Interview with the artist - Raquel from NOTON by Raquel

Let's hear a warm welcome for my friend Raquel today. I have been nagging her forever to come and share her work here on my blog, and finally she has broken down! ;-)
Raquel and I first met on Handmade in Europe, our European guild, and she has more than one talent I wanted to show you ...

Necklace with crochet and painted wood beads

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

Hello, I'm Raquel and I'm from Portugal. I live near the sea and I can't think of living in a place far from it. I love creating since I was born, I believe, and I get inspiration from anything I see or think of!

What's your craft/art and how did you get to do it in the first place?

I have several. I learned to knit with my mother, to sew with my grandmother, and to crochet with my great-grandmother. All these when I was around 6 years old. Later I also fell in love with jewelry which I learned by myself.

Shooting Star hot water bootle knit cover

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

Well, as I said before, my inspiration comes from anything I see or think of, sometimes it just pops in my head without having seen anything. I just need to be in the right "mood" to absorb the good vibrations of the world and extract the juice that it has to give!

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I think I'm a funny person, not the kind of telling jokes (actually when I hear a joke, I tend to forget and can't tell anyone the joke!), but the kind of a happy and optimistic person. So the only fun think I can think of at the moment is that as the dreamer I am, I am also a little bewildered, like when I park the car in a large parking lot, when I get back, I have to go looking for the car because I never know where I left it!

Knitted children's bag with crochet and embroidery tree

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I also paint, but I don't have my paintings online because they can be a little big to ship! Who knows, maybe one day I will!
I love to explore and learn new things, new crafts. So, with time, I can show up with a new kind of creations in my shops.

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

Yes, I sell online. You can find NOTON by Raquel on DaWanda, on Etsy, and now also on Handmade Artists.

Black and white beadwoven zebra cuff

Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?

Yes, just remember that nothing is impossible, if you really want something, you won't give up!
Also you can find me on my blog and on Facebook.          


Saturday night ramblings or Plans

This month the Jewelry Artisans Community was asked for their plans for the new year.
It's hard to believe that almost a quarter of this "new" year is over already. I had made a few vague plans, not all of them worked out yet, but that was to be expected.

Maybe I'll let some more dragons into my life. They might nag less than Ponder is doing it behind me right now which is not helping my concentration.
Where was I? Dragons, right. Here is the first batch of dragon scales. Which one do you like best?

I'm still toying with the idea of an own website, but that won't happen until my head is fully clear. At the moment it's more empty than clear. I think I can hear the wind rushing through ...

I did learn something new that has been on my list for a long time, Viking knit, and turned my first sample into a piece of glamorous Barbie jewelry. So another plan coming from that is to 1. unpack and set up my Barbie collection, 2. make some more jewelry for them, 3. try a wire knit outfit for one of the dolls eventually.

Another plan is to clean out my inventory and take the chance to take some new pictures. I already ripped a few small pieces up, changed them or turned something finished back into a WIP because I wasn't fully happy with it for too long. I did find however that I can't do too much of that in one go because it is as much of a frustration as a relief.
One part of this plan is that one of my shops will go. I tend to overdo things sometimes, and it's just too hard to keep up with it all, so my Von Dir shop is in the process of being emptied now. As long as there are still pieces in there, you are welcome to have a look and even to make me a offer, who knows, I might just take you up on it ;-) I wish there was a way to get to the English descriptions that I typed in so carefully, but I'm always getting a time out, so if you have a question, just contact me.

Something I already did was re-organize my supplies.

I'm sure there will be more ideas or plans along the line, but I'll take it step by step, it's better that way. You will of course be the (almost) first ones to know about important developments ;-)

If you want to know what the other JAC members expect from 2013, you should have a look. I know I will because there might be some inspiration or maybe just some good kick in the a** for me in there!

Bead Sophisticate
N Valentine Studio
Jewelry Art by Dawn
Ponder the Cat


Interview with the artist - Kayla aka queenbeira

I promised you three interviews from talented ladies who won a contest in the deviantART group National Yarnographics and alas, here's interview number three.
Meet Kayla who had entered this short tailed weasel for the contest!

Tell us a little about who you are and where you are coming from.

My name is Michaella, but everyone calls me Kayla. I'm from the Boston area and I work at a dog kennel, I foster dogs and crochet stuff.

What's your craft/art and how did you get to do it in the first place?

I crochet, I'm learning to drop spin and I'm getting a spinning wheel soon. I started crocheting because the muscles in my hand didn't develop right when I was a child. My Nana and Auntie showed me how to crochet to help them develop.

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

I get it from the world around me. I love and want to make things like the animals around me.

