Sunday, April 25, 2010

Clay Play Days, March 13 & April 11

We had a lot of fun at our last three Polymer Clay Play Day.  Sheesh, it seems weird to be writing about something that happened March 13 and April 11, when we just had ANOTHER Clay Play Day yesterday, April 24, but I'll do it anyway, LOL  I may be a ditz, but I'm a thorough ditz, LOLOL

All three PC Play Days, it was just me, my sister, our friend, and Mom.

March 13 we were exploring faux stones.  We tried just "river rocks", as well as faux amethyst, faux rose quartz, and faux marble in differing colors.  Some we liked, some we didn't, some needed sanding, which none of us like to do, LOL.

We had a wonderful messy time but our hands looked worse than a little kid's hands while coloring Easter eggs.

Since Gail and Reni both work in health care fields, these beautifully stained hands wouldn't have gone over too well at work. . . but we had a wonderful rescue remedy available to us.

I don't know if I have ever mentioned it, but my daughter Becky happens to be a Soap Artisan and has her own business Moon Silver Soapworks.  At my request she has developed a special recipe for a VERY special soap.  She calls it Scrubby Soap and it is fantastic at getting almost anything off your hands.  Originally she designed it to take the Polymer Clay residue off my hands since anything else that worked also dried my hands out horribly.  Becky's Scrubby Hands soap is fantastic at not only removing Polymer Clay residue, but it also leaves my hands feeling soft, moisturized and clean.  We also know it works great for grease and garden stains, but didn't have a clue if it would help with these alcohol dyes and paint or not.  We tried it and WOW, it worked, and here's the proof (photo above of clean hands).   Becky also has other wonderful soaps and candles with lovely colors and scents or unscented, if you happen to be sensitive to scents.  Go visit Moon Silver Soapworks for further information.

We also made some of our river rocks into Christi Friesen style rock gardens and rock garden pendants.

Don't you just love Reni's take on the "Pet Rocks" from the '70s?

Mom doesn't clay with us, she just comes to keep us company and chat with us.  Here she is holding our efforts for the day.

Mom also comes to cuddle with Snuffles:

April 11, we had a specific project we needed to complete.  Mom has a special group of Lady Friends she meets with on a regular basis for friendship, support, encouragement, and personal/spiritual growth.  Mom will be giving a presentation in May and for her presentation she has chosen to use the topic of Positive Thinking and Attitude is her by-word.  So, we decided to make some of my Secret Stones (based on something I got out of the Book and Video  "The Secret", which, by the way, I thoroughly enjoyed).  The idea is a small reminder of a word that has special meaning to you.  I started out with just the word gratitude, but so many people saw them and wanted other words that I decided to make others and called them Secret Stones:    I wanted them fairly small so people could carry them in their pocket or put them on or in their desk or any special place where they would see them or feel them and be able to remind themselves of the special thought or word they chose.

So, Mom was telling us about her presentation and wanted some small token to give her friends to go with her presentation and we thought of the Secret Stones with the word Attitude on them.  So, we spent the Clay Play Day making  Attitude stones for Mom and other "Secret Stones" for ourselves and friends.

While the "Secret Stones" were curing, we also made some Faux Malachite.  It was an interesting experience.  We had several tutorials for making faux malachite which were all quite different.  Reni followed one, but tweaked the colors, I followed another but didn't like the colors, so changed them up a bit, and Gail followed one made with the extruder and the colors listed in the same Tutorial Reni used.

All in all, a very successful Polymer Clay Play Day.

Yesterday, April 24 we had another Polymer Clay Play Day.  We tried a new tutorial for a flower cane:  Flowers with Curling Petals by Zuleykah.  Zuleykah is a very generous Polymer Clay Artist who does beautiful cane work as well as miniatures that look good enough to eat and other dimensional jewelry.  Zuleykah has a great blog and freely shares many how too posts on there as well.  This was a fun tutorial, although it was a little difficult as we didn't know how much clay to start with or to use for the different parts.  We managed it though and came up with the following canes:

We find it amazing that 3 people working alongside one another and following the exact same instructions can come up with 3 totally different looking canes.  As a group we decided we had used too much white and the purple one has too "high" a curled petal to look like it's curing over.  This is a cute flower even without the curling petals though, as shown on the second blue one.  Thanks Zuleykah for a fun tutorial.  While researching the website for this tutorial, I found a new one I had asked Zuleykah to make a couple of months ago for a sunflower cane and it's in her store right now.  Thanks Zuleykah.

We finished out our Clay Play Day, yesterday with attempting some bargello canes.  I just love the look of Bargello, most especially the way Kim Cavendar does it (link is to a long past workshop, but shows what I'm talking about).  Unfortunately, our attempts came nowhere even close to Kim's and weren't even worth taking pictures of.  We still had fun and got some new ideas to try and techniques to practice.

So, now I'm all caught up on my blog, if everybody hasn't already given up on me and nobody's reading it anymore, LOL.  Otherwise, all is okay in my world.  Sun is shining today, temps are in the 60's, and now I'm back to my clay table for another attempt at bargello a different way, LOL.  Hope you are all having a wonderful 2010, so far.  Smiles

Where does time go?

I just want to know where the time goes.  I used to work full time, take care of my house, hubby, and 2 kids, volunteer for anything the kids and/or their schools needed and still got some other stuff done.  Here I am 15 years later and it seems like the days have gotten shorter or something because I'm always a day late and a dollar short. . .  Oh well, enough grouching, here's the missing post I promised several weeks ago.

Let's see, this one was supposed to be about polymer clay, wasn't it?  Let me go fetch some pictures and I'll figure out what I'm supposed to be writing about. . . (yes, even my cell phone ring tone is "If I only had a brain", LOLOL

While we were on our camping trip to Kentucky, I started working on a new cane.   We choose this particular 5th wheel so that I would have an area to clay in.  The original idea didn't work out as to where I was going to work, but we worked it out.  We got a special coffee table that the lid raises up to table height and since it's just the two of us, we use that for our "dining table" and the actual dining area has become my mini studio.  It works out great.  I can leave my glass table top on the table and leave my clay stuff out as I'm working on whatever.  Here are a couple pictures of my mini studio:  

I have this idea for making what I am personally calling a "Mandalascope" cane.  Here is the picture of the first one I wanted to try.  I loved the colors and the design and felt it would translate well into clay:
It did, and it didn't, LOLOL.  

Here is the put together cane.
 It went together perfectly, the colors were good or at least as close as I could get them:

It was hard to reduce because of the non equaliteral  size and shape, but it did reduce and reduced fairly well.  BUT. . .

As you will see, in the following pictures, the individual parts were too small to allow for much reduction.  It worked, but I don't like it!!!!

It's pretty, but not what I was visualizing, so back to the drawing board.  Maybe I should stick to flowers and butterflies and leaves, they seem to be what I do best, LOLOL

Anyway, that was my big project during that short trip to Kentucky.  I also started some more leaf canes, as my store is nearly empty and I need to get some more canes in there.  I also had an idea for making the Sarah Shriver type Kaleidoscope a little bigger and more "mine", I'll have to try that in the near future.

I almost forgot, although it's a little late now, LOL.  Just before we left on our trip I received the Around the World Swap started by Tonja Lenderman .  This was a swap of Trash to Treasures.  Tonja started it out with a box full of goodies, could be anything, didn't even have to be Polymer Clay.  Mostly any crafty stuff you wanted to move on to someone else.  As each participant received it, they were to take out anything they felt they wanted or could use and then add roughly the same amount of stuff and send it to the next person on the list.  It went all over the world.  It finally got to me a couple days before we left on our trip.  Here is a quick picture of what was there when it got to me:  this was a bulk rate small medium flat rate Priority box and it was stuffed to the gills, honestly stuffed.  Problem was that some things had gotten broken being stuffed so tightly.  Also, even after I took out the few things I wanted, there just wasn't any room to add my stuff.

 So, I called Tonja and we decided I should throw out anything broken, and then sort it and send any definite duplicates back to Tonja, add my stuff to the original box, and send it on.  So, this is what I did, and added some of my stuff to both boxes, the one to Tonja and the one to the next person on the list.

Here are some of the things I wanted to add back into the box, but since they didn't all fit, I couldn't.  Some of them I put in the extra box back to Tonja, I added what I could and then sent it on.

I also included a box of miscellaneous canes.  I was disappointed that I couldn't put in all I had planned, as I had some nice supply type items I had hoped someone else could get some use out of.

It turned out that someone who didn't make it into the first swap wanted to start another one, so Tonja used the box of  extras and sent it to that person to help them start their own Trash to Treasure Swap.

So, that's it for this post, but I have two more I need to do today, I'm so very far behind and this is my priority today, to catch up the blog.  Thanks for visiting with me, watch for more today.  Smiles  S

Monday, April 5, 2010

No excuse. . .

Hmmm, well, here I am again, better late than never, I guess.  I have absolutely no excuse, either.  Oh yeah, I could make up excuses 'til the cows come home, but it doesn't really matter, now does it???   I'm going to break this into 2 posts, because I have so much to add.  Some is personal people kind of stuff and some is Polymer Clay stuff and it's too much for 1 post.  First I'll do the personal kind of stuff.

