Saturday, July 19, 2014

Strange Creatures, Eccentric Figures, and a Dystopian Novel

I decided to quit making heads for a while
and finish at least one doll.

So, I think I've finished Branwen.
She is a comical character with her little ghostly dolly.

I've done a little more work on the Spell Book,
or Book of Shadows,
or Grimoire.
Whatever I decide to call it.
But it doesn't look much different,
just a little aged.

When I decided to make this Halloween prop,
I didn't anticipate how much time it would take.
As it turns out, 
the more variations I see on Pinterest,
the more I want to include.
It will be a longer term project than I originally thought.

Originally, the plan was
just to have the outside of the book as a prop,
but now, I want pages and embellishments.

I've started carving out a niche in the pages,
and have plans for pockets, etc.
And spells, of course;
I need spells.

I've decided that I want to be a collector,
not just a maker, of strange little creatures.

My first purchase was last year from 
Indian Dollar Works.
Carla makes wonderful assemblage characters.
This is the charming little angel I ordered:
Assemblage Mixed Media Angel Cat
It wasn't intended to be a collection,
but last week I ordered a little witch 
from Treasuresnwhimsy.
She arrived yesterday,
and I love her.
Now, I think I can call myself
A Collector of Handmade Art Dolls!

I just finished The Girl with All the Gifts
by M.R. Carey.
If you like dystopian fiction,
this one will more than satisfy youl

Thursday, July 17, 2014

is so full of creative textile work! 
 I adore her recent art quilt 
with luminous orange nasturtiums 
and a uniquely charming border!  
It is just the style I love.
Check it out!

On my work table.
Most of these have made progress 
since I took these pictures.
Features added, sanded, gessoed, etc.
And I've begun two new heads.

I've asked the grands to send me some pictures of monsters.
Aren't all kids good at drawing monsters?
When I get those,
I'll make a few more Halloween figures.

Bubbles in the lemon grass,
and in the Japanese maple

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

In the Mail

Saturday's mail brought a package from Bluebird Lane.  I'm not sure why we are so susceptible to packaging, but most of us are.  It is such fun to open an envelope and find this:
 and inside are the lovely crinkled seam bindings.
 love them!
 love the lagniappe of blue that she included!
 Last year a friend gave me some gourds.
This one was broken, so I broke a large opening,
painted and sealed it
using the attic oven between coats.
Some of the WIPs...
Milly, the tiny ghost doll,
will make herself at home
in the gourd when it is done.
The tiny "rabbit" doll
(with wire through the body
and no legs a'tall)
is one of those left over from months ago.
It has been undergoing some more work,
an its legs are hanging in the attic.

I've been dashing from one project to the next, lately.  The latest addition to the project list is developing a correspondence a la the letter game.     I don't believe I mentioned it on this blog, but I recently read a delightful novel based on this kind of collaborative correspondence:    Sorcery & Cecelia or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot.  

I've already written the first letter to my grands in Baton Rouge and will mail it today.  I just have a few things to add.  I'll tell you more about it later...if Mila and Max are willing to play.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dance Parties and Dragons

I went to watch Bryce Eleanor at her horseback riding class Friday afternoon.  I nearly melted in the 96 degree heat with about 80% humidity.   And I wasn't wearing long pants, boots, and a helmet like B.E.  When the class was over and  she took off her helmet, her hair was wringing wet.

When we got back to the house, she went straight to the shower.  Not really.  We negotiated, and the popsicle came first.

Friday night, she planned a dance party.  Apparently decorating is involved when preparing for a dance party.  She got into the drawers where I keep some seasonal decorations and created an eclectic theme that included Valentine stuff, glittered rats,  Halloween and St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's banners, Christmas decorations, etc.

She sent an invitation to Fee, but by the time she finished decorating, she had pretty much lost interest in the dance party.  Fee and I were spared after only a few minutes of dancing "like there's nobody watching." 

Saturday morning we worked on creating black cats (like Lucy) by painting t.p. rolls and making a cat face and then, a dog and a dragon out of air dry clay. She is much fascinated at the moment with Hiccup, Astrid, Snotlout and the dragon Toothless. 

We had to put them in the oven to speed up drying because she MUST take the dragon home.  She liked the silver effect of the aluminum foil so we didn't clay over the legs.

I made the dog, but it wasn't as cute as B.E.'s dragon.  The dragon ended up with iridescent purple puffy paint eyes, but no other enhancements or embellishments.  

The dog, on the other hand, eventually modeled a black tutu (from a left over bit of gathered black tulle, a green collar, and a purple leash).  

After dog was dressed in the tutu, she decided it had to have puppies.  B.E. shows no interest at all in dolls and turns up her nose at the ones I make, but she is always big on animal and animal babies.   We had to make 3 tiny puppies to go with Mama Dog.  Didn't get pictures of the finished puppies before Chris picked her up, but they were no more than an inch long and had wire legs stuck in the clay.

As usual, I had a lot to do after she left--just to be able to walk from room to room.  The studio, which admittedly was already in a state of disarray, now has fabric all over the floor.  She auditioned quite a lot before deciding what to use for the tiny collar and the leash.  I wanted to just make a small cut and tear the fabric for the leash, but she insisted on cutting it.  Not exactly straight, but plenty long.

Admired the perigee moon last night.  So pretty.

UPDATE:  Amelia took a pic of B.E.'s work and shared it with me.  Thanks, Amelia!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Moons

I want to be sure to watch the night sky for these three perigee moons!  

The first one is July 12, this Saturday night! 

And how about a Lunar Eclipse on Oct. 8?  A total eclipse--a red moon!  In the Shreveport/Bossier City area, the total eclipse/red moon can be seen from 5:27-6:22 AM. The eclipse begins much earlier, but I can manage getting up for the best part!

Here is the tiny ghost dolly
with her calico cat.
 If she were standing,
she would be 4 1/2" tall.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Studio Time and One-a-Day

Well, for goodness sake, I'm now pretty much staying in my studio!  

Oh, I'm still running up and down the stairs for a variety of reasons:  garden chores (which are few now), victuals and snacks and another cuppa tea, bathroom breaks, a few home chores, papier mache' in the kitchen, etc.

So what's going on up there?  I started the One-a-DayPersonal Challenge on June 25 with "the shirt." And now, although I'm grateful for that beginning, the shirt is somewhat neglected.  Oh, I've made some things for it, but I'm wearing it most of the time and don't bother to add the new appliques or textile brooches.  Can do that any time. 

I'm spending more time upstairs than I would at a full time job.  Up and down stairs from 6:30 til bedtime.  

 I think the Hedge Witch is finished.  She has taken long enough.

 She needed a friend, and when my ghost dolly didn't work,
I picked up this cheerful dog from one of my shelves.
His legs and tail are twigs.

 Still trying to use what I had....

I was going to make her a ghost doll out of cloth, 
but found tiny paper clay doll pieces I made last winter.  

All I had to do was make two tiny legs, paint, seal, and clothe her, 
since she's only 4 1/2"  tall, didn't take long.  

Love her, but she just doesn't work with H.W. 
She's holding a silly cat I made when I made the silly dog.  
Here's a peek:

Tried eco printing with some of my lovely coleus leaves.  Fail.

However, I eco dyed the cloth with onion skins 
and (of all things) cherries that had lost their freshness.  
What a pink! 
Easily washed out, however.  :( The wandering jew left more pink effect.

Started working on a Halloween Spell Book. 


More textile brooches.  Mounting some on tags.  
An old earring in center of this one.
Sari ribbon--how I love your versatility.

The one below is in the mail.

The past two weeks have flown by! 

 And I've had a lot of fun moving from one project to another.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Hedge Witch

Poor witch, I lost her arms, looked everywhere; they were of course, right in front of me.  If I would pay attention to what I put down and where, I wouldn't waste so much time.

My hedge witch now has hair and her hat is in progress.  Why, when I finally decide on what I (kind of) want, do things go off in a different direction? I had some lovely velvet with gold stars picked out for her skirt, but when it came down to it,  it didn't feel right.  

I'm uncertain now, pulling out more fabric, and making a huge mess that will remain until I decide on something.  

Here's what happens in my creative process:  I lose things, make a mess, can't decide, give up and come back downstairs, read, clean/straighten, go back up and do one little thing, despair, and leave again.  

Later, for no particular reason,  I often decide that maybe things are OK (or accept that I don't have a better idea) and proceed.  Sometimes, I think maybe I like what's happening after all; sometimes, I make major changes.  I search through embellishments, fabrics, and artifacts for an idea that will give hope and direction.  Find it or give up and leave again. Those stairs get a lot of use, and I get plenty of exercise.

It used to bother me that I didn't have a clear idea of where anything was going and that even vague ideas underwent drastic changes.  It bothered me that I'd throw up my hands and retreat, abandoning what was in progress for both short and long durations.  

After reading How We Learn, I realize that these steps are not only part of a learning process, but also part of a creative process--leaving at a difficult point, finding distraction, letting ideas incubate or percolate.  

Frank N. Stein will have to wait a lot longer.  I'm at an impasse with him, and I'm having enough trouble with the Hedge Witch, but at least I found her arms.

Bryce Eleanor and I watched episodes of How to Train Your Dragon yesterday; lots of episodes on the DVD she brought with her.  I love how excited she gets, her eyes get huge, her face so animated, her hands move as if she can't contain them.  She is so animated about everything-- from informing me that Astrid kisses Hiccup after happy endings to telling me what she wants for breakfast.  

Amelia and Chris picked her up a little while ago and were off on some adventures downtown.  So things are quiet around here, and I'm going upstairs to play.

Fee went fishing early this morning, and I'm hoping for a little fried fish tonight and maybe a little wine and watching neighborhood fireworks!

(Free printable found via A Little Crafting)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

One-a-day Again

Yesterday, I made patterns for the doll heads I finished painting.  I cut out, sewed, and stuffed the body for the witch, and luckily didn't have to make many adjustments.  I have a pattern for the Frank N. Stein's body, but am not at all sure what fabric I'll use...or even if I'll use the pattern.  

I'm getting into the studio each day, and most days, now, I'm getting a lot of hours in.  With dolls, it is "hurry up and wait" - for  clay to dry, for paint to dry, etc.  But since my studio has a door to the attic, I can use it as an oven in the summer :) -- which speeds things up a little.  

Fortunately, the heads look a lot better now.

Another flower brooch a la Julie Arkell and Mandy Patullo.


I picked the following up somewhere.  Eliminated most of them, but these ring true for me.

You Know You Are from Louisiana if...

 You can properly pronounce Lafayette, Bossier, Natchitoches, Opelousas, Shongaloo, Pontchartrain, Ouachita, and you know that New Orleans doesn't have a long “e” sound anywhere in it.

You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door, but by the availability of shade.
 Someone you know has used a LSU football schedule to plan their wedding date.
 You know everything goes better with ‘Tony’s’.
I have about 20 books in the TBR que, and I've read several lately that I've really enjoyed. Some reviews I've already posted, some I haven't written yet, and several are scheduled closer to publication dates.  My book blog stays busy.

It is too hot to do much gardening now, especially with humidity ranging from 50-85%, so I'm glad to have fabric to play with and books to read.

Have a Happy Fourth of July!