Sunday, January 31, 2010

Goodies from Moe, Quill Beading & Cabs

I got a surprise in the mail the other day, my friend Moe sent me some really cool treasures.

The first is this wonderful Quill Beaded Pendant. The cabochon is a mica shift cab that I sent her in a Moebox a few months ago. The cab began life as an earring with dangles which Moe promptly dismantled, she used the dangles on another pair of earrings and, as you can see, made this luscious pendant for me. I was unfamiliar with bead quilling but I absolutely love this look so I pestered her to share where she learned it. A book of course... so I hied right over to Amazon and ordered the book, along with a couple others... I can't resist books, and Amazon always sucks me in with that "Free Shipping" thing.....

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Moe also send me an array of colorful cabs that I can bead when my book arrives..... hey, you think she knew I couldn't resist and would have to have that book? Maybe she is a secret agent for authors and suppliers. She did get me started on Chinese knot tying, that cost me a bundle at the Satin Cord Store, wire work, yip... blew most of my Social Security check at Wigjig. She's the one who told me about Victoria James texture sheets and Boston Clay Works (or was that Jackie?) Gets a little scary when you think about it.
Truth is Moe is very cool and has a very entertaining blog... if you haven't discovered it yet hie yourself over to MoeArt I guarantee she will make you smile.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention tomorrow in the first day of the annual THING A DAY challenge on Polymer Clay Central. A group of very talented artists will be showing what they are working on everyday for the month of February. Please feel free to join in or stop by and see all the neat stuff.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Polymer Clay Kaleidoscope Cane & Spirit Dolls

Sometimes I make a cane for a particular project and sometimes I make canes just for fun. Heather claims I only make canes for the scraps.... she might be right, I always use all the scraps and I have dozen of unused canes. So I made a new rule. I have to make at least one thing from each cane I make.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
Following the rule I made a tile to use for a pin or pendant. I'll finish it later, I may even make matching beads.
Now on to the fun stuff.... my Spirit dolls. Every now and then I make spirit dolls, I make them for myself and add them to my other spirit dolls. One of these days I'll take a group photo.

I used end pieces and scraps to make mirror images for the bodies. Added faces, hair and head covering. I used Pigma Micron Pens to color the facial features. I learned about the pens from Alice of Polymer Clay Etc. (check my blog list) The pens are great for drawing on cured clay but the ink has to be heat set. When I'm finished drawing I just pop them back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.... or you can use a heat gun.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Polymer Clay Cool Tiles and Beads

I finished all my "Inchie" (1" tiles ) for the Inchie Swap but couldn't stop myself from making more. I made a couple long beads, which I think turned out great, and my Muse felt they needed a set of matching Inchies. Those little buggers are addictive.... I have more in the oven as we speak.

I used Victoria James' texture sheets for the texture and one of my canes to make the square tiles. The domed tiles and long beads are also textured with Victoria's texture sheets.

Click on the photo for a closer look.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Round Robin Trash to Treasure Swap Back on Track

The host of the swap is Tonja of Tonja's Polyclay Corner. As you probably know we got a little side tracked but all is now back on track. The new swap box is neatly packed and ready to go!!
I received the donations from several wonderful friends on Polymer Clay Central... you know who you are... thank you very much. Your contributions have made it possible for the swap to continue.

The box is filled to the brim and I do mean "FILLED to the brim"... I am a super duper packer, had lots of practice back in the day when Heather and I packed for antique shows and flea markets. If you had seen all the stuff laid out the table...( I know I should have taken a photo but I forgot, okay?)... I was deep in thought planning my packing strategy, every little nook and cranny had to be filled... and they are. I am a superior packer, yes indeedy!! Sorry MaryLee, I hope you are super packer too.

Now, I did keep a few items for myself. I know I get the box back at the end of the swap and I wrestled with my conscience... the little devil on my left shoulder won.... also the box really was full to the brim (see photo above).... you can ask Marylee when she gets it, she'll tell ya "full to the brim".

