Under the blue moon

I really have to blame den Dekan for this or thank him. Probably both because it was definitely him who had hidden the blue dichroic glass cab, but because he also made me find it again when he hid something else in the same place before my eyes.
It was a nice surprise, and as I was still in "moon mode" from the moon hare that I made for the JAC challenge "Moon and Stars", I started humming Blue Moon. That's a lot of moon ;-)
We had the old single by Elvis Presley, so that's always the version that comes to my mind
first. Those were the times, me trying to convince my mother that I HAD to do my homework to background music aka all my father's old singles from the 50s and 60s.
Luckily we had the old "Musiktruhe" that I have shown here years ago, a TV/radio/record player combination. One of its very useful features was that you could put on several singles at a time (the family doesn't agree exactly on how many) which would then drop down and play one after another. I doubt my Mom would have approved of my getting up after each song and changing the single while doing homework.

And here is Elvis' voice in all its 1954 glory.

My mind began wandering.
Sitting near a lake listening to
the sounds of crickets and frogs ... spotting some dragonflies having settled for the night ... under a blue moon ...

With the blue moon, the nightly background, and the dark green blade of grass, I wanted a contrasting color for the dragonflies, so I chose a mix of red beads to embroider them, with clear AB sequins for the wings.
It reminded me of the time a red dragonfly visited me in our little garden once. We don't have a pond, so I guess it had come over from another garden to say hello and then headed back.

Quite some time and a bead order later because I ran out of background beads, I thought this would have made a fun bracelet instead of a pendant, but with the backing already sewn on, I finally decided against that and added a hex bead rope instead.
I tried to take a video to show how sparkly this necklace is, but that didn't work, so it will have to be a late night picture for now.


Having fun with spikes

Spikes, I have kind of a love/hate relationship with them. I love the look, and thinking about it now, that may even date back to childhood days when we played "Coppit" (there are different names for that, such as "Trap the Cap" which I think is truer to the original title of this German board game), but actually spent more time putting the little hats on our fingers to make them "witch fingers" and wiggle them. My favorite was the golden hat.

Kungfuman, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons

You can't put spike beads on your fingers and it seemed almost as impossible for me to put them in one of my designs. The first piece is from 2013, one that I hope the owner can still enjoy, the next from 2014, a piece that I happened to stumble upon just a few days ago and which may meet a gruesome fate soon. I started making spike baubles in 2017, both for Christmas decorations and jewelry.
I can't tell you how often I pulled out my spike stash, looking at it and putting it away again. At the time I didn't do any off loom beading or bead embroidery and spikes love to fall over if you don't secure them really well which didn't work nicely with my wire or looming.

Fast forward to 2023. Some off loom beading and bead embroidery have been added to my techniques, actually dominating my work at the moment.
Add my friend Michelle to this mix. She posted about a WIP on her blog, mentioning that she had glued on dagger beads because they were too slithery. Well, glue and I are still not friends, but what if I tried to glue spike beads to a beading foundation, so they wouldn't escape me while I beaded a bezel for them?

It worked and I am so happy with the pendant that resulted from this. I love the organic look and am determined to make more in this style. What I also loved was to hear the variety of things others see in this pendant!
This is also the first bead embroidered piece that I made 3D by stuffing it. The idea comes from a different design that is still a little vague, so I don't want to talk about it yet.

Now that I had licked blood, I had to make something else right away. After already having combined dagger and flower beads with peyote tubes, another idea had been to use spikes, and since my stash was already out, this was the perfect time to try it out right away.
I had a lot of fun with the pendant, but - and this may sound silly - the earrings made me giggle with delight. I just love this look of the peyote and the spikes with the blue Polaris beads (which were one of my first bead orders when I started crocheting with wire, by the way)!

I'm most definitely not done with this style either yet, not only because I still have a ton of spike beads.


Random Saturday - I can help!

Today is Göppinger Maientag (see here what's that about). Although there are not as far as many people in the audience as there used to be according old pictures, I am still less and less fond of crowds. The heat doesn't help.
Just now I have been told that our old costumes which have been replaced piece by piece are gone completely now, so the parade might not have satisfied my nostalgic feelings, anyway. So instead of standing in the heat, I will have a look at the broadcast of our local TV channel tomorrow.

This had reminded me, however, that I had not yet taken a picture of this year's Maientag badges to update my page.
As the motif is the Oberhofenkirche this year, the second oldest building in town and the church where I was baptized a million years ago, I got the complete set of five this time, but then gave one of them away. That wasn't a big deal as the badges' quality is a little disappointing this year, anyway. They didn't raise the price, but sacrificed quality for it. (Update: After sending the city a message, I now know that the business, which had made the badges in the last decades, closed down and they had to look for a new supplier on very short notice.)

When taking pictures of my jewelry, I lock myself in. Maybe you understand why if you read this post on Ponder's blog (which is Gundel's responsibility now). Actually this would have been a post for Gundel, but she's in some hidden spot, fast asleep, no doubt.
It's impossible to do a jewelry photo session with dem Dekan, especially with the light tent out, but I just wanted a quick shot of the badges and expected no problems with that. Just my acrylic plate, lamps on, click.

"I can help, Mom!"

So much for a quick shot. Der Dekan loves to help with everything and even more eagerly if there is a chance to 1. steal something (I knew he had his eye on the Maientag badges because he had tried to steal them from the shelf once before) and 2. to push something off somewhere. My daylight lamps had been in danger more than once although it got better after I removed the photo box.

I still tried to take my quick shot (closing the door would have been sooo much quicker). I could do this before he jumped up ... I mean, before he tried to squeeze himself in next to the lamp ... before ... before ... in the end I took my picture while trying to hold him with the elbow because he had creeped even closer, pushing the lamp nearer to the edge, AND reaching for the badges. Then I picked up the lamp and gently nudged him off the bench. He was not happy, after all he had only wanted to help.

It would have made a great video, but unlike other people I can't get myself to risk destruction for a video that probably would have been blurry, anyway. I chose an intact bulb over viral fame .... just kidding.
At least I got this one picture of him (the others were, you may have guessed it, blurry ;-)).


Nostalgia? - The cat rattle

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.

Why the question mark in the title this time, though? Well, I never gave the piece that I want to show you today much thought after the ex got it. For once, I don't even remember if it was at a fleamarket or a show and how much he paid, but I am quite sure we brought it home from the USA, together with the cat measure tape in this picture.

The fun in a collection is not just to add to it, but also to look through it and rediscover things. Today this cat rattle, which keeps my vintage Steiff cats company, caught my eye, and being stuck at a WIP thanks to the heat and doing anything to get away from it, I took a closer look at the kitty instead.

The ribbon was obviously new, but what about the cat?
No markings anywhere, so not real silver - which would have surprised me, anyway - but silver plated.
It may have to do with the heat and the resulting weird sleep patterns, but at first I thought the silver looked very worn down (which was of course wrong).
The bail at the top holding the plastic teething ring was bent as you can see.
Did all of this mean, however, that the cat was vintage? I mean, it definitely is now because my last trip to the USA was 23 years ago, but had it already been back when it was bought?

What was that at the bottom? Amiscia. I had never heard of that. Could it be a company name?
No, but it was listed as a girl's name on several baby name sites, from the Latin "amicitia" meaning "friendship". The sites agreed on the name being English, but not on its pronunciation.
Okay. We have a cat rattle and a baby girl's name, but except for the name not being very common in our times as it seems, that doesn't say anything about the age.

Google Images. Victorian silver cat rattle. No good matches. Victorian silver plate cat rattle. No. Wait a moment, that picture is exactly my cat in perfect condition. The bow, the little bell, no doubt about it. Just the teething ring looked a bit different. Hm, in a box. So it's new after all? A small business on Etsy ... in Germany?? They sold it more than once, was it old stock? They also had other rattles, but they looked not as elaborate as the cat.
Google again. The other rattles were still widely available, teddies, rabbits, ducks, and more, from Amazon over eBay to several German jewelry stores (fun fact, the descriptions say that the rattles can't be engraved) ... but not the cat. A discontinued pattern?

I went to take some pictures and that's when it came to me. Of course the silver wasn't worn down, it had blackened. What kind of jewelry maker was I, shame on me. I got out my polishing paste and cloth and tested it in two small spots. Bright silver. For it to get quite this black, however, would take a while, wouldn't it? 23 years or more maybe?
On the other hand I was sure that it had not been bright silver when we brought it home because the vintage look had been what made the ex want to add it to the old Steiff cats.
Know what? All of this has definitely become nostalgia now ;-)

I won't polish the cat lady (no idea why I think it's a lady) and I don't know if I will ever ask one of the stores selling the other rattles if they know more.
She looks perfect the way she is now. And who doesn't like a bit of mystery?
Amiscia, wherever you are, I promise I will keep loving your cat.