Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year 2016!

I'm so happy to be ending this year and looking forward to a new start tomorrow. Personally it's been a difficult year for me with my knee injury followed by knee replacement surgery in November. See the results in my last post. I see the surgeon next week and hope to keep moving forward with no more health issues this coming year.

It was a great year for me creatively thanks to participating in the #2015PCChallenge and creating many new items for it I discovered many new techniques that I am gradually improving on.I will give you an overview of what I've been creating since my last post about this challenge. This is the last blog post where you will be inundated with so much stuff. I intend to spend this year refining my techniques and focusing on completing more projects for sale. I hope to continue updating my Etsy shop and adding more polymer clay jewelry and components to it. My first goal is a Valentine's Sale so keep your eyes peeled for that!


So that's the end of #2015PCChallenge for me. It was a great experience and I learned so much and came to know some great, talented polymer clay artists. I actually managed to produce something new for every week of the year and am quite proud of that accomplishment.
Thanks to all my readers for joining me in this challenge . I wish you a very 

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Busy times!

So, I survived the knee replacement in November and count myself lucky. Having some down time totally focused on myself without distractions such as clay play, reading, Netflix, etcetera has been an interesting time for me. The pain from the surgery was so bad for the first week that I couldn't do much of anything else. However, I count myself lucky  that my recovery is almost over. Through friends and family I have heard of the sufferings of many people and my issues pale in comparison. It's good to put your own problems in perspective!
That's not to say that I haven't had a few hiccoughs along the road to recovery. As I mentioned the pain was very bad post op and it took a few days in hospital to get it under control! Once I got home I developed severe sciatica from the soft mattress I was sleeping on temporarily. The back and leg pain were much worse than the surgical pain! Once I got back to my own bed ( firm mattress) all signs of sciatica disappeared. I hope nobody is offended by this photo. My knee 3 days postop:

After a couple of days at home I developed a odd feeling of chest discomfort that I knew wasn't normal so I pushed myself to go to emergency at midnight as much as I didn't want to! Sure enough after a few tests including a CT scan at 4:00 am they found a pulmonary embolus ( dreaded blood clot in lungs). Since I was already on blood thinners after the surgery they just increased the dose and sent me home. Being a nurse and having witnessed critical incidents and deaths from pulmonary embolus made this a very frightening experience for me. Luckily for me it all resolved within a week or two.

I was making very good progress with movement and exercise and feeling pretty good about things until last week.  Then I noticed two strange streaks of red coming out of the incision line on my knee and my knee was slightly swollen and discoloured. Doctor's were concerned re: wound infection with joint involvement but everything checked out well and I was sent home on antibiotics for 10 days. Hopefully that's the end of complications from this routine (!!!) surgery. 
 Since the Christmas holiday weekend was coming I decided to get it checked out earlier rather than later. Back to emergency again!! Not my favorite place by 

As you can see I've been a bit occupied these past weeks but have also been busy with polymer clay. I couldn't post a lot because I was making  Christmas presents and a few sales from my Etsy shop! I didn't get much photography done so there's not been much to show you. I will try to take some photographs over the next few days and post some pictures of my new stuff, including the final weeks of #2015 PCChallenge to catch up on that .

I hope everyone who celebrates it had a lovely Christmas celebration / winter solstice. Here's a picture of the full moon on Christmas night, apparently quite a rare occurrence.Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Nearing the finish line!

Wow, I just realized that there are only 10 weeks left in the #2015 PCChallenge that I've been participating in since January. I haven't posted about it but have been very busy experimenting with polymer clay and trying many new techniques and revisiting some old techniques. My last blog entry about this challenge was week 25 so I'll quickly include most of my entries since then so you can see what I've been up to. I've managed to produce something for every week but my blog has been seriously neglected.
Below are some pics of the last 16 weeks!

So that's about it. You're up to date on my pc adventure. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up to date for the rest of the year although there may be a brief hiatus in November since I'll be having  a knee replacement and may not be up to meeting the weekly deadline. I'll try to post a few ahead of time so I don't break my record. See you  on the other side !

Friday, 18 September 2015

We're All Ears Challenge.

Here's my second post in a week after a long drought in my blog over the summer. I  enjoy the "we're all ears challenge " on the blog Earrings Everyday because the inspirations provided are always so intriguing.
This month was no exception.It was a music video called Torque Starter which I found fascinating. If you get a chance check it out here. Mesmerizing use of shapes and movement. The two shapes I focused on were triangles and spirals.

 I made these polymer clay beads combining the two shapes. They have wonderful movement dangling from the ears.Hope you like them!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Whoops! I've been sooo neglectful!

My son's partner, the lovely Steph, reminded me today that I haven't written on my blog for over a month! I realized that I've been so immersed in the world of polymer clay that summer has just whipped by! I am continuing to have great fun experimenting  with new techniques and reprising techniques that I tried before but didn't like the results. After 8 months of focusing almost exclusively on polymer clay, my skills have improved and I am getting closer to discovering that elusive Artist's Voice I've been searching for. I have to say my attitude has changed toward my art and I realized that today at Hamilton's SuperCrawl            (an annual street festival focused on art and music) when I told a couple of artists that I am an artist as well and it felt completely authentic! A year ago, I felt awkward describing what I was doing as art but now there is no doubt in my mind that what I do  is art, whether  good or bad! Progress!
Products from my obsessed summer....awaiting sanding and buffing.

Now that fall has arrived I'm feeling  motivated again to increase my online presence. This is my favorite time of year ...what I consider the new year. For the next 2 months I will do my best to post more on facebook, update my Etsy shop, write blog posts more regularly and get ready to launch my Amazon Handmade shop. Yes, I'm very excited about being accepted and hope that it works out for all of the handmade artists who have signed up. I heard today that the official launch date is November 30th so I have a little time to create my shop and get my listings organized. They're leaving it rather late to catch the Christmas rush but we'll have to see how that works out.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I attended a great Helen Breil workshop in June. These silk-screened hollow beads are from then.

From there on in I've been experimenting with different techniques which you can see below. It was a truly inspirational workshop. That plus my weekly entries into the #2015PCChallenge has kept me totally obsessed with polymer clay.

Cute bowls inspired by Helen Breil.
I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of what I've been up to. Thanks Steph , for giving me a gentle nudge. I promise it won't be so long until you hear from me again.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month

If you follow my blog or know me at all then you know that I have been extremely lucky when it comes to blog giveaways ever since I started blogging! I have lost count of the number of times that I have won a random giveaway in the jewelry design blogosphere. To say I feel blessed would be an understatement! I don't want to jinx myself but it has been an embarrassment of riches.See my post about it here.
I have followed the blog Art Jewelry Elements for years and enjoy seeing the creations of the AJE team and their guest bloggers but never thought I'd get an opportunity to participate in the component of the month reveal. Talented jewelry designers make jewelry components which they send to the participants and everyone makes a piece of jewelry featuring said component. I was thrilled to be chosen as a guest blogger this month but also a bit intimidated. The contributors to this blog are a diverse and uber-talented group of artists and I hardly feel worthy to show my work alongside them but that is what I am doing today.
The host this month is Niky Sayers from the U.K. And I love all of her work. She has a  unique and elegant style and does phenomenal metal work! I own a beautiful pair of her earrings (a win from a previous giveaway) and was thrilled to receive something else from her. Recently she has been working with British coins and for this challenge she created beads and clasps made out of farthing coins! Since I am a real Anglophile this challenge really spoke to me and I now have a clasp made from a farthing coin!

Niky sure knows how to send a parcel and make a gal feel special! Beautiful packaging too! So much to learn!

Okay that's enough procrastination. Here is the bracelet I made using Niky's clasp. I'm totally obsessed with polymer clay these days so I knew I had to make something using it. I recently learned how to make swirl beads from a you tube video by Heather Wells . I adapted the design so that the lentil beads have a shape similar to the coin clasp and  put them all together with some Czech teal blue beads and waxed linen thread to make this bracelet. I like it and hope that you do too!Lots of wonderful summer colours.
Please go to Art Jewelry Elements and see what the other artists have created with Niky's coins!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Halfway mark of #2015PCChallenge.

It's hard to believe that I've been doing this challenge for half a year! It's been a wonderful time of experimenting and learning. When I review what I've made each week I see that I've come a long way in my polymer clay journey. Thank you Katie from KatersAcres for this great challenge. It really pushed me to produce something new to post every week and I managed to do it. ( I think I actually posted twice for one of the weeks!)
I won't re-cap the last 6 months in this blog post just the last 6 weeks! The total year summary will be next January after I've completed 52 weeks of the challenge.
My last post was for week 20 so I'll start with week 21. I continued experimenting with the  Sutton slice technique and made this large statement pendant for a friend who fell in love with these colours.
More sutton slice for week 22 in my favourite combo and gold.
I attended my first ever polymer clay workshop with Helen Breil on the weekend before week 23 and it shows in this week's entries. she taught us her own technique for hollow beads and pendants so that's all I made for weeks after. She also shared from her large collection of mica powders and I had a lot of fun with hers then  bought my own set of perfect pearls from Michael's with the 50% off coupon.I made many pendants to sell at my first craft show in years the next weekend. Here are a few of them for week 23 ,24 and 25.

Well after 3 weeks of silk screening, mica powders and hollow bead/pendants it was time for me to go in a new direction for week 26. I played with my laserjet printer today and managed to make two copies of some Gustav Klimt paintings that I found online. Unfortunately the printer gives me headaches every time I try to use it and it kept eating the transfer paper that I bought specially for image transfer. It's Magic Transfer Paper (MTP) that I sent away for from The paper is very thin and the instructions say to only put one piece in the printer at a time but it kept jamming in the printer so I couldn't make any more better quality images. I have to resolve this printer problem  because I really like this technique and want to do more of it. I'll let you know how it works. Here are the 2 pendants I made using image transfer.

I like the way the second one looks aged because the printer didn't work properly.One of those nice mistakes that happen!
So that's it for the first half year of the #2015 PCChallenge hosted by Katie Oskin. Please come back in September and see what I make this summer. To see what some other participants have made for this challenge you can check out the facebook page here.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Polymer Clay Nirvana !!!!

Wow, did I have a fabulous experience last weekend! I have wanted to attend a polymer clay workshop for a long time especially after winning a free workshop at  Christine Damm's Art On The Farm last year but being unable to attend it due to health issues! I can't tell you how difficult it was for me to turn down that prize!
Most workshops I've seen have been too far away or too expensive for me to attend. Living in Canada does limit the opportunities. However we do have some very talented polymer clay artists here and one of them is Helen Breil who lives in Guelph, Ontario which is a 35 minute drive from my home in Hamilton.

 Helen has taught her techniques all over the world but thankfully for me decided to take this year off travelling and she offered a workshop locally which I was lucky enough to attend.

If you don't know who Helen is (where have you been?) then you have to check out her website or her flickr page here to enjoy her art. She is an amazing artist and a wonderful, generous person.
There were 8 of us in attendance at the workshop and Helen shared many skills and techniques with us. We learned how to create our own texture stamps out of polymer clay which was a new technique for all of us.
Then we spent the rest of the first day learning and practising how to make hollow beads out of polymer clay. I love how these beads look and feel. They're like pillows but are hard and make beautiful jewelry. The following picture is of several hollow pendants that I made this week for a show I'm doing this weekend.

 Sunday morning we concentrated on silk screening on polymer clay and coloring our silk screened clay using mica powders and pan pastels. there are so many great techniques to use with polymer clay and I am thrilled that I was able to attend this workshop and learn from a master of polymer clay art! It's amazing to realize that with 8 different participants we all came up with 8 totally different results. I can only show you what I created at the workshop but believe me everybody did fabulous work. The following are samples of what I created using silk screening and making hollow beads with inclusions of copper earring studs donated by one of the workshop participants. Thanks, Loreen.

 Besides learning new skills and techniques the best part of the workshop was the people who I met and worked with. The camaraderie among us was great and we had so much fun together. I truly love the world of polymer clay and everybody I've met in real life and online has been fabulous and hopefully I'll remain friends with them as I progress through this art form.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about this workshop and seeing the creations resulting from it. Thanks again to a wonderful, warm and gracious artist for sharing her knowledge and opening her home to us!

Many thanks to  Helen Breil!