Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 8, 2018


Oh jeez, the stats on this page are just painful. I suppose it would help if I posted, but I’ve never gotten much action anyway, unless I wrote something about polymer clay, and then possibly got a generous boost from Cynthia Tinapple at, and the blog exploded for a day or two. Then, it was back to the same three or four people who think I’m hilarious or vaguely informative.

My son keeps telling me I should go over to Instagram, where I could make money with my dog photos.  The hound is pretty damn cute, I have to admit, and I am a pretty damn good photographer with occasional down time on my hands.

But really, can I compete with Kim Kardashian?

Kimmy on couch

Posted by: cassymuronaka | May 31, 2016

Great Mysteries of Our Time

question mark


Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 19, 2016

If only it would clean itself (the room, not the dog)


Kimmy entering room2

And so the Spring assault on the studio/office begins.  I can’t call it “Spring cleaning” because this room hasn’t been cleaned in several years.

Just dusting the first two bookshelves resulted in the dog and I having several massive sneezing fits.  And unlike my two old 40-50 pound mutts who were around during the last bulldoze, this puppy weighs barely 16 pounds, so there is every possibility that I actually could lose her in here somewhere.  Or something could fall down on her, as it already has on me.


Kimmy investigating2

In addition to a can of Krylon spray adhesive bopping me on the forehead,  I also cut a finger when I pinched it on a closet door I was closing way too enthusiastically.

All of this occurred in less than half an hour.  I am moving much more cautiously now.

desk2Kimmy and the flying monkeys2

I have moved dog’s bed to the middle of the upstairs hallways, which has made her alternately curious and confused. She has been further bewildered by the loud music blaring through the room, which is from one of my son’s “Best Of” CDs.  These he made for me to keep me vaguely apprised of music dating from 1990, when Jake was born and my cultural influences became frozen in time.

I don’t know how long this massive undertaking is going to take me, but once I listen to those first CDs, I can launch iTunes and start moving through Cassy’s Oldies but Goldies.

And there’s always Netlfix.

Kimmy on floor2

Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 18, 2016

Pardon my Pardo: a better-late-than-never review

Pardo translucent bangle2

This Pardo translucent. Man, I came up in the days of polymer clay when it was Fimo Fimo Fimo, condition, condition, condition, and still, this Pardo translucent is bringing me to my knees.

I have read all the very excellent posts on other people’s experiments with Viva Decor’s translucent Pardo professional Art-Clay, and dutifully have followed the advice — Ginger Davis Allman has written the best ones at her The Blue Bottle Tree blog — but all these folks seems to have a magic touch with it that I lack.

Or maybe it’s the magic oven.

Because the second thing I discovered about the beeswaxed-based Pardo translucent is that it is extremely finicky in the heat department. So just forget your wildly temperature-fluctuating $35 toaster oven. I am using three oven thermometers and, naturally, they all say something different within five degrees of each other.  But those five degrees make or break this stuff, particularly if you are trying to do something like cure the clay at its higher-than-recommended temperature to achieve that Nirvana-like clarity that others have written about.

I can’t even get close to 275°, much less 300° or 315°, without everything bubbling and frying.  I had to go to a larger oven to achieve any degree of control over this clay. So expect to babysit it with a magazine or your Kindle, with one eye cocked towards the oven window, if you are trying to bake beyond the recommended curing temperature.

Like Cernit, you get a big surprise if you expect the translucent clay’s color to remain the same in its baked state, compared with the raw. Curing at a higher temperature, of course, merely intensifies this.

Pardo bracelet and oven

I have to add that this is not my first exposure to Pardo clay, nor the first time trying to crack the Pardo translucent code. Several years ago, I spent a teeth-gritting couple of weeks working with those little balls in the jar, albeit opaque colors of clay. And my first efforts working with the translucent a few months ago nearly sent me to the couch with a cold washcloth on my forehead.  And I am not at all inexperienced with translucent clays of all brands and types.

I did love the blue color of this new bracelet I made. I was shooting for something resembling Bakelite, having added alcohol inks to color the plain translucent clay.

But following the first baking, I ended up spending the entire two hours of a Netflix movie (“The Big Short”) tortuously cutting out and adding second level of clay dots to the bracelet and earrings.  The peach dots dots had been just way too dark to contrast with the color of the bracelet base. The dots are still pretty dim, and there is a serious amount of plaquing that can be attractive in something like a faux jade.  But not so much here.  Next time, I will use an opaque clay embellishment.

If there is a next time.  I guess there will be, because I have about 9 more unopened packages, but I am going to have to again gird my loins when I approach the clay in the future. This is primarily because I don’t know who is receiving this allegedly soft soft clay, but it isn’t me. I placed orders that were months apart from each other, but what arrived were pretty hard little bricks during a relatively cool time of year. So I didn’t exactly hit the ground running with my conditioning efforts.

So if you read this (and no one might be, since I haven’t posted in a while), and you have been playing with this same clay, by all means add a comment, update me with your own experiments, and tell me anything wonderful that you have been doing with it.

Like getting it conditioned.



Posted by: cassymuronaka | January 5, 2015

Dog gone

lola and treat

Suspicious, paranoid, her behavior completely driven by what might get her a treat, and unbeloved by almost everyone she met, the half-border collie, half-God-knows-what else known as Lola has gone to that great dog park in the sky.

No one will mourn her, save for the three people with whom she lived, but let it be said that Lola was the most interesting almost-human being I’ve ever met.  I adored my other canine, who passed away almost three years ago to the day as Lola, but when you looked in Red Dog’s eyes, you definitely saw dog.  A very crafty, lovable dog, but absolutely dog.

Not so much with Lola.  There were times I thought I glimpsed something else struggling to get out, something close to human.  Border Collies are said to be the most intelligent dogs, and this one — who was all border collie in her brain — was no exception. She began trying to herd us like sheep when she was six weeks old.  I think she spent every day of her life attempting to figure out the English language.

And we spent each of her sixteen years trying to figure her out.

Posted by: cassymuronaka | January 1, 2015

We’re very big on topiary in the south San Gabriel Valley

2015 topiary

Hacienda Heights, California
New Year’s Day, 2015

Posted by: cassymuronaka | December 28, 2014

Happy Holidays from California

plastic surgery_


El Monte, California

Posted by: cassymuronaka | August 10, 2014


duck press

In its ongoing effort to introduce America to the pleasures of Nordic cuisine, yesterday’s episode of “New Scandinavian Cooking” offered up “Pressed Duck,” which featured a gravy whose primary ingredient is extracted by use of a device that crushes the throwaway “parts” of a partially-cooked fowl.

Average price of a duck press: somewhere between $2,220 and $25,000.

Posted by: cassymuronaka | July 23, 2014

What you find when you clean out your bedroom end table

end table contents

28 nail files or emery boards
2 unactivated credit cards
2 flash drives
6 Very Important notes I have written, including one that says “FRUITCAKE!”
7 Post-it pads
14 Post-it bookmark pads
1 newspaper cartoon where the man is waking his wife in their bed, saying, “Hey honey, — your sleeping is waking me up.”
1 bottle cap
5 yellow and pink Highlighters
11 tags I have cut off from shirts because they scratch my neck
1 plastic frog
1 plastic octopus tentacle
1 round die
2 mini tape cassettes that I probably recorded around 1991 of my son babbling to himself in his crib
3 black Sharpies
5 red ink pens
1 orange ink pen
1 teal ink pen
1 purple ink pen
1 magenta ink pen
1 blue ink pen
2 black ink pens
1 black ink pen refill
1 wooden keyring pen
1 convention lanyard with nothing attached to it
13 matchboxes
1 InStyle magazine recommendation of the 15 best cellphone beauty Apps
1 satin jewelry case with no jewelry in it
2 pairs scissors
2 pairs earplugs
1 whistle
1 deck of cards
1 safety pin
7 paper clips
2 sets of earbuds
2 set of earbud replacement covers
1 plastic iPhone 4S music player/horn
3 polymer clay beads
1 South Pasadena High School “Notice of Committee Meeting” pad, c. 1969
1 LA Times employee identification card, c. 1981
3 ziplock bags, varying sizes
1 laminated “SIMPSON Criminal Courts Tour All Access” pass with the following “Unofficial Sponsors: Ross Cutlery, Hertz, American Airlines, Ford’s Bronco Div, LAPD Robbery Homicides,” c. 1994
1 small chest of drawers knob
5 pencils
2 Chapsticks
1 bottle eyedrops
1 rubber band
2 large erasers
27 plastic toothpicks
1 “How to Find & Download Free Kindle Fire ebooks” printout
1 set of instructions for the iPhone 4S
1 pair reading glasses
1 flip/fold Ott light
1 squeeze flashlight that doesn’t work anymore
1 working Maglight
1 credit card magnifier that doesn’t work very well
1 button that reads “I haven’t learned the secret to anything. I’m just old.”
1 silver button
11 notepads

Posted by: cassymuronaka | June 2, 2014

Forget Aurora: I always wanted to be HER


And who didn’t?


Downtown Disney, 2014

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