Sunday, 30 May 2010

A change of home...

This week saw an extremely stressful departure of my horse and myself from our stableyard-home of seven years under difficult circumstances.  
Happily, we have landed in a good place and Merlin now has lots of grass, a huge stable and a relaxed routine so we are settling nicely - he loves the enormous new stable - yesterday he was stretched out and still snoozing at 11.30 am - I spent ten minutes with his head in my lap - he looked at me and gave out a great sigh, which I interpreted as bliss; he settles fine in new places so long as he doesn't feel abandoned - happiness is having a safe, contented horse.  

Just as a little icing on the cake, our new yard has cats rather than dogs and Merlin loves his new feline friends....

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

That's It, I'm Off.........

Following the spectacularly unsuccessful attempt to get to Venice last month, being grounded by ash, I'm going off on what I'd call a little 'holiday-ette' to Radgale Hall for a few days.   I'm leaving this to be auto-published by Blogger, because as you read this I'll probably be up to my ears in carrot juice and water aerobics (AKA 'Carrot Aerobics', a new craze sweeping stableyards up and down the country).   No, actually to be fair, I've never known carrot juice to be served at Radgale.  

I've been having a bit of a time of things with high blood pressure due to my Rheumatoid Arthritis meds and some stuff going on at my stableyard so I thought a couple of days having breakfast in bed and pampering treatments would be just the thing (its always important to have a good excuse). 

I'm taking Mum, my best friend, who as I write this knows nothing of where we are headed - I've thrown her a couple of red herrings like telling her to pack her passport and walking shoes -- which now makes me think that probably she's thinking we're back off to New York, in which case the Leicestershire countryside is going to be a grave disappointment.

I've visited Ragdale several times but not last year as I had a week's horse training at a British Horse Society place up in Lancashire with Merlin instead, and then shortly afterwards he had his bad accident and I had to nurse him through that.  
If you ever need a real break away from it all, this is the place to go.   If you're wondering about the bottle of Bailey's in the second picture, er - umm...yes, that was when I last visited, but honestly, I didn't drink any, I just took it back home, honestly.

The place gets an extra star from me because they have a resident cat (well, OK, we have two of those at home, but I do approve of that touch); everyone hangs around in bathrobes (yes, even in the dining hall), and there is a Quiet Retreat room where any more noise than the turn of a page of a book is frowned upon - the primary activity is sleeping, and Ragdale's food is - well, amazing.

Mum has had a rough time health-wise in the past several months, and of course, I'd hate to be without my best friend.

I may be back on Saturday, if I can prise Mum off the front door, and I will be mailing out any orders on Monday, promise. 

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Oceanic Felted Wrap

This is 'Oceanic', one of my latest creations.   I've used a hand-dyed Merino wool and silk blend (70/30%) with a ribbon border which has almost ruched the edges - I'm going to experiment with more ribbon on other pieces - I like how it has turned out but its so different to how I imagined it - the wool felted beautifully but I imagined it would be lighter in colour than it has turned out - I know what I saw when I laid it out, but when it felted it seemed to be 'concentrated' somehow - its very soft.  This one took around 6 and a half hours to make. 

Monday, 10 May 2010

Soft Silk and Merino Wrap

This one has so much silk in it and is beautifully soft; the colours are a bit of a departure for me but the deep dark berry colours work well with the shiny gold silk; its also a fairly thin piece which means it will have warmth without bulk.   This took around 7 hours to make and will form part of the wrap and scarf collection on the site when I get round to it.  

