Quote of the week

It's Halloween. What better quote to choose than one made by my favorite vampire, from a time when vampires weren't boys, but gentlemen and had charisma ...

"Listen to them, Children of the Night, what music they make!"

Dracula, USA, 1931


Picking pearls

Have you ever wondered what mermaids are doing all day?
If you have seen Disney's "The Little Mermaid", probably not. Well, I have thought about them long before the movie came out (that I by the way never have seen to the end). Andersen's tale is one of my favorites.

Today I imagined a little mermaid getting ready for lunch. Just as you would go out into the garden to fill up your basket with beautiful flowers for the table, she maybe would swim out into her garden and pick pearls ...

This is the mermaid Catherine's fine silver basket, crocheted from wire and filled with freshwater pearls.
Catherine likes to share, so you can find this basket in my ArtFire studio now.


The deep

I shouldn't have fallen in. It was an accident. One minute I was on the pebble beach, the next minute I was down there. Why I could breathe, I didn't know, but to be frank, I was quite happy about it. Now how to get back? It felt as if I weighed a ton. Granted, no one would have compared me to a feather, but that was ridiculous.
While I was still thinking about it, I felt something touching my shoulder. I turned around and, uh-oh, this looked like trouble. The something had been a tentacle and the trouble I looked at was an angry sea god.

"Listen", I started to say, but he cut me off right away. "What are you doing in my realm, human? You have no right to be here." "Ehm, well, I didn't intend to intrude you know, I just ..." "Leave now or you may never leave again." That did not sound like an invitation for tea. "I assure you, I tried, but somehow it doesn't work." He gave me a look that made my inside freeze. "Find three species of the water who will help you and I will let you go unharmed." With these words he turned around and left me standing there.
Now where was I supposed to find water creatures to help me? In a hurry even?
It seemed my luck hadn't left me all the way. I could see a water dragon coming nearer who looked very friendly and although she looked at me a little wary, she listened to my story and told me to hold on. What a ride, I tell you!

But where were we going? I found out when we stopped in front of a huge shell. Now I was the one to look a little wary. I had read about those shells, how they caught diver's legs and wouldn't let them go. Had that been a trap? I was put to shame immediately, though. The water dragon knocked and out came a crab who was almost as huge as the shell. He solemnly nodded to everything that was said and went back into his house, saying "I need time to think." Did you know water dragons are actually very entertaining? I know. We spent hours there together, talking and playing games. I wiggled around as if I were sitting on an ant hill, but finally, when I almost had lost hope, the crab came back out and nodded in his silent way.

Not too early, either. I could see the sea god approaching. I jumped on the crab's back, held on to the water dragon's tail with my hand and they did their best to pull me up to the surface. "Three species", I kept thinking. "This won't be enough." The longer we needed, the slower my two friends became and I, still feeling as heavy as in the mornings when I needed to get out of bed, couldn't help them although I could already see the sky through the water.
Again and again I turned around, just to see the sea god behind us. I couldn't get rid of the thought that he was playing with me.
Just when I was losing hope, a hand reached out to me through the water and pulled me up with ease. I was almost catapulted out of the water and looked into the smiling eyes of a beautiful mermaid.

I was saved.

P.S. This tale has no real background whatsoever .... ;-)

All featured items are made by talented members of the Polymer Clay Smooshers on ArtFire. Ok, except for the ocean.

Angry Sea God Mask by Bewitching Dreams

Water Dragon Necklace/Key Fob by Wyverndesigns

Blue, Silver and Black Clay Crab Pendant by Medusa's Adornments and Arcana

Little Mermaid Bookmark Handpainted by Phoenix Art Studio


The hook and the yarn

Let me tell you a story. It starts in the 70s.
There's a little girl in craft class. Her hands are sweaty. One holds some yarn, the other is cramped around a crochet hook. Surely the world will tumble down if she loses that hook. The teacher tells the girls (remember, these are the "good old times" when no one would think of boys working with yarn) to make chain stitches. The little girl makes a few. Wow, that's not even that difficult. This is supposed to become a shopping bag, a net just from chain stitches.
In the end the girl has a shopping bag made from pink and grey yarn. It has round wooden handles and it is almost as big as the girl. The teacher didn't think they would be that fast, so the bags got longer and longer, so long that only very tall people could have used them for going shopping. The little girl's bag ended up as a bag for all the balls in the family.

Somewhere along the line the girl grows up. She has learned to crochet, to knit, to weave a little, but she doesn't feel like doing it anymore. She knits from time to time, but she lost the urge to crochet in 4th grade during the cardigan incident. The green cardigan she so sweated over and that she hated so much.
By accident she eventually discovers wire. Suddenly the crochet hook is her best friend, but it only works with wire, not with yarn.

Not to worry. There are so many people out there, doing a great job with a hook and yarn. And here are a few of them.

At the moment I'm having a cup of chai. To not make spots on my desk aka 30s dinner table the cup is on a printed artist's interview. My cool spider coasters are downstairs. Ergo - I need more coasters.
How do you like these ones by CASA di ARIES? I like black and I like the scarcely scattered sequins. A nice little touch.

Fall is here. It's getting chilly at times. As long as it's not too chilly in my house, I'm fine. A cup of chai, some cookies and an afghan to wrap myself into, sitting in a comfy chair (I'm not talking the one from Monty Python's sketch, but hey, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, right?).
How about this afghan by Spiffy Spooner? Isn't it beautiful?

One of my favorite studios is the one of my friend Eddy, Eddy's Pressies. I am absolutely in love with this little devil. Do you think it's true that women go for the bad guys then? I doubt he can do much harm, though. I bet behind that mischievous smile he has a golden heart.

I like bubble baths. And I love my wash cloth from C Turtlez Oddz N Endz. Mine has different colors, but I really like this one's color, too. It's so ... so happy!

You see, the world doesn't need me - in case you haven't found out yet that I was the little girl, haha - to use yarn. My wire, though, I'll defend with fangs and claws! ;-)


Quote of the week

For today's quote I have chosen not a movie, but a TV series again.
Lately I have been indulging in watching our Hercule Poirot DVDs once more. I'm talking about the series with David Suchet starring as Poirot, Agatha Christie's famous Belgian detective.

Of course I know the movies with Peter Ustinov and believe me, I adore him, but although the movies were nice and had star casting ... I'm sorry, Ustinov is just not Hercule Poirot to me (as Margaret Rutherford is great, but not a real Miss Marple, by the way).

Now, Albert Finney came pretty close, but seriously - David Suchet, wow. I will never be able to read a Poirot mystery again without seeing him before my inner eye.

So what do you think is my favorite quote?

"Ah, 'astings, ze leetle grey cells ..."

Hercule Poirot, UK, 1989 - 2010


Visiting the library - a photo story

I'm not talking about a public library, but my own one at home. It's off limits for the cats right now because my light tent is there and lots of stones, finished pieces and just stuff in general is scattered around. From time to time one of the kids goes in there with me.
Today Ponder was the one. He had been like a little child all afternoon. "Play with me." "I'm hungry." "I want to snuggle." So finally we went into the library together. I started taking pictures, but then I found a waxed thread necklace I had broken and we settled in for a nice game of string instead.
I know it must seem as if I neglect the others, but Ponder is really the one who lets me take pictures easily while the others do funny stuff right up to the moment I get the camera out - then they freeze.
So here's our story.

"Throw, Mom! I promise I won't use my claws!"

Yeah. Right.

Ouch! I was too slow. When will I learn??

"That was fun, but I think I hear something."

Muffled sound: "There is something here under Roosevelt. Give me a moment." (Roosevelt is the bear's name. He has been with us since 1988 and he has seen a lot!)

"Aaaaalmost got it."

"Roosevelt, what do you think? Looks yummy?" (Enlarge the picture to see the delicious meal.)

Happy sigh. "I love dessert. Roosevelt, a back massage would be nice now!"

After stuffing his face like that, he's in the chair behind me now, peacefully sleeping.
And I can hear a snore from under the desk ... Greebo's favorite place ...

P.S. Ehm, I do know that Ponder doesn't speak, by the way, at least not the human language ;-)


The glove

I am not Michael Jackson and the glove is not white. Oh, and there's no glitter.

But let's start in my childhood. I can hear you yell "not a-NOTHER childhood story", but sorry, it's part of the glove's story.
In Germany there is a game called "Fang den Hut", in English called "Coppit", according to Wikipedia.
I used to play it at my grandparent's house, with my friends, but more fun than actually playing the game was putting the little hats on our fingers and pretend we were witches. Of course my favorite hat was the golden one. Today when I have long finger nails I still do the same, wiggling my fingers around.
I also remember a Swedish book in which one of the guys ate some kind of berries of his girlfriend's fingers.

After I had started crocheting with wire, it had taken a while before I discovered tubes. I tried to make bird cages that didn't turn out quite right, but they ended up on my fingers a lot while making them, just like the little hats in my childhood. I even thought about what wire gauge and what size hook I might have to use to make myself a thimble. It would hardly have made any sense with all the holes in wire crochet, don't you think?
The thought of covering my fingers somehow didn't go away, though. It was there when I made my larger tube necklaces and after a few people said that sometimes the crochet reminded them of chain maille, like on my Joan of Arc ring for example, the idea grew from a pure thimble to a glove.

I finally did it. It's not perfect, mind you, but for a first attempt I'm pretty happy with it!

My fingers are not. One should think they are hardened by now, but this project was just a tad too much for them, I guess.

It's not really a comfortable glove, either, but I think it makes a pretty cool sculpture ;-)
It's a little like those wire mesh "sculptures" used in furniture stores here to show off clothes hangers and stuff. Of course they are cut out of machine-knitted mesh and molded into shape.
I think I like mine better! :-P


Can you see me?

Ignore the cat behind the curtain .... ignore the cat behind the curtain ...


The SATeam

Do you remember last year? The SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway?
Time has flown by. Don't look at the calendar, just look at your screen - cos here it comes, the 2010 SATeam Wrist Candy Holiday Giveaway! A new charm bracelet, a new chance for you to save AND win!

Last year's bracelet had the subject Christmas. This year we locked ourselves up in a cave in Northern France. Only water and crackers were allowed until ... you don't believe me? Okay, you are right, but it might have been fun. We had a poll and so here it is, this year's prize!
Flowers, in all colors, shapes, made in different techniques, I wish I could play!

Check out the Etsy team shop for all the savings you can get during this sale and giveaway which will be held from the 17th of October until the 28th of November! And check out the team blog
for updates. Come and join us, it'll be fun!


Quote of the week

I really do love Kevin Kline, no matter if we are talking about "A fish called Wanda" or "The big chill", "In & Out" (just think of that great dance!) or "The January Man" and of course these are just a few.

There are a few favorite quotes as well, many from "A fish called Wanda", but one that I really use a lot is from a different movie.
Kline is at a factory, trying out some huge robot arms. He spreads those arms and says:
"I once caught a fish that was THIS BIG."
What a useful quote. If I can't take quite serious what your counterpart says at the moment or if I want to make clear that I myself am exaggerating at the moment, it always works. Good old fishermen's stories ;-)

And the winner ... eh, the movie is?
Dave, USA, 1993


A child's best friend

His name is Teddy. I guess I wasn't very creative at giving names in my childhood, but I don't think Teddy minds. He has never complained and he has been around more than 40 years, in fact all my life. I know, I know, you thought I was 27, but the moment of truth is here ;-)

Back to Teddy. He was made by the company Hermann, he has light brown fur that has been worn down by years of sleeping in my bed and listening to my problems. He had plastic surgery, for example when one of his nose threads came loose. He also needed new pads for feet and hands, but I have a great surgeon in my family and I was a great nurse for him, so he was in the best care.
Actually I only remember one time when he was out of the house. A little girl that had come visiting with her father was so in love with "the talking bear" that he got loaned to her for a few days. I didn't go for the "You are such a big girl now and you want to be nice to her, don't you?". I was p..... ehm, mad. I really was. I didn't want to be a big girl and I didn't want Teddy to be out there without me.
Imagine my shock when he finally was brought back in a plastic bag, upside down! Needless to say Teddy never left me again. Indeed he is watching over my nightstand now, with all its treasures ...

Why am I telling you all that, though?
It's Melissa's fault. Melissa Vess makes lampwork beads (check out her ArtFire studio!), beautiful lampwork beads. I know, I have more than one.
And one has patiently be waiting on my desk for more than one and a half years. From time to time I would take it, have a good look at it and put it back in his little bubble wrap nest. And yesterday I suddenly knew what to do. The answer had been sitting on my nightstand all along!

