Wednesday 29 February 2012

Pillow beads

Well, following on from my work in progress post which you can see here  I have been delaying posting them on my blog because I made a complete mess of them.  I had great difficulty in getting the 'pillows' to look right. 

You cut slices of the block which you can see in my link above, then using polymer clay you put some on in the middle, pinch the corners and then along the edges - sounds simple right?  The difficulty I found was getting them all uniform and squashing them into shape.  (And the fact that I have big hands and bent fingers doesn't help)  I am sure that my lovely Japanese daughter in law would be perfect for making these - she has such delicate little hands.

I am being brave posting some photos, I think that it is good sometimes to recognise failures, learn from the exercise and move on.

See what I mean!  I found it impossible to get them all of a uniform shape and size

All is not lost - they are brilliant for flower pot 'drainers'

This is a swirl of the left over bits of clay.  I like it because of it's colouring both sides which is totally different, and the fact that it has a lovely metallic sheen.    

Oh well - best not dwell on it.  I'll put these out of sight - out of mind, and use them when I am potting on some plants.

Next experiment - trying to make an Egyptian style death mask thingie - or a rose can - off to flick a coin!

Giveaway at Bead up a Storm

If you love beads you will love Bead up a Storm, and there is a giveaway too for a stunning large heart.

The lampwork beads are just stunning - if only I could make those!

Saturday 25 February 2012

Playing/experimenting with polymer clay

I am still desperate to get some polymer clay lessons - but just can't find any in Norfolk.  There is a class with Sue in Suffolk where I did the Silver Clay, but it's on 1st April - when I'll be recovering from an eye operation all being well - so I can't go to that.

The bead shop outside the village is no longer listing Silver Clay and Polymer Clay as future courses which is a shame. I did find a place  via Google, in Dereham, but am not getting any response to emails or phone messages - despite the advert for lessons starting again in February 2012 so perhaps circumstance have changed or something has gone amiss there.

So I am just messing about experimenting really - but I'd much rather have a proper lesson or two.  I can't seem to get a good photo today - nothing unusal there  On my computer screen the samples look more like a cork colour rather than the lovely rich burnt umber and raw sienna colour with a nice dark bronze subtle sheen and just like leather in 'real life'.  I used Premo Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna and Bronze Accents,
It looks like a lovely rich leather - which I could capture it on here.

 I scrunched up some paper and pushed it into the polymer clay (after conditioning and rolling it)
I pushed a key stamp into the above
I used A Jo Capper Sandon large bumble bee stamp which I pushed into this one.

One of my all time favourite quote stamps - again from Jo into this one.
You can get the stamps from Happy Daze    and all sorts of lovely arty crafty goodies.
I painted each example  all over with with Burnt Umber acrylic paint, then rubbed off the excess with a soft rag.  When the paint had dried naturally, I rubbed on some Cosmic Shimmer  - it's called dark copper but after baking it shimmered like bumble wings do.  It looks a bit 'clumpy' in the photos but in natural light wtih the naked eye it doesn't - and you can see the wing veins through it.  
Not bad for a first attempt - I got better as I went along - but have not perfected it yet.

I desperately want a lesson on making canes with polymer clay.   I now there are books and on line videos - but it's not the same as having someone by my side showing me.

So if anyone fancies giving me a lesson - please email me.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

A box that didn't explode - Edited

I just had to have another go at covering a round box after the first one exploded!
So using another pack of the wonderful Premo Accents in blue with a touch of white I had a fun time covering it.

I used the crochet doily again to texture the lid, and some heart and swirls for the sides.
The I used a shell mould for the lid, and added a pearl but I now see that it could do with a cluster of pearls as it looks a bit odd with just one on the shell - that's easy to fix!
Now that looks better doesn't it - five shells around the pearl.  I am  happy with it now.
The are real shells too - with a touch of shine which I added to them.
Wish I could say the same for the pearl!

I painted inside and out of the box and lid with some cheap acrylic metallic paint to finish it off.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Work in progress - I may be sometime

 Fired up and raring to go with my wonderful box of goodies, I decided to start with one of the projects that Di Keeble kindly photocopied and sent me.  She has written projects for magazines and has been creating with polymer clay for some years.   I bought a gorgeous bracelet from her which I'll blog another day.

