Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Picking up and moving

Hi all,
I've got too many blogs! I'm moving all my posts about my jewelry and things upcycled to my Tumblr blog at: 

I don't have it set up to receive comments at this time, but you can reach me through my Etsy shop or via email at

My personal blog Multilocus is staying put and staying active.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Watermarking photos and other Saturday stuff

Yes, a busy Saturday. I woke up at 5 am and decided not to try to go back to sleep, as it's close enough to the time I usually get up and by golly, I've got a bunch of stuff I want to get done today! I bought a program called iWatermark to put a watermark on my photos. I have not had it happen to me, but have read about several instances of images being copied without permission and and used to sell copied products. 

In one case, someone ripped off a graphic designer's pattern and put it on coffee mugs, without compensating the designer. My stuff is easy enough to replicate, so I just want to make it more difficult for them to use my images. The program is easy enough to figure out, and you can do batches of files and put them into a specific folder. The one thing it won't do is to sit at the coffee shop and replace all your photos on Etsy and Facebook. One pumpkin spice latte, please. Make it a big one.

I'm still waiting on my shipment of brooch backs from China. It's been two weeks, so they should be here soon. I might break down and buy some from the bead store. I've got bunches of brooches glued and would like to get them listed.

Finally, can I share some good news with you? This morning I had my biggest sale on Etsy yet. Someone bought eight (8!) of my button bracelets. I'm still in shock. I'm happy-dancing all over the place. Yes, it's the money coming in that is really nice, but there's also a bit of validation that comes from selling a bunch of one's work. Can you tell I'm still new to this? Ha! I bet that part doesn't get old very fast. It's nice when someone likes your stuff enough to buy one. Or eight.

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

If I was a painter

I'd paint stuff like this, I believe.

by Robert Farkas, from this site

Some new listings

I've been making more button-clay tile bracelets lately, as well as a few of the ones with the upcycled watch parts. I ordered a bunch of buttons yesterday. Also, Michael's had a sale on clay, so I bought something like 35 blocks of clay. When it's on sale at 4/$5, I try to stock up. And at that price, buying it by the pound and paying shipping is still more expensive. The only trouble was, they were out of a couple of colors that I wanted. I'll stop back, though, as the sale is all week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First Clay Tile Brooch

The first of my clay tile brooches is for sale. They are fun to make and I very much like how each one is unique. 

Each measures about 1.75" (4.4 cm).

This is one kind of back that I have. I'll change this when I get the shipment of new ones. I like that design better - more sturdy.

They are stacks, but not too tall. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Another photo of stuff in progress. It's a lot of fun to have a box of "parts", in this case clay tiles I've made, and pick and sort through them to assemble things like these brooches and bookmarks.

Both items are a new thing for me. I have a lot of buttons that are too large for bracelets in the way I currently make them, but I still wanted to combine my clay tiles with them for something interesting. The bookmarks are nice little pieces, and I have enough variety in the clay tiles to match the buttons pretty well.

The brooches are also really fun to make. I've got striped tiles that I love to make, and I combine them with the solid texture tiles. They are about 2" (5.08 cm) across. I ordered a bunch of brooch backs, which are on their way from China as I type this. I like to buy "local" as much as I can, but findings like brooch backs all come from China anyway, it seems.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Green Button-Clay Tile Bracelet

I'm here to tell you that there seems to be a disproportionate number of green buttons out there in the mixes people sell. Hmm. Maybe it's in the mixes I tend to buy! Nevertheless, I find myself with many green buttons and it's been fun to match them with the many shades of green tiles I have. 

I confess I am a bit of a fiddler with my jewelry. If I'm waiting for the elevator at work, or waiting in line, I will often touch my bracelet absently while I wait. This bracelet has a faceted teal-green button (at about 8 o'clock on the bracelet photo) with a half-dome button on top. This has proven to be irresistible to my free hand while I wait. It's funny. But short-lived because the elevator always comes.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This or that. That.

I'm fooling around with making brooches from combinations of clay tiles and vintage buttons. I liked this orange one, and tried two sizes of clay tiles on the top.

Then I tried a smaller tile and I think I like that better. Proportion seems to be a pretty set thing to me. Things look better to me when there are almost equal distances between elements. 

Sorry for the (lack of) picture quality - I'm sure you can tell I took these with my phone. I'm going to assemble a bunch of these this weekend, and am looking forward to piecing together the elements. That's the funnest part of it for me. The gluing, not so much. Happy Friday, wherever you are!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I try to keep my eye out for pleasing color combinations. Here's one from Design Seeds (a fabulous site full of awesome color combinations). 

