Sunday, May 30, 2010

My Faux Olive Jade Gingko Leaves Cylinder Focal Beads Are Featured in a New Etsy Treasury

PennysLane Fabulous Faux Treasury

A big THANK YOU to PennsyLane for including me (and several of my PCAGOE friends!) in her new Etsy Treasury, Fabulous Fauxs. I am truly honored to be included among such talent, some of whom are favorite artists of mine.

Check out Pennyslane's shop, too. She is a wonderfully talented California polymer clay artists herself, and methinks an invitation to join the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy is definitely in order. Here are a few items from Pennyslane's shop at Etsy. Fabulous!

Summer Bright Patchwork Handmade Polymer Clay Beads

Cookies and Cream Crumble Handmade Polymer Clay Beads

Thanks again, Penny!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Very Special PCAGOE Challenge

June PCAGOE Challenge Mosaic Revised 3 row

1) Teeny Tiny Tin by NKDesigns
2) Faux Granite and Abstract Inlay by 11BoldStreet
3) Clownfish Have Feelings Too by CreativeArtCenter
4) Teal Leaves by PipsJewellery
5) Falcon Lady by SCDiva
6) Butterfly Tin by ArrowdaleArtStudio
7) Turquoise Delight by LaurelSteven
8) Retro Cobblestones by Polyclarific
9) Someday My Prince Will Come by HappyCreations4U
10) Imagine by TheColorOfDreams11) Abstract Blues by HiGirls
12) Little Box of 1001 Dreams by ClayCenter
13) Mixed Media Mosaic by Juliespace
14) Floral Medallion with Silver Braid by MirameCreations
15) Bloom Where You Are Planted by BeeTreeByMe
16) Dreaming of New Orleans by YoungCreative
17) Groovy Tin by RenGalSA
18) Carnivale! by BlessedBeadJewelry
19) Keychain Tin by MichelesArtJewelry
20) Misty Water Garden by AshPaints
21) Springtime for a Transplanted Jersey Girl by ToniNZ
22) Elegant Seashell Canework by CraftsByCAG
23) Spring Rain by KellyPlaysClay
24) Pastel Skinner Blend with Leaf Motif by Peggers
25) Rainbow Millefiori by PolymerClayCreations
26) Treasure The Moment by MichellesClay
27) Connections - Textured Asian-Inspired Keepsake Box by MarciaPalmer
28) Turquoise Jewels by CreateMyWorld
29) Ali Cat by AlisonEKurek

The June challenge sponsored by the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy, is a very special challenge for us. The theme for June is "Think Outside The Box." The participating members all started off with the same-sized, 2.5" x 2", hinged, aluminum tin. We could cover it with polymer clay and any other material in any design, pattern or colors we chose. 29 of us took the challenge, and just look at all the amazing creations!

In addition to being able to vote for your top 3 favorites this month, you will also be able to bid on your favorites! We will be auctioning off all the tins to the highest bidder during challenge week from June 1st to midnight, Eastern U.S. time on June 7, 2010 to benefit our team charity, Polymer Clay For A Cause.

Bidding begins at $10 for each tin, and there is no limit. Interest has grown steadily since the photos starting appearing at flickr, so if you see one you really want, better get out the piggy bank and the hammer and prepare to bust it open.

Polymer Clay For A Cause was established by PCAGOE member Angela Anderson in memory of her 14 year old daughter, Cortney, who died after a life-long battle with Muscular Dystrophy. You can read more about Cortney at PCFAC and check out items in the Etsy shop created and donated by our talented member artists. In fact, I was cruising through the PCFAC shop day before yesterday and snagged a OOAK Laurel Abrams necklace for $25! Angela donates the proceeds to children's charities, and to date, we have raised over $500.

We are also giving away a bunch of polymer prizes! In addition to 5 lucky voter winners, we are also giving away a beautifully decorated and finished tin created by Jeanette of ClayHappy to one of the bidders. So if you vote, you could win; and if you bid, you could win!

So, please vote for your top 3 favorites at beginning June 1, and we hope you'll place a bid on them, too and help us honor Cortney's memory and help brighten the life of a child in need.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Catching Up - Three New Treasury Features

I was fortunate enough to be featured in three Etsy East Treasuries recently, two this weekend and one from a couple of weeks ago that I didn't find out about until today. Ironically, two of them feature the same pendant.

(I apologize the photos are so small. The new Treasury East Treasuries are too big for my little blog, but click on them and you will see much larger photos from my flicker photostream.)

Thank you to Janell at CoolJane included my Faux Yellow Jade Gingko Leaf Focal Beads in her Treasury "Enchanted Forest."

Enchanted Forest Treasury

Dragonflywer created this beautiful "Passionate" treasury and included my Fiery Red and Gold Asian Calligraphy Ink and Foil Leaf Pendant. This is one of my favorite pendants ever, so thank you, Dragonflywer!

Passionate Treasury

Raceytay (Canadian fine art photographer extraordinare!) also featured the Asian pendant in her beautiful treasury, "Hot Stuff" yesterday. Thank you so much. I drooled over your wonderful photographs while watching the finale of Lost last night on TV. I'll definitely be back for more.

Hot Stuff Treasury

Thanks again, everyone!

Catching Up

I have been such a slacker lately about posting. The days aren't long enough to do everything I need and want to do. It has also been a sad week for me. I had to put my 17 year old cat, Miss Camille, down last Thursday night.

Miss Camille was a beautiful Cream Mackeral Tabby Maine Coon who lived a long and pampered (at her insistence) life, but lately, had been slowing down and not eating. She had a history of hip dysplasia. When I got home Thursday night, she jumped down from her window perch to greet me and fell over and couldn't get up. It was a long and paintful trip to the Vet's office, and I knew by the time I got there it was time to let her go.

I wasn't much in the mood to clay, so I uploaded some listings to Etsy and tried to get my mind back on creating. I made two beads and wasn't concentrating and tried to slice off my finger on a blade, so that put a halt to any new beads for the next week. When it rains, it pours.

Cerebral Dilettante Blog Feature 1

I needed some cheering and some good news, and I got it in the form of some very nice blog and Etsy treasury features. My new friend Keirsten of LuneDesigns did a really great feature on me on her delightful blog yesterday, and today she is featuring a necklace she created with one of my Vintage French Ephemera Eiffel Tower Beads, the pretty one I called "silver print" because it looks like a vintage gelatin print to me.

Keirsten is the lady who dubbed me "Queen of Fauxtiquities" for my new, hieroglyphic bead series. Isn't this a fabulous necklace design? I would wear this every day! It fits my style perfectly. I love Keirsten's treatment of the pendant focal bead, the wire work and the nickel end caps!

Cerebral Dilettante Blog Feature

I am also lucky enough to own one of Keirsten's fabulous necklace designs, this one shown below, which I wear often. It has beautiful teal and amethyst purple beads and the same nickel end caps. I have gotten many compliments on it. Keirsten has an amazing talent, don't you think? Check out her Etsy shop. You'll be marking many of them as favorites.

(This is also the necklace featured in Keirsten's banner at Etsy!)

Thanks again, friends, for brightening an otherwise dark week for me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Help, I Can't Stop Myself! The Focal Beads Are Everywhere!

Tomato Red Faux Tooled Leather Focal Beads

Textured Turquoise and Copper Basket Focal Beads

I took a break from making cakes last weekend to create some bodaciously big and bold focal beads. These are my new favorite thing to make! They are 25mm or larger, and I have made them with many different stamps and designs. I can't seem to stop making them, but they are so much fun.

RESERVED FOR LYNN Double-Sided Light Blue Sapphire Morning Glories Focal Beads

RESERVED FOR LYNN Double-Sided Cranberry Faux Bamboo Focal Beads

Faux Amber Egyptian Hieroglyphics Focal Beads

I even got two necklaces made with them, and I must stop this madness and make more necklaces, got a show next weekend.

Antiqued Turquoise Polymer Focal Beads, African Turquoise and Copper Necklace

Turquoise Verdigris and Copper Necklace

Cherin's Sinfully Good Frosting Inside The Cake Cake, and Who The Heck is Ruth?

If any of you in blogland follow my hysterically funny cyber friend Cherin (NOT Ruth! LOL) a/k/a LanyardLady's blog, you saw her recipe a couple of weeks for Butter Pecan Cake.

Cherin is like a female Lewis Grizzard, and for all you fans or the late, great Bubba, you know what I'm talkin' bout! I visit her blog every morning to get my daily dose of Southern funny. Reading her posts is like a trip back home. You can't wait to get there and you hate to leave. A terrific example of her wickedly funny sense of humor is today's post about bras. You have got to read it.

A couple of weeks ago, I landed on Cherin's page and found nirvana. A cake recipe after my own heart, and waistline. Like Cherin, I've never been a big fan of sugary, greasy frosting. I like more cake than frosting, so all the rest of you can fight over the end pieces all you want. I'll take a nekid (ah, Lewis! Lord, I still miss you!), plain old cream cheese pound cake any day.

Anyway, back to the recipe for frosting inside the cake. Here it is, and I hope Cherin won't mind that I tweaked it just a tad because, well you know me, I can't leave anything alone. She got the recipe from a friend at work, a recipe for Butter Pecan Cake. It called for a bundt pan instead of loaf pans, but I don't like the shape of a bundt cake. I got scared by one once when I was a child. Hee Hee. I also baked it an hour instead of 45 minutes. I have a gas oven, so you may need to adjust the temp and time accordingly.

1 Box Carrot Cake Mix
1 lb. Tub Cream Cheese Frosting
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

If you use a whipped frosting, get the big ass tub. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two glass loaf pans. Combine all ingredients (Cherin's recipe calls for the frosting to be added last, but I was too impatient for that). Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Now I am definitely not a fast food proponent. I like to bake from scratch. I like real food grown in my own garden and put up by me. I'm a foodie to the max and usually disdain boxed, prepackaged, frozen, or commercially canned anything, but I gotta tell ya, you will absolutely not believe how good this cake is. It is a dense, moist, utterly decadent slice of heaven. You must try it!

I have since made this cake with almost every kind of boxed cake mix and frosting on the grocery aisle: Lemon Cake and Lemon Frosting, Lemon Cake and Buttercream Frosting, Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting, Caramel Cake with Coconut Pecan Frosting, Devil's Food Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting, and Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. The carrot cake is my favorite. I don't think I will ever eat another kind of carrot cake again. All that peeling and grating is for the birds, but don't tell my "real food" proponents I said that.

All props to Cherin for the original recipe. If she minds that I corrupted her recipe a tad, I'll send her a cake. Maybe that will make up for it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tower Beads

I am always trying to think of new ways to manipulate image transfers. I like figuring out how to use them in ways they shouldn't work. My experiments this weekend resulted in these little four-sided beads I'm calling "Tower Beads." The images are from a collection of ethnic patterns, specifically Hawaiian Tapa cloth designs I purchased from Linda Gross at ParrishLin.

These are the first two Tower Beads, but I have many more planned. The "end caps" are faux amber, a gorgeous butterscotch color, which I stamped with a pebbled stamp. I love combing my three favorite techniques: Faux, stamping/embossing and image transfers.

I have all sorts of ideas for these, but I think the shape lends itself well to these ethnic patterns.

I also experimented with these smaller Tower Beads, using an Egyptian Hieroglyphic texture sheet on a base of faux amber, a dark burnt sugar caramel color. I love this color, and it compliments this deep, rich antique copper color that has become a signature color for me.

Here are a few more of the faux amber batch, some of which have the Egyptian Hieroglyphic stamping and some a basket weave pattern.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Just Call Me The Queen Of Fauxtiquities

Thanks to Lune2009 for coining the phrase "fauxtiquities" for me. She called me the Queen of Fauxtiquities on flickr, after seeing what I've been up to this weekend. I love it! So, I'm stealing the term. I am going to have to send her a pendant, or a fauxtiquity focal bead, to thank her!

I pulled an all-nighter Friday night, after finishing up the PCAGOE challenge and getting it published (don't forget to vote for your top 3 favorites, you could win a prize!) and while I was working on the final details, an idea came to me that I just had to see if I could execute. I finally made it to bed around 5:00 Saturday morning. When the idea strikes, you gotta go with it or, in my case, lose it forever. I am very happy with these focals. They executed exactly like I dreamed them. I am "seeing" the clay so much better these days, ever since that little exercise called "Progress and Possibilities". It's like a door in my brain opened, and color palettes and ideas are just flooding the old noggin. Better get it while the gettins good, as we say down South. You never know when the old Muse is going to take a hike.

Fauxtiquities, fauxtiquities, fauxtiquities. Man, I love that!