Monday, May 16, 2016

Rickshawgirl and message of hope

Yesterday we went to see a play in Berkeley, The Rickshawgirl.  I know the writer Mitali Perkins as her parents are also Bengali speaking and our friends.  I was very proud to see what a wonderful story Mitali has written about a girl and her family in Bangladesh, the rickshaw puller's family.  There are many things in this story, but a most importantly, a message of hope.

The play was superb too and Sonali Bhattacharya's live song with the live music gave it a different dimension.

Mitali Perkins, the author will be present to sign the book next Sunday.

There are many organizations perhaps that are supporting women's endeavor to be self supporting, especially in underdeveloped nations.  Two of them I really like.

Women For Women

KIVA foundation where you can loan money to a needy person .  See how it works.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bead Peep Blog Hop 2016

What fun I had in this Beed Peep  blog hop!

On this lovely Sunday morning, today ( May 8)  I opened my package one more time that my partner Andrea Glick sent me.  There were lots of lovely things, but for today I  am choosing  the lovely  hand made lamp work focal ( by Marcia Seever of Shazazz Glass) to work with.

Andrea sent me lots of these lovely things.  Sorry this picture did  not  do much justice. I'll show later  the pieces I chose for today's project. In Andrea's stack there were some cool Greek beads and lovely pink swarovski, rose quartz and czech glass rondelles that I plan to attack soon another quiet morning.

This was a great opportunity to ask myself  what I love most in making jewelry.  And I found that in terms of colors, I like them all. I have no  particular color that I absolutely hate.  It depends on the shade sometimes.  For that reason I love to work with Polymer clay where I mix different colors and experiment.  I  am just beginning to understand the importance of negative space regarding colors and design.

I work with wire a lot and wish I had more time to play with that technique.

I also work in the area of wire knitting and that comes easy for me.  I integrate gemstones, crystals, precious metals or not-so-precious all to experiment.

Some times I like just good old stringing and today I am  in the mood for that.  Nothing complicated just let the lamp bead say what it wants to...

Handmade Lamp Bead
 and I chose the  the  hemalite, (not  hematite) string of beads.  To accent,  I added  red and white accent tube beads from her stash.  Here  is a necklace that I came up.

I think I am going to keep it for me.  It will go lovely with many things I wear.  I could not resist showing off the sterling silver clasp she sent.  I am not sure if Andrea made it herself.  It is just darling.  Thank you Andrea.  So I put it at the side.  The necklace is 24 inches in length.  I could just slip it over my head and not bother opening the clasp.  It is just for show!

Andrea sent me some nice  pink swarovski and jet black  beads from Greece but for today I chose these.
This is what I sent to Andrea:

Please check the other wonderful participants of this blog hop and see what they made.
Here is the list of the other participants:

It was fun for  me taking part in it.  Thank you Linda Anderson for hosting it.

Linda Anderson
- Hostess -





CatherineLa Vite


Maria RosaSharrow


Terry JeanetteCarter


KellyHosford Patterson


KristinaHahn Eleniak

Robin LynneShowstack

Ingevon Roos










Tami Norris





Thursday, February 25, 2016

Wound up in Wire Weaving

I went back to wire weaving again.  It is so addictive.  This is my new passion now.   I go back and forth with making wire knit jewelry, then polymer clay and there is wire weaving, always wire weaving.

This is what I created recently

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Knitted Radiant Cardigan

The month of January kept me warm with this wonderful knitting pattern that I got from Ravelry.  It was a FREE pattern.  Meghan Jones was very generous to post this pattern free and give me all the help I needed via Face Book messages. You will find this pattern in that link.

I had a resolution this year that each month I'd learn something new.  Indeed I did.

 I had no idea what wt. means in knitting- it means wrap and turn.  It is also called SHORT ROW.   If you don't know what I am talking about , just type wt in knitting and go to Youtube. There are several generous knitters who would walk you through.

And why would I do that wt thing?  This pattern showed me why.  In the beginning it was difficult for me to understand the pattern since I had never done any thing like this.  Kitchener stitch was also a new thing for me.  But once I grabbed the idea the knitting went fast.

I had to knit a sweater for my dear Zoe for her birthday  and each year she expects something hand knitted from me.  One year I just sent her toys...she told me "But where is the hand knit sweater you make every birthday for me?"  That was so sweet.  The love I put in each stitch touched the six year old recipient.  What can a knitter ask for more?

To get a hold of the pattern first I tried it on her little sister as it is only a size 2 .  Meghan made it clear for several sizes in this pattern, so when I did the size 8 I had already had some experience.

 I made the buttons too to personalize them.  I am indebted to Ginger from The Blue Bottle Tree who has a wonderful blog on everything you want to know about Polymer Clay.  She walked me through creating the buttons and gave me enough courage telling which brand of clay to use that will withstand several washing machine agitations.  But I recommend that these cardigans be better hand washed.

I used Knitpicks Chroma Worsted Yarn  for these pieces.  The smaller one is in Lupine and the bigger one in Carnival. I am happy with the yarns though sometimes the weave of the yarn is too thick at one place and not as uniform.  But I think that gives an organic feel to it as long as you are aware of the fact while knitting.

