Friday, August 25, 2006

I have set the white/white doll aside in disgust... I began the work on her so long ago and my tastes have changed SO much (not to mention my skills!) that I don't even like it anymore. Maybe once I finish her and achieve some distance I might learn to like her again, but for now... ick!

So, what to do???

This little amulet bag is a project I started very enthusiastically ages ago when I was heavily into beading. It is a free pattern available on the 'net by Cheryl Assemi .

So, I ran out of the black Delicas for the background. I went to town and bought some more black "Japanese seed beads", but didn't notice until I got them home that they were 15's rather than 11's -- waaaayyyyy too small. Arghhhhh! That pretty much took the oomph out of my motivation to work on it for... um... several years at least.

"She Who Has the Attention Span of a Grasshopper" is my real name I think...

Anyway, in the fit of disgust the followed the last work session on the white/white doll, I decided to tidy up my bead table to prepare for work on the domino necklaces and I found her again. (I have long since aquired the necessary black beads for other projects...) It only took 2 days of beading to finish her, including the fringe. I was SO CLOSE -- WHY do I do this to myself???

I am happy to have redeemed all those hours and hours of work and taken the project this far. I wish I had the eyesight to keep up with the beadwork, but alas, even with my bifocals, it just isn't happening anymore. Sigh... it's a good thing I have so many hobbies!

Anyway, all she needs now is her strap and she's ready to wear. She is so NOT for sale!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Back to Doll Making

Jake is at a meeting in Corvallis all day today, so after getting a little housework done, I took the opportunity to gorge my brain on a bunch of "Lord of the Rings" extras and get some work done on some real dolls. I especially wanted to complete the work on a round robin piece that will need to hit the mail soon. I won't post photos of her because I don't want her "Mom" to see her.

I was on a roll (and only about half way through the DVD I was watching,) so I grabbed my white-on-white doll and attacked her clothes. I have found over and over again when working with other designers' patterns that the doll I make doesn't fit the clothes patterns. This was the case with this doll as well. All her lovely dresses looked like ill-fitting pajamas on her. I used some rather expensive fabric on them though, so no way was I going to start over!

Here she is so far. First I gave her a petticoat to hold out the silk of her undergown, which is very fluid but hung like a limp rag from her body -- not attractive. Then I took in the undergown by wrapping a shape into the bodice with some satin cord. She has such a beautiful figure and it was nearly completely hidden under those shapeless clothes.

I added some of the same cord to the sleeves to add a little more color and texture. I am discovering that adding some darker shades of white really wakes up the monochromatic color scheme. I haven't trimmed the ends yet because I haven't decided exactly what to do with them. Now that I see the photos, I think I will cut them off. They just look messy to me now.

From the back she is looking pretty good! I have pinned in a HUGE pleat at the waist of the overgown -- now I just need to make up some kind of accent to hold it in place. Probably beads to match her head piece.

I have no idea whatsoever why Blogger decided to rotate this photo... Anyway, this is a closeup of her headpiece. It looks beautiful in her hair. If I had somewhere appropriate to go I would wear it myself!

By adding a handle to the mask instead of attaching it to her face, I have convinced her that yes, it does too look good with her outfit. Unfortunately, she is one of the few dolls I have ever made without wired fingers, so I will have to work out a way to make it stay in her hands.

This pattern is the most bizarre blend of engineering technicalities and utterly simple "rag doll" parts. Odd...

The handle of the mask is just wire with Apoxie Sculpt wrapped around it, then painted Champagne metallic. I want to try a little watered down burnt umber on a small corner to see if it brings out the details or just ruins it, but I am done for today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I had an idea...

I have been wondering just how I was going to set all the dominoes I have been stamping. Necklaces? Key rings? Parachute clips? Just as a pendant that customers could hang themselves? I may do a few of each yet, BUT ...

... while looking for something else, I found Chinese Knots for Beaded Jewellery, (sic) a book I had nearly forgotten I owned. It contains instructions for a bunch of decorative knots. The diagrams are extremely easy to read, and once my fingers got the hang of what they were doing, I found even the more complicated knots are easier than they look, as long as I pay attention.

The red knot was the most fun to tie. The little blue one... well, it looks like the picture in the book, but I am still not quite sure how exactly that one works! The 2 colored one on the right was only a little more difficult because it involved working with more ends. It's my favorite so far.

I practiced using some of my not-so-favorite dominoes. Now I wish I had been brave enough to use my favorites. I really like this look. If I can find a source of nice rattail cord that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, I am going to play around with this some more.

Once I get dinner started, I will be eager to try a few more new knots!

Monday, August 14, 2006

I am too easily distracted...!

While working on the second paper doll I need for the Doll Street swap, I came to a point where I had to let some glue dry.

I am having fun with this one -- she was a bit of an engineering challenge, but now all her pieces fit together and move properly. I am quite satisfied. I need to finish her hair style yet, and add some clothing by way of embellishments. I have some interesting fibers in my stash that should work well.

OK, so... while waiting for the glue to dry, I decided to clean my studio a bit. I came across a box of dominoes I bought intending to make pendants out of them. I stalled out working on them because drilling the holes for the bails was annoying.

Hmmmmm... how to drill those holes without drilling any holes in ME... A drill press maybe? Do we have one out in the shop? No, darn it. Back to cleaning...

Later that day we went to town. We just happened (honest!) to be walking through the Sears store so I thought I would just *look* at the drill presses. Gads -- those monsters would need a whole room of their own! A salesman happened by and asked if there was anything in particular we were looking for, so I asked if they had drill presses in a bench top size. Well, yes they did, but did I have a Dremel tool? There is a press attachment available for the Dremel tool! How cool is that???

I didn't actually buy the press attachment, but it did give me the idea to try the Dremel instead of my power drill to make the holes. HUGE improvement. The dremel goes through the acrylic like butter. I am happy now!

I drilled holes to my heart's content. There is something very satisfying at an elemental level in operating power tools.

By now the glue on my paper doll was long dry, but I was on a roll with the dominoes. I got out my inks and started stamping. Then embossing. Stamping some more. More embossing. (Heat guns aren't *quite* as much fun as drills, but they come close.) These are turning out pretty cool.

I am going to make these into pendants to sell at our church's Holiday Bazaar in November. I have been doing jewelry the last few years, but a bunch of others have sort of jumped on that bandwagon as well, so I am looking to add something new and a little different.

I also want something I can sell cheap to impulse shoppers. My friend Judi Wellnitz wrote a tutorial a while back for doing Altered Business Card magnets and posted it to her blog here . I think they might sell pretty well in a bazaar setting. Hope so anyway... I'll try a few this year to see how they do.

These are what I have so far. The colors aren't very true in this picture -- my camera didn't capture the "halo" effect of the paint I used. Can't wait for the paint to dry!

I have one last photo to share. This is the view from my back door the other evening. It has taken me a while to figure out how to load a panoramic photo to Blogger. But can you believe that sky? I wish I could paint like that!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

One down!

Here is my Green Man paper doll, finished at last. I spent all day on this guy. He sort of just kept WANTING stuff, and a little more inking, and then more stuff. For a nature spirit, he has a consumerist attitude!

I wish I had used heavier cardstock for him. He is a little flimsier than I would like, which is why I made the support card for his torso. I like the way it looks, and it also provides some protection for his crown of leaves. These leaves were punched from a soft hand made paper and are not up to much wear.

He also sports a beaded belt, but that doesn't show up so well in this scan.

One down, 2 more to go...

Playing Paper Dolls

I am comitted to making 3 paper dolls for a swap on the Doll Street Journal this month, so I thought I had better get them done and get them out of the way. I gave myself an afternoon to do it, but here I am, 4 days later, still far from finished. Sigh...

Will it *always* be this way?

This little mermaid is based on a drawing I did last winter. I still haven't decided what to do with her head, but at least the rest of her pieces fit together.

Patti Culea has some rubber stamps out for making paper dolls, they are so cute and so evocative of her marvelous style... Mine must be my own and not look anything like hers. Hence, no head yet.

The doll at left has been so much fun to design. I think I am going to print out another copy of her pieces, as I have learned that it is easier to color the pieces before cutting them out, as long as the lines are dark enough to see through the color.

She is based on the Hindu goddess Shiva, the one with four arms. She will be jointed, but is intended to be posed sitting in lotus posture. I am saving her embellishments for last. I don't want to ruin her and I need more practice at this!

This guy on the right is colored, partially embellished, and ready to cut out. He is a paper doll version of a Green Man. I have some very neat hand made papers to make his leafy crown and accessories from. I even found a little oak leaf punch so I don't have to cut them all out by hand, thank goodness!

I just wish I had made his outlines a little darker -- he is going to be a challenge to cut out in a few places.

Now I just need to hunt down my paper punch and assemble the pieces before I forget which is supposed to go where.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Just a Beautiful Day

Unlike much of the rest of the country, we are having a perfect summer here in Oregon. Can you believe how beautiful these photos are?

Thursday was our 22nd wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we packed up a picnic and hiked "The Trail of Ten Falls" at Silver Creek Falls State Park. It's a 7 mile hike that goes up and down and around some of the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen .

This is Lower South Falls, one of the prettier and easier to photograph falls.

The path goes behind the Fall -- you can actually put your hand in the cascade. The mist is also very refreshing, especially on a warm day.

While crossing the river, I couldn't help but be struck by the lucious color of the reflected sky in the water. Of course, I HAD to snap a photo. Who knew it would turn out so well?

This is North Falls, probably the most visible of the Falls on the Trail. You can see it from half a mile a way, as well as from each side and from behind. Not many are so accessible. It's not the tallest, the widest, the laciest, or anything-else-ist, but it is still my favorite. The energy there is so peaceful. Ahhhhh...

If you want to visit Meditation Falls (also known as Upper North Falls -- who thinks of these horrible boring names??!) you need to count on adding at least another half mile to your hiking distance. Not a small consideration on this trail, especially if your feet hurt already. I wouldn't miss it though.

22 years ago, I married my very best friend. I can't imagine what my life would be like without him.