January 20, 2012

I hope this new year finds you working on all sorts of wonderful things! Between late-night feedings and diaper changes, the main thing I've been spending my free time on is preparing for the OKPolyClay Twisters Retreat, which my local guild will be hosting April 19-21, 2012, in Norman, Oklahoma. Christi Friesen will be teaching two half-day classes, plus we'll have demos, vendors, food, and plenty of space for claying. I'm particularly excited about our goody bags, since I've been in charge of finding donors for those (they're gonna be filled to the brim with great stuff!).

If you're in the middle part of the country — or have been looking for an excuse to visit Oklahoma (and who isn't?!) — I hope you'll consider registering for our retreat. I'd love to meet you!

November 29, 2011

Just wanted to let you know my newest creation popped out of the oven (as it were) this morning. Jessica, who was born at 11:09, weighed 7 lb, 2 oz and is 19" long. She has blue eyes (with beautiful long eyelashes) and dark hair.

We're healthy and thrilled. Got a few pics here.

June 23, 2011

If you've noticed the crickets chirping around here, it's cuz I've been cooking up something big. Er, em, something little. We're expecting our second little one towards the end of November or early December. While I've been fortunate with both pregnancies to not deal with the morning sickness so many women suffer through, I have been a tad exhausted. Hopefully now that I'm in the second trimester, that'll ease up a bit and I'll be able to find my way here more often.

While we're talking about "labors" of love, I thought I'd give you an update on what's happening with Polymer Clay 101. I'll admit I was terrified that people wouldn't like it (creative work can be so scary that way), but the reviews have been great. Just this morning, Jenny of Craft Test Dummies reviewed it and showed some of the beautiful pieces she made based on the book's instructions. We've also gotten positive reviews on Amazon, from Chica and Jo and from the Library Journal. Thanks to all of you who have helped with the good words!

And the big news in the polymer clay world is the upcoming International Polymer Clay Association (IPCA) Retreat, to be held July 13-16 near Chicago. Oh, how I wish I could be there... but we decided travelling pregnant and with a 2-year-old was a bit prohibitive. I look forward to reading lots of reports about it.

Hope you're doing well & that your lives (or at least your clay tables) are full of your own little labors of love!

September 2, 2010

Polymer Clay Birdhouse

One of my favorite things about fall is the state fair. Granted, the food on a stick is hard on the body... not to mention the budget. And the crowds are even less appealing now that hubby and I are toting a toddler and a stroller. But I'm particularly fond of the fair's creative arts competition.

I've been entering my handmade goodies in local fairs for as long as I can remember. In fact, I'm pretty sure I still have each of the ribbons I won when I was a little girl (though I'm afraid they may be in that box that's molding in the corner of the garage). The thing that appeals to me about the contests now, though, isn't necessarily winning. It's two things: having an excuse to create, and having a deadline. I don't have to worry about whether something is commercially viable, or whether it's something I can easily create a tutorial for. It's an chance to try out those things that have been tumbling around in my brain, just to see how they turn out.

As with most things I get excited about, I go a little overboard. The deadline's in 9 days, and I've finished exactly 0 of the 6 things I signed up to do. It's not unusual for me to be putting the finishing touches on an item while hubby drives me to the drop-off location 15 minutes before they close. So he kinda sighs when he finds out I've turned in my state fair form for the year. It's the same sigh he uses when I tell him we should do all handmade Christmas gifts. After 10+ years of marriage, he knows me pretty well.

So anyway, one of the projects-in-progress is a birdhouse, and I thought I'd give you a little sneak peak. I'm eager to see how it turns out.

Work in Progress: Birdhouse

And speaking of birdhouses, the birdhouse pictured up at the top of this post was featured in the Reader's Gallery of the October 2010 PolymerCAFÉ, along with a rusted inro I blogged about here.

There's a bit of a story behind that birdhouse.

I didn't originally post photos of the birdhouse online, because I made it as a Christmas gift. Or at least I thought it was supposed to be a Christmas gift...

