For a very long time now, I've wanted to have a different arrangement here on Blogger.  With this being an art blog, the images are a crucial element and I find Blogger to be quite restrictive.  It's been a great place to get started and it has served me well... but it's time to try something different.

So, today I started a website with Wix.  It is the free version, so there are a couple of Wix-ads, but if it works out well, I can imagine upgrading.  I really like being able to have multiple gallery pages and I think it has lots of visual appeal, even on the Blog page.

Here is the website:

Shady Tree Studio

Check it out, and let me know what you think!  This is my first go-round, so it may undergo some changes, but I think it's off to a good start :) .


Perfect Paper Crafting's Portfolio

Hi!  Have you seen the latest from Perfect Paper Crafting??

Known far and wide for their amazing Perfect Layers Tool and other handy dandy products, they have now introduced the Perfect Portfolio!

Not only is this an amazing product, but right now Perfect Paper Crafting is offering you a great deal.

Now this coupon code, PORT20, is only good until 5/15/15 and only good for this product.  You can always choose to use my link in the sidebar instead and receive 10% off your entire order - no deadline!   So not just a customizable product, but a customizable discount as well! 

A little about the Perfect Portfolio:  This is a customizable, rigid, magnetic, portable drawing/sketch/coloring surface. Perfect for any artist, crafter or colorist.

There are so many reasons for me to love this new product - I will be ordering (at least) one:

1. Stealth.  I don't always want it to be obvious that I'm carrying a sketch pad with me.

2. Customizable. First, for paper variety. Sometimes I want to have sketch paper and then also my final drawing paper with me - no need for two tablets with the Portfolio. I can choose how much of each sheet to take and it holds 20 sheets.

Also, I often work on different things in the same sketch book. I may have sketches for polymer clay projects, personal artwork, illustration projects. With the Portfolio, it will be simple enough to only bring those I wish to work on - to a waiting room, another room of the house, anywhere I want to bring my work with me.

I often even end up making notes on a sketch pad page. Now, it will be so simple to include some scrap or lined paper in the back for my notetaking.

3. The easel option. Handy! For holding reference material or even for display. This will be great for taking photographs, too.

4. Of course, the rigid portable surface.  I will love this for coloring images away from my desk!

5. Multiples will stack together and hold. I can imagine having more than one.

6. The pages will be well-protected and contained. Many times I have packed sketch pads in a travel bag only to have curled edges, etc. That does not make me happy! Keeping everything safe is a huge plus. And I can tuck in reference, snap it under the magnetic flap and not worry that it will fall out of my sketchbook.

Hope this info is useful for you!  I've been working on illustrations and polymer clay projects - I'll be back soon to share some photos.   Until then, take care and thanks for visiting!

First Show


This past weekend, I participated in an art/craft show for the first time.  It was an eye-opening experience!  Although small, local, and not very well-attended, it was reassuring to have favorable responses to my polymer clay and metal embossing artwork and jewelry :) .  I also met several very friendly exhibitors, one in particular who was quite generous with information for doing more shows, where to purchase supplies, and general encouragement.  I consider it a success!  Good feedback, helpful suggestions, and some experience in setup, etc. 

I've yet to download all of my photos, but we'll start with a selection from the jewelry.  

This is a style often referred to as embroidery.  Although meticulous and somewhat time-consuming, the effect is stunning and I love making these.  Some would find it tedious, I am sure, especially creating dozens of tiny balls of clay that are arranged then creased or manipulated with a variety of tools.  But the intricacy of the designs is very rewarding.

These next two examples are a couple of my first wire-wrapped pendants.  After watching many videos and trying to follow them step by step, bend by bend, I finally just relaxed and found my own way around the clay with various gauges and types of wire.  You Tube, blogs, websites, books and even catalogs are a tremendous help with great tips from experienced clay and wire artists.  But eventually, it's time to develop your own style and technique - that's when it becomes fun.  I'm very grateful to my online teachers and will be adding links to the sidebar in the near future in case you are inspired to give these techniques a try yourself.  I have my favorites, and I look forward to pointing you in their direction :) .  Here are a couple more wire-wrapped examples:

This is one of my favorites - I don't think this one will be up for sale :) .  I'm a huge fan of earth tones and the coppery browns with a couple of splashes of color is just the kind of marbled clay that I love.  And it's a double dose of copper with this wire!  

Another with a slightly lighter shade of copper wire.  I've primarily wrapped marbled clay cabachons - sometimes, I'll take scrap clay and see what I can come up with.  Other times, I've chosen colors specifically to get the desired effect.  Marbling can be tricky - too much blending and it's a mucky mess.  But I like the challenge of coming up with a good balance of swirls and colors. 

Now these two are a bit more unusual, eh?  I think of this as a sort of freestyle organic doodling technique.  This is right up my alley - anything goes.  The first pendant has embedded wire for the bail, and is all clay - no metal bezel.  I did some texturing of the background and then added various organic shapes and a glass cabachon wrapped in clay.  These pendants and many of my projects, jewelry and otherwise, are colored with mica powders (Perfect Pearls).  I love that metallic sheen.  In the first pendant, the clay is entirely black which really shows off the shimmer of mica.  The second pendant has a variety of clay colors but the mica powder still adds a depth and sparkly quality.

Here is another of the organic freeform pendants - in this case, the bail is part of the clay pendant.

This another favorite style of mine to make - faux cloisonne.  This picture was taken before a coating of resin was added - the dimension, finish and shine with the resin is lovely!  I'll upload a new photo soon.  The middle heart was one of my favorites - and it sold on Saturday!  I never realized that it may be difficult to part with some of my creations but I hope the new owner is enjoying it.  I could always make another, right?

And for my last photos of this post, here is a technique that I made up (at least I didn't learn it from anyone else).  These also have since been covered in a layer of resin - wow.   Hopefully I'll be able to get some good photos of that, but the technique is more apparent in the pre-resin state.  

To create this style, I filled the pendant with clay and then leveled it off with my blade.  I added bits of colored clay for the flowers, leaves, butterflies, and pressed it into the white base.  Then I shaved it off again, leaving bits behind.  It looks much like the paper lampshades, etc., that were in style some time ago with leaves and petals embedded in the paper.  I'd repeat this process until I was happy with the composition. 

Hope you've enjoyed this peek into what I've been up to.  I'll be working on more illustrations for my stamp line with Inky Antics, but still getting my fingers into some clay, too.  I'll be back with more photos and work on those links soon.

I am finding that working with a variety of materials is inspiring across the board, so you'll be seeing a little bit of everything here!  Thanks for joining me on this creative adventure!

'til next time ~

2015 - A New Year

Welcome!  I hope you and your family enjoyed the Christmas holiday and are welcoming in a wonderful new year!

I thought it was high time I stop by and revive the blog!  There has been big news behind the scenes at Inky Antics.  My boss, creative director Jackie Wamhoff, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and I could not be more thrilled for her and her husband!  Little Will is a very lucky little one and they are going to be over-the-moon wonderful parents :) .

I have also added the latest Inky Antics catalog to the sidebar!  I am SO happy with my new collection and I hope you enjoy it too.  I cannot pick a favorite - these animals are all special to me, and the sentiment and font choices are stunning.  They have tracks, too - a little bit of fun for accents, borders, backgrounds, etc.

View Nature's Wonders in this new edition:

In my absence from the blog, I've also been venturing into new media including polymer clay, metal embossing, and most recently I took a short class in pyrography!  It's all been a lot of fun to learn, and I'll be sharing some of those art projects with you here on the STS blog, too. 

I'm excited to be adding some variety to Shady Tree Studio and to be able to share that with all of you.  Page tabs under my blog header and links in the sidebar will be coming soon.  I may even knock myself out and finally start adding labels to my posts ;) .

So... thank you for stopping by and I look forward to exploring stamping and other artistic pursuits with you in 2015!

New Discount Code

Hi  Blog Friends!


I hope to be back soon with projects I've been working on and some new designs from Inky Antics... but for now - there's a new code in the sidebar for 10% off at Perfect Paper Crafting:  nbaier


A special offer for the month of November:  A free cutting mat with every order over $20!

Bye for now :) .