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 gardening, new projects

Cabbages and friends: Indoor #gardening adventures

Ok, so remember those seedlings I just posted about?  Yeah…they’ve continued their verdant madness.

Look at 'em go!
Look at ’em go!

I’ve taken the lid off so they won’t get damaged, and moved them to the aerogarden.   I’m out of nutrient for the tank, so I’m just using the aero for its lights.  And wow.

My cabbage seed babies are starting to drift upright (I want them to have good posture) and my nasturtiums are taking off like a shot.

 

 

5" of nasturtium sprout. I hope they survive to make it outside in May.
5″ of nasturtium sprout. I hope they survive to make it outside in May.

This is the first time I’ve planted these guys, and I hope I have the conditions to let them flourish.  Cabbage, chard, and nasturtiums are new to my garden.  I’m angling for beginner’s luck here.  The marigolds I’ve been doing since I was a kiddo, so I’m not to worried.  But I always get a little nervous when things first start to sprout, especially when the weather is all over the map like it is in March.  Next year, I should probably wait till April.

 

 

 

 

Happy the Garden Gnome watches over all.
Happy the Garden Gnome watches over all.

So here we are, letting the seeds take their course.   Happy is our gnome here.  He was my grandmother’s garden gnome back in the day, but he has since retired to the indoor life, taking care of our kitchens.  I like to keep him near plants, though.  It’s his…field…after all.

I’ll show myself out.

Also on the garden docket are potatoes and dandelions.  The last one was a whim – gathered a head that had gone to seed and figured this should be a piece of cake.  Watch those things kick my butt 😛   The spuds are drying out, ready to get in some dirt.  I’m waiting for payday to get a nice bucket and more soil for them, then they’re ready to go in.  Those I’m excited to try…if I can supply our own potatoes, this will cut down on buying the big Costco bag that we can never quite get through.

Wish me luck!

Posted in new projects

Goodies made live on #Twitch #Creative

Hallo again!  Today saw my first well-attended Twitch stream – some brave souls rolled up to watch me put beads on things!  Which is pretty much it when it comes to me…beads, yarn, glue…that’s all.

But because I’m starting out and I have a less than ideal camera rig, I’m afraid it was difficult to show what I was working on during the stream itself.  So here are some photos of what emerged.  Beadwork is notoriously difficult to capture on camera, with the size, texture, and all.  But I think we got the point.

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I started with some loose charms, quartz crystal and purple themed.  The fun of quartz is that in the “lower” grades that I favor, you get all sorts of fun inclusions (cloudy bits, “bubbles”, and glitches) that make the stones more interesting to look at.  These are the 4 guys on the right.

Each is about an inch long.  They’re too heavy for earrings (although they’d look amazing), so I’m considering using them as stitch markers or totebag charms.  The 4 on the left are purple and silver beads from my stash and Alara Shade’s de-stash.  Those may yet be earrings – not sure! This is a large part of my creative process: just making things and figuring out uses later!

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Next were some quickie pendants I worked up while chatting with people.  The little vial on the right has bone and dried rose petals.  It’s pretty much finished, just a simple pendant on a linen cord.

The guy on the left though…hmmm….I like this shape, and the round beads are a lovely lavender color.  I think I want to put it on headpins, though.  That may make it more stable then the really flexible cord.  It’s a cool look, but needs some strength if I’m going to consider putting it up for sale.  That’s something I have to consider with all my pieces, especially the vials and bottles – people loooooove touching these.  I want to make sure whatever I produce can stand a lot of handling.  Things that are really small and detailed are going to get a lot of “action”.  I’m considering this triangular pendant a good rough draft.  So thank you for hanging out while I worked on it!

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Lastly, I’m going to show you this, my sneak preview of tomorrow’s project for Fiber Friday.  I’ve decided to keep the fiber arts to 1 day a week, so I don’t get stuck in a rut.  This is my slow progress on a prototype for a totebag organizer.

This uses plastic canvas and regular acrylic yarn.  I also have some sparkly embroidery floss to jazz it up with.

When I work out all the kinks and assemble it, I’ll be able to show you what I mean, then better make another to sell.  The first one’s mine though 😉  I tend to keep the first runs of anything new, in case I make mistakes!

And here we are!  Remember to keep an eye on this blog and the stream for continual crafty goodness!

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Posted in Holiday prep, new projects

Egg blowing! (part 1 of 2)

Happy Equinox everyone!  Despite the fact that my region is supposed to have snow at some point today, I’m celebrating!   This year, I’ve started seedlings, made a bunch of new goodies, and am trying my hand at egg blowing!

Instead of hard boiling eggs, dyeing them, and leaving them about to eventually rot, I’m going a bit greener.  I looked up instructions on how to safely blow the yolk and white out of eggshells.  Now I am the proud possessor of 4 hollow shells, mostly intact!

The guide mentioned that room-temp eggs tend to be easier to puncture, so I let mine sit out for a few hours.  My eggs were really cold, but kitchen is fairly cool, so this was safe.  Eggs do not have to be constantly refrigerated, but you will want to chill them again soon.  The tupperware is to catch the yolk and white.

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When they were room temp, I carefully punctured them at top and bottom.  I used a pushpin and a motion like tightening a screw.  The shells are pretty strong, but you want to make sure you don’t crack the “body” of the shell.  I enlarged the holes at the bottom, breaking the membrane inside, then turned the egg over to put a single pinhole on top.

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The single pinhole is what you blow through to force the contents out of the bottom.  A firm, steady pressure works well.  If you’re straining and nothing’s emerging, it’s time to enlarge the bottom hole, or pick out any membrane that may be blocking the exit.  This goes pretty quickly, but is so gross I spared you the photos.  Here’s the yolks and whites in their tupperware, ready to be used for tomorrow’s breakfast!

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When you empty an eggshell, run water into it, then blow that out into the sink.  Then let those babies dry before you start to paint, decoupage, or whatever you want to do to them  🙂  here are my 4, with kind of scary looking bottom holes.  Clearly, I need more practice, but the bottoms will also be hidden, so I figured no big for my first time.  I’ll post part 2 when I decide how I want to decorate them!!

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Posted in aromatherapy, beach, new projects, scavenged

Crafty witchery abounds!

Little bottles of Magic

I’ll be updating my etsy shop soon with one of these little darlin’s.  These are tiny glass bottles filled with dried thyme, sand from Ocean Grove NJ, and other small treasures like a beautiful red bead, dried lavender, and some rose petals.  Their corks are lost to the ages now, but I substituted in some aqua glass beads with a nice aurora borealis finish and some fancy-pants headpins as caps.  These are 2 inches tall (guessing).  The one on the left, with the lavender, is ready to wear now.   I used some of the hemp cord in the background to make this vial into a lovely pendant.

image of small bottles filled with sand dried herbs and beads
I love tiny bottles! You love tiny bottles!

Note on the herbs

I’m very idiosyncratic with my use of herbs.  Thyme reminds me of sea-plants for some reason, especially when it’s still on the stem.  So when I want to suggest an easygoing beachy feel, I look for supplies that say “shore”.  It also resembles some lavenders, which is a heavy beach association for me.  Mountain Rose Herbs suggests that symbolically, thyme is linked with courage:

…thyme’s name was derived form the Greek word thumus, or courage. In Medieval times, knights wore sprigs of thyme on their armor as a sign of courage. The scent of thyme was thought to give them strength in the midst of battle.

I didn’t intend these little bottles to be a comment on courage, but perhaps they can help you remember to maintain yours.  Thyme to fortify you, lavender to soothe you, and some sand to remind you of the constant flux of the sea.

Note on the sand

The sand I end up with after picking shells at Ocean Grove.  I don’t scoop out handfuls or do anything harmful – I just save what get caught in the shells!  I love that beach very much, so I like to incorporate memories of it in pieces.  This works out really well with bottles and vials, giving them that little extra touch of something personal.

Normally, I don’t think of myself as that much of a beachy person, but I’m coming to love it more and more.  Aesthetically, there’s the gorgeous colors and textures.  Symbolically, there is such a powerful message of both change and constancy.  The sand will be renewed with every tide, the creatures will continue their doings, and the sun or the moon and stars will always shine above it.  I don’t think I need to belabor the point here, but it is a pretty important environment for me, full of positive associations I try to bring to any piece that incorporates things from the shore.

Next thing!

So I really like all these repurposed picture frame desk organizers floating around the internet.  I tried my hand at one the other day, to see if I could do it well enough to sell.  This is that tester, which I will *not* be selling.  It works well, but there’s a few warts I know to avoid next time.

Actually, it makes a splendid earring holder, and now lives on my nightstand.  I should probably have updated the snapshot, but time makes fools of us all.  This could solve a few display issues I have.  And if anyone wants one, sure!

Test Run on a new display idea
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 new projects, scavenged, Vending

Fairy Keys!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou know how much I like reusing stuff, so here’s the latest idea to come off the craft table!  I had a lot of old keys, and some agate discs that I really wasn’t sure what to do with.  They’re too thick to link, and kind of heavy.    I really didn’t want to destash them, but I had to do something.

Then it hit me when I found that pretty pewter fairy holding a pentacle – fairy keys!  I like to use fanciful narratives when I can, or to riff on folklore.  I was thinking of holey stones when I started these, as well as other fairy lore and style.    Even though these discs are carved, the idea still lingers.  It’s early spring, so it’s time for magic and garden colors, growing things and feeding the sprites.  The whole feel of April is warm, but changeable – anything can still happen.  That’s why I made them look rag-tag – I had this weird springtime in mind.  So here are some stones to see a world beyond, and keys to lost locks that will open the door.

I’ve got a few more keys sitting around, so I’ll keep playing with these pendants.  Hopefully they’ll hit the table this week at Hidden Grounds in New Brunswick.

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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