Friday, May 2, 2008

Not a blogger

Hello, my name is Jessica, and I'm not a blogger. I am, however, a self-proclaimed crafter of the highest caliber.

I can stamp for days on end without sleep, requiring only 7 ounces of water to drink, a single snack size Twix bar, and 12 Fritos for sustanance. Carol Duval has me on speed dial and Martha insists on calling me her "BFF." My cards and paper craft projects can be seen in an exclusive stamper-only gallery at the The Louvre. I once saved a small developing people group in New Guinea from total destruction using only Mod Podge, one bamboo skewer, and a bottle of Fray Check. Yesterday morning I wallpapered my living room, dining room, and half bath with this Boxer Fedora patterned paper by Basic Grey and still had time to teach my 4 year old to knit. And yet, I have never blogged.



First, you should know these things:

  1. My style is lazy clean and simple. Not to say that clean and simple is easy. It's just that 99% of the time, clean, simple, graphic, etc. is what happens when I sit down to make something. I so envy all of you who can add just the right embellishments and layers. Layers scare me. So do embellishments. Except ribbon. Ribbon loves me.

  2. In my previous life (i.e. before 2 children) I was an editor of radio scripts for an internationally broadcast radio program. And you know what's great about editing/writing for radio? You write how people actually speak, which is not necessarily grammatically correct. So, I am embracing that ideal for blogging. I think it's brilliant because I love incomplete sentences. A lot. However, I cannot spell. At all. So, I use google as my own personal dictionary.

  3. I am technically challenged. I do not own an ipod. I can call people on my phone and... yeah, that's about all I can do with it although I'm sure it has lots of other fancy functions. I can Tivo, but that's about the limit of my techy-ness. Chalk any blogging errors up to this fact.

  4. Yes, I realize I am wordy. Verbose. Long-winded. All that. And I know some of you just want to get straight to the project pictures. So feel free to skip all the words. I won't be offended. I mean, I would be offended, but I'll never know, will I? It's a win-win situation.

And now for the said project and pictures. It's a detour (yes, I just googled "detour") from the paper crafted items that you might be expecting, but still utilizes some of my best friends... stamps. And one of my new best friends... sculpey clay.

Here's what you can love about sculpey:

  1. It's cheap. Like 99¢ a block. Right up my alley.

  2. It's easy. Especially since I've made all the mistakes for you and can definitely tell you what *not* to do.
  3. It requires no fancy tools. (Did I mention I'm lazy?)
  4. It is a very forgiving medium. If you mess up, just ball it up and start over. (This is a great relief to someone who has trouble actually making the first cut into that pretty patterned paper for fear that I'll end up making a mistake and wasting it. Anyone else feel my pain?)
The first project up is a nametag for my DS's backpack.




Here's what ya need:

  • Sculpey (I used black)
  • Pearl Ex Powder (I used True Blue)
  • Sculpey Glaze (I used Gloss) or Future Floor Wax
  • Stamps (I used Casual Chic Alpha by Paper Salon and a little stamp from the Polka Dots & Petals set by SU)
  • Key ring

Tools:

  • something to cut with - clay artists use a long razor blade tool... I used a 6 inch plastic ruler
  • something to roll with - I actually purchased a small pasta maker from Joann's for this; there are super cheap rollers in the clay section of most craft stores if you prefer (but remember... me = lazy; I say go with the pasta maker)
  • a non-stick sheet of some sort - I used non-stick foil; Ranger's craft sheet or a Silpat, etc. would work, too. (Con - the clay did stick stick to the foil. Pro - the foil did not leave any texture on the clay like some of my craft sheets did.)
  • something to make holes with - I used my anywhere hole punches and a skewer
  • brush for sealant

Directions:

  1. Cut off a chunk of clay (1/4 of the block) and warm it by holding it in your hand. Knead it a bit and then condition it by rolling it through the pasta maker several times (my pasta maker was set on 8, which seems to be about a 1/4"). Try to get it to a somewhat rectangular shape.

  2. Cut a long straight edge with the side of the ruler. Make another cut to create a 90° angle. This will give you a straight edge to use while placing your letter stamps.

  3. Stamp the name and circle image into the clay. (My letter stamps are polymer stamps, the circle image is rubber. Both worked really well. The clear stamps were pretty awesome for placement's sake.)

  4. Cut the other two sides of the rectangle. Make a hole through the circle image. *Gently* smooth the edges of the rectangle by running your finger over them.

  5. Open the P.E. powder and tap some into the lid. Use your finger to pick up some powder. *Gently* rub the powder onto the image, trying to cover only the "mountain" parts of the image and trying not to hit any of the "valley" parts of the image. You can also use a brush for this, I just felt like I had better control with my finger.

  6. Bake the piece at 275° for 15-20 minutes. I just left the image on the foil I was using and transferred the toil to a baking sheet. I did loosen the image from the foil first, though.

  7. Let the piece cool. This happens pretty quickly.

  8. Use a brush to apply the glaze. This is necessary to seal the Pearl Ex to the clay; otherwise it will wear off over time. I used Sculpey glaze on this particular project because it is thicker than the floor wax. This item will be handled a lot, so I wanted to protect it as much as possible.

