Archive of ‘My Life’ category

DIY Button Stamp Tool Tutorial

| Crafts & DIY, My Life

DIY Polymer clay stamp tutorial

DIY button stamp tool tutorial – great for pottery, polymer clay, play dough and plasticine.

DIY Button Stamp Tool Tutorial – A number of months back, I came across a bucket list of things I’d like to try that I had made years ago and forgotten all about. I was so thrilled when I browsed through the list and realized that I had done all but one item on my list. Strangely enough though, I had just signed up to take a pottery class – the one missing item from my list. After my first class, it quickly occurred to me that I had fallen in love with what was to become my new hobby. The tactile, hands-on, fingers in the clay thing and the scent of damp earth seemed to fulfill something in my life that I didn’t even know I was missing. One class turned into three classes; three classes turned into nine classes, and now I’ve just signed up for an advanced pottery class for the fall.

At some point in my research for pottery ideas, I noticed that many of the potters and studios have their signature stamps that they put on all their work. I loved this idea the moment I saw it. I’m still a beginner potter and don’t quite feel like I can use my own signature stamp yet but I still love the idea of having a little extra detail hidden somewhere on the clay piece. One day I popped into a second hand shop and I came across this amazing bag full of antique buttons. For a mere $2 I bought the bag full of buttons and rushed home to figure out how to turn these into stamps. The process is pretty easy and I have to say I couldn’t believe how sturdy and durable these clay stamp turned out. These texture tools are great for pottery clay, polymer clay and the kids will love them for play dough and plasticine.

DIY Button Stamp Tool Tutorial 

Materials:

  • Buttons
  • Polymer Clay (Sculpy, Fimo, etc)
  • Nylon string (fishing wire will work)
  • Knife
  • Cookie sheet with parchment paper

Directions (see photos below):

  1. Using a 4″ nylon string, find two buttons (similar size works best) and tie the buttons together.
  2. Roll out a piece of polymer clay and form into a cylinder shape. Make the size of the clay a little shorter than the nylon string with the buttons when pulled taut. The role of clay should also be a little fatter than the width of the buttons.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut a slit down the length of cylinder of polymer clay but only half way into the cylinder.
  4. Pulling the buttons taut, slide the nylon string with the buttons on the ends down into the slit.
  5. Gently squish the two sides of the cylinder polymer clay together and slowly roll the clay until the clay squishes down to meet both buttons and fills the space behind the buttons.
  6. Carefully place the button stamp tool onto a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Bake using the polymer clay baking instructions (I baked mine for 20 minutes at 275 degrees).
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Download your easy to make DIY Button Stamp Tool instructions here.

DIY Button Polymer clay stamp tutorial

DIY polymer clay stamp texture tool tutorial.

7 Comments

Ontario Visit

| My Life

OntarioCollage1Sorry for my long absence but I thought I should explain. Noelle and I had the good fortune to take a couple of weeks to go visit all my family and friends in Ontario. Visits home aren’t usually a big deal but the last time I was home, Noelle was only 10 months old… yes, that was 7 years ago. I know…what a bad child, sister, cousin and friend I’ve been. Luckily, I live in a pretty awesome place so I’ve had the good fortune to have many visits from my Ontario family and friends. None the less, it’s been a long time since I’ve been home and had a proper visit. Noelle’s almost 8 years old now so it was time she met all the rest of her family she didn’t even know she had.

Here are a few photos from our fantastic visit in Ontario including Niagara Falls, the CN tower, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Muskokas, the Kawarthas, and Lake Ontario. Thanks to everyone who took a moment out of their busy lives to spend some time with us and a special thanks to my parents who managed to put up with us for 11 days straight. Now that I’m back home look for some new posts coming soon.

OntarioCollage2

1 Comment

Mirrorless Cameras – A Change in Perspective

| Design & Technology, My Life

OMD Mirrorless Camera

OMD Mirrorless Camera

Mirrorless cameras – Olympus OM-D E-M1  – They say “the best camera is the one you have with you” and lately I’ve noticed that I rarely carry a camera and have come to rely on my iPhone. Now, as I’ve said before, I love my iPhone but in all reality its not the best for a photography enthusiast.  Photography has been a hobby of mine for over the past 10 years and although I’ve found myself going through spells where I didn’t use my camera that much, overall it’s been a constant in my life. When it comes down to it, I want to try to capture as much of my life on film as possible – my family is so precious and I don’t want to miss one beautiful moment if possible.

I’ve always been a Canon girl and for the last 3 years I’ve been using a Canon 60D.  My camera has served me well but as I mentioned at the beginning of this post I found that I was taking it with me less and less. It’s so heavy and cumbersome and frankly not that enjoyable to carry around. I also noticed that I hadn’t taken it with me on our last few family vacations either because it was too big and took up too much space in my luggage. About a month ago I was taking stock of my all my lenses and thinking about what lenses I was needing for my kit when I had a huge ah-ha moment, “why am I doing this, why am I accumulating more stuff that I never actually take anywhere.”  That was the beginning of the end for my DSLR system.

