Tag Archive: art

20 {Amazing} Coffee Filter Crafts

coffee filter craftsCheck out these 20 Amazing Coffee Filter Crafts! Coffee filter crafts are one of my favorite types of kids art.  It’s so fun to see what you can create just by digging around your kitchen cabinets!  With a little imagination, you can always find something in the house to create with. Kids will also enjoy…

Read More »

The post 20 {Amazing} Coffee Filter Crafts appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.

read more

Free Sewing Pattern – FREE #1310 Angela Roll-up Pencil Case PDF Pattern

Free Sewing Pattern – FREE #1310 Angela Roll-up Pencil Case PDF Pattern

PATTERN DETAILS OPENED SIZE: 10 1/2” WIDTH X 8 1/4” HEIGHT CLOSED SIZE: 3” WIDTH X 8 1/4” HEIGHT X 3” DEPTH Description The Angela Roll-up Pencil Case is a cute and adorable project created to carry all your pens, pencils and more! A great project for starters and beginners of sewing, the Angela Roll-up […]

read more

Trying Majolica, Pottery Shed, + Random Things

I’ve been working on a new (for me) style of ceramics called majolica. You probably are familiar with this style of pottery – it is what the Italians do so well. I did some test tiles and I have a ways to go but it is a start. These are the tiles above before they are fired. I was trying to use commercial glazes so I didn’t have to get into mixing my own glaze. I used Spectrum’s White glaze with different glazes, underglazes and oxides for the color. 

Here are the tiles after they came out of the kiln. 


They didn’t all turn out right – some of them are underfired and I am still testing. With this method of pottery, you have to make the piece and fire it in a kiln. After pieces are bisque fired, they are then covered in a white gloss glaze and the designs are painted on. The pieces are fired again and hopefully the designs sink into the white glaze and are beautiful colors. 

I think it will probably take a year for me to figure it out considering the amount of time I have to put into it. I am a real neophyte when it comes to glazing ceramics because I am mostly self taught. Primarily I purchase ready made glazes from suppliers like Amaco, Duncan and Mayco. I have been taking an evening pottery class for a couple years with local potter extraordinaire Lucy Fagella. She has been so helpful in answering questions as I continue to experiment and fail. I can’t say I am going to jump in too much with the majolica as I want to make things that actually work out vs fail. A little at a time. And it is good to experiment and learn new things. 

I have been throwing lots of pots in my new “Pottery Shed”. It feels so good to actually get something done. My “Pottery Shed” isn’t insulated and because there is an issue with glazes and clay freezing, I’m trying to get as much made out there this summer. I will be decorating it this fall before my Holiday Sale. 

• The Boston Globe wrote about She Sheds here. I’m all set with mine! 


• My zucchinis are coming in like crazy. I’m going to try this recipe and this recipe and this savory zucchini bread recipe

• I bought a veggie spiralizer and I love it! My family loves everything I am making with it too. So far, my favorite veggies to spiralize are zucchini and butternut squash. I may try this recipe for Chilled Cucumber Noodles (via SwissMiss). 

• My student Darby turned me onto a new blog by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. The woman is a true creative force and dynamo. Check it out here.  

I hope you are having a great summer for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere. It goes so fast – doesn’t it? 

read more

Fabulous Creative Retreat Part 2 – Ceramic Tile Painting

This year for my Creative Retreats I decided to change things up a bit and introduce some new types of art to the mix. I am lucky to have several students that have come back again and again to our farm. This does pose a problem in that I need to devel…

read more

Fabulous Creative Retreat – Part One

This past weekend six brave souls arrived at the farm bright and early Saturday morning. The subject of the day was Fabric Printing in the morning. The concept for the afternoon was to embellish the printed fabric with Crewel Embroidery. I taught this …

read more

Late July, Garden + Clay Sunflowers

My cutting/veggie garden is coming along slowly. We finally got a good bit of rain and all the little sunflower seedlings perked and popped up. (I cannot water my garden because we do not have enough water in our well. For my potted plants, I use gray …

