Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Where does a lucky bird live?

Friday, December 27, 2013

A real birdhouse? Amazing work! Love it! I doubt I would let ANY bird anywhere even close to something like this! :) I would put it inside the house, away from the birds :))

Christmas tree in patchwork technique

Thursday, December 26, 2013

We got this nice handmade gift for Christmas this year! (Just bragging :)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Fairy has received her gift!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Once upon a time there was a Magical Castle in a Magical Forest... Nobody really lived in it... A few fairies used it as their "Meeting Castle". Maybe one day I will start telling you this story... It is a lo-o-ong story... and it is in Russian :)
However, the story of the gift is short :) One of the fairies was called Happy Fairy and one of the others was Reero. Reero made this brooch for Happy Fairy. That is it! She has completed a few gifts for some of her fairy friends. This one is her latest project. If you would like to see other gifts, visit her page. She is a Russian fairy, so her web-site is in Russian too... but that does not matter for the pictures :)

By the way, I have a gift by Reero also ;)

Hand-painted Christmas tree ornaments by Pearle Northshop

Monday, December 23, 2013

I have to save this shop for the next year. Love their ornaments!

Victorian Christmas Ornament

Friday, December 20, 2013

Just sharing this wonderful etsy find. I am not that much of a collector to purchase something like this, but I will enjoy having it in my virtual wish list :)

Australian boulder opal

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I will start showing my gems once a week, I think. I do not have a lot of gems, as I am picky... always looking for a good stone for a good price :)  This opal is a little bit smaller than 2cm in diameter. The price was reasonable, so I could not pass :) It is nice on both sides, so I will have to really think what to do with it, as it would be a shame to cover one of them...

DIY - Cute Christmas Cards by Janet Roberts

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I am not really used to buying online yet, so I did not even think, that post cards could be purchased online too! There are artists who can make you personalised cards worth hundreds of dollars. It might be a way to go for some people... However, I prefer something cute :) So, I kept looking and found this store! They all are so cute! Here is one more thing I did not think about... The cards are digital! A buyer can print out the coloured card or just black outline to colour him/herself!
Reading the description, it is a DIY project to me*, so I am saving it with this tag, as well, as in my wish list for future.
* - From the item description: "This artwork has been produced from original drawings by Janet Roberts of Pink Gem Designs. You may use our downloadable digital images for any hand made projects that you wish to sell on at craft fairs, Etsy etc or provide as gifts but you must make something with the image and not sell 'As Is'. There are no limits to the number of projects that you can make. We would ask that you acknowledge Pink Gem Designs when selling on your creations although this is not essential."

Ugly Christmas Sweater :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Oh, so wonderfully ugly! :))  You might think that I am jealous I am not as young and not in such great shape... (which I am not, of course :)) However, the words "ugly Christmas sweater" can be found in the tags by its seller ;) This is just something they do there at etsy :) Probably to stress that it is vintage and "very" Christmasy". Love it! And yes, very, very jelous that I cannot wear it!

Light fixtures for my garden... I wish...

Monday, December 16, 2013

This magical picture belongs to IKEA. Really, really magical...
I might have found a new interest in art... Light fixtures! :) What do I do, when this happens? I go to etsy to check what is out there that is handmade :) Oh, I have found a few light fixtures that I would like to have... if only I had somewhere to attach them in my house... or in a garden, like they are hanging in the IKEA picture! Something like this, perhaps:
Or this:
I have found something else too... I will share some other time :)

I am on the front page of Etsy right now!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Agua Nueva Agate

Saturday, December 14, 2013

I have a couple of gems in my blog that I am proud of owing. Here is one more. It is called Agua Nueva Agate. If you google it, you will see that it can have fantastic patterns! Though not always. It is hard to come across a nice stone that you do not have to pay an arm and a leg for. This one was not exactly cheap either, but not too bad. I am very picky about the stones. I am not a big fan of any lace agate just because it is a "lace agate". I want to see something really special. When I saw this cabochon, I fell in love with it. By that time I have made up my mind not to buy ANY stones. The decision needed to be corrected :) No stones AFTER this one :)

If you hope to find your Agua Nueva, you may check what's available on etsy.

Christmas decoration. Russian style ;)

Friday, December 13, 2013

It is very usual to see this style on jewellery boxes and brooches. However, I have never seen it on the Christmas decorations for a fir tree! I think, something like this could be a very special and absolutely gorgeous Christmas gift! Here is a link to see more spheres  (the web-site is in Russian)

Autumn, do not leave yet, please!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My favourite season of the year is... anything, but winter! :) Spring is far from here still, but autumn... we had it just a few days ago, it seems. Do not leave yet, come back, come back! You are too beautiful to leave so soon.. In autumn this shawl would be too much, but now... now it would be perfect, as if I am still holding it by a corner of its biggest maple leaf that is just about to fly away...

