Art In The Family

I grew up around a very good artist- my father. It was just a fact that he would be involved in the creation of one or another painting at any given time during my childhood. He complains now that I never complimented his work. That's because I took it for granted. Weren't everyones' fathers painters? Unfortunately, one of my parents' faults was overprotecting me to the point that I never got out around other humans to find out that actually, no, NOT everyone's parents were artists! But, that's the way it was.

If you are a follower of mine on Facebook, you probably know that dad is now currently in a nursing home, whether to eventually come home or not is still to be decided. But I visited his neighbor last week (who is actually the owner of a business next to his house) and took some pics of a couple of paintings he purchased from Dad hanging in their office. 

I have a secret, though....that large painting spent many years under my bed, unfinished. only the Native Americans were painted - no background. When my husband saw it, he told Dad he would pay him just to FINISH it, not even to sell to us! Took him many more years to finally decide to complete the painting, his neighbor happened to see it just before it was finished and immediately made an offer on it! So it has lived in above pictured room ever since.
Also unfortunately, my dad is one of those artists who think that if you're not a PAINTER, you're not really an artist! So I keep hearing the sentence: "Too bad you never became an artist!"  {{{sigh....}}}


Magic Always Exists If You Believe

As I have taken on the responsibility of creating the doors/portals the Faeries require for their homes, I am always looking for new and unique flora to create them from. A few weeks ago, I decided that the flowers of my three Hibiscus plants would make awesome doors. However, when I went to see how many blossoms were out, I was disappointed to not find a single flower left! But that's how Hibiscus are ~ they only bloom for a certain period of time, then they're done. 

Strangely, though, the very next day, a pink blossom appeared, although I hadn't noticed any more buds.

I grabbed it and cast a door from it (I really hated to pick the last blossom of the year without enjoying it all day, but I couldn't pass it up!). It turned out perfectly, and I was content that I was able to create at least ONE Hibiscus Faerie Door this year.

But then, that same week, MANY new blooms appeared, almost as if someone had somehow rejuvenated the blossoming process!
I myself have never had a hardy Hibiscus rebloom and wasn't aware that they even could, but there they were... and as of this posting, three weeks later and also into OCTOBER, they are still blooming! AND I have created several more Doors from them.
Did the Faeries
help me out? Was there a little Magic Dust involved? I like to think so :-)



If you ever ask, I will usually tell you that I really have no vices to speak of. Well, that's probably not entirely accurate...and I may have to rewrite that statement! No, I don't drink (a lot)  or smoke, the usual vices that are referred to, but - oh baby, get me near a bead store, and all my control is gone!

...So the spousal unit had to work this past weekend, and that was my chance to go shoppin'! He did accompany me to a bead store in Ann Arbor a few years ago, and ever since that day, I haven't been able to drag him to another (LOL!). No matter - this is a trip best accomplished alone!
 Yes, I still have thousands of beads, and no, I don't create much in the way of beadwork anymore - but since the Faerie Doors have been doing pretty well, I'm running low on the "Faerie" related components (stars, moons, butterflies, etc.). Thus, I persuaded myself that I just HAD to run over there for "a few" of those.
My very favorite bead place in town is "Meant To Bead" - they've been around for years now, and I think they "get" us bead freaks, that is, they have just about anything a beader could want or need! Findings, pearls, Swarovski crystals, wire, tools, thread, - and BEADS! Glass, vintage, pewter, sterling, ceramic, stone, shell, etc., etc. - BAZILLIONS of 'em! In all fairness, I can find less expensive components at my favorite catalog/online store (Fire Mountain) - but if I want unusual beads ASAP, this is the place to go in Toledo (www.meant2bead.com). I rarely don't find what I need there!
These (below) were awesome! Any kind of glassworking, especially lampworked beads, is the same as magic in my eyes...someday, maybe...but for now, I just admire and appreciate the stuff. I almost purchased the top center piece, but since I generally wear my own jewelry (to advertise), I talked myself out of it......for now. ;-)


Black Swamp Arts Festival 2010

Although every art show is the same in many ways, they are also very different from any of the others. Of course, we set up basically the same, have to bring the same materials and supplies, and have the same hopes and goals for the day(s) of the show.
But then, the weather always is an unknown (Check with the weathermen? Yeah, right... ), our "neighbors" are usually artisans we have not seen/met before, and the space or area is never the same. Of course, since I never have two pieces exactly alike,my inventory is constantly changing, too!

Sunday was beautiful...

And something new and exciting (to me!...) always happens at each event I participate in. This past weekend it was...

 1) Several people telling me that out of all the artists there, it was my art they liked the best (a few were men, too),
2) Someone affiliated with the Arts Commission asked me if I would be interested in having a one person show (no details were discussed; but hey, even being ASKED meant a lot!),
3) Hans Ruebel, one of the other artists in the Kuhlman Corp. exhibit, stopped by my booth to say hi, which was very nice of him
4) I made a great trade with Larry (of Lars Glass ~ one of my "Art Show mentors") for one of his Sun Chains, something I had been yearning for thru the past 3 shows we had both been to, and
 5) One woman who acquired a Faerie Door from me 3 weeks ago shared with me that she had been having an awfully bad day at the time, and finding her Faerie Door really brightened her mood ~ wow ~ what more could an artist want?!

...And I'm ashamed to say that I judged someone by their appearance, something I always try not to do ('Cause I have no room to talk!Have you seen how I dress at these things?!)
Anyway, coming back to our booth around the close of the second day, I discovered my husband conversing with a man who looked...well, I'll use his words- "I've been a "bum" all my life!" ( Hey, I work in downtown Toledo ~ believe me, I see a LOT of "bum" like creatures!)...So that was my initial thought, until we spoke with him for awhile, and realized he was no bum, just an artistic, free spirit who lives happily with his wife of 29 years (like us), childfree (also like us!) but not very many similarities beyond that. His wife then joined us, and we had an interesting and fun conversation with them about their lifestyle, (minimalist and mostly "off the grid"), our life, and art ~ and my preconceived idea of them quickly disappeared. These are folks I will remember for a long time... and Sam and Brenda, I look forward to seeing you again!


Levis Commons 2010 - In Retrospect

Art shows are such an experience! I often wonder if I could live my life on the art show circuit - could NOT having a 9 to 5 job make up for the physical labor and worry it takes to do shows? Probably not, especially with my medium - if I had fiber or jewelry, something easily transported, and could fit everything I would ever need into a truck or van, I think I could handle it. OR if I was 20 years younger! ;-)

Anyway, I did participate in the Levis Commons Art Fair this past weekend, and did quite well! Despite a near washout on Saturday and being windblown on Sunday, it didn't seem to faze a lot of the shoppers, and of course, it doesn't harm anything I sell! All of the birdbaths are displayed outside of the canopy, so the display factor was increased Saturday by showing off how just well the birdbaths looked filled with water!

Saw some old friends (Rhonda/Ken and Janine/Jeff!)...and made new friends!....

And I really like to talk to the other artists - every one of them have interesting stories OR great tips on what they do in various situations (like how to keep your canopy's top from filling with water! LOL). I learn something new every show. With this show, I was somewhat concerned that our display was too "homemade" looking compared to everyone else's, but no one seemed to notice or worry about it - they were more interested in my work - as it should be!

I do have to mention The (Michigan) Guild of Artists and Artisans, the same association that organizes Levis Commons as well as the Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair . When I saw all the rules and regulations regarding the show, I actually lost sleep over all of it! Yikes! What if "they" don't like this? What if "they" don't want me to have these things over here? Well, I should not have worried. Evidently those are just set out so if someone IS being inconsiderate or unreasonable, there is something in writing.

