Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Another Giant Game finished for the Carlisle Country Craft and Old-Fashioned Market.

Good morning all!  I certainly hadn't intended to be gone for a whole month, but there we are.

Here's just one of the myriad projects I've been working on lately...a giant checkers game.
This one is for the Carlisle Country Craft and Old-Fashioned Market Mercantile in August (click here if you are on Facebook for this year's event), or here for pictures of last year's event if you aren't on Facebook.  I am sponsoring the games this year (as Remembrances Pottery).
The checker pieces are sliced from a large maple branch downed in some rather strong winds last year.  My husband cut them with a chain saw, and since a handful lost their bark in the process, N chipped the bark of the rest of them to match.  I painted both sides with some iridescent paint I had lying around, and there you have it.   They aren't quite finished yet because I think one side needs a crown (king me, king me) but S thinks I should draw on chess pieces instead.  Still debating.
The board itself is from an old wool blanket (I love re-using wool blankets and sweaters) that has been stored away for years.  I had fully intended on making it into a hooded cloak, but realistically it will get more use this way.  After all, it has been in the "to do" bin for about 5 years.  I painted it to look sort of like a quilt to match the theme of the show (Pioneer meets Victorian meets Steampunk).  Also, it was taking WAY more paint than I anticipated so I ended up mixing and matching.

I'm quite looking forward to the show.  With each project we finish up, N gets more and more excited to go.  He's the "Gamesmaster" in the Village Green so that if little ones show up with their parents and have no one to play the games with, he's on the scene to play along...and to get races going just generally to get everyone having a good time.  The perfect job for him.

Feel free to weigh in on the crown vs. chess piece debate...which would you vote for?

Linking up with:  Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams
                         The Backyard Farming Connection Blog Hop
                         From the Farm Blog Hop
                         Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder
                         Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Where I've Been...in the garden

If you are a regular reader, you will have noticed that my posts have become a little irregular lately.
 I've been spending all of my free time getting the garden in order since we had such a late start this year.  The sage is doing wonderfully!  It's huge.
 Last year's onions are still providing us with all the green onions we need.
 Sorrel, which comes back year after year is one of our first greens.  I tried it sauteed in a pan according to something I found on the internet.  Imagine pureed spinach (texture) that tastes like straight up lemon juice.  I think I will just continue to add a few leaves to our salads and sandwiches instead.
 We are at the very end of the asparagus harvest.  I only have two plants left, but I actually picked more than ever.  Two meals worth, plus some little snacking.
Not food - but so pretty.  A few here and there in the house are really making a difference.

 Rhubarb is also doing better this year than ever before.  We just keep cutting and cutting.  yum!
You may (or may not) remember my "eat what you grow/grow what you eat" challenge from quite a while back.  I wanted to see what we were able to grow enough of to last all year.  Herbs are one thing that we definitely grow enough of.  This is half of the sage I have harvested so far.  We now have enough for my family.  The rest will go to friends, neighbours, and the food bank.

Also planted: tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, greens, pumpkins, zucchini, and some new herbs.
New perennials: grapes...hopefully they take.  It's my first time trying to take vine cuttings.

Coming soon:  all kinds of berries.  That's always a great addition to the lunch box.

What are you growing?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Up-cycled pallet crates

Now that the weather has warmed up enough for my husband to get out to the garage, he has been looking for quick little projects he can do for fun, or with the boys to teach them how to use the tools.
 Yesterday, he surprised me with these fantastic crates for me to use for my craft shows.

 They are made from some pallets he tore apart a couple of weeks ago, and I think they will be just perfect for "framing out" some of my pottery.
 And they are super sturdy, so they can be flipped upside down to use as little tables.

there is a smaller one in the works that will fit inside these, and another medium size one so that I can put one on each end of the table with a shelf running across.

The biggest one will be quite handy for shows as I will be able to use it to move the pottery, but then once at the show, I can throw a cushion on top for a bench seat instead of having to bring a chair each time.

