Posts Tagged ‘crafts’

Sculpey as Stress Balls

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011


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Polymer Clay Lets You Relax While You Create

Sculpey is kinda like a stress ball that lets you make beautiful things. Stress balls are those little bags full of a sand-like substance that you can’t put down without squeezing it a few times. They are often given out as promotional gifts and have smiley faces or silly designs on them. Massaging them supposedly reduces your stress and can even be used in physical therapy to strengthen muscles.

Sculpey is a brand of polymer clay, which isn’t really “clay” at all, but rather a concoction of polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and liquid plasticizer. It’s only called clay because you can mold it like clay and then “fire” it in your oven.

Sculpey and other polymer clay brands have long enticed me because they come in these appealing little 2 oz packages in beautiful colors. Over the years I would buy a couple packages and try it, but the clay always seemed so hard to manipulate. I’d get frustrated and give up.

In the last couple months though, I’ve become a big fan of polymer clay. I’ve made my first bracelet and pair of earrings with it, and I am thrilled. Now I can’t stop thinking of things I want to make out of Sculepy. The trick, I learned, is that before you try to mold anything, you have to condition the clay. This is why Sculpey is like a stress ball. To condition it, you have to knead it.

The warmth of your hands combined with the process of stretching and compressing the clay changes its texture, making it pliable. You must be in the right frame of mind to condition polymer clay because it requires patience. If you are in a rush, you are just going to get more stressed! But if you put yourself into a zen-like state of acceptance, you can work out the pressures of your mind as you work the clay.

Plus, after the clay is conditioned, you can make something cool! Manipulating the clay into art requires creativity and concentration, which can also be stress-reducing.

Here’s some images of my first attempts at making art with polymer clay. Credit is due to all the polymer clay artists who share their tips and tutorials on Youtube and websites.

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Handmade Jewelry Makes Best Gift

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010


Bead, pearl, crystal necklace and earring set I made my friend for her birthday.

Bead, pearl, crystal necklace I made my friend for her birthday.[/caption]

Dori and I became best friends in 7th grade. Unfortunately, we don’t see each other often anymore, but I wanted to make her jewelry for a milestone birthday. Here’s some pics of the design made of beads, pearls and crystals with copper and rose gold findings.  The necklace is long, and you can wear it two ways. As seen in the photo above,  you can wear it with the charm dangling.  You can also remove the charms and one section of the necklace to make a simpler strand.

Here’s some more pics to show the design.necklace100bwebnecklacecharm105web

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Did you know Amazon has tons of jewelry making supplies? Sometimes they have better prices that Michaels or Joanns. They definitely have a wider selection.

How to make a prize-winning scarecrow

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009


Scarecrows: Flower Girl and Ring Bear for Frakenstein and His Bride. [/caption]

A few years ago our local newspaper sponsored a scarecrow contest each Halloween in our city. In 2005 my sister and I decided to enter and we won Grand Prize. Here’s how we did it.

Be sure to look at other scarecrows I’ve made for more inspiration.

Start with a theme: In looking at old dress-up clothes my kids had, I saw I had a beautiful flower girl dress my daughter had worn when she was 3 and a little tux my son had worn when he was 1.

It is  easiest to start with one or two great fashion items you already have.  If you do not have any old clothes you like, then search through a couple thrift stores: you will see lots of ideas: old bikinis; prom dresses, suits, nightgowns, soccer uniforms, scout uniforms.  You should look for items you can build a whole scene around.

So pretty in her custom gown. Frankenstein's flower girl.

So pretty in her custom gown. Frankenstein's flower girl.

Our Scarecrows: Flower Girl and Ring Bearer for Frankenstein and His Bride.

Make your scarecrows: Take an old pillow and tape it to a hanger with duct tape. Then add a sturdy stick or pole. You can stick the pole in an old umbrella stand, a big pot filled with sand or attach to a saw horse. Hang the outfit over the hanger and then add straw, corn stalk or raffia to make the legs and arms. Heads can be scary Halloween masks or skulls you attach to the top of the hanger.


Isn't he handsome in his little tuxedo? Ring bearer for Frankenstein.

So handsome in his tux. The ring bearer.

Add detail: Look for hats, gloves, scarves, purses, suspenders, jewelery and other accessories that complete the outfit. The details are what gives the scarecrow the WOW factor. Our flower girl has real leather gloves, a hat trimmed in black lace, and a flower basket adorned with a bat. Our ring bearer has suspenders, a cummerbund and a custom-made pillow.

Our flower girl wears gloves and carries a basket of purple flowers.

Our flower girl wears gloves and carries a basket of purple flowers.

Our ring bearer carries a black satin pillow trimmed in black lace. The ring is attached with purple ribbon.

Add Scary: Pick up some creepy bugs and spiders at the dollar store. Use a glue gun or a needle and thread to attach them to the clothes and accessories. My flower girl, for example, has bugs spiders and little rats crawling all over her dress and hat. The boy has lots of spiders.

The wedding trellis is topped by a gorgeous bat.

The wedding trellis is topped by a gorgeous bat.

Build the Scene: These scarecrows are cool, but they might not win a prize on their own. You need few props to set the scene. I used a garden trellis decorated with black and purple netting, purple spider webs, and black flowers to give the feel of a wedding alter.

Yummy enough to eat! Frakenstein's custom cake.

Yummy enough to eat! Click to view larger.

I added the photo of Frakenstein and his bride to a cake topper from a dollar store.

I threw some black material over a small table so we could add a cake and champagne glasses.  The cake is a hat box beautifully painted by my sister.  I got a cheap cake topper and added the heart of Frankenstein and his bride. I used a glue gun to add bats to some plastic wine glasses.

A large spider serves as boutonniere for the ring bearer.

A white hat is trimmed in black lace and spiders on the flower girl.
The back of the scarecrow scene.

The back of the scarecrow scene.

I added a couple crows and a skeleton hanging out on the back of the saw horse as a little joke.

We added a sign explaining the scene.

We added a sign explaining the scene.

The artists with their winning scarecrow design

The artists with their winning scarecrow design

Let me know if you like my scarecrows. We won a couple other years as well with other designs. I’ll try to post those soon. Happy Halloween!

View my squidoo lens on making scarecrows.

I love these black crows from Amazon.

Find great papercraft ideas for Halloween in this book.

Amazon’s Halloween store has tons of great ideas for Halloween!

Other craft posts:
How to Make a Yoga Mat Tote Bag
How to Make a Tassel
How to Make Bookmarks from a Photo
How to Make Designer Baby Burp Cloths Using Ribbon

Creative Snowmen

Saturday, January 17th, 2009


You don’t need snow to make a snowman. When asked to make a snowman out of something unusual, Mrs. Merrill’s third-grade class had some creative solutions. View the album of creative snowmen 2009-10 here.

See the 2008-09 album here.

Enjoy the slide show. To view a larger image, click on the smaller icon. Parents, you should be able to just click and drag off a copy of the photo. Fun project.

2009-2010 snowmen

Click to view 2009-2010 snowmen

My reviews of great book series for kids

My review of the Ranger’s Apprentice series
My review of the Percy Jackson series
My review of the Artemis Fowl series
Battle of the Boys Books: Percy Jackson vs. Ranger’s Apprentice

Related posts:
Show your Chaparral spirit with creativezazz roadrunner t-shirts
Lego Rock Band Review
Lego adds Toy Story Legos
Free creativezazz Valentine Heart Art
How to figure skates that fit your feet . . . and your budget


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