Monday, November 29, 2010

Cat Sleeping under a Peony

Sleeping Cat Asian Inspired Pin

Artwork Pin
For Pick-Me-Up Monday I thought I'd share a new piece that I finished this weekend, a sweet miniature art sculpture of a sleeping cat that I fashioned into a pin. I sculpted most of the scene using Fimo translucent clay over custom color blends dusted with pearl powders. The bamboo frame was created using a wonderful mold by Lisa Pavelka.

On Sale
This pin, as well as everything in my Young Creative shop, is on sale until Dec. 15. Just use the code YOUNGCREATIVE1 at checkout to get a 10% discount on your entire order.

My Inspiration
The inspiration for the piece comes from a beautiful Chinese painting, Cat, Rocks, and Peonies, that belongs to the Freer Gallery. I picked up a postcard  featuring the work, and another of my favorites, the Japanese work, Puppies in the Snow, when we were living in Washington, D.C. I mounted the postcards on some mulberry paper and framed them together in an asian-themed stamped frame that I made especially for these works.

Happy Monday, I hope these sweet sleeping babies make you smile.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Artsistic Combinations

Reese Cup: Mashup Extraordinaire

 Breathing New Life into Art 
One of my favorite parts of the TV show Glee is when they do a mashup, merging different songs together.  If a mashup can freshen up old eighties tunes, maybe it could help me work my way out of an artistic rut.

There was a great example of artistic recombination at play over at The "Bead Soup Blog Party" by Lori Anderson. There jewelry artists experiment with the idea of "mashing" their styles to grow creatively. For the latest challenge, each artist exchanged jewelry pieces that were not selling with another artist who adapted the piece to create a new work of art. Here are a couple of examples from the swap.

Pretty cool, huh? The first set shows a pendant by Lori, recreated by Johanna Rhodes. The second is a jade piece by Loretta Carstensen, recreated by Laurel Steven. You can read about the creative process behind both pieces on their blogs.

I'm going to spend a little time this weekend exploring this concept in my own work. Maybe a little mashing can create something special.

Have you ever done a "mashup"?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Paper Angel

Paper Angel, Mixed Media (polymer clay and paper)

Monday Pick-Me-Up

Do you know what makes me happy? Contests where everyone is a winner, free stuff, and vintage images. Do you know where I can get all three? At Dezinaworld.

June, the creator of Dezinaworld is hosting an "Everyone Wins a Prize Contest" Here's the gist:

1. Create a physical papercraft (no digital work) using one of a Dezinaworld collage sheets. She even has free sheets!

2. Follow her blog and add your project post to the contest post by Dec. 4.

The top 12 entries will be featured on her site. Check out her contest post for more details as well as images.

My Entry
I combined paper and polymer clay for a "paper-plus" entry. The angel is from June's "Little Ones" sheet. I cut out the angel and then applied it to unbaked polymer clay using a liquid polymer "glue." You have to make sure it is well adhered or you get air bubbles. Then I added more liquid polymer to the front side of the paper angel "decoupage" style. I glued the baked clay piece to a card-stock matte and framed the piece to finish it off.

Ideally I should use an image transfer technique to get the image onto the clay, but I don't have the right kind of copier for this. Besides this is a papercraft challenge so I wanted to be sure I included some paper.

Good luck with your entries, but you really won't need luck because everyone wins!

A True Image Transfer Master
If you want to see some work by a truly gifted image transfer artist visit Lynda at Diva Designs. This is one of the ornaments in her "Victorian Romance" themed holiday ornament and jewelry collection.

Vintage Victorian Angel and Cherub Ornament with Aquamarine Swarovski Crystal

By Diva Designs

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Creative Sprinkle up for Top Blog of 2010

Vote for Creative Sprinkle
The Blog Guidebook, home of "all things bloggy," is hosting a contest to name the top blog of 2010 and Creative Sprinkle made it through the first nomination round. This blog is one of 25 blogs working toward the coveted award. Yay!