I picked stamped clay tiles that matched the color palette, and I love how it turned out. I don't always see good color matches ahead of time, and this helps. I think it's a skill, though, something that can be developed over time.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Button clay mini

I made several of these and I like how they turned out. I tend to go monochromatic when I first start with a new style, but they do have their appeal to me. I started with a smaller bracelet blank and used smaller sets of buttons for this one. It's been my experience that when people sell vintage buttons, they don't really sort sizes much. It's usually by color. The result is a variety of sizes to work with. In the 600+ lot that I bought off of Ebay, there were a bunch that are too big for me to work into the two sizes bracelet blanks I'm currently using. 

I've seen people string large buttons together as a platform for smaller ones, and might try that at some point. Another idea I had is to use the larger ones to make brooches, mixing clay tiles and buttons again. I like the variation in color and texture. It's interesting to me that the process of putting the elements together isn't easily rushed. I have to sit down with a bunch of buttons and tiles in front of me and try different things until I get combinations I like. There's an orange one I love and I'll post that one soon. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Ruby Reds

Here's a new bracelet I'm calling Ruby Reds. I love how it looks with a maroon shirt and a teal scarf that I have. Upcycled vintage buttons and hand-stamped polymer clay tiles. In my Etsy shop

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another cool thing from Pinterest 9-13-12

Check this out. A blend of wonderful colors with dosey-doe cut outs that have been rearranged and rotated. Brilliant!! It's from this site, which I follow on this blog and you can see a link to on the right side of the page.

I'm inspired by her use of color here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Back to the start

This is the kind of bracelet that got me into making bracelets in the first place. I made a few more of these over the weekend and this is one of the first to get photographed and listed on Etsy. I like it that each one is a one of kind creation. I love the process of picking out the elements for these. 

The round things with the cabochons are mainspring barrels from vintage watches. I love how they provide a great background for the cabochons. And the cabochons are sparkly and eye-catching. I use my stamped clay tiles, too. I pick those colors first, and then pick cabos and buttons to match. 


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Olive striped tiles

There is a house in my neighborhood that has a color scheme that is olive green with navy and white accents. It looks different, yet it goes together really well and fits with the old style of the house. I decided to mimic the colors for some large clay tiles. Above, you can see where I have mixed the colors, cut them into strips and am in various stages of rolling them into thin ropes.

An overexposed shot of the sheet of clay with the thin ropes before I roll it through my pasta machine once. These ropes ended up being just a little thicker than I thought they'd be, but I'm still happy with the results.

The light green kind of gets lost agains the foil, but each tile has the three colors in roughly the same order. I like that effect of that, where the colors repeat, but the tiles don't look the same. I took the rest of the thin ropes and the strips of clay that didn't get rolled out, put them together, and made the mostly blue tiles. It's a good way to use up the leftover clay and it's fun to see how they'll turn out.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Does anyone else love purple and green?

I don't know what it is about purple and green together like this, but I find it very satisfying. This is another of the recent texture tile bracelets that I'm slowly getting onto the Etsy site.

I had another idea for these. I like to wear them two at a time, and thought maybe of making one long chain of links that a person could wrap around their wrist twice and clasp once. Hard to explain? I don't have time to work on it until this weekend, so I'll post some pictures when I've got a few done. They'll be fab, you'll see.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


This is about half of my current stock of small clay tiles. As I've made more of them, I'm expanding and organizing better. I started out with everything I made in a clear pint gelato container (I highly recommend the sea salt caramel). It was an easy thing to spill it out on the table, pick what I needed and scoop everything back into the container. 

Then, I decided that I needed to organize by color groups, so I found several containers at a garage sale and had blues in one, then, purples and pinks, oranges and reds, and yellows and greens across the four containers. That worked great for a while too, but sometimes I make what is virtually the same color twice, and the two shades are hard to tell apart when everything's in a big jumble.  

Enter the bead organizer. I bought a couple of these last week and have transferred my stock into them. As you can see, there isn't quite enough space for each shade, so I've had to double up. On the list of weekend projects is buying a third one so I can separate out everything into its own little cubby.

