Sunday, February 28, 2010

Polymer Clay Workshop

These beads are my first attempt at working with Premo brand polymer clay. I had been bugging my friend Lynn to teach a polymer clay workshop, so she finally gave in.

I'm used to working with Sculpey to create beads, but Lynn suggested that we use Premo. I'm used to sculpting beads, baking them, painting them, and then baking them again. Using Premo was a bit different, but it was easy to use.

One thing I learned in class today is to work small when it comes to applying the details on each bead. The details on the first bead I made (on the left) were a bit big. Lynn suggested using less clay to get better results.

This wonderful piece is by Sally Russick. Sally used a mold for the face and then painstakingly placed each leaf around the face. This is exactly what Lynn was talking about when she said to work with smaller pieces of clay. I love the details in this piece. Be sure to check out Sally's blog here.


Christine Altmiller made some fabulous pieces. Check out that vessel in the lower right-hand corner. Notice how she placed a Swarovski crystal inside. It's like a hidden treasure. Christine, you may be on to something here. You can check out more of Christine's work here.

Nicole Ciali was going to town with her turquoise-colored pieces. I love all the details in the elongated pendant. I love the marbling effect in that pendant. Nicole also used a mold for the moon-faced bead and the letter N bead.


Nicole was diligently adding Swaroski crystals to this bead.

This is a wonderful bead that Lynn made. His face is so cute. Be sure to stop by Lynn's blog for more information about Lynn and her upcoming workshops.

The students were hard at work while Lynn oversaw their projects.

I'm busy concentrating.

Lynn's doing a demonstration.

It was a very productive and FUN day. Lynn's Craft World is the perfect learning environment. Best of all, Lynn's is an animal-friendly place.


Winston was starting to get tired by the end of class. Sassy and Zoe (the cats) even paid us a visit.

~Lynn and Winston~

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Painting With Fire Giveaway

Hurry! This fabulous giveaway from Painting with Fire is about to expire. I stumbled upon the brand new blog of Barbara Lewis, who makes these fabulous torch-fired beads and findings.Don't delay. Check out her blog today!

Ornaments in Progress

I've been busy sketching new designs for ornaments. All week, I've been cutting shapes from cardboard, wiring them, and wrapping them with newspaper. A big fan of stars and hearts, I seem to gravitate toward these shapes. 

I've added a bottom loop to some of the ornaments with the intention of hanging some cool stuff from them. I'm thinking of old lace, fabric, beads, whatever.

I had John swing by my studio today so that I could pick up the two ornaments I made with Celluclay last week. The ornaments were left to dry for eight days. I like the way they turned out. As mentioned in a previous post, this is the first time I've used Celluclay, so I'm not sure what to expect.

I've read where some artists apply a coat of either Paperclay or Das Pronto Clay over the Celluclay, and then other artists just use the Celluclay as is. I'm going to try both of these approaches.

For today, I decided to work with the Celluclay ornaments without adding any new clay to them. I placed three coats of Gesso on each ornament. Now the hardest part is deciding what theme I should paint them in. I always think of Halloween, Christmas, and patriotic, but something's telling me to go with a shabby chic/cottage look. Hmmm. Decisions. Decisions.

If you've ever worked with Celluclay and you have any tips, please let me know. I'd love to learn more about this medium.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Another Snowy Afternoon

Yes, northeast Pennsylvania is currently experiencing another snowstorm. John and I decided to go to Wilkes-Barre to run a few errands and to grab some lunch.

The roads in Wilkes-Barre were a bit slippery.


I took this picture from the parking lot of the Wilkes-Barre Post Office on Main Street. The snow started to pick up around noon.

This is another picture taken from the lot of the Wilkes-Barre Post Office on Main Street.

If you're looking for the BEST hot dogs in Wilkes-Barre, a stop at Abe's Hot Dogs on South Main Street is a must. I'm not much of a hot dog lover, but there's something about Abe's hot dogs that will have you hooked with one bite. I ate one in the car, and then I had another one when I got home. I didn't have breakfast today, so two hot dogs won't kill me.

When you have an Abe's hot dog, you literally can't eat just one. The hot dogs are topped with a finely ground meat and mustard. The topping is unlike any other topping you'd find at a typical hot dog joint. It's not chili; it's better than chili.

This is the former Mary Stegmaier Mansion at 156 South Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre. This building was the first home to Arts YOUniverse, which housed many artist studios before we moved to our new location on North Franklin Street. This building has such character. I miss my old studio, and I miss the ghost.


We're driving back to Kingston over the Market Street Bridge. There's a clump of snow on John's car. The streets in Kingston were more navigable than in Wilkes-Barre.


I love the tree-lined streets in Kingston.

~Heading toward the dike in Kingston~

When we got home, Julius was still out watching the birds. He didn't want to go in before we left. His heart was set on watching birds. 

The smart cookie that he is, he hunkers down on the side of the porch taking shelter from the storm. It looks like a snowflake must have fallen in his eye, or maybe he just blinked when I took this photograph.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Little Gordy is SOLD!

I'm happy to announce that Little Gordy is SOLD and now has a new home. I got an offer the day he was posted, and that's all she wrote. I'll miss him dearly, but I know he's in good hands.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

There's a Story Behind This Magnet

This is a magnet that John made for me in 1999. It features the picture of General Alexander Haig, who served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan. There's a story behind this magnet.

While working in the legal department of a finance company in the early 1990s, I became good friends with Rosemary Goodwin, who was one of the attorneys. Rosemary is now an author, and she's a great artist.

I love famous quotes, and I'm always fascinated how people use them in everyday life. One day, Rosemary came off with the "move over, I'm in charge" line when all the bosses were out of the office. To know Rosemary is to know someone with a wicked, good sense of humor. She's English, so she has it! Well, when Rosemary used that line, I lost it.

When I told John about Rosemary "being in charge of the legal department" that day, it inspired him to create this lovely magnet for my desk at work. John also made an Al Haig magnet for Rosemary. This magnet followed me wherever I went, and now it has its place on my refrigerator at home.

I always thought that Alexander Haig got a bum rap for his "As of now, I am in control here" line when President Reagan was shot. I honestly don't think he meant it the way it was portrayed. Here's actual footage of Alexander Haig when he made that statement.

This is the back of the magnet, which measures approximately five inches by five inches. John even signed his name to this lovely, little masterpiece.

May General Alexander Haig rest in peace. He died yesterday at the age of 85.

Sunday Drive

Today was a great day for a Sunday drive. This is Route 11 as we're heading south toward Front Street in Berwick.


When in Berwick, a stop at May's Bar-B-Q is a must. To be honest with you, we actually drove down the road to May's Restaurant for a more traditional meal, but John couldn't resist the temptation of the chili dogs at May's Bar-B-Q. They have delicious, saucy pizza.  We did, however, stop at May's Restaurant on the way back from our trip to purchase two quarts of their famous chili.


 Look at these prices! I had two cuts of pizza and a small soda. John ordered a chili dog, ham bar-b-q, and fries. The bill was eleven dollars and change.


 The Susquehanna River in Northumberland is picturesque. This area of the river is damned up.


~Another picture of the Susquehanna River~


 I always loved this building in Northumberland, even though it's a funeral home.


I love the flags on this porch. Check out that dirty snow.

Works In Progress

I'm in the process of creating some heart-shaped ornaments made from paper mache. I've cut several basic shapes from cardboard as shown here. While in my studio yesterday, I had the chance to start making two of the ornaments using Celluclay. My friend Lynn suggested using this clay. She's an art teacher, and she said it's easy to work with.

I typically use Paper Clay or Das Pronto Clay. I'm not sure what to expect with the Celluclay, so it will be interesting to see how the ornaments turn out. The two ornaments are currently drying in my studio. Since I was out of town today, I didn't have the chance to check on the ornaments to see how they dried.

The Celluclay seemed a bit heavy as compared to the Paperclay and the Das Pronto Clay. I liked working with it, so I can't wait to see how they're going to turn out. I'll post more pictures as I work on them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jewelry Making at The Banana Factory

I taught a jewelry-making workshop today at The Banana Factory in Bethlehem. Each student created several pieces, and I'm always amazed at the amount of talent that goes into each piece.

Mary created a beautiful sterling silver necklace (above) featuring a lot of scrolls. She used 14 gauge and 16 gauge wires for this piece.

Tammy focused on making her own ear wires. She also made her own eye pins and did a great job with the design and color choices.

Linda also made her own ear wires, and I love the scroll head pins she made for the second pair of earrings.


Natasha did a great job with these earrings. I like the way she made the ear wires, and I love her choice of beads. They're ice cool!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Day of Beauty & Relaxation

Join us for a Day of Beauty and Relaxation at Home Again, 69 Main Street, Luzerne, PA on Saturday, March 20, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit Home Again for more information.

I've Been Tagged - Memories of Knoebels June 2009

One of my favorite blogs to read is the Blue Eyed Dragonfly. Heather's artwork is lovely and whimsical. I love her color palette and her choice of subject matter. She's a fellow Pennsylvania artist, and her creativity is amazing.

Heather "photo tagged" me, and here are the rules.

1. Open your first photo folder.

2. Scroll to the tenth photo.

3. Post the photo and the story behind it.

4. Tag five or more people.

The rules called for one photo, but this is a strip of photos I just couldn't separate. Besides, they show how John makes me laugh. He can't help himself.

So, here's the story behind my photos, which were taken on June 9, 2009, at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. John and I love, love, love Knoebels.  It's quaint, charming, and nostalgic. They have the BEST amusement park food, and they have the BEST wooden roller coasters. They also have free parking and free admission, which is great for us because other than the trains or the haunted house, John does not ride the rides. I took him on the Phoenix roller coaster over ten years ago when we first started dating, and he got rattled. That was my fault because we rode in the back seat. I should have put him in the front seat.

Anyway, whenever we go to Knoebels, we make it a point to get our photos taken in the old photo booth, which is located in one of the arcades. We've acquired so many of these black-and-white photos over the years.I love these photos because they bring back so many fond memories of this wonderful amusement park.

Check out some of my roller coaster videos to see firsthand what a blast these wooden coasters are. Featured below are some of the photos taken on our June 9, 2009, visit to Knoebels. 

Before showing more photos, I'm tagging:

I love the miniature golf at Knoebels. Check out these insanely-shaped, green lamps. When John and I play miniature golf, I always beat him. Heee! Heee!


I love these cool props in the miniature golf area. This reminds me of one of those mushrooms in H.R. PufnStuf.

Hey, Mr. Rabbit. 


This is one of John's favorite food pavilions, which is right in front of the haunted house. 

The famous haunted house. Boo!

What a handsome vulture!

Wow! Check out this classic ride.

This is the top of a huge pavilion with a birthday cake for a roof. I'd love to meet the person who designed this. It's total insanity. If Salvador Dali were living, this would be his cup of tea.In fact, the entire park would be his cup of tea.

This is the old roller skating rink at Knoebels. This building, which was closed in the morning when we visited, brings back fond memories from my childhood. Mom and I used to go roller skating here, and it was always jam packed with skaters. The rink was small, but it still rocked. 

This rink featured a traditional wooden floor, which is the best skating surface. I hate roller skating rinks that use fake concrete or whatever and try to pass them off as roller skating rinks. NOT! 


Here's a picture of the old rink when it opened in the afternoon. Even though the building is no longer a roller skating rink, it still has the magnificent wooden floor, so I always go in and sit on the wooden benches and soak it all in. I look at the floor and recall how many people used to inch their way onto the floor just to get a skate in. This skating rink was always packed. Those were the days.

This is another view of the old roller rink.

When I hit it big, I'm going to move into the little stone cottage, which is now a candy store.


 I'd make this my home, and I'd put the studio either upstairs or where they make the candy.