Welcome to the Lilly Bug Blog!

Please visit and see what's happening behind the scenes at Lilly Bug Studio.

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And please remember to visit the Lilly Bug Studio website and the Lilly Bug Boutique Etsy store.

Thank you for visiting! :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Which came first, the Artful Pen or the Artful Box?

I design Artful Pens. What are Artful Pens? They are pens that have their own special style and unique personality. Have you ever seen a pen with a hand-made mini sculpture attached to it? Something with a Palm Tree or an Ice Cream Cone or a Can of Grape Soda? You won't see pens like these sitting on the store fixtures at a retail chain. They are not an average run of the mill pen to be tossed aside. These are pens that you will become attached to. If you are unable to find a design from my selections, you can request a custom order. They can be distinctly designed to suit your tastes, interests and preferences.

How did they start out? Back in college I wanted to design a unique pen for my Senior Art Show for my visitors to use to sign in my guest book. I wanted something distinct and a pen that would reflect my tastes and personality.Another feature that I wanted in my distinct pen was "re-usability." If I was going to spend a certain amount of time creating my pen, I wanted it to be re-usable. Luckily, I found a nice and simple designed refillable gel-ink pen that would work out perfectly for my special pen.

Strawberry Artful Pen

The next task was deciding what type of "artwork" to attach to the pen along with what to make it with and how to make it? Since I was working with Apoxie Sculpt in my sculpture classes, it was an easy decision to make. Apoxie Sculpt adheres to just about any surface and is extremely durable, meaning it was a perfect match for my pen.

Cat Artful Pen with Artful Box

For my first pen design, I created a leaf with a ladybug sitting atop the leaf, because I have a fondness for ladybugs. Since there was a metal clip attached to the cap of my refillable pen, I used the clip as the foundation for my piece. While working on my design, I wanted to ensure that the metal clip was completely disguised by the ladybug and leaf. This design/method also ensured that my attached "artwork" would be securely attached to the pen. My ladybug and leaf were not going anywhere except where my pen went.

Stack of Artful Boxes

After designing my pens, I wanted to find a box to properly present them in. Since I couldn't find the right type of box for my pens, I set out to design my own boxes for them. Welcome...the Artful Box! A box specifically designed to present your Artful Pen in. After, much effort of trial and error and testing appropriate materials, I'm getting close to providing the boxes through my on-line stores and exhibits. Please take a look at my boxes and pens to see what you think. I appreciate your feedback and comments. Thank you!

selection of Artful Boxes

Monday, April 27, 2009

Frankie the Frog in Living Color!

Hello Everyone! It's me Frankie. And I'm here to share with you how I look in living color. Have any of you experienced what it's like to go from 2-D to 3-D and from a gray color to vivid color? It is quite an experience to go through all of those changes. The best and most exciting part is going from gray to color and Christine will tell you that it is the most magical part of the process. It's like a whole new life begins once the first glimpse of color touches the nuetral colored surface. After working hours and days on a gray looking piece, Christine forgets about the end result and sometimes wonders if she will like the piece once it is painted. Other times she anxiously awaits the time to add color because she knows how the color adds life and character to the piece.

I am proud to say that Strings the Cricket and I were the first two sculptures that Christine made with Apoxie Sculpt. And that we were chosen to be in the Spring Honors Show while Christine was in college. One day while cleaning up after sculpture class, Christine's sculpture teacher, TC, asked her if she'd like her pieces in the honors show. It was a goal, a secret dream of hers to be in the honors show before graduating and it happened one semester before graduating. Yay! She remembers all of those past classes where teachers would select other's work for the show and now this time something of hers was chosen.

There we were, in an enclosed display case, surrounded by other pieces of artwork selected for the show. We proudly stood there playing our instruments in honor of the show.

If you're interested in learning more about Apoxie Sculpt, you can go to the Aves Studio website to see their products.

To see Frankie the Frog transform from 2-D to 3-D click here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Tuba Playin' Frog has Hopped into My Blog!

Frankie the Frog hopped into my blog to show you how he started out as a watercolor storybook character into a 3-D sculpture. He wants all of his fellow 2-D storybook characters to be inspired by his story of transforming from 2-D to 3-D. Enjoy his inspiring story of transformation!