Actually, everything was well organized (and VERY well advertised, so I stopped whining so much about the cost to be there). We always pack sandwiches and sundry food items for a show, but they had a very well stocked "hospitality" tent for the artists, with donuts, bagels, water, coffee, bananas (and my sincere appreciation goes out to a couple of local businesses, namely Andrew Z's- for providing PIZZA on Saturday and Max & Erma's for the WARM chocolate chip cookies on Sunday!), so we didn't want for much.

My work, as usual, didn't receive any awards, which is not surprising at an art show like this - there is just too much around I myself would consider extremely Fine Art, but it would be nice to at least SEE a judge glance my way once in a while! Hmmph...
Did have fun, nonetheless, despite the rain,the long hours, the wind, the dumb questions ("Oh, does this one hang?" - While pointing to a leaf HANGING up on the lattice... ), and getting thru the inevitable period of time during each setup and takedown where Hubby and I fight the urge to punch each other in the eye! (He's very organized; I'm not - need I say more)?


A New Venue! Levis Commons Fine Art Fair 2010

On August 21 & 22,  I will be set up at the Levis Commons 6th Annual Fine Art Fair. This is the closest to a "real" art fair I have participated in so far, since it is promoted by The Guild of Artists & Artisans in Ann Arbor, MI., which also handles the Ann Arbor Street Fair, the largest art fair in this area of the country. I have not, and probably never will, be involved with that one, since A) I would need 3-4 times the amount of inventory I currently have and B) I would not want to go beyond the capacity of our truck just to haul more cement!

Plus I'm cheap~Levis Commons is costing me plenty, and Ann Arbor would be way beyond that! Of course, it is true that you have to spend money to make money sometimes, but I have my limit. There is a rule of thumb I have heard from other artists, and that is you should make ten times what you spend on the booth fees for it to be considered a very good / great show. Since the fees are conservatively around $700.00 (USD) for one space, and I have maybe, on a GOOD day, $3000.00 in my TOTAL stock, you see how I could never reach that goal (believe me, three grand would make me happy enough, but that would be every last thing I had!)

But, back to Levis Commons ~ expensive though it may be, I'm happy as a rat in a restaurant dumpster to be participating this year. It is a very nice event, plus this is the first year I am finally confident enough to want to be included in the big leagues, and am looking forward to the experience!


..But Wait! There's More!

...So I told a few people, "I can't believe I only got this small blue Victoria Stone - I normally would acquire more than one little piece, unless it was really expensive."
Well, this morning, in my usual rush to barely make it to work, as I was rummaging around in the jewelry I hadn't worn in a while, I came across this....
NOW we're talkin'! A nice large pendant! Oh, yeah, I remember now - I DID order more than one...my poor, blonde mind totally misplaced that information (happens to me all the time, unfortunately!) I don't know if it's actually worth anything monetarily, doesn't really matter - the story is enough to make them valuable to me!


My Victoria Stone And A Pleasant Surprise...

I love the blue skies on a bright sunny day, so I am naturally drawn to that color. Years ago, I found a stone in a jewelry supply catalog called a "Victoria Stone". It was described as being somewhat like as a "Tiger Eye" gemstone, but man made. Instead of the straight inclusions in the stone, there were many fan shaped crystallized patterns. It came in many colors, but of course I ordered a sky blue cabochon (with a smooth polished top and flat back). I also ordered a fairly inexpensive, gold filled ring setting for it. I'm sure in those days I would not have spent a lot for anything like that, so it would have had to be a cheap deal!

I have worn that Victoria Stone on and off as a pinkie ring for many years, and have gotten a lot of compliments on it and inquires as to where I got it. As I was thinking about that, I realized I had not seen those stones mentioned for quite some time, so I went online to check on the reason why. Surprisingly, here is what I found:

“The Story of Victoria Stone”

by Vyonne Mack-WGMS Club Member
This article was printed in the McPherson Rock Club
Bulletin (Kansas)

Victoria Stone is also known as “Imori Stone”,

named after its Japanese creator, Dr. Imori. It is

not an artificial or fake stone. What Dr. Imori was

able to accomplish was to actually blend several

different minerals using a special process known

only to him to come up with an Imori Stone,

commonly called Victoria Stone.

