Monday, March 30, 2009

Magazines to Inspire

If you are like me, you love to look at the works that other artists create. There are some great magazines available today and I thought I would share with you my favorites.

Somerset Studio is a great magazine full of artwork. If you enjoy Artists Trading Cards, assemblage, altered art, or mixed media, you have to take a peak at this magazine. There are theme based challenges, interviews with artists, tutorials, and spotlights. If I only had one of these magazines, I would get enough ideas to last me years, yet, when I see a new issue, I'm always tempted to buy it. If I look inside, I've committed myself to purchase it. I'm so glad the Joann's lets the customer use coupons on their books and magazines, because they can run from $8.99 to $15.99 . The image you see above is of the Somerset Studio Gallery addition. It showcases the amazing work of many talented artists (more than 400 projects in this addition.)

Art Doll Quarterly is another magazine I really enjoy looking at. I'm always so inspired when I browse the pages. Like Somerset Studios, this magazine has interviews, tutorials and hundreds of wonderful images. There are paper dolls, polymer clay, fabric, found objects, and altered dolls. Some are odd, some cute, and others are amazingly beautiful.

I recently found this magazine, called Cloth, paper, scissors. When I saw this cover, old paint tubes with sculpted faces, I had to have it. The whole magazine is filled with great projects, really emphasizing recycled items. beautifully designed collages, and a great article on journaling.
At the back of the magazine are several ads for art retreats which inspired my friend Mary Ann and I to start planning our own in the late summer. She has a rustic cottage in northern Michigan, a perfect place to immerse ourselves in art.

Finally, my favorite magazine is called Where Women Create. The work spaces that are featured in this magazine are wonderful. The women spot lighted in this magazine are artists, designers, and writers. Just when I think I've seen the most amazing studio, a few pages later I'm in awe again. If you are trying to plan a perfect work space for your craft, Where Women Create will surely inspire!
What I love about these magazines is that the only advertising you see is for art supplies and it's usually near the back pages. The quality of the magazines are superb too. There are pages and pages of free tutorials, descriptions of techniques, and free paper samples. Once you start collecting them, you'll never tire of looking through them, so even though the cost is a little more expensive than Cosmo or Woman's Day, it's well worth the investment.

Colored Pencils

Enjoyed the morning light a few days ago and took some pictures of colored pencils. If you like the pics, feel free to right click and save. You never know when you'll need a graphic of colored pencils.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Trying to find a sense of myself

This last week has been really tough on me. Imagine my mind is a pin ball machine and the balls in the game are my thoughts and ideas. I have been bouncing ideas around inside my head for days now, I can't focus and I'm falling behind.

To give you an idea of some of my ideas, I'll number them.

1. Do craft shows in the fall
2. Don't do shows, send post cards to businesses and sell wholesale.
3. Quit my job and do summer shows
4. Work more hours at my job
5. Send free Christmas ornaments to shops to promote my clay
6. Stop doing cute clay and make "artsy" stuff
7. Forget about the artsy stuff and do the things I've been doing for years
8. Buy a tent
9. Don't buy a tent
10. Start making fairies (I bought four fairy books on amazon)
11. Sell fairy books on ebay
12. Make weird looking stuff
13. Do country and primitive stuff again (got a $19.00 subscription to Country Business Magazine)
14. Stop doing clay altogether and paint gourds
15. Ordered a bunch of gourds off of ebay..might turn around and sell them on ebay..still don't know
16. Do a trade show and sell primitive items
17. Do a trade show and sell Christmas ornaments
18. Don't waste money on a trade show, build up my website instead
19. Website doesn't get that many orders, don't waste my time
20. What if my website did start getting orders, then it wouldn't be a waste of time
21. Do more canvas paintings and embellish with clay
22. Make clay embellishments to sell to other artists
23. Make clay buttons
24. Take classes on making ceramic tiles
25. Make faux ceramic tiles
26. Make artsy jewelry
27. Make a lot of cake toppers

Then there's the whole graphics "ideas"..

1. Make a portfolio of my work and try to get a job as a graphic designer
2. I go to school, so I can't switch jobs right now, my job is really easy going with classes
3. Make banners for websites
4. Make clip art
5. Make images for people to have for their websites, jewelry, art work
6. Scan images and sell on ebay
7. Scan images and give away
8. Make business cards and signs, etc for crafters
9. Make a collage Cd full of ephemera

As you can see, the clay/art list is so much bigger than the graphics list, yet I'm going to school, getting a degree in Fine Arts...? Graphic Arts? Even there I can't make up my mind. (similar, but what will the end result be)..

I seriously think I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.

While writing this post, I stopped and took the test. Funny thing is, one of the questions goes like this...

21. My thoughts bounce around as if my mind is a pinball machine.
Not at all
Just a little
Quite a lot
Very much

I did this test after I described my mind as a pinball machine. I guess I'm not the only one who feels like this.
It's hard to feel like one's mind is cluttered. Or as the test describes it; many channels of television going off at the same time.

In my daily life I battle these thoughts..

1. Buy a house
2. rent a house
3. rent an apartment
4. move up north
5. move to florida
6. Get rid of a piece of furniture
7. Keep the piece of furniture
8. Rearrange my studio
9. Keep it the way it is
10. Paint?
11. Not paint?
12. Get married?
13. Stay single?
14. Make more friends?
15. Get rid of more friends?
16. Love my job?
17. Hate my job?

I feel debilitated by this. I think I'm ready to seek medication for it. I tried many years ago to address this in therapy, but it was dismissed. When I saw that I wasn't being heard, I quit going.
I think it's time to re-address this problem. I can't handle it any more.

I found a great website that seriously speaks to me. Artists & AADD. Check if out if you have Attention Deficit Disorder and don't want to feel alone.

If you find me missing from the blog for a few days, say to yourself, "Debbie's AADD must be in full swing,"

My plan was not to write this posting today. I was going to feature some books and magazines that I find inspiration in. I was also going to show some work I finished. But, the batteries in my camera died and have to be re-charged. Then I felt compelled to share this problem with you. I try to keep this blog interesting and creative, but sometimes real life takes over.

After the batteries are back to full juice, I'll share those books and magazines with you and show you my latest creations.

Friday, March 27, 2009

And the Winner is...

Congratulations to TheClayMuse who won the bunny pin. All she has to do is send me her address and I'll get it out in the mail as soon as possible.

This giveaway did not generate much interest. I am still trying to figure out how to get people really excited about my little contests. Either my work isn't that good or people don't trust these or people are shy. I'm going to keep trying though!

I'll be having another one when I get back from Easter vacation.

In the meantime, I'll be showing some work later on this evening. Thanks again to all of you who keep returning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bunny Pin

Just a reminder that my contest ends this Friday. If you want to have a chance to win, please sign up as a follower. (Upper right hand of this blog)..I'll pick a winner from the followers.

I know that many are subscribers, but I can't access that information. Good luck~

Don't Look Back

I've been having a crying jag today. Don't be alarmed! It happens to me every once in awhile. It does me good to have an emotionally cleansing moment.

How did this crying jag happen? I blame it on Facebook. I joined Facebook more than a year ago and had no interest in it at all. I rarely visited it and had two friends for months there. But lately, some of my friends and relatives have been adding me as friends, so I've visited there more often.

Within the last two weeks though I've had contact with several people from the past. Mostly friends of my children. They are grown now with families and careers of their own, but each one who has added me as a friend has let me know that they remember me. One girl said I was a refuge to her when she needed it and another said my house was the place to be.

Our house sure was the place to be. There were always children there, spending the night, swimming in the pool, watching tv. But when my husband left me in 1993 and my children were approaching their teenage years, it was crawling with kids.

