Wednesday, February 28, 2007

For Mama, with Love

I haven't had the heart to create much recently. I received word last week that, after a long and bitter struggle, my dear mother is losing her fight against cancer. I will be flying home to Iowa on Friday to be with her for a few days. I don't know what to think or how to feel... my world is upside down right now.

I was flipping through some old photos on the computer this morning, and I pulled these up to look at, just because she is so beautiful and alive in them. Just look at that center photo -- it was taken only 5 months after I was born. I never ever looked that good after the babies came. She is fabulous!
This is how I want to remember her. She is a wonderful mother.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another Round Robin

Some members of Fabric Doll Art, one of my favorite internet chat groups, have begun a round robin of cookbooks. Each participant is to create a book and choose a theme and send it on it's way to eachother. I need another project like I need a hole in my head, but this one sounded like too much fun to pass up. I LOVE to cook, and especially to collect recipes. :-)

Paper art has NOT been my "thing" in the past. I have lots of paper and stamps and glue and things, but I just haven't really developed the knack of putting them all together in a pleasing way. Sigh... I only hope I don't mess up anyone's book!

This is Sherry Goshon's book. Her theme is coffee. For the first page I painted a coffee cup and journaled a little about coffee, then glued it all down onto a pre-painted page. It's too bad the fiber embellishments don't show up better. They're very pretty.

This 2 page spread holds the actual recipes. They are printed on card stock and stitched onto decorative paper for a mat. I love the little coffee stamp on the bottom of the left hand page. It still needed something, so I added a little more of the fibers and some shell buttons. It's not as nice as some of the things I see in the magazines, but I'm not ashamed of it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

One Down, One more to go

Here she is, painted and ready to go in the mail. This is the last doll I have to work on in this exchange for a while. The person who mails to me hasn't started on the one in her possession yet, so I am all caught up.

I had SO much fun with this Round Robin doll. I love the concept and I can't wait to get started on a similar one of my own. I found the torso I wanted... Unfortunately it doesn't have a head so I'll either have to sew one up or sculpt one before I can get started.

I'm also thinking I'd like a quieter color scheme. I like the "wine country" look of these colors, but I have used them before and I'm ready to try something new. I have a tube of paint in "Champagne Gold" that is calling to me. It's a much more muted shade of gold that will let other colors play along without being SUCH a presence.

This little (LITTLE!) head came to me in a swap on my Fantasy Fins and Fairies group. It will be my job to make a body for it, finish it and then send it back to its creator. My original reaction to the face was "female", but looking at this photo, now I'm not so sure. I'll have to think about this one some more.

What do you think... a "Pan" character perhaps?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Start to (almost!) Finish!

So close... So VERY close. It is agonizing to not be able to call her "finished" for good and all, but I just don't have anything to put in the nest in her hands. I plan on making a tour of the craft shops this weekend. Otherwise I think I might try sculpting something. I WILL complete a project from start to finish without deviating. It's become a point of honor now, LOL!

I used microbeads to blend the leaves into the fabric of her branches. I LOVE microbeads, even though the little monsters have a life of their own and bounce all over my studio.

I added a draping of seed beads to her throat and shoulders, just because those areas seemed so bare.

She was worth everything it took to bring her into being!

This is my latest Round Robin challenge. She came to me as a torso plopped into a Crown of Thorns gourd... I have pretty much given up on receiving anything "expected" from the ladies in this group. What a superb collection of imaginative artists! I am honored to have been included.

Anyway, she spoke to me of meadow flowers, so I set out to put her in her meadow. (There is NO WAY legs were going to work on this lovely.) The wire cage base was made using instructions if a recent Art Doll Quarterly Magazine. The apoxie embellishments are drawn from my trusty stock of Jean Bernard tricks. I used up the last of my stock of Apoxie on this project -- I will have to order some more. It is way too much fun to create with to be without!

I desperately wanted something original to me to be a part of my addition, so the bead dangles finishing the tips of the gourd are from my own imagination.

A coat (or 3 or 7!) of paint, and she will be ready to mail.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Facing Reality

I didn't have much time to play this weekend, but I used what I had to assemble the pieces and apply the "roots" to my Tree Spirit doll. She is turning out so well that I am almost afraid to proceed with the embellishments. Oh, and how often hasn't THAT happened before??

As I ran head-on into that thought, I recognized that this has been my stumbling block for much to long. I am determined to have more faith in my own abilities and not let fear keep me from achieving my goals anymore.

It is time to face the music, time to assemble in one place all my unfinished dolls and decide what to do next. I've been very faithful in following through on my resolution to work my way through the pile, but I really needed to face the music and see EXACTLY how many more I have to tackle...

... and as you can see, it is still a big undertaking. Sigh...

But now I KNOW.

One at a time Judi, just take them on one at a time.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Studio Show 'n Tell

One of my online groups is sharing photos of sewing rooms and studios. I am blessed with an enormous space to call my studio, but 25 years of collecting books, beads, fabric, etc has filled it up. It has looked worse, and it has looked better. This is pretty much normal.

It's an oddly shaped shaped space -- the front part used to be this old farm house's master bedroom. The farther space used to be a back porch. It still has a noticable slope to the floor, which is why I don't set up my machine in there, even though it would make more sense. That slope makes me crazy if I stand on it too long.

My storage closet is to the right as we walk in the door. It's really more of nook than a closet. I use it to store books and patterns.

Turning to the left you see my sewing machine. My computer desk is directly behind me as I am taking this photo.

Walking past the divider wall we come to my cutting table. My fabric stash is in another nook space out of the picture to the right.

And scanning back to the left we see my ironing board, warping board, and dress form.

At the back wall is a built in desk where I keep my beads, stamps, and other miscellaneous supplies. I've been trying to organize my beads lately, so the beading space is a little messier than usual.

If anyone has a good idea of how to organize beads, let me know. My "system" isn't much of a system I'm afraid.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Whom the Gods Would Destroy...

...they first make mad. Or, sometimes the madness is self-inflicted, LOL! Can you count how many "fingers" I had to turn to make the pieces of this tree spirit doll? ("Rock-A-Bye Baby", by Christine Shively) By my reckoning, it was 96. The pattern did warn right in the beginning of the instructions that this is a fiddly project that required a significant time committment...

Fortunately, I needed something portable and fairly brain-free to take to meetings last week. And now I feel like the guy in the old Alka-Seltzer ad -- I can't believe I made the whole thing!

Actually, I still have to make the head and paint the face, oh yes, and apply the leaves... I guess I do still have a ways to go yet.

This little guy came together one morning last week when I got to be a pattern tester, following the instructions from a tutorial by Cam of Thornwoodhollow. Now I just have to decide who he is going to be. I am thinking that he would make a good gardener from "Alice in Wonderland". You know, the little people who were really a deck of playing cards and were trying so hard to paint the roses before the Queen of Hearts would find out and "Off with their heads!" I need to get to the library and find an original copy of the illustrated "Alice". The only images I can find online are the Disney version, and that's not what I want.

It was fun to pull the clay out again. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit I can play with it without having to work so hard to get it to where I can sculpt it. Even though it's still only February and feels like it, compared to the last few weeks, it's almost as if spring is already here!