Metalsmithing class Part 2

I have been distracted from my blog lately. A weird feeling since this is the home to my favorite things - beads and meeting nice people. 

But there has been a lot going on. We acquired another company at work, and I am leading the integration of the  new team. That meant a lot of work in a part time job. Last week I flew to Paris for a day, and it felt like an instant flashback to the time when I lived - and loved :) - in France. I studied there for a year at a private highschool that had just opened. In the first couple of months we were about 40 people in the entire school. We had our own school champagne (since the school was located in the center of the Champagne - region). We had party nights with cocktail dresses. We had picnics at the lake. I was fluent in French. And the French guys.....
So nice we have that new company I might have to travel there more often and I will practice my favorite language a bit again.

Yesterday we went to the Xmas market in Cologne and had a few Gl├╝hweins. In case you don't know - try it out: heat but do not boil wine, add Xmas spices like orange peel, cinnamon, anise, and maybe a bit of sugar. If you like you can also add a shot of rum or amaretto or you favorite liquor - rum is the most common one though. So we stood outside, it started snowing like crazy and we froze out feet off but it was oh so nice to meet my friend Michael again. We used to hang out a lot together when we took Greek classes and I think we will start doing this again. On the negative side, this freezy night made my cold a bit worse, so I have a bit of a fever and feel yucky this morning. Baby too. Daddy needs to get us over the day.

So after this distraction part, I show you my second piece from the metalsmithing class. It is still not perfectly clean in some spots. But I wanted to start wearing it and it looks really nice. It is made out of sterling silver sheet. I cut two discs, then made a hole into one of them, domed them both, soldered the whole thing together added three silver balls and a bail on the back. Sounds easy, right? Well it is not that difficult but all you metalworkers out there know that this really takes time. And I think it turned out nice for a first attempt. It was so much fun too. I need to do this again. Anybody up for joining me?

Please leave a me a comment and let me know if you like it :)

Challenge of Color Blog Hop - The reveal

Erin of Treasures Found had an idea to create this wonderful challenge. I had to pick a primary color (mine was blue) and she selected this wonderful paint chip for me. The colors are called Earthy, Composition, Coconut Milk and Dipped in honey.
I blogged about it HERE.

I signed up really early with the target of having my piece done in mid-November, but here time flew again, and I really just started thinking about it December 1.

I called my piece "Composition d'une romance" which means composition of a romance in english. (can you tell I went to Paris lately and enjoy speaking French again?)

I used this pendant I had forever in my stash made by Artisan Clay. It is clay with crackled glass inside. The blue reminds me of the ocean I have so nice memories of. The raw clay is to me like sand under my feet.
I added some recycled African cast glass beads that I bought recently on a fair in Cologne. They seem like beach glass to me and have almost the same color. At the same fair,  I bought these nut beads and their color represents the cocobut milk from my color palette. I do not really have a a big love for coconuts as the smell provides me with an instant headache. This dates from my childhood where we used to go to Spain for vacation, which was always a 2.5 day car ride, no aircon in the car, and paired with the smell of coconut sun lotion - goodbye Nicki.I love the color though and I think it is perfectly matching the pendant.
To represent the "dipped in honey color, I chose a few different glass beads, and the earth color was added by the wood beads.
Birds are always present on a beach - so I could not leave them out of here. Then finally I added the copper chain, the clasp with those cute metal spacers, and to add a bit of a sound, I also included 3 small bells. The whole piece rings in my ears. I love it. I think it did not only bring all the colors together but also nicely represents all the elements. Everything needed for a lovely romance :).

Ready for the reveal?

So Erin, I think that means that I get 7 entries in your giveaway. I think I managed to do everything you suggested. Thanks for being so wonderful and hosting this fun challenge.

For everyone that is interested in my pieces, please keep checking my etsy page regularly - I add jewelry as well as components on a regular basis:

Please visit the other beady artists and have a look at their wonderful creations. A list with all the links can also be found on Erin's website.

Metalsmithing class Part 1

I went to a metalsmithing class on the weekend that was a gift from my mom for my birthday back in June.
I had tons of fun and I could do this the entire day all days of a week.

I have a couple of tools already, but now need to get the ones I am missing like a ring mandrel, a plastic mallet etc.

Anyways. I made three pieces. The first one was this sterling silver ring. In the beginning, I wanted to add something to it, but decided against since baby is tearing most of my jewelry apart and a big ring would not be the thing to wear. It wears super nice. The size is just right as I adjusted it for my middle finger.

I will show the pendant maybe tomorrow - still need to do some sanding. And then I started a third ring made out of brass, but this is still in the infantary stage.

Like it?

Thoughtful Tuesday

“The world of achievement has always belonged to the optimist.”

Harold Wilkins

British journalist, historian (1891-1960)

I am the LMAJ Designer of the week

How cool is that. My autumn birds necklace made me "Designer of the week" at Love My Art Jewelry. Read all about it here.

This is so special to me. I often feel that I do not really have a real space out here in the jewelry world, and now these talented bead and jewelry artists Kelli Pope, MaryAnn Caroll, Maire Jane Dodd, Barbara Lewis, Shannon LeVart, Patti Lakinsmith and LeAnn from SummersStudio have selected ME as designer of the week.

I am truely speechless. Need to go back to my bead table and continue to make something new to submit it to the LMAJ blog. Wouldn't something like this make your day? It truely makes my day!

Dear Holland, Michigan reader

I checked out my stat counter today. And this was the map I found when I checked for recent visitors. So one of my biggest findings of today: I am well on track with my goal of conquering the world!
(We need to set ourselves targets, don't we :) ?)

The second finding from today is the reason for this blog post. It is you, my dear JCI Holland Michigan reader. It is just a question, but would you let me know who you are? Since we both work in the same company. And I wonder if I know you. I live in Germany, but who knows, maybe we met. Leave me a comment or if you prefer, send me an email to:
I am so curious and I would love to chat with you. Thanks for stopping by.

And I hope everyone else will have a wonderful day too.

ABS submission: Hatching life

For the first time I submitted something to the ABS challenge. I always wanted to do it, but by the time I had decided on my design, it was usually the next month with a new challenge. But this time, it came natural to me. The tree of life directly remembered me of a giveaway I won a long time ago and that has been sitting in my stash ever since.

Tree of Life, Stoclet Frieze, 1909
Gustav Klimt 1862-1918

I created this necklace based on a wonderful ceramic swirl bead set (beads, pendant and button) from Tracee Dock aka the Classic Bead. For the clasp, I made a double wire gunmetal hook and used it together with the button.
I also wanted to add some color and had that bright orange sari silk ribbon left that complemented the colors of the bead set really nicely (life should be colorful). I made some wire wrapped chain out of gunmetal wire and created a nest with coral beads that I attached to the clasp. Assymetry strikes me so to balance the ceramic beads I used czech glass beads. A wire ring was added to the pendant and voila - hatching life.

So here is my first submission ever. I hope you like it and buy some beads from the Classic Bead as well. They are really gorgeous.

Which one is your favorite?

So three questions for you today, since I made some more pendants and need some direction on where to go with it.

1) Which one is your favorite?
2) Do you generally like the plain ones better or the ones where I tried the image transfer?
3) What would you pay for it?

I have put some on etsy but did not sell any so far. I made one necklace with a bird pendant and I think it turned out quite nice (check it out here).

Your choices are the following:

1) Bamboo

2) Water and Air

3) Lotus

4) Field of flowers

5) Orange blossom

6) Pink swirl

and a few for Xmas
7) Snow heart

8) Snow rings

9) Snow waves

They are not totally done yet, and need to be sanded on the edges. But I like all of them. I will list some of them in my ETSY store, and some others will directly go into jewelry. I like creating with them, they are lightweight, and unique and made by me.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Erin's challenge

I am participating in a challenge that was just kicked off by Erin of Tesori Trovati called the challenge of color.

How does it work? I had to choose a color family (my pick was blue - what else?). Erin chose a pain tchip palette just for me - which is the one you see in the picture above. Isn't that gorgeous? I just love that color combination. I could actually paint my living room in those colors (if I had not just painted it a year ago).
I will now create a piece of jewelry using some or all (bonus points) colors of the palette, select a name for the piece from the palette and post it on December 3rd. There will be a huge blog hop, some make sure you note the date in your calendars. And there will be a random winner to win some .... BEADS. YAY. And there are lots of talented ladies participating, so I am sure it will be well worth it.

if you are interested about the details - click HERE.

I celebrate - ABS Carnival Post

I celebrate

Night and Day

Sunshine and Rain

The sky and the ocean



Peaceful times and Party times

Friends and strangers


Vacations and daily routine

Time with my baby

My family and my animals

Our health

My garden

My work and finances

Good dinners with a glass of red wine

Time to bead

Remembering that not all of these things might be there forever

I celebrate nothing special

I just celebrate being here

(All jewelry will be available in my etsy store tomorrow:
Blue Silk copper cuff
Greek hammered spiral necklace
My bird smile necklace with handmade polymer bird pendant).

Thanks for leaving a comment.

Teamwork in Action 2010 at Lago Maggiore, Italy (Part 1)

I had a blast. (Grab a cup of coffee, this will be a long post).
I got back yesterday morning and have basically been sleeping since then, as a) I got a really bad flu and b) I did not really sleep when I was in Italy (and ok c) a really small hangover.)

I was so busy preparing before we left, that I actually never checked out the hotel where the Teamwork event would take place. And it was Grand Hotel Dino on amazing Lago Maggiore. I think I will let a few pictures speak for themselves.

The view from my hotel room / balcony.

And yes,  they had palm trees too. Doesn't this feel like vacation?

On Thursday, we started the event with a boat ride. We rented an ancient steam boat to fit all 200 people that were participating. There were 15 teams that won their regional competitions, from all across the world: Guardamar and Alagon, Spain; Hannover and Bochum, Germany; Assenede, Belgium; Strasbourg, France; Pune, India; Curitiba, Brazil; East London, South Africa; Straz pod Ralskem and Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic; Burton-on-Trent, UK; Mioveni, Romania; Bursa, Turkey; and Lozorno, Slovakia.
Needless to say, that in events like those, you understand what diversity means. The event was held in english, but except Burton, nobody was native. All teams are out of out manufacturing plant, so to travel to Italy itself was something that most people had never done.

This is the old steam boat we took for a ride on Lago Maggiore.

The riverfront of Lago Maggiore.
The ride itself was magnificient, but it was freezing cold (about 30 degrees F). Hence my flu.
An old hermitage we could see on one of the small islands while driving by.
Extremely calm waters - really soothing for the mind as we had red wine and the sun was slowly settling.
Last rays of sun shining over the mountains of Lago Maggiore.

And another picture taken from my balcony at dawn.

We had dinner at a 2 star Michelin restaurant that evening (there are only something like 6 2-star restaurants in Italy) and the teams were performing small team introduction shows. Among them were traditional dances out of India, South Africa, Brazil, and Slovakia, sketches from Belgium, Germany and Songs and many more from the other countries.

I went to bed too later after too many gin Tonics,. but we had a lot of fun.
The next day, the Final competition took place. The theme was Ice Age, with slight modifications of the story. Manni the Mamouth was frozen, and the team's creativity needed to unfreeze him.
We were welcomed by a giant Sid and Diego (the picture was taken after Manni was unfrozen).

I was part of the jury (a really silly job, since I wanted all the teams to win). The first prizes (actually two teams won, Brazil and France) will participate in the Asian finals and will spend a week in Bali.
Obviously we jury members had to be dressed up as well. So what would fit better than penguins? We were wearing white dress shirts, black ties, black jackets and sparkly penguin hats. And we also had Ice Age names, and I was Nicki Northpole.

The performances were a lot of fun. My pictures did not turn out really well, so I will only show a few until I get some "official" ones.

This is Turkey, who got dressed up as bees, with their goal to improve honey production (which they achieved in the end by replacing human bees by robot bees - which was kind of sad ).
The performance of the Indian guys was really cool, since they did not really use any other properties, and they basically just told the story with their bodies.

In the breaks we did small competitions with the entire group, like who can sing louder (guys or girls), who can guess how many languages we speak in the company, or in this case, which team will be the fastest to blow up 50 ballons.

One of the most impressive teams to me was South Africa. They brought traditional costumes (not in this picture), were singing songs in their own languages (basically non-stop throughout the day), and had their faces painted for the gala dinner. I would just love to visit Africa one day. These women seem so proud to me.

It was a really emotional three days. I had tears in my eyes more than once, when the teams showed the spirit of their countries and how dedicated they are to our company. And at the award ceremony, I could not keep it anymore, when the Brazilian team was announced as a winner, and we (jury) were up on stage and the team members were dissolved in tears, came up to us and kissed our hands and faces and said "Muito Obrigado" (Thank you so much in Portuguese). It just tells me how much things that are really small to us can mean so much for somebody else.

To close this post, I would like to show you a short video, the closing of the show event (before the award ceremony). It just reminds me what a great company we are and that there is much more than sitting in an office and trying to get through the day. We have great people working for this company.
And excuse the shaky pictures, but I was trying to dance and take the video at the same time. And the sound is silly since I was sitting right next too the speaker and it was so loud, that I am surprised I can still hear today. But it should give you a small flavour of how much fun it was. No possibility to stand and not move when there is so much fever in the air.
Thanks for sticking with me til the end. I hope you have enjoyed it.
I will post a few more pictures when I get them from the official photographer.