The lantern

About a month ago, I shared my handmade miniature ring binders with you and promised you to share a picture of the office in the lantern that I made them for, once it's done.
As I had mentioned, the lantern is a goodbye gift for a dear colleague working in the IT department which is why my friend had the idea for the miniature office.

She also had the idea to get the mini electronic devices - I doubt any of us three working on this collaboration would have come up with something handmade quickly, so they are store-bought - and felt in the color of the carpet at work, and my favorite, to turn a game token she ruthlessly stole from her mother into a desk lamp, an idea which got realized by her husband.
Then she made the small pad of sticky notes for the desk and added an extra big note as a reminder for an appointment.

Her husband who is a talented woodworker (I'm already looking forward to setting up the beautiful candle arch he made for me) took the wooden bars off the glass, so you can see the office well even with the door shut, then he made the amazing desk and wall shelf and added the LEDs.

You already know that I made the waste paper basket and the binders, then I put together a quick poster with an IT joke which my friend printed out and put on the "wall" with tape. Tape is omnipresent at work.
It's a little difficult to see from this view, but the two green items on the desk are fat little pencils that I made from a wooden shish kebab skewer and cut labels that I painted green to remind of a well-known German pencil manufacturer.

In this picture you can see the details a little better.

I can even imagine our co-worker being able to add more to this little office if she feels like it.
It was big fun, and if we had been able to get together to work on this, who knows what else we would have come up with? I think we make a pretty good team!

Last but not least here's a picture of the whole lantern.


Beaded gifts

The last few weeks I have been preparing posts and making things for the advent calendar which I will be doing on this blog once again. Can you believe it's December soon?

I would have liked to keep these little boxes for one of the calendar posts, but need them for a showcase soon, so I'm not going to hide them from you.
Originally I wanted to take pictures of my Topper dolls bringing gifts, but they kept toppling over (no pun intended) because the boxes are too small for them to hold them with both hands - the hands are too far apart - and a little too heavy if I let them dangle from one of their hands. They finally refused to try another time ;-)

These little boxes will get jump rings, so they can be worn as pendants, but also be attached to a real size gift or put on a Christmas tree as ornament.

They are beaded from Delica beads, two of the ribbons are from seed beads and I added little drop beads for embellishment.

This one from seed beads was the first one I made, very Christmassy with the green and gold, don't you think?


Mini ring binders

"How about the miniature laptop, tablet, and cell phone, and maybe the books? Look at this desk, G. will make one like it." "Great idea! I could try to make a waste paper basket. And how about ring binders instead of books? I'll see if I can find something online."
This very shortened talk between my friend and me was about a gift that our department wants to give to a dear colleague who is leaving us. She works in IT and, inspired by a lantern with a fairy door and some accessories in it, my friend had the idea to put together a little office into a lantern.

So we all went to work, my friend went to get the lantern and some felt to match the carpeting at work, her husband made the desk, and I looked for ring binders.
The basket was first, though. I used brown wire, crocheted a disk for the bottom to make it sturdy and knitted the rest, so you can see what's in the basket, for example tiny paper balls and crumpled tissues, but that's for when it all gets put together.
I did find some ring binders online, but thought that I could probably make those myself. Spoiler alert, I could and only glued myself to one once!

My friend scanned a real ring binder and I printed the scan on labels. I stuck them on folded cardboard cut to a little less than one inch high, added handmade labels with keywords to the spines, and poked holes into them.
Unfortunately all of my jumprings were too big for the slits on the lids (that are hard to see on the lying binder), but after filling the binders with cardboard fanfolds - cardboard to give them some more weight, fanfolds because it was easier to glue those in - there wouldn't have been much space for rings, anyway. I think you get the idea.
The nice part was that I didn't even have to be too careful because the binders were supposed to have that look of having been used for a long time, just like some of our real binders at work.

Once everything is ready and put together, I will share a picture of that as well.
I hope our colleague will like it!


