A New Gear Head Bag

I was inspired by this contest at CraftStylish.com to create another fused plastic bag. I really liked the original, but for this bag I wanted it more tote-y. I was inspired by the LaRue bag in the Devil Wears Prada Movie, but I wanted something bigger and without that weird strap thingy.I have to admit that these are not the best pictures I have ever taken, but it was one of those "OMG the cut off time is in 45 minutes" kind of photo shoots. This bag measures roughly 16" x 22".As you can see, it is pretty good sized, I think that it will hold my sketchbook and pencil case, plus all the other miscellaneous crap that I like to take with me.Look, it's the fabric I stenciled yesterday! There is also a cell phone pocket and another small pocket on the bottom. On the top side there is a large zippered pocket. I used black thread to sew everything, I hate when I open a bag and everything is the same color and I can't find the pockets, maybe it's just me. This is my prototype, so I'll be carrying this one around for a while to see how it works and if passes you may be seeing a similar one in my etsy shop in a few weeks.

***Update: More Pictures in better light***


Stenciled Gears

I have be working on a new fused plastic bag design and today I stenciled gears on to the lining using a freezer paper stencil.

Freezer paper is so awesome!!! It is easy to cut and just irons right on to the fabric, this gives the stencil nice crisp edges. I also iron freezer paper on the back so the paint doesn't seep through. I used regular acrylic paint mixed with textile medium to make a permanent design. I dabbed (straight up and down) the paint on with a make-up sponge. The paint needs to set for 24 hours and then it needs to be heat set with an iron.

While I waited for the paint to dry I cut coordinating appliques out of fused plastic dollar store bags.

Here's the finished design after peeling the paper off, I really like how it turned out.

Next I'll need to sew the pockets and zipper onto the lining and then I'll start constructing the bag. I also have a resin project curing that will also be used for this bag, but more about that later.


Wordle - I Made a Word Cloud

I heard about Wordle through Kimberly Monaco Designs blog. Wordle, what's wordle you ask? it's this great site that helps you make word clouds.
The really great news about this is that you can do whatever you want with these word clouds, print them on shirts, make them into posters, make scrapbook pages, the list is endless. They are also just fun to make, there are several different fonts and the colors are customizable. You can type in your own words or enter a web address and they do it for you! I see a fog of word clouds in my future.


Instant Cemetery - Finished

I finished my first instant cemetery set, complete with four new tombstones. It seemed like it took forever to get everything cut out, but everything else went pretty fast.

This is one of the new drawings and my favorite, I am really excited how this one turned out, super creepy.

Photographing the cemetery was a little difficult because I wanted to show it lit by candles. I think they turned out good.

I always make a matching tin to store everything in. I just shrink everything down and decoupage it on to the tin and then finish it with a satin finish sealer. I tried something new this time, decoupaging is supposed to be done with laser copies because ink jet copies run when you put the modge podge on. Here in the sticks where I live there really isn't anywhere to get a laser copy, so I used the satin sealer to seal the copies, it worked great there wasn't any smudging!!!

I think I'm going to keep working on new drawings for these, maybe I can make enough to have several different sets.


Instant Cemeteries

Halloween is my favorite holiday and so there is a lot of Halloween crafting at my house. I have quite a large collection of Halloween books and magazines, a few years ago I purchased this book, Halloween: A Grown-Up's Guide to Creative Costumes, Devilish Decor & Fabulous Festivities by Joanne O'Sullivan.There are a lot of really great projects in this book, but my favorite was the instant cemeteries. I loved it the moment I saw it, but the instructions said to find clip art on the internet or in books and I just could not find anything I liked, so I decided to draw my own.

Here's the cemetery I sent irasema for the Halloween '07 swap (BTW thank you for taking such an awesome picture irasema!!!) These drawings were inspired by cemeteries that I've been to and pictures that I've seen. This is a set of eleven. I've decide to add a few more tombstones to the collection this year and so I have been looking at pictures online and from my collection.
Here are two that I completed last night, I still need to modify the sizes, but I think they will go well with the rest of the tombstones. Once I get all the drawing finished I mount them and put fold able stands on the backs and then I customize a recycle tin to store them in.


Let the Sanding Begin!!!

I have been making a lot of Mokume Gane polymer clay this week. I have made batches of red, black, fuchsia, purple, blue, and teal and also a few bezels for resin and now I have quite a back log to sand. The sanding takes the most time and can be tedious.
I do most of my sanding while watching T.V. and as you can see I reuse meat containers to keep everything separate and for my icky sanding water. I start off with sanding sponges in coarse, medium and fine and then progress to finer sand papers (320 through 2000). Once everything has been sanded I buff them with my dremel tool and a muslin wheel. I will be listing a select few of these in my etsy shop as I finish them, but the majority of them will be saved for the fall craft shows I'm doing.


