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Ceramic pendant necklaces

Newest addition to my shop – a whole collection of handmade ceramic pendant necklaces!

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Way back in 2009 when I was first feeling out what my Jadeflower Etsy shop would offer, I made all sorts of items. Many things that I no longer make. Necklaces and pendants were some of those things. I quickly discovered that Etsy has a plethora of jewelry makers! Ceramic jewelry certainly was not to become my main focus.
But after many years, I’ve decided that if I want to make a few pretty wearables, then why not?
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My goal in this collection is to make cute, unique wearable art, while remaining affordable. Even with shipping factored in, each necklace is less than $20.

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I have a mix of stamped/glazed ceramic pendants and fused-glass ceramic pendants.

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Some I finished with gold or silver plated chain. And for some, I chose a more bohemian black suede cord.

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These are casual, daily-wear necklaces that don’t take themselves too seriously. ūüôā

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It was lots of fun to get my tools out and do some jewelry making again! Each necklace is finished with a lobster clasp closure, and a 2-inch extension chain, which makes them adjustable between 18″ and 20″

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Click any of the images to see more of that particular piece. To see the whole series, click HERE

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So if you’re looking for a sweet piece of wearable art, please check out my new necklace collection. Makes a great gift for yourself or someone special!

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Experimentation with Fermentation! Part 2

My maiden name is Guenther, and my dad’s side of the family has a pretty German heritage, but somehow or other I don’t think I ever tasted sauerkraut until I was an adult. Most likely my mom, who is all Irish, didn’t fancy the stuff.¬†So it just wasn’t something I ever¬†ate¬†as a kid, and¬†I must have therefore figured it was a “yucky” food, and never sought it out. Until one day I was visiting some relatives on my own after college, and they had sauerkraut as a side dish. I enjoyed it from the first tentative bite! It was like pickles, sour and salty and a bit crunchy. I started buying it at the store from then on – not religiously, but when I remembered it as a flavorful condiment.

After learning more about fermented foods, recently, I have decided that homemade sauerkraut is the next project!
And not only that, but I decided I first needed to make my own ceramic crock to ferment it in, being that I am a potter, after all.

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My first attempt at a handmade fermentation crock

Now that I had a crock to ferment in, here’s the process I followed for homemade sauerkraut!

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Chopped Cabbage and Salt

I filled a huge bowl with chopped cabbage. Just one head, about 2 lbs. One head of cabbage was more volume than I expected! But then I added sea salt, probably about 3 teaspoons (I didn’t measure), and started squeezing the buhjeezus out of it.

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Massaging the salted cabbage

This got the cabbage all coated with the salt, and already it started drawing the water out. After walking away, and then coming back to repeat the massaging process every 10 minutes or so, the cabbage really started releasing its juices.

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Cabbage juices pooling in the bowl

After an hour of this, I felt the cabbage was sufficiently reduced in volume and wilted enough to start packing into the crock. I tossed in a teaspoon of caraway seeds (because Michael Pollan added some to his in Cooked), and then into the crock it went, handful by handful.

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Pounding down the cabbage

I used a cocktail muddler to really pound down the cabbage. This forces out the air, packing it down, and it gets the water to continue squeezing out of the cabbage. The cabbage juice (or brine) needs to be at a level above the solid cabbage; this protects the kraut from exposure to air, which can cause it to mold (bad).

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Weights to keep the kraut submerged below the brine level

Once I felt I’d pounded enough, and the cabbage was sufficiently juicy, I topped them off with two half circle ceramic weights I’d also made when I made the crock. These will keep the kraut from floating to the top and getting moldy. The bacteria that transform the cabbage in to sauerkraut prefer¬†an¬†oxygen-free environment, so that’s the environment I intended to create.

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Adding water to the moat creates an airlock

The photo above shows my little helper Ethan, pouring the water into the reservoir around the crock lid. The water will let CO2 out (it’ll “burp”¬†to¬†release pressure), but won’t allow any air to go in.

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My kitchen helper

Look how proud he is, helping Mama. Nevermind that he spilled most of the water on the counter, haha. By the way, how is it possible that this kid is two-and-three-quarters already?? Obligatory observation on how time flies.

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And now we wait…

So that’s it! Now my pretty little crock will live on the kitchen counter for a few weeks, and hopefully it will produce a yummy, probiotic sauerkraut!

And out in my studio I’m working on improving my design. Swing over to my Jadeflower Ceramics Etsy Site –¬†I’ll have crocks like this (better,¬†even!) for sale in my Etsy shop.

Here’s to my continuing fermentation adventure! Bye for now!

 

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Experimentation with Fermentation! Part 1

I’ve recently gotten pretty immersed in the little-talked-about food world of fermentation. Fermented foods have been around for millennia, so why am I now just discovering this?? Anyway, I thought I’d share a bit about my new food hobby!

My interest was first piqued after watching “Cooked” on Netflix – Michael Pollan’s 4-part documentary series. It is really good, if you haven’t seen it yet! I was particularly intrigued by episodes 3 & 4 which went deep into our human history with Bread, and then with fermented foods. Incidentally, bread is historically a fermented food too! It’s only until recently that most breads are made with commercial yeast, rather than cultured sourdough.

I was so fascinated with the show, that I immediately checked out Pollan’s book (also titled¬†Cooked). It’s a great read, I definitely recommend it. Like his other books, Michael Pollan has a great way of introducing not-so-commonly-know information that is both useful and insightful, as well as making the subject matter very relatable¬†through personal anecdotes. Of course, after reading it (and before I even finished the book, really), I decided I wanted to challenge myself with some new cooking skills, and making my own wild sourdough bread and my own home ferments were first on the list. I checked out more books from the library.

