I have said it before, I'll say it again. At times I am a real romantic. I like a happy ending, the girl getting the boy. Or the other way round. Call it escapism, it doesn't matter. Sometimes it feels right to escape the real world, as long as you don't forget to find the way back. One movie that screams romance is Gone With The Wind. It might not be politically correct, but it has that certain something.
My favorite quote from it: "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again." I don't mind making a fool out of myself as long as I'm the one doing it and sometimes I say that, even in public. I wish I'd look as good doing it as Vivien Leigh does.
I'm still playing with lampwork beads and pearls. There is this one cab that looks like liquid honey and flowers that remind me of Art Deco, absolutely beautiful. I picked the wire (warm gold) and started. I guess I got a little carried away because when I checked, the disk had become too large already and it started wrinkling at the edges which reminded me of a flower. This called for a quick change of plans. Instead of caging the cab I added a bail to the flower and a white pearl. A simple design, but an effective one, I found.
Therefore I made two more in different colors, dark blue with a white pearl and dark purple with a pink pearl. When I list them, I'll offer the buyer to choose from the many wire colors and the two colors of pearls that I have.
So now I had three pendants, but that wasn't what I wanted to make, right? So I started again and finally had my bezel around the lampwork cab. That is usually the moment when Mabel, my muse, has to take over. Will it become a ring? A pendant? It took her a while, she was probably already exhausted from whipping up the pendants, but suddenly the idea was there. A cuff it would be, looking like a wristwatch. Said - or rather thought - and done. Here it is, the "Honey Flower Cuff".
Today I want you to meet Niki from Positively Charming Things. Her pieces charm me for sure and I want to show you some that put a smile on my face.
You might remember that I'm Cancerian - we are said to be drawn to the moon. Is that the reason why that is one of my favorite pieces? The Blue Moon pendant? I love the color combination and I think it also appeals to my nostalgic soul. The way the circles overlap reminds me so much of the 60s/70s!
I know, I know, it's not Christmas yet, but I just couldn't resist these little fellows smiling at me like that. I have to smile back and maybe they'll make you smile, too?
This however is the best one. I crack up every time I look at the three-eyed alien. What I like best about it, is the one eye giving you this ... well, this teacher or Mom look. "What have you done now?" So cool!
It has been a while since I mentioned Deronda. The lady with the addictive lampwork beads? By now I do have a little stash of beads and cabs made by my favorite "lampies" and it was about time that I tried to incorporate some of them into new pieces.
Last time I got myself some bubble beads from Deronda. The pink one has been turned into a simple little pendant with a crochet tube made from slip stitches only.
The blue ones that I could stare at forever are now the bottom part of these large earrings, also with crochet tubes, made from single crochet this time. What I like about using some kind of tube with lampwork is that the earrings don't get too heavy. I can't wear heavy earrings for long myself and I'm sure there are others that can't either.
My absolute favorites are the melties, though. The bubbles on this cab look like big berries to me and I seem to feel a sweet taste on my tongue when I look at them.
I think the pattern on the back is just as beautiful as the front which is why I made sure the pendant can be worn both ways, even if the bezel is bigger on the back. We don't want that cab to slip out, right?
If you like glass, go to Deronda's ArtFire studio. There are so many more beads that I'm lusting after. Whenever I have just ordered something and it's on the way, bang, there are more beauties in her studio!
This is a sneak preview by the way. None of these pieces has been listed yet.
Today I'll present a quote from another of my favorite movies. I have to admit that I don't get all the innuendos because I don't know much about Russian books. Wait, I don't think I know any, so you might say now that I'm into it just for the cheap laughs mostly. Oh come on, I said you might, not you have to. Sheeesh.
The movie is Love and Death by Woody Allen (yes, I also know this name brings up controversy, but I do like him), starring him and Diane Keaton. Allen plays a Russian in the Napoleonic times, Boris Grushenko. Family and friends at a fest just got the news that there is war with Napoleon and Boris tries everything to get out of it. His mother however does not agree when he claims she won't let him go.
"He'll go and he'll fight, and I hope they will put him in the front lines." "Thanks a lot, Mom. My mother, folks."
I'm very proud of my Mom and when I talk about her, that is what I often say. Even if (or because?) she isn't trying to "feed" me to Napoleon ..... ;-)
If you hear Fantasy Clay, you already might be on the right track now. Susan whose studio is named that way indeed works with polymer clay and she has a lot of fantasy that she puts into really fun pieces. She's another member of the Polymer Clay Smooshers.
It was hard to choose from her dragons, monsters and aliens, but here are my favorites now.
Griffin is half lion, half eagle. He looks very impressive, just imagine him swooping down! On the other hand he has such a sweet, shy look in his eyes ...
I like vampires, just not the new kind. I'm an old-fashioned girl and that's why this vampire appeals to me so much, I guess. Vlad looks a little annoyed and grumpy. Who wouldn't with all those youngsters around? I bet he never gets enough sleep at daytime!
This Face Wall Hanging is my favorite, however. Isn't this fun? And it makes you think. All those faces crammed into a little space ... is there room for one more?
In my jewelry forum, Starving Jewelry Artists, there's always a daily topic that does not necessarily have to do with jewelry, just to get to know each other better. Yesterday the topic was pets and how they annoy you sometimes. First I was afraid to answer because I thought I might never be able to stop again. Oh yes, as much as I love the furry beasts, I regularly threaten to sell them. I'm not sure if I interpret their looks right, but to me it looks like "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn". I shouldn't quote movies that much around them, they only use it against me.
But what do they do to annoy me most? Let's see.
- Meffi and Greebo are "lickers". One of this days I'll post a picture of me, but I won't have a nose and I won't have arms, only bones sticking out because they licked all flesh off me. Oh, I forgot, I also won't have hair as Greebo does his best to eat it whenever he gets a chance. Don't worry about them, it's not a sign of malnutrition, I had that checked. They are just weird.
- Esme and her "five minutes". Besides the fact that she can't stand me whistling - which earned her a blog post already if you remember - she thinks she's allowed to annoy me with her squeaking. If stupid human Mom doesn't understand right away, she can get so mad that she starts jumping up, aiming for my arm. She doesn't bite, it's more like "Listen to meeeeee". Which I gladly would if I had any idea what she wants. It's usually not food, not playing, not snuggling. What else is there??
- Esme and her behavior when I try to take a photo on the chest of drawers in the tall guy's playroom. LOUD squeaking, jumping me, the chair, the table, the chest. Up, down, up, down, getting louder by the minute. If I take a picture anywhere else, no problem. One opinion about this is: The chest is haunted and she wants to warn me. Ungh.
- Ponder and Esme think my keyboard belongs to them. Have I ever told you that once I thought my monitor was broken because it suddenly was black when I looked up? My only excuse, it was dark and the cat in question that blocked the view is black. And big. And silly. Ponder, who else. I almost got a heart attack when the "black monitor" suddenly moved. They are usually so loud, but also they can materialize in half a second and without the smallest sound. The other day Ponder had parked his big head on my ctrl-key which I hadn't noticed. I had to use the + and the writing on the screen became bigger and bigger. After being confused for a bit I saw Ponder moving. On the key. He was not amused that I dared to move him then!
- Bedtime. Why is it that Meffi and Ponder always have to use me as a trampoline?? Why does Greebo think my side of the bed belongs to him? I have woken up before with one leg in the bed and the other foot firmly on the floor outside the bed while my cat stretches as if he's going for an entry in the Guinness book as the world's biggest cat.
- T-shirts have to have holes, don't they? The boys love to cling to me with everything they've got. Everything meaning some very sharp claws. They don't want to hurt me, I'm sure, they just want to hold on to me. Greebo is so afraid of losing me that once my dermatologist asked me if I had a bad itch. I said no, why and he pointed out the heavy scratches on my shoulders. His look when I said it was my cat told me everything. I don't even want to know what exactly he thinks I'm into. I have thought about bringing Greebo as proof the next time.
You know I could go on, but just now the big, black, silly cat landed in the hammock. The purring and the adoring look (what actors they all are!) makes me forget all the annoying things for now. I'll just enjoy cuddling with one of the four best cats in my world ;-)
Today I'll take the easy way out and give you a really famous quote. I wonder what pops up first in your mind when I say that. Never mind, I won't make you wait. It's one of my favorite quotes, matching all situations.
"Here's looking at you, kid." Of course, Humphrey Bogart's famous sentence to Ingrid Bergman in
I just wanted to take the trash downstairs, but then I saw him - Spidy. So I went back upstairs and got my camera. Oh, how I wish I knew how to really work a camera in these moments! The light could have been better too, but it doesn't come to the back of the house until later. Spidy was working hard on his beautiful web, he just stopped for a second if the breeze got too strong.
I don't know if he went on strike finally because I kept molesting him or if he just needed a break, but here he is, as well as I could capture him, sitting still. Or maybe he didn't notice he had left out a bit?
While I was at it, I took a look around what was new.
I love fuchsias, always have. It's probably their bold color combinations that I would never dare to wear, but this fuchsia can pull it off easily.
This is a bud of a plant that I don't know the name of.
And before I was called back to the door by the mailman, I said hello to this rose.
