Saturday, December 21, 2013

2013 Christmas Card

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! I present my 2013 Christmas Card. I did a bit of everything on this one, die cutting, distressing, stamping, stitching, string, etc.

My inserts cut on my Sizzix Eclips and ready for edging with Ranger Distress Ink. I have lots of cutout snowflakes to use on some future project (like I need more stuff to add to my stash for future projects!).

I have always like the look of cards stitched on a sewing machine, but had yet to try it. I am not a taylor by any means, so some are not exactly stitched evenly around the edge, but I just tell myself that makes them look more homemade... Actually it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought and I actually learned a bit about using this vintage Singer featherweight that my Dad found for me years ago. I even learned how to wind the bobbin and re-thread it quickly, as Grayson kitty liked to play with the string and would manage to have the thread completely loose every time I would sit back down to stitch some more.

I hope everyone wasn't as last minute as I was this year. I do think everyone should receive their card before Christmas. I still seem to send out about twice as many cards as I receive, but so many of my friends say they keep my cards and have even hang them on their tree that I can't not continue to send them one. So, if you do get a card from me, know that you are pretty special to me as I have whittled down my list from about 100 to a little over 50. But, if you aren't on my list, please accept this digital card as my wish to you to have a very merry Christmas, happy holiday and hears to a fantastic 2014!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

JoAnn Kelly Catsos St. Louis Basketry Workshop 2013

Well another wonderful workshop with JoAnn Kelly Catsos is over. While I am sad about it, everyone made some beautiful baskets and equally beautiful memories.

Three of the talented basketmakers get to work.
Our first basket was a full-size (approximately 9" dia.) Lightning Bowlt of natural and dyed hand-pounded black ash.

Lightning Bowlt Basket
 The basket is woven of  basically a two-two twill pattern, but it is the reversing of the pattern that creates the dynamic lightning bolt pattern.

Lightning Bowlt ready to have its rims lashed.
The baskets are finished with a dyed rim to match. While traditional Shaker baskets do not have any type of rim filler, this contemporary basket uses a twisted piece of waxed linen.

Miniature Lightning Bowlt Basket being woven.
After completing the full-size basket we are set to make a miniature version using hand pounded black ash expertly prepared by JoAnn and her husband Steve Catsos.

Full-size and miniature Lightning Bowlt Baskets.
 The contrast between the natural and dyed ash makes for a striking pair of baskets.

Instructor and basketmaker JoAnn Kelly Catsos.
On the third day of the workshop JoAnn introduces the next series of baskets, the Diamond Twill Bureau.

Full-sized Diamond Twill Bureau Basket ready to be lashed.
The color contrast in this basket is achieved from the natural color difference between the sap and heartwood of the black ash.

Miniature version of the Diamond Twill Bureau Basket ready to be lashed.
The miniature version of the Diamond Twill Bureau basket is a perfect companion for the its big brother.

The four baskets I wove in the 2013 JoAnn Kelly Catsos basketry workshop.
Four days and four baskets makes for a perfect long weekend. Now to find the perfect place to display these treasures.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Getting ready for class

Well, this is what the basement is supposed to look like in anticipation of my JoAnn Kelly Catsos workshop in a few weeks (Nov. 9-12, 2013), but I have a long way to go still. I have been working on it this weekend and it is looking better, but where did all this crap come from? I am a hoarder in waiting I think (or am afraid). I will get there. I am in purge mode, so am gathering up stuff to donate and to sell.

Look for class photos as they happen in a few weeks. I will be posting them on my facebook and instagram pages.

Friday, October 11, 2013

What I have been up to lately

Well work has still been kicking my butt, so there hasn't been a lot of time for fun stuff like crafting and basket weaving (or cleaning the house for that matter). I did take a week long vacation last month for my birthday and that was really nice. I bought a number of projects to work on, a book (I had almost forgotten what those were) and a bunch of DVDs. Besides crafting, reading and watching movies I did get to do a bit of junks (I would say antiquing, but that would be a stretch for a lot of what I was digging through) and I actually found a nice antique white oak ribbed basket for a fairly good price. I need to photograph it (sorry).

One of the projects I did get to work on was a new waxed linen knotted basket. Knotted baskets are nice for taveling as they don't require water and the only tool you need is a pair of scissors.

