10/22/2014

Oldies but goodies - Pearls

Pearls are timeless. Nowadays they come in different colors, they can have different shapes, they can be tiny or big, they can be natural or from glass. There are so many ways to incorporate them in jewelry.
This time the JAC Oldies but Goodies Challenge was all about pearls, and the pictures just flowed! You can see all of them here, and as always I bring you a selection.
If you are a jewelry artisan yourself, we would love you to come by and play!



1 Galadryl Design
2 RioRita
3 Cat's Wire
4 MC Stoneworks
5 The Crafty Chimp
6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
7 Violetmoon's Corner

10/20/2014

Zibbet finds of the week - Ballet

The other day I watched the first part of a documentary about ballet. Of course I missed the other parts, but that's not the point. One of the dancers said something like "the audience is supposed to see the elegance and effortlessness when there is really hard work behind this".

I went through Zibbet to find a little of the ballet magic and this is what I brought you with a wink in the eye. Have fun!

Needle felt kangaroo ballerina Hip Hop by Conchy Gem Dolls

"Alejandra the Rebel Ballerina" print by Art By A Fox

Ballet oil painting by Art Is

Sterling silver ballet dancer necklace by Dalia Shamir Jewelry

Degas' Two Dancers On A Stage soap by Sky Rain Soap

Ballet shoes coin purse by Zoë's Bag Boutique

10/19/2014

Quote of the week

Sal is having a hard time. Not only did her husband, the village doctor, die recently, but her son James is taking over the practice, her daughter-in-law Yasmeen is taking over the job as practice nurse that she used to have, and her daughter Tash rebels against establishment, wants to go travel with a yurt and just threw yet another job.
Now all of them are at her house for dinner and start fighting. James doesn't understand Tash, and Tash is determined not to sell her soul for a job.


Tash: Mum, am I a nihilist or an anarchist?
Sal: You're unemployed, love.


Little does she know that Tash's next job is practically right around the corner. She's going to be a wind farm generator monitor. Unfortunately the wind farm hasn't be built yet, and maybe it won't be built because Tash and her friends are going to protest against it, but if it will be built after all, that's what her job is going to be.
Nothing to worry there, eh?

Jam & Jerusalem, UK, 2006 - 2009

10/18/2014

The Tale of the Bead Loomer

Once upon a time there was a bead loomer. She lived in her small cottage with three cats who were as crazy as they come.
The bead loomer had lots of tiny glass beads, fine needles and thread. Whenever she felt like it, she sat down on her bed, put down the bead tray with the little measuring cups that she filled with the tiny beads she wanted to use, put thread on her loom and then reached for her needle. For some strange reason she kept losing that needle, however. She was not the youngest anymore and it had probably not been good for her head that her biggest cat liked to sleep on her face.

Every time she couldn't find the needle, the bead loomer freaked out. Needles are not good around nosy cats and the wise lady that knew how to heal cats did not live around the corner.
The more the bead loomer panicked, the nosier the cats became, the big black one in particular. Nothing could happen in the house without him knowing it. And the closer he came, the more the bead loomer panicked again. The neighbors were already used to her yelling. "Don't! Don't! There's a needle here somewhere! Stay out of the thread! Why are you doing that? I'm going to throw you out of the room! You will be sorry if you have a needle sticking in you and we have to visit the wise lady! I just want you to be safe!"

The big black cat couldn't have cared less, though. He danced around in the thread and if things were really bad, he and his also black sister managed to step on the little measuring cups which made the bead loomer get even more upset.
It always worked out, no one was ever tangled in thread or stabbed by a mean needle, maybe that's why the bead loomer, too set in her ways, didn't learn and still kept losing the needle (she was also a crocheter and the same way with her hook, by the way, but crochet hooks don't stab anyone).

One time, however, things were different. The little old lady found the needle almost right away and there was no need to panic. She held the thread up to the needle, but she couldn't get it through. Actually she didn't even find the eye of the needle.
Now, my children, I have a little riddle for you. Can you tell me why the thread wouldn't go through the needle?


P.S. Do you think I need better lighting?
P.P.S. This is a true story even if some details are artistic freedom.

10/17/2014

The HeatherCat news ticker

It has been a while that I talked about the HeatherCats. I have a pile of finished projects that still need pictures or need to be listed, and I have been in a bit of beading frenzy with some wire thrown in during the breaks. Too many ideas and no one volunteering to do the work that comes after the beading ;-)

Remember Heather's stamps one of which is the Dalicat? Petcat is another one of them and I fell in love with it right when I saw it first. I wasn't sure how to fit the hand in, though. After talking to Heather we made the decision to make Petcat a sleeping cat. Sleeping cats around me and I relax to the point where I can't keep my eyes open. Actually I wrote about "cat sleeping gas" a few years ago.
These are not the news I wanted to tell you, though.
I wanted to talk a little about my work to give you an idea what is behind pieces like these.



