Monday, December 31, 2007

Tiny Accomplishments Lead to BIG THINGS!

It's happened again, we've blinked and another year has rolled by. How was the year for you? Were you able to accomplish everything you wanted? If you did...Kudo's to you and write me and tell me how you did it! I don't think there is enough time in the day to accomplish all that we want. But instead of focusing on the negative, why not look at all the things you DID accomplish? Even the itsy bitsy teensy weensy things, because they all add up.

I think sometimes we're so hard on ourselves for not getting the big things accomplished that we overlook the small hurdles that we've achieved that got us to where we are today. To give you an example on how this thought has impacted my life, let me tell you about a little piece of me....

Mariah was about 10 weeks old when we discovered that she had a brain tumor. In the middle of the night it ruptured causing a brain bleed. I was a very young parent, only 23 at the time, didn't know much...but what I did know, was that something was wrong and I rushed her to the hospital -( and that is a story in itself - maybe I'll create another blog for that journey) Eventually though, she was transfered to a St. Louis hospital where she underwent surgery. As the days went by, I journaled each event - good or bad and after a week in the hospital I read what I had written about the first day and the second day and so on. As I read, I discovered all the tiny improvements, that were right there before my eyes, but I was so close to it, I couldn't see it at the time. She went from critically ill to serious, to stable to being well enough to move out to the regular pediatric floor. Tiny improvements each day, but adding up to major accomplishments over a week, month, two months...and now...she's 16! As I read what I had wrote, I found comfort in the little things. If you've read the "about me" page on my website, you'll know that it's because of this event - though not so pleasant - that lead me down the creative path to where I am today. Who knew I'd sell my artwork, write books,teach internationally or be on TV? Not me that is for sure!

So looking back on 2007, think of the little things - maybe you've over come a family crisis, maybe you're health has improved, maybe you took some time for yourself to create (I hope you did!) Maybe you tried something you didn't think you could do - and found out, you could do it! Whatever it is congratulate yourself for the tiny things!!

Maybe you can set just a few simple goals for 2008. I have several - creatively I would like to write more blog posts and share more ideas with you, film more crafty videos, write a couple more books, scrapbook the highlights of each month, design and embellish clothes for me and the kids (which includes handbags, jewelry, belts and more) fix up my house, create stuff for the house, do more sewing...but most of all I'll be happy if I can enjoy the simple things - those that create great memories for years to come - like spending time with the kids and family (crafting, hunting and fishing!). (Here's an idea, maybe you can scrapbook or at least jot down in a journal a few highlights of each month - give it as a gift at the end of the year to friends and family - they'll treasure this for years!)

Personally, I would like to thank each one of your for your comments, support and just for reading this blog! Your emails make my day! I hope you and your family have a wonderful 2008.
P.S. Thanks for the emails about yesterdays Teddy Bear post! With so many of you getting snowed in and experiencing the cold, I thought it would be a nice change to give you your new year's greetings on a springy - warm page! Oh and about the bears, now all the girls have one, I bought too much fabric and just couldn't stop....once I get on a roll, I make more and more and more.....I still have fabric left!
The papers used with the bear are from from the november 07 premiere membership

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Bear for Julia Brings Back Great Childhood Memories

I can't help but create, it runs thru my veins and I come by it naturally and I can't ever see myself not creating something.

Lots of creative things have been happening around here this week, though not necessarily in the studio. I've been working with Mariah to design a very "teen-agery" bedroom for her. We had not done a thing to her room since we moved here 3 years ago - that's a real story in itself - so I'll save that for a blog later this week when I have photo's.....It turned out to be a four day project! Along with that I re-did our master bath. My husband has always had to live with either plain, dull while rooms or really frilly ones, but nothing that ever reflected his personality....until this week. I designed a bathroom for the hunter in him. I'm extremely happy with the results...but that too is another story for another time...

This story is about why I create....why it runs thru my blood. Well... it all goes back to my Grandma Campbell. She was the best!! She was always creating something. She loved to create dolls out of "Joy" dishwashing bottles. She would dress them up like little prarie girls with their bonnets and usually they had flowers in their hands. I used to love to go to her house and see all her new dolls that she created and hoped that if I begged long enough she would give me one. know...she usually did.

I remember sitting on the couch late at night waiting for Grandpa to get home. She would get out "THE BOX". It was filled with all sorts of creative treats - scraps of fabric and lace and stuff... We would sit together for hours and make doll clothes. She never EVER used a pattern and it always amazed me how she got the puffy sleeves to fit just perfect every time. ME?? Well, my idea of doll clothes was to cut out an oval. Then I would cut two circles for the arm holes, put it on my barbie and sew up the back. Okay...not bad for only 5 or 6 years old huh? If I was really creative I'd sew on a snap or a button...or rick rack...... I learned how to sew running stitches, use pinking shears all kinds of stuff. Those skills stuck with me to my teenage years and I spent countless hours making bears and dolls. Remember when the soft sculpture cabbage patch dolls were popular? I could not begin to tell you how many I created, I lost count! I do remember making doll clothes from a basic pattern and altering it into my own designs for clothes. Now I think back to those days and realize just how valuable that time was, not only was I learning to sew - a valueable skill, but at the same time I was making great memories and it was a great lesson on how important it is to pass that on to my kids.

So, this weekend, while Elise was out squirrel hunting with her dad (she just got her first real gun) and Mariah was arranging the things in her new teen-agery room, Julia and I made a teddy bear. We went to JoAnn's to pick out the fabric, she wanted a pink chenille bear. She knew exactly what she wanted and how she wanted it to look. A pink bear with a blue ribbon. I haven't sewn in years (and thinking about it - I don't know why...I love to sew) so this really was a real treat. We hand stitched the bear together. With each stitch, I was reminded of those times with Grandma, making bears as a teenager and thinking how special it is that I am able to share this time with Julia. When it came time to stuff the bear, she said she wanted it soft and cuddly, but she wanted alot of stuffing in the head because she wanted it to be real smart! How cute!

I put the finishing touches on the bear this morning, sculpted the eyes and nose, tied on the blue ribbon and accented the bear with a special ribbon rose. When I handed it to her, the look in her eye was all that I needed...with a little twinkle in her eye, she looked at me and said "THANK YOU! I LOVE MY BEAR" then I got a hug! I wouldnt trade that for a million dollars!

PS..... she named it her "LuLu bear"...........

Monday, December 24, 2007

Warm your heart with Gingerbread!

I was reading my friend Jen's blog and she was talking about how certain smells can make you think about "Good Times".

When I was young - maybe around 3 or 4, I remember a certain audio book, you know the kind with the 45 rpm record that chimed each time you needed to turn the page, it was a story about The Gingerbread Man. My mom used to love to hear me "read" that book because I would come out of my bedroom singing "Run, Run...Fast as can...can't catch me...gingerbread man." It was like a game we played. I'd sing and then run and then she'd try to catch me.

Whenever I smell gingerbread or look at The Gingerbread Man book, I think of these awesome times growing up as a kid.

I'm quite fond of gingerbread and thought I'd share this little guy with you. I think he fits the story don't you? This is also one of the figurines that I made from Fimo polymer clay and sold on ebay in 2002. Can you believe how time flies? I know I should have kept a log of what I sold to who. Unfortunately though, I didn't get that far. I believe this piece went to a fellow polymer clay artist - Anita - who's a friend of mine living in Ohio.

I was so happy to hear from the lady who gave my Let It Snow figurine a great home. Turned out to be my good friend Helen from Seattle. (We've shared great memories too!)

One of the reasons I love making figurines soooo much, is because it gives me a chance to reflect on great times, great friends and just be thankful that I had such an awesome childhood. Every time I look at my little characters on the wall, it really does warm my heart!

(P.S. - next time you make a little gingerbread man...add a little cinnamon oil to the clay for fragrance...just a little added touch!)

Friday, December 21, 2007

AMACO Bottles of Hope Challenge deadline extended

Here is a great chance to give....and to win some great crafty prizes!!!

Amaco Special Event Update
The extended deadline for submission is January 12th, 2008. No entry fee required
Submit an entry and receive one AMACO® BeadRoller, one assortment pack of FIMO® and a small amulet bottle as our gift to you.

AMACO® and STAEDTLER, Inc. Announce Joint Sponsorship Of "Hope on a Rope" for CHA-Anaheim 2008 A Special Design Challenge Event The "Mini Bottles of Hope" To Benefit Charity
Talented and committed artists have once again shown us that they are up to our Designers Challenge! They have been working on the 2008 "Bottles of Hope" theme: "Hope on a Rope". The joint CHA-Anaheim 2008 event will focus on wearable necklaces for children featuring miniature "Bottles of Hope" that will be featured in an on-line gallery of the Top 25 winners at and . All mini-bottles created for "Hope on a Rope Designers Challenge" will be gifted to children with cancer and their families. The top entries will be showcased at the AMACO booth during the 2008 CHA Convention in Anaheim, California. If you haven't already submitted your design, please consider joining our "Hope on a Rope" challenge. Submit your wearable polymer clay necklace designed around a small mini-bottle. Details are available at the link below. Share your talent and create a necklace of hope for a child facing cancer. And remember, the top finalist entries will be on display at CHA for an awards reception on Monday, February 11 at 11:30 AM, AMACO Booth #4334. Both AMACO and STAEDTLER will contribute prizes, along with other craft manufacturers, to benefit the winners and their choice of cancer-related charities or hospitals. More information is available at, or email Lisa Pavelka at

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Let It Snow - Polymer Clay Snowman Scene

Last weekend, we were supposed to get a major snow storm - up to 8 inches. The girls were so excited that the night before, they dug out all their snowgear and even found the sled buried deep under a pile of who knows what in the garage.

Sad to say, the temperature just didn't cooperate and about the only snow we received was a light dusting if that. They were so disappointed. I was too! It was the weekend and I had no where to go, just stay home and enjoy the beautiful white scenery in the Missouri Ozarks. We were planning on building snowmen, having a snowball fight and we have just enough of a hill on our property to make sledding fun!

So how can you make a snowman when there's just no snow???? Out of polymer clay of course! This happens to be one of the snow scenes I sold years ago on eBay. It's among my favorites. It really makes me smile when I look at it. Have you ever been around someone so happy...that you just can't help but be happy yourself?

If you find the winter time depressing, maybe these snowmen will cheer you up...just stare at them and in no time I'm sure you'll have a smile on your face. And better yet, use them as an inspiration point to create your very own snow scene!

There's projects this on the POM club - take advantage of that special!

I hope to be sharing more snowy, wintery inspiration in the days to come so stay tuned...Stay warm and be happy!

(background papers by - from the December 07 premiere membership)

Monday, December 17, 2007

FREE POLYPENS BOOK with the purchase $15 or more from the POM CLUB

Free POLYPENS book with the purchase of $15 or more from the POM Club collection.
This means you can pick your FAVE 10 or splurge and get the whole kit-n-kaboodle Complete POM CD Rom and have tons of fun creating cute and fun whimsical characters for yourself or to give as gifts any time of the year!
This is a blog only special - so please note in the optional instructions that you are taking advantage of it by simply writing "BLOG SPECIAL".
Click here for all the information about the POM club.
Hurry -this "blog only" offer ends December 31st!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Featuring Jennifer Crocker

One of the great perks of my job is receiving so many emails from people who share their love of creating with me. Yesterday I received an email from Jennifer Crocker. She originally emailed me about a question she had with the dachshund pens she saw on The Carol Duvall show. We've chatted thru email and I asked her to share her work with me.

Now I'd like to share her work with you. I thought these adorable little characters had so much personality. They just invite you to be their friend.
I'm sure Jennifer would love to have an email from you.
If you'd like to be featured, please email me. If you need ideas or you'd like to start creating your own whimsical characters, check out my books - PolyPens or Sculpey way.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A note on the personal side of life......

I've had more than a little time lately to sit and peruse the internet. There is only so much internet you can do and only so much digital scrapbooking you can do before your eyes begin to cross and your mind goes crazy.

I try not to get too personal on the blog, but I'm so excited, I just have to share. I've been in the hospital in St. Louis, Missouri for the past 3 days with my 16 year old daughter, Mariah. She had surgery to remove her thyroid due to a tumor they found later this summer. This has been a struggle for her, but I'm happy to report that the pathology report showed the tumor to be non-malignant!! You can imagine how esctatic we all are!!! Mariah has received many visits from Doctors and Nurses that cared for her when she was a baby along with many cards, flowers, teddy bears. It's those thoughts that mean so much and we really do appreciate the outpouring of support.

I was so excited to find out the news, that I wrote to my friend JLO, told her the good news and said...WRITE A POEM for us ( she has such a way with words ). While I thought that she would write a poem, I was taken back when I received a voice mail, with her voice, reciting a very personal, beautiful poem that deeply expressed just what we felt. Needless to say, my eyes weren't dry by the end of the poem, and their not really dry now.

I went to the computer and digiscrapped the page. Thank you for letting me share. It's those 2 tiny words you want to hear - NO CANCER
The poem is in it's entirety on Mariah's Blog under the comments from the most recent post.
Thank you beyond words Jen!
As I was perusing the internet, oohing and ahhing over all the delicious polymer clay art on various websites, I stumbled across one - actually she blogged me and I then looked at her flickr photos. Please take a look at this brilliant polymer clay artist named Iris, who lives in Isreal. Truely splendid work
Thanks to premiere membership for the papers and digiembellishments featured on the page

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's a winter wonderland! Create a postcard in a snap using Photoshop Elements.

It's a cold, icy winter's day in Missouri. I snapped this photograph of the dogwood tree in our backyard during last January's ice storm. The scene that we woke up to this morning was reminiscent of that dreadful winter storm. Outside looked like an ice palace! With another winter ice storm coming thru tonight.

I was inspired by Katie Hacker to create this post card. She blogged about the '2008' beaded card that she designed this year and will send out to all her friends. I couldn't help but remember this photo and decided to turn it into a 'warm winter greeting to share with you...all my online friends!!

Here's how to make one of your own...

Photography tip; use a shallow depth of field and focus on the subject. (I believe I used a F3 stop for this photo)

Load the photo into elements.

Create a new 4 x 6 document with a white background

Press the letter "D" to return your color box to the default setting (black for the foreground, white on background).

Drag your photo into the document and use the move tool to make the photo fit the 4 x 6 background.

Working on the photo layer, click on the rectangular marquee tool. Set the feather to 50 pixels. Draw a rectangle about 1/8" from the inside edge.

Inverse the selection by the "select menu' - inverse. (shortcut - cntrl-shift-I or cmd-shift-I)

Press the delete button. (you'll see a feathery white edge around the photo) While still working on the photo layer on the layers palette, change the blend mode to dissolve.

Using the Text tool, create your text box and type in your desired phrase.

When you are finished, save a copy with the layers and one as a jpeg. Now you can choose to print these off on your own printer or take them to a one hour photo for processing. (or do what I did - send E-greetings!)

As a variation, add an additional layer with your family photo (can you believe we don't have a recent one??)

There you have it - a postcard in a snap using Photoshop Elements

Wishing you WARM WINTER WiSHES!!! Stay inside and CRAFT your ART out!!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Snow, Family and Papercrafts

I'm so glad that my hobby is a "comfy" craft. We received about 4" of snow in Iowa yesterday. It was whiteout conditions, and while my hubby Dana and his friend Darrell were out braving the elements to "put food on the table" as they call hunting pheasants, I was snug as a bug, in the basement working on next years family Calendar. I have three pages left and then it will be off to the 'inkjet' printer.

After the first of the year, I do plan on blogging every day, some days devoted to tips - Maybe TIP Thursday... Tutorial Tuesday...what rhymes with monday? Wednesday? or Friday?..maybe you can give me some thoughts on that.

Here's one of the pages I created, making my own papers and inspired by all the techniques I've learned from Linda Sattgast on

Doesn't this picture make you feel warm, cozy and melt your heart?? Babies have a way of doing that....


Monday, December 3, 2007

Tips for working with Craft Porcelain

It's not a new medium, though it is maybe an unfamiliar one. I first introduced this air dry clay on The Carol Duvall show a couple of years ago. It is definately one of the shows that I would consider one of my 'hits'. It generated alot of viewer email.

Today I was again working with Craft Porcelain clay doing the designer thing in trying to 'stretch' its limits and see what you can mix in...and what you can't. I have several 'test' pieces lying on the workbench drying.

Some tend to confuse it with "porcelain" clay. While it has nothing to do with real porcelain clay, it does have the look of it when finished. It can be painted with watercolor pencils or crayons if you wish to preserve the translucency of the clay. It can also be painted with acrylics if a more opaque look is desired

There is a slight learning curve in working with it. It's NOT polymer clay. It doesn't feel like it and it doesn't look like it. But for some reason, when I first tried working with this clay, I wanted it to BE it. Keep this in mind, because if you are expecting this to work like polymer you will be in for a sad suprize.

Only have a small portion out at a time. I usually keep this lump under a damp paper towel or spritz some water in a zip-lock bag and let it sit in there. If it dries out a little, add a drop...and only a drop of water. If you add too much it will be sticky. The remedy to this is let it dry a little.

Coat your hands with baby oil and this will help prevent sticking to your fingers. It also helps to keep the surface smooth. Store tightly in a zip-lock bag with all the air removed.

Many viewers want to know "how do I attach the pieces'? There are a couple of different ways. As you are working with it you can add a drop of water to the piece you are attaching and the place you are attaching it too. This will help that spot to be extra gooey and provide a good bond. To adhere pieces that are already dried, I use a good white tacky glue.

These particular photos are the pieces a featured on the show. Because the clay is so extremely durable after it dries - even in areas that are very thin, it is an excellent choice to replicate florals.
As with all air-dry clays it does shrink. I have found that the shrinkage is about 10-12%.

I noticed this particularly when working with the florals. I went back the next day and there were gaps. To fill in the gaps, I simply scraped some clay and filled in the gaps simulating extra "filler" foliage.

Today I experimented making and mixing different colors. While I was somewhat successful...and i'll have those results on another blog, I will tell you not to mix acrylic paint into it. While it will - sort of work, the results are not that great and the mess really isn't worth it. I was able to replicate some promising stone effects.

All in all, this is an excellent clay and I am quite confident that once you get the hang of it you will really enjoy working with it. i've had many emails from several viewers telling me how much they enjoyed working with it. Many of whom were beginners and had only experienced working with bread dough. It is a great choice for those who don't want all the worry of working with polymer, when you don't have an oven handy or when you want something to "craft" in the car while you are traveling.

The clay is available in an 8oz tub for $8.99 plus $5.00 shipping. Currently, I only stock the white - since it is my favorite and the most versatile. To purchase simply click on the Buy now button below.

Your total purchase price is $14.99. Free Project sheets included.

Be sure to check out all my Projects available on my website at

I'm off to Iowa for the rest of the week. I'll still be experimenting with the clay and working on a few papercraft projects. So until next time...Keep on Claying!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Piecing together bits of time..........

Last year coming home from an Iowa trip, I found an article in Memory Makers about geneaology. This subject never really interested me. My aunts have done it for years, but stomping around in over grown cemeteries just did not appeal to me in the least. But, after reviewing the article in the magazine and noting that there were several websites listed, I thought, "What the heck?...I'll check out the site (, plug in my grandparents name and see what i come up with."

Well....ten hours later, I had family mysteries solved. I had also traced back most of the family to the early 1800's. There were civil war records, records with my great grandparents own hand writing - it was unbelievable.

My uncle was kind enough to loan me a couple of family heirloom boxes that contain much of my grandparents photos. Among the prized artifacts in there is a church document dating back to 1857 and written in German. I also have a photo of my great grandfather's 4th grade elementary class.
You know from my last post that I enjoy a challenge. This is like solving a puzzle, searching for the missing pieces. It's amazing what you can learn by just studying a photograph, not just the people, but the surroundings. It's absolutely fascinating.
Tonight, I began what I hope will become a very treasured book amongst the family, the project of documenting and digi-scrapping all the old family photo's. It's my hope that someday, my great grand kids won't have to guess who I am, or what my life was like.

Do you have information about these family names?
  • Molden (particularly those living near the St. louis area - originally Augustus Molden immigrated here from Bavaria

  • Joesel - My grandmother Otillia Joesel - Molden was from France. I have no information as to her parents, though Im suspecting that they may be a family of Joesels living near St. louis but on the Illinois side of the Mississippi

  • McClellan - Sara McClellan or any McClellans from Browning Missouri

  • Frey - Michael - from the St. louis Area (The page above is Michael and Dona Frey - my great grandparents)

If you do, please take a moment to email me, maybe we can swap information and gather another piece of the puzzle.

For now, here's the first of many pages of the Molden family heritage book. Thanks for taking a peek! Hope this inspires you to a family memory treasure hunt.

(papers and embellishments are from - premier membership)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Living the Creative Life

Do you live the creative life? What is a creative life?? While I don't know the politically correct definition of that, I do have a thought to share from a personal experience.

While most people at first glance would attribute a creative life to being artistic, I believe it goes way beyond that. Many times designers are given projects or products that we know very little, if anything about. But, being the creative people we are, we jump at the task to not only experiment, but also to learn something new and find a sense of accomplishment once the task is completed.

While I'm confident that I am very knowledgeable about the craft industry, I know absolutely nothing about auto mechanics. I'm literally one of those people who should own a 'Auto mechanics for dummies" book.

For some time now, I have had either one headlight on the left and none on the right or the right one would decide to work and the left one would take a break. If they both decided to work, well, it was a toss up on which one would give out first. I think they were playing games with me. While my husband would send the car to the shop to get fixed, I on the other hand love a challenge. I discovered that at one point in time both headlights had shorted out and burned the casing on which the wires attach to make the bulb light up. Being the creative thinker I am, I was able to rig up a new casing, wrap it to death in electrical tape and viola!!!!! I HAVE HEADLIGHTS!!!!!! BOTH OF THEM!!! And they actually stay on!!!!

I love the creative life!!! Why?? Because it challenges me to rise to the occasion no matter what the situation, take chances and learn something new. And you know what? Success feels good!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FREE PROJECT SHEET - From the Project of the Month Club CD

There's nothing like the smell of gingerbread baking on a winter day. It's been a long time since I've had any gingerbread.. or for that matter anything other than a clay gingerbread baking in the oven! My Grandma Campbell looooved gingerbread cookies!!

Now, with the weather getting colder, it's time that I bring out and display my collection of winter characters; snowmen, penguins, my ice skating clumsy polar bears and so on..... Thanks to my friends, I have quite an impressive collection of them

I love them all, especially ones given to me by my clay friends. Each time I look at them, it reminds me of them, my grandma...and it just makes me smile!

This little gingerbread is not only fun to make, but fun to give as a gift. Just drop me an email and I'll send you the full size version.

I have several winter character project sheets available on my website. Simply click here. You can pick your "FAVE 10" and save some money too!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I wish posting videos could be an every day thing. But, unfortunately it won't be. Here is actually the first video that I shot and produced. This video took me longer to edit and so that's why it's just now coming to you.

Here's a little You Tube viewing tip: Im sure this works with any YouTube video. If you notice at the bottom of the YouTube viewing screen there are some buttons. The second button from the left (next to the play button) will allow you to view thumbnails of all the videos that I have currently running. If you slide your pointer over the top of one, it will list the video name. So maybe you already know this...but if you are like me and new to all this advanced technology might find that little feature pretty handy. The menu button allows you to either embed or copy the URL to another site. Please email me for permission to do this so that I know where links are being placed.

Please keep checking back on the blog or on my website for more video updates and mini video classes. Without further adieu....enjoy the show!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bead Making Videos on You Tube!

Remember the post where I said, "Persistance pays off"? Couldn't be more true in this case. It's finally here and I'm so excited to present the first... in what I hope to be a long series of short how-to videos!

It's been a very educational experience to say the least, with moving furniture for the shoot, setting up lighting, tripods and all kinds of electrical cords, I really thought for a while I was in a real studio and not just my house. After loads and loads of takes...mostly for technical reasons...and for reasons that I couldnt even remember the name of my book or what I was doing at's finally here!!!

My goal is to have a DVD available as well as "mini" classes for you available on my website. So that's all coming up! I have to say, this was loads of fun!

So sit back...take about a 6 minute break...grab a cup of coffee (ice tea for me) and enjoy...(sorry folks- it's not long enough to break out the popcorn!)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Learning from your mistakes...Persistance pays off!

The last couple of days have been extremely frustrating. In an attempt to update the website, I ended up deleting it. I had a back up copy, so I wasn't that concerned until everything...and I mean everything .....I tried didn't work. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get my pages to upload, the server kept cutting me off and dropping the connection. FRUSTRATING... This was day 3 of my efforts.

But, amidst the frustration and a few tears, I was able to get the site to load this afternoon. How? I left home! I took the computer with me to the doctors office and guess what? They had wireless internet. I thought what the heck? Let's see if my website uploads while Im here...and it did! So I sat there, in the office, frantically uploading pages to my site. Most of it is working, I only have a do a few tweeks!

Now, looking back on that experience, I thought about what I learned. First of all patience and persistance ( sometimes Im not too good in that category). Thru many phone calls to tech guys, I learned how to do FTP (file transfer protocol), I learned how to connect my new camera to my computer without buying a webcam! All of this is useful for those online classes I intend to hold and have going in January. Now, I'm learning video editing.

When you get a chance, check out the new website. I re-formatted all the Project of the Month club's so that you can buy the entire collection - that's over 130 projects folks!...... you can by your "fave 10 - just pick em' out and let me know which ones when you check out" or you can buy each project individually. Think of each as a little mini class. They're full of step by step photo's and instructions. They will come to you via a email download along with a disk in the mail. The only exception is the "entire collection" it's way to big....

Here's what's coming up on the website in the near future:

A new gallery - jewelry, figurine and papercrafts/digi-art
New Online Class Schedule
New Videos
New products - I've designed a line of unique wooden scrapbooks...look for these online in the near future
And eventually, a guest book.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the blog poll. I appreciate your time and thoughts!

Technical Difficulties.............

The Blog is website? Not so great! I went to update it yesterday and POOF! It disappeared into thin air!!

I'm working right now to restore it - and downloading some new software to actually make that happen. Hope to have it up and running today...or as soon as possible!

Be sure to email me if you have any questions, comments or would like to purchase books or POM club project sheets!!

off to cyberspace....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Food Crafting - A recipe for some family fun!

Today, I'd like to share a little bit of a personal story. This is the time of year that my husband, Dana longs for. This is prime time hunting season. I'm sure if you are a hunter or if you are a hunting widow like I am at times, you will relate to this story. For hunter's, and for us, it's not about the thrill of the hunt. It's an opportunity to teach conservation to our kids and to put alot of meat on the table. We don't buy much meat by choice, because Dana happens to be an awesome outdoorsman. Our freezers (all three of them) are full of a variety of wild game from venison, turkey, wild boar, some occassional frog legs along with a variety of fish and fowl.

About this time every year, we teach the kids how to process the deer that Dana harvests. We even have a burger making day - quite a tradition in the Peterson house. We even package it with cute little personalized labels. Today was no exception. Although we didnt process deer or burger. We did take the burger we've already processed and embarked on a fun food crafting experience.

We made brats! Crafting doesn't always have to be with paint or just has to be a fun time with family or friends and creating something....

So if you are up for a BRAT making's a little tutorial. It's actually quite easy.

We purchased a Brat seasoning kit from Walmart. It came with the "hanks" which are the casings that you stuff the sausage into. We made four pounds of three different kinds, a plain, italian sausage and our favorite beer and cheddar here goes

This is what the hanks (casings) look like. Gently separate them. Open one end and put it on the end of the faucet. Turn on the water and watch it fill just like a water balloon. Let the water flow thru for a couple of minutes. Drain the water. Put the wet "hank" in a bowl of cold water with one of the ends hanging over the bowl. Repeat for 5 hanks. (We made 12 lbs with using 5)

Mix in a can of beer. But the recipe is 1/4 cup per lb. Then mix is a bunch of cheddar shredded cheese. Make sure it is well mixed.

Now it's time to put it into the meat grinder. Ours came from Bass Pro Shops. It's a monster, but a hand crank will do just'll just need some elbow grease. Notice that the hank is completely on the sausage stuffer attachment. Turn it on and fill the casing with just a little bit of sausage. Tie it off with a string.

We add enough meat for approximately a 6" brat, then twist. Now the key to twisting is alternate. On your first twist - twist toward you, on the next - twist away from you. This way your brats will always be ...well...a little "twisted"...
Just keep twisting until you use up all your meat. When your done add another string and tie off the end. We wrapped in sets of 3 and froze them. Now....reap the fruitage of your labor. I highly suggest making an extra brat or two because you are going to want to throw them in the broiler for a taste test. YUM YUM!!!
Sorry Johnsonville....guess we'll be making our own brats now!

Thanks to everyone, who's given me their feedback on classes. I bought a webcam we're on our way to online classes and videos! Stay tuned!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Need your Opinions...still! VOTE VOTE VOTE

Thanks to all of you who've responded to the poll and thru email. If you haven't already giving your opinions to the poll on the side bar, please take a moment to do so. It is really appreciated.

I'm working frantically on getting a new designed website up and running. Hopefully by the end of the weekend. I hope this is more stream-lined and easier for you to navigate.

I'll have the Project of the Month clubs available in smaller sets for you to purchase as well..
so please check back!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dachshund Pens on Carol Duvall Tomorrow Morning

Just a reminder - The Darling Dachshund pens are featured on tomorrows Carol Duvall show on HGTV. (check for your local times, it's 7:30am central)

So sit down and relax with your morning cup of coffee (or tea) and join Carol and I!


For a while now, I've been contemplating the thought of giving online classes. So, my questions...are you interested?

I'm looking into several software platforms that would allow me to do this. Webcam seems to be the way to go, but it isn't without it's glitches and it only allows for a few to attend at a time. The other platform works with slide shots and voice overs along with a chat column for posting questions.

Would you be more interested in a video that you could download...say maybe a 15 minute technique class or a 30 minute class on a subject that you could view on your own time at your own pace? (If you're like me...I watch movies all the time and see something I've missed from times before.) I'm leaning towards this option. And doing a video a month. But you tell me

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Would you please take a moment to complete the poll on the side bar? This will give me a better idea as to your interests.

Thanks for your comments....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mark your calendars - Darling Dachshund Pens on Carol Duvall


Darling Dachshund Pens are back on The Carol Duvall Show (Check the listings for the show times - generally 7:30 am central time)

This is by far one of my most popular shows. Who can resist these cute adorable characters??

On the show I'll show you how to create this adorable little dachshund. What a great gift for a dach-sy owner!! Maybe you don't want to stop there. The POLYPENS book features other adorable little pups along with a host of other pen set projects to keep for yourself or give as gifts. I have to admit...once you make'll be addicted.

Polypens book - $12.99 with free shipping and signed by me! Check the side bar to order your copy today!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I've had a JENetic makeover at my new Creative Design SPA

Feel like you are in a creative rut? You are not alone. Even well known designers get into that creative sort of....writers block thing. It's happened to me. So what do you do when that happens??

I really didn't have any real expectation for creativity this week...although I did want to design on some denim jeans....I'm going to get them done before I grow out of them! I had no idea what was in store for me...but I was up for a week of play.

This past week, I've stepped back and changed roles. I was the student - and Im not so sure how good of a student I was...I questioned...smirked...rolled my eyes...said "are you sure about that??? - don't think that will work....", but none the less I took on the role of a student.

I had a fantastic teacher - JLO. What did she teach? OUT OF THE BOX THINKING! I tend to look at something at face value...not Jen....she looks at how she can cut it up...stamp it up...shrink it up....You name it...she is going to do it. She also designs without the hesitation of messing up. Do you do that? Do you just play? I can say that I didn't. But I do now. I have learned that playing is half the battle of designing. I've always said it's okay to make mistakes... but what I really meant to say...was that it's okay to make "conservative" mistakes. I no longer hold on to that philosphy! Not sense the JENetic makeover! I've now changed my studio....into a "CREATIVE DESIGN SPA!"

So this week, we've taken Friendly Plastic to the limit....wait till you see what we've done with this's not your Grandma's friendly plastic. We can make it look like an asian fabric - only in small pieces....I've perfected the dicroic technique with Friendly Plastic.....

We've taken copper metal and torched it using anything we could think of as a resist - I promise pictures when the technique is perfected....

I just can't begin to tell you, how much great this "SPA" experience was.... oh my goodness gracious....

We've now termed a new's called "LinJENeering".....stay tuned for this whole new way of creating......

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

JLo visits my studio.....for a whole week!

Between the hustle and bustle of traveling, working on my next book, going on doctors appointments, I'm finally ready for some girlfriend time!

I'm so honored to host a great friend of mine this week - Jen Lowe...aka JLO...yes that's right, as I've said before, even the craft world has a JLO. After the hustle and bustle of putting all the finishing touches on my new Metal book, it's nice just playing and being creative, not to mention having a friend with you to just chat and keep you inspired.

Jen and I met on a scrapbooking cruise a few years ago. While the cruise itself left much to be desired, we decided that were we're going to make lemonade from lemons. Beyond that...hey we were on a cruise! We've been friend ever since. This summer she told me that she was going to come out to see me....honestly I really didn't take her that serious. she is..and I couldn't be more thrilled to work along side her. Jen just recently finished her term on the Ranger design team. She brought me tons of Ranger goodies to play with...I was like a kid in a candy shop going thru that box let me tell ya!

Today's theme was Friendly Plastic. I worked at designing some jewelry for tween girls, while Jen, pushed, pulled, stacked, layered and anything else she could think of with the plastic. Among all the flops.......there were a few FLIPs!

Jen created some really cool asian coins with FP. I perfected a dichroic look that I've been going after. What I learned is that it's okay to flop! As Jen says....there are no real "flops" they just become "floppertunities". I love that! It was great just to experiment. I think we've come up with some really great "NEW" techniques and we'll be sharing those in the future.

Not sure what tomorrow's theme is going to be, but I can tell will include, ranger, dyes and denim....can't wait to see how this turns out...

So...Im getting back to's gonna be a late night!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Metal Mania - Mad for Metal Jewelry

Wearing metal jewelry is very trendy....very vogue....and very easy to create yourself. The collection of ArtEmboss metals from Amaco make it very affordable as well.

I'm putting the finishing touches on my next book about making jewelry with metals today. I have no idea what the title will lets just call Mad for Metal Jewelry. Like it?? Have suggestions???? Leave them in the comment's - I'd love to hear them.

So...what will the book feature? Glad you asked! It's another technique based learn the techniques and mix and match the projects (and there are alot of projects). With this book the focus was not on making beads - although I do show you how to make beads from metal. What you'll find is more focal pieces, ear rings to make in a snap and a few bracelets. The projects feature styles from whimsical, colorful and fun to organic, altered and just plain unique and creative. I'll show you a unique way to stamp on metal and get awesome designs...but we don't use ink....and yet.. we get a design on the metal. Sound intriquing?? We do alot with copper and pewter and just for the fun of it...Ive designed some pieces with metal and Friendly Plastic. It's making a huge come-back you know. I couldn't help but to include some memory bracelets as well. Why not wear your little scrapbook on your wrist??? Show it off!!

It will be released also in Spring 2008. It's only 18 pages but it packs a punch. I believe it will retail for around $8.00. So...if you're interested in your signed copy...I'd gladly add your name to the list.

Thanks for everyone who emailed to add their name to the Making Beads book debut - signed copy - list! It's not too late to add yours!

I'll be on a little Mini-vacation...heading to the family farm in Iowa. My husband is doing the guy-thing....hunting for pheasants. I'll be doing the girl thing - scrapbooking and then on Monday we'll celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. So have a safe and crafty weekend...snug in with a cup of coffee and a good crafty magazine and get inspired.....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Making Beads and Polymer Clay Jewelry - New Book for March 2008

There's so much going on at the ART BUZZ TODAY!!!! I just received my book spreads! I'm excited that my book is coming along rather quickly! It's been a great experience to be involved full circle in the production of this book, from creating the projects to the photography. I learned so much from it.

I'm quite confident that this book will be a MUST HAVE in your polymer clay library. I have written the instructions so that those of you who "think" you want to work with clay...and those of you who "want" to work with clay-but are just scared to try it can take the plunge and be successful the first time! Each project is like taking a class with me and learning a new technique.

Even though this is a technique based book, there are also guided instructions on what to do with all the beads and focal pieces you've just created so that you can create stunning jewelry all from scratch. Believe me, it's a real "high" when someone compliments you on your jewelry and you can say "I MADE IT MYSELF!!".

The book features techniques on simulating semi-precious stones, easy caning and more along with lots of ideas to string and finish your piece. Get creative and mix-n-match designs with techniques. This book will definately spark your creativity and give you lots of inspiration. The possibilities are endless!

I was also pleased to have Marie, a very talented editor work hand in hand with me. Together we came up with the names for each project. They are all named after a classic movie or song. How fun huh??

Here's a sneak peak at one of the spreads!

The book is scheduled for release in late February early March 2008. It's 128 pages. Click here to add your name to the list for your autographed copy and the premier price of $24.95 which includes shipping!

(page spread and cover courtesy of Cico Books)

Check back tomorrow as I'll have more Art Buzzy news with more photo's of more jewelry...this time METAL !! You won't want to miss it!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Friends, Family and a Scrapbook party - A recipe for a real fun time!

It's autumn and the only means one thing, I'm a hunting widow. My husband spends most of his time out and about on the hunt for anything that is in season. What's the solution? Autumn scrapbook parties with all the other hunting widows! They hunt....we scrap!

We continued the creative girls weekend with a cozy little scrapbook party on Saturday. Before the party, the girls and I made home made potato chips for the party (couldn't wait to use my new kitchen gadget) We had a ball. The party started later that afternoon and by the time we finished, between the 4 adults, 1 teenager and 3 kids, we finished 26 pages in just a few hours.

