6/30/2010

Into The Dawn

Time for another Smoosher feature!
Into The Dawn is not where I'll be riding to on my horse, not only because lone riders usually ride into the sunset and not because I can't ride and think horses are terribly high, it's the name of an ArtFire studio, Dawn's studio, that is.

Dawn is not only a funny and lovely person that I am very glad I got to know, she is also incredibly talented.
Like always it's hard to choose a favorite, but I'm going to concentrate on my favorites of my favorites - her mosaics.

Let's start with this piece, the Funky Metallic Quilt Block Mosaic Box.
I don't sew (yes, yes, I know I mention it all the time), so the first thing it reminded me of was not a quilt. Instead it reminded me of graph paper. Whenever I was bored at school, I took a piece of graph paper and filled all those little squares with colorful patterns. Admit it, you did it, too! And it was fun, wasn't it? ;-) So is this box.


The Water Spirit Mosaic Box really gives you the feeling of water, the ocean, rain - can't you almost smell it?


This one, though, tops it all for me, the Kuan Yin Mosaic Shrine. So beautiful!


Put a saddle on your horse and try to ride into the dawn, you won't regret it, either at the ArtFire studio or at Dawn's blog. Believe me, I barely touched the surface here.

6/29/2010

I have a secret

This secret is so secret that I can't even post a picture. Hmm, maybe a small one.
Do you want to know why this secret is so incredibly secret? Because it's about a very belated birthday gift. It happens sometimes. I bet she thought I forgot, but I didn't. My brain has just been very empty lately.

It will go out in the mail soon. I hope I didn't spoil the surprise now ;-)

6/28/2010

I'm determined

I'm determined this time. I won't buy supplies - which means I have to avoid supply sites because they make that strange urge well up in me that I can' resist and then without even wanting to I find I bought another cab or ... oops, digressing, sorry. Again. I won't buy supplies AND I will list the pieces I still have scattered around, either because I haven't gotten around to take pictures yet or because that little something is not right yet.

I started on Saturday evening. Two pieces that have patiently been waiting on my table finally made it into my shops.
One of them changed a little bit since when I first made it. I decided to put the crochet disks and the lampwork beads on a suede cord instead of the silver-plated copper wire I had put them on first. Somehow it felt better around the neck. I left the cord long enough to choose if one wants to wear the necklace in the long or in the short version. I prefer short.


The other piece is a tumbled carnelian in an orange wire crochet bezel. I wasn't sure if it was too bright, but when it landed beside my phoenix (that you might remember), the thought of it being a firebird's egg sprang to mind.


I have no idea myself what will be next, but there are still a few items not listed. I just hope my determination will stay .....

6/27/2010

Quote of the week


1985 - such a long time ago. The 80s brought us some interesting movies, along with interesting music and some very disturbing hairstyles and fashions ........

1985 also brought us one of my favorite horror movies. Horror tastes best with a pinch of humor and "Fright Night" is a good example. When going through quotes from that movie, I can hear the voices, well, the dubbing voices because I have never seen that one in English.
The quote I picked for today's post is one I love to use in my everyday life, in German, though.
"You have to have faith for this to work on me, Mr. Vincent!" That's what the vampire says when the vampire hunter is trying to make him back off by getting out a crucifix. The fact that it doesn't work is scary because we all know what it means, but the fact that Jerry Dandridge is already growing his fangs and talks as if he has his mouth full is hilarious!

And what if people I use that quote on are surprised about me calling them Mr. Vincent? I am having big fun and that is what counts ;-)

Fright Night, USA, 1985

6/26/2010

Meet Cnewcomb!

When you think of polymer clay, you usually have miniatures, jewelry or beads on your mind.
How about a new approach, though?
Have you ever seen woodwork and polymer clay together?

One of the Smooshers' new members (he joined this month) is CNewcomb and that is just what he's doing. Apart from making intricate wood designs like this one - I love wolves! - he went on to incorporating polymer clay in his designs.


Look at this keychain for example. It can be customized for name and clay color. What a lovely and personal gift. Having a name that never turns up on any commercial keychain myself, I think that's a great idea.


And of course another example I had to choose was this inlay cat! Granted, I would probably prefer a black one myself, but you can certainly tell there are still some great designs to be expected from this Smoosher!


Be sure to check out his ArtFire studio, you will also find his blog there. And if you are quick, you will even save 10 % as today is the last day of his sale!

6/22/2010

Toby Mick - a destiny


Poor Toby. All his life he had to compete against his cousin. His cousin is bigger, his cousin is fiercer, his cousin has the book deal and he got to play in a movie with Gregory Peck!
Toby is not amused. His mood does not improve when a boat comes by and they fire off harpoons. Toby has had it and makes it clear. Lashing out with his fail tin once and there goes the boat ...


This is my second piece for the Polymer Clay Smooshers challenge "Oceans". At first I thought about a kraken picking up a ship in his tentacles, but I was running out of time, so I settled for Toby. He has been frustrated enough, this should be his hour of fame, if not fortune ;-)

Toby is 0.4 inch high, his little waterworld is 2.75 inch in diameter. The ocean is made from a silver shimmering blue, the water is made from clear resin. Yes, so basically I know what to do with resin now.

6/21/2010

Rummaging through the drawers

There's no telling ever what will hide in my drawers. Little boxes with supplies for example, wire, some hooks, I have to be prepared everywhere and all the time if the creative urge comes over me.
The other day I found a half-finished WIP in a drawer. The wire had broken on the bail while wrapping and I needed to take it off to make a new one. Obviously that had proved too difficult for me at the time. I spent another 20 minutes turning the labradorite in my hand staring at the change from greenish-grey to blue, then tore myself away, unwrapped the bail and made a new one. To make a matching tube necklace with it sounded sensible at that moment, two hours later, still not done, it didn't sound that great anymore, but I absolutely wanted to see the result and I'm happy about it.
It's listed in my Zibbet shop now.


Another drawer WIP was this ring. The green stone was from the little treasure chest my sister gave to me for Christmas. I was intrigued by the different look of the smooth and the rough side. Why this project got stopped, I don't remember, but yesterday I stumbled over it and since there wasn't that much still to be done, I finished it. One down, two million to go ;-)
It's a big and heavy ring, but not uncomfortable. It was the first time I made a ring shank like this.


This is not a WIP. It's a piece I made for the monthly challenge of my Handmade in Europe guild. The subject was "Summer flowers". I have made flowers before, but I wanted to make something different this time. Two attempts pretty much failed before I came up with this flower. I crocheted each petal individually, then I attached them to each other. I better get it listed before my time is running out!


6/20/2010

Quote of the week


For today I decided on a very short quote.

"Too late." While my family will probably start laughing when reading this, you might not know it, so I give you a little hint and tell you the sentence before this one. "Damn your eyes."
Anybody who wants to guess?

The movie is "Young Frankenstein" with Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr and the wonderful Madeline Kahn. And of course the quote refers to Feldman's eyes.
It's a great parody of the original Frankenstein movie and in fact many of the original lab props were used for it.
I love the cast, the atmosphere - a movie I can watch again and again and always have the same fun as when I first saw it.

Young Frankenstein, USA, 1974

6/19/2010

Books, books, books


Dear Astrid (I might have to change my mind about the dear if this will prove to be too difficult for my little sleep-deprived brain) tagged me for this meme about books.
No idea why she would choose me ;-)
Let's jump right in. No, stop, first I need music. The Doors, I think.
Ok, now.

1. The book you are reading at the moment.
"Over sea, under stone" by Susan Cooper, the first novel of the "The dark is rising" series. Yes, I do love to read children's books sometimes. I read the series in German when I was about 15 and just now bought it in English as well.
I'm also reading "Dangerous depths" by Kathy Brandt, a thriller, and a book about the Hope diamond. On my nightstand I have some other books ready for re-reading.

2. Next book you will read or want to read.
I want to read "A horseman riding by" by R. F. Delderfield once more. I read it as a child for the first time and many times since.

3. Your favorite book.
Sorry, I can NOT answer this question. How do I say a book is my favorite? Does it depend on how many quotes I know from it? How often I read it? No, can't do.

4. Your most hated book.
There are two and both of them are autobiographies, one by Agatha Christie and one by Bernhard Grzimek, a German zoologist. They were so badly written that I think my hair stood all the way up and you know I have long hair.

5. A book you could read again and again.
There are many books that I read again and again. My books by Deric Longden - and not only his cat books - and the ones by Terry Pratchett, Marcia Muller, Lincoln and Childs .... I could go on for a while if you have enough time?

6. A book you have been able to read only once (whether you liked it or not).
"The name of the rose" by Umberto Eco. I liked it, but now the images from the movie are so strong in my head that I have problems to concentrate on the book. I don't know how to describe it better. In some cases I avoid to watch movies based on books, just for that reason.

7. A book that reminds you of someone.
There is an old German series about a Swabian family, by Fritz Steuben. Of course it played before I was born, but the family life reminded me a lot of mine. Except for the fact that I never got the doll house that the girl in the books got, with working lights! I was so jealous.

8. A book that reminds you of somewhere.
The Sharon McCone books by Marcia Muller. They play in and around San Francisco, a town I love and that I haven't seen for too long. I really feel as if driving along and find myself calling out "I was there!"

9. First book you ever read.
I really don't remember. I could read by the age of 3 (what a show-off, I know), so I guess it was one of the fairy tale books at home. Grimm's or possibly One Thousand and One Nights.

10. A book by your favorite writer.
Again, how could I choose a favorite writer? I'm a huge Terry Pratchett fan, but I think I'll choose Deric Longden's "The cat who came in from the cold". Longden can make me laugh, no matter what mood I'm in. Even his saddest book has this incredible humor.

11. A book you loved the first time you read it, but you can't stand now.
The books by Patricia Cornwell or Elizabeth George. Girls, you took it too far. It's getting boring and I don't even want to read your first books anymore.

12. A book you have been recommended by a friend or acquaintance.
Does family count as well? The first I can think of is "Little big man" by Thomas Berger.

13. A book that makes you laugh.
"The cat who came in from the cold", Deric Longden. If you don't know it and if you like cats just a bit, read it (and all his others, just the thought of him fighting the snails in his garden makes me crack up and roll on the floor!).

14. A book from your childhood.
"Mamal" by Niels Meyn. The story of one of the first mammals in dinosaur age. There are many more of course.

15. The fourth book counting from the left in your shelf.
That would be from the children's book section then. "Catrin in Wales" by Mabel Esther Allan. Any idea why I would have bought that book? ;-)

16. The ninth book counting from the right in your shelf.
Fantasy section. Mary Stewart's "Tag des Unheils" (The wicked day), part of her Merlin and Arthur series.

17. Close your eyes and pick a random book from your shelf.
Difficult as I have to open the book cases first and therefore will know what genre I pick. I could go the history books to impress you, but I'll choose the humor section.
Ok, it was volume 6 of Wilhelm Busch's complete works. You know, the guy who wrote and drew "Max and Moritz" for example?

18. The book with the prettiest cover you own.
Almost all of my cookbooks. I don't cook much, but I love cookbooks, especially my vintage ones.

19. A book you have always wanted to read.
The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien. Somehow I never made it.

20. The best book of all the compulsory readings you had to do at school.
People, I'm old, how should I remember? So I'll say Macbeth, even if it's not a book, strictly spoken.

21. The worst book of all the compulsory readings you had to do at school.
Again a play, sorry. And I will get in big trouble for saying this, but I don't like Goethe much and I'll choose "Faust". Don't ask me why, I just don't.

22. The book in your shelf with the higher number of pages.
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.

23. The book in your shelf with the smaller number of pages.
James Hilton's "Goodbye, Mr Chips". I just bought that novel which was written in just four days.

24. A book no one would think you've read.
Probably the autobiography of Dawn Fraser, the Australian swimmer. Not many people know I admire her.

25. A book which main character defines you.
Probably all of my cat books in which the cat "owner" is an inferior being held as a slave by the feline masters ...

26. A book you'd read to your kids.
All books that I loved as a child. One example, "Dunkles Glas und Fisch in der Lampe" (Dark glass and fish in the lamp), a German book, by Ingeborg Engelhardt, about a glass maker in the the late days of the Roman Empire.

27. A book which main character fits your "ideal".
The Sharon McCone books by Marcia Muller. Strong woman, still very human with lots of mistakes. I could add more books with strong heroines. I'm a weakling myself *grin*

28. Thank God they made a film from this book!
Lord of the Rings - even if the movies are not 1:1 with the books (how could they?), I think they've done a pretty good job.

29. Why on Earth did they have to make a film from this book?
The Discworld books. What I have seen up to now does not make me want to see more. I rather wish I hadn't seen the ones I have :-(

This needs a P.S.
I'm a librarian. I have a catalog for my books and my books are separated into sections and in alphabetical order within their section. Can't help it, that's the way I am. And also forgive me for writing all titles in lower-case letters, I never know how to do that right in English, so I thought I'd just not do it at all and use the "non-native speaker" excuse.

6/18/2010

Meet Crafty Baby Hope

Are you wondering about the name?
The studio's name stands for the thought behind the studio, putting money earned through crafting into an infertility treatment.
Jennifer from Crafty Baby Hope on ArtFire doesn't stick to just one craft. She's a talented wire wrapper, she beads, but she also works with polymer clay which made her become a member of the Smooshers Guild and a very active one at that! She also has tutorials on YouTube. Yup, that is one busy lady! Admirable!

Since this is the weekly Smoosher feature, I'll concentrate on some of her polymer clay pieces and I tried to pick them from different categories - the sculptures, the charms and the jewelry.

Isn't this a super cute kitty? (And isn't it clear I chose a kitty? ;-)) Why am I so sure that behind that cute face is a mischievous little fellow, though?


Jennifer and her charms regularly make me crave sugar. These are the calorie-free, beautiful AND fun alternative!


I really love these tribal mask earrings. They seem to hide some ancient mystery from the look on their faces.


If you want to see more, go to the studio and also visit the blog "Jewelry for Hope" which will lead you to the other places Jennifer can be found at.

6/14/2010

Little mermaid


Since I was a child, I loved Andersen's fairy tale about the little mermaid. Of course I always had to swallow my tears when I came to the end. Many of his tales are so bittersweet and I myself am really drawn to happy endings, if not in life, then at least in stories.
I make an exception for Andersen, though.

When the poll result for the monthly Polymer Clay Smooshers' challenge was "Oceans", I thought of fish first, but then I saw one of Dori's layered pieces and the mermaid came to my mind. I started out with a disk of blue clay and wanted to make one of my bas-relief pieces, but suddenly I had the idea of a rock coming out of the sea.
The rock was pretty lonely for a few days because when I started I had not thought about how I wanted to make the mermaid. Then I just started with her upper body and head, then continued with the fish tail, her arms and last her hair. I love long hair (ask my hairdresser, our motto is "as much as necessary, as little as possible" for my own hair) and I love how it flies in the breeze or looks floating in water. So she got a pretty wild hairstyle.

In the end I wondered if I should varnish her, but I liked her much better like this. So now she is sitting on her rock, waiting for her prince or maybe just a friend to have a chat with.
Oh, I forgot to say that the whole sculpture is 1.2 inch high - or low ;-)

6/13/2010

Quote of the week - and tchkk, tchkk, tchkk


Remember my quote of the week from Monty Python's Holy Grail? While looking for a matching picture, I stumbled upon this stapler. Geek that I am at times, I had to have it for my desk and last week it has arrived (in a much too big carton, is that what we do to not waste resources??). This thing is huge which means it is a great match for my vintage monster hole punch.
The sound that it makes when I staple is tchkk!!! Yes, with exclamation marks ;-)

In honor of Mr. Killer Bunny Stapler I will use another quote from the Holy Grail today.
"It's just a flesh wound" is from the scene in which King Arthur fights the Black Knight. Poor Black Knight. He loses his arms and legs and still he doesn't want to give up and stop fighting.
It's easy to see why this is one of my favorite quotes. The work heroine of today won't be stopped by an evil paper cut. She'll proudly call out "It's just a flesh wound!" and drip blood all over the place.
Yes, I have done that before. Think it might have influenced my reputation? ;-)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, UK, 1975

6/11/2010

Sassy clay creations

That is not just the perfect description for the pieces I chose today, it is also the name of a fellow Smoosher's ArtFire studio, Sassy Clay Creations.

Taking a look into her studio (which you absolutely should!) and her blog (check it out!) will show you that Dori is a lady of many talents.

She covers glasses to make beautiful votive holders of them, she makes great patterns and the cutest little flowers.
Talking about patterns, here is my favorite bowl from her studio. Isn't it darling how Dori wove the green ribbon through the holes in the rim? And that bowl is not only beautiful, but also useful!


As a cat lover I absolutely had to choose this necklace, not only because of the stamped cat image, but also because of the great effect that the copper embossing powder makes on the black clay.


In a post for the guild blog she mentioned that one of her favorite techniques is layering. There are quite a few items in her studio that show that, but this is definitely the most amazing one, the Green Envy Mask. That doesn't only show patience, but also a lot of talent!


Don't let me forget to mention that I've gotten to know Dori as a kind and lovely person. Just read in her blog about the Round Robin Box that she started within the guild and that is due to come to me next. So exciting.
She is also inspiring. Even if she doesn't know it yet, she inspired me for this month's guild challenge, but that's for another post.

I wish you happy browsing at Sassy Clay Creations now.

6/07/2010

Chaos spirit


First of all I want to complain. What problem does Google Base have with the word "muse", so it has to block it?? Yes, it bugs me. Mabel has become a dear friend to me and I won't let Google Base treat her like that *lol*

I don't know if any of you remember the crochet ring I made quite a while ago. I was never really happy with it, with the edges, with the way it felt on and I kept squishing it and looking what else it could be good for.
My muse (ha, take that, Google Base!) finally showed me the way.
You know how sometimes you feel you are drowning in chaos? Too much work maybe, too much stress, things happening that you have a hard time dealing with, family, health, your car won't start, you keep dropping things - often those small things add up and one day you'll start crying because a glass falls over and breaks. No, the last thing didn't happen to me, but to a friend and her talking about it made me feel I knew exactly what she was going through. You can handle so much and then an ordinary glass breaks and you feel you can't handle this.

My life is been somewhat chaotic lately, I'll spare you the details.
And suddenly I took this poor squished ring and started weaving silver wire through it, randomly, chaotic. I took my pliers and distressed the silver and added a freeform bail. So that was what the ring was good for. And I was finally really happy with it.
You can find this one of a kind pendant in my ArtFire studio.

6/06/2010

Quote of the week

The firehouse used in the movie, picture by Philip Ritz

1985. Ah, I was still a teenager then (for a few months at least). Hard to believe, isn't it? I went more often to the movies then and one of the movies I saw was "Ghostbusters".
It gives us an abundance of great quotes you can use for any occasion - matching it or not, they'll always be fun.

One of my favorite quotes at work is this one, though.
We got one!

It's what Janine Melnitz aka Annie Potts said when they got their first customer.
So if we have a slow start at work and wait for the first patron to turn up or if we send out letters and get the first reply, I will be sure to cry out "We got one!" trying to imitate Janine's voice.

And don't forget ... who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! ;-)

Ghostbusters, USA, 1984

6/05/2010

The Rainbow Fairies


The idea was born when I started sorting a small plastic bag of bead soup. I can't call myself a seed beader although I have used beads more than once, and little did I know when I decided to separate the bead soup into his ingredients. I didn't do it all in one day, it took a few days, but finally I had all those neat little plastic bags with one bead color each.
So now what?
I held the bags next to each other, thinking about possible color combinations and the next thing I knew was me throwing together seed beads. I guess I should have thought about that earlier, it would have saved me some time.
The first necklace was the blue and green of the ocean and there it was, the crazy idea of making many in different color combinations - the necklaces for the Rainbow Fairies.

The Rainbow Fairies have their club in a treehouse on the highest tree you can find. When joining each of them got their own special necklace in their own special colors as you can see in this picture. I'm sure they'll attract new members over the time.


And there are those last leftover seed beads in the bag that didn't match any of the other colors. How about a Fairy of Color? ;-)

They are already listed in my Zibbet shop by the way, but are supposed to move into my other shops as well soon.