Monday, March 30, 2009

A shout out or two.....

I'll probably be posting again a bit later on today, but I keep meaning to shout out to two wonderful ladies out there in the crafting world, and well.. jerk that I am from time to time I keep forgetting!!! So before I forget, yet again... may I present to you Danielle, of CreationsByDanielle . She is a fellow Jersey gal, I came by her shop via the EtsyNJ street team yahoo group... Another wonderful Jersey gal had been asking about copyright/royalty free pictures and I passed along a teeny weensy bit of info that I found while unsuccessfully searching for royalty free pin-up girl pictures to use in a few projects. Well wouldn't you know Danielle sent me an email with a link to one of her sold items, she had some goodies that were just what I had been searching for, and she offered to send me a few free of charge! A few days later and I received 10 that's right TEN wonderful images!
Her shop is full of so many nifty goodies! If I had some spare cash hanging out you can bet your bottom I'd be snatching up a few things... like this hand crocheted poncho...

or how about these vintage clover studs?

So why don't you pop over to her shop and see if anything strikes your fancy...

But wait there's more! I did say two wonderful gals didn't I?
Debbie over at Polymer Clay Ponderings had a giveaway recently, to try to get more followers on her blog... She had a tutorial on how to make adorable bunny pins like this one that she gave away..

Sadly.. the goal, to get more followers.. wasn't as much of a success as it should have been... Don't ask me why... I love her blog... a bit of claying fun..complete with tutorials from time to time, a bit of life.. and an astronomy picture of the day (on the sidebar). Debbie is just full of umph and I just love to visit her blog! And how psyched was I when I won that little cutie pie.. I'm anxiously awaiting the mail man as we speak!
So what are you waiting for? Pop on over and say Hello! to Debbie.. tell her I sent you.. spread a smile!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back in the swing of things!

First and foremost.. THANK YOU!!!! Everyone who went over to Blockhead Radio and voted for my dragon.. I'm way in the lead so it's looking like I will be asking for your votes again next week when I move to the weekly challenge! Just checking out the other categories though, one jewelry piece has over 300 votes.. stiff competition! On to the post....
So it took almost a week before the antibiotics fought enough of the infection that I could mostly function again. Also Vicodin makes you very sleepy,dopey, and well.. not one for the going going going of daily life. I neglected almost everything all week.. well everything except my couch and the wonderful fuzzy blanket my Gma Barbie made me, we spent some serious quality time together these past two weeks (uh the blanket and me... to clarify *wink*)
Yesterday I was feeling well enough to get back in the saddle so to speak. When I woke up and looked around the house *shudder* it was a disaster! Dishes over flowing the sink, they had taken over the counter AND part of the kitchen table.... There were dirty clothes in the living room.. seriously, the living room, don't know how that happened! Forget about the explosion of dirty clothes in the bedroom... could barely see the floor. Oh and my poor had about an inch thick coating of grease and grime and gross from a week of barely coherent cooking (oh did I mention while cooking chicken cubes the other day for ceaser salad that I managed to loose 4 pieces under the pan into the gas flame while stirring... yea I was a wreck).
So I eat me some breakfast while the light on the lizard's cage is cooling enough to change...put yet another dish in the sink, get dressed, change Slick's light to his day bulb and BAMO it blows out... I know we have spare lights around here somewhere.... searching for 20 mins (put his night light back in) and all I find are 2 spare nighttime bulbs... no day bulb... Good thing I'm dressed and ready to leave the house cause off I go to the pet store, with a little piece of scrap paper that says 60W Neodymium.. because I always forget what type of light he needs!
Ok we're back in the house... lizard light properly changed and my jaw is starting to throb.. oh come on seriously.. I refuse to take narcotics today.. I pop an extra Advil and hope it makes the swelling go down enough that I can no longer count my pulse in my teeth... What to do first? It was beautiful outside and I didn't want to be stuck in the house all day, but I knew it needed work... and I needed to work on some etsy stuff too...So I made myself a compromise.. Start some laundry and while it's washing/drying go outside in the sun and take some product shots! Which I did for about 4 hours. The sun was so warm and it felt good to be outside (well except when I was running in to tend to the laundry.
Laundry done and folded, about 100 good pictures taken but the kitchen was calling!
Another 2 hours of cleaning later and all the dishes were finally done and my fingers hurt from scrubbing the stove, but I was no longer sickened by the sight of my own home!
So I sat at my computer and edited all the shots I'd just taken, after going through them and editing them I was left with 50 pictures that were usable.. 11 items now have pictures good enough for my shop.. But I of course have no idea what to charge for anything, so nothing has been listed yet... Here are a few of the shots I'll be using...

There's no place like home!

Black hearts can be beautiful too!

Celestial keepsakes....
And seriously, what category do I put a keepsake tin in? Oh did I mention I got that dreaded tag your items correctly email? Not that I wasn't paranoid about that enough! The problem has hopefully been fixed...

Oh and last night I cast some resin on two coasters (the two I decided to try to salvage) I'll post pics of them once cured.. they may need a second cast.. mmm do I wait 72 hours before recasting? I think I will to be safe...
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wisdom teeth bring pain not wisdom!

So where the heck have I been for over a week? In agonizing pain thats where! My bottom left wisdom tooth decided it wanted to pop out a bit and get infected, with no job or insurance I waited a week before seeing a dentist. I thought it was just breaking through not infected.. Well I was wrong, so now I'm on horse pill sized antibiotics and (thankfully) vicodin.
So I'm loopy doopy doped up, but I'm not in pain and I've actualy slept through the night the past two nights.
How are the coasters going you ask? Well.. I transfered two of the images so far, the first, well the clay had little wrinkles in it that I didn't see and the image was scratchy looking. The second, one little bubble of a spot didn't touch and there was a blank spot. The second was better than the first.. so thats encouraging. It's a lot easier to transfer smaller images. Today I'll be trying to salvage those two with a different technique... I'm going to reprint the images on plain paper or cardstock, modge podge them down to the messed up coasters and resin cast on top of that. If it works then I'll no longer try the tranfer technique on something so large and save my tranfer paper for pins and pendants and smaller things like that. If it doesn't work.. well then I'll keep trying to perfect the original idea.

Now I need your help with something...
I entered the artisan challenge at Blockhead radio... my baby blue dragon is in the 3d category... I need your votes!!!!! If I win this challenge I get to go up against the other categories for some free advertisement for my shop.
So pretty please... with sugar on top.. pop on over here and vote for my dragon!
Thank you oodles!
(sorry no pictures today!)

Friday, March 13, 2009

WoW Coasters

WoW.. as is World of Warcraft.. the online game.. MMO..
I got a "new" coffee table.. well since I didn't have one and it's was my man's sister's it's not really new... Anyway.. I got a coffee table.. YAY! My living room feels more like a living room and less like a bachelor pad.. Best part is that it's underneath is set up as compartments, 6 open squares.. with 4 little baskets to keep things in.. many clay things are filling them now.. and the table top is covered in projects and beads.. and it has inspired me to make something new, and to use a medium I've never played with before....
Coasters! to protect my pretty wood coffee table from water stains!
Here's what I'm doing (I tested the whole process on a little picture and it worked great!)
So.. I went through my Warcraft screenshots folder (because I'm a screenshot addict there was a lot to choose from) I picked 5 interesting landscape pictures that had no UI(user interface) showing.. I edited the shots down to 4 inches square (the ones I print will be mirrored images so they transfer the right way) (and since the shots are my resolution size, they were rectangle and a pain to decide where to crop!)
These are the shots I'm using:

The sky flying past Zul' Drak in Northrend

Purple sky over the water.. honestly don't remember where I took this one

Outland sky... specifically I think Netherstorm, on a floating piece of rock by (I think) the Stormspire

This is a crater in the ground in Northrend.. Pretty sure it's in Icecrown.. don't hold me to that!

This is taken on the Flight Path from Dalaran to I think it was Kaskala...Might have been Kamuga.. Who knows, I was flying to do Walrus dailies.. (and I know how absurd this all sounds if you have no contact with a current WoW player and aren't one yourself!)

So now that I cropped and sized my pics what am I going to do? Print them out on t-shirt transfer paper on my Desk jet... The I'll take a BUNCH white FIMO and roll it through my pasta machine between two sheets of wax paper to avoid getting any dirt, fuzz, lint, or bits from the rollers in the clay. I'll probably flatten them to the 7ish or 6ish setting on my pasta machine (9 being thickest, 1 being thinnest).
Then I'll take my clay sheet(s) and lay them on my work tile.. cut out the pictures and lay them on the clay, I'll use my poly roller to make sure the paper it completely touching the surface of the clay... I'll take my straight blade and cut the clay to 4in square around the transfer paper and bake at 230 (fimo soft bakes at a lower temp than most polymer clays) for about 35-40 minutes. While still warm (about 3 mins after removing from the oven) I'll peel the transfer paper off the clay and allow to cool.
After everything is cooled I'll remove my clay from the tile and transfer it to a wax paper (or foil not sure which yet) covered sheet of cardboard and mix my self up some Easy Cast resin (this is the new material I get to play with.. and I need to not get addicted to yet another craft!) As soon as the resin is mixed Ill pour it onto the clay... not too thickly.. I'll spread it with the edge of an index card, cover them with a large Tupperware container (to keep dust and bits from getting in the resin) and allow it to sit for about 10 mins.. Then I'll check on the coasters to make sure there are no bubbles.. if there are I'll exhale gently on them (with a straw) the CO2 in my breath will pop the bubbles, (stubborn bubbles will be popped with a toothpick but I haven't run into any yet). Then they get recovered and left alone for at least 24 hours. It takes 24hrs for this resin to "soft cure" meaning it's mostly set, you won't mess it up with your fingerprints but the resin can still be cut easily with a craft blade and shouldn't require sanding to smooth the edges. This is when I'll trim the edges if any resin spread too far and lift them from the covered cardboard. Then they get re-covered with the Tupperware and left alone for two more days! Then I'll cover the bottoms in felt and should have my self some pretty nifty home made gamer geek warcraft coasters.. I might make some as gifts but since WoW screenies (I believe) are property of Blizzard (the corp. that makes WoW) I won't be making any to sell.

Well.. that was kind of a how-to post wasn't it? You could use this method to make your own coasters with any picture you have on your computer...(note: never use a tool used on polymer clay for food prep! so don't use your pasta machine or rolling pin unless you plan to dedicate it to claying! Old wine bottles make great rollers for clay...)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So many projects

I have so many projects up in the air right now!
The short(er) list:
complete 1st step of coaster project while resin experiment cures
glaze earrings
build bracelet(s) out of heart beads previously made
finish tiling paper mache box
mailbox plaque
"Pandora's boxes"
make a mini castle
new dragons
new devil critters

And that's the shorter list.. I have so much more I'd like to do! So many ideas! My spare room (where most of my craft stuff is) is overflowing with boxes and bags full of crafty goodness just dying to be used. I was looking for some clear glass beads this morning and found a bag full of mini paper mache boxes, wooden frames, mini note books and a few other things I got with some x-mas cards and totally forgotten about!

The other day I finally got around to fooling around with mica effects (click to find out what the heck I'm talking about) in the metallic clays. I used gold.. not sure if I'm going to actually do anything with the long Celtic knot ghost image. I could make it a pin, or magnet, but I think it may wind up in the "first attempt" bag, where some stuff goes never to be seen again!
The earrings are the earrings referenced above in my project list. I think I'm actually going to glaze these, maybe even list them.. that is, if I can resist wearing them on St. Patty's day! The green clay is actually metallic.. the photo is dark due to no pre-picture planning on my part!

It took about 16 tries of shaving the stamped image of the knot without cutting too deep or ruining the effect! But it came out pretty good for my first(16th) try!
I love the earrings! the flaky 3-d effect is just too cool.. by the way, did I mention all the gold surfaces are flat! No really I swear.. FLAT! I love nifty tricks like that!

Do you remember this bracelet?

Or these pendants?

Well they inspired me to make more swirly heart beads! I made a bunch with the same scrap log as above...

And some that are just black and silver.. (No photo yet sorry guys!) I went and bought some memory wire for bracelets.. instead of hooking my own charm wires together.. I'm not so good at the wire loop bending process yet! Hoping to get those bracelets done this week though!
How many projects do you have on your "short list"? I can't be the only one with a bunch of half finished projects and/or great ideas floating around!

P.s. Don't forget to check out the EtsyNJ Spring Fever Sale... It ends in 3 days! There are so many great shops participating....

Monday, March 9, 2009

I've been so busy, but it feels like I've gotten nothing done.....

Everyone has a day like that right? well for me it's been about a week or two. I seem to be going going going and have virtually nothing to show the world for it. I guess that's how life is from time to time, we get so wrapped up in every little thing, we let day to day life overwhelm us. We really shouldn't.. let life overwhelm us... We all have goals, big and small for our futures, we get wrapped up in work, and counting dollars, and we are always stressing about tomorrow, and days beyond. It may be cliche to "say" this, but tomorrow isn't a certainty, and the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how hard we work for the carrot at the end of the stick, it may not be there when we finally reach it, through no fault of our own, and not for lack of running the race.
Now I know that sounds a bit dark and pessimistic, it's not meant to be, it's merely meant to get us to think, after all, when you finally reach the "carrot" you may realize, it's not what you wanted after all, or you may have found a "carrot cake", something bigger, better, and yummier to strive for. heck you may have even decided that carrots aren't your thing... Am I loosing you?
The point is, daily life, and stressing about it and the future, can lead people into misery.. or just general grumpiness. I myself, I get a little cranky from time to time. What we have to remember, more cliches I know but, each day is a gift, tomorrow may never come, life is lived in moments and memories; how we remember those around us.. how they remember us. Life isn't about tomorrow, it's about today, and why spend today miserable, or cranky, stressed or what have you? Find one thing to smile about, one thing to laugh about, smile to the counter clerk at the coffee shop, (smiles are freaking contagious I swear it!). Admire beauty in everyday things, spend time with the ones you love. And quit freaking out about tomorrow already!
Isn't this a pretty flower? I'm proud of the photo I took and how I fiddled and played with it in I'm also very happy to have the man in my life who brought me these flowers, I look at them and remember to cherish each minute, no matter what we're doing at the time. These are the things I have to remind myself of what I get in this.. OMG I'M SO BUSY, I haven't done anything, I'm running out of savings, can't find a job, haven't even blogged in what feels like forever... type of mood.
So what did I do about it.. well I went and ran my errands, I chatted with Amanda at the pet store while she got crickets for Slick (my leopard gecko), she showed me the new baby lizards they got in (sooo cute I want to bring them home). Then I went to the convenience store, and chatted with Terri at the counter while she rang me up... I was cheery and perky and smiling, I made other people smile, it made me feel good. So now I'm home and I needed to vent and get all... self help... for a moment. And now... well what mood.. who's cranky? Not me.. not anymore... I just needed a reminder.....Did you?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I had a goal today....

Well two actually.. One was to figure out how Google Base works and get my etsy shop feed hooked up, which I think I may have accomplished. I'm not sure yet, I set it to update at noon and It's now somewhere around two thirty and it's still processing. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one for the moment!
My second goal was to figure out a new name for these guys...

I had been calling them "Devilishly Cute Computer Companions" and sometimes just devil critters. But the first moniker, while adorable and chock full of alliteration (which I love!) feels too.. boxed in.. like I'm saying.. this guy sits on your computer/computer desk and no where else... when heck he could hang out anywhere! I had the first one I ever made keep me company while doing dishes, he sat on the windowsill the first week of his life. It wasn't till after that week that he found his permanent home on my computer tower with all my other little friends!
I'm asking for some suggestions! I know there are a bunch of creative minds out there... what would you call these little guys?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


You can also check out this blogpost for all participating shops if you're like me and just like to clicky clicky!

Check out the awesome sales going on...
I'm going to work on the black and silver heart "beads" I started making on FRIDAY!
I'll return with less of an advert post later.. But I think all these shops deserve all the exposure they can get, and the spring fever sale is just goodness for all!