Friday, January 30, 2015

Rainbow Lollipops for Crochet

We have been expanding our line of accessories for knitting and crocheting.  This is our latest pattern  called "Rainbow Lollipop".  The aluminum crochet hooks that we use were begging to be covered with some fun bright colors.

To create the lollipop pattern we made a "cane" in a rainbow color blend rolled up like a jellyroll.  The cane is reduced in size and then thin slices are applied to different colored clay backgrounds.

Our crochet hooks are not only colorful to look at but feel good in your hand with our own unique ergonomic design.  There is a shaped finger grip making them easier to hold but will also help in maintaining a consistent tension.

The sizes are stamped at the end of each crochet hook for easy identification and are available in a 2.0 all the way up to a size 10.

And of course we had to make some crochet stitch markers to match.  They are in a set of five different colors on a lobster claw clasp for attaching to a bag.

We've been working long hours to make a large supply and they are now available in our Etsy shop.   

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Giant Ladybug

When we first started making our lady bugs, we had no idea they would be so popular.  We sometimes receive requests for custom items from customers at the local shops that sell our work.  One customer asked for a ladybug shawl pin with our "signature leaf" stick.  This is the design we created that has both a green and a black and white leaf stick that can be interchanged for a different look.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flowers and Lady Bugs

It feels like spring at our house with the snow outside melting and all the flowers and ladybugs inside.  We just finished off more of our Brilliant Bloom stitch markers for the local yarn stores and this time made extra to list in our Etsy shop.

This is our stitch markers for knitting.  The rings will accommodate up to size 7mm (10 3/4 US) size knitting needles.  They are on a double clasp with one of our matching clay beads to attach to a bag.

This is our stitch marker set for crochet that are on a clasp to attach to a bag.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Doubling Up the Buffing Pads for Dremel

I just wanted to give you an update on our buffing pads for the dremel.  A while ago we posted some buffing tips which you will find here.  We make our buffing pads for the dremel or similar type rotary tool ourselves and are sold in a pack of 3 or a double pack of 6.  You can use them one at a time on your dremel but they can also be doubled or even tripled for a wider buffing area.  Here we have 2 buffing pads on the dremel shown below.  If you use 2 or 3 at a time, all you will need is a longer screw for attaching.

Dremel shown with 2 buffing pads for a wider buffing surface.

Dremel with 2 buffing pads for a wider buffing surface.

If you have never used our buffing pads before, this is some of the feedback we have received on them:

"Never seen Fimo shine so much!"

"These are the best for polishing without damaging polymer clay!!!  Brilliant!!!

"Excellent product.  This is my second batch and I love using these!"

"Great pads.  They work really well on the dremel I have"

- - - - - 

Unfortunately Canada Post has raised their rates again this year, however, we have decided to keep our shipping rates the same and absorb the difference.  There is no charge for shipping within Canada.

We are also still donating the same amount as before to the Samunnat Project in Nepal.  For every single pack of buffing pads that are sold we donate $1(US) and every double pack $2(US).

Our buffing pads are available in both our Etsy shop as well as our Artfire Studio.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sanding tips and working with Micro Mesh

When we first heard about "micro mesh" for sanding polymer clay, we were somewhat curious about it.  After researching it out we discovered it came in cloths as well as "pads".  We decided to finally give them a try and see if they really made that much difference.  We ordered the pads as they were  reasonably priced and available in Canada.

They are rather small (2" x 2") but are double-sided and surprisingly last much longer than you would think.  We like how the grit number is printed on them which makes it easier to keep track of using the same side until it is worn out and then using the opposite afterwards.  They come in a wide range of grits (above photo) but really isn't necessary to use them all with the polymer clay.  After testing them out we decided to use these three grits:  1500, 2400 and 3600.

I should mention that the micro mesh does not replace the normal wet/dry sandpaper.  We use the micro mesh as an extra sanding addition and only for those items that we want to have a super smooth finish and a high shine.

Our kitchen sink is our sanding work area.  We like to fill both sinks with warm soapy water.

We let the sanding paper soak in the water for a few minutes to soften a bit so they are easier to work with, especially if they are new and hadn't been used yet.

We generally like to start with a 400 grit sandpaper but if there are any rough spots or edges that need smoothing we will do that first with the 320.  Holding the polymer object in one hand and cradling the sandpaper in the other, rub the piece back and forth on the sandpaper.  Once the piece feels fairly smooth, we then sand again with the 800 grit sandpaper.  You always sand with a lower number first and then work up to a higher number which is a finer grit.

Normally one would carry on with higher grits of sandpaper such as 1000, 1500 and so on but this is where we instead switch over to the micro mesh.  The numbers run the same with the micro mesh as the sandpaper where the higher the number the finer the grit so we start with the 1500 and then sand with the 2400 following with the 3600.  Because the piece is already smooth from using the 800 grit sandpaper, it doesn't take much effort with the micro mesh.

After sanding, we then like to rub on some wax (Minwax or Renaissance) and buff with a soft cloth.  For items we want to give a super almost glass-like shine, we then buff with our dremel using our own handmade buffing pads.  You can read our buffing tips on buffing with a dremel in a previous blog post here.

We have found that since using the micro mesh, our pieces are much smoother and buff to an even higher shine with the dremel pads.  The photo below shows three buttons, each with a different finish.  The one on the far left was finished with just wet/dry sandpaper.  The button in the center was sanded with micro mesh and then buffed with a cloth and the one on the right was sanded with micro mesh and then buffed with the dremel.  It has a very high glassy shine but was hard to pick up in the photo.

I tried various ways of photographing it to show how glass like it was but was difficult to capture.  I tried capturing it in a video which shows it off a bit more.  The spots that you see are reflections off the light.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Polymer Clay Art Jewelry Challenge - Day 5

This is the last day of the Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge.   I thought I would show you my owl scarf necklace.  The owl head was created from our own mold/texture plate and is attached to a specially made clay bail.

The person I would like to nominate this time is Cindy Lietz.  She is another Canadian polymer artist and member of the Vancouver Guild.  Like me, she is also a full time artist and works together with her husband.  Cindy has found her own niche in the polymer clay community, with her teaching videos.  I admire anyone, like her, who jumps in with both feet and works full time with their art whether it be teaching or creating.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge - Day 4

For day four of the Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge, I thought I would show you one of my latest scarf jewelry designs --.  We had found a supply of some luxurious silk scarves and had fun creating some different style pieces to go with each of them.  This one is our Nautilus Shell in a color combo of Marsala, Dark Green and Gold.

For today I would like to nominate another Canadian, Lawrence Smith.  I first met Lawrence when we were both part of starting the Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild.  There is always the mainstay in every guild or group and we wouldn't have a guild without them.  Lawrence has been and still is a main "pillar" of the Vancouver Guild and someone you could always count on.  Perhaps this nominatiom will encourage him to share some of his wonderful art pieces he has created with us.