Small and ugly yet a big step for me

I'm not a friend of fire. Fire makes me nervous, always has, which is why some people think it's funny I have a gas stove. I've also had a torch for a long time, but I was simply too wimpy to try it - until my friend Dawn challenged me by making headpins on her gas stove which didn't work on mine as our gas is different from the one in the USA.
Finally my pal came along with his burner, sat me down and gave me a lesson, and voilà, I could make headpins.

Then I took a beginner's class in silversmithing, and while I didn't get to solder myself because it would have taken too long to let each one do it, I had a good look and got determined to try it myself. Which I haven't done yet because I'm too wimpy to do the first step. I can't help it, it's just the way I am with some things, and tools are among those things. I do have the solder, though, and silver and some tools, so I could get started with a snap of my fingers. Excuse me for a moment while I go and have a good laugh at myself.

I couldn't get soldering out of my head, however, so I finally sat down at my computer during my Christmas vacation and ordered some solder for copper, thanks to Oksana from Ursula Jewelry, a blog post and a video of hers, to be more precise. I also needed a bigger wire cutter because wow, this solder is some tough stuff! I thought I'd break my wrist to get the tiniest bit off. That was also the part that took me the longest, I hadn't expected that.

This doesn't look exciting, just a small ring from copper wire, not polished, with a nick. I know I used too big a piece of solder, but I had lost a few already during cutting, and as this ring didn't need to be pretty, I didn't care. Important was only if I could do it. It may seem nothing to you, but it's a big step for me, my very first own soldered copper jump ring! :-D


Oldies but Goodies - Garnet

This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is all about garnets and garnet colors. Garnet, the January birthstone, can come in all kinds of colors as there are different types, for example hessonite, tsavorite, rhodolite, spessartine and more, so there are shades of yellow, orange, red, and green.

Most people, however, probably think of a more or less deep brownish red when thinking of garnets.
For me garnets always came in clusters set in gold when I was a child, and it was jewelry that looked vintage and that old ladies like my grandmother used to wear. Those times are long over, although, to be honest, some of that "old" jewelry actually looks rather nice to me today!

As you can tell from today's selection, the JAC artists also think of garnet as red first ;-)

1 and 7 RioRita
2 and 3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 and 8 Cat's Wire
5 and 6 MC Stoneworks


Oldies but Goodies - Color burst

I know it's a few days late, but I don't want to forget to wish you a Happy New Year.
The topic for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is a little ironic to me because I'm looking at snow through the window, the first "real" one this winter - I don't count the bit that was gone in not even a day. That means we need some color all the more now, and this is what it's about today.
What's your favorite color?

1/6/8 MC Stoneworks
2/4/9 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3/5/7 Cat's Wire


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - White

White. Claire's topic for December's design challenge at Art Elements was white. I'm not very good with white. I don't wear white, I don't have white walls (only ceilings), I don't own white furniture. If there's a choice, I'll never pick white.
Thinking back I also haven't made much jewelry in white. There was a choker, a silver tree on a white rock, and there's the white Petcat, but that's different because I love white cats.

Our first cat, Dude (actually White Dude, there's a story behind that name, but that would lead too far now) was white with a blue and a yellow eye.

White. My first thought was winter and snow. That reminded me of a link a friend of mine had shared just recently, a snowglobe ornament design by Cheri Carlson on Artbeads, done in brick stitch. My friend knows I love looming shaped pieces from beads and indeed it was the perfect inspiration.
Of course I wouldn't copy the snowman, but choose something more typical for me. What's typical for me? Well, cats of course. Cat. Snow. SnowCat!

This was one of the very first HeatherCats, the picture shows my friend Heather's original painting and my take on it.

So how about combining the idea of SnowCat and a snowglobe and making it a small tribute to the cat that was practically responsible for my life never again being without cat hair since 1991?
And how about trying to use just white and grey tones for it? Yeah, that was being too ambitious, it didn't work out, not with the beads that I had in my stash. There may have been some light cursing when I ripped it out again.

