Friday, July 31, 2009


Just to give you an idea of where we are headed - I've drawn a circle where we will be camping. This is about halfway between Livorno and Piombino (both harbour towns, where you can board a ferry to go to the island of Elba, for example. Piombino is more of an industrial harbour, so - not very pretty) on the coast. This beach is perfect from my point of view. It faces westward, so we can enjoy the sunset. It has sand and dunes, but also lots of pebbles (I get bored with a beach that has only sand...), some sea shells (not in great abundance, so it is a treat to find them) and sometimes, if I am lucky, beach glass. And not to forget the driftwood! The Mediterranean Ocean provides waves and an everchanging colour palette of the water. The camp site is situated in an area of pine forest and macchia, so there are bushes between most of the individual camp sites and there is shade provided by the pine trees, not to mention how they perfume the air! Although, sometimes the squirrels throw those huge pine cones on the cars. The camp site has the necessary commodities and a little snack bar/restaurant and grocery shop and there are also several restaurants in walking distance in the beach town, so you can really relax.

On the other hand, there are all those wonderful medieval mountain towns and the larger, well known cities, such as Siena and Florence, to visit, if so inclined. The first time I visited Florence, I discovered a very unusual shop called Bizarri (the name of the original owner), which looked like it belonged somewhere back in time. It was dusty and extremely old fashioned, with dark wooden wall to wall shelving, similar to old apothecaries. It had the appearance of an alchemist's shop, and actually, it was one, because they sold all sorts of chemicals and strange substances. I bought some sanguine de draco, which translates: dragon's blood!

I love to listen to the cicadas... There are plenty of beautiful lizards to watch. I just sooo love it there! Not far from our camp site, there is a beautiful country road, leading up to a tiny village, which is lined on either side with huge cypress trees.

Well, you get the idea - I am very enthusiastic about Tuscany. I will be taking my trusty camera, so that I can show you some highlights afterwards.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another kitty in the window box, and butterflies

Must be a great place to take a nap... if you don't mind your feet sticking out like that! Kiki doesn't seem to mind.

The secret life of butterflies

I haven't the faintest idea what kind of butterfly this caterpillar will turn into - but doesn't he look interesting? Although those bristles on his back make me think of a toothbrush...

In other news - I am frantically trying to get organized for our vacation! We are going to Tuscany/Italy and will be camping for a few days, driving down in our VW bus. Going to our favorite beach, where I will spend much of my time collecting pebbles, and rare finds of sea shells and beach glass.
We will be leaving on Sunday.

Another butterfly shot

Just had to share this photo! This is a rare shot with the body, the antenna and the tongue of the butterfly in focus (well, almost) and the wings are just a blur of movement.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

more Sunday flea market treasures

Most of you know me well enough by now to know that on most Sundays, I am off to the flea market treasure hunting. Today was no exception. The weather was lovely, sun was shining, not too hot... and I did unearth some treasures!

Lots of mother of pearl buttons; see those little tiny ones; and some lace (or is it tatting?)

I found some vintage bling also! Some rhinestone buttons, a very vintage rhinestone buckle, some watch parts and a lovely brooch of carved bone, with a religous image I will have to research.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dressmaker's Mannequin reloaded

You will remember, last Sunday I was gifted with this lovely dressmaker's mannequin...

Well, she has a name now - may I introduce you to Miranda! Pattie advised me that this was crucial to the way our relationship would develop - and since Max found her, he was asked to pick her name. Miranda means "admirable" and I think she is quite happy with it.

She has been going through some slight modifactions, so that she will feel more at home with us. I treated her to a paint job; giving her wooden parts a light green colour with a slightly shabby finish.

Then I sewed a new "dress" for her, out of an old sack I found at the flea market years ago, to give her some shabby chic.

The best part of this - the other side of the sack is covered in faded old printing!!

From a Canadian company, Golden Link, this sack was used for some kind of hard wheat product and was obviously shipped to Rotterdam. I think this gives her that something extra! Miranda seems to like it.
Now my Modelling Assistant is ready to go to work...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday flea market - jackpot!!!

We went to the flea market this morning, but to a flea market in Regensburg, a universitiy city on the shores of the Danube. We don't usually go there, it's a bit further away. While I was oooowing and aaaawing over the first stand, which happened to be a Czech guy with lots of old rhinestones and jewellery pieces and ... you get the idea; my sweet husband disappeared. Well, I thought he just wandered off, because I was being boring, you know? Unbeknownst to me, he had actually already made the find of the day and secretly carried it off to the car. This is what he presented to me when we got home:

dressmaker's mannequin
Squeal! I have been wanting one of these for soooo long! Dancing around, jumping up and down! I have the best husband ever!!!!

I did buy a couple of pieces from the Czech guy, although not as many as I would have liked. His prices were just out of this world! But there were a few things I couldn't pass up - see those rhinestone beads and the necklace clasps? I also found some mother of pearl buttons, a brass casting of a bird motive, some old clothes pins and an old small brush.

These are also from the Czech Republic, glass beads for Christmas ornaments. These are like mercury beads, very thin. I have to get started making Christmas decorations soon...

