Friday, February 29, 2008

Faux Turquoise video on PolymerClay TV!!!!

Turquoise has to be one of my favorite things to make in polymer clay!! I get on such a roll that I end up with tons and tons (maybe that's a slight exaggeration) of beautiful turquoise beads.

Kira and Ilysa from Polymer Clay Productions took a moment to stop by and video one of my CHA demonstrations on how to make faux stones! The video of me, along with an interview from Kathleen Dustin (drool over her handbags made from polymer clay) and Maureen Carlson (one of my friends and mentors)debuting her new Puzzle Face Molds (What a concept! This is cool!) can be seen by Clicking HERE!

I just came back from a quick trip to Kansas City's Plaza. No matter where I go, it is so much fun to connect with people and meet new ones. I'll share a cute story and give you my take on a very simple....and very expensive design I found in one of those upscale check back.

Before I say....ADIOS creative AMIGOS....just a quick reminder - the presale of my brand new book is ON! Click here for more information and to order via paypal. If you'd rather send a money order - GREAT...but you'll have to click here instead and email me for my address.

Oh...and there are just a *few* spots left for my classes at More Than Memories in Chicago next week. Click here for more info.

Okay...thats all.......see you tomorrow

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Pre Order your MAKING BEADS BOOK today!

It's been a long wait, but it's finally about to arrive! I am now accepting Pre-Orders for my latest book MAKING BEADS IN POLYMER CLAY!
Over 5500 already presold!
35 projects featuring the latest techniques
Great for beginners - 300 color step out photographs to guide you! (and you can always email me too!)
128 pages!
All orders will be shipped around March 15, 2008
I'll let you know the exact date when available
Pre-paid orders will receive free shipping
Autographed by Linda
$24.95 US - domestic
$29.95 - International - US funds via Paypal
Money Orders gladly accepted - email me for address
I'm so excited!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Experiencing Problems with My Blog??

If you have problems loading this blog or viewing any of it's content, would you please email and let me know? On my end it's working find....just want to make sure everything is up to snuff!


Sunday, February 24, 2008

CJS - "Cool JunkY Stuff" a great BRAND name for a young entrepreneur

In growing up in the late 60 and 70's (yes that makes me in my fourties - hot flashes and all)... we had to be creative. My parents did not buy me everything I wanted...and I thought that was a bit on the sucky side when I was a kid. If I wanted to play house...and I needed fake food...well ...I made mud pies. I thought it was really cool when my dad paid the bills with a book of checks. (had no concept of the money aspect of it all) So what did I do when I wanted to be all grown up just like him? Well...literally I stapled a bunch of paper together and made myself "a book of checks" just like his real ones (okay, as close to it as I could being a kid of about 7). Seriously...It was our imagination back then that challenged us to come up with the things we didnt have. We were resourceful. Using something for an unintended purpose back then wasn't the "In vogue" thing to's just what you did to make what you needed.

There couldn't be a better compliment then when your creativity rubs off on your kids. Lets not forget to mention how the kids inspire moms! (or for that matter - my blog content). So let me share some behind the family scenes that happened at the Peterson House today....

I was sitting in the library with Dana this afternoon when Julia walked in and sat a box down on the treadmill. I really didn't pay too much attention to the content of the box until she left the room which is when I noticed a pair of scissors and bits and pieces of what used to be her white tights along with various fibers.
Dana said "I know...I told the girls they could cut them up - they're making Fashion Designs and being future fashion designers". How cool is that I thought? (Mind you - these weren't new tights, I would classify these as Sunday tights - WHOLY".

I called Julia down and asked her about what she was going to make with her cut up swatches. She showed me her....hmmm.... I don't know the word for it... but what it reminds me of are the "hand warmer thingys" that Cyndi Lauper used to wear on her hands when she was singing back in the 80's. Obviously Julia - who's only 6 has no clue who Cyndi Lauper is or even the style back I have to say...I was impressed...she was "repurposing" and using her creativity to design something useful out of something that we'd throw away. (She's working on a "mini-skirt" now made from the top part of the tights......ROCK ON JULIA!
Then came Elise, she's designing something similar with her tights....the Handwarmers, but along that she's made a belt and stretchy necklaces. She's hoping to sell them at school for 25 cents in order to make some money for her trip to Costa Rica later this spring. She told me she has sold a few of her "CJS" line to kids on the school bus. I had to know...."What is C J S?" I asked. Well...she said "It's short for COOL JUNKY STUFF!". So think about that... at age eleven, she's designing wearables and already has a brand. Her concept couldn't be more on target since current fashion trends indicate that "repurposing" is HOT and she's already branding herself as "COOL JUNKY STUFF!" I'm thouroughly impressed at her entreprenueral skills. Who knows what she could be.....who knew what I could be when I was a toddler playing with play-dough. It all starts with imagination....and a need to make what you don't have.

And to top it all off......Julia drew me a picture! How about about being the "#1 Step Mom!"? She just amazes me with her drawing talent!!! Im so glad to be able to support the artist inside of them and help develop it as they walk thru life!
This day is truely what "Celebrating the Creative Life is all about!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Go AWAY winter! Bring on Spring

There's a big difference between what's outside the studio right now and what's inside. Outside we've come face to face with another ice storm. Everything is cold and crunchy!

Inside though, the studio looks like a blooming greenhouse! Check out this photo! Seriously...there is hardly any room left in the studio where there isn't some craft supply or flower. I'm definately NOT complaining though! Bring on S-P-R-I-N-G!
My Mother in Law, Louise has been a real jewel of a help, she's made wooden baskets and get this....even a huge carrot out of wire, mesh and muslin. It's so awesome!
Last night, I layed awake literally all night buzzing with was my "I'm to creative to sleep" kind of moods. I have to say, that I believe this book will be unique and very different from all of the other flower arranging, floral decorating books. I am bringing a whole new look and edge to floral design. You'll be creating your own bases, your own elements (like the carrots) and learn tips and tricks to make you a great designer on a budget!

Have you seen the price of designer floral arrangements??? Yikesey..Pikesy! I'll show you how to get the same look for least!!

I'd like to share this Welcome Spring basket, just one of the project's we'll be featuring in the Seasonal Section of the book. Along with that, I'll have a section on Culteral designs featuring Exotic Asian arrangements (think tropical warm....happy....thoughts...mmmmm)
European/French country style charm...perfect for afternoon tea...
Contemporary for those of you who are Hip and you know....want simplicity and elegance...
And for all the rest of us who are just hopelessly sentimental and love our classic displays there's some edgy designs in there to suit you too!
If you're planning a wedding (well...that will have to be after the fall when the books released) I'll have three styles to inspire you..use those designs or, take the inspiration and run away with your own creative style.
Well...that's all I have to say for now except...BYE BYE winter....and Hello Spring!! Off to the greenhouse!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Winter storm under way....but in the studio Flowers are Blooming

Did you enjoy yesterday's blog! Isn't it great to see kids using their creative minds in a positive way? I loved it!

As I sit here watching American Idol....and yes I am one of those fans that vote.....I'm also watching the winter storm warnings that pop up in the corner of the TV.

Tonight we are gearing up for yet another winter storm.....our third. I missed last weeks by being in California at CHA. That storm hit hard. Three inches of ice, tons of broken trees in our yard - one nearly missing my studio. This week I'm not so fortunate to be in the warm weather while the storm hits. We're forcasted to get a half inch of ice with 2 to 3 inches of!

So...while the flakes are dancing outside my studio window....I will be warm and tucked away in my studio working on my next book....and this one might suprize you a bit! I'm working on a book called "Decorating with Silk Flowers". It is totally out of the box for me, but definately not foreign.

I'm a do-it-yourself kind of girl. Im a savvy kind of girl. Im the kind of girl what wants to do everything herself from top to bottom. I've done all my flowers for my wedding and for friends wedding over the years. My yard is full of seasonal flowers that I hand pick and display in my when I was presented with the opportunity to design this book using all silk....or should I say..."Permenant botanicals" Im all over it!

The book will debut in Fall 2008. Since I've gotten this assignment, I've poured myself into floral books, studied home decor magazines and sat for hours on the internet. What I found were mostly classical arrangements - in a fan style - in a glass bowl...beautiful flowers, but the word I would use to describe them is "ordinary".

This book will be anything but ordinary. You know me, I am here to push the limits, go outside the box with arrangements that will totally wow! These arrangements will be trendy, airy and totally inspiring. I'll be featuring arrangements that capture the seasons, cultures (from exotic, european, traditional and contemporary) to special occassions (wedding and dinner party).

A big thanks to my local floral shop - Martin's Floral and Home Decor (on South Campbell in Springfield) - a family owned business for assisting me in some mega floral shopping today. The service was top knotch, so helpful! Thank you for making this experience a very pleasant one!! High five to this family owned store - it was a pleasure to support a local business!

While it's a winter wonderland tomorrow - flowers will be blooming inside the studio!

And update on the BEADS book........In the next few days I'll be uploading the link for the pre-sale of the book. Books will ship mid-march! I can't wait!

Introducing Anna - A 9 year old artist - full of inspiration!

I really don't think about how far technology has come too often until I am reminded of just how old I am and what decade of the 1900's I was born.

A couple of days ago we were watching "Deal....or NO Deal" with the kids. The Robert Palmer girls were on the side lines watching the show - (remember the ones from the early 80's video "Simply Irresistable" where they were all dressed alike playing the guitar?) Beth saw them and said "Who are they?". Beth is about to turn 20, and then it hit me..... This group was popular BEFORE she was even born! We didn't even have internet back then! WOW how times have changed.

It's because of the internet that we've really been able to connect with so many people of like interest. Twenty years ago who would have thought that we would communicate with on-line friends all around the world on a daily basis? Who would have thought "google" would be a verb and "Blog" would be something that you do to jot down your thoughts and ideas on a regular basis for people to read? Not me!

I find it so interesting when I check my site meter the amount of people who read this blog from all over the world. Places I've never heard of before!

Blogging has definately allowed me to connect to a whole world of people that I never would have known....which brings me to the highlight of this story.

I love emails by the email me! I received an email a couple of days ago from such a friend who I met thru the internet. She wanted to share her 9 year old daughter, Anna's artwork. It was a sweet email on how my books had inspired Anna to create a handmade gift for her teacher. I think any teacher would be proud to receive one of Anna's designs. I know I would!

I wanted to share Anna's talent with you. I'm sure her mother is very proud. Deservedly so! I love it especially when I can inspire kids to create and use their minds and creative energy towards something positive. It beats them sitting in front of the TV all day mezmerized by video games and young pop stars. WAY TO GO ANNA! Keep up the great work!

If you have talent to share or a young up and coming me! I'd love to share their story!

Monday, February 18, 2008

What's HOT in 08! Sharing bits from the CHA Designer Trend team

Green..... Reclaimed....Organic. These were some of the words that seemed to be constantly in front of me as I walked the General Crafts area of the show floor.

While you may think of Green as a decorating color, this type of green relates to products and techniques that are Eco-Friendly. According to the CHA designer Trend Team, they report that this "green movement continues it's momentum as the top trend". Look for new products coming to your craft stores that reflect this organic feel especially relating to needle crafts. I believe this trend will continue to grow as people become more aware of the benefit of "green" crafts to both themselves and the environment.

Lending itself to "green crafts" is a surge for the reclaimed. This involves deconstructing and reconstruction clothing such as denim jackets, jeans, t-shirts and the list goes on....... Personally, I'm excited about this particular trend as I LOVE embellished clothing! (Can't you tell?? check out my earlier posts)...So I say.. "Rock on with this trend!"

But, let's not limit ourselves to just clothing, how about "repurposing" jewelry - you know...that icky ole stuff from way back when that has an appeal only a mother could love? Get it out, take it apart, combine it with other new elements!!! Add some swarovski crystals...make it bling...paint it another color - MAKE IT HIP!

While we're on the subject of jewelry - let's talk beading! Beading is HOT! and is getting HOTTER!! Check out Katie Hackers beading blog (I think she's the Bead Queen Extraordinaire!)- she's always up to date with HIP cool beading tips and techniques!

Look for bracelets to be HOT this fall - incorporate metals such as copper, pewter, silver (hint: check out my upcoming Metal Jewelry 101 book!) and verbaige for that personal touch. Don't forget those chunky chains too - using chains from "past jewelry faux-pas" is a great way to bring chunky chains up to date. While inexpensive beads are popular, more experienced beaders and looking to unique and more stylish beads and findings.

You may think that jewelry and accessories are just for you....but oh no! Pet crafts are still going strong as pet lovers continue to spend big bucks on their precious pals. Think pet outfits (particularly needlecrafts), pet collars, leashes all embellished with beads. Don't you want your pooch to be trendy too??

Needle felted beads were quite the rage as well, I noticed an unusual amount of jewelry books dedicated to fabric and felted jewelry.

Turning the tables a bit....let's go digital. WEB TV is becoming ever popular as your on-demand source for projects and craft related shows. On-line on demand classes such as those found at HOW TO TV ONLINE will increasingly become popular as more and more crafters become aware of the wide range of products found on that channel and as manufacturers realize the benefits from advertising and sponsoring online tv shows. Polymer Clay Productions has weekly podcasts and videocasts online to keep you up-to-date with current products relating to everything polymer clay!

In any event, I hope 2008 finds you craftier and more creative than ever! With recycled, repurposed and redesigned crafts becoming all the rage, Im sure we'll look at "garage sales" in a whole new light!!!

Thanks for the great report from the CHA Trend Team: Phyllis Dobbs, needlecrafts;Lina Ferrara, decorative painting;Cindy Groom-Harry, kids' crafts' Katie Hacker, beading and jewelry; Debba Haupert, home decor/gifts/small accents; Kristin Jankowicz, millennial generation and general crafts, Sandy Laipply, general paper crafts; Jill MacKay, jewelry and jewelry fashion, Debra Quartermain, needlefelting, wearables & accessories, Julie Stephani, home decor/large accets and editor of Today's Creative Home Arts and Marie Browning, Trend Team Chair

Thanks to all of you for your hard work and effort in helping us to be HIP!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Exhausted, Totally Energized and ready to Create!!

The title seems a little.... ummmm..........contradictary doesn't it? It's true, though, I am totally exhausted from CHA last week. It seemed that we didn't get much of a break. But, I loved every minute of it and I'm totally energized with new ideas and ready to head to the studio to create!

I was intending on doing a day by day re-cap of the show while I was at the show...but you know what? I'm totally too savvy to pay $14.00 a day for internet, call me cheap or frugal - I don't know...but what a rip off, especially when you're staying at a $200 a night hotel. Some things should just be free.

Saturday afternoon I taught a seminar on all the in's and out's of Bead Rolling. This program included a little hands on and a few tips and tricks for using the bead rollers. It showed retailers how to have a successfull bead rolling program in their store and taught demonstrators how to be a good demonstrator so that they not only teach, but also get invited back by the store for more demo's and more work. I have to say, that by far, this was the best class that I've taught in a long while. For the participants there was no rush to complete a project in the short amount of time scheduled and for me the instructor, I wasn't running all over trying to help the particpants get things done. It was just a listen...and learn....with lots of interaction and a little fun mixed in!

Sunday night though was probably the highlight of all the evenings. My book publisher (Cico Books) Cindy Richards along with National Sales Manager, Kevin asked me to join them for dinner to celebrate the debut of the Making Beads with Polymer Clay book. I really felt like a queen. (Yes, I have the book in hands!!! - and I couldn't be more impressed with the quality of the book, from the editing, photography, printing - ladies and gentlemen, it is TOP NOTCH!) We went to the infamous White House, known for its elegant dining.

If you know me personally, you know that my husband Dana is an avid hunter and a gourmet chef by hobby. He loves to cook wild game and well.....the fact that I weigh as much as I do proves that his cooking is really to die for. He loves the presentation of his meals and it's not uncommon on date night for him to break out the candles and a bottle of wine and prepare a gourmet dinner for two......we are up to trying just about anything, and it's become a friendly competition to dine on meat the other has not had...... so with that being said....I had my heart set on Sea Bass...Until........... the waiter mentioned the kangaroo medallions drizzled with a cabernet reduction sauce. (Now don't be turning up your nose to this....) On hearing his description, I definately had to change my mind for my entree and order this. It came on a very beautiful plate with a "leaning tower of Pisa" for presentation. The medallions looked just like small beef tenderloin medallions and drizzled over that was a succulant wine reduction sauce. To die for!
So...if you are in Anneheim...and you dine at the White House - definately get the Passport Menu - you won't be dissapointed, but hurry because they change the menu every month!

Sunday thru Wednesday, the show floor was full of demonstrations and the Amaco booth was literally buzzing with excitement for Metal Jewelry and Friendly Plastic! (More on this in another blog post)

Amaco featured the Bottles of Hope on a Rope reception on Monday. Definately well attended and a big congratulations to all the winners. You can see this award ceremony for yourself at Polymer Clay Productions along with an inside look at CHA, Polymer Clay celebs and everything related.
On Tuesday afternoon, Llysa and Kira from PC Productions came by the AMACO booth and shot a little snip-it of me doing a faux turquoise technique. This is the same technique featured in my new book POLYMER CLAY BEADS. Honestly, they probably have a much better overall re-cap of the show than I could ever have because - they walked the show. Can't wait to see all the snip-it's they filmed and all the goodies they found at the show.

Turns out that I didn't win the designer challenge from Expo International. Those that did win - Mary Lynn Maloney who won 2nd place, was very deserving. Am I dissappointed? Well....not really. The idea to enter wasn't really to win, it was to create....create outside the new new relationships and use new products. So...did I win? Yes! I accomplished everything I set out to do with that ensemble, the money was just an extra bonus - maybe next time. But if not, the experience I gained was worth all the time I spent.

Rather than make this a novel, I'll close for tonight. Tomorrow I'll share a few things on the up coming crafting trends for might be suprized....then again may not!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

On my way to CHA....

I love flying west, love the two hour time difference! It's like I get to relive those two hours again!

The morning started off like any other early morning flight. Didn't want to get out of bed, but definately didnt want to stay home either.

The first flight was just that...a bunch of people riding a flying bus in the sky. I barely made my connection and was one of the last few on the very packed out plane.

The lady in the seat behind me commented on my "shredded carrot" jacket (more on this story later) the flight attendant wanted to take a picture of it and a friend of mine KIM yelled LINDA!!!

The lady behind me was named Terry, and she was from Texas. She was a fine artist - oh the amazing equine art she painted was breath-taking - and she was invited by Suzanne McNeill of Design Originals to come to CHA to demonstrate in her booth. It was a very nice conversation and the time began to really fly by as she was asking me to describe CHA since she had never been before.

I describe it like this: Try drinking from a fire hydrant without spilling a drop! Crafty eye candylicious goodness is everywhere!!

A little later in the flight Kim came to sit next to me so we could visit. About that time the "beverage service" was coming by us. I had my choice - Dr. Pepper and Kim chose Orange juice.

We had the cutest, nicest flight attendant in a LONG time. Just a lovely lady who loved creative things......and she noticed that she put ice in Kim's Orange juice. Then she looked at Kim and said..."oh Sorry - I made that wrong" to which I said...."I think you might have forgotten the vodka". With that, she looked at us...and slipped us two little bottles of SKY vodka. Now I don't know about you...but I have never had vodka in my Dr. Pepper before.'s not bad.... and it surenice and relaxing too not to mention giving us the giggles.. (The poor guy sitting next to us - I think we mortified him, he didnt say a word and just kept his nose in his book).

Later on after the "beverage service" was finished, I walked to the back of the plane and talked with our sweet Red-headed flight attendant for the rest of the flight. It's the first time that I've stood up for the majority of the flight and it was nice!

The flight went by in a blink. I would definately was a great start to a great week! Wouldn't you?

Today - I have a class and seminar to teach...I'll be so glad when that is behind me.

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's Official...I've been blogging a year now!

Wow, it's been a whole year since I've started this blog. I keep thinking "Why didn't I do this sooner??". It's been a fantastic experience, not only that I can look at the past year and see all the things I've done and written about, it's made me think about great memories and recall great stories that I might have otherwise forgotten.

So...let me share this little story today....

Years ago when I first started working the craft show circuit, this was probably back in 1993 or 94, I traveled to a show in Peoria, Illinois. It was the first time I had really ventured that far to do a show.

Back then I was selling little dolls and figurines made from FIMO polymer clay and among the collection was sort of a little raggedy ann type of doll that I made. She had long locks of hair, painted eyes and was about an inch tall. (sorry I don't have a photo.....but I think you get the idea...she was her eyes were even tinier - so keep that in mind as I continue) A little elderly lady came up to my booth and shopped for quite a while. Unfortunately her eyesight was minimal, so in order to view things, she had to hold them up very close to her rather thick glasses. She seemed to be enjoying what I had to offer.

Pretty soon, she picked up one of those little tiny dolls and look at it....held it closer to her eyes...looked at it again.

She handed it to me and with a kind little voice said..."honey, I'd like to buy this doll, but was wondering if you could fix the eyes....they seem a little crooked to me." (now mind you the size of this doll - I painted the eyes with the tip of a ball point pen they were so small...)

After acknowledging that they were crooked, I proceeded to fix the eyes and asked her to come back in about 10 minutes ....

Without a moments hesitation in her voice, she turned to my son Alex and said, "Honey, If I walk by and miss the booth, grab me because...I don't see very well!"

We've always had a chuckle over that story...and by no means mean any disrepect to her at all, but we cherish those kind of stories that bring smiles and pleasant memories to us.

As it turned out, the show went very well and I returned several times to Peoria for craft shows over the following years.

I do miss the interaction with the crowd....maybe that's why I love working these tradeshows so much. You never know who you are going to meet. Everyone has a story....

And that's my story for right now...time for me to get on the plane....but I hope to be back soon with an inside scoop on CHA..

Is there anything you're curious about?? Anything you want me to flip a picture of??? Wonder what's new?? Email me or leave a comment with your suggestion and I'll do my best to answer your request.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bottles of HOPE ON A ROPE Preview

As many of your read this in your morning email, I'll be on a plane heading to Anaheim, California to attend my 10th CHA (Craft and Hobby) trade show. BRING ON THE SUNSHINE!!! I'm tired of the cold!

Today, though is filled with all those last minute must-do's, finishing touches and printing of all my promotional materials.

I hope to have internet while I'm there so that I can blog a little and give you a virtual tour of the show. It is the biggest show of it's kind in the States. I look forward every year to meeting people literally from all over the world, places I've never heard of. I've become quite adept at "sign language" demonstrating when there are language barriers. I also look forward to this because it's a girls week...while we work hard...we have lots of girl fun, build great memories, meet new people and gain more friends.

For the past couple of trade shows, AMACO has offered a designer challenge featuring the Bottles of Hope. This year is no exception. So combining efforts with Staedtler (the new distributors of FIMO), Amaco has sponsored, Bottles of HOPE ON A ROPE. So it's a bottle with a twist - it's made into a necklace.

Yesterday AMACO announced it's top 25 entries from all the participants. I was so happy to see several friends who made this list - Jenny Cox of KindClay, Laura Griffin, Jen Lowe among others. The necklace pictured above was designed by Ponsawan Sila. I loved the way she made the bottle into a gumball machine!
Please take a look at all the entries. I'm so thankful that I'm not a judge...I mean how can you pick just one? They are all beautiful works of eye candy.
Overall winners will be judged by editors of magazines based on Best Use of Bead rollers, Best use of AMACO product and the like. They will receive a beautiful glass etched award along with a basket full of craft goodness and a $200 check in their honor to the charity of their choice.
So my best to all the TOP 25. You are all winners in my book!
Stay tuned, I'll be sharing more from the CHA show...and hopefully LIVE from CHA. llysa from PolymerClayTv will be interviewing me and I'll do my best to take tons of photo's to share.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Design on a Dime - Do it yourself Designer Clothing

Hello Everyone!

I intended this blog to be there when you sat and had your morning coffee but, due to the storms last night, that wasn't possible. So,go get a piece of chocolate or a snack and some soda, while you read today's blog. Or if you are just waking up......disregard all the above and GOOD MORNING!

What is up with the weather in the Midwest US? Last week snow, this week it's in the 70's - I guess it goes without saying that the snowman has melted away. Why can't we just walk outside on a hot day and see the inches just melt away? Wouldn't that be nice?

Okay..enough jibberish....onto today's topic!

I received so many comments from the Pretty Woman post a couple of days ago and thanks for all those too!! So many of you shared my sentiments and wanted to shout "BIG MISTAKE!" too! Well, your support and that story really got the creative river in my head overflowing with ideas! It always helps to have a deadline...and an inspirational movie happen all at the same time. I work so well under deadlines....

This concept has been brewing for a while. I was inspired by a designer catalog I received in the mail. The tee had an artistic face, with lots of lace and full of bling. So, with that thought in the back of my head, I took to photoshop, going thru my photo's and finally settling on one that I had taken of our 11 year old Elise a couple of months back. My idea was to use the photo as a base, but to edit it so that while it had a resemblence, it didnt really look like her. After a few hours and lots of photo filters, I had the image I wanted.

I made a transfer of it, added beautiful sequin and beaded black lace, heat set rhinestones and this is the result, though it looks nothing like the catalog picture. I'm working on the coordinating jeans now - and hopefully a denim jacket I picked up at Gordmans for $20! Rock on!!

Hmmm...maybe I should bleach LP all over it like the LV on Louis Vuitton...............there's a thought!! Enjoy your day everyone!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

It's Crunch Time! CHA is on the horizon!

This is crunch week for me and many designers who are putting the finishing touches on manufacturer's samples, getting together their promotional materials as we all get ready for the one of the largest craft and hobby related trade shows in the world.

I'm still in the studio working, but thought I'd sneak a break to blog. Right now Im designing an artistic T-shirt. It's just about there, just need a few more tweekings and hopefully I'll have a winner.

I don't often enter designer challenges, but when the opportunity to do this challenge came my way, I thought what the heck. The opportunity to design with beautiful laces and trims and embellish clothes...IM THERE!!! And the prizes aren't so bad either - $500 for first place!

Well..better get back to the ole grindstone. I promise pictures when Im finished!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Silver Hammered Collar - A stress reliever!

Yesterday was really a special treat. It's not often that I change rolls and take on the part of a student. I think the last class (aside from the one on one class from Jen) that I took with a bunch of other people was nearly 10 years ago from Maureen Carlson who was teaching her Clay Story Telling at my very first ACCI show in Chicago. Now that I think of it, that was in 1997! Great Class! Great Instructor!!
My best friend Angie and I have wanted to take silversmithing classes for a while but for one reason or another it just hasn't worked out. But yesterday, that all changed. We headed to our local bead shop "Springfield Leather and Touchstone beads" to create a hammered collar.
I really had no idea what to expect, the class was sight unseen to me. But, I was game. I was suprized at how much I learned.
I have to say....first of all, if you have a headache, reschedule the class, because this is not the sound you want to hear when your head is pounding. However, if your life is full of stress, then RUN TO THE CLASS! Because afterwards you will have hammered and pounded your way to stress free happiness. I mean this is a much better way to take out your frustration..I mean if you need to hit something, might as well be a piece of silver wire. It's kind of like a grain sand in an oyster....something irritating becomes something quite beautiful.
We started out with 16 inches of 10 gauge silver wire. First we had to learn to use a jewelry saw to cut the wire without breaking the saw blade. I will definately be getting one of these, I can just see the potential in sawing thru wire, and silver I really NEED another VICE????? (oh these little voices inside my head say YES YES YES - the little voices that I hear from my husband say...NO NO NO!.....)

Next we learned how to use our anvil and hammer and pound, hit, dent and flatten the silver. The noise we all made definately caused some curosity in the store and I wouldn't be suprized if we managed to scare some people off. One of the employees rushed over and said...."CANT YOU SEE IM TRYING TO SLEEP HERE!!!!?!?!??!?"

I was amazed at how - if you hit the wire just right, it automatically starts to form the right shape. The key is to always hit it right...and obviously that doesn't happen. There was quite a bit of shaping and refining, much more than I anticipated. And I did find it a slight challenge to get just the right angle on the necklace so that it layed perfectly flat.
Here, in this picture, Mary (on the left) is grinding the ends of the silver smooth and round, while Angie is polishing her collar.

Our instructor, Linda Dunlap, was actually one of my students when I was teaching polymer clay classes there. She said it was the first class she had taught. I really thought she did a fantastic job. I learned alot and I definately would take another class from her again. Though....Im not so sure I'd want to be on her bad side. Here she is with a couple of 3lb. hammers in her hand!

There is something empowering about hammering !

So after the cutting, the hammering, the flattening, the refining, the sanding, buffing and finally the shine, the collars were all finished.
Now it's time for Angie and I to reveal our artwork.
The collar works perfectly with the pendants I created a few blogs ago..and it's so versatile.
I think I'll be trying this same technique on some aluminum and copper. Wonder what the results will be?
Stay tuned to find out.....right now
there's no hammering for me...
just cheering - I'm off to a SuperBowl party...
If you are located in the Springfield, Missouri or surrounding area and are interested Linda's Silver Collar Classes drop her an email.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Winter Snow means family fun!

It's Here! The Snow is HERE! And that can only mean one thing.... time for a little family fun! Since the kids were out of school today, this afternoon proved a perfect time to make a snowman and have a snowball fight.

Of course I was armed with the camera and got all the festivities on film for future scrapbooking memories. (yes, if you are wondering... all the snowballs were aimed at me! ) Imagine trying to take pictures while dodging snowballs!

But for now, here's a little snipp-it of today's event.

See, crafts don't have to be indoors, you can have fun anywhere and anytime...and it doesnt have to cost bazillions of dollars either.

But, if you can't be outdoors and you want to have some winter fun, check out this adorable winter card created by Laura Griffin. For instructions on how to make it, go to her blog.

You'll find lots of beautiful cards and other works of art. I'm sure you'll be amazed!

While you're there check out her entry for AMACO's Bottles of Hope - Hope on a Rope Designer Challenge which is coming up in a little over a week.

Tomorrow, Im off to take a class in Silversmithing. My friend Angie and I are taking it together and creating a hammered necklace. I have no idea what I looks like - I'm going to this class sight unseen. Should be fun and should be lots to talk about so be sure to buzz back by tomorrow!

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