I enjoy (more than I thought I would, actually) the sense of order that comes from having these things organized. I guess it's partly because I can see the fruits of my labor. I've made a lot of colors over the past almost-year that I've been doing this. Of course it makes it easier to find several of one color when I need that. It also lets me see what colors I might want to make next. Good and good.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tropical Texture Tiles (say that three times fast)

I made several of these over the weekend in different color schemes. I have to admit I do not have the sense yet to put colors together on the fly. I can't just look at my box of tiles and see what will look nice together. So I've been looking at other things - paint chips, flower arrangements, fabric, and have found all to be really good inspiration.

This one is in tropical colors. Warm and bold. Since I'm not replacing the clasp on these, I'm selling them for a couple of dollars less than similar ones with a fancier clasp. It seems good to see what people prefer. 

I'm also thinking of making some more monocolor ones, so a person could wear two together. I do like the look of two on a wrist.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Aqua Hues

What is is about aqua? I made several bracelets in this last batch in shades of aqua/turquoise/blue-green. It's restful and pleasing. I like how my eye just kind of goes around, looking at different elements of this one. 

I've laid out some smaller button-clay bracelets - minis - that I'm hoping to get glued today. It's a good feeling to have a bunch done so I can post one or two a day. I think Etsy's algorithm for searches favors listings from people who are active in that manner.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

New pieces

I've been working on a bunch of new button-clay bracelets and I'm very pleased with how they turned out. This one is just as red in person as it is in the photo. Bold and sassy!

I think I've solved my smelly button problem. Ha! That makes it sound like a hygiene issue, doesn't it? No, I ordered some buttons and they arrived with this weird small that made them unusable unless I got rid of it. So I first soaked them in dishsoap and water. Then baking soda and water. Then more soap. Finally, I put out a call on my FB page (which you can get to by clicking on the picture of the buttons on the right side of the page) and someone suggested vinegar.

Okey-dokey. I couldn't used them otherwise, so might as well give that a try. And it worked! They don't have a noticeable smell now, so I can use them. That's good because I really like them. The colors on a couple faded, but they all faded the same way, so it won't matter.

In the meantime, I ordered few more lots of buttons in colors I didn't have. Squee!

Have a good rest of the weekend, all!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Contest winner!

Elaine has won this bracelet in my "pick the one you like" contest. A sincere thanks to all who entered. I'll do this again in a few weeks so stop back if you'd like to enter again. Or if you'd like to check out the offerings or my musings. 

I laid out 12 new button-clay bracelets last weekend but haven't had time to glue them. It's kind of a zen thing. I don't like to be rushed when I doing my gluing (funny that way) and being tired and rushed leads to really sloppy work. So I'll probably do it this weekend. They turned out fabulous and I'm looking forward to getting them listed on Etsy.

I received an order of buttons (about $15 worth) and they are so pretty. I've got a problem though. They have a smell to them that is kind of horsey, kind of old and smokey and it has not gone away in the one soak in soapy water I've given them. Too bad because I really like them. But I can't use smelly buttons in my bracelets, now can I? FWIW, they are NOT from the site I got the picture from in my last post. Those didn't smell like anything (just the way I like my buttons, really). I've never had to return anything I bought from Etsy. Hopefully the seller will be easy to work with if I need to return them.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Saw these on Pinterest this morning. I love the iridescent effect. The images are copyright protected, so to look at the loveliness, you'll have to click on the link and look at the artist's photo stream. Worth a click, I say!

I will post another button picture, though.

These are darn near perfect for what I'm doing with the bracelets. Most of them are flat, and not too big. the big order I got off of Ebay ended up having a lot of too-large buttons. That's OK, I imagine a use for them will be delivered at some point. I bought a similar lot of green ones and of pink ones, too. 

Kid>>Candy Store>>LindaCO.

Oh, one more thing. The super-wonderful Jaquelineand at Blether gave me an idea for a giveaway that I'm going to post on FB and all my outlets today. It'll end next Wednesday, 9 pm Mountain Time. Here it is:

Go to my Etsy shop, pick out a bracelet you would like to win, copy the URL, and paste it as a comment here on the Physaria Designs blog, or as a comment to the giveaway post on the PD Facebook page. I'll pick a random entry and that person will win that bracelet. Wh0oOp!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Easy Teals

Sometimes, the pieces sort of come together seemingly on their own. This was such a piece. I seemed to have a lot of teal (aqua, aquamarine - what would you call these colors?) colored buttons and clay tiles, so it went together easily. I really like this one, but I'm like a mother with multiple kids - I love them all. :-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mixed media bracelet

So this is the sort of design that got me into making jewelry in the first place. I saw something similar (more metal hardware on it and no clay tiles) at a consignment store when I was waiting in line to purchase some clothes. It's got upcycled watch parts on it, face, mainspring barrel and gears. It also has new things, like a funky charm, and the clay tiles, which I make myself. The clay tiles are kind of meditative for me and I love to make new colors. I'm starting to get the color thing down such that I'll make several shades of a particular color when I work, so I'm guaranteed to have 3-4 shades that go together (even if I don't put them together on every piece). 

For some reason, I haven't sold a lot of these. It's funny, when you think you've got a unique something that people would want to buy, yet I've got about 30 of these on my Etsy site. The people who do see them think they are swell, and I fully get it that it's not a style for everyone. I suppose it's a matter of setting the right price and getting the word out, and that's an evolving thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tail end of vacation

My family has been out to visit this week. We've had all sorts of fun, but I haven't crafted much. Here's a set of decorative buttons I made a couple of weeks ago. I love making these fine stripes out of the clay. I never know quite how it's going to turn out, and I like that part of it. 

Friday, August 10, 2012


This isn't entirely a crafty post, but you might be able to empathize here. I have family in town. Yea! My brothers and their families. It's a great thing. They just got in yesterday, and we had some pizza and beer at my little house before driving over to the condo we rented for them. 

I have two nieces. One's 10 and the other is 6. The 10 year old just sat with us while we talked, but the 6 year old was up and down, here and there. I had a flash of an idea, and said, "K, would you like to sort buttons for me?" Her eyes light up, "Yes!" The perfect job for this sweet girl. There is something satisfying with doing a task like this. Once you know what you're doing, there's one right answer, and you can easily see your progress.

I bought this bunch of small buttons off of Ebay and they have sat all mixed up in the bag. I got K a bunch of clean yogurt cups and she's gone to town. She asked once if I I thought one button was more tan than brown, and I said, "Whatever sorting you choose, just stay with that and it will be great." I wanted to make it her project :-) And she went back to her job. This is something she can work on right with us there as we are gabbing (which we do a lot). Yea! Maybe I'll have them mix some clay colors, too...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mixing it up

I haven't gotten my 600 buttons from the Ebay purchase yet, but I had a few laying around, so I went to work on a new bracelet style. I really like it. It's easy to assemble, which is always a plus, but also has the very engaging and interesting (to me) part of picking colors, shapes, and locations for the various components. 

I knew I wanted to combine my hand-stamped clay tiles with buttons, and also really like the look of layers of buttons. So the first incarnation of this had layers of buttons, and just the larger clay tiles. I was eating my morning cereal, looking at the bracelets, and the muse, that little creative something came along and I thought, "add another layer of tiles". I'm very happy with the result

Monday, August 6, 2012

New necklace style

I like the look of having the bracelet links I use made into a necklace. I especially like being able to have a little spot to put an element of the necklace, and then switch them around until I like what it looks like. For some reason, that's really appealing to me. 


The above picture is the first design. Well, actually the first design was just the four links across, but it suffered from floppiness and would turn over while I was wearing it, so this is the first design offered for sale. A friend fiddled with things and found that hanging something from the middle helped. Brilliant! 

Not sure why Blogger isn't letting me center the picture, but you get the idea...

So my latest necklaces then have three tiers of elements. I'm still using the vintage watch faces and mainspring barrels, and added a couple of vintage buttons. It's interesting and shimmery. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Oh boy Oh boy Oh boy

On the 1-10 button fanatic scale, I am about a 5.5. I really like using them in mixed media pieces, and am fascinated by the seemingly endless variety of size, color, and the other fun stuff that's done to them to make them pretty. But I won't collect them to have a collection of them; I see them as supplies. 

Do you bid on things on Ebay? I'm pretty particular about what I want from their listings. For buttons, I was looking for larger ones this time around. I bought several hundred little ones (from a clothing factor that closed in the 70's - vintage enough for me) and have recently wanted to goof around with layering buttons for larger pieces. 

The photography for some listings is junk, and I won't bid on something that I can't see every piece of. I'm pretty sure this means I end up bidding on more expensive items, but at least I know what I'm getting and don't have to put half of it in bags hoping I might have a use for it some day. 

