Monthly Archives: January 2010

A Good Day to be ME!

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Yea!  Yesterday was a good day to be me.  Well, other than slicing my finger with the kitchen scissors while doing dishes (see? doing dishes is BAD NEWS), and having to clean up after the Boy (who is resisting potty training vehemently).  Why was it a good day, you ask?  Well for starters, I got my order from Amazon:

I’ve already read through most of the Maureen Carlson book and am perusing the Katherine Dewey book.  No more arthritic space alien hands on my sculptures! (Unless I’m sculpting arthritic space aliens, of course.)

Secondly, I finished a goofy little bird I’ve been working on:

Chirp!

This is the first thing I’ve ever made that looked anything like the picture I drew first.  I’m either getting better at claying or I’m getting better at drawing. 🙂

And one more thing:  On Thursday I took my sewing machine in to have its yearly (um, more like once-a-decade) check up.  While there, I succumbed to the sales lady’s offer to show me some of the features of the cool little Baby Lock I was looking at.  They were having a floor model sale – which ended  today.  After a lot of thought (no, I didn’t buy it right then) and a conversation with Wonderful Husband, ta da!

Now I can sew with BOTH HANDS!

Isn't she cute?

Look at all the stuff that came with!  This is the newest machine I’ve ever had.  It was a floor model, but it is not “pre-owned.”  So it actually had all the stuff that it it was supposed to.

Feet!

Wonderful Husband thinks I have a foot fetish. 🙂  There is one more on the machine – an embroidery foot.  Yep, this is a sewing and embroidery machine.

Oh, I’m so psyched!  I played around with some of the decorative stitches and embroidered the kids’ names and the word “Alaska” on the fabric that was conveniently hooped up for me.  I spent enough time playing with the machine that Wonderful Husband and the kids had the living room cleaned up for me by the time I came upstairs to cook dinner.  Which ended up being nuked potatoes with salsa and cheese.  I don’t think we’ll be having any multi-course meals for awhile.  I can only be diva-like in one domestic sphere at a time, and until I’ve worked the novelty out of my new machine, I’m afraid the kitchen will not be the one.

Pretty Blog Award – My First

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Wow, thanks, BJ, Col and Vanessa!

The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity & creativity inspires others in the blog world.
The rules for accepting these award:-
Put the logo on your blog or within your post.-
Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.-
Link the nominees within your post.-
Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
– Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award

It’s so cool to be told that your attitude and creativity inspire others! Here are my 12 – I haven’t included some who inspire me, because they have recently been repeatedly given this same award – you know who you are! And because you’re only allowed 12. The 12 are in no particular order:

1. Weird Bug Lady – because anyone who can give you the biological specifics of the real creepy crawlies that inspire her plush versions deserves an award. ***One caveat – she is a science student, and occasionally has posts that could be considered a bit icky (like the mouse dissection in her recent post). Don’t hold it against her!

2. Mary L -because she’s an inspiration.

3. Felted Chicken – because she made a felted angler fish and posted over 100 wip pics on Flickr.

4. Jill Palumbo – because her stuff is so pretty.

5. Zuleykha – because she blogs in English and Russian.

6. ColtPixy – because she’s the force behind the Smooshers

7. Marie Segal – because she likes to give stuff away.

8. Mimi Kirchner at Doll – because she makes tattooed dolls with toile fabric.

9. Make Grow Gather – because I love her blog.

10. Feeling Stitchy -because I can’t go there without wanting to hoop up some fabric and get stitching.

11. Cat Therien – because she has lots of cool tutorials on clay, and one on making a duct tape dress form.

12. Dragonsglass – because she helps the less geeky of us out with our computer issues, and she combines so many techniques and materials in her lovely stuff. Also, she is a Dragonriders of Pern fan. ‘Nuff said.

Thank you all for the inspiration you give!


This is Didimaa

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She was my entry for the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild of Art Fire’s January challenge, which had an Asian theme. I’m so glad I decided to enter this challenge. I’d been thinking about trying to sculpt a woman in a sari for a long time, but I kept putting it off. I love doing sculpture: it’s wonderful to watch a character emerge from blobs of clay.

Polymer clay has been called “the chameleon clay” because it can mimic so many things so beautifully – stone, metal, wood, etc. It also works great as fabric. For Didimaa’s attire, I started by dressing her in a blouse and petticoat:

(This is a good shot for showing scale, since she’s sitting on an Altoids tin and resting her foot on a cookie cutter.) I wasn’t sure, at this point, what color to make the background of the sari fabric. So I went upstairs and did dishes for awhile. Problems often seem to solve themselves at inconvenient times, like when I’m up to my elbows in dishwater, but only half done the chore. Sigh.

So, when I came back down to the studio, I’d decided to go with green’s compliment, red. I didn’t want it to look Christmasy, though, so I chose a kind of pinky red. I chopped up some red and dark pink Cernit and added some translucent Fimo, in hopes of making the finished sari a bit transparent. That didn’t work too well – next time I’ll use more of the translucent. I also added a bit of green Cernit to tone down the pink a little. Here’s the beginning of the sari:

After a few passes through my pasta machine, and the application of a few cane slices and gold trim, that mess up there turned into this:

(Canes, for those of you who don’t play with clay, are logs of clay that have a picture running through it, so that the cross section of the log shows the picture. Ever buy those tubes of cookie dough at the grocery store that have a picture of a ducky or a chick on each slice? Same idea. Here’s a better explanation, with pictures. The paisleys and patterned dots on the sari fabric are cane slices. The gold dots are just smooshed balls of clay. )

This fabric was still too thick, and the decorations needed to be smoothed into the background, so back to the pasta machine it went. After a few more passes, it was as thin as I could make it, and starting to stick to itself. Trying to drape 15″ of extremely thin, sticky clay into a sari around a seated figure was, um, a challenge. (I would have used a stronger word, but my mom is probably reading this….) Next time, the figure will be standing. And holding her arms out to the side. And on a bigger scale!

She still needed jewelry, make up and something to sit on. I made her a little polymer clay stool for her foot to rest on, and a seat, covered with more polymer clay fabric decorated with another paisley cane.

Make up and nail polish are painted on with acrylic paint. Jewelry is jump rings and the chain off a bracelet that’s supposed to keep you from losing it if the clasp breaks.

I think I might need to make some grandkids for her to be telling a story to!

Update:  My good friend Tammi just returned from her winter break trip to visit her hubby’s family in India, and she gently pointed out that “Didimaa” is not spelled “Deedeema,” as I’d first spelled it.  I also tied the sari a bit goofy, as the part going over the left shoulder should be going over the right and it should cover her chest more.  Next time….!

Second Post Today! Studio stuff

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My darling hubby installed my countertop! Yea!

30-something by 8 feet!

And I got some cubes to hold my yarn stash (that’s not all of it, just the bits I’ve recovered from the mess so far).

Remember I said my drafting table drawer holds a lot of clay?

It’s a bit out of focus, but you get the idea.

Lest you think I’m the only artsy one in the family, here is some of my kiddos’ work.  When 3 1/2-year old Frederich finished this drawing on the white board, he came to me and said, “Mommy…I’m finished my masterpiece!”

Thomas at Night (The dot at the top of the picture is the moon.)

And this is 5 1/2-year old Eliza’s favorite new craft.  Anyone have any suggestions for what to do with nail-polish covered pistachio shells?

Mother-In-Law’s Christmas Present

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Now that it won’t be a spoiler, I can show a picture of the polymer clay pendant I made for my mom-in-law for Christmas. We’ve had some issues with mailing stuff (one box went missing, one went to the wrong town in Alaska, the winter storms in the lower 48 delayed delivery of her package….oh, and I procrastinated sending Christmas boxes until AFTER Christmas!), so she’s lucky she got it, finally! Actually, I like it a lot, myself, so she’s lucky she got it for more than one reason!

The pendant is strung on doubled brown silk cord.  The flowers are made with a petal cane from Donna Kato’s book, The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques. Donna’s flower petal starts out with a purple and white Skinner blend bullseye cane.  My Skinner blend was gold and chocolate.  I love the way those colors blended.  It looks both festive and warm – perfect for Christmas, even if it’s not red and green.  And it’ll be good at other times of year, too!