Monday, November 25, 2013

Echo Creative Club ~ November 2013

Like all good things, this one has come to an end (for me) too! November is the very last edition of Echo Creative Club I participate in... and since Jeannie is changing the program next year... I'm just a tad on the sad side.

On the bright side - I had 5 wonderful opportunities to both work with Jeannie's gorgeous pieces and be in excellent company while doing so. Since polymer clay is not really my medium - her pieces always stretched my skills and made me think outside of the box. Thank you, Jeannie, for the opportunity and for your generosity (she's offered her components 100% free of charge!) - I had so much fun with your pieces!

This month I worked with one of her spiny leaves ~ you can see it here and buy it here :)

For a little while I was unsure of what should I make; I hoped to be able to use it as a bracelet focal, but it's not the curvy one, so that idea got scratched quickly. Then I decided simplicity is the word for me right now and this is what happened:

Last summer leaf: ooak necklace, polymer clay, art bead, stone, brass, copper, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

First, I took one of the brass components my mom sent me - it looked very yellow and I knew I will not use brass wire :) luckily for me I just figured out this past weekend that brass is a copper alloy - well, I always knew that, it just sank in my brain suddenly... how do I get the copper to show? A light pass-over with the torch, a quick pickle and I ended up with a very pink element. That wouldn't do either (I knew I was going to use the antique bronze as a wire) - so I brushed it with some LOS and ended up with this beauty:

Last summer leaf: ooak necklace, polymer clay, art bead, stone, brass, copper, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

I really like the patina on it now - and everything is matching perfectly!

I had these irregular cut stones - please don't ask me what they are, as I have no clue whatsoever. It's stone, that's all I can tell you.

Simple links were made and connected together - including with Jeannie's leave:

Last summer leaf: ooak necklace, polymer clay, art bead, stone, brass, copper, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

I hear you - brass would have worked very well, see the gold on the leaf? Yes, I see it - however I refuse to use the brass wire I still have in yards and yards around here :) So antique bronze it is!

A few more views - I really like it :) It's not too heavy, not too light - the chunky stones give the necklace the perfect weight, the leaf gives it the 'aha!' factor, while the brass focal both gives it softness and brings everything together just nicely.

Last summer leaf: ooak necklace, polymer clay, art bead, stone, brass, copper, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

Last summer leaf: ooak necklace, polymer clay, art bead, stone, brass, copper, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

Last summer leaf: ooak necklace, polymer clay, art bead, stone, brass, copper, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

I'll have to find it a name - it's in the 'no name' stage right now :)

Thank you, again, Jeannie - it was a pleasure and my honour to be part of your very exclusive club!

Thank you, my friends & visitors for stopping by!
Please make sure you check what the November group has created with Jeannie's beauties:

Our generous host: Jeannie K Dukic

Alicia Marinache <- you are here
Kristen Stevens
Maureen Connolly

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Focus on Life: Weeks 46 and 47

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.

I am playing a bit of catch here - last week I was too sick to use the computer!

Last week's prompt was 'Reflect' ~ or in Sally's words: The start of the Holiday Season is coming up quickly weather we are ready or not, so before jumping into all the hustle and bustle let's take a moment to slow down and reflect on all the joy, peace, happiness and love we already have in our life!

I am probably taking a unique perspective here:

Remembrance Day: Canadian Veteran ~ All Pretty Things

I still don't know this gentleman's name - but I know he is a veteran (quite obvious). At William's school, 2 years ago, he participated in the Remembrance Day ceremonies (Nov. 11), and he came back last year too. This year we had another lovely veteran participating.

I would like to take this somewhat late moment to remember and be thankful for all the veterans who fought (and still fight) for freedom and democracy. In the western societies (and in North America more than in Europe) is easy to take for granted your freedom. Please don't! There are people suffering this very moment somewhere else... and even for our own freedom there have been countless men and women who gave their lives and who keep the peace today. Take a moment every day to think about them, and to also be grateful for this precious gift: freedom. May you never know what it truly means to wish for it!

My own grandfather fought in WWII and I have a lovely picture of him I like to share every Remembrance Day:
My grandfather, during WWII ~ All Pretty Things

All the joy, peace, happiness and love in my life starts many eons ago - and while I can't recall all my ancestors, I can remember my grandfather and be grateful: for his service, for his life, for his quiet and unassuming ways, and for something as important: the introduction to religion. But that'a another story, maybe one day I'll share it if you're interested :)

That was my unorthodox reflection piece...

For week 47 ~ gaahh... only 5 weeks remaining?! I hope Sally will come up with something as significant and as joyful as this challenge; I'm going to miss the weekly gatherings and the moments of reflection ~ as I was saying, for week 47 the moment of life we are supposed to capture is 'Centerpiece': the most important feature of your day.

