Tuesday, 29 September 2015

What I've been working on - Shawl Pins

My new shawl pins are finished and I couldn't be happier with them.

I'm not sure if I shared the "work in progress" picture, but these were started months and months ago.

The flower is my favourite...

And the leaf is my favourite...

 ...and these clean and simple rings are my other favourites. :)
I made them in shawl size, and scarf size...mostly because my shawl is still (!) not finished and I wanted to wear one straight away.   

The wooden portion took us a really long time to get right.  
We had many (many!) failed attempts before I was happy with the results.

I have another batch ready to glaze...I'm just trying to decide if I want them in one solid colour like the first batch, or if I fancy them up a bit with some double dipping.  
Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Joining my friends today at:

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Yarn Along

It's been a while since I joined yarn along...not because I'm not knitting, but because I'm knitting so slowly that I hardly have a new thing to show.

I did have time to whip up this little darling for my baby niece in time for her first birthday.
The pattern is by Linda of Mamma4earth on etsy and is amazing.

The book, obviously, is The Ugly Duckling (that's actually a swan) and is - and has always been- my favourite kids' story.  We had to go to 3 different stores to find it, which makes me very very sad.
It was lost in a sea of Trademarked character books which will remain nameless.  Such a shame.

Joining with Ginny at Small things, for Yarn Along.  Hop on over.

Monday, 21 September 2015

How They're Made - Button Edition

I frequently get asked how I make my ceramic buttons, so I thought I would take a few moments and show the process from start to finish for one particular button.

First I roll out a small ball of clay into a rather thin slab, and stamp it with the design for that particular button.  This one is a rubber stamp, but usually I use a clay stamp that I have previously made.

I cut the stamped slab into the shape I am currently working on...so these ones are squares.
(sometimes I cut out the individual hears you can see in this pattern, sometimes it is a larger square that includes four of the hearts).

When they are "exactly dry enough", I trim off the edges,

pierce in the holes, and then make the holes bigger with a drill bit,

and then smooth all of the edges and back, being careful not to destroy the stamped image in the process.

Then they go through the first round in the kiln...once I have enough other items to fill the whole kiln
(you need the mass for it to heat up properly).

I paint on the underglaze,

wash it back off again,

glaze them, and then they are ready for the second run through the kiln.
I glaze mine on all sides for a nice smooth finish everywhere that won't snag on your knitting, or sewing, or be scratchy on your skin, but it involves a rather intricate process of wiring and balancing the buttons.
I firmly believe the result is worth the effort.
The whole process takes about 4 to 6 weeks, depending on how many pieces are ready for their kiln run. 

Ta-Da...the finished product.  
Some I keep to admire or for inspiration for further projects.  
Some I sew onto my hats, mittens, gloves, bags, whatever.
I'll be honest...some I just string onto a cord and where as a necklace.  That's kinda my favourite.
And of course, some are in my etsy shop so other people can enjoy them too.

I hope you enjoyed my little behind the scenes look at the making of such a humble little object.

Joining my friends over at:
do hop on over for a peek!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Small luxuries

A couple of years ago, I always had fresh flowers or leaves in my home.  A single bloom in a bud vase, a little bundle in a mason jar, maybe even just a couple of fresh hosta leaves in a bottle.  I'm not sure when I stopped doing it, but the other day I cut a few little garden clippings and put them in a tiny vase and realized that I missed having something fresh around all the time.
 So I decided that I'm going to make a concentrated effort to keep this little vase filled all the time.  
And I'm going to post them to instagram under the hashtag #simpleblossoms if anyone wants to play along.
You can tag me (@remembrancespottery) if you like.

Incidentally, there are a couple more of these little vases available in my etsy shop if you need a little something to fill yourself.

Have a great day!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Buttons, buttons, buttons...

I've been on a button making kick lately.  
Teeny tiny work for the most part, so I just sit down and lose myself in it.
Here's what's new: 

My hope was to have them ready and listed in time for all those holiday gift-makers who have already started their Christmas knits.  I've seen your ambitious lists!  You go for it, my friends.

Incidentally, if you are not a knitter, or crocheter, you can still personalize a store bought piece to make it "yours" with the quick addition of a little somethin' somethin'.

