Monday, November 26, 2007

Inspired by A New Technique

I'm taking a short break from the gift guides to promote the PCAGOE November Challenge. This month's theme was a polymer clay technique called Mokume gane. Mokume gane is originally a Japanese metalworking technique that was adapted as a polymer clay technique. Mokume gane is created by layering very thin sheets of polymer clay and then distorting the stack with any number of tools and then shaving off thin slices to show off the colors, layers and patterns created within the stack. You can also add inclusions such as metal leaf and inks to create further variations or use stamps and texture plates to create interesting imagery. This technique offers up a ton of possibilities. I did a fairly simple one this month. I used metallic (or pearl) and translucent polymer clay and stacked them to create layers. I then impressed circles into the clay with a couple circle cutters and then back filled some of them with more clay. I rolled the stack until everything was smushed together. I took some slices off the top until I got the look that I wanted. I then rolled it smooth and cut the shape of the brooch. I liked the simple shape, because it didn't detract from the mokume gane design. The thing I love most about mokume gane is that you cannot always predict how it will turn out. It's like opening a present every time. I also love how you can make something non-organic like polymer clay and make it look very organic.

Here are all the entries:

PCAGOE November Challenge Entries - Vote for your favorite and be entered to win

Vote for your favorite entry at by November 28th at midnight (EST). You will automatically be entered to win a prize pack valued at over $150.

Take some time this week to explore a new technique or even a new craft all together. Is there something you have wanted to try, but just haven't? Well there's no time like the present. Many of the PCAGOE members had not tried Mokume Gane, but found that it was a wonderful technique that they planned to use again and again. Get out of your crafting rut and challenge yourself to try something new and I can guarantee that you will be inspired, and who knows the new technique may take your work in a whole new fantastic direction!

Here are some more of my Mokume Gane pieces. This is in my entryway:
Mokume Gane Mixed Media Wall Art

Here are a couple ACEO's:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Be Inspired to Spoil the Lady in your Life

Did you brave the malls today? Were you one of the folks who woke up at 3AM to get some of the 4AM specials at retailers? Why???????? You could be sitting at home with a warm cup of coffee (still in your pajamas), shopping on the internet for handmade goodness that everyone on your list would love. Imagine buying direct from an artist who puts their heart and soul into every piece. Then imagine your items arriving to your door already wrapped with coupons and extra goodies for you. This is the type of experience you can have. Why stress yourself fighting the crowds at big box retailers? So save your precious gas and buy handmade this holiday season, and you will be pleasantly surprised how easy it is and how much more time you have to actually enjoy the holiday the people you love!

Ok, I just jumped off my handmade soapbox ( and yes I did make it myself), so here is today's gift guide. Why not spoil that special lady this year? Here are some fabulous handmade items that your female significant other (or any other women in your life for that matter) would love to receive this holiday season (I know I hope my man is checking my blog today and gets the hint!).

Happy handmade holiday shopping!! Stay tuned for the next gift guide featuring gifts for the man in your life!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Be Inspired to Mail Handmade

Well, so far I have covered some of the immediate family, holiday decorating and stocking stuffers. Since the holidays are fast approaching, many people are getting their Holidays cards together to mail out, so I thought I would share some great handmade holiday cards with you. If you can, try to make your own because it's a lot of fun. These days there are plenty of kits and embellishments out there to help you create the perfect holiday card. If you're not so crafty, or don't have the time to create a bunch of cards on your own, you can still impress your friends and family with a unique handmade card by purchasing direct from the artist on Etsy. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, and/or Kwanzaa, you can find a great handmade card for the occasion. Here are some of my favorites that I found. Just click on each picture to be taken directly to the cards listing where you can make a purchase, or browse through the artists other items! Send a little handmade holiday cheer this year with a handmade card.

The mailbox photo at the top of the post was taken by bellajean and can also be purchase on Etsy!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Be Inspired to Stuff Those Stockings - Handmade Gift Guide Part 3

One of my favorite Christmas memories is opening up my stocking to find all the little treasures Santa stuffed inside. Somehow even the orange and the apple at the bottom seemed like a treat. I think traditions can be a great way to create memories. I know my kids look forward to the same traditions every year and have now come to expect them, even reminding me if I forget. They always open their stockings first, and there is almost always a Hotwheels car or 2 inside. I suspect Santa will continue to include one of those even up through their teenage years since it has now become a little tradition too. I also think coming up with all the goodies to add to the stocking is one of my favorite jobs as "Santa". Remembering the feeling I had at seeing all the little goodies stuffed inside, I love finding things that I know they will love. Stockings are not just for kids either. A stocking is a great way to treat your Significant Other and/or your pets, so don't leave them out of the fun. Here are some great handmade stocking stuffers that anyone would be excited to find in their stocking on Christmas morning. Now get to work stuffing those stockings and remember to Buy Handmade!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Be Inspired to Decorate - Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

This is the 2nd installment of my Holiday Handmade Gift Guide focusing on holiday decorations. No matter which holiday you celebrate, decorating your home can be a fun way to bring in the holiday spirit. Here are some great handmade items for your home that would also make great gifts for all kinds of people on your list! Want more information about the items listed, or want to start buying handmade right now? Just click on the picture below to be taken to . Buy Handmade and be inspired to be creative with your decorations this year. Make things with your family and of course buy handmade!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Be Inspired to Buy Handmade

