Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Launch of a Fan Page

Polymer Clay Smiley Face Girl
The idea of having fans is weird to me. I think that's why I've resisted starting a Facebook Fan page. I'm not Nike. People don't love my product the way they do Coke. I'm in start up mode. That means I'm lucky if members of my family can remember my business' name. So what would I do with a FB fan page?

Of course I need to build awareness, but having a successful page isn't about what "I" need. It's about what people are interested in. So what value would my fan page have to people? It occurred to me that people seem to enjoy giving me advice. And boy do I need advice.

That's when the light bulb went off. My fan page could be like my very own focus group. So I bit the bullet and launched a page. To get the ball rolling, I asked for suggestions on what kinds of flowers should I try to create. First day out of the gate and I'm already getting suggestions. I'm excited to see where things go from here.

PHOTO: I created this smiley face for the new fan page. I'm using it as the cover shot for a fan photo album. My dream would be to have people show off pictures of themselves wearing my jewelry or cutting a wedding cake with one of my toppers on it. Don't laugh! A girl can dream.

See the new page: Young Creative Polymer Clay Designs

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Inspired by Fabric

Disclaimer: This beautiful piece of jewelry is not one of mine. It was created by Polly Dobbs. She is a fellow member of the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy and the owner of a shop called Vixen.

Polly has been hard at work capturing the guild's April Challenge theme, "Inspired by Fabric." That's right, this piece was inspired by fabric. She used her father's circa 1970 shirt as a spring board for this gorgeous necklace.

I've been following the progress of this project in her blog. You just have to check out these posts. She starts by talking about the inspiration fabric and then she shows you how she develops canes from that.

Polly has created a series of jewelry pieces around this concept and she will be entering one of them in the PCAGOE Challenge. Voting is the first week of April. I'll keep you posted so you can go in and vote for Polly, or one of the other talented artists, when the time is right.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Taming my Buffalo

It’s true. I’m a buffalo.

A team training exercise at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center using the Native American Medicine Wheel confirmed it. That means if you need someone to give your project a kick in the pants, I’m your girl. Buffalos get things done.

While this nature has served me well, I’ve learned the hard way that I need to tone down my inner buffalo so that I don’t trample everyone around me. And while I know how damaging an out-of-control buffalo can be to those around me, I never thought my buffalo nature could be damaging to me.

Lately Ive been pursuing things to help me escape the lack of creativity I feel in my day job. Although I’m part of an amazing team, we do so many things so fast that it ends up feeling more like an assembly line than a creative shop.Yet even in my own creative outlets, where every choice is mine, my buffalo wants to fall back into the assembly line mentality. It wants to get things done. 

All the buffalo has to do is whisper in my ear, “It’s Thursday. Create a new item so you can list it on Monday.” In protest I say, “I can’t work on it until Saturday because of my day job.”

"No problem," says the buffalo. “You have Saturday morning for the preliminary work before you grocery shop. Sunday you can finish the details and hopefully get some photos before you lose the light. “But what about cleaning the house?” I ask the buffalo to which it replies, “Who cares about cleaning? Rob won’t mind if the house gets a little messy.”

The buffalo in me says no sweat. I beat deadlines like this in my sleep. But is that a good thing? The creative process is a process yes, but I’m finding that adhering to a stringent process doesn’t allow the creative part to thrive. Ideas need time to percolate. I need time to make mistakes and to learn new things. And I need time to enjoy life outside of my two jobs.

I need to tame the buffalo.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Creating Inventory

polymer clay eye candy
I'm home this week for the installation of my new 1940s Hollywood Glam bathroom. I need to be on hand to answer critical questions like "where do you want the shampoo shelf?" and to make sure my cats stay out of the way.

While I'm home, I am catching up on creating new inventory for my shop. You can tell I'm ready for spring. My muse was mainly interested in creating flowers, although she did throw in a few fleur-de-lis pendants to help me get in the mood for our vacation to New Orleans this summer.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Meet HipChic Seamstress Cynde Clark

You know I am major lover of all things pink. So I was so jazzed to find my first “assignment” for the Etsy Blogger Street Team seems to embrace her girly side too. Cynde Clark’s blog, “hipchic designs”, gives you a view into her whimsical world of sewing and life. Cynde sews lots of cool things for hip chics like purses and headbands. You can purchase many of these items in her Etsy store. These are two of my favorite items.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sweet Catch

Gluten-Free Glazed Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

I'm a lucky girl. I started dating my husband when I was 16. Even at that young age, I knew I had found a keeper. He is always finding new ways to remind me of that fact.

Rob is as comfortable in the kitchen as he is on the bridge of a virtual starship. Earlier this week he whipped up these glazed triple chocolate cupcakes for me to take to work for my boss's birthday.

I love this recipe. It is rich, decadent and amazingly gluten-free. Rob is always on the look out for good recipes that let me enjoy the things we used to eat before I had to cut back on gluten. He adapted it from a dessert bread recipe on the Land O' Lakes site. He substitutes Namaste brand Perfect Flour Blend for the flour mixture in the recipe, and then he bakes the mixture in cupcake wrappers rather than loaf pans.

Gluten-Free Glazed Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Cupcake Ingredients:

cup firmly packed brown sugar
cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, softened
cup gluten-free semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, melted
2 1/2
cups Namaste Perfect Flour Blend
1 1/2
cups applesauce
teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoons gluten-free vanilla
cup gluten-free semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Glaze Ingredients:

cup gluten-free semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
tablespoon LAND O LAKES® Butter
teaspoons water
cup powdered sugar
teaspoon vanilla

Dash salt

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add 1 cup melted chocolate chips and eggs; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour blend, applesauce, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; continue beating, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into muffin wrappers. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until center crack is dry when touched. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans.

Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1 tablespoon butter and water in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy. Frost each loaf with glaze. Cool completely.

Note: These are excellent warm, so pop them into the microwave for a few seconds to make them nice and gooey before you bite into one.

This is a picture of Rob sitting in his commander's chair with is first officer Benjamin.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lotus on a Gentle Pond Pendant: A Study in Texture

polymer clay lotus pendant
I am so in love with translucent clay right now. It reminds me of frosted glass. This lotus pendant is one of my latest experiments with using it.

The background of the pendant is made of translucent clay divided into three segments. I added a different hand-drawn water texture to each segment. The focal point of the piece is a hand-sculpted lotus flower. I finished it off with wire-wrapping and a cinnamon/nutmeg infused bead, polished to look like stone.

I made this pendant for the March Polymer Clay Artists Guild Challenge: Texture. The challenge is open to public voting from March 1-7 I am donating this piece to the PCAGOE to use as a prize in future challenges.

Here are the prizes that will be awarded to the lucky winners this month. (If you vote, one of them could be yours!)

1st Row, L-R: StudioSChiek, PolymerClayCreations, ClayCenter, KDollDesigns
2nd Row, L-R: NKDesigns, RenGalSA, AshPaints, BeeTreeByMe
3rd Row, L-R: 11BoldStreet, AlisonEKurek, RiverValleyDesign, LaurelSteven
4th Row, L-R: Juliespace, JanGeisen, ClayHappy, SCDiva


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