my polymer clay experiment

my favorite bowls rice in glass

I have these really cool bowls I bought in Chinatown ages ago. They have rice embedded in the sides. If you hold the bowl up to the light, you can see through it. I love the bowls because of this neat feature. Every time I slurp a bowl of ramen noodles or gobble up some yummy stir-fry, I wonder how they were made.

Is there a show on bowls like this because I am dying to know how they got that rice in there and how it’s preserved so well. I’ve tried googling it but I guess I don’t even know what words to use because everything I find just turns out to be a post on how to cook a bowl of rice—which I already know how to do!

Since I don’t have any glass blowing skills and I don’t knowing anything about ceramic-bowl-making, I thought I’d try this rice embedding trick with polymer clay. It’s the closest thing I could think of that might be like a glass dish. I looked all over to see if anybody has tried this before and I think nobody has. Probably because it doesn’t really work.

polymer clay bricks squish it, squish it real good

I’ve never worked with polymer clay before but I’ve seen it blogged around the internet from time to time. I poked around our craft store and there was a book that said it’s one of those mediums that is easy to break into but difficult to master so I thought why not. I might as well try it.

ready to bake pendant

It is easy to work with. Bug and I had fun kneading clay for the required two minutes and then rolling it out into a thin slab with her little rolling pin that she uses to play with play dough. We made a bunch of pendant like shapes and then pushed pieces of rice into them. I tried different thicknesses hoping the rice would show through like my glass bowls. Then we popped them in the oven.

rice clay pendant medallion

Thirty minutes later I took them out of the oven and I was not impressed. I don’t think my experiment really worked. They are interesting beads but not really very glass-like at all. The thin pieces could be held up to the light and you could see through the rice but the clay was bendy and if you you bent it I’m sure it would break. The thicker pieces were nice and solid for wearing as a necklace but the rice was just texture. Not the translucent effect I wanted at all. So I guess that’s that. It was fun to try but not a success. I may try it again with clear clay but I think this is a mystery I might have to work a little harder at to solve.

Any experienced polymer clay artists or glass bowl makers have any insight for me?

The Case of the Cardboard Trees

and the Crap Grocery-store Glue

my happy place

A trip to Bethany’s isn’t complete if I haven’t broken out the box cutter a few times and showed some cardboard who’s boss. So when I discovered that Christmas Eve is actually tomorrow and not today (How did I get that mixed up?), I decided I needed to make some cardboard Christmas trees STAT.

However, cardboard is not so abundant around Bethany’s house as it used to be. I poked around her garage and found the old exercise equipment box but I already hacked that thing to shreds last time I was here. None of the pieces were nearly big enough for my grand plan. I had a Christmas tree LOT on the brain.

I shoved my cardboard Christmas tree idea into the back of my head until later in the week when I just happened to be at the craft store buying supplies for my mystery Alpha Mom craft (which posts Thursday). NO, I didn’t buy cardboard. Who do you think I am? That’s just silliness. I drove around to the back of the store where they keep the dumpsters full of cardboard and swiped a mother-load of flattened boxes for FREE!!! If only my little hatchback trunk was bigger. There were so many boxes back there I could have built a whole cardboard city!

And you know I would if I just had the time.

spray paint is FUN 7days outtake

After the cardboard was successfully transported back to Bethany’s (no small feat) and sliced and diced into stand-up trees, I whipped out some silver spray paint (that I just happened to have on hand for my mystery craft) and sprayed those puppies silver.

Silver spray paint is awesome! Now I know why those grandmotherly plastic flower-arranging types spray paint their flowers silver! It might look cheesy but it is SO EASY and SO SATISFYING!!! This paint is a dream. I don’t remember what kind I bought but I’ll go check later and link it here. It goes on smooth and dries in seconds!!! It was so fun to paint, I found myself eyeballing Bethany’s patio furniture and wondering how she might feel about a metallic theme.

Waiting for paint to dry is my least favorite pastime. Right up there with waiting for glue to dry. Which brings me to a big thorn in my side. Glue! Oh glorious and stupid glue! Why are you so tricky? I have spent way too much time in my life trying to figure out what is the best glue for which craft.

I would say hands-down that a glue gun is the BEST and most AWESOME glue and should be used for ALL crafts except for the part about the burning and not being very kid-friendly. Stupid glue gun. Why do you have to be so hot like that? And no, cool glue guns are not as good. Trust me.

After the trees were all painted and looking pretty in a row, I decided I’d glue some opalescent sequins to them for a Christmassy flair. I reached into my handy dandy craft box and pulled out the white school glue that I had bought at the grocery store the night before.

And now I know why the store brand glue was so much cheaper than the name brand glue. GROAN! What a mess! It was completely separated into two parts!!! Some kind of nearly clear water on the top and thick white paste on the bottom. What the?!! I guess glue isn’t a top seller at the grocery store.

I was so mad. I shook and shook that glue but it would not mix up. Then I squirted off a good bit of the oily part into Bethany’s flower garden (sorry gardeners, I think it’s biodegradable..er, um…) and tried to glue with milky mixture that was left. It did not work.

helping

White glue dries slow enough as it is but when it’s separated like Italian salad dressing, there is no hope. Those sequins slipped and slid all over the place and no matter how long I left them out in the not-so-sunny sunshine they would not stick! Stupid glue!!! I may have shouted more than once for the nice neighbors to hear.

Then I tried to wipe off the watery glue and start over and that ruined my beautiful perfect silver paint job that I was so in love with!!! BAH! In the end the best glue was some glitter glue that I found in a drawer of Annalie’s art supplies.

It’s by far the quickest at sticking and it isn’t too terribly messy for kids to use. Plus, it sparkles! Win win! That stupid grocery store crap can go hide in some smelly old back room next to the trash compactor as far as I’m concerned. It’s completely useless. Maybe the gardeners will discover it makes a great fertilizer. Pfft.

if you squint you can feel like you're in a field of trees

Anyway, the trees are done and they look pretty cool in Bethany’s window. She has such a great view.

silver trees!

Just don’t look too closely at the sequins that are only glued to one side.