Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Our new home updates finally done!

In a previous post, I shared about the stove with the double oven I had ordered.  Unfortunately it never did not arrive.  I investigated a little more to discover that it may not arrive for a very long time.  One store told me that a company that manufactured parts went belly up.  Not sure how true that was but I do know that there is a serious appliance shortage and so I decided to get my money back and buy the first stove I could get my hands on -- as long as it had a convection oven.  So I had to settle -- and now I do have a decent stove that I can get back into clay production.


I also finished the other updates in our condo.  The kitchen is nearly done -- I repainted all the cabinets and added hardware to match the Ikea Cabinets I installed at the one end.  I plan to replace the countertops someday but will have to wait another year or so but am happy with it for now.  You can see the photos below showing before and after the renovations and see the huge difference.

Kitchen - "Before"

Kitchen - "After"

Kitchen - "Before"


Kitchen - "After"

We also had an electrician come in and change out all the light fixtures so everything is now more modern plus energy saving LED.  The track lighting in the kitchen is LED and a real improvement over the old fluorescent bulbs.

The last thing I had to do was repair the ceiling.  I purchased these cool ceiling tiles that glue up.  Installing them looked real easy in the video but were a bit more of a challenge.  After the first few tiles were put up I got the hang of it and even enjoyed the challenge.  I felt all the going up and down the ladder was great exercise until at the end while installing the last few pieces I had pulled a muscle.  It was quite painful and put me out of commission for a couple of weeks.  All in all, I feel pretty good about how it turned out and would definitely do it again if needed.  Below is a picture of the finished ceiling.


I also made a few more changes to my studio.  I discovered that the floors in our building are not that sound proof after replacing the old carpet with laminate flooring and using the highest grade under-lay.  The people who live one floor down spend a lot of time in the same room below and as it is my main working studio, I did not want to be an annoyance so I found this really nice area rug that was a perfect fit.  I also found the sheer curtain valance to hang on the window and now the room is cozier than ever!


I love the french doors that separate the studio from the dining room.  To make the room more private, I add this privacy film to each of the window panes.  Now if we have company I can close the doors to hide my work (and mess) without blocking out all the light.


And lastly, we added a new and updated light fixture for the dining room.  This piece is soooo cool.  It is a called a "Fandelier".  It is a chandelier and ceiling fan combined.  It comes with a remote control and when you turn the fan (3 speeds) on, the hidden acrylic blades above pop out and retract when turned off!  How cool is that?!

"Fandelier"

So most of our renos are complete and is nice that I can again focus more on my clay.  The other nice bonus is our condo apartment actually has it's own furnace and central air conditioning.  My mom and I both decided that it was really important for comfort.  It is paying off at the moment with our extreme heat wave this week.  We have had extreme temperatures for several days now and expected to stay that way for a bit longer.  Our area has actually broke records for high temperatures this time of year for all across Canada!  Tomorrow it is suppose to peak at 48 C  or  118 F!

Tomorrow I will share with you some of the items I have finally finished off in the new Pantone colors.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Inspiration using the Pantone Spring 2021 Fashion Colors

Wendy Moore (After the Monsoon) has been playing with the Pantone Spring 2021 fashion color recipes I shared which I find so inspiring!  This year Pantone has declared 2 colors of the year instead of the usual one and are Illuminating and Ultimate Gray.  I find these pieces that Wendy created are wonderful examples of this color combination and have real a summer vibe to them, don't they?

Pantone Colors Illuminating & Ultimate Gray
created by Wendy Moore

Wendy also created these cool flowers (shown below from her Instagram page) using all of the Pantone spring colors in different combinations.  These were created from various canes she made and really shows how all the Pantone colors of each season can mix and match within the group and create a unique balance in color.

Pantone Spring 2021 Fashion Color
created by Wendy Moore


So what have you been making with the Pantone colors?  I am busy working on some new pieces for summer and will share them soon.  We are in a heat wave at the moment so very thankful for our central air conditioning.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Custom Name Stamps from Shades of Clay

My custom name stamps arrived from Shades of Clay a little while ago.  Since my studio was still not set-up after moving I didn't get the chance to try them out until just recently.  The cool thing about these stamps is that you don't just get one signature stamp but can have your stamp made 7 different ways!  Here I have my heart logo in several sizes as well as my name.  It is nice to have the flexibility to use them in various ways.

The first thing I did was cut the stamp sheet in strips crossways to separate the stamps for easier use.  One tip is to be sure not to trim the edges as this gives you something to hold on to while impressing (see photos below).


I really like the tin that is included to store your stamps so they don't get lost as they are quite small.

One thing that amazed me was how they such a small stamp can give such precise results!


These stamps work great on the clay but I also intend to use them on my other artwork which I will share with you a little bit later.

Click here to order your stamps from Shades of Clay which is a limited time offer. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Pantone Fashion Colors for Spring & Summer 2021 -- Better Late than Never?

I hope this is better late than never . . .  I was rather frustrated last year with the lack of feedback on this blog as well as my facebook page but sometimes you wonder if anyone is actually out there reading this or most followers are just "lurkers".  I did have a few diehards comment how much they really appreciate the new clay recipes from the Pantone Color Collection.  It was very encouraging to hear from you!

So I did finally get around to mixing up the new Spring & Summer Pantone Colors.  I had planned to do this a while ago but life just kept getting in the way.  I have still been working on updates to my new condo apartment and I am nearly done!  Just a few more things to finish yet and I will post some photos soon.

In the meantime, I hope you find these new colors and the recipes inspiring.  Some of the recipes are already in your collection that was included in my Clay Color System tutorial.  If you do not have my Color System yet, check it out on my website.  I have it on sale right now at 30% off -- but only until Monday evening.   I have also put it on sale in my Etsy shop -- just keep in mind the price difference is Canadian prices on my website and US prices in the Etsy shop.

I usually post the clay recipes over a period of time as I mix them up and experiment but since this is so late, I want to post them all here so you can have some fun and inspiring colors to play with over the weekend.  (It is a long weekend here in Canada).  You will also find the recipe cards at the end that you can download and print out onto 4x6 index cards.  So here goes!

Pantone Colors of the Year - 2021


Yes you read that right!  Pantone has 2 colors of the year for the first time instead of the usual single color.  Here are the clay recipes for the Pantone Spring & Summer Colors using Kato clay.

Illuminating

10 parts Kato Yellow
1 part Kato White
1/4 part Lime Punch

Ultimate Gray

Use Kato Silver

Marigold

5 parts Kato Yellow
1 part Orange Base #5-2 *

Cerulean

1 part Kato Blue
1/2 part Kato Violet
1 part Kato Silver
7 parts White Mix #1-2 *

Rust

Same as Clay Recipe #2-15 *
(Shiny Copper)

French Blue

5 parts Kato Blue
2 parts White Mix #1-2 *

Green Ash

1/2 part Cilantro #7-3 *
2 parts Kato Green
1 part Kato Yellow
10 parts White Mix #1-2 *

Burnt Coral

1 part Kato Magenta
1 part Kato Orange
2 parts Kato Yellow
10 parts White Mix #1-2 *

Mint

Same as Clay Recipe #7-5 *
(Christmas Green)

Amethyst Orchid

Same as Clay Recipe #10-5 *
(Plum)

Raspberry Sorbet

10 parts Kato Magenta
1 part Kato Orange
5 parts White Mix #1-2 *

Inkwell

Use Kato Black

Buttercream

Use Recipe #1-2 *
(White Mix)

Desert Mist

Same as Clay Recipe #2-8 *
(Ecru Mix)

Willow

Same as Clay Recipe #7-8 *
(Olive Green)

* Note:  These clay color recipes are created using Kato Polyclay.  Any of the base color "mixes" used are from my Clay Color System.

If you would like some recipe cards for these clay colors, you can click here to download them.  They are ready to print out on 4" x 6" index cards (instructions included) so you can glue your baked color chips on them for easy reference.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Crochet Hook Sale - in time for Mother's Day!

I am disappointed, but not surprised, when I got a call that my stove would not be arriving (a month ago) and that it was again on back order.  The next date was possibly in 2 more weeks from now but when I checked, I was told that it could be a very long time yet before I would receive it.  Apparently this appliance shortage (among many other things) is much bigger than imagined.  So I decided to do something about it and went in search of any stove (with a convection oven) that was available and was fortunate to find one in stock here in town.  It will be arriving next week and so I can finally get back to baking my clay (and food without burning it) very soon.

In the meantime, I do have plenty of items in stock that would make excellent mother's day gifts so I am starting right now with all my (individual) crochet hooks at 30% off.  These are already made up and in stock and since I cannot create any new ones at the moment, I will not be taking any special orders as of yet.  These are a popular item of ours and so once a size/color is gone, it may not be back again.

If you know someone with arthritis or carpel tunnel and has difficulty crocheting, these hooks are ergonomic and very comfortable to hold in your hand.  They are my own design and many customers have shared with me how much they love them. 

The sale on our crochet hooks ends this Sunday, April 18, 2021

Use the coupon code:

crochet30

at the checkout to receive your 30% off discount

Shop Now

And we have many other items on sale (overstock and clearance) in our online store.  Simply click on the "Items Option" tab (left hand side) and click on the "on sale" box.  These items have already been reduced so no coupon code is needed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Still Settling in -- Somehow

So I am back and things are finally progressing with unpacking my studio and all.  Wow, how did I end up with so many things?  And so many little pieces!  As I unpacked I did my year end inventory count so I wouldn't have to go through everything all over again.  I also sorted out a lot of items that I don't really need or want to use anymore so I need to photograph and list in my online store so look for some great specials soon.

It has been months since I have actually done any claying and now chomping at the bit to get back to creating again.  Unfortunately it will have to wait as I have nothing I can bake in yet.  I love the apartment condo I purchased together with my mom.  It is very spacious (2 bedroom, 2 bath plus studio) and is more than 1300 square feet.  An apartment this size is hard to come by.  It is in an older building that has been recently upgraded and totally updated.  Unfortunately, the apartment itself has not been updated and is still in it's original 30 year old form.  So before moving in we had to deal with some necessary updates which has taken a lot of time and effort.  The photo below shows one end of my kitchen that I did myself - before and after (except lay the new flooring).  It still isn't finished as you can see by the old cabinets at the other end which I am working on right now and will share later after I am done.

One of the items that required attention was the old appliances.  The fridge and stove were very old and fortunately still functioning but don't know for how long.  On purchasing some new ones, we discovered there was a major shortage and nearly every appliance in every store was out of stock and on back order.  This was because many of the factories were shut down last year due to covid.  When they started up again, they were working at a much lower capacity than before.  Another reason was that many Canadians couldn't travel south for the winter this year, so decided to put the money from their trip into their homes instead.  So after buying our new appliances, the fridge finally arrived 3 months later.  Unfortunately we were informed that our stove was still on back order.  We just received a call, however, that it is now suppose to arrive this Friday!

So I cannot bake any clay until my new stove arrives.  Let me explain why this stove/oven is so special.  A few years back, my late husband Dave had bought me a new stove.  It had 2 ovens that were both true convection.  I absolutely loved it as I could bake my clay in one oven and still prepare my food and bake in the other at the same time!  This oven was great as I could bake a lot of items at a time as well as larger size pieces.  And to keep everything "food safe", I always baked in pans that were tightly sealed so no fumes would escape.

I really loved that stove and probably should have kept it and replaced it with another when I sold my house in Chase but I felt I could easily buy another one later.  I just didn't realize how long I would have to wait.  So I am hoping it will still arrive on Friday as scheduled -- fingers crossed!


My studio is finally getting more organized.  At least I can now see my counter tops!  The above photo shows my standing corner where I condition my clay and mix up my colors.  I wanted it in the corner under the huge windows so I could look outside while working.  I have two other work areas (sitting) in the room that I will show you later.  I also realized I couldn't fit everything into this room and so set up my jewelry making station in our sunroom.  I have a feeling that my desk in the sunroom and this corner work station will be my favorite spots with so much activity to see outside!  Besides all the ducks (see last post) we have had some deer pay us a visit several times.  They had wandered into the courtyard -- probably by crossing the stream -- and seemed to really enjoy themselves.  It is difficult to believe we are so close to downtown with all this nature around us. 



So, I will keep you posted on my new stove if/when it arrives.  In the meantime, I am thinking it is not too late to start mixing up some new Pantone Spring colors!  I totally missed mixing up the colors from last fall.  This wasn't intentional but a result of all my supplies being packed away and in storage for several months between all the other chaos of moving.  I just took a peek today at the new colors and hoping they will be a great way to add that spark that I need to get back into my creative groove!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Welcome 2021 and Good Riddance to 2020

Happy New Year everyone!  I can hardly believe my last blog post was May of last year.  So much has happened -- where do I begin?  2020 was off to a very rocky start and just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, Covid-19 was out of the bag and running!  My dad passed away in January and my mom was living alone in a senior complex in Alberta.  When Covid hit and there were lock downs, my mom could not see any family.  Her meals were brought to her room so she couldn't even visit with her friends within the complex.  She was so lonely and I was worried that she was a high risk of catching the nasty virus.  We had talked about her coming and living with me after dad was gone and so I decided that it was time to go out and bring her back to stay with me -- at least as a trial run or until all of this blows over.

She stayed with me in Chase for several months and we then decided to relocate together to the city of Kelowna (about 2 hours away) where my brother lives.  Things have been a blur ever since --  preparing my home to sell, packing and putting most of my belongings into storage until we could find a suitable place to live.  Fortunately my brother and sister-in-law have an Airbnb suite which happened to be vacant (lots of cancellations due to Covid), so we were able to stay there for several months while looking for a new home.  After a lot of searching, we managed to find a comfortable condo-style apartment that was spacious enough for us to live as well as have an extra room for my art studio.  This photo shows a sneak peek at my new studio before moving in.  We have since put down all new laminate flooring plus still doing some other updates which I will show you later when it is all done.

My art studio took up 2 rooms in my previous home which meant downsizing to 1 room in my new place.  This has been a real challenge in organizing the space to make it as functional as possible.  I like the large corner windows which allow plenty of natural light without direct sun. This is the view from my window and if you look close enough you will see one of the many ducks swimming in the stream.

The other day my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were visiting outside (so we could social distance) and a bunch of ducks came up to check us out to see if we had any food to offer.  They were so polite and I felt bad I didn't have anything to give so I am planning a trip to the Wild Bird store to pick up some proper food for them -- especially to help a bit for over the winter.

So, back to my studio -- or lack thereof at the moment.  To make more useable space I had to acquire some new cabinets and shelving which meant a lot of building.  I love Ikea furniture but I tell you, I have come pretty close to learning to swear in Swedish!  I managed so far to put together a dining room buffet, 2 dressers, a nightstand, some kitchen cabinets, several shelf units and 4 Alex drawers.  So now that I am almost done, I can unpack the remainder of my boxes.

I have found I really like living in Kelowna.  It is a large enough city where it has pretty much everything and yet not too large and overcrowded.  I also love the underground parking and so no more snow shoveling or yard work to deal with anymore.

So I promise I will get back on track as soon as possible.  I am anxious to finish unpacking and get back to my art work again as it has been way too long!  I have had a lot of time to think so I have lots of new ideas brewing and looking forward to sharing them with you soon.

In the meantime, good riddance to 2020 and all the best of health to you for a new year!