Friday, 30 November 2012

First snow

One thing I really enjoy about having kittens is showing them the first snow. This year we only have Ullegull to introduce this fantastic weather type/toy to. I'd love to have some good pics of him seeing snow for the first time, but unfortunately it didn't start snowing until after sundown and as fast as I opened the door for Uggi, he darted into the dark together with Jinja, Jisse and Julle (when snow comes, they're all still kittens). I could hear them play, but not see them.

I did manage to lure Ullegull into the lamp light a few times to snap a few pics. Rather than wait for monday, I'm showing them here now, keeping my fingers crossed there'll be more snow or at least that what little came today will stay throughout tomorrow so I can get more cats-playing-in-snow pics for Meowy Monday.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Old UFOs

I've been looking through my stash, both my real one and the virtual one that is WIP photos. It's nearing the end so it's kind of like taking stock, noting the input and output and se how much the inventory has grown. And about finding or rediscovering things that can either be used or destashed.
And trying to dig up old works in progress that was put aside for one reason or another. Guess I'm not the only one that can dig up UFOs that's been forgotten for years that way. I even had to literally wipe dust of the one above...

Here's a few things I've had lying around, mainly because I don't really know what I want to do with them (have you read my blog long enough, you will know this is something I do all the time, starting new projects or making samples and then not know how I want to continue -- there's even a particular blog label for it!). They're all things I don't think have been seen on this blog before.

Above is a porcelain picture stone I bought ages ago. More because I love cats than because I love that kind of aesthetics. The idea was to embroider a beaded frame around the decal cabochon, but while I had an idea -- that I want to try on another cab -- I suddenly started to worry that it'd overpower the picture or be too buzy as there's already a lot going on in the picture itself. That's why I chose grey beads to begin with. But suddenly I started to doubt my colour choice too.

Not sure what I'll do with it. Heck, perhaps I should even give up the beads, go in a completely different and unforeseen way, and stitch a border with threads or cords instead?

Above is a big glass drop pendant that I bought with some diffuse idea about wire wrapping it. I just happened to have the fabric flowers lying around so I put them through the hole. Two things kept me from finishing this project, with ought to have been a simple 2 minute project. First of all, I started to doubt if it looked good, especially after I rearranged the flowers slightly. Secondly, a cat found the flowers and they're no longer in a condition. Not all chewed up, but a tad ruffled as they were thrown off the table. All in all, I just didn't like the look of it any more.

The drop is pretty as it is, though a bit chunkier than my usual style, but it'd be fun to do something more with it instead of just using it as a plain pendant. I'll probably test something like the flower thing again and see how it goes this time.

I guess this could be a finished necklace if I only put a clasp on it, but I made it with the idea that I'd embellish it. Flower and leaf beads perhaps. I thought about using my large "tropical topaz" flower bells (se the charm below), but didn't think it looked as good as I'd like once I temporarily added a few flower dangles.

No idea what to do, but seeing how I embroider at the moment I even consider couching it to an embroidery for a fun dimensional effect.

It feel like a good time of year to start finishing things so there's more of a clean slate -- and perhaps "freeing up" beads from UFOs and instead put them back in the stash -- when the new year comes. Having comitted to the Bead Journal Project 2013, I might need it!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Meowy Monday: Cat photo of the week

I've got two different photos for you today. Both are taken on the same day: one when my sis and I when for the walk that resulted in these photos and one taken earlier that day for a series of photos I hope to show later this week.

The first photo (above) is of Ullegull, who's trying to balance on a small crossbar by the (broken) glass wall of the old greenhouse. Some of the adult cats like Julle and Figge likes to do it so of cause Uggi, who's a big cat now according to himself, had to show that he can do it too.

I think I'll end this post with a "bonus pic" of Jisse in the tree. (Sorry, Ullegull, for not making you the sole centre of attention this week...)

Bead blog recap weeks 46-47

Almost forgot it, but here's the recap of my two last weeks of blogging at my other blog, Manekis pärlblogg. This time there's no less than three book reviews on top of the usual project tips, info on glass bead colours, bead embroidery techniques, contests and colourful leather cord.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A november afternoon

The other day -- well, Monday to be exact, the day I showed the lighthouse pics -- my sis suggested we take the cameras and go for a walk. You know it's soon winter when such a suggestion made around 14:45 in the afternoon makes you rush: you have to hurry in order not to miss the last sunlight of the day. Where did the days go when you could make such a suggestion at nine in the evening and still have time to take pics like the one in my blog header? Now, the sun begins to sink behind the hills already at 15 and the sun sets before four o'clock!

So we had about an hour to go after finding some warmer clothes, appropriate shoes and various cats that wanted to tag along. I got some pics, she got some pics (despite the camera battery slowly dying), we even managed to wait out the sunset -- and the lighthouse as seen in the previous post -- without freezing our fingers off. This time I didn't even get a shock from touching electric fencing like I did last time -- one of the things I go through in the quest for nice scenic photos sometimes during grazing season.*

The photos are in more or less chronological order so if you want sunset pics, you may want to start from the end. Generally, I think the last pics turned out better than the first.

We followed one of the stone walls as you can see. As usual you can see some of the bronze age burial mounds in the last two pics. (Please don't ask we to name them, I can't tell them apart, especially from this vantage point. Pretty much all of them are surrounded by troll-related legends.)

 The most yellow/amber photo of the lot: the late afternoon sun shining down at a hazy field.

Oh, that was a lot of almost similar photos of the sun is beginning to descend over Kullaberg. Or of the twilight to the left of the setting sun, couldn't really focus directly on the sun just yet.

Finally, the sun set behind the hills and trees, adding a beautiful warm colour to those lovely clouds.

The last photos I took on the way back, a far way from the point from which we got the Kullaberg photos and at some point after four o'clock (my camera clock is off, but around 16:10-16:15), with the sun beneath the horizon. That's almost precisely an hour after the first photo in this series. One hour in one day in november 2012.

* = ok, I don't normally stumble into electric fencing. The problem is passing them. Or more precisely, passing fencing where it runs along a stone wall, creating a small gap (at least for a big girl like me) between the wire and stone. If there aren't any openings nearby, you just have to crawl through that gap and last time I did that, I misjudged the gap and was hit by the electricity over my back. Not sure if Julle, who was by my side, got a taste of it too, but I don't think so.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The lighthouse at Kullaberg

In northwestern Skåne or Scania as the region is known internationally, you'll find two peninsulas stretching out into Kattegatt (that's the name of the sea around here, for those not familiar with Scandinavian waters). I live on the northern most peninsula, Bjärehalvön or just Bjäre. From here you can often get a good view of the peninsula in the south, Kullen.

At the tip of Kullen, in the nature reserve of Kullaberg, there's a lighthouse, called simply Kullens fyr (Kullen's lighthouse). It's the most powerful lighthouse in all of Scandinavia and one of a dwindling number of swedish lighthouses that are still in use. I have never seen it close up, but I've seen the light all my life. I especially associate it with going home from my grandparents' or returning for the nearest town, Ängelholm, as there's a long stretch of road going through the flatter southern side of the peninsula, giving an impressive free view of much of Kullen, including the tip with the lighthouse.

So of cause I want to take photos of the lighthouse light. Do you know how hard that is? First of all, you don't want too much daylight, but it shouldn't be too dark as my camera doesn't like that and I don't have a tripod. Then you have to time the lights (one revolution takes about 7 seconds) and hit the button at the right time, taking into account the time it takes for the camera to react (varies with different cameras). Of cause you have to focus in advance and wait for the flash of light, preferrably pushing the button a fraction of a second too fast so you don't miss it. Needless to say, I'm not a good enough photographer to master this. This is the best I could do -- even when using the several-photos-in-a-row setting I don't know what's it called.

Most photos were failures, but there were a couple when I didn't see that I got some of the light before seeing the photos on the computer screen. A pin prick of light so tiny it didn't even show on the camera monitor. That's just catching the first or last glimpse of light so it doesn't exactly show that most-powerful-in-Scandinavia light flash. I was about to give up, go how and thaw my fingers up, when I made a last attempt. And guess what? I got the light! But had moved the camera so it's amost out of shot...

Better luck next time, huh?


PS! You can read more about the lighthouse on e. g. Wikipedia or, in Swedish, at Sjöfartsverket's website. Did you know that no less than the astronomer Tycho Brahe was the administrator of the lighthouse (Skåne/Scania being danish in those days)? Of cause, back then it wasn't the same lighthouse with such an impressive light as today: the current building was constructed in 1898.

Meowy Monday: cat photo of the week

I guess I could show some photos from today as me and my sis just recently got home from a "photo expedition" (if a walk through the fields for 1,5 hour could ever count as an expedition or even an excursion). Julle, Jisse, Jinja and Ullegull can with, but Uggi gave up fast (he's never been on the wrong side of the road before) and then Jinja returned home after our cat photo session. Julle and Jisse stayed by the stone wall as usual, but waited for us to return before going home. Which was a longer wait than usual as we were waiting for the sun to set.

Anyway, I could do that. But I'd already decided it was Knatti's day today. So instead of outdoor photos on a sunny and chilly november day, it's some indoor flash photography from last week. Sorry, Knatti, it's the best recent pics I have of you...

 The photo of Knatti on the telly (pic at the top of the post) is older than the two above. Both me and my sis have working old TVs so we still have the kind cats can actually sleep on. And they do love to do that -- who wouldn't like a heated bed?

The below photo is also a bit older. Think it might have been my sis who took it. A not so happy Knatti watching QI.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

New embroidery floss

I seem to concentrate my blogging to weekends for some strange reason... Today I just wanted to show something I got already on Monday, but never got around to write about. There are two things I might get in the mail that warrants a blog post: new beads or new threads. This time it was threads. And the best of threads: free threads (won in a giveaway).

I won a package of the new embroidery floss from Sublime Stitching at the Feeling Stitchy blog. Many of the colourways inspired me -- think some of them ended up on my pinboard -- but one in particular stood out: Mingles, a set of pre-blended floss. Pre-blended means that while cotton floss normally consists of six individual threads (ply) in the same colour, each skein here comes with three threads of one colour blended with three threads of another colour. While it at first glance might seem similar to variegated (e.g. Sublime Floss Taffy Pull) it's not: it's two types of threads, not one space-dyed thread.

This floss is a bit special as Jenny, thw woman behind the company, has added a personal touch with inspirational names and little one-liners on each colour.

I have an idea or rather a little something I want to try, but there's a risk I have to get new beads to be able to do it. Will have to really rummage through the bead boxes first: one never knows what's hiding on the bottom sometimes...

Other than that I have to real plans for the floss yet. Think they'd be useful for leaves and flowers perhaps so there'll probably be a small floral embroidery with these. Have only on a few occasions before mixed threads so I'm not used to stitching with pre-blended floss at all. So the best ideas probably won't pop up until I've had time to play around with the thread a bit, seeing how it looks when stitched.

PS! While planning my embroideries, I'm also considering signing up for this. Wonder if I have the stamina to see it through, though. That's what's kept me from signing up previous years, the idea of tying myself up to a year-long obligation. I haven't even kept up to speed with TAST this year (but have an idea about combining the two, focusing more on monthly goals than on weekly, which I hope will be easier). Anyone else doing BJP?

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Did I forget a Meowy Monday -- again?

I forgot to give you the weekly dose of cat yesterday, I fear. So we'll just have to make it a Meowy Tuesday instead (can't think of anything cat-related beginning with t so I could keep the alitteration... Hrmm... Perhaps Tabby Tuesday, but that doesn't fit as I chose kitten over cat today).

It's a Ullegull medley today. Above a pic of what happens when you try to get a kitten's attention so he'll look into the camera. Or get stuck halfway through the motion and keep looking up a tree instead...

It didn't get better the other day when I wanted a close-up. It got very close up...

This one's better, but you can see he didn't really like the flash I had to use at it was in the middle of the night.

Finally, a bad photo that I've tried to touch up a bit for you. It's taken in poor light and I have many much better pics, but it's still kind of special as it's one of the first photos I took of him. Will run it through Neat Image one day when I've got some more time and hopefully it'll improve it a bit too...

You had to wait an extra day for the Meowy Monday feature this week. Hopefully Ullegull was worth it.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Vega -- just a random bead photo

I'm a bit behind on writing blog posts for my other blog, but now I'm taking a break and thought I'd just show this photo that I accidentally uploaded on Picasa (where photos on blogger blogs are hosted) when trying to add another pic to illustrate a blog post for next week.

