Category: Organization

Projects on the Go

barrenness of a busy life

I love quotes and this one is one of the ones in my notebooks. I usually have a friendly relationship with busy but there are always points where it feels like the projects are stacking up too high. Right around that point, everything feels busy but not as if it’s accomplishing much.

Of course, then you knock a few things off the to-do list, have a cup of coffee, and take a few minutes to breathe. It doesn’t necessarily fix everything but it’s a bit of a reset.

The best tip for avoiding being so busy your life feels empty? Learn how not to pick up every project ever. I’m still working on that one.

Continual Improvement

Butterfly Beads

I try, very, very hard to not fall into the trap of having to have things work perfectly the first time. I aim, instead, for small improvements, little steps, incremental progress. I can math well enough to know that compound interest is magic and I feel that the same concept applies to most things. You put a little effort into a project, over a period of time and the results will impress you. We covered this approach in a unit, in school, on Japan. They call it Kaizen and use it to mean the incremental improvements in corporate and manufacturing settings that keep a company steadily climbing. They contrast it with the Western approach where people aim for perfect in one go. I can’t do perfect but I can do a little better, often.

This applies to my site and my polymer clay life as well, of course. I’m going through the tedious process of converting materials from here into better formats and layouts. Some of it needs updating because I’ve improved and the clay work explained on here needs to be corrected. Other items need updating because I’ve learned how to use better tools for production content making.

First up: I updated the quickie Skinner Blend Plug tutorial. I added a section on how to make the blend, created new pictures and laid it out more effectively. I may need to take the image sizes down a notch but overall I’m pleased. For added fun, I ran the images through a slide show program and posted that on my Instagram so you can see the whole deal as a simple video. Once I shrink the images a bit, I’ll make an animated gif version for here.

Scrap Clay Remix


This is the part where I wonder what the heck I got into. There’s a post on my blog from years ago titled 10 lbs of scrap clay. And it’s got stuff all neatly rolled into thick sheets and tucked into a shoe box. I have to laugh at Younger Me a bit… this tub was between 30 and 40 pounds of crumbs, packed tightly so that it stayed tub shaped when I upended it. My mission is to turn at least some of this back into usable material again. I did the same last year. I try to every year. And this may be the year I put 5 smaller buckets there instead and separate the crumbs by colour way right off.

First part was to break that up and set out wax paper for chunks to get organized by rough colour ways. Some of the most mixed bits went right into the clay patty pile to get rolled into sheets for usage as bulk fill. The piles that are organized by colour ways are ready to turn into projects. pics of things you can make with scraps

Made with Scrap Clay

I don’t use scrap clay in enough things – you might have guessed that because I have piles of it – but I do use the colour crumbs here and there. I make swirl beads and pendants, mirror image beads, scrap clay mokume gane and Stroppel cane things. I use the mud layers to build up forms and fill pillow beads. The canes and MG cover stuff like Easter eggs and rocks. I’ve made things straight out of scrap clay and then painted them but they’re not pretty yet so no showing those off.

All this to say, you’re going to make scrap clay. No matter how awesome you are with polymer clay. So it’s definitely worthwhile to pick a method to store and deal with this stuff. If we’re keeping score, I got through 23lbs of clay with this sort. There’s a little over 30 left in the tub so my initial estimates were way off. Sigh.