Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Off-line!

We're having trouble with our internet connection, so until that gets cleared up, I may be quieter than usual. (Not that I've been all that chatty, lately, anyway, (g)) I have a connection today, but there was almost none yesterday. (Thus the absence of yesterday's Ten on Tuesday.) I hope things will be worked out before too long, though, and I should definitely have a post up next Tuesday.

In the meantime, if you haven't already seen them, here are a few blog entries I'd like to suggest:
  • Angela (CraftyGoat) has been writing a lot about tools and materials, lately. There are a couple of recent entries about repurposed tools (pumice stone and herb mincer) and one on using scrapbooking supplies with polymer clay. Angela's blog led to my next link. . .
  • Lisa (from Polka Dot Creations) gave readers a peek at some of her handmade tools, including a nifty idea for a button hole placer.
  • Elaine (TooAquarius) was inspired by Lisa's blog to share her idea for a handmade baking rack.
Lots of great ideas for handmade and "found" tools! More things to add to your polymer clay wish list! ;o)

I need to catch up on my blog-reading so I don't miss out on all this good stuff!

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Any suggestions?

I'm always trying to add to my list of potential topics for Ten on Tuesday (and for that matter, regular posts, too). While brainstorming, I realized that I haven't ever asked for input from readers. So I'll do that now. ;o)

If you'd like to suggest a topic for a Ten on Tuesday-- or if you just have a nagging question relating to polymer clay-- please feel free to mention it in a comment-- or you can e-mail me, if you'd rather. :o) Your suggestions/questions can be about products, techniques, artists, tutorials you'd like to see-- anything that comes to mind. If you'd like to be credited for your suggestion, be sure to sign your comment. (Or if you e-mail me, but you'd prefer to remain anonymous, please mention that, also. (g))

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know everything about polymer clay, but I'll do my best to research unfamiliar topics and/or refer you to someone who might be able to help. :o)

In the meantime-- and for even longer, if no-one responds to this call for suggestions ;o)-- I'll continue to try to come up with topics on my own.

I hope everyone's having a great week!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ten on Tuesday: Mosaics

Since ancient times, mosaics have been used to beautify the halls and temples men have built. Small pieces of stone, glass or other materials were painstakingly, strategically set in place to reveal a larger collective pattern or image. The art of mosaic design survives today, and for years, polymer clay artists have been getting in on the fun.

Ten on Tuesday: Ten Links Relating to Polymer Clay Mosaics

1. Polymer Clay Mosaic Tabletop, by Laurie Mika. Tutorial.

2. Polymer Clay Mosaics photoset, by salbug00. Photos.

3. Polymer Clay Mosaic Pendant, by DSDesigns (Debra). Photo.

4. Polymer Clay Mosaic Book (Cover), by Lisa Pavelka. Tutorial.

5. Freestyle Coaster Project, by Tina Barnes. Tutorial.

6. Create Mosaic Pendant, by Julie. Photo.

7. Liquid Clay Mosaics, by Karen Mitchell. Tutorial.

8. Mosaic Mirrors photoset, by Irma G. Photos.

9. Google BookSearch Excerpt from Totally Cool Polymer Clay Projects, by Marie Browning.

10. Here are a few more books worth checking out if you have an interest in polymer clay mosaics: Polymer Clay Mosaics, by Sue Heaser, Polymer Clay Mosaics, by Krista Wells, and Mixed Media Mosaics, by Laurie Mika.


Don't have the patience for mosaics? ;o) Here's Elissa Powell's Mosaic Cane Tutorial for a "mosaic-like" look without all the little bits and pieces.

Or you could do a "faux mosaic" like you see in this video by CandyFimoWebTR. Okay, technically, it is a mosaic, but most of the "tiny pieces" are simulated by filling in carved lines with grout. (You could also use opaque liquid clay or extremely softened regular polymer clay, in place of grout.)

