Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day and all is well and waiting to shop tomorrow!

minifig holidays # 2: christmasImage by minifig via Flickr
Here is a slide show from the ADO website.  This slide showcase is for Christmas ornaments that are handmade and that incorporate the concept of the art doll.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving one and all!

Photo showing some of the aspects of a traditi...
Tomorrow is the big Turkey day and everyone will be busy cooking and watching games on the tube.  It is a big day for families to spend quality time together, even when the quality is questionable.

It is also a day to look at ourselves critically and to review our blessings.  There is not a single soul that cannot find a blessing to be thankful for.  With that said, it is also a time to rejoice in the good company of family and friends--a time of coming together to recement the common bonds we all share.

I can make a long list of all the things I am thankful, friends, work, enough money to stay afloat, good food, and so on.  I'm sure your list would be very similar.  But still, I'd like to encourage all to take a silent moment tomorrow to mentally review all the things we have to be thankful for.  Remember our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan who are separated from their families so we can be with ours.

I pray that all who read this enjoy the true blessing of this holiday and are filled with joy.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Make your own Christmas Cards

Holiday Greeting CardImage by Salon de Maria via Flickr
I used to always make my own cards for special occasions.  My grandsons have quite a collection that they proudly display in their rooms going back to when they were very small.  I've made cards for my family for years.  This year I was thinking about making my own Christmas cards to give to my friends, since I don't usually give gifts to anyone except the boys.

I really enjoy making cards.  It is very relaxing to do and opens up your creativity.  I usually find myself looking at the calendar for the next big occasion while I am working on cards for the present occasion.

Below is directions for creating a lovely Christmas card.  Try it out, you might find that you love making cards.  Beware, though.  You may find yourself addicted!


Joy Greeting Cards

Craft Project - Joy Greeting Cards
Craft Project - Joy Greeting Cards
By Linda Peterson


AMACO® Craft Porcelain Modeling Material
AMACO® Rub ‘n Buff® — Gold Leaf
Loew-Cornell Water Color Crayons
Black Card Stock
Grey Paper
Decorative Papers in Colors of Choice
#2 Rounded Tip Clay Shaper
Fiskars Paper Edgers — Deckle Paper
Glue of Choice.
Helpful Hint: Keep a small bowl of water and paper towels handy. Wrap craft projects in wet paper towel to keep it from drying out.
Step 1
Letters are created by rolling a ball of clay into a log and shaping it into the desired letter. When dry to the touch, apply Rub ‘n Buff®. Note: The size of the ball determines the size of the letter.
Step 2
Holly berries: Roll 3 small balls.
Step 3
Leaves: Roll a ¼” ball into a teardrop and flatten. Feather edges of leaves until they are thin. Draw in veins with clay shaper.
Step 4
Place three leaves together. Paint green with watercolor crayons. Paint berries red and apply over top of leaves.
Step 5
Cut Black Cardstock:
# 6″ x 12″ (fold in half)
# 3″ x 3″
# 2¾” x 2¾” (cut edges with deckle scissors)
# 1½” x 5½” strip
Step 6
Cut Grey paper:
# 2⅞;” x 2⅞”
# ½” x 5½”
Step 7
Layer the paper using the picture as a guide. Add mullbery paper to top of square. Glue on holly embellishment and letters. Highlight edges of paper with Rub ‘n Buff®
Step 8
Add interest by varying the size of the card such as in the second sample. Embellish the letters with holly leaves or other flowers of choice.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Creating Paper Clay, "Santas" for your tree or holiday decorating

Here is an Christmas craft I found but can't figure out how to get the pictures to copy.  So, I have copied the instructions below and included the link to the original posting PDF so you can see the pictures.

I have started making some of these and will be showing you the progress as I go along.  So far, all I have done is make the actual Santa's parts out of clay and have been drying them.  Here is what I have so far:

Inexpensive and original!

See the original instructions here so you can view the pictures!

Instead of baubles, cute dangly Santas and red hearts could be hanging on your Christmas tree this year! They're really easy to make using air-drying modelling clay. A creative Christmas craft idea - great fun to make with children too!


Paper clay (sufficient for approx. 15 Santas or for approx. 18 hearts), 1 kitchen knife, 1 tile or piece of smooth film to serve as a work surface, several transparent sleeves for drying on, 1 reel of wire, 1 pair of pliers, several toothpicks and skewers for modelling with, 1 rolling pin for rolling out with, 1 heart-shaped pastry cutter, 1 pair of scissors, string, 1 bowl, 1 box of paints, several paint brushes for painting with and a moist cloth.

