Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quote of the day

What must be done discourages some, others become enthusiastic just visualizing what can be done - Rosie Cash.

So what can be done today? A fulfilling Sunday to all of you!

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

ByHand...Summer, sea and shells

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Did you know ?- European Trivia

Did you know that:
  • the word denim comes from a kind of fabric made in Nimes, France called toile de Nimes?
  • the Spanish do not drink sangria, but tinto de verano, which is made of wine, seltz water and ice?
  • the custom of draping oneself in a black shawl when singing Portuguese fado was originated by Maria Severa in 1830 ?
  • there are 12 protected regional languages in Italy?
  • Alençon lace comes from its namesake in Normandie, France and it's an off shoot of Venetian lace?
  • the Portuguese gave the Japanese the word for thank you as arigatou is a corruption of obrigado?
  • that mayonaise was brought to France from Mahon in Minorca and still called over there salsa mahonesa?
And now for the final wedge and including almost all southern Europe...

Did you know that the opera I Vespri Siciliani by Verdi was based on a French libretto by Scribner and Duveyirer about the duque of Alba and the Spanish occupation of Flanders?

neki desu
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Little bit o' wisdom

Freehand embroidery by Jenny Karlsson Design, on handbag no. 92 (now sold).
"The longest journey we shall ever take is from the mind to the heart. You will find the way."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Item of the day: Bud bead

This little bud made of glass ressembles of the Lily Tulips in my garden. I have one sort named Marilyn that is white with strokes of lipstick on the petals.

Were it alone, as a focal bead, or toghether with other flower beads - maybe in one of those fabulous garden necklaces.


Selected pieces from the studios of European artisans on ArtFire

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Quote of the day

Life without love is like a tree without blossom and fruit - Kahlil Gibran

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

I wish I could do that - sewing

The art of sewing isn't one that has ever come to me. To be honest, after some poor attempts at elementary school I had lost all ambition to even try anymore (even my mother gave up on me after she made sure I might be able to mend socks and sew on buttons in a case of emergency ;-)). Crocheting, ok, knitting, ok, but give me a needle and thread and I'm lost and will try to get the needle through the thread rather than the other way round. Or even a sewing machine? No chance, I won't go near it and never felt the urge to.

The more I admire what other people can do with these things. And there is not even a reason to admire from afar, no, these people sell the beautiful pieces that I can just dream of making. Our guild has some talented members in this section and I want you to share some of my favorite pieces with me.

I am a cat person, so of course this handmade purse appealed to me right away.
"Materialised" has this Cool Cats Purse in her ArtFire studio. Very cool indeed, not only the fine fabric, but also the details. Look at the smug little cat faces!

I also like movies and the first movie I ever saw going to the cinema all by myself was "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Indiana Jones, my hero - I wanted to be his Marion.
Are you a fan, too? So why not get your very own Indy to live with? Check out the "The House of Mouse" and this cute little fellow.

Are you ready to meet Elvis now? The King is alive! In this case he has changed from sparkly white suits into red fur, though. This Elvis is a parrot and what a cute one at that!
The studio where you can find him looking for a partner who will play with him is "Eddy's Pressies". He's not the only cutie awaiting you there.

Last, but not least we'll bring a little bit of old times into this modern world with a special bag from "m.a.p.h.i.a".
Look at this gorgeous pompadour, fit for a queen. And you as well.

I hope you enjoyed the little trip through the wonderland of thread and needle. I sure did :-D

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Europe Trivia : France

Where to start? France is a fascinating country and, as a Scot, I am not, perhaps, qualified to write this post, except that the Scots and the French historically had an "Auld Alliance" (mostly against the English, but I think we're over that now!), so I have picked out some interesting snippets for you.

I was told that the name "France" comes from "Frank", a Germanic tribe that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 6th Century and founded the first independent kingdom covering most of today's France.

Modern France is about the same size as the American State of Texas, and has seven mountain ranges - the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura, Vosges, Auvergne, Morvan and Corsican. It has nearly 3,000 miles of coastline, and is bounded by three major bodies of water, the Atlantic (in the Bay of Biscay), the Mediterranean, and the English Channel, or, as the French call it, "La Manche". France borders eight other European countries - Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Luxembourg, Andorra and Monaco. Wow!