My thought was that I would rather have them at my house then anywhere else, so I let them hang out at our house. Hang out they did! There were basketball games in the driveway, ping pong tournaments in the basement, bon fires in the back yard. When I rented a video I would be assured that there would be 8 or 9 kids sprawled out all over the couches, chairs and floor in my living room. In the morning some of those same kids would still be there, sleeping in the recliner or crashed out on the couch. My living room always had the aroma of hot fries and Slurpee's. 7/11 was a few blocks away and before they got to drive, my kids were allowed to walk there for snacks. When my first son got his license, the favorite food was Taco Bell.

Once I had 19 boys and girls, ages 12 through 14, stay the night at our house. I barely slept that night, trying to chaperon them. I'll never forget the scene in the living room, where all the kids sat, smashed together on couches and chairs. They were laughing and talking, (and of course, eating). When they finally fell asleep, I stepped over boys and girls, pillows and sleeping bags that were lined up and down the hallways, living room and dining room. I sat in the recliner like a watch dog, nodding in and out of sleep. Even though I was lenient, I wasn't permissive.

Once, a girl stayed with us for a few days. I didn't care for her, but my daughter begged me, so I allowed it. I made enough tacos to last two days and on the second day our "guest" said to me, "Tacos again?".

"Who are you!?" I practically hissed at her. I then insisted that she call her mother and that I needed to talk to her. Sure enough, the girl had run away from home and was "hiding" at our house. After that, whenever she asked to spend the night, I made sure to talk to mom.

Sometimes, in the mornings, when I would assess the living room, littered with food wrappers and sleep over guests, I would get angry. Sometimes those visitors would be witness to that anger. But, it didn't matter. They still came back, they called me mom, and sometimes, they even helped around the house.

To this day, several of them still call me mom and we have stories we like to reminisce about. We had the hottest house on the block (no air conditioning), yet, no matter what the temperature was, someone would be there, asking to spend the night or eat dinner with us.

I had to sell that house 10 years ago. Sometimes I wished I could have held on to it. But, I had to mortgage it to pay my x husband his share, and the payments were too high for me. It was a sad time for my kids and I. I remember the last time I looked at it, as I walked out of it for the final time. On the wall, by the back door, were measurements that the boys had started to mark on the wall. I had tried to harden my heart about leaving it. It's just a house, I told myself.

But it was more than that and I realize that now, especially when someone from the past reminds me of what it meant to them.

There's a line from Gone With The Wind that always touches my heart.

Ashley Wilkes says to Scarlett..

Yes, we've traveled a long road since the old days,
haven't we, Scarlett? All the lazy days...and the
warm, still, country twilight...the high soft Negro
laughter from the quarters...the golden warmth, and
security of those days.

And Scarlett says to him..

Don't look back, Ashley Don't look back. It drags at
your heart till...till you can't do anything but look

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passionate about Art

I first met Mary Ann Flores in 1987. I had just opened a little shop called Quaint and Country and she had come to check it out. She also had a great idea. She offered to paint a sign in my window, and instead of cash, we could barter. Thus began a great friendship. We inspire each other, and sometimes, when one of us has an idea, we get so excited, ideas start bouncing off the walls and windows. Everyone needs a friend in their life like my friend, Mary Ann.

Mary Ann's Studio is in the basement of her home. Her husband, also an artist, painted a mural that leads down the stairs.

Mary Ann's work area is to the right. Her complete home is decorated like an art gallery. The paintings are all done by her and her husband. For years, Mary Ann has been building a vast collection of her original water colors and acrylic paintings, patiently waiting for the opportunity to showcase her talent. A gallery is interested in her work, but Mary Ann wants to create more pieces.

Over the years, Mary Ann has immersed herself in her art. She's taken numerous classes and has an impressive personal library of art books. She also has files of "studies", pictures of trees, landscapes, people, flowers, etc. She says that she always comes away from taking a class or reading a book with some bit of knowledge. No class has ever been wasted on her, no book a chore to read. "If you learn one thing, it was worth it," she often says.

I love these paintings that she did for her granddaughters.

The influences of Monet and Van Gogh are evident in this picture.

