Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Polymer Clay Central Challenge: Go Vote!

Just wanted to quickly let you know that the April Polymer Clay Central Challenge is now open for voting and, although I wasn't originally planning on it, I entered again.  The theme was flowers and there are a lot of gorgeous entries!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Victor PTA Craft Fair

On Saturday, I did my first craft fair in several years.  It was at a local elementary school and I really didn't have high hopes for sales but I wanted to promote all three (yes, 3!) of my businesses.  While it was horribly slow, I did make back my booth fee and a little more.  We really didn't have any travel expenses since this one was only 30 minutes from home.  So, I supported a local school and made a little money into the bargain.
Our booth was two long tables lined up along one end of the gym.  They left a ton of space between booths so we felt a little disconnected from the other vendors but at least we had plenty of room to spread out. :)

I drew these paper dolls and quiet books several years ago for my kids.  I copied them so I could make more when they wore the first batch out.  Then I decided they would be a good thing to sell as all of the time that was going to be invested in them was already spent.  The binder in front is a sample that shows all of the pages in each of the sets.  I plan on having a little table set up with some finished paper dolls and folder games on it for kids to play with at the next craft fair.  Hopefully that will help with their sales.

This is the kids' section of the table.  My 11yo made the goodies and my two little girls made some of the bracelets.  (I made the rest.)  My 14yo was going to paint faces but pulled a ligament in her right wrist and was in a splint.  The 11yo did not do well at the craft fair and when I suggested gourmet-style cupcakes she told me she hates baking.  Okay, I think we need to re-think her product.  She and her older sister are doing yarn dolls for the next one.

This is the section for my hubby's business.  Can you guess what he does?!? :)  You can also see in the background where I was working on some new Easter Eggs while we sat there.

Half of my polymer clay stuff.  Most of this stuff is listed in my Etsy and/or Artfire shops.  (If you see anything in this photo or the next that's not listed that you'd like to see listed, let me know in the comments below and I'll see what I can do.)

The other half of my polymer clay stuff.  I plan on a completely different setup for the next event.
And this is the third business that I was advertising.  It's a local informational website that my sister-in-law and I started recently.

For a while, I was the only one in our booth and so as the customers were walking along in front of it I was answering questions about the paper dolls, then telling them about my daughter making the goodies, then giving them information about the computer repair, then talking about polymer clay, then giving information about our website.  I guess it's a good thing we weren't real busy.  I wouldn't have been able to keep up with more than one customer in our booth at a time.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Polymer Clay Tutorial: Inside-Out Jellyroll Cane

My camera disappeared yesterday so I wasn't able to write a new tutorial.  This is one that I wrote several years ago (so forgive the photos, I've learned a lot since then). :)  It's a nice, simple cane that I have used for covering pens. (Ooh, maybe I'll do a tute about that next week, if I've found my camera!)  This tutorial also assumes that the user has a basic knowledge of working with polymer clay, conditioning, rolling, reducing canes, baking, etc.  If not, here are a couple of great resources to get you started:  Polymer Clay Central and Glass Attic.  Anyway, here it is:

First, condition equal amounts of two colors and roll them out on a fairly thick setting.  Lay one on top of the other and trim one narrow end straight.

Trim the other narrow end at an angle so that the bottom layer stick out beyond the top layer a little.  Start rolling from the other end (not the angled one) to make a basic jellyroll cane.  Make sure you roll slowly and firmly to keep air bubbles out as you go.  Roll it all the way up and then roll it back and forth on your work surface to seal everything together.

Now, cut the whole thing in half lengthwise.

And cut each of those halves in half lenthwise.

Next, get some more of one of your colors and make a log a little smaller than one of your quarter jellyrolls.

Square it up with your fingers and your work surface.

Now place the quarter jellyrolls around the squared-off log with their insides facing out.  Use your fingers and your work surface to square it up a little as needed.

Roll out a medium-thick sheet of the same color and wrap it around the cane, trimming the sheet so the edges butt up against one another (not overlapping).

Do the same with a sheet of your other color.

Use a roller to smooth out all of the edges and reduce as desired.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Treasury

I know for most of you it's spring but here we still have 3 feet of snow in our front yard and it snowed the last 3 days! This is my subtle way of telling Mother Nature I'm ready for spring already!  These are based on the Pantone colors for spring 2011.  See more here.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

New Blossom Easter Eggs

So here's what I've been working on the past week or so.

I showed you this one...

 ...a couple of weeks ago, saying that I wanted to experiment a little more with this style and so that's what I did.

Well, here are the results so far:
This is the first one I did.  I tried to make it look like curly vines holding the egg upright but they wouldn't cooperate very well.

So on this one, I just did little balls of green clay, strategically placed.

This one's petals are a little different from the others.
On all of the above eggs, there is a different texture for each layer of petals/leaves.  I also used a generous amount of pearl powders on all of them.  I enjoyed making them and I loved the way they turned out so I will probably be making more of these.

The other eggs I've been working on, I call my Feather Eggs.  My kids say they look kind of like painted pine cones so I guess that would have worked for a name as well.  I just think they look sort of like layers of feathers so that's where I got the name.

I'd really like to do these in some other colors as well.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Polymer Clay Tutorial- Bead Basics Part 5- Impressed Beads

This tutorial is going to be more of a list of ideas than a real how-to.  These beads are all based on shapes that I posted in other tutorials: Covering a Bead Core, Bead Shapes, More Bead Shapes, Covering a Mud Core

The photos in this tutorial are not the best but you should be able to see enough to understand what I'm talking about.  The lighting was just terrible in the room I was working in.  It's really a good idea to have decent lighting.

Let's get started!

Idea #1:
First is the melon bead.  Start with a round bead.  Pierce it with your needle tool and leave it on there.

Use a fat blunt needle to make marks from the hole to about halfway down the side of the bead.  To make the lines even, make a mark and then do the next one straight across, then do marks halfway between the others until you have divided your bead into 8 sections.  Then work from the other side of the hole to make the marks go all the way from one end of the hole to the other.  (Somehow I ended up not getting a photo of the finished bead. But I'm sure you get the idea.)

Idea #2:
The next bead doesn't have a name but when pressed to call it something I just call it an impressed cube.  You could make dice using this method and then painting the dots.  Start with a cube.

Use the head of a sewing pin to impress dots in each side of the cube.  If you embed the pointy part of the pin in a chunk of scrap clay and bake it, you won't stab yourself and you'll have something to hang onto.

Make them shallow or deep according to your preference.  Pierce the bead from side to side through to of the indentations.

Idea #3:
This next one is an impressed barrel that I made up a long time ago.  Somehow this one didn't turn out as good as the original.  Make a barrel bead and lay it on your work surface.  Use the needle tool to press a groove all the way around the bead, rolling it back and forth on the surface.

Like this:

Use a fat needle to make round indentations in a row around one end of the bead.

I should have made these farther apart and shallower but you get the idea.  Pierce the bead the long way.

Idea #4:
Next is an impressed round bead.  Make a round bead and pierce it, leaving it on the needle.  Use the head of the pin to make indentations as desired.

Take it off the needle and roll it lightly between your hands to reshape as needed.

Idea #5:
This next one I call a caterpillar bead.  (Make sure the outer layer of clay is thick enough to keep the core from showing through.  I didn't make it thick enough and you can see mud peeking out.)  Pierce the bead and roll it back and forth on the work surface to start forming a long tube bead.

Take it off the needle tool and flatten the ends a little to neaten things up.  Stick it back on the needle tool.

Take your fat needle and use it to make a groove in the middle of the bead.

Then make two other grooves, one on each side of the first.  Take the bead off the needle tool.

Bend the bead between two fingers to bend it slightly.

Idea #6:
You can also use other craft supplies to make impressions in your beads.  I prefer starting with a cube.

I'm using a piece of lace for this one.  Lay the lace on the work surface and place the bead on the lace.  Fold the lace over the bead and press down so you impress two sides at once.  Turn the bead and do two of the other sides and repeat for the last two sides.

It's hard to see the effect in this photo but I probably should have used a finer lace.  Pierce the bead any direction you want.

Idea #7:
You can use flexible texture sheets in a variety of ways.  Make a round bead and roll it around on the sheet for a random design.

Pierce the bead.

Idea #8:
Make a cube and set it on the edge of a texture sheet.

Bend the edge of the texture sheet over the top of the bead and press to impress two sides.  Turn the bead and repeat two more times until all sides are impressed.

Pierce the bead.

Idea #9:
Make a barrel bead.  Pierce it and leave it on the needle.  Roll the bead across the texture sheet without overlapping the impression.

Idea #10:
Here's another one using a found object.  This is one of those baby combs you get free from the hospital.  I have several (five hospital births!) so I keep one with my clay stuff.  Make a round bead, pierce it, and carefully roll it along the teeth of the comb from hole to hole.  Turn the bead halfway and repeat.  Then do it again halfway between each of the other lines.

Idea #11:
This one's cool.  Make a barrel bead and pierce it.  Take your stripe texture sheet and roll the bead on it at an angle to make diagonal lines.

Turn the bead halfway and roll again.

This will make new lines going the other way to make diamond shapes all over the bead.

The possibilities are endless so use your imagination to see what you come up with.  Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below!


The "Bead Basics" Series of Tutorials:
Part 1: Covering a Core
Part 2: 5 Bead Shapes
Part 3: 6 More Bead Shapes
Part 4: Covering a Core with a Solid Color