Tuesday, 30 November 2010

White Star Earrings

Yesterday I spent a while photographing new pieces of jewellery and updating the website and these little wintery beauties have sold already. Hooray! I love this style with the frosty glass against the light catching hammered silver.

Pretty and eco friendly jewellery joy.

I'm not sure if you've noticed but . . .

Christmas starts tomorrow!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Advent Sunday

This morning was bright and lovely in contrast to the blizzardy grey of yesterday when we went out in an attempt to take some photos. It took a bit of tramping in wellies to get up the hill to Church this morning and, unsurprisingly there weren't many cars trying to get through the village. I did see one turn into the road which leads up the hill only to slide back down, give up, park and walk!

Not many people made it out this morning as the roads are still a bit rough, however, it was wonderful, on this Advent Sunday to be reminded afresh of the watching and waiting shepherds of the Christmas story as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ.

After a few low moments, probably exacerbated by the cancelled fair making me worry about money, I was wondering if I really was supposed to leave a well paid job to go and do something creative. This morning's fellowship with unexpected communion (the few who arrived for early morning communion thought it would be wiser to clear the snow for the later service!) left me with a sense of assurance. I still don't know exactly where my work is heading or what opportunities will arise, I'm still new to this place and the people I'm meeting but I'm here and I'm glad.

No Fair

Unfortunately, due to the heavy snow the Christmas Fair due to take place in Grantshouse today had to be cancelled. It was disappointing as it was my last fair before Christmas and I was looking forward to it, however, when the main road looks like this not many people are going to want to be out driving. . .

So, no fair today which means I have a splendid amount of jewellery for the website! Keep a wee eye out on facebook as I'll be announcing my festive special offer for all likers of my page and there might just be a give away for you blog readers around the corner too! Feeling festive, me? Oh yeah!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Notes from an Italian Garden by Joan Marble

I want to say this was a lovely read but it annoyed me.

The details and accompanying stories of Joan Marbles gardening adventures in Italy were really enjoyable and interesting. What I found grating was the frequent comments about 'the Italians' which included ranged from high praise to faintly disparaging gardening condemnation. Also, the couple at the centre of this adventure appear to have lots of money with which they created vast gardens at their holiday home. Man, the struggles they must have gone through.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Workroom Wednesday

Things were going well with thirteen pieces ready for tumbling and final finish. Then, when smoothing off the ends of the second to last pair of earrings for the day I dropped my hand held drill and bent my only cup burr. Thinking I could maybe just straighten it enough led to it snapping. Oops. Still thirteen pieces nearly finished and a whole pile of bits started means I won't have a sparse looking stall at Saturday's fair.

More good news is that my new letter punches arrived so I can now add lettering to silver. I've wanted to invest in a set of these for ages now and, thanks to a new customer requesting a special message, I've gone ahead and bought some.

And it snowed today! Just a light dusting but still, snow! Let's hope it doesn't keep people away from the fair. I noticed on twitter the gallery owner I'm visiting in Rothbury next week said they have a lot! Eeep!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Grantshouse Christmas Food and Craft Fayre

I'll be there with my unique goodies - have been working over time to make sure there will be plenty to see on my stall! Today I'm finishing a hammered silver star pendant which I particularly like and making some more silver clay hearts, stars and circles for earrings and necklaces.

Friday, 19 November 2010


Some pictures from an early evening stroll a few weeks ago which have been sitting in my pictures folder taunting me, demanding to be edited, tweaked or even just put into a more specific folder. Instead of all those options my response is simply to share them here with you just as they were captured, I hope you can feel the increasingly crisp air and the joy of a quick dander up the road to get a bit of fresh air after a good day's work.

Happy Weekend to you all.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Gallery in The Alley, Jedburgh

My sea glass and sea pottery jewellery is now available in the lovely Gallery in the Alley! Situated in Grahamslaw Close just off High Street the gallery is attached to the studio of Linda Lovatt; talented illustrator and creator of beastie brooches. Now you have to visit to see what they are!

On the way home we went on a detour towards the snowy Cheviots. Oh yes, I said snowy!

So in mid-November this is what we're seeing in the borders. . .

Click to see larger

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Willow Legend

Remember this ring? An interesting little shard of beach pottery which reminded me of the Scotland flag! Last week R found a beauty of a piece of pottery which puts this section into context.
Both pieces show sections of the famed Willow pattern which has undergone many adaptations over the years. The legend behind the pattern is of uncertain origin and goes like this . . .

In a bygone age a wealthy and powerful Mandarin of the Chinese Empire lived with his lovely daughter Knoon-se in a grand palace surrounded by ornate, exotic flowers and trees. Chang, a low born but intelligent and personable young man, was employed as secretary to the Mandarin and fell hopelessly in love with the exquisite and captivating Knoon-se. Reciprocating his affections, Knoon-se met with Chang each evening beneath a weeping willow tree by the river.

The Mandarin learned of their trysts and, infuriated that his adored daughter had fallen in love with a commoner, dismissed Chang, banning him from the estate, while Knoon-se was imprisoned in a pavilion overlooking the river. He surrounded the palace grounds with a crooked fence and, against her wishes, arranged for Knoon-se to marry the warrior Duke Ta-jin. With no company apart from servants, Knoon-se befriended and fed many birds and, knowing that herwedding would take place once the fruit tree outside her window was in bloom, she stared desolately into the river, contemplating her isolation and despairing of her future without Chang.

