Thanks for dropping by.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

'Cos I'm leaving on a jet plane...

'Cos I'm leaving on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again (but I do)
Oh babe, it's great to go...

Apologies to John Denver (who wrote it) and Peter, Paul and Mary (who made it theirs)

My bags are packed, it's early morn, Toy Boy's waiting, he's blowing his horn...

My little sister and I leave tonight for 12 days away - 

first stop is Bangkok, Thailand, 

2nd stop, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 

3rd stop, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 countries in 12 days - WOW!

The "reason" for the trip is to collect my niece (my sister's daughter), who has been at school in Cambodia for a term, but we will stop in Thailand on the way to have a look around, and in Malaysia on the way home to have a wee rest and some fun together.

I can't wait to see these amazing countries - here's a little taster photo from Cambodia
Not something we see everyday on the main street in Takaka!

I can't wait to get on that plane - don't you love that feeling of taking off for somewhere exotic?

I'm very excited!

Friday, September 14, 2012

If it wasn't for beads I'd go stir-crazy!

OK, enough already!

This is our 10th (tenth, xth) wet weekend in a row and it's now official - I'm OVER it!

It's got to the stage where I'm grumpy and inactive and have the energy of a tired sloth,
with the appetite of a puppy.
Does my bum look big in this?
 The only thing keeping me sane is the workroom and the beads - thank goodness I can escape there and lose myself in the work!
Here's what's captured my attention this week
Green Tiger Beads 

I'm about to load these babies onto the website.

I hope the weather's better where you are!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Introducing the new "Toru Series" of Earrings - and some corny jokes

The new "Toru Series" Earrings - NZ$45
I've been playing with this new design for a little while - they came about when I needed a simple little earring to match a very detailed necklace, and I needed to make a  longer shape to suit a stylish local lady.
The other day I asked on Facebook what this series should be called and Rebecca came up with "The Toru Series".
In case you were wondering, you readers who are not kiwis, toru means 3 in Maori.
They are made using my little handmade glass "spacer" beads with something tiny between each bead - maybe Swarovski crystal or a similar glass or metal bead.
The findings are still all sterling silver so they won't do anything nasty to your ears like base metal can.
They are about 2.5cms (1 inch) long and are hung on shorter French style ear hooks.
A small selection of colour
The possibilities for this series are virtually limitless!  That's why I haven't put them onto the website.
If there's a colour you fancy that you don't see here - please let me know and I'll take photos and make them up especially to your wishes.  As always, your wish is my command :)!

And now for some corny jokes!

I love corny jokes!  Is it my age? Am I reverting to childhood?

Why did the orange go out with the prune?
Because he couldn't find a date.

How do you organise an outer space party?
You planet!

What did 0 say to 8?
"Nice belt!"

What do you call a fake noodle?
Did you hear the news about corduroy pillows?
The make headlines!
What did the fish say when he hit a concrete wall"
Proton: "I think I lost an electron"
Neutron: "Are you sure?"
Proton: "I'm positive"
What do you call a boomerang that doesn't work?
A stick.
What do you call a cross between a sheep and a kangaroo?
A woolly jumper.
Why did Beethoven get rid of his chickens?
They kept going "Bach-Bach-Bach"
OK - are you ready to get serious about Monday morning now?
What's your favourite corny joke?
Thanks to Pioneer Woman for the inspiration and most of the jokes :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ivory, Aqua and Turquoise & Beady Birthmarks

Turquoise & Ivory Long Dotty Earrings - $55

I've been super fired up experimenting with colours lately.  What do you mean, that's nothing new??
OK, I give in - I'm always fired up by experimenting with colours :)

This time it's turquoise, aqua and ivory.

They react nicely in the flame - especially the ivory and turquoise - do you see the little dark "sketch" lines that they make together.  These colours make magic together - like some people!
But I digress...
Ivory & Turquoise Long Dotty Earrings - $55
You may (or may not) also notice that I've started adding watermarks to my photos.

I'm feeling rather clever about all of this - never mind that I have just spent the entire week bent over my computer learning it all.  Just kidding about that last bit, but not about the feeling clever bit.  
I'm chuffed - it's something I've been meaning to do for ages.

I do it so if you want to use my photos for any reason they will always have their birthmark.
Ivory & Turquoise Tiny Dotty Earrings - $55
Ivory & Transparent Aqua CanCan Earrings - $55  
Oh, and I made some Moeraki Boulder earrings - these are really small - not quite teeny tiny ones, but little and dainty.  I'm always asked about these - are they glass?  Yes - they're etched glass.  Just made to look like stones.
Small Moeraki Stone Earrings - $55 
I've been spending lots of time on Facebook lately and have connected with an awesome group of people there.  Come on over and join the fun!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Queen's Silver Jubilee Dinner

We live in a very small isolated community and need a new hospital and medical centre.  Because it will serve comparatively few people funding from government is limited, so we need to fund-raise as a community for the balance.
As usual, in its own alternative way, this vibrant community has come up with its own unique way of finding this money.
Golden Bay is a large land area with tiny settlements based around farming areas, beaches and small commercial areas, so the thought is that each of these areas will have its own fundraising initiatives.
So all across Golden Bay there are progressive dinners, dance-athons, plant sales and fairs.

As one of the fundraising events for our area we held a neighbourhood dinner last night.  Five women friends (and neighbours) got together and cooked up a storm for 32 people and the residents of Pohara came out in their finest attire to attend.
It was a glittering affair, with men in dinner suits and military uniforms and women decked out in their most exquisite costumes.  Some of us hired costumes from the local drama club so we could be absolutely fabulous!

It was a huge effort and even bigger fun, the preparations have been going on for weeks!  Initially the idea came from the woman whose house it was held in - they have a lovely large open plan lounge, kitchen dining area and a big new kitchen so the final preparation of the food was easy.

 We set the room up on Friday afternoon...

Cheri and her husband are crayfishers and they provided the divine entree and the Yorkshire puddings to go with the Roast Beef main.
The menu
Rosita cooked the beef - to perfection, I might add - she and I had a last minute stress meeting yesterday afternoon to decide just how much we both needed to cook for 32 people - we had no idea of quantities!

Rosita and me - I wore Rock Candies with my beautiful hired gown.
Anne-Marie peeled and roasted 40 odd potatoes, cooked Cauliflower and Broccoli au Gratin, kumara (sweet potatoes) and peas.
Some aristocrats and some who have gone a little "troppo"!
 I made my favourite pate as one of the entree (appetiser for you Americans) options - something I haven't made for years, but with retro being all the rage it seems to be back in fashion.  I also roasted pumpkin and steamed carrots. 

The event was held in Marg's house, so as well as being in charge of decorations she made heavenly trifle and fruit crumbles for dessert.
Our host and hostess - love the hat!
We were all so nervous about our cooking responsibilities that it was hilarious!  We were all making things that we had cooked a hundred times before, just the quantities were somewhat different and the pressure was on to have everything absolutely perfect!
It all turned out so well - we were all really thrilled!
 We all met for the clean up and coffee this morning and agreed it was well worth the effort.  We're now looking forward to the next event.

Isn't it fabulous how these events can bring communities and neighbourhoods together?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Memory Tree

This month two years ago a friend of our family's passed away.

We didn't know him all that well, but he was a good friend and mentor to Number One Son, especially during his university years.  I think that if we had known him for longer we would have become life-long friends.

He was a gardener, so when he passed we planted a tree for him, and now every August it blooms beautifully in our garden.  It's small yet, but really is becoming stunning!

I can't count how many trees I have planted as memorials for people and pets.  Past and present gardens are full of trees and shrubs with sweet memories.

We raise a cup of British tea to Ray.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

To See a World in a Grain of Sand

Lilac dawn on Pohara Beach
I often talk about my early morning walks with a group of women friends - we usually meet before sunrise and walk Pohara Beach for an hour, chattering away and waking the neighbours as we go.

However, as occasionally happens with the group, there has been only one walker for a couple of days - ME!

While I love to walk and natter, I also relish the quiet time alone with just me and the beach - especially as the mornings are becoming lighter and spring is definitely in the air.

So I got to thinking about a poem by William Blake "Auguries of Innocence"

"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour..."

Which is my roundabout way of explaining that I see so much on my walks on the beach - it's the same beach every day, but different.  That whole world changes - those grains of sand and every sunrise and change of tide brings a whole new swag of treasures.

Whoa!  There are so many life analogies here!

Anyhow, here's some of what the camera and I saw this beautiful spring morning...

An unusual black scallop shell
Tidal lines in the dawn
Oh, something moved!  It's a sandhopper and he's transparent!
There's colour and texture in this cockle shell - it reminds me of cockling with the kids - squeels of delight as they find them in the sand of the shallows with their feet!
A gull's head skeleton
Two horse mussel shells locked together - I love the shiny bits on the ends
there were a few transparent horse mussel shells today - I wonder if they are albinos?
This one is HUGE!
Some little blue lipped mussel shells - you can eat these but there are green lipped mussel farms in the Bay - they're the best ones to eat

Poor old gummy shark - I wonder what happened to him?

Lovely texture in this wee cockle shell
Not so many crab shells today - sometimes there are loads of them!
Oh this is a nice one
This one's been kicking around for a while - I love the worm holes in it
Turret shells - I once made a path of these and collected them by the sackful.  The path glowed in the moonlight!
Oh, that's a pretty one!
Haha!  I tried to photograph a fishing shag...and this is what I got :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Skinny on Bead Maintenance

There are a couple of questions I’m often asked…

How do I store my beads?...  How do I care for  them?

I don’t really look after my beads at all!  They get dumped into a toilet bag and stuffed in a drawer.  When I want to wear something I rummage through the bag and haul out a handfuls to search.

I do this for a couple of reasons – the first and most significant is because I am  lazy and not all that tidy.  But the second  is because I need to know how sturdy the beads are, especially when I began making them.  So I figure that if I’m harder on them than almost anybody else would  be, then I know what to expect from them.  It’s an ideal excuse for being messy, don’t you think?

If they get dirty – and they do get makeup and even food (spaghetti sauce is my usual culprit) on them occasionally – I have been known to put them  into the cutlery container in the dishwasher (with a compartment to themselves) and run them through a normal cycle with the plates.   I don’t really recommend this for you – it’s hard on the jewelers wire they’re strung on – the beads cope really well, but the wire can take a hammering. 

If you’re worried about them being grubby you’re welcome to send them back to me and for the cost of the postage I will clean them for you in an ultrasonic cleaner.  I’m also really happy to re-string beads for you if you’ve had a disaster :( 

I am not a dainty girl - I understand that things happen!
Do I wear things out of the stock that’s for sale?

Never! I think that the things we wear take on our energy (and vice versa), and while I have put my intention into making the piece, it is not necessarily mine to wear.  While I love to recycle almost anything, I think that when you  purchase something you should know that it has a history – perhaps that history is a mystery, but if you buy something new it should be new!
I keep my earrings and brooches in a separate box – purely because I can’t find them if they’re rattling with all of the other beads in the bag.
How do you store your beads?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Avocado Green and Guacamole

I live in the land of avocados!

They grow abundantly here and over the past ten years lots of people seem have to cottoned onto this, so we have a constant, abundant and cheap supply of green goodness almost all year round.

I love them - I cold eat them for lunch almost every day on grainy toast and make guacamole at least once a week.  I like to eat it just with carrot sticks rather than a packet of toast or crackers, though I can do the carbs - I just try to avoid them mostly for snacks.  I find they stick to my hips - the carbs, that is.
We have a little vege stall up the road that we call on regularly - we get all sorts of fabulous goodies there, but my most regular purchase is the avos...
Oh, my word, yes!  They are "heavenly delicious"!
I make guacamole by mashing them with an equal quantity of cottage cheese, a clove (or two if you're not expecting company) of crushed garlic, the juice of a lemon, salt, pepper and something hot - I alternate between dry mustard powder, wasabi paste, chilli or a current favourite is horseradish paste.
This was a monster batch that the two of us still managed to scoff.

I'm always surprised when I see avocado green in any colour chart - it never looks like the colour of nice avocadoes to me - it's always way too dark.

The Avocado Green in my glass is a lovely colour, but doesn't look like avocado flesh at all...
Nor does our 70's avocado green bathroom suite - soon to be gracing the recycling centre!

Friday, August 10, 2012

A Week of Change

It has been an odd week, with the cancellation of our trip South - we have been given the gift of time - something that always seems to be in short supply lately, but feel a small sense of deflation - there will be no exciting trip, no meeting old and new friends and fellow bead lovers.
We will be home for Princess illy's eye surgery, which is a relief - but wont get to visit with Number One Son, The Engineer on our travels.
It's a week of mixed emotions...
However, I've still been busily finishing and cataloging new work and will put a whole lot onto the website over the next few days.  There's a Black and White Sampler coming that I'm really intrigued with...
I'm fascinated in the strength of colours that come through in this series - some are soft and some are strong...and of course, black and white is the strongest contrast of all...It would be fun to do one in pink and orange...maybe that's next??
There's also a Flow set coming that I was very intrigued with - a set using the transparency of black to combine it with purple, using silvered ivory (yes, ivory glass mixed with sterling silver) and lots of transparent glass - another one of my current favourites...
These beads feel silken and luscious to touch!
I've also been having fun taking photos using my extensive collection of old domestic crystal glass (Webb & Corbett is my favourite, though I love Waterford and Stuart too).
I took lots of photos on crystal of The Helen Drop Earrings and loaded them onto the website - there are so many colourways in this design that I only have a few made up at any time - if there is a colourway that you fancy that's not there, please just ask me!
Black and Crystal Aurora Borealis Helen Drop Earrings $40
I've also launched the new Facebook Page properly and have put a couple of beads on at a greatly reduced price for those who are interested - it seems a nice way to reward people who follow my work.  There's also a Giveaway on the page for Likers - I'll do the draw at the end of the month.
I'm also about to register on a blogging course - eek!  I feel quite challenged by this stuff, but as I've said before, I love technology and want to learn as much as I can.  I want to make the most of this gift of time and stir my grey matter a little!  The course is taught by Liv Lane, who uses a lot of guest tutors to teach their particular areas of expertise, one of whom is my old friend Andrea Schroeder of www.creativedreamincubator.com 
 It's going to be a fun week!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Change of Plans and Facebook Giveaway

Long Purple Rock Candy Earrings - $40
 We've had an unexpected change of plans and won't be traveling South with the Dunkley's Great New Zealand Craft show this year after all.
This means that we won't be selling in Christchurch, Dunedin or Invercargill this year.
Please accept our sincere apologies if this upsets your plans - perhaps we can talk through something with you by email or phone.  
I'm always happy to take extra photos of pieces and of course I give a full money-back guarantee if you're not 100% satisfied with what arrives at your door.

I've launched the Facebook page properly this week with a giveaway of a pair of Rock Candy earrings of your choice to be won by a lucky "Liker" at the end of August.
Short Black Rock Candy Earrings $35
 I'm going to run super-specials and discounts for my lovely followers, so if you want to enter the draw and be notified of the deals as they go up go to 
The first super-special goes up today!