Friday, September 30, 2011

Buttons in Gold

The wholesale part of our clay has been keeping us busier these days with two more stores added that are now selling our beads, buttons and shawl pins.  One thing we enjoy the most is the freedom we have to create new designs all the time so we do not get bored with making the same piece over and over again.  We are also "tailoring" our work to each store so they all have certain items that are unique only to them and the  same items are not repeated everywhere.

Here are some samples of textured buttons in gold.  We like to use a variety of textures or stamps that lend themselves well to using mica powders, inks, pigments or acrylic paints.  You might recognize a few of the patterns from Helen Breil's texture sheets which I love working with.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bargello in Autumn Colors

This is one of our latest Bargello sets in some warm autumn colors.  I show how to make the cube shaped beads in one of my latest tutorials, "Make Your Own Rondelle Spacer Beads".

Lovely Leanne is modeling this set.  I love how it seems to come alive on her.  Can you see yourself in it?

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Birthday Gift Set and Color Recipe

Every year we make some jewelry pieces for Dave's mom's birthday and she always looks forward to it.  This year we decided to make her a matching necklace and earrings from our Tie Dye beads. 

Here is a closer view of the actual beads:

The colors in these beads are not the Pantone Fall 2011 colors but they are a favorite of ours.  The main colors I used to make the beads are Purple Orchid (recipe #10-8), Olive Green (Recipe #7-8 -- same as this fall's Pantone Cedar) and a yellow green mix I call Avocado (10 parts yellow, 1/2 part green, and 1 part gold).   I of course combined it with the beige mix. (recipe #2-8).

The earrings are a clip on style.  We generally makes these as a custom order for anyone who requests them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coffee Liqueur, Nougat and Deep Teal

This is another color combination using the Pantone fall 2011 colors, Coffee Liqueur, Nougat and Deep Teal.  I've been busy working on some orders to fill so I quickly made some beads from my mini mokume technique.  Personally, this color combination wouldn't be my first choice as I much prefer brighter colors but  it does have a nice earthy tone that is very calming.

When mixing up my Pantone colors, I also like to add color chips to an index card recording my cross referenced recipe numbers.  I can refer back at any of the past seasons if I'm looking for a particular color or for a comparison.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pantone Fall 2011 Color Combo

Here are some beads I created using a mix of the Pantone fall 2011 colors Phlox, Cedar, Bamboo and Orchid Hush.  I made these "Tie Dye" beads using a technique I call my "mini-mokume".  It really isn't a mokume gane at all but sort of starts out that way and then ends up in a nice compact-size cane for slicing.  It is a really super quick method to see how various colors will work together (or not) without wasting a lot of clay or time.  I share this technique and how to make the beads as a bonus feature in my Clay Color System tutorial.

When we strung these beads, we combined them with olive green cat's eyes and some hand crafted rondelles in lemon curry which we had on hand.   Since the Pantone Fall color Bamboo is simply a lighter shade to the lemon curry, they worked very well with this combo.

Whenever I mix up my new blend, I like to save it on index cards with the color recipe numbers and add them to the back of my Color System album so I remember what I did in case I need to mix up some more.

I also like to make up extra color chips of the latest Pantone and a few other favorite colors so I can play around with them to see what color combinations I might like.  I throw them into my purse when I go shopping and like to look for matching colors so I will have something new to wear with my latest jewelry pieces at any upcoming shows.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jewelry Photo Shoot

I am currently finishing off some pieces to share with you in various combinations of the Pantone Fall 2011 colors.  In the meantime I wanted to share with you a few photos of our first jewelry photo-shoot.  We had a nice time visiting our niece, Leanne, and her family last week and she so graciously modeled some of our jewelry pieces for us.  Our plan is to have some of the better photos framed to hang in our upcoming shows this season.

The jewelry seems to come alive more when shown a real model as opposed to a mannequin.  In this collage, our "Fiesta Spiral" Necklace and Earrings are versatile enough to be worn formal with a dress or casual with jeans.  (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Quarry - Pantone Fall 2011 Color

Quarry is a very soft muted shade of blue that is similar to a faded denim.

To mix up this soft denim-like color, combine one part of Navy (recipe Mix # 9-7 in my Clay Color System) and 4 parts of Ecru Base Mix # 2-8 (see my Clay Color System).

So there you have the recipes for the top ten Pantone Fall 2011 colors.  I will share next with you some of the combinations I created with these colors.  If anyone has been following our blog and experimenting with their new colors and would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment with a link.

Click on the names below to go to the links for the other clay color recipes from this series:

(plus free tutorial to make disc earrings)

Quarry  (see above on this post)

I've had several requests for where I purchased our Pantone color cards.  Pantone has all types of color cards -- from plastic to cloth swatches.  You can even purchase them as an app for your ipod or iphone.

