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!