What to do if ...

... your mojo has been taking a long break?
... you hurt something?
... you just don't find the time?
... you can't seem to get things right?
... life is getting in the way of your creative ventures?

It's coincidence that this is part of the Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival now in December - after not having one in months -  but maybe it's also actually not a bad idea to think about this at the end of the year.

I have started making jewelry and more in late 2008, and of course I took my timeouts over the years. I can't remember a time, however, when it felt so difficult to make something. There's the arthrosis in my thumb joint and other health problems and pains, and they seem to take their toll on me more than they used to. I don't want to whine, but the days of working on something almost obsessively, hours and hours, are definitely over!

Since a few months ago it kept happening that I started making something and messed it up. I'm not saying that was completely new to me, and it didn't happen all the time, but it was in that extent, and I noticed it began messing with my mojo, too. There hadn't been a time when I hadn't felt the urge to fiddle with something, now I could go days without touching any wire or beads, as if that kind of creativity had simply left me.
It may sound ridiculous to you, but it left me kind of uneasy and restless. I had not known it could have such an effect on me.

What else was there to do?
Since I started working with wire and beads, reading had mostly been banned to my commuting and the tub both of which ruled out heavy books or even books that needed concentrated reading. After having been an avid reader since early childhood it now felt almost strange to sit down and "just" read. I don't know if it was that restlessness in the back of my head telling me I should be working on something instead, but I really needed some time to get back into reading.

Then of course there was the computer. Can you imagine for how long you can click back and forth between bookmarks without actually doing something, follow links about artisans who don't seem to have a creative block, play nomogram computer games and try to avoid thinking about how time is running through your fingers senselessly? Now that was definitely something that had to stop, even Ponder got tired of keeping me company on my desk!
I even started doodling hoping it would allow my mind to run freely and find some kind of direction in the process.

Finally I followed my own advice about creative block from another blog carnival some time ago. I made something I didn't have to think about that much because my design was already there, but which left enough room for playing with details to still satisfy the creative urge. Usually that means one of my signature miniature baskets which I can then fill with whatever comes to mind at that moment.
Lately, however, I have been playing with several octopuses, bigger and smaller ones, even some hugging lampwork sharks. Tentacles are a great way to let things flow!

Click to see the details better ...

I can do wire only so often at the moment, though, because it's hard on my thumb joint, and yet I had one of thoses phases when I wasn't drawn to beads, either.
Christmas brought me back to my big bauble stash and also reminded me of an almost forgotten stash of spike beads, so it was time to get out my crochet hook again after some time and do some wire knitting.

And two little snowmen baubles gave me the opportunity to deal with my infamous "glue trauma" and to do a bit of Herringbone beading.

I still wanted to bead loom some gifts before Christmas, too. There's still that little WIP that doesn't want to cooperate with me all the way (honestly, why is that frame "suddenly" bigger or rather the WIP smaller?).

You know, maybe it's okay to see what else there is beside making jewelry. Maybe I don't have to fiddle all the time. Maybe all of me will profit from some change every, now and then - going back to old hobbies, taking some time to pick up things I haven't picked up for a while ... there is still that cardigan I didn't finish because I wasn't sure about the measurements of the front parts anymore ... maybe this is just a lesson for me to not obsess about something or I will mess it up. Huh. Quite the lesson shortly before a new year will be upon us ;-)

You want to know what other JAC members have to say?
Check it out here!

Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

The inspiration for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is of course a quote from the classic movie The Wizard of Oz.
As you may remember our rules for the challenge are not too strict, so instead of a tiger we were also allowed to show tiger's eye. Actually it makes me wonder why I have never made anything tiger inspired given the fact that I love those animals so much?

And here's my little collage for today. We got fierce, sparkly, adorable, cute and beautiful. Pick your own favorites! :-)

1 and 4 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 6 and 8 Cat's Wire
3 and 5 and 7 MC Stoneworks


Tackle that stash - Viking knit and magnesite necklace

In March 2013 I made my first attempt at Viking knit. It was a tiny Barbie necklace and I haven't been coming back to this technique ever since.
Now, having been somewhat frustrated and uncreative lately (for reasons I'll get to end of this month), I had been looking for something that was within my possibilities and came back to Viking knit.

I made two ropes using 24 and 26 gauge copper wire, more for practise than to actually use them. I pulled them through my draw plate and found they were too long for bracelets and too short for necklaces. Not only had I been pretty clueless about how much the draw plate would change the length, I admit I had also not been patient enough to add more wire before knowing how the ropes would come out.

In the last few weeks I have been wasting wire by throwing out some WIPs rather than unwinding little knots and loops (I'll save you the accompanying curse words). I was not ready to throw out the Viking knit ropes as well.
So it was a good thing I remembered my stash of magnesite beads in all kinds of shapes, natural ones and dyed red ones which might like look good with the copper.
I think it did work out quite nicely, now I just have to come up with something for the second rope. Who knows, maybe this is going to give my creativity a little boost?

P.S. I almost forgot to thank Katrina Lum for her tutorial about the endcaps (which I made in different sizes to enhance the asymmetric look, by the way)!


Oldies but Goodies - Romantic

Okay, so I'm romantic. Shoot me. I do have my favorite movie or TV kisses, I like the idea of going for a walk in the shine of a full moon (my ex still owes me one of those from 30 years ago, and hey, don't offer something if you are not ready to deliver! ;-)), I have been known to re-read romantic scenes in a book, and yes, maybe I have even shed one or the other tear over a happy love story.

Of course this was just a more or less clever introduction for today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge which has the topic "Romantic".
No need to shed tears over the pictures, by the way, but maybe they make you smile.

1 and 10 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 8 MC Stoneworks
3 and 7 RioRita
4 and 6 Cat's Wire
5 and 9 VMCdesigns


Oldies but Goodies - Red and black

Red and black is a color combination that will likely never go out of style - and it's definitely one of my favorites.
You can encounter it in all kinds of places.
Nature for example, just think of certain snakes, frogs, and spiders whose red and black can be a warning sign.
Think of gothic fashion. I never really thought about it, but is the black standing for the night and red for the blood?

Depending on the kind of red you use you can also achieve different looks. You can accent black with just a bit of bright red. You can tone down red with some black. Or how about teaming up black and a very dark rich red instead of a bright one?

Whatever your favorite black and red combination is, maybe you will find it in the pictures I chose from this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge.

1 and 9 RioRita
2 and 6 VMCdesigns
3 and 7 Cat's Wire
4 and 10 MC Stoneworks
5 and 8 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Pendants

I don't think I have to say much about this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge (which suits me as I have been struggling with an annoying head cold that leaves me quite unmotivated at the moment). The pictures will speak for themselves in a variety of designs, and I hope you'll enjoy them.

1 and 3 Cat's Wire
2 and 10 MC Stoneworks
4 and 7 VMCdesigns
5 and 9 RioRita
6 and 8 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Tackle that stash - Barney the Tiny Octopus

Strictly speaking this is not a stash tackler - it's a let me rip something up and then use the stone in something else tackler. Of course there are pieces I'm not that happy with anymore or I have a better idea for a stone or beads. Those pieces are almost as dangerous as WIPs because they need attention that you don't always have.
From time to time, however, I manage to do a little spring cleaning that can actually be kind of inspiring, too. At the moment there is one or the other cab that has wandered back into my stash drawer.

One of them was this little moss agate that had been sitting in a pendant before which had been asked for by someone who then disappeared. It happens. The pendant stayed, but when I looked for a small cab for some wire weaving, I remembered it and didn't hesitate to rip it up, after all it had been quite a while.

When I fitted the cab into the weaving, I suddenly noticed something. A long time ago a friend had told me a story about how she was in Greece once and about tiny octopuses - and there he was. A tiny octopus with the name Barney both of which came to me out of nowhere, with tiny tentacles and a big head.
That's the reason why the bail is not sitting in the middle. Barney insisted on swimming to the left. No idea what he will find there. Maybe his friend, the fish, is hanging out there waiting for him to go see the Arielle movie or have some, well, seafood together? (Oh, bad pun, bad pun, I know, don't hit me!)
Barney can be found in my shop now, why don't you go visit him? ;-)


Oldies but Goodies - Ceramics

Yes, it's me. A few things have kept me from being online much and even more from blogging, among them the need for a new computer. We all know how hard that transition can be. At least I didn't lose my pictures!

So here we go with a brandnew Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, this time with the topic "Ceramics". Judging from the entries it seems ceramic beads are not necessarily what any of us use often, except one heroic member who came to the rescue when the challenge was practically over. Otherwise I wouldn't even be able to show you a real collage.
I wonder why that is, and who knows, maybe it's an incentive for us other JAC members to look out for ceramics beads more. Actually I didn't even use a bead myself, but a bit of a tile edging that was cut off from some leftovers for me. You should have seen the face of the man who worked on our hallway tiling when I asked him for that favor and told him I wanted to make a pendant from it ;-)

Time for some pictures.

1 MC Stoneworks
2/3/4/5 VMCdesigns
6 Cat's Wire


Oldies but Goodies - Celestial

This time our Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge had the topic "Celestial" in honor of the solar eclipse on the 21st of August.
While Europe hardly got to see anything of it, there were some stunning pictures from North America.
I remember the total eclipse of 1999 here in Germany and I still feel a little cheated. It was in August, too. I took off from work and my sisters and I stood outside, but all we got were clouds. I have to say, however, that when it suddenly got pitch black, it was a somewhat creepy feeling (one that my sister's cat shared judging from the way she ran).
Unfortunately I doubt that I'll make it until the next total eclipse here that is supposed to be in 2081 ....

You don't have to wait that long for this week's entries, though!

1 and 6 Cat's Wire
2 and 5 VMCdesigns
3 and 8 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 and 7 MC Stoneworks


Oldies but Goodies - Found objects

"Found object" comes from the French "Objet trouvé" which describes something that is usually not used in art. Found objects can be all kinds of things. The idea made it into jewelry making as well. Washers for example or keys are often seen in jewelry, one can hardly imagine a steampunk piece without some watch gears, and it's not unusual that something that has actually been found in the street or in a drawer inspires an artisan.
Welcome to this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge!

1 and 6 VMCdesigns
2 and 4 Cat's Wire
3 and 5 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Random Saturday - Koko

A few days ago someone mentioned Koko, the signing gorilla, which brought back some memories. I forgot which year exactly it was, but it must have been in the late 80s because my ex and I were still living in our first flat then.
Although I liked our street with its beautiful trees and our flat, I always kept feeling a little homesick for my hometown and my family during those years, especially at the beginning. My little brother visited us for the weekend every, now and then, we took him to the zoo, we played mini golf, or we went into town window shopping.

It was one of those occasions that I saw Koko in the toy department of one of the big shops, well, not herself of course, but a plush version. I don't even remember if I knew Koko's story back then before reading the description on the tag, I just fell in love with that stuffed gorilla. It was expensive, though, and thinking of our finances I did the responsible thing and put her back (it must have been before the Steiffs made us collectors). After all this was just a toy, even if she fit on my hip so perfectly.
I sighed a lot that weekend because I really wanted this gorilla badly. Finally my ex told me that we didn't always have to be grown up (boy, was that a preview on later years) and that I should go there after work on Monday and just get her already.
So that's what I did. I went there ... and she was gone. I even asked about her and was told there had been only one.
That was a sign, right? It wasn't meant to be. And still I wasn't happy about it. You have to remember that we didn't have internet yet. I didn't even know what brand it was (Dakin 1986, it must have taken a while to come to Germany because it was definitely some years later than that).

Fast forward to at least some months later. It is early Saturday afternoon in my hometown, and the stores are starting to close down for the weekend when my friend and I are walking by the toy store. Just this moment the owner is stepping into the window to put a gorilla there. Koko! I tell my friend I have to go in there. Now! The owner comes to greet me, and before he can even ask, I tell him I want that gorilla. "Oh", he says. "How funny. I just put it in the window." "I know", I say. "I saw you. There's one problem, though. I don't have enough money on me at the moment. (Paying with your card was not that common yet.) I'll run to the bank and be right back." He's obviously amused by my determination and he's even more amused ten minutes later when I come back just in time before the store is closing, put my money on the counter, refuse a bag and walk out with Koko sitting on my hip.
Can you believe that several people thought I was carrying a real little ape? o.O

Koko is still sitting on top of a book cabinet and makes me smile when I look at her although it has been almost 30 years.
For the picture, however, she came down from her cabinet ;-)


Oldies but Goodies - Egyptian

"The archaeological surveys and discoveries that accompanied Napoleon's campaign in Egypt, and the battles between France and Britain that took place there, aroused great public interest. Ancient Egyptian art and architecture provided designers with a whole new range of motifs, such as winged sun-discs, hawks and crocodiles." (From the Style Guide: Regency Classicism of the wonderful Victoria and Albert Museum in London)

Egyptian art does still fascinate us today. I admit there was a time I thought my head was going to explode if there was one more documentary about ancient Egypt on TV although I love watching documentaries. There can be too much of a good thing ;-)

This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is also about the fascination of ancient Egypt. I hope you will enjoy my little selection.

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


Random Saturday - From a whatever to a mermaid

Two weeks ago I made - something. I couldn't even decide what it was, and when I asked around, I got several opinions on it from dragon lady to bat mermaid.
Although the lady didn't have a fin and I had never thought of making a mermaid - the decision against two separate legs had not been deliberate at the time as this was my first wrapped figure - and although I realized eventually that she had been subconsciously been inspired by the succubus in a computer game, the thought kept following me whenever I looked at her.

So I finally did it. I added a fin. She does look more complete now, doesn't she (see the picture at the end of the post)?
You are free to decide yourself if you see a dragon mermaid, bat mermaid, succubus mermaid or fairy mermaid now ;-)


Oldies but Goodies - Around the garden

Our house doesn't have a real garden. I guess I always think there has to be grass to make a garden a real one. We do have plants, though. Lots of them. They are in pots or in an elevated strip behind the house. It's actually rather nice (as long as I'm not expected to do garden work, you remember I kill flowers by saying hello to them ;-)).

A garden is more than bushes, trees, and flowers, though.
For this Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge there were quite a few entries beside flowers and again I am asking you to have a look at JAC because my selection is very small indeed compared to what you can see if you click through.
What else do you think a garden needs?

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


Oldies but Goodies - Boho

Boho - if we found out something in this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge it's that we struggle with the word.
I remember the first time I stumbled upon the expression Boho Chic, it was when I first started browsing Etsy. Even then I wasn't sure what exactly it was supposed to mean. I always thought of some kind of Hippie style, colorful, fringe, flowing, but didn't quite get why it wasn't just called Hippie then.
Boho is an abbreviation of Bohemian which had originally to do with Bohemian travellers from Central Europe and developed into the description of a certain lifestyle rebelling against the rules of society way before there were hippies. Sherlock Holmes for example had a "Bohemian soul", but I doubt he wore bright colors and fringe (yes, I know he's not real, such a pity), Winston Churchill was "pre-First World War Bohemian" (now I bet that's a surprise for you, I know it was for me).
Today's Boho look does use a lot of hippie elements, so we were not completely off.
You are most welcome to tell me your own description because now I'm still pretty much at a loss what exactly to think ;-)

Oh, and of course I brought you some examples from the challenge, too!

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


Random Saturday - Taming the bronze?

I know I have hardly posted anything but the Oldies but Goodies in months, so it's about time for something else for a change.

