Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Final Day with the Rescued kitties

As I mentioned in my last post, I had the honor to foster 3 ADORABLE kittens for just a few days this week. 
Well, I have good and sad news
The good news: The kittens were placed in a proper foster home where they will be cared for by a trained kitty foster mother who happens to be a friend of a friend (so we know they're in good hands)
The sad news: I will really miss them


Here's a quick video sequence taken from their final bath and feeding in my care
(if you are worried about the kitties not-so clean face, I was afraid of getting water in his eyes/nose and knew he would get a proper bath shortly by someone more experienced in kitty baths)

I am happy that I had the honor of caring for these 3 cuties even for such a short time. 
But don't worry, I think my sister (who rescued the abandoned kitties last week) will cave and end up keeping all 3 rather than just the orange female.
And this means... PHOTOS!! so come back in a month or so for the BIG KITTY photoshoot

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Newborn Rescued Kittens

Pumba, Simba, and Kiara,
aka the tiny balls of fluff that will be commanding my attention for the next few days.

These kitties were abandoned when they were just under 3 weeks old. Left to fend for themselves, the smallest one perished from starvation

My sister came to the rescue and brought the remaining 3 kitties home. Despite her other commitments, she dedicated round the clock feeding and TLC over the weekend. Due to her hectic schedule at work this week, and my work-from-home business, I got the honor to take care of these cuties for the next few days

I filmed the video above right after they woke from their nap. I don't know how they managed it, but somehow they pooped and peed all over each other. Perhaps they did it on purpose because they love the TLC received at bath-time

It's amazing how much personality you can glean from a tiny ball of fluff. Since the 2 tan kittens look so much like lion cubs, and the fact that we are HUGE Lion King fans, we gave them the following names.

The chubby tan kitty was named Pumba, but we jokingly call him 'Mufatso' because he just loves to eat and eat and eat. Now before you reprimand me for overfeeding him, how can I possibly turn down such a sweet little face when he cries, especially after what he's been through?

The skinny tan kitty is Simba. He is very practical. When he wakes hungry he cries. When he's done eating he goes to sleep, even before I get a chance to put him back in the box. He's a bit tricky to feed but I've been able to coax him into eating twice by feeding him first. This way his hungry siblings' cries keep him awake long enough to get a tiny second feeding in.

And last but not least, is the little orange girl, Kiara. She is such a 'girl'. She has a refined whine rather than the shrill meow of her brothers, and she has some sense of dignity trying (and failing) to clean herself. But you can't blame a 4 week old kitten

In just a few short days they went from starved and abandoned to nearly healthy. In a few more days I expect them to be chubby healthy balls of fluff.

I get to keep them for just a few more days while my sister finishes her current work project.
While they demand round-the-clock care and attention, I will be sad to see them go.

(now where did I put the photo props I used for my hamsters?)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pin In To Win It


I am running a special SOCK MONKEY PENDANT giveaway TODAY ONLY!!

One lucky winner will receive a lovely handmade sock monkey pendant

How to Enter

Click on the Giveaway Image above
This will take you to the giveaway page on Pinterest
1- 'LIKE' the Pin
2- 'Repin' the Pin
3- Comment on the pin, including an email address or other means of notification (to let you know if you won of course)
4- 'Click' the pin, this will take you to my Etsy shop where you can browse my full line of handmade sock monkey Jewelry and Trinkets

Good Luck
And may the odds be ever in your favor -Hunger Games

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sock Monkey Ornaments

Item of the week: Sock Monkey Ornaments

I have a few new sock monkey ornaments in honor of Christmas In July

But these ornaments are not limited to your Christmas Tree. When the holidays are over and your tree is recycled, simply move your monkey to your car's rear-view mirror for monkey smiles all year long

These ornaments can be purchased in my Artfire Shop and in my Etsy Shop

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July Fairy Baby Part 1

It's been a while since I've sculpted a fairy baby. Looking back at some of my original sculptures I can proudly say that my skill has progressed, but there is always room for improvement.

Even between the 2 fairies pictured above, sculpted about a year apart from each other, there are significant differences. It's the minor details really, that come from practice, practice, practice.
And so I set out to practice. I hope to sculpt a number of fairy babies, and post my progress here, in the hopes that you, the reader, will be generous with your comments and critiques, so that I can hone and improve my skill.