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I do Civil War reenacting, it is so much fun!

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I like to draw and paint.

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

I made a crocheted dog. He looks like my boss's dog who lived with me. We lost Buck on Christmas Eve.
One of the hardest things I have made was a Batman blanket for my sister.

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

The people I admire are my mother and Nana and my aunties. They all shaped who I am today and I know I can do whatever I put my mind to.

If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your craft, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?

Alpaca fiber. My Auntie had some, I took care of them, they are such great animals who have such great fiber.

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

I do not really sell online, but I have a blog people can reach me at, Sylvangeist.

Thank you, Kayla, and keep up the good work, both with yarn and with the dogs. I enjoyed the animal pictures on your dA account immensely!


Interview with the artist - Jenny from JRP Crochet

Jenny who is also known as Pickleweasel360 on deviantART won the National Yarnographic contest there with a piece that's particularly dear to my heart, not only because it is an animal I think is absolutely fascinating, but also because of the expert way she put it into crochet.
Just look at the spots she brushed on! What a labor of love.

Snow leopard

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

I'm a 22 year old girl from a small town in Kentucky. I've always been a fast learner when it comes to arts and crafts. I get my skills from both my mom and dad, but mostly my mom. She would draw with me and make clay animals for me when I was a kid. I wanted my stuff to turn out like hers did and eventually I was able to make it happen.

What's your craft/art and how did you get to do it in the first place?

The craft I'm currently obsessed with is crochet. I've been crocheting a few months less than two years. I try to make my pieces as realistic as I can. I love making things I haven't seen before or making them in my style. I got into making crochet because some of the cutest art pieces I have seen on deviantART are crocheted. I didn't have the money to buy them, so I had to learn to make my own.

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

I've always enjoyed animals of every kind. Most of my toys as a kid were animals and dinosaurs. My favorite ones being the ones that could be posed. So when I started getting the hang of crocheting, naturally I wanted to make animals I could play with. Making them poseable is one of my favorite things about my work. It gives them personalities and each one is unique.

Crochet Pegasus

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I graduated from Nashville Auto Diesel College. The whole time I was there I was the only girl in my class. All day, everyday. It was the first time I had been in a school where I didn't know anyone. So besides making little animals that could sit on your dash, I could also fix your vehicle if you broke down.

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I used to sculpt things out of clay, but I haven't made anything in years. The last things I made were in High School. I haven't had the desire for it since then. The clays I have now stain my hands and I don't want to mess up my yarns.

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

My favorite will always be the deer. It was the first thing I designed completely from scratch and it is what led to all the other things I make now. I would have to say that the dragons are the hardest to make just because they take the longest to finish.

Crochet dragon

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

I've made a lot of friends because of my art. People who enjoy my work and people who share the same passion for crochet. I'm inspired by them. Reading comments and sharing ideas helps me think of what to make next.

"Which way to Santa's sleigh?"

If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your craft/art, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?

I suppose a machine to dye my yarns custom colors would be the most fantastic. Finding the right color yarn in the right thickness for a project is hard. Especially when only certain types of yarns come in only certain thicknesses.

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

I do indeed! I have a new Etsy shop at JRP Crochet or you can send me a note on my deviantART.

Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?

A lot of people say, 'I wish I could make things like that' or 'I wish I knew how to crochet!'. It isn't as hard as it looks. With each piece I learned something and slowly improved. I found a lot of free patterns on Ravelry and used them as practice. Once you learn a few of the stitches, you can make a lot of things with them. In most of my pieces I only use 5 different types of stitches!

Thank you, Jenny, I really hope to get to see more of your fabulous pieces over time and hope so will others!



I know, I know ... Sunday is supposed to be reserved for quotes (which I have sadly neglected), but let's make an exception for the Fusion Beads 30 Day Challenge this month.

You might remember that I like to play from time to time, and today's piece for the topic "Make a wire wrapped ring" is one of the results.
When I first started with the Twin Beads, I tried a few things, and I ripped up a few things. I kept this one around however because it looked fun, and I like fun. It's not what I was trying to do, but the little beehive in bee colors started to grow on me, and so I finally put it on a wire wrapped ring. Bingo!

Beehive ring

When have you been a bit crazy the last time?


Saturday night ramblings

Just a minute, I need to get a cup of chai first. Can't do the ramblings without my chai, can I?
Now, here we go, that's better.
Some ginger cookies would be nice with that, but I expect the cabinet that's my pantry and my fridge to come up with tumbleweeds pretty soon and maybe one or the other roadrunner.
I keep opening the fridge because a little voice inside my head is telling me that this time something edible which is also something I'm craving at that moment will have materialized. That little voice is a dirty liar, let me tell you.
I have been told that grocery shopping is supposed to help with that problem, but what is going to help with the problem of me hating to go grocery shopping?
No, Ponder, you needn't worry, we'll never run out of cat food.

If I can't eat, I have to bead. That almost rhymes. And beading was what I did today. I ignored the fact that the mirror is not showing me my face anymore, but some kind of evil distorted monster. I ignored the blankets in the dryer, of course only because they made such a great bed for Meffi and not because I was too lazy to take them out.
I had DVDs running and beaded.

For this set I actually had to search around to find the last four golden beads. It sounds easier than it was. I almost had to take the whole place apart and for a bit I thought I wouldn't be able to finish the pendant because of the last elusive bead. Of course two hours after I finished it I stumbled upon the amazing treasure of three more golden beads.

After contemplating some household chores for about 45 seconds, I decided to start another wire knit rope with seed beads. That would be a nice chance to finally use my bead spinner. Yup, that did not go so well. I'll spare you the details, but for that one time I decided to do it the old-fashioned way.
This is what the rope looked in a warm light after about two episodes of "Rumpole of The Bailey".

This is what the rope looked like quite a while later. I seem to be in a twisted ... twisting mood lately. There will be more beaded knit ropes, though. They are so beautiful.
I still need a bigger lobster clasp for this one.

Maybe you have wondered about what happened to the Fusion Beads Challenge. Well, I knew from the start I wouldn't be able to participate every day, for one reason because I can't think about a new beadweaving stitch after work or because I don't have the people around to do a bead party.
I did make the first three days so far.

Day 1 - Start by making earrings

Day 2 - Make a simple strung piece

Day 3 - Make jewelry to give to a friend

It's not bad for a start, is it?


Here a bit and there a bit ...

It all started quite simple. I had had this agate slice around for a while and decided to finally make it into a piece of jewelry. A pendant to put on a chain or a rope.
Sounds easy, doesn't it? Well, let me take you through the single steps to show you how pieces of mine develop.

1. What technique to use for the pendant?
There are three choices - wire crochet, wire knit or needle lace.
With a stone like this which is kind of slim and long, also pointed at the top, wire knit is a good choice since it makes a bezel which is nice and flexible to shape around the stone. Since wire knit has such an open structure and not much of a wire pattern in itself however, I felt it needed a little extra for contrast.

2. Welcome the little extra.
In come the seed beads. The agate slice has a subtle grey and blue pattern turning brownish at the top. Hm. Grey or blue-grey beads? That would a bit boring, would it? How about a bolder color? Brown, shiny brown ... ah, silver lined topaz.

3. Have a look at the wire stash.
My so-called "smoke" color is still tied to my disk WIP. Silver? Gold? Maybe a bit more subdued and let the seed beads do the work. Didn't I still have that pewter colored wire somewhere which feels springier than my usual wires and that I have been wanting to try out for months? Ah, there it is.

4. Knit a bezel for the agate slice.

5. I had showed a picture of the finished pendant and asked people if they thought that I should add a rope and the unanimous answer was I should.
Rope with or without beads? I finally decided on gold lined crystal seed beads as I found that more of the topaz beads would be overkill.
So I put loads of seed beads on the wire and starting knitting, with a bead after each stitch, until I had a nice length.

6. That was the point when Mabel, my (virtual) muse, started chiming in again. "A simple beaded rope with a pendant? Are you sure? Come on, you know you want to keep playing a bit. Yeah, twist that rope. Just one twist? Really? Try another one. Fix it with a headpin, so it won't open up again. Another one, don't you think?" "Mabel, I will have to add something, like this it's too short to go around a neck." "Well, add some chain. And how about making it real long. The pendant is large enough to look better if it dangles way down. You could even make one more twist. Don't be shy, try something different."

7. I usually listen to Mabel, and if she thinks I should be a bit more crazy from time to time, she's probably right. Try something different every, now and then.
So I added chain and a large leaf and branch toggle clasp.

And here's the result, now available in my shop.


Interview with the artist - Janene from UNcliche Crochet

The next few weeks I'll introduce you to some more ladies I got to know on deviantArt. Actually all of them won in a monthly contest in a group called National Yarnographic, that's reason enough to present their lovely work.
Today it's Janene's turn, have fun!

Crocheted Albino Kangaroo Joey

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

I'm Janene, I'm a 19 year old girl with a passion for anything creative or artsy. I come from Texas, but also have ties to Papua New Guinea where I once lived when I was a child.

What's your craft/art and how did you get to do it in the first place?

My crafts are crocheting, felting, and knitting. My main choice of craft would be crocheting, but I dabble in all three. I also know basic sewing techniques which is necessary to know when making Amigurumis. It all really started when I learned how to crochet. I was home-schooled for a year in 8th grade and would stay at a family friend's house to be watched over in the morning when my mother was at work. She taught me one day saying it could be my "Home Economics" class. I picked it up rather quick in her opinion and my first thing I made was a really ugly scarf that I quickly unraveled once I was done. For a while I had stopped crocheting due to a lot of my hats and scarves coming out a bit wonky, but then I found a book on Amigurumis. It was Amigurumi Animals by Annie Obaachan, I found it to be one of the most brilliant things ever. Since then I haven't stopped crocheting animals and people.

Blacktip reef shark

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

That is tough, I never really thought about that. I would have to say animals and anything cute, haha. Animals are so magnificently created and are so much fun to see and just watch. Cute things are just nice, but honestly a lot of what I find cute are from Japan; like their anime, manga, and mascots. But also Japan being where Amigurumi originated from it's only natural that the country and its art inspires me.

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

Well, I once lived in Papua New Guinea which was the last country to be found in the New World. It is also the only home of the Birds of Paradise which is a species of birds that are so unique and so different from any other bird in the world. Since I lived there in my childhood, I was always so in awe by animals making me want to be a zookeeper. Now that I am older I hope to go to college into the field of zoology and see where it takes me. Maybe one day I will be able to actually help care for wild animals and help bring more knowledge into this world.

Platypus scarf

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I was once taught how to make a bilum which is a bag only made in Papua New Guinea. I was actually brought to a village where very few people spoke English and was taught by seeing and repeating since there was a language barrier. Although I can't fully remember how they do it anymore, if I saw someone doing it in person, I could pick it up again, but I remember it hurt my wrist a lot. I was also taught how to make baskets out of tree leaves, but I don't think that tree exists in America.

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

My cheetah is probably my favorite thing I have ever made. He is a lot more posable than the rest of my creations, and he is just so darn cute. I am not sure who was my hardest, but if I had to choose, it would be my gryphon because she took FOREVER to make. She probably was about a week of work, but only because I kept running out of white and brown yarn. I kept lugging her to school to work on her during art class to hopefully get her done faster.

Crocheted cheetah

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

I believe a ton of crocheters I have seen online inspires me, like Brigitte Read, also known as Roman Sock. She, I believe, was the creator or at least the pioneer of the brushing technique to make your Amigurumis look more realistic. Susan Oldfield aka Sad Days Crochet who is a fellow deviantArtist is another one of my inspirations, she made this stunning doll Asmodeus who is so expressive and was a huge impact on me creatively. I was so amazed something like him could be crocheted. Last but not least is Shauna Richardson, she made the world's largest crochet sculptures which were lions for the London Olympics in 2012. She also makes the most realistic crocheted animals coining the word crochetdermy (from crochet and taxidermy). Again another person who blew my mind with her phenomenal work.

If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your craft/art, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?

If I had an unlimited supply of yarn, I would probably do a lot of yarn bombing, haha. But also probably try to find a way to use yarn for everything, like furniture, accessories, and so forth. I would want my entire house to be made from yarn. Basically I would just yarn bomb my own house.

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

I have a shop on Etsy at UNcliche Crochet. (I was previously known as Yarn Concoctions, but I felt the name wasn't the best.)

Baby harp seal

Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?

Thank you for reading this, and continue being yourself and just stay awesome!!!

I really have to say that I had a lot of fun reading this interview because I learned so much from it. Please take the chance to let the links guide you to discover some amazing stuff!
Also step by Janene's deviantArt page where she's the Yarn Hoarding Dragon! ;-)


Saturday night ramblings

Again it has been a while since I showed you what I was working on, so I'll turn today's Saturday ramblings into a show post.
Aren't you happy? Just pictures and not so many words! ;-)
Have a great weekend.

More twin beads from Preciosa Ornela (much better than my first attempt and just a little selection)

I admit I'm proud of this one, not just because it's different techniques combined.

There are more of these "Dragon Scales" to come, in different colors, but these metallic rainbow Twins have really captured my heart.  
I love this cuff, it makes me want to put flowers in my hair, sing "San Francisco" which is one of my favorite songs or dance to the songs from "Hair"!

My classic rope bangles are back, but I'm still working on more colors!
The classic ropes, braided up

Lately I have felt a bit like a child in boarding school on my blog, forever promising to write, well, not home in that case, but you get the idea.
Now that I try to participate as much as possible in Fusion Beads' 30 Day Challenge, it might be easier to keep that up and show you the pieces I have actually made, so stay tuned!