Quote of the week

You know how you sometimes read a very familiar word and somehow it suddenly just doesn't look right, in fact it gets worse, the longer you look at it?
Or you say something you never had a problem with before and it's clearly wrong, but you can't find the right thing?
You are not alone.

Rajesh: Who is it?
Leonard: It's Leonard.
Rajesh (opening the door): You can't come in.
Leonard: Well, I just wanna talk to her.
Rajesh: I forbid it.
Priya: Open the door, Rajesh.
Rajesh (closing the door): You heard it. I forbidded it.
Priya: Forbidded it?
Rajesh (frowning): Forbaded it?
Priya: Get out the way.


Hm, that "forbidation" didn't work so well.
Maybe this time?

Leonard and Priya come into the restaurant together.

Priya: Hi, Howard. Hi, Sheldon.
Howard and Sheldon: Hello.
Rajesh: Why are you holding hands? I forbid you to hold hands.
Priya: Rajesh, you know Leonard and I spent the night together.
Rajesh: Yeah, but you were just sleeping because I forboded you to have sex.
Leonard: The word is forbade.
Rajesh: You sure? That doesn't sound right.

See what I mean?

The Big Bang Theory, USA, 2007 -


A cat in a hat

An addition to my small vintage hat collection. I had put it away during moving things, still in its bag, and completely forgotten about it, shame on me.
I really wish I had the face, outfits and most of all the opportunity to wear hats.


Where do I go for inspiration?

Yup, it's time for the Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival again. Time flies, I swear!
This month's topic is inspiration and to be honest it's not as easy to answer as you might think.
Maybe if the question had been "where do I not go for inspiration" although I'm not even sure I could answer that.

The truth is that inspiration is hiding everywhere even if that sounds like a cliché, and I do not have to go anywhere, I just have to look around me. Don't think I want to brag. Being inspired doesn't mean that something comes always out of it. Some ideas don't work out, some fail because of lacking skills, materials or time.
Sometimes I think my brain is like a nest with baby birds and that one cuckoo who does its best to push them out of the nest. I don't write my inspirations down and they probably fall out of my brain and get stepped on all the time.
I don't really think that matters, though. It would take up so much time to try them all. The fun part is being inspired and feeling an idea creep into your head, and as long as some of them hold on to their nest and grow up, that's perfectly fine. Okay, my metaphor might be a little wonky here ... creeping baby birds, huh.

Inspiration comes from my cats' eyes - I don't have to go there, they follow me around and even stick to me at times as if they are glued on, the cats, not their eyes of course - the tiles in my bathroom - you would be surprised how many different things I have seen in their glazed surface before when standing there brushing my hair - clouds, the evening sky, nature in general actually, colors, movies, floors - remember my bead loomed rug and floor series? - music, faces, sounds ... take a moment, watch and listen.

I am convinced that most of the times people don't see the original inspiration in my pieces or wouldn't even suspect one even if it's there. There's the spark and maybe even a complicated train of thought behind there and often enough I forget them myself.
I'm absolutely sure it's the same for others out there and that makes the whole journey so exciting, doesn't it?

If you would like what the other JAC members have to say about that subject, have a look here. I'll add links as they come in.

Bead Sophisticate

I'd also like to hear your opinion, especially if you are an artist yourself. What inspires you?


Quote of the week

Today I'm a bit under time pressure, so forgive me if I'm "cheating" and give you a song instead of a proper quote.
I know I am late for St. Patrick's Day, but my friend Frauke reminded me of it when she posted this spotlight about rainbows.

Rainbows, a pot of gold, leprechauns, Ireland ... Finian's rainbow!

Finian's rainbow, USA, 1968


A magic world

I'm sure I haven't been the only one to lie in the grass and watch the clouds drifting by, taking on funny or familiar shapes. You don't need clouds to play that game, it works with lots of things, from structured tiles to rocks ... or this cabochon.
It's a Mexican Cantera opal and it's not very big, slightly over half an inch only. Cantera opals are the Mexican equivalent to Australian Boulder opals. The opal is still in the matrix, like a window into another world which isn't hard to believe if you look at this little fellow (obviously enlarged a lot, but not color edited or anything).

Looking at it I imagine flying through a mass of clouds with the world underneath me, and is that a big lake possibly?
I don't think I have to point out I'm flying into this magic world on a dragon.

What do you see?

P.S. I "blame" Stones That Rock for my new Cantera opal addiction. Before I saw my first one there, I had not heard of them.


