Thursday, August 26, 2010

Drop Pull eggs!

Celena: I have always wanted to try my hand at an egg decorating technique known as "drop-pull" and I finally got the chance! My favorite pysanky supplier started carrying stuff for it recently, plus I was lucky enough to already have some key items so I got started right away.
The idea is you have a hotplate type situation with multiple pots of different colored wax. Originally these little pots were actually a muffin tin which was probably heated up over fire or on an old stove and probably needed to be reheated throughout the process. Modern technology has brought us wonderful electric batik tools however so that's not necessary anymore. One modern change that's not so good is that you used to be able to use crayons for this, however, they're mostly made with soy wax now which doesn't stick to eggs so much. *sigh*
You may notice the small tool laying near the wax pots- this is a tool I purchased a long time ago and have used as a paper embosser along with die cut metal stencils which is a great technique. Of course after 10 or so of your 75 wedding invitations you get a little less enamored with it- I speak from personal experience, can you tell? :)
Anywho, I thought that I was going to use a straight pin stuck into a pencil, which is what the old-school drop-pullers use and what I pseudo-jerry-rigged for myself at first:
It actually worked better than you may think, I was able to find a small nail with a head and stick it into one of my dowel pins leftover from my bookshelves and got the hang of it pretty quickly. The nail lost heat rapidly though and I kept heating it up with a candle and ending up with black soot in my wax- no fun.
But once I discovered that the new tools being made for this technique are just little metal balls on the end, I decided to ferret out my old embosser.
Definitely different, but pretty great! I am having loads of fun getting into this new technique and they are much quicker to make than a typical pysanka so that's really nice.
It fills me with glee to watch these boxes fill up with jewel colored eggs that I made with my hands. I love each and every one of them. I wish I had all the time in the world to sit perched at my tiny desk full of waxes and dyes and just create one beautiful egg after another.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

new sketches

Selah: My wrist is crying out that it needs a respite from the long, tensed hours of work on tinies! I still wanted to make things though, so I decided to get started on repurposing some little wooden plaques I got at the goodwill. They had some horrible little wooden children glued to them and were painted an unfavorably bright yellow for my thinking, but already had little hangers and no problems that couldn't be fixed!
Because they are three of a kind, my mind got to thinking about inspirations. I wanted to do some more of my masked ladies because the only two I made have been purchased and with the show so close to Halloween, I thought they needed to make an appearance. After some thought and brainstorming with the husband, I remembered that I used musical names for my discreet femmes (the titles being Sonata and Minuet). I lit upon the idea of sisters and a 3 part harmony. Haven't quite worked out the naming specifics, but was able to get some solid sketching done, thinking about a family of beauties invited to a grand masked ball. Obviously still at the drawing pad, but thought I would let you all know where I'm at.

My wrist is still sore, but just leftover; the drawing is giving it some rest methinks. I've started taking some glucosamine, but it will be many weeks before I'm supposed to feel much difference. Pooh!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

prep work

Selah: Spending as much time as I can working towards the show and making sure I have a good amount of merchandise for it. Figuring on my little earrings being an approachable purchase for this type of venue and making them whenever I get the chance (when Dicey is asleep and I'm not in a panic about housework). Have been creating some brand new designs inspired by Halloween, as the show is just prior. Excited about my leetle spider webs, thinking about adding beads to them!
It's always fun to create my own original temari patterns. When I do use someone else's pattern, I obviously make it my own and modify it/can't follow the directions exactly :D; but on the tinies, it's just too hard to measure everything out and really plan a design, so the process is a bit more organic and whimsical than is typical for the larger ornament balls.

It's been an interesting challenge to get used to making these after teaching myself to do the ornament embroidery. The idea came from Celena, who, upon seeing my laborious craft on the larger scale, gleefully declared that she wanted earrings. This was difficult, as it is not only a super small version, but you have to make a matched set! They've ended up being more fun than I expected, but doing the base wrapping for this size is a bit harder on the old paws!
Hopefully they will be a hot item at the show; who wouldn't want a one-of-a-kind pair of hand embroidered earrings? Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pysanky Progress

Celena: My dearest husby Jack just finished making the dye hutch for my egging desk and I couldn't be happier with the finished product! I finally have enough room for all these Colorama dyes,there are over 50!
I am trying to squeeze out all the work time I can to get a good stock built up for our first show which is coming up really soon.

I decided to try a new strategy and am working on three eggs at once all of the same design. I thought my new Texas egg design was a good one to start with and I had a fair amount of the double yolk turkey eggs that I like to use for it. Turkey eggs come with dark brown speckles all over them so they require a bit of hand-sanding before they are suitable for dyeing. Even with thorough sanding they keep a slightly speckled appearance and I think it complements the classic Texas feel that I am striving for with this particular design.

I used SO many different shades of yellow for these roses, I can't wait to melt off the wax and see how they turn out! That is still my absolute favorite part of writing pysanky, melting all the wax off at the end by hand with a candle and slowly revealing the intricate colors beneath.
I still need to complete the blubonnets, some red striping, the navy background for those stars and a pale blue around the roses.
Here's hoping my son's nap remains long like it was today! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Our first show!

Celena: We recently heard back about our very first joint craft fair application! We're in and we're very excited.
It's set in late October at Leander High School and is benefitting their baseball department. It's an annual fair, so maybe it will be a recurring gig for us? It's very close to our houses, so it would be great if we were able to do it every year.
Selah's been making more of her adorable and fascinating temari earrings and I need to amp up my egg making! We're still in the fledgling stages so we don't have a set booth arrangement yet and we'll be working hard on that as well.
So much to do- all with little ones in tow. :)

Selah: Not really sure what to prepare for, as we're going into this pretty well blind. Don't know how big a show it will be, or how we will fit in with the other booths/venue. Very excited though for being able to get our feet wet and work out some kinks as we hope this is just the beginning of our show/booth careers. I know we will learn so much with this experience and I'm really pumped about the whole thing. Need to make more stuff though, was pretty dejected when I accidentally squooshed an earring that I had almost finished embroidering! Didn't get as much work done on the car trip as I'd hoped, but now that I'm back from our jaunt to Houston; it's nose-to-the-grindstone time.