Friday, October 9, 2009

Not Quite Crafts...

      By now you know this blog is mostly about my crafts.  Today's post is not.  I do have some vintage items I'll be putting in my online shops from time to time, so I thought I'd share a few of the pictures here.


      This first one is an abstract poodle pin, given to me by a school chum when I was in high school.

     I don't really know anything about the maker, whose mark is seen in the lower left photo, above.






    The next item is an antique GOP elephant pin.  I've no idea whether it was just a "party pride" pin, or related to a specific campaign.  I've not been able to find out.  All I know is that it was with my great-great aunt's stuff when she passed back in 1963 at the age of 86, so it's definitely very old.





    For your enjoyment next on the menu are a couple of vaseline glass bowls/candy/nut dishes.  No clue as to vintage, maker or pattern name (no marks on the undersides!)  They came to my mother from a great-aunt of mine.  They are both intriguing shapes, but I've never really been fond of this yellow-green color glass.  I'm more partial to deep, rich tones, like cobalt blue glass and ruby or cranberry glass.  At right above, shown in normal lighting, and below left, under a blacklight.





      The next one is taller, and is shown below right, in normal light, and below center, under blacklight.













   


And that's all for today, folks!  Thanks for stopping by to look at my curios!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New shop slowly taking shape--and other miscellaneous stuff happening ;-)

Check out my shop on ArtFire.  It is slowly but surely being populated with items.  I have so many different things I do that I don't spend a great deal of time on any one of them at a stretch.  I bounce back and forth..."multi-tasking."

Truth is, I thrive on variety, and would end up bored to tears and in a looney bin somewhere if I had to do the same thing over and over and over all day long, day in and day out.

This week, I got to get back into video editing, which I enjoy, although, I'm not real thrilled with the Windows "Movie Maker" program.  It has limitations I do not like, so I'm researching other options.  I have Pinnacle Studio 7, but the hardware card seems to be among the missing.  Until that can be located, I cannot install it in my computer.  Further, my current computer has 2 built-in firewire ports to which my video cam can be connected, so there may not be space inside for the Pinnacle Studio card.  (All of that, however, is hubby's department--he used to make a living as a hardware/software configuration specialist.  However, working with such large clients as Wells Fargo and Kaiser Permanente...and having their  hard drives in your possession, complete with all the data on their clients....was an extremely high-stress job, and probably responsible for his several heart attacks!  So, I put no pressure on him...if/when it gets done, it does, if not, I'll muddle through.) 

Today, I'll be getting some more painting done, as I have to clear the painting out before tomorrow, to make way for cleaning green ware.  Cleaning green ware is a very, very dusty process, and completely incompatible with painting or glazing. The extremely fine dust will settle into wet paint or glaze and ruin the job.  Too bad I can't afford to create separate rooms for dusty/non-dusty operations!  That way, everything that is 'in process" could be just left out for the next work session.  Ah, well, such is life.  ;-)

That is all for now, folks.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday, Wednesday....

    Finished the race video...tried to work on the one for MIL wedding  (now 2 years old--shame on me!) and found I HAD finished it, but at the time, had no means to burn it to a CD or DVD.  Now I do, but it won't work!  Grr... tells me all sorts of error messages, such as "invalid file type"  or "no disc in drive"  (now that's an outright lie!)  

   Well, since the video I was having trouble with is from a saved file 2 years old..that may be the problem.  I might have to re-upload the original raw footage from the camera, and start all over again in the editing process.  Grrrrrr.....   

    Not quite sure how to proceed at this point, so I'm going back to paint more mice while I think about it!


    Just posted up 2 new ornaments today on my Etsy site.  Will do more tomorrow, or later this evening on my Artfire site. 

    Keeping it brief today, and lately.  Just quick updates, no articles in mind just now.







Monday, October 5, 2009

Work in Progress...

Well, I found the program in Windows to edit video, found the missing fire wire cable for the video camera  (it was plugged into the back of the computer the whole time! I guess that's. sort of like loosing your glasses while wearing them!  DUH!)

Now, all I have to do is finish editing the video I shot of the Radio Control car races, (promised to hubby), then the wedding video (2 yrs old!!) for my mother-in-law...  and THEN I can shoot my demo video of my studio and the entire process of ceramic-making!

Woo-Hoo!  Onwards and upwards!

Happy crafting, everyone!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fall Is Here...

And with Fall, Winter is not far behind.  :::sigh:::  I sit here and wonder who spilled grease on the calendar.  How is it that days can drag, while years zoom?  And the older we get, the faster they go...with still so much left to do.

Speaking of which, I've decided to offer some of my "Mousechief Crew" tree ornaments as DIY projects in sets of 4.  I thought it might be fun, and folks might like to paint some up to their own specifications and color schemes.  the first two sets are now posted in my Etsy shop.  Here they are:





This is set #1 above.  It has the candle climber, North Pole, Bell, and Hickory Dickory mice.

Below, is set #2, which features the wreath napper, bedtime prayers, sleepy Willie, and "Grandma Mouses."






Set #3 is not yet posted, so I'll keep it secret a bit longer.  These darling little mousie critters average about 3" tall, and are quite detailed.  Regular readers will recall that week or so ago,  I wrote an in-depth article about the full process for creating these little fellows, as well as my carousel animal line.
                                    
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I also make a Western-themed line, which are much larger statuettes, and excellent gifts for the horse lover in your circle of family or friends.  The overall process for making the Western items is exactly the same...with the exception of the size, and the fact that several are multiple-piece molds. 

A mulitple-piece mold has some or several of the various parts of the finished statuette poured separately, for if it were to be poured all of a piece, there would be too many angles for the piece to release from the mold without breaking.  So, these smaller parts are poured separate, and must be attached with a clay slurry mixture while the clay is still very wet.  This is done just as soon as the figure comes out of the mold. 

It can be very tricky, for often these parts are small, and they are fragile, and easily squished at the soft clay stage, or cracked and broken off at the green ware stage while it is being cleaned.  Here is one example of such a piece:





In this item, the Buffalo Soldier, the extended front leg of the horse is an "attachment," and as you can see, it is sticking out "in harm's way."  It is a very difficult item to clean in preparation for firing, withouth breaking this extended leg.  Imagine a few strands of raw spaghetti laid across your palm.  Now, if you were to close your palm, and begin to squeeze, it would not take much before those strands would snap.  That is a pretty fair example of how fragile raw green ware is.  You can literally crush it in your hand with little to no effort.


This bronco rider is even worse to deal with.  Not only is one of the horse's legs an attachement (the opposite side from that shown here), but the entire torso and head of the rider is an attachment, as is his left hand and arm.  His right hand is actually molded in with the mane of the horse, so it must be carefully aligned when the torso is attached.  This figure is a real "PITA" to assemble, and likewise very fragile and easily broken at any stage along the way.

These are much larger items,  each standing approximately a foot tall...so their added weight adds to the risk of damage.  There are even some items which must be carefully laid in a box of newspaper shred to dry, or they will either fall over or 'squish down' from the weight of the wet clay.

Like the much smaller mice, these are very intricately detailed pieces, and painting them realistically takes a long time.  For the most part, we just offer these in either the faux-bronze look seen here, or in a plain gloss glaze (we will do realistic painting, but must ask for a 3-week lead time, and they are about double the price of the plain finishes).  The plain gloss glaze finish is seen on the rearing stallion, below.  (Note that his left leg is one of those pesky "attachments.")




   So, happy Fall, and ... (I dread to rush the season) .. happy holidays.  Be well and be safe, each and every one.

My Friend, Christine B.

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