5/29/2015

Tackle that stash - Daisy chain necklace

This week I have another quick project to share, but believe me, in regards of tackling stash it was mighty successful.
I used up all the blue and red seed beads for this, to the last bead. I think I used up all the silver tone metal beads as well although it's possible that some of these are still hiding somewhere because I dropped them once.

Can you believe that I never made a real daisy chain as a child or a teenager? I was too late for the true hippie era and no one ever taught me how to make one.
So when I checked out the daisy chain stitch for my doll project, I knew it would be perfect to use up some beads and make something sweet and girly for the daycare center.
Who knows maybe it inspires the girls to try it themselves? After all I've been told the 70s are back!


5/28/2015

The Great Flapper or How Christie got a new outfit - Part 2, The headpiece


Let's jump right in, okay? Today is about Christie's head.
 
Vintage dolls have a neck knob which allows you to move the head sideways. There are smaller and bigger ones and cone shaped ones and whatnot.
Later dolls got neck knobs which allowed to also tilt the head, make it look up or down, this is the kind Christie has.
Out there in the net you can find much more information on the subject and also on the subject of the dreaded neck split and what's the best way to behead a doll. A little hint, it is NOT the guillotine.

Again, I am not a doll artist meaning I have the patience to do repairs of all kind, replace limbs, heads, re-paint faces or more. I try my best to avoid some procedures if possible, and one of them is taking a head off a doll if not absolutely necessary.
As a child I was cooler about that. We had outfits that were impossible to put on a doll if you didn't take her head off first. Yes, my Stacey does have a neck split, but she also has a yellow face and one finger and half a foot are missing. You can tell she was a beloved and played with toy. I'm digressing, sorry.

Have you ever seen a Barbie doll which looks like she doesn't have a neck? She probably had one of those newer neck knobs, maybe even the ones with prongs. My sister and I have seen more than one of those. If a child pulls on one of the heads on such a knob, the neck can break and the knob part comes off. If you put the head back on, it's right on the neck instead the knob. We call them "no-neck monsters" after a quote from "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof".

After all the work with the dress *looking at Ponder who is trying to clean up around his food plate* I didn't want to risk Christie to become a no-neck monster.
A hair cut was out of the question, too. I didn't have a replacement head in case anything went wrong.
And honestly, the copper streaks didn't look very 20s to me, either.
So all that I could do was to put something on her head that had the touch of the 20s, but hid all her hair.
I chose to knit a wire headpiece because knitted wire is flexible enough to shape it if needed. I used golden wire and the bright green beads to pick up the colors from the dress.
The last rows were a little difficult because I had to knit them with the headpiece already on the head, so I could decrease. Not that easy with the whole doll attached to it, I can tell you.


The wire knit "flower" with the crystal center was easier to make, but a bit fiddly to put on. I used the dark teal beads for it to have some contrast.
I had still some peacock feather leftovers. What was funny is that they arranged themselves when I pulled the flower tight. I wish all components would be that cooperative!
Last but not least I added a fringe at the bottom to match the fringe on the dress and voilà!


The last post will be about the jewelry and about big feet. Not Bigfoot, big feet! Just wait and see.

Have you missed the first post? Here it is:
Part 1, The dress

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel.

5/27/2015

Oldies but Goodies - Jasper

Way before I even thought about making jewelry, I hung out in shops where you could buy tumbled rocks among other things (for me it was more the scarfs and incense sticks). I have to admit that I looked down on most of them because they didn't sparkle. There were some nice colors, yeah, but I didn't see their true beauty back then. 
Things have changed over the years. It was at a little village fair where I got my first tumbled rock, a picture jasper. I still have that one, by the way.

This week the Jewelry Artisans Community's Oldies but Goodies Challenge was about jasper. You should have a look because there were more beautiful stones than just these ones.


1 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 Violetmoon's Corner
3 Cat's Wire
4 The Crafty Chimp
5 MC Stoneworks
 
Today I also have an extra picture. I got this Owyhee Jasper cab many years ago, too. Can you see the mountains in the back, the branch at the top, the lake and the trees? This cab won't go anywhere, I'll treasure it. About time I made something with it, don't you think?


5/26/2015

Theme jewelry

When I started making jewelry, I never thought of making theme jewelry, well, not on purpose at least. I didn't even think much about that subject before the Jewelry Artisans Community chose it for this month's blog carnival.

What is theme jewelry? That's jewelry with a theme of course.
What themes are there although it would probably be easier to ask what themes aren't there.
Seasons or holidays. Awareness, of a disease for example. Nature. Animals. Zodiac signs. Birthstones. These are just a few of the popular ones that come to mind.