  9. Bake again for 10-15 minutes. Recoat and rebake if desired (I did). At this point, you could also add more info (full name, parent names, and phone number) to the back of the nametag if you'd like. You can either write it on with a sharpie (silver would show up against the black clay) or print it out with a labeler and stick it on. If you do sharpie, just let it dry, then seal the back and bake it again. (This will keep it from scratching off.)

  10. Thread onto key ring.






The jewelry charms were made in the same basic manner. I used floor wax instead of glaze on some of them. If you look at the "original" charm, you can tell that it is not as glossy as the nametag. Future is great for a more satin finish; the Sculpey Glaze Glossy is just that... very glossy. If using Future, I would recommend doing at least 2 coats of it, baking in between each coat.

Random notes... do *not* use spray paint to paint naked Sculpey. I tried it and trust me, it does not work. It is actually very tricky because it appears to work, but because of the chemical interaction with the clay, it turns sticky a few days later. In my case, this would be just after you have given the lovely pieces of jewelry to your friend for her birthday. Not awesome. If you do want to use spray paint, you have to seal the item first, then spray paint it. (I haven't tried this, though.) Also, remember that this project is very forgiving. Perfection should not be the goal. I ended up with some of the PE in the valleys of the stamped images. I just tried to brush it out to even it a little and it turned out fine once the glaze was on.

For further info, here's a great site with easy to understand explanations of all things polymer clay: http://www.polymerclayweb.com/

Also, please note that the opening paragraph of this post was completely inspired by this satirical essay written by Hugh Gallagher. Go read it... it's hilarious!

Thanks for stickin' with me through this, the longest blog post ever.

Jessica

16 comments:

Lighthousegirl said...

Thank you for
a) making me laugh
b) starting my day with a grin
c) inspiring me
d) making me NEED to go buy clay

and

e) letting me know I can do it all before breakfast!

Anabelle said...

This is a riot, Jessica!!! For someone who has never blogged, you are a pro! LOVE these creations. I need to go get Sculpey!!!

Jenn said...

See, I'm now thinking that it isn't that you're not a blogger, it's that you're a frustrated blogger itching to be let loose on the tech world! ;)

Great post, Jessica! You have me thinking that I really need to pull out the clay (and I'm really not sure where it is!).

maggieandharley said...

I'm not a blogger either. Just starting out...find it hard to do though..I am much better at just reading other people's blogs.

I love your project. I was trying to find something for an added "gift" for a Sweet 16 party and these would be the ticket!

I also love, love, love your humor. You had me smiling as soon as I started reading your blog.
I do not know how I found you, or your blog, but I am "totally" enjoying both! Thanks. TGIF.
Tricia

Sharon in NE said...

Oh my goodness, between you and Hugh (I have "lazy tongue" and its a good thing I'm typing this, you'd never know what I just said)...anyway, between you and Hugh, I have been sitting at my desk laughing OUT loud. This is very unusual because I am definitely not a morning person, but did not raise any suspicion because I work alone. Thank you and Hugh.

Miki said...

Dude! I am so running out to buy some clay now! This will be such a fun project to do with T over the summer. Great project Jess!

Linda said...

I don't know which is better, your projects or your writing!!! I'm with Jenn on the frustrated blogger waiting to get out! LOVE your projects and your description of supplies and techniques is great!

k a r i s a said...

hey jess! carri informed me of your first post. you know i love your projects & i've forgotten how witty (lol) you are! you're a pro at this! i hope you are well!

Melanie said...

AWESOME! Jessica. Love your projects. and your post... now I know why your last name is w.i.t.t.y.

Stacey S said...

Jess you are too darn funny! I haven't chuckled like that on a blog post, ever! You *should* blog! Your projects ROCK, too! I'm thinking I had clay somewhere...

Davinie said...

Well this is one of the funniest posts I've seen in a while. Nice tutorial too!

Fiona Carter said...

Jess, you really must blog more. I giggled through all your words, and make it to your fantastic projects.
Thanks for the laughs.
Fiona x

ScrapbooksbyKarrilee said...

OMGoodness... I found you via a post on IAmAScrapaholic.com and I must say, we would TOTALLY be friends if you were local!? I am a 'lazy' blogger too... I write the way I talk and frankly, coming from an aspiring writer, that is just sad. But I have made peace with the fact that this is just how it is! Take it or leave it... (or read it or skip it) it's just how I am!

AND - I am SO gonna go buy me some clay now?! My dd's birthday is next weekend and she is having a sleep over and I think the girls would really be into doing this fun little project - of course, I am going to have to go and make some to practice first - so now - as if I wasn't busy enough this week - I have new crafts to learn?! Thanks so much!? (At least the tutorial will be a great help... and while things are 'baking' I can reread all your words! (again!)

~Karrilee~

StamperSharon said...

Jess, you crack me up! Now you ARE a real blogger! ;) Loved your article -- I didn't know you could put PE on the black clay; I love the look! Now, you know Eli will probably manage to break this beautiful labor of love you created for him, the 2nd time he takes it anywhere, don't you, because that's what 4-yr olds do! :D Fabulous idea!

DeeDee said...

OMG! Girlie you are hilarious!!! I was so laughing out loud!!! Have you tried stand up comedy??? I love your project and humor.....PLEASE, can you make a post every day.....I loved it!!!!

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