Monday, July 25, 2011

Polymer Clay Pin or Pendants

My hubby took our grandson Brandon and one of his friends, also named Brandon, to Chicago for a few days. The boys wanted to go to the museums and have real Chicago deep dish pizza.  They left thursday morning and came back this evening.  Do not tell anyone but... I enjoyed having a few days to myself. I  didn't have to cook and could eat what I wanted, mostly salad.... I have a favorite salad, iceberg lettuce, dark red kidney beans, avocado and shredded colby jack cheese with either Ranch or Catalina dressing. Easy to fix, easy to clean up and I didn't have to heat up the kitchen. And fresh fruit, I love fresh fruit in the summer. The blackberries this year are yummy!!  Plus I could stay in my pj's if I wanted and I had lots of time to play with clay.

I had my eye check up on friday and they dilated my eyes.... again.  They are healing up well. I go back in two weeks then wait a couple months before we discuss the laser surgery.

My eye doctor's office is close to Michaels and I need gold and silver Premo so we stopped by to see if the clay was on sale... it wasn't and they were out of gold and silver anyway but I did buy some Perfect Pearls powders, a couple rubber stamps that were on sale and they had micro glass balls in really neat colors.... I love micro balls... so I had to have the assortment. I also wanted black micro balls.  Remember I said my eyes were dilated?  after I got home I discovered instead of the black micro balls I had grabbed something call flocking powder. So, any suggestions what I can do with black flocking powder? I know I can return it but I'm not good about returning things... and if I go back to Michaels I will spend more money, I try to restrict my Michael's visits to once a month.... I can't resist.. I am a craft supply junky, if I see a "NEW" item signs, I'm a goner,  I buy it every time... the micro ball assortment was a "New" item.  Good thing I have my Michael's membership card!!  Boy did they see me coming.  Hey...Do not snicker, I know YOU are a junky too!!

Okay, I have  a couple rather large boxes filled with pieces that could be either pendants or pins. I put them aside until I decide how to use them but the number is getting out of hand.  Then I saw how Anita's delightful kitties can be worn either as pins or pendants... check her new shop on Artfire Melody O Designs .... and realized that is a perfect  solution to my problem.  I did a google search and found pinbacks with bails, ordered a bunch and now all I have to do is wait for them to arrive.

In the mean time I made a few more pendant/pins and am now working on a couple necklaces.

Here are the pendants

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Art Deco design in orange and purple.

Mixed media with gathered polymer clay "fabric" and colored wire.  This one is quite large.

Egyptian pin/pendant in gold and red. See the little micro balls? I had the gold ones before I went to Michaels.... did I mention I like micro balls?

I've had these last two layered pieces for awhile and I finally got around to sanding them.  I have piles of unsanded items too..... 

When the pinbacks with bails arrive I am going to put them on many of my Mixed Media Critters so I can list them in our Etsy shop.  

Thanks for stopping by.  I love hearing from you so please feel free to leave comments or ask questions. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Polymer Clay Beads and Charms

I've been stuck inside because of the heat so I thought I would make some beads.

I used one of my Pardo Art Clay canes to make this large bead.  It always amazes me how clear Pardo Translucent Art Clay is.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Here are the canes I used and the metallic green bead that I covered with the canes.

Here is the covered ball before I popped it in the oven.

After I took it out of the oven I immediately dropped it in ice water to help clear the translucent clay. I also made a large flower bead in the same colors and a 2 part bead in shades of green.

As you can see I got a little carried away with mirror image beads and charms.  That should take care of my mirror image compulsion for a while.  I see all kinds of little critters on the charms.... click on the photo if you want to see them too.   

I was playing around and made a couple fun pendants with some of the mirror images ....and a few more charms.  

I  had left over metallic clay so I used texture sheets to made a few large chunky beads.  

I have so many "works in progress",  the beads and pendants are piling up, it's time to to get out my wire  and cord and start assembling jewelry pieces.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Polymer Clay Art Deco & More Scrap Art

My right eye cataract surgery was last thursday. All went well, more "sticky goo" as expected. I will have laser surgery in a couple months to remove the goo and then I will be as good as new.  In the mean time my sight is greatly improved and I use dime store reading glasses for close up work.

I have been working on more scrap pieces and some fun art deco designs.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

This is more Kathi scraps... I made small charm beads to go with the focal bead.

Mirror images from Kathi scraps.  These are so much fun.  What do you see? In the first one I see a bear head above a skeleton wearing a turban... in the second I see a squirrel.

Another scrap pendant with matching tube bead.

Art Deco tiles in purple and teal.  I mixed purple and blue with silver to get these colors. The one on the left has been sanded, I liked the shimmer of the one on the right so didn't sand it. 

This one is made from left over scraps from the two above.

I used one of my old canes to make this mirror image pendant. I love the colors in this one.  The smaller one was made from the scraps. I rolled a ball, formed an egg shape, ran it through the pasta machine, then folded in half and pinched in the center.  There is a different design on the reverse. 

More scrap pieces.  Sanded and buffed.  I will use the two matching tiles for earrings. 

I used textured sheets on the backs, it gives them a nice finish and saves on sanding. 

I have also made quite a few beads, I will show you those in a day or two. Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Polymer Clay Scrap Jewelry

Some time ago  Moe shared photos of jewelry she made with "Kathi scraps". It was very pretty jewelry I was envious and I expressed a wish for my very own Kathi scraps..... so of course Kathi took pity on me, granted my wish and sent me some very cool "Kathi scraps".

I love scraps, I like my own scraps and I've discovered I like other folks scraps even more.  Maybe one of these days we should have a "scraps" swap.... or even better,  everyone could just send me their scraps.

Here is what I've made so far.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Kathi likes bright colors so her scraps are wonderful.... the first pieces I made have an Art Deco look. I backed them with textured black clay painted with gold PearlEx powder.

"Fruit Salad" pendant ... this one is a work in progress, I haven't backed it yet. I love the colors. 

More mirror image pendants in bight bold colors. I twisted the top of the one on the left, coiled it into a knot and added a Swarovski rhinestone in the center of the coil.

A couple more mirror image pendants, the designs are a little more intricate on these.  I still need to sand and buff. ... and add bails.

That's it for today. I have more in the oven with a totally different look.  

Thanks for stopping by.... and thanks to Kathi for the Fabulous scraps!! 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cataract Surgery

One down and one to go.  The cataract in my left eye was removed thursday.  And there are freebe's....  I get to keep the dark glasses and the green shopping bag.... who could ask for anything more?

The process began two days earlier when I had to have one drop of 3 different super duper eye drops dropped in my left eye three times a day and again on the morning of the surgery.  First I had to recovery from the "sticker shock". The gal at the clinic told us the drops would be "pricey", not that I'd have to rob a bank to come up with the cash. "Pricey" indeed!!

 The drops were no big deal, my eyes are not sensitive... my hubby on the other hand has very sensitive eyes,  Eons ago when we were first married he had an eye infection that required drops, I had to sit on his chest and force his eye open to get the drops in.... I may have even smacked him a time or two and told him to stop acting like a baby. Apparently he has harbored a grudge all these years as he appears to be getting a smidgeon of satisfaction from administering the drops.  He insists that isn't the case but once my vision clears I'm pretty sure I detect a bit of a sadistic smile.

Both daughters went with me on the big day. We arrived at the clinic 3 minutes early... I point this out because the girls are almost always late... and I do not like to be late.  I signed in and we had just sat down when they called me in.  The first stop was a little room with a stool in the center and two chairs off to the side. Heather and Patty were instructed to sit in the chairs and this funny old lady wearing a blue smock and paper hair cover on her head instructed me to sit on the stool and handed me a pen and clip board.  She asked for my picture ID, my medicare card and my co-pay.  I said I didn't have a co-pay so she said "oh, you have a supplemental insurance?"  I said "no" to which she said, "then you have co-pay" I said "no, I don't have a co-pay".  We went back and forth like this several times... Apparently I was more apprehensive than I realized and my brain had gone numb..... I was equating "co-pay" with insurance and not the amount I owed. Finally one of the daughters. probably Heather said "Mom she means the amount you owe"  and I sheepishly handed over  my debit card.

The funny lady then said I would be given both "tropical and intravenous medication" Huh? I churned this around in my numb brain and asked "what does that mean?" To which she replied "they will give you "tropical" eye drops and insert a needle in your arm." I was thinking pineapples and coconuts when she began handing me, in rapid fire, papers to be signed, ... she said I had copies in my packet and should have read them over ... okay, I think I did. She was slapping down those papers and grabbing them back so fast I could hardly keep up. There has to be a reason for this,  maybe the office staff has instigated a contest to see who can get the most papers signed in the least amount of time... and this lady is determined to win. Every time I tried to hand back the clip board she would hand me more papers, I'm still pondering  the "tropical" eye drops and my friend Moe comes to mind ( she lives in Hawaii and most likely is familiar with "tropical" eye drops, I'll ask her later)   I detected slight snickers from the peanut gallery behind me.  Finally we were done and she left the room with my Id, medicare card and debit card.  Patty burst out laughing and says "not tropical  Mom, she means topical".  Both daughters were amused with the furious document signing and duly impressed with my speed writing... I would do really well at a book signing.

Funny lady returns minus my cards and says they will return them to my daughters later. She hands me one of the paper gauzy head covers and tells me to follow her. The girls are sent back to the waiting room.  I trot along behind funny lady stuffing my hair in the paper thingy.  The elastic is very loose and it keeps drooping over my eyes. I am turned over to a nurse in the surgical waiting room.  It's a large room with 6 or 7 chairs spaced a few feet apart along the walls, two are occupied. I am led to one and  instructed to take a seat.  I peek out from under my cap,  the man on my left  has his eyes closed, so does the woman across from me.  I soon learn why.  There is a person lying on a gurney behind a curtain, after a while the gurney is wheeled off and a new one is put in it's place. I see the lady across from me disappear behind the curtain.  The nurse comes over and asks me "which eye?" I say "left", she pushes up my cap and places a red sticker on my forehead above my left eye then she goes over to the man.  The elastic in the cap is loosey goosey and keeps sliding down, I keep pushing it up so the can see my sticker.  I've heard those horror stories... I don't want them to operate on the wrong eye.   The nurse returns, instructs me to put my head back and look at the ceiling so she can administer eye drops.... she hands me a tissue and begins dropping, I lost count at 6 or  7. I'm to busy trying to keep the drops from going in my ear. She tells me to keep my eyes closed and she will return.  Several minutes later she's back with yet more drops.  We do the dropping and mopping routine once again.... I think the count is now 14.  While she is dropping... again really fast... I struggle to keep the eye open (my hubby could NEVER do this)   I blinked and felt a drop on my eye lid so I said "I don't think that one went in". "Yip, it did, it's yellow and I can see it in the eye".  I have my doubts.  "Keep your eyes closed and I will be back" she says.  Sometime later she returned with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope, checks my blood pressure, heart and lungs. I pass with flying colors. She then says she is going to insert a needle in my arm, she looks at the veins in my left arm and ties it off with rubber tubing.  She says my veins are really small, I tell her the veins in my right arm are better but she sees one she thinks  will do... she gets the needle in but the tube won't feed in. She decides to try the right arm..... "much better" she says and she apologizes for sticking me twice.  NOTE TO SELF: Be more assertive,  insist they use the right arm next time.
I am left to sit for a few more minutes, I'd say about a half hour has gone by so far.... time flies when you're having fun.

The big moment has arrived, it is my turn on the gurney.  I am instructed to lie on my back with my head in the donut shaped thing at the top.  The nurse places a pillow under my knees and covers me with a warm blanket, I like that. I've been up since 5 AM and am ready for a nap.  She asks me to open my eyes for yet more drops "Holy cow, how many drops have I had?"  "16" she says and adds 3 more, the last of which is quite thick and will numb my eye ball. She starts the medication in my arm and they wheel me off to the operating room.  She puts a blood pressure cuff on my left arm and straps down my arms. The doctor comes in, asks me how I'm doing, I say "fine" and he tells me to look at the light. I can't feel a thing but I can see all kinds of psychedelic lights, pretty cool, like a kaleidoscope.  In no time at all they are wheeling me back to the waiting room.  It is a completely pain free procedure, the most discomfort I had was from the blood pressure cuff, even the needle sticks didn't hurt.

It seems like they got me up right away but it was probably 10 minutes or so. The nurse helped me sit up and asked me if I wanted "apple juice, orange juice or coffee" All sounded yucky so I asked for water.  She had me get off the gurney and walk over to a chair.  She had me sign something, I think it was a receipt for my co-pay... or the title to our house... she gave me a cool pair of dark eye glasses (see photo above) and wheeled me out to my daughters.  I wanted to walk out to the car but she insisted I stay in the chair, which would have been nice but she didn't put the foot rest down. I had to hold my feet up, not an easy feat as she was moving really fast... speed seems to be important to these people.

All done, that wasn't so bad.  I was there for less than 2 hours.

We took Patty back to her house.. uh oh,  she forgot her keys and was locked out. Eugene would be home in a couple hours so we decided to go to lunch,  I was starving, all I had for breakfast was 4 or 5 Ritz crackers and diet coke... Cracker Barrel is close by and sounded good to me.  I couldn't see the menu but I knew what I wanted,,, ham and beans with corn muffins. After lunch we dropped Patty off and headed home.  I thought I felt normal but later Heather told me I was moving and talking really slow.

 Later that afternoon we walked over to the Farmer's Market and bought tomatoes, cheese bread, carmel apple strudel and half a peach pie.  My eye was still very dilated so I was wearing the dark glasses.  We stopped at a table where a lady Heather knows was selling beaded jewelry. Heather explained I was wearing the cool shades because I just had cataract surgery, the lady said she'd had the same surgery a year before. I asked her how soon she noticed an improvement in her vision and she said immediately after surgery.  Not so for me.... my vision was still very blurry and my eye was totally dilated.  It remained that way all evening.  The literature said it might takes a few days for the blurriness to go away, so I decided not to panic.  I went to bed around 10:30 and went right to sleep.

The next morning I woke up around 6.  My vision was still a little blurry but the colors of literally everything was amazing.... really vivid bright colors, WOW, my friend Gilly said the colors would be amazing and she was right. It was like I had been viewing the world through a layer of gauze, I had no idea what I've been missing. I had the best time looking though all my polymer clay jewelry, the colors are  so different from what I originally saw.... some are quite surprising.

  Later that day I returned to the clinic for a post surgery check up.  Turns out I had a particularly thick stubborn cataract.  Here's how the Dr explained it to me. There is a very thin capsule in the eye to which they attach the lens. The capsule is very delicate and is as thin as a soap bubble. When they removed the cataract it left a "sticky goo" (a new medical term) on the capsule. It cannot be removed with an instrument without damaging the capsule so once my eye has healed... in about three months... they will go back in with a laser and removed the "sticky goo".  It most likely will be the same with the other eye.  In the mean time my vision will be a little blurry.

The prescription in my old glasses no longer works. Long distance I can see pretty well, close up not so good.  I have a cheap pair of reading glasses from Walmart that helps, I will use those until I have the laser procedure.

That's it for now, my adventure continues.  If anyone is contemplating cataract surgery and has any questions please feel free to ask.