The magazine Cloth Paper Scissors is sponsoring an ATC swap at the Chicago International Quilt Festival. The only catch is you have to go there to swap. Which would seem kind of impossible for me *except* I have some great Internet friends who are going. So if all goes well my friend Heather will be choosing some ATCs for me. I do so love the net! Here's what I sent in ... lots of texture on the last one .. you can't see it from the photo - I burned chiffon and painted and beaded and couched .. lots going on. The first two have little polymer faces - and silk waste fibers.
I finished my entry for the Alaska Fiber Festival down in Anchorage. I'm pretty pleased with her and she's pretty pleased with herself. Here she is ...
She is made of doesuede. I have a few yards of a white doesuede so each time I use it I have to paint it. This is kind of yellow with a green face. What else .. hmmm .. she has those leaves I wrote the tutorial about as part of her dress or something. Not sure what it is but I like it, ha ha. Hummingbirds - perched on the flowers and her hand. I made the ribbon flowers - her corsage I suppose. Wig - yarn that I crocheted. That's about it. Hope you like her.
Nearly two years ago we had a gal come up from Anchorage to teach us her way of making dolls. She doesn't design her own dolls but she makes the most of other people's patterns.
One of the things she showed us was how to make ribbon flowers. I didn't try it but I watched. And as usual I immediately went and bought the book she recommended. I also went out and bought a bunch of the wired ribbon so I could make some flowers. I've had the book on my shelf for all this time .. gathering dust. Never touched the ribbon either. Until last night. I didn't do too badly for the first try .. I am happy enough with the flowers to use them. You wouldn't know my pansy was a pansy but it looks pretty. My rose looks okay. My leaves are great! They were the easiest, lol. The book has great illustrations so it was easy to follow.
You can see inside the book here
So I bet you're wondering what this picture has to do with lipstick? More precisely it's lip color. I'm taking watercolor painting classes and today was our second class. This exercise was about how cool colors recede and warm colors come forward. The blues are cool and the browns are warm. We used a lot of greys - mixing cool greys and warm greys from blue and brown paint. So - you probably know that when you color lips the top lip is darker than the bottom one. What if you used this idea too - say you're using reds for lip color - use a warm red (red-orange) on the top and a cool red on the bottom (red-blue). Give it a try and let me know what happens!
I've been making fabric leaves for the past couple of days. Part of the setting for the doll I'm making for the Alaska Fiber Festival. Here's a quick and dirty tutorial on how to make them ....
These leaves are made in two parts - the top part is your 'fantasy fabric' which you make from scratch and the bottom is wool felt. I used felt because I wanted them sturdy. You make the top piece by taking a piece of heavy water soluble stabilizer (I used Badge Master from OEM) and you use a Sharpie marker to draw out your leaf. Then take various colors and textures of yarn - the fancy stuff - and cut pieces so they overlap the leaf you drew. Lay the pieces down side-by-side on top of the stabilizer, covering the outline. Now take some Angelina fibers, some thread snippets, maybe some fabric snippets, and sprinkle them over the yarn. Then take a piece of fine tulle (I used green) and lay that over the whole thing. Pin it down in spots - outside of the drawn leaf. Or, if you use a light stabilizer put it in an embroidery hoop. Now - flip it over and slide it under your sewing machine needle. Sew around the drawn outline a few times and then sew a grid pattern so it holds everything down. You are sewing on the stabilizer. You want your grid pattern to sew into the outline so it all holds together. When that is done - flip it over so the tulle is on top and free motion embroider to flatten everything down and add more color. I used a variegated thread. When you decide that’s enough - change colors to a dark green and sew your vein lines. Great! Now just cut the leaf out (cut around the sewn outline) and soak your leaf in water to dissolve the stabilizer. The first two leaves in the photo are what I’ve described up to this point - you can see the yarn on the back side of the first leaf.
Is your leaf dry? Good - now place it on some felt - I used wool felt. Put it on a piece bigger than the leaf is. Take some floral wire (no thicker than 20 gauge) and bend it to fit the curve - cut it to size. Don’t try to use one piece for the whole thing - make each side separately. There are two ways to sew the wire in - one easy, one hard. The easy way is to zig zag (satin stitch) the leaf to the felt leaving an opening at the bottom to slide the wire up into. Slide the wire in and push it against the side. Use your zipper foot and sew a straight stitch next to the wire - the foot will push up against the wire. It will look like a casing on the back side of the leaf. The hard way is to use an open toe foot and a short zig zag and sew over the wire. I did this and broke lots of needles because you can’t see where the wire is - you have to guide it by feel. But I like the look of the back better. The bottom leaf in the photo is finished this way. Whatever way you sew it - when done - trim off the excess felt around the sewn outline. It's done.
I imagine you could make two pieces of the fantasy fabric and sew the wire between them if you didn’t want a solid background. Just make sure one piece is much bigger than the leaf. You could also make fairy wings this way.
So I'm rushing like crazy to get a doll finished by next week for the Anchorage Fiber Festival. Janie Odgers, the coordinator, had asked me last summer to do a doll and I declined. Then this month I started getting lots of emails from her asking about my doll. It finally dawned on me that maybe they were short of dolls and really needed them. So I wrote and asked her - said if there was a dire need for a doll I'd try to crank one out. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised by the answer 'Yes, I'd love one'. So here's what I'm working on ...
