Love comes in all sizes, colors and shapes. We love cheese, our favorite actor and the color blue. We love our family, our friends and our pets. We love from afar, silently, secretly and too much. We love flowers, songs and our new outfit.
Don't roll your eyes, I am actually going somewhere with this and it's neither philosophical nor heavy stuff ;-)

This month's subject for the blog carnival at the Jewelry Artisans Community was love, in honor of the Valentine's Day. Our February challenge was to make something related to that day, but without the use of red or pink. What usually comes to mind next are hearts. I have a personal reason of not being fond of Valentine's Day, so I struggled a bit with the subject.
Then my dear Heather came up with a brand new painting. When I saw it, I knew I not only had a new HeatherCat on my to-do list, but also the perfect piece for both the challenge and the blog carnival .... what do you think?

For more posts please check out the other members' blogs!

Bead Sophisticate

Jewelry Art by Dawn
Ponder the Cat


Interview with the artist - Lauren from Lauren's Creations

Remember this post about trying a new technique and how I was inspired by an artist called Lauren? Well, of course I couldn't hold back and had to ask her if she would like to do an interview with me and she said yes! Grab yourself a drink and a chair and be prepared to enjoy.
Good to have you here, Lauren!

Beaded floral hair comb

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

I am a young mother of two little boys (ages 4 years and 18 months). My husband, Scott, and I have been married for 5 years, and we live in our little home in Southern Utah. He works as a Systems Specialist and Programmer, and I stay home to care for our children. The little ones take up most of my time, but I spend what little free time I have working on my micro business. 

I'm a fairly quiet person who enjoys the simpler things in life. I'm happiest at home with my family, even when they drive me absolutely crazy. I love sci fi and fantasy novels and movies. 

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

My craft is French Beading, which is a very old art that is believed to have originated in the 1500's. Basically, you string tiny seed beads onto wire and wrap it using various techniques to make petals and leaves which are then assembled to create some truly unique flowers. I stumbled across pictures of french beaded flowers while I was searching for new bead weaving techniques, and I had to learn how to make them. My hobby turned into a business about a year ago. In the beginning I made mostly just hair accessories, but I've recently been branching out into jewelry and home decor. I love the challenge of designing a new pattern, which is one of the reasons I enjoy custom orders. There's something so fundamentally thrilling about using your own two hands to create the things you've been imagining or researching.

French beaded Tiger Lily made to order

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

Since most of my designs end up being some sort of foliage, I'd have to say that Nature is probably my largest source of inspiration, though I often incorporate my own little flair. 

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

My first love was gourd crafting. For those unfamiliar, hard shell gourds are grown in your garden, but if you let them dry out over the winter, they turn into a wood-like substance that can be carved, burned, or painted just like regular wood. I am still pretty new to the craft, and am by no means a master, but I hope to get there someday. Unfortunately, since I've had children I haven't been able to work on them as much as they are still very young and require constant supervision. Power tools, sawdust and curious little boys don't mix very well. I do have some fun ideas for mixing my beaded flowers and gourds that I hope I get to work on sometime soon.

I read there is a difference between French beading and Victorian beading. Have you tried Victorian beading, too? If you have, can you tell us a bit about your experience with the two techniques?

Most people don't realize that French Beading and Victorian Beading are two different methods. Both involve tiny beads and wire, but the difference is in how they are put together. French beading requires you to wrap beaded wire around a central row, so you build your rows outward. With Victorian beading you are using two ends of the same wire and passing them through opposite ends of a row of beads and crossing them, and you build your rows stacked on top of each other. I have tried Victorian beading, and while it is easier, I personally prefer the French method as I like the finished look of the petals much better.
Daffodil pin made to order

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

My favorite piece, and my hardest one are one in the same. I have recently completed my largest beaded flower project and I am so very thrilled with it. It is a wall hanging featuring a trio of Calla Lilies, with the accompanying foliage, mounted on a frame wrapped in beads and accented with a large amount of wire worked scrolls. Over all, it took five weeks - 90 working hours - to finish, with a great deal of trial and error, blood, sweat, and tears going into its completion. I'm so very proud of it and I have many more ideas for other wall hangings I can make!

Calla lily wall hanging

If you could choose one supply, no matter how expensive, what would it be? 

I've been dying to make French beaded flowers completely out of Swarovski Crystals instead of seed beads. But I'd need thousands of them... which would be very expensive indeed! It's on my to-do list! 

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

I do sell online!

Is there anything you would like to share with us? 

This year I've taken on an endeavor to build my flower repertoire and give myself a fun challenge. So I've started a Flower of the Month Challenge where I take a certain flower and build most of my new designs around that flower. If you'd like to follow along with me, you can visit my website/blog.
I can also be found on Facebook and Google+ .

Thank you, Lauren, that was really informative and fun to read. I'm already looking forward to seeing more from you!


And the winner is ..........................

You didn't really think I'd just blurt the name out, did you? Let me tell you about my morning first.
It started with Greebo knocking a tin off the nightstand and rolling it around on the floor. Although I didn't have much sleep - which is my very own fault as I knew the brats don't care how early in the morning I go to bed - I gave up pretty quickly. Once he tires of knocking around stuff, he usually plops down on my head next. Today I wasn't sure if I was ready for that.

So I got up, fed the monsters, did a bit of this and that and then wrote the list. The list has all the names from people who commented on my giveaway post and I want to thank you them for entering!
Each name got a number, then I went on to Random.org.
And the number is 3!

Now who's got the #3 on my list? It's Carole! Congratulations, Carole! I'll send you a message and your Golden Cat will be on the way soon!

P.S. Sorry for not having a quote of the week today, but this was so much more exciting, wasn't it? ;-)


Basket world sneak peek

If you have been following me for a while, you also know my yarn basket pendants. It's one of my earliest designs.
Usually I crochet them from fine silver wire and fill them with balls of colored copper wire "yarn".
Then I had the idea to offer them in a copper wire variation as well.
All of these little baskets from colored copper wire are ready to be filled up with yarn and knitting needles or a crochet hook. I will finish one of them as a sample, but leave the others empty for the customers to choose their own colors and yarnie tool.


Lurking in the shadows

How many times have I tripped over a cat mysteriously turning up before my feet? How many times have I been close to a heart attack because a cat suddenly came out of nowhere? Or even worse, how many times have I been about to panic because one of my (inside!!) cats have been missing, then said cat was right behind me when I was ready to run out into the night yelling for it? And had probably been on my trail like that for the whole time I was trying to look under closets, the fridge, armchairs and the washing machine?
Many, many, MANY times.

Maybe that's the reason why I reacted to Heather's Shadycat with such passion. A camouflaging cat in the shadows probably brought up memories from the time I searched for Dude, a very visible white cat (I finally found him in a dark corner behind the armchair which was standing next to the wall), to the time I was convinced Esme had escaped through an intact cat screen and was running around on the scaffold at one side of the house (it was probably one of the crows, heck, both are black, it's an easy to make mistake, isn't it?).

I couldn't stop at just one color combination and although I made three of the Shadycat pendants until now, I am by no means done with it.

Tell me which color combinations you would like to see and who knows? If I have the beads, I might just make it!

All of these are available in my Zibbet shop now, the grey/white one, the metallic matte one and the silver lined shiny one.
The black and white one is of course Heather's original painting.


Quote of the week

Today I'm going to do something I haven't done before on this blog. I'm going to quote from the same series that I had quoted from last week. Bear with me. I got a very persistent cat on my lap, these are the only DVDs I have close to me at the moment, and if I don't write this post now, all I'll be doing is click around randomly and waste time that I could spend with beads instead.
More dinosaurs today, people. Or maybe not dinosaurs so much this time. The critters in question are described as being "like spiders, but with pincers, not fangs". Oooh, doesn't that sound nice?

Off into the tunnel our hunters go. Suddenly Abby hears something above her and lets out a shriek when she sees the creature.

The creature runs off and Abby says to her fellow hunters:
"Does anyone have a really big slipper?"

Cool lady. Little does she know that these buggers are not even their main problem.

Primeval, UK, 2007 - 2011


The Golden Cat - A HeatherCat giveaway!

Last week I told you about my new loom. By now we have made our first piece together and just as I promised, I'll have a giveaway. One of you will own a very special HeatherCat pretty soon.
Meet the Golden Cat, a variation of the Black Cat.
Golden Cat comes as a bead loomed (obviously!) pendant.
She is from golden Duracoat Delicas with some matte dark golden shadows. Her eyes remind me of the sea, a transparent bluegreen. The background is a beautiful misty blue grey, one of my favorite colors. She comes with a golden ball chain of 23.5 inch or 60 cm length.

Now, what do you have to do to enter my giveaway? It's actually pretty easy. Hop over to my Zibbet shop where the HeatherCats are sold exclusively, pick your favorite among them and let me know in a comment to this post.
Don't forget to give me an e-mail address or some way I can contact you if you are the lucky one!
You have time until next week Saturday midnight my time (the time zone is called UTC +1 if you need look up the difference), well, actually until Sunday morning when I get up, but that depends on my cats, so you may be lucky or not. It's the 22nd of February.
Better do it right away if you want the Golden Cat, so you won't forget.
Once I am up on Sunday and have survived the feeding of the monsters, I will give each comment a number and then draw the winner with the help of Random.org.

Good luck!


