Monday, March 29, 2010

Polymer Clay Mirror Images Moth King

I get the biggest kick out of gathering up the scraps on my clay table, rolling them into a log, twisting and rolling, flattening then standing on end and slicing in half to reveal the mirror image inside.

When I cut this one open I wasn't sure what I saw... a butterfly, a moth, maybe an angel... then I cut it into the shape I wanted and I saw a Moth King. I think he looks pretty regal don't you? I also made some bicone flower beads with leftover scraps.

Click on the photo for a closer look.

I added the face and embellishments after the tile was baked and sanded and then baked again. I will add him to my collection of spirit dolls.
Roof Update..... there is a whole bunch of pounding going on....I may have a new roof in a couple days. My cats are looking for places to hide and so am I!! They are above my head right now so I'm heading back to the kitchen.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Polymer Clay in Green

Today is Clay Play Day on Polymer Clay Central.... we are on a trip around the world and this month we are visiting Ireland.

So here is my Irish Heart. Made of colored wire and backed with polymer clay. and I made some tiles and beads in green,

Click photos for a closer look.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Assorted Canes in Red & Black

I thought this group of mostly red, black and gray canes would make an interesting combination.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

These don't look like much but....
I think they made attractive tiles. I especially like the lacy look created by the black and white cane. Two of tiles have red Swarovski rhinestones in the center, I didn't need them in the rest. I'm getting better at lining up the slices so they don't leave the dreaded hole in the center.
Wow!! They look really pretty with my new blog colors.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More Fun with Canes

I am still combining old canes to make new canes. I forgot to take photos of the old canes before I put them together... this is the "after" results.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
This a a couple tiles I made from the above canes. I'm getting better about slicing and then joining the slices. They lined up pretty well. I added a Swarovski pastel aurora borealis rhinestone in the center of each to give them a little sparkle....( and to cover the hole where the corners didn't meet).
Two more combined cane... they don't look like much here but I was pleased with the things I made with them.
I don't make many flowers but I kinda like these. I may add some wire embellishments.
These are colors I like, I'm pleased with the way they turned out, especially the moth. I used scraps and a texture sheet to make the diamond shaped tiles, then highlight the raised areas with silver PearlEx.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Canes From Old Canes

I am down sizing canes.... again. This time by making new canes from combining groups of old canes. This is the first group, mostly purple.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
I reduced them all to about the same size and cut them into 1 1/2" logs.
And assembled them into new canes.

I used the canes to make tiles and a large tube bead to use on a scarf. And I always end up with at least one mirror image tile. These haven't been sanded yet. I do most of my sanding in the evenings while I watch television. I didn't care much for the pink and blue cane that I included in this group so I cut it off the corners of the first one and out of the center of the 2nd one. Heather made this set of recycled canes when she was here last friday. They should make pretty beads and tiles.

House Update for anyone who is interested. It rained monday morning so still no roof. But I DO have new florescent lights in my office and craft room. Jeff stopped by with roof news last evening and installed the lights for me. It is so wonderful to have lights that work!! The old fixture in my craft room was burned out on one side and the other side flickered a lot.... then it died. Now I have light, lot and lots of light. It makes me very happy.

New roof date... Friday or Saturday.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Polymer Clay Floral Pendants

I'm up bright and early waiting for the roofer to appear. It's only 8 o'clock .... surely they will show by 9.

In the mean time I want to show you a couple pendants I made over the weekend. I like fans so I made a blue flower fan with a flower texture sheet and PearlEx powder sealed with Kato liquid clay. I added blue colored wire adorned with a tinted fresh water pearl for the tail and also on the bail.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
The second is another floral design highlighted with gold and red PearlEx, The cut out is filled with tinted freshwater pearls on twisted burgundy colored wire. I made the bail with coiled wire and a couple fancy goldtone beads. I get a big kick out of using my heat gun on the liquid clay, it's fun to watch it go from cloudy to a glass like sheen.
Oh, I almost forgot, I gave my blog a new look.... what do you think?

Friday, March 19, 2010

She likes it!!

Did you ever get one of those emails from a customer that starts out

"I bought this from you awhile ago..." and then there is a link to the item she bought...

Now first of all this has not been a good day. Jeff the contractor/neighbor stopped by last evening to tell us that the roofers would arrive "early in the morning and by the end of the day the roof will be done."

