Polymer Clay Advancements

Remember way back when I tried to work with polymer clay?  I made several rookie mistakes, did a lot of research and promised I’d try again.  Well in the 17 months since that post I have had a couple more attempts, and I have finally been able to come up with pieces that I’m quite happy with.

My sculpting still needs work though.


First of all I invested in a few tools that I was lacking the first time around.

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There’s a ceramic tile for working on and baking on, some foil trays to place over the piece in the oven to help regulate the heat, an oven thermometer, an acrylic rolling pin, some cutting blades and some sculpting tools.

Instead of buying 100 blocks of Sculpey or Fimo though, I went with an “off brand”.  I found an eBay seller in the Far East selling *Mixed Colour Set Oven Bake Polymer Clay Modelling Moulding Blocky”.

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It may not be the proper stuff, but it gives me a chance to play with a range of colours.

For some reason I decided the best thing to start off with would be a Pokeball.   Here are my badly sculpted Pokeballs pre-baking.

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For my second piece I wanted to do a little bit of experimenting with colour,   So I pulled off little bits of a nice colour range and rolled them into fat little sausages…

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Then I went through a whole process of twisting together, cutting, put back together and twisting some more until I was reasonably happy with what I had.

Then I flattened the final marbled ball and pressed an icing stencil into it to make a pretty spotted pattern, before using a cookie cutter to cut out the size I wanted.

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Remove the excess clay, stamp in a C for Colette, add a hole for turning it into a pendant and I was ready to bake.

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The baking was where it all went disastrously wrong last time, so I tired to be extra careful this time.

The problem I had was that my knock-off clay didn’t come with any instructions, so I went with the general information on the internet and baked at around 200 degrees F.  I set up my oven thermometer and when the oven was the right temperature I added my ceramic tile with its foil hat.

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The next problem I had was the timing.  Everywhere you look on the internet says X amount of time for Y thickness of clay, except that everywhere has different amounts for X.  It’s very confusing.  I sat in front of my oven for about half an hour, checking every ten minutes to make sure they weren’t burning.  Then it became hard to figure out how to tell when they were done.  I would give the pieces gentle squishes, and they definitely firmed up.  The internet told me that it’s hard to bake the pieces for too long, so when I turned off the oven I left the pieces in there until the oven had completely cooled.

I’m fairly sure my entire baking process was wrong, but my pieces are firm and not charcoal, so I’m happy.

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Do you work with polymer clay?  Do you have any tips for me?  Let me know!

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Social Media

Some of you will have found this site through my social media, but others may have stumbled randomly upon the page.  So I’m going to quickly share all my social media pages with you all so you can get even more crafty goodness.

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Over on Facebook I can be found at facebook.com/craftedbycolette

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On Twitter you’ll find me @by_colette

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On Instagram I’m @craftedbycolette

Come along and find me in those places, I do try my best to post regularly 🙂

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State of the Site

Hello,

It has been a while (ahem, 7 months) since my last blog post and for that I apologise.  Things have been a bit rough for me personally and emotionally this year, and I quite often struggle to deal with things like that.  I act a little bit like an ostrich.  I stick my head in the metaphorical ground and ignore things.  I dive deep into my crafting and my nerdiness and forget all about things like leaving the house, and keeping up to date with blogs.

But, I love this blog.  I love this store.  And I want to try my hardest to make it something successful, so I am making a concerted effort (with frequent reminders from friends) to work on it.

If I still have any readers, then I hope you will forgive me for my absence and stick with me.  I have lots of exciting things coming up.  New products to put on the store, guest blog posts, lots of crafting delights and disasters, even one or two haul posts.

Thank you for your patience, and to show how much I love you all here are some pictures of my kitties getting in the way of my crafting.

 

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Chainmail Starburst

Back in December I mentioned my piffling experience with chainmail, and I showed you a horrendous picture of my first attempt back in 2010…

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…and my failed translation of this picture…

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…into this wonky looking tree.

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After that I invested in a couple of kits, figuring that proper instructions provided with the right supplies was probably a good way to go.

I started with this kit, available from BeadSisters.co.uk

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The BeadSisters kits are absolutely fantastic. They come with everything you need apart from the pliers.

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Including all the teeny tiny findings.

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I think this particular one was a good one to start with.  It didn’t have a million different types of ring…

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…and was fairly easy to get started.

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In fact, I didn’t have any problems at all.

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That’s a lie, there was a stage near the end that was a complete pain in the butt. It wasn’t that I was doing it wrong, it was just very very fiddly.

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But it was a joy when I finally got the hang of it.

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And when I finally finished the piece, I was very chuffed.  I’m looking forward to the many other kits I have 🙂  And to buying a few more.

 

 

Origami Cubes

The other day I posted a picture on my Instagram feed of my latest origami obsession.

They are called sonobe cubes, because they’re made of sonobe modules.

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I didn’t know that when I first made one though.

About a year ago I was at a craft fair with my friend Cayden.  It was a VERY quiet fair, and we ended up chatting with the people at the stall next to us.  The mother of the stallholder admired the origami pieces on our table, and showed us how to make this.

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Cayden is a lot like me, in the sense that when we learn something new we have to do it over and over and over.  When we got home from the fair we made cube after cube until we had it down pat.  And then I kept making it.

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The Instagram picture is actually of very slightly different looking cubes, because I found out that there are slightly different ways to fold sonobe modules.  This means of course that I now have to discover all of them.  I’m also really interested in what else you can make with sonobe modules.

Expect more sonobe.

 

Embroidery – correction

The other day I wrote about my first embroidery piece.  Since then I’ve been sorting through all my craft projects and I found this picture…

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… of something I did way back in 2011, which I suppose would be my first embroidery piece.

Also, although I wrote and posted that other post with the bunnies a few days ago, I actually stitched the bunnies in October.  And I’ve done an embroidery piece since then.

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I’ve even already blogged about him.

So, to clarify.  Button buddies = 1st embroidery piece.  Bunnies = 2nd embroidery piece. Rudolph = 3rd embroidery piece.

Picking Up Embroidery

I’ve been cross stitching for longer than I can remember.  Literally.  I don’t remember being taught.  I’ve just always been able to do it.  I’ve done some blackworking too, which I love…

 

One thing I’ve not really branched into is embroidery.  I’ve made attempts here and there.  I have this unfinished flower in my WIPs box…

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And I challenged myself to do Bad Ass Cross Stitch’s Year of Stitch last year, but I got four weeks in and had troubles with a stitch and have been putting it off since.  I’ll get back to it eventually.

The thing is, embroidery is something I WANT to do.  I’d love to be able to create wonderful pieces.  So when I saw this ridiculously easy piece, I thought… I can do that.

And I did do it…

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… but I learned a few things along the way.

First of all – don’t do it on stretch fabric.  Not as a first piece anyway.  That was a very silly mistake.  Secondly, while I have a habit of continuing cross stitch with a tiny knot in the thread, like this… (excuse blurry picture)…

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…you can’t embroider with those knots.  Thirdly, I need to work on my stitch consistency.  Fourthly, I probably used the wrong stitch anyway.  I glanced at the original image and assumed back stitch, but having done my version in back stitch I looked back at the original and I think it was probably something else.

I did learn some useful things though.  For instance – I learned one method of how to transfer an embroidery image on to fabric.  I know a few methods now actually.  I don’t think I’ll use this one next time; I had trouble getting the ink out afterwards.

I’m going attempt this bunny project again.  But first I’m going to do a few more weeks of Year of Stitch.  And I’m going to finish that flower too.