Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Home Comforts

I've been feeling poorly with winter ills and chills, and there's nothing like a little home baking and a cuppa to make me feel better.

These are blueberry and lemon curd muffins - I love cooking (and eating :P) food almost as much as I love cooking glass!

I just made ordinary blueberry muffins and put a dollop of lemon curd in their middles...divine!

I made the lemon curd the other day in a double boiler as suggested in a recipe, but what a fuss! It took ages and even then I wasn't sure that it had set. Then my sister gave me a microwave recipe which she says is easy-peasy, so I'm going to try that next time. Fresh lemon curd is one of life's luxuries for me!

It's officially the first day of spring tomorrow...bring it on!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I've Been Making Brooches

This week I've been making brooches.

They're terrible things to photograph as they want to lie sideways when they're just hung from a ribbon, but they actually sit really nicely when worn.
I'm really quite pleased with this lot - the Red Raku Hearts are so easy to wear - I pinned one on a favourite jacket some time ago, and there it has remained - I can wear it with any scarf or outfit - it just seems to fit in with all the clothes I wear. These ones are
Medium True Red Raku Heart Brooch and Small True Red Raku Heart Brooch

The Flow Beads are a nice mix of transparent and opaque glass - the little pink one has a lovely big swirl of transparent amethyst across it and the blue one is a nice mix of Sapphire and Periwinkle Blues.

And these ones are Small Pink Amethyst Round Flow Brooch and Large Sapphire Blue Flow Heart Brooch

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Half Price Tickets!

Would you like to have half price tickets to any of the next three Dunkley's Great New Zealand Craft Shows?

The Toy Boy and I will be exhibiting our work at the shows in Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill next month, and as exhibitors we are offered as many half price tickets as we would like.

The price is normally $8, but we can get them for you for $4!

Show dates and venues are...
Christchurch, Addington Raceway, Friday 10th to Sunday 12th September
Dunedin, Edgar Centre, Friday 17th to Sunday 19th September
Invercargill, Stadium Southland, Friday 24th to Sunday 26th September

10 - 5 daily.

Drop me an email to lesley at glitz dot co dot nz and I will order and post them to you before the shows - I'll even pay the postage!

I will let you know our site number once we know where we will be.

Don't miss out on a great show - there are just so many unique handmade goodies there - it;s a great place to do your Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Feather Gift

Because I sit on my backside to work for most of the day I need to take lots of exercise, and lately my friend who lives nearby and I have been walking on the beach at dawn every morning.

It’s been lovely to see the lengthening of the days this way and we’ve really noticed recently that the mornings are much lighter. When we leave at 6.30 am the hills are just picked out by the first of the dawn light, but by the time we get home 45 minutes later it’s full daylight.

It’s a great way to see the day in, and we’re really energized when we get home.

As we were coming home this morning I almost stepped on a beautiful and perfect feather – I love to receive feathers from nature – I always feel as though they are a blessing.

In the book The Secret Language of Signs by Denise Linn feathers are said to be the connection between man and the supreme being, symbolizing the flight to spirit and to the heavens above. Maybe it’s that something is soft or “as light as a feather” or maybe I have “a feather in my cap”? Whatever it is, I love it and am grateful.

Now I need to see if I can discover what type of bird it came from – it’s such an unusual shape and colour.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Paua Shell Beads

I’ve just uploaded a whole new batch of Paua Shells beads to the website.

These beads were the result of an amazing day of alchemy in the studio – I’d been playing with two glass colours for a while, but as an experiment I tried adding a third glass – and – WOW!

I got this lovely opalescence which is different every time it occurs.

This happened a few months ago now, and I keep playing with the idea and each time the result is different – I have yet to discover exactly WHY this happens, I just know that it does, to varying degrees every time!

I reckon they look rather like paua shells on a beach.

If you're looking for them on the website they are
1. Large Paua Shells Heart
2. Medium Flat Round Paua Shells Bead and
3. Small Paua Shells Round Bead

I’ve been fascinated with the colours in Paua shells forever – they’re known as Abalone shells in some other parts of the world. The shells have layer on layer of transluscent colours - blues, greens, pinks and purples – although they can be quite thin, the shellfish has taken the minerals from the water it lives in and created the individual swirls and flows – so like an intense version of the water it lives in.

They hold special significance in spiritual rituals and are often used as a bowl or vessel in ceremonies such as smudging. I love to find them on my beach walks – I am a real magpie (I pick up shiny things), and rarely come home empty-handed from a walk.

My artist friend Kim shares this love and has created some amazing paintings using a paint layering technique which emulates the paua’s own layering. I am the very blessed recipient of a fabulous triptych – a work that is very hard to photograph, but one which I can look into for a long time and always see something different. It is one of my treasures!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Working with Silver

One of the things that I've been playing with over the past couple of weeks is a silverworking course here in Takaka with Duncan MacKay.

Our breif was to design and make a piece of jewellery of our choice, and Duncan would teach us the rudiments of metal smithing techniques practiced through the ages, including cutting, shaping, fusing, embossing, setting and cold fixing silver and or copper.

We could make our own ring, pendant, brooch or pair of earrings.

We were really lucky in that there were only four students, and Elvira, Mary Ann Nadia and I spent four mornings playing with Duncan's toys. And he has some pretty exciting toys to share...
My favourite...no surprises here...was the soldering torch! There's just something about playing with fire that I find irresistible!

But it's not easy - the way that solder jumps around in the flame is very disconcerting! And it runs everywhere!

I've discovered that metals also behave really uniquely in the flame - the copper in sterling silver comes to the surface, that metal anneals quite differently from glass and saw that the brass, copper and silver that Elvira used in her fabulous pendant reacted with one another to give unexpected results - rather like glass, but different.

I worked mostly in pure silver, which before it was worked was beautifully soft and "buttery", and has come up almost white in the finished piece.

One of the most amazing aspects of the course was that four of us, who chatted and looked through numerous books together, came up with such distinctly different designs.

Here is Elvira's pendant. She worked brass, copper and silver into this design and then bezel set an amber cabuchon in the centre. The designing and polishing of this piece was a joy to watch!

And this is Mary Ann's piece - she made a brooch in the letter "U" for her mother, Una. This was also an amazing piece to watch develop from stencils to finished. I just love the copper and silver Forget-Me-Nots.

Now here's Nadia's piece. She intends for this to be a wrist band, mounted on a leather strap, and the photos I took don't really do this lovely piece justice. I just love the way she framed this piece of paua (which she cut from the shell), in it's beautiful wavy frame.

And here's my piece. Its a brooch made in pure silver, and I've mounted glass (surprise, surprise!) droplets in the throat of the flower - with lots of help from Duncan!

So, thank you Duncan - that was such fun!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Spring is here!

Just this week there are lots of wonderful signs that spring is here!

There are spring bulbs flowering, the magnolias, camellias and daphne are out and there is a sprinkling of calves and lambs about.

It's a beautiful day here - a day to be glad that you're alive.

I've been very involved in "busy work" lately - the days have been jam-packed and every minute seems to be accounted for a week in advance, so I did a terrible thing!

I took the day off!!!

Today I've planted the Christmas lilies, done a little cleaning, played with my camera, read my book in the sunshine...and not much else.

I was supposed to be somewhere else today, but I decided that I needed a quiet day at home - and it has been bliss!

I think that days off like mine should be compulsory on a monthly basis, and I may launch a petition...

I hope that you've enjoyed your day as much as I've enjoyed mine.