Hello and Welcome to my Blog ~ I love art of all kinds. Two of my favorites are polymer clay and paper art. I have shops on Etsy that feature both of my passions. I also love writing my blog and finding artists that have a passion for their craft and feature them. I hope your day is filled with sunshine, laughter and loads of creativity.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Beautiful Neighborhood

What a great city I live in. It was recently ranked the safest city to live in the United States with a population of more than 250,000. What is so incredible about this city is that it doesn't seem that large. Maybe its because the subdivision where I live sits between two farms. One farm has horses and the other has cows and of all things Llamas. The little ones are adorable, so fluffy and happy as they run after their moms in the big field.

There are walking trails throughout the city. Mine has has a beautiful stream running through it and is inodated with beautiful trees, flowering bushes, green grass and loads of squirrels scampering about. 

Motorized vehicles are not allowed, but there are bicyclists, joggers, and people walking their dogs and it is so wonderful just to take a leisurely walk. Nature is in abundance all around me.

My son Charlie's house is directly across from a beautiful little lake teaming with wildlife. Some of the local ducks have taken up residency under a bush right on his property. There are fish of all kinds, nutria, turtles, snakes (not so fun) and  I love watching the white Egrets


as they stand at the water's edge patiently waiting for their meal to arrive (as you can see by the picture at the top of the blog) The Blue Heron is magnificent as he flies across the water and lands so perfectly without hesitation. The funny thing is there are also loads of Sea Gulls and we are not even close to an ocean. Fishing is allowed and on a Sunday afternoon you will see Daddies teaching their little ones to fish.

This rustic bridge is just one of many on the walking trail. As you walk along there are plenty of places to stop and have a picnic, (the city provides picnic tables and grills) and there are numerous playgrounds for the kids with slides and swings.

Yes, my neighborhood is beautiful and as big as Plano is, it is a great place to live.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Wonderful Addition

While shopping at Michaels this past week, I came across a wonderful addition to my clay room and the fantastic part is, it was 50% off the original price. (final price $24.99) This small cabinet was going to make my life easier. Knowing an approximate measurement of the polymer clay packages, I had a feeling that they would fit perfectly. I quickly stuck it in my cart and raced over to the clay isle and my instincts were right, they would fit perfectly. Now I was anxious to get home and load it up. Oh, how wonderful it is to have that clay at eye level with each color in it's own designated space.

The cabinet has a glass door, which I will never close, (although you could if you wanted to) I came up with an idea to be able to use that side too. I bought that rubberized Grip Liner (I used black) and hot glued it to the edge of the glass, then with Christmas ornament hangers I hung my gripper and cutting tools. The Grip Liner is thick and able to withstand the pressure of the hanging tools with no problem. The cabinet is built to be hung on the wall, but I am going to set it on my table. I will certainly have easy access to them and a little more organized in my clay room.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Place where I Clay

Since it is impossible to use the sunroom for clay I decided to convert my spare room into a clay room. Now I do not want to worry my dear friends about a place to stay, the room is completely interchangeable and I love it. I bought a folding table, perfect for all my clay, claying accessories and tools. I also put the futon in there so if Melissa decides to spend the night she will have a place to sleep. My queen mattress and box are encased in plastic and stowed away, but on the ready if I do get out of town guests.

I moved everything off the dining room table (so now we can use it for the holidays) which is wonderful. The table I bought from Walmart is 6 foot long and it was only $39 which I thought was a real bargain. It folds into a 3 foot square and can be easily stowed in the closet. I pushed my two rolling carts in there with my fingers crossed hoping they would fit under it. Wallah, they were just right. Okay, things are looking up. I have a 5 foot bookcase,
an armoire and a wicker cabinet, plus a walk-in closet all of them empty just waiting for me

to place everything. Now, in saying this, I think  will need a list of where I put everything. There is nothing worse than trying to find something and wasting an hour or two trying to find it. After all, I could be claying not doing the hide and seek routine.

This is a picture of my claying area. There are two windows in the room so it is nice and bright. I am very happy with this room and I know I will spend loads of wonderful hours claying my little heart away.

Friday, November 19, 2010

- If Truth be Told -

I found these on the net and wanted to share them with you. Some of them really hit home with me.
- If Truth be Told -
I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. In saying that, I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
There is great need for a sarcasm font.
And just how are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
Was learning cursive really necessary?
Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
Bad decisions make good stories.
You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.
I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever.
I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello?), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?
I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
I think the freezer deserves a light as well..
I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.
I know there are a lot more that could be added. If you think of any let me know and I will happily add them to the list.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My New Business Card

I am so thrilled! My son Charlie who is a wonderful photographer and graphic artist created my business cards and I think they turned out beautifully.
I use the purple masked face as my Avatar in my Etsy Shop and I also wanted to have it on my business cards. If anyone would like him to create business cards his e-mail address is Charlieprenzi@gmail.com and to see his wonderful photography his website is: http://charlieprenziphotography.com/

I have my first Craft Sale tomorrow and I will be so pleased to be able to give them out. I was thinking that when I have time, I will create a business card holder out of clay for occasions like this. Something with a purple theme to compliment the cards.
As promised in an earlier blog, here is the the swirl that Nancy Lotzer from our Guild taught us how to create. She
is an absolute genius with her swirled bowls.

We started out small as you can see. This needs a lot of perfecting thats for sure, but I loved knowing how to do it and I am going to work at it so one day I too can make the beautiful bowls Nancy makes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ground in Clay on Carpet - No Problem

I had gotten some black clay (which was really ground in) on my champagne colored carpet, and thought for sure it wouldn't come out, but low and behold, baby oil to the rescue. After moaning about it for awhile I searched the internet and found a solution to my problem. But after reading it I thought to myself "Sure, baby oil, now my rug will not only have a black stain, but it will be oily too."

Well, being desperate to get the stain out, I bought some baby oil and followed the directions I had gotten from the internet. Was I ever surprised. It came out beautifully.

Here's the Scoop:
Take a stiff brush and brush out as much of the problem area as you can.
Then add a drip of baby oil to the area and let it set for a moment.
With a white cloth rub the area that's affected.
Then brush again.

It might take a couple of applications if there is a large spot of clay. I don't know if it works on all carpets, but it did on mine and I was so thankful.

But now to another tragedy and yes, it involves the baby oil. I had lost the top to the bottle so it sat open on my craft table. (which I'll never do again) A few days after my first incident I accidentally knocked the open bottle of oil over, and it spilled and when I say spilled, it gushed out of the bottle right onto the carpet. My mind was spinning, what could I do. First I took paper towels and blotted up as much as I could, then seeing the baby powder sitting on the craft table, I quickly sprinkled some on (actually a lot) thinking that it would soak up the oil. Well it did, but it took several applications before it was oil free. Lastly, I left a paper towel on the top of it and every once in a while would press on it just to see if any oil bled through and it didn't.

All I can say is Thank God for babies in every way, but especially right now for their oil and powder which came to my rescue.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tear Drop Blend

Yesterday my Guild had a presentation on Skinner Blends. The Tear Drop Blend was very interesting to me so today I looked it up and found that Cindy Lietz invented this method. It is a far less scientific manner of creating the Skinner Blend. She named it the Tear Drop Blend which is quite appropriate as you can see by the picture.

She hated all the measuring involved and came up with this great way of making this easy blend. She created tear drops in different colors and laid them next to each other in opposite directions giving them the look of triangles

Then she rolled the blend instead of folding and found that it would blend almost ten times faster.


This meant instead of taking ten minutes to make a blend from start to finish, she could do one in under a minute!


She could do tiny little test blends to see if she liked it before committing to a large batch. This to me is so exciting.

Creating a whole rainbow of colors is a snap with this technique. No more figuring out exactly how to cut the right shapes so that they will fit together. No more measuring or cutting at all. Easy and fast.