Where did that come from?

My plan was to take one of my small Mexican Cantera opals and make something with it. Instead I stumbled upon this beautiful glass cab - believe me, my pictures don't do it justice - and decided on a little quickie. Just a very simple wire knit setting, you know, no extras, no beads, no double layers, nothing.
Very funny. Sometimes I wonder if I know myself.

The pictures can't show what exactly I did. There are double layers in there which hold the freshwater pearls now and the bezel went up a few rows, too.
It makes me think that I should take WIP pictures from time to time, but it's hard to remember that if you are caught up in a project.

So just have a look at the beautiful colors. Unfortunately that cab was a gift and I don't know where it came from. I think some browsing may be in order eventually.


Interview with the artist - Barbra from All About The Buttons

Today I'm happy to introduce another of my friends from Zibbet, Barbra from All About The Buttons. Be prepared for a very creative ride ... with buttons!

Buttons and charms bracelet

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

My fate was sealed as I was born into a creative family! My father was a leather designer and my mother was a master seamstress. They said I was born with a pencil in my hand! I was an art major in college, but entered the field of elementary education and followed the creative leanings in my classroom and after work. Upon retirement I then had all the time I’d want to pursue those leanings full time. In 2002, my husband & I moved from New York to South Carolina to be closer to our son and subsequent grandsons. It is such a joy to watch them grow and to see my son become a great father, husband and business owner. The move afforded me the space for a dedicated studio. No more being interrupted at the kitchen table when someone wanted to eat a meal! What nerve! I do work part time for my son and have been given the title of “Merchandise Coordinator” which is a fancy term for shopper. I purchase everything from computers to snacks and also do the banking as he assumes I’m trustworthy!

Baby teddy hoop wall decor

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

I am eclectic as I indulge in many areas. I taught myself how to knit at age 8 by watching my mother and my grandmother taught me to crochet and helped me refine the skills. I always added a button here and there just to perk up an item. Buttons always held a special place in my heart, and although it sounds like a cliché, it was Grandma’s cookie tin of beautiful baubles that got me started working with them in 1993. I couldn’t let them just sit and so I began by making pins, brooches and barrettes. I wore a pin one day and a store keeper asked me where I had gotten such a beautiful piece of topaz….it was a button and the ball started to roll. Buttons don’t just close things. They embellish and make many things more beautiful. What is interesting to me is that by far my most successful creation isn’t a craft at all but an assemblage or a decoration of an existing piece and fits only in an “everything else” category! My tape measures are great fun to make and then I can indulge my love of fabric and ribbon along with buttons.

Cat breeds pocket tape measure

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

For me, it is the buttons. I will often knit or crochet gloves or a scarf with a button in mind. I will buy yarn for buttons I know that will complement each other. When I have the right match of yarn or fabric or paper with a button…it’s a happy marriage! Color inspires me as well.

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

Okay, but keep it to yourself….I have amazing, naturally curly hair that I despise. Why is that fun? Well, as I’ve gotten older, the deception is funny to me. People I’ve known for 10-20 years have no clue unless we’re caught in the rain or they ring my bell when I’ve just gotten out of the shower. Only those who have curly hair can relate to not liking it. I know there are many who pay to get curls! Even my grandsons have no clue and one is nicknamed “Curly” because of his ringlets. Yes, my son’s hair is curly, but he likes it very short, so only if he needs a haircut would you see his curls. It was fortunate I didn’t have a daughter with this hair!

Sparkle gray finger cowl

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

There is barely a craft I haven’t tried at least once, but now I truly craft mostly to sell. I have done dozens of needle point and petit point pieces and a garden of beaded flowers but the eyes don’t allow that any longer. Stained glass was wonderful and I might go back one day. One thing I’ve never done is weaving and I am thinking of taking a class. I always think “I can do that”, but if I don’t do it well after several times, I leave it to those more talented. I have found my niche and am comfortable.

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

Tough question…my button heart shadow boxes and vignette chairs are still a favorite and there have been several scarves and cowls I am very proud of. They were a challenge. Hardest to make is something I don’t like. I was asked by a dear friend to crochet a shawl in black yarn….I could not say no and despised every stitch! But she was thrilled so it was all okay.

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

Anyone who can sew is on my high honors list. My machine is for mending only as it just doesn’t like me, so anyone who can sew has my admiration. I am inspired daily by the great talent I see online. The creativity is awe inspiring. My parents, as I said, were very creative and they certainly fanned the flames of my fire.

