I’m about half way through a few more hollow egg shell birdie ornaments. I can see an elaborate pattern in my head that I want to try for the wings, but unfortunately my body is fighting me. I’ve had an upper respiratory bug for about a week. I felt good enough on Sunday to create the bird bodies, but then things stalled. Both Monday night and tonight, by the time I’m home from work, I’m dog tired and breathing is a real chore.
Part of me wants to push through it. I want to see the finished work! Yet, experience tells me to listen to my body and wait. Rushing when I don’t feel well is going to produce half-assed results. So for now, I veg watching an episode of NCIS, writing this post, and wondering if 8:30 is too early to go to bed.
Do you have old pieces of mokume gane scrap sitting in your workshop? If so this, quick tutorial will show you a cute way to salvage these scraps and it doesn’t even matter if they are dried and cracking. It just adds to the distressed look.
I used a some leftover mokume gane pieces from a sheet I created using parsley inclusions in translucent clay teamed with browns. Very earthy!
Step 1: Gather your supplies. For this project I used a scrap mokume gane sheet, a sheet of coordinating clay, a heart cutter, a crochet hook for shaping, plastic wrap and pearl powder applied with a paint brush. Step 2: Stack the mokume gane sheet over the coordinating sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Find a nice pattern and use the cutter to cut through the whole stack. The plastic wrap will give the piece a nice beveled edge. Step 3: Use the crochet hook or other small rounded tool to carve out lines along the mokume gane pattern. Step 4: Brush on the pearl powder. Do any additional shaping and texturing before baking. I like to use a stiff flat chalk brush to add a stippling texture for a really rustic feel.
I’m still exploring covering hollowed egg shells. This little black bird ornament is one of my latest iterations. I shared one of the candy-colored birdies that I made for my nieces and nephews for Easter earlier. This one has a more elegant feel.
This little one is listed in my shop. if you like him, pick him up before he flies away.
Finding novel treats for office birthday parties is challenging, but when I saw a recipe for pops made chocolate-coated nuggets of raw cookie dough, I knew I had a winner. Thank you Sally’s Baking Addiction.
I tried Sally’s recipe for the safe-to-eat-raw, egg-free cookie dough. The only thing I changed was using a gluten-free flour. I try not to eat too much gluten. I dipped a few in sprinkles and some in crushed cookie crumbles. I also used lollipop sticks instead of popsicle sticks because I prefer the smoother texture.
You can find her recipe here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2012/09/14/cookie-dough-truffle-pops/
So many of my favorite memories revolve around food:
- “rooting in the candy cupboard” at Grandma’s house
- sitting at the 50s Formica table sampling Great-grandma’s egg custard
- learning fractions with Mom using recipes to make math more fun
Many of those memories found their way into a recipe scrapbook that I gave to my Mom as a Christmas gift a few years ago. The book highlighted the women in my family (they do most of the cooking!) and the recipes that tell my family story.
The Project Overview: No Photoshop Required
Each page or two of the book was dedicated to a different woman beginning with my great-grandma and ending with my niece and nephew. Okay I cheated a little and included a couple guys: my nephew and my brother. Here’s a look at the elements I chose to tell each of their stories.
I scanned in my favorite family photos and printed them out so that I could cut them out in interesting shapes. Color photo copies would have worked too. I’m not fabulous with Photoshop so I did everything “old-school” scrap-booking style.
I also scanned in some of our recipes, like the old ones in my great-grandma’s handwriting. I typed up other ones that weren’t so visually interesting.
Family heirlooms made up the other major visual element . My sister and I each photographed things we had inherited that were iconic to us, things like Great-Grandma’s china, a Pillsbury DoughBoy doll, and the plastic Kool-Aid Cho-Cho-Cherry mug we used at Grandma’s house.
Written memories along with the visual ones accompanied each section. I typed up a little blurb including favorite food related memories.
Including the Kids
My sister staged a photo shoot with her kids (Mom’s grandchildren) baking. We included a “recipe” that my niece wrote in her 6-year-old handwriting. Of course, the kids didn’t know why they were doing it because kids have a hard time keeping a secret.
So have you emerged from winter hibernation yet?
Winter has been really slow to move on this year. Here in central Pennsylvania we’ve had snow and bitter temperatures right though the start of April. That’s why today’s near 70 degree temps were blissful. I slipped on my sneakers at lunch and headed to the lake head trail that sits at the bottom of the campus where I work as a marketing director.
Funny how a few days ago when the temps were in the 30s and the skies were gray, my to-do-list seemed impossible. Now with a little sun, everything seems, well sunnier.
And I wasn’t the only one who thought getting outside made sense. Lots of students took to the campus mall to study, play, and even attend class. When you live on the mountain top, you celebrate the end of winter the glorious moment that it arrives.
Margaret Almon is a Pennsylvania artist who creates gorgeous mosaics that are filled with life. I’ve followed her blog, Margaret Almon Mosaics, for quite a while.
I particularly love seeing her posts on Pennsylvania art, sites, and finds. When I find myself going down a negative path, she reminds me that I live in a state that is filled with beauty and possibilities.
This month, the challenge theme for our Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy is “mosaics.” Of course we’ll be using polymer, which is much easier to cut that glass, but alas it will never have the sparkle that you find in Margaret’s work.
So with less than a month to go to challenge time, I tried my hand today at a small tear-drop shaped mosaic that would form the belly on a bird created over a chicken egg shell. I was in awe of Margaret’s work before I started on my own mosaic, but I am even more impressed with the skills and creativity she brings to the table. Creating color transitions and a sense of movement through small pieces that feel cohesive is extremely challenging.
Apparently my cat, Benjamin, thought my work could use a “do over”, so he swatted the egg bird with the mosaic belly onto the floor and shattered it. I can’t say that I disagree with his assessment of my first stab. Back to the drawing board.
Bottom line, there are no mosaics worth seeing in my portfolio, so please visit Margaret’s site to see some wonderful pieces. http://www.margaretalmon.com/
It is not often that I manage to work this far ahead of a season, but this was one of those projects that I had stuck in my head and I just had to get it out. It is made up of two pieces: a black cat witch handing over a tasty mouse “treat” to a precious little ghost kitten.
I thought it would make a nice entry in the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy monthly challenge because the theme is “Four Seasons-any or all.” Of course, I choose to represent fall with this one.
Vote and Win
There are some really awesome entries this month. You really have to check them out. You can vote for your three favorites and be entered to win a mini-shopping spree from one of our sponsoring shops. Voting is open through midnight April 7 EST.
Before and After
I thought you might enjoy seeing what this piece looked like in progress. This pic shows our newest addition, Henry, checking out some of the parts and pieces. It gives a nice idea of the scale.