This beautiful reconstructed gem is mineralogically

similar to Nephrite Jade. It has a harness of six,

specific gravity of 3.02 and a refractive index of 1.62.(For those of you who are rockhounds out there! ~ nanci)

It was laboratory produced from natural raw

materials such as quartz, feldspar, magnesite,

calcite, fluorspar, etc. for a total of seven different

minerals-fused together under high pressure and a

high temperature and again mineralized to make this

gem by adding special crystallizers and habit

This is not an imitation or synthetic but is a
reconstructed natural stone. The boule of Victoria

stone was slowly cooled down for 35 to 40 days to

make it crystallize into the pretty fan shapes.

Victoria Stone is minerlogically similar to nephrite

jade, but the arrangement of the actinolite crystals

is different. Instead of the crystals interlocking and

tying together as they do with jade, they have

crystallized in fan shapes to provide the beauty of

the stone. As a result of this difference, the rough

stone is more likely to crack or splinter if overheated.

Victoria Stone could be bought by the boule or in

slices when it was produced in 15 different colors

from 1960 to the 1980’s –green, sky blue, reddish

purple, yellow green, blue green, sky indigo,

chocolate, yellow, deep indigo, white, quiet green,

quiet yellow, quiet blue, grey and black.

The faceted Victoria Stone came in 8 colors,

including sapphire blue, emerald green, amethyst

purple, ruby red, topaz, aquamarine, garnet and

peridot green.

This is a scanned copy of an original sales color chart.

Dr. Imori died without confiding in anyone how the

process worked and no one has been able to duplicate it. There is only a limited and nonreplenishable supply of Victoria Stone in existence, when this material is used up to make jewelry and cabochons, it will become scarcer and about impossible to find.

And I found this article, also...

"Victoria Stone (aka. Iimori Stone) is one of the most beautiful stones you may run across. As much as I hate to apply the term “rare” to a stone, this one is very rare. It is rare because it is man made. Dr. S. Iimori, a Japanese doctor, created this stone in his laboratory in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

The sad thing about this stone is that Dr. Iimori was so secretive about his formula, that he took it with him to his grave. If I am not mistaken, in all fairness to the good doctor, he died suddenly in an automobile accident. The primary ingredient of Dr. Iimori’s creation is known but proportions and the secret ingredient is what the mystery remains. Upon his death, Dr. Iimori’s son continued to operate the laboratory but alas, he could not duplicate his father’s recipe.

Dr. Iimori’s primary ingredients were quartz, feldspar, magnesite, calcite, fluorspar, etc. These minerals were crushed to basically a powder then heated to a molten state. He then added his secret ingredient that made the stone crystallize with the wonderful fan shaped patterns in the stone."

So... my cheap Victoria Stone ring is not so cheap after all (I also hadn't realized I purchased it so long ago)! Of course, now I'm wondering why I didn't get more of them at the time...
And, although my stone is a fairly tiny thing, I do believe I will be getting a nicer setting for it soon!


Art In The Park 2010

~In the middle of my angst-ridden summer, reveling in and appreciating the acclaim I am receiving from my events and the Kuhlman Corporation exhibit, while at the same time fretting about the shows every two weeks and if I'm going to be able to keep up this pace with no vacation time left from my "real" job!
I would almost kill to have all the vacation time I had at my old job (in the days before "Creative Castings", when I didn't really need it!), while conversely, I would not want the irritation and stress of that same job! I have never been a realist. A realist would say, "This is the way it is, and no use whining about it", instead of buying Lotto tickets, wishing for an unknown wealthy relative to expire and leave me an inheritance, or for Robert Redford to come along and offer me a million bucks to have sex with him so I could quit!

But on to the useful information. :-) My next event is this Saturday and Sunday, in Port Clinton Ohio, at Lakeview Park.

Lakeview Park...

...and the lake! (Erie)

This is our first time here ~ all I want is good weather, and the rest will have to be up to us! Hope you can stop by, see my new pieces and the birdbaths that have shells (I actually found on this same beach) incorporated into them. I risked life and limb to get them (see below).
Ran across this beautiful creature while picking shells. But all involved went their separate ways without incident!


A Right Brainer Lost In A Left Brained World...

While cruising around online one day, I discovered what has been wrong with me all my life! I guess "wrong" is the incorrect word, BUT - think about this: Just about everyone I ever knew was/is very organized, good with math, very realistic about life ("it is what it is"), don't do much with computers, have good memories, and like to go to their respective daily jobs, day in and day out.

And here I am, always daydreaming about what could be, a total incompetent at housekeeping, absent minded, clueless about math (if I don't have a calculator and my fingers - or my left brained spouse - forget it!), and can never seem to get any one job done at a time.

I also remember when I started my first job, and spent a week crying myself to sleep when I realized I was facing working at an outside job (when I couldn't do the things I wanted to do) for 40 or 50 years of my life! I don't mind the work - but I feel a 40 hour work week is way too much - there's no time to LIVE! But everyone else doesn't even seem to think about it - in fact, many work much more than that! I myself have an endless list of things I want to do if I ever have time, and can see that I will never accomplish most of them unless I come into a lot of money! No one else seems to feel the same...

So it's been tough for me (sorta).

BUT, on the other hand, spelling and grammar (withOUT spellcheck) always came easy to me, and of course I love to create. Anything. And usually can teach myself most of what I need to know in that area. I don't know very many people who can relate to that, either. 

But then, I ran across a site that explained it all...I'm right brained!

When a person is Right Brain Dominant, they are thought of as the dreamers, the artists, and the musicians of the world. Just because they are not as good with numbers and remembering facts does not mean that they are "dumber" than a left brained person (someone please inform my  spousal unit of that!). They just have their strengths in different areas. They do have similar characteristics and they tend to hold similar occupations.

Above are just a few things associated with the right cerebral hemisphere of the brain. People who are right brain dominant are usually good with these things. Here are some more characteristics of a right-brained person.

Prefers rock music (!)

Right brain controls left side of body

Prefer visual instructions with examples (!)

Good at sports (wow...definitely not THAT one)

Good at art (!)

Follows Eastern thought*

Cat lovers (!)

Enjoy clowning around (!)

Can be hypnotized (!)

Likes to read fantasy and mystery stories (!)

Can listen to music or TV while studying (!)

Likes to write fiction (!)

Prefers group

Fun to dream about things that will probably never happen (!)

Enjoys making up own drawings and images (!)

Good at geometry

Likes organizing things to show relation

Can memorize music

Occasionally (!)absentminded

Likes to act out stories

Enjoys interacting affectively with others

Thinks better when lying down (not sure what THAT'S supposed to mean...)

Becomes restless during long verbal explanations

Enjoys creative storytelling (!)

Prefers to learn through free exploration

Good at recalling spatial imagery

Reads for main details

Skilled in showing relationships between ideas

Preference for summarizing over outlining

Solves problems intuitively (!)

Very Spontaneous and unpredictable (!)

Dreamer (!!)

philosophical (!)

*Eastern and Western thought: A doctor in an a country like China would first ask a person how they are doing and what else is going on in their life before they give them medicine. A doctor in North America would just ask them what their symptoms were and then give them medicine.

Below is a list of occupations USUALLY held by a right-brained person. (There are always exceptions.)

Forest ranger

Wildlife manager



Athlete (There it is again! Not a chance...)




...Which side do YOU use?


The Male Factor

I love to watch men.

- Oops, that wasn't quite what I wanted to say! - While that IS a true statement, that will have to wait for another post at another time...;-}
 What I mean is, I love to watch men at the art and craft shows I'm set up at. Most of them attend because their wives or ladyfriends want them to, and spend the day following them around and trying not to yawn too often. They walk past the jewelry, the fabric purses, the pottery, the geese clothes, etc. with a glazed look in their eyes and shuffling along like "Dawn Of The Dead" extras. They see my booth, glance inside, start to walk away, but then catch sight of the word "cement". They move back, touch one of the leaves, pick it up, look at the back of it - all very quietly and with slightly furrowed brows. I can just see the gears turning in their heads! They cannot reconcile what I'm doing with their experiences they may have had involving cement/concrete. Yes, he may have poured a sidewalk last year, but how can THIS actually be created from the same material? Many do ask questions about the process, and it really piques their interest.

Anyway, they usually go away very impressed, and (whether they purchase anything or not), I'm happy that what I do is appreciated by BOTH sexes! I even have male fans who are quite young (20 something), and that is even more unusual!
That's another advantage to selling leafcastings as opposed to jewelry - men wouldn't stop at a jewelry booth - what fun would THAT be?~


"In Another Garden" 2010

Despite the thunderstorm we awakened to at 4:30 AM that began the day, it had stopped by the time we arrived at our destination at 6:00, and despite the weather predictions of very hot, very humid, and stormy, they did not come to pass. Yes, it was warm (it's SUMMER, after all), but the humidity was tolerable, plus there was a perfect breeze much of the time. The location of our booth was on a pretty stained and stamped concrete driveway with the white garage door behind, as a result I think I now finally have some decent "booth shots" for art shows.

Oops, my bins are showing! I hate when that happens... 

The view from inside the booth, facing the adjoining garden...

...And the best part! The owners of the aforementioned garden also displayed one of MY leaves in the flowerbed! Wish they would have washed it out though. It rained the night before and the gardener probably overlooked it. Did not get to meet them, but I was very excited to see one of my "babies"!


At The Market 2010

Some of the sights at this year's Farmer's Market Flower Day weekend...good weekend, but 4:00 AM sure came awfully early Saturday morning!
The setup this time, with the Maumee River right behind us...

OMG! How cute can I get? (BTW, that is NOT a baby bottle under the stroller, but I saw it in use - it's a portable doggy water dish!)

Surrounded by flora ~ I'm in my element!
As I've mentioned before, I have leaf ~ themed everything! Purses, jewelry, checks, sunglasses - plus my leaf clothing, some of which you'll never see me wear in REAL life! I'll only wear it at shows, and deny everything at work the next day!   ...which might be difficult after I post this picture...


An American Idol Finalist Visits Downtown Toledo...

I can't help myself ~ I love to watch American Idol! Perhaps it's because I love to sing, too ~ the only difference between us, though, is one thing.....I CAN'T sing! Pretty much tone deaf - I still crank up my home stereo to unhealthy audio levels so I can sing my heart out and can pretend I'm actually hitting the notes! BUT I can marvel at the ease with which most of these young people can sing and live vicariously through them.
So Crystal Bowersox came to visit DT Toledo last Friday. I work down there - and the area she stopped in to sing - Levis Square - is located a very few yards from my office! Needless to say, I was in the middle of that huge (for Toledo) crowd! Even the parking garages were crowded - I probably know a lot of those folks in the picture above! We have also had many horrendously cold and rainy days lately, and fortunately, Friday wasn't one of 'em!
I didn't get as close as I hoped to, just pointed the camera in her direction and hoped for the best - but one pic came out really well! She did perform one of her original songs, "Holy Toledo", which I'm starting to really like. It's not just a song supposedly about Toledo - a lot of times it's just a generic song with the city's name stuck in it somewhere - it's a genuinely good song, written with a lot of feeling, and it was inspiring to us, in a city that's going through some very tough times, to hear someone (who no doubt will soon be a star ) in the heart of that city singing that particular song...

...Crystal made it to the Top Two tonight, and we are wishing  her the best!


New Places...

Some of my work is now carried by Silver Lining Gallery in Waterville - I'm in their newsletter this month!~

Opening the treasure chest of local art!

Join Us at the Zoo

The Silver Lining Gallery is participating in the Destination Toledo Summer Expo at the zoo on Monday, May 17th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. We will have a display booth featuring, not only the gallery, but all of the other wonderful businesses in Waterville . Be sure to stop by our booth to say hello and sign up for the Silver Lining Gallery gift certificate drawing.

Waterville Clock Tower

There’s Always Something NEW at the Silver Lining Gallery!

Stop by soon to check out all the new art at the gallery. The Silver Lining Gallery is fortunate to have many new artists interested in showing their work in our shop. In addition, our established artists frequently bring in new items so there is always something new to see! Stop by soon to be amazed by all of the wonderful choices available.

Here are just a few of the new artists at the gallery:

Acrylic paintings by Michael D. Hall

Glass by Debbie and Bob Less

Leaf casting by Nanci Shufritz  (!)

Silver Lining Gallery business hours:

 Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 Thursdays 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 Fridays 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 Saturdays 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Mondays

The Silver Lining Gallery Mission Statement - Opening the treasure chest of local art

• PROMOTE local artists by displaying their work

• OFFER eclectic creations for the enjoyment of all

• ENCOURAGE giving the gift of art to others

• ENHANCE the community by creating an environment for the arts

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.

~William Faulkner

Silver Lining Gallery
122 Mechanic St.
Waterville, OH
Co-owners: Sherry Seiler and Lisa Exner


The Quest For The Unobtainable

I bet you think this post is about striving for wealth, or power, or fame - something along those lines. Well, no, it's about my great creative ideas using hardware or craft items UNTIL I find out no one makes the particular items I have in mind!

Well, here's what I mean...Example #1~ I normally don't like to add "silly" stuff to my leaves, but when I first began, I thought the waterlily pads were sort of boring (especially before I started painting my pieces), so I found little ceramic frogs/toads to attach to them, and discovered they were really popular. Enough so that I had trouble finding more! I finally found a local florist shop that agreed to wholesale ceramic toads, snails and turtles to me (they were floral picks), and they worked great! Then the store closed, so that was no longer an option (yes, they even gave me the name of the company, but they ignored my emails). Well, I'd just look online! Oh sure, I found lots of frogs and toads on Ebay - unfortunately, they were either the wrong size, too unrealistic (like wearing clothes or playing instruments ), or "collectible" - i.e., expensive!
...So here I am, making molds of the critters, and casting my OWN amphibians in cement! Then I have to paint them...yes, it was a good save, and it makes each one even MORE one of a kind, that's true, but it is also more labor intensive!

Example #2~...When I was much younger, I was fascinated by greeting cards that had glitter and rhinestones glued to them to enhance a scene, a flower, etc. I especially liked the "dewdrops"- tiny clear glass cabochons that looked like dew on flowers. I even got to the point that I would lift all the cards with dewdrops out of the rack, because inevitably, some of the stones would get knocked off loose in the card rack, then I'd pilfer them! (Well, I knew no one was going to go thru them and glue them back on, and I couldn't bear to see them thrown away!)
Here it is, thirty (or so) years later, and I decide that dewdrops would be perfect to add onto my leaf pendants. Simple; I'll just go to the local craft store, right? Well..., not so much. While they had faceted rhinestones up the wazoo, none were smooth! Still, I wasn't worried - again, I was sure I could find them online! Surprisingly, that didn't seem to be the case either. I found only ONE online store that carries them, and first, they are slightly larger than I'd like, and second, they're acrylic while I really had glass in mind.

So here I am, buying little clear glass beads that I'm actually physically BREAKING IN HALF to achieve the look I want! Again, more time and labor!
Example #3~I wanted to cast little steel nuts {no Iron Man jokes, please....I'm laughing though -"nuts" is a funny word! :-)
into my small bird feeders so I could just buy rods with threaded ends to screw them onto. Guess what? No one MAKES steel or aluminum rods with threaded ends - they are either threaded the entire length of the rod (which is unpleasant looking), or not at all!

.....So here I go again, manually threading aluminum rods individually because NO ONE MAKES WHAT I WANT!!! hmph.