Custom Order Christmas Elf Cake Topper

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So this cute Christmas Elf cake topper is the latest creation from my craft room.  The cake topper was sculpted by hand in Premo polymer clay.  This one was a custom order for a customer in Australia and he will be the centerpiece on top of her Christmas cake.  I’m honored whenever one of my creations takes center stage!

This was a really fun project and has certainly gotten me into the holiday spirit (even though it’s not quite Halloween yet- LOL).  This whimsical elf was my first cake topper outside of World of Warcraft characters.  I really enjoyed creating this one!  The elf wears a bright green tunic with a red collar  and belt.  His tights are striped a cheerful red and green and he wears red elf slippers.

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As you can see, he’s a very happy Christmas elf, with bright blue eyes and a great big smile. 🙂

The cake topper measures about 6 inches wide and 7 1/2 inches tall to the tip of the elf’s bright red hat tipped with a gold bell.  The elf is holding a candy cane and the cake he sits on is decorated with red ribbon and red and white candies (all sculpted from polymer clay).

What a great project to start the holiday season off with!

If anyone is interested in custom cake toppers or other sculptures please feel free to contact me at macreativecritters@gmail.com with any questions you may have.

~Michelle of CreativeCritters
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Fantastic Fantasy Creations from CreativeCritters

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If you’re at all familiar with my work you’ll know that I really enjoy creating fun fantasy characters.  The world of fantasy fits my creative style perfectly- I can make up the rules as I go 😉  I can create cool characters like Warrior Brega here, who was inspired in part by Terry Brooks’ Shannara series.

Warrior Brega Wielding a Warhammer Fantasy Polymer Clay OOAK sculpture

I can get lost in all those fun little details, like the embossing on his armor and War Hammer, and imagine the story that goes with him.  Brega is a brave warrior, honest and fearless in battle, always willing to right the wrongs of evil-doers.

And then there are the multitude of fantasy creatures just waiting to be sculpted!  This is the only griffin I’ve sculpted (so far), done in Dinko Tilov’s whimsical style. There really are no limits when it comes to fantasy!

Handmade Polymer Clay Mythological Fantasy Griffin Sculpture

This cute yet fearsome (in his mind at least) griffin even has glow in the dark eyes and claws.  Glow in the dark clay is an awesome addition to most fantasy creations.

OOAK Polymer Clay Glow in the Dark Lion Fish Mermaid sculpture

My LionFish Mermaid sculpture makes good use of glow in the dark clay, and she looks so cool at night!

Fantasy finds it’s way into the jewelry I make as well.  This is probably one of my favorite dragon necklaces.  I call it Mei’s Flowers and I created it for the May Flowers polymer clay challenge several years ago.

OOAK Purple Dragon and Iris Flower Necklace with Swarovski Crystals

Fantasy has also found it’s way into my knitting as well.  I’ve made several knit unicorns, all different, of course.  This purple unicorn is the only one I have left in my shop at the moment.  Another of my favorites, since not only is she a unicorn, but she’s purple!

Handmade Knit Pastel Pink Purple and Blue Unicorn Fantasy Stuffed Toy

And this is just a small sample of the fantasy creations you can find at CreativeCritters!  I do custom orders as well, so if there’s a fantasy creature you’d like me to create just let me know 🙂

Each of these pictures is linked to the product’s listing in my shop, so you can click on the picture to learn more about any of these items.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a little trip through my fantasy world!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Making a Glow in the Dark Mushroom House with Gnomes and Bunny

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I wanted to share my latest creation with you all today.  This fun little project all started with the cork from our New Year’s Eve bottle of champagne 😉  I looked at the cork and thought, “that looks like a mushroom- I should definitely do something with that!”.  At first I was just going to make a simple little ornament or something along those lines, but I seem to have a real hard time doing anything simple- LOL.  wip mushroom gnome house

When I started this I really had no idea where it was going or how it would develop.  I covered the cork with clay to create the mushroom, then decided that I wanted the stem to be longer so I added a foil extension, coated in Tacky glue so the clay would stick better.  There are two wires inserted through the cork and into the foil to create a secure stem.  At this point I had decided I wanted to make a house, because in my fun fantasy world mushrooms make excellent houses.

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I expanded the mushroom cap and added a door and several windows around the stem of the mushroom.  I used glow in the dark clay for the underside of the cap, the windows (so it looks like they’re lighted from within in the dark), the heart shaped doorknob, and the three hearts on top of the mushroom cap.

Then I needed a base for this creation (mushrooms have to grow somewhere, after all).

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Calcifer likes to supervise these projects, but seems to get the munchies, so I made sure he had a comfortable spot to eat while he watched me work 😉  The way I usually make bases for my projects is to cut out a piece of stiff cardboard in the desired shape, coat it with a thin layer of Tacky glue (to help the clay adhere), let the glue dry, then cover the cardboard in clay.

