Oldies but Goodies - Earth Day

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.
"Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 50,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world" ~ Earth Day Network

Earth Day also was the topic for our Oldies but Goodies Challenge at the Jewelry Artisans Community and this is what we came up with.
Let me pick out one the pieces this time, the pelican necklace. This is what Dawn, the artist, told us about it.
"I was devastated when the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred in 2010. Seeing pictures of the wildlife struggling to survive just broke my heart. I felt so sad, helpless and angry. One day I was thinking that I could donate a few dollars to the wildlife rescue which got me to thinking about how I could do more than that. And, then the light bulb came on in my brain.
Pelicans became the symbol of the damage done to wildlife, so I decided to use it as a symbol as well and painted a pendant with a beautiful, healthy pelican on one side and a sick oil soaked pelican on the other which was made into a necklace. There was a lot of other symbolism that went into the necklace, but it's too complicated to try to explain it all here.

Once the necklace was done, it was raffled off. A ton of tickets were sold and nearly $500 dollars was raised which was donated to the Louisiana Audubon Society specifically for the rehabilitation of the birds injured due to the oil spill.
Being able to do that was incredibly empowering and helped me overcome many of those feelings of sadness, helplessness and anger."

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


Working in my comfort zone

It's time for the monthly Jewelry Artisans Community's blog carnival again. Our topic today is "comfort zone".
What's the comfort zone?
Wikipedia tells me that "the comfort zone is a psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control, and experiences low anxiety. A person in this state uses a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk".

I'm not going to talk about all of my comfort zone, just that little spot in the corner where I have set up my studio.
What is my comfort zone as a jewelry artisan, anyway? And how are creativity in artisan crafts and comfort zone linked? How much of it is how to promote yourself? Is it important if you are doing it full or part time or maybe even just as a hobby?

Let's get to my limits that I can think of at the moment:
I limit myself to three techniques mostly, wire crochet, wire knit, and bead looming.
I hardly ever make really big pieces. That doesn't mean I always go for instant gratification and knock out 15 minute pieces. I do spend hours on some pieces and patterns, but sometimes I also lose patience during a project which turns it into a forever WIP if it's out of luck.
I avoid tutorials.
I don't deal well with some styles or colors, especially if I don't wear them myself.

Now do those things hold me back? Should I step outside my comfort zone? Am I maybe just trying to convince myself if I say that I'm happy with what I'm creating? Should I ask for more criticism? Should I try to get my pieces juried? Enter them into challenges? Send them to magazines to push myself? Look for shops that would take them on consignment?
I'm not saying these thoughts never haunt me, but so far I have always ended up back in the studio corner of my comfort zone because frankly, when contemplating it I really am quite happy at the moment with what I do. I haven't run out of creative ideas yet and it makes me feel good to create and to experiment with things within my limits.
Maybe my goals are not high enough, maybe I'm too lazy, maybe the hammock in my comfort zone is too comfortable or maybe I'm just frightened and won't admit it to myself.

The thoughts will come back, no doubt, and that is a good thing, too. They will kick me and eventually the kicks might be hard enough to throw me out of that hammock. We'll see.

Here's a video about the comfort zone, the learning zone and the panic zone which was interesting AND fun to watch.

What do our other JAC members have to say about their comfort zone? Hop over there and have a look.
I'll add more links as they come in.

Jewelry Art by Dawn
Echoes of Ela
Ponder the cat

P.S. At the time I am writing this post I have eleven more days to come up with an idea for a steampunk challenge piece. I'm not a steampunk person and I don't know much about it. The only thing that comes to mind are watch parts of which I don't have any at the moment.
If I haven't had an idea until now when this post goes live, I'm in trouble because it will be only three more days.
I am tempted to say that I'll skip that challenge, but this is one opportunity for a very small walk outside of my creative comfort zone into the learning zone and I shouldn't miss it.
I guess I'll start with watching this episode of Castle for inspiration as there is not much else to do at this time of night. Wish me luck!


Quote of the week

It has been almost three months ago that I pleased you with the last monster trash movie quote. That just won't do.
All those sharks are out there waiting. Mutants, prehistoric survivors from the Arctic, ghosts, in the water, in the air, in the sand. We are not safe anywhere. Yup, you humans, I said in the sand.
I will spare you the scientific explanation that Dr. Sandy Powers, marine biologist, gives us in the movie for that because for some reason I don't really trust her expertise.

This is not about Sandy, however. It's about the guy in the red cargo shorts and it's not really a quote because he doesn't get to talk.
Let me explain. Guy comes home to organize a music festival on the beach in order to make money and pay off some loan sharks (I couldn't resist the pun). Home island had bad crisis ever since shark attack. Guy's Dad, the mayor, hopes festival will save the island. Throw in a sheriff, his sister the deputy and guy's ex, a marine biologist, two assistants, thousands of students (played by about thirty people who are not natural dancers), and sharks that swim through sand, and you get an incredibly bad movie.
Boy, I sure had fun with it.

Now where does the guy in the red cargo shorts come into the picture?
After the first dancer girl gets eaten by a shark jumping out of the sand, people are panicking.
Red Cargo Shorts seems to have a problem with that. After almost four minutes he is still on the beach which is not a surprise because he keeps running back and forth, but he doesn't get eaten. It was probably just a very smart tactic to confuse the sharks ............

Sand Sharks, USA, 2011

P.S. These are not screenshots from one long shot where you see him running. He seriously keeps popping up in different spots again and again. I'm not the only one who noticed it! ;-)
P.P.S. Again, I'm usually on the sharks' side.


Tackle that stash - Beaded miniature tote bag with fringe

Usually I don't count my seed beads as stash in the sense of these posts. Yes, I do have a lot of colors, and there are definitely some that have been around for a long time, some because I didn't have an idea for them yet, some of which I only needed a few when I got them, but it's hard to tell apart what is what.

The beads for today's stash tackle project, however, were easy to pick.
A while ago I had ordered a lined pale lavender color. Unfortunately I found out it came out so pale that it got lost in the piece, so the tube went into the drawer where it stayed.
When I decided to use up some wild bead soup from very random colors that I had spilled into my bead tray over the time, but knew it wouldn't be enough, the pale lavender was just the right background.

This is the finished project now, a miniature tote bag with fringe, done in brick stitch. It's only part of a much bigger WIP. Do you want to guess what is it that it will belong to?


Oldies but Goodies - Leaves

When I was in school, I had to put together a herbarium with tree samples. As usual when it was a project I didn't really feel like doing, I procrastinated until the last day. Then my grandmother told me she would be taking me to the woods now.
As you know by now I am not a plant expert. I can tell a birch from an oak tree, but that's about as good as it gets. I hung around in the woods a lot together with my friend, but we didn't necessarily check out plant life, we were too busy having adventures. My enthusiasm for the herbarium was limited.
Then my grandma took over like only she could. She would point out trees to me here and there and ordered me to get leaves and this and that. Once when I couldn't reach the leaves, she went into action with her umbrella and got them for me. I remember some red leaves which came from a copper beech as she told me. I liked them so much that I took more of them.
Of course I didn't have time to press the samples properly, so I just hoped for the best. When I came to school, however, I found hardly anyone had a herbarium. Most of the children had collected leaves and stuff just the way I had and soon recess turned into a swap meet. Now my copper beech leaves were valuable goods.
We never finished those herbariums, by the way.

Thank you if you read this far. Leaves are the theme for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge which is the reason for these old memories coming back up.
Enjoy our little JAC herbarium!

1 2 Fab Fristers
2 Cat's Wire
3 MC Stoneworks
4 Jewelry Art by Dawn
5 RioRita
6 Violetmoon's Corner


Interview with the artist - Sydney from Day of the Extinction at Sweet Bananaberry

Today I have a special artist interview on my blog. My guest is Sydney, and Sydney not only has big goals, but also a big heart and a dream.
I met Sydney through her grandmother Darcy who is very proud of her as she should be.
I hope this was enough to make you curious what this is all about. Please take a few moments to read the interview and do keep in mind that all the replies are in Sydney's own words. I didn't change anything at all.