Welcome to the Lilly Bug Blog! I am Frankie the Frog, here to share my story about emerging into 3-D from the pages of Christine's watercolors. Please feel free to leave your inspiring stories and comments here, we love to hear from you.

One day while Christine was in college, she was working on a series of watercolors for a storybook idea of hers. She worked on some sketches of some musicians practicing for an upcoming surprise birthday party. One of those musicians happened to be me, Frankie the Frog, playing my tuba with my cheeks puffed out, as I put my all into my musical talents.

From the sketch, came the watercolor and after a strong desire to make her storybook characters into a sculptures, Christine was signed up for Sculpture II the following semester. During her first week of sculpture class, she was introduced to a sculpting medium called, Apoxie Sculpt. Things would never be the same from then on.

Christine learned how to make an under-structure to support her Apoxie Sculpt pieces. She used one of her original sketches of me as an aid to shape a wire support as the foundation for my body.

After the wire under-structure was formed, Christine began to use a variety of materials to fill in volume for the shape of my froggy physique. Examples of some of the materials used were, masking tape, string and foil.

And once the layers of those materials were completed, Christine, mixed together the Apoxie Sculpt to cover over all of the volume making materials, so eventually my shape and character came into being.

The photo above shows one of the first layers of Apoxie Sculpt covering the under-structure. Upon looking in the photo archives, Christine could not find very many photos of the Apoxie Sculpt layering/sculpting process of my tuba playin' self. After the first Apoxie layer, came others to give me my own uniqueness, or Frankie-ness, as I like to call it. Once the Apoxie Sculpting was completed, Christine got her handy Dremel power tool to help clean up areas and further define my exterior. No worries, the Dremeling did not cause me an ounce of pain.

After all of the sculpting, sanding, and Dremeling was done, I in all my Frankie-ness, appeared in 3-D, albeit in a neutral gray color. Coming up in the next post, you will see me in living color. Don't miss it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"By Hand" site is like a Facebook site for Crafters...but better!

For anyone interested in selling and/or buying hand-made items, you need to stop and visit the By Hand website! There are so many nice features at this site. At this site I can list links to all of my on-line shops, my blog, my Twitter page, my Flickr page and more. Now when I'd like to direct a potential buyer to my business, I can give them one address, which is my profile address. Pictured above is the "homepage" of my profile page. From this page you can click on the "details" button to see a list of my on-line website links (Etsy, 1000Markets, Twitter, etc) along with a description of the items I make, methods of payment, and my customer service e-mail link.

Another great feature is that I can submit my RSS feeds from my blog and my Etsy shop. The RSS feeds are posted on my profile homepage and as shown below, when your mouse hovers over each feed post, a pop out box reveals a sneak peak at one of my store's items along with a photo.

This nice little feature applies as well to each blog feed, except there is no photo, but there is a snippet of the beginning of each of my blog entries. I love this sneak peak feature for my RSS feeds!

And speaking of blogs, you can make your very own blog directly at the By Hand site and select whether or not you'd like it posted on the By Hand homepage. Hint! This is a great way to gain more exposure. Again, on my profile homepage I can find my By Hand blog entries posted under the "My Blog" tab and see the date, title and number of views for my blog entry. There is so much packed into the profile homepage. I can find a list of the forum posts I replied in, the latest visitors to my profile, my spotlights, my clubhouses and more. Next, I'd like to address two of the items from the list, spotlights and clubhouses.

At the By Hand site you can create a spotlight similar to the one shown above. Spotlights are so fun and easy to create. You can create a spotlight of your own shop items or of your favorite items from other sellers. And once you create a spotlight, items from the spotlight are randomly selected to scroll along the top of the By Hand pages. This feature allows some additional exposure for you and your products. Yay!

The last feature I will discuss is the clubhouse feature. I recently joined the clubhouse called, "I Love Packaging" that was created by Pattie of StructuredChaos. Clubhouses are groups that you can join that focus on a main topic such as Polymer Clay or Loving Packaging. I have discovered good friends in joining the clubhouse and participating in the forum pages. There is so much offered at the By Hand site and so much to discover, please stop by and see for yourself. Just a warning, it is highly addictive. Why don't you find out yourself? Oh, and please come and join us at the "I Love Packaging" clubhouse to discuss all things packaging. All are welcome!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Visiting an old friend with "musical" trees.