The theme of the show is Garden Fantasy. My original idea was a doll on a swing but the doll didn't like that idea at all. She absolutely refused to go along with it. She wouldn't let me put her legs at the proper angle for pumping the swing. I really didn't want to redesign the pattern again, so I cut her legs off at the knees, thinking I could do a two part leg instead. Nope, she didn't want calves and feet -once I cut them off she was happy - unbelievable. Then I realized that I kind of liked the torso effect too and now I think I will keep it like this and have her emerging from the center of a flower or something. Like I told Sherry - maybe I shouldn't share my creative process. Things evolve - sometimes if I am not crazy about my first idea I don't mind at all if the doll changes radically. Like this one is doing!
Oh - the head won't be at this angle. It only has one pin holding it on and it's at the back of the neck.
Last night at doll club we learned some of the basics of wire bending. Since it was the day before Valentine's we used the wire pieces to decorate hearts. I made two hearts ...
These will be going to a couple of girls in the Embellished Circus for their Member of the Month gifts. I hope they like them! Spirals are about the easiest shape to bend - just take your wire (20 gauge is good) and make a loop with your round nose pliers. Hold the loop with the pliers and just bend the wire around the loop. You can have an open spiral or a closed spiral depending on the distance you leave between the pieces.
Okay .. if you didn't read yesterday's post .. go read it now. You need to see the photo. Okay .. done? Now .. check this out!
Pretty nice change, eh? That wooden head bugged me .. and I guess she didn't like it either because when I was working on it again this morning it fell off. Glory be! I had already taken a head out of my boneyard but for one reason or the other I hadn't used it. Obviously I needed to. I lengthened and moved the arms up - changed the position - and gave her something to hold. Sherry Goshon suggested I give her bloomers - I took that suggestion and make them pants. Added more color and I'm happy. She has black Tibetan lamb hair but you can't see it. I just stuck her on the kitchen table for her photo - I'll take a better one when she's all the way done. She still has a couple more embellishments to come.
I really thought twice about sharing this photo with you. I worked on this piece for two days and I don't like it. It's butt ugly. But one of the premises of my blog is that we can learn from each other so .... if you dare ... keep reading.
First off - the clock body is a paper mache box. The legs are dowels with wooden toy wheels. The arms are porcelain with wooden beads and spools. The head is a 2" wooden ball with a wooden candle cup for the neck. The cone headpiece is just paper.
There are some major problems in my mind with this clock. I stamped the woman's image on tissue paper and then glued it to the wooden ball for the head. I think it lost some of it's femininity - actually a lot of it - when it curved. Now it looks like a guy who needs to shave. I also think the image is too large. So - this is fixable - I can decoupage papers on top of the stamped image and try something else. Next - the arms. I think they are in the wrong position - too low. So that's easy to fix. Just means that I have to add embellishments to the side of the box to cover the existing holes (oh bummer - embellishments). Then after they are moved they will probably get to hold something and be positioned somehow other than just hanging down (thanks, Judy!). I also think it might do better with a bit more color - it's kind of bland. So that's my take on it. What's yours? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Just finished up another Raggedy .. isn't she sweet?
I've been busy but not really doing anything worth taking a photo of .. or not at the photo stage. I've made half a dozen small hearts that we are going to be making into wire wrapped and embellished pins at doll club next week. I also started another Raggedy. She's nearly done - just needs her bloomers and hair. Then today I won an auction of (I think) bisque or porcelain doll parts. So that will be something fun to play with when it gets here! I have so many ideas for these parts! Plus I have a dozen Crown of Thorn gourds being shipped up here. So I will have all sorts of things to play with soon! Oh boy!
Here's the latest ... I make these for sale on eBay.
This photo doesn't do her justice at all. I had a really hard time taking the photo - the contrast is really high and the fabric grain kept showing up. The face is actually a lighter brown - same with the hair.
This is my first canvas collage. I had bought a couple of canvases before Christmas thinking to make something for my daughters - but never got around to it. So when Sherry was here I pulled them out and we spent a day playing with them.
This uses the peeling paint technique. After we put all the papers down and sealed it with gel medium (and it dried) we put vaseline on the areas we didn't want paint to stick to. Then after it dried we wiped off the excess paint. I didn't get a photo of Sherry's canvas but it's really cool!
I was amazed at how calm Sherry was when she unpacked her luggage and found her gourd doll unwrapped and broken in about six places. I would have been in tears. But she said she has become inured to the indifferent way in which TSA inspectors treat her luggage. Because it was so broken Sherry didn’t feel it possible to take her home safely. So she gets to live with me. I'm absolutely thrilled .. but it's hard to be happy at such bad luck.
It took Sherry two days to fix this - the legs were broken at the knees and the ankles. She had to take the armature out and insert wires, and then she glued it back together. Once the glue had set she used an epoxy putty to make more vines, flowers, and berries to cover the cracks. Then, of course, it had to be painted. Oh - her head was broken off too - that had to be put back together. I think she’s a Humpty in disguise!
Can you tell what pieces are gourd? The skirt is a Crown of Thorns gourd, the daffodil she is looking into is a gourd, and her hat is a gourd. By the way - for those of you who use paper clay .. the legs were made of Das and the arms were Creative Paperclay. The arms - which are way more delicate than the legs - didn’t break.
She's absolutely exquisite .. the pictures don't do her justice at all.
It's amazing to watch a true artist at work and that's something I got to do Saturday night. Sherry Goshon and I were sitting in my studio and I was asking her for advice on a bias problem I had with a booted foot. To show her what I had done I brought out my boneyard bag - you know - all the leftover pieces and parts that didn't work for a doll but you kept anyway.
As they fell onto the table some of them spoke to her ... this is what they said ....