Hi Sydney! I'm glad to have you as a guest on my blog today. Tell us a little about who you are.

My name is Sydney Hutchinson i’m in the 3rd grade . I live in Massachusetts and I Love Animals. I love animals, even the human kind.

And I am really surprised that in such little time I’m being interviewed already. It is such an honor that you are interested in me.

Well, it doesn't happen every day that I meet someone so young who is so determined about a project and I felt I needed to do my little part to spread the word.
Fact is you've started a special project, tell us about it.

I’m very interested in wildlife so I read all about it but the more I learn about whats happening out there in the world the more terrified I become. So thats why I feel the urge do something about it. So I started my own new company to raise money to help the animals I care about.

My Company is called Day of the Extinction.

Grevy Zebra cabochon

What gave you the idea for this project in the first place and how did you pick the name for your company? It definitely does catch attention, it did catch mine.

Well the way got the idea, actually the question before this one tells you where I got the idea. And I had raised some money before, by selling bracelets I made at the shows my grandmother sells her work at.

This time.. I was at my grandmothers house while she was making supplies for jewelry designers and she was making Day of the Dead Sugar skulls and I started thinking I should start making these too of the animals I love.
I came up with the name myself. The name was easy because it is sort of like the Day of the Dead and the animals I love are about to become extinct. SO I mixed them.

How do you choose the animals for the artwork and what's your favorite animal?

I went online and looked at lists of critically endangered animals and I wrote them down on a piece of paper and thats how my list started. I have a very big list!

My favorite Animal is a.......SNOW LEOPARD!!!!!!! I don’t really have a reason to like them I just do. They make me feel warm and safe inside so then I knew they HAD TOO be my favorite animal.

Snow Leopard cabochon
I understand that. Snow leopards are really beautiful.
So is there someone who is helping you with Day of the Extinction?

The people who are helping are my grandmother Darcy Rosner and her friend Debbie Michaud.

AND my Grandfather helps.

How are your pieces made?

Debbie, My Grandmothers friend and I make the pictures together, She does the line drawings of the animals I ask her to and I do all the coloring and deciding about how they look.

She draws the lines. I color and when I like it I am ready to roll. I use special markers, inks and colored pencils to color everything just right. Then I use a special printer to print the pictures onto hard plastic. Then When the printer ink is dry....I put a glaze on them and bake them so the glaze melts.

Then I am ready to turn it into jewelry supplies or jewelry and sell them.

I know you already sold some of the cabochons and also hear you already have expanding plans, what are they?

I would like to make all these designs into Jewelry. Earrings and Necklaces and maybe pins too. But I also have a tons of other plans. I want to do cards and book marks, and coffee cups and tea-sets and dishes and tee shirts and everything I can think of that people might want to buy. The more I make The more Animals I can save.

Then I want to have these for sale in every zoo and museum and caring places that I can think of.

The more I sell the more money I can send to the animals!

White Rhino cabochon

I can share only a few of the pictures here, so where can we find you online if we want to see more?

In My Grandmothers Etsy shop Sweet Bananaberry until I get the zoos to sell and until I can get my own website.

And on Facebook at Day of the Extinction.

Blue Whale necklace

Now that we've heard about your company and the story behind it, do you have another message for the world out there?

Yes I do. I want the world to stop killing animals so that they can make rugs out of them. I want people to stop killing animals to hang them on their walls. It is totally gross and disgusting and irrational. So I have made a new Motto for myself. My motto is the more i make the more I save. My art will save animals. That is pretty cool.

People need to help these animals and I am going to do my best to make every person understand how harsh they are being to our world.

If the animals become extinct we will never see them again. It will be all over.

And if it is all over and there are no more animals then how would we live? All the animals are in some way all connected too the plant life and we need plants to breath and if can’t breath life will be OVER for GOOD! So this is the last thing I have to say.....PLEASE STOP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO EARTH BECAUSE YOU CAN BE AMAZING!!!!

You ask people to suggest other species for your product line. Well, I love tigers. Will you make a round or oval cabochon with a tiger on it for me?

I already I started a tiger and I started ovals and round shapes that keep not working out well but the first Tiger will be JUST FOR YOU!!!!

Actually there are already some oval and round shapes available now and there are not only cabs for jewelry artists, but also ready to wear pieces.

African Elephant earrings

If a nine year old girl like Sydney is aware of the consequences for the planet if we don't care for the animals, why are still so many people out there who don't? Who - as she so aptly said - turn them into trophies or "medicine"?
We can certainly learn something from you here, Sydney.
I, for one, am impressed by your will to make a difference and I wish you all the best for your special and ambitious project and hope to hear more about it soon.

People, you know what you'll have to do now. Head over to Day of the Extinction on Etsy and Facebook and check it out for yourself!


Quote of the week

These movies were part of my childhood and accompanied me into my (kind of) grown-up life. Maybe that's one reason why I - while usually being most unforgiving in these matters - don't mind this Miss Marple being not at all like Miss Marple in the books. She will always be my favorite.
Do the twist, Jane Marple!

Miss Marple: Ah, there's Mr. Stringer. As it happens, this is his favourite dance. Mr. Stringer!
Mr. Stringer: Miss Marple, I found out ...
Miss Marple: I was just telling Mr. Enderby that this is your favourite dance. Shall we?
Mr. Stringer: Dance, you mean?
Miss Marple: Naturally. You'll excuse us, won't you, Mr. Enderby? Come along.
Mr. Stringer: Really, Miss Marple, I don't think ...
Miss Marple: Do your best, Mr. Stringer. This is the only way I could get you alone.

They are dancing the twist.

Miss Marple: What did you find out?
Mr. Stringer: You were quite right, Miss Marple. It's worth at least 50,000 pounds.
Miss Marple: I knew it. Then it was that picture after all.
Mr. Stringer: It certainly was.
Miss Marple: Excellent. We can now proceed with certainty. 
Mr. Stringer: Proceed where, Miss Marple?
Miss Marple: To trap the killer. Was Inspector Craddock in the foyer as you came through?
Mr. Stringer: Yes.
Miss Marple: Well then. I think perhaps a little livelier. And don't be alarmed if I suddenly pretend to be ill. Now then, hot it up!

Murder at the Gallop, UK, 1963


Tackle that stash - Back to the roots

What do I mean by back to the roots?
I think that people who crochet with wire often make bracelets first. I'm no exception. I quickly tried my hand at other things, but bracelets came first.

So I picked out some glass drops today and set out to make a bracelet, colorful and so much fun to wear!
It's available in my DaWanda shop.



Oldies but Goodies - Gold

Gold - a deep lustrous yellow or yellow-brown colour. Yeah, that totally explains why people are drawn towards gold. Who can keep his hands off some nice yellow-brown?

This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is about gold or gold tones. You could almost hear the chins hitting the floor. Gold is not as popular a color in our circle as silver and copper, it seems.
It took a few days, but then the pictures started trickling in and some mighty fine pictures, too.
Maybe it will motivate us to work in gold more often?

1 RioRita
2 Echoes of Ela
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 Cat's Wire
5 MC Stoneworks
6 Violetmoon's Corner


Quote of the week

The hotel is like multi-colored frosting, butter cream and fondant, the concierge has his eye on everything and everyone, and frankly, there are some very interesting hairstyles ...
It's not a secret that I like the slightly bizarre.

What happens in short:
M. Gustave, the concierge, is hunted by police and the son of the rich lady he is accused of having killed. Fleeing together with the lobby boy, Zero, stuck in the middle of nowhere, he has to call on the help of The Society of the Crossed Keys.

