Posted in creativity boost, fiber arts, new projects, weaving

So I’m doing this thing…..

I have a mighty need to make larger objects than my Whoopsitsaloom allows.   For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, this is my Whoopsitsaloom:

It’s a 16×20″ poster frame.  I got rid of the “glass” front ages ago and lost the side pieces that hold stuff in.  Instead of trashing it, I thought I’d do an experiment and whoops – ’twas a loom!  As you can see from the photo on the right, I carved little grooves into the top and bottom to warp on, about a half inch apart.  This does limit my warping possibilities, but this is an experiment.  I have it warped with one continuous piece of yarn.  From here on out, I will probably not be using yarn, or at least one of my budget ones.  The fluff really comes up when you’re manipulating this stuff.

 

I started with a flat metal ruler as both beater and shedder, but soon found it unnecessary.  Since I’m only doing a plain tabby weave (over/under, alternating), my fingers are enough.  On the left you can see Excalibur the Shuttle.  This was sold as a naalbinding needle, and I didn’t realize at the time how small those should be.  But I figured it had to be useful and it soon became a wonderful shuttle.  The needle shape allows me to scoot it through the warps easily, unlike the rough “paint-stirrer” that came with my first toy loom.

This has been a learning experience!  As you can see I need to work on my tension.  That has improved somewhat, but the warping is really smooshy so the more I manipulate it, the harder it is to keep in shape.  I have experimented with other threads on my 5 buck chuck toy loom and it’s far easier to warp with strong string.  Who knew 😛

But, as much as I’m enjoying my Whoopsitsaloom, I need to expand.  I’ve been reading up on weaving and loom construction and I’m eager to try something larger.  The Whoopsitsaloom can only make something about 15×19″ or smaller.  This is a good size for experiments and small objects like bookmarks, pouches, placemats.  But I want to do scarves, table runners, etc.  We need a bigger rectangle!  (Because I’m in no position monetarily or skill-wise to get a loom-loom)

I had an idea to build a simple frame loom to expand my horizons.  The loom has to be cheap, easy to set up, and easy to travel with.  I want to be able to produce a length of textile that is roughly the same dimensions as my beloved “pashmina” scarves  They average at about 2 yards long and about 2 feet wide.   I’m expanding on the Whoopsitsaloom and just making a giant frame loom.  Here’s my plan:

 

Went and bought 6 yard-length dowels, a couple packs of neodymium magnets, and some Liquid Nails.  And a lot of little brad nails so I can have multiple levels to warp on.  But first, the frame: I glued the magnets to the joins of the side pieces last night and let the Liquid Nails set up.  I thought I aligned both of the magnet pairs correctly, but whoops!  One side is done though:

Can’t really tell in the photo, but that’s 2 yard-length dowels end to end, so 6 feet of pine.  At least I think it’s pine.  The other side will follow suit when the glue sets.  They are easy to pull apart, almost a little too easy, so I’ll be wrapping the joints with leather strips to reinforce them.

While I did plan on mags at all corners, I may have to get some manner of bracket for the top and bottom, rendering my frame into two “U” shapes joined by the maggies in the middle.  I’m not planning on beating this up, but I *am* a klutz.  I’d like to be able to take this outside with some iced tea in good weather and lean it up against the wall to work.  Stability is key.

In the meantime, I’ll be pounding in the brad nails today.  I’ve marked the top bar (and will soon mark the bottom) at the inch, half-inch, and quarter-inch.  Like I said, I want options.  This is 5 nails per inch…36 inches a bar…2 bars….360 little brad nails to warp with.  Pray for me!

Excalibur will probably remain my shuttle of choice here, and I have my old yardstick for shedder purposes.  A cheap comb will be a good beater, which I probably have hanging around somewhere.

At the end of it, I will name her Athena Bríd!  I suppose the little looms can be Bubo 1 and Bubo 2.

Posted in aromatherapy, beach, creativity boost, Lady Lazarus' Designs - the stuff!, new projects, shells, specimens

Aromatherapy beads, reliquaries, sachets: WIP’s

So here’s to a beautiful May!  I am feeling rejuvenated and happy!  Hopefully you are as well.  We’re all glad to be outside again after the rough winter here at studio Laz.  Things are calming down, and I’ve got a bunch of new things on my worktable.

Beads and baubles!
Beads and baubles!

First, there’s the new thing I’ve been trying out: diffuser pendants and beads.  I bought some Crayola terra cotta air-dry clay and I’ve been playing with it.  When it dries, it will soak up any essential oils dropped onto it.  I tested one out and it takes about a week for a few drops to disappear.  This is good because it means you can change out oils if you want.  I haven’t assembled these into necklaces yet because I’ve been decorating them.

