June 2008

On returning from the heat wave in Greece, I have seen the devastation wreaked on the lawn after the torrential downpours. It was extremely hard to leave the sparkling cool sea, gorgeous feta salads and the constant melody of the crickets. I must admit the pair of us picked up some good colour and it’s great getting out different summer jewellery.

One of the high points for my daughter was when she caught an octopus in her net. The Greeks thought she should cook him but, utterly indignant, she replaced him under his rock. That reminded me – I must develop The Octopus’ Garden somewhat, or at least finish off Plato’s Pond. Sitting in the shade, I whipped up a few more pairs of Mandelbrot Earrings with my new stash, fresh from the Bead-In Bazaar – they really take shape quickly and are great for gifts, so mothers and sister-in-law know what they’re getting for Christmas. Colour orders are in already!

Saturday 7th: I had a great day out teaching Fan-tastic Variations to the Cotswold Beaders, some faces new to me and a few old friends too. Everyone was lovely and, as usual, I drooled over their individual colour choices. Old faithful “The Weaver’s Knot” cropped up and I was able to pass that golden little nugget on to more delighted beaders. I learnt to do it in a workshop at the Great British Bead Show 2003 when I moaned about joining in new thread and then having to sew in the loose ends. I happened to be sitting next to a weaver who tutted and said I aught to be using the weaver’s knot, and she showed me how to do it. What a revelation it was for me at the time – that’s the beauty of workshops, so much information is exchanged and not just from tutor to pupil. The Weaver’s Knot is invaluable when working with stitches where the thread doesn’t pass too many times through the hole e.g. peyote, and for size 11º seed beads and larger. I wouldn’t try it with Fireline though – to sew in a new piece you only need a few twists and turns and it holds tight, almost behaving like wire.

What a spoilt girl I’ve been this year! Spain in January, and both Greece and Florence this month! As Louise was off with her school for a week, Steve and I grabbed the opportunity to whizz off to Florence together – our 1st holiday alone for 20 years! Of course I took my beads with me (as any self-respecting beadworker would do). It wasn’t my first visit there but it was for Steve and I found myself seeing everything through his eyes, as if for the first time. Everywhere was inspiration, even in the iron torch holders set into the walls, my favourite one of which was a rearing long-bodied dragon/lion, whose claws would grasp the torch. The Medici jewels in the Pitti Palace were stunning, and I particularly loved the huge odd-shaped pearls which had been cleverly interpreted into wonderful creatures and embellished.