Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Polymer clay bead tutorial

If you haven't noticed, I've been taking a break. Sometimes, I just have to turn off the computer and play. Yes, I sounds miserable, but I assure you, You'll get so much more work done!! Remember the bowls I made, and how I got a little carried away...well....this time I have been making beads! Lots and lots of beads. I used up almost all of the translucent clay.....and then switched over to using up the ends of some old canes. Soon, I will post pictures of the beads I've made....but for now......

I've put together a picture tutorial for you, to explain how I made these beads. I figured out an easier approach to making my round beads. Plus I wanted to work on my tutorial, so I don't forget how I did it, and 2, to share. Let me know if it helps you create anything creative!?!?

I started with 2 blocks of Fimo Transparent polymer clay, and divided it into 5 equal parts.
Next, I rolled each portion into a ball and made a valley in the middle of each. Then I added the numbered amount of drops of Adironack Alcohol Ink (I used the color Cranberry) to each section.Next, mix up each section of clay and make sure you keep them in order~ from lightest to darkestI wanted a little more color in them, so I went back and added the numbered drops to the last 3 sections.Again, mix each section to blend in the ink.Once you have them blended, roll each color out using the largest setting on your pasta machine.In this next picture I sliced off the ends to make them the same size. Then I numbered them on the paper from lightest to darkest. Skipping the first one, I painted each of them with white acrylic paint. And then WAITED for the paint to dry!! If not you'll end up smudging paint all over your beads in the last steps.Once the paint has dried, stack the slabs of clay on top of each other from darkest to lightest. Make sure the painted sides all face up and that the last slab is the paint less don't want paint on the outside of your built stack.Once you have them stacked, use your acrylic roller to roll out the stack a little. Pick it up and turn it over, and roll on that side as well. Roll in all directions, but don't roll it too thin.
Then it's time to start punching out your circles. I'm using a little one, about the size of a dime. Once you get it out, start rolling it on it's side. I think the picture does a better job explaining it then I would in words........just make sure that when you roll it, you keep the light side on one side and the darker side of the bead on the other. Don't worry if it's hard to see your lines, they'll come out brighter when you bake them!! The bottom row of beads is the color I used in this tutorial...see how the color deepens when they bake?Good luck and let me know if this helps!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My clay secrets

Today, I must tell you my secrets. About a year ago, the craft store had Fimo clay on sale for .99 each. At the time I was in one of my bead making phases, and was using a LOT of Fimo Transparent! So I went Michael's, only to discover that it was sold out. However, I know Michael's does rain checks, so I took advantage of that, and put 20 transparent blocks of clay on rain check. A few weeks after that I got the call that my clay was ready to be picked up~ and wouldn't you know by that time, I was no longer in the mood to make beads! So, I tucked the blocks away for another day. Needless to say, now that I'm in the mood again, it's nice to have all this pre-bought clay on hand!

Remember the blue beads I made the other day......I was able to make one last bracelet before I realized that I'm out of wire, and crimp beads, and clasps! Ugggg! Well, at least I have lots of pretty beads for when I get around to making more bracelets! Another secret of mine is how I bake my beads. Actually, it's not really a secret, it's just how I do it. I use the toaster oven to bake my beads, so I needed something small to fit in there. I bought a 6inch ceramic tile that works perfectly. Then I used some scrap clay to make the little stands on the ends. Bake those first, and then you can reuse them! I reuse the same ones every time I bake, and they have lasted for a long time.

One day I will learn the secret to keeping the cats out of my clay! It never fails, as soon as I walk away from what ever project I'm working on, one of the cats wants to come along and walk through it. I wouldn't mind so much, but do they have to leave their hair and paw prints embedded in everything?? (honestly, I love the foot prints, I think it adds character!!) I remember when I first learned this lesson, I was about 15. I was working on an oil painting, and made the mistake of walking the 2.2 seconds I had my back turned, my Siamese cat, Ebenezer, went running across my masterpiece. Luckily, he ran across the bottom part of it, so he didn't mess up the painting, but my Mother did not appreciate the paw prints he left across the carpet! From then on, the paintings were stored up high on top of a hutch to dry. The hutch was very tall, there was only a couple of inches between it and the ceiling. LOL, it's hard to find places that cats can't get to!