Whether you tend toward the "shortcut" methods linked above or are inspired to try a time-consuming micro-mosaic à la Cynthia Toops, polymer clay is perfect for using in the mosaic design of your choice.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kato Polyclay -- Reformulation

I read today on Donna Kato's website that Kato Polyclay has been reformulated-- "gone green". The phthalates have been removed from the formula.

I'm no chemist, but I know that large amounts of phthalates probably aren't good for us. Because of concerns over the effects of contact with phthalates, more and more restrictions are being placed on their use in goods-- particularly products intended for children.

Donna writes that the new formula will be just as strong as the old one. It's even supposed to be easier to condition-- "but not too soft".

The packaging of Kato Polyclay will also be changing. Instead of the larger 3-ounce blocks, it will come in 2-ounce packages (like Premo and Sculpey III). For those interested in testing the new clay, there will be sample kits of four 1-ounce packages of different (but coordinating) colors. Oh, and Kato Clear Medium will be sold in colors. No idea which colors, but there's something else to be on the lookout for. (I wonder if the colors will be opaque or translucent. I guess we'll have to wait and see.)

I'm not sure when the new formula will hit stores-- or how the change in package size will affect the price of the product-- but it will be interesting to see what happens next. I've barely touched Kato Polyclay, myself, since I've mostly been happy with Premo (which is also easier for me to get), but if the new formula is easier to condition, I'll definitely have to give it a try.

On a related note:
On the Prairie Craft website, I found an update on the status of Donna Kato's upcoming book. I have no idea when it was posted, but the report indicates that the photos are all done and they're working to get final approval before sending it off to be printed. They haven't even chosen a title, yet, or set a release date, but it shouldn't be too long. (Still no mention of it on Amazon, but I guess that's not so strange, considering that it's not even named yet.)

If I remember correctly, this next book's supposed to focus mainly on millefiori. I haven't done much caning, to date. Every now and then I make a very basic cane-- usually for something relating to miniature food. Millefiori can be beautiful, but it simply hasn't appealed to me as much as other techniques. That said, if the new book is anywhere near as lovely as her last, I'm sure it's worth owning-- and maybe it will be the incentive I need to give caning some serious attention. There's a lot to learn!

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ten on Tuesday: Valentine Projects

There are only a couple more days until Valentine's Day-- but there's still time to whip up a little surprise for someone you love. Here are ten Valentine-themed tutorials/projects available for free online:

Ten on Tuesday: Ten Valentine Projects / Tutorials

1. Candice Mathewson's Valentine's Day Heart Cane. A pretty, lacy heart cane in red, pink, white, and black-- but of course you can make it in any colors you like.

2. If you aren't up to the challenge of the previous cane, Arlene Thayer's Simple Valentine Cane uses a heart-shaped cutter to achieve quick results.

3. Julia Sober's Valentine Hearts. Uses a lettering template to make larger-than-lifesize copies of the famous "conversation heart" candies. (I never did like the taste of those candies, personally, but I guess they're a useful tool for a shy Valentine-hunter. (g))

4. Carol Duvall's Polymer Clay Pins. Doesn't have to be "just" for Valentine's Day, but if you happen to have some Valentine-themed stamps (hearts, flowers, etc.), this is a quick and easy project. (Note that you'll also need Rub 'n Buff, acrylic paint, or mica powder-- anything to highlight the design of the stamps.)

5. Elissa Powell's E-Z Hearts. Again, not "just" for Valentine's Day, but since hearts are so popular this time of year. . . ;o) Here's one easy way to make a heart shape.

6. Christy Sherman's Glazed Heart Pendant. Another "not just for Valentine's Day" project. Shows another way to make a heart shape that isn't a flat cookie cutter shape.

7. Carly Seibel's Valentine Heart Beads. Textures, a shape cutter, mica powder, and teensy marbles-- all in one bead!

8. Sarajane Helm's Polymer Clay Hearts Project. Similar to the beads above, but a bit easier (mainly because they're decorated on one side only and don't involve the tiny marbles). The hearts can be turned into pins, earrings, decorations for cards, etc.