I know I haven't written about my work for a while. Yesterday I was being productive with listing a few things, two of which had been lying around for months, for whatever reason. I don't do WIP Wednesdays, it just happened to be Wednesday. I also made something, though. It's something that surprised myself a bit, but I'm happy I have done it, also for myself. First comments differed and I was happy about that, too. This is not supposed to be a smooth and pretty bling piece. The idea for it came a few weeks ago although then I didn't think it would turn out to be a ring. That's the fault of my wire order arriving and the fact that one of the "colors randomly chosen" 21 gauge wires was gunmetal.
I won't have to introduce Joan of Arc, she is famous enough. My Joan of Arc is not a beautiful woman. She is tired, solemn, marked by the experiences she went through. Her face is made from polymer clay in a mix of skin color and red. It's not smooth, it carries the traces of the battles Joan went through. The "chain mail" that surrounds her face is from gunmetal colored copper wire, a color that fits perfectly.
It was a lucky coincidence that this month's Smoosher challenge is "Medieval" because it made me work on my idea. I love those challenges. Joan is in my ArtFire studio now.
Tamed is the name of Dee's ArtFire studio and also her website where I "stole" this quote: "Tamed means to be domesticated, "to cause to feel comfortable at home", we often hear this word associated to pets, but I feel my pets have tamed me. They make my life better and inspire me to produce my art. My work is perfect for anyone tamed by the love of an animal/s."
Here are examples to show how much animals inspire her work.
Let's start with the dolphin she made for the Polymer Clay Smoosher monthly challenge "Ocean". Can't you almost see him speed up through the blue waves?
My favorite piece is this basset. He reminds me of the dog that was always with Inspector Columbo in the TV series. Think he's howling at the moon maybe?
Dee is specialized in something else, though. She recreates real animals in polymer clay and puts fiber on them to make them look even more like their living equivalents. Sometimes she even uses original fur from the animal! Maybe I should start collecting the hair that my feline masters keep shedding ... Here's an example. Absolutely amazing, don't you agree? Especially knowing that these are miniatures!
I'm still on vacation and the plan was to be productive, have fun, make little trips into the area, sleep in. The plan was NOT to catch a cold and lie in bed for a few days, coughing and sneezing, complaining and moaning about a headache. At least I boosted sales for the tissue industry, I wonder if they'll give me a medal.
The sad fact is that I'm behind now on everything I had planned. I do feel better, even if I'm not my sunny old self yet, and I've got things to do!
Have you already heard that ArtFire has a new tool, the Collections? I made my first one now, have a look!
I know that today is Quote of the Week Sunday, but I thought I'd skip that for the last vacation report, you'll forgive me.
When we had been to the city the first time, we went to the Tourist Centre and asked about the best way to see some landscape. Seriously, guys, I had seen more water and cows then the famous Welsh hills and sheeps, so I thought a little field trip would be nice. We had been recommended a small picturesque village called Llantwit Major with a beach nearby that we could reach by bus line X91. It was a nice, warm day. Perfect. Arriving at the Central Station we started looking for X91. Hm, there was a sign, but the fence around it was not very encouraging. We checked the bus schedule and found two other buses would go there ... one of which drove by us, just as we looked for the point we had to go. Ah, no problem, right? One of the others would be due soon. Or maybe not. We found we would have to wait an hour. We are flexible however, so we went to check if there was a train going there as well. We got our tickets, two each, and were told we had two minutes. Ruuuuun! We wanted to, but it's not easy to run through when you try to put in the wrong ticket. "This ticket is to Cardiff, Ma'am (oh, how I hate to be called Ma'am), you are in Cardiff." Oh yeah? Did this sound familiar? Like on the airport in Amsterdam when I fished the wrong boarding card out of my purse and was told that I WAS in Amsterdam already? I hate to be in a rush, it blocks my brain cells. I wasn't the only one, but I sure felt I was marked as a tourist. Yes, people, for those who don't know that, the system is different in Germany. We don't have to go through a turnstile. It figures that we wouldn't have had to run after all, the train was late. But finally we sat on there, listening to a little old lady who kept telling us all that her pension check went up and interesting facts about toothpaste and when she got off the train she said: "Driver, I'm sure you are glad that you also have more quiet passengers."
Llantwit Major, last stop before Bridgend. Ok, the train station obviously wasn't the picturesque part of the village. We walked downhill. And walked. And walked some more. Ah, there! A sign directing to the Beach! The street was a little narrow. Was this really the right way? Maybe we had to walk up there where it said "Reserve"? Have I mentioned that it was warm? Uphill, uphill and when I had almost made it, I heard the words "Nope. There's a closed gate there. That's probably why the other guys came back down." Downhill, downhill. "Let's walk on that footpath where the other people walked before." Across the fields, yes, what a good idea. I bet they had been locals, knowing exactly what they were doing with their big beach ball and the sandals on.
