Oldies but Goodies - Minty fresh

Like many other people I love the taste and scent of mint. Isn't it amazing how you see something mint colored and your brain automatically connects it with this fresh feeling?
Today I'm bringing you some items from the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge and hope they'll make you feel good! :-)

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


Tackle that stash or Creating new (old) stash

Years ago the "Pfingstmarkt" in Wäschenbeuren was a regular date in our annual calendar. This market takes place on Pentecost (Monday which is also a holiday here) each year, in a village about six miles from my hometown.
One part of it is a flea and antique market, the other is a typical market with anything from local honey, hand knitted socks, herbal teas, aprons, t-shirts, ingenious vegetable graters, and of course there are also food stalls to keep people going. I haven't been there for years, mainly for lack of transportation because it's a bit of a hassle with buses on holidays.

When I was younger, I wasn't a fan of jasper. I usually saw it in the form of tumbled rocks that I didn't have any use for, and on top of that jasper doesn't sparkle. I loved gemstones and still do today.
I grew older and (hopefully ;-)) a little wiser, though, and learned to appreciate the beauty of other stones, no matter if they were translucent or opaque. And eventually I got myself a tumbled leopard jasper rock from a jewelry stand at the Pfingstmarkt, one of those that also had one of those big boxes with a variety of rocks in it. I still didn't have any real use for it, and afterwards I wouldn't have been able to say why I wanted to have it except that it had jumped out at me, but I always felt that this was the rock that started to make me change my view of jasper.

After I started making jewelry, I made a few attempts to use the rock. Nothing really convinced me, though. This was not a small stone, it needed some big design, and I was better at incorporating tiny beads in my pieces. I crocheted oder knitted more than one bezel for the jasper, but nothing worked.

This brings me to my topic of creating new/old stash.
Lately I have been ripping up some old pieces. A few had never even been listed anywhere because I was not completely sure about them myself, and I felt kind of a relief when I ripped them up and put the cabs or beads back into my stash. One of them was the jasper.
You have no idea how often this particular rock had come back to haunt me. Some pieces sleep in a drawer and some of those I even forget I ever had. The jasper, however, always ended up somewhere where I found it again.
And now I think I finally found its destination after, oh, probably about 20 years - and I'm happy with it. Miracles do happen.


Oldies but Goodies - Berry colors

I'll spare you the stories today ... let's just go pick some "berries".
Berry colors were the topic for this week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge, and berry colors we got! Obviously my subconscious mind was so influenced that I actually got myself some frozen (after all it's winter here) berries with the next grocery shopping ;-)
Hopefully you'll find today's selection just as yummy as I did.

1 and 7 MC Stoneworks
2 and 8 The Crafty Chimp
3 and 5 RioRita
4 and 6 Cat's Wire


Oldies but Goodies - Farm living

When I was a child, the time spent on the farm of my godmother's parents was always special.
I didn't deal well with some things like being expected to eat the chicken that had still run around the same morning (but no, I never had to witness myself how it went from running around to making its way to the stove), but most of the memories are vivid and good - with half of them probably being a little misty-eyed.
I had "my own" cow. At least I had first dibs on buying her if I ever made enough money which I was sure would happen eventually. She was white and light brown and her name was Diana.
I loved all the cats, first of all O'Henry, the big tabby, and although already being a cat person back then, I also loved Hera, the big German shepherd. Actually I don't know how big she really was, but I was pretty small back then. When my godmother's brother asked me to open the gate for her, I was always a little afraid because she would stand against it and just let herself drop - and crush me inadvertently, no doubt. Sometimes I managed alone, sometimes someone came out of the stable, saw me standing there and opened the gate with just the tiniest eyeroll.
I helped picking berries in the garden, rode along on the tractor and played a vital role (from a safe distance ;-)) in putting the cows out to pasture. I snuggled bunnies, collected eggs, read my godmother's and her brothers' old children books, watched her mother cook and was probably generally in the way of everyone.

This week's Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is about what you can find on a farm ... animals, plants, and more. I hope you'll like my selection!

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


Oldies but Goodies - Winter White

There's a window behind my bed, and I just have to turn my head a little and I can see the sky. I love watching the moon wander across the night sky, sometimes in the middle of the night if I wake up. Last night, however, we had a new moon. Instead I saw fat snowflakes coming down. When I got up to have a look at the street, I saw they had already settled on the roofs, the cars, and the ground. Although I'm not a fan of snow - to put it nicely - it looked peaceful. No one was out there, it was completely quiet, and only here and there I could see a light from a window in the neighborhood.
This morning I didn't wake up from the scratching of shovels on the ground, so I knew it had to have stopped snowing, and indeed the snow had gone as if it had only been a dream.

After a break the Jewelry Artisans Community Oldies but Goodies Challenge is back in this new year now, this week with the topic Winter White. Enjoy.

1 and 4 Cat's Wire
2 and 5 RioRita
3 and 6 MC Stoneworks


What to do if ...

... your mojo has been taking a long break?
... you hurt something?
... you just don't find the time?
... you can't seem to get things right?
... life is getting in the way of your creative ventures?

It's coincidence that this is part of the Jewelry Artisans Community blog carnival now in December - after not having one in months -  but maybe it's also actually not a bad idea to think about this at the end of the year.

I have started making jewelry and more in late 2008, and of course I took my timeouts over the years. I can't remember a time, however, when it felt so difficult to make something. There's the arthrosis in my thumb joint and other health problems and pains, and they seem to take their toll on me more than they used to. I don't want to whine, but the days of working on something almost obsessively, hours and hours, are definitely over!

Since a few months ago it kept happening that I started making something and messed it up. I'm not saying that was completely new to me, and it didn't happen all the time, but it was in that extent, and I noticed it began messing with my mojo, too. There hadn't been a time when I hadn't felt the urge to fiddle with something, now I could go days without touching any wire or beads, as if that kind of creativity had simply left me.
It may sound ridiculous to you, but it left me kind of uneasy and restless. I had not known it could have such an effect on me.

What else was there to do?
Since I started working with wire and beads, reading had mostly been banned to my commuting and the tub both of which ruled out heavy books or even books that needed concentrated reading. After having been an avid reader since early childhood it now felt almost strange to sit down and "just" read. I don't know if it was that restlessness in the back of my head telling me I should be working on something instead, but I really needed some time to get back into reading.

Then of course there was the computer. Can you imagine for how long you can click back and forth between bookmarks without actually doing something, follow links about artisans who don't seem to have a creative block, play nomogram computer games and try to avoid thinking about how time is running through your fingers senselessly? Now that was definitely something that had to stop, even Ponder got tired of keeping me company on my desk!
I even started doodling hoping it would allow my mind to run freely and find some kind of direction in the process.

Finally I followed my own advice about creative block from another blog carnival some time ago. I made something I didn't have to think about that much because my design was already there, but which left enough room for playing with details to still satisfy the creative urge. Usually that means one of my signature miniature baskets which I can then fill with whatever comes to mind at that moment.
Lately, however, I have been playing with several octopuses, bigger and smaller ones, even some hugging lampwork sharks. Tentacles are a great way to let things flow!

Click to see the details better ...

I can do wire only so often at the moment, though, because it's hard on my thumb joint, and yet I had one of thoses phases when I wasn't drawn to beads, either.
Christmas brought me back to my big bauble stash and also reminded me of an almost forgotten stash of spike beads, so it was time to get out my crochet hook again after some time and do some wire knitting.

And two little snowmen baubles gave me the opportunity to deal with my infamous "glue trauma" and to do a bit of Herringbone beading.

I still wanted to bead loom some gifts before Christmas, too. There's still that little WIP that doesn't want to cooperate with me all the way (honestly, why is that frame "suddenly" bigger or rather the WIP smaller?).

You know, maybe it's okay to see what else there is beside making jewelry. Maybe I don't have to fiddle all the time. Maybe all of me will profit from some change every, now and then - going back to old hobbies, taking some time to pick up things I haven't picked up for a while ... there is still that cardigan I didn't finish because I wasn't sure about the measurements of the front parts anymore ... maybe this is just a lesson for me to not obsess about something or I will mess it up. Huh. Quite the lesson shortly before a new year will be upon us ;-)

You want to know what other JAC members have to say?
Check it out here!

Jewelry Art by Dawn