Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde

Monday, February 28, 2011

Blogitis...a very compulsive condition

I have decided that I am sick....and possibly this is not a curable condition.  Symptoms include a marked desire to sit at one place, staring at a computer screen,clicking from blog to blog,  ignoring your SF and any pets that may want attention.... for hours on end.  And I believe it is contagious - I caught it last night from fellow blogger Lynda at SCDiva.  Of course, she did not do this on purpose....she just blogged about an event that got my fever up. And that was it ....Blogitis!

She wrote that 210  talented jewelery designers/bead makers/bloggers just participated  in a Bead Soup Blog Party.(ohhhh I want to do this too).  After drooling over the lovely piece that she designed,  I  spent hours on line checking out what everyone had created, going to blogs of creative people I did not previously know about and having a blast doing it.  What fun. And I didn't even get to 20% of the blogs yet! ( I have to be a bit different, and start at the bottom of the list and am working my way up).  Still not cured of Blogitis....

If you haven't heard about it ... link over to SCDiva and check it out.  Just beware that the blogitis bug is going around.

 Of course didn't get much cleaning done....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Faux Ceramic with Polymer Clay

One of the many artistic forms that I have attempted in my life was ceramics.  I really enjoyed it, even if I could never get the hang of the wheel.  I took lessons and open studio  for several years at a community art center near my work, mostly hand building, until the cost of going there got too high.

    One of the big draws of polymer clay for me is it's ability to mimic almost any other medium.  And since I still love the look of ceramics, I have played around with PC attempting to make faux ceramic beads.

 This is a necklace and earrings that I made a while back.  I made the base beads by stamping into white clay and cured them. I then mixed alcohol inks into liquid polymer clay and applied to the backed beads. I semi-cured them with a heat gun, to set the LPC so it would not drip in the oven during the second baking.  I like the  glazed look this technique achieved.

Friday, February 25, 2011

From Off the wall

I was hanging my Luna Moth (from Tucson) on the wall of my studio. She fits perfectly near the door so I can see her when I am coming and going.  She is now hanging below a lovely mirror that I purchased from a fellow guild member a few years ago. I fell in love with it at first sight and just had to take it home.  I thought I would share it with you today.

Taen is past secretary of the same polymer clay guild I belong to.  She mostly covers mirrors, but does other stuff too. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blogging from Bed

When trying to tidy up and make more room for claying in my studio, one of the big obstacles was the inability to get to all my shelves.  I have a desk top that takes up a fairly large portion of the counter. It is handy to have there when I want to watch a video of a polymer clay technique from Utube or DVD, but trying to get around the tower to the shelf... that is another story.  The storage space behind it was just wasted.
    So I moved the tower to the floor, which meant moving the stuff under the desk elsewhere and it was snowballing from there.  Two bins now out to the storage unit.... boy that was hard to decide what I absolutely could not live without in my studio.  I am a true Magpie  ( ohhhh ...... shiny ... pretty....  don't know yet what to do with it, but I'll figure something out)
   But still the monitor was in the way. Then I made huge discovery. Due to all the moving around, I had to use DH computer  briefly.  I was showing him my blog and much to my surprise, what I thought was a lovely tangerine background color was pinkish.  I proceeded to check other computers and found the same.  I tweaked with my monitor and discovered there was a real problem with the reds. I knew that pictures I had taken of red items had not displayed right but  I thought it was my camera that had the problem.  What can I say, I am not a techie.  I had heard that monitors vary in color but this was way off.
   To make a long story short,  I opted to get a laptop (hurrah for the President's Day Sales - saved a bunch of moola) and am now blogging from the comfort of my bed.  Still reorganizing in the studio (no desktop so more room) so no new clay adventures to report.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Momma's little helper??

But Momma, I'm just trying to help! me....
 Eyesis Rue  can't stand not knowing what is happening since I have been cleaning (which means moving stuff around) in my studio.  She is the most curious cat in the whole Underfoot Clan.  Her little nose is into everything. I can not turn around or try to sit down without almost sitting on her.  She has to inspect everything and approve of where I am moving it to.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brief Hiatus

  I was feeling overcrowd in my studio.  No matter how much room I have, I always seem to get confined to 6 squares inches of working space.  But lately that 6" square is even being intruded on.  It was getting very difficult to create in that environment as I spent half my time looking for something that I just had in my hand a minute earlier. 

So, it is time to push up the sleeves and do some preliminary spring cleaning. We all know the old story.... if I move that here and this there ....  pretty soon the whole floor is covered with Stuff That Has No Home. My DH (the anti-magpie)  got me a couple of storage bins and I am reluctantly moving some things out of the studio.

