Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Efcolor Enamels (Low Temp Enamel Powders)

For Christmas a (good) few years ago I very happily received a small, secondhand, jewellery kiln and all the accoutrements required for a number of enameling projects. Sadly, I have only used it a handful of times for a few reasons... 
1. It cost a lot to run. 
2. It makes my husband very nervous (I had to buy a fire extinguisher to help alleviate his fears) 
3. I don't have a dedicated work space for it, so it takes planning to get out and to pack away etc (and basically I'm too lazy/disorganised for that).

I quite often feel a bit guilty/frustrated by this but I have recently stumbled across Efcolour Enamels on Cooksongold.com
I treated myself to the starter set below and, boy, was I delighted that I did!! The stuff is fabulous. 
They are low temperature enamel powders that "fire" at 150°C, how amazing is that?!
The starter kit contains 10 x 10ml pots of different, brightly coloured powders, a couple of sieve tops that can be fitted directly to each pot and a few metal blanks.
For my first project I used my kitchen oven but when I realised how great the stuff was I bit the bullet and bought the tealight stove - another purchase I certainly don't regret.
Here's mine after a few (very enjoyable) enameling sessions (with a glimpse of a scented tealight I used to add an extra level of pleasure)...
Another handy purchase was a packet of extra sieve tops as you only get 2 in the starter set, a few more come in useful as it saves having to clean them between powders when using a number of colours. One per pot would be the ideal but I have already spent enough so I'll make do for now.
They're easy enough to clean, the pic below shows one before cleaning and the others after the cleaning - I just used a dry cloth after tapping away the excess.
I've been a busy little beaver with the stuff and will share some things I've learnt and a few projects in upcoming posts. 
Just for comparison though - in the photo below, I made the top pair of earrings with "proper enamel" in the kiln and the bottom ones were made using Efcolor enamel.
As you can see the results are quite different but, in my opinion, both have their own pleasing qualities- would you agree?
Until next time, craft in earnest! Craftin' Ernest x

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Loving Thanksgiving in Boston!

Hello, after promising to be more strict about posting blogs, I haven't made a great start. This post doesn't contain any crafting either!
That's because I spent last week Stateside, getting to experience Thanksgiving for the first time. My sister and I met up with two of our cousins in Boston. My cousin, Kate, is in her third year of university in America, we promised to visit and Boston isn't too far from her. Her brother, Mark, flew over from Ireland to meet us as well.
We had the best time (easy in great company) and Boston is wonderful!
Not being American, Thanksgiving doesn't really mean much to us, so we weren't sure what to expect, but we had such a good day. It was like an early Christmas (without the pressies), spending time with family and eating delicious food. Actually I'm thinking of adding spiced, mashed, sweet potato to our Christmas menu with roasted pumpkin seeds on top- super yum. 
To add to the fabulous feeling of Christmas we watched the Blink Christmas Tree Lights to Music Show, in Faneuil Hall Marketplace, every night we were there.
The one shame about our trip is that I missed going into a wool shop by about 30 seconds! As part of the Freedom Trail we visited the Old South Meeting House and stayed until closing time. On our way out, I found out there was a wool shop right beside it (which could even be enter from the Meeting Hall's gift shop) and it was closing too and I didn't have a chance to go back- not good! Ah well, you can't have it all.
I did get some crochet done en route though - the beauty of a long flight. You'll never here me complain- it's the perfect excuse to sit for hours hooking away ;-) 
I'll share that next time, until then - craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x