The Forest Series

DSCN9714

You may have noticed, that we, here at ISE Paper and Craft, tend to go to the forest quite often. Whether it’s picking blueberries, mushrooms or pine cones – we like it out there. It’s like another, entirely different world out there. You may be in a really small, tiny one, and hear cars passing by on a nearby road, but once you are surrounded by those trees, the rest of the world is suddenly very, very far away.

Of course, in my case, being detached from the world is not only limited to spending time in natural surroundings. I’m quite often (read: most of the time) lost in my own thoughts and imagination or a book I’ve been reading recently.

The cards above are real pieces of the real forest mixed with some ink and imagination. The natural items are covered with clear varnish to keep them from crumbling and breaking. The drawings are done by hand, and the cardboard is made of recycled paper.

Which one is your favourite?
Do you like hiking and outdoors?
Have you ever eaten a wild mushroom you picked yourself?
In what type of surroundings do you feel most at peace?
How do you like our new WordPress theme? (too much pink?)

-Maarja

The summer Fell

The Autumn has officially begun, and it shows. It’s 5 degrees Celsius outside in this part of the world. This is the time of the year I envy people with log-burners. Central heating certainly has it’s perks of not having to tend fires and carry firewood each day, and we have it nice and warm even through the worst colds in the Winter. But early Autumn and late Spring mean woollen socks, long hot showers and baths, and lots of oven baked dishes, because it warms up at least the kitchen. Central heating is not yet on, but it’s already cold out there and my fingers get numb if I type sitting in one place for too long. Haven’t been drinking that much warm beverages in a long time.

Today I passed the time with creating some forest-themed cards. I would really love to show them off, but it has been raining on and off and with cloudy skies the lighting has been just terrible. I’ll do proper photo-shoots when the sun is out again (unless I’m too busy picking acorn caps, acorns and chestnuts then).

In the weekend we had most lovely trip to the Sea. We gathered piles of driftwood and some extra lovely pebbles and pink sand. A tiny tiny bonfire was made. It was a lovely evening, and here’s a minute extra for all of you:

I wanted to make it five, but unfortunately it is very hard to find some quiet time to sit still on a beach with a happy toddler on it 🙂 I hope you enjoyed it though! And how did your Fall/Autumn begin? Do you even have four seasons where you live?

-Maarja

DIY – Silver pine cone ornaments

I’ve been up to painting some cones. I did one silver pine cone for our own tree last Christmas – I couldn’t stop admiring it! This year I gathered some more cones and tried to take some photos for a DIY post while making my first batch. Sorry for some of the photos being somewhat blurry – the photographing conditions are any good at my apartment only when it’s sunny and around noon! Here’s THE cone from last Christmas, already impatient for another December.

DSCN9954

Now, here is what you do:

First you’ll need:
– clean pine cones
– silver acrylic paste
– silver tone eye screws (size as small as possible, but large enough to stay firmly in your cones)
– a paint brush
– pliers
– thread for hanging and scissors

DSCN9700

It’s also a good idea to prepare a place where to hang your cones to dry once painted. I have one of those small round sock laundry hangers where I can dry my cones, acorns and other tiny painted hanging objects.

And you’ll also need somewhere to soak your cones:

DSCN9994

1) Step One – Soak Your Cones.
I used the lid of a baking dish, I sometimes bake small cakes in it. You’ll see that couple of the cones already have an eye screw attached to them – if you want to make only one or two of these ornaments, you can skip the soaking part and fight your eye screws into a dry cone and then patiently paint every tip of each scale. I did that to a few test cones and realized that dry cones are really hard to get screws in plus it takes ages to paint each scale separately. So threw the cones into water to dry out an easier way. It took about an hour for my cones to soak up, but it may take longer for some other variety. I think it should be okay to leave them soaking overnight too, or throw them into water in the morning and then do your painting whenever you have time during the day.

2) Step Two – Screw The Screws.
When the cones had mostly closed (some cones my not close fully no matter how long they soak) I took them out of the water and dried off with a towel (choose one that won’t leave many fibres on the cones). Then I removed any remnants of twigs they might have had and screwed eye screws in their place. First with fingers and then final twists with pliers. It was a surprise how easy it was compared to dry cones.

3) Step Three – Attach Cords.
DSCN0015   DSCN9681
I had some leftover pieces of thread I used for drying, but if you don’t mind getting some paint on the cords by accident you can save time and put on the hanging cords at this step.

4) Step Four – The Silver Fun.
DSCN0018

Now you’re ready to paint. Try to place your hanging rack nearby (I have a lamp just over the kitchen table with a handle to pull it down/push up, and since cones are not that heavy it’s a perfect place to hang my cones hanger), squeeze some paint out of the tube take the brush and pain. I found it easiest to begin with the tip of the cone, slowly retreating my fingers to the eye screw – which’d be my final handle. See that your cones are not dripping wet – too much water will dilute the paint and make it difficult to cover the cone. It might be more fun to spray paint the cones, if you wish. But you need a well ventilated room for that. Also, think through the safety of the painting process if you do this fun DIY with your kids!

5) Step Five – Let Them Dry.
DSCN0023   DSCN9628
So, now you’re almost there! Let your cones hang on the rack until the paint is dry and then you’ll have to wait another couple of days until the cones themselves dry and open up. Be sure to keep them out in the air and in a dry place! Of course, if you skipped the soaking part you’ll only have to wait for the paint do dry. If you wish to add a ribbon bow you can do it when the paint is dry but cones are still closed – easier to tie then.

And then, one day you’ll go check on your cones, and voilà:

DSCN9693

___

Let me know if you tried these! How did they turn out? What kind of paint did you end up using, and did you add any ribbon?
-Maarja

The busy inactivity

You might have visited this blog and failed to find any new posts, or maybe wondered why no new update is popping up on your Facebook or reader feeds. Oh, ok, who am I kidding here – you probably did none of those things, but let me entertain myself with a mental image of thousands of disappointed readers impatiently refreshing their browsers again and again and again …

The thing is – we haven’t been lazy. We have been busy instead.

DSCN9908

Some of these items can by found at A.G.A.N.. I’m very exited to have made our first acorn jewelry sales in local neighbourhood as well! There are also some new acorn earring/pendant listings up at Etsy:
1) Black Oak Bronze Hooks;
2) Black Oak Brass Nickel Free Hooks;
3) White Oak Brass Nickel Free Hooks;
4) Black Oak Bronze Chain Pendant.

My sister has been very busy and productive as well. A while back there was a post featuring one of her drawings, and I delighted to announce that it’s finally available as the most adorable post card ever. (You also can’t help but wonder, will it get hit by a falling apple or not!? Which is precisely why I love this drawing so much). She has also replaced one of her gorgeous dried flower arrangements, which got to travel all the way across the ocean to America, with an equally gorgeous fluffy heather bouquet:

heather

Among other things – the acorn/chestnut season is just around the corner. First (light) brown chestnuts are already popping on the ground and I’ve seen first acorns on the side-walks as well. Meanwhile, I’m happy to send out what’s left of our last year’s crop. The prime pine cone season is more or less over, though. There is a lot of rain and moisture now – the best time to pick cones was probably in the spring and during the month-long drought we had this summer …

I’m going to the post office now, to send some acorn caps across the ocean.
If you got this far there’s only one thing I’ve left to tell you – thank you for reading and have a great day!

-Maarja