Wednesday, May 4, 2022

My Kiln

My Little Kiln

She is small but mighty. She gets the job done. 

The size of my kiln does limit what I can create, but I get a lot of use out of it. When I purchased this kiln, I planned to use it to fire my little clay houses and other accessories. So she has plenty of space for that plus more. I also use it to fire small bowls, ornaments, and other small items that I sell from my online shop. You can see how big it is inside in the photo below.

 There are many times that I wish that I had a larger kiln so I could fire larger things and fit more layers, but I can fill it with a variety of houses and accessories, as well as ornaments and bowls. If I am careful, I can get quite a few things in there and fire a load overnight. And because it is a small kiln, it really doesn't use a lot of electricity. A little larger one would be great to have, but this one works for me.

What I love the most about my little kiln is the automatic timer. After having this feature I could never go back to having to change the temperature manually. Well, I could, but I wouldn't want to! It is so easy to just set it in the evening and unload the kiln the next morning.

Type of Kiln
I use a Paragon Xpress with a kiln sitter.

I keep my little kiln in the garage. It only a requires 120V plug that we had an electrician add next to our electric panel in the garage.

Next Size Up:
I recently did a search for my model and apparently, this exact model is not available anymore. If you are in the market for a little kiln, look for ones that are 120V. But if I were going to purchase a new one, I would get the next size up. 
I just did a search for Paragon Kilns and the website where I purchased mine does not sell Paragon Brand any longer. But I did find one similar to mine on this website:
I have no affiliation with this company. I'm just sharing where to locate this style/size kiln. 

It is 240V, so you would need to have the proper wiring installed.
Obviously, you would want to do your research on the different sizes that are available, based on your needs.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Garden Markers for the Creative Gardener

Ceramic Plant Markers

Plant markers are a fun way to decorate your garden and to
mark your new or existing garden plants.
I've seen many different creative and fun styles of markers out of different materials. Some I've seen are made of stamped silver spoons, wooden spoons, and even tongue depressors! As an artist, I believe in decorating any space. Gardens are no exception!

I am a 'wannabe'  gardener, but since I work with clay I decided to make some plant markers for the garden I dream of.

My gardening has mostly involved flowers over the years, but herb and vegetable gardens are perfect little gardens for the pretty plant markers.

Veggies? Herbs? Flowers? Potted Plants?

Any herb, vegetable, or flower can be stamped into these plant markers. I have received orders for plants that I have never heard of, so it has been a learning experience for me! What are your favorite plants?

Update: I am not currently taking orders for the plant markers. 

Happy Spring Planting! 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Painting a Pumpkin on Canvas

Decorating for Fall 

Fall is finally here. The days are getting shorter and the weather is cooling off. Now it is time to pull out the decorations for fall.

Decorating with Pumpkins

I love Fall decorations but I have to admit that I do not have many. The Fall season goes by so quickly. I love pumpkins and wanted to paint one or two onto a canvas to help my house look a little more like fall. I love the orange ones but I also love the white pumpkins (or gourds) too. I love how the white ones look with blue so I decided I would paint one with my favorite turquoise blue in the background. I had a 6"x 6" deep canvas so I used it because it can sit on a shelf.

DIY Pumpkin
I also decided to do a tutorial about how I painted it. If you are interested in seeing the tutorial and learning to paint one yourself, I shared the tutorial over on my Teaching blog here:

DIY Painting a Pumpkin on Canvas

I enjoyed spending an afternoon painting and I am pleased with how it turned out. I hope to paint more pumpkins in in the future different colors and shapes. I will post a link here when that happens.

Now I need to work on my decorating game and add more fall decor to the porch!

Happy Fall Y'all!

Friday, August 4, 2017

DIY Pencil Holder

Keeping the Pencils Organized

Do you have a lot of pens, pencils, markers? 

When you have a lot of art supplies, you need a system for keeping them organized. I have a lot of colored pencils. When I draw with my colored pencils, it is very important to know where I can find certain colors when I need them. I shared my system of keeping them organized a few years ago (here), but I thought I would share it again and offer a few of my tips.

Here is a photo of my colored pencils organized by colors in my handmade pencil holder.

I use my holder for my colored pencils, my Prismacolor Colored Pencils and I have a lot of them.  But this holder could be used for pencils, pens, markers, or paintbrushes, or a mixture of all of these. I should probably even make another holder to hold all of these items.

DIY Pencil Holder

Whatever your pencil or pen obsession is, you may face the same problem that I do.
How to keep them organized and easy to use.
A few years ago, I needed some way to keep my growing colored pencil collection organized. I had gone to a colored pencil workshop where the Instructor had made a holder for her colored pencils. I liked her idea, so I took her concept and made my version of it. Actually, I made two of them.

Small Pencil Holder
The art instructor's version is smaller than the one I made. Hers is great for individual projects, but I wanted mine to hold my entire collection of colored pencils. Or at least the ones that have been sharpened. Yes, I have that many pencils. She used smaller PVC pipe and a thinner, more lightweight, base piece of wood.

Her pencil holder would be great for keeping your pencils for one or two current projects organized. (If you use colored pencils, you probably understand that you may use 20 or 30 colors in one project.)
The smaller version could also be used to keep a variety of drawing tools.

The Large Pencil Holder DIY

Supplies for the Large Version

Cutting Tool - We used a table saw.

3 Inch PVC Pipe -  We bought 2 pieces and cut into five 4" pieces with an extra 2 1/2" piece.
Tip #1: Cut them short enough that the pencils will stick out of the top and tall enough to hold the pencils upright. I had one shorter extra piece that I placed on the end to hold short pencils.
Tip #2: Thanks to a reader tip, I have learned that the printed letters on the PVC pipe can be removed with fingernail polish!

One 8 ft. piece of 1x4 Lumber -  Cut into two pieces to the length that you want your holder to be.
Tip: You may want to place the cut pieces of pipe onto the board to see how many will fit then cut. I cut 2 pieces that fit on top of a bookshelf.  (I painted the board white to match the PVC pipe) You can cut as many strips as you need for your supplies.

E6000 Glue - Clear
Use the E6000 tube of glue to attach the pieces of pipe onto the pre-painted board.
Tip: I made sure the letters that are printed on the pipe was facing another pipe so it would not be so obvious.
Let the glue dry and it will be ready to use!

For more how to details, check out my previous post. You can find it here: Pencil Organizer

Now go make your pencil/pen/supply holder! Hope this inspires you!

Until next time!


Monday, July 24, 2017

Studio Update 2017

Studio Tour
It has been awhile since I've shown my studio. To be honest, it hasn't been 'comfortably functional' in a while. I say that because I have been very productive in the studio but, it had become overcrowded in there.

Desk Work Space
It is rare to see the top of my desk! This space is used every day so it has a lot of things on it. I am still trying to figure out the best way to get everything up off the desk but still within reach. This arrangement may change up again soon.

When we moved into our house, the studio space was big enough. Over the last 2 years, every square inch has become more and more filled with 'necessities'. Okay, maybe everything is not a necessity, but artists, by nature, tend to keep supplies until they are needed. So those things become 'necessities.

Organized Chaos
As you can see in this 'natural state' collage of the studio, every inch is well used! Especially when I am very busy!

Time to Rearrange
When you trip over cords and you have to move one stack to get to another stack, it is time to reevaluate what needs to stay or go and rearrange the furniture. Also...the cords! What to do with the cords? I've tripped over these many times when in a rush. I will be looking for a solution to this problem.

Work Stations
Because I work with Clay and draw and paint, I need 3 separate spaces that are easy to transition from one to another. Before I rearranged, I had part of my work space in an L shape. In that space, I worked with my wet clay and glazing the fired pieces of clay. But that space became too crowded. So I straightened the work bench and stretched it across the wall with the windows. Storage shelves are easier to get to and the floor space is opened up and I am tripping much less!

Staying Organized
I am not naturally an organized person. I have to work at it. I have to make myself take the time to get organized. I tend to get easily distracted by other things while I am getting organized. But I cannot work when things are unorganized. So I rearrange a lot.
I am also a list maker. I keep lists on this whiteboard that hangs in the studio, along with the notepads that are scattered around the studio. Hanging on the wall beside the whiteboard is my Order Clipboard. This is where I keep track of Etsy Orders. At the end of each month, the completed files go into my business binder.

My organization process is a work in progress. I hope to get my process perfected one of these days. But that is another whole blog post. I would love to hear about ways you get and stay organized. Leave a message below if you have any tips!

Small Spaces
I am thankful to have an extra bedroom that can be used as my studio. This room is small, but it is fine as long as the 'stuff' doesn't take over. I even have a decent size closet in here. It houses even more supplies.

Sometimes I think I want a bigger studio space, but I am sure it would also become filled with 'necessities' too. I will make the most of what I have.

If you are interested in seeing the studio story from the beginning, you can find the links here:
Studio Tour - Part 1
Studio Tour - Part 2
Studio Tour - Part 3 

Until next time!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Doodling with Watercolor and Pens

Mixed Media

If you have followed my blog in the past, you would know that most recently, I have spent a lot of time working with clay. My Etsy shop is full of items made of clay. I do love working with clay and creating little houses and ornaments and I plan to continue to make some of those things.

But, I have also written about my experiences with acrylic paint, watercolor, and other drawing materials. Recently I have missed working with two-dimensional materials. More specifically, paint and pens and pencils. As things slow down a little in the summer, I am taking advantage of that time to work more with my painting and drawing materials. I do not know if this will just lead to experimenting with supplies or if I will change directions with my art. I do know that I HAVE to take time to explore my thoughts. I believe that is the best way to stay fresh and continue to learn and evolve in my creative process.

Daily Doodles

In April I decided to commit to the 100 Day Project again. (It's really more like a 6-9 month project for me.) I tried it last year and got about two-thirds of the way through it. But I got very busy in my Etsy shop and just could not keep up the daily commitment. You would think that after that I would remember how difficult it is to do something every day for 100 days. I don't have a problem with working with my art daily. But the challenge is to work both with clay and a painting or drawing medium at the same time. Switching back and forth from 2D to 3D is a huge challenge in itself. It requires a mental switch. Apparently, my switch gets stuck in one position.

Even after my premature end to my project last year, I still wanted to try it again this year. I wanted to create daily doodles. Easy enough right?

No.  Not for me.

I tend to make things complicated for myself. It is a bad habit. I need to learn to tame all of the ideas that run through my brain!

I started with some small square black line doodles.

The idea is to work on something daily for long enough to make it a new routine or habit. It is supposed to be something you can do in a short time period. But I try to make them all perfect and think too much about them. I will say that the more I do, the easier it is for me to relax and not be such a perfectionist.

 I also feel like it should be a collection, therefore they should all be the same size or similar in some way. So I work better in sets. I sit down and work on 3 or 5 at a time. Sometimes more. If I'm in the right frame of mind and creative space, then I really can spend the whole day working on them.

The doodles that I started, at the beginning of the challenge, have evolved from black and white doodles to the color ones that you see here. They do make cute little cards and gift tags. I decided to create little sets of some of these and list them in my Etsy shop. You can find them here: Hand painted name tags  I will be adding more as I work on this challenge.

If you are interested in how I created these little cards, you can read more about it soon on my Art Class Blog here.



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Dog Bone Ornaments

Ornament for the Dog Lover

Everyone loves a personalized gift, right?
Everyone loves their dog, right?

 I have been playing around with some custom designs with my dog's name on it, for a year or so. But when I came across a new dog bone cookie cutter, I decided to come up with a design using that for a new ornament. After making a few samples, I listed the Dog Bone with Paw prints, in my Etsy shop. It seemed to be a hit. It was my best-selling ornament in my Etsy shop, this year.

Some Favorites

I just thought that I would share some of my favorites from this year. Some I love because of the color choices and some for their creative dog names.

And Merry Christmas!


My Kiln

My Little Kiln She is small but mighty. She gets the job done.  The size of my kiln does limit what I can create, but I get a lot of use o...