Continue reading "Of Fall & Birdhouses" »

June 14, 2010

Cover of August 2010 Polymer CAFEI was excited to open my mailbox today and see that the August 2010 issue of PolymerCAFÉ had arrived. In addition to some gorgeous projects (I love Ann Kruglak's cover piece!), this issue contains a little article I wrote explaining how to magnetize the base on your Sculpey 5-In-1 Clay Tool.

Previously part of the Studio by Sculpey tool line, this tool has really become one of my favorites. I bought one to keep at home and one to take to guild, which keeps me from having to check individual items (needle tool, carving tools, etc.) off my pack-for-guild checklist.

Bonus Tips

Continue reading "Make the Most of your Sculpey 5-in-1 Clay Tool" »

March 17, 2010

Polymer Clay Mosaic ClockYou may have noticed it's been a little extra quiet around here lately. Turns out, book-writing takes a pretty significant amount of time. I turned the manuscript in at the beginning of March, though, and I'm eager to get back to regular life — things like blogging and sleeping and taking showers. :-)

I'll probably tell you bits and pieces about my book-writing experience in the months to come, but for now, I'll start with this story. I was working on a polymer clay image transfer project, and everything went perfectly in my prototype project. But for a variety of reasons (the warmth of the clay, the age of the transfer, etc.), I wasn't having much luck trying to photograph the process. I started project after project, and each of them failed before I could take the photo showing the transfer. At one point, I looked around at the eight(!) false starts and realized my work room looked like the Island of Misfit Crafts. :-)

That's probably the part of book-writing I was least prepared for — all the prototypes and mess-ups and not-quite-good-enoughs. It's a little different from the blogging process: I would normally go about my business, working until I happened to create something good enough to write about here. Having a quick deadline adds a lot of pressure. It's not always easy to come up with projects that demonstrate a particular technique in an interesting and fairly foolproof way. I hope I ended up finding the right balance in most cases, but there were definitely some failed projects along the way. In fact, I've got shoeboxes full of them that I'm just now starting to revisit.

The Giveaway

Continue reading "A Giveaway... And a Favor" »

November 18, 2009

I've been eager to share this with you guys, but I wanted to wait til it was all officially official. Well, I got the signed contract back from the publisher yesterday, so here goes...

I've been asked to co-author a polymer clay book! It's called Polymer Clay 101, and I'm writing it along with Kim Otterbein. The publication date is currently scheduled for January 2011. Of course, my part needs to be done much sooner than that, so posts here may be a tad sparse for a little while.

Writing a book has been a long-time goal of mine — the kind of big goal you're almost afraid to talk about because you're afraid it won't happen. So I'm very excited for this opportunity. I have a lot to learn, but I've really enjoyed the work so far. Hopefully, once the book it out, you'll enjoy the projects as much as I have!

October 17, 2009

Fancy Lady Skull Pin

Tired of using the same old Halloween decorations year after year? Come make some new ones at my DIY Glowing Skulls class in Oklahoma City. We'll talk about the Dia de los Muertos tradition and learn to make festive skulls out of glow-in-the-dark polymer clay. Use your skulls as jewelry, magnets, puppets, and more. Here are all the details:

  • Class: DIY Glowing Skulls
  • Location: OKCCoCo in Downtown Oklahoma City
  • Date: 4-7 p.m., Saturday, October 24th, 2009 (we'll walk over and watch the big Ghouls Gone Wild Halloween parade after class)
  • Cost: $20
  • Registration details here.

Check out a few more skull pics here.

Oh, and a teaser... I've got some exciting news to share, but I'm waiting til it's officially official before I post details here. If you're curious, here's a big hint.

September 20, 2009

Seashell Mosaic Polymer Clay ClockJust a reminder for you folks in the Central Oklahoma area... I would love for you to come to my Polymer Clay Clocks class next Sunday, September 27, 2009. The class is part of Deluxe Craft Weekend, where you can come and craft all weekend, take classes, and have all your meals catered. Sign up for the whole weekend — or just the specific classes you're interested in — here.

Here are the details:

Keeping Time with Polymer Clay: Use polymer clay and a recycled CD to make a beautiful clock, perfect for gift giving or to decorate your own wall. We'll discuss basic tools and techniques with a focus on texture and surface effects. No previous polymer clay experience is necessary. All necessary supplies and materials will be provided, but feel free to bring along any polymer clay tools you already have.

  • Date: 6-9 p.m., Sunday, September 27th, 2009
  • Cost: $30
  • Sign up here.

You can see more sample clocks here.

August 31, 2009

This is just a heads-up for my fellow Okies about the classes I'll be teaching in the next couple of months:

  • Mold-Making Basics: I'll be showing how to make molds using several different materials. We'll then use our molds to decorate custom polymer clay nametags.
  • Keeping Time with Polymer Clay: Use polymer clay and a recycled CD to make a beautiful clock, perfect for gift giving or to decorate your own wall. We'll discuss basic tools and techniques with a focus on texture and surface effects. No previous polymer clay experience is necessary. All necessary supplies and materials will be provided, but feel free to bring along any polymer clay tools you already have.
    • Date: 6-9 p.m., Sunday, September 27th, 2009
    • Cost & Registration: Fee is $30. Sign up here.
  • Glowing Skulls: Create glowing "sugar skulls" from polymer clay. We'll learn about glow-in-the-dark clay and discuss the Dios de los Muertos tradition. These skulls will make perfect decorations for your Halloween or Dios de los Muertos festivities.
    • Date: Saturday, October 24th, 2009
    • Cost & Registration: Details TBA. If you're interested, contact me and I'll let you know when the registration form is online.

I'll be posting more about these soon, including photos of the projects. I would love to have you there!

July 12, 2009

I'm sitting in the amazingly nice hotel at the 2009 International Polymer Clay Guild Retreat in Chicago. Hubby and I arrived around 9 p.m., after spending most of the last two days in the car with our (thankfully) usually-happy 5-month-old.

I went down to the main retreat workroom last night long enough to check in and do some preliminary set up. Having never been to any claying event larger than a guild meeting, I was wowed by everything. I picked a table halfway between Christi Friesen and Lisa Pavelka, thinking how fortunate I am to get to see some of my clay "heroes" in action. The goody bags were awesome — filled with clay (Studio by Sculpey, Premo and Pardo), clay tools, and a few samplers I'm not even sure what to do with.

Our car was packed pretty full (how can a little baby require so much stuff!?), but I'm already wishing I'd brought a few more supplies to work with — especially my alcohol inks. I suppose I could use this as an excuse to buy more... but everything has to fit in that same car for the trip home!

The schedule's busy, but I'm planning on tweeting as I go (look for the #ipca09 hashtag).

Also, a question for you. Polyform (makers of Sculpey, Premo, etc) will be sending one of their chemists for a Q&A session tomorrow. Do you have anything you'd like to ask? Leave a comment, and I'll try to pass your questions along.

June 22, 2009

craftroom-swatch.jpgMy birthday's not til August, but I already know that I'm getting a great gift from my mom. She offered to paint my craft room for me. It's something I've wanted to do for at least a couple of years, as this old blog post from the archives so pointedly reminds me. Once we had Sam, I wondered how projects like that would ever get done. So I was thrilled when my mom offered.

I'm pretty sure I'm going with an earthy orange. The orange swatch above is my current fave. I'll probably also add some shelves (the bookcase is overflowing, plus there are some thing I've made that I'd like to display). And I've got a few ideas for wall decor — even some including polymer clay. (Surprise, surprise!)

Continue reading "Craft Room Makeover, Lighting Giveaway" »

February 9, 2009

Just a quick note to let everyone know our little boy arrived this morning. Samuel Allen was born by C-Section at 7:54 a.m. He weighs 8 lbs, 11 oz, and is 21 inches long. His eyes are blue, and his hair is brown. We're all recovering nicely.

Here's some photos of the little guy.

And here's updated photos of the nursery -- I was able to make a few more Seuss characters and get most everything else in place. (Yay!)

I doubt I'll have much computer time the next few days, but I just wanted to let you know we're healthy and happy. Thanks to everyone for all your well-wishes!

January 19, 2009

Seuss GoatI've read before that perfectionists tend to also be procrastinators. The fear of not doing something perfectly becomes a dread of starting it at all. This explains a lot about me. I don't know whether it works for everybody or not, but for me, deadlines are the best solution. If there's a pressing deadline, no one can expect perfection... which makes it easier to just buckle down and do it.

Nothing screams "deadline" like your obstetrician telling you your effacement and dilation numbers (not much yet, but it's still a reality check!). With less than a month to go before our little boy is due, it's finally dawning on me that I'd better get started on some things!

Continue reading "(A Little) Nursery Progress" »

September 20, 2008

Telemundo Bottles of Hope VideoMy polymer clay group made the TV news again yesterday. This time the local Telemundo affiliate interviewed me for a Spanish version of last week's Bottles of Hope story. Here's the new story (in Spanish), and here's a photo of the angel bottle I made during the filming. (A couple of my other bottles were featured too.)

I suppose I should clarify, though. I didn't actually make that angel bottle during filming. There are several shots of me working on an angel bottle... but the angel bottle I worked on there got wadded up into a ball of clay before I left the building.

A couple of the other folks making bottles got wide-eyed when I disassembled it, and asked what I was doing. I didn't realize til I got home what a jerk I must have looked like. There we were, decorating bottles for cancer patients, and I rip mine apart as soon as the camera crew leaves.

It's not like it looked, though, honest. It's just that I'm not a public crafter. No matter what I do, I just can't seem to be happy crafting anyplace but home.

This time I tried really hard. Knowing that I have trouble thinking of ideas when I'm on the spot, surrounded by other people, I planned a project ahead of time. I even took along pictures of an inspiration piece in case I needed to reference it. Having the project picked out helped me with the other thing I tend to have trouble with — taking the right supplies. Since I knew what my project was, I had a general idea of what tools I'd need. (Too bad I got in a hurry and forgot a couple of those.) I even made an ambitious goal to try to keep myself on track: I was going to finish not just one, but two bottles while we were there.

But even after all that, I still couldn't do it. I got flustered when I realized I'd left my clay blade at home (it somehow didn't occur to me to borrow one of several others in the room). I hadn't brought enough beige clay and didn't like the replacement color I mixed up. But mostly, things just weren't looking right. The skirt didn't drape nicely. The wings weren't pretty enough. I felt like if I were at home using my own tools on my own desk, I could get it right. And so, like I've done at so many guild meetings and other public crafting sessions, I left without having created a thing.

It's not that I don't enjoy crafty get-togethers. I love being around other creatives, watching their process and absorbing their conversations. But I just don't create well in that situation. Maybe it's performance anxiety. Maybe it's perfectionism. For whatever reason, though, I prefer to do my creating in my own comfy little craft room, where I can really dig into a project and do it just right.

So is this just me? I'm curious what the rest of you think of crafting in public...?

September 3, 2008

2404276986_f21b8919ba_m.jpgThis Bottle of Hope has been posted on my Flickr account for a while, so many of you have already seen it. It's a pink ninja, made for a local cancer survivor named Cindy who helped get my guild started in the Bottles of Hope (BOH) program. Pink ninjas were Cindy's personal symbol of strength through her cancer treatments, so I made this bottle to thank her for her help and for speaking to our guild.

The sculpture itself was a bit out of my comfort zone. I'm no ninja expert, so I had to do a fair bit of research on what makes up a ninja. Sculpting people & making clothes are all new to me, too — not to mention doing these things around a bottle form. It was definitely a learning process. I was really relieved when I gave the bottle to Cindy and she seemed to like it.

But I was especially thrilled when I saw that she liked it enough to use it as the photo for her Pink Ninja Race for the Cure team page. I do believe this is the first time a creation of mine has been used as a team mascot. I'm so proud!

One month from now, I'll be joining the Pink Ninja team as they take part in the 2008 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. (I'm planning on just walking the 5K this time instead of running it... ya know, being pregnant and all!) If preventing and treating breast cancer is a cause that is important to you, I would truly appreciate your support in helping me reach my personal fundraising goal.

Thanks so much — and GO Pink Ninjas!

June 13, 2008

Polymer Clay CoasterHey folks... Just wanted to mention I'll be teaching at tomorrow's meeting of the Central Oklahoma Polymer Clay Guild. The project is Rubber Stamped Polymer Clay Coasters, and I think it'll be a fun one. I'll be teaching some basics of using rubber stamps with polymer clay and going over some interesting techniques — plus I'll have a big ol' stack of rubber stamps for folks to play with. If you're in this area, I hope you'll come by. Here's the meeting info.

For folks who aren't in the area, here's a couple of online places you can find me.

  • Twitter. If you're not familiar with Twitter, it's somewhere between a chat room and a mini-blog. My Twitter username is craftygoat — feel free to "follow" me if you're a Twitter-er too. I tend use it for quick, random thoughts — some craft-related and some not.
  • GoodReads. While I've had an account on GoodReads for a while, I've mostly used it with local friends. I hadn't really considered using it for crafty books until Lisa at Polka Dot Creations mentioned it. I'd love to connect to some other crafty readers — so feel free to link up if you're using their site, too.
  • Etc. I've added these two sites plus a few others under the "Find Me Online" section on my About page. If you're into the whole social networking thing, check it out.

Hope to see ya soon — whether it's in person or online!

April 30, 2008


Miss me? Seems like I've been working day & night lately -- preparing for, executing & recovering from this past weekend's garage sale. All that stuff from my craft room clean-up had to go somewhere!

As I was sorting through & pricing items, I noticed some of the bottles of glitter I'd finally decided to get rid of. I've never been a big fan of glitter. Hubby & I specifically avoid buying glittery cards for each other. And if well-intentioned family members send such cards our way, we handle them by the corners, carefully, hoping to avoid any glitter "contamination." I have no idea, then, why I had several bottles of glittery stuff in my craft supplies.

Continue reading "Garage Sales & Glitter Giveaway" »

April 14, 2008

Teddy BearMy local polymer clay guild met Saturday, and new member Nance Ross taught us. Not only did I learn how to make these cute little articulated teddy bears, but I also learned what that means! (Articulated means his little arms & legs are movable, in case the term is new to anyone else.)

After a fun day at the Oklahoma guild on Saturday, hubby & I decided to make a quick trip down the interstate on Sunday to visit the North Texas Polymer Clay Guild. (Well, technically, I visited the guild; he hung out at places offering free wi-fi.) I'd been meaning to visit for a while now. After all, when I helped found our local guild 1 1/2 years ago, I had no idea what was supposed to happen at a guild meeting. I figured it's high time I learned! Plus I'd heard Laura Griffin was teaching this meeting, and I've always admired her style, both in polymer clay and in rubber stamping/paper crafts.

Continue reading "Bears, Beads & Bonding: Fun at Guild" »

December 5, 2007

View from door (after)After guiltily reading about so many other crafty bloggers getting organized, I finally gave in and cleaned my room too. For those of you (like Christie) who enjoy seeing others' craft room photos, I've posted before & after pics on my Flickr page. Or you can read on for details (including specs on my new super-duper work surface)!

Continue reading "Crafting a Clean Creating Room" »

November 21, 2006

I write 2-3 pages in a journal just about every morning. They're my "morning pages," and I started writing them earlier this year when I read The Artist's Way.

The first few months, I just wrote my morning pages in a standard plastic-covered spiral notebook. Then it dawned on me that I should decorate my journal. So I tossed together my first covered composition book at a stamp club meeting. It wasn't anything fancy, but I was happy with the way it turned out.

I was really surprised, though, at how nice it felt to make something just for me. Writing in my own specially-made journal made me feel more positive. Even just catching a glimpse of the journal as I walked through the room made me feel proud. Giving myself that gift reassured me that I'm worth spending my own time and energy on. I think a lot of us could stand to send ourselves that message more often.

The holidays can be filled with doing things for everybody else. Buy or make gifts for the family. Send cards to friends. Bake goodies for co-workers. Clean the house for company. And while all those things are great and can be very rewarding... it's also important to do some nice things for you. Maybe that means making yourself a journal (if so, stay tuned for info on how I made mine). Or maybe it's making yourself some jewelry you just love. Or even just taking a nap!

Whatever it is, I hope you'll take some time to really enjoy yourself this holiday season!

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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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