October Giveaway

I’m really enjoying this blogging lark. It’s been 7 weeks since I started – the toddler monsters are happily settled into nursery every week day morning, and I feel as though I have a life back.

So I thought I should celebrate with all the new friends and followers that I have gathered since August 21st. I’m going to run a giveaway and let one lucky person win my Black Onyx Bracelet.

Black Onyx is a gemstone I adore and love working with, so dark and moody and yet such a powerful stone. Onyx is associated with strength, stamina, courage and self-control, all things that I would definitively benefit from in my life! The bracelet is 7″ or 18cm long and is fastened with a sterling silver S clasp.

For complicated reasons I can’t seem to run this from my blog. Sorry. This is the first time I’ve done this and I am no doubt missing some crucial stage. However, it is up and running on the facebook page so if you would be so kind to scoot over there to tweet, follow, like or comment and you can collect entries. One entry per action. The raffle will run until Tuesday 16th October 1pm.  Any questions just let me know.

Facebook –

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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

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

 

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

The most productive and/or creative day of the year…

Wow. Today has been a good day.

Yesterday I spent my morning (the only precious hours I get when the house is empty and I can work in peace) reading blogs, following people on pinterest, writing twitter comments and generally wasted away my time. It was great, and I made some lovely new friends, but today I had to work seriously hard to catch up with my self inflicted deadlines.

So, I ignored the dirty washing, the breakfast dishes are still (at 5pm) sitting in the sink, and when the toddlers returned from nursery told them to go play but not disturb me. I should really be brave and go and see what kind of bomb has exploded in the girls room. But later, just now I wish to share my completed projects and bask in your collective “ahhh’s”.

I made four necklaces today. (Not from complete scratch, that would be impossible – the pendants I make all at one time when I can access a friends metal working shed.)  But not to distract from my achievement, FOUR necklaces. In ONE DAY !!!  So, I present for your approval….

Number 1 – Purple turquoise and lapis lazuli necklace.

Number 2 – Red Jasper Pendant with pearls and red coral necklace.

Number 3 – Amethyst Pendant Necklace.

Number 4 – Unakite Pendant with carnelian and adventurine necklace.

Of course there is still the same matter of naming, photographing in detail, listing on folksy or etsy and spread-sheeting the costs. That will take some hours, later tonight when I have coffee to keep me going.

I feel very clever. Now heading off to find the toddlers and rescue our eldest daughter. I think she is somewhere under the mess.  Joanna x

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