A Complex Giveaway for Christmas

As my American friends celebrate Thanksgiving, and as Advent approaches it is time to not only be grateful for all we have, it is also time to think about those who maybe have less or maybe need a little brightening moment in their lives.  In keeping with the true spirit of the season, this is the time for giving.

Let’s join together and bring back a little of the giving spirit here in Contented Land and see what we can come up with.

I’ve made a traditionally coloured Christmas Light Catcher – one that can be kept especially for this time of the year or, if the winner is so inclined, to hang up all year round.

pizap1

I love making these light catchers, to me they are a really special combination of textures, light and colour – they are always woven with the magic of intent and good wishes for the person for whom it is destined and time and thought goes into each one.

I don’t have much I can give, but I can give this.  I want to make a giveaway that is absolutely altruistic – no-one can enter for themselves, each must think of someone else and put in a little effort to share what that person means to you and why you want them to own this light catcher.

I know it means a bit of thought and effort – different to a usual blog post – but I do hope you will be willing to take part.

Anybody, any where in the world is eligible.

This is a giveaway with a difference and every reader of this blog who wishes to take part gets to nominate someone to receive the gift and gets to be a voter for who will finally receive it.

Here’s the process:

  1. In a private message to me, details found in the ‘Contact Me‘ page, please share a little about what your nominee means to you and why you want them to be gifted this light catcher.  Names and other identifying factors can be omitted if you choose – after all, they are not necessary, just tell a little story about why you would like them to receive this special gift.  You have seven days from the date of this post to share your story – approx 300 or so words only please.  (I’d be really grateful if you didn’t wait til the last minute to get your story in too, but that’s just a timing thing.)
  2. At the end of the seven days another post will be made where I will cut and paste all the stories minus your identification and a poll will go up.  You will be able to vote for your first and second choices from the stories.  The story with the most votes gets the gift.
  3. The poll will close three days after it opens.
  4. I will send the catcher directly to the person you have chosen in time for Christmas.

What do you think?  Do you know someone who deserves an unexpected gift?

pizapChristmas

 

Now here’s a little about the light catcher.

It is a three strander with three AAA crystal balls and several crystal rondelles threaded through out.  The main strands are threaded with red and green beads of crystal, glass and acrylic, many hand made. There are twelve charm threads with more crystals holding the different charms.  There are many, many charms on this catcher and more can be added when the winner is known, especially for that person!

The right strand includes a sun; a heart; a house with two children and a cat and a dog and a pentacle for protection.  Beneath that hangs a disc with ‘Remember the moments’ written on it.  This strand may represent past or present Christmases – it is for the child, whether it be within or actual.

The centre strand holds the archangel Gabriel; a bell and a musical semibreve and a book.  This represents the spiritual content of the season – the magic, the stories, the music. It celebrates the message ‘Peace on earth and goodwill to all’  It is for making memories old and new.

The left hand strand holds a Buddha; a bird, a butterfly, a holly leaf and a flower; a lantern and finally a small disc with the word ‘miracles’ engraved into it.  This strand reaches out to include all the world in the spirit of giving.  This includes all ethnicities, all religions, all nationalities, all kinds of beliefs and all ways of life.  It includes the wonder of nature and reminds us that we are all, every one of us, united on this fragile blue globe that hangs in the darkness of space and each of us is a light that shines into the world if we so choose to be.

Christmas1

For those of you interested in monetary value, the Christmas Light Catcher is valued at $NZ75.00

I hope you will share your special people, I hope you will come back to help choose the winner.  I hope you will enter into the spirit of this Season of Giving.

Thank you for coming by today, I love that you did!   ❤

 

 

 

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A Postal Woopsie & A Winner

Thank you all so very much for the many and most helpful comments on the new shop window – I spent the ensuing days making changes as fast as I could and I think the perusing and information gathering is much better as a result.    There are still a few additions and changes to be made, but nothing major.

I even made a sale which thrilled me no end – even though there ensued a most embarrassing postal misadventure as a result……  Do you want the whole story?

I was super busy and trapped at home waiting for the super-fast broadband installation scoping man to arrive – and surprise, surprise he didn’t…… [that’s a whole other post!]

I had a pile of mittens still waiting to get to the post office, the raspberry and yellow light catchers to get off to their new homes and a mounting sense of frustration that I was going to miss the post again……

Enter Stage R the most amenable and helpful Youngest Daughter, Official Photographer and newbie blogger, Danella Joy.  Already stressed to the max with the health of her aged and ailing cat, an upcoming week away and what to do if dear cat’s demise and week away collide and needing to get to her night shift on time after a vet consultation, she still volunteered to visit the post office along the way and get my parcels sent off.

All but one of the packages were wrapped and addressed.  One, a set of three mittens and a card from the last giveaway, needed it’s own postal envelope and the address to be written on said envelope.

Hastily I tore off the small pad page that had some addresses written on it,  ripped off the unneeded address, threw everything into a handy tote bag and off she raced.

I didn’t realise that the small pad page had an address written both sides, both perfectly framed within the torn off seam.

You know what happened don’t you

after siddy

Two days later DJ remembered to give me the pile of postal receipts and the card she had not seen in the bag that needed to go with the mittens until it was too late and as she handed over the torn pad page with the address on she froze, turned it over and asked “Where were the mittens going?”

Yes indeedy!  Two beautifully written addresses – take your pick.  There was a 50/50 chance I guess that the wrong one would be right side up when she scrabbled in the bag to find it and send the mittens away across the ocean.   At least they ended up in the right country!

Now I have to get poor Jem to readdress and resend a package she should never have gotten and reimburse that as an added, extra postal cost….. sigh!   And Jenny, dear, patient Jenny, you will get your mittens sometime soon  🙂

***************

But now, to happier times.

And what could be happier than a giveaway I hear you cry……….

The names were all  written out on strips of carefully cut paper

giveaway1

Piled into my favourite drink dispenser

giveaway2

shaken

giveaway5

stirred

giveaway6

scattered

giveaway8

‘Can we go yet?’

giveaway9

and – chosen!

giveaway13 paw on

I’m exhausted says Orlando – these are all winners!

giveaway14 all winners

Congratulations Kerry from Love Those ‘Hands At Home’

Which one do you want?

The pink or the blue?

Pink Giveaway Blue Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who took part – we love giveaways here in Contented Land

and there is sure to be another soon.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Creating a Light Catcher

When I showed off some of my latest light catchers in the last post there was a small amount of interest in seeing how I made them.  Not having a video camera capable of recording the process I did my best with my point and shoot and, with a bit of help from our Official Photographer when I ran out of hands, there now exists an as-good-as-it can-get photographic record of the process.

So, here we go:

First I rifle through my stash and gather together a pile of beads in my chosen colour. I was feeling ‘green’

Tutorial1a

I look for interesting shapes, a variety of shades and include glass, semi-precious gemstones, crystal, acrylic and facets wherever possible.  I like using gemstones for their power and meaning, facets for their bling factor, shapes for interest and texture and crystals of course are the major source of light refraction.  Acrylic beads are also very handy for keeping the weight down – these things can get heavy!  I may, or may not, use all of my selection.  It just depends.

I choose the hanging chain, recently I have discovered a particularly nice one which I am hoping to use in all future catchers.  You can see it lying across the top left of the first photo.  You can click on the photos twice to biggify – get the close up view for real!

Tools:

Tutorial Tools

These four pliers are my go to essentials.  The most recently added in is the one on the right, a split ring opener.  Prior to that I used the pokey tool [official designation] seen at the top right and my finger nails.  My left forefinger is covered with scars from puncture wounds – a proper tool was sought and finally found.  My life has changed 🙂

Tutorial tools2

Beading wire [I prefer ‘Tiger’s Tail] and quick dry adhesive to help secure the wire ends.  Excuse the blurry photos – I find it a real challenge to snap photos while in the creative process – it is often an afterthought and is done on the fly ……….

Here we have the first length begun, I chose a pretty gold speckled green glass twist interspersed with small polished agate rounds

Tutorial1

Tutorial2

And the second string started, these beads are all acrylic and used for shape and texture. The wire is threaded through the crystal ball and up through the beads.  It is pulled through a split ring, wrapped around itself two or three times and then threaded back down through as many beads as possible.  These are tiny beads, so it can’t go too far down.  Where the wire is poking out and at the top, fast drying adhesive is added to help secure wire and beads together.  When the glue is dry I snip off the excess wire and attach the length of chain.  If the glue doesn’t catch, or is peeled off, the wire can slip out and the whole thing will eventually collapse – it has happened and I try hard to ensure it won’t happen again!

Tutorial3a

Next I set about making half a dozen or so tiny little dangly bits.  This is a selection of faceted glass or crystal beads for bling factor.  I use long eye pins and snip them down as necessary. I make two different sets, three in each.

Tutorial4a

Split rings are added to both ends

Tutorial5b

Tutorial5d

Tutorial5e

Tutorial5c

I chose glass pearl balls and faceted hearts to hang at the bottom of three of the mini-danglers The hearts, due to their thickness, have to be hung using chandelier bow ties.  These things are the bane of my light-catcher-creative life!  They slip out of place whenever the catcher is moved and while I know where and how to put them back in place, the new owner may not.  The only alternative I have is to use a large connecting split ring which looks ungainly – so I prefer not to go that route.  If you have an alternate suggestion please, I would be so grateful should you care to share it.

