Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gloom, Dispair and Agony on Me!!!!

This is NOT what I had planned for my 100th post. It was going to be sharing the most exquisite dishes I found by this amazing seller!

Instead we have the total and complete devastation of three dinner plates, a serving bowl, three cups and saucers and at least something else that I can't identify. The box was dented on one corner but I guess that was enough to crush these tightly packed pieces. One cup was completely crushed! ....*sigh* I'm sick over it.

Surprisingly I'm not as mad about the money I spent as I am the waste of these gorgeous pieces.

Maybe I can make something out of them...but now I'm in mourning. I'll look to make lemonade out of these lemons tomorrow.

p.s. ....did I say I hate the post office?

Why didn't I see that?

I swear, just when I think I've thought of everything a wonderful creative customer comes along and puts together a combination that just dazzles! And I'm left scratching my head.... why didn't I think of that!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ring or Necklace?

Whadya think? I can't decide whether to make this a ring or a pendant.

This features this gorgeous robins egg blue druzy with white crystals. It's even speckled like a robin's egg! Off to the side I've placed this sweet tiny faceted rose quartz. The filigree reminds me of the showgirls who have feather fans. Not that I know ANYTHING about showgirls, maybe its just a throwback of Mae West or Miss Kitty from Gunsmoke. Maybe I watch too much Turner Classic Movies.

ANYWAY.... I digress. I'd love to hear what you think: Ring or Necklace. Or, if you want it, let me know and I'll customize it for you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New from the Bench

I've postponed my vacation updates for now to share something new from the bench. We had a cooler day yesterday and that combined with a little fixing of the air conditioning system in my shop I was able to work more than a couple of hours yesterday. I got some orders done as well as some things I wanted to make.

These are the beads and focals I wrote about here. I'm still tweaking, but I am pretty pleased with the progress so far. The green one is up in my shop but I may add to it and/or the others. I think they still need a little something.

This is new, too. A gorgeous lace agate with colors of the Painted Desert.

All-in-all I'd say it was a pretty productive day at the bench.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Druzy Crazy

Yes, I went a little crazy. I found a supplier last week who had new stones in stock. So, I bought a couple, a few, well, yes one dozen. If one is good, twelve must be awesome!

Now...what to do. Any ideas?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 4 Starts with the Queen

or as close as most of us will ever get. There were so many people there. We had heard to get there early so we could see but when we got there we couldn't see a thing. Luckily when the guards start marching in the crowd shifts and we were able to get a little closer.

The actual changing of the guards.

The best part was afterward when we got an ice cream with a "flake" (shaved chocolate pressed into a stick-type thing, yum) and sat in the park. Lovely.

We then headed to the British Museum. A huge treasure box of some amazing things.

This is INSIDE the museum. There are three sides like this!

One of the destinations the girls wanted to see was a Harry Potter reference in Kings Cross Station. They've actually made an actual place like is in the book complete with a luggage cart halfway through the wall.

We ended the day with a visit to the London Eye. One of my favorite things. I am not crazy about heights but if I didn't look down it wasn't too bad. The views were amazing.

Parliament Building.

London is a HUGE city.

We walked past the Prime Minister's house once when we were lost. We saw this big gate with an alley-like street behind the gate. It was guarded by serious looking officers with flack jackets and big guns. I said "oh, someone important must live there". I found out later what it was!

Even though we started this day a little later, we got so much more done. This was one of my favorite days.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 3 begins with breakfast..

well, so did all the other days, but this day I took a picture. This is not my typical breakfast fare. I rarely have salami with my breakfast or any meat at all unless it's bacon. These lovely rounds of butter were so yummy on the croissants. The buttery looking stuff on the right is some type of chesse. I don't know what kind but it was delicious!

Now, after such a hearty breakfast we set off for a busy day. First stop...The Tower of London. I learned so much on our trip. First, this isn't a tower at all, but a fortress. It is an old castle compound where thousands have lived, worked and ruled.

We were shown around by a charming man...ha ha not really, he was pretty grouchy and this is the only time he was smiling here was because he had just yelled at a school group to "BE QUIET". "I really don't like children" he said several times during our tour. He is a soldier that was chosen to be a tower guard, of which one is required to have over 20 years of service to be qualified to apply. He educated those of us who were not aware that the guard we see, himself included, are true soldiers, who have fought and protected their country and others, and were deserving of our respect.
It was a new perspective seeing as how the Beefeaters (as he is called) and the Grenadine Guard (like you see in the Buckingham Palace photos) are typically seen as tourist attractions and something to be teased and tempted to move. If you look closely at this picture and those I'll post later showing Buckingham Palace, you'll see those guns they have are not props, they are real guns with live ammunition. This young man shown here had just returned from Afghanistan and was likely to return in a few months.

The Tower is where the crown jewels are kept, although, again, it isn't a tower as you would expect. It is a large building within the walls of grounds.
This major building in the center is The White Tower where kings have ruled. Richard I to Henry VIII and lots in between.

After the tower we went to see Westminster Abbey. This has to be one of the largest buildings I have EVER seen. I am still in awe of how they could have built this building hundreds of years ago without modern machinery. Unbelieveable. Also, did you know, in addition to it being a church, it is also a large crypt. There are hundreds of people, very important people, buried or in vaults in this building. Very surprising. Gorgous sculptures adorn most of the large graves and there are many laid in the floor whose markings have been worn to nothing. The building itself is amazing inside and out.

Next door to Westminster Abbey is the Parliament Building. This is huge as well! We weren't allowed to go in and it was blocked off by huge baricades and armed guards. But this is the building where Big Ben or The Clock Tower is attached. Very lovely.

And King Richard I now adorns a parking lot.

One of the treats we had in England were the uses/changes in words we hear every day. Here is where we would park our "strollers".

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'll start with day 2.

I gave a little hint earlier about our first day in London, but since we were so tired, that was pretty much all it was about. Being tired and trying to make it through the day.

Our second day was much better with a little more rest we set out on a boat tour of the Thames. It was loads of fun. We saw really interesting things riding up the Thames as well as being entertained by a very funny guide.One of the things we were looking forward to was hearing British accents. Well, the guide did not disappoint. He had a thick accent and his anecdotes filled with British slang was such a treat. We were also lucky enough (yes, lucky) to be seated near a school group of boys that appeared to be around 10 years old. They talked non stop and their accents were so heavy we barely could make out if they were actually speaking English. Plus their sweaters with their school crest and their hats made it all the more charming.Our boat trip dropped us off at Greenwich (pron. grennich) and we climbed to the top of the hill to the Royal Observatory to see the Prime Meridian, which of course we had to straddle!
Hiking back down the hill gave us the most wonderful views of London.
We then found a little pub and had a pub lunch with a pint. The man working in the pub was lovely and fun to talk to. He told us all about how much it rains there but we, apparently, decided to take our vacation (holiday) in a heat wave! Lucky us, especially when there is no air conditioning in most places.

This was an interesting sight. This is written at most crossing areas. I don't know if it is common all over England or if it is just in the heavy tourist areas to keep tourists from being killed. It reminds us which way to look so we don't get smashed by an oncoming car coming from the wrong direction!

We timed our visit just right to be in the heat of World cup fever. It was fun to see the overflowing pubs with people supporting their countries (England was just eliminated before we arrived) but there was still lots of fun. This is Piccadilly Circus where our hotel was. The traffic and crowds were immense. I consider myself a city girl, but after being here, I don't think I really know what city life is like!

We did fall in love with London though. I'd go back in a minute!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

We are back.

Since I am still on London time I am up at 4 in the morning. Well, the perfect time to share a little about our trip. I so meant to blog throughout the trip sharing with you all of the wonderful things we experienced but it was not meant to be.

It was wonderful but there was so much to see and do we never made it back to the hotel before 11, or if we did, we only changed and went back out again.

London was our favorite place of the trip. I think we would have liked Paris more if we hadn't already been tired when we arrived, but, seriously, I adore London.

There are so many pictures and I'll try to share some with you once I get them edited down to blogger size. We are so happy to be back.