Years ago I got my first bronze wire just wanting to try something new. Bronze is an alloy consisting mostly of copper (94% in this case), some tin and other trace metals or non-metals which often give the bronze its name, like phosphor bronze.
I was not happy with it as a wire for crocheting, but somehow I forgot about that and got some when I started wire weaving. So far it hasn't made me much happier than the last time, but today we had a small breakthrough in our relationship.

Lately I have been a little obsessed with balling up wire ends. I blame my friend Dawn. And my pal who sat down with me to show me the burner in person. I used copper, sterling and fine silver, and then I got curious about using my bronze wire.
What a disappointment! Instead of getting little balls the wire curled up at the ends looking like a little mutant snail - or in some cases a badly manufactured golf club. Now I have to admit that I'm not only obsessed with balling up wire, but also with the urge to find out how big I can make those balls without them falling off (I am a champion at dropping little copper and silver balls into my water bowl and cursing). I managed some big ugly mutant snails. For some reason I can't remember where I put those, so I can't take a picture of them. Maybe they went back to their home planet.
What did I do wrong? Was I too slow, did I wait too long, did I just not find the right point in the flame (bronze is melting quicker than pure copper), did I hold the wire wrong, did I maybe not know about the secret chant you need for success? I tore out my hair, blamed the cats and bit my desk, but that didn't bring me any closer to the solution.
I have been known to lose patience easily with some projects, but I kept coming back to the bronze wire. Then I remembered a blog post by Lisa Yang that I had found. She wrote some people had suggested for her to hold the wire parallel to the flame.
The wire melted just as quickly and wanted to curl up, but I lifted it right out of the flame and that way it was easier for me to control the shape. One length of wire after the other got treated that way on both sides.
The ends look differently for each metal. I found a picture on Nancy L. T. Hamilton's blog showing the result for fine, sterling and argentium silver, for copper and for bronze.

Bronze wire loses its shiny look in the flame and tends to look more like copper, after all that's what makes up most of it. I wanted to see what would happen in the tumbler and let the wire have a nice carousel ride for four hours (with some other pieces of jewelry).
I wonder what a longer ride would do to them, but I'm already quite happy with this result as the ends lost their red coppery touch and look like the wire again even if not as shiny.
I'll let you know if/when I try!


Oldies but Goodies - Over the top

First of all let me say that the topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge does not at all mean that in a negative way regarding the following pieces. And for that matter it could even be much more over the top than what I'm showing you today! ;-)

Sometimes you feel something is over the top because you are not used to that style yourself. While I don't think any of us can make jewelry that doesn't appeal to us at all, it doesn't have to be 100% us, either - especially when making custom pieces. Maybe there's a color we wouldn't wear, maybe something is too small or too big for us, too colorful, not colorful enough.

What I like about these challenges is not only meeting old friends (as in pieces of jewelry) that fit more than one challenge, but also the inspiration I get by other artisans' and even my own pieces that I maybe almost forgot about, being reminded that you don't have to be stuck in that one groove, that there is open space in all directions and no limits to creativity other than those you set for yourself.

1 and 9 RioRita
2 and 7 Cat's Wire
3 and 5 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 and 8 MC Stoneworks
6 The Crafty Chimp


Oldies but Goodies - Patina

Patina is not always something that we love. Blackened silver flatware or jewelry, green copper and more that we have to clean don't have many fans if any at all, and of course patina is not only found on metals, either.
Often, however, a nice patina adds to the beauty of a piece, no matter if it developed on purpose or not. Oxidizing and colorful patinas are a part of jewelry making as the selection from this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is about to show us - and don't forget, there is more to see if you click through!

1 and 5 MC Stoneworks
2 and 8 Cat's Wire
3 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 and 6 RioRita
9 Violetmoon's Corner


Oldies but Goodies - Personal birthstone

When you found out what your birthstone was, did you like it?
As a child I was quite disappointed about the pearl. A pearl wasn't even a stone. It didn't sparkle. Little old ladies with purple hair wore pearls. Pearls belonged to coffee or tea parties and crumbly cake in the afternoon. We were happy if we got a faceted "gemstone" ring from the gum machine. A pearl wouldn't have been the same.