1. Color decisions ^..^
I love black cats, that's not new. I am always tempted to make each cat black to the extent that I am running after Greebo to paint him. Ok, the last part is not true, but the first part is if it relates to beaded cats. Heather's cats are often colorful, though, and their bright and happy colors make me smile (a little hint, there's pink on my next bead order list).
So why did I choose white, silver and black this time? I guess what I liked about the pendants was the contrast of the shimmering white with the beautiful AB finish and the black that I so love.
The transparent silver luster is one of my favorite colors at the moment, and I thought it would make a great contrast color with the background and the shiny rug.
 

Also ....
2. Thread colors ^..^
It's not new and not difficult to understand that transparent beads change their color a little with the thread you use. I like to use black thread to darken a grey background a little for example, like in a night scene, a white thread lets the transparent colors stick out more. You have to look at the single bead, though. I have a lovely transparent purple on hand, and all pearls together in their tube don't look very light, but white thread washes the color out so much that you hardly see it which is a pity (more so because I had to rip up a piece once).
The transparent silver luster, however, oh man, I don't even know where to start. It has quickly become one of the colors I don't want to do without.
I used it as accent color for the white Petcat and as fur color for the bracelet, with white thread on the left and black thread on the right. Can you tell the difference?


3. Pattern ^..^
Why is the tail up on the bracelet and down on the pendants and why is it different from the stamp design?
Part of it is just artistic whim. Yes, the stamp has a really cool design, but can you imagine it in beads? Not with an extension. I want the HeatherCats not only to look good, but also to be good to wear without parts falling off. The bigger tail is safer. Again, I don't change anything without talking with Heather about it first.
On the pendants the tail going down means the pendant is not as wide and therefore better to wear, and yes, I really did want to do that little hole to make it look interesting!

Did you also notice that there are differences in how the cat looks in the bracelet compared to the pendants?
The pendants were loomed in a different direction, but I didn't change the pattern. Since the beads are not square, that changes the proportion.

4. Re-weaving ^..^
Most of the times I re-weave my warp threads back into the piece. The bigger a piece, the more warps to weave back in.
Extensions like the ear and tail on the bracelet that are loomed - I have also done them in brick stitch before - mean more warps, more re-weaving.
The little holes formed by the tail on the pendants going down instead of up ... more warps. If I make something like this, I have to make sure I have enough thread on my loom to be able to weave them in on all sides, quite fiddly, but strangely relaxing to me most of the time. You'll hear more about re-weaving when I'll be talking about my latest experiment, by the way.

That was a long post, sorry about that, but hopefully it gave you a bit of an idea of what I do.

Oh, and don't forget that you can find all HeatherCats including the Petcats in my Zibbet shop!

10/15/2014

Oldies but goodies - Pink

In recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the pink ribbon that represents this disease, the chosen topic for last week's Oldies but Goodies Theme Challenge on JAC was pink, too.
Wow. I wouldn't have thought there was so much pink around! One beauty after the other was posted and once again it was really hard to pick just one item from everyone. Have a look at all of the pictures here and let my selection give you a little taste first.


1 RioRita
2 Violetmoon's Corner
3 J3 Jewelry
4 Loki's Links
5 Galadryl Design
6 MC Stoneworks
7 Cat's Wire
8 The Crafty Chimp
9 Jewelry Art by Dawn

10/13/2014

Zibbet finds of the week - Halloween

I love Halloween. I don't live in an area where much is happening on Halloween, but in the last years more children go from house to house for Trick or Treat. The first year some kids actually rang the bell, I was completely unprepared. My place and no chocolate? Unbelievable, but true.
Last year I went out in the evening and took along some goodies to make sure I had something if I met children on the way. I almost had to run after one group that didn't show much enthusiasm. They probably wondered who that crazy chocolate swinging lady was!

I could have spent hours on Zibbet to look for more unusual Halloween items and I brought you some favorites to look at.


Skeleton zombie playing guitar steel sculpture by Zed's Zombie Ranch
Also check out his Kickstarter that's running right now.


Winter Witch Queen Mask by Metamorphoses Masks


Pumpkin brooch, pencil jewelry by Jen Maestre


Vladimir the Vampire Mouse by The House of Mouse


Skeleton in a bubble bath by De-Lightful Minis by MiniDe
Embroidered table runner with witch and owl by Embroidered Dreams

Are you in the mood now? I sure am!