Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve and a Free Polymer Owl Tutorial

Since I didn't give each of you a gift for Christmas,
I want to make it up to you right now and give you this free 
Polymer Clay Owl Tutorial.
Here's what the finished raw owl can look like.
I haven't added a patina to this or cured it, so it's the raw, finished owl.

 Here's another variation on the same type of owl.

Now, Here's the Tutorial.

Take a small amount of clay, shape into a ball, then roll the clay into an oval about 1/4" thick.

Using a poking tool or your finger or something that will make an indent, make two dents in the clay at the top where you want your owl's eyes to be.

Make two small balls of clay.  Put them in the indents for the eyes.  Smush them into the "eye sockets."
Make two more indents into the eye sockets.

Add two more small balls of clay, smush the clay and put the smushed clay into the eye sockets.  
Take another small bit of clay and form it into the beak.
Press the beak in between the eyes.
(At this point, you can use some liquid polymer clay to ensure that the small pieces of clay stay in place.  I usually don't use it, but it certainly is an option.)
Take a small piece of clay and form it into a mustache shape.
Cut the shape in half.
This piece of clay will become the ears for our owl.
Put the ears next to the side of the owl's eyes.
Press firmly into place or use liquid polymer clay to attach.

Take two small pieces of clay and make them sort of wing shaped.
Place the wings just over the ears on the side.  Press in place firmly or use liquid polymer clay.

This how the placement of the wing over the ear should look.

Now we can add a little bit of texturing.
I made cross hatch marks on the wing and one vertical crease on the ear.

I added some hash marks on the nose and some indents on the belly and dots in they eyes.
Let your creativity flow when it comes to texturing.

Now, I forgot to measure how long of a piece of wire I used, but I'd say it was 3/4" to 1 inch.
I bent the wire in the middle and added two little hooks on each side.
These little hooks will help the wire stay in the clay.

Press the wire clip into the clay.
Again, you can use liquid polymer clay to help hold the clip in place.
I pressed it into the clay and pressed firmly in the clay.
So far, so good!!

You are finished with the raw, unfinished version.

Now, what you will need to do is to "cure" your owl following the manufacture's directions for the clay by baking the clay in an oven that you have dedicated for polymer clay only.

Then, if you like, you can add a patina or not.
I'd love to see what you do with this tutorial.
I hope you enjoy it!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

I Heart the Percolator App!!!!

instead of 
I Heart Macro,
I decided to 
I Heart the Percolator App!!!
Here are some photos I edited using this app.
 See what it does to a picture?

Our Christmas Tree this year.



Pixie Marie!

These would also look great as a bead!!!
I love the inspiration!!!

I Heart the Percolator App!!!
I Heart Macro!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

More vessels for the vessel exchange

Well, not all of these vessels will go to the exchange.
You'll see some of my mistakes, too.
This is a big, fat vessel.  It's huge, but I'm not sure it's going into the exchange.  I'm not sure it would ship without breaking.  It's a blown vessel with a twistie added.
We shall see on this one.

I like this vessel.
It's going into the exchange.  I like it!!!

I wanted to show you the size differences.
See what I mean?  That big one is HUGE!!
Not sure!!!

I don't think so.
It collapsed and I added way too much glass for the handle.
It's already in the garbage.   It wasn't even salvageable.

Not sure on this one. 
I honestly don't like it.
Probably not.

Not sure on this one, but it's part of my Antiquities series.
We'll see.
There's no top for it.
I am assuming that the top was broken through the ages.

This one's in my Etsy store right now.
to see it!
Her name is Sophia!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) Christmas was great!!!  It was so nice to be with the kids again!!!  We had fun.  I think we were all tired, but it was great!

2) Pixie was glad to get home where she could have HER couch and kitties wouldn't be bossing her around.  I know that was a beautiful thing for her!!!

3)  While at Jenny's, Pixie decided to claim top dog status by getting into the kitties' bed.  She looked so funny in that little tiny bed.  The kitties just ignored her.  Seems they didn't want to be in the bed when she was in it!!!  Oh, well, Pixie felt good about herself, sort of!!!! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A New Exchange!

This time, it's a vessel exchange. 
I love making vessels, but I haven't made them in a long time.
Here's the first one I made for this exchange.
I blew this vessel.
I have more in the kiln right now, and I'll show those later.
Any way..
 Side 1

Side 2

Do you like to wear vessels as jewelry?
I love to wear them, especially with a drop of essential oils in them.
More to come later.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So It's Back to Normal! What's Your Normal?

I can honestly say,
I don't know what my normal is!
One day, my normal is to run like crazy, without stopping,  often to realize I haven't even gone to the bathroom that day.
Another day, my normal is to move slowly because my knees are killing me.
Each day is an opportunity to begin a new history,
a do-over from the day before.
Not every day is perfect or great.
Not every day is joyful or exciting.
Not every day is feeling ill or in pain,
but everyday is a chance to start again.
Every day is a chance to make up for mistakes we made the day before.
Each day is a chance to begin again, no matter what happened on the day before.
Who needs it?
I'm just glad for the chance to start again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

And it came to pass...
Sweet Baby Jesus, please help us to remember this
not only on Your Day but as the year moves forward.
And it came to pass.

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Was it worth it?  I hope so.  I'm down to two Christmas presents to wrap, one scarf to finish, and this blog post to write.  That won't take much time, then, I'll finish my scarf and, maybe, crochet a hat.  I have to find a pattern first for the hat.  Anyway, there is a light snow falling outside.  Pixie is very comfortable.  I honestly think she has the right idea.  It's time to take it easy.  Maybe I'll take a nap later.  I hope to attend Mass at 10:30 PM here.  I'll miss Midnight Mass at home.  You just have to go with the flow, though. 

Merry Christmas Eve.

May you be blessed with the Peace of our New Born Savior! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Heart Macro - Kitty and Puppy Noses and Toes

Kitty Nose

Kitty Toes

Puppy Nose

Puppy Toes

I Heart Macro!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Almost Forgot to Post Today

Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of celebrating, we forget things.  I almost forgot to post today.  So, here it is.

I plan to work on more scarves.  Yes, I made the one you see.  I wanted to use up my yarn scraps.  I did in those colors.  I also plan to make more in different styles to sell.  I'll post those on Facebook or here or both.  That's after Christmas!

Today, it's just a matter of finishing the little stuff.  I have to go grocery shopping.  Nick is coming home tomorrow, so I have to have food.  I'm looking for snacks for him to eat.  I think I'll end up waiting until after he gets here and take him shopping!  Jenny's food is already here.  If you have any suggestions for appetizer types of food, let me know.  I'm looking for those!!

I need to wash up my new crockpots.  I bought 2 new ones.  They were on sale at Target!!!  Great prices.  One is small and one is large.  They will be used a lot!!!  They were my xmas present to me!!  Other than that, I plan to relax.  I'm off the torch for a bit.   I need to rejuvenate.  Besides, there's lots in my Etsy store!  I'm not worried about stocking that. 

After all this, it's time to start with the memories and making new ones.  Then it's time to face reality.  My jeans are tight!!!  I need to do something now.  It's time.  I'm thinking Weight Watchers again, but I don't know.  We'll see.  I never liked the meetings, so online is a possibility.  It did work for me before.  Now is the time before the weight becomes excessive.  What do you do to keep your weight controlled?  Suggestions are welcome.

In the meantime, I'm wishing you a peaceful and blessed Christmas!! 
Merry Christmas!  Ho! Ho! Ho!  God Bless Us All said Tiny Tim!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) If you're reading this, obviously the world didn't end, but if you aren't, well, maybe it did!!!  I'm thinking not, so for that, I'm grateful!!!

2) Our Christmas celebration is gathering steam.  I might be finished with my shopping, but I'm not sure.  I still have to wrap the gifts.  I hate gift wrapping.  Where are my Target bags?  :)

3) Had lunch with a friend that I haven't seen in a very long time.  It felt great to reestablish contact!  Chatted with other friends on Skype.  I love my friends!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's that time of year -- I clean!!!!

