Interview with the artist - Maria from Caribbean Dreams

Today I want you to welcome fellow Zibbeter Maria from Caribbean Dreams.
Most of Maria's pieces are one of a kind and there is such a variety that it was hard to pick something to start this interview!
Caged fluorite pendant
Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.
I was born on the beautiful island of Cuba a few years before the revolution. We had to leave and ended up in Philadelphia, PA, well north of where most Cubans ended up at that time [Miami]. My hometown is Havana, but mom is from San Cristobal in Pinar del Rio, an absolutely gorgeous province just west of Havana. While I've never been back, after 50+ years I've very much looking forward to when Cuba opens back up and I can see my patria.

You crochet and make jewelry. Which one came first and what got you started?
Crochet came first in my life as I learned how as a girl, but then I wandered away from it doing plastic canvas, counted cross stitch, and then jewelry. Now that I'm older, my hands sometimes start to ache from working with wire, jump rings, and metal clay, so I slowly got back into crochet. Now, what I work on any given day is dictated by what orders I've received and their delivery requirements.
I think this is one of the most asked questions – where does your inspiration come from?
This one is easy for me. All I have to do is look around to be inspired. I'm also a voracious reader and I've found inspiration in books more than once. Shapes, colors, it's all out there...all you have to do is see.

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.
I can find "fun" in just about anything I do. Sitting here trying to think about what I do for fun and I'm drawing a total blank...did I mention I'm a voracious reader? Love the escape that reading provides.  Oh! Got it!! I love to travel [haven't done any in a while] with Mexico very high on my hit parade.
Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?
Every now and then I'll pull out some cross stitch. I like large, intricate designs, so when I start one I know it will be a work in progress for months. Teresa Wentzler is a favorite designer of mine.

Is there something you would really like to try doing, anything from a new craft to bungee jumping?

Ahhh, there's so much!! From a craft standpoint, I want to try polymer and glass clay work, as well as glass slumping. From a bucket list standpoint, I'd love to bring up the courage to sky dive [just once would be enough].

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

My absolute favorite piece is a wrapped slab of Chinese turquoise. I do have it offered for sale in my shop, but it would kill me if it actually sold.

Chinese Turquoise set
As of this writing, the hardest piece to get perfect has been a glass, resin and charm piece I call Island Dreaming. Getting the crushed glass just right [and not having it drift from adding resin] was a bear.
Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you, both in your work and life?

The Dalai Lama. I'd love to meet that man and have the opportunity to chat with him for a couple of hours.

If you had free choice of one supply you need for your work, no matter how expensive, what would it be?

Really, really, high quality [not wool!!] yarn in weights from lace to extra bulky. Bet you thought I'd say Precious Metal Clay [fine silver], but not now...

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

I only sell on Zibbet at Caribbean Dreams, also under my own URL Caribbean Dreams Jewelry. I do have a page Caribbean Dreams Jewelry on Facebook where I post works in progress and items I've finished as special orders.
Famous last words ;-) Is there anything else you want to tell us?

I love the challenge of getting a nebulous idea from a customer and turning that idea into a gorgeous reality just for them.
The harder, the better.

Thank you so much for being here, Maria, and for sharing a little of your passion with us! I hope everyone will have as much fun browsing your shop as I had. 


What's on my workbench?

It's time for the monthly blog carnival of the Jewelry Artisans Community and it's time for me to get into blogging again. I have been running kind of a cat hospital here the last month and blogging was not high on my priority list.
And now I'm expected to blog about a question I can't really answer. I don't have a workbench, you know. I have an armchair, I have a bed and sometimes I even finish my items sitting in my computer chair - if Meffi lets me, that is - with my feet up on one of my dining room chairs. Why is that, you ask? Well, when looming I need space for my bead cups, so sitting on my bed is the best option. When working with wire I don't need much, so I could even show you one of the trains that I commute on because I have crocheted or knitted there before.

I guess what the question really means is what I am working on at the moment. That question is actually just as hard to answer. I have been working on a custom order that I can't show here, I am working on a project that I don't want to talk about until I'm sure it's going to work out - call me superstitious, but in this case I'm afraid to jinx it - and that's about it. I do have one or the other WIP lying around, but they are not actively on my list either at the moment, so-to-speak.

So what am I going to tell you now?
You know something? I'm just going to show you a very random picture of one of my cats. Technically they are on my "workbenches" a lot, even if it's just for a nap ;-)

Hopefully soon I'll be able to show you more, but if you want to read about serious people, I'd recommend checking out what the other JAC members have to say about this topic. I'll be adding links as they come in.

Jewelry Art by Dawn
The Crafty Chimp



The HeatherKittens made their entrance into the HeatherCats universe and they are so cute!
You know that the HeatherCats are bead loomed after the paintings of Heather, sometimes with little changes - always approved by her of course - what you probably do not know, however, is Heather's new line of stamps that you can find here.
One of them inspired these little fellows.

If you look closely, you can see that there are actually two different designs.

The grey and the golden one do look a little miffed, on the other hand no one ever really knows what cats think, right? Maybe they are concentrating on that one important pounce to wrestle down their toy mouse.

The funky lilac and fuchsia kitten and the one that is pearly white - I like to refer to it as the Ghost Kitten - are obviously in a good mood. Look at those contagious smiles, they make me smile every time.

Of course there is no saying yet in what other color combinations they will turn up. Maybe you even want to tell me your favorite colors?

And no HeatherCats post without the original!

You can find all HeatherKittens in the HeatherCats section of my Zibbet shop.


How I develop my designs

The Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival is back! This month's subject is how we develop our own designs.

