Sunday, December 19, 2010

My first "accidental" gemstone piece

That day I went downtown with my friend who was shopping for mandarin ducks and gemstones. Needles to say, few beautiful little stones caught my eye and I've returned home with two pieces of citrine and a piece of jasper. I left them by my computer intending to add them later in my beloved gemstone jar on my desk.
I was reading some blogs, looking what's new on Facebook, posting a text on jasper for my friend Ana who owns a jasper doughnut but didn't know which stone that was, then I was looking on my ongoing beading project in front of the monitor, than started to look at one of the citrines I bought.
It was so nice and cute an little, and it sure tickled my imagination... and I remembered a piece of copper wire I had somewhere within my compartment boxes AND a piece of brown leather that I never knew with what to use (I'm not so keen on brown colour lately). And so I started to work with a little crystal and the copper wire. Oh, I just love the colour of the copper (despite the fact that some people would call it brown).
The outcome is this lovely pendant on a leather string. I simply love it!
The only thing I'm worried about is weather this way of wrapping a gemstone in a wire would affect somehow its energies and make it "feel" trapped... But I don't know much about these things, and I'm looking only at the visual result.
I surely hope that someone who will wear it in the future, whoever that might be, will look at it and love it as much as I do.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Summer decoupage

Decoupage is one of my favourite crafts, but somehow it seems that I'm doing everything else more than decoupage. The thing is, I prefer not to work with paints and glues and lacquers inside when I can't keep the room well aired because of the cold weather. Moreover, since I don't have a designated working space, a room just for this, I have to think what kind of air am I going to inhale while sleeping or doing other things.
Anyway, when the finer weather came, I got reminded of my dear decoupage by a full rack of supplies in a supermarket in Ljubljana (Slovenia) where I was on business at the time. I bought quite an amount of supplies: beautiful tissues, an unfamiliar but (as it turned out) very good brand of glue/varnish, many cool wooden items to work on. This caused an instant swarm of ideas how to use all these great things, so I got my equipment out in the garden and let myself enjoy the work and its latter rewards!
The first thing I worked on was this cool wooden vase. I was in a very good and positive mood at the time, and working outside, I decided to go with flowery designs to celebrate the beauty of nature and the summertime. The size of the vase was just perfect and has made the work fast and easy.

The second project was a very small wooden box that I loved very much for its size and shape. I decided to decorate not only the outside of the box but also its inside, influenced by the works of my aunt Marina who creates the most amazing decoupaged cardboard boxes under her brand name Mashtaria (see her works on Facebook HERE). Working on this little box was a little bit more difficult because it required more concentration and preciseness. Again, lovely flowers and vibrant colours!

I cannot even start to explain how happy I was with both the outcomes. I am really just a novice in decoupage, but the great thing with this craft is that one does not have to be a pro to make beautiful pieces. Mistakes are allowed and even welcomed, and can lead one in unexpected directions when trying to come up with creative ways to fix a "problem" (again, a wise thing my aunt Marina told me some time ago).
I kept them both for a while, waiting for right occasions and right persons to give them to: the box was a gift for my dear friend Dina who returned back home from a long, long journey and who I've missed very much. The vase is still with me, but soon to be given to someone whose work and positivity I admire very much. I enjoy crafting, but I enjoy giving and bringing smiles to dear faces even more!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fourth polymer clay workshop

After quite a while, we have organized the fourth polymer clay workshop. All the girls were very excited, but in the end, only three of us attended. It was somewhat disappointing turnout, but the workshop was great in the end anyway!
Ana was our lovely hostess and our tutor too (all in one!). We did blending and created some cute canes.
We also tried my new extruder for the first time. If there wasn't for Ana's husband to lend his hand, the extruder tryout would have been a big disappointment - it was simply too difficult for us girls to press the clay out of it!
In the end we finished with, not many, but some very nice and colorful items that will make great jewelry.
And to make things even better, Ana prepared for us incredibly delicious chocolate cupcakes with banana flavoured topping. Perfect ending of the evening!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Carrot cupcakes

OK, so it was not "tomorrow", but I think it is still timely enough.

I've been planning to try myself at baking carrot cupcakes for ages, and now that I'm on vacation (3 posts on the blog in few days - isn't it obvious?) I have decided that I should be waisting no more time.
I have found the recipe on the Internet, since no carrot cupcakes or cakes are in any of the recipe books I have at home (carrot cakes are not common in Serbia, although my mom does have a recipe for some other carrot sweet). I know that it is risky to use a recipe that has no references, but it was my only option and luckily the risk has payed off.
To be honest, I did change a few things in the recipe (I realized only too late that I was missing some of the ingredients), so I didn't use the raisins at all and instead of walnuts I used a mixture of hazelnuts and almonds.
The final outcome was great! This recipe is really superb. It was easy to prepare, didn't take a lot of time either. The cupcakes are very tasty and they bake to be nice and soft. The only thing that I would perhaps change is to put a little bit less sugar in the glazing, and to use baking powder instead of baking soda (because I personally don't like the way baking soda affects the taste, even though only slightly). I'll definitely try this recipe with these alternations, and let you know how it turns out.

All in all, I definitely recommend this recipe and I hope that you'll enjoy it as much as I have!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Origami wedding cards

It has been a while since I last posted to my blogs, and I cannot really say that I was busy working on a load of exciting new projects. Actually, I have found some time here and there to make just a few new projects, and since I've recently had an upsurge of creativity and motivation, I think it's time to present to the world some of those previously finished things before I finish up the new ones. :)

So it happened that in late April and early May this year two of my colleagues from work (one of them my boss) got married. In our smallish team it was a very big deal and I was more than happy to offer to make cards for both of the occasions.

I've decided to give it a twist and use origami to ornate the cards. As you probably already know, origami cranes are frequently seen on weddings, because they are believed to bring happiness, and so the cranes were a very obvious choice to use on a wedding card. Heart was an obvious choice too. I've made the models from yuzen chiyogami paper, that is very beautiful and has great texture too. Origami models were traditional crane (card no.1) and balanced heart by Matthew Gardiner (card no.2).

So, not to babble any more, here are the two origami wedding cards:


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Third polymer clay workshop

Our third polymer clay workshop was held yesterday. After a couple of weekends without workshops, everyone was very excited to work again. I am still very happy and surprised how much my friends are loving working with polymer clay. I half expected their enthusiasm to wear off after a couple of times, but it seems that I was wrong. Time will tell...
This time we had two new faces who enjoyed learning about polymer clay a lot. Needless to say, we had a really great time, and I really do think that we are getting better and better each time.

Makings of a great gift

One great gift made me think about what it is that makes a gift great. I'd say that there are several key ingredients to making a gift great: it has to be appropriate, has to have an element of surprise, it must serve its purpose to make the receiver feel appreciated, and finally, what's very important, it has to be original. Originality for me is the key. So, although I don't consider International women's day an occasion I generally like to receive gifts on, because I feel that the true meaning of this holiday is lost, I simply have to share this because I think that this one gift is an embodiment all the of the above mentioned elements. Further more, since it is a business-related gift, it also works as a clever marketing / PR tool.
Let me represent THE CAKE:
Last year when I've received it for the first time, it was a huge surprise and I was sorry all year long that I hadn't taken its picture before it disappeared (and believe me, it was very prone to disappearing!). This year I didn't make the same mistake.
Thumb up for VIP Fund and whoever came up with this idea!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Polymer clay set no.4

This is the set of pendants and earrings that I've made during our second polymer clay workshop. It took me some time before I have finished it all up and took the photos.
Although all of these designs are my creations, I have to give some credit to my sister too because she was the one who gave me "an order" for a pendant and earrings set before the workshop and described how she wants them and in which colours. That was my starting point, but I went a bit further and enhanced the design. I'm happy to say that she is very satisfied with how it turned out! I also love this set and I think that I'll go and make it in other colour combinations too. That will be fun!

I have made all other pendants in the same colour combination using the remaining material. I've noticed that I really hate leaving any prepared material for the next time. I always seem to try to spend it all. This habit of mine is evident from the oval pendant that was made entirely from leftovers. However, that one is my favourite and I think that I'll keep it for myself!

All in all, I am very satisfied with the finished pieces and very surprised with the variety of designs I came up with. This factor of surprise that one has when they see how their starting ideas evolve into new and even more interesting designs in the end is absolutely thrilling and one of the main reasons why I enjoy working with polymer clay so much.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Pendants - set no.3

This is something I've made a while ago, but never got to sharing it here on the blog. These pendants are all alike, just in different shapes, and they were too made for my friends as New Years presents. The last one I loved so much that I've kept it for myself. After all, I was a good girl last year too!
And now I'm off to finish up the thingies from the workshops. New photos expected soon!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Second polymer clay workshop

It seems that the girls have really enjoyed the first polymer clay workshop, because we all spent time raiding hobby stores for more supplies during the following week. Some of us bumped on one another in one store. Enthusiasm and spirits high, we have had our second polymer clay workshop on the following weekend after the first one.
But it was not only the polymer clay that went through our hands that time - we played with some nice dough too, added some filling, rolled it up and baked some super tasty croissants to give us energy for our creative efforts.
Everyone was very happy with the outcome of their own work and we finished the day satisfied, relaxing with a cup of hot cinnamon flavoured cooked red wine.

Don't we know how to enjoy ourselves?!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A few photos form the workshop

As I have previously announced, we have had our first informal little workshop on Saturday. The group was small but very motivated and in good spirits, and everything went just perfectly. Ana thought us how to make swirls, how to combine them and how to make undertones.

For me it was very interesting to see how every one of us came up with different ideas and colour combinations. Some had no idea what they were doing, some were planning carefully. But all in all, I think we have great results and what is the most important of all: we had loads and loads of FUN!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

First polymer clay workshop

I have discovered polymer clay only recently. And my first works were given to my friends as a New Year's gifts. The feedback was very good, I'm happy to say, and everybody was delighted with their little presents.
What makes me even more happy is that some of them loved their presents so much that they now want to learn to make things from polymer clay themselves. My heart is jumping with joy, not only because my friends and I will have one more thing in common, but because of the effect my first (and let's be honest, very shaky) steps in this craft have had: the awakening of creativity from a long winter dream. Let the spring begin! Let the dreams and new ideas blossom!
Last few days I was happy to do some organizing, and today we will have a first little polymer clay workshop. I hope that everything will go well and that the excitement will prevail in the days, months and years to come.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

With a smile on my face

There are small things that can make you so happy. One of those things are pepople one can meet in this blogging community.
Up until a point when Nena discovered my blog, my blogging experience has been a one-way communication with a possible unknown reader. I didn't even hope that the blog would attract a real audience. But when she stumbeld upon mu blog some time ago, things have wonderfully changed for the better. I got to know about a whole new world of fellow bloggers just like me, who are enourmously tallented and who are creating beautiful things using their skills and imagination. This made me more motivated to create my own little works and to share them more with the world.
But more than anything else, this introduced me to a world where the spirit of good will, sharing and encouragement is an unlikely ruler. Unlikely, because the reality of the world around us can be so opposite that it often makes us forget what the real values shoul be.
So I just want to say thank you Nena3110 for opening the new horizons for me and for sharing your work with all of us!

What a wonderful blogging world this can be!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pendants - set no.2

Here is another set of pendant that I've made on my first play-date with Ana and polymer clay. This is me trying out new techniques. In the end I have formed each pendant in a slightly different shape, so that all of them are unique. A few days later, I've also made a set of beads in complementary colours so that the final products look really special.
Two of these cuties are already with their new owners, and were the New Year's gift from me. The third one is still waiting for its designated owner to be surprised!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Pendants - set no.1

Remember your early school days when you first discovered clay? I bet you loved it! Every kid does. Dirty hands, soft dough, colors, the feeling you can actually make something nice... It was surely a love at first site, but same as with card making, somehow left behind and forgotten... Until one day you stumble upon it again and the old flame gets lively again.
This is the story of how many, many years after first playing with clay I've discovered it again, though in a slightly different form called polymer clay. I've learned about it from my new friend Ana who is very passionate about this craft and persuaded me to give it a try.
This is my first set of three pendants, I've made as present to my girl friends. I know they aren't works of art, but it's not too bad for the first try.

There are many hobbyists and artists working with polymer clay all around the world and they make some really amazing things. Through the magic of the Internet, one can see all that. Here is an amazing video about artist that make jewelery using polymer clay, their imagination and craftsmanship:

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Books 2009

It is New Year and it's time to conclude my reading list for 2009. I am painfully aware that it is getting shorter and shorter each year. As my home library grows, my free time is shrinking and now my shelves are full of great but unread titles. So sad... Hopefully 2010 will be better.
So here is the list of books I've read in 2009:
  1. "Temeraire: His Majesty's Dragon" - Naomi Novik (Serbian translation)
  2. "Throne of Jade" - Naomi Novik (Serbian translation)
  3. "Stardust" - Neil Gaiman (Serbian translation)
  4. "Artemis Fowl and The Lost Colony" - Eoin Colfer (Serbian translation)
  5. "Peer Reviews in Software" - Karl E. Wiegers (in English)
  6. "La vita meravigliosa dei laureati in lettere" - Alessandro Carrera (Serbian translation)
  7. "Black Powder War" - Naomi Novik (in English)
  8. "Les Echelles du Levant" aka "Ports of Call" - Amin Maalouf (Serbian translation)