Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Not Liking the Process of Getting the Show on the Road

Our tents last year
All I did today and all I have in store for tomorrow is labeling and packing for Filberg. I love the Filberg festival when I get there but getting there is and little anxiety making. I have been trying to post on my blog every day and that means that some time all there is to do whine. This one of those days. By this time on Thursday I will have my tent installed in at Filberg and all will be right with the world. My tent is right in front of the front entrance - we will see how that goes.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Patter of Not so Little Feet

The last week has been about getting finished, getting signage and getting labeled, but this morning I took a bunch of whistles and pendants to the studio to string while Carmen, our land lady, Jenny and I had a meeting with the new upstairs tenants.  As soon as the ink dries on Jenny’s contract our new upstairs neighbours will be running a medical marijuana dispensary. The two young men that will be operating the business seem personable and business like. It will be nice to have someone upstairs and we have been assured that there will be no loitering and smoking around the dispensary.

This is life in Vancouver, but because of the dispensary is smoke free, our neighbourhood  will be a little less smoky than some places around this city.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Saturday, July 28, 2012


Friday, July 27, 2012

Two with their Pants On

Inros close up

Inros Mooning?
I still have to drill, sand and polish most of the inros that I finished this morning. Then they have to be strung as pendants. This will take a while so I finished these two up so that I would have something to post today on this blog.

Both enro are made using my Dragon Parts rubber stamp. The green one is made for a uncooked mokumegane sheet the my friend Ellen made. Ellen has a technique that she will be teaching at Horizon’s, the guild’s biennial retreat. Horizons is not until next February 2013 so I hope to have a tutorial on making inro finish by then to go along with Ellen’s mokumegane lesson.

Back to packing and production.

What is and enro?
An enro served as a little box that was used to carry small items and medicine. It hung from the obe (beltP of the Japanese Kimono.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Without Their Pants On

Into the oven for the third time.
When ever I have this much time invested in a tray of work, take a photo before I but it in the oven. This tray of nearly completed enros has take many, many hour to get this far and they don’t even have there pants on. I am hoping to get them near completion today. I might be finishing them on the ferry to Vancouver Island but they will be done for the Filberg Festival.

As usual I am both looking forward to and dreading next week went at this time of day I will be in the middle on setting up my tent for the Friday opening of the festival. The weather looks like it will be cooperating – so I will just hope that I can get enough sleep and remember all the little bits, beads, and buttons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taking the Heat

There is the results of yesterday’s little experiment. The paua shell came through with flying colours. The earring “beads” were cooked for 40 minutes at 280 degrees Fahrenheit and there was– no melting of coatings, delamination and no change in colour. I tried this with amber and the colour of that material darkened significantly. It is interesting that the colour of the paua seems to change with the surrounding material. I will try to incorporate paua in to my jewelry in the future but not until I have all my production chores done.

The back ground of this picture is a potters glaze sample that I picked up of the “free table” out side our front gate. You never know what is going to turn up on the table. I consider myself lucking this time.

More about the free table another day. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Play, Production and Experimentation

Every day I try to balance how much time I spend on play, production and experimentation. Much of the production time doubles and play. Each time I make a production piece it is like a tiny challenge to change it a little for the better or to get the structure just the little bit more accurate. However, experimentation in my weakness. I would be happy spending most of my time on this but usually the experiments do not result in things that I can sell. So the experiments are the treats.

On this tray of earring pendant sets that I am getting ready for the Filberg Festival you will see a odd rectangle pair on the left, green ones with a paua shell on the tops. I have a feeling that the paua will not be able to take the heat of the oven but I have to find out. I think that I will have to put a little dam around them incase there is a coating on the shells that will melt. Results, tomorrow.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Cold Day in July

Knitting needles
Yesterday at the Ladner Village Market I kept my socks, and everything else on. So cold for July! Good for Carmen and her wool hats not so good for the guy selling icy drinks. The band, Rumba Acalzada kept me warm by making me dancing around my stall.  At about 2:00 the sun came out and the markets got busier. Life as a vendor at outdoor markets is really at the mercy of the weather. In two weeks I will be a Filberg Festival in Comox on Vancouver Island. This is my summer’s big event – I would cross my fingers but I have lots to do before then and crossed fingers will not speed me up. This is a great festival. Come and visit me and Jennifer Harwood , my talented next-tent neighbour.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Saturday, July 21, 2012


Friday, July 20, 2012

BFB - Not your Best Friends Boyfriend

Recently I started making these BFB -big fat beads for fun. They are a great way of making big light beads that can be laced on to a chain, scarf, or what ever you will.

1. Start with Sculpy-Ultralight and some grommets. ( I prefer the ones that have only one part or using on the longer half of the grommet.)

2. After I condition the clay make a the big bead core. If your pierce the centre and roll it back and forth your can make the hole the right size for the grommet.