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Today's creative effort - Lavender Scones

Today's creative effort was a little different to other days, because today I baked (we'll have a national holiday to mark the day next year, OK?).   Last summer I harvested some lavender from a bush I have had since I was in my teens - the original bush was in my maternal Grandmother's garden and I've created cuttings and nurtured them along at every home I have ever had. 
I love lavender from the way it looks to the insect life it attracts to its gorgeous scent - so last year I made some lavender sugar which is just basically layering lavender with sugar, because I wanted to make scones with it.  
Well, today I opened the jar - and oh wow, what a lovely smell - I'll get loads out of this old coffee jar because each 8oz of flour only needs 20oz (50g) of sugar - I wasn't sure whether to actually throw the lavender in as well but in the end I thought what the heck, and did it anyway.   Oh honeys, these are gorgeous.   They are so scented and delicious!   And because Mark doesn't like 'weird' food as he'd put it, I made some cranberry and honey ones (those are the darker ones in the pic - I think the honey makes them a bit more sensitive to the oven) and then I went a bit mad and made some more with Cheshire cheese.    Try using lavender in your scones - you'll love it!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Melissa Hair Vine, Tiara and Hair Pin

Here's a hair vine, hairpin and tiara I've been working on as a commission - I've used amethyst, peridot, seed beads and goldtone wire - the tiara took about 12 hours to make and is for someone getting married in June - the hair vine can be worn as a choker by theading some ribbon through the end loops; I love these colours, I am seeing some interesting colours coming through in tiara-wearing now - I'm really happy with the way it has turned out.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Bethany Tiara

This is Bethany Tiara, a new addition to my range.   Swarovski crystal and silver lined seed beads on a handmade base, perhaps for younger brides or even bridesmaids; I like the delicacy of the 'branches' which tremble or move with the wearer.   There's nothing like the sparkle of Swarovski, and these are some of my favourite colours; the purple is one of Swarovski's new colours, something like Purple Opal - its a beautiful shade.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Joy Felted Scarf

Here's a thing.   I thought I'd make a stripy layered scarf in merino wool, silk and collected fibres, which is fine as the idea goes.   And I thought I knew better than anyone else.  

When I felt a scarf I lay down about four separate layers of wool which, once I start working them, intermesh - wool has these microscopic scales or spines which latch on to each other - so the scales, the water and soap, the movement of the hands over the wool and eventually later on in the process, the hot water then the cold cause the wool to felt.  
And despite my having read how important it was to layer wool rather than lay 'strata' I really wanted a stripy scarf.   So can you imagine what happens when you just lay stripes?  Yep, there's very little intermeshing and the scarf is basically a series of strips, some of them joined (by luck more than judgement) and there are a lot of holes in the 'joins' where they didn't quite make it.  
Now I could tell you that's the design, and actually it does have some interesting elements to it, but I ended up doing a lot of silk embroidery to this piece to make sure it was completely sound (it was, but holes bother me) - I guess this is part of the learning process. 

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Currently Reading...

Currently reading.....

Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir - the story of Lady Jane Grey, a tragic, sorry tale...I enjoy Alison Weir's historical fiction for the background detail as much as the central story - the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are fascinating - although I'd read a littlle about Lady Jane Grey as a footnote in history, this book fleshes out the human being and brings to the foreground the absolute tragedy of a sixteen year old child who was manipulated, bullied and ultimately faced the chopping block for the ambition and advancement of others.
Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs - Tempe Brennan, the same character featured in the TV series 'Bones' is an intriguing, strange character and the stories are usually absorbing.   A plot within a story within another plot, and the layers are riveting - this is a great read, a well written story and interesting characters - recommended.   An aircraft crashes leaving Tempe with a sea of dead passengers, on top of which she discovers more remains, going to great lengths to establish these are nothing to do with the aircrash, and everything to do with a secret society...  I finished this book in one day though no-one got a word out of me and dinner was 'whatever you might be lucky enough to find in the fridge'....!

The Disastrous Mrs. Weldon: The Life, Loves and Lawsuits of a Legendary Victorian by Brian Thompson - this sounded like such a good book - talk about being talked up on the front cover!! I don't know whether Mrs. Weldon was a scandalous Victorian or a legendary one, but the first part of this book bored me stiff. Its possible that the second half consisted of all the exciting stuff, but as I kept falling asleep every time I tried to keep going with this one, I just gave up in the end. Maybe, when I am down to my last book on my e-reader I'll give it another go, until then, life's just too short to read stuff this dry.

