Last Friday’s Day Off

It’s that time of year when I seem to be thinking about work 27 / 7, after a while I know I have to take a break. This week has been so beautiful I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone as they say so we headed off to Keswick for the day.
P1380588I knew that there would be some amazing photos as the fell tops were covered in snow.This is Skiddaw looking majestic all cloaked in the white stuff.

P1380607P1380609P1380617P1380611P1380634P1380635We had  a pub lunch after our walk by the lake, and then we did a bit of Christmas shopping, we both needed new fleece jackets so that’s our presents sorted.

I think I’m just about ready for another trip out.

 

 

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Reaching 200 !

I have finally reached a milestone that I set myself a few weeks ago, I now have 200 listings in my Etsy shop. It’s been a challenge getting there, people keep buying stuff🙂

If you think managing Etsy is easy, it’s not, actually it’s a bit of an enigma, they keep changing the algorithm which affects whether you get found or not, so you have to keep working on your shop constantly.

I’m quite pleased how my shop is looking

Christmas Decorations
christmas decorations Melted Bottles

melted bottles

 

Ceramic Jewellery Making Suppliesceramic beads

Handmade Jewellery Salejewellery sale Dichroic Glass Pendants

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Ceramics For The Homeceramics for the home

I also have recently introduced 2 new shop sections, watercolour paintings and felt art.  My watercolours have sold quite well so far, I will be adding more to these sections next year.

Watercolours
watercolour painting

Felt ArtFelt painting

I really feel I have achieved something getting to 200 listings, it has taken some time, I’m sure it won’t stay there for long but that’s a good thing, right  :)

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Why we should buy handmade this Black Friday / Holiday Season.

In this throw away society I think it’s time we stepped back from big business and ‘keeping up with the Jones’ to buy the latest model, fashion brand, or ‘in thing’ and considered how buying handmade can benefit both the buyer and the maker.

  • You are buying something unique, your friends won’t have the same.
  • You are buying something to treasure that will give you pleasure for many years to come, not something heading for the tip in a few months when it goes out of fashion.
  • When you buy something handmade you are buying into the years of experience and skills learned by the designer maker, as well as the time involved in making the item.
  • Micro businesses need our support to survive, to artists and craftspeople every penny counts.

Etsy is a great place to find handmade Christmas gifts. I’m a member of several teams on Etsy, one of my favourites is the Craft Pimp team. We help and support each other, a bit like an ant colony really, I bet CP team mates are laughing at that one, but it’s true , you feel much bigger and can achieve much more with team support.

So here’s some items from the Craft Pimp team, go and explore their shops and see what an amazingly talented bunch they are.

Here’s a lovely set of handmade lampwork beads from KitzBitz Art Glass they would make the perfect gift for someone who loves making unique jewellery.

handmade glass beads

Handmade lampwork beads from Kitzbitz Art Glass

Jolene also has some beautiful handmade envelopes that would make giving something small a bit special.

gifting envelopes

Handmade envelopes from Kitzbitz Art Glass

It’s time to ‘Deck your Hall’s’, Cornish Dragon has unique handpainted Christmas stars

Christmas tree decorations

Handmade Christmas stars from Cornish Dragon

Victoria also makes the most exquisite art dolls , I think Pip is my favourite , there’s so much detail in this doll, she must have taken hours to make.

handmade dolls

Cloth Art Doll from Cornish Dragon

Izzy beads makes incredibly detailed whimsical beads that are miniature glass sculptures, this Christmas hare is one of my favourites.

lampwork beads

Christmas Hare Bead from Izzy Beads

Laney says she makes beads to make you smile, and she certainly does that in bucket loads. These pink pig beads would make anyone smile

glass pig beads

Lampwork piggy beads from Izzybeads

Beads By Kat has some lovely seasonal lampwork beads, you could have them just in time to make something to wear at the office party.

seasonal jewellery beads

Lampwork beads from Beads By Kat

Or how about this wonderful miniature underwater world, this would make a beautiful gift for sea lovers or the mermaid in your family. There’s such a lot of detail to look at in this underwater world.

lampwork beads

Seaworld bead from Beads By Kat

If you are into archaeology or geology you will love these beads from Pandanimal, I love the crusty stone look of these lampwork beads.

handmade glass beads

Lampwork beads from Pandanimal

I love these lampwork disks, they would make a pair of gorgeous earrings.

earring components

lampwork discs from Pandanamal

And of course there’s me, but if your read my blog you will know what’s in Kiln Fired Art’s Etsy shop already.

