Sunday, 30 May 2010

Rainy Sunday...

It's been really rainy today and the lights had to be on from 1pm because there is almost no sunlight outside. The only thing I want to do on a day like this is to roll under the covers with a good book or a movie. I feel gloom.

But today I really did my very best to stay upbeat.
- I cleaned parts of the house (Mr. P cleaned other parts)
- I did my danish homework (and discovered that my Microsoft Works experiences a fatal error every time I try to paste anything to it)
- I watched some tutorials online
- I shared my newest fimo ring with you (see picture or flickr)
- I even made strawberry-banana milkshake

And I still only want to crawl in a dark hole and forget the world. But instead I will go and sort out the chaos that is my craft studio.

The conclusion, I guess, is that either there were more sunny days when I was a kid or rain simply was another element of our games and we didn't even notice. Whaddaya think?

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Polymer Clay Starter Kit

Working with polymer clay does not require tools but they are very useful if you are looking to create smaller, precise pieces - especially jewelery. There are literally hundreds of tools for polymer clay craft out there. And if you are anything like me, there is a part of you that loves tools. I guess it's the same part of me that is in fact a boy and always played with guns and climbed highest trees in the neighborhood. Oh well.

Most of the tools are not very expensive but it is a good idea to limit yourself to a starter kit before you are sure that polymer clay is what you enjoy.
At first it might be a bit confusing to choose the necessary tools (at least it was for me) so I compiled a list for the beginners out there. Here are the tools that turned out to be most useful for me:

1. Pasta Machine

As weird as it may seem, pasta machine is the most useful tool you can get. It serves to warm up and soften the clay, create uniform sheets of clay (of different thickness), blend colors, and many other purposes. A good place to buy pasta machine is on ebay. You should not invest in any high-end pasta machine because you should never use this machine for food preparation. The cheapest one will do just fine.

2. Cutting and Sculpting Tools

To create detailed ornaments, you will need to use cutting tools. I mostly use these 5 tools.

1) and 4) Sculpting tool and doll making needle. Useful for connecting pieces of clay together, moving and fixing small pieces of clay onto the project, sculpting little holes, etc.

2) and 3) Modelling knives. Can be used for moving and fixing elements onto the project. They are also good for cutting shapes and small elements.

5) Slicing blade. It is used for cutting slices of canes and blocks of clay. It is also flexible so that it allows you to create different shapes.

3. Acrylic Roller

Another essential tool is an acrylic roller. You will use it to flatten your pieces, roll in cane slices and many more. Before I got my acrylic roller I was using a small wine bottle. But the problem with a glass bottle is that the clay can stick to it and your projects can get ruined.

4. Cookie Cutters

Ok, so they are not absolutely necessary but still very fun to have. You can of course shape your pieces by using knives and blades, but cookie cutters are handy and will make your job easier.

5. Examination Gloves

And last but not least, examination gloves. They will help to protect your skin and keep colors of clay separate and clean. Thanks to the gloves you will also be able to keep the surfaces of your clay projects clean of fingerprints. Just make sure that you buy a tight fit for your hands.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


I love seasonal fruits and veges. There is truly nothing more enjoyable on Saturday morning than a visit to farmers' market. I love browsing around the stalls, smelling fresh, earthy smells of roots and herbs, and picking up what's in season.

May is the season for asparagus and rhubarb. And boy, do I love rhubarb! So many good things you can make with these sweet and sour sticks.
Yesterday night, I turned the fresh batch of rhubarb into this delicious rhubarb sour cream cake. It is a very easy to follow recipe, but the outcome is orgasmic. The cake gets better on the second day, if kept in the fridge. And I strongly recommend you serve the cake with whipped cream, vanilla ice-cream, or sour cream and vanilla sugar. Mhhmmmm...

Friday, 21 May 2010

There is something about Denmark...

...that you don't know. And that I didn't realize until recently, when the days got sunnier. Namely, that 21st of May in Denmark lasts 16hours 36minutes and 40seconds. The same day in Poland lasts 16hours and 23seconds. Even though the difference isn't that large in reality it feels very important. The reason for this is that the sun rises in both countries almost at the same time: around 4:30 - and I am still asleep so don't really care about that. At the same time, sun sets in Poland at 20:33 and in Denmark at 21:25 - almost an hour later. Because of this the day feels wonderfully long.
I took a photo of the sky yesterday at around 21:30 to prove that it was still totally bright outside. Isn't that just great?

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Hooked on Earrings

Have a look at a few earring pieces I've been working on. The biggest challenge in this project was the wirework. Turns out it is not at all easy to bend the wire for loops. It has to look aesthetic and be identical for both earrings. Big respect for all the smiths out there and maybe someone would like to take an apprentice?
Meanwhile, have a look at my earrings. I especially love the blue ones, but the pink ones are also cute (only the color is less aggressive and more rosy in reality).

Monday, 17 May 2010

Polymer Clay: Working the Cane

My experience with polymer clay is advancing. I have to say I enjoy very much working with this medium. It is flexible, colorful and the effect of your work is almost immediate.
But it can also be a bit frustrating. When you look at clay items on the Internet and read the descriptions it all sounds so simple. But once you start working on it yourself it turns out that, even though the method is simple, you need a skill to perform it. Well, whatdayaknow...

Anyway, I struggle especially with cane making. It is one of the basic techniques of polymer clay. The simple idea is that you wrap layers of polymer clay sheets. Reduce the cane by pressing it from the middle out and than cut thin slices to use in your work. Again sounds simpler than it really is. The reduction can distort the image and the cutting can easily change the shape of the slice. But practice makes master and I shell not give up! Here comes a few points about what I learned so far:

1. To cut thin and well shaped slices you need a really good blade. A modeling knife is too thick and other thinner pieces of metal will not be sharp enough. Have a look at ebay and get yourself a proper polymer clay blade (cost: around 5 pounds/$7.20/6 euros)

2. Make sure that each layer of clay is thick before reduction. Otherwise it will become so thin, once you reduce the cane, that it will blend in with the others.

3. It is easier to reduce the cane when clay is still warm. But it is easier to cut thin slices one the cane cools down (an idea: put the cane to the fridge to cool it down quickly).

4. Black looks good as a divider between colors in the cane. However black Fimo Soft smudges a lot when cut. Very annoying.

Below is one of my first cane projects:

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Birthday on a Spring Saturday

This Saturday Mr. P celebrated turning...a certain amount of years. We had family over for coffee and cake and we prepared a traditional Danish bday table. Note the obligatory Danish flag, home baked buns and the monster in the middle - kagemand or the cake man (see also photo below). Kagemand is traditionally made for kids' bday parties. The dough varies and can contain a variety of additives (such as marzipan, chocolate, sugar or honey). But the unifying quality of every cakeman is the insane amount of sweets that are placed on the cake after it is baked.

In our case the dough was made with yeast and as little fat as we could. The top layer was made of glazed brown sugar, powdered sugar icing, Haribo jellies and licorice candies. We were also going to use blue jungle sprinkle mix but there simply wasn't enough space. Anyway, you understand now the essence of the cakeman I think - and that is sugar-induced coma.

After we stuffed ourselves with sugar and fat we decided that the least we could do, was to have a little walk in the park. The weather was wonderful and I couldn't stop myself to take pictures of the fresh spring colors.

And in the evening, the weather turned. Storm clouds came about and the colors changed again.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Blue and White Polymer Clay Beads

I am very excited about this new beads I made this weekend. Look how awesomely blue and girly they are! I made 7 of them and it took me over 2 hours - a little bit long, no? It is precise work, but I hope I can shave some time of this work in the future.

Anyway, I love them and I am very excited to make more. Do you also like them, or am I completely blind? Should I make more? What colors should I use now? Tell me, tell me, tell me!

You can see more photos on my flickr account and if you work with polymer clay and share your photos online, you can also join Polymer Clay Art and Craft group on flickr. I checked and all the other groups seem restricted geographically or by type of polymer clay items. My group is open to everyone and invites all types of polymer clay works. So feel invited!

Monday, 3 May 2010

100 Hearts Giveaway!

My Etsy shop has now 100 hearts! This is such a nice and round milestone that I decided to say thank you to everyone by hosting 100 hearts giveaway. You can win ANY item of your choice from my Etsy shop.

What you need to do, is very simple.
1. Join my Facebook fan page
2. Write a comment under the giveaway post, saying which item you would like to get.

Giveaway lasts until Sunday 9th night. The winner will be chosen at random on Monday morning. So don't wait!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Polymer Clay: Second Date

It's been quiet here for a moment. But I have an explanation, really. I spent the last week honing my polymer clay skills but couldn't show you anything because the weather was really gray here and photos wouldn't be any good. I still don't have really good equipment for product photo taking (donations anyone?). Anyway, today the sun came out for a few moments so here it comes.

So, what do you think? Have you tried polymer clay? How did it go for you?