Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quote of the day

"Happiness is not something ready made...
It comes from your own actions."
-- Dalai Lama

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Item of the Day

I called these earrings Pots of Honey because the color of the lampwork beads is such a warm golden honey shade which is further enhanced by the soft glow of the vermeil spacer beads, beadcaps and earwires.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Europe Trivia - Europe is such a loving place

Now when I say that I’m sure you immediately think of the French people kissing everyone on both cheeks, and the open arms of the Italians or Greeks. I agree with all that. But this goes much further. The friendliness and love goes deep into our traditions and languages too.

One of my favourite sights is these houses on the Faeroe Islands that seem to be hugged by the very landscape that surrounds them. Of course, having grass on your roof means you have a quiet house, a warm house and the weight of the grass helps to keep your roof on in the incredible storms they get so far North. But I can’t help being a romantic.

The Danish also have this lovely tradition of having a small room in the house (away from where they receive guests) which is just for the family to gather in of an evening. It is usually furnished with big soft cushions and soft lighting. They call it a hygge-krog or a hugging nook. To be invited into another family’s hygge-krog is a great honour and is like being made part of the family.

There is a lovely German word too which is gemütlich. There is no real single English word for this but it is a way of using furnishings, lighting even scents to create a cosy and homely feeling. So that even a stranger entering the house will immediately feel at home.

And not to be left out; the Welsh have a lovely word too. This is Cwtch. It’s an odd word as it has many definitions. (one definition is a coal shed!) If a Welsh person says to “cwtch-up” it means to snuggle down among the blankets for a good night’s sleep. A cwtch can also be a hug or a cuddle but my favourite definition is for the shawl that is wrapped tightly around baby and then around Mam’s back to give her a hand free when carrying baby. Also baby can be close to her Mam and have a hug while Mam either keeps working or sits in a chair for a rest herself. This is such a lovely idea because even if mam falls asleep; the baby cannot fall and is held safely in place by the shawl. Who doesn’t want to be hugged to sleep?

Picture of Faeroe house by kind permission of Chris Webster
Picture of Mam carrying baby "welsh style" by the Museum of Wales

Item of the Day

ScribbleBook by Jenny Karlsson Design.
The text is handwritten with nib pen and ink:
"Think all you speak, but speak not all you think.
Thoughts are your own Words are so no more. - Patrick Delaney 1686-1768-"

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Item of the day: Botswana Agate earrings

Today's item of the day comes from Kitty Ballistic - a pair of earrings featuring beautiful Botswana Agate beads.

When I saw these beautiful agate coin beads, I had to buy them. They have a lovely milky sheen to them, and the banding is particularly attractive, although as you will see in the photo, the beads are not identical. I still think they work as a pair though, and the simple sterling silver earwires don't draw attention away from the agate banding.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Item of the Day

Today's item of the day comes from The Sheriffs Daughter - a set of charms called "Handful of Eyes", in joyful anticipation of Halloween.

The seven charms in the set are made with great lampwork eyeball beads (Thank you, Hoss of Beads) - each is unique and has two eyes (so you can see trouble coming from two directions at once?) - with silver beads and Swarovski crystals. These could be added to earrings, strung on a chain or thong (singly or in a bunch) or made into a cell phone charm, or given to your favourite spooky chums...

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Item of the Day - Felt Tipped Pen Roll

A quilted pen roll which holds up to 48 pens/pencils. Folds over in half and then rolls up, fastens with ribbon tie.
Would make a great gift for children, especially as many are going back to school in the next few weeks.

Fully Washable

aprox 6"/15cms, and 12"/30.5cms diameter when closed

Can be made in different colours, using different fabric designs, to hold smaller amounts of pen/pencils, or crayons

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Newly Listed-Dark orange and Red

Here are just a few of the newly listed items that caught my eye. I love the deep oranges and reds that have been used.
First we have these beautiful Earrings from the Sheriff's Daughter, using amber bubbles

These Recycled Pop Tab/Ring Pull and Bottle Cap Brooches from skacore princess really caught my attention by their novelty. What a wonderful way to recycle these tabs.

This necklace, by Cat's Wire, consists of a dark red satin ribbon that has been spool knit together with a light pink metallic wire for the extra kick. If you visit her studio, you will see how versatile this item is.
Why not take a moment to visit our studios and see the wide variety of items that are on offer

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Item of the day - olive wood disk pendant

A beautifully patterned olive wood disk has been crocheted into a bezel of metallic brown shimmering copper wire with black beads added to form this unusal pendant that has an old-fashioned look to me.
A big and bold piece that is sure to catch attention.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quote of the day

Perfumes are the feelings of flowers - Heinrich Heine

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Things" that inspire me - my cats

Actually it's not inspiring things I want to talk about, but my cats. They are omnipresent in my life. Even if I wasn't allowed to have one as a child, I still could play with the ones at the farm that belonged to my godmother's parents.
My full first name includes the word "cat" which made it easy to choose the name for my studio. My friends from the US who had problems with pronouncing my first name (no idea why) always called me Cat.
And suddenly the furry kind was in our life and there to stay.
Recently there are five of them in my cat crew:

Gandalf (easy to see where that name came from!). Quiet and shy.

Mephista. Small and lovable.

Greebo. Actually not as monster-like as in this picture, but I like his yellow eyes here ;-)

Ponder. Crazy, wild and extreme in everything he does, may it be fighting or cuddling.

Esme. Almost as extreme as her brother Ponder, but she hasn't got "the howl".

Looking at them inspired me to start my kitty line in a moment of whim, a line of wire crochet earrings and pendants.
Each of my cats has a very different face and so do my crochet kitties, depending on choice of hook, wire, beads for eyes and nose, the ways the ears are put on.
A special thanks goes to Merlin, he is no longer with us. He had the big male cat head that I love best in my pendants.

Thanks for taking the time to stroll through my feline world with me :-)

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Item of the Day

Snow and Ice by Silver Soul Design

It seems so wrong to even mention snow and ice in August but that is what I called this necklace, it just seems to fit.

It is made with frosted quartz nuggets, clear crystal beads and a heart shaped pendant, Bali silver spacers, pendant focal and clasp.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Item of the Day

Crocheted flower brooch in off-white mulberry silk with glass beads, and three rock-chrystal chips in the middle. By Jenny Karlsson Design.
Very soft and feels quite luxurious and lasts a lifetime at least!
A little something to put on your jacket, shawl, hat or bag.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Item of the day

Another felt item from me, this time a sweet treat.

A wise lady once said "There's no such thing as too much icing" and she was right. This plush felt doughnut is stuffed full of polyfill, smothered in pink icing and topped with some white glaze.

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Item of the Day

Today's item of the day is "Luna" - a necklace from The Sheriff's Daughter.

The "Luna" in this necklace is a beautiful, textured Thai Hill Tribe silver disc. Teamed with faceted pink opalite beads, and finished with a Thai silver hammered toggle clasp, this has a feminine and almost ethereal look to it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Item of the Day-Quilted Elephant Quilt
My mum had bought this fabric to use when my children were babies, but hadn't been able to do it before she passed away. I have finally decided to put it to good use and made this baby quilt. The elephants on the front have been hand quilted. The spotted backing fabric has been machine quilted to the front. Aprox size of quilt is 28"/71cms x 34"/86cms. A matching cushion will soon be available

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Item of the day - hippie flower wire crochet bracelet

Do you remember the times? If you are my age, you probably do, the 60s and 70s. Colors mixed together very randomly, almost everything was possible and the scent of flowers were in the air. Let the sunshiiiiiiiine in ;-)
This bracelet is made from single crochet wire flowers in different colors that have been combined and finished off with a sterling silver toggle clasp.

Ssssh, and Germans might even be reminded of dish soap ... know what I mean?

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Crafty tip - oxidizing copper or silver with an egg

Let me first tell you that I was not the brightest light bulb in my chemistry class. Or the physics class. My math teacher told me when he heard that I wouldn't take math in the last year that we would be getting along great. It was not even that I couldn't have done it, but I didn't like it. I am not the scientific kind of person. I like words, I like languages, I was from the other side of town, so-to-speak. In the 11th grade, my chemistry teacher didn't even know my name. He knew it after he caught me imitating him in the hallway. Too much information, sorry.
What I am trying to say is chemistry is not for my mother's daughter. Just the word „LOS“ scared me. „Liver of sulphur“ wasn't any better (although my cats raised their heads on the "liver" part and put it back down on the "sulphur" part). So what was I to do when I wanted to oxidize my first piece?

Some of my new jewelry friends told me how to do it with an egg. An ordinary egg? Maybe they didn't want to be my friends after all and made fun of me? They convinced me they were being serious.

Are you ready to rock'n'roll, sorry, I mean to boil?

Let's go ahead.

Step 1

You take an egg (no, it doesn't have to be a brown one) and boil it until it's hard.

Step 2

Put the egg into a plastic bag or a bowl with a lid. I used the bag for you to see better. Now smash it. Don't be shy. Do you see the steam? It's good to put the egg in there hot because the fumes spread better and that's what we want I've been told, the fumes from the shell.

Step 3

Here comes our piece, in this case it's a little “hat” made from copper with jasper beads. It's not really a hat, but it reminded me of one when I saw it from the side. The copper is still shiny here. As my camera is playing tricks on me at the moment, it doesn't look super shiny here, but you can tell the copper is still light-colored and unsuspecting as to what is going to happen to it soon *insert mad scientist's laughter here*

Step 4

The piece goes into the bag with the egg. You see I don't let them touch, that is only for the reason that egg is not easy to pick out of some wire crochet pieces. If you don't smash the egg that hard, you can even eat it afterwards, but I always have the feeling it works better like that. Now you close the bag and leave the two of them in there for a while. I just left them in the oven overnight. No, not in a heated oven, that would be stupid even for someone who is not a smart cook, I had to protect them from my cats.

Step 5

Here it comes fresh out of the bag. Look at that copper, it's gray! Gee, that was some tough egg. Now if you like to, go to work on the surface, depending on if you want the whole piece to be dark or if you prefer highlights. This is definitely too dark in my book, so I would scrub it down in places, but I'll spare you this part.

Yes, LOS is faster and yes, I guess it's more predictable, but it is also a lot smellier and it's chemistry.

As for me, I will have a smashed egg sandwich now, thank you very much ;-)

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Quote of the day

Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down - Unknown

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Item of the Day - Ray Lee - Drawer Refesher

Ray Lee is a sweet little manta ray who lives in your sock drawer and keeps it smelling fresh.

She is crocheted with a little pot pourri bag inside. She also has posable wings and tail and safety eyes.

If you wish, I can make her in any colourway you like. At the moment I have the red/pink and a navy/light blue one ready to go (Yes his name is Blu-ray)

I can also make them without the potporri on request making them into cute toys for younger children.