Go Vote!
Yes, I'm asking for your votes. There is a poll on the front page of Blog Guidebook where you can vote until Nov. 26. It is super easy and only takes a minute. Click here to vote.

Blog Guidebook is a very useful site for any of you who blog. There are lots of how-to articles, classes, and a help desk. Even if you don't feel like voting. It is worth the visit.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finding Beauty in Tub Hair

Cleaning Chore or Art?

The Art of Tub Hair
My friend Stacy sees beauty in almost everything. Even tub hair. "Tub hair?" you ask. Yes, hair that accumulates in the tub when you take a shower. Stacy gathers stray hairs that fall out during her shower and sticks them to the shower wall until she is ready to get out of the shower.

"Yuck!" you say. Well, I’m ashamed to admit that’s what I said when she started to tell me about how she sees art in her stray strands of hair. Who sees art in that? Well Stacy does. She sees possibilities where the rest of us see yuck.

Stacy has transformed a cleaning chore into a creative outlet. Want to see more? Check out her store, Pandora's Gallery, or visit her blog, Pandora's Compass, for additional doses of creative inspiration.

Lily Pads T-Shirt

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Help Me and a Contest

Will you do me a favor?

This blog is a place where I  renew my creative spark with the help of all of you wonderful people. But do you know what would make it even more fun?  New voices and new ideas.  There are two ways that you can help me take Creative Sprinkle to the next level: contribute a topic idea or offer to write a guest post.

Share an Idea
I'm always on the look out for new topic ideas. If you have one to share leave a comment below or e-mail me. I'll see if I can tackle it, or I'll try to find a guest blogger to take it on.
Added Incentive (win this!)
Just to sweeten the pot a little bit, I've decided to throw a contest into this plea for help. Everyone who e-mails me or leaves a comment with a topic suggestion by December 31 will be entered into a drawing to win this polymer clay pin. It is made with my signature red pepper and paprika blend and finished with pearl powders.

Guest Blog (what's in it for you)
So many of you are creative souls with much to share. I'm asking you to share here. A guest post is a great way to attract new people to your blog and receive link backs to increase your search engine optimization. I've done guest posts on a couple of sites and it has always been a rewarding experience.

Although I can't pay you for the post, I will allow you to link to your blog and/or store, plus I can promote the item of your choice in my sidebar for at least two-weeks.

The theme of creativity allows quite a bit of freedom and I'd love to hear different ideas. You could even do a slight rework of something you published on your own blog. Below are some thought-starters for possible guest post topics.
  • Stories of your creative spark getting peed on and how you re-ignited it
  • Staying creative when you create for profit
  • Cool projects we just have to try
  • Photography tips for creatives who aren't as good with a camera as they are a paint brush
  • Foods that enhance creativity
  • Pick-me Up Monday topics
To get started guest blogging: 
Email me your idea and include: "Guest Post for Creative Sprinkle" in the subject line, a brief summary of what you want to write about, and a link to your blog so I can get an idea of your writing style. Bonus points if you pitch me a great series!
 If your idea fits my blog, I'll give you the go-ahead to get started and send you some simple instructions on how to submit a post.
Timeline: Anytime in 2011.  As far as deadlines are concerned, I want this to be low-stress. You can set your timeline. Of course, if you want to do something time-sensitive, you'll have to submit it in time to publish it before the topic is outdated.
Open your creative faucet and let the ideas flow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Creative Window Shopping

Monday Pick-Me-Up: Creative Window Shopping
Etsy, the e-destination for all things handmade and vintage, allows both shoppers and sellers to create Treasuries, curated lists of some of their favorite finds. As a seller it is a big thrill to find you've been included in one, but I just discovered that making them can be fun too.

Olive and Wine PCAGOE Wishlist

Creative Selections
You can build a treasury around whatever your imagination can dream up. I created "Olive and Wine PCAGOE Wishlist"  to promote members of the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy. I searched our members stores for items in the wine and olive color scheme. Then I arranged the pieces to try to bring some balance to the design. 

