Thursday, December 6, 2007

Long time No Post

Just a quick note to say that I've been MIA because of a horrible computer virus. It tore up my computer and my boyfriend had to reformat for me. (lesson learned,,DO not click on links from people,,even if you kind of think you know them!)

I'll be posting some new stuff tomorrow. Hope someone missed me!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Polymer Clay Community

I have been using polymer clay since 1982 and started teaching it in 1987. Polymer clay has been in my home since and I assume it'll be there when I die. I've joked with my kids that at my funeral I want everyone to take home a clay souvenir. (they don't think it's funny, but I'm serious about it)..

Through my experience and journey with clay I've never joined a clay group, a swap or taken a class. I just love it so much, I dove in and found it was something I was good at. I've never considered myself an elitist or part of the "art" community when it comes to clay. I do my thing, you do yours. I admire other people's work and am inspired by some. A lot of people know who I am because of all of the shows I've done and now, because of the Internet. I still have a day job though, cause I've never been quite able to only live on my clay alone. It supplements my income and satisfies my creative cravings.

So, it really amazes me at all of the negative postings I've read on some clay forums in regard to the Polyform/Donna Dewberry partnership. A lot of clay "divas" are mad that they weren't consulted or chosen to be a part of the decisions of the clay and some complain about the certification. Some didn't bother applying for it, so they have nothing to whine about. Others did, but were cynical and negative. I personally applied cause I didn't want to miss out on it and thought it would be fun. If something comes of it, cool. If not, I'm not going to be disappointed.

When I read the comments that people make on the boards, I wonder where their egos come from. Some of the complaints: that they weren't chosen to be a part of it, they weren't consulted about the new clay , they doubt the competence of the manufacturers , they make fun of the trainers and they even have made fun of the names of the clay colors. I've noticed an arrogance mixed in with a lot of ignorance and wrong assumptions.

I've not made any comments on my own on the boards. It's a waste of time to argue and try to justify what Polyform has done. My goodness, they've been in business for 30 plus years and they sell clay around the world. The polymer diva's who buy clay couldn't have kept them in business that long. Too bad these complainers couldn't have taken the factory tour with me. They'd soon realize that the thousands and thousands of bars of clay that were EVERYWHERE weren't being sold to just an elite few.

My opinion is that polymer clay is what it is to the person that is using it. If you make stunningly beautiful canes and it takes you hours to complete a piece then I can see how you would feel that your piece is valuable and an expression of art. Maybe it can go into the Smithsonian Museum. Or maybe you are like me and make cute little characters that make people smile. Finally, you might be a 6 year old cutting out a Christmas ornament and baking it for your mother. Each one of us feels our work is meaningful. It's not the median we use, but what we do with it.

Clay is like crayons. Some people scribble and others make beautiful artwork.

Here are two links to show what can be done with crayons....

Jeffery Robert

The Crayon Artist

Now let's all stop arguing about the medium and start creating with it.:)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ups Nightmare and Snowbabies in Ireland

Now I know why I only use USPS to ship. The reason; United Parcel Service is inept and rude.

Today I got the chance to "attempt" to pick up my big box from Polyform. It's been waiting at the UPS station in Detroit for about 5 days. The driver only left me a final attempt notice on Friday night,,failed to leave me the first and second attempt notice.

Anyway, I live about 8 or 9 miles from the UPS location in Detroit, and it's not the nicest of areas. It's funny, cause it's directly across the street from the neighborhood I grew up in back in 1960s. I could see my front yard as I turned into the UPS parking lot. The lot was busy with big UPS trucks and people with packages; however, those people with packages were finding out (as did I) that the office hours were 11:00 am to 7 pm.
It was 9:30 am..a wasted trip for me and three other customers.

I guess it wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't taken me 26 minutes to drive 8 miles. I wasn't prepared for the road crew that had completely taken over the main route to UPS. Warren Avenue is undergoing major road repair and it was horrible driving. I drive a little metro and it was stop and go along the way with huge tractors and machinery turning, backing up, stopping. There was a slight drop off to the right of the road that I was trying like heck to avoid. Someone has an accident and there were cops everywhere, glass, ambulances. Construction workers were measuring out lengths of the road and were standing in the middle of traffic. I actually was relieved when I crossed from Dearborn (where all this construction was) to Detroit. The graffiti scribbled on burned out buildings was looking pretty good compared to the nightmarish traffic I had just endured. So, when I discovered that I had just wasted gas and 30 minutes of my time because UPS was closed, I started to get upset. I think I may have been swearing to myself as I pulled out of the congested driveway and headed back home (avoiding Warren Avenue)..

I called UPS and complained about the driver's inefficiency and was tossed around to different departments. Finally, someone from the Detroit station called me back and told me that I had to be home to sign for the package. When I informed her that I had to be at work, she told me that most people don't have packages sent to their home if they weren't going to be there.
An argument ensued and before I knew it, she had hung up on me.

By then, I had started to feel my chest tighten up and I called customer service. I'm usually an easy going person, but UPS's unwillingness to help me out and inability to proclaim it's fault in this matter, made me mad.

Thank God, the customer service woman did her best and suggested that the package be sent to my job. I liked this idea, and from now on, all packages sent to me will be delivered to my work address. After I receive my package, I'll take pictures of some of the projects and all that wonderful clay and post it here...

Ok, for some happier news...

My Snowman cake topper arrived in Ireland safe and sound.

The couple who ordered the topper sent me a check in Euros and my bank wouldn't cash it. I was supposed to send it back to my customer so they could send me another form of payment. I hadn't mailed the topper, and time went by, so I sent the check and the topper to Ireland. Shipping was around $15.00 and it arrived in 5 days. I sent the buyers an invoice through paypal and even though they didn't have an account, by evening they had signed up and paid me in full.
Leap of faith on my part to send something across the ocean without payment. I am not the sharpest business person, so luckily it worked out.

I've shipped clay pieces to Australia, the North Pole, England, Germany, and South America, and, now, Ireland. My clay babies have traveled more than I have.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Step by step picture tutorial

Here's a quick and easy way to make a turkey. You can adjust the size by adding more quantities of clay. I've included a penny in the pictures to give you an idea of size.

First you roll a ball of brown clay about the size of a walnut...

Then roll smaller ball of yellow, one of red, one of orange and one of brown...

Roll the smaller balls into snakes....

Then, twist all the colors together,,kind of like a candy cane...

Smooth the candy cane and break into 7 equal pieces (we will call these feathers)

Roll out each feather smoothly in your hand and bring to a point. Flatten slightly. Place one on top, one on each side, then fill in the back with the remaining feathers. Put slight pressure to attach to back.

Roll out a tube about 1/2 inch long, this is the neck and head. Attach to middle front of body.
Add a yellow beak, red wattle...
Back in oven for 20 minutes at 265 degrees..let cool.

You can use this as a decoration on your table, or make several and use for each person's place setting.

If you have any questions, email me at

Friday, November 2, 2007

UPS,,final attempt notice

Tonight, when I came home from work, I found a final notice on my door from the UPS man. I have been expecting my box of goodies to come from Polyform Products (my clay, my projects we worked on, etc.), however, I wasn't expecting a "final notice".. Seeing that really irked me, what happened to "first attempt", and "second attempt"? If the lazy driver would have taken 5 seconds to leave me a notice the first two tries , I could have driven over to their office during the day. But, it's Friday evening and now I have to wait till Tuesday, since I can't go on Monday. Oh well, patience is a virtue, so I guess I'll be waiting.

I'm going to do a quick tutorial (very basic,,just to give you an idea) of a clay project Saturday, November 3, so check back in the evening for a free lesson and pictures!

See you later..

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Devil's Night & Happy Halloween

I wish I could say that was really me in the above pic, but a girl can dream. (that's the inner me)..
It's Tuesday night, Devil's night and I'm waiting for my boyfriend Jeff to come over. I've got mexican chicken on the stove and scary music playing on my computer. There's a creepy movie on TV and I've lit candles, so I'm in a Halloween mood.

I'll be back here in a few days for some creative and reflective updates.

Stay out of mischief and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Watching Horror Movies & Making Clay

Well, I've been home for a week now and haven't done much with regional trainer information. I'm supposed to contact Donna Dewberry and give her three training dates and start working on some sample boards. Being gone for a week set me back a week.

One thing that I absolutely have to do is finish a cake topper that is going to Ireland. That'll be done by tomorrow..maybe even shipped. The bride wants a snowman bride and groom cause she is getting married right around Christmas. As soon as I finish it, I'll post a picture.

One of the coolest things that happened when I went to Chicago was that I got to tour the Polyform factory. (did I mention that?) I have been buying clay from them since 1982 so it was fun to step inside the inner sanctum and see where they manufacture polymer clay. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the factory part of the building, but I did take some pictures of the office areas. There were a lot of samples in different offices and the waiting rooms. I even saw on of the samples they purchased from me.

Some of the Regional Trainers with Donna in the Polyform Board Room..

Samples of different projects from Polymer Clay

One of the many projects I did for Polyform..this was the last one they purchased from me.

One of the nicest things that polyform did for us was continually give us bars of clay as we trained. We were given 34 bars of the new clay in the beginning days of training, then an additional 10 to 20 bars. On the last day they surprised us by giving us an additional 34 bars of clay, a very generous gift. I'm patiently waiting for my box of clay to arrive, since it was too much to carry home on the train. I also received 34 bars of the new clay about 5 weeks ago. I'm considered one of their "designers" and we "designers" receive free samples periodically to try out new clays and give our feedback on them. We also received some awesome clay tools and a dozen beautiful texture sheets. These items will not be available to the public till December or January.
Posing with some of the trainers as we tried out the new clay and tools.

If you enjoy using polymer clay, you will really like the new clay, called Studio by Sculpey. It is soft, colors are great and it is VERY durable. One of the trainers stepped on a wooden frame that was decorated with clay leaves and nothing broke. The clay is a bit flexible and can be rolled out very thin. It is sure to be well received.

Horror Movies??

The title of this blog is "watching horror movies" and that's where I'm off to now. Nothing like watching a cheesy 60's horror flick on a Friday night. I might even pop some popcorn...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yanni? Enya? What's happening here????

If anyone knows me well, they know what kind of music I like. My favorite band is The Cure, and along with that, I love 80's English Alternative (The Smiths, Elvis Costello, New Order, etc.), 90's alternative, (Greenday, Pearl Jam, and Offspring) funk and today's alternative (Coldplay, Guster, Gomez, etc). My secret shame is Kid Rock. So, how did I find myself listening to Yanni and Enya on the train? This was music I made fun of. I never met anyone who even listened to this kind of music. However, I had made a tape of rain to listen to on the train, something to relax to and I accidentally taped Yanni and Enya. Maybe in a different situation I would have yanked my headphones off in horror as the first chords of music hit my ears, but, traveling backwards on the train, looking out the window at backyards and fields, the sound emulating from the CD player was kind of nice. Really nice actually. The beautiful chords, melodic and soothing, were like a movie sound track of those moments for me on the train. I saw wild turkeys feeding in corn fields, kayaks maneuvering along winding rivers, and geese flying against cerulean blue skies. The fall colors of reds and oranges dotted the countryside. The whole experience was very moving and left me in a state of complete peace.

Peace that was short lived. Once the train arrived at Union Station, so did a new level of stress.
Union Station In Chicago

Once I got into Union station I lugged my bags up to the main floor. I stood there for a few moments trying to figure out where the atm machine was. When I noticed that it was back down on the basement floor I decided to worry about getting cash later. I wasn't about to go down the stairs with my two pieces of luggage. So, I stepped outside.

There were busses and taxi cabs everywhere. People were hurrying everywhere, so I tucked myself and my luggage close to a wall and contemplated my next move. I heard a voice say, "taxi" and I walked over to a guy who looked like he might help me. I found out he wasn't a driver, but he hustled people towards the taxis and helped them get their luggage into the cabs. When I told him where I was headed, O'Hare Airport, he told me the cab ride would be expensive, that I should take the subway.
That had been one of my opinions upon arrival, so I took his advice. Next thing I knew we were walking down the street together, he dragging my luggage, and me on guard. He told me he lived in a hotel and tried to earn money to pay $40 a day to live there. I didn't care if he lived in a garbage can, a hotel or a mansion; I was happy to have the help, yet very cautious, this guy could mug me at any minute. We had to walk about four blocks and as we crossed each street I kept my eyes on the signs. We were headed to the blue line and that was good.

This man carried my luggage down the stairs and helped me get my ticket for the subway. In turn I gave him $15.00. Maybe I'm a sucker, but it was worth it I was shaking and breathless and he was a godsend. I hope he enjoyed that $15.00, cause he earned it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My adventure began....

When I was a little girl, my grandma took me on a train to West Virginia. We boarded the train at the Michigan Central Station. It was 1968. I was 13 years old and can remember how nervous and excited I was to board the train. I had magazines, my "transistor radio", bubble gum and snacks. The inside of the station was beautiful with oak benches, marble floors and walls, brass fixtures and columns. Although that was many years ago, I still remember the long corridor where people gathered and waited for the train.

The station in it's glory days...

The Michigan Central Station has been closed for nearly 20 years now. It still stands, empty and abandoned, it's once beautiful corridors stripped clean of marble and brass. Trespassers, if able, climb barbed wire fences to sneak into the ruins and explore.

The station as it stands today...
Dearborn Train Station

The Amtrak station in Dearborn is where I caught my train to Chicago. It's a small building with restrooms, a few vending machines, an area with maps and schedules, and a ticket window. While I waited for my train I couldn't help but think of the old train station and how much times have changed.

Amtrak Station in Dearborn

I hear the whistle blowing!!

There is something very exciting about first seeing that light far off in the distance and knowing that the train is coming. First you see the light, then you hear the whistle, then you feel the rumble as the train pulls into the station. My heart was pounding fast out of fear and excitement and it wasn't until I tucked away my luggage and found a seat that I started to relax. That feeling was short lived as I realized that I was facing the back of the train and that I would be traveling all the way to Chicago backward. At first I panicked, since I get dizzy very easily, but as I looked around the car, I saw that the front facing seats were all taken. Backwards it had to be.
Within a few minutes the conductor called out, "All Aboard"! A moment passed and the train chugged forward. The ride was quiet and smooth and surprisingly I found that I quickly got used to traveling backwards. I popped a cd into my player, slipped the headphones on and leaned back into my seat. I finally was on my way!

(more to come tomorrow)....

Adventures in Chicago-land..

When I first got the notice that Sculpey was starting a new education program, partnering with Donna Dewberry, I quickly scanned over the email, thought about it for a moment or two, then put it out of my mind. It wasn't till I received another email that the deadline had been extended that I started to give it some serious thought. Procrastinator that I am, I waited till two days before the deadline, filled out my application and tossed it in the mail. I don't even think it got there in time, but a few months later I received a phone call from Donna Dewberry.
Donna's website.

She wanted to interview me. This was not the first time I had spoken to her. I had met her several years ago at a convention in Chicago and as we talked we found out we had something in common; we both started out in salt dough, then moved on to clay. The big difference between us,,she developed the One-stroke painting method and became very wealthy. I continued in clay and DIDN"T become wealthy. (no biggie,,I am not that driven :)

To make a long story short, she loved my enthusiasm and I was chosen to be an alternate for the new education program that she and sculpey developed. However, one of the original 12 backed out of the program,giving me the opportunity to be the final regional trainer.

The program in a nutshell is this...I and 11 others were "certified" last week in Chicago by Donna Dewberry and Sculpey.

Our function is to certify other teachers who will in turn teach others polymer clay. It's an "i can do this" program. A lot of people look at polymer clay and fear it. These classes make it very easy for a beginner to do a project from start to finish and feel a sense of accomplishment.

Time will tell how well this program will work. I'm excited about it as I've always been a big fan of polymer clay and have taught classes on and off for years. If anyone is interested in knowing more about the program, please email me. I will be talking about it on this blog also.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Deadman's Hill

One of the reasons I started this blog was to keep my customers informed as to what I was doing
with my clay. You know, up close and personal. Like watching me over my shoulder to see how I'm making my latest creations.

I would also like to occasionally mention my attempt at exercising and losing weight. Maybe this blog will hold me to a hig
her standard and I might get something accomplished.

Anyway, a few years ago I discovered that I enjoyed walking up a hill near my home. Called garbage hill, or deadman's hill (nice,huh), it is a landfill in Hines Park. There are three sides with steps and during the winter people sled there. I started walking on it in 2005 and lost about 50 pounds. Nice....

But, I've gained about 25 back over the past year or so and want to get back on the right track, so I've started walking on that hill again. I figure I can walk on it as long as the weather is above 35 to 40 degrees and not too
slippery. I walked up the hill today 4 times and although I feel good afterwards, I'm a little tired now.

Here are some pictures of the hill from the bottom, middle and top. There are about 140 steps on each side, and I take it slow. The more I walk it though, the faster I will be able to go. Anyway, wish me luck!

The new clay..

I contacted Sculpey to see if it was ok to show a picture of the clay and to discuss it. They assured me it was ok, so here's a picture of the clay.

While I'm in Chicago, I will have the opportunity to make money and train at the same time. Sculpey will be launching a new website just for Studio clay and they will need projects and pictures of clay. So, I think during training we will be asked to come up with our best designs. They pay $175 for one design, so if I can make two really nice ones, that will pay for my hotel room (not right away,,but eventually).

Tonight I'm going to play with this new clay, I heard it has a suede like finish. I'll be back to talk about it later!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Found a nice surprise on my porch..

When I came home from work on Friday, I found a box of clay from the Sculpey people. In the box was 36 packages of clay. How fun! The clay is called Studio by Polyform, and I and 11 other artists are going to Chicago in two weeks to learn about this awesome product, new techniques and tools, and how to teach to others. The colors are beautiful and the texture is smooth and easy to work with.
That's about all I can say at this moment.

I'll keep you posted!!

Not enough hours in the day

Check out the order I've been working on for my
ss Dawn's baby shower. She is having a halloween theme and ordered 55 clay babies. I have to do 7 more dracula babies.

I also took some pictures while I was making the clay babies. That way you can see the proc
ess I go through as I'm creating them. If I have a lot of the same babies to make, I do them in fours or fives, that way I can get them finished a little quicker.

To the left you can see the legs I've made for the trick or treat ghost. To the right, their shoes are added. Toothpicks give the baby more stability.

Finally, I had a ball of clay to the "top" of the legs and cover it with a sheet of white clay. The finished product is this little guy...
Here is how I make little Mummy...

I start with a white body and legs...I then flatten a piece of white clay
and cut it into long narrow strips.
I wrap each strip around the legs and body. Then I make the arms and do the same.

Here's the finished clay baby. Although these aren't quite tutorials, I hoped you picked up a few pointers. I plan on doing a few tutorials in the future, but for now, I think I'm going to go find a scary movie to watch!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here's a link to my "news"..

I don't know how much information I'm "allowed" to give out, but here is a link to the Sculpey website, where they have announced the Regional Trainers for the new product that will be out next year, Studio Home Dimensions.


I'll be going to Chicago in about 2 and 1/2 weeks to learn about this new clay. Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll have a lot of fun, meet new friends, come back with lots of ideas, and be certified to teach and certify other students. I'll be gone a week and am very excited. More about this adventure in upcoming weeks..

Crazy for Creativity...

I spent an hour this morning organizing my papers that I use when I make Artist Trading Cards.

I was carrying them around in an old suitcase, (thinking that was organized), but didn't know what kinds of papers I had, so I put them in this cardboard organizer. Now that they are color co-ordinated, it will be easier to get right to what I need.

What's an Artist Trading Card you ask?

Artist Trading Cards (will be referred to as ATCs) are miniature expressions of art, done on the size of a playing card, 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches. They can be painted, drawn, done in mixed media, crayons, pen & ink, recycled materials, fabric and even clay. They must be 3.5 by 2.5 and they should never be sold. (although people do sell them on ebay, I personally would never buy or sell them)..
I've been making and collecting them for about a year now and have received cards from all over the world. I get in swaps and do personal trades. I even have my granddaughter making them with me. She's five and she has a little collection here at my house. It's fun making them with her, she's very prolific, once she starts there is no stopping her.

Designing ATC's has helped me tap into a new realm of creativity and when I'm working on these little works of art, I'm lost in a world of ideas, plans and dreams. I'm happiest when I'm creating. I gather my art supplies, my papers and ribbons and paint, and I place my troubles high up on a shelf.

How creativity helps me get through the day...

Anytime I do anything creative it opens up my mind to another idea. It inspires me to "think outside the box" which I think I'm pretty good at. Being creative is not just doing an art project or making a cake, it's figuring out how to solve a problem, sometimes in unique ways that no one else might have thought of. Here's a great example. Many years ago, my family and I went camping up to Sleeper State Park. When we got to the campsite, the only site left for us was lower th
an the sites around us. My sister was up on a slope, my friends were on the other slope, and there we were, in the valley. Of course, you can guess what happened. A quick storm blew in, bringing a torrent of rain and it literally flooded our camp site. We watched streams of watering gushing down from my sister's and friend's campsites. Within two hours, a small pond of water had settled around our tent. My x-husband wanted to leave, the kids were running around in the puddles making matters worse, but I was thinking of a way to solve this problem.

Earlier in the day, before the rain came, I had wandered into the woods and had come across a sand dune. It was only a few hundred feet from our site. Looking at the puddles, I had an idea. I gathered up all of the kids, gave them buckets and cups and led them to the sand. We ran back and forth tossing sand into the puddles. At first, it looked like it might not work since the sand was just as wet, but soon the puddles disappeared, the wet sand was buried by the dry sand, and we had a dry campsite. That evening, as we sat around the campfire, I had a sense of satisfaction that I, along with an army of energetic kids, had saved the trip.

Creativity doesn't always save the day for me. Trust me, I have my share of problems that I had a hard time solving. But I'm glad I can tap into that creative part of my brain to try to figure out a solution.
Want to be more creative. Check out the creativity links to the left. You may get inspired!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A little bit about me.....

I've been sculpting with polymer clay since 1982..Originally I worked with a salt dough recipe,,which was very time consuming and not too effective. I was just about to give up on the bread dough when I found out about polymer clay. I was at a craft show, trying to sell dough teddy bears and met a woman who had fruit pictures made from white Sculpey. She told me the name and I went searching all over to find it. That was 25 years ago and it wasn't easy to find. I did find the white, then saw in a magazine that there were colors, so I ordered some from the factory.

I still remember the excitement I felt when I got that first shipment of clay. Oven baked clay has been in my house ever since. I used to have a little shop in Garden city Michigan, called "Quaint and Country" where I sold country crafts and taught clay. I have done so many things with my characters, wholesaling them, selling them at craft shows and big trade shows. But, doing production became very tiring over the years, and now I just sell from my website, ebay and word of mouth.
I've always made whimsical dolls, animals and Holiday characters. For the past 4 years, I've been doing cake toppers too.
I am about to start a new adventure with polymer clay. I can't say a lot about it now, but as soon as I get the OK, I'll be sharing all I can.

The purpose of this blog in conjunction with my website is to keep you informed about new products, ideas, share pictures and tutorials, and motivate myself to continue pursuing my dreams. What a great motivator a blog is.

The first thing I'd like to share with you is a picture of my studio. I'm in the CONSTANT process of organizing it and hopefully it will look awesome,,right now, it's a room full of a lot of stuff!!!
So until it's good enough to be photographed for Mary Engelbreit's "Home Companion"
"artist studios"
I'm only going to show little tidbits of my room (basically closeups of tools, clay and other fun things). As the room gets closer to completion, I will show a little more..

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