9. Jeanne Rhea's Polymer Clay Valentine Card Project for Young Children. As the title suggests, this project is great for little kids. Combines clay with paper crafts to create an adorable card that's sure to be treasured for years to come.

10. Karen Prince's I Love You Photo Holder. Also uses the shape of a hand, this time shaped into the sign for "I love you". Though this tutorial uses a hand-shaped cookie cutter, you could easily make a paper template by tracing someone's hand. (There are a few more Valentine-themed projects on the Sculpey site, too.)

I hope you all have a happy Valentine's Day this Thursday! And if there's no-one else around this year to be sweet to you, don't hesitate to treat yourself to a little token of self-appreciation. :o)

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, February 08, 2008

Beads of Courage

After reading on Tina's blog about the Beads of Courage program, I felt inspired to send them some beads, too.

Click the link above (and download this pdf) for specific information-- but in a nutshell, they distribute hand-made beads to children with serious illnesses (and their families). Each bead marks a step on the child's journey through treatment.

While I was still on my spiral bead kick, I made up a handful of larger-holed beads. (See the pdf; they need beads with at least 1/16-inch holes, preferably 3/32-inch holes. I found that that's larger than what I usually make in my beads.)

I also went through my stash of previously-made beads to find some with larger stringing holes. Now I just need to pack them up and get them in the mail.

Once I get over that little twinge of "are they good enough?"-- or maybe it's more "are they what the program wants?"-- it's a nice feeling, doing something kind for someone else. (And I figure that even if they can't use them in their program, they can still give them to a children's hospital for use in arts and crafts.)

I like this program because it's so easy. Bottles of Hope (another very worthy cause) is a bit intimidating to me. I haven't covered much with clay, before (and there's also the issue of where to get the bottles and how to distribute them, etc.)-- but I have plenty of experience making beads. All you need is some clay, postage, and the address.

If you have the means to do so, I hope you'll consider sending along a batch of your own beads. It truly does give you a wonderful feeling to make something for someone in a simple gesture of caring.

Labels: , , , ,

Studio Friday: The Heart of My Studio

Here's this week's prompt for Studio Friday:

"Where or what is the heart of your studio/creative space? Is it your desk or maybe a special piece of furniture, a window, a piece of art on the wall, your idea board, or one of your tools, a jar with ribbons on the shelf...? "

Part of me feels like the heart of my studio/craft room should be something "deeper"-- more meaningful, somehow-- than simply where I spend the most time when I'm there. . . But when I stood in the room and looked around, nothing really jumped out at me. My supplies are important, of course, but there are so many of them-- and they're so dispersed across the room-- that to say that my supplies are the heart of the room would be like saying the whole room is one big heart. (g)

I don't really have a "mascot" of any sort, either-- no muse-- no object that is my all-of-the-time inspiration source. I have an inspiration board, but honestly, I rarely touch it. I like to look at it from time to time, but it's more of a wall decoration than a constantly-changing canvas. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, it's just me in a room full of craft supplies and the things I've created. (And quite a few books of sheet music, too, but mostly I just ignore them. ;o))

So I decided to be prosaic and say that the heart of my studio is where I do the work. Whether I'm claying, sewing, stringing beads, or scrapbooking, 99.9% of my time in this room is spent with my derrière settled on one of two identical chairs, such as the one pictured below:

(Notice how I tried to make it seem a little more artistic by getting down on the floor to snap the photo? ;o) Did it work?)

There's nothing inherently special about these chairs. They're just decently comfortable pieces of furniture. They came to me from my parents' house; I grew up sitting in these chairs. (Back then, they hadn't yet made the transformation from stained wood to aqua.) I didn't even make the strawberry-print cushions myself. They're hand-me-downs from my grandmother-- but they're comfy, and they serve the purpose.

Practicality with a dash of fun (aqua and strawberries)-- I think I can live with that as the "heart" of my room.

~*~*~*~*~

While looking at others' submissions for SF, I found a link to a very impressive studio. The colors are so beautifully soft-- but also playful. I love the green island.

Though I certainly don't need a room like that in order to create, a room like that sure is pretty to look at!

Labels: ,

Polymer Clay Blogs

I'm rearranging my blog a little bit, today. My list of polymer clay-related blogs (formerly to the right) was taking up so much room that I decided to move it all into a single blog post. I'll put a link to this post over there, instead. :o)

I never use this list, these days, anyway, since I subscribed to them all over at my Google Reader account. This list is missing some of the blogs I discovered more recently, but it'd probably be a huge pain to figure out which ones aren't included here, so I make no promises to fix that. (g)

If you have a polymer clay-related blog (or know of one) that's not included, please feel free to comment. I'm always happy to add to my list, even if it takes me months (or years (g)) to catch up on my blog-reading. :o)

  • Ali di Libellula

  • All Things Metal Clay

  • Amanada's Musings

  • Ann de Rodegain Digne Dingue Donc

  • Art for the Heart

  • Artrepreneur

  • Artsy Clay

  • au fil de pates

  • Avec des Couleurs de l'Imagination

  • beadworx

  • block party press

  • Camille Young

  • C.A. Therien

  • Celine Passion

  • Chez Tulipesvertes

  • Clay Happenings

  • Crafts by Chris

  • CraftyGoat's Notes

  • Crafty Redhead

  • Créaprovence Création

  • Crearti

  • Créations MHB

  • Créations Rue Fédor

  • Creative Connections

  • Cristalline

  • dAmARa adalah

  • Desert Designs by Barbara

  • Des Nouvelles des Etoiles

  • domicreative

  • Dragonsglass

  • Du côte de chez moi

  • Dulcebella's Design

  • EdelWeiSS CréaTioN

  • Eliz'art

  • Enkhene

  • Ethno-Polymère

  • Eugena's Creations

  • Evarmonie

  • Facéties de Perles

  • FIMO BY IC

  • Hardflower Studios

  • heurebleue

  • Hidden Missives

  • Humblebeads Blog

  • Imagine Uncommon Things

  • Jael's Jewels Blog

  • Just Me and My Creations

  • Karina's blog

  • KC's Krafting Korner

  • KIWI Handmade

  • La Mélancolie du Caméléon

  • L'atelier de Trukabul

  • Laura's Blog

  • Le Blog de Dodo

  • Le Blog de Flo

  • Le Blog de Lilli Prune

  • Le Blog de Mamezelle Cat

  • Le Blog de Marie

  • Le Blog de Palatena

  • Le Blog de RERE

  • Le Laboratoire de Melle Cookie

  • Le Monde de Sysyl

  • Les Bidules de Sofie

  • Les Bijou d'Alienor

  • Les Bijou d'Edith

  • Les Bijou de Perlchen

  • Les Créations de Miss Zabeth

  • Les Fimoteries de Maniguette

  • Les Frivolités de Caty

  • Les Petites Manies de Sarajana

  • Les Petit Monde de Stéphanie

  • Libzoid

  • Lindly Talking Color

  • Liquorice Allosaurus

  • Made in Sassenage

  • Madeleine Songe

  • Many Parts

  • Mariane.S

  • Mill Girl

  • .:minicaretti:.

  • Molymer Clay

  • Mosaico

  • My Life with Polymer Clay

  • Mystical Ring

  • My Sweet Little Corner

  • NanjoDogz

  • Objets d'emotion

  • Oolong's Zoo

  • Overstimulated Undercaffeinated

  • Parole de Pâte

  • Pearls of Whimsy

  • Peguintrax's World of Whimsy

  • Perlenküche

  • Perlette

  • Petits Doigt Magik

  • Petit Poucet

  • Philadelphia Area PC Guild Reporter

  • Polka Dot Creations Blog

  • polyblog

  • PolyCréations

  • Polymer & Fimo Clay News @ CraftGossip

  • Polymer and Prints

  • Polymer Clay Bytes!

