Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pantene Fall colour

Yes, I know, it is quite depressing: we haven't even got out of winter (it is *still* snowing here!) and we are talking about Fall? This is the world of fashion and design - where everybody lives in the (sometimes quite distant) future, so we'll have to live with it.

Pantene has released the Fall colours - and here you have a great article on how to match those colours with gemstones:

Gemewizard's Pantene Colours of the year


Creative Chaos: F.F. #14 – With a Twist

Sandra, at Creative Chaos is having one of her amazing giveaways: Creative Chaos: F.F. #14 – With a Twist - this time with my favourite colour (blue) and a special request, dear to my heart too. Check it out and enter it!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Your 'feel good' post of today

Nothing is better than a Waltz, and no waltz is better than the beautiful 'Blue Danube'!

Enjoy - and maybe you can also get up and dance it :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Focus on life: Week 8 - Monochromatic

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting a year long challenge which is... sublime... as you'd expect with such a studio name. The challenge is named 'Focusing on Life' and every week Sally is sending a prompt on what should we focus the following week.

Her current prompt? An interesting one:

This week look deeper through the lens to the story your photo captures and then process it to one color! Or be daring and shoot in B&W (monochrome).

Like many others of my generation - I had the opportunity to watch black and white movies, and to see family albums with B&W or sepia photographs. Why... our own home pictures were B&W until not so long ago.

Many people think about monochromatic as colour-less. I find it fascinating - it allows one to focus on the message, on the composition, on the deep - and not to be distracted by colours, by the facade.

It also reminds me of the (not so long ago) time when our TV was B&W - and the sports commentator would describe the costumes in Skating Championships: I could see the vivid colours and it brought something special, like a bond between him and us.

These are taken on a snow-storm night / day a couple of years back (the storm that dropped 40 inches of snow in one pass :) ) and I didn't touch them at all - that's how I took them: the first three at night, during the storm; the last 2 - in the morning. Our neighbourhood was amazingly quiet that day.

But then I felt like cheating - while I love these pictures, they were not taken for this week's challenge. It is a challenge, and my word for the year is, after all, bloom... using old pictures while sometimes warranted, in this case didn't feel 'blooming' at all.

So I picked up my camera - and decided to be 'daring' and set it on B&W. Err.... how do I do that?! fumbled a bit with the camera, nothing popped up, went to my technical adviser (aka Dear Hubby) and... lo and behold, he fumbled with the same camera and - found nothing!

Now - I am one of those strange creatures: if you deny them something, they'll turn the Earth to make it happen (so if you really want me to do something tell me I cannot do it, I shouldn't do it, or I am not allowed to do it: I'll guarantee you it's going to be done in a blink!). That being said - I googled it... and read... and read... everybody said 'no, it can't be done on a digital camera'... but I truly love my camera and I don't think there is something it can't do. And at last - I found it - the setting is buried in there, but it is.

And these are my pictures of last night: Of course - the orchids :) Two of them: the deep pink and the white one - can you tell?

 Therese's beaded ornament (if you'd like to see it in colour, check this post).

My growing collection of vintage buttons (you can read more about it here)

I couldn't resist :) it was on my desk and it looked so beautiful - the kiwi:

There you have it: my take on the world in black and white.

P.S. When he was about 4 or so, William and I had this conversation:
  • Mommy, when was colour invented? 
  • Colour? What you mean by that? 
  • You know, long ago the pictures were all black & white - is that how people saw the world? 
  • Oh... no, the world was coloured, but we didn't know how to make the pictures colourful. It's like when you have only black & white crayons and you want to draw the world. -
  • Oh, now I understand! [you could see the light downing on his face]
May you find the colour in your B&W moments!

Please visit the other artists - we are gathered, as usual, at Sally's place

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

And the winners are....

Ladies and gentlemen - we have our 9 winners:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to the winners - and to all: thank you so much for participating!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Amazing pictures

Stumbled on a few amazing pictures, I'd love to share with you

Caddisfly larvae build protective cases using materials found in their environment. Artist Hubert Duprat supplied them with gold leaf and precious stones. This is what they created.

On my 'bucket list': Spain with its amazing mix of cultures:

The most amazing sunset

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bead soup - let the simmering begin!

