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.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pretty as a Picture

So I don't even like tomatoes (at least a raw tomato), but boy were these pretty at the Tower Grove farmers market.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

McCoy Icicle Planter

I have never seen one of these before. It is a McCoy planter in a pattern called "icicle" or "icicle drip". The icicle part of the planter is unglazed, so contrasts with the shiny blue base. I saw it at an antique shop and passed it by at first. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so had to go back the next day. Fortunately it was still there. I thought it was the perfect planter for a succulent, so it now resides on a shelf in my bathroom, where it looks great with the blue tile on the walls.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wool Felting and Dying

As many of you may know, I love to search for thrift store wool blazers and sweaters. I felt the wool in my washing machine (careful, you can clog your drains with a wool hairball doing this) and then use it for various craft projects. I used to search and search to find cool colors, until one day the light bulb went off and I realized I could just dye light colors myself. Duh?
 Dying some chartreuse. Green is my favorite color.
 Here is the wool after dying and drying. I was sooooo happy with how the color turned out.
Besides green, I also dyed some purple, yellow and orange. Though the orange didn't work very well. I am not sure why as I used that same dye before with great results.