Now I am not an early morning person, in fact I am not any kind of a morning person, but I rose at the crack of dawn so I would be bright eyed and bushy tailed when the roofers arrive. By 10:00 I was no longer bright eyed or bushy tailed and there were no roofers in sight. By noon I was worn to a frazzle and not happy... no roofers.... so I ate a banana and potato chips and took a nap on the futon.

Heather and Brandon stopped by around 3:30 and woke me up.
Heather packed up some buttons we sold on Etsy and took them to the post office. When she returned we went to the clay room, I wanted to show her some canes I was making from old canes. She decided to stay awhile and make one too. We were working away having a good time.... I'll show you the canes later.... when the florescent ceiling light died. It's been threatening to die for a long time, only half working most of the time. It's an old fixture and I knew the ballast's were bad but I always put off things... and now I have no light in my clay room. This is not good.

Not to worry,I had a plan. Later in the evening my new best friend Jeff stopped by to explain why the roofers didn't show. I knew he would. Turns out they had difficulties at the job before ours and have to complete that roof before they can start ours......

To hell with the roof I have more pressing problems .... I need my craft light fixed. I innocently say to Jeff "Do you know anyone who does electric work?" and he says "I do"...... so I say " oh you do know someone?" and he says "No, I meant I do electric work, I just rewired my whole house," He lives in an antique house too. Warm tingles run down my spine and I say "follow me". I then lead him down to the clay room where he says "Sure I can fix that".... big sigh of relief... can you imagine not having a light in your clay room? I'd rigged up a table lamp but that wasn't worth a toot.

So bright and early tomorrow morning (I've about had it with this bright and early crap!) hubby and I will head over to the hardware store and buy a couple new florescent fixtures. I'm going to have Jeff replace the one in my office too. With a little luck sometime tomorrow I will be basking in new florescent light.

But I digress, back to the customer letter. I was sure she was going to tell me it fell apart, it turned her neck green, the clasp snagged her favorite sweater...

but it was a very nice email that says " just wanted to tell you, I wore it at a bead show recently and it was very much admired & ooh'd and ah'd over"

How nice is that? This very nice person brightened my day considerably. Amazing what a few kind words can do.

This is the necklace she was talking about. My blue flying snake necklace.

The roofers will be here bright and early monday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Inchie Tiles Are Here!!

I took part in a polymer clay "Inchie" swap and my Inchies arrived today. They are so cool, each one a miniature work of art. So much fun to open the package and examine each little tile.... and here they are!! I sent in 25 so I got 25 back.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Close up of row One. The artist are: Kathy, Jeanann, Jackie in the center, Tonja and another by Jeanann

Close up of row two: The artist are: Ilese, Chris., Anita in the center, Deb and Melissa

Close up of row three: The artist are: Kimba, MsPete, another by Kimba in the center, Elly, and Jackie Mellow

Close up of row four. The artists are: Mardi, another by Mardi (this one is reversible, just as nice on the back) the delightful little snack tray in the center is by Helga, then Pat, and Barb
Close up of Row Five. The artists are: The center tile is by Sandie and the four corners are all from our talented and very dependable host Barbara.
Thank you Barbara for doing such a terrific job. I loved making the Inchies and I loved even more getting the Inchies. Three cheers for Barbara... Rah, Rah, Rah!! I hope you do another swap soon!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Update on House Facelift

Not much to report, no roof, no gutters, no paint.... poor old gal looks the same.

The lumber company arrived with the shingles early monday evening and using one of those basket lift thingies hoisted the shingles onto the roof. Scared the beegees out of my cats.... they didn't care for the thumping and crashing, it didn't thrill me either. Corny was caterwauling like a banshee and Fritz was dashing from one room to the other looking for a safe place to hide, finally decided under the desk between my feet would do.

Jeff, the neighbor/contractor stopped by later that evening to tell us the roofers would be by bright and early the next morning and by the end of the day our house would be sporting a dapper new roof.

Bright and early tuesday morning a huge dumpster was deposited in our drive way. Shortly after that the roofers arrived. Then they left...... never to return. What the heck!!

In the mean time I heard hubby crashing around in the kitchen. I kindly called out to him (I was accused of yelling, I did not yell, maybe called out in a loud voice, but I did not yell) a couple times but no answer... so I went upstairs to investigate. The cabinet doors under the sink were open, the throw rug was soaked and there was water all over the floor. Hubby, who is normally a very calm laid back kind of guy, had gone into his crazed "I hate plumbing disaster" mode. This is not a pretty site. When the kids were young it sent them running for cover. His total demeanor changes.... he not only hates anything to do with house repairs, he is very bad at it, especially plumbing!! This, however, has never stopped him from trying to fix it before he admits defeat and calls a plumber.