It's all examples of vega finish on beads. In the background Crystal vega and in the foreground a mix of colours. Vega is also known as an amethyst luster finish and there's a variation called bronze vega (or amethyst luster).

Pretty purples -- can't get too much of those!

Bead blog recap weeks 43-45

I've once again forgot to do a recap last week... Probably should do them weekly instead of biweekly in order to remember it better. (Last weekend was my birthday, but it's not much of an excuse, seeing how I don't really celebrate it and therefore didn't have much more than usual to do. At the most, I planned some shopping as I got a little money from my parents and aunt. Yay, new stuff!)

So three weeks of writing, what has that produced? This time around you can read about new contests and challenges, inspiring beads, colour inspiration, project and techniques such as repairing foilbacks (se photo above) and drilling in stone.

Any contest, challenge or swap that's too late by now has been left out from this list of posts. If curious, you can find all the challenge and contest tips on my blog here.

Friday, 9 November 2012

What book reviews do you want to see here?

I'm going to spend the weekend reading two swedish books on jewellery making that I'll review on my other blog (Yay, I dared to ask for review copies and got it!). That got me thinking of the book reviews I've published on this blog.

So far it's just been a few reviews of beading/jewellery-making books written in english that you've found here. Translations of newly published reviews on my other blog (where I write in Swedish). But how interesting would it be for you, my international readers, to read a review in english of a book written in Swedish? Would anyone be interested or would it be pretty useless as you might not be very likely to buy or even read those books?

And would anyone want to read reviews of my favourite american and british beading/jewellery-making books that I reviewed in Swedish ages ago, but haven't mentioned on this blog? (There's a list of all the books -- mostly in english -- that I've reviewed on my other blog here.)

And there's also another thing I've been pondering: would anyone be interested in reading reviews of books about other crafts? Apart from bead and jewellery-making books I also read books on e.g. embroidery, paper craft/art, metalwork etc. Books that I don't mention, let alone review, on my other blog, but which I enjoy and which might be of interest to some of you reading this blog.

Of cause, reviewing e.g. embroidery books -- it's mostly embroidery books at the moment -- I'd be writing from the viewpoint of a beginner, of someone who hasn't read many books and magazines that the reviewed book can be compared with. Unlike when talking about beading, a craft and art I've worked with for years and have tonnes of books and mags about. For example, I've read a goldwork book, which I'd love to write a lyrical review about, but I haven't tried goldwork. Yet.

 And a few of my craft and beading books are in languages I don't understand so reviewing them would be from a somewhat special point of view. Not that it stops me: you could just recently read my review of a french bead book. Language isn't always a problem.

Ah, the book above is danish. I've got a couple of books from that duo too that I've reviewed on my other blog. This book on making silver beads and another one on making jewellery from beach stones. Danish sorts under languages I sort of understand. Understand it well enough to read it, at least.

To conclude, I just wanted to ask you, my reader, if you like to read my reviews and if you want to read reviews on swedish beading/jewellery-making books and/or craft books that aren't bead related. Would love to hear what you think.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Meowy Monday: Cat photo of the week

Ninna or Ninjis is the daughter of a feral barn cat. While her brother became tame almost immediately as a kitten, she remained stand-offish. Even her kittens such as Ulle-gull have become tame at the blink of an eye, but she remains "semi-feral".

But when the weather gets colder, she likes to be indoors. Close to a bed (she sleeps in mine, but only jumps up after I've fallen asleep) or a radiator. She really doesn't enjoy being patted, though when she's sleepy she can be touched. Not too much and absolutely not lifted, but she's not terrified of me or my sis.

(In the pic above it's easy to tell she's Julle's mom. Do you see the similarities? It's even happened that I've scared Ninji by doing a playful attack from behind, thinking it was Julle... While Julle would've like it, she was petrified by it, poor girl!)

Because of her feral way of life, I don't have that many pics of her even if she has been spotted on this blog before. So this monday I figured it was her time to shine. Normally I avoid photographing with a flash, but with the current weather and the fact she mostly comes near me in the evenings I had to pester her a bit with it. She didn't appreciate that very as she was trying to sleep (as she didn't really appreciate me being that close to her at all, camera flash or not). But she's so cute when dozing, I just had to take a few snapshots.
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