House, Haus, Chaos

Jewelry, Musings

Replace the word home with chaos, which sounds like “house” with a foreign accent, and welcome to my world. Coming through the door is still a struggle as there are various boxes and the like blocking the view. My mental sanity? In shreds, packed away in bubblewrap somewhere.

The other day, with all the cleaning and whatnot, we managed to lose the dog. Lose the dog in an apartment, mind you. There are only so many places it could go:

  • under bed? CHECK
  • under chair? CHECK
  • next to the couch by the wall? CHECK
  • the veranda? CHECK
  • squeezed by the laundry basket? CHECK

I was running out of places and she wouldn’t answer to her name. Then I stumbled onto this:

Are you looking for me?

Are you looking for me?

She found her way into the wardrobe and thought it looked nice and cosy. She made her own little version of “Do not disturb”.

When I’m not looking for dogs or fighting my way past the entrance, I’m busy in more ways than one. I recently got a big job that’s exciting but will keep me very very busy. Right now I’m finally back on normal full schedule and this is totally catching up with me. Despite all this, I managed to make a new pair of earrings that I have yet to photograph for Etsy because I’m always working at the time when I like the light the most. Maybe this Saturday…

plain buttoned up

plain buttoned up

This should be listed in my shop soon. I will start working feverishly for some new stuff because I’ll be taking part in a crafters’ fair that’s taking place around Halloween. It’s going to be my first fair so I’m very excited about it, and I have all sorts of ideas about new plain bananas items. Be patient, will you?

Speaking of bananas, I was ecstatic to discover that I made the front page on Sunday! This totally made my day and I’d like to thank palepink for this. Here it is:

plain africa in the spotlight!

plain africa in the spotlight!

Hope you’re enjoying your week. Soon, some photos of my chaos. And I’m not messing with you.

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Just mental

Jewelry

I’m happy to announce: I’m back.

And by back, I mean back to the beading fun. Last night before going to bed I really felt the urge to make a set of earrings, which I shared with you yesterday. They are now available at my shop. The same feeling greeted me in the morning, and I made another set while having my dose of Vitamin C in the sun. The nutrients worked, because look:

Indulging in my girly persona

Indulging in my girly persona

And in general I’ve been on the hyper side of things. Just thinking about all the changes that my apartment will undergo — this major face lift — really makes me lose sleep at night. Not from worry or stress, but excitement. I think about the major changes, and pepper those thoughts with a lot of great accessories I come across on Etsy and interior design blogs and magazines and oh my, I’m in mental heaven! If only mental money could work as well in reality as it does in my head, where budget is a word that is foreign and utterly meaningless. But that’s in my head — and as regards most things in there — pretty useless to the real world.

But I promised a little view of the kitchen plans. In the absence of a scanner, I photographed the catalog. I think it gives you the overall idea:

Be my guests!

Be my guests!

And lastly, all your crossed fingers did the trick! My sister got the job and now it’s time for celebration. Bring out the wine and some food because I’m famished. But before I go, here’s a view from my balcony along with my little friend. Enjoy!

The beach waits for you (and me)

The beach waits for you (and me)

Math Monday

math monday

mathsbananas

I’m getting better with the days. Granted it’s 1 a.m. (sort of) but for my purposes it’s still Monday night. I just managed to steal some minutes at the end of a rather longish day, and now it’s time to do the math.

  • 1 new listing on Etsy finally! Oh yeah, this banana has risen from the Etsy dead. I’ve managed to locate my beads, and supplies but the frames I use to take photos with the jewelry are still in the mysterious box no. 7 which is nowhere near me, right now.
Caution: not edible!

Caution: not edible!

  • 6 is the number of boxes I have unpacked. You might be wondering what’s taking so long — I keep going on and on about boxes. I should be done already, right? Well not quite. I’ve just moved to my apartment and it will soon undergo major renovation, so I’m not too quick with unpacking things that don’t need to be out of their boxes yet. It’s going to be a long while before I manage to call this place my home, but I love changes, and boy am I excited.
  • 5-digit number, which I dare not mention, is the cost of the whole renovation. I was doing the math earlier this evening along with the carpenter. I’m quite optimistically looking beyond the big sum of expenses and envisioning the big change and long-term investment. Wouldn’t you?
  • 1.5 job interviews for my sister. The .5 is for the second part of the interview which involves some hands-on creativity tomorrow with a live brief (by the way, my sister’s a graphic designer / illustrator and she designs anything plain bananas you see). I’m hoping you can cross your fingers too.
  • 1 new pair of earrings that I have yet to list. The perfect way to end a long day of numbers.
Look beyond the bad lighting

Look beyond the bad lighting

Coming soon, a photo of the kitchen I’ve chosen and my clean desk. Ok, I’ll sneak in one of the sea from my balcony too.

How was your week in numbers?

Math Monday

math monday

mathsbananas

I’m still trying to figure out what day it is. All day today I thought it was Monday. Somewhere along the line, I checked my cellphone and realized that lo and behold, time can’t keep up with me and it’s already Tuesday. I had a few numbers I wanted to mention, so what the hell?

Play along, will you? Let’s go!

  • 4 new prints to be framed. Well, make that 2, because I couldn’t help it. Came to Cyprus to discover 4 prints from the wonderfully talented Sam. Thanks ever so much! They look great on my bedroom wall.
Picture perfect!

Picture perfect!

  • 1 point something weeks in Cyprus. Getting into the rhythm of things has been slow but I’m gradually getting there. Imminent move happening soon, as well as major renovation of my current apartment, but when all that happens, I’ll have some photos for you. It seems like eons from now.
  • 5 blog posts this week. This is a phenomenal change back to routine again. I’ve missed the internet and blogging.
  • 12 origami butterflies in all sorts of colors!
  • 1 lovely dog that was happy to see me again!
Woof! Meet muffin.

Woof! Meet muffin.

  • 3 yellow chairs I put together for my little classroom.
  • 1 new sticker on my car. Just so you can tell it’s me (thanks to Gabbi!)
Oh yes it is!

Oh yes it is!

How was your week in numbers?

Back and ready to crumble

Musings

It’s been what, a month? Surely it’s felt like longer for you, no? It has for me. Actually in the past month, time took on that surreal sense of going really quickly, but in slow motion too. It gave me enough time to pause and marvel at things I was doing, places I went to, wonderful people I’ve shared precious moments with. And all of this without Internet. Thank you divine idle time — your overabundance kept me quite busy indeed.

To avoid getting myself (and implicating you too, of course) into alarming high word counts, I have decided to break it down into different entries. That should keep all of our sanity intact. So I’ll let you know about the best buyer a world could ask for, show you a splash of Berlin, give you a little bit of that Parisian glamor and then relocate to Crete and its wonderful beaches.

This past month had quite a lot of moving; in fact we packed up our stuff and shipped it over to Cyprus and also emptied our entire apartment into boxes and moved to a temporary little furnished place until my boyfriend completes his thesis. My other half is working very hard as we speak, furrowed brow and all, in an effort to finish his thesis soon. Of that I’m sure.

As for me, I headed to Cyprus to find a nest and get back into the teaching wheel. Incidentally, hello from a new location.

But more of those adventures, as they unravel. For now, click and read. It’s good to have you back.

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

plain bananas has friends

Do you felt?

Well, if you’re an English teacher, or a stickler to English grammar, you’d have noticed that something is just not right in that question. Well, it’s not right if “felt” is treated as the past of “feel”. I assure you it’s not. Put your grammar books aside and let’s meet a true felt artist:

Meet Karlita

Meet Karlita

This wonderful artist has stolen my heart. In fact she’s stolen many hearts: there are only so many items I can heart before I realize it’s pointless to try and choose from the creative felted selection she has on display at her shop.

So what’s behind that colorful smile?

XL felted scarf/ jewel blue with olive green accents

XL felted scarf/ jewel blue with olive green accents

My name is…Karla Vandebeek, a.k.a. Karlita.

I make…all kinds of jewelry and accessories.

I’m inspired…by colours, materials and trips abroad.

I cannot live without…1. my loved ones (including two cats 🙂 and 2. supplies!

An item I’ve made that was hard to let go…I honestly don’t remember; if I really want to keep something, i just do (when i first started – 12 years ago – I made everything double, one to sell and one to keep 🙂 ).