She coined this modified Skinner Blend technique as the Tear Drop Method.

I am anxious to try it out. It sure would save me time and a lot of frustration and that's always a good thing.

You can visit Cindy's blog and read more about this wonderful tear drop method at:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My First Bottle of Hope

 Today, I created my first Bottle of Hope and here she is in all her glory. Oops, she has her back turned, I think she is a little shy. Anyway, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to do, but as usual when I am creating something new, it always seems to turn out differently than I anticipated, but all in all, I am pretty happy with the outcome. Oh, I see you now have a side view of her. Maybe if we are lucky, she will show her face.
Well, here she is with her cute little smile.
I have seen cute and very ingenious looking Bottles of Hope that my Guild members have created, I wish I had some pictures to show you.

Polymer Clay Central has a great article on the 2002 polymer clay Bottles of Hope and some wonderfully creative bottles that were entered into a contest. Here is the link: http://www.polymerclaycentral.com/boh02_winners.html You will love those bottles!

Also, I am giving you this link which tells all about the Bottles of Hope and the woman who began it. http://www.ntpcg.org/boh.aspx

Tomorrow is my Guild meeting and I am looking forward to it. Well, here she is with her little heart filled with hope. It must have spilled over because the bottle was so full. Anyway, back to the Guild Meeting. Our meeting runs from one o'clock to five giving us plenty of time to have our demonstration and then create something of our own. Like I commented in an earlier blog. I am very poor at making swirls and maybe with someone showing me I will be able create one. We will see...

Tips for Sculpting Polymer Clay

I found some wonderful tips for sculpting with polymer clay.

Keep a wet washcloth or wet wipes (baby wipes) on hand to keep you hands clean while sculpting. Any little piece of dirt or pet hair your hands pick up will stick to your sculpt.
Get a lazy susan, it’s a simple thing but it's wonderful to be able to turn your sculpts easily.

Mirrors are your friend. A great way to tell if you have something lopsided is to look at it reversed in a mirror, it really brings out any problems.
Smooth out your polymer clay by brushing it using isopropyl alcohol. 90% will smooth more aggressively than 70%. You can find it in any drug store in the first aid supplies.
Of course a Pasta Machine is a must. It is the perfect tool for mixing clay and rolling out sheets of clay. Mixing clay by hand takes forever and leaves your hands too sore and tired to actually be able to sculpt.
Wet wipes are also useful for keeping our pasta machine clean. Just run one through on the smallest setting a few times until the rollers are clean. If you don’t have wet wipes a piece of folded paper towel sprayed with window cleaner also works quite well.
Make or find your own tools. Sculpting tools can be expensive to buy so whatever you can make or find is great. A few examples are:
  • Knitting needles
  • X-acto knives
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sewing needles can be glued into the end of pieces of dowel (tapestry needles come in the perfect sizes)
  • Steel guitar strings are perfect for homemade loop tools. Just glue a loop of the wire into a hole drilled in the end of a dowel.
  • Dowels can be easily carved with an x-acto knife and fine sandpaper into endless shapes.
  • Anything that has an interesting texture can be made into a stamp. Just press a blob of epoxy putty (such as ApoxieSculpt, milliput, hard setting plumbers epoxy) onto the object you want to make a stamp of. Some examples would be an orange, cantaloupe, bark, etc.
Save your eyes. If you are sculpting a lot of fine detail get a magnifier of some sort.
If your clay isn’t the consistency that you want there are a couple things you can do. If it’s too soft you can leach the clay, roll out thin sheet of the clay, place it between two sheets of white paper, and stack a couple books on top. Leave it there checking the consistency ever couple hours until it reaches the firmness that you want. If the clay is too hard or dry, you can use either sculpey clay softener (previously called diluent) or fimo mix quick to soften the clay.
Bake your clay thoroughly at the temperature indicated on the package. Under-baking can leave your sculpture weak and in some cases it make actually break down due to uncured plasticizers. Ramp bake, this was originated by Katherine Dewey who’s a genius. This means you first bake for 15-20 minutes at 225, 15-20 minutes at 250, then depending on the thickness of the sculpt for between 20 and 60 minutes at 275.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Great Information about Polymer Clay

I found some great information about translucent polymer clay and wanted to share it with you.

Premo Frost #5310 with Bleach and Studio by Sculpey Frost are the clearest of the translucent clays. They are followed by Kato Polyclay, Sculpey III, Premo #5310, Fimo Soft #014, Fimo Classic #00 and lastly Cernit #010 White Translucent.
Pardo Artist is another translucent clay. Ladysaotome from PCC has been experimenting with Pardo trans and Pinata inks and the results are just beautiful.
She also thought that this post that had some translucent experiments would be helpful.
Premo Translucent and Sculpey III are the most amber colored of the brands. Kato and Fimo clays are the whitest in color.
The tiny circular 'moon' shapes you sometimes see in the layers of translucent clay are caused by a condition called 'plaquing'. Fimo Clay has the most plaquing of all the brands of polymer clay. Kato clay the least. Moisture on your hands and over working the clays will cause more plaquing.
Adding tiny amounts of opaque clay will help to reduce plaquing. Think pea sized amounts with a whole block of clay. White and beige are good candidates for this technique.
Translucent clays start yellowing very easily with heat. Baking directly on a ceramic tile or metal cookie sheet will cause translucent clays to scorch quickly. You can protect the clay either by tenting your pieces while baking or by burying them in a bed of cornstarch. Leigh from PCC also reminded me that we must watch that the temperature isn't too high.
Translucent clay bakes up clearer when layered over raw clay, more so than over baked clay.
All translucent clays can be tinted with alcohol inks. Coat the clay with ink and let dry a minute or two, so the alcohol has time to dissipate. Then mix the clay until you have the look you want. Gloves are a good idea here unless you don't mind colored hands!
Dust your fingers with cornstarch to avoid leaving fingerprints on polymer clay beads.. You can also rub it on raw clay surfaces to remove fingerprints that did end up getting left behind.
Cornstarch makes an excellent release agent for rubber stamps, texture plates, polymer clay molds, etc. Dust lightly on the surface you don't want your clay to stick to. The powder will wash off with water after baking.
Poke your bead piercing wire into some cornstarch before you pierce your beads and you will find it enters the raw clay much easier.
Baking your beads in and under cornstarch is a great way to protect and support fragile beads during baking. A covering layer of cornstarch will also keep the color of your beads brighter and more true. However, don't rest raw beads in cornstarch for too long before baking. The powder may leach some of the plasticizers from the clay and cause weakness.
Mixing things into translucent clay is half the fun. You can mix glitters, colored powders, and other forms of clay. I have even heard of spices being used as coloring agents, which creates a lovely, natural look and smells great while baking. Be careful when using glitters and makeup powders to make sure that everything you're using is safe for use in the oven. Consult labels and your craft store carefully before proceeding.
Sanding and polishing translucent clay gives it amazing depth, and if there are other colors of clay or glitter swirled inside, you can make convincing fax agate, opal and other gemstones - perfect for designing your own jewelry, adding to mosaics or using as decoration.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Polymer Guild Meeting

Our November Guild Meeting is going to be presenting "Designing Swirl Elements" demonstrated by Nancy Lotzer.

About Nancy Lotzer: After retiring from teaching preschool she found her creative spirit with polymer clay. She has been playing and exploring with this marvelous medium since 2002. She loves mica clays, making vessels and working with any technique that involves tiny, overly intricate details.

She will demo the basic swirl technique and will show examples of how to change things up to make that ultimate swirl element to use in your designs.

I am looking forward to her presentation as I have never gotten the hang of a swirl. Here is an example of what she will be teaching us.

We will be bringing our supplies to the meeting and creating something with a swirl design and I will post mine even if it comes out terrible. So, you will either be feasting your eyes on something beautiful or you will be wondering why I didn't throw it in the round file. Wish me luck.