read more

Fabric Printing + Lampshade Creative Retreat Wrap-Up

I have finally recovered from my big week last week and weekend. Between the cleaning of the house and studio, the New England Weaver’s Seminar tour here at the farmhouse on Thursday (I didn’t realize I had chairs for 22 people) and the Creative Retrea…

read more

Life + Objects that Inspired Matisse

Busy week here. I have a group of 20 weavers coming tomorrow as part of their touring day. The New England Weavers Seminar happens every other year at Smith College and on one day, they do a tour of interesting local places. I guess I am interesting. S…

read more

I Just Want to Make….

I was in the bowels of our ancient farmhouse today trying to sort out a bit of a water crisis with my terrific plumber over text message. I came upstairs to find these beautiful flowers on the kitchen island. Don’t know what they are or who brought them but I will enjoy them. 


Over a decade ago now, a young friend of ours named Jen came to visit. She was just getting out of college after studying merchandising. She was finding it hard to find a job and I was telling her about the career I had and giving her ideas for job hunting. I asked Jen what it was that she really wanted to do with her life. She looked at me and thought for a moment. Her response was

“I just want to make the world a beautiful place.”

When The Farmer came home from baling hay, I told him about Jen’s visit. She was the daughter of good friends of ours and he had known Jen since she was an infant. I told him what she said her career goal was and we both talked about how sweet the idea was. 

Ever since that conversation with Jen, I have thought about her comment. How do you make the world a beautiful place? And what is a beautiful place? What is beautiful for me may not be beautiful for you. Do you create beauty with things that you buy and decorate with? Do you create beauty with good deeds? Do you create beauty by working for world peace? Do you create beauty by planting seeds to grow into beautiful blue lupines like in the children’s book Miss Rumphius? Do you plant a beautiful garden to feed your neighbors? Do you create beauty by teaching people new things? Do you create beauty by seeing the beautiful in every little thing? Do you create beauty by sharing ideas and turning someone on to a new craft or technique that may change the course of their life? 

When Jen first spoke those words to me, I thought about how they could be mis-construed – to be thought of as superficial. I can remember my mom talking about beauty only being skin-deep. We were to know that it was what was inside the person which was the most important – not what is on the outside. That physical beauty was not important and should not be thought of as the end all of end all. 

The other day, we were talking about what makes people tick at dinner. We were talking about each of us and what was important to us in our individual lives – in fact it could be thought of as what we find beautiful. As I watch Julia grow into a young woman, I wonder what her path will be. Where will she find her inner passion and what she will find “beautiful”. For her Dad, his idea of beauty is the natural world, his remarkable sheep, their life cycle and how we are feeding our community, and the love of the world and landscape around us that he farms and looks after everyday. 

I’ve been thinking about what my “beauty” is. When am I the most fulfilled and happy? As I have been throwing pots the last couple weeks, I think about this as the wheel spins round and round, as I pull the clay up and form it into a cylinder, as I stretch the clay into a handle and attach it to the vessel. I think my definition of beauty is when I am deep into a project and have lost myself in it. When I am thinking about what I am making, planning on what it will look like, and then working it out. The thing could be a pot, a garden, a book, a painting, an embroidery, or a good meal. Often when the “thing” is done, the magic subsides and goes away. I still like the thing and find it pretty or useful but the real beauty for me is in the act of creation – the spark of my imagination and mind of what the thing will look like and then the intimate creation. I find it truly amazing that I can dream something up in my head and then make it happen with my hands. It doesn’t always come out the way I originally thought it up and that is the fun of it – to see where I am led by the materials and the process. 

