Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cleanin' Up - Naturally!

I have been thinking of this idea for quite some time - ever since I made some for gifts last Christmas - and now would like to share, in hopes that some of you would also like to give a 'natural' gift!

The 'cleanin' up' part, of course refers to soap - now, I am not one of those super-talented people who can get around lye and water and come out with something lovely and useful. I envy them, but I am not them. So...wanting to make this myself, I turned to a wonderful site I used before - Bramble Berry. They have such a huge selection, not to mention a wealth of information, but they are also responsive and helpful when you email with a question. This time, all I did was refresh my memory on the process - I've done this many times, but it's been a while!

I used two different bases for my efforts this time. The trusty clear glycerin melt-and-pour base, and a new one for me - a white opaque melt-and-pour base.

The white base I tinted a lovely shade of pink, using liquid colors made for soap - and the white base took to the color beautifully. I had a mold that was a lovely 3-D heart, and this just seemed to be the perfect color and shape for my Warm Vanilla scent (from Bramble Berry - so I know it is the proper quality, and meets all the standards for something you will be putting on your face). Oh, my - this looks and smells so good!

The clear melt-and-pour soap I tinted a gorgeous color of bright pink - not obsessed with the color, but the scent I wanted for this batch was pink grapefruit - so what other color could I possibly use? I used molds in geometric shapes for the soap, and when it was done - it smelled delicious! (not going to eat it, tho!)

The other half of my idea came from my desire to make something natural and from materials made here in the US. I have described elsewhere on this blog my less-than-successful search for that. I had researched knitting stitches - finding some that were reversible - so whichever side you look at, it is pretty! I wanted to knit face cloths out of cotton - a simple, natural fiber that would feel good on your skin.

For the warm vanilla pink heart soap, I decided to use pure white cotton - and I picked "Wonder White Cottontots" by Bernat - it is pure cotton, and is made in Canada (pretty close to our own USA as a source!). I had a pattern that made raised ridges in a diagonal pattern across the cloth, which not only gave it interest, but a mild scrubbing effect too!

For the wonderful pink grapefruit soaps, I picked another of my favorite colors - specifically "Cornflower Blue Sugar'n Cream" by Lily. This is also pure cotton, also made in Canada, and the most lovely shade of blue that contrasts so nicely with the bright pink of the soap! The pattern I chose for this was called "Inverness Diamonds" - such a pretty pattern!

Both cloths have a border all around them of 4 knit stitches, and measure right around 8" square. Not too big, not too small!

These will be going up on my Studio 2:14 website later this week - but I wanted to share just a bit of the background, and a couple of photos with you here first!

More options, colors and patterns coming soon!! When they hit the website, you will be able to buy the sets as shown, or each piece separately.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

They're Up!

Just a short post to let you all know that the "Fruit Of The Spirit" earrings are up on my new website - Studio 2:14 !

Now you can read the whole story - how I created them, and the list of the fruit along with the corresponding colors. It makes for pretty interesting reading! Come read what you don't know about some of our most familiar colors!

Tomorrow I'm changing gears, and putting up a craft...or maybe more....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Earrings Revised...and Revised....

I have a version of my "Fruit Of The Spirit" earrings on my iCraft site - but after they were done, although they were very pretty - half of the crystals weren't visible.

In the end, I didn't care for this - it may have made the earrings 3-D, but since there are 9 fruits, I wanted all 9 crystal beads visible too. I had an idea of how to accomplish this, and added incentive was a dear friend who is also a customer (thanks, Dee!). I made a new version - and all the crystals were now on the front side of the earring. Very pretty, and I was pleased to have my friend purchase them.

Then I got to thinking - what if I made the swirls smaller, making the crystal beads stand out would that look? Nothing would do but to try it - and when they were done, my heart and mind said "YES!" This is how I want them to look!

This is now the final revision - and the way I will be making this design from now on. The balance is just right. Tomorrow I hope to have them on my website, ready for sale, but wanted to give you a sneak peek here first!

The earrings are wire-wrapped - silver-plated 24 gauge wire over an oval base - just over an inch in length. There are nine separate wires, and each one holds a different color crystal - and completed with a spiral. Each one is then bent into shape around the oval to complete the earring. They are attached to sterling silver french earwires.

You'll have to wait to see these on my website Studio 2:14 to find out the colors of the crystals, and how each one represents a fruit of the Spirit - a list of these will be included with each pair of earrings sold.

I truly love this design - and welcome any feedback on them!

More to come tomorrow - both jewelry and other crafts....can't wait!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Wait Is Over - But I Didn't Win...

The big "reveal" happened this past week - and the email was in my inbox....what would it contain?

