Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Elephant earrings

I just knew I had to buy these sterling silver elephant charms when I saw them in my supplier's shop. I have made two pairs of earrings with them, one with my dark blue bubble beads for Sandy as they will match the bubble large-hole bead that I included on her Pandora bracelet and a pink version for Alison. They're a thank you for the various safaris the two of them went on in London to take the Elephant Parade photos for me. Here are the intrepid duo hunting elephants in Selfridges (Sandy left, Alison right) and there follows a round-up of some of the other photos they sent to me.

Here are three which represent the three main political parties in our recent election, Alison snapped these in Victoria Embankment Garden. They are called Mr Cameron, Mr Brown and Mr Clegg (in no particular order!) all resplendent in party colour shorts.

I understand this one (Emerald Queen) is one of Alison's favourites. Apparently it features a 678 carat ethical Zambian emerald from Gemfields which carries a reserve price of £90,000! Sandy's very words to me were "She knows how to pick em! No wonder we were getting funny looks when we got up close to her!" Emerald Queen is on the left here and the other (pearly Prince) is encrusted with swarovski crystals and is closely guarded at Coutts Bank. The plinth rotates for maximum sparkle effect.

And here are a selection of the rest of them, most are in Green Park. Particular highlights for me are the seaside one, Taxi Elephant apparently lights up at night, he flanks the entrance to the Royal Exchange and is sponsored by Sotheby's. Harapan is in aid of Sumatran Orangutan Society, Russell is very cleverly done to blend into the park surroundings. 'Never forget' reminds me of a Zentangle (newish hobby for me) and I mustn't forget to say "Hi" to Pat! (in Jewel-Ele pic; Pat is another friend/colleague of Sandy's who obviously got seconded into safari duty!)

Monday, 28 June 2010

Seed heads

I picked these seed heads on a walk yesterday evening. I thought they looked interesting and might make an organic base for PMC paste. Painted over the top in many layers, after drying and firing, the PMC turns into silver and the seed head burns away to leave behind a hollow form which might make an interesting pendant. I have no idea what plant the seed pods are, but all of them were closed when I put them on the table last night. This morning, the largest one had exploded! The exploded one looks like a dandelion clock but it's much bigger than one of those. Anyway, I'd better get busy with the PMC paste before the other two go the same way; I've never done this before so I have no idea whether it'll work well for me.

Very disappointed with the football yesterday, let's hope Andy Murray can do something for British sport this afternoon. I am poised with my ironing basket to watch as soon as the Williams -v- Sharapova game finishes! I am never on top of my ironing pile except during Wimbledon. I do not allow myself to watch television in the middle of the day but when it's a British player at Wimbledon, I do my ironing inbetween points and kid myself that I am doing something productive rather than being a couch potato!

Friday, 25 June 2010

Latest items

Had a lovely day today making jewellery and photographing jewellery and beads that I've been making. Here are a bracelet and earrings made with kalera lite beads in red scribble variety
More kalera lite beads but this time made with Perrier water recycled glass and Cava bottle recycled glass
I did a bit more work with PMC too, made these textured charms to dangle underneath Peacock nugget beads, they're curved a bit like the spacers I made for the Pandora beads a while back; that doesn't show on the photograph but I'm pleased with the patination of the texture (which fortunately does show up).
Finally for today's blog entry, here are a couple of bead styles that I've revisited.
The ones on the left were originally called marble beads, I made lots of them in white and clear glass and also opaque red and clear. They were one of the very first of my own lampwork beads that I made jewellery out of. I was quite limited in the number of colours of glass at my disposal in those days, I have much more now and I have lots of ideas for colour combos to make more! I'm renaming them ribbon beads now.

The pink bubble ones are a request from Sandy's friend Alison (she of the safari elephant hunting fame!) They are having a trip to Cambridge one Saturday in July along with a couple of other colleagues and Alison has asked if i can make her some earrings in pink.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Another Pandora bracelet

It was Sandy's birthday this week. She absolutely loved the Pandora bracelet that DH bought for my birthday that I featured in my blog last month and the beads that I made to adorn it. Sandy's long term partner, Chris, picked up on the hint and got her a Pandora bracelet and enlisted my help in putting together some beads to go onto it.

Sandy's colours are pink, blues and purples. I had already started knitting a pair of pink bedsocks as one of her presents and so we went with blues and purples for the bracelet. Chris paid for the bracelet, mum and dad bought the sterling silver clips to stop the beads moving about, Sharon bought the silver flower charm spacer and I made the glass beads and sterling silver PMC spacers. I'm glad to say that she was really pleased with it (and the socks!)

The photograph of her bracelet has given me an idea for presenting the large hole Pandora-style beads that I make on my website (which as you know, I am currently going through the machinations of changing the structure of in order to make it easier to maintain). More on that soon, though.

In the meantime, being self-employed this week has given me far too much freedom to watch Wimbledon and football instead of doing work!! However, Andy Murray isn't playing til Saturday (have to miss that one), there are no historically long matches on the cards, England don't play til Sunday so I am hoping to get plenty done on Friday - including the jewellery photographs promised earlier in the week. I hope I can have a productive day :-)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Baby birds

I just had to share these pictures of some visitors to my garden studio where I make my beads. Here's mum and the chicks wandering down the path ...

You can't see all of the youngsters, there were around 10 or 11 altogether. And here's a close of up of them trying to hide from me and my camera in the dying foliage of the daffodils ... on a signal from mum about the danger she thought I posed, they all froze. All together now ... "ahhhhh!"

Monday, 21 June 2010

Not-quite Kalera shape (and one more elephant)

I've been making quite a few beads this shape lately

To get the shape, I am not quite filling the Kalera shaped brass press with glass. If I fill the press, this is the resulting shape (just to prove I do know how to do it!)

I've decided to call it the Kalera-lite shape. I like the less formal shape I get by not filling the press.

I made a double-stranded bracelet using these beads and black onyx, which sold on its first outing on my stall but I also got a commission for two necklaces made with these beads as well (one of which you've already seen a photograph, the other and the bracelet pics are on my old laptop - don't make me go get them!) I've made a new bracelet and I'll also be making earrings to match so I'll be sure to photograph them this week.

I have also made lots of Kalera-lite beads out of Bombay Sapphire and Cava glass which have been turned into pendants, earrings and bracelets - again, I didn't get chance to photograph them but am planning on doing some more so I'll make sure I get them done to show you.

Update on the Elephant Parade: my sister and her colleague, Alison were on safari all last week. I think they became rather obsessed with it because I was being bombarded with photographs thick and fast! The elephants have all been removed to be auctioned now and so - to fit in as many as they could - Sandy and Alison were looking them out before work and in their lunchbreaks - bless! We had a lovely bar-b-q round Sandy's yesterday for Father's Day (fortunately the showers that we had on Saturday when I was on my stall had stopped by Sunday). She tells me she saw 58 out of the 258 in total that were in the parade.

I'll be posting photographs of our favourites very soon, but in the meantime, here is a picture of the one closest to my heart. He is called Eko, he was in Green Park. The artist is Paul Kidby and he's being sold in aid of the Orangutan Foundation.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Elephant Parade

I first became aware of the Elephant Parade through an e-mail from the Orangutan Foundation, of which I'm a member. Brightly decorated models of elephants are on show throughout the summer in London with the aim of raising money and awareness of the plight of endangered Asian elephants.

My sister, Sandy, commutes to London every day where she works for a very posh London law firm in WC1 and so I asked her if she saw any to send me photos and here are some she and her friend Alison sent to me just before I got my new laptop so I've had to transfer the files over to here (hence delay in showing them off!)

Many have been sponsored by famous and not-so-famous people and some will be auctioned off at the end of their "parade".

Olswang LLP is in High Holborn (there were two different sides to him as you will see from the pics).

Charmed is outside the Royal Opera House apparently sponsored by Sarah, Duchess of York - so that's what she needed that £500K for!! ;-)

21st Century Ganesh is at the Indian High Commission and Sally is on the South Bank outside the National Theatre.
I was particularly interested in the elephants due to Heather Webb of Bumby Beads' blog which I follow. Heather makes lovely beads, jewellery and lots of other things besides. She often auctions her work in aid of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organisation dedicated to the protection and preservation of Africa's wildlife, particularly elephants and rhino.

These are some more images that Sandy sent to me a couple of days ago that she saw in Covent Garden, the images are on the small side but hopefully you get the idea!

I think it's lovely that art is being used in such a positive way!