Anxiety

I’ve been going through a rough patch with my anxiety. Even more so since it feels like it’s something that is really hard to talk. How do you explain that just asking for a cup of coffee today is making you feel like you want to jump out of your skin when the day before you were chatting it up with the waitress and asking about her nail polish

There are lots of ways to deal with it and there are all sorts of triggers for different people, crowds is a big. It’s always great to find someone else who understands what you’re feeling. It feels even better when you realize even the famous deal with those same issues. I saw Wil Weaton’s blog today —

How do I deal with anxiety where he answered the question for one of his fans.

If you don’t remember, Wil Weaton started off as Wesley on Star Trek: the Next Generation. You might not know that he is still very involved in different in the industry and also many conventions for sci-fi, comic book and other fans. His answer was very honest and upfront:

. The first step for me is to recognize that anxiety is rising up, and then work to identify what’s causing it. (I realize that, for some people, doing just that can cause the anxiety to increase into a feedback loop, so maybe meds are a better first step until the anxiety gets under control). If I’m able to identify the cause (maybe it’s upcoming travel, or a deadline, or I have to deal with a personal thing that I’d rather not deal with) I work to separate RATIONAL thoughts from IRRATIONAL thoughts. This is a real challenge, because the brain is responsible for that job, and when the brain is being controlled by anxiety or other mental health issues, it can be less than helpful. 

I find it great to see people talking about their own mental health issues, since it is so hard to talk about. I’ve tried hiding it and have heard, just snap out of, I hope mental health will stop be a taboo subject as more and more people are willing to talk and share their experiences.

So much fail

fail

Today had just so much fail in it. I’ve been going to art therapy at El Shaddai and it’s about an hour away, it’s 1 -3, this month it’s on Thursdays.. It’s worth the hour drive. Today I messed it all around. I left her thinking I was doing good. I had left early (so I thought and I was on time)

Well I got there and realized I was late – duh, I left at 12:30 – thinking about the time I leave to got to my therapist. Ok not problem, Sr. Bridget is pretty flexible about time and makes allowances for people. Then I knocked on the door and it was locked. Big fail – today is Wednesday.

Add that to the fact that the tatoo I got 2 weeks ago is still itchy, mainly because I didn’t know how to do the aftercare and I scratched all around it. And I found out my psychologist still hasn’t sent in his application for disability. He said it can take a long time – well yes if the doctors don’t send in the paperwork. I honestly don’t know he can say, he has never had an appointment longer than 10 minutes with me. I personally have no idea of what he thinks of me. If he doesn’t respond, I’ll have to be evaluated by their shrink.

Some Baking tips for Polymer Clay

Getting Started with Polymer ClayThere is a lot of conflicting information about polymer out there. It’s hard to know what’s true and what’s not. Much is passed from clayer to clayer. I made a list of some of the biggest tips and advice I hear and the best truth I could find, not just “what everyone knows”. Admittedly I am more laid back than most but here are some of info I found.

1. Don’t eat it. TRUE This is a big duh but actually this rule sums up how safe it is. You can do just about anything to it, with it but just don’t eat it. It’s not toxic but it’s still not good to eat.

2.. You NEED a dedicated oven.  FALSE. The good news is it is safe to use your own oven based on this study from Duke University. You can use a dedicated oven if you want but if you want to spare the expense, your home oven is fine to use. An oven thermometer is a must have but I discovered my new oven with digital thermometer is super accurate.

If the fumes bother you, some people might not even notice, you can use a covered dish or I discovered plastic turkey bags work really well to keep the fumes in. The fumes are non-toxic unless you burn the clay and this won’t happen until 300F for most clays.

3. Any tools or trays you use must be dedicated to clay only TRUE. This is definitely true. Kitchen tools work well for polymer clay  – like garlic presses, rolling pins, grater and more. If you use it for clay, make it clay only. You might be able to fully clean nonporous smooth tools but don’t tempt fate here. If it is porous in any way like wood, it’s all clay or not at all.

4. Don’t use it to make dishes or anything to eat from. TRUE, polymer clay is porous and even if you glaze it, you can’t keep the bacteria out and it is not safe for eating off of either.

5. Don’t burn it. TRUE This is crucial, this is the only time the fumes are toxic. Different clays bake at different temperatures so check the package. Fimo will bake at 260 F, Kato needs to be 300F to fully cure. Things can get tricky, I’ve burnt it with a heat gun and baked it at 400 (for 5 minutes)

The flip side is you can bake it over and over as needed without burning the clay.

6. Don’t mix clays. IT DEPENDS As far as baking goes, if you mixing clays – either mixing colors or using different types in one piece there shouldn’t be any problems. Most clays cure near 275F so mixing them isn’t an issue. I just wouldn’t use clays at the 2 extremes (Fimo 230 and Kato at 300) Either one can be mixed with Premo, Sculpey, Cernit etc that cure at 275. I usually use a temperature in the middle to bake it at.

Another consideration is if you are caning. When caning you want all the clays to be the same firmness so when you reduce the cane it will reduce equally. Clays vary firmness by brand and color to make things more complicated.

7. Beware of phthalates in clay. NA  Dactyl phthalate was used as a plasticizer in polymer clay but due to possible health risks, it was banned. And all clays were reformulated without  phthalates. It has made a few clays, like Kato and Fimo Classic, slightly more pliable but they are stiff.

These are just a few of tips and hints about polymer clay clarified. I’ve also found there were no absolutes. Cynthia Tinapple of PolymerClayDaily has projects when she uses temperatures of 400F (for 5 minutes) and others were she just uses a heat gun.

I used my own oven for years until I went to clay guilds and was later told this was a big no-no and I need to buy a dedicated oven. I decided to risk it since I had been using my own for so long; I was glad when I found studies proved I wasn’t poisoning my family all along.

There are a lot of tips and advice concerning polymer clay, more than I can list here and many can be broken.

 

Polymer Clay Cupcake Tutorial

 This week I got a new mold for making cupcakes from MiniatureSweet on Etsy. It’s silicon so you can bake in it but I was so excited to be making cupcakes, I couldn’t wait any longer.

Cupcake mold

My inner sweet tooth took over and I was on a roll. I had a blast and even better these tasty treats were really each to make.

Texture with a toothbrush

I filled the mold with pastel color to make it look like a cupcake wrapper. I didn’t quite fill it all the way but then I pushed the clay against the edges, in the case of molds – less is more.I started off using a cupcake base mold. I decided to indulge in actually buying the mold since no matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t get a regular base. This mold made all the difference.

Add the chalk

Add the chalk

I left the base in the mold mainly to keep its shape and to keep the icing from getting all over the place. I took a small circle of ecru and pressed it on the top of the base, pressing down the edges to give a rounded shape.

Then I used a toothbrush texture the top, just tapping it all across and added a little brown chalk to give it backed look.

Now for the fun part – the icing! I wanted a natural fluffy icing. It is easy to make but takes some patience. I mixed pink polymer clay icing cut up into very small bit with about the same amount of liquid polymer clay and mixed – this takes a while and you’ll probably need to add more liquid clay as you go along. I left it a little chunky to give it some texture.

Ok THIS is the fun part decorating the cupcake. Notice the cupcake is still in the base. As you can see in picture above the dark pink has some icing on the side.

Using a toothpick I dotted the icing on and swirled until it looked right to me. Now I took it out. The mold is really flexible and didn’t need any release material like water or cornstarch. I just flexed it a little and the cupcake popped out.  You know, it wasn’t until I started writing that I realized that this is really unusual compared to so many other molds I have and tend not to use.

After I popped it out I added some sprinkles, I make those by baking some very thin snakes and then cutting them up. It worked better than unbaked sprinkles. To make it a charm, just add an eye pin before baking.

My sweet tooth can’t get enough – get out my shop for more charms

Crystal – doll in snow

Sad girl in snow art doll

Crystal front view

sad girl in snow polymer clay doll

Crystal – back view

polymer clay doll - close up

Crystal close up

I finished up my latest doll, Crystal. she is all polymer clay and has a clay base as well. Like I decided earlier, she was based on the sad girl in snow trope. I was happy to get the mouth right this time but I still was having trouble with the eyes so I decided to paint them instead of sculpting them.

She has pink lambswool hair and a hand knitted sweater to keep her warm. I couldn’t knit small enough mittens so I sculpted them in polymer clay using a faux knitting technique. she’s about 7 inches tall.

She’s listed in my Etsy shop here.

 

Planning Sad Doll

doll notes I was searching for a new idea for a doll and struggling making heads. I decided until I got head I was happy with, I wasn’t going to start building the doll. It’s easier to build the proportions about the head than vice versa. Besides the head is the hardest part and I’d rather get than done first.

I was working intently on the head but wasn’t sure of what the next step would be. My husband joking said they remind me of “sad girl in snow” which he said was an anime meme but the idea hit me as perfect. I checked a few images for it, just for some inspiration and quickly came up with this sketch. I realized I could do a soft body with polymer clay hands and  legs with boots on them.

I thought first of a winter coat but since I knit I decided a bulky sweater would work possibly a teddy bear. I have fleece and know how to needle felt. The hands will have mittens. Should I make them from polymer clay or make small knitted one, that’s still up in the air.

But I have I a plan at least, which is more than I usually do plus I finished the head, I got lips down but sculpting the eyes is giving me so much trouble so finally I decided to leave them and paint them in after. I can sort of do them but they never match and tend to look off. Since eyes are such a focal point, I want them to look good no matter how they are done.

head WIP So I actually have a plan and the beginnings of the head, now to build the rest and dress her. Sounds so simple that way doesn’t it?