Friends or Strangers
Sometimes you're lucky enough to be featured in a "stranger's treasury." You get in a stranger's treasury when your item tags match the theme someone is creating.  "For the Love of Handbags" is a treasury I created by searching for images of woman and purses.

For the Love of Handbags
Mosey on over to Esty
If your Monday is off to a dreary start, may I suggest a visit to Esty treasury land. You can spend some time pursuing some inspiring collections, or if you are feeling ambitious, you can create your own.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Project Sneak Peak

A little Mokume Gane
This is a sneak peak at something that I am working on for the December Challenge for the Polymer Clay Artist's Guild of Etsy. I'll show you more later, but this will have to do for now. My husband is taking me out for dinner and I have to get ready!

Friday, November 12, 2010

For the Love of Sunshine

My Studio Space
My husband built me this beautiful (and functional!) studio space in our basement. It has a great work space and a quiet corner with a comfy chair, but I find myself gathering up supplies and hauling them upstairs. I sit on the couch and condition clay. I sculpt pieces standing at the kitchen island. And I ask myself, "Why aren't you in the studio?"

Part of the answer to why I keep moving upstairs is that I like to be on the same floor with my husband. I feel isolated in the basement, but the other reason is simply that I miss the sunshine. Upstairs the light pours in though skylights and a french door. Alas, my studio is too dark.

Do any of you have tips on how to make a basement space more artist-friendly?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Recipe Scrapbook Project

Recipe Scrapbook

So many of my favorite memories revolve around food:
  • rooting in the “candy cupboard” at Grandma’s house
  • sitting at the 50s Formica table sampling Great-grandma's egg custard
  • learning fractions with Mom using recipes to make math more fun
Many of those memories found their way into a recipe scrapbook that I gave to my Mom as a gift last Christmas. The book highlighted the women in my family (they do most of the cooking!) and the recipes that tell my family story.

As my mom leafed through the pages on Christmas morning, her eyes welled up with tears. For a moment I felt bad that I had made her cry, then I realized she was touched by the memories. It is going to be a hard gift to top.

I started the project during Art Every Day Month last November, but I never shared the finished product here on my blog. With the Christmas gift-giving season almost upon us again, I thought it would be good time to give you a closer look at the project in case you want to make one of your own.

Great-Grandma and her Fried Fudge

The Project Overview
Each page or two was dedicated to a different woman beginning with my great-grandma and ending with my niece and nephew. Okay I cheated a little and included a couple guys: my nephew and my brother. Here's a look at the elements I chose to tell each of their stories.

Family Photos
Old photos played a big role in the scrapbook. I scanned in my favorites and printed them out so that I could cut them out in interesting shapes. I’m not fabulous with PhotoShop so I did everything “old-school” scrap-booking style.

I also scanned in some of our recipes, like the old ones in my great-grandma’s handwriting. I typed up other ones that weren’t so visually interesting.

Family heirlooms made up the other major visual element . My sister and I each photographed things we had inherited that were iconic to us, things like Great-Grandma’s china, a Pillsbury Doughboy doll, and the plastic Kool-Aid Cho-Cho-Cherry mug we used at Grandma’s house.

Written memories along with the visual ones accompanied each woman. I typed up a little blurb including favorite food related memories.

Including the Kids
My sister staged a photo shoot with the grandchildren baking. We included a “recipe” that my niece wrote in her 6-year-old handwriting. Of course the kids didn’t know why they were doing it because kids have a hard time keeping a secret.
Next Generation of Bakers: my niece and nephew

It took a lot of thought and planning, but everything combined beautifully to make a wonderful gift.  I hope this inspires you to try your own. What handmade projects have you given as a gift?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Words To Live By

Inside my Desk Drawer

Monday Pick-Me-Up: Office Desk Shrine
If you peek inside my desk drawer, you will find something that makes me happy, not only on Monday, but every day of the work week. It is a little vignette celebrating three simple words: Creative, Spiritual, Joyful.

The words serve as a  reminder of how I want to approach each day. When I'm stressed and I open the drawer, these simple post-it notes help me reframe things.

Work in Progress

From Desk to Wall
I thought it might be fun to take the idea of my desk shrine and turn it into some wall art. This is a "work in progress" polymer clay mosaic that I worked on this weekend. It is unbaked so the colors aren't as deep as they will be in the finished piece, but it gives you a pretty good idea of where the piece is going.

Some of the squares are touched with pearl powders so the mosaic will shimmer in the light. The browns and oranges (which will brighten up when baked) are made from my favorite spice inclusion recipes.

Share your Monday Pick-Me-Up
So what made you happy today?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

November Challenge: Last Chance to Vote

Vote for your favorites and win prizes

Vote for your top 3 favorite entries and you could win a polymer clay creation by one of these talented artists.Voting closes tomorrow (midnight EST) so GO VOTE!

Many of these items are available in the artists' stores. Click on an artist name to visit her store.

The Entries (Mine is Number 4!)

Mary Ellen's description of her entry: Snowy white Poinsettia with frosty sliver leaves and icy crystal accents. My "Seasonal" creation is a bold "Bib" style pendant. On the back are loops on top left and right. Ready to make a Hot design statement for Cold winter days!

2) First Christmas Sock Monkey Ornament by SpiritMama

Waxela's description of her entry: Remember your little one's first Christmas with a sock monkey Santa Christmas ornament. This ornament can also serve as a cake topper, and the number can be changed.

3) Autumn Inspired Wire Embellished Necklace by JKollmann

Jill is known for combining her stunning wire work with polymer clay and her attention to detail. This necklace is a beautiful example, incorporating an Autumn color palette with hand sculpted floral elements and her trademark wire wrapping.

4) Greek God of Wine Bottle Stopper by YoungCreative

Marie's description of her entry: A celebration of autumn: This wine bottle stopper features Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. The head was formed from a Victorian face mold with hand-sculpted additional features. The leaves are hand-stamped and the grapes are totally hand-sculpted. The clay has a light touch of pearl powder. The background is made from my signature red pepper and paprika blend.

5) Red and Copper Foil Shield Copper Necklace by 11BoldStreet

Susan's description of her entry: Not being a holiday-specific person, I figure that this neckpiece could cheerfully attend any holiday function with pizazz! The cube beads began life at a workshop by artist/author Debbie Jackson. They were rolled in fusible fibers, then adorned with strips of foil-adhered polymer. The shield focal is also foil-coated polymer. Plays nice with other metals, thanks to the inclusion of copper, sterling, gunmetal and gold-colored findings and accents. Imagine this piece with an LBD (little black dress) or a white silk shirt at your holiday functions over the next couple of months...

6) Autumn Jewels Necklace by PipsJewellery

Pippa's description of her entry: Seeing as it is right in the middle of Autumn over here in the UK I thought this might be just right! Drum Beads inspired by Klew. Polymer clay, no glaze, no varnish, just very gently hand sanded and then polished.

7) Autumn Harvest Mokume Gane Pumpkin Decoration by PolymerClayCreations

Angela's description of her entry: I love the golds and coppers of the Fall. The colors are all so warm and rich. My daughter-in-law also loves pumpkins and fall, so I created these pumpkins for a birthday gift for her. They are made by first sculpting a pumpkin shape over a glass Christmas ball. Next I made a mokume gane sheet with gold, copper and pearl premo metallic clays. It was stamped with a leaf design. I then covered the pumpkin with the sheet.

8) Pookies Winter Wonderland by Peggers

Peggy's description of her entry: Making a snow man is so much fun. Pookie Pets are taking a break and admiring their new snowman. The entire scene is polymer clay including the tree.

9) Santa Candy Bracelet Set by RenGalSA

Deb's description of her entry: Not only is this piece my challenge piece for the month of November, but one set is also a prize that can be won in the PCAGOE Holiday Promotion. (Details at It has colorful Millefiori Holiday Trees and Santas with czech glass accents. Great seasonal reds, greens, and whites. A perfect compliment to your favorite holiday sweater!

10) Three Santas by ArrowdaleArtStudio

Cindy's description of her entry: My entry for the November 2010 Challenge of the PCAGOE was rather a no-brainer. The subject is "Seasonal," and Christmas is by far my favorite "season," and when first began exploring polymer clay, Santa was the first thing I sculpted. A lot of Santas, in fact. So many that my husband called a moratorium for a few years. This piece is based on a sketch that has managed to find its way into my sketch books over and over in various forms. Hopefully now it'll go away from my brain! One hundred percent polymer clay, except for the tiniest dusting of chalk across cheeks and noses for a bit of color.

11) Peace, Love and Joy Ornaments by DebbieCrothers

Debbie's description of her entry: I guess I'm in Christmas mode already - so my challenge entry depicts Christmas. These are ornaments made to hang on your tree. Made completely from polymer clay. Christmas to me means all these thing - peace on earth, love and joy to all. What a great time of the year for me.

12) Christmas Polymer Clay Ornament by MirameCreations

Lupe's description of her entry: This polymer clay ornament was done using the Sutton Slice Technique

13) Winter White Vase by ThePleasantPheasant

Jackie's description of her entry: This matte and textured winter white vase is my November entry to the PCAGOE Monthly Challenge.

14) Autumn Leaves Bracelet by ClayCenter

Berit's description of her entry: A simple seasonal bracelet made from my autumn leaf canes.

15) Another Part of the Forest by RMKDesign

Randee's description of her entry: Amazingly, this is only three colors of clay--copper, gold, and green pearl; the re-rolled scrap pieces from the cut skinner blend made the best leaves, I think.

16) Christmas Angel by WiredOrchid

Lorraine's description of her entry: Christmas is my favorite holiday season, so I decided to create a peaceful Christmas Angel. She is made entirely of polymer clay, except for the beaded halo. Burnt umber, white and pearl clays were used. The dress was stamped and washed with a powder/sealant combination.

17) Asha by AyeletBeads

Ayelet's description of her entry: I created This pendant from my black and white polymer clay canes. Spring started late this Year (Ayelet lives in New Zealand), its snowed more in spring the in winter, so this was the color of spring, I Named it Asha (hope) because I posted it on the day they rescue the miners in Chile.

18) Thankful for Family Brooch by LauraBeeStudios

Laura's description of her entry: This is my challenge piece for the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy. The challenge was seasonal. I chose Thanksgiving as my seasonal subject.

19) Japanese Winter Scene Pocket Mirror by NKDesigns

Linda's description of her entry: This beautiful image was given to me by Christi of Rivervalleydesign. It is a two mirror compact with an image transfer of a Japanese Winter Scene. I covered the mirror top with resin for a lasting finish. I have made a similar one for my daughter-in-law who is half-Asian.

20) Pumpkin Pencil Cup by AshPaints

Arlene's description of her entry: What says fall better than a pumpkin? Jack-o-lanters for Halloween, then on to pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas! A rich skinner blend of a deep custom blended burnt orange to a soft golden orange is wrapped around a piece of PVC pipe then the segment lines were impressed. Next a custom blended leaf green is extruded to create curling vines around the top and bottom with a few trailing stems and leaves down the sides. Texture was added and a soft antiquiqing glaze added to bring out the details.

21) Flying Pig Ornament by AlisonEKurek

Ali's description of her entry: All things are possible during the holidays. This little pig is hand sculpted out of polymer clay. She is wearing her winter cap and flexing her wings in preparation for the upcoming holidays.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mini Blog Makeover

Watercolor with Wax Resist Blog Background

Creating a Custom Background
As I participate in Art Every Day Month, I've been spending a lot of time exploring artists' blogs. Everyone has such warm inviting spaces and that has inspired me to to a mini makeover of my creative space.  I was particularly inspired by Tammy of Daisy Yellow. She created an art journal background using wax as a resist under a layer of acrylic paint. I though I would give the wax resist a try with watercolors.

The Creative Technique
I love the banner that my dear designer friend Stacy created for me using my polymer clay sun as a focal point. I also love the cheery color scheme. I just felt it was a little plain. The wax resist watercolor technique was perfect for creating an interesting background with a little pattern, but not so much that it detracted from the content of the page.

The Technical Specs
I found a couple articles that explained how to add code to your template to change the background, but my code didn't match any of these. Finally, I found a simple article on Blogger/Blogspot Templates, Tips, How-tos, Tutorials & Help that showed how to do it in the new Blogger Template Designer. So simple.

Thank you Tammy (and all the other AEDM artists) for the inspiration!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Trying Something New: Sutton Slice

Ornament by Mirame Creations
Inspired by others
I am always impressed by work of fellow clay artists in the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Esty. Each month we have a challenge as a way to explore new facets of our craft. The theme for November's Challenge was "Seasonal" and we could do anything fall or winter-related.

Trying a new technique 
One entry, a Christmas ornament by Lupe of Mirame Creations, caught my eye. I love the elegant design which her description states was done using the Sutton Slice technique. I just had to give it a try. So I found some instructions online at Crafty Goat.

Here's the CliffNotes version.
  1. Pick out a stamp with deep recesses, mist the stamp with water then fill the recessed area with clay. 
  2. Scrape the excess clay off the raised area with a straight blade.
  3. Stamp the image onto another color of clay and gently lift the clay away from the stamp. The first color should stick to the second color to give you the pattern. The key word here is "should." It is not as easy as it looks to keep the clay from sticking in the crevices and tearing.

In theory, the technique is pretty simple, but it takes some real talent to produce a work like Lupe's ornament. Here's my not-quite-right first attempt. But, as we know, half-formed monsters are an important part of the creative process.

Vote and win prizes
Voting in the PCAGOE Challenge is open this week. Choose your top 3 favorites and you can win a handcrafted polymer clay creation. My entry is number 4. Vote now!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Month of Motivation

Juicy Grapes Wine Bottle Stopper
Monday Pick-Me-Up

 Today's pick-me-up is actually a whole month of pick-me-ups! Celebrate your creativity all month because November is  Art Every Day Month.

The challenge
Art Every Day Month is the brainchild of artist Leah Piken Kolidas. Here is how Leah describes the low-pressure challenge that marks the event.
“ I encourage people to make something every day, but my goal is to foster more creativity, so if you make just one piece of art per week or just one for the whole month, that's fine with me. The idea is to bring more creativity into your life, not to make you feel overwhelmed, pressured or guilt-stricken.”
But I'm not an artist!
She defines art as anything creative, whether that be painting, drawing, knitting, sewing, cooking, decorating, writing, photography, clay, jewelry-making or whatever.

Keeping winter depression at bay
November ushers in the beginning of winter depression for me. Our days are shorter, the temperature is falling, and snow could be here anytime. I stumbled upon this challenge last year, and I almost dismissed it because I am already so overwhelmed this time of year.

Something in me said, "Do it. What would it hurt?" So I decided to use the recipe scrapbook that I wanted to make my mom for Christmas as my project. It turned out beautifully. Mom cried when she opened it.
Unexpected bonus
Many of the participants share their projects on their blogs or through Flickr accounts. I started Creative Sprinkle as a place to share my progress. Many of my first followers were AEDM participants, and I met some great online friends.

Not only did this challenge help me finish the scrapbook,  it gave me a creative outlet in the form of my blog which carried me through a record-breaking Pennsylvania winter. The 2009 challenge was so rewarding, I can't wait to see what 2010 brings.

Kicking it off
I don't have big project planned this year. I'm trying to work on more spontaneous creativity. Those who know me know what a big challenge that is for me. So to kick things off I'm sharing a new wine stopper.

I have another one with Dionysus on it in the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy Monthly Challenge. I'll share more about this on Wednesday, but if you want a sneak peak, voting in the November "Seasonal Themes"  is open. Vote for your favorites and you can win an one-of-a kind polymer clay creation from one of these very talented artists.


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