Thursday, 25 November 2010
Sunday, 31 October 2010
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Inspired by Autumn golden hues and one of my favourite places in the Highlands: "Five Sisters" is a limited edition of simple Amber pendants. They can be worn on both sides: one showing the swirls or the other one with little flower. Every pendant is adorned with a tiny gem hidden in the base of a bail. Perfect for everyday use :)
I will be listing them tomorrow - with a special price of £50 only till the end of October!
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Monday, 20 September 2010
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Later on I discovered White or Silver Topaz - the colourless, transparent variety that is much more common and not so much expensive but still full of sparkles, charm and this very special Topaz magic. And one day a miracle happened: searching for gems for a commissioned piece I came accross Rutile (or Rutilated) Topaz. Why miracle, you ask? Because the inclusions, the golden needles, are almost of the same golden hue I loved so much that day years ago AND the stone price was within my budget! So I got the beautifully hand cut oval and for over a week I waited impatiently for my mail.
When I saw the stone in a daylight, on my palm, I knew it deserved a very special design. Personally I don't like gold jewellery and to me Topaz looks very good when set just in in Silver but the golden needles were asking for gold... so I combined the metals together. On a Sterling Silver frame I wrapped 14K Goldfill wire and setting the stone I used the opposite technique: on a thin golden wire I wrapped the Sterling Silver. A added a few little Freshwater Pearls for more oldfashioned feel and to make the ring look like an old jewel.
Please let me introduce Il Bacio (The Kiss)
Monday, 2 August 2010
I weaved and wrapped the ring and hoops using only Sterling Silver in a design with little hearts – sweet and gentle like so many of Elvis’s songs. I oxidised the set heavily and only delicately polished to keep the soft black patina, to give the jewellery the romantic aged look.
the hoops are 4cm in diameter, the ring is UK size O 1/2
Friday, 23 July 2010
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Wednesday, 23 June 2010
It can be the wire that too leads my fingers - how it wants to serpent on the stone, how it curves to fit the shape. And nothing can be done by force. The stone breaks. The wire snatches. I get impatient.
Sometimes, however, the answer is "Yes" - I do sketch and I do it with more and more details. The designs that are first created on paper tend to be more elaborate in the very specific and unique Art Nouveau style which requires certain shapes of curves, certain proportions and balance. Sometimes I follow the drawing to a single line, like in the French Baroque pendant.
Sometimes, though, even the sketch won't work when the stones don't agree. That was the case when I started working on The Dream Comes True, having already chosen one of my favourite Crystal Quartz focals: a big, clear and pure freeform Quartz... which didn't cooperate with the wires and with the design at all!
Eventually I gave up and soon found a perfect replacement: the square Silver Rutile Quartz cabochon. And I love the outcome!
I try not to fight with the stones. Maybe they are my true Muse?
Monday, 31 May 2010
We had the fish&chips and then took a lazy stroll in the village now flooded with flowers! (on the photo a little local bar). Then we drove few miles further North and had a walk on the beach in perfect sunshine:
Sunday, 23 May 2010
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Sunday, 9 May 2010
Having posted on Facebook that the Kaiserschmarrn is my favourite Sunday breakfast I received an email from a friend who asked me to share my recipe which I happened to mention was easy. I thought I'd share it here - the dish really deserves to be appreciated worldwide :) So, here it is - my version of the special pancake or omelette, enjoy!
Serves as a breakfast for 2 hungry people:
4 eggs (yolks and whites separated)1 tablespoon of sugar (I use Demerara cane sugar but it can be the usual white one)
1/2 glass of milk
4 tablespoons of fine plain flour (heaped, not flattened!)
1 pinch of baking soda (mix it with the flour)
1 tablespoon of soft butter
1 tablespoon of dried cranberries or sultanas (you can mix them with 1tbsp of rum the night before if you like) or any dried fruit or nuts that you like
You'll need 2 bowls (salad size) and one frying pan of medium size which in my kitchen means 25cm/9.8" in diameter. If you use a bigger one the pancake will come slightly thinner but it won't affect the taste ;)
- first beat the egg whites stiff in one bowl. I use my electric hand mixer - it's faster and that matters especially when I wake up hungry on Sunday morning!