Pantone even has a cool gadget called a "Capsure" where you can hold it over almost any type of surface and it will match it to a Pantone Color.

At more than $600, I will have to pass on buying one for now, however.

We just have the "paper" set which are nice and compact and look like the paint chips you get in a paint store but in a sort of book style.  A much more practical tool for us.

We purchased our set over 5 years ago at a much better price so I am glad we invested in a set when we did.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Orchid Hush - Pantone Fall 2011 Color

Orchid Hush is very similar to last seasons' Pantone color, Lavender (see recipe # 10-6 in my Clay Color System), except much paler and with a touch of silver.

Here is the clay color recipe for the Orchid Hush:

     12 parts of White Base Mix #1-2 (from my Clay Color System)
     1/2 part of Mix # 10-2 (= to Premo Purple)
     1 part Silver

This will make an excellent compliment to the Pantone color Phlox when working with a mokume gane, creating canes or other favorite techniques.  Try using it in place of white when combining your colors.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Coffee Liqueur and Nougat - Pantone Fall 2011 Colors

The Pantone fall color Coffee Liqueur is a rich brown that is very similar to Chocolate Truffle, another one of the Pantone fall 2010 colors.  Follow the same recipe for Chocolate Truffle (see recipe # 3-5 in my Clay Color System) except increase the amount of gold to 4 parts and that is all there is to it.

Nougat is a lighter shade of Coffee Liqueur and makes a great compliment when combining colors.  When mixing up this color I seemed to be missing some sort of ingredient and just couldn't put my finger on it.  I then noticed that other colors on the same Pantone color card palette were a peach tone so when I added a bit of the Emberglow (another Pantone fall 2011 color), it came out a perfect mix.

So the recipe for Nougat is as follows:

8 parts Ecru base mix # 2-8 (see Carolyn's Clay Color System)
1/2 part Emberglow (click here to see the recipe)
1/2 part Coffee Liqueur (see recipe above)

TIP:   When measuring clay for recipes I have discovered I prefer to use a square shaped cutter rather than round.  This makes it much easier for measuring 1/4 or 1/2 parts as you can cut your square from corner to corner and get a much more accurate amount.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Deep Teal - Pantone Fall 2011 Colors

This color is a richer and darker shade of my Teal recipe # 8-4 in my Clay Color System.  To achieve this new teal color, follow recipe # 8-4 but increase the turquoise from 4 parts to 6 parts and add 5 parts of black.

Tomorrow I will share with you the next two Pantone color recipes, Coffee Liqueur and Nougat....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cedar - Pantone Fall 2011 Color

Cedar is a sort of olive green which is an excellent fall color.  It is pretty much exactly the same as the Woodbine recipe # 7-4 in my Clay Color System tutorial.  Woodbine was one of the Pantone colors for fall of last year and it combines very nicely with some of the new colors for this season.
You will notice how the color appears to be more muted and lighter on the Pantone site (above photo) than what is actually shown on my Pantone color chip (shown below).  This is why I do not rely on color matching using a computer screen but rather a set of Pantone color cards I purchased a few years ago that gives me a more accurate color sample.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Some bling for our new designs

We have been in Spokane, Washington the last few days enjoying some time with family.  One of the things  Canadians enjoy the most while visiting the U.S. is shopping.  Since Rings & Things have their main showroom in Spokane, we had to pay them a visit and pick up some goodies!  They have such a huge selection of everything needed for jewelry making but we had to restrain ourselves and mainly pick up items that were needed or difficult to find in Canada.  The gorgeous crystals in some unique colors were too hard to pass up and I think will add more bling to our jewelry designs.

I love these Rivoli crystals which will be used in our new pieces for Christmas.  We bought a wide range of colors so should be lots of fun to play with!

Heading back home to Canada today and will have more Pantone Fall Color Recipes and ideas for you tomorrow....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Phlox - Pantone Fall 2011 Color

I love this deep rich shade of purple.  To mix up this color, I started with a purple base that was equal to the Premo purple (recipe # 10-2).  This recipe originally came from the list of recipes provided by Donna Kato on the Shades of Clay site.  It is basically Kato violet with a bit of red added.  When you mix up this clay color you will discover that it does darken a bit after baking.  It is the small amount of red added that causes this.  While Kato clay colors do not generally darken after baking like other clay brands do, I have found the red and magenta will both darken so I have learned to adjust my measurements to allow for this.
So here is my recipe for the Pantone color Phlox.

2 parts of recipe mixture # 10-2  (= to Premo Purple)
1 part Kato magenta

If you add 1/2 part pearl to the above recipe, you will end up with just a touch lighter shade but with a bit of shimmer.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Emberglow - Pantone Fall 2011 Colors

Emberglow is very similar to the spring 2011 Coral Rose which was a slight variation of the fall 2010 Living coral and previous to that, Fusion Coral.  Are you seeing the trend here?

Emberglow has a bit more yellow and orange than last season's Coral Rose so is a little more of an autumn shade than summer.

Because Emberglow is so similar to the Pantone Spring 2011 Coral Rose, I just had to tweak the recipe slightly to achieve the new fall shade.  To do this, start with the basic Coral Rose color recipe (# 5-6) provided in my Clay Color System Tutorial.  Keep the amount of magenta the same but increase the yellow to 6 parts, orange to 2 parts and pearl to 4.  You can make a new color chip and saved it as a new color on your cards.  That is all there is to it.

Tomorrow I will share with you my recipe for the color Phlox ...  yummm!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bamboo - Pantone Fall 2011 Color

Bamboo is a soft golden yellow and similar to last season's yellow, Beeswax.  Before that, Golden Glow was the fall 2010 color and very similar except a richer shade of gold.  If you have my Clay Color System tutorial, you already have the recipes for these shades of yellow plus the new Pantone color, Bamboo.  It is almost identical to recipe # 6-4 titled "Lemon Curry".

Lemon Curry was a Pantone fall color from several years back but just a shade darker than this years color, Bamboo.  Adding more pearl or white mix (recipe #1-2) can lighten it up or use it straight for a richer tone.   If you prefer a lighter shade, I would suggest to create a six step color blend with the #6-4 Lemon Curry and White Mix #1-2 to create several lighter shades to choose from.

When matching with my Pantone color chart cards, I found that the 5 to 1 mix was a perfect match.

I like using this shade of yellow when working with Mokume Gane as well as cane work.  It  combines beautifully with autumn colors such as rusty type reds, browns and especially greens.  Here is a sample of some bangles I made a few years ago using the Lemon Curry with a Moss green which is very similar to the Cedar green for this fall.

I will continue on in order and tomorrow I will share with you my recipe for the color Emberglow....

Now I do have a confession to make.  If you have my Clay Color System I discovered a slight error when mixing up the Lemon Curry (recipe # 6-4).  I discovered that it should read 1/4 instead of 1/2 of mix 7-8.  It is surprising what a difference of that extra 1/4 can make in the final color turnout even though it is still a nice shade but perhaps a bit greener than intended.  Please accept my apology for this error and make a note of it in your album.  Sorry for any inconvenience.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Pantone Fall 2011 Color Recipes - Honeysuckle

I mentioned yesterday that I would be sharing with you the new Pantone Color recipes for this fall and winter.  I have been following the Pantone fashion guide for some time now and mixing up my clay color recipes to match for making my beads (and now buttons) so our jewelry would coordinate for that season.  I found the colors to be very inspiring when it came to creating various blends and combinations.  One thing I have noticed over the years is how the colors do not change from season to season or even year to year all that  drastically.  The changes are more subtle and there are several common threads that run between them.  In fact, if you have most of the color recipes for the past year or so, all they need is a little tweaking here and there to create the new color for another season.  I will show you how this works with the new recipes I will be sharing with you.

I should explain of course that all my recipes are using Kato polyclay.  I prefer this clay over the other brands since it is a much harder type of clay and I like how the colors are more true for mixing.

Another thing is that these new Pantone color recipes are based on my Clay Color System Tutorial.  If you already purchased my Clay Color System tutorial, you will be able to add these new recipes to your album.  If you do not have my tutorial or use another brand of clay, you can mix up your own recipe just by following the guidelines I will be providing.

My Clay Color System tutorial already provides more than 60 Kato color recipes.  Some of those color recipes I've included are listed on the Shades of Clay site but 54 colors are entirely my own.  Most of the recipes I have provided are perfect for using as is, but many of them are considered "base-type" recipes and intended for creating blends and using as a "base starting point" for creating more new colors by following the Color Wheel and six-step color blend worksheets provided.

Another question I get asked often is if I use any of the Kato color concentrates in my recipes.  I want to tell you here that I do not use any of the concentrates at all and for several reasons.  I have experimented with them a bit and found them to be extremely dry and crumbly so therefore difficult to work with.  I also found them to not be that  concentrated and you still need a fair bit to create a rich color so therefore making them rather costly.   They seem to work best for the mica shift technique and there are some great recipes for this as well on the Shades of Clay site.

Pantone Color of the Year

I decided to start you off with Honeysuckle (recipe # 11-6 in my clay color system) as the first color.  Honeysuckle was chosen by Pantone as the Fashion color of the year so it is still a part of the Fall 2011 color palette.  I already shared this color recipe with you on a previous blog post along with a fun tutorial on how to make your own Disc style Earrings.  You can click on the photo below and it will take you there.

You will notice that the honeysuckle shown here might be a darker shade than what is on the Pantone website.  If you prefer a much lighter shade, this can be easily created by adding more pearl or white mix (recipe # 1-2) until you achieve the shade you want.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pantone Colors and New Books Arrived

We have been so busy these last few months filling bead, button and shawl pin orders for stores I hadn't even had time to think about mixing up some of the new Pantone colors for this fall and winter.  I finally had some time today to sit down and study the most popular shades and mix up some new recipes.  I plan to share those with you over the next week or so.  My clay recipes of course are all with Kato polyclay and if you have already purchased my Clay Color System Tutorial, you will be able to utilize and appreciate the new recipes I will be sharing.

In the meantime, some fun new books arrived in the mail today.  I ordered them some time ago with a 1-2 months wait before shipping so I thought it would be a nice surprise when they finally showed up.

The one book is Zentangle 2.  I've seen some really cool work from various artists who have used the Zentangle method for their designs so I was rather curious as to what it was all about and maybe something I could have fun with.  There are several books out to this series but I only wanted one book for now to start.  After reading a book review by Angela Mabray on her blog, I decided to take her advice and skip Zentangle 1 and go right to the second book.

The other book is "Adapting Quilt Patterns to Polymer Clay" by Judith Skinner and Sarajane Helm.  I was quite excited when I accidentally came across this one on Amazon.  I had no idea it even existed and it has been out for several years already.  For the past year I have been fascinated with quilting patterns and have been studying the various types in using them in my future clay designs so this book should be a lot of fun to experiment with.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Special Story About a Special Lady

I have a cool story about someone we recently met that I had to share with you all.

One of the stores (Donna's Yarn and Craft Centre) that sells our beads, buttons and shawl pins was giving us requests for several custom shawl pin orders.  This customer especially loved the ones with the rich textures and fiesta spiral bead at the end of the stick.  We were wondering who this was until we finally met her in person.

This is Dianne.  She is not only an avid knitter but she is blind!  She is an amazing lady and she shared her story with us and how she can do something without her sight that we take so much for granted.  She explained how her husband helps her by sorting all her wool in piles by color.  The wool is placed into bags and she tags it with that color in braille.

So how does she read a pattern?  Her friend Donna will help her find the right patterns she is looking for.  They are then mailed to Marjorie Arnott who is also blind.  Marjorie converts the pattern, using a special embosser into braille and sends it back to Dianne.

We were extremely interested in how she chose her shawl pins to go with the sweaters and wraps she knits.  Because she cannot actually see them, she would go by touch and how they feel to her instead.  She is especially drawn to the ones we make with deep rich textures.  You might recognize Helen Breil's texture sheets that were used in the ones shown here.

This is one of the shawl pins I made special for Dianne -- She asked for one with roses that she could "feel".    The end of the stick has a "vintage rose" double-sided bead on the end to match.

Dianne is a real inspiration to both Dave and I and we feel we can learn so much from her.  I hope you found her story just as inspiring.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Store In Town

We are excited about a new store, Electrictree Yarns, opening up in downtown Kamloops this Tuesday.  Caroline is the owner who started out selling her own hand died yarns and knitting accessories on Etsy.  She decided to take the plunge and open her own brick and mortar store.  As you can see, the decor is very elegant with a cozy atmosphere.

The store has a wide range of products for weaving, knitting, crocheting and fibre arts.  They have some really cool yarns that I never even knew existed.  Yarns made from materials like bamboo or pineapple skins for instance.  Or a sock yarn called Tofutsies consisting of wool, cotton, soysilk (a byproduct of manufacturing tofu) and Chitin (made from shrimp and crabshells).

There are soft hemp yarns and a cool paper linen yarn which actually feels like paper until it is softened when washed.

Besides all the yarns, there is a wide range of accessories, books and of course our very own handcrafted buttons and shawl pins.

We wish them all the best on their grand opening this Tuesday and if you are in the area, be sure to stop in and check them out.

Friday, September 2, 2011

New Flowers from Spliced Floral Canes

Here are some flowers I made from the spliced floral canes I showed you yesterday.  All of these flowers are not finished off yet but they are baked and ready to be used for various projects.

Here are some shawl pins I made from the same canes as well.

These shawl pins (and more) were delivered to several Kamloops stores today.  One of the stores, Electrictree Yarns, is new and will be opening next week Tuesday.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Spliced Flower Canes

I made up a bunch of skinner blends to make some spliced flower canes yesterday.  I am generally a stickler for mixing up colors and saving the recipe so I can make it exactly the same again.  My pile of "scrap" clay colors, however were starting to pile up and I decided to live dangerously and use some of it up.  Other than using my favorite white mix (see recipe #1-2 in my Clay Color System Tutorial) for some of the skinner blends, all the clay were colors I already had premixed in my scrap clay box.  I found some gorgeous colors to use -- even a bright yellow and several oranges which came in handy.

I'm just finishing up some pieces from these canes and will show them to you tomorrow....