Sunday, December 13, 2009
Last spring we hatched a whole bunch of chicks in our incubator. One of my favorite friends had been wanting chickens so had her husband build a home and she adopted 4. Now we love our chickens, but mostly for their nice fresh golden eggs.Jane too loves the eggs, but has also become quite attached the chickens. During this wonderful Holiday season, I wanted to do something special for my special friend,so I created this wonderful Chicken Purse. (At least I think it's wonderful, and know she will love it.) Actually there are 2..the one I made while creating the pattern, then the one I made without all the original mistakes with the first one..which I will happily wear.
It had been a long time since I had put a zipper in anything, so that was a little bit of a bumper. With my ever expanding figure, knit fabrics & overlock sewing machines, there's not much need for zippers. Besides I'm at that stage in life, where most of my clothes are from the second hand stores...I save my sewing for making more important things.
CHICKEE needed a zipper however to keep things nice and secure inside. To make it easy to pull I added a little plastic egg...I know...whodduh thunk! Her wings are pockets large enough to hold a cell phone, etc. I'm calling her, a her, but actually I used a ceramic rooster I had for my model. This seemed appropriate, though since one of Jane's hens turned out to be a rooster, so she will appreciate the irony. Now that I have "perfected" the process I will have to write up the pattern for other chicken lovers!
Anyway, I am really looking forward to our Christmas gathering next week, when I can present her to Jane!!! HoHoHo
Sunday, November 29, 2009
FINALLY got pretty much the look I was looking for. Wanted her to be "impish" with large nose & mouth. After several hairdo's, the synthetic curly stuff , wound up being my choice...after all she's trucking around all over the place, so who has time to keep their hair all combed and neat. Her garland is green chenille's, with dried flowers & leaves, and one little butterfly in front, which was made of 2 pieces of fabric, fused together, with a wire inside to hold shape. Since I wanted her to be able to stand alone, I gave her some nice big feet and leather sandals which could easily hold her full figured bod. I liked the "woodsie" look of her dress, but wanted to fancy things up a bit, so made a top of tie dye print cotton with gold lines, then lined it with a floral print. The front is "beaded" with little frogs and turtles. I had gotten one of those deals on line with about 100 pieces of such stuff....moons, stars, flowers, butterflies, etc. They are made of plastic (no doubt from China) and colors were kinda icky, so I dipped them in acrylic paint: green mixed with gold...much better.
My original idea (and aren't they all?) was to have her holding a small child. But changed my mind on that..then I tried a bunny, and a mouse, but finally decided a nice little frog would be great...goes along with the turtles & frogs on her dress. Also since they are often an indication of things going amiss on our planet, it seemed appropriate. Besides I think froggies are cute...and this Girl is rather on the cutish side! Anyway, since her hands are articulated, I can still put something different if I want to later. But for now she's done. However, as an after thought, I have decided to call her Nature Girl.
It just seems more appropriate for her (at least that's what she told me).
Thursday, November 19, 2009
This is another case of a doll "being in charge".... I had this vision in my mind of a full figure, "Motherly" style doll, but as I got into the creation of this creature, she took a definite turn in an entirely different direction. Don't get me wrong....I love her, but now that she has been completed, I need to go back to the drawing board to make the doll I planned originally.
I did have fun creating this one. She's a stump doll. I had made feet for her, but when I got ready to paint her toe nails, I discovered I had only given her 4 toes, so skipped that. They are now in the box with the other 4 heads I made. She's much too classy for bare feet any way. She's made of cotton, with the cotton spandex overlay...then painted with gesso and acrylics, which gives more of a porcelain look, rather than cloth. I also finally got the nerve to use some of the mohair squares I bought a while back...the pieces that are still attached to the hide. All I've ever done in the past is to create hair by felting into a wig, so this was new for me. I used tissue paper to make the pattern, then cut it out in long fake fur to check out before cutting into my treasured pieces. Now I'm ready to experiment some more doing this...I think.
Costuming her also took a different turn. Our buddy in India, sent me remnant pieces with lots of embellishments. The colors were way too yellow however, so a dunk in brown dye was necessary. This toned down the yellow, and added to the design on the fabric as the brown showed up more in some areas. I also cut out and bonded the flowers from another piece to add to the skirt. Hemming this shear fabric could have been a problem, but the handy little souldering iron made quick work of that, and allowed me to scallop the edges giving more of a leaf like effect.
