Wednesday, November 30, 2011

48/52 Bird a week - Chilly Billy

Who's this peaking out of his blanket to say hello?
It's Chilly Billy!

I hope you'll welcome him as this week's bird for the bird a week challenge.  Yes, a different media and technique.  Knitted (washable!!!) wool!

Actually, Billy used to be Chilly but I knitted him a blanket and now he's not-so-chilly Billy!

I made him for a baby due in the family in January.  If you read my blog, you know that we have two new babes appearing in the new year, one each from John's twin sons.  One is a little girl - and I'll show you her little friend in a few days - and the other is a boy - and Chilly Billy and his blanky are just for him.

It's an exciting time and it was lovely while we were in England to hear all the excitement about the two new births.  I'm hoping Chilly Billy will be a nice snuggly penguin for a new boy babe.

He looks pretty perky and a little naughty actually! Maybe he just likes a bit of fun.  He definitely looks like a cute Billy.

It's been a while since I've knitted so much!  I especially enjoy it when knitting for someone else, as I think of that person all the time I'm knitting.  So Chilly Billy had me set on Adam, Alexa and their special little treasure, as the needles clicked away!

And now - only 4 more birds to do this year to make my 52 total! I wonder what they will be like? I have no idea right now!

Click on the links below to see the other birds that have been born this week from other artists:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mailing items for Christmas

I sell a lot of jewelry to Germany - always have and I hope I always will!  However, the United States first class international shipping to Germany has been horribly slow recently.  I just heard from one patient customer today that her bracelet had finally arrived two months after I had mailed it to her!!

Sadly, there is nothing I can do about the time it takes for delivery.  I truly think it isn't the US slowing things down, but is the customs offices in Germany. They seem to open every single package - not only for Germany but also for other European countries.  It occasionally takes as little as 5 days for deliveries and sometimes it takes 2 months!  It's sad for the customer who is often disappointed if an item is late for an occasion, and I have to say, I hate responding to emails when I am helpless and can do nothing about it.  I feel for the buyer, but tracking is not available to other countries, so I am left only able to encourage patience.

Today I have therefore made the decision that all my packages to Europe and the US will go priority mail from today onwards, instead of first class mail. Priority mail takes 2 - 3 business days in the US and 6 - 10 business days to Europe.  Much better service for my customers - and only a little bit more expensive. 

This means that the last day that I will accept orders for Christmas delivery is:

For the US - December 19th
For European countries - December 11th

Yes, plenty of time for all that shopping yet!  Hope you are getting into the Christmas/Holiday spirit!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekly bird in the hand

This week's bird in the hand could include lots of things on my list, but instead, I've just decided to choose one thing that I am grateful for - and that is my blog "Merry Go Round" friends.

I started the Merry Go Round on September 25th, 2008 as a monthly blog post where a group of artists/craftswomen could all blog on the same topic on the last Friday of every month.  There have always been between 8 and 12 of us blogging. Originally the group formed by my inviting people who also sold on Dawanda and who's work I liked. They then invited others to join in and so it continued with new people joining when others left. Sadly, I have never met any of the "merriers" face to face.

There are 4 of us who have stayed the test of time from the beginning - myself, Mariana, Sara and Agathe.

I've now decided to leave the group, as things are changing and my mind just doesn't seem quite in it anymore.  But I am SO grateful for all that the merry go round has done for me.  I have "met" some wonderful people, made great friendships, felt supported, felt inspired, felt understood, felt cared for and many other things too.  It's been a wonderful group of people.

Our questions/topics each month have made me think carefully and differently about subjects and I've enjoyed the challenge of writing down my thoughts and ideas.

It has been a great journey during which we've seen each other and our businesses change and develop.  I hope to do something similar again in the future, as it truly has been a fascinating experience for me.

So thank you to all the present and past Merriers.  I hope the merry go round keeps spinning and you all stay merry. xxx

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving
for being in my life xx

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

47/52 Bird a week challenge - Home to Roost

This week's bird - "Home to roost", is timely for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, we are flying home today, back to the US.  And secondly, tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US and a time when a lot of people go home to share the celebrations with family.  So lots of people, as well as birds, will be going home to roost.

I made this bangle as a gift for a friend actually. The picture is of birds flying home in the evening at Lake Huron where she has a summer home. Sure enough, the lake house is a real place for the family to gather - both in the past when her parents were alive, and now also with the rest of the family. 

I got to visit there a couple of years ago and it was such a lovely homey place. No wonder the family go home to roost there.

The bangle is made from color anodized aluminum - or maybe as I'm typing this in the UK, that should be Colour anodised aluminium!

Hope you are going home to roost for Thanksgiving.

Here are links to other birds that have been created this week as part of our challenge:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekly bird in the hand

Here's this week's bird in the hand - the things I am grateful for:

  • Spending time (and eating out too much!) with family and friends
  • Going to see new properties - both ones that we might buy in the Cotswold's water park and also ones that John's sons are building in Hereford
  • Enjoying a yummy cider in a pub
  • Genius gluten free bread
  • Rachel's ginger yoghurt
  • Getting to see the new nursery ready for the Fresle-Baillie baby in January 
  • Finishing some knitting projects
  • Going shopping in the UK and seeing lots of different things
  • Getting into the Christmas spirit after wrapping up all our pressies for friends and family over here
  • Enjoying Cheltenham where our apartment is
  • No rain in England during our stay!!!!!!!
Yes, I admit. A lot of this week's items are food and drink related!  It's so nice when we come to England to eat different things and they always have such a great selection of gluten free items. I'm still trying to find the new Genius gluten free pastry over here....and so my search continues for the next couple of days until we fly home on Wednesday.  Maybe that will be on next week's "bird in the hand" list????