M. Gustave: Operator, please get me the Excelsior Palace in Baden-Jürgen and reverse the charges, please. (turning to Zero) We've no choice. There's nowhere else to turn. (back to the phone) I'll hold. Thank you. (turning to Zero) It's our only hope. Otherwise, I shouldn't even mention its existence to you. It goes without saying you must never breathe a word about this to a living soul. Do you swear?
Zero: Of course. What is it, in fact?
M. Gustave: I can't say. (back to the phone) Guten Abend. Monsieur Ivan bitte. Danke. (turning to Zero) How does one come by front-row aisle seats for a first night at the Opera Toscana with one day's notice? How does one arrange a private viewing of the tapestry collection at the Royal Saxon Gallery? How does one secure a corner table at Chez Dominique on a Thursday? (back to the phone) Ivan, darling, it's Gustave.

The Grand Budapest Hotel, USA, 2014


Barbie and tiny glass beads, the story of a new obsession - Part 4, The head

I know that it sounds creepy, but it's part of the process if you have a bald or an almost bald head.
I am not a doll artist, I'm not a painter, and I'm not a hair stylist. I prefer if the original face is still good enough to be left alone and it's hard work for me to re-root a Barbie head and give her a nice hairdo.
Again I'm glad to have my sister by my side who not only has good tips, but helps with the hairstyle as well.

Those of you who know vintage Mattel dolls, may have been surprised when I said in the second post that I chose a Midge doll for the project because the head in the picture is not a Midge head. Actually the first head was, but I messed it up gloriously after spending hours of re-rooting, trimming, styling, and re-painting the face. That girl had some heavy makeup on, I can tell you.
I had used the wrong glue to hold the hair strands from inside the head and I dropped the head in water to set the hair. Not the whole head obviously. I'm not sure what happened or what I missed, but my (not so) clever construction had failed miserably when I came back to a head that was swimming in a mix of water and dissolving glue. Quite a gruesome sight.
I am sorry to say that Midge was incredibly sticky afterwards, and I lacked the motivation to try all over again. I started looking for doll heads online.

That's when my sister came to the rescue for the first time. She gave me one of her Ponytail heads with a bad hair day, but good makeup. So I started all over again, only this time I had the right glue and settled for red lips instead of wiping the whole face.
My sister also had the idea to use a mascara brush to style the hair after I had cut it.

There you have it - the whole story of my Flapper Barbie.
I hope you enjoyed it a little because the word obsession in the title may already have told you that I am not done yet. I've licked blood and I don't intend to stop.
What I will do, however, is give you a break. Take a deep breath, I might be back with the next story sooner than you can imagine, and again I hope you'll be there with me.

You can find previous posts here:
Part 1, The introduction

Part 2, The dress
Part 3, The accessories

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel.


Tackle that stash - Nevermore

It has been years that I worked in polymer clay. The other day I made an attempt, but either was the clay too old or the toaster oven too weird, well, let's say it was pathetic, strange and eww. That's a story for a different post, though.

Today is about a portrait, my fondness for "shaped" bead loomed pendants, and a polymer clay charm.
The title may have given it away already or have you recognized him right away?

It's Edgar Allan Poe of course, accompanied by a polymer clay raven sitting on a black crystal.

The pendant is not in my shop yet.


Barbie and tiny glass beads, the story of a new obsession - Part 3, The accessories

As promised last time today's post is all about accessories.

What comes to mind when you think Flapper? Headbands, feathers, long necklaces, earrings, crystals, pearls, shoes, bracelets ....

These shoes were a donation by my sister. I didn't have an extra pair of vintage black heels and many of the modern shoes don't work well on the bigger and harder vinyl feet of the old dolls. Golden instead of silver sprinkles would have been perfect, but not only did they fit, Barbie could also stand in them on her own if you did it right. Of course I use a stand anyway.
To make the shoes more 20s, I sewed on straps from the beads that I had also used in the dress.

I didn't have to go far for the necklaces. In my stash I have tiny beads and pearls. For these four strands in two different lengths I chose black onyx and golden freshwater pearls to pick up the colors in the dress.

For the headband I made a simple brick stitch band and added some decorations.

And once again my sister pulled a rabbit out of her magician's hat ... or rather peacock feathers from an old carnival costume. Of course a whole feather would have been much too big, so I cut one up instead and sewed the parts to the headband.

I felt more would have been too much, so I did without more jewelry. Instead I just re-painted the fingernails and turned my attention the head.
That will be the story for the next post then. I hope I'll see you there again!

If you missed the earlier posts, you can find them here:
Part 1, The introduction

Part 2, The dress

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel.


Oldies but Goodies - Spring

We have been waiting more or less patiently, and now it's here. Spring.
What is it that makes you feel spring? The flowers, the colors, the scents, the light or the song of the birds early in the morning?

Over at the Jewelry Artisans Community it seems to be about flowers and colors as you can see in these pictures that were posted at the new Oldies but Goodies Challenge.
If you want to see more to inspire you for spring, you can find the whole thread with more pictures here.

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


Barbie and tiny glass beads, the story of a new obsession - Part 2, The dress

In part 1 of this series of posts I told you a little about how the "Bead loom a Barbie outfit" project got started.
So what was actually the first step?

Even without being a seamstress I know you can't just whip up a dress without some kind of pattern, and you can't make a pattern without having measurements.
Of course first of all I had to pick out the kind of Mattel doll I wanted to work with. I decided on a Straight Leg Midge with serious hair problems that had been waiting for a makeover far too long. I'll come to the head in a later post, though.

Back to the dress.
I wanted to loom it in one piece and then sew it together down the sides. Now that I knew what doll I would use, I could start measuring.
It being my first beaded dress project, I didn't want it to be too difficult, just a basic straight dress with straps, a rounded neckline and a low cut back. Sounds rather easy, doesn't it?
When I started measuring, it didn't seem that easy to me anymore. After all I couldn't keep taking the dress off the loom and try it on, so it had to be right from the beginning.

Barbie's bustline and hips were the basic measurements for the whole dress. As it was to be straight, I had to measure carefully to make sure it would fit around Barbie's body, but still wouldn't be too bulky.
The armholes would have to be big enough, but not so big to allow glimpses into the dress from the sides.
And of course the straps would have to sit just right which also depended on the size of the neckline, the back and the armholes.
To be on the safe side I rather made the pattern a little bigger than smaller. Many of us know the feeling when you want to button up a pair of jeans and there are just millimeters missing. I couldn't take that chance on Barbie, after all I am not that fond of ripping up a project.

After having fiddled with the outlines for many hours and almost obsessive measuring I was finally ready to design the pattern itself, done in black and metallic medium bronze AB which is an absolutely stunning color, inspired by pictures of dresses from the 20s.

Almost 7,700 beads and a few hours later - also due to the fact that I still kept measuring again and again - I could take the dress off the loom and drape it on the doll for the very first time if you can call pulling her head off and putting the dress on with her neck knob standing out between the warp threads draping, that is. Yes, it sounds terrible, but what can you do?
You should heard my sigh of relief when things looked promising!

The next big task was to weave in all of the warp threads, 196 of them to be precise, and to sew up the sides.

Not only was it a dress, but it also fit!!

I felt it needed a little decoration, though. I added two rows of beads in the back. They keep the straps from moving which might reveal just a little too much back.

The three rows of beads over the shoulders make sure the armholes don't open up too much, but mostly I just liked the look of it.
I am sure I'm not the only one who connects the 20s with lots of fringe, but for this dress I opted for a small fringe of dagger beads instead.

Wow. That was a long post, but designing and making the dress was a long process, too. Thank you if you made it all the way through.
Next week's post will be all about accessories (and shorter, I promise)!

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel.


Quote of the week

I seem to remember that they always showed a certain movie on Easter when I was a child. I also remember reading the book. I was lying on my parents' bed on the belly, my feet up in the air, and I can still feel the thick, cool and satiny quilt bedspread when I think of it.

Many people agree that one actor is stealing the show here, the great Peter Ustinov as the crazy Emperor Nero.

Nero (looking at burning Rome): Petronius, look what I've created! Tigellinus, my robe of grief. Terpnos! Lyre. History will judge my song, Petronius. Will it be great enough to match the occasion? I'm seized with the fear that it will not be great enough.
Petronius: It will be worthy of the spectacle, as the spectacle is worthy of you.
Nero: You ... you encourage me, Petronius. But I'm aware that I must compete with those who sang of the burning of Troy. My song must be greater, just as Rome is greater than Troy!
(singing) Silence, ye spheres, be still, ye hurtling stars, open wide-vaulted skies above me. Now at last, lo, I see Olympus, and a light from the summit doth illumine me. I am one with the gods, immortal, I am Nero, the artist who creates with fire, that the dreams of my life may come true. To the flames now I give the past, to the flames and soil. Take thou this Rome, oh, receive her now, ye flames, consume her as would a furnace, burn on, o ancient Rome. Burn on, burn on!!!

Quo Vadis, USA, 1951


Tackle that stash - Delicate Cantera opal pendant

You have seen this tiny Cantera opal before, in this post where I showed the magic world you can see in it.
As you know, tiny cabs or faceted stones are a bit of a challenge to use in wire knit or crochet. To do the opal justice, but also keep it safe in its bezel, I made very small knit stitches. That way I was able to only cover the matrix, but leave the window to the magic world open. Actually I keep staring into that window! I just love opals.

For that little bit of movement that I like so much I added a small amber bead dangle. It's a pity I only had one opal in that size, I think this would make a beautiful pair of earrings if I had two.

To compliment the delicate pendant, I crocheted a slim rope in the same color.


Barbie and tiny glass beads, the story of a new obsession - Part 1, The introduction

To my friends it is not new that I have a small, but sweet vintage Barbie collection (and a bunch of newer ones).
I got my first Mattel doll, a platinum blond Stacey, when I was five, and the story behind that I told in an earlier blog post is not very flattering for me and my behavior at that age. I never thought about starting a collection, however. Barbies and their outfits were just not in my budget.

Then my sister (both of my sisters still have their childhood dolls as well, a TNT Barbie and a red haired Stacey) got the book "Barbie - her life and times" by Billy Boy. The German version came out 1988, and 18 years after Stacey had arrived in my life, I was fascinated by Barbie all over again.
No one would call me a fashion person. Jeans, sneakers, t-shirt - that's me. As much as I don't dress up myself, though, as much I do love the Barbie fashions. Tiny zippers, tiny buttons, 50s and 60s chic, wild mod designs.
And I learned about vintage dolls that I hadn't heard of before, merely because I was too young at that time or not even born yet.

Not that much later we were at a fleamarket and having studied the book paid off when I found a bendable leg Midge. Not mint in condition, but at an absolutely fantastic price. That's when my collection started. I got more dolls, I started buying the most important price guides, I learned more about Barbie's history and about her German predecessor, the Bild Lilli, and dreamed of owning a #1 Barbie one day.

I can't sew. I don't crochet with yarn. I had never made any Barbie outfits that could even be called outfit. When I started working with wire, however, I had to try and crochet wire dresses for Barbie. The problem was what to use as an undergarment because wire crochet dresses tend to be see through. Although I finished a few, I was not happy enough with them to pursue that.

Then I started bead looming and the idea to loom Barbie dresses kept running through my head. At an early stage I made a tote bag for one of my Francie dolls.
We all know that Barbie has curves, lots of curves. How could I loom something without the curves being a problem?
That's when I had the idea to make a Flapper outfit.

This post is just the introduction to the story of Barbie, tiny glass beads, fringe, shoes, peacock feathers, Ponder (one of my cats, for those who don't know), Christie, Francie, and a new obsession.
The story is too much for just one post, so stay tuned if you want to follow the journey. I'd love to take you with me.

Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel.