Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Got By With a Little Help From My Friends", actually a TON of help.

In June my sister hired me to make a necklace and earrings for a friend. I was really stressing about this project because I have never met the woman, knew noting about her style and it was for her son's wedding rehearsal dinner.  All I knew was her dress is black and white,  my sister said she  doesn't wear "big" jewelry and it should not be anything to wild or hang down too low on her neck.  I played around with a few techniques and  they just did not seem right.  Decided to try swirled lentil beads using black, white and red; simple yet interesting.    I had pretty good luck getting then to swirl properly but had seen some stunning lentils where a small amount glitter has been swirled. It reminded me of the tail of a comet.   I had never used  glitter in lentils or ay other bead. Were those sparkles really glitter in the clay or on top of the clay?  Maybe it was glitter paint put on later.
I found the answers to my questions and the conficence to give it a try at Cindy Lietz, The Polymer Clay Tutor at  I did a search at her site for lentil beads and found several past blogs.  After posting my questions and uncertainty several clayers gave me suggestions.    Thank you to all who helped me in this journey, especially Sue F.  who went into detail on a technique I had never tried.  
Thank you to all in Cindy Lietz Community.  The necklace and earrings were a big hit.  

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Clay Storage Ideas

I have been know to say, "I have enough scrap clay to pave my drive way."  It is true.  I have a tendency to lose track of how much good clay I have.  I am a very visual person and  have  repurposed a wood  Pepsi box to keep unopened clay.  I love my Pepsi box.  It stands upright and each section holds five 2 ounce  blocks of clay; it looks cool displayed like that.  But once a block has been opened I tend to  use part  and then put it "somewhere"; Lord knows I would never want to put a opened pack in with the ones in my pretty, pretty Pepsi box.  Like it has to be...perfect. 

Recently, while cleaning my clay area found lots and lots  of partial packages of the same color  and realized just how much clay I have---all over the place.  Many of these treasured finds had other colors of clay mixed in or were dusty from sitting opened.  Wow, I really do not need to worry about running out of clay any time soon.  I found a very inexpensive way to keep opened clay clean and tidy. Ziplock sells   plastic containers and the square one to be the perfect solution.  My local grocery had them on sale for $1.99 for a 5 pack.  I really like them because they are large enough for what I need and I can see the color through the plastic; the raw clay does not stick to the containers. They can also be stacked-that makes me look organized even though I am not.  This is an easy way to see my inventory before ripping open a new clay pack.  It is also  great to keep a smidgen of custom mixed clay  with the same color family.     
Now my scrap clay pile is really scrap clay rather than for something when I cannot find a home.
Hope you find this tip helpful.   Clay On !!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It has been a Looong winter. Where have I been?

It has been a while since I posted but I have been busy.  I really wish I knew more about how to use this blog, in fact I feel like a Dope-David Letterman calls himself a dope so it is a good thing. Been doing more with clay again and as soon as I figure out how, I will post some pictures.  I need to take a community Ed class on Blogging.
 I am working on necklace for a friend of my sister.  I think that is called "being commissioned.", that sounds really strange to me.  Well I have all the parts done but now to get it put together.  I am going to grab my daughter and have her show me how to post pictures.
My husband just retired from the Iowa Dept. of Transportation.  his first week as a retiree was a busy one and he said, "I have been so busy I don't know how I ever had time to work.  I recently moved my clay stuff from the guest bedroom to the front porch so he can paint the guest bedroom.    Everything at my new location is a mess but we are making progress.    

Sunday, January 31, 2010

I'm Back......

Hi, I have been away a while but will again be posting on my Blog. I want to thank Cindy Lietz (beads and for encouraging all of us to post pictures on our blogs. 
I will be perfectly honest...I have NO idea what I am doing!! I may end up with clay pictures on this blog but then again it may end up being a picture of the floor.   I was able to select this pretty blue color in a font  large enough that most people my age can read it.  So, all is good.  
I continue to be immersed in Polymer Clay and love every minute of it.  I taught 2 PC community education classes last Fall.  I just finished teaching another community education Polymer Clay 10; the students made really pretty projects; I am SO proud of them.  I am teach two more classes in the winter session and then 3 again in the Spring session.    
I used to have to stalk people in Michaels and hobby lobby to tell them about the Des Moines Polymer Clay Club.  Now I have a captive audience and make a little extra money to support my clay habit. 
My husband has found a store to sell my clay heart necklaces.  He actually getting interested in this clay stuff.  He downloaded pictures from my camera to Photo Shop and help string hearts on cording and took the necklaces to the store.  I have an appointment at another store on Thursday to see if they want to sell my necklaces.  Maybe someday I can quit my "day job."
So, onto trying to find the help page to add pictures. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Back Home With a Few New Neurosynapses.

The retreat was great.  I so enjoyed meeting clayers and learning new things.  I do admit my tiny little brain  became a bit mushy by Tuesday morning. 

Things I learned about life and polymer clay. 
  • Your are clean after a shower even if you have green PC under your fingernails. 
  • Blue Tack: gotta get it, gotta have it. Use it to seal bottles of glue. Put a wad on an unfinished string of beads will prevent beads from falling off.  Make a U shaped long and put on the bottom of  bottom of a round canes to prevent distortion while slicing  and canes ends to reduce end distortion while reducing. Blue tack can be baked with PC.  Use to support clay when needed. Can used to make hollow beads, must score all around raw PC so it  allows a natural breaking point.  
  •  Never confuse Blue Tack for chewing gum. 
  • I am so excited and proud about my Steampunk experience, especially my dragon.   
  • Why is it that s many people  want to name dragon's George?   After much pondering, I have name mine Scamp. 
  • I want to thank Christi Friesen for point out finger prints in clay are not always bad. In fact they are your friends and can make a lovely texture background.   If ya can't keep 'em off your clay, put finger prints everywhere, just touch, touch, touch the clay.  Take your raw clay to Walmart and let every one add a few finger prints. Perhaps a neighborhood finger print soiree with some Pinot and Brie. 


Saturday, July 11, 2009

The day has finally arrived to leave for the clay retreat.  A friend of mine is going along for a little R and R but will not be participating in the retreat presentations.  She asked me what people wear to these events.  I was dumb founded, you mean I have to think about clothes.   I guess claying in my sleep shirt and my underwear just won't cut it at the Hilton.  
 I hadn't even thought about clean clothes and who knows how I am going to fit them into my suitcase.  I mean, don't I HAVE to bring every single  pack of PC with me?
My friend Becky will be attending.  She has 400 pounds of clay at home.  Yes...FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS, not packages...POUNDS.  
I have completed  my swap items and beads for the bead string.    I added a hand to my swap pieces and baked them right before I went to bed.  Just had to add more embellishment.  This morning I decided they looked ghastly and ripped the added hands off the piece.  Made new hand and the more I tried to smooth and shape the fingers the more they looked like monkey claws.  So, once again I am reminded "less is more" and if it looks good, stop messin' with it.    

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Three days till the retreat.  I have suddenly realized how much I have to do.  I finally made the two beds for the bead strand and they are in my vibratory tumbler right now.  I made them GIANT; hollow and about the size of a ping pong ball. 
 The required color theme is black and  white, first tried the Jupiter bead technique including over baking and chopping clay but found that a little black goes a really long way.   The beads looked  gray, gray, gray crumbles with a few black chunky parts and smudges and  tiny streaks of white.  Kind like something that was kicked out of the cat little box.  The great thing about PC is you can just smush it up start over.  I think the final Mokume Gane version came out pretty darn good. 
Now I am on to my 10 swap pieces, I say "pieces" because I have no  idea what to make. The theme is Hands Across the Water...I think. Perhaps some swirling alcohol ink will come into play. Oh hell forget the ink, how about some alcohol for inspiration.   Sometimes the most unexpected things come out of  the most unplanned experiment.
I just got a call from a woman in my PC guild that was going to the retreat.  Her husband had a reaction to a medical procedure and is now having very serious complication. and had to go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota.  So, if my biggest worry tonight is PC I have it pretty good.  So, I am sending my thoughts and prayers to Becky and Richard's.  :(