DIY 2014 Linen Calendar Peonies

2014 Peony DIY Calendar
A lovely bouquet of peonies and bachelor buttons ready to hand embroider. The simplest of embroidery stitches make up this calendar so it is easy for the beginner and satisfying for the more skilled.

This kit includes the linen panel with the design printed and easy to follow embroidery lines. Embroidery thread in colors shown. One of a kind enameled buttons, that I have created, to use to hang calendar, or embellish.

Get started on your 2014 gifts this summer...a perfect carry along project!  Or, do you know someone who loves to do embroidery...a great gift for the DIY person.

My newest DIY calendar kit is now available in my Etsy shop.


Remind Me In August

A Minute of Spring

It's been cold and rainy here...which is a good thing. The rain will bring out the beautiful desert flowers!


Eclectic Etsy Shop

There are so many things that I want to learn and create. I've added metal and enamel to my list of interests. (leather is on the list as well) I'm afraid that my etsy shop is beginning to look a bit eclectic....embroidery, vintage and now metal. I'm not sure if it hurts or hinders sales. I kind of think of it as an interesting boutique with items from many different mediums.

When I began metalworking my intention was to marry metal and hand embroidery, which I've done in some of the pieces, but I also like creating just metal/enamel pieces. I don't think of myself as lacking focus, more that I want to create many different things. Eventually combining to create something unusual and beautiful. I really don't want to open two more Etsy shops to keep everything separate. Do you think it matters?

This necklace, the fern, was on its way to become a cloisonne piece, but I found that I loved the dimension and texture. So much so that I couldn't bear to sand it down to level the surface. It's a pretty substantial piece, 2" x 1.5. It's my first completed piece of enamel/semi-cloisonne jewelry and the first time I've used liver of sulfer to patina something. Boy does that stuff stink!

Once I created the fern I had a vision of how I wanted to set it and even though my metalworking skills are pretty new, it came out pretty much the way I intended. I really like its organic nature look and it fits into steampunk aesthetic as well. Keep an eye on my Etsy shop...I have two more pieces that I'm getting ready to bezel set.


The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein

I started the year off right by reading this book. The philosophical aspect of this book stays under the radar, but your mind certainly makes note of it.  The Art of Racing in the Rain has many different meanings. This book is funny, sad, enlightening and delightful. As I read this, written from a dogs point-of-view, I kept looking at my dogs and wondered....

It also reminds you that life can change at almost a moments notice. But it also reminds you that if you persevere you can make your dreams happen.

Happy New Year to you!


Cloisonne Last Step, Maybe

Well this may be the last step, or I may decide to put it back in the kiln and make it shiny. Oh, by the way I got a kiln for Christmas! D found a Paragon on craigs list that was in really good condition, less then a year old and half the price. Yay! He is so good at finding great things at great prices.

After looking at the photos you can see where granules of other colors of enamel made their way into the wrong color sections. And, where in some of the tighter areas I didn't get enamel in at all. Darn.

But it's my first piece and was definitely a learning experience. The camera found all of the flaws. Which  makes me think taking a picture between layers might be a good idea so that I know where I need to make corrections...I do have a pair of magnifying jewelers glasses...maybe I need a stronger pair? (click on a photo to see the detail)

This piece is now completely matte finish and is very smooth. The texture feels like well worn sea-glass. The wires that outline the design are copper and will get darker and patina over time. It will be interesting to see how this changes the look of the piece. If it happens anytime soon I'll show it to you again. Here it is before I sanded down the wires and enamel, cloisonne rose.

This last shot is the back. Since I forgot to take photos of it for my other posts I thought you might want to see what the counter enamel looks like...kinda like denim.


President James A Garfield Destiny of the Republic

I just finished reading this book. Because he didn't fill a lot of space in high school history books I have to say I never thought much about President Garfield, but have found that he was amazing man.  In July 1881 he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau after only serving as president for a short four months.

