Friday, February 29, 2008

Woodburning for the Restless

So, you're interested in woodburning and would like to give it try. Let me share a quick tutorial video that will walk you through some of the simple steps to creating a woodburned box.

Perhaps you feel apprehensive or jittery about handling a heated tool? Put your mind to rest and remember that man has conquered fire for ages! The burning tools available today have insulated handles and other safety features to keep you crafting.

Have a practice board handy for testing the poker (like Nick is doing), and when you touch down don't put much force behind the movement---the heat will do the work for you. I try to focus on where the poker is GOING rather than where it's BEEN and after a few minutes of burning you'll see why.

Now go burn something:)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mr. Perfect

Say hello to my Dear Husband, Jody....who bowled a 300 game in our league at Franklin Lanes!!!

It was position night, and we were up against a tough team that had already beaten us on the first game. Jody was using a brand new bowling ball that he'd only tried out with a few frames the day before.

After 9 strikes in a row, the people bowling next to us on either side would pause long enough to let him throw. BOOM!
10 strikes.

I noticed that Jody was excited but kept his emotions in check to finish the final frame. CRASH! now 11 strikes and already there's a huge crowd forming around our lane and they politely clap then quickly hush up for the last ball. POW! solid hit, the pins jump and Jody has accomplished a spectacular achievement: the Perfect Game.

Everyone in the league was cheering and congratulating Jody and an announcement over the PA created another wave of cheers.

Our team actually lost that game. But it didn't matter. So does this make me "Mrs. Perfect"?

Hey Jody... you want some coffee to go along with that sweet roll?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Hot Tip

Yikes! One of my burning tips cracked! It was a small flat tip that I use alot, and it finally gave out. A small hairline fracture at the tip-of-the-tip caused the electrical current to fail.

And the vigourous rubbing on sandpaper to remove the carbon build up didn't help the situation either...

Since I'm stubborn, I tried to force the tip to heat up by pressing it against my practice board---crackle! buzzzzz! I'm not THAT stubborn. Maybe these tips just wear out?

So, I made a note of the tip type and placed an order for a replacement. And while I'm at it, get a few more tips. Could be that I find a new "Top Tip"

There will be a brief ceremony for the expired tip in the workshop today. We won't forget you BU129 "G"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

like Jim Croce

---"Really lovely. Reminds me of 70s folk music Jim Croce type stuff.

Very catchy sing-to-yourself tunes"

Congratulations to my brother, Mike Burnes---who has sold 30 of his music CDs on Etsy! Mike's dream is to make a direct connection with his listeners by offering his demo songs for sale to the public. We decided to list his music in my Etsy shop, and setup a myspace page to sample the tunes. I'm very proud of Mike and all the effort he puts into his songwriting craft.

You can listen to samples of every song.

Marketing his music is quite different than promoting my crafts; but there are many similarities, too. Mike took over my Etsy account and promoted like a madman...and found enthusiatic fans of his Southern Rock. The new CD is called WING AND A PRAYER...and it's had a great response. check it out!

Mike got to know some Etsy folks and is now recognized as a Chuck Norris look alike! I think he enjoyed the attention, and I know he appreciated the fans. He earned alot of myspace friends and captured 10 hearts.

Mike is really putting himself out there---and it's big kick for me to ride along. hey...I'm with the band!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Healing Power of Crafts

I was contacted by a friendly shopper on Etsy that wanted me to re-create a stationery box that she found in my SOLD items. I casually explained how my wood products are salvaged pieces, and I'm not likely to find another sliding lid box to work with. I recommended as a pyrographer with exceptional skill and a stellar reputation.

The shopper quickly replied that she was in urgent need of a cremation urn for her daughter's remains. Mrs. Welch then shared the heartbreaking story of her child, Paisley who was a still birth. She was distraught and devastated, and preparing for a memorial service for Paisley, and wanted to have a vessel made for the ceremony---and for the family to forever hold dear.

