Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fair Winnings Part Three: The Kids' Entries

Okay, so just about a week or so before we had to have stuff to the fairgrounds, my two oldest daughters decided they wanted to enter stuff with me- and of course it had to be polymer clay.

So here we go!  I think I'll show Emmy's first- she's 11, and loves dolphins:

It is a mosaic but I didn't have her do hers all in raw clay the way I do mine.  I wasn't sure she would have the steady hand required for that yet. 

So, I had her roll out very thin sheets of clay and lay them on my stone tile, then score them with a sharp blade.  Then I had her bake them.  After they were baked, she scraped them off the tile and broke them along the scores. 

Then I had her roll out a thick sheet of white clay, trace the pattern onto it, and stick the tiles into the white clay.  Then she baked it again. 

There were a few tiles that weren't stuck in deep enough and they fell out the morning we were headed to the fairgrounds.  She tried to fix them with raw clay (without saying anything to me).  If she had said something to me, I would have just had her glue them back in.  But it turned out really well nonetheless. 

I'm extremely proud of her.

Moving on to Kjeri- she's 13:

(In case you can't tell, that's a blue ribbon hanging off the vase.) After watching a couple of video tutorials on youtube and flipping through my clay books, she decided she wanted to sculpt a bouquet of flowers.  I don't sculpt myself so she was totally on her own here.  She did such a good job that I think I might have to try some flowers, too.  Here's a close-up photo:

That was her first project.  Then she decided she had time to do a mosaic like Emmy.  Same procedure only she chose a pegasus instead of a dolphin:

Once again, she did a really good job!

I am so proud of both of my daughters and I think their work and seeing other kids' work at the fair has inspired the younger kids to do a few projects for next year.  We'll see what happens!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fair Winnings Part Two: Polymer Clay

This is going to be a long one...

In my last post I showed off my crochet/quilt that I entered in the fair and won a few ribbons for.  This time it is all polymer clay (which I did much better on).  So here we go...

First was my cube necklace:

I didn't get a ribbon on this one.  I don't think the judges realized that the cube beads were handmade.  On the other hand, maybe it wouldn't have made a difference.  There were a lot of necklaces and this one really could use a nicer clasp.

How it was made:  I made some cube-shaped cores and baked them, then laid a raw clay veneer over each side and impressed each side of each bead with a different tool or found object.  Just before they were baked I finger-buffed on a bronze powder.

Anyway, moving on...

So, I got second place on this one.  They hung it with a couple of other patriotic pieces- looked very cool!  I actually made this for one of the Polymer Clay Central challenges back in July,  seen here.  The theme, of course, was "red, white and blue" and this idea just came naturally to me considering this is the view from my kitchen window.  The piece is based on this photo (taken from my back yard):

How it was made:  I printed the photo above in the size I wanted the sculpture to be.  Then I drew lines across, following the terrain, marking where I wanted the layers to be.  Then I rolled out some black clay and used the pattern to make several graduated layers of clay.  You can see the layers better in this photo:

I textured each layer with various tools as I put them together:

After it was baked, I finger-buffed the colors on and there you are!

Okay, next was my watermelon pen: 

I don't know how they judge this unusual stuff  'cause there's nothing to compare it to.  The only other pen I saw was a wood-turned one and they aren't even in the same category.  Anyway, I was happy with the results.

How it was made:  Simple, cane slices over a black sheet of clay covering the barrel of a Bic Round Stick.  Then I took a fat slice of the watermelon cane and cut it into quarters to make the beads attached to the end of the pen.  It's easier to see in this photo:

Okay, so here's the other piece of jewelry I entered:

I love making these pendants!  There's not really a whole lot to say about how it was made.  Cane slices and bits of clay that I just sculpted into a flower shape.  I call them my "Kaleidoscope Flowers."
Here's a better photo:

Next is my paisley filligree:

I made this to match the quilt I'm planning for my bedroom.  I really like the way it turned out.  This was another piece I entered in the Polymer Clay Central Challenge seen here.

How it was made:  I photocopied a swatch of the fabric I wanted to duplicate, rolled out a sheet of white clay to the size I wanted, and traced the pattern from the paper onto the clay.  Then I ran all of my colors through my extruder to make a ton of long, skinny strings of clay.  Then I started laying out the strings according to the pattern. 

Took probably 10-15 hours total.  Then I added the dots, the double frame and some white strings for border. 

And last, but most definitely not least, my lighthouse:

I know, you can't even tell what it is from here.  Does this help?:

(Man, that photo needs redone.)  Okay, now you can tell it's a mosaic but how about a little perspective?:

Every year in the hobbies and crafts building they do a "Fair Challenge"  where they give you a picture to recreate in your own medium.  This year it was a lighthouse and this was my contribution. 

