Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pushing the Panic Button

Yes, it's that time of year again. The race to be ready!
Here on the grove, it's a little busier as we will be hosting the annual Christmas dinner on the 25th. For the first time, niece Hilary and her hubby and two kids, aged five and seven will be in town at Christmas. Since we have a slightly larger dining area, the gang will come here instead of gathering at my sister's.

For me, it's rather a nice change, as I love to make the meat and potatoes part of the meal, and um, yes the hors d'oeuvres. I don't make desserts well, so fortunately, my sister has graciously offered to bring the sweets. I have all the food shopping done and the menu is ready. I've made whatever could be made ahead of time, so no worries there. It's just that part of having all the meal elements ready at the same time that gets to me. I really am not that great at doing big birds in the oven, so will have to rely on the meat thermometer and peoples' patience so that it all gets to the table in a relatively warm way.

As far as gifts wrapped and decorations done, I have completed nearly all I intend to do. Regarding party-type events, I have a few things up my sleeve, and of course one can always count on the impromptu actions of the little ones to help the festivities remain joyous and we'll have cameras ready for those unexpected moments of frivolity. We may even have some highly original organ music (they'll PLAY) to accompany any of us who feels like singing carols. Pushing the right keys on the Hammond is not important...they'll have the beat tho!

As for pushing panic buttons, I am really no more concerned with that than I am with the little ones hitting the right notes. What's the point. It will all come together and if there are a few bits that are a little fragmented it's no big deal. I have the worrying department all taken care of. I have this little polymer clay thing I made a couple of years ago as the result of a workshop I took. It was at a very "down" time. I kept the thing in my pocket for weeks, rubbing it and pressing on the button from time to time, whenever I felt stressed, or something around me was "out of control". I called it my panic button and maybe it was just the "action" of pressing it, but it helped me to realize that pushing it got about the same results as going into a wild panic would.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More playing with blends

In a previous post I alluded to the quilting patterns possible with the extrusions made from blends with polymer clay. Here are some other possibilites for having fun. The blue-toned pendant on the right is the one I received from Violette last year as a Winterfest Gift. I think she may have used a similar technique. Qu'en penses-tu?

The one below is unbaked and is just a combination of the small canes as they came out of the extruder. It could be the basis for some quilt pattern.

It's surprising because it's hard to predict how the canes will exit the the extruder. It all depends on the colours that are used and how you stack them inside the barrel. I suppose if one really wanted, they could prepare a master's thesis on the probability of the extrusions, but I prefer to leave these things up to chance and let the random colours play as they may. Did someone talk about permutations and combinations? Oh no, more Math!

Playing with Clay Blends

Quite a while ago I received the Makins Pro Extruder. I had wanted to play with it but just never did and I regret having made that decision. It's FUN! I've been admiring several Klimt-like Canes that I've seen recently, and wondered how they were done. I had even received a pendant from one of my Clayamie friends with this marvelous work in it. Well, finally, the time came where I could play again, so I picked up a rainbow blend and folded it up accordion style. Then I cut the folded part into four sections and loaded them up in no particular order in the tube of the extruder. I placed the square shape disc in, and then started the extrusion. The outside was almost all one colour...and I hoped it wouldn't be mud.
But then when I cut the extruded part in a number of small pieces to see what was inside, I LOVED the unexpected results. Of course, I put them together in almost what one might call a quilt pattern, and then began to take slices. The patterns change very gradually, but I suppose if you started with a large enough blend you'd have enough to make an exact quilt pattern if that is where you want to go. I like the randomness of the results.

And the beautiful tones of blue pendant is the gift I received last year from my Clayamie amie, Violette. VoilĂ !

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Button, Button

Yesterday was the final sale of the year for moi. It wasn't supposed to happen; originally I had been scheduled to teach a workshop this weekend, but the drive was very long and the temperatures have been so frigidly awful, that the organizers and I figured we should wait until spring.
The sale was poorly attended...can't blame people for not wanting to come out, but sadly, the cause was good and there were tons of cars in the mall we passed. The sale was being held to assist Africa and there were some excellent visual presentations.

I did well with my buttons though, and a lot of people commented on my womanakin....whom I have lovingly named Herdy Gourdy. She has no face, and not much of a life as she only comes out for show; but she is dressed to kill! She sports a black organza skirt and iridescent sequined bodice and she is bedecked with a lavendar boa, beneath a shock of pumpkin coloured hair. She displays the buttons so well. Because of her wire frame, the pinning on of the buttons is somewhat akin to sticking pins in a voodoo doll, but she so far doesn't seem to mind. And of course, we don't stick them in with ill intent.

The button sets are displayed on a table...perhaps one day I will get some prongs for them to hang them up...if I ever find a suitable backdrop! And since it's the last sale of the year, I have some time to think about that!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hey, It's Mr. Beadman

Hey, Mr. Beadman...over here! Look this way. I want to see the beads you have! Oh, some are glass...and the others, would be Polymer Clay, huh?
I had made a similar beaded guy a few weeks ago, but he is nowhere to be seen. No I didn't misplace him, lol, he's gone!

Molly ready to go!

It has been bitterly cold here lately, and on Wednesday the divine MS. M will be going for a haircut. She'll be shivering with her buzz cut, so I made her some boots and a kind of a sweater from some wool stuff to help keep her from the elements. I know the items don't match, and they're not very decorative, but we are talking PRACTICALITY here. She doesn't mind wearing the sweater, but the booties need to be snugged up a little, as they don't stay on that well. I'm thinking of ways to add a little elastic in the "cuff" part of them.

I made the sweater by cutting up a wool v-neck. I used about half the back for her shortened "front" part and cut off the arms to make armholes. I serged it all together and if you don't look for the "mistakes" it serves its purpose.

The booties were made by taking the ribbing from a turtle neck, and cutting it into four pieces. I sewed each one up tube style, and they look a bit like large, blue, ribbed, cots, with roll tops, if you catch my drift. She doesn't lift her paw to go, so the items don't get soiled, but they do get a little snowy.

She actually likes the sweater a lot, and will sleep in it if we don't take it off after her outings.