Step l:

Roll the paper clay out to an approx. 5 mm thick sheet. Place a triangular-shaped template for the Santas on the sheet, outline the form onto the paper clay using a wooden stick and then cut out with the knife.
If you want to make hearts, simply cut the hearts out of the sheet of clay with the pastry cutter. Smooth all edges with water!

Step 2:

Hangers are inserted into the hearts straight away. Make them out of wire which you shape by wrapping around, e.g., a pencil. Leave the finished hearts to dry for one day on transparent sleeves. After half of the time, turn the hearts over so that the backs dry as well.


Now it's time to transform the cut-out clay triangles into Santas. Note: before adding details, moisten the triangle first with water! First make a thin sausage out of clay which you then use for the fur edging along the bottom of the coat and the hat. For the eyes, place two tiny balls directly underneath the bottom of the hat and add pupils to them using the toothpick. Now attach an oval-shaped pug nose. A hint of a beard is added by drawing several lines with the wooden stick. Don't forget to make the holes for the dangly legs and hanger! If you want, you can give your Santa a handsome moustache. Simply press it on directly under the nose and add a whisker structure using the wooden stick. For the dangly legs, roll out an approx. 7 mm thick
clay sausage and cut into 1.5 cm long pieces. Make holes through the individual pieces using the wooden skewer, leaving you with elongated pearls. All finished parts are then left to dry for one day on transparent sleeves. Turn over every now and again to ensure that they dry evenly and that the Santa shapes don't bow.

Step 4:

The dried hearts are then painted all over with red paint from the paint box. Use a fine paint brush to give the Santas a rosy pink nose and cheeks. To do so, dilute the red paint very well. The hat and coat are painted red. Beard, face and fur edging stay white. Paint the pearls for the boots using black paint out of the paint box. Once the paint is dry, push a piece of string through the two holes on the bottom edge of the Santa (looks like a belt), thread a pearl onto each end of the string and tie a knot in the bottom. Another piece of string threaded through the hole in the hat and knotted at the end serves as a hanger.

Have Fun Making Them!

Always wrap bits of Paper Clay that get left over while you're working in a moist cloth to prevent them from drying out, so that they can be used again later. Even when taking a short break in your work, cover the not yet finished pieces with a moist cloth.

Wrap open packs of paper clay well in cling film and keep in an air-tight plastic box. This keeps the clay soft for several days.

Make sure that the holes you make for the string in the Santa and pearls are large enough! Should the holes be too small, you can make them larger after hardening using a small electric drill!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Shopping Advice for Men

Here is an article I found that is quite humorous.  You might want to print it out and "accidentally" leave it lying for your man to find.  It really gives some good advice on how to buy a present for a woman, and even if it was published in the UK, it has universal information.
I hope you find this as interesting as I did and I hope it helps you get what you "really" want for Christmas this year!


Author: Carrie Spacey
Published: 11th November 2009 12:37

It's a well-worn cliche that many men put this task off until Christmas Eve - but have you ever wondered why that is? It won't necessarily be because he's lazy or disorganized, no, it's far more likely he just hasn't got a clue and has that "can't do right for doing wrong" mental block.
 We're here to help, so all you worried men out there, read on....
Christmas shopping for the woman in your life can be daunting, but knowing a few basics about the noble art of buying gifts for women can help you on the way to a harmonious festive season:

It's About Her, Not You
This has to be the cardinal rule: Do not, under any circumstances, buy her something that's on your own wishlist. So, nothing from the DIY shop, no sports DVDs, no gardening implements. Most women will not have "52" LCD TV so I can watch Liverpool v Utd next Saturday" at the top of their must-haves.

No Household Appliances
You might think you're being helpful by getting her a chop-o-matic or one of those nifty new hoovers with a ball instead of wheels, but believe me, go that route and it's highly likely you'll be spending Christmas night in Arrowe Park A&E. Christmas is a time for gifts she wants, not stuff she needs.

Apply the Mother-in-Law test

Each idea you have must be put through this rigorous testing procedure. If you think your Mother would like it, forget it. Move on. Quickly.

Big Pants or Black Lace? Neither!
It's entirely possible that your loved one could do with some new knickers or a nightie. But, you must strike the right note - half-way between granny pants and your wildest fantasies should be about right.

Don't Attempt to "Do" Fashion
Clothing may seem to be an ideal gift, especially if your partner loooooves clothes. However, the point is, if she does love clothes, she probably has a very strong idea of what she does and doesn't like, honed over several thousand hours of window/online/real-life shopping. How can you hope to compete with that level of experience?

A far better idea is to figure out her favourite shop, buy an extravagantly generous voucher and then wrap it up beautifully - layers and layers of silk, ribbon, little notes in between each layer. Anything to disguise the fact you wimped out and got her a voucher, basically.

Listen and Learn
Once upon a time I had a craving for a particular, really funky, leather jacket. I went on, and on, and on about it in the presence of my then boyfriend. In fact, no-one in a 10 mile radius could have been in any doubt of what I wanted for Christmas. He, however, bought me an "ornamental" painted wooden frog. Called Bladder. I kid you not.

OK, I appreciate this is an extreme example, but it does serve the purpose of pointing out that you could do well to actually listen to the hints she is dropping. Sometimes these may be subtle, but most likely they will be like bricks landing in a duck-pond. They'll probably have started around late October. Listen and act on them. Definitely.

Love Conquers All
There's probably very little chance you will ever get it 100% right, because we women are a capricious bunch. But, if she can tell you've at least thought about it, and curbed your urges towards the mundane, the easiest option or the downright lazy, the chances are you will avoid the spectacle of your Christmas dinner ending up on the dining room wall.

Just show her you care enough to follow the above rules, and I'm prepared to bet my wooden frog Bladder that you'll see her smiling at you over the sprouts this Christmas.

Find the original article here
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here's a great idea for an evening spent with your daughters.  Help them to enjoy natural beauty and natural goodness. Cleansing the face is something we all do regularly.  Why not teach our daughters how to do this simple thing in a fun way and spend quality time while doing it?

Try this out during the holiday rush--take some time just for yourselves--to pamper and relax your mind and body!

Apple Face Mask, excerpt from The Natural Beauty Book
By Anne Akers Johnson

Mask are intensive treatments and should be limited to your once-a-week routine. Choose one that is well suited to your skin.
Facial Mask Basics
1. Before applying a mask, find a place where you can lie back without being disturbed. Spread a towel out where you will rest your head in case your mask drips.
2. Choose and prepare a recipe.
3. Pull your hair back off your face. Pull long hair back into a ponytail.
4. Wash your face so it's nice and clean.
5. Run a washcloth under warm water, squeeze it out and hold it over your face for a few seconds to dampen your face. If you've just had a steam, skip this step.
6. Apply the mask all over your face and neck (if you like), avoiding your eye area. Lie back and let the mask work for 10-15 minutes. If it starts to feel itchy or uncomfortable, less time is OK.
7. If your mask is particularly chunky (like oatmeal) use your washcloth to gently wipe it off your face, shaking the bits of mask into the trash (this is the trick to avoiding clogged drains). Once it's mostly off, rinse your face in warm water.
Beauty Book Facemasks

Apple Face Mask


1/2 Apple, grated into a bowl
2 t Honey
1 T Uncooked, regular oatmeal


Step 1: Grind the oatmeal into a flour in a clean coffee grinder or food processor if you have one. Unground oatmeal is OK too, it just makes the mask a little messier.
Step 2: Combine all the ingredients.
Step 3: Lie back and gently press small handfulls of the mask onto your face. Rub it along the sides of your face, then let it sit for 10-15 minutes before removing and rinsing.

For more homemade beauty projects like these, check out The Natural Beauty Book: Create Your Own Natural Spa Experience by Anne Akers Johnson.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recipe for making paper clay

Paper mache dollsImage by Swamibu via Flickr
Paper clay is fairly expensive at the hobby store, so I went online to find an alternate source of the stuff used to make many of the beautiful and expressive art dolls I have been viewing.  I also like paper mache, so when I found this video, I knew I would want to share it with you.  I can't wait to try to make this.  Maybe this recipe will be the answer to my "artistic" block!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video and try this out.  Won't you post me a comment and let me know if this worked for you?

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Here's a look at why I like paper mache!

This artist has the most enjoyable and whimsical creations.  Please browse through the galleries and see if you don't agree.  This really is why I love paper mache, it's so versatile.

