Category Archives: Everyday life

Happy (belated) New Year

Phew what a year! It was one of my busiest, but one of my least productive jewellery-wise, with my world being all topsy-turvy.  I have much to be grateful for, including the support that I have received from members of this amazing international network of beaders. I love the way we rally around each other in times of struggle, boosting each others sales to help through the hard times.  In 2015, beaders helped me get back on my feet after my separation, and also helped to pay for Kranky-cat’s ear surgery, thank you all. I hope 2016 will bring more opportunities to create.

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The weaving has been slow, but I have managed to complete two new necklaces that were custom ordered. My lovely customer already owns a necklace that I made years ago, featuring one of these lovely resin roses in red. When she discovered that I had black and ivory in my stash as well, she couldn’t resist.

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The ivory necklace is made with Toho seed beads in chenille stitch. To allow the bead work to fit through the narrow bail on the pendant, I used a bead-quilling technique with 15/0 seed beads. The black necklace features Czech seed beads in a variation of a filled net weave.

Wishing you all a fantastic year full of art and inspiration.

 

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Taking a Nap on the Orient Express

My new household is up and running at a hectic pace. My leisurely mornings are now full-on as I try to get myself ready for work as well as get the kids ready for school. Work is physical, but enjoyable; then it’s home to catch up on the days housework and feed the family before falling in to bed.

I’m still finding my groove, and working out how to fit everything in, but somehow I did manage to squeeze in time to finish a new bronze schemed Orient Express Bracelet. I do have to admit though, I may have nodded off once or twice towards the end of making it. There is a tutorial for this bracelet over on my Etsy page.

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I have no idea what I’m making next, or when I’ll next be able to open the bead cabinet, but I hope it won’t be to far away. For now, though, my pillow is calling. Night all.

Bitza Bangle

Those of you who follow my personal blog, Unplanned Detour, will be aware of my recent changes; for the sake of those of you who do not, I’ll fill you in. I got a job! Well, two jobs: cleaning, and gardening. It’s hard physical work for my unaccustomed body, but it’s satisfying all the same. Even bigger news, I’ve bought a house! I move in next weekend, and I can’t wait. I’m probably going to be dirt poor, for the next 30 years, but I’ll figure it out. If you want to help me pay my lawyer fees, head over to my Etsy store and go nuts.

Somehow, in amongst all the madness, I managed to complete my new Bitza Bangle. Returning to some of the CGB techniques I’ve grown to love so much, this one features a nice little winged miniskirt and a scalloped edge. The skirt repeats the diamond pattern of the bangle beneath, so it’s a subtle detail which I love to run my fingers over. I’d love to make a tutorial for this one too, if only I can find the time and focus. Tutorials take a bit more cognitive power than beading, I’m not sure I have much cognitive power to spend at the moment.

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Every Autumn, my Thoughts Turn to Snow

Summer is winding down here and the socks and extra blankets have been put to good use. The cats are spending more of their evenings inside and the sun is as reluctant to rise in the mornings as I am.

My daughter enjoying her first snow in 2011

My daughter enjoying her first snow in 2011

I enjoy the colder months. I love the feeling of being rugged up warm inside, while outside the wind howls or the rain pours and puddles freeze. Oh, I know, it’s cold and flu season, but that doesn’t bother me, I seem to get colds and flus year-round anyway. We’re lucky that we don’t get the extremes of the South Island. We get the odd snow fall, but not every year, so when it does happen it’s exciting and we want more. We’ve only had one really good snow fall in the last decade or so, and I have my fingers crossed for another this winter.But I’m getting ahead of myself. Winter is still two months away. Best that I enjoy the Autumn first.

In beady news, my Hollow Cube Beaded Bead tutorial is available in my Etsy store right now. I have Deb from Datz Katz to thank for proofing it for me and picking up my many typos. I have two more tutorials in the works, but they are a bit more complicated than a humble cube, so they may take some time.

Hollow Cube Beaded Bead

Hollow Cube Beaded Bead

This past weekend, Wanganui/Whanganui (which ever spelling makes you happy, please don’t set the “H” police onto me), artists had their annual Open Studio weekend, which is a wonderful thing. This year 72 private studios were open to the public, featuring every kind of artist imaginable. I was in town for other reasons, so I didn’t tour around, but I did find time to stop in to see Barbara Bullock’s glass studio (Beads with Flare) and picked up a few lamp-worked beads. Barbara mostly works free-form with her glass and torch, but she also makes larger fused glass art pieces. She was a wonderful, and informative host and gave us a demonstration of her process. Next year, I hope the dedicate the entire weekend to studio hopping.

Onward and Upward

I’m happy to announce that I have my inspiration back. The last few weeks have been full of emotional ups and downs, but we’re on the right track and, most importantly, so is my beading. I’m super busy, but I’ve managed to keep my needle ticking along and it’s been a wonderful creative outlet for everything going on in my head. First I made myself a pair of sparkly earrings to cheer myself up, then I made three more pairs just because. Next, I decided that dark times called for neon colours and chained a bunch of beaded beads together to make a fun necklace with Superduo’s and O-beads.

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Then, near tragedy struck, when I ran out of Fireline and had no money left to buy any. I have a policy that (ex) Husband’s earnings don’t pay for my jewellery materials, so I have to sell things to buy things. Considering our current situation, it would be a little too cheeky of me to break that rule now.  It’s been a long time since I sold anything; the coffers are bone-dry.

Then a most wonderful, amazing, generous person, surprised me with a deposit in my bank account. I actually cried. Not over the Fireline, although it is pretty amazing stuff, I cried that someone cared enough to do that for me. My day had been horrendous, and this gesture reminded me that the world is full of good people who care about other people.

Feeling inspired I immediately rummaged through my stash and found beads and crystals that reminded me of my Fireline Fairy, who by all accounts, has the most gorgeous blue eyes. With my newly purchased Fireline, I managed to pull them together to become this silver and blue herringbone necklace with Bermuda Blue Swarovski Cosmic Crystals and a peyote bail. I’m slightly hesitant, as it may be a touch too long for her, but I can alter it if necessary. I just hope she likes it.

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But it’s onward and upward for me. I’ve been applying for jobs left, right, and centre, looking at houses to live in, working and reworking my budget over and over to try to make it tell me something different, and just generally swinging wildly from stress to elation. I’m happy/nervous/scared/excited and I don’t quite know how things are going to work out, but I know that with a little time, work out they will.

One of Those Weeks

I recently decided to take a wee break from beading, life was getting too busy and by the time the evening rolled around, I was too tired. I figured, take some time off, catch up on some rest.
“Great idea!” said Brain.
“Oh Hell no!” said Body.
As well as having two sick children (yes, again),  I have been struck down with tonsillitis, bronchitis and conjunctivitis. What a week. Surely nothing else could go wrong…….. could it?

Manuka honey is the best. I've been through a whole jar this week.

Manuka honey is the best. I’ve been through a whole jar this week.

BOOM! CRASH! EARTH SHATTERING HORROR!!

Husband wants a divorce.

Actually, it wasn’t that earth shattering. It was fairly expected and honestly, a bit of a relief; sad yes, but also an opportunity. Thankfully, we’re both on the same page, so we can do this in a friendly way. We have kids, so we’ll always have a relationship, and we both see no reason that it can’t be a happy one. There will be details to iron out, compromises to make, disagreements and differences to deal with, but we’re dedicated to doing what is best for the kids, and if we keep the focus on them, we’ll be fine. The main thing is, we’re still a family. I’m looking forward to facing the challenges ahead.

My health is gradually improving, but I feel like I could sleep for days. Hopefully I’ll be back to my jewellery before long. My wire is beckoning me.

Goodbye Old Friend.

Regular readers might recall back in April, when our beautiful cat Zakk went missing after our big move. You may also recall, that upon his joyous return 18 days later, I mentioned that he was on antibiotics for an infected foot. Well, that infected foot, soon turned to four and was diagnosed as Plasma Cell Pododermatitis – also known as Pillow Paw, a painful result of the failure of the immune system.

Zakky was given steroids, which calmed the condition down temporarily, but it came back time and time again. Weekly visits to the Vet meant that he became the perfect patient. Doctor Jess would open his cage, lift him out and he would head-butt her, while purring loudly and walking all over her keyboard as she tried to use her computer  –  just like at home. After a while, I no longer needed to hold him still while she put the needle in. She would hold his neck and he knew it was time to sit down, and when it was done, he’d continue his big show of affection.

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Zakky disapproves of me brushing my teeth before giving him food.

He was screened and cleared for feline AIDS. He was put under anesthetic and biopsied. He was confined inside and still managed to tear his stitches. It was decided he suffered from an unknown autoimmune disease. His feet would continue to cause him trouble, and he would develop other complications over time. The treatment would involve long term steroids use, which would damage his kidneys and liver, and had already begun to lose effectiveness. A few days before Christmas, we decided to just give him one last big dose of steroids, let him have fun painlessly exploring, playing and generally being a cat, with the understanding that when he started deteriorating again, we’d end it before it was too painful. As the doctor took the needle out, she told me that it should hopefully see him through to February. It didn’t. Yesterday we said goodbye to Zakky.

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The evening of his return in April, when he met our new fluffy rug.

I’m sad in quite a profound way, but the shock and anguish that I felt with Angus’s sudden violent departure is not there, for which I’m grateful. We knew it was coming, and the kids were prepared.  I’m glad he was able to go with dignity, with me rubbing his ears in that special way he loved and the doctor whispering gentle, soothing words to him. We buried him near his favourite spot by the fence, where there the iron had been pulled back and the gap created a kitty shortcut. After the gap had been closed, Zakky had taken to sleeping there, as if he just went to the spot out of habit.

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After an incident while snooping around the neighbours garage. Do you know how hard it is to bath a cat?

Zakky was not a cat to dish out affection everywhere, when he gave you love, it was on his terms. Which was probably a good thing because his love was intense. When it was cuddle time, it was Cuddle Time Or Else.  Rubs and scratches were to be contained to the neck/head only, ears were to be rubbed firmly and only one side at a time. Touching his belly was strictly forbidden and picking him up was nothing less than an act of war. But cuddles at bedtime were the best. If I lay down on my stomach, he’d climb on my back and knead for several minutes before curling up to sleep. It’s the closest thing to a massage I’ve had in years. I’m going to miss that.

Taken 2 days ago

Taken 2 days ago, what a gorgeous face, you’d never guess he was such a freakish kitten.

Zakky, from ridiculously ugly, alien-faced, flea-ridden, abused beginnings, to the most handsome kitty on the block. You were there for three changes of address, a marriage, 2 children, 5 other cats, 2 birds and a multitude of rats.  You’ve survived being hit by a car, falling in a drum of oil, being trapped in another car with no water for 9 days, and missing in a bitter winter for 18, but this time you’re not coming back, and that’s ok. I think you deserve your rest.