Monday, March 31, 2008

Polymer Clay Candy-licious!

When you think polymer clay, what comes to mind? Jewelry, Beads....Characters??

How about these yummy-licious miniature candies?? Or the decadent chocolate? Would you believe they are minatures made from polymer clay? They do fool the eye!

Sometimes we forget just how far polymer clay can stretch the imagination.

I began my career back in the early 90's creating miniature dolls, whimsical animals and lots of other doll house size miniatures. I had quite a group of collectors. Since then I've evolved into so many other avenues of polymer clay that I kind of forgot where my roots were. I'm so glad my friend Cheryl sent me this link to Craftster. I invite you to check out the artists behind these yummylicious photos along with other great works of art on that site. It will amaze your face! Fantastic work everyone. There's just something fun about creating cute characters - really makes you smile!

I'll be bringing the back the Project of the Month club soon! But before I do, I want to have a few projects already outlined and finished. So sometime later this spring or early summer that will happen. This POM club will be even better - I have a new camera, better software and the ability for slideshows. So look for that in the future.

Also, on Wednesday I'll announce the winner of the craft challenge from last month! I think we should have another challenge this month! This month's theme will be "springtime whimsey" anything that replicates springtime - the only rule is it has to have something polymer on it. I'll have a special gift for the winner!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The personal side of life - our fishing trip.

Generally I try to blog about creative things, but every once in a while you have to let your hair down and have a little R & R. So this blog is a little more on the "Personal side of life, rather than the Creative side of life".

Unfortunately for me, this is more of a "skunk" report. After 2 days of fishing and endless yanks on my snagging rod, I only managed to catch a "shorty" as they are called - one that's too small to keep and a tiny catfish. And believe it or not.....I don't have pictures! Dana though, managed to snag 2 and a half.

We left for our weekend holiday on Thursday. We were anxious to get to the Old Oar House and catch a mess of catfish down by the cleaning station before our guided trip on Friday. There were a couple of others desperately trying to catch their mess of catfish too and a self proclaimed "guide" cleaning his catch. All was just fine and dandy until the guide began to talk. I'm all for bragging and being proud of your accomplishments and tooting your own horn, but come on....bragging about how great you are, how much money you make and other gibberish was really getting on my nerves. Didn't matter much to me....I'm a mom and as mom's you know, we have this ability to tune things out which I did. However, I did NOT tune out his very arrogant and serious comment on how "women and children should be at home where they belong when the guys fish". Maybe I was just in a sassy mood or maybe, I was just sick of his male chauvinistic attitude and totally out of character to me...I looked him straight in the eye and said "you keep up with that attitude while I'm here I guarantee you you will wind up in the lake." THAT comment of his did not set well with me and I think the guys on the dock took note of that. Unfortunately, the attitude of this one guide who we will call "Brian" (who's name I have not changed) was a total buzz kill for the fishing, so we went to eat. All was well, I was NOT at home, I was where I belonged with my hubby and we enjoyed the rest of the evening together.

Friday we were all geared up for our guided trip, unfortunately our guide - Anthony, who is a fantastic guide (check him out at came down with a terrible case of the stomach flu and was unable to make it. We fished with him last year and he put us right on the fish. I felt bad for him. But, understandably, those things happen. To the rescue was one of the guys , John-Boy, who we had met last year generously offered to take us out. He's been coming down to that area since the mid 60's. He showed us all he could about where the best fishing holes were, full of funny fishing stories, how different fishing "spots" got their name. It was a long day of snagging, but we caught fish. Dana and Johnboy even caught the same fish! No chance of that fish getting away with 5 hooks. It was a dandy. Dana's second catch was a dandy too. I ended up being a great day despite the fact that I got none and that I was fishing and not at home.

You have to understand that this area where we go fishing is a community like no other. It seriously reminds me of the fishing village of "Grumpy old Men". Where everyone plays jokes, but would give you the shirt off your back if you ever needed it. It's a community that grows significantly during snagging season and the same people return year after year. Speaking of community, Johnboy introduced us to Steve, the community-camp cook. Steve had laid out a spread of pork steaks and invited us to dinner since the guys he was expecting didn't show up. What a great ending to a day on the water. Grilled pork steaks, stewed tomatoes that were absolutely the best I've ever had, homegrown green beans and stuffing. MMMmmmMMMmmm MMM! I'm stuffed! Lights out!

My brother-in-law Brent joined us too. He'd never been snagging. Saturday we were on our own. We had brought my dad's Ranger bass boat and the three of us set out to see how much we remembered from our fishing lessons the day before. The weather was ...ehhh...not so great...the wind...was windy and the waves were HUGE! They were splashing up over the boat. So we found a different calmer spot with fish on the fish finder. With-in 5 strokes I had one.....I'm thinking "this is gonna be a good day....this is gonna be a good day..." but this was a shorty! They have to be 34 inches from eye to fork in the fin and this probably was only 30 at best. Then just a few minutes after that..."THUG"......this one was a catfish! WRONG FISH! and the rest of the day we were skunked....couldn't snag a fish to save our lives. But the workout we got was great! And the word of today (Sunday) is "SORE! ACHING BACK!".

But you know what? It was a great time! The best part was being with my husband doing something we both enjoy and just kicking back and having fun. Sometimes you need that to rejuvenate your creative spirit. creative spirit has to go back to work tomorrow. I'll be finished the rest of the flower arrangements for my ARRANGING SILK FLOWERS book. I've got super duper deadlines and a trip to London next Saturday for another book shoot. I've been told we'll also visit some art museums, go to the theatre and after the book shoot, I'm taking a few days to visit my friend Gill who lives in Stoke a little up north from London.

