My studio is complete enough to work in, whoo hoo!
I feel like Vee ... the installers discovered the studio floor had lots of cracks and unfinished areas once the carpet was torn out. It's a heated concrete slab. They had to scrape it down and then apply a coat of this plaster stuff so it's nice and level and ready for vinyl.
We're re-doing the floor in two rooms this year. Upstairs, once the carpet was out, we found that our bedroom needed a whole new underlayment (i.e. floor) ... so today is just prep day I guess. Bummer that we needed a whole new floor cuz that's a whole new unexpected cost! Gonna take selling a whole lot of patterns to pay for that, lol. Exciting, though!
What a mess! When we moved into this house 15 or so years ago we put up a wall separating the downstairs into a studio area for me and a living room for my girls. They've been gone for quite a few years now and my husband knocked the wall down yesterday! I'm pretty excited about redoing this space but it's going to be a lot of work. Took me 3 days last week just to pack up and move everything out of here. I took the 'before' photo after I had already moved two big bookcases. I still have a few things to move as you can see and then once this mess is picked up it's on to painting! Half the room is bright yellow and half is white. So today is cleaning up and then it's on to primer, which hopefully will be tomorrow!
I went thrifting yesterday and found this great little pattern from the 1960s. It is not my size and I don't think it would adjust easily as it's only a one size pattern so I put it up at my Etsy shop for someone else. If you like sewing vintage dresses and can wear vintage size 18 (sewing size, not vanity [i.e. department store] size) .. then you might like this!
I bought myself this thread holder during the Black Friday sales at JoAnn Fabric's and told my husband it was his Xmas present to me! Each slot holds 3 spools of one color. I still have more colors than is in here so I didn't quite get rid of all my threads, so I'm not sure I can call this organizing/de-cluttering or not, lol. Funny thing is that it didn't come with any way to hang it on the wall. I must have spent half an hour chatting with the hardware guy at Home Depot coming up with ideas on how to hang it with without putting holes in the cabinet. The idea was to use the handle somehow; I ended up with holes, but that's okay. I used the ring style picture hangers and a couple of hooks. I like it.
P.S. See the head in the lower left of the photo? The face is by elinor peace bailey .. she drew it when she was up here to teach a class a zillion years ago.
Not me .. my muse .. and she's been on an extended vacation! Hopefully that will change soon .. next week is the summer arts festival and I am taking a class in surface design - all day class for 5 days! I think I'm going to need a rolling suitcase to take all the supplies with me though! Will take photos and try to post them each night - but we'll see how that goes as I'll have to do Doll Street work at night too.
I signed up today for a class at the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. It's been a few years since I took one - nothing caught my eye! But they have a great one this year .. Exploring Surface Design. Here's the description ...
Join us in exploring a variety of surface design techniques for fabric and paper, and unlock the possibilities of altering their surfaces. We will explore visual textures to add before hand or machine stitching, including designing and creating stamps, stencils, screen printing, photo transfer, foiling and other creative ideas. You will create a notebook of the techniques learned. This class will be team-taught by Lucy and Martha.
The class is one whole week, Monday through Friday, 10:00 am until 3:30 pm - now that's an art fix!
I think this class might be just the excuse I need to finish my art apron that I started last year at my friend's Art in the Yard day! Too bad it's not until the end of July!
I've been fighting pneumonia for two weeks now. It's getting old and my butt's getting tired of being plunked in a chair 'resting'. If any of my readers have had this please let me know how to kick it and how long it lasts! Thanks.
I had originally made the hanger for the Bag Holder doll out of jewelry wire. I thought it would have been strong enough but after a month or two of being twisted this way and that way it failed. I made a new one today out of stainless steel - and was that ever fun to bend! NOT! I really do like this design of hanger though and think I will use it on all my dolls/art projects. She's back up on the wall now and I don't think this will fail any time soon!
Totally a PSA .. but this is something I truly believe in .. Kiva is a site that finds folks who are willing to make micro loans to folks in 3rd world countries. I tend to do the micro loans in $25 dollar amounts when I have some extra money. This time I am lending to a woman who wants to buy fabric to further her sewing business. If you have a little bit of money that you can loan to someone on the edge of poverty .. please join my Kiva group, Doll Artists United and change the world .. one artist at a time!
Here's a bit about what it is ...
I just made a loan to someone in Peru using a revolutionary new website called Kiva (www.kiva.org).
You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going.
The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.
I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Siempre 10 Al Progreso Group in Peru. They still need another $1,075.00 to complete their loan request of $2,200.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!). Help me get this entrepreneur off the ground by clicking on the link below to make a loan to Siempre 10 Al Progreso Group too:
It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, I know that I'm helping them build a sustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.
Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.
We've had two galleries close in recent months here in town. One was in business for 30 years and the other for 15 months. The newest one was an art consignment shop, the 3 gals that ran it didn't take a paycheck ... ever. They had 150 artists represented and it was a great variety of hand crafted art. You'd think it would do well .. but those discretionary dollars are being hoarded! Their last sale day was the 14th so last week I picked up the few things I had in the shop and now I'll have to put them on Etsy.
Here's what I had down there .. some magnets .. which always sold a few a month ...and one lone plushie - these guys moved fairly well when I had lots on hand but didn't move at all if I only had one or two on display ... interesting, eh? I had bought a ton of fabric to make more but didn't get around to it ... this is Sue Ellen .. she can be yours for $30 including shipping ...
Sue Ellen is retro patterned cotton and fleece, she has a gold lame ruffle at the bottom of her skirt, and fleece bows in her hair and at her ankles. Her 'pigtails' are tiny cotton tubes. Her face is machine and hand embroidered. She's a cutie!
Kinda a shame to see these galleries go ... I've read over on Facebook that a lot of artists are facing slim times right now. I guess we all need to support each other!
If you don't have a lot of baby toys ... plushies are great stand-ins! This is my friend Judy's granddaughter with one of my plush .. isn't she gorgeous!
Can you tell what I'm going to be doing soon? There are over 50 packages here and I have yet to do a thing with them! I have to open/inventory/photograph them all before I can swap them out. And what are we swapping? That will be a surprise for another day. Although what day is yet to be determined, rofl. I'm soo behind in everything I'm doing.
I wish it were me going to AFIC instead of the table banner! Some year I'll make it to one of the doll conferences! At least I have the banner finished - it was tedious but kind of soothing at the same time. Now maybe I can finish that doll with the funny legs!
I'm watching McCain's concession speech on television and the polling places aren't even closed here in Alaska. If it wasn't for local issues/races, why even bother to vote. Bah.
Three bags of candy and absolutely NO trick or treaters! What's up with that? My husband thinks it's great - more for him! Maybe I should feed it to this demented little plushie (for sale for $30 inc shipping) ... I made two with this color scheme .. one was a commission and I forgot to take a photo of it .. but the face was the same as one of the first ones I ever made. I have no idea where this one came from. Well, actually I do. I had seen a website with fabulous carved paper mache pumpkins and they were stuck in my head when I made this. No resemblance whatsoever though, lol.
I also made 36 domino magnets to take down to The Stash (the art consignment store I have 'stuff' in) but I forgot to take a photo of them too. I just took a photo of these few that I tried embossing on so I can post it at my online classroom. I teach how to make these, along with domino necklaces and altered CD pins, over at Doll Street.
I've also been knitting lately .. this isn't the best photo because I can't seem to get the color right - the yarn is hand dyed, so soft, and absolutely gorgeous (Mountain Colors, Twizzle). I made two headbands and a set of wristwarmers with one skein. You can't tell but I chose the wristwarmer pattern just so I could teach myself how to knit cables. Would have shown up better if I used a solid color rather than the variegated, but, oh well. I love it! My severed hand pincushion happily models it for me. I am also working on a pair of socks but I keep getting sucked into these books I'm reading and I haven't figured out how to knit and read at the same time.
I don't usually do these but this one caught my eye! I stole it from Twitchy Knitter who stole it from someone else, lol.
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search. (Use the advanced search and scroll down and click on Creative Commons License so you use shareable photos!)
b. Using only the results on the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.
1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.
Yeah, I know .. been a long time since I've written. I'm in the biggest slump I've ever been in - have absolutely no desire to make anything for some reason. I think it's tied in to Doll Street somehow but haven't figured it all out. Anyhow - wanted to show you a mermaid that I bought in a gift shop recently - I love these little chubby chicks. I have another one by the same artist. I would like to take my Stone Cold Troll pattern and adapt it to make one of these. Want to place a bet whether it ever gets done, LOL?
So this is what I did this weekend ... jump from project to project! The yarn was dyed at a little workshop that one of my Ravelry friends held at her house .. it's some Tofutsi sock yarn. I'm the only one who only dyed one skein of wool - but then that's probably because I know the dangers of a fabric stash, LOL. I don't need a yarn one too ... yet.
Then I made myself a couple of little square bottomed drawstring project bags to hold my knitting in. The light blue/purple bag is made from some fabric I overdyed last summer. I used a mix of two tutorials I found online for that one. The next one is a mix of 3 different tutorials and my own ideas. I like that style best. I'm probably going to have my Ravelry friends over for a bag making day next month sometime. One way to use up my miles and miles of fabric!
Finally I did a little work on the collage ... I can not paint! I put the shadow on the wrong side of the neck and I screwed up the hair with the brush strokes. Luckily I can paint over it all and try again! I also need to do more work to fix the shoulder line - but that's getting better. I think this is going to be one of those long drawn out projects, LOL - or maybe a UFO!
Never too young to paint, eh? He didn't enjoy this at all, LOL, but he sure loved the bath afterwards! He was making a background paper for his Mom to use in her scrapbook. I was an innocent bystander, I had nothing to do with this ... well, other than be the official photographer, LOL. He is 8 months old today - time sure flies!
... that there is not a saleable piece of art left in my house! Not that they sold, mind you. But they did get left at a new art consignment shop that opens next Friday. I hope that they are more successful in moving the Plushies than I was. I bought two new boxes of dominoes today so I can make them some magnets. That's one of my favorite things to do! Did I mention that I have an online class on making domino magnets, domino necklaces, domino books, and last but not least, CD Fragments? It's over at Doll Street and is a great value at $35.
... and I have to tell you that I went to a concert last night. My first one in years and everyone there was my age, LOL. Sir Elton John. It was awesome! Kind of a greatest hits tour - his voice is just so warm and rich in person - he thanked everyone for their love and loyalty over the years - it was really touching. And for Fairbanks - where the sun doesn't go down right now - he closed the concert with, what else, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me.
Doing lots of work around the house now that the snow's gone - we planted the garden, put in a new leach field (oh, fun) and had the driveway paved. Completely redid the dog yard - leveled it off and put down new seed. You should see the dirt that dogs drag in every day, ai yi yi! Way less time for art right now but it's nice to be outside after the loooong winter!
Sometimes things just tickle my funny bone ... this is one of them ... a photo I took today when I took my puppy to get spayed at a weekend clinic ..
I actually had a few minutes today to get a coat of paint on the collage I'm working on - this is for Linda Misa's class over at Doll Street. I have to start the scary part next, painting the figure on it. You can see the papers I started with at the foot of the canvas.
We also got a box in the mail with some of Loren's grandmother's 'stuff' in it, including this hand quilted and cross-stitched quilt ...
Then we got this quilt too ... oh, my eyes ...I don't know what it is made of but it's very shiny, LOL.
Now take a look at this .. my husband bought this cloth doll for his grandmother at a bazaar when he was stationed in Japan about 20 years ago ... she's a cloth over .. but cloth over what?? Who knows!
Isn't she pretty? Unfortunately she is very dirty. I'll try to clean her with cotton balls/q-tips and water unless someone has a better idea. She was a gift for someone in 1966 according to a piece of paper that fell off the bottom. I imagine she is about 43 or 44 years old.
We have some really weird things from his family .. including an accordian that lives in my bedroom closet, LOL.
I received these absolutely luscious beaded book thongs in a bookmark swap over at Swap-bot. I'm afraid every time I say book thong a different picture runs through my head LOL. There's some great charms on these! Click the image to really see them.
Brought home a new dog last night - another miniature American Eskimo - she is 6 months old. I wonder if she will love ribbons and fabric as much as my other Eskie did when he was little. We will see ... meet Candy Cane ... who just had a welcome home bath, LOL.
Had to show you this photo - it's a collage that will be taught at Doll Street next month by Linda Misa of Australia. I just LOVE her work! I already bought my canvases so I can give this a whirl. It should be a lot of fun.
I made my first Kiva loan today! Kiva allows people like us to make small (think - $25) loans to people in developing nations so they can lift themselves out of poverty through business. I lent money to a woman in Peru who wants to buy embroidery thread and cloth. The money is actually managed through third parties and although there is risk you may eventually get your money back (so you can lend it to someone else!) I read about it through Lisa Vollrath's blog - she is a lender too. Go make a loan today! It will make you feel good!
Being proficient with a sewing machine can come in handy - made myself a knitting needle roll yesterday. Had to redo the top binding because it didn't leave enough room for the flap to cover the long needles - this is the before picture. It works much better now. Found a pattern on the net and then modified it. Then I decided to play with clay and I covered these knitting needles. I put the needles in an oven bag before I put them in to cook - when I made the first set yesterday the fumes from the clay and the needles were horrible - and that was in a bag too - just not sealed shut. So today I sealed it with wire. Way better. No fumes. I was worried that the bamboo would warp but I guess the temperature is low enough because they were fine. You can't see it but I stamped the size of each needle on it's top - the green ones have a red center - looks like an olive gone bad, LOL. Too bad I can't sculpt - I could imagine some very cool things to put on the knobs! Ah well. These were fun anyway.
I have no idea why I did this - but I signed up with Twitter - it's kind of like microblogging - I don't know how much I'll use it but we'll see. If you twitter you can follow me under JudiW. Add me and I'll add you back.
It's been a while since I posted. I've been doing a few things but nothing to write home about .. or here either. But I figured I'd at least show one thing .. the tablecloth I just finished. It's amazing how even the most simple things take hours to make. I have 6 yards of the blue batik and I'm going to cover the chairs with it too. The orange borders match my curtains and the table runner - same material. I even mitered the corners - had to pull out a quilting book to learn how though. Easier than I thought. The table runner was made for our previous table and it's way too big for this one. I have to decide if I should cut it down or just make another one. I do have a little bit more of the orange/mustard colored batik. Speaking of batik - even though I washed these it still felt like the needle was punching through paper when I was sewing it. Should soften up after a few washes though. I am going to go buy some acrylic felt off the bolt to put under the tablecloth - don't know why - it just make it feel nicer. Plus then I don't have to worry if hot things get put on the table. Okay - I'm rambling now - time to go!
That's what we were told my knitting teacher is called by her co-workers. I got kicked out of knitting class on Monday night. To go get new yarn. I had 2 weeks of work on this one piece (first I had the patterns on both sides instead of one side so I had to start over - somehow I got the right and wrong sides switched in the middle of knitting) then this week my teacher decided I was having too hard a time with the pattern because I couldn't see it. The variegated yarn made it near impossible to see - so she said I had to get new yarn and start over. AAARGH. NOT AGAIN. You have no idea how many times I had already started over due to dumb mistakes. So I went out and bought a solid pastel green yarn and started again this morning. But you can actually see a difference in my knitting now that I've done this piece a million times over. Plus you can see the pattern. I might just learn to knit! HA!
I have a nasty cold and I just don't feel like doing a thing except hibernating! I find that my concentration just isn't there when I don't feel good. But that said, I finally got the clock in my studio caught up to daylight savings time this morning (yeah, shows how much I've been in there lately) and got to thinking that it needs a makeover. It's just boring wood. I think I could probably handle that in this state! Just have to decide on what color it needs to start out as!
I also realized I haven't made a doll yet this year. Pretty strange.
I told you I'd post a photo of the necklace I'm workin on in Christi Friesen's class on Doll Street ... here it is .. BUT .. as I worked this piece further I found that the green clay I started with had lost it's plasticizers and the leaves kept breaking/crumbling. So I am going to have to start over with fresh clay.
My sock monster drools. He really makes a mess so I figured I'd better do something quick. I made him some baby bibs. He's quite happy with them and I think he's going to get rather upset when the grandbaby borrows them.
I found the pattern on the internet but didn't follow the directions. I was rather surprised when I went back and looked at them just now. I guess I made my own version - and wasted lots of bias tape! But, hey, my version went together faster, so there!
But that's not what I wanted to write about today. One of the fun things about blogging is the people you meet via your posts. I have a new little 'art' sister that I met that way. When you're my age you don't need more twenty-something daughters, so you can have little sisters instead! Besides which, they don't need more Moms! So anyway - my little art sister battled it out at a $1 fat quarter sale and needs ideas of what to do with them ... go give Cindi your two cents worth!
My friend took this photo today ...
My friend Natalie convinced me to walk away from the computer today so I can stay sane. I blasted my music, danced around, and then make a couple of ATCs for a swap I'm in. The theme is Vintage Photos. I like one but not the other. Photos soon!
This has been an amazing year for me ... and I'm very thankful.. .
&bull I published my first patterns and people actually like them
&bull I got my husband to go on a cruise to Mexico
&bull I taught my first out-of-town class
&bull Both my daughters got married
&bull I had a doll on the cover of a magazine
&bull I am now a grandmother
&bull I got sidetracked into the world of crazy plush toys
&bull I bought Doll Street
&bull I made new friends online and had a blast taking online classes and making art ...
I don't see how next year can beat that but I'm going to try! Happy New Year, everyone ...
I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas. I had the family over today and we had a good time. Had fun
torturing taking photos of the grandbaby. He was actually quite a good sport about it, but at 2 1/2 months old he's still not quite on top of things yet.
I made this dough ornament 25 years ago ... with my Little Sister when I was in the Big Brother/Sister program in Tucson, Arizona ... it's still one of my favorites .. and I think about my Little every year when I take it out of the box .... it's very ''me' ... don'tcha think?
Ya know I'm always dissatisfied with my storage options. My stamps have been all lumped together in one of the plastic drawers from one of those 7-drawer towers. Then they usually ended up all over the floor when I was looking for one. I've seen lots of options on other people's websites - some are really cool - they look like the displays at the craft shops. Unfortunately I don't have the wall space for that. So at the last 50% off the plastic crap sale at the local craft shop I picked up this piece .. and, hey, it works! At last! I even sorted the stamps! The bottom layer has all my unmounted stamps, the middle has all my big collage stamps, and the top (which has the only dividers the thing came with) has all my little stamps broken up into categories. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sometimes I'm anal about things. I'm amazed at how many stamps I have - and I don't even scrapbook!
On Monday we had our doll club meeting/party - lots of fun - we did a couple of make it/take its. I taught the girls how to make domino magnets and I think the craft store is going to see a run on alcohol inks now, LOL. We also made these cute little snowmen ornaments ... why my camera hates to photograph red I don't know ...
The chair still hasn't been touched .... but last night while I was laying in bed I did come up with my color scheme ... who needs to sleep when you can daydream art!
I haven't had a cell phone for about two weeks and it was a weird feeling. I was waiting for AT&T to come ... they finally opened their stores today and I had my iPhone by noon. Now it is nearly midnight and I'm still playing with the thing, LOL. It is the ultimate little toy! It holds 8GB - it's an iPod, a 2 megapixel camera, it does email, browses the Web, has all the stuff my Palm Pilot did (notes, clocks, calendar, calculator) - oh - and it does maps too! For up here in the middle of absolutely nowhere! I can look up how to drive from my house to a restaurant or something. I can eBay from anywhere the iPhone can connect to the web, bwa ha ha. I got nothing done today, ho ho ho. I was plugged in! I'm such a geek!
the top of the cutting table. For the first time. In two months. Absolutely amazing.
You're probably wondering what one has to do with the other! Well, I am taking over the online doll club, Doll Street Dreamers, and I am spending soooo much time learning how to run the various types of software and talking to banks and credit card processing centers and just brainstorming that my muse has been neglected. I am starting to have the shakes, yep, craft withdrawals, LOL. I had to break away from the computer and sew. So I decided that since I am officially retired from making Plushies (at least until I get rid of some of the 19 living here now) I would use the fleece for something else. Segue to Swiffer covers! I saw a blog posting about these on the Craftzine blog and figured I could make myself a dozen or so. I really hate having to buy the Swiffer paper covers and then throwing them out. This way I can just toss them in the wash. Save money and feel better about the environment! I cut one long piece of fleece 11" x 5" and then the two top pieces are 5" x 4.5" - just lay them together and sew. The top piece stretches so it can be slipped on. Couldn't be simpler - unless someone else did it for you!
You know, if I was a Martha Stewart kind of a girl I'd probably have CLEANED the Swiffer before I took the photo. Nah. That'll never happen.
Have a great weekend!
In the tradition of other artsy bloggers and in celebration of my blogging milestone, I'm going to have a drawing for a piece of crafty goodness. I will put the name of everyone who leaves a comment on this posting in a hat and will have my hubby pick a name next Wednesday. Funny to think I've had this much to say. I really appreciate everyone who comes and visits. I hope you keep coming back for the next 500 entries!!!!
Here's the last batch of domino magnets I made for the craft fair.. I do love the faces ...
I finally succumbed and bought myself a set of Moo Cards. These are tiny little cards that you can buy if you use Flickr as your photo host. They are a bit expensive - they cost me $25 for 100 cards (25 cents each including postage from England). But I think they will be great hang tags. You can have all the same info that is on business cards on the back of the cards too. I have about 5 each of these cards. You have to do some interesting cropping to your photos - some that I would have liked to use just didn't work at all. I think these are fun and will probably last me a while!!
I'm having a hard time getting back into the swing of things since the grandson has been born. A couple of reasons for this 1) I'm having a bad reaction to some medicine and I cough like crazy so I take cough syrup a couple of times a night which knocks me out and then I sleep late and I'm tired all day 2) I'm bored???
I am testing a pattern for my friend Jacque and that is forcing me to get off my butt and make something! This is the something .... doesn't it look mysterious at this stage?
My reason for making all the plushies has arrived! He got here yesterday evening. Everyone is doing fine and Grandma and Grandpa are thrilled to bits.
.. and I'm not ready ... I don't want winter to come ... on the other hand it will let me test the 'snow' feature of the new camera, LOL ...
I'm sick with a bad cold. It's really hard to be creative when you feel lousy so all I've been doing is reading books and sniffling. I've been waking up in the middle of the night coughing and last night when I went to the kitchen to take a teaspoon of honey to soothe my throat this is what I found ... at least someone is having a good time!
I have been 'talking' with Mimi Kirchner about how to cut perfect circles from felt. One thing she suggested was the Sizzix punches; but I found they didn't have them in a variety of circle sizes. That left me the option of one of the machines. I looked into the various die-cut machines available locally and decided to buy the Sizzix BigKick. This is made by ProvoCraft which also makes the Cuttlebug. The BigKick can use any other companies' dies plus do embossing and texturizing. So I went to JoAnns and priced it. Went to Michaels and priced it. Michael's was $25 more and their dies were $5.00 more. Ugh. I talked to the manager and asked if he would match JoAnn's price and he said yes. He called JoAnn's and got the price; I used my JoAnn's coupon and ended up with the machine for $60. Then I went back to JoAnn's and used *another* coupon to buy a 4-circle die plus some other stuff. The things I do to save a buck! Okay - boring stuff over with. I tried the machine on various fabrics (after I figured out you weren't supposed to remove the foam from the center of the die, sigh). Here's my report ...
Acrylic felt - awesome!
Wool felt - awesome!
Flannel - awesome!
Fleece - makes a good enough impression to cut out with scissors
Batik - cut some of the fibers but not all. Easy enough to finish off with scissors.
So - $80 later I can cut out perfectly round eyes for my plushies! Now I have to sell some to pay for the darn thing, LOL. Anyone need any plushies???
OH OH OH - I meant to ask - is the cutting plate supposed to end up with die impressions on it?
I've been blogging for nearly three years now and I don't put too much non-crafty stuff on here. I thought maybe for the next year I'd change that a little bit. Starting now. So here are a couple of photos I took today when I went to help my husband set up moose camp.
We were 10 miles back off the main road - took about 45 minutes to drive the trail (I was following his truck and he was going slow for me). At first I was a bit nervous about driving back by myself - we were out in the middle of nowhere but I ended up having fun and cut 15 minutes off the time it took to drive in, LOL. My little Blazer got a tad bit dirty as you can see by the windows ... gorgeous scenery though. The trees look funny because a forest fire raged through there a few years ago and now they are tree skeletons. I told my husband about my wild ride out and he said we'd have to put mud tires on my car and go bogging. I think not!!!
So if you got a laugh out of yesterday's post and the way my mind works, wait until you read this one! I am making more severed hand pincushions and I wanted to hang the dyed hand up to dry. I am going to have my husband build me a little rack to hang these from but for now this is what I came up with. I took my plastic spool holder and tied the hand to that - but as it is flexible the thing fell right over into the sink. I had to add a stack of huge metal nuts to keep the thing upright. Then in order to hold the plastic arm up I tied yarn around the bathroom light and to the arm of the spool holder. It works but you better not go in the bathroom for long or you will burn through the yarn, LOL. Click on the picture to enlarge (then click again) - you have to see it up close to appreciate it. :-)
My daughter Tara married Corey today. We had an absolutely perfect day for an outdoor wedding. Everything was just great, good food, good music, good friends. Perfect.
The wedding is tomorrow. We have the reception space decorated, we ran through a quick rehearsal, picked up the tux, and we're ready to rock! Here's the last thing I did artwise - right before the relatives arrived ... it's the face for the Charmed One .. another Sherry pattern ... although she does still need eyelashes ...
I've been so busy helping Jeanna and Shane get moved into their new apartment these past few days that all I've managed to do in the creative department is sew a pair of arms on. Hopefully tomorrow I will get some time to myself. We will see!!!
This next photo shows what else I did this weekend. We put up nearly 40 cans of wild Copper River red salmon. Each can holds about 1.4 lbs. So that's a lotsa salmon! Gotta love the artistic filters that come with Photoshop Elements. Plain old cans are so boring to look at!
Today my daughter Jeana got married. It was a lovely day and I am thrilled to have gained a great son-in-law. We had the wedding here at my house. I'm not cleaning a thing until tomorrow, LOL. I'm just going to sit here and finish off the champagne!!! Here's a couple of photos for you to enjoy.
My friend Kate Erbach turned me onto the Photoshop Elements software and I really like it. It helped me create this little advertisement. Kate told me about this great website where you can find royalty-free photographs for use in your art. That's where the star shaped ice cubes that I use as the background for this piece came from. I think that Anuuk is going to be my little logo girl - she sure fits the bill!
We haven't caught anything fishing and I haven't picked up a pencil yet. Thought I'd share a couple of photos I took today. These two bald eagles are dining on a couple of salmon carcasses. The multi-colored eagle is a juvenile bald eagle - they turn white when they are adults. The second picture is of a pink salmon jumping over a couple of rocks on its way upstream. Click on the images to enlarge.
Since I'm not doing anything creative lately I thought I'd recommend this new pad that goes on a mammogram machine. It is a special foam and it's awesome for cutting down the discomfort. If you go to BioLucent's website you can check to see if your Breast Cancer Detection Center or hospital uses them. If not - you might want to suggest it ... these really make a huge difference. They say that 3 ot of 4 women experience a 50% decrease in discomfort. It's really true too - I was astounded at the difference when I got to use it! So check it out!
I am trying to make a jacket. I don't usually sew clothes, I'm pretty sure that the last time I did was 5 years ago when I made my daughter's prom dress. I didn't pick the easiest fabric to work with ... a silky print with little stones glued all over it. I am having to scrape the stones off the seam allowance - what a PIA!!!! But it's going together slowly but surely. I have the sleeves left to set in and then hem, hem, hem. Phew. Now you know one reason I've been so quiet. I'm pulling my hair out, ha ha ha.
I'm working on a million things at once and nothing is far enough along to take photos of. I'm getting the folders together for the class I'm teaching next week - I have 15 students now. I'm also making the weight pouches and wood bottoms for them. Bought some fabric today and I am going to try to make a jacket - one of those lightweight kimono/duster type things. I am continuing to collect stuff for my new doll .. and I'm refinishing this fish tank ... it is a goldfish tank - supposed to be like a TV .. it's the Fish Network .. entirely too cutesy for me ... .but I've covered it with gesso and a layer of white tissue paper.... next is paint ...
My eldest daughter came over today and we made her bridal bouquet. The last time I made one of these was when I made my own. She had a book with the bouquet she wanted but who ever follows instructions! We didn't even use the proper flowers but we did use their basic layout. I did learn to use hot glue on the ends of the stems to help hold the flowers in. Although some did fall out so we had to fill the holes with glue and then put the flower back in. I hope the flowers don't fall out when she walks down the aisle in August. She's happy with it so I'm happy too!
Okay, I know that's not how the saying really goes but it works for me. At doll club the other night my friend Karen gave me a bag of old screw-on earrings. The backs on these are usually glued on so I think if I use my heat gun I can melt the backings off instead of trying to cut them off. The earrings will be great for decorating headpieces and who knows what else!
No photos today!!! I just finished another set of those wooden charms and since most of the folks receiving them read this blog I didn't want to spoil the surprise. Next up is going to be a baby doll - I have NEVER made a baby doll !! I am going to test a pattern for my friend Rivkah in Israel.
My testers are working on the Stump Sisters. Courtney finished hers and she's a hoot! She came out great. I have to say I really get a kick out of seeing what other people do with my patterns. It's all so new to me.
One of the ladies who is sponsoring the Art Bra Showhad her husband take photos of the bras. You might remember I designed my Stone Cold Troll for this show. I'll be going to see them on Friday and I hope they let me take photos. But in the meantime, you can view them here.
I got a new camera and I've been trying to figure out how it works. It's a Canon Powershot S3 IS (same as Sherry's). I took this photo from about 10 feet away from the pillow with the telephoto lens and the flash - I'm amazed at how well it came out. My little Fuji would never have been able to do this. This is a little accent pillow that I bought from my friend Kelli Perkins. Kelli is an up and coming artist who is becoming a regular contributor to Cloth, Paper, Scissors. She does absolutely breathtaking work. Look on page 34 of this coming issue to see her article on paper quilts. Don't you just love this pillow! I want to redo all my living room pillows to match these colors, LOL.
I'll have lots to show tomorrow! I made this really strange fabric shelf and I'm nearly done with another ..... mermaid! I am teaching the mermaid down at the quilt shop and didn't realize that I only have flat faced ones here at the house. I was making one for a private swap and I if it's okay with my swap partner I will use her as the sample. It's nice to have the mermaid in pattern form - I don't have to take measurements for her sleeves and top.
Linda, of I Love Crafts and Craft Blogs has written a wonderful review of all my websites. She obviously spent a lot of time poking around this blog, my Etsy shop, my photo album, and my newest endeavor, the Ask the Crafter website. She makes me sound like a Wonder Woman! I'm now ready to scale new art projects in a single bound. Oh wait, that's Super Girl (my younger self, ha ha). You know, I didn't even realize I have 14 tutorials on this blog until she counted them for me. Seriously, I am quite thrilled and honored to be recognized this way. Thanks, Linda!
Click here if you would like to read the review.
I fell in love with these metal sculptures in Cabo San Lucas. There were two shops selling these and I hadn't seen anything like this in any of the other ports. I really like the mermaids and the faeries. They are about 2 or 3 feet tall so they were a bit too big for the suitcase therefore none came home with me. I don't know if that's good or bad because now I want to make one. My husband thinks they might have been cut with a plasma cutter - which is too expensive for me to buy just to fool around with. So I'm thinking of making one of these with Timtex and fabric. Who knows what it will end up as!
I had a fabulous time on my cruise but it sure is nice to be back home where my bedroom doesn't pitch up and down every night. Soaked up the sun, drank cappucino coladas, did a lot of sightseeing, and didn't really miss my sewing machine at all! Here are a few altered Barbies that were being sold as souvenirs at a 'flea market' in Acapulco. There was a fabric shop right across the street from the market but although I wandered through I didn't buy ... I am trying to keep to my promise to myself not to buy any more fabric. So far, so good!
I'm outta here ... going on vacation for two weeks, whoo hoo . I'm looking forward to poking through the tourist shops in Mexico .. who knows what I will find for my art! Don't forget me ... I'll be back at the end of the month.
Now that I've got the headdress class finished with I have to clean up my studio. To me this is a mess .. there's lots of little 'stuff' that has to be put away. None of it goes in the same place either. You can tell how I work from these photos - I paint myself into a corner. I don't put things away when I'm done working with them so I end up with very little working space.
The absolute worst is the cutting table. I never have any room to cut anything! I have permanent piles on it, LOL. You can forget ironing too! I left these photos full size on the server so you can click on them and see everything. I love looking at people's studios and seeing what they have. Enjoy!
Oh - good news - my brother (my blogmaster) has loaded a new anti-spam program so now EVERYONE can leave messages without having to use fake emails addresses and best of all ... NO MORE MATH!!!! Whoo hoo!
Have a couple of things to share today.
First is a little 'voodoo' wooden spool dude that I made at club the other night. It is supposed to be a visual representation of a New Year's Resolution. It should remind me to spend less money on 'stuff' and instead concentrate on trying to make some this year!!!!
The next thing I want to show you are a few ATCs that I made for a vintage nude swap over at Swap-bot. I haven't done any swaps for a while and these aren't due to go out for a while. It's nice to have them done ahead of time!
I have started a new website called Ask the Crafter. It is a place where you can go to ask questions regarding any type of craft. It's something I have thought about doing for at least a year now and I finally have it up and running. Please pass the word to all of your groups and all of your friends. This will only be a success if people use the service! The URL is: http://www.askthecrafter.blogspot.com. You should go there now - there are a few interesting questions and answers posted already!
One of the things that I like about this time of year are the sales - in the craft shops. I love buying things for dolls that aren't meant for them! Like this tassel ornament. It's really a light pink although I couldn't quite capture the color.
I also wanted to show this photo .. it is a round robin doll I'm working on. I added the skirt - which is a gourd - a Crown of Thorns gourd. Sherry Goshon turned me onto them and taught me how to work with them. As soon as I finish the journal I can send her on.
I LOVE clearance racks! I found this silver-plated holder there and bought two of them. I have a friend who uses these for flying faeries so I figured I'd buy myself a couple. I don't know what I will use them for but I'm sure they will come in handy someday ... along with all the other goodies I'm hoarding, LOL.
Goldilocks bought a light tent to photograph her art. The first tent was waaaaay toooo big. Then she bought a little light tent and it was waaaaay toooo small. So she THOUGHT about buying a light tent that would be just right. But she didn't .. she figured she'd spent too much money already on the silly things and she'll just make them work!!!
Do you listen to audiobooks or your MP3 player while you create? Our library is going to start allowing you to download audiobooks to your computer next year and I'm wondering if I would actually listen to them. They are going to give us 14 days to listen to the audiobook and then it will stop working (I wonder what technology that is!). Sometimes I get so involved in what I'm doing that I don't even hear what is going on around me. I usually do have the radio on but half the time it doesn't register. What are your thoughts on this ... what do you do? I'm curious.
Thought I'd share why I think the light tent is too big. I want to use it in the guest room, on top of the dresser, but it's so big it hangs over the edge! The 11 inch ornament is inside it - looks tiny, doesn't it! By the way - that ornament is now available at my Etsy store - click the box over on the right that says' Visit Judi's Art Doll Store' if you're interested.
I bought a light tent because I thought I could take better quality photos with it. Get rid of some of the shadow problems I've been having. I bought a 30"x30"x30" inch tent (off of eBay) - ha - the thing is HUGE. I don't know what I was thinking. Actually I do - the biggest doll I've made is 24" so I figured bigger is better. Nope. I am going to have to buy another smaller one. I don't know if I will keep this one or not. But anyhow - here are two photos I took today for practice. I think this will work once I figure out how to place the lights.
This photo is taken in the light tent with no flash:
I haven't been very creative this week. I had to fly down to Seattle and help my daughter drive back to Alaska. It was a horrendous trip due to the winter storms that hit Seattle and British Columbia. It has been 22 years since I drove the Alaska Highway and I did it in winter that time too. One day I'll drive it in the summer!!!
I've got some catching up to do this coming week - I missed a week of school so there's homework, I have two round robin dolls sitting here and who knows what else!
This little cafe was in the middle of nowhere ... I found the sign funny ... click on the image to really read it ...
You can see the rest of the photos at my PIcturetrail album .. although we didn't stop to take many photos. We drove, and drove, and drove ....
Last year I made a special domino necklace for my daughter and put it in a safe place so I could give it to her for the holidays. It was too safe - I couldn't find it when the holidays rolled around. This morning I was digging out some empty gift boxes to take with me to the bazaar and guess what I found in one of the boxes? So I guess she will get her present a year late, LOL.
The bazaar went really well for me. I moved a lot of my domino art but what was really special were the reactions people had to our dolls. We had tons of lookers and had to explain over and over how the dolls were made. People were amazed. It was great fun.
I was thrilled (but really sad) when my red ornie sold. The woman who bought her is going to give her to her sister. Her sister is in a life transition and my customer said she will help her sister fly through this period of her life. She struggled to try to explain to me how this doll was going to help her sister. You could tell the doll really spoke to her. I was really touched. She also bought the first one I made for herself.
Here is our table ... my friend Shirley's dolls are on the left (with my froggy doll in the middle) and all my domino art and boxes on the right. Jacque gave me a great idea to make a Charlie Brown tree to display my ornies on. Thanks, Jacque!!!
The blue ornie and the copper one came home with me.
Here's something you can do if you know how to knit. If I can knit it I'm sure you can knit it too ... it's just a simple garter stitch. Knit a scarf for a WWII veteran and send it to the WWII museum in New Orleans. Click here to get the pattern and directions.
You can sit and watch TV and knit a whole bunch of scarves. What a nice thing to do for someone during the holiday season. I used to have lots of old yarn that I could have used for this but I gave it away. The old guys probably don't want fancy eyelash yarn so a dark sport weight yarn would probably be just fine! I'll think I'll do this .. how about you?
Sometimes having a crafty Mom is a good thing! Yesterday my daughter came over and we turned a thrift store tablecloth into a table banner for her. It took more time than I expected - the cloth was way too long so we had to shorten it - then we found tears on the edges - so it had to go back through the serger (overlocker) again. Then it took a loooong time to cut out all those letters! But she learned about the wonder of Wonder Under and it was a good thing. Best of all was spending time together.
This is Tara holding Chicote - a lizard who thinks it is a dog. She and her fiance held an adoption clinic at the big pet store tonight.
The hard drive on my laptop crashed last week and so I've been pretty quiet, LOL. It is replaced now and I'm going through the headache of reloading all my programs. That really cuts into creative play time!! I do have some things to share though. I'll start with what I found today at the clearance aisle in JoAnn's for three bucks ... it's not very pretty but I'm sure I'll think of something to do with it!!
Sometimes I wonder about myself - I get myself involved in the strangest things. Usually they are my own ideas too! This time I decided to host an art paper doll swap. I was really surprised by how many people signed up for it - there were 67 when sign-ups closed. I was really apprehensive about swapping that many pieces - could have been over 200 in the end. But life happens and people dropped out and I ended up with 48 envelopes and 132 paper dolls. It was fun and I hope people like what they get.
This is the mass of envelopes ready to inundate the post office ladies ...
I had to move all my living room furniture out of the way to get everything where I could see it.
But I'll do it again ....just you wait and see!
If you want to see all the paper dolls... click here
Okay so this has nothing to do with soft sculpture .. I am taking a beginning drawing class at the University this semester. I think we're in our 5th week. I'm learning a lot - mainly that it takes a lot of time to make a nice drawing. This is my homework from last week - we had to draw something with internal negative space and interesting planes. In other words, stuff with holes that's not flat. Oh - and it had to go off the page at 3 sides and we had to draw shapes not lines and it had to be done in charcoal! Phew. Not easy finding something with holes that would be interesting. I tried a bicycle helmet - boring. I have a doll bench with scrollwork but it was too complicated. So I ended up drawing a revolver and, hey, it actually looks like one!
Kai posted a photo of her childhood doll so I thought I'd do the same. I've had this doll since I was 2 or 3 - somewhere there are photos of me with her. She is probably close to 50 years old now (if you include manufacturing time and time on the store shelf). When we moved to America in 1963 the bag with all my toys was stolen from the dock in New York. She was the only toy that didn't get stolen because I was holding her. She wears a dress my late grandmother knitted and a mob cap that I bought in Williamsburg, Virginia when I was about 10. She is discolored, drawn on by cousins with markers, and one eye doesn't work anymore but I still love her. Post your childhood doll at your blog or picture site and leave a comment with the link to it.
I was saddened to hear about the death of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter. I always enjoyed watching him on the telly. As I was brainstorming my paper dolls today this little gal sprang into being. I think she's a cross between a hammerhead shark and a stingray, Judi style.
Kind of saying how there is danger in beauty. The first photo is unembellished - just the basic paint job. The second is dressed. She has lots of crystal micro beads and rhinestones. Someone out there will receive her in the Doll Street swap.
It's taken me two days but I finally have all my little bits of yarn organized. I have done tons of trades and received tons of yarn as presents - but in 1-2 yard pieces. Some as big as 5 yards but that's it. I had them in a plastic grocery bag and each time I looked for something they got more and more tangled up. I'm thrilled with them now though! Check it out ...
Before - wound on tags, in little baggies, on cardboard - huge mess!
After - nicely wound on little embroidery floss bobbins. There are about 185 of those suckers. But worth the effort for sure!
A few months ago I bought a huge bag of vintage buttons. Enough buttons to fill a 40oz peanut butter jar. The buttons were soooo dirty that I hated to touch them. I spent a couple of hours over the last couple of days cutting off the fabric and threads that were left on some of the buttons and today I washed them. Which was an interesting project all in itself. Some of the mother of pearl buttons are tiny and I couldn't just wash them in the sink - they would go down the drain. So I ended up sewing a really huge tube out of cheesecloth - put the buttons in it and then soaked them in the sink. Then to really clean them I put them in the dishwasher in a special basket that holds utensils. Worked well - now they just have to dry.
Sometimes I really wonder about search engines. I have a statistic generator linked to my site so I can see how people have found my website. Here's some of today's searches that ended up here ....
How to treat a barfing puppy
Trolls under the table
Girl stuff you can buy
I wonder what the person who was searching for trolls under the table was actually looking for! That person ended up at the post with the photo of the 'Dragon Ladies' troll dolls getting 'drunk', LOL. It's actually one of my favorites ... see it again here!
I just have a blast making these altered business card magnets! So I created a swap over at Swap-bot. You'll make three magnets and send one to each of three partners. This is the first time I've tried using swap-bot so we'll see how it goes. You'll have to sign up for an account but there might be other swaps you'll want to do. If you want to give it a go, then click here!
I'm thrilled with what Doll Crafter and Costuming did with my step-by-step article on altering a porcelain doll. They make me look good, LOL. This is pretty exciting for me. I've been on pins-and-needles waiting for this to come out. This little clock would make an awesome present for a little gir's room or even your own sewing studio. It's really easy to make - and there are five pages of directions and photos! If you make one please take a photo and send it to me. I'd love to see it!
Oh yeah, it is the September 2006 issue. Buy yours now, LOL.
Thought I'd share some of my very first dolls with you .... put your mouse over a face and see what happens!
I haven't been doing much this week. My big dog had surgery so I've been keeping an eye on her. It's limited my time in the studio.
So I have this embroidery machine - one of those sewing/embroidery deals. I don't know why I bought it because I knew that I'd never use it. But we talk ourselves into these things. So since I hardly use it I always seems to have problems - haven't learned all the little tricks or something. Yesterday I decided to make a design to put on a t-shirt for my daughter. I did a couple of designs in the software and I'm happy with them. So I thought I would stitch them out on an old t-shirt for practice. The first time I stitched the frog the thread kept breaking. I kept rethreading it and it would sew some more and then stop. I finally tried to lift the hoop to see what was up and somehow it had sewn the throat plate to the t-shirt. WHAT? I had to take the plate off the machine and cut the t-shirt off of it. Okay - try again. I rehooped and it worked okay. So I have the design with the frog. Then I decided to stitch out the design with the lizard. This time the thread broke about every 30 stitches and it made a mess on the front and a bigger mess on the back. By now I was very frustrated - I had changed threads, changed needles, changed stabilizers - I tried everything I could think of but it made no difference. Finally I stopped the machine - took the work out and ripped it out - literally - I ripped it right off the darn t-shirt! Made me feel better though, tee hee. Can you see the big hole on the lower right?
Two years ago our doll club applied to the Fairbanks Art Association to have our own show in the Bear Gallery. We had to go through a juried process, complete with slides of our work, a formal biography, and other rigamarole. To our delight we were one of about 10 artists chosen for shows this year. Hard to believe that the two years has passed and this Friday is opening night. Today three of us spent 7 hours hanging the show. It was an interesting experience to say the least. We started out with a empty room - I don't think we knew enough about the process to be intimidated by it. We certainly had no clue it would take that long to set up! Let me tell you all about it ...
The first thing we did was set up our artist statements. They are right inside the front door and they look great. Since we had to have them on the upper half of the wall we balanced it out with the Big Girl on the bench. The gallery is in the Civic Center in Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park is the biggest 'tourist attraction' that we have. We are pretty sure that there will be tourists posing to have their photos taken with our Big Girl.
We had over 70 dolls to deal with so we put them all out on the floor. It looked pretty overwhelming. They are mostly unpacked in this picture.
We knew that we had to make an artisic display, not like what we'd seen in magazine photos, where all the dolls are crammed together on tables. We put all the dolls that could be hung on the walls together. Then we started grouping the dolls by genre and color. It started to look a little more manageable. Then we started moving the walls and pedestals around. Put some dolls up. Took them down. Moved the walls and pedestals around. Put some dolls up. Moved them to different pedestals. Moved the pedestals around. You get the picture.
We didn't have a lot of pedestals. We actually had more dolls than we could fit on them so we had to get creative. One of the girls had bought six little chairs which could hang on the wall. So one wall is filled with dolls sitting on these chairs - it looks awesome. Anything that remotely looked like it could be hung on a wall was. They even made me put two holes in the back of my Time for Fun clock doll and hang her on the wall. Luckily the body was a paper mache box, so no major damage was done, LOL.
The art association folks will light the show. You can see in this photo that the lights are way off. We are nearly done - that's Dalonna sitting down. We started getting drained - both physically and creatively after about 5 hours. But more people helping would have made it more difficult. Some of the exhibit went together very easily, other parts were very difficult. We wanted the dolls to compliment each other and I think we did a great job.
What we did will be 'tweaked' by the art association's head honcho - we're told she has an 'eye' for this. Hope she doesn't change it too much! Here's a couple more photos. I'll take proper ones next week when the lighting has been fixed.
This wall has a fairy castle, 3 dragons, and a 'wizard'. She's not really a wizard but she fit, LOL. The placards aren't up yet in these photos - but each doll has a card with the name of the artist and the name of the pattern designer (if any).
This shows the Seasonal Sisters by Kris Knutzen. This photo can't be enlarged. I have to tell you that Winter has a bigger butt than her sisters. I thought that was hysterical!
A few tourists snuck in while we were setting up. It was interesting to watch them. They weren't quite sure what to think, LOL. Ah well. It will look fabulous on Friday so wish us luck with our opening!
my daughter Jeanna ... high school graduate .. Class of 2006 ...
I have decided that we doll makers no longer have practice or reject heads. Since our excess doll parts end up in the bone yard all excess heads will henceforth be known as dead heads. Dead heads should be displayed in a basket with tie-dye material. Playing Grateful Dead music in the background is strictly optional.
Good news! Even though my Ott light is out of warranty the company agreed to repair it under their warranty program. So for $10 plus shipping I will be lit up again. Yay! So much better than trying to fix it with epoxy putty or something. It's so nice to find a company with great customer service!
My Ott Light broke today. Which really stinks because it is ultra expensive to replace and it's too old to be covered by their warranty. Of course it breaks two days AFTER I could have replaced it with a 50% off coupon from JoAnn's. I was sewing when it came crashing down on top of my machine. Broke my cute little bumblebee porcelain figurine too. I can't believe the plastic cracked and broke like it did. Today just wasn't a good day - took my dog to the vet and she needs about $1500 in surgery
Some days you just get on a roll ... I completed 3 projects today .. which is great! I can get one in the mail tomorrow, one still needs journal pages done, and one was just for fun. Here's the story on each piece ..
This little guy is for a paper doll round robin. This month's artist asked that at least two of the paper dolls be boys. So I cut the hips off, straightened out the thighs, and .. here he is ... as saucy as a little boy can be! You can dress them up but you can't take them anywhere! Him or his dog!
This last piece was just for fun. I wanted to make another collage with my broken doll head. I took about 8 photos, moving the head in small increments each time, so I have a great variety of angles to use now. This one is for sale on eBay because I have absolutely no room to keep my art anymore! It's a 5"x7" canvas panel, painted with acrylics and lumiere, and has beads and jewelry bits on it.
I found these great little 7"x7" pillows at JoAnn Fabrics yesterday. I succumbed to the impulse shopping display in the checkout aisle, LOL. As you can see, they are beaded and embroidered.
The fabric is a faux velvet of some sort and the back is some type of silky synthetic. Trim on the sides and beading on all the corners. They had them in some great colors - red, purple, blue, and these here. I might have to go back and get a couple more! You couldn't make these for $3.50 each! The doll is Hailey - she's a doll I made in a Patti Culea class back in 2003 or so - hand dyed, lots of fibers, etc. Of course she won't sit on the pillow for long - all my dolls are squished on a shelf. I am nearly out of room to display dolls. So the pillows will be used for shows and bazaars.
When I'm working on a project I tend to block myself into a tight little space. I'm bad at putting things away and I just pile them to the sides until I have no more room for myself to work, LOL. What I wanted to share today is my mirror square. About 10 years ago my husband taught me to etch glass and we used mirror squares to practice on. You used to be able to buy them in boxes of 10 or so from the hardware stores. I still have half a box left. The other day I grabbed one and wrapped all the edges in duct tape (they are beveled but still sharp). You can see it in the photo - with the grid of the shelf reflecting on it. Now I use it as my palette for painting and glueing - I just dump it all on the glass and mix it. When done I wash it off - and if I just let it dry (which is usually the case) then I can just peel it off later and wash off the residue. For the glue I just scrape it off with a razor blade. I suppose you could do the same with a fairly thick sheet of glass too. I pretty much do all my work on top of it now - no more searching for palettes or scraps to pour glue onto. Handy!
I'm still here .. just right now I'm working on something that I can't share pictures of. I went through some old photos to see if there was something I can share but nothing popped out at me. So ... be patient, little grasshoppers ... I'm sure to have something worth reading soon, LOL.
Linda asked me to post photos of a doll with the new lighting set up. So I did a kind of before and after thing. You can see the extra lighting gets rid of nearly all the shadows. I think it might be a bit clearer too. Odessa will be going to live with Linda in Florida. Lucky girl.
Click on the image to enlarge
Today I set up a little photo studio in our spare room. I have been thinking about doing this for a while and I have been collecting the bits and pieces needed to do it for the last couple of months.
I bought a bunch of cheap quilter's cottons to use as backdrops and put a hem in each of them. The curtain rod is hanging on two hooks that you buy to hold the center of really long curtain rods (for drapes). It holds the rod away from the wall about 4". (Cost about $15 for everything) The lights are the cheap clamp on kind and I put daylight bulbs in them (think I paid about $8 each and the lightbulbs were a couple of bucks) My husband built me the little stands to put them on out of 2x2 and 1x2 wood (cost me $5). I had the table, LOL, but I did buy a tripod - most expensive part - cost me $25. So - I have a little over $60 in this. I took a couple of test photos and I don't have the shadows I was getting when I took the pictures on my kitchen table - so I think this will work well. I do think I will need one color background though as I tried a photo with two different colors and it looked like one piece of cloth. I will also have to play around with the angle of lights. I might need an overhead light but I have extra flourescent shop lights and there is a drop ceiling in this room so it will be easy to test it out. But I'm off to a good start! Of course if my daughter ever decides to move back home I'm going to be in trouble!
I find that I never concentrate on one project at a time if I don't have an absolute deadline. I'm always getting sidetracked. It got pretty bad when I discovered I was taking all day to clean the house because I'd take something downstairs and putter in the studio before getting back to cleaning. So I wrote a little test .. you can see if you have CDD!
Do you get sidetracked often when working on projects or even mundane, ordinary things? Then you might have Creative Distraction Disorder (CDD). Take the following test to find out.
1. How long does it take you to clean your house?
A. 2 hours
B. 4 hours
C. All day
D. Who, me? Clean?
2. While you’re cleaning, oh, let’s say, the kitchen how much time do you spend in other rooms?
B. One hour
C. Most of the day
D. I never get back to the kitchen
3. How many new projects do you start while cleaning the kitchen?
D. Too many to count
4. How many projects do you start while working on the project that you started while cleaning the kitchen?
D. Huh? I’m confused.
5. How long would it take you to finish an art project, with an estimated completion time of 4 hours?
A. Two hours
B. Four hours
C. 8 hours
D. Who completes projects?
6. How long does it take you to find a project you started?
A. Right away
B. At least an hour
C. It’s under this, wait, let’s try that, oh, it looks like fun, hmmm
D. All day, I have to clean the area first to find it (Go back to question one)
7. How long does it take you to get supplies together?
A. Right away
B. Not too long
C. Depends on whether I’m gathering fabric
D. Forever, I keep playing with other supplies in with the supplies
Mostly A: You don’t have CDD. You’re probably not much fun either.
Mostly Bs: There’s hope for you yet.
Mostly Cs: You have a moderate case of CDD. Try harder to find things to do other than what you should be doing.
Mostly Ds: You have a severe case of CDD. Congratulations. You may live in squalor but you produce arts, lots and lots of it, in various stages of completion.
Some of everything: You have, umm, be right back … gotta go check on fabric in the dye bath.
Ever have one of those days when you just don't like anything you've done? Creatively? Today was one of those days for me - actually it's been two days now that I've felt like this. So I guess I need to back off and not push so hard. I will just play with techniques and not try to *make* something. It's a good time to take out some of my older Quilting Arts magazines and try some of the things in there. Maybe the Muse is on vacation???
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 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!
Oh my - I didn't realize just how much I've missed having someone to share dolls and just artsy stuff with. I'm having a lot of fun with Sherry. On Friday we made collages on canvas - using paint, paper, images, embellishments, whatever we could think of - they came out really cool. Today we had the first day of class and I'm learning a ton! Tonight we played with some epoxy putty from the hardware store that seems to work the same as the Aves Epoxy Sculpt - except it smells like old perm solution. STINKY! Then Sherry got into my boneyard and put together the funniest little creature. As soon as things slow down and I have some computer time I'll take some photos.
Sherry Goshon is here to teach a doll costuming class to my club this weekend. We're really looking forward to it. Thought we were going to do some sightseeing today but it is 40 degrees below zero so I think we'll just stay in and have a play day instead! I've been wanting a costuming class for ages - it's really a big hole in my skills. Stay tuned for photos!
My webmaster (my wonderful brother) migrated all his websites to a new server and somehow I got lost in the shuffle. My blog had been down since Friday - so that's 4 days all told. I was surprised at how disconnected I felt without it. What did I do while the blog was down? 21 fabric postcards, made some hand carved stamps, worked on some decos, and even started a new prim (primitive) cloth doll. Keep watching, I'm going to get the camera out ...
The holiday craziness is over! I've enjoyed the breathing room I've had the past few days. My daughter loved her quilt - I'll post a photo of it soon. Wanted to share a photo of a little fairy figurine that one of my girls bought me.
I think this is just a resin figurine - the wings feels like plastic but I'm not exactly sure what they are. I do love the shape of them though. Cute little outfit - kind of like a faerie in lingerie! I love hanging figurines like this from the ceiling in my studio! I've run out of hooks though so it's another job for the hubby!
I am always glad to see Winter Solstice - now we will start gaining daylight back. We will only gain about 2 minutes a day for a month or so then over time it will increase to about 6 minutes a day. Before I know it summer will be here and it won't be dark at all! I can't wait! But until then I'll just be a house mouse and burrow away in my studio. Here's a photo of where the sun was at 2:00 pm today - nearly below the horizon.
Now that I have the gifts done I can play again. Today I bought some canvases to try my hand at collage with. I might be able to get to them tomorrow - depending on how long it takes to clean the house. It's such a shame that has to be done. I'd love a cook and a housekeeper but that's probably not going to happen in this lifetime, LOL.
I'm sure this isn't new to you but I think it's pretty neat. My friend Shirley had bought some candleholders to use as doll stands and they looked really nice. So when I was wandering around the store today looking for presents I found a couple on the clearance shelves.
What's nice about these is that they don't have that little spike in the center that holds the candle on it. Bumble's not the type to have a stick up his butt, LOL. Shirley makes little pillows for her dolls to sit on - just a circle of material gathered lightly with some fiberfill inside. I don't need to do that with this one as the candle holder is pretty flat. I will with the other one though - it's pretty well cupped. You could really embellish this with drop crystals and things. I imagine you could cover it with clay and make it look like some strange tree too. Lots of ideas. Too bad it was the only one they had in this style.
I noticed from my stats that I am getting a lot of visitors from Shashi's website.
I am guessing that you want to see my scissor fobs
since she mentioned them in her post about fobs. The link above is to my post with their photos. The class isn't up anymore but I can send you the file with all the instructions if you're interested in making some - for the low price of $5.00. Just click on the PayPal button below or leave me a note in the comments. They are quick and easy and fun to attach to presents. I need to make some more myself! Of course that's AFTER I get all these other presents done! HA!
Well, can't say that the bazaar was a huge sucess today. I should have known better than to sign up for a bazaar in my town instead of down the road in Fairbanks. There might have been 100 people who wandered through there. My spot was in front of an empty store and down a side aisle near a doorway. Good and bad things about it .. when people go to the craft shop they go in this door but if people come out of the grocery store they don't turn down the aisle I was in. I did sell a couple of things but it really wasn't worth my while.
On the upside - my troll was a big hit - everyone got a bick kick out of him. Lots of people didn't realize that my necklaces were dominos and when I told them they would say 'That's clever". No wonder the craft show on HGTV is called that! I thought that was funny.
What I learned today:
Check your table cover before you set up. Then you don't have to run back home for a bigger tablecloth.
Little girls like to take lids off of boxes to see if there is anything in them.
Having a bright yellow table at a Xmas bazaar is bizarre.
I've been keeping busy making presents. Can't post photos because then the presents won't be a surprise! I am working on the last one now. I was looking around on Amazon and I found a book that is called Patterns for Theatrical Costumes: Garments, Trims, and Accessories from Ancient Egypt to 1915. It says it is basic shapes that you can embellish. I wonder if this would be helpful for doll costuming. I imagine the patterns must be fairly small since it's a book, not an actual pattern packet. One review says to enlarge on a plotter by 800% so they must be good doll size patterns! Anyone ever heard of this book? I just might see if I can get this through my inter-library loan program. It might be in a University library somewhere. I'm trying to stop buying books just because they look interesting! Bought quite a few lemons that way! Of course I have gotten some really good ones too! I *LOVE* books!
If you've been reading my blog you know that my husband has some glow in the dark powder that he's been fooling with. He took it to his knife-making class last night (he teaches how to make damascus steel) and he and his students tried to put some on a piece of wood then emboss over it. He found out real quick that a hair dryer doesn't work on the embossing powder. Just blows it away. So they looked around for something to use to melt the crystals with and ended up using a torch. A bit high powered if you ask me. But what did this lead to? When he came home he found me sitting with my heat gun patiently melting layer after layer of the UTEE on my dominos. He grabbed one of my dominos and some of the crystals and went out into the garage where he taught me how to use a propane torch to melt the stuff. Wow! I love it! It's way faster but also way trickier to use. It's totally easy to heat it too much. But when you have about 50 of the little stinkers to enamel I guess it makes sense. And hey, Kai .. I didn't burn the house down either!
Did the after Thanksgiving sales today. Hit both craft stores and one 'regular' store. Bought 7 stamps, some paperclay, and an unfinished wooden shelf to hold my dolls. Bought my year's supply of socks too! Got home before noon and spent the afternoon in the studio. I colored about 20 dominos so I can make necklaces and I made this treasure box for my 5 year old nephew.
He loves anything to do with construction so I embellished the box with washers, nuts, and bolts. I hacksawed the head off the bolts - found out that the metal gets really hot after you do that. My husband told me not to touch it but did I listen? NOOOO. So I have a nice little blister on my finger! I used E6000 to attach the metal bits - I hope the little dude doesn't take a wrench to them!
Cute, eh? I"ll fill it up with little tools if I can find some. I think he'll like it!
I hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow - whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not. I have been busy for the last few days shopping, cooking, and cleaning. No time for fun. But I did buy some wire and berries that I am going to try to use on the Cherry Pitter. So maybe I'll get some time tonight to relax and play. I need it - my feet are killing me from standing in the kitchen all day. But I have the sweet potato souffle in the oven now and it's the last thing I have to cook today. Well, not counting dinner. Ugh.
When I bought the wire and stuff yesterday I found out that you can use your Michael's coupon at JoAnn Fabrics. I didn't realize I had grabbed the wrong coupon and the cashier kept trying to scan it. She didn't realize it was from Michael's and couldn't understand why it wouldn't scan. The supervisor finally taught her how to ring it up. Phew. I didn't want to have to come back another day.
I was beginning to think that people who don't have a clue about making jewelry shouldn't. Make jewelry that is. I was trying to figure out how to make big jump rings to go through the dominos and wasn't having much luck. The jump rings were HUGE in order to go through the width of the dom. They looked silly. So after about a dozen tries at different sizes I decided to give it a break and hang some beads from the bottom instead.
I grabbed a the domino, twisted some wire around the hole, and strung some beads - finishing with a loop. Looked at it and realized I had strung the beads on the wrong end. AH HA - I cried - I don't NEED those darned jump rings! I love happy accidents, don't you?
So there's this box of stuff getting passed from person to person in my doll club and I got stuck with it tonight. It got left at Kris's house this summer when we had our altered pin doll workshop and I think we're supposed to use it as a door prize or something. Anyhow, I was going through it and I found this thing that is just screaming to be altered into an art doll. But what the heck is it? If you know please leave me a comment.
I haven't disappeared from the face of the net .. life sometimes gets in the way of making art. Various things are breaking down and having to be fixed, one daughter is in the hospital (she's okay though) and so on and so forth. So there's been no creative time for me! Soon though ... soon!
I don't normally put puppy pictures on the blog but I can't resist this one ... Zach, the ribbon-eating puppy (who has turned into a fabric eating puppy now), decided laying UNDER the dog bed is better than on top of it!
My aunt loved the doll I sent her (down a couple of posts called Another Gal Finished). She has named her Courage! My aunt says "I like the message she is holding 'Courage' and 'Hope, as I think it's courage we need when we face our dark nights." So I'm happy that she's happy! Y'all make sure to do those self examinations - early detection is key!
I'm doing a swap on one of my lists for a palm-size stuffie - and I took it quite literally. Check this out!
Little, eh? I drew a pattern on a post-it note then enlarged it by 10% on my copier. You wouldn't believe how much stuffing this fish took - I was amazed because it's really tiny. Not much to tell about it - used some retro 60's style fabric which gave it some nice surface design. Did a little beading and that's it! It was a lot of fun and a bit of a challenge to make a stuffed animal this small.
I worked a bit more on the curvaceous one today. The arms are done and the boobs are sewn on. Made one head but since the instructions called for me to do something different to what I am accustomed to doing, well, I didn�t do it. So the head didn�t work. She has no cheeks. She looks like an old prune. So I will have to make another one - following the directions this time. Sheesh.
Thought I'd show you some little dress forms that I bought at JoAnn's last week. They are having a going out of business sale and they are getting gobs of stuff shipped in. These were too cute to pass up. They have little alligator clips on the back so I thought they would be great for displaying little pieces of art. I just might have to pad the clips with some fleece to make sure bite marks aren't left on things though. I'm keeping these on my desk so I can enjoy the latest treasures I've received in the mail. It's going to be so easy to change out my art!
So what's on display today?
The little fabric ATC on the left is from Mimi Kirchner, isn't it great! I love her dolls - if you haven't seen her blog you have to check it out! The middle piece was just something I was playing around with for someone's art journal - she loves giraffes. The last piece is a fabric postcard from Becky D. - I just love her style. Beautiful stuff, huh!
I don't think I mentioned that I'm Artist of the Month over at Doll Street. Its' an on-line club that I belong to. So if you want to read about me .. not what I'm making ...check it out but you need to do it this month (July 2005) or it will be gone.
Fiona, the round robin desert fairy, is not enjoying herself here. Must have something to do with yesterday's encounter with Bluster the Bear. She got her boots today and I think she's ready to hit the road.
I used a batik that has moose on it for the boots but her feet are so small that the print got lost. I don't think this little fairy is much bigger than 7 inches. I took some scraps of wolf fur and made a little cuff on each boot and then added some baby blue rickrack that matches her cloak. The natives here do use a lot of rickrack on their summer parkas so it is a bit authentic. They just don't use rickrack on their mukluks! One thing I didn't think of ... her poor little feet will get really hot when she gets back to Arizona in a year or so. Oh dear.
I received my second round robin doll the other day. She was waiting in the mailbox quite patiently for me to get home from fishing. Fiona is a very small, flat, desert fairy from Arizona. She spent some time in Oregon before she came up here. It's going to be interesting to see how everyone approaches the journals. The journal that came with Fiona is kept in a diary fashion. So today she got to know some of the creatures that live in my house. I took this picture to put in the journal - the larger fairy is mine - that's Hailey. She's protecting Fiona from the big old bear. I think I'm going to be the shoe lady on this round robin - Fiona is going to get a pair of mukluks to wear. I tried to make her some fur boots today out of some wolf scraps but she's too flat for them - they looked really funny on her. So instead I'll make a fabric boot and add a strip of fur and ribbon along the top.
Here's that bee I mentioned earlier. I think it would be fun to transform this into cloth. I've been invited to exhibit a doll in a show with the theme of 'Fantasy Garden' - this would be a good entry for that. She's got some chubby cheeks!
Had a wonderful 5 days away - could have stayed longer. Caught lots of fish, brought home 80 lbs of the stuff - too bad I don't particularly care to eat it. Lots of ling cod, halibut, red snapper, and some red salmon. Caught some pink salmon but didn't keep it and fished for king salmon but didn't catch any. We fished at two different rivers and the ocean off Prince William Sound. I actually did do some art work this time around. I made some paper ATCs to go in the round robin journal that is accompanying the Flat Stanley doll and I did two pages in the journal itself. I had one non-fishing day (when my husband went on a charter boat) so I wandered around the town of Valdez. There was one gift shop crammed full of stuff from all around the world - one of those shops it's impossible to see everything because it's all on top of each other. I found a really cute little ceramic fairy, well it's actually a bee but I decided it was a bee fairy. I'll take a photo tomorrow and post it but now it's time for bed - it's been a long day.
Going out of town for a few days so I won't be posting for a week or so. My daughter and her boyfriend are going to be staying at my house while I'm gone - I wonder if she'll be tempted to play with any of my art supplies? That would be nice. I would love to see one of my girls get into art. I'm trying to decide what I can take with me to do - not that I'll end up making anything, I never do, but I have to be prepared anyway! Hope everyone has a great 4th of July and I'll talk to you soon!
Okay - so my $25 garage sale bargain isn't such a bargain anymore. I spent about $100 getting it up to snuff - I talked myself into getting it cleaned professionally and it ended up needing another part too. But, that said, if I hadn't of done that I would have been completely frustrated trying to sew on it. The tech told me that the bobbin case was out of round just enough that it would have sewn horribly. He said the bobbin thread would have come off fast, then slow, then fast and I would have had nests in my fabric. Besides which I really do believe in getting your machines looked after and this one was sitting in a garage for at least 4 years. So she's all clean and pretty now! Just have to get the hubby to carry the cabinet downstairs, figure out how to attach the belt and we're off to the races!
I received a wonderful surprise for my birthday yesterday - a friendship doll from my Internet buddy Kai. This is only the second doll anyone has made for me - so I was thrilled. It's great that we have a tool like the net to reach out to people around the world. Here's a couple of pictures of her:
There is exquisite cross stitching on the back of the doll. I would never have thought to use Aida cloth to create my own fabric like she did. Kai is very creative.
The photo's don't do her justice at all - she's much prettier in person!
Isn't she great!
Well I went out to the pre-garage sale and bought that repro Singer treadle machine. My husband called me on my cell phone as I was heading out there ..
"Where are you?"
"Heading to Salcha" I said in a really small voice
"Going to a garage sale"
"It's a surprise"
Didn't dare say I was going to buy another sewing machine. Now he probably thinks I'm buying something for him. So the sewing machine sitting in the garage will really be a surprise for him when he gets home from work today. But, back to the machine. It seems to be in fairly good shape for sitting in a garage for a few years. Missing a belt and a thread pin as far as I can see. But I'm taking it in to the shop tomorrow to buy those bits for it - shouldn't be much more than $15 in all. The gal at the shop said the thread pin isn't standard so I have to take the machine in to be fitted. So - a good deal in my book - $25 for the machine and cabinet - and $15 to fix it up. The cabinet is in really bad shape - it's falling apart. But it's made of really cheap veneer and particle board so I'm not surprised. My hubby is a carpenter and he can fix it for me. Or maybe we'll just build a new cabinet. Who knows. It'll be fun to play with in any case.
Note: It's a few hours later now than when I wrote the above. My husband DID think I was buying him something. He said after he talked to me he got out the newspaper and looked at the garage sale ads trying to figure out what I was buying HIM! Ooops. But he thinks it's really cool and he even showed me how to use the bobbin winder - now that was a real surprise for me!
Have you heard of Freecycle? It's a Yahoo mailing list that offers and asks for items people are getting rid of instead of taking them to the dump. Each participating city has it's own list. You're not supposed to advertise items for sale but sometimes people do. The other day someone advertised a garage sale and said she had an 'old fashioned' sewing machine. Hmmm, I thought, I wonder if it's a Singer Featherweight. So we emailed back and forth a few times and it turns out it's a reproduction Singer treadle machine. For $25.00. Now, I need another sewing machine like I need a hole in the head but I think I'll go out there and take a look at it anyway. I'm not telling my husband either - maybe he won't notice it! Would sewing on a treadle count as exercise?
I'd like to sell some of my dolls. They are taking over the house and having wild parties while I sleep. I'm getting tired of cleaning up after them. But I'm not sure how to sell them. I've heard that cloth dolls don't sell on eBay at all - or if they do it's for very little. My thought was to have a 'Dolls for Sale' link on the blog so you could click to a page with their pictures on it. That's the easy part. The hard part is how to have people pay. PayPal has a 'Buy it Now' button that you can use but I don't know how you could stop more than one person from clicking on it. I wrote to them and got a form letter reply that was all about auctions. Big help - NOT! Or is it even a worry? I don't think there would be a rush to buy my dolls. Another idea was just to have people email me if they are interested and I could give them my PayPal ID. My brother, the web maestro, said that's too boring and slow. He says people want instant gratification and if they buy something it needs to be right then not after a bunch of emails. I want to sell the Whisper doll that I just finished and a few older dolls too. If anyone has any good ideas please leave me a comment.
Finally got some sewing done today. Decided to work on some postcards while I listened to the BRAC commision community hearing regarding the future of the Air Force Base here in Fairbanks. We had some great speakers and it was very interesting. What was also interesting was seeing what a crappy quilter I've become since I made my last quilt about 7 years ago!
For these postcards I thought I'd make a large background using quilting techniques and cut it up into postcard sized blocks. So I cut strips of 3 different fabrics and sewed them together. For interest I cut some of the fabric strips different sizes. After the first four I noticed the piece was getting kind of wavy. Oh yeah, you're supposed to sew the strips in opposite directions. So I did that for the rest of it and it was a bit better. Then I cut the resulting fabric piece into more strips - just in a different direction. Put a plain strip of fabric between the ones I cut up but didn't pay much attention to where things were lining up. I ended up with a pretty catty-wampus piece of fabric. Ah well. It's background anyway. Then I cut it up and stuck it to postcard sized Timtex. What to do next? Take out bags and bags of trims and appliques and try to figure out what will look good - what else! I rarely do these things with much of a plan in mind. I found an awesome huge black applique and starting cutting all the flower motifs off of it. Fused them to the cards and then used fancy trims to make stems and leaves. Ten more postcards and I'll be all caught up with my swap! Yay!
Did you notice how orange has snuck in here again? I've a thing for it lately.
Didn't get any sewing done today either .. more hanging out trying to sell my junk. It was a real garage sale today though. It rained until noon so we had to move everything from the lawn and put it in the garage. Best entertainment today was three young teenage girls who were out riding mini-bikes and dirt bikes. They came by three times, each time buying more candles and knick-knacks to decorate their 'fort' with. Each time I gave them something for free. The last time they came they wanted a tiny radio that used to be my daughters. Looks like a mini boom-box. As I was telling them that it needed batteries they were already changing them out. They had come prepared! They turned it on, tuned in a radio station, turned the volume up as high as possible and got ready to ride. Cracked me up! But you know us Moms - can't hold on to your friend's waist if you're holding a radio! So I had my husband give them a bungee cord so they could attach it to the handlebars of the little motorbike. Radio blaring, they took off again. I need some of their exuberance in my life!
I spent today sitting in my driveway. Not too interesting, eh? I am having a garage sale this weekend and someone has to do the deed. I am a sucker for little kids and I kept giving away stuffed animals instead of selling them. But it was fun to see how excited the little ones got. My husband suggested I put some of my work out in a little display to advertise myself. I thought it was a good idea so I grabbed a half dozen. Fairies, trolls, dragons, and a couple of more 'regular' ladies. The older girls just loved them - older, as in 8 or 9 years old. But there were a couple that gave me a start. One little girl walked up to my dragon, grabbed it by the neck and started twisting. Oh my! I nearly hurt myself rushing to get it out of her hands. Another grabbed my troll by the hair and starting poking his eyes. She was full of questions. How did I make them? What are the eyes made from? So I told her all about it and she turned around and gave her Mom a lecture too. She pointed out each doll and said what kind of eyes they were, buttons, glass, or painted. She was just full of herself and too cute. Funnily enough I had a child's play doll out there that I made but they didn't take a bit of notice of her. They all liked the fanciful ones. Maybe someday those little girls will remember my creatures and will want to make one for themselves. But for now the dragon stays home.
This weekend I did some redecorating downstairs. I have a large room downstairs that runs the length of the house. When we moved in we put in a false wall so I had a sewing room that took up about one third of the space, the rest of it was the kid's 'living room'. I've been pretty cramped in there and I hate it. When the girls moved out I started moving into the rest of the space. I would really like to take the wall down but my hubby hasn't agreed to it yet. This weekend I gave the two recliners that were down there to one of my girls so I had more space to move things around again. The computer moved out of the sewing room this time. I tried to move my sewing table around and move a desk from the spare bedroom in there to back up to it but it didn't work. Then I took another table and moved it in there - still didn't work. Things ended up pretty much where they started! The only thing that moved in the end was the ironing board. It used to be directly behind me when I sewed so I could swivel from the machine to the ironing board. Now I have to get up and move across the room to iron. Which is probably a good thing. All in all, it took me a couple of hours to move the ironing board!
The other thing I did this weekend was work on the doll from my class with Barbara Willis. Not much left to do on her now. Need to do her head wrap, put on the tassel and trim, and then she's done! Amazing - I might actually finish a doll. Who wudda thunk it!
Haven't had much time to play in the last couple of days. Lots of cleaning, grocery shopping, washing dogs, etc., etc. But I wanted to share a website with you - it belongs to Margot Lovinger who is a fabric artist. She basically paints with fabrics and most of her work are nudes. Truly amazing what she does with sheers. Go take a look, you won't be sorry!
Here's a picture of how I'm going to feel later today.
This is a doll made by Lynne Butcher called Mammogram Slam and the pattern is available at Dollmaker's Journey. Inspiration is everywhere! What's inspired you lately?
We're going camping at the lake this weekend. Most likely my husband will spend all his time fishing and I'll be making art at the campground! I packed up ALL my paper art supplies (well, nearly all), my inks, my pens and pencils, some stamps, glue, some collage books, and I'm going to see if I can capture some mosquitoes in an ATC or two. Now I always take 'stuff' with me when I go camping but it's usually fabric stuff. This is the first summer I've had an empty nest and that means an empty camper too. So my girlfriend and her husband are going with us and she's a painter - so she should enjoy doing paper art. Now I need to go print out some pics of ATCs so she has a clue what we're going to do .. mine all went out in the mail!
By the way .. speaking of ATCs I signed up for an online course called Daydreams and Doppelgangers, Finding your Creative Voice. Here's a synopsis:
This three week class is filled with lessons and ideas that will inspire you to use creativity to explore the myriad aspects of your personality. You will explore these themes by creating artist trading cards as you learn wonderful new techniques to enhance and illuminate your art. Journaling exercises will help you to get past creative blocks and find your artistic voice and the fun techniques and themes will inspire you to create work that uses that voice to sing!
I'm really looking forward to it! See you Monday!
Here's another way to suck the minutes out of your day. If you can draw you can participate .. if you can't, well, you can still enjoy the heck out of the illustrations these folks make. It's a weekly thing... they pick a topic, you illustrate it, you send them a link to your drawing. Be afraid, be very afraid .. it will drain your day looking, looking, looking...
I picked up my new sewing machine tonight, yay! I bought a Bernina Aurora 440QE. QE stands for quilting edition - it has a few extra quilting stitches and comes with a couple of quilting feet. The main reason I bought it was because I wanted the new Bernina Stitch Regulator. It's a foot with a sensor that measures how fast you are moving your fabric when you're doing free motion embroidery and it compensates for stitch length. So your stitches should be fairly even, which mine aren't when I do this on my own. Mine are microscopic! I also wanted to be able to use the Needle Felting attachment and my current machine has the wrong kind of bobbin race (you know, the thingy you put in bobbin in). So now I can try that too. Oh boy, oh boy. I can't wait for tomorrow so I can unpack it and play, play, play.
Just a quick note before I go to bed. I had a lot of fun today. Started out with going over to the gal's house where Barbara Willis is staying and she taught 3 of us how to make the shoes for the doll we're going to start on tomorrow. Then out to lunch and to set up the classroom. Stopped in at JoAnne's fabric and bought some gauzy fabric that made me totally change my idea for tonight's flat doll. Class was fun - it was the first time Barbara taught this particular piece in a class setting. We made the torso out of paper backed with cardboard - did some fun stuff with inks, made some tags, stamped on ribbon, then embellished the paper torso with lace, ribbon, and buttons. Gathered some fabric for the skirt but I pulled it off when I got home because my fabric was too wide and it got too bunchy to hang against the wall. I'll finish it up sometime next week. Tomorrow morning we start sculpting. I can't wait!
It's a gorgeous day today .. and I'm stuck cleaning the house because the daughters are coming over tomorrow for Mother's Day. As usual I find a million things to do while (instead of?) cleaning. Thought I'd share how I display the pin dolls I've received in swaps.
I took a couple of pieces of wired velvet ribbon, it's a couple of inches wide, and made a little casing along the top. Glued the botton into points - sometimes glue is good! Then just strung them both on a bit of dowel. For the hanging 'wire' I braided some matching embroidery thread. Easy!
Not much to share today. I've been sewing the limbs on my Crash Test Daughter doll. She did tell me what her name is though ... Oblivious. She also told me she doesn't want to sit in a car but rather on an art chair. She gave me a vision of what her chair should look like. A highbacked chair with various traffic signs arrayed behind her in a sunburst. The signs should be attached to the back of the chair. Kind of a Christine Shively thing. But first she needs skintones and bruises ...
Happy May Day!
There's a very fun ongoing craft project at Month of Softies. The gal who organizes this is in Australia and people from all around the world participate. Basically she comes up with a theme for the month then people make something crafty - usually some type of doll or stuffed animal from what I've seen, The photos up right now are for March, The Artist as a Young Child, and next will be April which was "Recycled Monster". You send her a digital photo of what you create and she makes a thumbnail out of it and puts it on the Month of Softies website. She'll link the photo back to your site or blog too from what I can tell. Next month's theme is May flowers! I won't have to go far for that!
Last night at our doll club UFO night I decided to experiment with heads. I took a profile drawing from the anatomy for artists book that I have and I reduced it so it was more 'doll size'.
Then I sliced it in half, made some modifications, and sewed it up. It always amazes me how fabric acts. How it can stretch, and stretch, and stretch. The head really elongated - and not vertically. My friends thought it looked like the creature from the Alien movie. Susan thought I should make a body for it. Not pretty. I knew it would be strange just from the size of the skull - but it was a fun experiment. After I made the Alien, I made another head for my Crash Test Daughter and today I sculpted it. It's okay and instead of making five dozen more I'll use it. I must have some idea stuck in my head regarding these little heads I've been creating lately but I have no clue what. I'm just not satisfied with anything. Sharon says I'm a perfectionist .. Shirley says something similar. Funny, I never see myself that way. I see the little things I don't do and hope no one notices.
I'm working on the head design for my Crash Test Daughter. I haven't got it to where the picture in my head is yet but it's getting close. Yesterday I made a head that was really wide and right when I was finishing stuffing it my husband came down to my studio. I complained that the head was too wide so he told me to sculpt it smaller.
"What?" I said "You can't sculpt a head smaller"
"Sure you can"
"Thread me a needle and I'll show you"
So he proceeded to sew from side to side and it sure did pull the sides of the head in. When he was done I asked what I was supposed to do with the huge dimples he'd created on the sides of the head.
'They're for ears"
You know you don't have to go far to get inspiration for art. If you've been reading my blog you know that one of my daughters got in a car accident - and that sparked the idea for the Crash Test Dummy doll. Well, same daughter got paid off by the insurance company - more money than the car was worth so she had extra after the loan was taken care of - and instead of using it towards buying another car she's spent it. So now the second doll in the Daughter series is going to be Money Burns. I think she will be standing looking into an empty wallet while a rain of red-hot coins fall unnoticed from her pockets to the ground.
I'm a little confused about how to scan fabric. Maybe I need to learn about my new scanner. I scanned some of the postcards I made on Friday and when the scan is at 100 percent it looks great and you can even see all the grain in the fabric.
But when I try to reduce the image it gets all these fuzzy lines on it that looks really strange. I have been told that when you scan images to post on the web you should scan them at a lower resolution - my scanner is doing it at 300 dps. I tried to reduce the resolution in Paint Shop Pro but it looked funny there plus it made the picture the size of a stamp. You can see below that it looks strange when it's reduced. Click on it to enlarge it and it looks fine. I don't want to learn software, I want to play instead! Pooh. Here's a postcard I made with this really fun fabric I found - it's called Drama Queens and it's like a comic strip.
Another post that has nothing to do with art! Oh no - is this a trend? I got a new dog recently - he was my daughter's dog but she decided she didn't like him so I inherited him. His name is Zach, he's a miniature American Eskimo dog, and he is six months old. He's a real sweetie but he's like having a real little boy! Saturday enough snow had melted to expose a tiny little square of grass - guess who found it! He came in the house with one entire side of his little body green. Puppy shampoo doesn't do squat for grass stains! Then today he got himself stuck under the generator while exploring the deep recesses of the garage so now he smells like fuel. A little green gas guy - jeez. Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow (again!).
Okay - this is kind of silly but thought I'd do it anyway. Found this on Teri Springer's site ...
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you
I'm reading Black Wind, a Dirk Pitt novel, by Clive Cussler ... here's my sentence:
Always turning heads as it roared by, the vessel was an admired fixture on the Han River in and about Seoul.
Speaking of Clive Cussler .. guess the movie Sahara is based on one of his Dirk Pitt novels and I've been hearing really good reviews on it. I'll have to see if my girlfriend wants to go see it - as my husband doesn't do movies!
Today I went to a thrift shop and bought a Barbie sports car. I was hoping that my crash test daughter doll would fit it in - but - NOOOO - she's too big. She looks good sitting on the back of it though - if I changed her arm and hand position to the Princess Di wave she'd be all set! Maybe a ribbon across her chest too, 'Miss Airbag 2005". The name fits right now - she only has one boob sewn on ... okay.. it's late, what can I say? Change of subject!
I also joined some online swap group called Nervousness. I'm on 'newbie' status there.
Nervousness is a LMAO swap group. LMAO stands for something like Land Mail Art Object . Here's what they say about themselves: Nervousness.org is our online presence, where we try experiments in Land Mail (also known as Snail Mail), to see if we can find new ways for people to interact and communicate.
They seem to do all types of swaps and other projects too. Like this one teenager said he went to a bar mitzvah and got a plastic license plate with his name on it as a party favor. So he's going to mail it around to 6 people so they can alter it artistically. He'll get it back when they're done.
What's different about this group is that they rate you. You actually have to be nominated by someone and then seconded by someone else before you become a full member and can participate in all the activities. Then you get points or something for being a good player. To get nominated you have to post to the forums and do some 'newbie' swaps. There's one for the month of April that seemed pretty quick and easy - do 3 Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and send them to the hostess in Canada. If you play nicely you'll get nominated. So at 11:30 tonight I started making ATCs. Got all three done too! Funny - because I had thought I'd put away my paper arts after a bad altered book round robin. I"m not that good of a paper artist but I'm pretty happy with at least one out of the three. I'll try to take a photo of them tomorrow.
Man, am I a glutton for punishment or what?
On one of my email lists there has been a lot of talk about taking knitting needles on airplanes. Seems that it's kind of random as to whether you're allowed to take them on or not. I've flown twice recently and this is my experience with those weapons of mass destruction.
February - On a recent shopping expedition to another city my three friends and I all bought bamboo knitting needles and had started scarves. When we got to the airport we asked if we could take them on board. The lady at the check in counter asked if we had knitting on the needles or if they were empty. Seems that if you have some work in progress you are less threatening. So that's one trick to try ... load your needles and knit a few rows. I think the fact that they were bamboo and not metal helped too. Of course I had a wicked water buffalo horn in my carry on that would have made a bigger hole in someone that a knitting needle would but they didn't blink an eye at that either.
Then a week later I flew to California and I took my knitting again. I put it in a clear plastic bag and made sure I had some work started. They didn't bother me at all.
Moral of the story? Who knows? It's all arbitrary. But actually having knitting on the needles seems to help. Maybe the security screeners relate knitting to little old ladies sitting on porches, serenely clicking away. They just didn't know granny had a shotgun by the door and moonshine in her teacup!
Well, this really isn't fiber related but in a way it could be. On Tuesday our road was cleared of hard packed snow by a contractor for our road service area. Unfortunately the contractor didn't clear the snow to the shoulder of the road and I have a 5 foot wide berm of hard pack in front of my mailbox. The road service commissioner isn't being very helpful and we don't have a way to clear away the ton of snow ourselves.
Now this really bothered me because I'm totally anal about getting mail lately as I'm in a fabric postcard swap plus I'm the hostess of an ATC swap and everyone is mailing their ATCs to me this week. Yesterday I didn't get any mail because the mail lady couldn't reach the box. Total freak out. What to do, what to do?
One cardboard box, three dowel rods, lots of duct tape, and, voila, I have a mailbox extension! Can you say 'redneck mailbox'? The mail lady left me a note saying she thought it was cute. At least it worked! My mail today had one fabric postcard and two packages of ATCs. Big sigh of relief. Until it gets windy!
I bought a new book, well, new to me because it's been out for a few years. It's called Layer's of Stitch by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey. They do that fantastic surface embellishment stuff that I've been so intrigued with lately. Since I'm doing that postcard swap it's a great opportunity to try out some of the techniques. Now their stuff looks way better than mine but guess that's to be expected when they've been doing it for years and are experts at it. So here's what I did today ...
Here's the basic background layer - I painted some Wonder-Under and ironed to a coarse muslin. Then I ironed some peach chiffon polyester type stuff on top of that. Next I painted a nappy liner - which looks kind of like a dryer sheet but I guess it's used inside cloth diapers - you have to wonder who decided to experiment with using these for fabric work! I didn't actually paint the nappy liner I did a rubbing of a big stamp with an oil pastel stick. Going back to the book I guess I should have cut the liner up and ironed it on in strips to get the texture instead of what I did ... iron the whole thing on in one piece. It didn't seem to make much difference texturally - maybe because I didn't do it properly. Anyhow ... here it is hooped for my embroidery machine ...
Click on image to enlarge
Then the next step was to add stitching. I used the embroidery machine to stitch out the words Posta L'arte - that's the name of our swap group. Next I added lines of blue variegated rayon between the lines of words. Then I started adding all the copper fancy stitching. The book said to add a patch that you embroider so I did that but I don't really care for it. I might need to overstitch it some to blend it into the card more.
Nope .. didn't like it at all. Ended up taking it off ... here it is without the patch.
Worked on the silly computer till about 1:00 last night. Still couldn't get the embroidery software working. This morning I got an email from the OESD people - I didn't know they were the tech support for the Bernina software. They had a different, athough similiar, way to install the drivers and software and amazingly enough IT WORKED! Still have a couple of bugs to work out but I'm back in business! Phew.
So I recently bought a new desktop PC to replace the old Pentium II slug that was running Windows 98. It has Windows XP, boots up fast, I have one of those cool flat monitors now instead of one that covers half the desk, and I'm psyched! Until tonight. I tried to use my artista Editor embroidery software, version 3 ... nada, niet, no way, jose. Version 3 was written before XP came out. Okay - so I go to the Bernina web site and found out I need a new driver to get the stupid security dongle to be recognized with XP. Loaded that ... nope, still won't work. Next - found another article with incredibly detailed steps on reloading the software. Three hours later, I've deleted and reinstalled the software a gazillion times, same with the driver, got into the guts and changed things in the BIOS so the parallel port reads different. Still no stupid software. GRRRR. I give up for today. Computers are a pain in the butt but when they interfere with your sewing, well, that's just criminal!!#@!@#@!#@$%#@*&(*.
Some of the girls in my doll club got together and were making some life size dolls this weekend. As usual talk got around to doll club goings on. Now I wasn't at this get together but I guess my name got brought up for some reason. Whatever the conversation was .. I was referred to as the head dolly-lama. I like it .. it's funny! It's also way better than some other names they could have called me!
Teddies don't usually go to masked balls but this one did. I wanted to share this great mask that I stitched out on my embroidery machine. It's called Phoenix and it was another great learning experience. The mask was off of a Cactus Punch CD. They have some great layered masks on it too. Just haven't made them yet. The base of the mask is organza and I used a thin water soluble stabilizer behind it. I still need to use my soldering iron to burn out the unstitched organza but I really like it. I'm going to have to make a doll for the mask now. But, on second thought, the mink teddy looks kind of cute.
I haven't been sewing for a couple of weeks now, at least it feels that way. There's been a lot of tension going on in my world and most of it's centered around my doll club. We're having growing pains for lack of a better description. So this morning I decided to make a fabric postcard for one of the ladies in my club to kind of describe my feelings. Here it is:
Click on image to enlarge
Last December I signed up to be in a fabric postcard swap. I think it's going to be a great way to try new techniques on a small surface. You have a bit more room to play than on an ATC. A couple of days ago I checked with the gal who was compiling the list of names about when it would start and she replied by asking me to be in charge of the group. HA! A friend of mine had warned me that this would happen if I asked any questions. So now I'm in charge of organizing a swap with over 45 women. Good thing I don't work and am addicted to this silly computer.
I'm now totally bummed that I missed the doll club meeting down in San Diego. Patti told me that she had brought all the dolls that are in her new book, Creative Cloth Doll Faces, plus an advance copy of the book to the meeting. It would have been awesome to see all the dolls 'in person'. Wah. Darned rain.
Just got back from a week in Southern California visiting with family. I was hoping to go to a doll club meeting down in San Diego to hear Patti Culea speak but got rained out. Well, maybe that should be wimped out. Decided I didn't want to drive long distances on unfamiliar roads in pouring rain. Ah well. I did get to go to a couple of great shops though. Found an utterly amazing yarn shop that had so many choices it was overwhelming. If you get to Laguna Hills check out the Yarn Lady. Also went to a craft shop called Tall Mouse - it's like a Hobby Lobby and I was astounded to see the high quality goods they carried. Wasn't used to finding Hoffman batiks, Michael Miller, Alexander Henry and other 'quilt shop' fabrics in a chain store. Plus a great collection of inks and fabric paints. They had an large variety of Prismacolor pencils so I got to augment my collection, yay! It's nice to be home where I have my sewing machine though - I did a lot of knitting while I was gone. I've found I'm not very good at sitting and watching tv or chatting anymore without something for my hands to do. Made three of those narrow scarves out of novelty yarns while I was gone. Guess I'll have to learn to wear them now!
Ordered some new patterns today. Don't know why .. I just seem to read them and set them aside. Sometimes I make the doll, but usually not any time close to when I receive the pattern. Some I read and then decide I don't really want to make them after all. Some I just love but just don't get around to. Curious.
Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to get any one thing done. Or I need more material or paint or beads to finish a project. So it gets put aside. Something else gets started and it's just so hard to get back to an earlier project. If I made a list of UFOs it would look like this:
Fabric ATCs that need binding
A huge project I'm trying from the Cloth Paper Scissors magazine that I need to dye a chiffon scarf for so I can finish the base fabric. The scarves and fabric paint finally came in and I'm dying to get back to it!
Two dolls that need heads
One online class that I need to start (class ended last December)
A faux stained glass wallhanging that needs borders (probably a year old now)
A Mystery Block of the Month that needs the last 8 blocks made (at least a year old)
A bracelet that only needs another couple of inches of beading to be finished
Hmmmnn.. think I just surprised myself. Didn't realize I had that many projects laying around. At least I won't be bored!
How many projects do you have unfinished, dear reader? Leave a comment and let's see who has the most UFOs!
Just got back from two days of shopping in Anchorage with three of my girlfriends. We hit every fabric, fiber, and bead store we could find. What fun! I bought some wonderful silks and drooled over lots more. Can't find fine fabrics in our town, and it was a bit overwhelming to see prices of $50.00 per yard and up. Luckily dolls don't take lots of yardage so I could buy as little as a quarter yard and then it didn't seem so expensive. We all bought some knitting needles and novelty yarn and sat in our hotel room learning to knit those funky little scarves that are selling for upwards of $60. Mine is nearly done now. Doesn't take too long when you only have 11 stitches on the needle! So now I have something else to do .. ai yi yi. As if I don't have enough projects to work on. Ah well, it's all soothing to the soul.
Winter in Alaska is great for the creative spirit ... here's why!
When it gets this cold all I want to do is stay indoors and play. So I do!
I received an email today asking for help with a certain cloth doll pattern. The instructions were so badly written that it was nearly impossible to understand what you were supposed to do. That's one of my pet peeves, patterns that are hard to figure out, or have steps missing. What's funny though is that some popular designers can write doll patterns this way and people still buy them. They complain about it to their friends but still patronize the designer. I'm guilty of this myself! Another thing that drives me nuts are patterns (either cloth doll or quilts) that don't fit on the paper so the designer tells you to add 1/4 inch (or whatever) to each side. I invariably forget and then I've wasted material.
I have one pattern that completely forgets to tell you how to attach the hands, which actually had to be sewn inside the sleeves and then turned inside out. I had to really think through what the best way to do this would be. But I shouldn't have had to - I mean, if I was making a doll of my own design it would be one thing, but I wasn't. I was using a cloth doll pattern that I bought, it should have been complete.
Being an internet junkie, I belong to a lot of doll lists. On them I have seen a lot of designers, usually new designers, ask for pattern testers to make their doll before they take their pattern to market. That makes sense to me, if you have people with different skill levels making the same design you can cover all the bases as you fine tune your pattern. Sure would like to see everyone do this!
Ah well. Maybe I'm asking too much.
Drill bits and stuffing don't mix! I got the courage to try to add the brass rod to the 'Last of the Faeries" doll yesterday so she wouldn't tip over again. It was an interesting process.
She is made with two layers - muslin, then lycra, then painted with tinted gesso so she is fairly rigid. As I posted previously I thought I could drill right up through the stuffing to make a hole for the rod. Didn't work. The stuffing caught on the drill bit and when you pulled it out the stuffing just moved right down into the hole that was made by the bit. Rats! So instead I used a whole bunch of a various tools to make the hole. First I used an awl - that made a hole but it wasn't big enough in diameter. So then I used my little embroidery scissors - that made it a big longer and wider, but I could still only get about an inch of the rod up her leg. Next I used a pair of hemostats that are really thin and sharp - ah ha - worked great! Now I am able to get a couple of inches of the rod inside her leg. I really would have liked to get about four or five inches up there but I didn't have anything else to poke up her leg. I think what I have will be enough to stabilize her as she is pretty well balanced but next time I think I will insert the rod before I stuff instead of after. Oh well.
I've never been particularly enchanted with Bendi dolls but my doll club wanted everyone to enter the Bendi Doll challenge issued by Art Doll Quarterly. Along with everyone else I bought a couple full size Bendis and a bunch of the mini Bendi Dolls - the 6 inch ones. I never got inspired by them so never made anything for the challenge. They have been sitting on the shelf for months, just a blank canvas waiting for my muse to speak. But the other night I wanted to make a quick thank-you gift for the hostess of our quilt shop staff party.
So I grabbed a baby Bendi off my shelf and
started coloring it with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels (is that an oxymoron or what!). I just drew streaks of color on it then wet a makeup sponge and blended the color - got great coverage. I left those beady little eyes on and just didn't color around them so I achieved the whites of the eyes with no effort. After I colored the doll I took a Pigma Pen (.005 tip) and did the detailing of the features. Those baby Bendi's have really small faces!!! Then did a little shading, sprayed the whole thing with Craftgard (a waterproofing spray) and left it to dry.
Ok - now it needed a costume .. and this is bad .. but .. I pulled out a piece of purple panne velvet out of the trash and made a tube, pulled it on the Bendi, cut a fringe at the bottom, added a bit of trim on the top, and voila ... dressed. The hair was about 2 inches of a fuzzy trim I found in the dreaded WalMart. Just sewed it on at the hairline and fluffed. Took 2 minutes! Sewed a bit of ribbon for a hanging tab and it was done.
All in all it took about an hour. My friend was tickled pink with it too. You know it doesn't matter if your efforts aren't the most beautiful .. just being presented with a handmade gift makes it special. Knowing you took time to make something just for them! So keep a couple of Bendi's on hand ...
Yesterday on my way to the University to take my doll "The Last of the Faeries" in for grading I stopped in at the quilt store that I am affiliated with. A group of women called the Hot Bobbins (don't you love that name!) sew there every Wednesday, and two of them are members of my doll club. One of the ladies made a comment that really got me thinking.
I displayed my doll for them and as they were admiring it my friend said "Well, I might as well just stop making dolls now." It was an off-hand comment and I didn't think much of it at the time. But afterwards when I reflected upon it, I came to view it as a compliment. You see, for a long time I had the same reaction when I viewed a doll that was very well done. I thought I could never achieve that level of workmanship. But maybe I have achieved a little of it now, if I take her comment in the way I uttered it myself. It was a validation of all the hard work I put into the doll, but in a different manner. Just that one sentence meant more to me than all the other compliments. I guess you could say I feel that I have arrived at that point in my art that I thought I could never reach. Makes me feel good.
I have a little sewing group that meets at my house on Sundays, the four of us call ourselves the Dragon Ladies. One of our group couldn't make it this past Sunday when we were going to start on a new doll. Instead of starting without her we decided to play with needle sculpting. I have a book with accompanying DVD that shows different ways to needle sculpt doll heads. I've had them for well over a year but for one reason or another I had never tried the techniques.
We all made the same head and followed the same sculpting instructions but the difference in each doll face was astounding. Now, most doll makers know this to be true, so why am I writing about it? Because after using my instructional materials both my friends decided they had to buy their own copy. I hadn't meant to market the book - I thought it was just something fun to do together.
Word of mouth in such a small market can help or hurt a designer. I wonder how many designers have thought about giving away a pattern to one person in a doll club with the provision that they make the doll and take it to show-and-tell at their club. I know in my club when the girls see a doll they like during show-and-tell quite a few of them buy the pattern afterward. There's quite a bit more enthusiasm seeing a finished doll that you can touch and feel than a picture on a website or magazine.
I am curious to see if someone would be interested in experimenting with this.