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Friday, June 29, 2012

This Week 30th June 2012

I'm enjoying this new habit of rounding up the week - looking through it and picking out the best bits, and this week has surely had some high spots!
1.  I'm enjoying finishing some work that's been hanging around waiting for my final design decisions - these chakra lotus flowers are almost there - just the clasps and final sizing adjustments to be made and they will be ready to have their portraits taken and enter the world.
There's a Turquoise based Chakra Lotus Flowers Bracelet here and one entirely in "Fire" colours
2.  There's something very luxurious about being able to tidy up - laying things out, touching them and dreaming of what they might become.  I've always had a love of touchstones and amulets - perhaps that's where this drifting and sifting might take me?  I find the sight of a tray of ordered glass so seductive!
Where are the hot colours?  On the bench being used!
3.  I've really enjoyed going down the Pinterest rabbit hole this week, following this train of thought that's been lurking.  I'm always quite happy with my own company and have enjoyed the clear mind space to play...
Enjoying being a hermit this week
4.  On the other hand, I loved our Matariki/midwinter feast at Ratanui Lodge last Saturday night.  The beautiful group of women I walk with in the mornings and their partners got together for an evening of delicious food, scrummy wines, elegant surroundings, superb service and the very  best of company.  Thanks guys, you do it so well!
The Lodge is full of the most elegant antiques
This was the dessert table - for after we had eaten our rich little Christmas puddings! 
5.  It's wonderful to have all my walking friends home from their travels and a treat to hear the stories they brought back.

I hope your week has been wonderful too!  Spare five minutes to think about the best bits - it makes the world a happier place.

Friday, June 22, 2012

This Week 23rd June 2012

Manutukutuku - the birdman kite is traditionally flown at Matariki
It's been a lovely week - I've had the best time, even though it's mid winter.
We have begun a tradition in the past few years of celebrating Matariki, or Maori New Year in our house.  It's a quiet time of year for us, so we are able to take some time out to celebrate this time of great fertility and possibility.
It's a time to celebrate new beginnings, sometime around the shortest day, and marked by the rising of Pleiadies - a constellation of which we can see seven stars, called the Seven Sisters, in the dawn sky to the east.
In the northern hemisphere midwinter is usually celebrated marked as Christmas and there's feasting and breaking out of precious stored food to celebrate, while we are roasting in our midsummer heat!
It feels so much more appropriate for us to celebrate our midwinter as the Maori did and we love their traditions that go with that.  I found this little montage made up by a group of schoolchildren which  explains simply and clearly what I mean...
We've had a week of small celebrations at home - good food and wine, flowers and time with friends.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
The lovely new batch of brooches I made have hit the website - treat yourself to a shot of colour to brighten up your winter wardrobe - call it a Matariki gift!
Here are just a few...
And to top off our week we're going out to the gorgeous Ratanui Lodge for dinner with friends this evening to celebrate mid-winter Christmas (though the Toy Boy and I will call it Matariki, thanks).
And here's a warm fuzzy sent to me via Facebook today - it's lovely to get the GOOD news!

This picture of Chicago Christians who showed up at a gay pride parade to apologize for homophobia in the Church.
This is the first in a series of 20 images to restore your faith in human nature - please take a look - it will lighten your day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

This Week 16th June 2012

We're being bears this week and hibernating - there's been snow on the hills and a first for me, I had ice on the windscreen of my car this morning.  Yeah, I know, all you tough southerners and folk from cold winter climates are telling me to harden up!  Winter in Golden Bay is very mild and the beaches are looking truly spectacular!

I've had a great week - there's lots of creative juice flowing in the studio and into my journals.
1.  I was really inspired by a blog that I visited from Liv Lane's Weekly Little Bliss List Links (and for the life of me I can't remember where, the blogger's name or her blog name - apologies), who had entered a challenge to decorate one index card every day.  It got me thinking so I pulled out a wee notebook sent to me by my dear friend Kim and decided that I would fill in a page every day - just to remind myself to pick up a pen, paintbrush, whatever...and ink the page.  I'm enjoying the process...
2.  I bought myself a little treat this week from Healthpost - Royal Honey Nectar Moisturising Facelift.  This magic potion is made in a tiny area I lived in for 3 years called Tapawera - right up the top of the Motueka River Valley.  It's been developed by the local beekeper from bee venom and is apparently Botox in a jar.  Kate is reported to have used the Face Mask in preparation for THE wedding.  Anyhow, it's really nice to use - feels pretty natural and I can really feel my skin tighten up.  I put my normal moisturiser on over it.  However, no-one's commented that I look twenty years younger...yet :).

3.  We have a new venture in Golden Bay called Village Milk .  A local farmer is selling milk from his cows via a vending machine at his gate.  It's A2 unpasteurized - that means that the cows naturally produce milk with certain beneficial fats - they're checked fastidiously so the milk can be guaranteed healthy and can therefore be sold unpasteurized.  Read up more on their site if you're interested in the science of it - it's fascinating. It seems that lots of local people are as into authentic consumption as we are - it has become so popular that we often find a small queue at the vending machine.  It's lovely to see our alternative little community helping one another out with the technology of it too!  I met a friend there last night who recommended V8 juice bottles as the perfect receptacle - even better than the bottles available in the bottle vending machine - as we have.
Wild bird seed and dripping
Melt the dripping and add the seed.  Pour into plastic containers (so you can run a knife around them to release the pudding)
Put them out in the garden and watch the birds come from far and wide - it can take a little while for them to realise that it's there.

