Friday, 24 June 2011

Moving On

I've barely touched my blog since my darling Labrador Bailey passed away four months ago. The reason, quite simply, is that I've been too entrenched in the depths of grief to write anything of any substance.

The impact of losing a much loved pet should never be underestimated. There will no doubt be those who think (thankfully no one has actually said it to me) "it's only a dog". It hurts to even write those words. Bailey was a huge part of my life, my constant companion, my reason for getting up in the morning. He formed a big part of my social life. Through walking him I made friends with fellow dog walkers, some whom I've now known for several years. I started each day with a walk in the countryside, noting the changing of the seasons, chatting with other walkers, having the occasional coffee while we caught up with what's going on in our lives, even getting together for an evening meal in the pub.

I do still occasionally go for a walk, but it's just not the same without him by my side. I imagine him exploring in the woods, running ahead of me on the woodland paths. I know every favourite marking post, every blade of grass of the dark green tufts he used to graze on, the discarded sticks lying where he last chased them, his teeth marks still visible where he'd carried them off into the long grass to chew.

I know in time the overwhelming sadness will ease, and the tears and unbearable thoughts of those final few days will be replaced with memories of happier times of the joy he brought to my life. I just have to go through the grieving process and come out of the other side.

There is now a huge black hole that was once filled with laughter, love and companionship. I go through the motions of each day, making my jewellery, taking photos, listing items for sale in my shop. But everything in my life involves inanimate objects. My life lacks life. My life lacks purpose. My life lacks love.

Bailey's passing also coincided with my son moving out and into his own place.  It had been on the cards for a long time, ever since he returned from university.  What had started out as a temporary base for a few months had turned into 4 years, so it was long overdue. But the two events coinciding meant for the first time in my life I found myself living totally alone.

My son has suggested that I turn a negative into a positive; He reminds me that I am now free to do whatever I want with my life. I wish I could see it like that and run with it, facing the challenges my new life has to offer. The world is indeed my Oyster. But with that freedom comes responsibility... responsibility for my own life, and what I make of it.

Not having Bailey by my side shouldn't make any difference. Not having anyone there to hold my hand shouldn't make any difference. As my very wise son pointed out, all the major events that have happened in my life have been instigated by me. We may feel as if we need someone there to hold our hand, but essentially we are alone. No one can live our life for us. We enter life alone and exit life alone.

Maybe that's my problem. I am now completely free for the first time in my life, and it scares the life out of me. I have spent my entire adult life caring for others, and now all I need to care about is myself.

Freedom is frightening.

Or in the words of Janice Joplin "Freedom is just another word for having nothing left to lose"

Friday, 8 April 2011


I've had some new visitors to my garden, a large flock of Waxwings. I've never seen this particular bird before and was curious by their rather exotic appearance, especially the rather fancy crest on top of their head. They descended onto the Cottoneaster bushes at the foot of the garden, only resting for a few moments whilst they greedily gobbled up the bright red ripe berries, before alighting in a rather startled fashion to visit other bushes in a garden further up the road.

I made a quick mental note of their features and went in search on the RSPB website, and eventually managed to identify them as Waxwings, a bird that breeds in the remote taiga forests of Scandinavia. They usually visit Europe in the winter when their breeding ground becomes overcrowded, resulting in a shortage of food which forces them further afield. If berries are in short supply either due to poor crops that year or because the berries have already been eaten by other hungry birds, they can come as far as Britain in search of food. But they usually only come as far as the east coast, from Scotland down to East Anglia.

I'm in Lancashire in the north west, which would account for me never having seen them before. Further research would suggest many sightings of large flocks of these beautiful birds are being seen further inland in many parts of the country.

Here is a rather poor photo I managed to get whilst they rested in the Cottoneaster. It's a pity I couldn't get a close up to show their beautiful colouring, but every attempt to get closer made them fly away.

Here they are taking flight.

Monday, 21 February 2011

RIP Bailey

My darling Bailey crossed over the rainbow bridge this afternoon. My heart is broken in two. He was a wonderful boy; gentle, patient, intelligent and so very handsome. He was my best friend and I will always love him.

Thank you for enriching my life and bringing me so much joy.

Run free my darling.

Your heartbroken mum xx

Sunday, 6 February 2011


I've neglected my polymer clay making of late, and as I adore Poppies I thought I'd try my hand at making one. I'm pleased with the way it turned out, but undecided if it will be a pendant suspended from a black suede thong, or made into a brooch. I made a slightly different one for myself which is on a fine silver chain.


I've just remembered I bought a pack of silver precious metal clay about a year ago and still haven't made anything with it. It's a very different material to polymer clay, but I'll have fun experimenting with it!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

New Look for the New Year

Happy New Year!

Okay, I know it's a bit late and we're hurtling towards February, but better late than never. I've given my blog a makeover for the new year, and as I haven't had time to christen it with my first post until now there's quite a few new designs I want to share with you. More details can be found by clicking each link. So without any further ado..

First in line is a pair of vintage inspired earrings. I love the retro feel of these; I could almost visualise my mum wearing them in the 60's; a quick application of mascara... after spitting on the solid black block to soften, red lipstick, a light spray of Norman Hartnell's In Love, and she was ready to go.

Noir Earrings

Next in line is a sweet little pair of cream Czech glass flowers because Spring is just around the corner... wishful thinking!

Wood Anemone Earrings

I love the combination of colours in my latest addition to my collection; a charm bracelet of amethyst and peridot glass flowers interspersed with leaves, pearls and cute little silver puffed hearts for added tinkle!

Grapevine Bracelet

More spring flowers... ever hopeful that we've seen the back of winter, even if it is only January. These are from my popular lily collection with Swarovski tipped stamens.

Lady Grey Earrings
Following the same theme, here we have the same style of lily in a beaded necklace.

Nightshade Necklace
More flowers with these lovely Petunias.

Petunia Earrings

I have phases where I become slightly addicted to certain colours and they appear in my collection in increasing numbers. At the moment, just in case it has escaped your attention, it is purple and all it's variants; amethyst, lilac, aubergine etc.

Red is another big favourite at the moment, particularly bright scarlet red in opaque glass. I can't get enough opaque glass and seem to spend hours browsing suppliers looking for a shape I don't already own. Here I have teamed some rondelles with a bright red retro hoop to make this bold necklace.

Kiss Necklace

This next pair of earrings is a lovely shade of ruby red.

Very Berry Earrings

These blue Gentian buds are made from some vintage beads I have had for years and years.

Blue Gentian Earrings

And as it will soon be Valentine's day, I couldn't leave you without including a couple of heart designs.

Blossoming Love Necklace

Heart of Gold Necklace