Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Phoenix Arises From the Ashes

The Phoenix is described as a bird with a colorful plumage and a tail of gold and scarlet (or purple, blue, and green according to some legends). It has a 500 to 1000 year life-cycle, near the end of which it builds itself a nest of twigs that then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises, reborn anew to live again. The new phoenix is destined to live as long as its old self. In some stories, the new phoenix embalms the ashes of its old self in an egg made of myrrh and deposits it in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis (literally "sun-city" in Greek). It is said that the bird's cry is that of a beautiful song.

So what does that have to do with me?  In many ways I'm like that Phoenix.  My old life has been burned away and a brand new Me has arisen from the ashes.   In my old life I had an emotionally abusive husband who kept me isolated and depressed and stifled the person that I truly was.  I knew there was someone much brighter, stronger, and supremely joyful hidden within me, but she was never allowed to come out before.  Since I left my husband and moved across the country that person has been able to blossom.  I wake up happy every day.  I laugh often and loudly, without fear of judgement.  I share my joy with those around me and know they won't demean me for it, or try to take that joy away.  I finally feel as though I'm truly alive.  I've found my path and am following my Light, and life has never been better.  In the past my husband was always coming up with excuses not to do things reasons to avoid experiencing  life (so of course I couldn't do these things either).  Now when someone invites me to try something new I say "Sure, why not?"  And that attitude has lead me to some wonderful discoveries.  I love camping and hiking in the mountains- both brand new experiences for me.  I've even developed a taste for spicy food, which I never really tried before because my husband didn't like it.  Life is full of opportunities and possibilities, and I intend to take advantage of as many as possible!
Ever since I left my husband I had the idea to make a Phoenix necklace for myself.  I rarely make anything for myself, but I knew, deep down, that this was something I needed to do. I've become much more in touch with my instincts and intuition over the last several months, and have learned to follow those instincts. For months the ideas drifted around in my mind, but I waited to start sculpting.  I've learned that everything happens in it's own time, and that I would know when it was the right time to create this piece.  That time happened to come at 1am last week- LOL.  I was hit by an intense urge to sculpt my Phoenix, and I knew exactly how I wanted her to look.  And since I can now sculpt whenever I want to, without anyone complaining about it, I was up until 3am working on this one.  And the feeling while I was sculpting was absolutely euphoric.  The inspiration was intense.  The flames that are the bird's tail were inspired by a camping trip I took a week or so earlier.  I sat by the camp fire (which I made) and watched the full moon rise over the mountains in front of me and was filled with such emotion and an amazingly powerful feeling of gratitude.  I watched the flames of the fire twist and dance like a living thing: green and blue at the hot center, then red, orange, and yellow at the outer edges.  I've always been fascinated by fire, and I can sit for hours gazing at the flames.  You see, there's just so much more to this necklace than a physical pendant.  The emotion embedded in this piece can't be quantified.  This necklace represents my strength and ability to maintain my true self, even after years of hiding that self behind protective walls.  If my husband had seen this part of me he would have destroyed it as quickly as possible.  I am a happy, energetic, creative, loving person who is filled with the joy of life.  And now I'm surrounded by people who appreciate that person and accept me for who I really am.  It may have taken 37 years, but I've finally got it right and am doing exactly what I should be doing, where I should be doing it ;)
And here are the work in progress pictures of my Phoenix necklace.
I started with a wire armature to add strength to the wings.

Then I sculpted the body and head, using a bright blue glass bead for the eyes and adding feather around the eye and on the top of the head.

Next I sculpted feathers for the wings, textured them, and applied gold and red Pearl Ex powders for an iridescent sheen.

I added a row of smaller feathers and applied red Pearl Ex.

To finish I sculpted the flaming tail and textured the rest of the body.  The tail, body, and head are colored with blue, blue-green, red, and gold Pearl Ex powders, mimicking the colors of actual flames.
After the Phoenix pendant was baked  I sealed it with two coats of high gloss glaze and attached it to a gold necklace.
Thanksgiving is next week, and when I think of all the things I have to be thankful for this year it brings me to tears.  My life isn't perfect, and it probably never will be, but that's OK.  I can handle whatever challenges are thrown at me, and I can do it with my head held high knowing I am being the best person I can be.  I've risen from those dark, smothering ashes and am spreading my newly found wings.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Custom personalized wedding cake topper

My youngest brother recently got married and I had the honor of making their wedding cake topper.  He and Sarah first met while playing the World of Warcraft.  He played a female Blood Elf and she played a male Tauren.  They wanted me to create their characters in polymer clay wearing the same outfits which BJ and Sarah would be wearing for the wedding.   Sarah wore a beautiful white wedding gown and BJ wore full Scottish dress to represent his Celtic heritage.  I even created her wedding bouquet to match the flowers in the real bouquet.  This highly detailed cake topper posed several challenges for me.  It had to be lightweight since I didn't want it to sink into the bride and groom's special cheesecake.  I also learned a lot about Scottish dress outfits while painstakingly matching the plaid pattern on the Blood Elf's kilt to the clan pattern my brother would be wearing in the wedding.  I included as many details as possible, like the sporran, the purple tie, the laced gillies, and the belt buckle. 
Made to Order Personalized Unique Wedding Cake Topper deposit 

This cake topper measures about four inches tall and 5 inches wide and took about a month to complete.  It was a real hit at the wedding.  Everyone liked it so much I decided to  make a custom order listing in CreativeCritters for personalized wedding cake toppers.
I can create toppers to resemble your online avatars, characters in a game, or anything else you like. 
Your wedding is one of the most important events in your life. You want your cake topper to signify that importance, rather than have just another generic bride and groom! This is a keepsake you will have for the rest of your married days. It should be as special and unique as your wedding :-) I can create any character you like, so long as you can provide good pictures. I can also create more traditional bride and groom, or same sex cake toppers, but still customize them to make them resemble the bride and groom. There are a lot of options when it comes to wedding cake toppers, and I do my very best to create something that is completely unique, something that really captures who the bride and groom are.  If you have any questions just visit CreativeCritters and use the Contact Artisan button under my avatar.
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I've reached the next level on Fiverr!

Due to consistently good customer service I've reached the next level on Fiverr and can now offer my customers the option to order my gigs multiple times at once. For example, you can now order several Custom Cat Sculptures at once, rather than having to place a separate order for each sculpture.  This option will be visible to customers on the gig page.  I can also offer my buyers Gig Extras for $5 or more.  You now have the option to upgrade your order and get better value for your money.  Many of my Gig Extras allow you to order a larger sculpture as well.  I also offer extra fast completion of your order for when you need it fast!  Starting at just $5.00 you can get customized pet sculptures
Adorable personalized gifts
Pets with logos or messages
catnip toys filled with my own organic catnip
I will create a handmade catnip mouse cat toy using felt or other fabric for $5.00.  You can decide what color you would like, or allow me to choose for you.  The mouse will measure about 3 inches long without his tail. I will sew the toy by hand for durability.  It will be stuffed with a large handful of dried organic catnip which I grow in my garden.  This offer is for one catnip mouse.  Contact me for additional orders.

And fun handmade jewelry
I plan on adding more gigs as the Christmas season approaches, so be sure to stop by CreativeCritter on Fiverr to see all I have to offer!  You could do all your Christmas shopping without spending a ton of money (and still get some really awesome personalized gifts).  And if you don't see exactly what you're looking for, just let me know- I may be able to create something special just for you ;-)
I hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Mighty Oak

The weather is cool and rainy today and very much like Autumn.  After walking the dogs in the rain and smelling the crisp air my mind turned to changing leaves and Oak trees in particular.  So I was inspired to put together this collection of awesome Oak trees and Oak leaves.  I found lots of great Oak themed items, everything from Tree of Life pendants, to vinyl wall decor, to paintings, photos, and sculptural wall decor.

