5/29/2020

Tackle that stash - Bead embroidered mystery rock

I have a few tumbled rocks in my stash that I have been trying to use with different wire techniques forever, failing every time. I was never happy and always ripped them up again.
After a while this can almost turn into a obsession.
This rock was one of them. I don't know what kind of stone it is, but the orb like pattern and the soft colors were so appealing to me. A wire crochet or knit bezel didn't work, the feeble attempt at a prong setting failed not only because of the irregular shape of the rock but also because it was so smooth and slippery!

When I made my first steps into bead embroidery, I wondered if I could finally pin this rock down. The backside wasn't flat, but maybe I could glue down the ridge along the center and then secure the rock additionally with the beaded bezel.
After this worked out better than I had expected, I added the embellishments.
First I sewed down some spacer beads I had salvaged from a little crystal bracelet that I had found once. I chose beads to pick up colors from the rock which had brown, a soft pink and a hint of orange.
Somehow it reminds me of a coral reef. Maybe the spacer beads with their orange edgings make me think of sea anemones?


At first I wanted to turn it into a pendant and even tried out a few different bails, but none of them did it for me, so it's a brooch now instead.

5/28/2020

Oldies but Goodies - Young

I remember a lady once saying about a pair of my earrings that she guessed teenagers would like these. It wasn't a compliment. I would have taken this much harder when I started out making jewelry and kept thinking I was doing everything wrong, but in this case it just reminded me of something my ex had told me years ago and which I ignored as well in the end. He told me that I should stop dressing like a teenager - talking about my animal and nerdy t-shirts (and no, that was not the reason for the break-up).
Yes, there are things I wouldn't wear, bare midriff shirts for example, but that's my choice, not because someone else is telling me I'm too old for it.

The same goes for my jewelry. The jewelry I wear can be with diamonds or glass, elegant or whimsical, and no one can make me feel bad about that.

Today's topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is young, and that can mean different things to different people. In our time, what is young, anyway? Anything goes, right? If we like it or not, everyone embraces his own style, like I refused to get short hair. Why, just because I'm turning grey and the old color needs time to grow out? As long as I like my long hair, I'll keep it, and who knows once it's all grey I may braid it and put flowers in it ;-)
What does you make feel young at heart even if you are not on the outside anymore?

Here are some of the "young" pieces from the challenge. Which ones would you wear?


1 My Bijou Life
2 and 5 Cat's Wire
3 RioRita
4 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn

5/25/2020

Zibbet finds of the week - Animals to love, Pt. 2

In last week's Zibbet finds I showed you animals that were crocheted or knitted, and weren't they simply adorable? This week I brought you some more animals which are made in a different way and not all of them are toys, but they are definitely not less adorable!
Are you ready for it? Let's go.

Embroidered flour sack towels for every day of the week (check out the other days!) by EmbNut

Baby's first teddy (personalize with name) by BBs for Babies

Black cat plushie by Zoo Toys

Baby blanket owl quilt by Designs by Di Blankets

Wooden bird (choose your color) by Duane's Workshop

Rainbow bunny bean bags set by Handiworkin' Girls

5/21/2020

Oldies but Goodies - More flowers

Almost a year ago a friend and I made a short trip to Munich (to see Jane Goodall, one of the greatest experiences I've ever had). On the way back home we didn't take the quick way, but went for a little detour here and there (which was great because how else would we have found out there is something like soccer golf??).
I also remember a beautiful field overflowing with wheat and poppies and on the other side of the road one single poppy that had obviously left the family for adventure ;-)



When I stumbled upon this picture once again, it inspired this week's topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. We did flowers as a topic before, but that was so many years ago, since then new flowers were grown in JAC's garden. Here are some of them.


1 and 8 RioRita
2 and 6 Jewelry Art by Dawn
3 and 5 My Bijou Life
4 and 7 Cat's Wire

5/19/2020

Nostalgia - Drumbo

Some years ago when I still did the "Finds of the week" posts, I had some called "I'm a collector" in which I shared vintage items. Over time my collections have mostly stopped growing due to different reasons, but they are still there and still loved. I also have vintage items, some inherited, some gifts, some from fleamarkets, some more interesting than others. So I thought it could be fun to share some of them every, now and then and tell their story.

Although my family wasn't a customer of the Dresdner Bank (which has a rather infamous history, but that's not the topic of this post), we knew Drumbo of course. I didn't know his name was Drumbo, but I knew the little elephant that had been introduced as a money box in 1972 for the World Savings Day. My friend had one and I thought it was so cute!
Rumor had and still has it that the famous designer Luigi Colani is responsible for the minimalistic design, but according to the Commerzbank blog (the Commerzbank swallowed the bigger Dresdner Bank in 2009) that is not true, it was the designer Bernd Diefenbach who worked for a Munich design studio. I didn't know that myself before today.
Drumbo - the name was chosen from the 1.659 employees' suggestions and is a mix of the words "Dresdner Bank", "Dumbo", and "Jumbo" - came in green first (the bank's color was green), but later different sizes and colors were available. There were even porcelain version, plush animals, paperweights, and more.
You can still get Drumbo today, but only in yellow now because that is the Commerzbank's color.


My elephants that we got at a fleamarket years ago out of nostalgic feelings are orange and yellow as I don't like the particular green of the original one.
They are 6 cm and while I can't tell what year they are from exactly, I know they are not new as it says Dresdner Bank at the bottom.


As you can see there's no lock. If you wanted to empty your elephant, you had to use the knife in the slit method which required some patience, but also was kind of fun, but you better didn't wait until it was full because then the only way to get your money out again was to break it!
The new versions and bigger sizes, though, do have locks.
So my Drumbos are not being used (as if I had money to save when there are beads, ha), but guard the category "Nature" in my bookcase instead.

5/18/2020

Zibbet finds of the week - Animals to love, Pt. 1

Have I mentioned before that I collect Steiff? Just kidding, of course I know I did.
I have also shown you my very own teddy bear which has been my best friend since I was born, mostly because he knows all my secrets, gulp. This morning when he knocked the tissue box off my nightstand again (he tends to lose balance sometimes, then his head knocks it down, maybe I'm snoring and he doesn't get enough sleep ;-)), I had to give him a quick hug. I'm not a natural hugger of everyone and everything in my sight, but now, after more than nine weeks in isolation and without Ponder (still not able to talk about that) even I miss an occasional hug. Gundel loves snuggles, but she's even less of a hugger than myself!
This gave me the idea to hop over to Zibbet and look for animals to love. As you see, this is part 1 which concentrates on crocheted and knitted animals.
Say hello to these cuties!

Crocheted guinea fowl by JEM Creative Creations


Poo-Poo calf and his Mom crocheted by Dum Dum's Shop

Stuffed toy animal lamb by Barking Dog Designs

Knitted pig toy by Dong Lai Handmade

Crocheted classic colors sock monkey by Miniature Monkey Creations

Crocheted duckling by Created By Chell

5/16/2020

Random Saturday - Three million balls

We have three million knobbly balls in this house. Believe me, I know. This kind of balls has been around here since 2011 when we first got some as an extra with cat food. How I know? I looked it up because I don't have a life.
What I don't know, however, is where they are. I never threw one of them away, but I kept getting new ones because they are an essential part of cat life here.
This was Esme in the middle of a night in 2012.



This was Gundel in 2017. Look familiar?



I even complained about the typical thunk thunk sound of a ball dropped on the floor in one of Ponder's blog posts before.
Meffi and the boys liked to play with them as well, but Meffi was too dignified to fetch and Ponder was too quick for me to a better picture than this. Greebo played ball, but he only fetched his very special extra big household rubber band.


Esme preferred the yellow balls, Gundel doesn't make a difference. I sometimes think she can't see the yellow ball that well, but often I can't myself on the wooden floors or the floor in the hallway. Esme used to drop her ball on my desk when she wanted to play or brought it to my bed. How often had I wondered at night why Esme was sitting so patiently next to me telling her she should bring me a ball, and then I would find one of them tucked into my blankets the next morning. It made me feel bad every time until I finally learned to check for those balls if the Silent Black Cat was sitting next to me.
Ponder brought them to bed, but he dropped them right on me because he knew what a fool I was and had zero trust in my ever being able to learn.

Gundel brings them to bed sometimes, but mostly to my computer chair if I sit there. She also loves to dribble them through the flat when I'm in bed.

I'm great with knobbly balls. I try to throw them exclusively up or down the hallway because chances are better I'll be able to find them again. The point of them being knobbly, though, is that you don't know which way there are going to bounce which is more fun for a cat. Over time I taught myself some great trick shots.
Okay. It's all a lie. I suck at throwing balls. My trick shots are accidents. The balls end up in pockets of jackets on my wardrobe, they get stuck between jackets or even in folds, they hit water and food bowls. I throw them in a way that come back to me landing before my feet. A while ago the guy who worked on the heating found some behind the washing machine. They are under the bed, under sideboards, behind doors, under the wardrobe and I don't know where else.
Almost nine years of balls, balls, balls, and even though I did the big round today and crawled around on the floor like an idiot (Ponder would have loved that) while Gundel waited for me in the hallway wondering when I was finally going to turn up for play hour, these were the only ones I could find. Only two days ago I still had four of the blue ones, how ... where .... why?? And where is the ball hiding that bounced into the bathroom today? Neither Gundel nor I could find it!
For now I hid them and left just one out for Gundel, so we can really have fun again tomorrow!



