Holiday jewelry and decorations

Happy Hallowe'en!
If you have read this blog in fall before, you know that I love Hallowe'en even though I'm sure the sweets I have prepared this year will end up on my hips which can't afford it. I didn't get much because visits are scarce even in normal years and 2020 is definitely not a normal year.

What I really want to talk about, however, is the blog carnival topic at the Jewelry Artisans Community.
"Do you make holiday jewelry?"
That's something I can reply to with a big YES. I love making holiday jewelry or decorations! As a matter of fact, my shop has got its own little category for that. Pumpkins, vampires, black cats, but also Santa Cats and Christmas baubles are usually irresistible for me to make, and of course there are my Easter eggs as well.
These are just a few examples.

This year, I have to admit, I haven't made anything related to a holiday. Due to the shipping restrictions which had lasted months, I hardly even made any jewelry at all, but concentrated on some big personal projects instead none of which has anything to do with holidays.
I have to be in the right mood, it helps if I'm watching something creepy or listening to Christmas carols (why I love the traditional ones so much, I can't tell you, but they make me feel warm and fuzzy inside), and I have to feel it.

Maybe that was the reason why I struggled so much with the JAC September/October challenge although I had only planned a very small ring. I won't even tell you how often I ripped this up completely or in parts.
This one was a challenge for sure, but my friend cheered me on, so I can say that I made at least one Hallowe'en piece just in time. The ring is based on one of my first own looming patterns, the "I vant to bite you" bracelet and choker.
I chose an off-white for the background to symbolize the vampire's pale skin, a mix of silver lined red and dark orange for the full mouth and a light white lined red for the drop of blood.

Who knows, maybe this will motivate me to get ready for Christmas after all!
And yes, I know, the American Thanksgiving is in November, but we don't celebrate our Thanksgiving in this way, so there won't be any turkey jewelry ... ;-)

Let's see what other JAC members have to tell!

Jewelry Art by Dawn


Oldies but Goodies - The Magpie

This week the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge was to show something that people think a magpie would steal.
Not only did we get some lovely entries, but also a literal magpie piece and two stories.

I remember one time when I was working on a jewelry project outside. I went inside the house to get something to eat and when I went back outside there was a magpie perched on the table getting ready to steal my pendant!"

I once was standing on a pavement near my home and right in front of me saw a magpie walking shamelessly with a round brass ring in its beak!"

Are magpies really shameless thieves then? British scienctists say they aren't (if you are interested in at least the abstract to the article published in 2015 in the journal Animal Cognition, you can find it here): "We suggest that humans notice when magpies occasionally pick up shiny objects because they believe the birds find them attractive, while it goes unnoticed when magpies interact with less eye-catching items. The folklore may therefore result from observation bias and cultural inflation of orally transmitted episodic events." I guess we owe magpies an apology.

To be honest, I think a magpie may have had problems to pick up some of the entered pieces, anyway, but that sure doesn't take away from their beauty!

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


The HeatherCat shoes - Part 2, Biskit's Bum (ft. Hannah Needle)

For those who missed the first part - which you can find here - and those who don't know the HeatherCats yet, here's a little explanation.
"Heather is a friend of mine, a painter from New Zealand. I met her on deviantART and got to know the Essencestudios. I couldn't even tell you in what group it was, but among her talents Heather has a talent for bright, whimsical paintings, many of which are cats, so how could I not be fascinated the moment I saw the first one?" This is from the first blog post I wrote about the HeatherCats and in which you will find the whole story how it started.

For the second side of the first shoe I chose another favorite of mine among her paintings, Biskit's Bum.
Here's the original painting.

What makes this one even more special is that Biskit was Heather's own cat who lived to be over 20 years old ❤️ ...

If you compare this to the Lazy Cat, you see that there's less detail, therefore I thought it would be quicker to do, but maybe that and the fact that I broke even more needles than the last time wasn't that good for motivation. I'm not a master at repetitive patterns.

I didn't give up, however, so one shoe is finished now, yay!
It was too dark already, I had to take the picture with flash which obviously changes the colors a bit. If I can get a better picture tomorrow, I'll add it to the post.

Last but not least let me introduce you to Hannah Needle, my employee of the month. She was at my side through the hardest part of the shoe, literally speaking, towards the heel. She had to give up four beads before the shoe was done. Her sacrifice will not be forgotten.


Oldies but Goodies - Rainy Days

The last Oldies but Goodies challenge was about fall colors, and this week is about rainy days that fall will (hopefully) bring as we still need rain.
I love rainy days, and the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge didn't disappoint with its beautiful entries for the topic. It was very hard to pick only a few!
Do you have memories about rainy days that were special to you? When people are surprised that I like rain, I tell them the story about when I was in 2nd grade and there was a thunderstorm. The classroom was dark even with the lights being on, and I remember feeling safe and snug and enjoying the spectacle outside.
Enough now, time for some jewelry!

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


The HeatherCat shoes - Part 1, zzzzzz... or Lazy Cat

After my last shoe adventure  I had vowed not to work on something big that fast again. How silly of me. I thought of the HeatherCats and knew there would not just be another pair of sneakers in my "near" future. I wanted to go a step further. With the last shoes I didn't have to think about a pattern. With vertical seams in the fabric and bugles for beads there wasn't much room for a pattern. But the HeatherCats ....

For those who don't know the HeatherCats yet, here's a little explanation.

