Oldies but Goodies - Clubbing

I'm not a clubgoer, I never have been. Even as a teenager I didn't hang out in discos much. One reason is that, as mentioned before, I don't dance, the others are the crowd and the noise. I remember one time at a disco - for some strange reason I also remember the jeans I wore which had red dye over the denim - and hating it so much that I said I would never go to a disco again. That was at the age of 16. If the others didn't try to find a bit of space on the small dance floor (the best excuse for me to not even try it), we sat in our corner niche and yelled at each other because it was so loud.

Seems my fellow JAC members were a bit at a loss when they saw the topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge.
In the end, however, they came up with beautiful items you could wear when going to different clubs. We have bling, we have simple elegance, we have fun ... and that all works for a club, right? :-D

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


Oldies but Goodies - A favorite color

Do you have a favorite color? Answer quickly!
You may be cast into the Gorge of Eternal Peril if you don't get it right, though.

I have said before that my favorite color is black - yes, I know it's not a color - but in fact it has always been yellow although I doubt many people would believe that as I never wear yellow and hardly ever work in yellow. That, however, doesn't have to do with me not liking the color, but with it being such a difficult color.
While I think it's a happy color, it doesn't make me look happy when I wear it, so I gave up on that a long time ago. My wire supplier doesn't offer truly yellow wire. There are not that many yellow stones, either.
It's still my favorite color.

Favorite colors were the topic for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, and it's nice to see that not all of us picked the same color, that would have been a bit boring.
Be prepared for a fireworks of colors, and don't forget to tell us your own favorite!

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


Catweazle button

Do you know Catweazle? I have a Catweazle button that had been in one of my glass cabinets for years and years. You know those button badges with a message, a favorite singer, a cartoon character or even your own photo (there used to be a stand making those at the beer tent during our annual town fest).
I still remember I had to have Catweazle, I was always a fan. In fact it's the only button like this that I have ever seen, maybe the seller made it himself.
As a teenager I loved those buttons, I always wore one of Snoopy and alternated others on my denim jacket.
Eventually I didn't find a jacket that I liked anymore or I liked them and they didn't fit, and eventually I lost my buttons. Except two, Snoopy and Catweazle (although Snoopy is hiding, in a drawer probably).

I blame my friend and fellow JAC member Carole for what comes next. Why is it Carole's fault that I had to turn our old English sorcerer into a piece of jewelry, though?
She shared a button press which reminded me of Catweazle (and Snoopy). I knew exactly where he was (now that's a new one, a safe place that I remember!), and I thought I'd experiment a little and do some bead embroidering. The experimenting part was that I wanted to use the original pin in the back. So I had to cut a hole in the center of my "Stiff Stuff" which didn't leave much surface for the glueing.

Glue story #1,478,575. I'm running low on glue ... do you know what happens if you you do? You squeeze a little harder and watch the opening at the same time. Nothing comes out, so you squeeze a little harder in case it has dried up a bit. That's the moment when it shoots out and you get it all over the button, your hands, and your t-shirt. So you clean up everything - which sounds much less time consuming than it was - glue the button on and hope for the best.

Except for the firepolished crystals my choice of beads was rather random, I used the colors that I had in a bead cup from when I ripped up a bead scarf recently.
I bet Catweazle never thought he could get that sparkly!

Now came the difficult part, cutting a hole into the center of the Ultrasuede. My plan was to make it a little smaller and then make cuts all around, so I could fold the Ultrasuede into the rim of the button's back ... and glue it. When will I ever learn?
It's by no means perfect, but maybe it will be better the next time. Maybe I'll get myself some scissors that work better for this or maybe I use Ultrasuede in a color that actually let's me see see the line I'm supposed to follow. I would have liked to make the back nicer, but at least it's functional.

Which challenge is next? ;-)


Art Elements Challenge - Blue

Actually I would have liked to post this on Friday because it's a real stash tackler, but I just didn't make it in time although I had started working on it weeks if not months ago.
Originally this was not supposed to be an entry for the Art Elements challenge. The challenge made me pick this neglected WIP up again, though.

Let's start at the beginning. I had ordered cabs, among them a carved labradorite cab. My order arrived, I had a look and noticed that the lab had a crack and the next thing was me having two pieces in my hands. Don't you just hate when things like that happen?
I didn't throw it away because I thought I could try something artsy with it. I know, I know, but I'm a Swabian, so I am bound by stereotype to not throwing things away until I'm really, really, 100% sure I can't use it in some way. In ten years maybe. Also, when I held the pieces together I was reminded of a fish of the kind we used to draw as children, with that one curved line separating the face from the body.
Every time I was at the cab drawer, I saw the little "fish", and finally I decided to give it a try with bead embroidery.
I glued the cab, beaded the bezel and gave it a bead eye. Then I put it in my box with the bugle beads that were leftover from the beaded sneakers and the Twin Beads from when I had ripped up a bead scarf the other day. I simply didn't have an idea for hiding the crack yet.
he box has a permanent spot on my bed, by the way, with my macrame board on top because a certain little cat loves to sit on it. Anything for my mistress!

When I saw that this month's topic for the AE challenge was blue, I had almost finished something else and I had found a blue/green bead soup baggie in my stash drawers. It had been a gift and you could tell that someone had made this soup on purpose as the colors were really pretty together. My motivation was back!
I also had an idea for the crack now, a simple beaded strip from size 15 seed beads that was stiff enough to hold the curve and hid the crack perfectly.
Then I embroidered an ocean for my little fish using the bead soup and some of my leftover bugles and last but not least I gave him fins - no idea why, but he looks like a Rudy to me.
Finally, to make his ocean a little more interesting I sewed on some button and potato pearls.

But now what? A brooch, a bracelet focal, a pendant?
I found it was too big for a brooch and I didn't have any pins that would have been big enough, anyway. So I finished off the back as I didn't have to prepare the Ultrasuede for a pin.
It looked kind of nice held against my wrist, but not nice enough to think of a solution for how to make this into a bracelet now.
It needed some kind of beaded rope, but the blue beads were much too irregular for a rope. There were the Twin Beads in my box, though, and I had a lot of the clear mix (clear, silver lined, AB) that I could use for a Herringbone chain with the "ocean" seed beads at the sides.

Here's the result. I have to confess that part of me thought about adding a fringe, but that would have been over the top. What do you think?

I should add that this piece is not going into my shop of course, after all there's a broken stone in this one. It will have to stay mine :-)

This is not a blog carnival anymore, but I will add links to other challenge blog posts later as they come in. So please check back at the end of the month!


Nostalgia - Vintage cat photos

When was the last time you have felt really, really old? I don't mean feeling old after a hard workday or after climbing a steep hill or if you are groaning every time you get out of bed. I mean ancient.
Let me tell you about that one time I ordered takeout food. Most of my delivery guys were really nice. At the time I ordered quite regularly or waited for my order at the place itself, and sometimes we got into a conversation.

And then there was this one guy. He was friendly, everything was fine ... until he saw the two photos on the dresser in my hallway. These photos ...

... and said "Such nice pictures! Are you one of those girls?"

I had thought the highlight of my life had been when an English speaking student at work had called me Ma'am, but this was way better. So I replied with a smile "Erm, no, those are vintage pictures, from way before I was born."
I could tell he was not convinced, he just said "Oh, okay."
Believe it or not, I never saw him again. Had I scared him off?? Maybe my smile wasn't as friendly as I had thought? :-P

Where we got these pictures, I can't remember. The ex picked them because they went so nicely with our vintage dresser, and of course the cat reminded us a lot of our Dude.

I thought of getting one of the photos or postcards or whatever they are out to see if there maybe was a photographer's stamp, printer's info or a date, but one of them has a paper glued to the back which is cardboard and after pulling out two of the small nails on the other one, I still couldn't remove the picture, so I thought I'd better leave it alone.

The interesting part is that there's a wooden strip on each picture that is painted black with engraved words which have been gilded. It is slid in between the frame and the glass.
One says "Gute Kameraden" = "Good mates", the other one "Spielgefährten" = "Playmates".
I have tried to find out more and see if there are others like these, but didn't have any luck so far.

If you google vintage photos, you will find others like these with girls and cats, often white Persian cats. In the old times Persian cats looked more like Angora cats (we always thought that Dude was at least part Angora) and didn't have flat faces yet that some breeders try to get away from again because they cause so many health problems. They have always been popular, even Queen Victoria loved them.
Excuse me, I think I'm getting dragged down the hole of historical cat facts and vintage pictures now ....


Oldies but Goodies - Moods

Remember mood rings? Well, I have moods. Sometimes I have a lot of them very quickly after one another, especially in these times. Please tell me it's the same for you or I'm going to feel very childish! I could probably make a mood ring explode from all those color changes ;-)
Our topic for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge (you may have noticed we had a little summer break) is moods. I was very curious to see what moods the participants would choose.

Do you want to play a little game? I'll show you the collage and you can try to guess what mood the individual pieces convey in the eyes of their creator. I will post the "solution" at the bottom.
Maybe a piece says something different to you, how about telling us what?

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


The "mood list" :-)

1 Calm
2 Posh
3 Dark
4 Romantic
5 Scary
6 Playful
7 Light
8 Loving


A new outfit for Francie

This is the story of Francie who came over as a gift from the US months ago (warning: it's going to be a long post). I don't have that many Francie outfits that are not already worn by the other dolls, and on top of that this girl has a major problem with her knees as you can see.

This particular doll is a Bendable Leg Francie, but you won't be surprised to hear that she is not able to hold that bend anymore. It rather looks like she had had to bend her legs too often, in fact one leg also has splits in the back, and I was a little afraid it would break off while working on her.
Usually you would use a doll like her for a body part donor or try to find a donor for her, but I thought for everything she obviously had to go through - children can be so tough on their dolls, I should know looking at my own Stacey - I'd give her an outfit to hide her knees instead.
First of all I washed off the grime of years, mostly off her legs. It was a surprise that the rest of her body and the head still looked quite good in comparison, and her face was beautiful with the rooted eyelashes still being perfectly full.

