Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Year, A New Beginning

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday. I spent a quiet Christmas Eve with my immediate family, who gathered at my sister's home, for what I jokingly refer to as "the annual exchange of gift cards." My niece and nephews are grown now, and they prefer cash gifts, and lots of it, and a little of the Christmas magic has worn off over the years from when they were wonder-eyed children, but we still enjoy getting together for good food and fellowship. My nephew Craig also celebrates his birthday on New Year's Eve, so we'll be right back there again come Friday for fireworks and pizza.

You hear it a lot, but where has the year gone? It seems like yesterday we had that big (big for us in the deep South, anyway) 5" snowfall, but that was back in January. Spring and Summer whizzed by so fast! And now we are days away from the end of 2010.

It has been a year of highs and lows for me. My extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins has worried through several serious health issues, but also celebrated joyous additions to the family. Some of us have been victims of the economic downturn, including me. My hours at work were cut back, and for the first time in almost 35 years, I am a part-time employee with no benefits. The economy has forced us as a family to make some tough decisions, but thankfully, we are holding our own. We are blessed in many ways and are much more fortunate than so many other people in this country. We have plenty of food to eat and a safe place to lay our heads at night. If there is a silver lining to my hours being cut back, it is that I get to spend more time with my mother in the twilight of her life. We have become closer than ever, for which I am very grateful.

Realizing that time really is precious, I also made a decision that has given me more time with family and more time to create and develop whatever talent I have for clay and jewelry design. Earlier this week, I resigned from the Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy (PCAGOE), effective with the last day of the January, 2011 challenge.

Some of you might now know that I was the Challenge Coordinator for PCAGOE. Along with my friends Angela and Jill, we put together the challenge contests some of you vote for every month. I also served as Vice President of the guild, Store Standards Chairperson, and as one of the team Mentors. It was a lot of responsibility and required an exhausting amount of time and energy. I was physically and mentally drained, and with a growing business and my Mother in particular needing more of my time, I made the decision to leave the guild. So far, it has been very liberating. No more midnights spent putting together mosaics and linking to shops and such. Now if I stay up until midnight, it is to read, which I haven't had time to do in more than two years; or to clay when the old muse slaps me on the head; or even to spend time chatting with friends who aren't in my time zone. I don't regret the time and energy I put into the guild, and I made some lasting friendships through PCAGOE for which I will always be grateful, but it was time for me to go.

So, I want to say thank you to my fellow PCAGOE members who befriended me, encouraged me, supported me and inspired me while I was a member. I learned so much from being in your presence, both about clay and about life. I hope we will remain friends and stay in touch, and I wish you all the best!

So, new year, new horizons... onward and upward... the best is yet to come... YOU BET!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Romantic Steampunk Anyone?

Update: Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has emailed me about these pendants! I had no idea they would be so popular. Several people have asked if they are for sale, so I will be listing a few in the Etsy shop, although I am afraid it is too late for a Christmas delivery this year. Thanks again for your wonderful comments and response. I'll definitely be making more of these!

Lynda

No, I don't mean those Victorian women with deer heads stuck on their bodies, and no watch guts, I promise. Stuff like that makes me shudder.

I have been playing with the Vintaj brass shipments again. One very late night recently, I looked squinty-eyed at one of my image transfer cylinder beads and had an ephiphany... "cage" them in Vintaj brass! The result? These luscious, romantic, Victorian, steampunkish, Gothic sort of looking pendants.

These pendants have a nice weight to them, and look great simply stung on an antique brass finish chain with a little Swarovski bling. One or two have gemstone drops instead of crystal. I caged them in either the large butterfly filigree or the large clover filigree pieces; and one of the William Morris Fabric transfer beads is wrapped in that gorgeous Vintaj dragonfly, which I love.

I took the Vintaj Magnolia Leaf end caps with those neat wire wrapping pliers most people use to manipulate the Vintaj filigree pieces, you know, the ones with the large and small barrels, which by the way, make perfectly shaped wire wrap loops with half the effort of the traditional way; and transformed the end caps into squarish bead caps which PERFECTLY fit the ends of the cylinder beads!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Slap Out Of Clay Until January

Since I started with polymer clay, I have never run slap out (a quaint Southernism), but I am slap out of clay at the moment, and won't be ordering any until after the first of the new year. I guess that means I am on vacation!

Bird Bead Charms Group 2

3/4" x 1/8" double-sided bird charms

Bird Beads Group 1

Various bird beads, some double-sided, 1" to 2" tall

The last of the clay went for these bird beads, some of which are for a trade between me and my friend Laura Boner-Leidy, who has a shop at Etsy called LauraBeeStudios. Laura made me a gorgeous, mouth-wateringly delicious black and cream necklace to wear to a wedding next weekend, and I in turn made a bunch of bird beads for her. And what she didn't choose, I decided to doody up (another quaint Southernism, we're just slap full of them) a few with some Swarovski crystal and some Vintaj brass. I must say, I am very pleased with the doodied-up ones.

Caged Bird Polymer Clay Pendant with Dark Indigo Swarovski Crystal and Vintaj Brass Caged Bird Polymer Clay Pendant with Dark Indigo Swarovski Crystal and Vintaj Brass

I purchased some Gilder's Paste from www.gilderspaste.com a few weeks ago, after seeing Cynthia's feature on it at PolymerClayDaily. I'm still on the learning curve with GP and polymer, but it looks fantastic on the Vintaj.

I purchased a bunch of the metallic paste colors and a few of the matte colors, and applied a mixture of bronze and silver and black to some Vintaj left and right fern fastenables that weren't the same color because they apparently didn't come from the same color batch. I made them one color, mother being the necessity of invention and all that. These swishy earrings are the result. LOVE them!

Pretty Bird Pendant with Carnelian, Light Topaz Swarovski and Vintaj Brass Swan Lake Pendant with Crystal Clear AB Finish Swarovski, Polymer Clay Bezel and Vintaj Brass Carnelian Drop Earrings with Vintaj Brass Fern Fastenables and Khaki Swarovski Crystal

Friday, December 10, 2010

No, You Are Not On The Wrong Blog

I just decided to change things up a bit after finding the wonderful graphics created by Blanca Perez at Etsy. Her shop name is GreenValley. I saw this vintage floral banner in Blanca's shop and fell in love with it, and decided to revamp the blog. You will have to tell me whether or not you like the new look.

I think the softer, lighter colors are easier on the eye, although I loved my dramatic, black background and aqua banner. They were SO Diva. And my packaging is branded with the zebra print and aqua and glossy black colors, too. Yikes. What have I done? Oh well, no rule says my blog can't be different from the shop, right? Let me know what you think.

And The Winner Is!



Here is the list of the wonderful ladies who posted comments about my blog hop ornament, this Sweet Little Victorian Miss With Red Rose Wreath, and entered the drawing to win her.

1) JeannieK
2) Rosebud101
3) IslandGirl
4) JenniferJangles
5) Kym Hunter Designs
6) Rosanne
7) Mary Harding
8) Michelle Mach
9) Beverly Herman
10) Tess, GildedDays
11) Rosalyn
12) Heather Powers
13) Tari of Claybuttons.com
14) TesoriTrovati
15) Spirited Earth
16) Erin Fickert-Rowland
17) Cindydolezaldesigns
18) WondrousStrange
19) MarciaP
20) Angela
21) Alice
22) Kelly Feeney
23) J Kollmann
24) JuLee
25) M.E.
26) Deborah
27) Lynn
28) Susanm
29) Robin
30) Marie Young (Young Creative)
31) Kathy B


And the winner is (drum roll, please!): #8 Michelle Mach

Congratulations, Michelle!

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on the blog hop feature. I really enjoyed reading your lovely comments, so much that I have decided to continue the giveaways! It was so much fun. So, if you are not following my blog already, you might want to add me to your list, because I will be cranking up another giveway very soon!

Congratulations again to Michelle, and Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to everyone!

Lynda

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Now Selling Vintaj Natural Brass Products and Swarovski Crystal

I love Vintaj Natural Brass. I love the story behind the women who started the business. I love the service they give their customers. I love the quality of the Vintaj product line and the helpful assistance they offer on the Vintaj website. You can find tons of inspiration with their design gallery!

The Vintaj pieces are the perfect compliments to the vintage, nostalgic look I create in my jewelry. I have purchased a few pieces, a very few at a time, but recently decided to add a line of the Vintaj products to my Etsy shop, www.pcdiva.etsy.com. If you didn’t know I had a second Etsy shop, it’s because in the past, I have used it as a seasonal holiday shop for ornaments, vintage fabric items and potpourri, to keep my www.scdiva.etsy.com shop for polymer and gemstone jewelry only. I would keep it open for the Christmas shopping season and then close it up until the next year.

For the past two days, however, I’ve been sorting and pricing and stocking and listing, and I am very pleased to announce that PCDiva is open for business as of today! I hope you will stop by and see the Vintaj products I have chosen. If you are a registered Etsy user, add my shops to your circle, and I’ll add you to mine, so you can see new items as I list them. I also have a couple of the new Arte Metal line, as well.

In addition to Vintaj Brass items, I will be listing Swarovski crystal and other Czech glass beads and jewelry components in small amounts; and de-stash supplies of semi-precious gemstones and metals from my personal collection.

I am working on a third Etsy shop, too, one which I hope to have up and running before Valentine's Day, 2011. It will feature items created from my hand-dried and blended potpourri and “cottage chic” or “shabby chic” d├ęcor items made from my personal stash of 1930s and 40s vintage feedsack and floursack linens.

