Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mini Clay Garden Figurines Part II

If you missed it, click here for Part I

Succulent Garden Gifts
See my tutorial here to create the garden.
The glass vases came from the Dollar Store and the adorable chalkboard buckets came from my house....they were left there and hidden in a cabinet by the previous owner. So thanks to her! Please comment below if you know where to find these!

My first attempt at a cupcake. There is room for improvement!

The puggy is my favorite. Who doesn't love the face of a pug?? His friend is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. No surprise, this gift is going to someone with both types of dogs... and if you're reading this, you know who you are... forget you ever saw it! It's a surprise!

This stop sign is perfect for bus drivers or crossing guards! Here is a free stop sign printable card from another bus driver gift of mine.

Teacher Gifts
The following gardens in the red buckets with chalk boards are teachers gifts. The apples and crayon and I used may have given that away! I have a whole slew of other teacher gift ideas too.

This is my favorite. Love the tiny apple!

 I'm so excited to further explore clay! Expect to see more soon!

Mini Clay Garden Figurines Part I

Today's post very much falls under the category of "other crafty things." I've never touched clay a day in my life until this project. I have been increasingly enjoying working with fondant on my cakes and was curious to see how this measured up. Clay is AWESOME! Sorry to my Pinterest followers, I've been bombarding them with clay pins! My first application with clay are these mini clay garden figurines. For Christmas I'm giving a slew of people succulent gardens, and I wanted to make them personalized, so I ventured into clay. It is simple enough that I can show you how I did it! I'm a novice, so by all means, take my advice with a grain of salt!

Tools and Supplies  
Sculpey Polymer Clay
Polyform Sculpey Glaze
Acrylic Paints
Greening Pins
Paint Brushes
Oven or Toaster Oven
Fine Sand Paper
Pottery Tools & I also used Duff Fondant Tools, similar to Wilton's (optional but highly recommended)
Smooth Foam (optional)
Paint Tray (optional)
Wire (optional)
Wire Cutters (optional)
Needle-nose pliers (optional)

I was surprised how EASY it was (for me) to work with clay compared to gum paste and fondant. Clay is so forgiving, and I love that you can sand it to get a better finish. So here's how it went... sculpt, bake, sand, paint, glaze, admire. It really is simple, and the baking instructions are on the clay box, whichever brand you choose. Here is how it turned out and a few tips...

To fit the Greening Pins in some of my smaller clay figurines, I had to use a needle-nose pliers to bend the top. The jag at the top of the greening pins are great for keeping the wire in the clay.

For the circles on these adorable mushrooms and ladybug (see below), I disassembled a pen and pressed it into the clay. It created a great little detail and the ring around it made it very easy to paint.

 I accordion folded a piece paper to keep my figurines from rolling around or possibly getting a flat edge during baking.

This pug picture is before the glaze. That's my Pugalier (Pug/Cavalier Spaniel Mix), Jack.

To get the realistic look of an apple, take your red acrylic paint and split it into three. To one pile add white and to another add a bit of brown. By alternating these three colors, give your apple some highlights and shadows as well as mimic the look of a real apple. Use the brush strokes to your advantage.

See them glazed and in action...well in planters, Mini Clay Garden Figurines Part II.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Palette Planter

Have a wooden palette lying around? I've been seeing succulent gardens everywhere and I love the succulents outside in my yard, so it was time to bring the outside in. It is super easy to propagate most succulents. I have ground cover outside my house and if a piece gets broken off, it will root anywhere it lands. I was ordering succulents to make gifts and knew I'd have extra, so lucky hubby, I came up with a project.

Our project dimensions were 7 "wide x 20" long x 3" high. This was purely based on our table size. Make sure there is plenty of room for plates and drinks, so you won't have to move your planter if you don't want to.

Hubby constructed the box for me. He took the palette and pried off the boards, which happened to be roughly 3" wide. He used nails to assemble it (to give it a more rustic look) and calked the inside seams to keep the box from leaking. Once I got my hands on it, I sealed the inside using Plasti-Dip. Hubby picked up blue, but I linked to the clear version. The Plasti-Dip is to further protect the wood. I found this as a suggestion on the internet somewhere... As you can see from the pictures, I taped off the box with painter's tape before I sprayed. This took about 4 coats. Leave plenty of time for the calk and Plasti-Dip to dry. It's also super smelly!

Filling the box... The bottom layer is rock, I actually used rock meant for fish tanks. The rock is to provide drainage for the plants. Next I layered Activated Carbon, you can also find this at your local pet store. The Activated Carbon keeps the icky plant odor away. Next came dirt, there are special succulent mixes available at your local nursery. The succulents came from Ebay, there are plenty of good vendors out there. Finally the top layer is river stones. Easy peasy and beautiful (which I can say so myself because hubby did all the hard work). Sorry in advance for so many pictures, there were some beautiful moments!

Please comment and share any tips or link to your own Palette Planters!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Giveaway (OVER): "Sweetie Pie" Embroidery Pattern

To celebrate the launch of my facebook page, I'm giving away a copy of my "sweetie pie" embroidery pattern collection from my Etsy shop!

WIN THIS! Enter below.

You have 4 ways to enter! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, here's a freebie "bake" pattern from my "sweetie pie" collection on Etsy!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

FREE "bake" Embroidery Pattern

To celebrate the launch of my Etsy shop, that is now stocked with pdf embroidery patterns, here's a freebie from my "sweetie pie" collection on Etsy!

Click on this image to print or click here to download the pdf with multiple sizes or mirror images.

Want more? Check out my Etsy shop for for embroidery patterns.

I'd suggest using a hot iron transfer pencil to transfer the design onto fabric.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dino Island Cake

Want to make one?

Buttercream & Bunting Cake

There is something to be said for simplicity. Up until now, I've always decorated detailed and over the top cakes for my kiddos. But when my brother gave me free range on my niece's 1st birthday cake with the only direction of "teal", I went for a little simplicity.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Elegant Ombre Buttercream Cake

I finally had a chance to make a cake for an adult! Whoohoo! We were celebrating two Birthdays of our female friends so Spider-man and Transformers were out of the question this time. I wanted to challenge myself with trying new techniques and coming up with something elegant.

I learned two new techniques with this cake. The first was

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Autism Awareness

Last year I wrote this post about Autism Awareness. Autism is close to my heart having two boys on the spectrum. Well, it's that time again. April is Autism Awareness month and I've updated the Facebook cover (below). Please feel free to use it (click and save) and share it. Take some time this month to learn a little more about Autism, the more you know, the more you can make a difference.