He is crashing around under the sink, ripping reams of paper towels off the roll and shoving them in great wads between the bottles, cans and boxes of cleaning supplies I have stored under the sink. He was sure the leak had something to do with the garbage disposal, I could see from across the room that wasn't the case. I suggested we take everything out from under the sink so we could get a better look. While I was taking things out and sitting them on the counter and table, he was slinging things right and left yelling at me for putting all that crap under the sink.

Okay, all the stuff is out, he turns on the water and crawls under the sink to see where it's coming from.... I'm against having the water on and head down to the basement to see if it leaking down there. And of course it is. There is standing water all over the floor in the area below the kitchen. I have been boxing up stuff to take to the auction and have been stacking the boxes..... yep, you guess it... in the area under the kitchen. Yikes, the water is headed straight for my boxes. I start moving them fast as I can and yelling "TURN THAT DAMN WATER OFF". He turns the water off and comes down stairs to see what I'm screeching about. I sop up some water, make sure my boxes are out of harms way, and we go back upstairs.

He goes back to ripping off paper towels and dives back under the sink.. wet blobs of paper towels are forming a hill at his feet. He went through two rolls in nothing flat. He then tells me to turn on the water AND the garbage disposal, I do, but I'm not happy about it. By now I'm shuffling around the kitchen chanting "Call the plumber, call the plumber, call the plumber"... only problem is our plumber just went out of business, I got a letter from him a couple days ago saying he'd sold the business to a place in Belleville, an hours drive from here. We've had bad luck keeping plumbers, the last 3 died .... at least this one just retired.

Hubby finally decided the leak had nothing to do with the garbage disposal so he let me turn it off and the water too. He was sitting on the floor looking under the sink with his trusty flashlight when he determined the leak was coming from a connection in the cold water pipe so he turned off the valve to the cold water and the leak stopped.

By now we are both exhausted, to much excitement for old folks. He thinks he might be able to repair it himself, (which causes me to shudder).... but in the morning... he's going to bed. Okay by me. I put all the cleaning supplies in a box and finish cleaning up the water on the floor. Made myself a snack and went in the living room to watch a little tv. Halfway though my sandwich I hear a knock on the door. It's my new best friend the neighbor/contractor Jeff. Jeff goes into great detail to explain why the roofers disappeared. The ladder they brought was to short. Apparently most two story houses aren't as tall as ours so they left, didn't say a word, just left. Why they couldn't go get a longer ladder and return is a mystery, apparently longer ladders do not grow on trees.

A light bulb goes off in my head and I ask Jeff if he knows anything about plumbing.... and he does, yahoo! I take him into the kitchen, show him the problem and he says sure he can fix it. Hubby comes back downstairs and the two men discuss the problem. Jeff goes over to his house to get a pipe wrench. For the next hour or so he is in and out going to his house, the store, back here, to his house.... you get the picture, lots of running in and out. He doesn't have the hardware he needs and the hardware store is closed so he agrees to come back in the morning and finish the job... To make a long story shorter... he does just that. The job was done by the time I got up, what a relief.

Now I thought the roofers would be back today with a longer ladder but no such luck.... not tomorrow either. The guy who dropped off the dumpster came by a couple hours ago to pick it up. That is a whole other story. Someone parked their car in front of our driveway. The dumpster guy knocked on the door... I thought it was Jeff making his nightly visit... dumpster guy wanted to know if that was our red car blocking the driveway... nope, our car is blue. We live down the block from a neighborhood bar, usually when a car is blocking our driveway the owner is in the bar. Dumpster guy inquired at the bar... nope, not there. He called the police and they arrived. The officer looked at the plates and made a call. Turns out the car owner lives in the apartment across the street. They come over and move the car, dumpster guy hooks up his dumpster and leaves.

I haven't the faintest idea when the roofers will return, I'm sure Jeff will stop by tomorrow and let me know.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Colored Wire Leaf Tutorial

Some of my friends on Polymer Clay Central have asked how I make my colored wire pendants and pins. Here are some of the leaves I made from colored wire and embellished with square beads.

Click on the photos for a closer look.
Here is the one I will be making today.
top:Flush cutters
2nd row: nylon jaw pliers, flatnose pliers and roundnose pliers.
Not in photo: Slender rod
Supplies: 10" length of 20 gauge wire, 36" length of 26 gauge wire and 30" length of 26 gauge wire. 5 square beads.

