Friday, March 18, 2016

It's been a long time.

It's been far too long since my last post, but here we go!

Real life has sort of gotten in the way, and there've been some major changes that have taken up a lot more of my time than I would have liked. That being said, I think things have finally settled down a bit, and it's time to get caught up.


First off, I've learned a new kanzashi-type cloth flower. This flower was inspired by a lotus flower, but is more like a water lily. It looked close enough to make my niece happy though - this was the flower she had wanted when I showed her my kanzashi book a couple of years ago. This one was crafted from ribbon, fake stamens, and a pearled center. I attached it to a hair comb, and voila!

One thing I have found to work differently than the instructional videos that I watched, however, is the backing. In the videos, the artist uses circular pieces of felt to attach each petal to. I have found felt to be somewhat finicky, oddly enough, and it never seems to work out properly. Plus, I have found that even E4000 glue (I think that's the name?) tends to have a hard time sticking sometimes.

As an alternative, I've started using foam sheets. I still have to cut out a circle, but the flatter surface seems to take the glue much better and makes a much easier mounting surface for the petals.

Here is a link to the how-to video on creating your own lotus or water lily:

New, yet old stitching basket!

Recently, my mom moved out of her house, and while we were packing, she stumbled across some treasures. One of them was the old stand-up sewing box that belonged to an old friend of our family, and was like another grandmother to us. I'll have to post a picture of it once I've gotten it back to its full glory.

Another little treasure was her mother's sewing basket - it looks to be in surprisingly good condition, considering it's older than I am. I think the only thing missing is a latch or hook of some kind that goes on the front. The top is slightly padded, and on the inside, there is a polyester satin lining with a pocket for needles, buttons, and other odds and ends. Also on the inner lid is a small pincushion - perfect for needles and such! It's just the right size to take projects with me on the go.

A new progress report on the Harry Potter Pillow Project!

Good grief...It's been so long since I've posted an update on this one. But here we are...I've almost gotten the right corner finished, as well as the red and white parts of the corner. Next will be the Slytherin and Hufflepuff banners. 

Finally...It's Fusing Time!!!

And no, not electrical fuses. Or fusion cooking, for that matter. We're talking about glass fusing - dichroic glass to be precise. 

I've gone and fallen in love with the art, since it has the capability of generating some truly beautiful pieces of artwork and jewelry. The first time I tried it was a panel at Gencon in Indianapolis last year, and I was hooked. The fact that it can turn out totally different than what you originally intended is just one of the draws - that alone can be either exciting or annoying, since it comes out as a surprise every time. 

Dichroic glass, for those who aren't familiar with it, is glass that has been layered with a dichroic film. There have been many uses for it in the scientific community, such as the windshield of the Space Shuttle and laser technology, and it has more recently filtered into the art world as well. One of the advantages of this form of art is that due to the nature of glass art in general, no two pieces are ever going to be the same - each piece has different factors involved, such as the cut of glass and the pieces used to create it, and unless you use a mold of some kind, the glass sort of just flows where it will. 

One of the most important pieces to have if you plan to fuse glass is, of course, the kiln. My mother was kind enough to gift me with a brand new Evenheat Kingpin 88 kiln with glass viewing window and bead annealing door. This sort of kiln is one of the more versatile personal studio models; its heat controls have preset schedules for ceramics/clay, metal-clay, and glass - with sub-settings for each, such as being able to select either a fast or medium fuse, or to select what glass coefficient you're going for. 
Today, I ran my first test-fire, and I don't think the pieces turned out too bad! One piece I did apparently put in the kiln upside down, somehow, so it won't make a set of earrings like I had hoped. Other pieces, however, turned out quite nicely - the white/amber/green piece is one that I'm particularly fond of. The white and lavender piece was more of an experiment - I took glass beads and placed them on the glass back piece just to see what would happen. The result looks somewhat like a small organism found in a scientific sample of...something...but it might prove useful for decorations later on. 

Thank you for reading!