Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Adventure into Polymer Clay

I grew up in central Pennsylvania, right by Penn State and just over the mountain from a number of Amish communities. So, when Iron Craft presented this week's Hometown challenge, I wondered what I should do. Should I do something with some of the PSU fabric I've been saving? Should I make some whoopie pies? Then, I got to thinking about one of the other projects I've been thinking about even longer than the wire angels

The little town of Boalsburg isn't far from Penn State either.  This little town claims to be the birth place of Memorial Day (there are other towns that make that same claim, but that's another story!).  Every year they close down the streets in Historic Boalsburg for a craft show and festival on Memorial Day weekend.  Many years ago there was a person who sold polymer clay figures of Amish boys and girls every year at this festival.  I always looked at them, admired them but being in High School, I really wasn't into spending money on something like that.  The one year that I decided I was finally going to buy one, I went and the vender wasn't there and I haven't seen them there since then (although I haven't gone every year, since I no longer live in the area).

So, for Iron Craft's hometown challenge, I decided to try making a little Amish girl out of polymer clay.  I have NOT worked with polymer clay much at all. I used it to make some handprint keepsakes for my mom and mother in law when the girls were babies, but that's about it.  I couldn't find the Sculpey that I had bought for this project several years ago, so I ran to Michaels and bought some Craft Smart Polymer clay in purple, black and a fleshy color.  I took a few pictures of my process.

First I took two balls of the purple clay, about the size of a walnut.


Then, one I mushed slightly to make it more wedge shaped. the other I rolled out into a trapezoidal like shape (it doesn't need to be perfect).


Then, I took the trapezoide one and draped it over the wedge and kind of made some gathers at the top.


Next, I took some more purple and made a snake out of it and then placed it across the top.


Then, I switched to the black clay. I rolled it out and used a toothpick to trace the outline of an apron.


Then, I draped the apron over the body. The bib part of the apron ended up being big enough to go over the top and down the back to the waist. I tried to smooth out all the seams.


Next I rolled a ball of the flesh colored clay and put it on top for the head  Then, I rolled out some more black and roughly covered the head with it.  I added another piece (which was a ball that I'd rolled out and cut the edge off of) for the brim.  The head didn't seem like it was too stable, so I took a tooth pick and stuck it down through it into the body and covered over that part with clay again to hide it.


I took two really small balls of purple, flattened them and put them at the end of each sleeve for cuffs.  Then, I took two small balls of flesh colored clay and put them on the ends of the cuffs for hands and brought them together in front.

Then, I baked it following the instructions on the clay wrapper.

Here's a picture of the finished girl.

Amish Girl

She looks nothing like the ones I saw at the craft show, so I'll still keep looking for one like that, but this was a fun project.  The Crafter's Choice clay seems to soften up easier than the Sculpey did which makes it easier to work with.  One thing I didn't think about was washing my hands in between working with the black and working with the flesh colored clay.  As a result, the flesh color ended up with some black in it.  Lesson learned.  I'm looking forward to seeing what Iron Craft's next challenge will be.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wire Angels

I've been contemplating this idea for years (litterally), but never took the time to do it.  Ever since I first tried crocheting with wire.  Priscilla has these really neat angels that are granny squares,  I made them one year for Christmas gifts (out of yarn).   But I got to thinking that they might look really neat if they were crocheted out of wire and as a bonus, you wouldn't need the pipe cleaner to help with the shaping.

Then, over at Iron Craft, they have a weekly challenge (announced on Thursdays) and I've been wanting to participate for a while but haven't been inspired, until now.  This week's challenge is to make something gold.  Ah Hah!  I've got gold wire and a bit of time.  So I present to you my first ever Iron Craft challenge project. I'm hoping to be able to keep doing these this year, I love the idea.

I didn't actually follow Priscilla's pattern, just used the basic idea.

I made two grannies with 32 gauge gold beading wire (I got this at the craft store a while ago).

Then, I took one of them and made it into a cone (so I took the top side and the right side) by wiring them together (I just used the tail that was hanging there).  The other one, I folded in half to make a triangle and ran the wire down through the holes in the middle to help it stay folded in half.  For the head, I crocheted a circle with three rounds of dc and then wove the wire through the stitches in the last round to gather it. And for the arms I chained the length I needed and then went back and did a sc in each stitch.

Then, I used  the tails to fasten them all together.
Again, I need to work on my pictures, sorry they're so blurry, but my camera battery died so I need to charge it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Personalized Flash drives

I work for a software company and needed a gift to give my coworkers. I was looking for something that was "techy" but I was trying to keep the cost to under $10 a piece.  And I wanted something that would either be useful or amuse them.

So, I decided to make custom flash drives.

It's really hard to see (sorry for the poor picture quality, but I can't retake it now!) but they say:
"Bad Code isn't really Bad, it's just confused"
"Bugs are not an option, they're bundled with the software"
"We don't create defects, we just find yours"
"Upgrade - v. Take old bugs out, put new ones in"

Here's how I did it:

Tacky Glue
laser print out of saying trimmed to size*
Modge Podge
paint brush
USB thumb drive

I printed the sayings out on a laser printer using white text on a black background (to match the case of the drive), trimmed them to size and then used the Tacky Glue to glue the saying on to the side of the drive. I removed the cap so I didn't accidently glue it on.  Leave it dry well.

Once it's dried well, coat it with Modge Podge.  I coated the whole side so that it wasn't as obvious that it wasn't on there originally. Let it dry a few hours and then add another coat, repeat a few more times. I put at least 3 coats on.

*I used a laser printer because ink jet ink will run with the modge podge.  I also used a background color to match the thumb drive.  Scrapbook paper would work well too!

Valentine's Day Exchange

Today's Valentine's Day! Did you get your loved ones a gift?  I ran to Walmart this morning for some tissues and paper towels and stood behind a number of men with candy/trinkets waiting to check out at 6:15 in the morning LOL.

I participated in a Valentine's Day Exchange and last week my package arrived from Brittany.  She made me this awesome Valentine's day Apron AND got me some heart shaped cookie cutters!

I'm sorry the picture is so blurry.  Lately I've been having problems taking pictures. My 4 year old was kind enough to model for me :)

Thanks Brittany!  I love them!

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