Friday, April 27, 2012

In the Studio-Waiting for Alice

The beginning of the project.

My latest project for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy challenge took effort with a capital "E." While you'll have to wait until I unveil the final piece when voting opens May 1, I thought you might like to see the building blocks of my latest entry.

Half-way to done.

The challenge theme for May is "Artist Inspired." Of course Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton rate high on my inspiration list for this piece, but the initial seed of inspiration came from fellow PCAGOE member Susan O'Neill of

Sue published a great tutorial in The Polymer Arts magazine on "Chopped Translucent." I started experimenting with the technique on jewelry which was loads of fun. But soon the "ah-ha" moment hit and I started picturing this cool stone courtyard pattern "ala" Alice in Wonderland. 

I mixed some extruder "grass" tiles with the faux stone then added in a hand-sculpted elements. There is lots more to this sculpture--including Alice! So stop back May 1 for a full view.

See what other guild members are up to at

Monday, April 23, 2012

Indie Soda Pop Floats

Delicious Stress Relief from The Matt Brewing Company, Pugsley Brewing LLC, and Ritchey's ice cream
My brain in fried! Tonight is a night for treating myself. Don't get me wrong. Life is good. But I'm working on so many fulfilling, high-intensity projects that I am starting to feel stretched a bit thin.

Fortunately our local drug store, Kopp Drug, had a really cute "end-of-the isle" temptation display featuring just what the doctor ordered. That's right, a whole display of indie, old-school soda pops-or just "pop" as we call it in western Pa. I understand that the label migrates to "soda" as you head toward Philly. Are you a "pop" or a "soda"?

Tonight's relaxation recipe includes hamburgers (grilled up inside on the Foreman grill) followed by some ice cream floats. It is rebellion in its best form. Sure, winter reared its ugly head today, sending us an April blizzard after 70 degree days in March, but we are going to kick back and dream of relaxing summer days.

Indie Soda Pop Float Recipe:
Open bottle of something with a cool label. Pour it on vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Cautionary Tale on Overeating

Every family has its stories. Histories, comedies, dramas. Ours has those and an old fable--a cautionary tale of two foxes.
 I made these polymer covered eggs as Easter gifts for my family, and as soon as my sister opened hers, she started to recite the opening line from the story. Actually, she first mixed it up with Snoopy's "It was a dark and stormy night," but she caught herself and switched to "It was a cold ... something. Neither of us could quite remember what came next.
Even with the brain fog, all it took was the image of the fox to bring back the memory of being an elementary school kid listening to our almost 90-year-old Great Grandma tell us this story. It is cool how family has this short-cut language. I fox will never just be a fox for us.

It wasn't a pleasant story. It was a cautionary tale of gluttony, but we wanted her to tell it over and over again.

Basically there were two foxes that squeezed into a hole in the chicken coop floor. Since we lived on my grandfather's farm, Great-Gram always made the farmer in the story our PaPa. The one fox feasted all night on chickens. The other, realizing the escape hole was quite small, ate only a small amount.

When the farmer arrived in the morning, the smart fox escaped, and the other, well lets just say my Great Grandma described in detail, complete with hand gestures, what happened to the "piggy" fox. Sometimes she would tell it in German, but we new from the hand gestures exactly what was happening.

Now that is a great lesson on not overeating!
I did a post a couple years ago about a family recipe scrapbook that has some photos of her if you'd like to meet her.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rubber Stamping on Polymer: 3-D Effects

 Vote in "layers" challenge by April 7 and you could win. 

I have a huge collection of rubber stamps and when I discovered I could use them on polymer clay I was one happy girl. I stamp on raw clay and baked clay. Sometimes I cut out the stamped images like in the fleur-de-lis wedding cake topper I made for my friend Caroline. Sometimes I stamp over two background clay colors for a cool effect like in this heart pendant.

In my latest stamped piece, I added 3-d effects to the basic stamped image. "Pear in Layers" is my entry in the April Polymer Clay Guild of Etsy Challenge: Layers. (Vote for your favorite entry here through April 7 and you could win a shopping trip in one of our fab shops).

Here's how to get the 3-d leaf effect:
1. Stamp you image onto raw clay using a permanent ink or a dye ink. (some inks won't dry on polymer even after baking so test you ink first.) After you stamp it, trim the white sheet and gently layer it onto your backing layers. Add color to the image with mica powders.

 2. Stamp the same image onto green clay and cut out individual leaves with a craft knife.

3. Place leaf shapes on top of the original stamp.
 4. Shape each leaf so it is no longer flat. You can also add snakes of clay to give depth to the stems. You can leave the background flat or add a hammered metal texture with a large round tipped tool like I did in my challenge entry.


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