Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cabin Decorating

I found this adorable soap dish at my local Winners store.  I think this will look adorable in my cabin.  It's now inspired me to make some soap dish accessories for my shop.  I won't be making an exact copy - that's not nice :) but it has inspired me to think about making some cabin accessories.  I think this soap dish would need something underneath to catch to drips but I'll think about that in a bit. 

We haven't even taken possession of the cabin yet and I'm not sure where this will go.  I don't even know if there is a ledge on the bathroom sink but I'm sure I'll find somewhere for it to go.  I have some old handles like the one shown here so maybe I'll incorporate them in some way.  I'm not sure what I plan to use for a base.  I'm inclined to use wood but I don't think that would stand up to water and soap so I may have to give that some thought.  Maybe I can use a wooden frame and some mesh for the bottom.  I'll be sure to post my ideas here so you can take a look.  If you have any ideas I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Our Cabin in the Woods.

 We recently bought a cabin on 215 acres of woodland.  It's in the country on an unmaintained road so right now there is only three season access. The cabin is off-grid and has some small solar panels to run the lights.  It also has a gravity fed well which is a dug well but the water runs into the home via gravity.  I've got lots of projects in mind for redecorating and also for setting up a comfortable off-grid retreat.  I'll use this blog to document my adventures.  We don't get possession until near the end of November so hopefully we can get in there a couple of times before the snow makes the road inaccessible.  Since the roads aren't maintained that means there is no snow ploughing.  The unmaintained part of the road leading to the property is about 3 km so it's too far to have someone plough.  The pictures here are as the cabin sits now in the fall.  We haven't taken possession yet.  These pictures were taken when we had the home inspection done. 

As you can imagine I have lots of projects in mind.  I'm not sure how much I can get started over the winter as I'm not sure I'll be back to take measurements and such.  We don't want to intrude on the current owners.  The owner apparently really loves the place but is getting a bit older and his health isn't as good as it used to be and his family have been after him to sell.  He wanted it to go to owners who wold take care of it.  My husband and I are very excited at this new prospect.  I will admit working without electricity and relying on solar power and generators do intimidate me but I do find it intriguing.  There is also a very nice garage that I intend to use as a workshop.  The ideas for things I can make with reclaimed wood and wood for the forest of 215 acres that we will soon own are flowing in my head.  I'll keep you posted and try to take lots of pictures along the way.

 The first thing I really have to think about is the solar energy and how that works.  I want to be sure I have ample lighting at night.  There is no one around for miles except all the critters.  I've been told that it isn't uncommon to have deer and wild turkey in the yard.  I also believe there has even been a bear spotted.  Now that I can do without :) 
I'm excited for our adventure to begin.  I'm also having a little bit of second guessing.  I hope we chose the right property.  Since we can't access it in the winter I'm a bit concerned about that.  I guess we wouldn't likely go in the winter anyway but I would like to be able to do so if we wanted.
 Since we won't be there year-round we have to take the water out in the winter and the only source of heat at the moment is a wood stove.  Luckily there is lots of wood already cut and dried.


The picture above is of a dried up pond.  I'm told there is a dug well just behind it.  Perhaps there is some way we can make it into a year-round functioning pond.  I'm not sure how that would work but perhaps if we dig it out and do something with the well (if I can find it) then that will work.

 I love this tree.  I'm not sure what it is but I'll have to take a closer look the next time I go out there.  It really does add a bright touch of colour for the fall.
In this picture (to the side) you can see one of the many piles of drying wood that the current owner has cut.  He's leaving this wood for us.  We likely won't have to cut wood for quite some time but it might be an interesting project.


Anyway, as I mentioned earlier.  The ideas are flowing.  Lets see what I actually am able to put into practice.  I'll post some pictures of the inside of the cabin shortly and let you know my plans for redecorating. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Home Made Butterscotch Ice Cream.

 I made this homemade butterscotch sauce yesterday.  It uses real scotch, cream, butter and brown sugar.  Yum.  It is really sweet though.

 I then made some home made French Vanilla ice cream which you can see mixing here.
Below is a close up of the ice cream when it was just about ready.  The last picture shows it with the butterscotch sauce added.  Now it just has to sit in the freezer for a bit to get a bit harder and then it's all ready to go!










Home Made Butterscotch Ice Cream

Monday, July 21, 2014

Painted Fall Sheep




 





It's been a while since I've done any painting.  I'm usually kept so busy making buttons that I have let other creative endeavours fall to the way side.  Recently I've decided to try and get back to some of my other creative loves.  I'm going to incorporate some painting into my buttons I think.  This is the first thing I've painted in a while.  I'm a little rusty but I think it will all come back eventually.

