Saturday, December 19, 2009
Keeping with the theme of using cookie cutters to create unique Christmas ornaments, here's a little Santa Claus ornament I made using a 2" star-shaped cookie cutter. This little guy was inspired by some adorable ornaments I had seen created by Michelle Zink. I've since done all manner of variations on this theme including many with dogs. The star becomes the body of the Santa, the top point of the star becomes his hat, and then it's just a matter of how you choose to embellish it.
Friday, December 18, 2009
When Design Originals asked me to do a book on Christmas ornaments, they wanted cute designs that would be quick and easy to make. I had some Kemper cutters on hand, and I started playing around with shapes and came up with some simple, but very cute designs using the teardrop, heart, and round cutters in various sizes.
The teddy bear, angel, and Santa Claus have pants made using a teardrop cutter. I used a small heart-shaped cutter to create the angel's and Santa's shoes. I turned the heart cut-out sideways, stretched the top up slightly and then cut it straight across, then attached to the bottom of the teardrop shapes. I did the same thing to create the teddy bear's stocking, just using a larger heart cutter. Santa's jacket was made using a larger heart cutter turned upside down. I rolled out a very thin piece of red clay with a pasta machine and then cut out rectangles that I gathered for the angel and teddy bear's tops.
The gingerbread men that Santa and the teddy bear are holding were made using a small flower shaped cutter.
It's a lot of fun to experiment with these small cutters and see what you come up with.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Since people are always looking for quick and easy ornaments to make, editors are always looking for quick and easy ornament projects. I came up with an idea to use a 2" gingerbread man cookie cutter I had to make a variety of Christmas characters that I could put onto glass ball ornaments. This was a project I did for the January 2001 issue of "Great American Crafts" magazine:
The snowman was made using the 2" cookie cutter, the gingerbread boy and girl were made using a 1" gingerbread man cutter.
The Santa Claus below uses the same 2" gingerbread man cut-out as a base, only this time, I cut the piece out of red clay, and then added the other elements to turn it into a Santa.
I attached the unbaked pieces to the glass balls using super glue and then baked them. They've held up for 9 years with no problems, but if you don't want to put super glue in the oven, you could always attach the unbaked clay pieces to the glass ball, bake them, then gently pop them off, and reattach them with glue. I've never had any problems with baking super glue. It is flammable, but not at the low temps polymer clay bakes at. I was not the first person who tried this! LOL I took my cue from many other clay artists who have baked super glue with polymer clay.
This makes a cute and very simple project that could easily be personalized.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
One of the things I love so much about Christmas is putting up our tree every year. Our tree is traditional, full of ornaments I've made, or my kids have made, or that were purchased because they bring back memories of happy times in our lives, or special places we've been, or some were treasured gifts from friends or family.
I first worked with polymer clay over 30 years ago, but it wasn't until I met my friend, Laurie, who I worked with at a veterinary clinic about 20 years ago, that I really got started selling my work.
Laurie and I started doing craft shows, and we came up with a rather "nutty" idea at the time. We created tiny polymer clay scenes inside of walnut halves. I had seen an ornament that was made of resin and was an imitation walnut with a tiny scene, and Laurie and I decided to try to do our own little scenes inside walnuts with clay. We used the halves at first, but then after a while, my husband, Ron, started hollowing out the shells with a Dremel tool, so that we had a little more of the shell to work with! We sold these quite well at craft shows in Albuquerque, NM, where I was living at the time. The one below, was given to me by Laurie, and it's a wonderful memento of both her and my family's time in New Mexico. My husband was born in Espanola, New Mexico and grew up in Santa Fe. Yup, Laurie and I were crazy enough to do little adobe houses like this one, complete with hanging ristras near the door, tiny ladders, and for this one, Laurie even added a howling coyote and a tiny yucca plant!
Our line also included tiny walnuts filled with Santas, woodland creatures, and anything else our imaginations could fit into a walnut. Like this little Mrs. Santa I did:
Her shell is broken at the top now, so I can't hang her anymore, but she held up for 18 years on my own Christmas tree. Laurie's little adobe house walnut is hanging on my tree again this year, for the 19th year. :o)
Tomorrow, I'll share more ornaments.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Only 15 days to go! Every year I say I'm going to stop and enjoy the season, but always in years past I'd be so busy creating last minute items to list on ebay, or finishing up the last of my orders, that Christmas would sneak up on me and be over before I knew it. Well, not this year. I am shipping off the last of my orders today, and I am going to enjoy the next 10 days fully this year.
