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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lilies bouqiet hot batik wall hanging tutorial

Here is how to work in hot batik technique with an example of one of Alla Samoil's painting, a lilies bouquet.
The general idea is that the lightest areas will be covered with melted wax first and then step by step, while adding the paint to the rest of the design to create a layered effect. Doesn't this color layering remind you of a watercolor technique?

Always be cautious while working with hot wax. It is extremely hot and very flammable.

Here is what you need to make this:

a wooden frame
fabric (pre-wash if new)
soft pencil, 8B
bees wax or paraffin
a small crock pot
Pebeo Setasilk or Dye-Na-Flow Fabric paints: yellow, shades of green, dark ochre and brown
variety of brushes (you will not be able to wash the wax away from the brushes so choose the ones you will not feel sorry for later)
some newspapers and some clean white paper
1. Protect your working surface with a plastic cover. Add wax / paraffin to your crock pot and set it on low. The wax will be ready to work with when small amount of melted wax will go through the fabric and not stays on surface. You can test it on a small non working area of your fabric.

2. With pins, stretch your fabric to a wooden frame. Print a sketch of your project on paper and freehand your image to your fabric lightly by pencil.
When you are done, we will start working with melted wax and paints.

3. Use your thin brush  to cover the stamens of the lilies with a melted wax.With a thicker brush, apply the yellow paint on the rest of your design and add some very light shades of yellow, green and brown colors to the plants image (please refer to pictures for a color application). Lay your work horizontally and let it dry completely.

4. Cover the flowers petals and the middle of the leaves with a melted wax. Apply the light green paint and some darker shades of yellow, green and brown on your painting. Let it dry.
5. Cover the rest of petals and some parts of leaves with a melted wax. Use the dark ochre paint to cover the rest of design. Let it dry.
6. Cover the plants completely with a melted wax in the same manner. Apply a dark brown paint to cover the background of your painting. Let your design dry.

7. Cover the entire design with a melted wax. To remove it from your painting, sandwich your design in between a sheets of newspaper and a clean white paper and iron it out. Discard the wax.

Your painting is done! Now you can frame it and  hang it on a wall for a pretty display

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thoughts on batik

Batik is my new hobby this summer. Many years ago, when I had a vacation on the Canary Islands, they had a batik class for hotel guests. I stopped by a couple of times but never actually took the class. Since then I acquired a small collection of books on batik and some supplies like silk paints, silk scarves and so many things I don't even remember the names for it. So this summer I finally took the box with those out and I am going to give it a try.

I am studying my books but I also would like to learn some techniques from the masters. Alla from Allaras was kind enough to share her tutorial with me on hot batik techniques. With her permission I will publish this tutorial on my blog during next week.
Alla Samoil has been a professional artist for the past 20 years. Since her first try of silk painting and batik 15 years ago, these techniques became her passion. Her paintings, scarves, and ties are collected and sold internationally by individuals, galleries and businesses. You can also find her artwork at her Allaras Etsy shop.
Alla is a member of Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec, Canada.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Cooking with herbs: lemon rosemary shortbread cookies

Our rosemary bush became so huge this summer so I decided it's time to trim it. I've got so much of the aromatic branches that I decided to dry some and use some fresh. I made some rosemary oil and wanted to bake some cookies. I found the original recipe on allrecipe.com and slightly changed it to my taste and the cookies turned out great. I brought them to a dinner party and they were a hit.
So here is what you need to make lemon rosemary shortbread cookies:

3 sticks unsalted butter (113g each), at room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
natural turbinado sugar crystals for decoration (optional)

Blend together the butter and 2/3 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour, salt, rosemary and lemon zest until well mixed. The dough will be soft so cover it and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375'F. Dust the rolling pin and rolling surface with some flour and gently roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out your cookies with a cookie cutter and place them 1" apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar over the tops, if you would like or bake them as is.

Bake for approximately 9 to 10 minutes or until golden at the edges. Carefully transfer them to a wire rack with a spatula to cool. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

A day at the lavender farm

Last week I was so excited to hear about lavender festival here in AZ. The summers are so hot that I would never think it could grow here. The lavender fields in WA state were beautiful so I wanted to see it again.
The Red Rock Lavender farm is located in Concho, AZ. The 4 hours drive towards Show Low is not particularly easy because of distance but we drove through beautiful pine forest and meadows scenery and enjoyed it.

We got there in the afternoon and were just in time for a painting demo presentation by watercolor artist Catherine Sickafoose. What beautiful paintings!
Lavender blooms were beautiful and fragrant there on the field.
I cut a small bouquet, took some photos and was very happy with my day.
I bought a small lavender plant to plant at home hoping that it might survive the heat. So it was quietly resting in our cup holder on a way back  home. This whole plant is so fragrant, it filled our car with a lovely aroma.

A great souvenir to bring back home !

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Crochet wire & bead bracelet tutorial

Here is a crochet wire and bead bracelet tutorial from OlgaUryvskaya's book, as I promised.

To make a stylish bracelet like this you will need a 0.3 mm thick black jewelry wire, a steel crochet hook 1.25 (US 8), a variety of beads in different shapes and a bracelet buckle closure.
Choose your beads and mix them all together. The more unique your mix is, the better!
String all of your beads onto the wire. You can arrange them in a pattern or randomly.
Measure the width of your bracelet buckle closure side to decide how wide your bracelet should be. In our project it requires a chain of 5.

Measure your wrist to decide what bracelet length you want. Remember to make it longer to be able to open and close your bracelet comfortable. Use your watch band as a guide.

Bracelet pattern:

Stitches used (US crochet terms)
ch - chain
st - stitches
dc - double crochet

Ch 7 loosely.

Row 1. 1 dc into the 3rd chain from the hook, 1 dc into each chain till end. Ch 2, turn

Row 2. 1 dc into each st to end (slide a bead up and catch it in your next st, on every stitch). Ch 2, turn
Repeat round 2 until your bracelet is the desired length.

Work loosely to achieve a lace effect and smooth your work with your hands while working.
Finish off (leave approximately 6" length of wire).
Attach your bracelet buckle using the 6" wire tail. Make sure you have no sharp wire end.

Put it through the holes of beads to hide and your bracelet is ready!
If you'd like to smooth your work, place it in between of 2 towels and carefully roll on top with a roller.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Olga Uryvskaya's first book is published!

I am always so happy to hear about a success of my etsy team mates. This news this month is that Olga Uryvskaya (MiracoliSpB shop on Etsy) had her first book published.
This book is about pretty crochet jewelry and home decor made with wire and beads. There are 63 pages in this book and it is filled with photographs and DIY tutorials.

The book is published by Phoenix books publisher and it's available in Russian language only at this time. So for Russian speaking readers the title of the book is "Вязаные украшения из проволки" by Ольга Урывская. But even if you are not fluent in Russian you still can follow the instructions since tutorials are pictured step by step.
 Olga is a very busy person. She runs a hotel in St. Petersburgh and loves her job. On her free time, she creates crochet jewelry and cute little crochet dolls. You can find the items she creates in her Etsy shops, MiracoliSpB and Creativhook.

With Olga's permission I will translate one of her projects from her book on my blog and will publish it soon.
Congratulations on your book publishing, Olga! A way to go!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Christmas in July summer sale at Socksandmittens

This summer we are discounting many of our stock items to let customers save on early shopping for Christmas. There are lots of great quality hand knit and crochet items which will make a lovely thoughtful gift for your loved ones.

We were trying to add a variety to our Summer Sale section to give some options. You will find some warm scarves, wraps, knit headbands, gloves and arm warmers. We are also going to add more cable knit cup cozies to the sale section. They always makes a great stocking stuffer and now you will be able to get some of them on sale.

Common by, take a look at our sale and pick out the item you like while there is still a selection.
The sale at socksandmittens will last until August 31st, 2015.  Shop early and save!