A Foggy Day in London Town.

My eldest daughter and I were lucky enough to be in London during the Olympics this summer. My parents are in Sussex, Scotland was cold and wet and there was still a few weeks until the Scottish schools went back. I have siblings who live in London so on the pretense of going to lunch with them eldest darling and I set off on the commuter train to the big smoke.

But something very very strange had happened. People were talking to each other. The normal frosty atmosphere of London (which to a visiting Scot is amusing but not something I would like to experience frequently) was replaced by kindness and conversation. On the train into London we thought this is nice, but won’t last. We were heading to Swiss Cottage on the Saturday following the opening ceremony. All the news had been about avoiding London and traffic chaos  so we had low expectations and had allowed lots of extra traveling. Many hours discussion had taken place about the best way across London and which stations could not be alighted at.

Everything was much smoother than we had expected, and so after some negotiation (I think it involved chocolate) daughter and I got off close enough to walk to the British Museum. Apart from lots of over friendly “games makers” the streets of London were deserted and quiet.

We felt as though we had London to ourselves. It was hot and sunny and wonderful. Strangers – the few we met on the route – were walking in the middle of the road and smiling. I began to fear we had arrived in some alien city and that the film music was about to play. We discovered later that the men’s marathon route was all around us and that was why the roads were closed to traffic.

But we arrived at the British Museum without problem and walked in the main entrance. To those that know this amazing museum I hope you can understand our surprise when we arrived in the main foyer and instead of hordes of visitors we found that tourists were outnumbered by staff. My first thought was that they had just evacuated the whole building for a fire drill and that any moment thousands of people would rush back in. We rushed to our favourite gallery, the Egyptian galleries on the upper floors (darling daughter is 11) and a gallery that on many previous visits we have been unable to get past the doors into due to huge numbers of visitors. This time we had the whole floor to ourselves. Drunken with excitement we ran around for about an hour until we understood that floods of people were not about to join us.  We explored the whole museum, spent time in front of some favorites and discovered rooms we had never seen before.

One of our discoveries was a display of ammonite fossils and I was struck by how beautiful and simple they were. I had a pendant made of an ammonite surrounded in silver in my jewellery box, waiting for inspiration to strike, so I combined it with freshwater pearls and smoky quartz and the finished necklace is one I am very proud of. So proud that I may have difficulty actually parting with it. I have listed it for sale today, but it might appear on my own Christmas list instead!

This song does not reflect the sunshine or pleasure we felt at the British Museum, which could never “lose it’s charm” but it is a nice reflection of most of my London experiences and I thought it would add a nice touch to this post. Never miss a chance to reference Billie Holiday…enjoy x

Billie Holiday – A Foggy Day

A foggy day in London Town
Had me low and had me down
I viewed the morning with alarm
The British Museum had lost its charm
How long, I wondered, could this thing last?
But the age of miracles hadn’t passed,
For, suddenly, I saw you there
And through foggy London Town
The sun was shining everywhere.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jo2RaKyo5c

Bad Blogger

I’ve committed that most serious of new blogger mistakes. I stopped blogging.

I had been rather disciplined and was very carefully writing a little every day, storing up ready to publish posts and gathering images as I went along.  However, it went a little off. So I’m sorry. Real life seemed to catch up with me. I’ll do better from now on.

I have got lots and lots to tell you all about though. Let me show you the commissions that I finished today, just before I package them up for a trip to the post office. (In the pouring rain, sob.)

 

First we have a triple strung grey mix necklace made with Labradoite, silver freshwater pearls, black onyx, hematite  rose quartz, striped jasper and moonstone.

 

Second a monochrome necklace made from white and peacock freshwater pearls and faceted black onyx, with earrings made of the black onyx.

 

 

Lastly some stunning white Biwa pearls strung with Labradoite.

 

All of these were bespoke for my client, but I could create something similar if required.

I’m off to the post office after I find my waders. x

 

 

Armfuls of bracelets.

In the next few weeks I have several coffee morning or school shopping night events booked. These events are really good fun and I always say yes if I am free to attend. They are excellent sources of cake and personal shopping (I will hope to stock the dreaded Christmas List from such events and in the process help and support other crafters.) I like meeting and networking with other small businesses in my local area and there is also normally a charity to raise funds for, the great good that we are all gathered together.

 

However, these are not events at which I expect to sell my reasonably expensive sterling silver jewellery. This is not always the case – one memorable summer I sold £250 of necklaces and earrings in a few hours, from an event that I hoped to make my pitch back from and have a nice sociable afternoon far removed from my children.

I learned a while back that coffee morning events are more successful in hard cash terms if I arrive with lots of pretty (read cheap) sparkly pieces. So I take a large basket of bracelets priced under £8 which can be more easily explained to grumpy husbands at evening time.

Reasoning that my stock of said bracelets and key charms was depleted I have spent today on this project. It is always rather good fun as I look at my box of odd beads, the leftover groups of 3 or 5 beads from a completed project, or the rejected beads from a selection that were somehow too large or too small for the necklace they were bought for. I’m rather pleased with lots of these. I’m hoping that my coffee morning ladies are too. I’m off to Handmade Harbour. to see what the other crafters have been doing this week. I’ll let you all know how the cakes at the coffee morning rate. I may even have to take some photos and blog all about it! Joanna x

 

My Turquoise Honeymoon.

I think it’s about time that I explained myself. I love Turquoise. Since I was little it was my stone of choice. I wear it all the time. I had to name my jewellery business with turquoise somewhere in the title.

We honeymooned in Marrakech. As a modern western women I struggled with the male dominated culture. “What will your lady like to drink?” I had just finished organizing a wedding for 160 guests, while working full time, while helping our daughter settle into her first year at school. I was a whirlwind kinda gal and the sudden change of responsibility took me a while to adjust to.

But I came to like this different approach. My new husband and I, giddy with love and the novelty of honeymoon (you need the honeymoon after the headache of planning a wedding) would wander through the souk. From every doorway we would hear shouts and heckles, inviting “the beautiful lady…”  to examine their stalls. I would express interest in an item, a coffee set perhaps or a chess board. I learnt over many hours that the stall holders would not or could not negotiate with me. Even though my French is better than his.

Finally my husband and I came to an understanding. I would glance around the shop, using subtle eye movements to indicate which things I liked most, and then I would step out of the small booth and said Husband and stall holder would open bartering. Which could take some time. And involved mint tea. Camels were often discussed. Sometimes husband would exit the shop at speed with no explanation, while the seller shouted lower and lower numbers until we turned and resumed the banter. The “patter” as they say in Glasgow was good fun. Noisy, confusing and fun.

At some point nearing the end, but not always, money was exchanged and a parcel would be presented. After dinner when we returned to our exquisite hotel I would examine and open the parcels, never sure what had or had not been bought. Prices were never discussed.

This turquoise bracelet was such a parcel. Seven long links with six round connecting links. Blue turquoise with pale brown markings I wore it every day for a year. It is my turquoise honeymoon bracelet and I love it. And him.

I’m off to Handmade Harbour to see what the other bloggers have been up to. Then I’m going to open my bead box and spend the week making turquoise bracelets.

http://handmadeharbour.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/handmade-monday-83.html

Play Misty for Me.

This unusual pendant is made from Ocean Jasper, a gemstone found only found off the coastline of Madagascar. Sometimes called “Atlantis Stone” the quarry can only be worked at low tide.   The pendant has spherical markings in creams, grays and pinks and so I have paired it with a necklace made of rose quartz and rhodonite to highlight the pink and grays. If you click on the photo it will take you to my folksy.com shop

When I was 17 I played baritone sax with a big band. The baritone (the largest and deepest of the saxophone family) made my jaw vibrate when I played the lower notes, and was so large that I flirted with the percussionists so my instrument would travel to gigs with the drum kit.

Ella Fitzergerald and Sarah Vaughan were my icons. Secretly I wanted to be the singer at the front,  but it wasn’t to be. I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do.

Garner / Burke 1959 “Misty”

Look at me, I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree,
And I feel like I’m clinging to a cloud, I can’t understand,
I get misty, just holding your hand.
Walk my way, and a thousand violins begin to play,
Or it might be the sound of your hello, that music I hear,
I get misty, the moment you’re near.
You can say that you’re leading me on,
But it’s just what I want you to do,
Don’t you notice how hopelessly I’m lost,
That’s why I’m following you.
On my own, I would wander through this wonderland alone,
Never knowing my right foot from my left, my hat from my glove,
I’m too misty, and too much in love.
I’m too misty, and too much in love.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQouJdvB80U

Black as the night or don’t wander around a jewellery supplier without a list.

I write lists. I take my list to the supermarket and strictly follow the advice not to shop when hungry. I prepare and research and under most circumstances know what I am shopping for before I leave the house.

However, when I began making my own jewellery I found that all my self control was lost and all the lists in the world could not have protected me from myself.

Jewellery suppliers are wonderful. Huge Aladdin’s caves of the most beautiful and sparkly beads. Colours of every shade, stones in tiny perfect sizes or large, statement pieces. These are shops where you are encouraged to touch, pick up and examine, and put into your basket for later.

If you have not prepared (as I found out to my cost on the first few shopping expedition you can be overwhelmed by colour and choice. On my first outing I found myself unable to resist, and that is why came home and discovered that somebody had bought these striped onyx stones.

Now I’m not saying that they aren’t wonderful. I like the markings, white bands against the striking perfect black. I love how large and smooth and tactile these stones are. They make a stunning statement necklace and I have had lots of comments about this piece. But they weren’t on my list and I didn’t know what to make with them.

So, I figured that simple was best. White freshwater pearls to bring out the banding, and leave it at that.

Next time I took a list.    Joanna x

Blue Moon

Only a few nights ago we saw a blue moon here in the Scotland, not a blue coloured moon, but the second full moon in the month of August,  August 31, 2012.

 

I thought I’d show you one of my recent pieces, a blue lace agate pendant with a necklace made of small round lapis lazuli, sodalite and iolite, combined with blue freshwater pearls.

The colours are so beautiful, dark shiny lapis lazuli, paler, grey iolite, the bright blue of the freshwater pearls. The pendant has such lovely banding across to the left with grey blues. Words are difficult to describe this, hopefully the photos can do it some justice.

I wish I could claim my inspiration from something more iconic or fashionable, but I live with two toddlers who are currently addicted to the recent Smurfs movie, where where a “blue moon” is used projected above Central Park as a publicity stunt.

 

I used to have a stylish fashionable life. Maybe when the girls are a little bigger I’ll get my style back. Until then I’ll just pretend I’m Ella Fitzgerald. x

Blue Moon – Rodgers & Hart 1934

You saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own
Blue Moon
You know just what I was there for
You heard me saying a prayer for
Someone I really could care for

And then there suddenly appeared before me
The only one my arms will hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked to the Moon it turned to gold

Blue Moon
Now I’m no longer alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3FFOju3VM0

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