Pink green collage upcycled CD clock

If you could choose to be given one supply you need for your craft for free, no matter how expensive, what would it be?

Wow…I have no idea!!! Fortunately, I have tons of supplies right now and don’t truly ‘need’ anything. And so, you might ask, why was I at the yarn store yesterday? Shhh….

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

My main location is All About The Buttons on Zibbet
Although I sell on other venues, this one is the most well stocked and my favorite.

Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Thank you for wanting me to share.

Now is the time to drop in and have a look at Barbra's shop. Believe me, there is so much to see! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Barbra :-)


Quote of the week

Children of today who are used to modern special effects may not understand the magic I felt when watching today's movie as a child.
I was even surprised a bit myself that the magic was still there when watching it the other day - even though I saw the wires, the painted backdrops and the miniatures some of which were very advanced and unusual for the 40s.
It's still a beloved fairy tale, the colors are still fresh, the details wonderful and the love story classic.

And of course there is the jinn. We all know one wish always goes wrong.

Abu has stolen the magic eye from a temple and Ahmad, the king of Bagdad who not only lost his kingdom to the villain Jaffar, but is about to lose the love of his life to him as well, uses it to look at his beautiful princess and has to watch how she smells the blue rose which makes her forget him.

Ahmad: I can't look anymore. There are worse things than blindness. Knowledge can be more terrible than ignorance if one can do nothing. Nothing ... Why did you give me this? Take it back and break it into a thousand pieces.
Abu: I only stole it to help you.
Ahmad: You stole it because you enjoy stealing.
Abu: Without my stealing you'd be dead.
Ahmad: I wish I were dead. I wish I'd never seen you. I wish ... I wish I were in Bagdad.
Abu: I wish you were.
Ahmad disappears.
Abu: Ahmad! Ahmad! Ahmad! Ahmad! Ahmad! Ahmad! Where are you?
Jinn: Where you wished him, on his way to Bagdad.
Abu: Then take me out of this place! Don't you hear? I want to get out!
Jinn: You stay where you are. You're a clever little man, little master of the universe, but mortals are weak and frail. If their stomach speaks, they forget their brain. If their brain speaks, they forget their hearts. And if their hearts speak ... *laughs* ... if their hearts speak, they forget everything!
Abu: Am I not your master?
Jinn: No longer. You had your three wishes.  Now I'm free. Free!

The Thief of Bagdad, UK, 1940


More colors (without the Queen this time) and a WIP

Yesterday I told you about my fondness for color variations of the same design.
Today I want to tell you about my love of color in general and chose tourmaline for it. A friend gave me a strand of tourmaline chips and as always I couldn't help being impressed by the many colors. At first look you might think it's just pink and green, but then you look closer and find this for example.

Can you see that not only there is green, blue, pink, yellow, but that two of the chips also show rainbow colors, one has a dark green and a light pink part and one is blue and pink? And this is not even a very good picture.

I fell in love with tourmalines' colors when I was a kid. We had a one volume encyclopedia with very few colored pages that we came back to again and again. The ones we loved most were the two with flags of the world, fish from the deep sea and minerals. These illustrations were no photos, but printed paintings. My favorites were the moon fish, the Kenyan flag and the tourmaline crystal which was half green, half pink which impressed me very much.
I wanted to take a picture of it for this post as I was sure I had bought the old encyclopedia for myself at a flea market, but now I seem to remember it fell apart so badly that it couldn't be repaired.

Instead I took a picture of a WIP, the wire knit rope necklace that I made with the rest of the tourmalines ....

.... and just for fun here's a close up of the "rainbow chip". So small and yet such wealth of colors!


Shadycats and the Queen

You may ask yourself what they have to do with each other. The Shadycats are a HeatherCat design and the Queen, well, is the Queen.
In fact it has to do with color combinations.
In this post I told you that I couldn't resist making several Shadycats. Even after writing the post I kept going. Usually I can't make a design too often too quickly, but in this case I just could have kept making it in more and more colors which really made me wonder.
Finally a thought hit me ... and a memory from my childhood.

