It's exactly this time of the year that has become my annual reminder of the affects of global warming. Where has Spring gone? One day it's sunny, but the wind is cold and damp and the next, the UV is 9 and it's HOT, like July hot!
There is no "slow" warmup to Spring that leads us into Summer anymore, that seems to be a thing of the past.
But I'm not really grumbling about it, just noticing a change that has taken place over my lifetime. I was very happy to usher winter away this year, as it seemed like a particularly long one.
I've been busy working on germinating all my vegetable seedlings here at the studio, which is an ongoing effort that starts about the end of January and keeps me digging in the dirt, potting and re-potting things. This is one of my "hacks" to get me through winter. There is something so wonderful and heart warming about little green things popping up inside, when everything outside is very gray and white.
Soon my Community Gardening plot will be entirely planted with this year's selection of veggies. I always include lots of basil, tomatoes, rapini and tomatillos. This year I am trying my hand at a couple of new varieties of tomatoes, as well as eggplant and butternut squash. Have to really plan, as I always want to grow more things than I have plot space!
In the jewellery department, I am keeping busy getting my retailers across the country stocked up for their busy summer season. If you're going to be travelling, now that our movements aren't so restricted, you can always check my Stockists page to find a location that stocks my work, near where you will be vacationing. Alternatively, check out my Upcoming Events page to see if I will be doing a Fibre Festival near you this summer.
In the new Jewellery Design department, I recently did a little "poll" via Instagram (@lisaridout to follow me) about a new Swarovski Pearl Drop Earring I was thinking of adding to my website. I received some feedback about the pearl earrings I already have; the Jackie O Pearl Earrings and the Jackie O Pearl Stud Earrings and a couple of people really wanted something in between those two - not as large as the original Jackie O Earrings and not as small as the stud version.
So I came up with these. A pearl drop using a sterling pearl cap that gives them a very classic, timeless look. Above are the Cream Swarovski Pearl colour with a French Back Top. They also come in 3 other colours - Platinum, Gray and Dark Gray. And you also have the option of either Huggies or Post earring tops.
Here's a flat layout of the various colours of pearls. Top row is the French Back version (from left to right; dark grey, gray, platinum, cream), middle row is the Huggie versions (from left to right; cream platinum, gray, dark gray) and the bottom shows the Cream (right) and Gray (left) versions with the post and large butterfly back option. The Gray and Dark Gray look very similar. The Dark Gray is almost black. To see the stock of the various colours and versions I currently have available, please visit my new product page, Jackie O Pearl Drop Earrings.
I only had so many of the sterling pearl caps in stock, so I used all that I have on hand to create this first round of pieces. I can get more, but it will take a few weeks for them to arrive from Europe. I am still dealing with different supply issues, courtesy of Covid. Wish I had enough stock to make 12 pairs - one of each colour (there are four) in each style of top (there are three), but I only had 10 pairs total. So if you go to the product page and combination you would like says "out of stock" that is why. Please send me an email, letting me know what combination you would like, and I'll put you on a list. When I get that product page re-stocked, you'll be the first to know, so you can successfully order your combination preference.
From my Instagram post concerning these earrings (see April 21, 2022 on my profile page) several people got in touch, wanting to purchase. They were the first to be contacted once I got the product page live, and have now made their selection: another reason the selection is limited.
However, if there is stock on your colour preference, but you want a different earring top, order the colour of your choice and then, as you are checking out, in the "comment" box, indicate the earring top you would prefer from what's on the order and I'll just switch it out and send your colour choice with your earring top choice. It's the best I can do for now and once I get a re-stock on the sterling pearl caps, and have restocked my website product page, I'll keep you up-to-date via this space and/or my Instagram feed.
In other news, I have a sad story, with a heartwarming ending, that I thought I would share. A friend of mine, Wendie, lost her older sister just before the holidays. As she noted, "it kind kicked the snot out of Christmas." As devastated as she was, she is also very lucky to have young grand children, who helped her find joy in a time of grief. As many of you know "it's the wee ones" that make the holiday season so magical.
Wendie recently sent me this picture. The bracelet she is wearing is my Triple Jen's Braid Bracelet that her sister's husband gave her a few years ago to celebrate a milestone anniversary. The bracelet was recently bequeathed to Wendie. Her niece knew that Wendie was a huge LREJ fan, and that she would enjoy receiving - and wearing it. Here she is wearing it alongside one of my sterling orbit rings (chain link ring sitting at the top of her ring stack on her middle finger).
We all lose family members on this journey called life. Having something special of theirs, that they loved, can help fill a little part of the hole created when they are gone. It could be anything, a hand knit sweater they made and wore every winter, a glass vase they loved to put flowers in from their garden, or a piece of jewellery they loved and wore regularly.
Wendie's story is an example of my jewellery's legacy. This is what I hope for all my pieces as I create them with so much love in my workshop. I want them to be bought by people who love the the way the pieces look and feel on them, and then pass them along to another family member who will not only treasure the piece, but will love that it keeps their loved one close in a small way, every day.
There are many reasons why I became a "Maker", but one of those hard-to-ignore parts is that "making" keeps me connected and calm. When I am put to any life test, I reach for something to keep my hands occupied and my mind concentrating on what I am creating. This is my way to distract myself from what's going on around me when I have no control, but need to endure through.
For example, over the Easter Weekend my husband had to have emergency gall bladder surgery. I had two hours' notice before the surgery, so I picked up my knitting needles, knowing the knitting would keep me calm. And it couldn't be a project I was working on, because I already knew that pattern. It needed to be a new project, so I would be distracted by casting on and counting stitches with a new colour of yarn. And I would continue to be distracted as I focused on mastering the pattern in front of me, so I didn't screw it up.
That's how I ended up starting the Zick Zack Scarf with a self-striping yarn I had on hand in my yarn stash. The pattern is available for free on Ravelry and you can use any self striping lace, sock or fingering weight yarn you may have hanging around waiting to be chosen for your next project.
I am happy to report it took me exactly one month to knit which, coincidentally, is almost the same amount of time it took my husband to recover from the surgery! He is now well and pain free, but still learning about how to alter his diet without the digesting aid of a gall bladder!