Have you entered the giveaway? only a few days left: enter here

Both Stacy, my partner, and I have received our soups. Kindred souls - we picked a similar palette: mine to her was turquoise and silver, Stacy's to me: teal and brass.

Her soup is adorable:

Bead soup: ceramic, brass, glass :: All Pretty Things

A gorgeous focal as a nest, birds and connectors in brass, a bird clasp, along the teal ceramic and glass beads. If you know me, you know I already hoarded that ceramic beads in all sorts of shapes and sizes. And the birds and nest?! She somehow read my mind: I was just thinking a couple of weeks I want to get some birds: now I have them! spring arrived earlier for sure.

The challenge for me? Using brass - I admit brass and I aren't friends. Not at all. But, as usual, I will approach this challenge as a friendly push forward, and I will overcome my 'fear' of brass. Who knows? Come March I will figure out I love brass (it had happened many, many, maaany times before). The important thing is: I will try my best and I will not be prejudiced against brass :)

Step 2: designing with this fabulous ingredients!

For the soup I sent to Stacy I decided to make the focal: wire wrapping is something I simply adore lately, and wire weaving is  a technique I just started on (this is my second attempt, after the heart in January):

Wire weaved pendant: turquoise, silver :: All Pretty Things

A teardrop stabilized turquoise wire wrapped in wire weaves - in silver plated wire. I hope Stacy likes it as much as I do (of course I am biased).

To complete the soup I added a handmade clasp (coiled wire), 2 large turquoise, and a pack of turquoise chips.

bead soup: Turquoise :: All Pretty Things

Wire weaved pendant: turquoise, silver :: All Pretty Things

bead soup: Turquoise :: All Pretty Things

I am looking forward to seeing what Stacy will make - we'll have to reconvene here at the end of March, on the 30th (we are on the 1st reveal) along the other ~150 participants.

Wishing all the participants a good encounter with their muse and inspiration :)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love and Light: a blog hop in memory of Tanya

Have you entered the giveaway? only a few days left: enter here

I didn't know Tanya for long - we 'met' back in August, during a Facebook event and she sent me some beauties... I loved them, I ordered more (I'll probably make jewelry for a year from her silver and gemstones!) and we kept chatting on Facebook. Not very often, but in a deep way that special friendships allow for.

I knew she was sick and unfortunately in January I learned of her passing - which brought the idea of this memory blog hop. It is meant to remember her smile and her kindness... through a piece of jewelry that is either inspired by her or maybe made with her materials.

She was very generous and kind - with my first order she (not very subtly) inquired what my favourite stone or colour is. I didn't have to think before answering 'Turquoise'. I don't own much turquoise, I do have died howlite or stabilized turquoise, but not the blue-sky one, and somehow she understood that is where my love for turquoise comes from: the pure blue-sky stones I saw in Mexico for the first time.

When my package arrived I was completely humbled - I think she added as much items as a gift that they were in the actually order. Between them a stunning turquoise. Raw, baroque and not drilled. Which meant - wire wrapping was being called for. I have done various wire wrapping so far, but not wrapping a stone. I saw 2 types of wrapping: one that I liked and one that I hated. Hence - I left the turquoise alone... paralyzed with fear: what if I end up with the 'I hate' type? Not even practicing, I could not bring myself to try and fail.

Been there, done that - yesterday I went up to the studio to make something else. I ended up cleaning the studio and in the process all I had left on my table was - you guessed it - Tanya's turquoise! I knew it's her way of gently pushing me and telling me 'this is the time'. So I sat down (I usually listen to music, but this time I have no clue what the radio played), cut the wire and... started. I had no clue what I am supposed to do, I kept doing what it seemed right. In the end - I had a beautiful turquoise, wrapped nicely and snugly. However (there is always a 'but' somewhere) I was unhappy with the look of the wire. It looked scratched (I have been as careful as I could, but...) and I was wondering 'now what?'.

Luckily for me during the cleaning process I found some old glass beads, looking quite ugly... and I thought I will drop them in the tumbler, maybe they get cleaned and nice. They did! And when I went to check them - I had a 'duh!' moment - and dropped the pendant in the tumbler instead. After a few hours this is what came out:

Wire wrapped pendant: silver, Turquoise :: All Pretty Things

No scratches whatsoever!! Nothing! The wire looks shine and the pendant is beautiful (at least I **LOVE** it and since it's mine, that's all that matters :) I dare you! just kidding - please critique away, I am learning and I appreciate all the suggestions and ideas)

The other sides:

Wire wrapped pendant: silver, Turquoise :: All Pretty Things

Wire wrapped pendant: silver, Turquoise :: All Pretty Things

Wire wrapped pendant: silver, Turquoise :: All Pretty Things

Isn't that a gorgeous turquoise?! Thank you, Tanya!

Right after I started the blog hop I made another piece for this event, and I cannot explain to you why. I hope her friends might find something related to Tanya in this piece - all I know is that it felt like Tanya to me:

Swarovski, wire :: All Pretty Things

It is a red Viking knit shaped in a 'spring' wreath - with 2 butterflies and some shine (in forms of Swarovski crystals). I just love those 2 Swarovski butterflies... not sure why I had to add two, all I know is the piece is complete like that and it felt like her.

I have a couple of pieces I made with her gemstones and materials:

Freya (Goddess of Love): Swarovski, sterling silver, fine silver :: All Pretty Things
Freya (Goddess of Love): Swarovski, sterling silver, fine silver

The Victorian pendant made with fine silver spacer and sterling silver chain from Tanya

Eivor (wise gift): sterling silver, rubies :: All Pretty Things
Eivor (wise gift): sterling silver, rubies
The pendant made with rubies from Tanya (I didn't realize you can work with real rubies until I talked to her!)

Audra (Noble strength): quartz, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, earrings :: All Pretty Things
Audra (Noble strength): quartz, freshwater pearls, sterling silver
A pair of earrings made with quartz crystals from Tanya (she made a note of the exact name of the crystal, but I cannot remember it right now)

Ada: Kyanite, sterling silver, Swarovski, earrings :: All Pretty Things
Ada: Kyanite, sterling silver, Swarovski
The pair of earrings made with the Kyanite she gifted me with.

Ada: Kyanite, sterling silver, Swarovski, necklace :: All Pretty Things
Ada: Kyanite, Swarovski, sterling silver
The pendant to match the earrings - again, the Kyanite from Tanya.

But my love remains the Turquoise:

Wire wrapped pendant: Turquoise, silver :: All Pretty Things

Please make sure you visit the other participants:

Alicia Marinache All Pretty Things <= You are here
Solange Colling Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Liss Silverwing http://lisssilverwing.blogspot.com/
Cherry Obsidia http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.co.uk/
Pookledo www.pookledo.blogspot.co.uk
Rana Lea http://ranaleadesigns.blogspot.com/
Leah Curtis http://beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk/
Lori Anderson http://www.prettythingsblog.com/
Ingrid www.wrappedinsilver.com

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Your 'feel good' post of the week

If this video doesn't make you smile and feel good, I don't know what will.
I've been watching it over and over: it is watching pure joy and feeling that pure joy!

Enjoy :)

And remember, there is a giveaway going on, only a few days left: enter here!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Focus on life: Week 7 - The beauty of Flowers

Happy Valentine's Day - and remember, there is a giveaway going on, enter here!

Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime is hosting a year long challenge which is... sublime... as you'd expect with such a studio name. The challenge is named 'Focusing on Life' and every week Sally is sending a prompt on what should we focus the following week.

This weeks's prompt is one after my soul:

This week take a moment to bring a little happiness to your soul and enhance your well being. Take a moment to enjoy the beauty of flowers.

It is truly no challenge at all - I have discovered a few years back that I was getting the blues during this shortest month of the year, which seems the longest and dullest. In searching for an answer to my problem, I found it in flowers! Since then I made it a point to have blooming flowers on my desk and in other rooms of the house every single day of the year. Not only plants - which I always have... but blooms: colourful, beautiful blooms.

Believe it or not, this is what you can currently find on my desk:

Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The Hyacinth :: All Pretty Things Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The daffodils :: All Pretty Things Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The tulips :: All Pretty Things
The spring blooms: they bring me memories and they smell divine, not to mention the colours. I buy them every year, a few times a year, and in the fall I put them in the garden, hoping they'll come back next spring (they mostly do)

