Thoughts on Color Theory and Being Yourself

I finally got a chance to buy Polymer Clay Color Inspirations by Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio, a book I’ve had my eye on for a while, and so far I am not at all disappointed.

The book is about color theory, color mixing, and choosing colors for a project. I’m actually pretty good at the mixing part; making decisions is where it gets tricky for me. In addition to both of those issues, the book includes some very interesting information on how we relate to different colors for different reasons. 

It also contains some exercises. I skipped ahead to one where you mix each of six basic colors with a little of each of the colors next to it and a little of each of white, gray, and black. It shows how some colors change more than others due to pigment strength.


I really enjoyed seeing all the variations together, and knowing I’d have a reference point for future projects. But I was a little disappointed when I got to yellow, one of my favorite colors. Most of the finished palettes were essentially 12 different versions of the original color. But the yellow ended up turning mostly orange, green, and brown. 

Suddenly I felt like I could really relate to the color yellow. It’s not any less awesome than the other colors, but gets overpowered by them anyway.

I’ve been going through some personal stuff that has really driven home the feelings of worthlessness that can come with living as an artist with depression. I’m not saying I want a different life, but I do get tired of being dismissed by people because my problems aren’t as visible as theirs and my priorities are somehow less important. 

That being said, I’m also trying to stop being a pushover. Making your own decisions means you can’t please everyone. I still consider other people, but I actually think you can do that better if you take care of yourself first. 

It seems we’re all a little bit like colors. Those around us can bring out the beauty in us, or they can turn us into things we’re not. We can lose ourselves in other people’s needs and expectations. 

So if you can relate to yellow, too, I hope you will give yourself permission to prioritize what you want and believe in. After all, it’s your life.

My New YouTube Craft Channel

Well, I’ve finally taken the plunge – I have officially created and posted my first YouTube craft video. This was no easy task due to my extreme social awkwardness and lack of tech skills, but it probably wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be either.


This upload, a Hobbit Hole Door Necklace Tutorial & Giveaway, was sort of a last minute acknowledgement of Hobbit Day (in case you’re not a “rings nerd,” it’s the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, and a day for Tolkien fans to celebrate). But I’ve actually been planning this for some time.

I enjoy and learn from a lot of craft videos myself. I’m also hoping that being on YouTube will get some extra traffic to my shop. And now that I’ve decided to stop selling my fan creations due to potential legal issues, I thought I could at least share the ideas and techniques for you all to use, and send some of the finished pieces to people who will enjoy them. 

So I’m starting with my nerd themed pieces, but I hope to share some of my own designs as well, both to contribute to fellow polymer clay crafters, and for customers to see the process behind my products. Eventually I may also do painting  demonstrations or other arts and crafts. 

I’ve had to accept, at least for now, that my videos are not perfect. There are all different levels of professionalism on YouTube, but I’m sure a lot of people started as amateurs. I am definitely one of them in terms of editing. To be honest, I would rather spend more time creating new projects, but I definitely have room for improvements and suggestions. 

So I hope you’ll check out my video (I’m still taking entries for the giveaway!) and leave some feedback or requests. Do you prefer videos more polished or more casual? What kinds of items would you like to see me make? Let me know in the comment section! 

Introducing Handmade Supplies

I’m always looking for new product ideas to make and sell. After a few custom requests and some research, I decided to add handmade supplies to my offerings.

A few of my jewelry supply sets (available with or without holes).

I’m starting with pendants, earrings pieces, and a few beads. They are made with some of the same nature-inspired polymer clay designs as my finished jewelry items, mostly canes, but without the findings and at a fraction of the price. 

This way, because I have honed my skills with polymer clay and especially canes, you can combine my pieces with your own beading, wire wrapping, or other skills to create unique pieces to sell in your own shop. 

And if you’re not a professional jewelry maker, these pieces can also be finished simply with bails & chains or ear wires for yourself, gifts, or group DIYs. 

I might try to put together some ideas on how to use these so let me know if you’d be interested!

Also if you’ve purchased and photographed any of my products, use hashtag #noellelewisart or #pasticheaccessories on social media to be entered into giveaways! 

Fairy House Herb Garden & Jewelry Set

I almost didn’t get around to doing any gardening this year, but I decided to at least plant some herbs instead of the usual variety of vegetables.

I’ve also been seeing some adorable fairy garden ideas and thought this would be a great way to add some fun to my little planter.

I made mine with a broken wine glass and, of course, polymer clay. It’s sort of hobbit hole inspired with a flower for a roof.

Fairy house and herb garden

Then all I had to do was plant an herb in each corner, place the fairy house in the center, and add some mini garden stones (more accessories later!). It also looks cool as an LED candle holder.

Mushroom house drawing and redraw
It was nice to do something just for fun! Going with the fairy house theme, I also made a new mushroom house jewelry set for my shop, inspired by this redo of a drawing from my high school sketchbook!

Mushroom house cane and jewelry set
Are you getting into the fairy garden trend? Let me know in the comments!

Tile Bracelet Tutorial Improvements

I tend to make a lot of necklaces and earrings and not that many bracelets. I have a hard time making a bunch of matching pieces with nice holes, and they take up more material than, say, a pendant. Plus they have to be available in different sizes. 

But I like to have a well rounded selection, so I’ve been trying to make more. A while ago I made a tutorial of a stamped tile bracelet (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3). It was cute and I spent a lot of time on the posts, but it could have been done better in some ways. 

Recently I made another tile bracelet, this time with cane slices instead of stamping. I’ve been practicing with canes a lot and this one is the unexpected result of several attempts at tree silhouettes. Anyway, I wanted to share some improvements I’ve learned.    

 

  1. Using the right brand of clay. Bracelets are likely to get banged around a bit so you want something strong. There are a lot of options – I used Sculpey Soufflé and Sculpey Premo here – I just wouldn’t use something like Sculpey III again for this project. 
  2. Making your tiles nice and thick. The original bracelet had about 1/8″ thick tiles, which is fine for some items, but you want more like 1/4″ to make room for the holes without weakening the tiles.
  3. Lining up your holes ahead of time. Teresa Pandora Salgado made a great video (Easy Bangle and Tile Bracelets) on how to do this, which kick-started the remaking of this project.
  4. Using proper findings. I used tigertail wire and matching glass beads like last time – stretch cord would be fine too – but added crimp bead covers for a more finished look, wire guardians for extra durability (here’s How to Use Wire Guardians), and a two-holed sliding clasp to match the two-strand design.  

 

Other notes: I keep large blocks of black, white, and translucent clay so I have them for backgrounds and such, and I’m working on stocking up on other colors. I used a square cutter to make the tiles this time because I liked the rounded corners and consistent shape. And I added a little liquid clay (Kato) for a shiny finish. 

Some of these tips are of course optional, but I hope you will find this helpful, especially if you too have a hard time making bracelets. 

In keeping with the original posts, here is a picture of my cat crashing my workspace! 

  
 

Care & Cleaning of Polymer Clay Jewelry

I wanted to start including some care and cleaning sheets when I ship my polymer clay jewelry orders, because there are some differences from other types of jewelry that some people might not be aware of.

Most of what I found came from the websites and blogs of other artists, which I will link below. Here’s what I pieced together so far – let me know if it sounds helpful as a buyer, or if you have any other tips as a seller!

1. Use regular jewelry cleaner on the metal parts, but only soap and water or light buffing on the clay parts

2. Keep away from solvents – cleaners, hairspray, nail polish, etc

3. Keep out of heat and extended periods of direct sunlight

4. The clay is strong but can be scratched or broken –  be careful not to drop delicate pieces or place in pockets or purses

5. Store your pieces away from high humidity to keep metal from tarnishing

6. Not recommended for wear during sleep, showering, or swimming

7. Please keep pieces away from small children for their safety

References: Eugena’s CreationsPink Cat DesignSaved Spirit DesignsEtsy Team Discussion

 

 

Halloween Couple Costume – LOTR: Aragorn & Arwen

I’m going to be doing a series of late holiday blog posts (now that I’ve recovered enough from the actual holidays to write about them, haha). I’ll probably space them out between other posts, but I have some recipes and ideas to share that I hope you can use later this year. 

So first, Halloween. This time Joe made my nerd girl dreams come true and agreed to dress up as Aragorn and Arwen from my favorite movie series, Lord of the Rings.

I had a dress I’d made in high school (as well as a purchased necklace, brooch, sword, action figures – don’t judge me) so all I really had to do for my costume was resize it – shown below with the dotted lines – and find some pointy ears. Ok I didn’t have to get pointy ears but they were awesome.  

 
My husband ended up wearing a shirt and pants he already had, along with a simple vest and boot toppers I sewed, a wig from Amazon (actually a biblical wig), and, my favorite part, the arm bands I also made, again shown below.

   

The armbands were inspired by some really legit looking leather ones that I can’t seem to find now, but I made these out of craft foam.   
Here’s us in our finished costumes. It is both exciting and disappointing going to a party as your favorite thing when you put more effort into the details than most people would ever notice. 

  

Just for fun, here are our pumpkins (each carved on both sides). 

  

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!