Saturday, May 31, 2014

New Brilliant Blooms Jewelry

Every spring I get into a mode of making lots of flowers.  I am not sure if it is due to spring fever and all the flowers popping up that inspire me or more to the fact that when I go through our inventory, I discover that we have few flower designs left in stock and the need to make more.

This year I wanted to create flowers that were extra bright and cheerful.  I decided to use the Pantone Spring 2014 Fashion Colors for inspiration.

Whenever I make my flowers (shown above), I like to save some extra "petal" canes to make the sculpted flowers like the ones in the scarf necklaces and earrings (below).  These were made the same way as the "Daisy" flower in my Sculpted Flowers Tutorial.  I just used bright colored clay in place of the white and black instead of the grey for the outlining.

These are our new falling petal earrings
for our interchangeable earring system:

The colors I used to make the flower petals shown above (left to right) are:

Dazzling Blue (with more white added),
Violet Tulip (reduce the amount of white mix to 1/2 part)

Each earring comes with three "strands" at different lengths that can be worn individually or combined in various ways.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Follow up on Fibre Festival in Vernon

We had a great time at the Fibre Festival put on by A Twist of Yarn in Vernon, BC last Saturday.  There was all types of activities all day for the young and the old.  The day started with a sheep shearing demonstration by Phil, a professional sheep shearer.  Three sheep for shearing were provided by Homestead Hill Farm of Armstrong, BC.


This sheep (above) was pretty relaxed the whole time and was almost enjoying it.  We saw the harness there and I first thought it was for the sheep but later discovered from the demonstration, it was for the shearer for support for his back while working.  As he was carefully removing the layer of wool, it came off in one piece.  Here are the piles of wool from the 3 sheep that lost their winter coats.

And a happy one who was feeling much cooler afterwards!

A display was set up showing the various stages of preparing the wool to make it ready for spinning.

There were ladies spinning, weaving and knitting all day with plenty of chairs to take a break in the day and relax in the shade.

Front of heritage house which is now a quaint yarn shop.

This is Nikki from Nickelbee Art Studio and Supplies.  She gave an excellent demonstration on Nuno felting and acid dying of fibres and by the examples of her work, she has a real eye for color.

Nikki also did a kids felting workshop and some of the pieces they made were pretty impressive.

We brought along a selection of our latest work to show off and set up on the front porch.  We are just setting up here.

And here is everything finally in its place.  We wanted to show off our button and shawl pin selection as well as our popular scarf jewelry and interchangeable earring system.


I had the opportunity to do a flower and lady bug cane demonstration and share a bit on how our buttons are made.

All in all it was a fun day and a job well done Camella and Ryan of A Twist of Yarn!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fibre Festival at A Twist of Yarn in Vernon, BC

We have been surrounding ourselves with flowers this week -- both in the garden outdoors and these new ones we have been making indoors.  These are our "Brilliant Blooms" shawl/hair sticks in our new display ready for the Fibre Festival in Vernon this Saturday, May 24th.

The Fibre Festival is put on by A Twist of Yarn and it should be a fun full day.  There is lots of activities and we are especially looking forward to see the sheep sheering and felting demos.

We will be there with our large selection of buttons, shawl pins and scarf jewelry and I will be demonstrating how we make our flowers and ladybugs.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Photo shoot photos done

We received the photos from our photo shoot and finally found some time to post them on our website.  I am still trying to figure out a way to embed a slide show so will do that later.  Colin MacArthur is a wonderful photographer and was a real pleasure working with him.  We couldn't have found a better model than Tiffany and the three of us had a really fun time that day.

Here are a few of our favorite photos.  You can see more scattered throughout our website, particularly in our jewelry and scarf accents sections.

Desert Reflection

Emerald Forest

"Turquoise" Collection

Country Garden

Medieval Medallion

Soft Elegance Scarf Necklace, Medallion Shawl/Hair Pin

Soft Elegance Scarf Necklace, Spiral Bracelet

Friday, May 16, 2014

Just a Happy Customer

Here in Canada we don't have too many places we can purchase our jewelry or polymer clay supplies.  It is difficult at times to order south of the border and even though there are companies that offer huge discounts, the cost in shipping and U.S. currency exchange can end up being more in the end.  We are very fortunate to have Shades of Clay as our major supplier of Kato clay as well as so many other tools and items at a very reasonable cost right here in our own country. Even though they are more than 5000 kilometers (3000 miles) away from us, they are still a Canadian company and we don't have customs and high shipping costs to deal with.

Shades of Clay has been around for quite a few years and last year Wendy Orlowski took over the company from Margaret, the previous owner.  Wendy continues to give the same excellent service and is working even harder to build up a wider selection of cool items for us.  The latest news is that they will be bringing in some of the Pebeo Fantasy Prisme paints and zentagle markers which I am very excited about.

So why am I telling you all this?  I am not being paid to promote Shades, but just a happy customer and wanted to share that with you.  We are also both Canadians and therefore we like to support one another.  It is wonderful to find a supplier that you can work with directly and can supply so many items that we need.

Anyhow, I cannot write a blog post without showing you at least one picture.  Here are some new flip flop sandals we are working on for this year.  The flowers are from the new canes I showed you earlier (you can see them here).  Since we live at a beach (lake) and there are many lakes with beaches surrounding us, our flip flop jewelry is generally a big hit at the summer shows.  We decided that this year was time to come out with a new look and this is just a sample.  The cords on these pendants are a type of "buna" called "softglass" which is available here.

It is already warm here and is nice to be wearing summer clothes and flip flops again!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Studio Organization Ideas

It is nice to have a clean and tidy studio again as I prefer to work in a well organized and uncluttered environment.  It has also helped improve production and my first day back to claying I decided to make a lot of new canes.  The intense colors in these remind me of a box of crayons and the patterns found in a coloring book.

Now that the studio is pretty much organized, I thought I would share a few organizing tips that I have applied.  I don't have a huge budget for new furnishings and consider myself to be good at improvising with what we already have.  Sometimes taking an item and using it in a different way than intended can be inspiring.

We have these metal shelves that are very useful.  They not only provide support in holding up our long countertop (clay table) but they are also strong enough to hold all of our clay supply which is away from direct heat and sunlight.

As you can see, we go through a lot of clay (yes these are the large blocks) and our order from Shades of Clay just arrived today.  Most of it fit here except for the extra case of black and transluscent.

We order extra (double our usual amount) in the spring before the hot summer arrives as it takes nearly a week to get here and we do not want the clay to "bake" in any trucks that might be sitting during transit.  Some of our large shows are in the early fall so it is important that we have enough clay to get us through the summer.

We found these little drawer units a while ago and I tested them out to see if the clay could be stored in them.  It turns out that the clay doesn't react at all to the plastic so I like to keep the open blocks of each clay color organized.  This way when I need some, it is quick and handy to grab.  I also have one drawer just for the "white mix", wrapped in deli sheets, that I use a lot of.

This simple book shelf sits on our clay table and is perfect for organizing all the containers that hold our canes and mixed color blends.  I still need to label a few of them but pretty much know what is in each one of them.

This is a simple cardboard stationary box that I've had for some time now.  The top part works as a dispenser for our deli sheets and the drawer works for stashing things like the shop towel.  Shop towels come in a roll like paper towel, but are much stronger and can be used over and over.  They are also lint-free which is a good thing when working with polymer clay.  The sheets are quite large so I like to cut them in quarters.

This is an old metal file cabinet that is used as a base for our large work counter.  It was an ugly grey color which we painted black.  The bottom drawer holds a lot of files but I found that one of the drawers is perfect for holding most of our texture sheets and moulds, etc. and all of our shape cutters fit in the top shallow drawer. 

The coolest thing about this cabinet is the pull out "shelf" at the top which can come in handy at times.

Lastly, a studio isn't complete without at least one OttLite which is a more accurate way to see true color.  We have several throughout our studio -- with two of them in my sewing area and one here.  It is on the jewelry making table but also right next to the clay table so is handy for color matching and mixing.

You will notice the metre (yard) stick attached to the front edge of the counter.  I never have to look for my ruler again this way.  If you don't have a yard stick you can always attach a tape measure instead.  This one has both imperial (inches) as well as metric (centimeters) measurements which is useful.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Spring Cleaning and Studio Redo

For the past few months I was feeling like it was time for a change in the studio as we seemed to be outgrowing our space and things were getting a little too messy for me.  I began to make plans to see how things could be arranged for a more efficient work area.  We decided last Monday would be a good day to start.  I had figured that it would be a two day job -- one day to "pull everything apart" and the next day to put it all back.  I thought we would be right back at claying again by Wednesday but I underestimated how much work it would be and five days later, the dust has finally settled and things are pretty much now in their new place.

So here is a little tour of our new and improved, rearranged studio:

We have three work stations, one of which is this Ikea table with the glass top that is my favorite.  This is now our "secondary work space" for working with mica powders, paints, glazing and such. 

Instead of three separate work tables I decided to combine two of them to create a corner space.  The clay work area is on the left and the jewelry making area is on the right.  Any items that is used for both clay and jewelry making is now within reach and not on the opposite side of the room as before.

Corner Work Area

Clay Work Station

Jewelry Making Work Station
This is the "baking area" with extra storage for beads, etc. that is opposite to the clay and jewelry work stations.

And another view of the Ikea table facing the closet .... 

... which is also my sewing area.  I shared here how I created this work space last year.  I can sew any time I want and then close the closet door when done.

Lastly, this little cupboard is actually for shoes but I reclaimed it from our closet to use it here.  I found some bins and boxes to fit into the spaces to help keep items that need working on or finishing a little more organized.

So now our studio is new and freshly arranged, I am ready to go back to "work" and hopefully play a little as well in between.