NOLA in the Rain

We left our home the day after Christmas 2016. We spent the last 3 months planning, packing etc for our year long adventure.  We decided to keep our small home in Seminole, Fl  and rent it out via  AirBnB .  With no experience in this we were somewhat hesitant but we have found the site easy to use, the support staff excellent and we have much of the spring completely booked.

After spending 4 days in Naples with our good friends, we took off, and haven’t looked back.  Our first big stop was New Orleans.  Weather in Naples was beautiful!  But we knew some colder, wetter weather was in our future for sure!  Our week in New Orleans was very wet and cold. We managed one day of sunshine while in NOLA and spent that day visiting the French Quarter.   We parked in Bayou Segnette State Park.  It was a very clean, easy in and out park and want to stay here again hoping for some sunshine and warmer weather.   With all the rain they’ve had recently, we feel like we are parking in the swamp.  I’m sure the area is very pretty in the spring and summer but hey…in the winter,   no bugs!  (Unlike the million chiggers in Naples!)  I can always find the sunny side of life.

At the moment, too much rain and cold weather have taken a toll on our fire pit and the park grill is struggling to stay above water!

The swamp keeps inching closer each day with the constant rain. And, it’s cold…cold… cold…cold….did I say cold???  The first night there it was 25  and we couldn’t figure out how to get the furnace to come on….what newbies we are!!  (electric blanket at Walmart….$80….wow I didn’t know they were so expensive…that’s what Florida living for the last 15 years will do.)  We finally did find the right button (the next day) for the furnace and that night it ran all night long.  I’m starting to get used to the noise of the furnace.

The next day, we discovered we had the original batteries in our truck we purchased in March when our truck batteries decided it was time to take a hike.  3 hours later, and $300 bucks, we have 2 brand new truck batteries!  Can it get any better???  How about 3 solid days of wind and rain….no internet and no tv.  We could connect, but the constant wind/weather just made the station come and go.   (Seriously rethinking dish network right now).

On to the fun day in the French Quarter!  We started our day by taking the ferry from Algiers across the Mississippi to the French Quarter.  Parking our truck in Algiers in a small lot, we walked to the Ferry…it looked deserted to us…maybe the cold, maybe the “off season”….but we soon paid our $1 and boarded and arrived on the other side of the Mississippi in just about 12 minutes!

First…off to Cafe Dumonde…yes…it has great beignets and strong coffee!  Not expensive and worth the walk.  Too bad we ate them all before I thought of taking pictures.

Next, we went walking through the Market and I found this little gift shop of local art called The Artist Market on Decatur St.  Lots of local art NOLA style and I found some voodoo dolls there…made from polymer clay.

Being a polymer artist myself,  I had to find out more about these  unusual voodoo dolls.  Little did I know that I would find  such a personable and interesting person. After seeing her work, and getting her name from the store,  I found the artist, Jeanette Myer by  searching Facebook.  She has no web site, she says, all her time is spent creating and she has a large business which does entirely herself. Her art can be found in all Fleurty Girl Stores and there probably isn’t a Carnival person that doesn’t know her name.

We decided to meet and talk and I’m so happy about that!  She started saying to me that polymer saved her life!  Turns out, Jeanette comes originally from New York,  spent quite a bit of time traveling while airbrushing and etching custom cars…she settled in New Orleans and loved it.  Then….Hurricaine Katrina happened.  While weathering the storm up north with friends and family, Katrina was destroying everything she owned.  Her compressors for airbrushing, supplies etc.  Three weeks later, her home and everything she owned was still under 8 feet of water.  She lost everything and returned to New York.   While there, a woman brought her a gift…she was hoping for a pair of shoes or jeans, but when she opened the box, she found a collection of tools and polymer clay.  She put the box away and didn’t think much about it, but one day, it must have called her name, because she says when she opened it and began to explore…she just could not stop!  In the first months, she made enough money from making Carnival items to pay for her tip back to NOLA for the first Carnival after Katrina!  There, she found a market for her style of art and she decided to move back.  Today, she is known in the French Quarter for her clay creations.  A large part of her time is spent making and adorning  hats for the multiple Carnival dance troupes and others.  Jeanette is a master of production.  She must have had more than a hundred voodoo dolls she was working on that day.  She has a mold for the basic shape and then adds polymer canes, beads and pins and my favorite part…the wild bristly hair!  She told me she started out making huge canes and reducing to get the thousands of slices she needed to keep up with requests. Now, she states she purchases quite a few of her canes online.  ( I didn’t even realize that people made canes to sell!)  She says this has made her work much easier and allows her to keep up with the demand she has for her voodoo dolls and flour de lis.

