Friday, May 29, 2015

Tutorial Thursday - Miniature Cakes

I am always on the look at for new tutorial, some are fun to just read others, I have to try. I am always intrigued by miniatures and frankly there are lots of tutorials out there for making cakes and other sweets but this one really caught me. It goes through the steps in great detail and tips. All those but why is my cake not like the one on You-tube seemed to be answered. Even better it is free and shares all the secrets.

I found this on It is written by talty who has a number of other tutorials listed there. She goes through the each step clearly and descriptive. I have made a number of cake slices and they look amazing just following her steps. If you like doing miniatures, you'll love this tutorial.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dying Yarn with Food Colors

I finished my needles out of the closet a few months ago and have been having fun knitting up a storm. I've gotten fussier with the yarns I want to use - I really don't want to use acrylic, I just don't like the way the colors look. I've bought some skeins of wool and wool blends but wool yarn often can get expensive and too often I don't find the colors I'm looking for anyway.

I do have about 3 lbs of Fisherman's Wool from Lion's Brand that I bought several years ago that is sitting there but it is just unbleached and I couldn't get excited over it. I've seen a number websites about dying with KoolAid and I figured I'd try it. Looking around I found this site and they added in food coloring as well for an idea, especially since the Lime (for green is really hard to find). This site had lots of great ideas but was light on the actual technique. On Instructables, I found this article for the how-tos of dying with food color.

So putting them together, I bought some Wilton's food coloring at Micheal's, about 10 dollars for 8 colors and picked up so vinegar. When I got home I found some other food dye as well. I had fun this afternoon playing colors in a new way. I mostly single colors and some like the pink and the orange seem very close. The brown is the exception here. when I got done, I had too much orange and wanted to try something else. I took the orange and then used the Wilton Purple to dye it again to get brown.

So now I have a rainbow of yarns to knit with and also some ideas for overdyeing so of the icky colors I have sitting around. I have 2 more pounds of fingerman's wool too. Even better, the dyeing process itself, softens up the wool.

Monday, May 4, 2015

How handmade is that?

Oh no!

 What is handmade?

Basically Etsy defines it as almost anything. Basically hand-assembled was "handmade" - so string a charm on necklace was handmade and designing a product but having it manufactured also is if you orchestrate the process. They also made this a dead topic in their forums. It usually happens when someone who sells something that is on the edge complains (no insult intended)

What is the line where an item is handmade or are there levels of handmade?

Obviously the charm necklace you buy at Target isn't handmade but is it really handmade if you buy the same charm and a chain and slide the charm on. Etsy said it was. A cluster of charms and beads in a unique way - well you're getting closer. You made the charm or pendant yourself - definitely handmade.

The best explanation I found is how raw are the materials you start with. That single charm is pretty much a finished product so not raw. You put a couple together - a little more work is involved. You made the charm/pendant? Definitely but even there, you can apply the same rule.

Then there is the question of embellishing a finished item - I'd say it depends.

This watermelon stool definitely is. It's suddenly makes you look at it differently, it's creative - it's a product than a plain stool would be. It's an original design.
 Stool By WoodWorxDesign

It goes on and on. Within the handmade community, this can be a hot topic and can push a lot of buttons, it an interesting topic that is really hard to define.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Fun with Christi Freisen

Stained Glass Polymer Clay Wallhanging[/caption]

This weekend I had the thrill of doing another bunch of workshops with Christi Friesen in her stop in NYC in her world tour of workshops. I had only planned to go to 2 but I decided once I was at the first to go and do all 4. Each featured different techniques but the techniques or projects just feel like the arrow on the way. Each class was different, we did vessels on Thursday (I'm not happy with my  results on that one so I'm just not posting it)

"Painterly" or painting with polymer clay on Friday.

Saturday we started with Pegasuses, like I said I almost didnt go on Saturday because I already do her sculpture and the other project (stained glass) didn't really interest me.

Saturday we started with Pegasuses, like I said I almost didnt go on Saturday because I already do her sculpture and the other project (stained glass) didn't really interest me on paper but honestly I think I did my best stuff on Saturday but wasn't the reason I took the extra day.

If you never had a class with her, they are just plain fun. It's like hanging with your best bud. When I've had people say another work shop with her, why not something more advanced, would you ask me why I hang out with a friend too much? There are a bunch of Christi groupies there (including myself). She is free and easy with pictures and videos - here is a video I took of her teaching a simple leaf tuorial.

But she sneaks learning in, between techniques there are lots of words of wisdom between the laughs. Learning doesn't have to be hard, just like you can learn a lot from friends sitting around just talking, you can learn a lot in her workshops. First one is who you are and what you do is right. She makes it okay to be a super newbie who never picked up clay before or hobbiest or selling or an aspiring artist or all of them. I love when we were talking about moving forward towards becoming a recognized artist or finding your own style and just learning to enjoy having fun with clay and let it all come out.