Alas....not good news - I was not one of the winners of the "Use the Muse II" contest - and I am very impressed with the entries that were! Go and take a look at the creativity - made me feel absolutely 'stodgy'!! Here are the winners!
Ah well, it was great fun to try and put something together with a pre-selected set of components - I've never done that before - so I've also learned something new while having fun! that the "Muse" has been revealed, I can show you my complete necklace that I entered in the contest....

The "Muse" component was the large doughnut focal bead from LillyPilly - quite an interesting piece - but not anything that I would have worn in any case. Maybe that showed in the design, I don't know.

Not sure if I'll spring to spend the money to enter the next one or not - thinking I'll scout around for some other "make and show" projects to do in the future! So...stay tuned!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sneak Peek for Babies..and more!

Been working away - and a happy circumstance brought back one of my favorite gifts to put on my new website! The happy circumstance was the birth of another grandchild - always a joyous event, and to mark the event, I made my Baby Keepsake for him.

It all starts with an 8 x 10" white mat - the kind you put in picture frames. Inside the mat went a baby feet print in blue on vellum. This gave it that sheen, and to me, makes it look a bit 'old fashioned' - like that for babies!

To decorate this I cut two squares of paper - a 1" scalloped edge square in a light blue like the baby feet in the background print.Over that went a slightly smaller square in a darker blue - this one embossed with the baby's first name initial - in this case "K". To give this a more 3-D appearance, I set them on some tiny glue dots that raised them off the background. The embossed initial square I accented with some Perfect Pearl pigments, thinned down and washed on just the initial.

Below that I glued one of my fine silver antique buttons to a little wooden peg that was painted in a complementary blue, and then glued the button/peg to the background.

Now came the tricky part....I wanted something to put a tiny little scroll in with the verse of Psalm 139 that inspired the Keepsake - and decided that I needed to create a pattern for some miniature booties. Took a while (thank goodness little Kai was a bit slow in coming - at least for me!) to create the pattern in the right size AND find the right yarn/fiber to make it out of - remember the 'hunt for American-made yarn?' I did succeed - and got them made in the right shade of 'Warm Blue' - kinda liked the title of the thread color! The booties each measure 1 1/8" long by 1" tall. I attached the booties to links of silver-plated chain that looked to me like twisted ribbon and then hung the pair of booties from the silver button. Just right!

The final touch was the addition of the scroll and the printed info. The scroll was rolled up (it measured 2 3/8" x 7/8 " - tiny!) around a toothpick, and tied with a bit of yarn into a tiny bow. On the scroll was:
"For You created my inmost being
You knit me together in my mother's womb"
Psalm 139:13

Slipped in at the bottom of the frame was the parchment paper with the Baby's full name, day of arrival, weight and height in a very pretty font. On the back of the mat, I glued a piece of white cardstock to finish the back, and printed and glued the entire Psalm 139 - so the parents would know where the verse on the scroll had come from.

It turned out just wonderful. The last touch was to get some cardstock easel mounts so that the entire frame could stand on its own.

Needless to say - it was a huge hit! Later this week this will go on my website, but I wanted to share it with y'all here first! Here are a couple of
photos -

I also will be making a pink version for little girl babies - and, if there is interest, perhaps yellow, green and lavender - who says everything must be blue or pink?

On a related note - the quest for American made yarn/thread to make my crafts with did not succeed with this - but I could not find anything in the proper weight and fiber to use!
I fell back on an old brand I have used since forever - Royale Fashion Crochet Thread - size 3 - by JP Coates Company - made in India. I'll keep looking - and if anyone knows of an American made thread in this weight and colors - please let me know!!

Still no word on the necklace contest - am hoping that there will be word this coming week!
Meantime....more cotton and suds coming up soon!! (and that's not drinking variety suds!).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Copper Wire and Cotton...

Making some slow progress on my new website - and now I have added another product!

I had run out of silver wire - and while waiting for the new shipment to arrive, I considered the stash of copper wire I had on hand....and it got me thinking...

Don't want to give too much here is a sneak peek at a photo of them - and invite you to go and check out the progress on my website, and read the story behind my 2pence Earrings!

I am really liking my experiments with wire-wrapping - and have a lot of new things in the wings...almost ready for unveiling! And...when I do, there will be a give-away! So check back often...

Note on another subject....the "Use The Muse II" contest - there was an update, but no decision on winners as of yet....there were evidently a LOT of entries! But....soon as they post the winners, I'll let you know here - could it be with a prize attached??

And cotton search! I have had a real hard time finding cotton to use in my new ideas (coming soon!) - but perseverance won out on the one hand - and on the other - I had to temporarily give in - but not for yarn from China...tiny victory there.