  • Polymer Clay Daily

  • PolymerClayFimo

  • Polymer Clay Notes

  • Polymer Clay Wizard

  • Polymeri Online - Iris Mishly

  • polymermania

  • Polymer Paula

  • Polymers et Oceans

  • Ponsawan's Tutorial Blog

  • P'tits Cailloux

  • Queen of Clay

  • Quilted in Clay Rambles

  • Red Daisy's Designs

  • Scott's Place

  • Sevy Création

  • Silastones

  • Small Stuff of Mine

  • Smashing Color: Maggie Maggio

  • SOHO Beads

  • Stef Créations

  • Studio Bijou

  • TADworks

  • Tatsuko

  • Tejae's Art

  • Tewee

  • The Crab

  • Tina T.'s Polymer Clay

  • Too Aquarius

  • Too Much Time

  • Tranche de Cane

  • Treasurefield

  • Violettafleur

  • Wanda's Designs

  • Wes Warren's Polymer Clay Garage
  • Labels: , ,

    Tuesday, February 05, 2008

    Ten on Tuesday: Ten Mask-Related Links

    Apart from being "Super Tuesday", today is also Mardi Gras (aka "Shrove Tuesday" or "Fat Tuesday"). It's the last big hurrah before Lent, and here along the Gulf Coast, there will be plenty of celebrating going on today. There will be jazz music in the air (along with moonpies, beads, and other trinkets), purple, green, and gold everywhere, extravagant costumes, and parades meandering their way over city streets. There will also be lots of masks.

    In honor of Mardi Gras, then, I bring you ten links relating to polymer clay masks. Maybe they'll inspire you to try making a mask of your own, whether to wear or to decorate your home-- or both!

    Ten on Tuesday: Ten Mask-Related Links

    1. Saltandpaper/Natalie's Octopus Mask is a fine example of how some creative thinking can lead to an unexpected mask. Hallowed-Mask, by Michelle of Gabriel Studios, is another opera mask with a very unique form.

    2. Polymer Clay Tribal Mask Pendant, by Debra of DSDesigns. Photo of a mask-shaped pendant that has a great metallic finish. She has many more photos of mask-themed pieces, so be sure to browse!

    3. For a change of pace, visit TheoJunior's Flickr photostream, where you'll find unusual (and often disturbing (g)) faces/masks, such as Maori Mask.

    4. Check out the mask gallery on Linda Weeks' website. (There's even one with a Mardi Gras theme!)

    5. Michelle Davis Petelinz's masks, such as Matuko, are designed to be wall art. Some of them have a coordinating shadowbox; others in her photostream are attached to panels for display.

    6. DIY hosts Anne Igou's tutorial for a Polymer Clay Mask, originally shown on Craft Lab.

    7. Anne Igou's Leaf Mask tutorial was originally aired on the Carol Duvall Show.

    8. Here's yet another tutorial by Anne Igou, this time for a Polymer Clay Mask Barrette, originally on DIY's Jewelry Making.

    9. If you liked her mask tutorials (above), then check out the gallery of maskwork on Anne Igou's personal website.

    10. Sarajane Helm's website offers some pages devoted to polymer clay masks-- both full size and miniature. (Please note that there are links to more mask-related pages, at the bottom of that first page.) In case you haven't heard, Sarajane has a book coming out this summer-- The Art of Polymer Clay Masks.

    If you're still hungry for more photos of masks, search Flickr for "polymer mask". You'll find all the photos and artists I simply couldn't fit into my little list of ten. :o)

    Happy Tuesday, everyone, and laissez les bons temps rouler! ;o)

    Labels: , , , ,