What a shame. That meant it had to be a night sky after all. I can't help it, I love night scenes, and "you don’t need to work monochromatic, just take white as inspiration either literally or figuratively." There.

After a very short digression to a different project that will need more planning, though, I wove in the last threads, and here we go. Snow Dude in his snowglobe.
He could be worn as a pendant or used as an ornament.

Please also visit all the other blog hoppers!

Alysen - Anita - Beth - Cat (that's me!) - Divya - Elaine - Hope - Jill - Karin - Kathy - Rozantia - Sarajo - Susan - Tammy

AE Team

Caroline - Cathy - Claire - Laney - Lesley - Marsha - Susan


Oldies but Goodies - Favorites of the year

Welcome "between the years".
This is a time when many people look back in review, maybe start making plans for the new year. On TV there are all the programmes taking us back to what happened, sometimes people tell their own stories, sometimes comedians try to find the funny side in it all.
I thought it would be a good time for us artisans to have a little review of our own and make it today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. I asked my fellow JAC members to share their personal favorites of the year. Unfortunately I can't show you everything in my collage, but with a click of the link above you can find it all.

I am looking forward to seeing more fabulous work from my friends next year, and I hope so are you.

1 and 8 Cat's Wire
2 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 4 RioRita
5 and 7 The Crafty Chimp


Christmas Eve - The twenty-fourth door

You can imagine how excited we always were as children when we got to open the last door on our advent calendar. Next was the trimming of the tree, then we were sent off to my grandmother who was supposed to keep us entertained until we finally got the liberating phone call telling us to come home.

This morning I went outside into the hallway to open the last little parcel of my special advent calendar by Phoenix Glass. You might remember the picture from the first day with just one small bauble on the tree.
It looks a lot different now!

Happy Christmas Eve, my friends.


Quote of the week - The twenty-third door

Have you ever seen "Miracle on 34th Street"? You probably have, but I haven't. Neither has Manny. So Jay sits down with him to watch it.

From the screen: No, no, it's not that kind of a trial. It's just because he says it's Santa Claus. - But I've got a feeling he IS Santa Claus, mother. - Some people don't believe that, that's why ...
Manny: Are you crying?
Jay: What are you, a robot? It's a deeply emotional movie.
Gloria: Manny, mi amor, I need you to help me in the kitchen.
Jay: We gotta finish this first, Gloria. The kid's never seen Miracle on 34th Street.
Gloria: That's because he always spends Christmas in Colombia with my family. And all we see there is "Salazar and El Oso save Christmas".
Jay: Sounds like a classic.
Gloria: It is.
Manny: Mom, can we finish the movie?
Gloria: Okay.
From the screen: Mommy, he's not like anyone else. He must be Santa. - I think perhaps you're right, Susie.
A monster appears on the screen.
Jay (screaming): Oh! What the hell is that? What the hell is that?
Manny: Inocente!
Jay: What the hell.
Gloria and Manny are laughing.

Manny: When you told me we were going to watch this movie, I got a joke copy from the internet. You are the inocente.
Jay: Well, maybe I'm a little confused right now. What is this inocente stuff?
Gloria (still laughing): In Colombia, practical jokes are a Christmas tradition. The one that is fooled is the inocente.
Jay: We tell practical jokes on April Fool's Day, so do not do that again!

Modern Family, USA, 2009 -

Of course I had to look up if there is really a tradition like that.
1. There is no show "Salazar and El Oso".
2. There actually is a tradition of pranks and jokes, but not on Christmas itself. December 28th is the Catholic Dia de los Santos Inocentes, Day of the Holy Innocents which reminds of the innocent children Herod ordered to be killed. It is not just celebrated in Colombia, but also other countries like Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico and more.
If you want to know more about Colombian Christmas traditions, have a look here at Culture Trip.