Nothing like sitting out on a dock on a lake working on a basket.
This is about as far as I have gotten. It is hard to tell, but the blue section is flat. Also my finger tips are orange from dying some bottle brush trees orange for Halloween (OK, so I guess I have worked on a couple other things).
Unfortunately now that I am back at home and back to work I have hardly touched this basket. It is still sitting right in front of my chair, so I haven't completely forgotten about it.

I did get the itch for whatever reason to start and finish something, so decided to dig through the tubs of felted wool sweaters I seem to have accumulated and through the stack of ideas I have printed off the web. I ended up making a little mouse kitty toy. As you can see in the photo below, it was a success, or at least Grayson liked it.
It never even made it off the table, it was ready, set, play!
So, that's about the extent of my non-work creative output lately. One of these days I will get back to all the other projects I have started ...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Martha Stewart's American Made

Martha Stewart - American Made 2013 - Nominee Badge

Black Ash Quadrafoil Lidded Sewing Basket with Tray - JoAnn Kelly Catsos

If you haven't checked out Martha Stewart's American Made competition, go do it now! My good friend and incredible black ash basketmaker/teacher, JoAnn Kelly Catsos is up for the award and could really use your votes (you can vote up to six times in a 24 hour period).

Good luck JoAnn!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Being Shelf-ish

I seem to have so little time to craft these days, but the other Saturday morning I woke up early and decided that the lawn and dishes could wait and that I wanted to make a new coat rack/shelf. I have had a really nice mission-style oak coat rack for years, but in my new (well, 10 years now) house the only place to put it was in the corner behind the front door. It worked there, but wasn't very functional as you couldn't use the hook in back in the corner and a couple winter coats blocked the door from opening all the way.

So, I had seen a couple different shelves with hooks, on Pinterest and other blogs that I thought would work better in the space. Well, I was motivated so went out to the garage to my stash of scrap wood and starting measuring and planning. After a trip to Home Depot to buy some hooks I was back to the basement and my workshop. The hardest part of the whole thing was figuring out the spacing of the hooks. I don't really know why, I wanted and odd number, so that put one in the middle and then ones on each end with the remaining two centered between. I kept trying to do all this high math dividing the space out evenly then I threw in the towel and visually spaced them in about 30 seconds. Sometimes I over think things...

The entertainment center, fireplace mantel and book cases are painted black over red so I painted the shelf to match. A little sanding to let the red paint and wood show through, then a good coat of paste wax and some elbow grease gave the piece a nice worn glow. A level, a couple black sheet rock screws and my shelf was securely affixed to the wall. The only thing I would do differently would be to use black or dark colored hooks. I thought I was going to like the brushed nickle coat hooks and that they would give it a touch of contemporary feel, but they probably stand out more than I would like. Guess I will just have to make another.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 JoAnn Kelly Catsos Workshop

Saturday - Tuesday, November 9, 10, 11, 12, 2013
9:00 am - 5:00 pm 

I am so excited to be able to offer this workshop of two classes to make four beautiful baskets with JoAnn Kelly Catsos of Ashley Falls, MA. JoAnn has won numerous awards for her beautiful black ash baskets and in 1999 she was asked to weave an ornament for the White House Christmas Tree. She also was one of the first to receive the Certificate of Excellence Level I Basketmaking from the Handweavers Guild of America. JoAnn and her husband Steve produce all the weaving materials, hardwood rims and handles, and molds themselves. I hope you can join JoAnn and me for this exciting and fun class.

Saturday & Sunday
Lightning Bowlts
9.5" dia. x 3" deep and 4.25" dia. x 1.5" deep

The lightening bowlt pattern on this bowl is striking due to the contrast between the stained brown stakes and the lighter black ash weavers. In this two-day class we will not only be making the original 9.5" diameter version, but also a special mini 4.25" version that JoAnn designed specially for our workshop. Twill experience is required for this class and due to the small size of the 4.25" basket, patience and attention to detail is helpful.


Monday & Tuesday
Diamond Twill Bureau Baskets
8" long x 5" wide and 4" long x 2.5" wide
As with all of JoAnn’s baskets these are woven of precisely prepared black ash splint over wooden molds. The stakes are brown from the heartwood, while the whiter weaves come from the sapwood. The twilled diamond pattern and lashed maple rims add a touch of class to these beautiful baskets. In this workshop we will be making both the 8" and the mini 4" version. Due to the small size of the 4" version, patience and attention to detail is helpful.


Instructor: JoAnn Kelly Catsos

if you would like to receive registration information

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Working and Stamping

So the last six months have been so crazy with work and more work. I have had little time to craft (or blog). Well, at least a few things have slowed down a bit so I have finally had some time to get back into my mess of a craft room and actually work on some fun projects.

Here is my display from the Stateline Friends Weaving Retreat where I introduced the new stamp designs.

As some of you may know, I have been producing my own line of rubber stamps. I started with a few sheets of stamps and after using them myself for a few years I decided to start offering some of them for sale. A year ago I introduced four sets of baskets with accompanying words/sayings. This year I added two more sets. I barely had time to get the new sets made let alone use them, until recently. Even though I haven't had any time to craft that hasn't stopped me from buying more stamps, paper and inks.

I never do anything small. When I buy paper, I buy a lot...

I love the new sets of Darcie's and Tim Holtz stamps I picked up. I think they go so well with my basket stamps. Here are two of the cards I made using the new stamps.

While I keep one sample of the cards I make and I usually photograph them to put on Facebook I have never tried taking photos of process, until now.*

 I started out stamping a large background image in Ranger Distress Ink, Vintage Velvet on a piece of cream colored card stock.

I then added a strip of butterflies and moths along one side using Dusty Concord.

 Here is the panel with both images.

To add a little more interest to the background I added a strip of texture in a contrasting color.

 Next I used a blending tool and some more Vintage Velvet to edge the cream colored panel.

I had stamped and cut these shapes using my Sizzix eClips cutting machine for another project and had a bunch of them left over. They were on a whitish card stock, but I thought if I edged them with the Vintage Velvet they would look fine on the card.

Unfortunately they didn't look like I wanted them to, so I used some Scattered Straw colored Distress Ink and a blending tool to tint the white paper to better match the cream colored background this was going to be layered on.

Since I already had the shape of the basket stamp drawn using Adobe Illustrator and brought into the eCal software that came with my eClips machine I was easily able to cut a sheet of shadows out of purple card stock.

To assemble the cards I layered the stamped pane (I added "Shaker" to the lower left-hand corner) onto a purple fold-over.

To add a bit more dimension to the card I used a square of foam tape to raise the basket off of the surface of the card.

I usually make a few modifications after I make the first design. Here you can see how the baskets on the white paper stood out in too much contrast for my taste. I also initially stamped the word "Shaker" in the same purple as the butterflies, but I wanted to add some more brown into the card. When I make cards I always make a bunch at the same time. Once I have all my elements cut and my design figured out, it is just as easy to make a stack as it is to make one.

*Sorry if all of the photos are not the sharpest, I took all of these just with my iPhone.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Happy Easter!

Over the next few days I will post some pictures of my Easter decorated fireplace mantle. I have been playing around again with Instagram. You are welcome to follow me there if you like. I am not sure how you are supposed to find me, but I think if have the Instagram app on your phone you can search for "jaskets". Maybe...

Here is one of my Easter shots.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Knotted Wax Linen Basket 2

Just about have my knotted basket completed. I got to the top of my styrofoam form, dug it out and knotted up a few more rows. I finished off the edge with a row using a thicker core. Now I just need to figure out what I want to do with all the tails of my knotting threads. I have some ideas, but need to do some experimenting before I start cutting anything.

knotted waxed linen basket
knotted waxed linen basketknotted waxed linen basket

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Knotted Wax Linen Basket

My friend Joanne asked me to help her with a knotted project he was playing with. I hadn't knotted in ages, so had fun helping her figure out a few different knots that I hadn't even done. I wasn't sure if I was going to give it back to her as I was demonstrating. So, when I got home I started up my own knotted basket.

Here are some photos of the project in process. I am using 7 ply Irish waxed linen in three shades of red. The "beads" are glass headed pins that I use to hold the piece to the styrofoam block that I carved into form. I may or may not dig the styrofoam out of the basket (in all of my other baskets I have).

knotted waxed linen basket
knotted waxed linen basket
knotted waxed linen basket
knotted waxed linen basket
knotted waxed linen basket
knotted waxed linen basket
knotted waxed linen basket

UPDATE: Be sure to check out my followup post with more photos of the basket in process, along with the finished piece, here.