Monthly Archives: April 2012

Mirror frames and mulberry paper!

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Hello! Last week I led a mirror frame collage workshop at Womankraft gallery. I learned a few techniques myself- at the gallery there was a whole bunch of mulberry and fancy tissue papers for collage, and I learned how to tear the mulberry paper and mod podge it so that the edges blended nicely.

I got the premade mirrors at Michaels. They are pretty inexpensive. I love how even though we all started out with the same base, each mirror came out so differently.

Here is Gayle’s mirror- I think it looks painted but it is actually collaged! I love how the edges of the mulberry paper overlap the magazine pictures, the colorful images really pop!

Paula’s is really fabulous. Can you spot the owls? she and her sister Gracie did amazing things with beads. It takes so much patience to lay them down one at a time.

Grace found some awesome pictures of plants to work with. We had a debate about what they actually were- if you know please tell us! She also made use of those wonderful scissors that cut patterns onto the edge of your papers.

It was a very nice and peaceful evening. Gayle even finished a little early and played her wooden flute for us. 🙂

Thanks so much to everyone who attended!

-Rachel

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Onion skin and beeswax: a springtime egg tutorial

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Hello! I told you all I’ve been on an egg kick. 🙂

This year I wanted to do something special for my eggs. I wanted a project that used natural ingredients and didn’t involve purchasing any special dyes or equipment, and I wanted to try a wax resist- something a bit beyond the skill level of coloring on eggs with a white crayon but not nearly so time-consuming as those beautiful pysanky designs.

You will need:

Red onion skins

Vinegar

Eggs

Ribbon

Buttons or large beads

Beeswax tea light

You will also need a small paintbrush, small cookpot, paper towels or paper bags, syringe or plastic squeeze bulb, containers for dye, large pin or needle, 2 bowls.

 

Step 1: MAKING ONION SKIN DYE

If you put the dye together first, you can work on the rest of the project while it is cooking and it should be done about when you are ready to use it.

Put the red onion skins, vinegar and enough water to cover the skins in a small pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. The longer you cook it, the deeper the dye will become. Keep an eye on it and add more water as needed.

STEP 2: BLOWING THE EGGS- there’s a bad joke in there somewhere I’m sure.

It’s important to get eggs from happy chickens. Free range, pastured and organic are good indicators at the grocery store. However, the very best eggs for this project will probably be at your local farmers’ market or, if you are lucky enough to have friends with chickens, eggs from their home coop. The shells from high-quality eggs will generally be thicker and more durable than those of the cheaper varieties of eggs in the store. Shell (ha!) out the extra couple dollars, it’s worth it.

I chose brown eggs because I think they are so pretty and I wanted the original color of the eggs to show through.

Set up your egg-blowing station up with two bowls, one for little shell bits and one for catching all the insides from the expensive fancy eggs.

Hold your egg in one hand while you poke the holes with the other. Resist the urge to rest the egg on the table while you make the hole, it will crack! I used a safety pin to make holes but any similar pointy object will do- needle, wire, etc. Make a tiny hole first and then use your pointy object to leverage up small bits of shell until you have the hole the size you want it. I made a very small hole in the small end of the egg and a larger hole in the bigger end. Stir the egg innards around with the pointy object to break up the yolk.

Holding the egg over your egg-catching bowl, take your squeeze bulb or syringe and put it tightly against the small hole. Blow air into the egg so that the egg insides come out the large hole.

Over the sink, fill your bulb or syringe with water and squirt it into the small hole in the egg until the water runs out clear.

Put your empty eggshells in the oven at 300 degrees for fifteen minutes or so until they are dry.

STEP 3: DESIGNING YOUR EGGS

Take a pencil and lightly draw the pattern you’d like on your eggshell.

Light a pure beeswax tea light or similar beeswax candle. With your small brush, paint the areas you have marked out with your pencil with the melted wax from the candle. You can just dip your brush right in to the pool of wax, avoiding the flame. Melted beeswax is very hot! Don’t let it touch your skin! Paint around the edges of the holes in the egg until beeswax covers the holes up entirely. Be patient and add one layer of wax at a time until the entire hole is covered.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEP 4: DYEING THE EGGS

Find a jar or container of some sort to dye your eggs in. I used tea tins. You’ll need something to weigh your eggs down in the dye- since they are hollow, they will float! I used some teacups that I didn’t mind possibly staining. I put a tray under the tins so my counter didn’t get stained.

Strain out the onion skins and cool the dye until it is cool enough not to melt the beeswax. I stuck mine in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it quickly. Add the concentrated dye to your containers, then fill with water to cover the eggs if necessary. Weight your eggs down and wait for the dye to do its work. It’ll take a few hours for a strong color to show, and the longer you can leave your eggs, the more vibrant they’ll be.

It’s a good idea to check on them every so often and turn them so they don’t dye unevenly.

STEP 5: THE END!

Whew! Now you can fish your eggs out of the dye. Put them in the oven at 250 or so on a cookie tray covered in a paper bag or paper towels. The wax will melt off and you can then rinse off any dye residue.

String them on a ribbon- you can use a bead or a button to hold them on.

Oooo pretty! Happy spring!

Womankraft paper beads class

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Hello, just wanted to share some of the wonderful things the participants in my paper bead class at WomanKraft made. We did rolled-up beads and origami star beads from recycled magazine paper. Making origami stars can be tricky at first, and the tiny beads are difficult to make for adult-sized hands. Kids are at an advantage when it comes to folding stars! Everyone stuck with it though and by the end of the session, everyone had a collection of great stars.

We had a lot of beautiful and creative jewelry come out of this workshop. Here are some nice rolled beads with some cute stars waiting on the sidelines.

Pagan made this necklace which complements her shirt so nicely. She chose a distinctive boar’s tooth bead as the centerpiece. In the background you can see some of the many works of art that absolutely cover the walls of the Womankraft classroom.

Laura made this one. She loves blues and turquoises, and made many of her beads out of pictures of the sky.

Huge thank yous to everyone who participated! It’s always a treat to get to make things in such good company.