Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fall Colors

It's 11/12/13. I just love dates like this!  I guess I'm a numbers geek. But anyway.....since it's November I decided to take a walk around my yard looking for signs of Fall. Besides, it's supposed to be cold tomorrow so I wanted to take advantage of today's weather.  I'll get back in the "studio" tomorrow.

Beautiful blue skies.
Lantana is still blooming and the butterflies love it!
My Bradford Pear tree is just starting to show some color.
red leaf, brown pine needles, green grass
The Nandina bush has loads of red berries.
There are still a few yellow leaves on my Crepe Myrtle tree.
Leia enjoying the day!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Rorschach - what do you see?

Have you ever been reminded of something that you once enjoyed but had long forgotten? Maybe something from as far back as your childhood or it could be something you experienced more recently. Life's obligations and the mundane everyday chores have a way of pushing back our little pleasures. Or sometimes new, more exciting things take their place.

Well yesterday I was reminded of one of those little joys I discovered when I first started playing around with polymer clay. You see, Google's doodle was about Hermann Rorschach, the psychiatrist who developed the Rorschach "ink blot" test. And so naturally it made me think about the Rorschach technique in polymer clay. Probably everyone who has ever picked up a block of clay has done this at some point.  And if you haven't maybe you should! :) Or if you're like me, maybe it's been a while. Either way, it's fun and you should give it a try!

When I first learned this technique I was mesmerized. The excitement of not knowing what you will reveal when you slice into that log of clay. And I find it interesting to hear what other people see in the image.

There are loads of online tutorials and different ways of doing it. This is just my way, a quick introduction, in case you're unfamiliar with or new to polymer clay.

First, I looked thorough my old canes. Some of these are leftovers from years ago. Some not so pretty, some dried out and crumbly. I could never just throw these away as most polymer clayers know, there is never anything useless when it comes to ugly canes, leftovers or "scraps". So whatever you have on hand will work for this project.

These pieces are each about an inch long and really nothing special about any of them.

I squished the cane pieces together like this.
I rolled and twisted it into a snake.
Then pushed the snake into a cube like this.
And here is the exciting part, slicing into that ugly square. See the mirror image?
Keep slicing to get another image.
My little cube of clay made 5 different images, each one different.
Here are some pointers: I like to choose canes that have lines, like the leaf and pumpkin canes I used. I also like to have a bit of black in there and some white. This gives contrast to the other colors. But really it's entirely up to you. If you chose your colors wisely you can get some beautiful results.  I'm not so fond of the orange in these particular ones, I feel it's too over powering. But, it is what it is.

And remember, there are different ways of lining up your mirror images. Play around with them until you have something that is pleasing to you.

So what can you do with these miniature pictures? Bake them individually and turn them into awesome pendants. Combine them all into one piece and have yourself a pretty trippy piece of wall art. They're great for multi-media use. Or make them into small tiles and attach them to the outside of a picture frame, mosaic style.  Just use your imagination, I'm sure you will see another use, suited just to your personality (pun intended!).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Doing It Mandala Style

A few months ago I covered a sugar bowl with polymer clay. I loved the way it turned out and told myself I would do more work along those lines. Well yesterday I finally did. But it wasn't another sugar bowl that I made but a hair accessory. Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "what does a sugar bowl have in common with hair accessories?" Why...the WAY I decorated the both of them of course!

First, here is the sugar bowl I did. I absolutely loved the way it turned out and I hope the person who bought it loves it just as much. A lot of slicing of canes and placement of those paper thin slices went into making this dish.

For those who have never worked with polymer clay before I thought I would show you a little bit of the "behind the scenes" process. So here is a glimpse of what it took to make my latest piece, what I am calling a hair slide because well.... I don't really know what to call it!

This is just a sampling of some of my canes. I ended up not using all of these but I had them handy just in case....

This picture gives you a better idea of the size of some of the canes. And yes, I use a pin to pick up those tiny little petals and place them where I want them. The slices stick to the point of the pin when slightly touched. You have to have an easy touch and a steady hand. And my reading glasses and a bright light comes in handy too!

And this is the end result!

So there you have it. The similarities between a sugar bowl and a hair slide. Both of these pieces have sold but I KNOW I will be continuing with this style. I just love it!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall is in the Air

Fall I think is my favorite time of year. Cool nights, warm afternoons and clear blue skies.

It is the end of October and finally feeling like Fall where I live. So my thoughts turn to all things Autumnal. Pumpkins, hay rides, hot chocolate, chrysanthemums, geese flying south, leaves of red yellow and orange, pine cones and acorns!

I first noticed all the acorns while walking out to my mail box last week.  Cute little acorn caps were littering my driveway. I picked some up, leaving the acorns in the yard for the squirrels, and took them inside. So you may ask, "what will you do with acorn caps"? Well I'll show you.

Aren't they just the cutest?

I can just picture them in a small glass bowl with moss and stones.  Or how about scattered among some evergreen leaves down the middle of your Thanksgiving table? Or attached to a napkin ring with small twigs or other natural elements? Oh, the possibilities!!!

I have dozens and dozens of acorn caps at my disposal. I'll have to gather them up soon before the outdoor elements destroy them, just in case I decide to make some more of these little gems.

So what would you do with these unnaturally colored nuts? I would love to hear your ideas. So why not leave me a comment?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bead Do Over

I have been experimenting, learning and playing around with polymer clay, off and on, for close to 19 years.  And in all of that time I have made my share of mistakes. If you have ever tried a new craft I am sure you know what I mean. Sometimes I look back on what I made years ago and think "Oh, my! What was I thinking?"

I have held onto quite a few of these mistakes, not wanting to throw them out but not really knowing what I'm ever going to do with them. Take these beads for example.

They were supposed to look like white marble. But that is not what I got! So, what should I do with them?

Well, since I've been working with polymer for so long I have also made lots of canes, many of which I still have pieces of.  Like these that I made about 3 years ago.

So, I decided to cover my ugly beads with some slices from my leftover canes. Killing two birds with one stone, getting rid of my ugly beads and my leftover canes! It's a win, win!

So that's what I did and here are the results!

What an improvement! I really like their fun new shape! Perhaps I'll make a few more of these and list them in my shop. And I have plenty of other beads that could use a makeover. Oh, the possibilities.......

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

light bulb moments

What do you do with your burnt out light bulbs? If you're like most people you throw them out with the trash, right? Now, what dodo with them? Let me give you a hint....I don't throw them away.  Just take a look at this.....
Yep, this is my hoard of used light bulbs! I guess I should feel kind of embarrassed by this but let me tell you why I keep every shape and size bulb. Or better yet, I'll show you.

I'm a little teapot....

 bird is the word
clown (not Angry) red bird

rainbow fish ornament
snowman ornament
fat cat in the Santa hat ornament

Ice skating ornament, side 1

Ice skating ornament, side 2

All of these that you see here are just light bulbs and polymer clay, that's it. Most I made a few years ago and almost all of them have found new homes.
So you see, there are lots of things you can make with an old burnt out light bulb. I have so many more ideas. Now, if I can just find the time.........

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Polymer Clay Shank Buttons

This week I wanted to try and make a different type of button.  Normally I make two-hole buttons but I wanted to make shank style buttons.  I searched online for pre-made shanks. But I was feeling impatient. I wanted to make these NOW! I didn't want to have to order the shanks and then wait for them to be delivered. So I decided to use what I had and make them myself.  I wasn't sure if it would work but there was only one way to find out. This is what I did.

I had this spool of 20 gauge wire on hand and thought that would work just fine.  I cut 6, 1-1/2" pieces with my wire cutters, one for each button.

I centered the wire on my round nose pliers and bent each end down, forming a loop.

 Like this.

I then coiled each end, like this.

I placed the looped and coiled wire on what will be the back of the button.  I pressed in down just slightly.
I took another, smaller circle of clay, cut a small slit in the center of it with my X-acto blade and pushed it down over the loop, covering the coiled ends of the wire.

I blended the edges of the smaller circle into the back of the button. I then textured the whole back to seamlessly join the two circles of clay together.

After doing this for all 6 buttons, I cured them in the oven for about 30 minutes. After sanding and polishing, here they are!

I am really pleased with the way they turned out.  They appear to be very sturdy, which was my biggest worry.  So I think I will make more of this type of button. In fact, I already have an idea for my next set!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What's on my work table

Let me just start by saying.....4 months? Have I really ignored my blog for that long?

Well, I am back (for now) and thought I would share what I'm working on today.

A custom order light switch plate cover!

And the recipient has no idea! Yeah, her husband asked me to make this for his wife. Need I say more?  I mean, he has given me no direction on where to go with this except that it needed to be for a single light switch and he wants dragonflies! Yeah, that's it! No color scheme, no nothing else!  So, I'm just following my creative instinct and havin' fun!

Kinda messy picking out colors to use.

Is 3 dragonflies too many? It needs more flowers!

I think I'm likin' it though.
Of course, this is just the preliminary stages. Things were quickly made and placed on, that's just the way I work.  I can't envision the finished product in my head without first laying it all out. I'll get it all fine tuned before curing.

Well, that's it for now. I'm going back to work on this some more!