Garden Delights Gala – new arts & crafts!

My yearly gala – Garden Delights Holiday Gift Sale & Art Show, is the first 2 weekends of December this year! The Show is at my art studio on December 7-8 and 14-15, 2019, from 11 am to 5 pm – or by appointment at your convenience.

Studio

I’m proud to show my photos and mixed-media artwork & crafts, and also upcycled creations, where I bring fresh life to paper and fabric. Also hand-knits and fabulous felted creations! Fashionable fingerless mitts keep your hands cozy during mild winter weather … …

… NEW! Upcycled bags from sweaters and such …

Fancy knitted washcloths …

… pair with George’s soaps for a great gift …

Please stop by to relax during the holiday rush, enjoy snacks, and chat. Never any pressure to buy, but if you’ve got a list I’ve got a wide range of handmade and original-designed gifts, for yourself and for friends and family – including pets!

More new this year – George’s exquisite handmade 100% natural beeswax candles, including two sizes of tapers, from our honeybees’ wax. Read all about them at my article.

beeswax candles handmade by George McRae

Jewelry, wearable art, purses, cards & prints, boxes, home decor, beeswax candles, and more! Our honeybees bless us with delicious honey, which many people swear helps their pollen allergies.

Local honey

Want a postcard reminder sent to your mailbox, or would you like to drop by at a time that’s more convenient for you? Email me. Can’t make the show or want to see my artwork online? Click these links:

Welcome

Double exposure self-portrait

Double exposure self-portrait

Thanks for visiting my blog! You can see my photos and original designs at my website .  My handmade artwork is available through my Artfire shop or my Etsy gallery. You can also see a large variety of products with my designs on them at my Zazzle gallery.  See my ebook on Inkjet Printing on Lutradur at my website, or at my artfire shop, or on Lulu.  

Interested in learning to print on fabric or lutradur, or how to sell your artwork online?  I’ve written three books, which you can get in Kindle format or the printed version, or order right here as PDF downloads. Just click “add to cart” for whichever book(s) you’d like to purchase.

Sell Your Artwork & Crafts Online, only $7.99  Add to Cart

Inkjet Printing on FabricInkjet Printing on Fabric, only $10.00  Add to Cart

Inkjet Printing on Lutradur EbookInkjet Printing on Lutradur, only $10.00 Add to Cart

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Follow my Facebook fan page. Email me at heidirand@gmail.com for more information.

 

Softer than Frodo

I’ve been felting like crazy, feeding Wanda, my trusty l’il Wonder Washer machine, used wool sweaters as fast as I can find them at thrift stores!

Lessons learned: first, a felting fail. I couldn’t resist a soft sweater of gorgeous muted colors that violated the First Felting Rule: thou shalt not waste time and water trying to felt fabric that dost not have at least 50% wool fiber.

felting sweaters

My fingers were crossed that the 20% wool plus 9% mohair would add up to enough, but nope. Hey, anyone want a beautiful very clean (as in, I ran Wanda about four times before I gave up) sweater?

Another lesson, that I guess is self-evident and I bet has some fancy scientific and/or metaphysical explanation: sweaters that are super-soft when unfelted, remain super-soft when felted. And itchy scratchy ‘I could never ever wear that’ sweaters? Oh yeah, after felting this 100% Shetland wool sweater, I’m not even sure what I can make out of it. Nothing that comes anywhere near anyone’s skin. Fantastic color though, and sturdy as, well, a Shetland sheep!

But on to my ode to soft. If you don’t know me in person I haven’t bored you with my phone pix of our crazy sweet kitty Frodo, and you have zero idea what the title of this blog article means. Frodey is incredibly soft on the scale of Persian down to scratchy short-hair alley cat …

And I’ve just felted some sweaters that I can’t stop petting as much as I do Frodo. The first photo up top in this article shows four sweaters I scored in one epic trip to my local Thrift Town. The purple argyle and two red sweaters are all 100% cashmere. Because there can be ethical problems with cashmere, I wouldn’t buy a garment or the yarn firsthand.

