Sunday, September 20, 2009

My studio is where?

It's hard to believe it was December 2007 that I packed my studio into boxes and went on hiatus from my guild, my polymer clay, my beads & jewellery, from anything creative that wasn't house-related. Almost 2 years. And I survived. Socks helped - I relaxed by learning how to knit socks. Now almost everyone in my family has a hand-knit pair of socks whether they wanted them or not.

When the Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild was re-organized last January to have 3 elected co-chairs I agreed to be one as long as my share of meetings to chair & organize all came at the end of the year, when my house would be finished and I'd have lots of free time again. (optimistic wasn't I)
So last weekend was my first jump back into the guild. I had promised a few people that I'd do the bead-making demo that there wasn't time for at last February's retreat. So, me teaching my guild something I hadn't done myself in almost two years? Time to unpack some boxes.
Since my 'studio' is otherwise occupied right now it's a good thing I have a nice big island with the best surface for claying on - cool polished granite.
You think this is messy? That's just one wee box. Wait until I get the rest unpacked.
Actually, I'd rate myself as mid-range organized once I get set up. Not as neurotically neat as some but organized enough that I know where everything is even if it looks like a jumbled mess to everyone else.
(My Mom now knows better than to move any of my tools even a few inches from where they look like they've been carelessly tossed. She once did me a "favour" by organizing my bathroom drawer for me; she thought everything had just been randomly thrown in there. Completely messed up my morning routine, I was late every day for a week until I got everything back where it belonged. Thank goodness she didn't "organize" my studio, I would have gone mad.)
Here's an example: this is my box of scrap clay. A rather messy orderliness. Or is it an orderly messiness?
(Probably 1/2 the clay artists will think "That's your scrap clay? It's so tidy." while the other 1/2 will think "That's disgusting, how can you stand it so messy?)

While unpacking I found some canes that I must have made sometime after the big studio pack-up, I just can't remember where or when.
They did come in handy to make some practice beads. Not that I have a shortage of canes, it's just nice to have something new to use. Turns out claying is like riding a bicycle, it all comes back once you start again. At least... I think it does, but really, how would I know? I may have forgotten 90% of what I knew and not know it.
I did remember how to make this many different beads.

And had a great time - it was fantastic to spend a whole day at a guild meeting again. What a great group we have.

On another polymer clay guild-related note: Clayamies, the Canadian online guild has a new blog with quite a few posts already.
Check out what clay artists across Canada are doing.

Thanks to Tina (of the fake pebbles contest) for setting it up.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Itchy hands

Now that the house is built I'm starting to think about other things I'd like to build.

Getting that restless "I need a project (or 2 or 3)" feeling that installing shelves in the pantry simply won't satisfy.
I don't have a studio space yet (there is STUFF stored where my studio table is going to go) and I don't even have a knitting project to work on.
OK, I lie. I do have a knitting project but face it, when you're winging it and designing as you go you should write down the pattern if you're going to put it down for more than a few days.
I now have a partial throw-pillow cover which is completely screwed up because I thought I could just 'remember' the not-very-straightforward pattern I made up. I should be able to remember my own design, right? Worked for the first 1/2 pillow or so, when I was knitting on it every day; couldn't figure out what the heck I was doing when I picked it up after a week. Now it's waiting to be recycled back into a very inspiring ball of yarn.

To make things worse, we went to the Interior Design Show West today.
Lots of local furniture designers and woodworkers to see. For me it's not so much a case of "I want one of these and one of those...." but "I want to make one of those" and "I want one of these but I'd build it this way...". Now I'm itching to design and build furniture again.

Oh, except for THIS. I love it. I want it. Buy it for me, PLEASE. (because I'm sure I can't afford it)
You have to, have to, have to click RIGHT HERE (Straight Line Designs) and see it, it's fabulous. It would be perfect for the "Luxe Boudoir" look I have planned for our bedroom. (Um, just kidding Kim)
There was one hanging from a rickety garment rack along a back wall of the Interior Design Show, looking like someone had been taking it somewhere, then got distracted & forgot it, shoved against the wall, very forlorn & back-stage-looking. It was supposed to - I asked the designer, Jud Beaumont. We were at Emily Carr together (a million years ago he said, ahem, not quite a million for me, I was a couple years behind him).

Now that we have a Garage!

with a Workshop! (and it's much cleaner now than in this pic) maybe I should make use of it and build some custom furniture for myself. With polymer clay inlays & veneers of course.
Or..... better yet..... design some furniture and hire one of my handy-dandy sons to build it for me. Hmmm, feeding those hollow-legged teenagers may pay off yet.

Although, looking out the windows at the shorter days and falling leaves I think I should concentrate on getting my sewing machine set up and make some window coverings before the trees can no longer provide us with privacy. And there's this...
Do you think maybe it's a sign that I should make some proper cushions for the window seat?
The pink yoga mat just wasn't cushy enough for Cole, besides, it's since been removed to be used again as a yoga mat. My back (& hips, & arms, & everything) is so happy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hard as stone

The totally talented Tina has rocks on her blog.
She is running a contest right now where all you have to do is to pick out the beach stones that she's made from the real ones she picked up on the beach.
She must have rocks in her head if she thinks anyone can tell.
Tina is far too talented at this faux-stone-making thing. They ALL look real to me. The only way I could enter that contest is to close my eyes and jab my finger at the computer to choose.

I must not be the only one who feels this way because Tina's now expanded her contest to include people who blog about it & spread the word.
NOW I may have a chance to win one of her fabulous pebble bracelets. Which is a good thing, because I really want one & didn't even bother to enter the contest, I looked at the picture and just plain gave up - it's TOO DANG HARD to tell which ones are fake.

You think I'm exaggerating? I tell you, Tina's a genius. YOU go to her blog and try to tell the difference between the real ones and her hand-made stones. See if YOU can do it Smarty-pants. Maybe you'll get lucky and win a tutorial to learn to make your own beach stones that no-one can tell are fake.

If that link doesn't work go to and scroll down to the "Want to win a free tutorial?" post. Just try it.

Maybe I'll even take another look and make a few wild guesses.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Chip, chip, chip

A few more things from the 'Building Approvals Division' list...

#1. Install Permanent Site Address

Here's Kim working out the spacing. (And see what we bought at a Giant Pot Sale a couple of weeks ago - some giant pots. Now I need to buy some giant plants)

#11 Complete skirting at ensuite tub, caulk tub top & shower/tub bases.

Finally - now my bathroom vanity won't look like this:

And while I have the stuff out to do the tub skirt ...

doesn't it make sense to finish the walls at the same time?

...and the top trim?

Which is how a quick little tiling & caulking task becomes a 3-week job. (To clarify - that's weekends only, I'm slow but not THAT slow)

Now I only need to splash sealer over the whole works and clean up and we'll have a fully-functioning ensuite bathroom. (Except for the mirror, should hang that soon - maybe I wouldn't look like such a wreck if I had one properly-hung mirror in the house.)

A second usable shower just in time for the re-start of the mad morning rush with 3 of us trying to get ready & out the door at the same time. It sure was nice when I only had myself to nag: eat breakfast; pack lunch; don't forget your stuff; don't be late; don't let the cat out....
I'm as bummed-out about back-to-school as the boys are.

Paying the Bills

I finally made a payment to my architect/general contractor... and acquired a little accessory for our driveway at the same time.

Poor Kim has been pining for a 'stick' ever since his beloved got smunched from behind when he stopped at a crosswalk for an elderly woman.
And if you look back at my "list of things we'll get once the house is done" ("Promises") you will see "sports car for Kim" at #6.

Now, I've been told this is just a partial payment until we can afford to pay him what he deserves for all his hard work - A real sportscar.

This is a trial one, a tester to see if he can survive the winter driving a sporty little convertible and, more importantly, to see if he can survive the daily commute without a cup-holder for his morning coffee.

But it is awfully cute. Ooops sorry Kim, I mean MANLY. It's an awfully Manly, Rugged, Powerful (sweet wittle cutsie-wootsie) sportscar.