Monday, March 8, 2010

Avocado Cane - Polymer Clay Food

I've decided my weekly challenge to myself will count as a cane a week created anywhere in between Sunday and a Saturday.  Therefore, the fact that this cane comes 13 days after my last one is okay, since the pot of gold was finished on a Sunday, and this one was completed this past Saturday.  Are you following?  Either way, it makes me feel better knowing I still accomplished something.

I had started another flower cane last week but only got as far as the center.  I had to stop there because I didn't feel inspired by it to create.  It made me think of late summer or autumn with it's golden colors, so really, it's time has just not come yet and I will finish it another day.

Maybe part of my problem was that I had avocados on my brain, not flowers.  This is my favorite food, I could eat them everyday and never get bored.  In fact, I have done that for months at a time.  I usually just cut them in half, grab a spoon, and call it a meal.


I realize there is no background there.  But in my defense, I don't have enough of the colors I want to use.  Since I'm the one who has made the rules to my own challenge, and right now I'm the only one playing along, I call this a perfectly legit entry.
I'm thinking avocado tacos for dinner.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My boys and their Lego Cool Creations

Well, today there are several creative endeavors going on around me.  My boys have decided that they want to enter things in "cool creations", a section of Lego magazine.  Naturally, this involves me taking their pictures.

 Alex with his Lego Base.
The challenge was in getting a good picture.  He was being silly and I had to threaten him with a call to Grandma and a noogie, that got him to laugh long enough for me to snap this great smile.

Layne and his Bionicle
I know it's hard to make out his handsome face here, but he wanted it to look like he was being attacked.  I did make him give me a real smile for another one, because I'm his mom and I'm allowed to demand nice picture, but I won't bore you with the details.

The one part of these pictures that I didn't realize til now is that you can see that I left my tomato cages and dead tomato plants all winter.  I guess that's what happens when you have a baby at the end of the summer, suddenly yardwork becomes less of a priority.

 I have been creative myself, it's slow going with all the work I have around the house.  I've got lots of new ideas in my head that i should probably get on paper before I forget.  I'm 1/3 of the way through a new flower cane and am hoping to get some time to finish it soon.  Maybe I'll go take care of the un-fun chores right now so I can work on it guilt free once the baby goes to bed for the night.

Also, I'm working on a better way to string my necklaces.  It involves crocheting and the part that I'm excited about is that it's something that is way easy for me to bring with me when we go out so I can be productive.  

Anyways, I leave you with this blurry little tidbit.... Ladies and Gentlemen.... I give you... Pantsman.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February wrap up

Well, it's been quite a month.  The worst seems to be over for now, but life goes on and new challenges arise, we'll see what March brings our way.  We're hoping for weekends where we get to decide how we spend them.  It might be a pretty lofty goal, but one I think we can attain.

I've got this unspoken (and soon to be spoken) goal of making one new cane a week.  That's a big goal for me.  So far I'm on track, but I've got to get planning my next one so that I can stay on track.  Maybe I'll just make a bunch of canes this week and get a few of my smaller ideas out of my head. 

One thing happening is that we invited two boys over for a sleepover on Friday night.  I have to clean our house for this event, nothing too crazy as impressing 10 year old boys is relatively simple, but I still have to clean it.  And call a plumber to fix the drain in the basement so I can do laundry again (forgot to mention that part, haven't been able to do the laundry for a week and a half).  There's lots of other stuff on my todo list but it's making me a little dizzy to think about. 

Bottom line is that this could interfere with clay time.  I might not be able to follow through with my own goal of a cane a week and it's only the second week.  Time will tell, I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pot of Gold

Well, Saturday's empty house clay time went amazingly well.  The baby slept for over three hours (which is rare!) and I got all my initial colors mixed in that time.  Saturday night I got to start construction and then Sunday I got to finish it and reduce.  Today I made some beads and pendants.  I feel so productive. 

Here are the pictures.  The raw cane was before reducing was skinnier than my usual (if you can believe that) but also a bit longer, so I still have LOTS of it.


There are little shamrocks on each gold coin...


I was happy to see that the design still held its own even at the smaller size....

All in all, it was a lot of fun to be claying in my new studio area in my basement.  It's a little harder to get down there and steal moments like I could when my clay was taking over the entire first floor of our house, but I have a happier husband and lots of shelves to put things on.  Almost all my supplies are off the floor, and that's saying a lot.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Empty House!

I'm excited to report that my baby is sleeping, my husband and the two boys are out of the house helping friends with their move, and I'm in a quiet house!  I don't know why I'm even still sitting here, I have to go clay, I think I have about two hours of good claying time before a baby wakes up.

I have some St. Patrick's day designs in my head right now that really want to come out.  I love holidays, it might be cheesy, but that's fine with me.

Time to go work on my pot o' gold!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Skunk in the Chimney

Woke up this morning to a skunk in our chimney.  At least we think it's a skunk based on the smell that was outside immediately after the scurrying noises as it escaped. The smell didn't enter our house thank goodness, that would have been a disaster.  The dog got a kick out of it though, I'm sure it was a fun way to start her day.

I'm trying to think of fun and witty ways to talk about the week I've had, but the reality of it is just that it was hard.  There are so many things going on that are weighing heavily on my heart.  I've been praying a lot this week, there's a lot of comfort to be had there.

Thankfully the Lord has also placed some awesome children in my life that never cease to bring me smiles (okay, that last statement might be a bit of a stretch, but just go with me on this).  It's impossible to stay sad when you have this face staring up at you all day...

