Sunday, April 21, 2013

Custom Skelly Ornie & Dreams Do Come True!!

Hi out there in BlogLand!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  Mine was really nice and quite productive.  Wanted to share my first Halloween Skelly Ornie of the year.  I had a customer that loved my "How Do You Boo" Skeleton Shelf Sitter, but didn't want a doll.  She wanted an ornament.  So, I set out making her one that was similar, but different, as I like to keep all my pieces somewhat original to the collector.  Her favorite colors are silver and purple.  This is what I came up with.  I do hope she likes it, as I am mailing him off tomorrow.  I think he will look wonderful on her Halloween Tree.  Just wanted to share a simple photo with you all.  I will be making more ornaments in the next few months if any one is interested.


As far as my good news .... in my last post, I mentioned that I was recently at Disneyland.  Well, when checking my emails at Disneyland sitting having lunch with my Husband in one of their fun restaurants,  I received an email from Art Doll Quarterly Magazine.  About a month ago, I sent them five pieces of my art in the hopes of being published.  Well, I am happy to say that when I opened the email from them, it said that they would be publishing all five of my pieces in their upcoming August issue!!  Of course, I teared right up at the table and I am sure the waiter thought my Husband and I must be fighting.  LOL!  They were tears of Joy!

I am sure a lot of you can relate that as a wife and mother or even husband and father, you tend to put your goals to the side for the sake of others.  It has been a long time for me to finally put my artistic goals in the forefront.  I am so thrilled and really just can't believe it.  Dreams really do come true at Disneyland!!!

I hope this year, you are doing what you love - and if not - what are you waiting for?  Be kind to yourself and reach for whatever dream you are dreaming.  In fact, DREAM BIG!  You have nothing to lose and you just might make them come true!

Have a terrific week everyone!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rig A. Mortis Mummy Available on SpookyTime Jingles

Hi out there, my Friends!

Hope this posting finds you all well and happy.  The weather has finally changed for the better out here in California and it is sooo nice!  We are having absolutely beautiful days ... mild and sunny.  The sun feels soo nice and the air is clean.  (I better enjoy it while I can, because when summer comes, I will be one hot mama ... and not in a good way either.)

My family just returned from a trip to Disneyland.  We had such a fantastic time.  We went because my daughter was competing in a high school band competition held at the park.  She plays the saxaphone (and is really good too).  My girl even had a solo that made me tear up a bit.  Anyway, lots of high schools were competing and I am happy to say that the jazz band my daughter is in, came in 2nd place!! Way to go, Valerie!  My husband and I are so proud.

Disneyland, on the other hand, was so incredibly crowded with high school kids from all over.  We made the most of it though - laughing in a long line for the rides ... and the walking ... I seriously can't keep up with these younger kids anymore.  The walking about did me in.  I brought 4 different pairs of shoes (because I didn't know which ones would be more comfortable).  I used them all.  By the first day, I had a blister on each pinky, baby toe.  By the end of the trip, my toes looked like little mummies, each one wrapped in band-aids.  My husband was making jokes like ... this little piggy went to the hospital and this little piggy got squished.  HA! HA!  Very funny!  My feet are currently recovering.

Getting back to my art ... I wanted to mention that Rig A. Mortis Mummy is now available on SpookyTime Jingles.  Pictures of him are below.  Here is his link if you might be interested.  He is such a sweet piece for Halloween.  I am growing rather fond of him.  :)

http://spookytimejingles.com/userpages.php?usersearch=charmedconfections

SOLD - Thank you, Tina!!








I will be working on more creations tomorrow.  Finishing up a custom skellie ornament and then sculpting - my favorite thing to do.

Here's to a productive week.  I wish you all well!  XOXO

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Offering for Pfatt Marketplace - Tomorrow, April 10th!

Hi Friends out there in Bloglandia!

NOTE:  If you are looking for my free tutorial on miniature polymer clay candy, it is in the next post below this one!!

