The Gnomist

Building Bridges & Fairy Furniture

Fairy furniture may seem like a small detail but it's the details that really make the experience magical. The great thing is that there are no limits and you can create something amazing no matter what your skill level. Watch the video to see how I create these super cute, super simple tables.

Angel's Cottage: Painting & Glazing

The Angel's Cottage is one step closer to being complete!

If you’ve never used mistinted paint, give it a try. Mistints can be found at most home improvement stores. Prices vary, but generally mistinted paints are marked down by more than 50% and let's face it, every penny counts.

There is, however, one caveat. When layering paint, you really need to use the same brand of paint for the entire project. So keep this in mind if you decide to use mistinted paint.

Glaze is the final step and, in my opinion, the secret to making each project magical. Dries slower than regular paint so you have more time to work with it. You can buy glaze premixed but it tends to be pricey.

I mix my own using an un-tinted can of DEEP BASE and whatever color you want the glaze to be (darker colors work best for me). Mix together in a 4:1 ratio. I use general purpose brushes that I buy at Walmart (5 for $8) to brush on the glaze. 

 

Bringing Your Imagination to Life with Clay

I discovered clay when my boys were toddlers. Of course it started with Playdough but quickly progressed to Sculpey. Together, we've created all manner of dinosaurs, superhero's, and animals.

Clay is an amazing toy/tool/medium! It's generally inexpensive, easy to find, and a fantastic way to make a little magic. 

Another added benefit is that it provides an amazing opportunity to spend quality time, facilitate conversation, and strengthen relationships with kiddos. 

A few of my favorites: Polyform clays & Magic Sculpt

Model Air and Sculpey are both polyform clays. The difference is that Model Air doesn't require baking. It dries in about 24 hours and doesn't require baking. Whereas Sculpey will not harden until it is baked. Both are non-toxic, can be painted with latex paint, and are easy to find. The only downside is durability. 

Magic Sculpt is a two-part epoxy clay. The only downside to this particular clay is that it is expensive. That being said, Magic Sculpt is my favorite clay to work with. I use it for all sorts of things (presentation models, accessories, construction repairs, architectural elements, swords, replicating lost board game pieces...I could go on). Seriously, the potential uses for this clay are absolutely endless and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. 

There are plenty of options when it comes to clay tools. A few of my favorite tools: A pastry cutter, a thin sharp blade (box cutter, exacto, even a butter knife works great), and a pencil. Not impressed by the pencil? You should be. I consider a sharpened pencil to be one of my most valued tools when working with clay.

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The strawberries are made of epoxy clay (Magic Sculpt). As I said, I absolutely ADORE this clay. It dries hard as a rock (and I do mean hard as a rock). This is not an option for little kiddos simply because it's epoxy, it's expensive, and once it hardens, it hardens and sticks for life. This includes furniture, floors, countertops, pet fur, you get the point. BUT...for me, this is often the best option.

Be sure to check out my video with the young and talented Super Sculptress Susie Clark.

Creative Expression: I Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means

What is “creative expression”? When I was a kid, I believed that only real artists had the ability to creatively express anything. Furthermore, if you couldn’t draw, paint, or sing, you had no business trying to be creative in any way.

But the truth is that creative expression is not limited to any one person’s definition or artistic skill set. And therein lies the real beauty and the magic of creativity. It only needs permission by its creator. Brought to life and unleashed, to tickle and delight, to excite and ignite.

Sometimes it ain’t easy and certainly it takes courage, but I believe that there is freedom in creative expression that provides a direct path to a better understanding and acceptance of one’s self. 

Making Magic with Imagination Corporation

Chilliwack, British Columbia. Never heard of it? Neither had I until I had an unexpected opportunity to visit. 

On the map, it seems unremarkable, isolated, and difficult to reach. What I discovered was a picturesque town nestled in a valley surrounded by breathtaking mountains that were almost impossible for me to resist. While it was indeed stunning, the mountains would have to wait. I wasn't there to sightsee or explore, I had come seeking knowledge. 

I was there to work with Dan Sawatzky: Magic Maker and Patriarch of Imagination Corporation (it's literally a family affair). 

Situated just off of the main road through town sits an unusual home that looks as though a child's storybook has come to life (Click here to see photo's of the Sawatzky Family's enchanted home). As I pulled onto the property it was clear that I was about to experience something extraordinary.

Situated just off of the main road through town sits an unusual home that looks as though a child's storybook has come to life. As I pulled onto the property it was clear that I was about to experience something extraordinary. To get to the shop, I tiptoed passed a giant T-Rex that stands guard at the gate toward a delightful dragon that most certainly was enticing me further in. 

As I stepped into a workshop that would make Santa and Walt Disney proud, I could barely contain my excitement. Every square foot was buzzing with activity as Dan's talented team worked to bring his latest vision to life. 

During my visit, Dan and his crew welcomed me into their magical world. They patiently taught me the skills that I had come to learn. For me, the most valuable part of the experience was Dan himself. He shared his gifts, talents, expertise, and was willing to invest in both my professional and personal development. He even taught me how to weld (that's right everyone . . . I'm finally weldin' stuff)! 

Trolls & Ogres Redefined

A quick Google search for Ogres and Trolls yields an abundance of images depicting Trolls & Ogres. Terrible, Oafish, Ugly, Hard, and Horrible are just a few words that come to mind when trying to describe these horrific beasts.

Have you ever considered that these creatures might be representations of personality or behavioral traits? Do you know someone that behaves like an Ogre? Have you ever acted like a Troll? Watch the video and learn how Trolls & Ogres can be redefined.