WWP Swap #7 Sent and Received

The WWP Swap #7 is complete for me! This was a fun swap and so far the gallery is amazing, so many ideas, so little time, sigh. Here's what I sent my partner:
There are 2 roses embellished candle holders, a fairy sculpture with a removable rose offering plate, a frog topped fairy house, and a mini tea set for her daughter to have tea with the fairies. BTW, thank you AprilDraven for taking this picture, I forgot to snap any pictures before I sent.
I received a journal for me, two mini books and colors for my children, 2 jar candles etched with the god symbol and the goddess symbol, a mini/portable alter (in the Altoid tin), a set of runes that are also etched, an alter cloth with tiny little rosebuds on it, and a Living Wicca book.


Mokume Gane Tutorial

Mokume gane is my favorite technique in polymer clay, this time I took more photos so I could share the process with you. Here's what you'll need to make your own sheet of mokume gane clay.

  • 1 - 2 oz. block of translucent polymer clay (I use sculpty premo)

  • 1 - 2 oz. block of color of your choice (I think rich, dark colors look best, but it's your choice)

  • gold or silver leaf

  • pasta machine

  • tissue blade

  • acrylic roller

  • TLS (transparent liquid scuplty)

  • wet/dry sand paper in a selection of grits (I start with 100 and work up to 2000)

Divide the transparent clay into 4 equal pieces and divide the red (or your color of choice) in half and set 1 piece aside (you can use this for another project), divide the remaining piece in half, divide one of those pieces in half again and again, and again. Basically the pieces you need are 1/2 (of the half block), 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16, see the picture to get an idea what I'm talking about. From left to right we'll call these shade 1, shade 2, shade 3, and shade 4. Condition and combine the translucent and red clay in your pasta machine, you'll end up with 4 various shades of red. It's hard to see in the picture, but the darkest shade is on the left. Using your pasta machine make each ball into a thick sheet (I use the 7 or 8 setting on my Atlas machine). Next, cut each sheet into similar sizes (like the size of a playing card) and start stacking...a sheet of shade 1, a sheet of gold leaf, a sheet of shade 2, a sheet of gold leaf, a sheet of shade 3, a sheet of gold leaf, a sheet of shade 4, a sheet of gold leaf, repeat this again and finish with a sheet of shade 1. I use my fingers to place to gold leaf onto the clay and to smooth it down. Everything does not need to be perfect, the sheets of clay do not have to match up perfectly and the gold leaf does not have to be perfectly applied!Now that the stack is complete use your fingers to poke into the clay, what this does is break up the gold leaf and make the layers uneven. After smooshing the clay I roll it smooth with my acrylic roller and then comes the fun. Take your tissue blade and use it to slice off random pieces.

You'll end up with multiple odd shaped pieces and one flat piece that is the base of the stack. When I cover an ornament I use the pieces. I run them through my pasta machine on the thickest setting to make them uniform and use liquid sculpty to adhere them to the glass ornament. Keeping the clay as smooth as possible it very important and will make sanding easier. I usually wear gloves to prevent finger print and repeatedly go over everything with my acrylic roller.
This is everything that I was able to make from this batch. I have the ornament sitting on polyester batting to keep it from rolling around and everything else it laid directly on a glazed ceramic tile to bake. Bake according to the instructions on you clay, these were baked at 275 for 3o minutes.
After baking allow them to cool thoroughly and then the sanding begins. Always wet sand polymer clay to prevent the dust from getting everywhere. I have dry sanded and been very sorry...the dust gets everywhere and also irritates my throat (that can't be good). Wet/dry sandpaper can be found in the automotive department of "box" stores and hardware stores. I like to start with 100 grit and really work everything over, getting out all the lump and bumps and any finger prints (if I didn't wear gloves), then I progress to 220, 310, 400, 800, 1000, 2000. I use these grits because it's what I have on hand, you may use what ever works best for you. Sanding is essential for this technique, it really brings out the layers and makes the clay "pop".
After sanding I buff my pieces with a muslin wheel using my dremel tool and then finish with an acrylic sealer. It usually takes me two days to complete a batch of mokume gane, but the results are well worth it! If you have any questions about this technique, please don't hesitate to ask and good luck making your own or if you prefer, check out my etsy store to purchase some mokume gane.


Cleaning My Pasta Machine

I knew it was time to clean my pasta machine when I saw this, a smear of purple on my turquoise pendant.
I was able to sand the purple off, but it was a lesson learned. Taking apart a pasta machine is the easy part, you can see the whole process in pictures here.
I know that it is hard to see, but if you look closely you'll see the layers of clay on my scrapers. This was easily wiped off and my machine was clean! Putting it back together was a little difficult, but eventually I got it and now my machine is good as new. I can't wait to make some more mokume gane.