Polymer Cafe Profile

I’m honored to be profiled in the December issue of Polymer Cafe magazine.

The article was written by Trina Williams, a friend I first met long ago at one of the Ravensdale conferences sponsored by the Northwest Polymer Guild in the Seattle area.  It’s a lovely, flattering piece and I’m honored.  I did select and furnish the pictures.  My kids noticed that some of them are “really old work!”

Along with the profile, I wrote a pendant project which is also featured using a mokume gane variation and metal clay for a bail.  Here’s the project:

Thanks Trina and Anne!



Posted in artistic life, polymer clay, silver jewelry

Its launched!

Words of Purpose is official!  It has a website and the order forms are at the printers.  Check it out!



Posted in Uncategorized

new ventures preview

I’m very excited about a new line I’ve been working on over the last few months.

In June, I talked with my husband about my need to move in a new direction in my work and in my business.  We talked about the fact that I was disappointed in the efforts I had made to lauch Precious Text as a home party line.  I know my weakness is in marketing.  I’m not shy, per se, but self-promotion has always been very uncomfortable for me.  Not good when you need to call people and ask them to host a home party for you.

However, I knew that I really wanted to keep my designs with a Christian focus.

My husband suggested that I create an army of teens as my sales force. …? how?  By offering my products as a fundraiser for groups.  Church youth groups, kids working toward mission trips, etc.

Perfect!  I’ve always been most gratified by making work that is not only beautiful, but meaningful to the wearer.  And I’ll be able to assist others in witnessing about their Christian faith while reaching toward financial goals.

So in developing a new line, I’ve kept certain considerations in mind; the line needed to include designs that might be worn both by young men and women.  I needed designs that were also ageless so a teen might like things, but so would Mom and Aunt Judy.  There are also a few non-jewelry items–pens and magnet sets–for those who will support a fundraiser but don’t like or wear jewelry.

The line includes just a few pieces that are silver metal clay, most are polymer.  And most designs are on rubber cords rather than metal chain in order to keep prices down.  The sales price for all items ranges from $22.00 to $80.  And 40% of all sales will benefit the group selling for whatever their mission or ministry goals.

This new venture is called Words Of Purpose jewelry and gifts.  Watch here and I will be letting you see some of the products up close and will let you know about the official launch.



Posted in Uncategorized

no pressure…!

Today, I’m not bragging about me.  I’m bragging about my kid!  And this is a post about the art of food, not jewelry or painting.

Many years ago, when we moved to our acreage, my FIL brought us 6 bred ewes for our barn.  We wanted to have some “chores” for the kids to learn about life and responsibilities.  For a number of years, we kept the ewes and bred them and had new lambs every spring.  So cute!  People began asking us if we ever had them processed and if we would sell lamb.  We eventually began to feed the lambs to slaughter weight and did just that, keeping some for ourselves and selling the rest to friends however they wanted them butchered and cut.

Eventually, our oldest son took charge of all the work and decisions related to the lambs and it became his business, Onion Creek Lamb.  By the end of high school, he was up to buying almost 50 lambs, raising and selling them to individuals and restaurants in the area.  He’s been very successful in tapping into the “locally grown” food trend.

This boy is now a freshman in college, again has 40 lambs and is intent on growing his business.  This summer, he asked me if I would be willing to cook a dinner for his Chef customers.  Now, I love to cook, and we entertain often in our home.  I’ve cooked dinners for visiting colleagues and other university bigs.  I’ve hosted fundraisers for political friends…  I’ve got a pretty good system down in the kitchen and dining room we designed and remodeled several years ago.

So, while cooking for Chefs might be intimidating to some, I took up the challenge.  Afterall, they’re just people.  Really nice guys actually.  And we had a great time.  He ended up getting 3 chefs to attend, several of their family members, his custom butcher and his wife, and our family.

The purpose of the evening was to showcase his lamb products.  And all the recipes were my own inventions.  Included were Scallops with Lamb Bacon, Greek Pizza, Lamb and Summer Veggies over Bulgur Pilaf, Lamb Sliders with feta and Carmelized Onions, and Leg of Lamb with Pecans and Mint with Raspberry Sauce.  Here are some pictures…

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If you like lamb, and you’re in Central Iowa, check out his website.  If I’ve made you hungry, visit the Cafe where lamb is on the current menu.



Posted in artistic life

blogging at sculpey.com

I’m blogging at Sculpey.com/blog this month.  Here’s a reprint of this week’s offering:

Like many artists, I like to try other media occassionally.  I came to polymer clay from textiles, so I took lots of fiber classes in college.  Later, I have taken watercolor painting classes, and on my own, I’ve explored other painting and mixed media.  One of my current outside polymer interests is making mixed media paintings including close-ups of women’s faces.

As a treat for myself, I bought the whole 132 color set of PrismaColor pencils.  Yummy color!!  In the faces I draw, I begin with an underpainting in oil, then add the colored pencil for the details.

My outside polymer explorations usually feed in some way back to polymer.

Today, I did a small experiment of drawing a face directly onto baked clay.  I found that a mixture of 1/2 UltraLight clay and 1/2 Original white Sculpey makes a wonderful, toothy surface that takes the colored pencil beautifully!  Here’s a little experiment, an all pencil drawing on the baked clay.  I’m sure I’ll want to explore this in more depth when the bead show is over and I have some quiet time this summer….

Let me share a few other cross-over media inspirations…  Years ago, when I did watercolor, I experimented with painting with alcohol ink on polymer in the same manner as one would watercolor, ie, layers of washes, etc.  Here’s an old set of paintings on brooches:


More recently, I did a series of pendant beads using transfers of some of the paintings of faces:

These beads are the subject of one of my classes at the upcoming Bead & Button Show.  See how good it is to step away into something else once in a while?  Just remember to bring what you learn back into your clay work and it’ll always be refreshed.

