Jenaissance Jewelry

6:06 PM

You may have noticed a few changes here lately.  We are shifting our focus from all purpose craft blogging to jewelry blogging, which was what we were intending to do from the outset.  Admittedly things got away from me ;)

We'll be updating with upcoming items for sale in the jewelry shop as well as our massive destash event.

So keep those peepers peeled for news here and on our Facebook page.

Terrariums Shmerrariums

1:49 PM

Terrariums! Tiny ecosystems on your non-virtual desk top.   I've been collecting pictures of them over on Pinterest for quite a while now and occasionally take a moment or two to drool over them. 

With four cats, any plant introduced into our house is quickly eaten, pee'd upon, or knocked over.  So, no leafy greens for us inside.  This is probably for the best because I pride myself on how fast I can actually kill a houseplant. But a terrarium is entirely self contained in a jar.  Now that, my friends, is cat-unfriendly! 

This is the first terrarium I found on Pinterest, which includes a tiny my estimation that makes it about the best dang terrarium EVAH!

I see no dead people.

This next terrarium has moss to die for in it and I wish I had been able to find some so lush and green. Perhaps if I had done the moss hunting in the spring I would have had better luck.


I love the use of the glass tea pot.  I have a glass Bodum teapot but with my tea-drinking husband, I didn't dare use it for a planter.

What we did wind up doing was collecting jars (mostly Manzanetta pepper jars - Don't Forgetta!)  and a few from the MIL. 

We wanted our terrariums to be kid friendly so a few weeks back I broke out the clay and made some sculptures. While Lily was busy making a dinosaur and Peter was busy making a clay version of Lily's rainbow shark, Finnegan, I was busy making toadstools. Thinking ahead, I was.  

Here's what we came up with:

The complete collection

Here's how we did it with our very limited budget.

1. Saved our jars and asked family/friends for extras.
2. Painted the lids with craft paint - three coats for maximum coverage.
3. For the Ball jars I decoupaged scrapbook paper to the lid and painted the rings.  You can make your own modge-podge, did you know? Check that tutorial out here.
4. Collected pebbles/rocks from the gully out back.
5. Used left over potting soil from our container garden.
6. Used left over aquarium charcoal from our fish tanks.
7. Raided Lily's toy bin for tiny plastic critters.
8. Raided my rock collection for decorative rocks.
9. Used Fimo and Sculpey from existing stash to create toadstools.
10. Peeled moss up from under the back deck.
11. Raided the lawn for tiny scraps of clover for the "plant" effect.

Yellow Ant is yellow and ant-ish.

The jars are layered thus:

1. 1/2" pebbles/rocks
2. 1/2" of aquarium charcoal (this keeps the stinky away!)
3. 2" potting soil
4. layer of moss
5. spritzed with water
6. added do-dads
7. ta-da!

Condensation forms nearly immediately after closing up the jar.  When this disappears it's time to open 'er up and spritz again.  We did 10 sprays per jar.

Stay! Good dog.

What we learned:

1. Bigger jars = more surface area = better viewing.
2. Aquarium charcoal is toxic to animals so be sure to pick up any that falls on the floor! (no animals were harmed in the making of our terrariums.)
3. Bugs like to live in the bottom layer of moss when you find it in your yard - be sure to shake them out before you bring them in the house.
4. Terrariums aren't for carrying around, or for holding while jumping in place -  do-dads tend to fall over when doing this.
5. Without moving parts, Mario, music, or crazy lights and sound effects, kids may lose interest rapidly.

I love moose.

Now, if we'd had money to spare for things like this, I would have loved to buy a large glass jar and the lushest moss I could find.  But, we worked with what we had and the kids had fun building them.

Top down view!

Have you ever made a terrarium?  I would love to see... provide a link in the comments so I can check them out! :)

Feeling Stitchy Stitchalong - July

11:09 AM

Thanks to the  fabulous and gracious MimiLove, I could not resist this month's Feeling Stitchy stitchalong.  Mimi donated this very handsome gnome pattern from her original artwork for us to stitch. 

Here is Mimilove's amazing version:

I very much enjoy mixed media;  painting and embroidery look fabulous together. At least I think they do when Mimilove does it, so I decided to make mine stitching an homage to Mimi's style.

My gnome was printed on the back of an old torn out book page, painted with watercolors and embellished with embroidery.

Tom Gnome.

Fancy shirt Mr. Gnome.

Excessively stitched flowers...

More excessively stitched flowers...

A hint of bushy eyebrows!

What I learned while completing this project:

1. Old book paper absorbs water like a sponge; go lightly with the water.
2. It's easier to stitch if you poke holes first and then go through with the thread.
3. Think  about your paper choice - my reverse side with text made it difficult to see the tiny pre-poked holes.
4. Mimilove is even more talented than I had previously thought.
5. I like painting even though I have no idea what I'm doing. :)

Huge thanks to Mimilove for being such an inspiration and for donating her pattern.  Visit the Flickr group for more stitchalong fun!

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