Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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How To Sharpen Polymer Clay Slicing Blades

If you work with polymer clay on a regular basis, you may find that your slicing blades get dull over time. In the video below, I share an easy way to keep your slicing blades sharp. So stop throwing out those dull blades! Sharpen them and keep on slicing that polymer clay.

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A Special Request

How do you spark the creative muse? When you’ve run out of ideas, hit the wall, or are just BORED, how do you find your mojo again?

I am writing a new blog post on sparking the creative muse and I want your help.

Specifically, I’m collecting tips from my friends and colleagues on how they spark the creative muse. You don’t have to an artist to participate either. We all use various techniques to keep ourselves moving forward in our endeavors.

In the comments section below, please share 1-3 tips that you use to spark the creative muse. Also include a link to your work, if you want. (A website, blog, Pinterest, Etsy, or ArtFire page, etc. One link only please.)

Your tip(s) and link will be included in the upcoming blog post. You have my deep gratitude and thanks for participating.


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Blog Anniversary Giveaway Week 1 Winner……

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on the Week 1 Blog Giveaway post. The winner’s name was drawn this morning using a highly scientific process:

Seven names were written on sheets of paper, folded, and placed into a box:

The lid was placed on the box:

I shook the box for about 30 seconds:

The lid was removed and I chose a piece of paper:

And the winner is……

Linda Easton is the winner. Linda, you’ll receive a copy of Steve Pressfield’s book “Do The Work!” and one of my Lucky Soulful Sprites. Congratulations Linda!

Do The Work! book cover

Lucky Sprite

Thanks again to everyone who participated. Check back this Friday, 8/12, to see what you can win in Week 2 of my blog anniversary celebration.


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Heard On The Blogosphere This Week

Some interesting & amusing thoughts from the blogosphere this week.

How did you feel about the death of Osama bin Laden? Celebratory? Sad and reflective? I found myself with mixed emotions. This post by Susan Piver put into words that which I could not.

The 10 Failures of Donald Trump Remember Trump Vodka? Me either.

You cannot help those who are not ready to receive it: Alyson Stanfield shared an excellent post from her archives reminding us to resist the urge to be fixers. Her focus is on artists but you can easily change the word “artist” to anyone.

Fake quotes? Ever wonder if those quotes you read online were really said by the person that they are attributed to? Here is an interesting case of a comment that morphed into a quote with the whole thing being attributed to MLK.

Ladies, are you wearing pants?


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Winter Solstice & a Snow Storm

Happy Winter Solstice to all!

Here is a favorite post I wrote a while back on the Solstice: Happy Solstice

And here is a curious article from the Sunday Globe explaining the history of Christmas in Massachusetts. Those good ol’ Puritans. To them Christmas celebration was rooted in pagan tradition and, therefore, a bad thing. Businesses stayed open and kids went to school on December 25. Talk about Scrooge and ba-humbug!

Yes, we had a little snow here yesterday. Not nearly as much as some areas, like Cape Cod, Washington D.C., New York City, New Jersey or Philly. But, 6″-7″ of snow isn’t small stuff either. Here is a view of how it looked yesterday morning in our front yard:

And later in the morning, these guys showed up in the backyard to dine on fallen bird seed. They stayed for a couple hours!

Yes, those are wild turkeys. They started showing up last month, 7-9 of them in a group. One afternoon I watched them fly up into the trees which was pretty funny. This pair poked and scratched in the snow for quite some time.


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Share This!

It is the month of December and that means many people are blogging about goals and planning for 2010. Here are some blog posts on these very topics that I enjoyed this past week:

Itchy Goals

I loved Sarah Marie Lacy’s revelation on why goals make her itch. It is wonderful when we have these a-ha moments. Does the thought of setting goals make you itch? Read Sarah’s story here.

Consistent Creativity & Productivity

When I read Charlie Gilkey’s post on what he calls our “engagement threshold” and how this impacts our ability to be creative on a consistent basis, I felt like he was describing exactly what I go through. You know, the time it takes us to make meaningful progress on anything and how we don’t make progress because we don’t have enough time to “get into it.”