- in the other bowl mix the yolks with sugar till they are pale yellow
- still mixing gradually add some flour and then milk, flour and milk. When you add it all the batter should not be to thick but runny like when making crepes
- now put the pan with butter on low heat, the butter will melt while you are finishing the batter
- using a metal spoon (NOT mixer!) combine very gently the whites with the yolk-milk-flour mixture. You should stop when you still can see some white fluffy lumps, don't try to mix it to make it completly smooth!
- pour the batter into your pan and sprinkle with the cranberries. If you have a lid you can put it over the pan or use a sheet of the kitchen aluminium foil.
- when the surface of the pancake is set (after about 2-3mins) flip the pancake over and let the other side cook for about 1min till it's golden on both sides. If you don't feel like flipping a pancake just put the pan under medium heated grill and keep it there till you see it's golden.
- I would now cut the pancake in four pieces and... put it on the plates :) Don't worry if the pancake collapses a little.
Tuesday, 4 May 2010
The second ring in the Spring theme features beautiful sparkling chocolate brown Smoke Quartz accompanied by microfaceted rounds: deep cognac Tourmalines, soft pale green Prehnite, moss green Vesuvian and delicate Moonstone with flashes of blue. All the colours of awaking Nature.
And I think I'm beginning to like work with cabochons - those stones with no hole drilled, the very tricky ones to set when you're working with wire only... but hey, what a joy when a cab finally gets in place you wanted it to be :D
Sunday, 2 May 2010
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Deep in my heart I'm still a horticulturalist and I'm easily moved by even the tiniest, shy and modest plants. When little wild Primroses pop up early in spring they cover the woods floor with lemony-yellow carpet like it was designed for fairies to dance on. And for this moment the flowers are not shy anymore.
For the first ring this Spring I chose beautifuly faceted Lemon Quartz onion briolette and then hand wrapped it with thin Sterling Silver wire. The band is also hand weaved - in a new to me "basket" technique I just discovered. Adorned with one smooth Carnelian round and then heavily oxidised, hand polished and buffed to reveal the basket pattern of the band the ring is a true everyday stunner - it's a Primrose, The Spring Princess.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
After saying our "good bye" to Jet we drove a little further to the west and had picknic to cheer us up.
... and then a bit further to the West to see the little community owned Skye ferry between Glenelg on the UK mainland and Kylerhea on Skye and we saw the ferry in action!
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Primroses (Primula vulgaris) are just beginning to blossom along a little stream nearby and there is also plenty of warm yellow flowers of Lesser celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) so the place will be like sprinkled with gold soon! I was so happy to also spot a few of Anemone sylvestris (wood anemone or snowdrop windflower) -they are common in the woodlands of Central and Western Europe but I didn't know they can also grow here! In Poland the anemones cover the woods with white carpets at spring time, it's so lovely to walk amongst them :)
In the gardens I can already see the daffodils flower and little sky blue squills (Scilla siberica) when spring snowflakes (Leucojum vernum) and snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) are already slowly fading...
Wednesday, 31 March 2010
...I stayed inside with these :) ...
... and decided to make my favourite Easter tarts (in Polish they are called "mazurek") - orange ones! I really miss the sunshine and the oranges and lemons were exactly of the right colours for such a white and cold day.
It takes some time to grate the fruit peels, cook the sugary topping and make the crysty base but after a few hours my mazurek was ready. We decorated it with sweet almonds:
Now there is only the poppy-seed one to bake. And the lemon one. And I think I might also make some meringues to use up the left over egg white...
Saturday, 20 March 2010
our walk started with a light shower...
but soon it got better :)
(view from a woodland walk just above the village towards Dingwall)
an example of Strathpeffer's own architechtural style
I was enchanted by the peaceful little streets!
White Butterbur (Petasites albus) found in the woods
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
And yes - I did get that Mystic Topaz trio!!! Thank you very much to Dawn from Precious Sparkle Beads for bringing them along to show how beautiful they are in reality! I'm also proud that I stuck to my budget limit and still got what I wanted most:from the top: Mystic Topaz, Sodalite, Blue Topaz, Labradorite, Peridot
Saturday, 13 March 2010
or these beauties *sigh*I'm sure I won't come back with empty hands... with an empty purse though - maybe...