Her big brother was memorizing a verse today that had the word "adversaries" in it.  He kept saying "Adjer-berries".  It was so cute.  Things like this keep me going.

Another thing to keep me going is that I got my first sale!  And someone put my little sunflower pendant into their treasury.  I'm pretty stoked about all of this, it really helps balance out the week I've had.  Another positive is that my clay studio area is all set up and ready to be worked in.  It's far from organized but I figure as long as I have a vague idea of where something is when I need it then I'm doing okay.

In terms of creativity, I'm feeling like my short lived red and black phase is over.  It's so winter.  I'm longing for all things springtime and magically warm.  My next designs will be along those lines.  It's almost midnight here and I'm trying to decide between sleeping or claying.  Sleep is going to win, but I won't be happy about it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Catching up

I've been gone for too long, I forgot how much fun I have doing this blog.  We have had one of the most stressful months on record (at least it was for me!).  My mother is moving so we got to help out with emptying out her house.  My husband's workload became ridiculously heavy.  This all sounds really mild once it's typed out, but if you knew the backstories to all these situations you'd see where the "most stressful on record" comment comes in.  And we decided to take my dog from my mother so she could complete her move without worrying about Zoey (she's got enough other stuff on her mind).

So I've been trying to get out house "dog" ready, whatever that means.  We already have two adults, two double digit age boys, one sugary baby girl, and a fat cat crammed into this miniature house.  Getting our basement in working order has been a top priority so we can use it as a family room, for my clay, and for my husband to work from home once a week.  Then we can give the baby her own room, we can have our own room, and we'll have more room for a dog pillow, and maybe more room to walk around a dog.  It's a tight fit, but one I need to make work.  She's been with our family for almost 13 years, it's hard to just give her away to someone else, an option I just can't imagine right now.

Through all this I've also managed to get a few more items into my etsy shop.  It was a welcome distraction from all the hard stuff we've been dealing with in our family.  And working on my shop is becoming more fun, less stress.  I'm looking forward to really hitting my stride and having it fit naturally into my routine.  First I probably need a routine.  One step at a time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Root Cause of my Low Productivity

While I love making my jewelry, some other things take priority.  Things like goobery baby girls with rockstar hair. 


 She's on my lap as I try to type this.  I've got a mouthful of hair.  I love her. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Canes are my Therapy

Whenever things get tough I get creative.  It's like therapy.  So last week after an emotionally trying few days spent worrying about some loved ones I spent some time with my clay.  There's something cathartic about  reducing great big hunks of cane.  For now, the worries have subsided and I have a new flower design to play with. The inspiration for this one came from a Chinese flower motif I saw and enjoyed.  I have no idea if it still has a Chinese vibe to it but I like how it turned out.


I had an extra challenge with this being the first cane I've made since my five month old daughter discovered she can grab things.  Only took one close call for me to remember to put the blade out of reach of her chubby little fingers.

I'm excited to create more jewelry from this flower, and it's lead to lots more ideas and sketches of more projects.  Only thing holding my up now is that my "studio" is still in the process of moving into it's new designated spot in the basement.  I'm not letting myself make more until it's done, I thought that would motivate me to get it done.  And now I'm hoping that the public declaration of finishing the setup will motivate me further.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

My First Listing!

After an impromtu photo session with my mother-in-law and her fancy camera, I finally have pictures to start selling with.  The picture above was my first listing and in less than a minute I had two views and 1 heart!  I was pretty stoked about that. Still am.  Now I'm encouraged to get more necklaces like these out there.  I'm not so nervous to do this now.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I finally have the ability to post items for sale, but now I'm feeling very shy about it.  And there's this issue that I've never actually purchased anything from Etsy so I'm unfamiliar with the process.  Not that I've never wanted to, but budget considerations over that last few years made it too much of a luxury.  If I purchase something now, is it possible to write it off next year as a business expense? I could call it "Training" or "On-going Education".  Then maybe my husband will be more open to the idea of me buying pretty things from other people when he'd be one of the first to say "Don't buy that, you could make one". But let's be honest, when do we ever get around to making one?

It's time to invest in some fresh clay and make some raw canes to sell.  Seems like a good market for them and it is something I love to do.  If I could devote more time to making canes and less time to finishing beads and jewelry then I'll be a much happier mommy.

I've also considered the fact that it's easier to hold a baby while making canes than while sanding beads or stringing necklaces.  Having her on my lap will probably increase my efficiency as I attempt to finish things before she gets bored with me.  Or it could decrease my efficiency if she starts grabbing everything and then needs to be nursed. Now if I could just get my two older boys to fill the position of my missing pasta machine motor I'd be golden.  I wonder how long it would take for the fun of turning the crank to wear off... I'm going to set up my new studio area next week and find out. 

Until then, enjoy this picture of one of my most popular designs, the sunflower.  I made this cane almost seven years ago.  I made a lot of it too, I'm still working my way through it!  Good thing , because my style of caning is kind of organic and free flowing and doesn't lend itself well to duplication.  I can try to recreate it, I might come close, but no two canes will ever really be the same.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Still waiting

So I'm still working towards my first listing on Etsy. It's being held up now due to my inability to get a good picture. I borrowed my sister's camera since ours wasn't working and now I have no way of getting the images onto my computer. I'm making the most of it though, working on perfecting my store, and more importantly, my product. The thought of putting myself out there is daunting, but I suppose it's necessary if I expect to sell anything.

I'm learning a lot now about this venture I'm about to embark on. The jewelry market might be a tough one but I'm always up to a challenge.