This is a great post for anyone who feels they just don’t have the time to start a project or to continue a project because of limited time. Read it here.

Strategic Planning for Creative Types

Lisa Sonora-Beam, author of The Creative Entrepreneur shares her plan for creating a very personal strategic planner. I agree with Lisa that most planners found in stores are boring. And if the planner is boring (basic brown anyone?), will you really be drawn to it and use it? In this post, Lisa shares the first in a several week series on creating your own planner, including writing prompts to assist you in thinking about goals, intentions, and/or plans for 2010. Read Lisa’s post here

Celebrate Your 2009 Accomplishments

December is the month when many people look back at what they accomplished during the year. Often we know we did stuff but we end up saying to ourselves “What did I do this year?” as if we can’t recall a darn thing.

Alyson Stanfield, author of I’d Rather Be in the Studio, offers some wonderful prompts to get you thinking and reflecting on this past year. I started this practice after taking Alyson’s Blast Off class online. I created a document in Word and each month I type in everything I did that month, big and small. It is a great way to review the year and say “Wow! I did all that?!” Read Alyson’s post here

Take Time to Pause

Finally, in the rush-rush hubbub of this season, Kathyrn Antyr of True North Arts reminds us that it is essential to take a break during all the craziness. When we take time to pause, in the words of Pema Chodron, we create “a momentary contrast between being completely self-absorbed and being awake and present.”

Kathryn was inspired to reflect on pausing and prayer as part of an art day and the season of Advent. Her post also includes some wonderful prayer inspired activities such as making prayer beads, a prayer journal and a prayer box. Take some time to pause and read Kathyrn’s post here.

And remember to pause not only this month, during the rush-rush and hubbub, but everyday.


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Happy 2nd Blogiversary

Happy 2nd Blogiversary to Musings from the Moonroom!

Well, technically, the blog’s second anniversary was last month but I was on this little trip to France and, well, it is better late than never.

This year, I’m offering readers a chance to win one of my collectible Friendship Bowls. Just leave a comment at the end of this post and your name will be put in a drawing to win the Friendship Bowl.

It is always fun to review the past year and the second year of blogging has seen some changes.  For one, I’m not as anal (yes, I am not afraid to use that word) about blogging. When I first started blogging, I was determined to blog 5 days a week. That, in reality, became way too stressful. I admit to being a bit of a perfectionist about some things, hence the high standard I set for blogging frequency.  It is possible that some of the gray hairs that have found their way to my head are due to my self-imposed stress. I do feel some twinge of guilt if I don’t blog at least 3 days a week…but I usually get over it. And I’m definitely not ready for a full head of gray hair yet. (And if my mother’s gray hair track record is any indicator, I’ll be in my 80’s before mine really start blossoming.)

I originally intended to blog about creativity and my art creations. Boy did that change. Sometimes I feel the content is all over the board. Some may say that isn’t a good thing. You know, choose a niche, a brand, a market, and stick with it.  Sorry, ain’t gonna happen on this blog. I’ve too many interests, too many thoughts, and sometimes too many distractions to keep myself on a narrow path.  You know how us creative types are.  Bruce Baker has referred to artists with multiple art medium interest as M.A.D (multiple artist disease). I think the same can be said about my blogging topics.

This past year I even attempted a second blog devoted to fitness; the trials, tribulations, and funny stories that result from exercising. I didn’t get very far with it or the exercising for that matter. It was hard enough maintaining one blog, a business, and the other things that life throws at me and trying to keep up a second blog.  However, I had to try it, realized it wasn’t going to work, killed the other blog, and moved on.

Robin Williams once said, when asked about some of his less popular movies, “we don’t make mistakes, we make interesting choices.”  I like that attitude. No mistakes, no failures, just interesting choices.

Here are the top 10 posts over the past 365 days. Do you have a favorite?

Art Date: Frida Kahlo Art Exhibit

Why Keep Art Curriculums in School?

Sarasvati and Ceibhfhionn

Stone Cairns-The Beauty of Balance

Chakra Energy Angels-The Group

The American Craft Council Show Part 1

Laurie Mika Workshop

What Does An Artist Look Like?

Book Review: 500 Handmade Dolls

There is a tie for the 10th spot:

Reflections on Gratitude-Word of the Year

The Yes Men

And about that Friendship Bowl.

These bowls were inspired by the Quaich, which is Scottish Gaelic for “friendship.” A quaich or friendship bowl was used to hold whiskey or other libation. The whiskey was then shared among friends with each person taking a sip from the bowl. Some of the early quaiches had glass or clear bottoms. When the leaders from two or more clans would gather, the clan leaders would share a drink in these clear bottom bowls. The reason? As one would drink from the clear bottom quaich, it allowed him to keep an eye on his rival.

This particular Friendship Bowl has an Asian influence. Made entirely of polymer clay, this bowl features the hand carved kanji symbol for “thanks” and hand carved bamboo leaves. Around the rim of the bowl is hand formed polymer clay bamboo. A turquoise wash brings out the carvings. The bowl measures approximately 4″ in diameter. A display stand and story card are included.

AsianFriendBowlThankYou

So leave a comment below and you might win this Friendship Bowl.

Thanks for your visits!


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Posts of Interest From the Blogosphere

I had hoped to share some more pictures from France with you today. However, a software update decided to wedge up my computer for most of the day on Monday which kept me from my original plans. (The good thing out of this was I spent 4+ hours in the studio working on my exhibit piece.)

In lieu of pictures from France I’m sharing some links to various blog posts that crossed my path over the past couple of weeks. Enjoy!

The Opportunity of Obligation: Susan Mazza shares some great insight on acting out of commitment or acting out of obligation.

Maker’s Schedule vs Manager’s Schedule: Paul Graham shares an interesting explanation on why going to meetings in the middle of the day can throw off your entire schedule. Do you function on a “Maker’s Schedule” or a “Manager’s Schedule?” Now I understand why I hated meetings in the middle of the day.

Create Like a Kid: Ken Robert issues a call to remember what it was like to create when we were kids. Did we worry about things being correct or perfect? Nah.

Stop Your Internet Fiddling: I think almost all of us have become internet fiddlers. Some days it is easier to control this compulsive behavior than on other days. Web Worker Daily shares five steps that may help you curb your internet fiddling.

Make Big Art: Lisa Call has added a new blog to her repertoire. The focus of her new blog is to empower artists to think big about their art, marketing, and their lives.

Don’t Go It Alone: Jennifer Lee, contributing writer on the Wish Studio blog, reminds all Museprenuers why we should not do everything on our own. As indpendent women and men, we all feel we can do the job better ourselves; if we just do it, we know it will get done. I’m guilty of this and have learned it isn’t always the best approach. Also check out Jennifer’s great web site, Artizen Coaching


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Weekend Reading

Taking a Break: Getting frustrated in the studio? Painter Lori McNee reminds us that we all need to take a break sometime lest we pull a Van Gogh. Read Lori’s suggestions for easing the frustration here. And also check out her paintings. Beautiful work.

It is the Economy…so do something different: Havi Brooks writes about blaming the economy for why we’re failing. Read more here.

Help the Consumer Buy your Art: Sticking with Havi for one more post. She has some insightful comments for all small businesspersons who sell online. It is always good to hear from a potential customer on what works and doesn’t work. In other words: I want to buy your art, here are some ways to help me do that.

Choose the Right Words: Havi mentioned in her post above the use of stories to sell products. Continuing with that theme, Sherice Jacob on Copyblogger offers some good suggestions on choosing the right words to sell products.

Artists Help Artists Market: I know marketing is not a favorite part of business for many artists. Lindy G. Hanson offers some wonderful suggestions on how artists can help each other market their art here on her blog. And when you’re done reading her ideas, go here to see her great paintings filled with color and symbolism.

