Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Today is definitely a white Christmas in the Midwest! So far in a day and a half we've got over 12 inches of snow and now it's blowing. The temperatures are in the 20's so at least it's not so cold. That will be following the storm! Nice to be able to stay indoors, I made a big pot of chili for lunch and that should warm us for a few hours.

The quiet afternoon gives me time to reflect back on Clay Carnival and continue my updates of the projects I made there. I can't wait to get started making some of these on my own after the holidays.

These little polymer clay books were used to demonstrate several techniques including an easy image transfer and different methods of binding by instructor Cathy Johnston. They are approximately 1 x 2 inches and can be used as a pendant or a pin. I'm planning on using the technique to make some "music books" for a friend to put in the hands of her caroler statues that have "lost their music" over the years!

The designs we used to transfer were actually printer pages of beautiful postage stamps but any image printed out on your printer on a lightweight paper will work. This group photo of books are some of the instructors samples. She had a Bind All machine which cut the rectangle holes in the baked clay for binding with a pre-fab metal binding: most of the books in the picture are bound this way. If you look at the book on the far left with them image of a woman ,you can see an alternative technique for binding. She has drilled holes into the clay front and back with a hand drill and then use jump rings to bind together the covers and the paper pages.

The picutre to the right with the plant and frog charm is one of my samples that I made in the class. As a pendant or pin, it would appear like these books would flop open all the time! Solution: Cathy has us punch out a small hole on the right (it's under the green tab in the picture) and insert a small magnet (I'm talking1/4 inch) into the book front cover. We then used a small metal brad and wrapped a piece of black twine around it with 2 lose ends that will be secured to the back cover under a piece of black mulberry paper to conceal it. The clay glued over the brad has green Pearl Esscence to give the clay the green sheen. I made 3 additional accent pieces for the book. A small hole was drilled in the lower corner of the back cover to put a jump ring with a charm to further embellish the piece.

The easy image tranfer begins with lightweight paper, (regular printer paper works fine) and a color printer. If your image has words, or definite lefts and rights, be sure to print out your image backwards or as a mirror image so when it transfers it comes out looking correct. After you print your image cut it out. Take your unbaked clay that has been conditioned and rolled out and lay your image print side down on it. Rub firmly with your finger to make sure the paper is stuck to clay. Don't rub so hard that you squish the clay and/or distort the image. Just make sure the paper is touching the clay everywhere. I like to let mine set for a few minutes at this point, but she went on to the next step right away.

With a spray bottle mist the paper with water. Gently rub at the paper with your finger adding water as needed. You will begin to dissolve the paper and the image stays behind on the clay! Keep rubbing until it is smooth and you feel like most of the paper is gone. You'll notice the big change in texture as you do it. Cut clay to desired size and bake.

Here is a sample that Cathy Johston did that I thought was so cute! She's added letters embossed on little pieces of clay as well as a little angel with wire wings glued on over a piece of mulberry paper as an embellishment. She's used a button for the closure keeping with the feel of the design. She's also used a strip of trimmed lightweight paper (probably mulberry paper) as a binding. And then the fun surprise! Instead of putting in paper pages, she's created a little shadow box with polymer clay. The sides are scored to create a page like look when viewed from the side. But when you open it, there are some treasures to help one Dream! I believe this piece had a pin back on it.

The possibilities for these little books are endless. If you are interested in the little magnets you can purchase them on Cathy's website at under shopping.

Under Tools at her website she also shows some creative ways to store your clay tools like the kemper cutter and drill bit holder, a blade safe, and her tool box with waxed line thread to tie pieces for storage inside the top of the box. Very creative!! It was great learning from Cathy and I thank her very much for sharing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Make "Rudy" Garnish for Your Holiday Table!!

Also in the left corner of the picture is a radish mouse. They are fun to make and set around a cheese tray, ....not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse!

Get radishes with stems attached. Cut off stem leaving a bit as a nose. Slice a thin slice off the bottom so it'll sit. I poked holes for the eyes with a toothpick and inserted cloves for eyes. Make 2 slits behind the eyes to insert radish slice ears. You can anchor them with a toothpick but I wouldn't recommend doing this if there are children who might be inclined to grab a mouse and eat it. You wouldn't want the toothpick stabbing the inside of their mouths.

In one of the pictues below they've taken one slice and notched it for the ears but I like the larger ears created by 2 separate slices.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Biker Mouse? Not Sure where that came from!`

In this claass at Clay Carnival we were given a light bulb like the size of a Christmas tree bulb and supposed to use it for the base of whatever! As I put clay around it I was reminded of a blue mouse knicknack I had as a kid and thought the bulb looked like the shape of a mouse. I'm not sure where along the line it evolved into a biker mouse! But he's a great biker dude, he even has a Mom tatoo in a heart on him arm!! Must be my dad's influence! Everyone asked me if my husband was a biker and I'd reply "no but my 80+ year old dad is!" Way to go daddyo!!!
Some people did fish, another did rose, a fox, it was amamzing the ideas that came.