So, if you are looking to purchase Vintaj brass, I hope you will consider me first. I will be happy to order for you if I don’t have what you need, too, just let me know which pieces you would like and in what quantity. I have just placed a second order for more of the filigree pieces and findings, which should be in before the end of next week.

Thanks, everyone!

Lynda

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My William Morris Long Lariat Style Necklace Is A Winner!



Woot woot! This little baby, which I selfishly made and kept for myself, garnered 2nd place in the Polymerista of the Month competition at Voila!. Thank you so much to Christine Dumont, artist extraordinare for your comments and insight, which always inspire me to do better!

I'm off to rent Cloud 9, I'll be hangin' out on it all day today!

ABS Ornament Blog Hop - Win One of Mine!

Welcome to my stop on the ABS ornament blog hop! Thank you for coming by to see the ornament I made.

This reminds me of a progressive supper club my friends and I started several years ago. Once a month, we would spend an evening trekking from house to house, stopping at a different house for a different dish on the menu. It was so much fun, but took an exhausting amount of time and energy to accomplish.

The ABS ornament blog hop is all the fun without all the work or the gas! All you need is a finger to click on the links of the participants, and you'll be transported to a holiday Winter wonderland!



Here is my contribution to the hop, a sweet little Victorian miss in her fur-trimmed aqua cape holding a red rose wreath, one of the ornaments in my 2010 Holiday collection. All the ornaments in the collection have a Victorian theme and were all created by me using digital images transferred to polymer clay. They are all "framed" in antique brass clay or burnished gold clay and trimmed with Swarovski crystal. To see more, scroll down the page or visit my flickr photostream.

Leave a comment at the end of this post and you could win this Sweet Little Victorian Miss ornament! No purchase is necessary, just leave a comment and on December 10, I'll draw a winner at random and send you an ornament in time for you to enjoy it on your tree this Christmas.

Thanks so much, and Happy Holidays!

Here is a list of all the participants. So, hop aboard the Ornament Express and let's go see what wonderful creations await us!

Art Bead Scene
Creative Impressions in Clay
Diva Designs - You are here!
Elysian Studios
Fab Fibers
For the Love of Beads
Humblebeads
Island Girl's Insights
Jangles
Jeannie's Blog
Lampwork Diva/Cindy Gimbrone
Mary Harding
Michelle Mach
Spirit Rattles
Wondrous Strange Designs

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Gothic Arch Garden Nymph... And A New Friend

Gothic Arch Garden Nymph

Two weeks ago, I saw this gorgeous photo of an ATC in CreativeSpirit1's flickr photostream, and my jaw hit the floor. I fell in love it, the beautiful, soft colors and the composition. I immediately typed in a comment asking if the image was available for sale. A few days went by, but no response from the mysterious CreativeSpirit1, and I thought, oh well... but I really, really wanted to create something with that image.

Imagine my surprise when Lynn, the artist behind behind CreativeSpirit1, who also has a delightful shop at Etsy called Koupie, emailed me a couple of days ago and said I could use the image if I would create a pendant for her. Would I ever! I was jumping up and down with excitement.

This image really, really speaks to me. It has that vintage Victorian look you know I LOVE, it is romantic, it has gorgeous graphics, and that arch shape... oh, my... I'm drooling again. Oh, and Lynn also has a fantastic blog where she chronicles her crafting adventures, including her awesome handmade Christmas decorations. Check out the trimming on those stockings!

Well, I printed out several sizes and got to work. I created two large Christmas ornaments for the little, Victorian-themed Christmas Tree I have in my bedroom, a medium sized pendant with some Pink Siam Swarovski blingies, and a small, unadorned pendant. I transferred the image for the small pendant onto translucent clay, which gives it a floating effect. I framed the large ornament and the medium pendant in my signature antique brass colored clay and also finished the backs of all the pieces with the brass clay that I embossed with two ivy pattened texture sheets. I also added a 12mm, AB finish crystal clear Swarovski Graphic bead and a 10mm Pink Siam Swarovski crystal with an AB finish.

RESERVED FOR CREATIVESPIRIT1 Gothic Arch - Large Ornament with Swarovski Crystals
Christmas Ornament

RESERVED FOR CREATIVESPIRIT1 Gothic Arch - Medium Pendant with Swarovski Crystal
Medium Pendant

CreativeSpirit1's Gothic Arch - Small Pendant
Small Pendant

Thanks again, Lynn, for allowing me to use this glorious image. I look forward to seeing more of your graphic designs!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Time To Vote! PCAGOE's December Challenge - Faux Mokume Gane

December Challenge Entries

Here are the entries in this month's PCAGOE challenge, "Faux Mokume Gane." Vote for your top 3 favorites beginning December 1 through December 7, 2010 and you could win a fabulous polymer prize created by one of our talented artist members!

Cast your vote at www.pcagoechallenge.blogspot.com

Thank you!