Friday, 29 October 2010

Another successful jewellery party

For those who regularly follow my blog you will know that I have been busy making new stock for a Jewellery party which took place at Karen's house . It was held last Saturday and it was a great success.

Above you can see the new display felt cakes I bought recently. They were a real talking point.

I gave a short talk on my jewellery making origins and silversmithing background and showed lots of my new pieces. I always find that in the winter people buy mostly sparkly pieces, lots of blacks and silvers to wear for their Christmas celebrations and this party was no exception.

These were very popular bracelets and I have an order to make a few more.

I can never exactly duplicate something as every bead is slightly different but people understand this and are delighted to have something that is a "one a kind" piece of jewellery to wear.

Karen fell in love with one of my new "ice" necklaces using the lovely spider agate (above) and I also sold the last of these lovely disc beads in a necklace where I had used white jade hearts and round beads with the agate (below).

I need to see if I can source some more of this lovely spider agate as this is the last I have of these lovely beads. I am going to the Big Bead Show this Saturday. I will have a look there.

The rock crystal quartz (ice) was very popular and I also had an order to made a bracelet using these with some one of a kind lampwork glass lentil beads. The same lady also wanted a copy of Karen's ice necklace but as I do not have the spider agate so I will try something else for her.

I have made her the bracelet above  using my rock quartz "ice" together with 3 handmade one of a kind lampwork lentil beads. I think she will be pleased with it. She may even want a matching necklace as I have no more of the spider agate?

I also had a order for my popular haematite circle necklace which contains sparkly clear and black Czech beads inside.....I also wonder if it had anything to do with the fact that I was wearing mine at the party...?!

I am busy finishing off these orders and some are ready to go, safely tucked into their organza gift bags.

Well I should be getting on with the rest of the orders now but I thought I would just take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Halloween especially those with small children. I have got out our lovely old pumpkin toys our children so loved...

My daughter is coming up for this weekend so I also quickly bought a couple of decorations, any excuse for me to celebrate anything. I bought this rather fun witch flower display.

And a pumpkin paper garland  for the stairs...

You know who is also going to wish you a Happy Halloween ..............................................................................

Spooky eh.....our Billy!

Bye for now,
Jane x

Monday, 25 October 2010

An autumn visit

Our daughter lives in Colchester, Essex and her boyfriend is away at sea until Christmas. She is a very busy junior doctor and we enjoy any time we get to spend with her. She has lots of friends she sees and we make sure when she is not working a weekend that does not miss Tom too much! Last weekend she was not working and home alone so we arranged for my husband and I to travel down.

Whenever we visit we try to explore the nearby area and for this weekend we chose to visit Colchester Zoo, Lavenham and Long Melford. We had such an interesting time at all 3 places that I will actually split this blog into more than posting. I will post other parts of it over the next month or so amongst my gardening and jewellery posts.

I also have some lovely photos to share so it seems a pity to use them all up in one in one, too long to enjoy, post. I  love history and would really like to share some of our English culture with readers of my blog , some who live far away from me.

You can click on any of the photos to enlarge them for a clearer view.

Although Colchester is in the county of Essex, our daughter lives right on the borders of Suffolk.
Lavenham is in Suffolk, about a 20 minute drive  from her. It  is a very unique medieval village with no less than 300 listed buildings! I think it is the largest surviving medieval village in England. We were so lucky to have a sunny if chilly day to visit and we parked at the end of the village near the imposing Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

This stunning church was completed in 1530 and the money used to finance its building came from the rich wool merchants who lived in Lavenham at that time.

It had been the Harvest Festival service the Sunday before and we were delighted to see that they still have a Harvest loaf baked each year. This is very much a dying tradition partly because so few traditional baker's exist and have the knowledge to create these baked works of art.

The interior of the church looked so beautiful and the sunlight streaming in through the stained glass windows gave a glorious glow.

After visiting the church we returned to the High Street and made our way up looking for somewhere to have lunch.

As we walked up the High Street we looked at some of the medieval houses which still stand. Obviously over the centuries they have moved and leaned a little but they still remain in the most fabulous condition considering most are over 500 years old.

We chose a tea house called "Tickled Pink" and had a delicious lunch of toasted sandwiches with tea and a huge slice each of homemade cake.

We enjoyed looking out across the road of this fascinating village whilst eating our delicious lunch.

After lunch we walked up to the Guildhall which is another landmark of Lavenham. This unique Tudor timber panelled building was built about 1530 and stands in the market  square. It was built to regulate the successful wool trade and also to celebrate some of the festivals of the church.
Also in the market square is the lovely "Little Hall". This is now a museum which was unfortunately shut that day but it stood out with its wonderful yellow paintwork and leaded lights windows.
Even the Estate Agents was in a listed medieval building as well as the Baker's and general shops.

Before we left Lavenham I spotted one last building with a rather apt name....

Yes , the Crooked House and it really is very crooked!

We then drove on to Long Melford which was very nearby......but I will share that with you in another post.
Bye for now,
Jane x

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Halloween and autumn glass and jewellery goodies

As most of  you are aware my jewellery selling is my paid hobby and I use some of my profits to buy my own rather special and sometimes quite expensive Artisan glass lampwork beads. I buy not only from UK based lampworkers but from the USA and I once bought some from a lampworker based in Vienna.

Real handmade one of a kind lampwork glass beads are unique pieces of art and every maker has a very distinct style. Because they are not mass produced, but made in a flame on a mandrel one at time, they are much more expensive than other beads but I just love them.

Although  I really don't "do" Halloween, as my children are grown up, I do love themed beads and I tend to get out my relevant glassy goodies as each season moves on. I have Christmas beads, spring beads, summer/beach beads, autumn and Halloween treasures. Some I have no intention of making into a piece of jewellery, I just love owning them! I am sure you sewing or knitting ladies have pieces of fabric/ball of wool which you also have no intention of making into something but just love having them "in your stash".

I thought you would be interested to see what I have in my stash/treasure box for this season.

This is one of my most recent buys from the very talented American artist Amy who sells under the name of Flamekeeper on Etsy. Her Halloween beads are awesome and I recently bought Helga the witch who has crash landed into a bead....isn't it a clever bead!

I also commissioned from Amy a magic toadstool. It reminds me of the childhood fairy tales I used to love as a child.

I chose to have a red cap with  flowers
 ....Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree anyone...??!!

These 2 beads are really quite something!

Another great lampworker, this time based in the UK is Laney who sells under the name of Izzybeads and is also a great blogging friend of mine. I recently commissioned her to made me some autumn beads and I am sure you agree they are fabulous!

I also bought a lovely autumn focal bead and some tiger beads from Laney a couple of years ago and I made them into a really chunky bracelet. This is one of my favourite bracelets and it always get comments when I wear it.

Another very talented artist is  Claire who sells under the name of Rowanberry Glass. I was lucky enough to buy one of her focal tree beads last month which I treasure. A really stunning tree bead, I love the detail in this.

The bead has a front and a back so that whichever side is facing out there is a scene.

I also bought this week one of Rowanberry's wonderful pumpkins shown below

One useful gadget I own is a bead changer. This is a nifty item where I can unscrew the top and just pop on any bead of my choice! I can then wear the bead as an instant pendant on a chain, perfect. So I am able to wear any of my beads just for the day or night and then put then away and select something new.

The last artist I will feature in this blog (I plan to do a Christmas bead blog showing more of my talented suppliers) is Denise. Her lampwork creatures and beads are so original, I just love her work. I first bought a wonderful glass fish bead from Denise a couple of years ago which I made into a great necklace for my daughter when she went on her medical student elective to Barbados 2 years ago. I'm sorry about the poor photos, they were taken long before I had thought of writing a blog! I know this is also not autumn related but I thought it may be interesting to show my creation using Denise's fish.

I told my darling daughter to open this when she had a chance to sit on the beach and look out to the wonderful sea view. I think it went down quite well!

I have also been experimenting a little more with solid brass with a "vintage" protective coating (it does not tarnish) . I have a necklace on Etsy which I made with a summer theme using shells etc using this material.

The photo  below shows a little glass bird on his separate twig which I bought from from Denise. I  made a little nest using bronze wire and findings and  freshwater rice pearls for the little eggs. I was quite pleased with it and I am think of simply adding it to a bronze chain as a focal bead. I may well launch this at my jewellery party  which is this Saturday. I will let you know what the people think of it!

I also have a pair of pretty earrings I made using glass pumpkins which I bought from a bead fair a few years ago.

I added some Swarovski bicones and enjoy wearing these as they suit both a casual and dressed up outfit.

I do like my jewellery to be very functional!

Last but not least I just wanted to share one last Halloween piece with you. This is not made by me but bought from the rather outrageous and luscious Butler and Wilson who design and make the most stunning costume jewellery here in the UK.

This great little jewelled bat brooch was bought for me by my darling husband. I found it in my Christmas stocking a few years ago. I am very spoilt by my DH and I do have a couple of B&W pieces. Their costume jewellery is second to none and often  very, very funny. They are certainly pieces which get noticed.
This little brooch was so hard to photograph in doors that I took it out into the garden to prevent using the flash on my camera.

My trusty camera assistant Billy decided as always that this was an opportunity not to miss!

He would not budge out of shot for me to do a close up!

He just sat very proudly by my little bat, I am sure he always thinks it his duty just to check everything out for me when I try to photograph anything.

Eventually I had to move my bat to another bench to get my close up shot.

So there we are, I little glimpse into my Halloween/autumn treasure chest, sharing some of my never to be sold beads and jewellery pieces, all very special to me (and so is Billy :0) )

I hope you enjoyed taking a peep.

Bye for now,
Jane X