Together, we located a source for handmade, top quality boxes. Mrs. Welch made a selection and drop shipped the unfinished wooden box to my workshop.

I had only 2 days to decorate, finish and overnight ship to the family. But instead of feeling intense pressure to perform, I was overcome with a sense of peace and resolve! The Paisley pattern was modified to incorporate the spirit of the beloved child: eyelashes, windmills, pearls, crosses and puffs. My tools had a purpose, and I knew I would not fail this family.

Completing this order was the most significant thing my shop had ever done. This grieving mother and father would handle this box, and their eyes would explore the design and connect with the symbolic elements. They would mourn. Time would pass.

Paisley's memorial service featured her custom made urn, and a letter was included that I'd written to those who loved Paisley . My craft had somehow expanded beyond a product an into a vessel of healing.

Mrs. Welch left some sweet comments in my feedback: "This box far exceeds my hopes for Paisley's Urn. I'm so glad I found and met you. My family is forever grateful for your kindness and for your willingness to take on such an important project. Your work is beautiful. Thank You"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Red Hot Poker

When I started woodburning my items were created using a simple, solid tip burning pen with a constant temperature. With dozens of tips of various shape and size, the tool proved to be very versatile and easy to use. I expanded my solid burner toolbox to include a 600 degree for the low temp and a 950 degree for the scorching.

All was well, and I created and sold over 100 pieces.

Then I took a family vacation to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, and discovered the small village of Townsend. A community of woodcarvers and fly fishermen, and a special little row of shops called Nawgers Nob. They introduced me to the benefits of a professional burning system, and even let me spend time with a demonstation burner in their shop!

The pro tools have made a significant difference in my work, and I've been able to recommend the burning system to others.

I was also given a set of antique copper tipped 'pokers' from my family---these long rods are heated on an open flame, just like pokerwork was done hundreds of years ago. But, my journey into burning tools is not yet over: and I acquired a large magnifying glass for solar burning!

Who knew there were so many methods and tools for pyrography?

Friday, February 22, 2008

A product development adventure

W hat's on the wildwood workbench these days? round pine plaques with florals. A tobacco box gourd with a naval battle scene burned. a raccoon painted on a hump rock. a storybook style woodburned plaque. a new series of magic wands.

Some of these projects may happen, some not. The items that make it will be the ones that reach a standard of craftsmanship and quality of work worthy of gift-giving and home furnishings, and the ones that reflect my woodsy style!

The items that don't make it... well, I learn some valuable lessons when I have to make those tough decisions: is it worth pursuing? will it have the best final result? would it be better to scrap it and start over? I have to know when to walk away. Instinct takes over. It's no longer is reasonable to work on it.

Now that my basic style and techniques are solid, I feel free to experiment and play around with what I have. There's over a dozen projects planned like the ones mentioned above, and I really feel like stretching my wings and stepping out to the ledge---just a bit:)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

we're all friends here

Featuring a fellow crafter...
For 35 years, Sue Cogan has crocheted and sewn her way into the cottage-industry of handmade crafts. Happily oblivious to the outside world, Sue holes up in her office/studio and runs her Cogan's Creations while consuming alarming amounts of coffee and Diet Coke.

I'm very fond of her little bears!

To stave off the boredom she never repeats an item or follows a pattern exactly---Sue has a vision for each piece and her vision is the only specifications that matter! "I love a challenge...too easy and I'm not all interested in making them" says Sue.

Cogan's Creations business plan and marketing strategies consume Sue's thoughts: "I ask myself a million questions daily" When it comes to running her craft venture, she has to keep on her toes with her ears and eyes open (some of you are doing that right now!). Just as crocheting a unique and delightful item requires one to make solid decisions, so goes the priorities and decisions of running a small business.

I salute Sue for her insight and for her determination---both of which are crucial qualities for a successful crafting company. I met Sue online and realized that we share alot in common, and together we lead a group of traditional crafters on Etsy called Old World Shoppes.

Please visit Sue, and tell her Carey Lynn said 'hey'

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Beast!

A custom plaque was created as a companion piece to another woodburning; Renaissance Rabbits! Also adapted from a medieval tapestry, this lion design allows for details and background burning and will be a lovely display.

I give the credit to my customer, maisybrownreproretro for coming up with the idea to make another plaque, and we're working together to develop a series of tapestry plaques to add to her collection.

The well-contained, Renaissance artwork of William Morris inspires me. Morris' literary works called Well at World's End actually has a few passages that mention the 'edge of the wildwood'

I'm quite proud of The Beast! He rules.

Monday, February 18, 2008

back to simpler times

An old fashioned group of crafters on Etsy called Old World Shoppes provided this short video for your enjoyment. All of the products seen here are currently for sale in our Etsy shoppes:

In order of their appearance:
Phils Woodcrafts
Warped and Wonderful
Scentiments by Sandra
Misses Kwittys
Cedar Junction
Cogans Creations
Ron H
D Babcock
Edie Castle
Canadian Woodcrafts
From Nancys Heart

Saturday, February 16, 2008

lookout World! here comes Mike...

My brother, Mike has sold 29 music CDs on! This is an amazing feat considering Etsy is a crafters website--it's not the kinda place you'd expect to find original music. But it does show that the indie musician can succeed in making their own market---anywhere. And I believe it says alot about the quality and value of Mike's Southern Rock songs. All of the home recordings and the label art are 100% created by Mike.

The 8 albums and over 80 songs in his catalog cover the gambit from soft and tender love songs to dreamy ballads to hard edged blues. It's a quickly growing collection and Mike is a prolific songwriter with several songs that have the potential for HITs. These are the same recordings that are pitched to A&R reps and Record Executives---it just so happens that the public enjoys listening to the raw, demo versions!

Mike's new CD is called WING AND A PRAYER...and it's had a great response. The track list includes "Little Dixie Cups" "Boogie Man" and "Rebel Yell" a few of my sing along favorites.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mini Me

The attraction of mini art and artist cards has got a powerful hold on me! Tiny woodburnings with intricate detail and fascinating subjects---I'm motivated to create more. This charming fairy door is burned on a thin plank of lightweight wood. Look for my distinguishing technique of burning the edges.

My next series will be historic images from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show and frontier legends like Davy Crockett. I'd also like to make a nautical series with ships, maps and mermaids. And why not a series of the wonderment of nature with fireflies, inch worms, and lady bugs?

The Medieval Series includes castles, battle scenes, and Fair Ladys burned on paper

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

little things mean alot

I was contacted by an extremely talented musician, Glen Kuykendall about a custom amplifier project that needed some details! The actual area to decorate was very small, and the switches were labeled according to an amplifier called Trainwreck...
Glen was building 3 such reproductions and requested unique motifs for each panel. A soaring eagle, a howling wolf and a glowing sunset were selected for symbolic meaning (to the owner). My portion of the woodburning took several hours, and the amp sets were actually assembled weeks later.

Monday, February 11, 2008

a spotted fawn rock

It may appear that a tender young fawn has curled up to rest...but it's actually a painted rock! This 3.5 lbs creek rock has an ideal landscape for the pose. With the entire surface covered, it allows for full viewing at any angle.

The tenative expression makes it look like he'd like to be petted:) You'll find lots of these animal rocks in my Etsy store.

Coming soon: raccoon, turtle and fox

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Meet my Fellow Burner

One of the most exciting aspects of Etsy and indiepublic is the connection to others who practice our craft! I've been delighted to get to know Vivian of WoodburnedImages and would like to share her shop with my friends. Vivian is someone that I already admire; for her skills and her kindness--- and we've only just met. I believe that Vivian will find many fans and I, for one, will be following her work.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


The Captain has ordered that the loot be split up equally amoung the crew---and we're divvying-up the booty this weekend! To become a crew member, just buy a music CD on Etsy here and you'll be IN for your share. With 8 CD titles to choose from Mike Burnes has alot of songs (and Mardi Gras beads!).