I love that you can take a medium available anywhere, that children can use to create, and make these gorgeous sculptures.  If you do an online search, you will find many paper mache artists out there whose works are unbelievable!

Here is the link to view PapierDog
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Monday, November 16, 2009

Here's an interesting video!

 I was reading posts on ADO and found this video.  It is amazing.  I really want to share it with you, so I hope you will find it as interesting as I did.  It is also quite a bit disturbing to watch the visual changes take place in such a short time.  If you enjoy this video, won't you visit the sculptor's site?

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Do you want to start an online craft business? Here's some suggestions.

Image representing ArtFire as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Making the Internet and Ecommerce Work for Your Craft Business

By Maire Loughran,
If you’ve ever gotten together with a group of crafters discussing ecommerce, you probably found that the verdict was evenly split on the topic of its worth. In my experience, about half will think it’s the best thing since sliced bread while the other half find it too much of a hassle to coordinate the ordering, payment and shipping procedures. Even if you don’t want to sell your crafts online, a website is a fantastic way to market your crafts by providing potential customers with more information about your company.

1. Is Your Craft Suitable for Ecommerce?

I really don’t see this as being too much of a problem. Live plants, furniture, cut flowers, expensive jewelry, firearms, frozen groceries are all available for purchase via the Internet. From tiny to huge, there seems to be a shipping option for just about any product.
The only way I could anticipate ecommerce being a problem for your craft business is if you have some sort of health or safety issue involved. How likely is this with a craft type business? Well, I can’t think of an example.
Not interested in ecommerce? You still should have an informational website listing dates and locations for craft shows or retail shops that carry your product so your customers can find you.

2. Set up an Internet Presence1

It’s very easy to get your company up and running on the internet. Some possibilites I recommend are using What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) software such as Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver, hire a website designer for a truly custom look or signing up for third party marketing through sites such as eBay or Yahoo stores.

3. Etsy2

If you’re involved in arts or crafts, you’ve more than likely heard of, an online venue for buying and selling handcrafted products. Like any online presence, maintaining an Etsy shop takes work. Curious about Etsy? Thinking it may be a good compliment to the way you’re marketing your craft business at present? Check out my brief Etsy tutorials.

4. ArtFire.com3

Find out about, a inexpensive way to market your arts / crafts online. ArtFire offers both a free Basic plan and a Verified plan costing $12 per month with no listing fees or commissions.Thinking may be a good compliment to the way you’re marketing your craft business at present? Check out my brief ArtFire tutorials.

5. Tailor Pages to Your Website

Depending if you have an ecommerce website or an informational only website there are standard pages that you should include. I wasn’t quite sure what pages to include as part of a well-written site and what was fluff when I started out, so I used various websites that I liked as guides.
If you have an ecommerce site don't skip having a Policy page. This page gives your customer the full scoop on your return, shipping and other company policies so there’s no confusion about the terms of the sale. An informed customer is a happy customer, give them a lot of info so there are no surprises regarding the order.

6. Web Images Have to be Perfect4

I just can’t emphasize this enough. Your images must look flawless. I mean, really, do you order from a website if the product image doesn’t look good? Well, you may if you’re buying groceries or computer parts. But you’re selling crafts, which is reaching a totally different audience. Your customer is going to need a killer image to give them that final push to click on the ‘Add to Cart’ button.
A stellar product image goes a long way toward reinforcing customer confidence in your product. This translates into sales. If your site is for informational purposes only, you still need great images to attract customers to your craft shows. Good images can save you money too since the website can replace a costly print catalog.

7. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)5

You can have a fantastic website, with stellar images and killer product descriptions, but it will do you no good unless people can find it. It’s kind of like a needle in a haystack out there in cyberspace. Increase your chances of potential customers finding you through search engine optimization.

8. Selling Online? You Might Need Shopping Cart Software6

If you’re only accepting payment through a service like PayPal, you can relax. You won’t need shopping cart software – PayPal takes care of this for you. However, I have a merchant account in addition to PayPal (it comes in handy for my customers at craft shows).
Have the same situation as me? Check with your merchant account provider to see which shopping cart software works with their system. Also, protect your customers by only using shopping cart software that has Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protection.

9. Shipping Your Customer Orders

Congratulations, you’ve made your first sale online! Now, how are you going to get that order from your business to their house? Investigate the various possibilities (USPS, Federal Express, UPS etc) and see which works best for you. Another shipping issue to consider is if you are going to incorporate the cost of shipping into the cost of the product and offer ‘free’ shipping or if the shipping will be an add-on to the cost of the sale.

