Come dance with us!

October 1st is the date when the fun starts - the Polymer Clay Smooshers Masquerade Clay Ball.
This year it's not only about the masks made by the Smoosher guild members, but also some that were created by fans and believe me, you're in for a treat.
Just look at last year's masks. What a variety of shapes, colors, sizes and design ideas!

If you help us spread the word, you might not go unrewarded. Blog about this event between now and Sunday October 3rd, 2010 with a link to the Smooshers' blog in your post. Then put your blog post link in a comment right here.
And if you are lucky, you might get drawn as the winner of a bracelet by Haffina Creations! Now how does that sound? What are you waiting for??


Quote of the week

The first video cassette we ever bought - and oh my, that thing was expensive! - was an all-time favorite movie of mine.
I don't care much for the sequels. Oh wait, I haven't seen the sequels, I don't think there should have been any.

Again, there is more than one good quote from this movie.
Here's my favorite one that I like to use all the time (with the matching gesture). The forensics guy says it after the autopsy of the first victim.

"Real smooth shave."

Ha, didn't expect that one, did you?

Highlander, USA/UK, 1986


Quote of the week

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day, click the link if you want to know more about it.
This is the perfect occasion for a quote from one of my favorite movies, Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl.
I have been a Johnny Depp fan before it, but oooh ... I won't say more.

There are a lot of good quotes in the movie, but the one I actually use most is by Pintel when the pirates are looking for Elizabeth in the beginning. She is hiding in the wardrobe, Pintel comes nearer and says: "'Ello, Poppet."
Funny, I never get the answer "Parlay", though ...

Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl, USA, 2003


I like it ...

- that when I'm craving chocolate chances are there is still an unopened Easter bunny in the cabinet which has not expired yet

- that when I touch a kitty head with my chin or face I will always get a little head butt back

- when that first sip of chai goes down my throat

- when I open up a drawer and find something that makes my creativity wake up

- that there are people out there I never met in person and still I can lean on them

- when I come home and can put my feet up

- when my bathwater goes cold because I HAVE to finish my book first

- when I wake from a dream that makes me feel happy all day

- when I take a break on the way home at one of my favorite places and listen to the birds sing

- that there ARE other women beside me who can't walk in high heels

- when I finally catch that annoying moth after chasing it for two hours

- that I have friends who make me laugh

- when I can dive into a different world reading a book or watching a movie

- when they play a song I love on the radio that I haven't heard forever

- when I share brainwaves with other people ;-)

- when I find a book at a fleamarket that I have been searching for forever or if someone finds it for me

- that I don't mind rain or thunderstorms

- when I fall asleep to music

- that I never woke up too late and missed the station where I had to get off the train

- that I can watch my favorite old TV series on DVD again and again

What do you like?


Hide the cookies!

Ponder has an obsession. If he can't be a chimney sweep, he wants to be a master thief. Let me tell you, he's doing very well so far.
He started his career when he and his sister moved in here - they were about three to four months old - and improved his skills constantly.
He has been here for five years now and he stole everything from calzone from my plate (not that he wanted to eat it) to Christmas ornaments, jewelry, scarves, he stole wet food pouches out of the cupboard to rip them up and share them with the others.

When he was younger, he stole bread which always made me wonder about how he had been treated at the place he lived before. He gnawed on it a little and left it on the floor to die.
Once he opened a plastic bowl and stole some cake, just for the fun of it obviously as he didn't eat from it. That taught us to store bread and cake in a safe place right away.

Funny enough he doesn't like snacks much, neither the kitty nor the human kind and he loses interest in all of his stolen goods pretty fast. Just now I looked up and this is what I saw.

No way, mister! He looked a little hurt. I'm such a spoilsport. So he went downstairs and puked into the kitchen.

I love cats.


Ugly beads - a challenge, Part 3

I'm still not done with the "ugly" beads from our SJA challenge.
There's no idea for the matrioshkas yet, at least none that I really like, but I finished piece #2 for the vase beads today.
The fact that these beads are so heavy made me think they would work well on a lariat or something like it, so this is what I finally came up with.

I crocheted a very slim tube from brown copper wire to keep the all over earthy look. On each end I attached one vase bead. Just like that it looked a little boring, so I added some riverstone beads and for the "drop of water" some clear glass AB (aurora borealis) rounded cube beads.
There is no clasp, you just tie the necklace once or twice or make a knot with both strands. You can keep ends at the same height or wear one end a little higher than the other one.

This is a long necklace. Just the tube is 29 inch long, not counting the vase beads.



I like challenges. Creative challenges, that is. The other kind, hm, that depends on my mood and how I feel at the moment. I'm thinking new system at work soon or organizing my household, these challenges I really struggle with.
But creative challenges are good for me. Often enough I amaze myself, not necessarily because I crocheted the Holy Grail out of copper wire (hmm, now that would be something ....) or because I copied Michelangelo's David in polymer clay, but because of the detours my creativity likes to take.

