Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trunk Show at Silhouette Fashion Boutique

Hey everyone in the Salmon Arm area!  Come on out next Monday, December 5th between 1-4 pm to the Silhouette Fashion Boutique.  (Located at 380 Alexander Street -- across from Askew's Foods downtown)



T.J., the owner, has invited us to introduce our Snap Decision jewelry to her line of clothes by Canadian designers, Frank Lyman, Joseph Ribkoff, Tribal and Pretty Women.



This new shop has been open for just over a month and has been very successful. 



We are excited about matching up a selection of our necklaces, bracelets, belts and earrings with their latest fall and winter fashions.


Zipper Lariat Necklace with Interchangeable Decorative Snap

Zipper Lariat Necklace with Interchangeable Poinsettia Snap

Zipper Lariat Necklace with Interchangeable Poinsettia Snap

Come on out and have some fun!   See you there!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Necklace with a Front Magnetic Closure and Snap Base

We have some really cool necklaces in our online store.  They are made with a thick genuine braided leather and have a front magnetic clasp.  There is a snap base on the front part of the clasp for creating interchangeable designs.  These necklaces were one of our best sellers at the Lake Country Art Walk last September and were popular with both men and women.


We have them available in our Snap DIY supplies section in black or white.  We also have the clasp only if you would like to make your own.


To make you own is quick and easy.  The advantage to this is you can use almost any cord that is 6mm thick and in any custom length.  You can also use several strands of thinner cord for a different look.   Here I am using some faux snakeskin cord that is super soft and drapes beautifully.


You can use either superglue (gel) or E6000.  Place a dab of glue on some scrap paper and apply it to one end of the cord with a toothpick.  Add the glue all around the cord up to 1/4" from the end as well as the very end tip.


Push the cord end firmly into the back part of the clasp.  Allow it to dry a bit before gluing the other end.


Lay the cord out flat so it curves naturally around in an open circle.


To prevent the cord from twisting, put the two claps pieces together before gluing and inserting the opposite end.




Larger snaps also work really well on these necklaces making them so versatile.


Friday, November 18, 2016

My Experiences and Tips on Working with Panpastels on Polymer Clay

A unique feature with polymer clay is how it can take on so many forms and textures.  Various types of color such as mica powders can then be applied to bring out the pattern and I love the metallic and rich deep jewel-tone shades they give.

The other day we were making up some of our posie flower snaps and wanted to make them in brighter colors.  We pulled out the Panpastels and decided to experiment and we immediately loved the results!


I was wondering what else we could create and tested them out even more so made some scarf rings.


I really like the vivid and rich shades that the panpastels produce and I call them my happy colors!  After working with them for a bit I realized that they are a little different to work with compared to the mica powders and thought I would share some of the tips I learned with you.

I first purchased several sets of the Panpastels from Shades of Clay (see disclaimer below) which came in this clear palette along with several sponge type applicators.


My latest set came in a stack that all unscrew.  The bottom container held several more applicators.  I quite like storing them this way as they take up less space.


The first thing I discovered about the Panpastels is how they create rich colors on white or light colored clay.  They do not show up much, however on black clay which is the opposite to the mica powders.

I tried using my finger and found that it worked okay but the applicators work even better as they prevent loose powders from falling onto your piece where you do not want them.

Some applicators for the Panpastels
I found some eye shadow applicators at the dollar store and found they work as well and the foam ends felt like the same type of material.  They work really well when applying the pastels to smaller areas.

Eye Shadow Applicators
I first learned of Panpastels from Helen Breil who shares a video on how to work with them and use the applicator.  I didn't have the same success at first and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong so I did a little more research.  I have posted several other videos on my pinterest board if you would like to check them out.

One mistake I had made was loading too much pastel color on my foam applicator creating excess powder and resulting in it falling on my clay in areas I did not want.  I later learned that you load your applicator by lightly rubbing on the color by swiping back and forth only once or twice!

Clean applicator by wiping a few times on clean paper towel
Believe it or not, the applicator can be easily cleaned between colors by simply wiping it on a clean piece of paper towel.  Even if the applicator may appear to have a lot of color on it, you can load it in another color and it will not cross contaminate!  I could hardly believe it until I actually tested it out myself.  Just do not rub too hard or it will actually wear the foam part out.  You only need to swipe lightly a couple of times and you are good to go!

One other thing I really like about the Panpastels is unlike mica powders, the colors can mix and blend on the clay.  They work in the same way as if you were working with actual paint but in a creamy powder like form.

Here I am using an eye shadow applicator to apply some white Panpastels to a textured snowflake snap.  I used the Sculpey Soufle clay for these and even with the clay being so soft, the applicators are gentle enough to not mess up the texture.  

Adding white Panpastel color to textured Sculpey Soufle clay
Another tip when working with any type of powder, is if you are adding any (hot fix) crystals, be sure to add them first.  Any powder between the clay and crystal could interfere and prevent the glue from adhering to the clay.

Adding crystals to the clay before applying any powders

Check out my blog posts here and here for more tips on adding crystals to your clay designs.


My main concern with working with Panpastels was sealing them properly.  The first few pieces I made, I sprayed several times with the PYM11 (Preserve Your Memories 11).  I wasn't sure if that would be enough to seal them and it didn't matter to me if they were matte or glossy so I tried adding several types of glazes over top but found they all beaded up.  I decided to test the PYM11 out a little more and had noticed that the color was wearing off which obviously was not good.

Helen Breil recommends a glaze for the Panpastels -- Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS.  I am happy to say that Shades of Clay now has it in stock as well.  It does work really well and is very easy to apply.  It is quite thick and they recommend thinning with water.  I do this by pouring a small amount into a little bowl and then spritz it a bit with my water spray bottle.  I add just enough water so it spreads easily but isn't too runny.




The Golden Polymer Varnish is also available in Gloss which can give almost a ceramic-like appearance.


I prefer the matte finish on certain items such as flowers and the snowflake designs.


Snowflake snaps and bracelet

Snowflake snaps in a necklace and earrings

I hope these tips will help you in working with the Panpastels and you have positive results.  If you have any questions or more tips to share, please feel free to comment.

Disclaimer:  (We are not benefiting from the mention or links to Shades of Clay.  We are only a regular and happy customer.)

Friday, November 11, 2016

My Tutorial at the PCA Retreat 2016 Goes Live Today!

I can hardly believe how time has been flying by.  It was a whole year ago when I first announced teaching in the Polymer Clay Adventure Retreat and my video tutorial will finally be going live today.


If you already signed up, I hope you drop in and I will be available to answer any questions.  I am also looking forward to seeing your finished projects as well.

We have some supplies and kits listed in our online store to create the Kite Necklace and Earrings.  You will find them listed on our polymer and jewelry supplies page here.


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Poinsettia Snaps for the Holidays

We only have a few days left to finish off some new items for the Craft-a-Fair this coming Sunday at the Sandman Center in Kamloops.  We created some new poinsettia designs in a snap for interchanging in the various jewelry pieces.  They are also now available in the Decorative Snaps Section of our online store.






To see more of our designs and accessories in our online store, we have included 2 other fun ways to help with your search:


Shop by Color:



and Shop by Collection:


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My Tutorials Now Available In Our Canadian Online Shop

Designing our own online store and website has taken a lot of hours to set up and is still ongoing.  If you noticed that the prices appear to be higher than in our Etsy shop, that is because they are listed in Canadian dollars.  We have provided a currency calculator at the bottom of our site for your convenience.



I  am happy to announce that my tutorials are now available through our site as well which is good news for our fellow Canadians.  The pdf tutorials are not available as an instant download, but will be e-mailed directly to the address that is provided so you can save them on your computer.  Until our site can be upgraded, we can not have the shipping charges removed for these items so if you purchase tutorials only, the shipping charge will be refunded back to you.


Because our tutorials are not an instant download, it is also good news for our European friends and customers since they will not have to pay the extra VAT tax.



If you are looking for a fun new way to make your polymer clay designs interchangeable, my Snap Decisions tutorial is for you!  My tutorial is broken into 2 parts and we offer a special price if you purchase my Parts 1 & 2 package.

Here are some new snowflake snaps we made in new designs and colors for this year.





And now, until Christmas we are offering our Snowflakes in a Snap Tutorial plus snowflake charm with a minimum purchase from our Snap Supplies.  This tutorial is not for sale but only available as a bonus offer.


If you already received this tutorial check out the other bonus offer available on our site.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Major Studio Overhaul and Tour

When we moved to our new home nine years ago we made plans to include a complete studio for our clay.  It has been really good having a separate room in the house just for this with lots of work space and storage.  Over the years, however, we started to outgrow it resulting in some reorganizing to create more room.  Eventually it just wasn't working as well for us anymore and we decided a total overhaul and move to a different room in our home would be the best plan.  Even though this room isn't much bigger than the previous, the space within is more functional.

In the photo below you will see our main clay area all across the back wall which is more than 11 feet long.  We broke up the area so we would have two working heights.  On the right is counter height for standing and on the left is for sitting. 

2 Good Claymates - Overview of studio - front is jewelry making storage

2 Good Claymates - Studio Space - sitting area

At the one end and center of the room is the Ikea glass top table.  I positioned it there so it would be directly across from our lower/sitting counter top.  Since we do a lot of work with messy materials such as mica powders, inks and paints, we prefer to keep them away from the raw clay and a glass work surface is easier for clean-up. 

2 Good Claymates - Sit down area for working

Between the two sitting down areas is my favorite old but super heavy duty file cabinet.  This is such a useful item that we picked up a while ago from a used office furniture store.  I painted it black to give it a more modern look.  It makes the perfect base for one of our work counter tops (1).  Besides the large file drawer at the bottom (2), it has several other drawers that provide easy access to items we use on a regular basis.  The next lower drawer holds all our inks, glazes and specialty paints and tools (4).  The drawer above that shows all our mica and embossing powders for quick and easy color selection (5).  Above that is an additional work space that pulls out (6).  This is so handy when I need a little more work area.
  

Finally, at the bottom (3) is an extra storage drawer unit for storing solvents, glazes, glues, and pan pastels.

Our standing area is where we do all of our clay conditioning and mixing of colors.  The counter tops are a type of Formica and extremely durable so we can work with the clay right on it. 

2 Good Claymates - Standing Counter Height


I reorganized some of the drawers in the Ikea unit in the middle.  All our shape cutters fit in the top for easy access.


Our newest addition for the studio is the heavy duty drawer unit that Dave purchased for my birthday gift.  It is one of those pieces that is for organizing heavy tools in a garage and can hold a lot of weight like 800 pounds.  I needed something to hold the heavy counter top plus better storage for all our clay and this one does it all!  I also love the stainless steel front.  


It has 4 drawers that pull out all the way with a super smooth glide.  The bottom 2 drawers are very deep and hold our entire clay stock.  One drawer is for all the Premo and Souffle and the other holds all the large blocks of Kato and now extra space for our new Fimo Professional.  There isn't much black clay at the moment as more should be arriving from Shades of Clay any day.


The top 2 drawers are not as deep but I love how they keep all my clay color recipes organized.


And finally, in the opposite corner of the room, is our large rack for keeping our snap jewelry supplies organized and a new photo booth area with more storage.



We do have a large patio door that steps out onto our covered deck.  This is handy when I need to step outside to spray our work with the PYM11.


The hot tub is especially nice after a long hard day of claying.