Author Archives: eganj1

About eganj1

Lover of slow living, nature, making ceramics, arts, crafts, and all things creative

Being kind to myself

First let me say as I no longer know what day of the week it is I forgot to blog on Sunday , so here it is.

After a week of lockdown an undercurrent of stress started taking it’s toll, this wasn’t how I expected to feel as I am well used to being home most of the time.

I decided to have a media free weekend and eventually felt more relaxed, however at night I woke up suddenly and I couldn’t sleep for brain overload. I decided that it was time to start meditation again so gifted myself a yearlong subscription to Headspace. It felt so good to get back into it. I  love that feeling of calm, I have been practising now for a week and already my stress levels are almost back to normal.

I’m determined  to turn this awful time into something positive, which starts by being good to myself so I’m doing whatever I feel like doing without a guilt trip. Basically I’m just pottering about.

I am catching up on chores although I can’t have a good clear out as the council is asking us not to create extra rubbish or they won’t be able to cope, and I can’t decorate as I can’t get paint.

I don’t have a structure to my day, I get creative when I want, I can stay in bed, or get up and go for my walk at dawn. I’ve found time for reading, and exercising most days, we have set up a mini gym for rainy days and I have taken up tia chi again.

Allowing myself time to just be, and live in the moment feels so good. I now know what retirement feels like, but I  have a few more years to go yet.

I’ve baked bread a few times.
This weeks makesMy blanket has grown a lot, I will have to start another one as my yarn has run out. Time to make a scrap blanket.
Waffle blanket crochet alongI’ve made soap, this olive oil soap is so kind to the skin.
This weeks makesI baked scones, using oil instead of butter, they came out fine and weren’t as dry the next day.
This weeks makesI made myself a couple of dresses, I hope they fit when I finally get to wear them, with all this baking I’m not so sure. The patterned one was some expensive fabric I had bought a couple of years ago but was too scared to cut it.
This weeks makesThe olive green needlecord one probably cost under a fiver to make, fabric was a bargain from Pound Fabrics. I made it to go with my eco printed scarf.

This weeks makesI made handcream, it smells gorgeous, I made up the recipe and it came out fine.

Recipe.

1 part coconut oil

2 parts olive or almond oil

1 part beeswax

Melt together over a pan of simmering water. Add a fragrance oil ( rose geranium and thyme oil) before putting in jars.

I ran out of pots so I will use this up first.
This weeks makes
Today I’ve made some cookie / rock buns, another made up recipe using oil instead of butter. They are coconut and raisin but the recipe was for sunflower seed and apricot, these won’t last long I have to say.
This weeks makes
I hope you are coping well and finding things to do to fill your days. Be kind to yourself.
Stay safe and well.

Waffle Comfort Blanket Crochet Pattern.

When I was sick as a child my Mum made me a bed on the sofa, I loved to snuggle up with a waffle blanket that only came out at times when I was poorly. I loved to try and put a finger each into their own indentation in the blanket, and it was so warm it felt like a hug in a rug.

At times such as these we could all use a comfort blanket.

This is an easy pattern, it only uses one stitch, a treble. I decided to make wide stripes so I don’t have so many ends to darn in, I hate doing that. I chose calming colours but brights would certainly lift the spirit.

Waffle blanket crochet along

Waffle Comfort Blanket.

Materials.

Double knitting yarn, I use Stylecraft, amount depends on the size of your blanket. I have 10 balls but will need another 10 balls ( 1 ball does 2 stripes the width I have chosen).  Plus yarn for the border, I haven’t decided how to do my border yet but I will update the pattern when I have finished the blanket.

Crochet hook – I’m using a 4.5 mm as I like a firm fabric but a 5mm will be ok too.

My blanket measures 116 cm in width, this is without the border.

I hope you will join me in the ‘crochet along’.

Pattern.

Note – Cast on chain needs to be multiples of 3 plus 2 extra chain. My blanket is 198 chain.

Treble (tr) in 3rd chain from hook, tr in each chain to end of row. Chain (ch) 1 and turn. Ch 1 counts as first st.

Row 2.

Tr in next stitch, trAP ( treble around post of next stitch ), tr in next 2 sts, repeat to last 2 st, tr A P in next st then 1 tr in last st. Ch 1 and turn.

Row3.

Tr in next st, trAP in next 2 sts, repeat to last st trAP around last st. Ch 1 and turn.

Row 4.

Tr into next st, trAP around next st, tr in next 2 sts. Repeat to end, tr in turning chain.

Repeat rows 3 and 4 to end of blanket. Change colour as desired. I decided to make wide stripes as I don’t like darning in ends.

Here’s my blanket so far, I’m going to have to ration myself to one stripe a day as I will run out of yarn soon.

Untitled If you want to join in and crochet along, with this blanket or your own project I’d love to see photos, you can post them in my  Facebook group Hobbies For Wellbeing

Stay safe and well x.

 

Strange Times, Strange Times!

Indeed these are such strange times, it feels so surreal don’t you think?

I’m planning how to use my time, as a crafter working from home not a lot will change but there will be time for spring cleaning, possibly some decorating, and gardening. We need to lift our spirits and being in the garden does that, the soil gives off a chemical that does something in our brain and makes us feel good.

I was going to shut my shop for the foreseeable future but then decided to keep it open for UK customers and extend my dispatch time to 5 working days. I have to shop at least once a week so I will post then.

My twice weekly gym sessions have come to a halt, I  will miss it but I will try and keep fit with what’s available to me at home. I have a therraband for resistance, tins of beans can be used as dumbbells, and the stairs for stepping.  I’ve not done a 5k jog in a while so I will work on that. I hope to get out on the fells as much as possible, social distancing outdoors is one of the joys of living here.

I have lot’s of craft projects to get on with, sewing patterns to make up, that punch needle that I still haven’t tried out, lino cutting tools and a gelli plate from Christmas all sitting untouched.

I ordered yarn to crochet another blanket. I was tempted to call it the plague blanket but comfort blanket sounds better. If anyone would like to join in a ‘crochet along ‘  or show us what you are making to get through this time I have a Facebook page called ‘Hobbies For Wellbeing’ please pop over for a natter and show us what you are making.

These are the colours that I’ve chosen for my blanket, inspired by the bedroom curtains.

Waffle CAL blanketThis is the waffle stitch, it’s really easy, there’s only one stitch, a treble. I will post the pattern here and show you my progress in the next installment.

Waffle comfort blanketDo you have a plan to prevent boredom and feed your creativity while you are confined to your home?

Whatever we must do staying well and not putting others at risk is paramount.

Look after you and yours, we will get through this.

Jill

5 Mothers Day Gifts Under £10 That Mum Will Love.

Mother’s Day is not far off now but you still have time to find a handmade gift Mum will love, and you can free up your time by shopping online.

Here’s some gift ideas for Mum that are available in my shop.

Handmade soap dish  with holes £10 + P&P.

This handmade soap dish has draining holes and feet, it has a deeply textured design and a blue green shiny glaze which give the soap dish a kind of Moroccan feel Mum will love.
Ceramic soap dish with holes

Ceramic snowdrops heart £8 + P&P.

The beauty of snowdrops captured forever in this ceramic hanging heart. Mother’s Day hanging heart

Ceramic fish £8 each + P&P.

Ceramic fish to make Mum smile, why not treat her to her own shoal of fish.

Ceramic fish wall art

Ceramic pendant necklace £9 + P&P.

A unique and stylish ceramic necklace Mum will love, there will never be another necklace like this one.
Ceramic pendant necklace

Leaf tray for rings or tealight £9.

The perfect little leaf tray made from a real host leaf, for Mum’s rings or a tealight.

Ceramic leaf ring dishThis is just five gift ideas under £10 but there’s more  handmade Mother’s Day gift ideas in my shop.  Why not take a look.

Ceramic leaves to hang on the wall

After waiting for a month the rain finally stopped just long enough to get a raku firing  done.

This batch of ceramic leaves have particularly good colours, don’t you think?
Ceramic leaf wall art from Kiln Fired ArtI hate keeping my customers waiting but hopefully they understand the slow nature of ceramics, especially when you have to wait for improvements in the weather to do a firing.

My ceramic leaves can solve a specific need in interior decor. Some of my customers send me photos of how they are using my leaf wall art on those awkward walls above a window, around an arch, above a doorway, up a staircase. I can’t show you photos of my customer’s homes but I can show you my leaf art installation which hangs on a narrow wall between two windows. I love the way it connects indoors with the outdoors.

leaf wall art I have added a few more leaves since that photo was taken. That’s the beauty of having a ceramic leaf art sculpture hanging on your wall, you can keep adding to it when you feel the need. I would love to make a large leaf art installation one day, I wonder which wall I could use, maybe up the staircase.

Some of my leaves are heading off to their new homes this week but there are still some available in my shop and I will be glazing more this weekend. I wonder how long I will have to wait for the next dry day to fire the next batch of leaves? Hopefully not too long.

On that note I will leave you with some more eye candy, do you have a favourite leaf?
Hanging leaf wall art from Kiln Fired Art

If you look at KilnFiredArt on Instagram or Facebook you can see some videos which show how gorgeous the colours are and how they change in the light.

Snowdrop Ceramic Art Tiles Finally Finished.

The weather hasn’t improved yet so still no raku firing, so I’ve had to adapt, it’s rained every day so I have contented myself working indoors staining up the snowdrop tiles and these ceramic hearts.

staining ceramic snowdrop heartsI love how rustic these look, I think that’s down to the choice of clay and the colour. I like how adding the colour reveals the delicacy of the snowdrop flowers.

Ceramic snowdrop art tiles

I took a slightly different approach with these pulmonaria wall plaques, leaving the speckled stoneware as it is then using a very small brush I painted in the pinks blues and greens of the flowers and foliage. The process reminded me of my china painting days. These pulmonaria  flowers are dear to my heart, they remind me of my Grandpa’s garden, as a child I was in awe of these pink and blue flowers on a single stem, how could that be?

Rustic ceramic flower tiles

Here’s a closer picture of one of the tiles, you can see the tiny details in each flower petal. They still make me smile today. I think pulmonaria, or lungwort as it’s also known are one of my favourite plants in the spring border.

plant ceramic art tiles

The light hasn’t been so good for photographs this week so I will leave the ceramic hearts and ring dishes for another post. To see more photos of these ceramic tiles click to go to my shop.

Now I’m off to glaze some soap dishes, what are your plans for today?

Enjoy your Sunday.

The Slow Art Of Ceramics

This week I’ve haven’t been able to get much done because of the weather but I did manage to get some bisque firing done, the pieces that I made before my holidays. Snowdrop tiles, little ring dishes and hanging hearts, you can find them here in my last post. Just as well I got them made before I left as the snowdrops had gone over before I got home. I have just opened the kiln in this photo and they are hot, hot, hot.

Bisque fired ceramics
I love working with the seasons, however it’s not always “slow living” when you have to get something done before the flowering season ends.

You may not have given much thought to it but making ceramics is a slow process, there’s a lot of waiting, you have to wait until the clay is at the right stage of dryness to do what you want to do. After rolling I have to wait until the clay firms up a bit before rolling in the plants, then once you have made your pieces you have to wait to do the fettling, I like to do this at leather hard stage. Then you have to wait until the pieces are dry enough for bisque firing. These snowdrop pieces sat for almost 2 weeks before they were fired as it’s been so cold and damp, but slow drying is a good thing.
Once dry the ceramic leaves and fish are bisque fired, that’s another 24 hour ( or longer) wait before I can open the kiln.

Fish to hang on the wall

Seasonal (and weather) influenced work certainly teaches patience, I just hope my customers are understanding.

The bisque pieces now need to be glazed, the ceramic fish and leaf wall art have an application of raku glazes which have to be fired outside, this is where the looooong wait has come in. I can only raku fire when the weather is right, it needs to be dry and not very windy. We have to stand around all day putting pieces in and out of the kiln so it helps if it’s not too cold.

Ceramic leaves to hang on the wallSo that’s where I’m at, waiting and watching the weather, it’s not looking good for the coming week, I just hope my customers are understanding. These  pieces will be making their way into my Kiln Fired Art shop as soon as they are glazed and fired. Patience is definitely a virtue where the slow art of ceramics is concerned. Fingers crossed for better weather soon.