Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Cavorting in the Capital

Well, we abandoned our camping holiday in Devon... after two weeks of solid rain in Ireland the year before last, we're strictly fair weather campers.

So, instead we headed to London for a sight-seeing bonanza. I am luck enough to have two sisters-in-law who live in the metropolis, so accomodation was no problem.

On Saturday we went to the Victoria and Albert Museum. This was top of my list as I was dying to see the new jewellery exhibition. I wasn't disappointed. 3,500 pieces of jewellery covering over 2000 years. To stand not six inches away from jewellery worn by Elizabeth I. So exciting. BUT, my very favourite pieces were in the Art Nouveau section - two absolutely stunning Lalique items. They were SO beautiful I just stood there with tears running down my cheeks... in fact, I'm welling up just thinking about them. If you are in the area, please do go and see the jewellery gallery (entry is FREE!), you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, we went to the Tower of London. More jewels! Although I have to say I found the crown jewels a little gaudy for my taste. It's the mixing of colours and stones. My favourite of the ones on display is Queen Victoria's 'small crown' which is a delicate dome studded with 1,300 diamonds. We were going to the London Dungeon after that, but the tickets were so expensive we decided against it.

Monday saw us the Doctor Who exhibition at Earl's Court. Here's Martha (our big Dr Who fan) with Brian and the Face of Boe.
And the stone angels, from the Blink episode which I think was the scariest one for a long time!
After that we went to the Natural History museum.

Tuesday, we did St Paul's Cathedral and the Museum of London.

Wednesday morning I did a quick flit to the Bead Shop in Covent Garden and then we came home, so we could be back in time for Tom to get his GCSE results (see below). By Friday I had this terrible cold and cough and still feel lousy.

An exhausting but most enjoyable holiday. Here's hoping we get a summer next year and we can get the tent out again!!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Knotting, Paddling and Smiling...

Have had a truly awful cold this week (I blame that London - full of germs!) and have found looking at the computer screen quite painful... but thankfully have still been able to bead!
Sat in bed and had a go at knotting. I love the drape you get with knotting.

This one I've called the Splish, Splash, Splosh Set, it reminds me of beaches, rockpools and paddling. So, large beads from Lushlampwork and the yellow is Lemon Jade.

And lastly a simple set made with wooden beads, but it really makes me smile when I look at it. Don't you think it would look fab in the winter with a plain black jumper?

I liked the beads so much that I made two memory wire bracelets with them too!

We have a BIG show on Thursday - the Monmouthshire Show - which will be the biggest event we've attended. They're hoping for 20,000 people! YIKES! It's a bit nerve-wracking as the table cost was expensive, but we thought we'd have a go. I'll report back at the end of the week.

My brainy boy...

There's so much to tell you... so much to catch up on... it's going to take me several posts - probably over several days!

But first, and most importantly, I have to boast about my gorgeous boy. Tom got 8 A* and an A in his GCSEs. This adds to the A* he got last November. He also got an A in his Additional Maths Qualification. We are so very proud of him.

It's not the actual grades - although they are, of course, very impressive - it's the fact that he fulfilled his potential, that is so very pleasing. We are just as thrilled for other friends and family members who got - or exceeded - their predicted grades. I think that's all we can ask of our children, that they do as well as they possibly can - in all things, not just exams.

I hope all of you who have had exams - or exam takers in your family - feel equally proud of the results achieved.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Before the rains came...

OK, hands up all those of you who forgot to keep your fingers crossed for the weather yesterday!! The garden party was a lovely event - in the garden of a fantastic house - but the weather was lousy. There were odd moments of sunshine, but there must have been about seven different showers - some of which were really heavy.
Luckily someone had lent us a gazebo, but water kept collecting in the roof and then the wind would blow and we'd have a waterfall... which mainly seemed to go down my back! Hey ho. We met some really super people and even sold some jewellery.

I took photos of our stall (before the rains came) and as I think this is our best one yet, I'll show you. Our 'prize winning' stall at Portishead Flower Show was similar to this, but somehow this one tops it in my eyes.

The lower table to the right with the yellow cloth is where we had the tub for the children's jewellery 'lucky rummage'. By the end of the afternoon that cloth was totally soaking as that was the direction the rain came from!

And, I've got round to downloading the photos of the sand sculptures at Weston from my phone. I think these are just fantastic, don't you?

I just love that little penguin behind the rock in the Australia picture - carrying a suitcase - and what you can't really see in the photo is that he's got beads of sweat rolling down his face! TeeHee. And that baby elephant... just SO cute!

OK, had better get back to the beads. We've got a jewellery party tomorrow night, so I'd better make sure everything is dried out by then!

Have a good week, All.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Fritett Fiesta!

After making the set in the last post, I have become a little addicted (if can you be a 'little' addicted!) to Tan's fritetts...

First one is a set: Dark Cherry Choc Chip where I've teamed the fritetts with Black Onyx faceted rondelles, freshwater pearls and candy jade chips.

Then a medley of earrings:

Autumn Fiesta - with freshwater pearls

Cottage Garden (can't you just see roses hidden amongst a froth of forget-me-knots in these lovely beads?) - with Swarovski Crystals

Jolly Green - with Thai Hill Tribe silver wrapped beads

Pansy Party - with Swarovski Crystals

We had such a lovely time with our friends from Spain... despite the weather being really miserable. We went to Tintern and had a wonderful stroll by the River Wye... and happened upon a bead shop! I honestly didn't know it was there... but as it was, it would have been rude to pass without going in and a 'few' purchases, wouldn't it?!
We also went to the Aquarium in Weston super mare and went to see the sand sculptures, which were fantastic. I've got the photos on my phone, so I'll get them downloaded and show them to you soon. The sad part of that trip was seeing the mangled mess of metal that is left after the big fire on the pier. There really is nothing left.

Of course, as soon as our friends had left yesterday, the sun came out and it's been a pretty nice day today too. Typical!

Keep your fingers crossed that we have this nice weather on Sunday as Sarah and I are selling at a garden party... with only a gazebo for shelter. Yikes!

Hope it's sunny wherever you are and that you have a great weekend.

Much love to all.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Summer Wedding and Mine, All Mine!

At last, a couple of sets to show you.

Over on the UKBeaders forum, we often swap beads and things - and this first set features some fritetts from Tan, Of Course that came in the post this morning - swapped for a plastic menagerie!
I've teamed Tan's treasures with Swaros, Sterling and freshwater pearls. I'm calling it 'Summer Wedding'.

And this one, I'm calling 'MINE, ALL MINE!'

I got these in exchange for a bracelet from Julie at Lush Lampwork. I just adore these beads. I've threaded them on beading chain, separated by thick closed jump rings and with a Thai Hill Tribe lotus bead on each end. I decided to be adventurous with the earrings and had them non-matching on my favourite earwires. I've already bought a new top specifically to go with this set - in the dusky purple. In fact, I'm wearing it all to a party tonight!

May not be around at the beginning of next week as our fab friends from Spain, Joss, Marina and Baby David, are coming to stay. Will catch up when I can.

Have a great weekend, All.