"Heather is a friend of mine, a painter from New Zealand. I met her on deviantART and got to know the Essencestudios. I couldn't even tell you in what group it was, but among her talents Heather has a talent for bright, whimsical paintings, many of which are cats, so how could I not be fascinated the moment I saw the first one?" This is from the first blog post I wrote about the HeatherCats and in which you will find the whole story how it started. As a matter of fact the cat in the first bracelet I ever made after her paintings was also the first cat that I chose as my first shoe pattern.

This project really needs a lot of patience which I'm not necessarily blessed with. I beaded this two beads at a time, and there are a lot of beads in this.
So, instead of writing one big blog post sometime in spring I decided to write one for each side of both shoes as there will be four different patterns, anyway.
Here's the first one.

Heather called her gouache painting "zzzzzz..." which is very accurate. I don't know if the other name came from me, but in my head it was always "Lazy Cat".
Lazy Cat is sleeping on a wall in a garden under blue skies. It's very peaceful and you can almost hear birds singing and bees buzzing even if you can't see them.
This is the original painting.

It's not always easy to transfer Heather's distinctive style into beads, but she graciously allowed me to make changes where needed. That is one thing in the loomed HeatherCat pieces and another in a bead embroidery piece as I was to find out. She likes to use points and swirls as in the plants, and often there are details with fine, differently colored borders. That's where I had to let my fantasy play.

The second challenge was to fit the details on the shoe which obviously isn't rectangular. So I had to lose the tree for example and the flowers couldn't be quite as high. I also had to deal with some seams even if there weren't any vertical ones.
Last but least there was the part next to the heel which is thicker as the rest of the shoe, just like the part where the tongue meets the denim towards the tip.
Doing just that little white part to the left of the big plant took me forever because  I had to work blind again and find the right spot to poke through the layers - with the help of pliers, of course - and I don't even want to talk about the part on the right where I settled for a few stray beads.
I won't show you the pictures of the inside, but if you ever need my DNA, you can try to get it from the blood stains ;-) I also did my best to help out the needle industry. My record was five brandnew needles in one hour.

I honestly can't believe I even made it that far. I already started the second side when I was waiting for a bead order, so hopefully it won't take too long until you get to see more.


Oldies but Goodies - Fall colors

Fall, sweet fall, my favorite season! Granted, this year I don't get to see as many colorful leaves as usual and I haven't picked up my first chestnut yet, either. Still there's the feeling in the air.
Is there anyone who can resist fall colors? How about these that I brought you from the latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge? Imagine walking in the forest under a roof of those colors, smelling the fresh air, maybe collecting leaves for a bouquet or a table decoration ...

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


Tackle that stash - Ammonite carnelian pendant

Lately I have been neglecting my wire badly. One reason is that my thumb tires much more easily when handling wire, so I have to take more breaks, another is that the beads simply talk louder and especially clearer to me at the moment. Not literally of course, I'm not THAT crazy.
This pendant started out with a few very bad attempts at a simple woven bezel. It almost felt like my first time doing that. My thumb hurt, my motivation sank, and even the wires started looking tired. I ripped everything up and only a few days later a small idea popped up in my head that you can't even see in the piece anymore.

Often I don't choose a stone or cab and make a bezel for it, but start weaving and bending the wire instead to see if something comes of it, and then I go looking for something that has about the right size and make the two come together.
In this case I tried a fossilized coral, an agate and a glass cab before I found the ammonite.
If you know my previous ammonite pendants, you see that this is not a variation of those, and there are no tentacles! Actually the tiny swirls at the top were there before the ammonite as well, so it's not an attempt to sneak at least something "tentacly" in ;-)

To give the pendant a little more color, I decided to add some beads, chose matte carnelian to enhance the autumn feeling and filled up the empty space on the left. You'll have to trust me on this, there's no weaving underneath there.

Even if it looks as if the woven part on the bottom is flat against the fossil, it's not. I hope this picture can show it a little better.

This is my welcome to autumn :-)


Oldies but Goodies - Candy

Today's post takes me back to my childhood. No worries, I'm not going to give you "but when I was young, we had to walk ten miles to the candy store ..." talk.
Candy still had to be earned the hard way sometimes. It meant looking for change in the couch or in the Danish cookie tin full of buttons or the sewing box, oh, and the despair if you were missing that one precious "Pfennig" to get you exactly the candy you wanted. A while ago I saw a group of kids who told each other how they all couldn't be bothered to pick a cent up off the ground. Times change.

The topic for the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge was candy, and the pieces entered really brought back a few memories.
The color of one stone reminded me of "Gletschereis" (glacier ice) candy which used to be squares with a round part in the center that was thinner, so if you sucked them long enough, you would get a little hole which you could stick the tip of your tongue through. There were fruit candies like that as well, but I can't remember for the life of me what they were called.
The color of another made me think of raspberry candy which was made to look a little like a raspberry.
Or what about the hard bunny candy that came in caramel and red sugar which lasted you forever and were a real danger for fillings?

I could go on, but enough with the memories now, time for the collage!

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


Oldies but Goodies - Pale colors

Here in my area you tell someone who's very pale "Are you not feeling well? You are looking like a kitten's belly." This is not an insult. As a child I always wondered what that was supposed to mean because kittens were cute all around, but it refers to small kittens often having very pale skin on their belly.
Pale colors which were the subject for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge don't have anything to do with kitten bellies or sickness, but I know people who feel pale colors make them look washed out or sick while others love them because they bring out their skin tone beautifully.
Today I brought you another selection of challenge entries which prove that pale colors in jewelry can be the perfect addition to any outfit.

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