Oldies but Goodies - Aqua

Today's topic in the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is the color aqua. I hope you enjoy my selections from the jewelry that has been shared by the members.
Don't blame me if you are feeling the urge to jump into a lake afterwards, though! ;-)

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


Tackle that stash - Cantera opal pendant with pearl

I have a tiny stash of Cantera opals which are Mexican opals still in their matrix of pinkish rhyolite, and I love them. I can't say how often I took them out and put them back to keep them safe from the outside world ;-) My two favorite ones have gone to good homes and I still miss them. Silly, I know.

It was time to take a deep breath and start letting see them - well, one of them at least - what's outside of the stash drawer - only to go into the finished jewelry drawer afterwards, that is, unless someone takes this little beauty home.

This Cantera opal is almost clear. It looks like a drop of water on a crackled ground, but if you move it, you can see some tiny specks of color, green, yellow, and red. Unfortunately I didn't manage to take a really good picture of them, it seems the stone wants to keep its secret!
As it is not very big - those opals often aren't - I kept the woven bezel rather simple, but added a bigger bail to balance it out and of course I couldn't resist a small embellishment, a very light pink pearl.

Three more opals left ...


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Birds of Prey

Birds of prey, what a great topic for the new Art Elements Design Challenge! I had no idea what to make, but I've always loved those birds, so nothing could go wrong, right? Thank you, Cathy!
I was even brave enough to post on the AE Facebook page that I was well on the way this time. Yay!
That yay turned into a nooooo pretty quickly. Let me explain.

I happened to have a "paint cabochon" (like a Fordite, but not a real one and not as colorful) already set in woven wire. The drop shape seemed perfect for an owl body. I love owls although I don't get the chance to see them often even though I don't live that far from the woods. I remember once coming home late at night, however, and hearing a soft sound from a tree standing in the yard of the daycare center down the road. When we looked up we saw it was a huge owl sitting there. I don't know if he was trying to warn us off or if he had seen prey, but we decided we wouldn't disturb him for too long although I could have stood there staring at him forever. He was gorgeous!

Back to my paint cab. I had the body and now all I needed was a branch for it to sit on, large wings and a head. I put on some wings that I was not completely happy with.
People who know me also know that I tend not to take WIP pictures. That has several reasons. I'm too lazy, I don't want the flow of creativity to be disturbed, I don't want to jinx the piece, and I'm too lazy, oops, already said that.
So I'm sorry, but I can't show you the wings or the body. Or the branch that I started making, but that I gave up on because I didn't see a good way to attach the owl to it without it falling over constantly. The wings did look, hmm, okay at best, the head was pretty good. Then the bead for the beak broke right after the last wire was snipped. Call it destiny.
You don't want to know what happened next. It wasn't a full blown tantrum, but it did come pretty close. There may have been some light or less light cursing, and when the wire cutter came out .... enough to say that I actually apologized to the poor critter before I cut it up because I'm crazy that way. In such a case when I have fiddled around for too long and finally decide this has to end here and now, I cut. I don't even try to save anything. There's a time for saving and there's a time for "destroy this thing or it will come back forever to haunt your soul".
Excuse me while I'm taking a deep breath. Okay. On to the next chapter.

I had liked the idea in general and, most important, now time had started running out again. So I went through my cab stash and found some labradorite in a drop shape, carved to make it look like a leaf. Or - haHA!! - like feathers.
As if the owl in the tree from so many years ago came to me in spirit as an inspiration, things went a lot more smoothly this time. I wove my bezel, shaped some branches (similarities with tentacles are purely coincidental, cough cough) and added some Czech glass leaves. I made a little face consisting of eyes - looking a bit like a pince-nez now that I'm thinking about it - that I "filled" with two yellow bicones, and a beak. The plan had been to attach that to the bezel, but it looked wrong on the stone, so instead I made a little head around the face which made me much happier, especially because I find the weaving in the face reminds of feathers as well now.
Last but not least I oxidized the copper. As I had to take some breaks for the sake of my wrist and thumb joint, I finished this one the evening before the reveal once again, but I made it. So now I can really say it, YAY!
This pendant gives me great pleasure, I have to admit, and I have to hold back not to make another one right away while I still remember how I did it! ;-)

This is not just a challenge, but also a blog hop, so please have a look at all the other hoppers' posts as well!


