Saturday, June 29, 2013

Country Blog Hop Reveal - and more to celebrate...

Time goes by fast and slowly at the same time, a strange feeling. It was about time that I wrote a new blog post, because a lot of things have happened, but it's not as if I hadn't written in ages either. I actually haven't really found time and words...

So the main subject of this post is the Country Blog Hop. I enthusiastically participate in "My Country, of Thee I Bead" organized by Nancy Smith. Canada and USA having national celebrations very close to one another, she had the sweet idea to ask the entire world to bead something related to their country (of origin, or adoption).

I am a Dutch girl living in Switzerland and love both countries, so something for each naturally resulted in this pair of flag-earrings made with little warped squares. They are strung freely on round 15mm sterling hoops, and I can put any warped square on to them.

I call these Hop and Hup - when they encourage their sportspersons, in particular footballers, the Swiss say 'Hop Schweiz or Hop Suisse' and the Dutch say 'Hup, Holland, Hup'. Isn't that funny, knowing that this is a blog HOP???

Hop! Hup!
Having just finished and listed my patterns for nautical flags and pennants ( alphabet and numbers), it seemed natural to try a few flags of nations.

Did you know that Switzerland is the only land to have a square flag, i.e. not a rectangle one? There is a funny anecdote my husband remembers about the new European Parliament in Brussels, a few years ago: all the flags were rectangular, even the Swiss flag... which wasn't much appreciated by the Swiss delegation invited for I donnowhatkind of negociation.

Please take time to visit the rest of the participants. A full list is available at Wired Nan

As I said above, there is more to celebrate.

I am grateful for the many wonderful people in my life. My husband, friends, cyberfriends and fellow beaders.

My BOTB'13 piece has gone up to round 2. I am so very sorry for those who did not go up. To be honest, I didn't really bother about 'winning' any round, I justed hoped for a good welcome... and wow, there are no words to describe how wonderful it is to feel the support from other beaders, to receive so many compliments. Even from my opponents, who are very talented ladies!

I finally got my pattern for the fuchsia flower listed in my Etsy Shop - I am very happy with it and hope to see many other persons making them, too. I am  working on other patterns, so stay tuned!
I am thankful to those who buy my patterns. I so need your support! Being photophobic is really disabling. I don't know what else I could do. Beading keeps me from going insane and the sales allow me to buy beads, thread, and findings... And the online contact with you all is so rewarding, and is nearly the only social contact that I have. You are important for me.

So I offer you a special reduction code OF 33% discount in my shop for the coming 7 days:

My private life has also known a few ups. Hubby has developed some kind of allergy to plastics/synthetics of all kinds... Even though this sounds pretty nasty (it is), we are grateful for finally knowing it, because he was often in pain or fell bad for unknown reasons, like sitting on a plastic garden chair... now we know why! His eyeglasses were the big revelation-factor: his face got really swollen, and it started where his glasses rest on the nose. This has been a long errance... For example: swollen anckles due to socks - we thought that it was simply water... Swollen eyes - we thought pollution or pollen... and so on.

We've thrown away a lot of clothes with 'hidden' elastine and ordered new. Yesterday evening he sat on the sofa, smiling, and said that he hadn't felt good like that in ages... And that makes me truly happy.

My lovely flowers
It was great to have a few days of really beautiful, warm, awesome weather, allowing us to sit and eat on the balcony... I am so happy to have an apartment on the shady side of the buidling, my photophobia would kill me if I were on the other side. Today it is raining again. I have to admit that I am very impressed by the bravery of my flowers on my balcony, they are doing impressively well.

And last but not least: a very dear friend  living in the Netherlands and whom I had lost contact with over the years, found me back on Facebook and it is simply fantastic to catch up with her. I think that I was 16 or maybe 17 when I saw her for the last time.

Now even in the bluest skies there are little clouds. I have to buy a new computer - screen and everything included. Because it is simply not possible to continue making illustrations on my portable pc... it still works but is too slow, the screen is too small and some things are broken (like my cd-reader, plus a problem with the ventilation)...

So please, don't forget the reduction code CELEBRATION for 33% discount in my shop for the coming 7 days and please share this information with your friends.

Thank you for reading this very long post. You are wonderful!
Happy celebrations to all
and for my American friends:
Happy Independence Day!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Geometric Horned Rick Rack Bracelets make fantastic 'Landscape' cuffs

Pompom (Petal) Pendant
As I wrote in a previous post, my Battle of the Beadsmith piece 'Souls' leaves me a little bit "empty", as if it was the most important thing to say, the ultimate piece.
I am happy with this pause - it made me look back at the things I made over the past months (and even years) with satisfaction. I realize that it's been a pretty busy Spring, even if, strangely, it does not feel so.
I updated my website today, because since Esmeralda's bag, I hadn't posted new pictures and I feel a bit ashamed - about 10 pictures were missing, mainly my petal and flower shapes for which I've written patterns.

Nautical Warped Squares
More patterns will be available soon in my Etsy Shop, where you can also find the pattern for the warped square Nautical Flags (the alphabet and the numbers 0 - 9), as well as a pattern for 10 little pennants, made with oblong triangles for the numbers 0 to 10. Oblong triangles make lovely earrings.

The warped squares were inspired by a beautiful necklace in the book Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Vol. I by Kate McKinnon. This book is heavily inspiring - I wrote about it already here. I think that the after-battle pause is perfect for me to make things designed by other talented people - things I wanted to make but my own 'beading god' always had priority. I have tons of favorites.

Gabriella van Diepen's "The Devil's
Eggs Are Hatching"
When I saw Gabriella van Diepen's Horned Rick-Rack bracelet called The Devil's eggs are hatching in CGB I, I loved it hard. And I fell in love as hard with Maria Cristina Grifone's incredible Landscape 'Rick-Rack' which looks like an island in the ocean with trees and cliffs...

Generally I don't make beaded jewelry or objects designed by other beaders, but the beauties in this book are simply impossible to resist.
I love the shape and love the idea of painting a landscape accented by 3D mountains.

Landscape Horned Rick-Rack
by Maria Cristina Grifone
The difference between Gabriella's cuff and the landscape cuff is that the latter has horns built on the herringbone ribs, whilst Gabriella's bracelet has horns between those ribs, for a perfect organic look...

Voici my very own landscape cuff, Moon Rising over Kings Valley, where Gabriella's shape merges with Maria Cristina's landscape idea. The result pleases me tremendously. It was not easy and it took me more than a week (I made many mistakes due to fibromyalgia and my arms hurt easily... I need to rest them after beading), but I think that I will make another landscape cuff very soon.

I am waiting for Egyptian charms to arrive in my mail box for embellishment, but they seem to be lost somewhere between California and here.

Tell me what you think about landscape cuffs and geometric beadwork.

Moon Rising over Kings Valley

If you don't understand what I am talking about in this post, it might be possible that you don't have Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, vol. I! Get yours! You will love it. It's a must.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Rainbows of color

Rainbow star
I sent my first gifts to my French friends a few days ago and I am now waiting to hearing from them... I hope that everything will arrive safely and that they will like what I made for them. This was either within the framework of PIF's or simply a present I wanted to give because I love them... sweet persons I've never met in real, but whose presence on Facebook makes life a little more beautiful. For example, this  star - a design by Jean Power - is for a girl  I met on a Fibromyalgia-related group... She is, like me, a strong believer in positive attitude and we both love rainbows. I used Delica mixes from Miyuki to make a rainbow with only 5 variations.

June is a very exciting month. Many beaders and teachers are in Milwaukee to attend the Bead and Button show, but there is also the unfolding of the Battle of the Beadsmith, which started yesterday. There is a lot of beautiful artwork to admire in the albums there. Some pieces totally amaze me. It is a crazy moment and it will be hard to choose between two excellent pieces. I remember how difficult it was last year to eliminate one out of two gorgeous necklaces...

The many positive reactions to my necklace totally overwhelmed me. I am so happy that people like it, but most of all, I am incredibly glad that they also understand or simply feel the message behind it, the love.

I have the impression to be part of a huge family having a fantastic bead party all around the globe, and I totally love that.

Below the full description of my BOTB'13 piece.

1) Name of piece: Souls

2) Name of stitches used: Peyote, Herringbone, Square Stitch... The clasp is a hidden clasp made of a loop under the crystal bead and an empty ‘pod’.

3) Name of products used, size and material: Seed Beads, Anthracite, Miyuki 15, Czech 11, Czech 9, round dyed howlite beads, 4mm, 6mm, Swarovski crystal bicones, 6mm, crystal cup chain, black Nymo, smoke Fireline, Delicas size 11/0 for the ring, gunmetal lever-backs for the earrings.

4) overall size of piece. Length 44cm - 17.5’’; width from 2.5cm to 5cm- 2’’ (depending on how the ‘curls’ are positioned); depth approx. 2.5 cm (1’’).

5) time to complete: approx. 100 hours

6) -

Inspiration for ‘Souls’

I am a firm believer that the soul never dies, that it goes through stages of development, that it is in a body like a seed resides in a pod, and gets liberated when time has come...

We all have chakras in us, represented by colors, equivalent to the rainbow, the stairway to heaven... it’s inside.

Take a color wheel and turn it, and it will seem to be white... That is because it is made of opaque colors. Pure light is made of all colors. Each color is of equivalent importance. So to become enlightened, every step needs to be made, experienced. There is no good or bad. If one color is missing, it cannot result in perfect light at the end. Light is equivalent to truth, to knowledge.

This necklace is an allegory of the walk of life.

It has a very organic look on purpose, curling, moving, making tours and detours, here and there a soul falls, sometimes it is too much in the green or blue or red zone... The walk is never straight and there are many side-walks.

The soul which has experienced everything and evolved to a miraculous level of consciousness has not one specific color, it has them all. It is pure light, like crystal.

You can do anything, anywhere. But whatever happens, wherever you are, the walk is paved with diamonds. They are not always visible, but they are there, all the way long, all the time, at every step. Because Life is glorious.


'Souls' - back