As a beginner I think the project I picked was beyond my capabilities at the moment - but it kept me occupied for many hours which is good thing.

 For this project I am using some of the blocks of Premo Sculpey in the previous post.
From the Accents Range, I used Pearl Blue, Bright Green Pearl, Translucent Red and Translucent White.  From the Premo Sculpey range, I used Sunshine, and Cadmium Red Hue.
 Anyone for a game of Ludo - or maybe Tiddleywinks?

I stacked the circles randomly.
I was eager to try out my Extruder for the first time too, so I squashed them a bit to get them to fit in.
 I love these sausages - you just don't know how they are going to turn out!
So far so good.  I was being very careful to read each A4 page and follow every step, and this is where I tripped up!  Unbeknown to me the page I was following was part of a double page spread and as I have bad eyesight I didn't see the 'stage' numbers I followed the pictures step by step, so missed out a crucial part of the instructions and it wasn't until I got to the top of the next page that I realised.
So the first set of sausages were covered, without me knowing that instruction was for after some of those on the next page - which messed the project up somewhat.

Luckily I had another half length of  'sausage' which I was able to stack up properly and cover properly and here it is above.

I made the mistake of using two translucent colours in this 'log' - you can see that the translucent white and translucent red have almost disappeared - but that's O.K. as a beginner I am bound to make mistakes - and it's a great learning curve.

This log is supposed to be destined for pillow beads, but the ones I tried doing with the log that turned out oblong instead of square, ended up looking like the ravioli parcels I make for lunch - albeit multi-coloured ones!

I am out tomorrow morning, so this project will have to wait until later in the day and you'll be able to see what happened next!

Friday 17 February 2012

What a wonderful surprise................

I couldn't believe my eyes when I came back from the 'hard labour' session up my allotment.  My husband handed me two packages.

One contained an order of a few days ago, a large block of white Sculpey, and 6 blocks of the 2oz Premo Sculpey, 2 of which are black as I want to create some tiles inpired by Laurie Mika. 

The next surprise moved me to tears - it was a Fed Ex box from the USA.  And look what was inside!!!
In an email conversation with a gentleman from the Polyform Products Company  makers of Sculpey and all the Premo clays and so  much more (you can see the lovely email in my earlier post here.)
he mentioned their Promo Accents range which I hadn't discovered. 

He offered to send me a sample - which I accepted.
I looked up the range on the internet.
They were fantastic, and I was so excited trying to guess which colour I would receive.

Imagine my astonishment, surprise, and utter delight when I put my hand in the box and pulled out  not one, but 24 packets of the most amazing colours and hues! 
Pearly, glittery, and metallic!
I am absolutely over the moon - I shall be spending a lot of time creating with it in the coming months.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart kind sir, you have made an old lady very very happy and I truly appreciate your very kind and generous gesture.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

A Mermaid's Chest - for the Happy Daze Love Challenge

Sometimes it is easy to get carried away with new projects.  There are so many wonderful ones to try!

And often one will laterally lead to another, and so it did today.   After reading the  Happy Daze Design Team Blog.

It has a challenge with the title of  Love - a technique that you love to use.  And here is mine!

I decided that I'd go back to my earlier 'basic' crafting of painting and stamping and getting mucky!

With a little wooden box I bought a year or two ago from Happy Daze

Out came, some paints, and silver rub and buff.

Inks, embossing powders, blue glitter........
And my all time favourite stamp - a Mermaid 
I painted her eyelids with a deeper shade of blue.
Her lips a blue-red colour with a hint of extra shimmer.
Each pearl bead of her necklace I painted individually, together with her shell arm band.

The lid is edged with lots of crushed blue glitter and really glistens in the light - I love it!
And on the outer edges I smoothed on silver and then buffed it until it shines.
The box has been stamped on all sides - vintage shells on a swirly pattern at each end, and larger swirls on the sides.  All the stamping has been embossed with a shiny wet look black embossing powder and softened with a silver rub here and there, and pearlised blue swooshes of rubbed on paint.
I have had such a fun day going to back to basics.

