Tuesday, January 27, 2009
This is the Revelation Bottle designed by Rashid Karim, fashioned by crystal maker Baccarat and bejewelled by Garrad's.
The top of the bottle is set with sapphires and diamonds. The 10 principal hand-cut facets represent the 10 ingredients that make this gin soooo special. It's a snip at $200,000 a bottle.
Monday, January 26, 2009
That Chilean volcano, Chaiten is still kicking up a storm.
On January 19, this year, the dome collapsed in the centre of the volcano blowing a thick plume of ash and steam from the summit.
The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this false-colour image which includes visible and infrared light.
Vegetation is red, bare (possibly ash-covered) ground is brown, and water is deep blue.
The plume from the volcano appears off-white.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
This is one of Her Majesty's big occasion gowns being readied for the Bendigo Exhibition. The photo shows the low satin bow at the back. The black gown to the left belonged to Princess Margaret and has the most beautiful jewelled shoulder straps.
This is a sample panel of the embroidery design by Norman Hartnell. The gown was made for a state visit to France in 1957. On a bouffant skirt in ivory Duchess satin, the emblems of France were embroidered in sparkling topaz, white and coffee coloured pearls, tiny amber beads, silver sequins, moulded golden acorn cups with an amber pearl acorn.
I took one look at this Jean Desses evening gown of 1953 vintage and could almost see the tall blondness of Princess Diana wearing this in the late 80s, still fashionable nearly 40 years after its creation.
This strapless red evening gown highlights his signature draping and pleating of silk chiffon. The skirt is draped in softly gathered swags with a long tie crossing over at the neck to fall down the back.
The pleating across the bodice is a technique he favoured for early evening and formal occasion gowns. While it appears to be soft and unstructured, underneath it had the typical 50s sewn-in figure shaping boned lining.
Desses would often put two similar vibrant shades in the same dress but would soften the intensity by using matt chiffon fabric. He worked directly onto a dressmaker's mannequin, forming patterns by twisting, plaiting and draping the chiffon.
This was not in the exhibition but is owned by the NGV.
It's a Desses evening gown circa 1954 and once again shows his mastery of draping.
It's made of pale pink chiffon over silk taffeta and has tightly gathered fabric over a corselet bodice with a deep horizontally pleated waistband and gathered chiffon straps.
The full length skirt is softly draped, forming an apron-style front with a fall each side making a bouffant shape at the hemline with a kick frill around the edge.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I had the blood tests on the 15th and the letter was sent on the 16th and I wasn't supposed to ring for the results until today.
What, me worry?
Doctor's appointment on Thursday morning.
I might die before her and escape.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Some background on this piece of red loveliness, a diamond of unusual colour.
It was found at Lichtenberg in South Africa. Lichtenberg was the site of several diamond rushes during the 1920s. The main rush took place on 20th August 1926 when over 6000 people, in response to a starter's signal, ran to peg a claim.
A diamond broker by the name of Houthakker bought a 35-carat piece of dark boart. Boart is the lowest quality of diamond so badly flawed and coloured that it's only good for industrial use and one of these is being crushed into a powder and used for polishing gem quality diamonds.
Houthakker showed the stone to Sir Ernest Oppenheimer who suggested it be sent to the Goudvis Brothers in Amsterdam. At first look the brothers weren't impressed but the eldest thought he saw a light in the rough stone.
The firm's master-cutter made a window on each side of the stone. 2 carats were lost in the cutting and the stone remained black. Windows were then cut on all sides, reducing it to 23 carats of brownish stone. After the cutter made the stone into a crystal shape he could see a beam of light.
After seven months of studying and polishing , it became this 5.05 carat emerald-cut gem of a deep ruby red colour. As it was so unusual it was almost impossible to calculate a firm estimate of its worth. It crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic to New York without finding a buyer.
At the beginning of WW11 it was put in a safe in the city of Arnham but in 1944, it and all the other diamonds disappeared. Two years later a parcel was found in a saltmine near Hitler's retreat at Berchtesgarden. The American Army notified the war-loot commission and the red diamond was identified and returned to the Goudvis family.
