Workshop — The Personalized Pet!

Handmade dog collars

Pamper your pets with handmade, personalized collars and leashes, catnip toys and mini-quilts! Learn to make fun and useful products for your pups or cats from fabric that you design and print yourself, using your own images and designs, on your home inkjet printer.  They also make great gifts for friends and family pets, or as donations for shelters.

Lars in his new handmade collar

I will have the hardware for safety-release cat collars, for buckle dog collars (small, medium and large), and for dog leashes, and catnip for handmade toys and catnip mats.

Hardware for safety-release cat collars

Using the same instructions, you can also make repurposed collars, leashes and other pet supplies using old garments or cloth.

Repurposed cat collar

This is a hands-on workshop. We’ll go step-by-step through the entire process of designing and printing the fabric, and sewing and assembling the pieces.  I will give you clear, complete written instructions, so if we don’t finish each piece you can finish it easily at home. To make these at home you can hand-sew, but it is faster to make them with a sewing machine.

Sunday August 21, 2011, noon to 3:00 p.m., $40 plus materials.  At the El Cerrito Canyon Trail Park Art Center.

Pre-registration is required, so I know what hardware and supplies to bring. If you have questions, or to register, please email me at heidirand@gmail.com

ONLINE CLASSES
Can’t make the workshops?  Prefer to learn at your own pace at home?

I have several classes you can take online at CraftEdu.

These are direct links for my classes:

Free basic Introduction to Inkjet Inks

Free basic Introduction to Lutradur

Inkjet Printing on Fabric

Inkjet Printing on Lutradur

Click here for the complete list of other classes I offer in Pinole and El Cerrito.

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Vanilla orchids by George

Did you know that vanilla (the real kind, not imitation) comes from an orchid flower?

Vanilla orchid flower

Vanilla orchid flower

My amazing husband George grows vanilla orchids, cultivates vanilla beans from the flowers, and makes extract from the beans! I’m going to track the steps, beginning with the orchid flowering, through pollination and cultivation of the beans.  I’ll add photos along the way, since the entire process takes more than a year (and you wondered why real vanilla costs so much) …

The vanilla orchid grows on a vine.  It helps to have a lot of space, but George set up a trellis, so the vine winds up and down and around.  Here’s a photo of George’s helper, Lars, watching the vanilla grow..

The first step of the process: the flower.

This is one of the flower buds, as yet unopened. You can see a drop of nectar – so sweet! I’m not sure what the purpose of the nectar is, some think it may be there to attract ants, which would protect the flower.

This is one of the flower spikes on the vanilla plant. There are five separate flower buds, unopened, on this one spike. There are at least four other flower spikes on the plant.  Finally, one of the flowers opened!

Unlike many other orchids which have flowers that can last for a month or more, each vanilla flower only blooms for one day.  If you want to cultivate the vanilla, you have to pollinate the flower before it fades.  The natural pollinator isn’t present in most places, so it’s usually necessary to hand-pollinate vanilla.  It’s not easy to do, but George has a really good success rate.  He takes a wooden stick and transfers pollen from one part of the flower to another (the anther to the stigma).

Hand pollinating the vanilla flower

Hand pollinating the vanilla flower

This is the flower, immediately after pollination.  You can see the other unopened flower buds on the spike.

After a short time, the flower collapses.

Stay tuned for more … next, the flowers that were successfully pollinated will develop into beans ..  If you want to learn more, there’s a great wikipedia entry on vanilla.

Handmade Pet Collars class is available on CraftEdu!!

In my last post I let you know about my new online class — and hooray! it’s now available for you to preview and sign up for on Craftedu. Click here to go to my page at CraftEdu – to see the list of my classes, click on the green button: “see all classes.   Or click here to go right to the class. In the class I take you step-by-step through making adjustable dog and cat collars using re-purposed fabric from garments that you’re no longer wearing or other used material that you have around or that you find in second-hand stores.

These collars are great for your own pets, for gifts, to donate to shelters or animal rescue groups, or to sell.   They’re fun to make, but you can’t buy the hardware for them in any brick and mortar store.  Most online sources sell them in quantity for people who make the collars to sell, so I decided to make them available through my ArtFire shop in packages of two sets (if you only want one, or you can use more than two, please email me at heidirand@gmail.com) and I’ll calculate the shipping.

If you take the class and are making the collars for an animal shelter, a feral cat organization, or other animal rescue group, please email me with the name of the organization and the date when you purchased the class, and I’ll send you a set of cat or dog collar hardware at no charge.

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