Saturday 26 February 2011

It's PARTY-TIME!!!!!!!!!

Bead Soup Blog Party = an amazing and fun worldwide jewellery event
210 = the amount of people participating
Lori Andersson = amazing lady who arranged it all and put so much work into it. Big applause!!!!!!
Anita Denisova = my lovely party partner from Rome, Italy. Originally from Russia.
Huge creative block = what I have been going through during the last few weeks.

Here is a previous post of mine, where you can see and read about what Anita sent me, and what I sent to her.

At last I feel like I can present this. Honestly I've been going through a very tough time trying to put together something that I feel will do the components that Anita sent to me justice. I must have tried at least 20, if not 30, different concepts for a piece. And I never felt pleased with any of them. But here we are now. A necklace I have named iPodYou. Anita's lovely big handmade felted pod and the two little love birds kind of gave away the name.

All the other 209 party participants you will find here, at the bottom of Lori Anderson's post (our hostess) :

All my best,

Bead Soup Blog Party

Now it is revealed. Check here! Or click the header to get to my latest post.

Hi there,
I've been slightly delayed with my reveal. Please check back in a few hours to see what I did. Sorry for the inconvenience!

In the meantime, why don't you go and check the other participants out. All the links below. Welcome back!

Here is the list with all the the links.

Friday 25 February 2011

Awesome Blog Award

Pam of IndianCreekStudios, and also one of the members of BeadsOfClay, has given me the Awesome Blog Award! Thank you so much Pam. What a treat! And what a perfect way for me to spend this night writing this instead of putting my final hand on my Bead Soup Party necklace like I really should be doing ...

In return I am supposed to tell you 7 things about me, that you do not already know. I have really tried to come up with some previously unknown facts here. Things I don't think I have ever mentioned on my blog before. So maybe they are not the most obvious things I would mention in a first time conversation. Here we go:
  1. I am a big fan of the comic/cartoon albums of Asterix. Nowadays I read them loud to my children. And we laugh, oh we giggle and wiggle and ... Such clever and great sense of humour.
  2. I do not have a driver's license. "WHAT!?!" Yes it's true, I don't. Never needed one, until I was about 40. Started taking lessons, then I got my MS diagnosis and the whole thing was called off. Now I couldn't drive anyway, so ...
  3. I am good with and enjoy math's type subjects, and I like to read books about science just for the fun of it, like for instance Stephen Hawkings "A Brief History of Time". I've read quite a few of that kind in my life.
  4. My grandfather was an inventor.
  5. I sing really bad, although I love music, and can't help singing along. I wasn't even allowed in the church choir as a girl.
  6. The MS has caused "black holes" in my brain. You can see them on the MRI pictures. These areas no longer have any activity in them. Which you would clearly notice if you would spend some time with me. Like for instance my short term memory has become super bad. And also my short term memory has become super bad ...
  7. I have a 7 year older brother who's name is Magnus. He is great! And I love him!

Now it is my turn to pass this on to 15 blogs that I really like. I will try not to pick folks who have already won this award, (but perhaps some will anyway). Here they are in a totally random order:

Wednesday 23 February 2011

SneakPeek BSBP-BeadSoupBlogParty And BTW-BeadTableWednesday

On Saturday the Bead Soup Blog Party is on. I'm still in the middle of putting my piece together. It's been really tough on me this one. I've struggled with finding a design that I am pleased with. And I really hope this one will come out good and nice looking in the end. Here is a little sneak peek anyway. Only half done ...

Marcie Abner of LaBellaJoya has designed a great looking bracelet with Tila beads. I wrote about it before here on my blog.
I bought the tutorial and some beads that arrived on monday. Unfortunately I had miscalculated the amounts, so I didn't have enough beads of one colour for one bracelet. Being really keen on having a go anyway, I came up with this "every other colour" solution.
And went and ordered more Tila beads last night. Larger amounts and more colours.

If you haven't been to Marcie's blog yet I strongly recommend it. Lots of inspiration there.

Hope to see you again on Saturday!

Thursday 17 February 2011

The most amazing giveaway!

How much do I wish to be the winner of Andrew Thornton's Giveaway this week?
Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much!

A group of absolutely gorgeous and brand new pieces from Green Girl Studios!

They must have heard my call for elephant components a couple of months ago. Love it all! Such a generous giveaway!

