Thursday, September 29, 2011

Autumn Rain

The theme for this week's Blog Roll, created by Polymer Clay Smooshers guild member Art Asylum, is Autumn Rain.  And that theme is very appropriate!  I'm sitting here listening to the Autumn rain patter on the roof right now ;-)   This is what I think of as "Halloween-y weather".  The leaves are starting to fall and crunch underfoot, the air has that crisp smell and is starting to become cooler.  My favorite smell of Fall is the smell of woodsmoke: it takes me back to when I was a kid and we would have fires in the fire pit.  My brothers and I would help gather fallen sticks from the woods surrounding our house, then we'd roast marshmallows over the fire.  The dogs and sometimes the cats would hang out with us, and it was just such a happy and peaceful time.  Sometimes on rainy Autumn nights when I was cozy and dry in my bedroom I'd be lucky enough to see the owl that hunted the woods around my house.  He'd sit up in the big Oak tree next to my window.  Fall was the best time to spot him, because the tree had lost most of it's leaves and he stood out clearly.  This Owl Pendant from Art Fairly Aware reminds me of him ;-)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I'm the new Polymer Clay Smooshers guild master!

And how awesome is that?!  When I first found out that the Polymer Clay Smooshers guild on ArtFire had been deleted I was really upset.  I've been a proud member of this guild for 3 years, and loved participating in the challenges, promoting other members, and sharing all sorts of things related to the medium I love.  So what does a girl do when she's totally bummed out?  Well she calls her mother, of course!  My mother happens to know a lot (and that's putting it mildly) about the internet, marketing, building successful sites, and guilds.  My younger brother is a very successful guild master for his World of Warcraft guild, so there's a good bit of experience in my family.  Although I initially called just to have a shoulder to cry on, by the time I hung up the phone Mother had convinced me that I could and should become the new guild master and keep the Smooshers going.  Luckily the previous guild master made me an admin for the Smooshers fan page on Facebook, as well as the Smooshers blog, and she didn't delete the Smooshers Flickr group.  All are still active and all the links still work.  Unfortunately the private forums on the zetaboards were gone, which meant I had to set up new forums on a different site.  This actually turned out to be a good thing, because Mother helped me get the forums set up on invisionzone, the same site that hosts my brother's forum.  This is a paid site (which I was more than happy to take care of), so there are a lot more options available than on the previous forums. The new forums are fairly easy to navigate, allow members to set up a profile with links back to their shop, and allow members to have a blog and post pics to the gallery if they choose.  I spent about a week getting everything set up, learning the site, and testing things out.  So far things seem to be going fairly smoothly and I'm just thrilled with the response I've gotten.  I also dropped the activity requirements that were a part of the original guild.  I want to give everyone a chance to participate at their own level.  I know some members had left the guild because they simply didn't have the time to be as active as was required.  Now those members can come back, and if they can only stop in to the forums occasionally, or only have time to share a post on FB here or there, that's just fine.  Of course, the more active you are, the more exposure you get, but something is always better than nothing. 
I am so excited about this and have a lot of ideas for making this guild better than ever!  And with the help and support of the rest of the Smooshers, I think we can do anything! 
And I want to thank ColtPixy for starting the Smooshers in the first place and building it into the amazing guild it is.  Without her the guild never could have gone as far as it did.  I also want to thank Haffina for stepping in and taking over as guild master when personal issues forced Coltpixy to step down.  Both women are amazing artists and did so much for the guild, right from the very beginning.  And a big thank you to all the members, past and present, whose contributions helped turn the Smooshers into one of the most popular and active guilds on ArtFire!
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Help Support the Close to Home Animal Shelter with the CFA Guild