I've been noticing a profusion of aqua colored Christmas decorations in the area stores. I absolutely LOVE the combination of aqua and red! The tree and other decorations featured below are from the website of a store in Canoga Park, CA called, Traditions:
Gorgeous, isn't it? Tomorrow, I'm going to feature some ornaments I've made for my own tree over the years. :o)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I can't believe it, but it's true. It's been 18 years since our daughter, Caitlin, came into the world. And let me tell you, she was in a big hurry to get here! She was born almost 6 weeks early, and weighed all of 3 lbs. 12 oz. She had to stay in the hospital's Intensive Care Unit for several weeks, til she got up to 4 lbs. Then they let us bring her home, but she still had to have visits several times a week by a nurse. She was SO tiny!
I'll have to add a photo later, because we're on our way out. I just wanted to wish my darling Caitlin Jeanne the happiest birthday she's ever had! :o)
Monday, November 16, 2009
I will be listing more dog figurines for sale on ebay through Christmas, and I've decided to donate 10% of the sale price of these figurines to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I've loved and worked with animals all my life, from showing and breeding Boxers with my Mom for over 10 years, to working for other breeders of champion show dogs, to working as a dog groomer, and then later as the office manager of a veterinary clinic in New Mexico, so it's only natural that animals, and specifically dogs, play such a large part in what I create with clay. I've donated many pieces to other rescue organizations to be auctioned to raise money for their cause because I feel so strongly about it.
Recently, I posted about the three kittens we've adopted since moving to Missouri. I wasn't looking to adopt even one kitten at the time. My husband is allergic to cats! But I just could not leave these babies to fend for themselves. So I feel VERY strongly about the importance of spaying and neutering pets. I'm sad to say that I've encountered a great deal of ignorance from people over the years concerning how important it is to spay and neuter. Especially during my years at the veterinary clinic. We had so many people bringing in puppies and kittens that they had found abandoned, and I heard such horror stories. Puppies found in a cardboard box on the side of a busy road, kittens found in a trash bag in the dumpster. It broke my heart then as it does now.
My three kitty boys are growing up, and the first of them will be neutered this week! The other two will be neutered over the coming weeks. I want to support the ASPCA in their continuing efforts to educate the public on the importance of spaying and neutering, in addition to their many other educational efforts. If you're interested in my clay art, I hope you will continue to check out my auctions over the next month and maybe you'll find something you'd just love to have, and in purchasing it, you'll be helping me help the ASPCA.
You can click here or on the ebay widget on the right side of this page to get to my ebay auctions:
Designs by Ginny Baker
I also want to thank Julie Leir-VanSickle of Craft Gossip for posting my Snowman and Bichons piece on her blog this week. Here's a link to the article if you're interested:
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Well my video editing skills definitely need work, but considering it's my first attempt at editing together a series of clips, it's not too bad. I just wish it were as clear as it was before I uploaded it to YouTube. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy checking it out. Listening to that music, while I was working on the video, brought back so many great memories. My brothers and I grew up listening to those Christmas classics, which my parents would play every Christmas season. Both of my parents are gone now, so those memories, while wonderful, were also bittersweet. That music also helped put me in the mood to create more holiday themed items.
Here's a link to the video:
Creating a Polymer Clay Snowman
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Before I started doing primarily dog items, I used to sell whimsical characters at shows and on ebay for many years. In fact, it was those whimsical characters that led to me being asked by well known craft book publisher, Design Originals, to create a how-to book on creating clay Christmas ornaments, and to publishing numerous how-to projects in other collaborative books, and magazines.
I always enjoyed creating charming seasonal characters, especially snowmen. So I recently taped a video of myself creating an adorable little snowman. I was all set to edit it with Windows Movie Maker, and found out to my dismay, that the format my camera saves video files in is not supported by WMM! So now I'm in the process of upgrading my QuickTime software to QuickTime Pro, and hope I will be able to post this cute little video on YouTube and here, sometime in the next couple of days.
