Friday, December 4, 2009

My colorful mood

Everyone seems to be thinking about color these days.  Like everybody else in the clay world, I'm doing some of the exercises in Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Haunani and Maggio, but in addition, I decided to mix up some colors from the recipes I've collected through my subscription to Cindy Lietz's Polymer Clay Tutor service.  Each week she sends out three recipes, two for people who get her free weekly newsletter (To receive this newsletter automatically by email each week, you can fill out the opt-in form at: ) plus another one for paid members of her Bead Making Video Library.  I made 66 color chips, wrote the recipes on the back and put holes in the corner so I can keep them on a wire.  I like having individual chips so I can move them around and see how different colors work with each other.  Some of these are yummy and I can't wait to use them in a project.

In addition to the color recipes, Video Library members get a new video each week showing a clay technique or a project.  This week the video shows how to make extruded flower canes.  At only $3.32 per month, it's hard to pass up this great service.

More Molly

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I love the way her little bat ears blow in the wind when she runs. (The frisbee toy is only 6 inches in diameter)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Meet Molly

We've enjoyed being parents to Megan so much that we just adopted a 9 and 1/2 week old miniature schnauzer puppy named Molly. She's chewing on the computer cord right now and keeps crawling on the keyboard of my laptop. Molly is adjusting well to her new home, but big sister Megan is not pleased. No bloodshed so far, but a fair amount of growling and snapping on Megan's part. The last photo makes her attitude pretty clear.


Saturday, August 1, 2009

A day in Newfoundland

Newfoundland is known for spectacular scenery, icebergs, whales, moose, Screech, and incredibly friendly people. I'm happy to report that, except for spotting a moose, we experienced everything else. In fact, we experienced them all in one day during our visit to Trinity Bight on the Bona Vista peninsula. (Please click on photos for larger, and much more enjoyable, images.)

A "bight" is a bend in a coast forming an open bay, and in New Bonaventure, one of the settlements around Trinity Bight, there is a charming man named Bruce Miller who runs Rugged Beauty Boat Tours and provides terrific boat tours of the area where he grew up.

Our first stop was the set of Random Passage, constructed in 2000 for the filming of the TV mini-series of the same name. It was built to represent a typical fishing outpost in the early 1800's complete with sod roof houses, fishing stage and fish flakes and a traditional vegetable garden. Bruce's family came to Newfoundland in the early 1800's and made their living from the sea. Bruce tells tales of his ancestors and takes visitors on a small boat to the abandoned villages of Kerley's Harbour and Ireland's Eye,

so named because looking east, the next thing you see is Ireland. The photographs show the abandoned church and ruins of the village with lobster pots in the foreground. Bruce has wonderful old photographs of these communities during their prosperous years, and it is amazing to see how many buildings there used to be. As the fishing industries died, people moved away, often taking their houses with them, and not much is left today. In addition to showing old photographs and telling stories, Bruce also shares his opinions on politics and what life is like for rural Newfies today. He also takes guests to a cabin he built on the site of his grandfather's home in the abandoned outport of British Harbour and lets them enjoy the view while he brews up some tea. (The brown cabin on the left is Bruce's and the other photos show the wildflowers by the house and the view from the deck.

To add to the pleasure of historic sites and scenery, there is often wildlife and icebergs to see. We saw two bald eagles and were able to get close to a pod of humpback whales. The first thing you see is the spout. Then the huge body appears and gracefully goes into a dive. Finally, all you can see is the disappearing tail fin. Truly awesome.

Then we went to see the iceberg. This lone hunk of ice was melting rapidly, so it must have been much bigger when it first floated into the bay.

Some small pieces of it had broken off, so Bruce pulled the boat up next to one and used his gaff to break off some chunks for us. After returning to our B&B, we spent the rest of the afternoon sipping Screech, the infamous Newfoundland rum, made cold with bits of 10,000-year-old ice from the iceberg. The ice is full of air which escapes in bubbles as the ice melts.

More to come on Newfoundland in a couple of days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

On the road again....

I've been traveling quite a bit. Hubby and I had a wonderful week of vacation in Newfoundland,then I came home and immediately left for Maryland to take a polymer clay class and then to Pennsylvania to visit my mom. I'm in PA now, borrowing my mom's computer. To those nice folks I met in Newfoundland: It will be another week or two until I can get home and post the photographs I promised you. Please come back later.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Another Frame

One of my guildmates, Laura McIntosh, is having a baby and has decorated the nursery in a jungle theme using green, yellow and white. I made this picture frame for her but don't tell her. She hasn't seen it yet.

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's a Frame Up!!!

The infamous Daniels 12, my best friends in the whole world, got together again, this time in Niagara Falls. We were all freshmen together in a small dorm called Daniels Hall and after seeing each other every 5 years at reunions, we decided to start having our own private reunions. It has become sort of a tradition to exchange small gift items, so last time I gave everybody Altoid tins covered in clay. This time I decided to give everyone a picture frame - covered in clay, of course. I bought unfinished wooden frames at Michaels, baked them, sanded off any resin that oozed out, coated them with Modge Podge, and then added clay. This was a technique I learned from Gaby Orbach at Morrisburg. For most of them I used Bev Larose's texture sheets (which I think will be available soon through Shades of Clay) either covering the clay with PearlEx powder and then running it through the pasta machine with the texture sheet, or texturing the clay and then adding pigment. (Click on photos for larger views.)

Even the ones made with plain gold or silver clay looked nice. Then I got playful - this is my first try at the extruding technique. Kewl.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Morrisburg, Day 2 and 3

Georgia Ferrell, aka Iggy, treated us to Fanciful Fabric and Other Stuff.
Georgia encouraged us to play with liquid clay and a variety of materials including yarns, thin fabrics, ribbons, sparkles and, essentially, anything we can think of.

Wendy Orlowski made a New Year's resolution to use up some of her stash before buying anything new, and as a result, came up with a class called Resolution Steampunk. We were told to raid our tool boxes and garages and to take apart obsolete items in order to find parts appropriate to the Steampunk trend. The results were spectacular.

In addition to workshops, there were a variety of swaps. Everyone was encouraged to clean out their studios and bring unwanted items for the "Table of Junque." It looked like Filene's Basement as we elbowed each other aside to find the good stuff. We also swapped canes and beads.

The queen of miniatures, Jacey Culham, showed us how to create a picnic of miniature hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and donuts. Yum. Then there is poutine - yuck - the Canadian dish consisting of fries, cheese curds and gravy.

Last year's mystery project was so much fun that we did it again. On the first day we were each given a small square of paper with a fragment of a photo on it. Our job was to duplicate the image in clay, matching colors and size. Then on Saturday night, we each stuck our square onto a larger canvas.

Margi Laurin supervised the project.

And we produced this masterpiece.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rite of Spring

Once again I was lucky enough to attend "Morrisburg", the clay retreat held in Morrisburg, Ontario for members of the Quebec and Ontario clay guilds. Kudos to Margi Laurin and Violette Laporte for another well-organized, well-run, and FUN event. That's Vio having fun on the right.

As usual the workroom was a hubbub of creativity.

Gaby Orbach got us started with a workshop on interesting surface techniques including a silkscreen effect that doesn't use a silkscreen. We used the results to cover wooden picture frames or to make jewelry (jewellery for Brits and Canadians).

Next Sandy Willis showed us how to have fun with flakes, although at first we weren't sure if she was referring to us or the stuff from Grummer. It turns out we colored little iridescent flakes and used them to make sparkly surfaces which could be used in many applications.

Finally, Violette Laporte showed us how to create lovely books using covers made of clay. We tore or cut paper and then bound everything together using a needle and thread in a technique called Coptic stitching.

More on Day 2 tomorrow........