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Friday, May 24, 2013

Remembering Memorial Day with Love and Gratitude

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to say hello and wish everyone a nice Memorial Day weekend.  Memorial Day is usually celebrated with get-togethers, pool parties and BBQ's.  Please remember to take time out of your day to honor those who died for our freedom and to pray for our servicemen and women who fight for it today.

I am truly grateful to our servicemen and women (and their families) who have sacraficed so very much on behalf of me, my entire family and our blessed USA.  You are not forgotten, nor will I ever take for granted the price you paid and continue to pay for my freedom.  God bless you and keep you always!

I found this wonderful poem and thought I would share it.  

Freedom Is Not Free

                                                                           By:  Kelly Strong
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

Freedom comes at such a high price.  On this Memorial Day, I will lovingly remember you in my heart!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tutorial - Let's Make Something Sweet - Part 2

Hi Everyone!

Hope you are all having a good week.  We are almost through it - only two more days till the weekend!  As some of you know, I posted a tutorial on how to make polymer clay candy back in April.  If you missed it, you can go to my labels in the right column of this blog and click on Tutorials and find it there.  It is also on Pinterest if you follow my boards.  Click on the tutorial board.

Anyway, this is Part 2 of my candy tutorial.  Same concept, but in Part 2, I will be making different candies and candycanes too.  If you are just joining in, you will want to review the first tutorial before you start this one, as I might refer to it here and there.

Let's get started!  As before, all my explanations will be below the picture so you can follow along.  :)

I am going to be making these miniature lollipops!  In my first tutorial (Part 1) we made larger lollipops, with three colors of polymer clay.  Now let's do the same thing with four colors!  Above are the four colors I will be using.  (Remember, you can make your candies any size you want - just use more clay.)  Before you start, make sure your work area and hands are clean.  I am using a floor tile to roll my clay out.  Make sure you use a flat, clean surface.  If your surface has grooves or bumps, so will your clay.  Not good!  :(

Now that my work area is clean and ready.  Once again, we will need a center cylinder color.  That is my pink color above.  We will be building our stripes around that center cylinder.  So whatever color you are using for your center, make sure it is twice the amount as your other colors.   You will notice in the above picture, that I have twice as much pink clay as the others.  The orange, green and yellow will be my stripes - they are half the amount of clay as my pink.

Now, it is time to condition the clay.  Heat of the clay in your hands by kneading it until it is pliable.  Note:  Before you move to a different color, use your baby wipes to wipe off your hands (or wash them with soap and water).   The color on the clay can leave color on your hands. If you don't clean your hands first, the color can transfer to your next color.  Baby wipes are the best to use - less getting up and down to go to the sink.

Here you can see that I have rolled up my pink clay into a thick cylinder (about an 1" thick).  The other colors I have rolled out into skinny ropes.  I am trying to get these around the same size - if one is a little thicker, no worries.  Just go with it!  :)

Let's start building our clay cane by adding the stripes of color to it.  Above, I have taken my orange and placed it on the pink cylinder.  Pinch off the excess.  Keep adding your stripes to the pink center cylinder interchanging the colors and leaving space in between them.  See the below picture.  IMPORTANT - Make sure your stripes do not touch another stripe.  Keep a separation between them.

Your clay cane should now look like this!  Gently push your striped into the center (pink) clay.  Make sure you don't mush them too much.  (FYI - if your stripes are touching each other, next time roll out the stripes a little thinner.)  See Part One of the tutorial - I explain why.

Now the fun part!  Gentle roll your clay with a light pressure to set your stripes in place.  Keep rolling lightly until your cylinder starts getting longer, but still even in thickness.

This is how it should look now.  The stripes are looking good - not touching each other.

Since I am making tiny lollipops, I will be rolling this rope out much thinner than in the first tutorial.  In the above picture it is time to pick up the rope and give it a few twists to make the stripes twisty.  Pick up the rope and twist in one direction with your left hand while keeping your right hand (holding the other end of the rope) still.  Hope this makes sense.  I'm left handed - change if you are right handed.

This is starting to look good.  Looks like candycane.  I'm getting hungry!  Once you get your rope the thickness you want we are ready for the next step.

Before you roll up your clay - remember to make a nice clean end.  Cut off one end with a knife or rib cutter tool on the stripe line.  (This is in my part one of this tutorial - see pictures there.)

Here I show you my rib cutter tool and how I have finished rolling up my tiny lollipop.  When you get the size you want, cut on the stripe line like in the above picture.  Where you cut it off is where the lollipop stick will be inserted.  (A SWEET IDEA - Wouldn't these make darling buttons!!  Oh yeah!  If you want buttons, poke two holes all the way through the center and bake that way.  I'm lovin' it!)

