Dragonfodder Jewellery

Dragonfodder Jewellery

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I am most certainly the Queen of "Faff" and procrastination. I can get so side tracked. For example I go into the living room to straighten and before I realize it I'm picking flowers for a vase or moving things around. I've completely forgotten that I wanted to just quickly sort the living room before I do the kitchen or whatever I actually have planned. I still find that my blog and all the others I enjoy following, take up a chunk of my day.

Bevan has got me reading Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. I know I'm not like him, but he has a lot of valid points, the hugest being that we can't ignore social media.

I was on the blog, Robin and the Sage and was reading how she was feeling uninspired and showed us pics of her VERY tidy and organised studio. The light was all soft and mellow, nothing like the light we have here in South Africa. Harsh and bright. It's also going to be 30 degrees C today.

So here are some pics of the bright studio, which is not so tidy. The room is not very big and storage of the beads presented a bit of a problem. I resorted to plastic boxes in stackable baskets. One basket for gemstones and pearls, one for glass beads, one for all the metal components and one for the bigger boxes of seed beads. It works okay, but every  now and again I have to go through the beads, just to remind myself what I have. When I'm seated at the beading table the beads are on either side of me. Not ideal but it works okay for now.

Relaxation area

Sewing table

Beading table

Basket storage

View out the window

More storage

I'm on the knitting stint now. I've finished the back of Claire's jersey and want to finish the back of Joce's in the next day or two.

I'm also busy filling the bezels I bought the other day. Bevan said he was going to attempt some bezels, which he'll make from recycled aluminium.

Filling bezels

I've managed at last to finish The Winner Stands Alone. Still found the book disappointing. I've now started Step on a Crack by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. I've no idea where a got the book from, maybe the second hand book store at Glenhaven Retirement Village where Mom stays. Just started, so its early days still to decide what I think of it. I also started the book at 12h00 last night, so I don't know how much I absorbed.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


After making the bracelets that I needed to make for Joce's salon. I allowed myself some free reign. Nobody else will probably want to wear what I've made but who cares, I'll wear them.

For sale at Joce's salon: Three of the bracelets came about due to the white cloisonne beads. The other colours in the beads have been picked up in each bracelet. The one bracelet has an additional white chain with glass bead and pearl charms. The fourth bracelet was made around the beige lamp work bead with the daisy. The rest of the beads are glass and glass pearls.

Free reign: That done I could get down to by own likes. The first necklace was made using the pendant I made. Well I made the mould from clay and Bevan cast it in aluminium. The main part is supposed to be a bird on a branch. I'm not sure what the odd bit on the end is. Maybe I extended the branch beyond the disc shape, I was supposed to be keeping too. No matter, it's mine, so it has to go into a piece of jewellery. While I'm scratching through my beads, I put ones that I'm not looking for, but catch my eye, on a small bead sorting tray, in case I forget about them. I went to the tray for this necklace. Not all the beads, but certainly the pinky crimson ones and the two big green amoeba shaped discs. Some buttons and drop flowers complete the work for me. Exotica I think is apt. The colours are exotic and the bird is, well, just strange.

Next came all the tiny wired buttons pictured in a previous blog of mine. I wasn't sure what to do with the buttons. I didn't want to do exactly the same necklace as Eighty Eight. I didn't count the buttons this time, but be rest assured I got a cramp in my shoulders. I used one of the bezels that I filled and I'm very pleased with the outcome. I managed to use all the little buttons and add some more in blues, green and a yellow. The gingham covered buttons are linked together with jump rings. I used one of the doughnuts for a link and the other as a clasp, which is on the side of the necklace and fits just below the collar bone. 


The next two necklaces are not quite finished. I'm a bit undecided about how to finish them off at the back of the neck. Chain or beads or maybe even silk and linen. Not sure, so I'll just look at them for a day or two.

    The bezel with the girl, bunny and buttons seems to have been hand made. The links on the back aren't even. Other than wiring, I had to use large jump rings. I had to wire the bead above which I've used as a link. I couldn't think how to wire it all in one and wasn't in the mood for struggling.