Finally I added metalic flower ear rings, butterfly necklace, and a tiny little humming bird, sitting on her finger. It was supposed to be a butterfly. That was what I had planned, but she wanted the hummingbird. Dolls! They can be so pushy! You gotta love'em.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This is another version of a wall doll I did a couple of years ago. These however have faces added, which werre painted with acrylics, pens & pencils then cut out and glued on. It's a great way to practice faces. If you don't like what you've done you can just toss it and move on....no ruining the whole doll. (Not that I ever do that hahaha). With the wonderful new glues available now (Grrip and Ultimate) it makes everything so easy. I also used the glue on the hanging bead strands. They are those strips you can buy which are already strung. Problem: the thread is one continuous piece. Solution: apply a thin line of the glue over the thread and fold the top half of the ribbon down over it. This encases the threads so you can cut anywhere, and they don't fall apart. The glues are nice and flexible and they don't discolor the fabric so they work just great. Anyway it was fun to do, and kept me busy whilst I churn up my next big project..whatever that might be. With all the canning, meat processing etc. it takes a lot of time...but I have to have something creative to do, so this was a perfect project.
Monday, October 19, 2009
WooHoo... just received the new copy of Soft Dolls & Animals Holiday edition which I've been patienly awaiting, since the doll was returned last week. Happy to see I also have a suggestion on the Snippets page! Now I have to tell all my friends to be on the look out for it, although it probably won't be on news stands quite yet. They usually send out copies in advance to contributors....probably so we can tell all our friends to be on the look out for it.
I am really tickled. This makes the second cover this year....my Maiden Kissing the Frog was on the cover last summer. Don't think I'll ever get over being thrilled to see my work in print!
Now what can I get into..hmmmmm.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Trying to get ready for the holiday season and our annual Holiday Art Tour, I just finished making several more Tree Top Angels. Had a great time making them with different colors for dresses & wings. Plan to put a couple in my Etsy Store : LaurasArtShop.etsy.com
and sell a couple (hopefully..with the economy) at the Tour. I should also have my original Angel back from Soft Dolls soon, so will need to decide whether to Etsy or Tour her...decisions, decisions.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Hair is an important finishing touch to dolls..I'll often go through a whole pile of different choices before selecting the one I want. Recently I decided to use some of the store bought mohair I had on hand. As the package states it's great for Santa beards, but I don't make many Santas so wanted to ad a little color to that pretty pure white. My solution was to make a mild solution of tan dye in a quart jar and dip wet hair into it. GREAT! It gave me a nice subtle color...not too dark,not too yellow, just a nice honey color. So I cut, styled and applied to the doll. BUT, I still wasn't all that happy. The hair needed some oomph! Perhaps if it had more waves...yes. She would look much better with more waves, but would look even better with fuller hair. So after curling, I added another layer of hair, needle felting it into the original hairdo and this is the result...which I am now happy with.
How I did it follows in case you'd like to try my experiment.
I had already applied the hair to the doll's head..glued & needle felted....I decided to playbeautician and wrapped plastic around her shoulders, damped the hair with a wet cloth, and rolled it with my new home made curlers, made of cut off straws, held in place with bobbi pins.
Since I liked the way it turned out, I decided to dye & roll more hair. This time I hooked 2 straws together, so I could roll the whole hank of hair without cutting it. Since I don't know what length I will want next time, I didn't want to pre-cut. After dipping in water, I rolled it tightly onto the straws...squeezing and twisting several times to make the curls secure. I put the straws in the window to sun dry, but the sun decided to hide, so low heat on the hair dryer did the job.
Friday, September 11, 2009
A dear old friend from Florida asked me to create an Angel her Christmas tree, with big gold wings. So they were my starting point. I have been making just such an Angel for our Art Thing auction each year (only much less elaborate), so I pretty much knew how I'd make the basic doll, using the empty plastic thread cones for my over lock sewing machine to build on as they are perfect. Joan wanted hers in rich colors like royal blue, burgundy,greens, etc. But while designing, sometimes means hit & miss, so for this first attempt I made her in off whites. Since I was so pleased with the results, I sent photo to Soft Dolls & Animals and the editor requested I offer the pattern, which I of course am happy to do. In fact had planned to write the pattern all along, but was side tracked, by husband's needing to have a stent put in. This meant trips and time spent in Pueblo. We are just so grateful we caught things in time, as there was 99% blockage! So I spent 2 days putting together the pattern and getting it sent in time to be included in the Holiday Issue. Then I got another email, asking me to send the doll for photographs for the cover! Yippee! I'm happy..oh and so is Husband, since he was able to go hunting and got a nice elk today!