The French are world famous for their art, fashion, fragrances and style. From the cave paintings of prehistory in the Dordogne to today, the French have loved and produced great art, as the names on this list of artists shows - Poussin, Watteau, Fragonard, Delacroix, Gericault, Monet, Gaugin, Rodin, Cezanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Braque...I could go on (and on) ...

The French are also famous for their romantic ways, but on a friendly level they traditionally greet each other with a kisses on the cheek. The number of kisses varies according to which region you are in, from one at the tip of Brittany (too close to the stiff upper lips of England, perhaps?), to four in Paris and most of the North, and even up to five in Corsica (in the passionate Mediterranean!)

Like the Belgians, the French love good food. Do you know that there are two cookbooks published every day in France? They have at least 365 different varieties of cheese (one for every day of the year) and better still, about 450 AOC wines!

Despite that, they are healthy folk, having some of the best life expectancy rates and lowest rates of obesity in Europe, and they are clever too...France has won the most Nobel Prizes for Literature of any Country in the world (including other nationals who have made France their home) - from the very first , Sully Pudhomme, in 1901 to the most recent, J-M. G. Le Clezio, last year - and the second highest (to the USA) number of recipients of the Fields Medal for Mathematics.

What a wonderful place! She is "La belle France" indeed.
(And please forgive me if I have got anything wrong - I certainly do not mean to offend!)

Item of the Day

This is a bracelet made with boro glass beads in various shades of blue, Swarovski bicone spacers and Bali silver saucer beads.
I just adore boro beads - they have such a unique look with their coloured centres surrounded by a sea of clear glass.
The bracelet has an adjustable sterling silver toggle clasp - total length is 8.5 inches but can be shortened to 7.5 inches.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Item of the Day: Tuesday 19th May

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A dramatic yet classic combination of quality coin freshwater pearls and faceted black onyx, with generous sterling silver detailing and striking extender chain; matching earrings are available separately from True Colours' Artfire store.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Item of the Day

Today's item is "Memories of the Sea" - a boro glass and antiqued brass necklace from The Sheriff's Daughter.

I have always lived close to the sea and I love it...the sound of the waves; the changing moods; the smell of the seaweed; the cries of the gulls.

The boro beads in this necklace remind me of the colours of the sea. It's like you have your own little piece of the sea with you wherever you go.

For more details, click on the post heading.

Little bit o' wisdom

Freehand embroidery by Jenny Karlsson Design, on handbag no. 11 (now sold). " Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quote of the day

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told "I am with you, kid. Let's go!" - Maya Angelou

What a lovely thought :-D Let's grab this life of ours!

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Black and Blue

Selected items from European artisans on Artfire

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

I wish I could do that

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Getting to the heart of the matter

My True Colours logo is based on the open heart, but the European Artfire Guild has talented craftspersons who put me to shame with their gorgeous hearts!

One thing I have great admiration for, having tried my hand at it for just one day, is lampwork. This I do wish I could do, but one can spread oneself too thinly... Christa of Luccicare Lampwork has a whole set of heart beads she creates from glass and embellishes with a silver core to run a broad chain through. I am hoping she will soon post a gorgeous violet/purplish one I came across on a Flickr site, like this blue one but more majestic.

Continuing with the lampwork theme, there are hearts from Bab's Beads and Design

Earrings and necklaces in the blue/green colours that relate to the subtle heart, in fused glass from DichroicDazzle,
and in lampwork from Gwendoline

and a lovely necklace in silver with lampwork beads from Silver-Soul-Designs

One of a number of gorgeous enamelled copper heart pendants from Paintboxcrafts caught my eye:

A specialist in hearts is Gillian of iheartcrafts. She makes a variety of heartshaped items in clay and in fabric:

A lovely silver heart pendant from Alibalijewellery

A piece from The Sheriff's Daughter that she calls 'Heavy Heart', with a tiger iron pendant, I'd be inclined to call it 'Heart of the Tiger':

Hearts are really popular! Look and you will find many, many more of them in our Artfire Shops! My last choices for something I do wish I could do, or could have the patience to do, are the lovely collaged card from The Spotted Sparrow, a card she has called simply 'Beloved':
and the gorgeous Valentine mouse from The House of Mouse.

