Monday, October 27, 2014


We had a good weekend.  It's amazing to see jacaranda flowers, not just a purple haze.  I have been 'practising' wearing my glasses as I did a few odd jobs at Ceramix and sewed and needle sculpted a doll in my studio.  And it rained!  My garden is singing. 

This morning I woke up with a sense of purpose.  I am photographing the Rudolf range at By Word Of Mouth for the Ceramix portfolio later today.  Broadening my horizons during my sabatical from bear making has given me a new lease of life. 

Wishing you a splendid week.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's a new day and a new me

Today Hindus celebrate Divali, a day of light, renewal, lifting of spiritual darkness. 
For me it's a day of light and clear vision.  My spectacles arrived.  Both pairs.
Recent illness caused my eyesight to deteriorate badly.  After enjoying years of near perfect vision, lately I have been stumbling around in a blur.  It's very depressing. 
I used to amaze people with the things I could make with plain eyesight and a pair of hands.   When I moaned about it to a friend she said, "Well, now you can tell them you're half blind and look what you still can do".  So there, no keeping me down!
What I need is one of those handy strings to hang one pair around my neck so that I can perch the other on my head, and switch them around as required. 
Now that I can properly see what I'm doing, I think I will go and sew a bear.
Happy Divali, everyone!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Good Morning Friends!

Good Monday Morning Friends

This weekend I experimented with needle sculpted doll heads.  Here's a quick peek.
A basic round head is made from calico.  It is stuffed firmly and mounted on a dowel.  A second layer of stretch fabric is pulled over the head.  Stitches are applied in some areas such as the eyes, hair line and bridge of the nose.  Stuffing is then inserted between the two cloth layers and sculpting stitches used to further shape the head.
Although I've done needle sculpting, I've never tried this technique before.  Having a firm core to anchor stitches into, and the dowel to hold on to while working makes all the difference.  I'm amazed at how easy it is, and how satisfying the result.

Unfortunately today is Monday.  It's back to work, and I have a lot to do this week with a commercial design that I'm working on.  No playing with these girls anymore till next weekend.

But hey, in this studio work is play!  Wishing you a fulfilling week.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Project 52 - Miniature Bear Making - #17

Make miniature buttons
Angus has been sitting around with his waistcoat flapping open for weeks.  I just knew that I was not going to find a tiny black button anywhere, so yesterday we took out the clay and made some!
Tiny buttons can be difficult to source.  Especially if you want a specific colour to match your project.  Not to mention buttons that are not just round... 

Buttons for miniature bears are easy to make.  In this post I'm going to share a few tips for making professional looking buttons.
Although you can use home made cold porcelain, I recommend using polymer clay, it is a little bit stronger.

So get out your clay and let's get started!
Roll out sheets of clay to the thickness desired for the buttons.
You will need cutters to make the shapes.
For round buttons I press into service a variety of things found around my workroom.  Straws, bottle caps, plastic pen cylinders and caps from felt tip pens all become good cutters.
I have tiny Kemper cutters that make shapes such as hearts and stars.  If you don't have a set, don't be jealous.  Here's a tutorial to make your own at no cost.
(It's in a foreign language but the pictures are self explanatory.  Unfortunately the blog where I originally found this tutorial no longer exists, so there's no link to click.)

My secret weapon when making buttons is cling wrap.
Lay a sheet of cling wrap over the clay before you start cutting out shapes.  It will keep the cutters clean and prevent buttons from sticking inside the tiny cutters where you can't easily get them out.  It will also give the surface of your buttons a nice bevelled edge.  Neat!
Buttons on the left were cut with cling wrap, and buttons on the right without.  I like the way the cling wrap bevels the top surface of the button.
Use a stylus or toothpick to make holes in the buttons.  Four holes are possible, but tiny buttons work better with only two holes.
Here's another good tip - tape two pins or two toothpicks together and use them to make evenly spaced holes.
Here's some button inspiration to get your creative juices flowing.[]=polymer|typed&term_meta[]=clay|typed&term_meta[]=buttons|typed

When you have made enough buttons, bake them on a flat surface such as a ceramic tile. 

Next time we are going to (try to) take a closer look at invisible sewing thread. 

My book page for Lesson 17.

In this miniature bear making series, we are using the Angus pattern, which you will find in my Etsy Shop, and on the Tin Soldiers Website.  Every week, you will find printable templates for Project 52 HERE .

Still Around

Just when you thought I might have disappeared for good, here I am checking in.
All is well, I'm healing up nicely and finally starting to get my strength and energy back.
I've stopped thrasing about trying to get out of the emotional quagmire I'm in. Going to  wait for the sun to dry it up and make my world a happy place.  Apparently some things can't be rushed.

I finished a post for Project 52, and have week 18 through 23 mapped out.  Yippee! 

Wishing you a relaxed and creative weekend.