Monday, 2 March 2015

Frontier Dreams

This month I'm excited to be one of the sponsors of Frontier Dreams, a fantastic blog I have been reading and enjoying for a long time.


Pssst:  If you hop over there you can get the discount code for 15% off anything in my etsy shop (except shipping).

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Cookie stamps

Some time back in the fall, I thought it would be nice to come up with a series of cookie stamps in time for the pre-Christmas craft shows I had signed up for.
It's something I had been mulling over for a while, but wasn't sure if it would work out as well in real life as I pictured in my head (you get what I'm talking about, right?)

 I carved up a few of them as a test run and since my own sample worked well, I made a total of 24.

In Novvember, the Christmas and winter themed ones were a big hit.

As for how well they work, this is the one I used as my guinea pig.  It is loosely based on the maker's mark I put on all of my pottery.
Pictured above is the raw cookie dough, stamped...
 And these are baked.  I used a shortbread cookie dough as I was pretty sure they would hold up without losing all of the detail.  They were delicious by the way.  Cookies are my one weekness. (hahaha.  I've been watching Lark Rise to Candleford on the internet)

I made one for a friend with her business logo on it.  I had grande schemes to make a huge batch of cookies with my maker's mark on them to take as a give away at an upcoming show, but as I've never participated in it before, and don't know how many people to expect, I'm not jumping into the deep end straight away.  I do think they would make for a great promotion, though...

And for all of my fiber friends...
Ta-Da!  I have to test this yet, as it has finer lines than any of the others, but if it works...how cute is that?  I'm thinking, though, that the whole stamp may have to be the ball of yarn so that the lines show up better.  

Drop me a little message if you are interested...I can do custom designs if they are not too fussy.
Oooh, like a monogram for a wedding! Or a birthday party, or a business launch.

Joining some friends at:
From the Farm Hop - The Homesteading Hippy

Monday, 23 February 2015

Button Making

Mostly, I make my own patterns when creating stamps for my pottery buttons, but once in a while, I come across something that is just screaming to be turned into a button or a stamp.

The large button on the left came to me in my Grandmother's button jar.  Just the one.  It is 1 3/4" in diameter and made of plastic.  I didn't really have a use for the single button, but I love the pattern in the middle, and I really thought it would make cute smaller buttons. 
I imprinted it into a piece of clay, bisque fired it...

 ...and now I have a stamp to make new, smaller buttons.

 The pattern isn't nearly as crisp as the original button once they are glazed, but they kind of look worn and like they have a history to share.

With shrinkage (for the stamp and for the buttons themselves), there is a significant size difference.  The center went from 7/8" to 11/16".  

Thursday, 19 February 2015

From the kiln, February

Here are the goodies from the latest kiln load...

 A couple of yarn bowls in red clay.  Yarn bowls that double as candle bowls.
 I really enjoy red clay for some things (like yarn bowls).  I will be doing more work with it in the coming months.  
 A yarn bowl that you can rest your whole project in...well, a little project anyways.

This one did not pass quality control as it has the tiniest crack in it.  You can see it in the back right corner of the picture.  Good news for me as I still didn't have a small yarn bowl - so I'm keeping it.

A handful of other new yarn bowls found their way to our local yarn store which is giving them a test run.  Fingers crossed that they (and their customers) like them!

The batch of soap dishes for my customer in Toronto was finally finished and ready to mail off.  She wants these for the line of hand made soaps she carries...the soaps last so much longer being elevated out of the water.  My personal favourite from this batch is the second from the right on the bottom row.
And the white one in the middle row.  OK, and the grey and white rectangle...

 One little set of buttons went through this last kiln load.  Just. One. Set.

 These two went through the kiln at the college and came out just fine and dandy if I do say so myself.  As much as I preferred the juniper buttons to the cedar ones I actually prefer the cedar serving dish to the juniper one.  I think it may be the brown stem.  Thoughts?

And lastly, a large grass bowl to go with the little prep bowls and the mug and tea bowl.  I'm hoping to have a rather large selection of the grass bowls/mugs, etc for the first round of spring shows in April.

The problem is I have so many "lines" I want to have ready for April that I'm only sending one or two of each through each kiln load.  I've got to squeeze in some time to ramp up productivity.

Shameless plug:  most of these items are already listed over on my etsy shop if you would like to have a peek or two.


Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fiber Arts Roundup

I've been so busy making things I haven't had time to share pictures in a little while, so here's a bit of a roundup of some projects I've been working on.

A friend of mine is having a sock monkey themed baby shower for her daughter, so a sock monkey was in order.  I used this tutorial over here since I've never made one before.   Note:  if you are going to try this, get a decently thick pair of socks.  I bought these because they were long and stripey, but they were really quite thin to work with.
She also sent me a picture of some really cute sock monkey slippers that she wanted me to make, but they were crocheted.  I kind of cobbled together a pair of knit slippers using the seamless baby booties pattern as a base and then just added the mouth, eyes and ears.  If I remember correctly, I added extra length to the leg portion of the slippers so I could roll it over like in the picture.

I also finished Diana's hat from Green Gables Knits by Joanna Johnson (of Phoebe's sweater).  I was definitely going to run out of the dark blue so I started adding in stripes of light blue in the decrease section to finish it off.  I love this view of it.
This is how it is meant to be worn...high up on the forehead and all slouchy,
but in all honesty, this is probably how I will wear it...
(very difficult to take a picture of oneself, no?).

When I was blocking it, according to the directions, I noticed a very obvious mistake I made in about the 9th row from the beginning.  I think I will cover it up with one of my big buttons.  I might just knit up another one with a pink (gasp) ball of yarn I bought for another project that won't be happening now.

I also finished up the striped scarf for N, which was supposed to be stashed away for his stocking next year, but it has been so bitter cold that I already gave it to him.  How could I not, when he was tearing the place apart looking for a scarf he could use?

I am much happier with it now that the edging has been added.  It is super thick, and super warm, and he has been wearing it to school and back (but not AT school, since scarves are banned).

Linking up with some friends today:
Yarn along over at small things - although I'm not reading an actual book right now...just blogs.



Tuesday, 10 February 2015

lots and lots of beads...

This past summer, I met an artist who makes beautiful lino etched prints and cards.  She asked me if I would be willing to make some beads for her to attach to her greeting cards, as a gift to her customers.
And of course, I'm always up for a challenge...

This is her business card, (note the tiny martini glass in the corners)
and this is her logo.

I wanted to make something inspired by her logo and brand, but not exactly matching it.
The process started with making some stamps.  These were some of our favourites.
Then I made some beads and sent her a variety of samples to choose from.
The big flower in the middle of the top row was the winner for the flower beads.


 Some were more successful than others.
 And somehow I only took pictures of a few.

She chose some, with some modifications, and I got to work.
Stamping...
cutting...
 punching holes...
sanding...
 bisque firing...
waxing...  This picture was taken after the bisque firing.  The beads were each hand painted with underglaze, then waxed and glazed in clear.

Unfortunately at this point I stopped taking pictures.  I guess I figured people were bored of seeing pictures of unfinished beads.  I even forgot to take pictures before sending off the finished product.  A total of 700 beads in 3 different styles.  Lesson learned!  Even when exhausted...take pictures!

Linking up with some friends today at:
Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Knitting in Progress...

I have a couple of projects on the needles right now.  I'm promising myself to finish these two before I cast on anything new.
 Over Christmas holidays, I was working on this lace edging for a shawl I want to make.  I thought it was done, but then when I went to pick up the stitches to work on the shawl, I realized it was too short (and that it wouldn't work the way I hoped).  I have "unbound-off" the last row and am adding a handful more repeats of the lace pattern.
 It's actually a pillowcase lace edging, but I'm doing it in a worsted weight cotton instead.
The whole project fits in my new yarn bowl (with a bulk size ball of grey yarn underneath, no less).  I worked on this last night with the yarn bowl on the floor and the cat ignored the whole thing completely.  Success!
 And this.  This one has be a little disheartened.  I'm not liking the  colour scheme nearly as much as when I started...
 ...but I keep plugging away at it.  I'm hoping the black binding that will go around the edges will tie the whole thing together nicely.  And it's such slow going since it is "secret" knitting that can only be worked on at night...after a certain someone goes to bed...which is not nearly as early as it used to be a few years ago.
I do quite like it like this, so there is still hope.

I have finished reading Rainbow Valley by L. M. Montgomery and am currently reading Rilla of Ingleside, books 7 and 8 of the Anne of Green Gables Series.  For all these years, I never even knew there was a book 7 and 8.  Book 8 is set at the beginning of World War I, so it's not quite as light a read as the others.  I'm just at the beginning so I'm interested to see how it goes.

Linking up with some friends at:

Monday, 2 February 2015

from the kiln

Loads of grey and white...a new combination I've been playing with.

 This one was supposed to be a berry bowl, but I liked it too much to punch holes in it.

 A couple of yarn bowls (that double as candle bowls).

A rather large (!) soap dish.  

 A cutey - patootey. We can light the matches right on the bottom.  I think I'm going to make one of these for every room in the house.

A pencil cup or vase or container for wooden spoons.  In hindsight I wish I had covered it in the little flowers, to look like feverfew in bloom.

Some cedar dessert plates, since the ferns won't be out for months yet.

And of course, some buttons.  There's going to be buttons!

Hopefully, I'll get most of these items listed in my etsy shop this week.  Except the yarn bowls.  I do believe they are spoken for.  

Linking up with my friends at: