Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Little Boos from GingerMelon's Pattern

I made these two cute little Boo's from a pattern I purchased from Gingermelon's etsy shop.  The kids love them and are asking for more.  I know I could have probably created something similar, but with a to-do list taller than me, I decided to take a break from creating my own patterns.  I have admired Shelly's dolls and creatures since first seeing them in in Stuffed magazine, so I thought it was fitting to support her creativity and give mine a break by purchasing her pattern.  Her instructions were clear and the end results speak for themselves.

I used 100% wool felt.  The only change I made was to create the eyes with felt and embroidery floss instead of using safety eyes.  I love how the arms move a bit--I will have to use the same technique on some of my other projects.
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Sunday, November 25, 2012

More Peg Dolls

 Here are some of my latest peg doll designs.  I've started using recycled sari cloth on some of my butterflies.  Just in time for the holidays, I've also created a new peg--my angel ornaments.  I love old German wood ornaments, and I tried to stay true to that feel.  Enjoy!
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cloth Dolls

I actually finished these gals in June, but then had thoughts to send them to Prims Magazine or Stuffed to see if I could get published.  I've had a hard time letting go of these dolls, though, and the thought of them sitting in storage at the publisher's wasn't so appealing.  I'm still undecided whether to send them in.

So their bodies are made with muslin and other cotton cloth and their hair is made with wool yarn (except for the sparklies).  I hand painted their faces, a method I rather liked.  I feel like I have more control over their features than if I had embroidered them.  Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some Bunnies . . .

I am taking my first online art class.  It's a Mindy Lacefield mini-class called "Frolic" and the subject matter is the adorable bunny.  Here's a link to the class website, if you are interested:

This is the first time I've tried an online class.  Mindy was one of my teachers at ArtFest 2012 and she did a fabulous job.  Here are the first three paintings I have created for the class.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ideas from Pinterest: Family Calendar

I know I'm not the only one who loves Pinterest.  For me, it's a fun way to organize all the ideas I see on the Internet.  I'm a visual person, and being able to see a quick picture of what I am looking for works better for me than reading a list of web bookmarks. 

It's easy to get sucked into browsing all the lovely items people pin, so I have made a goal of at least attempting to create/do something inspired by Pinterest as least once a month (it legitimizes all that browsing, right?).

So, I decided to get organized using ideas from Pinterest.  Part of this was to meet my goal, and part of it was to prepare for the new school year.  I figure if I can be a little bit more organized, I might be able to reduce the stress of juggling teaching with home life and my need to create.

Here is a project I worked on.  I took an idea from Olive and Love that uses an old frame with glass and paint chip samples to create a dry erase calendar.
family command center

 It looks great, right?  And organized.

I put my own spin on it, deciding not to use paint chips, but instead created a watercolor wash on paper that I then cut up.  I also decided to raise the paper by using foam tape on the back to achieve more of a 3-D look.  I also made the background by cutting up pages from a book and collaging them onto cardboard.  Since I had all the materials lying around, including an old frame, it didn't cost me a thing.  So here is my version:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Art Space . . . Organized

My wonderful husband installed pegboards for my art space . . . cave, and I finally got around to organizing my space a bit.  While I used some of the typical hooks that you can get with pegboards, I also bought a few tin pails from Target for $1 each to store my pencils and smaller tools.  If you look closely, you may find various trades from Artfest around. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Batman Doll is Ready for Action

I finally finished Batman.  Actually, he's been mostly done for quite awhile, but he still needed a cape, which my son was adamant in reminding me about on a regular basis.  So here he is, with removable Batarangs and a utility pocket for his rope.  My son is quite happy with him.

Here are some things I learned from the process:

The paint really does stiffen the fabric, so if you want less of that, use more GAC  (or something equivalent), which thins the paint rather than weakening it.  Since this toy is for a boy, the stiffness and durability of the paint is a plus as the doll will be easier to clean and will stand up a little better to rough use.  He is still squishably soft.

Tacky glue seems to be holding up with the utility belt, quite well.  I generally sew everything down, but glue was more practical in this case.

All in all, I felt this was a success.  My daughter, of course, wants a Batman doll, too.  Gotta love siblings :)  Maybe Wonder Woman . . .

PS, if you want to view the Batman doll before paint, click on the post link here.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Some More Dolls in Progress

Here are two more dolls in progress.  I created the pattern, cut out doubled muslin and cotton fabric and machine and hand stitched these two little lovelies.  I  painted the eyes last night.  I decided to keep the focus on the eyes and make the mouth and nose very simple.  For me this harkens to the Waldorf ideal a bit, where their dolls have neutral, primitive faces to engage the imagination.  The eyes go beyond primitive here, and certainly indicate personality, but I don't think that's a bad thing, in this case. 

I think these dolls must be friends, even though they have very different personalities.  Originally I was making one doll as a birthday present for a little girl I know, and then I figured I'd make two.  I'm torn now, as I'm thinking I'd like to send them in to see if they might get published in Stuffed or Prims.  I might just have to make some more with the same pattern.

I'll post more pictures when they have hair and clothes :).

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Batman Doll

So my son informed me a couple of weeks ago that he felt like I was making all these dolls for my daughter and he wanted a doll too. Keeping in mind that he has a very expensive Bamboletta doll he never plays with (no worries, Bamboletta lovers, my daughter has appropriated him), as well as an elf doll I made for him that he ignores, I wasn't exactly jumping for the opportunity to make him one. However, he was very specific in wanting a Batman doll and gave me all sorts of details for how the doll was to look. I figured if he was that interested in the planning that he might actually appreciate the end result, especially since Batman is his current favorite superhero. Really, how different is a doll from an action figure, with the exception of scale (which is why I tend to chuckle when people are adamant about not letting/encouraging their boys to play with "dolls").

I went ahead a drew out a pattern and received the nod of approval. Here is the doll prior to adding the details.  I'm mid-way through painting and I still need to make the cape and utility belt (with removable batarangs, of course).

Let's hope the excitement stays and this doll doesn't suffer the same fate as the last few.

Want to see the finished doll?  Check out the blog post here: 
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Friday, April 6, 2012

ArtFest 2012, Day Three

By the third day of ArtFest, some of us were beginning to lose steam.  Personally, I don't think I have ever created so much art in such a short space of time.  I loved every minute of it, and it's a bit bittersweet that this year was ArtFest's last.

So, by the time I attended Mary Beth Shaw's class "Extra-terrestrial Texture" I was running on autopilot a bit.  I love her work, and am continually impressed with her sense of composition and use of color.  I don't generally do abstracts, but have been playing around with composition and with texture for a few years.  I was really looking forward to this class.  I went into to it with the idea to pick up as much information on creating texture as possible.

Ultimately, I felt like I came away with some useful techniques.  I was completely blown away with the creativity and stamina of my classmates.  My focus was on trying out as many techniques as possible, and, as a result, I feel like my three collages are a bit busy and unfocused.  I think the lack of sleep and the creative energy drain didn't help either.  I almost didn't post these because I feel like they are not my best work.  After reflection, though, I came to the decision that the process and the mistakes themselves are informative.  The realization that not everything we make will turn out perfect is a hard lesson to learn.  I want my work to be amazing the first time, but art is like anything else.  You need practice and, no matter how talented/skilled you may be, you will have off days.

The ArtFest experience was amazing and the sense of community was one that I hope to find outside of ArtFest.  Thank you to the new friends and to the instructors who helped make such wonderful memories.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More From Artfest

 At ArtFest, I started my experience by taking Michelle Allen's "Dolls and Dudes" class and I'm so glad I did.  It was a wonderful way to begin the creative onslaught.  The focus of the class was to make art dolls with DAS airdry clay, wire, paint, and wool roving.  I've been making cloth dolls and wood peg dolls for awhile now but had been a little intimidated with working with clay.  Michelle's approach totally helped me get over this creative hurdle.  I'm so excited to continue working with clay.

The key to the paint was to use very, very thin layers of acrylic paint.  The clay just sucked it up and gave it a worn, organic feel.  I had trouble with the wiring, and, sadly, I broke the legs on this doll.  Michelle helped me repair them with the use of metal wire as a stint and some e6000 glue. 

I spent so much time on the face that I didn't quite get to the clothing.  When I finally finish her, I will try and post more pictures.

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Monday, April 2, 2012

Artfest 2012!

I just got back from Artfest 2012, an art retreat coordinated by Teesha and Tracey Moore   (visit Teesha's site at  I have wanted to attend for years (eight to be exact) and the timing or money situation has always been wrong).  This year I decided, with some encouragement from my husband, that I just needed to make this work.  So I did, and I'm incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to do so.  It was an amazing experience being surrounded by supportive, creative people.  The instructors were fabulous and since I made the point of taking classes that focused on different techniques, I came away from them with a new set of strategies for making art.

These paintings are the result of my class with Mindy Lacefield, who was so sweet and inspiring.  Everyone in class, no matter what skill level they were at, came out of the class with wonderful art.  She is one of those rare teachers who truly pulls out the best in her students.

I'm really happy with how my paintings turned out, and I plan on playing more with the techniques I learned.  And the color--who would have thought I would love using florescent colors so much. 

As I have time, I will post my work from the other classes as well, so stay tuned.

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