Thanks for dropping by.

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!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Some new work and the Rock Candies

Black & White Candy Stripe Earrings i - NZ$55

I've begun stocking up my glass earrings for the spring shows, and have just put a few more sets onto the website.  I've been enjoying playing with the effects of transparent glass in differing thicknesses over a coloured base - there are so many ways to make the glass distort or magnify what's underneath - the possibilities are endless and dreamy.
Orange & Clear Doris Daze Cube Earrings - NZ$55
I'm in love with orange at the moment - the colour of the Sacral Chakra - one of the fire colours (and chakras) and the colour of passion and creativity.  I don't really feel all that fired up or inspired, just kind of slow and meditative and wintry, even though it's the first day of spring.  
I saw my first newborn calf yesterday, the daphne bush is in full bloom and perfume and the "real' daffodils are appearing everywhere.
Bring it on, is what I say!
One of my more enjoyable tasks this week has been to photograph my "Rock Candy" Swarovski Crystal series.  They are just so sumptuous and sparkly - I couldn't resist taking this photo of them all piled up together. 
A few of us in our immediate neighbourhood are planning a fund raising dinner for our local hospital and medical facility and have chosen the them of "All British" - mostly because of the Olympic Games being held in London (though they can really go by without my noticing!).  We are to wear all of our finery, including the "Family Jewels" - I think I'll go with the Rock Candies for the night!
I've hired a long frock  made from an old sari from our local drama club - our go-to for fancy dress out here in the wop-wops.  It's a bronzy colour, with a heavily beaded and sequined tulle overlay - quite glamorous ;). 

Shall I wear the Naturals... (This is the Full Rock Candy Necklace in Natural) NZ$320
or the Crystal Aurora Borealis?  This is the Rock Candy Bracelet in the larger size crystals NZ$130
There's a smutty little joke in here if you're a kiwi and understand the double meaning of "Family Jewels" - the men have been warned to wear theirs strictly undercover ;).
These are the long Rock Candy Earrings in Natural NZ$40 - I will wear my earrings long...
These are the shorter Rock Candy Earrings in Crystal Aurora Borealis - NZ$35
 The long earrings are made in smaller 6mm crystals, the shorter earrings in 8mm crystals.
The series is available in smaller 6mm crystals or 8mm crystals as mostly pictured here.  I have all of the bracelets made up in both the smaller and larger crystals, but would make necklaces up especially for you in the smaller crystals if you like.

The Rock Candies are a gorgeous and extravagant crystal design with almost no silver showing - even the clasp is a genuine Swarovski button and loop closer...so even the back of your neck or underside of your wrist looks neat.
They're available in nine colourways...Crystal Aurora Borealis and Natural as above and...
Black Part Rock Candy Necklace - NZ$150
Blue Full Rock Candy Necklace NZ$320
Green Rock Candy Bracelet in larger crystals NZ$130
Pink Full Rock Candy Necklace - larger crystals NZ $320
Purple Part Rock Candy Necklace NZ$150
Siam Red Rock Candy Bracelet in small crystals NZ$130
Topaz Rock Candy Full Necklace NZ$320
Have you Liked the Facebook page yet?  It's a fun way to communicate and I'm going to run a giveaway this month for a pair of Rock Candy Earrings in your choice of colour to "Likers"!
So what's your favourite colour?