Nature's Jewelry

8:03 AM

Last week I found a link to a tutorial by Lindsay over at Shrimp Salad Circus, for wooden branch buttons.  I love the idea of using branches for things other than decoration. Yes, the vases in my house are filled with all kinds of branches. So trying out a form of this tutorial was as simple as pulling a branch from a vase and sawing away at it.  Yea, right!

The supplies I used:
1. a small hacksaw
2. a broken cutting board to protect my work surface
3. a rubbery spongy anti-slip pad for under the cutting board
4. Orange-Glo to polish up the wood
5. 200 grit sandpaper
6. safety glasses
7. branches!

I wanted to just jump right in, and knowing I wasn't trying to match up sizes to start with I didn't measure thickness.  I eyeballed my starting point and started sawing like mad. 

Old branch with lots of character!

 Above you can see my first branch.  I love the look of the old bark, though the old bark didn't so much like staying on the branch.  I sawed about a dozen or so and I was able to get  two slices with bark intact.  The one shown above is about the size of a dime. 

epoxy + brass tag = possibilities!

I originally wanted to drill a hole for a jump ring but the drill was kaput.  Nevertheless, I persevered. The above shown slices have had their edges sanded, been polished up with the Orange-Glo and have been glued to the brass tags with epoxy. 

While the above bits dried, I tried my hand with a much fresher branch.  The husband went searching, despite the rainy weather, and found me some crab apple branches that had been pruned off the trees. (Thanks to my neighbor Ryan!)

crab apple branch = whoamg my hand is falling off

This fresh branch posed one major stumbling block; fresh = way harder to saw.  As you can see by the uneven saw marks in the slice, I had to stop and start a lot.  In fact, after just two of these I had to stop entirely.  Using the hacksaw for this turned out to be impractical.   The bark, however, stayed on quite nicely!

My observations:

1. I loved working with wood.
2. Older wood has way more character but is quite brittle.
3. A circular saw would save a lot of time and prevent sore hands!
4. The Orange-Glo  stains the wood a darker color that does not fade (though the scent of orange does)

What I'll do next time:

1. Line up a guy with a saw.
2. Line up a guy with a working drill.
3. Investigate different sizes and thicknesses for focals and/or charms.
4. Investigate sealers to keep older bark on the slice without losing the natural quality.
5. Try out paint, decoupage, etc for bare wood surface.
6. Try Pledge polishing.

So many possibilities presented themselves during the short time I worked with these branches yesterday.  I'm looking forward to working with them again.

If you've made anything with branch wood I'd love to see it! Leave a link so I can visit! :)


Shouting Out To Oma's Patch

8:52 AM

Connecting with people online never ceases to amaze me. I'd like to tell you a little story about how I fell in love with a lumberjack named Steve.

A few years ago I began playing a game called Lord of The Rings Online.   The game itself has amazing graphics and offers complete  immersion into Tolkien's Middle-Earth.  It also has a relatively mature player base in comparison to other games of it's genre.  If you're not familiar with the gaming world and/or it's acronyms you can Google MMORPG.

While mucking about in the Shire, and other equally famous Tolkien locations, I met some folks in a kinship called Kings Beyond The Wall.  This group of folks is comprised of intelligent, good-hearted, fun, and interesting people. That is where I met a dude named Rob.

Rob as it turns out, is a foodie like my husband.  This commonality took the connection outside the game environment and led to my finding out that his wife, Kate, is a crafter.  I was thrilled to check out her Etsy shop, Oma's Patch.  She makes adorable dolls and toys. That's when I saw Steve.  (cue "love at first sight" music)

Steve was a lumberjack and was so charming I instantly proclaimed to that man-of-mine, " OMG, I gotta have him!!" I figured it was a done deal.  Well, not so. As it turns out, no one realized I was serious about being captivated by the silly little face of that lumberjack. Shortly after my declaration of love, Steve sold to someone at a craft fair.   YAY!! that Oma's Patch did well at the craft fair, but BOO!! that it wasn't me who bought him.  That'll teach me to wait on that dang man-of-mine.

Many months had passed and I noticed on my rss feed reader that Oma's Patch was creating a new doll series, and had requested assistance in naming them.  Upon seeing them I immediately thought "Peculiar Poppets".  Much to my surprise, Kate liked that idea and used it!

What I didn't know was that Kate was creating a thank you gift for me for naming her new series and that I was destined to receive something fabulous in the mail!

When this arrived, my "squee" could be heard 'round the world.

Charles the Lumberjack!!

He looks just like Steve!! But he's actually better than Steve, having been made just for me.  His name is Charles. So far he is enjoying a particular corner on my desk that affords him a lovely view of the tree line out back. Sometimes I can see the longing in his shiny black eyes; I know he is itching to use that axe.  Kate is beyond awesome and I truly am thrilled to own an Oma's Patch doll.

Here are a few of her other offerings...

Newman, the Peculiar Poppet

Hello, Newman!

Trina, the Pixie

Trina dreams of being a world traveler.

Ninja 3

Ninja 3 - ready to invade!

Ninja 3 has been sold, but you never know when one might appear again in the shop. So keep your eyes peeled for it.  You might also be able to request one be made just for you.  I am thinking that when Charles is ready to share his desk space there could be a Ninja in his future. ;)

I know you will love anything you buy from Oma's Patch; the quality is outstanding and the quirkiness and individuality of each item is entirely delightful.


March Stitch Along with Feeling Stitchy

4:59 AM

I'm so excited that Feeling Stitchy is doing another stitch along this month!  The pattern was provided by Tala, at Corvus Tristis and came along with a plain octopus and a sheet of letters so we could stitch whatever words we wanted.   Hmmm.

Last month I just whipped out the pattern and stitched away. This octopus required more thought. 

What the heck am I gonna do with you Mr. Octopus?

While I was pondering this stitchy cephalopod, I remembered some fabric scrappy bits my MIL gave me last week. I'm  not a big fan of Batik's as they go, but this one made me think of the ocean with kelp fronds. (Do kelp have fronds?) 

An Octopuses garden in the shade?

Yes, indeed! This could work! Even though the fabric is very busy, I think I might be able to make it so he stands out enough to be seen.  Though what octopus isn't a little shy anyway? ;)

Now we're talkin'!

I haven't decided what, if any, letters I might use.  Perhaps while I'm stitching him something will come to me. I'm open to suggestions though, so please feel free to leave comments.

Did you know that October 8th is Octopus Day? I guess this year I will be ready to celebrate. :o)

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