Quote of the week

What are the dangers in dinosaur hunting? Well, you can get eaten obviously. Or stepped on. Or maybe stepped on first and then get eaten.
There is something even more dangerous, though ....

Cutter: Oh, those risks you were talking about. There's one I didn't tell you about running down your back.
Lester sniffles, looks at his back, see's Rex' "gift", sighs and leaves.
Brown turns to the side to hide her chuckle.
Cutter: It's so perfect.


Primeval, UK, 2007 - 2011


It's a ...

JaLa! I can't tell you the whole story, it would be too long anyway, so I'll just give you the short version.

A JaLa is a bead loom, sturdy, well made and adjustable. I have been wanting one for quite some time. Karma has been very good to me, but that's part of the long story.
To keep it really short .... tadaaaaaaaa!
Please give a warm welcome to Magica De Spell, my new bead loom!! Isn't she a beauty?

She is named after a Disney witch whose character was created by Carl Barks whose cartoons I love. I'm digressing, however.
In honor of Magica I want to pass some of the good karma along. The first piece she and I made together is a special HeatherCat. It's almost finished and there will be a giveaway soon. How does that sound??


Interview with the artist - Tara from Doodlebug's Deviants Designs

I first met Tara online in a cat forum called My Cat Hates You. Then we met again in real life when we were on vacation in Edinburgh, we being my ex and me, Tara lives there, but hey, let her tell all of that herself, okay?

The Twins

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

My name is Tara and I like to think of myself as a bit of a strange, but fun artistic spirit. I come from Edinburgh in Scotland where I live with my 4 feline mistresses in our little flat.

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

My current craft is sewing and I came into it in a round about way! I went to a art group to get me out of my flat, and there I decided I wanted to make a patchwork quilt for my bed (insanity as I had only ever repaired torn clothes before). From there I would occasionally make a cushion for my flat as old ones gave up. Then this Christmas just past someone gave me socks for a present and they were nice, but not ones I would ever wear, so I googled recycling new socks and up popped sock monkeys. But I am not a fan of sock monkeys as they are everywhere, so I thought sod it, I want to make sock cats, as I am a certified crazy cat woman lolz! Also the cushions came about from a photo that has been floating around the internet of cat shaped cushions, and no matter how much I searched I just could not find them to buy, so again thought sod it, I will make my own. When I posted photos of these on my personal Facebook people suggested I sell them to help pay for my feline mistresses expensive tastes!

Black cats on pink Kushion Kittiez

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

My inspiration has always come from my love of cats and anything cat shaped, and never being able to find the range of cat things that there is for dogs!

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I collect skulls and religious icons.

Moo cat head Kushion Kittiez

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I do a fair amount of other crafts/art. I draw when my hands permit me, I customise vinyl figures and pieces of furniture, I love taking photos, and last but not least I like to upcycle pieces that others would consider rubbish :)

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

My favourite piece by far is the curly tailed Kushion Kittiez and it is also the hardest to make, and as I hand sew all my pieces the tail is really hard to get just right so that once filled it will curl up fully!

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?   

I admire anyone who is willing to put their art/craft out there for others to see, that takes a lot of guts! And there isn't one person that inspires me, it is lots of people and mostly my girls :)

Plum Stripes

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 would LOVE to make some Kushion Kittiez out of a pure silk brocade fabric, but it is just way beyond my budget lolz!

Kitty head Kushion Kittiez

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

I do sell online, mostly from my Facebook page Doodlebug's Deviants Designs, but also from a Zibbet shop of the same name :)

Skull kitty

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

I don't do this to make money, I do it for the calmness and ability it has to make me forget my disabilities and situation in life :)

Thank you, hun! So, you cat people out there, how about taking a look? :-D  


Quote of the week

Oh, the things I go through for you.
In fact I'll now watch the movie to this quote, so I wouldn't feel bad about just picking the quote because I stumbled upon it by accident. Someone offered me to bring the movie before and I declined.
Who knows, maybe I'll even change my choice of quote. Well, okay, see you in ... oh, more than two hours?? I better give you something to do. And just in case I'll need a break for lunch or something, let's make it three hours.

Okay, this was more entertaining than I had expected. Let's go for some werewolf hunting ... a werewolf who came in from the rain.

Carl: Why does it smell like wet dog in here?
Van Helsing: Werewolf!
Carl: Alright, you'll be needing silver bullets then (throwing a bag with bullets)
Van Helsing: Well done!

Yup, Van Helsing. We have werewolves, of course vampires and Frankenstein's monster. Quite a feat to get all of that into one movie. Don't expect too much, just sit back and have a bit of weekend afternoon fun. And never forget that Carl is the real hero here ;-)

Van Helsing, USA/Czech Republic, 2004