Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bad to the Faux Bone

I did not get to clay Thursday night for our weekly PCAGOE Clay and Play session. I had to put in some unexpected overtime at the day job and did not get home until late, and by then I was so exhausted, I de-stressed with a bowl of Haagen-Dazs Coffee ice cream and chilled out on the couch instead of claying.

Yesterday morning, I decided to experiment to find a good faux bone recipe. I've tried a couple on the internet, but they were too white. Just like Goldilocks, some were too dark, some were too light, but a couple were just right. I ended up using all of them, some on the same piece, which I think creates an interesting effect.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Animal Magnetism

"... In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight..." Oh, sorry, got carried away with that song for a minute.

I am now knee deep in gemstones in the colors of Autumn. When I get carried away, I really get out there. Exhibit "B", Animal Magnetism.

I purchased the Lion polymer clay face bead from my friend Rebecca Watkins at Artybecca several weeks ago. As soon as I saw them in her photostream at flickr, I wanted one. I actually purchased two, but the other is smaller than this one and didn't fit the necklace. I may make a matching bracelet with the "cub."

The pendant is my creation, an image transfer of an animal print. The faux amber capped Ethnic Motif Tower Beads are mine, too. You may recall them from a few months ago. These are Hawaiian tapa cloth patterns I purchased from my friend Linda at ParrishLin and transferred.

I added the lovely DZI-style Agate beads, crackled Fire Agate rondelles, 26mm red Horn Bone disc beads with a chocolate brown horn bone ring sandwiched between, burnt orange sponge coral, and Dalmation Jasper, my favorite chameleon gem. You can use Dalmation Jasper with anything and it will blend in very well. I also used antique finish copper spacers, end caps and a toggle clasp to finish it off.

"... in the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight..."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Autumn On My Mind

I am not a Summer girl. I hate it, and hate really is not too strong a word. I love my state, but I could happily live at the North Pole rather than suffer through this sweltering, "steal your breath" heat and humidity and the gnats and mosquitos, which we seem to have 9 months out of the year in South Carolina.

My favorite season, by far, is Autumn. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the colors of fall, the brilliantly changing leaves; the crisp, cool air; trips to the Blue Ridge Mountains; and college football games.

In the 100 degree weather, with heat indexes up to 110, that we have been suffering through this week, my thoughts turned to those cool, crisp days and those brilliantly colored leaves. I started tagging my shop items with the 2010 Pantone Fall Fashion Colors and my mind started wandering to which of the new colors I have in gemstones.

I reworked this necklace using this "Tree of Life" pendant, my signature antique copper color blend. I added Picasso Jasper, Purple Impression Jasper, Desert jasper, Moukaite, and copper accents. I also added two handmade, hollow glass beads made for me by my friend Aja, who has a shop at Etsy called Wandering Spirit. Aja's work is so inspiring to me. I have purchased many of her hollow beads, and these are two of my favorites.

Now I'm in a Autumn state of mind, and I'm going back to the studio and conjure up a few more necklace designs in Fall colors.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy 113th, Amelia Earhart, Wherever You Are!

I am so honored that my little Barn Burner Pendant is included in two Etsy treasuries today, both created by ladies named Maria!

Maria Palito created this beautiful new Etsy Treasury titled "Amelia Earhart Day" to commemorate the 113th birthday of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.

You can read more about the extraordinary life of of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to make a solo transatlantic flight (1932) at her official website and the Amelia Earhart museum

Thank you again, Maria, for allowing me to be included in this tribute to one of my heroes!

My friend and fellow PCAGOE member Maria Psaltis of OneandOnly also included the barn burner pendant in her all-PCAGOE member treasury titled "Polymer Delights." This treasury really shows the versatility of polymer clay, doesn't it?

Thank you, Maria, for including me!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Win My Beads in This Month's Art Bead Scene Challenge!

I am one of the sponsors for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge. The theme for the challenge is based on Alexander Calder's 1948 mobile, "Blue Feather."

If you enter one of your creations in the challenge, you could win this set of 4 denim and copper focal beads. They measure approximatley 25mm each.

Image Transfers to Translucent Clay

I tried transferring images to translucent clay a couple of years ago, and it didn't work. I use Premo Pearl almost exclusively, but seeing the success my friend and fellow PCAGOE member, Marcia Palmer recently had with transfers to translucent clay using my cylinder bead tutorial, I got inspired by her success and was determined to make it work for me. This is Marcia's bead that inspired me. Isn't it gorgeous?

I quickly realized the reason it didn't work was because I didn't back the translucent with an opaque clay, so my images were looking like the invisible man when he was halfway to the no-see zone.

Black Lace Pendant Black Line Image Transfer On Translucent Clay - Light Aqua and Black (2)

I am very pleased with the results. The finished effect is a soft, almost luminescent effect. The images look like they glow from within. A couple didn't transfer as well as others, but here are a few of my favorites from the batch.

Black Line Floral on Blush Pendant Black Etched Floral Pendant

I am especially pleased with these "black line" image transfers, simple black line drawings. I knew they would transfer well to an opaque clay, but I wasn't sure what I would get with the translucent. I set out with an idea to transfer them to red opaque clay, but the tinted translucent I had blended last week caught my eye instead.

And then, of course, I had to try some florals, wondering if they would have the same soft luminescence. What do you think?

Petit Duc Rose Duo On Parchment PendantButtercream Hibiscus on Aqua Image Transfer 1 (1)

Pale Yellow Rose on Lavender Background Image Transfer Pendant Pink Rose on Majolica Blue Background Pendant

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Espresso and Platinum Gingko Leaves Necklace is Featured in a New Treasury

Isn't this a beautiful treasury? Thank you, Shelley of ShelleyMacDonald at Etsy included my Espresso and Platinum Gingko Leaves Necklace in her "Creme Brulee" treasury yesterday.

This is one of my favorite necklaces. It isn't often I'm completely happy with a necklace design. Usually, as soon as I finish, I think of gems I would rather have used and end up restringing and restringing and restringing. I make myself crazy sometimes. But I am really happy with the configuration and the color palette in this one. The gemstones are perfect for the pendant: Palm Jasper, Ocean Jasper, Snakeskin Jasper, Fancy Jasper; and the Pewter end caps and sterling toggle clasp finish it off very nicely.

Thanks again, Shelley!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Finally Finished My Mica Shift Tutorial

Many of my customers have given me fantastic feedback on the four tutorials I have written so far on image transfers and finishing; and they have encouraged me to offer more, so I decided to start with one on my method of achieving mica shift.

The traditional way to achieve mica shift is to stamp or emboss a piece of metallic clay, slice off the raised areas and then compress the clay in a pasta machine to level the surface. Through trial and error, I found a better way to achieve flawless, crisp, foolproof mica shift with great depth. The only slicing involved is cutting a shape for a pendant or brooch. The pasta machine has a part, largely in conditioning the clay before it is stamped. And, you can use even the the most shallow etched stamps and get a fantastic shift.

My frustration with the traditional method was first, you need a very, very steady hand and a razor sharp, flexible tissue blade to get a good design; and second, compressing the clay in the pasta machine tended to leave me with blurry, faded-looking designs that I could barely distinguish. I wanted something bolder, more vivid, with deep, crisp edges in the designs; and third, I just don't have the patience, or the nerves, for the slicing part. I can't tell you how many times I sliced too deeply and ruined a design, ending up with an uneven mess. It seemed the more flexible the blade, the less control I had over the slicing. And more than once, I sliced my finger in the process, too.

So, to all of you who asked for a new tut, here it is! How to Achieve Flawless Mica Shift Without Slicing or Compressing in a Pasta Machine is now available. I listed it in my SCDiva shop at Etsy yesterday, and you may also purchase it here on the blog. If you have any questions after purchasing it, please let me know. I know you're going to have fun with this one. And it's on to the next one for me. I just hope it doesn't take me another six months to get it done!

Catching Up On Some Treasury Features

I try to blog the Etsy treasuries I am lucky enough to be featured in, and link back to the curator's shop to thank them for including me.

It is difficult to get noticed at Etsy, and the Treasuries are a very important way to do that; and I am always amazed that people find me and want to include me, when there are literally tens of thousands of folks trying to get noticed as well. Most of the time, they are people I don't even know, and I am honored they choose me.

I am ashamed to say that I have been so busy with the day job the past two weeks that I have not done a very good job thanking these nice people who included me in their treasuries, and I would like to remedy that today. So bear with me, please, while I give some much overdue thanks! Your eyes will feast on all the beautiful items included. You could definitely fill a wish list, or your holiday gift list, just by visiting these shops, so have a great time looking!

June 28, 2010:

Lori of FabricatedFamily included my Turquoise and Copper Cylinder Focal Beads in her Etsy treasury Titled "A Little Dog Told Me", which has nothing to do with dogs and everything to do with gorgeous coppery, coral and turquoise vertigris lusciousness!

Linda of clickdecourcyNI included my Cayenne Red Double-Sided Pebble Textured Beads in her Etsy treasury, titled "Pebble...". I fell in love with several of the items she included in this treasury. It's such a soothing treasury.

My cayenne beads are really popular! They were also featured, along with my Cranberry Carte Postale Pendant, in an All-PCAGOE member treasury created by new member Penny of PennysLane, titled "Seeing Red." I love this treasury, but then, everyone knows Red is my favorite color.

June 30, 2010:

PCAGOE member Deb of RenGalSA created an all-PCAGOE member treasury to promote our July challenge and titled it "Faux". She included my Faux Turquoise Topped Antique Copper Textured Orphan Focal Bead (what a mouthful!). I am honored to be included with all the awesomely talented people in our guild!

July 5, 2010:

This treasury created by Sweet2BLiving, which she titled "Orient to the Keepsakes", is one of the prettiest treasuries I have seen at Etsy in a long time. Of course, I'm a huge fan of the Asian theme, and use it as much as possible in my own work, so that may be one reason it appeals to me so much. I'm so happy my Black Capped Antique Gold Koi Fish Focal Beads are included.

July 6, 2010

Now for a fun, happy, and irresistible treasury created by Nancy of BytheBead, which she titled "Spots and Squiggles and Dots, Oh My!". Nancy included my Chartreuse Textured Focal Beads.

Sadly, this glorious "Summer Morning" Treasury created by Gloria of GloriaKirk has already expired, but I wanted to include it here anyway. Gloria included my Gold Mica Shift Double-Stamped Pebbled Swirls on Black Pendant. It was such a beautiful treasury, and many of the items are still available.

July 8, 2010:

Betsy of BetsyBenson included my Majestic Butterfly pendant in her "Beautiful Vision" Treasury Thursday. That little butterfly pendant has been featured in more Etsy treasuries than any of my other work. It's very popular!

July 10, 2010:

Whew! All caught up and I just received an email from Robin J. of DevineDepth that she featured my Faux Jade Gingko Leaf Cylinder Focal Beads in her new Etsy treasury today, "What Exactly is Polymer Clay?" And what a special treasury it is!

I love it when artists who do not normally use polymer clay to create showcase it in a serious and positive manner. Polymer gets such a bad rap sometimes. It suffers from a stereotype that it is something kids play with, which infuriates me. So, I was thrilled when I went to see Robin's treasury and found that it included some of the best polymer clay artists around, some of my pc heroes and even a few friends among them! Thank you so much, Robin. You have truly made my day!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who featured me in the past two weeks. I cannot really express how much it means to me. Many happy blessings on you all!


July PCAGOE Challenge Results - I Won!

Thank you so much to everyone who voted for my entry in the July PCAGOE "Faux" challenge. I won 1st place in both categories, winners voted by the public and winners voted by the PCAGOE members! I'm thrilled, and honored. There were so many wonderful entries this month. I had an extremely difficult time myself choosing only three favorites.

The other winners in the Faux challenge were Marcia of MarciaPalmer; Jan of JanGeisen; Randee of RMKDesign; and Janice of BlessedBeadJewelry. You can check out all the results, and the lucky voters who won polymer prizes, at

Thanks again, everyone! Next month's theme is "Paints, Foils, Leafs and/or Inks." I cannot wait to see the entries!