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Friday, 20 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Hi Everyone
A cold and very frosty morning this morning - lots of white everywhere. I think it's 'looking a bit like Christmas' as they say !

It's also our last family working/school day before our Christmas break. Ive been winding down this week already and finishing off a few outstanding projects today. I'm also having a Christmas coffee with a few friends this morning - not much work will get done !

Yesterday, I spent a little time building my Pinterest jewellery boards for inspiration. I'm getting to the point where I want to try and work through a new body of jewellery work. I have a range of jewellery which Ive used as a learning experience and want to develop my techniques. My particular interest is in using metal and clay together. While finding examples of jewellery yesterday, I found lots of porcelain items which I thought I could use for inspiration. Here are a few of my favourites.
I love this folded theme.

I also like this very simple white cubes on a silver chain.

I like all these examples. I particularly love the collar style necklace (bottom left) and am going to try to see if I can make one similar. All the examples in this board are brilliant - go to pin interest to check out in detail.

That's it for today. So, I need to say - Merry Christmas to everyone - I hope to post a few photos over the holiday period but am signing off 'official' blogging until the New Year.

Have a great time.

Bye from me.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Introducing RED

Hi Everyone
It's a lovely bright sunny morning today - low sun in the sky.

Ive got loads of Christmas wrapping to do today and Ive got to be disciplined with this job this morning - my treat reward (if I complete the wrapping) will be time making up some new jewellery design experiments. I managed to experiment most of yesterday and feel Ive been 'truanting'. I did nothing on my lists at all !!

However, today I must get back on track ! Coffee first.

This is what I did yesterday :

I filled in the bottom of my faux bone ring and will distress the white bit and add some colour to blend with the ring material. It fits great and it's an experiment so I can make further alterations if I wish.

It fits great and very comfortable.

More blue stuff - destined to be broach and earrings. These are quite delicate. I want to add a high gloss to parts of the surface. I want to experiment with a handcrafted pin for the broach. Will let you know how it goes.

This is very exciting for me - these are the first examples of the faux metal bows Ive been planning to do for some time. They turned out better than I expected. I want to make a few pieces out of the bow beads. The idea was to mimic metal and I was going to sand the edges to be quite thin. However, I like the feel of these ones and will go with the thickness for now. I will do further experiments with thinner clay too.

Ive also made a small kidney shaped red earring, this is similar to the navy pair from a few months ago. I am much more inclined to wear very small earrings for everyday use and am going to work on making more small earring designs (as a policy).

Here is the navy bow version with embedded ear hooks. After a short time of wearing, the baked in hooks came out so I needed to resort to glue. I'm not entirely convinced about glue for this job.
I had originally decided to drill a hole for the hook to fit through (in the spine middle) but the colett on my machine was too large for a tiny drill I have. New collet required (not sure how to spell that word ?) - Ive used two spellings, one should be the right one. I will order a new smaller colett today. Here is a very poor photo of the earring in my ear. It's so difficult to take a self photo with an earring. Will get my son to do another ASAP.

Here are more red beads. Not many (I know) but they will become a little necklace on a chain, I think ?

The last photo is yet another blue (almost green) earring. Ive layered teal coloured mixed clay on a simple shape and painted navy around the edge. The result is a delicate textured earring bead. I love these and will keep them for myself.

Must get wrapping.

Bye for today.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Being Inventive

Hi Everyone
The sky looks a bit angry this morning and storms are 'brewing' - let's hope the weather turns out OK later.

I'm still working on Christmas ! - as usual it's a mega panic to get organised and juggle all that needs doing. I'm not 100% happy with my house decorations - things need pulling together. So, I will spend some time thinking this through this morning and making another list !!!

I did push some work in last night and have a few clay items ready for baking. You may remember some rings I made last week. Ive been checking for photos and can't find any for the initial stage (maybe I didn't take any ? ). I made three rings in total, all with a simple band and a faux 'stone'. Each part made separately. Ive experimented with two ways of linking the two. One is simply 'glued' with soft clay and the other is embedded into the 'stone'. Ive got another in navy to complete after I decide which method works best.
Here are the two 'experiments', the lighter one is faux bone and the other a 'wood' finish.

I also embedded some posts on to small faux metal earrings. I will bake and then add paint and bake again. I'm not sure what colours to use - perhaps some 'brights'.

The larger items in the photo above are a couple of very thin pieces of baked clay that Ive 'sunk' into clay - I still think they are probably destined for the bin but thought I could be inventive ?

Talking about being inventive, Ive embarked on a new project which will run alongside my work. It's a way of moving myself and business into a new phase.
Do What You Love is a self help initiative within an online community. There is a series of activities which begin to look at being successful in 2014 - whatever that means for the person involved. For me it's about being focused and successful with thepapersac and redefining what it is I'm doing. Ive done a few sessions and will use it as a structure to move myself on. On that note, I must get going.

Bye for today.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Metal Matters

Hi Everyone
Another mild day for December and not particularly 'winter like' or Christmassy ! I need to find a few Christmas activities to get my mind in the Christmas 'zone' ! Today, I must get to grips with presents and lists, so perhaps by this evening I will be fully 'Christmased' not sure that's a word but it will do for now.

My new seal for the gold beads didn't arrive yesterday - therefore no development on the gold beads. I did (eventually) decide to make a clasp with some fake gold wire (as a practice). If Im certain about the design and my ability to make it well, I may go for real gold. It seemed very expensive for a prototype to buy real gold wire. I'm going on a metal workshop in Jan/Feb and have high hopes for developing new skills and acquiring good advice on metal matters.

On 'metal' ideas, I did manage a little experiment on some clay work. Ive been wanting to make some little bows in clay which are mimicking metal. I'm a huge fan of an artist called Amy Tavern. Amy has an Etsy shop but it's on holiday at the moment (which is why I can't link the shop here at the moment). However, in her shop she sells a range of metal jewellery like these earrings.

I love these and have been trying to work out how I can make something similar in clay or if it's even possible ? The whole idea is to have a similar item and not the same but I do want the idea of metal to be there. I like to wear smallish earrings myself, large dangly earrings don't usually suit me - so the whole earring will need to be small. Ive decided to try and get the basic shape with a bend and will aim to use a slightly different style of ear hook. Ive used a mix of white and sparkly clay - not sure what the sparkly stuff is called but it has some glitter like mix in it. The shapes Ive made are small and Ive got a bend in the shape. They measure approximately 2.5 cm across and 1.5 cm high. I made a paper template to get my shape from an initial very quick sketch. I tend to use paper templates for most shape cutting in clay.

I'm going to bake the shapes over a folded paper and add paint etc later. I will also change the wire attachment somehow ?
So far, Ive got the clay ready for baking.

The clay mix is quite soft (pre baking) and I'm hoping it will keep its shape. The Amy Tavern design has a wire embedded into the shape (bow) - I have this option ie to embed a wire with additional baking and may try a few different ideas. I'm not sure if I have the time to day but will aim to at least bake these samples.

Must get going.

Bye for today.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Going for gold.

Hi Everyone
It's Monday morning already ! Where has the weekend gone ? The weather is good. It seems quite mild for December.

Today, I'm trying to get my Christmas sorted !!! - only 9 days to go and loads of plans are still on the list. I need more time. Our tree(s) are up and the house is in a state of chaos. Rearranging required. I'm not sure why it's different from last year but the chairs are unusable. I need a plan B.

Work has been slowing down for a week so I'm just concentrating on finishing a few orders. I also want to finish my gilded necklace experiment because it's for me. Ive done a second layer of gold leaf on the tube beads and they need sealing. I have a new seal coming to try another approach and am just waiting for the post. It may arrive today - not sure because of Christmas potential post delays
These are a few photos of the tube beads with their second layer - they do look better. I'm not sure what to do with this technique. I like the shiney, metal look but the quality is not as good as I would like. I have some other ideas about producing a gold bead. I will keep playing.

The round beads are faux bone and as such have a series of colours swirling in them to produce a subtle texture. I like the effect and I think it compliments the gold.

I'm not sure of the order I will thread the beads ? I like the short and long gold tubes in a non graduated order. I also need to make the fastening. I had thought about having no fastening because of the gold colour and my usual from scratch metal is in silver. I've never done any gold findings. However, silver would not do. So, Im going for it gold !

Bye for today.

Friday, 13 December 2013

'The Gold Collection'

Hi Everyone
A mild but 'breezy' day today with some of the low sunshine back on the skyline. Clouds are racing across the sky as I look out of the window.

I'm focussing on my new necklace from yesterday again, I did manage some of the development and have gilded and sealed the gold tubes. Ive renamed it 'The Gold Collection' - perhaps a 'little' deceptive ? moving on........ I will polish my little faux shell beads and string the whole thing. I need to buy my new top too ! (already sourced to wear with the necklace). Unfortunately, my plans for today and the purchase of the new top are changed because our little boy is not well and he needs me to be with him - so the new top will need to wait for another day.

Back to the necklace - the beads were sealed overnight after gold leaf had been added.

Here is something like the final thing with a bonus additional bracelet.

Looking in detail, some of the gold leaf has discoloured with the seal. I think I will redo the gold leaf layer on some beads to see what happens and try another seal.

I like the look of the finished items and am preparing a lovely idea for storing the beads. I will share tomorrow (after/if Ive done it !)

I also had a little go at carving the big ring from yesterday. I deliberately made the ring large and in need of carving. My polymer hero (Genervieve Williamson) makes lots of these rings and Ive been thinking about doing one for a while. It's harder than it looks. I think my ring was not chunky enough at the beginning. It's large but slightly too thin. Anyway here it's is so far - the first photo is pre carving.

These two photos show each side of the ring.

I like how the carving changes the look and would like the highlight the carved surfaces somehow ? - will work on that one.

I like the idea of the 'button' things in the middle I wanted to give them the gilding treatment but I'm not sure they will work ? I will keep looking and carving and see what happens.

That's it for today.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Gilding Beads etc.

Hi Everyone
Today is much the same as yesterday weather wise. However, the beautiful red sky is missing and it's a very dull sky today and not so inspiring to look at !!!

I had a volunteer day yesterday followed by a hectic evening with my boys getting them to and from scouting activities while trying to multi task Christmas shopping - I need a holiday ! Anyway, no holiday yet - it's a major house tidy and Christmas prep putting all my 12 days things into use.

In between the Christmas prep stuff, Ive been experimenting with a necklace design for myself. I saw a lovely necklace design in an online shop (TOAST) and thought I would quite like one similar.
Here is the original.
My necklace 'to be' will be partly gilded gold leaf and my beads will be polymer clay. So far, Ive had mixed success. My first attempt (after making the beads) was to dip the beads in gold paint and re bake them. However, the gold paint does not dry hard enough for me. Ive tried polishing the baked on paint which again is ok but not quite what I want. I'm now experimenting with gold leaf and I think this will be better.
The necklace example from TOAST uses gold tube beads and little shell rounded beads. Each tube bead is a clean cut item. Ive made my little faux shell beads and the basic tube bead from polymer and Ive chosen a mixed spice/berry colour with gold for the tubes. I had thought the organic shaped tube would be good but now am convinced I also need a clean cut tube in a few sizes. I will cut up my tubes and clean the ends to give this clean cut look. Ive started to 'size' the beads ready for gilding and will take it from there. I want to wear my necklace on Christmas Day (Ive found a nice top to wear with it - it's still in the shop but will find its way into my wardrobe shortly) and will work away over the next few days to get it right. I hope to develop a few more items using these techniques when I get them suitably refined. Here are few photos of the progress. This little 'forest' of beads are half experimented stuff - I will clean up the beads for sizing when I'm happy with the technique.

This is an example organic tube with dipped paint. I did string a few together and they were OK but not quite right.

The bead on the left was another painted option and again OK when there are lots of beads but not quite what I wanted.

This is the box of stuff I created for the current batch of experiments.

I also started this ring. This is the first stage before carving. I will show the development as I go.

These are long dangly earrings to be and I will add the option of a red or faux shell bead attached to the earring wire.

I want to add some gilding to the bottom layer section.

Here is another idea for a layered earring look. I want to gild the top bead and attach a long wire.

Must get on and start the gilding.

Bye for today.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Day 12 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi Everyone
The weather is quite calm with an amazing sky - not sure that the photo is giving a true image of the colours ? The red sky is very bright giving a warm 'glow' to the landscape.

It's Day 12 and the last day of my Christmas prep. Today I'm offering some CAKE TOPPERS for my Christmas cake.

Ive made my cake and it's going to get an almond paste covering on Thursday and then next week a white royal icing. My usual style is the standard snow scene ! (for obvious reasons). We have a family 'decorating the cake session' and over the years it's improved to the point that now the boys are demanding more trees for 'their design'. We have a Santa and a few other bits but could do with more. I decided I would try and tie in the cake with the general red and purple snowflake thing to match the rest of the Christmas theme. This is what Ive developed so far. I probably need to make some more to make a little forest scene. When the whole thing is complete I will take some photos to share.

These toppers are so easy to do. Ive got some photos to show what I did. I collected the snowflake embellishments together and found my favourite Christmas tree die.

I cut trees out in the colours of the snowflakes and simply glued them together with a cocktail stick in the middle.

Ive tried to make each tree slightly different by sticking the little embellishments in different places on each tree.

I will probably make the same styles again to produce 12-15 trees.

You could use this idea for any topper to give you cake an individual look. Hope you are inspired to have a go.

I'm almost prepared for Christmas in terms of my handmade items. My 12 days feature has helped me to make it happen. I will continue to take photos of the whole snowflake theme and will share them as I develop our Christmas house. I need to get going or the whole event will be here !

Bye for today.