Sunday, February 28, 2010

It Was Hot, It Was Windy and It Was.....

......37.1 Celsius (98f) just another hot day during the hottest summer on record and what did we do? We made tomato sauce. Almost every year (I think we've only missed one or two) since DH and I have been married we've made sauce. We all complain bitterly and moan and groan but just between you, me and the gate post we all secretly enjoy it.
We all gather at my in-laws and set up. Everyone has their set job and as you get older your position in the pecking order rises. So because Erin is a newbie I'm afraid she had to start at the bottom. And that entails washing every tomato (we had 20 cases) and inspecting them for blemishes, the odd worm and anything else that shouldn't be there. She was a bit squeamish to begin with but after awhile became quite blase about the whole worm thing. Did you know the French used to call tomatoes pommes d'amour or love apples. See why?
Once they're washed they're put into a big copper and boiled to soften them. So the fire has to be tended to and remember it's 37c. Blokes love the fire!
The next process and the longest is putting them through the extractor machine. This separates the skin and seeds from the pulp.
Once the big white tub is full we start decanting into jars and bottles. Back in the bad old days we used to use a funnel and ladle, now we're a bit more sophisticated. Then once all the jars and bottles are filled they're stacked into 44 gal drums filled with water and a fire under them (remember it's 37c) brought to the boil and then left over night to cool.
So six hours and approx. 400 of these later we're finished for another year.
You're probably thinking that once we've finished and everything is cleaned up we sit down to a big bowl of pasta and sauce. Well you'd be wrong, we welcome the pizza delivery guy with open arms.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dynamic Designers

I've decided to start a series on my blog which I'll call Dynamic Designers. There are so many amazing designers out there in blogland and I follow quite a few, so I thought I'd highlight some of my favourite designers and the first of my dynamic designers is Jana from Be Jewled.
Jana lives in Kansas and makes the most divine, exquisite and totally luscious crochet bead jewelry.
The piece below is named "Madison" and this was one of the first pieces I saw on Jana's blog and was so blown away with it I had to go back and look at all her previous posts......and drool. Can't you just see a bride in a beautiful satin strapless gown wearing these? I can.
This one is called appropriately "Jewel" the colours are so striking and it screams Melbourne Cup to me. A day at the races in a slinky black dress, big black hat with feathers, unbelievable high black slinky stilettos, a martini in one hand and the form guide in the other. A definite winner.
So treat yourself and visit Jana's blog and her Artfire store for more of her beautiful designs. You won't be sorry.
Thanks Jana for allowing me to show these photos.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tooting My Own Horn

Months ago I sent a photo of one of my wallpaper necklaces to Australian Beading magazine. Each edition they have a readers gallery and the opportunity to win $100.00 worth of beads from beadsonline. Well I didn't win but my piece was published. This was one of the first pieces I made when I was experimenting with wallpaper and grunge board.
I was pretty excited when I saw it. A definite confidence booster I have to say.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lucky, Lucky, Lucky....

......enough to win this fabulous book. Lisa from A Bead a Day had a giveaway on her blog a few weeks ago and I was one of the winners. My book arrived yesterday and it's fabulous. Just the colours on the front cover are divine, all beachy and summery.

Lisa has used photos from her vacations, unusual objects, everyday items and a number of things you wouldn't normally give a second glance to as her inspiration for the pieces in the book. Using the colours, textures, skylines (City Style is one of my favourites) to create beautiful pieces of jewelry. Fantastic idea to get those juices flowing when you've hit a block.Not only are the pieces beautiful but her instructions are so easy to follow. The photos are wonderful and each step is very clear cut.
Each new design has an inspiration tip on the page, like getting your camera out and taking a walk around your neighborhood, or looking around your home for different patterns and colour combinations in cushions or furniture or art work on your walls. What a great idea!
It's available in Australia at Angus & Robertson, Dymocks and Fishpond so give yourself and treat and buy a copy.
Thanks Lisa for the wonderful book, I love it. Now I'm off to scope out my house for colour combos and patterns.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

After Five Cocktails

I've gone all 'after five' and 'cocktail' of late. A bit girly and glam. This is a choker style necklace with silver and dark grey pearl beads.Cocktail
With a rather large round faceted glass bead to sit right in front.
With another of my black floral magnetic clasps to tie it all together. (love those clasps)
Had a few pearl beads left over so I made bracelet and mixed in some matt black onyx beads. I like the mix of matt and shiny.
Added a little silver filagree charm.
This bracelet is threaded onto beading elastic.

While my good friend and work colleague Joanie and I were driving to a job a few weeks ago she was commenting on my 'Why' necklace (she lets me navigate now because my new GPS who I've named Rhonda, as in help me Rhonda, speaks to us in a lovely Australian accent and never gets us lost) and I was saying I was bit annoyed at myself because I haven't developed a style. I'm doing all sorts of things from glam to grunge and everything in between. But she made the point that it's not such a bad thing because while I'm doing all these different things I'm not limiting myself and each different style I try I'm learning something. Wise Joanie......she has a point and she's not afraid to voice it.

Now my BFF Carmen has demanded I start naming my pieces. Gawd.....that is so hard, trying to think up names that suit the pieces and somehow make sense. I have a hard enough time trying to think up blog titles. Carmen I'll do my best!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Love a Bargain

60 cm long, 240cm of chain420 crystal bicones.
70 crystal teardrops.
Op shop find, princely sum of $2.00.....priceless!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My Groove is Missing

It's taking me forever to get back into the swing of things. Now Christmas is well and truly over, our holiday is slowly just becoming a faded memory (not really) and DH has gone back to work, I still can't seem to find my groove.
I did have a big desk clean up though. Packed lots of stuff away after I found a large plastic container with a lid in the laundry that was can that be, an empty container....why wasn't I told! So off to Bunnings I went and bought a large set of plastic drawers that fit perfectly under my desk right next to my Ikea Alex drawer set. Now all that needs to be done is label them. Thank goodness for the trusty dymo label maker.
So in between all that packing away and sorting I did manage a few pairs of wallpaper earring that I've added a few embellishments to.
This pair, coppery bronzey coloured background with a silver leaf design. I added some 'old gold' dangley charms to give them a bit of weight.
I'm glad I took this close up photo. I can see that I haven't closed a jump ring properly.
Brown background wallpaper with a silver leaf design, I've added some more scrapbook embellishments to them. Gun metal grey paper clips.
Same wallpaper as the first pair with some Blue Moon earring hooks.
Oh no! I can hear Mr Whippy the icecream guy coming up the street. would have to be the worst earworm ever, now I'm going to be stuck with that tune in my head all day. Somebody save me!!!!!!