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Friday, February 28, 2014

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time- Jewelry Fan Art



Does that logo mean anything to you?  No?  Well it should.  It's only the logo of one of the biggest, most iconic fantasy videogame fanchises in history!  LEGEND OF ZELDA!  OCARINA OF TIME!

The first Zelda game came out on the NES console in the 80's, before I was born!  Lucky for me, my mom is a gamer/sci-fi nerd, so I grew up with the console in the house.  Friday nights were for family games of Tetris, Mario Brothers, Ninja turtles and tidbits of the original Legend of Zelda games.

When I got my N64 to play videogames on my own, I found that I was pretty much terrible at everything Legend of Zelda.  I could only go so far before frustration and fatigue got to me.  Still, stubborn to the end, I poked at it.  I never finished any of the games, but I have fond memories of coming upon insane enemies that were either too powerful for me to kill or too terrifying to behold (Thanks for the nightmares ReDeads!).

One of my favorite bits of the Ocarina of Time game was the fact that they introduced Navi, a little helper fairy to give you clues to the puzzles, dungeons, and infuriating quests.  Although, there were points when her catchphrase, "Hey!  Listen!" started to make me bonkers.  Sometimes, I wish there were Navis in real life to give us clues about how to get around real world obstacles....  We could all use a nice, fairy companion, whether we're Zelda fans or not.  That's why I made one....some... 

I started with this. 
I was in Michaels (of COURSE I was) when I breezed passed the instruction books that are so carefully placed within the jewelry supply section.  There was a book suggesting different jewelry making technique combinations.  Their design was a bit...interesting, but it sparked an idea in my head.  Then, I saw a filigree style that I'd seen dozens of times before and had overlooked.  I even had one in my stash that I had been thinking of giving away or tossing.  The fairy wing stamping.  It was PERFECT for Navi.  This is the first one I made.

Ooh lala Swarovskis!
It LOOKS like Navi.  Except you know, the wrong color.  With the success of this little experiment, I sought out MORE SUPPLIES...at the lowest price possible, of course.  It's perfectly fine to give into your excesses as long as it is within reason!  Indeed.  Soon, I'd made another

This time in 'Traditional' Navi colors.
 I'd had to purchase more of the fairy wing stamping.  I found the absolute BEST stampings at DimeStoreEmporium on Etsy.  Not only are their stampings consistent, sturdy and brilliant.  They are SUPERBLY dapped to give the piece more depth and weight.  Check them out when you have the chance.

See the lovely curving details of the wings?
 I even experimented with doing a less labor intensive Navi by using rhinestones.  The rhinestones are cute, but I think I like the first way better.  More sparkle, harder to duplicate, more elegant..  Yes.  I like the first method better....

When it doesn't come out like this...

Still, purple rhinestone Navi is pretty cute.
 If any of you guys are interested, you mosey on over to my Etsy and adopt one of these babies.  Tune in MONDAY for my next post to see what these pendants look like as necklaces!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hors d'oeuvre: Stuffed Cucumbers

It's been a while since my friends and I had a party.  Naturally, with people enduring various life changes just weeks before Valentine's Day (Which was a Friday this year), we took advantage of it to celebrate, commemorate and memorialize.  No celemoratorialization cermony would complete without comfort foods and a full spread.

Here you see all the things girls need to survive: Sparkles, Carbs, Chocolate, Pizza, Cake, Fruit, and Veggies, and Flowers
Since it had been a while, we decided to expand on what we usually do.  DECORATIONS!  FANCY hors d'oevres!  FLOWERS!

We did it potluck style, as is our usual.  I was in charge of the vegetable based appetizer.  Oddly enough, I was at a loss.  I wanted to make kale and tomatoes- but that would have been messy to transport and a veggie platter was LAME.  I had to come up with something finger friendly, but still kind of awesome.  As we were browsing for decorations in party city, I was inspired to pull this one out of thin air.

Stuffed Cucumbers.

Ingredients: 
Cucumbers (I'm not posting a picture of a cucumber.  You guys should know what that is by now.)
Boursin (Or Goat Cheese)
Cream Cheese
Greek Herbs (Or Spinach dip mix)
Siracha- or any hot sauce
Tomato Sauce.
I bought boursin because I didn't feel like prepping my own spinach and artichokes.

We didn't have siracha, so I used hot sauce.  It works.
Tools:
Knife
Melon Baller
Potato Peeler
Whisk

Just Three tools!

Instructions:
1. Prep your cucumbers!  I always wash them with soap and warm water because, that oily wax stuff that they put on them in the grocery store is disgusting.  Once clean, slice off their ends and use the potato peeler to slice the skin off in stripes.  I left some of the skin on for decorative effect.