I'm so excited!  No more soggy cardboard boxes, or flimsy plastic totes, and versatile display units at the same time.  Yay!

Linking up with: Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams
                        The Backyard Farming Connection

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Felt sushi - more craft show props

There are only 15 1/2 weeks left to the Carlisle Country Craft and Old-Fashioned Market Mercantile (by next big sale) and there is still so much left to do.  While the studio is on a break, I'm taking the time to make some more faux food props to set the scene.
These would be so great for a kid's play kitchen that I had to share.

 I started by cutting strips of felt - some of which then got "julienned" and some were left plain.  I've got carrots, crab, egg, yellow pepper, orange pepper, red pepper, avocado, tempura in the following pictures.
 Basically I just rolled are wrapped the coloured "filling" bits and then wrapped it twice or so in white felt and then one layer of a dark green "seaweed" felt and stitched it shut.  Because these won't be handled that much I didn't worry about gluing or sewing any of the fillings, but if it was going to be for play food, I would probably dab some glue here and there on the fillings.
 I also made a bunch of different kinds rather than 6 of one piece.
 And then for my little "double dippers" I cut some pink felt for ginger and a circle of dark brown for soy sauce.
 And of course, because they are props for my pottery, I have to share that too.  This one (above) is my favourite.  I made a bowl for Empty Bowls in this style and it was very difficult to part with, so I made some sushi plates.
 This plate, I think is "cute" but it doesn't scream sushi like the bamboo one...
...and this one, not so much either.  I think some plain white ones are in order - although there are still a few awaiting their turn through the kiln.

Linking up with: Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia
                        Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder

Featured Artist of the month

I'm excited to be the featured artist of the month at the Rural Creators' Collective.
Pop on over the RCC blog to see what inspires me to create what I create.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

A publicity photo shoot for the Carlisle Country Craft and Old-Fashioned Market Mercantile

In which I definitely leave my comfort zone!
As one of the sponsors for the event, I was asked to come in costume (the options for the show are Pioneer, Victorian, Steampunk, or hill-billy) to meet with three of the others, and the photographer to do a publicity photo shoot.  Due to illness, a couple of people weren't able to make it...
...leaving us with just two people in the pictures, which makes it harder to camouflage the fact that I am quite uncomfortable getting my picture taken.  The photographer (Yvonne Parsons Photography) was great, AND she'll be doing sepia portraits at the show both days.

The event:  Carlisle Country Craft and Old-Fashioned Market Mercantile
Dates: August 23-24, 2014 from 10:00 - 5:00 each day
Location: Mountsberg Hall and Fields in Flamborough County
              2133 Centre Road, Hamilton L0P 1K0 (for GPS directions)
Admission: $2.00 per person - kids 12 and under are FREE
What we'll have:  a great collection of artisans with old-fashioned skills - weaving, spinning, pottery,      felting, soapmaking, paper making, a blacksmith, tatting, wooden musical instruments, oh                goodness - so much more.
     Also buskers and live entertainment - magic, music, games in the Village Green, snacks and            drinks, live demos, portraits, and a petting zoo.

It's a great day trip, but if you live a little ways away - there are 3 cities within a 20 minute drive with plenty of hotels to make it a weekend trip.   There are buckets of waterfalls to visit and it's not far from the African Lion Safari.  There's also camping nearby.

PS: I'm the one standing up.  It will be in print sometime soon.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Cute little baby booties

No original title for this post...they just simply are adorable little booties...
 Someone very near and dear to me is having a baby.  I'm so terribly excited I started knitting even before she told me the news.  The seamless booties pattern is free on Ravelry by Laura Yarnthrower, and the acorn pattern is the spiffy little acorn pattern, also free on Ravelry by Revati Poole.  I just connected the two acorn per bootie with a single chain of crochet, but you could just as easily make an I-cord.

Go make some, but be careful when gifting to a pregnant lady.  Bring tissues.  I love you, A :)

                        Fiber Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins in Wonder
                        Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams

Friday, 18 April 2014

From the kiln - April

It occurs to me that it has been a while since I have posted any "from the kiln" pictures, so today, while I price and wrap and pack for next weekend's show, I am snapping a few pictures to share.

 I tried my hand at throwing again a couple of weeks ago.  Although I am still no good at trimming on the wheel (which I have to admit is why I stopped throwing in the first place---you can only bust through the bottom of so many pots before you take a break from it) I have discovered that I quite enjoy hand trimming and carving.  So, there may be more wheel throwing in my future (just the drinking vessels above...the rest are hand built).
 Hanging planters just waiting for their ropes.
 A couple more small mugs came out of the kiln.  Two of the four are to my satisfaction.
 You may or may not have seen these already, but now all 4 are out.
 The rose bowl that I am absolutely thrilled with!  Yippee!  No cracks, no bare patches, no crawling, no ugly bits.  Just nice shiny glaze and it covered the roses very well.
 The little scoops are out.  Still looking rather like a child's tea set.
 A pod bird feeder ready to go.  There was a blue one too, but it stuck to the shelf.  
 This one had gone into the seconds pile originally, because some of the holes had filled in with glaze, but my husband said he thought that was intentional so that some would show clear light and some would just glow, so now it's in the "to test out" pile.
 Cutie patootie.  This one is for a votive candle, but I see a vase to "match" in the near future.
A yarn bowl of rather generous proportions.  I happen to like it very well myself, but then I'm partial to brown.  I tend to make the yarn bowls white and blue or white and turquoise, or white and green as that is what so many knitters have bought from me in the past.
I am particularly fond of the very "drippy" inside.  Very fond, even though a particular person who saw it said "oooh, what went wrong there?"

The reduction kiln at the college was loaded up last night, so hopefully I will have a few more delights to share next week.

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

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Annual Elementary School Art Show

For the past 5 years or so, the elementary school my youngest attends has hosted an art show where every piece of art is made of recycled, repurposed or upcycled materials.

Here is what the students (and classes) came up with this year:

 One little girl made an elephant out of an old vacuum cleaner.  Hilarious.
 Not having seen any of the projects in advance, we were thrilled to see that some naturally went together, by colour or style.  See those paintings...the person who submitted them found the frames in the garbage.  They just needed a cleaning, sanding, and coat of paint.
 This was a big hit with so many of the kids.  

 Nice bright magazine page art.

 N, of course, made this monster candy jar by reclaiming the clay I trimmed off my pottery pieces.

 This was a class project (I forgot to take a picture of the artist who's work this is based on).  They made a video to go with it, which we played on a loop through the evening.
 Kindergarten project:  They had a hard time understanding why they couldn't take their little bugs home with them last week, so we gave them a tour of the show in the afternoon.  Now they get it.
 One family worked together to build a whole house and yard out of recycled materials.  This little cauliflower was one of my favourite bits.
 There was a whole collection of these little robots made of scraps and leftovers, made by the grade 4/5 class.

 Ah, the sloppy jalopy...one of the big hits of the show.  It's an old bike that someone has had in their garden for a couple of years, fixed up with a few bits added.  The little fold down table goes back up and locks into place in the triangle of the bike frame.  The front of the drink holder even has a bottle opener attached to it.  Note the rolled up picnic blanket rolled up and strapped in underneath the bottles.  
 Another kindergarten project...a whole collection of little owls made of juice lids and bottle caps.  As much as I love that the projects are all made of recycled materials, it is sometimes a little discouraging to see how much waste is still being produced.  There were about 25 of these owls, each of which had water bottle lids for eyes.  Why, oh why, are people still drinking water from plastic water bottles with all the options out there?
 One of the teachers brought in all of these partition walls from their church.  It really helped make the displays come together.  It was nice to have the teachers on board this year.
The special needs class outdoes themselves every year.  These sheep are made of the material they used to use to make casts but that isn't used any more (our school is across from a hospital).
Here's a close up:

It was a fun night, once again!

Linking up with: Creative Friday at Natural Suburbia