She makes everyone feel comfortable and is great at finding the best in your work. She is so smart and so ready to share what she knows and what she makes, the freedom is great. I like that she feels art should be shared and techniques should be shared. People will copy, we all do but by copying and sharing we all gain.

Finding Inspiration at home

Polymer clay Urban Setting Wall Hanging

One take away from my class with Christi freisen two weeks ago was if you want to explore, you have to just create and not worry so much about what am I going to do with it after. With that in mind I've been letting my self just work in whatever size of shape I needed. Most stuff has been the size of mini wall hanging. Working without worrying if it will sell or what will I do with it, has been freeing. I've forgotten how fun that can be.

I'm also a city girl. I am not in an concrete jungle, there are lots of trees in my city and I am sitting in my backyard right now. I wanted to get across the beauty that is here. There is concrete and rust and noise but there is a lot to love. I find that forgotten in a lot of work. Nature is beautiful maybe even more so when you see it can still survive and peak through all that man has made.

I like where I am and as beautiful as the country is, I enjoy the city. I just want to share this beauty.

Turn Left

 Like that Doctor Who episode, you make decisions all the time, never knowing what the final outcome will. Sometimes you don't even realize you're making a decision or what impact it will have. I decided to start tax school but I think the real decision was started back in 2011 when I took 3 really short contract positions in a row, nothing was the same after that. Although honestly I didn't really like any of those jobs. And I really hated working contract positions, it's like always being on a first date. I'm cutting ties and going to tax school (I went last year but didn't finish since I got what was supposed to be a long-term contract and actually lasted 6 weeks) so I already know I like it and am good at it. It feels like such a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It's only a couple of blocks away so I can walk instead of an hour-long commute.

This past year I also got back into knitting as I posted a few times. It has been like therapy for me. I'm still sculpting and smooshing the clay but knitting is my hobby for relaxing, when I'm watching TV or just waiting in the doctor's office. I've come to the conclusion I need to do what works best for me. Even if means taking a job my husband feels isn't "good" enough for me, just taking this a little slower and stop stressing about the little stuff.

I also went to the doctor this week, it seems I have really bad allergies to something but god knows what. Since I have had issues with my sinuses for years and no real sense of smell in years, I assume this isn't new but this month it got really bad and I couldn't breathe and nothing seemed to work.

I know this post is different from most but I also decided to change my slant on my blog. Just showing off my work isn't working for me or it seems anyone else. Actually I find it boring too. So over the next few months, I'll be making a few changes but nothing too major.

Making a Doll - Fail

In my last post, I went through some of my early steps in making this doll. She 's not quite finished but she is close. Her clothes aren't finished yet but she already has quite personality. I find my self thinking of Magrat - one of the witches from Terry Pratchett's Disc world books. Magrat would be a little younger but she had the wild hair and the country spirit. She was the youngest in the coven of 3 witches, eventually she is known as powerful with in her own right. "All but for a missing letter and her life would have been so different."

I need to add some pizzazz to the clothes, I hand sewed all the garments so far, she has a white petticoat with lace trim sticking out. I added a little ruffle of purple on her shirt and a waist band on her skirt but now interesting details await. Magrat was a herbalist and was into the occult and occult jewelry so I will keep that in mind as I add accessories.

So how to I get to here from this?

First step gluing the hands and feet on, then filling out the body with some aluminum foil and then wrapping the wrapping the doll with quilt batting for a soft body. This is when I really start to see it coming together, all that's left is to dress her. That sounded so simple until I really got down to deciding what to have her wear and then finding the supplies. I wound up dying the skirt since all I couldn't find a color I liked.

Now to clean it all up, clean up the seams, fix her hair, accessorize to make her special. She stands about 11 inches tall and stands on her own. So far this is the largest doll I made, now I want to make it the best one as well. The real mark will coming in the finishing details.

And this was the result

To me,  basically a fail. This is not way I hoped for but I learned a few things but mainly she is going into my box and staying there. The hands were too big, the face seemed wrong. It may not be one I sell but I learned a little, much of it what not to do.

Elf Warrior Doll

polymer clay elf doll
Elf Warrior Princess
With a little love and some more time, I finished a second elf. I am much happier with this doll. I gave the last one to my husband, it was kind of creepy. He's keeping at his desk to scare his co workers.

This one came out a bit better, I decided to just do a simpler face and enjoy the process rather than force a realistic face that just wasn't wasn't working. She is a tomboy of an elf, with her freckles and wild hair. She carries a small knife and has a gold armband.

Right now I'm working on a commission for a Tardis and Dr Who 10 and 11 charms. So until the next time. Have a great day