11/25/2021

Oldies but Goodies - Geometric shapes

Wow, time is racing and another week has gone by already without me being creative, well, except for a custom pair of spike bauble earrings.
I'm just glad we have the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge to remind me not only of my own creativity, but more so of that of others.
Our theme was geometric shapes and we really got to see some amazing beauties!

How many basic geometric shapes are there? Obviously people don't necessarily agree on the number, some say there are four - circle, triangle, square, and rectangle - others say six and add rhombus and trapezoid. As the math genius that I am not, I'll stay out of that.

I do remember, though, that we once had to make a piece of jewelry in school. The plan had been for us to learn how to use a simple tin-lead based solder. I made a pendant consisting of a triangle, circle, and a square if I remember right. It came out pretty lousy, but had a definite mod vibe which worked well as we were still barely in the 70s.
Anyhow, I guess geometric shapes in jewelry had already fascinated me then.

These following examples are so much better than my pendant was. Enjoy!


1 Cat's Wire
2 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 My Bijou Life
4 RioRita Jewelry

11/18/2021

Oldies but Goodies - More bracelets

Do you like to wear bracelets? In that case, you will love what I have brought along from this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge.
Once again there is such an amazing variety in techniques, materials, and style, and yet my selection isn't even showing everything that has been entered.
Which one is your favorite?
I am in love with the fantastic hand painted elephant bangle (whose design process and WIP pictures Dawn had shared with us while working on this years ago), but I would also gladly wear any of the other items!


1 and 2 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 8 RioRita Jewelry
4 and 6 Cat's Wire
5 and 7 My Bijou Life


11/11/2021

Oldies but Goodies - Breaking out

Although I had taken a timeout from blogging, the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge has been kept going over the last few months.
Now it's time for me to share my selections with you again.

Our topic in the last week was "Breaking out".
Artisans and artists are only human. Many of us like their comfort zone, and it's always tempting to stay inside it, especially if the result is something you have already had success with. It can never hurt to take a little step outside the box, though.
The challenge was to show something that was unusual to make, because it was different in color, shape or style we are used to, for example. So we got shown some first attempts at new designs or techniques, and now I'll be sharing some of them with you.

1 RioRita Jewelry
2 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 beYOUteous
4 Cat's Wire
5 My Bijou Life

11/04/2021

Welcome back to me! ;-)

Yes, I'm still alive!
It has been 4 1/2 months, I know. A few things have happened during that time that had robbed me of my motivation to blog, even put together the Oldies but Goodies. One of them took up a lot of my time for a while and when I was done with that, well, once you have stopped doing something, it can be hard to get started again.
And then something has happened that has changed my daily routine and that needs a lot of my attention. That wasn't helpful, either.

That doesn't mean I have stopped making things, but lately I have not been able to make things as much and especially as spontaneously.
Enough with the vagueposting.

Number 1 was that I lost my online shop. Zibbet where I had my shop for more than ten years, suddenly announced that they had sold the marketplace to a mysterious buyer, one of the big ones in the business, and that we sellers had two weeks to download everything before Zibbet would be shut down "temporarily".
If I hate something, it is not having information or feeling ignored. If I sit on a train that has stopped in the middle of nowhere, don't just let me sit there, but at least tell me that you don't have any information yet, either. If you have information, let me know about it (seriously, as someone who has been commuting by train for 35 years, this is one of my big pet peeves). It's even worse here. On the train all I can do is wait, but how am I supposed to make a decision in this case if I'm not told what's going to happen?
To be on the safe side, I started listing all my items, including descriptions, a picture, tags, materials, in an own file, so I would still find things easily and have them available for transfer to another shop. While doing so, I decided on items to get ripped apart or given away.
As you can imagine, this took me so long that my anger had plenty of time to bloom.

I still haven't decided on a new platform to sell on and at the moment I have no idea how long that decision will take me. So for now, I'm selling in a few Facebook groups and of course you are always welcome to contact me if you see something on my Facebook page, on DeviantArt or here on my blog, for example on my new gallery page which I have set up to show at least some of my available items while I'm shopless.


Number 2, the attention seeker, has entered my life at the end of June and was quite small and very cute. His name is der Dekan (English: the Dean, after one of the wizards at the Unseen University from the Discworld books).
He's 6 1/2 months old now and still not suitable for a university job, I'm afraid. He's half angel, half demon like every good kitten, some days it's more like 75% demon - we are having one of those today why I'm hiding behind a closed door right now with him having the run of the other rooms. I can hear him. He loves the computer and this post would look very different with him helping ;-)
He's also quite the master thief already which means I can't leave anything out (I have already begun packing a lot of things into cupboards and drawers) that may be a toy to him - so, anything from a piece of felt to bead tubes, tools from crochet hooks to pliers, and of course loose beads or cabs.
Sometimes I even have to lock myself in to have a few undisturbed creative minutes. Only when he falls asleep and I have already everything on hand, I can work for a longer time.
Gundel can't believe I let such a brat into our lives, and honestly, I have never appreciated her more than now although I thought that wasn't possible. Gundel is an angel cat and she deserves wings ... if only to get away from the demon quickly! ;-) She will also keep you up-to-date on that once she starts blogging again, by the way, about his addiction to trash, for example ...



Ok, that's the long-winded explanation for my absence, and I will probably not be around that regularly for a while, but I'll be trying, promise!

6/17/2021

Oldies but Goodies - Celestial again

In August 2017, the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge's topic was "celestial". Back then, we shared stars, moons, and the sun. Some of these classic celestial bodies are also featured this time, but we also have colorful planets, clouds in the sky, and astrological signs.
You see, even if we repeat a topic, there is always the chance of something completely new turning up.
Some of these pieces even I had never seen before and I'm nosy as heck when it comes to my fellow JAC people's work! ;-)
I hope you will enjoy seeing them as much as I did.


1/5/9 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 6 Cat's Wire
3 and 7 My Bijou Life
4 and 8 RioRita

6/03/2021

Oldies but Goodies - Fog and mist

I'm fascinated by fog, but it also makes me nervous.
It's one thing to look out over a landscape beautifully covered by mist or being stuck in your car in a big bowl of "pea soup" (as it happened to me once on New Year's Eve) or even worse, in smog like the deadly Great Smog of 1952 in London which people thought was just the ordinary fog Londoners have to deal with.

Today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is only about the beautiful kind, though. To some of my bead loomed silhouette pieces I love to add wafts of mist to the scenery, for example, but it's also amazing how some stones or other materials seem to emulate mist or fog.
Here's my selection for this week, I think I picked a few real beauties.



1 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 Cymberrain
3 Cat's Wire
4 RioRita
5 My Bijou Life

5/29/2021

Miss Francie Bennet - Part 2, The accessories

Welcome back!
In this post I want to talk about the accessories for Miss Francie Bennet - the 60s doll who has been thrown back into Regency times.

As always I had no definite idea which accessories I would make when I started this project.
Of course I knew Francie would need a pompadour, almost all of my dolls get some kind of purse or tote or handbag, except the first two Flappers.
She would also need a hat, that was the part I was afraid of the most because I had no clue how to make a Regency bonnet.
And for going out a shawl would be nice.
That was as far as I planned ahead.

As my big JaLa loom is still occupied by a WIP that I'm not sure about anymore, I decided to use one of my small looms for the shawl. After some quick measuring I figured it would be just big enough for the triangle shape I had in my mind.
It was close, very, very close. In fact I wouldn't have been able to finish the shawl if I hadn't opted for the triangle because I almost ran out of warp space at the bottom.
What I also had not taken into account was that glass beads are heavy and loomed items very slinky. The shawl slid off Francie's arms at the slightest movement, so I had to put in a few stitches to secure it.


Then I suddenly had the idea to give her a parapluie, obviously because I believe in punishing myself.
My test piece was bead embroidered, but the shape reminded me of cocktail umbrellas, so I had the idea to make strips in Herringbone instead, sew them together and, well, wing it from there.
The little parapluie has nine strips which I sewed together on the inside and extra at the ends to emphasize the seams. A little hole which I wanted to use for the shaft remained at the top. So far, so good, but of course this construction wasn't completely firm. I took a deep breath and put glue all over the outside and inside to reinforce it. That sounds easier than it was, of course it got a little messy. Glue and I - the endless story.
In the end, however, I had a nice firm structure, yay!
I added fringe all around and finally the shaft (for which I beaded around a wooden skewer like for the Fairy Queen's staff) with a golden end top and handle. Voilà.
Francie can't hold this parapluie because she can't grip it and she can't bend her arms, so the plan is to either just put it in front of her or maybe add a strap, so it can dangle from her hand.


After this exhausting part of the project I needed to make something small, Francie's pompadour.
There's not much to say about that, you have seen variations of it before.


I had saved the biggest challenge for last - the bonnet.
Two things were clear. It had to be built up from several parts, and to make it sturdy enough, it had to be bead embroidery.
I looked at all kinds of Regency bonnets and explanations. Of course soft crowned ones were out of the question for me as I don't know anything about embroidering on fabric, it had to be the stove pipe kind.

Then I tried to keep everything that I had seen in mind and cut and bead embroidered three of the parts, sewed them together and glued on the Ultrasuede afterwards. This is a very short description for what took me a few days with the sewing and glueing being most difficult.
I also added some wire to the front part which helps to shape it, well hidden under the Ultrasuede.

The fourth part was even harder to deal with because I had to embroider it first and then glue it to the "stove pipe" as it would have been impossible to do that from the inside. There was no way to hold the glued edges together, it would have needed tons of pins to keep the shape. So I had to manage with my fingers and finally it stuck on the way it was supposed to. After it had dried, I added some pink lace on the back which also served to support the glued edges.

The last task was to sew on two rows of lace at the front, a ribbon around the stove pipe piece - again, as an embellishment and to secure the glued parts - and the ribbons to tie under the chin if wanted.
That too sounds a lot easier than it was. I tried several variations for the lace and the ribbons until I was happy.
Now I may have to make a little hat pin to make sure the bonnet will always sit well.

All in all it took me about three days to make the bonnet and I don't see myself making another one very soon! ;-)


And now here's Francie in all her beaded glory.
It was a fun project, a frustrating project at times, it took patience, fantasy and, I'll be honest, some cursing, too.
There were moments when I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it, but now I'm very happy that I pulled it through!



Francie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel in any way.