After moving back to NOLA, she now lives in a typical row house in a part of the city that didn’t flood out with Katrina.  Her house, if you have never seen one of the old row houses, is one room wide, and seven rooms long.  She invited me to visit and I counted at least four of those rooms as part of her studio!  You enter in her living room and then begin a journey through her studio rooms…engulfed in feathers, fabric, beads, garlands…anything you can imagine that goes in to making the flashy Carnival items!  One for  hats, one for making polymer clay items, several for supplies and finished production items.  A visit to her studio is full of color, full of life and full of fun!  The day I visited, was actually the first day of Carnival.  It’s the day everyone finds out what their theme will be for this years hats.  After our visit, she was off to her vendors to get inspired!  I can’t show or tell what that theme is going to be for 2017, but you can see one of last years hats below, along with her voodoo dolls and other fun items she sells in local stores.

I loved meeting Jeanette and seeing how polymer is a part of her life.  She is definitely one of the modern folk artists of our time!  If you would like to know more about Jeanette, she is on Facebook.  Thanks so much for sharing some of your precious time with me Jeanette!  Definitely one of the best highlights of my trip so far.

We also managed to fit in 2 museums…The Cabildo and the The Presbytere.  These 2 museums were inexpensive and informative, covering everything from The War of 1812, the history of Mardi Gras and even a very moving and educational exhibit of Hurricane Katrina.

Ending the night, we wound up….where else???  ….Bourbon St….dancing the night away!   If only I had written down what bar we were in and who was playing…gotta get better at this for blogging!!

Fun at the IPCA Arches Retreat in Columbus Ohio

I’m coming back to my roots this week at the Arches retreat! My heart and mind are full with memories. Born and raised in Ohio, I loved watching the “script Ohio” magically appear on the OSU football field, exploring Old Man’s Cave on a Sunday afternoon, the crisp fall crunch of leaves, on the way home from school…yes I walked to school…my time for dreaming! All the old memories are flooding my heart and mind. Making me want to reconnect and reminisce. what fun! I’ve even discovered another one of the attendees at the Retreat is a former classmate of mine at Worthington High School.

I’m with a truly wonderful group of people here, getting to explore polymer clay! I am bursting at the seams with ideas and projects and new tools!

The Nature of Mark Making….Maggie Maggio class at the Arches Retreat.

Here is a glimpse of what I made in class The Nature of Mark Making. I’ve been drawing on polymer for a while…but her class has taken me from simply using clay like you would a piece of paper, to making a beautiful piece of jewelry…although it’s not quite finished, I’ve been wearing it daily just because I love it so much.




Pamela Marwede  I was really too busy to shop!  But your stuff is awesome!

Here are a few pics of some of the items from my shop at the Atomic.  And I wish I had taken pics of the others I really enjoyed, but I was so busy working, not much photo taking time. 


And a FUN TIME was had by all……

Just finished some new little trinkets. These are tiny, about two inches high at the most, colored with alcohol inks and hand drawn. I love the aged old world colors. Great to use as magnets, charms, scrapbook accessories etc. Hope you enjoy!

Just fixed my Etsy shop! I have not been using it for quite some time, as the name has been wrong.  Now that Etsy has allowed a one time shop name change, I was able to get the name spelled correctly.  I just  posted one of my cards there. Will spend some more time in the next few days, listing some other items.
I’m going to be cleaning out my studio and hope to be posting a bunch of things to pass along!   A few items are already on my Artfire Shop.  Keep checking back to see new items and email me if you are interested.  I have an entire stash of vintage beads and findings that belonged to my mom. Much of it is in really good  shape and just looking for a new home! 

I’m still working on getting ready for the Atomic Holiday Bazaar.  It’s coming up in December.  Be sure to mark the dates and plan to attend. 

Tried to post a picture of the tutorial for the pumpkin and candy corn, but I’m having trouble doing that.  It’s a pdf file and I’m so new to blogging that I need more time to figure it out.  In the meantime, I got these from Pat Stull, my friend and “clay mate”.  I just photgraphed the hand out and here they are.  Not the best, but you can maybe get the idea.   You can see more of my friend Pat Stull‘s polymer jewelry on her Etsy Site.  Have fun!

 My entry in the Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop!

I’ve had my ribbon in the drawer for some time. When I would open the drawer, it would whisper to me…”use me….use me”.  I could hear it calling even after I shut the drawer.  I would take it out, hold it, admire it, then tuck it away…”no, I’m saving you for something special”.  I thought it was soooo beautiful.  Then I happened across the Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop and inspiration came crashing into my brain. I thought of my little bundle of ribbon and just wanted to make something!  I was in love with the color of this…from red, to purple to gold.   So I opened the drawer and she screamed at me…”USE ME NOW, I’m a sari ribbon”  and so I did.