I’ve been teaching classes here at our farm since 2009. Every year, I think about not doing them. Mostly I think about that because I don’t want to go through the agony of cleaning my house.  A couple years ago, I tried to let that go – the cleaning thing. It’s hard because I always think of my mom cleaning before her mom came to visit – stressing out that everything has to be just right. I realized that the women that come here to learn from me really could care less if there is some dust and clutter. They aren’t here to inspect my housekeeping skills (thank goodness). They are here to be inspired and to take away a little of the magic and beauty that I have made here at our farmhouse.  

So those are my thoughts for today. If you are wondering what happened to our friend Jen, she found a good job in merchandising with Anthropologie and she literally did make the world a more physically beautiful place. And now she has a couple beautiful kids too. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on beauty. Leave them in the comments. 

Here are some beautiful links for you to peruse today — at least I find them beautiful.

•My friend Lisa is teaching at The Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton Maine this summer. Check out the classes here. Lots of beauty to make. 

• Good article on Barbara Cooney, the author of Miss R here.

• I’m still crazy over Josef Frank‘s textiles. I just found a page I tore from Arts and Antiques over twenty years ago – that must have been where I discovered him before the www. Good article from NYT here

p.s. There are still a few spots left in the July 15/16 Fabric Printing + Lampshade Painting Class. You can come for one or two days. Would love to see some of you here at the farm. Two days $360. One day $199. More info here

Here are the lampshades that the students painted last year.



Here is a photo of some of the lampshades I have made. 


read more

Maine Getaway

After Julia graduated, she and I had a chance to visit our friend Sally at her home on an island in Maine. Unfortunately, The Farmer can’t leave the farm and the animals but I take opportunities for trips whenever I can. It is a long ride Northeast, th…

read more

Clay Sunflowers in Process

I’ve had an idea floating in my head for a while – sunflowers made out of clay. One afternoon, I sat down and sculpted two sunflowers in clay. One I set on a tile made of clay and the other was just a loose shape. I got some pottery plaster and after a…

read more

Free Class – Watercolor 101: The Basics

Free Class – Watercolor 101: The Basics

Talented artist Sarah Richards introduces you to watercolor by showing you the beauty in the basics. Sarah’s simple yet creative approach to teaching will leave you feeling relaxed, motivated, and ready to paint! You will learn how to choose the best watercolor brush for you, why texture and weight of watercolor paper are important, and […]

read more

The Best Playdough Recipe

best playdough recipePlay dough is the perfect rainy day activity, and we love making it in our kitchen.  When you make your own playdough with the best playdough recipe ever, you get way more dough  for your money than when you go out and buy it. Plus, this homemade playdough is so much softer and easier to…

Read More »

The post The Best Playdough Recipe appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.

read more

STYLE ’17 + 40% off admission

I was contacted recently by the organizers of STYLE ’17, asking if I would be interesting in attending the show April 29-30th.  Since I didn’t know anything about the event, I checked out their website to see what types of artists and vendors might be there.  There are some really exciting and diverse crafts being represented (check out this jewelry maker’s biology-inspired items!).  And when I

read more

Life + New Pots + Vanessa Bell Exhibit + Book

March and the beginning of April have been very difficult weatherwise for the sheep and the humans. We seem to be over it hopefully — yesterday it was 80 degrees. Farm chores continue everyday. The lambs are growing and soon the grass will be too. The…

read more

Easter Chick and Bunny Handprint Craft

This spring time handprint  craft is perfect for celebrating Easter with kids.  And the best part is that the paint is made of edible ingredients so it’s taste-safe, making this a great craft for kids of all ages.  This craft idea came from our sponsor, Imperial Sugar.  We followed the instructions for the Easter Chick…

Read More »

The post Easter Chick and Bunny Handprint Craft appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.

read more

Sparkly Things

Over the summer, I looked at a lot of broken glass.  It was comforting and beautiful to see light reflect and bounce off of something considered incomplete.  The summer, was also a huge healing process for myself.  I felt a little broken at the time, but by the end of the summer I was a little more pieced together and shards of glass really didn’t seem like it fit this upcoming chapter.  

I didn’t end up going with broken glass.  
I went with something a little more whole.
I didn’t want to look back at this time of my life and see my art and remember it as broken. I didn’t want anything I created to give off this feeling. I wanted something more whole, something more healing. So, instead of using broken pieces of glass, I starting dreaming up the idea of using real crystal.

It all started with meeting an amazing artist here at SCAD. Hannah (this girl is filled to capacity with creative energy). I’ll be talking about her in later posts fo sho. This girl’s heart is beading.  I mean, she live it, dreams it, breathes it.  She’ll stay up for hours till 3am beading away, not because of a deadline that’s making her stay up to these sunless hours, but because she just gets so wrapped up in the processes and love of a finished piece.  We soon became friends and talked about working together.  I wanted to use what she was most naturally gifted with.

With that, I decided to no longer use glass. and reached out to the lovely people at Swarovski Crystal. I’m incredibly thankful to be working with them, who were so kind to sponsor Hannah and I in this collection. These crystals the most sparkly, radiant things I’ve ever seen and I couldn’t be more excited to work with such materials!
And now for your eyes some sparkly things!

For more vids and swatches for dayzzzz, check out my gram! 
instagram: estherboller 

read more

Lego Painting for Kids

Lego PaintingDo you have a LEGO fan in your house? I have two of them! From time to time, it’s fun to enjoy LEGOs in a different way. This past weekend, we tried Lego Painting. Lego Painting is a fun, creative, and colorful art experience! Learn about textures, patterns, and colors in this kid-led art activity!…

Read More »

The post Lego Painting for Kids appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.

read more

Smallness – Senior Process

–>

My senior collection is about the interaction of light and wind and how, when connected together, they create a transcending feeling of smallness.

I almost used broken shards of glass as one of the main elements. It was a time in my life where I didn’t feel entirely whole. But after advice from my mentor and praying and searching, I decided on something so much better.

What I really hope is that the materials, together, will interact with the true elements of this design: the wind and the light and the unexplainable aura that resonates from them. If I can do this, I can echo to others the absolute greatest feeling I’ve ever experienced—the feeling of staring up at the night sky, watching the stars reflect their light, feeling the wind against my skin, and suddenly realizing how amazingly small we are.

read more

Harmony in Head

It’s midway through the day and I’m thinking three rows ahead, down at my knitting. It’s been 6 hours and whoa. I have completed, wait for it…wait for it… Three. Whole. Inches. 😐  This is a decent accomplishment, but I’m not admiring these fresh stitches. I’m calculating those three inches, into hours, and multiplying them by the knitting yield of the full piece, and then dividing that by seven and then counting down the few remaining days I have left until my critique with the dean. (10 days).
At this rate I should finish this single layer of my first look by, mm, next Tuesday.

I realize this same time comparison has actually been going through my head all day on repeat.  Inch by inch, hour by hour, day by day, minute by minute stitch by stitch by cup of coffee, by stich, I have been calculating my deadlines. The moment when I finish this piece, so I may move onto the next and begin calculating again, but as exhausting as it is to think about and as exhausting as this is to read, you should all know that there is a time when this chess game in my head quiets.

Two days a week, on Monday and Wednesday mornings, I have an art history class and it is my favorite moment of the entire week. It’s a time when I get to sit and pause and just look at artwork.  It’s so soothing. I’m not thinking in terms of a plan and a deadline. There’s no pressure. My boyfriend and I sit aside each other, both of our minds moving a mile a minute, admiring art, coming up with new ideas, and laughing at our professor’s ridiculous, interpretive, dancing. Yes, this really happens.

It’s a pause.  It’s a soak.  I always have a pen and paper ready, but not to write down the names of the artists or the dates of the paintings we cover in class; I have an entire notebook willed with new ideas.

As an artist, we need pauses. Soaks. We need to be inspired without the pressure of creating. Because when you’re not looking for something beautiful, is often when you find beauty in things the most.

