Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Dreams of Travel


I enjoyed every minute that I spent creating this little accordion folded piece! I am not sure what to call it. Is it a card or perhaps just a tiny bit of art? 


 When I started to create, I envisioned an imaginary passport that would take me on a trip to France.

The core of the project was created with playing cards that I covered in gesso and then connected using bits of cloth and washi tape. The collage was created using a combination of wine bottle labels, flowers from a tiny book of papers, and stamps.

I wanted a vintage feel so on the opposite side I applied crackle paste and lightly applied a gold wax paste. I used distress ink on other areas, including the ribbon, to give it that aged appearance.

Jeff cleaned out a drawer the other day and found a few more old boxes of playing cards. He has donated them to my cause. Now I am waiting for a delivery of assorted, cancelled world postage stamps. I ordered them for $2.00 from an Etsy seller. I can't wait to start creating with them!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Travelers Notebook


My latest book binding project was a midori aka travelers notebook. If you aren't familiar with this type of notebook, it's a cover utilizing elastic cord to hold the signatures and also to wrap around for a closure. Traditionally the covers are made of leather. The elastic cord allows you to add and remove signatures as needed.

I made my cover out of a cracker box that I covered with gel print papers. The signatures were assembled and saddle stitched using copy paper scraps that I save when printing shipping labels. I try to print two labels per page to prevent waste but occasionally one item needs to be shipped so I have a stack of half sheets next to the paper cutter.

It took me forever to finish this little notebook. I wasn't happy with how I assembled the cover. After gluing it down I realized the spine should have been a separate piece from the front and back. It would close a little more neatly if I had done that. It sat on the table for weeks before I could bring myself to finish it. I made it for myself so no one else has to deal with error! The next one will be better.

I'll use this little book to keep track of how much water I drink each day, as well as a log for exercise and blood pressure. Yes, their is a phone app for most of those things but I prefer to put pen to paper.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Spring Adventures.

 I thought I should begin the month of April with a blog post. Each month I say I will do better but I always drop the ball. Lately the weeks fly by while Jeff and I try to squeeze in everything we want and need to do. We have enjoyed time spent outside getting our garden beds ready for vegetables and flowers. Jeff does the veggies and I manage the flowers. I have the front flower bed ready for sowing seeds. I will do the usual zinnias and this year I am adding nigella, which I have never grown before. It's supposed to give me some nice flowers for cutting, as well as some interesting pods to add to arrangements. The variety I chose is called "LOVE-IN-A-MIST". Who couldn't resist that? I had to replace my sage plant. The last one died in the Fall. It seems I can only manage to keep them for about two years. I also bought a lavender plant. I have never had good luck with them. This year I am going to plant it in my small flower bed next the the vegetable garden. I am hoping it will be happier there.

Amid all the gardening, pots are being made and fired. We have ramped up our firing schedule and are feeling like we are getting closer to being caught up with orders. We unloaded the kiln on Monday and I was finally able to fire mugs and a bowl that I made more than a month ago. 

Last week I decided to challenge myself to eat vegan/vegetarian for one week. I dug out the cookbooks and marked some new recipes to try. It's been an eating adventure this week!

Last night we had a light version of macaroni and cheese from the the Moosewood Restaurant - Low Fat- Favorites. It was delicious and was easier on my digestive system than my usual rich mac & cheese. I tweaked the recipe some by adding sautéed spinach and garlic. I roasted some Brussels sprouts to go with it. We have enjoyed a casserole with bulgur wheat and ground soybean, as well as a spaghetti pie that got it's cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast. Tonight I am making a black bean and lentil chili. A recipe that we eat quite often. Lunches have been tofu salad and pita bread, homemade hummus, and tobouleh. I love sandwich wraps made with the hummus, toubeleh, and bean sprouts. Jeff has been keeping us in beans sprouts these days. He has his sprouting method perfected now. We will take a break from the vegetarian eating on Easter Sunday... I am roasting boneless leg of lamb!
My goal is to incorporate more meatless meals in our diet. This challenge helped me discover some new ingredients and recipes.
Next on my to make list is Laurie's Tomato Rice Loaf. She shared her recipe on her blog: The Clean Green Homestead.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

You can teach old dogs new tricks.


We have made so many salt pig over the last 12 months. There are usually around 30 in each firing. I am still getting orders for piggy banks, but the salt pigs definitely out number them. When the piggy banks started selling faster than I could make them, Jeff took over the throwing part. I became the person that turned them into pigs and glazed them. He is waaaaaay faster then I am on the wheel. Then when the salt pigs came into being, he threw those too. A few weeks ago it was determined that there were so many orders for vessel sinks, that I needed to pitch in with the salt pig throwing. It took me a few tries to get the shape right and I felt like mine were just not going to look as nice as his. 

He kept telling me they were fine.

He was right. Once glazed, I could hardly determine which ones were mine or his.

I am still extremely slow, but I think they are starting to go a little more quickly. This is a good time for me to work on this, because like last March, our sales have let up a little this month. We are finally catching up on orders and hope to get our turn around time back to 4-6 weeks. I must say 99.9% of customers have had no problem waiting 8-10 weeks for their pigs.

We also have a new glaze in the studio! It's called denim blue. Jeff mixed it up for a sink customer that wanted a lighter blue. I think it will look great on a piggy bank. I am hoping to get one in the next firing so that I can photograph it and start offering this new color. Next on the list is a pink glaze. I get so many requests for pink piggy banks!

I will close with the exciting news that Jeff and I got our first Moderna vaccine last week. We can hardly wait for April 8th to get number two. I am preparing myself for some side effects and I will gladly taking them over getting the virus. Once we are fully vaccinated we will probably re-open the gallery at the end of April!

Stay healthy! Get vaccinated!

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Upcycled Storage Box

 I love a "good" box or bag and have a hard time letting go of them. Two years ago I got a new smartphone and it came in a nice, sturdy box. I stashed it away thinking that one day I could put it to use.

Yesterday was that day.

I got out my gel plate and paints and printed a bunch papers. 

I used those prints to cover my smartphone box!

It's the perfect size for storing my Posca paint pens.

I couldn't entirely wrap the bottom of the box because the cover is a really snug fit. I like the bright blue so that worked out fine. The surface on the inside of the bottom was scarred so I cut print down to cover that up. I did the same to the underneath.

Now I am wishing we still had the box that Jeff's phone came in!