Not so long ago I got to attend a jewellery workshop with my good friend Olga. Both first timers at making silver jewellery we were excited to try our hand at a new creative skill - if with a little trepidation. No need to worry our host and tutor Julie Coffey was both friendly, patient and experienced in the craft of silver smithing.
Julie's studio is a dedicated space with all the equipment and materials necessary to fabricate your own unique piece of jewellery. Julie's passion for the craft, her friendly and clear instruction soon had us creating our own spinner rings. Each process in creating our ring was explained clearly and our questions answered.
Not only was the Studio well equipped we got to experience a lovely day in the beautiful Portuguese countryside with refreshments in the garden and lots of inspiration for other jewellery projects. Ideas on how you can personalize silver jewellery with different textures, patterns and even letters.
Below I have made a little slide show from photos taken on the day outlining some of the steps taken making my ring. It may not be perfect and as well crafted as one Julie herself fashioned. But it is beautiful, see it below.
Something really funny happened yesterday that if someone had told me, I would have laughed and perhaps been a little skeptical about their story. In the morning the doorbell by our front gate sounded several times and loudly, the usual signal that the mailman or some other delivery person is waiting at the gate with our mail or a parcel. Indeed one of our expected parcels had arrived.
Later in the day the doorbell rang again several times. My husband went to answer the visitor and took a while to return to the house. He said that when he arrived at the gate nobody was there and he couldn't understand how they had got back in their vehicle so fast and disappeared from the road. I suggested maybe some children were playing a trick, ring and run, I'm sure that game is pretty universal.
A little while later more ringing of the doorbell and so we both practically ran to stop the delivery driver from leaving too soon. Again nobody at the gate or anywhere in the road. Perhaps the bell is faulty my husband suggested so I took a closer look. There half glued beneath the doorbell was a snail! Somehow it had decided to leave its mates who regularly fill up the gaps between hinges on the gates and shutters and have some fun off campus so to speak.
Well I have heard the term "snail mail" to describe the postal service but really!? I really laughed at our consternation and then finding our prankster was one pesky gastropod taking a break from munching on my herbs - especially fond of the cilantro. It seems it's not just the postman who always rings twice lol.
Nearly everywhere you go in Portugal you will see orange and lemon trees on parcels of land, overhanging walls and lining roads. Often the fruit fallen to the ground unpicked, unwanted, a surfeit of citrus. We hardly saw a property without mature orange or lemon tree(s) when we were looking for a house. Well until we bought our home which had only a couple of young citrus trees - read sticks - on the property. We do have other fruit trees however which are very productive..
Our neighbor has a beautiful orange grove and kindly gifted a couple of buckets full, way too many to eat though they are sweet, juicy and seedless! So what does a girl do with all those oranges? You bottle sunshine for the winter months, you make marmalade.
In fact I made three different types of marmalade. As they were sweet and not the Seville oranges preferred for the purpose I added some lemons. I used two different methods of preparing the fruit. The first method boils whole fruit to soften skins then chopping before the sugar stage. I used this method for my orange & lemon batch, just fruit and white sugar.
The other method where you juice the fruit, shred peel then boil to soften skins before adding sugar I used for the next two batches. The second recipe again used white sugar but I added fresh shredded ginger root and star anise to the fruit. My third recipe I mixed demerara and white sugar and added Jameson Irish Whiskey.