3/28/2011

The pelican

First of all let me say that this post makes me terribly sad and proud at the same time.
On the 20th of April of last year BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Estimated 205 million gallons were released into the Gulf over the next months because different attempts to control the spill failed. Not before the 19th of September the well was declared "dead".

"Dead" is a good keyword. A disaster that big affects the whole nature, the ocean, beaches, animal wildlife, people's health and their livelihood.
At the moment the world seems to be hit by a different catastrophe every other week, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods. Sometimes it feels we can only deal with one a time. The Haiti earthquake, the oil spill, the floods in Pakistan, now we are all staring towards Japan, thinking of the people over there ... and let's be honest, of ourselves, in fear of how the radiation might affect us.
So why did I pick the oil spill for this post?

A dear friend of mine is an artist. You have heard about her before, in my tribute to Merlin on this blog. Her name is Dawn and she makes the most beautiful miniature paintings for jewelry.
This project is something very special, though. It is supposed to remind of the oil spill and the effect it had and still has on the Gulf area. There will be a raffle and the proceeds will go to the  Audubon Society which is an organization that plays a big role in rescuing sea birds, cleaning them up and releasing them back to the wild.
Raffled off will be this necklace showing a brown pelican, the state bird of Louisiana.
I don't want to say much about the following pictures, but I hope they'll speak to your heart just as much as they did to mine.





 

Thank you,  Dawn, I'm proud to call you my friend.

If you want more information about the raffle, you can reach me at cat@catswire.com.

3/27/2011

Quote of the week


Maybe you already expected it. This week's quote is dedicated to one of the grandes dames of Hollywood who left this world a few days ago. Of course I am talking about Elizabeth Taylor.
She was beautiful and talented and she will be missed. To be honest, when I heard about her death, at first I couldn't believe it. She had gone through so much, her death was expected so often, it just didn't feel right.
One of my favorite quotes from her movies is one that for a long time I didn't even know was a quote.

I'll have to explain that. If you owned a Barbie, Stacey, Francie, whatever, as a child, you know you had to remove her head sometimes. There were outfits which were impossible to put on if you didn't do it. That's one reason for the frowned upon neck splits (I never quite got why they are called neck splits, the split is in the head, not the neck).
Newer Barbies had another problem because of a changed neck construction. Little children are not very careful about removing things. Off goes the head! The Red Queen would have been delighted. Often the neck construction was damaged in the process and when the head was put back on, it went down so far that it looked as if the doll didn't have a neck anymore. We, the collectors in my family, call them "no-neck monsters".

Years later I found out this comes from a movie with Elizabeth Taylor and is used by her for her sister-in-law's children. I had heard of the movie of course, but somehow I had never seen it. Now I own it on DVD.

3/25/2011

Mayan sun

I found that when I take enough breaks I can work on new pieces again.
This month's Starving Artists Team challenge was to make something in a gold color, no matter if the gold was in the metal, the beads, the gems.
As I didn't really have an idea and don't want to overdo it yet, I thought I'd put a bezel around a nice glittering peach bebble and add some fancy jasper. I guess it would have resulted in a nice organic look.
However, it was not to happen because at some point during the process the bezel turned into a disk with a hole in the middle. I just had enough jasper cubes left to make it all around the disk, but what to put in the middle? A few things came to mind, but I'll keep them to me, to put them on my list of ideas for the future.
I found the best choice would be a red/brown nugget. It had the right size and the color fit in with the Mayan vision I suddenly had.
Ok, looking at it now it makes me think I should have used some crystal to remind of the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" ;-)
Yet another idea for my list?

Mayan sun

3/21/2011

Bored and restless


I know I have been whining about it in all of the 84,384 known or unknown universes. Even aliens do a u-turn when they see me coming. Earplugs are out of the stock in the area. My cats roll their eyes at me, people crouch in corners and stare at their ringing phones because it might be me.

I am bored. I can't crochet at the moment because my right arm (shoulder and elbow) is hurting. I miss it. There are ideas in my head, there are things to be done and Mabel keeps looking around the corner asking me when I'll get my lazy self up to make stuff.
I'm not sure what the answer is, I know however I'm annoying, even to myself.
Tough break, people. We all have to get through this phase somehow, I'm afraid ... ;-)

3/20/2011

Quote of the week

Ok, it has to be said. It's not as if you never suspected. Not all movies I watch are highly intellectual. And some movies are plainly ... hm, how to put it politely .... crap. But even some of them are connected with very dear memories.
I think it's time for one of them today.


Imagine a group of people some of whom had one drinks or maybe two. To make it clear, I am not talking about people being wildly drunk. I am talking about a party which is not even an announced party. Some people met and they happened to retreat to a private home and the mood is just great. This is the perfect time for watching a movie you would probably usually turn off after ten minutes.
I can just imagine some of those actors still blush when thinking of that movie.
Needless to say that I haven't seen it a second time, but it still makes me laugh to think of that evening.

My favorite quote is:
Tonda aloonda Lana.

Well, hey! It IS pretty difficult to choose a quote from a movie in which people hardly talk much!
By the way, if you want to have some real fun, read reviews about it. I just had a blast with that ;-)
Curious now?


P.S. Ah, I forgot the translation. Tonda loves Lana ;-)

3/19/2011

Tribal

When I saw that this month's challenge for the Polymer Clay Smooshers had the subject "Tribal", I felt a little clueless at first. It might have to do with the fact that the word "tribal" used in German usually means a special style of tattoos.
The idea for my first piece came from an online game. Who would dare to say inspiration can't come from about anywhere? Not me for sure. The game was about archeological finds and this is what came out of it.
It would be wrong to say I was inspired only by that game, though. The netting part, done on fangs, even if these are made from polymer clay, practically cries out Delia Stone. Thanks Delia!

"Rulaman" fang polymer clay earrings

The second piece was a mix of inspirations. I wasn't sure what kind of animal I wanted to use, a bear, a polar bear, a wild cat ... so I started to cut the clay and it ended up as an anteater. I love anteaters, so I was quite happy with that, too ;-)
The rope coming with the pendant is crocheted from gunmetal colored wire with seed beads going all around.

Tribal "Anteater" necklace

This challenge took me back to one of my favorite childhood books, "Rulaman".
As you may or may not know I live in Southern Germany, in Swabia. In our area there are a few very cool caves which as children we of course had to visit, with family or on school field trips. In 1878 David Friedrich Weinland, a Swabian zoologist and author, wrote about those caves when they were still inhabited. My godmother gave the book to me and I can't say how often I have read it since then. Cavemen, fights with cave bears and lions, burial rituals (one fight didn't go so well), hunting descriptions, summer trips to the lake to stock up on fish, the first Cromagnon people arriving, all that was described in such vivid language - and on top the fact that it could have happened just like this where now I lived .... wow.
The book is still published today, by the way. Just saying ...

3/13/2011

Quote of the week

In case I haven't mentioned yet that Cary Grant is one of my very favorite actors ever, let me .... what? I have? Ok, get ready for a quote from one of his movies then.


Better drink some tea before watching this movie to calm yourself down, it's crazy.
The two aunts luring lonely old men into her house only to "help" them out of their misery by poisoning them with handmade wine, their brother who thinks he's Teddy Roosevelt and keeps working on the Panama Canal, digging holes for the victims of the "Yellow Fever" and their nephew Mortimer who just got married and gets drawn into the whole mess ... crazy, black, but hilariously funny, too!

My favorite line - or rather word - is when "Teddy" runs up the staircase, yelling "Chaaaarge!". I admit that I feel tempted to do that at times ....

3/09/2011

I love them

Sometimes I say I'll sell them to the circus or I threaten to eat them with French fries. They can be so annoying when they practice their new tapdancing steps on my ribs at night or when they start a fight to get me up early for their breakfast. They can be so clumsy knocking over stuff that they usually wind through like snakes, just to get your attention. They can hurt you so much, either by turning their backs on you when you need them most (yes, it was a traumatic moment when I came home from hospital and Merlin hissed at me and hid under the bed for three hours, even if I know I had been away for weeks and probably smelled really funny) or by digging their claws into most tender spots on your body.

And then they are on the bed, on the couch or on the desk, and knowing you are close by, they'll just roll around and trust you to catch and hold them. I have watched them and they rarely do the extreme stunts when there's no one is in reach. (Sometimes they fall off the furniture, but rarely when I'm around to witness it.)
No matter if Greebo is getting ready for his training units with some light stretching .....


.... or if Ponder is rolling over on the desk just to land on my arm and leg. Hadn't I been there to hold him, he would have taken a dive right down to the floor.


Sometimes I'm easy to please, these are special little moments to me.

3/08/2011

Now I'm craving sweets!

I am doing pretty good progress on my WIPs. Sometimes I have to take a part off that stopped the whole process, sometimes I have to strip the piece down to its fundamentals.
This is what happened with a simple silver colored copper wire crochet tube. It looked lonely after I took the "charms" off that I added to test the look.
Maybe it was my latest tube shaping experiments' fault that I played around with this considerably bigger tube as well. When flattening it slightly and shaping it into a spiral, I got reminded of those rolls with nuts in them that my sister makes sometimes. Or poppyseed. Cinnamon? And suddenly there was the idea. Instead of nuts peeking out of spiral-shaped dough .... Swarovski crystals peeking out of a wire spiral?
Spiral nebula was born. Well, not that easily and fast. It was quite a task for my fingers, but I am happy with the result.


