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Monday, December 19, 2011

How To Make Christmas Crackers (BonBons)

Christmas crackers, or bon-bons, as they are also known, have long been a part of Christmas tradition in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.  Growing up in Australia Christmas Crackers have always been a part of Christmas.  Of course, like many things, the commercially produced crackers became more expensive over the years while the contents seemed to decrease each year.

I started to make my own crackers when I was about 12 and it became a bit of a tradition with my own family and friends for me to do so.  People preferred my hand made crackers to the commercially available variety.  The demand was such that for several years I used to make and sell them.

They are easy to make, and can be as fancy or as simple as you wish.  The only limit is your own imagination.   Use them just for fun or to wrap up small gifts.  Or use them as a place card for a dinner party by adding individual names to each cracker.

Let me show you the basic quick and easy way to make them.  Once you have the basics, you can modify your crackers any way you like!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas: A time for carols, presents, good food… and high symbolism!

Christmas Crackers (see below post for more info)
The very word Christmas is rife with symbolic depth. ‘Christ’ itself is not, as many perhaps believe, part of Jesus’s name, but is rather a title given to him. It derives from the Greek ‘khristos’, meaning ‘anointed one’, and this word was used to translate the Hebrew word for messiah into the Greek language version of the Bible. The ‘mas’ is more obvious and simply means ‘mass’ – when we celebrate Christmas then, we are celebrating the mass of the messiah!

Not many of us really think of Christmas in these terms any more; the traditional, Christian meanings and symbols often make way for an international holiday where we exchange gifts, eat food and drink well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leather as a canvas - Five carved/burned leather art

It is absolutely amazing to me the art that can be created on a leather canvas, be it carving, embossing or burning.  Each of these techniques can be used to create some wonderfully stunning artwork.  Here are five pieces of leather art that I find to be very impressive for this week's Five on Friday!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Art Up-cycled. Sculptures made from recycled materials

Recycling is a very creative art requiring imagination and skill.  Today's Five on Friday looks at up-cycled art sculpture.     In honor of one of our beloved furry friends we had to say goodbye to this week, are all the sculptures I have selected today are animals. Take a look at these amazing art sculptures all made with recycled materials.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Spooktacular Halloween Crafts - Five on Friday

Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is observed on October 31.  Activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, bonfires, watching horror movies, and telling scary stories are commonly associated with Halloween.

Historically Halloween is linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, whose original spelling was Samuin (pronounced sow-an or sow-in). The name of the festival historically by the Celts in the British Isles is derived from Old Irish and means "summer's end".

The word Halloween was first used in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of All-Hallows-Eve ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day.

Here are 5 Halloween crafts for this week's five on Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Sound of White - Meaning and Symbolism of the Color White

First of all, is white considered a color?

Well, that will depend on whom you ask. If you ask a scientist, you will likely be told that while black is the absence of light or color, white is considered to be the presence of all colors. However, if you were to ask an artist, you may be told the reverse: white is the absence of color, black is all colors.

Regardless of the debate between science and art, white is often thought to symbolize purity, cleanliness, neutrality and innocence. Culturally, in most Western countries, white is the color commonly chosen for bridal gowns. In the East, it's the color for mourning and funerals. White is often associated with hospitals, doctors, nurses, and dentists. Angels are typically depicted as wearing white. In many cultures white represents openness and truth. White has an inherent cold quality.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Five Beautiful Carved Burl Wood

Five on Friday today is...Burl wood!

Burl wood is a type of fast growing, abnormal growth found on some trees. Burl wood grows because the tree has experienced some sort of environmental stress or damage. This is often caused by either a fungal attack or an attack by insects. In order to celebrate this wonderfully beautiful and unique wood here are 5 things made from burl wood for Five on Friday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Five of the Biggest and Best Craft Fairs in the World

It's Five on Friday ..  this week, let's look at some of the biggest and best craft fairs in the world.
Have you been to any of these? Plan to attend? Leave us comments and let us know!!

If you don't see the links, look for the 'Read More' link....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

See You Tomorrow - at the Canton Market!

"With a lilt of Irish laughter." OOAK Pendant.
We've been so busy this week making final preparations for the Canton Market that there simply has been no time for writing a blog post. (Well, at least not one that would have been worth reading. I'd probably have started adding to my list of things to do in the middle of it!).  So, this message, while technically it is a blog post, it's not really our usual type of blog entry - as you would have realized.

If you're in the Jackson, MS area we hope you will come and see us at the Canton Market tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 13, 2011) in Canton, MS.  Our booth is #26 located at the Old Jail Museum grounds on East Fulton Street. We are on the East side, facing the cemetery. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Five Interesting and Unusual Hand Crafted Leather Items - it's Five on Friday!

Leather has been used by man for centuries. Pieces of leather dating from 1300 B.C. have been found in Egypt. Primitive societies in Europe, Asia and North America all developed methods and use of leather goods independently of one another. The Greeks were using leather garments as far back as about 1200 B.C., and the use of leather later spread throughout the Roman Empire. In Middle Ages, the Chinese also were using leather. The Indians of North America had developed skills in working with leather before the coming of the white man.  I'm sure you are used to seeing many items created with leather.  Quite common are clothes, shoes, bags, belts and the like.  Today's Five on Friday shows you five interesting and unusual hand crafted leather items.

If you don't see the information below, look for the "Read More" link!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Methods for Polishing Jewelry

If you have worked with, or own, metal jewelry for any length of time, you will eventually need to restore the shine it had when it was new. I will be providing just a few methods for helping to restore that wonderful shine.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Five on Friday - Interesting Facts about 5 Famous Artists

Today's Five on Friday offers some interesting facts about five famous artists, which include a few of my favorites.  Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo and Vincent van Gogh.  There's also a little (easy) quiz at the end, just for fun! 

If you don't see the information below, look for the "Read More link!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Green, With Envy! Exploring the Meaning & Symbolism of the Color Green.

Green, as I am sure you already know, is a color. It lies between 520 - 565 nanometers (nm) on the The Visible Light Spectrum. Our eyes are sensitive to light which lies in a relatively small region of the visible light spectrum. This visible light corresponds to a wavelength range between 400 - 700 nm, this is a color range of violet through red.

Have you met my friend, Roy G Biv? 

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's Five on Friday - Five Crafty Coupons!

It's crafty coupon time.  For this weeks Five on Friday we're offering you the following discount coupons for five etsy stores.  Here's your chance to aquire some Jewelry, Wine Charms, Fabric bags, Reed diffusers, or other great hand made items.  It's Friday, so why not go shopping?  Remember to share the love - get some for yourself, get some for a friend.

If you don't see the links and the coupon codes, look for the "read more" link below.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Understanding Jewelry or Craft Wire

What does it mean when someone says they used gauge wire to make something? What does it mean when instruction refer to half-round wire? Isn't all wire round? What is dead soft wire? What the heck does it all mean?

When wire is referred to by its gauge, it is a reference to the diameter of the wire. There are two standards of gauges generally used in jewelry to state the size of wire. American Wire Gauge (AWG, also known as Brown and Sharpe), and Standard Wire Gauge (SWG, also known as Imperial or British Wire gauge). The smaller the diameter of the wire, the bigger gauge number. For instance, a 20 gauge (AWG) wire is 0.0320 inches or 0.812 mm, and 12 gauge (AWG) is 0.0808 inches or 2.053 mm. AWG is slightly larger in size than SWG. 20 gauge in AWG is 0.0320 inches and 20 gauge in SWG is 0.036 inches.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Great Creative Spaces - Art Studios and Craft Rooms.

Five on Friday!

Looking for inspiration for creating your own art studio or craft room?
Check out these five wonderful rooms perhaps they will inspire you to create your own.

Here are five I liked...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is the Difference Between Art and Craft?

When I am writing a blog, web page content, item description, or some sort of bio statement, I sometimes find myself stumbling over the choice to use the term, art or craft, or perhaps both.  For the most part I tend to use both terms interchangeably.  Partly because there are many who think the two indeed refer to the same thing. If the majority of my audience are likely to use both, or either terms in a keyword search, so too must I use both terms in order to be found by those who seek.

