Friday, July 31, 2009

Folk Artsy Flowers

So I sliced all my simple canes from the other day and here is what I created:

... a variety of bright garden flowers...

I thought they turned out looking like Folk Art style flowers, only with more brilliant colors.

They were so much fun to make: the color blends, the simple canes and the flowers.

Put 'em all together and you have my Folk Art Flowers Photo Frame. It's also my entry for the PCSG July challenge.

I will definitely be using these techniques a lot more in the future. I wonder how many different flowers I can create?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mixing and Caning

Recently, I decided to have some fun with mixing polymer clay color recipes.

Usually when I mix colors, I just smoosh my clays together until I get a color I like, with no attention to any details, like keeping track of which colors I've mixed or how much of each color I've used. And I've come up with some very nice colors that way. The problem is, if I run out of a color that I need before finishing my project, I have difficulty reproducing the same color/shade.

Thus, my experiments with recipes. I've been collecting clay color recipes for some time now; Cindy Leitz at Polymer Clay Tutor shares some great recipes. I also have a list I printed out that was compiled and shared by Christi Friesen's yahoo group members.

Here are the colors I mixed:

As Cindy suggests with her recipe cards, I made a "color chip" for each clay color I created. I'll paste it to my clay recipe card and then I'll know exactly what that color will look like baked, which is handy because sometimes clay colors (especially Premo) change slightly after baking.

When I'd made enough mixed colors for the time being, I started to make Skinner blends, which I then turned in to simple rolled canes. Then I shaped the canes into leaves and petals.


This is yet another little project on my endless polymer clay "to do" list that I've been wanting to experiment with for some time now. What happens next? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wreck This Journal, pt. 2

Well, while most of The Next Chapter: WTJ crew is on the home stretch with their journals, this being the final week for the book club, I am still just getting warmed up. The good news is, I'm beginning to bond with my journal. I'm starting to keep it close, in case inspiration strikes.

Which is why my husband saw my journal on the kitchen table the other night.

"I have to confess I have a very strange urge." he says, picking up my journal and flipping through it, "I think I want to pound a nail through your journal."

"Go for it," I replied.

"No, no," says he, "It's your journal." I could think of no response, so I continued stirring our pan of soup on the stove while he browsed the pages of my journal.

"Hey... this page says, 'Ask a friend to do something destructive to this page. Don't look.'" he reads.

I put down my spoon and went over to him. I held his hand between mine and looked deep into his eyes. "My friend," I said, "would you do something destructive to my journal?" He burst out laughing. Then he took my journal out into the garage.

And used the power drill to put a hole through my journal.

"I feel kinda bad," he said as he handed WTJ back to me. "It doesn't close all the way anymore."

"Baby, that's the point." I replied.

As for my own destruction, I've gotten started on several pages, like this one. Needs more circles. I'm working on it.


I've also started on this page. Dinner, Saturday night.

And I've been chewing on this page for a while now. I can see why it says not to swallow. It's pretty dry. I've tried to get my cat to help chew on it as well. He often chews on the corners of papers and cardboard boxes. So far, he's refused to help me with this project, though.

The page below is my favorite so far. What better word to write over and over? CREATE!


What will you create-- or destroy-- this week?

Monday, July 27, 2009

How to Make a Corn Husk Doll

Lughnasadh, the First Harvest, the Festival of Grains is fast approaching. Here are easy, step-by-step instructions with pictures, for making a corn husk doll as part of your celebrations.

HOW TO MAKE A CORN HUSK DOLL

MATERIALS:
fresh corn husks
cotton balls
string
scissors

You will need 2-3 ears of corn for enough husks to make your dolly.


1. Peel the husks off the corn. You can use the darker green outer husks if you would like, but the softer, paler inner husks are easier to work with, and don't split as easily when working with them.

Outer husks on the left, inner husk on the right

2. Take 2-3 corn husks and roll them together tightly lengthwise. Secure each end with string. Trim each end about 1/2 inch away from ties. This forms the arms of the dolly.


3. Take 2-4 cotton balls and place them in the middle of 3-4 wide strips of husk.


Then, fold the husks over the cotton balls and gather it to form the shape of the head. Tie tightly with string. Leave the long ends of the husks in place.


4. Place the "arms" between the long ends of the husks left from making the head.
Then tie string underneath the arms to form the "waist".


5. Arrange a dozen or more husks around the waist of the figure. Remember, the husks will shrink as they dry, so use plenty. Make sure the husks overlap. Gather string around the waist and tie it tightly.


6. Take the ends of the husks by the head of the figure and fold them down over the string to finish forming the "skirt" of the figure. (You may need to loosely tie string around the husks to hold them down in place as it dries) If you would like the skirt line to be even, you can trim the husks straight across.


7. If you would like your figure to resemble a man, divide the husks of the "skirt" into right and left halves. Gather the husks together on each half and tie them tightly with string on the ends. Now they should resemble legs. You can trim below the ties to form "feet".


While the husks are still soft, you may wish to continue to carefully shape the dolly. Then give your dolly a week or so to dry, in a cool place out of the sun.

You can use more husks to further decorate your dolly, if you prefer. Some people like to use scraps of cotton material to make an apron, shawl or vest for the dolly. The dried corn silk can be glued on for hair. Use your imagination!


And voila! Here is the completed dolly, along with the one I made a few years earlier. I thought it would be nice to have a God/Goddess pair. They have places of honor on my altar during harvest time. I often have the Goddess dolly out for Imbolc celebrations, as well.

Enjoy! Happy Harvest!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mrs. B is Gearing Up

Get ready, 'cuz its on its way--

Once again, Mrs. B at Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom is hosting her fantastic 31 Days of Halloween: contests, crafts, recipes and more-- EVERY SINGLE DAY IN OCTOBER!

Already, she's gathering sponsors for giveaways, guest bloggers, looking for participants in her "Haunted Walking Tour" which will feature best-Halloween-dressed blogs, and MORE! Want to volunteer your talents? See here for details. I am donating one of my polymer clay items for a giveaway and will be a guest blogger this year. Its going to be a blast! Its not too soon, come join in the fun!

Friday, July 24, 2009

New Designs

A few new items recently listed:





As always, I enjoy making stamped pendants, and those cheery little sunflowers were perfect for a design. I'm getting more interested in sculpted pendants, too; had lots of fun making the leaf pendant and the flowers on the bead. This last necklace is just one of a series of designs I hope to create-- part of my Bold & Chunky, Fun & Funky bead collection.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unpacking Memories

It's been a month and 2 days since my Gram died. I am slowly starting to unpack some of her belongings that I brought back with me from Iowa. At first it was just "business"-- unpacking, washing... but now the reality is settling in as I make space in my kitchen for items that were in her kitchen for as long as I can remember. Seeing them in my kitchen seems proof that she's really gone; otherwise, I wouldn't have these things.

I took her canister set, because it especially reminds me of her, in the kitchen cooking breakfast or dinner. Chicken a la King. Waffles. Scrambled eggs. Cookies. Those canisters were always there on the counter while she measured and mixed and cooked in the kitchen. And whistled polkas while she worked.

The spice canisters, too. When I was emptying them of years old, leftover spices, opening the cinnamon and nutmeg and ground ginger, I realized that these were smells that reminded me of Gram-- of her house and her person. I had never been able to specifically identify those smells before, at least not consciously.

I also brought back the Pyrex teapot. I can't even begin to count how many times I saw that teapot full of boiling water in her kitchen, or sitting on a trivet mat on her dining room table with Lipton tea bags floating in it. Gram loved her hot tea.

Gram never was able to make it out to Colorado to see our house, which makes me sad when I think of it. But she's here in my kitchen now, and always will be.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Uh oh...

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

And I just thought Moose was being lovable and cuddly...


C'mon now... is that *really* the face of evil plotting? I think not... at least, I *hope* not...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Zubbles!

Our Zubbles arrived today! What are Zubbles?

They're COLORED bubbles! Right now, there are only two colors available-- Blazing Blue and Presto Pink. But even more colors will be available eventually. I can't wait for green!

My husband read about Zubbles years ago in Popular Science magazine, when they did an article about the trials and tribulations the inventor, Tim Kehoe, was going through trying to create bubbles with color.

Ever since then, my husband has been keeping tabs on the progress of the Zubbles. Finally, they became available to order-- so he had to get some to play with.

Bubbles bring out the kid in both of us, they are so much fun! We even had a bucket of bubbles for kids (and adults) to play with at our outdoor wedding reception, oh so many years ago.


Zubbles are even more fantastic! Not only do they have the beautiful iridescence that make bubbles so fascinating, but they have bright, brilliant color, too. We had so much fun out in the backyard with them! I love that we still play together.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Special Earth Mosaic Box

Within the last 2 months I've received a request for a special mosaic box and have gotten it completed. A fellow pagan saw my Earth Spirit box in my ArtFire shop and asked if I could do something similar but on a larger basis, adding a pentacle and a couple of specific words in reference to the element of Earth. The rest of the design was left to my choosing. Here is the finished box:

I am very honored to have been asked to do this commission work, as it is a special gift that will be given to her son during an upcoming ritual. I tried very hard to let the spirit of Earth speak through my work to make this a unique, meaningful, and useful piece of art.

Because this is a gift for a male, I thought the Green Man would be an appropriate deity to adorn this box, as well as the pentacle and lots of flowers, oak & maple leaves.

I enjoy special commission pieces because they always challenge me and stretch my talents. I come away from the experience having learned so much, every time! This time was no different, I feel I've reached yet another level in my creativity and I'm pleased with the outcome and thankful for the opportunity.