Evolution of a Design

evolution of a design

The Evolution of a Design

Or a look into the crazy inter-workings of a creative mind. I thought I would combine #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) with some thoughts on the evolution of a design. Often a design pops into your head fully formed and you take it from there. Other times, an idea evolves and changes over time as it did with the polymer clay beads in the above photo.


Let’s journey back to February 2011. You can read the original inspiration post, but short version is that it began with carved wood designs, which somehow made me think of carved jade, which led to the green beads in the upper left-hand corner of the photo. As you can see, I wasn’t totally happy with it, so I antiqued the one on the left.

Set Aside

The beads were then set aside and basically forgotten about until….

…almost a year and a half later, June 2012. I went on a shopping spree and purchased Christi Friesen’s line of Swellegant metal paints and colorants. Of course, I wanted to play with them immediately and didn’t want to take the time to make something. So, I started digging through my cured beads and and came across the green beads. The bead in the upper right-hand corner of the photo, shows the bead with silver metal paint.

The Final Design

While I liked the silver look, it still wasn’t quite right. So, I added a darkening patina, which was better as it added more definition to the flowers. Then, I decided to highlight the flowers with some color (bottom photo). I’m not sure whether that decision was because I thought it needed some color, or because it was my first experiment with Swellegant and I hadn’t tried the dyes yet. ;)

Epic Fail

Epic Fail

Epic Fail Weekend


So…last weekend I decided to work on my February Challenge vessel. The plan was to get started right after I threw in a load of laundry, which is when everything went to hell…

I go down to the basement to start a load of laundry and notice the floor is wet in the next room. I peek around the doorway and there is water spraying out of a tiny pinhole….AND…..it’s hot water. Now, our house was built in 1900 and the basement is only a partial basement, the rest is crawl space. It’s kinda icky down there, so unless I have a reason to go down, such as laundry, I don’t. Needless to say I hadn’t been in the basement for several days and have no idea how long the water has been spraying out. I can hardly wait to see my next water and gas bill. *sigh*

After we had a water pipe break in the upstairs bathroom several years ago and the resulting waterfall around the living room ceiling fan, I now know where the main water shut off valve is. I’d seriously like to know why these things always happen when my husband is at work. Anyway, I shut off the water and notice that it’s still spraying out of the pipe. Well duh, it’s coming from the hot water heater, which is still full.

I call my husband and tell him to come home. Then, I remembered that my granddaughter called me that morning (ok, she’s three and her mom did the calling) wanting grandma to cut her bangs. So, I call my daughter and tell her now is not a good time. I do a google search to see if we can temporarily fix it to get by until Monday. We tried a couple of things, which were also epic failures. Time to call a plumber. We live in a relatively small town and trying to get a hold of a plumber on the weekend is almost impossible. Finally, we heard back from a plumber and he came and replaced that section of pipe.


So…I decide to get started on my vessel, at least the base, before my daughter and grandkids show up. I have the whole thing worked out in my head and it’s going to be fabulous. The round container I wanted to cover was plastic and I know I should have tested it to see if it would hold up to curing temperature, but the plastic was pretty hard and I thought it should hold up. So I get it covered with polymer clay, smooth the seams and add texture, which all took some time to do. It goes into the oven just as my daughter and grandkids show up.

Well, you can see from the photo at the top what happened….

….even though I’ve been playing with polymer clay for well over 20 years, I still make stupid mistakes that result in an Epic Fail.

February Challenge

February Challenge - Vessels


as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary

~ a hollow container for holding liquids
~ a container (as a cask, bottle, kettle, cup or bowl) for holding something

The Challenge is to:

  • Create a vessel using polymer clay.
  • You may use either the January or February color palette* or a color palette of your choice.
  • Can be any size.
  • Vessel can be created free-form or by covering an existing container.


This is completely optional and you are under no obligation to enter. There are no prizes or winners for this challenge. However, entries will be displayed along with a link (to your shop, website, FaceBook page, etc.) here on my Crafts by Chris blog and Facebook page.

To Enter:

Send an email to: chris@craftsbychrisonline.com with the following information by no later than February 28, 2015.:

  • your name as you would like it displayed (can be your name and/or your business name)
  • URL you would like to link to (this can be an online shop, FaceBook page, etc.)
  • a photo of your entry
  • any other info you might like to share about your entry, such as inspiration, techniques used, etc.)

*The January and February color palettes can be found in the 12 Months of Inspiration e-book, which you can get for free along with the first month’s corresponding polymer clay color recipes when you sign-up for the newsletter here.

want to know the secret to busting through creative blocks?

The secret to busting through creative blocks

The trick to getting un-stuck is…

…you have to make yourself sit down and play with the materials, mix colors, revisit past work, etc. Anything to get yourself started. It’s that simple and that hard.

Help for getting started:

Mix Colors

Mix some pretty Spring colors with my polymer clay color recipe ebooks, available for Premo, FIMO Professional and Kato brands of polymer clay. You can find them in my Etsy shop.
Kato Spring 2015 Color Recipe Ebook

Make It A Game

Deal yourself a dose of inspiration with my Deal-A-Muse cards. Pick a card or two without looking and challenge yourself to create something using the card or cards chosen. A brand new set of 60 Deal-A-Muse cards (set #2) was just added to my Etsy shop.
Deal-A-Muse set #2

A Year of Inspiration

The Color.Creativity.Design membership site has been revamped with more levels to better suit your needs. Right now you can save $10 on any level….you can get a year of inspiration for as little as $19. Introductory sale ends February 18, 20115.
12 months of inspiration

Wishing you a colorful and creative year!

tea party and EU VAT

While I usually play a mild mannered polymer clay peep on the internet, in real life I tend to be a little bit ok, maybe more that a little bit of a “hot head” when I get wound up and tend to curse like a sailor. Add in the fact that I’ve been sick and in a grumpy mood anyway…

tea party and VAT EU

A few weeks ago I came across a post about the EU VAT. My first thought was that this sounds an awful lot like “taxation without representation”, which lead to a certain Boston Tea Party. My second thought was that there is no way in hell they are going to be able to enforce this in different countries. I, of course, signed the petition and starting reading more info on it and following along to see if any changes would be made. I’ve also been following discussions of what other sellers of tutorials were doing about it.

And while I’m not against paying taxes per se, we are talking about 28 different EU states with different tax rates…the accounting for a small individual seller would be considerable for a few pounds tax here and there. Not bloody likely!

If you purchase any of my polymer clay color recipe ebooks or tutorials, I’m sure you’re more interested in how I intend to handle it than my thoughts on the subject, so….

For my customers affected by the EU VAT:

I will be personally emailing you your color recipe ebooks and tutorials. (If there is human interaction – as in I personally email the files to you they are not subject to the tax)

And since I will be making no other changes, if one were to download the file before you receive it in mail…that is up to you. (I will never tell). What happens at Crafts by Chris, stays at Crafts by Chris.

Holiday Sale on Color.Creativity.Design

2014 Holiday Sale!

This week’s Holiday Sale special runs through the end of December.

A one year membership to Color.Creativity.Design is only $59.25 through December 31, 2014.

What is Color.Creativity.Design?
In a nutshell, your Color.Creativity.Design membership includes every new product published during that year (something new published monthly) plus every product that I have ever published. Polymer clay color recipe ebooks for Premo, FIMO Pro and Kato, inspirational photo color palettes with color recipes, tutorials and so much more. Click here for all the details.
Color.Creativity.Design membership Holiday Sale

a new week…a new special

The 2014 Holiday Sale!

A different deal will be posted each Monday and will be good through Sunday night, throughout the month of December.

This week’s deal:

holiday sale on tutorials

SAVE 25% on all Polymer Clay Tutorials. You can take advantage of this great deal on my website or in my Etsy shop. Both shops have been updated to reflect the sale price.