Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Please excuse the absence of jewellery at the mo' - I am psyching myself up to order a load of sterling silver - wire, beads, headpins etc and need to have a good think about what I want to make, what gauge of wire etc. So I thought I'd write something to do with the "etc" bit of my blog title.

I am a bit of a bookworm (or Reading Rat, as it is in German!!) and these are the last couple of books I've read:

"The Shadow of the Wind" was not the kind of book I usually read - I love my chick lit - but it was brilliant, really gripping. I finished it on the plane back from Barcelona in December and that was really fitting, as the novel is set in Barcelona. "A Weekend in Paris" was a lovely light read and made me laugh. Thanks here to my Uncle Brian who passes loads of books on to me and had added some humorous comments in the margin for my deliberation...

I always have to read a few pages in bed before going to sleep, to switch off my mind, I suppose. Poor hubby - reckon I'm going to buy him one of those visors people wear in a casino (?) to stop my reading light disturbing his sleep. It's worse when said husband is away on business and I have free rein to read for as long as I like and end up reading until the early hours and am well and truly shattered the next day. Sigh. Will I ever learn ? Probably not :)

Of course the other type of book I love to read are jewellery-related books. Here are my 2 favourites:

jewellery making books

The Linda Jones book, "Creating Wire and Beaded Jewelry" inspired me to try wire work and I was truly amazed when the things I tried out looked exactly as they do in the book. The pictures and instructions are brilliant and I still refer to it often. The "Stringing Style 2" book, by Jean Campbell was a Christmas present to myself and I love it. I find myself dipping into this book in the daytime (cripes), when I've got 10 mins to spare and the children are amusing themselves instead of bickering. Many of the pieces shown in this book are truly breathtaking and inspirational. The book is aimed at the more experienced jewellery-maker, so the instructions for each piece are not particularly graphic, but perfectly clear and the list of components is great.

BTW, I do all my reading in English. Being surrounded by German all day for the past 20 years has meant that my English is not as good as it was, which sounds ridiculous, as it is my mother tongue. For example I have already had to check the spelling of several words in this post - I had got them wrong:(

This has turned into rather a long post, so I will leave it at that. Back soon.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Swiss parcel

glass bead earrings
I made these earrings for my "new cousin" as we are sending a "Swiss" parcel to them (including Pokomon cards in German !!??). At our recent meeting I noticed she was wearing some rather stunning earrings and, as I have managed to fob off my efforts on every other female member of my family, I though she should be no exception ! Hope she likes them. Are you like me and tend to forget what clothes people were wearing, but, if they are wearing an unusual piece of jewellery, that can stick in your memory for years?
Anyway, whilst doing the wrapped loop on these earrings, I decided to continue wrapping the wire almost into a spiral shape at the top of the bead. I got this idea from Leah's blog - she makes these gorgeous pearl earrings with a spiral at the top that looks like a bead cap. Sigh, oh to be able to make neater spirals...Her blog is v. interesting too.
As I seem to be in earring mode, I'm definitely going to have a go at making my own wires. Here is a great tutorial about this which has motivated me to have a go ! Have a good week !

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Xmas cards

recycle Christmas cards
After taking down my decorations (doesn't that make the place look bare ?) I carefully cut up the lovely Christmas cards we had received to use as labels next year. I've been doing this for many years now, as I think it's a shame to throw away such pretty cards. Frankly, though, I've always felt a bit of cheapskate for doing it. However, I now realize I'm not mean, but GREEN ! Check out this site for all the things you can do with your cards.

Brrrr...minus 10 degrees here, but I'm treating myself to a morning in town. Might have to go to the bead shop...

Monday, 5 January 2009

Back to normal..

Happy New Year ! OK, a bit late maybe, but we were away until Jan 3rd:) We had Christmas here in Switzerland - here it's actually all about the 24th of December, presents are opened that evening, so our children were up until 11 p.m. playing with their toys. We then went to the U.K. for New Year - our last visit was Xmas 2006, so it was about time to go back. We stayed in a lovely converted barn just outside Ashby, near to Burton on Trent, where I grew up. It was interesting for me to revisit my past, as I haven't been back there for nearly 25 years - my parents moved to rural Shropshire nearly 25 years ago, so that's where all our visits have been. Whilst we were there we got together with one third of our family whom I had never met before. It's a long story, but here is a shortened version: my Mother and her older sister had another younger sister who, for various reasons, was adopted at birth. They had no contact with this sister at all and I only learned the whole story from my Aunt in 2005. A chance comment from my Mother in 2006 made me realize that she wanted to find the "lost" sister, so I went on Genes Reunited to have a go. I was unsuccessful as I had very little information to go on and these things are only successful if the people you are looking for are actually registered. A bit fed up I decided to abandon this attempt, but before I signed out, I started to put in my family tree. I only got as far as myself and my parents (including my Mother's maiden name) before I got fed up of that. I thought I would try again at a later date. In March 2007 I got a message through Genes Reunited from a Kathleen, asking if my Mother also had an older sister. Yes, you've guessed it. She had found us ! I felt a bit nervous admitting to my Mother and my Aunt that I had been meddling, as I wasn't sure how they would feel after all this time (66 years, to be precise). But they got in touch with her straight away and found that they didn't live too far from each other. Since then the 3 sisters and their husbands have been meeting up regularly. On Dec 29th we all got together and I met for the first time my "new" Aunt and Uncle, my 2 "new" cousins and their 5 children and partners. It all went really well and I hope we will stay in touch.

BTW, my New Year's resolution is to make more this space!


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