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In this case I used shades of green, blue, yellow, and gold polymer clay for the grass.  Now the mushroom has been securely “planted”.  But who lives here?  Gnomes of course!  I like sculpting gnomes because they are fun, happy creatures (at least when I make them).  As I delved deeper into this little story that was developing in my mind I decided I wanted to add an animal to the scene (no surprise there!).  I thought it would be pretty cool to have Mr. and Mrs. Gnome feeding their friend bunny rabbit.

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I made the rabbit realistic and on a much larger scale than the gnomes so it was obvious that the gnomes were of the tiny variety.  I also sculpted a bunch of minuscule carrots for the bunny- not an easy task BTW!  The gnome is only about 1 1/2 inches tall, so this is pretty detailed for being so tiny.

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I put a carrot in each of the gnome’s hands and carefully propped him in an espresso cup for baking.  Behind him you can see the tiny red basket filled with carrots that I baked at the same time.  Mrs. Gnome was the next to be sculpted, but I had to bake the basket first so that I could wrap her hand around the handle.  Once all the characters were baked I positioned them on the unbaked base and added lots of pretty flowers.

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It’s so much fun “writing” a story in sculpture!  Mrs. Gnome is an avid gardener (much like myself) and loves tending the pretty flowers throughout her yard.  Mr. Gnome enjoys his vegetable garden and both love animals and are more than happy to share their bounty with the local critters.  Mr. Bunny Rabbit stops by every day for a snack of fresh carrots.

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I love how much detail I managed to achieve on such a small scale!  It takes a great deal of patience, but I find it so rewarding.  I admit, I did have to wear reading glasses this time around to see what I was doing.  I wear contacts to see far away, but lately I’ve noticed it’s getting harder to clearly see the tiny details when I’m sculpting on this scale.  The reading glasses really helped though and allowed me to get super detailed 🙂

And then there’s the glow in the dark effect!

 

 

In the first picture you can see the windows, the underside of the mushroom cap, and some of the flowers glowing.  The second picture is the top of the mushroom, to which I also added random sprinkles of glow in the dark powder- pretty trippy! 😉

Here’s a few pictures with measurements so you can see exactly how big the entire sculpture is.

 

 

I have this piece listed for sale on CreativeCritters, so if anyone is interested in purchasing it (or just seeing more pictures) you can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the full listing.  This was a lot of fun to make, and I’m glad I took the time to just create something fun and fanciful.  This sort of thing just makes me happy 🙂  Hopefully it will make you happy as well!

Stay tuned to see what else I’m creating!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

 

My Latest World of Warcraft Wedding Cake Topper

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I recently finished sculpting another custom World of Warcraft wedding cake topper and wanted to share some pics with my readers.  This one has an Elf as the bride and a Tauren as the groom.

WoW cake topper This piece took a LONG time to complete, but then again, these highly detailed wedding cake toppers usually do.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the bride’s dress has areas that have been stamped and brushed with shimmering iridescent Pearl Ex powders, and there are several layers to the dress.  I think the dress took as long to make as the entire elf!WoW cake topper 6 I really spent a lot of time on the tiny details like the white flowers that are twining up the bride’s legs.  That bouquet is pretty special too.  I found a vintage earring in my jewelry stash that had (faux)  pearls, diamonds, and gold accents and I added white polymer clay roses to create a truly unique bouquet.

My customer also requested that a banner with the Horde logo was included.

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That logo’s not painted on either- I cut that out of red clay and appliqued it to the black banner.  Not easy, but I think it looks better than it would have if I’d painted it.

The Tauren groom was a lot of fun to make as well.  I do believe he’s the first Tauren I’ve sculpted that didn’t have a beard.  He did have a big toothy smile though 🙂  My customer sent me lots of really good screen shots so I was able to create just what she was looking for.  When it comes to making these cake toppers good pictures of the characters are a must.

I really like the way the pose came out too.  The groom has one arm lovingly around the bride’s waist and is gently holding her other other hand- very romantic! ❤  And the pretty elf bride gazes up at her new husband with love in her eyes.  Yeah, I’m a romantic all right!  Plus I finished this shortly after I got engaged myself, so I was really feeling the love 😉

So far I’ve only had orders for World of Warcraft wedding cake toppers, but I’m quite willing to create any characters, for any occasion.   If you’re interested in having me create a cake topper for you (wedding, birthday, anniversary, or other occasion) you can place a deposit at this link or contact me at macreativecritters@gmail.com for more information.

And now onto the next project!   Stay tuned to see how my mushroom gnome house sculpture turns out- so far it’s pretty awesome!

Happy crafting my friends!

