It’s Christmas time! This means trying to think of what you can give people. As someone with my own little biz I find that I always leave picking things out for family too late and lets face it, they probably don’t all want a handmade brain.
Here are my picks for the perfect Christmas gifts, and they are all Aussie sellers! Oh, and there are also some quirky ones 😉
I love this Aussie Animal Puzzle of NSW! Just $50. From handmadepuzzles on etsy
Who doesn’t need a diary?! Weekly Planner from mulberryPOPplanners, $58
Echidna hair pins. I love these echidnas from One Happy Leaf. Just $12.50
Are they a bit quirky? Bloody Murder Cushion on red Bubble by Microwave24. Oh yeah, Microwave24 is my sister… $22.00
For Boys and Men
Males are difficult to buy for!
This Huntsman Spider cushion cover by Photographic Textiles is pretty awesome! Just $26!
Or Nick Cave by Spunk Valley, only $15
This Johnson Australia Dinner Plate from KoKo and Bear Co is perfect for mum, and only $10
This gorgeous Corella from Sheryl Cole Art, $87.95
How awsome are these Kangaroo Studs from Sweet November Jewelry, $43
I really love this Doctor Ibis print, inspired by plague doctors by Rosie Lace $18. She’s also got cute dresses, tops and shorts. One stop shop!
I’ve been wanting to make laser cut wooden pieces for a while and recently decided “Okay, let’s do this.” I read through all of the instructions of how to set up the files on the Vector Etch site (the biz I used to do the laser cutting) and thought it was definitely something I could do. I painstakingly added all of the outlines to the drawings I’d already done, thought about the designs, made the lines the right size. The fun thing here is that I use Inkscape, it’s free software but is a little bit of a nightmare to use sometimes. I think I spent about 20 hours setting everything up and even then some of it went haywire converting to Illustrator at the other end.
I’m really pleased with the results and how fine the details are. There are still a few products coming to this range, some of these were first printed in the first lot but didn’t turn out right (bummer) and others I hadn’t event though of for the first lot.
I spent a fair bit of time sorting out the pelvis, below, and I’m so happy I did as I really love how it turned out.
Intestines never disappoint me and I’m really happy with this guy. He’s about 3 hours of work.
I’ve been playing around with Shrinky Dinks for about 4 years now after learning about them in a Hands On Brisbane class. Hands On Brisbane is my “day job” and one of the perks is learning all sorts of crafts (I have to be able to assist the facilitators).
I started making Your Organ Grinder pieces from Shrinkies soon after. I use an old refurbished Canon printer at the moment. Oh and FYI, you can’t use the ink that is made for archival printing, or the high quality art printing. Just the regular printing ink.
If you want to learn how to make your own Shrinkies you can check out the process I use for shrinking and adding doming resin in my instructable here. If you are in Brisbane I sometimes teach Shrinkie Dinks workshops and Resin workshops at Hands On Brisbane so join our mailing list, here.
Images above are Uterus Earrings, Dodo Earrings, Tapeworm Brooches and Dodo Brooches all made using the shrinky dink with doming resin technique.
Sometimes you just have to make something new. Making new products is always a gamble but there is an absolute joy in making something new. That feeling when you are working on something new and it is going well. That is what I live for.
I picked up some of these hoops a while ago (and recently grabbed more). I’m slowly choosing anatomy to fill them using calico and the stem stitch, one of my favourite embroidery stitches. I think the next one will be a kidney.
I’d be moaning to Andrew, my partner, about wanting a proper upstairs computer for a while. I had a laptop but when I used it for work it always crashed (every 5 minutes, no kidding) and it was a laptop. Andrew found me a Brix on Gumtree and we got that going. Cue setting up a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at the dining table.
I knew I wanted a desk that could slide under the couch so I could go full-on couch potato when working in Inkscape and Fusion360. I find working in these programs a little stressful so I wanted to be able to lean back and relax whilst working.
I showed Andrew a few examples of what I was thinking. We decided on the shape below. To the left is the unpainted desk, to the right the painted finished version.
The top of the desk is varnished Plywood. The legs that slide under the couch have “castor cups” underneath to slide around the floor on. The body of the desk is 50mm by 25mm RHS (Rectangular Hollow Section Steel) painted with some shitty no undercoat paint, not the best choice as it isn’t great quality but it’s good enough for now.
I’ve already got heaps of couch time use out of the desk as well as been watching iView and weaving tutorials.
I first learned to carve stamps from Kay Watanabe in a workshop at Hands On Brisbane. In that workshop I did a very crappy tree and a little mushroom but despite my initially bloody horrible job I did keep at it and started making my own stamps from my own versions of anatomy.
Below are the Kidney, Brain, Uterus, Intestine and Pelvis.
My favourite is without a doubt the Intestine. I’ve even printed onto shrink film and shrunk it down for a brooch and collar clips. I really need to make some of these for myself.
I was looking for something, a hand necklace, to replace one that sold and I found a bunch more brass anatomy. It was re-found, dug back up, surfaced again, something like that.
So I’m thinking I at least have to add a kidney and a brain into this mix.
These brass pieces were all made 2-5 years ago, nothing too recent and they are done batches of 5-10 at a time. The process is fairly involved and the etching part is done in a spray etcher, made by my partner.
The only piece of the collection I have kept for myself is the skull. Maybe next go around I’ll keep a hand and a ribs…
It’s almost half way through February and I’m still plugging away on replacing anatomy that sold before Christmas as well as recently sold bits and pieces. Lots of hand sewing in front of the TV to keep my eyes all good, even though I recently got glasses.
I’m currently addicted to Pretty Little Liars which my sister loaned me. I’ll start season 5 next week to see what happens with Alison being back. I read that PLL is like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” meets “Gossip Girl.” I never watched Gossip Girl but my Mum loves IKWYDLS so have seen that so many times. Although I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s quite like IKWYDLS it is a very addictive mystery with lots of weird story arcs that leave you going WTF?!
Below-Brass Ribs Necklace, Brain brooch and Lungs Brooch
Hands On Brisbane are always announcing new workshops, or working on new workshops. The facilitators are always working with new techniques to be able to bring new workshops to us. This is part of what makes my job so rewarding, I get to sit in and learn new techniques as well as the students. This means I can help with the workshop next time and learn a new technique to take home and work with. Most recently I sat in on Simple Journal Making and picked up techniques to make little notebooks, one is shown below.
This week I am putting together the new season and trying to figure out what workshops we want to see next time. Any ideas?
One of the most interesting workshops for May is this one Bespoke Jewellery Making where we use Milk bottle, stamps and resin to make unique jewellery.
I’m also looking forward to seeing what works the student make in Relief Printmaking. It is so fun seeing other people create art in 2 hours!
Paper and fabric notebook with a grain weevil stamp cover.