These are some of my purchases from the trade show - brass beads. I think those big ones look like pebbles, aren't they cool?

I also found a manufacturer for copper beads, chain and head pins. They also make them in silver plated and gold plated.

These are some of the semiprecious beads (jasper, carnelian, onyx, amazonite, hemimorphite) and freshwater pearls I bought. Yum!

All in all, that was quite a haul and now I have lots to feed my inspiration!!
Hoping you are having a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bead teaser

I am so completely bushed! I was at a trade show today, which also has a jewellery and bead show integrated. That part is only one exhibition hall (there are another 7), but it took me all day to get through it, 8 hours - and I did not go into every stand, believe me! My feet hurt and my back aches. It has been raining all day, and I don't mean a little drizzle; the temperatures are at about 14°C (57F) and the highway was clogged and sluggish. But I did buy some lovely stuff! Although I didn't get everything I actually wanted. The photo is just a teaser. When I get some decent light, I will be able to take better pictures to share.

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today is summer

It is warm today! Well actually, it is hot and most of all, humid. We will have rain again tomorrow and on Saturday the temperature will drop to a high (!) of 15°C (thats 59°F). I kid you not!
So, in celebration of summer (today), I give you butterflies!

Isn't this little guy cute?

This guy did not want to show me his wing spread. I took about 25 pictures and most of them were blurry.


A little tattered and torn...

Oops! Not a butterfly! But working hard to get at that nectar!

These are sooo beautiful! Wings are deep dark brown on the outside and look like bark.

Is this one a butterfly? or a faery?...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some more earrings

My cold snuck up behind me and jumped me again! Nasty thing! I'm going to go somewhere where I can feel miserable and just leave you some earrings to look at!

Silver Poppy Earrings

Moth's Bellflower Earrings

Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Butterflies - or are they faeries?

Although the weather does not really seem like summer (today we will have a high of 19°C, if we are lucky), the butterflies are dancing in the air and visiting what blooms there are.

Trying to concentrate on the summer, even if I can't seem to find it outside, I made some summer inspired earrings.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why I have no flowers in my window boxes

Casanova in a window box

Captain in a window box

Kiki, also in a window box

Captain says: get the paparazzi out of here

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Just two finished pieces

Silver Poppy Necklace

A silver poppy flower combined with peridot beads. A simple sort of necklace for everyday wear.

Moth - A Midsummer Nights Dream inspired Necklace

The centerpiece for this necklace is a flea market found treasure, which seemed predestined to depict Moth. I am not sure what material it is, but I think silver is a fair guess. I picked up several pieces from one dealer that looked like they came from a goldsmith's workshop, including silver solder; so I think I am guessing on the safe side. Someone put a lot of work into sawing out this intricate pattern! I have filled the spaces with amethyst coloured resin and just a bit of sparkle, to create the look of plique-à-jour enamel, which was very popular during the Art Nouveau period.

Moth Necklace Detail

I wire wrapped some leaflike antenna to the top, similar in shape to the antennae of moths and completed it with amethyst beads and vintage freshwater pearls, including an amethyst and pearl dangle.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July weekend over there!

Introducing Bigfoot. Will you look at that swollen paw? Honest, it is about double the size of the other! I took him to the vet's yesterday, but the doc says we have to wait for this to break open. We have already tried everything else we can. He has something in his paw, has had for quite some time, a thorn or who knows what. And it keeps causing an infection, but we need to get whatever it is out. But the doc doesn't want to cut him open, for fear of damaging nerves or sinews. So, all I can do is hope... Captain doesn't let it bother him too much - he is outside all day, catching mice and other things; getting in cat fights and just enjoying himself.

I am a bit under the weather myself. My husband likes to share everything with me - this week, it was his cold! Thank you, dearest!

Please don't forget to go over to Objects and Elements and vote for your favorite clasp!

Pardon me, sniffle, I have to go and make some more hot lemonade...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

a new addiction and a reader challenge at Objects and Elements

I think I have a new addiction! Fibers...

exotic art yarns bundle - violets

These are the most lovely fibers - so soft and such beautiful colours. I got them from Grace at Larkspur Funny Farm. She is such a wonderful lady, so helpful and kind! She will go out of her way to make you happy. She just put together a bundle of art yarns in greens for me!

silk rods "our iris garden"

Grace also has these beautiful silk rods in all kinds of ravishing colours!! This is where the silk rod in my Peaseblossom's Necklace is from!
She offers a wonderful selection of fibers from her own farm; mohair, alpaca, merino, cashmere, silks. Just the selection sounds luscious! Check her out, I'm sure you won't be disappointed!

copper heart toggle

This is my entry in the Objects and Elements reader challenge Get Closure: Show Us Your Clasps! If you haven't visited yet, be sure to go over there - a fantastic blog and a great shop with all kinds of mixed media jewellery supplies and not to mention full of inspiration. Everyone who has stopped in here from time to time knows that I am a great fan of Deryn Mentock. Well, she is on the Objects and Elements Design Team!! Of course, the other ladies are also extremely talented and full of inspiration. Today is the last day to enter the challenge and voting will commence on the weekend. Please pop over and give your vote to one of the entries!!!!