That's easy - besides the love of my family (which I captured many times and in many postures), one thing that's absolutely essential and never missing on my desk is:

Focus on life: Centerpiece ~ All Pretty Things

... flowers, of course! Last week I was sick and couldn't do my weekly grocery shopping, I sent hubby with the list. On the list, among milk and other important stuff, he had one item: flowers.

And today, when I entered the store, these lovely tulips greeted me. I couldn't pass them (I tried, believe me!) - flowers have become just another staple of my life. I don't feel well if there is not a patch of colour on my desk every moment... and why should I?

Thank you, Sally, again for a lovely 'hunt' for that special moment in life.

Thank you for visiting today - I hope you'll stay for a moment, and maybe have a chat... and please remember to visit the rest of the group, we have gathered for lovely stories, as usual.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Art Charms for Beads of Courage - Auction ending soon

Art charm (antique bronze, jade, wire wrapping, heart, ooak, Beads of Courage) :: All Pretty Things
Remember the Art Charms Swap?!

You can read all about it right here: Art Charm Swap ~ 2013 edition.

The auctions are coming to an end - lots of them end in the morning, however there will be some lovely charms that can be bought until Saturday & Sunday!

They make lovely Christmas, birthday, graduation, or just-because gifts for the loved ones in your life - and they will help children in need, as 100% of the profits go directly to the Beads of Courage program, to help critically ill children.

If you haven't had a chance - please make sure you check the auction and bid on those beauties.

You can find the auction at this link:

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The woodcutter and the noble trees ~ Aesop's Fable

The real forest :: All Pretty Things
Aesop fables were written eons ago - and they aren't really Aesop's (no more than Grimm's stories are actually invented by the Grimm brothers), just collected by him and many others along the way.

As with lots of old stories - they are virtually 100% true in today's world, true classics.

I like all of them, but for today I chose one that's more and more needed, a reminder of how freedom must be protected, always and every day.

A woodcutter went into the forest and begged the trees to give him a little piece of wood to make a handle for his ax. The biggest trees at once agreed to so modest a request and unhesitatingly gave him a young ash sapling, out of which he made the handle he needed. As soon as he got his tool fixed - of course - the woodcutter went on to cutting the most noble and biggest trees. All the trees got together and realized this is the end of their noble forest... and they couldn't blame anybody but themselves.

The morale: the rights of the smallest must be defended, or even the strongest will eventually suffer!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Therese's birthday ~ the reveal!

Aah... a new reveal this weekend :) a full weekend, it seems.

Remember some while back when Therese sent a group of friends a fused glass cab she made? She asked us to use it in a piece of jewelry - and today it's time to show what we've made!

Her cab arrived and I was simply in love with it: it stayed on my desk for weeks, I touched it every day ~ I am a tactile type of person: the more I touch the materials, the better I get to 'know' them and the easier it gets to work with them.

I thought of finally learning how to make a beaded bezel - but I scratched that idea soon. While I love to see them, it's not a technique that speaks to me - or not yet. I thought of making a bezel from silver (soldering it) - and I had to scratch that idea too... because the studio is not in a usable form and that will take a little bit of time... I couldn't simply glue the bail Therese provided, it seemed seriously cheating that way :) I know - I could have made the necklace myself and that would have been that... neah...

I even thought of using polymer clay for a bezel - the oven temperature would have been too low to damage the glass. I just couldn't envision the end result and like it in my head. If I don't like it in my head, I can't make it.

I don't know about you - but when it comes to cabs those are the only options I know of, besides wire wrapping. So wire wrapping it was. This time I focused on making sure the wraps are perfectly symmetrical and the prongs are as close to perfect as possible. I didn't manage perfection but I was (and still am) very pleased with the result:

Unnamed: ooak pendant, wire wrapping, sterling silver, art bead, glass fused :: All Pretty Things

I must admit it wasn't an easy wrap (although it looks very simple)... but I love it! So much so that it has been on me since I finished it (on a very simply sterling silver chain). I know need a name for it... any takes?

I would like to thank Therese for inviting me to this special event, and for entrusting me with her beautiful cab. I hope I did it justice :)

Thank you for stopping by ~ please check what everybody else created with Therese's cabs! The cabs are all very different but equally beautiful, and I am sure so are the results!

Our host: Therese and Crystie

Alicia <-- you're here

Friday, November 15, 2013

Art Charm Swap ~ 2013 edition - the reveal! (and much more)

Jennifer Cameron is hosting her annual Art Charm Swap - to benefit the Beads of Courage.

Once a year she invites designers to create 11 Art Charms - 10 to swap and 1 to donate for the auction she runs; 100% of the proceeds of the auction go directly to the Beads of Courage, to support children who battle sickness. A worthy cause, for sure.

This year's theme was 'Love' - our job was to create a 1" charm that says 'love'. I know it's a cliche, but for me a heart does it every time! Not very creative, I know, but I simply love a good heart :)

After toying with a few ideas I settled on this one:

Art Charm Swap ~ Love: ooak charm, antique bronze, jade, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

Of course I ended up with a wire-wrapped heart! Asymmetrical, made of antique bronze, with a sparkle of colour in a small jade charm. A charm in a charm :) They are all unique in their own way, exactly like love is: cheerful, and happy, and colourful, and never the same!

Art Charm Swap ~ Love: ooak charm, antique bronze, jade, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

This year I managed to package them properly (just because I got better at finishing the task *in time*, even *ahead* of time!), I was sorry to get each in their little bag, they looked so much better like this, together :)

Art Charm Swap ~ Love: ooak charm, antique bronze, jade, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

Art Charm Swap ~ Love: ooak charm, antique bronze, jade, wire wrapping :: All Pretty Things

And ready to go out - bye-bye, little ones! I know you'll be in good hands!

Once they were in the mail - the game of waiting started. Man, that's a hard one! You wait, you hope your package arrives safely. It arrived - hooray! Then you wait until *all* packages arrive safely.... Then Jennifer takes on the humongous task of sorting and mixing them up, so everybody gets 9 + their own charm back. Then she's done, she sends packages out... and that's where it becomes painful...

Mostly everybody in the group is from US - except a few Canadians and a few International ladies. Jen sends out packages at the same time. And you watch them arriving to everybody else... and you know in Canada they get at least a week later... and you're just so out of your mind with curiosity.

But then the day when you hold your own package is here and... OMG

Art Charm Swap ~ Love: ooak charms :: All Pretty Things

Look at my beauties!! Ain't I a lucky one?! They are all so adorable and they've been made with love by Lennis (the balloon), Mallory (the city, it has a heart on the opposite side), Karin (the beaded coppery bead, with a heart charm), Shelley (the pink beaded heart with a pearl charm), Terri (the celtic heart in the copper ring), Vanessa (the lovely chirp), Susan (the pink shell - she'll have some story about her charms, make sure you check it), Nancy (the beaded blue flower), and Perri (the silver rose bud).

I'm not going to single any of the charms: I simply love all of them, and since I haven't use the ones from last year yet I think a whimsy charm bracelet or necklace will be in plans soon. That should be something :)

Now about the auction: as I mentioned already the auction's proceeds will go entirely to the Beads of Courage program, which assists seriously ill children in many countries. Think about it: with one purchase you get yourself a gorgeous charm and you put a smile on a kid's face... a kid who battles serious sickness...

You can find the auction at this link:

Please check it and bid on the lovely charms! 

If you'd like to learn more about the charms, please visit all the participants' pages below. 
Thank you for visiting today! Thank you for checking the eBay auction! 

And thank you Jen for the huge amount of work and dedication she puts in this event. 

Jen Cameron:
Toltec Jewels:
Vanessa Gilkes:
Caroline Dewison:
Lesley Watt:
Susan Kennedy:
Nancy Dale :
Alicia Marinache:
Cassi Paslick:
Alenka Obid:
Renetha Stanziano:
Shelley Graham Turner:
Monique Urquhart:
Shai Williams:
Lennis Carter:
Cheri Reed:
Moriah Betterly:
Perri Jackson:
Mallory Hoffman:
Ginger Bishop:
Jean Peter:
Linda Florian:
Patricia Pulliam:
Karin Grosset Grange:
Julie Bowen:
Susan Delaney:
Emma Todd:
Carolyn Chenault :
Terri Del Signore:
Cory Tompkins:
Cheryl (Lee) Koopman:
Lori Bowring Michaud:
Andrea Glick:
 Jacqueline Carlson:
Michelle McCarthy:
Charlene Bausinger Jacka:
Kristi Bowman:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Focus on Life ~ Week 45

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 week I'm a tad late to the party, for unknown reasons (I had the pictures all along... just didn't get to publishing them).

The theme was 'Industrial photography' and I must admit I was a bit stumped at first. I don't like industrial anything; long story - enough to say that where I'm coming from they (the communists) destroyed a perfectly lovely agricultural country to transform it (based on the Marx's and Engels' Manifesto - read it one day, you'll be surprised) in an industrial one.

On Tuesday last week, as I was leaving the fitness studio my eyes fell on the neighbour's backyard. The neighbour is an auto service place... and in the backyard?! This:

Industrial Photography :: All Pretty Things

Then I remembered about our Thanksgiving trip and the turn-of-last-century engines:

Industrial Photography :: All Pretty Things

That too should speak about industrial, as it's really from the beginning of the industrial 'revolution'... a working 'relic' :)

Please make sure you check everybody else's take on this week's theme:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Echo Creative Club - November

And it's here: my last participation in Jeannie's Echo Creative Club. I am quite sad - she's changing the format for next year and I slept on the idea for too long, until there was no more room left. Maybe in 2015 :)

Anyhow, brooding aside, this is the last charm I have from Jeannie:

... a beautiful blue leaf... double wholes, a connector of some sort... inspiration is not here yet, but it'll come, as it always had with her pieces!

Please come back on the 25th for the reveal and to see what everybody else had created!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Handcrafted Ornament Swap & Hop ~ 3rd edition

Not very long ago Sally posted a note about the 3rd Annual Handcrafted Ornament Swap & Hop event and I had to participate. All her events are fantastic, and this one will be the same, I am sure (I haven't participated before, but I have tons of faith :) )

I was paired with lovely Canadian, fellow Ontarian, and very talented Lori Finney of Using my Beads.

She's not only an avid beader, she is using her talents to raise fund for the National Inclusion Project, whose mission is to "serve to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them". A beautiful cause, for sure!

The Swap will take place soon ~ Lori, not being the procraftinator I am, has almost everything ready; I, on the other hand... well, that's another story :) The blog hop is scheduled for December 14th and I am soooo looking forward to it!

I hope you'll stop by again in December, for a nice Christmas party!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 44 ~ Saints, Souls, Sugar Skulls and Scares

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.

Being the Halloween week she asked us to look for the 'Saints, Souls, Sugar Skulls and Scares'.

Halloween is one of the few holidays I don't care much for. It's not in our culture, but that's not it - we don't have Thanksgiving either and we embraced Thanksgiving the moment we arrived in Canada (we had Turkey and pumpkin pie the very first year!). For me - it symbolizes the dark side and I don't like it. In my perfect ideal world (the one we all create in our heads) I wouldn't have to do anything for it - and we didn't (other than giving treats to kids and carving pumpkins) until William was about 2 years old... He started school that year and I didn't know they are supposed to be in costumes on Halloween day, so I sent him in his uniform, then I went to work. About 1 hour (by train) away (plus bus rides in the city)... only to receive a call at noon from my own child, when he arrived home with a sweet request:

~ Mommy, I want to go trick-or-treating tonight!

Err... sure... Dressed as?! It's Halloween day and I'm in downtown Toronto - I checked all the stores and none had any costumes left... Now what?!

Growing up in a society where pretty much everything was missing I gained a very useful skill, one my mom calls it "to make a whip out of sh*t, and to have it crack too!" (pardon my English, that's the expression!). On my way home I stopped at the drug mart and bought a yellow vinyl rain coat. At home - I put the coat on the child, add the red rain boots, a red and yellow sand pail, and the red firefighter helmet we got just a couple of weeks before at the Firefighter Open House. Ta-daa: I had a very cute firefighter on my hands and we had the best time trick-or-treating.

That being said, I bought his costume every year after :) But the tradition was created - the child is looking forward to that special night of the year when he can get tons of candy and have fun with his friends. And I still don't like it, I don't decorate the house for it, but we carve the pumpkins and let daddy to give out candy!

Long story, eh?! This just to show you our pumpkins, in fact (and explain why there are no Saints, Souls, Skulls, or Scares here, sorry!):

  • The child's creation - wait! I have a skull! 

Scary skull - pumpkin carving for Halloween :: All Pretty Things

  • mom's Tinker Bell - the child was adamant he won't have this one out! We solved the issue quickly: you got 2 pumpkins, now mind your own business :) Apparently he's going to be embarrassed by people thinking a little girl lives here. 

Tinker Bell - pumpkin carving for Halloween :: All Pretty Things

  •  Of course, William's: a scary spider (scary again :) )

Scary Spider - pumpkin carving for Halloween :: All Pretty Things

  •  You guessed it, mine :) 

Happy Face - pumpkin carving for Halloween :: All Pretty Things

  •  All 4 waiting for the night to arrive :) 

Pumpkin carving for Halloween :: All Pretty Things

That's my take on Halloween this year - I hope you had a nice one (just keep off that chocolate now!)

Please make sure you visit everyone below - it promises to be a neat Halloween parade!

Art Charm swap ~ teaser

Back in September the wonderful Jennifer of Glass Addictions organized the Art Charm Swap for Bead Courage. I participated last year and I couldn't pass it this year, of course!

Jenn just posted her teaser - you can read about it here: Glass Addictions - Charms!

And I couldn't resist to post mine:

Art Charm for Bead Courage :: All Pretty Things

Oh, yes, of course you'll have to wait for Nov. 15th for the actual reveal! Can you imagine: there are 38 artists all designing different charms?!

Thank you, Jenn, for the humongous task of sorting and packing 500 charms (five hundred!).

The theme this year has been 'Love' - this will make the charms perfect for a special birthday gift, graduation, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, Christmas and practically for any gift!

How can you get these special charms? Come back on November 15th and learn all about the auction - it benefits 100% the Beads of Courage organization!