I love stencils and polymer clay!

Layering techniques for polymer clay bring a whole new dimension to polymer jewelry design and this artist has found a way to layer stencils to create a gorgeously fun look for her designs.

Lorraine Vogel posted a free tutorial on how to use stencils to create this look (I love it when artists share!). The post is on StencilGirlTalk‘s site, so you can purchase the products she used right there! Aren’t these Gorgeous!

photo of necklace and earrings

This makes me want to get to my clay table right now!  Hum, a good project for this week-end and for the 2017 PCChallenge (of which I’m 2 weeks behind, yikes!)




Building a Business While Working Full-time

Woman relaxing with cup of tea

I have not been working at a ‘full-time’ job for a little over 7 months now.  It’s been amazing, wonderful, inspiring, and restful.  But still needing to live in reality, I just accepted a full-time position in my profession of faculty development.


In my ‘off’ time, I launched my online polymer jewelry store – ECB Designs – December 1st and actually sold a few items!  purple polymer clay pendant

I’m also pursuing a certificate in Social Media Marketing at Northwestern University through a series of Coursera MOOCs.  So part of my launch is also learning how to reach my target market through social marketing.

One thing I know for sure is that I don’t want to lose my momentum with ECB Designs.  Creating polymer jewelry is one expression of my creative self that I find hugely fulfilling and ultimately a great destresser!

So how am I going to keep moving forward in starting this business while working full-time?  Well I did what we all do and Googled it.  Here’s what I found.

One of the top hits is Ryan Robinson’s 10 Steps to Start a Business While Working a Full-time Job

He has 10 great steps but the first two are the ones I want to focus on because it’s about time.

Step 1: Mental Preparation

  • Accept that this will be tough in many ways
  • Be prepared to make difficult sacrifices

Step 2:

  • List all of the commitments you have and the amounts of time you devote to each
  • Note the one you can afford to lessen you involvement

These are particularly pertinent to my situation because I’m a joiner!  I love to get involved with everything (almost)!   Book clubs, clay clubs, benefit causes, professional organizations, etc.

And I still operate under the perception that there are more that 24 hours in a day

AND (this is a biggie) I like my sleep!  I NEED my sleep!  I’m not good to be around if I don’t get my sleep!

So what to do:

  1. I know it’s going to be hard. For me the creating part of it is natural, but the marketing is the part that I will need to stick to a strict schedule.
  2. I will need to be very selective in the causes and groups I volunteer for.

Here’s the link to Ryan’s Infographic for the other 8 steps.

I will begin my new job in a few weeks. So I’m going to work through these two steps as I acclimate to the new position, new institution, and new town.  So stayed tuned for the next installment of this story and more excellent finds on How to Start a Business While Working Full-time!

Week 3: 2017 PC Challenge

screen shot of shape from bookAs I posted last week, I love Helen Breil‘s shapes eBook, so this week I am trying another of her shapes. This one is Big Twist #5. I think it is one of my favorites.

I just love the movement of this necklace. I needed to make a necklace to go with a black and red outfit so I used Linda Moseley’s controlled marbling technique to get a skinner blend with mostly red.  So here’s my process and the final result.

The first step I took was to take some scrap clay and make the shape to get some practice and to see the result of the shape.work table shot showing cutters, polymer clay discs and the trial version of the shape

Then I used Linda Moseley’s controlled marbling technique to create a skinner blend with more red, less black and a bit of silver. I ended up using three silver parts instead of two. I’m glad I did as I like the end result.

Here is how I stacked the discs and my first blend.

IMG_0735first blend

I blended a bit further than Linda’s recommendation because I wanted more blur between colors. I made sure that the blend was the same on both sides, since both sides are visible with this shape.

skinner blend on back skinner blend on front

I made the first cut. I did not use plastic to bevel the edges because I wanted sharp edges.  Same with the second cut.

first cut with larger cutterIMG_0741

I finished shaping the cut and then made the fold.  Helen includes very detailed pictures in her tutorials, so the result is perfect!the polymer piece is cut, shaped and folded

I would have liked a bit more black on the arms but that’s how we improve our art, correct?  Next time I will use one more black disc and one less red. Maybe a bit more silver, but I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.

I cured it along with a couple of beads I made to add to the necklace.

IMG_0761 (1)I found out that when you put buna cord in the oven, it shrinks and becomes wider. So one of the cords is wider, but it actually adds to the aesthetic of the piece. I also cut 1/4″ strips of the blend and shaped into matching earrings.  I’m very pleased with the end result.

And with the outfit!

finished necklace on the outfit I made it for

#2017PCChallenge 3/52

ECB Designs – www.elicbrowndesign.com

2017 Week 2 challenge piece

I love working with Helen Breil‘s Shapes pendants.

She has a marvelous eye for design and color and I can only hope to get close to her talent.  This week I made a necklace to go with a new pantsuit for a job interview.  I made a similar one last month that sold quickly.  This time I used a different pattern but the same colors.  It looked ‘marvelous, dawling!’ and boosted my confidence for the interview!

purple polymer clay pendant

purple polymer clay pendant on artist

My plan for Week 3 is to work with another shape. I need to make something to go with a red and black outfit.

I would highly recommend her tutorials. classes and ebooks. She is an exceptional instructor, providing tips and tricks that others skip over. Here is a link to the Shapes:  25 Inspirational Jewellery Designs in Polymer Clay ebook.

[Week 1 Challenge Piece]