Quote of the week

It was 1977, the times of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker, the times of whacky movies with less than top quality jokes, but which still made you laugh.
One user review on IMDB for their following movie has the title "Tasteless, juvenile and very funny". That says it pretty well.
The movie is made up of a bunch of segments, some funnier, some just crude, you would be surprised to find actors like Bill Bixby, Donald Sutherland, Henry Gibson, George Lazenby. I have a love-hate relationship with the movie. Love because some things are just funny and because it's so 70s that kids today wouldn't understand any of it, hate because some of the segments do actually turn me off.

I have a favorite, though, a parody of the classic Bruce Lee movie "Enter The Dragon", the parody being called "A Fistful of Yen". That one really cracks me up and I love to quote from it, from the German dubbing though because I didn't know the English original for a long time. And we all know the German version can slightly differ, well, if you are not German, you probably don't know ;-)

The evil Dr. Klahn has kidnapped famous physicist Ada Gronick and there's only one man who can bring her back from Dr. Klahn's island - Loo. Unfortunately he's not inclined to do so at first ... until he's told the perfect reason ...

Loo: I owe my allegiance to a higher source.
Mr Pennington: Aah, but you'll have the chance to kill fifty, maybe sixty, people.

And this is Loo's reaction.

Before you all jump on me now, no, I don't think it's funny to kill fifty or sixty people, but seriously, do you remember all the Kung Fu etc. movies, especially the B ones?? ;-)


Saturday night ramblings

Oh look, a bird! Oh look, a sparkly stone! Oh look!
Yes, I do tend to get distracted. Sometimes I wonder about my brain. With my brain. Wow, that's weird somehow. Oops, digressing. It's not that I can't be focused at all, it just depends a lot on what it is that I focus on. My brain is rattling, ticking, my thoughts are jumping back and forth.
The nice thing about beads is that it's allowed to do that around them. Unless I am working on a custom order I allow my brain to roam at free will when I create. As long as it just roams inside my head.
It can happen that things get lost in the overwhelming mass of ideas (not saying they are all good ones) which is why many people carry a notebook or have one on their various tables. I don't. I do have notebooks, but I can't remember when I put down a design idea the last time.

Remember Mabel, my muse? She has been working overtime for quite a while now. She takes me from the loom back to the hook and lately she has hidden the word "clay" in a cough a few times. There are several ideas for incorporating clay in pieces. Maybe I should put them in a notebook ...

Let me show you a few of my latest pieces to help you understand. I know I haven't shown much in a long time, but don't worry, I won't picture spam you now, I'll just try to illustrate the leaps and jumps my brain cells take. Obviously they are much better at sports than I am, they should have been at the Olympics ;-)

Wire knit is still a big subject. Since it's still a rather new technique for me, compared with wire crochet at least, I enjoy playing and trying what I can do. Tubes, flat pieces, layers, with beads, without beads, bezels for cabs, I doubt I found the end of the road yet.
Today I had warped the loom when I found this odd-shaped stone on my nightstand. It had been there for months because I kept hoping for a great idea. Suddenly it hit me what it reminded me of. A wire knit bezel and five crocheted toes later I had this - a foot.

This necklace featured one of Deronda O'Neill's gorgeous lampwork beads. I swear I have been sitting on them - metaphorically spoken - forever, caressing them and finally a design happened for one. The pendant wasn't planned like this which is why I say "happened". I was trying something with a wire knit tube ring, so-to-speak, and that's what I ended up with. A bead filled "chain" was obligatory. The beads can move inside the tube.

Another wire knit piece with an implosion bead by Deronda is this one in fine silver. Isn't it amazing how different it looks from the other pieces?

While not one of my favorite X-Files episodes, "Teso dos Bichos" spontaneously made me throw another project aside from literally one second to the other because I felt the urge to make a black cat. It's not finished yet, I want to add a chain, but hey ... there are so many things to do. Oh look, a bunny! Nah, not really which is a good thing because that would have meant that Buster broke out of his room.