I wanted to blog a little today to post pictures of my newest piece that will be available exclusively on Pfatt Marketplace tomorrow.  Last month, I got an email asking me to be the Artist of the Month for Pfatt.  What is that?  Well if you go to www.pfattmarketplace.com tomorrow, (the site posts new items on the 10th of each month), they have a main page listed there at the top of the artist's list.  Each month a new artist is picked to post his/her profile on the main page and tell us about how they got starting in their craft.  Well, this month, it's my turn.  It is such an honor to be picked among all the talent on the site .... and a little scary too!  But, tomorrow my main page will go up and you can read all about me.  LOL!  I hope it sounds ok.

As well as writing up a main page article on yourself, you have to make an exclusive piece of art for that month.  Now, anyone that knows me, knows I would make Halloween all year long.  It's April -- who is going to want a Halloween piece?  So I though hard about something I have always wanted to try to make; something that I could possibly incorporate into Halloween when it rolls around.  I thought of wings!  So, I have created my first angel - ever!  She sits in a wooden box and the letters
L-O-V-E are represented on each side of the box.    Below are a few pictures of her.

"LOVE ANGEL"


What I am most proud about are the wings.  They are sculpted out of paper clay, over an inner armature- one feather at a time.  Very time consuming, but so worth the look!
The angel's body is also embossed with swirls and hearts.



The wings are sculpted on both sides!  So pretty all the way around!


Her arms and hands are sculpted separately and added after the embossing was completed on her body.

 Love Angel's hands are over her heart in a gesture of love.


This is a picture of the tops of her wings.  They have been lightly glittered, 
which is hard to see in the photo, but beautiful in person.
I wanted them to have an ethereal look. 
 Regardless if you can see the glitter, the detail is stunning.
I am very pleased with the outcome.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Creating these wings was such an artistic challenge for me and I have learned so many do's and don't along the way.  I can't wait to incorporate these types of wings into my Halloween art.  Stay tuned for winged skeletons, gargoyles, cemetery angels and vampire bats!  That is when the fun will begin!  

Please check out my listing on Pfatt Marketplace tomorrow (April 10th) at 10am Pacific time.  Go to www.pfattmarketplace.com and look up Charmed Confections.  Click on the link below to take you to the site.


Be well my friends and have a wonderful day!




Wednesday, April 3, 2013

CANDY TUTORIAL PART ONE -- Let's Make Something Sweet Together!

Hi Everyone!

Welcome to my first Charmed Confections' Candy Tutorial!  I am so pleased to be able to share this with you.  As some of you know, I have been playing with polymer clay for years and love to put these candies with some of my paper clay sculptures.

There are lots of pictures through the whole process and I hope by having lots of pictures, you will be able to follow step by step.

Below is a picture of what tools we will be using to make our faux candies.  I will also need a cookie sheet lined with foil and an ice pick or a big needle to poke holes with.


For those of you who did not see my earlier post, you can find most of this stuff at Michael's or JoAnns.  The Angelina Fantasy Film, Cutter Rib Tool, Heat Gun and 3D Liquid Lacquer can be found on one of my favorite stores on Ebay --- the seller is called Morezmore.  Here is the link:

http://www.ebay.com/sch/morezmore/m.html?_ipg=50&_sop=12&_rdc=1

Great store!  You won't want to forget the name.  She also has wonderful mohair for dolls, tons of glitter and fun tools for sculpting!

~~~~~  Before we get started, I would like to say that my Mom, Charlotte, has joined me in making this tutorial.  This is her first time making polymer clay candy.  So if it is your first time, you won't be alone.  Also, it is great because I can give you suggestions on how to fix any problems along the way.  Thanks for being here with me, Mom!  (She's the BEST!)

Our kitchen is big for all of you, so if you have any questions or comments, please leave me a comment on this post and I will answer you.  No question is too silly.  We are cooking here together and Mom and I would love your company.   Don't be shy.

I would also like to say that my daughter, Valerie, is taking all the pictures of us throughout this tutorial.  So, there are three generations here.  Since Mom and I are a little camera shy, we have opted not to post our picture.  We have threatened Valerie that if she takes a picture of us she will have to do the dishes for a month.  (She is so not taking any pictures of us.)  "Gotcha!"  ~~


Let's get started!

Note:  As you read this, all my instructions will be below the pictures they are referring to.  :)


When I sculpt with polymer clay, I always sculpt on a tile, glass or marble surface.  If your surface has grooves in it, so will your polymer clay.  Make sure your surface is clean and smooth.  The end result will be worth it!  Here are the colors I will be working in -- orange, purple and green.  I am using Sculpey, but there are lots of other brands that work just as well.  Experiment and find the ones you like best.

Important Note:  Get yourself some baby wipes!  Polymer clay can leave residue on your hands and transfer to another color.  Always wipe your hands before switching colors.  


We are going to make striped lollipops first!  You will notice above, I have cut two blocks of clay for orange and only one block of clay from the purple and green.  The orange will be my center cylinder and the purple and green will be my stripes.



Above are two pictures of my Mom's tile.  Charlotte is using purple, white and pink clay.  Some different brands too.  You will see, they work just as good.



Conditioning Your Clay!  Conditioning your clay makes it more malleable and activates the plasticizer molecules that strengthens it.  When you open up your package and cut it into the right pieces, squeeze it in your hands and knead it.  The heat from your hands will make it softer and easier to work with.  Take time to do this - don't rush.  You want your clay smooth and consistent, without bumps.

When your clay is conditioned form your clay to look like the above.  My two blocks of orange are now a rolled into a cylinder about 3" long and 1" in thickness.  Roll out your other colors into snakes.  Choose one color to be thicker than the other.  In this case, my purple is thicker than my green - which is pretty skinny.  By doing this, your lollipop stripes will have varying sizes.  Roll out 2 thick and 4 thinner. Try to get them as even in size to one another as possible.


You're looking good Mom!  She is a fast learner.  Charlotte has chosen pink to be her center color.  Her white clay has been rolled out thicker than her purple.  Perfect!



We are ready to build our lollipop cane!  To make your stripes evenly spaced, you need to make sure you space them evenly around your center cylinder.  In the above picture, see me place my thicker purple clay on each side of my orange center.  Gently press the clay into the center cylinder to attach them and hold them in place.  Charlotte has done the same with her pink center cylinder and her white clay.



In the above picture, I have cut off the excess purple clay.  Save that clay for later.  We will make sour candy balls with it.  Now, take your thinner clay (mine is green) and place two ropes of it in between the two purple.  IMPORTANT - do not let any of the colors touch!  If they touch, your stripes will be mushed together. If your clay is too thick, roll it out more and make it smaller.  We are going for perfection here!



Once you get all four thinner ropes of clay on your center cylinder, cut off each end of your clay with your cutter rib tool  or something sharp that will give you a clean edge.



This is how it should look like now.  We are almost to the exciting part!! YAY!!



Here is how Charlotte's cane looks. Good job, Mom!  We are on our way!




