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Looking back just a bit

It was a busy time

of making, baking, and fighting the never welcomed viruses of the season.

I was hopeful about the baking part… I wanted to make Christmas cookies with the grandkids, my father in law’s traditional nut rolls (thank you to Bob and Kathy for sending nut rolls!) and assorted pies and other goodies.

It. Did. Not. Happen. Thank you Jackie, for the amazing berry cheesecake for Christmas dinner!

I was off to a late start designing and making this year’s annual ornament. Caught a nasty virus that had me down for over a month during my busiest making days. After building the needed energy and endurance, ornament production was shifted into overdrive!

It had been a flurry of ornament design, stamp making and production of this year’s almost record breaking making season! I’ve made over 250 ornaments this year, mostly celebrating our mountain towns along with family and friends!

Some of the first of many porcelain trees drying. Getting ready for cleaning and their bisque firing.

It took a while to finalize this year’s design and quite a bit more deciding on color combinations to work with the great crystal beads I found to dangle within the ornament and add a bit of sparkle! I began cutting and shaping them with the town names of our first holiday faires. I am so happy to see past customers each year, knowing that they are adding to their collections! I’ve made annual trees for our small Santa Cruz Mountains town of Boulder Creek since 1991 and am awed by those who have been collecting my ornaments for many years. It is such an honor for my work to be a part of many familiy’s holiday traditions! I’m also happy that these can provide a small welcome memento to new neighbors in the small towns in our valley.

Loving the texture of this year’s design!
While making the cutout shapes for the crystals, I saved them with a little more texture to make new glaze samples. Hundreds of teardrop shapes, with so many great glazes to sample!

I was a little afraid of the space between the teardrop cut outs and the edges of the tree. I was pleasantly surprised that the narrow edge really didn’t cause much of a problem. I laid unglazed terra cotta tiles on top of the tree shapes to allow them to dry slowly and flat. The problem with warping was pretty much solved as long as I was patient! (Of course, there were some that warped when fired and they will chime brightly in our garden!)

With hours and hours of time in the workshop, I was kept company by many Hallmark Christmas movies, keeping me in the spirit! It really was assembly line time around here. The kiln was on every few days, with some kiln loads fired as soon as cooled batches were unloaded!

Ready for their bisque firing. One of several shelves on their way to the kiln.

I had a hard time deciding on glazes again this year. I found these great crystals in a couple of nice sparkly colors to dangle within the tree shape. I chose a rustic traditional Christmas palette for the golden crystals and another with the more fanciful colors reflected in the second crystal.

One tray of trees, ready to be hung on their satin ribbons

Well, another year of my porcelain trees is complete and I’m already thinking about the design for 2019. Maybe, I should get an extra early start on them this year. You never know what surprises, good and not so good can affect your best plans!

Wishing you a Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

Cheers!

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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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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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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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Just Launched!

Update….I have no listings in my shop on Handmade at Amazon right now.  Please visit my Etsy Shop and Shop Here for more jewelry, buttons and ornaments!

My new shop is now live on Amazon Handmade!

Give it a look and let me know what you think.  There are over 70 pairs of earrings looking for new homes!

www.amazon.com/handmade/carolmilich
www.amazon.com/handmade/carolmilich

It’s been an exciting few weeks preparing for this launch.  The process had a bit of a learning curve for me but, after getting into the rhythm of listing my pieces and making sure all my i’s were dotted and t’s crossed, it was pretty straight forward. I shipped my first order today and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was! Whew!

So far, so good! My shop opened at midnight and I woke up to my first sale!I’ve listed lots of earrings for now, with more departments to open up where I can add buttons and ornaments!  It’s exciting to have this new opportunity to connect with customers!

!
Carol

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Love these! A little sad to see them go!