Heartfelt wishes for enjoyable browsing in our studios!

Item of the day

These earrings are from textured sterling silver spirals in combination with aventurine and garnet.
Lightweight, comfortable and the perfect little color for everyday's wardrobe.

Visit me at Cat's Wire on Artfire

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Europe Trivia : Sweden

Quick Facts : Sweden

174,000 sq mi (450,000 km²), the third largest country in Western Europe
Longest north-south distance: 978 mi (1,574 km)
Longest east-west distance: 310 mi (499 km)
Capital: Stockholm
Population: 9.3 million inhabitants
Languages: Swedish; recognized minority languages: Sami (Lapp), Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedalen Finnish), Yiddish, Romani Chib
Form of government: Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy
Parliament: The Riksdag, with 349 members in one chamber
Religion: In practice, Sweden is very secularized. The Church of Sweden is Evangelical Lutheran; co-exists with many other beliefs
Life expectancy:
men 79 years, women 83 years
(facts from

A few Swedes known to the world:

Astrid Lindgren (
14 November 1907 – 28 January 2002)
author and screenwriter, whose many works were translated into 85 languages and published in more than 100 countries. She has sold roughly 145 million copies worldwide. Today, she is best remembered for writing the Pippi Longstocking and Karlsson-on-the-Roof book series.

Alfred Nobel (21 October 1833 –10 December 1896)
chemist, engineer, innovator, armaments manufacturer and the inventor of dynamite. He owned Bofors, a major armaments manufacturer, which he had redirected from its previous role as an iron and steel mill. In his last will, he used his enormous fortune to institute the Nobel Prizes. The synthetic element nobelium was named after him.

Carl Linneaus (May 23 1707 – January 10, 1778)
otanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature (=the formal system of naming species). He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.

Ingmar Bergman (14 July 191830 July 2007)
director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. He depicted bleakness and despair as well as comedy and hope in his explorations of the human condition. He is recognized as one of the most brilliant and influential filmmakers of modern cinema.
He directed 62 films, most of which he also wrote, and directed over 170 plays. Some of his internationally known favorite actors were Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson and Max von Sydow. Most of his films were set in the landscape of his native Sweden, and major themes were often bleak, dealing with death, illness, betrayal and insanity.

A few Swedish inventors:

  • Anders Celsius, (1701–44) was an astronomer and mathematician most famous for inventing the 100-point thermometer scale, widely used across the world.
  • Gustaf Erik Pasch (1788–1862) invented the safety match.
  • Gustaf de Laval (1845-1913) was a Swedish engineer and inventor who made important contributions to the design of steam turbines and dairy machinery.
  • Lars Magnus Ericsson (1846-1926) started the company bearing his name, Ericsson, still one of the largest telecom companies in the world.
  • Gustaf Dalén (1869-1937) founded AGA, and received the Nobel Prize for his sun valve.
  • One of John Ericsson's (1803–89) most important inventions was ship propellers. Ericsson became widely famous when he built the Monitor, an armoured battleship that in 1862 triumphed over the Confederate StatesMerrimack in an American Civil War sea battle.
  • Nils Bohlin (1920-2002) was a Swedish inventor who invented the three-point safety belt while working at Volvo.
  • Tetra Pak (1951) is an invention for storing, packaging and distributing liquid foodstuffs, for example, milk and juice. Erik Wallenberg (1915–99) was the main inventor, while businessman Ruben Rausing (1895–1983) developed and produced it.

You have probably heard Swedish bands and artists like : ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base, Europe and those. So I thought I'd make a little playlist with some newer ones - that you've probably heard.. but still, enjoy!

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Item of the Day

Lucky Felt Cloud Shamrock
Cute squishy shamrock crafted in lovely lilac felt.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Item of the day: Grass green Mother of two goddess

Todays item is from Babs Beads & Design - a swedish lampworker and jewellery artist:

This is one of my Mother of two goddesses. I make godesses in several different glasses and styles, but I want them all to look like real women since I can't relate to those silicon, push up goddesses you see everywhere. (I'm over 40 and have two kids - you can see where I got the name...)

This one has a core of grass green glass and an etched surface that gives her a very soft feeling - almost like real skin!

Little bit o' wisdom

Freehand embroidery by Jenny Karlsson Design, detail from bag (now sold), but the words stay the same.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Quote of the day

There are three ingredients to the good life; learning, earning, and yearning - Christopher Morley

I think this fits so well, don't you?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Byhand . . . Eggcentricity Jewels' Ewanna



Hello, I'm Ewanna (pronounced with a w for non Greeks) and I am the owner/designer of Eggcentricity Jewels based in Patras, Greece. I am half Greek and half American mix of Irish, English and Native American. I was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, USA; married a fellow Greek and moved to Texas for 10 years before finally returning to my roots here in Greece.

It is this wonderful, eclectic mix of backgrounds that have created the artist that I am. It's very hard not to be influenced by the natural beauty of the places I've lived or by their histories.

That's why crafting is so important to me -- it gives me the opportunity to express all of that beauty and the wonderful mix that is me. I cannot remember a time after the age of six when I was not crafting. My mother's family isn't Greek and for many generations had lived in West Virginia (the poorest state in the US) hills. They were farmers and had large families to feed and clothe. One of my fondest memories is of my great-grandmother and her philosophy of if it can be made by you by hand, you make it. You don't by anything that you can make or learn to make. Great-granda had 21 children to raise and no income outside of the farm buried deep in those WV hills. She had to learn to do everything for herself. I learned my lessons well.

Today there are very few crafts that I have not tried or mastered. I started with needlework at age six and now do all but bobbin lace or tatting. I sew anything and everything and for many years supplemented my income by being a professional seamstress. Beading and jewelry making came a bit later as a profession rather than a hobby just for personall use. I needed something that I could do from home with my youngest daughter, who is very talented in her own right, and everyone always wanted the jewelry I made and wore. I gave away so much that my hubby started to complain about the costs. So Eggcentricity Jewels was born.

My studio is probably the center of my universe. It's not very big but it has the morning sun and a wonderful wooden floor (the main rooms of my apratment have marble floors) so I can go barefoot without freezing my tootsies off. It is jammed packed with boxes of gemstone beads, fabrics brought from the US for sewing, the books I use to teach English as a Second Language, my computer station with all of its many, many add-ons and my design desk which is always in a state of mad chaos. I always have something in the works. My only regret is that my studio isn't as big as my living room. I desperately need more space to accomodate all of my crafting supplies and design areas.

Even though my great grandmother passed on several years ago her maxim about not buying manufactured goods except when unavoidable is what I try to live by. I firmy believe that if a person is willing totake the time to learn to do something well and likes/loves what they have learned then the things that they make or the repairs around the home that they do will most certainly be of a higher standard than those mass produced or done by a stranger.
The next art form that I hope to be able to learn is the srt of making lampwork glass beads. I love their beauty and the skill it takes to work with liquid glass to create infinite detail on such a small scale. Until I learn how to do it myself, I'll have to be satisfied with collecting the work of others.

I came across Artfire by being a regular customer of Foxy Findings and the now defunct Pizazz Works shops owned by Kay and John Jacobs. I love the work Kay Jacobs does and her videos were a source of easy to follow instructions on various techniques in jewelry making.

My plans for Eggcentricity Jewels are to see it grow into a brand that people will be as proud to own as I am to design and to become a sought after product. However, I do have one rule that I closely adhere to: I don't make duplicates. I, personally hate it when I go somewhere and everyone is wearing the same things. So, when I started selling my jewelry I made a solemn oath to myself that i would never make two items exactly the same and that I would always be totally honest with my customers concerning the gems, metals, and beads used in the items I make. That is why I am one of the founding members of the Jewelry Integrity Group, where we guarantee the quality of our work, stand behind it 100% and guarantee customer satisfaction.


I hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction, I could go on for days, and that you will click on the title of this post to visit my Artfire studio and from there my other sites as well.

Καλημέρα σε όλους! (A good day to all!)