Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Monday, 13 December 2010

Latest Additions

I've had a busy week or so adding new items to my Etsy shop. All but two pieces are new designs, and two have been reworked. The Midnight necklace has had the beaded chain replaced with a plain one as I felt the original one was overly fussy and detracted from the pendant, and the Coal earrings have been re made in gun metal as I feel it complements the Obsidian cubes better than the brass used for the original pair.

Here are my latest additions. Click on the title to see the full details.

Posy Necklace

Midnight Necklace

Coal Earrings

Captivate Necklace

Mercury Earrings

Mercury Necklace

Pop Art Earrings

Pop Art Necklace
Flying in Circles Necklace

Denim Necklace

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Snow

I don't think I've mentioned on my blog before, but I was diagnosed with seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis about ten years ago. In the beginning I was literally crippled by it, unable to walk and pretty much housebound. But thanks to a little magic pill called Plaquenil, I steadily got my life back to something resembling normal. However, RA is unpredictable and flares of varying degrees are a common feature.

I had my right hip replaced six years ago when it had got so bad it was bone on bone, but I'd never had a problem with my knees until three years ago. Since then every winter has produced a painful and debilitating flare in and around my knee, mainly affecting the left one, but with some right sided involvement. It's not just the joint that's affected, but the whole supporting structure of tendons.

The reason I'm posting this is because I think there may be a definite link with the snow, or at least the cold. I've read that the body is like a barometer, and it has certainly been my experience that air pressure and damp affects my joints, but this snow thing has only just dawned on me. The last three winters have been harsh, with heavy snow fall, and I'm wondering if there is a connection. Whether my current flare in my left knee is down to the cold or the effect walking on a slippery surface has had upon my joints and tendons, I'm unsure. What I do know is I change the way I walk when trying to remain upright. Maybe that placed undue strain on the supporting structure of the knee?

This latest flare came on surprisingly abruptly, in fact I've never before experienced any flare develop quite so rapidly. I woke in the morning three days back, felt absolutely fine, showered, got dressed, then sat at my dressing table drying my hair. When I'd finished, I walked out of my bedroom to go downstairs, and that's when it struck. I suddenly felt a pain in my knee and as I struggled to walk down the stairs, easing myself down one step at a time, it swiftly spread throughout my knee, from left to right going via the tendons at the back of the knee. By the time I reached the kitchen I was hobbling around holding on to the worktops.

The knee is now swollen and warm to the touch and very painful, often disturbing my sleep during the night. My ankles are also swollen as evidenced by the deep rings in the evening where the tops of my socks have sunk into the flesh. Clearly there is no way I will be venturing out on the sheet ice that now covers the footpath. I doubt I'd be able to get out and about even if it wasn't icy.

I haven't been this bad in a long time, but I know from experience that physio is a waste of time, and if anything only exacerbates the pain and delays the healing. I've learnt that all I can do is rest and continue with my medication with the addition of some anti inflammatory cream rubbed into the area, and wait until the flare subsides. This may take days, weeks or months, I have no way of knowing how long it will take. But I'm also mindful that I need to keep moving whilst not putting undue strain on the joint. I usually manage this by daily walks with my dog Bailey. Just a gentle stroll around the woods. But that isn't going to be possible with the present icy conditions.

I hate feeling trapped at home. But I'm not here to moan, that doesn't help my mood at all, and stressing out doesn't help the RA to recede. I'd rather just accept it and work with it than against it. So I've been putting my enforced rest to good use by practicing some new jewellery techniques. All this wire wrapping is playing havoc with my thumb joints, but at least my knee is rested! It takes me a good while to get going when I've been sat still though. I'm trying to maintain a balance between resting and not sitting so long that I seize up. So I'm pottering around doing what I can here and there.

The only worry I have is that Bailey isn't going for his daily trek around the woods. Poor little lad is looking really fed up. I can't even get down on the floor to play with him. I've considered hiring a dog walker just so he can get some exercise. My days fly by as there's always something for me to occupy myself with, but he just lies in his bed sighing and wanting my attention. In many ways he's a very intelligent dog. I just wish I could get him to understand that I love him more than life itself, but at the moment I can't walk. It breaks my heart to see him looking so fed up. :(

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Festive Banner

The snow has put me in a festive mood, so I've designed a new banner for my Etsy shop.