Luckily I grew up and grew out of those prejudices. Today I am thinking differently, and then there is of course the moonstone for us June babies, too ;-)

It is nice that the members who participated in this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge don't share the same birthstones because that means you'll get to see even more variety. Not always is it the real thing, but if it isn't, at least the color is right, and it doesn't take away from the beauty of the pieces.
Enjoy all the colors of our personal birthstones!

1 and 5 Cat's Wire
2 and 9 RioRita
3 and 8 Violetmoon's Corner
4 and 6 MC Stoneworks
7 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Spirals

When I started out making wire jewelry, one of the very first shapes that came to me naturally was the spiral. A spiral is fascinating, it draws you in, it can be hypnotizing and it's no wonder so many optical illusions revolve around spirals - spinning ones for example.
Just give me a moment until my head is feeling normal again ... whew.

The spirals that I'll show you now are much easier on your eyes and head ;-) They are some of the entries for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. Maybe their beauty will be hypnotizing, though ....

1 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 7 MC Stoneworks
3 and 9 Violetmoon's Corner
4 and 10 RioRita
5 and 8 Cat's Wire


Oldies but Goodies - Sky colors

Don't expect a physical explanation from me why the sky looks blue or grey. There was a time when I almost had to comfort my physics teacher because of a bad test (I had mostly been average at physics, but this test, oh my), so I'm definitely not qualified. The web is full of scientific information both for adults and children about it.

There's no doubt we are fascinated by the sky if it is light blue with fluffy looking white clouds on a spring day, if it looks almost black on a stormy autumn day, or if it seems to be a deep midnight blue with twinkling stars during a crispy cold winter's night.
Sky colors are this week's theme for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. Enjoy - and don't forget to click the link for even more pictures!

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


Oldies but Goodies - Coins

We all know coins. We have our favorites, maybe we collect foreign ones from our trips, or we throw them all into a big glass and forget about them.
When I was a teenager, one of my pen pals lived in Australia. Once she sent me an Australian penny, drilled so I could wear it as a pendant which I did for a long time until the chain broke. Then I set it aside and now it has to be in one of those safe places you put such things. As soon as I find it, I'll turn it into a pendant!

Today's post, however, is almost a spotlight for one of our long time members. Every time Irith shows us one of her coins set in a pendant or ring, we are fascinated which has not only to do with the craftsmanship, but also the coins she uses - they are antique. I wish I could tell you something about the coins in her entries for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, but I can't. You can see even more of them if you click through to the challenge thread via the link above.

I mustn't forget the entry that Dawn made just in time. In fact her earrings triggered the memory of my Australian penny.

Let a question end this post - can you find out which coin is not a real one? ;-)

1/4/7 Cat's Wire
2/5/6/8/9 RioRita
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - Cabochons

Welcome to this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. It is all about cabochons or cabs how they are often called, too.
Cabochon comes from the French and means a gemstone that is usually flat on the back and smoothly polished on top, not faceted.

I remember when I started crocheting with wire. Beads were so much easier to handle for me as a beginner because I could attach them safely with wire. The bezels for cabs had to be just right which was (and sometimes is) even more difficult on free form stones.
Faceted stones were a completely different story because of their faceted backs which don't necessarily work with all of my bezels and you don't want to a pendant to sit crooked all the time or a ring whose focal keeps digging into your finger.
Just imagine there was a time when I looked down on cabochons because they didn't sparkle. Or on opaque stones. Or on opaque cabs! ;-)

Now it's time to stop talking and begin showing some of the entries for this week.

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


Oldies but Goodies - Spices

Have you ever been to a market where they sell unpacked spices? I haven't, but every time I see one on TV or in a picture, I think that it must be fascinating and rich, but all those different scents mingling may be also quite overwhelming.
Being single, I don't cook that much, therefore it doesn't make much sense to buy a lot of different spices. They would only go to waste, and that would be a shame.
One time I got a small idea of what it's like was when my ex and I had some people over, and two of his Indian colleagues spent hours in our small kitchen to prepare a fabulous feast for our little group. Excuse me while I'm getting lost in memories for a bit and possibly start drooling a bit.

Spices are not only fragrant and tasty, though, they can also be very pretty in their variety of colors.
Today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is all about spice colors which is a new way to look at jewelry colors that you maybe haven't thought about yet.
I hope we can make you a little hungry ;-)

1 and 6 RioRita
2 and 7 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 5 MC Stoneworks
4 and 9 Violetmoon's Corner
8 and 10 Cat's Wire

What did you see?
I see pepper in all colors, cinnamon, curry, paprika, turmeric ... mmmm. Now excuse me again, please, there's a jam toast waiting for me - strawberry and rhubarb with green pepper, a gift from my wonderful neighbors and so yummy.


Oldies but Goodies - Fossils

I live about 11 miles from Holzmaden, a little town which is known for the fossils that are found in the ground in and around the city. There's the Urweltmuseum (Ancient World Museum) with fascinating specimens, some of them very large, beautifully displayed. If you are an amateur fossil hunter, there are two quarries where you are can do some digging yourself. I remember a very hot summer day that we spent at one of the quarries with a guest from India, but at least she found some little shells to take home - although I had hoped for an ammonite myself.

Our latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge was about fossils and to be honest I was a little surprised there was so little participation. Coming from a region where fossils are still found, I may be more fascinated by them than others, but in jewelry making fossils are by no means unusual.
Have a look.

1, 4, and 5 Cat's Wire
2 Violetmoon's Corner
3 and 6 MC Stoneworks

If you are interested now what kind of fossils these are, keep reading and don't forget to click the links for more information.

1 and 6 are fossil corals
Actually it's the ancient corals' skeletons that are fossilized and preserved in these agatized stones.
They are appreciated for their often flower like patterns.

2, 3, and 5 are ammonites. Ammonites were marine molluscs that went extinct millions of years ago. The living relatives of these cephalopods are for example octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus.
Ammonites with their pretty spirals are used a lot in jewelry.

4 is orthoceras, also a cephalopod, but straight shelled.



I'm not tut-tutting at you. It's just an early morning attempt to come up with a creative post title. Putting tutorial in the title may have created the idea that I am posting one and this is not happening - and with this we jumped right into today's topic for our monthly JAC blog carnival.

I only ever made and posted one myself, a little bead and wire crochet flower. Back then I actually thought I would at least try to make more, but that didn't happen. Every, now and then I thought about it, but it's always the same. Once I start working on a piece, that's what I do. Of course I have to take breaks, but not for taking pictures or writing down things. I don't even want to think of making a video. I'm one of the (obviously unusual ;-)) people on the web who don't make videos - not of my cats (I have two of which one shows Ponder under the sheet, so you actually see, well, a moving sheet and the other one a dark room because it's really about the sound), not of my new shoes, my neighborhood, strange people I see on my train, you get the idea.

This really turns out not to be a flattering post of myself. You must get the idea that I don't have any patience, and it's true, for many things I don't have much patience.
That brings me to using tutorials and that is going to be even less flattering. In fact it sometimes makes me feel kind of guilty that I hardly ever use or even read/watch a whole tutorial, no matter if it's written down or if it's a video. The reason for that is not that I'm so immensely talented that I grasp things within the first 40 seconds (although that would be nice!), instead it's that patience thing again. Now if someone shows me something live, that's different.
So I start watching a video or rather single steps - mostly if it's about a beading stitch I don't know - and then fill in the gaps myself or experiment with changes. It's almost as if pick just part of the tutorial makers' brains, and that's where the guilty feeling part comes in.
I may be overthinking this one, though ;-)

So I'll just thank all people who take the time to help others learn something if they are ready for it.

Since a post without a picture always seems incomplete, here's something I made being inspired by a tutorial by Jill Wiseman.

Here you'll find what my fellow JAC members have to say about tutorials. Please drop by and have a look.

Violetmoon's Corner
Jewelry Art by Dawn