Two sweaters in a month is pretty good speed I'd say.

Thank you for coming to visit my blog.  I'd love to hear your comments.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Kitchener stitch and all about that

Today I understood the Kitchener stitch.  It is a way to join two knitted  pieces, also known as grafting.  Why is it important - because it will be smooth with no bulk.  It is a neat thing that good knitters do to give their work a professional touch.

It was mostly used in joining the toes of a sock but now it  is equally coveted in sweaters, cardigan or other knitted garments.

I had a pattern that is almost finished except this Kitchener stitch part and I was really struggling to understand it for the last three days.

 It is supposed to be a gift.  I have rigid deadline.

And...finally I did it.

For that I am grateful to many knitters who have graciously shared their knowledge and expertise in the Youtube.  One that  helped me:

In this  second one I understood the rhythm better.


I understood it more clearly as she showed the process with a better rhythm. Pick up the front stitch as if to knit, let go  off the stitch,  but not the thread, immediately go to the next stitch of the same needle as to purl.  This the part I was messing up and this video helped me sort it out.

Where did the name come from I wondered.  Strangely, folk lore goes that an English guy who was a Field Marshall General around World War I, also served in India from 1902- 1909 for recruiting soldires to go fight for the WWI  showed the English and American knitters how to graft the socks' end so that the bulge would  not hurt the toes. The soldiers' toes I believe.  Lots of socks were knitted for the soldiers I assume.  This is how the name of this military guy came in to our knitting world.

Any way I am happy to show that my two knitted piece are now grafted with Kitchener stich in such a way that no one will know where the grafting was made.  See the first picture with contrasting purple yarn  is where I showed  the grafting

And here is my second one  where I hide it by using the same color yarn

Now I am ready to finish the sweater for my darling little one. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 and the Pantone Color Trend 

Happy New Year 

A new year rolled in and in a blink of eye 2015 passed away.

Today is a day to make resolution.  Yet why this farce ?  Do I really keep them?  Still I like to pause and think what I want to do this year. 

I was looking into the Color Trend of 2016.  Here is Pantone 2016

It embraces the concept of serenity. Calm down, slow down - is the motto

It highlights duality- think about  unisex designs- that is appropriate for both men and women

It takes us to think about charity, about giving more  for the wellness of others.

With these thoughts I go back to my bead boxes to see what I can make.

Here  Earrings Everyday invites us  to be part of a blogroll where we can take part in the   journey in making earrings.

I wonder what are your resolutions for this year.  What are you looking forward to making or changing ? 

With best wishes- Dita. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Mentor- Michael Nourot passed away recently and what he left

Micheall Nourot

Why am I writing about it? 

 Because- recently I came across an interesting quotation - it was about the distinction between a teacher and a mentor.

The author shared that a teacher just teaches or shows you how a certain thing is done, or a certain skill.   In that sense I have many teachers who have generously shared their 
craftmanship in You tube videos and personal blogs, all free.

A mentor is who raises the question - what are you going to do with that skill.  Where are you going with that skill or, s/he inspires you.  Michael Nourot was one such artist mentor, though I do not do glass blowing.

Who is Micheal Nourot:

I have never met Micheal Nourot in person but I have once visited his studio in Benicia, CA and was awed with his beautiful art work  pieces.

When I came to know that this local artist died at 66 it hurt me some where. It made me pause and think of him and then take the time to know more about him and write.

Micheal started to blow glass when he was only 9 years old.  Later in 1972 he went to Italy and learned the trick from an Italian glass blower in Murano.  He earned only 87 cents an hour as an assistant.  But he knew he was learning a skill from a guy whose family is doing  glass blowing for the last 300 years.  Not only from Italian masters he learned from the great artist Dale Chihuli too.

Highly collectible:

His work was comissioned by President Regan and Clinton both.   Many celebrities honored his work in their homes.   

When Pope John Paul II came to visit in 1987, there was a big question - how to serve the Communion wafer to 70,000 dedicated Catholics who gathered in Candle stick Park.  Nourot’s glass studio came to rescue. 

Yet, tough economic times did put pressure on the studio. One of his piece from his Etsy shop:  

Nourot’s quote:

“ I love to dance with the glass” - he said. “ Glass is not solid. It is constantly moving.  The challenge is to catch the movement in the design before it cools.”

Don’t I feel that way too about my artistic journey too?  In jewelry making too, there is also a dynamic energy, I feel and if I do not capture it at the right time the muse is gone.  It had to be caught  at the right time or else…

There is another thing he said that I could relate.  While he was learning from his Italian master in Murano he realized that there is an hierarchy in Italian glass blowing thing. “  There are three jobs.  owner, glass master and he designer.  and I knew I wanted to be all three at the same time.” 

Don’t we, artist- entrepreneurs  feel that too?  We design our products, finish them with our own two hands and then do everything that needs to be done to run a  etsy store.

I am waiting to hear how you manage and also which one piece you liked best from the gallery?

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