Sunday Interview #11

Hi, Everyone! Today I have a treat for any of you who have a yen for creating beautiful things. Please welcome the creative mind behind the blog Liz J Fox Design.

Hello, Liz! Would you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been happily married to my sweet husband Dave for almost 30 years, retired from my business as a graphic designer (self-taught), am a confirmed Macintosh user, and became a serial hobbyist, loving every minute of it. Many of the hobbies continue to overlap, which makes my hobby room an interesting place to visit.

Sounds like my craft room – although I have a feeling yours is more organized than mine! lol

How long have you been blogging and what prompted you to start a blog?

I’m a very new blogger so still on a learning curve. I had a web site through Apple’s me.com, but they did away with it at the end of June. In exploring what to replace it with, preferably free, I discovered the wonderful world of blogging. You were one of my first commenters, which was wonderful. Thank you.

I heard of you through a comment you made at PILLOWS A-LA-MODE, another crafty site. 🙂

What can one expect to see when they visit YOUR site?

A glimpse into my life as a serial hobbyist. You will see what I’ve learned, pictures and how to’s, and even more importantly what not to do. Each blog has tips that might help others who want to do the same thing. I may share things that have inspired me from others, too. I want to share the riches of exploring new things and how God continues to bless us with His creativity.

What are some of your favorite crafts?

I have explored many, and I will be writing about them in future blogs. I would say right now, machine embroidery, paper arts (quilling, teabag folding, iris folding, card-making, scrapbooking) are on-going. I recently got into jewelry making, dichroic glass and wire-wrapping, and purse/tote making.

But my most interesting craft over the years is rock painting – turning rocks into 3-dimensional life-like animals. I started when I got a book “How to Paint Animals on Rocks” by Lin Wellford (link below). She spells it out in wonderful detail. Anyone can do this – even my 5-year old granddaughter! I met some wonderful people in the Yahoo Rock Painting group and got the encouragement to expand, so went on to do memorial rocks for people who lost their beloved pets. These are difficult, because of the emotion involved. I must not only capture the physical likeness of the dog or cat, but their character as well. My last one was a German Shepherd who perished in a home fire. That one was tragic and done with so many tears.

I can imagine! That would have been rally hard to do.

Are there any special tools you need for that?

First of all, rocks. They can be pebble size to huge. Start small. Landscape rock places will have river rocks. People will also give you rocks if you ask. (I sent 40 lbs from the rock wall at my Mom’s house on the Ottawa River. The Post Office clerk asked, jokingly, “What ya got in there, lady, rocks?” Yup!

The rest of it, after thorough cleaning and sometime wood-filler, is craft paint. I use outdoor acrylic paint and a gel medium to help the paint stay moist. A turn table – a little plastic one – to help paint all sides. Finally, patience to layer, layer, layer, letting the paint dry in-between. I use a waterproof sealer at the end and a special treatment to make the eyes look real. I will be journaling one from beginning to end shortly.

That sounds fascinating, but I should think you’d need some artistic talent as well! 🙂

Where do you get the inspiration for your creations?

I have had one goal all my adult life: “Do something new this year that you didn’t even know existed last year.” That opens my eyes to new creations and activities. It takes away the fear of trying new things and keeps me expectant. I have a wonderful husband who laughs at me when I get inspired to start something new because he knows the pattern – read all about it on line, get lots of ideas, buy all the stuff for it, buy all the stuff to organize it, do it, buy more stuff, reorganize it, etc. Specific inspiration often comes in the tub. “Oh, why don’t I try or make or create xyz.” I don’t like following patterns (or recipes). I may combine many different ideas into one thing, so often it is trial and error till somehow it tells me “I’m done.” If I’m smart, I stop.

What advice can you give someone starting a creative hobby?

– Be open to ideas. 

– Google, google, google. Pinterest. Blogs. There are lots of free tips, patterns, ideas, dos and don’ts out there. 

– And just start.

– Decide not to be perfect. Keep the first things you do to remind you how far you come with practice. 

– Don’t point out your mistakes. No one else can see them. 

– Use your God-given talent to enrich someone else’s life (for example, make cards for military members or kids in the hospital.)

– Give your crafts as gifts and teach someone else how to do it.  

– Take pictures of your process (you might never know when you want to blog it).

– Take pictures before you give it away.

– Don’t throw anything away … you might be able to use it in a craft. LOL 

– One other tip, since buying stuff for hobbies can get out of hand. Start an envelope or quicken line item, or however you separate money, and put a certain amount in a hobby play fund each week. If it has money in it, you can spend it or save it for something larger, if not … well, wait for the next week(s). Use money from coupons to fund the hobby account. Keep it separate from household budget so DH won’t care.

All good tips! That last part sounds like a wise way to do it – unlike my “Oooo, I love this, so charge it!”  process, which irritates my husband! lol

Do you have any pictures of some of your favorite creations that you’d like to share with us, today?

Just started learning to do purses.

My most ambitious embroidery – 20 5×5″ blocks of a Nativity Scene

Dichroic glass and wire-wrapping

Iris Folding – Small strips of paper following a pattern (and this time I DO follow the pattern) Done from the backside through the hat-shaped hole.

Tea bag folding – 8 of the top squares of wrapping paper turns out to be a unique embellishment.

Rock Painting – animals are done using all parts of the rock.

Simple quilling on a candle holder. Great gift.

Wow! Those are all really beautiful! I love how the paper folding turned the butterfly into a kaleidoscope effect! 🙂

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I didn’t know I was crafty, although my mom always said I always liked to fancy things up. She often told the story (in later years many, many times) that when I was young, my very down-to-earth twin sister proudly came into her proclaiming, “I finally taught Liz how to color grass green!”  … how boring! But it wasn’t till late in adulthood I tried my hand at real art … watercolors for the first time (see Quackers and Cheese on my blog). 

And the other thing that is so important to me is that after 43 years of doing everything on my own and making a pretty good mess of my life, I accepted Jesus into my life, and that decision gave me everything I ever needed, no matter what happened. I just hope there are crafts in heaven, cause I know that’s where I’m going. 

For those who would like to visit Liz’s blog you could do so by clicking www.lizjfoxdesign.com

Liz, are there any other links you’d like to share?

For getting started with rock painting: http://www.linwellford.com

A really great link to check out is http://gotquestions.org

Thank you for chatting with us, today, Liz. 🙂

Hope you all enjoyed learning a few things from this ‘master crafter’! To learn more, be sure to check out her blog. 🙂

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22 comments on “Sunday Interview #11

    • Thanks, Christy.
      The purse is actually one of the few times I’ve actually followed a pattern … it’s one of Nancy Ziemann’s purse templates (Sewing with Nancy). I found the material at a thrift store with no idea of what I would do with it. 🙂

    • Thanks, Ravena. One of the neat things is that I can put my regular purse inside and not have to transfer everything – Usually forgetting something!

  1. It was so exciting to see the interview, and I thank you so much. I plan on visiting all the sites those who have commented, and hope to see you come over to mine. What a great idea you had to help each other get to know other bloggers.

  2. Pingback: Interview with Liz | Liz J Fox Design

  3. I always knew you were an inspiration to me, and now you can inspire the world! The purse is the cutest thing and can reflect what you love, not what the designers say you should love. Like…I couldn’t find any pillows to spruce up the living room, so I went to Joanne’s and got fabric that called out to me, and covered those grumpy old fellas. I hope lots of people learn about your website, cuz they’re gonna learn a lot! Like I did, the first day I met you!

  4. Hey Liz beautiful crafts. Could you help me? Could you give me suggestions for a craft activity for 4-14 year olds to engage them for an hour?

    • I’ll pass the question on to Liz, but in the meantime, might I suggest a few things? I used to be a Brownie & Girl Guide leader so have done a few crafts projects with young girls in my day.

      The first thing that comes to mind is friendship bracelets. You could use colored string, stretchy elastic chord or wire, a variety of colored beads and you have an easy craft that any age group would enjoy.

      Colored paper, scissors, glue sticks, stickers, and pencil crayons could produce lovely cards for any occasion.

      Clay molding could be done with homemade play dough – 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tbsp cream of tartar, 1 tbsp oil, 1 cup of water, food coloring. Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump”. Remove from stove and knead for 5 minutes–add food coloring during kneading process. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag.

      Even easier than that is ‘slime’, which is basically water, food coloring and lots of cornstarch. It doesn’t look like a liquid until you try to pick it up and it oozes through your fingers. It feels very weird and if you put it in a cookie tray, place it on a speaker, and crank up the music, it will ‘dance’ for you!

      Hope you find these suggestions helpful. 🙂

      • These are great suggestions. I like cards because even the 4 year old can use a glue stick. I recommend having a couple of simple sample cards and a few selections of paper already cut out to fit and folded. And some ribbon, lace, do-dads, buttons, In only one hour the older ones should be able finish 2. The 4 year old will play and that’s ok. She’ll have lots of paper & stuff on her “card.” Even the adults I teach card-making get confused with too many choices. I had a workshop to make cards for Military and almost all wanted to do exactly what the samples looked like. LOL. Above all, KEEP IT SIMPLE, don’t have snacks during the “project.” And HAVE FUN, even if nothing final gets done. Hope this helps.

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