Wednesday 16 February 2011

BeadTableWednesday and Philosophising about creativity and skill

I am going through a really bad patch lately, when it comes to designing and making jewelry. It started a week or so ago. I had laid out this design for a necklace, that I am very happy with. But when I am going to assemble it I get stuck on tiny details. Either I don't have a clear idea of HOW that particular part shall connect with the next. Or I just don't manage to make it look good. So I take apart and try again, and take apart and try again. When I've been doing that for two or three days I put it all away coz I only get stressed when handling the parts, and my hands get all sweaty and such things, so I don't work well anyway. What a shame it is, coz I believe it will look great if I only get it to look the way I want it too. I have kind of promised people to show it ready also, as a reply to the positive comments I got on flickr and on my blog post. I feel I let you down. So sorry about that!

OK, so I started on something else instead. This Month's ABS challenge. Oh, I have some beads and parts that are so perfect for this. I was gonna make a bracelet. A really nice one. But it just wouldn't work out for me that one either. I tried for three days. Same story as with the necklace above. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh! Now it is just a pile of beads and components. And I DON'T want to give up. I keep coming back looking at the parts, fiddling with them, trying different possibilities. But na, I am not convinced yet. So back to the good old soup state again. And that's where we are standing now.

On the good side though - I did make these earrings and posted them to the flickr group. They turned out nice I think. So hurray for them! They are for sale in my Etsy shop. They sit very nicely on, I wore them all Sunday, and hardly noticed them during the whole day.

Then there is also the Bead Soup Blog Party. I don't know what to make with the parts I got from Anita. They are all lovely and beautiful, don't misunderstand me. And I can see them in many different kinds of jewelry looking really good. Made by other people. But you see, I want to make my own kind, my own style. So last night I was laying out at least ten different concepts for designs of different pieces. I wasn't pleased with any of them. They would work, shurely, and I would get away with showing them. But I wish for something extra. Not just "good" or "nice". But "WOW" and "awesome". You know what I mean!?!

I do know from my previous artistic careers that this patch I am going through is a clear sign of that I am just about to take a leap in my performance level. An art teacher explained it to me once like this:

Picture some stairs. See yourself, your skill and ability moving up those stairs. When you have reached a new step on those stairs you feel great and excited and in flow. But then slowly you are moving forward on that step in order to get closer to the next one to climb. The closer you get, the more and more you get a glimpse of what is awaiting you. You can see what you COULD achieve, but you are not yet there. At a certain stage in that process of moving forward you are not any longer satisfied by what you already know, but ONLY see what's there on the next step. This is when the big frustration strikes. "So really", my teacher said, "you thinking that you suck at what you do, is a sign of you having developed, and that you know where you want to go." "You are just about to move up onto that next step."

I have carried this picture with me for many years, coz it works for me. And right now I am standing right there by the wall of the next step again. Oh, it is so tough and difficult to actually push myself over. I am STUCK basically. So what I have often done in the past when I am standing here, is to decide to do the opposite of what I believe is good. The opposite of the familiar and known. Coz really, when you think about it, it is what you already know and can that you are NOT satisfied with. You want something more, something new, something fresh and exciting. How to access that, unless you try something completely unfamiliar. You have to not care about the end result when you have your first go. But you have to complete the idea, the attempt to the end.

Alright then! I guess that is what I will be doing for the following days, or weeks. And this time I shall push myself to show the results swell, not judging myself before. All the way!

Now just please give me a BIG KICK IN THE ASS for my coming journey!
Thank you!

Friday 11 February 2011

So who won then?

Ok I admit it, my last "competetion" wasn't the most cleverly arranged one. I guess I acted before I thought. It seemed like a fun idea at the time.
Anyway, it ended up a draw. Between Rebecca Andersson and Erin Prais-Hintz. Read my comments on my last post to know how I thought. Erin and Rebecca, please contact me with your addresses so I can send you a little something surprise.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend! I'm gonna meet my wonderful 15 year old god-daughter tomorrow, and on Sunday me and my family are going to a party, and I hope to go by the library also (Conrad needs books, he reads like crazy and is constantly out of books although he borrows from the school library aswell), and to the crafts shop to buy some stuff. Been thinking I shall try crocheting with rags, and myself do those bowls I blogged about a couple of days ago. And I thought I would do this with my children aswell. We would use old clothes, sheets and other fabrics and cut rags from them, have looked at a lot of tutorials.

I also plan to finish off two jewellery pieces I have been working on but which I keep running into obstacles with. It's made me rather upset that I am so unskilled and still unexperienced about clever ways of assembling jewellery in some ways. It is like I have to invent the wheel again. I can get a bit tired of myself. No standard solutions. No special it has to be. "It MUST look like that". "Must NOT be a gap there". "That thing HAS TO sit in front of that one". Or "These three strands has to come together here, and then this bead shall sit right next to them without it looking clumpsy." First I decide what I want it to look like. Then I have to solve how I shall do it. Wish me good luck on that please! (Honestly I was crying earlier today about my failure-ing. PMS might have had something to do with it, but anyway ... )

Again have a lovely weekend,

Wednesday 9 February 2011

BTW - and a chance to win something

I love to have a large and rich stash of beads and supplements to pick from. The one-holed button by Tracee Dock of ClassicElements and ClassicBeads has such a wonderful colour scheme. And I want to pick up its nuances in the parts around it. The yellowish tint in the ring around the hole was a difficult one. But look at that deer leather ribbon. Smooth and kind of matte in it's structure and so perfect in its colour. It doesn't show too well in this photograph though. The softness is needed with all the chain. I love how the colours and different parts are coming together in this necklace. And the clasp will be a new solution kind of experiment by me. I hope it will work out the way I intend it to. We'll see tomorrow when I will hopefully assemble it all.
This is the rest of my table. Really it is supposed to be a free and empty area for me to easily start working on any idea I get. I know only too well how familiar this looks to so many of you. On the good side at least is that it is not totally messy this time, it's just totally cramped.

There are quite a few art beads there, aren't it. So which art bead makers beads can you identify on my table today? Most correct answers will win something! Write a comment with the names and which beads you mean, and if you are not yet a follower, please become one. Drawing on Friday 21.00 Swedish time (that is 15.00 US eastern time), when I will present the winner and the prize.

All my best, and now I'm off to see Sherlock Holmes with Mark, my husband. The one with Robert Downing Jr, which he rented on DVD today.

Wishful #15

For my studio I would like a group of this style of crocheted rag bowls and baskets in various sizes and shapes. To keep pens, tools, and bits and bobs that I need handy on the table top. I like the ones in pale/worn colours, like this one by HippieChicDesigns.

But then again I just can't resist this one by TheKeepersHouse. Very yummy colours. To be hung on the wall.

Something for jewellery making. A beatiful chain from SunAndMoonCraftKits.

I don't think I have ever followed an instruction to the letter. Basically I never follow instructions, full stop (whatever that says about me?). But LOOOK at this bracelet by Marcie at La Bella Joya. I HAVE to make it. So soon I will get my first Tila beads, which I've been so keen on ever since they where first launched. I will choose other colours, but apart from that I will follow her Tutorial exactly. Gotta get that one too of course.

Mmmm, time for coffee.

Monday 7 February 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party - what I recieved and what I sent

My Bead Soup Blog Party Partner is Anita Creazioni. I already wrote about her here. Now we have recieved each others soups, so I thought I'd show you what we sent to each other.

For Anita I wanted to create a soup with a rustic and whimsical feeling. Simply because I thought that is basically the only style I haven't seen from her so far (Anita is very skilled at whatever she does craft wise it seems). I believe that must have been kind of Lori's intention when she matched us. And she did it well, coz that is what a lot of my stash consists of. Rustic and whimsical.
I started the soup with two artisan components. The Barn Owl in polymer clay from Heather Powers of HumbleBeads and the Green Color Drenched Clasp from Shannon LeVart of MissFickleMedia.

Those of you who know me well have noticed that I keep mentioning these two bead artists over and over again here on my blog. In fact I just yesterday decided I shall write a post on its own about my love for their beads and components, and how important they have grown to be for my jewellery making. Expect it to turn up within the nearest two weeks or so.
Then I added green rustic glass beads matching the clasp in colour, and wooden beads, three bigger worn ones and a few smaller darker heishi shaped ones. Two Ocean Jasper irregular beads matching the owl in colour. A few greyish peacock coin shaped pearls. Components in Brass, a chain, some square profiled wire, etched jumprings, ear hooks from Vintaj, and some more things. Mr Owl also might need some softness, for a possibility to make it all cosy for himself. So I added a few strands "messy" fibers/yarns. And finally I put in two feathers from a pheasant.

From Anitas soup to me I first noticed the handfelted podlike beads/links. She made them herself especially for me. Wow! I love them! I have never worked with felted beads before.
But hey, then look at this large carved leaf in MOP. I can't belive how pefect it is. So utterly well made, carved from a really thick and beautiful piece of shell. Anita also added some more MOP beads, a bag each of the orange and yellowy seed beads she used on the big felted bead, and a golden toggle clasp.
And just look at that postcard of an Italian cat strolling casually on a street in Rome. Adds a perfect Italian atmosphere to the whole group of beads.

I think Anita has managed to give me a good and tempting challenge with her soup. I still don't have a clear vision of what I will make from her ingridients, I believe I will allow my ideas to simmer for a few more days before I make up my mind.
All my best,
Ciao for now,

Sunday 6 February 2011

A little bit of Swedish history that relates to the USA

During the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century about 1.3 million Swedes emigrated to the USA. Main reasons being poverty, bad crops here in Sweden and just generally the American Dream of the Promised Land.

An excellent source to learn more about this is to read the novel suite The Emigrants by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg, which he wrote between 1949 and 1959. (The Emigrants, Unto a Good Land, The Settlers, The Last Letter Home). These books are considered to be among the best pieces of Swedish literature. And I do recommend them strongly.

In the 1970's two films were made based on the book suite. The Emigrants and The New Land. These films I also highly recommend. They were shown on Swedish TV when I was a child, around 7 to 9 years old, and I still have very vivid memories from them. Max von Sydow and Liv Ullman plays the two leading roles.

In the 1990's the two former ABBA members Björn Ulveus and Benny Andersson did a musical based on the story, Kristina from Duvemåla. The music clip from YouTube is from a performance by the female lead singer Helene Sjöholm, singing the main theme, where she is doubting God's existance. I get goose pimps!

My grandmother's older brother Harald Lignell emigrated in the 1920's. And I know I have a whole family of relatives from his descendants living in the US today. My cousin Eva went there and saw them some 20-30 years ago. I remember her showing photos of the amazing house they lived in. As I remember it, it was a round house looking almost like a spaceship that had landed in the desert. There was a small group of these houses built as I remember it on the outskirts of Phoenix Arizona. I think I must contact her soon to get the facts right. It would be very much fun if anyone would happen to know what I am talking about though. Those houses are apparently famous. My maiden name was Nordstrom (or Nordstroem, depending on how you choose to spell it). And isn't there a big and nice ware house called Nordstrom's in Chicago and around that area. I don't know if the founder was a relative of mine, but I can always fantasize, can't I.

Hej då!
Vi ses snart igen!

New jewellery pieces

Pastel Passion - Bracelet. Romantic, girly and casual at the same time. Packed with Art beads. Gaea and Elaine Ray. Please go to the Etsy listing to read more details! I am very happy with this one. It is the second one I'm doing now in what I believe will become a series of bracelets made with beads stung on waxed linen cord just like this one, and wrapped two laps around the wrist. The first one I am just restringing, coz it turned out a bit awkward at the last bit.

Claire - Necklace with polymer clay beads by Claire Maunsell of StillPointWorks. It is loooooong.
Hi there, wearing it makes me so happy!

All my best,

Tuesday 1 February 2011

Bead Table Tuesday + Face Down Tuesday

I told you in the comments of yesterday's post that I last night had started on a necklace with Claire Maunsell's (StillPointWorks) polymer clay beads. Here it is, still under construction. The wonderful chain in oxidized brass I got from Birgitta Lejonklou. There is also black matte glass rounds. It will end up a looong necklace without a clasp.

Face-Down Tuesday with me and my daughter Arabella. I have a temperature ... again :-( so what you see is me using the ear-thermometer. It wasn't all that easy using it face down to be honest. 38,4° Celsius on that particular meassurement.

Arabella wanted to join in with her cuddly toys Iananan (the teddy) and Lisa (the sheep).
The story behind Iananan's somewhat odd name is that when Conrad was born he and we got many cuddly toys, so to help us keep track of who had given which teddy we named each one after the giver. That really big teddy was given by Ian, Marks step brother in England, when Conrad was about one years old. But Conrad just couldn't manage to say his name properly ... So that's the name that stuck in the end.