Rubbing on three layers of paints with my fingers, roughing up the wood, swooshing and buffing  of silver rub and buff, stamping, polishing and re-establishing the joy of getting inky, sticky, and messy!

The photos don't really show you how absolutely shimmering wet it looks.

I think I'll keep this little Mermaids Chest for my own little treasures.
Thank you for visiting

Polymer clay play - Sliced pendants

Well moving on from yesterday..................and still snowed in................apologies for the photos, it's a dark day, and even darker in our little bungalow - I used a 'daylight' bulb but still didn't get a good photo - perhaps a photography course should be  next on the list!  The background is white in real life!

 An update on my Julie Piccarello inspired slices

 Now sanded and polished and glazed. 
This one made from all the project scraps is so thick that I need to make a special ring for it!

I enjoyed having a go at this project, and learnt a lot of what not to do as usual.

The original concept was to turn them into pendants but on reflection, these and the other couple I made are destined for keyrings methinks, for the garage, shed, back door, and front door.

Hmmm what shall I play with next?

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Update from Polyform Products

I have had the most wonderful emails from their Global Sales and Marketing!

I was thanked for my email and the project list has been updated to include the box.

Not sure if I should mention the gentleman's name - but he wrote me a really nice email, and took the time and trouble to make it personal too.

He obviously did some research and gave me information regarding the Polymer Clay Guilds in the UK, and gave me other information.   He asked if I was aware of Sue Heaser - and gave me some info about her: I replied that I had been on a one day course with her.  He knows her very well too.   He was so very helpful and encouraging, and really kind.  I asked him a couple of questions about what clay to use for a couple of projects I  have in mind and he replied instantly.

I did feel rather guilty that he took the time and trouble and patience to answer my questions - and when I thanked him and said that I was sure that he had far more important things to do than deal with me he wrote:

"There is always something to do but at the end of the day the most important thing is to make sure our customers are happy. Cliché but true. You may not know this but we are not a large cold corporate company. We are a second generation family business that must be good at what we do to sell to the likes of Wal-Mart, etc. but really we’d rather be playing with clay all day."
That was such a nice thing to say wasn't it!  It's made my day!

Before my husband retired he was a Global Material Planning and Logistics Manager for a huge worldwide company - so I know how busy he was!
So - a big thank you to Polyform Products Company  makers and suppliers of Premo Sculpey and lots more.

Monday 6 February 2012

Email from Polyform Products Company

Thanks everyone for all your emails and comments on here and forums.

I have just received an email from Polyform Products Company

It made me smile to read the following reply which I have just received from Polyform Products Company (Premo, Sculpey etc)


Dear Lottie,
Thank you for contacting Polyform Products Company and your interest in our products. I am so sorry that this project did not work for you. You are probably right in your assumption of why this did not work for you. Wood as a base for a clay project must be cured before baking. Because it holds moisture and will expand during the baking process (which is what happened with your project) it should be baked at 130°C for 30 minutes to bake out the moisture. After cooling you can proceed with the project as directed and it should be fine.
If there is anything else I can help you with, please contact me again.

Technical Assistance


What do you think of this reply?  

Are you, like me, of the opinion that the least they could do was to say that they would edit their website project page.   It just needs '1 x round paper mache box' added to the list of requirements - not difficult!  And surely it's the most important part of the project and is not even listed!

Sunday 5 February 2012

Polymer Clay - Covered Box

Well as we are snowed in, I thought I would spend my time productively over the weekend - and decided to follow a video and instructions I found on the official Polymer Clay website here

I rely to a great extent on written instructions as I can't hear the videos - but they are good to watch.

