Interview with the artist - Smiss from Simply Smiss

Say that three times very fast. Smiss from Simply Smiss. Now say Snark Stitch by Smiss from Simply Smiss.
You don't know what Snark Stitch is? No worries, I'll show you before we all start hissing from saying too much Ssssssss ...

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

I'm Smiss, aka Jennifer. I'm from Cleveland, OH. I love video games, scifi, and animals. I've been married for 4 years, have 2 cats (Rikku, aka demon kitty, and Luke Skywalker) and 2 German Shepard Dogs (Thor and Doyle).

Spider web badge reel

What's your craft/art and how did you get to do it in the first place?

I made hair accessories with fabric covered buttons. I saw kits to make them, and decided to give it a try. I found it pretty satisfying, since it can be done somewhat quickly. I started making additional accessories with fabric covered buttons from there.
I also do cross stitch, which I call "Snark Stitch." These tend to not be your typical samplers, containing curse words, rude sayings, and skulls. I have been doing cross stitch since I was about 10.
I also do graphic design, which I started in college. I haven't been focusing too much on that lately, but I am always open to requests!

Black and white paw print hair clips

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

I have many creative friends that make me want to create!
Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I really have pink hair! lol

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I am in the process of learning chainmaille and crochet.

Which one of your pieces is your absolute favorite? Which one was the hardest to make and why?

I love to make my snark stitches. They can be very therapeutic. I do have some trouble with them, though, since my hands tend to hurt by the end of the project.
Snark Stich #%&!!

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

Probably my friend "Miss Blue," who inspires and encourages me to create, even if I think what I make is crap

If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your craft/art, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?

I'd love to get a printing press!

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?



Quote of the week

What is it about old school stories? I don't know, but when I happened to see this movie on TV once, I liked it so much that I not only got the movie, but also the book it's based on.
And why does the music always make me think of Christmas?

Whatever it is, here's today's quote and it doesn't even have all that much to do with school stories. Or does it?

The masters have just sent the boys off to their vacation and meet in the office, ready for their own vacation.
One of them takes a book and asks: "Mind if I borrow this for the train?"
The other: "Go ahead."
First master: "H.G. Wells. Never heard of him."
Second master: "It's his first. He'll never come to anything. He's too fantastic."


P.S. This post is for my (not so) "little" brother. I hope he'll understand why ;-)


Saturday night musings

What do other people do at - let me check - 11 on a Saturday night?
Hang out in a bar or disco?
Watch a movie in the cinema?
Have dinner at a fancy or not so fancy restaurant?

I bet I know what they don't do.
They don't eat veggie wieners from the package because they didn't have dinner (no pic, there were only a few left and they are gone now).

They don't drink cold chai from a Christmas mug with snowmen on it.

They don't ponder what movie to use for tomorrow's quote post (Peck or not Peck, that is the question).

They don't play lounge chair for the furry master over and over again (wait, that's probably not even that unusual ...)

They don't go through cooking leaflets from the 30s reading potato recipes while listening to a podcast teaching Hindi.

Aaah, I know I'm special. Aren't you glad? Cos that means I'll share an old potato recipe with you now.

0.55 pounds or 250 g boiled and grated potatoes
0.11 pounds or 50 g butter
1 table spoon flour
1 large egg
grated cheese or nutmeg

Make a smooth dough from the ingredients. Form little balls which you boil in salt water and put into your vegetable soup or broth.
(Let me know how they were if you try it!)

P.S. I haven't been all weird today. I also worked on three projects of which I finished one now. And I finally listed this collar. There's hope for me, don't you think?

Wire knit collar with Miyuki glass triangles

Have a great weekend!


Quote of the week

I'm not much of a Western girl. I have never been drawn to horses much and my experience with Western movies stopped at Karl May when I was a kid (embarrassing as it might be today, Winnetou was the hero of my younger days and I cried waterfalls when he died in the last movie ... erm, too much information).
There are a few I love, however, and today's movie is one of them.

"Gaily bedight, a gallant knight, in sunshine and in shadow, had journeyed long, singing a song, in search of El Dorado. Over the mountains of the moon, down the valley of the shadow, ride, boldly ride ..."

And for those who want to sing along as I can never resist to do, here you go.