Capt. Mike has also ordered BOGO (that's a buy one, get one free deal) for the whole weekend; so grab your booty and welcome aboard!

The Saturday Night Special on Etsy will be bringing all the crew together. We love SNS!

Get your hands on some handsome booty and enjoy some great tunes from Edge of the Wildwoood and The Stray Crows.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

**700 hearts**

My little Etsy shop is making alot of new friends for me! I was very excited today to find that over 700 Etsy users have my shop listed amoung their favorites. 745 to be exact---and I'm earning an average of six new hearts every day.

It's very encouraging to see all those hearts, and to know that my crafts are loved. The boundless support that other Etsy users give me warms my heart:)

I love Etsy!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Log Cabin project

This book cover was a custom order for Melissa with monsterpromos! Extra large wooden scrapbook covers were used to create a realistic and detailed image of Melissa's log cabin home.

When handmade paper is added for visitors to write on, it'll be used and appreciated for many years to come.

Although I've burned landscapes and scenery, this is my first true architectural study. I felt that it should hold up to some scrutiny, and took care to include as much detail as possible. The english ivy border that cover the posts and hinges was a delightful addition to the composition, and adds interest to the design. The small deer give the scene perspective and character! It was such a pleasure to make this Guest Book cover for Melissa, she was a doll to work with:)

A Lifetime of Crafts

Marjorie is a skilled crocheter and all around crafter from way back! I'm quite lucky to have Marjorie for a Mother-in-Law, and I'm learning more everyday about her generousity and spirit----as we sort through her belongings.

"Mother Marjorie" is hospitalized now, and it's time to break down housekeeping and make her comfortable. I salute Marjorie for all her good deeds, and her family and friends are hoping she gets back to crocheting very soon.

Just look at that smile:) She says things like "I'm so proud to have you as a daughter" that make my heart sing.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Celtic knotwork

Woodburning is ideal for Celtic knotwork! This complex knot design was challenging, and required alot of focus. I named the piece for Deidre of the Sorrows of Celtic folklore.

I'm truly appreciating the versitility of my new burning tool---with challenges like this knotwork, it makes a big difference in quality and precision! With the ability to change the iron tips in seconds and the shapes of the tips. it gives me a powerful weapon.

My systematic approach to burning knots eliminates so many mistakes, and allows me to concentrate on the illusion. I'm moving on now to more complex knots and larger items, but the Deirdre Celtic Knot box is a fine example of my talents for precision woodburning.

***My Dearest 100th***

Sending out a big "Thank You" to my 100th customer: Melodys Unchained !!! A special prize package was prepared for Melody, and I expect she'll be very surprised and pleased.

This is an important milestone for my shop and to all my customers and supporters, I extend my eternal gratitude. Their encouragment and patronage has made my dream possible. 100 customers represents alot of work on the bench and on the business side, and I'm quite proud to have reached it.

Melody is the first person to have Mike's entire music CD collection---all 8 titles. She also now has Wild Feet flip flops (coming soon), a woodburned garden sign, and a personalized keychain as gifts for being my Dearest 100th:)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Old World Shoppes

A friendly co-op of traditional crafters on Etsy called Old World Shoppes is working towards some new promotions and events and soon I'll be posting some fun articles from the Old Worldies!

We're putting together a short video and a new promotional campaign that's sure to please our old-fashioned buyers.
Old World Shoppes is dedicated to traditional crafts and we honor the past with our creations---it's all handmade
...and it's quite the find!
This link takes you directly to our listings on Etsy

We crafted this adorable "shoppe" with all it's barn painting and miniatures---to
let people know we are open for business. A duplicate little shoppe was sent to Etsy HQ in New York, where it's proudly displayed. We hope it represents our wide range of products and "General Store" approach.
I think you'll find The Old World Shoppes delightful and fun.

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