Sunday, March 1, 2015

John C. Campbell Folk School - JoAnn Kelly Catsos - 2015

So another wonderful week at the John C. Campbell Folk School and my class with JoAnn Kelly Catsos has come and gone. I just hate how fast the fun times have to fly by. This trip though I added on an extra day at the start and end, which made for two nice bonus days. The weather was a bit dicey this time too, so the extra day at the end helped miss driving home in the snow.
Even with the iffy weather many beautiful baskets woven. We just didn't take any extra time walking to and from the basket studio and the dining hall.
My Mom asked for a monopod for Christmas so she could take sunset photos on the beach, but I accidentally got her a selfie-stick instead. So, my mistake was my gain and my torment to my fellow basket weavers.
I wove four intricate miniature baskets and finished up a few others that I brought with me that needed to have their rims lashed. Every year I give my Dad a basket for Christmas, so this past Christmas I had planned on giving him a Birkshire Backpack. I had made one a few years ago when JoAnn Kelly Catsos and planned on making on making a second one for him. Of course I didn't get the second one done, so I had to give him mine. I finally had time to reweave it. JoAnn's baskets are so perfectly proportioned that in photos it is hard to tell how big they are. This shot of the business card sized basket in the snow would almost make you think it was a full-sized pack.
While I have woven so many of JoAnn's baskets I had never made Steve's Fishing Creel. I just need to attach the tiny hand-tied fly and fleece to the basket and it will be complete.
This lidded cathead has always been one of my favorite Shaker designs and one I have woven in many sizes. This 2.5" version is by far the smallest and the most challenging, but well worth the effort.
This is a 4" version of JoAnn's Snowflake bowl, but with dyed stakes. I just love this pattern and love the contrast of the white weavers to the chestnut colored stakes and rims.
If you have been to the John C. Campbell Folk School or you have read my posts about my trips there you know that on the last day they have a "show and tell" where everyone gets to share the accomplishments from the week. It is always so exciting to see what has been going on in the other studios (I never seem to make it out of the basketweaving studio).
Here's a picture of my four completed baskets.
And here is a picture of our happy class. The weather may have been frightful, but inside it was so delightful.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


Look what I just stumbled upon. I guess I took these photos last year, but because the materials are perfectly scaled I didn't realize when I saw them that they weren't old photos of my full-size versions.

Both baskets were made on the same 3"x4" mold in 2014 at the John C. Campbell Folk School.

Half-scale black ash tatting basket

Quarter-scale black ash wood chip basket

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lumbersexual Thank You Cards

So have you heard that metrosexual is out and lumbersexual is in? Well it is. I actually just learned this myself the other day. So no more skinny jeans and smartly tailored shirts, it is all about the flannel and beards.

While my facial hair is way too white these days to sport a beard longer than the 1/8th inch setting on my trimmer and I don't have any flannel (though I do like a good plaid shirt), I did decide to use a rustic cabin theme to my Christmas thank you cards.
I used a set of two-part basket stamps that I made awhile back. These may be one of my 2015 releases, but I haven't decided yet. I need to get busy with that though as I usually introduce my new stamp sets in April at the State Line Friends basket retreat.

I also used my Sizzix Eclips to cut out the layer frames. I kind of wish I had cut out the inside of the back most green layer even though it would have only been a small hole. The thank you stitched banner/flag was die-cut using a Lil' Inker Design framelet and stamped with Tim Holtz' Simple Sayings. The two background stamps are ones I think I picked up at Michael's. I used a combination of Ranger Distress and Adirondack Ink, with the pad I used for the basket was one I made myself using two colors of Distress Ink refillers.

While the red and green color combination would typically be very Chirstmas-y, I think with this design it just looks like a warm and cozy winter by the fireplace.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sleepy Supervisor

My supervisor is either bored with me or my flurry of crafting has pooped him out.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

What I have been up to so far in 2015

I have actually had a small burst of creative energy which fortunately corresponded to some free time. Typically as I walk to my car after work I have all these ideas and creative excitement running through my head, but by the time I have walked into my house my only thought is about dinner and sitting on the couch, and then the next thing I know it is time for bed.

This holiday season we were given two extra days off, so had a nice long break between Christmas and New Years. While this seemed like the longest time in the world it flew by so fast it made my head spin. Fortunately on the Friday after the first of the year I spent the day in my craft room paper crafting up a storm.