Then - the usual suspect, my beloved African Violet. I learned to care for them as a child: my mom has the house full of them and she's the type she will talk and even sing to the flowers. She thinks people think she's crazy - but I love the idea of having a relationship with the flowers. While I don't hold lengthy conversations with my African Violets, I know they are surely happy when I touch them and visit every day and check on their foliage. For years I would buy the pots from the store, bring them home and watch helplessly how the flowers will fade and never come back. Until 2 or 3 years ago when something changed (probably with me - I wish I could say what it is, but I don't) and they started taking turns and bloom almost continuously. There is hardly a week when one of them is not in full bloom - and I love it that way :)

Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The African Violet :: All Pretty Things

Last, but surely not least, my most recent love:

Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The deep purple orchid :: All Pretty Things
The deep purple orchid

Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The white orchid :: All Pretty Things
 The white orchid

Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The large pink orchid :: All Pretty Things
The large pink orchid

Focus on life: The beauty of flowers: The pink orchid :: All Pretty Things
The other pink and most unique orchid
Yes - the orchids. Before coming to Canada I have seen orchids only at the Botanical Garden: as a student I spent long summer days in the Gardens, the campus was located close to the Botanical Gardens and I used to do my homework on the grass in the park, under huge blooming Magnolia trees (that would have been something to photograph back then! as it is, I only have the vivid memory of those moments).

I still remember my first orchid - I have either received it as a gift or bought it myself and it was living in our bathroom, one that had a window and lots of sun. She liked it there - but I didn't know how to care for it back then... after the blooms faded, it never bloomed again.

Then 3 years ago I received one for my birthday, then 2 at Christmas, then another one for my next birthday. Only this time - I read the instructions and followed them. What do you think?! They bloom every few months: all 4 of them at the same time. Two of them have even 2 branches this year!

I am amazed and I feel blessed every time I see their blooms: delicate, unique and so completely exotic!

I am offering you my flowers this week and I hope you'll visit the other participants gathered in Sally's virtual Botanical Gardens this week :)

Thank you, again, Sally for the opportunity to search for my soul every week: it is an interesting experience, and one I love and enjoy enormously!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day - and remember, there is a giveaway going on, enter here!

The day is upon us... Valentine's Day, a day filled with love, flowers and chocolate (my favourite part: chocolate strawberries - yummy!).

In our culture we didn't celebrate this day - we had other spring customs, more on those on other days. I say "didn't" because, according to my mom, it has become a huge thing back in Romania as well. I, personally, am completely neutral towards the day. We had some other customs, especially in the country (folk people, farmers etc.) - a pre-Christian tradition, called 'Dragobete', which we celebrate on the 24th of February.

Since we moved to Canada, we try to observe the local holidays along ours (if we would massage the 2 holiday calendars in one, our life will be a continuous celebration!), and while we are on this day - I will present you a few of my recent or not so recent pieces, the ones that I believe are 'love' related :)

First - a piece I made last year for Valentine's Day (and I will wear tomorrow!): I love its flow and delicate feel, hence its name 'Delicate Love':

Delicate Love: Swarovski, sterling silver, earrings & necklace :: All Pretty Things

Then there is this gorgeous floating blue heart - donated for an even related to Heart and Health. even the clasp is a heart :)

Blue heart: Swarovski, silver, necklace :: All Pretty Things

I wonder who remembers this neat clasp? I still have it - maybe it's time to use it in a design this week :) It came from my very first Bead Soup party, Dita (on that beautifully decorated paper!). Yes, she packaged things way better than I did. But I learned :)

The first wire hearts I made - with Swarovski crystals: I really like how beautifully they flow, and how easily you can personalize them: add one Swarovski for a special someone's birthday, or add many for their children, grandchildren, the possibilities are unlimited!

Simple heart: sterling silver, Swarovski, pendant & earrings :: All Pretty Things

One of my favourites: the lampwork and multi-wire heart:

My heart to you: sterling silver, copper, lampwork, pendant :: All Pretty Things

Believe it or not, there are a few more (that's strange for someone who thinks she's not a very romantic person!)

There is my heart I made with my mom in mind: you can read all about it right here.

And there is another one I cherish: etched and patina-ed brass, with wire-wrapped agate, on sterling silver earwires: I present you Cora!

Cora: etched & patina-ed brass, agate, sterling silver, OOAK earrings :: All Pretty Things

Happy Valentine's Day! Have a fun enjoyable one :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

This is how you teach! [TED]

Happy Wednesday- and remember, there is a giveaway going on, enter here!

William has complained for a while that school 'is not fun' anymore. Last year it was hands-on, fun, and happy... this year it seems to be not so much.

Yesterday I stumbled upon this TED video - and I realized: that's exactly how you should teach anybody! not only 4th graders, every age, including high-school and farther. Have fun and let them have fun! But no, like our nice teacher here says 'God forbid someone has fun learning science!'

For all parents and kids and young adults looking for a fresh and new approach on teaching - here you are:

I was lucky enough to have a few teachers like that: my mom's Geography teacher who was a supply teacher *one* day in grade 5 or 6 (it is still the only Geography lesson I remember!), my French teacher in high-school (who did lots of literature and history of arts with us, he is an amazing person), my Chemistry teacher in high school (for 3 years I was sure I will go to a Medical school, just for her Chemistry :) ) and my 'Electrical Components' teacher in 3rd year of University (who was amazed that none of us could tell him how to apply the high level algebra knowledge in real life and gave us an amazing experience for a whole semester).

They made life fun, they made science and knowledge fun, they made everlasting impressions on our brains and - dare I say? - in our hearts too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pre-Valentine Day :)

Happy Tuesday - and remember, there is a giveaway going on, enter here!

Just what we all need for: some short love stories to cheer us up:

Marc and Angel's 60 Short Love Stories

Monday, February 11, 2013

Love and Light blog hop: the participants

Happy Monday - and remember, there is a giveaway going on, enter here!

Love and Light Blog Hop :: All Pretty Things
This coming Sunday we will get together and remember Tanya Boden of Fusion Muse: a wonderful person, a gentle soul, who's probably smiling upon us right now.

The rules were simple: create a piece (or many) that will remind you of Tanya and honour her memory. It could be done with components or materials from her, as many of us have huge stashes with pieces from Tanya. Write a nice post about why you chose that specific piece - and come to chat along about Tanya and her spirit.

The list of participants is below:

Host: Alicia Marinache All Pretty Things

Solange Colling Ahowin Handcrafted Jewelry
Liss Silverwing http://lisssilverwing.blogspot.com/
Cherry Obsidia http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.co.uk/
Pookledo www.pookledo.blogspot.co.uk
Rana Lea http://ranaleadesigns.blogspot.com/
Leah Curtis http://beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk/
Lori Anderson http://www.prettythingsblog.com/
Ingrid www.wrappedinsilver.com

Just a few more days - I will see you back all on Sunday, February 17th!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Love is in the air:: Giveaway!

February is the 'Love' month and I'm feeling the love for sure! Thus - I'd like to share and spread the love with you, my good virtual friends.

Enter this month's giveaway, sponsored by Zinio: the digital app for magazine lovers. From their website:

Zinio is more than a mobile reading application. We've spent the last decade creating the digital editions of the magazines you love, delivering the exact same material you get in print‚ plus exclusive features like video, audio and live links, on your iPad, iPhone, desktop and laptop.

In today's world a digital magazine sounds like a lovely answer to the ever-shrinking storage space.

What is being given away? 9 Digital subscriptions to any of their magazines.
Disclaimer: I have been offered 10 subscriptions, however I will keep one for myself (it'll be a hard choice, I admit!)

You can choose from hundreds of titles, from Art to Technology to Travel and News (* for a complete list please see below)

How does the giveaway work?
  • You'll have to enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. I need a way to contact you - so if you don't have an email address linked to your blogger account (or don't have a blogger account and use just your name), please make sure you leave your email in the comment. 
  • Leave a comment - and tell me which subscription you will prefer in case you win (the comment part is mandatory). 
  • For extra chances - please make sure you have liked my Facebook page
  • The giveaway begins from 12:00 a.m. (ET) Friday, February 9, 2013. It will stay open for entries for 10 days until 12:00 a.m. (ET) February 20, 2013. It is open to adult U.S. and Canadian residents (except in Quebec). Sorry for QC residents, your provincial regulations are much tougher. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Once you have entered the giveaway you can also check the current deals at Zinio

Sweet Deals:

  • Ends February 21, 2013
  • Save up to 50% off already-discounted prices on hundreds of titles 
  • This is a great way to try a new magazine without having to invest in an entire year's subscription before you're sure

Best of 2012 - Editors’ Choices
  • Ends February 21, 2013
  • Save 50% on these select great issues 

If you'd like to check the many titles offered by Zinio - please make sure to visit their website: www.zinio.com