Sunday, August 12, 2007

Gourd Tutorial: Playing Havoc

I was going to try to place this side bar about this gourd into the archives, but I'm not sure how to do this without losing it, so I decided to make it a regular post and to add a small tutorial with it. I'm sorry I didn't take pictures along the way to show the progress. I'll try to do that at another time. I will include the other pictures that go with this so you can see the other sides - does "sides" apply to a round object?
Playing Havoc was designed for a good friend of mine and my husband's for his birthday. It was fun to make and includes a few phrases of Theme from Gypsy Rondo by Haydn. I'm embarrassed to say how long I've been trying to learn this piece on the piano. Our friend was pleasantly surprised which makes it all worthwhile.

First, let me say thanks again to Maria Dellos from who has given me wonderful tips time and again on her show and helped me with techniques for this design.
1. Cleaning the gourd. This should be a post in itself. I didn't open this gourd, so the process was much simpler than it could have been. I scrubbed the outside of the gourd with a stainless steel scrubber under very warm water with dish soap until it was cleaned. I let it air dry.
2. The designs for the music staffs were sketched onto the gourd surface with Ticonderoga pencils. They have great erasers which don't leave marks. Musical notes were hand-drawn.
3. The frog designs were from a set of rubber stamps. I place wide masking tape onto a glass surface and stamped the images onto the tape using regular stamping ink. I then used a mat knife to carefully cut the images off, one at a time. The images were placed around the gourd where I wanted them to appear.
4. I used a Gourd Master wood burning tool to wood burn the images onto the gourd. I didn't remove the tape; I just wood burned them through the tape. The tape method I learned from Maria. It is much easier to place an image onto a rounded surface this way than to try to stamp a slick image onto the surface. The stamps almost always slip, making a mess.
5. After burning the images, the tape was removed. I burned the musical notes and staffs onto the pencil drawing, then removed what marks were left.
6. I used Gourd Master inks to color the frogs. They are wonderful to use and are available on the Welburn Gourd Farm website.
7. The inside of the gourd was painted with black acrylic paint and varnished as in #8.
8. The whole gourd was varnished with Gourd Master Gourd Varnish. I'd recommend doing this outside or in a well-aired room. It dries very quickly, but does have a little odor when being applied. I sometimes use Decoupage to finish the inside of a gourd. It is a little messier than the varnish, but leaves a heavier finish and is fairly waterproof.
I hope this was helpful. Please leave me comments if you would like to see more of these. Happy Crafting.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Well, we're really excited about moving to our new house. I have tried to start taking pictures of my craft space in my present house to chronicle the process. I am getting the entire bonus room for my new craft studio and am beside myself with excitement. The best part is for once having everything in one room, as opposed to part in a sewing closet, part in an extra unused bedroom and part in the garage. Henry still doesn't believe that I'll get everything in the new room no matter how big it is. We'll see. I'm including a few pictures I took before I started packing. As you can see, I tend to start numerous projects at once instead of sticking to one until finished. That's just the way I am; no apologies.
I have been trying to finish a knitted Gryffindor hat without a lot of success. It seemed to be coming along until I decreased the top. It turned out too pointy. I should have followed the pattern more closely, considering my lack of experience in knitting. But being the non-conformist that I am, I thought I knew what I was doing. I may just put a pompom on the top and finish the loose ends and sell it on my new etsy shop as an elf hat. Check the links below. So far I only have one flannel hat that I made as a trial hat before I attempted one for our nephew's HP party.
The cats are showing some signs of being a little nervous about what's going on. They usually get antsy when we pack a suitcase. Now, we're packing the whole house. At least they're being allowed into the craft room, which is exciting to them. I have to check under the table each time I come out and close the door. They may be curled up asleep somewhere they were never allowed to go before. Sometimes they just offer to sleep on what I need to pack. Anyway, back to packing. I'll add more later. (See Her Pookiness in photo)