I keep going

Another simple thing I made yesterday.... because I just need to keep going. I know it is not something fabulous, but kind of cute. If I ever make my Etsy shop public, I might put this one in there.

Far from getting better

I know I sound like a broken record. Yesterday I thought everything was getting better. Today I learned that this is not the case. While one thing is going into a more positive direction, there is a new desaster that popped up, which is even worse than the first one. I was thinking if I should write it all down here, but I think nobody really wants to hear this kind of stuff.

I am moving from scared into a permanent panic mode, and the only thing that kept me a bit sane today was a large glass of red wine and some beading time. Remember that commitment thing, that I talked about in the ABS carnival blog post? Now tomorrow I should actually have my 3 designs done, but I won't. I made one today, and maybe a second one tomorrow. I think I need to rethink my commitment to myself versus the commitment to other people. But I need to say, part of the reason was that I picked my three favorite art beads / pendants, and I want to make something really special with them, not just something.

So here is the first one, that I finished today. I bought some rubber tube the other day, and yesterday this design finally came to me. It was perfectly fitting (in my mind) with Kelley's Egg. I hammered some 18g copper wire, added the tube and Kelley's egg, and did some wire-wrapping with and without seed beads. I hope you like it.

Let's see if I can get a second one done tomorrow - so maybe I am at least 66% committed to myself (would be at least better than 33%).

Cosmic earthquake?

Something must have happened recently up there - a real negativ stellar constellation or something like a cosmic earthquake (would you call this moonquake or starquake?).

Fun aside, there have been so many negative news that happened during the past weeks, that I am kind of afraid of what might come next. Two of my blogland friends and one of my real life friends have lost a family member this week. During the love parade that took place in Duisburg (the city where I studied, about 50 km from here) last weekend 21 people died and about 500 got injured. Two other friends lost some loved pet family members. One of my friends is really sick. I would like to say sorry again for all of you that have lost someone precious. I think of you every day, and hope that you are not too sad.

Compared to that, the issues I am currently dealing with are minor, at least for now. Although they could turn into a major desaster, which really scares me.

So I am kind of in between, worried about the next desaster to happen, or waiting for the next cosmic earthquake that will fix everything again. Today there might have been a small sign of recovery. I had a horse when I was a kid. His name is Manolito. He is a black german pony. And today I found out that he is still alive. He must be about 36 years old right now which is really old for a horse. It makes me really happy.

I hope that this does not sound too silly, but it gives me hope that some nicer things are coming along our way.

Ladies, I feel your hugs

I need to say that I feel I have been lacking some close friends (real world friends) lately. But you ladies make it up 100 times. I got so much love over the past days out of blogland and I hope I will be able to give it back to you ladies one day.

Here are the results of my bead shopping (extract) in absense of creativity:

IndyJules - Copper Green Organic Bead Spacers, DIY Fillable Globe Pendant, Ink Blue Hollows, Amethyst Hollows

Yukidesigns - Acrylic Dandelion, Smokey Grey Recycled Glass, Abstract Metal Horse, Ceramic funky grey marbles

Nightowlbeads - a parliament of owls

Gems4us - white, pink and blue porcelain handpainted birds, white and sweet green handpainted owl beads

Venting Day

Here is the list of random things I posted earlier today in response to Lorelei's RANDOM post:

: I hope it rains again tomorrow, fits my mood better.
: Why can I never say no to this b.... that is just nice whenever she needs something from me
: I hope that lawyer is capable of getting this case solved for us
: The above sounds like today is venting day
: I need to drown myself into some pretty hot bath-water
: Maybe a glass of red wine will help
: If I can't do some beading later today I think I need to spend some serious money on etsy, maybe that will make me feel better
: Sorry to everybody who reads this, I will be in a better mood another day

So whether I bead or shop - I will show you something later...... and sorry for the crappy mood...

More metal stuff

So here are three more things that I made yesterday during my solder experiments - all messy I know, but remember I am learning..... Like any of those?

A wire-soldered turtle

One of my birds soldered on copper sheet

A copper pendant - heat patina'ed (I just love those colors)

Followers or friends? (OR a different type of giveaway)

(get prepared for a long post, but read it all the way to the end for a special giveaway)

It has only been a bit over a year since I came out here to blogland. Inspired by my friend Andrew, I felt I wanted to go beyond the pure beading at home. I wanted somebody to look at it and tell me if my stuff is ok, or not so ok. So I started my blog in June 2009, being pregnant, just back from vacation and shortly before going on maternity leave. Not know where all of this would go.

I was dying to have a comment in the beginning – which happened almost never, except some nice little words from Andrew. And then one day, I had one or two followers. They would come to my blog, comment and visit again and eventually become a follower.

Then about two month ago, I made a commitment to myself that I would increase my followers to 100 by September. Now since the bead soup party stopped, the follower-increase is stagnating again. Some of the people that I leave comments with frequently have never left me a note. Some others that I left a comment with for the first time come back to me right away and say thanks even by email. And some others that have been there from the beginning got lost along the way.

So while I was very focused on getting more followers, it is not the number on the counter that thrills me, but the comments that people leave from time to time. The heartfelt words that make me smile and make me feel I have a lot of friends out there. People I will most likely never meet. People I have not even seen on a photo in some cases.

So long story short. When I was thinking about this yesterday, I was also thinking about giveaways to attract more people. I could probably put some really cool giveaway out there (and I am still wondering if I should do it) and say that people have to become a follower to enter. But would that only increase my count and are those people really caring about my blog or only my giveaway? Or would it mean that once they are a follower, they would actually come back from time to time and occasionally read what I have to say, and then eventually turn into a friend?

So for now, my giveaway will be different. I will not give something to the people that blog about my giveaway or follow me or facebook or tweet. I will give something away to the people that have been true friends. The people that left comments, gave me support and actually made me feel like this blog is worthwhile to continue. So the 5 people that left the most comments on my blog will get a small gift from me. How did I choose my winners? I actually counted all the comments I got since I started this blog. 291 in total.

So the 5 people that have commented the most are
1) Cathryn of Chilecats – A true thank you Cathryn for your friendship
2) Second is Rebecca of Songbeads, my bead-soup-party-2 partner
3) Third is Lori of Pretty Things – our friendly bead soup party host
4) Stefanie of Stefanie's Sammelsurium came in fourth – she is the one that dragged me to all the solder stuff (thanks!)
5) Cindy of Sweet Bead Studio was fifth – who just picked me for a surprise giveaway

I know this is a giveaway that you did not decide yourself if you want to enter it or no. So I will go to your blogs and emails, leave you a note, and if you would like to receive one of those, please email me your snail mail address, and you will get one of my little wire-soldered birds, some Sari silk, and a few bead goodies. I know it is small, and they are by far not perfect, remember I am still learning. But they come from the heart :)

At the same time I would like to say sorry to those of you that I am leaving out, because you come here every day, but don’t leave me comments. And sorry for those who have not made it to the top list.

Thank you, ladies, for making this blog worthwhile for me, and sending me support and heartfelt words. I hope you will enjoy this little giveaway.

Dear non-comment followers, a word to you: I would love to hear your thoughts, even if they are not nice. Some advantage about the anonymity of the internet is that we can actually speak the truth, right? And if you have something nice to say, I will appreciate it even more. Come by my blog and have a cup of coffee or tea with me (or a glass of wine if you prefer) and stay for a while. And please leave me a note and tell me how you think about attracting followers or friends.

I promise to show soldered stuff later today

Ok it seems like I have a serious problem. Actually two. One is next to me caughing (aka Baby Girl), and the other one is upstairs sneezing (aka sick boyfriend). Both keep me from doing stuff with my beads and my solder. I am quite freaked out about it, because remember my commitment post and the three projects in one month? That month ends the 31st - today is July 24th and I have not started one single of them. Plus that post that I prepared about two weeks or so, and I just need to get a couple more items soldered and take pictures to put it live. But nothing will stop me today. You get the solder post later today, I promise.

Not the best day

I had better ones. But my baby seems to be ok again (she had a 40 degree C fever the last two days, which is about 104 in F). She was the reason why I had no time to blog nor play with my beads or my solder. And besides another (unfortunately by now very common) crisis going on, I got to do some hammering. Some of the pre-hammered items need to be soldered which I won't get done today, therefore I will not show them to you - they are reserved for a bigger and better post. But besides those secrets, here are some things I hammered. Like them?

Oh and my beads from Marieke (Mariek Uniek) came in today. Those are so gorgeous. I can't stop looking at them. I bought the large green focal and this cool set of sand, blues and purples, and she sent me the other little green set as a gift ! Go buy something from her - you will sure love it.

I can't believe it

... but I have won again. Sweetbead-Cindy was so kind to pick an additional winner for a surprise gift - and she picked: ME. I hope it is not true what they say, that if you are lucky with games, you are unlucky with love (at least they say that in my part of the world). Now I obviously can't wait to see that surprise. Surprises are the best, aren't they?
I also bought some drilled riverstones and wood beads from riverstonebead today, and some lovely lovely lampwork beads from Marieke. Will post pictures when they come in.
I prepared for some more soldering today, but could not get it finished, they day was too slow and short. We were supposed to have a BBQ with a friend, but the baby got sick, so we decided to head for a flea market instead, and went for a walk on the riverfront, followed by a visit of a beer garden afterwards (it's kind of an outdoor pub usually located in parks for those of you who don't know what a beer garden is).
Ok, will be back soon and show you what I soldered.....

And the winner is..... Nicki

I won another so cute giveaway. Amy from Copperdiem will send me this fabulous enameled charm. I just love that color and I think I will pair it with some wood beads. I have always loved the color combination that I have seen in a few designs recently - that minty green with some dark brown wood. So thank you Amy.

And I am preparing for a giveaway myself, so make sure you come back and check my posts from time to time.

Jen Judd Rocks Green Giveaway !

I am so excited about this green giveaway Jen V from Jen Judd Rocks is hosting. We need to be thankful to her cat Brando (it was his idea). So hop over to her blog and enter.... or just leave her a note for the fun of it.

I need water

It's so hot in here, outside, everywhere. They announced thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow. I can't wait for them - I think I will go outside in the rain if they ever happen. So I locked myself up inside the house and made a bracelet. It is fairly simple, but I like it. It's pretty blue - I really need some cold water.

I realize I have not made necklaces in a long time - all the stuff on my jewelry display are kind of old. So I have one in the pipeline - and it looks like I will finally use some sari ribbon in there - just need to find some matching lampwork beads in my stash....

I made a pasta-salad with mango, sugar peas, and an indian curry dressing, and also a fruit salad for tonight. Germany will play in the world cup to win the third place (hopefully) and we will watch the game with a little BBQ over at my friends place (outside - ouf).


Ever since I have seen some of Stefanie's creations (Click here to go to Stefanie's Sammelsurium), I fell in love with recycled Sari ribbon. This was not really something for me before I met her, but I just can't stop to look at the colors, thinking about the ladies that have been wearing those dresses one day.
I ordered some fair trade recycled Sari from xxxcookie a couple of weeks ago, and it finally came in today. Oh my gosh, I can't wait to start making something with them. I see them paired with chain and rough sheet metal and pearls.

I just need to do a little trial and error, since I am not really used to them, but they give me a lot of color inspiration.

I might stay inside today - it is increadibly hot outside - 38C which is about 108F. Maybe I'll taste some Sari flavor...

