Friday, January 29, 2016

A New Toy Gone Bad


For Christmas, my brother Dave, gave me a 3D Stereo Drawing Pen that we both thought looked like fun!  I waited to try it out until now after watching a couple of Youtube videos.  It came with blue and pink filament and I read the directions, put it together and started to play.  


The first thing I made was a pink pyramid with 3 blue flowers and it turned out ok.  I learned how to start the hot filament on paper and then bring the pen up into the air as I pushed the button to release the filament.  It worked great and I realized it would take a little practice to learn to control the pen without making so many squiggles.


Tonight I sat down to play again and was in the process of making a blue lizard when I noticed the blue filament was tangled. I let the pen cool down - the tip gets pretty hot as it melts the filament - unplugged the pen and straightened out the tangle.  



The evening went downhill after that as the blue filament got stuck in the pen and would not go forward or backward.  There is no troubleshooting section in the directions and nothing on google.  I emailed the seller (Ebay) and will see what he has to say.  Otherwise my fun has stopped!  and no blue lizard!

My take on this product is that it is a fun toy but not a really useful tool to use for making a prototype.  It is a means for drawing creatively and enjoying seeing what it will do.  I think it needs another update.





Friday, January 22, 2016

A Visit to the San Diego Zoo



One day is not enough!  I'm not sure a week would be enough.  The San Diego Zoo is one of my favorite places to visit and my recent trip did not disappoint.  The zoo is huge so you just have to start somewhere.

There are metal sculptures tucked among trees and bushes, sitting on logs and posts.  It's a nice contrast with the animals. Exhibits throughout show prehistoric and modern changes in environment and animals.

 The habitats for the animals are as 'real' as they can be made given the amount of land available.  I talked to a guide for a while and she explained some of the research the zoo is doing in other countries.  They have a program that helps save the elephants in Africa by offering a living wage to poachers with the understanding that instead of poaching they will help track the elephants and work with the zoo program.  I was impressed with the amount of conservation research they do.


 Here are just a few photos for you to enjoy!


Family of Slender-tailed Meerkats
 I love watching the Meerkats as they interact with each other.  Two babies were learning to balance on a log and one kept falling off.  Determined he kept climbing back and trying again!

Secretary Bird 
 The Secretary Bird has fascinated me since I saw them in the wild in Tanzania.  They really do look a lot like secretaries used to look with high heels and a pencil tucked behind their ear.

Maned 'Wolf'-South America
 The Maned Wolf was beautiful and I got a really good look at him and he is not really a wolf but of another genus.

Southern Gerenuks -Tanzania
 I spent quite a bit of time with the Gerenuks and the zoo guide.  This is the mating season and the male was checking out the females.  He was gentle as he asked the lady to get up.  They are so graceful.
Snow Leopard - high elevations of Central Asia
 The two Snow Leopard held my attention as they chased each other and growled loudly!  Amazing animals and endangered.

Electus Parrot - Indonesia
 I had to visit the aviary and one of the first birds I saw was the Electus Parrot.  Wow!  Look at that color.

Victoria crowned Pigeon - New Guinea
 This pigeon was named after Queen Victoria and it certain has a regal bearing.

Tree Trunk - great pattern!
 Lots of interesting and unusual pattern and textures in the trees and plants.  I'm always looking for texture and pattern.

Emerald Starling
 When the sun hit this starling, I was spellbound.  The iridescent colors - well - just Wow!

Flamingo
The beautiful pink flamingos were the last exhibit before the end of  my day.  Good for my soul!
www.sandiegozoo.org

Friday, January 8, 2016

Second Generation Sun Catchers


Sometimes a special person asks for something and even though you had not planned on doing it, you say ‘Yes, of course, I will’!  That is how the second generation of polymer sun catchers came to be. 
It’s been a while since I made the first batch when I was experimenting with polymer clay and alcohol inks.  I should have made some notes but of course since it was an experiment that expanded into a dozen eye catching dangles I just did not think I’d need them.  Previous post - http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2015/08/making-sun-catchers.html

I started conditioning several packages of translucent polymer clay (Premo) and found that some were crumbly.  I softened those with Sculpey Clay Softener and continued to put them through the pasta machine.  (For those of you who do not work with polymer, conditioning the clay usually required putting the clay though the widest setting on the pasta machine many times).  Then I divided the white translucent clay in to sections and spread different colors of alcohol ink on the clay and let it dry.  It goes back into the pasta machine for color mixing and more conditioning.

Translucent Clay Colored with Alcohol Ink ready to go into pasta machine
I took before and after pictures of shapes with alcohol ink so you could see the big difference between unbaked and baked colors.  It is good to do some testing if you want any control over those colors!

