Saturday, January 31, 2009

Into the Light!

Last night was absolutely wonderful! Why? Because at one point, while we were staying late at the office (I think it was about 10:00 or so) we checked the Entergy map that was online and saw that instead of red lines marking our street, we had green! We packed up quickly to go home, hoping all the way that the electricity was really in, that it wasn't some kind of cruel joke that the electric company had played on us.
At the back door we were greeted by the cats and warm air and a hall light that we didn't know that we had left on. What bliss!

Yes, Thank God, we now have electricity once again. The difference is amazing. It's not that we're warm, strangely, the cold didn't bother me that much, or rather, I managed to stay warm. What is wonderful is having light again - how I missed lamps! - and the Internet connection. And of course hot water. Night before last I took my first cold shower; I wanted a shower so much that I didn't even mind that the water was cold. Luckily it wasn't the ice cold of outside water, but the milder cold of water that had been in the hot water heater for 2 days - cold, but not icy.
I spent a lot of time at the office, so I do have some work to show, thank goodness, since Valentine's Day is coming soon.
I've been working with rubies so much lately (a commission for a client) that when I take a break, I've been mixing them with everything. As you can see in the top necklace, I've mixed some rather pink rubies with apatite; because of Suzette Celestin's wonderful lampwork beads, it's a winning combination.
Below that is a 14 karat goldfilled bracelet with pretty textured oval links and wirewrapped gemstones: ruby (of course), apatite, chalcedony, and aquamarine. I especially like this one - and almost wore it home (I always try on my bracelets and wear them for at least 30 minutes to make sure that there are no rough spots, that they are well-balanced, and that the clasps work well).
In following order, a lampwork pendant, a fire agate necklace, blue pearl necklace, and an amethyst bracelet.

I did adapt to the lack of electricity better than I thought I would have, but it really isn't an experience I want to repeat anytime soon!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Ice Storm: Diamonds Outside; No Electricity Inside

Hello, everyone.
I have been suffering from Internet withdrawal, lack of heat, hot food, and hot showers. Why? Tuesday evening when we arrived home, we had just walked in the door when the electricity went off. It has never come back on at home. We have an all-electric house, so that means we have no hot water, no heat source but our fireplace, and no light but candles. Did you know that you can read by candlelight?
Unfortunately, the electricity has been off at our offices also until this afternoon. When we found out that the electricity was back on at the office, you've never seen two people leave a house in such a whirlwind! The cats still had perplexed looks on their faces as we ran out the door!
We have had a huge ice storm; trees that I thought were so old and strong that they were untouchable have had limbs broken off from the top and sides so that they are only half as tall as they were. (I took a picture, then left my camera at home, but I will post). Everything outside is shining, beautiful like some kind of fairy land . Hans and Gerda may run through my back yard any minute! But the sounds Tuesday night and Wednesday night were horrible, the cracking sounds of branches breaking off trees - all night long.
I've never experienced a power outage this long before, and as soon as I got to the office, I tried to find out when it would end. It may be Sunday before we have power (and we live in town - and all of our power lines are underground!). It could be longer.
As long as I can get to the office and on the Internet, I may be able to keep my sanity (thank God, our offices are across from the police station and the county courthouse!).
PLEASE if you have any tips for living without electricity, share them with me!

Meanwhile, a bracelet and necklace that were made before this catastrophe:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Batch of Bracelets

I love bracelets as you can probably tell by looking at this post today. New gemstones and sterling silver are a great temptation and make it hard to leave the office to go home. Sometimes I have so many pretty gemstones that it is overwhelming - I want to use them all at once, think of 10 different projects and can't get started on any of them. But I have gotten a bit done this week.
The unusual bracelet above is definitely a "happy" bracelet full of colour and fun. I pulled some of my James Derrick Reeves special lampwork beads from my secret stash and used turquoise chalcedony, carnelian, amethyst, and jade to pick up the colours in these very colourful beads.
Below, Suzette Celestin's very feminine beads are complemented by large nuggets of pink Peruvian opal and green quartz in this unique bracelet that appears to be a harbinger of Spring (ah, but at least 2 months of chill before the warm comes to Arkansas!).

In contrast to all the colour above is this jasper bracelet handmade (of course) with ocean jasper in soothing shades of green and off-white and wonderfully subtle lampwork beads to match.
Below the jasper is a new combination for me: porcelain jasper ovals with faceted and smooth muscovite, gold-laced lampwork bead with the same quiet tones as the jasper and intricate sterling silver. You will be able to find this one on the Unusual Jewelry page of the Cluny Grey Jewelry website.

Finally, for those who love what I call "strong pastels" a chalcedony bracelet with pink, tuquoise, and blue chalcedony - beautiful gemstone beads - with matching lampwork and a second strand made up of Karen Hill Tribes sterling silver chain and charms.
Remember: Wherever you go, wear your jewelry!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jewelry and Computer Cats

I've still been working with garnets to some extent since it is the birthstone for this month. I've been exploring garnet mixtures and came up with a couple that I'm satisfied with. The first is the bracelet above, made possible by the large, square, beautiful lampwork bead with a sprinkling of sterling silver across the middle and two different shades of pink: on the left is pink opal, to the right is a graduated pink. Two roughly faceted garnet nuggets are offset by two gorgeous Peruvian pink opals - best quality, with a strong deep pink and some translucence. I love these glorious opals! The bracelet below is another mixture that I accidentally discovered when my bench was covered with all kinds of gemstones. These beautiful rounded rectangles of pietersite happened to be lying next to the lampwork beads that you see in the bracelet. I tried amethyst, but it clashed, the way that some gemstones do unexpectedly sometimes, when you'd swear that they would be perfect together. However, the dark garnet was perfect. Garnet, pietersite and very pretty lampwork beads - not a combination I see everyday, but one that I do like. Both bracelets are on the Garnet Bracelets page of the site.
I've been lucky lately with getting some beautiful borosilicate lampwork beads with unusual colours and great blends of colours. The peach - pink - orangey ones in the rhodochrosite bracelet below are an example. They are so lovely, in fact, that I don't put them in the little drawers that I have for different colours; I leave them out on my desk so that I can look at them. The gemstone bracelet below has the addition of two pinkish genuine rubies on its second strand, and a generous helping of some of my most intricate sterling silver.
Finally, I would like to introduce you to two of the greatest joys in my life - and my helpers whenever I do work on the computer. In front is Cuervo Sebastian, winking at the camera. Behind in his usual place snuggled up next to the computer (it's very warm there) is Cluny Camillo. Cluny and Cuervo are kind enough to let me live here with them, and they even let me sit here on the bed while I work on the computer and watch tv. By the way, they don't wear jewelry!