10/30/2014

How much is the do..., erm, kitty in the window?



Actually it's not a doggie I'm talking about today. Remember how I started experimenting with windows a while ago? I said there was more to come and here it is.
I'm weird about cats and windows. I live on the first floor and I don't trust my cats from 12 to noon, Ponder in particular. He tends to get excited and I wouldn't be surprised if he thought he could fly if he sees a juicy pigeon. Cat screens for my folk.

These cats, however, look pretty safe in their windows and well behaved.
You may already know from the HeatherCats and other bead loomed pieces of mine that I like to work with shapes and extensions. This was taking it a little further.

Of course it's not possible to loom all of this in one piece. You weave parts of the pattern and then join them, and afterwards there is a lot of re-weaving to do.
The white kitty did test my patience because there were so many threads, now which one goes where?! ;-)

I hope to experiment more with this eventually. What would you like to see?


Available in my Zibbet shop

10/29/2014

Oldies but Goodies - Ethnic/Tribal

Ready for a new Oldies but Goodies Challenge at the Jewelry Artisans Community? This time it was about ethnic or tribal influence in our jewelry.
If you want to read more about the story of one or the other of the many pieces, you can find the whole thread here.



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

10/28/2014

Samhain

The Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival is back! Sorry for skipping one or the other month.
This month's topic probably doesn't come as a surprise for you. Halloween is only a few days away, but so is Dia de los Muertos and Samhain.
I picked Samhain for today's post. I have to admit that I didn't know much about Samhain except that it marks the end of the harvest season and is a day to honor the dead. On Samhain the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is so thin that the fairies can pass through easily and the dead can revisit their homes. Celebrating starts on the 31st of October, Samhain Eve, while Samhain itself, the 1st of November, was the Celtic New Year.

In the last few days I read more about Samhain than ever before, about mumming and guising and souling, and to be honest, it was a little confusing, and I'm not sure if I know so much more now, a feeling that I often have when browsing on the internet.
Maybe I got you interested in doing a bit of browsing yourself?

For this post I not only looked up rituals, but also symbols, and I spontaneously made this pentacle pendant, a symbol that you still find in Neo-Paganism today.
The star represents the five elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit.


Bead loomed pentacle pendant

Wanna see what our other members have to say? Check it out here! I will add more links as they follow.

The Crafty Chimp

Jewelry Art by Dawn
Ponder - the Cat

10/27/2014

Zibbet finds of the week - Hedgehogs

A while ago I was on my way to the train station early in the morning. I am less than awake at 5.30 am and noises in the dark make me startle easily, even more so when it's foggy. Never know when that Jack the Ripper will turn up again, eh?
This time it was a soft rustling that made me jump. It was not old Jack, though. Instead a quite impressively big hedgehog made his way towards me in the street.
Even though there are not many cars around at that time of day, I didn't feel good about the little dude hanging out on the street, so I made a few fast steps into his direction. They did the trick and he disappeared through the garden door behind him.
Today's Zibbet finds of the week are in honor of this hedgehog who is hopefully busy stuffing his belly to get ready for winter.

Hedehog window card by Inkspirational Designs


Ceramic hedgehog bell by Molinukas



Hedgehog love personalized winter ornament by The Brick Kiln


Gray hedgehog mittens by Ateszter


Rustic Christmas ornament by Redpin


10/26/2014

Quote of the week

What would you do or say if your friend suddenly turned up at your party accompanied by a celebrity? Who knows, maybe you wouldn't even recognize him or her, either because you don't expect your friend to hang around with someone famous - we all know there are lookalikes out there - or because you are not impressed by celebrities? Or faking that you are not impressed at all?
William brings the famous and beautiful actress Anna with him to the birthday party given by friends of his for his little sister, and while you can tell that they are all curious except for Bernie who's told that she acts in movies and quite innocently asks her how much she was paid for her last one, they try hard to act normal around her.

When they decide that the last brownie will go to the person with the most tragic story, Anna won't give it up without a fight.

Anna: "Well, wait! What about me?"
Max: "I'm sorry? You think you deserve the last brownie?"
Anna: "Well, a shot at it at least, huh?"
William: "You'll have to prove it. I mean, this is a very, very good brownie. I'm gonna fight for it."
Anna: "I've been on a diet every day since I was 19 which basically means I've been hungry for a decade. Uhm. I've had a series of not nice boyfriends one of whom hit me. Uhm, and every time I get my heart broken, the newspapers splash it about as though it's entertainment. And ... it's taken two rather painful, um, operations to get me looking like this."
Honey: "Really?"
Anna: "Mmh. Really." *pointing at her chin and nose* "And one day not long from now my looks will go, they will discover I can't act, and I will become some sad, middle-aged woman ... who ... looks a bit like someone who was famous for a while."
Silence, everyone is looking at Anna.
Max: "Nah. Nice try, gorgeous, but you don't fool anyone."
Everyone laughing.
Bernie: "Nah."
William: "Pathetic effort to hog the brownie."



Notting Hill, UK/USA, 1999

10/23/2014

Windows #1

Lately I've been playing with bead loomed pendants of different shapes and with cutouts. I have done it for several HeatherCats and had so much fun that I just kept going.

This pendant has been my first "window experiment". The pendant is square and loomed from beautiful blue AB and galvanised silver beads, one of my favorite color combinations.
There's a cutout in the middle that obviously had to be filled, and I found the perfect filling, tiny peacock colored freshwater pearls.
This is just the beginning, you know. Stay tuned for more!

Available in my DaWanda shop

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!

10/12/2014

Quote of the week


Dean Corso hunts books, old and rare books. His methods of acquisition are not always decent which recommends him to Boris Balkan, a collector with a dark goal - to summon the devil with the help of a book.
Balkan has one edition and wants Corso to get the other two for him. A wild trip begins ... and who is that mysterious girl who keeps helping him and has eyes that sometimes turn green?
When the book gets stolen from Corso's hotel room, he suspects the former owner's wife and her associate. He and the mysterious girl go to her hotel.

Girl: "What do you plan to do if you see them?"
Corso: "Probably hide behind you."


Actually things will not be quite that easy ...

The Ninth Gate, USA, 1999

10/06/2014

Oldies but goodies - Turquoise

This week we were asked to show our turquoise and aqua pieces at the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but goodies challenge.
Although the thread definitely reminded of ocean colors, we also learned that there is ivory and white turquoise.

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

There were a lot more beautiful pieces of jewelry than I could show here, so if you want to see everything - and it's worth it, I had such a hard time to choose! - go to the challenge thread itself.

10/04/2014

Creativity

The other day my friend, The Crafty Chimp, wrote about "That Creative Gene". She tells us that she is from a creative family and encourages others to go look for their creative gene.
Her post made me think about my own creativity. I usually just take it for granted. I wasn't one of those kids who made maccaroni pictures, I have a glue trauma as I like to point out at any possible occasion, and if had to sew my own clothes, I probably would get arrested for indecent behavior after showing myself in public. I used not to knit half bad, though, when I still did it ... even though I only started knitting because my bad doodling wasted too much paper.

Then I found the wire and the beads, the big ones and finally the tiny ones, with a little adventure here and there like polymer clay.
Now it makes me wonder why we stick with some things and not with others.
Why is it so appealing to me to turn yards of wire into a mesh of stitches while I hated crocheting with yarn? Where did I find the patience to put tiny beads together on a loom, but not the patience to do it without a loom? Why can I waste wire experimenting for hours, knowing the project could well end up in the trash while I can't find the patience to look at a thirty minute video tutorial?

Sometimes people tell me I should make this or that, and they probably think that I'm very stubborn if I ignore it (yes, I am stubborn, but about other things).
Why don't I feel the urge to even try some things - wire wrapping, off loom beading, bead embroidery only to mention some of the things that could be seen as natural for me to try. I have most of the material around, I could jump right in and see if it's for me, but there is still so much I want to try in my own line of work, patterns are lined up in my bead program, wire ideas fight for that last bit of space in my brain, and then there is my need of keeping it fun and relaxing for myself.

Last night I spontaneously forgot all my patterns and ideas, instead I took a necklace I had been given by someone from a former life and which I never wore, cut it apart, and then there was only my wire, my crochet hook and the tumbled stone beads.
About 145 cm later I had a new necklace and felt good. I may not have the answers to my questions, but as long as what I do makes me feel good, all is well.


The necklace will be in my shop eventually after I had better light for pictures.