It hits a few times a year, usually, right after Christmas as we wait upon the arrival of the New Year.  
This year, the urge to clean the nest,
to make room,
well, it hit a bit earlier, and I do love the results.
I often find some special treasure I had forgotten.
There was no exception as I began to clean a closet yesterday.
Tucked inside a box was a bag of polymer clay pendants I had made almost a year and a half ago.
I couldn't torch for 3 months so I began to learn a bit about polymer clay.
Here's what I found.
I listed these in my Etsy Store.
The ginko leaf is a symbol of hope.
I made this leaf with gold clay and a touch of mica powder.  
Isn't this fun to find what you were doing over a year ago?
Here's the link for this leaf.

I call these little birds,
Glitter Birds.
There was glitter in the clay I used to make them!
Wouldn't they look sweet on a nest with small eggs under them?
Pearls would make lovely, little eggs.
Here's the link.

This leaf reminded me of weathered barn wood.
It's called
Weathered Wood Ginko Leaf.
I added a touch of mica powder to it.  I like the way it looks by itself, but you could add some small charms to complete the pendant.

This bird reminds me of a bird carved from weathering wood.
I am amazed by the way polymer clay mixes.
Some of the combinations are very interesting.  
If you want to see more of this little bird 

I had to smile when these leaves and little birds came out of the box.
It was an enjoyable way to spend a bit of time when I took a break from cleaning.

What treasures do you find when you deep clean?


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This All Started with the Front Door.

I looked at my front door today, and you know what I saw?  I saw the Thanksgiving wreath still on the door!  I honestly couldn't believe that I had forgotten to change to my winter wreath.  I'm not one to decorate for each season, but that was a true oversight on my part.  So, I quickly changed the wreath, only to find, I couldn't close my door.  What?  The door closed a minute ago!!  It took me a while to figure out that I had hung the wreath hanger upside down.  That's why the door wouldn't close.  Problem solved.
I checked the weather forecast.  What do you mean, it's going to snow?  I'm not through with my shopping!!!  So, I had better get going, but, wait!
I need to go to the grocery store first!  What's wrong with my freezer door?  It doesn't close tightly enough.  Dang it!  It needs to be cleaned out before I go to the grocery store.  Well, if I don't go to the grocery store today, I'll have to go in the predicted snow.  No, that's not going to work.  I better go to the store today, but before I go, I have to clean out the freezer and the refrigerator.  Okay, but Pixie has not had any attention all day, and she looks like she needs some attention.  Okay, then clean out the refrigerator and the freezer and play with Pixie.  I'm not going to go until after supper.  Wait!  I can't go after supper because I have the laundry to do.  Okay, the kids will be coming home, when?

Right now, Charlie Brown is on.  I caught a glimpse of him as I raced downstairs with the laundry.  The tree is lit.  I don't even remember lighting the tree tonight.  It's starting to get dark outside.  I haven't even turned the lights on in the house.  This isn't right.

I stop and sit on the couch looking outside.  There's only a little bit of snow on the ground this year.  The neighbors across the street have a beautiful setting of lights on their front porch.   The neighbor next door just drove in from work.  Pixie just came in for an ear rub.  She deserves a wonderful ear rub, so I rub her ears. I leave the lights out and pour myself a small glass of wine.  I'd like to call some of my family, but not right now.  I'll call them later.  Right now, I'm caught in a moment.  I want this moment. 

In the background I hear Charlie Brown talking about the real meaning of Christmas.  Looks like I've missed it again this year.  Enough is enough.  It's not too late.  I'm lucky.  I'll be able to hug and kiss my children when we get together for Christmas.  We'll be able to weave our way through our silly traditions and laugh.  We'll be able to play games together.  We'll be able to talk about our year and delight in the fact that we are together again. 

Yes, this is what I want.  Okay, tomorrow I'll clean out the refrigerator and freezer.  If I don't get to the store, it will wait until the kids get home.  There's time.  Now, I want to enjoy this moment to the fullest.  I want meditate on what Christmas is really all about.  I want to embrace this moment and this day.  I'm ready.  I'm ready.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Small Part of My Life will Leave My Home Today

I was eight years old when my mother stretched her budget to make sure I had a piano so that I could learn to play.
I did learn, too, but like most kids, I really didn't appreciate the gift I was given.
I enjoyed the piano, but I tensed up terribly and couldn't play very well when it came to recitals.
I was absolutely terrified.
My fingers stiffened up.
My body was rigid.
I played without emotion.

My poor mother, she worked hard to be able to afford that piano.
I don't know how she did it.
I really don't.
However, she just smiled when I froze and assured me that all was well.
Talk about unconditional love!
She was an amazing woman!
Because of her, I developed strength that would carry me through some very hard years.
Because of her, I never forgot who I was and that I was so special.
Because of her, when things got tough,
I learned to turn to God because of the faith that she instilled in me at an early age.
Because of her, I am the person I am today.

Because of her, I learned that I am worthy of love and that I am loved.
So much happened because of her.

Today, this piano leaves my home.
I'm giving it to my church.
I'm happy with that.
I think she would be happy with that development, too.

This piano will take with it many memories of children who plunked on it, but refused to practice their piano.
This piano will take with it the places we've lived.
This piano will take with it a love of music.
This piano will take with it a love of art.
This piano will take with it memories of fun!

I am so happy that there is so much happiness associated with this piano.
Now, it will have a new history.
I'm glad about that.

It's only a small part of my life, but it is an important part of my life.
Change happens.

I'm happy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Hoffman Family Newsletter 2012

Merry Christmas!

Here we are!
In case you're wondering about the TNT photo...
Well, that photo was taken at the Science Museum in Chicago at the 
Myth Busters exhibit when Jenny and I visited Nick this spring.
We had a great time!
Nick was a wonderful host.
We saw improv theater, the Myth Busters, and Nick's new condo!!!
Nick's new condo is awesome!
I went to Mass at a church near Nick.
The Mass was celebrated in Polish.
Quite interesting, and part of a wonderful experience.
I was very impressed with Nick's condo.
He has a wonderful view of Chicago from his condo.
Nick is busy with work and enjoying his condo.

Jenny is doing well.  Her counts have been stable for the last 6 months.
We are so thankful for that!
She's still working for The Hartford.
Jenny gets tired easily so that limits her activities to a degree.
Jenny and I were able to do some fun things in the Cities together.
We visited the Aquarium at the Mall of America.
See the photo of Jenny with the sharks' mouths?
That was part of the visit to the Mall.
Jenny and I also enjoyed the pirate exhibit at the Science Museum.
Honestly, I think that I had more fun at the Pirate Exhibit than she did.
Other than that, Jenny keeps busy with her kitties, 
Walter and Marvin.

I'm still busy making beads.
I love that job!
I've made a lot of beads for 
Beads of Courage this year.
Beads of Courage is an organization that helps children cope with serious illnesses by using beads to mark each step of their treatments.
Check out the link.
I was featured in a couple of magazines this year.
I also attended the Bead and Button Show again this year.
I love to attend that show.  It's always so much fun!
Oh, I let my hair go gray!  People don't recognize me.
I'm okay with that, too!!  :)

Now for Pixie Marie.

Pixie gets her own collage!!
She sleeps a lot.
However, she is now a registered therapy dog.
She passed her test and had to have 3 observations after that.
She did good!
I am hoping that we can get out on our own soon.
Since it's the holiday season, no one is in their offices, so we haven't ventured out on our own yet.
Our group, Puppy Love, takes off most of December and January, so we won't be with the group until February or March.
I'm hoping that she and I can get out locally to visit people who might like to pet and enjoy a dog.
She can't wear her heart unless she is doing her volunteer work, so,
she hasn't worn it yet, but I am hoping soon.

That's our year in a nutshell.
We had our ups and downs, but, this year was better than others.
No matter what, we are family.
That's the most important thing of all!

Merry Christmas!
May 2013 be a blessed year for you and yours!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Heart Macro - Angels

Some of these items are not angels,
but they sure looked like it to me.

I Heart Macro!!!!