Steampunk Altoid Tins...

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of doing a demo for my claying guild, the Vancouver Island Polymer Clay Guild on covering altoid tins and giving them some ideas around "steampunking" them.

Originally we had planned to make Christmas ornaments/little gifts so I had brought along some samples of *stuff* I have been working on.  Well, the moment they saw one of the altoid tins I had made as a "gift box" for a gift card I am giving a friend for Christmas, the ornaments were completely forgotten.  Silence in the room.  Here are a couple of photos of  the tin I showed them...(my friend likes bling... so I added some "jewels" to this tin)

"Do you want to do Steampunk Altoid tins instead?" I asked innocently.  GRIN. 

Head nodding enthusiasm, with a few Yippes thrown in for good measure, erupted in our friend Barb's lovely art studio!  And it just so happened LOL that our claying friend Barb has a formidable stash of altoid tins she was willing to share with us tucked away in one of her art table drawers. 

Claying in Barb's studio is FUN!  After the summer break, she graciously made her studio available for us to clay in once a month.  We aren't a big group so there is lots of room to spread out.  And Barb has everything... and I do mean that!  Stamps, texture plates, clay, paint, Pearl Ex... you name it... Barb has it in abundance.  What fun it is to have permission to "paw" through her stuff to see what you can discover!  She has to be one of the most giving, fun and sharing women I know.

I spent most of my time showing some of the "newer" clayers some little tricks in preparing their clay, texturizing it and covering their tins while Barb and Deb, the more experienced clayers in our little group, just charged ahead.  We used Pearl Ex to add colour to the black clay and emphasize the patterns in the clay. And Barb, bless her, just 'happened to have' some gears that she shared with everyone. 

Our claying friend Janet had to leave early so I don't have a photo of her tin but here's a photo of Barb, Deb and Irene's finished products... which doesn't do them justice at all!  All they need now is a coat of Future floor wax to finish them off and give them some sheen and to glue the "gears" down. Conversely, you can use "Triple Thick" to give them a wet, glossy finish if that is more to your liking.

It's hard photographing "metallics" so that they show up in all their glory... but didn't they do a *great* job???  This was Irene's first *big* claying project and she was absolutely thrilled with the results. 

I usually make my little tins with small feet and a "drawer" pull and they end up looking like little jewel cases.  There are lots of ideas for finishing the inside... you can glue in paper and make a little collage or just leave it plain.  You can use fabric and polyfill on the inside for a lovely, soft padded effect. 

There are lots of practical uses for these covered altoid tins and its use can determine how you finish it.   Here are a few ideas that come to mind:

* A little sewing kit with a pin cushion, thread, tiny scissors, etc. inside.
* A "fancy tin" to store your loose change for parking meters, parking garages or a quick cup of java at the takeout window! The tins tuck nicely into your purse (or your hubby's jacket pocket) and you'll never say *$%@#& again when you dump out all of your pocketbook change to "pay" and discover that all you have are pennies, nickels or dimes!
* A gift card box... they are the perfect size.
* A key or small trinket box for little stuff.
* A place to store your IPod earbuds, batteries and the "memory" cards for your digital camera.
*You can even make one of these tins into a portable media storage tin with the addition of a "memory stick"
* An ATC card holder (I am currently working on one to hold a number of my favourite steampunk ATC's)

You can also finish the top of the tin in a number of ways.  Here's another one I did adding a piece of embossed copper foil that I antiqued to the top...

What are some ideas you have for finishing these tins either with clay or without?  Has this blog post inspired you to cover a tin for yourself or as a gift for Christmas? I'm sure all my readers would love to hear your ideas or see a photo.  Leave a comment and let us know where we could see your "creation".   If you don't have a blog, send me a photo, I'll publish it here for the world to see.

Till next week,

Christmas is in the Air...

This has been a particularly busy last couple of weeks... and quite a week past.  On Monday, on my way home from running errands, my car was rear ended causing about $5,000.00 in damage.  I was not hurt but it's a real pain in the *you know what* to have to deal with it.  It was raining and there were so many accidents that day that we can't even get the car in for repair until the end of this month! 

Wednesday, things picked up considerably... I entered a local TV contest and won two tickets to the Leonard Cohen concert here in Victoria on November 30.  I was absolutely thrilled and my hubby, who just loves L.C. was over the moon.  The tickets were rather expensive for us right now, so much to our regret we had decided to pass.  A lovely, unexpected gift! 

Friday brought a *birthday party* for our little pooch, Mr. Shelby, who turned 10!  It was hilarious how his head went back and forth, side to side, when we sang him Happy Birthday. He got so excited and was jumping all over the place like a puppy.  He knew those extra yummy treats were coming....
But alas!  It was raining outside and his lovely, fluffy Bichon*hairdo* went all curly before we could get a photo of him.  Like he cared!  All he wanted to do after a trip outside was curl up on the "studio" couch in his afghan and take in the warmth of the fireplace! 

Friday also blessed us with a pretty blanket of swirling snow overnight.  Boy did that wind howl through the pine trees in our backyard!  I woke up in the middle of the night and looked outside... those giant Douglas fir tree tops were swaying pretty darn good.  It has always amazed me at how the first snowfall makes things look so fresh.... I love it!!  The cold plays havoc with my arthritis... my hips were just pounding in spite of having taken some medication... but once I got up this morning and got moving, things improved.

The past couple of weeks has seen Christmas breaking out all over my studio!  Little clay angels, the snowbabies I love to make, swirlie suckers, tiny peppermint candy and ribbon candy ornies as well as some tiny presents with bows.  Here are some photos...

 Of course I didn't stop there... had to make a few little gifts!  Here is a photo of a pretty poinsetta pin....

And some shawl pins.  These were fun to make... I like making odd shapes!  I attached them to a fuzzy collar so you can see how fun and funky they look in use!  I love the watercolor effect I achieved for the one on the right.  Don't ask me how it happened... it just did!!  You never know what you will get when you smusch clay together!

Hope this nudges you towards some Christmas creations and sends some inspiration your way this week.   There is nothing like a handmade gift for your friends and family for Christmas that says "I love you" more loudly!!!

A wonderful Thanksgiving to all my American readers this coming week!