Pollan’s book is great because it has a whole bibliography from which I could get more information. Readily available at my library was Sandor Katz’s Wild Fermentation which was a great starting book for someone new to the whole fermentation thing.

So far, I have successfully brought¬†a bowl of flour and water to life! (Ahem, really not that miraculous, apparently) Leaving this bowl of flour goo on the counter for almost 2 weeks, I thought perhaps the wild yeasts and bacteria that I was promised are everywhere didn’t live in my home, or didn’t want me to make my own sourdough bread. But patience paid off, and I now have a happy, bubbly starter, still living on my counter (covered with a cloth most of the time).

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Sourdough Starter (wild fermentation!)

I feed it a bit of flour and water every day.¬†I’ve made 5-6 loaves of bread thus far, two batches of English muffins, and pancakes. Not everything has been a rocking success, but I have made a few things I’m pretty proud of…like this loaf of bread.

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Whole wheat Sourdough Bread

Another fermenting experiment that is underway was one M wanted to do – homemade Mead. Apparently, mead is just about the easiest alcoholic ferment you can do – just mix honey and water and give it a stir every time you think of it.

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Mead fermenting in my blue Le Creuset Pitcher

And if you can use pretty crockery to do your fermenting, all the better! After 10 days of stirring and waiting, we’re finally starting to see some bubbling activity. Soon we’ll transfer to a bottle to finish the process.

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Tiny bubbles of CO2 in our honey water show us that fermentation is afoot!

My next adventure is to make homemade sauerkraut. But that’s a post for another day. Stay tuned for Experimentation with Fermentation Part 2!

 

 

 

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New Summer Pricing in my Etsy Shop!

Hey there! Hope the beginning of summer is treating you well!

I’ve been enjoying the Pacific Northwest’s excellent early summer – super long days, and weather in the 70s. Little Ethan is keeping me busy playing outside, but I’m also getting as much studio work done as possible. And to celebrate summer, I’m lowering my prices on a whole bunch of my items!

Summer pricing banner

This includes many of my Doctor Who Tardis pieces and my new Game of Thrones inspired mugs and steins!

GoT Stark SteinGoT Lannister mugGoT Targaryen Stein

I’ve also done some spring cleaning in my studio, and pulled out a few older items and put them WAY WAY on sale. Time to make some room for new items! So I hope you’ll click over to my shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/jadeflower) to check out what’s new!

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Jadeflower Ceramics on Facebook

So I finally bit the bullet and made a Facebook page for Jadeflower Ceramics! It took me a while to warm up to the idea – mainly because I didn’t think anyone would want to follow me on Facebook, and also because I was unsure I’d be able to find¬† the time to post content. But over the weekend, after some conversations about new media and the world in general, I decided it certainly wouldn’t hurt to create a page with at least some information about my Etsy shop and what Jadeflower is.

So here it is! Jadeflower Ceramics on Facebook

I hope you’ll click and “like”!

I’ll be using the Facebook page for sharing photos and new items, and other small updates, most likely all ceramic and business related. It will be more casual and spontaneous than this here blog.Come on over and see what’s new!

https://www.facebook.com/JadeflowerCeramics

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Clay projects

I’ve had several requests for custom ceramic pieces lately, so I thought I’d share what I’m working on for other people!

Continuing on my lace-textured trend, as seen in my cuff cups…
…I decided to use this texture in two other projects.

The first was commissioned by a friend – two wall-pockets. These are conical vases that are intended to hang on a wall or other vertical surface. They are pictured still in the unfired stage (bone dry) so the lace pattern isn’t easy to see. Once they are glazed, the lace will be much more prominent.

The second project was a request for something garden-esque for a silent auction basket donation. Whatever I donate would be added to other garden items, and the proceeds from the auction benefit the Woodland Park Zoo.

So to keep things simple and functional, I decided to make a set of 3 slab-built flower pots, again with the lace texture…

Each one is unique  (as handmade items are!) and I plan to glaze each one in a slightly different color.
I just wish things didn’t have to dry so slowly! Ceramics is definitely a game for the patient.

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Back from haitus

I feel like such a bad blogger! Not writing for over a week Рso bad!  :-p

Well, I’m back now ūüôā

Things just seem to get busier and busier! The wedding is in just over 2 months now! I feel like there are so many loose ends that still need to be tied up (and I alternate between feeling really confident to wondering how we’re going to pull it all off).

And on another front, my Etsy shop has finally started to come into it’s own! Jadeflower Ceramics has been getting quite a bit of attention (relatively) and I think that someone at Etsy might have taken a liking to my little shop. I’ve had more orders in the last 2 weeks than during the Christmas rush! It’s very exciting. And I’ve been very please with the response to the little mushrooms I added to the shop. Those have really been selling well, so I definitely plan to keep making more of those and try out other terrarium-type accessories.

In other Jadeflower news, I’ll be sharing a booth at this week’s Sunday Market in Fremont. My fashion-designer friend Tiffany Miller will be in town, and she invited me and our other friend Stacie (who does paper-goods) to three-way-share a spot at this very popular market. I LOVE the Fremont Market – it’s my favorite in Seattle – and I’m really excited to attempt to sell some of my stuff there. I’ve never had a booth, so it will be interesting to see how we do.

Instead of bringing my big Spiky artworks, I’m just planning on bringing my amassed inventory of smaller pieces – pottery, accessories, miscellaneous things I’ve made over the last few years that haven’t been quite right for the Etsy shop. So it will definitely be an interesting assortment of Jadeflower items! Hopefully I’ll clean out a lot of items that have been taking up precious space in my studio.

Anyways, I’m sure I’ll give more updates on the Fremont Market later in the week.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

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