Next, I take some ordinary toothpicks and trim off the pointy ends.  These are going to be our lollipop sticks.

I see a little chunk of clay missing in my lollipop.  Do you see it?  If this happens to you, be gentle and push the clay together.  Guess I didn't see it when I was making it.  LOL!  Now my stick is ready to be inserted.

Next, I take my ice pick (or needle tool or toothpick) and poke a hole where I cut off the clay.  Be very gentle and try not to touch your clay too much.  Stripes can shift and mush if your hands are too hot or if you use too much pressure to make a hole.  Try to make the hole right down the center of each rope about 1/4" in.

Insert your stick.  We will be baking this with the stick in place.  No worries, the stick will be fine.  YAY!  It is sooo cute.  Ok ... set this sweet confection to the side and let's make another.

With your left over rope let's make the twisty rope lollipops.

Take a toothpick (leaving the point on) and wrap the end of your rope to the tip.  Try not to squish it on, but carefully poke the end of the toothpick into the end of the clay and coil it up on to the toothpick.

Coil up your clay about half way down.  Once your clay is on, trim off the excess (on the stripe) and snip the end of the toothpick off.

Ta da!  Super cute.  Make these bigger with more clay and use a wooden dowel or actual lollipop stick.  You can find lollipop sticks at Michael's in the baking section of the store.  Ok, now set this sweet, little lolly with the other one and let's make candycanes.

To make candycanes, we will basically use the same techniques.  In this case, use twice as much white clay as red clay.  If you want to add another color (say green) use the same amount as the red.  The white clay should be your center cylinder.  (Notice that in the sample candycane, one stripe of red is thicker, if you want this look, when you roll out your stripes, make one thicker than the others.

Again, knead the clay, form a center cylinder and roll out your red stripes.  I am rolling out 4 ropes of red clay. FYI --- Red clay will definitely leave color on your hands -- baby wipes are really needed here as you can change your white clay into pink very easily.  Keep your hands clean.

Place each red rope evenly around the cylinder from end to end, cutting off the extra length.  Again, make sure your stripes do not touch each other- leave some white in between them.  Press your stripes into the white cylinder without mushing the clay.

Gently start rolling out your clay to lengthen it!  Try and keep it uniform in thickness.

Looking good, but still too thick for candycanes.  Let's give it a few twists and roll it out more.

Ok!  I am liking this look.  Looks uniform and the thickness is just about right.  I want to make candycanes that are the actual size of one I might eat.  Keep rolling out the clay if you want smaller ones.

Once you get your rope the thickness you want, cut off the ends to make a clean edge.

Now just shape into a candycane and cut the excess rope off.  NOTE:  You have a decision to make here --- If you want ornaments, poke a hole through the top of the candycane all the way through the rope so that you can insert a ribbon, wire or fishing line to hang it by.  If not, it is ready for baking!

Here is my baking tray.  I have filled it up with lots of candy.  I have lined my baking pan with foil and placed a layer of fiberfill batting on the bottom.  If you place your polymer clay directly onto the foil, after baking, the side that was directly on the foil tends to be (in my opinion) a little shiny and not even looking.  Batting is great and your entire piece will be baked to perfection.  Promise!

Now, place a thin layer of batting over the top of your lovely confections!  This protects the candy from possible burning.

I use a toaster oven to cook all my polymer clay in.  It runs a little hotter than a normal house oven, so I am going to bake these candies at 250 degrees for 25 minutes.  That should do it!  If you are baking in your home oven, please see my instructions in part one of this tutorial - under my blog label "Tutorial".  You will also need to clean your oven after with baking soda and water to remove any residue before you cook real food again.  Good to know!

Once your candies are out of the oven and cooled completely, you can decorate.  They might seem a little dull in color after baking.  Use 3-D Crystal Lacquer to bring back that gorgeous candy shine to them.  Paint on a few coats of this and sprinkle with fine glitter (glass glitter, too) when it is still wet.  Let them dry completely and repeat a coat if necessary.  If your lollipop sticks are loose, you might have to glue them in.  Don't forget to paint your toothpicks white!  Again, I covered this in the first tutorial.

Here are my finished candycanes and lollipops!  These are made into ornaments for a Christmas tree. You can also turn them into magnets - decorate a top of a package - or put them into a pretty candy jar like in an old candy store.  Whatever you can come up with!  Make these for different occasions too ... birthdays, Halloween, Valentine's Day - just change the color of your clay to suit the reason or season.  I added some ribbon and embellishments and they are yummy enough to eat.  Maybe not, but they do look yummy!

I would love to hear if you liked this tutorial and if you have any different ideas on how you would use these candies.  If you have any questions, please feel free to just ask.  This tutorial is for you and I am here to help.

Give it a try!  It is really fun once you get going.  Make these up with your kids and make memories at the same time.  Life is sweet with a little candy!  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day & New Artwork!

Hi out there in BlogLand!

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend so far.  The weather here is beautiful and it is a gorgeous day! Wanted to say Happy Mother's Day to all you special Mom's out there ... including my own beautiful Mom. Took her to go see Miranda Lambert in concert last night.  We had a blast!!  I didn't know any of the words, but my Mom did.  It was nice to see her cut loose, having fun and singing along.  Love you, Mom!  XOXO

What's been going on with me?   I have two new pieces of Halloween Folk Art available on Spookytime Jingles this Monday, May 13th.   Here is a sneak peek of what I will be offering on the site!  Lil' Punkin Spice Cake (8" tall) and the Candy Crying Cyclops (9") tall.   These two are in my line called Ghoulie-Cake.  They are made to look like real cupcakes, and they "really do".  Although, I wouldn't take a bite.  They definitely don't taste good.  Each Ghoulie-Cake is made on a 5" round faux cupcake of my own design.  Darling all the way around!  Hope you like them.

Lil' Punkin Spice Cake is SOLD!  Thank you, Pam!!

This cyclops does looks as if he might start crying.  Wahhhh....Someone please give him some candy (but please brush his fangs after).  

Hugs to you all!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sneak Peek of a Work in Progress!

Hello again!

Well, wanted to share a quick sneak peek of some of my latest sculpted heads.  Ok ... these are not painted yet, but I am very excited about them.  In my mind's eye, I can see them already finished.  But, my hands are not as fast as my brain, so here is what they look like now (before all the painting and shading).  One is a pouting cyclops (fangs will be added later) and the other, a sweet, smiling pumpkin (with a twist).  So stay tuned to see the final results.  These two will be new additions to my Ghoulie-Cakes line.  I am hoping to finish them up today - so I gotta run back to my worktable and get crackin'.

Just wanted to share.  What are you up to today?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pfatt Marketplace May Offering

Hi Everyone!

Hope all is well and happy in your world.  Boy, last month was so incredibly busy for me that the month of May just took me by surprise.  I have been so busy designing new characters for Halloween and gearing up to have inventory, that I almost forgot about my deadline for new artwork on Pfatt Marketplace, May 10th.

Well, I didn't have time to sculpt something from paper clay, but I was able to make some of my favorite faerie paperweights.  These are so perfect for gift giving!  I just love them!  Each paperweight is approximately 3-1/4" wide by 1-3/4" tall.  They are nice and heavy too!  The beautiful, clear glass domes are so reflective in the sunlight.  Pictures never do them justice, but past customers love them when they see them in person and always come back for a few more.  I have priced them very affordable.

Each paperweight is rimmed with pretty glass beads, bubble beads, charms, polymer clay flowers and then highly glittered.  No need to worry about beads falling off.  The adhesive I use holds the beads to the glass in a rock hard finish.  In addition, the bottoms of each paperweight have been lined with cork padding so they will not scratch your tabletops.

These paperweights will be available for sale on Pfatt Marketplace on May 10th at 10am Pacific Time.
Go to www.pfattmarketplace.com and look for Charmed Confections.

The glass domes are so pretty.  They remind me of big drops of rain water.  

Later this week, I will be posting on my blog about new offerings for SpookyTime Jingles.  You won't want to miss it.  I have new Ghoulie-Cakes characters in the works!  I am really liking them so far.  

If you have some time, follow my boards on Pinterest!  I am always adding a sneak peek on new upcoming Halloween art there!  Click on the link on my blog sidebar to see my boards.

Have a wonderful week!!   Until next time ...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Oh Happy Day for Jody of Sweet Bear Creek Whims!!

Hi Everyone!

I am so excited to share some wonderful news about my dear, sweet friend, Jody Johnson of Sweet Bear Creek Whims.  She has been published in the May issue of Prims Magazine!!  Below is a picture of the issue she is in!! Run --- don't walk to get your copy!!  This issue will definitely be a KEEPER!!

Jody's art dolls are loved by so many people (including me).  Her work is just OUTSTANDING!!  It is about time she graces this magazine.  (I can say that on my blog.  Hee! Hee!)  Anyway, I am so incredibly, happy for her.  Couldn't of happened to a more deserving lady.  Her talent is endless!  This is her first time being published, but definitely not her last!  Way to go, my Little Star!!! 

Pop on over to her blog to see all her wonderful creations and to wish her well.  Here is the link!

YAY!! You're in there Jody!!!  Stop pinching yourself - it's REAL!