10. Should You Monetize Your Craft Web Site?7

If you’re not sure what this means, an excellent example are websites that use Google Ad Sense. I don’t recommend monetizing a craft business website. Once you've gotten that elusive potential customer to visit your site, you don't want to distract them with ads for other businesses. Keep your website on its main topic – that of promoting your product.
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©2009, Inc., a part of The New York Times Company. All rights reserved.
Here is some information for starting your own online craft business.  I know that there are many people out there who craft but don't know how to go about starting an online store or how to showcase their wares.  There is a good market for homemade items, but since most are not advertised, it seems that no one want to buy them.  Not so. 

Even other countries are great buyers of hand crafted items, so put your crafty hat on and get busy.  It never hurts to make a little extra money and having a home-business has tax advantages.  The soon you start one the better.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tree Ornament - Felt Whimsical Santa

Image for Tree Ornament - Felt Whimsical Santa DIY Craft Project
This free Christmas craft project shows you how to make a quick Christmas tree ornament. For those who do not know how to sew you can use craft glue instead of the needle and thread. Print off the pattern and cut out all the shapes.Using some sewing pins, pin the paper pattern to your piece of felt and cut out the shape. You need for each Christmas ornament (front and back). Sew the buttons onto the front pattern piece as shown in the picture. Using the needle and thread sew a blanket stitch around the edges leaving 1-2 inches at the top so you can fill it. Do not remove the thread as you will use it to finish off. Fill the Christmas ornament with a small amount of toy filling and then sew in the ribbon for hanging the Christmas ornament up. Close up the top of the Ornament with the remaining thread in the same blanket stitch style. If you do not know how to sew you can glue this project or use a different stitch style.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Did you have a fun Halloween? I did!

Halloween iconImage via Wikipedia
Halloween has come and gone but it will not be forgotten for quite some time.  Since I was working, I told my patients that I was dressed up as a NURSE, I even had on a Halloween set of scrubs.  This did not fly, however, so one of my co-workers brought up a bag of costume supplies and right before shift change we all dressed up and gave our patients a real laugh.  I'm not sure how the patient's families felt as this was in the middle of visiting hours, but oh well, it was Halloween.

Here are some of the pictures for your enjoyment!

Won't you comment and maybe even send me pictures of your Halloween costumes?
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

In the Spotlight: Black-Eyed Suzie

Here is another of my favorite art doll makers for your enjoyment. I stumbled onto here sight quite by accident and then couldn't find it again for almost a month. I just couldn't remember her name to be able to Goggle it. Then, quite by accident again, I found the above you tube video. I really love her work. It reminds me of The night before Christmas and Tim Burton, but she describes her work as influenced by the gothic love stories she read in her youth.

No matter the source, I hope you like these dolls as much as I do and encourage you to visit her site often. She is quite prolific and turns out so many beautiful dolls.

Here are some more pictures of her work.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quick and easy Christmas tree decorations

Last year, I decided that I would once again enjoy putting up a Christmas tree and making some decorations with my grandsons.  They, however, did not share my enthusiasm.  Oh well.  I am known in my family as the "Scrooge" as Christmas has never been a favorite of mine.  I really don't much enjoy any of the holidays--maybe because I have been a nurse for so long that I cannot remember being home for a holiday, but for whatever reason, I am just not much into holidays.

When my girls were small, I made ornaments, presents, and decorations during the holidays--mostly due to lack of money and an overabundant amount of free time.  The girls and I made craft time "our time together" and we did have fun.  So, I am now at an age where I don't feel any pressure about Christmas and I again wanted to take part in the holiday in some way. 

I found a craft article describing how to make tree ornaments out of things you normally throw away, and I said to myself--Ah-ha!  I can be crafty and green!  So I began to make my ornaments and then realized that I did not even have a Christmas tree.  Off to Walmart I went to buy a tree.  I ended up getting a tall, thin tree with lights already on it (I hate stringing lights).  I know I could have just gotten a real tree, but I don't really want the mess of needles and such.

Finally, after a concentrated effort lasting a few weeks, I had ornaments and a tree, so I put it up and I actually enjoyed it.  No presents, no other decorations, just a tree with ornaments and lights.  Anyway, here are some pictures of the ornaments and the finished tree.  Hope you enjoy them.  If you are interested, let me know and I will post the directions for the ornaments.  I think they cost about $1 total.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DIY Pedicure: Treat Your Feet to a Spa Pedicure at Home

An at-home pedicure is an inexpensive DIY spa treatment to get your feet ready for summer. Learn how to give yourself a home spa pedicure with these steps, tips and homemade spa recipes for pedicure treatments.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 1: Remove old polish

The first step in a home pedicure is to remove any old polish from your toes. Use nail polish remover to remove any remnants of old polish. If your old polish has stained your toe nails or your nails have a yellowish tint, soak a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide and apply to the nail. Leave on for a few minutes and then wipe off.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 2: Trim toenails
Use a toenail clipper to cut your nails straight across. Your toenails should not be longer than the end of your toe as this can lead to ingrown toenails. After clipping, file straight across and only in one direction. Going back and forth with a nail file damages and weakens your nails.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 3: Soak feet
Once you have trimmed your toe nails, prepare a foot bath for your home pedicure. A pedicure foot bath is not only relaxing, but is an important step for softening calluses and cuticles. Add epsom salts and essential oils to your foot bath or try this homemade spa recipe.

Homemade Foot Bath Recipe
1 C. Buttermilk (slightly warmed)
½ C. Sugar
6-7 C. Hot water
A few drops essential oil of your choosing (optional)

Milk can be substituted in this homemade spa foot soak, but buttermilk is better because of the higher concentration of lactic acid which works to soften feet and remove dead skin. The glycolic acid in the sugar also helps exfoliate your feet. Essential oils are optional, but here are some suggestions: Peppermint oil for invigorating feet, Lavender for soothing your senses, or Tea Tree oil if you have any problems with foot fungus. You can also put marbles on the bottom of your foot bath and rub your feet along them for massaging action during your foot soak. Soak your feet for 20 minutes or so and then pat dry.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 4: Cuticle Care
After your home pedicure foot bath, your cuticles should be nice and soft. Use an orange stick to gently push back the cuticle. If necessary, use cuticle remover lotion to help with pushing back your cuticles. Don't cut your toenail cuticles, as the cuticles protect your feet from infection. If you have any excess skin on the sides of your nails that needs trimming, you can trim it with a cuticle trimmer.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 5: Scrub Feet
Next give yourself a refreshing spa foot scrub to help remove dead skin and calluses from your feet. If you have access to beach sand it makes a wonderful scrub. If not here is a homemade spa foot scrub recipe.

Homemade Foot Scrub Recipe
1/2 C. Table Salt (or ¼ C. Salt and ¼ C. Sand)
2 Tbsp. Oil (Olive, Almond, Coconut, etc.)
2 Tsp. Liquid soap (bath or hand or even shampoo)
A few drops essential oil of your choosing (optional)

Mix together and massage well into your feet. Rinse well. After scrubbing, you can follow up with a pumice stone to help smooth calluses and rough spots. Avoid using razors or other methods that cut off calluses.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 6: Foot Mask
This step is optional, but if you want to give your feet some extra pampering, try a spa foot mask for superbly soft and smooth feet.

Homemade Foot Mask Recipe
1 Ripe Avocado
¼ C. Honey
1 Tbsp. Oil (Olive, Avocado, Almond, etc.)

Mash ingredients together, apply to dry feet and wrap in plastic. Plastic bread bags or vegetable bags work well over your feet, even if they look a little funny. You can cover the plastic wrap with socks if you wish. Relax for at least twenty minute and then rinse feet and pat dry.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 7: Paint toenails
Use nail polish remover to wipe toenails and remove any excess oils that may remain from your home spa foot treatments. Nail polish does not adhere well to oily nails. Use cotton balls to separate toes when painting. Packing peanuts also work great as toe separators. Apply a base coat, allow to fully dry and then apply two top coats. If you decide not to apply color, use a nail whitening pencil and run it under the tips of your toenails for a French manicure look.

Home Spa Pedicure Step 8: Moisturize
Rub a light foot or hand lotion into your feet and enjoy your soft, smooth, beautiful feet. If you do your home spa pedicure at night, apply a heavier lotion, cover with cotton socks, and leave on overnight.

Use these tips and recipes to give yourself a spa pedicure at home and you can save money and have beautiful feet for summer.

To read the original article, click here
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One look at these silly characters explains why Laurie Hardin insists her job doesn't feel like work

Here is an article about one of the artists that I follow closely.  I love her work and find her ability to be so creatively productive envious.  She has a definite look to her work and I find her dolls to be both pleasing to look at as well as cheerful and fun.

Please read this article about Laurie Hardin, she is being featured in her local paper, but I think she deserves more exposure than just local exposure.  I am sure you will agree with me that her work is delightful!
You can visit the original work here>>

Photo by: Sarah Mulder, Kearney Hub
Laurie Hardin paints details on a Halloween figurine. Hardin first saw the idea of Halloween figurines while watching HGTV.

KEARNEY - When Laurie Hardin was brainstorming names for her studio, she didn't have to look very far for inspiration - it was lying right on her studio table.
Hardin's two youngest cats always find a place to carefully walk, lay, play and even get a drink of water on her studio table. Hardin refers to them as her "studio boys," while her husband, Kelly, referred to them as "monkey boys" when they were little because their tails were, and still are, extremely long.
"When I was going to come up with a name and they kept being on my studio table, it just stuck," Hardin said.
Among the paintbushes, paint and figurines on the studio table is a container, once used to clean paintbrushes, with fresh water for the cats to drink. The cats' food, water and toy bowls are tucked safely underneath her table. They even have a special chair to jump onto when trying to get on Hardin's work area.
Hardin's Monkey-Cats Studio features hand-painted and hand-sculpted figurines inspired mostly by Hardin's favorite holiday, Halloween.
"Some people do really dark things, but mine are a bit more whimsical," she said.
Hardin said she saw the idea to make sculpted Halloween figures while watching HGTV one afternoon.
"What I started doing is making my own Halloween figures," she said, noting her initial goal was to make a shelf full of figures for herself.
Hardin admits the first figures she made were disastrous.
After she found a clay she liked that looked like old-style papier-mache, she started showing the figures to her friends.
And then she taught some classes on how to make them.
Then she sold some figurines at a craft show two years ago.
Now, she is in her fourth year of making figurines and recently took 62 pieces to a Halloween show in California called Halloween and Vine. She came home with only seven pieces.
"Halloween and Vine was huge for me," she said. Hardin even had to turn down orders for figurines because she is already about a dozen orders deep.
Before making figurines full time, Hardin, who has bachelor's and master's degrees in art, worked full time. She told her husband she wanted to paint landscapes full time for one summer.
During that summer, she received a couple commissioned pieces, and when she was done, she told her husband she would find work. But instead, she started selling her pieces at craft shows.
She said about a year ago, she realized she could make a living off her artwork.
"It's just been a wonderful thing. I've been so happy doing it," she said.
Hardin said she gets her ideas for figurines through drawings in her sketchbooks.
"I don't ever have a problem with ideas," she said. "Every time I run out of ideas, I just flip through these."
After picking out a figurine to create from her sketchbooks, she mixes clay, which she orders in 25-pound boxes, and works it by pinching or rolling it out. She covers a styrofoam figure with the clay, adds wooden dowels for legs and lets it air dry for about a week. Hardin said it usually takes her about eight hours to sculpt the figure.
After the clay is firm, she primes and paints the object, sometimes putting on eight to 10 coats of paint.
"My surfaces are never one coat of paint," she said. "I like what it does to the surface."
Hardin likes the fine details on her figures, all the way down to sharp points on the stars.
"I will go through paintbrushes like crazy," she laughed. Poking out of a large container on her studio table are new high-detail brushes. Any time those paintbrushes are on sale, she said, she picks up a bunch.
Hardin said she has about four return Kearney customers for the figurines, with more customers in Omaha and Lincoln.
However, almost everything she makes goes out of state. She ships many figurines to California or the East Coast.
"I didn't know when I first started that there were serious, serious, one-of-a-kind collectors," she said, noting a lady in Pennsylvania has more than 20 figurines.
In addition to craft shows, Hardin also sells the figurines through an online market place called SpookyTime Jingles and through eBay auctions.
Hardin also creates figurines for other holidays, but most have a Halloween twist.
"Even my snowmen kind of look Halloween-ish. I don't do that on purpose," she laughed.
Hardin said she will make about 130-140 figures this year and sells about six pieces per month.
"I just feel blessed to be able to do this. It doesn't feel like work," she said. "This is what I need to be doing."
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