Tuesday, November 1, 2011

polymer clay charm tutorial

Polymer clay is my new friend. So easy to use, takes 15 minutes to bake in MY oven, and looks really cool! Today I will talk about the process of making my first polymer project, an initial charm.

What you will need:
Polymer clay (I used Sculpey... I've heard good things about the brand and liked that there was a variety pack with lots of fun colors)
Clay tools
Wax paper or foil
Cookie sheet

1. Begin by kneading out the clay and getting a feel for its texture. I noticed mine was quite harder than I thought it would be. I pressed it down a few times to flatten it with my hand.

2. Use your clay tools to cut the clay into the desired shape.

3. Using a toothpick or clay tool, carve out the initial. Then, carve out a hole at the top center of the charm. 

* My hole was a little too far down from the top, and I didn't realize this until trying to fit the jump ring later. It worked alright, but I recommend carefully planning where the hole should go.

4. Once the letter is carved, you may have some "scragglies" hanging out where they are not wanted. I used the toothpick to get most of them out. I didn't want mine to be perfect by any means, so I left a few of those little guys.

5. Place wax paper or foil on baking sheet to protect it, then place the charm on top of that. Bake at 275 degrees for 15 minutes (this is for every 1/4"; if yours is thicker or thinner, adjust accordingly).

Tada! This is my charm. If you want, you can add some acrylic paint or glaze like I did to give the piece a little more depth. Add your jump ring and attach to a chain. This is going to be my best friend's birthday present. Her first baby is due in a few months and his name starts with L. :)

Hope you enjoyed it and give it a try!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

so much to say

Some days I really don't have much to say. Actually, most days. I guess today is different, because I want nothing more than to ramble to my computer screen.

There's so mcuh going on in my head that it's hard to articulate. This is partly becuase I am an introvert, which I already knew, but didn't realize that was why I have a hard time articulating until I started reading The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney. {I think that was a horrible run-on sentence. Sorry.} I really have learned a lot about myself, my family, and my friends, and I'm only halfway through the book. The book mainly talks about the differences between introverts and extroverts, which outnumber us "innies" three to one. Very intriguing and insightful. Nooooow I know why when I open up an invitation in the mail I want to throw it away... because I am overstimulated in social gatherings and tire out after about five minutes. This also explains why everyone in my family would ask me at the dinner table growing up, "Kiley, are you zoned out again?" "Yes" was my response. Too much talking, too much to process, and I just needed a break. This also explains why in confrontations or serious conversations I tend to get overwhelmed and have absolutely no response at the time. Later, I can come up with all sorts of responses, after I have mulled it over like a true introvert.

If you are still reading, I applaud you.

On another note, I did some painting today. Tried uploading the images but was having problems with my mobile device (sometimes it's more fun to use unpopular terms, instead of cell phone). Anywho, the paintings and drawings I did were for church--they may or may not end up being used. But they were abstract nativity scenes to possibly be used around Christmas time. Christmastime? I think it's two words.

My car made horrible squeaking noises this morning. I called my dad and he said it was probably the fan belt. The way the conversation started was: "You know when you're at a stop light and you hear a car coming from a mile away because it's making that obnoxious squeaking noise?" His response: "Yeah..." "Well, my car is making that noise. Do you know what it is?" I often overreact to things. Dad has numerous times called me a drama queen, and I don't take offense to it. My husband has seen this side of me plenty of times as well. Now I laugh about it and dramatize things all the more. :)

Welp, time's up. Not that I don't have more ramblings in my head (did you know that women can have seven thoughts going in their heads at one time?), just that I have things to do, places to go, and people to see. Then I will indulge in some lovely down time later this evening.

Hope you enjoyed my ramblings.


Monday, October 24, 2011

five things

Five photos from the past few days:

Look at that bass! He was so proud, and I was proud of him. I caught one about the same size, and what happened, you ask? It broke my line and I have no proof of my trophy. 

How to spice up your coffee: add light whipped cream and a dash of cinammon. Mmmm!

My new fave nail polish: NYC's Park Ave. Kinda taupe/grey... perfect for fall without making my hands look pale. (Anyone else have that problem with dark colors?) Here's a link to all the "In A New York Color Minute" polishes:

Farewell, place of work. Your butterflies flitting about the ceiling were fun to look at on a daily basis. I also enjoyed the friendly people and the apple fritters. This is my last full week here. My next job is going to be nannying a newborn, pure bliss.

Please stay tuned for an experiment that is currently being conducted on these ugly guys. Waiting to see results. :)

Hope everyone is having a good Monday!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

painting furniture: an overview

Today I thought I would share some photos of furniture that I have redone. Unfortunately, I don't have any "before" pictures, only afters. But I thought it might inspire you to never be afraid of bold colors. If you ever choose a color and realize after painting that it is too bright, that is what glaze is for. Glaze comes in premixed colors like black, mocha, etc. or in a clear form which allows you to add whatever color you want. If you have trouble mixing paint or just want to try glazing for fun, I recommend starting with premixed. However, if you are doing several projects which require different glazes and intensity levels, then clear would be the best choice.

A lot of people have asked me lately how to paint a piece of furniture. I plan on doing a post soon on a step-by-step project. It really is easier than most people think. All it takes is a little patience and elbow grease. :)

On to the pictures...

This was a commissioned piece. Originally intended as a buffet, a new mother is now using it as a changing table. You can tell it is a very pale pink. I loved the idea of using it in a baby's room and plan to do the same some day.

This coffee table had seen MUCH better days. It had some cup rings on the top, and since it was probably mahogany, which is a very soft wood, the damage was too much to repair. Because of this, I used a mocha glaze over an ivory paint. 

*Tip: If your unpainted table has a cup ring, try rubbing vegetable oil into it with a dry cloth. A lot of times it works!

This was one of my favorite pieces. It was a plain Jane oak dresser with ugly brass knobs before. Now, it has a silver wash over the top of it and new antique looking knobs. I plan on trying the silver finish again, it just glammed it up a little. :)

Uh, sorry for the sock on the floor, the knobs that I forgot to turn down, and the bobby pins. This is my personal dresser. It used to be completely black. This was one project where I painted it and realized the paint was WAY too bright... you have to be careful with turquoise. My college roommates can attest to the fact that I'm slightly obsessed. So I glazed it with a black glaze and loved the result.

This was a piece for my best friend. It was originally yellow with pink trim, very outdated, and sad looking. Some red paint with a black/brown glaze was all it needed.

*Tip: it's totally okay to use a nightstand in a living room. And it's totally okay to mix and match different pieces. For example, the wicker furniture on my front porch is not a set, but painting them all one color and using coordinating colors makes it look like one without being stuffy. Plus, who wants a boring living/dining/bedroom out-of-the-box set anyway?

My beloved TV stand. Originally a liquor cabinet with a fold-out top, we use it for DVD and game storage. I absolutely love the color, and now realize how dark our old apartment is from the quality of all these photos, oops. Anyway, the color is Washed Denim by Martha Stewart. I want to cover everything with it.

Hope these pictures inspired you to get out the paintbrush!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I knew something was about to change.

It's a good thing, though. In the last two days, I have been told the grant that was paying for my job will end at the end of October, met with a family about nannying, and was offered a job. I will be nannying a newborn in a couple of months, so for awhile will be jobless... but I'm okay with that. It will give me time to make/sell some jewelry, spend time with the family during the holidays, and relax.

On another note, although it has been almost 2 weeks since our return from New York, I thought I'd post some pictures of the trip.

Taste Coffee, East Aurora

Vidler's Five and Dime, East Aurora

Renovation Church, Buffalo

A local maple tree farm

My hott breakfast date :)

Bad qual... but some deer in an orchard. Beautiful.

maple farm

breathtaking maple farm pic

...and more...

...yet again...

and a totally unrelated picture of our puppy that I had to share. Yes, he is still a puppy and he weighs 75 lbs. On yet another note, I'm going to try my hand at some polymer clay soon and will post some photos!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

a whole new world

Wow, it's been awhile. Not that anyone reads this thing! :)

My husband and I have moved into our new "abarnment" (apartment in a barn... get it?), and although there are still some boxes laying around, we're starting to feel a little bit settled in. It is in the middle of the woods, looks out onto two beautiful ponds, and makes me feel like I'm in another world. I love being surrounded by trees, with no lights outside except the stars and the moon. Ahhh.

A lot has been on my mind lately, and I feel a change coming. I'm not sure exactly what God has in store, but this is one of those times where I feel one door slowly closing and another beginning to crack open. I have realized that I might want to be an art teacher. My current job allows me to spend time with kids, although not much time. I would love to be with kids all day, and have the opportunity to do hands-on activities with them that would not be limited to five minutes. I have really enjoyed working here, but it has also opened my eyes to the possibilities for change. I believe everyone should do what they love, what they are passionate about, if at all possible. So I'm still praying about the decision to take some classes, get certified, etc. but I have a peace about it all right now. I don't want to rush into anything. As my dad said, a lot of young people like myself who just got their degree feel this need to take on the world and rush into trying different things. I don't want to make a quick decision when really I have the rest of my life, but I also know I should chase after my dreams.

Last week, we returned from a trip to upstate New York, where the trees are gigantic and their leaves are turning into colors I've never seen before. The grass is ridiculously green there, because they don't have a drought problem like here. The vacation was awesome, and I didn't feel like I really needed it until I got there. I was able to clear my mind, enjoy time with family and meet new people, and soak up the beautiful surroundings. Being in that type of environment does something to me. I feel rejuvenated, alive, and peaceful. I really thank God for vacations because I think He often gets our attention there.

Our new place is kind of like that. It's quiet out there, there are no noisy neighbors, honking horns, or stoplights. I love it, and I know that God wants us there. I can already say it is a blessing in so many ways.

Friday, September 9, 2011

leaves turning & turning over a new leaf

Haven't had much to say lately. Between fall kickoff at church, which means small groups starting and general busyness occurring, the art program at work starting, and packing boxes, I haven't had much time to stop and blog.

The weather has been an incredible lift from the heat, and I'm so excited for fall. It is by far my favorite time of year. My hubby and I met in the fall, and we both feel that it makes us come alive. The crisp air on my face is one of the best feelings in the world, especially after the hottest summer ever recorded.

I've been in a weird peaceful state the last couple of days. I go between extreme anxiety to extreme peacefulness depending on the day and what life throws at me. It is these roller coaster waves of emotion and thoughts that I have been on for a very long time. And I'm sick of it. It's something I am aware of and adamently trying to change. I don't want to live a life dictated by my emotions or fears; I want to live a life fully trusting in God's plan and in turn glorifying Him. When my mind becomes entangled with other thoughts, thoughts that are there only to destroy me, my faith starts to crumble. I want to be ready for battle, ready to take on whatever situation comes at me with courage and perseverance.  Here's to a fresh awakening, and a step of faith.

Have a beautiful weekend.


Monday, August 29, 2011

reflections from Sunday

It's the little things. Along with "new" headlights, I now have a working driver's side window and back door. I will post photos of some projects I've been working on soon, but for now there are other things on my mind.

Yesterday was a day I will never forget. I saw God moving in so many situations.

The sermon at church was about the "weed" called worry. We are doing a series on weeds in our lives that can grow in our hearts and distract us from what really matters. These weeds are worry, riches, and pleasures.This comes from Matthew 6:25-34. To say I needed to hear that sermon is an understatement. I needed it so badly. I felt like God was having a little chat with me over coffee while I wrote down every word.

I also witnessed one of the most raw, pure confessions yesterday. This person was hurting deeply, and acknowledged they had hurt others because of their sin. Weeds had slowly crept into their heart and blurred out the eternal perspective. It was so beautiful to be a part of a church body that literally wrapped their arms around each other and lifted them up in prayer. God was in that room, moving through the hearts of every individual. The walls of judgment collapsed, and all that was left were a bunch of broken people pouring their hearts out to God for healing. It was a night I will remember for the rest of my life.

Yet another moving moment yesterday was meeting a new puppy after a tragic accident a couple of weeks ago that cost the in-laws' dog his life. It was a horrific way for him to go, but I'm so glad they're ready to rescue a new puppy.

Overall, yesterday was just plain emotional!

One thing I know: God is in the business of humbling, breaking, healing, and redeeming. He never leaves us in the pit of despair. He always, always saves us. And when we are brought back into the light of His love and peace, it is more beautiful than we could ever imagine... kinda like my headlights. ;)


Friday, August 19, 2011

it's Friday, Friday...

Good morning to you! I'll get straight to the point: I <3 Fridays. It is my husband and myself's day off... which means relaxing, golf (for him), projects (for me), coffee with friends, and whatever else our hearts desire. This morning, two of his uncles and one cousin came over for breakfast before heading out to the golf course. They were like giddy kids before Christmas, anxiously awaiting their fate; they are playing a scramble, uncles against nephews. This is what the uncles brought with them, though:

my favorite... Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

On another note, we are moving soon! Where, you ask? Into a barn. An apartment in a barn in the country... outside city limits where blackberries abound and fish grow to astronomical sizes in two beautiful ponds. We have been blessed to find a place that will satisfy our love of the outdoors, our budget, and therefore, our savings towards a house next year. :) Hence, these haunt me every time I walk into the living room, waiting to be filled with every passing moment...

Other random things:

seashells in a bowl. No more, no less.

One precious puppy who is devastated that Daddy left him for a round of golf.

Oh! And what I've been doing at work. Speaking of work, I am working in an environment where I get to see lots of kids all day and make fun projects while they wait to see the doctor... and loving every minute.

This is how the project starts:

Make a grid of whatever size you want. I made these two after making my own, because I want the kids to have an option of size, and these ones are actually evenly spaced. After that, I used a stencil to trace around the letter of my choosing ("E" for Everyone who wants to be a kid again should try this). I wanted there to be a contrast between the letter and background without getting out the Sharpie, so I opted for warm versus cool. But you can do whatever you want. Color in all the squares/diamonds in your color choice, being sure to stay inside or outside the lines of your letter... trust me, mistakes can happen when you've been coloring for over an hour. And voila! You will have a new piece of artwork. I love the idea of hanging one of these in a baby's room.

On yet another note, this is what I'm currently reading. Whether or not I have actually tried to make one is another story.

I will leave you with this beautiful quote I found:

Have a great weekend,

Monday, August 8, 2011

storms & sailboats

Today was a beautiful, stormy day. We have not seen rain in a long time, let alone temperatures under 100 degrees for around 50 days. How great it was to not see the sun for once, enjoy a cool breeze, and watch my husband and pup on the porch watching the storm roll in.

Speaking of storm clouds, I have been working on this yesterday and today:

for my grandmother. She loved this painting:

but, as you can see, it is in disrepair.

The original painting, signed by "CA Renee," is brittle, has holes, tears, and nails sticking out of the sides. I really have no idea how old it is. My mom owns an antique store and didn't have the heart to get rid of it (or sell it), and there's no telling where it came from.

To be frank, I felt VERY weird copying this person's painting. I feel like I committed a cardinal sin that my college professors would shun me for, but like I said, it's for my grandma. She needed something over her mantle, loved this painting, so I recreated it. What's odd is that no painting I have ever done has been this easy. Perhaps it is because I felt a connection to the original artist, felt like I stepped back in time onto an island overlooking the deep, black sea. It could also be that this is the first "real painting" I've done since I graduated... last December. I got really burnt out on painting for awhile, and a little bitter about some things at school. All the pressures of trying to please professors who had completely different beliefs, opinions, and backgrounds from myself made for one big pile of bitterness and no desire to paint. This painting was a turning point, and maybe recreating someone else's image made that transition a little easier.

Back to my grandma. She lost her mother last Friday, so I thought now might be an appropriate time to give her the painting I had promised a while back. Hopefully she likes it, despite its melancholy-ness and neon sea... a little different from a discolored, hundred year-old original.

By the way, sorry for the horrible images. I took them from my phone... don't know why. :)

Have a wonderful evening!


Sunday, August 7, 2011


Spent all morning at church worshipping, fellowshipping (of course that's a word), and soaking in the message. God is so good. One of the songs we sang this morning is called "Awakening" by Chris Tomlin and the lyrics really hit home with me right now:

For You and You alone
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing

For the world You love
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing

I hear Your voice and this is my awakening

A lot of times, like lately, I realize I have been walking through life in a state of complacency. What's worse is that I don't see it until I feel really dry and fragile, like a plant with no water. I want to just absorb God today and all that He has to offer, not for selfish gain, but to be able to fully live. When we are fully alive, we shine a little brighter in this dark world and have the opportunity to share His love with others more freely. By accepting and being filled with His rich love, I am saying, "I trust You completely." Awaken me.

Off to clean the house and get started on a project that's been brewing for over a year. :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

new beginnings

In recent weeks, I have spent hours upon hours looking at others' blogs concerning art, design, and life in general. It has inspired me enough to jump back on the blogwagon, so here I am. I will use this as a "dumping ground" for all my wild thoughts, ideas, and anything I find inspiring. I figure it will help me to collect my jumbled thoughts and turn them into something that might actually make sense. Hopefully it will inspire you as well!

A little bit about myself: I am a recent graduate with a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts and a focus on Studio Art. I enjoy oil painting (although never seem to have the time), creating jewelry, and painting furniture. Things that make my heart go pitter patter: my husband, vintage bicycles, old houses, and a good chat over coffee. I also LOVE bargains, and will pretty much never pay full price. I love children and their beautiful imaginations, and hope to someday have a few of my own. I am a follower of Christ, and desperately want for others to experience His deep love for them.

Hope you enjoy my blog and leave inspired by things that inspire me. Feel free to leave comments, look around (although there's not much yet!), and please link back to me if you use any of my words or photos.