Nov 24

The making of my video tutorial: How to make a mould…

I am sorry that I haven’t posted as much as I planned this year. But life got in the way – and I started making videos. And making videos can be very time consuming. It’s a different process to blogging – and when you start out the editing takes ages. A while back I have written an article about moulding compounds and tested a few. You can find this article here.
I thought – why not show people how to actually use the compound to make a simple pendant?
So two weeks ago we filmed the whole thing, which is tricky on a dark November day, because of the light and because the camera I am using is my photo camera (a Canon PowerShot SX20 IS). So the quality is not as good as you would expect from a professional video camera. But hey – some people use their mobile phone (admittedly some are now of very good quality) or don’t even bother to edit anything and waffle on.

Occasionally things got slightly out of focus as the camera just didn’t behave! I think the original length of the first film was about 6 minutes – I managed to get it down to 4 minutes. Windows’ own Video Maker comes with some nifty tools – you can smooth over your edits with a variety of transitions and you can speed up scenes that otherwise would take forever. I used this speeding technique several times – if I’d left it I would just bore my viewers to death.
Anyway – here is my two part video tutorial on how to make a mould from a shell and a pendant from it with polymer clay. I hope you like it.

I hope with the next video I can smooth out some issues with focus and lighting. I still have to figure out a way of how I can video myself without my husband’s help. And I might have to move my craft table around for the set up as I do have a smaller tripod for the table.

If I do this more often I might have to consider getting a proper video camera for the purpose. Recommendations for reasonable priced cameras are welcome. :)
Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below.

Nov 05

The story behind this Agate drop necklace.

Agate necklace - front view. - copyright Helen White

Agate necklace – front view. – copyright Helen White

As some of you know – I accept commissions for custom pieces. And this necklace is one of those commissions. I originally posted these Agate drops on my personal Facebook page for sale, as I didn’t know what to do with them. A friend of mine spotted these and really liked them – and asked me to make a necklace with them. She had a firm idea as to what she wanted and showed me a photo of a floating type necklace with coloured discs.

Agate necklace side view - copyright Helen White

Agate necklace side view – copyright Helen White

To get a better idea of what she wanted I created a test piece with three drops spread out at about an inch apart and another one which was on a softer wire and also spread out to give her an idea about the type of wire and the gaps between the drops. I also confirmed other details with her such as what type of clasp she wanted (a simple lobster clasp). The next step was estimating the costs and sorting out the commission contract.
Once initial payment arrived I started to work and gave her further options of the design.

Agate necklace - different view. - copyright Helen White

Agate necklace – different view. – copyright Helen White

Would she like silver lined seed beads next to the drops – or rather silver plated beads? And how many drops in total would she like? I sent her photos of the various options – one with silver beads, one with seed beads and three further images of the design with 7, 9 and 12 drops. We both agreed that 7 would look best with silver plated beads. She also wanted matching earrings. As I didn’t have any bails to hang them on I made them with square silver plated wire which I twisted with a wire twister (yes such tools exist).

Matching Agate earrings - copyright Helen White

Matching Agate earrings – copyright Helen White

Before finishing off the necklace I sent her another photo to confirm if she was happy with the design. All these photos were done in daylight – so not the best quality. Once finished I also took photos in my light tent and sent them to her.

Agate necklace with earrings. - copyright Helen White

Agate necklace with earrings. – copyright Helen White

A day after I sent her the necklace she posted a photo of herself wearing it. And this is what she said about the necklace and the service she received.
“I asked Helen to design me a necklace using beads I’d seen and liked on her website. I had quite a clear vision for what I wanted and she agreed she could make what I wanted and offered to make me some matching earrings.
She communicated with me frequently throughout the design process offering alternatives and using photos to illustrate the options. She gave me quotes for the work ahead of time. She worked diligently and in a very timely fashion keeping me updated as she went.
I was delighted with the finished pieces which she packaged beautifully and sent by secure post. I was very happy throughout the entire process and Helen finished the necklace and earrings to a very high standard. I would have no hesitation recommending Helen for her work, design and collaborative approach and the excellent quality of her jewellery. I’ll be keeping an eye out on her website for other items I might fancy.”
Siobhan O’Neill

I love happy customers – they make it all worthwhile.
By the way – I still have  five of these beads left and you can find earrings made with them in my shop here.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading. Leave a comment below if you like.