My supervisor keeping watch over my output. Today's project, working on restocking my embellished journals.
I love the big work table my Dad built for me a few years ago. I can spread everything out and use each side of the table as a separate work station. The downside is that I can spread everything out and make a big mess which I don't always clean up in a timely fashion. I wish my helper/supervisor was better at putting stuff away, but his idea of helping is to knock things off onto the floor.

A sheet of freshly cut squares from my Sizzix Eclips stamped with my custom basket stamps using Ranger Archival Ink.
I love my Sizzix Eclips cutting machine. These aren't very exciting shapes, but they are perfectly sized to layer on larger squares and/or scalloped boards that I also cut.

Journals embellished using my line of custom basket stamps that I produce and sell.
I was kind of stuck on a theme, but when you are embellishing a dozen journal covers it is much more efficient to come up with a design and repeat it a bunch of times. I sell these guys when I vend at basket conventions. I take spells of selling these and I had let my stock get really low, so this set will help replenish my stash.

Hope everyone is having a crafty and productive 2015 so far.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

JoAnn Kelly Catsos Workshop-Preview

So I started writing this post almost a month ago, which was way late, then my computer locked up and I lost 3/4ths of it. Besides being extremely unhappy that I had lost my blog post I was also freaked out that my computer was acting so strangely. Well the holidays hit in full force and rewriting my blog was way don't on my to-do list. So, here we go again with a down and dirty version. I had to get at least one more in before the end of the year.

As you may have seen in an early post I was hosting a basket workshop with JoAnn Kelly Catsos at my house in November. Well as you can see from the photo above the basement was a bit of a mess. Since Eric Taylor's class in the spring I had been busy with a myriad of projects (most of which were only half finished). I have pretty much drug every tool and project out and filled every available work space with stuff. Unfortunately this setup was not going to be conducive to hosting a class.

Well I kicked it into high gear the week before class and had everything ready to go by the time JoAnn arrived. Quite the transformation wouldn't you say? Unfortunately I won't show you what it looks like a short month later. I don't know where this mess comes from. I am convinced it is gremlins.

JoAnn's workshop was fabulous as always. For three days we worked on a lidded sewing basket and then on the forth day, either additional little cheese boats to go inside the sewing basket or a miniature. Since I had made the lidded sewing basket in the very first class I ever took with JoAnn I wanted to do something a tab bit different. So, instead of doing the quadrafoil pattern on the lid like everyone else I decided to do the JoAnn's snowflake or octafoil pattern. This meant that instead of having four petals to my clover-leaf pattern, I was going to have eight! This also meant that I was going to have way, way, way more uprights in both the lid and the bottom. If that wasn't bad enough I had to go one step farther and weave a crazy twill pattern while laying up the base of each. The basket was very fun to make, but definitely a challenge.

Typically when I am doing the class baskets I have lots of time to get up and take photos of the other basketmakers. Well, not this year. My fanny was firmly planted in my seat and I was concentrating on weaving. I did take a few photos and one of these days I will get them up on my website, Fortunately some in the class snapped the picture above of me working on the bottom to by basket. Now I just need to get my photo background and lights set back up so I can take some photos of the finished basket. Oh well, that will have to wait until after the first of the year.

Which reminds me, here's to an incredible (and productive) 2015!

Happy Weaving,

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I originally wasn't going to carve a jack-o-lantern this year, I was just going to keep the pumpkins I picked up at the Hartsburg, MO Pumpkin Fest on my porch throughout October and November. So, when I got home on Sunday night I artfully arranged them outside my front door. As I left for work on Monday they were looking quite festive. Well when I got home from work, less than 24 hours after I first put them out, a squirrel had decided to eat a hunk out off one of my big pumpkins. If that wasn't bad enough, the little @&$*#( had taken a single bite of every last one of them! I mean seriously? Did it really need to bite each one? Well, fortunately it did spare one, my white pumpkin, so I brought it in to preserve it.

Really? Not even nice for 24 hours!

So, I left out the one pumpkin the squirrel(s) decided they like best and let them slowly eat the rapidly rotting mess. Fortunately they did pretty much leave the others alone. Then last night I carved the one remaining relatively good one and pitched the gunky one. At least the kiddos get a real pumpkin this year. Happy Halloween!