Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thank You

I would just like to say thank you to all of the solders who have served and are serving this country. We owe a debt to you we can not repay. You have given us a free and safe home to express our selves in what ever way we desire.

I call to the people out there to respect everyone’s freedoms. Respect people’s individuality. Respect one another and to stay unified in the movement towards compassion and hope. We must take care of one another so that everyone can reap the benefits of this great nation.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bee Light Project

Be sure to use paper that is not going to catch fire. I put wax paper on this and you can find waxy backed paper in craft stores. Don't use a light sorce that is going to get too hot. Here are the steps I took to make the lamp. This is free for personal use. Please to not sell my designs. : )

This is a template so I can make several quicly. The squares for this one are 2 1/4 " X 2 1/4" with 1 1/2" tabs that are 1/2" thick.

I forgot to add a tab in the picture here so adding a tab on the left or right will help later.

I added wax paper to the back and you can see it hanging down from the bottom.

I used a ruler to fold the edges and give a nice clean fold.

I used masking tape to attach the two back sides. Its not pro but it doesn't look bad.

Taped the flaps and just let it hang off the bulb lose.

All done. The key here is wax paper or some other paper with a waxy back. No hot bulbs. Paper can catch on fire and then I would feel really bad. Hope you have fun making this project.

My Favorite Lamp Ever

As you all know I used to make rock lamps. I just wanted to post my favorite lamp I ever made. It is in a eatery in Oneonta these days called Common Grounds if you ever want to see the real deal. It was dry laid with a metal rod holding the rocks and the tree roots in place. The rocks and roots were gathered from a small creek that was part of the Susquehanna river in Oneonta NY.


When I was growing up there were three lakes in Upstate New York that were a major part of my life. Eaton Reservoir, Erieville Lake, and DeRuyter Reservoir. We often went fishing on all three catching walleye, bass, pickerel and perch. My dad spent hours in the yard with us practicing casting. He would tie a small weight to the bottom of the line and we would practice casting and reeling learning how to go slow and slightly bob the lure to give it the realistic look of a small critter swimming.

By the time I was 8 I knew how to tie a line, cast, real, filet a fish, what depth each type lived at, what a female fish looked like and what a male fish looked like. I saw what a fish looked like when it was pregnant. I knew that you had to burry the fish guts pretty deep when done so that dogs or other animals would not come and dig them up. I knew what kinds of bait to use and that walleye really liked my small brown sparkly squid bait. The Reservoirs were a place to save fish as well as catch them. When we went to visit the dam I would grab up the little minnows that had been washed over and put them back in the water.

DeRuyter Reservoir has a couple small islands. The shores of the islands had lots of clay on the banks. One day we stopped by a smaller one and my mother used the clay to make a small face. She used small spiral shells as eyes. It was really neat and held up pretty well. The islands were fascinating and that made that lake the most interesting when I was really little. I would have to say my favorite was Eaton. The reservoir has the large side and then a smaller side that is more of a pond. The pond side has lots of lily pads, birds and turtles. The larger side has lots of nooks to take your boat or kayak. One summer my husband and I made several trips in both a canoe or kayak to fish.

I have seen some of the greatest things on the Eaton Reservoir. When I went to Morriseville College I drove from my home in New Woodstock and crossed the dam in Eaton. One morning the fog was thick and some how made a arch that a car could just fit through over the dam. It looked so cool! The best memory I have of the Reservoir though is from when I was pretty little maybe middle school. We had learned in science class that there would be a meteor shower that night. It was deep winter and I begged my dad to let me go ice fishing with him. We sat on the still frozen lake with more stars then house lights showing and watched as thousands of meteors cascaded across the sky. I honestly get choked up thinking about it even today. It was the most stunning image I have ever witnessed.

The water is part of who I am. It helped me grow the way it would help a plant grow. I will always be nostalgic about those lakes. Where ever I settle it will forever need to be near a clean and wild body of water.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Bee

Today I experimented with making a bee Christmas light cover. I need to master the top and bottom better but the bee turned out CRAZY COOL!

All designs are original and may not be copied to be sold please. Thank you.

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The Poor Artist

When I was a kid we used to get the best stuff in the mail. Now days all you get is junk mail and the creative brain has to work a lot harder to find use for it. We always used to get carpet and wall paper sample books. These could be used for so many things.

My family was pretty tight on cash for most of my pre teen years so creativity with what materials were had was a big deal. My grandmother used to make her own wall paper paste. She had a large wooden bowl and a large real horse hair wall paper brush. In her bedroom on one wall was a pattern of wall paper sample rectangles. She had taken the scraps from the other bedroom wall paper jobs and used them in the pattern as well. Waste was not an option. It looked like a patchwork quilt. The paper would often come in packs with the same pattern in different colors crating a uniform feel to the different squares.

The sample books were great for kid projects too. We would take old cardboard boxes and cut the tops and a side off. Small windows and a door would be cut and the samples were used to carpet and paper the new doll house.

My grandmother also knit and crochet. With this skill she would take baling twine that was readily available on the farm and make floor mats. She even used old bread bags and wove them into rugs for the really nasty muddy areas that could use something more resistant to the muck. Dog beds, seat cushions and close pin holders on the laundry line were made of old jean scraps.

She would go to the mustard seed thrift store and take out the old zippers from the discarded clothing, elastic bands, buttons and then cut up the fabric its self to make quits with. Sweaters were unraveled and the yarn reused. The bottoms of old milk jugs were cut off and placed over seedlings in our spring garden to protect them from rabbits and give them a little green house. My grandfather took old barn boards and shaped them into furniture, wall planters and picture frames.

All of the old bubble bath bottles were saved and we would use them as toys. UPC codes and coupons were painstakingly clipped saved and used. My mom used to have boxes and boxes of coupons that we would sort out and use when we went grocery shopping. Our toys were often refund toys that came if you saved up enough UPC’s. My grandfather often sat in his corner at the kitchen table with his refund Cheerio’s t-shirt and suspenders.

A pair of orange handled scissors a large Tupperware bowl or a giant metal bowl were the primary tools for any project in our house hold. Halloween costumes were always hand made and awesome. I won first place at a costume contest one year for being a giant eyeball. My mom used the frame for an old pop up tent to give the eyeball some shape.

The creativity even went into the guy functional gadgets realm. My dad built a fishing igloo / sled out of an old toboggan, press board, copper piping and some recycled tent canvas. It had a hinged lid and a hole cut in the top. It stored all of his ice fishing rods and had a hole for the bait bucket (an old 10 gallon bucket). He made tip up lights out of Christmas lights film canisters, mercury witches and electrical tape.

In today’s society we often don’t think about how we could make something out of what we have. Not having a lot of money made my family environmentalists out of necessity. Keep in mind next time you go to throw away a pretty tissue box that is a freebie! It is a material that your creative soul could repurpose into something amazing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Amnicon Falls State Park

The Earth is so amazing. You can find some of the most incredible things quite by accident.

I wanted to share this picture of a river we saw last summer. It was taken at the Amnicon Falls State Park.

The rivers are this color because of the tannins from the roots of the trees around the river. I was also impressed by how it did a complete U - turn seeming to defy physics.

A really talented and good friend of mine made the labels for my new line of Eco friendly candles. Some will be in these jars and others will be in 100% recycled and reusable jars. Enjoy!

Lost Wax Casting Fox Ring

This winter I was able to take some classes at the Lillstreet Art Center. I took a few classes in Lost Wax Casting. This is a process where you take a special jewelers wax to form your piece of jewelry, created a cast of it that later has molten metal sucked into it using centrifugal force. The metal replaces the wax inside the cast leaving you with a awesome piece of jewelry. Since the class ended I have been getting my pieces done at the Casting House here in Chicago until I get my dream studio in Oregon. 

 The piece is shown here in both its wax and silver form. I hand carved this using jeweler's files and Wolf  Carving Tools. I did not need to apply heated wax to this piece but in the tree pendant and the dragonfly small beads of hot wax were added to that tail and branches.

I wanted to create a molten metal look with this set of rings. These were made from thin sheets of wax wrapped around dowels and then joined by heating the wax with metal tools and a small lamp.  

For bigger pieces I have to cast them in several parts. A dragonfly that I did was done in six separate parts. I have also been working on a tree pendant and carved my first setting for a Lake Michigan Stone.

Working On Labels

A dear friend of mine has been making me awesome labels for my new candles. I had fun designing my own vintage label today. This is a sketch of it.

Are Wood Wicks Good Alternative or Not?

A few months back I decided it would be fun to make all natural eco friendly candles. There are so many options out there it took me all of those months to figure out what materials I was going to use, what materials were really environmentally friendly and what was truly not detrimental to a person‘s health.

The hardest component to decide upon was the wicks. I was glamoured by the wood wicks that are out now. I loved the crackly sound they make and how they added a nice spicy smell to the candle. I had done several inquiries to see if any of the companies would elaborate on the “clean burning patented agent” they used to treat the wood wicks with. No one responded.

I bought treated wood wicks, untreated wood wicks and natural hemp core wicks. This helped me make my decision on the wood wicks once and for all. Untreated wood wicks do not stay lit. They do not make a good pool, are messy and emit a black smoke that is not good to breathe. The treated wood wicks did not emit the smoke. They added a smell to the candle that could over power the essential oils I was using. They also left the soy wax a brownish color. This did not set off any alarms for me untill I tried the natural hemp core wicks.

The hemp core wicks left the wax crystal clear all the way to the end of the candle. They did not contribute any smells that would alter the essential oil scents. They did emit a black smoke if I used too thick of a wick. Hemp wicks burn nice and slow so using too thick of a wick can make the wick not burn as fast as the soy leaving a smoking tip that mushrooms. If trimmed lower during long burn periods it is not a big deal but I totally solved the problem by going down to a medium sized wick. The small wick does not have the support I like to hold up while the candle is being pored.

The emissions from the treated wood candle may be slight but the brownish tint it leaves in the wax as well as the extra scent it puts off made me feel that it was giving off something that may or may not be disclosed later as being unhealthy. Candles are awesome and very relaxing but we have to breath in enough junk with out voluntarily bringing it into our homes.