Category Archives: Jewellery

Unboxed

Spring opens like a long-lost jewellery box.
From its musty, darkened depths, spill
gems of every hue: sunshine topaz; dewy pearls;
sapphires, sunrise pink or celestial blue; amethyst
of heartsease.

In the lingering light, my smile returns,
my soul stretches from the shadows, warm
again.

I choose pearl strands.
Gentle blossoms to bejewel old bark.

 

© silkannthreades

She’s taking the world by storm…..

The wind changed; the storm roared in, from the deep, antarctic South and, undeterred, like Mary Poppins, she, the Grand Emissary of Sophia Stuart, came; sans umbrella, but rosy-cheeked and just what we were expecting

Only she didn’t land quite as tidily as Mary Poppins, because you can’t without an umbrella, and if you are being delivered by a postman, into a bucket that is posing as a mailbox.

Will this start a new trend?

Will this start a new trend?

Very undignified, especially when the bucket, inverted or not, is being true to form, by behaving as all buckets should during a once in a century  deluge.

Luckily my neighbour saw Sophia’s Emissary floundering; her brown coat, courtesy of Mr Amazon, slowly dragging her down as it soaked up the icy water collected in the depths of the bucket, and he brought her to my door.  She was a pitiful sight; utterly bedraggled. But I helped her out of her coat, gave her a warm hug, a fluffy towel, a cup of tea, and a change of clothes, (and pearls), and she soon revived. Emissaries and world travellers have to be resilient, like that 🙂

A quick chat, and a note dashed off to  teamgloria (*tg*) to let her know that the Envoy of Who-She-is-In-Real-Life had reached her destination, and it was time for the voyager to take to her bed, to recover from jet lag and the general ordeal of arriving on the crest of a storm.

"It's time to rest"

“It’s time to rest” How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World”

Isn’t she lovely?  Nestled next to my welcome sprig of  bay leaves, for sweet dreams and good health.

Sweet dreams and good health

Sweet dreams and good health and victory in all things

Ssshh; softly, softly, we won’t disturb her now, but, maybe, I will come back later when she is fully recovered and we can discuss the dispatches, the  laureate letters, she has brought to me, from Sophia.

What’s that? Someone is not being quiet. You heard a stifled giggle.  Oh dear; it can’t be helped.  It’s *tg*’s fault; for reminding me that being dunked in a bucket has boarding school overtones. We know a lot about boarding school, *tg* and Sophia and I. Sophia has even written a book about it, called  Emerald.  There was no Emerald at my school, (or was there?), but I seem to recall buckets, full of muck, that were used to terrorize the naughty third formers on initiation day, at the end of year. ( Yes, at end of the year, came the dreaded day of Rangi Tangi! ) We all got horribly wet, bucket-dunked or otherwise, and, after the seniors had done their worst, ( which sometimes wasn’t very bad), they got to feast and we got naught. It sounds more ghastly than it was..but I am still very glad we have all grown up to offer the world a kinder experience of life.

How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

© silkannthreades

Precious Jewels….fake or fine?

Jewel

“late 13c., “article of value used for adornment,” from Anglo-French juel, Old French jouel “ornament, jewel” (12c.), perhaps from Medieval Latin jocale, from Latin jocus “pastime, sport,” in Vulgar Latin “that which causes joy” (see joke (n.)). Another theory traces it to Latin gaudium, also with a notion of “rejoice” (see joy).” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=jewel

Precious jewellery from my grandmother

Precious jewellery from my grandmother, perhaps inherited from her mother.

“Sense of “precious stone” developed early 14c. Meaning “beloved person, admired woman” is late 14c.” http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=jewel

My mother's autograph book; her own entry for 24 July 1933

My mother’s autograph book; her own entry for 24 August 1933

Another beloved, admired jewel in ‘my book’, who brings joy and rejoicing, is dear, true friend  Lisa Brunetti . A few weeks ago, I asked if she would permit me to use one of her paintings to illustrate a poem  written by my daughter. Yes, of course, she said, and sent, not one, but eight, beautiful photos of her work. Such generosity of spirit and kindness warms my heart to its core.    And, for those of you who already know Lisa, sending so many samples via her ultra slow internet connection was not a simple matter. It took time and considerable effort. Thank you, Lisa, friend with a soul as beautiful as a rare Ecuadorean Emerald.

My daughter’s poem needs some final editing before it is ready for posting on my blog, but here are a few lines, to put a sparkle in your eye, until the final version is available.

Lark of lizards, plastic little gecko,
how I love the echo of your calls,..

…so often past the midnight have I seen
you, gaudious gelatinous-fingered gecko,
munching moth-mouthed on the meshing screens

Geckos and their lives were an integral, and much loved,  part of my childhood in Fiji. As they talked and stalked their way along ceilings and walls, or simply rested, stilled and waiting,  they kept us company. On long tropical nights, we watched each other, and together listened to the radio and each other’s words. My daughter, in Cairns, is learning to enjoy and understand  their companionship.

No geckos for me, on this cold, hail-ridden, third day of autumn, in Christchurch. Instead, this  bright jewel came to my window during a brief respite in the storm. I smiled at the way it looked at me, and  I said “Kia Ora, welcome to my window.”

True Friend or Autumn Leaf?

True Friend or Autumn Leaf?

But, then, I wondered if I had chosen the wrong greeting because, it seems to me, this little one may not be our native Orthodera novaezealandiae,

but its South African Springbok rival, Miomatis caffra,

that was accidentally brought to New Zealand in the 1970s.

The endemic New Zealand praying mantis …  is currently wide spread through out most of the country, but faces the threat of at least local extinction in many areas because of the competition from the Spring bok praying mantis. If nothing is done to protect our native praying mantis, within a few decades we may no longer be able to observe its intriguing way of life in our gardens. http://www.canterburynature.org/species/lincoln_essays/nzmantis.php

Pray tell me are you jewel or thief?

Pray tell me are you jewel or thief?

Pray tell me, someone,  if this gorgeous creature is jewel or thief? True friend or autumn leaf?

[I wonder if our rugby board knows that the rivalry between South Africa and New Zealand has taken a leap off-pitch, and New Zealand isn’t winning. The Spring Boks are taking out the All (Green) Blacks big time, and on our own home turf.]

One last diamond to add to my post:

Before this month ends,  I will receive a visitor from across the Tasman Sea. We haven’t seen each other for more than a decade. In fact, we have seen each other only once or twice in the last 45 years. But we are bonded by a shared childhood and our friendship has endured. I wonder if either of us understood the sturdy ring of truth in these words, when Jennifer penned them in my autograph book on 15 June 1967, in our island home, Lautoka, Fiji.

A Diamond Friendship

A Diamond Friendship

Mother's Autograph Book 1933

Mother’s Autograph Book 1933

May your friendships be blessed jewels in your life.

© silkannthreades

Gorgeousness, plain and simple or Epiphanies, real and imagined, continued.

In my previous post on  Epiphanies I touched upon the theme of how we feel about the way we are dressed and how we imagine we are dressed, as opposed to the reality of how we are dressed. (So that’s what she was on about, you say 😉 ) Implicit in this theme, ( well,  implicit as I see it ), is the idea of how we feel about our body image.

Over the years of my lengthening life, I have led myself to believe that I am comfortable and happy in my own skin, but it occurred to me, after reading House of Bethan’s recent post on Gorgeousness  (aka this year my body will be gorgeous) that, perhaps, I was fooling myself about my relationship with my body image. After all, I don’t particularly like having my photo taken; I don’t particularly like looking in the mirror at myself; and I don’t like shopping for clothes, at all, and I don’t like wearing make-up or having my hair styled and fancified. I do  LIKE buying jewellery though; no worries there.

So I decided to *test* and *challenge* my body image feelings/confidence…..just a little…..by daring to display, to the  wide world, my style, or what passes for style in my wardrobe. And I discovered that even to do this was incredibly scary.

Glad Rags or Ordinaries

Glad Rags or Ordinaries

Incredibly scary because I come from a puritanical, Protestant tradition  that considered too much interest in physical appearance as  improper for a well brought up young lady. Feeling/being gorgeous , it was subtlely and quietly  implied,  was vainglorious, prideful and inappropriate for ordinary, every day persons… ( but perfectly okay for movie stars, princesses and Mother Mary, but not the plebs ). The ideal was to be modest, tidy, neat and plain, and to those standards I have been faithful most of my life….which probably explains why I have rarely, if ever, been complimented on gorgeousness. 😦  About the closest I have come to such compliments was during the years of  a very sweet and dear friendship with an elderly Italian gentleman; a professor of ophthalmology whom I met at Queen Elizabeth House at Oxford in 1979. Every time we met, no matter if it were the first or the third time in a day, the Professor would open wide his arms, bring one hand to his heart and exclaim with delight ” Cara, cara,  A……, Bella, bella A…..” and, then, take my hand and proclaim to anyone  within hearing distance how wonderful I was….the only person in Oxford whose English he could actually understand 🙂  Then we would sit, side by side, in the Common Room, sometimes discussing English words from his dictionary and, sometimes, just sitting, in the silent contentment of friends who need no words. It was gorgeous.

The Prof and I

The Prof and I

To honour that  long-ago time of  gorgeousness, and to acknowledge Bethan’s current day call to encourage us to live gorgeously in our bodies, ( and not merely comfortably and just so-so), here are some more  of my *being brave * photos of what  I will wear today:

the clothing, ( most of it gifted to me);

the accessories: the necklace;

the rings, the earrings and jewels for the wrists 🙂

Phew….so there you have it. Now I am off to flaunt (not)  my neat, tidy, plain and simple  gorgeousness at the supermarket; *ttfn* otherwise known as ta ta for now 🙂

© silkannthreades

Epiphanies, real and imagined

Monday, 6th January,  was the celebration of  Epiphany   for those people, churches, cultures, countries that follow the Gregorian calendar for feast days.

The sky was heavenly blue

Heavenly blue sky for Epiphany

Heavenly blue sky for Epiphany

and, nearer to me, the flowers were blue-hued too.

And,  every which way  I turned,  I saw more manifestations  of blue,

until I felt as though I were swathed in  the most precious of  precious-blue fabrics, in much the same way as Mary, the Madonna, is often depicted, cloaked in a mantle of Mary-blue,

Federico Barocci, The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph and the Infant Baptist ('La Madonna del Gatto'), probably about 1575 © The National Gallery, London

Federico Barocci, The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph and the Infant Baptist (‘La Madonna del Gatto’), probably about 1575 © The National Gallery, London

or  ultramarine , as it is more properly called.

And it felt good; it felt blissful to be luxuriating in an aura of ‘divine’ blue-ness, as I went about my small tasks and errands, dressed, in reality, not like an artistically rendered Madonna but like this…

Glad Rags or Ordinaries

Glad Rags /Ordinaries

Epiphany Dressing

Epiphany Dressing

in very ordinary, cotton garments that are showing their age, and mine. Yet, oddly, they are garments that might be considered, by some, as slightly more glamorous than what Mary was actually wearing in Bethlehem, and thereafter 🙂 . I wonder about that. I wonder what Mary thought about her clothes;  or if she thought about them at all.  I wonder,  if on the day the Magi came with their gifts, Mary felt as if she were wearing the plainest robes, or as if she were wrapped in  the ‘richest’ cloth her world had to offer?  And I wonder if she would  be surprised at how we have dressed her through the centuries; would she say, ‘But you are dreaming..”, or would she say, ” Yes, it was so; exactly so.  I was beautiful.”

To be continued….possibly

© silkannthreades

A birthday and a Coronation

This weekend is a long one. It is Queen’s Birthday weekend and on Monday, 3 June, we celebrate the Queen’s official birthday. The Queen, being Queen Elizabeth the Second , who is our Head of State.  Today,  2nd June, we also happen to be acknowledging  the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

As a child of the colonies, and, at one time, the holder of a colonial passport that designated me as a British subject,  I have a soft spot for the Queen.  She was Queen when I came in to the world, and I simply can not imagine what life would have been like without her. Always there, always serene, always beautiful, and always the Christmas message of calm and goodwill.

So here is my little photographic tribute to the Queen on her birthday and on her Coronation anniversary. CoronationI don’t know what the perfume bottle has to do with anything; it’s just conveniently there. The silver bangle was a 21st birthday present from my parents and has a special hallmark for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The charm on the necklace, I gave to myself as a memento of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and it bears a special hallmark for that occasion.  The silver necklace dates back to my Africa days and is made from  Zambian silver. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Queen has some Zambian silver too ;),  as it is a country which also has ties  to the Monarchy.

The book in the photo is a charming story by one of my favourite authors, Paul Gallico. It was first published in 1962 but was reprinted last year for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is a small delight, and the adventures and emotions of the Clagg family as they attempt to participate in an event of historical importance are as timeless as they are endearing.

For a little more information on the Coronation, try this link which gives some fun accounts from people who were there on 2 June 1953. ( http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/real-life-stories/queens-coronation-60-years-on-1924555 )   As an interesting side note, news of the successful summit of Mt Everest by some of Her Majesty’s subjects, reached the Queen in time for her Coronation. Quite a Coronation gift, it was.

© silkannthreades

Favourite things still come in brown paper packages

My mail box doesn’t see a lot of activity these days, which, considering its earthquake battered state, isn’t such a bad thing.  It really wouldn’t take the strain of too much mail. However, I do receive enough real mail to make a daily check of the mail box worthwhile, even if, sometimes, the only occupants I  find are snails, attempting to establish a new residence. Yesterday was more worthwhile than usual, for what did I see but this…….a little package with a green customs sticker and….. no snails!…..and…….What's this?

exciting, exotic Singaporean stamps.Stamps of Singapore

I was pleased and surprised and amazed besides, because this could only be my order from Lizzie Rose Jewellery, posted a mere three days ago from far off Singapore. Postal services may be in decline worldwide but the Singapore postal service obviously hasn’t been told that. Such speed. It takes longer than 3 days for a letter to travel a few hundred kilometres within my own country.  But, back to the package, which I opened a little clumsily in my haste to see the contents. The haste was to no avail, as I discovered the contents were not meant to be revealed in a hurry.  This parcel was going to need  unwrapping with the same  consideration and care  with which it was put together. With hasty fingers subdued, I found, under a layer of thin cardboard, a small, impeccably neat, brown paper package, tied up with string, complete with bowBrown paper package

and a sweet, rosy label.Sweet  rosy label

String untied with ease, I delved, more gently this time, in to the brown paper package and discovered more delightful bows and ribbons. I began to feel as if I were playing that old-fashioned party pleaser/teaser, ‘Pass the Parcel’, but with more enjoyment than in my younger years because there was only one possible winner in this game; me!More pretty bows

Like every well-mannered party girl, I looked at the card and gift tag first (do you see the cute butterfly cut out that holds the ribbon?), so that I would know whom to thank at the end of the celebration.  And, as I looked at each detail before me, the ribbons, the string, the paper  and  the stickers wrapped and tied themselves around my store of wonderful memories of parcels past. In particular, I remember parcels from my grandfather and aunt, lovingly packaged in brown paper and tied with string and perfect, postal-approved knots.  Inside these parcels, there would be the excitement of kids’ magazines, jelly babies, and pretty stickers requiring stick, and, sometimes, real treasures such as exquisitely hand-made dolls clothes, or a hand-knitted hug me tight (shrug).  And these memories,in turn, fastened on to that tiny little prick of conscience I experienced earlier, when I tore into my mail, and reminded me of decades of diligently instilled old school traditions of thrift. So, when I returned to the present, I studied the pink tissue paper and delicate tape and shiny green ribbon and worked out how to open the pink tissue paper parcel without destroying the wrapping ……..Green and pink and gorgeousand, finally, there, before me, was my favourite thing;  jewellery, absolutely and perfectly made, just for me.Just for me

Thank you Cath of Lizzie Rose for adding colour and wonder to my day. It’s not my birthday till the end of the month but I feel like the party has already started :). Thanks, too, for making my shopping easy and stress free and for giving me confidence that real customer service truly does exist outside my memory bank.

Footnote: Here is the link to Cath’s lovely blog which I  enjoy for its creativity and its insight in to life in Singapore. It will also link you to her Etsy shop and her creative world.

http://lizzierosejewellery.com/

Anklenote: I also bought a beautiful anklet  from Lizzie Rose. I thought I was too old for such silliness but, I discover that one is never too old for some fun and frivolity. The anklet is light and comfortable and I am going to wear it till it’s time to put on my winter boots. Its tiny turquoise beads remind me of summer seas and skies.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/125679287/anklet-in-pale-turquoise-aqua-bronze

© silkannthreades