Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mostly Playing with Wire... Plus a little PC

I finished my ATC's today.... at least I think I did. I'm tempted to make one more group.... really shouldn't but I'm tempted.

When I watch television I have to keep my hands busy.... if I just watch the television I nod off (another fun side effect of old age).... and miss the show I've waited all week to see.... so I get out my wire.  Tonight I need to stay awake for  the 4th chapter of "Downton Abbey"  last week I missed the first half hour of the 3rd chapter cause our electricity went off....  no rain or snow tonight so I think I'm safe.

Here's what I did with wire last week.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Green...Work in progress ... I'll make more leaves tonight

Red Heart.... another Work in Progress.   Both wire pieces will be necklaces. I may back the hearts in clay... haven't decided yet.

I used the scraps from one of my ATC's to make the mirror image and added wire and beads to make this piece.

This was going to be on an ATC but I decided to make it a pin/pendant instead.

I made this ATC for the swap but Heather wanted it so I gave it to her.

The day is fast approaching for the 5th annual "Thing A Day" Challenge  on Polymer Clay Central.  If you'd like to play come on over to PCC, we would love to have you join us.

Soooo starting February 1st  I will be posting every day.... how about that?

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Colored Wire & Polymer Clay

I  have been working on ATC's all week but I did manage to make a couple things with wire.

I made a tile from canes and added matching wire to make this brooch.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

I can't decide how to use the wire piece with this Mokume Gane Scottie  dog.  Does it look better this way?

or this way?  I still have to sand the pooch and drill holes to attach the wire work. 

and last, I finally go around to backing my bluebird.... I must have tried a dozen different background and settled for this one.... still not thrilled but it looks pretty good. 

That's it for today.  

Thanks for stopping by. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back to Playing with Clay

There was a couple weeks where I didn't have time to play with clay but the holidays are over and it's time to get back to the clay.  Mostly I've been working on Artist Trade Cards for a swap, can't show you those until the swap is over but I've made a few beads, I can show you those.

I always have scraps on my work table and it's hard for me to toss them in the scrap bags so I make beads instead. 

Click on the photos for a closer look. 

A couple tiles and some swirly beads in shades of green and brown. 

More swirly beads and a pendant tile in magenta, red and blue.

A mirror image pendant and matching beads in ambers and reds on a sage green background.

Another mirror image tile and beads in green and black. I used scraps from one of the border canes I posted earlier.  I love this shade of green. I am going to make more beads so I can make a necklace.

A variety of shapes and sizes in yellow and red. These were all made from scraps. I think of them as "end of day" beads.... guess I should say "end of month" beads cause the scraps have been laying around for a month of more.  

Okay I can show you one ATC... This is my first attempt at a Artist Trade Card.... it got a little to thick so I'm not going to use it in the swap but it was fun to practice on.... 

Okay, now my table is cleaned of scraps so I can get out fresh clay and get to work.  I need to mix some colors and maybe do some canes.... we'll see.  Now that the holidays are over I plan to blog more often.

Thanks for stopping by. Comments and questions are always welcome. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2nd Half 2011 Gift Wrapping Contest.

Okay where did I leave off?  Oh yes,  Lynn had just received his gift from Nick... so I'll start this half with the gift to Eugene from Lynn.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

Now Lynn and Eugene are the two grumblers in this contest. In the past Heather and I save ourselves a headache and grudging wrap Lynn's gift. Patty always makes Eugene wrap his own which Eugene felt was unfair. If we wrapped Lynn's gift he felt Patty should wrap his.  He was doing a lot of moaning and groaning.... not to mention swearing.... so this year we told Lynn he would have to wrap his own, or at least help a little.

 The gift is two tickets to a Cardinals game in April. I ordered the tickets online and then printed them out so they are on a standard 8 by 10 sheet of paper.   First Lynn was going to make them into paper airplanes... we vetoed that.... then he bought a six pack of bottled beer and was going to stick the tickets down in the carton.... we vetoed that too... but the beer triggered the plan for the following gift wrap.

 Heather saw the beer bottle reindeer on Pinterest.  Okay, Lynn had help but he did participate. He's not allowed to touch most tools, and we try to keep him away from anything that heats up or has sharp edges.  He wasn't allowed to use the super glue but he did make the paper punch noses for the deer and, after several tries he made the gift tag himself. He then put the tickets in the little stocking and tied the tag on the stocking.

A closer look so you can see the red paper punch noses.  I'm not going to tell you what he said to Eugene when he gave him the gift.  It wasn't very Christmasy. 

Now Eugene's gift for Andrea... he did it ALL himself.  Apparently Patty trusts him to not burn the house down or glue his face to the table. Although I'm not sure it is in the spirit of the season to say all those bad words when your wrapping wise men. The gifts are figures for Andrea's nativity set including the 3 wise men.  They are wrapped as gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense. The 3-D star above the manger is pretty impressive.

Andrea created a white Christmas for Heather with this little gingerbread village.  Lily liked this one... little houses made of candy... yum!!

You've already seen the gift Heather wrapped for Cory so we will move along to Amanda.... my other granddaughter with a strange sense of humor.  Her gift was for Benjamin.

This poor snowman fell on his head and the neighbor dog came over and peed on his cheek.  "Why?"  I asked "Why, would you have a dog pee on the snowman?"  She felt it made it more interesting.

Benjamin's gift is for Zachary.  He made Zachary a music award trophy featuring the "Doors" on a large guitar pick and a saying by Jim Morrison printed on the plaque.

Close up of the plaque on the front.

Brandon is a big "Star Wars" fan  so Zachary wrapped his gift as..... what else.... R2D2.  He used one of Patty's stainless steel bowls for the head so once poor R2D2 was opened his head went back to the kitchen.

Brandon used the 3-D printer at school to make this box for his Uncle Brad. He first designed the box on paper. It took a full day to print the bottom half and a 2nd day to print out the top.  The letters on top are a Caesar shift code that gives the combination to the lock. 

Can you figure out the code? With a few hints Brad finally got it open.

Brad was sick when he arrived and spend the first couple days in bed.  His first attempt at wrapping a gift for Amanda didn't work and he was going to wimp out but we insisted that was not an option... so with a little help from Heather, Eric and me he made this German advent calendar house.  Once again my colored duct tape came in handy..... not to mention my handy supply of odds and ends. You never know when you are going to need a hunk of styrofoam, a bottle cap lid or a empty cardboard tube. "Waste not, want not" I always say.

  He had several small gifts for Amanda, each is inside one of the little doors. Another gift that impressed Lily.

We are hoping this says Merry Christmas in German.

Now for the WINNER!!!!  Are you ready?

Patty's gift is for Roger.  Roger, Brandon and a group of friends play Dungeons and Dragons every friday night come rain or shine. I mean they are serious D&Der's!!

What better gift for Roger than a Red Dragon. The photos do not do him justice, he is really a very neat dragon!! He was going to be a fire breathing dragon but Patty couldn't figure out how to install the special light she purchased to make him breath fire.... more well laid plans gone a stray, maybe she can use it next year.

Another view with his eyes lit up

and Roger trying to figure out how to get the gifts out... one in the dragon and one in the base... with out hurting the dragon.

And now the torch... or I should say trophy... is passed from last years winner, Brad, to the new Champion Gift Wrapper. The coveted trophy will proudly sit on her mantle while the rest of us plot  how to take it from her next year.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed our family gift exchange.

I know it's a bit belated but I wish you all a Happy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

1st Half. 2011 Family Christmas Gift Wrapping Contest

A few years ago our family decided to draw names for the family Christmas celebration. In order to add a little excitement we added a gift wrapping challenge.  Each year the gifts have gotten more interesting and elaborate, this year was no exception.   (If you would like to see previous years look in the January sections of my blog..... you can see how the the creativity has evolved. )

This will take a while so fix yourself a snack, grab something to drink, put up your feet and enjoy.

Click on the photos for a closer look.

The first gift requires a little background.  Last October Heather wanted to take part in the Warrior Dash Marathon in St Louis. It's a 5 K run with 12 obstacles .... wiggling under barbed wire, climbing up cargo nets, crawling through mud, walking across balance beams, climbing over walls, jumping over fire.... you get the idea, not everyones idea of fun. The only person she could convince to do it with her was Cory.... although Amanda and Roger did attend to give moral support (and poke fun at) the contestants... and to take photos.  It's my understanding that Amanda spent most of the time grumbling about "being cold"  while Heather and Cory were crawling through mud and being spayed with hoses.

 This is a photo of the two "warriors"

The obstacle that Cory dreaded most was the fire pits... Heather said he jumped really high and cleared the fires with room to spare. Looks pretty scary to me!

Now for the gift. Heather drew Cory's name so she made him a trophy commemorating his mighty leap.

She sculpted Cory in polymer clay and has him leaping over the fire.  The plaque on the front reads "Cory Smith, The Ultimate Warrior, 2011"  The actual gift is in the bottom of the trophy.

Close up of PC Cory. She did a marvelous job, it looks just  like Cory.

Next up is Cory... this year he drew Sarah's name.  Some of you may remember a couple years ago Sarah had Cory's name and she won the contest with her rendition of "Cadaver Dog Darby"

I tried adding a link  but it didn't work so if you would like to see "Cadaver Dog Darby" go to Jan 12 2010 on this blog.  For those who haven't seen it, it's worth taking a look.

Anyway Cory's gift wrapping this year is payback for poor Darby... who, by the way is alive and well. Be forewarned that Sarah and Cory are a little weird... and not for the faint of heart.

Sarah is a college student taking classes to become an X-ray tech.... she was on a waiting list for a  year before she got into the program and after a semester she discovered she hates it (she is changing her major next semester!) .... mostly she hates the enemas and other other bodily functions..... I tell you this to prepare you for the "gift"

As you can see Sarah's gift is wrapped as a large paper mache posterior..... I will leave it to you imagination on how she had to retrieve her gift.  "Yes", I do have photos and "No" I will not show them to you.   The butterfly tattoo is cool.

Now let's move on, shall we?

Sarah's wrapped a gift for Eric.  A couple years ago Eric and Brad went on European tour with Eric's parents. While there Eric became interested in the British Royal Family, he now collects tins and china related to the "royals'.  Sarah borrowed one of my antique dress forms and fashioned a paper mache head of Queen Elizabeth.  She found several tins and china items, one was in the head and the others throughout the body.

Here is Eric helping the Queen wave to the on lookers.  Eric wanted to save the head but unfortunately the only was to get to  the gift was pull the head apart.... poor Queen! Lily latched on to the Queen's crown and pearls.

Eric drew Patty's name.  Patty and Eugene love wine, one of their favorite past times is to visit the local wineries... and of course sample the wine.  Eric got her some beautiful ruby red wine glasses and concealed them in a giant wine bottle.

Here is a close-up of the label.  Patty's full name is Pathena... hence the name on the label.

I will show you the gift Patty wrapped later. She had Roger's name. 

Roger drew my name.  As my friends know last summer I had a little mishap in the kitchen... just a little grease fire that damaged the stove and lit the cabinet on fire.   No big deal, I put it out myself, the repairs took a couple month, alls well that ends well....  I got  a new stove and kitchen re-do. 

The gift wrapping was in the form of a stove with a pan of grease blazing away.... one little fire and they never let you forget ... sheez!!  

The oven door opens and the gift... the Dremel Stylus that was on my Santa list, was concealed inside.... wrapped in brochures from the local old folks home.   How subtle is that?

Next please!

My gift was for grandson Nick.  When Nick was just a little guy we had the first Nentendo with the orginal Mario Bros. game.  We loved that game. He would sit on my lap and we played for hours at a time.  I pressed the button that made Mario move and Nick controlled the "jump" button.  I miss that little guy, he was so sweet... he's still sweet but he's grown up now and to big to sit on my lap.

My gift was wrapped as a section of the original Mario Bros game.  I had big plans, I did research, I found photos, I found music, I had it pictured in my head.   I wanted Mario to move along a track... with the original music playing... the track would allow him to jump into the tube, slide down a wire, land on a button that would turn on the lower chamber music, the lights would come on and everyone would be sooooo impressed. Sounds like a winner to me!!

 I explained my plans to grandson Brandon, who is a member of the high school Botball team  and Roger who teaches computer science and is working on his PhD.... both nodded and gave me a knowing, lets humor the old girl.... both said they would give it some thought.   Easy peasy right?  I don't think I was asking to much, do you?

So here is my non-mechanical gift wrapping.  I made the Mario and Mushroom guy with polymer clay. Heather helped me duct tape and draw the graphics... the inside does light up... all in all it turned out pretty well.... no thanks to the two "you know who's".  And Nick liked it, that's what counts.

P.S. Duct tape is a wonderful thing. Did you know it comes in a wide array of colors and now in prints too?  Several of the gift wrappers used my supply of duct tape.  Heather laughed at me when I bought a roll of every color.... ha... who's laughing now!

Here it is lit up... if you look closely you can see Mario on top of the green tube.

Moving right along.

Nick wrapped a gift for his granddad.  Lynn likes old Hollywood detective "film noir"  movies so Nick got him several DVD's and the book "The Best American Noir of the Century"

The gift has Bogart being smacked on the head with a present, the others are concealed inside his jacket.

Time for Intermission

That concludes the first half of the gift wrapping saga... tomorrow I will start with Lynn's gift for Eugene.  The 2nd half has more traditional style gifts..... and of course the Winner.... so please stay tuned!!