As an update on the Making Beads books - I'm expecting them any minute and I'll announce on Wednesday the winner of National Crafts Month creative contest.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's that time of year again! Time for some Paddlefishing

Taking a break from the "creative side of life" and switching to a little of the "personal side of life" we're off for our annual paddle fishing trip. Last year, the conditions were brutal but.... we did catch the ugliest fish I think I've seen in a while. (even though it's sure is tasty!)

The last time Dana and I went out paddlefishing a couple of weeks ago, the only thing we seemed to be able to catch was a bunch of logs and the flu! Well....we're all better now, and I don't know if we're gluttons for punishment,or not, but, we're going to try it again. This time at the Lake of the Ozarks near Warsaw, Missouri.

We'll spend the rest of the week at the Old Oar House Inn. This place reminds me of the village from the movie Grumpy Ole Men. There are even some grumpy ole men there that I'm sure we'll see again, who live to play practical jokes on each other. Wonder what they'll be cooking up this time?

The fishing report says it's a little slow, so Anthony our fishing guide has his work cut out for him. Since the floods of last week, they've been releasing lots of water from the Dam. If nothing else that should make for some great catfishing.

I'll be back in a few days with the fishing report....or the how we got skunked report....and some recipes too. So be sure to check back for the best of Dana's cooking recipes. MMMmmmMMMmm good!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Polymer Clay TIP! Reconstituting old dried out clay

There's nothing more frustrating than the buy polymer clay, get it home, try to work with it and it cracks and crumbles into tiny bits and flakes.

If that happens to you, what can you do?

Check out garage sales, thrift stores or even buy a new food processor. I keep my eye out at garage sales for extra "tubs" that fit my food processor too so that I have several to use.

Recently I had to use some clay I had laying on the shelf for about 4 years, when I sliced it, you could see that it was dry and crumbly. Before throwing that away, try this first:

Place medium size chunks of clay into the food processor and begin to let it chop. Add a few drops of baby oil or veggie/olive oil to the mix. Only add a few drops at a time. The friction of the clay chopping and the oil will help bind these particles together.

Keep an eye on the machine. You will start to notice when the clay is getting conditioned because the machine will make a different sound and you will notice larger clumps forming.

Turn the machine off and remove about a golf ball size of clay at a time. Flatten with a brayer until it is thin enough to go thru the thickest setting of the pasta machine. Keep rolling thru the machine, over and over again, every few passes set the machine on the next thinner setting. After about 25-30 passes you should see your clay smooth and pliable.

This has saved tons of clay that I would have generally thrown away.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

VIDEO TUESDAY! Brown is the New Black! Beads Baubles and Jewels Segment

Here's the first in a series of Video Tuesdays! Each Tuesday I hope to showcase a new segment featuring polymer clay and other media.

Brown is the new black. In this segment you'll learn how to simulate the look of wood easily with polymer clay.

I particularly love chunky designer jewelry....(don't tell my husband, I prefer it more than diamonds!) Here's a way you can create your own.!

For more ideas order my books:

Bead Techniques or my newest Making Beads in Polymer Clay

For more jewelry ideas visit

Beads Baubles and Jewels

How To TV Online

This video content courtesy of KS Inc., Productions and used with permission.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Creativity on a Budget - Repurpose, Reuse, Renew

It's seems to be my theme lately: Repurpose, ReUse and ReNew. We all have stuff and let's face it, we get bored looking at our stuff. So what can you do? Well, you can give that stuff away....or you can repurpose or renew your stuff. Give it a little bling or a new coat of paint. Challenge yourself and your creativity to not throw it away but give it a brand new hip look.

I realized just how much inspiration I get when I'm tied to a budget. Somehow having a BIG desire to create but little money to create with makes me get ingenious on how I accomplish that task. For instance, the left over paint from Mariah's room make over became the basis for some altered purses. Dressing up an old frame with a new coat of paint or maybe decopauge some scrapbook paper onto it will give it just the spice it needed to be trendy.

I know there's other's who get inspired by limiting their budget too. I'd like to share this email that I received from Cheryl, one of the new friends I made at my last class in Chicago:

Linda you challenged me and I thought about redoing my daughters room for her 17th birthday while she was gone to Phoenix for her spring break. I didn't know how I would do it with out much money but I got real creative and had a gallon of paint left over from my room. I also had a quart of black paint so I painted all of her furniture black...some of it is from when I was a kid..then I took scrapbook paper and I am putting it on the fronts of the drawers. I took some of her frames and put scrapbook paper to match on those, painted some old shelves black, found a shirt at Meijers that she wanted me to put flowers and vines on her walls and went to the copy store and had them put it on paper then resized it. I put it on my enlarger so I can trace it around the feels so good to be creative again! You have inspired me to be creative in other things and re purpose what I can and I have done this room for next to nothing....

Art is really a therapy for Cheryl as she and her husband face lots of health challenges.

What do you have to repurpose or reuse in a creative way?