Necklace packaged before it went to the customer - copyright Helen White

Necklace packaged before it went to the customer – copyright Helen White

Nov 03

The making of…my first YouTube tutorial

A few months ago I started uploading videos on YouTube – these were all videos of our cat Bobby. It was my first attempt at working with videos with the view to create tutorials and videos which feature my business. Yesterday I finally got round to creating my first video tutorial – with a little help of my husband, who filmed the whole thing in three parts. He also helped me editing it, which took the better part of yesterday. It’s very time consuming when you are new to creating videos.
When we filmed it I was talking through the whole thing, but when I watched it back I didn’t like it and didn’t want to do a voiceover. So in the end I decided to put inserts in which explain what I am trying to show. The final part was to find royalty free music which would run in the background. My husband found a useful link and we had a good search. The music I have chosen is slightly shorter than the video, so we let it start a few seconds in.
Anyway with no further ado here’s the video. Hope you like it. I already had a lot of positive comments from fellow polymer clayers.

Thanks for reading – and watching. Please make sure to leave a comment below and share the post.

Oct 02

And the winner of the Macaw necklace and earring set is…

First of all, apologies for not posting anything new. I have been struggling with shoulder pain which means typing is really difficult and I tend to avoid it as much as possible. And yes, I need to look into using speech recognition software as this is unfortunately a condition which is not curable.
I am hoping to rectify this lack of posts soon and will post slightly shorter articles.
Anyway – skip to the end or rather point. If you remember my last post- to celebrate the 4th birthday of Helenka White Design I have offered you the chance to win this polymer clay necklace and earring set. 31 people entered, 27 qualified (i.e. subscribed, commented and shared).

Macaw polymer clay pendant and earring set - copyright Helen White

Macaw polymer clay pendant and earring set – copyright Helen White

Deadline was the 1st of October and because our Bobby was so co-operative last time when I had a giveaway I thought to ask her for her help again. Well I can tell you – this time it wasn’t so straight forward as Miss Mog wanted to sleep and sleep and sleep. And the last thing I wanted was to poke her and wake her up – she would have been very grumpy. She’s nine years old now, so a middle-aged lady who, like most cats of this age, sleeps a lot.
So I had to wait until the evening when my husband came home. We used one of his hats – and a lot of cat treats – to get these shots. In the end he picked the winner.

My husband's hat with the entries. copyright Helen White

My husband’s hat with the entries.
copyright Helen White

 

Bobby looking for her treats. copyright Helen White

Bobby looking for her treats.
copyright Helen White

Bobby "picking" the winner. copyright Helen White

Bobby “picking” the winner.
copyright Helen White

As I am writing this our moggie is still snoozing in hubby’s sleeping bag (and it’s warm outside!!). So I couldn’t take a photo of her with the prize either.
However we have a winner: Congratulations to Tracy Nixon from me and Bobby.

The winner is... Tracy Nixon. Congratulations Tracy. copyright Helen White

The winner is… Tracy Nixon. Congratulations Tracy.
copyright Helen White

I want to thank everyone who participated in this competition and took the time to share and leave kind comments.
If you are still interested in a pendant like this one – as luck would have it – I made two sets with the same veneer. You can find the other one here.

Thanks for reading – and stay tuned for the next blog post.
Oh and remember you can always subscribe and share my blog. :)

Aug 20

Want to win this beautiful polymer clay pendant and earring set by Helenka White Design? Then read on..

My business Helenka White Design is turning 4 in September and to celebrate I am giving away this pretty pendant and earring set worth £19.

Macaw polymer clay pendant and earring set - copyright Helen White

Macaw polymer clay pendant and earring set – copyright Helen White

It is made with red, blue and black polymer clay using the marbling effect. The colours in this set remind me of Macaws. After baking in the oven I have varnished the pendant and earrings. The pendant hangs on an 18 inch (45cm) silver plated chain and closes with a flat silver plated lobster clasp. It measures about 1.5 inches.

Macaw polymer clay pendant - copyright Helen White

Macaw polymer clay pendant – copyright Helen White

The earrings measure about 1 inch and hang on surgical steel ear wires.

Macaw Polymer Clay Earrings - copyright Helen White

Macaw Polymer Clay Earrings – copyright Helen White

Macaw polymer clay pendant - detail - copyright Helen White

Macaw polymer clay pendant – detail – copyright Helen White

To win this set all you got to do is:

  1. Subscribe to my newsletter here.
  2. Comment underneath this blog post.
  3. Share the competition on social media of your choice.

If you already are a subscriber you can still win this set, but need to comment underneath and share.

Please note this competition is only open for entrants from the UK and aged 18 and over.

The deadline for the competition is the 1st of October when the winner will be drawn.

Good luck everyone :)

 

UPDATE:

This competition is now closed and the winner will be announced shortly.

 

 

 

Aug 05

My favourite cat books – Part 1: “The Cats of Moon Cottage” series by Marilyn Edwards

It won’t come as a surprise to you that I read a lot of books about cats. Some are non-fiction, the majority is autobiographical. I don’t actually know how it started, but I think I just got some as presents and some I bought myself. So I thought I would share with you the books that I have enjoyed reading in this little series.

The Moon Cottage series with Bobby in the background. Copyright Helen White

The Moon Cottage series with Bobby in the background. Copyright Helen White

First up I want to share with you Marilyn Edwards’ “The Cats of Moon Cottage” series. It consists of four books and is her autobiographical account of life with her cats. My husband bought me the first two “The Cats of Moon Cottage” and “More Cat Tales from Moon Cottage” as a paperback and once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. I had tears in my eyes when I finished reading the first book. I won’t give too much away.

The paperback version of the two first books of the Moon Cottage series. Photo copyright Helen White

The paperback version of the two first books of the Moon Cottage series. Photo copyright Helen White

After I finished these two books I contacted Marilyn to tell her how much I enjoyed them and that I would love to interview her for the German cat magazine “Geliebte Katze” for which I have written several pieces (I also told her of course about our Bobby). To my surprise not only did she write back very quickly, but sent me signed copies of the whole series! The first book has actually been translated into German and published in Germany, but despite my own efforts to write about Marilyn and her work for the magazine it didn’t get commissioned.

The Moon Cottage series by Marilyn Edwards. Copyright of photo Helen White

The Moon Cottage series by Marilyn Edwards. Copyright of photo Helen White

The third book is titled “The Cats of Hutton Roof” and the final book “The Coach House Cats”.

One of the four signed copies of the Moon Cottage series by Marilyn Edwards. Photo copyright Helen White

One of the four signed copies of the Moon Cottage series by Marilyn Edwards. Photo copyright Helen White

Marilyn has a wonderful eye for detail and you can easily picture her life with the cats. If you are a cat owner you will recognise the typical cat behaviours, the difficulties you face when moving house and also empathise when bad things happen to the cats (and yes you will cry if you are a softie like me). Furthermore, the stories of her cats Otto, Septi, Titus, Pushkin, Fannie and Gilly are beautifully illustrated by Peter Warner, who sadly died in 2007.

If you love reading cat stories – especially real life stories you won’t be disappointed with this series.

You can find more information about Marilyn and her books on her website here.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget you can comment below and subscribe to my blog by clicking here.

Jul 16

New on the website: Feather pendants and bangles.

I haven’t posted for a while due to the fact that we were on a short holiday In Menorca. We stayed in Cala Galdana in a fab hotel called Audax which I can highly recommend. I will post more about our holiday as soon as I have sorted through all our photos!
Before the holiday I finished off some new items all made with this and a second feather cane I created a while ago.

Feather Cane - copyright Helen White

Feather Cane – copyright Helen White

And I had a go at making bangles using aluminium blanks as a base. I originally made three with the feather cane, but wasn’t happy with how the other two turned out. I still have some of the cane left and will make some more bangles when it’s cool. Heat and humidity is just bad news for working with polymer clay and makes it a right old battle (that’s why I wasn’t happy with the other two bangles which came out slightly deformed).

Feather Cane Bangle - copyright Helen White

Feather Cane Bangle – copyright Helen White

I have no idea how and if you can reduce a feather cane – so I just kept the size and used it also for pendants. These are quite long, but I like them. I hope you like them too.

Feather Cane Pendant - copyright Helen White

Feather Cane Pendant – copyright Helen White

Feather Cane Pendant 2 - copyright Helen White

Feather Cane Pendant 2 – copyright Helen White

I also found a reptile sheet I made a while ago to use with my first figurine – which is a gecko (I haven’t sanded it yet and not sure I will) and used it for a set of bangles and one round pendant.

Polymer Clay Gecko - copyright Helen White

Polymer Clay Gecko – copyright Helen White

The bangles needed several bakes in my toaster oven before I sanded and polished them.
I hope you like these new additions to my website.

Polymer Clay Reptile Bangle - copyright Helen White

Polymer Clay Reptile Bangle – copyright Helen White

Polymer Clay Reptile Print Pendant copyright Helen White

Polymer Clay Reptile Print Pendant copyright Helen White

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment on or share this post.

Jun 18

Walking our cat – videos

I have written about how we walk our Bobby a few times on this blog, but have only been able to share images with you. I have finally uploaded some footage of our walks with Bobby in the forest filme a week or so ago. Unfortunately walking her in the forest is very much weather dependent, so if it’s warm but not boiling and she’s happy enough to drive we can do this.

Hope you like these two films.

Don’t forget to leave a comment or share this post. Next time it’s going to be a longer post. Promised.

Thanks for reading and watching.

Jun 14

Mogglebox or how our cat developed a serious telly addiction.

I have been quite busy working on bangles and feather pendants, so today’s post is short and sweet.
If you have a cat, you surely can relate to this. Since “Springwatch” on BBC2 started three weeks ago (and has unfortunately finished this week), our cat has developed a serious telly addiction. She not only watched it when it was on, but also pawed at the telly when she saw birds,  looked behind the telly and got generally very excited. She also watched the live footage in the morning with my husband and of course in the evening.

Our Bobby watching Springwatch. - copyright Helen White

Our Bobby watching Springwatch. – copyright Helen White

And when the telly was not on she sat in front of it and looked at us with a sad face (not difficult for her, after all she’s a cat) – sometimes meowing and demanding that we switch it on for her!

When Springwatch was not on we had to get inventive – and switched to YouTube. It’s full of tons of cute stuff to watch. There’s one channel in particular we all like called “Vice” and they have a section called “The Cute Show”.

Last week she got excited when “The Secret Life of Cats” was broadcast on ITV, narrated by the wonderful Martin Clunes. The documentary was great and even the ads were full of cats.

I actually recorded it, which was a good idea because I kept filming our moggie watching her own “Mogglebox” as my husband joked. So I couldn’t pay as much attention to the programme. She was fairly indifferent when “The Big Bang Theory” was on, watched the news and a bit of tennis and loved Adam Hills. We have yet to find out if she’s into football.
Since we discovered her telly addiction we just kept filming her and I have decided to share some of these films with you. I have to apologise for some of the noise from the lens. I used my photo camera for these videos as my camcorder is now so old that it’s too much hassle to use – it still works with tapes, which you then have to upload to the computer before editing. We still haven’t edited our old kitten videos including our wedding video – our wedding was seven years ago!

I am sure with practice my videos will improve and my aim is to create some videos which give you an insight into how I work. So those of you who follow this blog and my jewellery business – let me know below what you would like to see.

Thanks for reading.

Jun 03

And the winner is….

In April this year I posted a competition where you could win this hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind Jugendstil pendant.

Jugendstil Heart Pendant - copyright Helen White

Jugendstil Heart Pendant – copyright Helen White

The deadline was Sunday the 1st of June and in total I had 41 entries. I have now chosen the winner – with a little help from Bobby. As cats are not designed to draw a piece of paper out of a hat I had to bribe her with some Felix treats (though she is currently on a diet!).

Hat full of entries - copyright Helen White

Hat full of entries – copyright Helen White

 

Getting Bobby to choose the winnter - copyright Helen White

Getting Bobby to choose the winnter – copyright Helen White

 

After a bit of rummaging around we got there in the end. Yeah :)

Bobby choosing the winning entry - with a little help of some cat treats thrown into the hat - copyright Helen White

Bobby choosing the winning entry – with a little help of some cat treats thrown into the hat – copyright Helen White

Bobby looking for a winner - copyright Helen White

Bobby looking for a winner – copyright Helen White

And the winner is: Irene Mason

Bobby with winning entry - copyright Helen White

Bobby with winning entry – copyright Helen White

Bobby with her cat treats - she's so easy to bribe:) - copyright Hele White

Bobby with her cat treats – she’s so easy to bribe:) – copyright Hele White

Winning entry as chosen by Bobby - copyright Helen White

Winning entry as chosen by Bobby – copyright Helen White

I have contacted Irene, who was very happy about the news and the package is now on its way to her.

Bobby with the wrapped pendant box - copyright Helen White

Bobby with the wrapped pendant box – copyright Helen White

I would like to thank everyone who entered this competition, commented and shared it and subscribed to my newsletter.  Please stay subscribed  – I sometimes offer exclusive discounts and inform you of my latest makes and blog posts (and on average only send it out once a month so not to clog up your inbox. Not everyone follows me on Facebook and Facebook is also very selective with the posts it shows.

I also plan another giveaway later in the year. Oh and if you are interested in buying one of my big heart (or even small heart) pendants – you can find them all here.

Thanks for reading. And please feel free to leave a comment below if you want to.

 

 

 

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