Posted in artistic life, polymer clay

Evolution of a painting

My paintings are mixed media.  The media include oil, acrylic, pencil, paper collage, and stamping.  This week, I set myself a new challenge…  my first male face.  My victim?  My graduating senior son.

Here’s his senior picture pose that I started with:

When I begin a painting, I create a sketch in pencil to get the features marked in in correct proportion and placement.  Then comes the fun part…  I use Shiva oil paint sticks to lay down the base color.  These colors are big fat sticks of soft color, and they are less precise than crayons.  So I lay down the color and blend it with my fingers and with cotton swabs.  It really is exciting to fingerpaint a face!!  The oil color will dry in 24 hours, but I have discovered that on heavy drawing or watercolor paper, the paints can be dried by heat setting them with a stamper’s heat gun.  Here’s the result at this stage:

Next, I refine the face with colored pencils.  I recently treated myself to a new set, the 132 pencil set of Prismacolors.  Talk about feeling like a kid at Christmas!!  (And I did use a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby for it!)

My kids weren’t convinced that I could get the hair to look right after the first stage since the underlayer was so dark… never fear!  I did.  After getting all the detail and shading of the face I wanted, it was time to add some collage elements.  I put a verse from Psalms near the top, a page from an old children’s book along the side, gave him a striped “shirt” and used the book plate from an old Iowa State Library book that I picked up in the free pile at the library.  The book was about 50 years old!!  But I liked it because the boy is planning to attend ISU…

Next is more finger painting with acrylic, fluid paints to color the background and to mute the collage elements.

Then I stamp various patterns loosely over the painting with texture plates and rubber stamps with more acrylic.

And finally, I get out my letter stamps and add the verse.  Exodus 14:13 is the verse that my son picked for his confirmation verse 4 years ago.  At that time, I put it on a silver keychain for him (it’s pretty beat up from 4 years of use since the fine silver is soft, but there’s a sterling frame around which takes most of the abuse).  It’s so cool to use different media to commemorate different times in my kids lives, but the same faith underlies it all.

Here’s the final painting:

My son is graduating in 2 weeks.  On his grad invitations, I used a quote from Harry Potter #6, “Time is making fools of us again.”  He rolls his eyes at Mom’s sentimentality, but the quote really captures for me my amazement that this moment is already here.  It can’t be that long ago that I nursed this child and stared into his eyes, wondering who he would become.



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Posted in painting

Beads Baubles and Jewels

A little more than a year ago, I went to Cleveland to do my first ever craft TV spots.  I was on camera with Katie Hacker for two projects that were included in Series 14 of Beads, Baubles, and Jewels, a craft how-to that airs on some PBS stations.  I blogged about the experience here.   The irony is that no local PBS station in Iowa airs the program, so I had never seen more than a few clips on youtube.

The producers notified me that beginning on April 6, BBJ will be broadcast weekly on beadsbaublesandjewels.com. Each week a new episode will be broadcast starting Friday at noon until the following Friday – then a new episode will be broadcast.  Episodes are not archived, people should visit the website each week.  Anyone can view the episode at any time all week long by visiting the website and DVD’s are available there as well.

Here are examples of the technique I demonstrated in the first episode that is available:

Have an awesome, inspired day!


Posted in polymer clay


Last weekend, I showed two of my good friends the paintings I’d been doing.  These two ladies have 3 daughters graduating from HS and college this spring.  Both of them asked me to paint their daughters.  I was a little reluctant because though I paint from a model face, I’ve never tried really hard to get a portrait likeness.  I assured them that it might not be very close.  Both my friends had more faith in me than I did myself and both wanted me to try.

Here are my results for the friend whose two daughters I worked on this week:  First is K.  She is graduating from college as a music major, so her mom wanted the same verse I used last week, “the LORD is my strength and my song” ex 15:2.  I also added “sing to the LORD a new song” and another verse about making music to the Lord.

and the result:

K’s younger sister L is graduating from high school this spring.  She’s in the same class as my oldest son and they are friends.  She’s a lovely girl also:

For her verse, her mother picked the popular verse from Joshua 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you, to give you hope and a future.”  Pretty appropriate for a graduate, I think.  I added “He will rejoice over you with singing” and a verse about taking delight in the path of the LORD.

Well, I can do no more than to thank God for the chance to do work that I love and to do it well.  In one of my books, I used the verse from Psalm 90:17 on the dedication page.  It still is my prayer:  “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.”



I’m joining the studio hop here again.  Nice to meet those of you who are coming via the StudioJRU sneak peek!


Posted in painting

give me grace

I finished 3 paintings this week and I like two of them.  Not bad, I suppose.  I posted the first one here.  Here’s today’s attempt.  I had a hard time choosing a verse for this face, I don’t know why…

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  Psalm 84:11

Have a wonderful weekend.  We’re hosting an event saturday evening, so I will be cleaning, then cooking!!



Posted in painting, spiritual life

a return to painting

It’s been almost a year since I painted a face.  I’ve been wanting to get back to it for quite some time.  I’m so happy to finally do something new.

My usual pattern is to paint the face, add the collage and stamped elements and then pick a theme and a verse to use.  Today I had just finished the face and was filling in the background when my daughter got home from school.  I asked her input on the theme.  She suggested “strength” so I went to my online bible search engine to pick the verse.  Did you know there are 237 NIV verses that include the word Strength?  Wow.  Luckily I really was drawn to using one of the first in the list.

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  Ex 15:2.



Posted in artistic life, painting
March 2023
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