Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Stars

Stars - the topic for the new design challenge at Art Elements. That couldn't be too difficult, could it?
I like stars. Often I have stood outside in the backyard at my sister's place, waiting for my cab and staring into the sky. Seeing them is a bit like looking out over the sea for me. It's this feeling of being completely overwhelmed when I'm trying to grasp infinity and fail every time, but also a feeling of deep admiration and humility.

I like the idea of sparkling stars like those in the tiara shown in Laney's challenge post. I like Grimm's fairy tale of the star-money. I like stars on a Christmas tree or in jewelry.
And I made stars before, crocheted from wire, with clay faces, grumpy, sleeping, even shouting, with beads, with pearls or crystals, with a stone or a clay heart, I bead loomed pendants with stars, often reduced to mere dots in a night sky.
So I wanted to do something different this time, maybe wire weave one or finally try one of those 3D peyote stars.

The things you want, eh?
When I found a baggie of little faceted gemstones in my stash that I had almost forgotten about, all the plans went out the window. I've made a few tiny stars to put on top of tiny Christmas trees for example, so how about some small stars with faceted stones? There were three round stones in the baggie, an amethyst, a citrine and a green quartz which gave me the idea to use different colors for the stars as well, raw copper, a light gold and silver.
Then I put them together as a prototype and wasn't so sure about the colors anymore. Or of the way I put them together. I thought I'd wait and see if it grew on me or if I would maybe like all of them better in fine silver instead (update: this month didn't go like planned, so I'm still not sure about them, still haven't done them in fine silver, didn't put a chain on, but I'll keep you updated if/when that changes - I'm really leaning towards putting them in a row at the moment, but still haven't decided on colors or fine silver).

Here you go. Help me out, what would you do?

Please also visit all the other blog hoppers!


Jill - Divya - Alysen - Kathy - Tammy - Cat (that's me!) - Samantha - Anita - Karin - Sarajo - Rozantia - Kimberly

AE Team

Jen - Jenny - Niky - Laney - Claire - Cathy - Marsha - Caroline - Susan - Lesley


Oldies but Goodies - Smoky Quartz

Welcome to this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge! In fact this challenge is taking me back to the very beginnings of my jewelry making adventures. I had just started experimenting with wire crochet and had happened to pick up a smoky quartz rock at a shop when looking for something else. Back then I was ready to put a crochet bezel around everything, just to see if I could. Tiny moonstone cabs, big deco rocks, a friend even made a joke once that I should try to bezel a hot dog ;-)

I checked, but I don't seem to have a picture of the smoky quartz pendant that I made so long ago. I do have a collection of pieces from the challenge for you, however. Enjoy!

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


Random Saturday - London Bus

It all started last year with a surprising gift by my pal. I had been suffering from weltschmerz and somehow he had the idea that some Legos would cheer me up - and he was right!
He got the Yellow Submarine for me and something for himself and we spent a very fun evening building together. We don't have riches to spend on Lego, but every, now and then we treated each other to a kit.

For my last birthday he gave me a red London bus. It reminded me of the first time I was in London, with a friend and her five year old daughter. The first thing we did was to get tickets for a week (which was more difficult than it sounds here) and then we hopped on a bus, got out, hopped on another bus, and so on, leaving it to chance where we would end up. It's what my friend and I had done on the subway in Berlin years ago, too.

It only took me about five months to get this finished. We started when it was very hot and I simply couldn't sit anymore, then the lower part of the model went into storage in a cupboard, but last night it came out again. Although I didn't make in one sitting (while my friend managed a whole VW bus), I just put on the last brick AND I found a place for the bus on a shelf.
Now if only the cats don't get tempted to get up there for a closer look ... Gundel had been very interested in what we did ...


Tackle that stash - Who was first, the hen or the egg?

Of course this post is not really about hens or eggs. It's about in what different ways a project can develop over time and which thought comes first.
I mentioned often enough how my designs like to change during the process. An earring becomes a pendant because I often don't have the patience for making the same thing twice. A simple wire crochet bezel turns into a multi-layer bezel of knitted and crocheted wire, never again to repeated because I wouldn't know why. A piece screams for one dangle ... and another dangle ... and how about one here and a little something on the top? These are just a few examples.

And then there are those pieces I don't even have a vague idea of when I start. They don't always work out. Sometimes I end up with something that calls for something I don't know (yet). They are usually experimental pieces that will be lying around for a long time until my brain suddenly comes up with just the right thing - although it may deny having anything to do with the result a few months later and instead blame it on my inability to listen - or they will have to wait forever serving as reminders how very, very wrong things can go. Sometimes they have to be eliminated because I can't bear looking at them anymore without being able to finish them. Oh yes, and more than I care to think of are probably hidden away in my infamous drawers.

There are also good moments when I start making something that I like, so I go hunting for the perfect component, and then I'm lucky and find it!
In this case I vaguely had a snail's shell on my mind when I began weaving a spiral. After a while a cab under the spiral to bring it out more sounded like a good idea. I was thinking of a stone cab, but unfortunately I didn't have anything in the right size that was round or oval.
Without much hope I looked in my lampwork drawer and found this lovely cab, a meltie by Deronda Designs. This must have been in my stash for a long, long time because I wrote about Deronda's melties in 2010 which I almost can't believe.
I like how the soft pink and green - and a bit of black, those are no bits of fluff - peek through the copper which will stay unoxidized this time!

