Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Theme Challenge - The Emerald Isle

Made for the Wire Artisans Guild theme of "Emerald Isle", I created these fanciful purple blooms - just poised on the edge of opening. (Blathanna Corcora is Irish for Purple Flower.)

Created with exceptionally high quality gemstones, the exquisite fluorite briolettes featured in the centre are faceted with a pointy back for extreme sparkle. These are generously wrapped with teensy luminous rose quartz rondelles, and teamed with more fluorite - carved into the sweetest little leaves - dainty amethyst rondelles, and stunning freshwater pearls. These are accompanied by tendrils of goldfill and sterling silver chain, and are secured to handforged hoop style components with quite dainty ear wires. The entire design was then oxidised heavily - the dark grey highlights the gemstones beautifully!

These measure 7.5cm or 2.9" from the top of the ear wire to the base of the chain tendrils - very dramatic!

These are available in my Etsy store.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Year of Jewelry - Week 8 - Beads, beads and more beads

The theme for Week 8 (several weeks ago now - I'm very behind!) was "Beads, beads and more beads". As this is the premise of much of my jewellery, I decided to create a necklace based on the glamorous - and very tragic - Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons).

A long pendant luxuriously studded with gemstones creates a decadent centrepiece. I started with generous, ever-so-slightly blushing pink opal briolettes, and secured them at intervals to a sterling chain. To that I added more pink opals - a deeper shade, and in a faceted round shape - and teensy shaded rubies - from palest pink to dark fuschia in hue. Added to this was luminous rose quartz, petite mystic grey quartz, and tiny tassels created from scapolite, sterling, and goldfill chain. The luscious pendant was secured to a wirewrapped vintage glass bead - in lavender - and the necklace was composed of toning opal, sterling, and goldfill. A dainty rope-style toggle clasp completes the design, which also features a tassel. The entire piece was then oxidised, and gently rubbed back for a dramatic patina.

As ever, this piece can be found in my Etsy store. :)

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Lemon Butter recipe

So, I've been asked to share my Lemon Butter recipe. I thought: "No problems - I've got a jar left from my last batch in the fridge...I'll photograph that and pop the recipe up on the blog". So, I reached for that jar to photograph the contents - maybe I could spread it on the fresh batch of banana pecan bread I'd just finished making (for those in the house that are not gluten/sugar intolerant!) Or perhaps on a slice of bread? I was racking my brains to "stage" the lemon butter appropriately. It became apparent that the options were reduced quite a bit when I opened the jar...I managed to scrape *one* teaspoonful together! This gives you an idea of how completely yummy this lemon butter is. It definitely will not last long at all!

Lemon Butter recipe (adapted from "Preserving" by Oded Schwartz - the single best jams and preserves recipe book I could ever recommend!)

zested rind and juice of 6 lemons
2 cups caster sugar
150g butter
6 eggs, beaten (let them get to room temperature before using)

Gently heat the lemon rind, juice and sugar in a small pan, until the sugar has dissolved. Add the butter and stir until melted.

Transfer the mixture to a double boiler, or a stainless steel bowl over a pot of just simmering boiling water.

Carefully seive the eggs into the mixture, and cook very slowly, stirring frequently to ensure smoothness. You will need to keep a close eye on the mixture at this time, as it can curdle if overcooked. It will take about 20-25 minutes to cook - it's ready when the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

This will make about 4-5 smallish jars, and will keep for up to 3 months in the fridge. But it won't last that long, I can almost guarantee it!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

New Designs

Another image rich post...catching up on sharing my new designs!

Monochrome Pagoda

All available in my Etsy store, with more designs to come!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Monday, 23 March 2009

Theme Challenge - Stardust

Created for the Wire Artisans Guild team on Etsy, this earrings style is my very favourite to make...at the moment!

Created for the Stardust challenge, In a Breath She Was Gone earrings are named for the mystical "babylon candles" highly prized as magical transport in the kingdom of Stormhold.

Exquisite star faceted rock crystal quartz briolettes sparkle in these gorgeous chandelier-style earrings. Leaf shaped sterling handforged components house these AAA quality gems, which are wirewrapped with tanzanite-hued mystic quartz. Surrounded by mystic topaz rondelles and luminous round freshwater pearls, these also feature fine goldfilled chain tendrils. The entire design was oxidised leaving the goldfill sparkling and the sterling silver a matte dark grey.

These are available in the Wire Artisans Guild shop on Etsy, where you can find more stunning jewellery!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Wishlist Wednesday

This idea has been blatantly stolen from the lovely Carley of VanillaPixie - I have decided to follow suit, and show off some items I covet each week.

This week I chose 3 pieces of art that I would love to have adorn my walls.

Coastal Grasses by KarenHarries

Drowning by ajawin

She Sleeps With Butteflies by LuxuryMarleyProd

Beautiful work, all available on Etsy!

Monday, 16 March 2009


Thank you for a great 3 years Etsy! I have learnt so much in this time, and met so many fabulous, generous, talented people - I feel extremely fortunate to be part of the wonderful Etsy community!

To celebrate, I am offering a massive 25% off everything until the end of the month. I hope I can tempt you with a little something...or more! ;)

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Our latest Sunday brunch fave

These lovely little pancakes have been adapted from Nigella Lawson's wonderful recipes, and have become one of our very favourite Sunday morning brunches.

My version is slightly different from Nigella as I am attempting to make my diet sugar and gluten free.

5 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 tablespoon rapadura (available at health food stores - raw sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
450gm container quark (I prefer this to cottage cheese as it's deliciously silky smooth)
1/2 cup gluten free plain flour

Mix egg yolks and rapadura, beating until creamy. Add vanilla, quark and flour. In another bowl, mix egg whites until frothy - use a hand whisk - it takes no time at all! Fold into quark mixture.

Cook like pikelets/pancakes in a pre-heated non stick frying pan.

I have served these with tinned (sugar free!) peaches, but Nigella suggests strawberries steeped with a teensy amount of sugar and balsamic vinegar - which is absolutely mouth watering!

This serves 2 adults and 2 boys that are going through a growth spurt. :)

Monday, 9 March 2009

Womad, and a birthday

Yesterday was my elder sons' birthday! We had a fairly hectic schedule for the day, starting off with off with a party for Jacob and his friends at a local games arcade, where they had a "lock-in" - 2 hours of loud, annoying, flashing machines - I think they were in heaven! After that, we were off to Womad. This was our first time visiting this fabulous festival, but won't be our last. The highlights for me were seeing Neil Finn, and the Cat Empire. I also enjoyed the art installations - beautifully hued flags erected in fields of graduated colour:

And it was lovely to see that we were just one of many average families who attended:

After that, it was off to a very late dinner. I was naughty and had pizza and beer (Coopers Ale) - so managed to nail most of my food intolerances at once - sugar, gluten, tomato, shellfish, yeast...yeah, not feeling so hot today - but it was worth it!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Wedding Earrings

I was delighted to receive a convo from a lovely lady who had included my Petal earrings on a website that truly is a fantastic idea!

The website is My Handmade Registry and is a wonderful way for brides (and grooms) to adhere to the values of handmade - thus supporting artists while they celebrate their big day! My earrings are featured in the Wedding Jewellery section.

So if you have a wedding on the horizon, or perhaps know someone who subscribes to the handmade ethos and is getting married, this is truly a wonderful site to chek out!

Saturday morning funny

My boys are rather large fans of ICANHASCHEEZBURGER, but I think they laughed the hardest they ever have at this photo! I hope you enjoy it too!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Playing catch up - again!

Some of my designs from February and March...with more to follow!

Little Pearl (earrings)

Little Pearl (bracelet)

And more again next time - hope you are enjoying a fabulous week, no matter where you might be!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Theme Challenge - Affair of the Heart

I'm a little late in posting this piece. The "Affair of the Heart" theme was for the month of February for the Wire Artisans Guild, and I could not resist playing with the heart theme in this design.

So very romantic! The pendant is created with a base of a large gauge sterling wire - shaped, hammered and wrapped with a more slender gauge wire. In the base of each of the hearts a gorgeous soft pink amethyst briolette is perched - enhanced with purple amethyst and peridot rondelles. Plump white freshwater pearls are also featured, as is one petite amethyst and peridot flower - representing love in bloom. Dainty rolo chain is secured to both the pendant and handforged closure with yet another gauge wire. The entire piece has been heavily oxidised - in an organic fashion - and selectively rubbed back.

You can see more pictures here in my Etsy store. :)

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Theme Challenge - Tasty

This piece was created for the Wire Artisan Guild's monthly challenge theme for January - "Tasty" - yes, I am rather late! Being such a sweet tooth, I immediately thought of delicious treats such as baklava, halva, gulab jamun - all the good stuff that contain these amazing ingredients. With these amazing delicacies in mind, I created Rosewater and Pistachio.

A handforged connector created from a hammered sterling silver frame is the central component in this design. To this are secured teensy rondelles of rhodolite garnet and slightly larger faceted buttons of peridot. Beneath this is a decadent drop featuring luminous AAA grade imperial topaz rondelles, and more peridot and garnet, whilst the base of this column of gemstones is a smooth and sensuous rose quartz briolette. Additional sections of imperial quartz, peridot and garnet are featured to either side of the hand forged connector. A textured chain and Balinese silver toggle complete this delicious design.

You will find this design tempting you in my Etsy store.