As the title reflects, I feel I have been Chasing Rainbows to no avail. I needed someplace or thing to make me feel more grounded and accountable. Somewhere I can record my plans and efforts as I work towards meeting goals of increasing my Polymer Clay knowledge, skills, and abilities while working towards a healthier me, in mind, body, and soul. A place that reminds me that everything has the possibility to improve with effort (I might even catch part of one of those Rainbows, someday).

Back into clay.

Posted by Sue C | Posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2010 | Posted in

Starting over, again.

As many of you know, I had major surgery a year ago and have had trouble getting going again.  I have had pretty bad depression (perhaps hormonal, perhaps not???) and just no real interest in anything.  It's also been a very bad winter for someone with Fibromyalgia and I've been in a lot of pain from both the surgery and the Fibro).  I've tried several times to get things going, but it's always been an effort.  Suddenly a couple days ago, my muse popped its little head back up and said, "Let's go play clay, you know "we" wanted to do this and that and try this and that, the clay table is waiting, let's get busy".  Of course, the muse, as usual, has lousy timing, now it's spring/summer and yard work and traveling await, but all the same, I welcome that creative muse back into my life.  Fortunately, on most of my travels, the muse can go with me, as I have a portable studio in our Fifth Wheel, which I showed a couple blog posts ago.

One of the things I plan to do is write a couple of tutorials.  That's time consuming, I  have found out, LOL.  I guess I usually jump in with both feet in a huge way, as I make canes to sell and I wanted to write my tutorial for the average person wanting to actually USE their cane creation.  So I had to scale myself way back.  I've also noticed with doing tutorials with my Play Clay Day group, many people want exact amounts to work with the first time they try a new tutorial and few tutorials give the exact amounts or measurements.  As the 3-4 of us work together to follow a tutorial, we come up with all kinds of different interpretations of the instructions.  We've even found that many books, although they may tell you the ratios to use, don't actually tell you how much you need to complete the instructions as written.  It can be very frustrating, even for an experienced clayer, so how much more frustrating this must be for a beginner.  So, that is what I am going to try to address in my tutorials.  So, I need to finish this up so I can get back to my clay desk.

Perhaps this has been discussed, elsewhere, but I have been out of the loop for awhile.  A couple of days ago while browsing in Michael's I saw that they have changed their clay tools drastically, in addition to carrying Lisa Pavelka stuff now, they also have newly packaged Sculpey tools (exactly like the "Studio" tools)--(I also noticed Hobby Lobby is selling out on all the "Studio" clay).  But there was also a new Extruder set (as well as a cutter set) made by Walnut Hollow.  This extruder appears to have the exact same die set as the Makins.  The main difference is that it has a HANDLE that actually cranks, rather than the bar you have to hand twist.  Of course I went home and got my 40% off coupon and purchased one.  It was about $25.00 before the coupon.

My review is mixed.  The barrel is a little shorter and thinner than the Makins.  The crank handle is great, except it is held on with a screw on thing and the nut doesn't stay on and the top is a weird rounded tip allen wrench (guessing metric, as my allen wrench doesn't fit it well).

The O ring gasket doesn't fit nearly as snugly as in the Makins so clay stays in the barrel and actually squeezes past the pusher and gums up where the threaded part is and gets stuck between the top and the pusher thing.  The dies are identical right down to the exact same shapes in the kit as in the Makins kit.  So, in closing, the only thing this extruder has in its favor is the crank type handle =(  Overall, not happy with it and will stick with my Makins for now.  Was originally planning to buy 2 (one for home and one for the 5th wheel studio), but won't bother now.

I just can't resist leaving you with a cute story and picture of my favorite pooch.  We have a garden window in the back of our "den/computer room/craft room/clay room".  It sticks out from the back of the house about 21 1/2 " and is lovely, except, the person who put it in didn't bother to tell me it gets too hot to grow many plants in it and not knowing this, I went ahead and had it put in.  To add insult to injury, it is also on the South side of the house, so it gets way too much sun and heat to grow much of anything in it.

