Friday, December 29, 2017

An Exciting Year Ahead - 5th Friday Post - December 29th

Hi Everyone!

So here we are on the cusp of yet another New Year.  I've written before about no longer making resolutions but there ARE a few things I DO like to do before or at the New Year.

First, I love to choose three words that I want to be my focus for the coming year. I print them out and keep them above my editing station and I check in with them from time to time.  I haven't settled on any of the three yet for 2018 but I feel I DID manage to stay true to the ones I chose for this past year, especially "diligence".

Second is an old family tradition that I loved when I was a kid. Every New Years Eve I put several coins out on the windowsill and leave them out overnight until New Years day. The coins should be silver (symbolically, not literally) and when you bring them in on New Years Day, you put them somewhere safe so that you do not spend them the rest of the year. If you do this, it is said to ensure that you'll always have enough through the year and I will say that it's always worked for me. . . but not when I was a teenager. . . I was always broke then. : )

Third, I will make my annual reading pledge at Goodreads. Last year I chose 30 books as my goal and ended up reading 33 or 34 I think. . . I may increase it to 40 this year ( I can always sneak a few comic collections or graphic novels in if needed).

I'm looking forward, as always, to the year ahead. I've got a full range of new ideas for my shops, I'll be furthering work on "The Ledgerkeepers" novel, working on off Etsy web sites for that world and for my Shadow of the Sphinx shop. Oh and I will be starting up on Instagram in January!

Ok, can I just make two small complaints about instagram already? I signed up and chose an account name a few weeks ago.  It's not my name OR any of my Etsy shop names by the way. . . that's just me preferring a little anonymity. . . . and I was immediately bombarded with a list of people I might know/want to follow. Now, I have not been active on any social media platform for quite some time and so almost all of these people they've recommended are from the distant past. . . I just find it creepy that they instantly know and are linking me to people who I've known in the past! AND, I checked in yesterday just to get myself ready and I already have two dozen followers. . . only one of them is someone I know, the rest are random accounts, some seem fake, and a few local area business accounts. Come on now.  I have ZERO posts! Why would anyone who does not know me be following me already???  What if I start posting really bizarre or disturbing art? Still wanna be my friend there "Tiny Vacation Home Rental in PDX"?

OK, rant over. :)

That said, I AM looking forward to getting the visual feed going and I am secretly hoping it allows me to find artists who inspire me from all over the world, like the old days on Myspace when it was still cool and ad free.

Well, I think that's it for this edition. . .

I am sending wishes to you all for a wonderful start to your own New Years and may it be filled with light, love and inspiration each and every day!



Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas! - Fourth Friday Post - December 22nd, 2017

Hello everyone!

Since we have five Fridays this month I am going to take this one to wish each of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Yule!

I hope the last 10 days of this year are filled with light, love and the making of wonderful memories!

When I return next week, I'll go back to the Bewildering Pine, my usual fourth Friday post. In January I will begin revealing a bit more about the world I am creating in greater detail but next Friday's post will focus on the why.

Why I am taking time out from an already busy creative life to write these stories and create this elaborate world, what inspired them and where do my characters come from.

So until then, I send love and light to all of you!

Oh, I wanted to share this with you all too. Each Solstice or Equinox Sofie and I chose two fairy guardians for our altar. Last night it was time to pick our Winter Fairy Guardians. We choose them from the vast and well known flower fairy selection of the artist Cicely Mary Barker, then we print them out and mount them on card stock, setting them on the altar window.

Snowdrop Fairy for Sofie

Burdock Fairy for myself!

For me, I am reminded of the mischievousness of the burdock fairy. When I was home last February, I was doing some work for my mother in the driveway and came inside later to find hundreds of the sticky burrs on my pants, socks and coat. . . and just like when I was a kid, I never saw the plant! There they were as if by true fairy magic! It was an unexpected but lovely step back into memories of the past so I had to choose him this year!

Much love and fairy magic to you all!!!


Friday, December 15, 2017

Making of a Maker - Please Give It Time - Third Friday Post - December 15th

Ok so. . . most things I've done in my life, creatively,  felt like they came naturally to me.

Sculpting however, was NOT one of those things.  Not with sculpting clay, not with polymer clay and not with ceramic or porcelain.

I just was not very good at all when I began.

Given the multitude of other things I could have turned to, things I already had a fair capacity to do creatively, it might seem surprising that I stuck with sculpting at all.

I am so glad I did.

When I am asked advice about being a maker-of-things for a living, the first piece of advice I offer is to stick with it. "Please give it time" I'll say.  I know the frustration of the inner critic who's always sitting on your shoulder and telling you you can't do it, you won't ever be good enough. But you CAN. And you WILL.

In time.

I think many people give up way to easily on their creative desires, wishes and dreams. If you're doing something you love, something you've always wanted to do or just something you saw and were inspired to try for yourself, then just keep at it because you'll get better each time you do it, I promise!

You won't even realize it because it's a lot of little steps of progression that get us to the place we want to be. Only looking back in time can I see the growth by comparison. Even now, 7 years later, I still learn something new with each piece I create! A new technique, a new way to get a hippo's ear or a fairy house's rooftop to look just right. I expect that I will continue to learn and develop my skills for as long as I keep working at it and coming up with new ideas to try.

And when I say just keep at it, keep making,  I mean make A LOT! Repetition, honing skills and evolving your ideas, it's all going to pay off in the end. Though it might not be in the way you hoped or, as I did, you may end up going down roads you never dreamed of only to discover that those roads take you to a place where you are happier than you've ever been.

Then, one day, you get to look back at the first things you made/ sold and something recently that you sold and compare them. If you're like me, you'll shake your head and laugh because we all started somewhere. . .

Here, for you to see, was my sculpture starting point. A Bast statue made 7 1/2 long years ago. My first. . .  and that Bast did sell, surprisingly enough.

I had not developed any of the skills, the patina processes, detailing, a way of working out the stylizations or the techniques that allowed me to create the blue patina Bast right below it.  That's where seven years of making, working on it every single day, came in.

This is the first Bast statue I ever made and sold back in 2010. 

And this is the most recent one I've sold. Seven and a half long years later.
Next month I want to dive into talking about the one aspect of online selling that I always felt I had going for me. . . packaging.

Thank you, as always for dropping by!

 Keep making!!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Inspirations and Oddities - Second Friday - December 8th

Hey all!

Second Fridays are for sharing a few links to things that caught my eye the last month and that have all inspired my imagination in some way:

With the newest Star Wars installment hitting the theaters  I am reminded of seeing the very first as a young child and how it effected my imagination. Well, 40 years later there is no loss of the film's impact and how it still inspires to this day. This Kickstarter campaign fully funded and is over but it's worth a peek.

Lightsaber Oil Paintings

Scroll down a bit on that page to see the three amazing portraits of the lightsabers from the first film. Highly realistic and detailed. Odd and, yes, beautiful.  :)


I adore masks. So when I stumbled upon this site and the folk who design these amazing paper masks that you download the templates for and make yourself, I was absolutely giddy!

Wintercroft Masks

Use their category list on the left to choose your section. Masks from animals to mythical to sci-fi! I love them all.


I am always looking for strange inspirations for musical instruments or games for my worlds. Here is a lovely collection of odd "instruments",

Music as it's Made


And another new twist to an oldie but goodie. Dungeons and Dragons has been around for ages now but I just read that 2016 was the most profitable year for the old RPG game and 2017 is on track to better it. I am always amazed that there are artists that find new ways to bring the old game more to life. This kickstarter which I myself supported was for artistic renditions of D&D first level magic scrolls.

D&D First Level Scroll Art

I LOVE scrolls and manuscripts of any kind and was immediately taken by the artwork, the "old tongue/language" and the thoughtfulness that went into creating these. Can't wait to get mine to frame and hang for inspiration . . . but I still have to decide which one I want!

Hope you've all had a wonderful week!

Friday, December 1, 2017

New Work - Stumptown Fairy Houses - First Friday Post - December 1st

Hello everyone!

Holiday busy-ness is fully upon us so this first Friday post is just an in-progress show and tell.
These are  start to finish pictures, of a new version of my Stumptown Fairy Houses. 

These are N scale 1:148 houses built on or into a clay "tree stump". 

Hope you enjoy this peek into the process and stages of making this little design!

Wishing you all the happiest of weeks ahead!


Each one starts with a simple, roughly shaped lump of polymer clay.

A little slicing away of the clay gives me something of a stump shape. Not too picky here as the next step will remove any of the hard lines. 

I use the edge of a clay shaping tool to start making the "bark" lines, I do this in layers so they overlap.

Then comes the next stages:

Next I add a simple shape of a house on top, gauging the size to allow for a door and window.

A flat rolled piece like this will become the first side of the roof once texture is added. 

Then the second side of the roof, sides of the trunk reaching up the house and a branch chimney get added on. In the end, this one will look as if it were carved from the tree instead of sitting onto of a cut stump.  

Here are a selection of them that I worked on all at once. The little "steps" and mushrooms have been added on the two in back. Then indentations are made for the windows and doors. They are then removed and the pieces are baked. 

The first part of the painting in the base color for the tree stump. The houses will get their own color so I am
not too particular here about getting paint on any other part. 

The houses get their gray base coat, the trunk gets it's lightest highlight and the roof tops get their black base color too. 

A few stages forward. Mushrooms receive their red coloring, rooftops their raw sienna color and the walls get an array of shades. Next will be the landscaping and the final detail touches. . . 

. . . of flowerboxes, roof tile colors, moss, windows and doors, wildflowers and spots on the mushrooms

Here are two of them complete and ready to go in the shop this weekend. 

"Ya'll come back now, ya hear!"