Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I have never made New Year's resolutions and I am not going to start now. Normally I would make a list of goals to accomplish and work my way through them. I am not going to do that for the coming year. I am going to take things as they come for a while.

This past year has been an emotional roller coaster. It started with my mother-in-law having brain surgery. Before she was recovered, my sister-in-law fell and broke her hip and wrist. A few weeks after that came the thing that would change my life forever. My younger sister dying so unexpectedly. That was 7 months ago. Seems like yesterday.

I do realize that 2012 will come with it's own highs and lows but I am excited to begin a fresh new year. One with new possibilities.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

No matter which Winter Holiday you celebrate I want to wish you a happy, stress free one.
I made this for a Secret Santa gift on plurk. Forgot to take a photo of it before mailing so my giftee took this one...

snail for Jamie photographed by Jamie


My shop ColtPixy.etsy.com will reopen on January 2nd. For those who do not use etsy for whatever reason let me know and I will list what you want on ColtPixy.bigcartel.com where there is no registration necessary.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Snail Sisters

It is dark and raining here today but I tried my best to get a good photograph of my latest snails. They are sisters.

sisters


It is the last time they will be together for a while. One is leaving for California the other for Australia. I am having too much fun making snails.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

aquarium update and snail sculpt wip

I added a fish to the 29 gallon tank last night. Today he acts like a typical veil tail betta. Curious and comes to the side of the tank to check out me or the dogs. However every time I get the camera out he looks at it and either hides in a plant or behind the driftwood. Perhaps I should leave the camera beside the tank for a while so he can get used to it? This is the best shot I could get and it was taken from several feet away.

betta


Today's work in progress. It will get eyelashes this afternoon. I have several snails in various stages of completion. I am hoping to have quite a few made before reopening on January 2nd.

betta

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catching up

I cannot show any photos of anything I have worked on in the past few weeks. Some are custom orders that people are going to give as Christmas presents. Some are for secret santa swaps that I am involved in. Needless to say none of those will be shown until after the holidays as to keep the surprises.

I think perhaps I did not get a thick enough cap of sand on top of the dirt in my new aquarium. While I do not have any dirt floating the water column is brownish. So today I washed some more sand and will dig up my plants and fix that.
The rotala that I trimmed is doing wonderfully. Not only have the tops I replanted shown a lot of growth but so have the stems that I cut them off of. The Lindernia rotundifolia did not fair so well. All but 2 have completely melted. Perhaps they need high light? My tank has medium light. I am using a Freshwater T5 Dual with one 6,700K bulb and one Colormax lamp bulb. My anubias nana loves it. I have owned those plants about 8 years and have never seen them grow as fast as they have been in this tank.

Yesterday was my great dane George's birthday. He is 11 yrs old now! Not bad for a pup my vet asked me to take home with me when he was only 2½ weeks old and was not expected to live more than a week past that. Of course I was not told that until he reached 1 year old and my vet was giddily bragging about how I was the right person to take him.

This was taken with one of those disposable cameras, remember those? He was 4 weeks old.

George at 4 weeks


Here he is about 6 yrs old with the 3 legged cat who thinks George is his dog.

Rico and George


This year taking a break in my husbands shed on the way back from a hike in the woods with me and his best friend Reba, a lab/bloodhound mix.

old and wise

Monday, November 14, 2011

NPT diary: rescape

I was not happy with how busy the tank looked so I changed it. I moved the java moss and African fern to another tank and rearranged everything else. While I was at it I trimmed the rotala.

npt


I like this a lot better.
Since I do not have and do not want any Malaysian trumpet snails to aerate the soil I carefully poked it with a chopstick just before doing a water change.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NPT diary: plants

Sorry about the cloudy pic. I just planted and moved them around a bit. Still not finished rearranging because I have not really settled on how it looks yet. Most of these plants will grow a lot and keeping a photo diary of it will help me keep track of growth and what works as well as what does not work.

plants day 1


Plants in the tank so far...
Lindernia rotundifolia, Variegated Baby Tears
Bolbitis heudelotii, African Fern
Anubias nana
Microsorum pteropus, Java Fern
java moss, Vesicularia dubyana
Lobelia cardinalis, Small Form
Pogostemon erectus
Rotala rotundifolia, Roundleaf Toothcup
Ammania species 'Bonsai', now known as Rotala indica

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NPT diary: substrate

Finishing up putting in the substrate in my planted tank. On the right you see the miracle gro organic choice potting soil. The white bits are crushed shell I mixed into the soil. I took this photo while adding the cap. I am using 20/40 grit Black Diamond blasting sand. I washed it to remove the oily residue that comes on it. It is the black you see on the left.

substrate


I painted the outside back of the tank with black acrylic. I used to have a piece of black foam board behind it but like it better painted.
Next I will begin planting with what I have leaving space for more that I ordered from one of my favorite sellers on Aquabid. They will be here in a few days.

Meanwhile on the sculpting front I got a special request that I am working on. Will show you that once it is finished.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Planted Tank Diary

I have had freshwater aquariums with live plants for many years. This however will be my first dirt tank. This is not a new idea, people have been doing this for many years. You can read "Fresh-water aquaria" by Gregory Climenson Bateman published 1890, online at Cornell University Library.
For a more recent publication "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad is very good for understanding the science behind it, how and why a dirt substrate works.

There is a lot of information available both online and in books so this is not going to be any sort of tutorial. It is just a journal of my personal experiences.

Beginning...
dirt tank 1

posted image


29 gallon tank. I sifted Miracle Gro Potting Organic Choice Soil through a wire sieve to remove large wood pieces. I am airing it out to let it out gas before adding a cap to keep it from just making a tank of muddy water.
None of this will be done in a hurry. While I do have a lot of plants I am ordering more.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Elf from ClayItAgain

I won something and it just arrived! An elf from Cindi aka ClayItAgain. It is so adorable! Photos do not do it justice...

ClayItAgain Elf


Isn't it cute! I just love him ♥
You can find Cindi's work at ClayItAgain on Artfire and ClayItAgain on etsy. She is also a wonderful painter and you can find her paintings at 12MidnightOils on Artfire and 12MidnightOils on etsy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pencil drawing from 1994

This pencil drawing I made of my mom back in 1994. Does not feel like all that long ago. Time passes so quickly. It is large, this is a 25 inch tall frame that it is in.

sketch of mom

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mosaic with Stroppel Cane

The sun went down a few hours ago so this is not the greatest photo but this is what I made today. It is a polymer clay mosaic with Stroppel Cane for the grout.

mosaic


I mix my own colors and had all these little scraps of metallic shades that were destined for the mud pile. That is until I saw Alice Stroppel's blog post about her Stroppel Cane. I fell in love with the look and have seen so many fabulous variations made by lots of different artists. I had been wanting to make a new keepsake box and want to thank Alice for giving me the inspiration for a new mosaic, and something to do with my scraps.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back from vacation and new snails

My in-laws were here for a week and wanted us to tour North Alabama and Southern Tennessee so I have not been around much. I did complete a request to make another Frankensnail's monster.

frankensnail monster 2


Here are a couple more new ones that have not been listed yet. They will be listed in my etsy shop this week.

2 snails


I have missed everyone so much and I'm glad to be getting back to a non-traveling schedule.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Maeve the pixie snail racer

Maeve is a very competitive little pixie. Her favorite hobby is snail racing. It is not the prizes that interest her but the adrenaline rush of leaving those who try to beat her in the wake of her snail's slime.

Maeve the pixie snail racer


She is available in my etsy shop where you will find more photos taken from different angles.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Flower Girl Snail

I made this snail for a trade with a friend. It is heading to Germany.

flower girl snail


There are 4 more snails in various stages of completion on my work table. They will be headed to my etsy shop. When I started this series I figured I would make 4 or 5 snail sculptures total. So far 9 have been completed, 4 more almost completed and I still have plans for many more. They are just too much fun to stop now.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vamperella

I have been having so much fun creating this snail series! This is the latest one. Vamperella.

Vamperella


You can click the image to see a larger photo on flickr.
I have been making these snails with a mixture of Bozzi and Prosculpt polymer clays. It is extremely strong once cured and very nice to work with once completely conditioned. Bozzi is a bugger to condition but well worth the effort. The ratio I am using to mix it with Prosculpt has been giving me perfect results every time and I plan to make art dolls with it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spike and his victim

Spike the Vampire snail with victim


My latest creation, Spike the vampire snail with his slug victim.. He got his name from his shell which has spikes all around it.
I have been having so much fun with this snail series.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Frankensnail

So far he has only been seen on plurk. I need to get better photos of him so he can be listed in my shop. Since I have not accomplished that yet I decided to go ahead and show him to you anyway.

Little is known about the previous reanamation trials conducted by the mad scientist Dr. Frankensnail. There were many others before using human cadavers. From one of the earliest experiments is Frankensnail's Snail.

posted image

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vlad the Vampire' slug victim

I said that I was going to list these in my etsy shop but they sold before I could =)
A vampire snail with his poor slug victim...

posted image


Today I am working on 2 more snails and their victims as well as a Frankensnail. Hopefully I will have those ready tomorrow. I have been spending less time online lately because my muse has kicked into overdrive. Taking advantage of that while I can because I never know when she will take off on a vacation without me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Vlad the Vampire

A Halloween project I started today. I am still working on his victim which will be included when I list him in my etsy shop.

vlad the vampire snail


I have 2 more snails on my to-do list for this week. One for my mom and the other for a trade with the amazingly talented CatsWire. I also have a few miniatures and other fantasy items on my list for this week.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hungry Snails sculptures

2 new snails. Albe is trying to sneak a bite of the other's (yet to be named)snack.

snails


I have not decided yet just how many snails will be made. That is up to the muses.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Miniature Gazing Balls

I have been playing. Not sure what I will do with these yet. The four gazing balls in the back are dollhouse scale. The three in the front are half inch scale.

gazing balls


I did learn one thing, I need to make a removable patio for my display box because the moss flooring is too uneven to get tiny things to stand upright. If I do decide to make these to sell it will be with an option to have a brass rod inserted in the bottom in case someone wants to place it in landscaping or a terrarium, etc instead of on a shelf or other flat surface.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blue eyed snail and a new tool

This is the latest snail creature to slime his way off of my work table.

blue eyes


He seems so sweet and like his feelings would easily be hurt by mentioning slime. Guess I should not do that. Do these guys need names? Have any name suggestions?

Recently one of the blogs I follow It's All About Creating posted about handmade sculpting tools made by her friend Shirley of SkulpTools .
Anyone who knows about my addiction to tools and supplies knows that I opened that shop in another tab and immediately bought one before even composing my reply on Marlene's blog.
=)

I got this one...

posted image


It is fabulous! Smooth, easy to use... but what makes it extra special is the handle. It is comfortable and a joy to use. Of course I went back and ordered a few more.
If you sculpt go to her shop at SkulpTools.etsy.com and check out her line of tools.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

half inch scale hummingbird feeder

I hand sculpted this hummingbird feeder from polymer clay. It is 1:24 scale, half the size of dollhouse scale. The part I am most proud of is the shepherd's hook.

posted image


I wanted it to look like wrought iron so I hammered out some aluminum wire. Then after shaping it into the correct shape I painted it in flat black. It took a couple of tries of hammering and shaping before it looked the proper scale. I am happy with the results.

On my list of things I want to make is a diorama box to photograph my garden miniatures. I am going to start on that today along with sculpting another snail.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

work in progress

In this photo I am not quite finished sculpting on this piece.

posted image


It is the prototype for a series of snail sculptures I will be making. Each having its own character and personality. They have been sliming their way around my mind for a few weeks now demanding to be brought to life.
Yes I know how crazy that sounds. =)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Really close up photos

I need to play with it some more but I really love the lens I got from littlebigshot. If this shot is not perfect it is not because of the lens, it is me without a tripod and needing more practice.

mini owl


You can click the image to see a larger photo on flickr.
I took this shot of my mini owl yesterday just before I packaged him up for his trip to a new home in Sweden.
This afternoon (after I get a few new things made) I will get my camera back out and practice some more. The lens is incredible and can give amazing results.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

changes

I do not like to discuss anything too private on my blog. However, I have been getting a lot of questions from people wanting to know why after close to 3 years I would give up running one of the most successful guilds on artfire, Polymer Clay Smooshers.

When I am responsible for something I feel the need to give it everything I have. I posted to their blog and kept up promotions on various websites every single day.
The past year there has been a lot going on in my personal life.
I had to have 2 surgeries including one to reattach the tendons in my shoulder.
My mother in law had to have brain surgery.
Several months later she had a stroke and almost died.
My sister passed away unexpectedly.
My mother received a really bad diagnosis and is possibly about to have to go through surgery.
While going through everything life could toss at me I kept up my responsibilities to the Smooshers. I barely slowed down. It felt good to have something else to focus my attention on.

Then a few weeks ago something bad happened and I don't know why, I forgot my sister died. I picked up the phone to call her. Once I realized what I was doing it was like the bottom fell out of the world and I fell into a deep dark hole.
I did ask for help with the Smooshers but when after a couple of weeks it did not happen I knew it was time to let it go. I could not keep up the responsibility as I had been. For the good of the members it was better that I resign instead of letting it slowly disappear into oblivion. They deserve better than to let that happen.

For my own sanity I am trying to make something every day even if I just smoosh the clay back up. It is my way of digging myself up out of this dark pit I have fallen into.
Sorry about the long post. If you have made it this far down (((hugs))) to you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Make something challenge

I am challenging myself to make something every day. For those things that require more than one day to complete because of time or medium constraints, accomplishing something on a work in progress does count.

This will help me in several ways. It will keep me busy even when my muse decides to take a vacation without me. It will help me build up stock for my shops and also gifts for family and friends. It will give me something to blog about.

Would you like to join me? If you do please make sure to leave your blog link in a comment so I can follow you if I am not already.
You can give yourself a deadline if you wish. I am not going to do that because I want to see how long I can keep it up as part of the challenge.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Miniature Basket of Grapes

I am getting back to what I love, miniatures. This basket of grapes is in 1:24 scale.

basket of grapes


It is 1/2" x 7/16". It feels good to be making tiny things again. Here it is finished.

basket of grapes finished


You can click the images to see larger ones on Flickr. I reopened my shop on Artfire today and this little basket sold as soon as I listed it. I am working on a couple more minis now and will show you you what they are soon.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Following my muse

I find it necessary to take a step back from my online life for a little bit. My shop on Artfire has been put on vacation. You can still reach me through the contact form on the shop or through email. I have decided to take my own advice and make some changes. I will be concentrating on spending more time with family and friends.

I will also be focusing more on making miniatures because I have had a passion for tiny things since childhood. Hopefully, when I return I will have lots of new things to show you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Playing with ideas


urchin rings
Originally uploaded by coltpixy

I thought I had decided on a project to make for a challenge. Then I sat down and just played. Ending up with something completely different than my original idea.

No molds were used for these. If I get a chance I may go back to my original idea for a small sculpture but I like how these turned out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Take time to smell the flowers


pink lily
Originally uploaded by coltpixy

Yesterday I was walking down a craft aisle in a store and broke down crying because I saw a potters wheel. My sister passed away unexpectedly in May of this year, she was only 44 years old. She loved working with clay and was quite gifted even though she didn't think so. She always wanted to take a class on throwing clay on a wheel. She never found the time to do it.
Life is short. Please take the time to take the class, go on the trip, live your life to the fullest and enjoy it while you can.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trolineke Book Giveaway

Trolineke is one of my favorite sculptors. Her work is imaginative and magical. The first time I saw it was when she joined Deviant Art about a year ago. This is one of my favorites titled, "Wimble id".


Wimble id by ~trolineke on deviantART


She recently had a how-to book published and to celebrate she is giving away a copy of it on HER BLOG. She is in The Netherlands but there is an english version of the book.
Places to find Trolineke:
DeviantART
Blogger
Her Website

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Handmade Magnetic Board

For a while I have been wanting something to hang notes, recipes, etc over my kitchen counter workspace. I made this last weekend using things I already had around the house so it cost nothing for me to make it.

handmade magnetic board


Several years ago I had bought a hanging wood curio cabinet on clearance. I removed the doors, sanded it, filled the holes where the doors were attached and painted it. It hangs above one of my aquariums and displays stones, sea shells, sand dollars, starfish and a hermit crab made by BewitchingDreams. I had saved the doors and glass thinking one day I might use them to create frames.

I filled the holes where the door hardware used to be. Sanded and painted the wood with primer then red paint and a coat of sealer. My kitchen is mostly red and white. Then I cut a piece of expanded wire mesh (you could do the same thing with chicken wire). I have this because I use it to reinforce concrete stepping stones and concrete sculptures. It is magnetic so I knew it would be perfect. I spray painted it with primer then after that dried, white spray paint. It is now hanging above my kitchenaid mixer using picture hanging hardware.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fabulous soaps, Win your own

I love handmade soaps! Recently I have been using some from MzzThang and I absolutely LOVE it! You can enter to win 3 bars and try it out for yourself. Trust me, you want to do it.

posted image
Click HERE to enter on her blog Fo-Shizzle Design Studios.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pink Pixy Stone revisited

Check out what Margo aka Beadlady5 made with one of my pink Pixy Stone cabochons.

posted image
Vintage Inspired Necklace


It is so very beautiful! I was so excited when she showed it to me. She does not even know that I have a thing for dragonflies and it even has one just below the cabochon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Over the hills of snow

Every year I make snowmen for the holidays. My mother-in-law collects snowmen and that is how it began. I have never listed any before but will be listing these in my shop for the Christmas in July sale beginning July 1st and lasting the entire month.

snowmen 2011


I will be marking down everything in the shop, not just holiday items. Until then I am making a lot of new things to list.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Officially addicted



What is Pinterest? Click here to find out.