2. Prep your cucumbers some more!  Next, you slice them into 1.5 inch long cylinders.  It's ok if it's not exact, but if you're putting them all on the same platter, it looks better if they are about the same size.  Next, use the melon baller to scoop out the cucumber middles.  DO NOT scoop it all the way down to the bottom of the cucumber.  You want them to look like little cups.  Arrange them in the platter and put them in the fridge while you prep the rest of the dish.  You don't want soggy cucumbers.

SEE, cups! 

Arrange them attractively in a platter.
3. Blend your cheeses and herbs with the whisk until smooth.  It is unfortunate that I do not measure as I mix, but this one's easy.  For whatever amount of goat cheese and herbs or Boursin you use, add half that amount of cream cheese.  The cream cheese is mostly there to make the mixture SMOOTH and creamy.  I added additional herbs to pump up the flavor. Once the cheese mixture is smooth, put it into a ziplock bag.


4. Blend your hot sauce or siracha with a couple teaspoons of tomato sauce.  That's a nobrainer.  I had to add tomato sauce to avoid roasting my Polish friend's tonsils out. 

5. FILL THE CUPS!  Take your cucumbers from the fridge.  Drip a small dollop of the hot sauce mixture into each cup, just a little bit, not a lot.  Then, take that ziplock bag of cheese, snip off a corner and use it to pipe the cheese into the cups.  It's best to swirl it into the cups, working from the outer edges towards the middle.  It works up quickly.  Once finished, you may choose to garnish the tops of your cucumbers with a bit of red pepper or pickled vegetable.

AND YOU ARE DONE. That took what?  20-30 minutes tops? 

Enjoy with a light, fruity wine. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Edge of Darkness

I couldn't believe that I'd found myself there.  Again.  I'd sworn that I'd never go back.  It was a waste of money and my talent was sure to become muddied with temptations.  Yet, here I was, once again.  I hadn't meant to stray there, but a need for supplies and waning inspiration had been gnawing at me.  The knowledge that so much would be left unfinished clouded my mind and dogged my every step as I tried to move on to new projects to stem the turning tide of motivation.  I needed firepower. 

So, there I was, in that place, that dreaded place.  It sprawled before me ominously, cheery facade hiding the truth within.  It is our demons that cast the most beautiful lights when we lay eyes upon them.  And this was mine.  I swore I wouldn't go back... but there I stood, legs trembling as an old thrill awakened within me.  I didn't rush into that place.  I had to pace myself, brace myself.  You can't afford to be excited and titillated before you even reach Mephistopheles.  That means he's already won.

I told myself that I wouldn't go there again, but I had needs.  I had requirements, necessities, really and so, I pressed on.  I walked in steady, heart steeled against the devil's tricks and wallet devoid of everything that would encourage me to buy more than I had come for.  I marched down the aisles, blind to all but what I came to retrieve.  My resolve was strong.  I would not succumb to the tricks of the mind or appeals to my senses.

Still, They were unfazed by my rigidness.  They glittered, writhing in a messy soup of undulating, enrapturing madness.  Vibrant, garish frocks dripping in jewels and lurid colors.  All of them painted with exciting shades of red with bold black letters. ...The clearance section of Michaels..

That's where I found the parts for this bib style necklace.  I used 3 pendants to construct it and used a modification of the figure 8 stitch to assemble the beads into a wide enough beaded chain.  She came out quite elegant, if I say so myself.





Close up!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Schachlo

I've been watching some traditional folk dances on Youtube.  It's quite inspiring.  There's always a sense of grandeur associated with folk dance and costumes, no matter how simple or sedate the actual steps are.  Well, I discovered a Russian Gypsy dance performed by Schachlo.  It's really quite beautiful.  Her costume and her jewelry features simple, repeating patterns and soft flowing feminine drapes and contours.  I just fell in love with the necklace.

Of course, I don't have a ton of gold coins and chains laying around.  Surprising, right?  Well, I can't recreate her necklace exactly, but I can make something similar, you know what I mean?  I set out to make this necklace some time ago and I've only recently gotten decent photos of it.

Bronze colors bring out the brilliance of the opalescent glass.

An iridescent crystal gives the whole thing more weight and charm.

