Tuesday, April 24, 2012

MY Poly Clay Tutor

Been gone awhile, I know...no postings since last fall......sheesh.....

if you could see my play room, one would think I'd be neck-deep in projects, but that is not the case.  I'd show you a photo, but I'm too 'shamed to let you see what it looks like...a hot mess right now.  Thre is an adage that goes something like "a place for everything, and everything in its place"...but for me...lately...not so much.

I've been collecting new tools and toys in the hopes that I'll be able to get back in there and play more - but we'll see. I have, however, been buying Premo (great new colors), and trying to keep up with what's going on in the poly clay world - mostly thru magazines.  But there's one way I look forward to every Friday.

Have I ever told you about Cindy Lietz?  She's a Canadian poly clay artist who has a website called http://www.beadsandbeading.com/blog/ that has LOTS of tips, tricks and eye candy.  The Best Thing, however, is her weekly color recipes and tutorial videos.  You never know what she's gonna come up with next, and it's Always Fun and Easy To Do.  One of my all- time favorites is the tute on the Teardrop Skinner Blend method - saves a lot of time!  And check out the clover in the photo below- can you believe that she made those out of polymer clay?  Crazy, huh? 

Told ya - she's awesome!!

I love her style of teaching, how she shares where she gets her supplies, and showcases other people's work.  She even gives us an occasional glance into her studio (WAY cleaner than mine, I might add). and the color recipes!!  Sign up on her blog and get a free recipe card each week...but you can get even more if you subscribe to her site.

It does cost to get the videos  and recipes each week, but for me it's worth it - I've learned So Much from this woman, and always enjoy reading about the success of other artists out there.  I also like her Facebook page - one more way to keep up with the things she teaches and shares.  Oh, yeah, and occasionally there's a free video on the 5th Friday of a month, so go check it out....you might be so smitten that you will sign on for lessons as well!  She has a beginners course that's well worth it, as is the other vids she offers.

So Thank You, Cindy - for all of the fun tutes, the yummy colors, and for the way you teach.  I look forward to Fridays a lil' more because of you!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

There's gonna be a wedding...

...sometime in the next 24 months. My daughter became engaged last month to a wonderful young man. The make a great team, compliment each other beautifully, and we're all looking forward to the events to come.

I, for one, am very happy for both of them...but I'm also wiggin' out! I have to remember two major things:
1) This is THEIR wedding.
2) I am NOT in charge of anything about it.

Having done the equivalent of the elopement thing when I got married over 30 years ago, I didn't do or have all of the fluffy "pretty-pretty princess" stuff that a regular bride has...and that was my choice at the time. I find myself now getting over-excited about the little things...like the color of flowers, the many offerings for wedding favors, and so on.

Am I trying not to live vicariously?
You betcha. Trying REALLY hard.
Am I succeeding? well...

I kinda pride myself on not being that obnoxious, opinionated mother, and so far, so good. God bless 'em both, they've both been rather indulgent and have considered my suggestions...but I have to remind myself (on the daily) of the two statements above.

Meanwhile...I got ALL KINDS of stuff and ideas rolling around in my head! I will confess to having a folder on my laptop desktop of all the things I find on-line that I think they may want as part of their big day. One major thing that will probably stop me dead in my tracks, though, is how to pay for all of that stuff. Fortunately, both of them are very practical people, so they have no problem gently nudging me with "we'll consider it"... my husband, in the meantime, finds all this internal craziness on my part rather amusing. 
Bottom line - as long as the two youngun's indulge me, I'll keep offering my assistance. When they get tired of it, I'm sure they'll let me know.
Meanwhile...visions of party favors, pearls, ribbons, and pretty glittery stuff fill my thoughts...this is gonna be fun!
In the clay and crafty realm, I've uploaded photos of a few more things I've worked on this summer...one is an egyptian-style necklace fashioned after one found in the January 2011 issue of Bead Style magazine - turned out rather nice. I've also added two more mosaic boxes to the Flickr page as well. Go in and take a look at 'em, whydontcha?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Need for Beads

So...Bedazzled (one of the coolest bead stores in the DMV) is having an African bead trunk show next weekend. Previous forays into their stores have either left me flat broke or irritated that I could not justify paying that much for beads, no matter how authentic or special. I’ve always looked for culturally-inspired beads, and anything round, little, bright, shiny, colorful, and from the Motherland is always gonna get my attention. You know me…I love the sparklies…

A few weeks ago I was looking through my blog reading list and came across the name of Marie Segal. She’s a California polymer clay artist who writes a blog called Art from My Heart. And she’s currently blogging an ongoing tutorial on making African trade bead canes…

Ding, ding, ding!!!

Last Saturday afternoon I broke out some basic color Premo, and this is what I came up with…

Not too shabby, huh?

And I still have a big honkin’ piece of this cane to reduce down later if I choose to. Marie’s instructions are SO easy to follow…while reading her tutes I was smackin’ myself in the forehead, thinking “now why couldn’t I have figured this out earlier in my clay-playing days?” Turns out, sometimes you only need a lil’ nudge to get you going in the right direction. I swear I saw my muse hanging around my studio door again, one foot in and one foot out...peeking ‘round the corner to see what I’ve been up to. Gotta lasso her and drag her back in here so we can get to craftin’ again!

I’m looking forward to creating a few more canes using her instructions. Thank You, Ms. Marie, for being oh-so-generous with your instruction and expertise!

On other topics…my sister came down from CT for a family wedding earlier this month. One of the first things she said to me as she hit the front door to the house was “I was told I had to look at your stash of stuff to see if you’ve made anything new”… the only thing that left the house (that I know of, anyway) was an emergency Swarovski crystal bracelet in some gorgeous jewel colors that went well with her outfit. I showed her some of the new beads I had made, inspired by a clay artist named Leonie Simpson. I love the organic look of the set on this page…and how deceptively easy they were to create. The set I made feels so good at the hollow of my neck! Here’s a peek at what I did…

That’s gonna be it for now – when I come up with something cute from the African trade bead canes I’ll be sure to share them with you!

Ciao, bebe!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Power of Words

Last week was an especially heinous work week.

I’m a Federal worker in the Metro DC area, you see, and witnessing the roller-coaster that was the Federal budget process was painful to watch, waiting to hear whether I would be able to go to work and expect a paycheck for the work I do, or find out that I’m….um…non-essential.


The process has been even more painful to listen to…hearing our elected officials twist and wring their words to fit the ideologies of those who they count as the “important people”.

Watching them try REALLY HARD to financially eviscerate social programs by the dozens – while holding as sacred other items that some agencies don’t even want. Reading about and listening to politicians - who profess to be people of faith - snatch away the safety net for many of our Nation’s most needy individuals. Whatever happened to taking care of “the least of these”?

The televisions in the lobbies of our office building have been broadcasting C-Span the past few days, so on our trips to and fro we can keep up on what’s going on. In addition to hearing some truly hateful words, what’s also struck me is the look of unbridled glee (and more than a sprinkling of smirks) upon the faces of some in the House of Representatives when the mention of a shutdown came up. Which was often. And then there were those outside of the Capitol Building, waving signs and flags, salivating at the thought of shuttering the doors of the Evil Empire for a week, maybe, two, maybe more.


“Shut ‘er down. We’ll show those do-nothing, free-loading government employees what-for! They all make too much money, anyway – they need to go out there and get real jobs like the rest of us real Americans…”

Really? Us do-nothing, free-loading tax-paying, doing more-with-less every day for our country, imposing the laws of CONGRESS government employees without real jobs?

And it ain’t over. They’ve gotta meet later this week to finalize what they put off for 6 days – and we may find ourselves in the same situation we were in at 10:00 on Friday night.

Before they go on vacation.

Pile on top of all this, the tenor of public discourse in the past few years. Makes me wanna go somewhere quiet and pull the covers up over my head and stay there.


They have the power of life and death.

Decisions are made on the power of words. People. families, towns, cities, entire nations rise and fall on the power of words. You would think that THIS group of people, elected officials, would remember that fact. And also remember that this Nation’s not only made up of real estate, or corporations, but of people. All of us. Not just a chosen few.

Out of the blue, I got this video from a co-worker this morning.

Heidi – thanx for the message and the reminder – all of us need to remember the power of the words we use – be they written or spoken, read or heard. We have to be so very careful with how we use them. We can change lives. We can also destroy them.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Button, Button...

There’s a blog I read on the daily called Polka Dot Cottage, written by Lisa Clarke. I first started reading this Jersey-girl’s blog somewhere around 2008, intrigued by the color choices in her creations. She’s ventured off into blogging about knitting and photography as well over the years, and I've learned some pretty nifty stuff from her...so much so lately, that she inspired me to “up my game” in my choice of digital cameras. I recently indulged in a Canon Powershot SX130 IS as well as a book on digital photography...so mebbe some of that knowledge will make itself manifest in my future photos. But one thing that really has caught my eye over the years are her polymer clay buttons. She has made some awesome button sets (AND pendants, AND shawl pins, AND other stuff), and I always marvel at her choices of color! Nicely done!!

Lisa made a very generous offer on her blog this month – she offered a free (yes, FREE!!) five-week on-line button making class – she challenged one and all to pick three colors of polymer clay and to tune in on Monday mornings to learn how to make buttons. It may be Monday afternoon before I actually get there, but here’s the result of the first three lessons:

Pretty nifty, huh? I think my favorites so far are the striped snail shell buttons…easy to do, and quite unique. I’m kinda feelin’ the asymmetrical striped buttons as well. I’m working with black, gold and copper Premo brand clay - when this is done I’m gonna make one big honkin’ button for this kimono jacket I made awhile back. I just need to decide what type I’m gonna make.

I also learned (or re-learned) a couple of things during this exercise:

- When they say clean your work surface and pasta machine often, they mean it. I was covering pens with light blue pearlized clay before starting on the Week 1 buttons, and got some blue pearl flecks on the black clay and some gold flecks on the copper. Yuck.

- Metallic or pearl clay may not always be a good choice for a primary color for buttons. Mebbe it’s better to use them as accent colors. Some may say that the resulting striations in the solid gold and copper buttons give them character…I think they look a lil’ afflicted. But that’s just me.

- It’s important to thoroughly imbed added clay into the existing base. Otherwise you’ll be there sanding the raised clay for days. Not so much fun when you’re sanding something really tiny.

- Do NOT SAND ANYTHING WHILE STANDING UP AT THE SINK. Especially teeny-tiny things. It’s aggravating to you, your back, and it annoys the teeny tiny-thing.

Lisa invited those who will, to post their button photos on-line for one and all to see. So here goes.

THANK YOU, Lisa, for the blog, for the lessons, and for the inspiration! I enjoy your work, and if I ever get it together enuf to plan a poly clay play time at one of the conferences, I hope to meet you one day!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Was listening to the radio yesterday and heard that STOMP! is coming to the Warner Theater in DC the last week in January. Started waxing nostalgic - took my kids to see the show at the Warner AND at the Fox Theater in Toronto in the '90s...REALLY loud and SO much fun! And the rhythms!! I'm sure they've made a few changes along the years, but looking at some recent Youtube clips, I found out that it's STILL fun...never gets old...at least, not for me...

Take a look:

not only newspapers, but brooms, trash can lids, plastic buckets, zippo lighters...and as wacky as ever. Think I'll check out ticket prices.

Back later...

Friday, December 24, 2010

And that's what it's about...

Merry Christmas, you guys...will be back in a few days...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Flash Brindisi!

I’m in love with the Reading Terminal Market in downtown Philly, near their convention center. Lots of stuff to see, to taste, to experience. I try to go there every time I'm in town.

But in love with opera? Not so much.

Until now.

Who knew that La Traviata could be so much fun? Oh, yeah, if you happen to go to the Market, make sure you stop by Delilah’s for some of that mac & cheese – the absolute best in the country!
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, My Hair!!

Sometimes I’m obsessed with my hair. Whether to flat-iron it, or twist it up, or curl it…I never seem to be satisfied with the way it looks. And I've found that my hair can be political – sometimes I feel like I’m more “acceptable” if it’s straight rather than in its natural state. People often tell me so. And way deep down, that irritates me, sometimes.

Lately I've been flat-ironing it - looks pretty good, actually, especially with the new cut. But yesterday I got caught in a rainstorm and all I could think about was getting to shelter - not to protect the clothes, but the hair...'cause it's not like I travel to work w/ a flat iron every day...and right now I'm working at a place where it's important to look "put together". Sheesh.

So sad. You’d think that in my 50’s, I’d finally be at peace with this whole hair thing…

But every now and then something comes along that reminds me that my hair is just great as it is – versatile, always wonderful, no matter the style and length…because I got it goin’ on like that!

Enjoy the vid…

Saturday, August 28, 2010

What I've been doing lately

I've been working on a few things...

First - remember that color class I wrote about a while ago? It was fun - three colors, four canes, and a lot of knowledge was gained! Lindley is a great teacher and very funny...and it was nice to hang around folks with the same obsession - if even for just a few hours...

Next - these projects are new and inspired by Laurie Mika - a mixed-media artist who works with polymer clay and found objects. She creates these AMAZING mosaic pieces...I can't get enough of her book "Mixed Media Mosaics" - so glad she created this how-to so the rest of us can learn!

Below are some photos of my first two attempts. I used acrylic paint inside and out. The polymer clay tiles were also painted, covered in Pearlex mica powder, stamped, or image-transfered. I even tried adding beads under a lil' resin. Tried sealing it all w/ a matte sealant, but found that it dulled my tiles made with gold leaf.

Hope you enjoy my lil' bit of eye candy!