Saturday, June 30, 2012


Friday, June 29, 2012

In Pursuit of the Strawberry Cane

This is about mark three it my trying to make a straw berry cane. For this can I had a look at this tutorial on You Tube. Here is the link if you area interested in trying your hand. ( 
I have simplified a little.
The ones on the left have the curve and more strawberry shape.

Here the results. The first earring that I made are flat, the second are curves. Curves give life to objects – flat leaves me flat.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Green Button and Skinner Blend

I walked past a plant on the way to the studio today that was a riot of yellow flowers. Just a few days ago I had taken a photo of the same plant when the plant was still all in bud. There is something reassuring about things that are all one colour or a gentle gradient. Thank you Judith Skinner for showing us how to make a gradient. Here is the blend inspired by the green flower. I am looking forward to making something new out of it or just incorporating it into a larger piece.
Here is the link to a tutorial if case you have not made a Skinner blend before.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What to do with a Broken Pen

I went to get a ball point pen this morning to write a shopping list and it sort of exploded in my hands. As destructible as I am I forgot about writing the list and tried out the broken pen as a clay tool. I got 5 different sized hole to use as punches and the tip to make dots. Besides that the spring can be rolled to make parallel lines or cross hatching. I would like to see what I could do with these tools to make mokumegane but that will have to wait for another day when I have time to play. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Market Reds and a Strawberry Cat

Local strawberries red and tasty
Peppers for local green houses
 On Sunday I set up at Ladner Market in time to walk around and see the rest of the vendors. People were still setting up and I was in a rush to see everything but I paused to see to take a few pictures. As I was take some shots of strawberries one of the young women in the stall said – “Look at this cat. He likes the smell of strawberries”. Sure enough there was the largest cat I have ever seen standing on his back legs, nose headed for a basket of strawberries. He began to cry and I realized that he had his claw stuck in the edge of the table. He was too heavy to rise up and free his paw. He was getting quit upset. The strawberry vendor tried to free him but the cat hissed and growled so she would not go near him. I went into the stall and lifted the big cat enough so the young women could bat his paw with her wallet to free him from the table. I immediately tried to get a picture of the cat but he had gone into hiding, embarrassed I guess. I am looking forward to the next Ladner Market on the eighth of July to hunt down this cat who has a reputation for visiting market stalls.

The henna booth ready to decorate customers

Friday, June 22, 2012

Grasping at Straws

Straws and tubes with knitting needle pusher-outers

Some graded polymer clay roles and some wool rovings.

One of my favourite tools is a drinking straw. Well, not actually just one drinking straw but straws of different diameters to make holes in raw clay. The thin edges seem to cut cleaner then metal tubes. The problem is finding straws in various diameters. It is a sad day when a favourite straw packs it in and a delight when someone’s drink comes with a straw on a desired diameter. I have to restrain myself from going to the waiter and pleading for a few more straws or looking around the room for other straws that I can snatch off unsuspecting diners plates – or – or let me not stoop to going through the restaurant’s garbage. Maybe I should just ask the waiter after all.

Anyone have a source of drinking straws of various diameters? Preferably ones that don’t bond with Polymer clay.

An just so things are not to boring. Here is some things that are going on in the studio.

And more rovings made by my studio mate Carmen

Sunday, June 17, 2012

To Pooped to Post

Crabby Stamps and friends
If I wrote a post but it would just be crabby. Polymer clay still makes great stamp backs. More soon. Good night.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Polishing off the Week with a Chameleon

Part of a weeks polishings
For the last couple of weeks I have been busy with craft business essentials that have nothing to do with innovation or production. At such times production and innovations are the rewards for spending the day on email, paper work and trying to make my Etsy shop work. Usually Saturday morning is my time of polishing up what I have worked on during the week.  I am working on a little tutorial for may stamps – just because it is small doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a giant bite of time. I guess it takes time for anyone but it always looks easier when someone else does the work.

One of the things that has been taking time is Chameleon 20l3. Chameleon 2013 is an all polymer clay show at Seymour Art Gallery in North Vancouver, British Columbia Canada.  I will be writing more about this in the future but I just put the first post on the Chameleon 2013 blog a few days ago.

Gera Scott Chandler answered a few question but to see that them you will have to take a sneak look at the Chameleon 2013 blog.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What I Didn’t Know About Stamping

Yesterday I found a video that show how to ink a larger stamp and how to use a mask. This information brought my stamping ability from about 1% to almost 20% in a few hours. ( arbitrary percentages are a good way to feel that I am making some progress). The other lesson I learned is; if you ever find a tutorial on line that you think that you might want to look at again – save the link. I was going to put link for the video here but I have not been able to find it again but here is what I learned:

Print the foreground image first ( in this case it is the red fish). Then print an thin piece of paper with the exhausted stamp and trimming the impression to make a mask the will be placed over the first impression so it will not be over inked by the back ground stamp. 

Now comes the big thing. I have been having trouble inking larger stamps without a brayer but there is a really easy way to ink a larger stamp. Turn the stamp pad upside down and pat it over the surface of the stamp then place the paper you want to stamp on top of the inked stamp and rub the back of the paper with your hand. It worked great and the larger stamps do not have to be mounted which saves storage space and means I can still put the stamp through my pasta machine for polymer clay work.

This will be the barest of basics to anyone who knows how to stamp but it was a revelation to me.Now I am going to do a little more A and D on polymer clay – oh yes, production work too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Stamp, Stamp, Stamp

Crab and Fish Swim Free - coming soon to ETSY
I realize that I am going to have to learn how to use stamps if I am going to recommend their use to other. Sure I have used stamp with ink but usual just for business. Mostly I use stamps to texture polymer clay and since I am a big fan of blind emboss it is a pretty simple process. I use stamp for mokumegane to but that is still not taking the stamp for much of a ride. In a few days I will be releasing some new designs and I hope that I will get some inspirational ideas from stamp users. I am serious considering taking a class or something. Maybe I have to look for on line tutorials.

This is similar to the situation that I was in with drop spindles a few years back. I had to take a spinning class so that I would have a better idea about how to make good spindles. Oh I do love to make tools and see what other people make with them.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thyme for Tea

Here is how to splice two stamped images to cover an object. I am covering a tea caddy with stamped images from my Teapot Tempest stamp. Here we go:

1. Make and impression with the stamp by running the stamp and clay through your pasta machine. I am using and Atlas machine and I find the medium setting #4 is good to make the clay sheet, then I run the sheet of clay and the stamp trough the rollers on the widest setting, in the case #1. Before putting the clay and the stamp through the machine I made sure to dust the clay liberally with corn starch on the side that is in contact with the stamp. (the alternative water does not work with Fimo – I use Fimo so …)

2. Trim one end of the stamp along a line in the pattern. A flowing line in better that a straight line. I try to incorporate a couple such lined in the stamps that I design.

3. Lay the trimmed sheet over another impressed clay sheet and trim away the excess. A little corn starch with keep the to sheets from sticking together.

4. You now have two pieces that fit together like a puzzle.

5. Paint your tea caddy with liquid polymer clay to erase the non sticking effects of the corn starch and apply first one sheet and then the other, fitting the parts together like a puzzle.

6. You can see the join of the two sheet in the middle of this close up of a finished piece. I have chosen a differ line in the stamp to make this join but it still works the same way. I am not the most patient person I know and other may have even more success with this method.

This method will work with any stamps – but I still like mine best.

My apologies - I just harvest thyme from my garden an I can’t resist even the most obvious pun.

Monday, June 4, 2012

First Market Weekend of 2012

"My" banner in action
Trout Lake behind the main action
The past weekend was my first this year at the farmers markets. They are a lot of work but there is an element of fun. The weather changes ever 10 minutes or so, we even had a thunder shower.  People came, bought food, met neighbours, and indulges in great snacks. Trout Lake is one of the oldest Farmers markets in Vancouver – even it has to move around a little. We at the market would really like to find a permanent  home, especially for the winter months.

On Sunday at Kitsilano market I got to see “my banner” in a action, ate some delicious tomatoes (Celyddon Farmers), and chatted with customers and other vendors. Matthew Freed potter extraordinary had the next stall to me -  I didn’t take any picture on Matthew’s work at the market but you can check it out at his web site.

I introduced some new shawl pins. I only had 4 of the newest, leave and stem. I complete them really early Saturday morning before I left for the Market at 6:45 AM. I didn’t even have time to photograph them.  I sold them all! I will make more of course but I still like the plain white ones best. I took some picture of my daughter, Sophie, modeling some while I was in Guelph, Ontario.

Shawl pin as hair pin
Shawl pin as shawl pin