Our puppy, Snuffles, is almost 8 months old now and is an acrobat extraordinare, LOLOL.  She is also a bit of an escape artist and very creative in her efforts to be with us.  So, back to the garden window.  I had taken to just kind of using it as a "holding place" for stuff.  There were still dead or dying plants in it and it was pretty full.  One morning, Mr. C got up to go to work and let Snuffles out of her crate (although the gate was still up half way across the room--she is doing so well on her potty training that she had graduated to having half the room to play in, and that half didn't include the clay area or the garden window--I needed to get a new cabinet and get some craft/clay stuff put up before we let her have the run of the room).  I came in about an hour later and couldn't find her anywhere.  I called and rushed around and started to call Mr.C to see if he hadn't told me something, when I heard a little whimper, so I knew she was there somewhere.  I started searching again and then saw something move in the mess I had in that window.  Plants had been knocked over, dirt etc. was everywhere, LOL, but there was my puppy, she had gotten herself up there (probably to try to get to Mr. C as he goes out that way to go to his car).  So, I got her down and put away again and tried to figure out how she had gotten out.

Next day we went and got another cabinet so I could put up the clay/craft stuff so she would be safe out, loose in the room during the day (she still gets crated at night).  I also cleaned off the bottom of the Garden Window to make it accessible for Snuffles and Coco the cat.  Cat can get up there easily, Snuffles can't.  To get into the window she had to climb onto the chair, up onto the back of the rocking recliner, and then leap onto the window (which is why she couldn't get herself back down that first time).  So, I says to Mr. C:  "We need to make some kind of a ramp for her so she can walk up there".  Mr. C., being my HERO, rolls his eyes and shakes his head, as he says, "OK, we probably have some scrap wood we can make a little ramp for her".  So, we went out to the garage/barn (have you noticed a trend here?  Nothing at our home is just one thing or has just one purpose, LOLOL  we're not only multi-taskers, we're multi-users, LOL).  We found a 6" board (which is really only 5 1/2" if you know anything about wood).  It was about the right length and looked like it would work fine.  Then I said, she needs little steps so she doesn't slide off, so poor Mr. C cuts a bunch of 1 X 2 pieces to attach and make little steps and some of that stuff that goes around the wall to hide the edge of your carpet or tile, can't think of what it is called right this minute, to make a little edge so she won't fall off.  We have to make a special trip to the hardware (fortunately, in our little town, so only a 10 minute drive rather than clear to the big towns a half hour away) to get some L brackets to attach it to the wall.  So Mr. C makes this perfect little ramp and I start training Snuffles to use her little ramp so she can get in the window.  I sigh and Mr. C. patiently asks, "What's wrong?'  I say, "It won't work, it's too steep and too slick, she can't do it and I'm afraid she'll just launch herself off the window and hurt herself.  Could we re do it and make it a little higher on the bottom end so it's not as steep.  She can jump up onto it at about 12".  What can we do to make it not slippery?"  Mr. C. (see, he's truly my Hero) takes it down, goes back to the barn/garage and finds some astroturf we have leftover from another project, staples the astroturf to the ramp and reinstalls it about a foot higher on the lower end.  I start retraining her, and it WORKS!!!  Hooray, now puppy is happy, she can get up in the window and watch us coming and going when she can't go with us.  So, all the craft stuff is put away, Snuffles has the run of the den, and even can go with me into other rooms of the house and she's in puppy heaven, LOL.  One other quick story, she wants to be with us, no matter what we do or where we go.  She doesn't particularly like baths in the kitchen sink, but we let her go into the bathroom with us when we took a shower and she jumped right in with us.  Now she gets a shower every day, anywhere I go, there goes she, it's hilarious.  We happen to have a pool, so we even decided she had better have a puppy life jacket as I suspect she'll try to come swimming with us too.  Silly puppy.  Anyway, here's a picture of Snuffles in her window.  Hope you enjoy.

So, I'm done and ready to get back to the clay table and my first tutorial, see you later.  S

Comments (2)

Glad you are back to blogging and your clay. You'll be great writing the simplified tutorials as you have two rapt students as examples. Good job!
Luv ya, Mom

Sorry to hear what you're dealing with as far as the depression and the fibro, I can't imagine how tough that is. I was dealing with depression for a long time, finally realized how bad my circulation was and have been working on that, now I think the depression was related to that as it is no longer at the forefront of my life now. So I wish for you more days of inspiration than not and am thrilled for your current desire to play in the clay!

Love that MrC was so accomodating :) We have to make our little ones at home.

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