If you think I have forgotten about wire crochet, you are wrong. Here's a sneak peek picture of a wire crochet and knit mix bracelet, the "Turquoise Turtle". You can't easily see it here, but it really does look like a turtle shell. As it happens to so many of my bracelets or necklaces, it's still missing the clasp, not because I'm too lazy, but because I haven't decided yet which kind to use.

And then there's the looming of course. I still haven't finished the lot for the local zoo's tombola in October, but I am at six now. You'll get to see a picture of them all together once I'm done.
Have a look at my rain cloud instead. I'm afraid if I want to control the rain with it, I'll have to sacrifice it somewhere in a cave or a wood, but it took too long to do that. Now that's a piece that is actually already available in my Zibbet shop - here.

The following is a cuff that I had lots of fun with and I really love the look of the galvanized seed beads (I'm a sucker for galvanized beads) against the dark blue AB beads. Just the base is loomed, the loops are done in brick stitch.

Is it a cuff at all? Who knows ... I thought I was being silly when I spontaneously took these pictures, but oh look, a new idea! "Unfortunately" a friend - thank you, Toni - gave me another idea for free. I'll need more time or more hands or a miracle.
Guess what. There's already a new project on my loom.

Well, I do have more news and I have more pieces, but I'll save that for another time, I don't want to wear you out now!


My stash

This month's theme for the Jewelry Artisans Community's blog ring is to show your stash.
I have to be honest, that's a bit of a problem. When we decided on the theme, I still thought - in my typical naive way - I could organize my stash before taking pictures to make it less embarrassing. I had done it a while ago, so at least it's not all one big mess, but I ran out of space about three nanoseconds after I had done it ... and the new drawer box, well, it's still in the bag.
That means you won't get to see everything, just a few carefully chosen bits.

A little over a year ago I would have thought that the next few pictures were fakes. Seed beads and me seemed to be impossible then, at least these by Miyuki.
After I had made my first loomed bracelet, I reluctantly got a few colors, thinking I would use them up right away. No more new stash building, I'm not a squirrel after all. I'm at about 150 colors now, more or less of course as I use them up or get new ones. Never say never, huh?!
Don't they look good enough to eat?

I'm so looking forward to my next Bollywood cuff to use some of that hot pink .... if I only had a really good idea for a pattern at the moment!

To show you that I actually CAN be organized!
Miyuki cubes - another obsession. Peeking in, not used in a long time, my knitting spool.

Miyuki 11 seed beads. At first I thought they couldn't beat Delicas, but now I feel I need so many more colors of these!!
I can't forget the wire of course. Where would I be without my wonderful wire in all kinds of colors? Believe me, there too is much more!

I hope you enjoyed this tiny glimpse into my stash. Who knows, maybe the miracle will happen and I'll have my lampwork organized, so next time I can show you all the beauties waiting for me to make something with them!

Have a look at what the others have to say about their stash. You can find their posts here, have fun!


Interview with the artist - Martiel from Sewmantra

Today I want to introduce you to a fellow artist from Zibbet - Martiel from Sewmantra.

Custom made flower brooch

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

I'm a native Colorado-ian transplanted to Washington, D.C. by none other - a job. Trained as an anthropologist, I served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Habitat for Humanity International for two years before launching Sewmantra. While I could share with you all the reasons and events in my childhood that made me into the fabric artist I am today, I would say that cultural moves are what encourage almost any girl to sew or craft something during their lives. I was no different.

I never thought I would start an art or crafting business - I was on a different track heading for a Ph.D. in Environmental Anthropology and Geography when I had an accident which for all intents and purposes has put me on a different track both mentally and physically. This event changed my life and in essence changed how I had to function - through some self-discovery and a lot of failures, I realized I had to change my plans.

Sharky monster critter hat

One weekend last fall I happened across five giant boxes of yarn at an estate sale in great condition - I'm not kidding. I nearly jumped with joy all the way to the car - I'm 6'3'', how is that for imagery? After buying the boxes of yarn I decided that I should start making and selling my scarves and hats - I had no idea what I as getting myself into. Lo and behold, my handmade adventure began and Sewmantra was born.