What Cinderella would wish for? :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Thin layer of snow came down two days ago. I consider us being lucky to have it for at least a few days. It is like a fairy-tail coming right out of a book! This feeling (I think) is to blame, that a coat like this is going into my wish list :)

It has nothing to do with fashion, of course... This is a coat for a princess from a fairy-tail... It reminds me of fairy-tail that probably all girls of my age still love... even now, when they are not little girls anymore :) Maybe, because this is the only winter fairy-tail that I know is similar to this style..

It is called "Three Wishes for Cinderella". Timeless film. If you have not seen it yet, winter is a perfect season for it!

Ermilovski toy ("Ermilovski" is a name of a style)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What a wonderful item for my virtual wish list! This is a vintage Russian souvenir toy. I used to have a very similar horse... Then another one... They were very fragile, no wonder, it is hard to find them now. I loved both of them and happy to have it my blog.
Hm... let me check google one more time... Yes! I have found it! I had exactly that little horse from the picture!

Wow, I see people are still making them! If I can reach this store owner, I will buy one!


Kokoshnik that tells a story...

Monday, December 9, 2013

While pinning my previous post onto my pinterest board, I've come across this picture. I tried to find the original web-site for it... but I could not figure it out... However, this lady is worth mentioning :) This is probably the most famous Russian ballerina of all times. Her name is Anna Pavlova.

This is her costume for her Russian Dance. There is a little bit of her bio here. I do not think there is a good reason for copying it...

Interesting enough, there are videos of her dancing on youtube! Not in this costume, alas... Evidently, she was famous for her Dying Swan dance. Here is a short video of it:

What is Russian kokoshnik?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Peter the Great's (1672-1725) attempts to Westernize Russia were partially manifested in changes to the traditional costume of the court. Though they were not required by law to adhere to the reformations, the peasant class commonly adopted aspects of Western styles blended with folk dress. This headdress in particular is an excellent example of the melding of cultures found in Russian history. The shape of this headdress is nearly identical to a French style from Alsace illustrated in Auguste Racinet's "The Complete History of Costume". This type of crossover is characteristic of the evolution of Russian dress. Married women were required to cover their hair entirely lest they be considered immodest, therefore headdresses, or kokoshniks were often accompanied by a venchik, a forehead covering made of fabric or metal.
The picture and text is from The Metropolitan Museum web-site. I have found it very interesting that something like this can be found in the North America! Definitely should go see it if I am ever making it there!

Nika Shmeleva

Friday, December 6, 2013

I like good designer pottery. No wonder that this jar caught my eye! Hand painted vase with lots of details. What an eye candy! (I like candies even if they are just eye candies :)  There were a couple of jars in my mom's home... That is maybe another reason why I am indifferent to the jars specifically... My eye is used to be caught by nice jars... :) 

Etsy Finds. Paintings by Sergey Piskunov

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My virtual wish list is getting bigger :) Who knows, maybe one day one of my lottery tickets will allow me to buy everything from it. I do have an expensive taste (poor me... :) This is art by Sergey Piskunov (click on his name to visit his etsy shop). Just breath taking pictures...
(I am on my way to the closest corner store for my lottery ticket... Wish me good luck!)

Etsy finds. A tent, that I wish I had a reason to have :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I love my virtual wish list! I can put here things, that I love, even though I have no reason to own them :)
This etsy store sells only one item, and rather successfully, I think. What a wonderful tent! Just an eye candy!

DIY - Crocheted black lace

Monday, December 2, 2013

This video is from the author of the lace collars that I've used for my lace necklaces, Irina Astratenko. The video shows how to crochet this lace motif. Note, that this is not how the tatted collars were made. This is a simple way to make a lace for anybody who knows how to crochet (or even if they do not know yet and wish to learn). There is a picture at Irina's website that shows a top made with these motifs. I am in love with it! I wish to drop jewellery making for a week or two and make such a top! (I won't, of course, but I sure wish to)

Here is the original page for this tutorial (in Russian, though)

My virtual Wish List. Glass Beads by Kerri Fuhr

Friday, November 29, 2013

I've met Kerri at a local bead show a few years ago. Her work is unbelievable! It is easy to fall in love with something like this... Thinking about it now... I do not know why I have not bought anything from her yet! It is easy now, I do not even need to go to a bead show, as she sells at etsy. (She has a web-site too)

