Birthday Bling: Gem’s a Jewel But Jenny’s a Crystal…

Age Appropriate Gifting

Bring me the shiny things… and the leather bag…

I turned 20 the other week. August 12th marked the end of my teenage years and… the start of Grouse Shooting Season. Charming way to mark the occasion.

I asked my family not to get me presents. I’m not particularly materialistic and there was nothing I really wanted. But then… I thought, this is not just an average birthday. This is 20, a big one, I think. The end of that era we call childhood which opens a door into decades of adulthood. Real adulthood, this time, not just the way they tell you you’re an adult when you turn 18. That’s like a dry run, a practice for the real thing.

How do I know? Well, it’s obvious. They’ve dropped the teen from the end of my real age and added the altogether less exciting ty.

140720131139So I decided I would get something special that I could keep forever. If I was choosing it, I would enlist the help of my expert mother, qualified in all things jewellery in all but legitimacy. I wanted a unique little something, a trinket that would not tarnish, nor rip or tear or break, that I could keep and love and cherish and have as a reminder of this time in my life and what all the events happening in it meant to me, the good and the bad.

So I bought a handbag. Kidding! Well, kind of.

I did get a handbag, but that was more an indulgence and a present than something meaningful.I do love it dearly, it’s a beautiful leather manifestation from River Island and sure, I hope my leather bag fetish lasts a lifetime but nothing will last as long as the real gift…

An amethyst and diamond ring.

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Amethyst symbolises piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom… The perfect gem to symbolise trying times and a new attitude.

Diamonds may be a girls best friend, but diamonds get lonely. I was searching the web for the perfect companion for my triumverate of bejeweled joy. And instead, I uncovered a jewel mine with enough carved precious stones to satisfy even the most bug eyes magpie.

Jenny Mills Jewellery

An Australian Lady with a Swarovski Heart

Jenny Mills is an Australian Jewellery designer and her creations are composed mainly of Swarovski crystals and pearls on silver hooks. The one that caught my eye was the amethyst pendant. It’s text based charm may not exactly match the simplicity of my ring but the colours vibrancy was beautiful. The powerful purple hue was mersmerising!

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E-219-3-620x376Further inspections delivered my eyes with more and more sparkles are fine gems to make me melt! Colours and clarity in all the crystals whispering of unparalleled quality. So finely crafted, so lovely and utterly unique. One woman and her skill and creativity, made all that, and the sites categorization into sections for easy perusal made my trip through the glittering mine of heart shaped lovelies all the easier and more rewarding.

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What purchase I will make is yet to be decided, but one thing is for sure; more people on my side of the pond should know of her. E-242-620x376Such a gift would be perfection, a gift to remember forever and treasure like the heart shapes on her pendants.

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SSDD

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Recent Posts on the Products of Creativity

Recent Posts

I know recently I haven’t been posting as many things to do with my deep and interesting inner ponderings ( 😉 ) but I have more in the pipeline, never fear.

I also realise that there have been several articles that seem to highlight the abilities of other people, especially where the construction of shiny things (ie. jewellery) is concerned.

That’s because I noticed that life has seen fit of late to gift me with a whole host of wonderful creative people, whose skills have literally been dropped into my lap. I am finding more and more that I appreciate the talent and time it takes to craft an item, especially a custom one. Some things take a little extra effort to make, like diamonds, they cannot be rushed, yet it is clear that the end result will be magnificent.

The Future of Awesome

So I’ve decided to feature some of these lovelies on my blog. You super-special-awesome folk that read it make my day with every view and every comment. So, in exchange for this buzz, I will give you a series of folks who have talent of a rare kind. People who have taken an idea, a thought, a design, a passion and crafted it, cultivated it into something real and malleable. Something you can hold in your hands and have and cherish. A product.

You can call it advertising or you can call it promotion or you can call it sharing. I don’t particularly care. But know that I will never ever show you anything I don’t personally find inspiring or that I don’t feel passionaltely deserves to be seen by as many people as will pay attention. There are so many small businesses that just do not get the acknowledgement or oomph that they so need and deserve.

So settle down and read away, for coming soon you will be gifted by a veritable mine of all manner of goodies for your perusal and admiration.

Enjoy!

 

SSDD

Natty Heart Designs: Custom Jewellery

Natty Heart Designs.

Another little gem I thought I’d share from the Little Birds Market.

Natty Heart are a small business run, in fact, by the sister of the lady who runs the market – clearly loveliness and a creative streak runs in the family! 😀

Natty Heart specialise in one thing – ultra personal jewellery. They use an unusual mixture of metals to create designs you’ve never seen before. Silver, copper and brass are combined to create an alluring warmth in their custom necklaces. They link together a mix of disks, hoops, squares and jewels, all customised for maximum impact in your unique design.  I thought that was a really good idea, because think about how often you go into a shop and think “…jeez, that’s too gaudy, but I’d wear it if it didn’t have X on it...” You get exactly what you want this way, with expert advice.

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Personalised messages can be printed on them along with super cute little symbols to link each piece to whatever special date you are getting it for. Whether that’s a birthday, an actual birth (I don’t really like kids myself but ohmygoodness seeing a tiny little foot printed on a necklace is adorable!!), a Graduation, wedding, a particularly successful shopping trip whereby a stunning custom necklace was purchased from Natty Heart Designs… whatever! Hell these are so pretty I would get one to celebrate a tea biscuit being dunked without crumbling! Coz that’s reason of course… a totally… legit reason… to buy jewellery… 😛 Actually they do love hearts, maybe it would be better as a thanks for a really good hug… Yeah, that’s also a legit reason to go shopping…

Jokes aside, messages and quotes can mean so much to people and one that has been carefully considered, chosen specifically to reflect the person being gifted, then handmade, is always going to be something super special.

Natty Heart saw fit to gift me with my very own one of these.

BEHOLD! THE UNBOXING!!

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The back disk of the necklace. Oscar Wilde quote...

The back disk of the necklace. Oscar Wilde quote…

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple…”

Oscar Wilde

The quote is one of Oscar Wilde’s most famous and most poignant. As a total fangirl for the man it breaks my heart that I will never be able to listen to those words spoken by the golden tongue of the man himself, but this stunning bespoke necklace more than makes up for it! Til they invent a time machine to take me back to hear it for myself. At which time I will gift this necklace to Oscar Wilde.

To me this quote is extremely important in terms of my beliefs. I do not believe in black and white but I do believe in the importance of truth. Yet, with such diversity, and collusion of even the most simple ideas, what is a fact to one person may not necessarily be to another. Everything has layer upon layer of meaning. Make a decision. Now consider why you made that decision. Then think a little more carefully about it. I guarantee the more you think something over the more complex even the most simple and apparently transparent detail of your understanding will become.

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If you are looking for something a little more thematic and playful, you don’t have to make the difficult decision of what to put on the disk; they can also print images, like Alice in Wonderlandeat me” versions and Marie Antionette let them eat cake” ones too. Or if you are feeling “lucky” they can compile adorable Lucky Bags – like the ones you’d get for being good when you were little, except shinier 😀

Natty Heart have only been running for 8 months but are planning to expand to an Etsy store soon, which is great because then it will be even easier to access their beautiful goodies!

So basically what I’m saying is, the Little Birds Market has struck again, and this time it has deposited a shining silver disk bound in purple ribbon through my door. This is something I will treasure for the rest of my days. A gift this perfect and personal is worth the effort put into its creation – because it is a creation. It is the sweet product of a sentimental idea.

Prices start from £10.

Here’s a wee selection of some of Natty Hearts stuff 🙂 more on Facebook of course, these are just a few of my faves 🙂

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SSDD

Mid-Week Mayhem in Glasgow’s City Centre

Bottoms up!

“Three Pink Pussys, three Cock Sucking Cowboys, two Fanny Bombs, a Camel Toe, a Kermet the Frog and a Bushtucker Trail, please”.

Nope, that’s not the directors notes for a bad porno. That is an example of what your order might be at Tingle.