Is a Free Sample Good?:  I enjoyed Mark Silver’s thoughts on giving a free sample as part of your business marketing. (I just noticed that this post on Heart of Business is from 2006; it is still pertinent, especially in the current economic climate.) Do you give free samples as part of your business marketing?

Point-Counterpoint: Point: Shepard Fairey makes his case regarding the lawsuit over his Obama poster hereCounterpoint: Brian Sherwin of MyArtSpace>Blog provides a 4-part counterpoint to Mr. Fairey. Part 4 in response to the above blog post by Shepard is here.

Good Luck Symbols for Business: Twitter friend Avenefica shared this post on good luck symbols for business people. Superstitious or not the information is interesting. I’m thinking of a malachite elephant with Lakshmi’s footprints on it’s back and a bough from a jade plant in the elephant’s mouth. That should cover several bases!


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Weekend Reading: Link Sharing

Numerous informative links to blogs and web sites were shared this week on Twitter.  Here are some I thought you might also be interested in:

Daily routines: Ever wonder how other artists, writers, politicians, and other folks spend their day? Check out Daily Routines for some curious and fascinating reading. You might find your daily routines aren’t that all unusual. A two hour breakfast in bed, anyone?

Quick blog posts: Where do you think the idea for this post came from?  Michael Martine shares 10 ways to create blog posts in 10 minutes on his blog, Remarkablogger.

Creative renewal: I recently signed up to receive Dan Goodwin’s newsletters Create Create! He also has a nice blog on creativity, CoachCreativeSpace, and recently posted 7 steps to creative renewal. Some simple reminders that are easy for us creative-types to forget when we get overwhelmed.

Small biz folks unite: I was recently pointed to the blog Modish Biz Tips which focuses on self-employed creatives. Topics covered include marketing, finances, start-up 101, and interviews with fellow self-employed creative types. Check out her new post on ‘When You Feel Like You Just Don’t Measure Up

Artist Statements: Luann Udell has a 3-part blog post on writing artist statements. The impetus for this? Creating a list of 25 random things about herself on Facebook. I love this idea. That list, as an exercise, became the starting point for creating a new, potentially improved artist statement as well as the blog posts.  Pretty neat. Read part one here, part two here, and you’ll find part three here. (And there may be more to come.) Go write your list of 25 random things; me too.

Unsustainable Business Models: A curious blog post directed to museums on their traditional business model: To survive, not succeed. And what is wrong with that? Well, if your goal is to survive and not necessarily succeed, do you stagnate? Do you stop innovating? What is the flipside of this? An unsustainable business model. A great example is given of The Machine Project whose purpose is to do great stuff while it can, and when it can’t do it anymore, it will stop. This post made me think about artists and the current economic climate. Are you still innovating, still pushing the envelope or are you simply trying to survive? Are you using the economy as your excuse? Go read Museum 2.0 and tell me what you think.

Secrets of Gray Hair: Finally, a little insight into those pesky gray hairs that have started to appear. This was an interesting article in the NY Times as a follow-on to the previous week’s buzz about President Obama’s graying hair. Stress related? Possibly. Genetics? More likely. That and a few chemical changes. All parents are saying ‘great, something else to get blamed for.” Learn more about your gray hair here.


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A New Blog is Born

This weekend I put together a new blog The Exercise Diaries.  The Exercise Diaries focuses on the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs and humor of exercise, as well as health, food, spirituality and fun.

Why exercise?  Well, I’m a bit of a reluctant exerciser.  The enthusiasm I once had for exercise in my younger years seems to have waned as I’ve gotten older.  Or perhaps it is those forms of exercise that once captured my attention no longer do.

Anyways, the idea for the new blog actually occurred during a cross training walk.  That is one benefit of exercise right there; clearing of the head and opening the mind to new ideas.  And like that, the new blog was born.

The Exercise Diaries is a collaborative blog.  Two guest writers have joined me in this effort.  Overtime I hope other writers will also join us as well.

So go check it out and tell us your thoughts on the Exercise Diaries.