Most crazy soft, this unassuming short sleeved pullover. You can see how much felting shrunk it. Length always shrinks most, this one went from 21.25 to 14 inches! And width at shoulders: 12.75 to 10 inches.

Second softest, the other red, a touch more designerly with a long ribbed waist, which flared out after felting. Length: 21.75 to 12.75 inches; width at shoulders: 12.5 to 8.25 inches.

And a close third, the purple argyle. Interestingly the different colored fibers felted to slightly different degrees. Sometimes white or very light wool (also black) won’t felt at all, apparently due to a process used to achieve the color. This sweetie went from 22 to 12 inches in length, and 15 to 9.75 inches in width at shoulders.

You didn’t really think I’d let you go without a Frodo pic, did you?

Want to read more about felting fun? Click here to read my article Old Sweater, New Purse!

Beeswax taper candles by George!

When our honeybees bless us with an abundance of beeswax, George thanks them, takes a bit they don’t need and filters it, then gets busy making candles! New this year: he’s handmaking 100% pure, natural beeswax tapers, votives, and bars.

beeswax candles handmade by George McRae

The gorgeous tapers are two sizes, either eight or ten inches tall, and the 10″ tapers are colonial style. The votives are 1.5 by 1.5 inches. Beeswax candles are hypoallergenic, clean- and long-burning, and smell heavenly! We estimate the tapers’ burn times at about ten hours (for the 8″) and 12 hours (for the 10′).

George's beeswax candles

Also new this year, pure one ounce beeswax bars, perfect for so many household and artsy crafters’ uses!

Can’t wait to get some of George’s candles? Won’t be able to make it to our holiday show (first two weekends of December, at our studio in El Cerrito)? Email to ask us to figure shipping costs: heidirand@gmail.com.

Check out these useful tips for burning your beeswax candles.

Old sweater, new purse!

George thought spinning wool could be my knitting journey’s next step; maybe someday, but for now I’ve swerved into the wonderful world of felting! Ever toss a wool sweater into the hot wash by mistake, only to … sob … pull out a tightly compacted knit that’d fit a Barbie doll? That sweater, dear reader, was felted.

There’s lots of ways to felt wool on purpose, I’ve ventured into two of them – wet felting and needle felting – I used both techniques to create a purse. There are also different ways to get the woolen piece that you’re going to felt. You can knit & knit & knit … & knit, and then shrink your handiwork down by felting, but how much faster to upcycle a moth-eaten thrift store sweater?

Here’s a quick trip showing what I did to the beige sweater at the bottom of the photo above, a 100% merino wool cable-knit. First, I whipped out my scissors and cut off one of the sleeves. I gathered my wet felting supplies: a tub of hot water, a bar of olive oil & lavender soap, and two nubbly rubbery oven mitts. Many people wet felt in their washing machines, but I’m nervous about stressing our problematic plumbing. Wet felting works on 3 elements to get the wool fibers to grab onto each other and interlock: hot water, soap, and agitation. The hand method uses good old-fashioned elbow grease. The silicon mitts protect my hands and speed the felting. After maybe a half hour total of stirring and rubbing, I rinsed the sleeve in cold water and decided I was done! The fabric had shrunk a bit, it was thicker and denser, and the cabled stitch definition was quite muted.

Time to turn it into a purse! I cleaned up the rough top edge, which I’ll fold over to close the purse, by needle-felting wool roving around the edge.

Next, I folded the cuff up inside from the bottom to create a pocket, sewed the back of the cuff to the inside of the bag, and then sewed the bottom closed.

Strap time: I knitted a 5-stitch I-cord from Lopi Plötulopi unspun yarn, and wet felted it. Love Lopi yarn colors, but boy is it scratchy! After making a few more purses I realized that braiding yarn is much quicker than knitting an I-cord, felting it erases any stitch definition so unless you really like knitting a really really long boring cord, try braiding! Read more about I-cords here.

For the closure, I sewed a button to the front, and sewed a loop of elastic cord to the inside of the folded over top edge. And voila!

I like how the pattern of the back worked out, with the cables at an angle down to the center.

One sleeve down, I’m plotting what to make with the rest of the sweater even now!

If you’re new to felting, you can find all the information you need from many great books and online tutorials, or look for a class at your local yarn store (LYS). If I had a resource that stood out I’d let you know, but I don’t — I’ve gathered bits of wisdom from more than 20 books & ebooks. I’m far from an expert, but let me know if you have questions, and please let me know about your own adventures with felting!

 

Egret visits the garden

Our garden spreads gloriously beneath my office window. Thanks to the mild Northern California weather and George’s green thumbs, I always have orchids and other blooming plants to admire. The garden also attracts a diverse family of critters; hummingbirds, scrub jays and squirrels are our most common visitors for meals and shelter. Once in a great while more exotic friends drop by, and this week I’ve been entranced by the Great White Egret that first flashed by my window on Wednesday to settle onto the roof next door. For two days I stalked it with my camera, as it stalked its prey – gazing intently from neighbors’ roofs and trees into the creek behind us, the pond next door (George’s fingers crossed that our deep garden pond will protect our fish), and searching the thicket of foliage for mice or gophers.

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Read my earlier posts about visits from Great Blue Herons!

Save the Date! Holiday Gift Sale & Art Show

My yearly gala, the Garden Delights Holiday Gift Sale & Art Show, will be the first two weekends of December, so please save the date! If you want a postcard reminder sent to your mailbox email me your address.

The Show is at my art studio on December 1-2 and 8-9, from 11 am to 5 pm (or by appointment).

Studio

I’m so proud to show off my new photos, designs, and mixed-media artwork and crafts, and just as excited about my upcycled creations, where I bring fresh life to paper and fabric destined for landfill.

Come see my handmade bracelet cuffs, purses, phone and e-reader holders, all from fabric books and silk neckties; and envelopes and other paper crafts I make from outdated calendars and books. I’ve also been busy assembling kits and supplies for paper and fabric artists and crafters, ideal as a gift for yourself or for anyone who loves to create mixed-media, collage, book, and mail art.

Upcycled garland

Stop in to relax during the holiday rush, enjoy snacks, and chat. Never any pressure to buy, but if you’ve got a list you’ll find a wide range of handmade and original-designed gifts (for yourself and for friends and family – including pets), at all different prices.

Jewelry, wearable art, purses, cards and prints, boxes, home decor, books, beeswax candles, and more! Our honeybees blessed us with a great harvest of delicious honey, which many people swear help their pollen allergies.

Local honeyAnd a new batch of soap – plus Honey Kissed lotion and lip balm, handcrafted by George from our honey and wax!Honey kissed

Can’t make the show or want to see my artwork online? Click these links:

Website

Artfire Gallery

My blog

Zazzle shop

Facebook

Make Upcycled Bracelets at Pinole Artisan Meeting

Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets

Learn to make fabulous bracelets from old neckties at my hands-on (pun intended) free workshop at the Pinole Artisan’s August 4, 2017 general meeting!

Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets

I’ll provide materials and tools – but if you have a tie that you KNOW (check with the tie-wearer first!) won’t ever be worn again, bring it along. Also – any fun buttons you’d like to sew onto your bracelet ….

Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets

Pinole Artisans meet the first Friday of every month at the Pinole United Methodist Church, 2000 San Pablo Avenue. Wheelchair accessible. Meetings begin at 7 p.m., are free, with very friendly artists and snacks. All are welcome!