XL Felted scarf/ jewel lime colour with olive green coloured accents

XL Felted scarf/ jewel lime colour with olive green coloured accents

I create because…I cannot not create.

I wish…I could create full-time, but since last year I work part-time and have a lot less time to create.

If I could learn another art it would be…metalsmithing, computer design, to design things to make jewelry with, sewing very well, working with clay …. aargh, too many to choose, I might need a second life!

My website is…well i have a few: http://www.karlita.be, http://www.karlita.etsy.com, http://www.karlita.dawanda.com and http://www.karlitashop.blogspot.com [Note: listed again at the end of this.]

Ring with felt in purple with turquoise polkadot

Ring with felt in purple with turquoise polkadot

I blog because…I love to write little stories and it’s fun to keep track of my own life that way 🙂 – it serves like a (little bit censored) journal.

One day…I hope to be able to only create, travel – with my loved ones of course.

I started…because I bought a necklace in Venezuela and my mom challenged me and said I could not make something like that. But I also was always making things as a kid.

Textile jewelry - colourful felt and fabric artistic necklace

Textile jewelry – colourful felt and fabric artistic necklace

I always…used to run to the computer when I got home to see if I had messages or sales- now I bought myself an iPhone and an internet everywhere thing – I’m a total addict!

If I were a color I would be…RED.

My full-time job…part-time working for a city, and part-time my creative business.

In a nutshell…I’m a happy camper 🙂

Handmade enamel ring in turquoise with pink polkadot - adjustable size

Handmade enamel ring in turquoise with pink polkadot - adjustable size

In a bigger nutshell…creating is what colours my life (in bright colours – I’m usually inspired either by colours or by materials). I started by making jewelry collections in 1997 – selling them to stores in Belgium. But I got tired of having to create one necklace several times, wanted to quit but accidently stumbled upon Etsy and the rest is history as they say :). I love all aspects of a creative business: making things, selling them and even the administrative side!

You can find Karlita here:

shop: http://www.karlita.etsy.com, http://www.karlita.dawanda.com

website: http://www.karlita.be

blog: http://karlitashop.blogspot.com

I leave you with a photo of Karlita’s enviable workspace and more of her felted treasures. And don’t hesitate to give her a heart or two — they’ll keep my hearts in good company 🙂

Karlita's creative corner

Karlita's creative corner

felted scarf/ jewel brown with red accents

felted scarf/ jewel brown with red accents

Letterpress necklace - the vintage looking H, with a little green adventurine

Letterpress necklace - the vintage looking H, with a little green adventurine

Felted scarf/ jewel in white with blue accents

Felted scarf/ jewel in white with blue accents

Necklace with felted pendant in turquoise with a green polkadot

Necklace with felted pendant in turquoise with a green polkadot




It’s a rich man’s world

Jewelry, Musings

Money, money, money.

Thanks to last summer’s box office hit musical, the classic slogan has become a tune and motto for youngsters all around (in addition to adults who have long been familiar with this, of course). I was promptly reminded of this every time I would mention the word “money” in class, which my students would mistake for a cue to start singing the song (or at least those three words in maddening repetition). Mention the word ABBA and suddenly the class goes quiet thinking it’s an acronym for a new tense.

Works every time.

As for the money in my pocket, I have been in a fix this past whole month because all of my credit cards expired. Location of new credit cards? Cyprus. So finally after a whole month of careful planning around the cash in my wallet, I received my new plastic money in the mail on Friday and proceeded to cut up expired cards in tiny pieces. In the end, I was left with a mount of colorful plastic inscribed in bank formalities.

Old money

Old money

I heaped it in my hand and just when I was about to throw it out, I had a bright idea (think lightbulb over head). Why put all those funky colors to waste? I had better plans for them, and the next day they came into fruition.

plain plastic money

plain plastic money

Old money – taken care of. The new cards must now be put into good use — namely in the form of a haircut. In fact, I am in dire need of one. I almost had my hair cut a couple of months ago, but was so unsure of what I wanted I ended up not doing anything.

Let me tell you a little something about my hair: It has multiple personalities. As a child, I had curls much to my general disbelief growing up, because for the better part of my life it was straight. Then, it started testing the waters with a wavy look that looked like I was stuck in a perpetual moment of hair indecision. In the past 4 years it has turned decidedly curly again. Now it looks like it needs a haircut.

In an effort to save money in the absence of plastic security I chose to delay the cut thinking that the perfect hairdo would come to me when I least expected it. Yeah, right. I am now at my hair’s split ends with this story: I even told my boyfriend that he can go ahead and cut it for me because I no longer care. His eyes glimmered and he got so excited over this, I swiftly retracted my statement of desperation, much to his disappointment.

He did try to win me over, though: “I may not be a hairdresser, but you can’t beat the precision of an engineer.”

Out of sheer curiosity I almost gave in to him, but then the new cards arrived. This week I’m taming the mane with professional scissors and leaving my engineer’s precision to other matters.

Oh and in other news, Antigoni from novely jewels awarded me with this:

blogaward

Thanks so much Antigoni! Now if I can figure out how to add it to the columns it would really be something worth celebrating!

In acceptance of this award, I will post the Rules of Blog Award Acceptance:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2. Pass the award to 15 other fabulous blogs. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Here’s is my list of lovely blogs I love reading:

1. http://www.boulieblog.com

2. http://finelittleday.blogspot.com

3. http://www.kreativling.at

4. http://lovarevolutionary.blogspot.com

5. http://matouenpeluche.typepad.com

6. http://novelle360.blogspot.com

7. http://pamelaangus.blogspot.com

8. http://paper-flower-girl.blogspot.com

9. http://theadventuresofcassie.blogspot.com

10. http://www.thespottedduck.com

11. http://wemakewords.blogspot.com

12. http://thankyouenjoy.wordpress.com

13. http://felinofelice.blogspot.com

14. http://abeautifulparty.blogspot.com

15. http://brooklynrehab.blogspot.com

Whew! That was a long list!

Have a lazy Sunday and Dads everywhere: Happy Father’s Day to you!

Technically speaking

Jewelry

Just when I was convinced that phone / internet companies were truly incompetent and would never actually get the technical problems sorted, I got a surprise.

I had come to terms with my indefinite absence from the online community, and had moved on to other things that made my days more colorful: beads! I was sitting in my little corner, inspired by hot pink and blue and had jazzy music in the background, when I suddenly get a text message. It read: Your technical problem has now been resolved. We are at your service, should you have any other problem.

A text message! Internet! Whoaaaaa!

But the past few days without it snapped me into shape. I briefly checked Etsy and my e-mails and then promptly closed the laptop and finished the necklace. First things, have now reclaimed their order and must come first again.

Here is the new necklace:

Plain tribal

Plain tribal

What followed, was of course a celebration that came in the sweet form of strawberry cupcakes. Incognito cupcakes, that is. Why? Well have a look at them yourself and see if you can spot what’s wrong:

Straight out of the oven

Straight out of the oven

Still can’t see it? Well, how about now?

Adding some color

Adding some color

Well, the whole mixture made 6 mega-cupcakes. I don’t know about you, but in my experience, cupcakes come in small, pretty shapes. Well, not in Greece, they don’t — because apparently, in Chania at least, there are no cupcake paper cases in sight. Only some gigantic aluminum ones, that look so wrong. But better than nothing.  At least I had this huge sweet pink delight to satisfy my evening craving.

This had my name all over it.

This had my name all over it.

So cyber world, hello. I’m back and it’s sweet to see you again.

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

Plain Bananas Has Friends

I thought things were bad but bearable without a phone line (yes, it has been a week but still no tone), but they got exponentially worse when we realized yesterday the internet was also cut. The shred of contact we had with anyone who wasn’t a local, has been severed for an indefinite amount of time. What am I feeling right now? Very definite hate for phone / internet companies and it’s a good thing it’s a Friday and I have friends.

Let me introduce you to Urbandesign, who stumbled on a new hobby and business after joining Etsy! If you haven’t noticed the paradox, let me tell you, things don’t run like that in the Etsy community; you open a shop after you’ve discovered your obsessive hobby. Unless you misread the signs and you’re lucky to unravel a side of you that you never knew existed.

This is urbandesign’s story.

She opened a jewelry shop last year on Etsy, and set to promote it, she started looking for good ways to photograph her creations. And that’s how her new love and absolute obsession was born: Photography. She purchased her real camera last spring and has let her artistic eye take her on a new journey. It wasn’t until February 2009 that she felt comfortable enough to sell her photos online on Etsy, where her shop suddenly became the centre of the focus.

Love Blooms II - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Love Blooms II - 8x8 Fine Art Print

In her brief and creative career as a photographer, she managed to get five photos selected for the set of the upcoming thriller The Roommate (released in 2010), much to her surprise and utter exultation. In her words, “I about had a stroke the day they sent me a [message] through Etsy asking for permission to use them!”

She tries to make time for her photography and often takes her three children along to her photographic adventures.

Thankfully, she had a little time left to tell me a little something about herself. Let me share it with you.

Pool of Bliss - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Pool of Bliss - 8x12 Fine Art Print

My name is…Maleah Matthews.

I make…fine art photography prints.

I’m inspired by…everything in nature. Nothing like being outdoors to get my creative juices flowing!

I cannot live without…my family — I adore my children and I can’t imagine my life without them or my husband.

All Things Beautiful - 8x12 Fine Art Print

All Things Beautiful - 8x12 Fine Art Print

An item I’ve made that was hard to let go…The only thing I’ve ever been sad to sell wasn’t something I made. It was my oldest child’s first Easter dress. I didn’t think it mattered that much to me, but when I packaged it up to mail I started bawling like a baby. Seems kinda silly now!

I create because…it is very relaxing to me. It is one of the only times I feel like I can escape from my crazy busy life.

I wish I…had more hours in the day so that I could  do all the things that I’m always creating in my head!

If I could learn another art it would be…someday I would like to try painting or quilting.

My website is…www.urbandesign.etsy.com

The Sparrow - 8x8 Fine Art Print

The Sparrow - 8x8 Fine Art Print

I blog because…it’s a fun way to connect with other people, artists and bloggers. I’ve met some of the nicest people this way!

One day…I hope to travel more; there are so many beautiful places to photograph!

I started…a Facebook fanpage last month and that has been a really fun way to interact and get feedback on my photos.

I always…enjoy a hike with my kids.

If I were a color I would be…blue — it’s my fave!

Stars In The Sky - 8x12 Fine Art Photograph

Stars In The Sky - 8x12 Fine Art Photograph

My full-time job…I own a salon with a staff of 25 people, and I’m a hairstylist

In a nutshell…I love that I get to create and do what I enjoy!

In a bigger nutshell: I would love for photography business to grow to the point that I could spend more my time doing this and getting paid for it! I’m working towards a photography vacation with my family!

Here’s where you can find urbandesign:

shop: http://www.urbandesign.etsy.com

blog: http://urbandj.blogspot.com/

Or you can become a fan: http://facebook.com/pages/Urban-Design-Photography/86438245904

I leave you with some more of her romantic photos and a note: You have Internet, and I don’t, so enjoy it!

The Old Grove - 8x8 Fine Art Print

The Old Grove - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Town Meeting - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Town Meeting - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Dream Scape - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Dream Scape - 8x12 Fine Art Print

Poppy Enchanted - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Poppy Enchanted - 8x8 Fine Art Print

Know your rights

Musings

As Europe rushes to the polls to cast a vote in the throes of the European election fever, I’m snuggly seated in my little bead corner, creating like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not politically indifferent at all; I just happen to be out of my home country for these elections.

And between us, maybe that’s a good thing, because leaving the house has now become a rather impossible task — to the point where people are asking my boyfriend if I’m under house arrest.

I am not. It’s all voluntary and here’s why:

In bead heaven!

In bead heaven!

That’s right! My good friend, the mailman, delivered once again! I finally got new beads of all colors and I’m back to creating new things! I’ve posted some new items in my shop, so check them out! Who knew that inspiration itself could be so carefully parceled in bubble-wrap?

In fact, one of the new earrings I made has been featured in a treasury!

Spot the banana in the treasury!

Spot the banana in the treasury!

In fact, I serendipitously logged into treasury at the right time and got a chance to make my own treasury.

Birds of a feather, flock together

Birds of a feather, flock together

Yes, I’m gradually becoming all the more addicted to Etsy, much to the general concern of my boyfriend who claims he’s also an Etsy widower. I knew I should have never forwarded that article.

As for this voting weekend, my vote has been cast. I vote for beads! How about you?