Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blog giveaway from another site

You must hurry over to Cyndi's Distinctive Creations and enter her giveaway to win one of these adorable annies. Cyndi's Distinctive Creations. Tell her Polymer Clay Ponderings sent you and good luck!

(Stay tuned for my giveaway,,,coming soon)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Interview with Carolyn (carolynsclaycreations)

Prepare to be amazed when you see some of the wonderful artwork that Carolyn Stearns creates with polymer clay. Her cane work is beautiful. Her exuberance will inspire you.

What's your passion?
Living everyday with great joy and creativity. As a two time breast cancer survivor this really is important, the mind is a very interesting thing, when you are in control it can heal you, when out of control...so staying focused and positive, creating something beautiful everyday keeps me positive and focused on my wellness.
Creativity is a driving force in my life, a day without creativity is extremely hard for me. If I'm not at my clay table I am thinking about getting there. Natures beauty stirs my creativity so I think I am passionate about nature and all of its rich colors and endless textures. Fall colors are my favorite.

How long have you been interested in art?
As long as I can remember, my mom's house is a gallery of many, many years of my artistic adventures. I learned to sew when I was very young, my mom taught me. I used to make clothes for my trool dolls! For most of my adult life I was a decorative painter, I authored several decorative painting books, created rub-on art and designed projects for many magazines and craft manufactures. About 5 years ago I wanted a change and picked up a few packages of polymer clay and the rest is history. Polymer clay is the most addictive medium I have even played with!
What sets you apart from other artists?
I would have to say my enthusiasm! When I teach classes, talk about clay, go to a guild meeting, learn a new technique I do it with gusto. I love the stuff, everybody know I love the stuff, my love is infectious and I was hooked many people on Polymer Clay!!
Do you have a signature style?
Gosh I really wish I did, when I was painting I did. People could pick out my work even if they never saw me. I have not found that yet with Polymer Clay, I think that since I have only been working with clay for 5 years I am still "new" to the medium, I'm still experimenting with different things but I always come back to making canes so whatever my style evolves into will have something to do with canes I'm sure!

I see you make canes. What advice would you give to someone that wants to make canes?
Take a beginner cane class if you can. I teach 7 canes in my beginner class, this is a great introduction to cane making and an important first step.

Work with a firm clay! Even though these clays might be harder to condition the pay off is well worth it. There is nothing worse then working for hours on a really cool cane only to have it destroyed during the reduction process! Start with something simple, don't try a face cane right off the bat, have success with less ccomplicated canes first and work your way up to more complex canes.

What type of clay do you prefer?
Kato Poly Clay, hands down. It is firm, strong and somewhat flexible after baking. As I said it is harder to condition, I put the block of clay in a heavy duty plastic bag, put it on a concrete floor and smack it until it is flat enough to go through the pasta machine, works like a charm!

Do you have a work studio?
Well, yes I guess you can call it that. It has moved all over the house, now I am almost 90% in the basement. I will clean it up a bit and add some photos. Really and truly my favorite place to clay is at the breakfast bar in my kitchen but I am trying to keep the creative chaos in the basement!! You see I like to be in the middle of all the action and everyone knows all the action happens in the kitchen!!

What inspires you?
I am inspired by the polymer clay artists that have come before me, they have paved the way for new artists by sharing their knowledge and joy for the medium. They have taken polymer clay from a children's toy to a fantastic art medium loved by artists all over the world. I am always on the look out for new polymer clay books because there are many new things being done with polymer clay everyday.

What aspirations do you have with your art?
To learn something new every time I pick up a piece of clay, to sell my canes so I can make more, to teach others about the fabulous things you can do with polymer clay. To someday travel teach classes. Right now I teach locally and online.

Your favorite thing to do when you are not being creative?
I enjoy gardening, kayaking with my husband, riding my bike, playing with my dogs, going to concerts with my friends and family, listening to music and watching Monk!

What do you think is your greatest success?
My 31 year marriage to the love of my life, my 2 beautiful, successful daughters, my 2 time victory over breast cancer and still being able to laugh, love and count my blessings!

I don't know about you, but I'm inspired. Carolyn holds online caning classes and I think I'm going to sign up for one. Her work is precise and beautiful. I would love to be able to make such beautiful canes.

If you would like to see more of Carolyn's work, here is a link to her website..


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Cupcake toppers and fairy doors

I've had an idea to make cupcake toppers for awhile and made a few today.

This mirror is a little bigger than a silver dollar.

These are glued to mini mirrors so that they are easy to place on
the cupcake and the bottoms can be cleaned off easily.

The mirrors on these are about the size of a quarter.

Cats and Clay

I give my cat free reign of my house, but she is not allowed in my clay room. I keep a spray bottle of water handy to scare her out of the room and I always keep the door shut when I'm not home, but today she leaped onto my table and dashed to the window, smashing this bear and getting her dang fur on it. She really ticked me off since the bear was only about an hour old and I'm going to have to redo it. I'll have to pick away at the hair cause it's stuck to the clay.

I seriously can't stand cat hair on my clay table. I don't know why my cat thinks that suddenly she's allowed in the room. (I think cats can't be trained!)

Fairy Door

I've shown you my fairy doors before, but here is one that I've used in my yard.

It looks a little bare around the doorway, so I'm trying to find little plants and flowers to place along the "walkway". Like anything in the garden, it's a work in progress. It's relaxing to build a little mini world and I have lots of ideas for this. I'm going to add a little fence, some polymer clay stepping stones and maybe some polymer clay flowers.

In a few days I'll be announcing my Christmas in July giveaway, so check back!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ebay listings

I've been pretty busy today working on listing clay on ebay. I really wanted to go to the beach, but I'm going to wait till Wednesday when it's going to be 88 degrees and not so many people.

In the meantime here are some things I listed today. I have a pretty low price on everything, kind of a Summer discount.Here's a link to my ebay page. Nothing you see here is over $4.00. (except for one auction that has two bears and is $6.00). Lots of great deals folks! Shipping is very reasonable too.


I also put together a light box to take pictures in. It looked easier to do than it was, but it's finished now. The whole idea is to take better pictures. I have a ways to go in that department.

Here's a link to the directions to build your own light box. These are the instructions I used, although my box doesn't look that great (I'm going to make another one soon.) I want my pictures to turn out as nicely as the examples shown in the tutorial. Good luck if you try this.

Happy Dad's day!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Say a little prayer for me

I try to keep this blog upbeat and inspiring. I hardly mention anything personal here, unless it's an adventure I've been on, like the beach or a vacation. But my on going attempt to be a positive person is being tested right now.

After a few months of having what I thought were canker sores in my mouth, I finally went to the Dr. I had done some research before I went and some of the things I learned pushed me to go to my physician. After her examination of my mouth she told me that I needed to go have a biopsy because what I had were lesions and that they were or could be a precursor to cancer.

When a Dr. says the words cancer and biopsy in the same sentence it can send you for a loop, and that's just what happened to me. I could feel my lower lip start to tremble and that was followed by tears that welled up in my eyes and trickled down my face. As she kindly spoke to me, she reached over to the Kleenex box and handed me a tissue, her eyes never leaving mine.

She assured me that the test was to learn whether or not this was cancer, because if it is not, the treatment is steroids and antibiotics. She did put me on antibiotics right away, but explained that the steroids could mask the cancer, so she wanted to wait till the results come back.

She told me to think positively and sent me to the front desk. I tried to hold back the tears as I wrote out my check, and when the office manager asked me if I had a cold, I started to cry. She felt so bad, she made the Eyes, Nose and Throat Dr. appointment for me.

I cried for the next hour and read everything I could about oral cancer then cried some more. Then, drying those tears, I started to pray and have tried to replace the fear and worry with positive thoughts. I can't read any more information until I get the biopsy done and the results back.

Until then I'll be praying a lot and singing little chants of "I'll be fine!", "I don't have cancer!", "I'm going to live a long life!". I'm planning on making lots of clay today and listening to my favorite music.
Wish me luck and please say a little prayer for me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rainy day at the beach

Sometimes, regardless of the weather, I just have to play on the beach. Since yesterday was a day off for me, my friend Mary Ann and I went to the beach in Port Huron, Michigan.

We were pretty optimistic as we set off at 8:00 a.m. for the hour and 20 minute drive. The skies were gray and there was a heavy drizzle, but we told ourselves it would pass.

As we neared Port Huron, the rain increased and we made jokes about how stupid we were, but it was all in fun, because the best time to explore a beach is in the rain. There was no lightening or thunder, just the persistent rain, so, after waiting it out in the car for awhile, we finally pulled out the umbrellas and buckets and headed for the beach.

The waves were incredible and the sound of them crashing on the shore was just what I needed to feel energized and alive. For as far as the eye could see, we were the only two on the wet and windy beach. An occasional gull or tern would land among the rocks and sand, watch us and then fly away.

Like two carefree children, we frolicked on the beach, filling our buckets with sea glass, petosky stones, fossils and colorful rocks.

Mary Ann tempted fate as she pulled in a big piece of driftwood that bobbed up and down in the wild waves. After she rescued it and it was safely on shore, I asked her if she would be mad if I left it behind. She agreed that the adventure of trying to pull it into shore was fun and she wouldn't mind if I didn't take it. I found several colors of sea glass and told her she could have them in trade for a cup of coffee at McDonald's, since I was cold and wet. An umbrella can only protect so much in the wind.

After a few hours of beach combing we decided to head back home. I thought that if we cut through the woods we could find the parking lot, and although Mary Ann was a bit apprehensive, she led the way. My internal compass was correct! We came right out to the car. The short cut saved us about 10 minutes; a big deal since we were lugging a lot of rocks home with us.

We enjoyed turkey sandwiches in the car, with apples slices, Cheetos, Good and Plenty Candy and iced tea. Mary Ann always packs the best lunches. I promised her that next time, I would bring the food.

After I got my McDonald's' coffee, we said good bye to Port Huron just as another down pour started. The streets were flooded in some areas and about 1/2 hour out of the area, the sky cleared up. We joked about going back, but I secretly was ready to go home and warm up.

Mary Ann bought a 2009 state park pass, so we would be sure to return many times this summer. When she dropped me off at my home, I poured out my rocks onto my patio table. I counted more than 70 petosky stones and gave her all of my sea glass. I sorted the rocks into little piles and told Mary Ann that I was as happy with my bounty as someone would be with a new pair of earrings. She readily agreed and then assured me that we would be returning to Port Huron soon. Hopefully the sun will be out and we can swim. But if not, I'll be just as happy to play on the beach with my shovel, gathering nature's little souvenirs.


This poem is a favorite of mine. It's from the McGuffey's Readers, the books I learned to read from as a child,,,it reminds me of my day at the beach...

The Sandpiper

By Celia Thaxter

Across the narrow beach we flit,
One little sandpiper and I;
And fast I gather, bit by bit,
The scattered driftwood bleached and dry.
The wild waves reach their hands for it,
The wild wind raves, the tide runs high,
As up and down the beach we flit, --
One little sandpiper and I.

Above our heads the sullen clouds
Scud black and swift across the sky;
Like silent ghosts in misty shrouds
Stand out the white light-houses high.
Almost as far as eye can reach
I see the close-reefed vessels fly,
As fast we flit along the beach, --
One little sandpiper and I.

I watch him as he skims along
Uttering his sweet and mournful cry;
He starts not at my fitful song,
Or flash of fluttering drapery.
He has no thought of any wrong;
He scans me with a fearless eye.
Stanch friends are we, well tried and strong,
The little sandpiper and I.

Comrade, where wilt thou be to-night
When the loosed storm breaks furiously?
My driftwood fire will burn so bright!
To what warm shelter canst thou fly?
I do not fear for thee, though wroth
The tempest rushes through the sky
For are we not God's children both,
Thou, little sandpiper, and I

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cake Toppers

I thought I would share the last two cake toppers I finished.

One is a baseball topper, the Chicago White Sox. The bride is holding a baseball bouquet.

The other topper is a family lying on a hammock. I tried to make them as cozy as possible. The mom has a little baby in her "belly"..

Chilling between two palm trees...

Happy family

I have a few more cake toppers to finish. One is a penguin and a giraffe and the other is a scarecrow wedding. I can't wait to start those. I think that's my plan for Saturday.

I also am working on my "Christmas in July" giveaway, so be patient,,it's coming.

Quick Update

When my real job starts to interfere with my blogging, I want you to know. That is the case all last week. My school year program ended and now my summer program begins, and I've been really busy working. I haven't been working on much clay though, except for some designs for sculpey (I hope they pick a few) and I've made some cake toppers.

I was going to have a contest and wrote a blog about it, but I canceled that contest and will start another one Thursday. It's going to be Christmas in July giveaway (so that by the time the winner receives it, it will be July).

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Where are all of the shoppers?

Pretty little button


I guess you can tell by the title of this post that my show didn't go well.

I could fake it and say it was wonderful and I did great, but I'm too honest to do that.

In general, the show was nicely laid out and organized. The people were friendly, the weather fair. I had a lot of fun chit chatting with my craft neighbors and got some great ideas for displays. There were a lot of cute dogs on leashes and kids in strollers, but there weren't very many shoppers. I only had one customer all day. Seriously, one. I have never done so poorly before and I've done shows on and off for 25 years.

Networking is always fun, but I guess if I want to network I should just go shopping at a show. Sitting, standing and strolling all day just about drove me nuts. But it's no one's fault. As I said to another crafter, "you buy your ticket and you take your chances."

My friend Jim told me to open myself up to the universe and tell it that I wanted to make $1000. I told him that I would be happy with $200. He told me to work the table all day, sell, sell, sell. I would have been talking to myself most of the day, since very few people stopped at my booth. People seemed to be "cutting" through. Cutting through the show to go to church. Cutting through to go to Zingermans Deli. Cutting through to get hot coffee.

So, in the end, it was a flop for me. Financially, I was left in the hole.

But, on the bright side, I have a lot of inventory now and I can spend days putting buttons and hearts and pins on etsy. You know the saying, when life give you lemons...blah, blah, blah.

When I have that kind of a discouraging day, the first thing I do when I get a chance is check out the job section of the newspaper. I saw an ad for a job that paid $12.00 an hour as an office assistant. As I started to read the job description my reaction was bleech,,"I'd go crazy if this was my job!" (no offense to any office assistants out there!)

So, the ever enduring, creative maniac inside me survived another bad show. Call me stupid, call me insane, or call me tenacious, but back to my clay studio I go.

I'll leave with this quote..

One man's insanity is another man's genius; someday the world will recognize the genius in my insanity.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Final preps for the show

As I said before, I'm so glad this is a Sunday show, because it gives me one more day to create and go prepare.

I'll be at the Kerrytown Artisan Market tomorrow. Here's a link to their site.

I didn't realize how great this location was till my sister brought it to my attention. I've actually been there before without knowing it. My sister took me to Zingerman's Deli, which is right down the street. This shop is a food lover's delight! They offer unbelievably great tasting sandwiches, baked goods and side dishes along with a great selection of oils, cheeses, condiments and coffees.

After the show I'm going to grab something to eat from there and take it to my mom who lives in Saline, a few miles west of Ann Arbor.

Getting ready for a show is exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

Here's a check list I need to use (feel free to print it out yourself)..

  • tape
  • napkins
  • paper towels
  • pens
  • sharpie pens
  • paper clips (to hang things)
  • business cards
  • extra stickers and labels
  • super glue
  • hand sanitizer
  • baggies
  • scissors
  • bags
  • plastic tarp (in case of rain)
  • clothes pins
  • cash box with lots of singles and fives
  • camera
  • sun glasses
  • sunscreen
  • water
  • healthy snacks (yeah..right)
  • trash bags
  • clay to work on (draws people in)
  • order forms
  • tables
  • table coverings
  • chair
I'm sure I'll think of some other things later. The challenge for me is to pack this into something that is easy to carry and easily accessible. I have a backpack on wheels that will be perfect for all of my supplies, so I'll be gathering those items later and organizing the backpack. What goes in the backpack stays there, so that in the future that's less packing I'll have to do.

Today I'm making some last minute items.

These purple octopi haven't been baked yet. I made them in case the Red Wings win tonight..
They still need little white dots on the bottoms of their legs. I only made 5 because I'm not much of a sport's fan and it doesn't mean that much to me. I'm going to make more monkeys and cupcake items this afternoon. I might make a few small cake toppers too. So many ideas,,,so little time.


Of course, it would not be a nice warm sunny day without a snake hanging around my yard. This little guy scared my son who came over to help me hang a shelf on the wall. I'm am so programmed to look for snakes when I walk out the door, that I'm like a robot, my head slowly scanning the yard for movement. The neighbors must think I'm nuts, because I walk the perimeter of my yard all the time, looking for snakes. I don't want to harm them. I'm actually fascinated by them, and I know they can't hurt me. It's almost a challenge to see if I'll see one. I was thinking I should start a blog called, A Snake A day, since I see one almost every day in the summer. It's not always the same one either. Today's snake is a garter snake.

(Just joking about the snake a day blog!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Happily creating

With my craft show only a few days away, I've been working diligently on things to give my display a polished look.

I'm not a big fan of Walmarts, but they carry fabric for $1.50 a yard, and I needed table coverings. I found a nice shade of pink and another of green and got 5 yards of each, enough for three tables. I won't need three tables but in the fall I will, so I planned ahead. That same fabric may not be there in 4 months, so I purchased it now.

Since I'm representing my two etsy shops, I decided to go with the pink and green (for Pink Avocado). I made business cards with both of my etsy names on them, and I made button cards and heart cards. I think attaching the buttons and the hearts to a card gives them the finishing touch.

I'm so glad this show is on Sunday. I have an extra 24 hours to prepare. Although it appears that I've waited for the last minute, I haven't. If any of you do shows, you know that if you make 100 things in advance, you think to yourself that you need 101. Then you need 102, etc. etc.

I'm no different. I've thought of 1001 other things I should have made. But, I'm not going to worry about it. I have a nice variety of stock right now. It should be enough and if not, people can always special order something.

Heart card with a heart waiting to be attached.

These buttons need holes. I don't know if I'll get to them or not.

Here's a monkey made in white, with a caning design on the clay. It's kind of pretty.

I need to attach a lot of buttons to these cards. I hope there are a few scary movies on tomorrow night. I can sew buttons to cards & get frightened at the same time!

I've had so much fun making these hearts and buttons that I feel creatively revitalized. I'm so glad! It was getting rough in the creative department. I think I've passed that hump now and my muse has returned.

I've got my fingers crossed that all of my work will pay off.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Count down to a craft show

On Sunday, I'm doing a craft show in Ann Arbor at the Artisan Market in Kerrytown. I have never done this show before. The Michigan Indie Crafters of Etsy are promoting it. Here's a link to check out their blog.

I've been producing a lot of clay these last few weeks, and when this show is over, I am going to start loading up my etsy store and my website. I wish I had more time in the day to do it all.
Looking ahead at the forecast it looks like it's going to be a pleasant day. I hope so. Nothing like rain to keep buyers away. So my fingers are crossed!

I'll be taking my camera and chatting with other artists. Hopefully I can take their pictures and interview them in the future. It's all a great way to promote my clay and draw more folks to my website and my blog. It's a never ending adventure!

Hearts hang on a rack in my clay room. They have been dipped in glaze and are drying.

Monkeys sit among unfinished clay cupcakes.

I love these color combinations.

I made about 40 items today. I have to admit that about 15 were buttons, but still it all counts in the end.

I'll be back again tomorrow with more updates

Monday, June 1, 2009

And the Free Cake Topper goes to...

Janet from PA is the winner of the cake topper. I've contacted her and am waiting for her ideas. Thanks to all who played. As soon as I make the topper, I'll post it for all to see.

Stay tuned for another giveaway.

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