I used 20 gauge copper wire and 26 gauge amber color wire. I use the nylon jaws pliers to straighten and strengthen the wire by firmly grasping the wire and drawing it though the jaws.
Use the roundnose pliers to made a loop at the end of the wire.

Slip the 26 gauge wire through the loop leaving a 1 1/2" to 2" tail. Feed the end of the tail through the loop again and tighten snuggly in the loop. Using the long end of the 26 gauge wire coil it around the 20 gauge wire 3 0r 4 times.
Slip a bead onto the smaller wire feed it down until it fits over both wires.
Hold it firmly next to the coils and wrap four coils around the wire below the bead.
Continue adding beads in this manner until there are 5 beads on the wire.
Use the flatnose pliers to bend the wire upward. Use your fingers to shape the wire in a half oval shape. Using the flatnose pliers bend the wire down and shape the wire along the other side.
Using the flatnose pliers bend the wire up again at the bottom to form the outer line of the leaf. Bend down at the top and bring the wire back to the bottom.

Bring the tail of 26 gauge wire at the top though the round loop and around both wires twice. This secures the wires and keeps them in place for weaving.

At the bottom trim the 20 gauge wire to 1/2" and form a loop with the roundnose pliers. (sorry I forgot to take a photo of this step.)

Like at the top, feed the 26 gauge wire through the loop and around both wires in the bend twice.
Begin the weaving by wrapping snuggly around both wires for 3 or 4 times. Then feed the wire down through the narrow space between the two wires. When weaving there is less tangles if you push a loop down through the opening and pull the wire through rather than trying to feed it though from the end of the wire.

Wrap it around the outside wire twice. Then bring it up through the center space and wrap around the inside wire twice.
Continue in this manner 4 times. The out side wire is longer than the inside wire so every 4 times add an extra wrap on the outside wire.
Continue in this manner until the 26 gauge wire will no longer fit between the two 20 gauge wires.
Wrap around both wire until you reach the bend. First side wrapped.
Lay a slender rod flush with the leaf and coil the remaining 26 gauge wire around the rod ( I used a copper rod but a slender knitting needle or wooden skewer will work as well) leaving an inch tail.
Slide the coiled wire off the rod, bend it down and using the tail secure it at the bottom of the leaf.
To weave the 2nd side of the leaf use the 30" length of 26 gauge amber wire. Leave a 1 1/2" to 2 inch tail and wrap around both wires several times. Wrap in the same method as the first side.
And again coil the remaining wire around the slender rod, bring it down and wrap at the bottom of the leaf. Trim the ends of the wires and using your pliers (or fingernail) to tuck the ends in so they won't snag on your clothes.
Okay, that is it. I am trying to learn how to write tutorials, your input will be greatly appreciate.... Please let me know what you think. Is there enough photos? to many? are the directions clear? Could you make this using these directions? Do you have any questions?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

This Old House

Our house was built in 1914, in four years it will be a true antique. Poor old gal is in need of a face lift so we are making arrangements for a new roof, new gutters, and the trim painted. We'll have brick work done later.

Hubby was suppose to take care of the details but as always happens he got the ball rolling and I'm stuck with all of the day to day details. A neighbor from down the street is our contractor. He's the one who pointed out to DH that the roof needs to be replaced... and while they are at it may as well do the gutters too. He's a nice young man but stops by and calls at odd hours, mostly in the late evenings, called the other night at 10:30.... I guess since he is a neighbor and can see our lights on he thinks it's okay. It's beginning to bug me, especially the dropping by part, I don't like to answer the door once I have my jammies on. It will be a week or two before they do the work and it's suppose to be done in one day.... we'll see.

The other thing that is my occupying my time is cleaning the basement. When I closed our antique shop I shoved most of the stuff in the basement. I now want it all out of there. Most of the stuff needs to be boxed up and taken to the auction house. A few things will be neatly arranged in the back room. My daughter and grandson said they would help. It's a bit overwhelming when I look at all the stuff down there..... maybe I should be on that "Hoarders" tv show.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I still managed to do a little claying, I made a couple little deco style canes.....
....and used them to make tiles. The clay is a mixture of Fimo Classic and Kato. You'd think by now that I would remember Fimo always darkens in the oven and add more white to lighten it. Thats one of the things I like most about Kato the colors are pretty much the same after curing. I like these but I wish they were lighter.

And I made some wire leaves to use as part of the chains.