Now it is time to roll it out!  This is my favorite part.  Start by rolling the clay very softly.  Do not press down or mush your colors.  This won't be good.  Light hands are better.  Give it a few soft rolls back and forth to set the stripes in place.  (By this, I mean my purple and green clay colors.)  I don't want them to run into each other and cover up the orange in between them.  How can you tell they are set in the clay?  Look at the ends.  If the clay is now molded into a smooth round cylinder without the stripes touching - we are golden!

Never fear though, if your striped touch, it will be ok and your lollipop will look fine.  It will just have less stripes.  If you want to add even more stripes (we have six on this cane you can add more depending on the size and spacing of them.  You will have to make your ropes smaller to fit them all.)



Ok ... it may seem like you missed more from the last picture to this.  But all it is ... is rolling it out.  Try and keep your fingers flat and even when your hands are rolling the clay.  The clay will lengthen and start to twist.  Try and keep the clay size the same throughout the entire piece.



Hmmm .... Ok Mom.  You have put a little too much pressure on your rolling.  Love you, but see how your stripes are a little uneven?  No worries, we will fix that.  Instead of rolling, now twist the clay to straighten out the stripes.


Beautiful!  Pick the rope up off the tile and give it a few twists.  Stripes fixed!   Now,  place it back on the tile and continue rolling it out to the desired size and thickness.


Here is what mines looks like now.  We are getting there!



My cane is still a little too thick, so I am going to keep rolling it out.


Oooo, now this is starting to look yummy!  I am liking the look of it.  I think I'm finished rolling.


When you are finished rolling out your clay and you are happy with the look.  Cut one end, on the stripe, with your cutter rib tool or a sharp knife.



Tuck the cut off end on to itself --- now just roll it up.  Put slight pressure on the coil when rolling it up.  You want the clay to stick together.  Don't mush by adding too much pressure.  You want those stripes uniform and consistent.   Depending on how big you want your lollipop to be, cut the clay off when you have the size you want.




Ok ... I like this size.  I'm cutting mine off.  Remember to cut on the stripe line.  My lollipop is a little over 2" round.  A great size for one of my sculpted characters.




No uneven stripes here.  Charlotte has mastered the her rolling skills and is now coiling up her lollipop!  Gee Mom, you take after me this time!  :)



Next, we need to make a hole for the lollipop stick.  I use an ice pick, but you can use whatever will make a big enough hole to fit your lollipop sticks into. Start the hole where you cut off the excess.  Make sure your hole is at least 1/2" deep to hold the stick in place.  Poke a hole right in the middle of each rope.  You don't want it to poke through the front or back of your masterpiece.


Now, push your lollipop stick into the hole you made.  Be careful ... too much pressure can mess up your stripes.  Boy, I say this a lot.  LOL!  If you handle your clay too much, the heat from your hands can make it too soft and therefore, your stripes can shift.

You can find lollipop sticks at Michael's in the candy making section of the store.


Charlotte's first lollipop!  Looks yummy enough to eat!  Great job, Mom!  This is definitely a girly lollipop!

Note:  You have a choice to make right now.  If you want to make lollipop ornaments, say for your Christmas tree, you will need to poke another hole through one of the top coils where you want it to hang.  Do this before you bake it!  Once is it baked, string a ribbon or fishing line through it.  


Grab a cookie sheet, line it with foil and place a thin layer of  fiberfil batting on the bottom.  I have noticed that sometimes if you place your polymer clay directly on foil and bake it, the side (that sits on the foil) turns out shiny.  Anyone ever have that happen?  Using fiberfil batting under your polymer clay gives your piece a nice consistent finish.  I recommend it!

Go ahead and bake your lollipop with the stick in place.  It won't hurt the stick.


What to do with that extra candy rope?  Here are some suggestions.  Make another lollipop if you have enough - maybe a smaller one if you roll your rope out smaller.  Shape it into a candy cane.  Again, if you want a candy cane ornament, make sure you put a small hole in the top before you bake it.  Make some buttons!  Roll your rope up like you are making a lollipop, but instead of adding a stick, poke two holes in the center.  Tada!  Now you have a cute button to sew to anything!  If you have another idea, post a comment.  I would love to hear it!

I think, I am going to roll this out even more and make miniature candy sticks.  Roll the the clay out even smaller!


