Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Entries for the Polymer Clay Smooshers Fairy Tale Challenge

I just finished my second sculpture for the Polymer Clay Smooshers guild Fairy Tale Challenge.  I've been working on these two pieces for several weeks now.  The first piece I'm entering  is my sculpture of a Gnome and a Halfling standing outside the Halfling's Mushroom house and sharing garden vegetables.  The mushroom cap has glow in the dark accents and a light inside.  This one was inspired by Grampa and our neighbor sharing their vegetables when I was young.  All sorts of fairy tales inspired this as well.  I like imagining that there's a whole world out there that most people never see, like mushrooms that serve as houses for fairy tale creatures.
OOAK Fantasy Sculpture Gnome and Halfling Lighted Mushroom House
These whimsical sculptures are just so much fun to create!  They do take a lot of time, but that's half the enjoyment- all those little details that make the piece so much more special.  My second entry  portrays a fairy offering a sparkling purple unicorn a large leaf full of red and green apples.
OOAK Fairy Feeding a Purple Unicorn Apples Fantasy Clay Sculpture
I sculpted the unicorn first, using a purple sparkle clay that looks very nice with his gold mane, tail, and hooves- very regal coloring.  The horn is sculpted from glow in the dark clay, so you can see the magic it contains at night.  After pondering for a bit I decided he needed a friend- he looked lonely.  And since the theme is Fairy Tales, I had to sculpt a fairy.  This fairy comes bearing a gift for her friend: a large leaf brimming with delicious apples.  Since she can fly, she's able to find all the best apple trees.
Both of these sculptures were a lot of fun to create, and they make me smile.  That's something I always hope my work does for others- puts a smile on their face.
I've seen some of the other entries for this Challenge, and I'm very impressed.  The Smooshers have some very talented artists in their ranks!  I love that these challenges often push people to try things outside their normal boundaries.  I know I've tried many new things and gone in different directions in order to create pieces for a Challenge.
Stay tuned for more new creations from CreativeCritters!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Mushroom Grove

The Mushroom Grove on offers historical-inspired rosaries and rosary jewelry, engraved eggs, recycled glass, sculpture, vibrant hand dyed silks, OOAK flameworked glass pieces, paintings and sculpture among other things.  Will and Bekka are the artists behind The Mushroom Grove.  Their Bio reads "William Bonnichsen was a Friday the 13th baby! He was born on a Naval base in Illinois to two Navy parents.  He showed talent as an artist from an early age and enjoyed sketching and painting as hobbies.  He attended school in Pennsylvania and after High School, attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.  He traveled the United States extensively and worked as a conservation framer in Hawaii. He also sold a line of recycled glass jewelry both online and at galleries.
Bekka was born on the South Shore of Long Island, NY.  She always had an affinity for the arts and enjoyed creating in her spare time. She is also a licensed cosmetologist who enjoys the transformative powers of modern beauty techniques.  The couple met on Etsy in early 2010 and made a real life connection that turned into a lifelong partnership."  
I must say, this partnership certainly has worked out, creatively speaking.  Their shop is full of beautiful and unique handcrafted items.  You can also find them online at,, and on Twitter.  Below is just a small sample of the beautiful work available in The Mushroom Grove.  Be sure to stop in and see all they have to offer!Lampworked Orange Octopus and Squid Pendant Leaf with Caterpillar and Ladybug Flameworked Glass Pendant Ghost Cap Trippy Mushroom Pendant in Orange and Black 
There's a lot more where these cool pieces came from!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Majestic Crystal Rose- beautiful handcrafted jewelry

You'll find unique, affordable, one of a kind jewelry at Majestic Crystal Rose on  Her biography reads, " I started out making jewelry in 2004. When I first started, I used the cheap plastic beads. I didn't want to purchase the expensive beads if I didn't like making jewelry. Now I make one of a kind pieces using real stones, glass beads, sterling silver, and stainless steal. I have improved in my techniques over the last 6 years and I have found that beading wire is a lot stronger and will not break like thread. Then in 2008, my mother passed away and I needed something different to do because I was suffering from a deep depression. I took my first quilting class and I found that it came really easy to me. Now I make a variety of quilts including stained glass, applique, mosaic, and foundation paper piecing. You can find my quilts on my sister site I am still learning new techniques every day. I have done custom work which have included a stained glass Denver Broncos wall hangings and king size quilt and a Messenger Bag. Just to name a few. Please take a look at both of my shops. If you would like something special, I do take custom orders."  You can follow her blog at, become a fan on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter .  Her shop is full of beautiful jewelry, and these are just a few of my favorite pieces
.Purple Oriental Flower PendantMy Little Bee For My Little Girl

Turquoise Chunk NecklaceGreen Heart Necklace Set She's even running a 30% off sale right now!  So hurry in and get some of this beautiful jewelry for yourself!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Recipe for a delicious meatless burger

I got this recipe from, and it is just delicious.  You can change up the spices and get a whole variety of different burgers from the same recipe.  This makes going meatless easy!
 Bean and 'Bello Burger


  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium Portobellos, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
  • 4 whole-wheat buns
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 tomato slices  


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook mushrooms, onion and bell pepper, stirring occasionally, until pepper begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beans, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. Cook, smashing beans with the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a bowl and mix in eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and breadcrumbs. Form into 4 patties. Wipe out skillet; heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat and cook burgers until brown and firm, 6 to 7 minutes per side. Place on buns; top each with 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, a lettuce leaf and a tomato slice.
    475 calories per burger, 18.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 61.4 g carbs, 11.2 g fiber, 17.9 g protein

Monday, January 24, 2011

newcreatioNZ - contemporary art and craft by Jocelyn Friis

Joselyn Friis is the lady behind newcreatioNZ on  She says, "I have always enjoyed the creative process. Be it paint, photography or craft.
I grew up in South Africa, surrounded by nature, with all the sounds and smells that go with it. My family and I moved to New Zealand in 1996. My senses are awestruck when confronted with the bright green pastures, deep green bush and vivid blue oceans.
These colours are reflected in my art. No matter how I start a painting, I am always drawn to the vibrant colours I see in my world. I enjoy capturing the beauty of nature on camera too, especially things close up that are usually hidden from view. In fact, I just plain love creating....anything. I love to try new things."  You can also find newcreatioNZ online at, Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. Below are a few of my favorite items from her shop.Magnets with flower photo images under round domed glass tree at beach in the Summer Cute puppy Jack photo 
And there's a lot more where these beauties come from!  Be sure to check out everything in this shop!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to make a catnip mouse

I've been making catnip mice and other catnip toys for my own cats for years. After I started making them as gifts for friends and family, I found out just how popular they really were!  They're not hard to make, and they're a good way to recycle scraps of fabric.  I grow my own organic catnip, which I sell in 1/2 ounce bags at CreativeCritters.  This catnip is perfect for stuffing toys, or sprinkling on your cats favorite areas.
To make a catnip mouse you'll need:
dried catnip, cardboard pattern for body and ears, scrap fabric, yarn, needle, thread, marker, and scissors

I just drew a very simple mouse shape onto cardboard for the body pattern and a large rounded ear pattern.  Fold your fabric so the right side (the side that will show when the mouse is finished) is on the inside.  Trace two ears and one body pattern onto the wrong side (the side that will be inside the mouse when he's done) of the fabric using a marker.  Be sure to mark an opening on the body for turning and stuffing.
Sew around the ears, leaving the bottom open for turning.  I sew these by hand and use a small back stitch.  Cut the ears and body out, leaving about 1/4" to 1/2" seam allowance.  Before sewing the body, we want to make the tail.  Decide how long you want the tail to be and cut 9 strands of yarn (I chose red and green to match the fabric).  Tie them together at the top with a strong knot, then braid them tightly together, tying them at the bottom.
Take the tail and place it between the layers of the body, with the knot sticking out and the rest of the tail inside the mouse.  As you sew the body, be sure to trap the tail in the seam.  I recommend sewing over this area a few times, just to be sure your cat can't pull the tail out. Now you're ready to turn your mouse right side out and stuff him with catnip and fabric scraps.
After your mouse is firmly stuffed, sew up the opening securely using a ladder stitch and sew the ears onto the body.  You can give your mouse all sorts of personality, depending on how you position his ears.  Use yarn or embroidery thread to make the eyes (simple knots), and the whiskers, which can be as long as you choose.  And this is what you end up with.

Handmade Red and Green Plaid Castnip Mouse Cat Toy with organic catnip 
This little mouse will provide your cat hours of fun play time!  Stop in to CreativeCritters to see my other catnip toys, or purchase some garden grown organic catnip for your furry friend!
Thanks for stopping by!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lake Tye Dye Cool Clothes for Babies and Toddlers

Lake Tye Dye on is full of really cool tie dyed clothes for your baby or toddler.  Patricia says, "Thank you for taking an interest in my one of a kind Tye Dyes. Why Tye Dye? Because my items are created near beautiful Lake Tye here in the Pacific Northwest.  Dyeing is such a fun hobby! All the colors blend in surprising ways and you never really know exactly what you are going to get until you wash everything out. It is like Christmas!
All of my items are made using Procion MX dyes which are Fiber Reactive. Fiber Reactive dyes bond to the fiber in such a way as to be absolutely permanent. There is no need to worry about your colors fading or bleeding. My items go through a minimum of two washings after dyeing."
Below are a few of my favorite items from her shop.  Click on the pictures to go directly to the listing. 

18mo Carters Bell-sleeved Shirt - Hot Pink Gradation TIE DYE 0-3 mo. Gerber Onesie - Random Stripes TIE DYE 18 mo. Gerber Onesie - Pastel Rainbow Heart TIE DYE 
How cute and fun are these?!  And they're all different!  Anything from Lake Tye Dye would make a wonderful gift for your favorite little one!  Be sure to check out everything Patricia has to offer!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Friday, January 21, 2011

Get total body toning and cardio all in one workout

This total body toning workout is from, and tones every muscle in your body.  I wore my Reebok Easy Tone shoes to add an additional balance element (believe me, you're going to feel it!).  What I did to add cardio intervals in to the toning workout was to alternate between strength moves and 3 minutes on the elliptical.  I warmed up on the elliptical at an easy pace for 5 minutes, then did 15 reps of the first strength move, back to the elliptical for 3 minutes (incline level 3, resistance level 6), then another set of strength.  Alternating between cardio and strength like this keeps your heart rate up even during the strength moves, and allows you to work out longer without getting as fatigued.  I did a total of 65 minutes of cardio, and 30 minutes of strength.  I used 5 pound weights for this workout since there is a lot of balancing required, and if you go too heavy, you won't be able to maintain proper form.  I did 3 sets of 15 reps for each exercise.

Don't forget to drink plenty of water and stretch after your workout.  Thanks for stopping by!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gardening Halflings and Gnomes

It all started with a gift for my friend's birthday.  I made her a sculpture of a dwarf standing in front of his lighted mushroom house.  It was so much fun to create, I decided to make another version.  The mushroom house itself is really cool.  I wrapped clay around a glass votive holder for the stem and living area of the mushroom and cut out the door and windows so the light could shine through.  Inside is an electric tea light.

OOAK Fantasy Sculpture Gnome and Halfling Lighted Mushroom House OOAK Fantasy Sculpture Gnome and Halfling Lighted Mushroom House
Pretty flowers grow up the stem of the mushroom and around the base of the house.  I decorated the cap of the mushroom with glow in the dark leaves and stars.
OOAK Fantasy Sculpture Gnome and Halfling Lighted Mushroom House 
Then of course there are the main characters of this piece, Gnor the Gnome and Henry the Halfling.  As I was sculpting these two I remembered our neighbor and Grampa exchanging fresh garden vegetables during the summer.  They were good friends and always willing to share whatever they had grown that season.  I still remember Mr. Wednt bringing Gramma bouquets of dill- LOL!  In this sculpture Henry is bringing over a basket of tomatoes, corn, lettuce, and carrots.  The more I look at Henry, the more I see Mr. Wednt in him- he even used to wear a straw gardening hat.  This all came through subconsciously, and I didn't even see the connection until after the piece was finished.  The Gnome and Halfling were inspired by Boris and Dinko Tilov.  I've been doing a lot of the projects in their Sculpting Mythical Creatures in Polymer Clay, and having a great deal of fun with them.  Their characters are always fun and whimsical, and full of personality.  I'm currently working on another project from that book, and should be listing that one in the next week or so (all depending on how complex I make it).
Thanks for stopping by and sharing the creativity!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Find unique handmade Valentine's Day gifts at CreativeCritters

At CreativeCritters you can find a wide variety of gifts for Valentine's Day.  Each item is made by hand and many pieces are one of a kind.  You will find beautifully detailed sculptures, soft and cuddly teddy bears, pretty trinket boxes, and so much more!
Be sure to stop in and see everything available from CreativeCritters on!
Thanks for stopping by!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Been smooshing some clay

Lately I've been doing a lot of sculpting and have been inspired by Boris and Dinko Tilov.  I've created several fun pieces, and have really been in a good creative groove.  The Dragons I sculpted for Mother for Christmas were made with guidance from the Tilov's book Sculpting Mythical Creatures in Polymer Clay.  The projects in this book are so much fun, and the possibilities for variations are limitless.

My Griffin sculpture was created as an entry in the Polymer Clay Smooshers guild Mythology Challenge.  This was another whimsical project from the same book.  He was also the first griffin I've sculpted, but certainly not the  last!  I like the way he came out.  I think he's got a lot of character!

My best friend's birthday is coming up, so I sculpted a lighted Mushroom Gnome house for her.  I included a funny gnome based on Tilov's gnomes.  I've sculpted several lighted houses, but this was the first lighted mushroom house in my repertoire.  Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on another lighted mushroom house.  The first turned out so well, I just had to make another.  This one will have a gnome and a halfling sharing his garden vegetables.  That would represent my longing to get back out in the garden- LOL!  My next sculpture will be another project from Tilov's book.  I'm sure I'll create several versions of just about all of the projects in this book.  They're so much fun to create, and while I'm sculpting the story of the piece plays itself out in my mind.
So that's what I've been up to lately. ;)
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wyvern Designs creates unique and eclectic handcrafted items

Wyvern Designs on creates a delightful mix of handcrafted items from stamps to jewelry to crocheted items.  She enjoys working in polymer clay and is also adept at drawing, painting, and all kinds of needlework.  She's also a fellow member of the Polymer Clay Smooshers guild, and I've enjoyed her work for some time now.  You can also find her online on Flickr Etsy, and Twitter.  Below are a few of my favorites from her shop.  I always look forward to her polymer clay creations, and her dragons are some of my favorite pieces.
Water Dragon Necklace or Key Fob 
This adorable Water Dragon can be worn as a necklace or used as a key fob.  I love the colors on this guy- very cool and soothing.
I've admired this Owl Mask Pendant since the first time I saw it in the Smooshers forums.
Owl Mask Pendant 
I love the subtle shimmer, and the beautifully textured feathers.  It's striking and unique- just my style! ;-)
And these deep blue hyacinth macaw earrings are so cool!
  Hyacinth Macaw Earrings 
These were made by hand with no molds and would be a great gift for any bird lover.
Be sure to stop by WyvernDesigns and see all she has to offer!  Her shop is full of fun, unique items.
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Friday, January 14, 2011

Help me choose a new avatar for CreativeCritters

I'm trying to come up with a new avatar for CreativeCritters and I need your help!  I know I want my Maine Coone Cat, Calcifer to be my avatar, but I just can't decide which picture to use.  Calcifer said he'd be proud to be my avatar, and even spent about 40 minutes posing for different pictures.  In the process I discovered my cat is an absolute genius- LOL!  He was easier to train than some dogs!  I used his treats as a reward every time he did something I wanted.  He now knows how to circle around (dance, if you will), sit, back up, stay, lay down, and look up.  He learned all this in just over half an hour, AND while I was trying to take his picture at the same time.  I just love my smart kitty!  These are the pictures I want to choose from (out of the millions I took- LOL).  You can vote for your favorite by leaving a comment with the number of your favorite picture.  Thank you so much for helping me with this!
picture 1

picture 2

picture 3

picture 4

picture 5

picture 6

Once again, thanks for any input you have to offer!  Your help is greatly appreciated!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Find One of a Kind Handmade Gifts for Valentine's Day

I've put together a collection of unique, one of a kind gifts for Valentine's Day.  Your sweetie is special, shouldn't her gift be as unique and special as she is?  This collection has beautiful jewelry, a cuddly teddy bear, stained glass, unique and feminine clothing, champagne glasses, a lovely clock, and more.  Each handcrafted item is a one of a kind creation.  Get her a gift she won't forget!

Thanks for stopping by!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters