Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Getting Ready for Out of Town Visitors

My parents are coming into town from Arizona tomorrow. I'm so psyched. I haven't seen them since the summer of 2007. I started my vacation today so I can bake lots of goodies and start cooking up German food for tomorrow's dinner. My mom's family came to the U.S. from Germany in the 1950s', so I was raised with lots of stick-to-your-ribs German food. These days, I make it on special occasions mainly because it's so time consuming to make everything from scratch.

While they are here, I want to spoil my parents rotten. I'm going to take them to the popular tourist haunts here in Northwest Arkansas. We're also going to the Beer and Bratwurst fest in the little town of Hermann, Missouri. Hermann is an awesome little town that was established by German settlers way back when. If you haven't been there before and you enjoy homemade food, hundreds of flavors of handmade sausage (after all, this IS a German town), wine tasting, antiques and shopping, you'll want to check out this little town. The small-town ambiance and activities make it the perfect trip for little weekend getaways.

The photos here were taken during my last trip to Hermann this past March. Check out all of the homemade cheese and sausage in the photo on the right. When it comes to good food, these people don't mess around.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Polishing Resin for High Shine

When resin is cast and taken out of its mold, the surface is somewhat dull. In addition, the resin has a tendency to pick up lines and other little flaws from the mold.

I have tested many different methods for polishing resin, and some are definitely better than others. I like my resin to shine like glass; if it doesn't, it looks inferior to me. Now, this is just my personal preference. If you are going for a dull finish because you want your resin to emulate granite or stone, that is a whole different issue.

First, let me tell you about a couple of the other methods I have tried for polishing my resin that just didn't work for me. As I mentioned above, I have experimented with several different techniques, but the ones I am listing here are the most common:

Castin' Craft Resin Spray:

I have had mixed results with this product. It tends to be unpredictable and may/may not work depending on several factors including the level of humidity in the air and the temperature outside. (Note: This product really should not be sprayed indoors. The fumes are noxious and good ventilation is needed. I strongly recommend spraying your projects outside.) On mild days when the humidity is low and the temperature is mild (between the 70's and 80's), the product works fine when used as directed. Unfortunately, if the elements don't all fall in line, it can spell disaster for your projects. I found this out the hard way - more than once. In this situation, the spray will come out a cloudy white color, instead of clear. The cloudiness does not go away when the spray dries and the project is ruined at this point. I was able to rescue a couple of pieces by quickly wiping my finger over the sprayed item. (I know - this is a big no-no. Do as I say and not as I do.) Given the fact that I make hundreds of pieces of resin jewelry at any given time, the unreliability of this product is not something I wish to chance. I don't know about you, but the thought of tossing out several pieces of resin that took days to make does not appeal to me in the least.

Carnauba Wax:

Carnauba wax is an item used to polish automobiles. I read that this item was recommended for polishing resin as it helps to fill in the lines left by the molds, and it leaves a soft shine. When I tried polishing my resin pieces with this product, I really couldn't tell the difference between the coated and uncoated pieces. The lines still showed as clear as day and the resin surface was still dull. Since I like very glossy resin surfaces, this product didn't work for me. It did not give me the end result I was looking for.

Brush-on Resin:

By far, the best results I have encountered is by using resin as a coating for the finished pieces. This takes a little longer as you have to wait for the resin to harden, but the results are well worth it. The finished product is shiny and new, and it's virtually resistant to scratches and wet weather. Hands-down, this is my favorite technique to coat resin pieces.

Technique:

Cut a strip of duck tape (and before anyone emails me about my spelling - the brand I use is called DUCK tape - seriously) and lay it on the work surface, sticky side up. Place the resin piece on top of the tape, face up.

Press the back of the tape firmly against the resin piece, using your fingers to ensure there is a tight seal. This step is important. You don't want the resin leaking underneath the tape.
In a small container, mix up a batch of resin according to the manufacturer's directions. With a flux brush or other disposable brush, lightly brush a coat of resin over the top and sides of the resin pieces. Use a light hand when doing this; only a light coat is needed to get the glossy shine. Any excess resin will form a pool around the completed pieces and will have to be sanded off after it has hardened.Allow the freshly glazed pieces to dry. Remove from tape. Sand edges as desired and wa-la - you have gorgeous and shiny resin pieces to use in your craft and jewelry projects.

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS!!!

A big congratulations to the winners of the random drawing for handmade resin jewelry featuring candy:

Two Pixie Dolls
and
Peace Schuyler

Thank you to everyone who entered! I LOVED reading all of your comments about why you love the autumn season.

Ladies, I will have your pendants in the mail to you ASAP. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New FLICKR Group to Show Off Your Art From This Blog!

What fun is it to make and swap art if you have no place to show it off? I have started a brand-spanking new FLICKR group just for that purpose. It is called the Two Crafty Mules Altered Art Swap Gallery. This is THE place to post pictures of your art creations made for this group's swaps; you can also post pictures of any artwork you received.

I would love for this group to be interactive and to have a great time. If you have any swap ideas, please let us know about it.

Here is the link:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/twocraftymulesalteredartgallery/


Two Crafty Mules Logo
Myspace Glitter Graphics



I hope to "see" you there!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Vintage Halloween ATC Swap Update & List

So far, we have 16 people who have signed up to participate in this swap - whoo hoo! If you have signed up, please be sure to email me at craftymule@yahoo.com with your name, email address and mailing address (if you have not already done so.) Once I hear from you, I will send you my mailing address. I tried to respond to everyone who signed up by leaving a comment on this blog, but the reply email address shown for many people was "noreply@blogger.com". Please accept my apologies if you did not get a response from me due to this. I tried - I promise. :)

And way to go, Krista - I received your ATC's today and they are sooooo adorable!!!

So far, here's our list of participants:

1) Wanda Eash AKA Craftymule (Completed)
2) CindyisCrafty (Received)
3) SuperMommy
4) HellesBelles
5) Whim & Fancy Designs AKA Ann-Denise Anderson (Received)
6) Steph Tichenor (Received)
7) Leslie Patton AKA Junkgirl (Received)
8) Susan Hickam
9) Two Pixie Dolls - Krista Komis (Received)
10) Wendy Robrecht (Received)
11) Simply Kris
12) Angela Dasner
13) Seeking Simplicity
14) Awtemnymf (Received)
15) Peace Schuyler (Received)
16) Suzee Que AKA Susan Criser (Received)

Sign-ups close on September 6, so if you know of anyone else who would like to participate, please send them over. The more, the merrier!