I first learned of Pinterest via one of the food blogs I follow in my google reader, Steamy Kitchen. She had included a pin in a blog post. I clicked it and checked out the site, liked it a LOT and joined. It is a fabulous way to collect and share interesting web pages from a large variety of interests. If you decide to join you can find me here at pinterest.com/coltpixy.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Butterfly Mobile

I made a butterfly mobile to hang in my yard. It is not put together quite the same as the tutorial I read that inspired me to make it so I will tell you what I did differently. When you make your own it might be different than either version, depends on what supplies you will use.

posted image


Mine were made by cutting up pepsi max cans, 2 butterflies per can same as the tutorial. The aluminum in soda cans is so thin now days that after removing the ends you can switch to scissors. I cut up the can into one long strip by removing the ends with tin snips (using gloves). Then I cut the tube with scissors to make it a long strip. I cut each strip in half.

I cut a paper template into the shape that I wanted and traced around it with a sharpie marker on the blank side of each piece. Then I cut the butterflies out using scissors.
I sprayed Krylon Primer on each side of the butterfly and once dry, painted with craft acrylic paints. I have been using cheap craft acrylics to paint various things for outdoors for over 20 years and know it will be fine. After I got them painted I sprayed on a coat of Krylon crystal clear to keep the paint from getting scratched off.
*krylon does not pay me nor give me products to use their name. It is just a product I love.

I strung mine differently from the tutorial because I did not have the right color beads and did not want to buy anything for this project. Several years ago I needed one end of toggle clasps for a non-jewelry project. I had saved the bar end of the toggle clasps in a jar hoping one day I would find something I could use them for. They ended up looking great as a butterfly body!
On the top side of the butterfly I attached washers, gluing them on using silicon. I let that set 24 hours. The washer gives it a little bit of weight and they need it. Aluminum is very light weight, even with the washers attached the slightest breeze makes theses flutter... I love them so!

Anyway, after the silicon had cured I used the tip of small sharp pointy scissors and poked a small slit in the aluminum. This is inside the hole of the washer. Then on the opposite side from the washer I inserted the loop of the toggle bar. Then fishing line was tied to the loop sticking in the hole using the same knots I use to tie fishing line to tackle. My grand-daddy taught us how to fish at an early age and said fishing line should never be tied into a square knot because it will eventually give. If you do not fish you can find instructions to tie fishing line to tackle via google.

posted image


Mine are tied to a long branch then it is hung from line leaders that have swivels. This way the entire thing, branch and all spins in the breeze. The reason I painted them the way I did is because from a distance they look like they could be real butterflies fluttering together.

Here is the tutorial that inspired me. Click the image. She has great step-by-step photos. I like her hanger idea too but wanted mine on wood so it would blend in with the humongous crepe myrtle bush it is now hanging from (not in the above photos).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

coffee filter peonies


paper peonies
Originally uploaded by coltpixy

I love peonies. I have 3 colors in my yard but the blooms came and left weeks ago. Then I saw this tutorial and knew I could have them any time I wanted. So can you. Click the image above to see a larger photo of mine. Click the image below to the Pinterest page with the tutorial link.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

white vase and mini terrarium


white vase
Originally uploaded by coltpixy

I have a bunch of projects going in various stages of completion. Today I have these two to show you. A miniature moss terrarium, the jar is 3½" tall including lid. I was going to make miniature mushrooms to go in it but have something a little more organic in mind now to go with a teeny fairy I will make for it.

The other is this white vase made from an empty tomato sauce can. The instructions I used to make it came from...



This week I will be making flowers to go in it and will show you both mine and where I got the tutorial for them.

Not sure why the pinterest pin link broke. Here is a direct link to it http://pinterest.com/pin/278730664407213414/

Sunday, May 29, 2011

black and white fusion project


black and white fusion project
Originally uploaded by coltpixy

It is entirely polymer clay except for the tile with the butterfly. That is a brass filigree that I painted black and set in white clay. There are various techniques used in the different tiles including Sutton Slice, stamping and sculpting. It is set into the top of a large keepsake box.
You can click the image to see a larger photo on flickr.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The masked visitor


my racoon, originally uploaded by coltpixy.

After a year and a half of being off of anxiety meds my doctor had to put me back on them this week with a strong warning to avoid stressful situations. I do not like taking them because they make me sleep and unable to function. Especially after being off of them for so long.

This guy lives in the woods behind my house and for the past couple of weeks has come up for a meal every evening. My husband took this video of him last night while I was passed out hoping it would make me smile when I woke up.
:^)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

addicted to sutton slice

I have become addicted to the sutton slice technique. Here are some work in progress photos of the tile....

wip1

wip2

wip3