rate!). I don't know why, but I've never really given swimming another go - not properly. But on the Monday after our return, I went along to some local swimming baths and joined up for a month. Not cheap, but not too pricey - and since then, I've gone every day but two. Slowly but surely, I've been building up the distances I've swum - I'm now doing a mile every day. A brilliant thing about the membership I've bought is that it allows me to use any of the ten council swim centres we have here in Edinburgh. So the past two+ weeks, I've been working out where these pools all are in Edinburgh, and fitting my swims into whatever I'm doing on a day - the pool near my acupuncture clinic, the pool near the parcel office, the 2 pools near my wife's work where I can get a lift to in the morning if I'm feeling like a super-early morning dip! I am not making any promises to myself - I don't want to let myself down and feel all the guilt that that leads to - but right now, I'm really enjoying it being part of my day to day routine. Which pool today? How many lengths today? Sadly, I'm not a size 8 already (what? Two weeks of daily swimming - WHY NOT?!) but I am feeling really good about it - and *actually* enjoying it. Long may it continue!

The last little piece I have to share with you today is really a pair. One of my lovely regular customers wrote to me and said that these two would go well together, and of course when I looked at them I knew that they would. I am never sure what I think about sets though. I like jewellery collectors to be able to pick and choose what they wear together - but yes, I would definitely wear these two as a pair. 

As you'll see, I'm continuing with my love-affair with gemstones, as you may have spotted from several of the pieces above. A couple of weeks ago, when I was in the throes of a horrible throat infection which floored me for several days, I scraped myself out of bed and onto the bus to the Knitting and Stitching Show, which I knew from my Mum's visit the previous day had several bead stands. Including a really, really awesome gemstone stand - Ilona Biggins - and, well....let's just say I went to town a bit there! She had very kindly passed on a free entry ticket to my Mum for me (otherwise entry would have been £16 - outrageous!), so she'd saved me a fair bit of cash already, PLUS I got a wee discount - probably because I spent so much it would have been rude not to. Oops. But just look at all the beautiful gemstones and pearls I snaffled! Well, you can't most of them - but have a look at those you *can* see! The gorgeous agate above, but more than that, the rough-cut amethyst. SO AWESOME. It is part of a mixed strand of amethyst and citrine (you can see a spot of that in the necklace above) and I could NOT leave it behind. Could I?! 

Just look how fantastic they look with the ceramic shards in these earrings! They came as part of a small set from France, with the bird in the bracelet above. Oh, and I should mention another bead in that bracelet above - the amazing lampwork disc beneath the bird. Look how *glowy*. How magical and otherworldly. All from the subtly wondrous hands of Julie Wong Sontag of Uglibeads. Seriously, if you didn't notice it a minute ago, take a wee scroll back up and have a peek. Yep, see what I mean? 

Anyway, you've made it through this epic post! Well done, if you're still with me. I'll be back SOON with slightly shorter posts, when I don't have approximately 2 months so gallop through! Thanks for sticking with it and I promise, I'll see you soon. 


Karin G said...

Well you were definitely productive! Every piece is so beautiful! I love your colors so much! It's funny, I started swimming again too and enjoy it so much, I think it soothes the mind so much, sunshine and sangria are very good too!

Anonymous said...

This jewelry is so lovely! The beautiful color palettes, you just have such a way. I do love the gemstones you picked up. The Nehi bracelet reminds me of my childhood summers! Also, I am looking forward to swimming when the weather warrants. My parents bough a condo in the town where I live a couple of years ago. It has a pool which none of us cared about. But now we use it as much as possible. My dad - 80 - is loving swimming again as he grew up spending summers in the woods and lakes of the northern midwest swimming and water skiiing. I love swimming with him and seeing him enjoy himself. Thanks for a great, interesting post and lost of eye candy!

Yvette said...

Beautiful jewellery as always. Have you tried a home practice yoga? Yoga with Adriene is brilliant, you can find her on YouTube.


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