Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Update..

Greetings, everyone!

    Today is Friday, yay for that.  But, my plans have hit a idea for creating a video presentation of my work has been delayed by computer issues.

    It seems that in order to install the software to run my video editing suite, it is first necessary to have a hardware card installed in my machine.  That card is still in my old computer, and changing it over is my husband's department--unfortunately, he will be unavailable to fix that until next week.

   Meanwhile, I have video to shoot at the Radio Control car races being held in town this weekend, so, I need to refresh my memory on use of the camera.   After that, if hubby wants the race video ready to upload, it will behoove him to act quickly to make the changover in the computers.  Nothing like a little extra bribery for incentive, eh?  Heh, heh, heh!

    I continue to work on my holiday ornament painting, and will be listing more items each day.  Keep checking back in my Etsy shop at:

    Thanks for following my blog, and for shopping with me!  You are all appreciated.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Photos, Editing, busy, busy

   Well, there is a lot to do today.  I have a slew of mice to paint; photos to re-take and tweak; which in turn must be uploaded to computer, edited, and swapped out for other pictures in my Etsy listings.

  Then, I must re-install my video editing software, as it was in my old computer.  I am supposed to be editing a wedding video for my mother-in-law, ...  (ahem--the wedding was 2 years ago!  Ooops!)... but, that video was also in my old computer, and it somehow did not transfer across to the external hard drive when we sent the puter in to have the data rescued.  UGH!!  I was about halfway done--now I must start from square one.  This time, I'm in a time crunch, as I promised to bring it when we visit for Thanksgiving.

   Next, I have to get out the manual, and re-learn this video cam (it is fairly new to me...I've hardly used it at all), and shoot the video I want of my studio processes.  Probably some of the cat's antics, as well... I've more or less hinted at a promise of cat videos to friends on my other blog (part of the Cat Blogosphere).

  That's about it for today--none of it will get done if I don't get off this computer!  :-)

Cheers, Lizzy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Holidays are Coming; The Holidays are Coming!

A 1 an' a 2, an' a 1...2...3.... and heeeeeere we go!  It's October, and that means just one thing:  the official beginning of the time of year known as The Holiday Season. 

Most B&M stores have their holiday offerings out ridiculously early, 'rushing the season,' as it were.  I don't care for this practice, but I do understand that with mail-order sales, which is what we online crafters are doing, it is necessary to be a bit ahead of the game to allow for shipping time.

That said, I still do not like to be working on holiday items in June, so every September and October finds me 'busting tail' to get my Etsy and Artfire shops stocked with holiday goodies. 

I am in the middle of painting a slew of cute little mice for my "Mousechief Crew" ornament collection.  There will be several duplicates, so more than one person can have them; there will also be some one-of-a-kind.  Aha... collectibles value?   LOL  Probably not. 

But, you can look for my new offerings for Halloween already in my shop; and a few last-minute items will be there by the end of this week.

Christmas will not be far behind.  Somehow or another, Thanksgiving gets cheated out of very many decorations..who's with me to rectify this situation?  Sign on below in the comments! 

That's it for today...back to work for me!


Monday, September 28, 2009

A New Technique

Ceramic Plaques

Some of you may have read my earlier post about how I create my small holiday well as the larger ceramic items.

I have added a new line; wall plaques engraved with various "cute" sayings.  For these, I use an entirely different approach.

The plaques are molded, in a sense, but instead of liquid clay slip being poured into molds, I begin with moist clay in a block, much as a potter might use to throw on a wheel.  I have several molds, this type more properly known as "jigs," into which I fit pounded slabs of clay.

Pounded?  That's right.   Once the clay is cut from the large block, it is unlikely to be 100% the correct size and shape, or thickness.  Chances are, a few pieces will have to be squished together to form the whole.  The pounding makes sure all the layers have become one, and there are no air pockets in the middle.  Air pockets spell death to ceramics.  The least little bit of air in the middle will have whatever tiny amount of atmospheric moisture in it, that was trapped when the clay was molded.  In the kiln, this becomes steam, and expands.  It has nowhere to go, so "kaboom" goes your piece!

The pounded clay is then laid into the jig, and pounded further to fill in to the corners.  Then, it is rolled with a roller to smooth the top.  (The jig is fastened to a smooth surface, so the bottom is more or less smooth already.)  Once the jig is completely filled, any excess is cut from around the edges, and the clay allowed to sit and start to dry.  There is a lot of moisture; it can be left to sit even overnight in cool weather. 

After it has hardened up enough to handle without warping too much (clay has 'memory' and a warped piece will come out warped, even if it was re-flattened before finishing the drying process).  At this stage, using a sharp pencil, I scribe in the sayings, and blow out the clay shreds that result.  I then add whatever edging treatment I desire, and set them to fully dry.  Depending on the weather (read: time of year), this can be overnight to almost a week.  These plaques are solid clay, ¼" thick. 

Once it is fully dry, it then proceeds into the cleaning queue, to be pepared for firing, from that point, the same as any other green ware piece.

After firing, I use a different type of finish treatment to get my 'rustic wood' look.  These paints are oil-based, and each coat takes almost a full week to dry fully, even in warm weather.  Then, the sealer coat is applied, and they are ready for sale.

My Friend, Christine B.

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Hey--if you know me; you know you've found the right "Liz."  If you haven't figured it out by now, you probably don't know me.  ;-)