Recently, Mary Ann has started to do altered art, assemblage and Artist Trading Cards. For years she has saved bits and pieces of sea glass, shells, feathers, jewelry and discards. Now she has found a place to use them in her art.

Mary Ann loves painting the Statue of Liberty. Here one of her renditions looks over her rack of many watercolors.

Mary Ann talks to her "muse" on an old fashioned rotary phone.

Having Mary Ann for a friend is a treat and an honor. We are very much alike, which makes being friends with her easy. For instance, we both like to go to the beach. We collect stones and sea glass and funny shapes of wood. We once sketched and water colored on the beach; another time we made mosaic pictures in the sand, using different colored rocks. We inspire each other every time we talk. We trade books and art supplies and keep each other informed on new techniques.

When I left Mary Ann's studio on Saturday, she was telling me about an assemblage she was going to start. Today, Tuesday, she called to say it was almost complete.

Mary Ann is an artist who walks the walk. She lives and breathes her art everyday. She's not motivated by money or fame, but by an unexplainable desire and passion to create. "I have no choice." she explained to me.

If you are an artist, then you know what she means.


Become a follower of this blog and you will be put into a drawing to win a Spring Bunny Pin.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bunny Pin Giveaway

I had 118 hits on my blog yesterday and no new followers. Obviously, I'm trying to build my readership and have fun at the same time, but I wonder why no one added themselves yesterday.

Let me say, the bunny is MUCH cuter in person. The pictures never give the clay justice. This bunny would look good on a jacket or blouse and will draw lots of comments. (Hopefully, compliments!)

So, to repeat the "rules". If you would like to win this little bunny, just become a follower and on Friday I will announce the winner. I usually have people comment, but in this contest, I wanted to do something different.
Artist Spotlight

If you are creative and would like to be featured on my blog, please contact me. Tonight or tomorrow, I'll be featuring a good friend of mine, Mary Ann. She is an amazingly creative person, her world revolves around art. So, if you would be interested in having me dedicate a blog post to you and your work, don't be shy. Contact me at

Once a week, I'll be featuring an interesting artist. I know two or three personally but then I'm going to have to go out and "interview" those I don't know. Since I'm in school and in a few art classes, it shouldn't be too hard to find a few willing creative people to feature. It is motivating to me to see how other artists work and where they create. So if you paint, sculpt, sew, draw, drizzle or dabble, contact me (and dont' forget to follow me!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bunny Pin Tutorial and Giveaway

Here's a tutorial of a bunny pin made from polymer clay and beads. If you would like a chance at winning this bunny, you must become a follower. Click on the Follow link (located near the top) and on March 27 everyone who is a follower has a chance to win the pin. I'll ship it out right away so you can wear it in time for Easter.

Supplies needed...

4 head pins
assortment of beads
texture sheet (rubber stamp or lace will do fine)
Stamp pad
Liquid sculpey
Oval cookie cutter (optional,,because you can cut the shape with an exacto knife)
Pink Polymer clay

Step 1:

Roll out a piece of pink clay and fold in half to make a thickness of approx. 1/4 inch.Add Image
Spritz with water and press texture sheet or rubber stamp into clay.

Use your cookie cutter or exacto knife to cut out an oval approx. 1/2 inch. Then cut out two ovals for ears, approx. 1/4 inch long.

Gently dab with rubber stamp ink

Repeat this process. Cut two ears, then a circle for a face. I attach all of the pieces with liquid sculpey. It bonds the pieces, giving them extra strength.

I then push a toothpick through the body, two holes near the bottom corners and two holes near the top corners. (click on picture to get a good view)...

At this point, you can add two small balls of pink, press onto the lower part of the face and add two small black seed beads for eyes. Bake at 265 for twenty minutes..

While it is baking, string a few beads onto the head pins.

After the bunny bakes, let it cool completely. Approx. 1/2 hour. It is still a bit soft while it cools, so be patient.

Attach the first "arm" of beads by push the head pin through the front and out the back, then twisting the wire around itself. I use needle nose pliers to do this.

Do it firmly but carefully, you don't want to scar the clay.