Okay, first we were in Nevada for a week of R&R and to see Mr. C's Dad and Step-Mom.  Then we both got horribly sick with bronchitis and upper respiratory infections and just plain didn't feel like doing anything.  We did have a Clay Play Day sandwiched in there, but that's in the next post (even though it happened first, LOLOL).  Then we started getting ready for our first camping trip of the season, a short jaunt to be sure everything is in working order.  We didn't have a clue where to go, but it was Mr. C's 4 day weekend (he gets one of those every 6 weeks, I think I explained his crazy schedule, in a previous post, LOL).  Since that 4 day weekend also had Good Friday attached, (which was a Holiday for him as he's on relief crew that week), he took 1 day of vacation so they couldn't force him to do any overtime, thereby giving us a 6 day long weekend with only 1 actual vacation day.  Isn't that grand???  We didn't have a clue where to go, as I said before.  My only request was that it be south, I wanted out of the cold.  (As a side note here, it was apparently very nice and warm, although stormy at home while we were gone).  We only wanted a 1 day drive (4-6 hours is plenty pulling this monstrosity of a 5th wheel we call our Condo on Wheels).  So we chose to go to the Kentucky Lakes area.

 It has been beautiful.  The trees are starting to leaf out, the flowering bushes and spring flowers are all blooming.  The weather has been sunshiny for the most part with temps in the 80s.  We are the only people at the campground we ended up choosing, LOL.  It's not a fancy campground, but our only requirements were sewer, water, 50 amp electric and large enough pull thru sites to handle our 40 ft 5th wheel.

There have been a couple overnighters, but we're the only ones staying here.  We've driven around some to see the sights, but planned on some hiking which our lazy fannies need and didn't do, LOLOL  We've mostly just hung out at the trailer, doing clay and computer stuff and just plain relaxing.  It's been nice.

Miss Snuffles has had the time of her life.  She is with her most favorite people in the world nearly 24/7, she has windows she can get up in and see the world pass by.  She can run and chase toys without skidding across the floor and into the walls.  She's also an excellent car/truck passenger.  She has her own little "booster seat" so she can see out the window if she wants, but mostly she just curls up and sleeps.  I've tried to catch her picture, but she's so interested in everything I do that if I get the camera out she leaves off what she's doing to come see what I have in my hand.   I do have one "bad picture" taken in a "rear view mirror", of her in her car seat.  She has been so good.  We realized about 10 days before our trip that she had never been on carpeting and since she's "litter box trained" to a puppy pad we suddenly realized she might not know the difference between carpet and her potty pad.  So we put a bunch of rugs down in her puppy area (she's doing so well she has graduated to half the den, now, rather than just a 6 ft area).  She tore up the rugs, she chewed and played and scratched and tried to "dig to China" through them.  We were really starting to worry about how this was going to work out.  As we prepared the trailer we took her out there with us and helped her learn to climb up the steps and back down them (she's a great jumper, as small as she is).  Our poor old Sheltie was so set in his ways he hated camping and hated having to be carried into and out of the trailer (he couldn't jump or climb, he was old and had arthritis) that after the first couple of tries, we gave up and just took him to his familiar kennel when we went on trips.  He was happier that way, and therefore, so were we, but I really wanted to be able to bring our dog along, and now with Snuffles, we CAN.  Anyway, she has only started to have one accident and fortunately we caught her and showed her where she was supposed to go and she's not had a single accident since, KNOCK ON WOOD!!!

Oh, I forgot, at the end of March, Snuffles had her first  haircut.  She was starting to look like a mop, an actual rag mop and even though I know Shih-Tzu's are known for their long flowing hair, she is only half Shih-Tzu and we wanted her hair kept easy to care for.  So we had her cut in a puppy type cut and she looks so cute.  The gal who did it said she was very good, in spite of being such a wiggle butt!!!  Isn't she just the cutest???  She's the light of our pet lives, LOL.

One last picture, for now and then I'll leave the puppy stories behind (at least for now, LOL)

Ooo, wheee, we just got 2 neighbors, wonder if they're just here for the night or to saty awhile?

So, that's it for an update of what I've been doing on a personal note, on to the Polymer Clay stuff in the next post.

Okay, so I lied, we just finished nearly a mile long hike with poor little short legs, (Snuffles, not mine, although mine are pretty short too,  LOL).  We never did find the stupid river, LOL.  But here are a few more pictures for your enjoyment:

And, last but now least, another picture of our big truck and 5th wheel:
And that's truly all for this trip, except for the clay info: