Monday, 31 December 2012

AJE December Component of the Month - Design Reveal

Welcome to the final AJE Component of the Month design reveal of 2012. The December component was gifted by the lovely Jenny Davies- Reazor - mixed media artist and font of all knowledge for all things mythical and folkloric - if that's a word. The pieces Jenny chose were these lovely ceramic pendant featuring a classical Labyrinth motif...

I have to confess to being pretty ignorant on the subject of Labyrinths but fortunately Jenny gave us some insight in her original post which you can find here. Found in many cultures she explained how historically they were seen as a symbolic path to God and often served as a substitute to a religious pilgrimage. Labyrinths have only one clear path from the edge to the centre and out again and today they have become popular as a walking meditation that can help to inspire and help to centre oneself. Jenny felt that this was an appropriate symbol with New Year's being a time where we all feel resolved to start afresh and I couldn't agree more.

Edinburgh Labyrinth - United Kingdom
I'm not a religious person but I do find that if I am troubled or have decisions to make, walking will often help me to gain clarity. It's as if the physical process of walking somehow helps me to recognise issues and ideas and organise them so that I can see what I need to do to achieve my goal. So I decided that I would use this idea of a journey as the theme for my design.

This is the pendant I received from Jenny - a lovely weathered copper colour.

I'm very much into layered or tiered pendants at the moment and as I was given a set of letter punches for Christmas I thought this would be a good opportunity to try them out - this is the finished design I came up with...

I chose copper to work with the verdigris glaze and cut a little bar which I stamped with the legend 'follow your own path' because I sometimes need reminding to aim for the things I want rather than those others want for me. I hammered and oxidised the bar to give it some depth and age and then attached it to the pendant.

I found a bronze charm in my stash that featured a motif that almost looked like an old decaying labyrinth so I used a little verdigris and copper patina to pull the ensemble together and added it to the bottom of the pendant.

At this point I wanted to keep the design simple and uncluttered to capture the contemplative element of the labyrinth so I decided to hang the pendant from a simple copper chain. I made a spiral wire clasp to echo the motif and added a simple ceramic bead to give balance and that was it - job done.

I need a bit more practise at the stamping but I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt. This has opened up a new design style for me and I love it when that happens so thank you Jenny for providing me with the opportunity.

I'm off to see how my AJE team mates and our guests where inspired by Jenny's components and you can join me using the links below. Happy New Year and good fortune for 2013!



Thursday, 27 December 2012

Looking forward and a jewellery sale...

And there it was gone! I hope you all had a lovely festive break and hopefully are still enjoying a little extra relaxation in the run up to the New Year. I used to like going to work at this time as it was always a good opportunity to clear the deck for a fresh start come January 1st. I'm really trying to do the same now that I work at home although it's just so much easier to put off but, I have lots of new things I want to do so I really will knuckle down...tomorrow!

One thing I have done though is put everything in my Etsy jewellery shop THEA jewellery on sale with discounts of up to 20% on earrings, necklaces, bracelets even bag charms and a few scarves - these are just a few of the bargains up for grabs...

I have new designs I want to work on so I need to make some room. All items have already been marked down so there is no need for coupon codes, just check out and you'll be charged the reduced price and, as always there is a flat shipping rate for multiple purchases.  So if you have some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket why not take a look - the sale will run until 11.00pm GMT on January 1st 2013.

Happy shopping.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Christmas Is Almost Upon Us...

So I just wanted to thank all of you have been following my blog ramblings this past year and supporting my other ventures. My shops will remain open over holiday season and I will ship orders as soon as possible. In the meantime I hope this festive season brings peace and contentment to you and yours.

I published this poem here last Christmas and was looking for another one for this year but I so love the sentiment that I've decided to go with this one again - hope you enjoy.

The foolish Fir tree

by Henry Van Dyke

A Little fir grew in the midst of the wood
Contented and happy, as young trees should.
His body was straight and his boughs were clean;
And summer and winter the bountiful sheen
Of his needles bedecked him, from top to root,
In a beautiful, all-the-year, evergreen suit.

But a trouble came into his heart one day,
When he saw that the other trees were gay
In the wonderful raiment that summer weaves
Of manifold shapes and kinds of leaves:
He looked at his needles so stiff and small,
And thought that his dress was the poorest of all.
Then jealousy clouded the little tree's mind,
And he said to himself, "It was not very kind
"To give such an ugly old dress to a tree!
"If the fays of the forest would only ask me,
"I'd tell them how I should like to be dressed,
"In a garment of gold, to bedazzle the rest!"
So he fell asleep, but his dreams were bad.
When he woke in the morning, his heart was glad;
For every leaf that his boughs could hold
Was made of the brightest beaten gold.
I tell you, children, the tree was proud;
He was something above the common crowd;
And he tinkled his leaves, as if he would say
To a peddler who happened to pass that way,
"Just look at me! don't you think I am fine?
"And wouldn't you like such a dress as mine?"
"Oh, yes!" said the man, "and I really guess
I must fill my pack with your beautiful dress."
So he picked the golden leaves with care,
And left the little tree shivering there.

"Oh, why did I wish for golden leaves?"
The fir-tree said, "I forgot that thieves
"Would be sure to rob me in passing by.
"If the fairies would give me another try,
"I'd wish for something that cost much less,
"And be satisfied with glass for my dress!"
Then he fell asleep; and, just as before,
The fairies granted his wish once more.
When the night was gone, and the sun rose clear,
The tree was a crystal chandelier;
And it seemed, as he stood in the morning light,
That his branches were covered with jewels bright.
"Aha!" said the tree. "This is something great!"
And he held himself up, very proud and straight;
But a rude young wind through the forest dashed,
In a reckless temper, and quickly smashed
The delicate leaves. With a clashing sound
They broke into pieces and fell on the ground,
Like a silvery, shimmering shower of hail,
And the tree stood naked and bare to the gale.

Then his heart was sad; and he cried, "Alas
"For my beautiful leaves of shining glass!
"Perhaps I have made another mistake
"In choosing a dress so easy to break.
"If the fairies only would hear me again
"I'd ask them for something both pretty and plain:
"It wouldn't cost much to grant my request,
"In leaves of green lettuce I'd like to be dressed!"
By this time the fairies were laughing, I know;
But they gave him his wish in a second; and so
With leaves of green lettuce, all tender and sweet,
The tree was arrayed, from his head to his feet.
"I knew it!" he cried, "I was sure I could find
"The sort of a suit that would be to my mind.
"There's none of the trees has a prettier dress,
"And none as attractive as I am, I guess."
But a goat, who was taking an afternoon walk,
By chance overheard the fir-tree's talk.
So he came up close for a nearer view;
"My salad!" he bleated, "I think so too!
"You're the most attractive kind of a tree,
"And I want your leaves for my five-o'clock tea."
So he ate them all without saying grace,
And walked away with a grin on his face;
While the little tree stood in the twilight dim,
With never a leaf on a single limb.

Then he sighed and groaned; but his voice was weak
He was so ashamed that he could not speak.
He knew at last that he had been a fool,
To think of breaking the forest rule,
And choosing a dress himself to please,
Because he envied the other trees.
But it couldn't be helped, it was now too late,
He must make up his mind to a leafless fate!
So he let himself sink in a slumber deep,
But he moaned and he tossed in his troubled sleep,
Till the morning touched him with joyful beam,
And he woke to find it was all a dream.
For there in his evergreen dress he stood,
A pointed fir in the midst of the wood!
His branches were sweet with the balsam smell,
His needles were green when the white snow fell.
And always contented and happy was he,
The very best kind of a Christmas tree. 

Wishing You a Very Merry Christmas


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Double Giveaway Winners...

Well what an amazing response! Thank you so much to everyone who entered my celebration giveaway and for all the caring and sharing you did along the way - I really do appreciate it. I would also like to say thank you again to everyone who has supported me throughout 2012 and wish you all a fun filled Christmas and a happy and peaceful new year.

And now down the the business in hand - drum roll please....

The winner of the owl necklace is...                Erin Prais- Hintz

The winner of the Component set is...            Antiquity Travellers

Congratulations ladies...I hope you love your prizes and I'll be in touch shortly!


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Double Celebration - Double Giveaway...!


Remember a few weeks back when I said that I would have a giveaway if I reached 1000 sales in my component shop THEA too by new years eve...? Well, thanks to my wonderful customers that got blown out of the water and I reached my goal 2 weeks ago and I am absolutely thrilled and so grateful to everyone who supports my little venture.

So today's the day for that giveaway but, because I got there even earlier than I'd hoped and because it's nearly Christmas it's going to be a double giveaway with what I hope you'll agree are two great prizes up for grabs.

First up is a one of a kind necklace made by my own fair hands and featuring one of my bronze owl pendants which I've patinated a lovely verdigris colour...

This is the first time I've patinated one of these and I think he looks rather fine with this plumage. The necklace also features a gorgeous lampwork focal bead by the fabulous Mindy McGregor of Moogin Mindy which is accented with premium Czech glass flame beads and little lampies on a brass chain.

It's a long necklace that will slip easily over your head with a 28" chain and a further 3" drop for the pendant.

The second prize today is a set of leaf themed bronze components comprising a bracelet bar with real oak leaf impression, a leaf toggle clasp and a pair of ivy leaf headpins with a flame patina...

Think you could do something with these...?

So, two lucky people will walk away with one of these prizes each and it could be you because all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. But there are are lots of ways you can increase your chances of winning too... Do any of the following and leave an additional comment each time and you will get an extra entry for each one:
  • Share this giveaway on your own blog.
  • Share this giveaway on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
  • Become a new follower of 'The Gossiping Goddess' - see sidebar.
  • Become a follower of my Facebook page.
  • Follow me on Pinterest
  • Like my Etsy shops THEA jewellery and THEA too.
  • Anything else of you can think of to spread the word.
Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximise your chances though!

The giveaway will close at 8am GMT on thursday 20th December 2012 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later in the day.

So all that remains is for me to once again say a huge thank you to everyone who has made 2012 such a great year and I hope to see more of you in the coming year. I hope you are all enjoying the run-up to the festive season and good luck with the giveaway!


Saturday, 15 December 2012

2nd Annual Ornament Swap

 Welcome to the 2nd Annual Ornament Swap hosted by the lovely Sally Russick. This is my first time participating in the event and I was very excited when I found out that my partner would be Sally herself. Her parcel arrived beautifully boxed an be-ribboned and I found myself holding my breathe while I opened it...and the anticipation wasn't wasted.

Inside was this beautiful beaded crystal snowflake suspended from coiled silver wire hook and accented with soft grey and ivory lampwork beads from HMB studios...

Sally couldn't have picked better colours if she'd tried since my tree and ornaments are all clear glass and crystal and very pale muted tones. Unfortunately the tree is a shimmery matte silver/white which holds no truck with being photographed (not with my limited ability anyway) so I am unable to show Sally's piece in situ but believe me, it could have been made to my own specifications it fits so well. But then, if you've already seen Sally's post today you may notice certain similarities in motifs and colours...there was a definite meeting of minds on this project!

And as if it wasn't enough the have this beautiful thing hanging from my tree, I then discovered that the snowflake has its own bail and can be removed from the ornament and worn as a pendant - how awesome is that!

I absolutely adore this and it will have pride of place in my holiday decor for many years to come - thank you so much Sally, both for my wonderful gift and for organising this hop for us.

Now, I'm off to grab myself another cup of coffee before I settle down to visit all the other participants and see what Christmas surprises they've had...I do hope you'll use the links below and join me as It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas....



Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Bead Giveaway Blog Hop ...

Hello and welcome to the 'Kaz Baildon Bead Giveaway Blog Hop'. Way back in October a group of designers where randomly selected receive a free bead or beads from a huge stash very kindly gifted to me by the super talented glass artist Kaz Baildon. Since then the recipients have been working on designs for jewellery, accessories or ornaments using those beads and today's the day they reveal what they've made. I don't know which beads went where so I'm really looking forward to seeing the results.

This is the bead I kept to use for myself and yes, I forgot to photograph it before I made my piece! I thought the tartan like design was rather fun and the shape was something different to work with. Unfortunately things didn't quite go to plan for me...

As always I left everything until this last week having decided that being a last minute Mary is part of my genetic make up and there's no point trying to change now. But since late last week I've been somewhat under the weather and for the last few days have been confined to bed dosing myself on antibiotics and painkillers. So when I did get around to starting on my design on Monday I had to limit myself to simple ideas and tools that I could use from bed - no sharp objects or heat involved here then.

Anyway, all that aside I had already decided I wanted to make something fun and as the focal is quite detailed I thought a simple treatment was suitable. I also happen to have a rather large jar of odds and ends of lampwork spacers so I had a good sort through those and came up with some in co-ordinating colours. I've got a bit of a thing for stringing and knotting with cotton and linen at the moment - I think it's because after working with metals so much when making my components it makes a change to use something different in my jewellery designs. I used a Double strand of waxed linen and strung the spacers so that the 'ring' side was featured rather than the edge of the bead. Kaz's focal was strung onto the linen as a pendant and I left tails beneath it which I finished with little Czech glass beads and the necklace is finished with a simple brass lobster clasp. As I've said - quite simple but I hope you like it none-the-less.

Now, I don't usually make holiday themed jewellery but when I was clearing up the beads there were a pair that had a definite seasonal feel to them so I thought I'd make a little extra item. I knew I had just the right beads to turn these 'cool' lampies into a pair of seasonal earrings which I thought would be a nice tribute to Kaz who I happen to know is besotted with earrings and has a huge collection of them. So here we have a pair of icy, alternative Christmas trees complete with red Czech glass 'tubs' and Hematite stars...cute huh?

Just before before you dash off to see what everyone else did with their beads, you might recall that in addition to the beads I gave away for this blog hop, I also promised a grab bag of beads for one lucky person from the original list of commentators. Well this is what's in that grab bag...

And I'm delighted to announce that this will shortly be winging it's way to...

Leigh Thow of JewellrLeigh

Congratulations Leigh, I hope you enjoy creating with your early Christmas present.

So let's get back to the bog hop then...I hope you'll join me and come and check out all the other participants designs using the links below - now that I can do from bed! Many thanks to Kaz for her very generous gift of the beads that made this event possible and of course, to everyone who has taken part in the hop - I hope you had fun designing with your surprise beads and who knows...maybe we can do it again next year...

Lesley Watt -
Cory Tompkins -
Rebecca Anderson -
Marie Cramp -   Marie is unwell and has had to withdraw
Claire Braunbarth -
Heidi Post - http://
Tiffany Smith -
Sharyl Macmillan-Nelson -
Ailsa Cordner -
Linda Landig -
Caroline Dewison -
Renetha -
Kari Asbury -
Niky Sayers -
Purple Cobwebs -
Cilla Watkins -
Therese Frank -
 Claire Ennis -
 Emma -
Kathy Lindemer - 
Alicia -
Sandy Huntress -
Lori Bowring Michaud -
Amy -
Katherine Gale -


Monday, 3 December 2012

Time To Unwind - Well Almost...

Can it really be December already...time has flown faster than ever this year.  Maybe it's because I've taken on new ventures that have kept me really busy but the year is almost over and I need take a leaf out of my cat Cleo's book and wind down a bit...

I'll still be around and about and getting involved in all the fun in the run up to Christmas, I'll just be putting component production on hold over the holiday period. But not of course until I've had one last update at THEAtoo - well you didn't really think I was going to cut and run did you?

So my last update of 2012 will be at 8pm GMT tomorrow, Tuesday 4th December and will include all these goodies and more. And, at the time of writing this I am just 9 sales away from achieving my Year 1 target of 1000 sales 2 months early so keep your eyes peeled for news of some celebrations when that happens!

Of course I'm still happy to discuss custom orders so please feel free to contact me via Etsy to discuss. Hopefully a little break from production will rejuvenate the creative bit of my brain so that I'll have lots of new things to show you in the new year. 

Now I'm off to find myself a cosy window sill...


Friday, 30 November 2012

Challenge of Colour 2012

I am taking part in two blog hops today - if you are  looking for the 'AJE Component of the month' hop you will find it here.

Welcome to the 3rd Annual Challenge of Colour blog hop and huge thanks to Erin Prais-Hintz and Brandi Hussey for once again organising an event of monumental proportions and providing us all with such stunning inspiration pieces from the Nasa 'Earth as Art' collection of unique topographical images

Life has been a little manic here of late to say the least so although we were offered two palettes, on this occasion I decided to be sensible and just commit to one - although I did manage to make two pieces even though it went to the wire as usual. This is the palette I chose from those selected for me:

Desert to Forest
March 28, 2009

In the American Southwest, transitions from one ecosystem to another can be dramatic and abrupt. This certainly is true in northern Arizona, USA, where the parched Painted Desert, shown here in a palette of purples, adjoins Sitgreaves National Forest (shades of green), a realm of pine woodlands with abundant wildlife. Within the Painted Desert lie the Hopi Buttes, a field of ancient volcanic cones, seen here as a scattering of dark, circular shapes near the top of the image.

Green is my my favourite colour and I'm rather fond of purple too so thank you again Erin!

In the past I've had  a habit of sweating it too much over these challenges and trying to find exact matches for every tone and include every shade but this time I decided I was going to be much freer with it by choosing beads that have an overall feel of the palette and going with my first instincts. For my first piece I selected a group of beads and then put the rest of the stash out of sight so they wouldn't distract me and it seemed to work as I decided pretty quickly on a bracelet. I chose lampwork beads for this and Fine silver to represent the paler tones of the palette...this was the result.

The mottled ribbed round beads were the obvious starting point since they already combine purple and green but they also reminded me of tiny little worlds viewed from space. The silvered green beads picked up the same green from these. The barrel beads that look pink in these photo's are in fact a perfect match for the purple, I just couldn't get them to look their natural colour without changing the tone of everything else - glass can be a challenge in itself! I used some Hill Tribe hammered lentils to lift the colours and strung the beads on waxed linen to get the rustic feel I'm so fond off but then I took an unusual turn for me. I wanted something to suggest the feeling of lushness and abundance I get from the image so I started making lots of little dangles - not something I do often. With pale green and amethyst crystal and some blue black Czech glass to represent the volcanic area which can be seen as the mottle black patch at the top of the image these also add a lovely sense of movement.

I clustered these along three Hill Tribe hammered rings so that that they would cascade from the bottom of the bracelet and counterbalance the weight of the larger beds. Finally I finished it off with a hand made silver clasp. I've called this piece 'Abundant Earth'.

Ribbed and silvered lampwork beads by Lush Lampwork
Purple barrels by Alchemy lampwork

My second piece came about from two focals that jumped out at me when I was first going through my beads. When I first saw the images for this hop the old Carpenters song 'Top of the World' came into my mind (and stuck there!) and these two focal seemed to lend themselves to that so, with a simple little treatment my second piece is called...what else but "Top of the World".

The cute little ceramic bird by Blueberri Beads is nestled in one of my own bronze bead caps and sat atop a stunning Moogin focal which reminds me rather of a patchwork quilt of fields. A purple class drop and bronze heart and flower charms complete the pendant.

I've hung this simply form a Vintaj chain but have added a little embellishment with some beautiful ceramic beads by Summers Studio and some Czech glass beads. The necklace is quite long and adjustable and has a great fun feel to it.

So there you have my colour inspired pieces for 2012. I could play this game for ever and I do have a little plan to spend some quiet time over Christmas investigating some of the these 'Earth as Art' pictures more closely and maybe even designing a few more pieces. I hope you join me on this blog hop and see what everyone else has created...I am sure there are going to be some some stunning pieces so please follow me and enjoy!

Erin Prais-Hintz
Rebecca Anderson
Kris Auderer
Chrizette Bayman
Lori Bowring Michaud
Courtney Breul
Lynsey Brooks
Stephanie Buss
Iveth Caruso
Shannon Chomanczuk
Lisa Cone
Cece Cormier
Lori Dorrington
Dawn Doucette
Jeannie Dukic
Kim Dworak
Beth Emery
Janice Everett
Pam Farren
Donetta Farrington
Gloria Ferrer
Cherrie Fick
Therese Frank
Patty Gasparino
Tanya Goodwin
Ambra Gostoli
Jess Green
Denielle Hagerman
Mary Harding
Karla Hartzog
Kim Hora
Brandi Hussey
Emanda Johnson
Jennifer Justman
Sue Kennedy
Ema Kilroy
Lee Koopman
Linda Landig
Kirsi Luostarinen
Cynthia Machata
Alicia Marinache
Beth McCord
Mary K McGraw
Karen Mitchell
Cheri Mitchell-Reed
Aimee Moisa
Karla Morgan
Penny Neville
Becky Pancake
Kashmira Patel
Alice Peterson
Kayla Potega
Debbie Price
Bobbie Rafferty
Caron Reid
Nicole Rennell
Cynthia Riggs
Andrea Ross
Sally Russick
Annie Scherz
Pam Sears
Renetha Stanziano
Sandra Stein
Kristen Stevens
Tracy Stillman
Sherri Stokey
Lola Survillo
Kay Thomerson
Jo Tinley
Emma Todd
Cory Tompkins
Pam Traub
Melissa Trudinger
Michelle Tucker
Shelley Graham Turner
Monique Urquhart
Rachel Van-Walsk
Patti Vanderbloemen
Lesley Watt
Lynn White
Joan Williams