Here are some of my favorites art pieces that I should have written in my notebook:

read more

That Cold, Heartless, Knitter Critic

Sometimes, knitting is a barfight between your fingers, your needles, your mind, body, and spirit. And sometimes it’s your spirit that loses. Last night was one of those nights.

It was another beautiful day of working on my senior, Estonion lace inspired knitwear collection, when bam!💥 💥💥

The inner-critic hit again.

This nameless, faceless ghost lives inside me and does this from time to time. Taunting me. Cursing me. It likes to creep up slowly and whisper insults at me without me noticing, but by the time I’m aware of its presence, it’s too late; my shoulder is aching, my callused fingers are burning; my mind and body have both taken sides with the critic; I can go on knitting no longer.

For this collection of mine (title still pending) I’ll need to be knitting 8 hours a day and pattern drafting the rest. Next month, I’ll need to step it up to knitting 12-16 hours a day. With thousands of hours still ahead of me, and my stitches slipping, yesterday was a battle I admittedly lost. Critic, one. Esther, zero.

But it had to happen, you guys. I’m so glad it did. It was a strategic loss and I’ll tell you why. Hand knitting has and always will be a slow process. There’s no better example of this than Estonion culture.

For them, knitting wasn’t a hobby. It was tradition. It was about creativity and innovation. At a very young age, little Estonion girls would break out their needles and experiment with new techniques. They’d knit piece after piece, all this so that one day, when they were married, they could give these knits away to guests at their ceremony. And let me tell you, it was a ceremony, shawties. The whole town showed up to that Shindawg and the Brides’ knits represented who she was as a homeslice. It was a way of life, yo.

It was not something they churned out as fast as they could to meet a deadline. Knitting was a slow, organic, creative process. It defined them.
I realize today that I was holding my needles too closely and twisting my stitches incorrectly. (If any of you know a trick to increase the brioche stitch, lemme know, dawg).  I was rushing. I was working too tense, too fast, too long and too critically.

When I got home, I had a headache and a rowdy knot in my shoulder that wouldn’t stop yelling,

Don’t ignore me, you stupid, little, yellow piece of cake—you know your gauge is sloppy—oh, and that lentel soup you made? You don’t even like it. It sucks. Everyone at Friendsgiving was just pretending to enjoy it because they felt bad for you, but they shouldn’t, you know why? Because you SUCK.

I was done for the day and I was away from the needles, but the inner critic—that cold, heartless, Knitter Critic—wouldn’t shut up. It grew louder and louder and I cried a little.

But when I woke up this morning everything was different. My mind, body and spirit were working together again as always and I realized: last night may have been a loss, but the score is not Critique: one, Esther: zero.

I’m gonna’ slow it down, lock it in. Block it, draft it, and get it done, one stitch at a time.

read more

How to Whimsify Your Boring, Old Hallway??

Step 1: Forget everything you know about crafts

The art and act of crafting is not at all what most people think.

You could be a fool with your hands. Your cutting skills could be seriously lacking. Your gluing abilities might not be so hot and you may have little-to-no- spare time. That’s okay, gurrrl—turning a dark, horrible hallway into a whimsy wonderland requires none of these things! There’s only one thing you absolutely need to create another world, that is, an idea that excites you.

This will not be your typical how-to.

Step 2: The Vision

When I’m feelin’ crafty but don’t have a project in mind, its hard for me to relax. I always have to be doing something with my hands, but I always remind myself that it’s never good to force something. In the end, the vision and the feeling has to come first.  

After 12 + hours a day pattern drafting and knitting at Eckburg, coming home and opening the door to a long, treacherous, empty, barren, dark, quite, scary hallway was kinda the icing on top of the workaholic cake. So. I decided to remind myself of one of my favorite feelings, whimsy💫

Once you know what feeling you want to create, hone in on that vision, beebee! If you have a strong mind’s eye, this may be easy, but for others, focus on that feeling; search online and look for inspiration. Create a mood board if you have to.

For me, I thought about friendly clusters of butterflies guiding me kindly, safely, to my bed so I may promptly pass out in peace. Motivation! 👏

Step 3: Choosing your elements

Now, I’m not going to lie to you all. I really broke the bank for this one, guys. I used some pretty high tech stuff (printing paper, masking tape). Which leads me to Bonus Tip number one:

Stay within your budget. And know that there’s almost always a much cheaper version of the material you’re envisioning. For me, construction paper was tempting, but in the end, borrowing copious amounts of paper from the printers at my school just made sense. 😊 ✌😋

TIP 2: Keep it consistent! More important than the materials themselves is consistency. Stolen sheets of computer paper may be paired well with masking tape found in a drawer! When creating a new world, the components need to create harmony.

Step 4: Execution

It’s all in the details on this one, son. 😎  The subtleties. The little stuff. Let the experience be organic. Don’t make every element a piece from a cookie cutter. Don’t feel limited to the designs you find online. Vary them in size and shape a little. Make some mistakes. I certainly didn’t cut all of these little butterflies perfectly. Some of them really suck. They aren’t clustered together into perfect crescendos or anything like that, and I didn’t have the principles of design floating around in my head constantly when placing them. I just had fun and cut away and taped and relaxed. Don’t worry if you mess up. You’ll be surprised: an imperfection up close can seem so horrible and ugly, but when you step back and look at your finished project as a whole, its these imperfections that makes it all beautiful.  

💫💫💫💫💫💫💫
read more

Valentines Home Made Card {Super Cool Idea!}

valentines home made cardMake cards special with this super cool idea for an awesome Valentines Home Made Card! I like finding ways to involve kids in blessing others. Even if its something as simple as sending a birthday or thank you card to a friend, it’s nice to share the experience with them. In this tutorial we’ll show you how…

Read More »

The post Valentines Home Made Card {Super Cool Idea!} appeared first on Kids Activities Blog.

read more

Kaffee Fassett’s Adventures in Color – Book Review and Giveaway

Happy Saturday everyone! I’m a bit late with this today. My computer isn’t recognizing my camera and I wasn’t able to get the photos I took onto my computer! I’ve been at the Farmers Market all day and just got home. These photos are taken with my ipho…

read more

I Remember Better When I Paint and Art + Craft +…….

I watched a fantastic documentary last night about the power of making art. It is called I Remember Better When I Paint. It shows how alzheimer’s patients thrive when in the act of making art. Many experts talk on the film but what I found the most imp…

read more

Free Class – Watercolor Techniques

Free Class – Watercolor Techniques

Renowned artist Natalie Malan expertly introduces you to the beautiful world of watercolor painting in this easy-to-follow class.  Have you always wanted to give watercolor painting a try but didn’t know where to start? Well, this is your opportunity! Download Now

read more

Thought Process + Some Links

I have been typing away all week on the keyboard of my computer working on the re-writes for my editor. It is a slog. Many years ago, I read a quote from Patricia Wells, one of my fave cookbook authors. She said something about you have to just sit the…

read more

Making Pottery Vases This Year

Over the weekend, I worked on taking photos of the pottery I have made this year. I have been taking a pottery class at my friend Lucy Fagella’s studio this year to keep me in the throwing and making pots game. It has been fun because I have met some n…

read more

Free Tutorial – Quilled Paper Sunflower Necklace Tutoria

Free Tutorial – Quilled Paper Sunflower Necklace Tutoria

PATTERN DETAILS Quilling is one of the most magical and underutilized crafts in the world of ‘make’. It is extremely inexpensive, easily learned, portable and the results are outstanding. Here is your chance to learn the art of modern quilling for free with this simple tutorial. Wear this necklace out with caution: You will be […]

read more

Kristin’s On-Line Pottery Shop Goes Live at 8 p.m. Monday!

Here is the link for anyone interested in my handmade pottery. The shop will be open at 8 p.m. this evening – Monday.Here are a few of my new pieces. Thanks for your support. Kristin

read more