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 ;-)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet the critters

Since moving in with my mom my furry family has increased quite a bit!  Today I wanted to share my furred and feathered family with you ;-)  If you know anything about me I'm sure you've seen my handsome Maine Coone cat, Calcifer.   I love this sweet cat so much.  He's so affectionate and loving and knows just when I need those kitty cuddles!  I know it will take him a while to feel completely comfortable in his new home since he's a bit shy and very sensitive.  Both he and Ginko have their own room (my bedroom) where they can hang out in safety and comfort.  Calcifer still gets nervous when he hears the dogs barking (especially the big German Shepherd that doesn't like cats), but he's much calmer about it than when he first got here.  He has several "safe spots", including his scratching posts (which have little houses on the bottom), the closet, and the one cupboard.  I know it's important for cats to have safe places to hide, both cave-like spots and places where they can be up high.  I positioned the scratching posts so the cats can lookout the window and also easily hop up onto the high shelf in the closet.  It will take time, but eventually I think Calcifer will become more comfortable roaming the rest of the house (with the big dog safely locked up while the cats are out).
Then there's my funny Ginko, who will be a year old in about a month.  Ginko is my little clown, and this is one of my favorite poses from him ;-)  He's much more laid back than Calcifer and seems to be taking things in stride.  He loves lounging on the closet shelf during the day and can look out the window and watch all the insects and animals outside from his high perch.  He's good for Calcifer too, keeping him calm and telling him everything is all right.  Of course Ginko was the first one to venture out of the bedroom and check out the rest of the house, coming back into the room a few times to tell Calcifer about all that he had seen.  And I think Ginko has a bit of a crush on Mother's cat, Miss Kitty. ;-)  He's just fascinated by her, although she wants nothing to do with him and hisses every time she sees him.  He doesn't take it personally though, just gives her a bit of space and watches her intently.  Both my cats are very kind and loving and have no desire to fight with any of the other animals here.  Once Miss Kitty lets her guard down a bit I'm sure all the cats will be friends.
And this is Miss Kitty.  She's a tiny little thing, especially compared to my big boys!  She was wandering around Mother's apartment complex in Phoenix and was quite friendly with everyone.  Of course it was no easy life for her and she constantly had to fight for food and try to avoid the advances of all the tom cats in the area (which is why she doesn't like other cats- none have been very nice to her in the past).  Although several other people in the complex tried to get her to come into their apartments, the only one she would enter was Mother's.  When Mother realized the cat was pregnant she managed to keep her inside so she wouldn't have her kittens outside where they might become prey to the other animals.  Miss Kitty had a litter of 3 adorable kittens a few weeks later and Mother found good homes for all of them once they were weaned.  And Miss Kitty slowly discovered that she liked being a house cat, even though she was quite capable of defending herself outdoors.  Mother brought the cat with her when she moved to the house in Prescott and now Miss Kitty has her own room here, which doubles as my craft room ;-)  In a few months my brother and sister-in-law will be taking her to Roseville CA to live with them.  Sarah is going through critter withdrawal and has already gotten to know and like the cat, so it's a very good solution for everyone.  And Miss Kitty will then have free run of their whole apartment, which she will really enjoy!
Then we've got the dogs.  First there's Reisha, the German Shepherd.  She was a DEA drug dog and had gotten shot while on duty.  Instead of putting her to sleep her owner retired her and kept her as a pet.  Mother first met the officer and Reisha while working for FEMA during the floods in Louisiana.  He was unable to keep her and asked if Mother wanted to take the dog back with her.  Being the soft hearted animal lover that she is, Mother couldn't turn away an animal in need.  Reisha is a wonderful, intelligent, and protective dog (I definitely feel safer with her guarding me and the house!).  The only issues she has are that she doesn't like cats (which is why we keep them separated) and that she's scared of thunderstorms, which is understandable after going through the hurricane.  She is actually much better about thunderstorms here in the new house than she was in Phoenix.  She gets scared, but as long as both Mother and I are within her sight she doesn't seem to totally freak out like she used to.  We think she may feel as though she needs to protect us from the storms.  And we think that she's less stressed in this neighborhood than she was in the apartment.
Next is the Italian Greyhound, Little Beast.  She's another dog that Mother rescued, this time from an abusive home.  Her original owner was a nasty drunk and the poor dog was a neurotic mess when Mother got her.  It took many months before Little Beast could even enjoy being petted, and it was a long time before she would actually play.  Abuse comes in many forms, and it's likely that this dog suffered psychological as well as physical abuse.  She's so much better now, and enjoys playing with Miss Kitty as well as the other dogs (and she actually plays more like a cat than a dog!).  She's very affectionate and just loves going for walks, especially now that I'm here and we can walk both her and Reisha at the same time.  She's very good with cats and I thnk eventually she'll be good friends with Ginko and even my shy Calcifer.  When Miss Kitty had her kittens Little Beast played babysitter while they roamed the house ;-)
And there's the Pit Bull puppy, Puperoni.  She's yet another rescue.  Mother actually helped deliver her and spent 20 minutes trying to get her to breathe.  The pup's mother belonged to a neighbor who really knew nothing about dogs.  He came to Mother all the time for advice on dogs, although he ignored most of it.  He also had a tendency to leave for days at a time and didn't usually leave enough food for the dogs.  Since Puperoni was the runt of the litter she was always the last to eat and rarely got enough food.  Then he left for at least a week one time and when he got back not only was this pup starving, but she was very, very sick.  Turns out she had gotten into some of his drugs and had been poisoned.  This was when Mother simply took the dog.  She certainly would have died if she had stayed with the guy.  It was touch and go for the first several days, but Mother managed to bring the dog back from the brink of death and after a week or so she started putting on some weight.  By the time she moved here (about  1 1/2 months later) Puperoni was a frisky, silly puppy.  Mother had planned to find a good (emphasis on GOOD) home for the pup, but was having trouble finding a reliable shelter or foster program.  She didn't want the dog to end up in a bad home.  Try as I might, I couldn't help falling in love with this dog.  She's calm, and sweet, and friendly, and intelligent (and all the things some people seem to think a pit bull can't be).  So the other day Mother and I decided she'd make a good dog for me.  So after more than 16 years without a dog (the ex wouldn't let me have one), I now have my own  dog again.  And I just adore this gentle little clown :-)
And last but not least we have the cockatoo, Tequila. She ended up being my brother's bird when the family they lived with in Wyoming didn't feel like taking care of her (so essentially another rescue).  She stayed with Mother when my brother moved into an apartment because there wasn't much room and Tequila was pretty happy where she was at.  I don't have any experience with birds, but I am learning how intelligent and funny they can be.  I definitely respect her space and haven't actually touched her yet.  These birds can do a lot of damage with those sharp beaks and claws if they want to.  Tequila accidentally spit Mother's thumb nail when they were playing, and has left a few other scars, all accidents, but clear evidence of the power in that beak.  I would NOT want to make one of these birds angry with me!  I do enjoy interacting with her though.  She's very social and likes it when I talk to her and work in her room (right now that's where we're putting things we still have to organize).  She loves it when I use her spray bottle to mist her feathers, and when I start dancing around she dances too ;-)  When she says she's ready, I'll pet her, but not before then.
So that's the zoo I'm living with now, and I absolutely love it!  Being surrounded by animals is pure Heaven for me :-)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The cats are starting to adjust to their new home

One of my biggest concerns when planning this move from Ohio to Arizona was how my cats, Calcifer and Ginko, would adjust to a totally new environment.  The first challenge was the 6 hour plane ride.  Neither of my cats had done much traveling of any sort, so I knew they would be scared.  To make them as comfortable as possible in their carriers I put their favorite towels in the bottom and sprayed them with Feliway, which is recommended by vets to keep cats calm in stressful situations. My brother's fiance came to help me with the cats, which were considered one of our carry on items (Southwest airlines allows 2 carry ons).  We each carried one of the cat carriers, which were placed under the seats in front of us during the flight.  I was really surprised at how well the cats did, and I know the Feliway helped a lot.  After we landed in Phoenix we still had to rent a car and drive about 2 hours to Prescott.  During the flight and the car ride I kept talking softly  to Calcifer and Ginko to help keep them calm and let them know that I was nearby.
When we finally got to the house both cats were exhausted and more than ready to get out of their carriers.  I went into the first empty bedroom to let them out and Ginko hopped up into the window while Calcifer curled up in the corner of the closet.  Unfortunately Mother's large German Shepherd, Reisha happened to be on the other side of the window and started barking at the cat.  This scared the poor kitty and I spent the next half hour trying to comfort him and calm him down.  I was also completely exhausted by this time since I hadn't slept in about a week.  So our first night in the new place was a bit rough.
But over the next few days we all started to relax and feel more at home.  I moved the cats (and myself) into the larger bedroom and plugged in a Feliway diffuser to help create a calm environment.  This room also had a closet (or cupboards) with shelves and Calcifer claimed the bottom cupboard as his "house".  This was his safe space and whenever the dogs barked or something made him nervous he could go in there and feel safe.

We now have a routine where I lock the dogs up for a bit in the evening and allow Ginko and Calcifer roam the house safely.  It didn't take too long before curiosity won out over fear and Ginko made the first bold steps to explore the new house.  He did a bit of reconnaissance, deemed it safe, and went back to tell Calcifer about it.  So Cacifer followed his little brother and discovered for himself that this new place was pretty interesting.  Of course any time something frightens them they hurry back to the safety of their room, but they're much quicker to come back out now.  They enjoy playing with the hapless June bugs and large beetles that sometimes find their way into the house ;-)  They find the sink to be a fun place to explore as well.

They spend most of the day lounging and sleeping in their room with me (funny how I call it THEIR room- LOL), and evenings are spent playing and roaming the house.  One thing is sure- they are much more relaxed here with me, Mother, and all the other animals than they were with my ex back in Ohio.  Ginko has stopped trying to steal Calcifer's food and Calcifer is eating much more than he used to, which is good because he was a bit underweight.  Stress affects animals just as much as it affects people.  Sometimes you need to take them out of that stressful situation to even realize that they've been affected.
They both seem to enjoy the view from the bedroom window as much as I do.  Ginko even gives me little kitty kisses to say Thank You for giving them such a nice place to live ;-)

In my next post I'll introduce you to the rest of the critters I share my home with.