Candice Millard has written in such a way that certainly draws you in and provides a perspective of Garfield that shows the man he was. It begins with his early  life in Ohio.  His never give up attitude, his humbleness, warmth and strength. Each chapter begins with a quote from Garfield and even from those small snippets you can tell he was thoughtful and intelligent. He was the reluctant president. He wasn't even in the running and was nominated by overwhelming popular votes taking the nomination away from Ulysses S Grant.

The book reminds us of how fortunate we are with the medical care we receive and the steps that are taken  to make sure things are germ free. Imagine doctors probing a bullet wound with bare, dirty fingers, deep into the wound. Garfield probably shouldn't have died, but the medical care he received was just plain primitive.

Alexander Graham Bell began developing the xray machine trying to find the bullet that remained in Garfield. Because of Garfield's chief doctors ego he would only allow Bell to run the machine over the side of the body where "he"  believed the bullet was. The bullet was found on the other side of his body. Air conditioning was first introduced trying to keep the president cool during his last three months of life.

There are so many details to this book that are intriguing...especially when thinking it was only 130 years ago. This is a well written book and one that I would recommend reading. I will be reading Ms. Millard's other books as well.


Cloisonne Final Coat

This is the last coat of enamel on this piece. As you can see the colors  have more depth and consistency. I really like how the leaf turned out. I began with an opaque green, then I accidentally used a transparent green. A happy accident! The next step is to begin using a sanding stone to sand the wires and glass to get an even surface.  While you can't see it in the photo, the glass is uneven. I haven't shown you the back, but there are counter balance layers of enamel to keep the piece from warping.


Cloisonne Wires and Enamel

Here's the cloisonne after the first coat. I've been told that it's going to look great when I get done with it. I'm not so sure. I worked with colors that I don't usually choose. But I wanted colors that had good contrast so that I could see how it all works.

As you can see my wires shifted a bit during the first firing and then I had to fire them a second time since a couple of them were not seated in the glass.  My last class is tonight and I'm hoping I can get the glass filled to the top of the wires. I'm going to pack some enamel on before I get to class so that I can fire immediately and then hopefully get another coat on during class. It's a big piece and I should have listened to the instructor on how long it takes to cover a piece this size... 


Beginner Cloisonne and Enameling

If you've been reading my blog you know that I began taking metal classes this year...can't believe this year is almost over! During many of my classes there would be someone in the class working on enamel and/or cloisonne. As I watched I thought, oh I don't think I'm interested in doing that. Fast forward to about July and I saw a piece of cloisonne that knocked my socks off. My plan was to begin taking enameling class in January 2013. But the class I was going to take was canceled, so I'm flexible and began enameling class sooner then I expected. I have learned a lot of techniques and these are just a few.

 Stamping on enamel
Just enamel with some beginner issues, but that I think added interest
 Another stamped enamel that I wasn't sure would turn out ok, but looks like antique paper in glass.

Finally I got to the cloisonne....
Enamel goes on the front and you fire, then the counter coat goes on the back and you fire. Then you sand down the front coat to as thin of a layer as possible. The topcoat layer is what holds the metal strips in place. You create a design and lay out your metal strips. I'm working on copper. If I mess this up it's not a big investment in comparison to silver.

 As you can tell this is my first attempt and I will build the color up layer by layer beginning this week. I only have two more classes left so I'm not sure I will be able to finish it. I can't even tell you how intense it is to get the wire strips bent to fit and stay in place until they are fired... Now if I just happen to get a kiln I'll be able to make these pieces at my leisure...glass embroidery!

Keep watching...I'll show you this piece as I add color...no matter how it turns out.  And, thanks to Jewel Clark for her patience and fabulous instruction!


Dress Your Wrist

Black Friday Embroidery Sale

I am selling a limited quantity of my DIY 2013 Hand Embroidery calendars at 35% off....  This would make a beautiful gift to give to the DIY or do the embroidery yourself and give as a gift! Or, buy two and you both will have a beautiful project and calendar!

I have designed this so that at the end of 2013 you can cut the panel apart and use the hand embroidered pieces as other functional wearables or home decor.  A cuff, pillow, decoration, or brooch. Visit my black friday sale shop!
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