Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New Video - Creating with Pellets

Carter, young 15 year old inspiring artist on our Facebook Fan Page suggested something that would be more sculptural in the next video. So here's to you Carter and I hope you and everyone else enjoy!

Let me just say this...sculpting is easy...that is, easy once you understand the 6 Simple Shapes and how they play a part in creating complex shapes.

The Simple shapes are: ball, log, tapered log, rounded triangle, teardrop and cube. By combining these shapes in various sizes and blending away the seam you create more complex shapes.

This video uses simple balls, logs and tapered logs to create the Sea Turtle. And here's a little hint. After he's finished....make a mold of him and make more and more, because the pellets work perfect in molds!

Okay...enough of me....enjoy the show!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Beading in No Time - Spring 2010

I know it seems funny to be talking about next spring already....but it will be here before you know it and I can't wait!!! BeeeeCAaause........ my next book will be released!
Just arrived today - my latest book cover!!!

It's still a work in progress, will feature 50 designs with variations. I'll show projects that are Simply Stated and can be made in an hour or less all the way to more advanced techniques.
Im really trying to put something for just about everyone in there!! So fun!!! and it will "bead" here "in no time..."
sorry...couldn't resist the pun.....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Making Money With Your Art - Promote Yourself Silly

This subject can go on and on forever....but Im going to highlight just some of the basic things that I use that are very budget in FREE FREE FREE or ....okay well not totally free...there is a time commitment and time is money. However, once you get the ball rolling it pretty much runs itself with just a little effort.

In the last article I wrote. I mentioned the word - confidence. You must put your "confidence" hat on and never never never allow anyone...or yourself especially the ability to take it off. You need confidence in two areas:

#1: Believe in yourself and your work - my motto "if you don't - no one else will!"
#2: Believe that you can do anything you set your mind to do. This means you don't have to be
techy smart, you just have to have the ability to "want to learn" and apply yourself and
accept help and constructive suggestions.

Let's talk about #1 - YOU! How do you build confidence in yourself? You put yourself out promote yourself take are not afraid of are not afraid of allow others to compliment your work and you say THANK YOU...instead of .."'s nothing really"...never ever downgrade yourself. When you hear "NO" that simply means "not at this time" and most of all tell yourself YOu are worth it!

Now .... #2 Believing that you can do anything you set your mind to: This part is not so easy because in this day and age we have the internet and the internet scares lots and lots of people. You will have to learn some basic techy skills, but believe me even though at first some of this won't make sense, none of what I am telling you is's very easy.

My biggest pet peeve...and it's a people who sit back and say.."I can't, I don't know how"...well by golly...neither did I at one time...If I can learn can you! Today, we have this great little word called "GOOGLE" and you can search and learn about nearly anything you want. Have you ever tried googling "ways to promote your website, blog, yourself" and add the word "free" in there too...You'll be amazed at all the websites that you come up with. Not all are relevent, but some are.

Maintain an Emailing list
When you are doing an art show one of the simplest and most effective ways to advertise your upcoming shows is to create an emailing list. Most email programs will allow you to add names and save them as a "group". This is free! It only requires the time it takes to add their email address to your contact list. Be sure you constantly email them - a month before, a week before, a few days before your event. Keep yourself out there and visible. Remember, they signed up to receive your email so this is something that THEY want to know about...and you are really doing THEM a favor!

Send a monthly newsletter. This doesn't have to be lengthy. It can be simple and to the point. But in your newsletter - you might tell them what's new....a little bit about what's been happening in your studio....a short little article on the latest trend...and remind them of why they need to buy your it "graduation time", someone getting married?? Let them know you can help them solve their "problem of searching for a gift" by giving "this unique one of a kind item" to your "graduate" or "bride" get the idea....
Create a need to buy...then fill the need....pretty simple huh?

Keep yourself in their face consistantly....I dont mean get obnoxious with it...but think of how many times the same commercial comes on in an hour....that company really wants you to remember their product....well...dont you want people to remember yours????