Now cut it into small, little 1" sticks. 

 

After these are baked, we will wrap them in the Angelina Fantasy Film like in the picture above.  Too cute!  Just think, you could make candy for a doll house if you had one!



Remember that extra clay we cut off our center cylinder before we rolled it out?  Let's make some sour candy balls.  Just take your one color of clay and roll into balls.  We will wrap these in Angelina Fantasy Film too.  Use your baby wipes when switching to different colors of clay.  It really helps!

Here is an idea for you!  If you want to make a garland of candy.  Roll these balls of clay out to the size you want, bake, wrap them in Angelina Fantasy Film, and string them on a ribbon.  Beautiful!



Here is our candy!  Ready to bake!


Place a thin layer of fiberfil batting over the top to avoid scorching.  Don't worry the batting won't catch on fire.  It will melt if it touches the elements.  So make sure your oven rack is in the middle and there is plenty of room above it.




Here is my toaster oven for baking polymer clay in.  I call this my Susie Bake Oven.  Anyone ever have one of those?  I did when I was little.  My poor Dad ate everything I made in it too.  What a good sport!  I've come a long way from cooking on a light blub.  Ha! Ha!

If you are baking polymer clay in your kitchen oven, the baking temperature is 275 degrees.  Since my toaster oven bakes at a hotter temperature, I bake at 250 degrees for a little longer.  Slower is better for me.  I want the clay to cure and not scorch.  In my oven, the baking time will be 20 to 25 minutes.  In your kitchen oven probably 20 minutes would do it at 275.

Please remember, if you are baking polymer clay in your kitchen oven, wash it down with baking soda and water afterwards as the fumes might leave a residue.  Food and polymer clay should never mix, even though it is non-toxic.


Here they are!  Fresh out of the oven.  They may look a little dull to you in color.  Don't worry, we will fix that! Wait until they cool completely until moving on to the next step.



Now that the lollipops are back to their normal temperature, you might find that the lollipop stick needs to be glued in place.  Secure it with some glue.  In the picture I am using E6000.  It holds anything.  I am sure pretty much any glue would do.


You are probably noticing that your lollipop does looks a little dull.  To get that yummy, juicy, shiny looking real lollipop look, use 3D Liquid Lacquer.  Get this on Ebay at the Morezmore shop.


Paint a nice coat of the lacquer on to your lollipop.  See it is looking yummy with that pretty shine to it and it brings out the beautiful colors again!



Dust it with glitter when the lacquer is still wet so that the glitter sticks nicely.  You can also use glass glitter too!  Either way the outcome is beautiful!


My finished lollipop.  There is Charlotte's lollipops in the background.  They still need to be glossed and glittered, but she is a candy pro now.  Once the lacquer is dried, tie a bow around the stick to finish it off.

See our miniature wrapped candies in the picture?  Let's finish those up now.



Take a piece of Angelina Fantasy Film (they come in packs of various colors at Morezmore on Ebay) and cut it a little bigger than your piece of candy.  I am going to wrap one of the candy sticks.



Place your candy in the middle close to the top and roll it up in the film.  


Here it is rolled up.


Now twist one end one way and twist the other end the other way.  Just like a real piece of candy.
Do the same process with the candy sour balls we made.


Angelina Fantasy Film shrinks when it is heated.  Since we have all this beautiful striped candy and now we wrapped it, you can't see it so great through the film.  When you heat up the film, it shrinks to the candy inside.  You can definitely see the darling stripes now!  The ends might try to un-twist in the heating process -- turn the gun off,  re-twist the ends and heat it up again.

Some people have asked me if a blow dryer will work. I haven't tried it.  But please do and let me know.  I will try it next time for sure!


Here is an example of some of the finished candy.  Too sweet!  In this picture you will notice smaller lollipops.  I used toothpicks for the sticks.  Cut off the points of the toothpick and paint the stick with your white paint after they are baked.  The process is pretty much the same.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial.  I would like to thank my Mom, Charlotte, for making these sweets along side me and I would also like to thank my daughter, Valerie, for taking the countless pictures of the process.

If you have any questions, please comment to this post or email me at leeannkress@charmedconfections.com  - I would love to hear from you!