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

I was enculturated from a young age into the sewing club as I call it, and have been doing it ever since. Actually I began sewing with my mom when I was five and then at the age of eight I won at the county fair in sewing. That was about 25 years ago. My work with yarn, specifically crochet, has a shorter history. I learned to crochet just over 12 years ago. You can read the entire story on my blog about how I learned to do this in a warehouse while working as a call center representative at the age of nineteen - when laissez-faire was not a way of thinking, but a way of life for me. I like to think of this as my own personal industrial revolution - and you'll know why after you read the article.

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

Many places - and that is about as accurate of a target I can give you. I love all kinds of things and people - part of why I was studying to become an anthropologist. However, I find that inspiration rarely comes from other fiber artists in my experience, but from everyday life, from traditional designs, from things I see at a thrift store or at a yard sale. Even when I visit the grocery store, I am on the prowl for ideas; I'm always looking, observing and making notes. In fact, it is rare to find me without my notebook in hand ready to jot down a note about something interesting I see.

Pooch Pouch

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

Doing business online is a great way to meet new people and I love the new shops and products I come into contact with. Furthermore, I like the anonymity that comes with being online sometimes - what people who've never met me before don't know is that I'm 6'3''. This is usually a fun and interesting fact to learn about me. The other thing that most people find pretty funny is when I feel stumped I put on my hardhat and do some sewing. I'm laughing right now just thinking about it, but what is so liberating about this is that it really works for me. Not only does this help me reframe, but it changes my perception of the room - plus it almost always makes me laugh which usually gives me an opening to find a solution to what I'm seeking.

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I think it's good to try out new things you haven't done before and stretch your muscles artistically. I don't go for anything specific, I just like to pick up things around my studio that have been in need of a use for a while and see how I can piece them together. What usually transpires is a one of a kind piece that I sell before I'm able to list it. I also do a lot of work with the nonprofit organization I founded earlier this year, the South Potomac Arts League.

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

My absolute favorite piece is my ribbon scarves. Though they are not online for sale right now. They are part of my Econique Line, all of which are made of at least 50% recycled or reclaimed yarns. One customer who bought a scarf from me last year told me that it's luxury for the new environmentalist movement - I just love that! Now that I'm writing about this, I think I may have to post this piece early, as I usually do not post these until September.

As for the product that is hardest to make, I would have to say that my Upcycled Cherry Blossom Handfan would be the most time consuming to assemble. The most complicated are my Mutty Boots for Dogs which for all intent purposes should be complicated as they are dog shoes which are both skid proof and water proof.

Cherry Blossom Handfan

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

I absolutely adore and admire Georgia O'Keeffe. I recall when I was twelve and I visited Santa Fe and I saw her work for the first time. She has an incredible way of conveying texture and color and life in her work. Every time I sell a piece of my work, I think of her - I feel like the Georgia O'Keeffe of fiber arts.

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?

Wow, I don't think I've ever been asked this before! If it could be anything, it would be a heap of organic yarn of all types - wool, cotton, hemp, bamboo, blends, alpaca, etc. Much of what I make in my collections are made with organic yarns and they are expensive. This is what I would love to have if I had to choose just one material/supply for my art.

Organic cotton dishcloths

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

Yes, I sell exclusively on Zibbet. You can visit my collections at Sewmantra.


Quote of the week

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know how I feel about aliens. "I want to believe." (I just found my X-files poster, the same that Mulder has in his office ;-)) That's actually easy if you have contact to an alien almost daily *waving to she knows who she is*
Now the question is how do aliens really feel about us and how do they deal with humans?
Let's ask the Solomons. They may seem like an ordinary family - well, ok, they don't. The Solomons are aliens who came to Earth to study everyday human behavior.
There is so much to learn, for example how to make out for the first time ... want to hear what an alien information officer who has been transformed into a human teenage boy has to say about it?

Dick (who is the High Commander): Tell us everything, I want details.
Tommy: Well, at first I was conflicted. You know, we come from very different backgrounds. I'm an alien and she's a Presbyterian. I have a highly developed mind and she's got that big ... pouty mouth. I tell you it was a tough decision.
Sally (a high rank army officer who happened to lose in the drawing and had to take a female body): What tipped the scale?
Tommy: She let me.
Dick: Well, what happened next?
Tommy: Well, I don't know what came over me. They were so big and round and beautiful. I just had to touch them.
Dick: Then what??
Tommy: She screamed 'Ow, my eyes!' - and that just basically killed the mood.
Dick: Damn.


