Vintage style with a steampunk twist

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Grazing the herbs

Grazing the herbs

Herbs are bursting back to life after a long winter
My kitty, Will Robinson, really enjoys the tasty chives

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Conditioning your polymer clay

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Poly clay stored in glass jars

Polymer clay is a great product that is fun to work with, but it can be frustrating if you don’t treat it right. The polymers that make the clay soft and pliable can leach out over time leaving you with a crumbly mess and your project can end up a wreak, breaking apart after curing.

This little how-to will go over the best ways to condition and store your clay so you never lose a minute in crafting or lose a project after hard work.

Polymer clay comes in several sizes, the small bricks are divided in to 4 sections that make it easy to break apart. When you get your new clay home, start with the lightest colors first and wash your hands in between, so as not to transfer colors.

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Break off one of the bars and then break it in half. (Make sure to get all the crumbs!) Start rolling the half bar of clay between your palms, folding it in on itself so that you don’t lose any of it. Once you get a long worm shape, do the same with the other half, then roll the two halves together until they are well mixed. Roll them out into a final worm and then coil it up into a ball, continually rolling between your palms.

A ball is the best storage shape, since you can easily start rolling it again to recondition for your next project. Drop the ball into your glass jar (I save jars from jam, pickles, olives, or whatever else I find interestingly shaped) Repeat this process for each bar until you have lots of colorful clay balls. Cut your label off off the packaging and tape it on with clear tape so you remember the color and brand of each jar. Each package of small clay can make 4 balls, the larger packages, obviously, make more and would need a larger jar.

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Lots of colors in their own storage container

Move to your next color and do the same. Use a different jar for each color and type of clay, so you can keep your collection well organized.

Glass jars are one of the best ways to store your clay as air, wax papers, and plastic wraps can leach the polymers out of your clay. The glass is a neutral space, easy to stack, and easy to see which clay you need at a moments notice!

If you have older clay that you find to be crumbly and hard to work with, here is a good way to recondition it. Get your glass jar ready, crumble your clay into it, into tiny pieces. Squirt in a little bit of mineral oil (I use the unscented kind so as not to add anything unnecessary into my clay, like scent chemicals) into the jar, cover and shake. Don’t use too much, as you don’t want the clay to be liquidy, but use enough to saturate all your clay. Shake it around and then let sit a while, then see if you can start making your worm rolls. If you can, just process as you did your clay above. If not, use a bit more mineral oil and let it sit a bit longer. Keep adding a little bit until you can get your clay to roll together without crumbling too much.

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Only do this if your clay is unsavable otherwise, as it does change the properties of the clay a little, which could have consequences for your piece on down the line. I’ve done it to several blocks that I would otherwise have had to throw out and never had a problem with my finished product, but your mileage may vary.

When you are done processing all your clay (I recommend starting a good movie that you love and have seen often, if you have a lot of clay to do) and gotten them into their storage jars, you can stack them on your desk or shelf. Where they will be handy and also be a pretty, colorful, and arty room decoration! You can even decorate the jar tops if you wish. (I’m much too lazy for that, at the moment 😛 )

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My stored poly clay jars


Etsy shows its true colors

Today I was planning on no longer going to the Etsy forums. I can waste a lot of time there and it is also an emotional drain. But a friend pointed out a situation to me and I had to post. I copied it and am posting it here, because I feel almost certain they will remove it and ban me. I could be wrong, but I don’t really care.

Here is the article I read: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2013/10/23/etsy-pulls-rape-promoting-t-shirts-from-site-amid-outcry-activists-push-for-further-action/

And here is the petition to get it shut down: http://www.change.org/petitions/shut-down-rape-t-shirt-seller?share_id=IpiaioKtni&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

 

and here is my response on this thread: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/13222253/page/1

 

I had made a vow not to come to the forums anymore as they were so full of either negativity or time wasting fluff.
But my vow was broken after only one day because someone mentioned this situation to me and I had to investigate.

I am disgusted at what I have seen. I am disgusted that the shop in question was not shut completely down IMMEDIATELY, especially considering the reprehensible shirt that is featured in the sold items and can not be hidden.

I am sickened that they chose to go through it item by item instead of pulling the whole thing down, when they have banned many MANY sellers (and buyers) from having a voice on the forums just for questioning the state of the site or for many other relatively small infractions. Permamutes are WAY more rampant than some of you may think.

I am appalled that I see a few people saying things like “well, it’s not that bad. Let Etsy do it’s job” No. It IS that bad.
Baby rape. Think abut it for a minute or two. I’ll wait…..

BABY RAPE. I don’t have, nor do I plan to have, kids. But until Etsy pulls this shop completely and replaces it with a 3 armed sweater, we are all on a site that tacitly condones this by leaving up a baby rape shirt in the sold orders of this shop.
Some of the worst of the other items were taken down… but baby rape is still there for the world to see.

Something happened to me as a child. It was small compared to what some have suffered, but it is a memory burned in to my psyche.
You can make light of it, say it isn’t a big deal, just “guy humor” but you are wrong. Dead wrong.
There is a line that has been crossed, and by not IMMEDIATELY recoiling in horror, Etsy has shown me another true color.

Since I mentioned permamutes and tacitly condoning baby rape, this might be my blaze of glory. My plan to avoid the forums might not involve willpower after all if I get banned too, but that is ok. I picked my battles and this is it. Here is where I stand.
I feel physically ill. And if you are thinking it’s no big deal or just an overreaction, then be glad you have the luxury to feel that way

I was ok with my decision to have a smaller, more focused shop here and a larger shop elsewhere… but now I will have to think very very hard about that decision.
I can’t afford to pull everything, I just can’t. But I can afford to never renew again.


I am handmade

I work in my purple pokadot pajamas at my desk with not quite enough light. Sometimes I forget to eat lunch and mess things up three or four times before I get it right.
My lightbox is made of cardboard and tissue paper, with the sides blown out because my kitty loves to sleep in there. Someday I will make a new one, but not today.
I work late at night when my brain won’t go to sleep and late in the morning when I finally wake. I work through the afternoon, until I forget to eat.Some of my supplies I order from my favorite sources, some I make myself from metal or polyclay, some I pull out of my bead and bauble stash I’ve been collecting since I was a teen (hello 1980’s).
I spread out all over my desk. Mixing and matching, trying out new things. Only sometimes does a cat jump up and scatter it all away.

I still sell few enough things that every time I get an order I say “Oh! Hey!” or “Wow, neat!” or “Hooray!!!” I print those orders out immediately and sometimes even get right to work, even if it is 2 am and I really should go to bed. I write a little note and tuck it in, just to say thanks for ordering from me. It is my honor that you choose something from my little shop.
I make my own little boxes, I stamp my brown paper wrapping with cute little purple dragonflies. I write with purple ink. I sometimes accidentally glue myself together or unreel way too much tape.

I will never be a factory. I will always be just me, working at my desk with not quite enough light, in my purple pokadot pajamas at 2 am when I really should just go to sleep.

I am handmade.


Shop Comparisons

So, there have been a lot of recent changes in the Etsy-sphere and I couldn’t find a good comparison of the different options available. I decided to do a little research about what is out there. Some info I wasn’t able to find and I will update this as I find it… and I am sure there are lots of other options out there.

Feel free to download it for your own use (link at the bottom)… and if there are any changes I need to make let me know!

I’ve decided to give Lilyshop and Zibbet a shot until my shop grows. Where are you at?

Shop Comparison

Shop Comparison


Verdigris aging your copper pieces

Copper is a great medium. It can be shiny as a new penny, aged to a lovely darkness, or beautifully green with verdigris. If you are like me, you love to try and get all these different looks, but not spend lots of time and money on them. So here is a great way to get that gorgeous green copper look with things you probably already have around the house!

Also, remember to do this project outside or in a well ventilated area because it can be stinky, as well as ammonia can be toxic if breathed too much!

What you will need:

  • copper things – cost: varies
  • an airtight container (I use an old sandwich meat container ) – cost: free after a good lunch
  • alternately, you could use a plastic ziploc style bag to create your humidity chamber
  • lemon juice (optional)  (sometimes I use it, sometimes I don’t) – cost: 2$ for a bottle
  • household ammonia – cost: depends on bottle size- generally a few bucks
  • ammonia-based window cleaner – cost: 3 or 4 dollars
  • white vinegar – cost: depends on bottle size- generally a few bucks
  • salt – cost: depends on size- generally a buck or two
  • Sealant such as clear spray paint or Future varnish (I use Future) -cost: 4-5 dollars
  • Spray bottle for your mixtures – cost: depends, I got mine at the dollar store. They are small, but work well and are easy to store at my work area. You could use an old cleaner spray bottle as well. Just wash it thoroughly first!
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My spray bottles of formula, humidity chamber, and copper pendant piece ready to be greened up

If you shop around or already have most of these ingredients for your household cleaning, then your formula will cost almost nothing. I had all of the components already at home!

Ok. Now, there are several different recipes that you can use. I tend to use the first one more, but they bother work equally well. Experiment and figure out what you like best, that’s half the fun!

  • One option is to blend 1/4 cup (.19 liter) each of lemon juice, household ammonia, white vinegar and salt. Stir or shake thoroughly.
  • An alternative is to put 1 cup (.24 liter) white vinegar, 3/4 cup (.18 liter) household ammonia and 1/4 cup (.19 liter) table salt in the spray bottle. Shake it to mix the ingredients thoroughly.

You can adjust up or down based on how much you will be spraying, but this amount should go a long way. Put the formula in your spray bottle and shake before each use.

Now on to the directions!

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Sand wire to make sure the patina takes

1) Spray your ammonia-based window cleaner on the copper item you want to patina. Wipe the surface completely with a lint-free cloth. Be sure to clean the entire surface, including all the small crevices and corners.
For the aging process to be most effective, the copper must be free of oils and other surface contaminants.

If you are going to age some wire,be sure to run some sandpaper over it first, as most wire has a coating on it to keep it from darkening.

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Spray your copper with the patina formula

2) Spray the copper lightly with the window cleaner again, but do not wipe it off this time. This serves to break the invisible surface tension so that the aging compound makes solid contact with the metal itself.

3) Spray the entire surface with the patina mixture, making sure to get into even the smallest spaces. Do not over-saturate the piece, but be certain that you have covered all of the metal.

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High humidity container

4) Place the copper item into your container and cover to create an artificial high humidity level. Allow it to sit, undisturbed, for about 1 hour.

5) After an hour, remove the item from the container and apply the patina mix again, once more making certain that you have covered the entire metallic surface.Return it to the humidifying container, and allow it to rest overnight.

6) Repeat this last step as many times as it takes to get your desired level of patina

7) After your item is done you can sand it off or wash it a bit to lessen or control the patina, but it is not necessary. I only do this if the patina went out of control in an area 🙂

8) Use your spray or brush on Future varnish with a paint brush to seal in your lovely green patina and enjoy!

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The finished product!


Greetings from TheAmethystDragonfly

My new blog to highlight some steampunk fun! I’m just getting started, so it may take a bit to get in the swing of things.

My name is Lynn.I am an Etsy shop owner and live on a horse farm in the Tn foothills with my loveImage. I started designing jewelry as well as other craft projects when I was very young, but didn’t go into business for myself until just a few years ago. I have learned a lot in the past few years and have so much more to learn!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again!