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.

 

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 silicon 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!