Right before Christmas, I decided to take some time of work due to several stressful situations. To keep myself busy, I got involved with decoupage. I started with small napkin decoupage projects, but since it never takes me long to learn I quickly found myself getting more involved in decoupage. I’m planning on working decoupage into artisan jewellry and who knows what else we can come up with.

As for the projects I’ve already made, well some of the projects became gifts and one in particular went to a friend, Jacqueline, who has a young and very inquisitive daughter. She asked me to teach her how to decoupage a box for an aunt of hers. She wanted to give her a surprise and liked the napkin decoupage wine box I gave her mom.

A gift for our cousin, Yusi

A gift for our cousin, Yusi

A gift for our cousin, Gaby

A gift for our cousin, Gaby

Jacqueline's gift

Jacqueline's gift

For this wine box, I used a colorful napkin and cut out the different flowers, branches and birds.  Like I said, Jacqueline’s daughter, Isabella, really liked the design and asked if I could teach her.

We started off with small MDF containers. Mine is on the right and Isa’s is on the left. We used wide, hard bristle paint brushes and white, water based enamel paint.

Materials for decoupage

Materials for decoupage

Isa painting her box

Isa painting her box

For the first class all we did was sand down the rough parts and put on the first coat of paint.

Isa's first coat of paint

Isa's first coat of paint

My first coat of paint

My first coat of paint

This was the end of our first class.  Next week we will proceed to the application of the napkin, which requires a little more patience and time.

Until then,

If you have any comments or questions, please leave post

-P

Among all of the different artisan techniques that I’ve delved into, weaving is the latest one. However, I couldn’t start weaving if we didn’t have the looms, so I went out in look of the looms I needed, only problem was that on the market I could only find small hand looms that didn’t quite make the cut. That’s when I decided to make my very first handmade looms :).

Problem is, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

 

My 1st HANDMADE LOOM

First, I had to buy the sticks to make the frame for the handmade looms, and then, get down to cutting and hammering. It took me an entire afternoon to make the ones I’m posting. I haven’t finished yet, but I promise I’ll post some more info (and hopefully my first handmade woven scarf) soon, but for now I’m just going to post the finished handmade looms and one that is lacking the pegs.

These looms weren’t so hard to make, took me about half a morning, even though I did have a little problem after I was done. If you look closely you see what I’m talking about.

I’ve already tried weaving, but haven’t gotten it down yet, once I do I’ll upload the pic.

Two frame looms

TWO HANDMADE LOOMS

I used 19x19mm (1×1″) square pine molding for the handmade frame and 1-1/2″ finishing nails for the pegs. The pegs are set 1 cm apart (aprox. 3/4″). If you do this, be careful to pre-drill the holes. As you can see in the picture, the wood started to split because I hadn’t pre-drilled any holes!!

The small handmade loom

SMALL HANDMADE LOOM 22x22 cm (approximately 8.5in x 8.5in )

I was worried the loom’s structure wouldn’t be strong enough, so I used metallic angles to keep the loom sturdy. The whole construction process was very rustic, but I’m eager to see what woven products I can make with them. Since they are the first looms I’ve built, it was a radical learning process. The holes for the larger loom were pre-drilled so I had no problems with the wood ….. :).

Large handmade loom

LARGE HANDMADE LOOM 14 x14 cm frame (5.5in x 5.5in)

 

THE MOTHER OF ALL HANDMADE LOOMS!

This is the “mother of all looms”. It took so much out of me that I was sore the next day, but it’ll be good for making hugs… I hope :)!

It’s made with 1×3″ architecture grade lumber. It’s so big I had to ask my dad and sister to help me move it outside of the house to finish it. I knoooowww …it is huge, but we plan on making scarves with it. Haven’t quite finished it yet, but I’m starting to think I’ll need a whole afternoon just to finish hammering in the nails … geez!

pic of giant handmade loom

GIANT LOOM 2.40m long x 38cm wide

I separated the Giant into 2 so that we basically have three looms in one. The smaller section is intended for hugs.