We walked. I got a little suspicious about all the cow pats lying around and then we saw them, a herd of huge, vicious looking cows. With a whimper I asked if we had to walk through there. I hadn't been close to lots of cows since I had been a child and I wasn't sure if I could outrun them. It was warm after all, you know, and my purse kept falling off my shoulder. And I'm a wimp around some animals, especially if they come in herds. Maybe they didn't look very vicious after all, but they still looked big. We turned around and gave up on seeing the beach that day, so all you get is this picture that I just as well could have taken in our neighborhood. At least I'm honest about it.
Back uphill it went, taking a closer look at the beautiful little houses with names like "Rose Cottage" and finally ending up in Elaine's Tearooms where I had a delicious three cheese salad before we took the train back to Cardiff. There's always a silver lining. Maybe we should have taken the other advice we got, to visit the beach in Barry. Oh, well. Unfortunately I didn't feel well when we were back in town, I tend to have a problem with warm weather, so we took the rest of the day very easy with a little walk and a quite early dinner at Mermaid Quay. And a last picture of the view from the balcony.
There is not that much to say about Sunday as we couldn't do much more than packing our stuff, having breakfast and waiting for our ride to the airport. I took another last picture of the window in the hall.
Our flights were on time and there was only a tiny little problem. We were back in Stuttgart in the evening. Our luggage wasn't. For those who have been following this blog for some time, this might sound familiar. Just like last year our luggage hadn't made it during check through. Who cares. It felt good to be home and be welcomed by nagging cats, even if it just had been a short vacation.
Knowing we would meet Eddy, one of my guild members (take a look at her ArtFire studio, so fun) and online friends, in the early afternoon, we didn't plan much for the morning of day four. We walked over to Mermaid Quay, heading to the Norwegian Church. The church which is an arts center now was built in the 19th century when Cardiff was one of Britain's most important ports. At that time the Norwegian merchant fleet was the third largest in the world, so this church as a place of worship for the Norwegian seamen was established. Roald Dahl, the famous writer, was baptized in this church which originally had stood on the grounds of our hotel!
Right next to the church is the Scott Antarctic Memorial, reminding of Captian Scott's ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition which aim it was to reach the geographical South Pole first. Cardiff was one of the biggest donors for this expedition.
We walked on through the docklands before then reaching Cardiff Bay Barrage, constructed in the 1990s to help regenerate the docklands and created a vast freshwater lake, separated from the sea.
There is even a sea angling zone and of course we had to stop there. No, not I am the fishing member in this house and I have to admit my interest was somewhat limited, especially since I was the only woman there which felt a little strange. I also have to admit that I wasn't keen on staying there until someone would catch a fish. On the other hand it was funny when one guy thought he had hooked a fish and found it was another guy's fishing line. I have no idea what exactly this hut is used for, but a pink building in an area where very manly men pursued a very manly and serious activity made me giggle.
Remember the buildings I had been so fascinated with? An abandoned structure and a restaurant built in 18something. I guess I'm just attracted to old buildings.
We thought it would be fun to take the waterbus back to the other side of the bay and were lucky that we didn't have to wait for long. From there we went down to the wetlands for a sandwich until it was time to meet Eddy. We didn't sit there for long before a swan decided to keep us company (although the sandwiches hadn't been unpacked yet) and called over a friend after a while. We didn't feed them, don't worry. It didn't seem to make them happy however, so they finally came out and went to the other side. I took a video of them slowly swimming down the water until they disappeared in the reed. Quote: "Who comes to Wales to film swimming swans?" Well, I do! ;-)
Now it was time to go to Cardiff Bay Station. As someone having commuted by train since 1983, this station was a little surprising to me. Seriously, I have never seen anything like it. Even the smallest station I know has two tracks. You can tell my surprise from the fact that I took a photo of this single track which looks as if it leads straight to the skyscraper in the back.
We had a fun afternoon. Unfortunately the pictures are personal and not for blog use, you know the rules. We took a bus ride (how many tourists get to see Cardiff hospital?), we looked at the shops and the new library, we had lunch, we went by the castle on to see the Animal Wall (that we had missed on Day Two) and then to Bute Park.
It was a lovely day, it was lovely company - thank you, Eddy! - and although I did NOT get a green balloon (private joke), I really enjoyed the afternoon. We took the Aquabus back to Mermaid Quay where we had some icecream first and finally said goodbye.
Stay tuned for tomorrow if you dare losing any respect that you ever might have had for me before ;-)