Saturday night ramblings

Ah ... a nice, quiet evening. With a drink and a quasi-almost-pseudo-healthy snack. Sounds good, doesn't it? That's what I thought.
The drink was easy. So was choosing the snack. To avoid the bell peppers in the fridge to go bad and start moaning like a zombie like the neglected cauliflower did, I decided to have them with a dip. The peppers are the healthy part, a sour cream dip the not quite so healthy one, but I was out of yogurt. Just a little of salt and pepper mixed into the cream and I'm a happy girl.
I opened the cabinet above the stove and got out the salt. Too bad that the bag with the peppercorns was leaning against it, and that "resealable" doesn't always work. You can guess it, down it came and there were peppercorns everywhere. Jumpy little buggers, the lot of them, they could have participated in the Olympics. They even had an audience in all of my cats who seemed to wonder what the old lady was doing this time. I bet they would have liked a snack to go with the show.
Finally I had found them all and was ready to go on with my simple dip. I put the salt back and grabbed the pepper mill. That's when the bag with the caraway went down. Can you say "resealable"? The bag couldn't. Someone remind me that I need to buy caraway the next time I go shopping. It was all over the place. I'm so glad there was no one to take a picture of me, I'm sure I looked like a big old idiot. So I started cleaning again. The audience had left, they seeemed to think it was getting a little embarrassing by now. That's why they missed when I put the pepper mill back and the bag with the loose tea came down. No worries, it was unopened .... but somehow it had managed to catch some of the caraway. That was the point where I started giggling uncontrollably. I mean, seriously, what are the odds?
You'll be pleased to hear that I'm enjoying my bell peppers and dip while I'm writing this post. To speak with a quote from one of my favorite movies "All is well". 

Now let's get to my latest in looming. Actually I have two things to tell.
Let me put on my white lab coat first and laugh in an incredibly evil way. Mwahahahaaaaaa!
The piece I finished today was inspired by my sister and two movies of my childhood (re-runs, I'm not that old). Who could resist giant ants making a cool sound and a giant tarantula? (Them! and Tarantula - and can anyone tell me why the DVD of "Them!" is still that incredibly expensive??)
I felt I needed to contribute to the myth, and what better to strike fear in people's hearts than a giant ladybug?? ;-) I had practised before on a large polymer clay ladybug and now it was time to put that into beads.
Are you afraid? Are you? Well, here it is, and hopefully it'll be in my shop soon as well.

For the second announcement I don't need my lab coat, just a second. There. Most of you might already know it, but I can't help it, I am just so happy to say that my "Carrot Thief" cuff has been chosen for display at the BEADERS BEST Bead Art Fair. I made this cuff last year and entered it after I had loomed for just a few months, so yes, I am excited about this!!

Ok, enough now. If you made it until the end of this post, thank you! ;-)

P.S. By the way, I just spilled sour cream dip on my t-shirt *multiple headdesks*


Wrap yourself with beads

I haven't told you about my new work for a while. Did you enjoy the break? Well, it's over. I haven't been lazy the last months, bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings, you name it, I made it.
For example I worked a lot with faux amber after getting a bag with cabochons, the colors are so lovely and the shapes quite different.

Tonight I want to show something else, however. It's not in my shop yet because I'll need to try and take some better pictures, preferably not at night.
I've had this spool of gunmetal colored copper wire standing around for a while, filled up with a load of Miyuki glass triangle beads, you know the ones that sparkle so mysteriously in the light. I think there are five different colors in there, from a berry color to a black lined brown which makes for a very earthy mix.

So I went to work and knitted and knitted and knitted, determined to use all the beads on that spool, and here's the result - a bead scarf! It's not too heavy - I have held stone necklaces that were much heavier - it's amazingly comfortable and you can wear it different ways. Depending on your size you can even wear it as a belt!
I still have another spool full of beads ..........