A Birdhouse in Sue’s Soul

Here’s a post I write for the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild Reporter. Check out the Guild Reporter for polymer clay happenings in the Philadelphia Area.

Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild Reporter

Sue makes a point
If you had been paying attention in your ornithology class, you would already know that there are more than 150 species of owls flying around the planet. That means that Sue Springer won’t have any shortage of models for her latest obsession: recreating owls in polymer clay.  Here are     some of her latest creations.  Click under the pictures to see the real-life owls that served as inspiration.


Click here
Sue builds her owls on a polymer clay tile with a wire attached to the back for hanging.  She fashions the owls
 from her ever-growing  collection of canes  she designs to  suggest the different feathers of  the inspirational owl.
Sue employs complex Skinner Blends, translucent clay and color mixing  to good effect,  achieving  a look of depth to the feathers despite the limited color palate.


Click here
Sue builds more colorful canes for the eyes but employs  similar  subtle shading that …

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Still Quilting, Still Dreaming

I started these quilts (I am making two) a year and a half ago. I put them away during our house renovation.  I have moved from the dining room to my new workshop in the basement where I have lots of room and a floor that is easy to sweep.  I moved my mother’s Singer Slant-O-Matic down there and plan to have it tuned up.  In the meantime,  I’m using my late mother-in- law’s Kenmore which I also love and which I  used to make my couch covers.

I’m making a modified Log Cabin pattern, semi wonky because I could never color inside the lines and still can’t. I plan each block to be 13 inches square raw and 12 inches square sewn and I have 70 made so far. I want to make 14 more.  I am using mostly cut up clothes, old sheets and tablecloths, scraps and found fabric.

I bought a big box of scraps on Etsy.  If you do a search for “fabric destash” you can get some incredible deals and the shipping is reasonable too.

You use a lot of thread when you sew patches together so I am using a cone rather than a spool of thread and I made a stand for the thread cone that is working out quite well! Here are some instructions.

I also learned about the chain piecing technique that helps you to sew faster. There’s a nice video on it at the bottom of the post.


And now for the gallery

Found Jewelry from City Sidewalks

I challenged myself to make a piece of jewelry entirely from materials I found on the sidewalk. Well, here it is.  What do you think?


The materials I used are pebbles, twigs, stripped electrical wire (12 and 18 gauge copper) and picture hanging cable.

I drilled holes in the pebbles and twigs with a hand rotary drill.  Find a tute on drilling rocks here.

I cut sections of the 12 gauge copper,  formed them into interesting shapes, bent a loop  on top for hanging  and pounded them with a hammer.  I also filed the ends because they get sharp!

I made a closure with the thinner wire by wrapping it around the  ends of the cable and fashioning a hook and eye.

Here’s a good tute on how to do that .

I don’t think I’d wear this necklace to a formal event, but I have worn it.   I recommend is  coating the twigs with resin after drilling  to strengthen them.   Then you could do all kinds of things with them!  You could color them with pencils and markers and make Christmas ornaments or jewelry components or garlands or  . . .  the list goes on and on.

Circus Beads

My friend Wilma said these beads remind her of the circus, so I am calling them Circus Beads.


And be sure to check out Clayathon goes to the Circus.

Workshop Redo

I decided that it was finally time to redo the workshop in the basement.  We had just finished getting hardwood floors and to prepare for that, we had to empty every bit of furniture so it could be moved.  This meant clearing out books, record albums and finding a temporary storage place for furniture, rugs and all the other things that we were keeping but had to be put out of the way.

Aleo Workshop 082Aleo Workshop Overview

The furniture in my workshop  (see pictures on the left and right) was made up of street finds, boards, old furniture taken apart and repurposed and yard sale acquisitions. I dismantled most of it and had it carted away. I also got rid of 120 books and replaced hundreds of magazines I like with digital editions.  I will never again  subscribe to a bead or jewelry magazine that isn’t digital. I plan to get rid of the remainder of the magazines when their respective publishers see fit to have a sale on back digital editions.


3This is how things look now.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The behemoth behind the work table is part of an entertainment unit that Ikea sold  back in the 1990s.  It was so hard to put together and so cheap, that they only sold it for one year.  I dismantled the middle unit and the two six foot bookcases, dragged them from the living room to the basement (by now cleared) and reassembled them.  I mean, I put the bookcases back together.  I needed help for the middle section in the form of a husband who kept grousing that we would never be able to put it back together.  Boy was he surprised when suddenly, there it was standing in front of us completely reassembled!



I took two Limmon tabletops from Ikea and put them onto four cabinets.  I got the idea from the Ikea Hackers blog.   It worked out so well that I added four more Helmer cabinets.   I bought a computer monitor stand with a slide out shelf for $3.99 at a thrift shop and attached it to the underside of the table for a handy drawer.


I have been switching doors around as I find that certain items are better stored in other cabinets.





WKSHP (11)

Soldering Sta

I learned how to use a hammer drill so I could relocate the pegboards and shelving on the masonry walls

Lampworking Station

Lampworking station is closed until I can open the windows and get the fans going.  The kilns and oak watchmaking bench have been relocated to the wall to the right of th lampworking station.


Now I have enough room to sew and I can invite  friends over to work.  It’s easy to walk around the table  which now has eight Helmer cabinets stowed beneath as well as three plastic carts.  I’m going to have the electric service upgraded and make some other changes, but I think I’ve found the layout that works and a place for everything!

Press here for a wonderful site that links to 44 different artists work spaces. Maybe one will inspire you!