Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

It's Christmas Eve already - with all that's been going on here in Golden Bay, we missed quite a bit of that lead up to Christmas.  However, the road workers, contractors, volunteers and generally everybody in our wonderful community has worked togerher to get everything cleaned up and ready for the summer visitors.
I noticed last night that there were campers back in the Pohara Motor Camp which means that they have solved their water issues and are up and running.
There have been people working every single daylight hour cleaning up - we've had every kind of contractor up and down the street from road repairers to carpet cleaning companies.
When I woke this morning I couldn't hear machinery running, and that's the first morning since the floods and slips that that has happened.
Our workroom was untouched during the floods and we will here seven days a week over January.  Please drop by and say "Gidday" if you're around.
We were all devastated to hear that Christchurch has had another nasty swarm of earthquakes and it seems that they are now predicting that it may continue for some time again.
As I walked through the Takaka Market this morning on my way to the workroom I asked what we would wish for Christchurch for Christmas?  Still ground, peace and freedom from the stress were some of the replies.
Can we gather our collective energies and wish these things for those poor folk suffering there?
Wishing you all peace, love and light for the holiday season.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weather Bomb

It seems to me that this is a newish expression, but one that describes perfectly what has been happening here. 
We live in a lush green valley - we get a lot of rain compared to many places in New Zealand and we have a flourishing dairy industry because of that.  But this week we had exceptional downpours up in our hills that lasted for days which have caused us some serious problems.
Our little settlement is nestled against the hills overlooking the beach on the eastern side of the Bay and we normally have a more moderate amount of rain than some areas here.  However on Wednesday we had rain of epic proportions which caused drastic damage.
I closed the shop early and was surprised by the amount of surface water on the road as I drove home, but this happens occasionally here, so while it was an inconvenience it wasn't a huge surprise.
The first we knew of the real trouble to come was when the Toy Boy went to the gate to collect the mail and came back saying that there was a river of mud going down our road and that he would collect the mail later, once it had subsided a bit.  I went back with him to take a look and in that short time the river had become a torrent of filthy mud laden water carrying tree branches, fence posts and rocks. The smell of it was incredible - the smell of mud!
We watched in amazement as the water gouged out the seal on the road and coursed a path  down through our neighbours properties, sweeping through over and around everything in its path.  It was truly frightening, especially as it didn't let up for hours.
Soon after this the slips started all around the neighbouring hillside properties with huge slices laden with bush falling onto the properties beneath them.  Our property is up on a rise with a sheer cliff face, just like a lot of our neighbours properties, and we watched in terrified fascination and waited for ours to go!
Night fell and we reluctantly went to bed, but we had learnt some lessons from friends who had gone through the Christchurch earthquakes and left clothes and shoes laid out and a bag with torches etc, ready to flee if we should need to.  We lay there and listened to the roar of the torrent on the road and wondered if those thundering noises we could hear were slips and where were they?
Daylight brought the opportunity to go out and take another look and we were shocked to see that our road looked like a river bed with water and  mud everywhere.  Our poor neighbours whose homes were in the path of the torrent had mud right through their houses and properties.  The whole area looks like a war zone.

We've had a couple of days to process all of this - the council and kind locals have all pitched in to help with the clean up - or what cleaning up can be done - it is still raining, though rather more gently, and we had a period of sunshine yesterday morning.
The hillsides are still slipping occasionally. 
From what we hear from neighbouring bays we may have gotten off lightly.  Nearby Pohara Valley is very badly affected and one of my good walking friends is still stranded on her property with no vehicle access and no obvious solution in sight.  They have craters in their road the size of large buildings.  The next bay around, Ligar Bay is also very badly affected and only now incredible stories and pictures are emerging.  A whole dairy farm in Wainui Bay is apparently covered in mud.  Houses and vehicles are gone and displaced.
I was speaking to a shocked friend yesterday who told of her elderly neighbour who was sitting in his lounge talking to her on the phone when the line went dead.  She called and went outside to see a lahar of mud enveloping his home and her studio and workshop.  The poor old fellow was found out in the paddock in the wreckage and taken to hospital where he is recovering.
 The entire western end of Golden Bay is isolated due to an enormous slip in the only road link to that area and we are waiting for a temporary bridge to be built, maybe today, so they can get through.  Food and supplies have been shipped into there by sea!  Ironically we believe there is little storm damage there.
There is talk of debris being left by logging work being the cause - who knows?  I guess the causes and blame game will begin once we are past the stage of being shocked and the state of emergency has come to an end.
I just found this video on YouTube taken by Heather, one of our neighbours.  There has been incredible footage taken by lots of people around the Bay, but these are all taken just around our home.
For now, our house is undamaged and we are safe, though we are carefully watching a small slip on our bank.
We feel so fortunate to have come through this relatively unscathed when so many of our friends and neighbours have lost so much.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Take a Walk With Me

We leave home, walk down the hill and onto the beach.

We'll walk west with the dawn sun on our backs picking out the detail on the Wakamarama Range.
The tide has tossed lots of debris onto the beach this week.
  About ten minutes along there's evidence of the previous day's fun with a couple of stick huts
At the big lucerne tree we turn off the beach and go across the golf course.
Over the creek and through the arcade heading back east now - we're almost half way.
We're walking back east into the morning sun.
There's a new walkway through the bush and part way through we can look South into the mountains - there's still a little snow on the tops this morning.
Back out beside the golf course and past the house that Orlando Bloom is said to have stayed in with his family during the filming of The Hobbit last month.
And back out onto the manicured walkway in front of the homes along the beach.  The Tarakohe headland and Tata Islands are in the distance.
The sea is in a gentle mood this morning.
Back down towards the motor camp where the bottlebrush is in full bloom - it must almost be Christmas!
And home - that took us an hour. It's the calmest part of my day and I love it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hearts of Stone?

No, hearts of glass.  I've made some heart beads in the "Moeraki Stone" style lately, and have even made some tiny ones for earrings.

Yes, they're glass - lovely earthy colours, colours that change in the flame and combine with other colours to react and do something often unexpected.  It's one of the many things I love about working with glass!
The Moeraki Stone beads are inspired by the giant round bead-like rocks at Moeraki Beach on the East Coast of the South Island - it's a gorgeous place of big country where the sea meets the land and the sky and you can stand out on a tiny sheltered penninsula or "kaik" and look all around for miles.
Moeraki is on my mind lately.  I was given a book this week - Fleur Sullivan's autobiography.  Fleur is a restauranteur in her '70's, still working hard and inspirationally at what she does best - cooking original food and presenting it in new but traditional ways.  I know that sounds odd, but trust me, it's good!  She collects old household wares and food from the land and combines them in an original, authentic ways.
Since the problems with the website I've been able to upload lots more works and have been busily preparing for the summer, squirreling away good stocks so we can relax a little too.
I've just finished a set that I'm particularly pleased with Black Raku Spice Cubes with transparent gray - the black raku beads are lovely, but the addition of the transparent gray really brings the pieces to life!

My latest silver order has just arrived and I've been carefully weighing it all out and sorting it into my system - MAN!!! The price has skyrocketed!  I'm really afraid that I'm going to have to put my prices up soon - but I'll wait till the New Year.  The price is all related to the world mineral prices which have gone crazy since the recession.  Apparently people invest in gold, silver, copper etc during these times.  Let's hope that things come right financially in 2012 so the prices of materials goes back to normal!
Oh, and just because I haven't blogged in ages, I'll show you something else I've been working on...
I've found a way to combine these really reactive glass colours - Lime Green, Opaque Pink and Cranberry.  It's something I've been mulling over for ages, but when a friend came in looking for something to wear with a really pretty black top sprigged with pink and green I thought again and gave it a go.  This one is Extra Large Lime Green & Raspberry Flow Heart Pendant.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Swarovski Crystal Christmas Decorations

The ultimate in gorgeous sparkly Christmas decorations!

