Thursday, December 16, 2010

My First Ceramic Sculpture

I've been taking ceramic classes, taught by my dear aunt, for the last few months. As a beginner, my first works were pretty simple - bowls, plates, mold casting... But in some point I decided that it's time to be creative for real, and to try to sculpt something. In my head I had a vision of a sculpture I've seen some time ago in a yard sale (sorry, I just can't recall the name of the artist!), and I used it as my inspiration. With a lot of help from my aunt, I managed to finally finish this sculpture (I worked really hard to finish it!), and now I'm in love with it, and it decorates our front porch.

Ceramic sculpture

Ceramic Sculpture
Last one, promise... The back

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Felted Wool Fairy

Long, long time ago I decided that I want to make wool fairies for the kids to hang above their beds. A few months ago I already found this wonderful tutorial for it (it's all in Hebrew, but the pictures are great, and you can use this tutorial even if you can't read Hebrew).

As always, it took me a long time to even start looking for wool, and when I finally found the time to start looking, I couldn't find it anywhere near where I live. Only after a month or so, I found myself in the city, and managed to find some.

For the beginning I only bought 4 colors (I learned to know myself quite well... I know that chances are I'll be super excited about it for one week and then forget all about it the next week), which turned out to be a bit of a problem when I began making the fairy, and realized I needed at least one more color to make it the way I wanted it to be, but I managed to finish it anyway somehow. The first fairy turned out a bit weird, but I kept working on it, changed the hair style about 2000 times, and finally compromised on a Japanese fairy.

The second one came out better, I think, prettier and more delicate. I decided to give her white hair instead of black, to give her more of a feminine look.

And both hanging together:

The kids loved them. My girl chose the Japanese one, and my boy took the other one. Now they're waiting for dad to hang them on the wall.

On Saturday the boy was invited to a birthday party of a girl from his kindergarten, and I decided to make her a fairy too. Here's her fairy:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shopoholics Beware: Addictive Website!

A confession: I'm addicted to TaoBao.

TaoBao is sort of like the Chinese version to Ebay (only less auctions, more regular sales from stores and factories) and you can find anything there. And when I say anything, I mean ANYTHING, from the small items you didn't even know you need, to cars, plane tickets and even apartments. Everything goes really cheap, of course. It is China after all. The advantage of the website is that some factories sell directly to you goods that they couldn't sell for any reason, and so you don't have to pay any commission that you would have paid if it was a regular store. Some of the products are sold for so cheap, it's even cheap in Chinese standards. As I said - a real pleasure... I bought most of my crafting material through TaoBao - beads, yarn, fabrics, even polymer clay in 1 kg (around 2.2 lbs) packs. It feels a bit different than Fimo or Sculpey, and you definitely have to learn how to work with it, but when 1 kg costs around $4, who cares?!

And we get to the catch (there must be a catch:)) - The website is all in Chinese and some of the stores won't deliver if you're not in China. But that is a minor problem, and a real shopoholic won't let it stop him (or her:)). I have a few friends who can't speak a word in Chinese, but managed to order some items.

This is a website that explains in plain English about TaoBao and how to use it, and it can really help you if you want to try TaoBao. Regarding the payment - this website claims that the only way to order if you're out of China is through a TaoBao agent, but that is simply not true - you can definitely pay by yourself. You just need to ask the store for their bank account details, and to transfer the money directly to them. The disadvantage of this method is that you can't use Alipay, which is the Chinese Pay-Pal. Another, safer, way to pay if you're not in China - Ask around to check if someone you know is going to China, then ask them to go to the post office there and to deposit money for you (promise them you'll order something for them in return...).

Enjoy your shopping spree!