Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Gift Box and Hummingbird Mold

This is a gift box I made for my mom.  Nothing amazing.  I covered the sides with some Halloween themed paper from Provo Craft called Hallo Palooza.  Then I glued some green mulberry paper to the top, then a circle of orange mulberry paper.  I cut the black circle and the green sentiment piece with the Cricut using the Accent Essentials cart.  Happy Halloween is stamped from the Inkadinkado Scary Night collection as well as the black cat.  I used two bat shaped eyelets and ran the orange ribbon thru them.  The ribbon is tied in a simple knot.


This is the mold model for a pendant I’m making for my friend, John.  He wants a pendant of a hummingbird to remind him of his wife, Jill.  I’m starting with the model that I made by forming a rough outline in scrap polymer clay.  After backing the round model, I used carving tools to carve out the details thus far.  I’ll let this sit for the night and see if I still like it tomorrow.  If so (or once I get the final details completed), I use it to make a model.  I’ll use the mold to form the hummingbird in metal clay. 


Monday, October 26, 2009

More Fused Glass Jewelry and a Cute Gift Bag

I found a great glass shop in the Springs and purchased some different colors of fusing glass.  I set up a few pieces and did a firing yesterday.  This is a pendant and earring set I created with some iridescent purple glass with small black diamonds on top.  It was very difficult to get a decent picture of it that shows all the color.  This is a good as I could do:


I made my husband some of his favorite peanut butter cookies…so of course, I needed something to ‘present’ them in.  I grabbed a plain lunch bag and used Inkadinkado’s Leaves Galore set to stamp leaves in different colors all over the bag.  I then cut out a 4” diameter fluted circle with my Cricut and the Accent Essentials cart.  I ran the circle thru my Cuttlebug with the Distressed Stripes folder and highlighted the stripes by brushing Adirondack Red Pepper ink over it.  I stamped leaves using Adirondack Red Pepper, Butterscotch and Lettuce inks onto white card stock and punched out different size leaves with punches.  I stamped Love and Always from MSE Romance Sentiments set  and the sentiment from Stampin’ Ups Botanicals set onto red cardstock in black ink.  I cut them out and brushed the edges of the sentiment with black ink.  I used the circle to size a piece of red mulberry paper and tore out the piece after using a paint brush to wet the edge.  Glue it all down and viola~.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Felt Spiral Beads

The latest podcast by Michelle at Crafted By Us is on making a charm bracelet using beads that are really easy to make with regular felt.  You can use any color combinations, but I thought they would make a great accessory for Christmas.  You could use them for anything not just charm beads.   I just think they are adorable.




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Fused Glass in the Kiln (updated)

I did my first firing of fused glass today.  I used a the firing schedule from, which worked great.  The total firing took 12.5 hours. 

I did an abstract piece using scrap COE90 glass:


Although it fused well, the blue rod moved during the process and now extends over the black area.  I also don’t like that some of  glass is matte and some shiny now that it’s fires.  I’ll probably clip the blue ends and fire it again with a piece of clear glass over top to add shine.

I also did a pendant/earring set with metal inclusions of a dragonfly punched out of metal tape used to seal furnace pipes.


To the top of each piece, I added clear glass.


This is a shot of the pieces in the kiln near the end of the cool down stage.  They were placed on a ceramic shelf that had been coated with kiln wash.  The shelf is sitting on 1”x2” stilts to make sure the temp is even.


These are the pieces cooled and out of the kiln. 


The abstract piece is going back into the kiln.  Here is the finished Fused Glass Dragonfly set.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

October Craft Party

We held our October Craft Party on Saturday, the 17th.  The party was held at Kay’s house and we made Christmas cards (I know…at Halloween, right?).  Following the craft party, the guys showed up and we had a Games Night…which of course, was too much fun.

For the party, I made these little mini pumpkin pie jack-o-lanterns that were featured on Bakerella’s website.  What started out as “put some pre-made crust into a pan and pour in pre-made pumpkin pie mix” ended up being entirely home-made!!  From the crust on up…poor planning on my part. :-) 




This picture didn’t turn out too good, but it shows me, Diane, Kay and Jill.


Here are the cards we made…Diane left early to feed her dogs and took her tags before the picture was taken.


Annual Evergreen Cemetery Walk

Today was the annual cemetery walk at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.  This year’s walk highlighted murders from 1870 – 1940, including a victim of Anna Hahn, one of  the first documented female serial killer in the U.S.   The walk was very interesting and the weather was perfect.



The tour guide and my mother, Janet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Painting With Metal Clay on Glass

I decided to try this after reading about painting with metal clay paste on ceramic.  I had no ceramic at hand, so I decided to try painting on an oval glass pebble.  I rolled out some metal clay at a ‘3-card’ thickness and used a wavy cutter to cut a thin strip to wrap around the pebble.  I used a straight cutter to cut a small piece for the bail.  I put on the border, let it dry for a bit and then added the bail.  I cleaned the surface with rubbing alcohol and used a small paint brush to paint a basic dragonfly scene onto the pebble.   What I have found is that the painted silver does not stick to the glass well either raw or fired.  This would not be a piece that would hold up well as a pendant or keychain, as that would require too much handling for the painted silver.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Silver Metal Clay Earrings

With the assistance of my husband, Bo, I created a set of matching earrings for the silver pendant I made yesterday.  I didn’t take pictures of the formation of the earrings as you have to work so quickly with metal clay before it dries.


Once the shape has been formed, I let the pieces sit until they have dried enough to move them.


I then put them on a rack to completely dry.  This lets the air circulate and saves me from having to remember to flip them.


Once they are dry, I start the refining process, which includes sanding at grits from 600 to 2000 and using tiny files to get into areas the sand paper can’t reach (I didn’t take a picture of the filing as it takes two hands to do).


Then it’s into the kiln they go.  I fire Art Clay silver metal clay at 1292 degrees for 15 minutes. 


The finishing process involves a wire brush, burnisher and polishing cloth (no pictured).


First, I go over the piece with a wire brush to remove the white coating.  If you do not want a brushed finish anywhere on your piece or there are no crevices that the burnisher can not reach, you can skip the wire brush step.


Once the brushing is done, I go over the piece with a burnisher to bring out the shine.


Then polish the piece with a jewelry polishing cloth.


Finally, I add any findings needed (here earring wires) and they’re done. 


I also created another pair in a different style, but with the same basic pattern.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

First Firing in the New Kiln

I did my first firing this evening in my new kiln!  I fired a silver metal clay piece that I worked for hours refining.  I first made the piece by rolling @ 10 grams of silver metal clay into a long snake.  Make sure you cover your work surface (I use a craft sheet by Ranger), your tools and your hands with olive oil first.  This will keep the clay from sticking to everything.  Once I had the snake rolled, I created the pattern and used a wet brush to smooth any cracks.  I used a slow dry Art Clay, but it will still dry so quick that it could crack as you bend it.  I allowed this to dry over night.  Then the tedious part starts…sanding.  I used mini files and 600 grit sand paper to refine the shape…which broke in 2 places!!!  So, I had to wet those areas and use clay paste to repair the pendant and let it dry for another 4 hours!!!  Then the sanding started again.  I estimate that I spent at least 2 hours just sanding this piece. 

This kiln is awesome!  I used a chart from Art Jewelry Magazine to set my firing and hold times.  I set the firing rate at Full since metal clay is not really sensitive to temperature changes like glass.  I set the temperature at 1292 degrees F. and the hold time at 15 minutes.  The raw piece is set on a fiber shelf  and put in the kiln.  I did not use 1” stilts under the shelf  to add in an even temp as this was one small piece.  Once the kiln started, I set an alarm temp of 1250 degrees to check the piece.  It fired perfectly.  The kiln showed the current temp as it heated and the alarm sounded at the correct temp.  Once the programmed temp was reached, the kiln began to display a count down of the hold time.  When it was complete, an alarm sounded and it began a display of the current temperature…very helpful especially since I opened the door to vent.  This prevented me from sticking my hand in there to test the temp and getting burn. 

The piece will be white once fired.  Once the piece cooled, I used a wire brush to clean the white powder.  This gives is a brushed look.  I then took a burnisher and shined up the piece before polishing with a jewelry polishing cloth.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Wednesday (7 Oct) was my birthday.  I was on a business trip in Ohio at the time, so I had to wait till I came home to see what my DH had waiting for me…I’ll save you the pictures of the boxes he was sending to me.  I did get a great Bath and Body Works set that day from my friend, Cheryl, who was also in Ohio with me. 

The is the new metal/glass kiln that Bo had waiting for me!!!  I have a metal clay pendant drying right now heading for the kiln.  I still have to order the fireclay shelf necessary for fusing glass, but I’ll be kilning metal clay tomorrow!!


I also received a new blender for making handmade paper (my old one broke), a fireplace heater for my Studio (it’s not in yet), a beautiful dragonfly decoration, a crystal wine stopper and a cool t-shirt with life’s lessons from the dog. 

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Plastic Canvas Tote and Dragonfly Pendant

I finally finished the plastic canvas tote that we all started during the August Craft party.  Of course, I put a dragonfly on the side.  I added some beading to bling it up a bit.  I found some awesome material with a dragonfly print on it at JoAnn Fabrics and used it for the lining.  I measured the sides and bottom, added 1/2 inch (for a 1/4 seam allowance.  I cut all the panels out.  I decided that I wanted pockets at 7” and 5”.  I measured and cut them along the fold of the fabric to allow a double thickness pocket with a nice finished edge.  On one side, I sewed a stitch down the middle to divide the pocket and then added ‘pencil’ pockets in the 5” pocket on one side.  I left the pocket the full length on the other side.  Once the lining was sewn together, I used fabric glue to adhere it to the inside of the tote (this is much easier than trying to sew it in).



I made this necklace and earrings to go with a blouse that I’m wearing for work next week.  I bought all the material at Michaels.  The pendant was a plain large glass piece, so I etched a dragonfly onto it.  I taped a piece blue painters tape down on copy paper (for stability) and punch out the dragonfly using a paper punch.  I pulled up the tape and used it as a mask on the pendant.  The etching cream was applied in a thick layer onto the pendant and allowed to sit for one minute…rinse, pull up the tape, dry and you have an etched pendant.


Friday, October 2, 2009

My Studio

My studio is a new addition to our house that was just completed this June.  I LOVE this space!!  It’s on the far end of the house, so I’m isolated with no ‘house noises’ to distract me.  I use my studio for all types of crafts and photography.   


The Embellishment Center is where I keep all my paper crafting goodies.  The shelves hold paint, ribbons, inks and odd-n-ends I might use.  On the counter I have my Cuttlebug, Dremel tool, Beeswax pot and a bin with glues and embossing powders.  The work center is a kitchen cart that I purchased at Lowes.  It’s great because I can roll it out of the way or where ever I need it.  I also store supplies that I use often in the cart.  The stamp storage cabinet was originally built for a local artist to hold her paper.  It’s perfect for laying out all my stamps.  On the top I store my Xyron, heat gun and a container or Michael Strong stamps.  The easel holds by watercolor material.  In the photography area, I shoot pictures of people or the items I make (it’s set up for photographing jewelry right now).  The back drop is a simple curtain rod with a black sheet (way cheaper than commercial backdrops).  I have sheets of other colors if I choose to change it.


Looking from the photography area out, I have a media area that has my laptop, printer, and surround sound system.  The tables are temporary until counters are built.  The work surface also holds my Cricut…so it’s near the laptop for use.  The clay and glass station does roll, although I rarely move it.  I do metal and polymer clay here, as well as glass fusing and making glass beads.  I have paper punches on the back of  the door…because that’s were it fit.  I have an old recliner (it was my grandfather-in-law’s) that just fits the little alcove perfectly.  I store my books on a built-in shelf above the recliner.  Just out of site in that area is the door to the garage.


This is a view from the recliner area.  In the photography area, I have a large storage cabinet.  The white of the cabinet acts as a great reflector for my photos, and I have an additional black sheet that I can use to cover it if I don’t what the light reflected.

I still need to build the shelf in the Media Area to move the printer and surround sound up off the counter area.   The trim around the window and doors still needs to be finished and a permanent counter needs built, but otherwise, it’s a great space that I truly enjoy.