For more information or if you have a question – email me! HeidiRand@gmail.com

Coming Up Roses in El Cerrito

rose

Roses are busting out all over in El Cerrito gardens! Our Blue Girl, Graham Thomas, Butterscotch, Sally Holmes, Ispahan, Electron, Heirloom, Double Delight … and many more … are blooming like gangbusters, so I’m extra excited this year about the 37th annual Celebration of Old Roses, sponsored by the Heritage Rose Group Bay Area! Sunday May 21st, 11 am to 3:30 pm at El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane. The Rose Show and parking are free.Vintage roseThe glorious heart of the event is the hundred-foot display of roses — everyone from expert cultivators to people with a few roses blooming in their yard bring cut roses to show. They’re grouped and arranged by type, the result an intoxicating display of scents and colors. George rosesYou can buy heirloom and hard-to-find roses from specialty nurseries, and rose experts will be there to answer your questions.  While supplies last, children can get a free rose plant courtesy of the Heritage Rose Group Bay Area. Along with the roses, there’s an array of arts & crafts and rose-related goodies for you to view and buy as gifts for someone special or for yourself!

Show table

We’ve had a booth with our artwork & crafts at the Rose Show for the past twelve years! Look for us in the Main Hall, with the work that I make from my original rose & flower and nature-related photographs -jewelry, purses, boxes, vases, sachets, greeting cards, and much more! I’ll also have my upcycled creations – handmade bracelet cuffs, purses, phone and e-reader holders, all from fabric books and silk neckties.

Upcycled bracelet cuffPlus, while it lasts – a new batch of our sublime local honey. Many people swear by it to help their seasonal allergies.Local honeyAnd! Honey Kissed lip balm, handcrafted by George from our honey and wax.Honey kissed lotion and lip balm

If you have any questions about the Rose Show, our honey, or Garden Delights Arts & Crafts, please email me at HeidiRand@gmail.com  Hope to see you there, with a rose or three!

Upcycling classes!

I’m so proud to announce the rollout of my new upcycling series of classes at CraftArtEdu! To introduce the series, a free class on upcycling ephemera into postcards. And for your first foray into creative reuse I created a class teaching you how to upcycle neckties into stunning bracelets!

In honor of these brand new classes, CraftArtEdu is putting on a fantastic sale for all of my classes! Mixed media, inkjet printing, fabric art, and smartphone photography, check them all out at discounted prices through Friday April 14th — and if you see this post after that I’ll be glad to get you the same sale price, email me at heidirand [at] gmail.com.

And now … taa daaa! I’m blushing at this super promo piece from CraftArtEdu!!

 

Creative Reuse!

Heidi Rand loves to work in mixed media. She also loves upcycled art. In her two new classes (one is free!), she will show you how to take some materials that would normally be discarded, and put them to new use. In other words, they are upcycled into new creations!

Heidi loves photography, too. Be sure to browse through her classes on that, as well, especially if you feel a bit challenged in this area. They are full of easy-to-follow tips, tricks and techniques.

All of Heidi’s classes are at special prices through Friday, so be sure to take a peek at each one! You’ll find lots of idea boosters and creativity.

Cheers!
Donna Kato
Founder, CraftArtEdu.com

“All you need is a necktie, needle and thread, and a button!”


Upcycling Neckties into Bracelets with Heidi Rand

Learn to take a long forgotten necktie – or perhaps one that has very special meaning – and turn it into a simple, yet fashionable bracelet. These bracelets are addictive to make, and make wonderful handmade gifts for friends and family.

As noted, the materials you’ll need to make these bracelets are few: a necktie, some needle and thread and a button. That’s it! Heidi will walk you through the steps including how to:

  • Choose a necktie for your bracelet and figure out which part of the tie will work the best.
  • Measure, cut and sew your bracelet.
  • Select a closure to use – Heidi goes into lots of detail here.
  • Make your own unique buttons from leftover necktie scraps.

Now that you see how easy and fun it is to make these bracelets, put your own twist on them by adding beads, embroidery or handmade buttons!

Preview and Purchase Upcycling Neckties into Bracelets
All Levels | $13 | $10 through Friday!

Sew many ties (and closures)!



Send a little upcycled happiness!


FREE CLASS: Upcycled Postcards with Heidi Rand

Create mailable art and conserve resources by upcycling old paper into miniature mixed-media masterpieces! Heidi’s instructions guide you through the steps to make postcards from books and ephemera that would be tossed or recycled. Upcycling also saves money you’d pay to buy new postcards and art supplies.

Watch Now!