Needs assessment…

I decided to try to see things from a different point of view. I assessed my needs: I wanted something that’s smaller and lighter that still has versatility and produces amazing quality photographs. While moving to a point and shoot camera was too drastic for me, I came across a relatively new type of hybrid camera called the mirrorless micro 4/3 cameras.  They’ve been on the scene for 5-6 years or so but have only recently come into their own. Mirrorless camera’s are a cross between a compact camera and a DSLR – generally they are simpler, smaller, lighter and as such can be more versatile than a DSLR. Also like DSLR cameras, the mirrorless system gives you a choice of various lenses; you can get amazing prime lenses, fast standard and telephoto zooms, and petite collapsible wide angle zooms. Depending on which brand of mirrorless camera you get, there can be a myriad of lens choices (as with the Olympus OM-D which lets you use Olympus, Panasonic and other 3rd party lenses).

Decision time…

The next task was to narrow it down and make a decision on exactly what brand and model of camera I was going to purchase.  After tons of research, I decided to go for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 which I’ve found nothing but glowing reviews for. This camera has also been voted camera of the year by many photo magazines, editors and websites. I also researched the lenses on this great resource, dxomark.com, which lists the best lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M1. From this list I narrowed my choice down by picking something that had relatively high points but was also in my price range. This Amazon.com list below shows all my final choices – click on an image to get all the details.

I won’t go into all the technical specifications but I will say that I’ve been incredibly happy with the exceptional quality so far in the first week that I’ve had the camera. I purchased the camera with the 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens which is simply stunning and I also ordered the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f1.7 and the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f1.8 lenses.  The 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens is as nice if not nicer then any of my Canon lenses and the 45mm prime in particular is breathtaking.

It’s taking a while to learn all the ins and outs of the OM-D but I’m catching on pretty quickly. I’m not trying to sway anyone but I wanted to mention a few things about this great camera:

  1. Portability and stealth – easy to keep in your purse.
  2. Great lenses – not that there are more choices than with a DSLR but there is a huge line up of Olympus and Panasonic lenses that you can use with this camera, many with professional quality glass that costs considerably less than other traditional SLR lenses.
  3. Solid weatherproof build – this crazy beast is dust, splash and freeze proof down to -10 degrees Celsius (14° F).
  4. 10 frames per second and awesome auto-focus – blazing fast!
  5. WiFi enabled – control the camera shutter and settings with your iPhone, great for remote situations when you want to jump into the shot and easily send photos to your iPhone.
  6. Incredible electronic viewfinder – there’s nothing out there yet that compares to this amazing viewfinder. See what your finished photo will look like with live-view before you even take the shot.
  7. In camera stabilization – no need to find lenses that have image stabilizers, the camera already has one built-in.
  8. For the joy of shooting – a camera like this opens up opportunities you didn’t even realize you were missing before. No tripod needed in most situations and people aren’t intimidated by a huge camera and lens pointed at them.

Now, keep in mind that while I’m a huge advocate of the smaller mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras still ultimately hold top place (for the moment). The DSLR advantages list includes: superior image quality, fabulous low light performance, total creative and technical control, huge selection of lenses, optical view finders, larger sensors, extensive battery life, highly customizable, and many offer HDTV quality video.  Keep in mind that these DSLR advantages may only be relevant at this moment in time… I know for a fact that many of the items I’ve listed in the advantages list are things that are being worked on by the mirrorless camera engineers as we speak. I’m sure in a year or two mirrorless cameras will pretty much hold their own against DSLRs.

But why???

You may have asked yourself why I’ve written this post and my point here is simply to say that its OK to stop and take a look at your equipment and ask yourself if it’s really working for you – if you aren’t carrying it with you then it’s not working. Technology changes so quickly these days you may not even be aware of the options available to you. As a mother, my favorite thing to photograph is my child and if I don’t have my camera with me then what’s the point. Now I have a stunning camera that I can keep in my purse and am not burdened by its huge size and weight but also know that I can count on amazing quality every time. I’m looking forward to many more fabulous photographs in my future.

By the way, I’m not affiliated with or get any money from Olympus to talk about this camera… I just love it.

Here are some of my first test shots from the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Below is a cropped close-ups of the moss photo so you can see the great sharpness and detail that this camera and lens can capture.

Olympus OMD E-M1 test photos

Olympus OMD E-M1 test photos

 

Detail closeup of moss photo

Detail closeup of moss photo

1 Comment

Family Vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

| My Life

Mexico family vacation 2014

Mexico family vacation 2014

Hello Dabbles and Babbles followers.  I wanted to take a moment to apologize for my absence from my blog over the past few weeks.  I had the very good fortune and opportunity to take a vacation in Mexico with my family.  We went to Puerto Vallarta and had an amazing time spent relaxing, exploring, and enjoying family time together.  Now I’m back home and feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to get back to my creative adventures.

0 comment

1 2 3