The broken dolphin

"My dolphin broke. It fell and the nose and fluke broke off. Do you think I could get a new one?"
Alas, no. The boro dolphin pendant had been from a shop that doesn't seem to exist anymore, at least the website doesn't look up-to-date at all. So what to do about my friend's dolphin?
I asked her if she still had all the parts, but no matter how she searched, she was able to find the nose, but not the fluke.
She sent me a quick picture and my brain started ticking.

This was still better than the other way round. I could try to hide the missing fluke, and the nose could be glued on, and wasn't it a nice coincidence that I had asked for a "gilding" (not real gold) kit for my birthday?
I told my friend I would try to figure something out, and soon after the poor little dolphin arrived at my house (nose already glued on, so I didn't have to do it, phew).

First of all, I gilded the nose. It had been glued on a tiny bit crooked, so the seam is a little visible, but not too badly, I think. Unfortunately I'm not the restoration master I saw on NHK the other day who made cracks disappear completely.
As it felt only a golden nose and forehead would look a little strange, I decided to gild the fins and the nose tip as well.

After that, the dolphin had to wait some time. I kept picking him up hoping he would tell me what to do next.
I thought of a wire structure around his tail end that I could secure going through the big glass bail on the back, then I thought of the same, but beaded in some kind of way. I saw pearls and blue crystals for the ocean to make him appear mid-breach, but I just didn't know how to start.

Then it came to me. Bead embroidery. A mix of blue seed beads. I could make one cut in the beading foundation for the glass bail and a second one to put the tail end through to hide it.
I glued the dolphin to the beading foundation and cut it into shape, but I wasn't completely happy with the spot where the tail end went through the cut.
So I added an extra patch at the bottom that went over the tail end and another one at the back to fill up the spot where the foundation bent because of the tail's thickness.
That was so much better.

I sewed on the seed beads and added some crystal rondelles, then the backing and the edging.
Another worry of mine had been that the layers of foundation and the backing might be too thick for the chain to go through the glass bail, but it works just fine.
It's hard for me to resist dangles, also I felt they would give the piece some balance. To me they represent the splash of water when the dolphin breaches.

Doesn't our dolphin look so much happier now than in his broken state?


Nostalgia - Happy Birthday, Beatrix Potter!

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.

1988, London.
Two young women and a five year old girl on a one week vacation - we had a wonderful time (if you don't count in the terrible hotel room, but we used to be a lot more tolerant at that age and the partial refund helped as well) and I fell in love with London although I am not usually a fan of big cities.

Now what does Beatrix Potter's birthday - she was born on July 28, 1866 - have to do with our London vacation 122 years later?
Well, among trips to parks, museums, and galleries we also hit the shops of course, and I couldn't resist bringing home a little bunny for my bunny collection.

"Benjamin Bunny sat on a bank" was inspired by Potter's "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny".

This little fellow is the first version of two manufactured by Beswick, he ran from 1983 to 1985 and differs from the second version by his head posture (he's looking up) and wearing a darker brown colored jacket.
He was modelled by David Lyttleton.
(Thank you to Beatrix Potter Figurines - A Definitive Guide!)
I still think he's very cute and it's really funny to me how vividly I remember the inside of the shop where I got him and a little address book.

Every time I look at him it takes me back to this London vacation.

Now you are in for a very rare treat, a picture of me from that trip (I hate my picture being taken!).


Folded peyote

I had seen earrings in the folded peyote technique before, but only now I had a reason to take a closer look, a reason I won't go into yet, though.
For those who want to try themselves, I recommend this YouTube tutorial by Anzu Crafts. She uses big beads which makes it very easy to follow and her explanations are really good even if you should be a beginner at peyote.

Of course I wasn't happy with just making the folded peyote, I also had to add some extras.
The shiny pink and luster purple pendant, for example, is embellished with tiny silver seed beads and for contrast it got a darker Polaris bead dangling in the center.

For the earrings I wanted a gothic look, so I used black with the luster purple and added spikes in the color "crystal vitrail light" for an edgy look.
Depending on the angle of the light, they appear clear or, thanks to the coating on the back, in a soft purple which goes beautifully with the purple Delicas. I am in love with those spikes and have quite a stash, so be prepared to see more of them in the future.


Nostalgia - Midge or The Beginning

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.

Are you a collector and can you say exactly when and how you started your collection/s? My guess is you can.
While gaining and possessing a new piece is exciting, even more so if it is something you have been looking for for a long time, there's also the thrill of the hunt. You can be a wild hunter like my ex or you can take the more relaxed approach like I did, simply because I can't walk as fast or am not tall enough to see everything around me at a glance.
I might not have found as much as him at fleamarkets, but that made every good find even more special.

My Barbie collection started with such a good find and it was mere luck.
I had a platinum TNT Stacey when I was a child, I have told her story a long time ago. How my sisters got Mattel dolls for Christmas and five year old me nagged until I got one as well. How I played library with her and loved her so much that she has been in a pretty sad condition for a long time.
It has also been years since I told the story of the Billy Boy Barbie book my sister got and how my fascination with Barbies was rekindled in a completely new way. What can I say, I just can't resist tiny zippers and buttons. And I mentioned finding a Midge doll.

I'll never forget that moment, actually I could show you the spot at the university fleamarket (where the Steiff collection started as well, by the way, topic for another time maybe) almost exactly. Only thanks to the Billy Boy book I knew that the doll in the box (not hers, but a big one) was a "BL" (bendable leg) Midge, more rare than her straight leg (SL) predecessor. Was she in perfect condition? No. Was I excited, anyway? Oh yes, I was. Did I almost squeal when the seller replied to my question that she was 4 DM (about $2.50 at the time)? You bet!
As clear as this is in my mind, however, I'm completely lost trying to remember what she wore, but think it was probably a swimsuit, not necessarily hers, though. I guess I was so fixed on her face and hair and being able to identify her that the outfit didn't matter. That of course changed a lot during my collecting career when I learned more and more from my books.

Midge, Barbie's best friend, came out a few years after Barbie herself, in 1962, to be exact. Back then all you could move on the bodies were the arms and legs at the shoulders and hips.
In 1965 and 1966, Midge didn't just get bendable legs, but her hairstyle changed from a tight outward flip to a loose inward flip. She came in three hair colors, blond, titian, and the brownette of my doll.

My Midge has lost her hairband which would have held her full bangs together, she also has a darkened face (and the current heat wave has given her sticky arms again which need to be cleaned and powdered), but for her age - which could be the same as mine if she is the first issue - she is still looking very good, definitely better than me. Not one grey hair on her! ;-)
I didn't hesitate to put her into Dinner At Eight although it is a little older than she is (1964). Maybe she has borrowed this beautiful persimmon colored jumpsuit with the airy looking hostess coat in a burnt orange with metallic golden threads from her BFF Barbie, who knows? I just think the orange goes so beautifully with her hair - and the hair of a brunette SL Midge I have that wears the same outfit.

When I took Midge home, I didn't even realize that the first stone to my vintage Barbie collection had been laid there and then.
My next lucky find not long after made it impossible for me to stop ...


Summer, sun, sun flower

When our challenge mistress from the Jewelry Artisans Community chose sunflowers for our new challenge, my reaction was that I was all "sunflowered out" because I had made several in the years before.

And then, in a sudden burst of productivity and supported by the 80s charm of Richard Carpenter's "Robin of Sherwood" for background noise, I started making a pair of earrings.
Don't get excited, this is just another example of two earrings magically turning into one pendant.

I bead embroidered the two centers first. How could I not notice that added petals would make these into very large earrings?
Well, actually I did notice and still decided to keep going. I have always been a fan of wearing big, fun earrings myself.

After starting on the happy yellow petals - I really remembered my childhood love for yellow again these days - it quickly became clear to me, however, that I would not be pulling this through. So many petals! One row of brick stitch petals, a slightly smaller one in herringbone stitch and a third small one as an edging for the center took me much longer than I had anticipated, like so often.
Just thinking of having to do this a second time made me revise the earring idea.

One hidden bail and a cute little lampwork bee later ... tadaaa.