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)

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