Tutorial6a

Tutorial6b

Tiny crystal hearts are are attached onto the other mini-danglers and then the two strands are attached to a heavy brass ring.

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I thought I had finished and left the catcher hanging above my work table for the night.

Early the next morning I wandered into the room and started to play some more.  Before I knew it, there was another strand, a new hanging option and a few baubles added – and never a camera to hand!  Here’s what I ended up with:

Tutorial8

I found the three ring gold acrylic hanger on-line somewhere and bought ten of them, not realising they were so very – um, gold – I need to spray paint them silver but need warmer weather to do that.  It’s hard to see in the photo but there are now two faceted crystal balls and one large faceted crystal pear hanging from the bottom of three strands of beads and chain and assorted baubles.  The pear especially doesn’t photograph willingly, but is a beautiful thrower of rainbows!   Also no charms have been added yet – I add them especially for the person who will own the catcher.

Tutorial8c

Tutorial9 detaila

Trying to show some of the magic with the aid of a cushion and the afternoon sun

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Of course, there’s no magic without Siddy

Tutorial10b

And just for a change, let’s finish this week with the lovely Orlando who would like to offer a teaser – there’s a giveaway coming up………. stay tuned!

1 July 8  2015

Any questions, please ask them.  Any suggestions, please do make them.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

 

 

Mimi’s Mittens

I love opera!

Maybe I should qualify that – I love Italian opera…….

But please, don’t hold this against me – I just discovered at an impressionable age that opera has the ability to be ‘more than’.  Take any emotion you can think of: falling in love, falling out of love – pain, hurt, jealousy, broken heart, lost love, betrayal, death – and then multiply it by ten and you have the heights and depths of emotion the operatic aria can take you to.  It will wash you clean if you listen at just the right time in your life!

Of course you have to suspend any association with real life.  Very often when the voice is mature enough to sing the role, the singer is past the first flush of youth and most operatic leading characters are young and nubile …..  I remember seeing Pavarotti at his heaviest playing the the mighty Egyptian soldier Radames in Aida.  He stood stock still, centre stage, like a rotund statue while the entire cast moved about him.  But oh that voice!

In this day of filmed operatic singing it is hard to stay in the moment when chests are heaving and mouths are working overtime to get those notes out.  You have to so admire opera singers, they have to sing and emote at the same time.  It works much better when it is on the stage. The lighting, set and costumes – the vivid colour and acoustically perfect orchestra and soaring voices take over and the distance between you and the on-stage performance allows for the suspension of belief – one can be quite transported by the event.

Because of course the other thing about operas is the sets and costumes.  One should never simply listen to an opera – it is a feast for all the senses.  Rich in colour and grandeur and theatrical presence.  The orchestra and voices soar and mingle with the colour and movement – it is a sensory explosion.

Not everything about operas is good.  Many of the stories are just plain rubbish really. Sometimes the music misses the spot.  But, just like modern musicals, every opera has at least one ‘hit tune’.  And when aria and the emotion collide it is indeed a spectacular thing!

Even if you have never seen an opera and even if you have and say it’s not for you, I’m sure you will be familiar with these wonderful pieces.  Have a listen as you read on.

This is one of my favourites, a chorus from Puccini’s ‘Madama Butterfly’ – even if you know nothing about the story, you cannot help but be taken into the tragic denouement.

The Hebrew Slaves Chorus from Verdi’s ‘Nabucco’.  Can you hear the hopeless exhaustion throughout this hymn of loss for their beloved homeland?  From the opening ‘Va pensiero’ I am always caught, no matter who is singing.  I recommend biggifying this, and just enjoy –  it is great example of staging and emoting while singing……..

One of the most popular operas today is also, in many ways, [and purely in my opinion, you understand  – feel free to disagree] one of the worst operas of all time.  It’s another Puccini opera, ‘La Boheme’ and it is in part, truly terrible!  The plot is all over the place and some of the music is less than memorable.  But there is a lovely romantic story running through it and it has to be admitted, I love a good romantic tragedy!

The real story is about Rinaldo, the writer and Mimi, the delicate embroiderer who lives above him.  All the rest just tends to get in the way.  This is one of the versions I have on DVD……..

La Boheme 1

In much abbreviated form it is the story of some young students –  an artist a writer, a philosopher and a musician – all living in poverty in their garret quarters, hiding from the landlord because they can’t pay their rent.  It is Christmas Eve.  [Which reminds me, the modern musical ‘Rent’ is based on this opera.]

La Boheme 4

There is a knock on the door and Mimi enters.  Mimi is a neighbour living in the upstairs attic, a poor girl who embroiders flowers for a living.  Her candle has blown out and she has come seeking a light.  Subsequently she loses her key to her door. Rinaldo, the writer, goes with her to look for the lost key.  The sneaky beggars finds it and pockets it without Mimi seeing.  Moment later he is declaring his undying love.

La Boheme Villazon&Netrebko

They get together, then he ditches her claiming he can’t stand her cloying jealousy but confides in his friend he thinks their poor living conditions are making Mimi ill. [Why he thinks kicking her out will make her better is beyond me and just another hole in the story.]  Many scenes are out in the snow to ensure you get the ‘frozen’ message.  Mimi coughs dramatically whilst singing beautifully and with her last remaining strength comes to find her lover again.  She dies in his arms.  Despite all my cynicism I always shed a tear!

La Boheme 3

Now the upshot of all of this is that even though I dislike the story – just between you and me, I feel I could have written a much better version ……. when the music is good, it is very good – in fact touchingly beautiful.  This is why it is one of the most popular operas after all.   And I admit it is the romance, the bohemian lifestyle, the starving artist in a garret syndrome that has me in its thrall.  I am such a sucker for romance!  Did I say that already?  And bohemian artists in garrets …… sigh!

Here’s quite a good version of ‘La Boheme’ if you want to watch it

So when I had the opportunity to rescue some black fingerless gloves from the landfill because they were imperfectly finished or had minor faults and began to play around with them of course the very first thing that came to me was this aria from La Boheme ‘Che Gelida Manina’ loosely translated as ‘your tiny hand is frozen’ which Rinaldo sings to Mimi right off the bat!

I played around with colour and made Mimi many mittens so her hands would be forever warm.  To accompany the theme there are little darned patches in some of the gloves, whether the mitten needed it for real or not.  These are true bohemian mittens, colourful, different and ever so slightly well worn looking.

Pizap Mimi

pizap La Boheme

Mimi Handwarmers have flowers on the back.

La Boheme do not have flowers, they have a fancy ridge instead.

While the black gloves are made using acrylic yarn the additions are made with New Zealand wool or kid mohair.  Every pair is different because I make it up as I go along.

I am enjoying making them and enjoying knowing something has been saved from the landfill and given the chance of an appreciated and fun life on someones hand.  I am giving these mittens away.  There are six pairs of handwarmers.  However, I’m sorry to say, you do have to pay postage if you want to win a pair – my funds won’t run that far.

*New Zealand people postage is $NZ4.50

*The Rest of The World postage is $NZ10.00

*  If I find I can get it sent to you for less I shall reimburse the difference.

Here’s how it works:  If you wish to go in the draw you must be a follower of this blog and you must leave a comment.  And I would really like it if you would take the poll – please, take the poll….. [I’ve been blogging for two years, I just had my anniversary last week and this is my first poll and I would love your feedback!]

Also mention your first and second colour and style preferences in your comment.

Even if you don’t want a pair of fabulous Mimi Mittens you can still leave a comment – you know I love to hear from you –  I know bohemian isn’t everyone’s style!

At the end of the week I will draw names and publish the winners.  You will then have to contact me via the address on my ‘Contact Me’ page to make arrangements for the payment of your postage and to give me your address.

Here’s the poll:

I hope you enjoyed listening to some of the music on offer – Orlando is asking me to turn it off – he votes for Bruce Springsteen, he’s not a fan of opera and he loves the late, great Clarence’s sax – we usually have a bit of a dance ……

YGM6

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Christmas Giveaway

Hello there, my Bloggie Friends!

Because the Christmas season is upon us, the lights are up and just because I can – there is another giveaway on offer.  This time there will be two winners.  …Happy, happy dances and big smiley faces!!  🙂

  • A signed print of your choice from one of these:

I'mtheOne

Listen1

BeAButterflyCopyrightSmallest Things1a

Didyouremember4best

A Gardener [c]

  • A 5 pack of cards of your choice from my Etsy shop

Go to my shop to view the full range and make your choice, this is just one example.

Chair @11

[and yes, you can choose 5 different cards if you want]

Of course, you have to do something to enter – well, two things actually, here are ‘The Rules’:

1]    ‘Like’ The Contented Crafter Page on Facebook.*

2]    Leave a comment on this post.

*If you have already ‘Liked’ on Facebook, just mention that fact in your comment here.

If you don’t participate in or on Facebook, please let me know that too.

This giveaway is open to all followers old and new – please don’t be shy, make it fun and interesting and exciting for us all – tell me what you think  🙂

The Giveaway Closes on 8th December 2013 at 8pm [my time]

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did and I hope you will take part!  🙂