The Dragonfly

I have always loved dragonflies. They are like small flying jewels.
I know they sew your lips together if you believe Snoopy ;-) but actually this is just an old superstition as the Britannica tells us: "
The term devil’s darning needle is derived from a superstition that dragonflies may sew up the eyes, ears, or mouth of a sleeping child, especially one who has misbehaved." I've never heard of this superstition in my area, but I know that some people thought a dragonfly could sting or would drill into your eyes.

At the Jewelry Artisans Community we have a bimonthly challenge and the first one of this year - take a look here - was to try out something new, a new material, technique, or tool.
My first thought had been to finally use my Kumihimo disks, but somehow I just didn't feel like it. I don't have the right weights or spools and on top of that I have been too lazy to check out how exactly it's done.

Then, inspired by a documentary about embroiderers in India that I have watched a while ago, I thought of sequins. As I don't sew, I had never used sequins before except in a very short polymer clay jewelry venture with a friend 30 years ago. In fact I'm not even sure if I used them, but I had some scattered in my old stash boxes at some time.

What to do with sequins, though? Well, I love dragonflies ...
I looked through dragonfly pictures and I looked through my stash to decide on a color combination.
There was this acrylic cab on which I then based my choice of seed beads. Luckily I had everything except the sequins in my stash and could start right away while I was waiting for the sequins to arrive. It was more difficult than I had expected to find what I wanted, 4 mm clear AB sequins.
I had already decided not to make the body from single bigger beads, but to embroider the whole piece. For the wings and body I used seed beads in different sizes and different gold tones plus black and alabaster white, also gold lined bugles, and for the head I used gold coated hematite beads and bronze Twin Bead eyes.

To enhance the overall golden look, I chose to sew the sequins on using the method of adding a bead on top.
This is the end result. Almost.
I took this picture in my hand to show the size. Now what? I didn't trust an ordinary small needle to work. I hate big brooches with small needles. A necklace?

A friend convinced me that my dragonfly would make a good pin and advised me to check out hat needles etc., and that's what I did.
I found some that had larger filigree disks attached to the pin which I could sew to the backing easily and, which is much more important, safely.

Unfortunatley it's a rather grey day today and although I could see a beautiful green shimmer in the sequins at one moment, my camera wasn't able to pick it up. You'll have to believe me when I'm saying that the wings shine in different colors and are more beautiful in the pictures.
Here's a closer look at them, by the way, to show you how the sequins are sewn on.

I have to admit it was much more fun to work with sequins than I had expected, so much actually that I already used them again on a second project that you will get to see soon, I hope!


Oldies but Goodies - Hot

Last week we were cold, this week we are smoking hot at the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. This is a kind of heat even I can get behind!
Sorry for keeping it so short today, but the needle is calling me to a project and I have to get out of this procastinating mode! ;-)
So, without further delay, here are our hot beauties.

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


Oldies but Goodies - Cold

Last week there wasn't a blog post because I was not able to create a collage. I have been using an online photo editor for many years now, but with their new Flash free version the developers have gone into a direction that caused endless frustration. When working on last week's collage, I finally had enough. My subscription was about to end shortly, so I decided to end it right there and then. It made me very sad because of my favorite features, but it can't be helped, sometimes you just have to know when to say goodbye.
Why am I telling you this? I'm trying out a new editor which in parts still is a Beta version as well, though, and the collage templates don't offer the possibilities (yet, I hope?) that I need and used to have. So I'm asking you to bear with me as I have to work with what I have.

This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge was all about the cold. I chose the topic on a cold day when I was tired and grumpy and couldn't seem to warm up. Isn't it nice how something beautiful can be the result of a grumpy day?
Please enjoy my small selection. You better do or Jack Frost might get you! ;-)

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


Oldies but Goodies - More fireworks

Do you like fireworks? To be honest, I would be a much bigger fan if I could have just the colors without the noise. I know that traditionally the noise was supposed to drive out evil spirits, but the older I get, the more I hate it. Maybe I'm turning into a cat after all.
On New Year's Eve we hardly had any fireworks in my neighborhood, due to Covid regulations. Gundel and I definitely approved, especially because we usually don't get many colors, but all the more noise.

Let's start this new year (and you will notice I don't wish you a good one because I don't trust it yet) with a firework of colors from the latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge.
We had the same topic before, but that was years ago.

I want to thank my friend Dawn again for graciously taking care of the December posts.

1 RioRita
2 Cat's Wire
3 The Crafty Chimp
4 My Bijou Life


The HeatherCat shoes - Part 4, Summer Dreaming

For those who missed the first three parts - which you can find here, here, and 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.

I hadn't expected to finish the last part of the shoes so quickly. With the holidays and vacation days, however, and nothing else to do (that I wanted to do, at least ;-)), I concentrated on binge watching - or hearing, rather - crime shows and beading.
Oh, and some crafty documentaries which show in detail how someone is making something, a hat, a wooden inlay chessboard, a barrel or a church window, for example.
It may sound silly, but if my brain refuses to shut off, it helps me to pretend that I'm in one of those documentaries and someone else is watching me. It makes me concentrate on each stitch, each bead even more, the sounds of the thread going through the denim, the snipping sound of the scissors. It doesn't always work, but if it does, it's perfect.
It helps me to calm down and shut the outside world and its problems out for at least a while which is something I really need at the moment.

Back to the shoe, though.
For this side I had chosen another sleeping cat. Now I have three sleeping cats under blue sky and only one caterpillar, but they were so perfect in size and they all have their own charm. Maybe I'll have to get high top sneakers next time, so I can use Heather's vertical designs as well.
"Summer dreaming" is a white cat sleeping on a fence. The position reminds me a lot of the way my Merlin and Greebo liked to sleep which makes me smile every time. I can also imagine that this is my White Dude sleeping under a California sun before those crazy people dragged him off to Germany (if you don't know the story, it was for his best, really).

Just like the caterpillar, this little fellow was not easy to fit onto the shoe. I think I tried the pattern three times before I finally found the right size and position to get his tail on there and still not lose one of his legs to a hole. The sun wasn't as lucky, it had to squeeze into the corner.

If you wonder, by the way, what happened to the rest for my hands, well, I found that I happened to have one tube of the color that is still on backorder after all, so I couldn't stop myself. It went surprisingly well most of the time.
I mislaid the some of the blue for the sky instead, but I ordered so much that that didn't matter. Someone also ordered much too much brown, no idea how long I thought that fence would be. Maybe watching Tom Sawyer's famous fence painting scene had confused me.
So I guess I'll have to think of a design in brown, blue and white now. Any ideas? ;-)

And here's our cat now. I bet he's dreaming of chasing mice and his favorite treats!
I even managed to clean off the blood that had been shed. My friends told me to see it as blood sacrifice to the bead goddess. She has to be really happy because I sacrificed more than once, not to mention all the needles that gave their lives for this project.

This is what the shoes look like worn. I have been asked if I am going to wear them outside, and I keep joking that I don't even know when the chance will come up again with Covid around. Let's say that I won't wear them on a regular basis to avoid dirt and damage, but I will definitely show them off eventually.

Sorry that I couldn't take better pictures, but it's hard enough to get my big feet into a picture - they are a EU 43 which translates to a US 11 1/2 and a UK 9 ;-)

Now what will be next?