One sad part of our week was that the buyer of our apartment here pulled out of the sale two days before we exchanged contracts!  We were due to pack all our stuff up on Monday and put it in storage but alas, that won't happen now. But the good side is that we have sorted everything out and it is already to be packed up when needed.

I hope your week has been yummy too, and full of family and friends. xx

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

46/52 Bird a week challenge - Kingfisher

This week's bird a week is a special gift.  It was my parents' Golden Wedding anniversary (50 years) on 11.11.11. so I sculpted this Kingfisher sitting on a reed,  in silver for them.

And the reason for a kingfisher?  When my parents go for a walk in Lincoln, where they live, whenever they see a kingfisher on the river, they always think of me and think that I am close.

And so I thought if they had a kingfisher sculpture, whenever they looked at it, they would always know that I was close to them, never mind how many miles away I may be.

The symbolism of a kingfisher is also appropriate as it is a long-time symbol of peace and the promise of abundance, new warmth, prosperity and love.  These are all wishes that I send to them as they continue their married life together.  The Kingfisher is also known as the Halycon and I'm sure they have many memories of Halycon days together from these past 50 years.

So remember mum and dad, like the kingfisher, I'm watching over you and always close to you.

If you want to see what other birds have been created this week, click on the links below:

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Weekly bird in the hand

This week's "grateful" list is all related to our trip over here in England:

  • My parents - and being able to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary with them.
  • My Aunt and Uncle who celebrate their 40th Wedding Anniversary today. 
  • A safe flight over to England.
  • Spending time with family.
  • Getting to visit John's cousin who has been ill.
  • Knitting - a great way to pass the time on a flight.
  • Genius gluten free bread.
  • Remembrance day and taking time to think of those who have given their lives. 
  • Mild November UK weather with no rain so far!
Hope you've had a great week too and had something to celebrate and get grateful for.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today is my parent's Golden (50th) Wedding anniversary.  What a good date to celebrate it on - the 11th of the 11th of the 11th.

We have flewn to England to celebrate with them and today met them in Norwich just before 11am.  We went into a bar/cafe/restaurant, brilliantly named No. 11 and drank champagne with them at 11.11am on 11.11.11.

And yes, 50 years ago today, they got married at 11am!  I'm sure the timing was planned just for today!

Congratulations Mum and Dad on your Golden Anniversary xxxxxxx

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

45/52 Bird a week challenge - Quality time with friends

This week, I've gone back to aluminum for my bird a week and created a color anodized aluminum bangle.  In fact, there are 133 birds in my challenge this week.  They all decided to gather and just spend some time together. They are not really doing anything particular.... just hanging out together, chatting and laughing...... 

Sweet little birdies perched on the wires. Everyone has their little space, no one crowds the other and they chat to their neighbors or sometimes just sit in silence.

It seems a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon...don't you think?  Quality time with friends.

I hope you've had some quality time with friends this week.

If you want to see what other birds have been created this week as part of our challenge, click on the links below:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Today we fly back to England for a couple of weeks.

Photo by mikebaird

We are leaving in about an hour, armed with a few books and some knitting to while away the time...and hopefully a good movie!  This weekend,  we are celebrating my parents Golden Wedding Anniversary - 50 years!  Definitely a reason to celebrate.

Then we have just sold our apartment in Cheltenham so some of the rest of the trip will be spent packing that up and putting the stuff all in storage.  The packing part will be happily interspersed with seeing John's family and maybe a couple of friends too.

I'll be keeping in touch with my "bird a week"!  Let's hope the flight goes quickly!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekly bird in the hand

It's been a tricky week this week, that has made me aware of things I am grateful for and often don't fully appreciate. So here is this week's list:

  • Peter, my nephew. It was his birthday this week. Hope you had a great week P.
  • Autumnal weather - going for a walk and coming back with rosy cheeks!
  • Marshall's - the local car body shop who repaired my car this week after I'd be rear-ended recently and the driver didn't stop. 
  • Conversation - I've had laryngitis all week and thus haven't been able to have conversations.
  • A good night's sleep - I've been waking with coughing and thus my new favorite thing is a good night's sleep.
  • Singing - you get the idea!!
  • Feeling better!
  • Peace and quiet- but not too much!
Hope your voice has been heard this week!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

44/52 Bird a week challenge - Sweet dreams

Following on from last week's bird which was a ring "Sweet Nature", this week I've made a similar open ring entitled "Sweet Dreams":

The little birdie has his eyes closed and sits in the gentle glow of the moon...dreaming about???...worms? grubs? seeds?  I wonder what birds dream of... I think Harold our parrot dreams of cashew nuts and bananas (and macaroni cheese!)....but I wonder about the outdoor birds...

Anyhow, this one looks like his dreams are sweet.

Sweet Nature (left) Sweet Dreams (right)

If you want to check out the other birds that have been made this week by others taking on the bird a week challenge, click on the links below:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Under my wing

I just saw this beautiful photo on facebook and love it:

Photo by Merly Miner
Isn't it a great photo?

Remember my necklace of a similar name from a few years ago?

Hope you are safely under someone's wing.