Late last night I found  a drawer filled with PC items that I made in my first year or two using the medium.  I spent too much time reminiscing and not cleaning.  At this rate it will be a while before I can clay again. 

These are some old friends I found lying around in the back of a drawer. The gold piece I made at Ravensdale 2006, with the piece below it coming into being a week later. The little heart is one of my first attempts at using mica powders.  The geisha is a few years younger.  I made her at Clay Carnival in Vegas - a class with Cathy Johnston.  What fun it was to remember ... good memories all due to the medium of polymer clay. I never would have gone to Ravensdale or the two Clay Carnivals I have attended if I hadn't learned to make a pink pig.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fun With Pastel Chalks

I have been having more fun with the PanPastel chalks.  These beads were made  using Artybecca's technique, However,  instead of using different colors of clay, I made the designs in white clay and colored them in with the PanPastels.  Then I had to make some smaller beads to compliment them.  Used LPC tinted with black to fill in the lines and to give them just a little shine. 

Finally have two days off work in a row. Hope to be able to organize a bit in my studio.  It looks like a tornado hit it as I still have not put away my Tucson goodies.  I would much rather clay than Clean any day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Smiling Kats part 11

Us??!  What every would make you think we had ANYTHING to  do with that mouse in your shoe?
I liked my little cat pendant so much, that when I discovered I had a reverse stamp of the same image, I just had to  experiment with it too.  The Underfoot Clan were my inspiration for this piece.  Eyesis Rue is, of course, the little black kitty. Her much bigger sister, Amber Fatone, is a tordie and the model for the larger cat. If only they got along as well in real life as these kitties do in the pendant....sigh.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Smiling Kats

I have been experimenting with PanPastel Artist Pastels.  Our guild had a presentation by PC artist Shirley Rufener where she showed techniques utilizing these wonderful chalks.  I sent off for a pack and have had been very happy with them. The color is very intense so a little goes a long way.  Here is a little pendant that was created when I was just playing with a bit of left over clay, but I was very pleased at the result.

The pen is mighter ....

I keep finding more stuff from Tucson that I have added to my collection.  This is a groovy ghoulie that really appealed to me. I think it was the hat.  He quickly made himself comfortable by starting to point out all the bugs in my studio.  If only I could get him to write for me... just kidding, he would get ink all over everything ( I mean - just look at his crossed eyes!)

And a one, and a two, and a three....

Had to start back to work this weekend, so have had no real time to clay. I made a focal for the leaf beads, but forgot to tent it when I put it in the oven.  So it was burnt on one side. I have started on another focal and some smaller beads to compliment them.  Normally I would be able to stay up late and work on them, but have to get up early in the morning.

Friday, February 11, 2011

What I did in Tucson, part III

I learned how to make Faux Bone.  This is a very easy technique that I am surprised I never tried before. I guess there are soooo many things one can do with polymer clay, and only so many hours in a day to try them out in.  I work a full time job (today is the last day of my vacation - sob!) so clay time is limited. 

I also got to use resin to fill in the carved out area of the bone.  A little critter has been trapped in the amber. Boy, was it hard making a teeny, weenie dragon. That was the biggest challenge of the day.

I was also so excited to discover that Christi was going to be in my neck of the woods next month. She will be teaching a weekend workshop in the San Juan Islands.  Of course, I had to sign up right away.  Looking forward to a treat like this will help me get through the next month of overcast skies and rainy weather.  Spring is my favorite season.  Winter, not so much.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Look who followed me home

Meet the latest addition to my Penguin Parade, the notorious Pirate Penguin. This villain stowed away in my luggage. He'd heard that we have tall ships here in the Pacific Northwest, so decided that he had to try his luck at commandeering one.  However, he ran afowl of my Opus, who although cute and lovable, has years more experience and was able to lay a trap for him. He will be cooling his heels in my brig for the foreseeable future (of course, I will give him chocolate occasionally, I am not totally cruel)
Avast ye swabs... Shiver me timbers and all that rot!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What I did in Tucson, part II

Another fun class I took from Christi Friesen was a baby dragon hatching from an egg.  I learned how to make the egg shells and have them crack open realistically.  And a different style of wing than I usually make...and I made my first successful dragon claw.  I have tried to make claws in the past with no luck at all - that is why my fire lizards do not have them.  But with Christi's help I succeeded. Now it remains to be seen if this can be accomplished in the comfort of my own studio. Of course, when I added the wings, I covered up the talons so now I can't see them. Next time I will be more careful and show them off.

 Here is my Saucy Dragon.  He is sticking his tongue out for the camera - he really does not like to have his picture taken. 

No Cameras!  I haven't had a chance to shine my scales yet!

Also worth the price of admission was the secret to making the stones the mother dragon laid her egg on.  I am thinking of other uses for this technique. Here is a close up.

Christi Does Stamps

My favorite Polymer Clay artist, Christi Friesen, has been selected to be one of the designers of a new line of stamps, the "Artisan Series" by Dynasty Stamps. Although I was not the fortunate lady who won the prototype stamp sheet at the Polymer Clay Extravaganza nite in Tucson, I did get to see the stamp designs. They are lovely.  I can hardly wait till they are available in a month or two. 

But I was able to purchase one of Christi's pieces featuring one of her new stamps - the Phoenix.  I am so jazzed to show a photo here as it is not featured in her latest book. So for those fellow Christi fans, I proudly present "Glow", the Phoenix Heart.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What I did in Tucson, part I

Finally back and partially unpacked from my first trip to the Tucson Bead Show.  Dirty clothes are in the hamper, shampoo back in the shower, pills in the medicine cabinet.  All that remains is to catalog and put away my goodies.  I found so many beautiful and unique  beads, stocked up on findings, and books...I don't know where to begin

What an experience. I am on sensory overload. I saw so much and hardly dented the surface.  I did spend a lot of my time at the To Bead True Blue show, because that was where Christi Friesen was showing and doing her classes, but I did make it to other shows around the area as time allowed.

On Wednesday, Donna and I took Christi's Lunar Moth Class.  What fun we had.  She had some of the new Premo colors and I absolutely fell in love with the Peacock blue.  I made the colors for my moth using it blended with varying amounts of white and ecru.  I can't wait until they become available in the stores.

 Even though I will sorely miss Green Pearl, Christi told us that there is a new green coming that can be mixed with other colors to give a good approximation of Green Pearl.  I make a lot of green dragons, so that was good news to hear.

Here is a picture of the lunar moths we made in class. Mine is the bluish green and Donna's is the purple.  Have not yet decided if it will be broach, focal or wall mounted piece. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Too busy to write

I have been so busy this week.  Taking classes, taking in the sights, touring all the booths and visiting with old friends, that I just haven't found the time to write about any of it.  Most we have been keeping warm with the record low cold weather that Tucson has been experiencing. Here I was, looking forward to a getaway from the grey, deary winter of the Pacific Northwest...and it is warmer at home than it is here.  What Irony.

Trying to shop the tents here at Tucson was an adventure.  Hardly anyone there except the poor vendors, who were huddling, if lucky, around small space heaters.  Those more fortunate to be stationed outside a hotel room, would run in and out of the room to get warm.  My friends are from Kanas originally, so a little cold weather did not frighten them away and we got some very good deals.

Apparently a pump froze at one of the water pumping stations and parts of Tucson where without water on top of the cold weather.  One lady in my Christi Friesen class was so thankful to be in the class rather than at work - there are 35 people at her job and no water.

Last night I attended my first Friday Polymer Clay Night, full of demo's and give aways. I did not win anything but I did sit next to the grand prize winner in the scavenger hunt. What a lucky lady - she won  a beautiful Christi original.  Got my friend Donna to go too and she also had fun.  She is more into glass and clay than polymer, but I am trying to turn her to the clay side....hee hee.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sunny (and Cold!!!!!) Tucson

Boy, here I was looking forward to soaking up some sun in Tucson. Well, it is sunny and cold! Looks like we arrived during the cold snap. It was 19 degrees last night and there was no heat. Seems when my hosts had their system worked on during the summer, the guy took the heating element out and did not replace it.  Whether by accident or design is not yet known.  But my kind hosts loaned us thermal undies and more blankets and started a fire in the grate.  They hardly ever use it but boy, it came in handy last night.
    We hear it is supposed to warm up by the weekend.  Spent part of yesterday morning walking around in some of the outdoor booths.  Hardly any people out so we had a lot of fun talking to the vendors.  Found some double holed pearls, which I have been having a hard time finding.
   Then my friend Donna and I headed over to the To Bead True Blue show for our first class with Christi F.  We made lunar moths... Today I will be making a dragon sculpture.

  I mentioned before that Donna is quite an artist in her own right.  Here is a picture of a work she did several years ago and gave to her sister here in Tucson

You can't really tell from this blurry cell phone pix, but this is made entirely from seed beads.  She glued each one individually on the canvas. Took almost a year, if I remember right. This is the second one she has done. She is currently working on a piece using a door as her canvas.  I wish I had her patience.