Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Jif removes Pledge One Go from Polymer Clay

did you know that?
Jif, I think it's known in Canada as Vim (at least I think it was when I lived there!), removed the Pledge One Go from my pen...
How did I make this discovery? Well, today, I was not happy with the prospect of binning my pen just because it didn't work, so I tried removing the tip (I noticed somehow the supaglue/crazy glue I used wasn't that great and the eyelet could be rotated).
So I pulled, so you know the story (read yesterday's post to see what happened AGAIN!)... I tried removing the plastic bit with a tiny screwdriver, no go... then I thought "A drill bit!!!", well that worked fine (see, learn something new every day!). Messy, very messy, but it worked". I also now know that toothpaste is good to remove ink stains from white plastic vanities (we rent, so we don't have a say in what we get).
Finally got the plastic bit out, and today I bought some BIC pens! Sorry PaperMate, but Bic didn't let me down the last time I made a pen (following a Donna Kato Tutorial) and it won't let me down this time either (I HOPE!)...
OK, so the opening was a bit too small for the extra bit Bics have, so I drilled it out a bit to make it wider, and it fits fine, but it's a "short" pen, so I had to cut the ink well again! But my other pen didn't cause me any trouble.

There, my memory gets a bit blurry as to what I did... but I noticed that the operation I had to perform on the pen (again, read yesterday's missive) didn't quite work as I had anticipated!

There was a .... GAP!!! and from that gap, it seemed something was escaping: INK!!

*sigh* and *blerk* ... sooooo, I take the pen to the bathroom, tried to clean it with toothpaste (that's where I stained the sink with the ink, so used toothpaste and an old toothbrush, and it finally took the stain out, and I hope, no scratches!) but no dice, the ink stayed on the pen... so Jif came to mind, and that worked pretty darn well (also almost got rid of the stains on my hands!). Yay, clean pen, gaping wound running the risk of oozing more blue goop (aka: ink), almost clean hands! Dry the pen... and think of a solution to fil the gap! Then, I noticed, my pen wasn't shiny anymore... the cap was, but the bit of the cap where I had to scrub (oh yeah, stained THAT too) wasn't shiny either... ergo: jif removes pledge one go!

hmmm, and what will I do about the gap.
Well, the gap has been fixed with some super duper electrical tape -- so my pen now has a black band around it, where I had to cut it! Reminds me of my old pair of Doc Marten's when I was in college - my hippy/granola/"nature" period I guess -- held together by duct tape!!! The things we do when we're kids (I only did it cos other cool kids were doing it, well, kids which were cool in my eyes!).

Now I have to decide if I re-Pledge it, or not... I had to use tape, I did, because I had visions of that pen popping it's back end in my bag and the mess that would have made (not that my bag is not usually a mess, but you know, you try to prevent these things when you can!).

Well... other than that, I cleaned up some "will be earrings" bits (while I had the old toothbrush out) after sanding them. Got my pasta machine out of the garage (for a technique I can't wait to try) and I'm working tomorrow and Friday, hmm, school starts Monday *Evil Cackle* (Seriously, working during school holidays was a bit hard on this mum, and the holidays went by way too fast because of it!)

And here (eye candy) are some tiles I'm going to make into a necklace. I found an inspiring way to assemble them, now to find good jump rings that don't come apart!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Australia Day 2008

Digital Cameras Fun
Photo sketch at

From a picture taken on Australia Day, up atop Monument Hill in Fremantle. It was a windy evening, but they were fun fireworks!

My Cursed Pen

This turned out to be a long post, and rather than make it three different posts, I've divided them in sections.

1) My "Woe is me" story :)

I tell you, sometimes things just don't go the way you want them to!
Yesterday, I decided to have fun with Polymer Clay. It had been a while, and I had been inspired by this display and by the tutorial "Covering Pens with Polymer Clay: Bamboo Skewer" here on Youtube.
So I get some clay out, the purple and pink are right there, as is my translucent and pearl, sounds like a good mix. Looking good. Tutorial instructions are good, I'm doing great, baking goes well, nothing burns (Yay!), I take the skewer out (no problem there) and place the first "ink pen bit" inside to see what it'll feel like... ok, feels great, let's remove the "ink pen bit"... OH HORROR!!! The METAL bit of the "ink pen bit" comes out, but not the plastic bit containing THE INK!!! it is starting to come out - oh, and yeah, I'm right in the middle of making dinner at this point and have meatballs about to get a bit too cooked. Ok, don't panic, put the pen on some (hopefully) scrap paper, go and turn over the meatballs, and insert a skewer to see if the plastic bit will just get pulled out by some kind of magic, why not, my logic is wood bit inserts into plastic bit, sticks cos of the gooey ink, and it all comes out a treat. NO! IT DOES NOT! And I didn't use a crap brand, I used Paper Mate?!
what can I do, it's disgusting..... I have visions of the mess!!!
Ok, CUT a bit off the pen at the other end, and push the plastic-inky-bit out...
Get my blade out, try to do a nice straight cut so that it'll be easy to glue back.
OK, cut is made, and oozing blue ink (YUK!), push out the plastic bit, ok, put it in the bin, make sure it's in the big bin, the one lined with a plastic bag, and thankfully it's rubbish night that night!!!
Ok, check on dinner, all's well, nothing burnt, I try to rinse the pen shaft and yeah, looks like the water comes out clear. *phew*... serve dinner, eat dinner, yum yum yum...
after dinner, glue the bit I had to cut off back on, with Supa Glue... I am scared to death each time I pull out the Supa Glue! I won't want to end up looking like Edward PenFingers or anything like that! Ok, that works well. Can't think of any elastic I have on hand (nor could I find any I would have thought of) so I opt for a Buna cord to tie the lid. Good idea. Ok.
Sand, first off to sand off the ink on the OUTSIDE of the pen! Luckily it works great. Sand, Pledge One Go, one coat, two coats, yup, I'm on a roll.
Pen assembled, little eyelet glued on too, though I hesitated there because I wondered ... how long my pen would last. IT promised to be a kilowriter, i.e. to write more than 1000 words (hmmm, well, in this age of computers, it's not too bad? maybe?), oh well, it'll last as long as it'll last and I'll probably lose it before the ink runs out!
Wow, it works great, I showed it to hubby and I got a "that looks like stone or something" rather than the "I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say" when I present him with strange projects like an altered bottle (I can't blame him!).
This is my pen:

Well, this morning, I take it out of my bag to make a phone call (need to take notes during this particular phone call) and, you'll never guess what, it is not writing words anymore! nope, none, nada, done, dead... AND SUPA GLUED IN THERE!!!!! *sigh*
That's pretty much the end of this story. I now have a gorgeous pen that I can't even use!

2) My "My Megalomania Inspired Me" story

Well, you know, sometimes you're just in a funk, you can't create, you create and things like the story above happens, or you just don't have time to create, or even maybe you question why, having no time and no inspiration, you still don't want to pack everything away or put everything up on eBay. Other than the fact that 1- I'm too much of a scavenger/pack rat, and getting rid of my supplies would mean I wouldn't "have" them anymore, and putting them away in boxes would frustrate me if I ever want anything from out of one of those boxes (let me tell you my new storing method is not making me very happy, even if it has cleared up a bit of the kitchen! I always have to go to the other end of the house to look for something I've put away (seriously though, it is an improvement, but it doesn't have to always make me happy, does it? at least now we have room for our dishes in the cupboards!). Anyway, having everything packed far away would not suit me, and my other reason is that if I don't have time to create, why would I have time to put my craft stuff on eBay? And if I'm going to have time for eBay, wouldn't I be much more satisfied if I took this time to create...
Another angle to this story requires me explaining that I wanted a screen saver for my computer because my screen was too bright, and given the position of my computer and the position of the hallway and our bedroom, it was bothering me to see this bright screen when I have insomnia. Yes, I can turn the screen off, but those new screens can also stay on all the time... (some argue that turning off the comptuers for the night is also a good idea, but not when you have downloads trickling in!) ANYHOW... that's when I decided on my current screen saver:
I have all my scanned artwork in a folder, so I used the Microsoft "Slide Show" Screen saver option (don't quote me on its name though), and pointed it to the folder where I have my artwork. At first I thought "hmmm, isn't that a bit weird, having your own artwork up there?" and then I thought "it's the only organised enough folder to be able to do this with!".... well, seeing my artwork when I get up, or when I've not been at the computer for the amount of time it takes for my screen saver to kick in (dunno, can't remember, but it's adjustable) I get inspired, seeing old creations, recent ones, ones I'd completely forgotten about, seeing stamps I'd forgotten I'd owned, stamps I sold and was happy to have done so, background and stamping techniques I'd forgotten.

example, this piece from February 2004

or this one below from October 2003

Hmmm, I do like brown tones, I guess!

These little Collections squares from the end of 2006 bring back memories

and this bright cheerful About Art Accents card from the same period was also fun to see because of its simplicity and cheerfulness:

I have found it very inspiring, and it has motivated me to try and find time to create. So yeah, sometimes a little bit of self-centered-ism can be a good thing! Although every now and then I think "ooh, poor so-and-so, I remember sending them this awful card... didn't seem awful at the time, but that was years ago" sort of thing! Keeps me modest.

3) My work

Many of you are curious about the type of work I do. I am an Assistant Analyst (that's what the job's advert said)and I work for Mining Industry Consultants. I do a LOT of work with Excel, play with LOTS of numbers, and also I receive samples which I have to prepare to send to laboratories, most of which are Iron Ore, I see very pretty colours, though most of it is of a dark brownish red colour. I get to wear a lab coat on the days I play with the pulverised rock, and a mask (so I don't breathe too much in). I feel like I am in a hospital, or that I'm part of the CSI team! LOL! Hmmm, the original CSI probably? Dunno. TBA! hehehe!!! I don't do much analysis myself at work, but I do prepare things for analysis, and once in a while they let me read a report, it's been almost 5 months! And I'm still enjoying it. So I hope that answers your questions, dear friends :)

As a silly segue and to show some eye candy, here's my "rock", a ring, made with polymer clay, and the small one of AM236 XXLge Oval Set from Krafty Lady. That one was made with Pearl, Translucent, and Maroon clays (Sculpey III), and some Duo Red-Blue Pearl Ex, and my trusted Pledge One Go (if only I used it on my floors! hehehe!)

The ring looks crooked but it has been glued on straight. It was just a wee bit big for my Hand Model this morning, so it sort of slid to one side.

I think I'd better press the "publish" button now!

Monday, January 21, 2008

where does time go

Here's where some of the time goes!

I thought I'd let you know about a great little tripod I bought myself to go with my brand new Canon A550! Not top of the range, but what it can do for less than $200 amazes me! Anyway, the tripod is great, but I don't know why Canon decided to put the tripod stand on the side (under the camera, of course) opposite where the batteries are! This causes the camera to topple! Not a good look! But I tried it with our old Kodak CX7300 and it works a charm!

Got my tripod from autionmax. Those Hong Kong sellers have a funny philosophy, low prices, but high postage, but in the end, the final price is still pretty good!

This is a portion of one of the pics I took with it (I've taken heaps, doing many tests to figure out all the options!)

It's one of Julie's Arches from a shadow box I made for Krafty Lady. I'm pretty happy with the abilities of the camera :) The article by Ken Rockwell has great information and is what really convinced me to buy that one, that, and the fact that my Mum has one and I was able to play with it a bit, and that my Dad, who has been into photography since before I was born, thought it was a good model to buy (he's got the A540, and a couple others! hehehe!!!).

It's nice too because it's light, so I try to always have it with me. I've been taking pictures of just about anything I find pretty, and ended up making making some wallpapers for our computers! You can help yourself, they are for a wide screen, but you can crop however you want (please play nice with my images, they are not to be used for profit - although I'd be happy to custom crop one for you if you wish!). They aren't prize winning pictures, but they certainly add joy to our screens! And they are fun to send to canadian relatives so they can see what grows around here. I can't wait for Birds of Paradise Season!!!!

I might try to print some of those, as SnapFish is having a promotion at the moment, and you can get cheap prints there at any time, and I've seen some neat "altered photo" techniques... something else to try!

Other than that, cortizone shots for my heels seem to have worked ok, though losing a few kgs would certainly help even more.

My job is still great! I passed my month's probation after a few days, being, they said, I'd been hired on 8h/week, and I'd done more than 32 hours already, so they agreed to keep me!
It's so wonderful, because ...
1) they have a killer coffee machine!
2) the people are really nice
3) I enjoy the work I do, some is computer work, some is hands-on pulverised rock handling
4) the hours are flexible,
5) it's on two of the three bus routes which are close to our house,
6) it's on the bus route that goes by our school,
7) the pay is good
8) I can wear just about what I want (except my Nirvana t-shirt which has bad words on the back! which I never had the guts to wear)
9) it's a nice 10 minute walk from the bus to work (from any of the buses I can take) which is great when it's not raining! and it's a half hour walk from my house, when I feel really healthy (and my heel spurs aren't nagging me!)
10) did I mention the coffee? *grin*

I'm sure there's other reasons, but these are the ones I can think of right now!

I've been putting in a few hours extra over the holidays as it's kinda quiet for DH in the IT business, so he's playing Mr Mom, and I am playing the role of The Working Mum! Which reminds me, got to plan something for lunch tomorrow for those little starving growing girls of mine.

I think this is about it for an update, oh, and my mum's visit for October and November... that's another factor that kept me away from the computer. I will spare you the details, but will say that my mum, who is 24 years older than me, put on roller skates and skated with the girls at Rolloways! I don't skate at the moment, the skates are very painful with heel spurs for some reason. Also, I am still shell shocked from the last few falls I had! LOL! Though, when I'm not falling, I have a great time!!

Well, one's got to do what one's got to do, and for now, my priorities well... they are'a'changing.

cheers and be well until next time! (oh, and I do want to give this blog an overhaul, a bit tired of brown!)