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!

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