Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Last Day of Summer

28th February 2010, officially the last day of Summer here in New Zealand. Autumn starts tomorrow & I feel as if we haven't even really had a summer yet....unless you count the six truly stunning days, with temperatures in the 27-30ยบ.
Three of these days have been this past week, & I definitely feel extremely cheated that I haven't really been out in them to enjoy them to maximum effect.

The times that I have wandered along the road to get a coffee from Ris'tretto have been wonderful though. Bitter sweet in many ways. From the cacophony of the cicadas in the tree's under a bright blue sky, surrounded by the lush green park through to the feeling of the sun upon my face & back - I am going to savour each & every walk I make up to the cafe. I'm imprinting them in my memory. Why?

Because we are moving!

I was going to make a big announcement about this last week along with photos of the new place, but in my eagerness to be get packed & be well organized for this move I let it go a couple of days too long & the photo's of the new place had been removed from the web. Bugger!

The house we are moving to is a place that I was dead keen on looking through exactly 1 year ago. We didn't get to look through it, we missed out on it & I was gutted. In the meantime I have compared everything else against it, which is rather rather odd considering I never saw inside it.

I discovered that it had come available again three weekends ago & was onto the letting agent as soon as their office open again. We had a look through it within 48 hours & I fell in love....along with the other families that went through at the same time. We put our application in & I held my breath for 3 days.

I didn't realise just how deeply I wanted this place until I got the phone call saying that we had got it over the 5 other families that had put in applications, & I promptly burst into tears. I had been too scared to believe that we had a chance.

I've observed something interesting about myself too. The difference between now & the last time we moved just over two years ago. Then, I was overwhelmed & stressed. I couldn't think where to start the packing & wanted a whole heap of help & support.
This time I am the complete opposite. I have lists & a plan, I'm quite happy to pack everything alone & work through those lists. My support comes in the form of not having to worry about the cleaning afterwards.

This either means that when we moved here I had reservations about whether this house was the right move for us, or that I cant wait to get out of here!
I suspect that both are the case ;)

I won't miss a single thing about this house, the closeness of it's fences & the neighbouring houses that block the summer sunlight & most of all the completely inconsiderate, ignorant, rude & noisy neighbours.

For this sense of utter relief & in anticipation of a new start I will happily sacrifice a few summer days, even if they are absolute stunners!
I am truly blessed.

Guess that I had better start packing these....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Still hooked on Chalcedony

And this is not a bad thing. Etched or left you just can't beat it.

G109 Chalcedony
G109 - The Original Chalcedony

G1095 Blue Chalcedony Thadeo
G1095 - Blue Chalcedony

G109 Chlacedony
Both used together in various ways.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The things you see at work

Last week I was gutted! The 20th NZ HOG Rally was on & I couldn't get to the show part of it on the Friday. Even worse, the Thunder Ride was scheduled for the Saturday & I was going to be at work. The first time since 1991 that this event has been staged in Christchurch - & I was going to miss it!

I well recall standing on the corner of my street once years ago, when there was a large motorbike rally in town & just watching for 3/4 hours as a sea of bikes went past. There was always something about seeing the assorted riders, of both sexes & from all walks of life bought together by a shared passion for their bikes that attracted me.

To be missing an event specifically dedicated to Harley's was almost a killer!lol!
The Thunder Ride's route wasn't scheduled to go past work, so I thought that I had completely lucked out. Being reliant on a bus to go to work these days, I didnt have the luxury of a car to take a quick break & drive to the nearest point that I would be able to watch it 2kms up the road.

Sulkily resigning myself to the fact that I wasn't really going to pull the 'sicky' (kiwi slang for sick day) that I had joked about all week , I set off to work pouting but wistfully taking my camera along.

I am so pleased that I did. Many of the Harley owners from out of town were staying nearby, so Riccarton Road had some pretty decent traffic through the course of the day.
Just as well that I have a wonderful boss that shoo's me out of the gallery with the comment ' oh no - your eye's have glazed over again, off you go".

I love this photo - there is just something so right about it. Perhaps I am just partial to men in kilts ;)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I'm a snob.....

There, I said it!
I'm not a snob in every respect though, just botanically speaking....or perhaps that should be speaking botanically.

I play a game on Facebook...anyone who has friended me & hasn't hit the 'Hide Farmville' button on my feed by now must be either very tolerant, quite insane, or playing it themselves.
As it happens I am a bit of a botanical ho in Farmville. I hoard trees as if each were going to be the last & I'm sure that my farm has more land dedicated to tree space than to animals or the planting of crops.

The latest tree release on Famville is a rather bright burnt orange tree they they call a 'Gulmohar' Tree. Of course being orange it was a given that I would like it anyway. But this was a tree that I had never heard of, & certainly didn't bear a resemblance to any tree I have seen in reality. Now being rather partial to exotics of any sort, you can pretty much put money on the fact that if I haven't seen it locally, I have usually heard of it somewhere along the way & more than likely drooled over it at some point in one of my many gardening books.

But not the Gulmohar tree - nope, no bells ringing there....not even a little tinny sounding ding!

So tonight I searched.

Aha - as it turns out another name it is known by, 'Royal Poiciana', I have heard before. Better still it's correct botanical name of Delonix regia, I know & am quite familiar with the family of plants that comes from. Yep, I'm a snob. Stick to the latin & it simplifies things.
Plants have different common names in different countries, & boy oh boy can that get confusing.
This beauty, originally endemic to Madagascar, depending on location is also known as Krishnachura, Peacock Flower, Flamboyant, Flame of the Forest, Malinche, and Tabachine.

None of this is really a big deal of course, especially these days with the wonderful search engines available. The end result is that I'm in love. I would have just been in love a little sooner had I known it's latin name ;)

Or if Farmville's depiction of it was a little more accurate....

Any which way, I'll have to move somewhere a little warmer than this climate in order to ever grow it myself.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This is what I like to see

Chromatic Maelstrom

Like? - did I say 'like'? I love to see how my beads end up being used. It's not very often that I get to see this, & certainly most beads that I decide I must keep & make something out of, dont end up being used by me but rather being listed a little later when I start getting overrun by the beads I thought I couldn't part with & the newer 'fresh from the fire' creations that I feel the same way about.

I especially love to see it when the beads have been used with sterling & fine silvers.

This is all the work of a talented Australian jewelry designer, Sam. Her Etsy store goes under the name "SterlingCrystal" & is well worth a visit.

Midnight Garden

Sam has the ability to mix Chalcedony lampwork beads in with silver, crystals & Swarovski pearls & somehow make them look like they were all made just to go together

Chasing Rainbows


Thursday, February 18, 2010


Last year, or was it the year before, I spoke of childhood memories. I recalled being very young & my grandmother having a plant in her garden that we called the 'poppy' plant.
No relation at all to poppies, but rather small bushy plant with bright green leaves & seed pods that exploded seed & recurved the segments of pod back onto itself in a single movement at the slightest pressure from small exploring hands.

After the strawberry patch that plant was our first port of call, when Granny would tell us the pods were ripe, on every visit.

Of course time passes & the details dull. I hadn't really thought of that plant in years, or even recalled the memory until I no longer had my own garden & found myself yearning to garden again & then wondering where my love of plants had come from in the first place.
The memories of hot summers & that plant resurfaced. I found myself trying to figure out what it could have been, to no avail. I had no really clear picture in my head - just the height, the colour & those darn seed pods. I couldn't have even told anyone if it flowered, although it obviously must have. As a five year old my only interest was obviously in those darn pods.

When we moved here, to this rental, the garden was a mess. Full of weeds & 'something annual' that kept popping up. The something annual quickly got ripped was a prolific little bugger.
Last year I inadvertently let the 'something annual' grow in one corner of the garden. One evening I realised that the 'something annual' was flowering. The second I looked closer I recognised those seed pods! Sure enough one light touch on a fat juicy one & there was the explosion & recurving that I so well remembered.

This year I let the 'something annual' grow right through the garden. Given it's height of around 6', I know this is not the same species that my Granny had growing, but it is without doubt the same genus. I just wish I knew which genus that was.
While I'm trying to figure that one out I intend on enjoying some pod popping fun, in between watching the bee's happily buzzing from flower to flower to collect their pollen.

In the meantime, if anyone reading this blog recognizes it, please please leave a comment. I can't promise any great reward, but you'll certainly have my gratitude!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Pleasant Surprise

Years ago, I had an extensive garden. It seems almost a life time ago now. An old run down cottage, hard earth & years of rubbish & rubble being dug in back in the days when they buried broken glass, bottle & old tin rather than dump it, eventually got transformed into an oasis almost in the central city.

Much time was spent pouring over gardening books, seed catalogues, & bulb lists. Many dollars were spent both at plant nurseries & bringing seed unavailable here in from the UK & Australia. I literally lived, breathed & ate (when I stopped long enough to eat) 'garden'. A penchant for the exotic & the plants that were a bit different caused all sorts of learning curves, but learn I did.

The darn thing was ever expanding too. It started as narrow strips up the side of the path, which gradually grew curves & then got wider & wider. I well recall my parents arriving one evening when I was 'just straightening the edges' (which of course involved removing a few inches of lawn with the spade) & my witty 12 year old son saying "You know Nana, one day you are going to arrive here & there will be no lawn left". How well he knew me.

It was my first real garden, the one that I had complete control over. Over time my tastes changed & I developed of love for the plainer species of the many genus of plants that I acquired. Some travelled with me to the next garden, but many didn't. By the time I got to the third garden I was renting - so very few went along for the ride. To this day I miss that first garden.

One thing that has made it through subsequent gardens is an old oak half barrel, with some gnarl y looking old patio rose in it. I dont even particularly like the rose & the barrel is getting a bit past it. The only reason the rose hasn't been ripped out & dumped is that I was sure that there were some Phacelia campanularia seeds lying dormant in the soil. But no, three years later & there is no sign of them (talk about holding out hope!lol!). Then there were the strappy leaves of something mysterious, that started out grass size & could possibly be one of my gladioli species, that kept coming up every year while getting progressively larger...but not flowering.

This year the strappy leaves flowered! Twelve years after leaving my first garden I have part of it with me again.

Meet Gladiolus papilio

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ancient Nomad finds a permanant dwelling place

Seven months ago (can't believe it has been THAT long) I posted about an early birthday gift I had received from Mallory aka "The Divine Ms M" aka Rosebud101. I'd wanted to make my wonderful Bernadette Fuentes "Ancient Nomad" bead that Mallory had purchased at the Bead and Button Show into a necklace.
The plan had been to do it in time to wear on my birthday, but the usual dilemma of sourcing the right materials to go with the picture in my head put those plans to rest.

This Nomad needed a subtle treatment. He is enough of a statement in himself that he needed very little additional adornment. I could have just used a headpin & a couple of small silver beads, wire wrapped a loop & put him on a silver chain....but that is not my style. Besides, he deserved more if he was planning on stopping his travelling ways to reside on my neck.

I subscribe to the K.I.S.S theory when creating jewelry - a designer I 'aint! But I did want lashings of silver & to repeat some of the colours he had in him.

A couple of false starts (read: ordered findings online that didn't really work one way or another when they arrived)& I finally had what I wanted.

I've been wearing him frequently for a few months now & without fail he elicits comments from women & men alike.

Mallory said that I needed to name him. I did, his name is Spike, primarily in memory of Mallory's beloved wonder dog Spike & also because of the obvious.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On a Mission II

Another blog that I discovered during my mini mission is Haiti By Hand.
I often find it funny ( as in 'strange coincidence' type of funny, not 'funny ha ha') the way we stumble across things as if by coincidence, but somewhere inside ourselves we know that we were led there for a reason.

I discovered Rebecca's blog while putting together an Etsy Treasury. Having searched 'proceeds' & 'haiti' in order to find items to include, I came across this in the 'Haiti By Hand' Etsy store:

How I managed to resist buying it upon first sight, I don't know. It appealed to everything within me, but resist I did. I was quite pleased to see that it sold while my treasury was running, it saved me a continued inner battle & I knew that that it's sale was going to aid Haiti women. But I digress.

Rebecca is another that was working in Haiti, with Haitian women before the earthquake.
This was one of her blog posts after the earthquake & the one that caught my attention, made me stop & think. I hope you will take time to read it, perhaps explore her blog even more & see what she is doing with these women.

There is a printable list here of craft supplies that can be donated, & who among us (come on, I know that we artists & craftswomen are hoarders, it is in our genes) doesn't have at least something on this list that we can send.

On a Mission

As you can no doubt tell I have been on a bit of a mission lately. That mission has been somewhat obvious, to help the people of Haiti in any small way that I am able, & it will remain close to my heart for a long time yet to come.

I'll continue to update things here, but will be keeping it down to once a week (unless I cant help myself), & trying to bring a bit more variation back into my little glass party.

That said I have a couple of blogs that I have been following & I'd like to share them here. I'll do so over the next few days, in between other things, & taper off to weekly updates by the end of next week.

The first is the Livesay Haiti blog. A whole new perspective is put on things through the eye's of people who have been working as Missionaries in Haiti since before the earthquake.

Friday, February 12, 2010

What a Week!

Amazing things happen when tragedy strikes. It is often a time of learning about peoples real nature, for better or worse.

So far I have seen a bit of both. The initial interest when I say I make beads, that quickly turns into a quick change of subject when I mention what I am doing, with some people. But I am pleased to say that is the minority! The nicer, & certainly more generous reactions, certainly rule out the apathetic attitude of others.

First of all, a couple of weeks ago I was talking to the lovely guys at GafferGlass in Auckland, & feeling brave I told John what I was doing & asked if they would like to donate a few rods of glass. He agreed & told me to shoot them an email with a list of colours that I would like.
Darn it, that involved me making a decision! Now don't get me wrong, I would have been happy to just work with whatever they felt like sending. I wasn't expecting to be offered a choice, & lets face it narrowing it down to a few colours out of Gaffers outstanding palette isn't the easiest thing for a glass addict that needs a twelve step program, to do!

I decided to make it easy on myself & fill in the few blanks of Gaffer colours that I didn't have in my possession, along with some transparents & finally submitted my list yesterday. I cant wait until next week when it arrives & I have some new colours to play with.

My local cafe, Ris'tretto recently offered to put some of the hearts in there to see how they would go. Given that they roast & brew only 'Fair Trade' coffee, it seemed kind of fitting & the perfect type of establishment for this sort of thing to go in.

Of course this involved me coming up with a new way of presenting them, since there dont appear to be many designers locally.
I needed to come up with something that was ready to wear, that wasn't going to add too much in the way of cost to the hearts. Waxed cord with adjustable slip knots seemed to be the best option.

The local search (somewhat restricted) for a nice quality decent thickness of waxed cord led to another pleasant encounter. I found the type of cord I was looking for at "The Bead Shop". It was somewhat more than I wanted to spend per meter & I explained to the lovely lady helping me what I was doing & why I was hesitant to have to add to the price of the hearts. She gave me a substantial discount. I was thrilled as it meant that I could keep the pricing of the hearts the same across the board.

The week was rounded off nicely when, this morning, I made my first deposit of the money raised, across to World Vision. I can't even begin to describe how good this felt.

No beads to show today, but I will leave you with an image of what I came up with as far as packaging & display for the cafe.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Check out Mallory's Treasury

Ms Mallory aka Rosebud101 snagged a treasury yesterday & it is well worth a visit.

All of the Etsy stores featured are supporting Haiti & there is something there for everyone.
Go, take a peek & give it some may even find that 'special something' that you just can't resist & at the same time be supporting a great cause.

If you have time leave a comment & let her know that you visited!
Clicking on the picture below will take you to the treasury :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hearts for Haiti

These three beauties going up on Etsy tomorrow night.




My hope is that somehow, in some small way, they will help a small beautiful person like this.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Hearts for Haiti

Three new hearts to go up on Etsy tonight tomorrow night.

There is so much to be done in Haiti, rebuilding of both shelter & lives is only just beginning.

Heart #17



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Treasury for Haiti

I managed to get my timing right this morning, for a change, & grabbed another treasury on Etsy.

The more I look, the more impressed I become at the artists that are still willing to give.

If you have an Etsy account & a few moment to spare to click & comment it would be hugely appreciated.

Keeping Haiti in our Hearts

In the course of putting together this treasury I discovered a new blog, which I will post about tomorrow.

New Hearts went up over the weekend, all of them sold overnight. I will update everything tomorrow evening. For now it seems that I am playing a permanent game of catch up..... & enjoying every moment of it :o)

Heart #11

Heart #12

Heart #13