What have I been doing lately ...

... hm, that's a pretty good question and I wish I had a good answer.
Instead let me show you just a few pictures to give you an impression.

Any questions? ;-)


Quote of the week

I'm not a radio DJ, but let me say this anyway: Andrea, this one's for you. You know why.

Do you like road trip movies? I do. Honestly I have always had some problems with this one, though. It leaves me breathless and with a twitching eyelid.
Imagine you have to travel with someone who's the opposite of you. Neal and Del couldn't be more different and together they have a trip beyond your imagination.

Del: You're in a pretty lousy mood, huh?
Neal: To say the least.
Del: You ever travelled by bus before?
Neal shakes his head.
Del: Hm. Your mood's probably not gonna improve much.

I'll tell you a secret. It doesn't improve ...


How embarrassing ... or how to learn a new language. Saturday ramblings.

You know sometimes it helps to let others know if you plan to do something. Blurting it out makes other people aware of it and chances are you get asked how things are coming along and it keeps you from giving up too quickly.

Quite a few friends of mine already know that I have been planning to learn Hindi for years. I love the sound of it.
I can count from one to ten, I know some colors and I can ask where the suitcases are. This is not going to get me far. Today I got up and picked up the plastic box with the textbook and the two CDs from the next room where they have been waiting for a long time.
All-around confidence ... tsk, doesn't that sound great?

I found I only have one problem at the moment, maybe that's the reason I haven't worked with that book yet? I can't get the CDs out. They are stuck in there as if they are supposed to be kept safely for some space shuttle flight. No worries, the whole box might fly around in the shuttle, the CDs alone won't. I'm afraid I'll break them. Maybe I should wait until tomorrow. I'll keep them on my desk, though. Just in case ;-)


Rip it up!

I think all creative people make this experience, no matter if you write a poem or a song, knit a sweater, paint a picture, make a clay pot, loom with beads or turn wire into a piece of jewelry.
You make something and look at it once, twice or maybe a hundred times, then you find something is just not right and you have this uncomfortable feeling about it. I'll rip it up. Nah, maybe if I just change this line, the speed here, add a bit more color, another bead ... oh dear, no. No way, I'll have to rip it up. Crumpled paper around the wastepaper basket, wavy yarn and do you see the piece of wire flying in the trash or the scrap silver tin?
Sometimes it's easier. You suddenly do find the perfect rhyme you have been looking for for so long, your song sounds so much better played a little slower, that red really makes the other colors pop ... and the labradorite lentil with the silver bezel fits perfectly into that little spot in the middle.

I'll have to cheat a little on this post. Usually when I rip up a piece, I don't take a picture before doing it or I delete the pictures I already have. It's more like a sudden rage and a deep contented sigh afterwards that I finally did what I had been wanting to do all the time.
Instead I chose one of the pieces I could add something to and unfortunately I don't have a picture of this piece in the before state. Just think shiny and without the lab bead. It looked a little like some ancient eye charm, but it was lacking substance.
So when my infamous nightstand drawer produced the lab already in a silver crochet bezel AND when that piece fit the "eye" part inside the drop exactly, it was like a whole bunch of light bulbs being turned on. The little dot on the i was the idea to give it a more vintage look ... go away, shine, in come dark silver.

Silver wire crochet drop with lab and garnets

As I said there are others with the same experience, be sure to check out their stories, too!

Bead Sophisticate 
Jewelry Art by Dawn
Bead Up A Storm


Me and Mrs. Jones ...

... got a thing going on. That thing was a swap and I already got my loot. I am so happy with it, too!
Now I hope Mrs. Jones will be as happy as me soon and won't send her very own battle cats after me.

Just look at this. It's a loomed needle case in lovely shades of blue (can you see the 006, my very favorite color, gunmetal AB?), much more beautiful than in the picture. It's so dark and foggy here at the moment that not even the daylight lamps seem to be up to the challenge, much less the lady behind the lens.
On the back is my initial, so I won't be tempted to give the case away in a sudden bout of generosity (yeah, right, dream on, people, this is mine, mine, MINE!), and inside there's a bead mat and some needles.
Are you jealous?

To spoil me even more, Mrs. Jones included this cute kitty keyring with a tag saying Cat on one side and Catrin on the other.

