Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Beating My Car With A Branch of a Tree.....

The scene from 'Fawlty Towers' of John Cleese beating his car with a stick because it broke down seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Its official, my car is knackered.   I have to confess its probably not had an easy life, being used as our 'workhorse' car, it is continually loaded up with saddles, bridles, sacks of horse feed and bales of horse bedding; we moved house using it, and its probably moved tons and tons of stuff over its lifetime.   I do though keep the front seat free for my handbag, spare coats, my packets of tissues, bags of sweets, phone chargers, bottles of water

Saskia Heirloom Comb

This is Saskia Heirloom comb - as soon as I saw the huge c.1980's vintage clip on earrings I knew they were too large for the ears of any human being, but I knew exactly what I would do with them - they were an unusual shaped piece of Mother of pearl overlaid with goldtone brass filigree and then some nice beadwork and crystal twinkles - I took the backs off and then sat with my head in my hands for a while regretting that - how, when I had taken the fixings off was I going to be able to wire them back into something?  
I sorted that one out in the end then had fun wiring Swarovski crystal pearls and beads, freshwater pearls and other tiny treasures into the comb - making the middle join up was a challenge because every time I put in new beads, the earrings parted company which meant going back to more wirework; to me, the important thing about using vintage items in a fresh new piece is that is that the entire finished piece should look as 'seamless' as possible; despite my telling you there are vintage items in there, the join between the new and the old should not be obvious. 
I've made the comb a bit flexible so that it can be inserted against the hair rather than perch on top...in the end, I was pleased with the piece and can't wait to see someone wearing it!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Talia Heirloom Tiara

This is Talia Helirloom Tiara; I started with a handmade flexible wire band then added a patinated mesh butterfly which I had in my stash - this dates to around the 1960's; over time it has developed a darkened patina which I decided to leave as is rather than clean up and make it shiny so it looked like new - mainly because I wanted to use the gorgeous Swarovski crystal pearl colour 'Platinum' in the piece.  I made a Swarovski crystal, wire and rocailles (seed bead) flower and added Czech glass leaves, Swarovski crystal pearl and bead wired 'sprays; the colour that naturally goes with the Platinum coloured Swarovski pearl is turquoise and this looked gorgeous with the butterfly.   I finished off the piece by wiring Swarovski pearls on the band; its an unconventional piece for a bride, but I thought it would look lovely for a 'Midsummer Night's Dream' type wedding or perhaps for a bridesmaid. 

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Currently reading...

Books I am currently reading...
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell - this is so beautifully written, a story about a young woman who finds out she has an aunt who has been in a mental institution most of her life, just as the institution is about to close.  Despite not wanting to, she becomes drawn into the story of Esme and the resulting story is wonderful, happy, tender and so worth spending the time reading.
Creative Time And Space by Rice Freeman Zachery - Rice's books are always a visual treat, and this new one is no exception....the writing is pretty darn good too!  I have a billion and one things to do for work right now, and all I have managed to do is flick through and bookmark here and there but I am constantly distracted by it...visually it draws the reader in; it truly is a work of art in itself, I managed to read a bit of it whilst the equine dentist was looking at my horse's teeth a few days ago (which is probably a first for this book generally!) - this is a beautiful book that artists of all kind will enjoy and use constantly.Goodbye, Dear Friend - Coming To Terms With The Death of A Pet by Virginia Ironside...I am sad to be once again reading this book; I am struggling with grief following the death of my beautiful pussycat Cleo who was my constant companion.  This book has gently guided me through the loss of other deeply loved feline companions in the past, and I am working through its wisdom again.   I miss my pretty girl every day, and my heart is breaking from the sadness.   This book is a much needed resource; this is one to remember for times like these.    
Becoming Queen by Kate Williams...this author writes wonderfully - her style is faultless, beautiful and readable...I loved her previous book about Emma Hamilton, the mistress of Lord Nelson and this one is every bit as good...the book, whilst about Queen Victoria, begins with a the fascinating and tragic story of the previous heir presumptive, Princess Charlotte which was a rather unusual start to a book about Queen Victoria...but as I had not read anything on Charlotte before, I found this in itself very interesting.  The ensuing work on Victoria is very good too. 

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Vivienne Heirloom Band Tiara

This is Vivienne Heirloom Tiara/Band which I made using an original 1980's crystal-and-faux-pearl-set goldtone brooch, wired into a handmade frame and embellished with Swarovski crystal and seed beads/rocailles.   A particular challenge was identifying the crystal pearl colour to match the original faux pearl, but as usual, I found a good match in one of the Swarovski pearl colours, and after identifying the matching Swarovski crystal colours, the challenge I had to come up with something a bit inventive for the side ornamentation which complemented the original brooch, so I made four-petal Swarovski-based flowers and also came up with Swarovski crystal pearl and bead 'rosettes', which you can see here to the side of the piece. It was only after I finished it that I realised that the gold-plated rocailles are what can only be termed 'delicate' - after quite a lot of gnashing of teeth, I found myself having to remake several of the flowers and rosettes because the gold was coming off inside the beads.  In the end, I used the same rocailles but used a painted on substance which is used to preserve and protect artwork and fragile papers - it cannot be seen by the naked eye, and gives a great deal of protection to these delicate beads and also the wirework and original piece of 1980's jewellery; I held my breath whilst I worked with the archival fluid but it worked out just fine.

I've been working on new and fresh items for the relaunch of my tiara site, 'Tiaraonline' and the relaunch has been in the works for months and months - this piece took me the best part of a week to make, so progress is slow but I think that's ok as I feel its important to have good work to display and offer for sale when it does launch.  I anticipate it will be up and running in about three to four weeks.
It's a fairly substantial piece of hair jewellery, which I imagine worn in alice-band fashion though I tried it out and it can be worn as a conventional tiara too - there are loops at the back of the frame so it can be pinned into place, but I find that my handmade flexible frames tend not to need securing in that way.  I can't wait to see photos of the bride who eventually wears this.

A Minute for Madeleine - If You Do Nothing Else Today, Please Watch This

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Time for a little 'ahhhh moment...'

I just wanted to share the latest picture of my little niece May, who is just over a month old...she went to her first party on halloween and her mum and dad (my brother Colin and wife Clare) dressed her as a black and white pussycat, which seems perfectly reasonable to me....

Sunday, 1 November 2009

And The Winner Is...

Janet Yard is the winner of my 'win a necklace' competition which was drawn today - congratulations Janet!  I'll be running other competitions and offers in the future (join the e-mail list for advance notification) so please stop by often!

This is Janet's necklace - made with sterling silver, handmade lampwork roses and Swarovski crystal.