Tingle is a Shooter Bar and café located on 33 Mitchell Street in Glasgow. Fantastic pre-club venue – better as a place to find drinks with legendary names.

Don’t let its size put you off – it may be tiny on the inside – roughly equivalent to the cupboard Harry Potter spent his formative years living in – but the sheer entertainment value of their shot titles coupled with their student-friendly prices more than make up for it.

“Down in one!” is pretty much the only chant you will hear from this place. Forget your football teams; what matters in Glasgows hottest shooters bar is the colour of your poison.

And it is poison; their drinks menu is something to behold, if you have the nerve to try one of their more adventurous concoctions. Their signature drink is a Bushtucker Trial. A brutally punishing shot of pure Tequila, no lime or salt and complete with booze soaked Mezcal Algae Worm (and yes, you do have to drink the worm or be forever labelled a pussy by your mates).

But one of the best things about Tingle is wobbling up to the bar after your third Bubble Gum Drop (Banana liqueur and Midori) and asking in earnest for a Kermet the Frog (Midori and Peach Schnappes). Priceless. Or rather, cheap – all shots cost £1.50.

But that’s just taster, a warm up for the drinking muscles if you will (or a complete break down of them, depending on how literally you took the term “shots”). From there, it might be recommended that you take a trip down to Firewater, on Sauchiehall Street.

Just 15 minutes walk or £3.50 in a taxi when bribed with Haribo, Firewater is a stylish bar set underground in the centre of Glasgows’ busiest clubbing street.

Whether you start here or stumble in on your travels, one of the best features is not it’s chic, minimalist urban décor, with both booths and open floor space, nor the good looking bar staff. Not the cheap ass cocktail pitchers that come with questionable titles such as Tennessee Tea, which sounds ridiculous but taste delicious. It’s not even the hazy glow, that disguises how drunk everyone really is therefore making your own level of inebriation acceptable even to the most picky of punter.

Nope, what makes Firewater truely great as a mid-week, low budget hang out, is… 90p vodka mixers! That’s right, 90 pence! You can’t even buy water for that number of coppers!

So if you are looking for a laugh, try ­Tingle. If you can stagger out of there with some shred of dignity, Firewater is an acceptable location for a casual drink, pre-party venue, or stage for the main event. Ever filled with Glasgows best combination of girls in short skirts and guys in t-shirts, the dress code is “go with what you feel”, to a background of indie rock tunes.

Feel like moving on to some where a little livelier? Well, you are on Sauchiehall Street, so go explore!

So that was a brief run down on what i did on my 20th Birthday night out 🙂 follow as I have lead my lovelies! 😀

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SSDD

Lazylinepainterbelle Nail Transfers Have Arrived!!

A few weeks ago I went to the Little Birds Market (follow the link to find out more!!) It’s a vintage market filled with boutique stores and enchanting hand-crafted items.

One such creative lady is Lazylinepainterbelle. I got in touch with her to express my admiration for her work and she replied… with Nail Transfers!

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Lazylinepainterbelle is a Dundee based Scottish Fine Arts graduate names Michelle who creates jewellery in the image for her favourite things; dolls, Belle and Sebastion, nautical themes and sailor sexyness, tattoo’s and Frida Kahlo. It’s all based on a logo of her own creation and the sailor style appeals to the vintage era she so adores, emulating a modern take on the current zombie fad. My fave products from her line are the statement cocktail rings.

So don skater dress, quiff and a swish of red lippy and bang, you’re ready to paint the town in platform heels and custom nail decals 😀

So here’s a wee how-to on how the nail transfers work and why they’re awesome 🙂

So before you apply the transfer make sure you remove all the crap you have on your nails already. If you’re like me, then chances are you might already have them painted (all the time…) so making sure you prep them properly is important.

Scratched up nails from another day...

Scratched up nails from another day…

Once all the nail varnish from your previous exploits, if you can be bothered (and I think that you should be) buffer them, to make the nail surface smooth and easier to apply a flawless new layer of paint. I use a 4-in-1 and leaves my nails looking shiny and completely flat. Believe it or not, it actually strengthens the nail too, making them less likely to break, even under a layer of polish.

Most tutorials would have you put on a base coat, but I have to be honest, I can rarely be bothered. If you use a cheaper nail varnish I would say yes, definitely use one because they are far more likely to leave a stain that can be a nightmare to remove, even with nail varnish remover.

Caite Nail Varnish Collection

Caite Nail Varnish Collection

I have many budget brand nail varnishes (ok, so I have so many I could start my own store and be heartily stocked for 100 years!) but at Christmas I was given a collection of Caite nail varnishes. They are a little higher quality and are FANTASTIC! Two coats and they leave a flawless finish, apply smoothly, dry within just a couple of minutes (so you can even use them on a quick bus/train/car journey in a pinch!) and are difficult to chip. Despite all that, they are not impossible to remove AND don’t stain your nails. They are the best varnishes I’ve come across. Even better than the Black Channel one. Which is saying something considering that went on like water over glass.

For this tutorial I used 2 coats of Caite, Cookies and Cream so that the gorgeous design really pops on the plain background.

Caite - Cookies and Cream

Caite – Cookies and Cream

Application is super simple, though it can be a bit fiddly so chillax, take your time.

To apply:

1. Ensure nail is clean and coloured/ has a layer of clear gloss.

This will held the sticker adhere to the nail.

2. Cut the transfer as close to the image as possible and peel off the top plastic layer.

(do not do what I did with some transfers I was using the other day when I wasn’t paying attention and dull off the backing card instead… HINT HINT it won’t stick…)

3. Pop into water for 10-20 seconds and press against a damp nail. Mop up excess water and either breathe on or blast gently with a hairdryer for a few seconds.

4. Apply a couple of layers of your favourite top coat (clear varnish) to make sure it stays put.

(wouldn’t want to lose these gorgeous designs, right??)

AND THAT’S IT!! All done! Simple 😀

So check her out on Facebook and get in touch. She takes custom orders and will ship to wherever you may be (because she’s a lovely lady like that 🙂 )

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Expect more posts about this lovely lady in the future, I like to write about things I deem pretty cool 😀

Lazylinepainterbelle

 

SSDD

The Tattoo May Being Going On My Ankle, But It Was Designed In My Heart

The time is finally nigh… THE TATTOO HAS BEEN DESIGNED!!!!!

And now my big decision is where to get inked.

Those of you who have  been following this blog for a while will know that for a long time I have wanted a tattoo. I’m not one of those people who’ll get inked for the hell of it. I’m too indecisive for that. A week in and i’d be sick of the sight of it and probably try and peel off my skin to “correct” the mistake. Or even just to give me another patch of skin to re-decide on another tat… then regret it and try again… … …

Basically I’ve planned designs that are going to be meaningful to me, each and every stroke of it layered with significance and memory. I can’t wait to see them all on me, to look at a place on my body and be able to feel that rush of understanding and remember what, and who, I got them for.

I guess it’s that and a combination of the art of the thing. On paper or on the computer you can erase, start again, re-do, edit. On skin, you get one shot and that’s it. Screw it up – too bad, you blew it. And there are people who do this for a living – they have to do this all day every day and never make a mistake! At least, be damn confident of your ability to cover it up before the client notices!

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So now I find myself in the position of having a design. I have the money. I even have two artists lined up. The question is; where to go??

Otzi Tattoo’s is one of Glasgows finest tattoo parlours. I’ve been admiring their work for about a year and a half now, on Facebook and on their website. They are not just tattooists – they are Master Creators! Innovators of Design! Craftspeople of the Highest Order!

Check them out then let me know what you think!

 

SSDD

James Watt: Painter for the People

James Watt is a name synonymous with Scottish innovation, the Greenock inventor creating the steam engine.

But another Jimmy has shown his talents, in the form of a Port Glasgow painter by the same name. His recent exhibit at The Beacon Arts Center, Greenock, is his latest public display and his first in the newly built arts center.

Main Entrance - Beacon Arts Center

Main Entrance – Beacon Arts Center

The setting is more appropriate than your usual gallery. As a painter of an aquatic theme, the gallery sees the paintings overlooking the Clyde, the river which inspired the painter for half a century. The Beacons entire back wall is made of glass, giving for a majestic view of the water. One might think this would give visitors some small insight as to why Watt found it such an inspiring location; they would be wrong. It was the smog filled ship yards and dirty working men that lit the fire of creativity in this Port-born man.

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The man himself was in attendance on the Friday I visited, and the day before as well. Watt said of the new local arts center;

“It’s a marvelous building, it really is. For the first time since the ship yards closed I feel we’re really making use of what the Clyde has to offer, if not in such an industrial sense. It’s a beautiful location and it’s wonderful to see the pictures all overlooking the water. It’s where they were all painted, after all.”

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Having come from a line of working class men, poorly educated with little prospect other than to go straight from basic schooling into the expected and predictable future of a trade, Watt found himself of school leaving age during a time of unexpected promise. Further education was no longer an unattainable dream for the working man, a lavish luxury of the wealthy. Scholarship and free further education were being offered to the working middle class and Watts father, being a clever man and self-educated despite his humble station, saw an opportunity to send his equally so ambitious sons on a path to a life he had no hope of attaining.

On workers his opinion was clear;

“Whether they were clever or not was irrelevant; this was what was expected of them. My father was a very clever man. He read books that most of the other men would never have heard of and the fact that he was even interested in what they had to say was strange to them, alien even. Something he would be mocked over. Now we can see that he was just a man with a mind more than his station but with no way to correctly employ that inherent brilliance. It’s very sad, really, because you just don’t know how many others were in the same position.”

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And so it was that James Watt found himself able to attend Art School and begin to create painted works from the scenes he saw growing up. Industry features prominently in almost all of his works and his paintings more often defy the quintessential ideal of pretty boats on sparkling water under a lightly dusted blue skies. They reveal the true rawness and unyielding mire of the yards and the daily toil of the men who worked there.

“It was a toil, that’s exactly the word. Those men had no prospects; they would never leave the yards once they sucked them in. They had no choice but to go straight from school and pick a trade, work at it all their lives and live the predictable, mundane life of a grafter, same as every other man in the yard.” he said, “Not to say that they weren’t extremely skilled, which they were, in their way.”

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Often painting these scenes of graft and Clyde creation in burnished tones, there is an almost sinister, otherworldly atmosphere from them. They depict relics of a bygone age as the shipping industry has since died out from the area, moving on to greener pastures in South Korea and other, offshore locations.

The artists favourite

The artists favourite

Taking great pleasure in speaking to admirers of his work he spoke of the largest in the exhibition being his favourite. Featuring on the main entrance wall of the gallery his fondness of it was clear;

“It’s not even that I think it’s my best painting,” he told me, “But it’s only now that I’ve lent it to the Beacon and it’s no longer hanging on the wall in my house that I can’t help feeling a little bereft in it’s absence. I think it’s more that I painted it at a time I now reflect upon as bring poignant… I’m actually feeling a little anxious with it hanging there, I quite want it back now.” he laughed, but there was a glint of yearning the kind, weathered face.

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My personal favourite was found at the back of the gallery. Consuming a massive expanse of wall, it was one of the lighter, more hopeful images in the show. Titled ‘ARDBEG’ it was painted in 1980 and is oil on canvas.

Ardbeg

Ardbeg

Ardbeg

Ardbeg

There is a light and an optimism for the freedom of boating that struck me as being quietly beautiful, a relief in a collection of largely russet toned canvases.

Interspersing the work yard themed, brazenly painted boat scenes are pictures of a more traditional marine sort. Though one could hardly describe them as “bright”, they are several shades lighted than their harder edged kin. Depicting the cloudy Scottish weather, the waters edge in these smaller canvasses are often lonely feeling, quiet, muted tones showing the simplicity of beachfront life.

The inventor of the steam engine might be a national treasure, but I doubt he could depict his home the way this James Watt does, so many years later.

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