Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Stamp of an "Original"

Everyone knows that artists sign their work. Sometimes it's on the bottom of the picture for all to see. Sometimes an artist chooses to hide their signature somewhere in the painting. Sometimes it can even be found on the back of their work. But no matter how or where it's located, a signature is bound to be there. The same holds true for fine china and pottery too. Just look at the bottom of a cookie jar to find out if you have a real McCoy.

Now I feel uncomfortable calling myself an artist. But I have been told that I need to sign my work. I have tried writing my name in the clay before it is cured but it just doesn't feel right to me.  So I decided I would put my own stamp on it. I am a do-it-yourself kind of person. I hate to buy something if I can make it myself for less. So I decided to make a stamp the best way I knew how. By using alphabet noodles!

First I picked out the letters. Since Flowertown Originals seemed a bit too long, I decided to go with just the initials, FTO.

Next I grabbed a piece of scrap clay, flattened it out and embedded the noodles. I removed the pasta with a needle and it was ready for curing.

Once it was cooled, I gave it a light coating of baby powder (to make in non-stick), took another piece of scrap clay and pushed it down onto the cured piece.  I trimmed it smaller and put it in the oven.

Since it was so small, I made a handle (covered in one of my canes of course) and attached the two. Back to the oven.....

Now I have my very own stamp and will be able to "sign" my work. It's my stamp of approval and let's everyone know that they are getting an Original. I kinda like that! Next I want to make my own signature cane to put on some of my smaller things. I'll have to think about that one a while longer.  But right now I think I will go and make a pot of Alphabet soup.

Until next time.... put a smile on!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mandala Doodling

After finding Shrinky Dinks and colored pencils while cleaning out a closet recently, I have rediscovered my love for drawing. I've always loved to draw and color but I'm sometimes stumped  as to what to draw.  I've always loved  mandalas but never thought about drawing them myself. But for the past couple of nights I've discovered that it is surprisingly simple and relaxing.  All it takes is a pencil and paper. There are really no rules, no right or wrong. I just follow where my mind takes me.

These are the ones that I've done so far.  They are just drawn on some paper from a pad that I found in the same closet.  I tore the paper into a six inch square, found the center and just went from there.

There's nothing too spectacular about these but I would like to continue with them. Maybe the next one I draw will be a masterpiece! Who knows!!! So until next time......put a smile on!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The next chapter

How did it get to be Friday already? This week has flown past in a hurry. So, what did I do with my time?

I have been busy readying for my big move! You see, my daughter moved out 3 months ago and so now I have an extra bedroom. It has been a dream of mine to have a craft room of my very own. A place where I can go, close the door and create without distractions. It's a new year and the perfect time for a fresh new start. But oh, the work that is involved! You see, I decided it would be best if my son moved across the hall into his sister's old room and I would get his bedroom.  So.....

First I had to pack away all that my daughter left behind. It seems she didn't get rid of anything since we moved into this house when she was 7. It was kind of bittersweet, going through her childhood things. Coloring books, stuffed animals, old birthday cards and pictures. The end of that chapter of her life.

But I got through it all! Then the next step was to paint over the purple walls and clean that carpet.  Once this was done all I had left to do was move my son's furniture and clothes.

I'm lovin' the red and black!
So this is where I find myself today. My son is pretty much all moved in. Oh, but what a mess I still face.  Trying to wade through all of his childhood toys is going to be far worse than I expected. Ninja turtles, Cooties, jigsaw puzzles.....another chapter has ended.

I think I need more than 2 boxes!
I hope by this time next week I will be showing off a great new room of my very own.  I am so looking forward to getting back to creating. My Etsy shop has been a little neglected this week, but there are great things on the way! A new chapter in my life is just beginning. So until then....put a smile on!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Checkerboard Klimt Buttons - How do you do that?

Just last week I received a custom order for a set of buttons. I thought I would take some pictures of the process and share with you what is involved. So here we go.....

First I blended the colors that the customer wanted.

Then I ran each color through the pasta machine to flatten it out. I took a 1/2" circle cutter and cut out 12 disks of each color.

They look kind of like candy wafers, don't they?

I stacked all of the pink together in a random order, and gently smooshed (yes, that is a technical term) them together. This is just the right size and shape to fit into the barrel of my clay gun. The same thing is then done with the yellow disks.

Now I have a 12 inch long pink square snake. Then it's time to clean out all the remnants of the pink clay that are stuck to the inside of the barrel so that I can make a yellow snake.

I lay both the yellow and pink snakes together next to my ruler and cut them evenly in half.

Those two halfs are then stacked on top of each other and slightly stretched and squeezed until the 6 inch piece is now 8 inches long. Then I cut it into quarters.

Now I have 4, 2" pieces. These are then combined into a square.

And this is the final result. By now the clay has softened from all of this handling and needs to rest. So it is set aside until the next day.


In the next step of my button making process I roll out a sheet of yellow clay. Then I cut very thin slices from the end of my cane.

The slices are laid side by side on the yellow sheet and I use my acrylic roller to adhere them and stretch them just a bit.  It's rolled through the pasta machine so that it is of a uniform thickness. I roll out yet another sheet of yellow clay, lay the patterned sheet on top and make sure there are no air bubbles between the two sheets. This is placed on a ceramic tile.

My customer wanted 3/4" buttons so I get out my 3/4" circle cutter, cut them out and remove the excess clay. I poke small button holes in each button with a sewing needle.  After the buttons cure in a 275 degree oven for 30 minutes the next step is wet sanding. I like to make my buttons smooth on both sides and around the edge.  Then I drill the button holes bigger with my Dremel.

And there you have it! A custom set of buttons ready for use!

Do you have a project that needs some buttons? I would love to hear from you! Or take a look in my Etsy shop at the ready to ship buttons available. Until next time.......put a smile on!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

What's in Store for 2013

We are less than a week into the new year. Have you broken any resolutions yet? Me? I don't make resolutions. But I have made plans, goals if you will, for me and my Etsy shop. Ready to hear about them?

First up......Macrame!  I love macrame!  I remember when I was a kid in the 70's my Mom made a couple of macrame plant hangers and a handbag. But I never learned the knots back then. It was when my daughter was a preteen wanting to learn how to make friendship bracelets that I taught myself some of the knots.  In order to teach her I had to learn it myself!  I've been knotting off and on ever since. There is still a market for macrame hemp jewelry and I have decided to start making a wider variety for the shop. I ordered 12 different colors of hemp and have made a number of bracelets. My goal is to learn a few more knots and try to offer something a little different than just the basic jewelry. And one of these days I'm going to make my own hammock chair too!
12 spools of hemp!
One of the bracelets I made. It's knotted on memory wire!

Next I'm thinking about offering my polymer clay canes for sale.  I love making canes but then I have trouble using them.  I get bored with them quickly and then I'm ready to make a new one. I ordered this set of discs to use with my clay gun a couple of months ago. I love the repeating patterns and the geometric shapes used in quilt blocks.  This should be fun and I have been itching to get started.

          And I finally did!
The first of many!

And just this week I rediscovered Shrinky Dinks! Remember those? Another throw back to my 70's childhood. And once again I have my daughter to thank for this! I was cleaning out some stuff that she left behind when she moved out and found this book. It still had some of the plastic sheets too!

Shrinky Dinks Book!

I sharpened my colored pencils and started drawing. I've made some mistakes, learning what works and what doesn't. I'm not sure where I'm headed with this but I have some ideas in my head. So only time will tell.
The 2 on the left are too dark. The other 3 aren't bad but could be improved.

So what do all of these things say about who I am? I have no idea! I hope to find a way to incorporate everything I enjoy into one cohesive shop. That's one goal that may take me a little longer to reach. But so far this year I've had a blast revisiting some things I haven't done in a while and stretching my imagination.  I am looking forward to what this year has in store for me!