Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Adventures in Casting

Just wanted to share a few pictures with you from the casting class I took at Jewel Envy last fall. (Yes, it took me THAT long to get the pictures up here. I'm a busy girl!) We learned the technique of lost wax casting, where you carve your piece in wax, make a mold, and then use a spinny thing to shoot molten silver into your mold. I believe the technical term would be centrifugal caster? Not so sure... but the process completely freaked me out. It involved holding a flaming torch in one hand and releasing the spinny thing with the other, being careful that the spinny thing did not knock the torch out of your hand. Surely there must be a better way! Luckily our teacher Ellen (Chia-Chien Tsai) was kind enough to deal with making the spinny thing spin, so we could have two hands firmly gripped on the torch. (phew!)

Our first project was a ring, which I modelled after a ring that I really wanted to buy when I was still a student, but it cost something like $200? WAY out of the question for a girl whose lunch budget at the time was $3. (I could afford a slice of pizza, nothing more...) It turned out looking nothing like that ring at all, but it wasn't bad for my first shot!

The next project was to make a pendant that "showed texture". (I was pretty much set on making a bow-tie pendant, and so I just scratched in a few lines to fulfill the requirement of "showing texture".) Anyway, I love this necklace because it makes you look like you're wearing a bow-tie! So cute!

And lastly was our final project, meaning we could make anything we wanted :) So I decided to make an orchid pendant, modelled after the one I drew for my Purple Orchid Pillow. This flower was a bit tricky, because I had to carve each petal in wax separately, and then use hot wax to join them together (with nothing more high tech than a candle).

And so concluded my casting adventures at Jewel Envy. I'm just finishing up my "Introduction to Fabrication" classes now, so I'll have new pics to put up shortly!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pabrika at Dorly Designs

Last month Pabrika Handmade began selling its famous pillows at Dorly Designs in trendy Leslieville. And a few weeks later we were thrilled to be invited to showcase our jewellery as well!

And just in the nick of time -- I was just about to take off on work / holiday travels when the news came. So I packed up all of my jewellery inventory and lugged them over to the store to set up shop. Here’s a sneak peak at what sorts of lovelies you can find in the store from Pabrika Handmade:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Restocked at JTrove

I stopped by JTrove today, in the beautiful Port Credit area of Mississauga, and restocked my pillows in anticipation of the holiday season. That's right, holiday season! It's almost November people!

Since opening earlier this year, the store has grown leaps and bounds, selling a beautiful and unique assortment of handcrafted goods by local artisans. You really won't find another store like it, and it's the perfect place to find that perfect gift for that special someone. And to boot, the surrounding area is stunning. It's located right on Lakeshore Blvd. just a stone's throw from the Lake. The street is lined with boutique shops and cafes, and I almost always have to stop for an ice cream cone because it's just the kind of place where holding an ice cream cone is a must... I suppose until winter -- eek!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The World is not your LItterbox

I think Felix the cat says it best here, "The world is not your litterbox". And so to do our part for a cleaner, greener future, Pabrika Handmade has launched its newest series of "Upcycled" pillows.

We have rescued old T-shirts and transformed them into beautiful pillows. I got the idea a couple years ago when my American Eagle "Just Bee Yourself" shirt, with a screen-printed cartoon bee on it, became too small on me. Thinking that the cartoon bee would make a great pillow design I stuffed that T-shirt with a pillow and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Unfortunately at the time I was too pre-occupied with other things to develop the idea further... (During that time I was just starting up Pabrika Handmade and the original line of hand-painted pillows). And so the T-shirt-turned-pillow idea died.

The idea was revived when I was asked if I had any pillows of eco-friendly materials (organically grown cotton, hemp, natural water-based dyes, etc.) And I thought it was a great idea to extend my line and offer products that were environmentally friendly. I did my research and looked for suppliers of organic fabric, but did not end up going through with it because the cost of this fabric was astronomical! And then I thought back to that "Just Bee Yourself" t-shirt that sat in my living room stuffed with a pillow, and decided that there should be no reason to go out and purchase new materials when there is already a myriad of materials out there (i.e. t-shirts) just waiting to be discarded.

And here are the results of my little craft project. There are still many more to come! Click here to shop :)
The Care Bears are my favourite :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A DIY Wedding with a lot of Heart

This post is long overdue. It is a tribute to the most beautiful wedding I have had the honour of being a part of, and to the beautiful bride (my sister) who designed and orchestrated the whole show. And amazingly, the majority of this wedding was DIY! It took place in Hennebont, France.

So where to begin? Let's start with the "save the date" cards. These were designed and put together by the talented owner of Tulle Box Designs, who also happened to be the co-maid-of-honour. They set the tone for this blue and pink themed wedding...

Also out of her studio came the "Wall of Flowers" concept, and her trademark favor boxes topped with a tissue-paper peony, which some ladies used as corsages later that night! We spent many a late night puffing these tissue-paper creations, went a little nutty from fatigue, but they turned out spectacular. And a little nuttiness never hurt anyone!

And to complement the pink flowers my sister picked out a gorgeous navy blue printed fabric, which she ordered from fabric.com, which I sewed the table runners from. I think she bought out their stock because I received an entire bolt of fabric in the mail (and used it all!).

My sister is very detail-oriented and did such a great job setting up the entire reception. She had buttons made that said "All you need is love", a creative bird-cage themed seating chart, apothecary jars filled with candy, a custom monogrammed guestbook, polaroid film for guestbook pictures, and much more. SO MUCH more...

And how did Pabrika Handmade help? Well of course I custom designed a ring-pillow for the special occasion. Our friend's 15-month-old baby was the proud ring bearer. But with a tendency to drop, or fling things, we thought it best to transform the ring pillow into a backpack by adding two loops of fat ribbon to it. It worked like a charm, and the rings were delivered safely.

Also out of the Pabrika Handmade shop are the coveted Ramona Necklaces for the bridesmaids, made of large Swarovski Crystals and sterling silver. Don't look directly at them, you may hurt your eyes ;)
All in all it was a beautiful day. I am sure I have missed a ton of other details that my sister prepared (so keep an eye out for a second blog post if I happen to remember them all). The French know how to throw a party -- I thought it was just a typo when I read that the party would end at 4am...
(All photographs courtesy of One and Only Paris Photography.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

RIP Tofu

I am sad to report that Tofu, the store mascot, passed away this summer :( She was a loving hamster that amused me to no end. I will always remember the time she peed in her wheel, continued to run in it, and came out showered in urine. She was shivering cold, but happy. Here's to the memories Tofu!

RIP Tofu. 2008-2010.

After an appropriate grieving period, I have adopted a new hamster (though certainly not a replacement!). His name is Cheddar because of his fur colour, and also because I quite enjoy pets named after food. Cheddar will be taking over the store mascotting responsibilities... namely entertaining the store owner :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

100 Mile Finds

My products are now also available for purchase directly through 100 Mile Finds! It is an innovative website aimed at sourcing locally made products, just in your neighborhood. Check it out to support your local community of artisans, and be a little greener while you're at it ;)