Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blues to beat the blues

"Blues to beat the blues"

I have an odd relationship with the color blue. Growing up "blue" belonged to my sister. It was her favorite color. I was more of a pink girl. (I'm giggling as I write this because at this moment I'm wrapped in a pink Hello Kitty throw. Even at 41 the little girl is still in there!)

When my brother came along, blue also belonged to him, along with all of the other little boys around the world. Blue also belonged to summer. Cool water and sunny skies. Yet it wasn't until I started college at Penn State that blue finally started to become mine, although I managed to find a couple of pink Nittany Lion t-shirts.

Years after graduation, I got a job at the university and my relationship with blue began to shift. At first working at my alma mater filled me with a sense of pride. Yet as I approached the 10-year mark I found the sight of something blue would fill me with stress. So I moved on.

As I was catching up on my blog reading, I noticed that the theme for July at Creative Every Day is "blue." Seems like the universe would like me to take another look at my relationship with blue. It is time to see blue through a more balanced lens.

I put together an Etsy treasury of blue items, "Blues to beat the blues," by fellow members of the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy to get me in the mood to prep for a month of blue inspiration.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Meditation at the old spring house

Over the years I have had an on again, off again, love affair with meditation. I dabbled on my own a bit with guided meditations.Then I found a wonderful teacher, Angela, who introduced me to Kundalini Yoga, which is a meditation practice that helps you experience a flow of Kundalini energy.

Yet somehow, just when I start to receive the benefits of a meditation practice, I veer off course. I was starting to think that maybe a country girl isn't made for meditation. Then I remembered my grandparent's spring house.

The spring house

The spring house, which protected my grandparent's water supply, sat in a little patch of woods behind their house. We lived next door to them on a couple acres of their 60-acre farm. I often found myself wandering to the spring house. Sometimes I'd peek inside the door frame to see if any frogs had ventured into the pool of water house beneath the little structure. When I confirmed the pool was clear, I'd take the metal cup that hung on a nail on the wall to take a drink of the water that cascaded out of the overflow beneath open door frame. It was the coldest, freshest water I have ever tasted.

Other times I would crawl up onto the mostly flat roof to read a book or work on my homework. I liked that spot because I loved being in the woods, but if I sat on the ground and tried to read, I was forever distracted by thoughts of snakes. I could sit on the roof and feel relatively safe from creepy things.

So many times I went there with the intention of reading, yet I would find myself staring up at the canopy of trees overhead, my mind somewhere a million miles away. Somehow everything seemed perfect when I sat there.

Once and a while I go back there when the voice on my guided meditation DVD asks me to picture a place where I feel happy and safe. The sad thing is that the real thing is still so close, yet I never really get to experience it. My parents still live in the same place, but most of the farm, and the woods that framed it, were sold when my grandparents passed away.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Doing the impossible is a state of mind

I am experiencing one of those times when my to-do-list has reached the "impossible" threshold. My week consisted of 3 days of strategic planning, a board of trustees meeting, and luncheon that left everything else untouched.

Every undone item makes me feel like I am slipping deeper and deeper into the realm of failure. Yet, just when I think, "I can't do this," I see something that reminds me that "I can" if I stop thinking about doing it all at once.

On my way to the office, I pass two things to serve as that reminder: a shrine of Saint Francis at the bottom entrance of campus (above photo) and a bulletin board display as I enter my building designed to motivate nursing students along possible career paths (photo below).The bulletin board has the most inspirational quote on it.

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.

__Saint Francis of Assisi

The quote by Saint Francis of Assisi is a beautiful reminder that wonderful things happen one task at a time.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The simple things

Sunday afternoon naps are great stress relievers even if you aren't the one taking the nap. Benjamin fell asleep in my arms yesterday. His expression was so sweet that I took the opportunity to get some photos from an angle you don't usually see. I had my husband hand me the camera so I wouldn't wake him then I placed it on his chest to get a close-up of his face (complete with tongue sticking out).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Two-toned Fleur-de-lis Pendant

Black and Gold Fleur-de-lis Pendant
Here is one of my recent experiments: using two colors of polymer clay for the base of a piece. I roll out the two colors clay and slice one side of each to give me a clean edge. I piece the two edged together and gently join the seams by rolling the pieces together.