No matter how much space we have it never seems to be enough. We sprawled out onto chairs and even broke out the ironing board to set stuff on....oh what a mess!!!!

Jennifer, another hunting widow whose husband blogs on worked on pages from a recent trip to New York. She also brought her scrapbook from the 80's party we had back in February...what a riot! (Did we really dress like that??) I helped my mother in law put pages together and journal. Mariah created some pages about her best friend, Kaitlyn. Elise and Julia created pet scrapbook pages about our english pointer named Maggie, my Mom started a heritage album about her dad and Emma, Jennifers daughter scrapped her trip to Mexico. It was a great time, quality time with friends and our kids. Everyone really enjoyed it and .....they ate some really yummy potato chips!!

PS.....looking at this mess to clean up...I know now why I love digital scrapbooking!! I love to make the mess...just hate to clean it up!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Good times, Great Friends and some FANTASTIC art at War Eagle

It's the third weekend in October and a tradition my mom and I started when I was a teenager back in the early 80's. We had just moved from Springfield, Illinois to Branson and had no clue of what "War Eagle" was or even craft shows were for that matter. Since that time, my mom and I have only missed a few years. This is serious business folks....we get up at 4:45 and leave at 5:30 AM...that's in the morning for all those of you who sleep during that leave. The 2 1/2 trip south into Arkansas is breath taking, especially during sunrise.

People from all over the country flock to attend these area shows. War Eagle is a working grist mill located on the King's River.

This area really is three separate craft shows combined into one huge one. Tradition has it that we first walk over the wooden planked bridge to the "art" side. Here this on this side, it's all juried imports! (you know how I feel about import's at craft shows...). There are 4 huge circus tents and one barn, featuring everything from handmade wearables, jewelry, wooden furniture, decorative painting, homemade gourmet foods and sculpture.

And the food....we'll as long as you like it on a're in luck!

This year my Mother In Law attended for the first time. I think she really enjoyed herself!

I particularly paid close attention to all the jewelry. I loved seeing everyone's interpretation of beads, silver, copper and gold...simply beautiful. There was one outstanding booth, that was just packed full of shoppers. I believe it's because of his uniqueness and creativity and it was MAN art, something you just don't see alot of at a show. This man made sculptures literally out of discarded junk (washers, sparkplugs, I'm talkin' JUNK!). He took a toaster and sculpted it into an RV. A flat food grater was the awning, a church key can opener became the bumper and old discarded metal wheels from rolling skates became the wheels. His creativity was beyond amazing! So he wins the most unique art award!

There was one booth that sold polymer clay miniatures like those that I used to sell. The expression on her faces were adorable and being that this is the second time I've seen her display, I would say that her mini's were doing well. As for polymer clay in general though, I saw only two booths that featured jewelry and they were both at the Bella Vista show not at War Eagle. Personally, the way the unique jewelry artists were swamped with people, I think that there is a market for UNIQUE polymer jewelry. It must be exquisite in its finish, because the people that come to buy at War Eagle are savvy when it comes to shopping and only buy the best. The price range of the jewelry artists ranged from $20 to several hundred. But, being that it is unique and one of a kind, I thought the prices were fair.

Though I didn't buy any jewelry, I did buy a rather large scarecrow, the kids named him BOB and now Bob has a home in front of my studio. I'll say "goodmorning to him" everyday before work. I've also given Bob some pumpkins to look out after.

My only other purchase was ....believe it or not...a potatoe chip maker. The demonstrator looked like he was having so much fun making chips, that I just had to have that much fun too!! (See demo's do sell.......)

It took us close to 3 hours to go thru all the booths on this side. Now it's time to head back over the bridge to the other side. By this time, the bridge is a solid line of people.

The other side features more imports, flea market goodies and a little bit of anything goes. (This is where I bought my potatoe chip maker).......

While I did not photograph anyone's art. I did pick up their business cards and thought I would post their website's for you do peruse and have a "virtual War Eagle" experience. A family run business, the kids find the fossils and the parents create beautiful the whole family involvement!

Metal Sculpture by Bill Blackford Studios:

Stewart's Original Silver jewelry:

The metal sculpture guy....he doesnt have a website...but if you email, I bet he'll send you some pictures if you are interested in purchasing. (cute email huh?)

Creative Instinct - Hand made jewelry

Unfotunately, the other's didn't list email or web addresses...BUM!

After War Eagle, we head thru Rogers and Bentonville to the Bella Vista show. This show is juried as well. You'll find more painters and fine artists at this show.

As we were walking along, we stopped at a booth that had beautiful dichroic and silver jewelry. They also had "name jewelry". here's the story.... During my craft show years, I met a couple of girls that became really good friends of mine named Becky and Paula. They sold name bracelets. I would always stay with them when I did shows in and around St. Louis if Mariah wasn't in the hospital having her chemo treatments. We all became such good friends that Paula gave us a place to stay, for 3 months while Mariah underwent radiation. After we discontinued craft shows and went our separate ways, we fell out of touch....that is until the name bracelets that I mentioned earlier. As Mariah was looking at them, she said, "Remember Becky and Paula who made those name bracelets, what ever happened to them?" Just then Becky STOOD up!! and we had a great re-aquaintance. We found out everyone was well, but like us had left the craft show circuit in pursuit of other things. It had been nearly 11 years since we've seen each other and had a chance to visit! What a great reunion!!! SMALL WORLD HUH?

I have more to share about our girls weekend...but I'll save that for later

Until next time on the Art Buzzzzzzz............

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Calendar Time! Inspiration from a Kindergartener

Every day in Julia's kindergarten class they have "Calendar" time. They each take turns putting cute little cards in the pockets, learning to read a calendar and talk about the weather.

Need a gift idea? Something personal? Calendars are great gifts to give your family. Every year my Mother in Law loves to have photo calendars made for each of us. Looking back over the years its a nice keepsake and sort of picture journal of the years events.

This Saturday, I'm hosting a girlfriend crop at my house. It's from whenever they get here to whenever they leave...even if its on Sunday! We'll move the furniture out of the way and make room for tables and loads of fun. We are even planning a swap for all those things you just had to buy when you saw them, but have never used. What better time than to get out the photo's and scrap a couple of calendars as gifts? Once the layout is done, it only takes minutes to duplicate it.

I tend to keep my calendar pages quick and easy. I especially love the 8 x 8 format. This gives you a bit of extra coordinating paper to use throughout your layout. Call me the frugal scrapper! I am so excited about this weekend. I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about.....

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Keepsake Box

I took a creative writing class in high school. During one of those creative writing sessions, a guy in the class wrote this poem. I really connected with the poem and still have it memorized. I have no idea where he is now, it seems that all of us who graduated from the 1984 Hollister High School class have all gone our separate ways, but in any event, I'd like to share the poem with you.

The Keepsake Box by Chris Bridges

The box in the corner is...

Filled with treasures from past friends,

Broken dreams and promises

of endless loves......with ends.

I always had a box like that....full of notes to girlfriends and crushes and stuff. Just like a high school girl I always had those "endless loves" and they always had "ends". (I'm happy to say though that now...I have found my endless love!-just took me a while!)

In my studio, I have still have that box. It's not a glamourous box, it's just a really big box that I got when I bought a pair of leather boots. (You'd think that I'd decorate it huh??). Inside the box, you can still find all the trinkets and awards from my high school days, school photos of friends, napkins from restaurants with doodles and thoughts, there's even letters from school friends and cards from my grandma. On rainy days, or on days when I need a little pick me up, I dig thru the box and reminisce. More recently, I've added pictures that the kids have drawn, their favorite school work. The memories in that box span more than 30 years.

As you might have guessed, I'm thinking about that box now (and it's raining outside) I'm thinking about how quickly the time has gone buy since my first addition to the box. I'm thinking about Alex's kindergarten school work and I've now just added some of Julia's.

Mariah and I are really looking forward to this weekend. My Mother-In-Law, Louise is coming to visit. Friday morning we'll join my mom really really early and head down to War Eagle, a gi-normous craft show in Arkansas! On Saturday, Im hosting a huge crop at my house. I don't think Louise has ever been to a crop like this. There's nothing like the camradarie of great girlfriends! Maybe it's time to get out that box and see exactly what's inside it. Maybe I can work some bit of ephemra into a memorable layout and give it a much better life outside the box, rather than a life inside a box. Maybe you have a box like this, what have you filled it with?
I'm off to do some reminscing...seems like a good day for it!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Art of Selling 101 - Arts and Craft Shows

There is more to art, than just creating art, especially if you want to make some extra money or work full time at it. You have to develop the art of selling your art. And believe me, that IS an artform! That also means you must SELL YOURSELF. Self promotion is one of the hardest things to do.

When I began my art career 16 years ago, the last thing I wanted to do was sell myself or show off my artwork. I might have feared, I definately feared rejection! I chose to market my work thru art and craft shows. I thought if they came into "MY" space, they must be interested and then I could sell, I wouldn't come across as pushy.

Though, I no longer use this means to sell my art, it can be very effective...IF and a big do it right. As I shop the Arts and Craft shows I take note of who's selling and what is selling. I look at displays. I look at how crowded and how well attended the event is. Is it well advertised? What is the quality of the show.

Today I visited an event put on by the Springfield Arts and Craft's guild called ART IN THE PARK. (If you want to take a walk in a park...this is definately a much more interesting way to do it). What I appreciated about this JURIED show, was that, although it was small in size, each artisan had their own presence and their own style. They set themself apart. All of the jewelry artists did their own thing. And you know what? They were selling. I saw everything from watercolor artists, raku pottery, jewelry, stained glass. Lots of beautiful work!

Maybe you use this time of the year to put a little extra income in your pocket or maybe you are preparing for your first show. In either event, here are some tips I would like to share with you to help make your show successful.
  • Dress up! This doesn't mean you have to be in an evening gown all decked out. But it definately doesn't mean you wear your sweat pants and comfy clothes either. Jeans are okay, maybe you have an artsy blouse or shirt. I had crafty and artsy shirts that I only wore when doing shows because they fit the occassion.
  • Greet everyone with a smile and a hello regardless of what they look like. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully.
  • Do NOT have your nose stuck in a book or talk on your cell phone or be busy playing Words with Friends.  . If you are on the phone when customers arrive, excuse yourself from your call and attend to your future customers. If you are not interested in your customers, believe me, they will not be interested in you. Do not look bored. One way to overcome boredom at a slow show is by doing the next....
  • DEMONSTRATE! It draws a crowd. Everyone loves to see an artist work - it's intriguing and you may be able to engage them in a conversation. This builds relationships and over time relationships build customers
  • YOUR DISPLAY SAYS IT ALL! Don't think of spending money on your display as money down the drain. Think of innovative ways to display. Keep it neat and uncluttered so that you don't detract from what it is you are selling. Today, I saw a tree made of copper wire which was twisted together. The branches held beautiful jewelry and earrings. Shelves might be the answer for displaying miniatures. Try to set up your display so that the customer can picture either wearing your work, or picture how it will look in their home. If they feel a connection, they will buy.
  • Start a mailing list - an email list if possible-it's a very inexpensive way to promote where you are going to be. Send an email a month, and a week before the show.
  • Give the customer a reason to buy, maybe mention that these make great gifts. Pick up on clues that they give you regarding their taste. Show personal interest.
  • Scope out the show BEFORE you sign up or ask for references. How well is the show attended, advertised. Are there other artists selling things just like yours? Don't be afraid to ask for references, this is business and a shows promotor should be more than willling to provide this information. It's their business to have you in business!
  • I used to sign up for every single show that was local. Big Mistake!! Even though the shows were well attended, the attendees would say "Where will you be next?". That's code for "I won't buy from you today, because I can get it next week. I'll save my money for something I can only get today". Only do selective shows so that you become a "special treat" to the attendees and make them look forward to seeing you and knowing they can only buy from you right THEN!
  • SET YOURSELF APART! This is typically not a problem when you are showing at a juried art show, but in general art and craft shows this is a huge necessity. Why sell the same thing as the competition??? I noticed a lot of jewelry artists at the Ozark show. They were all selling very nice jewelry, but the problem was, it all looked the same after a while. Anyone can string a bead onto a headpin and make a set of earrings, so how can you make your's different? Follow color trends for home decor and fashion trends for accessories. Mauve pink is a beautiful color...but that was the 80's and not alot of people decorate or wear it anymore..see what I mean??
  • Lastly, but definately not in the slightest bit least. DO NOT SELL YOUR SELL CHEAP! Cheap doesn't always sell. This tells the customer your work is not worth anything. If you don't value your work, no one else will. It takes a lot of time to manage and run a craft business. Do not work for minimum wage or just to recover your costs so that you can make more.
  • Okay...the above one was supposed to be the last, but this one needs to be said. Make sure what you are selling is handmade by YOU or your friends. Please don't purchase imports and pass them off as your work. This will RUIN your reputation!
I hope these suggestions make for increased sales for you!! Remember this is business, treat it like one. It takes time to build any business so give it sometime...and in the meantime...have a great time at the shows and ....enjoy it with girlfriends.

Share your experiences with me! Until next time on the ARTBUZZ.......zzzzzzzzz it's bedtime!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spruce up your table for fall - a sneak peak project from the Project of the Month Club

Today in Missouri we're waking up to a very beautiful, yet cool autumn morning. I think the birds are delighted to have a break in the temperature too. They were singing quite happily when I went outside around 6am this morning. I'm welcoming fall with open arms! I love the crispness of the air, the beautiful colors of all the trees and the thought of pumpkin pie! MY FAVORITE! I can resist alot of sweets, but cookies and pumpkin pie are not on that list!

I had to run to Michaels and get a few things I was out of and desperately needed. I love to decorate with pumpkins, I think they create such a "homespun" feel in the house. But, have you noticed just how expensive fake pumpkins are? OH MY GOODNESS!!

In hopes of curbing some of your fall decorating expenses, I thought I'd share a favorite project of mine from the PROJECT OF THE MONTH CLUB - volume 2 CD rom collection. Made mostly from scrap clay and some aluminum foil, this pumpkin centerpiece will last for decades to come and it won't hurt your budget. You can make it as big or as little as you would like. There is even a variation for turning it into a candle votive. (ooh pumpkin pie scented candles...)

For more information about all the projects featured on the Project of the Month Club - CD Rom collection - click here.

Click on the above picture to view a larger printable version...and don't forget to take sometime out to smell the pumpkin pie! YUM YUM!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A fascination with words...........

My friend Jen has been blogging lately on how opportunities or events in her life inspire her art. I've enjoyed reading her posts every morning and consider it a creative boost to my day.

This year my oldest, Alex graduated from High School. How could that be? I just graduated from High School a few years ago...( it was actually 1984! Don't laugh...I just gave away my age...) It was 1982 that I first took a graphic arts class at the local Vo-Tech school. I just thought it would be interesting, not knowing for the slightest where this early journey would lead me.....

My parents thought it was a waste of time, but nevertheless, after much convincing, they let me go my junior and senior year. We didn't have word processors back then. Business cards and stationary were made the hard way. We had a strip printer. It was this little machine in a closet. Sort of like a camera. It had a film strip with different letter typestyles and you exposed each letter - one at a time. There was no automatic spacing, you did that with your eyes. When you had your words all spelled out, you stuffed it under your shirt and ran as fast as you could to the dark room to develop it. Then it went to the wax machine. After that you literally cut a pasted it to your layout.....the process continues until it finally reaches the press and your "whatever" was printed.

My senior year we were in style - we got a typsetter machine. This machine was HUGE! Full of buttons and options and little one line screen that held about four words. I became a pro at the machine. I would sit for hours just playing with words, different typestyles, different sizes of letters. I love titles, writing, though I'm not a poet...I just love words.

Fast forward to NOW. Im sitting here typeing to you on a laptop computer that is way more powerful that that huge typesetter we had in 1983. I use all the skills I learned back then everyday. Whether Im designing for publication. laying out a project sheet, or just for plain ole' fun. In fact, I wonder what graphic art's class would be like now?

While I love scrapbooking, I have a real love for digi scrappin. It takes me back to High School days and makes me feel young again! Here's a sample of my latest layouts to share with you. I did it on the plane on the way to England last month. I hope you enjoy.

I use Photoshop Elements. The papers and other accessories and embellishments I downloaded from (i's been a while).

Well...since my ice tea is gone, that must mean it's time to go to the studio and reminisce some more. I think today's theme will be metal jewelry memory crafts.....

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Handmade versus Imports. The Fall Arts and Craft Show Season has arrived!

If you've ever tried to make a living by doing art and craft shows, you know that this is the time of year that you've worked so hard and waited so patiently for. This is the time of year that your hard work and talents pay off - hopefully.

I've had my share of getting ready for craft shows, working night and day, all weekend and all the next week to restock what sold the weekend before. Until you experience that for yourself, you don't realize just how hard these people really do work.

In my neck of the woods, October begins the month of back to back craft shows. The closest one to me, and one that I did for many years is in Ozark at the fairgrounds. Mariah and I went to it yesterday.

Although I don't do craft shows any longer, I really do appreciate the talents of the many crafters and artists I met with and talked to. The talents ranged from jewelry artists, furniture makers to those who made pre-made scrapbooks, an altered artist and a young girl who was selling her adorable polymer clay figures. I saw a variety of styles and skill levels and what I appreciated was that they were out there - giving their all and offering their handmade work to the public. It brought back some really NICE memories of when my kids were younger. They traveled everywhere with me to all the craft shows. They were so much help! I don't know how I ever did it without them. The first thing we did every morning was paint their faces. Every so often, they would walk the show together with a group of kids who's faces I also painted and advertise to kids to come by and get their face painted for 50 cents. One show we made an extra $400 by painting faces (that's alot of kids! - do the math). We had quite a routine. Alex was about 7 or 8 at the time and was very good at running the cash register and working with customers. Mariah loved to talk to people and package their purchases. It was great family time and it was fun! It taught the kids what it was like to work hard and earn money.

Of course that was back in the time when "crafts" were generally handmade by the artist sitting in the booth. Disappointingly, there were so many imports at the show yesterday, that it really spoiled the occassion. My heart went out to all the true crafters, who really put their heart and soul into the work they were selling.

I am a supporter of the arts. I would rather pay more for a piece that is handmade by the person I'm purchasing it from. Many times that person will share an experience about the inspiration for the piece or how the whole family is involved in the business. I like that! I support that! It's impossible to get those kind of memories when you purchase imports.

I visited with an adorable older lady who was giving up showing at craft shows because she said that she just couldn't compete with the imports at shows any longer. HOW SAD! She was a decorative painter and her work was gorgeous. She had a fishing scene painted on the side of a suitcase that caught my attention. Next to it were some primitive carved wooden fish. She told me how her son carved those fish and she painted them. They called them "Finley River Flounder". That story really spoke to me and so I bought a pair (they are perfect for my lodge style house, and Dana jokes about how those are the ONLY fish I'm able to catch!) Now when I look at those fish, I think of her and the Finley River Flounder story.

We ate lunch at a booth who offered Buffalo Burgers, Brats and Hot Dogs. They run about 90 head of bison and work the farm as a family. He shared with me his story about the family business. They butcher and prepare their own meat with their own recipes for the brats, summer sausage and jerky. So what did I do? I ate a Buffalo Brat. It was delicious and not only that, I was happy to support a family run business.

I'm sure many of you will be visiting Arts and Craft festivals in your area. I hope you will give consideration to the people who truely put their heart and soul into their work and support them. Have a chat with them, see what inspires them. Get their story, buy their artwork! If you want imports.....go to Hobby Lobby or Pier One.

Next weekend I'll be off to Art in the Park and the following week...WAR EAGLE!! I'll be back later this week sharing some teasers from my next book on "Making jewelry with Metal". But for now....Now it's playtime with some metal!

Thanks for stopping by the Artbuzz... please share your thoughts with me!

Thursday, October 4, 2007


A long time ago, while rooming with Barbara McGuire at a trade show, she shared with me how to get out of creative chaos. She said to me " Change an element". Sometime's we all get stuck in a rut, or we are working on a project that is almost there...but not quite and we like some part of it and not another, so what do you do? Change the shape, add a color, add another design element, but CHANGE IT!

I've always remembered those words and realize that they can apply to all aspects of life. So when I was tired of my hair....what did I do? I changed it! You may have already noticed the new photo on the blog. That is a brand-spankin new hairdo. Change is GOOD! Im not afraid of change! I got the hairbrained idea last weekend. So yesterday, without further adieu, I called my stylist and said CUT MY HAIR! I left with a new look on life, felt creative and just feel great about my new style.

Okay...I know that has nothing do to with a way it does, Jen can do wonderful artwork with hair, but in a small way...if you find yourself in a creative rut...change it! Doesn't have to be drastic, but at least take a small step.

I've heard of artists creating "chaos cards". These cards are about the size of an ATC and can be decorated in a variety of ways. The one thing they have on them are ideas such as "Add a color", another may say, "Change the shape", another may say "Add texture" and so on. When your in a creative rut, you randomly draw a card and do what it says. It can go a long way in to jumping over a creative rut.

Now...let's change subjects for just a minute and talk about giving and sharing . I'd like to introduce you to someone who I don't think know's what a creative rut is. I've had her website link on the side bar for quite a while. She's known in the art community as JLO...yep we have a JLO in the industry. Her real name is Jen Lowe. One of the BEST things about being in such a creative industry is constantly meeting wonderful talented people and developing lasting friendships with them. Jen and I met on a cruise three years ago...the cruise was another subject in itself, but we were on a cruise and our personalities just clicked - she was teaching for Spellbinders and I was teaching for AMAC. Since then we've shared creativity, personal matters, family stuff and in general have ridden one heck of a roller coaster between crafts and family.

You'll have to get on her blog site and read all about Lucy McGoo. Recently I've been blamed for her having to create a blog. (I take full responsibility and blame Katie Hacker for inspiring me to blog). I'm proud to say I've been inducted into the Lucy McGoo hall of fame and been dubbed as the Lindy Loo (my knickname from way back) of Lucy McGoo. She even wrote a poem! Will her creativity ever stop?

The creative industry is all about giving and sharing. The more you share, the more you get. When I was a "green - so new to the industry I didn't have a clue" designer, Donna Kato & Barbara McGuire took me under their wing and graciously guided me. Told me what to do, and what NOT to do. They are responsible for my contacts with book editors and magazines and even TV. I will always be thankful to them. I show my thanks by giving back to the industry and sharing with others what they taught me. When I met Jen she was a fabulous artist, but had no idea of what it was to be a designer in the industry, so I took her under my wing and proudly became her mentor. I'm her cheerleader! I know you'll be seeing more of her in magazines and books...and who knows...we just may create our own TV show...(my hubby has promised me a camera for our anniversary - hint hint to the hubby!) So there's definately more things to come from Lucy McGoo and Lindy Loo McGoo....

Okay..that's all the jibber jabber I have for the day...until next time on the ARTBUZZ!

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