Attention iPhone and Android Users!
Watch the Vimeo Version of Upcycled Postcards


Look for more upcycling classes from Heidi soon!


Taking Great Photos of Your Artwork and Crafts with Heidi Rand

Follow along with Heidi as you master the skills you need to create images that showcase the beauty and originality of your artwork in order to sell it online. Heidi takes the mystery out of so many potentially intimidating yet essential product-photography skills such as styling, lighting, and composition, and breaks them all down into easy-to-follow steps.

Heidi’s wealth of information is divided into four sections to cover everything you need to know, including how to:

  1. Choose the equipment and setup you’ll need to ensure professional images of your work, whether it’s 2- or 3-dimensional.
  2. Prepare for your photo shoot, choose the location and type of lighting you’ll need, and stage, style and use props to enhance your work.
  3. Efficiently edit your photos so they accurately show your work and fit the requirements of the sites you’ll post them to.
  4. Decide where to sell and market your work online and make use of the powerful marketing tools found on many social media sites.

This entire class is also chock-full of time-saving tips and DIY solutions to help you save money. And while Heidi provides a comprehensive list of optional equipment, all you really need to get started is a camera, artificial lighting (if you do not have a good consistent source of natural light), a tripod, and an image processing program. Heidi makes the entire process foolproof and fun!

Preview and Purchase Taking Great Photos of Your Artwork and Crafts
All Levels | $25 | Save over 30%$17 through Friday!


Taking Great Photos with Your Smartphone with Heidi Rand

If you have a smartphone with a camera, then you know how convenient it is to take hundreds (or thousands) of photos! But if you’ve been less than thrilled with the results of your smartphone photos, then this class is for you! You CAN take great photos with your camera phone, and Heidi will show you how.

There are dozens of camera phones on the market. Heidi goes over the common options and settings found in all smartphone cameras and how to set them up to take great quality photos quickly.

If you’re experienced with using a digital point-and-shoot camera, Heidi will show you how to use your skills with the different options, limitations, and advantages of smartphone cameras.

If you’re a newbie to taking photos, this is your chance to learn from the ground up – starting with the basics and moving through more complicated aspects such as:

  • Optimizing your phone settings.
  • Learning the rules of composition.
  • Having fun with special effects.
  • Editing your photos.
  • Recognizing the advantages and disadvantages of a camera phone.
  • Finding apps that help overcome the disadvantages.
  • And more!

The only equipment you need for this class is a smartphone that has a camera. Heidi also covers a range of fun tools and equipment you can use to make taking pictures easier and more fun. By learning more about your camera’s features and with Heidi’s guidance, you’ll find yet another way to express yourself creatively!

Preview and Purchase Taking Great Photos with Your Smartphone 
All Levels | $20 | Save 30%$16 through Friday!

Save 50% or MORE on these mixed-media classes from Heidi!




 


This offer ends midnight CT, Friday, April 7, 2017. | Not valid with other discounts.

Creative ReUse Artist Residency

Creative reusers alert! The El Cerrito Arts & Culture Commission proudly announces the El Cerrito Creative ReUse (ECCRU) Artist Residency program!

ECCRU

The ECCRU Artist Residency will support local artists who work with recycled materials, and encourages environmental stewardship by means of resource conservation, recycling and upcycling through art that inspires people to think about sustainability and consumption.

ECCRU

The Residency will provide the selected ECCRU Artist with access to materials at the City’s Recycling + Environmental Resource Center for use in artistic projects, the opportunity to host an exhibit at the end of the residency, and more! The Artist will create artwork in their own workspace, but the Residency will provide a storage bin at the Center for salvaged materials.

Recycling Center

The selected ECCRU Artist must live in Contra Costa or Alameda County, and be over 18 years old. Request a copy of the Call to Artists and sign up for announcements about the ECCRU Artist Residency and other ACC programs and events at http://el-cerrito.org/ECCRU

ACC ECCRU

For more information, please contact Arts & Culture Commission staff liaison Suzanne Iarla at 510-215-4318 or by email