Sunday, 30 November 2008

Ex-pat life

As it's December tomorrow, I was reminded that I have been an "ex-pat" for 20 years now. I left England in December 1988 to go and work in Austria as a ski rep for a Winter season. Well, that one Winter season turned into 12 years, before moving to Switzerland, where I've been for 8 years now. However, I still think in English and prefer to read and write in English too. My children speak a different language to me (well, don't all children, I hear you say !) - I mean their mother tongue is different from mine. I try to speak to them in English as much as possible, but they nearly always answer in German and speak to each other and their friends in Swiss German....Strangely, they do have certain words they say in English - only the other day my 5-year old son was telling me he was playing at being a Mini Kick. Thinking this was some new mutant I'd not yet heard of, I nodded non-committally, then it dawned on me that he meant GUINEA PIG ! Duuhh ! Anyway, enough of this and more of this:


This is "Blackie". Wearing it as I write. I had great fun practising wrapped loops with this - made one afternoon for the evening, when I realized I had no jewellery to go with the top I wanted to wear. Still not completely happy with the photography, but I thought it was interesting to see the reflections the clear crystals produced. There is a word for that which I learnt in Physics many moons ago and escapes me for the moment. :) Have a good week.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Need some help..

At the weekend I built myself a light tent - thanks to a link on Contrariwise's blog , an excellent blog, entertaining and very informative. In the past I have taken photos on my patio table in natural light, but, now the days are darker, taking photos is proving a bit difficult. Anyway, the light tent looks pretty much as it should, but I'm not sure I've got the lighting right. I'm using one lamp with a daylight bulb of 8W/40W and I've a feeling I should be using more lamps and stronger bulbs. Any tips here would be very much appreciated:)


Below are a couple of fun pendants I made very quickly in the Summer. I bought the synthetic cord at a haberdashery dept. and some of the beads are the children's wooden ones ..again..I've left the cord long so they just slip over your head, but have added a slider bead to the end to alter the length if required. I've actually worn them alot.





As you can see from my efforts so far, I have used inexpensive materials while I practise my skills. I am desperate to start working in sterling silver, but must admit not really knowing where to start. Wirework would seem the obvious, as I have done quite a bit of wirework using craft wire. But would I need to tumble everything? I can't find a silversmith course in my area otherwise that would be a good starting point - hammering, soldering and piercing all sound like heaven and I really would like to be able to produce my own components. Hmm...help !!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Cathy's Bag Charm

Earlier this year I spent a very pleasant weekend with my friend Cathy in Nice. We have been on many trips together and always have a good time, as we like to do the same things i.e. lots of exploring on foot punctuated by regular coffees, a bit of culture (small dose), shopping (large dose) and sampling local food and drink (generous dose)! We had been to Nice before and there is a lovely jewellery shop on Ave. Jean Médecin called Perrusset, where I always manage to part with a few Euros. On the last day we took a short train trip down the coast to Villefranche, where we found a craft fair on at the castle. We always seem to sniff these things out - funny that! Anyway, there was a lovely stall selling glass pendants and we had to have a couple (well, it would've been rude not to!!) and here's mine.


Strolling round, Cathy was ogling some bag charms. Oh, I'll make you one, says I, as if I am an expert on such matters and actually never having made a bag charm in my life. Ok, great, says Cathy, in bright pink or electric blue please (not one for subtle colours, our Cathy). Anyway, here it is -


I had great fun making it and she was pleased with it. So much so, that she has "ordered" another one for Xmas. Which means a trip to my local bead shop.....again...tee hee.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Need more sleep

But, actually, have only got myself to blame. I am a bit of a night owl and, instead of getting myself to bed at a decent hour, ready to face the early morning scramble of getting 2 children off to Kindergarten and school, I mess around surfing the Web or flicking through the TV channels. Then I still have washing to hang up or put in the dryer or the kitchen to tidy up ! Grrrr.. Still, I have had a relaxing morning to myself, so can't complain. The children come out of Kindergarten/school at 11.55 a.m. What ? I hear you say ? That's life in Switzerland for you. There are advantages and disadvantages of this system, but overall we are very happy with it. Getting a job will be a bit tricky, especially when you don't have Mum or Mum-in-Law around the corner, but will cross that bridge when I come to it. One of the advantages of having the afternoons largely "free" is that the children can play with their friends or do other activities.

Thought I would show you this. I liked the colour combo of these beads, but they were on a memory wire necklace which I found uncomfortable to wear. So I re-cycled them and made this bracelet
Anyway, enough for today - will get an early night tonight. Promise !

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Feeling a bit nervous...

Welcome to my blog ! I've been thinking of starting one for a while now, but kept hesitating, worrying whether a) I'd have enough to say (not usually a problem for me !), b) if anyone would read it and most importantly c) if my "stuff" is really good enough to post up on it. Hmm. Anyway, I've done it now.

I've only realized I have a creative side since having my children, although I was creative as a child. With the children I started making cards and other simple projects and found it very enjoyable. I've always loved jewellery, so when, a couple of years ago, I discovered our town has a bead shop and that there are books and tuition on the Internet, I was hooked. I've been reading various jewellery blogs over the past year and am totally in awe of the beautiful things people are creating. I am nowhere near that stage yet! So far I've made a few things for myself, friends and family, but my goal would be to have my own shop online. As my youngest child has just started Kindergarten and I haven't yet re-entered the world of paid employment, I am finally enjoying a bit of "me" time. Hopefully I'll be able to put it to good use and practise my jewellery making skills - tips and suggestions welcome !






This bracelet I've called "Berries". The children had been given these wooden beads so I commandeered a few (bad Mummy !). I just wanted to practice doing wrapped loops but got carried away and before I knew it had a bracelet. The wooden beads make it lovely and light to wear.


Back soon !

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