Tuesday, 20 May 2008

What I did during the FA Cup Final!

I don't like to just sit and watch the TV and be idle, so here's what I made during Saturday's FA Cup Final. As Portsmouth won, I'm calling it Pompey Pink! It's a double shaggy loop (four bead bearing rings, per base ring) with pink magatama beads. I love what it's done to Pinky (you've seen his brother Perky in other pictures!) - he looks like he's wearing a wig - or turning into a King Charles Spaniel. LOL!
The next one I've made with antique copper rings and Chartreuse magatamas - single shaggy loops this time - and I rather like the combination.

This next bracelet features nuggets and button beads in Moonstone. The tubes in between are Thai Hill Tribe Silver.
And here's Pinky again! This time with a set made with shell nuggets and button beads teamed with freshwater pearls and Sterling Silver. I really like the earrings on this set - I might have to make some for myself.
And lastly in this bunch, a set made with dyed turquoise nuggets in four different colours with Sterling Silver tubes. I really like these oversized kidney earwires - I think they make a very striking pair of earrings.
Tom is still feeling OK about the GCSEs he's done so far. It was English Lit and ICT today. Do you know they're allowed to take the books into Eng Lit these days? No learning pages of quotes like when I was at school, back in the dark ages!

Thought I'd update you about WW too. I've been on a roll since we got back from holiday and I've lost 6.5 lbs. I'm really proud of myself. I'm trying to lose a stone by my birthday, but with less than four weeks to go, I'm not sure I'll make it... but I'll give it a damn good try. Watch this space!!

It's less than three weeks until our first big show - Bowood House Dog Show and Country Fair, so Sarah and I are madly trying to get our stock levels as high as possible. We're excited... and terrified... in equal measure!

Talking of terrified... the Weston College prospectus comes out tomorrow... with my photo in it. Eeeeeeeeeeeeek! I'll let you know what I think.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Shell I show you?

Here are some of the shell necklace and earrings sets that I've been making. I love using shell - it comes in such wonderful colours.
The larger round beads in the set above are really unusual. They are tiny shards of shell which have been set into resin and formed into beads. They're very effective, aren't they? I got some in turquoise and some in pink.... think I might have to get some more!

Tom had his Spanish Oral today - which he'd been quite nervous about as he had to give quite a long presentation and then answer questions on it. But, apparently, it went really well. And then RF (RE) which he said was fine... he 'waffled on'!

They say that this spell of fabulous weather is going to break tomorrow. It's been so lovely to have the sunshine as we didn't really have a proper summer last year with all the rain. Even though we only planted up our pots and hanging baskets last week, they've already grown masses and there are flowers opening! As we were having all the work done on the kitchen last year we didn't bother with doing the garden, so it's doubly pleasing to have it all looking pretty and tidy again... rather than it being full of rubble, planks, cement, builders, cardboard, bricks, toilets..... We've already sat outside more often than we did for the whole of last year!!!

Let's keep our fingers crossed that this is just a taster for a long, sunny summer.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Are WiiFit yet?

We're into GCSE mode now. Tom's done the first Physics paper (not too bad, Mum) and tomorrow is Spanish Oral and RF. He's so laid back about it all... it's just me that's stressing!

Our sale last week at Clerical Medical was great. We took practically the same as the first time we went and several people who bought last time, bought again. A good result.

The big thing - and the reason for the lack of posts(!) - that happened at the end of last week was that we got a WiiFit... and we've all become rather obsessive about it. It's great fun. I admit that I like playing the games much more than doing the jogging, yoga or exercises, but I reckon that if I'm doing something it's better than doing nothing! Martha is, at this moment, doing two hours of step... 2 HOURS!! She's watching Top Gear - she's got a HUGE crush on Richard Hammond - and stepping at the same time.

I've been making some shell necklaces today - they always sell well - and have sent some off to my out-worker (or Mum as I call her!) this afternoon. It's an interesting way to work... I design the necklace on paper, send Mum the 'pattern' and the beads and she strings it up for me, then posts it back for me to finish off and to make the earrings. I'll take some photos when they're done.

There's been a flurry of sales on the website this week... which is lovely. I must put some more things on there. There are certainly not enough hours in the day at the moment.

Right, better get back to it. The stock-take is all but done (thank goodness) and then I'm into serious making mode. Our first big show is only three and a half weeks away... EEEEEEK!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Jerez, Journey's End and Jewellery

Actually as Jerez is pronounced 'Hereth' it isn't really alliteration, but hey ho!

After Seville we detoured to Huelva to see some friends and their lovely baby. Then back on the tourist trail.

Jerez is an interesting town if you like sherry... which we don't! So we didn't visit any of the bodegas - but did go to the clock museum - which was packed with... well, clocks! But you had to go round with a guide who only spoke Spanish. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, there was more Moorish architecture, which I'm sure you're fed up with by now, so I'll just give you a picture that I like for its composition and leave it at that.

Shame about those blokes standing in the middle.... Only joking, boys!

The other Jerez picture I'll share with you is another one that I like for its photographic qualities. I think I must have got my eye in by the time we got to Jerez!

It wasn't until we got home and I uploaded the photos onto the computer that I noticed the orange on the wall. And now that's my favourite bit of the photograph!

After Jerez it was time to head back to Malaga and the flight home. But as we had an evening flight, we had time to stop off in Ronda. Stop off and fall in love with this stunning town. Definitely somewhere I'd like to return to.

Ronda is the birthplace of bull fighting. While I don't like the sport, there is something about a matador that is very sexy. And this statue, outside their bull ring, demonstrates what I mean.
One of the main attractions at Ronda is the bridge:

It crosses a gorge which is 100 metres deep. Here's the view straight down:

It's a fabulous looking bridge - like something out of Lord of the Rings. Here's a picture, which I've swiped from a website to show you the whole thing. I didn't get this angle as you have to go down into the gorge to get it!
Fabulous, isn't it?

We travelled through marvellous countryside on our way to Malaga and ended up getting there too early. So we headed for the nearest seaside... Torremolinos! After all that culture it was certainly a change to be in the famous beach resort.
Brian having a well deserved drink after the hair pins of the drive through the Sierras.

And that's it, folks. Well done to all those who have travelled with me on this epic blogging journey. It's been lovely to be able to share my pictures and memories of a super holiday with you.

And so to jewellery. The stock take and re-stock still continues... but I did give into the beads over the weekend and did even more chain maille.

I'm particularly proud of the necklace and earrings set as they took ages to do and my fingers were aching afterwards.

Tomorrow we're back into Clerical Medical - our first return visit. No idea how it will go, but think I might make a few more things today to take with me.

Better get on with it!

Saturday, 3 May 2008


Onto Seville - where there was a fiera (fair) taking place. This seemed to involve everyone in Seville - it was HUGE! Traffic was re-routed, the buses were packed and apparently no work is done for a week.
All the ladies were dressed in their fiesta dresses - even, as you'll see below, little girls and babies!

Not so many of the men were dressed up, but those on horses looked so handsome in their cropped jackets and hats. And the horses looked gorgeous too.

The tents you can see in the background are rented by businesses and families and each one houses a party - with a bar, food and a dance floor... and there are hundreds of them! It was an amazing spectacle.

The next day we gave the fiesta a miss and went to a huge park in the centre of Seville. This housed the Iberoamerican Exposition in 1929 and various countries built magnificent buildings to celebrate the occasion. The one below is the Spanish building and it is enormous.

Between each of the sets of pillars is a tiled picture depicting each of the major towns and cities in Spain, below is the one for Granada.
Seville will also go down in our family history as the first place Martha found a vegetable she really, really liked:
It's fried aubergine with honey - and they were totally delicious!

Next time we'll be off to Jerez.

The stock take/website update continues. It's been a long, hard job, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel now - although still quite a long way off! And I do feel better, more organised for having undertaken this herculean task...

BUT, a huge delivery of beads arrived this morning, so my fingers are itching to get back to the beads. I expect I shall cave sometime over the weekend.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend - we have an extra day here as Monday is a Bank Holiday. I'm hoping we'll get those pots and hanging baskets done (we were thwarted by the weather last weekend), as well as a trip over to Cardiff to see Brian's family and a treat for Tom and Martha as they both got prizes at their school's prize giving on Wednesday (proud mum, or what!!!)

Take care and much love to all.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Medina Azahara and lavatorial nicknames

On our way from Cordoba to Seville we stopped off at Medina Azahara. This is a fascinating place - a city built around 934 - a city built from scratch - to house the Caliph, his court and the administration of his lands. It was built into a hillside and must have been visible from many miles away. The city was sacked in 1010 and then abandoned.
It gradually got covered over and wasn't rediscovered until 1911! And so far, only about 10% of the city has been excavated. As you go round you can see there are bits that they have still to uncover amongst the ruins. And there are huge areas that haven't yet been touched.

These huge arches were part of the formal entrance to the city. The raised platform to the side of the road at the front of the picture is where soldiers would have formed a guard of honour for important guests.
This is inside the throne room. Can you see all those bits at the bottom of the ladder? They are bits of the carvings - a huge huge jigsaw puzzle to find the right place for them to be restored to the walls. The patience of some people is amazing!

This is inside the administration building. Not particularly inspiring in itself, but I just really like this photograph... and that palm tree framed by the arch.

And this is the entrance to the house of one of the courtiers. With a very glamorous young lady - wearing my sunglasses!

Next time we'll be off to Seville and the fiesta!

This morning, I was chatting with my chum, Kathy, about food we had as kids. I was reminded that we often had bread and jam for tea (we had school dinners) and that we called it 'BAJ' - pronounced 'badge'. That got me thinking about funny names we had for things - mainly, now I come to think about it, thought up by my mum. Farts were called 'Pardonas' - I suppose to remind us to say 'Pardon me' when we did one! A poo was called a 'big dinx'... I've absolutely no idea why! I expect my mum will tell me off for putting such things in my blog, but I just wondered if other families have/had such bizarre nicknames. Do tell!

On the jewellery front, I've been having a big stock-take and restock of the website, so don't have anything new to show you at the moment. However, I expect there might be something very soon as I've been at the chain maille again!