On Thursday, I had some shopping to do and also took myself off to Bead Some More, at Waterglen Centre, in Waterfloof Glen. Some of the red ceramic beads in the blue and red necklace were from Bead Some More. I also managed to get some more bezels, but they are very shallow and three of them are really quite small. Going to have to put my mind to those.

My niece Rochelle, is getting married on the ninth of April and we are all flying down for the wedding. Claire managed to get a really pretty dress, although I'm not sure I should call it pretty. But it's great, I often look at similar dresses and wish I was twenty five years younger. I made some earrings for Claire to choose from that I thought would suit the dress. Claire will let me know if I was completely off the mark with the colours. 

Earrings for Claire to choose from.

My mantra is that there aren't enough hours in a day. I sometimes wonder if I'm wasting my time trying to market the jewellery I make. I could never turn it into a full time business, as it will always only be me doing the work. Anyway, why worry. I'm just going to carry on doing my own thing. I really want to sew tomorrow. I must pack away all the beading paraphernalia, so I can't be tempted. I love sewing, I just need to get going again. The girls jerseys are going great guns. I'm beyond the underarm with the back of Joce's jersey and Claire's is not far behind. I was on a blog the other day and the woman was showing how to knit socks. She said she loved knitted socks and always worked from a pattern. Then she went for a class and was shown how to knit a pair of socks using one's foot measurements as one went along. I must find that blog again, I'm keen to try. I love these, not sensible but so unusual.

Love these

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Compelled - Compulsion

I often wonder why I can't just be. I have a friend that can just be. She has not worked since she had her first child, almost thirty years ago. Financially, she has not had to work and has never felt the need to do anything else, other than be a good Mom and wife. She's intelligent and a lovely person. Both her children have left home and she is content with doing the housekeeping and playing the odd game of golf. No knitting, sewing, art work or any other craft. She does read novels but doesn't buy any magazines.

I on the other hand, am not happy unless I've got too much on the boil. I love doing so many things and have this need to always be achieving something.

When I started this blog, I'd decided that I needed to post every day and to record what I'd achieved every day. Easier said than done.

More jewellery went to Joce's salon last week and pieces sold again. I love it when the jewellery sells, but am also sad, as I'll never see that piece again. I wear a lot of the jewellery I make prior to marketing it. Wearing the jewellery allows me to see how it fits and if it's easy and comfortable to wear.

What went to the shop. A mixture of necklaces and earrings. Below are the necklaces. A variety of lengths, styles and pendants. The glass pendants in Wild @ Heart, Sea Glass and Watersign are by Martini Glass. The wooden heart was a gift, the fossil heart and butterfly were purchases from bead shops. The Hip pendant is a ceramic disc meant for mosaic. Amazed is the most beautiful Agate.

Butterfly & matching earrings


Fossil Heart

Wild @ Heart - Sold R350.

Sea Glass



  And sold last week. Wild @ Heart to someone who I thought would never buy a necklace. This bracelet also went.

China - Sold R150.
Joce has asked for more bracelets. She wanted slightly more neutral colours and designs. Some of my work is colourful and too "out there" for some of her clients. Most of these were made on Saturday night. I wanted to do 10 but have not quite got there. I also filled more bezels on Monday, the public holiday.

 I wanted to show individual pics of the bracelets and bezels but the pics are taking ages to download. I need to get Bevan to help me with Photo Shop so I can reduce the size, so they will download quicker.

The artworks in the bezels are clockwise from the top left, Peter van Straten with an added bunny and buttons. This is a number of cuttings from a card made by Sharon of Live Wire Jewellery livewirejewellery.blogspot.com. From a card by Sam Toft. A picture by Anine Barnard in which the bird, cat and flowers have been repositioned. A picture by Liekie, I can't remember her surname and will add the same ASAP. My apologies if Liekie or anyone who knows her sees this blog post. A gift tag to which I added moths and cotton lace.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Well after the way I felt and was last week, I at least managed to get a bit of jewellery made over the weekend. I love making jewellery and adore the beads. I'm not satisfied with just stringing though and find that I really enjoy working with wire. It's hard on the hands. I keep telling myself that if I do it more often, then my fingers will toughen up. I want to get more adventuress with the wiring and saw the book Calder Jewelry on the blog, "the writing and art of Andrew Thornton". So I'm going to try and get the book and do some learning. Unfortunately, wire is not so easy to get here. I usually end up buying all the 20 gauge wire in the shop, when I do manage to find it.

