CAT SAFARI

On January 2016, I went to Cat Safari with Ariane. (Read all about it on my Dayre!)

Cat Safari is a place where cat lovers gather, and have a therapeutic session with the cats for a low cost of $5 for about an hour! The admission fee which is essentially the fee for the socks is kind of like a donation for the cats' medical treatments, as the cats are mostly taken in from cat farms (which is usually in REALLY bad condition) or strays!

They only opens to the public during the weekends, and during the weekdays, they bring the cats to old folks home/autistic kids school for a therapy session. (Which works!)

I was really touched by the owners' ambition to save as much cats as they can, and also at the same time helping humans to destress! ^^ The medical treatments for pets especially in Singapore doesn't come cheap, and to be honest I don't know how they're doing it.

Since I was really moved, I decided to contact them and donate a piece of clay figurine of one of their cats to them, so they can sell it and hopefully it will help sustain part of the cat's medical treatment!

The whole thing actually got delayed (FOUR MONTHS OMG T.T) because I had a lot of (pleasantly surprised) unexpected custom orders! I feel really bad, and they probably thought I'm all talk no action.......but a promise is a promise (even though I had to put my customers first ><)

Here's the reference photo! 

The photo is a bit yellowish in colour, so everything looks a bit more saturated than usual. But rest assure the wall and compartment colour is the same ;)

This adorable little kitten is call Merger (pronounced Burger with a "m") and he's actually a defected Munchkin. Apparently the species Munchkin itself is a defect, made because humans think it's cute lol. And when you get failed ones like Merger, who has really short front legs and much longer hind legs, breeder throws it and nobody wants it. (Sigh, humans.)

Look at that big, gorgeous eyes!! The leg you see here is his hind legs, and they actually CAN'T BE BENT. Because Merger is still a kitten, they can try to "push" his bones the correct way, which is really painful for Merger, but is a necessary evil :( According to Kahyong and Derrick (the owners), he can bend them now and is able to jump a little! Soooo glad it worked out.

Most of the cats in Cat Safari has their own story, and I wanted to create a figurine for each of them and tell their story! But because of time constrains and me being broke....this idea will have to be pushed back :( 

I do hope I will be able to do it one day, in the near future. 

FAILED ANIMAL FIGURINES :(

If you read my previous post, you would have seen a completed custom order. However, it wasn't the case in the beginning and I actually failed in the beginning :|

He initially ordered a bear and a koala bear instead of figurines, but also wanted them to sit on the bench. 

Obviously it didn't work :(

I even made indents on the bear before I bake it so that it would stick better, but turns out my customer thought that the bear wasn't really sitting on the chair properly. 

Which I could see why! The bear was a little hunched, so if I were to put it a bit upwards it'd be too hunched :< 

I also thought that the koala was a bit too big in contrast to the bear (even though they're actually already very small) 

It was my first time making these two animal, and making one hug the another was even more tough. I was almost really stressed out!!! D:

(You can see the indents on the bear here haha) 

I do like the bear though :D

That's why I made a tutorial for this bear! 

Anyway, in the end I told him I couldn't make it for the deadline and I could refund him, but he really wanted to get something from me for the anniversary (which I really appreciate) hence the figurines! :)

I still made a stand for the koala and bear though because I won't be needing them, but it still means something to them. I don't know what happened to this, but I'm glad at least they're in good hands now! :)

FLUFFY CAT

A custom order of my customer's REALLY FLUFFLY cat! 

This is quite different from my past cat work, which is this:

image.jpg

It is also more than twice the size, maybe triple the size of my old work! However I think I like the newer work better. The old version feels more cutesy, which is not really my style imo... The new version feels more realistic and I think I like to portray more details than less! 

I'm sad that I am not allowed to post the reference photos, because the cat is really fluffy and cute!!  

This position is also from the reference photo, even the mouse toy. The colour of the base is similar to the floor of the cat that it was sitting on, too! Love the colour matching to be honest :) 

I think I'll be making cats and dog in this style from here onwards. I don't know whether is it just me, but I personally feel that this is much easier to make than the cutesy one. Maybe because it's a tad bit bigger! ^^ 

I am planning to make some cats from Cat Safari Singapore and donate to them so they can sell, which they will use for the medical treatment for the cats! So there'll be TONS of cats for my #craftoftheday soon hahaha. I probably will recreate the cats with this realistic style so I'm looking forward to that!! :D

#CRAFTOFTHEDAY (WEEK 1)

My first craft of the day post! I'm so excited to start on this, and I hope I will able to continue this for a very, very long time. 

I've always loved the water colour effect, but I've never tried it before. Not even on paper. I don't know what came to me, but I decided to do the water colour effect on polymer clay! I guess what I imagined was much fancier than what I can currently do...

Anyway, yes, I started the watercolour series, and my first few #craftoftheday both are used with watercolour!

This is the first ever #craftoftheday and I decided to make a penguin haha, since there's only one colour XD but I guess it didn't go as well as I thought it would cause it's my first time handling watercolour. Apparently it takes awhile getting used to even on paper, so I'm not expecting much from the first few creation.

The next #craftoftheday was my lovebird, Buibui! I wanted to do it because buibui has got really pretty feathers and I thought the blending of the watercolour would be nice. 

By then, I had consulted Uncle G(oogle) for more information on watercolour, and I started to have better control with the medium. BUT. Watercolour paper kinda absorbs the water, while on clay it just kinda dries up hahahaha so it was quite tough to handle.

I made clay Buibui rounder because I wanted to portray the fluff that Buibui has hahaa. 

The tail colours are quite accurate if I may say so myself hahaa. Buibui's tail has a red spot near the end! 

You can see it here hehe. 

Btw it took me quite awhile to get this shot, since Buibui was attacking clay Buibui and I was moving all over the place hahaa. Glad I managed to take this photo *phew* 

I love this so much that I decided to wear it out and flaunt it whooop! 

I actually broke one of these glass globes thanks to Buibui -.- sigh. But I'm keeping the current one out of Buibui's reach hahaha. 

The necklace is actually one of my existing one because I don't have good quality leather strings for necklaces...I do want to make some of my charms into accessories in the future so maybe I should invest in some...hmm.

Alright, that's all for this week's #craftoftheday! Can't wait for the next few hehe. My goal is to be able to post something up even when I'm resting, so at least 10 photos in advance! Will be working on it hehe ^^

CHOCOLATE THE DOG

So my good friend's mother's birthday is coming, and she didn't know what to get for her. To support me at the same time, she asked me to make their dog, Chocolate, for her mum as a custom order. We were quite excited, discussing how it should be, and how I can make Chocolate's toys too.

After much discussion, we settled for a snow globe, with Chocolate's toys floating about. Here's the final product!

Now my friend and I went out and looked for suitable jars or containers that might do the job. Thanks to Art Friend (where else), we manage to find one. However, turns out the container magnify the items inside quite a bit LOL. Must be because it was plastic, and not glass hahaha. I thought it might happen, but honestly didn't know it'd be so huge!

Here's the original size compared to that in the container. 

Since we're on Chocolate, here's the photos my friend sent to me as reference. (Click on the arrows to see the different pictures)

ISN'T HE ADORABLE AND FLUFFEHHHH!! GFDKAHJGFKAWUSOKEWT.

But because he was so fluffly, I had trouble "sculpting" his fur. Here's the photos of the failed one.

On the left was the base I did before I "put on" its "fur". On the right is the head with liquid clay + paint fur without baking. I mixed them together and it became clumpy, which I thought will look like small curls.

I thought it looked better after baking since the "clumps" were "smoothed out" a little, and ET approved it too. But there were a couple of problems.

  1. When I showed it to my friend, she mentioned that it looks like there's things growing out of it instead of fluffy............and after she said that, I couldn't un-see it T.T 
  2. The colour looks a bit off compared to the real Chocolate in the photo. Looks like poop LOL. 
  3. The glaze wasn't dried properly (before I got the dry cabinet), which means it was sticky.
  4. And somehow the glaze also discoloured it?? If you look at the bottom right photo, the head of clay Chocolate looks greyer because it was discoloured. It got progressively worse as time goes by. 

So the first thing I thought was to just redo it. It made me unhappy. 

Then I tried out different ways of doing it.

On the left I tried making it maggi-mee style LOL but I think it was too harsh for my taste.

Then I tried making the "clumps" bigger and smoother like the picture on the right, thinking I can try making it like those cartoon sheeps where they just put on balls. I was gonna go with it but then I tried texturing it on the dog itself with a different method other than poking it and I thought it worked better. Hence that's how I got to the final clay Chocolate. 

I think there's definitely room for more improvement, but my friend really liked it so I decided to go with it. 

 

Here's the toys I made for clay Chocolate!

And the following photos are the pictures my friend sent me as reference! (Click on the arrows to go to the next or previous photo)


Now this is my first time making a snow globe (or snow container lol) type of thing, so I had to go through quite a bit of test and trial. My friend figured out what's in snow globes to make the glitter move slowly in the globe before I even started researching haha. It was glycerin, and I tested so many times and so much that I finish one whole bottle and barely had enough for the actual thing lol. 

It took me awhile because initially I tried to put both glitter and the toys inside. But if the glycerin was too little compared to the amount of water, the clay toys floats down too quickly (probably because it's too heavy/denser). And when I put more glycerin, the glitter just stayed wherever they were at and doesn't float at all LOL. So I had to omit the glitter. I thought it was for the better too, since the container magnifies everything and if there's also glitter it will look too cluttered. 

Also, glycerin is a pain in the ass to work with LOL especially with large amounts because it's so...slimy? Apparently it's also used as a moisturiser for dry hands, and they even say to use VERY little amount. Imagine me with my overturned glycerin bottle......

I had trouble closing the bottle too for the final touch due to overflowing hahaha. I had to use cling wrap to wrap it so it doesn't leak out, and because I filled it a little over the brim, some of them overflowed......SLIMEHHH. 

I quite like the end product though. If I have another chance to do this, I'll try to get glass bottle instead.

 

Here's a video of it with the floating toys! ^^

Thank you Ember for giving me this chance to make something different and being so straightforward! <3

BROKEN AND LEARN

It's been awhile since I'm active on handxmade's social media. Actually, been almost a month. I got too caught up with work (the part time accounting and freelance video operator) for the next two weeks soon after the previous post, and took awhile to make the next few orders, take photos etc. BUT HERE I AM. 

Honestly, I really hate the part of me who always feel obligated to help out, even if it really doesn't concern me. I've been agreeing to go back to the accounting place to work one or two days per week (mostly two days, because if you say one or two days they'll obviously take the two days choice right) because they found two part-timers who promptly left even without even going to the first interview.

And they need help. Always need help. So I agreed, not unwillingly but feeling quite stupid since I told them I'm quitting ONE MONTH AGO. A few of them even jokingly said "when is your last day exactly" LOL. The freelance video operator suddenly got gigs too so...ugh.

Anyway, back to the point. This is regarding the custom made orders in this post

After mailing the animals to her, I received this a few days later:

I remember I was working (video operator) and the presentation was going on halfway. When I saw this I remember feeling really terrible but I still had to focus. I quickly replied her ASAP and told her I'm sorry and I'll remake everything for her. 

She took this photo for me so I can see what she mean. The neck!!! T.T Apparently they were pretty sticky too.

 

STICKINESS ISSUE

When I mailed the clay figurines they felt fine, but after discussing about it with ET, we conclude that the glaze did not dried properly due to Singapore's humid weather (thanks ah) and it just got..sticky. :/ There's also stories online about how the glaze reacts with the clay and it gets sticky blahblah but I'm using the Golden Polymer Varnish which has good reviews... So we thought it might be humidity. It's always humidity.  

Now one of the way to solve the stickiness issue, was to dry them in an air-conditioned room. Air condition is very expensive and it may take quite long for it to dry completely, so I don't think it was a good idea..

Then ET told me there's this thing call a dry cabinet, where photographers put their most treasured camera and tools inside, and it controls the humidity (analog or digital), so that the camera doesn't get condensation or something like that. If you're interested I guess you can read about it here. It's also useful to put things like guitar strings etc so that it doesn't rust as quickly. 

Luckily, ET wanted to get one anyway because there's a couple of things he wants to put inside, being a musician and having lots of other hobbies, so we went to grab one. (but I think it was mainly because of me.....I think he didn't really need to get it but mostly because I needed it....). It was...about $200++ for the 30 litres one. 

I used it and after they were dried, I could feel the difference compared to one of the testing clay pieces. The matte wasn't shiny, and it was smooth. And I was like "YES. THIS IS IT." 

 

BROKEN

Now the neck breaking thing was just absolutely horrible, because I actually test dropped them before (albeit unintentionally cause most of the time I dropped them because they slipped out of my fingers cuz too small lol and bounced around and hit the ground). I even dropped them a couple of times when I was showing them to ET. The postage handling was probably really bad and maybe they put really heavy boxes on top of my padded envelopes (which I think wasn't protective enough). 

I thought through it while working as video ops (there's a lot of waiting time) and I had ideas like putting it in the padded envelopes, then throw them into boxes with tons of fillers and mail it. But being really lazy and thinking about going to the post office which is a hassle, and then have to talk to people and all (lol) I kept trying to find alternatives. 

You know how they say good ideas always pop out of your mind when you're going to sleep? The solution literally happened like that. I wasn't even really thinking about it and then suddenly "EH I CAN PUT THEM INTO LITTLE PLASTIC BOXES AND THEN PUT THEM IN THE PADDED ENVELOPES RIGHT" haha. I started looking for it online, even went Daiso, Art Friend. And that's when I found the paper boxes in Art Friend. 

They weren't fragile, soft paper boxes but those really thick, hard, gift boxes that had different colours. It was pretty pricey though..so I went to look for alternatives and found paper mache boxes that was even smaller and also surprisingly tough! I bought quite a lot of them, went home and stepped on them to test their durability lol and it was still intact!! So unless they put like more than 50kg worth of stuff on top of my packaging, I'm confident that they will arrive safe and sound. ^^

The best thing about the boxes is that they can fit through the mailbox!! Yaye for the anti-social me. 

 

Anyway, since I remade them, here are the photos of the new ones!

I think this time the tabby cat was an improvement, the face is much more accurate to the photo than the previous one :) 

All in all, this was another experience for me, and I'm glad I managed to solve it without too much hassle, and now the items will definitely reach new owners safe and sound! (but without ET I probably would still have problem with the stickiness lol)

CATS AND DOG

After being MIA for so long, I finally, FINALLY, got back to claying. This time, finishing up what I left.

One of my coursemate from polytechnic ordered three cats and one dog. I remember the first thing I thought was "whaaaaaaaaaat how are you taking care of them??!?" FOUR ANIMALS IN A HOUSE MAN. 

I feel really bad because I left her orders hanging. I recently moved out at that time, and had to practically drown myself with part time jobs to survive. Also, it was the first time I'm making animals and it was really tough for me. I've failed at least four times. And I guess I was just so disappointed in myself every time I fail and then can't bear to touch clay for the next few days. (I know, so weak. I know.) 

She ordered these on April and now it's Oct... I left it for FOUR MONTHS?!!! My god.

But now that I'm gonna work on it almost full time, this will not, and shall not happen ever again.

DSC01746.JPG

The final result!!! *happysobs*

My photography skills still sucks despite the good camera and crash course about shutter speed, aperture and ISO from my bf. Need to practice more and.....maybe some photo editing hahahahaha.

Anyway, I got permission from my friend to upload the photos she sent me for comparison!

Photo 17-4-15, 3 18 01 PM.jpg

The description for the animals. I tried my best to make the size relative to each of them, so the white cat is fattest etc. 

White cat and white doggy! (I think it's super cool that her cat has two different colours for its eyes!!!!!)

The first animal I tried to do was the white cat, since it was probably the easiest among four of them...right?? NOPE. The white cat was the one which made me all I-can't-do-this-what-am-I-suppose-to-do-now-I'm-a-failure hahahaha. I think it's just the fact that it's my first time attempting an animal. But still.....

So from the top left, that was actually the first one I ever did. It was too..realistic??? I wanted to sculpt the fur but it's not the look I wanted, and the head itself was already too big for my liking.

The top right photo looks horrible... I couldn't shape the mouth properly I think. The problem with this is that it has to look okay in all angles, and from the photo, the front looks terrible hahaha. Looks more like an alien..

Bottom left, I was probably more satisfied with this. Sizing was okay, but when I did the eyes, I realised it looked too scary. HAHAHAA.

The bottom left cat in the bottom left pic was the first one that I thought looked acceptable, and I actually wanted to give it as that. But buibui bit the glaze off one of its ears while I hang it to dry (lol) so I redid it, and this time improving the ears too, so all was good.

Tabby cat and black cat! 

Actually, once I got the first white cat going, the other cats were okay to do, except the tabby cat. I was like "OH MY G O D HOW AM I SUPPOSE TO DO ITS FUR AHHHHHHHHHHH" But I managed it in the end phew. 

 

Okie let's see the animals I finally managed to whip out.....in actually a day LOL (once I got the ball rolling nothin' can stop meh)

White cat! I think the fluffy tail and fluffy ears was nubbad. (More on that later)

I think black cat was the easiest and quickest to make, but it was tough trying to make more things stand out. Like his nose...can't really paint it black can I, when the cat's already black. So I painted the nose and eyebrows grey muahaha.

Picture's a bit blur..but yes, tabby cat is white and everything else is painted on. I had fun painting it but took quite a bit of test and trial too... (Good thing is paint mostly can be overpainted ahahaha)

Yes I made the yarn ball for the photo don't judge me pls hahahaha. I tried using the yarns I have to make a mini yarn ball but the yarns I have are all either too thick or easily torn, so I just used clay hahahaa. It's not very well made though, I know it could be better as long as I figure out how to do it...

(yes I made a dog bone just for the picture too. I guess I won't blame you if you judge)

 

NOW THE MOST EXCITING PART!

Honestly, I was quite worried about the doggy, since it's very furry...and it's probably really skinny and all fur. Since I've already tried sculpting fur and failed miserably (white cat), I didn't even attempt it on doggy. I was thinking maybe I could just keep it simple like the cats, and add some clay bits to add as fur instead.

BUT IT'S REALLY TOO FURRY AND I WON'T BE ABLE TO SLEEP EVERY NIGHT IF THERE'S ONLY SOME PATHETIC CLUMPS OF CLAY ON SOME PART OF ITS BODY. 
So I thought maybe to make the transition smoother I could use liquid clay. And since I'll need white colour...I shall just pour in some white paint. 

Then for some reason, the consistency was....quite sticky and stretchy!! So I quickly put on doggy and I thought "hey this might be just the thing!!!" and then I proceed to put all over it's body. 

It was good too because it was really easy to make the brown fur, just mix in some brown. (That's also when I realised the amount of the liquid clay and paint changes the consistency, since it became less 'sticky' after I added in more brown paint.) 

I really feel so proud of myself at that point of time. I COULD EVEN MAKE EYEBROWS WITH THE LIQUID CLAY ISN'T IT GREAT HAHAA (if you can see it) 

I also did the same thing for the furriness of the white cat hehehe. To be truthful, I forgot about the furry ears after I baked the white cat, so I was leaving it until the last. But I did doggy like that, so decided to do the same too! It's easier to manipulate anyway muahaha.

 

This was such a good experience, and I actually learnt a new skill! *level up*
Thank you Qing for being so patient and understanding. I don't know how many times I apologised to you regarding the delays but you always brush it off and give me encouragement. <3

I'm really so lucky. 


That's all for this batch! My next order is about 90% done, so will update this space when I take more photos ^^