I also don't want to wait too long, usually try to bid on things in auctions that are over within24 hours, and I don't like to add my bid when there's already 10 bids on the thing. Hmm, I guess I am pretty specific about what I want from Ebay. Anyway, these came up this morning and they totally fit the bill. There's nothing there for scale (which I also like :-)) but I can tell there's smaller ones in there, so the majority of ones are the size I'm looking for. The other photos showed that about 20% of the lot is to the right of what's in this picture and there's a few interesting ones in there (squee!). 


I made some buttons with this sheet of clay and had enough left to make circular tiles for a bracelet. I like the smooth look to the tiles and it's a light bracelet, even though it's kind of chunky. I'd like to fool around more with color combinations to see what looks nice together.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Texture Tile Bracelet

One of my favorite parts of all this is to mix different colors of clay to make the clay tiles. I have a bunch of bracelets that use the tiles plus upcycled vintage watch parts, and wanted to make some with just the tiles, too.

So, Texture Tile Bracelets were born. Does one always need a catchy title? It helps, I think. But here's a recent one. I love purple and green.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Finished color mix tiles

Here is my first set of color mixture tiles. I etched a number in each one that corresponds to my notes in my notebook. The plan is to string these on something and have them as a reference. I'd also like to branch out a bit to perhaps do some of these with different amounts of the metallic clay I like so much. I'm smiling while I write this, because that level of organization is elusive to me yet. Part of me is pretty certain that these would have sat as uncut samples for longer if I had the space to leave them lying around. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More on mixing colors

Every three weeks or so, I get the urge to mix more colors and make more of the small clay tiles that I use. Sometimes I have a few specific colors in mind, but other times I pull the clay out and just start to mix things that seem interesting. These are the ones from my latest effort. The copper color in the bottom right corner is what I referred to in my previous post. It turned out pretty good. In my search for a good metallic bright orange, I seem to have made the color of carrots. Again. I think it's the 3-4th time. That's OK. Trial and error is part of the process.

I feel like I'm starting to pay more attention to color. There's a pinner on Pinterest that pins a lot of color pallets from a site called Design Seeds. I seem to repin almost everything she posts, and am not surprised that the blue-purple-green pallets are what I find really attractive. I thought I might refer to these pallets a little more often to come up with color combinations for the jewelry that I make. It seems like learning about color is like almost anything else in that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. 

I think we all have a sense of what we like and what we don't care for (and what we couldn't remotely imagine using. Ever). I intend to build on that and see what happens. I've got a couple of new bracelets that I'm going to take pictures of and will get those posted here that I used the pallets and really like the results.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

R & D

The professionals (like in this really good book I got from the library) suggest that doing some work seeing how your colors blend together is worth the time and effort. I like to use Premo. It has a couple of kinds of red, yellow and blue, so I wanted to see how they blended together at known ratios. I worked more or less in fourths. I sheeted some of each of the three primaries, plus a second shade of blue, and cut them into 1/2" squares. Then I blended ratios starting with one square to three squares, two to two, and so on. 

The results were interesting! With the orange at the bottom, I was surprised at how little red it takes to make orange. The blend on the right in the last row is something like 5/4 yellow and 1/16 red. 

It's hard to follow on the picture (I have notes, though, honest!) but the blue-green and blue-purples are using two different blues, and they gave different results. The end of the second row are the cobalt-yellow samples, and the third row is ultramarine blue-yellow. The cobalt made much more pleasing greens, I thought. Same kind of thing for the purples. The top row and the first five of the second row are similar ratios using the two different blues. 

You can see how the possibilities, while not endless, are many and I just scratched the surface of making a record of color combinations. I could also tint them with white and/or black. I use metallic accent clay, too, which changes the color, so that's another set of possibilities.

Now if I can get my act together, and I really should because this can serve as a reference kit, I'll sheet each of these, cut out a circle , etch a number on it that corresponds to my notes, and poke a hole so I can string them on a piece of yarn and keep them nice. 

I mixed colors later to make more small clay tiles and used what I had learned to make a serviceable copper color. Time well spent. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Some button pictures

I've been fooling around with buttons of late, and here's one process where I took some photos along the way.

I made some blends from blues and greens.

I then cut out two sizes of squares, rearranged the pieces, and ran it through the pasta machine to squish it all together.

I then cut out little rectangles. I'd cut even smaller pieces next time, as these will get flattened more in the final pass through the pasta machine. 

I put pieces on in random order, with tweezers. This took a while, but I like the random, yet orderly effect.

These are pre-baked. 

These are finished. I was still finding the best way to poke holes, and have a better method now. That's good, as the holes on these are a little ragged.