Random Saturday - Handwritten letters

In September last year I told you about my new logo seal and some memories about my first seal and my pen pals, and a few weeks ago I mentioned going back to using a fountain pen and ink.

That didn't just have nostalgic reasons.
My handwriting has never been beautiful. In elementary school when we still had tests in penmanship I never made a 1 (our marks went from 1 to 6), no matter how hard I tried. Over the years my handwriting kept changing. I tried this and that, had my letters lean to the left and to the right, I changed single letters and changed back (to this day my capital E looks like that of my first boss at work because I liked how it looked, and my capital M comes from American handwriting). There was even a short time back when when I drew little circles over my "i"s, never little hearts, though.

Of course we also loved to try colored inks. I remember I had several inks in very small glasses at one time, but I don't remember if I ever used them or if I just liked to look at them. We definitely tried cartridges other than blue or black, however, purple, turquoise, light blue, green. Red was out of bounds because the teachers used that for corrections ... although there was one teacher who used green, but he was different in more than one ways, wearing bib overalls to school for example.
I didn't keep a diary for very long, but when I did, I also wrote in it in ink.

When my brother gave me a fountain pen for a gift, I had a hard time choosing colors for the ink. Finally I went with the old favorites, purple and black, but am only using the purple at the moment which you can also tell by my desk and sometimes my fingers. Isn't it so pretty?

Well, my handwriting hasn't improved with time for which I mostly blame the computer. I never thought it could be such a strain on my hand to write a letter when, as mentioned before, I used to write ten page letters each day. Yes, that was a long time ago, but suddenly it was just a few lines that made my hand cramp up.
I decided I didn't want that. I didn't want to lose cursive writing which is hardly taught nowadays, I didn't want to lose the ability to write something without a computer, I didn't want to write it in a way not even I could read myself! So I started by doing all of my lists with pen and ink.
What I first learned from it was, to say it nicely, that calligraphy is still not for me. I admire it, I think it's wonderful to look at, but it's definitely not a talent I have, not even if I practice very much.

Instead I got out my old stationery. Not all of the paper I have is as old as this one. I have been protecting this for decades, literally. It's from the 70s and I still remember when I bought it. The shop is long gone. In its place came several more shops and now it's just a storage room with a display window.
Back in the 70s you could get silver rings there, knick knacks, the cotton scarves we loved so much (except for the light blue one with the lurex that never stopped dyeing my neck even after being washed a zillion times), and there was a wooden shelf with WWF items, notebooks, stationery, folders etc. from recycled paper. I couldn't resist the tiger. I will definitely not use this paper up completely, but keep at least a sheet for myself.

I still do have some cat stationery from the 90s, so I doubt I'm going to run out of paper that quickly.

Then the times of pen pals were over. We grew up, starting growing apart and didn't feel the need to share every bit of information (which is kind of sad/funny if you look at social media today, and I do feel the irony in me writing this post).
I know I won't bring those times back, I'm not intending to. All I want is to get a tiny sliver of it back for myself. With stained fingers and all *grin*
So watch out, who knows who will get a letter from me next? ;-)


Oldies but Goodies - Casual

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry? Something you can wear every day, to work, when you go grocery shopping, in the park, when you walk your dog, meet friends for a chat, when you go to see a game?
Casual jewelry is great. It doesn't always have to be the diamond tiara you are wearing when meeting the Queen of England ;-)

Here are some examples from the latest Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge. I would wear all of them in a heartbeat! Don't forget to have a look at what else was shown, just click the link.

1 The Crafty Chimp
2 MC Stoneworks
3 Jewelry Art by Dawn
4 RioRita
5 Cat's Wire


Art Elements Design Challenge and Blog Hop - Moon

I love the moon. It is not the first time I've said this on my blog. In 2009 I talked about my favorite perigee ever, a magical event that I never forgot - a HUGE moon and we were heading right into it. Well, we weren't, but it felt like it. I had never seen the moon that big and I haven't ever since, and no, although it was around 5 am, I know it was not a dream.
So there was no question about participating in the Art Elements Design Challenge for which Lindsay chose the topic Moon. This time I wouldn't just be participating, though, I would master this challenge like a boss by starting early. I had loads of ideas.

The cow jumping over the moon was the first one, even before I saw the picture in the post. My inspiration came from a different source, Mary Poppins. It would have to be a big moon for me to manage a cow in a good size, and how would I attach it? I'm still thinking about that one.
Then there was Little Peter's Journey to the Moon by Gerdt von Bassewitz about a May beetle taking two good children to the moon. Hans Baluschek's illustrations would have made for great inspiration. I didn't have the book, though, but would have wanted it for the details. Another one for the list.
Theodor Storm. The Little Haverman. Little Hobbin. The Little Häwelmann. I found all these titles for the fairy tale about the little boy who doesn't want to sleep and uses his cradle for a little trip on a moonbeam. Another inspiration. Ugh. This was getting more difficult than I had planned.

Should I even go for the full moon yet again? When I was a kid, I turned the C from my first name into a waning moon (under which I was born, by the way, which I looked up for the first time today) with a big nose, a googly eye and a wide grin for a signature. That would be fun to make once I got better at soldering, but not now. Did I even want to use wire?
Decisions, decisions!
I kept thinking and waiting for the perfect idea, but then I realized I didn't even have a moon I could use. Rather small magnesite beads were the closest I had and they didn't convince me. Polymer clay was out of the question, I wasn't in the mood for light colors and black cat hair. I had a rose quartz cab. Was there something like a pink moon? A song by Nick Drake, Pink Moon, from his third and last studio album with the same name. Never heard of him. What was I doing?? I was going into the wrong direction and time started running out.

Then I got lucky (was about time, too!). While looking for something else I found the cab I had had in mind all the time, a carved moon face with closed eyes. It called for a night sky, craters and stars. Finally I was getting somewhere!

First I beaded a simple peyote bezel with my beloved gunmetal AB and clear AB seed beads in size 11 and 15.
Next stop - moonstones. I didn't have any, but I had a ring that I had been wanting to rip up for some time, anyway. I created "craters" by adding seed beads around the moonstones that I sewed on the bezel. Last but not least there had to be a little fringe with a mix of all the beads.

Another last minute project finished, I am getting good at this! ;-)

Please pay a visit to all the other participants in this challenge, too. I promise it's going to be worth your time.

Jenny - Melissa - Kathy - Sarajo - Hope - Sarah - Rebecca - Divya - Anita - Rozantia - Raven - Cat (that's me!) - Evia - Alysen - Beth - Tammy

AE Team

Claire - Laney - Caroline - Cathy - Sue - Niky - Jenny - Jen - Lindsay

P.S. Do you know the moon from The Mighty Boosh? That one could provide me with more ideas ...


Oldies but Goodies - Wings

This week I have felt a little like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. "No time! I'm late!"
It has been like a constant attempt of catching up.
So I'm sorry, I have no fascinating story about wings for you (not that I'm saying all of my stories are fascinating ;-)). I could tell you about Icarus, but you probably already know THAT one.
Instead I will let the wings in my collage from the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge do the talking. So many different wings (more in the original thread over at JAC, please have a look!!), I hope you'll love this challenge as much as I did.

1 and 5 and 9 Jewelry Art by Dawn
2 and 6 MC Stoneworks
3 and 7 RioRita
4 and 8 Cat's Wire


Random Saturday - Vinyl

I'm a dinosaur, that's no secret. I don't stream, I watch DVDs. I don't own a smartphone, but a mobile phone that turns eleven in June, and I don't use Wi-Fi at home even though I have a notebook. Alexa - no, no, no chance! I still have my video recorder although I have to admit I haven't used that one in a long time, I have a record player and my old collection of vinyl records. My CD player has two tape decks, maybe trying out my old tapes will be another Saturday post eventually ;-) I still own a CD shelf and I actually do buy new CDs every, now and then.

For example I got myself a four CD collection of Sam Cooke songs from 1957 to 1960 which I am listening to at this very moment.
Don't get me wrong, I like my computer and the possibilities that come with it, but I like even better if I can choose what possibilities I'm going to make use of. Instead of writing my to-do lists and more with the computer for example, I have gone back to mostly write with my fountain pen at home (recycling old bills etc. for it) and enjoying it although I suck at refilling and get purple ink spots on my fingers ... well, and sometimes on my desk, but that's okay, it's an old dinosaur just like me.

I'm easy to amuse with some things, for example it made me smile to see the Sam Cooke CDs are made up to look like small vinyl records and underneath the CD there is even "... a word about HIGH FIDELITY" telling me how to care for my records, and never forget "... use a good needle - one that is the correct size and not worn. Diamond needles are most durable and cost less in the long run." ;-)
Isn't that cute?



Tackle that stash - Magnesite drop pendant

This must have been one of my favorite stash tacklers lately. The reason? Not only did I manage to use a whole magnesite bead from my nine hundred magnesite baggies (yes, I may exaggerate just a little here), but I found the perfect one right away.
You may wonder what is so perfect about a simple drop bead. Actually this started quite a while ago. I don't even remember what I had started making this setting for, but it didn't work out. Too small, too big, a cab that was too slippery maybe? I kept the setting, though, to rip it up eventually, so I could use the wire again. Somehow I never did, though. It ended up in a little compartment of one of my storage boxes where I collect small wire leftovers for jump rings etc.

Today I went for my magnesite beads because I knew there were some hearts in there and I wanted to use one for a challenge. Then when I was looking for a headpin as well, I found that setting hanging around with no purpose. Not any longer, however. I remembered a drop bead in that baggie that might just work, and it did. Perfectly. The size was just right.
I wish things would work out like that more often!


Oldies but Goodies - Necklace favorites

Personally I often find it difficult to pick favorites ... favorite actor, favorite movie, favorite music, favorite piece of clothing, even to decide on a favorite color can sometimes be hard.
Nevertheless the new Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge asked us to name favorites from our own work, necklaces in this case.
I probably feel the same way as many others, the project I am working on at the moment is my favorite. Maybe it has to be that way to help us concentrate on it completely. Yet, looking back over the years I guess we all have those pieces that our heart belongs to even if they have made their way to someone else a long time ago. Perhaps we had a hard time letting them go at all or were not even able to let them go after all.

Now I had to pick from all those favorites for my collage which is never easy. I hope you'll like my selection.

1 and 5 Cat's Wire
2 and 6 MC Stoneworks
3 and 7 The Crafty Chimp
4 and 8 Jewelry Art by Dawn