6/26/2011

Quote of the week

In choosing this week's quote I was inspired by the "Special of the Day" at a place where we had lunch on Friday.
It's England in the times of King Arthur, the Black Death is taking its toll on a small village, so the undertaker comes by calling out:
"Bring out your dead ... bring out your dead."

You want to know what Monty Python, the Holy Grail and the Black Death have to do with noodles? Here you go!

For those who don't speak German ... "Pest" = "Black Death", "Nudeln" = "noodles"

All I could say after that was "Bon appetit!" ;-)


P.S. Oh, you want to know how the noodles looked? PestO, people, pesto. One letter, such a difference ...

6/25/2011

Day trip to the Steiff museum

We don't live that far from Giengen/Brenz and as collectors of Steiff we have been there quite a few times over the last 20 years. You don't know Giengen? You have never heard of Steiff?
Don't worry, I'll spare you the company history (although it's very interesting), this is not the place for something you can find elsewhere easily. Let me just say that a Steiff animal really is a friend for life and that the designs are amazingly lifelike, especially the really old ones.
In 2005 the new Steiff Museum opened its doors and that is where we went yesterday. Instead of rambling on I'll let a few of the pictures that I took speak for themselves.

Steiff has always been famous for their mechanical pieces, here "Arabian Nights"
Looking upwards - apes in the trees!
It must be hard to have to "work" for Steiff if you are a polar bear.
A little Steiff garden in the museum's hall
Old pals. Teddy was made from some kind of wood fabric because in wartimes other fabric was rare.
Margarete Steiff greeting people in the museum's hall. Suffering from polio as a child, she had to use a wheelchair all her life.
Baboon baby - always one of my favorites since we first went to the Steiff museum (still the old one then)
Penguin family
Not the tall guy, but the tall bear ;-)
Swimming turtles - the picture of the shells came out too dark :-(
Cool snake slide - who wouldn't want to have something like this at home?
Skiing penguins - the row up there actually moved
Smiling tigers - I wonder what they think
An old penguin with his friend Treff, the bloodhound (one of my favorite Steiff dogs!)
Isn't she sweet?

If you ever get the chance, take a look. The tour starts with the story of Margarete Steiff  and shows her sewing room (not the real one of course), goes on with a teddy telling you the story of Richard, her nephew, who was one of the inventors of the teddy bear (I won't discuss who was the first one, I think some things just happen at the same time in different parts of the world because the time is due), and then follows the story of the lost 3000 teddy bears. Afterwards the door opens to the exhibition with cases of old animals on one and lifesize animals on another floor. They also built a workshop where you can watch how the animals are made and see all the tools which is very interesting.

The only moment yesterday that was a little sad was when we wanted to go for lunch. For years we always ate at the same place, but it's not there anymore. I wish we could have said goodbye.

6/19/2011

Quote of the week

Hint, hint ... this picture could give you an idea which movie I chose for today's quote.
I know this is not a great shot, I had to be quick and shoot it through the window, soon afterwards the rainbow was gone. And thanks to a furry lot standing behind me, I couldn't open the window because I don't trust them from 12 to midnight, much less with an open window.


So, who wants to go for an educated guess? Right ... let's sing "Somewhere over the rainbow" together before we get to the quote.
Done? Ok, here we go then.


"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas any more."

I'll never forget my feeling as a child when the movie turned from black and white to color. I guess I was easy to impress then ;-) I don't remember however if I thought Kansas was a black and white state ... And by the way, this quote made it to place 4 of the best 100 movie quotes of all times, selected by the American Film Institute!

6/18/2011

Meet Cleody Skye Creations

A few months ago I was dragged over to deviantArt. I kicked and yelled and finally gave in, determined to sit in my corner and pout. It took a while, but slowly I started to find my way around, and although it's hard to admit it, I am grateful to ... yes, well, you know who you are!
One of the artisans who caught my eye there is Cortney McLeod aka Cleody (pronounced as "cloudy"). She's from Arizona and we had a little "talk". Meet Cleody and listen to her story.

