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Santa OrnamentAhhh... the holidays. When despite all the hundreds of other things I have to do, what I want to do is create. Something about the holiday spirit just inspires me... whether it's to create something yummy in the kitchen (pumpkin gingerbread & snickerdoodles) or to create something artistic in the craft room (Christmas cards & polymer clay gifts).

If you're similarly inspired & are looking to make some polymer clay Christmas ornaments, you might want to check out Maria Maestri's "Simply Ornaments and More: 1002 Designs in Polymer Clay" CD. Available for $19.95 (including shipping), this CD has step-by-step instructions for almost 300 polymer clay Christmas ornaments, plus pictures of hundreds more to use as inspiration.

This CD has a nice range of ornaments, including angels, snowmen, Santas, and more (check out the Table of Contents). It also has a generous policy allowing you to sell the items you create based on these instructions. In fact, it includes a lot of good information for folks selling their work -- things like how to work production-style, how to personalize your items & make items that appeal to different customers, and how to create your own designs.

Since the policy specifically mentions craft fairs and the like, I sent an email to the author asking if online sales were also acceptable.

Her answer: "I don't mind where someone sells what they make using my instructions. I have always said, no one's work is exactly alike and their interpretation of my designs has proven that. It would be nice to get acknowledgment for my designs, but I don't require or expect that." A refreshingly generous attitude!

The thing that really makes this CD unique is its wonderful use of step-by-step photos. Not all of the projects include written instructions, but they all include multiple clear and detailed photos that make it easy to follow along (see examples here and here). The author said this CD has 3,000 photos... out of the 30,000 photos she took! She obviously put a lot of work into creating these wonderful pictorial tutorials.

Including all those photos does have a down-side, though. I found the CD very slow to use -- it took almost 2 minutes to start either of the two volumes on the CD. It performed better once it loaded, but the initial delay was annoying while I was exploring the projects. What I did to fix this was to copy the two .exe files from the CD to my computer's hard drive. Since it was no longer pulling all of the data from the relatively slow CD drive, the program started much faster (5-10 seconds).

The only other place I found this CD lacking was in its instructions for creating the ornaments' eyes. From her finished photos, it appears that she paints on the eyes after baking -- but I didn't find that specifically stated anywhere. A couple of paragraphs in the intro discussing eye options, and explaining how she does her eyes, would make this CD more complete.

Still, I am very impressed with this CD. The instruction quality is good, and the huge number of projects makes this a much better value than a similarly priced book. I would recommend this CD for any beginner- to intermediate-level polymer clay artist looking for Christmas ornament ideas -- or for anyone that wants tips for making and selling craft show products.


  • Title: Simply Ornaments and More: 1002 Designs in Polymer Clay
  • Price: $19.95 (includes shipping)
  • Pros:
    • Huge number of projects
    • Excellent step-by-step photos
    • Generous tips for selling your work
  • Cons:
    • CD is slow & clunky to use
    • Doesn't include any information on making ornaments' eyes

Update (4/9/2014): The Simply Ornaments tutorials are now available in PDF format on Etsy.


Thanks so much for doing this review. I went out on a limb and purchased this last week and it's nice to hear/read that it was a good choice. Thanks, also, for the daily information on your fun and informative blog. Hugs, Sue Castle

You're very welcome, Sue. You'll have to come back & let me know your thoughts once you get your CD. I hope you enjoy it!

Thank-you very much for the nice review! The CD does take about 2 minutes to open but once it is opened it can be navigated quickly. I thought I had put in instructions on how to do the eyes but after reviewing the CD, I realize that I did not. The eyes are painted on with acrylic paint. You can paint them any way you like but I do advise not to paint a white dot with a smaller black dot in the middle. This will give your ornament that "deer caught in the headlights" look!
Thanks again for the review. And your Santa ornament looks good!

Thanks for the eye information, Maria. And thanks for all the work you put into this CD -- you did a great job, and I really appreciate how sharing you are with your designs and tips.

I just uploaded a santa to Flickr and tracked you to here ;-) Great review. I was going to write one so will only do a short one and link to yours if you don't mind? I love the CD too and told everyone on my clay group about it today.

Stormy, Your ornaments look wonderful -- great Flickr photos! And feel free to link to the review!

I'm thinking of buying the cd too...sounds like it's worth the money!

I've heard from several people who are enjoying theirs. If you do get it, be sure to come back & give us your thoughts.

I would love to order this cd but I have to send a money order and I can't seem to find the address.Can someone please help me.

Sherri, her email address is listed on her order page. She has always been quick to answer questions I've emailed her, so I'd recommend giving that a try.

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CraftyGoat's Notes is all about sharing polymer clay tips & tricks that have worked for me. (And even a few that haven't!)

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