Category: Tips&Tricks

Week 6: A Valentine’s Day Photo Holder

Here’s a simple project that uses scrap clay, a little wire or a paperclip, and either a little red, white, and pink clay or some acrylic craft paint.

1) Partially unbend and kink the end of a paperclip or, twist a double loop in a 6″ piece of wire. Trim it until the tales are only 1.5 to 2″. Kink the ends a bit.

2) Slightly condition your lump of scrap clay – I used a round chunk about 1.5″ across – and then cover it in a thin sheet of your base colour. For me, that’s a nice red sheet at #5 on my pasta machine.

3) Trim your sheet to neatly wrap and smooth out any join lines and air bubbles.

4) Add your wire to the lump and heal the hole up around the wire stem. Add a little liquid clay to the join if you have it.

5) Roll out a few scraps of clay in fun Valentine’s Day colours at a nice thin setting. I like Sculpey 3 Ballerina Pink, Premo White Glitter and Blush Pink.

6) Use small heart and circle cookie cutters to cut out a few shapes from your sheets. Decorate your base with them.

7) Bake according to package directions. Because this is a thick chunk of clay that’s going to be a while in the oven. Time it to go in with other pieces or bake it with two other projects (yes, you can bake it more after you take it out).

Spirals With Scrap Clay

After a season of classes, craft shows and making beads and canes for sale in my Etsy shop… I have a lot of scrap clay. I’ve gotten better about how it gets used and keeping it separated in rough colour groups so it’s even fairly useful scrap clay.

It’s still a lot of it.

This means there’s a little bit of just random playing around as I remind myself that you have to do some doodling in order to get new ideas and learn new techniques. The other day was spiral patterns in scraps a couple of different ways.

Mind you, I’m not a fan of my filigree attempts and this was a really ugly Stroppel cane variation but it did accomplish the mission: doodling with scrap clay.

If you want to make ornaments like this, hit the thrift store and get some plain glass ones and then dig into your scrap pile. There are relevant tutorials by kind people out there:

Good Habits, Not Perfect Ones

Developing good habits makes life run so much more smoothly. Bad habits – combined with random poor choices – makes everything much less easy. Doing good work makes life simpler because you don’t need to fix it, repeat it, or apologize for it nearly as often. On the other end of the scale is the striving for perfect habits or perfect work.

Sometimes we do a really good – nearly perfect – job at something but my experience has been more that aiming for that perfect keeps us from being happy with the pretty darn good. Or keeps us from starting in the first place, knowing we won’t hit that “perfect”. Hello, procrastination.

In my late 20s I started trying to do good more than perfect. Good and done gets you much further than perfect and not done. Good habits, tweaked and refined, get you so much further than not bothering at all. Screwing up is to be expected but if you get the fixing and being embarrassed over quickly, you can get back into the the doing good.

I have a few innocuous good habits that make my life simpler. One of those is tiny: I load the coffee maker the night before. Another is less tiny: I meal plan the week, each week. For work, I batch shipping, production, material prepping wherever I can. When there’s an order for an item that isn’t made yet, I always make extra. I ship in the mornings instead of as orders come in.

There are quite a lot of good work habits I’m trying to adopt: keeping to my production schedule more rigorously. Keeping up the social media for my various projects. I fail at them all of the time but I’m also trying again or changing it a little and trying it again.

“Perfect is the enemy of the good.” – Voltaire