By the way, if you noticed the difference of the balls within the same color - matte and shiny -  that is because the company had to change the rubber mix. Luckily none of my cats ever did it, but there were cats who chewed on those balls and managed to bite little pieces off and even swallow them. Now the rubber isn't as soft anymore to avoid that, but that also means the balls don't jump as high anymore. Hmmm ... now I wonder if I should maybe check higher areas for those old specimens ...

5/15/2020

Tackle that stash - First bead embroidered pendant

First, I have to make a confession. There were times when I wasn't a fan of bead embroidery. In a time where I was all about airy wire crochet and knit, the only bead embroidered pieces I got to see were huge bangles. Don't get me wrong, I always admired the technique as such, the colors, the craftsmanship, but those bangles looked so heavy to me.
Over the years I got to see more and more very different pieces, though, and I noticed how the look began growing on me. I think I hadn't even been aware that some things were bead embroidered, and obviously I didn't remember that I (had?) owned a pendant myself that my best friend had given me as a gift when I was about 11.

The other day when I went to look for some beads, I noticed a box on my storage boxes. My storage boxes are in shelves, so a flat white box is rather inconspicuous. I opened it and found two sheets of "Stiff Stuff" which is used for bead embroidery. I very vaguely remembered ordering it months ago, but why? It probably had to do with a project that I am actually working on now.
Having nothing better to do at the moment I decided spontaneously to make my first embroidered pendant and picked a labradorite cab, round because it seemed the easiest to do as a beginner. Then I watched about three minutes of a 45 minute video to see if it was done the way I thought. This is not supposed to be showing off, but after all I already knew basic peyote bezels, so I just needed to make sure about what stitch to use for the start and how to finish the edges for the backing in the end.

I gathered some beads that seemed to work well with the lab and played around. This was actually rather fun to do and I even found some more beads I had completely forgotten about.
When it was time for the final backing, however, I noticed that I hadn't ordered of that.
After looking around on eBay and finding one piece of Ultrasuede, a bargain at £9.999 (it was obviously a typo) I turned to my trusted bead advisors - everyone should have at least one of those - and asked them what they preferred to use. Then I ordered something that looked right to me from the picture. When it arrived a few days later I found it wasn't the right thing. After banging my head on the desk a few times I looked around again and found a new bead store in the process. Nothing wrong about that, is it? :-D
Well, and when my order arrived, I glued on the Ultrasuede (with a little much too glue it seems, now I have some small spots on the back, but given the strained relationship between glue and me it could have been much worse), did the edging and couldn't resist a few more tiny seed beads around the firepolished crystals before adding a brick stitch bail.


There's no stopping me now! ;-)

5/14/2020

Oldies but Goodies - Australia

The year was 1982 and my English teacher made us do a report to the class. I should mention that we don't - or at least didn't - have something like "Show and Tell" in school. We rarely had to speak to the class unless we had to recite a poem which was hard enough (I'm still trying to get over the traumatic experience of Goethe's Wizard Apprentice, I sucked at that one big time).
My teacher gave each one us part of a book about American history and told us to talk about it. What she hadn't said was that she expected us to do that maybe with some note cards in case we lost the thread, but definitely not to mostly read off a paper we put together. The whole class had got that wrong - and we had some super A students - so I still think it was her own fault. I remember I had something about Marconi and my brother helped me with it because technical stuff is really not my thing and I was bored out of my mind.
After this disaster my teacher said we had to do another report, no reading off this time, but we were allowed to pick our own topic. I picked Australia because at the time I kept dragging home heaps of books about the Australian fauna from the library. I also sent a letter to the Australian Embassy in Bonn asking for information - no internet in 1982 - and they sent me back a big envelope with all kinds of flyers which I hadn't expected at all!
This time I didn't need help because the topic was so interesting to me. I remember a friend of mine asking if I could tell her something beforehand, so she could score with the teacher, so I taught her the word "marsupial" (we simply call them "pouch animals" here). My teacher was obviously impressed ;-)

On to this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge for items reminding of Australia, be it the colors of the desert for example, a mineral, or an animal that is connected with Australia in some way.
I hope you like my selection!



