yesterday i went to visit my friend carrie. i get a ton of work done there. i think it's because there's no distractions. i sanded awls for SEVEN HOURS!!
here's the process. the awls and sandpaper must be kept wet to keep the dust down. a drop of soap is added to the bath. first each item is sanded with 400 grit sandpaper. this is where most of the work is done. then each is sanded with 600 and 800 grit in succession. you can really feel the difference between a sanded and unsanded item. there might be a few bumps left, but overall the pieces are so smooth.
our memorial day weekend was devoted to the garden. on friday john went to lowe's to buy the ordinary plants: impatiens, coleus, salvia, petunias. and he also got a raspberry bush!
saturday we went to gethsemane, aka MECCA! we've been shopping for plants at home depot for so long, we forgot what a real nursery was like. we wanted one of everything. as it was we came home with a heuchera, hellebore, japanese ferns, bleeding heart, basil, squash and heirloom tomatoes.
this was the start of monday morning. everyone waiting to go into their new homes.
unfortunately the weather was against us. i got most of the flower boxes and hanging baskets done. john turned over the veggie garden and planted the basil, tomatoes and squash. john also turned over the area next to the fence in the front so i could finish planting the annuals.
but this morning, half the pile remains. and it was time to work on polymer clay. nature is watering the garden now.
i took a zen shiatsu class all last week. i have pictures and everything. but i have just been utterly exhausted mentally and physically since ending the class. so the real post with pictures will have to wait. i just didn't want you to think i fell ill or was the victim of a shooting or something terrible. i'm still here, just spending a lot of time on the couch.
yesterday i took a photography class at calumet photo. i learned a lot. like how not to take pictures like this:
we talked about shutter speed, aperture and ISO. now i just have to find or download my camera's manual to make the camera do what i want to do. the camera is second hand, so i think download it is. i don't think i ever had the manual.
i also learned how to make a picture like this focus everywhere, not just on the near stuff.
and just what was i doing? knitting at the baseball game! usually i keep score, but i really wanted to work on cherry bomb. (rav link). i found i could just as easily pay attention while knitting as while keeping score. i did drop a stitch though, and had no crochet hook, so i'll have to fix it the next time i knit.
i had to walk about a mile to the bus to get home because john had the car. he went to see star trek at the imax without me! to be fair, i got a ticket too and then realized i had the class at the same time.
on my way to the bus i found lots of rusty bits! lots!
i like to make art pieces that are functional, like my handmade books. i think this means i'm officially a fine craftswoman, as opposed to an artist. plus i focus on really honing my techniques, which falls under good craftsmanship. there is such a debate about arts vs. craft. but i'm comfortable with fine craft.
i also like to make items at different price points. right now i have only my most expensive books in my etsy shop. it's time to add some other items. i have some handpainted books in progress, but right now i'm really focused on polymer clay.
i've had a lot of success with awls and exacto knives, covered in polymer clay canes. they have a nice feel to them, and you can't confuse yours with your friends. i'm out of exacto knives right now, so i focused on awls.
these are some of the materials i use. i've chosen a malachite cane and some translucent canes. i like to add a black top on the end of the awl. for that i use a circle cutter. then i stamp a little image on the black, using brilliance ink. i bake the awls on an accordion folded piece of paper so they don't scurry around in the oven.
a closer look at the awls.
after they're baked comes the part i dislike the most. sanding. i have a few here from earlier that need to be sanded. i think i have 16 awls altogether. that's a lot of sanding! stay tuned.
i keep forgetting to mention that jen perkins of naughty secretary club mentioned me on her blog. it's about crafty red heads. the funny thing is that i'm a brunette, but had died the front of my hair fucshia. it's growing out now so i'll have to do it again soon!
i've spent the past few days beginning to organize the studio. well, that was the idea. i actually started in the non-studio portion of the basement. our storage shelves needed to be weeded out.
i had no idea what was in all the boxes, so it was a bit of a treasure hunt. the fun part was seeing some of my old art. bad art! polymer clay that wasn't books!
i also found boxes of swaps and trades. some of these were really great and it was wonderful to take out each piece and look at them again.
i found in both areas that my skill has really improved. and i was very happy to see that. once i found my polymer book niche things just began to fall into place.
i discovered my baby blanket that my mom had knit for me, grandma's hats, notes from school....
i was able to toss, recycle or donate a lot. then i neatly put the boxes back. if i were rich i would have bought all new plastic boxes so all the storage would look the same and be protected from possible basement leakage. but that's not the case, so this is the best i could do.
yesterday i took the day off to relax. a nice bath, some time catching up on email, facebook and twitter. just being gentle with myself. sometimes i have so many ideas i feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day. after a while a mental fatigue sets in. so a day off was just what i needed.
i've also still been working on cherry bomb. this is the most recent picture. but i've knit a bit beyond this spot. i'm just starting to bind off at the edges for the arm holes. there must be a more elegant phrase than "arm holes." does anyone know?
it's a beautiful day, and i'm going to pull dandelions. they sort of look pretty right now, giving some color to the garden, but i know i have to pull them. i need room for my other flowers and i don't want the whole area taken over by the dandelions.