Friday, May 23, 2014

Working with Nature


It’s been such a ‘birdie’ beginning of summer!  We had Western Tanagers migrating through our area and they are such beautiful eye- candy that all one could do was stop and look at them.  

Unfortunately, one of the males flew into my neighbor’s patio door so hard that it obviously had a concussion.  We tried to revive it with diluted orange juice in a syringe.  My neighbor, Phoebe, and I emailed each other through the day. “Henry is safely installed in our AZ room in the aquarium with a small maple branch, water, o.j. and seeds.  He hasn't taken more juice, but has moved around, out of the box a couple of times.


Keep the fingers crossed!”  Sometime in the night our patient (Phoebe named him Henry) gave up the fight and he was buried in the yard under a rock.    
This was the first time I had the privilege of actually holding a wild bird.  He was so light and his feathers were such beautiful colors.  Quite the nature experience and of course, sad. 


Soon after that Peter and I went to Kansas City Mo to visit my brothers and their families for a week.  We really packed lots of activities in along with the visiting.  During the week Peter and I actively kept track of birds and we saw (and photographed some) 51 different species.  

Baltimore Oriole

Brown-headed Cowbird

Northern Mocking Bird

Blue Jay
George and Sue, my younger brother and his wife, have planted an adult size ‘fairy garden’ in their back yard.  It has solar flower and gazing ball lights, a variety of plants and trees and many different bird feeders.  It was such fun to sit  with our binoculars and cameras and enjoy it all. 




David and Dorothy, my older brother and his wife, live in Kansas and they too have been working on their yard.  New patio in the back, new fountains (made by my brother), mulching going on in the yard and a lovely gazebo on the hill in back. 

Peter and I came home to our pine trees in the forest and the first think I did was to fill the bird feeders and clean the deck.  


 I’m been thinking how different we are and yet so much alike.  It is so much fun to see how we all extend the interiors of our homes to the outside and incorporate nature. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Making Faux Glass Beads


Glass Lampwork Beads are among my favorite eye candy.  When I saw this tutorial on faux lampwork beads I decided I had to try it!  This is the link for the tutorial:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/176555759/faux-glass-polymer-clay-tutorial-pack-3?ref=related-6
It is very well written, nicely illustrated and a pleasure to follow.  I recommend this!

I love these beads and can't wait to make more with this technique
First I started collecting the supplies and naturally I needed to order some things!  I did not have Kato liquid polymer nor did I have a heat gun.  I love tools so here was another excuse!  Now I have a heat gun!  I bought the Ryobi 11 Amp Variable-Temp Heat Gun that was suggested in the tutorial.  It is great – easy to hold and the temperature is easy to adjust!  The Kato clay I bought came in a bubble wrap envelop and the lid was loose.  Ick! What a mess.  Amazon refunded the money and I was able to salvage enough to do the project.  Finally ready!

I made the white beads per instructions and cured them. 

 

I mixed the alcohol inks which I really have not experimented with much.  A little messy but not bad and the colors and patterns created were gorgeous. 

 

My cardboard box came in handy to dry the beads between stages.  The corrugated openings are just the right size for bamboo skewers!  I also found that I made the bead holes larger than I needed.  So next time I will pay attention to that aspect.

 

You really have to read the tutorial to appreciate the skill improvement attained with practice or maybe just seeing the first few beads will give you an idea. 

Definitely the throw away beads!
With a plan, patience and practice you can get a great finished product that really does look like lampwork. 



I discovered that I loved the beads before I put the raised dots on them.  I did not enjoy the dot process.  So for me enjoying other artists lampwork beads will continue to be my eye candy.  I will, however, make the beads using some of the techniques in the tutorial.  I want to make head pins next!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Strawberries in the Spring!


    Strawberries happen to be one of my favorite fruits.  I especially love them combined with rhubarb, but         really, fresh strawberries and cooked strawberries; straight out of the field or frozen…they are all good! 

   When I mixed this red polymer clay with gold and yellow and added green, of course, strawberries came      to mind.  This is my interpretation of a strawberry fruit with its goodness inside and out!


     I've never used the manufactured paper balls that I bought somewhere (guess we all know about that!)     and started reading about them.  https://www.etsy.com/listing/115947922/cotton-paper-balls-for-polymer-clay?utm_source=google&utm_medium=product_listing_promoted&utm_campaign=supplies_low&gclid=CKTouvLDhL4CFQpgfgod0jYA3A

     First I wrapped the cotton paper ball in foil to keep it from sticking to the clay. 


    I cut triangles for the petals and placed them on the ball keeping in mind that it needed to be flower like.  Then I put the green leaves at the base.  I had some really stiff crinkly copper paper and used it for the texture.  I could press hard since the core was so stable.  I placed it in baking soda and cured the piece in the convection oven.  The baking soda kept it from flattening by giving it extra support.

     When the flower cooled, I used my pliers and water to pull out the cotton.  It worked like a charm. 


   Then I drilled a hole and used a head pin to hold the glass bead in place.  It was such fun to be able to use one of my stash beads!  The head pin was extra long allowing me to twine the wire outside the flower around the bale and pretend it is a tendril. 

 


   This is such fun to wear this spring reminding me to smile and think of strawberries! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Working with Nature


It’s been such a ‘birdie’ beginning of summer!  We had Western Tanagers migrating through our area and they are such beautiful eye- candy that all one could do was stop and look at them.  

Unfortunately, one of the males flew into my neighbor’s patio door so hard that it obviously had a concussion.  We tried to revive it with diluted orange juice in a syringe.  My neighbor, Phoebe, and I emailed each other through the day. “Henry is safely installed in our AZ room in the aquarium with a small maple branch, water, o.j. and seeds.  He hasn't taken more juice, but has moved around, out of the box a couple of times.


Keep the fingers crossed!”  Sometime in the night our patient (Phoebe named him Henry) gave up the fight and he was buried in the yard under a rock.    
This was the first time I had the privilege of actually holding a wild bird.  He was so light and his feathers were such beautiful colors.  Quite the nature experience and of course, sad. 


Soon after that Peter and I went to Kansas City Mo to visit my brothers and their families for a week.  We really packed lots of activities in along with the visiting.  During the week Peter and I actively kept track of birds and we saw (and photographed some) 51 different species.  

Baltimore Oriole

Brown-headed Cowbird

Northern Mocking Bird

Blue Jay
George and Sue, my younger brother and his wife, have planted an adult size ‘fairy garden’ in their back yard.  It has solar flower and gazing ball lights, a variety of plants and trees and many different bird feeders.  It was such fun to sit  with our binoculars and cameras and enjoy it all. 




David and Dorothy, my older brother and his wife, live in Kansas and they too have been working on their yard.  New patio in the back, new fountains (made by my brother), mulching going on in the yard and a lovely gazebo on the hill in back. 

Peter and I came home to our pine trees in the forest and the first think I did was to fill the bird feeders and clean the deck.  


 I’m been thinking how different we are and yet so much alike.  It is so much fun to see how we all extend the interiors of our homes to the outside and incorporate nature. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Making Faux Glass Beads


Glass Lampwork Beads are among my favorite eye candy.  When I saw this tutorial on faux lampwork beads I decided I had to try it!  This is the link for the tutorial:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/176555759/faux-glass-polymer-clay-tutorial-pack-3?ref=related-6
It is very well written, nicely illustrated and a pleasure to follow.  I recommend this!

I love these beads and can't wait to make more with this technique
First I started collecting the supplies and naturally I needed to order some things!  I did not have Kato liquid polymer nor did I have a heat gun.  I love tools so here was another excuse!  Now I have a heat gun!  I bought the Ryobi 11 Amp Variable-Temp Heat Gun that was suggested in the tutorial.  It is great – easy to hold and the temperature is easy to adjust!  The Kato clay I bought came in a bubble wrap envelop and the lid was loose.  Ick! What a mess.  Amazon refunded the money and I was able to salvage enough to do the project.  Finally ready!

I made the white beads per instructions and cured them. 

 

I mixed the alcohol inks which I really have not experimented with much.  A little messy but not bad and the colors and patterns created were gorgeous. 

 

My cardboard box came in handy to dry the beads between stages.  The corrugated openings are just the right size for bamboo skewers!  I also found that I made the bead holes larger than I needed.  So next time I will pay attention to that aspect.

 

You really have to read the tutorial to appreciate the skill improvement attained with practice or maybe just seeing the first few beads will give you an idea. 

Definitely the throw away beads!
With a plan, patience and practice you can get a great finished product that really does look like lampwork. 



I discovered that I loved the beads before I put the raised dots on them.  I did not enjoy the dot process.  So for me enjoying other artists lampwork beads will continue to be my eye candy.  I will, however, make the beads using some of the techniques in the tutorial.  I want to make head pins next!


Friday, May 2, 2014

Strawberries in the Spring!


    Strawberries happen to be one of my favorite fruits.  I especially love them combined with rhubarb, but         really, fresh strawberries and cooked strawberries; straight out of the field or frozen…they are all good! 

   When I mixed this red polymer clay with gold and yellow and added green, of course, strawberries came      to mind.  This is my interpretation of a strawberry fruit with its goodness inside and out!


     I've never used the manufactured paper balls that I bought somewhere (guess we all know about that!)     and started reading about them.  https://www.etsy.com/listing/115947922/cotton-paper-balls-for-polymer-clay?utm_source=google&utm_medium=product_listing_promoted&utm_campaign=supplies_low&gclid=CKTouvLDhL4CFQpgfgod0jYA3A

     First I wrapped the cotton paper ball in foil to keep it from sticking to the clay. 


    I cut triangles for the petals and placed them on the ball keeping in mind that it needed to be flower like.  Then I put the green leaves at the base.  I had some really stiff crinkly copper paper and used it for the texture.  I could press hard since the core was so stable.  I placed it in baking soda and cured the piece in the convection oven.  The baking soda kept it from flattening by giving it extra support.

     When the flower cooled, I used my pliers and water to pull out the cotton.  It worked like a charm. 


   Then I drilled a hole and used a head pin to hold the glass bead in place.  It was such fun to be able to use one of my stash beads!  The head pin was extra long allowing me to twine the wire outside the flower around the bale and pretend it is a tendril. 

 


   This is such fun to wear this spring reminding me to smile and think of strawberries!