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

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Tutorial – Moss Agate Necklace “Apple Blossom”

I thought that you might be interested to see how a piece of my jewellery is created.

Generally I start with an idea, or a colour combination that pleases me. This mornings project is my “Apple Blossom” necklace and it began with a moss quartz pendant I had in my collection.   (I’ll blog another day about how these pendants are made.)

The first image is the beads from my kit I’m going to use to make up the necklace. Rose Quartz coin beads and small round beads, some adventurine small round beads and some tiny seed beads of dark pink to compliment. The tiny beads need to be in the design to space out the more expensive stones, but I’ve found that your eye doesn’t “see” somehow. A necklace made without these spacing beads looks too cluttered and busy. The seed beads allow the valuable gemstone beads to shine somehow. (Sounds like another blog entry to follow on with and without seed beads… I’m just making myself more work.)

Moss Quartz is wonderful, in this example pale pink quartz with dark green markings. My choice of rose quartz and adventurine simply echos those colours and highlights the beautiful natural markings in the pendant.

Because the pendant is square in design I instinctively want to work with round and coin shaped beads, and to group those in odd numbers. The great thrill of designing jewellery is that I work on a bead board to layout all the stones before I begin to string them, so if something doesn’t look right then I can just start again.

Here is the necklace a third strung. The section you can see will be the top left side of the necklace. The top most section which will take one of the closure findings and because it will be mostly hidden from view tends to be more plain and simple. The pattern between the two coin beads will be repeated around the necklace and will take the pendant attachment when we reach the mid-point. In this necklace the repeat pattern will be 1x rose quartz coin, 3x rose quartz rounds, 3x adventurine rounds, 3x rose quartz rounds, 1x rose quartz coin.

The finished necklace, closed with a silver lobster clasp and extender chain. I disrupted the pattern at the section around the pendant to hold the pendant in place and also to draw attention to the pendant.

I hope that this tutorial has been useful. It’s actually very useful to have to explain this process so carefully, as I normally just trust my instincts and allow the necklace to develop organically. I didn’t realise I put so much thought into balance and colour choices.

I’ll get this necklace up for sale on my etsy page and will attach a link to the blog when I finish.

Joanna x

pinterest or how I can spend 2 hours happily playing at working

I have a secret I need to confess. When I tell my husband that I worked all morning, ( in that very valuable time when the children are at school and nursery and he thinks I should be cleaning the kitchen and ironing his shirts,) I’m actually drooling over images at pinterest.com

I have found a website that allows me to meander across the world wide web and not feel guilty about following wherever the trail will take me. Pinterest actually encourages viewers to wander. Aimlessly. Until the time is all gone and there is nothing material to show for it.

But it is working, I hear you shout, because it’s all for inspiration.

http://pinterest.com/myturquoiseque/

My boards (collections of images that I think make sense as an assembled whole) are mostly colours. I have a board for Turquoise (well of course I do, you all know how much I adore Turquoise.) There is also a Lapis Lazuli board and one for Pearls.

But the most useful, amazing, how did I ever function without these images come from a website called design-seeds.com I can’t explain how wonderful their collages are, you just have to go and look for yourself.


So, follow my link to my pinterest boards and see where your journey will take you. It is very easy to join, then you too can waste away the day collating weird and wonderful images.

Moo.com

I do love it when the postman brings me parcels. Particularly when they are actually for me, not emergency triangles for the car (darling hubbie) or peppa pig figures (youngest daughter.)This morning was a great parcel. My new business cards from moo.com who are my newest best friend and can do amazing things with their fancy printers.

My cards are connected to my etsy.com and folksy.com accounts so I followed links from their sites to allow me to their logo on my cards. Ten minutes to follow the template, upload some of my images (I cropped an image of white pearls to get an extra long image for the edge of the card) and off to the moo printer they go. I ordered these on Monday and they are here on Thursday morning.

There are normal sized business cards, which feel strong and reliable. They are for normal use and so I’ve put both craft shop addresses on them.

These are the tiny mini-moo cards, which I adore and will be really useful as price tags and to attach to gift wrapped boxes.

So there really is no reason why everyone can’t have cool business cards to hand out. For new businesses, for bloggers out socializing, even just for yummy mummies who need to hand out their contact details. I highly recommend moo.com Go and have some fun designing your own. You get 10% off your order if you follow the link below.

http://www.moo.com/share/prwznt