There are many email blast sites out there that charge a fee - some will give you 60 days free and then charge anywhere from $5 to $15 a month based on how large your contact list it. My favorite and one that I used alot was Constant Contact (please tell them I referred you). They create professional looking newsletters by using online templates. YOu do not have to know any just have to plug in information and pick out a template lay out. This could be an option for you as your business/email contact list grows. Constant contact is great because the recipients can email the newsletter or promo to a friend and they can join allowing you to grow your contact base.

Business Cards/Post Cards

Business cards are one of the least expensive ways to advertise. I know this may sound like a given, but do you realize how many times I have asked artists for a business card and they reply..."oh..I dont have one..." or "oh...I forgot them..." Seriously?? They don't have one??? Im speechless....You should give these out like candy! Where's your confidence??? People WANT you to share your artwork with give them that opportunity to see it!

I wont go into alot of detail here on what your card should look like. But it should have some basic elements - in easy to read type - don't use pretty scripty swirly curly fonts for the important information. It needs to have: Your name, phone number, email and website. I leave the address optional. When Im giving my card out to people who I dont know, sometimes I leave off my can always write it down later. This is just a safety precaution.

You can also add a small blurb about what you do.." commissioned work" or "designer" etc. You don't have to put your whole resume or list everything you can do on will get confusing and lose the readers focus.

Speaking of business cards, I do have a funny but effective story to share.:

My first craft show back in 1991 was in the local Mall...this is the same show that I used my last $500 on. My dad asked me if I had business cards and I did not. He did me a favor and printed me some on his computer. The only thing was........well.......he only had bright hunter orange paper I'll give you one guess as to what color my business cards were? Yes I was on a shoe-string budget (not even sure it was as big as a shoe string) and when I saw them...I least it's something. They did list my contact information (had no email back then or website) and I did give those out like candy and made sure everyone who purchased received a card and everyone who talked to me got a card....

Months later and after I had done several craft shows, I was beginning to receive calls for orders. After a few calls, I got curious and began to ask these people how they found me. And the majority commented that it was that hunter orange card that I had gave them. See...although it was stuck out like a sore thumb and everytime they saw it in their wallet or purse, they thought of in the long wasn't such a bad thing. I did not however, choose hunter orange as part of my "business color" or future logo.....

It does show the effectiveness of a card and a little shameless self promotion......

See...I told you I could go on and on with this subject...and because this post is getting quite lengthy...I will let you digest this information for now....but do stay tuned for part two as I will share some more ideas on blogging, social networking..and whatever else I remember.....

If you have ideas...or think I've left anything out...well...let me know...I'm always willing to learn!

except now.....Im off to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Making Money with your Art! - Be Unique

Making money with your art! People ask me all the time...can you help me? What do I need to do???

Being deep into writing and designing projects for my next book, this subject again popped into my mind. And over the next few blog posts I will talk about my personal experiences in that at a time....

I am fortunate to make money with my art. But, let me tell you....this is an 18 year long process. It does not come quick, it does not come easy, it does not come cheap! But what it does come with is alot of satisfaction despite endless hours of hard work.

You must be willing to handle alot...and I mean alot of rejection. You will definately learn the meaning to the term "Starving Artists"! You must be confident in yourself and your work.... if you're not confident in yourself.....why would you expect anyone else to be?

Now I could go on and on with this subject....but let me first just focus on the most basic of basics... BE UNIQUE

What is it that you are creating? Primarily I am talking to creative crafts people who want to sell what they make .

Ask yourself...what sets my work apart from others? This is particularly important for those of you who sell your work at craft shows, art shows and online venues such as etsy or ebay.

At the beginning of my art career, I chose to market my work through craft shows. Common sense tells you that if you are will do was suprizing to me just how many vendors set up a booth and sold the same things everyone else was....

Basically here's how the show went....Booth one - Soft fuzzy snowmen, country dolls, Booth two - basic jewelry, necklaces, bracelets etc... Booth three - polymer clay characters...Booth four...the same type of fuzzy snowmen and country dolls as booth one because they all used the same pattern and repeat....