Creativity isn't just for arts and crafts. You can be creative in all of your endeavors. Take holiday shopping for example. You can do the easy thing and purchase a gift card to some mass merchandiser for everyone on your list, or you could take a little time to think about the person, their likes and dislikes, their interests and hobbies, their personal style (or lack of in some instances), and their wants and needs. Isn't that what gift giving should be about? I have always loved finding the perfect gift for someone I love. I think it's even better when you can make them something. Remember when you were little and you made a gift at school for your Parents and they ooooed and ahhhhed. Well I have been a recipient of many of those gifts over the last couple years and I can tell you that nothing tops them. Now if you aren't crafty enough to make something as a gift , why not buy something handmade instead? You will be giving a unique quality item and getting personal service directly from the artist. Even better, you will be supporting an artist instead of greedy corporate CEOs! It's really quite easy, just head on over to for a little handmade goodness. The stores on Etsy have gifts for everyone on your list. Here are a few suggestions for your immediate family:

Need a gift for your mother that really celebrates her amazing sense of style? How about this incredible necklace from

Is your Dad a corporate manager by day and a motorhead by night? How about this super cool tie from

How about your crafty Aunt who loves to knit? I'm sure she would love some luscious handspun yarn from and some funky knitty needles from

Here's a little something for your uncle that travels internationally for work and has a quirky sense of humor. A fun and informative passport cover from . Going through customs will never be the same.

Here's a little something for your sister who just moved into her first apartment. A couple of cool prints for her bare walls from .

Let's not forget your older brother who is a bit of a video game geek and a die hard star wars fan. Some storm trooper cufflinks from and some pacman coasters from are sure to please.

You can't forget about Grandma and Grandma. How about this incredibly lifelike ceramic fish by to commemorate the one that got away from Gramps.

And I am sure grandma would really get a kick out of this Bowlegged babe from featuring a vintage enamelware coffeepot:

You have to admit that there are some amazing handmade gifts out there just waiting to be snatched up. I have decided to stray a bit from my regular inspirational pieces this week to promote buying handmade and sharing some great gift ideas. Please come back to see handmade gift suggestions for your significant other, co-workers & bosses, babies and kids, teens, pets, holiday decorations, stocking stuffers and even custom commissions. So take a break this week and let me help you get ready for the holidays. Please also head over to and pledge to buy handmade. There have already been over 5000 people who have taken the pledge. If you are having trouble sifting through all the handmade items on Etsy check out the All Things Handmade blog which separates some fabulous sellers by category and offers a glimpse of the items they have available which makes for easy browsing. Take some time this week to make something special for someone on your holiday list, and don't forget to buy handmade this holiday season!

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

Did You??

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Through My Eyes - Anything Can be Art ...Right?

Well if you have been following along with my blog, you may know that inspiration strikes me quite often , and in some of the strangest places. If there is one thing I would like to pass along to you from this blog it is to keep an open mind and an open eye for things that could inspire you, or that could become art. For me creating is like breathing and I feel "off" if I haven't made something or thought about making something. So for me anything is fair game. As you know I have a 4 year old (5 this month) artist in my house and his favorite thing to do is to paint with my acrylic paints. He has one of those plastic palettes with the little circles around it for the paint to sit in. Being the lazy mother I am, I never wash it off, I let the paint dry and just keep adding more when he decides to paint. Well I looked at the palette yesterday and determined that I needed to clean it out. All of the little wells were completely full, so I commenced pulling and scraping the pain out. As I did this, I realized that I had just struck gold. The little half sphere's of paint that came out were just too cool to throw away. So I laid them all out on a sheet of white paper and started to take some pics. I also decided that I will be gluing them to a canvas or putting them in a shadow box for my wall. Instant art from something most people would throw away. The best part is that when I look at these little paint blobs on my wall, I will remember all of the fun paint sessions Kyle and I have had. So the lesson of the day is to keep your eyes peeled, your mind open and only clean out your palette when you absolutely have too.

Make something fun today from something left over from your medium of choice and if you make something brilliant, please leave a comment so that I can feature it here.

Just so you know it is taking all of my willpower not to fill all of my palettes with paint just so I can get more of these little treasures.... Maybe I shouldn't fight it!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Inspired by Another World

Well, if you haven't noticed, I am losing the battle of trying to be organized and scheduled and trying to fit everything in. Unfortunately the thing that has taken a back seat has been the blog, which sucks because I really enjoy writing it. I have tons of ideas that I want to share, but not a lot of time with the both of my sons birthdays fast approaching, as well as holiday preparations, and of course making things. I am going to do my best to get in at least 3 posts a week through the rest of the year, so please bear with me. OK, enough excuses. Now on to the good stuff.

It may be because of the interview with tinaseamonster, or maybe since Halloween just passed and I saw all the kids dressing up in their costumes, or maybe I have been browsing Etsy a bit too much , but whimsical ideas keep popping into my head. I even made a treasury last week titled" Transport me to Another World" featuring whimsical/fanciful art that together would make a fantastic world where Cursters and robots fall from the sky, hedgehogs ride snails, flowers come in cubes, flower girls have petals, bunnies live on cupcakes, tube worms are beautiful and balloons can wisk you away at a moment's notice. How can you look at these items and not be inspired to stretch your imagination and create a new world of your own? (Click each item to see more of each artists work.)

Sometimes I think art can be a bit too serious. I mean there is always an argument about whether something is true art, or if it is high-end . I feel like saying "why does art have to be serious? Why can't it be fun and thought-provoking? Or silly and beautiful? Well these artists prove that all of those things can be true. They include whimsical details in a creative way. If you are feeling a little less than inspired, thinking about fanciful, whimsical things can really get the creative juices moving because there is no limit to where you can go. People can sprout animal heads, you can create your own creatures, use colors or patterns that you normally wouldn't, heck, you can even make pigs can fly! Take a little time this week to create a little world of your own. Imagine the characters in your world, how they look, the environment in which they live, how they get around and how they interact. Exercising your whimsical side can be freeing and a whole lot of fun. Once you get started , I bet the ideas will just flow. For more inspiration this week, read a couple children's books and let your inner child out to play! Happy Creating!


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