Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Florentine Inspiration

Anyone who has visited Italy will probably recognise some of these beautiful traditionally- inspired designs from the stationary sets that can be bought as souvenirs in the gift shops. In my Etsy store - The Paper Tree - you can choose from a range of these gorgeous papers in large 50 x 70cm sheets to use as gift wrapping, but also in a wide range of crafts such as bookbinding, box making, origami, decoupage, scrapbooking - and many more!

The paper is lovely quality, weighing approx 80gsm, so is strong but still flexible enough to use in your craft projects. I also sell them in handy 6" x 6" sample packs so you can try a selection of your choice without buying a whole sheet. Perfect too for smaller projects such as card making and collage!

As well as traditional patterns there are also some more contemporary designs such as this stunning peacock feather paper, which is highlighted with soft gold as many of these gorgeous papers are. It also happens to be my best seller!

Keep updated on new additions on the Facebook page  :)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Harissa Chicken & Roasted Vegetables

I cooked this quick and easy chicken dish up for our midweek supper - I love throwing things together from what's in the fridge, and this really worked! Very simple and tasty :)

Here's what I used:

4 chicken fillets/pieces
1 green bell pepper, chopped into chunks
A handful of cherry or chopped fresh tomatoes
Regular and sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
Harissa paste
Olive oil
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

I pre-cooked the sweet potato in some boiling water for 4-5 mins to soften a little first before roasting, and also pan-fried the chicken pieces that had been smeared with harissa paste for a couple of minutes on each side to brown. Just pop it all into a roasting tin with some olive oil and cook for about 20-25 mins at 180C, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are soft. Yum! :-P

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tackling the Jungle

I booked some time off work recently and was lucky enough to get some sunshine to go with it! I've been making some big alterations in the garden and house, so it's been perfect for getting outside and topping up the Vitamin D ;-)

 I've had a lovely buddleia in my garden for some years now, and have let it grow from what should have been a large shrub into a huge tree due to not pruning it back hard enough. I decided to cut it right back this year to hopefully rejuvenate it - these are some of the branches waiting to be cleared away! You can see the trees on the right hand side were getting pushed away and mis-shapen so it will give them some much needed space too :)

This white potentilla was planted in front of the buddleia and has never really done much - but already the difference is amazing, it's really starting to thrive!

And after all that hard work? Homemade tzatziki and bbq kebabs... ;-)

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Beginnings

I'm back! :D

Well... there have been a lot of changes round here over the last couple of years. Major personal upheaval for one, time is a great healer as they say! I am still making jewellery, commissions only at the moment but that may change soon :) And as usual I have managed to pick up a few more interests along the way... I've decided not to fight this compulsion any more and just go with it - I'm obviously not meant to just stick to one thing. Variety is the spice of life!

So firstly, another shop on Etsy! This time selling beautiful decorative paper. I have Japanese chiyogami and Italian at the moment - a lovely selection and hopefully more to come soon. So many uses - from book covers and boxes, scrapbooking, card making, origami, decoupage, or just wrap with it! Lots more ideas, and I'm hoping to show some here too from time to time as I have one or two projects of my own on the go ;-) Visit the Paper Tree to see more gorgeous paper!

Sitting Pretty is still going strong too - I have lots of vintage postcards and photographs waiting to be listed, but even so the shop is pretty well stocked, so if you love vintage do go and have a browse!

I'm enjoying a few days off at home at the moment, so looking forward to catching up with a few projects this week, as well as enjoying some welcome spring sunshine here in the UK - it makes a change from snow!! I had my first bbq of the year this weekend with some friends, looking forward to lots more! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In the Pink

Wow - I've been so busy just lately with one thing and another, new customers and lots of commissions - brides, holiday jewellery, you name it!

The vintage shop on Etsy is doing well too, I'm finding lots of lovely items to stock it with, and some wonderful regulars already!

I've also had an order for some of these lovely 'bling' rings - fabulous clusters of sparkly crystals and pearls, I'm planning lots of summery colour combinations, with matching cluster earrings.

This rose bush in my garden has some very beautiful and heavily scented blooms, what with this and the honeysuckle and jasmine around my patio it's my favourite place to sit at the moment!

And finally... don't you just love a gorgeous sunset...?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Blowing Hot and Cold

Well we've been having some very odd weather here in the UK, a tropical heat wave that brought some lovely temperatures and got us all out and about in our summer wear, not to mention the almost daily smell of barbecues - we certainly know how to make the most of it!

Alas it was not to last, we're back to spring temperatures and back in our woollies - c'est la vie!

Some new goodies to show you - 'Glacial Falls' cluster earrings with wonderful plump green amethyst briolettes and a cool Swarovski crystal mix of blues and greens.

For the next pair 'Honey Bees' I've soldered some chain to the bezel cups and set them with smoked topaz Swarovski crystal cabochons - very sweet, and just right if you don't want to wear anything too long.
This next pair are gold-filled - 'Tropicana Earrings', it was really hard work wrapping the beads on these compared to working with lovely soft fine silver! I was pleased with the colour mix though, a fruity mix of Swarovski crystals with raspberry chalcedony briolettes.

Finally a pair from a couple of weeks ago - 'Tutu Earrings', combining silver sheet and wire again, I've topped these off simply with faceted moonstone beads.
More photos and available to buy in my etsy store - Amari Jewellery :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer Earrings

There's nothing like sunny days to get you in the mood for summer! I'm really enjoying the colour in the garden right now - one of my favourite times of the year, everything is still fresh and green, and lots of good things to come :)

The first earrings are sterling silver, hand sawn and set with carnelian cabochons, with some hot Indian Red Swarovski crystals. They have lots of swing and movement!

These cluster earrings are ever popular - and it's so much fun thinking up colour combinations! Swarovski crystal tanzanite pendants with crystal bicones, all wrapped on my own handmade fine silver headpins.

Both available in my Etsy shop - Amari Jewellery :)

And finally another splash of colour from my garden - gorgeous lemon yellow and white flowers on this beautiful shrub, how can I not be inspired! :D

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sea Foam

I had so much fun making this pendant, it combines my two favourite types of jewellery techniques of silver-smithing and wire wrapping. I can see this being a bit of a theme in the future, especially as I have a page full of designs just waiting to be created! :)

After hand sawing the 'wave' out of sterling silver sheet, I soldered and then wrapped the wire part of the pendant with tiny white seed pearls and silver seed beads, and faceted aquamarine along the edge.

You can find this in my Etsy store - Amari Jewellery :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Azurite Flower

I did a bit of pottering in the garden at the weekend in some unexpectedly warm spring sunshine - it's nice to see some colour appearing, especially in my rather unkempt plot which has been sadly neglected in terms of planting!

This first picture is of a beautiful purple/blue periwinkle flower, or 'vinca major' to give it it's latin name. It holds a special charm for me - when I was a child we moved from the city to a small rural village, and the cottage we lived in was called 'vinca' as the garden was full of these pretty flowers. They make great ground-cover plants, the variety I have has variegated leaves.

I also spotted these lovely pink scented hyacinths in a pot that I'd forgotten about!
I've been creating again too - the sterling silver flower on this necklace has been set with a fresh blue/green azurite cabochon, and hangs on a pretty oval link chain. More pictures on Etsy - Amari Jewellery

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nice Weather for Ducks...

Well we did have some lovely spring weather here in my part of the UK last week - lots of blue skies and warm sunshine, not sure where it went but the rain and clouds are back far too soon! :(

I'm very fortunate to have a small lake just round the corner from me, I did manage to grab a few of those rays with a couple of nice walks before the weather turned, I'm in desperate need of blowing off the winter cobwebs!

I'm making lots of brighter, more colourful gemstone and Swarovski pieces for the shops I stock at the moment, ready for the spring and summer - my favourite time of the year. Everything in the garden is starting to burst into life again, not nearly enough colour though - I really must plant some more spring bulbs, especially daffodils! Lets hope it brightens up for the easter break :)


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