Archive of ‘Serendipity’ category

Polymer Clay Invites Serendipity

Translucent silver leaf serendipity 1
Translucent silver leaf serendipity 2 6804
Here’s what I love most about these two polymer clay beads. See the subtle crackled silver leaf with splashes of lavender? Usually in making a mokume gane stack, I would sandwich leaf between layers of super-thin translucent clay. What I did differently with this stack was tint the translucent with Pinata Passion Purple ink. The faces of the beads in the photos came from a couple of serendipitous slices from the stack.
Polymer clay often invites serendipity. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten results that are happy accidents–enough to make up for the times I get totally frustrated.
I made this bracelet about a year ago. So far, I’ve been content to enjoy it for what it is. But one of these days I’ll have to try re-creating the effect with different translucent tints, leaf, and polymer clay colors.

Fish or Cut Bait

While working on a tutorial for making sliding knots, I had a great idea. Even though a well-crafted knot is handsome and unobtrusive, why not embellish it by concealing it with a polymer clay bead coordinated with the necklace’s pendant or beads? I worked it all out in my head during one of those sleepless hours that sometimes intrude during the night. Normally being unable to sleep would drive me crazy, but not this time. I was excited and inordinately proud of how clever I was.

Even in the light of day what I envisioned actually worked. I made the cutest little orange/white Skinner blended beads. Picture this: I cut three heart shapes with a small cutter. I overlapped the hearts in a semi-circle. Then I picked them up, joined them full circle, and flanged the lower edge to look like petals. Where the points met I made a hole just big enough to slip over two cords but small enough to stop at the knot. It was the cutest darned thing. Tim said it looked like a fairy cap.

I cured two beads, slipped them over the cords, and made the sliding knots. Yes! Then I put on the necklace and looked in the mirror. That’s when my bubble burst. Instead of hanging like proper little trumpet flowers, the beads exposed their throats. Not pretty.

Undaunted, I went back to the drawing board and came up with a calla lilly design. Cured them, stuck them on the cords, looked in the mirror. That’s when it hit me. The knots are supposed to be unobtrusive so that at whatever length you wear the necklace they don’t beg for attention. Beads didn’t work at any length, especially when they sat on either side of my neck looking like growths I should get checked out.

Heap of Cords 6626

At this point I considered switching projects, maybe working on my southwestern tiles that have been on the back burner. But I didn’t feel like it. I was reminded of the wise fisherman’s adage: fish or cut bait. It was time to cut bait. I took all the necklace cords that snaked over a rack in my studio and organized them. I measured and coiled each cord, wrote the length on a little piece of paper, and taped the paper around the coil. They all went into a plastic bag now hanging on the pegboard in my studio closet. It was time well spent. Not nearly as clever as my camouflage beads, but eminently satisfying.

Furthermore, I gained a lot of respect for the humble sliding knot. It serves a function and looks good without trying to overachieve.

Recipe for Cream

Cream was essential for this pendant's romantic Victorian palette.

Cream was essential for this pendant’s romantic Victorian palette.

I’m passionate about cream. Cream on oatmeal, creamed peas, whipped cream, peaches and cream, cream of whatever soup. And the color of cream.

If there’s a polymer clay manufacturer making cream colored clay, I have yet to hear about it. And I haven’t seen any polymer clay mixing recipes for cream. So I embarked on my own experiment. Mixing white with ecru or white with yellow gave me light ecru and light yellow. After several such failures, it occurred to me to google to find out what colors painters mix to get cream. I never would have guessed the answer: tiny amounts of yellow and purple added to white.

Here’s my recipe:

Clockwise from left: cream clay blend; white, pearl, purple pearl and cadmium yellow clay; Coffee-mate

Clockwise from left: cream clay blend; white, pearl, purple pearl and cadmium yellow clay; Coffee-mate

Premo white, 1 oz., (1/2 pkg.); Premo pearl, 1/2 oz. (1/4 pkg.); Premo purple pearl, cut 1/4 oz. (1/8 pkg.) into 8 pieces & add just 1 piece to the white/pearl blend; Premo cadmium yellow, cut 1/4 oz. (1/8 pkg.) into 8 pieces & add just 1.5 to 2 pieces to the white pearl blend.

Don’t add all the color at once as it’s easy to go too far.


Yes, I do love my Coffee-mate.

Yes, I do love my Coffee-mate.

No, I didn’t blend Coffee-mate into the clay. I wanted to check my blend to get a rich, creamy look when serendipity struck as I spooned Coffee-mate into my coffee. I figured Nestle paid a color consultant good money to get the look of cream. I also enlisted my husband who has a better color sense than I do. It took a bit of tweaking, but I love the result.


Afterhought: Serendipity has a second cousin–coincidence. Last week, two days after writing this post, I sat in my car mechanic’s waiting room and idled my way through the June issue of Better Homes and Gardens. There on page 62 was a feature on–you guessed it–cream colored paint. Even more to the point, it was about the foods, such as brie and apple cores, that inspired the various cream tints.


Ah, Serendipity



DSCN5543 Best Saddle Blanket switchplate


I was struggling to put together a southwestern palette for a gecko switchplate cover, thinking my muse was on vacation. Then I looked at the Santa Fe t-shirt I was wearing, and there was the answer.



DSCN5539 Kokapelli shirt--best color

I’d like to be able to credit the artist who created this wonderful Kokopelli design but haven’t been able to track that person down. I’m most grateful for the inspirational palette.