Thursday, September 8, 2011


One thing I find to be frustrating to me is picking the right findings for different pieces. Its not that they are not out there, I just feel the need to be different. One of my problems are bailes. I feel bailes say alot to the finished piece. I feel that the perfect baile can take a simple piece and can make it look quite different. So I found myself trying to use something else for bailes. I found some metal charms I had in my stash of stuff and wondered how it would turn out if I incorporated it into a baile for a pendant I had finished. It sure gave it a different look. It also gave me an outlet for using up all those charms I have a problem passing up whenever I go shopping. Granted not all charms will be a useful or attractive baile but each piece will definitely look much different when the right charm can be utilized. I may have a use for all my small skeleton key charms I have collected. Now the task of finding the right pendant, or some other piece of jewelry to make it fit on.
Need to get back to work, because this is our busy time for our area as well as the holidays will soon  be upon us before we know it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Been super busy with work and taking my Dad to his chemo-therapy. Its busy season at my job and this year seems busier. I also have a vegetable garden and you know how that is, weeding, watering, picking, it also seems to take up any spare time. I haven't had a chance to work with my clay as I had planned. I feel sort of down when I can't be working with my clay, it helps me to unwind and relieve stress so to speak with my Dad and all.

I don't remember where I saw a demonstration of the Jasi slicer it was quite awhile ago and what got me thinking about it was I had gotten a cane slicer from Polymer Clay Express. I think it is called the "Precise-A-Slice-Cane-Slicer". Its a handy cane slicer but its not intended for a larger cane. I had mentioned a cane slicer to a friend of mine that I work with, and he came up with an idea which was absolutely fantastic. We have been working on that for some time now.
Mine works off a small PLC.  The computer determines the thickness of the slices simply by the operator inputting the numbers into the panel the numbers determine how the table moves and locks the table in place to be able to make the slice.  Each time after the number value is put into the panel all a person has to do is press the advance button to make the same slices each and every time.  The table can't be bumped loose or anything to change the thickness of the slices.We still are working on the panel, its somewhat antiquated looking, but it functions and does what its supposed to do.

When we also decided to make this we decided to construct this from materials if for any reason anything needs to be replaced a person can go to Lowe's or Walmart for replacement parts. Our table top has angles and measurements to make lining up your clay easy. I have been using it for awhile now and I can get thin as tissue slices and as thick as I need. The Computer panel has a button for reverse, forward, advance, stop, it is not plugged in, in the picture but I hope you can get an idea from my messy worktable what it looks like. It is fairly compact enough to take to a workshop if one needs to. Except for the panel is still being refined and all the computer equipment still needs to be put into a suitable case. The work table is 8 inches wide the workspace is 6 inches wide and the length of the workspace is 12 inches.  Just need to remember that an electrical outlet is needed if it is going to be used.
I have been occupying my spare time helping my friend and co-worker Jerry Miller make this.  When Jerry and I put this together we were thinking of  the concept behind guillotines and the principle used in the Precise Cane Slicer
I should have no excuse for not working with my clay, gadgets can be made but I find I have not learned how to create more hours in the day.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

D.R.E.A.M. Machine

Well I finally saved up my money and was able to order my "dream", D.R.E.A.M. Machine from Polymer Clay Express. I have wanted this from the day I set eyes on it making a clay order. When I received notification about my shipment from UPS as to its arrival date, I was worse than a child waiting for Santa Claus. The notice from UPS said it would arrive by end of day, when I noticed it was 6:30 pm and UPS still hadn't shown up, I contemplated looking for the truck. Finally at 6:45 p.m. the UPS truck was making its turn down my driveway I almost behaved like a dog that had been locked up in the car for an hour and it saw its owner coming. After listening to the UPS driver give me apologies for his lateness in delivery because of his bad day I grabbed that box up and brought it into the house and left him still talking in my driveway. I truly don't believe I may have left a very good impression on him because I did not extend any sympathy to him for his string of bad luck.

I brought that baby in and set it on the floor of my workshop and started to tear into it. First thing I pulled out was the sheeting tray. I felt like someone had just given me the hope diamond, man was I excited, then it was time for the bigger box. I carefully opened it and there it sat the most awesome looking overgrown pasta machine I had ever set my eyes on. The sheeting tray and the D.R.E.A.M. machine was so pretty and shiny silver I just sat and stared at it in amazement. I rearranged a few things on my work table and had to take my little atlas pasta machine and put it away. I felt sort of bad for my atlas we had been through a lot together but I think it needed some rest. I placed the new guy in the little guy's old place attached the sheeting tray, clamped the machine to my table, put in the handle and sat there and stared at it all the time thinking "WOW" and believe it or not it sat there for 2 days and never got used just stared at. I dusted it, I polished my fingerprints off of the pretty shiny metal but never put a bit of clay through it. I truly think it intimidated me. Its not that I was afraid to use it, I just did not want the pretty silver machine to get messed up.

Well the other night I finally run clay through it and started making some canes and it was awesome. I know, I know, its an over sized pasta machine but it is just great. I felt like there was no clay thick enough this big boy could not take on. I absolutely just LOVE IT! I feel its the best thing I have spent my money on. I can make an over sized skinner blend, or I can set the clay guides and make a real narrow one as well. I am truly sold on this machine and I feel everyone should at least use one even if they feel like they don't need to buy one.

The rollers are easy to clean it has 10 settings as opposed to 9 and maybe its just me but it seems to crank smoother. The atlas machine was not hard to crank but there was a few times the handle came out of my atlas when I was cranking away. This machine the handle somewhat locks in. I guess I am probably over playing this machine with the praises I am giving it but I don't regret spending the money on this. I think this machine will live up to its praises plus some. I really enjoy shopping at Polymer Clay Express I will always sing their praises, I don't know them personally but I have spent a small fortune at that store but they have always treated me as if we had been friends for a long time. They have taken the time to call me about orders which I have made that they needed to substitute something, or they always leave a note on the invoice and believe me that means a lot. I feel good shopping at a place where they acknowledge you to a point and do not treat you just as just another buck being made.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Well, I was able to get a few things in, not as much as I would have liked. Still dealing with family crisis and
as I mentioned before it is somewhat taking a toll on my creativity as well as my energy level.
Started to get my daughters more involved with clay. They are so excited and so am I. Right now they are at a standstill with employment. They have been laid off and its a little difficult to find work. I encouraged them now that they have time on their hands between job hunting to learn more about clay. Hope I can put some of their stuff to show maybe we can make it a family thing.

Any Who, I was playing with a pendant design the other day and was looking for something and come across a Bedazzler someone had given me for a gift. Remember them? You could put studs and rhinestones on your levi's, denim jackets, etc. So a faint light went off in my head (remember I am tired) and decided that I should put it to use since it was just laying in its box never been touched. I decided to use it as part of the design in a pendant.

I think it looks okay. Made a mokume gane on one side and of course I am into stripe mode right now, so of course I added some stripes to set it apart. They are fairly easy if you set them in before baking, take them out bake the pendant and put them back in with some of Donna Kato's glue and they stay quite well. The prongs on the back leave reference points in the clay, so after baking you can press them back in. Of course when initially setting them in the raw clay don't push the stud setter too hard because you will flatten the prongs on the back and the stud setter leaves a large imprint in the raw clay. All in all I think it worked okay. Will try to play with more that came with my kit.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I have been slacking real bad on my clay work as of lately. Not because I have been lazy but because I have just had an awful lot of stuff going on, and it even seems it has hindered my creative flow as well.

My 86 year old father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer last February and I have been driving 200 miles a day 4 days a week for his treatments. Besides working 40+ hours a week at a full time job it has been a real struggle. I guess the treatments are working to a point because when he was first diagnosed they gave him 4 months, maybe 6 tops. Well he is still with me and still getting treatments. He has shown the doctors what will power is all about.

There for awhile I did take advantage of sitting for 3 hours sometimes 4 in his treatments to make a couple of things but just not as much as I would have liked. I had to be careful what I was dragging in to work on because of the sterile environment of the chemotherapy room. As for the creative juices, my brain at times was quite mushy, I think it still is mushy from being exhausted all the time. I am not complaining because I would do it again if necessary.

While sitting at one of his chemotherapy treatments I had confiscated some electrical wire from one of the maintenance men where I work at. I started picking away the insulation and noticed there were quite a few strands of copper woven together. The copper wire was quite fine about a 24 or 26 gauge which would be just right to use for some wire work and clay I was thinking about for a pendant. The following day my wire was still unused until I remembered I had a crochet hook with me. I started to crochet different sized wire balls. They were quite fun to do. The day after that, the balls of clay I just jerked up from my scrap pile was made into different sized flat discs. The hard part was getting them home to bake without drastically distorting their shapes. Some did come out wacky but I baked them anyway. After baking and putting together I think wacky gave it character.  I guess everyone else can decide.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentines Day

Its that time of year, time for heart pendants, heart bracelets, heart rings, etc. But I think a heart necklace or bracelet is great any time of year. I don't think it should only be for Valentines Day. I enjoy making heart shaped pendants and bracelets.

Hope everyone has a Happy Valentines Day.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Molds - CaBezels

Over the years I usually did hand drawn shapes for pendants. Many times I used cookie cutters as well. When the internet got more popular it introduced different places to buy molds and shapes to make pendant designs a lot easier and quicker.

I became an online shopping junkie. I found alot of wonderful websites for the polymer clay crafter. Way too many to name them all.

One day while I was looking for some supplies I came across Shades of Clay.  On it was an instructional video for CaBezel's. I was intrigued. I saw one of the molds and a bunch of ideas started popping into my head for their uses. So I purchased some. My favorite one was the lemon egg cabezel.

I had a blast with it. I sent an email to the lady responsible for making them, Wendy Orlowski, a very sweet person. Her ideas for making these molds was wonderful, and I thought I would let her know. I found them easy to work with, and I believe the potential for them is boundless.

I got the notion to make a brooch with some turquoise I had mixed up.

Then I tried a necklace with the brooch.

 Of course these were just ideas I played with. Next time I will try making the bezel frame a silver color or just stipple some silver gilders paste instead of just leaving it plain black. I will try more with these shapes and the others I purchased as well and see what else I can come up with. Maybe I might come up with more designs.