Thursday, July 31, 2014

What a Great Day!

Spent the day with my bff.  I mean for some 50 odd years, Suzie and I can get together and get some talkin' done.  We played catch up and we played "I remember when...." 

We drank mimosas and played with clay--like we were having a creative workshop.  
 Suzie loved the garlic press.  She gave her feller a beard and a mustache.
Dang, I wish New Orleans was closer!

Spell Book/Altered Book

When I began this recent "do something each day" interlude, it was with sewing, both by hand and machine.  Then the my focus shifted to clay and eccentric figures for Halloween, and the fabric and sewing projects began losing prominence.  

For the last week, I've slowly become more involved with altered book pages for my Halloween Spell Book.  Not really getting pages done, but getting them prepped and painted.  At first, I found this process annoying:  gesso a couple of pages, let dry.  Even using the heat gun, this is tedious.  Then, however, as I began looking at Pinterest and visiting altered book blogs, it started to be fun.  Gesso and paint.  Sew some pages. Make a niche. Fold pages.  Use acrylics, use water color.  Make tip ins.  Add pockets.  Use scrapbook paper.  Use fabric.  Use alcohol ink.  Make alcohol inks (haven't done this, but have a link!).  Make molding paste (haven't done this either).  Make pop ups (working on this).

loose pages in progress for pockets or tip ins

layered in wax paper, ready to cut into shape

Well, you get the idea.  It was boring.  Then it wasn't!  When I get tired of prepping pages, I'll have to work on content.  I've found some neat spells, some clip art, some free printables, etc., that might work.

I've moved back and forth between all three technique areas, but each one becomes a focus for a while and gets most of my attention.  My spell book has been much more fun than I thought it would be because I'm playing around and experimenting with different techniques.   I don't really plan for the spell book to be open so if the inner pages turn out to be crap, it won't matter.  

OK - so I've spent almost as much time (well, probably more time) looking for ideas than actually playing with the pages; I'll find an idea I think I can do and run upstairs to try. Remember how much fun Vacation Bible School was when you were a kid?  All of the crafty things the teachers planned?  This feels like the same kind of fun.  Scissors, and paper, and glue!

On the other hand, I'm beginning to feel a little guilty about all of the sewing projects I had in mind, including a new cloth doll.  And there are 3 , no,  5 clay figures in progress that need some attention.  Shoot, I'm getting my knickers in a twist just thinking about all I want to do. I know it's early, so a Margarita is out, but maybe a Mimosa  would soothe my ruffled feathers.    

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Month of One-a-Day Challenge

On June 25th, I set myself a personal challenge to do something each day in the studio. Anything at all, as long as I got in there and worked, even if for a short time.  The shirt was the first project, which let to the fabric brooches, then to the Hedge Witch, then to Milly, the ghost doll.  What began as short periods of time, turned into hours each day.  And since June 25th, there has only been one day skipped.

Now, I need to put aside all of the leetle feegurs for a while and 
let them meditate on their failures.  

works in progress

Finished Milly's (ghost dolly) 
little gourd nook.
 Finished Hepzibah,
the cone witch.
 And one little black cat.
I've done more work on his box,
which looks better now.
 And another black cat.
 Little trick or treater.
Bad angle for this picture.

I've done a little more work on the White Witch, but nothing lately on Frank-N-Stein.

In the meantime, one option is to return to the Spell Book I started before becoming distracted with Halloween creatures.  

Remember this from July 9?  Using joint compound, I started altering a book to use as a Halloween prop, but got distracted with all of my witches and trick or treat figures. 

I've worked on this cover several times--adding compound, sanding a little, painting, and sealing (multiple times).   I've worked on the paper clay title that will be attached later.  I've done a very little work on pages; gessoed a couple of pages, let them dry, and so on.  I've put in some end papers using scrapbook paper, but didn't do a very good job, and they are a little wrinkly.  

After jotting down a list of ideas for book pages, I find myself daunted by the task of actually creating them, or perhaps, by fear of screwing up.  This fear of screwing up always haunts me whether in working with dolls or sewing.  If I do "this," will it mess up everything else I've done?  

Also, I find that things that look simple--and often are simple--require a certain skill or creative/artistic eye that I lack.  Yes, I can do it, but it simply doesn't work.  Now, I'm waiting on some courage to tackle the pages that really should be fairly easy, but that I'm afraid will look crappy.  The silly thing is that the book is simply a Halloween prop, and all of my work is for my own enjoyment.  

My One-a-Day Challenge has been successful.  I've come back to the studio refreshed, with plenty of projects in mind, and have thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Working in several different mediums at the same time creates chaos, yet moving from one medium to another provides an outlet when one project hits a roadblock.  Can't think of what to do with this figure?  Move back to the sewing machine or embroidery.  Tired of working with fabric, consider ideas for the Spell Book.  Works for me.

Reading?  Yes, of course.  Not as much, but I've got such a que of NetGalley ebooks on my Kindle and several good ARCs have arrived in the mail.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

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.