Looking back myself I can tell that one or the other theme related piece sneaked into my work early on. The cats were there first. Of course they were, as wire crochet cat head pendants.
After that, however, I can't really remember any theme jewelry. My muse ran wild and it was possible that after finishing it a piece reminded me of a theme, but I didn't plan anything.
That changed when I started bead looming. Suddenly I felt I had all kinds of possibilities not only to pursue a theme once, but to make whole series.
There were animal print cuffs when I needed contributions for our local zoo raffle.
I played with classic fabric patterns like Gingham, Herringbone, Argyle, and Houndstooth.
Floors, tiles, and rugs inspired me.
I created animals like the panda, the unicorn or cats sitting in a window.
Halloween and Christmas items turned up. Art Nouveau. Bollywood. Symbols like the Eye of Horus or a pentacle.

Wow. Until now I didn't even realize how looming changed my style or should I say added to it.

You may wonder why I haven't shared any pictures yet. Well, now we are coming to two series that have become special to me.

One of them are of course the HeatherCats.
For those who really don't know them yet, they are a collaboration of my friend Heather, a New Zealand artist with a whimsical mind, and myself, Cat. Therefore the HeatherCats. Oh yes, and they are cats. Who would have thought, eh?
I transfer Heather's paintings into wearable jewelry. I love them, and I'd love to make the cats in all kinds of color combinations. Some of the designs were so perfect for color variations that I already did them, like the Shadycats for example.
There's no chance I can pick a favorite, either. Heather, another cat lady with three adorable cats called Biskit, Cookie, and Pudding who also fosters kittens, knows exactly the ways how to paint a cat and make you go squee, smile, chuckle or even laugh out loud.
This collage doesn't even show all of them and definitely not all of them yet because I want to make more. If you want to see pictures of the originals, by the way, you can find them with each listing in my shop. Of course you can also visit Heather's deviantART to see not only cats, but also her other work.




The other one is a fairly recent addiction that started with Edgar Allan Poe. I had been wanting to loom his portrait for a while, in a negative space version. Instead a sudden inspiration told me to use the whole photo, but cut down on the number of colors to see what would happen.
When I showed the pendant on my Facebook page, a friend there suggested that there had to be a Tesla pendant as well.
I was doomed, in more than one way. After following another suggestion - Audrey Hepburn - I remembered that Bela Lugosi had been on the top of my list for a long time. I had figured he would become a panel, but now he became a pendant instead. Dracula led to Frankenstein led to the Phantom of the Opera led to Nosferatu. For comic relief Laurel and Hardy sneaked their way in.
Why I was doomed in more than one way, you want to know? I got drawn into classic horror. Beside wire and beads movies are one of my obsessions and now I went back in time. Dracula, The Wolfman, The Invisible Man .... seriously, how do you make a pendant of an invisible man? I'm still chewing on that one. Phantom of the Opera. Freaks. Now that movie poster would be a very ambitious project. I put it on my list. There's so much on my list. Not just looming. What about the wire? My hooks are lonely. I gotta take a break. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah .........................

Yup. Looks like it is almost time for the Hug Me jacket. With beads, please. Maybe I could loom one. Do you think I could? There's that pattern I really need to make first, though.
Breathe, breathe ..... calm down.
There you go. Doomed, that's me.
Here's a picture of the portrait pendants I got so far. I'm still not sure why I picked a picture of Cary Grant in which he didn't smile, but made one of his faces.


Well, I guess after all that I could say that I am making theme jewelry.
If you want to hear what the other JAC members have to say about the subject of theme jewelry, have a look at the following links. I have no doubt it will not sound as crazy as what you've just read ;-)

Jewelry Art by Dawn
Violetmoon's Corner
The Crafty Chimp
Echoes of Ela

5/25/2015

Zibbet finds of the week - I'm learning to fly

To be able to fly by yourself is something many people seem to be dreaming of. I'll be honest, I'm not one of them. I have never been excited about being on a plane, and I don't know what you'd have to promise me to get me onto a balloon ride for example. Although my dreams are often very vivid, interesting, even weird, I seem to prefer train rides to flying of any kind (which may seem really strange to those people who have seen me through the last nine train strikes here in Germany).

Nevertheless I can understand how other people may love that feeling of freedom and being able to touch the skies, so-to-speak.
Today's post is dedicated to a fellow member of my jewelry forum JAC. Kevin, this is for you.
Let's go flying ...

... like a balloon.

Giclee print "It flew away" by Fairytalez 'N Fantasiez

... like a bird.

"Crow in flight" painted pendant by Windy Paints

... like a bee.


Bumble bee baby mobile by Cherry Time

... like a cloud.

Storm photography by Green Goose Gallery

... like an airplane.


Multicolor airplanes card set by We Make You Enjoy

... like a kite.


"Kites aloft" giclee canvas print by Carol Thompson

... like, erm, a pig?


Sepia "Flying Pigs" CD wall clock by Eclectic Skeptic

Don't forget, however ... coming down is the hardest thing ;-)

                                                   

5/24/2015

Quote of the week

Isn't it amazing how two people can think so differently, especially if it's one of the idle rich and his valet?

Bertie Wooster has been invited to a festivity in the English countryside. To make things more interesting there another guest has decided to take bets on the different competitions, the egg and spoon race, the mothers' sack race, and more.
Unfortunately their hostess has forbidden any kind of bets, so no one can tempt her husband ... but why?


Jeeves: The idea is an attractive one, Sir. Unfortunately, Lady Wickhammersley has come down strongly against any form of betting at Twing. Apparently, I understand, as a result of His Lordship losing the East wing in a game of shove ha'penny last week.
Wooster: Uh, this is bad news, Jeeves.
Jeeves: Indeed, Sir. It was only the strongest possible representations to the other party involved, and the passage of a considerable sum in money that saved the old place.
Wooster: No, no. I meant about the betting.



Jeeves and Wooster, UK, 1990 - 1993

5/23/2015

The Great Flapper or How Christie got a new outfit - Part 1, The dress

A while ago I showed you my first Barbie doll project with a bead loomed outfit and promised you more.
Here I am now to tell you the story of Christie.
Think big this time.
In 1976 the only 18 inch Barbie doll was released. She had the new superstar face and wore a white and silver dress. In 1978 she came out in a bridal version and in 1979 she had super hair which could grow and be curled.
1977 was the year for Supersize Christie. Christie was an African American doll. She had long brown hair with copper streaks and wore a dusty pink and silver dress.

My Christie's story started at a fleamarket. I don't remember if she wore anything at all at the time or what I paid for her, but it can't have been much.
She was not in mint condition. Her hair was matted and had two little braids in front, her earrings and ring were missing, she had definitely been played with.
If she had something on which I threw away or if she had been naked from the start, fact is that she spent years in a drawer. I don't know if I had hoped to stumble upon an outfit or if I actually planned making something for her, but every time I went through that drawer, I felt her reproachful gaze upon me.
When my Flapper project worked out, the chance to make it up to her was there.
With the experience I had gained from "Little Flapper", I would make her into something special. As usual I was a little naive. There IS a difference between 11.5 and 18 inch, and not just in the number of the beads you need.

First I had to take Christie's measurements and design a pattern. Again I measured several times to be absolutely sure there would be no unpleasant surprises, then I started the pattern, first the outline, then the "fabric". I had looked at pictures on the net to get inspired and after several drafts in different colors I decided to use greens and gold.
This time I would have to make two pieces and join them later. The first piece went just fine. I liked the colors, a bright green (although I wanted to use a mint first that was out of stock, however) in combination with dark silver lined teal and gold lined crystal. I loomed it, I took it off, I re-wove, no problem.

Then came the second piece. I finished it and took it off the loom. There are different opinions about what exactly happened next, but the fact is that Ponder and I managed together to pull a warp thread out which of course resulted in a whole column of beads falling out. You have to imagine the feeling after working on this for a few hours, looming and measuring. I can't even describe it. My first impulse was to chuck the whole thing. There was no chance to get those beads back in and the thought of sewing it up anyway and hoping for the best was in my head for merely a few seconds. It wouldn't have worked. The only answer was to *sob* rip it up and sort the beads all over again.
By now I was a nervous wreck. It took me a while until I came back to the loom for the second try. This time I had done about half. Seriously, it was my own fault. I really should know better than to leave the room and let Ponder watch the loom if he is in a mischievous mood. I came back to warp threads ripped off the loom, and I'm not ashamed to say that I freaked out. This project was dead as a dodo. Enough. Sorry, Christie, it was not to be. I tried. At that moment I was so tired of this pattern. I couldn't do it all over again.
Some people say I'm stubborn. Often that's a weakness, but sometimes it's a good thing. After I calmed down, I came back even more determined. Again I ripped and sorted.

Third time's the charm. I finished the piece and started sewing up the sides.
This is the very first picture I took to show my best beady friends how big this doll was, in the background one of my fiercest critics.


After deciding on the exact length I sewed up the straps with accent rows of golden beads and added three rows of the same beads to the back to make sure the dress kept sitting right.
Up to that point about 15,200 beads had gone into this dress. You might have noticed that I didn't use Delicas this time, but seed beads, or there would have been even more.
For the luxurious fringe I used the golden beads and bright green dagger beads.


So this was what Christie looked like now. It was time to think about accessories and what to do about her hair, but that's the story for the next post.


Stay tuned!

P.S. Please forgive the bad pictures. Whenever I'm in the middle of a project, I tend to take pictures at the weirdest times and often in the dark which accounts for the colors not always looking the same, too. I'll make up for it with the last picture, promise!

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel.