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Point# 36-Yay! Clay! Hooray! A Review.

7 Oct

I used to play with polymer clay a fair bit. I made some really cool athames (ritual knives…NOT for cutting anything physical) that had a Moon Goddess handle, as well as little seated Goddess offering bowls, which one of my friends dubbed “gum holders”. Yeah. I don’t talk to her anymore.

I stopped farting around with polymer clay, well, mostly because it’s hard to really fart around with polymer clay. It’s kind of a pain in the ass to fiddle with casually because even if you are just futzing with it, once you have done the three dimensional equivalent of a doodle, then you pretty much have to bake it and keep track of if it has baked properly, and given that you have to bake it 15 minutes per 1/4 inch so math is involved…bah, makes me want to nap. (Editor’s note: No, she is not kidding. Yes, she is this lazy.)

Recently, though, I was at the local craft emporium (ok, Michael’s) and found that next to the little slabs of Premo, and the slightly littler slabs of Sculpey III, there were Sculpey III sized slabs of a third option. Turns out the very groovy Craft Smart brand (which I guess is Michael’s sort of generic brand?) has made their own brand of polymer clay. Normally, the cost is not so low compared to the Scupley III blocks-about 1.29 vs 1.99, but not bad if you have to get many blocks. It was on sale, however, and at 88 cents a block, was worth purchasing to try out.

Other reviews have not been kind, and I must clarify that I do not use a pasta roller to blend colours, nor do I make canes or tiny things with PC. Either of these things may be compromised by the lesser quality of this no-name brand, but for my purposes, it was exceedingly adequate. The colour choices are poop, only about a third or fourth of the colours available to the less cheap consumer, but again, I tend to paint my creations anyhoo, so that did not overly concern me. I bought a white block (by the by, different colours seemed to have different textures) and figured I would paint whatever I made.

Tonight, I felt like farting with polymer clay. I doodled around with it and made a flower, the laughable and clumsy results with which I shall entertain you in a later post. I was very pleased with the clay itself and will share a completed project. No need to thank me.

My mushroom.

With cat foot in background. Macy likes to have quality time with me when I am in the bathroom, and he thought this was one of those special moments. I just needed the light.

Dammit, Macy!

So, there. Mushroom. I like it. It’s a take on the traditional red with white polky dotty doohickeys, but has the important distinction of matching the crap in my house better.


Point #19-Suddenly It’s Christmas…and other holidays, too

23 Dec

And just like that, holy shit it’s Christmas. It is in two days, and I find myself fairly prepared. There will be the typical last minute “AHHH!” of finishing that last gift, and it must be confessed that there will inevitably be at least one gift that will be “wrapped” only in the sense that it will be presented still in the bag in which I brought it home. If I am feeling festive I will wrap the bag tightly around the gift in order to make the concept of “wrapped” more literal. I made most of my gifts this year, ostensibly to live up to my status of a crafty maven, but mostly because I am broke like a bastard. I am pleased with the results, however. Some years, I have felt like a six year giving people a plaster cast of a foot, or a turkey made out of a construction paper cutout of my hand. I have debated each year presenting my mum with a macaroni necklace because, God bless her, she would probably exclaim with glee just as enthusiastically as she did when I was a tiny tyke. Since my burgeoning skill with glitter glue and popsicle sticks, my work has taken on a whole new level, and I think it shows.

This year also saw me handcraft a lovely dinner for my family and some family-type friends for the last night of Hanukkah, which I also celebrate courtesy of my Jewish boyfriend. The dinner was a rousing success, and I am determined to believe that my friends going home to find that they had been robbed to be utterly unrelated to the bad luck of having been at my house. (Seriously, it was scary for them, and I hope everyone can spare a good thought or two for them this year.) As part of the Hanukkah celebration, I thought that having yarmulkes was in order. Unfortunately, that fell further and further by the wayside as the dinner got closer. In the end, in desperation and a fervent hope that a good ol’ fashioned Old Testament God wouldn’t put the smackdown on me, Torah-style, for blasphemy, I made yarmulkes out of discs of cardboard, stapled into a shallow cones and…um…spraypainted black. This was far from elegant, but did the trick, I feel. In other miraculous news, when my camera batteries ran out the first night of Hanukkah, and I had no more, I put in some old ones that had run out previously and then sat for several weeks. Weirdly, they lasted exactly eight nights, giving out just as I took my last Hanukkah shots the final night. A modern day miracle, indeed. It mightn’t have worked. It was hit or mitzvah. *rim shot*

Finally, in today’s epically long update, I had what I consider to be an epic win in the blogging world. I had one of the good folks at Regretsy comment on one of my posts. I feel like I sang karaoke and had Alannis Morrisette come up to me and say, “Word.” I may have literally have gone “squee!”. I’m not proud of that, but sometimes the squee just happens. I seriously love that site so much, I want to make something super wrong and scary just to be featured on it. Plaster cast of my bajingo to follow.

Point #10-See the World Through Dork Coloured Glasses

7 Nov

It seems like the more art/craft/makin’ stuff I do, the more I see new patterns and colours and that sort of thing all around me. The word “craft” jumps out at me from books and websites; I notice shapes and designs on commercial packaging; I wonder at colour combinations on billboards. I start to see the beauty and splendour of beaded sushi.

Beaded sushi is something no sane person would create. It’s purely decorative; it’s glass beads so you can’t actually eat it. It’s not like wax or beaded fruit that looks like a normal sort of older lady table decoration. You see beaded sushi sitting on someone’s table and you start to wonder if they have a woman suit made of human skin hiding somewhere in the house as well. I see beaded sushi periodically in bead magazines or web articles about beaded plants and flowers, which, while not alive, at least make more sense as a decorative item. Inevitably, the creator of these weird, but admittedly beautiful, objects cop to the fact that they made them because they were inspired by the original sushi’s colours, shapes, and patterns. And I get that.

I went through a period of time that the kindest term to apply to it would be “craft hiatus” and the worst would be “miserably unimaginative life-wide snooze fest”. I am gratified to know that when one slides back into a life that devotes itself to making that one can develop an artistic eye again. I was truly afraid that that wouldn’t happen to me…that I had lost it for good. Then the beaded sushi started making sense and I could stare enthralled at the design on a label for Method cleaner without the aid of Substances (meaningful wink) so I knew I was back in the game. I begin to see why an artistic eye and Substances (meaningful wink) can result in great art being made, because just the eye part makes you see batshit things anyway. (Here again, beaded sushi, I look at you…you just make me hungry, you know…and I can’t eat you.) I’ve been grateful for a lot of things lately, but the Eye coming back has been a big one. The next step is trying to figure out how a giant beaded turkey may have a useful place in society.

Point #5-There’s Always Another Time Suck

23 Oct


I always swear that I am Not Going to Start Learning a New Craft. It’s a fully capitalize-able mantra that lasts for as long as it takes for me to find an Utterly Awesome New Craft that Really Won’t Take Long and I Can Totally Learn. This, of course, always turns out to be Horse Shit.

As I type, I am attempting to learn how to make French beaded flowers. They are not really difficult, merely fiddly, and the end result is sufficiently stunning to be worth the effort. Or so I am guessing. I am working on loading teeny weeny seed beads onto thin copper wire and then forming petals in between typing this post. It is not a fast or efficient process. I started writing this post (and making the damn flower) when Barack Obama was President. President Britney Spears has just entered her second term and my flying car is in the shop. The only reason you are reading this in your present is that I used a time machine to post it. Gambling tip: the Cubs still haven’t won a World Series.

So i am told that a bead spinner will help this process and that is awesome, and I am really enjoying the actual beading part. In addition, if I ever get around to tying the knot (as in marriage, not another damn craft discipline), I want to make a bouquet of beaded flowers to carry. This is kind of a craft just for me, and I haven’t done that in a while. If only I actually had that stupid time machine.