Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sadness and Sunshine

I'd like to thank everyone who sent message of support and love after my last posting. Sadly, my mother-in-law passed away in the early hours of Easter Sunday. Rest in peace, Pat.

It might seem very strange, then, that we went on holiday the next day. But this was done after consultation and with the blessing of the rest of the family and safe in the knowledge that the funeral wouldn't be until after our return.

So on Easter Monday we left for Corfu. Despite the circumstances we had a wonderful holiday. The villa was superb and the views from its terrace were just amazing:

The hills opposite are Albania and the ones in the far distance are in mainland Greece. The weather was perfect for us - in the mid to high twenties. We spent lots of time reading and lying in the sun. Brian and Martha braved the pool - in their wetsuits!

It was freeeeeezing! Eventually they did go in with just their bathers, but Tom and I only managed to get in up to our ankles...

We did some sightseeing - in Corfu Town and we toured most of the rest of the island which I can report was beautiful... but closed! Their season doesn't really start until 1st May, so most tavernas and shops were either completely shut or were sprucing themselves up for May.

This is taken from the Old Fort in Corfu Town.

Brian at Agni Bay, If you look above Brian's head you can see two villas nestled into the hillside. The upper one is 'our' villa... well it was ours for a week!

The jetty at Agni Bay. In the summer months they rent out boats from Agni so I imagine the bay is teeming with people and boats. In April there was just us and a couple of chaps repairing another jetty. I know which I prefer. And yes, the sea really was those incredible colours.

Martha, me and Tom at Paleokastritsa which is on the other side of the island to where we were staying. It's a fabulous resort and one where there were a couple of tavernas open! Coffee and baclava... YUM!! The co-ordination of our outfits (including Tom's socks) was purely co-incidental!

Refreshed and relaxed we returned home just two days before the volcanic ash closed British airspace. Thank goodness. However, Brian's sister, Eileen, was stranded in New York and missed their mother's funeral which took place on Monday. Through the miracle of the internet, Eileen was able to see and hear the service, but obviously was without the support of her siblings, friends and family. And, a week on, she's still not home.

And so to jewellery. We had a fantastic market at Nailsea last weekend. The sunshine put everyone in a good - and jewellery buying - mood! It left my stock a bit depleted so I've been busy replenishing. There's still loads to photograph - and some, I know, won't get snapped, but here's a small selection of what's new. You'll notice that the colours and the names of the pieces have been influenced by our holidays...

This one features lampwork glass by Tania Grey of Tan, of course, along with freshwater pearls, Swarovski Crystals and Sterling Silver.

The next two have lampwork by Ellie Welch of Stardust and Dreams.

This week we have one of our offices and then on May Day Bank Holiday Monday we're selling at the North Somerset Show. We've not done this event before and we're really looking forward to it. Do come and find us in the craft marquee if you're visiting the show.

Also this week, it's school prize-giving for Martha, when we'll find out what she has won a prize for! We're all intrigued.

Tom has got two Chemistry practicals and then two papers about the practicals. This is the start of a big couple of months for Tom. He's got to get all A grades in his A levels in order to be able to take his place at Oxford. It's such a lot pressure for him, but so far, he's taking it in his stride...

OK, time to go and enjoy some more of this wonderful weather we're having. Hope it's as beautiful where you are.

Take care, everyone.

Much love

Friday, 2 April 2010

Cheltenham and Chums

Last weekend I met up with lovely, lovely chums at Cheltenham Bead Fair. We all congregated around Julie Fountain's Lush Lampwork stall and went off on various forays to buy beads, cabochons, meet other beadery friends and feed and water ourselves.

Here's a link to a photograph of some of us: photo courtesy of Nia

I didn't buy too much... just a few beads and a few cabochons for more rings and pendants. I did buy some fabulous glass beads from Celia on the Jencel stall and couldn't wait to get home and get making:

Yesterday we were selling in one of our offices, and I'm happy to report that all, bar one, of these were sold. Guess what I'll be making more of today?

I also bought some more enamelled ceramic beads - I love them:

In both these sets, I've teamed the beads with Sterling Silver and Troubled Water also features Swarovski Crystals which pick up the oil colours beautifully.

Also this week I have been working on a commission for some pearl and vermeil (sterling silver covered in a layer of 24ct gold) earrings. These were my first pair:

which the customer liked, but wanted rounder pearls and longer chains, so:

which she loved. Another happy customer. :-)

Recently I have been using these stretch bracelets to attach my magatamas to. I'm still making the more traditional chain maille ones, but these are great for anyone buying a gift as they are not so size dependant.

At events, I do alter bracelets to fit, but if the customer is buying for someone else then that can present a sizing problem. Of course, rings are even more tricky... a matter of a fraction of a millimetre can be the difference between fitting and not fitting.

This necklace I made a little while ago, but hadn't photographed it. I bought the shells at Spring Fair. Shells, I hear you ask, what shells? Click on the photo to see it larger and you'll discover the teeny tiny shells. Aren't they lovely... but can you imagine having to make the holes in those?

This weekend, Sarah and I are selling at a two day craft fair in Wells Town Hall. It's a BIG one with over 80 stalls. Should be fun!

What news on the home front?

Martha is to be awarded a prize at the annual school prize giving. We don't know what for, but hey, a prize is a prize. Well done, my lovely girl.

Tom is making a good start on his revision for his A levels this summer. Hopefully over the Easter holidays he'll really get into it and go into the exams feeling confident.

Brian went walking on the south coast last weekend with some of his friends from football... 19 miles, they went!! He was totally wasted when he got home!

After the craft fair at Wells, we are away for a few days... so I'll catch up with you when I return.

Lastly, please send prayers and good thoughts for my mother-in-law who is very poorly.

Have a great long weekend, All.

Much love and hugs,