I once saw a report about Picasso on TV. He was painting live, on glass. I am not a fan of Picasso, but I loved watching the process. Where there just had been a rooster, there was something totally different suddenly. I don't remember what it was, but I still see that rooster. Unfortunately there was never a re-run or if there was, I missed it. I would have liked to watch it again, being more prepared to pay attention.

Don't think that I try to compare myself to Picasso now, what I'm trying to say is that this is probably the same for many of us. We start something and suddenly our muse tells us to go right instead left.
Last weekend I started working on another piece for the ugly bead challenge. I'm determined to use up all those beads and I saw it before me, but then I broke the wire. That wouldn't have been a real problem, I could have fixed it easily, but all of a sudden there was this other idea which was perfect for the challenge "Harvest" of Handmade in Europe. Of course I could have finished the other piece first, but sometimes that's just not the way it works.

I present "Candy Apple", a one of a kind piece with the brown "branch" necklace and the apple pendant, including a cute little worm that was the tall guy's idea by the way :-D


Quote of the week

I can be very, very stubborn. If there is a hype about something, often I don't want to have to do anything with it.
One of these hypes in 1993 was the movie Jurassic Park. I couldn't hear it anymore. When finally my little brother convinced me to see it with him, I was fascinated like (almost) everyone else was. This was so exciting and the dinosaurs looked so real!
Yesterday it was on TV and although it's in my collection, I watched it. There are quite a few good quotes in there, so I spontaneously decided to bring one of them to you today.

When Dr. Grant sees the herds of dinosaurs, he's overwhelmed and all he can say is: "They're moving in herds. They do move in herds."

Do you wonder when there's an occasion in my life for saying that? Hm, I guess you have never seen students go to the cafeteria for lunch ...........

Jurassic Park, USA, 1993


Ginger - an artist with many talents

Where should I start?
Ginger from Gingerbell's Gifts is a truly talented lady. She makes bath and body items, like soap or that very tempting sounding bath salt soak, she makes candles and she works with polymer clay.

And what she does with that, is so amazing. Let me show you a few of my favorites - not easy to pick, I can tell you!

Take a look at this glass votive holder. Not only did she make the candle, but she also embellished the glass with these beautiful tropical flowers. Take a closer look. Can you see the little frog? Isn't he too cute??

At first I wasn't sure why I was drawn so much to this bangle, then it suddenly came to me. As a child I used to have a similar style bangle, only it was enameled and the flowers were different. I probably still have it around somewhere, but the enamel chipped off, I remember that.
To be honest, this pattern is much more attractive to me, I love the colors.

My absolute favorite is this kaleidoscope bracelet, though.
First of all I love the pillow beads, something I haven't tried myself (yet?). Second, I love the pattern. When I see it, I think knights. It's so beautiful and if I wore bracelets more often .... well, I'm still thinking.

I highly recommend to browse through Ginger's ArtFire studio and her blog. Maybe we'll meet there? ;-)


Do you believe in ghosts?

Late at night this weekend Ponder was sleeping in the hammock. As I have been working long lately and am knackered when I come home, I don't have much hammock time for him. He hates being robbed of his special time at the computer, therefore he enjoyed it thoroughly on the weekend. So much in fact that my feet fell asleep trying to accommodate him the right way.
Suddenly he jumped up, though, ran to the staircase and started staring upwards while making these funny high-pitched sounds that I had never heard from him before. From his sister, yes, but not from Pon.

I called him, but he didn't move. So I went over there to look for the exciting spider, fly or bug that fascinated him so much. Nothing. I heard nothing, I saw nothing. He kept looking up there for five minutes, singing. And I took the chance to take a picture. Suddenly he looked at me, walked over the tall guy's desk and demanded to be snuggled again.

I still wonder what he heard or saw. Ghosts? Spirits? Some kind of rare, invisible bug? Something in the attic that my ridiculously weak human ears couldn't hear? A mouse, a weasel or a bat? Is there a ghost living in our attic? Did he wait for the feline portal to open up to attend a cool party? Or did he just think it was time to scare me a little?
I don't know and I probably never will. Darn. I want to be a cat in my next life.


Autumn Beauty - a collection by Ambient Lights

Click for a closer look at all those beauties in this ArtFire collection, aren't the colors just lovely??
And while you are at it, why don't you also have a look at the studio of Ambient Lights? Becki has some very, very tempting items in there .... Maybe I should go there first to make sure you don't take all the goodies away from me! ;-)


Quote of the week

I know I have quoted from Ghostbusters before, but wouldn't it be strange to just remember one quote from a movie you love?
Bear with me. Here's another one I love to use when chaos reigns in my little world (mostly at work ....).
"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!"

Can you imagine? Dogs and cats?? Well, never!! ;-)
I can't even handle a few cats living together ...