I'm not sure if she has the slightest idea how much she really made my day with her parcel!!!


Interview with the artist - Liesan from Liesan's Studio

I met Liesan a few years ago through the European guild on ArtFire. Our ArtFire shops are gone, but not our friendship, even if it's still only online.
You know I'm a librarian, so Liesan's art of bookbinding is particularly appealing to me. I own some of her beautiful books. This one is one of my favorites. Yes, she also made the polymer clay masks. It's so gorgeous and it's MINE!

Ready? Go!

Tell us a little about who you are and where you come from.

My name is Liesan, I live together with my partner Remco in Nieuwegein, The Netherlands. We share our home with an elderly kitten and a lot more stuff than we really have room for.

What's your craft/art and how did you get to do it in the first place?

I am beginning to feel comfortable about calling myself a bookbinder, but I'm not entirely there yet because I have so many basic skills to refine before I am worthy of the title. I can't remember how exactly I got started (and I'm only 33, so we can't really blame it on the age of my brain), I do know we had a short bookbinding course in highschool and I was instantly charmed, but it took almost 10 years for me to seriously pursue the bookbinding craft.
Aside from bookbinding I regularly pick up other crafts and art forms, sometimes to combine with my bookbinding and sometimes just to play. I am passionate in particular about traditional crafts like pottery, woodworking/carpentry, embroidery, smithing, weaving etc. ...

I think this is one of the most asked questions - where does your inspiration come from?

I am a material girl ;)
By which I mean that most of my inspiration comes from materials, from textures. I love big conceptual ideas and deep layers of meaning in art, but in reality my own best work "grows" from touching and looking at material. Even my art projects start that way.
Also folklore, myth, legends, fairytales and fables and even religion (although I am not a religious person) inspire me, but I think most people wouldn't notice that in what I make.


Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I am much too serious natured to think of something fun about myself on command.

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

At the moment I crochet in front of the TV, do some loom beading (thank you very much Catrin *evil look* Well, you are most welcome, dear Liesan *big grin*), I draw and paint and am practicing calligraphy. I also sew when something needs to be repaired and I bake (which used to be a craft long ago).
As soon as we move to a bigger house (something we plan to do, but we're not yet actively looking), I plan to include pottery into my "actively pursued crafts" and I would love to make some stained glass windows for our new home.

Hand bound book covered in real tree bark

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

At the risk of sounding arrogant I can't say there is anyone, of course there are plenty of people I admire, but related to my craft there is not one person in particular who inspires me.

Grey business card holder

If you had free choice of just one supply you can use for your craft/art, what would you be dreaming of, no matter how expensive?

Do I get a space to put it with that? Because I actually really need a very large board shear, my dream machine would be the Ideal 1110.

I think I could manage to afford it in a few months, but sadly we have no space to put it, so I'm stuck with its smallest tabletop model ... oh well.

Do you sell online, if yes, where can we find you?

I do, although I just moved shop and some of these places are still heavily under construction. My main shop for international orders is Liesan's Studio, prices there are in US dollars. I also have my craft/art website at Liesan's Attelier, I plan to sell from there in the future and prices are in Euros.
If you really want to use Etsy (I prefer you didn't because selling on Etsy costs me a lot of money ;)), I will also set up shop again there in the near future - here.
Note that not all three shops will have the same items.

Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?

I also have a personal blog where I talk a lot about crafting and a little about other things. It is bilingual (Dutch and English) and sometimes articles will only be in Dutch, but if you like to get to know me, you can visit there.


Quote of the week

It's not new to you. I'm old. I grew up with good old vinyl and tapes. I repaired my tapes using a cute little screwdriver and cursing a lot, I sat in front of the radio listening to the Top Whatever on Sundays, waiting for that one song I was still missing and then I blew up because once again the radio guy talked right into that one song.
I still have my tapes and I have my vinyl records ... and actually we have two record players.

Today we'll go to the record store of Rob Gordon who'll tell us about his five most memorable breakups, women, passion and music.
There we'll also meet his two friends, Dick and Barry.

Rob: "I can't fire them. I hired these guys for three days a week, and they just started showing up every day. That was four years ago."

If you need a flashback to the old days, check out the movie (or the book it was made from). Have fun!