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Let the Holiday Making Begin!

Soon, the ornament making and cookie baking will be in full swing.

But First….

A little look at our walk in the park!

Deep breath in……  and out

Before I dive deep into my busiest season of making, I’d like to reflect and share our alternative to heading out to the gym to hop on a treadmill.  We do hop in the car and get ready for a brisk walk, but we clock in our miles along trails surrounded by the Redwoods, meadows of clover and wildlife at Henry Cowell State Park in Felton, California.

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Cool morning in the forest.
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Sunshine peeking through the last of the morning fog.

It’s refreshing, invigorating and inspires gratitude for the natural beauty of our area!  The Japanese call it Forest Bathing, and I agree with the benefits of breathing in the fresh and fragrant air of the forest. Along with exercise, our walks gives me a sense of appreciation for this lovely place we call home and for the health and mobility that allows for free movement needed for even this gentle hike.

Each day is a little different.  Some are sunny and warm, others are a bit chilly, due to the moist fog from the Pacific that nourishes these magnificent trees.

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A couple of friends join us on the path. The little one is considering his hop over the fence.

Most days, in the slight differences, we notice something new.  Most recently, a small patch of very unusual Albino Redwoods peeked out at us along the path.

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Now as I head out to the workshop to focus on my annual porcelain tree ornaments, I will remember to take time for our refreshing walks in the park!

🌲 Carol

 

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Every Day is Valentine’s Day ❤️

At Least it is at Our House!

My husband and I welcome each day by wishing each other a “Happy Valentine’s Day”!  We don’t fuss over February 14th so much because we know that our love and appreciation for each other should be shown every day of the year!  (I must admit that February 14th does pose a little pressure, as it is “Double Valentine’s Day”!)

Love birds ornament

We play a little card game after breakfast, and whenever the ace of hearts is played or moved, we kiss.  (Yes, I know this is incredibly corny!)  Celebrating our love for each other is central to our day, even with this simple game, taught to us by Mike’s Uncle George and Aunt Bonnie, (we added the kissing rule, much to our pleasure!) we are reminded how important and joyful it is to appreciate each other often, every day!

kiss ticket

We are a team. That’s how we roll.  Maybe, a bit too concerned about each other’s feelings.  As in, “What would you like for dinner?” with the response, “No, what would you like?”  That’s usually the closest we get to a “fight”.  Of course, we feel we win by making the other happy.  Sometimes, “please, just let me know what you’d like”, I plead, just turns a simple decision into a circle of wanting the other to choose… How funny, we are!

Married 40 years and counting, hoping for many more and kisses galore!

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I’m starting to list Valentine’s Day jewelry and ornaments in my Etsy shop !  Here’s a peek at some listed and others on the way!

Happy Valentine’s day to you and your special someone today and Every Day!

Thanks for stopping by,

❤️ Carol

 

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Button, Button Who Needs a Button?

…or more than a few?

at 20% discount!

Who has some great yarn, just begging for unique buttons to complement a great sweater design?  Who has a comfy coat or jacket with ho-hum buttons, ready for a new handcrafted update? Do you have a hat or other accessory that could use a quick embellishment? Winterize your button stash with these great deals!

Considering that I can’t seem to limit the choices of textures, glazes and sizes of my porcelain buttons, I seem to have a nice suitcase full of beautiful buttons, waiting for just the right sweater, jacket or other creations so far unimagined.  Perhaps, these buttons will inspire a new project or be just the right choice for one waiting for its finishing touch!

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Keeping that in mind, I’m offering a 20% discount on all buttons in my online shops.  Before I begin a new collection, I have to let some of these classics go.  I will be renewing and adding items often.  There are many to list!  So, shop with my discount in mind this winter with coupon code BUTTONS20  This discount expires on March 21.

Use coupon code BUTTONS20 for your 20% discount in both of my online shops.

Buttons on Etsy  and  more buttons!

All items listed are in stock and ready to ship!

Ready, set…. start saving!

And, I almost forgot.  You get Free Shipping with orders of $30 or more in my Etsy Shop!

Let me know if you don’t find what you need.  It just might not be listed yet!  Feel free to contact me with questions or requests!

❤️ Carol

 

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‘Tis the Season!

It’s just after Thanksgiving and I’m on a third batch of annual ornaments for our town of Boulder Creek! It felt terrible to disappoint folks at the tree lighting and Santa sighting last evening.  They had sold out before some could claim theirs.  Not to worry, I’m cutting a big kiln load today and will have them ready by the end of the week.  IMG_2458

I’m always surprised at how many ornament collectors there are in our small town!  As every year, since I began making dated Boulder Creek trees since 1991, I am honored to be a small part of families’ holiday traditions.  They adorn trees of our community and some are sent to family members who might be a little homesick for our mountain town.