So here are my treasures. I had to have a set of Tonja's transfers, I wanted all the fabric but I only kept one and I really wanted the textures but I restrained myself and put them ALL in the box. I consoled myself by vowing to buy some from Tonja later. I had to have a couple of Pam's hearts, a few beads from Cat (yes there are more in the box) cool beads and faux turquoise from Jackie as well as bottles for BOH and a few other supples. I'm not sure what I will do with the hair pieces from Elissa but they looked interesting. I was low on pinbacks so I kept some of those too.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Here is a sample of what I added.... mostly polymer clay pieces. Granddaughter Sarah is just getting started making polymer clay jewelry so I gave her most of my excess supplies... plus Heather is going to teach her YaYa sisters how to polyclay when they go on their annual retreat this summer... every time I found something to put in the box she claimed it for the YaYa's.
I am pleased and relieved to have the box back in circulation, may it make the rounds swiftly and without further turmoil. Enjoy!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

More Polymer Clay Works in Progress

I have been a bit obsessed with making "Inchies" for the "Inchie" swap. I had no idea that making and decorating little 1" squares would be so much fun. I'm very pleased with the ones I made so far.... wish I could show them to you.... but you'll have to wait until after the swap. They are pretty neat, if I do say so myself.

Sticking with my earthtone colors I made these mixed media pieces. I still need to add the dangles on the butterfly brooch and add the pinback. I'll attach the heart to the long bead with wire and then make a matching wire chain. I know brown is a weird color for a heart but I like it.... hope you do too. I used my Eames Era cane to make the heart then adorned it with a disk bead, a flattened bead cap, copper wire and copper color glass beads to spice it up a bit.

Click on the photo for a closer look.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Skinner Blend Work in Progress

I'm still working on this necklace. I like this arrangement, just have to decided how to put it together.

For a closer look click on the photos.

I started out making 1" square tiles for an "Inchie Swap" I signed up for but once I saw the skinner blend my muse said "necklace" so necklace it is. That happens to me a lot.

I had leftover hunks of tinted translucent clay with inclusions of Martha Stewart glitter in brown, green, peach, and mustard. First I rolled the pieces into cones.
Arranged the cones with the point alternating like so...
I wanted more of the yellow and peach in the center so the cones were a little bigger. After arranging them the way I wanted I flattened them with my brayer.
I then ran it though the pasta machine on the #1 setting and then the #2 setting.

Folding the sheet with the colors lined up I ran it through the pasta machine always putting the folded side in first. After putting it through the pasta machine 20 to 25 time I ended up with the skinner blend sheet below. I ran the sheet through the pasta machine on the #3 setting. I divided it in half and cut half into 1" squares.
I had a sheet of Kato copper clay to which I added a little red and brown. I cut circles for the base of the round tiles. I then ran the remaining half of the translucent skinner sheet through the pasta machine on the #4, #5 and the #6 setting. I let it rest for a bit and cut circles the same size as the copper circles. I used my largest round Kemper cutter to cut out the smaller circles. I then gently used my blade to lift the circles with the cutout and placed them on the copper circles. I used my brayer to adhere the circles together. I then used my little sandpiper stamp for the images inside the cutout circles. I put all the tiles in the oven and cured at 275 for 40 minutes. After removing from the oven I immediately dropped the tiles in ice water for 15 minutes.

I used a paint brush to apply a thin layer of Kato liquid clay in the center circles and put them back in the oven for 20 minutes. After removing from the oven I used my heat gun to clear the liquid clay to a glass like finish.

I then sanded and buffed all the tiles. So far so good, I think it will be an attractive necklace.

Now I need to go make more inchies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunshine Blog Award

What a fun way to start the day. My very first Blog Award.... and such a pretty one too!!
The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity & creativity inspires others in the blog world.

The rules for accepting these award:-

Put the logo on your blog or within your post.-

Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.-

Link the nominees within your post.-

Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

A heart felt "Thank You!!" to Carolyn and David Good from 2 Good Claymates for giving me the award. The are already included on my "blog list".

As you can see I have a rather extensive list of blogs that I enjoy reading so picking only 12 to pass the award to is not going to be easy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Polymer Clay Texture Sheets

I received my new texture sheets from Victoria James a couple days ago and I love'em!! They are an absolute delight to use. I made sheets from which I plan to cut different shapes to use for jewelry.

The texture sheets are made of silicone which is very flexible. They are thin so they go through the pasta machine with ease and they do not need a resist, how cool is that? The patterns are nice and deep so they should be good for mica shift too.

This leaf design is very pretty. I used different colors of PearlEx to highlight the raised area.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

This is a dainty design of foliage and flowers. I highlighted with bronze PearlEx.I think this design has an Aztec element, don't you? Skinner blended clay with silver PearlEx highlights

This is a wonderful paisley design... I love paisley. I highlighted this one with Pearl PearlEx & Green PearlEx. Victoria has more patterns... after playing with these I was tempted to scamper over to her site Victoria James Art and buy more but I restrained myself for now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Morning Routine

Corny, my no nonsense cat.
My cats are getting me up early again. For some reason Corny doesn't like to eat alone, she keeps meowing in my ear until I stumble from bed and follow her to the kitchen. Now if her food dish was empty or I needed to put fresh water in the water dish I could understand but that is not the case, I take care of those chores before I go to bed. She just wants company while she eats.

I'm not a happy camper when I first wake up, my kids were always afraid to wake me but not this pesky cat, she could care less. I may have told you this before but I'm old and I frequently repeat myself so get use to it..... or you'll learn to ignore me like my family does.

Okay, now my morning routine goes like this. I get a large cup of flavored coffee, I know I've told you I like flavored coffee but some things are worth repeating.... this morning it's Wild Mountain Blueberry.

First I check my email, then I check to see if anyone left messages on my blog or my Flickr site, If folks are nice enough to leave comments I want to respond.... it's like having coffee with friends... if I forget to respond I am again using the "old age" thing as an excuse, it's not because I don't love hearing from you... I do.

I then go to the PCC (Polymer Clay Central) forums to check on new posts. If you don't already hang out there you should come on over, there is a wealth of information and you won't meet a nicer bunch of people. If you need help with anything polymer clay, someone there will come to the rescue. And they know a lot about other things too. If you don't want to post you can just lurk but we'd love to have you join us. We have a fun challenge coming up in Feb that you might want to join. More about that later.

After PCC I check out other blogs.... this can be time consuming so I have to be careful... one blog leads to another blog that leads to another blog and before I know it hours have gone by and my poor muse is over stimulated.... not good, then I'm all sixes and sevens when I head back to my clay room and I can't decide what I want to next.... you ever have that happen?

I learned to wait for the evening hours before I surf around Flickr... there is a never ending wealth of wonder there. I get excited just thinking about it.

Okay I am ready to "play with clay". I have new texture sheets that are wonderful.... I'll blog about that later. So come on back ya'll... no, I'm not from the south, I just like to say ya'll.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Polymer Clay Choker

I found this partially finished choker necklace this morning when I was rummaging through boxes picking out things to add to the Mystery Swap Box so I decided to finish it. Turned out pretty well don't ya think?

I had a difficult time getting a good photo, my display doesn't have much of a neck area but you get the idea.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Update on the Round Robin Trash to Treasure Swap. We have given up on recovering the original swap box. The person who kept it may have an understandable reason for doing so, I do hope she will see fit to share it with us.

Undaunted we are forging ahead with plan B. I have come up with quite a few items to add (a couple that probably would have made it into the Moebox .. but I'm sure Moe won't mind... right Moe?) and several PCC friends, even ones who didn't sign up for the swap, are generously donating items for the new swap box. Following instructions from the hostess with the mostess, Tonja, I will hold the box one more week until the donated items arrive then I'll add my items and send it on it's way. This is the first time I have participated in a swap... had no idea it would last this long or have so many twist and turns.... to much adverture for an old lady but let me tell ya, we are determined to have a successful swap, right guys?

After finishing the necklace and collecting items for the swap I started on the the 1" tiles I'm making for another swap. Yes, I said another swap. PCC friend, Barbara, is hosting an "Inchie Swap". We will each make between 5 and 25 one inch tiles, send them to Barbara along with return postage and she will send back an equal number of tiles made by others participating in the swap. I believe there is still time to sign up if any of you care to join us. Check out the forum on PCC for details. I'll try to find the link and post it later.

The dinger just went off on my oven so I am going to go check on the tiles. I will take photos when they are done so I can show them to you after the swap, along with the tiles I get back. I'm not well versed on swap etiquette but I'm guessing I'm not suppose to post photos before the swap. Lets all keep our fingers crossed this swap goes off without a hitch... I wouldn't want folks to think I'm a jinx!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mystery Box Contents

I am taking part in a Trash to Treasure Round Robin Swap with over 2 dozen wonderful folks on the forums at Polymer Clay Central. The swap is the brain child of host Tonja of Tonjas Treasures She filled a med sized Priority Mail Box and sent it on it's way to a member across the pond, the box traveled around Europe for quite some time and somehow mutated into two boxes... you can follow the saga of the swap on Tonja's blog... it will save me a lot of writing and she tells the story must better than I can.

The box slowly made it's way back to the good ol' USA but it continued to grow so it was decided it should be sent back to Tonja where she could remove the gifts for herself and pare the remaining items down to a more manageable size. The box was, once again, sent on it's way to the next person on the list. The left over goodies were placed in a Mystery Box, folks then signed up for a drawing to take place on Jan 8.... and to make a long story short... I won.

Tonja mailed the box on the 12th. I received delivery information from USPS that the box was being delivered to my address today. I received notice not once, not twice but three times .. at 11:27Am, 2:57 PM and 7:17 PM This had me on pins and needles, I checked my front porch at least 42 times, I even walked down the block and checked my neighbors porches.... no box... when 5:00 PM passed I gave up hope and began planning what I was going to say to our post mistress when I call her in the morning. I was sitting in front of the computer muttering to myself when Corny, my PITA cat, kept bugging me to let her out the side door. Finally I gave in and when I opened the door... there it was on the step... the Mystery Box!! I don't know if the substitute postman was playing a trick on me... he is not my biggest fan.. or he goofed up again and delivered it to one of the apartments next door... we've had words about that in the past which explains why he's not my biggest fan.

Now do you want to see what was in the Mystery Box? You asked for lots of pictures so I took lots of pictures.

There is lots of neat supplies, tins to covers, stamps, rhinestones, beads and even a acrylic sheet to make swirly lentils.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Tonja added more Treasures, sheets of transfer images made on her new printer, a cute collage, some of her texture stamps, and gorgeous fabric. Point of personal priviledge... I'm keeping some of this stuff!!
And a wonderful variety of polymer clay goodies...take a look
A couple liquid clay sheets along with beautiful hearts and tiles

Pendants, Pins, Beads and Tiles
Last but not least cool face jewelry and more pendants!!
Now, just so you know, the swap box has hit a snag. The person that received it on Dec 27 has dropped out of sight.... along with the box. Tonja has made a Herculean effort to contact the person but to date no answer. If we do not hear from her soon, I will add goodies to the Mystery Box and when Tonja gives me the word I will stumble to the post office, sniveling and whimpering all the way, and mail it to the next person on the list.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My way of Reducing a Square Cane

Barbara, one of my friends from Polymer Clay Central was having problems reducing sqaure canes made up of extruded square logs, every thing went fine until the final reduction and then the cane went "wonky". I want to make some quilt pattern canes and figured I would have the same problem so I set out to solve the problem.

I used Barbara's pattern to make the following cane. This is not a tutorial on how to make the cane but rather on my way of reducing a square cane.
I reduced the above cane to 6" in length, divided it into 4 1 1/2" logs and assemble it below
I then place it between 2 sheets of clear acrylic. I grasped each sheet as shown in the photo, my fingers over the top and the heel of each hand pushing in on the cane. I started the pressure at the bottom where the sheet rests on the table and firmly push upward with the heel of my hands. I, of course, used both hands but in this case had to use one to take the photo. After I pressed on one side I turned the cane a quarter turn and did it again, then another quarter turn until I had turned it 4 times. I then flipped the cane over and did the quarter turn 4 times a second time. I kept doing this until the cane reached the top of the sheet and was approx. 1" square.
I then switched to my 1" acrylic rods. I placed the cane between the rod and gently squeezed... again using both hands. I repeatedly turned the cane a quarter turn and applied pressure. I did this several times then I grasp the cane on each end and gently pulled. Put it back between the rods, squeeze, turn, squeeze turn.. stretch.. squeeze, turn... you get the picture.
At times I would place the cane against one rod holding it in contact with the rod and gently stroking with my fingers.
Then flip the cane over and do the same again.
When the cane became more pliable I put it between both rods and gently squeezed.
When the cane was a little over 6" long I trimmed the ends, cut it into 4 logs and repeated the reduction as above.

And as you can see, in this step, the cane turned out wonky... not what I wanted it to do.
So I went back to the drawing board. After I had reduced the original cane, I cut it in 4 sections and assembled them as seen below, I added a band of brown clay around the cane. To make the band I ran brown clay though the pasta machine on the #1 setting. To keep the corners sharp I cut 4 sections to place on the sides instead of wrapping the cane.
I reduced in the same manner as above. The only thing I did differently was to reduce the 4 part cane to a little more than 8" instead of 6", trimmed the ends and cut 4 2" logs before I assembled and reduced for the final time.. Turned out pretty good. Now I can make quilt canes with less distortion. I worked this out on my own so if there is an easier method please let me know.
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

This Years Gift Wrapping Winner

And the winner is...... granddaughter Sarah for her cadaver dog Darby.

Cory and Amanda have a real dog named Darby. He is a Brittany Spaniel mix that looks like a black lab. Darby is almost a year old. They got him from the animal shelter when he was a pup. Darby is a sweet, happy dog but he loves to chew/eat everything. I know most puppies go through the chewing stage but Darby has taken it to an extreme level. He rips up and eats anything with stuffing... couch cushions, comforters, his own doggie bed... he has torn holes in the carpet, eaten holes in the wall board, and damaged the bed frame. The remote control, Amanda's cell phone and other items to numerous to mention are covered in bite marks or have been totally consumed. Darby was Sarah's inspiration for her gift wrap project... Cadaver Dog Darby.

Cadaver dog Darby went to far, he ate Cory's Christmas gifts.... then died.... that's why we call him cadaver dog. He looks pretty healthy but as you can see from the red tag on his leg he is "DEAD"

Click on the photos for a closer look... and so you can read the tag.
Cadaver dog was placed on a cookie sheet. Cory was given a scalpel so he could retrieve his gifts.
Cory was a little apprehensive as he made the incision.
Yikes! blood began to spurt!!
Really getting into it now Cory expanded the incision.... do we have a surgeon in the making, should he should change his major to medicine?

Check the startled look on Eric PEZ... he's thinking "Thank God I wasn't a gift for that guy!" Cory, on the other hand, is really getting into this surgery thing.
Progress is being made... first present is removed.
More to go so he keeps on digging. Second gift come's out with sucking sound... we like realism in our family.

All done, time to clean up a bit. Poor Darby, really looks like a cadaver now, see his lolling tongue and the blood drops on the floor? Remember I told ya, Sarah is a little strange, but we love her anyway.
Here's the real Darby "playing" with a friend.... who appears to be begging for his life. He most likely has heard the rumors and is a little concerned he may be Darby's next victim. Hopefully Darby will be over the chewing stage soon. I'd hate to see him become a cadaver dog.
And here is Sarah receiving the coveted Christmas Trophy from the here-to-for undefeated champion Roger.
Now wasn't that fun? Will Sarah retain the trophy, will Roger make a come back or will a new winner emerge? Oh the suspense! Tune in next year to find out. Wishing you all a happy, healthy and peaceful 2010. Thanks for stopping by.