Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Should I Give Up?"

Hey crafters! I hope each and every one of you are having an awesome week!

So I just ran into pictures of some of my first clay creations ever. Oh do they ever look it, too! Anyhow, I was inspired by these pictures to write a post about not giving up.

I know there are many beginners out there who are experiencing the joys and frustrations of making miniatures. I, too, am still learning and perfecting the craft of minis. One thing that I find I do is give up after one or two tries that are flops. The question that comes to mind is: "When should I give up?"

My answer is this: "If you want it badly enough, never." This basically goes for anything in life. This means when you make mistakes and are dissatisfied with try #1, try again! And again! That's part of the beauty of the whole process. That's how you get good.

Instead of letting your first "fail" overtake and decide for you, use it as a challenge to push yourself forward and to grow as an artist. Think about how much power is in that seemingly small decision.

Now of course, there is always the random occasion when you really do decide that a hobby just isn't your thing. But that is a different topic that you can let things like intuition decide.

And now I'm going to leave you with some of those pictures in the hopes that it will encourage you! Even though I am still learning the craft, you can already see the progress in more recent pictures (like on my facebook) vs. these beginner ones. (Oh, and keep an eye at the end of this post for something fun that you can be a part of!)

Sunny-side-up egg and a bagel. I over-baked it... but hey, at least you can tell what it is, right? ;)

Some of my first cupcakes. 

I'm pretty sure this is my first ice cream ever. Gotta love the plate! ;)

Hot chocolate! In a... urm...very unique mug.

lemon danishes and shortbread. Just a bit messy and over-baked. But hey, it was a start!

Okay, and now for a quick, fun idea! Email or tweet a "then" and a "now" photo of one or a couple of your clay creations. In a week or so, I will post them here as an extension of this encouragement post. You can email them to: OR tweet them to me @rachelsminis. Can't wait to see how you're progressing! (even if it's just a little bit! Everything counts.)

Have a wonderful week, and best of luck!

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Hi crafters!

I am looking for some feedback on Rachel's Minis to get ideas for this summer. If you have any ideas/suggestions/tutorial requests, or if you just want to send me virtual chocolate ;), I have the form just for you! You can go fill it out HERE. It should take no more than five minutes.

Your feedback is appreciated! Have a wonderful, creative day!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Feeling creatively stuck?

Hi crafters! 

If you are anything like me, you have probably had days where you want to make some new clay creations, but you find yourself sitting there rolling a piece of clay between your fingers unsure of what to make. Today I'd like to give you advice on what to do when you're feeling creatively stuck.

One thing that helps me: I will search online (oh the advantages of internet!) for categories I think I might want to do. For example: type in "desserts" on google images (Pinterest should work for this, too). As I search, scroll through, and get inspired by the pictures, I type out all my ideas. 

Let me take a quick moment to suggest that if you are not quite at an age of full independence on what you expose yourself to online, I would check with a parent before searching on google images. ;)

Another idea: start thinking about your house and places you've been. School, the mall, the gym, work... that might help give you some ideas.

For example, say you went to the park the other day. You start thinking about it... it is a beautiful one with green grass and tall, lush trees. Then you think about the birds that were hopping around pecking at the ground. Boom! There's an idea that might inspire you. Creating a little bird figurine. Maybe you thought bird earrings might be nice, too! Jot it all down:

Little bird figurine - maybe earrings 

So there you have it! Two strategies that might be just enough to help you get un-stuck and claying again! 

Good luck! And remember, even if you are still hopelessly stuck, that's just part of being a wonderfully creative person! The ideas will flow again. Trust me. ;)

Have a fabulous day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Burning Clay

Oh the let down of over-baking your clay creations! So much time and clay wasted! It was a blessing in disguise when I first burned a tray of my minis.

The disguise:

I noticed the usual smell of baking clay was extra thick (not good), and smoke was coming out of a little space at the top of the oven. I decided I would just check on my tray of goodies because something seemed off.