These little characters are currently listed on ebay, along with a few others. You can access my ebay seller page by clicking on the ebay widget on the right side of the page.
It was always so funny to me to be creating snowmen in Vegas when it was 70+ degrees outside! Last winter, our last in Vegas, we actually experienced a record snowfall on Dec. 17th. It was the first time the school district closed school because of snow in 30 years!! I'm so glad we were there for that, after living in Vegas for 17 1/2 years. It was such a fun day! It put everybody in such a festive mood, just before Christmas. :o)
Soon enough I won't be lacking for real life inspiration when the first snowfall hits my new MO hometown. So I'm enjoying creating these little snow guys and some seasonal dog items this week.
I hope to be able to share my little snowman video by Tues. or Wed. of this week.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
I haven't done a Worktable Wednesday post in so long that I thought I would today. On my worktable today are some Halloween miniature scenes featuring dogs. Here are two quick pics I took on my stove top of an Old English Sheepdog and a Schnauzer when they were fresh from the oven. :o) They'll be up on ebay, along with several other breeds later this week. With better pics of course. ;o)
Monday, October 05, 2009
Well I've been sidetracked from doggies for a while to participate in a swap with my clay buddies. Our group is made up of some of the best makers of adorable, whimsical polymer clay characters you'll ever find. Some of them, like myself, have published polymer clay how-to books, magazine projects, etc. Most of them have been selling at shows, and via ebay for years. I feel very fortunate to call these talented ladies my clay buds!
For our swaps, we always pick a theme, be it snowmen, gingerbread men, scarecrows, whatever, and then we make one for every member of the group, including ourselves. Then we mail them off to the person who is acting as swapmeister (hostess), who divides them up, and sends a full set back to each of us, so that we have one piece by each of the participants, along with the one we made ourselves. There are usually a dozen of us participating at any given time. Our most recent swap was a bunny swap, and here's my contribution. I actually did 12 though only 11 are pictured below. My new home town just had their 30th annual Old Tyme Apple Festival, so my bunnies are apple-themed in honor of that:
Monday, September 14, 2009
I want to thank my dear friend, Michele Lynch, for the Premio Meme Award she's bestowed upon me. Michele and I have been supporting each other in our artistic endeavors for many, many years now. We take turns nudging each other back onto the path, during those times one of us veers off into the bushes, or gets lost in the maze of eBay, Etsy, struggling to keep enough product made, struggles with lack of inspiration, or too much of it, and not enough time, and whatever else comes up while we try to balance the artistic life with "regular" life.
So I'm supposed to tell 7 things people might not know about me. Since this is the third time I've been asked to do that by someone, it's getting a bit more challenging. OK, here goes:
1. I'm a pretty big fan of U2, who will play Vegas October 23. :o( Did I plan to see them this year before this job and move came up? YUP Are they touring anywhere in the state of MO? NOPE. Am I bummed? YUP.
2. I've had an airbrush, complete with compressor, for going on two years - and I've never used it! Partly because I had visions of inadvertently spray painting the walls and carpet of the lovely new house I was renting - something I didn't think the owner would appreciate! Though Michele keeps trying to get it through my silly head that this is an airbrush, not a FIRE HOSE, and nothing like that is likely to happen. ;o) I think I'm finally ready to try it!
3. I used to have a horse I called Shane when I was younger.
4. I compulsively collect gorgeous dog figurines.
5. I absolutely LOVE hummingbirds! I've always adored them. But during a time when I was going through a lot of heartbreak in my personal life - my dad was dying, my marriage was falling apart - hummingbirds became a symbol between me and God/the Universe, that I wasn't alone.
6. I like to create with words as well as art materials.
7. I am a hopeless romantic.
Now I'm supposed to give this award to 7 other bloggers and ask them to answer these questions, but I need to give that some thought, so I'll edit this later.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Well, not like frustration is limited to Fridays for me―wouldn't that be nice―but it fits today. Today I'm feeling the importance of having a designated work space something fierce. I've been feeling it ever since we moved into this house a couple months ago, but I guess it's especially thick today.
I'm just remembering how much having or not having a designated place to work on your art, to keep all―or at least, most―of your art supplies in, a place where your work is not in the way of your family members, and they're not in the way of your work, makes an impact on feeling free to create your art.
Ah in comes frustration, my old nemesis. And frustration always makes it so much harder to want to create at all.
It's a basic need all artists or wannabe artists share. A place set aside for them to create. And I'm currently without one. Which means when I want to create, I have to dig through boxes to find my stuff, which is scattered here, there, and everywhere, pull it all together, then try to find somewhere I can set it all up, at least temporarily, so I can create, at least for a little while, until I have to move it all out of my family's way. UGH. It's all just so draining, and exhausting, I find myself not wanting to bother. Frustration wins again. But only temporarily.
I finally took a small 3-drawer storage cart I have, a ceramic tile, and I started sculpting a Super Sculpey Yorkshire Terrier, right there on the top of that cart. Less than ideal, but better than nothing. The need to create won out over the frustration of trying to do so.
But I see that I'm going to HAVE to set up a work space soon, and the only available space in this house is a finished part of the basement. UGH. Basements have such a dungeon-like feel. It is a walk-out basement, which helps some. But who really wants to be shut away in the bowels of the house? Okay, getting melodramatic there, but I'm sure you can catch my drift when it comes to my feelings about basements. :oP
This isn't the Yorkie I mentioned here, but just thought I'd put it up since I don't have a pic of the new one yet. ;o)
Friday, August 14, 2009
Got my new digital camera yesterday and I'm excited to get going finally on the tutorials I've been wanting to do forever! This new camera can also record up to an hour of video in HD, so that will be something fun to play with.
In the meantime, here is the little orphan kitten we've adopted. When we moved into this house, there was a mama cat with four adorable kittens camped out at this old building next door that had been converted into a 5 unit apartment building. They soon came over to charm us. We felt sorry for them and started feeding the 5 of them. After a week, we went outside to give them some food and all of a sudden a new and very vocal little guy came running up the stairs to join them. We had never seen this little one before and it was clear he was not one of mama cat's kittens. He was obviously a few weeks younger, and she despised him on sight! He couldn't have cared less and pushed right up to the dish to eat. Mama cat had no choice, but to tolerate him. LOL
He has a little stump of a tail that clearly wasn't that way at birth. :o( Lord knows what happened to him, but it's healed just fine. For a few weeks we were sure he was a HE, then when we decided he was the one who needed us most, and we would adopt him, we started thinking he must be a she because we couldn't see any little what-nots proving he was a boy. LOL We named "her" Mischa. But once we took "her" to the vet, the vet confirmed our first impressions had been correct and it was a little boy!!! So now Mischa is Mischa Man til we figure out his new name!
The mama cat had been brought here by a woman who lives two doors down, but she'd never done anything to take care of her once she brought her here. :oP We found out from her sister, our neighbor across the street, that this was the 3rd litter she'd allowed mama cat to have. :o( She finally called animal control and they came and caught two of the kittens, mama ran off, and two little guys remain. Animal control never came back for them, so we've been feeding them ever since.
So here are the boys - the grey tabby is our little guy, the grey and white my daughter named Jade, and the black she named Jasper. ;o) Very hard to get clear pics of these guys! They're in perpetual motion! Our little man though the smallest of the three is also the most fearless. He's a real pistol. :o) The vet believes he's 3 1/2 mos., so I'm guessing his adopted bros are 4 mos. or so.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
Time to get back to sculpting! :o)
Edited to add: Mischa Man has become Milo. :o)
Monday, July 27, 2009
Well it's been so long that I'm sure I've lost everyone who used to come visit my blog. It's taken us so much longer to get settled here in MO than I would have ever expected. We left Vegas May 9, and it took us TWO MONTHS to find a house to rent. We want to rent till we figure out where we want to buy. We're limited because my husband cannot live outside a 15 mile radius from where he works. He will be the troubleshooter for the power/gas company here. He's been a journeyman lineman for nearly 30 years, but is now undergoing training to handle the gas side of the business as well. We thought we would rent for a year while we look for a property to buy. My husband wants lots of acreage. ;o)
Well little did we know when we moved here, how hard it would be to find a nice rental home! We were used to Vegas, where it's incredibly easy to find a brand new house to rent. Here, so many of the houses are older - from 50 to 100+ years old. Many of them don't even have garages, unless they were added on later, or are freestanding buildings. There are new homes too, but the majority are older. Most of the rental homes here are in pretty rough shape, unfortunately. Owners of lovely homes don't want to rent them because so many renters just tear them up, sad to say.
We finally found a good one though. It doesn't have a garage - just a carport. But it does have a partially finished large basement, so lots of storage down there.
Unfortunately, when we unpacked our beloved Mac computer, we found out it didn't handle being in a storage unit that wasn't climate-controlled for two months very well. I'm hoping we can fix whatever's wrong and have it back very soon. In the meantime, we bought a refurbished PC and finally got back on the internet. WHEW!!!
I hope to start posting on a regular basis again and get back to creating with clay and finally getting my dog sculpting tutorials done. Hope to draw my former readers back!
Here's a pic of the beautiful courthouse in the town square of our new home town, Versailles, Missouri. We live just down the street from it. We're in the Lake of the Ozarks area. Lovely rural area. I love that part of it. What's been hard for me is the lack of conveniences. It's a small town, population just above 2500. We have Wal-Mart. That's about it for shopping. Thankfully it's a supercenter so we get our groceries there too. If I want to go to a Barnes and Noble, or a Kohls, or the craft store, or any of the other stores I miss from Vegas, I have to go about an hour away to the state capital, Jefferson City. There are a few nice little gift shops in the town square but we're really lacking for shopping and restaurants.
I'm shopping for a new digital camera. My current one is just outdated. I can't wait to take pics around here. There are so many gorgeous homes here - old Victorians that have been beautifully maintained, etc. Not to mention the abundance of nature. And the little orphan kitten we just adopted!
Looking forward to rebuilding my following!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Well, this blog has been totally neglected for the past few months while we've been on pins and needles waiting to see where we're moving to. :oP We thought we would be heading to the Austin, TX area, but now an even better opportunity has presented itself, and it looks like we'll be heading to a small town near Lake of the Ozarks, MO. My husband is a journeyman lineman, who worked as a troubleshooter for the power company here in Vegas for 14 yrs. He's the guy that determines why outages happen, and what is needed to get the power back on. ;o) This job would be a similar one, working for Ameren, the utility company that handles electrical service for MO and IL. This was the opportunity we were hoping for, so we just have to wait now till it all falls in to place!
It may be another few weeks, but then I'll be back to posting on a regular basis, and will try to make this blog worth reading! Hope you'll check back later next month. Take care everybody. :o)
Monday, January 05, 2009
"All of us can take steps - no matter how small and insignificant at the start -
in the direction we want to go."
~ Marsha Sinetar
Still taking steps myself - to finish the Yorkie tutorial, which is almost done, and to work on the website. I also have some jewelry ideas I'm anxious to get to, once I get a couple more orders finished. There's never a drought of ideas and projects keeping me busy!
One thing that may slow me down a bit on the things I want to do is that it looks like I will be moving in 2-3 months. I am very ready to leave Las Vegas. Seventeen and a half years here is more than enough! I've had lots of fun living here, and gotten to meet some wonderful people. Sooner or later everybody seems to end up coming here to visit, so that's given me an opportunity to meet people in person that I never would have met otherwise. But I am very ready for a change. What I'm not so ready to do is pack! Fortunately, we left a lot of things in boxes in the garage when we moved in. So it definitely won't be as daunting as the last move was, after being in our house for 16 years!
About a year and a half ago, we sold our home. We were lucky to have quite a bit of equity in it, so we walked away with a very nice chunk of money. We fared much better than a lot of people have in Vegas' awful housing market. We chose to rent this house rather than purchase another one. We knew we didn't want to stay here much longer, and also knew we did not want to be buying another house here as bad as the housing market currently is. So we moved into this house brand new. We're the only ones who have ever lived in it, and it's a really lovely house. Unfortunately, the owner has been badly affected by the downturn in the housing market and the house looks like it's probably going to be foreclosed on. It's a case of a young man trying to expand his investments to fast too soon, and buying a house in the wrong city. For a long time, the market was hot here. Not anymore. Everywhere we look there are brand new homes sitting empty. The only good thing is that after our initial lease, we chose to rent month to month. So we can give 30 days notice and leave when we like.
So things will be a bit up in the air for me again for a while. I'm ready for the change though! :o)