It seemed like every 20 feet the booths were repeating themselves. What did this result in? Vendors complaining of no sales and Customers frustrated over the same thing.

Now...Im the beginning, we all created from patterns and books that we get at the craft store...but there does come a point in time when you really need to put your own twist on it....for your own sake. Seriously....are you viewing this as a hobby? or a business? If you view this as a hobby...let me tell are working way too hard for this to be a hobby...hobbies should be enjoyable...not stressful! Find a new hobby!

My first shows featured wearable art. This was back in 1991 and I took the last $500 I had to my name, purchased baby jumpers and decorated them. I had two designs for girls: Roses or watermelons and one for boys - TRAINS...that's it. I made $1500. But I was unique - no one else had wearable art for babies.

But as time went by I started to see the shows inundated with wearable art...I made the switch to polymer clay characters. I got in before the wearable art fad....stayed in the fad and got out just when it began to die..... I made the right choice. My polymer clay work was unique and even if there was another polyclay artist two booths down, our work was so uniquely individual that we actually helped each other rather than hindered....

In order for me to have a bad show....there had to be hardly any attendance or poor show promotion....or my lack of product.

So ...moral of the story.... BE UNIQUE! Remember at craft shows you are competing for the same $$$ everyone else is....and you must be unique - not to mention order to put that almighty dollar in your pocket and not let it get into someone elses....

Why not try to put a twist on a design that you saw in a book? Here's how to do it: pick out three designs in the book. Now pick out one thing you like about each one and incorporeting that into your next piece. You are one your way to creating your own Twist of uniquness!

Of course you can be as unique and great as you want....but if there is no one knows about it your success is down the tubes. So in the next post I'll discuss some cheap and effective ways to promote yourself shameless...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Combining Friendly Plastic with ArtEmboss Pewter

Are you following us on Twitter or Facebook? If so, you might have noticed the tweet from Becky Finch (amacocrafts) asking everyone what we could combine with Friendly Plastic.

At that same moment, oddly enough, I was working with some Friendly Plastic pieces I had made and creating metal bezels and bails for them from ArtEmboss Pewter. I wanted to share them with you to give you a little inspiration. (Im wearing the orange/red one today)

Have you tried this technique? It is so simple! I know you will LOVE it! I've also created a video on how to do this on YouTube.

If you want further inspiration or this technique along with other ideas using ArtEmboss metals, check out my book - Metal Jewelry 101

Click Here to order and for more details!

Now...I need your help....we are only 4 members away from 200 followers on our Facebook Friendly Plastic Fan Page.... Have you joined? Who can you invite?? Help us spread the word!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fishing for Trout.... It's not what you'd think....

I know you expected to see some of my fishing pictures displaying my catch of the day. Well...I will give you this little fishing report... We went fishing last Wednesday evening on Taneycomo Lake. The weather was beautiful and for the first time in ....well who knows how long... A LONG TIME....I caught the only two fish of the night....

That's girl two....Boy...Z - E - R - O! GIRLS RULE...BOYS DROOL! Oh yeah...Im dancing a fish dance!.......

Anyways...not gonna share the catch - mostly because there are no pictures. I did intend to put up something today that was to boost your business sense when it comes to craft shows, but that will have to wait until another day...BECAUSE............I found this post thanks to Steve at and his multi-daily tweets.

This is a necklace that was posted on Beading Arts...and well what can I say...It suits me perfect and besides that...I get to promote a fellow artist. And by the way, I love this piece by Amy.

What will you use to for your inspiration today??? Enjoy this post by Beading Arts

Fishing for Trout

Originally, I had planned to make this a much more complicated necklace, but as I played with a few ideas, I finally realized that I really didn't want to distract too much attention from the central medallion. So I settled on three knotted cords and a strand of ribbon yarn. I chose colors that would not only look good with the fish, but would also look vaguely like running water.

1. Cut all your fibers to at least 25 inches if you want an 18 inch necklace. I used a straw cut to various lengths in order to space the beads out properly on the cords. I used a mixture of vintage lucite and ceramic so that it wouldn't get too heavy. Knot below and above each bead, and cut all the ends even when you've finished.

2. Wrap the ends through and around a large jump ring so that the raw ends point downward. Pull the knots tight and glue them with jeweler's cement for security. Attach a chain to one of the jump rings, and attach a clasp to the other end of the chain. When the cement has dried, clip the ends close.


Polymer clay medallions available from Amy E Fraser.

Copyright 2007 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Now I wonder......If I wore this necklace....Would I always catch more trout??? Hey...It's worth a try!

Friday, August 7, 2009

August Project of the Month Clubs are Ready

Hello to all my POM club members,

just a quickie post to let you know that the projects are now available for download.

Please visit the appropriate link to your club: (Jewelry POM) (Polymer clay)

Have fun! and share your photo's with me!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Facebook and Old Friends

It's story time today....(by the way though, POMS will be out later today or first thing tomorrow)...

Today's story is about Facebook. I know some of you don't get's Dad doesn't get it - he really doesnt get text messaging either...he says..."Hey, If I want to talk to you - I'll call you on the phone!". I often wonder if when back in his day....his Dad would have said..."why do I need to call you on the phone? If I want to talk to you...I'll just come over?"...Maybe I should ask Dad that?

Beyond the fact that some people question WHY TEXT...Why Facebook? We are in the age of technology and that is really bringing us closer to the entire world in an instant.

I digress though and say that I at one time didn't get facebook either..I mean do people really care that Im eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch? Seriously? Probably not. But...I did the facebook thing so that I could keep up with the kids...see the kids forget that you are there friends and you can learn allllll sorts of interesting things about them....when "they're in a relationship" or when they have a fall out with their girlfriend and "they are single" - you can learn all about them and not even talk to them....

So...I have a facebook account (and Im going for the most friends wins so - be my friend :o)) and I primarily use it for business networking (works wonders!) and the occassional keep up with the family and my close friends.......but.........there's more...And so the story goes.....

I moved to Springfield, Illinois when I was 5 and lived on Somerton Road near the fairgrounds. The lot beside us was empty, but soon someone bought it and built a house. That's when I met the little girl next door, Carol. She had an older brother Joey and a younger brother who was just a baby named Sean. Over the years, Carol and I played together - aLOT! We liked the same thing, we loved to ride bikes, we loved dolls and we both had an incredible imagination...and we made "clubs" out of blankets...makeshift tents that we called the "club house". HAD to be a member of the club to get NO BOYS ALLOWED!

In 1979 I moved to Branson, Missouri. We took an occassional trip back "home" to visit friends. But I only remember visiting Carol and her family one time - not too long after we moved. After that I never talked to her again. I still have a couple of friends from Illinois and I've asked about her often, but they also lost touch...and I always wondered what ever happened to my little strawberry blonde friend Carol...........

So Im sitting here at the computer yesterday writing out the next Jewelry POM club project and my phone goes DING! - that's a text message...and I look on it and it says "Are you the Linda I lived next door to on Somerton Road" and it was from CAROL!!!!!! and it was a facebook message!...and Im thinking OH MY GOODNESS! CAROL!!!!! ITS HER ..and she found me!
I couldnt type that message back fast many things were blitzing in my ...she took the time to find me..WOW! and WOW! after all these years it's her...and then flashbacks of when we were kids and how I tormented her older brother Joey endlessly and teased him so bad and he would get so mad at me.....and clubs...and bike was like a trip back thru time! And so....we reconnected! After all these years.

We still have lots to catch up much as we have in common then...we have the same in common now. She loves to make jewerly and she sells what she makes. She's a writer and writes for the local paper. Her dream is to be a novelist...and I KNOW she can do it! She has two little girls - adorable little girls and she's still the same beautiful strawberry blonde hair grown up girl that I remember. MY FRIEND CAROL!

She probably has no idea how that one little sentence she texted made my whole day! Im still saying WOW!

So NOW do you get Facebook??????

Monday, August 3, 2009

Beading in No time

Took a little break from the studio today to go fishing with my Dad. He got a new depth finder and was just itchin to see how well it worked. He doesnt have to twist my arm at all to go with him.....seriously......I jump at every chance I get to go fishin with him. Although the fishing wasn't that great, I did enjoy the time with him. We saw a momma deer and her two new fawns drinking at the waters edge. Amazingly they weren't scared of us at all and it was fun to just sit there and watch the fawns play for a few minutes.

Last was an incredibly wonderfully creative week with Jen. But now, it's back to working on my book - Beading in No Time due out next spring. As the title indicates, these projects will be easy to complete and perfect for all of you who want instant gratification.

I love to create designs that you will actually wear and are timeless. As always my style is to give you an idea and then allow your creative process to flow.

Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some sneak peaks of what's stay tuned or book mark this page....or subscribe!

Did you know you can follow me on Facebook?????

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Last day of the Friendly Plastic Marathon

We are winding down the Marathon and have enjoyed every single creatively intense moment that it brought! There was never a dull moment! Seriously....could there ever be a dull moment with us????

I think the most important thing that I took away from this week and really every time I am around Jen is "don't follow directions"! If it isn't going to injure you in some way or burn down the house - then go for it! Explore! Experiment and create! So what if it doesn't turn out the way you wanted? Maybe its better...or maybe it isn' any've released creativity and its flowing and somewhere down the road you are bound to discover something amazing! Thank goodness Friendly Plastic is an expensive medium to do just that with.

Yesterday we explored more alcohol ink techniques and painting with alcohol to remove color and create effects.


On top of that, we added fine silver punched shapes from paper type clay.


Jen also explored using a white pen to create designs on alcohol inked non-heated friendly plastic. Then she placed it on the griddle where she embedded the SeaHorses


Once the resin was applied....WOW! You can NOT believe the depth of this piece and unfortunately a good picture to show the depth is beyond my photography skills.

It seems that when working with Friendly Plastic it tends to "grow" and morph into little excess shapes. One of the advantages of this is that even the smallest piece of Friendly Plastic can make a piece of jewelry pop!


The FP has been taped on...because....I have other shapes in other colors that I can interchange with a little piece of double stick tape to coordinate with any color I have on! And the tape does not hurt the silver surface in any way....gotta love that!

We did take a afternoon break for some local sightseeing! My studio is nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri, just north of Branson. It's a gorgeous area full of lakes and touristy things like country music and such. But what a wonderful place to host a crafty retreat! Would you like that?

Here are a few highlights from yesterdays Branson tour to share.

Here is Jen and I on the deck of Bass Pro's floating restaurant White River Fish Company on Taneycomo lake


Just a block up the road - next to Starbucks and located in one of the original buildings from the late 1800's early 1900s in historic downtown Branson is the Plum Bazaar Bead store - can't miss it the building is painted two shades of purple and every inch of the store is crammed full of wonderful and unusual's a must go to destination! The ladies of the store were very helpful and friendly!



Next a little sightseeing. Branson is known for it's beautiful lakes with crystal clear water, luscious ozark mountains and outdoor sports, music shows and family activities.

Taneycomo lake was created then the dam was built in the 1950's. Above the dam is Table Rock Lake and below is Taneycomo


Because the water comes from the bottom of this 250+ foot tall dam, the water is very very cold and great for trout fishing. Now, Jen didnt believe me when I said the water was she had to stick her foot in...


I think she figured out I was right......but the cold water did feel good on a hot day like yesterday.

The fly fishing was great. These anglers caught several while we were standing there.


This is the view of Taneycomo from on top of a scenic look out


And this is a view of Table Rock Lake and a view I had out my bedroom window when I was growing up.

And last night we finished up a few pieces and relaxed watching a movie.

Jen's gone home now, I tried and tried to convince her to stay and bribed her with chocolate, but she still had to go! It's okay though because we will be together again in October for a much bigger retreat at her studio. Jana Ewy and Liz Welch will be there too!

I say we should try to plan a big FP retreat to the Ozarks.. We have low cost airlines that fly directly into Branson. What do you think? I twisting your arm?? Just a little???

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