Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Flowers

It has been a few months since I last participated in the Art Elements Design Challenge. While my muse is still on an extended vacation at a place unknown to me, I responded to this month's topic right away.
Flowers, that's easy enough even for me, I thought. The bonus was that I had already planned a flower piece for the Jewelry Artisans Community challenge! Now I had just to pull it through of which I wasn't sure yet.
Stick with me for my story, will you?

Shortly before my birthday in June my pal gave me a wonderful gift. We would go to see Jane Goodall, one of my heroines since childhood, in Munich.
On the way back home the next day we didn't take the direct route, but went along the little towns and villages (where we discovered for example that there's something called soccer golf, but that is not part of this story). Summertime, flowers in the fields, a/c in the car to protect us from the heat outside ;-) it was very relaxed. At one point I wanted to get out of the car and take a picture, though.
This was the field with the most poppies along the way and it brought back memories big time. As a kid and teenager I had a friend with a dachshund. Near the house where we would take Finni for a walk there was a big field with poppies and cornflowers. It was beautiful, and I don't know why, but on my friend's birthday - we've lost touch since - this field is always what I think of first. I guess it's one of those romanticized childhood memories of lighthearted fun.
So we got out and I took a picture of the field on the other side of the road and one of the single poppy on our side of the road. Probably ran away from home to see the world, that one.

Can't you just see Dorothy and her three companions falling asleep in the field of poppies that the Wicked Witch prepared to keep them from making it to Oz?

On with the story. These pictures became the inspiration for my flower/summer piece.
I had a plan. I would do something that I had only done successfully once before. I would bead crochet a rope with a pattern of stylized poppies. That sounds easy enough again, doesn't it?
It wasn't. You have to know that I had tried bead crocheting several times before and I didn't get the hang of it, so I always stopped after a few rows. I hadn't even bothered making a pattern then. Finally I tried it again when I ripped up a piece I had made with size 8 seed beads, a good size for practicing.

Now I was determined. I went to my neglected bead crochet program, ready to go - and it didn't work. I couldn't even download it again, but I wouldn't let such small things get in my way, naaaah, not this time! I downloaded the old version and made a very simple poppy pattern using the colors of size 11 seed beads that I had in my stash.
I didn't have any yarn except what was left over from my bead knitting course, yellow or white. Obviously yellow was not the right choice. A lighter blue would have been better than the white, but it would work.

The pattern was not simple enough for me, it seemed. It's amazing how often you can count wrong while stringing beads or get confused in the middle of an easy bead sequence, so you for example repeat something that shouldn't have been repeated.
There was one moment when I was very ready to throw that beaded yarn against the wall. Once again there was cursing, but in the end I had done it. It was the first miracle.

So I started crocheting and while the tension in some spots is less than perfect - after all I was only used to crocheting with wire - I managed to finish the rope. That was the second miracle.

Next stop, glue trauma. There is no way to explain how much I hate glue and glue hates me. In this case you can tell by the clasp. My glue hadn't been used for a while and I first had to dig out some gunk to get the glue to flow right at all. Which it then did in a most generous and unplanned way.
You would have been so proud of me. I cursed just a little and did my best to clean up the clasp (and my shirt, thank you very much). There's still some on the beads next to the clasp, but this piece obviously isn't for sale anyway, so I took a deep breath and kept going.
Next I filed down the clasp. I had only got a gold tone clasp in the right size, and I'm not really into gold and even less into shiny gold, so I wanted it to have at least a matte finish.

Originally I had planned to add something to the rope, a 3D effect, a beaded poppy maybe, not necessarily a big one, just as a little extra. After I had mde three attempts at beaded poppies, I gave up. I just didn't like the look, and even though this is a simple rope now, it had been quite the achievement for me to finish it at all.
So here you go - a very long story and a very simple result.

I could have made more flowers. I have bead loomed flower patterns, I have crocheted and knitted flowers with wire. I had made them from polymer clay. My only tutorial ever is a small flower.
This simple rope necklace, however, had deserved to be the star this time.

Not only a design challenge, but also a blog hop - please have a look at what the other participants have to show you. It will be like walking through a beautiful garden! :-)


Alysen - Cat (that's me ;-)) - Divya - Evie and Beth - Hope - Jill - Kathy - Linda - Martha - Melissa - Michelle - Rozantia - Sarah - Sarajo - Tammy

AE team members

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


Random Saturday - Vandals

I admit my librarian's heart skipped a beat when I went to pick up a needle (yes, I keep my beading tray hidden away in one shelf of my book cabinets) and came upon this act of vandalism. I'm just glad it wasn't the cabinet with the beading tray!!
How it could happen at all, you ask? Well, these cabinets are almost 50 years old, and for some reason I don't manage to lock all the doors anymore so they really stay locked.
For some other reason it was always the black cats that were fascinated with those cabinets. Ponder regularly tries to fight his way in as soon as I open a door, but in this case I suspect it was Gundel who was in the mood of not taking no for an answer today.

Oh, and yes, if you take a close look and are old enough, you may recognize that the books on the top are "Family Affair" going with the TV show from the late 60s as this happens to be my children's books cabinet. For me "Family Affair" will always be connected with a Saturday bath and a blue bathrobe with white poodles on it.
And yes again, I do own two copies of "Charlotte's Web", one in English, one in German.

Now excuse me while I go interview a little black cat ...