My first craft fair

April 11, 2012

Craft fair!

Hi everyone! Yes, I have been a giant craft slacker lately, but I need to get in gear and prepare for my very first craft fair. You are all invited! I plan to have some macrame watches, embroidered tea towels, lasered wooden objects, beaded crosses, and maybe even a quilt or two available. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more on Facebook: All Saints Artisan Faire

See you there!


Welcome 2012!

January 10, 2012

Ok, so I’m 10 days late to wish you all a happy new year. Sorry. I needed some time off after that last push to figure out how I wanted to approach this blog and my projects in 2012. It is not my intention to go on past the 50 crafts I’ve already completed or introduced. However, I do want to make sure that every undone project gets completed. I get a number of visitors from searches on particular techniques and I want everyone to have the opportunity to see a finished project.

So here are my goals for the new year:
– Complete all of the unfinished projects
– Put all project photos on Flickr
– Pin all completed projects on Pinterest

I do want to get this all finished, but I’m feeling a lot less time pressure to do it. Thank you all for your ongoing support. I had a fantastic year in 2011 and learned so many things, both about craft techniques and about myself. You were all a vital element in my successes (while I alone am to blame for my failures).

Because the weekly goal format worked so well for me in 2011 I decided to start a new blog for my more mundane health goals in 2012. If you care to check that out you can find it at 2012 Week by Week.


Project 50: Caning

December 31, 2011


For my last project on this blog I’m going to tackle chair caning. It won’t be nearly as intricate as the photo above! I’d love to try that kind of caning someday, but you’ll see the materials I have available and you’ll understand why that won’t work.

It’s my final project! Obviously they won’t all get done by the end of the year (um, this evening) but I’ll continue to post updates until everything is finished. Until then, have a very happy New Year!

Photo by the National Rural Knowledge Exchange on Flickr


Project 49: Upholstery

December 30, 2011

Wicker trunk attributed to Joachim Schildhauer, New Holstein, Wisconsin, 1890-1915

I have had a wicker trunk since I was young. It went back and forth to college with me (one time full of books, which was when I learned to pack books in smaller boxes). I still have it, though the top is a bit worse for wear.

My vision for this trunk has been for it to have an upholstered top and function more like a bench. Now instead of just imagining it (like I have for at least a decade) I’m going to do it. Watch this space for updates!

Photo by Wisconsin Decorative Arts on Flickr


Project 47: Finished glass and lessons learned

December 29, 2011

Finished glass soap dish

Here it is! See how the edge is clear and the frit made little brown speckles everywhere? I think this dish would look great with my homemade soap in it. What do you think?

I would like to thank Melsie Glass for hosting me and giving me so much information about fusing glass. It was great fun!

Lessons learned:
– On the one hand, making fused glass seems pretty simple. You cut glass pieces, lay them out, and fire them.
– On the other hand there is a lot of science behind doing it well, I think. There are chemical reactions between glass colors, firing temperatures and lengths of time, and more that I probably don’t even know about.
– But wow, look at the finished pieces you can make! Talk about impressive.

If you are interested in learning to fuse glass in the Triangle area you can take classes at these places:

Carolina Stained Glass in Durham
Pullen Arts Center in Raleigh

If you’re not local check a glass store or an arts center near you. Enjoy!


Project 47: In the kiln

December 28, 2011

When we last left our dish it was designed and ready for its long nap in the kiln. It takes half a day to fuse glass in the kiln, and then longer to shape  and finish the piece. For the purposes of this blog entry we will be demonstrating using pieces that had already been finished.

In the kiln

Here is the piece in the kiln. It is sitting on special kiln paper to protect the kiln floor. The kiln needs to heat the glass to 1500 degrees F for a full fuse, which is what we’re looking for. At that temperature the glass fully liquifies and becomes one piece.

For technical details about fusing glass visit WarmGlass.com.

After the piece has fully fused and cooled enough to handle, it can then be shaped in a process called slumping. For this step you need a ceramic mold to give the glass its final shape. The kiln is heated again but not as hot — just until the glass becomes soft enough to take the shape of the mold.

We chose to make a soap dish, so here it is in the soap dish mold:

In the mold

Check back tomorrow for a photo of our finished piece and my lessons learned.


Project 47: Cutting the glass

December 27, 2011


Just before Christmas I was invited to the studio of Melsie Glass to learn how she makes beautiful fused glass pieces like the one above. You can see more of her work at her Etsy store (or will be able to when she returns from her Christmas vacation).

Before fusing glass one needs to buy some glass. Melsie Glass is made from a brand called Bullseye Glass. If you would like to try this yourself you can find it online or at a local glass shop. In the Triangle area of NC you can find it at Carolina Stained Glass in Durham. It is important to use the same kinds of glass when fusing to guarantee that they will expand and contract at similar rates to each other. The other supplies you need are glass cutting tools and access to a kiln.

Then it’s just a matter of cutting and designing your piece. We chose to make a simple dish using a piece of clear glass on the bottom and brown glass on the top. Here we are cutting the clear glass:

Cutting the glass

We then placed the brown piece on top:

Both glass pieces

Notice how the clear is still visible around the edges? That will create a neat effect once the piece is fused.

For decoration we used small glass chips called frit. These were sprinkled over the top of the brown portion of the glass:

With added frit

Then our dish was ready to go into the kiln.


Project 48: Quilling

December 27, 2011

28 Aug 05 QUILLING - 1

I’ve been wanting to give quilling a try but it is kind of everything that makes me crazy in a craft: lots of little fragile pieces that have to be perfect and should look like a realistic thing when combined. These are my weak areas. Still, quilled pieces are so lovely that I’ll give it a shot.

Join me as I make a quilled snowflake that won’t look nearly as beautiful as the photo above!

Photo by Sidda’s Mom on Flickr


Project 47: Glass

December 26, 2011

fused & slumped bowl

Do you see how close I’m getting to the end? I have one week left to at least start the last 4 projects and I think I’m going to make it!

I can’t even tell you how excited I am to share this project with you this week. Since the beginning of my blog I have wanted to feature a glass project but I had no luck finding someone to teach me. Then, a couple of weekends ago, I was at a pre-Christmas craft show and there was a local person there with some beautiful fused glass pieces. I took a chance and asked if she would be willing to show me how to do it, and she agreed!

So join me over the next couple of days as I show you how to make things out of fused glass. I’m very excited!

Photo by tylluan on Flickr


Project 46: Lessons learned

December 25, 2011

I Got Bored So I Roasted a Chicken - Picture of My Dinner 9-30-08

Final guest post by Nicole:

The verdict:  Butchering is so stinkin easy.

Lessons learned:
– This is definitely a craft.  And unlike with needlepoint, if you don’t do this well the animal suffers.  Do yourself a favor and find someone to guide you through the process in real life the first time you attempt it.  I have a lot more respect for butchers now.
– Butchering goes much, much easier for both you and the chicken if you have sharp knives.
– It’s better to kill chickens on a sunny day that’s not too cold or too hot, preferably fall after the flies have settled down.
– Taking the life of a living creature hasn’t gotten easier for me a dozen birds in, but there is a huge satisfaction in knowing that I can put meat on my family’s table without a grocery store.  Organic, pastured chicken is delicious... and cheap if you do it at home.

Many thanks to Nicole for this great series!

Photo by The_Smiths on Flickr