For some ideas to get you started check out the lastest issue of Make It Mine Magazine. I LOVE this magazine - it's right up my alley...embellish everything, repurposing old stuff and just making something new have that personal touch!
Check out Katie Hacker's blog too - she's given you a sneak peak of her project highlighted in this current issue! (Love the bling!) I had to go and get the magazine after reading about it on her blog.
Make it Mine.....Make it YOURS!
Don't forget - you still have time to enter my National Crafts Month Challenge - Send it in!!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Polymer Clay Basic Video -

Let's get back to the basics!

This was a segment that I did for the PBS Show Hands On Crafts for Kids a little while back. Be sure to check out their website for great ideas on a variety of kids crafts. This video and many other How-to video's also appear on

Saturday, March 22, 2008

If I Could Only Cook Food as well as I Bake Clay.

With the array of kitchen tools available in my studio, along with other kitchen items like cornstarch, veggie oil and such, you might get the impression that I can cook! What would give you that idea? I mean, I do own 5 pasta machines which have never seen an ounce of flour - only polymer clay. I can not cook....nor do I want to cook. I'd rather eat Dana's fancy gourmet meals at home (he's a cooking genius!). And if I can't be home, I've been fortunate enough enjoy the cuisine of many fine restaurants around the world in the process. I don't even mind settling my fast food craving once in a while. I just don't like to cook.

This week however, I was forced to give in to cooking. Not by choice, but by necessity. Dana was really sick. If he's too sick to cook, you know he's REALLY sick! I digress though, actually, there are a few things I can cook and that I would say I specialize in, one is Cashew Pheasant, I would put that up against any Chinese restaurant here in Springfield. I make mean Chinese, but not so great fried chicken. I made it lets see......on Thursday night and it flopped, well not literally....but it wasn't great or even good - I think it was the breading.... If that wasn't bad enough, I tried to re-heat the left overs for yesterday's lunch and I burned them. (I'm used to baking clay....not wings!) Dana took one look it and said..." Come on kids, I'm taking you to McDonald's!". And so there it was...McDonald's for lunch! ( so you know....I warned him that I couldn't cook before I married him.)

Last night though was a different story, yes I did I didn't burn it, rather it was amazingly pretty awesome! ( I know....surprise your face! Surprised mine!) [insert clapping and cheering] I made home made pizza. A few months back I did a post on making your own sausage from wild game. We made around 20 pounds of sausage that day some of which was Italian sausage.

I think most of us would relate crafting to making things like cards, painting, jewelry making etc... But crafting can also involve culinary arts as well. The greatest thing about this pizza was that it was a real family project. Not so much the actual putting together of the pizza itself, but the whole family was involved the day we made the sausage. The home made pizza sauce was made from tomatoes we canned from last years garden. We even made the dough from scratch.

There were some real high fives around the dinner table as we celebrated the work and remembered the day we all pitched in to make the sausage. Eating pizza and sharing a meal as a family was just a few of the rewards.

Sharing a meal with the family seems to be a precious commodity these days. Everyone in the family seems to lead such hectic lives and the parents are working long hours just to make ends meet. So when you do get the chance....THINK HOMEMADE PIZZA - It's a great way to spend some quality time together as a family and make something yummy to eat as well!!

Well....since he's feeling better, I think I'll go back to doing the kind of baking I'm better at - CLAY! It's his turn in the kitchen tonight! (now I'm clapping and cheering!)

If you can't laugh at yourself........who can you laugh at?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Celebrate the First Day of Spring! Free Project Sheet

It's here, SPRINGTIME IS HERE! This has been such a crazy and bizarre winter and I'm so glad it's over! Aren't you? I know some of you up north are still seeing snow...but at least there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

You have probably heard by now that Missouri has made the news. A couple of days ago we received around 10 inches of rain. I have never seen that much rain in the 30 years that I have lived in this area. I've seen rain....but not THAT much and not THAT fast! Water is everywhere!
We, fortunately, survived quite well. We live on top of a mountain, and if you want to get really technical, we live on top of a cave. At the bottom of the mountain just below us is the cave opening. A beautiful spring is generally trickling from the rocks. This time however, it was more of a gush. The road below us is washed out and I know many of those that live below us are trapped between low water bridges and washed out roads.
Sadly, many in near communities lost everything. It is so devastating. I think about all the Katrina survivors that made it through the storm, but had their homes destroyed by flooding. It's really hitting home.

Today though, the sun is our, birds are singing and it is supposed to be near 70 degrees. I thought what better way to celebrate spring than to offer a free spring time project sheet, similar, but not exactly like the picture above. It's called "Friends, Bunny & Chick" and was featured in the Project of the Month club a few years ago. I hope as you are making it you'll feel all "springy" and cheerful.
All you have to do to get this free project is be a subscriber on my blog (either a past - or new) and email me for the link.
If you like creating whimsical figurines, I have Project CD's available with over 80 projects ranging from figurines to jewelry. Or you can pick out your top 10 favorites.
I also have books featuring whimsical characters available as well. More information is on my website.
I'm considering bringing back the Project of the Month club. I really miss it! What category or categories would you like to see? Jewelry, Beads & Wearable Art, Figurines? Let me know.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Never throw anything away...a packrats dream

I've had some really nice email chat's over the past couple of days with several of you sharing ideas on things that you save so that you can repurpose in a more creative way. I love all your ideas which I will share in an upcoming post.

I am finally owning up to the fact that I am such a pack rat. I come by it honestly. I come from a long family of dumpster divers of sorts who find one persons trash is another's treasure. I see evidence of this stacked in my studio from floor to ceiling. Kind of sad....unless you are creative and then you find it a treasure trove!

It finally happened's been 10+ years in waiting and I probably shouldn't even blog about this, but I'm going to anyways. My comfy pants, my favorite flannel comfy pants - holes and all died today. They are in shreds, the thread is so worn at the seams that they just can't hold them together any longer. I was going to toss them away until I read Jen Lowe's blog this morning. Take a look at her blog and see what she did with some recycled suede leather scraps.

Then I decided, I need to keep them and at least make something creative from them....maybe they'll just be an element in a scrapbook layout - after all - scrapbooking is more that just plunking photo's on a page. You can scrap about all the "little" things. The things that bring you comfort when you are sick or depressed. The things that make you happy....

Well...the comfy pants have served me well over the years. I'd get another pair but they just wouldn't be the same. So being the pack rat that I am, I'll tuck them away safely and save them for a day that I put them thru the die cut machine and cut out happy little plaid flowers to add to my "comfy" layout.

I knew that holding on to things forever and making something out of them would someday be trendy. Now it is! It's great to be HIP!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring is in the Air - Time for garden crafts

I walked outside today, and although the day was a little gloomy, I did notice some tiny little crocus flowers popping up out of the ground. The daffodils are starting to display their yellow beauty and that tells me one thing......SPRING IS HERE! Well, I hope anyways.

I'm so tired of being cooped up in the house. Aren't you too? This is the time of year that I get really motivated - for a couple of months and I garden and clean things up in the yard. Every year I say Im going to have pretty gardens and I do....for about a month until I realize again....that I am no green thumb.

I wanted to share this photo with you. It not only celebrates spring but it also celebrates National Crafts Month and my contest on repurposing. Here Cheryl has repurposed old dishes (maybe some with sentimental value) and used them to edge her beautiful garden. Isn't that a great idea? Her house is so warm and inviting - just like her. It makes you want to visit for the afternoon and chat over tea.
Do you have an idea for "making something else....out of something??" Send it to me. As you can see, it can be anything, either that you have under construction now...or you've done a while back. Share your ideas!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nadda, Zip, Zero, Zilch! All I caught was the FLU!

Yes, thats right....we got skunked! Oh, there were fish out there - some anyways, but overall I think the fishing report for Table Rock Lake and the spoonbills was a little overstated and slightly exaggerated. At one point I counted 50 boats in the same area.....all doing the same thing. Snagging for fish. I bet out of 200 boats total that we saw only 25 had fish.

The morning for me started out with a huge backlash on my reel after I snagged an underwater tree. I guess if you are going to go snagging, you're going to snag trees too! (We call those Log Salmon - not good to eat- you can't even tenderize them enough!) So, after wasting about 50 foot of my line and fixing my reel, I started again. Dana drove the boat while I tried to snag something other than a tree. If you've ever done it, it's hard work and great exercise.

About mid-way thru the morning, I felt this rush of something come over my body, I started sneezing and thought OH GREAT! From that point on it was all downhill....fever, chills and just plain wanted to take a nap. I quit snagging and went to driving the boat. We could see fish down there on the fish finder, but none made it on our hook. About noon, after 4 hours of fishing, we gave up and went home.

It was great experience, it was the first time we ever tried snagging on our own without a guide, the first time we borrowed my Dad's bass boat and took it out ourselves and over all ...we thought....there's always another day.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I did not know that 4AM exists! Paddlefishing season has arrived

Yes, it's 4AM and Im at the computer. I didn't know that time really existed!! I just wanted to post a quicky and say......yes I'm still alive.....still working in the studio......and please stay tuned.

I'm up early because Dana and I are going Snaggin' again today. It's the opening day of paddlefish season. Now, why is it that when the alarm goes off for work, you press the snooze button over and over again.....stretching out that dreadful moment when you have to throw the covers off of you and roll out of bed....BUT, when the alarm goes off for fishing season to begin, it's as if there is a sudden burst of energy, you're eyes are fully awake and you are ready to take on the world......or paddlefish?

I won't say I am bright eye-ed and bushy tailed (as my dad would say) but I am at least awake. Dana's already made tuna sandwiches and hardboiled eggs for lunch (a lunch that reminds us of honeymoon when we were tuna fishing)

He's buggin me to get off here....he's gotta catch the fishing report before we leave. I hope to be back later with pictures of "MY" big fish.....yes this is a contest!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I've been tagged!

Im not new to blogging....but I am new to tagging! I've been tagged! Debba Haupert of Girlfriendology tagged me. It's really a great learn a little about the person behind the blog and you get to visit some really great sites.

In the interest of tagging, here's some fun facts about me....that you may not have known...or maybe you really don't want to decide.

Here's goes:

I can go from Camo to Glamo in about an hour - Yep that's right....went from smelling like fish, dressed in camo to an evening gown smelling quite fine and ready for a really schwanky dinner at the Tower club an hour later.

Love to fish for anything - yes I bait my own hook, take off my own fish. I'll catch anything that will bite on a hook and a worm.

I eat frog legs - In fact I was dubbed frog-leg Linda by the daugthers of a fellow clay friend Helen

We eat wild game and I am priveleged to be married to an awesome wild game chef who I know is going to write his own Wild Game cookbook before long. He's a genius!

I love gaudy embellished decorated clothing and jewelry. BLING! BLING!

Love to do things myself.....don't want no help....and no one to tell me how to do it to figure things out myself....guess that's why Im hardheaded....(this is one quality...I do try desperately to work on)

Okay one more...... I can't imagine not creating stuff - any kind of stuff...I love any and everything creative. I don't like to cook, but I'll use any cooking utensil for polymer clay....

So's my turn to tag...(I'm thinking....I'm thinking...)

Jen Lowe Designs - Believe me- she'll try anything crafty...
Helens Clay Art - Amazing whimsical characters with such personality and charm (she's a new blogger too!)
Liz Welch - Friendly Plastic Artist of the UK
Margot Potter - She probably has no idea I read her blog every day....
Katie Hacker - Bead Queen and the inspiration for me to blog
Robin Beam - Love Ranger products and she's great at getting me what I need for CHA
Kim Cavender - Love her new polymer clay beads - she's a great inspiration!

That should give you a good dose of some yummy-liscious crafty inspiration. So now ladies - YOUR IT!

Monday, March 10, 2008

More Memories Made at More than Memories

(insert commercial break....) Before I get into this whole article...let me just remind you to order your Making Polymer Clay beads and Jewelry book now - Order is going in at the end of the week and it will begin shipping next if you want to be one of the first to get it...........preorder now! I'll sign it too! Shipping and handling is included.....and also dont forget the March National Craft Month Challenge! Enter it!

Now back to the program.......

More Memories Made at More than Memories....
Say that real fast three times! It's true though, this past weekend was a real treat. Working the kind of schedule I do, it's not often that I get to have a fun, creative weekend with a bunch of ladies.

This was "Celebrity" weekend at More than Memories and I was invited to be the featured "Celebrity" of the month. (WOW!) Friday night we sculpted to our hearts content a little Moose called "Marty". While some of the ladies in the class were familiar with polymer clay, most had no experience in creating sculpted characters. We spent a good majority of the time on the face. Facial expression is the most important when creating characters. This class amazed me. They were intent on listening, working and accepting constructive hints. Everyone went home pleased with their work and let me tell you, they all turned out awesome. So if you think you can't sculpt....YOU CAN! (look at the post below).

Saturday morning began with a class called "Stones, Molds, Beads and More". We began with learning how to create molds from junky scrap clay and also Rangers Mold N Pour. Most brought buttons, though there were a few charms and a couple of really awesome shower curtain hooks - great thinking ladies on the things you brought to class! This class was a really QUICK 3 hours in learning all about making molds, and simulating stones such as turquoise, coral and jade. Lots to learn and retain. I also did a book signing with this class for my new Making Beads Book.

If you ever take a class there....Keep and eye out for Pat....She loses her "brain" alot. She began class telling me she lost her brayer and couldn't find it. But, to my ears, it didn't come across as "brayer" it came across as "brain". I thought she was telling me she lost her "brain". And all I could say was..."Well Pat, where did you last put it?" When I figured out what I was saying, we all couldn't help but laugh. Okay..duh me when I realized she was looking for her BRAYER and not her BRAIN......we'll just chalk that up to a blonde moment.....and then there is Mary Lynne who likes to hide other peoples water..... You ladies made me laugh and kept the class fun.

And as for crafts as therapy, we had a lady, who was feeling quite a bit under the weather when she showed up for class Saturday, but by the end of the day she told me that she couldn't believe how much better she felt with each passing hour. She was a real trouper! And she did some pretty amazing and crafty things too! Honestly, that made me feel really GREAT to think that something creative that I inspired could really help someones physical well being.

Well...just the entire class was fantastic and fun.....and a pleasure to share my knowledge with! Everyone of you a high five!

The afternoon featured the Dream Diorama class. Many of the ladies that participated were ones that took all three of my classes along with a few new ones. The best part of this class was being able to guide their creativity but allow their own personal taste and memories to shine thru. I shared with them techniques on how to finish the outside of the purse with paint, stamps and distressing. We also created our own matching paper for the inside, worked with Art Emboss metal and created embellishments with Friendly Plastic. Each one was uniquely different and personal to each one of the class members. It told their story....or at least it was on it's way to telling their story. It was a five hour long class. I'm sure that we could have stayed there for hours on end just having fun talking, laughing and telling stories.

And last but not least, I began the day with some great email from a couple of these ladies I would like to share with you....

This is from Cheryl B:

Hi! I spent the day with Linda today at one of the best two classes I have taken at Making The Memories in Schaumburg, IL. Ironically, I found Linda on You Tube one day a few months ago when I was looking for ideas on how to make polymer clay beads. I watched her video on shaving cream beads and found her blog and emailed her a question? Then I found out she was going to be only about an hour from where I lived so I called and got into her class! It was such a fun class today or rather two classes as I took the polymer clay class and her altered purse class. We learned so many different techniques today and met so many neat people! It really is worth taking classes so you can learn so much more than just looking at a book. Then we also were able to be the first to get her new polymer clay beading book which is Awesome! It has so many neat pictures and ideas with a lot of easy to follow directions.

She then challenged us to put pictures up on her blog as things we have made that are basically altered craft items. This was my first book I did just a few weeks ago and have just started making them! I am going to be putting them on Etsy this week! Thanks Linda and Making The Memories Store for such a great Day and for the all the work you put into this weekend! hugs, Cheryl

Thanks Cheryl for such a nice email. I'll be posting Cheryls work on my blog in the near future. She brought some "show and tell" with her of things she had "repurposed". (She's also entered the for the rest of you...get busy!!) Really talented.

Next is from Mary Ann (you know the one who hides the water bottles) She's great fun!

I could not let the evening end without giving you one last jibe.
Again, I cannot tell you enough how fun and enjoyable your classes were. I really feel I learned a lot and had a good time doing it, too. Im sure in a few days when I have had an opportunity to digest everything I real even feel better.

Your entire approach to instructing is very casual. You are very patient, explain things well, and obviously, you learn as much from your participants as they learn from you. I agree with you totally, that it isn’t as important to complete the project as it is to learn the concept and understand the techiniques. I know, today especially, about 5:30 my attention span is getting low. Yet you did not push me or anyone else to get the project finished. It was more important that we understood what to do than to get a project completed. That kept the stress level at a low key. Enjoying the process was the goal. Not finishing the project.

It is a good feeling to come home, feeling exhausted, but also knowing that you learned a lot and had fun all at the same time.

I am anxious to go through your new book. I ‘ll admit, I haven’t sat down and read cover to cover, but I did spend time last evening looking through the sections. I purchased some additional clay to try some of the other jewelry projects. I first plan on finishing my diorama and possibly making another – maybe one for me, too. If I can figure out how to take a picture, I’ll send you a pix.

I am marking my calendar for your return in July. Until then, pleas stay in touch and I will read your blog, say “hi” occasionally…. And Ill be waiting for my jacket ( Ok the instructions will do. )

In the meantime, Im anxious for your next book coming out in May.

Have a safe trip back tomorrow. May Spring be around the corner!!!!

Your quiet friend, Mary Lynne

Thanks Ladies! You both made my day and it sure was nice to open up the email box with those letters waiting!

Check out More than Memories Celebrity Class Schedule - Next month is Karen Thomas (OAOTW - That's Origami Artist of the World -and yes I made that up, but she is well deserving of the title!) and for May you'll meet Donna Kato. (PQOU - that's Polymer Queen of the Universe! made this one up too...but it totally fits!)... I can tell you that any of you who get to take either or BOTH those classes, Im green with envy!!! - can you stuff me in your suitcase?

If you have comments or thoughts or just want to say hi! EMAIL ME!!! I'd love to hear your stories and I know others would too!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

So you think you CAN'T sculpt........

Friday night I taught a sculpting class at More than Memories in Chicago to a group of ladies who had various skills.....some familiar with sculpting, some just familiar with polymer clay...and some who were just willing to jump in and try something new, and I mean....absolutely new - never touched clay before in their life! We had a ball! I love the comradarie of the women, we laughed, shared stories and I would say that it was a very relaxed and creative evening. No pressure in my classes - just lots of learning and lots of fun! (Can you believe we didn't even get a picture of the class??? -- blonde moment there!)

Yesterday, Kasey (owner of MTM) received this email which she forwarded me from Katie, one of the students in my class. Kasey knows Katie from High School and convinced her to take the class. She had NEVER EVER touched a piece of polymer clay before in her life. She was eager to take the class because she thought this would be a fun thing to do with her kids and give her some Mommy and Kid time. (HIGH FIVE KATIE!)

We began the class with an intensive overview of Six Simple Shapes - I can't begin to tell you how understanding this concept will make your sculpting life easier...but here's proof from the email:

Katie writes:

Just wanted to say thanks for a fun night of learning something moose has a very distinguished spot on our fireplace mantle. The kids and my husband LOVE him! Hope the rest of the weekend workshops go really well. See you soon.
Katie H.

So how awesome is that? All I have to say is, if you have been wanting to try polymer clay and you haven't - What are you waiting for?? Attend one of my classes or get one of my books. I would suggest Polypens. The Six Simple Shapes (tm) technique is outlined there and in no time you'll be one your way to sculpting cute little animals and other little things....and you'll just amaze yourself - I just know it!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Live from Chicago!!

Finally Im in Chicago! Surprizingly the trip here was pretty uneventful. You never know what you are going to be up against when you fly into O'hare airport. Seems like they shut the airport down for nothing more than a toothpick in the runway. But yesterday, all was well - I even arrive 30 minutes early.

Generally when I travel, the eating is really hit or miss.....mostly miss. Generally I'm to busy trying to squish alot of stuff in a short amount of time. Last night was different, a good ole' home cooked meal at Kasey's house. It was a wonderful "little bit of this...little bit of that" roast. She said she put a little bit of wine, liquid smoke....don't know what else, but what a traveling treat to have an awesome home cooked meal and fresh made brownies.

Today, Im at the store, setting up for my classes later today. We had a few last minute glitches to take care of....some product not arriving when we thought it would, but those are taken care of. Just part of the process when you are teaching classes. There's something to be said for good planning. We'll be making the "Marty Moose" pen from my Pen Pals book. (it's on the side bar)

I hope to be back tomorrow with some pictures and some fun stories. Can't wait to see who's taking the class and get to know them (that's the fun part). I'll also have a book signing and my first class based on my latest book Making Beads called Stones, Molds Beads and More. Pre-order your copy. They'll ship just after the 15th.

As an update - Im still planning on ONLINE classes - I haven't forgotten.....just gotta get things in order first. thats all folks!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A new addition to the family - Time for some friendly Pet Crafts

Meet the newest addition to the Peterson family....

This is Daisy Mae. We brought her home yesterday from a gentleman named Larry Dablemont, an avid outdoorsman and breeder of great quality hunting dogs. We got our other black lab, "Sam" from a litter he had over 10 years ago. Sam has been a great hunter, family member and friend.

I hate to say it, but I think Larry really hated to see her go. If you get a chance, click on Larry's link, especially if you are into anything outdoors. He writes great stories about the outdoors, his childhood and nature. They are a great read, family oriented and have lots of humor. His style reminds me of my all time favorite book "Where the Red Fern Grows" which I read when I was in the fourth grade. Somehow I managed to keep that book from way back then. I get it out every now and then and re-read it...and yes I cry everytime the story ends....if you want to know why...well...I guess you'll just have to read the book. In any event, even though his site has nothing to do with art's and crafts, I know many of you have other hobbies or husbands who have outdoor take a moment to check it out.

Before we picked up Daisy we went to Walmart to buy her food....and toys.....and a collar. Well, we got all except the collar because Dana didn't think she needed to wear a pink collar with rhinestones on it. He wanted..."red"! RED? She's a baby girl! She needs pink...don't you agree?? Come on - side with me on this one!

So that got me to thinkin'.....maybe.... just maybe I'll make her a collar...or at least buy her a cheap collar and rhinestone it to death. Then, I'll make her a rhinestone charm to hang down. I think she needs a cute little bandana.... Have you seen all the clothes they make for dogs now a days?? Soooooo CUTE! (okay...a little over the top...but your attitude totally changes when you have a baby puppy - trust me)...Maybe the kids and I will paint her some of her very own dinner ware. Oh...and then there's the scrappertunities she's going to I have an excuse to get all those pet related papers and embellishments stuff.......oh it never ends!

Just like a real baby, she sleeps most of the day....and she woke up in the middle of the night needing to go there I am outside in the freezing cold at 2 in the morning. Not what I wanted to do....Dana "pretended" to be asleep...of course until after I got back in bed.....go figure. Then she woke up singing (woo woo woo) at 5am ready to play....

I'll post some pictures of the pet crafts we do for her...I think it will be a great family activity.

Tomorrow I'm off to Chicago for the weekend! It's going to be a fun creative weekend at More than Memories. I'll be bloggin all about it so stay tuned....

Don't forget about my challenge to celebrate National Craft Month. Don't think it has to be anything outrageous or big.....just create something!!! I can't wait to see what you've done!

Monday, March 3, 2008

I Challenge YOU! - Celebrate National Crafts Month with ME

I was kindly reminded that March is NATIONAL CRAFTS MONTH by a google alert that I have on myself. You should try it....set a google alert on your name. You'll learn all kinds of funky stuff you didn't know.

Interesting when you "google alert" yourself. I bet you didn't know that I'm also a vice-mayor, an award winning real estate agent, a doctor, a counselor, a rubber stamping artist, a photographer, and actually - ME, a self proclaimed crafting expert. (I must have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express at some point in my life...) I guess Linda Peterson is a popular name.

Okay...back on que...My collegue and crafty friend Debba Haupert of Girlfriendology reminded me how important it is to be surrounded by crafty, creative girlfriends. I have many to thank for giving me inspiration, a gentle nudge and when I needed it - a reality check.

I'll be forever indebted to my Grandma Campbell and my Mom for instilling the importance of crafting and creativity. And a big high-five all my crafty girlfriends for all their friendship: Donna Kato, Maureen Carlson, Katie Munday, Debba Haupert, Lisa Galvin, Vicki Schreiner, Barbara McGuire, Gill Housley, Elaine Gardner, Jen Lowe, Katie Hacker, Julie McGuffe, Juliana Hudgins and many many more. (Many of these are featured in my favorite links section)

Be sure to check out the links on the blog - you'll find that one link takes you to another...and another...and there is so much inspiration out there you can just spend hours. So much better than reading the depressing newspaper and catching up on the latest bank robbery, or murder...

I also extend a big THANKS to YOU my viewer, who without reading my blog, viewing my You-Tube videos, buying my books and craft magazines, visiting craft stores would leave me unemployed. I am amazed to see just how many people read what lil ole me has to say on a daily basis. So many international visitors too- That's AWESOME!

I want you to know, that I truely enjoy each and every email that I receive from you. I encourage you to email me more often. Even if it's to say HI or to share a story....or a photo of your work. I really would love to hear from more of you.

So how are you going to celebrate National Crafts Month? I challenge you to make something else out of something....yes...find something to repurpose, reuse, recycle in a totally different way. It can be something to decorate your home, a wearable accessory - you know...a handbag, belt, clothing, jewelry - just whatever and be creative. Then send me a picture with a brief write up on what inspired you to create it along with your contact information (this will be kept private). I will award the winner a autographed copy of my newest book MAKING BEADS during the first week of APRIL. The winner will be featured on the blog and I'll send the 2 runners up a little somthin-somthin special too. So get to thinking....get to creating...get to repurposing....go GREEN!

I have lots of people that read this on a daily I know I will be inundated with email! Bring it on!!! Can't wait to see what craftilicious designs you have to share!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I just felt like doodling........

I had a rare opportunity today.....I had the whole day to myself! No one home, no pressure to get anything done and to top it all off, it was a beautiful day outside! Made me think of spring.

Flowers are still blooming in the studio as I'm working on the designs to be included in my Arranging Silk Flowers book. In between designs, I found myself at the computer just wanting to doodle. Thank goodness for digi-scrapbookin because there is literally NO room left in the studio to start another project.

I just recently bought a Bamboo writing pad for my computer (I'm such a techno-girl). Today seemed like the perfect day to just real thought....but I doodled.

I found this photo of Julia that I took recently celebrating her 100th day of kindergarten. As I doodled on her picture, I had to smile because of all the funny things she said while we were creating this together.

She wanted it to Sparkle.....Really Really SPARKLE! Knowing Juje (jooge) that is totally her. She wanted a crown and she wanted it to be princess like. High five for her knowing just what she wants! Well she got it...we glittered and blinged it to death - not to mention the death on my hands after punching out a hundred little flowers.

I know the doodles aren't perfect and I could have done a much better job of cutting her out of the original photo...but hey...I was just doodling...just freeing my creative mind. I didn't feel like being refined today...

This project reminded me of a project that I did a year or so ago . I thought I'd share it with you. It's called Life of a Princess Album.

It's one of the Purse Album concepts that Judy Caulkins and I won an award for back in 2006 for the CHA Innovations Best of Show. Judy designed the wooden purses and I designed the wooden mini-albums. You can see these designs the Judy's Stone House Designs website.

I just have such a problem making scrapbook pages to stick in an album, which hangs out in a closet. Who wants to put that much work into something and not ever look at it....NOT ME! I love to create things with a without further adieu....

Here it is.... the Life of A Princess Album....

Judy's Purses are also featured in the my blog header. I'll be at More than Memories next weekend teaching that Dream Diorama class. We're gonna have so much fun!

If you haven't done so yet, get your pre-order in for the Making Beads book - I'll be placing the order this week.

Looks like tomorrow is going to be another spring like day. I just received a box full of glass etching goodies - I'm just "etching" to play. (I know...bad pun)

Well...anywhoo stay tuned....who knows what the next blog will be about.....I'll think of something

Saturday, March 1, 2008

When you go shopping.......what do you see?

If you are a creative person.....and I know you are, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this blog, do you find yourself always on the prowl for creative ideas? If you are like me, your mind never shuts off. I can't tell you how many nights I lay awake working out an idea, or dreaming about an idea. Whenever I'm shopping, I'm not "just" shopping, I'm noticing color combinations, trends, looking at something and picking it apart creatively....Yes, inspiration is everywhere if you train your eye to see it.

Just a couple of days ago, I enjoyed shopping at "The Plaza" in Kansas City. I tagged along on a business trip of my husbands. (This time HE had to work...and "I" got to play) I was in the market for beautiful vases and interesting containers to include in my "Arranging Silk Flowers" book which is due to the publisher in just a couple of weeks.

While the focus of this article isn't trends spotting, I did notice very clean, fresh, simple designs in nearly all the upscale shops. For flowers, the trend was simple and elegant. This followed through in the linen shop I went into, clean - fresh style - simple and fluffy!

One particular design in a very UPSCALE shop (which shall remain nameless) did catch my eye.

I give this design kudo's for being trendy and "re-purposed". But as you can see in the photo....I've given my take on these designer teapots.

I think the biggest shock of the day was the price tag -$128.00! Seriously! No.... I did not misplace the decimal. One Hundred Twenty Eight Dollars! For a minute I thought I was back on Rodeo Drive! (Though this shop had a super friendly sales staff)

Who buys this stuff at $128.00? Or better yet....why am I not making this stuff and putting $126.00 profit in my pocketbook? Am I jealous that they're getting these prices? Savvy? Realistic?? Hmmmmm.....

I'm thrilled at the re-purposing, reclaiming trend because it takes me back to my roots. All in all though, the teapot covered in fabric is a great idea to spruce up a dull, ordinary tea pot that you might have laying around or one you might find in a thrift store. *Think potential* But, do me a favor please, and cover it with prettier fabric then what you see here. And, if you are privileged to sell it for over a hundred dollars (even $50)- email me...I want to hear your story!

The shopping day ended with a slight blast from the past. I absolutely love Restoration Hardware which is where I met Peggy, a beautiful sales lady with a big, bright personality. She was so cheerful and friendly and greeted me when I walked in.

She saw that I was looking at the lilacs that were arranged in a beautiful tall glass vase. I told her I was authoring a Floral Design book and was looking for exceptional flowers and beautiful containers. She wanted to know how I got started. We stood there for a few minutes talking. Turns out, we had a lot in common.

She was starting up her own "Mind and Body" company and we chatted about being entrepreneurs and the importance of networking. She commented on the necklace I was wearing which was the piece that Julia designed on a MagnaDoodle featuring "our wedding day". (The design issue was published in the Fall 07 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry). I shared the story of how I made the jewelry with Peggy. As we were talking, something occurred to both of us....and I think it dated both of us too. Obviously MagnaDoodles weren't even thought of (way)back then. We both laughed because the closest thing that we had to a MagnaDoodle (outside of the etch-a-sketch) was Willy faces. It was a piece of cardboard with a plastic cover over it. Inside the cover were metal shavings that you could drag along using the magnet stylus that came with it. I don't know were you go yours, but I got mine at Woolworth's. I remember taking the magnet and giving Willy a head of hair and a moustache. Who knew? From Willy Faces to MagnaDoodles. Peggy and I both had to laugh at that. It was fun to reminisce.
I walked out of the store the proud owner of three beautiful stems of blue lilacs and connected with a new friend.

Next it was off to meet Dana for lunch at 810. If you get a chance to eat at this sports bar, get the chicken salad croissant! To die for!

Definitely a great day in celebrating the creative life!

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