July Fairy Baby

I set about this sculpture without a real vision or plan. My only goal for this baby is to improve my fairy baby sculpting skills. Particularly the facial details and feature placement
(notice the above fairy baby has a very small forehead)
My only 'planning' step was finding a baby reference model from Magic Sculpture I may follow the model loosely, but it does give a basic idea for baby feature placement

Sculpting the Face - Part 1

I created a very basic wire armature covered in foil

I sculpted the face using a new method of adding on small bits of clay to build up the features. Perhaps I mixed a bit too much liquid sculpey into my clay giving me somewhat of a sticky soft mixture. The effects were two-fold. On the one hand, the soft clay is very easy to disfigure, and a slight touch leaves a huge fingerprint indentation.
On the other hand, I love how easy the soft clay manipulates. I can build up and move around features with a few simple tool strokes.
I spent alot of time, perhaps too much, building and placing the features

I got so carried away, I forgot to look at the time, and nearly forgot to prepare for my students arrival (My alter-ego Leah4sci does in-home Private Education)
I normally rest half-finished sculptures on my sculpting glass, however I was afraid the soft clay would flatten my half-finished head. Instead I stood it up with forceps and covered with saran wrap.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Food Processor for Mixing Polymer Clay

Mini Food Processor - AKA My New Toy

I love sculpting in polymer clay, however the process of mixing clay can be VERY tedious. This is especially true when mixing clay for a sculpture for a number of reasons. Using a pasta machine (my old method) for mixing clay takes FOREVER with a somewhat extensive preparation process. Light and fresh clay has a tendency to pick up lint, dust, dirt, anything and everything that happens to be around at the time.
Thus the longer the mixing process, the long the clay is exposed, and the more 'dirty' the clay turns out. The final sculpture looks less 'professional' if it is studded with lint.
And my newer issue with the pasta machine, is the difficulty in adding liquid polymer clay. I've discovered that conditioning some liquid clay into the mix makes it softer and more malleable, however, this was disasterous in my pasta machine meaning I had to do it by hand.
This is especially difficult with my injured hand/thumb (from military deployment)

The old Mixing Process

Preparing the Clay to be mixed (I chose random scraps for this demo)

Each 'blob' of clay has to be slightly conditioned and shaped to fit into the pasta machine

Each blob of clay is run through the pasta machine a few times for a somewhat uniform sheet

The colors to be mixed are stacked, and run through the pasta machine again, and again

and again

Until a uniform color blend is achieved

This process isn't too bad for a smaller sculpture or color combination, but this can take the better part of an hour for something as large as a 3 Inch Bunny

Old vs New

Enter the Food Processor

I've read about artists using food processors for mixing clay, and finally decided to treat myself (Under $20 on amazon) I purchased the Proctor Silex 1-1/2-Cup Food Chopperideal for a small to medium magical sculpture

Does it measure up?

I decided to do my first mixing trial with camera at hand
Preparing a mix of clay to be blended: Sculpey Living Doll and Premo Translucent. I will then add some TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey)

I roughly shredded the clay and dropped them into the food processor

Power ON, and WOW!!

I then added a generous few drops of TLS

Total Preparation + Mixing Time: TWO MINUTES,
Level of pain to my injured hand: ZERO

Foreseeable Benefits:

The first and most obvious is TIME. I have essentially cut an hour out of the sculpting process.
On a personal level, this takes the stress of mixing off my hands, ideal for people with hand injuries
I can 'store' the unused clay in the processor. I typically mix up more clay than required. I'd rather mix too much of a clay color, than to run out mid-sculpture and have to try copying the color combination and consistency
The clay keeps CLEAN!! the processor is so tiny, I don't see the need to remove the clay, I will simply store the entire unit on my craft-cart and take out bits of clay as needed. And if a few days pass in between uses I will simply power it up for a few seconds and recondition (re-soften) the clay.
I am in love with my new toy!!