Sunday saw me making earrings, earrings and more earrings. Not ground breaking designs or anything like that, just everyday earrings. I had to put them all together, because if I try and photograph them individually, then they come out either miles away or blurry. I have a Nikon Coolpix and haven't got to play with it much. I just want to take pics and have not spent any time going through the camera's features. I never read a manual.

I'd also decided on Sunday that I was going to fill two bezels I'd bought. I've been collecting pictures for ages. More than a year ago, Bevan bought me Pratley Kraftex Pratliglo, which is a high gloss polymer coating. I'm always nervous using stuff that says "wear gloves, work in well ventilated space, do this don't do that". But I decided that since I'd got all the things together, latex gloves, paper cups, wooden spatulas, syringes, a wad of paper and pictures that I'd better do something. I was going to work on Rich's workbench in the garage, but decided that the poor man already had me taking up more than my fair share of space in the house. I couldn't take over his workbench as well.

Once the children had left home, we each took one of their bedrooms for personal space. Rich took Joce's room for a study and I took over Bevan's room for a studio. We were out one Saturday, browsing through second hand and retro shops, when I saw this great old desk. Rich had agreed earlier, that if I found a desk, he would allow me some space in HIS study, as long as I didn't take over. When we got home with the desk, my desk was much larger than his and in order to get both desks in, Rich was relegated to the corner and I had the window space. Rich is very tidy and my desk usually looks like a bomb struck it.

I digress. I decided to work at the kitchen table. I did what the instructions said and here they are. Not a great pic. It was raining all day yesterday, AT LAST, we haven't had rain for ages and the 30 degree's C have been a killer. I photographed them on my desk, next to a journal I recently bought myself. I'm supposed to write everyday. The picture in the bezel on the left, is a portion of a copy of a work by Rogerio De Andrade. On the right, is a portion of a work by Simon Stone, which I altered slightly by adding a face from elsewhere in the work, that I wanted in the picture. Apparently the Pratliglo takes 36 hours to cure completely, so no working with them till Thursday to be on the safe side.

I then spent the whole of Sunday afternoon in the studio making this lariat. It was painstaking but I love the outcome. I don't know what the pendant is, maybe Agate or Feldspar or Onyx or ................ The other components are, shell squares, retangular dics and rice, black glass beads, Czech glass beads, Hematite discs, Mother of Pearl buttons, Feldspar nuggets and seed beads. I made the clasp using 1mm wire. This took me almost three hours, as it was made in sections, which then had to be joined together. I've called this piece Delilah.


Mondays still seem to be my days to chill. As I said, it was raining. So I parked myself in the sitting room, in front of the TV from about 11h00 and knitted and wired these tiny buttons. Originally for a bracelet, but now I'm not sure. I also have the cute gingham covered buttons, so who knows.


Friday, March 11, 2011


I haven't been here since Saturday. The rest of the weekend was busy. We had supper at Joce & Simon on Saturday and the men watched the rugby. I started Joce's jersey but didn't get very far. Sunday I had to shoot off to the shops for some groceries. We had Lindy, Celio, Alexander and Mom for lunch. Ruby came with, she has grown so much and is the dearest dog, typical puppy.

From Monday I became scattered. This has happened to me my whole life, but I only really notice it now as I don't have deadlines. There is no one I HAVE to do anything for. This is probably the singularly greatest thing about being retired. Mondays, if I'm not blue, are really special, as I have the day to myself. When I become scattered, I never do anything I set out to do. I haven't made one piece of jewellery. Monday I spent the day potting around the garden, knitting and watching Vampire Diaries, which Simon had recorded for me.

Tuesday was not very different. In the morning, my car was towed to the service centre to have the V-belt etc repaired. In the afternoon, I cared for Liam. And did more knitting. Wednesday was not a lot better. Liam was with me in the morning, in the afternoon I watched recordings of Fringe. We collected my car in the late afternoon and she is purring again. 
Joce's jersey

Thursday, off to collect a sewing pattern that I'd ordered and then my new spectacles. I think they look great. A lot lighter coloured in the frame than my last pair. I also fetched Liam from Joce's salon as she went in earlier than usual. It was so hot in the late afternoon that Liam and I sat in the garden. I managed to get a look at my new Elle Decoration while Liam sat cooing in this pram. I've been a bit slow with Joce's jersey, aside from the 162 stitches, it's a cable pattern. Not difficult but if I don't pay attention, I make mistakes and have had to pull out rows more than once.

Once Liam had left on Thursday, I continued to stay in the garden until Rich got home at 17h30. I had the camera with me, as birds come to the water under the fig tree, in the late afternoon. I missed a Black Collared Barbet in the first photo and then managed to get a snap of the Cape Robin. You'll have to click on the pic to get a closer view. The owl mobile was made from mother of pearl owls, my sister Glynis gave me the mobile years ago. When I talk about years, I mean about 20. The mobile has obviously been remade more than once over the years but somehow the mother of pearl survives.


Mother of Pearl mobile

Cape Robin

They showed a picture of a retro garden chair in the Elle Decoration, I have eight of them in my garden. This was our first garden furniture, about 32 years ago and still going strong.

Sprouts in the wormery
So now it's Friday and all I've managed to do so far, is sew up the shoulder seams of my one jersey. Liam arrived at about 07h45. At about 10h00 I decided to have a look at CNN. (I like to know what's happening in the world.) You can imagine my horror to discover that Japan had experienced an earthquake of 8.9 and a tsunami. I've watched on and off since then, the devastation is incredible, those poor people.

This is for Bev, remember the phone call about whether I could put Butternut peels and pips in the wormery. This is what it looked loke this morning.

Here is a picture of "The Secret". I painted this in acrylics while we were away in November last year. The pic has been on my Face Book page. Bevan had to help me, as she looked like a Geisha girl at one stage. She is hanging the guest room at present. I was thinking of having her framed? The picture got it's title from Pearl, Claire's Mom. While the painting was in progress, Pearl said she looked like she had a secret.

The Secret

I was dianosed with burnout in July 2009 and spent a month off work. While I was off, it was recommened I read Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes and The Artists Way by Julia Cameron. I'd started both books but didn't get very far. Probably just too exhausted. Seeing that I've been feeling scatty lately, I think I'll go back to them.

Still wading through The Winner Stands Alone. I refuse to read anything else till this book is finished.

Maybe when I post again, I'll have settled and have been more productive.

P.S if you're thinking I could have finished off the oval stone in the heading picture (it's chipped on one end) I have added bead caps to hide the chip, but have not taken a new photo.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


It's only 15h25 and I've had the most super day.

Delft - Sold (R180)
Joce has been nagging me to leave my jewellery at her salon. She is a Nail Technician, her customers all have the most beautiful nails. She works in both acrylic and gel.

Anyway, yesterday we decided that today is the day, no more excuses about display stands etc. The jewellery just had to have a preview place. Joce wears Dragon Fodder Jewellery and her customers are always asking to see more.

The display went up at 09h00 and by 14h00 Joce had sold the three items pictured.
The Delft bracelet is brass chain, charms, blue delft beads, red glass beads, opaque white, faceted diamond shaped beads and red shell discs.
The Precious Rose necklace is made of silver metal chain, the rose pendant is made from recycled aluminium and was made by Bevan (my son). There are also Moonstone discs and chips, Feldspar Octagonal pieces, shell pearls, Swarofski Crystals and clear polished glass discs.
Stoned Lilac has been favourite of mine for ages. I could never understand why so many people admired it and no one bought it. The aluminium Jacaranda blossoms were made by Bevan, there are seed beads, glass beads, Wild Turquoise and Fluorite chips. The rectangular foil glass bead is wire wrapped with Fluorite and seed beads.

Stoned Lilac (background hand carved by Bevan)
Stoned Lilac - Sold (R400)

Precious Rose - Sold (R850)

Claire's pattern and Swe swe material in the background
SHOPPING SPREE As planned, Claire (my daughter in-law) and I went shopping for a skirt pattern, knitting pattern and wool.
I had a super time, I love looking at sewing patterns. Claire found a skirt pattern she liked. This is for the Swe swe material she had already bought. I'm going to sew the skirt with the button detail. I chose my type of buttons and Claire hers. We'll see what we use when the skirt is completed.

Close up of skirt and buttons (for Bevan to see)

I wanted Claire to have a look at the Vogue designer patterns as they are really special and cutting edge, no pun intended.
 My buttons are the pink and orange. I love OTT and Off The Wall.

The Vogue designer pattern

We bought the pattern for the pants but both love the jacket as well and will make these when Claire gets the material. Claire's not a crazy shopper like me (a good thing) and her head is probably still spinning. Claire took me for coffee and cake afterwards.

My pattern and stunning material

Claire bought this pattern for me and I just could not resist the material. So many stunning colours and patterns. I'm going to make the top on the top left.

Joce's pattern and yarn

Then off to the haberdashery for knitting patterns and yarn. Joce knew what she wanted. I couldn't find the exact pattern, so have settled for the maternity pattern, which is easily adjustable.

Claire had an idea of what she wanted, but there were no such patterns. So this is what I steam-rolled Claire into.

Claire's pattern & yarn. I thing the hoddie jersey is going to be stunning
Choosing the yarn was not easy, they didn't have enough of the yarn that we wanted for either of the  jerseys. So Claire's jersey is out of the yarn I wanted for Joce and Joce has the same kind of yarn, only a lighter blue colour. They both have blue eyes so the colours will be great.

I now have so much to do. I know what I want to do, immediately start the new stuff but that's not allowed. I first have to complete my two jerseys which are on the 99, then the top which I've just begun. Then I can start on Claire's skirt. I do the knitting at night in front of the TV. Then I don't imbibe in wine, the hands are too busy. Can't fiddle with my nails either, another plus.

My car broke down just as we got home. The fan belt broke. NOT SUPER but the car has been making a strange noise for a time now, probably was the belt going. But not much could spoil this super day. It was great spending time alone with Claire. Thanks doll.


Friday, March 4, 2011


Eighty Eight

Inspiration can come from many things. For me, it is usually the beads themselves or a particular pendant, sometimes it's something in a magazine or on someone or something someone else has made. Lori Anderson of Pretty Things http://prettythingsblog.com made a necklace using loads of creamy coloured Mother Of Pearl buttons, interspersed with a few red beads and a key pendant. I immediately knew that I wanted to make the same necklace. Unfortunately, I don't have loads of creamy buttons, we also don't have a lot of thrift shops in Pretoria. So, it had to be second best. Of course I couldn't wait, I had to start immediately. I had a largish link brass chain but not enough brass wire, I didn't have enough buttons of one colour. Luckily, I had an old rusty key that I found at a seaside market in Port Elizabeth, more than a year ago. So the necklace had to have a brass chain and the buttons were wired with copper wire, no 20 gauge, so 16 had to do. I chose autumn shades for the buttons, as they are what I had the most of. Not enough though, so off I had to go to the art and craft shop on Wednesday afternoon. They sell small packets of mixed buttons, luckily they are packed in different shades. The necklace took eighty eight buttons. Very time consuming but I love the necklace and it looks super on. Thanks so much Lori for concenting to my using your design.

This is the second time I've made this bracelet. The first time, I used three of the tube glass beads, interspersed with the silver discs. Three beads looked a sparse, so I added a fourth and some more charms. Now I'm happy with the piece and it looks great on.

Shimmering Sea

The inspiration for Shimmering Sea came from the two beads covered in linen cord. The pendant is a shell I found on the beach in Port Elizabeth. Bevan bought me a drill bit with a diamond head, so now I can drill through shells and ceramic without fear of cracking them. I used Moonstone sticks, discs and ovals, white potato Pearls, glass discs, shell and smoky class bicons. A button and a silver fish bead, silver chain and a Signoretti clasp.

Haven't done much else aside from looking after Liam, going to gym and watering the garden. Even with the leaves falling it can't be Autumn with 31 degrees Celsius. It's burning hot in the sun. So instead of doing the March garden things, I'm hiding inside.

I'm going shopping with Claire tomorrow for a skirt pattern for her, as well as a knitting pattern and wool. I'll also get wool for a jersey for Joce. Then I'll have plenty to do while I watch TV in the evening.