I had some large crystals in my stash which I wasn't sure how to use in jewellery, so I decided to have a go at making Christmas decorations.
My lovely sister-in-law has given us sumptuous Christmas decorations over the years and they're a gift that keeps on giving - we get them out every year to enjoy.
They're not something I would buy for myself - I'm just too miserly - but to receive them as a gift is pure luxury!
They're about 100mm (that's 4 inches) long and 30mm wide with a loop at the top for the hanging thread (which is provided), and have a stiff red and gold organza bow.
Individually they're $35 and a pack of three is $100.
Find them on the website here.
In the meantime they're adding a little festive flair hanging from the candelabra in the workroom!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tiger Bead Earrings and New Walking Feet

I've been busily uploading lots of new earrings - mostly Tiger Beads - I have been taking the time off between shows to spend quietly on the torch playing with overlaying transparent colour over an opaque "twisted" core.  I find it amazing hos soothing it is to just potter away on the flame and lose myself in the flow of the glass.
I like the way that the opaque blended core accentuates the intensity of the outer glass.  Each colour behaves differently - purple is really great!

I like the way that the opaque blended core accentuates the intensity of the outer glass.  Each colour behaves differently - purple is really great but hard to photograph!
And now from the strange but true files comes the story of my new walking shoes...

I bought some new Vibram Fivefingers from Soul Shoes here in Takaka and they are the most amazing "shoe experience" ever!
The shoes are great - my feet feel so much more alive and active! I can feel  my toes moving as they are meant to, rather than just moving as a "block" inside a hard soled shoe.  They also support my feet and help with my posture and all those attendant aches and pains.
At the end of the week I just throw them in the washing machine with some quality laundry soap on a cold delicate wash then dry them in the sun - they're almost like a thick pair of socks.

I have a rude friend who who said that I looked like a hobbit!
I don't care - I'm comfortable and I don't care how daggy I look on the beach at dawn - I have only a trusted group of women friends who see me!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Maxed Out!

Those who know me will confirm that there is absolutely nothing minimalist about me.  Among my favourite sayings are "More is more", and "Minimalism, schminimalism!"
So when the website crashed yesterday, and when I started looking properly I found that it had been misbehaving for 10 days or so, it should have come as no surprise that I had completely maxed out my data allocation!
Apparently my disc was totally overloaded...

Getting a little MORE was no sweat for my clever techie Anita.

The Toy Boy is just glad that it wasn't my credit card that was maxed!

So look out for lots of lovely new beads being added daily...Yeehaa!  I can have MORE!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Drumroll please....


It's taken six months, but we finally found the perfect sign writer and look what he made for us!
Alex Burnett from Mapua made them, and his specialty is 3D sign designs.  He has made the train and necklace out of a special lightweight foam made from compressed plastic bags.
So they're recycled, handmade and fun - just perfect for us!
What do you think of the name?  It was the Toy Boy's idea and is a play on the Indiana Jones movie title "Raiders of the Lost Ark".  We had to come up with a name of our combined work, and this seemed like a bit of a chuckle.

He also made the Golden Bay Toys sign for the side of the building - it has the 3D train on the top, and sits out a little from the building in a shallow "V" shape.

And this is a shot of the little courtyard in front of the shop - I love the little fernery and tables - it gives us a little distance from the street and invites people to linger.

We even had a soiree last week to celebrate the fact that we're (almost) organised.
It was a glittering affair, with the guests wearing their finest (beads) with a number of local celebrities in attendance.  The hostess forgot to organise photos...so you will just have to take my word for it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Fell Off!

No, I didn't fall off my perch, just felt a bit out of sorts and was fully occupied with just getting through the days with absolutely no added extras.

