Saturday, January 29, 2011

Polymer Clay Valentine's Magnet Tutorial #2


Okay, I know I promised this for yesterday but, you know, stuff gets in the way.  I've started back on my antidepressants again after 5 years and they always make me a little loopy the first couple of days.

Anyway, so here's the second magnet tutorial I promised:

Valentine's 4-Heart Magnet Tutorial

Supplies needed:
pink clay
pearl clay
gold clay
gold metallic powder
iridescent glitter
magnet

Tools needed:
tissue blade
pasta machine
heart cutter
stamp with the word "love" or blunt needle tool

Step 1: Prepare the Base
Condition the pink clay and roll it out on a medium-thick setting:

I can see I had some air bubbles in this sheet but the magnet is so small and there will be enough stuff covering the base that it doesn't really matter right now.  If you really want to get rid of the air bubbles, you can pierce them with a needle tool, then flatten them a little with a finger, then fold the sheet and run it through the pasta machine again.  I keep doing this until I can't see any more air bubbles in the sheet. 
Anyway, now cut an irregular shape out of your clay for the base of the magnet:

Now use your stamp or blunt needle to put the word "love" across the bottom.  Next, get out your gold metallic powder (I'm using PearlEx- I think it's the antique gold.)  and very gently touch the surface of the powder with your index finger.  You just want a micro-thin layer of the powder on your finger.  Touch the pink clay with your gold-plated finger a few times.  Keep touching the powder and then the clay until you have a sort of splotchy gold design on your pink clay.  I made the gold fingerprints a little thicker around the letters to make them stand out more:

Step 2: Make the hearts.
Now condition your gold clay and sort of knead in your hands a little to disalign the mica in the clay.  Roll it out really thin and cut out 2 hearts.  I didn't have a heart cutter the size I wanted so I used a leaf cutter and trimmed the wider end so it looks like the top of a heart:

Next, condition your pearl clay and either roll it into a long string or extrude it through a fairly small hole in the extruder.  Take a piece 4 or 5 inches long and fold it in half.  Kind of squish the fold between your fingers a little.  This will be the top of the heart:

Now bend the two long ends back around to each other and pinch them together to form a heart with two tails:

Trim the tails and reshape the heart the way you want it.  I think the next time I do this one, I will curve the point at the bottom a little so it matches the gold hearts better:

Step 3: Put it all together.

Lay your gold hearts on the background and press them down a little:

Now add your string hearts:

Now you get to add the glitter.  See my notes about the glitter here.  (Scroll down about 3/4 of the way.):

Step 4: Bake and finish.

Now it's time to bake.  Put your piece on something flat (I have several pieces of broken stone tile that I can bake small things on.)  and bake at 265 degrees (or whatever the clay manufacturer recommends) for about 30-45 minutes.  I like to err on the side of caution and bake longer than may be necessary.

So now you're ready to add the magnet to the back.  I'm just using what I have on hand, which is some of that thin, flat, rolled-up magnetic strip with the sticky back.  This is not my first choice but as the magnets are light and I seldom hang stuff on the fridge with my magnets, it will suffice.  I cut a piece slightly smaller than the back of the magnet, peeled off the paper, and stuck it on.  If I were to sell these, I would use the stronger round magnets and adhere them with a suitable glue. (And here you get a preview of the other magnet I'm going to tutorialize- Is that a word?):

Reverse side:

There you go!  Make a bunch and give them away for Valentine's Day or keep them for yourself.  If you do, feel free to send me pictures and I will post them here.  I think I might give mine to my sister who has a magnet collection dating back to her junior high school days.
Korrina

P.S.  Do yourself a favor and don't sell any of the stuff you make from my tutorials.  When people buy handmade, they want a story and "I followed some instructions online" is really a lousy story.  Do feel free to use my ideas as inspiration or a "jumping-off point" for your own creations.  Besides, if anyone is going to make money off my ideas, shouldn't it be me?  :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Pie

Oh my heavens!  Where is the week going?  I seriously was going to blog sooner than this this week but the computer repair business is picking up and we are trying to not miss so much school and we've had doctor appointments and whatnot...  Anyway, so you get a recipe tonight and then I'm planning on doing the next Valentine magnet tute on Friday.  (I have to do a Den Meeting for Cub Scouts tomorrow and that usually eats up my whole day.)

So here goes... Rock absolutely loves my chicken pie.  I started making this not long after we were married (almost 15 years ago!) and it has changed and evolved a bit over the years (hopefully for the better).  I usually make 2 of these for our family- sometimes we only eat one and I just freeze the other unbaked.  Anyway, here it is:

Korrina's Chicken Pie
2 pie crusts                                                     3 (abt 1 1/2 lbs) chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil                                     2 pkg chicken gravy mix
1 cup milk                                                       1 cup water
1 teaspoon curry powder                                pepper to taste
32 oz mixed veggies (corn, carrots, green beans, peas), thawed
Line a pie plate with 1 of the pie crusts and bake at 375 for 10 minutes or so until golden brown.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Cube the chicken breasts and cook in the oil until done. (I sometimes sprinkle a little curry powder on the chicken while it's cooking.)  Whisk together the gravy mix, seasonings and milk.  Add the water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Pile (that's a culinary term) the chicken and the veggies in the pie crust.  Pour the gravy over the top.  Add the top crust to the pie and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes or so until everything is hot and the top crust is nice and brown. 



Like I said, this is Rock's favorite and the kids like it a lot too.  Oddly enough, I'm the one who can't stand it.  I just don't like my veggies all mixed together with all of that other stuff.  But don't let my opinion stop you from trying the recipe.  I'm super picky and I cook stuff I don't like all the time.

Enjoy!
Korrina

P.S.  Oh my gosh!  I didn't realize I posted two chicken recipes in a row.  Honest, we do eat other things besides chicken in our house.  How does beef stew sound for next week?  Hmm, I'm seeing a comfort foods trend here.  Can anyone say "midwinter blues"?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Honey Mustard Chicken

I hate trying to figure out what is for dinner.  So a couple of years ago, I came across the website Menus4Moms and started using the menus there.  Then I discovered that there were a lot of recipes that no one in my family liked and so I'd have to do a lot of tweaking.  Then I realized that it might be better to create my own menus so, over the past couple of years I have worked up a yearly menu full of recipes that we all love. 

A lot of people have been asking me to share my recipes with them and so I thought I'd try to include one or two a week here on my blog.  I'm trying to do recipes that are on the menu for the week anyway so I can include commentary from the kids and keep the recipe fresh in my memory.

So, here we go.  This week's recipe is Honey Mustard Chicken.  I'm not sure where it came from- I think I tweaked a recipe I found in a cookbook somewhere.  At any rate, all of the kids love it (although the 11-year-old claimed she didn't really like the sauce and proceeded to ask for seconds), even my 18-month-old.  I served it with wild rice pilaf and brussels sprouts (which I think are disgusting but the kids all love).  Enough chatter- here's the recipe:

Honey Mustard Chicken
8 boned, skinned chicken breast halves                               1/8 tsp. pepper
¼ c Dijon mustard                                                              ¼ c honey
2 Tbsp. olive oil                                                                  ¾ c mozzarella, shredded
Flatten chicken by placing between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pounding with a rolling pin or the side of a meat mallet. Salt and pepper chicken and pan-fry in olive oil, turning often, for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Mix together mustard and honey in a small bowl.  Spread about one tablespoon sauce on each chicken breast and sprinkle with mozzarella.  Turn off heat and cover until cheese has melted.

By the way, as you can see, this recipe makes quite a bit of chicken.  There are 8 of us so I have to make pretty big meals.  You may need to halve or even quarter it depending on how many are in your household.

(Just keep in mind that I am neither chef nor food photographer. :) I'm just a mom and wife who loves to eat and feed her family good food.)

Enjoy!
Korrina

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm in Another Challenge!

So they've got the next Polymer Clay Central Challenge up and I'm in it again, so go on over and vote.  I'm not telling which one is mine or even giving any clues except this one: it has to do with snow and/or ice. :)  Anyway, next week I will be posting my next Valentine's Day magnet tutorial so stay tuned!

Korrina

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Polymer Clay Valentine's Magnet Tutorial #1

Before I start, let me just say a couple of things.  First of all, this tutorial is really long but don't let that fool you.  The project is really simple.  I just like to make everything as clear as possible.  Also, these photos are really lousy 'cause my clay table faces a window so the main light source is behind the item being photographed most of the time.  I am in the process of rearranging things so hopefully future tutes will have better photos.

So I've been wanting to do a tutorial for something really quick and simple for Valentine's Day and this is what I came up with- heart magnets.  There are three different ones and I will post the tutorials for them separately.  This one is the simplest- just a 3-dimensional hearts on a flat background.  So, here we go...

3D Heart Valentine Magnet Tutorial
Supplies needed:
pink clay
beige clay
gold metallic powder
iridescent glitter
magnet

Tools needed:
tissue blade
pasta machine
stamp with the word "love" or blunt needle tool

Step 1: Make the hearts.
Condition all of the clay you are going to use.  Marble together some beige and pink clay...


...and make a ball of it about 3/4 inch in diameter.  Make sure to roll all of the seams out 'cause they will show in the hearts otherwise.


Form the ball into a sort of fat bone shape.


Lay it on the table and cut in half at an angle as shown below.  If you can't get it perfectly even, that's okay- I personally like my hearts a little lopsided; it gives them character.


Now turn one of the halves around and stick the cut sides back together so that the fat parts and the skinny parts line up.


Voila!  You have a heart.  Now, use your fingers or other tool to smooth the seam a bit.


Lay the heart on its side and cut in half as shown in the picture below.


Now you have two 3D hearts with flat backs.  One side of each heart will probably be a little flattened a little from the cutting so reshape them a bit to give them back their curve.  I also like to curl the points to one side a little as well.  (Somehow I ended up without a photo of that part.  I'm sure you get the picture.)

Step 2:  Prepare the background.
Take the rest of your pink clay and roll it through the pasta machine at a medium to medium-thick setting.  (I have three cheap pasta machines and the numbers are all different on them so I'm not even going to try to guess what number you need to use.  My dream is to someday have a pasta machine that doesn't need replacing every year... *sigh*)


Now cut an uneven four-sided shape.  (Something is telling me that I should know the name of this shape but I can't quite put my finger on it.  And I think I'm qualified to homeschool... What was I thinking? LOL)


Use your "love" stamp at this point or use your needle tool to carve the word "love" across the bottom of your shape.  I'm extremely rubber stamp-challenged right now so I carved the words with my needle tool.


Step 3: Put it together.
Get out your gold metallic powder (I'm using PearlEx- I think it's the antique gold.)  and very gently touch the surface of the powder with your index finger.  You just want a micro-thin layer of the powder on your finger.  Touch the pink clay with your gold-plated finger a few times.  Keep touching the powder and then the clay until you have a sort of splotchy gold design on your pink clay.  I made the gold fingerprints a little thicker around the letters to make them stand out more.


Use a little gold on your hearts as well.


Arrange your hearts on your background and press down gently to adhere them.


Now you get to add the glitter.  What Valentine is complete without glitter?  I still remember the smell of the white glue and the sound of the glitter pouring out of the jar onto the paper and how pretty the classroom carpet looked when someone spilled glitter and the vacuum couldn't get it all... ahhh, those were the days!  Oh, sorry, lost track there for a minute.  Okay, so you need to make sure that the glitter you're using is not the cheap plastic stuff- that will melt in the oven.  Mine is a fine scrapbooking glitter that I've had for several years so I can't even tell you the brand name.  Anyway, if you haven't tried your glitter in the oven before, I recommend doing a test run with a scrap piece of clay first.  Alternatively, you could do the glitter after baking or just leave it out entirely.  Now, I don't use my glitter dry.  What do I mean by dry?  At some point in the last couple of years, somehow my bottle of mineral oil leaked into my little container of iridescent glitter and mixed with it.  Now it's sort of a grainy paste that I absolutely love for applying to raw clay.  The oil makes the glitter stick better and it is much easier to control where the glitter goes.  So, you can either add a drop or two of mineral oil (or liquid clay would probably work) to your glitter, or you can figure out how to apply the glitter for yourself.  If you figure out a better way, let me know- I love to try new things.  (Could I ramble any more about glitter? Here's the photo...)


Step 4: Bake your piece.
Okay, if you've made it through all of my ramblings and actually found the instructions in all of that- congratulations!  Now it's time to bake.  Put your piece on something flat (I have several pieces of broken stone tile that I can bake small things on.)  and bake at 265 degrees (or whatever the clay manufacturer recommends) for about 30-45 minutes.  I like to err on the side of caution and bake longer than may be necessary.

Step 5:  Stick a magnet on.
So now you're ready to add the magnet to the back.  I'm just using what I have on hand, which is some of that thin, flat, rolled-up magnetic strip with the sticky back.  This is not my first choice but as the magnets are light and I seldom hang stuff on the fridge with my magnets, it will suffice.  I cut a piece slightly smaller than the back of the magnet, peeled off the paper, and stuck it on.  If I were to sell these, I would use the stronger round magnets and adhere them with a suitable glue. (And here you get a preview of the other two magnets I'm going to tutorialize- Is that a word?)


Reverse side...

There you go!  Make a bunch and give them away for Valentine's Day or keep them for yourself.  If you do, feel free to send me pictures and I will post them here.  I think I might give mine to my sister who has a magnet collection dating back to her junior high school days.

Korrina

P.S.  Do yourself a favor and don't sell any of the stuff you make from my tutorials.  When people buy handmade, they want a story and "I followed some instructions online" is really a lousy story.  Do feel free to use my ideas as inspiration or a "jumping-off point" for your own creations.  Besides, if anyone is going to make money off my ideas, shouldn't it be me?  :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm Back!

Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's been a full month since my last blog post!  What with Christmas and all of it's surprises (remind me to tell you about it sometime) and of course the break in between Christmas and the New Year, (in which I accomplished absolutely nothing) and then some medical problems I've had the last two weeks, I just haven't had the time for my blog or my Etsy shop or anything.  It's a miracle that the house hasn't fallen down around our ears and we even managed a little homeschooling. 

Anyway, one of my resolutions for this year is to post at least 3 times per week with at least one of those posts being something substantial (like a polymer clay tutorial or something).  I would love to post every day but I don't want to make this an impossible task... :)

Anyway, I'm working on a new tutorial but I won't be able to post it until after the January Polymer Clay Central Challenge as the tute will be for the item I am entering and that's against the rules.

So, until later in the week, Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day! (and you thought I forgot!)

Korrina

P.S. Can you believe my oldest daughter is turning 14 today?  I just don't feel old enough to be the mother of a 14-year-old!