March 26, 2008

Ornament Thursday: a LOLsprout!

Welcome to Ornament Thursday. This month's theme is SPROUT and I have some unusual sources of inspiration for my project. As it happens, our first pets were Russian Dwarf Hamsters, they looked like the little one below. We bought two, which turned out to be a boy and a girl, which quickly turned us into the proud parents of seven hamsters. And the female hammy, who became the mom, was named SPROUT! Now, did you know that once hamsters are grown and weaned, they do not like to live together? It's true, they fight mightily, which meant that we ended up with about 6 different little cages, each with its own running wheel. So our little apartment ended up looking like a pet shop. And did I mention that they are nocturnal creatures, so those little wheels run all night long, squeaking noisily when you want to be quietly sleeping? It is also true. So it was a learning experience for us, and it was more than we expected, but we really loved those little hammies.

This is what I made, a cute little anime inspired hammy ornament with beaded dangle and ribbon and chain hanger. How cute! These hamsters were SO cute, they were tiny, just palm sized, and so fun to watch. They were our first pets of our own, all we could really have in our tiny apartment, which didn't really allow pets. I drew all seven of them in anime style, wanting to make a little comic book about them. They were like little superheros, each with a different power and magical item to suit that hamster's personality. Here are my original sketches:
There was Sprout, of course, she had a little magical sprout or vine. She had the ability to make things grow, I guess. Then there was Spud, he was the dad. A rather serious little hamster with the traditional *dad* items like a necktie and a pipe (which blew bubbles). Then there were the baby hams. Pippo was very friendly and very well groomed. You could hold him in your hand and he would tuck all in and be a perfect smooth little pillow shaped mound. His anime item was a little hair comb. Gary was a mean little guy, and lightening fast. We had to watch him, he would run like crazy! His item is little running shoes. Then there was Ash. He was a fat little hamster, the biggest of the bunch, although he got skinny st one point, I don't know why. Anyway, his item is a spoon.
Then there was Spot, who had a tiny white spot on his head, really! It was adorable. I made the spot a star in his anime version and gave him a matching star wand. Finally, there was Sissy. We think she was the only girl (its hard to tell when their bits are so small!) and it was kind of sad, she was the smallest, the runt, and she didn't live long. She was kind of mean too, and would often bite. So her anime persona was an angry angel, with wings and a halo, and a cute bow on her head. So there you go, the inspiration behind this little ornament. Now I had at one point fully intended to carve all seven of them, and also make one for my anime persona, but I apparently moved onto something else after the Sprout mold.

oops, well this wasn't so much a tutorial on how I made this ornament tile, was it? Honestly, that part is pretty boring. I like to hear about inspirations most, so thats what I wrote today. But here are some details in case you like the technical stuff. The plaster mold above was made from a handcarved original (carved in porcelain) To make the ornament, red stoneware was pressed into the plaster, dried a bit, popped out, wire loops inserted into the wet clay, and left to dry. It was bisque fired, then washed with an iron wash, glazed with green details, and fired to about 2300*. It was then beaded and wired up with fancy beads and a ribbon woven chain to hang. There you go! If you want to read a more detailed tutorial about the actual moldmaking and pressing, check out Chuck's tutorial on pretty much the technique we both learned...but I am too lazy to wrote my own tutorial, and his is excellent!

Check back later today, as I will be posting more way cute hammy things, my favorite LOLhammies, and I will also be listing this ornament and a few others in my new Etsy ceramic shop! Stay tuned...
And I have been showing you LOLcats all week, and here is one of my favorites. A lolhammy! It looks just like our little hams! I hope you will munch on this *buffet* of cool links to other Ornament Thursday links:

Now that's it's time for spring, ideas are "sprouting" all over the place. Alexa creates this eye-catching notebook to keep them in order.

Some good karma is sprouting up at the Art Bead Scene with Heather's Lotus Flower Bracelet

The Brooklyn National Anthem sprouts every year when Cindy's in Spring mode. See what it inspired this year!

It's spring and we're sprouting all sorts of wonderful art at http design. Michelle is toting her art to the market and Helen revisits a fun art school assignment for her inspiration.