3. I insert a grommet at each end of the bead core and bake the bead cores for the full time advised on the package. I can sit the bead cores on end and not worry about one side getting flat.

4. After the bead cores are cooked I pry out the grommets. I use a pointed tool to get started and then switch to the side of the tool to get it completely out. (Yes that is the table clearing veneer from July10th.)

5. Now coat the bead cores with LPC (liquid polymer clay - I am using the Kato Clay brand here but other brands will work too). I find a candle holder is a good vessel to hold a small amount of LPC to dip my brush in.

6.  I cut a strip of veneer slightly wider than the length of the bead core. I wrap the bead core with the veneer and join the edges together. (If you gently wrap the bead core and then unwrap a little you with see a line where the edges meet. If your cut just short of the line your will get a good fit - a gap is easier to smooth than a lump is to flatten.)

7.I pull the clay around the ends of the bead core and reinsert the grommet. When I have done this on both ends of the bead I cook it again). When it is cooked take out the grommet and in #4 and then glue it back into place. I use two part epoxy for this.

That’s it. BFBs that are really light.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Off to the Button Shop

Today I am off to Button Button. This marvelous little shop in Vancouver sells buttons. That’s it, buttons only buttons. Unfortunately for those not in Vancouver Button Button does not have a real web presence at the moment but I will take pictures today and post them on my wordless weekend – (that’s why there are not words in my weekend posts). I have had my ginko buttons at the shop off and on for the last year, frequently off. Today I am taking a selection of buttons in and hope to renew my stock in this marvelous little shop.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wanda Making Faces

Wanda Shum is one of the talented artists that will be participating in the Chameleon Polymer Clay Art Show in North Vancouver next February. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us. Recently she sent me this picture on one of her marvelous teapots. She has generously shared a insight into her face canes on her blog. Take a look!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Scratch

I had planned to have a mini tutorial ready today but life has a way of pouring into the day leaving little time for what is planned. I will try for the tutorial by the end of the week but in the mean time there a some scratch beads that are among my personal favourites.

I have simply scratch designs into a veneer of scrap clay over a pre-baked core and then antiqued the surface after baking. As always I sanded with 600 grit, sealed with acrylic floor wax and buffed. Easy to say but it takes a while to put it together as a tut. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Little round Buttons

Little buttons dancing on a crocheted neck piece.
Saturday was glorious. Sun and a light breeze, a lovely day at the market but as can be expected in our rain forest climate we were blessed with rain on Sunday. Since it was not a market day for me I was home snug and dry working on production as usual and taking a lot of time playing with clay – more about that , maybe tomorrow.

Yesterday was little round button day. I started making these little buttons for studio mate Carmen to decorate her felt hats and shawls. Since people kept asking Carmen where they could buy these buttons she suggested that I make some to sell to knitters. I will try them out this weekend at the Ladner Vilage Market. It will be one of my special Button and Bead days when it will be selling a variety of buttons and bead to those creative people that what to ad a little local colour to their creations.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Saturday, July 14, 2012


Friday, July 13, 2012

A New Farmers Market

the weather tomorrow will be nicer.
Tomorrow will be my first time at Kerrisdale Village Farmers Market. Kerrisdale Market is every Saturdays between  July 7 - October 6. It is only open for four hours, from 10am - 2pm. It always amazes me how there is nothing there at 7:30 in the morning or 3:00 in the afternoon but in between there is mad flurry of activity.
The market is on East Boulevard between 37th and 41st Avenue - near Kerrisdale Arena. If you want to visit the area via Google here is a link. (nothing there right now - right?) Better you come and visit in person.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Comes in Handy

Some years ago Carolyn Good showed our guild how to make bracelets and watch straps. I was enthusiastic at the time but I never really got into the watch strap thing. I did make some bracelets and even tried to make some fairly narrow ones. The narrow ones sat in a drawer for a few years until just yesterday.
I could not find a watch strap for my favourite watch, the one with timers that I can not be with out. Out came the bracelet, the watch was incorporated and “Bob’s-your-uncle” I had my favourite watch back in service. Thanks Carolyn. Here is the link to her free tutorial.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dragon and Teacups and Fish – Oh my!

Use the Dragon and Fish Stamps

Barrettes using Dragon Stamp and tea measures with bugs
I have been enjoying working with my own stamps. It is almost as much fun and creating new stamps and the results are so much quicker. I takes me hours to draw, ink, and edit a new stamp but when I use it – Wham-o there are results right now. It was gratifying to finish some earrings in the morning and have someone buy them in the afternoon. It makes me feel like I have hit the nail on the head and I inch to get back to my work table to see what else I can cook up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Clearing the Field

Desk cleaning veneer
It always takes me lot of time clearing my work surface after a bout of “flowers and leaves”. (the last bout was knitting needles and a few new earring.) There are always little bits of cane that are to small or slightly damaged that I find it hard to through into the scrape piles.

This is the idea that I came up with today. I laid down a thin layer of a neutral green and arrange the bits on it, I even did a flew slices of odds and end that I had not lain flat. I press the slices down with my fingers and rolled the whole thing flat, first with my acrylic roller and  then through the pasta machine. Here is the veneer that I created. I might take a little more care next time. It will look a little different when it is cooked – I will do a before and after when make something with it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Flowers and Bugs in Your Hair

We are finally getting summer. I spent the week-end in my tent at a couple of entertaining markets:

West End Market of Saturday
Ladner Village Market on Sunday
 Saturday, the West End Farmers Market was full of people on there way to the bench which is no more than a ten minute walk away.

Sunday, Ladner Village Market had the usually carnival air. Great live band! Good food and lots to see. Next market in on July 22nd. If you are in the area. come for lunch and music, …oh, yes, you can visit me to.

At the Ladner one of my young customers modeled one of my new hair sticks.
An Friday I sent my first international whole sale order to Switzerland.

Life is sweet if a little rushed.

My young model
Closer up on Flowers and Bugs

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Saturday, July 7, 2012


Friday, July 6, 2012

Mounting a Stamp

Fish and Crab Swim Free
1. I have chosen a stamp the I developed as a example of the kind of irregular stamp really benefits from making a polymer clay mount.

2. First trim off all the excess rubber. this is most easily done with scissors. (When I tried and art knife I found the rubber difficult to cut.)

3. Peel back the paper backing on part of the foam stamp backing. Leave most of the paper on the foam to protect the sticky surface. This glue is really strong.

4. Cut off the portion of the foam with the stamps and trim off the excess foam with scissors. 

5. Place the stamp right side up on a 1/8th of an inch (3mm) thick sheet of polymer clay. Trim around the stamp or the stamp with the foam attached using an art knife.

6. Turn over the piece of clay you have so the handle you add will be on the correct side.
( 3mm is usually the thickest setting on a pasta machine. Any polymer clay will do - I am using some mixed scraps here.)

7. Now, make a ball of clay cut it straight across so one side is flat and push the flat side of the piece on to your clay back to act as a handle.

Cook your clay mount flay side down according the directions of the clay manufacture.

(I use Fimo clay and bake it for 40 min at 280 degrees - slightly longer and hotter then the manufacture's recommendation.)

8. Carefully press your stamp on to the polymer clay mount. Push firmly with your fingers to make sure all the edges are attached. Now you can stamp away.

You can buy a PDF copy of this tutorial on line. Press here to get to the listing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

All Work and No Play

The weather has finally turned to summer but I am still working hard to get all my knitting needles topped. After hours concentrating on knitting needles and flower canes, I was getting to be a little like a machine. Time to take a break. Taking a break usually means  messed around with some thing different. I have noticed a lot of large beads being made lately decided to have go.

Pavla Cepelikova’s mosaic hollow beads featured recently on Polymer Clay Daily inspired. My beads are not hollow like Pavla’s but filled with Sculpey Ultralight. This makes a quick light cord to work on. My beads are not as lovely as Pavla’s but they were fun to make. I must play a little because that is the only way I learn.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

From the Shop Floor

Ready, set, package
So it is the fourth of July south of the boarder, but here in the “great wet north” it is just another working day.  I am busy getting knitting needle ready for a whole sale order. The living room floor is a temporary mail room and when I finish packaging these needles there are more to make.  Normally this is a treat  but it will be hard to stay inside today because the sun in actually shining. I am sure that I will make it out side for a few minutes. It has been the rainiest June on records here but now it is July and all that is going to change – I hope.

It’s good that the weather is nice for the Washingtonians just south of us. Happy Birthday America! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Bug in the Hand

A couple of weeks ago a customer at Kitsilano Farmers Market asked my if I was familiar with the work of Lea Stein. I was not. The customer urged me to take a look at her work, especially the Cicada Broach. My curiosity was peaked and I googled Lea Stein when I got home. ( go take a look )

I am excited about her work. It will translate nicely into polymer clay. I would not copy her work for sale but I find it a good exercise to try to imitate a master now and then. My cicada lacks the slender elegance of Lea Stein’s but this is a first attempt. I am looking forward to trying more work inspired by this prolific artist.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Who is the Owl with the Googly Eyes?

These three sets are recent offering from my studios. They are one-of-a-kinds that may lead to further similar items. The first to sell was the owl with the amber eyes. This is not the kind of thing that I usually do but I was playing with my dragon stamp and some mokumegane and it just happened.

The owl was too much for my studio mate, Carmen, “The owl was okay but the “googly eyes should never happen”.

“But they are real amber” I cried.

“I don’t care they are still googly eyes.”

I sort of agree with Carmen but the lady who bought the owl really liked it so do I go against my own taste and make more or do I just make this one and leave it at that? I think I have made a decision.

Sunday, July 1, 2012