Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry White Christmas

We are having a White Christmas.... just enough snow to make everything look pretty.

Taken from the back porch

Corny checking out the snow

Taste test

My blue and brown tree fell over

It's fine now, Roger fixed it for me.

Wishing you all a Very Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Funny Bunnies Polymer Clay & Wire

I fully intended to decorate more ornaments but I got sidetracked with my Funny Bunnies.... they are more fun and don't give me fits .... I'll try ornaments again later.... maybe.

For the bunnies I make the wire frames first and then back them with clay.  Parawire had a new color of wire, Rose Gold, that is the primary color for the first bunny.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Here he is before I added the clay background.

Once I added the clay I took his picture with some of my clowns, isn't he a cutie?

Here is a close up

I used copper and orange wire for the second Funny Bunny 

and then used clay scraps from the first bunny to swirl the background. I painted him with PearlEx to get the shine.

Next I made a floppy eared bunny. This time I used brown and magenta wire. 

I haven't backed him yet.... I know he looks a little chilly but he will have to remain naked until after I bake my Christmas cookie. I have my dough chilling in the fridge. I hope to get some of them baked this evening. 

See ya later.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Attempt at Christmas Ornaments

It's a rather pathetic attempt, so far I've manage to finish three.

One of the gals over on Polymer Clay Central made bunches of beautiful glass ornaments decorated with polymer clay.  "Looks like fun" says I, "I think I'll give it a try.".   So I bundle up and head over to WalMart. Walmart is now the only place in town to buy things including  ornaments, they ran all the other stores out of town, even the dollar store couldn't compete...but I digress I was talking ornaments.  And of course they did not have any glass ornaments, only "shatterproof" plastic.  Boooooo!! I really miss Ben Franklin, they closed not long after WalMart came to town but I still miss them.

Next day Heather, Roger and I went to Michaels over in Edwardsville, I needed some clay supplies and while we were there I found some gold and brown glass ornaments.... and they were on sale... perfect, now I could  slap clay on them to my hearts content.  Speaking of sales, have you ever noticed half of Micheals inventory is always on sale.... you think they see us coming?  Plus I had my 50% off coupon which I always forget to use.

Later that evening, after I got hubby off to work, I whistled a happy tune as I laid out my supplies, got out the clay and started mixing colors. I made some stripes, I made some flowers, I cut some stars , I cleaned the first ornament and with much anticipation I placed the first line of clay on the glass.... huh.... it would not stick.... nope, not sticking at all. It stuck to my fingers, it stuck to the acrylic rod, it even stuck to the parchment paper but not to the glass.  After much smoothing and rolling .... and swearing... I finally got it to stick... the back of my fingernail worked the best, I've pretty sure the swearing helped too.  Here are the results so far.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I had almost as much fun trying to get photos as I did making these blasted things!! Shiny ornaments have lots of glare... grrrrrr!

I used Kato clay for these and I anchored the tendrils with Kato liquid clay. Next time I will try Premo and Fimo Classic... oh, and I will try Pardo Art Clay, maybe it will stick better. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mixed Media Hearts and Things

I just this minute finished my Christmas shopping, I love the internet!!  We had our first snow last night, woke up to a glistening snow covered world, very pretty but also very cold so I was happy to do my shopping in front of the computer.

My tree is up, not decorated but it is sitting in the living room waiting to be adorned with twinkling lights and pretty ornaments.  I am trying something new this year, I'm doing the tree in blues and browns to match my living room.  I'm  little nervous, my eldest grandson is big on tradition,  I'm not sure how he will react to the change, he likes things to be the same at Grandma's house.

Here are some of the wire and polymer clay things I've been working one.

Wire hearts before I added the clay

Click on the photos for a closer look.

and here they are after I backed them with polymer clay

Here is another of my wire critters before the clay

and now with the clay backing

and I also made some wire "cage" pendants.  I will  add clay accents later. 

This one is my favorite

and this was just for fun... a wire "zentangle" inspired by the amazing zentangles by Ruth and Dora on their Flickr pages. 

I am going to go decorate the tree. See ya later!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Pin

Okay, I am not doing good keeping up with my blog!  The faster I go the behinder I get... did you all know that Christmas is in 3 weeks... how the hell did that happen?

I have been working my little heart out making the ornaments for the Mini Christmas Ornament Swap and I am happy to announce I am  done...well almost done, I still need to sew them on cards, put them in plastic bags and mail them.... which is taking almost as much time as making them.  I know what you're thinking... "why is the dummy sewing them on cards?"  right?,   see, I knew you were thinking that.   And the answer is because I put a lot of time and energy into making them and I don't want them to get broken or smushed plus they look nice on the cards.  I'll show them to you when the swap is over.

 I also made a Christmas pin with the scraps, that I can show you. Here it is.  Click on the photo for a closer look.


and here is the back... as you can see it doesn't have a pinback yet... another thing on my "to do " list.

Here is the striped cane I used on some of the ornaments, the little cane on the left is made from scraps.

I am now going to go sew ornaments of cards.... see you later.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Works in Progress Owls & More

I made several more wire pieces that will become either pendants or brooches. 

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I will add a pin back to this little guy. I made the wire owl first then pressed it onto a textured polymer clay sheet that I highlighted with PearlEx powders. I used an Exacto knife to trim off the excess clay. After curing I usually seal PearlEx pieces with liquid Kato but this time I used Future. 

This one is fairly big, it measures 2 1/2"x 3 1/2" across.  This was made in two sections which I secured together with glue and wire. My muse and I are still trying to decide how to finish the necklace.... maybe with copper chain, cords or  beads or a combination of materials.  

This is just a funky doodad, not sure how I will use it. I am tempted to try and sell some of my wire doodads as decorations for hats, purses, belts hair clips etc.  

The vintage 40's plastic button was the inspiration for this one, it is a pretty peach that goes well with the orange beads and amber wire. I used light amethyst wire for contrast. I used 28 gauge wire over 18 gauge wire, it has a tighter weave than the ones I made with 26 gauge wire..... I like the look so I ordered more 28 gauge wire from Parawire.  I am such an impulse buyer, I can't resist shiny objects so I had to have every color.

This one is made with brown wire, yellow glass square beads and a couple butterscotch buttons from the 40's.  It will be a brooch as soon as I figure out how to attach the pinback. 

I will be doing turkey day things the next few days,  if I don't have time to post again before thursday I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wire Jewelry & Polymer Clay Beads

It's been a while since my last post, I've had a cold plus we took advantage of the warm Indian summer weather and cleaned out the garage.  It was crammed full of stuff and the squirrels had a field day with the stuffing in the old couch and the boxes of magazines and books.  For little critters  they sure can do a  lot of damage. The garage is looking pretty good. There are still several pieces of furniture that will go to auction.  Once it's done Roger will have a place to store his vintage Mustang and his motor cycle. 

I've been mostly working with wire. I made lots of doodads and some necklaces. Here are three necklaces that I finished.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

The first one is made with blue and gun metal grey wire and blue square beads. It's quite large but I like it. 

The second is my favorite. I use 18 gauge amber wire to create the design and then wove in amber,  brown and bronze 26 gauge wire. The center is a metal button set with pearly gold stones. I made a coiled wire bail and strung the pendant of jasper beads and used brown glass seed beads for spacers. 

The third is gold and sea green wire set with a vintage celluloid button that I've had lying around for a very long time.  The button is missing a couple rhinestones but  it still looks pretty good and the "well loved" look is in right now. There is a little dragonfly bead on the wire.  The chain is made from matching wire.

I used one of the pretty coasters I got in the coaster swap as a background for this large wire bow doodad.   I like the way it looks on the coaster so I am going make a large tile to mount it on and make it into a large medallion style pendant.  According to the experts large is in.  I am going to do the same with more of my wire pieces.

This pendant has a wire frame with a polymer clay center.  Heather thinks granddaughter Amanda might like this one.

Plaid polymer clay framed with amber and sea green wire. 

The last couple months I have been using only Pardo Art Clay but since it doesn't come in metallics I got out my Kato clay to make these textured beads.  The difference in conditioning is quite striking, I had to get out my hammer and pound the clay before I used the pasta machine.  I still like Kato, it doesn't change color while curing, but oh the smell!  The Art Clay doesn't smell at all but Kato sure does.  I've always been a little allergic to it and it did make my eyes itch and my nose run.  

I mixed silver and blue to get the color for these beads. The design is the same on both sides. 

I added a little red to gold Kato for these beads. The design is on both sides.

I made more wire things but I want to mount them on polymer clay before I take photos. I'm working on an owl necklace that I really like.  I hope to get it done today so I can show it to you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Polymer Clay & Colored Wire... Mostly Wire

I haven't blogged for awhile... time flies when you're having fun and even when you're not.  I've had a bit of a cold so I've been sleeping or sitting in the recliner with a cat on my lap. Our weather has turned a little chilly and cats are good heating pads.

First let me explain the photos. I have this Jello Cook Book that I was going to list in my Etsy Shop, Swan Song Antiques. I was thumbing though looking at the illustrations and thought the magician  would be fun to use with my most recent creations. 

I have mostly been playing with wire, I can do that sitting in my recliner...without a cat on my lap... but I did make a few things with clay as well.  I am still using Pardo Art Clay. 

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I made the wire frame first for this one and then added the clay by pressing the wire down into the clay and trimming around the outside with an Exacto knife.  Before curing I place a piece of parchment paper over the clay and smoothed with the back of a spoon and my finger to give a smooth even surface. I can't sand clay when I combine it with wire without sanding the color off the wire. This is another thing I like about the Pardo Art Clay, you can get a very smooth surface without sanding. 

The next piece is 18 gauge bronze wire wrapped with pink 26 gauge wire and I used yellow seed beads along the edge of the curled section. 

This one is 18 gauge amber colored wire wrapped with 26 gauge amber wire and adorned with goldstone beads. 

This one is really cool, the photo doesn't do it justice. It is 18 gauge brown wire wrapped with 26 gauge burgundy and tangerine wire. I used glass seed beads on the bottom loops and a Swarovski  crystal bead on the drop. The center is a textured vintage button. I think I will put this one on a copper chain. 

I like this one too, these are my colors. The center strip is a mirror image with strips of gold Pardo Jewellery clay on each side. I used my ripple blade along each side and added the pieces of orange and black cane in each of the ripples. This was a experiment to see how well the Art Clay sections bond.... and it works very well, the piece is strong and secure.  I added the black wire bail and Swaroski rhinestones for interest. 

I used 18 gauge amber wire and 26 gauge wire with iridescent green seed beads to make this one.  I used a hammer to flatten the curly cues.  I need practice hammering but it doesn't look to bad and as you can see the color on the wire doesn't hammer off. 

This next one is more wire weaving using 18 gauge wire and 26 gauge yellow lemon wire and faceted peridot crystal beads.  I may add something clay to this one.... haven't decided how or what... so you may see this one again 

This last one is one I showed before but without the bird. Please forgive the lousy photo, I tried and tried to get a good one and this was the best I could do.  Everything about this piece was a struggle.  Things were going along really well, I used a mold Heather made for the bird, placed him on the pendant, highlight with PearlEx powders to give his feathers a shine and popped it in the oven. After it cooled I brushed on a thin layer of Kato sauce and cured it again.  When it came out of the oven I was using the heat gun to clear the Kato sauce... this is where bad stuff stared to happen...  because I was jabbering away to Heather I wasn't looking at the pendant... glanced down and saw a curl of smoke..uh oh... I burned the clay above the bird... the white/gray striped canopy. I'd put a lot of work into this piece so I better come up with  way to fix it...right?   After it cooled I decided sanding the burned part might work.  Not so. Sanding didn't remove the burn but it did remove color from the wire.  Now I have two problems, a burned canopy and copper wire showing through the green.  Fortunately I had a small piece of the striped clay left so I used it to cover the  burn. I covered the paint loss with fringe beads and 26 gauge wire, I like it.   Problems solved.. here it is.  (just don't look to close, not that you can with that lousy picture!).  

Okay, now tell the truth, wasn't the magician fun? 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wild Bird in the House

Does anyone else gets birds in the house? I'm not talking about canaries or parakeets I'm talking about wild birds. Every year or two a bird finds it 's way into our basement. I cannot find where they get in, I've looked and looked and can't figure it out.  Most times I hear them banging around.... go down to see what the heck the cats are doing... and see a bird flying around. I open the basement door and shoo it out, not a big deal.  A couple times it has been a little more exciting than that. Today was one of those times.

I was sitting in my office listening to NPR and surfing the web looking for the best place to buy a jeweler's saw.  I hear rattling noises and look up to see things falling off the wall in the stairway going up into to main part of the house... "what the hell?" at first I though "earthquake". I see the ear of one of my Easter bunny candy containers fluttering to the floor and suddenly I hear both cats madly dashing around upstairs..... not  good... so I do a little dashing myself.  I make it to the front entry and I see the bird in the stair well flying upward to the second floor and two cats in hot pursuit.  As I reach the landing and look up the bird lands on my head, Fritz, my male cat, leaps up on the newel post and is about to launch himself at the bird.  I have visions of a big black cat and a stupid little bird atop my bloody scratched up head and I scream NOOOOOOO!! Which scares both the bird and the cat. The bird flies upward, the cats right behind. Fortunately all the bedroom doors are closed, the only room open is the small den/sitting room at the front of the house. The bird  flies in, both cats dash in and I stumble in and slam the door yelling at the top of my lungs. The bird lands on the ledge above the window and is running back and forth looking for a way out.  The cats are stalking back and forth looking for ways to get at the bird. Fritz jumps from the futon to the chest of drawers, I grab him, jerk open the door and toss him out and slam the door shut.  Corny, who is an experienced hunter is more cunning, she is crouched on the futon, tail swishing, waiting for the bird to make a mistake.  I scoop her up with a triumph "Ah Ha!". I have her in a firm grip under my left arm, I can hear Fritz outside the door.  I am prepared.... or so I think... I will block his entrance with my foot.... I open the door with my right hand stick out my left  foot and Fritz leaps over my foot with the grace of a gazelle.  "Oh S@#%!!". So I toss Corny out the door and again slam it shut.

 Now keep in mind I am no spring chicken and I am running out of steam... here I am, shut in a  room with a terrified bird and a very determined cat.  I'm plotting how I can grab Fritz.... he's fast and stays out of my reach but is keeping an eye on the bird. When I move the bird flies around the room banging into the wall and falls downs either on the tv table, end table or chest of drawers. Fritz leaps at the bird, I leap at Fritz and we all come up empty handed or empty pawed as the case may be.  This happens several times. I'm huffing and puffing and swearing. It is fair to say none of us as having a good time.

This calls for desperate measures. Fritz is deathly afraid of plastic bags so I decide if I get a plastic bag maybe I can open the door a bit and use the bag to scare him out of the room.  For this plan to work I need a plastic bag. I look through the chest of drawers hoping to find one, even went through the trash can.... nope no plastic bag.  To get a bag I will need to leave the room, to leave the room I must make sure Corny.... who I can hear outside the door... doesn't get back in.  This time I have a pillow from the futon to block her... she is not as aggressive as Fritz so it works. I find the bag in my bedroom, put Corny in the bathroom and grab a bath towel.... not sure what I'm going to do with the towel... kinda have a plan to throw it like a net over either the cat or the bird.  I go back in the room. I leave the door open about 6"... big enough for the cat to go out. I don't want to open it all the way, the bird might fly out.  I start flapping the plastic bag which scares the heck out of both critters.... Fritz is cowering under the futon and the bird is once again trying to bang his way through the wall. He falls to the floor, Fritz pounces, grabs the bird, I grab Fritz screaming "Drop it, Drop it DROP It!!  Which he does. The bird is chirping a strange  little sound and scrambles under the bookcase, Fritz squirms out of my grasp and is trying his best to get the bird out from under the bookcase.  I push Fritz away with my foot and try to grab him, he darts back under the futon. When I move the bird flies up and lands on the blinds right in front of me. I toss the towel over him..."gotcha!!"  the "net plan" worked.  I wrap him up in the towel, fling open the door in victory and head downstairs to set him free.  Yes, I am happy to report, there is a happy ending.  I stepped out onto the back porch opened the towel and the bird flew into the trees... what a relief.  Time for a Bloody Mary, I need it.

Yes, Sarah, Grandma does like a Bloody Mary. They come in handy from time to time.

An interesting sideline to this story. My husband works nights, he was just down the hall during all this activity... slept though the whole thing.  My hero.

Check this out, Fritz is still mad at me. He is lying in the doorway of the den. First he wouldn't looks at me.

Then he gave me a dirty look.

Corny, on the other hand, is fine. She always has that superior look on her face.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pardo Art Clay Canes & Pendants

I was so happy to get my white Art Clay I spent the weekend making canes. I started out with a nice assortment of Skinner blends and striped canes. 

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Then I made some Kaleidoscope Canes. I've said it before but it's worth repeating, this clay reduces so well, very little distortion as you can see. 

More canes, I like the yellow one best but my favorite is rarely the favorite of others. 

I used the scrap ends of one of the above canes to make this pendant and then added colored wire and fringe beads.  I think I will add either a raven or an owl on the pendant, I'll post a photo when I decided which to use.

 Another pendant from the end of the blue cane.   I used silvertone wire to make the bail.

I am still making canes... and will need more white clay soon. 

By the way I haven't had any further problems condition the art clay.  I opened a couple new packs of black and it conditioned with ease. Apparently just the one pack was bad.