Humblebeads celebrates spring with a Berry Good bracelet inspired by some juicy disk beads.

Jennifer has come up with a cute little necklace to remind you of spring.

Create some spring flair of your own with this easy bead embroidery idea from Katie's book, Hip to Bead.

Not much of a horticulturist? Me neither! But I love flowers and I enjoy growing these ones with some paper, paint, and rhinestones.

Tea decided to join the fun this month. Check out her quilt blocks and Linda's purse.

What do Korean playing cards have to do with a sprouting spring? Check out Melissa's blog to find out.

Michelle just can't stop creating in green! A little wooden birdhouse becomes a beautiful palace!

Candie shares some happy spring memories with a cheerful felty flower idea!

Jean tells a touching, poignant tale of some beads who help one another, and after a small amount of sturm and drang they get it together and help each other! In fact, they prettify whatever YOU choose! Go see! It's fun!

Even without a green thumb, Lisa managed to "grow" a garden of sorts this month.

Lynn Kvigne's used wire and a lentil bead to create a "sprouting" pendant for wire workers who want a bit of a challenge!

Inspired by a river rock shaped like an ancient goddess statue, Hali paints, melts crayons and adds glitter to create a sparkley celebration of Spring.

How does your garden grow? With metal mesh, Czech glass beads and vintage French images all in a row! Margot just returned from Paris where she discovered a treasure trove of vintage paper. This scanned and sized postcard image fit the theme of sprout perfectly and the necklace was in search of a new home...add some teal metal mesh bows and accents and voila...a design sprouts forth!

What does a gal do when she finds herself far from her crafting supplies? Why, she raids her mom's basement and then puts dear old mama to work! Stop by and you'll see why mom's basement is fertile ground for things that sprout!


  1. Melanie,

    The hamster is so cute! Fun inspiration for OT this month. I'm sure your post will be a winner!


  2. Talk about a teaser! All I can say is "Show me, show me!"

  3. this little guy is so cute--let me know when your thing is up!!! YAY!

  4. OH MY G!!! I gotta have that!!! that I haz to have!!! you are amazing!!! WOWOWWOWWOWOWOWOWOW!!!

  5. How cute...hamsters rock. And that's great project!

  6. Sprout is wonderful! You turned that clever little mold into that wonderful wearable art! Wow! It's great.

  7. OMG, the LOLcats rule! I can has sprout?

    I adore your hamster, and seeing your doodles really made me smile! Great project!


  8. Okay... I'm in love...

    I am not a hamster fan (or bird...see MY post!) or really animals in general, but you have converted me!!!

    Sprout is adorable! I love everyone's versions of these themes!

    Your post is the best! Love the cuteness, the funniness, the story, the inspiration, the project!

    So cute!!!

  9. My daughter will freak when she sees this! She loves hammies! She loves anime! She loves cuteness and LOL!

    Oh Melanie, you're mind is just overflowing with so much wonder and joy! You're da bomb.

    I may be commissioning some LOL pig beads...waddya think? It's a different kind of hammy!


  10. Too KAWAII!!! I love the story behind this little guy, too.

  11. What a whimsical project and what a great story. And I'm so envious that you can draw! Those sketches are adorable. And the bead is too. Thanks for sharing it!

  12. Thanks everyone for your kind comments and for stopping by today! I had fun getting this old mold out of storage and remembering our hamsters!

    Just to clarify, as I have no size reference here at all I see, this is ornament sized, not bead sized. The tile itself is about 2x2 inches square. I wanted to make the whole set as tiles, so they coudl be set into a tabletop or something, but Sprout is as far as I got, lol! Just another little tidbit.

    Thanks again all!

  13. Hammy rocks Melanie. I loved seeing your sketches.

  14. Melanie,

    This is adorable! I love the little beads hanging from the bottom too, the perfect touch!

    I think we need a Hamster comic book!

  15. Heather, Rebecca,
    Thanks! I don't usually show my skecthes, they are so random and I dont' feel like they are good, but I am glad I showed them and that you like them!

  16. Melanie,

    Are you kidding? Your sketches are fantastic!