Apr 29, 2012

Dusty Beads and Micro Storage

We store all of our beads in open trays, bead shop style. This makes them more accessible and it’s easier to see them which makes it convenient when mixing and matching. Today I spent some time cleaning them as they looked dusty and matte. How did I do that without removing the beads from each compartment? I created a filter and nozzle for the vacuum cleaner with a thick cardboard tube, tulle mesh and duct tape. Doesn’t look very attractive but it really does the job.
DSC07326I just used a little bit of tape and attached this to the flexible wand of the vacuum cleaner. The mesh prevents the beads from being sucked in. They stick to the tulle and I just remove them by the handful to put back in the tray. Most of the dust will also be too thick to go through the tulle, but I pick it off and drop on the floor to be vacuum cleaned when I’m done.
I have 36 trays and it took some time, but now these beads are shiny again and ready to be turned into some creations. We have Gemstones, glass and metal. I need to sell some of the glass beads as I don’t use them much anymore.
Here are some of our Gemstones on the wall as well as in the trays and on the dining room table is the latest purchase of turquoise, ocean jasper, abalone, pearls and a few others.

 We store a lot of surplus beads in Merrill shoe boxes which are nice and sturdy. The tote bins hold packaging supplies, cords, and show displays. The drawers hold findings and seed beads. And were is my polymer clay? Out here in my Micro Studio were I have more of these drawers full of stuff. A couple of my work tables. I need a new chair. Notice the oven outside the window?

Apr 27, 2012

Bead Soup Swap

This is my first participation in a Bead Soup Swap that Lori Anderson put together. There is no blog hop or reveal for this swap, just a simple trade. I was partnered with another Canadian, Alicia Marinache of “All the Pretty Things” from Burlington, Ontario. You can visit her link to see what I sent her which were some of my handmade focals and beads, yes, made from polymer clay.
For the swap we were told to include a unique clasp, that is anything other than a lobster clasp. After a quick discussion of our likes or dislikes we then put together a mix of beads, either random or coordinated and challenge our partners to create something with them. We don’t have to use all the beads in the mix, but are encouraged to use as many as we can and we may also add our own beads and components to the soup.
This is what Alicia sent me…a ceramic heart, czech glass, quartz crystal, freshwater pearls, coral and an agate focal and a handmade clasp. There are also some red, white and blue lampwork beads. I'm always challenged when it comes to using glass beads, so will have to think those out.
I especially like the teardrop agate. This is what I came up with so far. I had a hard time matching the blue of the agate, but it had some turquoise shades along the white stripe, so I used that which matches really nicely with some of my fossil agate that I have in stock. I wire wrapped the ceramic heart and used the coral in clusters, along with some of my branch coral and a metal pendant for a dangle.
Which one to wear first??? I do like them both...
Tomorrow more about Polymer Clay…

Apr 19, 2012

Crackle Focals and 52 Earrings a Year #15

The polymer clay focals I made a few days ago, I assembled them into this necklace and earring set. I’m entering the earrings as my #15 which was an Easter Theme. While mine aren’t bunnies or eggs nor anything remotely religious, I feel the floral aspect and colours could be interpreted as Easter.
I’ve also made a few other pendants with my New Crackle. As you may have heard, this crackle does not leave any paint on your clay, but only the visible cracks. Here is a nice close-up…

I’ll be assembling these into a similar necklace and earring set as the one above.

Apr 15, 2012

Toy of the Week 2: Seamless Cutters and Viva Decor part 2

Sorry for the long title…not sure how I can shorten that, lol.
Hopefully no one is too mad at me for having posted my dislikes about the new (to me) cutters. I edited in my last post and added on the bottom of the post.
Part 2. I like the Viva Decor Inka Gold very much. I hydrated some of the drier paints, but also find that when I moisten my finger a little bit, it immediately puts paint on my finger when gliding it over the paint. They remind me a lot of creamy water colours or eyeshadows. This sheet below, I had mixed up a shade of green clay, ran it through the pasta machine, then ran it through again with a texture (one of Helen Breil’s beautiful patterns) and coloured it with my finger. Although you can layer the paints (and they layer beautifully), after each colour I dip my finger into some water and wipe it clean with a rag. Paint comes off really easily, although I now have some paint under my fingernails. I need to apply new nail polish anyway, ha. Anyway, the coverage of these paints is just fabulous.
I find that you can do as many layers as you want and with each layer, the application gets thicker and bolder. You can see this from left to right. I had just a hint of texture on this clay and on the left you can see it as sort of a painted wash in the crevices. This paint can actually be watered down as well and applied as a wash instead of a wax.
When dry, you can achieve a nice crackle with this also. Hey, you know how much I like to crackle, right? lol. I think this will crackle even better if I put on another coat after it is dry and then crackle…I’ll try this next…but this is with one coat and pretty good.
After I applied paint on this piece I stamped it (Tonja Lenderman Clear stamp)
Ok…enough play for now…I think I’ll create something with these sheets. So I decide to try the sanded seamless cutters. I use the teardrop shapes. I’ve already begun assembling some of them. I’ll be making a drop necklace and some earring with those.
And a close up of the edge for the teardrop. Much better, but I still had to smooth the clay a little bit with my finger. I rather like the shape now. I used a lime and teal Viva Decor Inka Gold on these. I normally work in much darker colours, but thought I should try a little ‘lighter’ for Spring. Plus green goes so nicely with the popular Orange for this season.
I’ve embellished this cabochon  and the flowers on the teardrop with a little Swarovski Crystal. I’ve enjoyed using crystals ever since I started claying way back in the late 80’s. You see those little balls of clay on my piece above? I roll a ball, insert a blunt knitting needle to make a hole. This becomes the bezel for my rhinestone. I insert the stone and use a cartridge-less pen to set the crystal into the bezel. The clay pushes a little bit over the edges of the stone, so I may not need glue. I must be certain that the clay is around all of the edge of the crystal though because otherwise I’ll need to use some glue. Don’t use cyanoacrylate (Zap-a-gap, Krazy Glue etc.) on crystal or glass as it will frost them. It is better to use an epoxy.
After I’ve assembled these…what shall I do next? I have quite a few more toys…Do you want to see?? lol

Apr 14, 2012

Toy of the week 2: Seamless cutters

Ever since I heard the word ‘seamless’ I’ve been wanting some of these cutters for my polymer clay use. My round metal ones were getting a bit bent out of shape from their constant use and I needed some teardrop shaped ones.
Btw…my reviews of these products are based on products I purchased, although I wouldn’t mind if companies were going to offer me some for testing, even if my reviews may not be 100% positive, they will be honest. I really wish I had had these cutters to try since although there are 9 cutters in a box, they are not exactly inexpensive. I thought ‘wow NINE cutters, that’s awesome!’ I sprung for the investment because I thought they would last me a long time. But wait there is more! They are safe in the oven up to 160Degrees Celsius or 320Fahrenheit. Great if you wanted to use them for bangles or perhaps for making boxes. They are nested like this…DSC07266DSC07268
and you can take out the smallest first, but if you want the largest cutter or anything in between you have to remove them all, because they are concave, that is curving inward rather than convex and curving outward as I think they should have been made! I’ll demonstrate…
I rolled some clay on a #1 (or 9 card thickness). I used the teardrop and a round. You can actually see the the cutters aren’t 100% smooth and will require a bit of sanding on your part. I’m getting more and more annoyed. So I just used my nails to scratch off the roughness and you can see that the edges on the clay just aren’t smooth at all…I rather have a seam on one tiny part of the clay that I can cut away with a blade rather than the whole circumference being rough. But that isn’t the only thing that bothers me…
The other thing is that because the cutters are concave, when you cut out an item, it actually shows. Sometimes I like to use butcher wrap over the clay before cutting to get a nice beveled edge, and even though these cutters create a beveled edge, the bevel is way too pronounced for my liking.
But what about using it to make boxes? Well, the cutters are nice and deep and although concave-ness could work in favor of a box…here is the stupid thing…there is a ridge at the halfway mark! Why? I have no idea…
…but I see two useful purposes for these cutters in regard to polymer clay…One is using them for shallow boxes and for the round cutters, use certain sizes as a bangle sizer/shaper while baking. And the other useful thing is for those with small children because I’m annoyed that I have to play the stacking game to get them back into the container…largest first…
Ok, those were just initial observations from a seamless newbie ;)

Edited to add...yes sanding has helped quite a bit. Observation is the nylon should be thinner for the smaller cutters. I also would prefer straight walls instead of concave. However, all in all the price is right...about $17 for 9...not bad.

Toy of the Week: Viva Decor Inka Gold

I’m adding a new feature to my blog, showing you some of the products I purchase that are useful and a great addition for your polymer clay addiction. I might even show you some products that might be better suited for other crafts.  The ‘Toy of the Week’ will be a glimpse into what you might see when you have the product in front of you.
I’ve been wanting to try more products from Viva Decor and I still plan on writing about them, but the first one on the list is Viva Decor Inka Gold. It’s a combination of metallic paint and waxy rub-on, however, it is water-based, so if it dries out it can be rehydrated with a bit of water. One can’t do that with petroleum paints and waxes. Like Viva Decor Pardo Clay, the Inka Gold main ingredient is beeswax. It is non-toxic, safe and easy to use. Besides polymer clay it can be used on wood, paper, plaster, ceramics and much more. It comes in 18 brilliant and inter-mixable colors.
The sampler kit includes 18 of the colors. The little pots hold 12.5g, but you can buy bigger jars of 50 and even 100grams. The sampler is a great economical start if you want to try all the colors.
These little pots, some of them have black lids and some have silver lids. The ones with black lids have inner lids with a sticky tab, that when removed might be better suited for mineral make-up. A couple of my pots had a messed up sticky tab with dried paint caked on them. The pot on the right has a different inner lid. Anyway, I removed all the inner lids and put them inside plastic baggies. This was a messy job and had to wash and wipe my fingers after removing every one of them. Why not just toss the lids? because frugal me will probably use the paint that is still on them.
Apparently my dry paint pots (and they are really flaky dry!) I’m supposed to simply rehydrate it with some water. I poked holes into the paint and added a few drops. By tomorrow it is supposed to be creamy again. The caution is not to add too much water on the surface or the paint could become mouldy as there are no preservatives. I’ll let you know how it turns out… and I’ll show you a little bit about how it will look on your clay…This was just the teaser, lol.
DSC07243…stay tuned…
 In the US you can find Viva Decor products at this wonderful Site, Polyclayplay

Viva Decor
The site says they have 20 colors, but that is a misprint.

Apr 8, 2012

Pearls and a new Resin obsession

Pearls and Polymer Clay: The last couple of days I’ve been assembling some of the many “Batik & Shimmer” and “Low Relief” pendants I’ve been creating and amassing into a rather large collection. I’m rather happy with these 3 and 5 pendant necklaces with pearl clusters and chains. The chains are a little longer than how I can fit on the bust and sit more in line with the beading.
Resin and Cabochons:
Besides my continual work with polymer clay, my usual application of surface resin has turned into a bit of a resin obsession. Right now I’m in the mood to create sparkly dichroic-like cabochons. These are actually my first pieces with a new type of resin I wanted to try. They will get better I’m sure, but am really very happy with these.
I am so impressed with this stuff. For one it doesn’t have any noticeable odour when mixing or curing. Second, it is easy to measure with a 2 to 1 ratio (rather than UV method, or the standard 1 to 1 ratios with the smelly types). If you are odour sensitive like I am, you will really appreciate this. Third, and I think this may be helpful with polymer clay creations…the resin stays bendy for a period of time before curing to its full hardness. This allows one to manipulate the resin piece into a curved shape! I haven’t tried baking a cured piece with my clay yet…will report if it’s ok or not…Fourth, the site has plenty of tips, projects, inspiration, even video tutorials and helpful supplies such as doming ‘drip trays’.
This resin and system is the brainchild of Fran Valera of “Little Windows”. I have to admit that I’ve had immediate success with this system, better than any other type. 1 to 1 ratio resins while satisfying when they worked, sometimes they would stay tacky, disappointing when you made a big batch of pendants! or my Epoxy UV resin would suddenly only cure on the surface and then slide off the project (NOT Magic Glos, that UV resin is fine) The other downside with the Epoxy UV resin, you can only cure thin layers at a time and wouldn’t be able to mix dark inclusions into this as light can’t penetrate dark matter to allow curing underneath. With this Little Windows ™ resin you can mix in all kinds of dry things such as embossing powder, glitter, mica powders, metal pulver…
Fran teaches you how to make these beauties with this and other fun videos…
Btw…if you do decide to make a purchase and want to try this for yourself, there is a little referral on the site. You’d make me really happy if you said Tina Holden sent you.


Apr 3, 2012

Want a Signature Stamp?

Have you considered a signature stamp for your polymer clay items, but the expense has been holding you back? You need no longer delay. You can get one for Free! Huh?? Really?? How!? Through Vistaprint!  How can they can give away things for free or for so cheaply? I’ve been dealing with them for quite a while now and have been very happy with their products and services. Less than 2 weeks ago I ordered 100 Postcards (both sides printed), 250 business cards (both sides printed), 280 matching address labels, 250 Earring cards(both sides printed) and my signature stamp, just $35 including tax and shipping. Pretty amazing, huh?
My real signature isn’t decipherable, so I wouldn’t want one with my actual signature. I didn’t choose the free one either since I wanted to have control of the font size (that's a penny in the left photo beside the stamped polymer clay piece). Still, for less than $4 I now have what I’ve been wanting for a while. The self-inking stamp with personalized plate comes un-mounted which is great since I just want to use the little rubber stamp to imprint my polymer clay work. The box says ‘made in Austria’ Smile
This is one of my Earring Cards. I have some customized printing on the back. The front is nice and simple. Vistaprint has all sorts of photos and designs to choose from, one can even upload their own designs or jpg. I used to print my own earring cards, but the cardstock isn’t as sturdy as this business card is.
No, they didn’t compensate me for this great review, lol, but I wanted to pass this good deal on to you. Oh, and yes, the earrings are for sale…
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