Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kumihimo - coming together of threads

It's a very quiet Sunday afternoon here, so I thought I would share with you my latest craft obsession.  It's called kumihimo.  And for those of you that have never heard of it, I'll give you a little information.  Kumihimo is Japanese braiding.  Kumi means 'coming together' and himo means 'of threads'. At least that what I've read.  The Japanese started braiding cords for the Samurai warriors to lace and decorate their scabbards and armor.  That's about all I know of the origins of this craft.  I know there are many, many different ways of braiding, all varying the look and pattern of each cord, but so far I've only learned 2 ways.  One way, uses eight strings or cords and the other way uses 16.  It's all done on a braiding disk. Here's a picture of it with my braid already started.
It's fairly simple. You take one thread from the top and place it at the bottom and then one of the bottom threads is placed at the top.  Then the disk is turned so that the next set of cords are at the top. One of those cords is placed at the bottom and one of the bottom cords is placed at the top. Then the disk is turned again and you just keep repeating the same pattern.  It's very methodical and I think that is one reason I enjoy it.  The braid comes through the round opening in the center of the disk.  I've made several of these cords and now I'm ready to move on to another, hopefully more challenging pattern.
This is a picture of 3 bracelets I made.  Each one took moving the cords over 1,000 times to get the over all length for a bracelet!  And yes, I counted.  (That's my OCD taking over!)  Each bracelet took 16 feet of thread and around an hour to braid.  And they still aren't complete.   I was working on these while sitting outside enjoying a beautiful spring day in my comfy new outdoor chair cushions.
And while outside, I had a little visitor.  Isn't he cute?  He was enjoying my new cushions too!  I don't know if he was trying to scare me away or another unseen lizard!  Well, that does it for now.  I hope everyone has had as a relaxing Sunday afternoon as I did.  Until next time, happy crafting!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Craft Space

Today I thought I would share some pictures of my studio, aka my dining room. If you read my 'about me' then you know a little of my background; my genetic disposition to create. And if you looked at my Flickr photos or my Etsy shop, then you know what I create. So since you know the why and the what, I'm going to show you where this creativity takes place.  

This first picture is my dining room table.  As you can probably tell very little dining takes place here.  That chair in the bottom left corner, that's where you can usually find me sitting.

Now, you may be asking yourself, what's in all of those containers.  And I will tell you, that is my polymer clay.  It is sorted, for the most part, by color.  Keeping it covered is a must since I share my house with 3 cats and a dog.  I have a shoe box of acrylic paints here, which a rarely use. And the box towards the upper right hand side, with the white lid, well that holds my polymer clay canes.

These trays contain random polymer beads that I have made. And yes that is a caulk gun there on the left.  I use it to help extrude clay through my clay gun. It saves my hands from pushing stiff clay through tiny little holes.  Maybe I'll post a picture of that at a later date.

Now this, this is where I hoard my trash!  Just kidding. These are all projects in the making.  It may look like empty bottles and burnt out light bulbs now, but one day this will all be works of art.  Trust me, I have plans!

This is my clay dedicated oven. It sits right behind my chair.  This is were I cure most of my beads and things.  If it won't fit in here then I use my regular oven, but that's not very often.  This piece of furniture was actually a hostess stand in my husband's restaurant.  Instead of throwing it out, he brought it home to me.  And it has turned out to be a very functional piece.  I store my already made, waiting to be bought items in the cabinet along with some other things that I need occasionally.  So that's the end of the tour.  Maybe one day I will have my very own studio.  And then my dining room will be just that, my dining room.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just a Minor Setback

I'm going to share with you what happened to me last Friday.  Maybe something similar has happened to you too. At the time, I just wanted to cry. But now I think of it as just a stumble along the way, something to learn from.  So let me tell you a little about it.
My sister Cindy had a birthday in March but since she was out of town at the time I procrastinated and didn't get her a birthday present.  I thought, "I'll have time later".  Well, she is back home now and I will be seeing her on Easter.  It was time to get busy and decide what to do for her.  I have made her jewelry before but I wanted to do something else. So I decided to make her a picture frame.
After sanding and painting the wooden frame, I got out my tissue blade and several polymer clay canes and the real fun began.  I sliced over 150 pieces off the ends of my canes and placed them in a pattern around the frame.  It looked like a kaleidoscope! I loved it! Now it was time to put it in the oven for curing.
By now it was about 3:00 and I realized I hadn't had lunch. After putting my cheese toast in the oven, I went to check the temperature on the clay oven.  While away from the kitchen, my toast burned.  Then while scraping the black off of my toast, the phone rang.  It seems someone charged 600.00 at Victoria's Secret on my credit card and it wasn't me! While on the phone with the credit card company getting that mess straightened out, my frame was left unattended.  And yes, you probably guessed it, by the time I hung up the phone I smelt it.  My frame was in the same shape as my toast! All of my work, 4 hours worth, ruined.  I just wanted to cry.
I thought I would try again, but the frame and all of it's darkened polymer decorations still sit on my table.  I haven't had the heart to try again.  I know in time I will. I won't let this minor setback keep me from creating something beautiful.  I am confident that it will be even better than the first one.  So Cindy, I'm glad you aren't expecting your birthday present Sunday, because it looks like it will be a little late this year.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Old dog, New trick

WooHoooo. So I think I'm finally figuring this out.  Maybe it's not so bad after all.  Maybe it's true what they say, you can teach an old dog new tricks.  I am figuring out how to change up the look of things. Next I'll need to learn how to import my Etsy shop link and pictures. This just might be fun.