Monday, May 11, 2020

As if a Pandemic Isn't Enough: Sub title: If I can Do It, So Can You


My basement workshop has been my sanctuary and life-saver during this Social Distancing experiment. The other day I noticed water on the wood floor in the craft area. Thinking, but knowing that I didn't, I thought that I has spilled some water, so I wiped it up. The next day I found water again, but really didn't think much of it other than "That's odd." Day three, no puddles but when I stepped on a board, bubbles oozed up between the wood blanks, and I knew that I was in trouble. We finally decided to call our floor guy who came late in the day and gave us the bad news. The photos tell the story. 

Basically an outside faucet leaked, water ran down the exterior wall--you can see the water damage on the wall in this photo. 

So, the floor was ripped up, new flooring will be ordered. A dry wall guy will repair the wall, and I'll be back in the basement working. 


It was such a lovely floor.



I had hoped that we could salvage half the floor, but as luck (none) would have it, this flooring product has been discontinued. We chose a water-proof laminate.


I can still access my supplies, but my flower making has been suspended. Instead, I have moved to the kitchen table by the window and started learning a new skill: working with Fimo, polymer clay.

First, not needing Christmas gifts,  but to accommodate the children who want to give gifts, I suggested polymer clay and tools, which one of my daughters answered. I began this week by making apples. First I watched  the Julie Warren's( Little Bits and Pieces) video on making apples. You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a31sEm2tmps&t=159s

These are my inspiration pieces on the left: a fruit bowl available at craft stores and online. Nice if you only want one. The peach pie came from my stash--something that I bought a long while ago. I am thinking that I make more pies myself. 

On the right: Top: a purchased apple then my own apples and peaches. 






Here's how I made my little fruits.

Julie lays out everything that you need. If you are just beginning and you want to make apples, these are the supplies and tools that you need. You can make a lot of apples.


  • Yellow and white Fimo that you will combine to make the interior of the apple
  • Pastels (artist's chalk)
  • razor blade to cut Fimo
  • ceramic bathroom tile on which to work and bake Fimo
  • straight pin to puncture stem hole in top of apple
  • If you want to dent to top of the apple, a stylus--I didn't, nor does Julie




Julie begins by making the stems and baking them for 10 minutes (read your product instructions)

Make a snake, rollin it very, very small.


Bakes Stems. Sturdier than you would think.



While the stems bake then cool:

  • Combine a bit of yellow with the white Fimo to make a pale apple center
  • Roll out apples then create chalk dust. A softer chalk will rub off in your hand; mine is very hard so I shaved the dust then put it in the palm of my hand and rolled the apple ball around in my hand. 



I played around with making sliced apples for pie. Didn't go well, and there is an easier way to make pie filling, I am learning.



Oven ready. At this stage the chalk will rub off. 





Baked at 265 F for 15 minutes.



One problem: as I removed the tile from the oven, apples rolled off. I had to wait for the oven to cool to reuse the one that ran away.


Peaches: Video Charming Stuff. I sort of combined the two techniques as you will see. This video will show how to add the resin for the juice in canned peaches. I sort of did my own thing, using Julie's method. The difference is that this video does not use pastels to color the peaches. 


You will need:
  • Tile to work on
  • Razor blade (Xacto knife will tend to smash the balls)
  • Stylus to create peach pit hole
  • paint brush to apply shading  pastel
  • Sharp point or a toothpick to add crease to whole peace 
  • Again I went rogue on the shades of Fimo, getting a darker peach flesh than the video, but a color that more closely matches my inspiration peaches. Click here for a Fimo product color chart<Vhthttps://clayfactory.net/Fimo/fimoclas.htm>. The video artist uses red, yellow, and white to create orange.


With colors blended, I rolled out a snake then cut into sections and rolled little balls that I hoped would fit in the jar. The I used the pointed stylus to create the peach crack and bit of pink pastel to give peach its blush.




With the razor blade, I cut the balls in half--tried.


I used the round stylus to dimple the half for the pit, I place the half in my palm to make the dimple so as not to flatten the bottom. You will notice that your halves my be slightly flattened from cutting, so try to gently reshape the roundness using the tip of your finger.



There are 64 halves, enough to fill several jars for a mini pantry and share some with Lily.

