Thursday, January 29, 2009

Valentine's Day? Already?!

Ok, it's not quite February 14th, but it'll be here in the blink of an eye. If you're planning to craft a polymer clay token of your affection for someone special, it's time to make your plans. Here are a few links that might help get you on your way to Valentine crafting bliss:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I'm only a *few* years behind the times. . .

A couple of days ago, I finally made my very first "retro cane". Yeah, I'm right on top of all the latest, hottest trends. ;o)

I've been interested in this technique for a while-- another of those things I just hadn't gotten around to trying. If you're one of the other two or three claying people out there who haven't given this a try, yet-- ;o) -- you should really go for it! It was fun and so easy, assuming you have a decent clay extruder. Speaking of which. . .

For a while, I was put off the idea of extruding by the fact that it hurts to push clay through one of the old syringe-style extruders. Then my husband made a bellows-type press for my extruder (using a hinge and two scraps of lumber with strategically placed holes), which worked very well. However, I must've put too much pressure on the poor thing, because one day I noticed that the part that presses the clay through the tube had bent, rendering the whole thing useless.

Fortunately, my Christmas wishlist entry of a new clay extruder (this one by Makin's Clay) didn't go unheeded. ;o) I've only used it a few times so far, but I'm very impressed and can't reccommend it enough. It's much easier to operate than my old one was.

I'm looking forward to using this technique again, soon. So many color combinations to try!

ETA: Of course, you can also make a retro cane without any extruder at all, just by combining several different bull's-eye canes worked in coordinating colors. It's a lot more work than the extruder method, but it's certainly possible.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No Time Like the Present

There's no time like *right now* to get back to blogging here, even if I don't have much in particular to say. ;o)

I see that when I wrote my last post, I was in the middle of my pre-Christmas flurry of gift-crafting activity-- trying to put into action all the great plans I'd been making months in advance. Yes, I honestly had been making plans for months, but true to form, I didn't put many of them into action until the last minute (or the last week).

As you might expect, I didn't manage even half of what I'd "planned" (i.e. thought "now, that's an idea for ____, and I think _____ might like one of those"), but I guess I got enough done. Maybe if I get my act together, I can put my plans into action earlier this year, rather than putting them off until the last minute. (Maybe...)

Anyway, moving on!

Just as I haven't been blogging much in a long while, neither have I been keeping up with my blogroll. (I know. Shame on me!) Possibly everyone's already seen this (and talked it to death), but I recently happened upon a polymer clay "how-to" book that's due out in June: Ancient Modern: Polymer Clay + Wire Jewelry, by Ronna Sarvas Weltman. If you follow that link, it'll take you to a pretty nice little peek into the book on Scribd. I have to admit that I probably won't be saving my pennies for this one (some of it's just not my style, and I think I know the techniques to achieve the parts of that look that I do like), but I'm always glad to see more polymer clay-related books.

After chancing to find that one, I decided it was time to do a quick search, and it looks like there are a few more clay-related books coming our way by this summer. There are of course the usual handful that mention polymer clay in passing, but there are also titles that seem more focused on our beloved material: Polymer Clay Mixed Media Jewelry by Shirley Rufener (due out in March), the latest in Christi Friesen's sculpture series-- Birds of a Feather (April), Sculpting Mythical Creatures out of Polymer Clay by Dinko and Boris Tilov (May), Clay So Cute!: 25 Polymer Clay Projects for Cool Charms, Itty-Bitty Animals, and Tiny Treasures by Sherri Haab (July), and Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio (August). There are no preview photos or detailed descriptions for those last two titles, yet, so I guess we'll just have to wait to get a better idea about them. . .

I'm getting ahead of myself, though. I still haven't really sat down to enjoy my latest clay-related book purchase-- Donna Kato's book on millefiori. One thing at a time, Michael! ;o)