Slowly but surely, I'm adding these (and a few more even) to my etsy shop

Linking up today with my friends at:
Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Craft On

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Peony Prototype

I have been meaning to make a peony shaped votive candle holder for over a year now.  The prototype came out of the kiln last night, and I'm thrilled with the result.

I've been intrigued by the Victorian's "language of flowers" for years, and found out that the peony is for "happiness in marriage".  I'm thinking it might make a great wedding gift.

This one was the prototype but there will definitely be more (mostly because I really really want to see a whole row of them lit along the center of my dining table).

 This is the side view. 

And the "work in progress" picture.

Being the prototype, this particular one won't be up in my etsy shopbut these hosta leaf ones were listed today.  Incidentally, hostas mean "devotion" in the language of flowers.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Building an earth oven

The background:  Some of you may know that we have a second piece of property.  It's where we plan to eventually retire, but right now it's very "roughin' it".  We cook over an open fire (or a camp stove if it's pouring rain).  There is no running water (unless the waterfall is flowing), no clean water at all actually, no hydro, and a very minimal sleep cabin with four bunks.  What it does have is peace, quiet, birds and wildlife, and potential.  I decided an earth oven may give us a few more cooking options, and over our visits there this summer, I set about building one.

This book has great step by step instructions on building your own, and I used it thoroughly.

Here's my adventure:

First you build a foundation of rocks so the moisture can't get up into your oven (see picture above).  I chose not to use mortar as this is the trial oven, and I was intending to build it with just what was available.  The space in between the rocks is filled with ash from the fire pit.  In hindsight, this may not have been the best idea.  The book says to use rubble, but the ash MAY let moisture in.  We'll know next year.

Collect your materials.  I built mine over a period of about 2 months, so it wasn't that exhausting.  Still very hard work if you are out in the wilderness and have to bring everything in uphill.

Next, you make a dome of sand - this will be the size of the interior of the oven - so mine will be big enough for one small loaf or a personal size pizza, or something of that size.  Cover it with wet paper to act as a barrier, and then add a 3" layer of "building mud".  Those beer bottles are part of the insulation layer.  There is also a layer under the dome, but I forgot to take that picture.

All of those pails are my building materials.  You'll need clay, sand, water, and a clay-based mud.

That big blue bag was my mixing bag at first, as I was only able to handle small batches at a time.  You can also use a tarp, and mix with your feet, but I was getting filthy enough as it was.

Keep adding your "building mud" until you have a nice thick layer over your whole dome.

Once it's dry on the outside, you take all the sand back out of the interior.  I lit a fire to dry out the inside so I could add the next layer right away.

Then comes the insulation layer - sawdust mixed with clay slip - good thing I know a potter :).  This is half of mine.  I did it in two parts as we ran out of sawdust on that trip and I had to wait for the next batch of dead trees to be chainsawed.

Next trip: I added the rest of the insulation layer, and the final coat.
My finish coat was clay slip mixed with sand, and of all things...cattail fluff.  It was the best fibrous material I could think of that could be had in abundance where we were.

It still needs a door, so that I can bake in it.
Now the test is...will it still be in one piece when we get to back up to try it out?

Linking up today with my friends at:
Keep Calm Craft On over at Frontier Dreams - though I'm not 100% sure this qualifies as a "craft".
Wildcrafting Wednesday

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Work in progress...

I've been working away at some products that will be available in September.

Cookie stamps, buttons, magnets, beads, and some surprises,

I've got loads and loads of things drying/dried on trays, and then I realized I better make some bigger things to fill the kiln.  Maybe I need to actually get a smaller kiln?

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Mushrooms and toadstools.

A few weeks ago, I was playing around with some leftover clay and made this little collection of mushrooms.
None of them modeled after anything in particular, except the morel in the middle.

 And then when we went camping, I came across these interesting specimens...
...and these bright red ones!
And these wavy ones.

So back home again, I made a couple more...

 And kept discovering them.
 All over the place.
 This one was huge.

I would love to learn more about them and find out which ones we can eat.
And of course, now I want to make some fairly realistic copies in clay.  
I'm just trying to figure out how the stem can support the heavy top.  
Stay tuned.

Linking up with: