Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Staying Cool, Staying Busy


Here in Saint Paul, MN today, it got hot. Way hot. Over 100 hot with around 50% humidity H.O.T. So, Sawyer and I needed to find some indoor diversions. Normally, when I'm at home with Sawyer while Sean is at work, I don't get to work on my Work. Today, however, was unusual in more ways than the heat given that Sawyer seemed content to stay inside, to partake in independent play time, and he took an extra-long nap. It was a perfect storm of productivity factors and I felt like I got a lot done on the work-front today.

Since I have a lampwork trunk show scheduled at Knits & Pearls on Tuesday June 21 through Thursday June 23, I thought I ought to do some of my inside-tasks, namely photographing some of the focal beads I've been making.


The current iteration of my bead and jewelry photography setup.


Sadly, this is the best picture I got of my beads all day.

Unfortunately, while my current photography setup does a gangbusters job of lighting jewelry, it's hard to get my camera to focus on beads. Wanting to avoid overwhelming frustration I decided to move on to another project.

Playdough is one of Sawyer's top-three favorite indoor activities, so I decided to introduce him to my pasta machine, giving me an opportunity to try the Mokume Gane technique on polymer clay, inspired by Angela Design on Etsy. I found a pretty good tutorial on YouTube. I didn't make anything too fancy, but I was pleased with my first-try results. The take-away lessons were:

  • don't make the layers too thin; there seems to be a perfect layer thickness that I will have to play to find.

  • While it is easier to get deep impressions with smaller stamps (a 1x1" compared to, say, a 3x4" stamp), it is hard to get all of the individual stamps equally deep.

  • a very light touch is required with the tissue blade. You have to pay attention that you're only shaving off the raised portion of the design and not accidentally go underneath.

  • Interestingly, it turns out that the pasta machine was good for conditioning the old Playdough as well as the polymer clay.


    Playdough ... less doughy than it should be.


    Feeding the Playdough through the pasta machine.


    Added a splash of water to the surface


    Keep feeding it through until all traces of water are gone.


    Repeat the last two steps until you reign victorious over the crustified Playdough.

    And that is the fun we had while staying out of the heat today.

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