Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Tide Pools

This challenge is not to be confused with the Oldies but Goodies one which usually turns up here on Thursdays. When my friend Laney posted about the May challenge on the Art Elements site, I spontaneously decided to jump in as a guest, to inspire me and to give my blog a little kick, too.
The theme was Tidepools, and Lesley from the Art Elements team showed some beautiful inspirations to us in this post.

Now for the first surprise - I'm not really a beach girl. I don't live anywhere near the sea and I am not the sort of person that goes ooh and aah when they see a sandy beach with palms.
It's not as if I have never been on a beach, though. An absolutely obligatory part of each trip to the Bay Area for example was one day on a particular beach. We are not talking beautiful sand and deep blue ocean here. We are talking the kind that overwhelmed me because all you could see was water and all I could think about all the fascinating and terrible creatures that may be out there. I can always blame "Jaws" for that feeling (even though it's an old favorite of mine, "Jaws", not the feeling). While I wouldn't have readily jumped into the ocean for that very reason, I really enjoyed the rest - looking for nice shells, walking in the shallow water, trying to defend our picnic from the seagulls.
Of course there were other beaches, too.
And there was the beach in Wales we never found. I still think they put that sign up to lure us into that field with the big herd of cows to get trampled. No, seriously, we just didn't find the way after trying this path and that road and finally we headed back and ended up in a tea room instead. Not the worst alternative if you ask me. It was so hot that day, I couldn't have walked another step, not for the most beautiful beach in the world!

I can't even say if I have ever seen a tide pool with my own eyes although I had a very clear idea of it. I immediately knew I wanted to put something on a bead loomed bracelet base in one of my favorite colors, gunmetal AB. Of course there's only so much space on a bracelet and I had to decide what to put on it.
This is the result.
The green seaglass comes from a Danish beach. A friend brought it home for me. The little snail shells and the sea shell are from Italian and Greek beaches and were a gift from a co-worker. And of course there had to be pearls to kind of tie all of those elements together and a mix of grey lined and metallic ice blue seed beads to hold them down.

There are so many talented people who are a part of this blog hop, I hope you'll take the chance to see what they created. I'll do my best to catch up this weekend.
And a big thank you to Art Elements for letting me participate as a guest!


Raven - Kelly - Kathy - Tammy - Alyson - Elaine - Mischelle - Deborah - Anita - Jill - Shirlee - Sarajo - Melissa - Jenny

AE Team Members

Caroline - Cathy - Claire - Jen - Laney - Lesley - Marsha - Niky - Sue  - Lindsay - Jenny


Oldies but Goodies - Garden

It's May and people are talking about their gardens, how they are planting things, how those plants are coming along, about garden design, about new garden spaces, about relaxing in the garden.
We never had a garden when I was a kid. First it used to be a big yard which then became small when they built another house (that was a looong time ago), then they built the garages and put stones down which were very nice for my roller skates. If I wanted garden feeling, I went to my best friend where they had flowers, some herbs and beautiful old cherry trees - oh those yellow cherries!
What we had was a strip of soil along the driveway with bushes, and there I had a little spot with daisies and later some sunflowers that started out rather large and then came back smaller and smaller.

I guess what I'm trying to say - once again - is that I am completely clueless. I know hardly any plant names, I have no idea how much water they need or sun or love, but I do recognize a flower when I see one ;-)
Some of my fellow JAC members, however, are great gardeners, and while I'm showing just jewelry from our latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, I'm sure I could show you beauties from their gardens too if I had thought of asking early enough!
Do you have a garden?

1/8/12 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2/5/9/10 Cat's Wire
3/6/11 MC Stoneworks
4/7/13 RioRita


More tentacles

I love making tentacles, and this animal has been on my to-do list for some time, even before I started wire weaving. I had thought about crocheting one, knitting one, I started a pattern for a bead loomed one once, but no matter how much I made my brain cells work, nothing convincing came to mind, and the project got pushed back again and again.
It has been quite a while that I have been to the Wilhelma, but when I had visited, the common jellyfish in the aquarium have always been one of my favorite stops. I often wished I had a high chair to sit down and relax just by watching them floating in the water. It's almost hypnotizing, and I know others feel that way, too.

After working on my different octopuses, I finally decided now I'd just start by making the tentacles and maybe a good idea would come to me then. And it did!

Of course I knew that you can't recreate that special, almost ethereal look with wire. Wire and a cab are so much more solid ;-) Instead the shape was more important here. Not that all jellyfish look the same, but I think if you asked people to draw one, they would have pretty much the same features - a body like a turned over bowl and tentacles.
While I would usually oxidize the copper, however, I left it shiny this time to at least make the jellyfish not so dark.

I found just the right shape in my cabochon stash (yes, actually this is a stash tackler, but I didn't want to wait until Friday).
And the biggest fun about making tentacles is that they can all look different. Long or short, curved this way or that way, individual patterns (although there's not that much you can do with only two wires), and of course the loops that I love which you have already noticed, no doubt. I could hardly stop myself, but there was only so much space on the cab.

The chain that I added has irregularly sized links because I used the wire pieces that were left over from other projects and had different lengths, a nice way to use them at last.

I would like to say this won't be my last jellyfish because I loved working on it so much, but I know myself too well and my infamous list that changes all the time. On the other hand - tentacles!! :-D


Oldies but Goodies - Lapis

Lapis lazuli, often just called lapis, has been the topic for our challenge before, but that's okay. We are not the only ones who love that dark blue after all.
Last time I mentioned how the Egyptians ground lapis to make cosmetics from it. There are old legends and fairy tales as well in which the stone is playing its part.

And of course we can't forget lapis in art, both the stone itself and the pigment called ultramarine that was made from it. Ultramarine which can still be bought today, but has lost its significance in art after synthetic pigments took over, was more precious than gold at times because of the time consuming process to make it. The powder from the ground stone is cleaned and then washed out in clear water until you finally get the pigment itself, a mere fraction of the original lapis.
Here's an interesting article that also shows examples of how ultramarine was used, in the Sistine Chapel for example.

Back to our Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge for this week, though - I hope you'll like today's selection. Not all of it is lapis, but the beautiful dark blue you will find in each piece.

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


Random Saturday - A doll for Marie

It would be saying too much if I claimed to collect children's or young adult books. I have a whole cabinet full which are a few hundred books, but that's mostly because there are my own books from when I was young, books I got as gift, from my godmother and her brothers for example, books that used to be theirs, and of course books I bought myself because they were favorites from the library.

I could read at an early age and was very proud to have my own library card (with the number 5542 ;-)), and there were books I borrowed over and over and over again, so I just had to own them as a grown up - and yes, before you ask, sometimes I read one and if it brings up memories and the magic for a little while ... perfect!

Of course the internet was a great help with my search. Just one example. There was that series of books about Davy Crockett that my brothers introduced me to. 16 volumes from which I could quote at that time, so often did I read them. Well, not all of them. I struggled with volume 16 because of Crockett's death and only read that one as an adult, and volume 8 was missing from the library.
This is one of my favorite library stories (bear with me, people, who have heard it a thousand times). I reserved the book when it was not marked missing yet. These were the 70s. I filled out a postcard that was attached to whatever they used at the time to keep track of their books. Then I waited patiently. Until I got an overdue reminder for a book I never even had! I guess this is what kept me being open minded to the fact that even librarians do make mistakes ;-)
Many years later, I put a request on the ISO page of a sales website for used books - and got the chance to buy the whole series from one person which was really a stroke of luck, and the price was okay, too!

My collection grew, but one book was still missing. The problem was that I didn't remember the title or the author. It was a picture book and I had been very small at the time. All I knew was that it was about a doll in a shop, that this doll wore a beautiful dress and that her long lace knickers were peeking out at the bottom. Every, now and then I would try to google the words doll, shop, window, dress, picture book and more, always hoping for a hint among the found pictures.
I had been searching for literally decades when I stumbled upon an article about an archive of 6,000 historical children's books, digitized and free to read online, from the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature. Now the book I was looking for was not from the 19th century, but being reminded of children's books I decided to google once again. I have no idea what I did different this time or if was just lucky or if Google had become tired of my searches, but there it was!
A problem was, however, that I didn't want a new edition and of course I wanted the book in German although the original was in English.
I was lucky again. I found it on a used book site, but there was no picture listed with it and by now I had found that in German there was an edition with a grey cover instead of a picture, and I didn't want that. Next stop - eBay. And there it was. Not cheap, but still affordable, and they even accepted my offer.

And here it is - A Doll For Marie.
It felt almost strange that the search was over - now what will I be looking for next? :-D


Tackle that stash - Agate and labradorite

Last month I really struggled with getting anything done. That doesn't mean I didn't try, but things didn't work out so well. Of course I was quite preoccupied with Ponder, his vet visits, and trying out one diet food after the other because the gang refused to eat. I'm the only one in this flat who hasn't lost weight!
Things have calmed down a little *knocking on wood* and Mabel (my invisible muse) has dared to come back.
So today while diving into the world of Pride and Prejudice on DVD once again I decided to have a look through my stash.

I found some rather short copper wires, leftovers from other projects, and a small agate cab that looked as if it might work nicely with the lengths of wire. The hardest part is always to decide on a weave. Sometimes I start, then pull the working wire off again and try something else, and of course the first idea might get changed completely during work, anyway.
This time I surprised myself again, I didn't know that the pendant would come out like this!
I even got to use one of my faceted labradorite onions which I have hoarded for years now because it fits the slightly subdued look and gives it that bit of shine and sparkle when the light is right.

P.S. Of course I thought of adding a dangle as well at first, I always do, but when I chose the labradorite instead of a tiny bead at the top, the dangle was out, it would have been too much, at least for my taste.


Oldies but Goodies - Earthy

This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge was in honor of Earth Day on April 22.
What comes to your mind first when you hear "Earth"? The Blue Planet as seen from outer space? Nature the way you experience it every day? The soil in your garden or simply the ground under your feet? Or maybe the whole package with oceans, mountains, grass, people, stones, fruit, animals etc.?
See what earthy means to the JAC members who contributed to this challenge.

1 and 3 MC Stoneworks
2 and 5 and 7 RioRita
4 and 6 and 8 Cat's Wire