I’ve just done a quick count and between us we have over 450 unique handmade items in Craft Pimp team collective’s shops, so pop over and have a look, you really don’t want to miss anything.

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My week so far

I was in the local bookshop today and I see I’m not the only person with hygge on my mind, there were several books on this subject; but that’s me always late to the party.

Nothing unusual or that exciting about my week so far but it has been thoroughly enjoyable all the same. I just enjoy the little pleasures in my daily life.

I wanted to try making peanut butter, I found a great website with ‘how to’ instructions for making seed and nut butters. I had a big bag of sunflower seeds so while I waited for an order of nuts to arrive I made sunflower seed butter, I used coconut oil but I would prefer an unflavoured oil. It’s fantastic for breakfast, on toast with some sliced banana. Think I will be making some chocolate hazelnut spread soon.

nut butterWe have had some wet weather but a few frosty days as well, seeing the leaves on the trees with a white frost is rather unusual.
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Jack Frost patterns on the windows always  puts a smile on my face.

P1380363I have enjoyed my work this week, it doesn’t matter that I’ve been doing it for over 30 years painting is always challenging, but so rewarding. I moved my painting stuff into the spare room as I have other work going on in the studio. Here’s a sneak peak of my setup, I’m painting a tile mural so I have a large board with wooden edges glued on to keep everything lined up. This is the small mural, there is a much larger one to paint as well.

This is the first paint application, the tiles will be fired several times before it’s finished.

P1380365The weather is set fair so I’m heading out for a walk, with luck I will have some snow capped fells to show you soon.

I hope you enjoy the little things in your week too🙂

 

 

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Time for Hygge

The Danish have a word for bringing that warm fuzzy feeling into your life, hygge ( pronounced hooga).  I find hygge particularly appropriate during the long dark winter nights.

I didn’t realise there was a word for this but I have been doing it as far back as I can remember, actually I try to enjoy the little things in life every day , but once the clocks go back I make more of an effort to make my evenings cosy and comforting.

I love my crochet blankets, they are so cosy on a chilly evening, even just looking at them makes me happy, and while you are making them they keep you warm as they grow.

P1360250Watching the sun go down from my window, we get some wonderful ever changing skies.
P1380320I love winter fruits like these pomegranate jewels, or the perfume when peeling a satsuma. I love fruit salad in the winter months, it seems to perk up a dull day no end.
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Walks through trees at this time of year ,  walking through rustling leaves always makes me smile.

P1380112The colours have been fabulous this year.
P1380108There are lots of things that bring joy at this time of year, like log fires, a glass of red wine, Jack Frost patterns, mashed potatoes, candlelight, the list goes on, maybe I need to write a weekly hygge post.

So what’s on your hygge list? I’d love to know.

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In Remembrance

Today I remember those who not only lost their lives in war but the families who were left behind. I remember especially my Great Grandfather, and his daughter Elizabeth, my Gran.
C R Nicolson photo1My Gran lost her father, Lance Corporal Charles Robert Nicholson aged just seven years. She always kept his memory alive, and so I continue to do so. I was always invited for Sunday lunch on Remembrance Sunday, and we would watch the Cenotaph on TV together.

I have his war diaries and I wondered where Lance Corporal Charles Robert Nicholson, of the 19th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers was on this very day 99 years ago.
C R Nicolson ww1 diary 021
He was in France, near Arras in trenches called Father’s Footsteps, working on revetting or repairing the trenches, in frost and snowy conditions.

I came across this postcard sent from father to daughter, this was before he left England for the horrors of war, but none the less it’s very touching,  and little did they know what was to come.

C R Nicolson postcard dreamThis is a proud family photo of Lizzie, my Gran with her parents. Today I’m remembering you all.
charles r nicholson

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Walking in the Scottish Borders – Grey Mares Tail

We spent last weekend walking in the Scottish borders, Autumn is one of my favourite times of year to be out, I love seeing the long shadows showing landscape features you might not see normally. We did get one dry fine day to walk up to Grey Mares Tail, one of Scotland’s finest waterfalls with a cascade of 60m.
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The walk starts off on a quite steep path, but there is a gentler path on the other side that only goes to the waterfall.

We headed upwards along a very good path to Loch Skeen. This area was formed by glaciation, the waterfall is the result of there being a hanging valley, and looking back  you could easily see on the far hillside where the ice had scoured and formed the U shaped valley.
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Further up the path you get a closer view of one of the cascades.
P1380053Once you get above the waterfall the ground is much flatter, the path follows the stream, past the  hummocks of glacial moraine deposits.
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P1380059As we walked along following the stream we came upon this bend in the path, I’m telling you this as when we turned the corner the sight took me totally by surprise.

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Suddenly you come upon Loch Skeen.

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After taking in the views for as long as the cold allowed we headed back down  and drove to Dobbs Linn in search of graptolite fossils but sadly we didn’t find a thing.

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It was a great day out, seeing a flock of fieldfares really made my day, and the trees were looking splendid in full Autumn colour, but that’s another post.

 

 

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Lord’s Seat walk

The weather has continued to please so we headed out again, this time up to Lord’s Seat through boggy woodland, then along to Greystones where we descended, then a detour to see Spout Force before heading back to the car.

We didn’t take the normal path up through Whinlatter but chose another path that took us over streams and up through woodland, it was a bit boggy in places , I almost lost my boot when I went in the bog over my boot top. I’m glad I hadn’t gone in with both feet as it was really hard to pull my foot out.

We followed this wall up the fellside, I was completely fascinated by the mosses and lichens, and tiny toadstools.

P1370790There was such a variety, each rocky protrusion was like a complete miniature garden.
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I must get a book on mosses and lichens so I can identify them, this one was something I’ve never seen before, it looks like it’s got some fruiting bodies on it, how amazing. I have googled it and I think it’s Cladonia Polydactyla. it’s looks like something from another world.
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The views from the summit of Lord’s Seat are spectacular, you can see Scotland, the Isle of Man was just visible too. We followed the track along to Greystones for our decent, it was quite a steep path down but the views were worth the knee pain.
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My succulent pots , finally finished!

Remember the succulent pots I was making? Well I finally found time to get them glazed and planted. All but one survived the glaze firing, but I learned not to place a large pot near the elements, and to fire slowly. So I need to make some more as my collection of succulent plants seems to be growing.
succulent potI made these plant pots for me, I wanted them to look handbuilt with lots of textures. I was inspired by vintage textiles and the women who had gone before me who worked with fabrics and yarn to make items for our homes.I have been getting back into knitting and crochet lately so I suppose it was inevitable this would show in my ceramic work too.

I think I wiped too much glaze off this pot, but it’s a gorgeous colour.

From Kiln Fired Art

I gave this pot a ‘pie crust’ edge which reflects the form of the plant. I love the wonky shapes you can achieve with hand built pots, they have so much character.

succulent potsI knew this pot was going to have a dark glaze to contrast with the purple foliage. It wasn’t quite as blue as I wanted but it’s still nice.

pots for succulents

I have come to love hand building ceramics, I did intend to learn how to throw but for now I’m quite content to explore handbuilding as I love the ‘wonkiness’ you can achieve which instantly says it’s handmade. It also shows, (to me at least) that a lot of time went into the making, and all the thought processes involved along the way. I’m sure it’s the same for wheel throwing too but I’m happy doing what I’m doing, for now anyway.

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New Ceramic Beads and Pendants

I’m in the process of updating my Etsy shop with handmade ceramic beads, pendants and cabochons. They are all one offs so they take ages to photograph and list, especially the shiny lustre ones.

ceramic beads and pendants from Kiln Fired Art

The addition of lustre means an additional firing, some have copper or platinum lustre as well , which means 4 firings all together.

Lustre is very shiny and acts like a mirror, so if anyone has tips for getting good photos I would love to hear from you.

I still don’t have everything listed but I will continue next week. I’m also adding dichroic glass pendants, melted bottles and Christmas decorations, yes it’s that time of year again:)

 

 

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