Little Teddy can move his head, arms and legs. His body, arms and legs are crocheted from a beautiful silver-colored copper wire. Yes, there are differences and this one is really nice.
Now what was the song about the bones -"Toe bone connected to the foot bone. Foot bone connected to the leg bone. Leg bone connected to the knee bone..."
Little Teddy only has three "bones", one going through head and body, one going through shoulders and body and one going through hips and body, they are from silver-plated copper wire.

I need more heads ...............


Halloween is coming nearer

I have always loved the thought of Halloween. I think the first time I read about it was in the "Mary Poppins" books (that I still love today, that I have in English and German and that I have read probably 100 times).
But Halloween is not a German holiday. It comes from the Celts then living in Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France.
In Germany we didn't use pumpkins to scare the ghosts away, but turnips. In some areas people try to revive this old tradition, especially because they find that Halloween that slowly started to conquer Germany as well has become too much of a business. They might be right about that, but I still love it.

I remember my first real Halloween. There used to be an Army post in my hometown and as a teenager I was member of a German-American club called Kontakt. On Halloween our plan was to volunteer taking a group of kids, so their parents could celebrate Halloween on their own. It didn't quite work that way. No kids showed up, so our coordinator decided that we'd walk the housing area on our own, joining in the fun. I remember at least three of us wearing costumes. Kathy was a slick vampire in a suit, her hair combed back with gel, she looked great. Bob wore a Superman outfit, but with an "SK" on his chest for "Super Kontakt"!

And I had been dressed up by my sister as the Bride of Frankenstein. I wore sheets for a tunic, she had put bandages around my arms, put white make-up on my face and red lipstick. Then she backcombed my hair, all the way - I even had long hair then - until it stood up as if I had been electrocuted. (It was such a pain getting the tangles back out the next day!).

We headed for housing. People, believe me, I had so much fun!
I couldn't believe what lengths people had gone to to make this a great Halloween. I remember the big cauldron filled with sweets done in one basement. You walked through all those fake (? ;-)) cobwebs and were greeted by a truly hideous witch cackling in your face.
Or the guy who dragged me onto his lap, crying out "Darling, you DID come back from the dead!" *lol*

We had so much fun that we decided to go out for Chinese food. Remember, this was 1982 or 1983, with no Halloween action throughout the town. I have to say they took it pretty cool when we walked in there in our costumes. A few people got up from their tables, though, to ask us if we came from a masquerade ball and our vampire explained Halloween to them.

Oh dear, the old lady and her memories again, eh? ;-)
There will be more ..... so live in fear, mwahahahaaaaa!


A new color

You can't imagine how excited I got when I found this new color at my wire supplier.
You can't imagine how I looked when I found I have no chance with my limited skills to bring across how nice this color looks. In all pictures that I took, it looks, well, indefinite. But it's nice, you'll just have to believe me until my photographing skills develop. You do have time, don't you? :-P

It's called "smoked", by the way.


Going through the world with open eyes - gifts from nature

Are you the kind of person that collects things in your vacation?
Pretty rocks in the mountains or on the beach, various shells, pieces of roots for a terrarium ...
I do and I know people who do. I remember friends moving. It was memorable all right, especially the boxes that said "Rock collection" and "Cigar cases collection". Maybe it would have been a good idea to mix the collections. The rock boxes were incredibly heavy, the ones with the cigar cases you could almost lift with two fingers.

I usually held on to just a few because I didn't know where to put them. I still have the first oyster shell I ever found on a Californian beach, for example.
But this year things changed. I got a whole bag full of goodies from a Danish beach - rocks, shells, pieces of shells, seaglass and they were just as beautiful as a gemstone, granted, with less sparkle, but all those shapes, colors, textures fascinated me.
Why shouldn't a rock be worthy of a silver wire bezel? Why throw a piece of shell away when the colors are so lovely?

Here's a little gallery of them now.

Little piece of shell in a wine red wire crochet bezel

Rock in black and brown in a wine red wire crochet bezel

I really had fun with this one. Blue wire for the ocean, a big piece of a shell and for added interest grey freshwater pearls. Modern, yet romantic.

The "tooth". Somehow this pendant reminds me of an ancient monster's tooth. It's a rock in a silver-colored wire crochet bezel.

