Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fascinating Flickr Finds

I'm sure you've no doubt visited Flickr, an online photo management site. I love looking at the pictures that people so generously submit. I thought I would share with you some of my favorite contributors.

Weefae has delightful art. She makes fairies and altered art, nesting boxes, and fairy doors. Her Christmas Characters are wonderful. Make sure you check them out. I found her blog which is lovely too.

Clay Babies reminds me of my work. She inspires me to add a little extra something to my pieces. She's very proficient too and that motivates me to work harder. Cathy's Clay is another polymer clay artist who makes similar pieces, once again, inspiring me to add the extra details on each and every piece. I love her display and sure wish I could do outdoor shows with such a cute looking shed. Both of these ladies work hard on their clay. I need some of their zip!

Here's an artist who uses bright colorful canes in her work. Her wall Dancers
are unique one of a kind art dolls that I'm sure you will enjoy looking at.

Mealy Monsters has quite an imagination! I love her crazy, weird little creatures that are truly one of a kind.

Finally, if you like miniatures you have to take a look at PetitPlat's tiny realistic food made from polymer clay. This 23 year old is amazingly talented. She too has a blog that I'm sure you'll enjoy.

I love looking at other people's work. Sometimes I get lost clicking from one link to the next and this can sometimes be my demise. More than not though, it is inspiring to see what other artists are doing. I need to limit my viewing to 20 minutes a day though cause the more I look, the less I create.

Hope you enjoy the links!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Role Models

I thought I would give everyone an update about my weight loss. I joined medical weight loss at the end of Feb. So far, I've lost 18 pounds. It's not probably the fastest but, in reality, if I lose 10 pounds a month, I'll be at my goal by the end of the year.

I've had a few set backs; for instance, traveling really set me back. I gained 5 pounds on that trip. I've taken it off, plus 4 extra pounds, so I'm back on track.

I did get really motivated while I was on my trip by my two aunts. Both are in their mid 80s and I can only hope and pray that I can be as healthy as they are when I'm that age.

My Aunt Pauline, who lives in Ohio, lives alone, drives all over, exercises, does yard work, volunteers at her church and lives a very active life.

Here she is in her yard, showing me buds on her tree.

While we were visiting her, she took us on a quick tour of her town. Her age hasn't slowed her down a bit, as she zoomed up and down the country roads pointing out historical homes and the surrounding farmlands. At one point, she whipped into her church parking lot and I'm sure the car was driving on two wheels like a stunt car in an action movie.

My aunt exercises daily, sometimes walking around her house several times until she's reached a mile. She can get up out of a chair without holding on to anything, something I haven't been able to do in awhile.

She's an avid computer geek and can zip around the Internet like a twenty year old. She does crossword puzzles and plays computer games to exercise her brain. I told her several times how much I admired her. I am truly inspired by her.

My other aunt, Aunt Hellen, lives in West Virginia. I stayed with her on my trip. Aunt Hellen also is in her 80s and still drives to church. Her knees are bad now and she's had some health issues, but every day she gets up and goes out to get her newspaper. Sometimes she strolls up and down the creek lined road. She loves nature and sits out on her porch watching the hummingbirds and chickadees feed from her bird feeders. She was eager for any adventure we went on and never complained about a thing.

What I love about my Aunt Hellen is her country wisdom and stories. She was born in a small town in West Virginia, never travelled much in her lifetime, but her wisdom could fill books.
She's kind and loving and spending time with her is always a blessing.

Being around these two great women made me realize that I have to take better care of myself. Their quality of life is good. Both of my aunts are calm, God-fearing women who take pleasure in the simple things that life has to offer.

I learned a lot from them and came home with a new resolve to work harder and exercise more. Something I have in common with them both is that I do take time to stop and smell the roses and to listen to the birds sing. I enjoy the simple pleasures in life like them.

I hope they both get a chance to read this blog so that they both know how much they mean to me and how grateful I am to have them as my aunts. Love you Aunt Pauline and Aunt Hellen!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Past Polymer Clay Tutorials

With school coming to an end, I've been super busy. I'm happy to say that I won't be going to school for spring/summer. I need a break and am going to take this time to continue doing tutorials.

To get me started, I'm leaving links to some tutorials I did for Sculpey. '

Witch's Brew

Bunny Rabbit

Bunny with Carrots

Check out all of the other great tutorials at

Friday, April 24, 2009

Book Mark Tutorial

Here's another quick tutorial using similar supplies as the votive candle.

1 block of Sculpey Studio
Metallic powders of your choice (I use PearlEx)
Rubber stamps

Fuzzy Yarn

I slice the Studio Clay down the middle to make it easier to roll through my pasta machine.
This is how I condition it. I roll it through several times.

The picture above shows how it looks after one roll through the pasta machine.

This picture shows how it looks after 12 times through the pasta machine. It's ready to work with now.

I use a rubber stamp of birds to make my impressions. Wet the stamp with water first.

I then slice the clay to make neat, crisp edges.

Using a brush, I then "paint" metallic powders all over my designs.

See how pretty it looks.

I poke a hole at the top and then bake at 265 degrees for 30 minutes.

I finish it up with some fuzzy yarn that I attach to the hole. Tie a few knots and it's ready to save your place in a book.

These make really nice gifts. They look especially beautiful if they are made with black clay and then "painted" with the metallic powders. Make several and place in a pretty dish at your next craft show. They are so elegant that you can charge $4 or $5. Add beads and wire to add to the embellishment.


If you'd like to see some of my ebay auctions, here's a link. Debbie

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Liquid Sculpey Votive Tutorial

This is a quick project. One bottle of liquid clay and three or four jars of PearlEx metallic powders will cover several glass jars. This would be a nice project for a wedding, shower, or Mother's day.

Have fun!

You'll need liquid polymer clay, a glass bowl or votive and an assortment of metallic powders.

Apply liquid polymer clay to the glass. For this jar, I worked 1/4 at a time. I applied the liquid clay to the glass with my finger and smeared it around. Then (again with my finger) I applied some of the powders to the liquid. You can use a brush if you'd like but it tends to leave streaks.

Cover the glass completely.

I swirled the metallic colors together. It reminds me of leaded glass that my grandma had in a few windows in her old house.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 275. Make sure your oven is accurate. After 20 minutes turn the oven off and let the glass cool.

I placed a small votive candle inside.

I added wire around the top and strung some beads on it. But to be truthful, I like it better without them.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of my "create your own art" is BG, Stacy. I used to pick a winner. Thanks Stacy for reading and following my blog. Send me your address and I'll send the package to you.

Check back later for a tutorial. I'll be showing how to use liquid clay and metallic powders to make a pretty votive candle holder.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It was just my imagination...

Whenever we go to West Virginia my cousin Bobby takes us Ridge Running. He packs us into his truck and takes us up on the hills that surround the "hollar". There he drives along the ridges and edges explaining how well his brakes will hold up or how someone last year went over a cliff.

My cousin is mild mannered and sweet and so I trust him, so when he suggested that he was going to drop me off at a shed on top of the mountain because some of the ridges up ahead were treacherous, I took his advice.

The area we were traveling in is owned by Buck, a good friend of Bob's and my cousin is allowed to drive around the mountain. Many years ago, his relatives owned it, but sold parts of it when times got rough. Buck has video cameras hidden all around the mountain as it's private property and Buck is doing a lot of conservation on it. He plants trees, feeds the animals and takes care of the area.

I felt pretty safe then when my cousin dropped me off. "We'll be back later to pick you up," he assured me. I watched as my cousin Bob, my sister, my nephew and my cousin Tim drove away and told myself it would be an adventure.

I wandered around the shed taking pictures for a few minutes before I got bored, so I started to walk down the path that the truck has just taken.

As I got further and further from the shed, I told myself, "Just a few more feet."

Other than the noise of the birds and a slight breeze, there was no sound and that started to bother me. I saw a pile of rocks up on a bluff and wanted to take a picture so I moved in that direction.

After I took the picture, I heard something crashing through the brush down the hill from me.

I immediately remembered what my cousin had told me the day before. He had heard a loud scream come down from the mountain and said that in all his years he had never heard anything like it before.

Why I hadn't thought of that sooner is beyond me, but I started to worry. "What the heck am I doing up here," I said aloud. I started to look around for a heavy branch that I could use as a club if need be. I found one and banged it against a tree to see it's strength. It held up and I started back to the shed. The whole time I continued to hear something thrashing through the woods below.

It was then, as I hurried back to the shed, that my imagination started to work overtime. I thought of movies like The Blair Witch Project, Deliverance, The Cat People and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I could feel my heart start to beat faster as I made the trek back up the hill towards the shed.

I knew the shed was wide open, but I had seen some rakes and tools inside and figured I could use them to protect myself. Protect myself from what? I wasn't sure, but I couldn't get back fast enough.

It then felt that I was being watched. Was something on the hills above watching me? I wasn't sure, but I stopped and scanned the hill tops and ridges to see if anything moved.

Once again, I heard something big moving through the brush. I searched for a large rock and threw it down into the brush and trees. I went to the edge as closely as I could to see what was down there but saw nothing.

The entire time the woods were getting a little grayer and shadows were growing a little bigger.
Then I noticed something hanging at the entrance of the shed. At first I thought it was a carcass of a deer, which made sense to me. (?) Then I realized the spine was attached to a pelvis. It seemed human to me, but that didn't make sense.

I knew that the owner was trying to scare people away and that he had hung a skeleton by the shed, but I had found it lying in the leaves. But the thing hanging by the shed looked like rotting meat.

By now my adrenaline was at high speed and I started to pace back and forth. Thoughts of "what if" started to build in my head. What if something is watching me? What if they don't come back? What if I have to walk down the mountain? There were so many different roads I didn't think I could find my way back before dark!

I kept looking at the trees as dusk started to move in and wondered whatever possessed me to agree to stay here alone. 40 minutes had gone by and I was just about ready to have a panic attack when suddenly I heard the beautiful sound of the truck returning. At least I hoped it was my cousin's truck.

It was! I was never so happy to see anyone in my life as I was to see them. I hurriedly showed my cousin the "rotting corpse" and did he get a laugh.

"That's the skeleton I told you about!" he chuckled.

I showed him the skeleton in the leaves but he explained that it had broken in two and what I thought was a rotting corpse was really the bottom half. I wasn't sure but upon closer inspection saw that it was made from foam! I almost was let down that it wasn't some horrific thing left behind to scare the owner.

As we drove back down the mountain my cousin continued to laugh at my silliness.

I guess he didn't understand what a wild imagination can do to a girl.

In the end, if he asked me to do it again I probably would. Sometimes I need a little adventure in my life to keep the heart ticking and the imagination spinning!

P.S. Remember if you comment on my blog you are put in my contest drawing.. Good Luck

Monday, April 20, 2009

Here's a giveaway from another artist

I was visiting another blog this morning and saw this giveaway. It's a 4" by 4" painted canvas.

Here's a link to the blog. The artist's name is Catherine Holman. You'll love her style; she paints a lot of cupcakes!

Remember to comment on her blog to win.

Don't forget I'm having an itty bitty giveaway where you can win pink and green clay, some beads and wire. Just comment on my blog. The contest ends in a few days! This is a fun little package that you can receive to make your own creations. Leave a comment and good luck.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wicked Witch

Several years ago my friend Mary Ann painted a canvas and added a shelf and a doorway to it. She gave it to me to do something with. I never got around to it, stared it for months, put it away in the closet and finally, last fall took it out and stared at it some more.

I thought I might make some angels and place them around the doorway, cause it looked like the entrance to heaven, but I just wasn't feeling it.

Today though, I had an inspiration! I repainted the morning sky to a dark night sky, shaded it and added some clay to it. I roughed it up a bit, trying to make it look primitive. Although I'm not finished with (I want to put some words above the entrance), I thought I would show you what I've done so far.

A cat with a big grin sits on the porch next to two pumpkins.

I glued scrapbook paper on the background. I need to add some details to the witch, like hair, maybe a cape and a broom.

Don't know what to add to the roof, but will think of something. The moon looks bad at this angle, it looks better in person.

I'm trying to experiment and make more primitive things. I like to antique the clay which makes it look vintage and worn, but adds a richness to it.

I'm in the process of re-doing my website and will be making a lot of new creations.


I listed several little characters on ebay yesterday. Here's a link it you'd like to check it out.

Remember that my giveaway ends in a few days, so leave comments. Good luck!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Remember, I'm having a giveaway that ends on April 22. All you have to do to get into the drawing is to leave a comment. You can leave as many comments as you'd like. I pick a winner and then ship out the prize. I pay for the shipping so it won't cost a thing! There is no catch, I'm just trying to have fun and pay it forward. If it helps my blog readership then that's good too.

I've included green and pink clay in this with matching wire and beads. I've also included a few pin backs and hoops. The possibilities are endless with what you can do with this. Make four or five miniatures, make pins, earrings or beads. You could also make tags, ornaments, or book markers. If you ever wanted to try your hand at polymer clay, now's your chance.
My only stipulation is that you either live in US or Canada.

Thanks again!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Create your own art giveaway

Ready for another giveaway? I thought it would be fun to gather a few materials and let YOU create something. Since my favorite color combination is green and pink, I have put together some clay, wire and beads. You can make beads, pins, dolls, or jewelry with the amount that is in this giveaway. There's enough for two or three creations (maybe even more!)

I've placed the wire and beads in the green pouch. Use it later to store your finished items, or give away as a gift.

If you have a child it will be fun to wait for this package to arrive. I've included instructions for the clay so this is pretty much fool proof.
All you have to do to enter the contest is to leave a comment. That's it! I will tally up all of the comments and pick a winner on April 22. You can leave as many comments as you'd like. This contest is just for those who live in Canada and United states,,(due to postage!)

Good luck and start leaving comments. Tell your friends about my blog too, the more the merrier!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

All About Crafts

In my ongoing attempt to be inspired, I've found some sites I love to visit.

The first site is called Sell Your Crafts. It has a lot of articles about craft shows, where to sell, how to price your crafts, trends, inspirational stories and projects.

Here's a link..

Another site I visit often is called Country Sampler. You may have read the magazine in the past. The site is full of decorating ideas, lots of great pictures and a community forum. When I was in Ohio and West Virginia I noticed a lot of country shops. I've always liked country, so I'm going to re-decorate my kitchen.

Country Sampler

Craft Test Dummies is a fun-packed blog full of tutorials, pictures and information with a wide variety of easy to advanced craft projects. I noticed they recently had a giveaway, so make sure to check it out.

I really like this blog called Art Dolls, A journey in Fiber. The artist's name is Judi Wellnitz and it's obvious she is a dedicated artist and blogger. She has wonderful altered art, trading cards, and collage. She also works with polymer clay. Once I was on her site, I found it hard to leave!
(If you visit her, make sure you don't forget about me!)

Finally, my role model of a blog is Polymeri Online. This blog is jam packed full of information on everything and anything that has to do with polymer clay. She has featured every polymer clay artist I've ever heard of (including a link to me!). The author of this blog is Iris Mishly. She creates colorful jewelry, barrettes, beads and decorations. Check out her flicker pages and be ready to be inspired.
Cake Toppers

Here is a cake topper I just mailed out. I have decided that I am going to stop making the toppers. I've been making them for 7 or 8 years and I'm tired of it. I have a few more to make for a couple of customers, but when I'm finished with them, I won't be making anymore.

I will have more time to be creative with my clay and painting and won't feel bogged down with the orders. I knew it was time to move on when I would rather wash dishes or mop the floor than make a cake topper.

I'm going to concentrate on primitive one of a kind dolls and just have fun creating different art work. I also have to build up inventory for the fall when my potential to make money is at it's greatest. I've been signing up for the best shows in the area and, hopefully, will be accepted.

In the past I've written about re-inventing myself and I feel that this is a good step for me to take. I have always admired artists who stop doing what they are good at and then start creating something totally different (and just as good.) It's good to know when to make that change.

Henry David Thoreau:

Things do not change, we change.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia. To quote their website..

"The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, constructed between 1858 and 1881, is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America, and is purportedly the second largest in the world, next to the Kremlin. It was designed by the renowned architect Richard Andrews following the Kirkbride plan, which called for long rambling wings arranged in a staggered formation, assuring that each of the connecting structures received an abundance of therapeutic sunlight and fresh air. The original hospital, designed to house 250 souls, was open to patients in 1864 and reached its peak in the 1950's with 2,400 patients in overcrowded and generally poor conditions. Changes in the treatment of mental illness and the physical deterioration of the facility forced its closure in 1994 inflicting a devastating effect on the local economy, from which it has yet to recover."

The building is 1/4 mile long and was so big I could
n't get a good picture of the entire structure.

As we drove into Weston and crossed South Forks River we were shocked at how massive the structure is. It is the focal point of the town. It was not difficult to be admitted to a mental hospital 100 years ago and I could only imagine that living in the shadow of this huge building would be a constant reminder to the residents of the area to "be on their best behavior."

Some strange reasons to be admitted to an asylum were some of the following:
  • over eating
  • hard study
  • seduction
  • reading the bible too much
  • affairs
  • infatuations
  • excitability
  • falling off a horse
  • political excitement
  • novel reading
  • female problems

Our guide told us that if a man wanted to have an affair or get rid of his wife because she had money, all he had to do was get a witness to go with him to the asylum and his wife would be admitted.

The Tour

For $30 we each were allowed to tour all four floors. I was a little hesitant to go up the many flights of stairs, due to my knee, but I knew if I didn't go, I would be mad at myself. The guide was patient with me as I took my time climbing the stairs.

This picture was taken from the main floor looking up the stairwell. This is called a coffin style stairway. Once a patient tried to commit suicide by jumping from the top of the stairs down the stairwell, but all he did was bounce and bang his way down and ended up breaking his leg.

View from the top of the stairs looking down

When the sun shone through the leaded glass at the front entrance
it formed rainbows on the floor, calming the patients.

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum followed the Kirkbride plan of treatment, Building as Cure, which provided patients with long, sun lite hallways, lots of windows and spacious grounds. The idea came from
Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride's theory that patients should be treated in humane conditions with comfortable living quarters and plenty of activities. At one time there were over 300 facilities across the country built in the Kirkbride style.

Here our tour guide, Ted, demonstrates how a patient in the criminally insane ward would be restrained, by being handcuffed to the wall, spread eagle. Not all the treatment would be considered to be humane. However, some of the more dangerous patients were treated in this manner.

A dark corridor leads to the isolation rooms were the worst patients,
the criminally insane, were placed.

When this hospital had patients, their doors were kept open to keep the hallways bright and sunny. The light still shines in, but the rooms are empty.

In 1994 the Asylum closed and the utilities were turned off. The building was very cold. In the corner of a window, where it was wet and damp, wild mushrooms thrive.

Ted, our guide, shows us the living quarters of the doctors. Although the walls are badly damaged, I loved the texture and color.

In 15 years, vandals have done a lot of damage.

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum offers haunted tours and a haunted house. Here someone has written "ghost" on a bulletin board. As much fun as it was to tour the place, I never saw or heard anything unusual. However, being there in the evening, during the haunted tours, might be a different story!

I found this to be a very informative and fun afternoon. We have come so far in the treatment of the mentally handicapped that it didn't bother me to wander around the halls of an institution where the mentally ill might not have been so kindly treated. As someone who has been in therapy herself, and who has taken anti-depressants in the past, I wondered if someone like me would have been a patient in a place like this. If the criteria was too much novel reading, excitability or female problems, I'm sure I would have had my own room.

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is trying to raise money to renovate the hospital back to it's original look. It's a big undertaking and I wish them luck. If historical buildings fascinate you and you'd like to contribute to the renovation, here's a link to their website.

Here's an eerie video I found..

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