I figure there are more than 7,000 tiles between 1-2 mm in size, (except the grass, which is narrower and longer than that), around 45 colors, and took between 20-30 hours to complete.  The entire piece is 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. 

Not much to say here about how it was made, either.  Tiny square strands of color, a very sharp craft knife, a sheet of background clay, and lots of hours logged on Netflix.  It was all done in raw clay and I stressed every minute that one of the little kids would get a hold of it and destroy all of my hard work. 

Anyway, there it is.  I hope if you actually made it all the way through this post that it didn't bore you too much and that you gleaned something useful and/or informative from it.

Next time, I will show off my daughters' work...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fair Winnings Part One: Needlecraft

Okay, I mentioned before that we entered 13 projects in the fair and won 12 ribbons.  Now I want to share our projects and rather than doing one really long post with everything, I thought I'd break it down into manageable chunks.  So, here is the first installment: Needlecraft

When I get to the clay stuff, I will post a little about how each item was made but on the needlework I just followed a pattern or whatever- there really isn't anything to share about technique.

The first thing of mine we found was the baby dress I crocheted for Josie's blessing almost 4 years ago:
The little figurine in front was not mine. :)

I love the granny squares on the bodice and the yarn I used was a really soft baby yarn that was white with a tiny bit of various colors streaked through it.  The pink yarn had a shiny white thread through it.

Here's the next project we found:

I'm really surprised that this one got a ribbon at all considering the fact that apparently they couldn't tell that it's a picture of a horse- it's upside-down!  You can see the ears hanging down next to the ribbon.  Here's a better picture:

For those of you who don't crochet, this is called fillet crochet and is it ever boring!  This was my first and last project using this technique.  I'm going to make it into a throw pillow for Kjeri.  It will have a black background and a black and pink ruffle.  The fair lady told me that I can enter it again next year if I do that.  Maybe I will place better if it's a pillow...

On to the next project:

I made this afghan for my bed.  I get cold easily at night and Rock doesn't so I wanted something that would cover just me... plus, it's pretty.  I'm not the best crocheter in the world so I didn't think I'd do well in this area but I figured it couldn't hurt to try.

Anyway, I've got one last item in the needlecraft building:

I made this for Sarah and she's been using it since last winter so you could tell it wasn't brand-new but it was worth a try.  It was the first quilt I have ever quilted by myself.  It was a lot of fun, too.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my work- although the needlecrafts are not my forte.

Next time I'll start showing off some of my clay stuff.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fun at the Fair!

Is that a cheesy title or what?  So, on Saturday, Rock and I took all six kids to the Eastern Idaho State Fair. They decided they weren't interested in the parade so we skipped that.  At the petting zoo, we fed the goats, learned the difference between a llama and an alpaca (the alpacas are the ones with the big fluffy bangs, petted the bunnies, and repeatedly said, "No, we can't get a puppy."
In the exhibit buildings we searched for all of the things we entered and found out that I won 9 ribbons (out of 10 projects entered), Kjeri won 2 ribbons (out of 2 projects) and Emmy won 1 ribbon (out of 1 project).  Not bad!  Emmy learned that she is a lot better at crafting that she previously believed, Sarah learned that the hobbies and crafts building is a good place to lose Mom and Dad, and Rock and I learned that it is next to impossible to keep track of a busy one-year-old and a cranky three-year-old and still get to look at the exhibits together.  (We ended up taking turns.)  Eli and Miri learned that they are old enough to enter stuff in the fair after all.
Outside the antiques building, Sarah tasted a snowcone for the first time and Miri decided that it looked like a lot of fun to fall off a mechanical bull (but Mom didn't agree).
In the food court we all learned that too much greasy/sugary food can give anyone a tummyache and that that stuff is equally as hard on the pocketbook, but it sure is tasty!
In the commercial buildings, we got out pictures taken with Darth Vader and a Stormtrooper, talked to the guy in the flannel board booth about getting my paper dolls printed on felt, watched the waterless cookware demonstration (if we had any money, we would have been sold on it), watched an embroidery machine at work, waited forever for Kjeri to look a jewelry, and shopped for grab bags for Emmy and Eli.
We didn't go anywhere near the rides as we knew we couldn't afford them and it would be just too much temptation.  However, Rock rode a bubble bike, Sarah played in the sandbox, Josie went kiddie bowling and we all watched dogs jump into water.
All in all, we had a great time and enjoyed one another's company and we can't wait to do it next year!

Sarah, the amazing escape artist!
Miri really needed a rest after all that walking...
Eli was ready to go again after lunch.

I think Kjeri was up to something...

...and I think Josie was in on it!

"No way! We're innocent!"

Sarah stayed in the stroller really well... as long as she was buckled in!

A rare view of the elusive Emmy!