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month and the Crafting For Animals guild on ArtFire is doing a month long promotion to highlight the Close to Home Animal Rescue shelter, and the desperate need for homes and funds for these poor animals.  During the last week of October participating shops, CreativeCritters included, will be offering a coupon which will donate 10% of the purchase price to the Close To Home Animal Shelter.  Guild members who are accepting this coupon will have this widget in their shop.
The Close To Home shelter is based in Ohio, bringing this promotion close to my own home (I live in Ohio myself).  They're an all volunteer group that rescues and fosters cats and dogs, and specialize in hard to place animals.  They try to save as many animals from euthanasia as they can from the pounds.  Thinking of all those poor animals makes me want to cry.  Which is why I'm more than happy to help out with this promotion, and spread the word about animals that need loving homes.  Many of my own pets have been rescues, and the few that haven't would have ended up in shelters if I hadn't invited them into my own home.  I really HAVE had dogs that followed me home (and was very lucky to have a mother who said, yes, I could keep them).
For complete details and a list of participating shops visit the Crafting For Animals blog.  And don't forget to stop by some of these shops between October 23rd through October 29th and use coupon code 10CTH-CFA on your purchase.  Thanks so much for helping support this shelter, and homeless pets like Cuddlebug here.
.CUDDLEBUG: Beagle, Dog; McDonald, OH Just look at that sweet face!  How could you resist this loveable little dog?  This poor animal has had a pretty rough life and she could use all the help she can get!  Cuddlebug, and many others like her, are available for adoption now.
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nothing Gold Can Stay

I just had to share this collection created by Blessed Earth Designs on ArtFire.  It was inspired by one of my favorite poems from Robert Frost, "Nothing Gold Can Stay", which is part of the book  The Outsiders, written by S.E. Hinton.  I read the book as a young teenager and fell in love with the characters, and was completely drawn in to the story.  I've read it many times since then, and it's just as good as the first time.  This book inspired much of my writing as a teenager.  Having my Lighted Pixie Tree House included in this collection is a true honor.
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
but only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
~Robert Frost

"Stay gold, Ponyboy.  Stay Gold." ~Johnny Cade


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Polymer Clay Covered Jars from CreativeCritters

My latest adventures in polymer clay involved finding a creative way to recycle glass baby food jars.  And before anybody starts jumping to conclusions, no I do not have a new baby!  I do however, have a cat who needs to take a pill every day.  The vet prescribed L-Lysine tablets to help clear up Calcifer's clouded blind eye.  I crush the pills and mix them with a little baby food and Calcifer thinks he's getting some gourmet treat ;-)  I end up with one or two empty 2.5 ounce baby food jars each week though, and I can't stand the thought of just throwing them away.  So I got creative with polymer clay and started decorating the jars and turning them into fun little stash jars.  I got my fans on Facebook to help me out with ideas.  They suggested things like dragonflies, lizards, and sunflowers.  Here's the result of those suggestions.

The beads were a fun, sparkly addition to the polymer clay!  And I had a lot of fun with Pearl Ex powders as well.  This Fall Leaf jar was dusted with a mix of red, green, and gold Pearl Ex powders.  I just love the effect the powders give!
And I just loved creating these Halloween jars!  Of course they've got glow in the dark effects, which are practically mandatory for my Halloween items!  Naturally I just had to create a Jack O Lantern jar, complete with glow in the dark ghost and a black cat.
And this is what it looks like in the dark.
 Spooky, isn't it? ;-)  Then I made this Halloween jar complete with more ghosts, black cats, and a spider!
I included glow in the dark dimensional paint along with the glow in the dark ghosts for this one.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Mulberry tree and the animals it attracted

The topic for the Polymer Clay Smooshers Blog Ring this week is Mulberry.  First I thought of the color, then my own Mulberry tree popped into my thoughts.  I saved that tree, you know.  The birds must have planted it right next to the downspout on the house, and by the time I noticed it growing there it was about two feet tall. It was already getting cramped in that small space, and wouldn't have survived another year there.  I had no idea what type of plant it was, but it looked healthy and pretty, so I transplanted it to the middle of the yard where it would have some room to grow.  It was a fast grower and before long it became a good sized tree loaded with delicious mulberries.  This is why I save plants- you never know what they might become!

I wasn't the only one who enjoyed those sweet and juicy berries though.  Birds of all types flocked to the tree to devour the fruit.