I started by creating a pale grey marbled background and added snowy dots all over it. I didn't want it to be too Christmassy being mindful that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but I couldn't resist topping the C of Chameleonite with Santa's hat. I was quite pleased with how restrained I managed to be because my original design had a couple of Christmas trees and sprig of holly. But it didn't reflect my shop or say anything about what I sold, so I finally decided on one of my scarlet polymer clay roses placed at either end. Not very Christmassy, but such lovely festive colours!

You can see the scarlet rose incorporated into my designs in the side bar on the right. Details of the necklace can be found here, and matching earrings here.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Black Friday Sale

I am offering Free Shipping in my Etsy shop from Friday through to Tuesday morning. All listings have been adjusted, so there are no coupon codes to enter, just click and buy. Happy holiday shopping!

Here are my latest offerings: Click on the Title Name to take you through to the item listing in my Etsy Shop for a full description.

Cafe au Lait Earrings:

Lemon Bon Bon Earrings:

Petite Fleur Earrings:

Sage Earrings:

Rebel Earrings:

Gold Pearl Stack Earrings:

Pink Pearl Stack Earrings:

Green Pearl Stack Earrings:

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Be Strong

Wrap your arms around my shoulders
Lay my head against your chest
Feel the hurt and all my sorrows
Take my toils and make them rest

Lift the shadows from my vision
Turn the darkness into light
Slay the demons that torment me
Tell me it will be all right

Lay with me until I slumber
Till the anguish does subside
Hold me close against your body
Through the night till morning-tide

Catch my dreams from where they scattered
On the winds of times gone by
Keep them safe for me my darling
Until once again I fly

Should I stir and weep, console me
Let me feel your presence there
Know that you are right beside me
Feel your breath upon my hair

Come the daybreak, when I waken
And the pain begins anew
Reassure me, I can make it
Seconds, minutes, hours through

Take my hand if I should stumble
On the stony road ahead
Be my guide and gently steer me
On this new path I must tread

Walk beside me on my journey
From my old life to the new
Keep my racing thoughts distracted
Wandering eyes upon the view

As I near my journey's ending
Lose your hold upon my hand
Let me walk along unaided
On into the promised land

Mel 16/11/10

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Coming Of Age

Coming of Age

I turned fifty at twenty one
By adding thirty years
Subtracting all my carefree ways
And multiplying fears
Not one to excel at maths
As you can plainly see
My workings out, they made no sense
Especially to me

I carried the remainder
With ease of heart and mind
And wore it as an overcoat
Not loose, the tailored kind
Buttoned up and belted
Old fashioned in my style
It covered up my youthful form
The added years belied

One and twenty candles
Adorned my birthday cake
Sticks of wax in candy pink
Topped with cotton wick
They didn't burn from both ends
Like the candles of my youth
Naked flames weren't dancing
Now much longer in the tooth

I was always on the outside
At odds amongst my peers
My age, rank and position
A traitor to the years
Cosmo, She and Vogue
Suave impostors by my Aga
Was home to Homes & Gardens
And back issues of Saga

When finally I came of age
On reaching big five O
The age that I'd been born to be
It felt like coming home
At long last I can act my age
Feel like I belong
Without the taunts and questions
Making me feel wrong

We are the sum of all our parts
'Tho I won't equal yours
The symbols may be different
My twos might make your fours
I have added noughts to mine
Where none were meant to be
But by God it feels good to be
The age I'm meant to be

Mel 27/10/10

Monday, 8 November 2010

Half Price Sale

I'm holding a half price sale in my Etsy shop. A huge 50% off everything for the next 48 hours. Sale ends Wed 10th Nov 10.00am UK time. I need to make room for some new designs coming soon.


What better time to start your Christmas shopping!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Someone Stole The Colour

In the dead of the night
Where ghouls and demons play
An artist took his palette
Dipped his brush into the grey

He painted great wide swathes
Across the greens and blues
Blacked out the reds and yellows
Concealing all their hues

The stars he had to dab at
More than once or twice
To blot out all their brightness
For the darkness was his vice

The moon a silver slither
Took one brush stroke to conceal
He then wiped out the angels
With his artistic zeal

When I awoke at daybreak
And out of bed I climbed
I stopped short for a moment
Thinking I'd gone blind

The view from out my window
Was grim and grey and dank
No pale blue skies above me
No verdant grassy bank

Thinking the glass was misty
I rubbed it with my sleeve
Round and round in circles
But the glass did not deceive

It was then that I remembered
Your words the night before
“I'm sorry, I don't love you”
Then you walked out the door

The instant that you said it
My world faded to grey
Someone stole the colour
When you took your love away


Sunday, 26 September 2010

Latest Additions

This week I've added a few more memory wire bracelets to my existing collection. They're becoming quite addictive. I find the making of them very relaxing; there's something about threading beads in a sequence and watching the design build, that's very satisfying.

Dotty: A simple, yet striking design. Six wraps in black and white form a nice deep cuff.

Spangle: I love the zesty citrus orange and Lime in these crackle beads. They remind me of the hard fruit flavoured spangle sweets I had as a child.

Autumn Fruits: Many of the wooden beads in this bracelet are vintage ones I've had in my bead stash for many years. I seem to remember I bought them from Janet Coles Bead Catalogue... anyone remember her? This was way before the internet, and I loved pouring over the glossy pages of wonderful beads she had personally sourced on her travels all around the world. Here I've mixed them with apple coral and carnelian.

Christmas: I know it's early, but it will be here before we know it. A four wrap bracelet in festive red and green.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Beautiful Memory

Decided to introduce a few memory bracelets to my shop this week. I like the simplicity of them, the fact they are easy to wear with no fiddly clasps, and one size fits all. But I absolutely hate the way they devour all my lovely beads!

I'm a typical magpie, I hoard my little beauties, take them out, play with them, gaze at them lovingly, then put them all away again. Well that's not strictly true, of course I do use them in my designs, but I'm not used to depleting my entire stock of my absolute favourites all in one sitting!

Simple to make they may be, but it's definitely not a case of less is more where the memory bracelet is concerned, in fact the more the merrier! I adore the deeper cuff style of at least 3 or 4 wraps or more, so looks like I'm going to have to go on a bead buying binge... again!


Cool Water:

Autumn Berries:

Misty Ocean:

But I haven't given up on my polymer clay roses, and here is my latest....

Purple Passion:

Monday, 30 August 2010

Europe For Charity

Etsy's European Street Team have set up the Europe For Charity shop on Etsy to raise funds for humanitarian relief organisations to send aid to such disasters as the floods in Pakistan.

Please consider supporting the Europe For Charity shop by making a purchase from a wonderful array of goods from all across Europe.

I have donated these earrings which can be purchased here

Heartstrings Earrings

Smooth Balls

It would appear my creative muse has returned from her summer holiday. I wish I could afford to go away for as long as she did. Think she must have been on a world cruise for the length of time she's been gone. She certainly seems well rested and raring to go!

So on her return she was kind enough to show me how to make sterling silver headpins without the ball pitting. I don't know how she does it because I've been trying for what seems like forever. But with her majesty back in residence it seems I can do no wrong.... certainly where perfectly smooth balls are concerned.

Perfecting my balls has had a knock on effect... it opens up endless opportunities for new designs. Not only is it more economical to make my own, but I can make them whatever length I like, which is a great advantage, and much less limiting that using standard lengths with small balls.

So I've ordered some new supplies of silver to keep me busy, but whilst waiting for it to arrive, here's some new things I've made this past couple of days incorporating three different styles of ear hooks:

Lamplight Green Bellflower Earrings

Turquoise Polymer Clay Flower Earrings

Petit Pois Pearl Earrings

Sunday, 22 August 2010

I'm back... I think

Creeps in quietly, takes a look around... Oooh I haven't been here in ages! Have had a break from many internet based activities and feel better for it. Would like to report that I've been living it up in the real world, but alas I haven't... well nothing too exciting anyway.

My Etsy shop is all but dead, haven't added much recently apart from one necklace last week. Have been a bit naughty and just been renewing stuff as and when it expires. Have decided that Etsy isn't the greatest marketplace for selling jewellery. Not unless you make it to the front page, and since the introduction to Treasury East my regular front page spots have been zilch! Most of my other sales came from chatting in the forums... far too time consuming for what its worth. So not really sure where to take it from here... if anywhere at all.

Just seem to have lost my enthusiasm for the whole thing really, but maybe it will return if I don't force it... then again maybe it won't.

Still I'm enjoying my freedom... have even dipped my toe into the dating scene. Oh alright then I dived in head first. It's lovely having a reason to get dressed up for dinner dates and days out, even if it has meant treating myself to a new wardrobe of clothes, new make-up and having my hair done. I'd quite forgotten what it was like to wear mascara, and keep forgetting I've got it on until I rub my eyes, hence walking round looking like a Panda half the time. I play a lot more music these days too... and sing a lot too! Yes, life's good... but enough of that. Back to business...

Here's my most recent offering:

Misty Morning Necklace:

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Good the Bad and the Beautiful

It's been a week of contrasts...

A few days ago whilst out on my morning walk with my dog, I offered to help a distressed rider who had slipped off her horse when it lost it's footing as they slowed from a canter to a trot. She was in extreme pain as she'd twisted as she'd slipped off and hurt her back. I felt she needed an ambulance but she insisted she would be OK in the car. So while her friends took her horse back to the stable yard I took her to hospital. I mention this only to draw a contrast with another incident the following day.

Thankfully there was no serious damage, it was just badly bruised. She couldn't thank me enough for helping her, but it was the least I could do and I would hope someone would assist me if I ever needed help.

What I did wasn't anything much really, yet it left me feeling really good for the rest of the day. I don't think I'm alone in experiencing a very gratifying feeling in offering to help someone in difficulty, I'm sure most people do. We don't consciously set out to help for selfish reasons, but there is definitely a reward in being nice to others. Doing something to help, especially without being asked just gives a lovely warm feeling.

The next morning I woke to find my garden shed had been broken into during the night and my son's mountain bike had been stolen. We both felt violated. It wasn't a nice feeling knowing someone had been creeping around in the back garden as we slept. Even though my son hadn't used the bike for a couple of years, it was still a horrible feeling. I imagine the person who stole it felt a similar gratifying feeling and warm glow as he saw the bike and seized it, just as I had felt when I helped a stranger the previous day.

My garden doesn't quite feel right now. It used to be my little private oasis where I would sit out as it was going dusk, glass of wine in hand, listening to the evening birdsong. Now I feel uneasy, my eyes scanning the shadows for intruders.

I don't feel angry, I just feel sad that someone chooses to spend their time sneaking about people's gardens in the dead of night stealing their belongings. There are far better ways of feeling good.

So, that's the good and the bad of life.... and now to something beautiful...

I found this feather whilst out on my walk yesterday. Isn't it striking! A little research leads me to believe it's from a Woodpecker.

I wish I could find more, I could use them in some of my designs. Polka dots are very fashionable!

This morning's walk revealed a four leaf clover nestling in a clump at my feet. I just looked down, and there it was!

It isn't the first time I've chanced upon one. But every time has been just like that... glance down and there it is! The times I've searched and searched I never see one... maybe they find us! :)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Cold Porcelain

I've just discovered Cold Porcelain and a recipe for making it at home ... there are loads of recipes on the Internet, many which vary slightly in the ingredients, so I chose one and couldn't wait to get started.

After reading reports of some people's disappointment with their numerous attempts at perfecting the clay, I was a little apprehensive, thinking that I would either end up with a gooey mess, or something that was dry, difficult to work with and cracked whilst drying.

But I'm delighted to say that my fears were unfounded!

The clay appears to have turned out beautifully. I must say after previously working with Polymer Clay, the texture and light perfume from the Nivea cream in the Cold Porcelain is quite pleasant. Added to that, the low cost, natural appearance, low toxicity and no need to fire, and I can definitely say I am now a convert!

Yesterday I made my very first attempt at making a white rose and was amazed how easy it was. It isn't perfect and I will need more practice but I'm enjoying the learning process.

White Rose:

I had a little piece of clay left over from that rose, so I added a tiny dab of acrylic paint to make a pink rose. I'm not sure if the acrylic paint made the texture a little drier, or if it was drying out through use, or possibly a combination of the two, but it didn't seem quite as supple as when I made the white rose. As you can see from the photo, it has formed tiny cracks along the edge of the thinnest petals... which is no bad thing and I actually think it looks quite realistic.

Pink Rose:

Primarily I'd like to use my flowers in my jewellery designs, so I'm a little disappointed that I will probably have to varnish them to protect from moisture. I love the natural matte porcelain look as it is, so will have to try a varnish with a very matte look to try to retain the appearance of porcelain.

I'm going to experiment using various additions to colour the clay and want to try adding Mica Pigment powder for a subtle pearly, shimmery effect too.

So my conclusion is that it is a wonderful clay and one that I will enjoy experimenting with.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Birthday Sale BOGO Half Price

It's my birthday next week and to celebrate I'm having a Buy One Get One Half Price sale on selected flower themed jewellery in my Etsy shop.

Many items are One Of A Kind, never to be repeated designs, so once they are gone, they are gone.

On purchasing two items, half of the lower priced item will be refunded through Paypal.

Check out what's included in my birthday sale here

Sale ends Friday 21st May 2010

Happy shopping! :)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Midweek Catch Up

I've been experimenting with some new ideas, and one design in particular, in polymer clay this past week. But my creative muse seems to have abandoned me. I've worked the same design over and over and still I'm not happy with the end result. No matter, I know my muse is only away temporarily and will return. I've learnt to ignore it's absence rather than push for it to return before it's ready... far less frustrating!

In the meantime I've purchased some Mica pigment powders in gorgeous shades and will bide my time playing with them by incorporating them into the clay for some subtle effects. It'll be fun, even if nothing much comes of it. Who knows, a little bit of sparkle might just tempt my muse to return from its sojourn.

While I wait, I'll show you a couple of designs that I have recently made, the results of which I am very happy with.

Bow Belle Necklace:

Calypso Bracelet:

Friday, 30 April 2010

Everything's Coming Up Roses

I've let my blog slip again! I really must make time to update it regularly.

I've recently started modelling... no not me, ha ha fat chance of that! I've been modelling with Polymer Clay, a medium I first experimented with over 20 years ago, and one of my first ever forays into jewellery making. Since those days , which seem oh so long ago, Polymer Clays have improved tremendously, or at least I think they have.

I used to use Fimo original, which is still available, but I am now trying out Premo by Sculpey. It's a softer formula, so is easier to condition before use. Even so, I do find it hard work on my poor arthritic fingers, so I was really thrilled to get a free pasta machine on my local Freegle (formerly Freecycle) site. It's a really sturdy Italian made one. This has made the job of conditioning and mixing colours a lot easier and quicker. There's a fairly limited palette compared to some of the other types of polymer clay, but they are based on an artist's palette, so colours can be mixed to make an infinite array of colours. As well as being softer it is also very durable after baking, because it is strong but retains flexibility, so is less likely to break as it isn't brittle.

So, what have I been making?

I thought I'd try my hand at flowers, in particular roses. My first couple of attempts weren't very good, but I eventually got the hang of it. I also scorched one by baking too long, something that shouldn't really affect the clay as it can be baked as long as you like, as long as the temperature doesn't go above that recommended, so maybe my oven has hot spots, or hasn't got a reliable temperature. I really need to buy a thermometer so I can be sure the temperature remains stable. But for now I have devised a way of protecting my items by baking them under an upturned cake tin to maintain an even temperature within the covered area, and only baking them for the shortest time. The rose that scorched had taken me ages to get just how I wanted it to look. It was a beautiful shade of violet and although it looks perfectly fine, no burnt bits or anything, it emerged from the oven chocolate brown! I was so disappointed, but maybe I can find a use for it. I believe certain colours are more prone to darkening than others, particularly transclucent and pearl ones.

Here are some pieces I have been making:

Nostalgia - Teal Blue Rose

Lemon Sorbet Rose

Old Gold Rose

Bubblegum Pink Rose

As you can see they all look a little different, that's because they are organic roses! I cut each petal freehand and sculpt each of them as I go along. I'm going to try using a petal cutter to make the petals a more uniform size, as there is a certain symmetry in nature. It will also speed up the process, but after cutting them out I still need to sculpt them, so they will never look identical, which is a good thing. But I actually like my organic roses as they are, so I may continue to do them freehand.