Edited 11 July 2012
Thanks to the comments below regarding the danger of storing clay in the food processor I will only keep the clay in during sculpting and then store in another container so as not to destroy my new toy

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Polymer Clay Wrapped Tube Beads

Item of the Week: Wrapped Tube Beads

This weeks featured item is a fun collection of 'pasta style' wrapped tube beads. Each bead features a unique blend of color derived from my 'crazy cane' style for marbling clay colors. These beads were alot of fun to make and will be a great addition to any Handmade Jewelry or craft projects

This bead set made it onto the front page of Etsy Summer 2011

This set is my favorite color scheme, I just love the way the purples show through

These wrapped tube beads can be purchased in my Artfire Shop and in my Etsy Shop

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Christmas In July - 2012

This week I chose to feature My ENTIRE shop instead of just a single item,
Why is that? because...

It's Christmas In July

July is a notoriously 'slow' month for sales worldwide, and so Christmas in July was born
Shops, businesses, and companies large and small are offering all sorts of sales this month
And MagicByLeah is no different
In honor of Christmas in July EVERYTHING in my shop is marked down a full 20%
So what are you waiting for, Shop MagicByLeah on Artfire and Etsy and start stocking up on gifts for the holidays

Here are just SOME of the great items you don't want to miss out on!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Millefiori Butterfly Pens

Item of the week: Butterfly Pens

These butterfly pens are the perfect summer accessory
Made to Order, each pen is truly OOAK (one of a kind)
Each pen features a number of brilliant blue butterflies flying lazyily on a background of blue 'marble' clouds
The butterfly wings come from a Premo polymer clay cane designed and created by me (see below) The cane was stretched and reduced to the desired size, and then sliced to give repeating butterfly wing patterns.

Butterfly pens are available for purchase in my Artfire Shop and in my Etsy Shop

**Monthly Whispers - Reminder

Monthly Whispers - June Edition (MagicByLeah Newsletter) comes out in less than 2 weeks.
Don't miss out on special Christmas in July savings for subscribers only Subscribe HERE

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sock Monkey Bookmarks

Item of the Week: Sock Monkey Bookmarks

This weeks featured item is.... MORE SOCK MONKEYS!!
I just love sculpting these cute little faces. The sock monkey bookmarks featured above are a flattened version of the sock monkey trinkets for sale in my Shop

Available in a rainbow of color choices, these monkey bookmarks measure approximately 3 inches in length (8 cm), perfect for slipping between the pages of your favorite book between reads. These bookmarks can be purchased in my Artfire Shop and in my Etsy Shop

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tiny Challenge: Teddy Bears

After last week's Tiny Sock Monkey Challenge I have decided to challenge myself to sculpt a number of additional tiny animal series.

This week's challenge: Tiny Teddy Bears

The goal: Sculpt a number of teddy bears Under ONE INCH TALL!
Alas, teddy bears come in so many colors, I opened my drawer of clay and was instantly lost (I own a few hundred bars of clay in about that many colors)
So I posted a poll on my Facebook Page asking for Teddy Bear color suggestions

The first vote came from KatersAcres for Brown and Blue Bears. I sculpted a warm-up pair measuring 1 inch and 3/4 inch tall

After the 'warm-up' pair I was ready to work my way down. The majority of votes called for Pink and White Teddy Bears. My translation: Marbled teddy bears in red and white for an overall 'cute' pink look. Instead of the common 'twist' typically seen in marbled sculptures (where 2 colors of clay are twisted together for a fun, but somewhat boring pattern) I created the marbled effect using a technique I invented and coined the 'crazy cane' technique. This allows the marbled colors to show through in a 'crazy' pattern blending and twisting in every direction

Here are the Results

Bear sizes from left to right: 1 inch, 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, 1/4 inch
That's right, the smallest bear is just ONE QUARTER INCH TALL

But of course, after sculpting all these pink bears, blue started calling to me, so I gave in and followed up with 2 tiny blue teddy bears

The blue teddies measure 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch.
And JUST IN CASE you're not convinced of the size yet (my camera did well this time) here are some reference photo shots:

These tiny teddy bears can be purchased in my Artfire Shop and in my Etsy Shop

I've enjoyed these tiny challenges immensely and am ready to take on yet another tiny critter challenge, yet there are SOOO MANY CHOICES...

What tiny creature would you like to see next?

Post your suggestions in the comments below, or on my Facebook Page
Some suggestions that crossed my mind: Owls, bunnies, chicks