The devoted Chang, unaware of Knoon-se's approaching nuptials, also cared for and spoke with birds while dreaming of ways to contact his lost love. [Here, versions of the legend differ; as some say that] Chang sent a message to his beloved by fixing a sail to a shell and floating it down the river bearing a love poem, "As this boat sails to thee, so my thoughts tend", which Knoon-se scooped from the river with her parasol. Her spirits lifted as she read his words and knew that Chang would come for her. During the hours of darkness she replied unseen, adding a burning incense stick to the shell and warning Chang to "Gather thy blossom, 'ere it be stolen". Knoon-se watched the tiny light until it disappeared downstream and prayed for rescue. [Other versions claim that the lovesick couple communicated using their feathered friends as go-betweens.]

The tree was heavy with bud and near to blossom as the Duke Ta-jin arrived amid great fanfare, accompanied by a huge retinue of servants. He presented his betrothed Knoon-se with a casket of rare and priceless jewels, but she could think of none other than Chang and gazed at her unwanted future husband with a heart of stone, her eyes dull with despair.

Nights of celebration and sumptuous banquets followed. Chang entered the palace grounds disguised as a servant and glimpsed the Mandarin and Duke through a window, both sated and asleep. Seizing the moment, he crept to the riverside apartment where Knoon-se languished alone. The lovers embraced with tears of joy and, pausing only to grab the casket of jewels, fled across the bridge to a boat that Chang had moored nearby in readiness.

Alas, a slight noise alerted the Mandarin and he gave chase.

Knoon-se and Chang sailed to a faraway land where they sold the jewels to purchase a small pagoda and lived in bliss, sharing the life they had yearned for through many seasons. [The Willow Pattern shows their distant pagoda surrounded by lush foliage.]

In a fit of vengeful spite, the Mandarin captured and caged all the birds in his gardens, as birdsong was anathema to his ears. Relentlessly he and the Duke sent spies and warriors on long and unsuccessful quests to find the couple. Ultimately the brooding Mandarin, obsessed by his lost daughter and thwarted at every turn, chanced upon a possible solution. He released all the birds and ordered his men to follow them as they flew away. The devoted birds, who had never forgotten Knoon-se or Chang, unwittingly led the evil army straight to their far off dwelling.

At the dead of night, murderous men surrounded the pagoda, setting it alight as Knoon-se and Chang slept. Tragically, the lovers perished in the flames. Revenge and bitterness had seemingly prevailed as the fire raged and engulfed all.

Cosmic winds howled as the ever-watchful gods took pity on the doomed lovers and blessed their undying devotion by granting them immortality. From the charred ruins of their home, the souls of Knoon-se and Chang soared into the sky as turtledoves and kissed again; beyond fear, beyond danger, forever free and symbolising eternal love.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Woolly Weekend

Just look at this wee face! Meet Enoch, one of the Cairndinnis alpacas and such a beautiful creature! He was there with his half brother Archie who was more interested in his hay than posing for me! Both lads were at the St Abbs Wool Festival with John Smith and Carole Christian from Cairndinnis Alpacas who had a display of their gorgeous fleeces, yarns and knitted gifts.

R and I shared a stall and had a grand day chatting to lots of lovely customers, cooing over Enoch and Archie (ok, that was mainly me) and watching the sea through the window opposite our table.

You can see more of R's lovely work on his website.

We had much more space than our previous collaboration and I think our display has improved a lot since then making it easier for people to browse.

I do love my driftwood sign and, hopefully, you'll see my other new display bits: the slate cake stand on the far right and my battery powered LED lights. These have proved to be a really positive addition as they illuminate the jewellery and the batteries last ages - I finally had to change the batteries after two and a half days at fairs! The little angle poise ones were about £4 each from an ebay seller and whilst the area it lights is quite small and spot light like you could easily get a few more if you needed more space illuminated.

The two Wool Festivals I've done this year have been great so we've booked in for all three next year in February, August and November. After the last year of uncertainty with moving it feels good to be able to actually plan ahead this time.

Friday, 5 November 2010

St. Abbs Winter Wool Festival

In August I had the good fortune to meet a lady who runs a fabulous wool shop in St Abbs, which led to me having a stall at her Wool Festival and tomorrow R and I are returning for the winter Wool Festival in St Abbs Community Centre from 10am - 6pm.

We're both looking forward to a fun day and will have plenty of gift and card ideas ready for you to peruse, including the skinny bangle pictured above. I soldered three half loops to the bangle frame before wire wrapping the sea glass droplets so which ever way it drapes on your wrist their will be a visible piece of pretty sea glass.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Borders Christmas Fair October 2010

Saturday morning bright and early driving to the fair on a beautiful autumnal morning. The snapshots out the car window don't do justice to how gorgeous the colours were, especially the sunlight on the Cheviots in the distance.

The first set up of my stall which changed over the weekend as I removed a few more pieces from the boxes and laid them on slate. For those of you on twitter who saw it in the making check out my new Richard Johnson original sign!

I met some fab people over the weekend and had such fun watching people's reactions to my neighbours' stalls: the delectable cup cakes on one side and insect jewellery (loads of pics on FB) on the other!

There were so many stalls, too many to list here but I must also mention Laura's Chocolate because, well, just have a look!

The event organisers seemed really pleased with how much was raised for Help the Heroes so thank you to everyone who came out over the weekend, to those of you who bought my jewellery, to the man who did a double take at my stall before giving me a lovely piece of white sea glass from his pocket, to the fascinating agate man for all the agate info and to all my new sea glass collecting recruits!

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