On top of the hill

Agate Hill is in the middle of nowhere, so nowhere that no one even really knows where that is.
It's not a big hill and there's not much to see, just some stones and a few trees over which the moon and stars shine in the night sky. Of course there also the three houses.
No one knows who is living in the three houses, either. No one noticed how they got built and who built them. They were suddenly there with their icy looking walls and bright red roofs. Sometimes you can hear sounds that make you wonder what's going on there. Gnome workshops? Some of Santa's elves exploring new territory?
Not one has been brave enough yet to knock and say hello ... would you?

Actually that's pretty much how it happened.
The houses were suddenly there. Everything was suddenly there. All I had done was glue the agate "hill" to the backing and bead a bezel for it. The rest was magic. Or my muse. My magic muse?

Every, now and then I wonder if it's a good thing to work like that or if I should challenge myself to plan something, with sketches or a list of what colors I want to use, for example.
On the other hand, those are the pieces that are the most fun to make. Sometimes I'm sorry if I have limited myself by using a piece of backing that isn't big enough for the thoughts in my head. Then again, however, it can be really exciting to take on the challenge if the right idea suddenly pops into your mind.

When the focal was finished (with black faux leather on the back, by the way), I went through my beads for inspiration. The dagger beads had just the right color and luckily I had just ordered the blue crystals that I used in the rope.

Now I only need to find out who lives in those houses.


Rulaman and the mookaite "teeth" necklace

When I was a child, I had one favorite book, well, among all my other favorites ;-) You can tell from how the book looks that it has been read a lot of times. That book is called "Rulaman" and was written in 1878 by David Friedrich Weinland, a German zoologist.
The youth novel is set in the times of the cave people who used to live in our area. While not being without flaws, after all research has continued, it has everything, love, fights with the people from other caves and with dangerous animals, everyday life, betrayal, revenge, birth, death, travel - and the "old Parre", the oldest woman in the family.
I have always been a fan of hers, she's tough until the end.

Illustration from the book (by Heinrich Leutemann)

Now what does Rulaman to do with a new necklace of mine?
In the book there is one chapter on how the group hunts the dangerous cave lion responsible for the deaths of many family members. His fangs are given to the bravest men. At the time I thought that was utterly fascinating. Today it would probably make me sad.

I had these mookaite "teeth" around for a while. I tried more than once to wrap them in wire, but it never worked out. They were too wide at the top to make a nice wrap, and the shapes, though similar, weren't the same, the bead holes were crooked, at one side instead of through the center, sometimes higher, sometimes lower - I just didn't like the look.
Finally I had an idea, though. How about bead caps? Or even better, to accommodate to the different shapes and bead holes, how about bands of peyote to hold the stones and little "handles" on top which I could make longer or shorter depending on how much of the stone looked out?

It worked like a charm. I used a mix of copper plate and galvanized berry Delicas for a bit of contrast. Galvanized beads are always a risk because the color can rub off, so a silver color is looking through. Using a mix from the start, the small spots where the silver is shining through contribute to a vintage look rather well, I think.
I finished 15 "teeth" before I ran out of beads. I still have more of the stones, however, maybe I'm going to combine them with a different Delica color.
For the chain I chose an antiqued copper tone rolo chain.
Aren't the colors of the mookaite beautiful?


Hats, hats, hats

This post is inspired by two things.
One is a blog post about the hats of my friend Michelle from My Bijou Life. I couldn't join in this link party because I don't do selfies, but I thought I could still blog about my very small collection of hats.
The other is that this enabler made me buy a new hat with her post ;-)
I got it for a new project, but don't know yet when I'll be starting working on it - in fact I have a problem at the moment deciding what I want to make next because there are a few things on the list.

Let's get back to my collection.
Although I only wear hats if it's raining, I love especially vintage ones. I love netting, I love sequins, I love velvet and felt.
Unfortunately my long hair doesn't go well with most of the hats I own because it keeps getting caught at the back of collars, pushes the hats up and into my eyes which doesn't work with my glasses. I would probably have to try making a chignon at the nape of my neck, but the best I manage is a wonky braid.
The bigger problem, however, is that I am a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers woman, partly because it's the easiest outfit for me that I also feel most comfortable with, partly because cute shoes are out of the question for me, I simply can't walk in them anymore. T-shirt and jeans don't go very well with elegant vintage hats which is an absolute shame.

I got most of my hats during antiquing in the USA. My sister went on that particular trip with us and she loves vintage hats just as much as I do. We had so much fun because hats were not in abundance at the German fleamarkets or shops we went to, so this was quite new to us.
Now to the hats, though!
As you can see, I prefer mostly dark colors.

What I love most, however, are bowler or, as they are called in the USA, derby hats. Who knows, maybe it has to do with being a fan of Emma Peel and John Steed at a young age? Actually the show is called "Mit Schirm, Charme und Melone". Yes, in German we call bowlers "melons".
A bowler started it all at a huge fleamarket in the Bay Area our friend took us to. It was love at first sight.

Then I got this ladies' bowler at an antique shop in Santa Rosa. I don't remember the name of the shop, but I still know
that "Man's Favorite Sport?" was running on the small TV there. Isn't it funny which things stick in your mind?

Let's end this with the two hats I'm actually wearing.
One of them is my beloved Harris Tweed Baker Boy cap. It's one of my more colorful items, and by now I wish I had got more than just one when they still had different sizes instead of just one size with an elastic band.
Its best feature is that it fits just perfectly with all my hair stuffed inside.

The other one is a hat that has a bit of a cloche feel to it. I crocheted it myself from a few balls of "wash and felt" yarn that were on sale in a bowl in front of a shop. Felting in a washing machine was a completely new experience for me, so I felt (no pun intended ;-)) very lucky to get the size just right - you've probably guessed it, with all my hair stuffed inside.
Actually it's so perfect that I even refused stubbornly to give it to my mother when she admired it. I'm usually generous with stuff like that, but not only was I out of yarn, I was also sure that there was no chance of performing such a miracle again!

And a P.S. I forgot to add the hat that the cat on the stairs is wearing!


Fall is here

Fall is my favorite season, but this year it seemed that as if instead of going for a gentle change, Summer packed his briefcase at 5 p.m. and left for home, and the morning after Fall came into work, laughed and turned the thermostat down.
Other than in previous years, I'm taking this with a grain of salt. Given the current energy situation, should or can I turn the heat on? Will I have to look for the perfect cardigan yet again (I have very specific requirements and only ever found one that I gave away as a gift, something I still regret to this day)? Will I have to spend fall and winter in bed, covered by Gundel and dem Dekan, and how will I get them to stay there?

I decided to cuddle up in a blanket for now and concentrate on something else - fall colors.
Since der Dekan made his entrance in this house, I haven't got out my loom and only used Delicas for peyote bezels, but now I dug into my stash and made a bead mix from silver lined and transparent AB amber, a bit of silver lined marigold, and two kinds of red to make a pair of fall leaves. Who doesn't love fall leaves?
I made them in brick stitch and then thought about adding some beads from my mookaite stash, but then I remembered - once again - collecting leaves for a school project on a walk in the woods with my grandmother and how some of the leaves were rolled up at the sides. After trying out a few variations, I ended up with these here and topped them with a few dark red firepolished crystals.

My second pair of fall earrings is from the same bead mix, but this time I was determined to use mookaite which has the perfect colors for it.
At first, I wanted to make just one peyote tube for each earring, but as you can see, there was no stopping me! Copper goes beautifully with this color combination, oxidized or not, so I used copper wires to hold the tubes and beads together and to hang them on my own copper components and earwires.
This pair was really fun to make and I can see it in many other color combinations as well!

A bit of fun for the end. Changing of the seasons always makes me think of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" ;-)