It’s never been my style to crash a party…I usually sit quietly and wait for an invitation and then ask what I can bring, or who I can bring, but that day I just went full steam ahead…because the ribbon told me too, it demanded attention and the ribbon really wanted to go to a party.  So, I grabbed the ribbon and my clay and got to work….wow….a ribbon blog hop!!!  that’s cool!!!  Not to mention, I’ve been totally inspirationless when it comes to jewelry, but somehow when I opened the drawer and the ribbon spoke, well….how can you refuse a talking ribbon….really!
Now I wanted to go to the blog hop too! In fact, I’ve been neglecting the blog and thought the blog might enjoy the party also.

 I wanted to be in a room full of artists with all those pretty ribbons..all the luscious jewel colors, I imagined myself with ribbons streaming through my hair like Medussa’s snakes, all flowing and blowing in the wind…but know.   I stayed up til midnight, stamping, gilding, cutting, tying, and before long, I had a cute little ribbon necklace…I put it aside and went to bed. 

Next morning I woke up and thought, hmmm, this is not really finished…I think I’d like to add some more ribbon to my necklace, I think I’ll go to the store and buy some. (I couldn’t send off to B’Sue for it, as there was not enough time…which is the story of my life, but I digress.

 I took my project along and went off on a quest to find some ribbon.  From store to store, I asked for Sari Ribbon…and no Sari Ribbon.  How can there be no Sari Ribbon?  If there is a blog about it, it has to exist.

I’m not really a ribbon person, did I tell you that?  I’m sure you can all tell by now.  Neither is half of my little town, no one and I mean no one knew what sari ribbon was…… the last place I stopped (why is it always the last place and not the first) I was stearnly informed by the little grey haired lady…in a much too condescending tone…”dearie…that’s NOT Sari Ribbon.  I rushed home and thought what am I to do…it’s Thursday night and the party starts at midnight, I looked at the ribbon crying….why didn’t you tell me?

I’ve just become a party crasher!  I’ve barged into a room with some awesome jewelry artists, none of whom I know and crashed their party and embarassed myself.”

The ribbon just sat there a while and finally she spoke..(as if a ribbon could talk..geeze.). She seemed rather mishievious too me… But I did tell you…you were so excited to use me, and I wanted to get out of that drawer, and you were so excited…and I did say….USE ME…I’M JUST A SORRY RIBBON….and she laughed.  Hope you all are laughing too. 

I will visit you all and say hello and enjoy looking at all your beautiful projects.  At least I got out of my jewelry making slump and mixed ribbon and my polymer clay together for something frivolous and fun and hopefully I will make a few friends too!

The beads are a mixture of white and translucent polymer clay, stamped with Lisa Pavelka stamps, baked and then colored with Adirondak alcohol inks.  The focal bead is an old thread spool covered with a layer of stamped antique gold Premo clay that was accented with bronze Pearl Ex powder and then baked.  the only findings used were the pins inserted into some the clay charms and a few base metal gold spacers.  I used knots to tie it all together.  It slips over the head and is approximately 20″ to the end of the tassles.  And the truth is….I really didn’t know this was not Sari ribbon until today…the rest of it is pure fiction (just so you know…ribbons can’t talk, they only only sing in the shower…or something like that).
I had a lot of fun making my necklace!  And looking at everyone else’s will be so much fun.  Leave a comment if you stop by.  Let’s party!!

Sari Ribbon Party Blog Hop Participants

 Vickie Wills

Susan Kennedy

Michelle Mach

Michelle Lee Hardy

Ruth Crawford

Hilary Frye, FryeStyle

Diana P.

Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B’sue Boutiques

Elizabeth Owens-Dwy

Connie Rios-Relyea

Jennifer Justman

Deb Davis


Cathie Carroll

Rosemary Cowit

Georgene Lockwood

Cathy Buckley

Harry Wood

Sonya Stille

Mary Deis

Heather Goldsmith

Susan Rouleau

Terry Matusyk

Pam Chesbro

Mary Shannon Hicks

Janice Everett


Kristina Johansson, Maneki

Kris Binsfeld



Catherine Jeltes


Sharon Palac

Deb Beechy

Jean Yates

Patrice Pfeiffer

Dorcas Midkiff

Lynn Perry Bennett

Linzi Alford


Cynthia Wainscott

Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp

Alice Craddick

B’sue Boutiques Creative Group
If you couldn’t play this time, no worries. Please come on over on Friday and cruise the blogs and see all the pretty jewelry!

Have you joined B’sue Boutiques Creative Group? If you didn’t get in on the hop but would like to post a sari ribbon creation over there, join up and go ahead. PARTICIPANTS: if you’re members of the Group, please feel free to post your photos at the Creative Group as well as your blogs, as that way we’ll have an album of sari crafted jewelry.