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Calciferious the Cat Dragon

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This magnificent beast is Calciferious, Calcifer kitty’s alter ego.  This is another Cat Dragon sculpture and was inspired by my fluffy Maine Coon cat.  Calcifer frequently sits in what I call his “Captain Cool” pose, so I decided to make his dragon persona sitting in this pose.

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This sculpture took weeks to complete, but it was an absolute labor of love.  Unfortunately the very first work in progress pictures are on my laptop, which died a while back (one of the reasons I haven’t posted for quite a while).  I tried something new with this piece and the center of the sculpture is weighted with a special rock that I found at our favorite camp site.  I made a cardboard base, glued the rock in place on the base, then wrapped it all in aluminum foil, filling and shaping to create a feline/ dragon body shape.  The front legs have heavy gauge wire running through them for added strength.  Then I started adding the base layer of clay.  This sculpture took a LOT of polymer clay!  After getting the head, neck, body, legs, and tail sculpted the fun part really started- adding the scales.  I used star shapes in varying sizes for most of the body, legs, and tail.

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I tried to mimic Calcifer’s colors and patterns, only with a dragony twist.  I used black, silver, and gold for everything but the wings.  It was slow going, shaping and placing each scale, checking with the real cat to get the stripes and colors just right.  I wasn’t in any hurry though, and I just let the sculpture flow.  At first I used star shapes for his chest too, but then I decided that carefully shaped leaves would give him that fluffy look that I wanted.

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This turned out to be just perfect and added so much more to the sculpture.  Here you can see the stripes along his side and how the colors change from his belly to his back (this is harder to see after I added the wings).

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I brought the fluffy scales (is there such a thing?) up under his chin and just to his ears, like his fluffy fur is in real life.  That’s one of the features I love about Cal and I really wanted to capture that in clay.  I even used Calcifer’s real whiskers.  (Cats shed their whiskers and I’ve saved whiskers from all my cats.) I poked holes in the muzzle before baking then put a dab of glue on the end of each whisker and inserted it in the hole after the sculpture was baked.  You can bake whiskers at 275 degrees (the temperature for baking polymer clay), but sometimes the white ones tend to yellow a bit or curl.

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I added all of his scales before adding the wings, which I sculpted separately and prebaked.  I used purple and gold scales because those colors are just very “Calcifer” and I liked the way they complimented the rest of the piece.

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This is actually a rather large sculpture, for me at least, since I normally work in miniature.  It ended up measuring about 10 inches long and 10 inches high.  But since Cal has such a big personality, I had to make a big sculpture to encompass all that he is 😉  Here you can see Calciferious hanging out in the living room.  Did I mention that he’s a shelf sitter?  I designed him to sit comfortably on a shelf or the edge of a table.

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I think he goes pretty nicely with the decor too.  I’m still deciding if I want to list him for sale.  For now I think I’ll just keep him all to myself- I don’t think I can part with him just yet.

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Custom Pet Sculptures from CreativeCritters

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I just finished another custom order pet sculpture of an adorable cat.  I’ve been creating people’s pets in polymer clay for several years now and each animal is different.  I’ve sculpted cats and dogs of all breeds, rabbits, lizards, and even a llama.  Customers send me pictures of their pet along with a description, often of their personality as well as their physical characteristics.  I use the pictures and descriptions to sculpt the animals in clay.  I don’t just sculpt a boxer, I sculpt YOUR boxer, or German Shepherd, or poodle, or calico cat, etc.  I try to go beyond just the fur and find the true creature, the thing that makes your pet so special.  Sometimes I don’t even know how I do it.

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I’ve had so many customers tell me that I captured their pet just perfectly.   Some have said they even cried when they opened the package and saw their pet in miniature.  Quite a few of these sculptures have been made for pets who have passed on, which makes them even more special.  I know what it’s like to lose a beloved pet, which is one reason I started making custom pet urns.  These custom made jars are a wonderful memorial for pets who are no longer with you. And for our four legged friends who are still underfoot these can also be used as special treat jars. 😉  I made a jar for both of my cats (Calcifer and Ginko) and my boyfriend’s dog (Ziggi) and I keep them in the craft room to store small things and make me smile 🙂

Unique OOAK Personalized Custom Made Pet Cat Treat Jar or Memorial Urn

Unique OOAK Personalized Custom Made Pet Dog Treat Jar or Pet Urn

Naturally I started sculpting animals by using my own pets as models.  Over the years my sculptures have vastly improved and I owe much of my knowledge about sculpting animals to Katherine Dewey and her book Creating Lifelike Animals in Polymer Clay.  I learned the right way to sculpt certain animals and was able to take what I learned from that book and expand on it.  I’ve become quite good at sculpting from pictures, especially when the customer sends several good shots which capture all sides of their pet.  I find myself studying animals all the time.  I watch my cats and dog, see how their fur lays, what they look like in different positions, how they hold their body, then imagine how I would sculpt that (a small lump of clay here, sharp upward sweeps with my fur tool there, a pinch, a squeeze, and smoosh in just the right spots).

