Saturday, 23 April 2011


It's so warm for the time of year. I was loving it for the first few days, but I'm now actually too hot (I'm one of these people who would gladly have the windows wide open in December and only puts a coat on for about five days in the year). So I'm making myself unpopular by wishing for some April showers.

We were going to see my father-, brother- and sister-in-law today, but poor sister-in-law has got a cold and they were worried about passing it to the baby, so we've rearranged for Monday. I think we're going to the garden centre instead, to choose some pretties for the garden. It's all paving slabs and stones out there, and I want to spiff it up a bit.

Friday, 22 April 2011

New banner

I've been mucking about with GIMP 2 this evening, trying to make myself a new banner. I've come up with about five different things, four of which stink and one of which I'm cautiously pleased with, so I've bunged it up over the shop. Unfortunately it's 920 pixels wide and only 100 high, so it has to be small here to avoid buggering up the page layout - click on the image for full size.

The photo is one I took a few years ago in Cornwall, of the dovecotes at the Lost Gardens of Heligan. I love it there.

Folksy Friday

My first Folksy Friday post, hooray. For those not in the know, lots of Folksy members put together themed posts on Fridays to showcase other people's work that they admire.

After my post on materials and inspiration, it seems to me that I should do a series of Folksy Friday posts themed around particular materials. So here we go with my first theme - wood. Each image links to the item in question on Folksy.

First, I've been admiring this bowl from WeirdWood - the layers are so effective.

Secondly, a wood and copper necklace from Astrid's Garden. The copper beads are just beautiful. I've just spotted matching earrings in the shop, too.

Recycled skateboard beads from O'blue Thrashion - how awesome is this? And there's loads more recycled skateboard stuff in the shop.

A ring in boxwood, tambootie and silver from Tree Gems. Breathtaking. I wish I had the skill to produce something like this.

A blackthorn necklace from Spirit of the Woods. Again, I think this is just incredibly beautiful.

And finally, a silver birch vase from Equilibrium Designs. I'm a sucker for turned wood and this is gorgeous.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

In a funk

Ugh, I've been getting nowhere this week. I listed a couple of new things on Tuesday and since then, nada. So much for daily listing! I've made a commission for a friend, but that's all, and I haven't really done any promoting either. There's nothing wrong with taking a short holiday, but I don't feel any more energised than I did on Tuesday night. At least I've got some ideas in the pipeline, and also a necklace to remake before listing because I was a bit overzealous when finishing the ends and now it's strung too tightly. That shouldn't be too taxing a project to get on with.

Saturday, 9 April 2011


I feel like I'm supposed to draw inspiration from The World Around Me, or Nature, or something like that. And I do, to some extent - just recently I've made nature-themed charm bracelets, honeybee earrings and a sunset necklace. But thinking about the way I work, I'm most often inspired by the materials I use. I'm a total magpie, and I have an enormous toolbox that contains three pairs of pliers, two pairs of cutters and precisely one gazillion beads. I'm forever scouring eBay and browsing my favourite suppliers. Ideas sprout when I see a material that's crying out to be used.

It's probably not the most cost-effective way of doing things, as I do quite often end up buying something gorgeous and then sitting on it for ages while I mull over what to do with it. But I somehow feel that it keeps me on track. It means that I'm always thinking about the feel of a piece, the weight, the colours, the look. It means I don't get sidetracked from what works, because that's precisely what I draw my inspiration from - the way materials work together. When I get distracted from that, I just don't produce such good results. I've spent hours over the last two days trying to get a pendant right, and it just wouldn't hang well no matter what I did. I had got very stubborn about including some specific elements on a particular theme. In the end I had to accept that there was too much going on and pare it right down to basics. Now it's much, much better. If I'd been looking primarily at my materials, it wouldn't have taken me half as long to get it right.

On the other hand, maybe I'll work differently when I've got more experience under my belt and I'm more familiar with a range of different materials, so that I know exactly where to go when I get an idea for a piece. I bet nothing will shake my window shopping habit, though.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Necklace in wood and glass pearls

This is the necklace I was talking about in my last post (listing here):

The sunshine was actually a bit bright for the photos, I need to rig something up to diffuse the light on days like these. But I really am quite enamoured with it. In fact it's probably time I stopped preening and got on with the next project. I've got a little parrot pendant sitting half-made and neglected on my beading tray.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Beautiful day

I'm resurfacing after a grotty cold - and, more importantly, after the kid having a grotty cold. We've been grizzling at one another for days now, but today things started to look up. It was beautifully sunny and warm, so we ambled gently out, just to the cafe at Sainsbury's for a coffee. (Not my first choice, but I didn't feel up to tackling the bus and there isn't really anything else within walking distance.) We had a nice time, and Madam enjoyed scooting around a small patch of floor trying to eat other people's dropped crumbs and god knows what else.

What with being grouchy and under the weather, I hadn't really made anything for a few days. I've been taking part in the April daily listings challenge on Folksy and ended up missing a couple of days, which is a bit rubbish this early in the month. But last night I turned out some pretty earrings that I'm able to price relatively low at £4.50:

The listing for those is here if you're interested. I've done six different colours (wanted to do more but I ran out of plum blossoms!).

Then this evening I strung up a necklace that I really am pleased with. It's a simple strand of creamy white glass pearls and these fabulous wooden beads that are striped with the natural grain of the wood. They've been well made, so that the stripes all run from top to bottom of each bead instead of every which way. I think they're just beautiful. I bought them a while ago and have been waiting for the right idea. I've put it all together with bronze-toned spacers and matching bead caps on the pearls. I've yet to take photos as I need some good natural light to do it in, so that'll have to wait for the morning. I also need to attach the clasp, and I think I'll leave that for the moment too, because I'm yawning fit to burst...

(Edit: it's saying I posted this at 16:12 but don't you listen, it's actually midnight. I don't habitually go to bed mid-afternoon, tempting though it is. I wonder what time zone it thinks I'm in?)

Friday, 1 April 2011

First post!

So, er, hello. Um. Is this thing on?

The name November Garden is associated with my jewellery business and I'll be blogging about that, but also about, oh, everything else. So with that in mind, here's a bit of an intro.

I'm Sarah, 27, living in Bristol. I moved here at the end of last summer. We needed to find somewhere cheaper to live than our beautiful cottage in beautiful Farnham, as I was on maternity leave and not bringing in my old salary. A work opportunity came up in the Bristol area for my husband and so we headed west. I'm now an at-home parent to our daughter (who turned one yesterday!). Around the edges of that I'm a freelance translator, and I also make and sell my own jewellery. It's all pretty awesome.

Right now I'm sitting on our big stripy sofa (yay IKEA), surrounded by packages of beads that I get to open once I've managed to tempt my poor poorly baby with some lunch. She's had half a leftover fairy cake so far, which I guess is a start.