There is not really much I can write about that. I sit down with a piece of paper, a pen, the cats locked out of the room, and draw the design that's in my head. I measure wire, I count beads, then I measure some more. In the end my designs always come out exactly the way I had planned them, and the cats are allowed back in the room.
Excuse me while I'll be laughing until I cry. I'm not a planner at all. I'm a playchild. Actually that is the reason why this flower basket is unbalanced the way it is. I knew it from the moment I wired the flowers into the basket that it couldn't work - I mean even I can see the blossoms need a counterweight - but instead of changing it right there and then, I decided to go through with it to see how many flowers I could fit into the basket.
Afterwards I cut up the basket and set the flowers free. Nah, I didn't. They are going to get a new basket.

Now don't think I do that all the time. I have neither the time nor the material to throw them away like that. Sometimes I turn things around for a spectacular save like in this case when I had sewn up the wrong side of the pendant. To me it was rather spectacular, not only because it ended in a completely new design, but because it hurts much more to cut up a loomed project.
Instead I chose to sew up both sides and make it a slider necklace.

I get asked if I make tutorials. My answer is that I don't use tutorials myself - with rare exceptions - and don't make them. I can't imagine to take a break and write down what I just did and take pictures. Once I start, I have to keep going.
The consequence is that I'm not able to repeat some of my designs because I have no idea how I made them. I might of course have the general idea and get close, but can't make the same piece again (that's how planned earrings become a pendant ...).

I'm not even sure if I develop my designs, it's more as if they develop on their own. There is this feeling for example that something isn't finished yet.
Sometimes if my brain is rather empty - creatively seen - I take a cabochon or a rock and make a setting for it and see where it goes from there. Maybe I'll come across that cabochon again and again and suddenly I know what to do.
It took years to finish this pendant. It used to be a rock in a silver bezel until it hit me that there should be a tree.

Hm, this post does make me sound a bit unorganized and maybe I am at times, but in fact I like it. It's the perfect balance to having to be organized in other aspects of my life and I immensely enjoy it.
Please excuse me now. I have a flower basket to make ....

Let's hear what other JAC members have to say about this topic, shall we?

Jewelry Art by Dawn
The Crafty Chimp
Bead Sophisticate 
Ponder - the cat


Interview with the artist - Sue from Dinglefritz

Please welcome another beader and Zibbeter today who will tell us more about herself and what she does. Hello Sue!

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

I am Sue Clark Koenig and live in Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. I retired in 2005 after many (too many) years in state government. I wasn't quite ready to "do nothing", so I opened a travel agency which has done well - far beyond my expectations, and it has allowed my husband and me to travel throughout most of the world.

The Night Out set

On our last around the world cruise in 2013 I started buying beads on a whim. Now realize that I hadn't done any beading since I was a little kid at summer camp, so when I got home, I had a bit of a learning curve. Thank heavens for YouTube and many other websites that teach basic beading stitches. Luckily I'm a quick learner and I love to design and I started making some jewelry pieces which, of course, led me to having to buy additional supplies. Pretty soon it became a very fun hobby and, of course, I kept buying more pretty supplies. Soon I had a whole box full of necklaces, bracelets, whatever, so I decided maybe I should try one of the online shops and Dinglefritz was born. I still make the jewelry just as a fun hobby, but the sales help paying for my supplies. I don't take custom orders as I want to remain it a fun hobby rather than something stressful - I have enough of that in my travel business.

Your business name is very interesting, where does it come from and what does it mean?

I chose Dinglefritz as the name of the shop because it's just a funny word that I've used to describe frivolous "stuff" like decorations on fabric or jewelry. When I would be making something, I'd say "I think it needs some sort of Dinglefritz here and here." There's another definition of the dinglefritz that has it meaning "a weird person". That might also fit ... but I'll leave it open :-)

Lavender crystals necklace

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

My inspiration for all my jewelry comes from the beads. Sometimes if I don't have a particular design in mind, I'll just make a pile of beads in the colors I want to use and look at them until something jumps out at me.

White and mint green bead embroidered bracelet

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I'd rather travel than bead, but since I can't do that, beading is a fun hobby.

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

My other hobby is quilting although it's taken a backseat to beading over the last year.

Brown LC Tiles Quilt

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

I don't really have a favorite piece, I pretty much like everything I make - some more than others. If I'm just not liking the way something is turning out, I tend to cut it apart and make something different. I find bead embroidered pieces the most difficult, but I love them, so I have made several. They are so time-consuming I tend to get bored and usually end up taking a break and making something else that is strung or bead woven.

Is there someone you admire and who inspires you?

Oh my, I'll weasel out of this question by saying that I've "met" so many wonderful beaders - mostly on Facebook.

Green lampwork earrings

If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your craft, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?


Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

Dinglefritz on Zibbet and Dinglefritz on Facebook.

Famous last words ;-) Is there anything else you want to tell the world out there?

Life is terminal - do what you want to do now as you might not have another chance.

Thank you for this interview, Sue, and keep on beading!


Quote of the week

Do you know Mrs Bradley? Rich, emancipated, a writer of controversial books, smart, not a lady who holds back with her opinion - and to please my superficial side, oh, those hats (it's the 20s)!
Of course Mrs Bradley can't keep her nose out of a crime either ...

This time she is invited to speak at her old posh finishing school. The new headmistress didn't expect this kind of speech, though.

"But society is changing. Last year we women won the right to vote; Amelia Earhart flew the Atlantic. Who knows, one day a woman might be Prime Minister."
The headmistress gasps.
"I was expelled from Hadley Heights. Had I stayed I might well have come to believe in home, harmony, humility, and gone on to lead a life of jam making and gin rummy, and Chalfonts St. Giles. So, girls, before you settle for the little life, remember, the world is now your oyster, and, provided you believe in yourselves, there is nothing you cannot achieve."

 The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, UK,  1998 - 2000


First flying lesson

"Fly, Matthew, fly! You can do it!"