I hope you enjoyed this little taste of Autumn- I know I enjoyed putting it together! :-)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Calcifer cuddles

This is a very special video.  It allows me to share the unique bonding time between Calcifer and me.  Ever since I adopted him as a tiny fluffball of a kitten he's burrowed in my hair and cuddled with me like this.  Calcifer and I have an extraordinary relationship- we each fill a deep need for the other.  I've been through a lot with this cat, and he's always been there for me, filled with love.  Normally no one would ever get to see him cuddling with me like this.  He only does it when we're alone and it's a private thing just between us.  This is also the only time he purrs, as though his purrs are a special gift just for me.  Calcifer's love and cuddles helped me cope with the loss of my Ozzy cat, get through the last difficult months of Gramma's life, her death, my messed up marriage, and much more.  We helped each other get through the loss of Cedric kitty, who was like a big brother to Calcifer.  And together with Ginko we've adjusted to a whole new life here in Arizona.  I was afraid that Calcifer might stop cuddling with me after we moved, but that was a needless fear.  We cuddle at least once a day, 10 or 15 minutes at a time.  We both sort of get lost in the moment and afterwards feel calm, relaxed, and refreshed.  Even Ginko seems to get some peripheral effects just from watching us.  He can't quite figure out the whole cuddling thing, although he's quite affectionate in his own way.  He just sits nearby and watches us cuddle.  Afterwards I make sure to pet Ginko and give him plenty of loving too.  I'm truly blessed to have such sweet and loving cats! 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Getting back to work

It's been a bit over month since I moved from Ohio to Arizona and I'm settling into my new home nicely.  I had to take a few weeks off from work as I waited for the moving company to deliver all my craft supplies and the rest of my belongings.  I'm still waiting for several boxes to be delivered, but at least I got the majority of my crafting supplies.  It took me a little time to figure out a new work schedule, but I'm now back to sculpting and listing new items on ArtFire and new gigs on Fiverr.  And of course I'm back to blogging regularly for my personal blog, my Artfire blog, and the Smooshers blog.  I've discovered that it's a lot easier to get more done now that I don't have the constant interruptions from my husband.

 In the last several weeks I've completed several custom pet sculptures, added a Personalized Scarecrow sculpture gig to Fiverr, a larger version on ArtFire, added listings on ArtFire for custom cat and custom dog sculptures, and worked on the wedding cake topper sculpture for my brother's wedding next month. 
I have a personalized baby sculpture I just finished today and plan to put up on Fiverr, and started a baby pin I hope to get listed in the next few days.  I'm feeling very productive out here and even finding it easier to write.  I've even been able to make a braided rag rug for in front of the cat's litter box and have started making a dog bed for my puppy.  She's quickly outgrown the spare cat bed ;-)

 And I've been able to do all these things without feeling rushed or stressed out.  In fact, my stress level has dropped significantly.  Even Calcifer and Ginko are less stressed here.  They're both more playful and loving and are very relaxed.  Calcifer used to be much more high strung and jumpy, but since we moved here he's become downright laid back ;-)

And being surrounded by all these animals is great too.  Miss Kitty shares my craft room with me and has to check out all my projects.  All three dogs are interested in anything I'm doing, and when I need to think about a project I can take them for a walk and get some fresh air, which helps to clarify my thinking. 
So leaving my husband and moving to Prescott was not only good for me, but for my business as well!  I have lots of ideas for new creations and a few special things just for Christmas.  Being able to brainstorm with my mom is really great too.  She's another very creative person and has already come up with several good ideas for things I can create.  So be sure to stay tuned to keep up with all the fun new things I'm doing and making! 
Thanks for stopping by! :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Introducing custom pet sculptures from CreativeCritters

I'm now offering custom cat and dog sculptures made to resemble your pet at CreativeCritters.  You can also find smaller versions of these sculptures on Fiverr.  The custom made cats and dogs I'm offering on ArtFire are about 3 inches tall.  Each pet is individually sculpted by hand in Premo polymer clay without the use of molds, making them one of a kind creations.  I ask that customers send me several good clear pictures of their cat or dog, showing all sides and markings, along with a written description naming the breed (if known) and any distinctive characteristics or markings.  The better and more detailed the pictures and descriptions, the easier it is for me to re-create your pet in polymer clay.  For most animals I texture the fur before baking, then paint the markings and details in acrylic paint after the sculpture has cured.  I seal the sculpture with matte glaze to protect the paint.  Each sculpture takes about a week to complete and I'll email pictures of the finished sculpture before shipping it to you.  These sculptures also make wonderful gifts for friends and family, as well as being a great way to remember and honor pets who have passed on.  To view or purchase a custom cat sculpture just click on the picture below to be directed to the listing on ArtFire.
Realistic OOAK Custom Order Cat and Kitten Polymer Clay Sculpture 
The listing also has pictures of several of the custom orders I've created for people in the past, so you can see examples of my work.
To purchase a custom dog sculpture or view examples of dogs I've sculpted for other customers just click on the picture below. 
If you're interested in having me sculpt any other type of animal for you, just contact me at  I've been sculpting animals in polymer clay for many years now and I love working with customers to create sculptures they absolutely love.
Thanks for stopping by! ;-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Setting up my new craft room

One of the (many) challenges of moving is setting up the craft room all over again.  At least I'm lucky enough to have a room to do my crafts in (although I do have to share it with Miss Kitty- LOL).   I'm still missing several boxes of my stuff (the moving company located them, but still hasn't delivered them), but I think I've got the majority of my craft stuff.  The new room is about the same size as my old craft room, so everything seems to fit okay.  I've got plastic dressers for all my beads, tools, and miscellaneous "stuff" related to sculpting.   Eventually I'd like to put up some sort of shelves for all my books, but for the moment I have them organized on top of the dressers.  I've got a few round tool caddies for my various sculpting tools and so far I've been moving those around as I need the tools.  I also use plastic utensil trays for some of my other tools and supplies.
  I don't have everything unpacked yet, but I do have all the things I use on a regular basis (mainly my sculpting supplies) unpacked.  This room is also being used as temporary storage for a few items, so eventually I will have more room and be able to organize it a bit better.
  For the moment most of my fabric is in bags in the closet, along with my yarn and other knitting supplies.  I got rid of my somewhat bulky (and not totally efficient) crafting table and downsized to a simple card table.  It takes up less room and actually doesn't seem to get quite as cluttered. 
One thing I do like is the way I have my pasta machine set up now.  It's much easier to use like this.  I put a ceramic tile on top of a small dresser (which is just the right height for me to stand at) and clamped the pasta machine to the top of the dresser and the tile.  I used non slip shelf liner under the tile to keep it from sliding around as I use the pasta machine.  It's easy to keep the area clean, and since this is exclusively for conditioning clay there's nothing else getting in the way and cluttering the area up.  I've already completed several custom order sculptures in the new craft room and am continuing to move and adjust things as needed.  I know it will take a while to get everything "just right", but at least the room feels fairly comfortable and conducive to creating.  I love that there's a nice big window with a beautiful view to see while I'm working.  And it lets in lots of natural light during the day, which makes it much easier to see what I'm doing.  I've noticed that it's much brighter here in Arizona than it ever was back in Ohio.  It will be really interesting to see what winter is like here.  It has to be better that those long, cold, dark Ohio winters!  So that's my craft room for now, although I'm sure it will continue to evolve and improve over the next several months.  Miss Kitty certainly seems to approve though.  She's even trying to learn how to sculpt birds ;-)