1. What's your craft and how did you get to do it in the first place?
I tend to be a jack of all trades. When I see something that I'm interested in learning, I learn it, and then I move onto something else. I used to draw quite a bit, I used to paint in photoshop, I used to make sculpey figurines... I've done quite a bit.  Now I'm focusing on making plushies, and not just making them to make them, but I'm actually trying to really start something with them. Not just a toy line, but I'm sort of using them as a platform for instilling this spirit of adventure in people.
I work in the film industry. I originally got into film because it's the perfect medium. You can incorporate all other art mediums into it. And there's no other medium that can move people emotionally the way film does. I wanted to get into film because I wanted to give people another way to view something. I wanted to change people's minds for just a minute and show them there were other ways of perceiving life.
Of course the film lifestyle is easy to get burnt out on, especially in the local scene where you work EXTREMELY long hours and there's not much money for your efforts.  So even though I'm not doing film as much anymore, that desire to change people's minds is still there. Only this time I am trying to do it with this story of a little alien race that comes to me in search of happiness and enlightenment. And by helping them to find enlightenment, I hope to help others, as well.
... that was very long-winded. Sorry about that.

2. Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from everywhere.  I'm something of a sponge. I look at other people's art, I listen to other people's stories, I just look outside, I even look around my room and imagine how I would navigate the landscape if I were tiny.  I used to think about that a lot when I was a kid and I went years without thinking like that. But now that I'm getting back into my art, all those fun ways of thinking and imagining things is all flooding back to me. I just want to show people simple ways of having fun, so I try to find fun in everything, and then share that.

3. Tell us a fun thing about yourself.
A fun thing about myself... hmm... well my profession has changed from doing special effects and effects makeup to making stuffed animals.  So... blood, guts, gore, explosions, fire, zombies... to fluffy cute and cuddly things. So every now and then when I try to sit down and come up with a story, my cute and cuddly stories have explosions in them. Or really weird humor. I'm a bit of a contradiction. So this world that I'm creating is a little strange.
Spooky Slouchy
4. What other crafts do you do?
I do all sorts of crafts. I bet I've done just about everything once, as far as crafting goes. However, I am interesting in doing more custom toys and getting better at sculpting. So sculpture is next on my list. :)

5. Tell us about the "Slouchies".
One night, I woke up to this strange green glow in my closet. I had no idea what it was. I don't believe in monsters or anything, but it could've been a burglar or something.  So I grabbed my baseball bat and crept towards the closet. When I opened the door, at first I couldn't see anything except this bright green glare. Then my eyes adjusted and I saw a dozen or so tiny little creatures all staring up at me from the floor. As I was frozen in shock, I noticed another green light in my peripheral vision. I turn around and see a green light coming from outside. I ran out of my room and went to look out into the yard. There were dozens and dozens of little spaceships landing in the front yard! As I was about to run out of the place, a large group of aliens cut me off.  I started to back away, clutching my bat. As I was backing away, a little striped alien steps forward with arms raised, squeaking and making these noises that sound something like baby talk
An ex-boyfriend of mine who never got over it after we broke up, badly, had become an astronaut and ended up on the aliens' planet. He gave them my phone number and that's how they found me.
Now the entire alien race is coming through a portal in my closet and landing on my front lawn.
I told them that I'm not a guru or anything and that I didn't even know how to make myself happy. This was very disappointing for the Slouchies to hear. I felt so bad for them. They can't go back to their home planet. And they traveled all over the universe to find me... to find happiness. So I couldn't just abandon them.
Since that day I've started posting them online and trying to get people to adopt them. I simply can't take care of them all.
But them just being here is helping me to learn more things about myself. In teaching them to find their own happiness, I'm learning to find mine. And by helping them to find friends out there, I'm finding more friends, too. :)
By the way, if you want to read the whole story, here it is!
Diva Slouchy
6. Where would you like to take your business someday?
I would eventually like my business to be quite popular, of course. I would like a website with multiple toy lines and a comic for the Slouchies, if not an animated series. I would like this to be big! I want to start an online community.... oh man... so many ideas. No idea how to streamline them and actually make them all happen. Haha!
7. Where can we find you online?
You can find me on:
Etsy  
And my blog 
8. Is there anything you feel you need or want to tell the world outside now?
What do I want to tell the world? BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER
Smoochy Slouchy

I'm in love with the Slouchies already and I'm just waiting to find the little fellow who is perfect for me. How about you?? ;-)

6/17/2011

I'm getting older .... and you can profit from it!


Next week will be my 46th birthday. As you can see I'm not shy about saying that as long as you assure me I look like 26. Like on my wedding day when I wore the huge glasses that were modern then :-P Ah, the good old ... no, wait, that DOES make me sound old, eh? ;-)

I thought I'd celebrate into my birthday and I want you to be able and celebrate with me - so I put all my shops into sales mode. That's right. 20 % off all my items until my birthday.
Maybe that way my birthday will make another birthday child happy, too?

Check out my shops on ArtFire, Zibbet and DaWanda and have fun browsing!

6/15/2011

I'm doing good

It's true even if I say so myself, and yes, it's still about my stash.
Those little flowers are so addictive and so versatile, I think they'll stay with me for quite a while.
Now if I could only be so good about taking pictures and listing! For that I always have to give myself a real good kick.

Just now I put my to-do list next to my computer again, a new one. The trick is not to keep the old one, cross out things you have done and add new ones. The more you have crossed out, the more you have the feeling you have already done enough, even if it took you weeks. Hm, of course it's possible this is just true for me, however I feel good about making a new list, as neatly written as I can do it, it's giving me the urge to tackle some of those things.

So yesterday it was editing pictures and listing first. Oops, just had to add another thing, the new Starving Artist Team's challenge. And another one that should have been on the last one already. If it keeps going like this, I'm afraid I'll need a bigger piece of paper!

To give me the small feeling of already having done something, let me show you my latest flowers.

There is this little bracelet. These flower charms are made from black beads with a rainbow shine and riverstone.


This one took a lot longer, but is also my favorite one, maybe because of the happy colors, maybe because it says "flower child" and maybe because it worked out at all ;-)
I made the flowers from yellow cat's eye and - yes, you guess right - riverstone, then crocheted them together, added another round to make it sturdier, and then I went through each single cat's eye bead with a wire again, so they would sit right and to minimize the danger of them falling off. After all a bracelet hits a table much easier than earrings or a necklace. Unless you are like me of course and like to hit your head on the desk if things are not going the way you want them.


Let me have a look at my to-do list now. Uh-oh, 17 points still ....

6/12/2011

Quote of the week


Time flies. I know that is no deep thought and it's not new, either.
30 years, though? Are you being serious? The first Indiana Jones movie came out 30 years ago???? How old does that make me??? Well, almost 46. I'm not shy about telling my age.
It doesn't seem that long ago that I sat in the movie theater and watched the movie. And it doesn't seem that long ago that I listened to the soundtrack, lying on my bed with shut eyes while the images of the movie floated through my head. Wait, the soundtrack is on a record, yes, vinyl. I guess it was that long ago then.

To honor the 30th anniversary of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" here's another quote from it.
Indy just barely escaped the Hovitos in the opening scene, and alas ....

"There's a big snake in the plane, Jock!"
"Oh, that's just my pet snake Reggie."
"I hate snakes, Jock. I hate'em."
"Come on, show a little backbone, will ya?"

Of course those of us who have watched the Raiders about 30 times over the years know where this will lead ... to my very favorite quote from this movie ;-)

Happy anniversary, Indy!


P.S. Dave Lowe is doing a Raiders-of-the-Lost-Blog-A-Thon on his great online comic website Para Abnormal this month. If you are a fan of the movie, check it out. If you like black humor with a twist, stay there and have a look at the other great comics. Yes, I'm a fan.

6/10/2011

Turquoise

This week the Polymer Clay Smooshers asked what gets into mind when you hear turquoise. You might expect me to say it reminds me of the jewelry the Native Americans make or maybe what the color reminds me of, but actually I am thinking of a ring. I don't have a picture of that ring, it's not mine, but except jewelry from the bubblegum machine and a few family heirlooms I don't remember too much jewelry from my earlier childhood, so this ring really impressed me - a simple oval turquoise cab in a classic ring shank.

It's amazing to me how artisans can turn polymer clay into faux stones, it's something I haven't tried myself yet. Turquoise with its black veining is a great example for how versatile polymer clay can be in the right hands.
Check these out. Not the hands, the pieces!

Black lava, red jasper and faux turquoise make up this beautiful necklace by River Valley Design. I love the color combo!
At the shop Haffina Creations you can find a whole set of faux turquoise, earrings and a bracelet. The stones are beautifully done!


They really make me feel like trying this eventually after all. I'll need the right tutorial for that and since the beads in this one by 2 Good Claymates look gorgeous, I think it will be the right choice.


So maybe one day you'll see something from me, but I think I need a lot of practice to get as good as these guys ...

6/08/2011

Cuppa tea?

I am still working hard on turning those spare beads of mine into jewelry. I'm proud to pronounce a first success ... I am out of beer! Quartz, I mean. Beer quartz. The last bead went into this piece that reminded me of a camomile flower after I had finished it. Granted, camomile usually doesn't sparkle that much, but when wearing them on a necklace they also don't last that long.


It can be found in my shop now and I'm off to look for more stray beads ;-)

6/07/2011

Nine days

When I was in London for the first time, together with a friend and her five year old daughter, we also went to the National Gallery. We wandered around only to suddenly find the little one sitting on one of the benches staring at a huge painting. She couldn't tell us what exactly she liked about it as she certainly didn't understand what it was about, and neither can I tell you what I like about it. Fact is we came back more than once while we were at the gallery, and sat on this bench, staring in silence.
Lady Jane Grey was executed for high treason after being on England's throne for nine days.

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche (1833)

This month's challenge of the Handmade in Europe guild had the subject "Famous execution, murders, murderers etc." From time to time you just have to do something different.
Lady Jane was the first one to come to my mind. My wire lace choker is inspired by her execution or should I say, the moment after her execution.


Of course that is an association you need not have. It can remind you of vampires again (sorry, the dark red crystals just do that to me) or just be a feminine piece of jewelry, that's totally up to you.
It's in my shop with more pictures now for you to decide yourself.

6/06/2011

Train tales

I noticed I haven't told one of my train tales for a long time. Part of it has to do with the fact that I didn't have any really good ones, except maybe the guy performing a hip hop song for his friend, with dancing and all ... only he wasn't very good which he admitted himself.

Today it's Monday and I remembered last week Monday when I came home late from dinner with friends. I had missed the train which was maybe a good thing because by luck I just came into the station when an old friend I hadn't seen in a long time walked by on the way to her train.
Still I had to spend 45 minutes on the platform. I stood there, not the only one waiting of course, when suddenly a woman pulling a big suitcase came running up to me and yelled: "Are you waiting for the train to U.?" I said yes and that's when she yelled at me: "It's late!!!!" Before I could even try to tell her that neither the last one (I should know it left in time because that's why I missed it ;-)) was late nor the one that would not leave until in thirty minutes, she stormed off.
Why she would share this with me, I don't know, all I know is I got some very strange looks from a girl on the bench next to me.
Why she would think the train was late and what she thought I could or could not do about it, I can't figure out. Did she want me to follow her for a protest march to the service desk? I'll never know.


I was lucky to make it off the train in time. I was so tired that I stumbled out and that's when an older man came running at me. What the ... then I saw the cell phone in his hand and the group standing next to the train. He just wanted me to take a picture of them, phew. That I could understand and do.
Still I have to admit I was glad when I was home and the only ones to jump at me were my cats! ;-)

6/05/2011

Quote of the week


If a man ever aged well, it was Cary Grant. Yes, you already know I'm a fan, so be prepared to see him in the weekly quotes much more often.
This was Grant's last movie. Some people say it's no wonder he stopped filming after this movie. I happen to love it, and I don't care what others say - and the reason is Cary Grant.
The love story doesn't really interest me that much, but the way Grant aka business man Sir William Rutland handles everything around him in his typical charming way - no doubt, he makes this movie.

It's 1964 in Tokyo during the Summer Olympics, rooms are scarce and Sir William has arrived too early to claim his room in the hotel. So he moves in with a young lady who wants to help out for a while, and if that's not enough already, he picks up an athlete and rents the other couch to him.
The best scenes are the morning scenes. Three people, one bathroom and a tiny kitchen? Hilarious if you only have to watch and not experience it yourself! ;-)
My favorite quote appears in the argument about whose bathroom time it is:
I know it's my turn. If I had my glasses, I could prove it.

What do we learn from that? Always have your glasses on you!


6/04/2011

Brain puddle

It's hot. You don't believe me? Look at the dead cat on my desk. Now you might say I don't have as much fur as he does, so I don't have the right to complain, but 1. I never showed you my arms and 2. I don't lie around on my desk like this. Instead I try to blog which I haven't done all week, shame on me.


My brain is in a puddle on the floor and my body moves out of habit. The results are not as good as one could have hoped for on a long weekend. At least I haven't been all inactive. Once again I convinced myself I needed to work on my stash. All those beads left over from other projects were getting in my way, all the little plastic bags with one, two, ten beads in them. These little crochet flowers are perfect to use them up.


Part of these pendants will go to a daycare center, as little gifts for the girls. Some others will be listed in my different shops ... once I have taken more pictures, that is. This could take a while.

And of course I'm not done yet. There are more little bags, more orphaned beads ... more flowers?