Once the seams are fused, I stamp the image as close to centered over the seam as I can get it. Clear stamps are easier to line up. Solid wood stamps take more practice.

In the example I created a black and gold fleur-de-lis pendant using this technique. It is available for sale at:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

For the Guys

People often associate polymer clay with pretty, feminine creations. Personally I think it is a fine medium for posies and hearts, but sometimes I get the urge to make something that is not so sweet.Polymer works great for that too.

This month's theme for the Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy challenge is "For the Guys." I figured the devil beer steins that I made for some of the guys in my family would fit the bill. Vote in the challenge and you can win a polymer clay creation by one of the guild's talented artists.

1) Faux Leather Box with Copper Accents by Cindy of ArrowdaleArtStudio

Cindy's description of her entry: This was my stab at "For the Guys," the theme of the PCAGOE June Challenge. Created of black Kato poly clay, which I've textured to resemble leather, and enhanced with hammered copper accents, some wired on, with the one on top having a pierced design. The box is 3.5 inches round, and about 2.5 inches tall, making it suitable for spare change, pieces of jewelry or even paper clips and what nots on his desk.

2) Man's Pendant with Black Suede Cord by Line of PlaySculptlive

The colors and texture of Line's work show a strong, masculine framework that would look good on any man in your life. The bold wire completes the look.

3) Mokume Gane Business Card Case and Pen Set by Angela of PolymerClayCreations

This business card case and matching twist pen would make a great Father's Day gift! It was made with the mokume gane technique with several shades of blue clay along with white, pearl and transparent all layered with silver leaf.

4) Abstract Triangle Pendant by Jill of JKollmann

Made this for my son. I think I'm going to trade the chain for a rope, though.

5) Ancient marbled Runes Box Pendant by Sage of TheSageArts

One of the few jewelry pieces I've made for the guys, it comes with a complete set of runes that can be changed out in the box choker so the wearer can wear the rune that represents the element he would like to be aided in or the way he feels that day

6) Fish Switchplate by Becky Sue of BeckySueCreations

Made with your man in mind

7) Faux Leather Opener and Valet Set by Susan of 11BoldStreet

Faux leather is a natural choice for something guy-appropriate. I layered black and coppery-tan polymer sheets, and made cut-outs through the top layers. Valet approx. 4" square.

8) Devil Beer Stein by Marie of YoungCreative

Beer steins that I made for the guys in my family. The background flames are hand-sculpted and accented with pearl powders. The devil face was made from a Victorian face mold that I distorted before adding horns and a beard.

9) Aztec Treasure Pencil Cup by Arlene of AshPaints

This pencil cup is formed around a 3 inch diameter pvc pipe which gives it both strenth and stability. The design includes textured patches, impressed scrolls and a honeycomb design background texture. The clay is a rich earthy blend of oranges and browns and is angiqued with a burnt umber acrylic paint then highlighted with a light touch of gold acrylic paint to make all the details pop

10) Tainos Petroglyphs Pen Set by Norma of NormasClay

This is a pen and pencil set on the left with two pens on the right. All petroglyphs motifs were made with canework.
Many of the entries are available in the member's Etsy shop. Click on the member's name or the title link to check any entry you are interested in purchasing.

To vote:
Both PCAGOE members and the public may vote between June 1 and June 7, 2011 at midnight, Eastern U.S. time. Five lucky (5) voters from the public, chosen at random, will also win beautiful polymer clay prizes created by one of our many, talented member artists!
Click here to vote.


Prizes June 2011 
1st row, L-R: MarcyMPC, ThePleasantPheasant, ClayCenter,
2nd row, L-R: NormasClay, AlisonEKurek, JulieSpace
3rd row, L-R: NKDesigns, RenGalSA, PennysLane


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