Saturday, 29 October 2011

Hawthorn Brandy pt2

Infused for 2 weeks, strained and bottled. I placed muslin round the top of the jar so I could strain it into a jug. This is easier than putting the muslin over the jug, less chance of spilling. Then I poured the strained liquid into a sterilised bottle. Don't forget to label it!

Now all you need is somewhere warm to drink it....

Happy Autumn!

Monday, 17 October 2011

from my workshop....

I'm working on some new ideas at the moment and getting ready for a couple of fairs I'm doing in November. Its difficult to get a quantity of stock together when the majority of your pieces are one offs, but although most of the pendants I make are all individual, I still find I can do several at a time. It is, however, by no means a production line.

Latest work

Silver feathers - I have a couple of these on the go at the moment but they are quite time consuming so I'm not sure how many I'll get done. I use naturally molted feathers so I'm always on the lookout when I go for a walk. Its not as easy as you might think to find the right one....

Gingko leaves - I collected these on my walk round Regents Park. I love the shape of them and their gently ribbed, textured surface. They translate beautifully into silver.

Commissions - Recently a friend asked me to turn this celtic hare design, from his company website, into a pendant for his wife's birthday. It turned out really well and as a result I am working on some more celtic designs of my own. I love the depth and freeflowing spiral designs of celtic artwork so it should be fun. 

I love this process, coming up with new ideas and designs and making them reality. The problem I have is restricting myself to one idea at a time. But then again, where's the fun in that... 

Monday, 10 October 2011

pink yarrow & pink hair

well the weather has changed again and it now officially feels like autumn. There's a chill in the air and it doesn't feel wrong to go out wearing a scarf. After a week of very little sleep (4am starts most days, thanks to my daughter) I felt the need to have some me time so I headed up to London for a mooch round Camden Lock market and then joined a herbalist I know who had organised a walk round regents park, to see what is still around at this time of year.

As you can see it was quite a grey day but was nice to be at the market as it opened. Not many people about apart from the stall holders, eating their bacon sandwiches and discussing the day before the hordes of tourists arrive. The smells of fresh coffee and ethnic food filled the air and people huddled round radios and tiny tvs, checking up the on the rugby. We lost, 'nuf said. There are some fantastic characters in Camden, one in particular who caused quite a stir as she motored down the main street at top speed!

On our walk we discovered most plants have gone over by now, but we found the usual plantain, nettles, elder and hawthorn, and mugwort, which even though it has long finished flowering the smell from the drying flower heads is still incredible! We found some beautiful deep pink yarrow and an abundance of sage, rosemary and lavender in one of the large flower beds. Everything is slowing down for approaching winter, putting all the goodness and energy down into its roots for next season. Its a great time to collect roots such as dandelion and plantain. The berries are now passed here too but there is still time to collect them if you can find them. Thanks to Klara for an informative (if a bit chilly!) stroll.

Its important that we mark the passing seasons and take stock of what is happening in nature. We have had some very strange seasons this year and as the climate changes dramatically so do the seasons, the weather and the way nature reacts to them. It is all too easy these days to complain about the cold, the rain and the apparent lack of sun but we should appreciate these things and their roll in the cycle of life. After all if things didn't happen this way we would be in a very different situation. Take the opportunity to stop and look at the trees and plants around you and notice what they are doing to prepare for the coming season, where they are directing their energies. We could learn valuable lessons from them.

Didn't get much done on Sunday as my daughter decided to wake me at 3.30am again but at least we got to watch the sunrise. And she did, with Daddy's help, buy me some gorgeous flowers to say sorry.....

Monday, 3 October 2011

indian summer

This last week or so we have experienced the most amazing heat wave in the UK, it's felt like summer all over again. Not that we had a summer really, the seasons have been all over the place this year; a lovely warm spring, a damp, rainy and cold summer and now a sunny and hot wonder the plants and animals are confused. And they're saying it may snow towards the end of October!

We had planned to go to the east coast of Yorkshire to visit family over a month ago and we couldn't have arranged better weather if we'd booked it specially.

Nice to have a bit of sun and some blue sky to lift the spirits, it's been a while.

Thornwick Bay

A beautiful place to be remembered....

North Landing

Friday, 23 September 2011

mabon, autumn equinox, brandy & vodka

Its been a beautiful autumn day today; a gentle breeze & sunshine. I love this time of year! Spent time in the studio and in my garden whilst isla slept. We went out together and gathered hawthorn berries to make brandy. I have enough blackberries for vodka too and this seems like the perfect day to do it.

I use cheap brandy (cheaper the better!) simply because I'm flavouring it so it doesn't need to be the good stuff. Agitate the jar every day for 2 weeks then strain through muslin and put into sterilised bottles. This is a wonderful heart tonic, perfect for the older gentlemen in your life. Makes a lovely xmas tipple for dad or grandpa (or anyone else for that matter)

Caution - Hawthorn is a powerful heart tonic and shouldn't be taken with other heart medicines or blood pressure medication. Excersie caution and seek a qualified herbalists advice if concerned.

Again cheap vodka is the way to go. Agitate the jar every day as before but leave for up to or beyond 3 months, then strain and bottle. I have some from a few years ago that I forgot to strain and some that I bottled and haven't drunk yet so it should be a festive xmas! I can recommend a shot of this with lemonade, yum!

Have a wonderful autumn equinox! Spend today appreciating everything in life you are grateful for and the people that have made that happen.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

postscript to a sunday stroll... daughter took her first unaided steps tonight! She's been cruising and climbing everything for months but she's finally done it!

I'm so proud! xxx

a sunday stroll

the sun came out for what seems like the first time this week, so we went for a walk in the local woods. I'm taking every opportunity to introduce isla to nature, showing her leaves and plants and different trees. at 16 months she doesn't know one tree from another but she loves being outside and messing about in the dirt. we found a meadow of flowers to sun ourselves in for a while and collected autumn coloured leaves.

as always, I'm on the lookout for inspiration for my work whenever we go out & about. we brought quite a collection of bits back with us, I'll have to take them to the studio and see what comes of it. I have an idea for toadstools & feathers...

and now after a lovely calm day, the remnants of hurrican Katia are beginning to batter us here in the UK tonight. My heart goes out to those across the Atlantic who have suffered the full impact of this storm; I hope that you're safe and that your lives return to normal soon.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

new shoes

bought my daughter her first pair of proper shoes today. She seems quite impressed, however I think she still prefers bare feet. Just like her mum ; )

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

st john's wort oil pt 2

Its taken me a while to post a follow up to my St John's Wort Oil post, and unfortunately its because it didn't work out this year : ( I can't decide whether it was lack of sun, too few flowers or just bad luck but it failed to change colour. Luckily, inkeeping with the makers mantra, heres some I made earlier. I still have this left over from last year and although it isn't really useable any more, it only keeps for about a year, it still has some of the colour. Its so magical to watch the glorious yellow olive oil turn this deep red. Its such a shame it didn't work but I guess it goes to show you can't always predict what mother nature is going to do. I'll try again next year.

I'm expecting much better results for my berry liquers; blackberry vodka and hawthorn brandy this autumn. Yum! At least they don't rely on the sun for success!

Monday, 22 August 2011

a day with the goddess

today I am spending the day making jewellery, tending my herb beds, sorting through fabrics, and generally enjoying the silence that only occurs when my daugther is at nursery! I don't really get the time to think when she's around, except about where we're going what we're doing and when she last ate, slept etc so its lovely to just be able to take time out and slow things down a bit. Its a beautiful day too which I am sorry to say have been few and far between of late. Hard to believe its august...

my etsy shop is now well and truly up and running and I've made my first couple of sales. I have a added a fab little widget on the side bar too. it's really exciting starting something new, although I now find I'm getting a little OCD about checking the internet! Still, I have lots of ideas so I will have plenty to ocupy myself over the next few months coming up to winter.

my herb bed is looking great! my mint plants have florished, I had to get rid of the nasturtiums (they went a bit mental) but everything else seems to be doing ok. it'll be lovely to be able to harvest from it before the winter sets in. I am making the most of the sage and lemon balm for my jewellery and I'm also using cranesbill which grows wild pretty much all over my garden. It has such pretty leaves perfect for pendants.

I have been going through some of my crystals today too. I cleansed them under the full moon a couple of weeks ago. This piece of rose quartz I bought for my daughter's room, it has such a calm, loving energy about it.

I have also bought a piece of spiderweb obsidian recently which is so beautiful. I'd never seen it before but felt so drawn to it when I saw it. Its a wonderful piece to use for meditation and grounding; it also looks amazing. It doesn't photograph well as its so polished but you get the idea. Its so nice to hold.

A day of sunshine, a little rain and a beautiful sunset. A good day x