Here are the results with the Silver metal clay. These didn't need quite as much finishing work to them.
After my precious metal clay pieces dried thoroughly I spent a few hours cleaning them up. What I found most useful was 400 and 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper. I used the 400 first, then the 600 for some extra fine cleanup. I was really quite surprised and happy with the results of the copper clay (I had such a frustrating time with it while wet that my expectations were very low - you can read about that in part 3 here). The smallest piece broke and I figured it wasn't worth trying to repair (less than 1 cm square).
I left some rough bumpy places in hopes of a rustic, organic or nugget look (bottom left and bottom middle), however, the back sides are smooth. And I attempted to carve hearts in the two circles. I am very interested to see how they come out of the kiln. These are all thick pieces (approx. 2-4mm) and there is no way that they could be torch fired.
Here are the results with the Silver metal clay. These didn't need quite as much finishing work to them.
The letter E I made broke. I haven't decided if it is worth trying to fix. It seems too cracked and is a bit warped.
The next step is firing in the kiln. I've been a little hesitant to fire up my kiln to 1800 degrees in this heat that we have been having, but I will do it soon and post pictures of the results. For firing the copper, I am going to follow these steps by Pam East on the Metal Clay Guru Website, which is a great resource for those who work with precious metal clay.
Here are the latest Etsy treasuries that feature items from my shop.
So, I haven't touched my metal clay for six months (but I've had a good excuse - I am pregnant with twins). I've been telling myself that once I have these babies, I won't have time for who knows how long, so I finally set aside time for it the other day.
I had a large lump (probably 30-35 grams) of copper clay left over from my first time using it. I stored the clay in plastic wrap, followed by two zip seal bags with a moist paper towel (to provide a little humidity). The outer layer of the clay was pretty dry. I decided the night before that I was going to use it the following day, so I opened it up and sprayed it with some water, wrapped it back up and let it sit overnight. I am glad I did this because it was softer the next day. However it was still so difficult to work with and I vowed that in the future I would never open a package of clay, without intending to use all of it up. When purchasing clay, it is helpful to consider that It may be a better value to purchase the larger package of clay, but the second you open the package, the clay begins to dry out and becomes harder and harder to work with as time goes by - at least in the dry desert climate that I live in.
Lesson 1: I will never open a package of metal clay, without intending to use it all up in one sitting.
Here is a picture to show you (this is silver clay by the way). From a 20 gram package of clay, these are the first and last pieces of the clay. I made the circle first and by the time I used up all 20 grams, I formed this lumpy dry oval as I couldn't get the clay to do anything nicer. The circle is nice and smooth, while the oval is cracked and lumpy. And I did attempt to add moisture to it many times and covered it up while I was working with another piece.
Lesson 2: The longer the clay is exposed to air and the more you work with it, the harder it is to get it to do anything.
Back to the copper clay - I kept attempting to roll it out, shape or make "snakes" with it. I couldn't get it to do anything. It was very frustraiting and I kept asking myself why I invested so much money into this new hobby of mine. I could also feel small pieces of very hard and dry clay in with the moist clay. I hope those dry pieces won't be a problem during the firing process. After 20 minutes or so, I finally gave up attempting to make anything decent from the wet clay, and formed these lumps, that I hoped I would be able to shape when dry. Or if nothing better, I thought they would make a good test run in my new kiln.
I knew that if I stopped here (ending on such a bad note) that I would never want to pick up the metal clay again, so I opened up my smallest package of silver clay (20 grams) that I had on hand. The fresh clay was so much easier to work with and remembered the fun I had the last time I used metal clay. However, it also began to dry out quickly as I mentioned above.
Here are the pieces left how they dried. Watch for another post about how the cleaning up and shaping of both the copper and metal clay goes, in addition to the firing.
In preparation for the birth of my twins, I made up some boyish burp cloths. I have plenty of girly ones from from first pregnancy, but needed some to use on my little boy that weren't too frilly. We love Winnie the Pooh at our house, and I had some scraps of cute Pooh bear material that I made these up with.
There are hundreds of cloth diaper burp cloth tutorials out there on the web, so I won't be making this a tutorial. But I did customize them and do them differently than anything that I saw out there, so I will share with you how I did them.
I picked up a package of Gerber cloth diapers. I thought the center was too thick, especially if you were to add a strip of fabric on top of that (which I think is the most popular way to do these "Boutique burp cloths").
After the fold
I folded the two sides of the cloth diaper in to each stitch down the sides of the center. Then sewed along both the old edge of the diaper and the new folded edge. This makes the diapers a little more uniform in thickness and also an nicer size to rest upon your shoulder. Originally the diapers were 12 inches wide (after a pre-wash to reduce the chance of shrinkage), after the two folds, they were about 8 inches wide.
Next, I added the fabric decorations (or you could use ribbons or any kind of embellishment that you like) to the top and bottom. This hides the uneven seams of the cloth diaper while leaving the bulk of the cloth available to catch all those little (or major) spit-ups. I did them double sided, so they look nice from both sides, rather than just one.
On this one, I included some little ribbon loops to one corner (like all those ribbon or "tag" blankies). I thought it might come in handy as something for the baby to play with or, for clipping onto the carseat or stroller so that it is always within reach.
For the applique, I used the starch method, following this tutorial from Natalia at Piece N Quilt. It was my first attempt at applique and I found it to be easier than I expected (thanks for the great tutorial Natalia!). I put the applique on the background cloth before adding to the diaper.
So, there you have it. I'd love to hear what you think or see pics if you make any like this!
Maybe it is due to the nesting instinct, but I am really trying to get my house organized. Organization is always a work-in-progress thing - I don't think everything will ever be perfectly how you want it (especially not if you have kids, or a husband with a different idea of organization).
I think one key to organization is that everything has its place or home. A place where it is easy to just put it back rather than dropping it on the kitchen table or counter top. Here is a simple tutorial by Flighty Girl, with instructions on how to make a cute fabric cube in which to hide the things that don't have their place.
Hopefully I will have time to make a couple of these in the next day or two and post some pictures. Thanks flightygirl!
I used to rarely if ever be featured in Etsy treasuries, now it is happening faster than I can keep up with. One reason is probably due to the changes Etsy made, where they don't limit the amount of treasuries at any given time. Another change is that I have joined a wonderful active Etsy team, the LDS Members of Etsy Team. If you are on Etsy and you aren't a part of a team, you really ought to look into joining one and being an active part of it. It is a lot of fun. And so, here are some treasuries made by my fabulous LDS team members.
First there was Strawberry Taffy made by Melanie of SweetMellyJane, featuring beautiful sweet pinks, including my pink pearl earrings at the bottom. This is why I have been craving salt water taffy all week.
Melanie has lots of beautiful handmade items in her shop, including finger puppets, crocheted items and patterns. I love these adorable crocheted baby shoes! I will keep these in mind once my babies are born in a few months. You can check out her shop here. Thank you Melanie!
Monice of Simplydivine09 created this vibrant orange treasury called Summer Sherbet. I love the bold summery colors. She included my orange wood bead anklet.
Monice has beautiful scarfs, satin flower headbands and adorable wool baby shoes in her shop. I love these little pink ones, these would be perfect for little feet in winter months (can you tell I am expecting?). Check out her shop here. Thank you Monice!
Kacey of Kaceface created two etsy treasuries, one black and white (with tiny splashes of color) and the other hot pink and flowery. Both are quite beautiful. The first features one of my new asymmetrical necklace designs, the yellow pearls with a white mother of pearl flower and the second my pink mother of pearl flower earrings.
Kaceface has lots of adorable flower clips and headbands in her shop. My daughter - or any girl (kid to adult) would look so cute in any of these. Check out her shop here. Thank you Kacey!
The biggest challenge when you sell products online is photography. The photograph is what sells the product. A great description helps, but when the customer can't pick up, touch or hold a product, your photographs must provide all the details that sell the item. If you sell products online or are considering selling products online, check out these Top Ten Tips for Better Product Photography from paper n stitch, even if you have been photographing your products for a while, you might learn something new. Tips 2,5 and 7 pointed out things that I had never thought of. Also do a google search for "photographing jewelry" (or whatever you may be trying to photograph) to get some good tips on your specific product. There are hundreds or resources on the web. Here are a few more:
Staying Sharp: Achieving Clarity and Crispness in Your Photos
Make your pictures POP!
Tips for Photographing Jewelry