I’m anticipating making lots of these over the summer.  They’re unusual but functional.  That’s my new watchword – functional.  I want people to have a reason to buy my jewelry.  I find the color a bit odd, but that’s why they’re decorated – to fancy up the humble clay a bit.

Closeups of a couple with insect specimen and dried flower pendants for company.
Closeups of a couple with insect specimen and dried flower pendants for company.

Besides, we all need some aromatherapy from time to time.  I’ve been getting better with simple oil blends and applications.  I want to add more aromatherapy/bath and body merch to the store.  It’s  relatively inexpensive to make, and can be produced fairly quickly to generate sales.  Also – much of it can be used up.  I like crafts that disappear!

As much as I love my jewelry, I want to keep people coming back for more.  Unless you’re a collector, you probably won’t rush to buy baubles, as lovely as they may be.  So we gotta round out the stock a bit!

I’m also planning soaps, “therapy sprays” (essential oil/carrier oil mixes), and lotion bars if I can get those right.

 

Next up, we have reliquaries, because not all creativity can be functional!  Or rather, I have stuff to put *in* reliquaries.  The shadow boxes you see here used to be for stock display, but I find people like to touch jewelry more, so I no longer put things under glass.  This frees the boxes up to hold my strange little treasures: specimens, bones, shells, dried flowers.  These are things I have collected, want to use, but can’t be handled.  So here we go!

This one will be sweet and flowery.  I found a good amount of dried flowers and a few shells and feathers.  I have more to add (floating somewhere around the flat).

None of these are arranged yet.  I just laid them out in the boxes for safe keeping.  But they are quite pretty, so I couldn’t resist sharing some snapshots with you!

The next one will be for you creepy crawler fans.  I found some abandoned wasp’s nests last week, and a weird sea bug carapace at the beach the other day.  I’ll be adding more bugs and some appropriately weird things.

The “sea bug” is largely intact (DOA) except for a hole in its shell.  I can only assume that something feasted on it well before it washed up to me.  It’s “feet” or claws had a slight mother of pearl sheen.  This has disappeared for some reason, which is a pity.  It looks so cool on both sides I might try to find it its own tiny box with more glass so it remains visible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, we have the start of sachets.  I cleaned out a closet and looked really hard at my fabric.  Like many crafters, I love fabric, so I will pick it up.  But I don’t really sew enough to justify it.  It’s just sitting here, not seeing the light of day.  Something must be done.  Something that smells good!

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Sky blue to start – got 8 done between yesterday and today!

So I’m chopping fabrics into squares and rectangles (“rustically” meaning quickly), sewing them 3/4 of the way closed.  Later I’ll press them, fill them with lavender and dried herbs, sew ’em closed, and add charms and beads.

People love my existing sachets when I table, so I may as well fancy them up and make them a serious part of the stock.  Any excuse to play with herbs 🙂

 

So that’s it for now!  I’m up to my eyeballs as usual and loving it!

Posted in books, creativity boost, new projects, writing

OOH, new idea…

I might have mentioned that I also write poetry.  I’ve been looking into self publishing, but I’m consistently annoyed with the available options.  Then it hit me – I have a damn mac.  Why am I not just churning this out myself?  It’s well within my capability to produce chapbooks, and to hand-bind them.  I had entertained the idea of doing them by hand (AHAHAHHAHAHHAA.  No, wait.  AHAHAHAHAHAHAA!)  but I have other things to do.

zine possibly
….I guess this would be a ‘zine technically, but in a very middle class momlady sort of way.

When I’m in doubt on something, especially something creative, I ask myself “what would my wild woman do?”.  My answer today was that she’d cut out all the bullshit and churn some stuff out.  So here we are!  I have a ready-for-prime-time, edited collection of poems, and even photos to put with them.  I’ll be  printing them out (tiny, tiny batches) and most likely stitching them.  When this ready, it’s going on the Etsy.  You’ll be able to order a fresh batch of poems from your favorite wild woman!

Nuts to waiting, nuts to annoying format gremlins and page limits!  I’m doin’ it for myself!  I also started playing with mockups for tiny (and I do mean tiny) covers for blank books.  These would be about 1.5X2.5 and would be perfect for holding whatever it is you need to write really small and take with you.  Wee books of shadows?  Micro grimoires?  Tiny poems?  If you can fit your thought into it, more power to you 😛

 

 

Posted in blogging, creativity boost, deities, new projects

Recent doings at Haus of Laz

 

So Busy lately!  There’s 3 new goodies up at the shop, so feel free to check ’em out: ladylazarusdesigns.etsy.com.  I have more steampunk, tarot, and reliquaries than I know what do with!  First is this pretty number, with a delicate handmade chain, and a sprinkling of tiny treasures in the “watch” case.  As a bonus, there’s a little bottle of lavender in the chain:

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Then we have the two tarot beauties, from The Lovers and Strength cards respectively:

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Also found a lovely preserved cicada carapace attached to a decoration in my garden.  I saved it carefully and it’s going to be used in  a piece 🙂

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When I got them ready for their photo shoot and posted them to Etsy, I was left a little bored.  I ended up taking a look at my desk and thought I’d show you who keeps me company when I blog.  Below we see Gladys the Gar-gal, and micro-Chibi Ganesh being all cute!

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Posted in creativity boost, Lady Lazarus' Designs - the stuff!, new projects, scavenged

I’m a big fan of these…

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  So, a friend and I went in on an order of paper fans and parasols earlier this summer.  Now, at nearly the end of the season, I’ve figured out what I want to do with them!  They were plain white until I decided to “gild” them with paint.  That made them lovely, but impossible to close. The paper is like leather with enough coats.  I decided to make that a feature rather than a bug.  These are no longer closeable fans.

 

 

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I made a mini pattern so I could make fans of fabric to cover the ribs to deter people from trying to do the impossible and destroying the fan.  Leatherlike or no, they are still delicate.  They’re going to pretty much be art pieces rather than accessories.  When they’re done, they’ll have discreet hooks so they can be hung when not in use.  If I can wrangle it, I’ll attach some sort of handle to them.  That may require some trial and error.  Lucky, I have a bunch of these to play with!

 

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The gold is my favorite, but I’ve started painting some silvers as well.  I experimented with a variety of undercoats, and I’ve found that painting them matte black acrylic first gets the best out of the metallic paint.  I still need a ton of coats to cover the undercoat as well as obscure brushmarks.  I want these to look like they’re gilded and straight out of the early Renaissance!

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Of course, I’m using tarot to decorate some of these.  The Empress is reigning on one fan, backed by burgundy satin.  I’m nearly done with her, but I need an elegant way to hide the rough edges where the bamboo still shows. I want the fan to be useable as a fan, but also to look good from all angles.  Shipping will be…interesting….with these!  Temperance is going on another gold fan, with recycled white silk backing I took from an old lampshade.  Here’s a peek of the angel:

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep checking back – these are going to be a regular on the worktable, and hopefully a hit with LazMart shoppers 😉

Posted in cleaning, creativity boost, deities, destash

Destashing for a creative jump start

cropped-p7230012.jpgHi everyone!  Today I feel the need to talk about the crafters best friend: destash. When I first started making jewelry, I saved everything, thinking it’d be more frugal, and also that sifting through the mound of beads and pendants would inspire me.

AHAHAHA, no.  It took a while for this to kick in.  It does not work like that at all!  Well not with me.  My muse has at last informed me that if my workspace is cluttered, I will be blocked in short order.  I will be inordinately tired, and I will either not be able to make a piece, or I will be stuck in a rut, making pieces I’m not actually interested in.

I was there last night, frowning over my beadboard.  It didn’t occur to me until I had already got down on myself about my lack of production and creativity lately.  That just plain sucks, and it’s something we all do, but it’s also something we should recognize and stop in its tracks.

Since I’ve been reading a lot of Brigid history and lore lately, I thought it was time to burn through this all.  Well, not literally – but symbolism is everything!  If this lady’s in charge of smithcraft, beads and baubles can’t be too far behind 😉  Cleaning up the workspace was something I desperately needed.

It really helped to take a good look at all the objects I was keeping.  Were they helping me?  Did I not like them but was I keeping them out of guilt?  Were they tagged for specific pieces?  How realized were my designs for those pieces?  I had done this a couple months ago on a smaller scale which helped me not be so worried.  At the time I did what felt right and thought, “well, I’ll just make another pass”.

Last night was a really good thing for me.  There were things I bought or acquired years ago I’ve never touched, right next to purchases that are barely 2 months old.  That’s not so good!  With some trash TV in the background for noise, I went through each box.  You know those little plastic dealies with the tiny compartments?  Yep, I emptied one completely.  Made a pile on a cutting board in the middle of my desk for keepers, and arranged those in yet another plastic box. Even recycled another container that was looking worse for wear.  The pull-drawers on my windowsill did not escape: they have been cleared out and re-stocked. Less small boxes for me mean less squirreling away, and less acquiring things I don’t have a purpose for.

What this now means is that I have what is probably several pounds of beads and findings which will be freecycled.  It doesn’t look huge, but that’s a lot of beads!!  I’ve already started to toy with a design using things I found in my mission through All the Tupperware.  Hopefully I have to do this less and less as time goes on….