Monday, July 30, 2012

Arts and Crafts

With all the challenges these past 2 weeks I will take a break from showing you a new piece of jewelry today... we'll stay with crafts, of course.

Many years back I bought some stamps, embossing powder, and the heat gun - and decided to make my own Christmas cards (and some other special event ones). Why? Part because I was really missing that aspect of the holidays, back in my childhood, out of necesity, we would make our own cards at Christmas and Easter: with a communist regime religion is something barely tolerated, and most of the time it's made outright illegal. Finding cards that will even remotely be linked to the 2 most important events of Christianity - the birth and Resurection of Christ - was impossible, so we resorted to our own crafty nature and made them ourselves. Part because I really didn't like any cards that specific year, I am not sure what happened. Part because William was old enough to help and stamping and embossing was the most fun he ever had (still is, as we still make the cards together).

Suffice to say - I never looked back and I had so much fun creating the cards. Of course, every new event and every year brought new stamps. Back in June I stumbled over Karen Snyder's (from O.Sebastian) stamp de-stash... and my collection of stamps grew a bit more.

What would be the first special event to use them on?! The end of school and the teacher's cards. I realized too late that I had no normal stamp-ink in the house, just the embossing ink (which was a horrible pale pink), so I ended up embossing them too, although these stamps will be much better with black ink and some chalk. On my 'to-do list' :)

Anyhow - these are the cards:

Teacher 'Thank you' cards (stamping, embossing) :: All Pretty Things

What do *you* enjoy doing most in your free time?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Where are your mittens?

Sunday humour :: All Pretty Things
In kindergarten, a teacher is helping one child to put his boots on. The boots wouldn't get on, but the teacher pushed and pulled, pushed and pulled - until both were finally on the little boy's feet.

The boy pipped: "Miss, they are on the wrong foot!".

After more pulling, the boots came out. Now onto the right foot - but they wouldn't get on any better. Finally, when the boy had the boots on, he exclaimed "These are not my boots!"

Almost crying, the teacher took the boots off and started to look for the boys' boots. The boy said "These are my brother's boots. Mom said I can take them today!"

The teacher is now as the end of her wits... she gathers all the patience she can mustered and puts the boots back on. The coat gets on next, then the hat, and...

"Where are your mittens?", asked the teacher
"Oh, I put them inside the boots, so I won't loose them!"

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Hop #6 - The Reveal!

Oh, the day is here! Bead Soup#6 has simmered, and the Blog Hop Party, Lori's 'baby' is now on!

I almost worried too much this time: first that I maybe not sent my package in time, then that my package won't arrive in time (they were travelling a great distance, across the world: between Australia and Canada).

My partner is Tania Tebbit @ Glass, Craft & Artful Goodness, and she sent me a beautiful 'soup': gorgeous colours, all glass, and the focal made just for me!

All my glass components were huge compared to what I've worked before and they posed an interesting question: what kind of stringing medium to use? Simply stringing them on a beading string didn't appeal too much to me (and the focal seemed a tad too heavy for that). I thought about using ribbon, but our 'Little Local Store' didn't have anything in the shades I wanted - this was my ocean-like piece and needed ocean-like colours. Time was running away from me and I was running out of time - so I turned to my most recent love: wire. Since the components were in a very eclectic mix already, and I wanted them *all* in the same piece (call me crazy, but I just liked them all together!) I settled on a very simple wire wrapping and a somewhat funky design: an asymmetric one (I love ordered chaos).

This is how my 'Sunset on the Beach' came to live: a beautiful transition from the wavy ocean waters to the purple sunset skies.

Sunset on the Beach: glass by Tania Tebbit, wire wrapping, sterling silver :: All Pretty Things

When I was done - a few of the spiral glass beads were still on my table, so I tried my hands on a second ring. OK, I had to try it twice (and didn't get it perfectly right, but wearable right), but it's the cutest thing I've done recently :)

Sunset on the Beach - ring: glass, wire wrapping, sterling silver :: All Pretty Things

And after playing with memory wire for last week's challenge, I had a few circles cut out of memory wire (for a project that never materialised) laying down... and since I've been toying with the idea of some hoops (I used to wear them many moons ago)... a pair of playful hoops were born too!

Sunset on the Beach - hoop earrings: glass, wire wrapping, sterling silver :: All Pretty Things

I still have a couple of spirals left :) and an idea on how to use them - but not enough time, hopefully soon.

This has been my journey with Tania's soup ingredients. I love every thing about it: the ingredients, the adventure, the results, and the opportunity to participate in another of Lori's adventures.

Sunset on the Beach - set: necklace, ring, hoop earrings: glass by Tania Tebbit, wire wrapping, sterling silver :: All Pretty Things

Thanks for visiting - and please click here and make sure you check all the other designers: this time around there are 400 of us, spaced over 3 reveal days!

Bead Soup Blog Party#6: The Participants (Reveal #1: July 28th, 2012)

Bead Soup Blog Party#6 - Reveal #1: July 28th, 2012

The Participants

Hostess, Lori Anderson,

Alice Craddick, Alice's Beads and Baubles
Alicia Marinache, All The Pretty Things <-- You are here!
Amanda Tibbetts, Amanda Made
Amber Dawn Goldish, Inventive Soul
Annita Wilson, AW Jewelry
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
Birgitta Lejonklou, Create With Spirit
Candida Castleberry, Spinning Spun Sugar
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

Cassie Donlen, Glass Beadle
Cheryl Roe, BeadRoe
Christina Hickman, Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Hendrickson, Clamworks
Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
Cindy Wilson, Mommy's Dream
Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio
Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie

Cory Tompkins, Tealwater Designs
Cris Peacock, Cris' Page
Cynthia Deis, Shiny Little Things
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Cynthia Wainscott, Exotic Peru
Dana Hickey, Magpie Approved
Denielle Hagerman, Some Beads and Other Things

Diane Valasek, Dragonfly Close
Doris Stumpf, Glaszwerg
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
Elaine Robitaille, Too Aquarius
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Enikö Fabian, Perl-eni
Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads

Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
Inge von Roos, Inge's Blog
Jami Shipp, Celebrating Life
Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions
Jennifer Pottner, Rock Candy Beads
Jennifer VanBenschoten, Jewelry, Art and Life

Jenny Davies-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jenny Vidberg, Shyme Design
Jessica Dickens, My Jewelry, My Life, Me
Jessica Klaaren, Beadful-Things by Jessica
Joan Williams, Lilruby Jewelry
Judith Johnston, Judith Johnston
Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
Judy Turner, Silver Rains

Julie Anne Leggett, The Peaceful Bead
K Hutchinson, Jumbled Hutch
Karen Meador, Dreamcatcher Ranch
Karyn Bonfiglio, Plus Size Bangles
Katherine Gale, Terra Beadworks
Kathleen Lange Klik, Modern Nature Studio
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic, Slovonske Technobe
Kelli Jacobson, Creative Moon
Kelly Ramstack, Adventures with Kelly
Keri Lee Sereika, Pink Lemonade

Kim Bender-Hora, KimmyKat
Kirsi Luostarinen, Kirsi Luo Korut
Kitty Bozzini, Kitty Lampwork
Laura Demoya, The Bead Therapist
Laurie Hanna, Laurie's Jewelbox
Leah Curtis, Beady Eyed Bunny
Lesley Watt, The Gossiping Goddess
Linda Inhelder, Must-Haves Jewelry

Lisa Liddy, Metal Me This
Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads
Marge Beebe, Rock Creek Creations
Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
Marion Simmons, Shade Tree Studio
Marla Gibson, Spice Box Design
Marta Weaver, Marta Weaver Jewelry

Marti Conrad, Marti C's Clay Blog
Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens, GlassBeadArt, Lampwork Beads
Melanie Brooks, Earthenwood Studio
Michelle Hardy, Firefly Visions
Mikala Coates, Maybe Just Perhaps
Mowse Doyle, HoCArt
Nancy Boylan, Snazzy Doodle Designs
Nancy Peterson, Beading From the Heart
Nicole Rennell, Nicole Rennell Designs

Niki Meiners, 365 Days of Craft
Niky Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
Norma Turvey, Moonlit Fantaseas
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
Pamela Gangler, She Always Loved Pink
Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads
Renetha Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts
Shannon Hicks, Falling Into the Sky

Shannon LeVart, Miss Fickle Media
Sharon Driscoll, Right Turn Art Werks
Shelley Graham Turner, Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Skylar Bre'z, Brising Beads
Stacie Florer, Soul to Substance
Stacie Stamper, Park Avenue
Stacy Alderson, Iridal's Attic

Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
Stephanie Stamper, Rainy Day Designs
Suzette Bentley, Ellie's Bijoux
Tammy Jones, Jewelry Making Daily
Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
Terry Matuszyk, Pink Chapeau

Vonna Maslanka, Just Vonna

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Olympics: Go, Canada, GO!

Today starts the Summer Olympics in London, UK.

Good luck to all the athletes out there - and especially to Corey Cogdell, our newest trapshooting friend!

We are at a trapshooting competition, I hope we will be able to watch the opening ceremony - it is a most splendid show and I wouldn't want to miss it.

In the meantime - a story about the last Winter Olympics, hosted by Vancouver in 2010.

William as the Olympic Flame passes through Burlington, Ontario (December 2009) :: All Pretty ThingsWe had the opportunity to watch the flame going by - they passed 2 streets away from our house, and on a frigid December night we fought the blistering cold to be there. It was an amazing moment, one we will remember forever. The smile on the child's face says it all!

A few days after the Olympics started, our child expressed his wish to buy one of the mascots. I tried to find out why (our house was full of plush toys, we hoard them worse than we hoard Lego!) and I was fully expecting an answer along the lines of 'X or Z has them', as I fully knew some of his colleagues brought Olympics memorabilia at school.

Imagine my complete surprise when he calmly explains he is missing something, and thus he cannot watch the Olympics properly, he needs that 'something' to be fully able to cheer the athletes and that 'something' is found in the mascots. And what could that 'something' be?!

The Olympic SPIRIT!

For a moment I am unsure if I heard him right... then I start probing - is he joking, did he hear someone saying something, or it is truly what he believes. I figure out shortly that it is what he truly believes, he feels the Olympic Spirit will be found in the cute cartoon-like plush mascots.

With such a candid answer, we get dressed and go to the mall to buy them. In his youthful innocence he chooses one of the mascots and he's ready to leave. I try to push him to buy all of them, but he replies he doesn't need them, Miga (one of the mascots) is enough to fill him of Olympic Spirit.

William and the 3+1 mascots of the Vancouver Olympic Games: Miga, Quatchi, Sumi and Mukmuk :: All Pretty Things
William and his Olympic Spirit:
Miga, Quatchi, Sumi and Mukmuk
Of course I buy him all 4 - after all the child understood the Spirit better than many adults I know!

Back home he's busy getting the 3 plush mascots plus the #1 Fan of the Olympians ready for bed, on his pillow. For minutes he tells them stories about God know what - he'll fall asleep only after I threaten to take them back to the store :) But I still hear him whispering something to Miga and his friends: Quatchi, Sumi and Mukmuk .

Interestingly enough - starting next day Canada starts winning medal after medal after medal.

Maybe we were missing the Olympic Spirit, after all!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I will come back with more about various gemstones (this is a good time to make 'requests' on which gemstones would you like to get more information onto!)

For today - a short recap of various articles on the blog dealing with bits and pieces and fun facts about gemstones:

What is your favourite stone and why?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man [TED]

Advertising adds value to a product by changing our perception, rather than the product itself. Rory Sutherland makes the daring assertion that a change in perceived value can be just as satisfying as what we consider “real” value - and his conclusion has interesting consequences for how we look at life.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Youthful thoughts

William (~2 years old) and his favourite book, Bambi :: All Pretty Things
William with his favourite book, Bambi
~ 2 yo
Our son is an endless source of charming sayings. He has a very mature view of the world and sometimes he just leaves me speechless (and that's not a small feat).

Below is a conversation we had one evening when he was 4 years old

William: Why can’t the fish live in warm water?

Me: Remember when we’ve been to the ocean, in Mexico and Florida?

William: Yeah

Me: And how was the water?

William: Cold

Me: The fish comes from that water and he’s used to cold water. What do you think it will happen if we put him in hot water?

William: He gets sick and dies

Me: Yup

A short pause... thinking (you can hear the wheels turning, I swear)

William: Mommy, all things die?

Me: All living things die, yes

William: All animals and people die?

Me [unsure where this will go]: Err… yes…

William: And they die because they get sick?

Me: Sometimes; sometimes they die because they get old

William: Will Ferdi [our dog at the time] die?

Me: When his time comes he will die, yes

William: And where do animals and people go when they die?

Me: They all go to Heaven

William: And how do they get to Heaven?

Me: … [speechless, I really don’t know how to answer this]

William [happy]: Mommy, I know!

Me: OK – what’s the answer?

William [in a conspirator's whisper]: It’s a SECRET!

Me: Yeah, that’s it, it’s a secret…

William: I think Father Lucian knows the answer

Me: Yes, I think he knows…

William: We should go and ask him!

Me: Definitely

Monday, July 23, 2012

Bead Soup Cafe #6

My beads have arrived - all the way from Australia. My partner this time is Tania Tebbit @ Glass, Craft & Artful Goodness. Tania creates wonders from glass and she made the focal just for me! I am feeling very special and I am grateful too.

This is my package:

Bead Soup Blog Hop #6: The Soup :: All Pretty Things

There is a beautiful focal, *my* focal, in some gorgeous wavy colours:

Bead Soup Blog Hop #6: The Soup - Tania Tebbit's Lamp Work focal :: All Pretty Things

There is some more gorgeous glass:

Bead Soup Blog Hop #6: The Soup - glass beads :: All Pretty Things

And the most beautiful turquoise glass beads (you can tell Tania read about my love affair with turquoise):

Bead Soup Blog Hop #6: The Soup - turquoise glass beads :: All Pretty Things

Am I lucky or what?

Now I only have to finish my soup until day after tomorrow, as on Thursday we leave for vacation and competitions... I am not (too) worried, I have some ideas and all I need to do is to put them together, fingers crossed it will work!

Please come back on Saturday for the reveal - it'll be a loong charming and sparkly weekend!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two words

Fun Sunday :: All Pretty Things
Sister Mary arrives at a monastery, willing to dedicate her life to God. The Abbess tells her:

- Our abbey has a very strict rule, called 'the silence rule'. You can stay here for as long as you wish, but you can never speak unless I allow you to do so.

Sister Mary agrees and starts living at the abbey. After 5 years, the Abbess calls Sister Mary and tells her:

- You've been with us for 5 years now. You can speak 2 words.
- Hard bed, says Sister Mary.
- Oh, I'm sorry to hear this, answers the Abbess, we will change your bed and give you a better one.

Another 5 years pass - Sister Mary is called again at the Abbess, who allows her to speak 2 more words:

- Bad food, says Sister Mary

The Abbess assures Mary the food will change and get better and another 5 years pass. She is again allowed to say 2 more words:

- I quit! says Sister Mary.

- It's probably for the better, answers the Abbess, since you came all you did was to complain!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop - the reveal

As you may know - a few good weeks back Lisa at Pineridge Treasures decided to de-stash a number of surprise packages. As we bought her surprises an idea formed: why not a blog hop? And a blog hop it became.

When I ordered mine, Lisa had a few different colours displaying - and for a few minutes I toyed with the idea to ask her to not send me one of them... then I said - oh, that's OK, we'll see what fate brings. A few days later, in the mail - the package from Lisa. I opened it before I reached the door - and what do you think? fate is a funny lady. In was this gorgeous package:

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: the package :: All Pretty Things

Why is fate funny? Because that's the only colour I do not work with - black. I starred at the package for a long moment, then ever-optimistically I told myself "self, *this* will be the challenge: make black work". I spilled the content on the table and I admitted it was still gorgeous :)

There were this beautiful lampwork animals, flowers, and a heart:

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: the package :: All Pretty Things

there were shiny black (I presume onyx) rectangular beads:

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: the package :: All Pretty Things

there were absolutely delicious grey-shaded cracked agate round beads:

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: the package :: All Pretty Things

and many other shinny pretty things:
Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: the package :: All Pretty Things

Black or in some shades of grey... Now what?

By now you'll probably ask yourself: what's your problem? Well... in our culture black is a mourning colour. I grew up associating black to deep sadness and complete loss. My mom wouldn't allow black in our house - except for skirts, pants, and shoes / bags. Tops and accessories - no way!

As an adult - in certain conditions - I started to wear black tops: only the occasional summer cotton tanks, or that LBD (which I wore once, in fairness). But accessories?! absolutely not! My first black bead was the onyx I used in the black and red set - and I could wear the set just because they were so shinny and the red beautifully complemented the onyx. Thinking of the Red & Black set I realized that Lisa didn't say we *must* use only her beads... so I can mix the black. Oh, now we are talking.

Once the mental block was dispersed with - I truly got into a frenzy.

First, I got some of the beads from Dee: the sparkly blue eclectic glass mix, and after a very short moment of thought this is what I came up with

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: Blue Necklace (wire crochet) :: All Pretty Things

I love wire crochet, but this necklace was beyond my imagination: it is playful, happy and dances beautifully on your neck (I wore it the second I finished it!). I decide to add the tassel, but it is as beautiful without (I just liked the added focal point).

The lampwork was a bit more difficult: black cats and owls are kind of 'unlucky' thingies... and no matter how much I tried, I just could not put them together in some wearable design. I do accept suggestions :)

The flowers and the heart - ended up in this Victorian set.

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: Victorian Set (chain, lampwork, wire-wrapping) :: All Pretty Things

The original idea was to use the black chain (oval links) as a base for the cats and heart, wrapped on wire like charms. I forgot to add the weight of the glass beads in the equation, so the charm-like idea did not work. I already had the 3 chains (bought them specifically for this project) - after some playing around I settled on the Victorian necklace. With the silver chains and the little red dots on the lampwork is not that dark anymore, I wore it once (I do wear all my designs to figure out if they work or not :)) and it had a very nice fluidity. I got many compliments on it that day.

I still had a few items on the table - no good idea for the black chips (onyx?), or for the silver charms... and a big pile of faceted black crystals (one side in gorgeous blue-green shades), black and silver metallic beads, and simple black beads. Another wire crochet didn't seem to work well... and then it downed on me:

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: Bracelet :: All Pretty Things

What's wrong with a simple and very elegant memory wire bracelet?! Nothing, if you ask me (but I am biased).

For the cracked agate I had a good plan - and it worked beautifully from the first try:

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: The Opera necklace (agate, glass pearls, sterling silver, wire wrapping) :: All Pretty Things

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: The Opera necklace (agate, glass pearls, sterling silver, wire wrapping) :: All Pretty Things
I just added some glass pearls in the most beautiful shade of grey and a bright, clean white, some wire, some chain - and now I am in possession of the necklace I dreamed of making myself for a couple of years :) It is a whooping 56" long and the most versatile piece I made: a 4-in-1: you can wear it as a long opera necklace, you can wrap it twice and wear it as a double strand, you can use it as a lariat (one end goes through the loop of the other end) and you can even wrap it around your wrist like a bracelet! The bracelet version is not easy to untangle when you take it off, though :) However, it's fun to wear (I might make a multi-strand bracelet for the set... I need to find those agate somewhere first).

Here we are - at the end of a long story. My challenge was trully... challenging - but I am very happy with how I turned it out. Even if some of the pieces I can't get myself to wear (old habits die very hard - pun intended), I like them very much. And I know there are many people out there having no troubles with the colour.

Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop: The results :: All Pretty Things

Please visit the other participants too - for more surprises!

Alicia Marinache <-- You are here

Friday, July 20, 2012

Artbeads Jewelry Design Star contest

I have entered one of my wire pieces in Artbeads' contest: the 'Pretty and Strong in Pink' bracelet. Designed as a Breast Cancer awareness piece, and in memory of my grandmother and all the Beautiful and Strong women who fight breast cancer (and not only) - wire-wrapped in sterling silver and pink jade, the bracelet is a beautiful reminder of how fragile, yet powerful we are.

Please check it (click on the picture or on the link below) and - if you like it - please vote on it too!
Pretty and Strong in Pink: bracelet, pink jade, sterling silver, Breast Cancer Awarness :: All Pretty Things

Pretty and Strong in Pink: bracelet, pink jade, sterling silver, Breast Cancer Awarness :: All Pretty Things

Thank you for visiting with me today!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gemstones: Diamond

The Hope Diamond @ Smithsonian :: All Pretty Things
The Hope Diamond
in its new setting, at the Smithsonian

Diamond is, as we all know very well, pure carbon. How come it is the hardest natural substance, then? Its hardness is a result of its internal structure being compacted by high pressures and temperatures in the Earth's mantle. Diamonds are formed at about 150 km depth.

Being pure carbon - it should burn, like coal, right? Correct - diamonds are combustible, although at very high temperatures or in oxygen.

Its name comes from (where else?!) the Greek word 'adamas' - meaning invincible, most likely because in antiquity people didn't know how to cut it, and thought of it as 'un-cutable', hence invincible. They were known in India over 2,300 years ago, uncut - because it was believed that cutting them will destroy their magical properties (when we don't understand something, we make sure to invent 'good' reasons :)). Romans also recorded their existence in the first century, but they give diamonds little value, as Romans couldn't find out how to cut the stone either. In the Middle Ages Europeans managed simple cuts; the brilliant cut as we know it today was discovered a few centuries later, and the industry flourished at the beginning of the 20th century, when industrial cutters were developed - the diamonds could now be cut in their many facets.

Diamonds are measured in carats - the name comes from Greek too, 'keration' meaning 'the fruit of the carob'. The carob seed were used for long time to weigh precious stones. Throughout the years carat meant different things to different cultures - today it is standardized to 0.2 grams.

Uncut diamonds are like any other gemstones (maybe even less) - what gives them today's power is the cut: the more faces a diamond has, the more light it reflects, the more brilliant it looks. Diamonds are used today in jewelry - but over 3/4 of the world diamond production is used in various industries: as cutters, polishers, saws for cutting other stones.

There are 4 properties a diamond is measured by: Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat (the 4Cs). A diamond is better if it has no impurities, a proper cut, and many carats. Colour is an elusive property: some like it clear, some like it rare (red diamonds are the rarest) :)

There are, of course, some famous diamonds and true legends are weaved around their history.

One of them is the largest diamond ever: the Cullinan. Originally of over 3,000 carats (that is 600 grams, or about 1 1/2 lbs!) it was cut into 9 major stones and 96 smaller. The largest of the 9 was mounted in the sceptre of the British Crown, the second largest is in the Imperial State Crown - and the other 7 are currently in the possession of the British Royal Family.

Another famous diamond is the blue Hope - a 44.5 carats stone, currently in the Smithsonian. We had the opportunity to see it last year in the temporary new setting - it is an amazing stone! Its story seems to be one of unlucky and tragic events, but it sure is a beautiful diamond!

Interestingly enough - diamonds are not recognized as having energy or healing properties. However, they will amplify the energy of other stones, and the inner energy of the wearer. It is a symbol of purity, harmony, love: thus today is the most used stone in engagement rings.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It is trapshooting... no... it is... golf... no... what is it?!

I was watching tennis when I heard the 'pull... .... pull... ' so I was curious to see what would this be about. Suffice to say by the end of the 30 seconds I was laughing so hard that hubby came to ask what's the matter. I rewinded the commercial and then we are both laughing.

This is how you make a catchy commercial:


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jewelry Design from Nature challenge - the results

The day is finally here! If you remember, Heather Powers from Humblebeads sent us a focal, a picture, and a poem - all inspired by nature; in return we were asked to create a piece inspired by the picture and poem, using the focal and whatever else would strike our fancy.

My poem and picture were of daffodils. Little did Heather know I love daffodils, along with all other spring flowers - more than other flowers. Probably because they come after the long cold winter... probably because our gardens back where I grew up were full of daffodils... probably because they are such delicate and strong flowers at the same time.

I am not very fond of yellow - but for daffodils I make an exception: I love their colour :)

So here I was, with the most delicate and beautiful pendant I've ever seen - painted by hand, with this lovely daffodil on a azure sky, in the green grass...

Jewelry Design from Nature challenge :: focal by Heather Powers

I had this idea at first... but it meant some extra time I didn't have on my hands... so I settled on a variation of that idea. Beads started to take shape on my desk:

yellow, for the daffodils:
Jewelry Design from Nature challenge: work in progress (jade, sterling silver) :: All Pretty Things
 blue, for the sky:
Jewelry Design from Nature challenge: work in progress (jade, sterling silver) :: All Pretty Things
 green, for the grass:
Jewelry Design from Nature challenge: work in progress (jade, sterling silver) :: All Pretty Things

more blue (just because I am in love with this shade and with making my own clasp :) this time an eye for the hook was born too; of course both beaded):

Jewelry Design from Nature challenge: work in progress (jade, sterling silver) :: All Pretty Things

The necklace went through 2 length variations until I was happy with it - and I wore it a few times already, it wears beautifully, there is something special about a beaded chain, that's for sure!

Jewelry Design from Nature challenge necklace (jade, sterling silver, polymer clay focal by Humblebeads) :: All Pretty Things

Jewelry Design from Nature challenge necklace (jade, sterling silver, polymer clay focal by Humblebeads) :: All Pretty Things


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

by William Wordsworth

Jewelry Design from Nature challenge necklace (jade, sterling silver, polymer clay focal by Humblebeads) :: All Pretty Things

I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of Nature :)

Please make sure to visit the other artists' participating:

Monday, July 16, 2012


15 years ago yesterday (July 15th) Canada gained 2 more immigrants: my hubby and I.

We came through a 14 hours airplane journey, with a stop in Amsterdam. We were bringing 2 suitcases of what we considered important things in our lives, a computer, and a dog (our first German Sheppard, Brondi). There are 2 funny stories about the journey and the dog:

* In Amsterdam, we were watching airplanes while waiting for our connect flight. It downed on us that the dog could get easily 'lost in translation': luggage was thrown from one plane onto those 'cart-trains' and back to planes. At our departure gate we found a nice lady and we asked if we could, in any way, check about our dog. Can you imagine she called through her walkie-talkie 3 or 4 persons until she found someone telling her (we heard it too) 'Yes, the dog is onto the plane to Toronto, I just got the cage in'?! We were so relived!

* In Toronto - there was a huge line at the customs. We already had our immigration papers in order, we retrieved the luggage and a groggy dog and waited in line. Until we arrived at the custom officer. She asked us what we have in our baggage - then she spotted the cuttie and she asked 'how long was your flight'? '14+ hours' 'Did she had anything to drink?' 'We have no clue!' 'OMG' and she went to get an ice-cold bottle of water from the fridge, and gave it to us. Brondi drank half in a jiffy, the poor girl was quite unhappy with the travel arrangements. The lady welcomed us to Canada and send us to our way.

With that - we were Canadian immigrants. It was July 15th, past 9:00 pm...

The rest, as they say - it's history!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

God will provide

A young woman brought her fiance home to meet her parents. After dinner, her mother told her father to find out about the young man. The father invited the fiance to his study for a talk.

'So what are your plans?' the father asked the young man.

'I am a biblical scholar,' he replied.

'A Biblical scholar. Hmmm,' the father said. 'Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice house for my daughter to live in?'

'I will study,' the young man replied, 'and God will provide for us.'

'And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?' asked the father.

'I will concentrate on my studies,' the young man replied, 'God will provide for us.'

'And children?' asked the father. 'How will you support children?'

'Don't worry, sir, God will provide,' replied the fiance.

The conversation proceeded like this, and each time the father questioned, the young idealist insisted that God would provide.
Later, the mother asked, 'How did it go, Honey?'

The father answered, 'He has no job and no plans, and he thinks I'm God!'

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gustav Klimt

Opening the browser today I was greeted by a neat doodle:

I must admit until last year or so I didn't know much about Gustav Klimt. Then William came home with a strange picture made in art class... and while talking about it I realized his teacher chooses a painter, presents one or 2 famous pictures and the kids then try to recreate it, adding their own touches and personalities. [This year it was Van Gogh's sunflowers].

I am not sure I like Klimt or not - I will surely agree he's an Art Nouveau painter... and I do not do well with any of the symbolists :) However, most of Klimt's work I've seen is, at least, very light and bright, and somehow sunny. So even if I don't know if I like it, I prefer it to other modern painters :)

Enjoy a Klimt Saturday :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jewelry Design from Nature challenge

Jewelry Designs From Nature challenge - July 6th, 2012 Last month I participated in the Heather's Jewelry Design from Nature challenge and I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen. We were given a focal, a poem, and a picture for inspiration.

Due to many factors, I came to the ownership of my package just last night, after hubby finally had a chance to travel to our PO Box (just in case you think we are crazy, this is the US PO Box we have set up years ago). He came back and handed me the envelope.

I opened it up anxiously (so I have no pictures of the packaging... but I can put it back together :)) and at me was starring the cutest pendant I've ever seen! But you'll have to wait just a few more days to find out what happened next :)

Suffice to say that I came to my bead stash, open a drawer, took some beads out and sat down to finish it. Right there and right then. And finish I did!

Please come back on Tuesday, July 17th for the reveal.

Teasing, eh?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gemstones: Malachite

I fell in love with Malachite a few months ago: its vivid green colour and its deep lines makes it extremely alluring for me. I wanted to learn more about it, so a trip to the library ended with me bringing back 6 different books on gemstones, one with stories, incredible stories from long ago.
Malachite pendant (wire-wrapped in Sterling Silver)

Malachite gets its name from Greek (like half of the gemstones, probably), from the word 'moloche', which means mallow, having the colour of mallow leaves. It has been used by Greeks and Romans mostly as a decor material: they built sculptures and vases, as well as decorate floors and walls with Malachite. During the Bronze Age Malachite has been crushed into powder and used as a green pigment in paints, eye make-up (which has been invented by Egyptians over 5,000 years ago!), glazes and dyes for glass. The Russian Czars used it for decor, sculptures, as well as in jewelry. Faberge, the well-known jeweler of the Russian Court, created exquisite pieces (miniatures, his amazing Imperial eggs, the gorgeous boxes) using Malachite and many other gemstones.

It is one of the most important minerals in mankind history: as a ore of copper, our ancestors discovered that heating malachite will reduce it to copper. From this discovery was born the metallurgy: people would mine, melt, and forge metals.

Today Malachite is used primarily as a gemstone, in jewelry and ornaments - the large deposits from the Ural mountains (Russia) are close to becoming depleted, and the gemstone is becoming more rare (thus more pricey).

From antiquity people believed malachite is a precious talisman for the protection of children, and for protection against all evil. It also appears in the Bible: along with the stones assigned to each one of the 12 tribes of Israel, temples were promised to be built and decorated with Malachite and other precious stones. In the Middle Ages it was used extensively as a decor stone: the floor of San Marco Cathedral, in Venice has been decorated (by artisans that worked over 500 years) with mosaics made of lapis lazuli, malachite, and other gemstones.

Malachite is known as 'the mirror of the soul' and its powers are said to help recovery from physical or emotional illness. It is believed it will help the wearer find the cause of his/her fears and resentments, and to release negative emotions. A very useful stone, Malachite is said to protect the wearer against accidents, thus it is called 'the traveler stone'. With its ability to protect against all evil, it is also used to promote success in business.

Even if you don't believe in its properties - Malachite is a beautiful stone to wear and to admire!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tulip Festival

Since this spring was extremely warm, we have been relegated to an early Tulip Festival - we live 5 minutes by car (about 20 by bike) from the Royal Botanical Garden, and the gardens are where we spend a good deal of our free time, no matter what season.

The Tulip Festival is one of my favourites and it became William's favourite too, because the Rock Gardens is full of interesting places one can hide into!

So up on the bikes - about 25 minutes ride to the gardens and then a couple of hours of pure bliss: the child running around and studying the wild life, and his mommy taking pictures and reading a book on the bench, surrounded by colour and beauty.

Can you imagine a better way to spend one's time?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Antique Scrolls

I am fascinated by wire and what one can do with it. One of the most versatile and most intriguing shape for me is the circle, closely followed by the scroll: they both inspire in my the infinite, the never-ending, the vast enormity of life.

With the school end approaching, I experimented a bit with some wire pendants - they both landed with a teacher (and they both loved it). The design is not mine, I found the idea in a book (sorry, forgot which book and it's back to the library), then I modified the concept a bit.

Scroll pendant (jade, sterling silver) :: All Pretty Things

The original pendant was using clear bead string for the beads (green version), but I didn't like it at all. Mind you, I wasn't 100% happy with the wire version either, more experiments are needed :)

While struggling with the green version, at one point I just had the scroll frame in my hand - and that I loved very much. So I made a simpler version of the scroll pendant, with just a beautiful Swarovski butterfly.

Scroll pendant (Swarovski charm, sterling silver) :: All Pretty Things

I'm still trying to decide which I like better :) Which version do you like best?

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Angel (painting on glass) :: All Pretty Things
One night an old lady dreams that God talked to her and promised her she'll live another 35 years because she's been such a great Christian.

Next morning the old lady wakes up and goes straight to the aesthetic clinic, asking for the works - in a few days she's looking like a beautiful 20 years old.

She steps out of the clinic... and a bus runs her over.

At the Pearly Gates she asked:

- God, you promised me another 35 years! What happened?!

- Sorry, I didn't recognized you anymore!

Lori's Bead & Button Show giveaway

Lori from Pretty Things is having another one of her amazing giveaways. With not one, but 5 (five!) prizes. All amazing, as you can see:

#1 - A Bead & Button show bits and pieces giveaway

Lori's (Pretty Things) giveaway: Bead & Button Show 2012, bits & pieces

#2 - The Bead Soup book - coming out in the fall, I am soo looking forward to reading it

Lori Anderson 'Bead Soup' project book

#3 - Her own eBook on blogging inspiration - a must for all the art bloggers out there

Lori Anderson: 'Follow the Path: ideas and inspiration for the Creative Blogger' (eBook)

#4 - A very cute tote bag

Bead Soup Blog Party Participant - Tote Bag

#5 - A mystery bead soup - intriguing, eh?

To enter, make sure you visit Pretty Things blog and follow the instructions.

Good luck!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kreativ blogger - award

As I was going on my business today (I am making the items for the Summer Colour challenge, I finished the first one and I'm wearing it :)) I checked my emails early afternoon... and I got the comment from AntiquityTravelers, she invited me to check her blog as she had a surprise for me.

Boy, what a wonderful surprise! This is a wonderful award, as it's coming from peers and from followers - in this case she was smitten with my wire tutorial :) Thank you!

If you've never been on Antiquity Travelers blog now is the time to visit - she has interesting stories and she's a great jewelry designer (she loves turquoise, you gotta love her designs!)

Anyhow, when you receive this award, there are a few rules:
1. Post a link to the person who awarded you
2. Share 7 well-thought out random things about yourself
3. Award to 10 other deserving bloggers and let them know

I don't know if these are well-thought, but they sure are random:

1. I love trapshooting and I have a summer-'family' in Pennsylvania (mostly), all wonderful people, all trapshooters
2. I love colour - especially turquoise
3. I have been raised under the communist regime in Eastern Europe thus...
4. I have a great respect for democracy and freedom and I never take my social responsibilities lightly
5. I love nature and mountains, especially in spring and autumn
6. I wish I lived on a farm, and grow most of my food (for personal use, not as a farmer)
7. I love music and I was fortunate enough to get music lessons a few years back: I still take them and my teacher now talks about taking the exams at the Royal Music Conservatory (yes, I am terrified!)

The third part is the hardest - because it's quite impossible to choose just 10 bloggers, they are so many desrving out there! After much consideration, here are my picks (in alphabetical order, they are all amazing artists):

1. A work in progress - I am in awe of anyone who can use seed beads, but here you'll see quite some nice designs! Add the wire work and the beautiful Macro Sundays and you got yourself a neat blog to follow.

2. Amazing Designs - Marlene Cupo's virtual realm. Marlene creates beautiful jewelry and her polymer clay art is to die for (check the Bead Cup article for an example of her mastery)

3. Art Jewelry Elements - a new online 'magazine' created by a group of very talented designers. In there you'll find everything from ideas, to giveaways, to tips and what not.

4. Donna Millard - It was hard for me to pick lampwork artists, I love everything that's glass, and everyone I met (in the virtual world of facebook and blogosphere) creates wonders. This time I'll single out Donna's work :)

5. Glass, Craft and Artful Goodness - Tania is my current Bead Soup partner and she creates beauty out of glass!

6. Metal Me This - Lisa creates beautiful jewlery, but what I love the most is her metal elements, absolutely stunning.

7. My Bead Therapy - Heidi's journey through the artistic world is fun and full of amazing designs. Her wirework is stunning.

8. Pine Ridge Treasures - Lisa's blog is fun and easy to read; I like her designs and her stories alike.

9. Pink Lemonade - I love Keri's writing and her designs are flawless: elegant and fresh; her blog is a real pleasure to read, with a lovely mix of various crafts and arts.

10. Pretty things - Lori Anderson's blog. She's the Godess of art blogging - enough said