I use both art and craft interchangeably also because I have never really been able to definitively decide which term I should be using. I never know from day to day if I feel like I should describe my own work as art, or craft, especially since I do not create just one type of work.  Am I am artist? Am I a crafts person?

And so again I have come back to the same old question.  What is the difference between art and craft?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Five On Friday! Unusual Items Made with Chainmaille.

The invention of chainmaille is attributed to the Celts over 2000 years ago and was the armor of choice. Chainmaille armor quickly fell out of favor and use in the late medieval period, with the discovery and use of gunpowder. Today chainmaille is used by divers to help protect them from shark bites, as cut resistant gloves for butchers and woodworkers, and by re-enactors.

Chainmaille today is quite often found in the form of jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Today I want to show you five of my favorite unusual items made from chainmaille.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to Clean and Store Your Art Brushes

Quality paint brushes are an investment. If cared for properly they can last for many years.  Here are some tips to clean and care for your brushes to help them last.
  • Always wash your paintbrush thoroughly after use. Water based paints can be cleaned with warm water. Oil based paints will require paint thinner.  Begin by wiping excess paint from the brush with a rag or paper towel.  Next clean by using the appropriate cleaning solution for the type of paint you have been using (water, or paint thinner, etc),
  • Be sure to get all the paint out of the bristles otherwise the paint will dry in the brush and stiffen it. Take care to get the last little bits out of the bristles near the ferrule. (The ferrule is the metal band that binds the bristles of a brush to its handle.)
    Be careful not to bend the paintbrush back and forth too much. Let the water run over and through the paintbrush.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five On Friday!! for September 2.

It's Friday and the start of another month.  I have decided that Friday, being the gateway to the weekend and generally considered a good day by most people, should be a day of fun and relaxation.  At least, where possible anyway.  So, with that in mind, I offer you "FIVE ON FRIDAY".  A collection of 5 of my favorite things from around the web, for your to peruse and entertain your eyes with.  Today's list are all from  Listed in no particular order, and with no further adieu, I give you today's' Five on Friday.   Read on and enjoy...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Christmas is Coming..

Hand Painted Glass Ornaments
Yes, I said it.  Christmas IS coming, and faster than I would like. In fact, I have had this first round of painted glass ornaments ready to upload to Etsy for several weeks now but I couldn’t quite make myself do it.  I think because I am not exactly sure where the year has gone.  Wasn’t it January just a week ago?  It feels like it.  So, like it or not, the year is certainly marching on and before you know it, December will be here.  It’s less than 4 months until Christmas now.  And so, I had to finally avail myself of the approaching 12th month and upload my painted glass ornaments to Etsy, finally.    Colors, colors, colors, I must say that is what appeals to me the most about these decorations.  That and the fact that they are glass, because I love the way glass gives a sheen and vibrancy to paint.  I got to play with various combinations of color with these ornaments, but I think the blues and purples are my favorite.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Red Letter Day

RED cherry tomatoes my mother grew in Tasmania,
Australia. They were as delicious as they look!
A "red letter day", in earlier times, referred to a church festival or saint's day; more recently it refers to any special day. The saying derives from the practice of marking the dates of church festivals on calendars in red.

Colors often have different meanings in various cultures. As a psychologist and an artist/designer I have always been interested in the psychology of color, (or 'colour' as it is spelled back home in Australia, and other countries). Color is something I am constantly thinking about as it relates to the world of arts and crafts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Things are gearing up at Randam Art!

Well, as you can see, we just got our new blog up and running. There's a lot going on right now, and much more to be unveiled very soon!  New items will be added soon at our website as well as our Etsy stores! Lots of exciting projects are in the works. We'll tell you more ASAP! Be sure to sign up to receive our e-newsletter as we periodically send news & information on new items, as well as shows we attend, and offer discounts and freebies to our friends.  You can also take a look at our 'Randam Artists' Random Blog' where we will begin posting all sorts of information relating to art and craft, including hints, tips, ideas and anything else that we're excited to share with you.  If you're social network inclined, please 'like' and connect to us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. There's a lot more to come so don't miss out on the fun!


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