 "So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground."
Oprah Winfrey

I've had a bug - yes, the one I picked up in Invercargill and it has been very hard to shift.  I think I'm on the tail end of it now - I have the chesty thing going on. but am getting back into my yoga and morning walks - a sure sign that I'm feeling better.
Meanwhile there have been lots of fun things happening in the studio - the Raindrops series is moving along nicely with the new Palest Emerald Green Raindrops just finished and uploaded to the website today.

The Palest Pastel and Watercolours sets of Raindrops are also now gracing Red Gallery in Nelson for their exhibition celebrating the launch of the latest Nelson Arts Guide book.

And..TaDa...we have the new signs up at the workroom!  But more of that later.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Feeling Rich

The sun is shining, I've been for a gorgeous walk on the beach with a friend, I'm finally feeling better and I'm about to go into the studio for the day.

Life is good!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gorgeous Fabric Giveaway

...not mine, but my sister's!
Lyndy is giving away some serious goodies on her blog Stitchbird Fabrics this week.
Her fabrics are just fabulous - she has a real "eye" for a gorgeous piece of cloth
There are six packs in all...

And all you have to do is tell her which ones you would like to win!
How easy is that?
Follow this link or click on her link in the sidebar.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Full Moon Blues

I'm not sure what's going on here at the moment, but I can't seem to shake a bug that I picked up in Invercargill.  I often find that the full moon brings a lot of these things to the surface, don't you?
I thought I'd dealt with my bug pretty conclusively on the last day of the Craft Shows when we went to A & E at Invercargill Hopsital and I was prescribed some horse-sized antibiotic pills.  
Now, that's an experience I could talk about at length - four hours in a public hospital Accident and Emergency waiting room sure are an education.  Although I was feeling lousy, I had to tell myself how lucky I am, and how benevolently life has treated me.
However, I digress...we had a lovely rest as we drove north - the sun shone for us, the newborn lambs frolicked the spring flowers nodded...it was idyllic and by the time we got home three days later I was feeling much better.
It was still a relief to get home to Golden Bay - we had a wonderful house-sitter and the furballs were happy and full of fun, and the garden had turned on spring.

It's been great to get back to work - does that sound strange?  I found myself really missing the torch while we were away - I think it comes from talking to people about the work, but not doing it!
However I find myself looking for sunny spots to lie down in.
Perhaps once the full moon has finished her phase I will feel better?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dunkleys Great NZ Craft Show South Island Road Trip

In New Zealand we like to think that our winters are mild in comparison to a lot of the world, but in the past week we had a polar blast sweep across the country.   And wouldn't you know it, it was the week that we chose to travel south for the Dunkleys Great New Zealand Craft Show South Island Tour!
We were surprised that the weather was fabulous - a perfect winter's day right over our notorious Takaka Hill, the equally notorious Wangamoas.  But when we got to the Kaikoura Coast in the east the sea was mountainous! 

There were waves the size of buildings coming right up to the road.  Fortunately we got there just after high tide - the water had been right across the road and there was lots of debris dumped there.
Even the poor seals that live there were right up by the road on the rocks trying to avoid the sea!  I couldn't get a photo of them, sorry - and I apologise for the quality of these shots - they were taken from the moving van - there was no way I was getting out of there, and we wanted to get away from there as soon as we could as the wind was buffeting the van alarmingly!
Up through the Hundalees the road was really icy.
Then we hit heavy snow through the Greta Valley

But the good news is....that we made it!  We set up the  show on Thursday afternoon and here it is!
And we won FIRST PRIZE for Outstanding Display!
Woohoo!  Thanks, Dunkleys!
Thanks to those people who dropped by to see us - and I apologise for being so busy that it was hard to chat - the crowd was overwhelming at times.

At the moment we're taking a couple of days out at Moeraki Beach - one of my favourite places in the world - just walking and cloudwatching.  The weather is now glorious!
It's a great place to just sit and watch the sky.

And there's lots of treasure to collect on the beach - it's a great place for sea-glass.
And I found a T-Stick!  Very topical at the moment as that's how I'm using the internet here ;).