Sunday, 28 April 2013

Craft newsletter in the pipeline!

My latest project for Coryographies is a craft newsletter!

 I thought it could be fun to write and compile a monthly newsletter full of crafty fun - interviews with crafty people, tips and tricks, links to the best little handmade shops dotted around the internet, and anything else I can think of that celebrates creativity and things handmade.

My first issue is currently being written, and I'm planning to send it out in May and then have them sent out monthly. I would LOVE any ideas for contributions any of you have.

 Please be in touch if there's something you would like to see! The scope of the newsletter is about handmade crafts, but I'm thinking of broadening that include cooking and writing as well. After all, those are crafts too!

Please sign up on the right hand side of my blog, or visit the newsletter tab.  You'll hopefully be receiving an email from me soon!

Monday, 22 April 2013

South Dakota - Another US State on my list gets a Coryographies package!

Spearfish Falls, South Dakota
In my neurotic attempt to keep track of where in the world I've sent my jewellery to, you may remember an earlier post this year where I'd created a map of US states and filled in all the states I've sent my jewellery to.

It turned out that in the 1.5 years Coryographies has been up and running, I'd sent to 45 of 50 states!  How much Coryographies love is that!?  The missing states that I was after were then Hawaii, West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming.  Ones that I might personally have to visit wearing a sandwich board advertising my jewellery.

So since I don't have the money to fly to America and do what would probably be a very fun targeted road trip, I was very happy to receive an order from South Dakota near Coryographies' two year anniversary!


So I therefore name South Dakota my current favourite US state, because this week it has made me happy.

The Badlands in South Dakota
But I know nothing about South Dakota!  Do you?  This is what my preliminary research has found out:

South Dakota is in the mid North of the US.  It has stunning natural beauty (just look through the photos on Pinterest!).  Its name comes from the Lakota and Dakota native tribes (whose names I remember from linguistics classes, when we looked at the Lakota language a few times!).

The capital city is called Pierre, but the biggest city is Sioux Falls.  It has a gold rush history, much like where I'm from in Canada.  The town of Deadwood is also in South Dakota, which the HBO series of the same name took place in, adapted from a book starring Wild Bill Hockok, Calamity Jane and others!  A real wild west state with lots of history.  Mount Rushmore is even in South Dakota, I didn't know that!

So there you have it.  The education that Coryographies brings to you and me.  Which state will be next to make me very happy for a week?  Come on Hawaii!!

Mt Rushmore in South Dakota

Friday, 19 April 2013

Happy Two Year Anniversary to Coryographies! 15% off discount to celebrate!

Happy anniversary, Coryographies!

Coryographies celebrates it's 2 year anniversary tomorrow!  I began selling my little Fimo creations on April 20th, 2011.  I had no idea that two years later I would still be playing with 'playdoh for grown-ups', and even supporting myself and having a small business that allowed me to be brave enough to start a PhD in the Fall and survive with its proceeds.
Coryographies has to date made over 800 sales to over 20 countries, and 46 US states!  Coryographies items are sold in the wonderful In With The Old in Islington, London, and will be appearing soon at an exhibition in Oxford.  I'm very proud and happy of what it has become.

So to celebrate with you, I'm offering 15% everything in my Etsy shop this Friday Saturday and Sunday only, to celebrate Coryographies turning Two!  Type in the coupon code 'YayTwo' at point of purchase and make me work hard sawing and sanding and painting and varnishing all next week in celebration and enjoyment of making my Coryographies jewellery! :)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

MORE new made to order items at Coryographies on Etsy

I've gone through my back catalogue of book jewellery and selected more of my favourite items to bring back as regulars.  See if there are any of these that you like!  I think some new photos of them are in order though...:
Penguin book dangle earrings in Orange
Penguin book dangle earrings in Purple
Blue miniature book earrings
Red miniature book earrings
And the return of:

Gothic Bookshelf Necklace
These are some old favourites, but I think I need to break out the camera and take some more photographs of new ones in better lighting!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

My Craft Apron

I love my craft Apron... I bought it at a craft fair with my crafty earnings a few months ago, and whenever I wear it it puts me in the crafty zone!

It's sweet and polkadotted, has big pockets, and gives me something else to wipe my varnish-y and paint-y hands on so I don't keep ruining my trousers.

Plus, and I know it sounds strange, but it's actually quite warm... it's just a nice thick cotton material, but in my chilly house in chilly England during this chilly winter (yes it's still winter in England, it's been lasting FOREVER), layers are a must.

And it's a bonus if those layers are cute polkadots that make you feel creative and artsy.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

New Regular Items - Stack of Books Earrings and Penguin Book Stud Earrings

My Stack of Books Earrings and Penguin Book Stud Earrings have always been popular numbers on my Etsy site, so I've made them Made to Order items so they can be bought at any time!  Instead of waiting until I have time to make 4 or 5 and take new pictures and put them up now and again, which isn't very consistently!

So any time you want, you can be the owner of these sweet earrings:

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Varnishing Polymer Clay

Varnishing your polymer clay items is really important for making your items last and look their best.  Unvarnished pieces can scratch and pieces can break off really easily, and some polymer clays stay quite soft after they have been baked.

So which varnish is the best to use?

When I first started out making items with polymer clay I used a bit of an unorthadox method, and finished my pieces with clear nail polish - it makes a really hard finish and it your pieces are small like mine, it keeps little bits from chipping of since it acts like a really strong glue.

Unfortunately this hold doesn't last - it also yellows a bit after a year, and starts to go a bit sticky.  Pieces get a bit gummy and break off.  So I abandoned the nail polish for the purpose made stuff, Fimo's Gloss Varnish.

This varnish is fantastic - its best feature is it's a really thin liquid, but still makes an extremely hard shiny shell over your piece that protects is really well.  Two layers of this will make your items really last.  I haven't noticed any yellowing or peeling, either.

One drawback is that it is a slightly whitish opaque colour, and if some pools in a little crack, you can be left with a whitish mark where it dries.  To avoid this, use the paintbrush in a dabbing motion and only apply a thin layer at a time.

Since it worked so well, but is a bit pricey, I tried out another polyeurethane varnish from ebay a while ago.  Unfortunately it just didn't cut it.  It was by Craftmill and quite a lot cheaper, so I thought I'd give it a go.  It ended up, when in contact with glue, turning crystaline and crumbling off.  It also had a tendency to yellow a bit.  I stopped using it immediately after a bunch of my teapot earrings broke in transit to a shop where I sell some of my items :(  Into the bin it went!

Another popular polymer clay varnish is by Sculpey, who make Sculpey polymer clay as well as Premo, which is my favourite.  I haven't tried it myself, but it will be my next to experiement with.  I've heard it can be a bit goopy and peely, and that it has the yellowing problem, but I can't judge as I have yet to try it.  I also imagine that it will be slightly cheaper than Fimo, as most things are!

There are lots of alternatives for polymer clay finishes, from floor polishes to wood varnishes, to paint varnishes that are common in craft stores, and there seem to be varying results in a lot of them.

Personally I'm going to stick to the purpose made ones, as I want to play it safe with jewellery that I'm selling.  It's hard to know how a varnish will hold up a year from working with it, and since I know Fimo works well, that is that one I will probably always stick with.  It's hardness always impresses me, and it may be a bit pricey, but the confidence I have in it is worth that price!