Alcohol Ink on Uncured Clay

Alcohol Ink Cured on Clay - same pieces of before and after curing
I like to stack the different colors, make designs that cut through the clay, turn some of the pieces upside down and then chill the stack in the refrigerator.  Using this Mokume-gane technique allows me to make very thin slices and each of these slices will be very different.  I lay them on waxed paper to use later. 
Stacked and Design Cut into Clay


2 Layers of Thinly Sliced Designs (Mokume-gane Technique)

Next I make a thin sheet of white translucent clay and start arranging the colored pieces in patterns.  Cookie cutters, small shape cutters and molds are used to make the individual shapes to be used in the sun catchers.  Don’t you just love the giraffe and the elephant?  The shapes are cured (baked in a convection oven at the manufacturer’s specified setting – in this case 265 degree F. 


Now comes the sorting of the pieces.  I started to sand first and realized that I could be sanding pieces I would not even use!  Not wasting that much time! It was fun to select the pieces and find a few beads for enhancement. 

Then I used my Jool Tool (JoolTool.com) for sanding in 3 stages, polishing and buffing.  I figured this finishing process took about 10 minutes per sun catcher. 


Assembling - I decided to use 20 gauge copper wire instead of jump rings to connect the pieces.  This allow for more freedom to incorporate the beads. 



As you can see I have several sun catchers to assemble.  I’ll share photos as I finish.  And I’ll have some in my etsy shop www.etsy.co/shop/lindabrittdesign after my special friend gets the 6 she ordered! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Beginning another Year Filled With Bubbles of Possibilities


January 1, the beginning of a New Year, an arbitrary date on a manmade calendar

January 1, the beginning of a New Year, a point in time to reassess where I am and where I want to go 
 

I picture bubbles as far as I can see filled with interesting ideas and things to do, to see, to think, to dream and learn.   When someone says to me, “How do you do all those different things?” I respond with a chuckle, “I have a short attention span!”.  But the truth is that there are so many bubbles to explore.  I want to know the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ and to see where else I can apply that knowledge.
  

That’s when the creativity just bubbles up and I have to try! 


 
This year of 2016 will find me exploring bubbles and sharing them with you!

Friday, January 29, 2016

A New Toy Gone Bad


For Christmas, my brother Dave, gave me a 3D Stereo Drawing Pen that we both thought looked like fun!  I waited to try it out until now after watching a couple of Youtube videos.  It came with blue and pink filament and I read the directions, put it together and started to play.  


The first thing I made was a pink pyramid with 3 blue flowers and it turned out ok.  I learned how to start the hot filament on paper and then bring the pen up into the air as I pushed the button to release the filament.  It worked great and I realized it would take a little practice to learn to control the pen without making so many squiggles.


Tonight I sat down to play again and was in the process of making a blue lizard when I noticed the blue filament was tangled. I let the pen cool down - the tip gets pretty hot as it melts the filament - unplugged the pen and straightened out the tangle.  



The evening went downhill after that as the blue filament got stuck in the pen and would not go forward or backward.  There is no troubleshooting section in the directions and nothing on google.  I emailed the seller (Ebay) and will see what he has to say.  Otherwise my fun has stopped!  and no blue lizard!

My take on this product is that it is a fun toy but not a really useful tool to use for making a prototype.  It is a means for drawing creatively and enjoying seeing what it will do.  I think it needs another update.





Friday, January 22, 2016

A Visit to the San Diego Zoo



One day is not enough!  I'm not sure a week would be enough.  The San Diego Zoo is one of my favorite places to visit and my recent trip did not disappoint.  The zoo is huge so you just have to start somewhere.

There are metal sculptures tucked among trees and bushes, sitting on logs and posts.  It's a nice contrast with the animals. Exhibits throughout show prehistoric and modern changes in environment and animals.

 The habitats for the animals are as 'real' as they can be made given the amount of land available.  I talked to a guide for a while and she explained some of the research the zoo is doing in other countries.  They have a program that helps save the elephants in Africa by offering a living wage to poachers with the understanding that instead of poaching they will help track the elephants and work with the zoo program.  I was impressed with the amount of conservation research they do.


 Here are just a few photos for you to enjoy!


Family of Slender-tailed Meerkats
 I love watching the Meerkats as they interact with each other.  Two babies were learning to balance on a log and one kept falling off.  Determined he kept climbing back and trying again!

Secretary Bird 
 The Secretary Bird has fascinated me since I saw them in the wild in Tanzania.  They really do look a lot like secretaries used to look with high heels and a pencil tucked behind their ear.

Maned 'Wolf'-South America
 The Maned Wolf was beautiful and I got a really good look at him and he is not really a wolf but of another genus.

Southern Gerenuks -Tanzania
 I spent quite a bit of time with the Gerenuks and the zoo guide.  This is the mating season and the male was checking out the females.  He was gentle as he asked the lady to get up.  They are so graceful.
Snow Leopard - high elevations of Central Asia
 The two Snow Leopard held my attention as they chased each other and growled loudly!  Amazing animals and endangered.

Electus Parrot - Indonesia
 I had to visit the aviary and one of the first birds I saw was the Electus Parrot.  Wow!  Look at that color.

Victoria crowned Pigeon - New Guinea
 This pigeon was named after Queen Victoria and it certain has a regal bearing.

Tree Trunk - great pattern!
 Lots of interesting and unusual pattern and textures in the trees and plants.  I'm always looking for texture and pattern.

Emerald Starling
 When the sun hit this starling, I was spellbound.  The iridescent colors - well - just Wow!

Flamingo
The beautiful pink flamingos were the last exhibit before the end of  my day.  Good for my soul!
www.sandiegozoo.org

Friday, January 8, 2016

Second Generation Sun Catchers


Sometimes a special person asks for something and even though you had not planned on doing it, you say ‘Yes, of course, I will’!  That is how the second generation of polymer sun catchers came to be. 
It’s been a while since I made the first batch when I was experimenting with polymer clay and alcohol inks.  I should have made some notes but of course since it was an experiment that expanded into a dozen eye catching dangles I just did not think I’d need them.  Previous post - http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2015/08/making-sun-catchers.html

I started conditioning several packages of translucent polymer clay (Premo) and found that some were crumbly.  I softened those with Sculpey Clay Softener and continued to put them through the pasta machine.  (For those of you who do not work with polymer, conditioning the clay usually required putting the clay though the widest setting on the pasta machine many times).  Then I divided the white translucent clay in to sections and spread different colors of alcohol ink on the clay and let it dry.  It goes back into the pasta machine for color mixing and more conditioning.

Translucent Clay Colored with Alcohol Ink ready to go into pasta machine
I took before and after pictures of shapes with alcohol ink so you could see the big difference between unbaked and baked colors.  It is good to do some testing if you want any control over those colors!

Alcohol Ink on Uncured Clay

Alcohol Ink Cured on Clay - same pieces of before and after curing
I like to stack the different colors, make designs that cut through the clay, turn some of the pieces upside down and then chill the stack in the refrigerator.  Using this Mokume-gane technique allows me to make very thin slices and each of these slices will be very different.  I lay them on waxed paper to use later. 
Stacked and Design Cut into Clay


2 Layers of Thinly Sliced Designs (Mokume-gane Technique)

Next I make a thin sheet of white translucent clay and start arranging the colored pieces in patterns.  Cookie cutters, small shape cutters and molds are used to make the individual shapes to be used in the sun catchers.  Don’t you just love the giraffe and the elephant?  The shapes are cured (baked in a convection oven at the manufacturer’s specified setting – in this case 265 degree F. 


Now comes the sorting of the pieces.  I started to sand first and realized that I could be sanding pieces I would not even use!  Not wasting that much time! It was fun to select the pieces and find a few beads for enhancement. 

Then I used my Jool Tool (JoolTool.com) for sanding in 3 stages, polishing and buffing.  I figured this finishing process took about 10 minutes per sun catcher. 


Assembling - I decided to use 20 gauge copper wire instead of jump rings to connect the pieces.  This allow for more freedom to incorporate the beads. 



As you can see I have several sun catchers to assemble.  I’ll share photos as I finish.  And I’ll have some in my etsy shop www.etsy.co/shop/lindabrittdesign after my special friend gets the 6 she ordered! 

Friday, January 1, 2016

Beginning another Year Filled With Bubbles of Possibilities


January 1, the beginning of a New Year, an arbitrary date on a manmade calendar

January 1, the beginning of a New Year, a point in time to reassess where I am and where I want to go 
 

I picture bubbles as far as I can see filled with interesting ideas and things to do, to see, to think, to dream and learn.   When someone says to me, “How do you do all those different things?” I respond with a chuckle, “I have a short attention span!”.  But the truth is that there are so many bubbles to explore.  I want to know the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ and to see where else I can apply that knowledge.
  

That’s when the creativity just bubbles up and I have to try! 


 
This year of 2016 will find me exploring bubbles and sharing them with you!