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!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 JoAnn Kelly Catsos Workshop

Saturday - Tuesday, November 8, 9, 10, 11, 2014
9:00 am - 5:00 pm

I am so excited to be able to offer this pair of basket workshops with JoAnn Kelly Catsos of Ashley Falls, MA. JoAnn has won numerous awards for her beautiful black ash baskets and in 1999 she was asked to weave an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree. She also was one of the first to receive the Certificate of Excellence Level I Basketmaking from the Handweavers Guild of America. JoAnn and her husband Steve produce all the weaving materials, hardwood rims and handles, and molds themselves. I hope you can join JoAnn and me for this exciting and fun class.

Saturday, Sunday & Monday
Shaker Inspired Sewing Basket with Quadrafoil Lid
9" dia. x 6" deep

This is the first basket I made with JoAnn and is actually four baskets in one. It features a cathead base with a beautiful quadrafoil lid, along with two small cheese boats (one round and one oval) to hold your sewing notions. The baskets are woven of finely prepared black ash and finished with hardwood rims. Twill experience is required for this class and due to the small size of the cheese baskets, patience and attention to detail is helpful. Materials will be mailed to participants so that the splint and rims can be sanded before the workshop.

Class fee includes all materials, handouts and use of mold, weaving stand and tools.


* * *

Miniature Black Ash Baskets (choose one)
1" to 3"

Two Additional Cheese Boats

Add two more cheese boats to your lidded sewing basket. Using a hexagonal pattern, weave a 1" round and a 1" x 3" oval out of finely prepared black ash splint. Complete your baskets with double lashed hardwood rims.
* * *

Miniature Country Bread Basket

This 2.5" diameter basket’s design is simple, yet classic. Like its 4 inch brother, it is chase-woven on a cathead mold and completed with two tiny black ash side-handles and hardwood rims.

Miniature Friendship Basket

This eye catching 2.5" diameter basket features stakes that are two different widths and is woven of black ash with three accent bands of elm bark. The tiny hardwood rims are double lashed.
* *

1" Shaker Kittenhead

This kittenhead basket is the 1" version of JoAnn’s 6" diameter Classic Cat. Basic black ash splint basketry techniques, such as forming the “cat ears,” chase weaving, notching a handle, and lashing hardwood rims, are used.
* * *

Class fee includes all materials, handouts and use of mold, weaving stand and tools.

* = easier – * * * = harder

Instructor: JoAnn Kelly Catsos

Contact: Tony Stubblefield
if you would like to receive registration information

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Having Fun Building Stuff

So in a strange twist I had two relatively free weekends recently. That just doesn't seem to happen very often anymore. I especially don't seem to have time to weave or, what is probably more accurate to say, I don't set aside time for basket making.

On the first of my free weekends I made a cute little basket from a kit I purchased from Gail Hutchinson at the Missouri Basketweavers Guild Convention a few weeks ago.
The basket is woven of American elm and walnut with white oak swing-handle and rims. Gail calls this her All American Berry Basket and it is about 5.5" x 7.5". Nearly every basket I have made over the last 20 year has been woven over a mold, so free weaving this basket was a change of pace for me.

So a couple of years ago I was reading the blog of Jim the Gentleman Crafter and saw this cool ink storage unit. It is one is designed to hold Tim Holtz Distress Ink pads and Adirondack Alcohol Ink bottles. At the time I was just starting to use Distress Ink, so didn't have that many colors, but still thought this was a pretty swift storage option.

As I added to my stash of ink pads I tried a number of different storage options, but all required lots of digging to find the color I needed. So, after getting a new router table awhile back I finally decided to try my hand at making my own. Now this was completely on a whim. I really hadn't planned on getting up and making this, so I was just working with scrap plywood, poplar, pine and maple I had on hand.

I wish I would have taken some step-by-step pics, but I was in the zone and kind of adding pieces without a real plan. I just knew that I wanted it to hold 48 Distress Ink pads, anything else was just a bonus.
Here it is after the first day of work. I figured I would sleep on it and mull over what I wanted to do next.

The next morning I had a bit more of a mental plan of where I wanted to go next. I didn't have a lazy Susan spinner part, so would have to make a run to Home Depot for that. I decided that I would use spray paint to prime and at least give it a first coat of black paint. Typically I would use black acrylic paint for a wood project like this, but there were just so many nooks and crannies that the thought of brushing the whole thing was daunting.

The black spray paint I picked up at Home Depot, even though it was supposed to be semi-gloss, was really shiny. Even so, it covered well, so I wasn't going to need to give it a coat of acrylic. I knew I wanted to distress the piece, so was going to sand through some of paint along the edges, but with the way the paint looked I was going to have to sand every square inch. Ugh.

I have been collecting old yard sticks for awhile now for some future project and this seemed like the perfect place to use them. A lot of the yard sticks are advertising items, so have cool writing on them. I was a bit nervous about cutting them up so measured and hand cut each section as I went.

Here is the "final" assembly, painted, sanded and waxed (I may add more stuff at some point).

As I said, I was just adding pieces as I built it, so I didn't plan any of the extra spaces to hold anything specific. The only thing I knew from the beginning was that it needed to hold the 48 colors of Distress Ink pads. If I had known what I know now I would have made the top and corner spaces a hair bigger, then four reinkers would have fit in each corner cubby and six stacks of Archival pads instead of four would have fit on the top deck.

I was so pleased with how the spinner turned out that I was already thinking about how I could make one of these for a couple of my stampin' buddies. I posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook and had a nice response. Then my friend, Jim Hankins (The Gentleman Crafter), shared it on his own Facebook page and the interest exploded. I need to make another prototype with the revisions I want to incorporate and figure out how much the raw materials will cost.

Hopefully I will be able to offer them to others. Now just to find some more of that elusive free time ...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Basket Lover

Pearl loves baskets as much as I do. I find her sitting in this vintage Native American black ash basket all of the time. It was probably made in the Great Lakes area and features double swing handles with a "pig tail" loop hinge.