Carol’s ‘Acorn & Beet’ Cookie Necklace

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“They’re pink”

“Beets”

“Beets?”

“Beets…it’s what makes them sweet”

“I’m not really a beet kind of guy”

“just put it in your mouth, jerk”

If you are a Carol fan from The Walking Dead you remember those lines from a recent episode. Carol is my favourite. I love the duality of her nature. On one hand, she is the casserole and cookie Queen…on the other, a warrior who will get the job done.

Many of us women are like her, I think. It’s why she’s so popular. We love our families, we are peacekeepers, caretakers, and often the glue in our relationships…but we also know that in a zombie apocalypse, or any scenario that threatened those we love, out comes the claws.  Don’t mess with our Carol!

I loved the scene with her cheerfully picking out her perfectly pressed blouse and cardi from her closet, only to get zombie blood splattered all over it in the next scene. The exasperation on her face was priceless.

…Anyway… I love her ability to bake up goodies from foraging for acorns and a depleted stock of canned goods.

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Carol roasting her acorns that she will later grind into flour. Photo belongs to AMC.

Inspired by her ingenuity, I made the cookies from that episode into a multi-media necklace for myself. It’s made of polymer clay, wood, and paper. Tucked behind, on another board, is Carol’s cheerful face, in a modified sketch design:

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The cookies have a hint of pink, just like on the show

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And, in the event that you want to make these cookies- the edible version- a blogger at Ready Nutrition has posted the recipe!

 

 

 

 

 

BBQ Ribs & Baked Potato for 18 Inch Dolls

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I made these today as I thought about BBQs getting fired up soon. It occurred to me that little girls should have some BBQ food for their dolls too.

And if the dolls should have food, why not make it realistic? There are lots of plastic mass produced doll food in the big box stores…but handmade with love is so much nicer!

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I swear I could smell the BBQ sauce after this was done curing!

 

A Mini Succulent Garden

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This weekend brought news that we were in for more snow Monday. I have seriously had my fill of winter!!! I could wait no longer for spring…if the real blooms aren’t happening, I was going in search of some faux ones. Normally, I’m not a fan of silk flowers and fake plants, but Michael’s has some beauties. And I needed a visual reminder that, YES, it IS Spring even if the weather says otherwise.

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I took a nice little haul home from Michael’s where their Garden Collection line from Ashland  was on sale. I picked up these little pieces…succulents attached to cute mossy rocks. The mossy ‘rock’ base was made from styrofoam and I found they wouldn’t stay where I put them as the plants made them top heavy.  I fixed it with sticking in a tooth pick into the bases and driving them down into the crushed gravel. I already had the metal planter and pebbles so this project just cost me $1.69 (a great sale!) for each succulent grouping and $3 for the crushed gravel…$8 all in, and I love it!

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Aren’t they as pretty as the real deal ?! I was so enamoured by these that I was inspired to make a miniature version.

I will share a couple of tips I found useful for anyone attempting a polymer clay garden…

As with real succulent gardens…less is not more. You may want to leave some empty spaces for a place to rest your eye, but keep them minimal. People who design succulent planters always go all out, filling all the nooks and crannies. And at first I wasn’t happy with my planter until I added the large rocks. You can do the same with your miniature garden…if you don’t have any pebbles, you could make them from your clay.

I found a lovely combination of clay colours to make the translucent-green base for the succulents. Pictured below is the combination I used left to right : translucent sculpey, wasabi, treasure (to make it glisten a bit), and olive. You can gauge how much is needed by my cutting mat. This was enough to make all the plants (with the exception of the dark green one).

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…and this is the colour you end up with after mixing them:

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Also, I found toothpicks a great help for building my plants around. I could also use them in a bowl of rice to stand them up while baking. Then I just snipped them off before assembling my garden.

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As a focal interest, I chose to make a little pagoda. I love how it turned out; primitive and cute! I formed the roof first, and pre-baked that before continuing with the rest of the building. This, I also did on a toothpick.

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I chose Fimo Effect “stardust” to mimic slabs of black granite. They are bonded together with liquid sculpey. I plan on sanding it and buffing it out to a nice shine later.

I used chalk pastels to add subtle red blushing to the leaves. I used a mix of glaze and purple acrylic paint to colour the top of the center plant, but it didn’t show as purple. I will try to carefully add another thin layer later.