Maybe-wearable art :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I showed once my chainmail experiment here, but never showed how I finished it. Well, here it is. This is not an every-day piece of jewellery by no means. I am not even sure that it is wearable! :) Nevertheless, it is finished and it is for sale at my etsy shop :)


Canadian maple leaf that reminds me of Russia

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I have stayed in Russia for a few month with my mother a few years ago (those months will always be in my heart). My life was quiet and rather lazy, I should admit. I really did not have much to do. Lots of time to think of jewellery and come up with some new designs. Lots of sketching and drawing... Visiting my old University friend, who stayed at home with her new baby at that time... This maple leaf design was her idea. I liked it... and created it when I went back to Canada (did not have any tools in Russia). This maple leaf will always remind me of Russia, my happy months I spent there with my mom and my friend Lena.
The leaf is not OOAK, I made a mould and can cast it. So, I do not mind selling as many as there are people there who would like to have it :) In fact, this one is for sale at my etsy shop right now :)

Mystery of the Night Forest

Monday, November 25, 2013

I have found this in my drafts! I guess, I have not published it yet... I made it more than a year ago... Wow, I really forgot about this necklace!

Sunday started as a nice day today!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

In addition to our regular Sunday breakfast my husband made these 8 croissants! (Yes, I know it is only 5 in the picture :)

Sentimental value of my creations

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Some time ago I wondered if I would ever make jewellery with sentimental value... a story behind it... Now I can tell a story about almost any piece of jewellery that I make. These earrings, for example, have those little faceted green chalcedony beads. I am looking at them and recalling the day I bought them in Russia... They told me it was apatite :) I did not believe them and estimated the price for the enhanced chalcedony. The price was right, the colour was gorgeous... I bought them :)
The crystal glass in the picture has a sentimental value too. I remember how we bought them with my mother. Many years after I brought them to Canada with me in a purse... all six of them... I was very careful :)
The glass does not come with the earrings, by the way :)

DIY - Glass Bead

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I was looking for these artists from the Twin Vision studio to put their work into my Virtual Wish List (they made fantastic glass installations as well as interesting face beads)... but I've come across this tutorial for beadmaking and moldmaking on their web-site.
This is not a usual tutorial to find in Internet! Once I participated in a process of making something like this. It would not be hard for me to do this again, if I needed... except for the equipment, of course. I would need to find an actual glass artist's studio for glass melting. Honestly, I do not see that happening any time soon :)
I've met the sisters artists at one local bead-show. Maybe next show (or next after the next one:) I will buy one of their glass face beads. They are very unique and very beautifully done! 

My butterfly pendant has been on the front page of Etsy today!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The picture is courtesy  of its curator Irina Shevchenko.

Queen of the Day

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am happy that this necklace has found a customer. Many liked it... As always, when many people say compliments, I am not sure if they are true, until somebody buys a piece of jewellery that was getting all those compliments... This is a nature of any designer :) We all are like that! :)
This is my last project in cooperation with Irina Astratenko. Well... the last that I have, anyway. For now I won't be making anymore, unless there is a custom order... The necklaces were experimental. The experiment was successful. However, they are very unique... all handmade... they need to be appreciated by the cost that comes with high quality handmade work...
For now I feel that I need to move on and come up with new ideas! :)

Etsy Finds. Paintings on the stones

Monday, November 18, 2013

I would like to introduce you to an art that is getting very popular in Russia right now. I see more and more talented artist starting doing the paintings on the stones for the jewellery. It is not something too new, but relatively new in Internet.
The author of this work is Elena Mitrofanova, who is... to think about it... the first artist I've met in an international online market.
This kind of work is usually in a high demand in Russia. I can only wish Elena good luck on Etsy too!

Queen of the Night

Friday, November 15, 2013

The collar for this necklace has been in my possession for a long time... I really could not decide what to do with it! I am still not sure if this design was the best I could do for it. For my luck the crystals (Swarovski crystals) had just perfect size to fit into the open spaces of the squares.

The collar is made by Irina Astratenko, the tatting and ANKARS artist. When she showed the collar to me, I knew it could be a base for something absolutely fabulous. Now I just needed to make it happen. I felt a great deal of responsibility!  

The first idea was to get Russian synthetic diamonds. It would be a lot more work to set the stones in silver. The necklace could become even more fantastic than right now, but... it would be against my idea to make something affordable, something that would be good for a fancy and fun night out, and not just fancy one.

The big Swarovski is set into a black Japanese glass seed beads bezel with more Swarovski crystals around it. The seed beads allowed me to transfer the lacy look from the collar onto the big drop and "marry" them together.

The black Swarovski crystal on the back is set into sterling silver. It can be white (if a buyer wishes so), but I personally felt that it needed to be black.

The necklace is available at the Just Jewellery gallery at the moment.

Do you believe in fairy-tales? You should... They still happen!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A wonderful story has just happened yesterday... So wonderful, that I have to share.

If you are an artist you know... if you are not an artist you might not know... that even if you make beautiful things that many people like... you still need lots of promotion in order to reach your customers. Some people are very good at promoting just about anything, though not everybody... Then it is wonderful to see when their friends artists help in promotion.
Irina Astratenko, who is my co-artist in making the lace necklaces like this one, just got a surprise personal exhibition in Moscow (Russia) by a friend of hers, who was her first ANKARS teacher many years ago. Rina Stepnaya got hold of her best work and organised Irina's exhibition herself without Irina knowing about it! (She wrote about the exhibition in her own blog, there are more pictures there too. The blog is in Russian).
I am very happy for Irina. Her work deserves such an amazing surprise!
My opinion of Rina has been very high before, but now it goes just above and beyond. I am even happier now that I have something in my possession, that Rina has made just for me... (I see, I called her a "fairy" in my post... I had no idea how close I was to the truth! :)

Boho necklace

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This necklace is made of copper, brass and natural stones. The gem stone beads in the pendant are black onyx, peridot, iolite, labradorite and a big bead of Botswana agate. There are many other stones in the chain. The chain is bigger than you can see in the picture.
I would like to say that this necklace is for sale in my etsy shop, but I have not figured out how to make a good picture of the whole necklace yet. It is so long! :)

Co-operation with other artists

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

There are many pieces of jewellery that I've made in co-operation with other artists. I did not even think about it until today... Jewellery making is not just work for me, it is my biggest hobby. I enjoy the process of making jewellery and I enjoy coming up with the designs. I also enjoy making something, that has not been designed... when you just start making something and see what comes out. It is a game that... thinking about it... I have managed to involve other artists into :)  I think, they loved that game too :) otherwise they would not have played with me :)
The biggest co-designing game was the "Virgin" project, of course.

I've written about it in my blog already, here. That was a nine-artist project for a wearable art contest. We had a sketch of what result approximately we should get, but that's about it.
There were also parts for the jewellery that I was ordering and buying from other artists. Sometimes I had a project in mind, sometimes I had no exact idea. For example, I asked Bruce McLellan for a custom cut  Canadian labradorite. Only after I'd gotten it I started designing a pendant for it:

I have a post about this necklace here in my blog.

I also did not have designs for the necklaces, when I ordered the black lace collars from Irina Astratenko. I made a few of them. The first necklaces ended up on the catwalk!

I myself was in the same position with other artists as Irina was with me. I sent my unique metal findings to my friends. They did not know what I was sending them, so they designed jewellery after they've gotten them! This is one of those projects:

Irina Belinskaya is the author and the maker of this necklace. The post about it is here.

I created a new label co-operation with other artists. By clicking it you will see our other projects. Of course, there are more projects coming!

Vologda lace

Monday, November 11, 2013

When I came across this etsy store, I knew, that I had to save and share it. It is something that pretty much everybody in Russia knows about, but probably not outside of Russia.
This is what the owners say about the lace art: "Vologda lace is a kind of Russian lace tatted with bobbins. Continuous smooth line, which never crosses and forms a pattern of Vologda lace, is a woven braid ('vilushka') over a thin openwork grid. Vologda bobbin lace tatting dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, but the craft itself was developed in the 1st quarter of the 19th century and became the most famous one."
Expensive? Yes, it is... as any art that is labour intensive... it takes so long to do something like this, that not many people are interested in investing their time into it. If you would like to have something really unique and you also have money for it... that just might be something for you. Museum quality work!

Princess of the Night

Friday, November 8, 2013

This is a handmade necklace. The lace is hand tatted by Irina Astratenko. I made its copper extended toggle clasp (sorry no picture, but it is similar to this one). I also made the beaded bezel for the red Swarovski drop. I usually use a tektite and make a silver bezel for it, but I've run out of tektites. I like the result, though :)
Well, you might ask why it is a "princess"... That is because, there is also a "queen" :)  that I will show some other time :)

UPD. This necklace is available at the Just Jewellery gallery.
Jewelry Designer Blog. Jewelry by Natalia Khon. Design by Pocket