Now I need just a little more light for a picture on my manikin. I love rain, but it's not that helpful with pictures.


Oldies but Goodies - Sodalite

Sodalite - today's topic giver for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge - was first discovered in Greenland in 1806, no, 1811, erm, in the 19th century. Coming from a certain Canadian region it's also sometimes called Princess Blue because Princess Margaret fell in love with it in the early 1800s, no wait, Princess Patricia in the early 1900s, or was it King George V. and Queen Mary when they still were the Prince and Princess of Wales who had tons of sodalite-bearing rock shipped from Canada to England in order to decorate Marlborough House with it after being gifted with some sodalite at the World Fair 1901 in Buffalo?

Yes, I found all of that. If you care to do your own research, feel free to do so, but I'll stop at this point and present you this week's collage instead which is much easier. Once again we have some beautiful imitators among these pieces, can you spot them?

1 and 3 and 4 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 6 MC Stoneworks
5 and 7 RioRita


Random Saturday - Cats, cows and a big smile

I'm sure I have told you about my Stairway to Nowhere before. If you don't know about it yet, however, here's the story behind it. These stairs are literally leading nowhere. Before my divorce it connected two flats. I loved my stairs and my cats loved them even more. When the flats were to be separated again, I said I wanted to keep the stairs if possible. My constructor had a look at it and said that shouldn't be a problem. Then he suddenly decided that it wasn't a good idea, I would lose a wall on which I could have cupboards or whatever, he talked to my soon-to-be ex, and then there were two men all over me trying to make me drop the idea.

Long story short, I didn't and I'm still perfectly happy with the decision. I can store stuff on the stairs, the cats love the little platform right underneath the ceiling - probably mostly because I have a hard time catching them there! ;-) - and my sister convinced me to put my desk under the stairs which is maybe the best part.
At first I had thought it may be too dark and I wouldn't fit everything in, but actually it worked out perfectly. A little table, my desk, my small vintage office cupboard with my printer on top and a few decorative chests on top of which I have my hole punch, my scales and other stuff.
My way of decorating my little nook has been called anything from "erm, unique" to "whimsical" or "creative". Doesn't everyone have a small collection of vintage hats over their desk? Or do you think they were talking about my collection of photos, drawings, wood burnings, sculptures and more?
This is memory lane. I love my things. In most cases I got to know the artists first and then fell in love with their work. Heather, Shannon, Denis, Sharon, Heidi, Kirsten, Dawn, thank you!

Today I added a new artist to the mix, Wiebke Rauers. I saw one of her cat drawings on Facebook, unfortunately without credit. While I was still trying to read the initials, a friend of mine had solved it already, then another friend sent me a message that she had ordered some postcard prints. What else could I do, but go ahead and get some myself?
It was so hard to limit myself to just a few. I went through Wiebke's Tumblr, but after a few pages only I already had a list of a million images! Well, almost. Today I saw I missed a black kitty, I guess I'll have to go back soon ...

Her illustrations put such a big smile on my face or even make me laugh out loud. Of course I also go awww a lot. I am so looking forward to giving some of the prints away for Christmas.
These are the ones on my walls now. Due to light and reflection these are not the best pictures, but that's okay because here's Wiebke's Facebook as well ... now go and have a look already! ;-)

All together now ... awww! I want to touch those tiny feet, so cute.

This one calls for a big smile. I'm sure he's up to something or maybe he hid the TV remote ...

I love bats. I really love this bat.

This is the one that got me into trouble (sorry about the reflection, but I couldn't get a good angle on this one without standing on my desk). You know I love black cats and the look on this face reminded me so much of Esme when I dared to whistle and she had to come running and give me a good scolding!
I actually got a big and a small one. The big one is over my desk, the small one is next to my apartment door to warn visitors that two fierce black cats are ruling this place :-D

If you want your own new wall decoration, head over to Wiebke's shop. She has something for everyone, no matter if you love dogs, wildlife or birds, and the prints are great quality.


Oldies but Goodies - Jewel Tones

My love of jewelry started early. When I was a kid, we had these plastic "flowers", interlocking disks that you can build things from. They are still sold today, in big boxes. We didn't have hundreds of them which limited us in our choice of sculptures.
So all I can remember making with them are tiaras and bangles, with "sapphires", "rubies", "emeralds", "diamonds" and I have no idea what we called the yellow ones, maybe it was our idea of gold?

The pieces from our Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge are not plastic, they shine in beautiful jewel tones. As much as I enjoyed my fantasy jewels as a child, these are so much better! ;-)

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


Oldies but Goodies - Recent earrings

I struggle with making earrings. One problem is that I'm not very good at making two same things at a time, the other that I can obsess about mirror images. One dangly bead bigger than the other one, a pearl drop slightly different from the second one, a spiral not exactly the same? After tweaking and looking for alternatives I usually get over it, but gosh, it can be exhausting! ;-)

In today's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge you see earrings our JAC artisans made recently. We've got everything from playful, elegant and unique to sweet and fun. What is your favorite style?

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