Ghostbusters, USA, 1984


Ugly beads - a challenge, Part 2

I didn't think I'd be back so soon. Seems that Mabel did some overtime and she came up with a few ugly bead designs.
I have to warn you, two of them are not really me. As I said, this challenge is pushing me over my personal limits. Yes, it's true, I did NOT use a crochet hook for them. Don't worry, it didn't take me long to go back to my beloved hooks as you will see on piece #3.

1. The green beads with the black spirals on them
Actually I like these beads although I'm not much of a green lover. Had they been a little smaller, I might have tried to combine them with crochet beads, but somehow I felt I had to pick up the spiral pattern. And maybe the 70s worked their way up in my brain again ... or in Mabel's ...
I did a little test and although it doesn't "flow" on your neck, due to the slightly springy nature, it's amazingly comfortable.

2. The "painter palette" beads
One problem with these beads is the "filling". While the powder in the green beads cleaned out pretty nicely in vinegar, the palettes have something inside that almost looks like concrete. I tried to clean it out as much as I could, but I was a little afraid to break them (in fact when I dropped one, not even from very high, it broke), so I looked for a way to cover the holes. My Bali silver beads were too small, the Bali cubes were not at hand which is always a problem if you have a sleeping feline on your feet and are too scared for your life to move, so I settled for seed beads instead which turned out quite pretty, I think. Probably the silver even would have been a little dull in the combination. Strung on silver and finished off with a black double suede cord it didn't look ugly to me.

3. The vase
Everyone saw vases in these beads. But what to put into the vase? Flowers, yes, but how? This is what I came up with. Crocheted blossoms with seed beads, green leaves and everything held together by sterling silver wire through the hole of the bead. It's a pity that the beads are so heavy, they would make nice earrings otherwise!

Now all that is left are the matryoshka beads and four more vase beads. I have another idea for the vases, but that will take a little longer, as for the matryoshkas I'm still pretty much at a loss. Some wire, some earwires, I know, but that would be so unoriginal, don't you think?
Again - I'll keep you updated ;-)

P.S. And while I struggled and worked and thought and designed today (I haven't even shown you my beach pebble pendants yet!), someone else took the chance to occupy my computer chair and to look adorable. Esme, my half vampirette (she lost one of her fangs recently, therefore half).


Ugly beads - a challenge, Part 1

What's ugliness? Like beauty it's in the eye of the beholder. Texture, shape, color ...
If you don't like orange, a carnelian will probably be ugly to you, if you hate purple, amethyst might not be your stone.
If you are not into piercings all over your body, some punks may seem ugly to you, and maybe they think the same about you in your neat little costume and the high heels.
At times I feel today really anything goes and sometimes it's best to just look away. Or maybe not?

At SJA some open minds started an "ugly bead challenge". Ugly beads were swapped and the participants are challenged to make something out of it now, using some or all of the beads. Last week my beads have arrived and I have to admit at first I thought there was no chance at all for me to make anything out of them because they were so out of my line.

Only one idea popped into my head right away. The blue beads looked like eyes. Big eyes. Animal with big eyes. Bingo! An owl! Of course I had never seen an owl with blue eyes, so I guessed he'd have to be something special.
I started and let the hook take over as usual. When I had finished the body - which is 3D, you can see it a little better in the second picture, and made in four parts, could you have told? - and the eyes were attached, I thought about the beak. Did I have a bead that would make a good beak? None of the other uglies yelled "here" really.

I could have gone for a more conservative look then and use a golden wire, but that wouldn't have been special. Instead I chose the green wire.

I don't know what you think, but I saw the little fellow and I loved him as I love all my critters. His name is Mr. Hoot.
So, is he ugly now? Or just a little goofy? Strange? Or special? I think he's special because he made me think outside my box. Usually I make an animal and then choose the eyes to match it, but this time it was the other way round.
Know what? I'm really looking forward to playing with the other beads this weekend. Even if my brain will start smoking, the challenge is good for me. It's good to be pushed off the usual path sometimes.
I'll keep you updated.


Too Aquarius - Art in polymer clay

That's what the banner of Elaine's ArtFire studio says.
In her blog she also says: "Primarily, Tooaquarius is about polymer clay beads and canes. I love beads. Beads make the world go ’round."
And these canes and beads ARE pure art. Believe me. Elaine's canes sweep me off my feet each time I take a look at them. There are so many beautiful ones that I haven't been able to decide yet. And her beads ... well, let's have a look, shall we?

I love black and white, so this focal bead has attracted me at first glimpse. I think it would look really nice with a silver wire bezel. Very, very tempting.

Beads from Elaine's rose canes - aren't they gorgeous??

And here are a few canes now to give you an idea. For those who are not familiar with polymer clay, in a cane you combine different colors of clay in a pattern that goes through the whole piece, so that when you cut off slices, they should all look the same.
Can you imagine what it takes to make such gorgeous canes? Lots of patience and a very good eye first, I'd say. They are amazing.

Meet Elaine at her website and go to her ArtFire studio if you want to see more. You do, don't you??