1 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 6 RioRita
3 and 4 Cat's Wire
5 and 7 My Bijou Life

5/11/2020

Zibbet finds of the week - Wild cats

Today I had the incredibly rare chance to see a panther in the wild. As you see, I didn't dare getting too close, but I managed to take a picture. I call it "Panther in the Sun".


Don't argue with me about that, Gundel can definitely behave like a little panther sometimes, especially if I try to hold her for too long, and she's a predator. At the moment she's stalking something on my desk and I have no doubt that she'll catch it in the end! Mostly because it's something that's not alive and can't run away ...

Big cats have been playing a role in my dreams ever since I was a kid, mostly black panthers and lions. That doesn't mean these dreams have always been nightmares. Big cats are fascinating, elegant and powerful.
Today I want to show you some different wild cats that I found on my own little "safari" on Zibbet.

The Crying Stone Lion photo by John Harmon Gallery

Hand painted tiger sneakers by Wen Artwork

ACEO "Yellow Mountain Lion - North" by 3 Cats Jewelry and Arts

Vintage polygon men's t-shirt by Digital Art

Baby tiger hat by The Whimsical Studio

Silver and black leopard eyelash scarf by Breitwerk

Printed illustration on laminated wood - The Lion by Colorful Thoughts

5/07/2020

Oldies but Goodies - Lightweight

There are times when lightweight jewelry is just what you need, in summer for example. In summer I already feel heavy enough without even wearing anything ;-) so I can't stand much extra weight.
JAC to the rescue! This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is all about lightweight pieces of jewelry.
Here's my little selection, but why don't you hop over to the original look and have a look for more?


1 Cat's Wire
2 RioRita
3 My Bijou Life
4 Jewelry Art By Dawn
5 The Crafty Chimp

5/04/2020

Zibbet finds of the week - Spring again

A lot of people are talking about spring these days, but spring is different this year. Sun, the fresh colors, blooming flowers, birds singing, bees buzzing, that certain feeling in the air ... but many of us can't enjoy it like we used to in former years.
I have been pretty much stuck in my flat for almost two months myself now, except for short trips to the trash can and the mailbox (so exciting! ;-)) and a little time spent in the backyard with the small garden strip around it.
The colors are out there, though, in the early morning I've had a little bird visitor on my window sill every, now and then, and I can feel a soft breeze coming in through the windows. Not at the moment, it has been very chilly today, but it'll be back.



So I thought I'd take a little virtual spring stroll through Zibbet, and here's what I found for you.


Reinforced guinea pig and hedgehog tunnel by Sewing in Czech Republic


16 x 20 glass print pink and white daisy by Two Rabbits (S. Panico Photography)


Spring blue sky bottlecap pincushion by Creative Miscellany




March of the ladybugs dress (6 months) by Artsy Crafty
 
Red, orange and yellow tulips brooch by Bread & Roses Handcraft


Elven princess spring wedding tiara by Thyme 2 Dream


Spring market tote with pockets by Nettie's Cottage Creations

5/01/2020

Oldies but Goodies - Pendant favorites

It's one day late because of the Art Elements reveal yesterday, but nothing stops the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, well, almost nothing.
Pendants are many people's favorite pieces of jewelry. I love pendants, I always have. The first one that I remember getting as a child was a silver heart. I wore it for many years, and it's still in my jewelry box. Another one from my childhood was a filigree flower. For some reason I was convinced that it was an edelweiss which it definitely wasn't.
Over the years others joined the exclusive club of favorites, some left it again because my taste changed, some stayed, some are connected with memories, others not so much.

If you make jewelry yourself, especially if it's mostly one of a kind, the memories are different. You may remember a piece custom made for someone for a special occasion or maybe the customer told you why they bought a particular piece. I remember one of the first pendants I sold, a pearl in wire crocheted sterling silver, the customer said she was looking so much forward to wearing it for her wedding. I don't think I breathed until she got the parcel and said that she loved it!
Maybe you remember how you made a piece become exactly what you wanted or what inspired you at the time or, like I often do, what you watched while working on it. "White bead loomed loop choker - first the X-Files episode "Alpha", then the original "Village of the Damned" ... that was the night the ex came home very late from a Japan trip and I almost freaked because I hadn't expected him yet, who dares to make strange sounds when I'm watching a spooky movie"! Does that happen to you, too?

There were a lot of entries in the challenge this time which didn't come as a surprise because it's soooo hard to pick a favorite! Or five! Or ten!!! ;-)
Then I had to pick from those faves for the collage, that wasn't easy, either. Prepare for a wonderful mix of different materials, designs and techniques. Why don't you pick a favorite piece, too?



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