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!

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