I absolutely fell in love with these shell pieces. The cream color with the brown stripes is so lovely! I think they make fun earrings with the contrasting colored wire.

This black rock is the one I had mentioned above. Holding it against the light it has an ever so soft shimmer. I don't think I was wrong when teaming it up with fine silver wire, tourmalines in all possible colors and tiny Bali silver beads. Doesn't it make for a stunning contrast?

And last but not least my favorite piece, a shell with a fine silver wire bezel from which tiny labradorite beads and a pink and a white pearl dangle. The shell has a lovely color, one of my friends said it reminded her of sand. It's a very feminine, soft and somehow peaceful piece to me.

I can't wait to get to work on the other gifts of nature and I hope I'll have enough ideas to do them justice.


Animal instinct

The Smooshers have a whole lot of new members AND the Smooshers have a new blog task force. Today I'll combine all those new powers.
Our subject is animal instinct.
Let me think, let me think .... hmm .... what animal would you never expect me to write about? A monkey. Nah, too obvious. A horse. Sheesh, right, that's what you are just waiting for.
Hey, I know. Cats! No one EVER would think that of me!

Ok, so I didn't fool you. Who cares? You'll have to pull this through with me now. I can't risk the wrath of basement cat or the half-vampirette, the cow cat or the lady with the stripes, aka my feline masters.

Here we go. Four new Smooshers with four very different approaches to cats.

Let's start with a cat that probably just lost his or her witch. I'm not sure if she will make it back out of the cauldron. So if any of you wants to adopt a very probably homeless black cat with knowledge of spells, rush over to C Dowdle Designs.

A lot more ancient looks this little faux ivory cat. I'm sure she never had to do with a witch, I can see her much better together with a nice granny.
But even if you are not a granny, you might want to take her in? You can find her at Rueschka by Laurel Steven.

Ha! I remember when my masters used to look like that, cute and cuddly and ... oh gosh. They can still look like that and I'm wax in their paws.
Isn't this little fellow just crying out "Take me in your arms" while waiting in the studio of Artsy Clay?

Last but not least is this cat with the expressive eyes by Blue Jane. Wow, just wow. I'm hypnotized.

Talking about hypnotized, I think it's time to feed the masters ......


Quote of the week

I have read the book, I have seen the movie, and I love both.
They have everything (and that is a quote in itself): "Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles..."

My very favorite quote of the many, many I love is this one, though. I love to say it in most unfitting moments, too.

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Any idea yet?
It's what Mandy Patinkin says to the count who killed his father the sword maker. And the movie is ........

The Princess Bride, USA, 1987


A walk through the cemetery

The "Old Cemetery" in Goeppingen is one of my favorite places. It's mostly very peaceful and lots of childhood and teenage memories are connected with it.
Wanna stroll along?

Let's start with the scary part, the WW I memorial for the victims of the war. When I was a child (I'm not ashamed to say it was the 60s then), people used to put their children or in my case grandchildren up there and take pictures. It could just as well have been a statue of a horse or a goddess, but it was the only statue around. I hated it. When looking up, seeing the clouds move, I always had the feeling those big guys were moving, too. Even worse, falling. On top of me. Call me crazy, but they still give me that feeling today although it got a little better since they planted that bush in front of them.

This is a part of the cemetery. It was used until the 20s. In 1902 a new cemetery with more space was built on the town borders.
There are chestnut trees scattered over the old cemetery and just like we did as children, kids still collect chestnuts here in the fall. It's hard to resist the shiny brown beauties. Each year I pick up the first chestnut I see and put it in the pocket of my jacket where I carry it until the next year.

Here is my favorite grave. It has been ever since I was a child. I always said I wanted one like that. I have been drawn to books all my life, I guess.

Now to the "Oberhofenkirche", the church where I was baptized and confirmed. It's the oldest building in Goeppingen. Initially the church was built outside the city walls, started in 1436, finished in 1490. It's now in the middle of the town.

Not always used as a church, it was renovated end of the 19th century and opened again as a sacral building in 1902.

I love the gargoyles (just showing one here) and the faces above the doors (there are more on the side walls).

I wish I could show you the windows from inside with the light falling through the colored glass. There used to be only one stained glass window, but they then added the two on the side.
I have a confession to make. As a teenager I often counted the little squares to keep myself awake if a sermon was too long .....