Tackle that stash - Crab agate in wire crochet setting

I love tie dye shirts. I have never dyed shirts myself, but I had two that I had got a long time ago at the Marin County fleamarket which was one of the highlights of each visit to California. Actually I still have one of them even if I only wear it at home now.

This hippie love probably attracted me to this stone, a crab agate which is just another word for a treated spiderweb carnelian agate. You can also find them called crab fire agate, but they have nothing to do at all with fire agate.
I can't even say how many years this agate must have spent in my stash.
No idea if it was the warm colors that made me pick it now - go away, winter! - but to enhance those summer vibes I chose an orange colored copper wire and teamed it up with beautiful brick red and topaz colored seed beads, leftovers from other projects, to crochet a bezel that looks different on both sides and so leaves the choice to you how to wear the pendant.

Let the sunshine in! ;-)

The pendant is available in my Zibbet shop.


Oldies but Goodies - Mixed metals

Mixed metals - or mixed metal colors for the seed beaders - was this week's topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge (say that three times very quickly).
Unfortunately I can't show you much this time as only a few members found the time to play.

1 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 MC Stoneworks
3 Violetmoon's Corner
4 Cat's Wire


Creative block

It's time for the monthly Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival again. Our topic to start the year off is "creative block".
Let's be honest, it hits us all from time to time. Our muse - remember my Mabel? ;-) - runs off for vacation on a lonely beach, with sunshine and probably a colorful drink, and the worst part is, she doesn't even leave us a note where she went or what you are supposed to do without her until she has enough of being lazy!

When I have a creative block, it usually starts with me staring at beads in my stash drawers without seeing anything I feel like using, doodling and deleting forever in BeadTool 4, or I hold my trusted crochet hook in my hand, maybe in hope that it will guide me to the right wire and beads like a dowsing rod?
The next step could be making bead soup, putting random beads on wire with the chance of them staying on that wire for a long time, or crocheting a chain stitch circle and staring at it for a while.
As I don't write down the ingenious ideas I keep having, I can't pull anything from a notebook, either. If I did, chances would be that I see how not so ingenious these ideas are, especially the ones from the middle of the night.

So what do I do to fight that block? There are different ways, the following are only a few of them.

- I go back to a trusted design to get me going again, but not being a big fan of making the exact same thing twice (which tends to be a problem with earrings) I have to change something - the colors, the width, the beads I use.
It helps if the project is not too time consuming to give me a feeling of success and instant gratification. It also helps if it is something not too fiddly to give my thoughts the chance to wander and maybe come up with a new idea.

- I pick a cabochon and crochet or knit a bezel for it. It sounds simple, but often it leads to new ideas around that cab by adding a second layer, putting beads on that layer, or maybe adding an edging of beads.

- I choose a picture, open it in BeadTool and play with it, or I pick out an old pattern in my files that I haven't made yet and play with it.

- Last but not least there is the ripping up method. I get out an old WIP that I know is doomed and I rip it up. If the result is bead soup, I start sorting it until I run out of patience (usually when I start shooting beads across the room accidentally). It gives me a small feeling of accomplishment and prepares me to make something new.

What do other JAC members do about their creative block? Have a look here!

Bead Sophisticate
Jewelry Art by Dawn


Quote of the week

Don't worry. This is not going to turn into the "trash cult horror monster quote of the week". I just happened to have the DVD lying next to the one from last week, and as I am a little busy this weekend due to a chain of unfortunate incidents in combination with stupidity on my side *bowing to the audience* which forces me to rip up half of a WIP and make it again .... to cut the already long story shorter, I went the easy way.

I wonder if there will be a time when we are facing the umpteenth sequel of a tornado carrying sharks into cities or maybe I'm just very afraid for the future of mankind if we are - facing the sequel, that is, not a real tornado carrying sharks. Not that we would get sharks in our area, it would have to be a foxnado, I guess, or maybe a squirnado which might in fact be quite amusing. I don't even want to think about a catnado!

Oh, you want me to shut up at last and give you a quote instead? Let's see .... how about this?

Fin: I know you're scared. I'm scared too. They're sharks. They're scary. No one wants to get eaten. But I've been eaten. And I'm here to tell you it takes a lot more than to bring a good man down. A lot more that to bring a New Yorker down.

No one wants to get eaten. Wow. How inspirational.
Sharknado 2: The Second One, USA, 2014

P.S. I love sharks. I would be too wimpy to swim with them, but throughout the movie I have been kind of on their side.


Tackle that stash - Earrings with movement

Welcome back to "Tackle that stash"!
As a matter of fact this time I didn't not only tackle the stash, but also a second problem that I - and not just I - have. WIPs - works in progress. Those WIPs are driving me insane. There are those that are missing that last little spark that you just can't find. Or those that have a problem you haven't solved yet or that can only be solved by frogging. How about those that didn't work out the way you thought they would, but somewhere deep within you still know/feel/hope you can save them? Not to forget about those you have forgotten - how very paradox, isn't it?

This pair of earrings used to be almost every kind of WIP.
First it was a pair of earrings that I wasn't very happy about because it was missing something.
Then it was a pair of earrings that I started ripping up because I hadn't solved the problem of the missing something.
When I gave up on the thought of saving them, I ripped until I had two blue disks left and then I forgot about those. I have this vicious bowl eating that kind of stripped down WIPs ... and coins ... and paper clips ... and single earwires ... and had I mentioned the stripped down WIPs?

Well, I found them, and I gave them a silver edging, but they did need more than that, so I went through my stash drawers and found all the wonderful dagger beads I have which were just perfect. Finally I found the silver beads for that little shine in the middle - and voilà!
I know they look a little as if they were inspired by a dreamcatcher, but actually they were not. I just love dangles!

You can find them in my shop now, and looking at all the daggers I still have, it doesn't seem impossible there will be more color variations eventually.


Oldies but Goodies - Rain or Shine

You know those days when you don't know what to expect the next minute? From rain to sun to rain to sun? I have no idea if something like that was the inspiration for this week's Oldies but Goodies Challenge on JAC, but I was reminded of it.
It was interesting to see that most of the pictures posted showed "rain" rather than "shine" (although I have to admit that I had more sunshine pieces that I simply forgot to post ... as you see, I added a different sun to the collage here, too ... artistic freedom ;-)). Is it because the color blue and drop shaped beads go together so beautifully? What do you think?

1 Violetmoon's Corner
2 The Crafty Chimp
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 Cat's Wire
5 MC Stoneworks


Quote of the week

I have a terrible secret. Please only keep reading if you think you are strong enough, I also recommend you sit down if you don't sit already.
The secret are trash monster movies (with not more than a 3.5 on IMDb if possible although I'm flexible regarding that). Giant snakes, sharks swimming in the sand, gargoyles coming to life, mutant crocodiles, no matter what, together with a person who shall stay unnamed for the moment I give them a chance, always in hope that they will be bad AND funny. Not all of them work, sometimes not the whole movie works, but sometimes the mood is just right and we experience an evening of giggles and laughters. If we recognize an actor, it's the icing on the cake although we sometimes do feel sorry for them (pink hair, Wil Wheaton, really?)

Today's movie has a stunning 3.1 score at the moment. There's no doubt that some of it is owed to the fact that the casting really keeps you on your toes if you have ever seen even just one episode of the TV show Eureka. Confused already?
Well, we sat through part of the movie just wondering if the sheriff was the sheriff from Eureka. One moment we thought it could be, then again it was clearly not him. When we finally looked it up ... guess what? It was a different actor, but Eureka's sheriff was the director of this movie! That was more than icing on the cake, it was like icing AND chocolate sprinkles!

A good story on top of that would probably have been too much. Three dinosaur fossils - a T. Rex, a  pteranodon and a raptor - are brought back to life in a ritual and set out to stomp the town. Bad news.
More bad news is that even if the skeletons fall apart, for example from being hit by the Jeep, the bones just come back together again ... once with the best result ever.

Sheriff: Oh no. He's not dead!
Flying T. Rex that just formed from the bones of the T. Rex and the pteranodon and has glowing red eyes now roars (!!!)

Sheriff: Corporal, take cover!

Too late, I'm afraid.

Triassic Attack, USA, 2010

P.S. I only have the German version of the movie, so this is a translation of my own and not the original quote.


Tackle that stash - Wire knit bracelet with glass cubes and lampwork button

Cubes. Tiny cubes. I remember when I first discovered them and just had to get different colors. It's not as if I didn't use any of them, mind you. I loomed with them (even if that is still in the WIP drawer due to my weak Peyote skills, but that's a different story) and I knitted with them. Then things calmed down in the cube section of the drawer.

That's over now. I dragged all of them into the light of day and started making cube soups. I loomed a bracelet for myself. And I got back to a design of mine that I love.
To close a bracelet is not always easy for everyone. You should think I'm used to doing it, but there have been times - particularly mornings - when even I have given up because it was obviously not the day for a bracelet with a clasp. That's when I decided on making bracelets with button holes and beads for buttons, mostly lampwork beads and one agate bead.

This bracelet is by far the widest one.  The mix of light and darker blue cubes sparkles beautifully. As I couldn't find my silver colored wire, I went for midnight blue. It was probably fate, the dark blue was the perfect contrast for the cube soup.
And as luck would have it, I found an orphaned blue lampwork bead in my stash, too. I'm afraid I can't say which artist made it. Even if I have an idea, I can't be sure, so I better don't name anyone at all.

I'm really happy with how the piece turned out and the temptation to use the other cubes in bracelets as well is big, but who knows, there might be a different idea just around the corner, so I won't give in to the temptation.

If you want to see more pictures and more detail, you can find them in the listing of my Zibbet shop.


Oldies but Goodies - Orange

Orange is the color of the choice for this week's Oldies but Goodies Challenge at the Jewelry Artisans Community.
I have been wracking my brain for an orange-related story, but all it did was making me crave orange juice which I don't have in the house. In my despair I hopped over to Wikipedia to see what they had to say about the color.
"Orange is the colour of saffron, carrots, pumpkins and apricots." Huh. I have to admit I was surprised to see that orange is obviously not the colour of oranges then?
I went to look up orange as a word.
"The word is derived from a Dravidian language, and it passed through numerous other languages including Sanskrit and Old French before reaching the English language. The earliest uses of the word in English refer to the fruit, and the colour was later named after the fruit. Before the English-speaking world was exposed to the fruit, the colour was referred to as "yellow-red" (geoluread in Old English) or "red-yellow"."
Phew. Oranges are orange, what a relief.

Before this post is getting any sillier, however, I'll just present what our JAC members had to offer to the discussion. Enjoy.

1 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 The Crafty Chimp
3 Violetmoon's Corner
4 Galadryl Design
5 Cat's Wire


Quote of the week

Imagine the 60s. A young guy is getting ready to leave for college. The night before he and his friends are going out. Cars are cruising up and down the streets, guys try to pick up girls, girls flirt with the guys, they meet at the diner, and there are even street races.
Our guy Curt is smiled at by a lovely lady in a car and he falls for her head over heels, but can't find her anywhere.

Finally he goes to the radio station to have the great Wolfman Jack send the girl a message. Instead he finds a technician who says the Wolfman is not there.
Technician:  That's the Wolfman.
Curt: He's on tape. The man is on tape. Well, uh, where, where is he now? I mean, where does he work?
Technician: Man, the Wolfman is everywhere.
Curt: I gotta give him this note. Shit!
Technician: Here, let me see the note. Hell, that's just a dedication, man. What I can do is relay it. It'll be on tomorrow or Tuesday.
Curt: No, no, see, this is very important. See, I may be leaving town tomorrow and it's very important that I, damn it, reach this girl right now.
Technician: You don't know whether you're going to leave town or not?
Curt: I'm supposed to go to college back East tomorrow. And I don't know if I'm gonna go. I don't know.
Technician: Wait a minute. Have a popsicle.
Curt: No, thanks.
Technician: Sit down a minute. It's early in the morning.
Curt: Damn.
Technician: I can't talk for the Wolfman, but I can tell you one thing. If the Wolfman was here, he'd say "Get your ass in gear.".
Curt is chuckling.
Technician: The Wolfman comes in here occasionally, bringing tapes, you know, to check up on me and whatnot. And the places he talks about that he's been, the things he's seen. It's a great big beautiful world out there. And here I sit sucking on popsicles.
Curt: Why don't you leave?
Technician: I'm not a young man anymore. And the Wolfman gave me my start in the business, and I like it. I tell you what. If I can possibly do it tonight, I'll try to relay this dedication and get it on the air for you later on.
Curt: That would be terrific. Really. Thanks!
Technician: Just a minute. It's been a pleasure, really.
Curt: Thanks a lot. Appreciate it.

While Curt is on his way out, he hears and sees the guy talking "Rock on, baby. We gonna do it right here. Rock'n'roll yourself to death! Oh, mercy! Give me some more! My, my!"

When Curt pulls up to a phone booth in his car, this is on the radio: "Hey, I got a dedication here for a friend of the old Wolfman. And he wants me to play the next song for a blonde young lady in a Thunderbird. A white T-Bird, you understand. My friend's name is Curt and he wants to talk to you, baby. So you meet him at Burger City or you can phone Diamond-3132. Now he's a friend of mine, you hear. Little girl, you better call him or the Wolfman gonna get ya!"

Looks like he met the Wolfman after all! Will the girl call, though?

American Graffiti, USA, 1973


Oldies but Goodies - Shells and ocean

It's time for another Oldies but Goodies Challenge over at the Jewelry Artisans Community.
Let's go to the beach today. If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, you better put on some warm clothes, though! ;-)
Our topic this week was shells or ocean and while putting together the collage I found myself humming "In An Octopus's Garden" by the Beatles.
Who knows, maybe we actually are there, we do have an octopus alright!

2 The Crafty Chimp
3 MC Stoneworks
4 Violetmoon's Corner
5 Jewelry Art by Dawn
6 Cat's Wire


Quote of the week

Almost exactly 115 years ago, on the 5th of January 1900, four men are invited to dinner at a friend's house. Their host George is late, and just as they sit down for dinner according to the instructions George gave his housekeeper, they are startled when he suddenly comes in looking exhausted, his clothes torn and dirty. They urge him to tell them what has happened.

George: I've got to tell it now, David, while I still remember it.
David: Relax. Try to relax. You've all the time in the world.
George (giving him a strange look): You're right, David. It's exactly what I have. All the time in the world.

That's when he tells them about his travel to the future with the time machine he invented and his adventure with the surface dwelling Eloi and the subterranean Morlocks (which impressed me incredibly when I was a child) ...

The Time Machine, USA, 1960