Ill Wind by Nevada Barr - another of the 'Anna Pigeon' series - a Park Ranger who solves mysteries - these are unchallenging but entertaining and remind me a lot of the Nancy Drew Mysteries I read as a youngster....Anna is called upon to solve a mystery of a dead ranger and recurrent mysterious illness in Park Visitors...I'd guessed the ending half way through the book; unchallenging but enjoyable. 

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


Today I have been to the funeral of a good friend, whom I will miss so much.   Chris had fought bravely against cancer for the last 18 months and a few days ago she lost that fight; she was frequently in pain and constantly ill from the treatments as much as the cancer itself but she had dignity, a sense of perspective and was always positive.   I will miss her kindess, her friendly face and her sense of humour, but I know she would believe she had had enough and it was time to go.   It is true that someone who is remembered is never gone, and I know I will remember her bravery always.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Site Updated

I've updated the site today with fresh necklaces, bracelets, earrings and vintage items - you already know about the freebie offer and prize draw which I mentioned a few days ago, but this is just a quick heads up on the update.  

A handmade doll for my niece

Yesterday was my niece May's christening day - it was great to see all my brothers and their families, we don't see that much of each other - we all lead busy lives and its just the way it is.   All my brothers - Christopher, Colin and Jonathan are younger than me and baby May Elizabeth is my middle brother and his wife Clare's first child - she's now about six months old.    So we all gathered on an unseasonably cold May day amidst the blossom

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Still missing, still missed, still looking

It is three years since little Madeleine McCann went missing, and today her parents have released a new video in the hopes it will spark someone's memory, or someone's conscience.   As with the last one, if you do nothing else today, please view the video, please go to the website, and please remember she is still missing.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Want some free earrings? Or how about winning a necklace?

I love giving stuff away - ask any of my regular customers!
How would you like a pair of these earrings, free with purchase?
Simply spend £50 or over (not including postage and packing) in a single order between today and midnight on the 31st May and you'll get a pair of these Swarovski cube and sterling silver earrings.  
As you can see, I've gone a bit mad and made them in lots of different colours and they're all wrapped up ready to go so colours will be totally random.   If you order again and fulfil the conditions, you'll get another pair (in a different colour).  Simple as that.  
The earrings will come wrapped in tissue in an organza bag - wear them yourself or give them to someone you love, your choice. 
And for those with unpierced ears, like mine, just let me know and I'll change the fittings to plated clip ones at no extra cost.    
As always, there's lots of stuff on - I hope you'll find something you just have to have on there!

May 2010's win a necklace competition...
Win this SLC Designs necklace - made with silver-lined handmade Murano glass, silver lined seed beads, sterling silver and Swarovski crystal, you can wear it anyway up you want.  Every time you purchase something from the SLC Designs Jewellery website, you'll be entered into the draw, regardless of the value of the item.   The more times you come back and purchase, the more entries you'll get.   I'll make the draw on June the 1st and announce the winner then.  Good luck!

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Carolyn L. of Yorkshire who won this necklace made from sterling silver, Aquamarine, freshwater pearls, Turquoise, Swarovski crystal, Murano glass, antique glass beads, Peridot and Mother of Pearl in my April Prize Draw - your necklace will be on its way on Monday, Carolyn!

Comiserations to everyone else who didn't win but later today I'll be doing a mail out with a freebie offer and a new prize draw, so watch this space and your in-boxes!

This is Blue...

This is our Burmese boy, Blue, who likes to sit under the lights in our photography area, as he is doing here, which prevents any work being done.  He also likes to sit in front of the television screen, mostly when you're trying to watch something you're following like FlashForward.  And he likes to sit on any chair you might like to sit on, and he likes to sit on your car bonnet so you can't drive off.   Yes, this, everyone, is Blue.