Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What planet was I on?

I love it when people comment on my blog.  Especially, I might add, when it alerts me to problems I didn’t even know I had!

A wonderful blogger from Australia took the time recently to tell me that it was impossible for her to leave a comment ( the comment box wasn’t visible) and perhaps I didn’t know?  I didn’t!  I had wondered why I had received so few comments, but then found that there were some funny issues that had developed with the new template I was using.  After fixing those problems, I received another letter from my blogger friend telling me that she used Microsoft Live Writer to help her format her blog posts quickly and easily – this after I had complained to her about how difficult it was to put photos where you wanted them in your blog posts.  Honestly, I can’t count the minutes ( and possibly hours) I’ve spent trying to wrestle with Blogger formatting. Perhaps some of you out there have struggled with this as well – perhaps I’m just lame and didn’t notice this program.  Whatever the case, I had never heard it mentioned until my hero Davinia mentioned it.  You must check out her blog – she’s funny, enthusiastic, generous, talented, and has great fun and results with polymer!  Check her out here:  Deez News

For me at least, there are 2 big advantages to using Live Writer.  The first is the easy placement and sizing of photos.  The second advantage is that what you see in Live Writer is what gets published.  I mention this in italics because the first time you use it, you might be fooled – when you ‘migrate’ your blog post to Blogger, the formatting appears to change and the photos get moved around and it generally looks dreadful.  Do not be fooled!  Preview your post on Blogger and check it – all will be exactly as it appeared on Live Writer!  Magic!

Photos are easily resized by clicking the image and pulling the arrow on the corner.  You don’t have to upload them as on Blogger, you just open them straight from your computer. Mine always disappeared on Blogger after I uploaded them, which I really hated!  You can choose frames for them, and you can do so much more that I’m slowly discovering…

microsoft live writer screen

The above is a screen shot of the main screen....

Below are  the possibilites open to you while inserting a picture…… note that there is an option to place your image within text!  I’ve seen people asking about watermarks for their images and they are right there as an option.

microsoft live writer screen.jpg1

Davinia wanted me to warn you that Live Writer works best with Vista and Windows 7 – Windows XP does not support the latest version of Live Writer perfectly.  Placement of images is not perfect in XP.  She says, though, that it is still better than wrestling with Blogger. 

SO, there it is – ease of blogging, finally.  Maybe Microsoft can help me with composition now...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The lure of transparent

Being a currently ex glass person, it goes without saying that I’m a sucker for things transparent.  For a long time, translucent was as close as you could come in polymer.  With the (newish) Pardo clay, you can go just a bit further down that road.  The results look a lot like sandblasted glass, which to me is a great plus, as I spent a good deal of my 18 years in glass with my hands in huge gloves peering into a sandblasting cabinet trying to take that pesky shine off my glass.  Who knew it could be so easy?

        IMG_2055        IMG_2051        IMG_2056

I’ve been messing around with this for a little while between other projects, but I did take the time to actually try and put a necklace together from some different elements that I’d made.  Oh, my sad and sorry wire work – I apologise in advance to all those who do wonderful wire work!  Just part of the ‘big picture’ learning curve that I seem to be stuck at the bottom of…I know this is not new material since I’ve already posted these on Flickr, but I wanted to talk a little more about the technical aspects of these.  Besides, not everyone looks at Flickr!
There are a few things to figure out -  whether the almost transparency stays if you add new parts to your polymer piece.  This is important to me as I like to add things sometimes, or at least, have the ability to ‘tweak’ something after curing the polymer.  I think, on the whole, that my experiments show that the best clarity comes after the first high temperature curing and it’s downhill from there.  Plan accordingly.  I’m also experimenting with adding various colorants to the polymer before curing, or applying them to the surface and curing again. On these beads I’ve used alcohol inks and Pebeo SetaSilk.  Not sure which I like best yet.

A funny constructed focal bead.  Love to play with elements and don’t seem to do it enough lately….
                      IMG_2299                      IMG_2307                    IMG_2309              

These Pardo elements are amazingly strong and flexible, in case you were wondering.  I’ve never seen a clay to match it!  It makes possible so many more design ideas that I have.  It’s not brittle at all…In fact, my only criticism of it is the way that it takes texture:  I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it sort of oozes and looses the texture unless you are very careful.  It’s worth remembering that no one clay is going to have all the characteristics that you want, and that perhaps, a better strategy is to work with and learn all the tricks of each brand and choose your clay according to the needs of your project. 


Ok, I know…a lot of pictures of the same stuff, but did you notice how nicely the photos are PLACED?  I’m going to have something to say about that in my next post.  Oh, the time I’ve wasted trying to get photos to work well in Blogger and it turns out that it is all so simple.  Placing them 3 in a row is just showing off, but I just wanted to do it because I never could before!
I’m making some of these beads to sell individually in my Etsy shop – what do you think?  I’d love to have some feedback from you, my patient and faithful readers.