Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Buon giorno!

Buon giorno!

We've just returned from a family holiday in Sardinia. I've been inspired by the trip and hope to blog about the crafts and culture of this Italian island in my future posts.

The first stop is Fordongianus. We visited this roman spa town to view the famous ruins.

 Unfortunately the lack of shade and burning sun on pale English skin made the gelatti shop more of a draw than a pile of rocks for the children! The site is located on a river bank and whilst searching for some shade (to eat our ice-creams) we chanced upon a playground. Kid heaven!

While they played on the single swing I had a wander and stumbled into a rough clearing with some big rocks. The site turned out to be the remains of an international sculpture competition ! Each summer sculptors chisel away on the site to create amazing work from slabs of the local red trachytic stone.  ( a fine grained, light coloured igneous rock)

These are some of my favourite entries. Sorry I can't match the entries with the sculptors but there is a list of participants on the poster.

The rock was so smooth and tactile. It cried out for little hands to touch it. We all liked this last one best. It seemed almost prehistoric. The boys thought is looked like the tail of a dragon.  

Sardinia Rocks!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Den Building

Den Building - making things boy style!

We've been on a couple of den building expeditions this school holiday. Last week we went to Abberton Reservoir, Colchester for an instructor led day of den building and campfires. The morning was spent scurrying around finding branches and tarp wrestling to make a makeshift sort of shelter. The boys had to stay inside while water was poured on to test for rainproofing qualities. The shelter worked well but the little boy on the other side of the shelter got a soaking as the instructor's bucket of water flew over the top to soak him.

After a packed lunch of chocolate, crisps and not many sandwiches (expedition food!) we helped to build a roaring fire. Whilst the flames died down we used potato peelers to whittle a pointy stick ready for the marshmallows. By the end the fire pit was full of foaming and flaming  pink marshmallows. Being a gang of boys the pink ones accidently fell off to be replaced hopefully by a white one!


After marshmallows we wrapped a dough worm around the stick to make damper bread. The mix of flour and water was made more appealing by the addition of melting chocolate chips. It was actually delicious.

There are lots more activities planned at Abberton for the summer (and other school holidays too). Please follow the link.

To make our den more cosy and homelike these products found on ETSY are on our wishlist for next summer.please click on the picture to go directly to the shop.

Felt Woodland Campfire - Neafus
Campfire tripod & 3 S hooks
My Blacksmith shop
Toasted Marshmallow Fragrance Oil Premium 1 oz 
 Indigo Fragrance

Personal Roasting stick by Firestick.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Soap making!

A drop of rain kept us in the house for a while today and so out came the craft kits. Birthday boy had been given a soap making kit last week and this was a perfect opportunity to try it. We've started with a basic ball melt and pour soap using hemisphere moulds to get to know how the soap works and then hopefully we will progress to the brains, eyeballs and chopped off fingers that are the idea behind the kit.

My Folksy Friday has been inspired by our soap making efforts. The boys have chosen their favourites, lots of blues, bugs, boats and ninjas!

Please click on the picture to go straight to the FOLKSY shop.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Bottle Upcycling

After a neighbours party this week I came home to find lots of empty champagne bottles on my doorstep. Yes, I'd rather they were full but even empty ones are useful. I've been perfecting my recycling technique and using my kiln to flatten them into cheeseboards. The finished items are smooth, flat, glossy and perfect for small lumps of cheese or canapes. A perfect standby or hostess gift.

I've also tried smashing them up and putting them into moulds but the final product was a bit spiky. I've been successful with some Bombay Sapphire Gin bottles and have some lumps of blue glass to play with. I think they may turn into a mobile.

I love the Corona bottles. Sometimes the writing comes out a bit less white than I would prefer but that's kiln magic! I've had trouble finding suitable bottles for these lime/lemon cutting boards as the design has changed to two etched sides. In the kiln two etched sides just makes a jumbled writing mess and so I've been searching supermarkets for ones with a peel off sticker on one side. Now I just have to drink all the beer!

Whilst researching other bottle recycling ideas I came across this amazing place in Canada. This building and other glass structures  were built by the late Édouard T. Arsenault who was inspired by a postcard of a glass castle in British Columbia. He started collecting bottles and then gradually began building.There are a number of structures and a garden also inspired by glass. Please click on the pictures or go directly to the website http://www.bottlehouses.com to be amazed.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

It has to be blue.

This colour is so vibrant. Thank you Christine from Waggledance for featuring me in this gorgeous treasury.

Please click on the picture to go to Christine's amazing shop of handprinted cards and tags.

This is a dynamic clickable treasury too.

Friday, 5 August 2011

White - Folksy Friday


 A selection of items from Folksy with a white theme. I saw the quote and it made me laugh.

All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with white carpets is one of them. Erma Bombeck



Please click on the picture to go straight to the shops.

Alison's Stuff
Button Butterfly Boutique
Bonny Lass
3 Little Finches

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Summer holidays!

Glass jewellery and 5 year olds!

My youngest loves playing with my finished glass 'nuggets' . They're smooth, shiny, colourful and extremely durable. Like pirates treasure in fact. This week, after some thought about how to do it safely I let him have a go. I pre-fired lots of different plain glass to make flat, smooth bases for pictures. I also fired glass strings and lots of tiny balls of many different colours.

He added lots of glue.

He used the bases to create mini monsters that he wants to make into magnets. If I use a tack fuse programme the balls will stay 3-D.

So then he wanted to make a suncatcher or maybe something sparkly for the Christmas tree. He selected clear glass offcuts so no flying bits of glass and then added dichroic glass chips to hopefully create a sparkle effect.

I have loaded the kiln with his work and a few of my own pieces and fingers crossed it works out as expected.

The finished suncatcher.

I think it turned out brilliantly. He's mighty pleased with it too.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Fantastic day!

The sun is shining , it's the school holidays and I was reminded of this song by an art card.

Hairpiece 100 by Artysandp
Please click on the link to go to the shop.

Blast from the past!