Thursday, July 31, 2014

Introducing the Pantone Fall 2014 Fashion Colors

Wow!  Summer is already half over and with the extreme hot weather we have been having here it is difficult to think about fall but it is time to share with you the polymer clay recipes for the Pantone fall 2014 fashion colors.

I find the colors for the coming season very earthy yet rich and deep with Radiant Orchid still included as it has been determined the "color of the year".  Here is the clay color recipe for Radiant Orchid using Kato clay.

I will be sharing the other fall color recipes with you over the next week along with some ideas for combining them.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More Flip Flop Sandal Jewelry

Here is another style of flip flop sandal jewelry pieces using the extruded retro square pattern.   They are a different look for those who are not into the flowers as much.

We will have a selection of our popular flip flop jewelry available at the Lake Country Art Walk coming up in September.  Each year there is a theme and this year's is "Shoes: A Step Forward".

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Finishing off Softglass Necklace Cords

There are so many different types of necklace cord options to hang your finished art beads from.  Rather than purchase ready made ones, we prefer to make our own.  It not only helps to keep our costs down but also gives us more control over length, quality and over-all look.

One of our favorite cords we like to use is the Softglass cord from Shades of Clay as it is very soft and drapes beautifully.  Here are some more of our flip flop sandal necklaces all strung on the Softglass cord.

There are several ways to finish off the ends of this cord and so I thought I would share a few ideas here.  These are some spring coils that fit the softglass cord very nicely.   To make them a little more secure, you can put a drop of glue on first and then pinch the last coil to tighten it around the cord.  The loops at the end are for attaching your clasp and chain with jump rings.  (Click here to see them at Shades of Clay -- scroll almost all the way down)

These cord ends are my favorite to use. 

They are a fold-over type and if you can see in the photo, there is a sharp "v" prong that grabs onto the cord so it won't slip out.  (Click here to see them at Shades of Clay -- scroll almost all the way down)

These cord ends are more secure so you don't need to mess around with glue.  To attach them, simply place the cord into the end finding as shown.

With chain or flat nose pliers, bend one of the sides first folding it over the cord.

With your pliers, bend the other side down, overlapping the first fold.

Finish off the other end of your cord in the exact same way and you are done!  These cord ends are quick and easy peasy so you can see why we like to use them.

Now add your clasp with some jump rings.  Here we have a lobster claw with a chain so the length can be adjustable.  You can add a fancy bead or charm to the end of the chain or here we have added our signature bead.

We are working on another option (a surprise) so will share that with you a little later after we work out the details.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Single Flower Style Flip Flop Jewelry

We've been working on some more flip flop jewelry pieces.  With so many lakes and beaches in our area they are a popular summer item.  The pendants are all hung on the gorgeous Softglass cords that we get from Shades of Clay.  Both the Softglass and the buna cords are beautiful and drape so softly making them perfect for these lighter weight beads.  I found a simple way to finish off these cords which I will share with you in my next post.

Flip Flop Sandal Necklaces

Flip Flop Sandal Earring Beads

I had fun creating these in a variety of colors some of which were in the latest Pantone shades.  All the ones shown here are now availabe at Chum N' Luba's Unique Boutique in our town of Chase.  Here is the one in a Pantone color combination of Celosia Orange and Cayenne (top photo far left) with one of the gorgeous maxi dresses at Chum N' Luba's.
Flip Flop with Summer Maxi Dress at Chum N' Luba's Unique Boutique

Monday, July 14, 2014

When Life Gives You Ribbons...

Make a hat!  I just finished making a bunch more clay dress and hat charms for our Sweater brooch pins.  Most of them were made to fill a special order for Chum N' Luba's Unique Boutique in our town of Chase.  There is a story about how the clay hats came to be.  A while ago I ordered a variety of metal base charms in a hat, shoe and purse theme.  When our order arrived I was a little disappointed to find these ribbon charms instead of the hats.  I tucked them away in a drawer not really knowing what to do with them but thinking they might come in handy some day.

Months later, I pulled out all of our metal charm findings to look for something in particular when I came across the ribbons again.  I could suddenly visualize them made into a hat by filling in the parts with clay.  So my "ADD" kicked in at that moment and completely forgetting what I was looking for, I had to try and make a clay hat charm.   I used a piece of vinyl placemat to create the woven texture.

And here are some more clay dress charms in a few new colors.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Extruder Adapter Set-up and a Clay Marking Tool

We purchased the Driver Adapter from Cynthia Tinapple some time ago.  It is a tool that connects a polymer clay extruder to your power drill making it much easier for extruding your clay.  We still hadn't used it yet until we finally reorganized the studio.  We have been using the extruder tool more these days so I wanted it in a spot where it would be handy.

This is how the set-up now looks on our clay desk work area.

The vice is a screw down type and we didn't want to drill holes in our table so we attached it to a wood cutting board.  The cutting board is then clamped down onto the desk so it can be moved to another location if needed.

The drill we are using is cordless so can be a little heavy when the battery is attached.  I happened to have a box that was the perfect height to sit the drill on so we don't have to hold it while extruding the clay.  To use the adapter, we fill the extruder with clay and attach both ends.  We then insert the adapter end into the drill and then place the extruder into the vice so it is lined up and even.  There is a piece of parchment paper in front for the extruded clay to fall onto.

This set-up works really well and makes extruding the clay so much easier.  The clay we are extruding in the above photo is for our toglet buttons so they are consistent in thickness.  We are using a washer we found in just the right size to use as our die.  To make them all the same length I came up with my own marking tool.  I cut a strip of plastic canvas and cut out sections to create notches for marking.  On the opposite side, I cut out notches at a different length.  This tool works great when making beads as well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

No Comment

Sometime ago, a follower had recommended we turn off the "captcha code" on our blog so it would be less hassle to leave a comment.  I know sometimes I have a hard time reading those funny little letters and numbers myself so thought we would give it a try.  The main reason for this code is to prevent or cut down on spammers trying to get in on the action.  They try to leave a comment so that it will lead a trail to their site which in some cases is not be a good thing if you happen to click on the link they provide.  Another way to prevent this from happening is to turn on the "comments approval" button so when someone does comment, we can either publish it or mark it as spam so it doesn't get posted.  So far we have found this is working.  As our blog sees a tremendous amount of traffic each day, we have been getting hit with a lot of spam comments which we can easily get rid of.  I didn't realize this has been a problem for many others out there until I read a blog post by Harriete Estel Berman (see "Poor Quality Comments Are Your Content" here).

I use to feel a little neglected when we didn't get as many comments on our blog like others do.  Of course I sometimes don't get around to visiting other sites and commenting as much as I use to either.  I came to realize, however, that as long as we know our readers are enjoying the content of our blog and making use of the information we provide that is encouraging.  We try real hard to provide a site that is easy to read and fun to explore.  That is the main reason we also do not have any form of advertising or things flashing at you when you do visit our site.

If you do have any comments or even questions, please feel free to.  We are always happy to hear from our readers and will do our best to respond.  If you would prefer it in private, you are also more than welcome to e-mail us instead.

We hope you are enjoying our site and we hope to keep inspiring you the best we can!

In the meantime, here is a little inspiration soon to come:

Yes, I am currently working on the Fall Pantone Fashion Colors and should have the clay recipes to share with you soon!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Gone Fishing

Dave and I have been doing a different type of fishing these days -- even though we live by the water we are sculpting our fish rather than catching them.  Every four years their are larger amounts (in the millions) of salmon returning to spawn in October.  This year is one of those times and so several hundred thousand tourist will be stopping by to see this spectacular event.

This will be our second time participating in the Artisan Market.  We know a little more what to expect this time round so will be better prepared and have already been in high production mode.  We have set aside several days each week where we try to make our "quota" of salmon.  With this plan in action we should be able to have enough made in plenty of time.

Here are some of the salmon ready to attach to various findings to create souvenir items like zipper pulls, key chains and such.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Folded Bead Sweater Shawl Pin

Here are some more sweater pins in a different style that were inspired by Helen Breil's Folded Bead tutorial.   The pieces are textured on the front and back and the textures used in the first two  pieces are by Helen Breil as well.  I show how to make the matching clay bead dangle in my latest tutorial, Constructing Accent Pieces for Your Scarves, Sweaters & Shawls.


For this piece I used Wendy Orlowski's texture called "Feather Boa".

These are a few of my prototypes and I have a few more ideas that I am playing around with.