Monday, August 31, 2009

August in Books and Movies

Time to recap on the month in terms of the movies I've seen and the books I've read.

Movies first:

The Duchess
The Wrestler
The feast of love
Seven Pounds
Intimate Stories
Big Blue
Julie and Julia
Same Time, Next Year
Mr Brooks

Hmm. It's tricky to say which was my favorite. Julie and Julia was better than I imagined...a sweet little tale....the Wrestler had way too much wrestling in it (what a surprise!)....but I think I like Fracture best. Quite a complicated story - you have to pay attention - no half-watching. It was clever. Definitely worth watching - as are most movies with Anthony Hopkins in them...

And books. Yes I read more than usual - and all of them were read, not audio books! You can tell I haven't been driving to the city but instead, a couple of flights!:

Peony in Love
Sunday's at Tiffany's
Wesley the Owl
Death at La Fenice

Death at La Fenice was a good story - read it flying to Boston - perfect for a flight - start and end in one reading. A mystery with a good bit of intrigue, good characters and a taste of Venice. I liked it.
Wesley the owl was sweet all about a woman hand rearing a barn owl - but it got annoying in places too. Sunday's at Tiffany's was another quick read on a plane and Peony in Love should have ended after the first third!

So that was my month. My regular drives to the city start up again this week so I need to download some audiobooks. Any suggestions for me? I have two I'm just starting to read but none to listen to.... And what was your favorite movie of the month too?

Playing Cat and Mouse - silver necklace

Just finished a delightful commission for a wonderful customer of mine in France. She cares for many, many dogs and cats and has bought the "home is where the dog is" necklace and lots of other pieces too. I was happy then when she asked me to make something for her - and she asked for a necklace with a cat and mouse on it - the rest was left open for my interpretation.

So here is the necklace:

I think it is quite a different piece for me. The cat is not as whimsical as usual - or whimsical in a different sense.... but I like the look and line of it.

I think the last cat that I made I didn't like much so my mind was already thinking of doing it differently - and it did! Problem was that I made the mouse first in my usual whimsical style but then that didn't match the cat, so I had to make another mouse! The first mouse is now going to become another necklace that I'll show you later.

Anyhow, the customer loved it and it's on it's way to France. Hope it's a good cat and doesn't cause too much fuss! Maybe the quietest of all she'll be caring for!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - 999 or 911

By guest blogger Pete

Yes!. It's an emergency. The orchids are definitely on the decline and, although obviously stressed out, look as though there is no chance of a recovery. (Readers of last week's blog will remember that the givers of the orchids told my wife that they flourish best under stress). I'm afraid that I've not had the heart to shout at then again; but I did remark that they've got two days to go and that remark was made yesterday. If you're an orchid miracle worker then it's now too late. Why didn't you answer my plea of last week?

Every true blooded, right minded, upstanding, conscientious, humble, intelligent, etc, etc, English man (like me - i.e. one who supports and follows the noble game of cricket) is now rejoicing with a joy not experienced since 2005. We beat the Australians in the final test match and regained the Ashes by two games to one. With a football team that would struggle to beat the Orkney Islands, true blooded Englishmen can walk with heads held high once again. It might not be the winning that counts but it is the Australians who are now mourning. There's something really special about beating the arch cricketing rivals from Australia.

With the art group starting again soon, I've been doing some preliminary work on my next project. One of the scary things about painting is that you are never sure what the finished product will look like - at least "I'm never sure" although I expect for people like Monet it was probably a forgone conclusion. I've included a scan with this blog of my work so far. It's a ink sketch of Lincoln Cathedral based on a photo I took during the recent photo walk in the city. The group doesn't start until next month but I'll update the scan as I go and keep you in touch with developments unless............................................

I've always thought that the colour black has had a bad press for decades. It may well be a dominant colour that can easily swallow up other colours and details in one gulp but it's also a colour with such a contrast that it can be used to emphasise other colours and achieve an effect that you won't find elsewhere. I hope the other photos in this blog illustrate that. Any comments welcome.

A thought for the end of this blog. Why don't the Americans learn to play a game that demands skill like .....................? I'd better leave it there or else the "blog boss" will be making more remarks about my addiction to a certain game. "OWZAT"

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Life's a hoot - Etsy Front Page....again

My "Life's a Hoot" owl necklace made it to the front page again this week - on Wednesday. He therefore made the front page on 17th August and 26th August and then I sold him on the 26th! What a hoot he was!

So I made another. Hope "Hoot II" gets to see the front page too!

He's a little different from the first Hoot but hope you'll like him.

Perfect timing too, as I've just finished reading the book "Wesley the owl" all about this woman who hand-reared a barn owl. Sweet little story with lots of owl antics! Wonder if Hoot II will have as many?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Flickr and Sweet Figments

I've recently been posting my photos on Flickr - both of jewelry and some birds. Previously I'd not really used Flickr but after my dad was "discovered" on it, and after asking a few other "jewelry people" about it, I was convinced that I should be a bit more active as it does seem useful for increased exposure.

As I'm sure most people know, as well as having your own photo set, you can also join groups and post your photos there. Yesterday I signed up to join the Sweet Figments group. Sweet Figments is a blog that was designed to help get artists more exposure and also includes features and interviews etc.

Well - yesterday I added 5 photos to the group - and today, they are showing one of them on their Flickr Friday blog! How fast is that. They chose my "Feed the birds" necklace - that always seems to catch to eye!

The other wonderful thing about Sweet Figments is their logo! Here it is:

Thanks Sweet Figments.

Merry Go Round - Summer

It's time for another ride on the merry-go-round! Jump on and join a group of 9 artists/crafts-women as they link around the world and tell you a little about their lives in art and craft.

This month's question that myself and other merry-go-rounders are answering is not so much a question as a theme: Summer

Gosh - it's the end of August already! Can you believe it? Where has the summer gone?

We love to stay at home in Northern California in the summer as I can't think of anywhere I'd prefer to be! And for me summer here means: lovely warm sunny weather; picking our fruit off the trees; eating outside most evenings; parties outside; I'm never allowed to cook as my husband wants to grill/BBQ everything; the canoe in the pond;a late afternoon swim is a perfect way to end the day; lots of wildlife around;'s a great time of year.

And in August, one of the times we watch for is when the grapes start turning from green to black....Normally around the middle of the month....All those shades of summer..

If I think of what jewelry pieces I've made this summer that reflect the season, I think my kayak and boat necklaces were the most summery....

paddling out on the water, the sun glistening on the lake.......

All of them sold within a few hours of my listing them - so hopefully their new owners have captured their little bit of summer.....

Be sure to check out the other members of the merry go round and see what summer means to them. Here are their link:
Fabienne at Easterya
Wendren at Wren
Sara at Sara's Texture Crafts
Marian at Florcita
Agathe at Le Bar du Vent
Charlotte at FancyPicnic
Lily Pang at Lily Pang Art
Jenny at Jenny Karlsson design

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Week Three Caption Competition

My, how time flies, when you are having fun! Already we are in week three of the Caption Competition. Only one more week after this one....

So here is it! This week's photo for you to come up with a caption for! Hope you like it. Don't miss the one little blue egg in there....

As usual you can enter here in the comments section or else enter on Facebook. For Facebook, please become a fan and then click on the NOTES tab.

The winner this week will win their own Quentin Quail - either as a bookmark or necklace.

Week 2 Caption Competition Winner

And the winner this week is...................Deb Gassman

Her caption was: Simon says "Play dead".
She will get her very own little Quentin Quail. Congratulations Deb!

Here are all the entries so you can see what a wonderful collection there were! I love them all! Thanks so much for entering. Every one brightened my day :=D

1. Nighty nite, sleep tight, don't let the nest mites bite.
2. Atten - TION!
3. I'm AFRAID to jump in the water
4. Did I set my alarm clock too early ????
5. The designated driver gazes on the ones who partied too hard.
6. This'll Clog the Vacuum
7. They'd Better Be Gone Before Mom and Dad Get Home
8. Oh my! I think I am missing a good bargain!
9. Quentin surveyed the carnage, feeling just a little guilty for yelling, "Cat!"
10. Cocktail hour at Birdland
11. Quentin wished he had eased off on the garlic last night.
12. Quentin is a stand up kind of guy.
13. Quentin discovered the "Lynx effect" wasn't quite the same for quails.....
14. Ashes! ashes! we all fall down!
15. Simon says "play dead"
16. It only took 1 page of their new bedtime story "Programmer's Reference Guide" to put them all to sleep
17. Quentin's deadly charm strikes again!
18. Last quail standing
19. Everyone is drunk except me.
20. Q says: huh? what happened to my animal magnetism?
21. wasn't me!
22. Ooops!
23. "Am I the only bird-flu survivor??"

Thanks also to Catherine Witherell, last week's winner, for judging this week's competition.

New photo coming up today for Week 3 of the competition. Hope you'll try again...enter as many time as you want - either here on the blog or on facebook (click on the NOTES tab).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Caption Competition Last Day

Today is the last day to enter the Week 2 caption competition....get your entries in to win a Quentin Quail.

The winner will be announced tomorrow and a new photo put up for Week 3 of the competition.

Here are the links: enter on the blog or enter on Facebook (click on the "notes" tab).

Castle Home

While I was away, the "dreaded" double sale happened! That's where you list the same piece on more than one website - as most people do - but they both sell at exactly the same time! And I was on holiday when it happened.... so couldn't check sales as frequently.

Obviously, it's nice to get the sales, but then you have to go about quickly making a replica and as my pieces are more individual, that's not always easy!

Anyhow - I came back and made the new piece yesterday and both of them are sent off - one to the US and one to Germany! Two little castle homes on their way to new homes!

They did end up very similar -the only real difference being the second one was a bit larger than the first!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Love Boat - silver necklace

When I was making the kayak necklaces a few weeks ago, I made an extra boat and it sat on my worktop for a while I decided to use it! Instead of a kayak, I turned it into a boat - in fact - a Love Boat!

Two little figures, sitting opposite each other, and sharing some loooove!

So OK. Who used to watch The Love Boat on television? Yes, my boat is a little smaller - or should I say "intimate".....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Frog Christmas Decoration

I saw this wonderful photo in the National Geographic Magazine today and knew I had to share it! It was taken in Florida by James Snyder. The details read:

"One evening Snyder noticed something bizarre in his backyard: A frog hugging a mango tree had swallowed a Christmas light! The 29 year old snapped his shot then worked to free the frog."

I love it!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mint tint hint Etsy treasury

The lovely Cyn has included my rose window earrings in her latest Etsy Treasury - Mint Tint Hint. She always puts together such pretty collections. Here it is:

Sunday's spotlight - 1.2.3

In no way could I ever be described as a regular visitor to the cinema. Perhaps I'm showing my age here but I can see no point in spending good money on films that show violence, sex, or magic in its many forms. I like films but most of my film watching is through the TV or via DVD. Our DVD player also shows videos so old tapes made years ago can still be viewed.

A couple of weeks ago, I went with my elder grandson, to the local cinema to see "The Taking of Pelham 123". The main reason for this visit is that I have a video of the original "Pelham 123" and it has remained one of my favourites. I enjoyed the new version, although I was left thinking that John Travolta didn't make a convincing "baddie". He lacked the real menace that was seen in the character of the original film.

Denzyl Washington, on the other hand, always seemed in control of his role. Of course the new version was more sensational than the old one and the changes in the story were well done and, on the whole, believable. However, I came away with the opinion that the original version was better and its ending more convincing. I'd recommend the film to anyone but, if possible, I would suggest that they then view the original as well. Any comments?

My wife celebrated another birthday on the 15th of this month and some friends gave her a floral display that included orchids. Our last orchid just faded away for no apparent reason so Pam asked the giver how to avoid that for these orchids. "The more stress you put them under the more they'll flower", was the reply. So before going to bed that night I had a good shout at the orchids and really told them off. For some reason it didn't have any effect on them!!!!!!! Any readers have ideas about raising orchids?

Kaleidoscope photos this week. For some reason they don't like you taking photos inside the cinema so all the kaleidoscopes are from a flower festival held this year in the Parish Church at Gosberton. With the exception of known readers from the Deepings, I wonder how many of you know where Gosberton is?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Flying home tomorrow

I was in the supermarket yesterday and saw all these lovely fresh green figs for sale and it got me thinking about our fig tree at home and whether the figs will be ready and waiting for me tomorrow when I fly home.... and then I started wondering how else the garden may have changed in a week....

will the nectarines all be eaten....the grapes maybe changed color...?

A lot can happen in a week. I've had a great time away - just wonderful - but I'm also happy to go home. These photos are some snippets from my garden before I left....

And as I've just uploaded them and enjoyed their colors, I looked down and saw that I am wearing all these colors today!Pinks, oranges and peaches! How summery!

Looking forward to getting back to my studio too! I've missed it.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Harold my parrot

Just before I left on this trip, I made a pin/brooch, styled on my pet parrot Harold. He's such a wonderful bird, most entertaining and a key part of my life. He's at home with my hubby right now - but I have sung to him down the phone so he doesn't miss me too much. Anyhow - this little silver Harold came with me.

Hello Harold!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Caption Competition Week 2

Here's the photo for this week's caption competition. You can enter on Facebook by clicking on the "notes" tab or else leave a comment here and I'll collate them all.

The winner each week gets their own Quentin - either as a necklace or bookmark.

Look forward to reading your captions.

Week 1 Caption Competition Winner

The winner for last week's Caption Competition is Catherine Witherell! Congratulations Catherine.

Her caption was "Psst. Help, I've forgotten the steps!"

Thanks everyone for entering. New competition starting today!

Here are all the entries:
There's one in every crowd
Pssst! Help, I forgot the steps!
Anyone can.....stand out in a crowd
To succeed means that you may have to step out of line and march to the sound of your own drummer.
Decisions, Decisions! What shall I wear today!
Quail Queue!
Dare to be different?
Changing views from the middle
If you don't like your view, change directions
He said, that she said, that they said, that he did what?
About face....oops!
Odd man (bird) out
Even quails have black sheep
Learning the macherena
Turn to the right!
Make an illegal U-turn
Homewood Bound
Wrong way Wren
Having second thoughts
Is there a sale i don't know about?
Left wing vs. right wing
Hindsight is 20/20

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Last day to enter the caption competition

Last day to enter the caption competition this week. Winner will be announced tomorrow and a new photo will be put up.

Enter in the notes section of facebook or here in the comments section.

Make mine Merlot

The start of the grape harvest is underway in Sonoma county. We harvest our grapes quite late in the season - normally October - and one of the questions that so many people ask when they know we grow grapes is do we stomp the grapes by foot...... Of course, we have - but it's not something you do with lots of grapes!

Anyhow - to be ready for harvest this year, I thought I'd make a grape stomping necklace. A little "anyone" figure is working hard trying to get merlot juice out of these grapes.

Haven't finally decided on a name for the piece yet - but by the time I get home, I will! Hope you like him!

Don't forget to drink Merlot!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The fun and scary times in Boston!!

By guest blogger Quentin Quail

My first day around Boston! Phew, I'm exhausted. It had some really good bits in it - but then some scary moments too.

We wandered around a lot of the city - gosh, glad I had my running shoes on. It's exhausting trying to keep up.. Everything was fun until we went to Boston Common and met the ducks. I thought us birds stuck together....but their "playing" with me scared me somewhat!

I mean, we get ducks in CA - but they seem friendlier than these! Lucky escape, I have to say.

Hoping the rest of the week won't be quite this exciting!

Etsy Front Page

My little "life's a hoot" owl necklace was on the front page of Etsy yesterday. It was funny - I got loads of convo's yesterday from Etsy people enquiring about pieces and wondered why there were so many all at it was nice to be told by one of the etsy metal clay team that it was the front page giving me all this publicity! Here he is - bottom, left: