Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pastel Palate Cleanser

It's good for me to remember that not everyone loves the bold, intensely saturated colors that I favor. I try to do the occasional pastel piece along with brown and white, or blue and white, patterns. There's nothing wrong with creating everything according to your own tastes, of course, but if the goal is to sell the pieces, a broad range of colors and patterns is probably smarter than self-pleasuring. So to speak.

So this leafing stuff going on at the vase's neck is very new for me. This is my second effort and it was easier than the first by far. And looks a little better. I love the black variegated product, as opposed to the solid gold. I've yet to try silver, copper and other colors in the variegated patterns.
But it certainly looks more finished and polished than seeing glue blobs through the clear glass.

A very pretty soft pink and gold teapot gave its life for this vase. I used rose quartz beads around the neck and dark cherry grout.

Very sweet and petite at 9" tall.

Had to take about 30 photos to finally get five in which the glare is not blinding.
Coming soon to my etsy store in the sidebar near you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The perfect gift for the enophile master gardener archeologist historian who has everything.

Being the non-conformist INFJ mega-Aquarian I am, I decided to bend the etsy bitchen kitchen mosaic challenge rules a tad and make this wine amphora my entry.
Nowhere in the rules did it say that we had to confine our houseware item selection to this millennium and this was surely ESSENTIAL for the well-appointed 1400BC Greek kitchen!

Can you believe that I had to leave all manner of furniture behind when I left Colorado for lack of space on the truck, not to mention over a dozen beloved house plants that had been with me for over a decade! But somehow, this long-empty 3 liter wine bottle managed to make it to North Carolina with us? (That can be rhetorical.)

When a glass water pitcher broke and I was able to extract the blue handle intact, my dead wine soldier was reincarnated into an historical artifact. An Italian, porcelain, flower cluster focal point is kept company by gorgeous bright floral china. I used several Homer Laughlin Rhythm patterns, Primrose, Chintz, Woods and Kensington (the two grape patterns up top). I added some mother of pearl beads and a vintage necklace around the mouth. Grouted in my favorite deep purple grape, of course!

I know y'all don't come here looking for Terrific Tips, but this one is free and I wish I'd known it a decade ago when I started this pique pathology of mine. When I use the purple grout, after it dries, there are milky white haze blotches in parts. It has always annoyed me. I was about to order a product from a mosaic supply site (Sulfamic Acid: A great product for removing grout haze and efflorescence (that white grainy looking stuff that sometime forms on your grout) but I somehow got google lucky and ended up on some long-dead tile tip board. Someone mentioned white vinegar for grout cleaning and VOILA! Not only did it remove the haze on the grout but it also helped with another problem I always forget that I have.

I seem compelled to use dark color grouts on pieces that I adorn with white shards replete with silverware scratches. You'll see this tomorrow when I post a teapot vase grouted in black cherry. All that dark black cherry grout gets in the surface scratches on the white shards and it looks shitty. (See Sally selling seashells by the seashore.) White vinegar on a Q-Tip to the rescue! It doesn't totally shine the white up, but good enough for me.

This piece has been waiting for grout for months. I finished it last spring, I think. I'm pretty nuts about it and would love to do more like it. I just need to get my hands on a few more Jeroboams! (Hey, that's a nice name for a cat! hmmmmm....)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Everyone's a critic! Yet another wine carafe...glug glug.

Mmmmmmmmmm...Red Fiesta has a good flavor!

I finally realized that my digital camera needs ALKALINE batteries to function. I tried to shoot this last Sunday and since then have twice brought home cheap, non-alkalines, which are very non-functional. At least I know it's not the camera. Dysfunctional operator error, as usual.

Doesn't this just say Bitchen Kitchen? I'll enter it in the etsy Bitchen Kitchen Mosaic Challenge. All the cute little flower pot patterned plates have been in my inventory for years and years. There comes a day, even for me, when you look at something you've moved, and moved around, a bazillion times and say to yourself: "Self...use it or lose it. NOW!" Paden City and Crooksville, I think? And a bit of Homer Laughlin. I paired them with some awesome new red Fiesta and some very fun vintage jewelry accoutrement. I loves me some my tacky shiny embellishments.

I can see that these photos are not good enough for the competition so I'll have to re-shoot some. You can hardly see the darling little bumble bee up above with the wings that move. Be sure to click on to enlarge all the photos.

This neat green rhinestone fly is from a pair of pins I got on eBay a couple months ago from Whiskers Rescue.
They are one of my favorite sellers to patronize as they spay and neuter feral cats in New Jersey and care for them in their existing colonies, providing food and medical care. Really great people to support!

The wings quiver on that hummingbird, and the tail on the tiny turtle moves too, which is handy, since it moves out of the way without breaking when you set the carafe down.

Too bad the bitchen bottle of Georges Duboeuf Shiraz (why does a man with that last name not call it Syrah?) does not show well in my crappy photos. The colors and design are very funky and appropriate for the carafe.

I'll put this in my etsy store and enter it in the Bitchen Kitchen Challenge as soon as I get another decent photo or two with adequate lighting.
Two new wine carafes grouted...four to go.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Who am I and what have I done with Laura the Uninspired?

I don't know if it's the season or the coming holiday season or my Uranus emerging from its retrograde pattern or what -- but I'm suddenly a whirl of mad mosaic inspiration. I won't analyze it (too much.) I'll just make hay while my emotional sun is shining.

Perhaps it was the muse-like inspiration of the adorable foster kitties, Smudge & Lucy?
You can learn more about them than you probably want to know at the cats' blog.

I've got about 5 of these carafes to finish up (that would mean GROUTING, painting, sealing), but I've done the first two since they got the fun embellishments. That inspires me! My carrot on the grout stick. The other 3 are embellishment-less, so they will be quicker. And a bit less fun.

I just listed this one in my etsy store and will plagiarize my own self by cutting and pasting my text here:

This cheery and super-bright new piece was inspired by a vintage Titan Ware plate by Adams. The sunflower garden just called for a matching array of Fiesta shards. It has a bit of a southwestern, desert feel to it. Very warm.

I am nuts about using vintage jewelry embellishments on some of my new work, so here you'll see a tiny turtle, a big butterfly, and three flowers. I chose to paint it in a bright orange which pairs nicely with the Fiesta against neutral antique white grout. The African jade beads up top finish the whole piece up beautifully. Sealed for protection and signed by me, Laura!

The carafe stands 7 1/2" tall and is 4 1/4" across the open part of the mouth which allows room for most bottles of wine plus one of those handy dandy freezable wine chiller sleeves!

(or so I've heard. HA!)

I've got projects in progress and dusty pieces begging for grout. And a million more ideas making my head explode. Somehow I think I'll carry through and get a ton of new stuff done by year's end, including making ALL of my gifts this year. I have some really exciting ideas along those lines.

So watch this space! I promise to have fresh stuff slathered upon it more frequently!
(and thanks for visiting and for all the lovely comments and feedback. Please remember my etsy store over in the sidebar for all of your holiday shopping needs.)