Now, I make my trees for nearby towns as well as for family and close friends.

Here are some bisqued shapes, ready to glaze.

IMG_8322As with many of my ornaments, my husband created the design I used to make the stamp for these trees.  Like most years, it was a process of trial and a few errors, getting the image just right for the stamp.

IMG_0008I’ve decided to glaze these in the traditional holiday colors of green, red and gold, and added Swarovski crystals to add a little sparkle!

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I’d better get back to the workshop. Lots more trees to shape and get ready for their first firing tomorrow!

I’ve listed “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” ornaments in my Etsy shop!

Wishing to all, a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas!

❤️ Carol

 

 

 

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The Ladies of Bonny Doon

Here’s a little behind the scenes look at my latest custom order.  I am honored to have been asked to make ornament keepsakes for The Ladies of Bonny Doon Club to celebrate the club’s 75th Anniversary! They were to be a surprise for the members, so I couldn’t post about this project until they’ve celebrated this milestone.  Their luncheon was yesterday, so now, I can share this with you.

Custom porcelain Quail ornament
Custom porcelain ornament celebrating the 75th Anniversary of The Ladies of Bonny Doon Club

It wasn’t always smooth sailing.  As usual, I needed to make several stamps to get the graphics just right.  My husband, Mike is a photographer and graphic designer and creates the images that I need to make the stamps.  He is a very patient man!  I think we must have made a half a dozen stamps before being satisfied with how the final try worked with the clay.

I was happy with a smaller stamp after a couple of tries, cut some samples and realized that the three inch shape was going to be too small.  The ladies asked for a three inch round ornament, but with the approximate 12% shrinkage after firing, the pieces would be too small.  Bummer!

Sooo,  I decided to use a larger cutter and shaped about 70 pieces. (I always need to make more than needed in case of warping or cracking in the drying or firing processes) Then cleaned and bisque fired them.  They would glaze fire to be 3 inches in diameter.  Perfect!

Then….I wasn’t happy with the image size in the larger shape.  I’m pretty sure I called, “Hey Sweetie…” and talked to Mike about my thoughts.  He read my mind (as usual) and started on the new stamp graphics.  Did I tell you what a lucky woman I am?  The final stamp was a success and I proceeded to cut out another 70 pieces textured with the much improved stamp.  Whew!!

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Cut and drying, ready for cleaning and bisque firing

Bisque firing was a success and on to glazing.  I won’t show you the idea failures, but I’m happy with the result of quite a few trials and errors!  Then on to glazing the rest of the batch.

50 custom Quail ornaments
50 porcelain quail ornaments for The Ladies of Bonny Doon Club

I attached tiny Swarovski crystals to add a twinkle to the eye of each Quail.  All that was left to do was hang on ribbons and place them with tissue in gift boxes, ready for the big day!

I hope the ladies had a lovely day, celebrating their milestone anniversary!

The Ladies of Bonny Doon Club is a social club that supports various organizations and charities in my neck of the woods of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

  • Bonny Doon Fire Department with a Bake Sale at each Event
  • Salvation Army with canned goods
  • Hospice
  • Camp Harmon
  • Valley Churches (Layette Project)
  • Bonny Doon School (Garden Tour Project)
  • Community Projects

Please feel free to contact me if I can help you celebrate one of life’s special events, or milestones with a custom porcelain keepsake!     ~Carol

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Lacy Days of Spring

I’ve always cherished the crocheted lace doilies that my mom and great aunts had made. They graced most of the wood furniture in our house when I was growing up.  I use them sometimes, but mostly just take them out for a look-see every once in a while.

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Some of my favorite doilies bring back fond memories.

They all have a little different feel.  Some are silky soft and flowy (my favorites).  Others have been stiffened by starch that has stood the test of time!

Not too long ago, when I was taking a peek at my doily stash, I decided to make a quick press mold to use in my porcelain play.  Once I began, I was a bit obsessed and cut a lot of jewelry shapes.

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Freshly cut and stamped porcelain clay.

I love the way the freshly cut clay looked.  The intricate textures of the fine crochet was clearly visible.  It made me miss my mom a bit more, thinking about her making each stitch.

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Loving the stitch detail!
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Bisque fired and ready for glazing!

I was so excited about my new project that I glazed everything in a handful of glazes.

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Some finished lacy jewelry pieces

Although I’m pretty happy with the result, I’m missing a lot of the texture of the unglazed pieces.

So, knowing that I’d be cutting out more shapes, probably lots more, I sorted the doilies and pulled out a few of my favorites and made more molds.

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New press molds made from a few of my favorite doilies.

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And the fun continues!

~Carol

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A Little More Show Biz

While I’m catching up on a little television news, I’ll share a couple more “As Seen on TV” moments.  If you stay with me to the end of this post, you’ll find the strangest one!

In late spring 2015, I was watching a new episode of the TV show Bones (Season 10, episode 21 “The Life in the Light”, airdate 6/4/15).  Much to my surprise, actress Emily Deschanel, as Dr. Temperence Brennan was wearing my Misty Blue Porcelain and Freshwater Pearl Earrings! Through The Artisan Group, I had the opportunity to submit my earrings for consideration by the costume designer for the show. I must admit, and my husband would verify, that I was pretty excited at seeing the scenes showing them! I was jumping around like a crazy woman, shouting, “She’s wearing my earrings, she’s wearing my earrings!”. She wore them in a couple of scenes and I was very grateful, considering the theme of this show, that they weren’t worn by a gory corpse!

I also love how she tilted her head in one scene and wore her hair tied back in the other to really show off the earrings. Thank you Emily!

Last summer, I had a similar opportunity though The Artisan Group, this time sending a pair of earrings to the stylist for the show BrainDead. My Pewter Glazed Porcelain Triangles with Freshwater Pearl Earrings were worn by actress Nilaja Sun as character Brenna Burke in the premier episode of the show. I wasn’t caught as much by surprise this time.  I got a “heads-up” when I noticed them in a preview for the show. Still, very happy to see my pieces on screen again!

So, there seems to be a bit of a trend here. My earrings have been seen on three television shows.  With the names Hart of Dixie, Bones and BrainDead, I guess l should be on the lookout for shows with body parts in the title! Haha!

Well, I’m taking a little hiatus from The Artisan Group. While it’s been an interesting and good business experience working with this great group of artists, it’s been a bit of a distraction from some other things needing more of my attention right now. A big thank you to TAG for the opportunities!

Oh, I almost forgot the strangest “As Seen on TV” moment of all!

We were watching an episode of the NBC show Aquarius and noticed a piece of furniture featured in the set of the television version of Charles Manson’s property.  Yeah, I know it’s a very dark and violent show, but we were watching. I was very surprised to see “my” chair and ottoman outside with Manson follower characters sitting on it.  It was almost identical to my Mom’s chair that she had recovered in the late 60’s, ottoman and all!

Aquarius chair

Proof to be seen in this photo of our granddaughter hanging out in our passed down chair. Really weird, right?

Ta-ta for now…

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100 Little Things

IMG_5945Just one hundred pair of earrings.  Only 100, well 200 pieces.  That’s all!  It didn’t seem too nutty at the time, and doesn’t now that I’m almost finished either.  It was a pretty big commitment for a really cool opportunity that I’ll let you know more about pretty soon.  IMG_2647After cutting and shaping the first 150 or so, I began to wonder if a pendant might have been a wiser choice with only needing half as many pieces…  Well, by then it was a little late to turn back.  I was into a good rhythm by then!  IMG_2656After drying, I cleaned them up and carved my initials into the back of each piece, getting them ready for the kiln.FullSizeRender 4I was so happy that they all fit on 2 shelves in my new, super cute little kiln!  There was even a little space for a couple of new sample shapes.IMG_2661Fresh from the kiln.  Ready for glazing!  I decided on two glaze styles, because as most of my friends have learned, decision making is sometimes a challenge for me.  At least I was able to narrow it down to two, as I would like to see these in lots of colors and glaze styles. FullSizeRenderGlazed pieces waiting for more for their second firing.  Only a hundred or so to go! IMG_2684Success!  I’m always a little apprehensive that when I open the kiln (the large kiln this time) because, sometimes a nasty surprise awaits.  This time as it most often is, I’m really happy with the result.IMG_2587You might have been wondering why this post began with the photo of a shell on the beach.  I made a press mold from a Knobbed Whelk shell that I found on an early morning to watch my first sunrise over the Atlantic.  It was a beautiful sight!IMG_5911Until next time…

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Decisions! Decisions!

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So, there’s this basket of earrings just waiting for their close up. They are the first in a line-up of earrings, buttons and even some cool tatting shuttles that I will list in my Etsy shop very soon. Well, that is if I ever decide how I’d like to photograph them!

I don’t know why I have such a difficult time trying to figure out how I want to photograph my items. I guess decision making is not my strongest suit, easily demonstrated by my variety of mostly one of a kind items! I’d like to get back to the workshop to try out some new ideas, but I think it will be best to update my shop and list these new pieces first.

I’d like to present a focused collection. Choosing backgrounds and thinking about adding props has been an ongoing dilemma. Should each item be shown on a crisp white background… or maybe a coordinating or contrasting color… or perhaps a texture, a prop or a patterned design and on and on and on….. HELP!

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I’m looking for a little help from you. These are a few examples of what I’ve been considering and I’d love to hear what you think might be the best to give my shop a consistent look. I’m open to any suggestions you may have and look forward to your comments!

Thanks in advance!
Carol