Friday, 29 June 2012

Fiskardo, my colour inspiration

Thanks for coming back to read the 3rd and final installment of my holiday posts. Whilst on holiday we also made the 2 hour drive up to Fiskardo which is at the most northern tip of Kephalonia. The scenery en route was pretty jaw dropping and again the different shades blue of the sea were stunning. We arrived at the harbour about 10.30am just in time for a cappuccino... with a view.
Now that is not the average view one gets in Cafe Nero, is it? Fiskardo has a large natural harbour where all the yachts come in. There were some pretty rich people there and the prices in Fiskardo matched! We managed to get a seat outside a bar in the shade and sat for a while to watch the world go by. Fiskardo is the only part of the island which survived intact after the 1953 earthquake which destroyed all the villages on the rest of the island. It is lovely to see some of the old Greek buildings there.

Lots of the buildings are brightly painted and shine out in the sunshine.

We enjoyed watching this catamaran come in to land. There is a mixture in the harbour of the jet set and also the very basic fishing boats. All looked beautiful with the harbour as a back drop.

All these wonderful shades of blue have inspired me to make some beach themed jewellery. I have had some beautiful Artisan lampwork beads sitting in my stash for some time and decided to get them out.

At my last silversmithing class on Tuesday I made some silver findings...ready for making pendants and some earrings. On the left here is my work yesterday in my studio when it was so gloriously sunny. I had a WHOLE day in my studio and Billy and I were in beady and card making heaven. I always use Swarovski crystals as they are so sparkly.

Out came my round nosed pliers to form the loop......and....

 is my new pendant, ready to slip on a chain. I also made up some earrings for myself and some other sea themed pieces.

Here they all are! I really like my hand made earring findings I made for the top pair of earrings (the purple pair are obviously shop bought).
I have put this little fellow into my Etsy shop for sale here  if anyone is interested. It comes on a sterling silver snake chain. *****EDIT 4.7.12 this is now sold
I have listed a new Beach bead pendant here
I also had a chance to make the 3rd in my mermaid series of handmade cards using my Goldie digital stamp by Sylvia Zet.

 The first two I showed you in my other holiday post already have homes. This one will be going up for sale in my Etsy shop here. I do so love this stamp. None other than Sylvia Zet, the designer of this stamp, stopped by my last blog post and admired my last mermaid card! I had written on her blog how much I love this image and was thrilled when came here to have a look and she left me a sweet comment too.

I have coloured her with my Promarkers and highlighted with my Prismacolor pencils. Again I have used Dimensional Magic to make the bubbles "Pop". You will also see that I have used the last pieces of the Nitwits papers I printed out for the other 2 cards. Us card makers never waste a scrap of paper. I have used one of my new Lili of the Valley birthday sentiments and also 2 of their fun new tag stamps. Have you also spotted the sweet little sea horse charm? I love these little creatures and for years I thought they were mythical creatures like mermaids. Even more recently I found out through my dear friend Michele (One of my great American Artists friends - or should I call them the AA??) that Sea "Dragons" are picture hangs in my Studio and smiles down on me as I work. I really thought that they were down there with the mermaids ;0)

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Totally Papercraft Use a digi image
Joanna Sheen Summer Daze
Emerald Faeries challenge  Birthdays #25
Divas by Design Tag you're in it #41
My Mum's Craft shop Favourite stamp #63 Goldie is my favourite ever stamp!
Scrapbook Sisters Anything Goes #90
I love Promarkers Anything Goes #123
Creative Inspirations Anything Goes #169
Party Time Tuesdays Anything Goes #74
Charisma Cardz Anything Goes #25

Yesterday was the most glorious day here and if I dare say it, rather too hot. I had one of those glorious all day at home days. They are a  rarity and I savour them. It reached 29c in my garden by late afternoon. I  quickly mowed my lawn and tidied my front and back garden before it got too hot in the morning . I then sat and created my jewellery and cards in my studio (bliss) and all the time someone watched me out of the corner of their eye......

Yes, my darling Billy. He loves the veranda of my studio where he can keep an eye on me inside and on his sunny garden. It is a cool spot for a hot cat with lots of fur.  He prefers this mat to his little bed I bought him. That is so typical of a cat, buy them a new bed and they will use mat instead ;0)

Another week has nearly flown by and it is now only 4 weeks on Saturday until Milly and Tom's wedding. It is the Hen  Night soon and the final dress fitting. Everything is coming together really well. Yesterday  I started wearing my wedding shoes around the house so that they are more comfy for The Day.....I am sure I must have looked very odd walking up and down to my studio in my heels, my neighbours must think I am potty. I can't really wear them to work today...what on earth would my patients think?

Have a great weekend everyone, it looks as though it will be cooler here. I do hope that all my blogging buddies in the North of England and in Northern Ireland have not been affected by the dreadful storms which hit  yesterday. The images on the news were devastating. Flash flooding, hail stones the size of 50p pieces and lightening strikes.  It's incredible that whilst all that was going on in the north of the UK I was overheating in the south. It's not as though the UK is that large. What strange weather we are having this year. Take care.

 Thanks for visiting and leaving your sweet comments, I really love reading them.

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Turtle Watching in Argostoli Harbour

I am back with my 2nd holiday post from our recent trip to Kephalonia. Thanks for all your lovely comments from my first post and yes it really was Paradise out there.
We hired a car after a couple of days to visit some other parts of this beautiful island. These photos are from our trip to the capital of the island, Argostoli. It was a really steaming day and temperature in the shade nudged up to 39c so we had to duck in and out of the sun and hats were obligatory. We knew that the Loggerhead Turtles live in the waters around  Kephonia and that there is also a family of 8 turtles who live in and around the harbour at Argostoli. Unless you want to stay up all night you would not catch a glimpse of these creatures on the beach as they only come onto the beaches in the middle of the night to lay their eggs during the nesting season. The group that live around the harbour though are often sighted and we kept our fingers crossed that we might see them on the day of our visit.

This is the harbour wall and further round we found the fishermen selling their mornings catches.

Some people ask for their fish to be gutted and the men oblige and then throw the remains into the harbour. The turtles love to come and eat this and we waited for about 10 minutes with no sighting. Then, just as we were about to leave we saw this wonderful sight.

Around the boat came this graceful beauty. She made us gasp as they seem to "fly" in the water.

Then a second smaller turtle appeared, we think they were mother and baby. The Mum was enormous, at least 3 feet across and the baby was about half of her size.

Soon after this off they "flew" again, it was a wonderful sight to see these creatures completely free in the wild. We had a lovely afternoon in Argostoli and had a relaxing drink over looking the harbour before we headed back to our hotel. We got back in time to have a swim in our pool in the late afternoon when no one else was around...perfect.
and after showering and changing we headed out for a wonderful meal up on the beach road towards Poros.
Mousakka , fish pie and of course a glass or two of ice cold Mythos...sheer bliss.
The restaurant  (Called Old Times) had a wonderful poem printed onto the table clothes which read

Welcome to our Place.
You are the source of our strength and inspiration of our new tasty creations.
You can enjoy the spectacular view of the moon and of the Ionian Sea from our balcony
And have the opportunity to relax and travel back to "Old Times".
We hope that it will not be just a typical meal but a memorable experience for you 
To take back Home.

How good is that and yes the view was spectacular and the food memorable!

From our table we were able to gaze out across the idyllic Ionian sea as the sun set.

To remember our fantastic day seeing the turtles I manged to find the perfect new charm for my holiday charm bracelet.

Isn't he cute and he will be added to all my other holiday memory charms that are on my bracelet.

Today's challenge card is another mermaid related card as I just love my new Sylvia Zet digital stamp. Here she is
This time I have coloured her hair blonde using my Promarker pens. Do you prefer the dark mermaid in my last post or this one? As always I have used my Prismacolor pencils to highlight my image. I have also made the bubble more realistic using Dimensional Magic again

I also added some more of my sweet shells I collected from the beach at Kaminia. I have also added some sea related card charms as well as some hand cut bunting, finished off with Baker's Twine.

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;
Cupcake Inspirations Beach scene cupcake photo inspiration #166
Joanna Sheen Summer Daze
2 sisters Anything goes #97
Make it Monday Linky Party #95
Creative Mondays  fairies and mermaids #10
Bearly-Mine #41 anything goes
Party Time Tuesdays anything goes #74
Sassy Cheryl's Challenge blog Summer #121

There is one last bit of sunshine I would like share in my post and that is the very kind award that my dear friend Mia has awarded me. Thank you my dear, you always bring me some sunshine.

I am supposed to pass this onto 10 other blogs but would struggle to choose as I think everyone deserves it -so please take it if your would like to. I also think that lots of people have this one and some people really don't have the time to participate. One person though I KNOW absolutely loves to receive awards is my artist blogging friend Linda out in the USA. So I will nomimate her by's to you Linda! There are 10  questions I have to answer so here goes.
1.Favourite animal. I am sure everyone knows and my Billy features on here lots. My other favourites though are pigs...I love those critters.
2. Favourite number. Hmm that's a funny question as I really don't have one at all but I like the shape of a number 8 if that helps!
3. Favourite non alcoholic drink; Tea, I drink far too much.
4. Facebook or Twitter; Facebook as I really cannot get my head around why anyone needs to Tweet!
5.My passion; My family......I would never be who I am without them.
6. Getting or giving; as everyone knows how much I adore Christmas and my biggest pleasure is chosing and wrapping gifts. Sheer magic.
7. Favourite pattern; Anything really but I do like florals and anything inspired by the 1920s.
8. Favourite day of the week; Friday....once I have finished work I have the weekend to look forward to.
9.Favourite flower; daffodil. I love the colour, shape and the promise of spring they hold.
10. Favourite country; England.....I never get bored of living here and being so near to London is really special

The sunshine has decided to start making an appearance this week and we are promised 24c by Thursday so I am looking forward to that too. This morning is my last silversmithing class for the quickly that has gone? Summer will certainly be in full swing then! Have a great week everyone and I hope there is a little sunshine for you too in your little spot of Blogland. And for those of you who are counting down with me.....32 days to go....;0)

Back soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Idyllic Ionian Sea

Hello everyone, I'm back after my wonderful holiday. Thanks to those of you who played along with guessing my destination. I had fun reading your guesses. People got very warm with the suggestions of various Greek was none other that Kephalonia. We left Gatwick last week in the middle of the torrential rain in the UK and landed at Kephalonia to a temperature of 34c in the shade. It was such bliss to see clear blue skies and the Idyllic Ionian Sea. The colours of this sea are just exquisite;  so many wonderful shades of blue and turquoise.
Mirtos Beach
Agia Efimia

View from our hotel.

 Our hotel was just across the road from the sea and every morning we walked down this path to the dining room and sat gazing out across the Idyllic Ionian sea. It really was the best start to every day. The sun shone from dawn to dusk and the sky was the most exquisite azure.

I am not usually a Beach Girl but I make exceptions when beaches are this good. My top photo above  is Mirtos Beach. We drove past this on our way up to the North of the Island and I took the shot from the side of the winding mountain road. I'm not great with heights so I hung on to my Hb whilst I took the photo... the things a girl does to get a good photo ;0)

On the right is Skala beach where we were staying. It is a shingle beach but sandy once you get out in the water.

We hired a car and during our travels we came across more gorgeous sandy beaches...

Above is Kaminia Beach which was our favourite. This was a pure sandy beach and is one of the beaches where the Loggerhead Turtles come up on and lay their eggs (more about turtles in my next post). This beach had such a gentle incline that you could walk out for a long way and still only be knee deep in warm blue seawater. There were also some sweet shells to be found if you looked hard. I am such a little girl at heart and I still get such a thrill searching for shells.

I didn't realise my Hb had sneaked up and taken this shot. I was miles away in shell heaven. I am one of those people who can never really laze on a beach I need to be occupied...

..even if that means reading a good book or two ;0)

or investigating what was lying amongst  the rocks.

and this was the beach right opposite our hotel. So many gorgeous shades of blue, it's not surprising really that blue is my favourite colour.

I think this photo sums up just how relaxing our holiday was. My husband is sitting on "his" rock, allowing the sea to sooth and the sun to warm him. We really did need our break away and we have come back with our batteries recharged ready and looking forward to all the excitement of next month. If you will indulge me I have 2 more holiday posts planned, one on the turtles and one on Fiscardo, the only part of Kephalonia which survived the 1953 earthquake. I shall share some more photos in the coming days.

Meanwhile all these wonderful shades of blue inspired my card for today and I also wanted to use my sweet little shells that I had found on Kaminia Beach.
I also love the concept and image of a mermaid so I decided to combine these 3 elements for my card. Here she is,

She is a gorgeous digital stamp by Sylvia Zet called Goldie and I have coloured her with my Promarker pens and highlighted with my Prismacolor pencils.

I used some Dimensional Magic to add depth to the bubbles and make them seem real. The paper are from Nitwits and yes, you may have spotted that 2 of the sweet shells I found on Kaminia Beach have also made an appearance.

I LOVE this stamp and I can see me using her lots over the summer. I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Totally Gorjuss #136 holiday
Make it Monday Linky party #94
The House that stamps built Head for the beach
The Paper Shelter The great outdoors
Scrapalicious USA Summertime
Ladybug Crafts Ink Double Trouble my "double" are 2 of my very precious sea shells.
4 Crafty Chicks By the sea
Charizma Card Challenges Summer
Cute Card Thursday Here comes summer #222
The early rain we had here has passed over now and it looks like the sun is peeping through again. I go back to work tomorrow for the first time since our holiday...and it's Friday so it is a really short week for me. Thank you for all your visits and a big hello to my recent new followers, you are all so welcome. I love to read the comments that you take the time to leave me. I am glad you all liked the bridesmaids sneak peek I shared with you in my last post. It is now only 5 weeks (gulp) until Milly and Tom's Big Day. She has her 2nd dress fitting this Saturday so we should see the dress in all it's glory. I can't wait. Enjoy the weekend when we get there and I will be back soon. 

Bye for now,

Jane x

Monday, 11 June 2012

The Wedding sneak peek; the bridesmaids' jewellery

The days continue to race away and there are now only 47 days until The Wedding. Today I wanted to share with you the Bridesmaids' jewellery which is now finished. For those of you who have not read my post showing my jewellery for my daughter's Big Day have a look here.

For the bridesmaids jewellery we decided to commission my great lamp worker friend, Laney, who sells her gorgeous wares under the name of Izzy Beads. What I love about Laney is that she has 2 wonderful, very different sides to her bead making. She makes fun, whimsical beads, often showing her very naughty sense of humour but she also makes the most glorious "grown up" floral beads. Laney lives in Hereford and we will definitely meet up at some point. I first "met" Laney via Ebay where she started selling her early creations,probably 4-5 years ago now.

I photographed one of the bridesmaids dresses so that Laney could get an idea of colours and she sent me back some glass bead single colours "testers" so that we could get the colours right.

With out giving too much away of the bridesmaids dresses they have a wonderful bold floral pattern on an ivory background.

Laney really got the colours right

I have just photographed the some of the will have to wait until after The Day to see the dresses in all their glory. We picked out 4 of the colours and Laney had a few play around with some beads. We had all sorts of ideas...making different colour beads, making different flowers, making some of each colour etc.

Finally we came up with the idea of using a background ivory glass which Laney would make "Cadbury" purple flowers and have a swish of the yellow, green, red and orange. I have seen gorgeous beads Laney has made where she puts cubic zircona's into the flower centres to give a real "wow" sparkle and asked her to add these too. After a couple more size decisions and trials she was ready to make the final beads.

 I was so excited when the parcel arrived in the post. I opened it up and I really did gasp as they really do have that "wow" factor. Take a look at these beauties.
Aren't they stunning!

Here are all 14, I just sat there and stared. You can see how wonderful the CZs are in the centres of the flowers.

They are lentil shaped (round but with flat sides) which sit really well against the skin.

Like my MOTB jewellery I decided to go with a fairly simple design, again using freshwater pearls. This time the pearls are just mid drilled.

So this is what I came up with.

Each bridesmaid will also have a pair of freshwater pearl stud earrings to wear.

Here are the beads in close up.
Each necklace is finished with a sliver heart toggle.

2  weekends ago we had a hair and make up practice with the stylist who will come to get us ready at the Wedding Venue in July. All I will say is that we were really pleased ;0) Everything is really coming together now.  The wedding rings are ordered and  the service has been written. In a few weeks they are having a pre wedding photo shoot which should be fun. I am also making a bracelet for my son's girlfriend with more of Laney's wonderful beads and there are a few other secret things going on, watch this space.

So of course today's card could not be anything other than a wedding card could it!
I have used my favourite Lili of the Valley Wedding couple stamp

I hand coloured it with my trusty Promarkers and highlighted using my Prismacolor pencils. I used some bunting paper from my stash and hand cut some red hearts using a punch. I used really lovely bright red organza ribbon for a bow and added a circular sentiment.

I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;
Ribbon Girls use ribbon or lace
Totally Gorjuss #135 Sunshine
Penny Black Allsorts All my favourite things my favourite things I have used in my card are my LOTV bride and groom stamp and my lush red ribbon.
Crafters Companion Time to embellish #25
Make it Monday Linky party #93
Cupcake craft Red, white and blue #196

Now I am off to catch some of that missing sunshine. Yes we off on holiday in the morning and I can't wait. Life has been quite hectic for my dear Hb and I recently and we need a break and a boost! I always love to give a clue to where we are going to so here are a couple of photos taken in 2007 when we last visited this spot.

Tee hee, any ideas where this is??

Take care everyone and see you soon,

Bye for now,

Jane x