Clumsy Saturday

It's one of those days. Actually, it has been one of those weeks. If this keeps going, I'll probably get eaten by my cats tomorrow.

That's why I can only share two pairs of earrings that I made this weekend. The third pair is unfinished yet because I cut my index finger like an idiot, and now I have to move my hand at an awkward angle if I try to bead which makes my wrist hurt which then makes my elbow hurt - long story cut short, I gave up for now.
It has been fun digging through my bead stash, I hadn't done that for a while. I think there will be more variations of these earrings once my finger is up to it again!


Moonlight ravens

I love pretty much all animals, but have always had an extra soft spot for black ones - and yes, der Dekan knows, but he has a healthy image of his gorgeousness, so he doesn't mind.
Ravens are among those black animals, and on a trip to London (too long ago), one of the highlights for me was visiting the Tower and seeing the famous ravens.

It's not the first time for me to put a raven into one of my designs. I gave my Poe pendant a raven charm I made from polymer clay, and I created a large raven necklace.
This time it's a pair of big bead embroidered earrings on stainless steel earwires.
These two ravens have already settled on their favorite branches for a good night's rest, full moon and stars above them.
I just can't resist a night scene!


Vampire Bat Angie

I have to admit it to myself, I am not very good with jewelry at the moment. There's a pair of earrings in my drawer that is only waiting for me to decide on earwires. There are also a few small beaded hearts in a baggie waiting to be used in something. I keep picking things up and putting them down again.

Feeling so little motivation right now has a lot to do with what's going on, in the big world and in my small world.
Luckily that doesn't seem to mean that I can't get creative at all. My muse obviously thought that it was about time for me to work on a doll design that - together with two others - has been on my table for months now. This time I actually doodled a sketch of three outfits (during a meeting when I wasn't needed) that had already been in my head even months before that, more to remind me than to follow them in detail.
My doll outfits develop during the process, and not even I can tell what they are going to look like in the end.

For this one, I used an Angie doll for the very first time, a lovely Topper brunette with the head mold P10.
Her hair color doomed her to become the bat lady. You may remember that I have become quite fascinated with bead embroidery wings (ooh, just had an idea for another design), and I definitely saw Angie mostly in black with bat wings. If I still rerooted heads, I might even have been tempted to give her black hair. And call her Angelina for a more romantic vampire name.

The first decision was about the dress being tight or an opulent ball gown style, the flowing nightgown style was out right from the start. One thought that popped into my head, probably because I had been watching old Addams Family episodes on YouTube, had been a dress like that of Morticia, but first, Morticia is not a vampire, and second, I want to make my own designs.
So the dress finally became tight, but there is no plunging neckline, no long sleeves - not only because they are difficult to make with beads as the arms are so close to the body, but because I wanted the contrast of the arms against the wings - and instead of the "tentacles" at the bottom the skirt flares out at a higher point and is a little longer at the back.

To sew crystals to part of the skirt, was a spontaneous decision. Black and siam red is a combo that is irresistible to me. Only when it got dark and I turned the light on, I noticed that I had used both dark and regular siam crystals. It's hard to believe as in these pictures the dark siam seems almost black, but in daylight you have to look very close to tell them apart if you use black thread. Luckily, I liked the effect of different "blood drops" and therefore just added a few more of the light siam crystals instead of ripping everything out.

As usual, I beaded and beaded on the dress until then it was almost too late to make the shoes. Will I ever learn?
Then I realized that I have never thought about vampires' shoes before. Ballerinas, high heels, slippers? I took the easy way out with some simple sandals because they aren't seen underneath the long dress, anyway. They have slim ankle straps, soles and two straps across the toes.

Much more interesting are the wings, at least to me.
I haven't succeeded in getting a good video (yet, I will keep trying) that shows the sparkle of the silver lined red bugle beads against the AB shimmer of the shiny black sequins.
I could have used matte black sequins or shiny ones without the AB finish, but I love the effect of black exploding into color with a small movement.

You know I love making accessories, but they wouldn't have worked in this case.
Angelina just got a small choker with a "vampire bite".

I am still contemplating either trying my hand on some red lips and vampire teeth for her myself or outsourcing the task to someone who's quite probably better at it.
Even that doesn't happen, however, I am really happy with my dark beauty!


Nostalgia - "Arabella / Boston" by Royal Sphinx Maastricht

Some years ago when I still did the "Finds of the week" posts, I had some called "I'm a collector" in which I shared vintage items. Over time my collections have mostly stopped growing due to different reasons, but they are still there and still loved. I also have vintage items, some inherited, some gifts, some from fleamarkets, some more interesting than others.So I thought it could be fun to share some of them every, now and then and tell their story.

Today's post is a huge flashback to my childhood. Family gatherings for birthdays or confirmations, coffee and heavy buttercream cakes, and tableware from the 60s.
Always having been drawn to sets in different colors,
I loved those ceramic dishes. Of course back then I didn't think to ask why my parents chose different colors instead of getting just one, now I wish I would have.

The model is called "Arabella", the decor "Boston". According to the Bonnefanten, an art museum in Maastricht, the model was produced from 1960 to 1966, Antoine Corstjens being the creator of the decor and Otmar Lochschmidt of the model.
We had the coffee sets, stackable cups, saucers, and small plates, and there were two of each rich color - red, brown, green, yellow, and blue. One sister and I thought we only had the dark blue, but not the light blue, but my other sister says we had both, and thinking about it again, I have to agree. Over the years, pieces broke, and eventually the ones left became a memory in the cupboard as mugs got popular instead of small coffee cups.
I have always loved the yellow and got a complete set. It still makes me smile looking at it. I love the stripes in the glaze and the yellow looks so happy and fresh.

This is the mark on the cup - the sphinx surrounded by the words "Royal Sphinx Maastricht" and a crown, with "Made in Holland" at the bottom.
The cursive writing underneath the sphinx says "P. Regout" which stands for Petrus Regout, the founder of the manufacture.

I tend to obsess when researching for my nostalgia posts (which is probably the reason there are not more yet), and I ended up on Instagram, in Dutch online shops, museums, collector sites. It would have been easier if I had been able to read everything without using DeepL to help me translate.

Imagine my (unwarranted) surprise when I found that there are other items in this particular decor, soup bowls, egg cups, flower pots, sugar bowls, coffee pots (no idea if we had a coffee pot although it would have made sense), even with the colors reversed, and I
really liked the milk cups at the Bonnefanten!
I may already have ordered a soup bowl and a flower pot and inquired about an egg cup ... so if anyone stumbles upon a milk cup, let me know, it doesn't even have to be yellow ;-)
I'll add the pictures to the post once I have the items.

For now all I would need is a buttercream cake which I haven't had in decades, I think!


Autumn Dawn

A small tin with old bead soup in autumn colors called to me this weekend. When the beads call, you have to listen and I did.
I happened to have a doll in my beading box - because who doesn't - and could start right away, then one thing led to the other.
Let me introduce Autumn Dawn. I think it's quite obvious how she got her name wearing those colors although it's probably more like late summer, walking around sleeveless, in crop top and sandals like she does!

Actually, the name is a little misleading. Just the head is from a Topper Dawn, the body is from a Dawn clone marked "Hongkong B & G" about which I couldn't find out anything. The doll came to me like that, I don't know what fate brought those two parts together.

I think I have mentioned before that I often start with the bottom part of an outfit, in this case with the skirt that I made from the bead soup. As the beads not only had different colors and finishes, but also differed in size, I opted for a colorful  tiered skirt with wide folds to hide the irregularities a bit.

Next were the sandals. As the bead soup had not been enough for a floor length skirt, they were much easier to do than the shoes usually are when I have once again forgotten to bead them first and don't have much space for working.
Autumn Dawn's one foot is a little straighter than the other one, so to make sure the sandals would stay on, I beaded the wide straps at the ankles (my first odd count peyote, by the way).

The top is a new design. Usually I start working from the waist, either directly on the doll working my way up, or I make a front and a back part working from the bottom up and then join the seams at the sides.
This time, however, I made the peyote back part sideways and then extended it on both sides, finally joining them in the front which resulted in a crop top. Two straps on both sides made it sit really well.
To give it a little extra, I added the bronze drop beads at the front and sides.

Dawn likes accessories, but a necklace would have been too much, so she only got two little bracelets from different beads.

The hat. I can't resist a hat and my excuse is that Dawn's hair refuses to stay in place. This hat from gold lined and amber AB beads was mostly inspired by the amber beads' limited number, but also by one of my favorite Murphy Brown episodes. I was so tempted to add a tassel, follow the link and you'll know what I mean.

Last but not least, the purse. For someone who only carries around her beloved shopper, I am definitely obsessed with beading purses, totes, etc. for my dolls.
I chose the color to resemble linen, with matte "leather" for the strap, and embellished the purse with small golden spacer "flowers".

There you go - Autumn Dawn :-)


On the wall

Isn't it funny how sometimes you can look at something and you just don't know what to do with it? I guess it happens to most if not all creative people.
And sometimes it takes years and years and years, then suddenly - boom.
I remember getting those moonstones, being intrigued by the different colors and the - for me - unusual shape. Unusual because I used round stones. The shape (and size), however, were a big problem for me as I couldn't come up with a way to incorporate it into one of my pieces.
Back then, I only did wire crocheting and knitting, and my only attempt of working with the moonstones was kind of okay, but definitely not okay enough. After having looked at the piece - it was a wire knit collar - again and again for some years, I finally ripped it up and the moonstones went back into the drawer.

The other day, however, I was looking for something in that drawer, taking out this and that, and when I held the baggie with moonstones in my hand, it was like an epiphany - a dry stone wall!
It was rather fitting that I had Midsomer Murders on for background entertainment. Rural England, here I come ;-)

Luck was on my side, the wall became straight. It just needed someone or something sitting on it. Wait, how about a cat?? That's of course a joke. A cat was the first choice, and with me having a black glass cab around in my "workbox" - mere coincidence actually - it clearly wanted to be black.
To enhance the 3D effect, I added more an extra layer of seed beads for the head and thighs and an additional layer of matte crystals for the tail. Also the cat got two rows of seed beads added around, so it wouldn't blend into the background.

I love the background. Those hexagon beads have some major sparkle which is increased by the random embroidering. You hardly notice the little "stars". It was so time consuming, but well worth it in my opinion.

While this is also a cat silhouette, it's not a HeatherCat, by the way. If it were, there would be a moon. Silhouette HeatherCats insist on a moon ;-)

Turning this into a pendant was more difficult than I had thought. Beaded ropes didn't work for me, the bails I tried weren't any better. In the end, I decided to get one of those faux silk chains and bead a tube bail for it.
Now I wish there were more moonstones left over because I am very tempted to make another dry stone wall. Didn't I have some Tila beads somewhere .....


Waiting for spring

At first I was completely without a plan when reading that the inspiration for our first challenge at JAC this year were daffodils.
I didn't even think I had yellow seed beads, but found two different tones in my box, much to my surprise, so that excuse was gone.
My beaded pin is just a little something, but it made me think of spring which fit the challenge theme "Yearning for spring".