My garden - Update

I have been amazed that a lot of bead blogs show garden pictures recently. It almost seems like beading people are drawn to gardening as well. Is it the color combos? The desire to create? Who knows.
Ok, not all of us are attracted by gardening. In fact, we have not planted anything in our garden in the past two years, but as we had the birthday party last week, we thought it was time this year. So here is an update of mine, mainly pictures, but I hope you will enjoy it.
The Deck
The Herb Garden
Giant Bell Peppers
Cucumbers and Tomatoes
Eggplant flowers
The flower area
The entire garden - small but we love it !

And the plant hospital!

Chain made by M.E.

Now how cool is that. I made soldered chain. While I really really love chain with open links for assembling a piece, I have learned about the advantages of soldered chain with the baby that grabs every single piece of jewelry that I wear. That's why I recently went to making my own chain from wire, using links that won't open.

But today, I just wanted to use my Versaflame again, and I tried it, and I know I have not cleaned it yet, but it is CHAIN MADE BY ME.

And because I had so much fun, I tried some bezels for my next resin projects as well. There was a detailed explanation about soldering techniques in one of my new books, and see the results here. Not that messy anymore, right? Again, those have not been cleaned yet. Raw stuff. Well, second time, imagine how they will look when I did this 100 times. Seriously, I love doing this so much, having overcome my fear with torches (Thanks a ton, Stefanie), I could go to bezel mass production. Ok, I know I have to get a bit better at this. But this was fun.

And I wanted to really thank all of you for giving me so much encouragement the other day. That helped a lot. I just wish I could invite you to come over for a glass of wine tonight....

Mixing media

Today I thought, what the heck, I will show you some of the things I tried to make yesterday that turned me into that very unhappy mood. You ladies are my friends and family, so I guess I need to get over my ideas of "perfect at first attempt" and get some honest feedback from you.
These are two pendants I made with fabric and copper sheet. I think they actually don't look that bad in the pictures, but when I touch them, I really see all the issues. I need to make them heavier, to give them a more rich feel - maybe I try glueing the fabric on some wood first.
What do you think? Be nice with me - I know the copper does not properly cover the fabric everywhere, something I need to work on, as well as the shapes in general. But those were only the first attempts.
Stay tuned, I show you some more tomorrow.

Good ideas paired with missing knowledge

We went to 2 art supplies yesterday and I spent a fortune on books, tools and some material. Two of the books are really fantastic, they are full of techniques I have not tried so far, and gave me so many ideas yesterday, that I had a real hard time waiting for today to try something.
Then I started today and nothing, but I tell you nothing worked out the way I want it to look like. I tried something with sari silk - really awkward. Something with textile and copper - not successfull. Then I went to pick up my commitment from the ABS post a few days ago and tried to make something for Kelley's Egg Bead - but again, no good. Then I put together a bracelet for which I had picked the beads a couple of weeks ago - but it turned out too long, so I had to shorten it, and now it is done but I don't like it so I will take it apart again.
Long story short. Not efficient. Not satisfying. So I decided to take a break, and maybe go back to it later if Nick will still have more patience to watch the baby.
This necklace is the only thing I put together. Basically added chain on the pendant that we did with Stefanie the other day. We cut copper rings from copper tube, sanded them and soldered them to copper sheet hearts. I filled my bezel with sari silk pieces, a green glass bead, a little silver star bead and a heart I bent out of 24g copper wire. And then filled the whole thing with resin.
I know it is really messy to you resin-and-solder queens. And I should not show something like this in public. But remember, the title of the post is "good ideas paired with missing knowledge". And I thought it will be a reminder for me that I can actually figure out how to do something new. I also wanted to add some ribbon to the ring, but again that looked really weird, so I decided I am just going to wear it like this today, until my muse is back.
Thanks for sitting through my whining, I promise I will feel better (at least if those copper headpins will work out that I am trying to make in a minute :).

The Birthday Party

Today is the day we will have THE party. My birthday was on June 13th, and Nick's is today. And I am not kidding - we have almost spent a week to get the house & garden into a condition where it is acceptable. I know, my friend always says "the value of a clean house is usually overestimated by the people who live there" - which is really true. But I need to say it was necessary. Plus when you ask my dear birthday-husband, cleaning actually had to start with powerwashing and oiling the deck which caused a major mess on our windows to the backyard..... etc. Domino effect.

But we have a veggie garden right now. I know most of you guys are harvesting already, but it just turned warm over here.

I gave Nick a small table which can also be used as a cooler (put ice cubes in - perfect for the party). And a heating for the terasse, ok not needed in the summer, but he was really happy about it. So all that is left to do for today is shopping, prep the table, and vacuum (once baby wakes up, yes I have the kind of baby that does not wake up before 11 am - yay).

So here is what I got for my birthday:

  • A Dremel Multitool (this thing can do everything from sanding to drilling to engraving - Dremel heaven)

  • A Dremel Versaflame (which we actually used already when I met with Stefanie last - I am so in love with the thing, I can't wait to get me fireproof board tomorrow. Plus I can finally try out enameled beads and headpins)

  • A wonderful handsewn recycled leather purse from Lori at Waterstone (plus a gift from her - one earring - the second one fell out of the bag but she is sending it)

      • A metalsmithing class

      • A crafting class of my choice

      • Beads from Michael's (I miss you, Michael's), a beading magazine and a cooking magazine

      • A purple scarf and a voucher for a champagne picnic

      • Today's BBQ (organized by my colleagues - although there is a lot left for me to do)

      Cool list, huh? I have not taken pictures of most of the stuff - but I will show you some in the posts to come. Happy B-day to us. I can't imagine that another year has passed, since I was sitting in the sun on the beach of Naxos Island, Greece, with my pregnant belly, making some jewelry.

      "The" Commitment (ABS Carnival Blog)

      There are people that never want to be committed to anything. I am the total opposite. I am always committed to do beyond what people expect of me, even if it really goes against what I enjoy. I am committed to work (about 250%). I am committed to keep my house clean and actually continue to renovate some more parts of it. I am committed to keep my garden tidy. I am committed to show up to people’s parties even if I do not care a cent for it. And and and…..
      I am committed to be the perfect mom for my baby (luckily this is a 500% commitment at least, and that’s the one I really enjoy, although it is a lot of work sometimes).

      What is missing is the commitment to me. Having time to think, time to read or write a book, go swimming, or go shopping. My “me-time” was significantly reduced when baby girl arrived and changed into “us-time”. We are never separated, and I can’t imagine a day without her smile.
      But, I do not want to turn into one of these moms that when their kid moves out after 18 (or hopefully more) years will realize that their entire life has disappeared. While some of my mommy-friends have totally skipped their hobbies, I made a commitment to myself to absolutely not give up beading. The “it’s too dangerous if the baby will swallow a bead” comments, I will ignore. Yes, I will pay attention but this is part of me and it needs to stay.

      So my “me-and-the-beads-time” has changed in quality. I am spending a lot more time online, searching for sources, reading blogs, trying out new techniques than I have ever done before. While I was mainly buying “cheap” beads at the beginning of my “bead-career”, I am now spending all my money on art beads. I buy them and when they arrive, I safely pack them, store them, take them out the next day and look at them, and touch them. And never make anything with them, because they are too precious. But I don’t believe that this is what the art bead artists intended when they made their tiny treasures.

      So for this post, I have decided to make a “non-imposed” commitment to the art beads and their artists.
      Bee charm – gift from Greg and Cynthia of Green Girl Studios
      Glass eggs from Kelley Wenzel
      Clay and glass pendants from Artisan Clay

      These are the beads that I will turn into some precious jewelry that can be actually worn by somebody and not sit in my cabinet, let’s say in a month. I know three is not many, but given the fact the baby is here, that commitment is more important, so let’s start at three. If I can do more - great.
      So please come back and check if I will stay committed to myself (=baby) and the art beads.