Now where do I get my sweet rolls??

3/07/2011

Polymer Clay Smooshers challenge "Nature"

The challenge is over and once again the guild members did it. I always love to see what a different approach all those talented people have to a subject.
If you want to see all of the entries in one post, go here please.

I'll just show a few ones. My personal favorites, so-to-speak. That is not to say I don't like the other entries! I'll just make you a little curious, so you'll go where? Right. Here ;-)

Earthy twig and leaf polymer clay necklace by Desert Wind Designs

Polymer clay carved owl with beaded necklace by River Valley Design

Steampunk fish pendant by Desert Rubble


Butterfly wish box by Sassy Clay Creations

The vote for the next challenge is over already, the winner is "Tribal". That should prove to be a problem for me. My mind is totally blank. Heeeeeelp! Can't wait to see what all the others will come up with, though!

3/06/2011

Quote of the week

I haven't touched one of my favorite TV series here yet. So, without further ado, I'll present him to you.


His name and today's quote are the same.
"Denny Crane."
Nuff said.


P.S. I think there'll be more quotes from here to be expected .....

3/05/2011

It was about time!

Yes, it has been a long time, I know. It had different reasons, but here I am. I even brought stuff, ok, pictures of stuff.
Today I went into a listing frenzy, taking pictures of pieces who had silently and sadly been waiting on top of my light tent for their debutant photo shoot, editing those pictures and actually listing things. I don't know when I'll get the chance again, between work and laundry (omg, almost forgot the shirts in the washer!). Ok, I am back.

Not even Ponder could distract me from my task although he looked pretty scary (even scarier if you turn that picture around ...).
The pieces I'll show you now are pretty different from each other although most of them are wire crochet. I think I haven't reached the end of what I can do in this technique yet, especially now that I can combine it with the needle lace technique. Viking knit is still on my list and more spool knitting with beads. I need more time. If you have any you don't need, please e-mail it to me. I promise I won't waste it on naps. I'll take those on my own time ;-)

Enough now, let's get to the items instead of rambling on.

Caught in my heart isn't all new, it's one of my rejuvenation items. The amethyst bead in its cage has been one of my very first pieces, but somehow I felt it was missing something. This something turned out to be a heart. I like it much better now.


You know I'm hopelessly addicted with Deronda O'Neil's lampwork beads. It's hard to use them in a design, not because I don't want to see them go (beautiful lampies shouldn't live in a drawer), but because I am determined to do them justice. This design was approved by her which made me very happy.
Copper cage is a mix of needle lace and wire crochet (ah, you remember what I said before, huh?). The bubble lampwork beads in a stunning red are caught in a cage of pure copper wire which is held by wire crochet tubes.


Once again I decided to use up some of my stash before ordering new supplies. So far it has worked pretty well.
This colorful wire is twisted from four differently colors of wire, blue, violet, gunmetal and hot pink. I never had an idea for it, but I decided those grey bubble beads (guess who made them ...) could live with a little color. The name Glass floats comes from a forum friend of mine and means the glass floats that were used on fishing nets in former times.


This bangle called Mélange for obvious reasons is from the same wire, just an everyday lightweight comfortable bangle for that bit of color in your life.


Silver and amber - a classic combination which also works well on this blossom pendant. For those who don't like it too big and flashy, this is the perfect always matching little pendant.


I like it shiny, but hard-working friends of mine have done their best to convince me of the fun of oxidation. They succeeded, at least partly, as the next two items will show you.
Remember my clef pendants? While the other two I made stayed shiny, this one was a great candidate for a little darkening. I think it worked out well. The color gives this piece a vintage look, like something you could find in an old jewelry box. The pearl and the tiny peridot beads I added work as a small, but nice contrast.


My favorite piece today is the next one, though. You know, the last but not least thing.
For deviantArt I even wrote a little story for it, about the knight leaving his love alone, clutching his last gift. The lovely maiden in the tower, that is, not the knight.
Although I had never heard of Septarian nodules before I got them from a friend (hope the vibes make his ears tingle), I totally fell in love with them. It took me quite long to finish this necklace. The bezel was the easy part, but I couldn't decide on a bail. After several attempts I finally added a wire crochet tube and finally I was happy. The piece then struck me so much as medieval looking that I HAD to oxidize it. I'm so happy I did.
I love this piece so much that I will take the one stone that I kept for myself and turn it into a similar necklace.


If you made it to this point, you are pretty good! Thank you :-D