If I get an order for an animal that I’m not as familiar with I do some research online, sometimes even checking out the skeletal structure and anatomy of that particular animal.  I’m very familiar with most animals though, having had pets all my life.  I’ve always loved all sorts of animals, so I’ve spent a lot of time studying about them and seeing them in the fur and feathers whenever possible.

Love- I guess that’s what it really comes down to.  I love animals, and I love sculpting.  That love goes into every creation I make.  I can relate to all the stories of their pets that my customers tell me.  I know the joy that your big goofy dog brings when he cocks his head and gives you “that look”.  Or the comfort you feel every time your your fluffy cat rolls over for a belly rub.  All those little things our pets do that make us smile, laugh, or shake out heads in wonder.  And to be able to capture those things in a polymer clay sculpture is an absolute gift for me.  A gift that I am incredibly grateful for.

If you’re interested in having me create your pet in polymer (or giving a custom pet sculpture as a gift) you can click on any of the pictures above to be directed to my custom order pet listings on ArtFire or you can contact me at macreativecritters@gmail.com.

Thanks so much for reading, and be sure to give your pets a good cuddle! 🙂

~Michelle of CreativeCritters

Being An Artist

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I think I’ve probably been an artist all my my life, but didn’t truly allow myself to claim that particular title until my late 20’s.  I know many people define an artist as a painter, but for me an artist is anyone skilled at any type of artistic expression, be it painting, sculpting, working in metal, glass, or any other material to create a work of art.  And I don’t believe it’s got anything to do with whether or not you sell your work or are “famous”.  When I was younger I didn’t think I was talented enough or sold enough of my sculptures and other creations to call myself an artist.  But as my skill developed and I got deeper into the world of creativity (gotta love the internet for finding like minded people!) I realized my work was just as good, if not better than others who called themselves artists.  Now, at almost 40 years old (good grief, how did THAT happen?!) I’m quite confident in my skill and when asked what I do I’m happy to tell people that I’m an artist, specifically a sculptor in polymer clay.  I like the term artist because it covers the multitude of things I do including sculpting, making jewelry, making mixed media pieces, and anything I may venture into in the future.

One thing that makes an artist what they are (IMO at least) is the passion that goes into their work.  This has become even more apparent to me as I watched my boyfriend sculpting in metal.  The light in his eyes, the excitement as he talked about his latest piece, the absolute joy in not only the completion of the project, but in the entire process- that came through so clearly.  He and I are very close and I easily pick up on his feelings (as he does with me), and his excitement just about flowed through me.  For about a month we both created new work like crazy.  And that work (although quite different) was so inspired.  See, I’ve always been a bit of a loner, and never had the opportunity to work with anyone creatively.  Sure, I shared my work online and participated in a variety of crafty groups, but that’s not the same as living with another artist and getting their input on your work as you’re creating it.  And I did the same for Sal, throwing around ideas for colors, composition, and finish options.  Of course there were times when we didn’t agree, but that was OK too.  I’ve found that having that different perspective can really add a lot to my work and help me look at things in a different way.  Just last night we were talking about the wedding cake topper I’ve been working on (I’ll post more about that later).  I had been feeling something wasn’t quite right, but couldn’t put my finger on it.  Sal looked at it and thought very carefully then said “What if the couple were turned towards each other, maybe holding hands?”  That was it!  That was exactly what I needed to do to make this custom order 10 times more special and unique.  Will it take a little extra work and require a bit more skill on my part?  Well, yes, but when I make a custom creation like this I want it to be as absolutely awesome as I can possibly make it.  It’s part of the artist in me- I can’t do things halfway.  And Sal’s the same way, which is one reason we understand each other so well.

Sometimes being an artist can be lonely, but if you can find others who can relate to you and your passions it’s truly magical.  I’ve developed some wonderful friends online through artistic channels and since moving to Arizona have met quite a few interesting artists in person.  And when those creative juices get flowing, especially if you got other creative people around you, there’s just no telling what amazing things you can end up creating!

I don’t make things for the money, I make things because I have to.  I MUST create, whether my work sells or not.  The fact that people are actually willing to pay money for my creations is just so wonderful (and it keeps my house from becoming completely filled with sculptures- LOL).  And knowing that my creations make people happy is like a gift for me, especially when I’m doing custom orders, making something just for them.  If you’d like to check out my work you can view hundreds of items at my online shop, CreativeCritters .  If you’re interested in having me create something just for you email me at macreativecritters@gmail.com.

Thanks for spending a bit of time with me 😉

~Michelle of CreativeCritters