Sure enough, as I opened the oven, smoke was billowing out of under the tinfoil I had over the clay. Freaking out, I grabbed the whole tray and ran outside with it, trailing clouds of smoke as I went. The last thing I wanted to do was breath those fumes (I sincerely think they are not good for breathing!). I let it sit outside all night.

After the initial rush of adrenaline was over, sadness sunk in. It was a pretty big bummer. I had a couple things in that batch I was pretty proud of. Not to mention the time I put into those. A little later, I thought it over and realized I had put the temperature way too high instead of down to 275 F.

The blessing:

I now know to pay close attention every time I turn on the oven. I have learned from my mistake, and not to mention have gained a blog post out of it! ;)

The piece of advice I'd like to leave you with for this post is this: Pay careful attention to baking instructions/temperatures when baking Polymer clay. But hey, if you happen to ruin a batch like I did, it never hurts to laugh about it!

And you'll be happy to know, I re-did some of my favorites in that batch. Yay!

Have a fantastic day!

(Yes...that is a mini Cinderella in the picture on the right.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A surprise that glows. (reading is important!)

Reading things can be important... something I definitely didn't spend too much time doing on a certain clay shopping trip.

A month or so back, I was at a craft store shopping for individual packs of clay. I was purchasing what I consider "important" colors, such as: brown, red, green...etc.

Having mini pasta in mind, I grabbed two packs of what I thought to be a good pasta color. (I was still new to choosing colors so I wasn't thinking how I could just blend colors to make the perfect pasta).

Yay! A bag of new clay stuff. That's always exciting. I went to town crafting... I made mini ice cream, pizza, and a plate of spaghetti with my new pasta color.

I do believe it was several days later, I took a bunch of my clay creations down a set of stairs on the way to the oven. These stairs happen to be a darker section of the house and suddenly several random shapes came a-glow before my eyes. My pasta, my ice cream, and my pizza were glowing green! Yep, I had bought, not just one, but two packs of glow in the dark clay. You can imagine my surprise.

I learned two things: 1. Reading about the product before making a purchase is usually a good idea. ;) 2. There is such thing as glow in the dark clay!

Here you go! Two pictures of my nice (glow-in-the-dark) spaghetti!

Have a fantastic day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How do I start?

You might be inspired by clay artists around you, want to do it too, but wondering where you start and what to use?

This was me. I only just started my clay crafting a couple of months ago and am still in the learning process. I'd like to open my new blog with a post containing the basics how I started, in the hopes that it will help you out.

The best advice I can give you is this: RESEARCH, DIVE IN, RESEARCH MORE. For me personally, it was easy getting started. It just took time, patience, and a budget. I started researching and researching until I felt I had enough information to DIVE IN.

Here is a "shopping list" I have come up with in the hopes to help get you started. These are the basic things I started out with. But by all means, there is so much out there, so something completely different might work better for you. :)
I currently use Sculpey brand clay. You can buy the colors individually as well as in sample packs. I decided on buying one of their sample packs to start out with so I had a bunch of colors all at once. I also bought a large block of plain white, since that seems like a very basic color to have. 

TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) and Bake & Bond are two items I recommend as well. I use TLS to make things like fake icing (you will probably see me use it multiple times in my tutorials). I use bake & bond usually to attach detailed pieces to one another without squishing/ruining them.

Chalk Pastels. These come in handy a lot! Especially when detailing food (like making things look baked).

Pottery tools are important for adding detail. I bought the above lot on Amazon.

Glaze to add that finished shiny look to your creations.

Blades to cut the clay.

Roller to roll it thin.

Mini cookie cutters for plates, cookies, name it!

Paintbrushes! These come in handy for things such as: adding acrylic paint to your creations, adding the glaze, and adding the chalk pastels.

Hope this helps! Any questions, please feel free to leave a comment! I will try my best to help you out. :)