I started the jumpsuit in the same way as the last dress I made, with a bodice beaded in the Herringbone technique. The original plan had been to make the bodice completely in a gunmetal color, but I wasn't sure if I had enough beads, so there's a gunmetal strip at the waist now to separate the bodice from the legs.
So the bodice is now made from size 11 seed beads in a rich dark blue mix combined with size 15s in a very light shimmering blue.
Since I didn't want this to be an evening outfit, it's neither strapless nor does it have thin straps. In fact I even contemplated a turtle neck for a bit, but it was so hot when I worked on this part that I couldn't get myself to do it! I am weird that way, I do imagine what an outfit would feel like if I wore it. Beading all the way to the top gave me one or the other problem with the armholes, also because - as mentioned before - it's not easy to work having to hold the whole doll. It's amazing how limbs tend to get in the way!

The real problem, however, would be the pant legs. I had worked it all out in my mind ... how to work down to a particular point and then increase the pattern between the legs and bead down from there on both sides. I figured it would be hard to get started, but I really underestimated the task completely. The gap between the legs simply wasn't big enough to add the row of beads from which I wanted to work down, at least not to make it look good. I tried several times, but in the end I had to give up on it.
The new plan was a mini skirt and overknee boots. For decency I did add a small strip of beads between the legs which later proved to be completely needless. At the skirt bottom I added some gunmetal beads, like a little trim. These few beads will be important later.

Then I began beading the boots. In the end I had made them three times and ripped them up in parts or completely every time because they were kind of okay, but kind of okay simply wasn't good enough. I was so glad, though, that the legs survived that ordeal because I kept taking the boots off and putting them back on in my futile attempt to fit them perfectly to the legs. In the third attempt I added the part for the feet and that's when my scissors went crazy for good. It's strange how frustrating yet relieving it can be to cut up something you are not completely happy with!
Now if Francie didn't get boots, it had to be a long skirt or pants after all. The thought of making yet another tight skirt - after all the top part was already tight and I wasn't prepared to cut that up again as well - didn't appeal to me, though, and I had already failed with the pants. What to do?
That's when I had the idea of the bead tubes for pant legs which I would attach to the skirt part. I only wished I hadn't put "the trim" on, but how about turning that into a fun detail, maybe a hint of lace?
I also ripped the first tube up twice because I had to try out if I liked bell bottoms better, but in the end I found I needed the width of the tubes at the top to be able to sew them to the trim and to fit them around Francie's thighs. Also I didn't want to take more chances with her knees in an attempt to make the tubes fit tightly around them, so they were wide all the way to the bottom (which gave this project the working title "Francie Dietrich" ;-)).

Next I sewed the two tubes together for the seam between the legs, added two more rows of Herringbone, so they would sit right, and the same trim as on the skirt. Then I pulled the tubes over Francie's legs very carefully and sewed trim to trim with some more beads for the "lace" (that's another idea I may keep in mind for future projects).

Of course my mind is already bustling with ideas to improve the pants design, like making the "skirt" part as short as possible - although it can't be too short as it's not as easy to pull up those tubes with the small gap between the legs AND maybe I'll have to use a little powder the next time because the beads tend to stick on the vinyl - or wider or try a skinny jeans fit after all, but there are other things on my list first.

The next big challenge were the shoes, they always are, not so much in this case because it is impossible to get shoes for Francie, but because it seems right to try and make beaded ones to go with the outfit.
Luckily she has flat feet which called for some kind of slippers and to my surprise it worked out at the first try - with ladder stitch and Herringbone and brick stitch.
The biggest surprise, however, was that you can actually remove the shoes and put them back on. They sit on the feet nicely and won't fall right off. I'll definitely have to keep this design in mind and maybe I'll be able to develop it into a boot design and even adapt it a little for Barbie feet which are made for high heels.

By now I was very relaxed because the most difficult things lay behind me.
All Francie needed was a bracelet because she couldn't go completely without jewelry, a purse and a hat.
The bracelet was quick and easy, just a little peyote strip from the size 15s.

The purse is done in peyote as well. It's sewn up on the sides only, so Francie can open it and put something in there, tissues, a few coins, probably a cell phone. It doesn't have a flap because I started running out of the blue beads. Inspired by genuine vintage Francie purses it has a little strap going through a loop to close it, though.

Last but not least I wanted to give Francie a hat. She has very full hair, but on one side the plugs seem to be filled a little strangely, so the strands of hair keep separating and showing the plugs, even after shampooing and brushing them thoroughly (not to mention that Gundel almost took off with her head that I had left on a shelf while the hair was drying, that would have been very awkward).
I figured a hat would take care of that, but also compliment the outfit. That too is done in peyote technique and picks up the outfit's colors.
Can you believe that I have exactly five beads left over from the blue mix now?

After putting the hat on, I had a vaguely familiar vibe coming from this outfit, and it came to me. While the style is not the same, the purse and hat and pants do remind of a vintage outfit called "Bells" (#1275 from the 1200 series fashions, 1967).

So here she is ... Francie in her brandnew outfit!

Francie, Barbie, and Stacey are registered trademarks of Mattel, Inc. I am not affiliated with Mattel in any way.