Last week on Friday, I was reunited with an old friend. This friend has brought me endless hours of adventure, relaxation and enjoyement. And you may be surprised when I reveal my friend, since it is not a person. This friend I'm referring to is the nature trail where I frequently take bike rides.

This last Wisconsin winter seemed to never end, so on Friday, when the temps hit 70 degrees, I made sure to get out and visit the nature trail. My first visit of the year. Yay!

It's too early in the season for the trail to be adorned with vegetation. However, if one takes time to look closely, there are glimpses of the beauty to come. Here and there buds are showing signs of renewal and hope. Within those buds, new growth and life is emerging. When I looked up at some tree branches with buds after seeing so many bare branches, it made me gasp with wonder and joy in knowing what's to come.


Speaking of branches, there is one spot on the trail with these trees that have wavy shaped branches. The trees are somewhat grouped together in a row standing with their unique branches that look musical with the movement they evoke. Unfortunately, I've never been able to get a good photo of those "musical" trees. However, I have hundreds of other photos from my many visits to the trail. The first snowy photo was taken on Christmas Eve Day, it was the first time and only time I was on the trail with snow. Every once and awhile snowmobilers drove past me on the trail. It was a beautiful winter day on that visit. Due to memory card issues, I was not able to take my camera on my first visit this year, but have no fear, my camera will be on many future ventures to the trail.

What do you do to relax?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kids Keep You Young at Heart

My nieces and nephews were up in Wisconsin for the Easter Holiday. On Easter Sunday, we went to the park to enjoy the warmer weather, yet not warm enough for April. I always enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews, it keeps my heart young. However, over the years of seeing them grow older, it reminds me of the fact that time doesn't stand still. And in some ways it makes me miss the days when they were younger. Who's going to help keep me young at heart after they are no longer young? Well, the answer to that one is obvious. I never want to stop being young at heart and imagining new worlds and new characters, etc. As my slogan for Lilly Bug Studio goes, "Capturing the Wonder of New Things". . . I never want to loose that wonder.

My niece, Kristin, giving us a spin on the merry-go-round. Kristin is a lot like me. My sister, her mom, has commented many times about how she can't believe how much Kristin and I are the same. Beyond our names being similar, we both are night owls and strongly dislike waking up early in the morning. We both have a fondness for ladybugs too.

My niece Katrina, is enjoying the ride on the merry-go-round. Coming up shortly, she will be getting her first pet. After two years of waiting until she turned 10, she can now get the bunny she's been dreaming of getting. Now I wish both of my brother-in-laws would stop teasing her about naming the bunny, Stew, and other remarks about having her bunny for dinner. She gets upset each time they do it and they continue to tease her. Boys will be boys and sometimes it seems like they take too long to mature.

Here's the birthday boy, Andrew, who turned a year old on Easter Sunday. He's watching his big brother and sisters play at the park while sitting on Grandma Rosie's lap.

And last but not least, here's my nephew Jordan spinning us round and round on the merry-go-round.

We had a nice Easter weekend. How was yours?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

My Recyc-a-lite Bunnies and Chicks are all ready to bring you warm Easter Wishes this weekend. The Bunn-a-lites gathered armfuls of flowers to bring some color and cheer to their wishful sentiments. The Chicks have their hats on and are chirping and tweeting their loudest chirps and tweets to say, "Have a Happy Easter!"

This Chick-a-Lite has made it into my Etsy store, as well as a few Bunn-a-lites!

This sweet, white bunny hopes your Easter weekend blossoms with warmth, hope, cheer and a renewed spirit.

Tomorrow we are having an Easter egg hunt for my nieces and one of my nephews, the other younger nephew, will be turning one year old on Easter Day. Thus, we will be celebrating his first birthday as well as Easter this weekend.

One little late bit of news, my Chickies were featured on the Awesome Chicks of Etsy blog last month! Please stop by the Awesome Chicks Blog for a visit.

Enjoy the weekend! :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My 1st Craft Show Experience

Well, I survived my first craft show last Saturday. My friend Deanna helped me get all of my last minute things together on Friday. Thank you, Deanna! :-) We had to leave by 6am on Saturday morning, so we packed up most of the items on Friday night.

How successful was the show? Well, in terms of selling things, it was not a big success. Nonetheless, I did sell 2 of my chicks, a Petite Purse, and a Scottie dog pin. One good thing about doing the show is that I was able to meet two other Etsians exhibiting there. I was able to chat all things Etsy, etc with them. And from doing the show, I could see people's reactions to my work and people were able to see my work "in person" vs. seeing it "online." Near the end of the show there was a woman who mentioned to me that she's been thinking of organizing a craft show in the Delafield area and she was interested in having my work at the show.

Another good thing is . . . I have a little bit of craft show experience to learn from and draw upon. Plus, there's the fact that all of the proceeds from the craft show organizers went to the MS walk/run. If I wanted to be "facetious" I would say that I could've brought a TV tray to display my work on since I sold only a small fraction of what I made and packed up to bring to the show. It was a lot of work to do, but as you can see from above, there were plenty of good "non-monetary" things gained from doing it too.

This is the Scottie dog pin that I sold at the show. Hurray! :-)

I mentioned that I sold a "Petite Purse" at the show. What is a Petite Purse? Some of them are photographed above. I just added a few Petite Purses to my Etsy shop, Lilly Bug Boutique.

The yellow "Petite Purse" above is one of my favorites. Yellow is such a cheerful color. :-) This yellow one is posted in my Etsy store as well as the blue one shown below.

Petite Purses are perfect to tuck in a little gift, such as one of my pins or magnets. I tucked my little froggie pin into the Blue Petite Purse.

Please hop into my Etsy shop to see my products. Thanks for visiting! :-)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Frankie the Frog "Leaps into Reading"!

Here's my newest piece that I painted last week. I dropped it off at an art gallery in Illinois yesterday. Since I was in Illinois, in the burbs of the Windy City, I was able to visit my sis and her family before I headed to the gallery. I showed my nieces and nephews my new sculptures. While at my sister's house, I was trying to think of a name for my new Frankie the Frog piece and my niece Kristin helped me out during my brainstorming session. I was thinking of naming it, "Leap Reader" and Kristin suggested, "Leap into Reading." And that's what I named it, so here it is, my "Leap into Reading" sculpture of Frankie the Frog. Thank you Kristin! :-)

Frankie is leaping from a book titled, "The Adventures of Lilly the Ladybug" and of course images of Lilly are present on the book cover, Frankie's arm and within the pages of the book that Frankie is reading himself.

I had this sculpture sitting around for awhile unpainted. Before painting it, I wasn't sure if I really liked the piece, but magic always seems to happen once I add paint and color to my sculptures. That's an exciting part of the process. After hours of sculpting in a neutral gray medium, Apoxie Sculpt, seeing it with color brings a whole new life to the sculpture. Up to this point, I have never gotten tired of the transformation from gray to color. I love color!

And here's my cute lil' nephew, Andrew Chung, who will be one year old on Easter Sunday. He's getting close to taking his first steps. In the photo above he's trying to get to one of my Chick-a-lites. I brought some of my craft show pieces to show the Chung family. I thought Andrew looked so adorable peering over the edge of the table, so I snapped a photo. He really wanted to touch the chick and bunny I brought along. He's such a joy to see, I wish I could see the Chungs more often.

The craft show is now only two days away and it seems like I have a mountain of work to get done yet. I posted a few photos of my pieces after they got a coat of "glaze." These pieces will be either a pin or a magnet that I will be selling at the craft show along with my Recyc-a-lites. I think I will have about a 100 pins and/or magnets for my show.

"Hope". . . one of the things I'm trying to hold on tight to is hope. One of my favorite pieces, mainly because it symbolizes something so powerful and encouraging. Without hope, there is no life.

And yes, here they are . . . finally in color, the Bunn-a-lites! I may post some other bunny pics sometime, since the cream colored bunny almost blends in with the background color. There will be 12 bunnies hopping their way to the craft show this weekend.

Take care! :-)