The stone was sold several times in the following years until in 2007, a customer of the Kazanjian Brothers, Beverly Hills jewellers, showed them the diamond. They bought it and named it the Kazanjian Red Diamond. It is now on display a the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County before going on a worldwide tour.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The pains in my shoulders, elbows, fingers, wrists, ankles and toes aren't from doing too much, cutting down trees, tension, making jewellery, vacuuming, carrying heavy groceries, moving scoria rocks, bucketing water to the lemon tree etc. I have massive inflammation in all the joints, in fact none of my rings will fit on my left hand at all so that's a worry.
It's either arthritis flaring up from the doing of too much, rhuematoid (?) which the Chinese blame on suppressed anger (moi! Angry!) and is an immune system thing or viral arthritis which I haven't googled yet. I could be manifesting malingering as a new hobby.
Mummy dearest was very sympathetic. She says I should stop doing things like all of the above except when it applies to her. She dreads anything happening to me and then she'd be left all alone. Thanks Ma, I'm glad it's all about you. Thanks to Caroline for the grave curse.
Fingers aren't hurting because I have $20 keyboard back, all bright and shiny and clean. I'm dazzled by the keys in all that whiteness.
Forget the hurty-achy bit above and answer something serious. Does anyone know why a DVD, my 'Serenity', won't play on the new player but will on the computer and did on the old player?
This is extremely important since I might have to malinger with my feet up in front of the teev.
Monday, January 12, 2009
I'm speechless with the unfairness of family members.
So I'm taking a few days to get a bit of perspective about the issues raised.
For once it's not my mother who's got my dander up but it is about her.
My granddaughters are coming again tomorrow, just for the day, before they leave on Saturday. The one thing they want to do is put flowers on their father's grave.
They have never been taken there in 13 years.
I'm glad they want to do this but I think it will kill me.
On a last note, I swear I will never hand my life over to another person, never.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
My day, sung to the tune of that annoying women's magazine full of crap was tiring and emotional and I could have done with being pissed to the gills.
I walk to the pharmacy, 2kms, to put in Ma's morphine script, pay bills, send parcels, pick up medication. Did I mention that it was a cold wind this morning so that I wrap a scarf around me and the bags? I just miss two buses going to Southland in opposite directions so I wait and it rained on me. In the middle of summer, I get rained on.
More walking around Southland, more shopping, more carrying bags. More, much more swearing at stupid trolley. Half price homeyped shoes aren't in my size but never mind David Jones has one Estee Lauder Christmas special box left and my credit card and I grab it.
By the time I stagger to the taxi rank, it's hot and sunny and not a cloud in sight. Arrive at Ma's and a good samaritan has brought in the garbage bins but because of BrickOutHouse moving a rust bucket ute into the carport, they're right in the drive and I have to get the groceries around them. I show my adultness by throwing the recycle bin flat on the ground behind the rust bucket.
Various annoyances by all members of my family have me shouting, throwing and blood pressuring and in tears by the time I came home. I can't say anything because once the words are out, they can never be taken back and I can kill with words.
I didn't get any chocolate.
There's birdshit on my newly washed doona.
Don't be nice to me, I'm in the kill zone.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
So today I threw in 6 brooches and 12 pairs of earrings. I'm in shock.
I also threw in the recycle bin 4 empty boxes. That was enough, I couldn't throw out the other six.
They were velvet. No-one gets jewellery in velvet boxes these days. It was essential to keep them for historical research.
That was quite a cull of the earring drawer though, a real walk down memory lane. I remember every dress that matched each pair of earrings. OhLaLa was the best shop for costume jewellery and I think I singlehandedly kept it from bankruptcy for years.
I look at the rubbish being sold now and it's not made to last more than one season. It's the reason I won't buy anything unless it's on sale because that's about the true worth of the shoddy glitter. I get home and the first thing I do, is go through and make sure all the connecting rings are connecting and not lying in wait to rip your throat out.
So while I'm remembering this and that dress, I realize that I can't remember what I was wearing on several very important days in my life. Now it's really bugging me and I've made a list of days and I'm trying to put a dress to each one.
The wedding doesn't count, him leaning on my re-embroidered linen trying to look sober is etched forever in my memory circuits. It always amazes me how people get so much detail into an autobiography when I can't remember a dress.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Aunt Selma is still in I.C.U.
And Mother tells me today that she nearly went last week.
*Gasp* Bugger, only nearly?