Not shown, I used my pointed stylus to make a bit of a stem indent into the pit dimple.

then I used a brush to color the pit dimple, using brown and rose colored pink in my pastel pallet. 

I baked at 265 F for about 30 minutes. 

Read you package instructions for directions




And there you have it: canned peaches just like grandma used to make--or me. I've canned my share of peaches over the years and these are probably a bit darker than my real ones, so if I make more peaches I'll use the colors that Charming Stuff uses. 


You will find these jars either online or at Hobby Lobby in the jewelry making supplies. 

Final notes:
  •  If you are new to polymer clay, as I am, do your research to see which products will work for you. Understand the clay. 
  • My product came with warnings: dangerous toxins while baking, so follow these precautions:
    • Keep away from young children. Julie's disclaimer says age 14. I say especially for little kids who tend to put things in their mouth keep all products out of reach.
    • I worry about my dog who can reach the counter top and eats everything, so I am really cautious working in the kitchen. I make sure to put everything away. The dog doesn't go down in the basement--can you believe he's scared of the stairs. Works for me. So I can leave stuff out and the little grandchildren are not little anymore. I'd work in the kitchen any so that I don't have to go up and down stairs to put things in the oven. 
  • Always read package instructions before you open up the clays to begin a project. Follow package instructions on baking and storing.
  • Tools may be a hazard for children. Some are sharp and pointed. 
  • Be mindful of cost. If you really are going get into clay art, buy all the colors and tool kit, or assemble piece by piece, color by color as you decide on a project. If you are going to make a couple of mini apples, buy them, but if you want to create a mini pantry or a vegetable garden or fruit tree (I'm thinking a peach tree), buy what you need. 
Yes, if I can do it, so can you. I had to do some research on Youtube and blogs to decide if I really want to invest the money in this art. My next lesson will be how to mix resin and make the peach juice to fill my jars. I am going to refer to My Miniature Madness by Jodi Hippler who gives the best instructions for using resin. Again before you start mixing resin, read package instructions. But before I am ready for resin, I'm going to make all of my canned foods so that I mix resin once and waste as little as possible.

Have a great week. Try something new. 

What are your thoughts on Fimo? Any past experience that you'd like share? Any questions? Share your comment. 

Thanks so much for visiting. 




















6 comments:

  1. How fun! I bought a cheapo toaster oven and a thermometer for polymer clay baking....I haven't used it yet, but you have inspired me.

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  2. So sorry about your water leak. It’s nice that you are so resourceful and were able to select a portable project. Your fruits are wonderful! The technique makes so much sense. I would have started with red Fimo for the apples, but then wouldn’t have been able to slice them. After I bought Fimo in several colors, the experts in our club said Sculpey is softer and much easier to work with. Next time I needed a color, I bought Sculpey.

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  3. Very nice! That is taking lemons to lemonade to a whole new level! I'm not very good with clay but maybe I can make some of Julie's biscuits!

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  4. I'd say that you are so fortunate to have caught the damage before it destroyed all the drywall and flooring! Phew! But you do kind of panic when a flood happens. We had a burst pipe due to an extended cold snap in our last home. We were already under contract with only two weeks until closing. We had great insurance and excellent repair men and all was well. Phew!!!
    The fruits look awesome! You're doing a great job and encouraging me for the upcoming bakery foods, too! Glad the resin experience will help you!!!

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  5. MOST IMPRESSIVE Ann, and what a Terrific sense of personal satisfaction and of achievement in diving into a new medium and coming out TOPS!
    Your canned peaches (just like grandma use to make), are going to make you smile everytime you see them AND hopefully becomes the stepping stone to even further adventures into the world of mini food making, once you begin filling up your mini pantry with your Delicious homemade preserves. LOOK OUT WORLD! :D
    Sorry to hear about your water damaged floor but as bad as it was it could always have been worse, however you did the right thing in an unavoidable catastrophe by Staying Calm; Carrying On- MAKING MINIS! ; )

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  6. Yuck to the leak but seriously...amazing work! I have tried to use clay once and my stuff looked....well like I fought the 3 year old and the three year old won!!!

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As if a Pandemic Isn't Enough: Sub title: If I can Do It, So Can You

My basement workshop has been my sanctuary and life-saver during this Social Distancing experiment. The other day I noticed water on the...