Both planters were fun to do. I am, of course, most pleased with the miniature one. I didn’t go to a botanical reference book…this was all about fun and freely sculpting. I think, in the process, I took the liberty to create some new species of succulents!

Now…if only the snow would go away so I can grow a real succulent garden outside!

Favourite Pie?

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Spring has sprung (or it’s trying) and soon the valley fruits of Nova Scotia will be too. I can’t wait! I see homemade jams and pies in my near future….

 

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For now, I’ve baked up some faux ones. At the top of our family favourites are blueberry (my husband’s pick) and my favourite …sweet sticky pecan pie!

 

What is your favourite pie?

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Cookies in Clay (a recipe)

 

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Chocolate chip cookies have to be one of my favourite foods to shrink down. They aren’t exactly easy, as there are several stages of texturing and shading, but call me crazy, it’s almost therapeutic.

To achieve realism -if that is the look you are going for- it’s all about the texturing and shading. I start with a big lump of conditioned beige polymer clay with a bit of translucent clay mixed in. About 1 part translucent to 3 parts beige.

I begin rolling out a bunch of balls, close to the same size. I flatten them all with my thumbs, pulling down on the edges, to leave the center slightly higher. Cookies have lots of divots and valleys, so I create those with an xacto knife and needle tool. Next, I use a tooth brush and small ball tool to finely roughen and dimple the surface.

Next I poke in tiny chocolate chips, which I make and prebake ahead of time. Then I shade with soft pastels – mainly an all over yellow ochre, followed by a reddish brown on the edges and raised bits.  I bake and then I used gloss sealer dabbed on the chips. I use matte sealer on the cookie because that is crucial for achieving realism.

These cookies are the perfect size for 18 inch dolls like American Girl, and I will be adding them to my shop. Hopefully they will find a place at a little girl’s doll table one day. They would be perfect for a tea party!

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Cold Porcelain Clay (part 2)

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This is just a quick follow-up post on my experiment with the clay I made yesterday.

After I made the clay, I packed it into a nice ball and ‘greased’ it a bit with some baby lotion and tightly wrapped it in saran wrap. This afternoon, I put it to the test with a few bakery items for my daughter’s school project. I made some little cakes and bread, and what will be truffles, after I finish painting them.

First off, the clay should form perfect little peaks when you pull it apart. If it’s a bit grainy, that apparently means it was over cooked (that is, it lost too much water). If this happens to you, just work in a bit of warm water (a few drops at a time).

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What I found was, this is great stuff if your items are meant to have a rounded organic kind of shape. It shrinks up a bit when it dries, and it tends to take on a slightly ‘puffy’ appearance. This would make it an excellent choice for all those kawaii type charms that are round and cute (it would be fabulous for kawaii animals like sheep).

The sides of my cakes took on a puffy appearance, even though I tried to coax the sides flatter with a card. Same thing happened to the bread loaves (see the picture below). The bread loaves went totally puffy and would not take detail. I think a way to prevent this would be to allow the piece to dry inside a mold. I did, however, have a positive experience when the clay was rolled thin to make the flowers that decorated the pink cake. It held the details perfectly. I suppose a finished product could be sanded to the look one wants, or carefully carved to add detail or texture.

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Bottom line, some things take detail with this clay well, some do not.

If you colour your clay (which I suggest) you only need a bit of chalk pastel or dab of acrylic paint. Food colouring paste or oil would probably be fine too. The piece dries a lot darker than the original colour of the clay. If you look at the salmon pink cake, the clay was mixed to look like a very delicate pastel pink. I also thought I had not added enough brown to the clay that made my chocolate cake, but it dried to a very rich cocoa colour. It looks like real cocoa! It’s important to note that this clay does accept some surface colouring or blushing with chalk pastels, but it doesn’t take it very well. I had to use a LOT of chalk pastel dust to surface colour those breads. I will probably stick to my polymer clay for making breads.

It takes a day for the items to completely dry. I’m guessing 24 hours, as the bottoms are still not dry. Then they must be sealed when you have your finished product. Mod Podge or acrylic spray would be good choices. You don’t want to use something too wet. If you are making jewelry with this clay, seal it well so it never comes in contact with water.

This clay was a joy to work with, even if it had minor disappointments. I don’t have to worry about a mess, chemicals, or getting polymer gunk off my hands. I don’t have to worry about it staining clothes. It’s also an excellent and cheap way to let the kids bring out their inner Michelangelo  too.