So, now that you have the background on me 'learning' this's what these cats have been doing to me now......First I was sitting on the bed Sunday night, making beads. When all of a sudden I hear this galloping noise coming down the hall. Something told me to brace myself, so I leaned over the tray of beads I was working on. As I'm leaning over, Otis is in the process of launching himself onto the bed. Luckily, I was able to bend over in time, and he landed on my back~ and I managed to save the whole tray of beads. Last night, I was not so lucky!

Here I am, sitting on the couch this time, with my beads on the coffee table. I was almost done making all my big beads.....about 20 of them, when Pocus comes sliding across the table. And Flips my tray into the air! Yes! My poor unbaked, just rolled out beads went flying everywhere! Needless to say, I spent the next 2 hours trying to pick out all of the fibers that had attached themselves during the tragedy. I spent 2 hours picking out fibers because it took me less time to do that, then it did to roll out all those darn beads. They turned out OK, so I guess my time was well invested!

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's all about the beads....

Thought I'd show you you the extremely long process of my favorite beads. I'm using Fimo Translucent polymer clay and Adironack Alcohol inks. I take a block of clay, and divide it into sections. Then I add the ink.....the first section of clay gets 2 drops of ink, the second section of clay gets 4 drops, and so on, until you have color in all the sections. Then I roll out each color into a slab. I put them, in order from lightest to darkest, and then paint each of them with acrylic paint. I used a lime green paint in these. (Don't paint the lightest shade~the top color....I make this mistake every time! And if you accidentally do, you can just flip the slab over.) Once the paint dries, I use my little circle cutter to cut out the circles you see on the left of the picture.
Then you stack the colors from lightest to darkest. After you have your little stacks made, start to roll them into a bead......
And of course I don't have a picture of what the green beads look like.......that be too easy, huh! But I do have a picture of a bracelet I made using the scraps that were left over. Although I like the color....I wanted to make it where you could actually see the different colors..........
Like these! Perfect! I'm so freaking happy with the blue ones, it's scary! They remind me of marbles...Oh, I can't wait to make a bracelet with these....won't it be fabulous?? LOL
Otis says Hello.....he's busy napping again.........Isn't he the cutest~ I love it when they sleep with their tongues hanging out!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More beads....

No, I haven't falling of the face of the earth.......just my muse has. I wish I could nail her wings to the floor, but I can't. She comes and goes at will.....hopefully she comes back soon, and points me in the direction of that doll house! But, until then.......I'll just keep experimenting with my beads.

This first one didn't turn out at all how I imagined it. I wanted you to see the different colors I used, but they all blended together. This was my second attempt......better, you can actually see the different colors this time.......but, I still wasn't happy. So, I decided to try and make orange ones. Do you see the ones on the metal pokers? Those haven't been baked yet, but when they are, they will be the same color as the ones in the upper right.
I also made the pink ones...well, they were suppose to be purple, but ended up with that mauve tint to them....either way, I like them! Now, to make necklaces, my least favorite part.....I'm just never happy with the end result.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our Halloween Trade

Chris ( and I recently did a trade. I sent her some of my Halloween bowls...........and she sent me this: isn't she generous?!?!

There's Halloween posters, framed Halloween prints, metallic purple netting, cakes and a pie, a mini TV, skeleton hands, skeleton heads, and whole skeletons. Chris also sent me some of her books...check them out at She even sent me a witch!

My favorites, though, are her plants! They always make me laugh! Look at the one in the middle, it's a full moon plant, Yup....that's a butt.....the flash took away the crack, lol! And this one......fingers creeping out of the planter...too funny!Poor Otis thought the skeletons were his, he has tried to steal them a few times (those little feet and hands are just too tempting!)....I finally had to put them away, or they might end up looking like some of those skeletons on CSI. LOL, look at him, he's in a daze........I wonder what he's thinking???

Thanks again Chris, I had a lot of fun trading with you! Now, I gotta put on my thinking cap and get to working!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Color chips

Yeah! I'm still here, hanging on, lol! That cold wasn't just a cold, and I'm still trying to get it together! I'm over all this coughing!

Otis has found a new napping spot, and well....... I'm not impressed. Why do cats insist on being where they're not suppose to be? LOL....You see Katie's Corner? It's covered in a turquoise pillow case to keep you know who out. Right next to it, is The Skate Shop.....Daddy had to put a big tub of plaster in there to keep Otis out, he finally found that cork floor, and has plucked up the back corner! I don't think there's a mini around here that he hasn't added his touch to!!

Yes, this is my work table.....although I don't know if I've ever really worked on it, I normally drag my stuff to the couch and camp out. One day I'll have a whole room for this stuff, and it won't look so cluttered. I managed to play a little over the weekend. I have always wanted to cook a slice from each color of clay and bake it, so I'd have color chips. I just never knew how I wanted to do it. Then this I ran across this, on the idea was born, again. I hand stamped the names of the clay into each disk, and baked the colors I had here. Some Sculpy colors change when they are baked, so it is nice to see what the end color will be before I make something. Do you see the 2 Lemon ones at the front, I had to turn the toaster oven down to 240ish in order for it to bake an actual lemon color. I love having these chips.....I can take them out and experiment with the colors. For example.....I used the colors that are laying down to make a mokume gane cane. And when I baked it I turned the toaster oven back up, I liked the darker lemon for in this color combination.And got these...The boys in my house said they have a very feminine like quality to lead to a very interesting conversation, which I'll save you the details of, LMAO!!!

Either way, I like how they came out.. They'd make some pretty focal beads!
Aren't they cute? Makes me want to curl up with them and take a nap!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Change of pace today......

My friend Chris at tagged me today with a request to list 6 things about me and books, So here goes:

1. My favorite book as a toddler was Whose Mouse Are You, by Robert Kraus. I had my Mother read it to me so many times, it fell apart, and eventually disappeared. Then, the day I bought my oldest son home from the hospital, I found a brand new copy of it, in his bassinet! How sweet is that!

2. I learned to read by memorization: lots and lots of Ladybird books!~ which I still have! I spent the first part of my childhood in Wales, and came to America at the end of 2nd grade. They had already learned phonics, and somehow, I managed to skip right over it....I still to this day, couldn't tell you the difference between a long A and a short A?!?!

3. I love 'coffee table' books! You know, the big books that are full of amazing photos! Recently I bought one of those big atlas books on a clearance table, and was in Heaven! It's so heavy!! I had been wanting one for a long time! Haunted Castles of Britain and Ireland is one of my favorite books~There's a picture in there of Roch Castle~ a castle that was behind my school in Wales, I used to look at it everyday~ just good memories for me! Another favorite is Amazing Places to go in North America. There's so much out there that I want to see! From Niagara Falls to the Grand Canyons, I want to experience it all....and if I can't get there physically, I'll have to settle for my beautiful books.

4. I must admit, I'm not a big reader. I will sit down from time to time and get totally engrossed in a book, but it has been awhile. (Now that I think about it, The Golden Compass was the last book I read, and I read it before it came out in the theater, terrible, huh!) Most of the books I read are True Crime books. Daddy was the Black Dahlia Killer, and other books about the case are really interesting to me.......So are Bernardo and Homolka, and Bundy, and Dahmer, and this one time at band camp, get the idea. I will say I started to read this one book years ago, called When Rabbit Howls, and I still have yet to finish it. The main character has I think 92 personalities, so it makes it rather hard to follow.....but one day, I SHALL finish reading that book!!

5. I get most of my inspiration from books. For example....I have a book called Healing Crystals and Gemstones, it has lots of info and pictures about rocks.......and I love making rocks! So I can study the book and design my own rocks using inspiration from the book. Same thing goes for those castle books, it gives me lots of ideas of how to build walls or how ivy grows up the side of bricks. You can never have too much eye-candy, that's for sure!

6. Do the AAA books count? You know, the books you get from AAA telling you what attractions are where, and where to eat and sleep.......Yup....I'm totally addicted!

Ok, well there you have it.....6 things about me and books! Now it's your turn!!