The actual necklace rests just below the collarbones.
I like how it turned out.  I used some more beads and findings that I found in my stash to finally pull it together.  It's a bib-style necklace with dusky desert tones.  I love its sort of wild, tribal feel.  It's also very jingly.    My mother over at the Mahogany Stylist Blog loves it. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Things That Look Like Other Things

You all know that I like things that look like other things.  If you don't know what I mean, here's some examples:  I used to have a flash drive that looked like a purple monkey.  I have a ton of erasers that look like realistic food.  I have a pin cushion that looks like a hat when you look at it from one angle and like sushi rolls from another.  I have a candle that looks like a spool of thread... And I like visually ambiguous patterns.

You can see where this is going.  Yup.  Jewelry making.  Did you know, that they have all kinds of dolamite and other stones that are artificially enhanced to look brighter and richer?  Did you KNOW that they have a whole host of beads and charms that look like cakes, fruit, and other things?  No?  You'd better hit up eBay and Etsy, then.  Just type in something ridiculous and attach 'beads' as a suffix.  You'll see some things. 

About a year ago, I started searching for and acquiring all sorts of these 'strange' beads.  The results were bright, flashy and candy inspired jewelry pieces that are positively adorable... and ridiculously HARD TO SELL!  It seems like I'm the only adult who likes this sort of stuff.  Ah well.  I did get some good photos of these things before I got rid of them or packed them away.

Let There Be CAKE! 

Just a Cherry Key Fob.

I love these things.  I ended up keeping them for selfish reasons.

These used to be shank buttons.

Such Sparkle.

Each strawberry is a locket.  I wish I still had this one.

I love how you can get polyclay slices of fruit these days.  Super easy to use!

This one reminds me of Tang. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's Valentine's Day?

So, it's Valentine's Day, better known as 'Single's Awareness Day'.  It's a commercial holiday designed to stimulate a frenzy of purchasing after the consumer's long January hibernation.  For many, it's a day to be spent with a significant other, doing 'romantic' things with flutes of champaigne.  For others, it's a time to lament spending yet another 'couple's holiday' sitting at home watching rom-coms and doubting themselves. 
Strangely enough, Valentine's day's tradition had nothing to do with couples.  It was supposed to be a feast day for Saint Valentinus, who performed marriages for soldiers, ministered to people under Roman rule, and healed sick children.  The tradition of the 'Valentine' comes from the way he used to sign his letters.   Somehow the modern era equates selfless acts with sexy gifts and boot-knockin'. 

WELL.  I'm not on board with any of that creepy stuff.  I don't think it's a day to aggressively assert the value of romance.  I'm actually a bit more fond of its original intended purpose: sharing your true feelings with ALL the people you care about with warm letter or- because we're so modern now- a phone call. 

In the meantime, want to look pretty, red, shiny things?

These key fobs are super cute.  I made a few, but I've only got one left.

This one's got a strong Victorian flavor.  Look up the language of fruit and flowers.

Just something cute and cliche.

An industrial styled wire wrapped pendant on leather cord...
Most of these are necro-posts of things I did before I had a blog, or things that I didn't feel like posting earlier.  Sorry about that. 

This one's got more of a masculine flavor...

A brooch!

Sexy Earrings with a little Chachacha.
I will probably spend the rest of today working on projects or, maybe hanging out with friends and family that I don't get to see that often.  The rest of you, stay away from that crotch floss they're marketing as Valentine's Day lingerie! Do something constructive! 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Google deleted my blog favorites.


because this is how women dress when no one's looking



I am ticked.  I got up with the intention of checking my blog favorites for new posts before updating my own blog and what do I find?  A big fat NOTHING!  ZIP.  ZILCH.  NADA!  NOTHING.  Except, this annoyingly chipper message, "You don't have any favorites added yet. Copy and paste the blog URLs to add them to your favorites list!"  I swear!  If computers weren't so flipping expensive, I'd have hucked mine out of the window.

What's worse is this GLITCHY little update made me feel stupid!  You know, computer and application makers LOVE to make updates that change around how things are organized and where they appear on the page for NO BLASTED REASON: So, I kept thinking, "Maybe I'm going to the wrong part of blogger dashboard.  I'll keep looking!"  NO!  I wasn't.  I was going to the absolute correct place, but that didn't matter.

SOMEHOW this 'New Blogger' update seems to think that my favorite blogs list is for the trash!  So if I somehow UNFOLLOWED you, it's not because I hate you or don't like your blog, it's because this wretched program decided to say, "You don't need to look at these, LULZ!"  and totally troll-faced me!



EDIT: And then when I post a rant on it, my blog favorites magically reappear.  That's it Google.  I AM WATCHING YOU.

Oakenshield

As you guys may have guessed already, I love high fantasy, science-fiction, and other such whimsical nonsense.  First of all, it is NOT nonsense.  It's...


That aside, I love Lord of the Rings.  Do not start with Elven language and the Silmarillion.  I'm not that heavily invested in Tolkien's works.  I just like mythology and fantasy stories.

Recently, I've been inspired by the Hobbit Franchise that has been buzzing around the theaters.  The costumes for the Rings Trilogy were fabulous, the story was great (read the books first kids), and I enjoyed the characters.  Naturally, I was looking forward to this new franchise for the same reasons.   However, it wasn't until I saw THIS that I recognized that it can be an excuse to make pretty jewelry.

FEMALE OAKENSHIELD!  This picture is by Alexander Turchanin.  Look him up.
I started work on my own 'Oakenshield' inspired artpiece- though, it's decidedly not as mind-bending as this one.  I tried to make use of the rich blues that you see in his costume as well as pick elements that hint at the intricacies of his armor.

Simple, yet forceful.
 The depth and starkness of the crystal in the pendant reminded me both of the planes of his face (specifically his brow and nose) as well as his eyes.  Steely gray against deep blue is a great combination.


 In the various incarnations of the Lord of the Rings franchise, the devil is always in the details.  I picked a pendant that combined simple, unfrilly shapes with some intricacies to make it a bit more special.  You can't have a big, round, shimmering pendant be your artistic representation of Oakenshield.  That's just wrong.



This was fun and easy to make.  Just simple wire wrapping and careful balancing of the elements.  In hindsight, Oakenshield would probably have gone for less crystal in favor of more of that dusky steel, but he's not in charge here.  I am.  HA!  Well.  Happy crafting.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Industrial Strength Necklace

It's been a struggle keeping up my momentum recently, but I'm doing my best to put the Crafting Supplies of Years Passed to good use.  I have some truly bizarre things in my stash...  Sometimes, it's  much more difficult than I'd like to admit to pull together a good design that sticks with the trends and my aesthetic.  Here is another bauble that I made out of the treasure trove of findings I uncovered not too long ago.

First, is a stodgy and imposing sort of pendant.  It's composed of a large, heavy, dull gray steel ...wheel?  I don't know what the heck it is.  It was interesting and unusual and I could see possibilities.

It's a necklace and a bludgeoning implement.

The 'wheel' acts as the focal, drawing attention towards itself with its heavy shape and sparkling rhinestones.  I didn't want the necklace to look like a grungy chain with a rock on it, so I added some swarovskis and a tassel at the end of the focal to feminize it a bit.



Still, the industrial look of this particular opera length necklace isn't for everyone.  Thanks to the copious sparkle, it CAN be worn as an edgy accessory to a more formal outfit or to dress up a very casual ensemble. 




As I was struggling to get good pictures of this design, I kept thinking that I needed a model to help me truly showcase it.  Sorry to bother a cliche, but the photos do it no justice.  Anyone know anybody who'd pose for pictures in sparkly stuff in exchange for small gifts?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Craft Supplies: The Gift That Keeps Giving Part Two

In my last post, you read about my process in creating modestly vamped up headphones.  Before I show you the final design, I'll show you some of my crappy sketches of my earlier ideas for them.   The process was kind of long and drawn out- more than it needed to be, since a lot of the earlier designs were impossible with the headphone's ..rather mobile design.

The ribbon I wanted to use was the wrong shade.  Uck.

I abandoned this design because it reminded me of Katy Perry's Cupcake bustier.

The idea behind this one was to make it exotic and wild.





With that out of the way, I'll give you the thing you've been waiting for.  The final project.  Keep in mind that even with this design there were flaws.  My shaky hands sometimes make it hard to get things PERFECT and even on the things I did well on, the design suffered because they don't make rhinestones the same way they used to.  The foils have a tendency to warp. 

I didn't realize it at the time, but the headphones were attracting lint.
 Here's the final design for the ear piece.  You can see how I tried to work the logo in with my design to give it a ghoulish quality and a little sparkle without it being over-powering.


Sparkles and roses.
 I added sparkling ribbon to the upper headpiece to help break up all the bright acid purple.  The velvet also takes care of a design flaw in the headphones themselves.  They don't slip off my head if I loosen them up around my ears.  I added a rose to one of the bands as well because I sort of messed up on the application of the ribbon.  Learned that trick from the food network.  Cover your mistakes with pretty flowers (Although, they were talking about cake.).

I'll give them another brush off before I wear them, to make sure I didn't miss any stray lint.

Overall, I'm glad with the way they turned out, even if it's not ABSOLUTELY PERFECT.  I can live with it.