The HeatherKittens made their entrance into the HeatherCats universe and they are so cute!
You know that the HeatherCats are bead loomed after the paintings of Heather, sometimes with little changes - always approved by her of course - what you probably do not know, however, is Heather's new line of stamps that you can find here.
One of them inspired these little fellows.

If you look closely, you can see that there are actually two different designs.

The grey and the golden one do look a little miffed, on the other hand no one ever really knows what cats think, right? Maybe they are concentrating on that one important pounce to wrestle down their toy mouse.

The funky lilac and fuchsia kitten and the one that is pearly white - I like to refer to it as the Ghost Kitten - are obviously in a good mood. Look at those contagious smiles, they make me smile every time.

Of course there is no saying yet in what other color combinations they will turn up. Maybe you even want to tell me your favorite colors?

And no HeatherCats post without the original!

You can find all HeatherKittens in the HeatherCats section of my Zibbet shop.


How I develop my designs

The Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival is back! This month's subject is how we develop our own designs.

There is not really much I can write about that. I sit down with a piece of paper, a pen, the cats locked out of the room, and draw the design that's in my head. I measure wire, I count beads, then I measure some more. In the end my designs always come out exactly the way I had planned them, and the cats are allowed back in the room.
Excuse me while I'll be laughing until I cry. I'm not a planner at all. I'm a playchild. Actually that is the reason why this flower basket is unbalanced the way it is. I knew it from the moment I wired the flowers into the basket that it couldn't work - I mean even I can see the blossoms need a counterweight - but instead of changing it right there and then, I decided to go through with it to see how many flowers I could fit into the basket.
Afterwards I cut up the basket and set the flowers free. Nah, I didn't. They are going to get a new basket.

Now don't think I do that all the time. I have neither the time nor the material to throw them away like that. Sometimes I turn things around for a spectacular save like in this case when I had sewn up the wrong side of the pendant. To me it was rather spectacular, not only because it ended in a completely new design, but because it hurts much more to cut up a loomed project.
Instead I chose to sew up both sides and make it a slider necklace.

I get asked if I make tutorials. My answer is that I don't use tutorials myself - with rare exceptions - and don't make them. I can't imagine to take a break and write down what I just did and take pictures. Once I start, I have to keep going.
The consequence is that I'm not able to repeat some of my designs because I have no idea how I made them. I might of course have the general idea and get close, but can't make the same piece again (that's how planned earrings become a pendant ...).

I'm not even sure if I develop my designs, it's more as if they develop on their own. There is this feeling for example that something isn't finished yet.
Sometimes if my brain is rather empty - creatively seen - I take a cabochon or a rock and make a setting for it and see where it goes from there. Maybe I'll come across that cabochon again and again and suddenly I know what to do.
It took years to finish this pendant. It used to be a rock in a silver bezel until it hit me that there should be a tree.

Hm, this post does make me sound a bit unorganized and maybe I am at times, but in fact I like it. It's the perfect balance to having to be organized in other aspects of my life and I immensely enjoy it.
Please excuse me now. I have a flower basket to make ....

Let's hear what other JAC members have to say about this topic, shall we?

Jewelry Art by Dawn
The Crafty Chimp
Bead Sophisticate 
Ponder - the cat


Interview with the artist - Sue from Dinglefritz

Please welcome another beader and Zibbeter today who will tell us more about herself and what she does. Hello Sue!

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

I am Sue Clark Koenig and live in Lakewood, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. I retired in 2005 after many (too many) years in state government. I wasn't quite ready to "do nothing", so I opened a travel agency which has done well - far beyond my expectations, and it has allowed my husband and me to travel throughout most of the world.

The Night Out set

On our last around the world cruise in 2013 I started buying beads on a whim. Now realize that I hadn't done any beading since I was a little kid at summer camp, so when I got home, I had a bit of a learning curve. Thank heavens for YouTube and many other websites that teach basic beading stitches. Luckily I'm a quick learner and I love to design and I started making some jewelry pieces which, of course, led me to having to buy additional supplies. Pretty soon it became a very fun hobby and, of course, I kept buying more pretty supplies. Soon I had a whole box full of necklaces, bracelets, whatever, so I decided maybe I should try one of the online shops and Dinglefritz was born. I still make the jewelry just as a fun hobby, but the sales help paying for my supplies. I don't take custom orders as I want to remain it a fun hobby rather than something stressful - I have enough of that in my travel business.

Your business name is very interesting, where does it come from and what does it mean?

I chose Dinglefritz as the name of the shop because it's just a funny word that I've used to describe frivolous "stuff" like decorations on fabric or jewelry. When I would be making something, I'd say "I think it needs some sort of Dinglefritz here and here." There's another definition of the dinglefritz that has it meaning "a weird person". That might also fit ... but I'll leave it open :-)

Lavender crystals necklace

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

My inspiration for all my jewelry comes from the beads. Sometimes if I don't have a particular design in mind, I'll just make a pile of beads in the colors I want to use and look at them until something jumps out at me.

White and mint green bead embroidered bracelet

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I'd rather travel than bead, but since I can't do that, beading is a fun hobby.

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

My other hobby is quilting although it's taken a backseat to beading over the last year.

Brown LC Tiles Quilt

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

I don't really have a favorite piece, I pretty much like everything I make - some more than others. If I'm just not liking the way something is turning out, I tend to cut it apart and make something different. I find bead embroidered pieces the most difficult, but I love them, so I have made several. They are so time-consuming I tend to get bored and usually end up taking a break and making something else that is strung or bead woven.

Is there someone you admire and who inspires you?

Oh my, I'll weasel out of this question by saying that I've "met" so many wonderful beaders - mostly on Facebook.

Green lampwork earrings

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


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

Dinglefritz on Zibbet and Dinglefritz on Facebook.

Famous last words ;-) Is there anything else you want to tell the world out there?

Life is terminal - do what you want to do now as you might not have another chance.

Thank you for this interview, Sue, and keep on beading!


Quote of the week

Do you know Mrs Bradley? Rich, emancipated, a writer of controversial books, smart, not a lady who holds back with her opinion - and to please my superficial side, oh, those hats (it's the 20s)!
Of course Mrs Bradley can't keep her nose out of a crime either ...

This time she is invited to speak at her old posh finishing school. The new headmistress didn't expect this kind of speech, though.

"But society is changing. Last year we women won the right to vote; Amelia Earhart flew the Atlantic. Who knows, one day a woman might be Prime Minister."
The headmistress gasps.
"I was expelled from Hadley Heights. Had I stayed I might well have come to believe in home, harmony, humility, and gone on to lead a life of jam making and gin rummy, and Chalfonts St. Giles. So, girls, before you settle for the little life, remember, the world is now your oyster, and, provided you believe in yourselves, there is nothing you cannot achieve."

 The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, UK,  1998 - 2000


Pack it up ...

... and wear it. Whatever you want, it just has to be small enough to fit into this little pouch I knitted from wire.
Yes, you can open it up and close it again. There's a button hole in the flap and a dark blue crystal button.

May it be the lucky penny you just found, a little shell from the beautiful trip to the sea or your birthstone, you can wear it in this pendant.

Or how about the last sweet note your love left on the kitchen counter in the morning? Anything goes.

The pouch pendant is available in my Zibbet shop now. If you want a different size or color, I'll be happy to make one for you.


Interview with the artist - Rachael from Rachael's Wire Garden

Today I am happy to welcome Rachael, a jewelry artist I met on deviantART. Does her business name make you curious?
Let's jump right in then.

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

The kind of crafts I make are mainly wire-wrapped Tree of Life pendants, but I do create other occasional wire-wrapped jewelry or ornaments as well. I became inspired to learn how to wire-wrap after coming across some beautiful wire-wrapped stone cabochons. That particular art form wasn’t proving to be my finesse, but then I came across the Tree of Life design. It took me a couple tries before I got one to look halfway decent lol, but from day one I had so many ideas running through my head. Now, I have a little bit more skill in which to execute them.

Celtic Peridot Tree of Life

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

I actually have never been asked this question before, but I'm very happy to finally answer it =] I get my inspiration from all different kinds of sources, but it all comes down to things that I love: nature, people, a type of culture, holidays... even some of my favorite TV shows or video games haha. There is no lack of things that I love, so the inspiration is always flowing.
Fairy of the Roses

What's your favorite tree in nature?

The Wisteria tree. I've heard that Japan has a BEAUTIFUL garden of wisteria trees, and I'd absolutely love to go there someday. The pictures I've seen are like nothing I've ever seen before.

Tell us a fun thing about yourself.

I love, love, LOVE jellyfish.

Cloud Tree of Life

Do you do other crafts, if yes, what?

I do many other forms of crafts, yes! When I was little, I was constantly making weird little creations out of toilet paper rolls, old candy wrappers, and TAPE – LOTS of tape – and that strange sense of creativity continued along as I grew up. I’ve moved on from toilet paper rolls since then lol, and onto bigger things like making quilts, plushies, and clothes. I also like to be very decorative with food I make (cakes, for example), though I’m not very good at it.

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

Hmm, that's a tricky one lol. I have quite a few favorites, but my MOST favorite would probably be my "Winter is Coming" pendant that's themed to House Stark from Game of Thrones. That particular design has a lot of sentimental feelings attached with it, as it was the first piece that gave me recognition as an jewelry artist.

Winter Is Coming

The piece that was the most difficult to make (so far) was my ornament, "Rainbow Bridge." (which is actually my favorite of Rachael's pieces) It took an extremely long amount of time to create; both the actual making of it and also trying to figure out how to incorporate the concept. Rainbow Bridge is a comforting poem for anyone who has lost a pet. Being the big animal lover that I am, I wanted to theme a Tree of Life design around this poem. But, seeing as "trees" and "paw prints" don't really go together lol, it was a little bit of a challenge. I'm pretty happy with the end result though =]

Rainbow Bridge paw print ornament

Is there someone whom you admire and who inspires you?

My mom. She has always encouraged my creative side, and the only reason I even started making wire-wrapped jewelry is because she helped get me started.

Eywa Tree of Souls

If you had free choice of one supply you need for your work, no matter how expensive, what would it be?

Sterling silver wire. I haven't been able to work with sterling silver as much as I'd like to because of the cost, but eventually as my shop continues to grow, I hope to work with it more and more.

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

You can find my jewelry for sale on my Etsy site Rachael's Wire Garden.
Famous last words ;-) Is there anything else you want to tell us?

Even though I’ve done artsy things my whole life, I’m fairly new in the artist community. It has been such a wonderful experience for me to really get out there and share my art with other people, but I’ve also been faced with many new challenges and trials. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to keep being yourself and not get discouraged. I don’t know what kind of doors will open up in my life now that I’ve started down this road, but I’m very excited for any opportunities that may come my way!

Thank you for letting us learn a bit more about you and your work, Rachael, and all the best for your future!
Well, people, how about a little stroll in the garden now?


Quote of the week

It is almost time for vacation again. Will you spend your summer vacation with the family? At the sea maybe? With all comfort?
Do you remember Mr. Hobbs? More than two years ago I showed you how he deals with a "villa by the sea" and its extraordinary pump.
He really doesn't have an easy time. All he wanted was to get away for a few weeks together with his wife and send the kids to camp. Instead he has to spend time not only with a teenage girl suffering from new braces trauma, two grown-up daughters with husbands and kids, but also the youngest son who wants nothing but watch television.
"You know what this country needs? D'you ... d'you know what this country needs? An un-Edison. An un-Thomas A. Edison, so he can un-invent things. You know the first thing I'd have him un-invent? Television."

 Huh. What would you want to be un-invented?
Mr. Hobbs takes a vacation, USA, 1962

P.S. Imagine my (tiny) shock when I put in the DVD and started looking for the old post when I suddenly heard the movie go off just at the pump scene. Seems my laptop has a much, much better memory than me!


Green and black

It wasn't planned that way.
Sometimes if I am kind of restless, I pick up some wire and my hook. I either make a bezel for a cabochon and see what happens or I start crocheting or knitting a few stitches. Not always, but often it helps me to calm down, and I don't even do it to have something to show later.

It may start with a tube when I suddenly decide to fold it up and knit a disk around that suddenly gets folded up over the first layer, so I can add a second and third disk which I wire together, so I can put something inside or maybe not because instead I turn it into a bezel after all and put a stone in there or maybe a bead and you know this would look fun as a ring if I add another layer and then attach it to some thicker wire or maybe not?

I do know this is not good writing, but my brain doesn't take a break to think about grammar or punctuation when it is in that mood. It just keeps running and babbling and ticking which may be a good thing or leave me with a tangled mess of wire that looks like an experiment gone wrong. Well, which it actually is.
You can't always tell from the piece how many layers went into it, but it doesn't really matter, does it?
Only the result matters and sometimes it ends up in the trash.

Not this one.
I spent more time on this pendant than I would want to admit, but I do like how it turned out.

Available in my Zibbet shop