This year my husband and I celebrated our 25th Anniversary.  And we did it in Italy!!

My husband had been to Rome twice in the last 6 months and the first time, it nearly killed me that he saw the Vatican without me!!  The second time, he took our daughter.  The third time, it was my turn!  We had a couple days in Rome, a couple days in Florence, and we spent two days driving through Tuscany looking for wineries!  Make sure you have a GPS and charged batteries!!

It was a fabulous trip.  25+ years ago, as a student in many, many art history courses, I’d never have dreamed I’d see those sites and works in person.  My favorites were the Cathedral in Florence, and a small painting of Michaelangelo’s Madonna and Child with St. Joseph.  Any parents who’ve had toddlers can recognize this real human struggle–the classic hand-off from one parent to the other when the mom or child have had enough of each other!  And how often did it happen in church–at least in my time!


So I promised I’d be back soon and show you some of my artwork.  Here’s a painting I did this summer from one of my photos near Montepulciano.  It’s a watercolor done in the style of Grant Wood and is now hanging in my dining room.

tuscany low resAnd here’s another of a small structure in the garden at our B&B/Villa:

tuscan rose garden copyHere’s to fabulous travels!  And have a great holiday weekend.



Posted in artistic life, painting

summer fun

A couple posts in March…  A post in June… Here it is almost Labor day before I show up again…  Well, so it goes… I resolve to do better and blog more often every once in a while, but life is what it is.  It can only be lived a day at a time, as I must learn over and over…

So what have I been up to?  Artwork of course.

And this summer, while it’s been very dry, we are having an exceptional fruit harvest.  I live on an acreage.  We’ve been here 11 years.  When we bought the place, there were several old and mostly dead apple trees and a pear tree and a cherry tree that didn’t have a pollinator, and thus never bore cherries.  My husband cut down everything but the old pear tree.  Then we started over to establish the orchard of my dreams.

It’s been slow, as some years we planted one or two new trees and they didn’t survive so we had to replant before different fruits were established in my orchard.  Then, as the trees became large enough to produce fruit, we’ve had 3 bad years with late spring freezes that have zapped the blossoms.

This spring was a perfect spring for the fruit trees.  In July, my daughter and I picked sour cherries and froze them for pies, canned them for preserves, and made chutney.  Yesterday, I took every peach off my small peach tree as they were ripe and the bugs discovered them.

Fruit, to me is just such an example of God’s benevolence.  Sweet, tart, bright colored, it makes me smile.  A stack of jars is a thing of beauty.  It’s not my usual artwork, but it is Art.

canned peaches

15 pints of peaches will make my family smile

peach salsa

12 jars of peach/tomato salsa

The apples are ready, but thankfully, they are more patient, waiting on the tree for their turn.

Hopefully, I’ll be back soon to show some of my usual artwork… (I’d promise, but that’s risky….)



Posted in artistic life

Telling stories

I’m blogging at Sculpey.com this month, but remembered to repost this here as well today…

At the Bead and Button Show, or in any class I teach, I like to tell stories while I’m demonstrating.  I talk about my experiences, my work and where it comes from, as well as funny things that have happened in my family related to my art over the past 20+ years.

Often when I teach classes using my collection of leaf molds, I tell what kind of leaf it is, where it came from, etc.  One of my favorite leaves are rose leaves like the ones in the two pins shown here. 

When my husband and I were visiting a winery in Greve, Italy on our recent trip to Italy celebrating our 25th anniversary, I noticed a miniature rose bush in the landscaping.  I picked one tiny leaf and tucked it into my wallet to mold it when I got home.  I haven’t had time to make anything with the mold yet, but it will make a great story, don’t you agree?

Stories are important because they connect us to the work, and through the work to each other. I remind my students that if they are developing work for sale, to find ways to tell their stories.  I learned the importance of the story years ago when I taught a series of classes at a nearby Stamp/scrapbook store…

The series was a 3hour class on a different technique at the store once a month over several months.  I did several techniques using my leaf molds.  I pointed out one of the molds that was made from a marigold leaf.  The special leaf came from a plant grown from seed by my son at preschool.  My husband also planted a row of marigolds along our vegetable garden each year, so that year, my son’s plant went on the end of the row.  The hybrids were different, and it just so happened that my son’s plant grew twice as tall as all of daddy’s… of course!  I preserved this story in my leaf mold and remember it each time I used that mold.   (that son is now 16!  time flies, but my mold is still effective–Bake & Bend is so great for making molds!)

Now, for the lesson on the importance of the story:  one of the students in my stamp store class listened to the story and at the end of class, bought one of my samples that was made with the marigold mold.  She was touched by the story and it increased my sales.

AND…the next month, I was teaching a different technique, but again using leaf molds.  That student re-told the story for me to another woman who hadn’t attended the previous class.  And I made another sale of a sample made with that mold!

When you make things for friends and family, share the story with them about making the piece along with the gift.  If you sell some of your work, perhaps at a craft show, tell your stories.  If you sell through a local shop, make sure to get to know the sales personnel so that they can talk about you and your work.  And think about creative ways to include your stories on hang tags or other marketing pieces. 

When you clay with kids, show them how to express a story through their work.  It will open a new world to a child.  Our stories are what make art meaningful and desirable.

Happy Claying!



Posted in artistic life, polymer clay


I love pearls.  I use many colors of dyed pearls in my leaf series of silver earrings and pendants.  But I haven’t used pearls often with polymer.  I have been doing a fun design with pearls set on a post and backed with a concave disc of silver.

I’ve been exploring this design element from several directions.  First came a series of designs using a cane pattern and a contrasting solid.  I’ve done a dozen or so of these and each pattern and shape combination is different.  So they are each one of a kinds.

sheltered pearl 2 color

Then, I wanted to come up with designs that were simpler, smaller, and which could be ordered according to shape or color for my wholesale line.  Here’s an example, and I’ve got sets accordingly in different shapes…


Finally, I wanted to take the design into deeper complexity and pieces with a bigger Presence.  These are each about 2-1/2″ in diameter, so they have presence alright!

sheltered pearl donuts 5

sheltered pearl donuts 2

sheltered pearl donuts close

I started with 4 color mixed sheets that I painted, stamped, sprinkled with glitter, dripped with ink, and even drew on with metallic markers.  Those sheets were covered with a thin sheet of translucent.  Those four sheets were cut up for the major spaces of these donuts, and interspersed with canework patterns.  Finally, I added floating cane slices or carved and back filled.  The pearl is mounted on a wire that is soldered to the portion of the bail that’s hidden inside the layers of clay.

So there you have it.  Same design concept applied in different forms.

Have a great weekend!








Posted in polymer clay, silver jewelry

playing with resins

A while back, I bought a small uv light for exposing the photopolymer plates that I use with text and silver.  But I also bought some uv hardening resin which I kinda forgot I had for a while.  But looking for something else, I came across it and thought, Hey, this should be fun….

I made three designs that have low bezel walls.  Two of them have clay patterns covering some areas of the textured silver back.  The colors are very subtle.  These all three are pendants with tubing soldered on the back so they can take up to a 2mm cord or chain.


Let me know what you think!



Posted in polymer clay, silver jewelry

valentine fun

I took some time to play today to make a few new textures with hearts as the theme.

This past weekend, I hosted a class in my home studio on the subject of textures and making your own texture plates in polymer.

Here’s a great technique that doesn’t require drawing or carving skills:

Bake a sheet of clay for your background.  This can be Sculpey Bake & Bend, Premo, or my favorite, a 1:1:1 mix of Bake & Bend, Premo, and Ultralight.  This sheet should be a medium thickness from your pasta machine, and big enough for your pattern.

After the backing sheet is cooled, spread a thin layer of Liquid Sculpey over it and press a very thin sheet of clay over that.  Make the second layer a contrast color so you can see what you are doing.

Press your pattern into the top layer.  The baked underlayer ensures that all the design will be consistent in depth of lines.  You can remove sections also.

val texture 1

This pattern used the 1/4″ square, and the tiny heart from the Kemper cutters sets.  And various needle tools for detailing.  After the pattern is complete, bake the sheet again.

Next, make a negative of the design by rolling it against more clay.  I used Bake and Bend for this sheet also.

val texture 2

Finally, you have both the positive and negative patterns to use in your designs.  Here’s my sweet little valentine pendant:

val texture 3



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Posted in polymer clay

It’s here!! It’s finished!!

I usually meet my UPS delivery guys at the door so they know the dog is all bark and would never hurt anyone.  Today, I met the guy half way up the driveway cause I was so excited about what he was bringing me!!

My latest book is back from the printer!  Yeah!

I saw the pages in December for final editing, so the layout and design is not a surprise, but its still a very exciting moment to have all the pages in a complete form.

Here’s some peeks:

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So exciting!  I hope you look for it and love it too!  Order here from Kalmbach for the quickest delivery!

Posted in artistic life, books, polymer clay

caned cookies

My book is almost ready to go to press.  Today on Facebook, my editor commented about applying cane principles to cookie making.  I’d say she’s gone a little over board, except I have to admit….

I’ve done it.

This cookie design was the logo for Pioneer HiBred Seed company who my husband worked for after college.

Please!  Focus on the cookie and NO comments about the hair!!  After all, it was about 1992 or so…

caned cookies

I expect she was thinking of Christmas themes…


Posted in artistic life, polymer clay


December is my month to post over at sculpey.com/blog.  Go there and read the story behind these new works:

Posted in artistic life, polymer clay, silver jewelry

signature cane

My guinea pig group of teens at my church have completed their sales of Words of Purpose.  Congratulations to them, they earned $1203 to help fund students attending district and regional gatherings.
So now, it’s my turn to get to work, fulfilling the orders.  I have most of the inventory created.  The pendants just need to be hung on the appropriate length cords and packaged.  I “sign” my work with a bead at the back in the clasp.  For the Words of Purpose line, I decided I needed to put that name rather than “KIMLE” in the clasp.

So this was my all-day Saturday project.  I had college football streaming and I built the 14 letters while listening to games.  The cane began by making each letter 3/4″ high and 2″ long.  The cane had a little over 3 lbs of clay to begin.  I did quite well with the reduction and didn’t have too much distortion and waste on the ends.  Check out the process:

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I’ve so far only sliced and baked about 1/3 of the total.  The cane will make thousands of little signature beads.  I usually make my “KIMLE” cane about every 3 or 4 years.  We shall see how long this WoP cane will last!  Here’s hoping we sell so much and raise so much for ministry purposes that I have to make it again!



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Posted in polymer clay
June 2023
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