When I was a kid, we watched commercials. There were only three TV programs which weren't available around the clock and for the longest time we had black and white TV (yes, I am that old). We guessed commercials - who was the first to recognize the brand before the name was said?
Then we got color TV and I found myself being fascinating with the "hair studio" of a certain brand. Imagine 70s hairdos and customer questions "Since I started using your shampoo for greasy hair, I have dandruff. What should I do?" I still remember that the answer was to use both the shampoo for greasy hair and the one for dandruff. Smart. That way they could sell two products.
What really intrigued me were the colors, though. There was the yellow line for this and the blue line for that, and all the bottles were standing on a table, the shampoo, hairspray, conditioner and I don't know what together. I still get that feeling today when I go grocery shopping and see shampoos in harmony, neatly lined up in their shelves.

Another color lesson came from my stamp collection, though. We all had a "stamp collection" as children. We were not very professional, but there were times when we were at least quite enthusiastic. What's left over from our family collections is in one of my drawers. I gave away some of them here and there, traded for comics, sent some to a friend for her grandson and so on, but she is still there, in lovely colors and in my favorite design ... the Queen. As you can see, I seem to have been especially fond of the Arnold Machin stamp (probably because it was the easiest for me to lay my hands on).
We had stamps with animals on them, colorful flowers, buildings and whatnot, but I loved to look at the Queen in all colors and wished I had even more of them.

That is the same feeling when I look at the Shadycats. I'd like to see them in many more color combinations.
So far there are six and I already feel the temptation coming over me again ....

They are all available in my Zibbet shop except for the blue one which is already sold.


Quote of the week

Today I don't really have a quote, but that is not the hero's fault. I'm sure he would talk if he could, but it is very hard to do so if you are a fly. You read that right, the hero of this movie, Nani, is a fly. Well, he isn't from the beginning, but after he finally manages to make the neighbor girl understand that she does love him, the rich guy who is after her as well kills him off.
It's a nice twist that our hero gets reborn as a fly. I mean what can a fly do to harm a rich, powerful and vicious guy?
For example he can cause a traffic jam and an accident during which the rich guy's car gets buried by what looks like sand to me. Nani uses the sand on the windshield to leave a message. It shows how seriously he is taking his revenge ...

Eega, IN, 2012

P.S. This movie is South Indian. I usually don't use quotes from my Indian movie collection, often because I'm not sure if the English subtitles are always correct. I couldn't resist this one, though, and it was a nice coincidence that this threat was not written in Telugu.
Also it is a highly entertaining movie.


Going crazy over wire knit

It's not new that I am addicted to knitting with wire. Of course I am just as addicted to wire crochet and bead looming, but a while ago I had to grab a little bag with cabochons and start experimenting with wire knit again.
The beginning is usually the same. I take my crochet hook and knit a bezel for a cabochon. I could just as well crochet one, but the knit stitches are easier to shape around cabs and more open which also makes it easier to add something to the bezel.

Let me show you the different variations I have come up with lately.

For this pendant I used a cab and tiny smoky quartz beads.

I started knitting onto the top row of the bezel using a little bead in each stitch for three rows, then I fixed this part to the bottom row of the bezel and added an extra row for safety.

That way I could open up the stitches around the quartz beads to make it look as if they are almost floating around the center.
It is available here.

This pendant is completely different. I called it pillow pendant because the setting feels like a pillow if you squish it. That is the result of three disks added to the cab's bezel. If you look close, you can see the one in the middle peeking through because it's a gunmetal color. By crocheting all of the disks together on top you get this bowl-like look with the cab sitting in the depths.
You can find it here.

In this case I also used tiny beads, seed beads this time. As you can tell they are worked right into the knit bezel, however, and there is more than one in each stitch which makes this a very tight looking bezel. I did that because I liked the contrast between the dark hematite rock and the bright wire and beads.
If you want to see more pictures, you can do so here.

I really had fun with this little piece. It was my second attempt to put two cabs into one setting and keep both of them there without one slipping or sliding.
A flat little black agate is sitting on top of a howlite cab. It's not glued or stuck on there, it's simply held by the tension of the bezel. I manipulated the stitches on the howlite to let it shine through better and make the setting more fun, but added a very tight row on top to keep the agate in place. I was really happy how well that worked out!
The pendant is in my Zibbet shop now.

Last but not least I have one my own favorite pieces to show.
This is a beautiful stone and I wanted to give it a simple yet bold setting. What do you say, did it work?
You can find this pendant here.

Ok, that was a lot, thank you for your patience! Isn't it fascinating, though, how much you can do just with a bit of wire and a crochet hook?
And if you thought that was much just wait for next time when I will talk about the HeatherCats again ;-)