She was walking to the bathroom and in a great deal of pain and a blackness settled all around her. She said to herself, "this must be the way you die."
But she didn't because she could feel someone pushing her back from the darkness.
That would be the afternoon she rang sounding a bit panic stricken. With my usual sensitivity, I told her to take two asprin and call me in the morning.
It must be true though because she really didn't like talking about it today.
If I find out who was doing the pushing, they're going straight down to the hot place.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
My sister is not a psychic ala John Edwards.
She does have a talent for automatic writing. She can sit with pencil and paper and the writing is not her own. Usually it's family who've passed but want to say something. She told my father-in-law to piss off as he appears to be as bossy and obnoxious on the other side as he was here.
I'm in between the believing and not believing but sometimes she comes up with something that I can't put down to coincidence. She only saw the girls for a short time yesterday, enough to say hello and how was Christmas.
She rang very late last night with a query. Was there a handprint belonging to my son anywhere around the house? She kept getting the handprint written very forcibly. I knew what it was and there was no way she could have known.
When son was just learning to write his name, he wrote it in paint across a brick right in the front of the house. It was hidden by ivy for years until I ripped it down when the house became mine. Hidden in the ivy was also an old ceramic lamp base which is now back in his room and a couple of little ornaments he liked. I can't remember why they were there but I remember having a bit of a bawl when I found them. Sorry, short story becoming long story.
When GD2 was leaving, she spotted his name and walked to the wall and placed her hand over his name. She didn't say anything for a while, just stood there with her hand flat on that brick.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
I want a silver medal for the three days of cleaning the house before those two days.
Granddaughters are more beautiful than ever. They speak well without any Americanisms or if they do, they leave it for their friends.
We did the mummy visit yesterday. They talked to her while I did the washing and the lunch and the putting clothes away thing. Mum decided to go through the wardrobes and do something with the clothes that no longer fit. They were mostly on the floor when I arrived because she hasn't got the strength to carry them from one wardrobe to the next. That was a bit of a shock to her. Also a shock, Aunt Selma is in i.c.u. with heart problems which is just like her to want to beat her twin to Heaven. She's churchy and believes in clouds, harps and angels.
After the girls had a rest with a DVD and an hour on SMS contacting the entire population of Queensland, I suggested walking to the DFO across the park.
This makes me officially insane. I forgot we had to walk back.
After doing the shops with two shopaholic teenagers who have an eye for a bargain that would make Scrooge McDuck look like a spendthrift, my feet were at least 3 yards behind me as I staggered from seat to seat.
At one store (no seat outside) I waited for 20 minutes for GD2 to come out of the change room. When she did, "Doesn't this look great?" and "Yes it does", out loud, mentally it was "Now get back in the change room and put clothes on". When did a 13 year old grow a rack like that? I scanned the shop for bug-eyed boys with castration in my heart but melted when the shop assistant mentioned that my daughters were lovely looking. It killed me to say 'granddaughters'.
We did over jeans, shoes, tops and, just for me, a jewellery store. Two cans of Red Bull helped the failing stamina. The total haul was modest in dollars if not in coverage. They've got good taste. GD1 was a bit worried that the black petticoat was too short under the see-through dress so Grannie of the Threads lost eyesight stitching a row of 6 inch deep black and silver lace to it.
I was staggering just a bit on the way home. GD2 was skipping, jumping and twirling. GD1 was attempting to keep me from falling off the path. At the bottom of the street I lost feeling above the knee caps but below the bladder which was threatening to become a spillway over a dam. I sent the girls on to the shop for ice-cream and potato crisps for tea (bwca, they love vinegar&salt) while I made a snails crawl for the bathroom. I cooked a shocking tea, cooking skills get drowned in pain but after liberal applications of both tomato sauce and mayonnaise, it was eaten.
Then I did it again this morning. We walked to Nando's for lunch and then on to the hospital to see my sister but we got a lift home, joy. They went off to a cousin's about four but I might see them again before they leave. Usually I'm disappointed that they watch TV or stay on the computer but I know why they do that now. I'm the rest stop where they don't have to do anything except relax. No hassles, no problems, no being made to be sociable, no dishes, no showers if they don't want to and back to back DVD watching.
And their Grandfather? Well he's up country visiting the Blonde's family and I couldn't give a stuff. I had a better time than he's having and the girls didn't care either.