Friday, January 30, 2015

Rainbow Lollipops for Crochet

We have been expanding our line of accessories for knitting and crocheting.  This is our latest pattern  called "Rainbow Lollipop".  The aluminum crochet hooks that we use were begging to be covered with some fun bright colors.



To create the lollipop pattern we made a "cane" in a rainbow color blend rolled up like a jellyroll.  The cane is reduced in size and then thin slices are applied to different colored clay backgrounds.


Our crochet hooks are not only colorful to look at but feel good in your hand with our own unique ergonomic design.  There is a shaped finger grip making them easier to hold but will also help in maintaining a consistent tension.


The sizes are stamped at the end of each crochet hook for easy identification and are available in a 2.0 all the way up to a size 10.


And of course we had to make some crochet stitch markers to match.  They are in a set of five different colors on a lobster claw clasp for attaching to a bag.




We've been working long hours to make a large supply and they are now available in our Etsy shop.   

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Giant Ladybug

When we first started making our lady bugs, we had no idea they would be so popular.  We sometimes receive requests for custom items from customers at the local shops that sell our work.  One customer asked for a ladybug shawl pin with our "signature leaf" stick.  This is the design we created that has both a green and a black and white leaf stick that can be interchanged for a different look.




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Flowers and Lady Bugs

It feels like spring at our house with the snow outside melting and all the flowers and ladybugs inside.  We just finished off more of our Brilliant Bloom stitch markers for the local yarn stores and this time made extra to list in our Etsy shop.

This is our stitch marker set for knitting.  The rings will accommodate up to size 7mm (10 3/4 US) size knitting needles.  They are on a double clasp with one of our matching clay beads to attach to a bag.




This is our stitch marker set for crochet that are on a clasp to attach to a bag.




Friday, January 23, 2015

Doubling Up the Buffing Pads for Dremel

I just wanted to give you an update on our buffing pads for the dremel.  A while ago we posted some buffing tips which you will find here.  We make our buffing pads for the dremel or similar type rotary tool ourselves and are sold in a pack of 3 or a double pack of 6.  You can use them one at a time on your dremel but they can also be doubled or even tripled for a wider buffing area.  Here we have 2 buffing pads on the dremel shown below.  If you use 2 or 3 at a time, all you will need is a longer screw for attaching.

Dremel shown with 2 buffing pads for a wider buffing surface.

Dremel with 2 buffing pads for a wider buffing surface.

If you have never used our buffing pads before, this is some of the feedback we have received on them:

"Never seen Fimo shine so much!"

"These are the best for polishing without damaging polymer clay!!!  Brilliant!!!

"Excellent product.  This is my second batch and I love using these!"

"Great pads.  They work really well on the dremel I have"

- - - - - 

Unfortunately Canada Post has raised their rates again this year, however, we have decided to keep our shipping rates the same and absorb the difference.  There is no charge for shipping within Canada.

We are also still donating the same amount as before to the Samunnat Project in Nepal.  For every single pack of buffing pads that are sold we donate $1(US) and every double pack $2(US).

Our buffing pads are available in both our Etsy shop as well as our Artfire Studio.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sanding tips and working with Micro Mesh

When we first heard about "micro mesh" for sanding polymer clay, we were somewhat curious about it.  After researching it out we discovered it came in cloths as well as "pads".  We decided to finally give them a try and see if they really made that much difference.  We ordered the pads as they were  reasonably priced and available in Canada.


They are rather small (2" x 2") but are double-sided and surprisingly last much longer than you would think.  We like how the grit number is printed on them which makes it easier to keep track of using the same side until it is worn out and then using the opposite afterwards.  They come in a wide range of grits (above photo) but really isn't necessary to use them all with the polymer clay.  After testing them out we decided to use these three grits:  1500, 2400 and 3600.


I should mention that the micro mesh does not replace the normal wet/dry sandpaper.  We use the micro mesh as an extra sanding addition and only for those items that we want to have a super smooth finish and a high shine.

Our kitchen sink is our sanding work area.  We like to fill both sinks with warm soapy water.


We let the sanding paper soak in the water for a few minutes to soften a bit so they are easier to work with, especially if they are new and hadn't been used yet.


We generally like to start with a 400 grit sandpaper but if there are any rough spots or edges that need smoothing we will do that first with the 320.  Holding the polymer object in one hand and cradling the sandpaper in the other, rub the piece back and forth on the sandpaper.  Once the piece feels fairly smooth, we then sand again with the 800 grit sandpaper.  You always sand with a lower number first and then work up to a higher number which is a finer grit.


Normally one would carry on with higher grits of sandpaper such as 1000, 1500 and so on but this is where we instead switch over to the micro mesh.  The numbers run the same with the micro mesh as the sandpaper where the higher the number the finer the grit so we start with the 1500 and then sand with the 2400 following with the 3600.  Because the piece is already smooth from using the 800 grit sandpaper, it doesn't take much effort with the micro mesh.

After sanding, we then like to rub on some wax (Minwax or Renaissance) and buff with a soft cloth.  For items we want to give a super almost glass-like shine, we then buff with our dremel using our own handmade buffing pads.  You can read our buffing tips on buffing with a dremel in a previous blog post here.

We have found that since using the micro mesh, our pieces are much smoother and buff to an even higher shine with the dremel pads.  The photo below shows three buttons, each with a different finish.  The one on the far left was finished with just wet/dry sandpaper.  The button in the center was sanded with micro mesh and then buffed with a cloth and the one on the right was sanded with micro mesh and then buffed with the dremel.  It has a very high glassy shine but was hard to pick up in the photo.


I tried various ways of photographing it to show how glass like it was but was difficult to capture.  I tried capturing it in a video which shows it off a bit more.  The spots that you see are reflections off the light.

video

Monday, January 19, 2015

Polymer Clay Art Jewelry Challenge - Day 5

This is the last day of the Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge.   I thought I would show you my owl scarf necklace.  The owl head was created from our own mold/texture plate and is attached to a specially made clay bail.





The person I would like to nominate this time is Cindy Lietz.  She is another Canadian polymer artist and member of the Vancouver Guild.  Like me, she is also a full time artist and works together with her husband.  Cindy has found her own niche in the polymer clay community, with her teaching videos.  I admire anyone, like her, who jumps in with both feet and works full time with their art whether it be teaching or creating.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge - Day 4

For day four of the Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge, I thought I would show you one of my latest scarf jewelry designs --.  We had found a supply of some luxurious silk scarves and had fun creating some different style pieces to go with each of them.  This one is our Nautilus Shell in a color combo of Marsala, Dark Green and Gold.



For today I would like to nominate another Canadian, Lawrence Smith.  I first met Lawrence when we were both part of starting the Vancouver Polymer Clay Guild.  There is always the mainstay in every guild or group and we wouldn't have a guild without them.  Lawrence has been and still is a main "pillar" of the Vancouver Guild and someone you could always count on.  Perhaps this nominatiom will encourage him to share some of his wonderful art pieces he has created with us.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge - Day 3

For day three of the Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge, I would like to thank Wendy Moore, who was the third person to nominate me.  Wendy is with the Samunnat Project which aides women in Nepal who have survived domestic violence and develops ways to generate an income for them and their families.  They work with polymer clay creating beads and jewelry and their work is for sale through an Etsy shop as well as Kazuri West.

They have managed to construct their own building (the main floor) with help from the polymer clay community.  You can see the progress so far on a video that is posted on Polymer Clay Daily here.  They are still working on the second floor and have many more needs.  One way we like to help is by donating a portion our buffing pad sales towards their project.  You can read more about this on our website here.

I was trying to decide what picture to post today and then remembered one that I hadn't shared yet.  The design is rather simple but one of my favorite pieces.  The focal beads were made with extruded clay and then accented with mica powder pigments.



Now to nominate another person.  I am going to choose another Canadian, Elaine Robitaille.  Elaine is one of the writers for Craft Gossip in which she contributes to the polymer clay category.  I look forward to my e-mail from Craft Gossip each morning and reading about a featured artist or new tutorial to share.  She also has her own blog under the name of tooaquarius so you can see some of her own work there.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge - Day 2

To continue on with day two of the Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge, I would like to thank Joan Tayler, who was the second person to nominate me.

Joan is another Canadian artist and the first person who introduced me to polymer clay when she was teaching a class at a local bead show.  Dave's mom had given me some money for my birthday which I used for that class and it was one of the best gifts I ever received.  Of course she benefited from it as well with the many jewelry pieces I enjoyed making for her.

So I thought I would share some of the first beads that I made after taking the class, 10 years ago.  The first technique Joan taught us was how to make a jelly roll cane and that was what I used on these.




The polymer artist I would like to nominate today is Cynthia Blanton.  Cynthia is another Canadian and even though we have never met in person we have communicated in other ways.  We both share the same interests with creating accessories for knitting and sewing as well as jewelry.  Cynthia is on facebook but she also has a blog which you can see some of her work here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge - Day 1

A polymer artist, Donna Greenberg started something -- A Polymer Art Jewelry Challenge on Facebook.  The rules of this challenge seem pretty simple:  for 5 days, the nominated artist will show one of her pieces and nominate another polymer artist to do the same.  This challenge has spread like wildfire and before I realized it, I had been nominated several times by different people.  I was struggling with participating in this challenge on facebook as using facebook can be a "challenge" in itself.  For instance, we have our personal facebook account as well as our "professional" or business page.  So to keep things simpler, I decided to take part in this challenge by posting on our blog which will also be posted on our facebook page as a link.

So to begin this challenge, I will start with thanking Helen Breil, another Canadian polymer artist who was the first person to nominate me.  Thanks so much Helen!

In her honor, I thought I would share a piece inspired by Helen's Radiating Textures Tutorial.  The focal beads were combined with my Kite Beads technique to create this collar style necklace.



The polymer artist I would like to nominate today is another Canadian, Wendy Orlowski.  Some of you might know her as the person who owns Shades of Clay but I know her as some with many talents.  She is the creator of the CaBezel Molds which I love to play with.  She tells me she doesn't have as much time to play with the clay these days as she is so busy with helping her customers.  We are so thankful for her and Shades that we can buy most of our supplies right here in Canada.  I don't know what we would do without her!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Clay Recipes for the Pantone Spring 2015 Fashion Colors Men's Palette

I normally do not take the time to mix up any of the Pantone fashion colors for men but for some reason, these colors rather intrigued me and I felt they could add some interest to the women's palette.  I discovered that we already had most of the clay recipes with the need for a bit of tweaking to only a few.  If you are interested in creating any items for men this year, these colors could come in handy.

The clay recipes I am sharing with you are for the six additional Pantone colors for the Men's Palette.  The other colors are the same as in the Women's Palette and you will find the recipes for them here.


Here are the clay recipes for the six colors included in the men's palette using Kato clay:

Follow the clay recipe for #9-6 Regatta* and
increase the #1-2 White Mix* to 3 parts


Follow the clay recipe for #7-7 Forest Green* and
reduce the Gold clay to 1/2 part


Same as the clay recipe for #7-6 Woodbine*


2 parts Kato Brown
1 part Kato Orange
5 parts White Mix # 1-2*


Same as clay recipe #1-9 Charcoal*


Follow the clay recipe for #10-5 Plum* and
add 3 parts of #1-2 White Mix*


* These clay base colors are found in my
"Clay Color System" tutorial
available as an instant download in
our Etsy Shop
or manually sent in an e-mail from
our Artfire Studio. (preferred method for Europe)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Summary of the Polymer Clay Recipes for the Pantone Spring 2015 Fashion Colors

Here is the summary of all the recipes for the Pantone Spring 2015 fashion colors using Kato clay.  Click on each of the photos below for the link to each color recipe.  To see other clay recipes for the past Pantone colors, you can find the links on the above page (Polymer Clay Color Recipes) of this blog.











To see the clay recipes for the Pantone Spring 2015 Fashion colors for men, click on the photo below: