27 June 2012

Wedding Ring Workshop


Paul and I took part in a wedding ring making diy workshop in toronto at The Devil's Workshop Jewellery Studio.  It was really run, and surprisingly fast for jewellery newbs.

We started off with just a strip of raw 18k white told which to me just looked like a piece of crappy aluminium.  Hard to believe this little strip was something like 800$!! After alot of sanding, bending, hitting, shaping, mallets, re-bending, inspecting, soldering, bending again, and then more sanding we had finished rings that look like they were bought in a store!

sanding edge:
Paul in action

using the shrinker:
Paul using the shrinker on my ring

Paul hammering the ring into shape

soldering seam:
Soldering seam

seam matched up by shaping:
Matched up seam on Paul's ring

The jewellery shop is such a cute little place full of amazingly unique pieces done by local artists and the owner of the shop.   The owner/instructor Sarah was really great and throughout the whole day was making sure that we were doing things so we'd leave with perfect rings.  She has a really great teaching style, and it was such a fun day!!  The shop also has silversmithing classes and some other neat courses.  I wish I lived closer to take some of them!

12 June 2012

house, soap, jam, gardens, Master Spinners Cert.

Well, it's been months.

Our home is doing wonderfully, but the garden is ALOT bigger than my old gardens , plus apparently there is a colony of evil but super cute chipmunks living in our yard who like to DESTROY anything i plant.  Out of 7 cucumber plants, they are all kicked up, broken and dead.  Anise plant, dead.  2 rows of carrots, dead.  All of my woad plants for dyeing, dead.  Many basil plants, dead.  Not only have the chipmunks been destroying, but the extreme hot to cold temps have forced my early radishes and most of my early onion sets to bolt. :(  It's been a tough gardening season so far, and I'm a bit discouraged.  I guess what I need to do is build myself some raised beds like I had before.  Right now, I'm really just filling in gaps in all of the beautiful perrenial plantings left from the amazing gardeners that lived here before.  I felt like I wanted to keep them.  But I've come to the realization, that I'll have to remove one whole bed (the length of most of my backyard), and convert into raised beds.  It's the only way to protect from critters, sun, and temp changes.

I've been making alot of soap lately as well.  Mostly I'm preparing for christmas gifts, but I have a side mission of maybe one day having a handmade vegan soap table at some craft shows and such.  I've been making mostly recipes I've found, and I haven't ventured into choosing my own oil combinations yet, but I really like to make soap.  You can choose exactly how you want it, and you know for sure what's in it.  And the most important thing is that it's NOT animal tested.  Unfortunately most of our soaps and beauty products are, and the testing is horrific torture for the dogs, cats, mice and bunnies submitted.

Two of my favourite batches have been:

Peppermint Ginger Loofa
Peppermint Ginger Loofa soap

Chocolate Lavender
Chocolate lavender soap

I've started my jams for the season as well.  I have a huge stockpile from last year, so do not need to make any more blueberry jam.  But since I do have a huge huge huge rhubarb patch, two actually, I will be doing alot of rhubarb blends.  I've made a batch of strawberry rhubarb.  I plan to make peach jam, because it's always my favourite, but this year I might add 1/3 of the fruit as rhubarb!

mmm yummy... Strawbarb jam!
strawberry rhubarb jam

I've also just completed year 2 of the OHS master spinner's course along with my super bud Alisa.  I love her!  She is fun to spend time with doing crafty things and spinning.  The course this year was as expected.  Annoying, but also fun and I learned quite a bit as usual.  I always go in thinking I won't learn much, and then I totally get all humbled from the instructors.  It's my dream to run an animal rescue for sheep, goats and alpacas where I give them a home for life, and am able to spin, dye, card their fibres.  Much like Homestead Wool and Gift farm.  They are an amazing place.  They love their companions, and give them homes for life. They don't breed or cull.  I love them.  In doing this course, of which there is 4 more years, I will be learned in all the proper ways to do things and I will be able to know why something is done a certain way and why you use certain techniques for certain situations.  There is alot of structure in the course, which I like.  It makes connections between people as well.  I feel after 6 years, I'll be well ingrained into the fibre community, and possibly a little rescue farm will be a viable possibility. :)

I have a tonne of homework to get through now.  Which will be tough, as I'm working crazy 12-14 hr days everyday.  I also having our wedding to think about in august.  I'm trying to put together a felt floral bouquet, and pay attention to some of the small details, but work is killing me.