List of supplies needed: (From their site)
Clays:Premo! Accents: Antique Gold - 2 oz-- 2 blocks
Premo! Sculpey®: Black - 2 oz - I didn't need this much as I wasn't going to do the extras'

Large Texture stamp - I improvised
White Craft glue
old foam brush
(Note that there was no mention of the box)
It took me ages, but I spent a happy Saturday afternoon and evening working on the box.  It was a bit fiddly - but I was really proud when I had finally covered the box.
Firstly I painted the box and lid inside and around the outside which was under the lid - then followed the instructions to the letter.  
 For the design on the lid I used an old crocheted napkin, which I thought worked really well.
For the side of the lid and box I used a whirl style stamp and stamped all along the strips of polymer clay before attaching

As you will see from the instructions on the link above.  I used the glue specified to stick the Premo Sculpey to the sides, and top, and underneath the bottom and trimmed it all to fit.

Following the instructions, I left the box overnight - to allow the glue to dry to avoid any air pockets.
Then yesterday, I put it in my halogen table top oven with other pieces of clay to bake.  I was feeling really proud of myself for making a good job of it and so looking forward to the next stage that would finish it off and make it look really professional, with silver rub and buff to accentuate the raised patterns.
So it was with great excitment when I went to unload the oven. 


I used a box which looked identical to theirs - but mine was made out of wood - and the baking has melted the glue!  I spent almost four hours trying to glue all the pieces back together.  I tried E6000 which sticks absolutely everything - but not the base.   I tried and tried and tried and used small bulldog clips to keep it together, pegs - and just pressing it for ages with my fingers  - and it just sprung back open.  I tried super glue - as you can see from the photo below where it is shiny, the super glue just kinda poured out and wouldn't stick - but it did stick everything else my fingers came in touch with.

If you look carefully you can see where the lid is peeling away and it just won't stay stuck!   The pictures above are taken after I took the box and lid out of the oven - didn't I do a good job with the deeply embossed patterns.

When you are a beginner, and products are not listed correctly in a tutorial how are you supposed to know that you can't use a wooden box in a cooker - mine looked identical to the one in the video!  

I have spent quite a while today doing some research and found out that you need to use paper mache objects if they are to be covered with polymer clay that needs baking.  It's perfectly safe to put polymer clay onto typing paper, cardboard, mount board etc in the oven,  as the temperatures are so low that it doesn't affect them.  So it didn't occur to me that a wooden box would be affected - it wasn't it was the glue!

I sent a nice polite email to the Polyform Products Company to the address on their website, explaining my predicament and asking if they would please be sure to put the actual products used in the list and explain why.  

As a beginner we really don't know these things - its what they don't tell you that causes the angst!

All that wasted clay, and time and effort.  And it was my best bit of work to date! And no - I haven't heard back from the website or company.

Friday 3 February 2012

A chunkier charm bracelet style - with chunky polymer clay beads

 These beads are from the same batch I made - but are bigger and chunkier.
So they make a big statement on a big chunky silver chain.
I think that I like this one.  It really is chunky and the beads 'fall' perfectly, and it's so light.
When the sun shines on it, it really twinkles and glows with the glitter I put in the blue rock beads and it will go with so many summery dresses.   I have to wear gloves whenever I go out - so this will be perfect over them.

I really ought to concentrate on some swaps I am entered for - using fabric.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Lentil and rock beads bracelet.

 When I saw on Crafty Cardmakers  that the challenge was  'beads' anything with beads on it or something make with beads  - I decided to make some out of polymer clay and enter them into the challenge.

This is one of the two bracelets that I am making from the polymer clay beads I made the other day.   I sanded and buffed them until my fingers were sore and still couldn't get them as shiny as those I see in books and on the internet.  Maybe they have a better way of photographing them than I do.

So I painstakingly gave every bead two coats of varnish - and they really shine in 'real life' now.
I reshaped the blue beads into 'rock' beads,  and you can really see the glitter that I added inside them.
 Any marks or 'dimples' are not marks - it is just that the beads are really shiny and the light is reflecting off them

I knew it would happen - when I now look at the first set of beads I made, they don't look half as nice as these.  Maybe it's that these are a darker colour and varnished and look so much richer.  The others were summer colours

Altered Domino

Well at last I have made time to make an altered domino for a forum swap on Cardmaking Paradise.

I had made several previous attempts at stamping and colouring, using Stazon to stamp on an image, and Copics to colour it.  Unfortunately the Copics ended up with black nibs and so I messed up a few.

So I tried collage instead