Attach all the "limbs."

Turn the bunny over and apply a stream of liquid sculpey to its back.

Place a pin back along the stream of liquid sculpey. Flatten a small piece of clay and slip it between the pin back, adding a little more liquid sculpey as you go. The idea is, the liquid sculpey bonds the pin back to the bunny, and the additional piece of clay gives it even more strength.

Once again, bake at 265 for 20 minutes.

Let cool...


Remember you can win this pin. All you have to do is become a follower of this blog. If you are already one, great! You are automatically in the drawing. Even if you have subscribed, make sure you go to the follow this blog link. Good luck!

Friday, March 20, 2009

386 Vintage Cards

Sometimes I just luck out. That's what happened to me yesterday when I shopped at the Town Peddler Craft and Antique shop in Livonia. I was on my way home from Madonna University, looking for a magazine called The Country Register. Town Peddler was all out of them, but I found the greatest treasure!It was a scrap book from 1952 filled with valentine, birthday and Christmas cards. The cover of the scrap book said 386 cards for $27.00. The great part was, everything in the booth was 50% off, so I grabbed up that scrapbook and headed for the cash register.

You might be wondering what I'm going to do with these cards.


  • Scan them for images for collage
  • Resell sets of them on ebay
  • Admire them & cherish them
  • Be inspired to start my own scrapbook

I just love the idea that some little girl, over 50 years ago, was loved by so many people that in a two year time span (52 to 54) she filled a scrapbook with almost 400 cards.

There's a story in this scrapbook, waiting to be written.

Many cards are signed by "grandma."

This is my favorite.

The scrapbook itself is tattered and worn, but the cards are in great shape.

This card was made from another card. It was glued to construction paper. There were a few handmade cards in the lot.

I took the scrapbook to my classroom yesterday and the girls seem to really enjoy looking at all of the cards. The boys feigned interest for a few moments. Even the custodian took a break and looked through the book. There were so many questions. Who did this belong to? How could she get so many cards in such a short time? I wonder why it was found in the antique shop, didn't anyone want to keep it in the family?

I think that's the appeal of things we find that are old. It's not a significant event in history, but it still is a little bit of this little girl's history. I was reminded of all of the cards I used to receive when I was a kid. I don't know what the little girl's name is yet. I still haven't looked at all the cards. I do know she was someone's friend, someone's sister, someone's daughter and someone's granddaughter. She had some Aunts and Uncles too, judging by the signatures on a few of the cards.
The next time you are in an antique store, take your time looking. You never know what great treasure you will find!

Spring Giveaway...

In the next few days I'm going to do a tutorial on a spring bunny pin. Then, I'm going to have another giveaway...the prize will be the pin. Everyone will get the free tutorial, but only one lucky person will win the pin. Check back tomorrow for details!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In search of Spring

I had to go to Madonna University today to work on a lithograph and since Hines Drive is open again, (flooding is over) I took my camera, hoping to find a little bit of spring.

I drove past my hill and felt a touch of sadness. I had a love affair with that hill for two years. I walked up and down the 140 steps, listening to music, feeling fantastic. I lost 60 pounds walking that hill but all along I was doing damage to my knees, now I can only dream of walking it again.

Due to heavy rains over the past month, the park has a lot of temporary ponds. I saw a woman pull over to the side of the road to watch a duck bob his head in and out of the water. She must have been looking for spring too.

Here a few geese swim.

Last week this tree was completely under water, now the water has subsided.

Daffodils are popping up in my yard

My lilac bush is budding

Green moss grows on the asphalt near my shed

From the song bird that woke me up this morning, to the skunk cabbage growing along the banks of the river, spring is slowly making it's self present. It will officially be here in a few days but I'm glad I got to go out and find a little bit of it today.

Go out and find your own bit of spring!

Graphic Buttons I made.

I sell these over at Cafepress. I think they are kind of cute. I'm planning on making more designs.

FEEDJIT Live Traffic Feed

FEEDJIT Live Page Popularity