One of my very favourite things to do is search charity shops for bits of old furniture and then give them a new lease of life. When I moved to Abu Dhabi I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be able to find anything as the market is so different here. As you can imagine, with the country’s proximity to India and Indonesia, there are beautiful pieces of solid wood furniture to be had, intricately carved and lovingly handcrafted. These are real ‘take-home’ pieces that I will want to invest in before I leave. There are also some beautiful interiors shops full of high end items (and matching price tags), and Ikea is everywhere! But we aren’t in a position to splash out just yet and our apartment is flooded with light, being on the beach front – not suited at all to dark and heavy statement pieces.
So I started looking for second hand items and look what I found:
A solid wood, very heavy and tired old cabinet that I knew would be just my style with a little bit of work. I loved the ornate detail and chunky feet:
My electric sander being packed away in a storage unit in the UK, along with all of my lovely furniture, I had to use a lot of elbow grease to remove layers of varnish, especially on the cabinet’s top, which I wanted to expose. I had a tin of eggshell paint mixed in ‘bone white’ at the local hardware store and applied it in three layers over a period of days, sanding back the ornate castings when the last coat was completely dry.
The bottom drawer handle came up a treat polished with some wire wool:
but the same can’t be said for the top drawer knobs so I took myself off to Zara Home (any excuse…) for the pretty crystal sparklers you see here. Finally, I lined the drawers with some wrapping paper from Paperchase and the cabinet was finished. It’s sitting in the hallway just waiting to be dressed with pretty trinkets!
It always amazes me what some people want to get rid of but I’m glad they do! I now have a beautiful and unique piece of furniture that fits my style perfectly and kept me happy being creative for days. Now onto the next project!
Well I thought it was about time I updated my blog! I arrived in Abu Dhabi in February and have been finding my feet in the desert. I don’t know where the time has gone and now it’s starting to dawn on me that I am not on holiday and that this is my home for the foreseeable future! I thought you might like to see the view from my living room window:
A bit of a change from the leafy streets of Gosforth and Jesmond, but believe me, I miss the beautiful English rain – I’m not used to this heat! I’ve been very busy settling in, exploring, making new friends and getting to grips with the crazy driving over here. I live just 45 minutes from Dubai so really I have two new cities to explore! Check out these ones from Abu Dhabi:
Lots of tall buildings over here!
The beautiful Sheik Zayed Mosque
I kept a safe distance from this pair…
And a few from Dubai:
The Burj al Arab, a seven star hotel built to look like a sail
More skyscrapers on Jumeira Beach.
It’s taking quite a while longer than I expected to get anywhere near started on work and my supplies still need to be shipped over (I lived in a hotel at first) but I’ve been making contacts and have started thinking about the way forward for Eve’s Daughter. There are a number of options to explore which is good news, so until I am decided I will be blogging about my new discoveries and creative pursuits. I couldn’t go a whole four months without any creativity in my world, so check back in a few days to see what I’ve been up to…
I have some sad but exciting news – Eve’s Daughter is relocating! My husband has taken a job in Abu Dhabi which means that Eve’s Daughter will be based there from the end of February 2012. Sad news because it means I’ve had to cancel my attendance at three trade shows this year which I was very much looking forward to but exciting because of all the new opportunities I’ll be facing!
Once I am settled overseas and obtain a working visa etc I will be able to see how Eve’s Daughter can progress. I’m really looking forward to all of the new beads and design influences that will come my way and will be continuing to update my blog and twitter account as soon as my feet touch the sand!
Meanwhile, it’s business as usual whilst I try to get everything organised. I’ve put many items on sale so there are lots of goodies to be had at great prices. This gives me time to make up your order and get it sent out before I pack up my little studio for its journey overseas!
As a huge Marilyn Monroe fan, I was very sad recently to hear that Eve Arnold died, aged 99. She took some of the most iconic and intimate images of Marilyn and indeed, it was an Eve Arnold photograph that captured my heart when I was just 7 years old.
August 1977 and it was on a very dull and soggy day during a camping trip to the Lake District that we pulled into a garage for petrol. I was dressed in jeans, trainers and an anorak, my hair hanging in wet tails around my face. I had grazes on my hands and knees and I had spent the last week or more sleeping in a tent. I was a little girl missing her cream and pink bedroom, her dressing up box and pet cat (who often had to play dress up too…). And there she was.
Image: by Eve Arnold via bbc.co.uk
An absolute vision of beauty, light and femininity gazed out at me from not one magazine and newspaper cover but all of them. Or so it seemed. I will never forget that day and the first time I saw her. I had never seen a face so lovely and I just had to know more. According to the newspaper (I devoured it, hair dripping on the back seat and knee scabs all but forgotten), fifteen years ago to the date, Marilyn Monroe had been found dead in bed at her home. I fired questions at my mother and the more she told me, the more I had to know.
What’s changed? Well I’m older than the years Marilyn ever lived to see and it gives me great pleasure to cite her as one of the enduring loves of my life. I’ve grown up with her and gotten to know the proud and intelligent woman she was. I’m privileged to have viewed her personal items, touched her dresses and high-tailed it round New York in search of places she’d been and windy subway grates she’d stood over. But when it comes to seeing her image and needing more information, I’m still that 7 year old girl, blown away by the vision, every single time I see her.
Thank you Eve, and RIP
My first blog post of the new year and I am resolved to update more often! I love reading others’ blogs and I’m always thinking of things to include for Eve’s Daughter so, as it’s the only resolution I’ve made, I’m sticking to it! So, a little looking forward and looking back in this post…
Looking back at Christmas events I attended, what struck me was how many customers were planning a wedding. It’s always a lovely feeling to have someone choose my designs but an extra little tingle happens when it’s a bride to be choosing for her big day! My Boleyn Heart was bought by a bride to be at Durham, she said she’d been looking for ages and that it was just the right piece:
She said she couldn’t believe her luck in stumbling across me – it really was a lovely thing to hear! Another bride to be bought two of these bracelets as gifts for her bridesmaids:
A lovely little chunky heart in sterling silver on freshwater pearls. I think her bridesmaids will love them.
Now, something I can really look forward to -I’ve had the pleasure of designing and making a few wedding pieces for both friends and customers in the past and a very lovely close friend of mine has recently announced her engagement and asked me to style her wedding, not just the jewellery! An absolute honour and something I can’t wait to do! I get to browse lots of lovely wedding websites with a legitimate excuse – not often the case for someone who’s been married for nearly ten years! So, I’ve been thinking about doing more for brides and the wedding market which isn’t so strange given that the first ever event I attended in business was a wedding fair! However, I have lots of other exciting things happening soon and the wedding dreams for Eve’s Daughter will just have to wait their turn…
I’ve been so busy making pretty trinkets for all of my Christmas events and haven’t had a chance to do much else but I just had to share with you these lovely handmade vintage-inspired gift tags from the lovely Katie at Gorgeous Little Somethings:
Each tag is unique and no two will ever have the same button or piece of ribbon on them – I especially love them as they remind me of ‘scraps’ I used to collect as a little girl. Katie also let me have a sneak peek at her new ‘wish’ tags, which I think are just adorable. Of course, I’ve been very good all year so I may have to leave some these lying around my house just so Santa can see them…that’s if he can see them for all the hearts. Katie also makes these cute little hanging hearts and as you can see, it’s right at home in my dining room, perched on a candelabra!
It’s got me thinking of all the hearts I must have dangling from door knobs, cabinets, propped up on dressers etc. I may have to do an inventory at the weekend to see if I can justify buying even more hearts! Of course, hearts have always featured heavily in my jewellery designs:
This is one of my favourites and of course, my best selling wire wrapped hearts are one of the first pieces I ever sold:
I may just be wrapping a few of these up and writing out a few of those vintage tags! Thank you Katie, for starting to get me feeling Christmassy – I may even put the tree up a bit earlier this year!
Getting everything ready for Christmas events is always hard work – making enough stock, thinking about the display, loading the car with bags and boxes (and pretty furniture to display all my goodies on) and then being on my feet all day when I’m so used to sitting in my studio! My first Christmas event this year is at the Gosforth Marriott in support of the NSPCC – tomorrow (Sunday 30th October) – and as the clocks go back this evening, I’ll have an extra hour to prepare! One of my favourite things to do is to make my bags up so all of my lovely customers will take away their Eve’s Daughter goodies in one of these…
I love to go looking for bits and pieces at local flea markets. I particularly love working with vintage crystals and I have a lady at Tynemouth market who finds strings of them for me so I can incorporate them into beautiful new designs, ready to be worn and loved again. Look at these sparkly crystals I’ve dismantled from the original piece:
I’m working on some new designs for my Vintage Inspired range of jewellery and the first completed piece, using these lovely crystals, are these gorgeous blossom hooks in solid silver. I can’t wait for some more design time!
There’s been a lot going on for Eve’s Daughter! Whilst everyone has been enjoying the unexpected late summer, I’ve been getting to grips with Twitter and had my website listed on the gorgeous From Britain With Love. It feels great to be featured alongside some very talented designers of lovely things. I also have a shop to set up with Your Indies and should have my images uploaded there by the end of the week. My first Christmas event is just one month away (eek!) and the outlets I supply to are thinking about their customers so I have made a start on building up some stock of my very popular daisy chain bracelets and posy clutter bracelets. I’ve been itching to get started on my blog and what better way to start than to show you a sneak peek of a new addition to my pearls range – the sweetheart necklace…