Tammy - Beth - Cat (that's me!) - Anita - Kathy - Alysen - Linda - Rozantia - Jennifer - Hope - Sarajo - Melissa - Sarah 

AE Team

Caroline - Cathy - Claire - Jen - Jenny - Karen - Laney - Lesley - Lindsay - Marsha - Niky - Sue


Random Saturday - Handwritten letters

In September last year I told you about my new logo seal and some memories about my first seal and my pen pals, and a few weeks ago I mentioned going back to using a fountain pen and ink.

That didn't just have nostalgic reasons.
My handwriting has never been beautiful. In elementary school when we still had tests in penmanship I never made a 1 (our marks went from 1 to 6), no matter how hard I tried. Over the years my handwriting kept changing. I tried this and that, had my letters lean to the left and to the right, I changed single letters and changed back (to this day my capital E looks like that of my first boss at work because I liked how it looked, and my capital M comes from American handwriting). There was even a short time back when when I drew little circles over my "i"s, never little hearts, though.

Of course we also loved to try colored inks. I remember I had several inks in very small glasses at one time, but I don't remember if I ever used them or if I just liked to look at them. We definitely tried cartridges other than blue or black, however, purple, turquoise, light blue, green. Red was out of bounds because the teachers used that for corrections ... although there was one teacher who used green, but he was different in more than one ways, wearing bib overalls to school for example.
I didn't keep a diary for very long, but when I did, I also wrote in it in ink.

When my brother gave me a fountain pen for a gift, I had a hard time choosing colors for the ink. Finally I went with the old favorites, purple and black, but am only using the purple at the moment which you can also tell by my desk and sometimes my fingers. Isn't it so pretty?

Well, my handwriting hasn't improved with time for which I mostly blame the computer. I never thought it could be such a strain on my hand to write a letter when, as mentioned before, I used to write ten page letters each day. Yes, that was a long time ago, but suddenly it was just a few lines that made my hand cramp up.
I decided I didn't want that. I didn't want to lose cursive writing which is hardly taught nowadays, I didn't want to lose the ability to write something without a computer, I didn't want to write it in a way not even I could read myself! So I started by doing all of my lists with pen and ink.
What I first learned from it was, to say it nicely, that calligraphy is still not for me. I admire it, I think it's wonderful to look at, but it's definitely not a talent I have, not even if I practice very much.

Instead I got out my old stationery. Not all of the paper I have is as old as this one. I have been protecting this for decades, literally. It's from the 70s and I still remember when I bought it. The shop is long gone. In its place came several more shops and now it's just a storage room with a display window.
Back in the 70s you could get silver rings there, knick knacks, the cotton scarves we loved so much (except for the light blue one with the lurex that never stopped dyeing my neck even after being washed a zillion times), and there was a wooden shelf with WWF items, notebooks, stationery, folders etc. from recycled paper. I couldn't resist the tiger. I will definitely not use this paper up completely, but keep at least a sheet for myself.

I still do have some cat stationery from the 90s, so I doubt I'm going to run out of paper that quickly.

Then the times of pen pals were over. We grew up, starting growing apart and didn't feel the need to share every bit of information (which is kind of sad/funny if you look at social media today, and I do feel the irony in me writing this post).
I know I won't bring those times back, I'm not intending to. All I want is to get a tiny sliver of it back for myself. With stained fingers and all *grin*
So watch out, who knows who will get a letter from me next? ;-)


Oldies but Goodies - Casual

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? Something you can wear every day, to work, when you go grocery shopping, in the park, when you walk your dog, meet friends for a chat, when you go to see a game?
Casual jewelry is great. It doesn't always have to be the diamond tiara you are wearing when meeting the Queen of England ;-)

Here are some examples from the latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. I would wear all of them in a heartbeat! Don't forget to have a look at what else was shown, just click the link.

1 The Crafty Chimp
2 MC Stoneworks
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 RioRita
5 Cat's Wire


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Moon

I love the moon. It is not the first time I've said this on my blog. In 2009 I talked about my favorite perigee ever, a magical event that I never forgot - a HUGE moon and we were heading right into it. Well, we weren't, but it felt like it. I had never seen the moon that big and I haven't ever since, and no, although it was around 5 am, I know it was not a dream.
So there was no question about participating in the Art Elements Design Challenge for which Lindsay chose the topic Moon. This time I wouldn't just be participating, though, I would master this challenge like a boss by starting early. I had loads of ideas.

The cow jumping over the moon was the first one, even before I saw the picture in the post. My inspiration came from a different source, Mary Poppins. It would have to be a big moon for me to manage a cow in a good size, and how would I attach it? I'm still thinking about that one.
Then there was Little Peter's Journey to the Moon by Gerdt von Bassewitz about a May beetle taking two good children to the moon. Hans Baluschek's illustrations would have made for great inspiration. I didn't have the book, though, but would have wanted it for the details. Another one for the list.
Theodor Storm. The Little Haverman. Little Hobbin. The Little Häwelmann. I found all these titles for the fairy tale about the little boy who doesn't want to sleep and uses his cradle for a little trip on a moonbeam. Another inspiration. Ugh. This was getting more difficult than I had planned.

Should I even go for the full moon yet again? When I was a kid, I turned the C from my first name into a waning moon (under which I was born, by the way, which I looked up for the first time today) with a big nose, a googly eye and a wide grin for a signature. That would be fun to make once I got better at soldering, but not now. Did I even want to use wire?
Decisions, decisions!
I kept thinking and waiting for the perfect idea, but then I realized I didn't even have a moon I could use. Rather small magnesite beads were the closest I had and they didn't convince me. Polymer clay was out of the question, I wasn't in the mood for light colors and black cat hair. I had a rose quartz cab. Was there something like a pink moon? A song by Nick Drake, Pink Moon, from his third and last studio album with the same name. Never heard of him. What was I doing?? I was going into the wrong direction and time started running out.

Then I got lucky (was about time, too!). While looking for something else I found the cab I had had in mind all the time, a carved moon face with closed eyes. It called for a night sky, craters and stars. Finally I was getting somewhere!

First I beaded a simple peyote bezel with my beloved gunmetal AB and clear AB seed beads in size 11 and 15.
Next stop - moonstones. I didn't have any, but I had a ring that I had been wanting to rip up for some time, anyway. I created "craters" by adding seed beads around the moonstones that I sewed on the bezel. Last but not least there had to be a little fringe with a mix of all the beads.

Another last minute project finished, I am getting good at this! ;-)

Please pay a visit to all the other participants in this challenge, too. I promise it's going to be worth your time.


Jenny - Melissa - Kathy - Sarajo - Hope - Sarah - Rebecca - Divya - Anita - Rozantia - Raven - Cat (that's me!) - Evia - Alysen - Beth - Tammy

AE Team

Claire - Laney - Caroline - Cathy - Sue - Niky - Jenny - Jen - Lindsay

P.S. Do you know the moon from The Mighty Boosh? That one could provide me with more ideas ...


Oldies but Goodies - Wings

This week I have felt a little like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. "No time! I'm late!"
It has been like a constant attempt of catching up.
So I'm sorry, I have no fascinating story about wings for you (not that I'm saying all of my stories are fascinating ;-)). I could tell you about Icarus, but you probably already know THAT one.
Instead I will let the wings in my collage from the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge do the talking. So many different wings (more in the original thread over at JAC, please have a look!!), I hope you'll love this challenge as much as I did.

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