Part of the Giant handmade loom

Part of the Giant

We haven’t started weaving yet, but I am so excited! I can’t wait to see how the hugs come out. Hoping to have some time soon!!!!

I’ll post instructions with the process of making these handmade looms, so stay tuned.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a post
-P

I.e.: Work in Progress Made To Order. 

A friend, Daniela, asked us to knit a poncho for her based on a poncho I had. Since we usually make our handmade projects and then selling them, asking to make a specific piece is a new challenge. However, since we need to get used to MTO products I decided to accept and started making her poncho :).

I hope to finish it soon, at least before she goes on vacations to Peru so that she can use it on her trip. Nothing like a handmade knit to keep you warm during cold nights, besides she won’t find another artisan poncho made with as much love as mine :).

I really enjoyed knitting my own poncho, so I was happy to knit one for a friend.

My knitted poncho

My knitted poncho

Here you can see how the hand knitted poncho is coming along.

The yarn: Chocolate brown with aqua highlights

The yarn: Chocolate brown with aqua highlights

Detail of knit cable

Detail of cable

So far, so good :)

So far, so good 🙂

I’ll keep you posted on our progress

If you have any comments or questions, please leave a post.
-P

Well, this is the first official post since we opened our wordpress account. The idea behind this blog is to share our experiences as we start our first e-business of homemade and handmade products.

WHO ARE WE and WHAT’S CUPERNICKEL?

We are two sisters who have decided to start a handmade – homemade business to sell Chilean artisan products that are inspired on the beauty that surrounds this amazing country. The whole “starting a business” thing is nothing new to either of us, but the Internet factor is a novelty and somewhat daunting. Add to that the fact that we are sisters, and we tend to have quarrels quite frequently. Are we nuts? I say maybe, but that would be a discussion for a different day and a different blog.

Now, a little more about the handmade, homemade, artisan e-business. Ever since we were young, both of us have been quite resourceful and manual. We would easily learn how to knit, how to crochet, how to paint, and how to do just about any other type of technique for making homemade products. This trait has carried on into our adult life and we each have hobbies that have kept that alive be it writing, drawing, sewing, knitting or any new found artisan technique that has us eager to learn.

WHAT MAKES OUR HANDMADE PRODUCTS UNIQUE?

This is nothing new if you think about all the people out there that either create their own clothes or even spin their own yarn, so what makes us so special? As young adults we both moved to our passport country (we are Adult TCKs), and that added a new depth to our lives that we now pass onto our products. Certainly, the transition wasn’t smooth, but we’ve always tried to take it as optimistically as possible.

HOMEMADE, HANDMADE, or ARTISAN PRODUCTS?

If you look-up the word artisan you’ll basically find the same type of definition everywhere: “one that produces something in limited quantities often using traditional methods”. This sounds just about right when you’re trying to define handmade products or even homemade products, but if you take the time to investigate … you’ll see the differences. However, we never saw all the art there was in handmade products until we discovered Chile.

CUPERNICKEL – the philosophy behind the company

On that note, we decided to combine our experiences from our host country (US) and our passport country (Chile) to come up with Cupernickel, and that’s what makes us special.

We take from our host country a strong work ethic, a certain aesthetic sensibility and a “can do” attitude.  From our passport country, we take the beautiful landscapes that range from desert lands to glaciars with forests and coastlines in between. The colors, textures, and unique materials that this country lends us are stunning. And with all this we mix, knit, dye, sew, felt, and create beautiful artisan pieces that are combined with the inspiration found in our natural settings giving way to unique handmade products.

Therefore, Cupernickel is a combination of two worlds, just like us. In fact the name (deliberately misspelled) comes from a copper-nickel alloy that is used in coins and most chilean artisan jewelry. In Chile, it is referred to as alpaca, just like the camelid.

We’ll be keeping you posted while our company gets on its feet. This is an amazing new challenge for us both and we hope to have our homemade products up soon so that you can have a look at them. We’ll also be posting stories about Chile to share with you the beauty that inspires us. Hope you enjoy this journey as much as we do.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them.

Until then :).