I'm going to paint some primitive style items and then transfer that image to my buttons and perhaps a few pins or brooches.  This is a design by Betty Bowers but I plan to start designing my own items.  I think this prim sheep turned out pretty well.  I still have to put the final sealer coat on this and then I'll probably list it in my other shop. 

Fall is the perfect time to start decorating.  I know, as I write this, it is still July but those of us that create know we need to start way ahead of the seasons.  I've been listing Halloween and fall buttons lately and will soon start on Christmas items.    Actually just this past weekend I sold a few Christmas buttons so I know those of you out there are also starting on the season early :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bright Red Fused Glass Bird Sewing Buttons

 

Handmade Fused Glass Bird Sewing Buttons

It's a new month and a new beginning.  I'm excited for June to begin and for summer to "hopefully" get going in full swing.  It's a bright sunny day today so I'm very optimistic.  I'm up right now and trying to get some work done on my buttons before my son (adult son) gets up.  I'm hoping to spend the day doing some fun things with him.  It doesn't matter how old your children get it's always a good thing when you can spend some quality time with them.

I don't mention it often but I have another buttons site www.buttonsbyrobin2.com where I have my artisan buttons.  On this site I have fused glass buttons (like the bird sewing buttons shown above), ceramic, hand painted wooden buttons and more.  These buttons are much more labour intensive and a labour of love.  They don't get as much attention as my resin buttons at www.buttonsbyrobin.com but to be fair I really don't spend as much time on them as the resin buttons.  I simply love these bright red fused glass buttons though.  They look much better in person but I hope you can see their potential in the above picture.  These are made with a base layer of black glass and then the red pieces are individually cut out and they're fused together in the kiln.  Once the glass has been fully fused together I drill holes in them with a diamond (yes real diamond) coated drill bit.  It's a labour intensive and expensive process.  Given the hardness of the fused glass the drill bit will only drill about 10 buttons before it has to be replaced.  A set of 5 drill bits is about $50 US so as you can see even drilling the holes costs a fair bit.  I truly love these buttons though and so will continue to make them and other designs in glass.  They are truly beautiful and I know those of you who appreciate artisan buttons know how much love and art goes into making them

If you have any questions or have any suggested designs you'd like to see in glass please feel free to leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Fire Truck Sewing Buttons

                                           Fire Truck or Fireman Sewing Buttons

I have a son of my own and remember how difficult it was to get cute clothes for him when he was a baby.  He's a grown man now but I always try and think of little boys when I make my buttons.  I want to be sure that the Moms and Dads out there are able to find cute clothes for their little boys.  I hope in some way that my fireman buttons (and my other boy themed buttons) add a special touch to their outfits.  Of course I realize that it's just not little boys that like fire trucks.  I know little girls may as well and I try not to be too stereotypical in how I list my buttons.  I do have a section for boy buttons in my shop www.buttonsbyrobin.com but I know a lot of these would be perfectly adorable for little girls.

These particular buttons have been pretty popular in my shop so I'm happy to keep them in stock.  If you have other ideas for buttons you'd like to see drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.  I'm always looking for new ideas and inspiration.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Green Dandelion Sewing Buttons


Green Dandelion Sewing Buttons

Okay I'll admit it.  I'm a bit cranky today.  As a matter of fact I'm slightly more cranky than I was just a moment ago.  I was writing this post and hit something and deleted everything.  The funny thing was I was writing about how listing these buttons in my shop and writing a bit in my blog was starting to turn the day around and then - boom - deleted my blog post.  Oh well....I guess you just have to laugh.  There are certainly much worse things in the world. 

I must admit I really do like these dandelion buttons.  I haven't had them in my shop www.buttonsbyrobin.com in quite some time.  I think they were last listed in 2012.  It's funny how all of a sudden I'll see some buttons I've made in the past and want to remake them.  The one thing about having a website and making all my own product is that usually there are very small numbers of buttons made.  I get bored easily so want to move on to another designs.  I guess that's why I have close to 500 designs in my shop currently.  It's probably not the best business model because I'm constantly having different designs (which is good) but that means when something sells I no longer have it available.  I've started to make a few sets at a time most of the time.  This way when something sells I have another to put in it's place.  Again, if a design is a flop :( I have a number of sets that sit there.  I'm constantly rethinking how to get the best use out of my time when making the buttons.  Particularly since it's just me making the buttons - no manufacturer - no production line.  What is your best trick for making handmade items in a productive manner?