4.  I've been making "birdie puddings" this week.  I make them every year at this time for the poor wee birds who have so little to eat right now.  I figure it's my way of making up for the occasional victim of the fur babies.

5.  The Toy Boy - who has braved ice and snow to take the toys to The Nelson Market this morning - made me up a fresh batch of bead boards this week.  I'm so lucky to have his help with the little finishing touches.  Now all I have to do is stamp them all!

6.  This week I've been playing with red, black and grey - I  have three necklaces on the go in these colours and some pink Swarovski pearls combined with some silver and a transparent glass heart...and I've been working on a new version of the Chakra Beads...the studio is the cosiest place in town!

How about you?  Have you had a good week?  How about making a (mental or actual) list of six things that warmed your week...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

This Week 6th May 2012

This week...

1.  It's was Queen's Birthday Weekend so we had an extra day off.  I spent the time being a domestic goddess, working in the garden and preserving some lemons.

2.  I'm enjoying wearing my cozy tartan Doc Martens these chilly winter days
3.  It was really great to get together with a group of local business owners at the Pohara Boat Club (gorgeous building) for the AGM of the Golden Bay Promotions Association.  It's a real buzz when a group of enthusiastic people get together to brainstorm on something we're all passionate about.

4. I'm really enjoying wearing heart-warming (heart chakra) green Cherry Blossom beads with my Glowing Sky merino jacket.

5.  And red lipstick!

6.  I loved this YouTube clip - The Best Wedding Proposal Ever!  If you feel like a warm fuzzy take a look...

Have a great weekend!

Pinking up...

 I've been making lots of brooch beads and they're almost ready for mounting onto boards and having their portraits done - I've tried for lots of colour in this batch.
They're great to wear on jackets and coats - my problem is that I always have to rat through my wardrobe every time I want to wear one - I tend to leave them on my coats - it's one way of storing them I guess.
I love lemons.  I love the taste of them in almost anything - someone called themselves a lemophile a while ago, and that really resonated with me!
I've tried to grow lemon trees at every house we've ever lived in and I'm sure I've left some amazing future specimens scattered around the country. 
Something eats all the new growth on our trees here and we think we may have tracked down the culprits - WETAS!!!  The largest insect in the world apparently!
I'm trying to discourage them my putting crushed eggshells around the trees - that's a lot of eggs!
Does anybody have any better ideas?  We never see them - I think they come and feed at night - they take the most enormous bites.
In the meantime I went and bought a lovely lot of lemons at the market last week and have tried preserving them for the first time.  I want to use them in tagines - they're apparently only slightly lemony in flavour - salty/sweet.
They're sliced almost through in quarters then packed with rock salt and into a jar then covered in lemon juice.  This took around 20 lemons!!
I used a recipe from Made in Morocco by Julie Le Clerc
A sumptuous recipe book full of the most amazing photography
I think this is my favourite photo - "Petits Taxis"
After I had begun this method I found another recipe by Annabel Langbein's Free Range Cook which I wished I had used - it used only a few lemons and seemed much less messy...
She slices 2 lemons into 6ths completely then freezes the slices on a tray, then packs the frozen segments into a clean jar, adds 2 heaped teaspoons of salt, the juice of a lemon (to cover the segments), adds a bay leaf and covers it all with oil.
Ready in a week, but will improve over several months, and once opened, keep them in the fridge.
How easy is that?
Maybe next time?
What do you think of the new pink background?
I've been looking for something a bit more colourful for ages, and pink seems a nice colour - feminine, heart chakra energy and all that.
Speaking of heart chakra colours, I've been wearing quite a lot of green lately and thought I'd show you these beads I made years and years ago that I still wear and love...I call them Cherry Blossoms these days.

Friday, June 1, 2012

20 Days to go...

...'till the shortest day.
Luculia Flowers in the garden - we need smell-o-cam!
It's already winter and I still haven't finished my autumn cleanup chores.
But it's a day for counting blessings...
I've been sorting through all of my bead stash for stocktaking and have put all of my gorgeous bead jars into the shop part of the workroom to sell from.  I get lots of people sharing their beading ideas with me and seeking my input and advice - there are lots of really creative people out there!
Part of the sorting out process has been labeling, pricing and coordinating all of the bits and pieces.  I'm almost finished with the Swarovski Crystals - just the last few jars to clean and labels to go.
I need to order another box of the little plastic jars so I can display the findings, too and get some hooks so I can hang little bags of findings up - if you're into fine detail this is fun for a while...
All of this means that the (lovely clean, tidy) bench has had little use in the past few days and I'm itching to get on with the business of melting glass.
 The last play I had was with plain clear class and white - I'm loving the crispness of the two together.
I felt a bit overwhelmed with winter and rote chores last week, but this week I'm loving winter - we've got into that part where it's freezing at night but we have glorious days.  Pure Golden Bay weather!
I'm enjoying wearing my Doc Martens again - these red ones are still my favourites.
The winter garden flowers are blooming - there's always a gap between the end of the autumn and true winter.  The winter sweet is making a whole corner by our bedroom simply radiate perfume - the flowers aren't much to look at the perfume has to be smelled to be believed!  The pink luculia has sprung its first flowers and they are always beautiful - they're another one we need smell-cam for!
In true colourful and vibrant Golden Bay style, this Saturday morning has been a blast!  We've had our monthly (weekly in summer) market here and there have been people dressed in fantabulous hats promoting their new theatre production, there's been a peaceful protest in the main street (it started outside our door ) against the use of 1080.  There's been music and buskers and all the usual locals hanging out and smiling together in the winter sunshine.
I think I really do live in paradise!