Saturday, July 28, 2007

Elfin Challenge doll

The voting is over and the challenge is done, so I can share my Elfin here at last. I didn't win anything, but that's OK, because this is easily one of the most charming dolls I have ever made and she's all MINE. Here's the little story I had to include to enter her in the Challenge:

May I introduce you to “Levaine”? She is a Sourdough Elf, though she prefers to
be known as a “Tamer of Wild Yeast” instead. I like to humor her because she is
a nice little creature and it’s a small thing to make her happy. She lives
behind the baking books on my kitchen bookshelf, and as long as I keep her
supplied with plenty of fresh butter and aged cheddar cheese, my bread bakes up
light, fragrant, and delicious.

If I have forgotten the proper offerings however, my dough won’t rise and my bread is flat and heavy. Needless to say, she has me well-trained!

It's too bad I didn't take any photos of her "in progress". I modified the pattern to create what I think is a really wonderful 3D body with "mature" breasts, a poochy tummy, and a very cute round bottom. I was shocked by the shape her face took on as I stuffed the 4-piece head, as it is NOT what I thought I was drafting at all. I kept it though, because it turned out to be one of those Happy Accidents that keep things interesting while creating.

My favorite part was doing her skin coloring. I don't know what made me do it... on a whim I grabbed a brush and my watercolors and just started painting her as if she were a piece of paper. The colors flowed into eachother beautifully and created a different kind of subtly mottled shading that made a very interesting skin texture. Pretty cool, and I look forward to playing with that technique again.

This weekend I'm working on a round robin cookbook, and then I have another round robin doll to contribute to. It's always something around here. Thank goodness!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Painting again

It has been too long since I posted, but there is so much going on here this summer -- not much of it blog-worthy either I'm afraid -- that it hasn't really been on my radar to sit down and write. It feels good to be doing it today. Besides, it is time to come up for air now that I have finished reading the last "Harry Potter" book.

I have been doing what my friend Sue calls "committing a neatness" in my studio, so that I can work in there again. My poor cutting table is literally buried in the debris on ongoing projects, oh my! So in the meantime, because I just can't NOT be creating, even if only for a few minutes a day, I have once again picked up brushes and begun painting. I had so much fun with the little strawberry sketch that I did for a round robin cookbook that I decided to do some more. These little dragons are destined to be cut out and used as page accents for the book I am working on right now. Look, no mud! I think I might finally be getting the hang of watercolor.

This little blueberry sketch was supposed to be "next" in the cookbook project, but fortunately I discovered that the owner of the book despises blueberries BEFORE I added the recipe to her collection. It's all good though... it just means that I have a headstart on the next book. I will be rather sorry to see this exchange end -- it is easily the most fun and relaxed I've ever participated in.

Oh, and look what I found! The Library where I work is going to have a big used book sale next month, and I have been helping sort the donations. This treasure came in and I HAD to have it! (NOT cheating... we have a pre-sale cart set up already, so these books ARE for sale to the public. I just got there first, LOL!) I know it's in terrible sad shape, but it is still so pretty. It called to me... really it did! I have NO experience with altering books, but I am going to give it a try.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday USA!

Happy 4th of July! In the grand tradition of government workers everywhere, seeing as how it is a federal holiday I have today OFF, so I am devoting myself to goofing off, LOL! I don't even have to cook, as we have been invited to our neighbors' annual barbecue.

It's about time I got cracking on some of my swaps, so I have begun the final assembly of this month's cookbook project. My recipe for this month is my favorite version of strawberry shortcake, so the project for the book was this little watercolor.

I have been back at my jewelry making again. Last week I was lucky enough to be wait-listed into a full class with my favorite designer Emily Smart. She really is an amazing teacher, so patient, and she makes everything look so easy. Of course it's easy, now that I know how she does it, but before that... no way!

The class project was our own version of her design for these sterling silver halo chokers. Mine features thai silver beads, fresh water pearls, swarovski crystals, and aquamarines. I also bought enough silver wire to make 3 more... so many ideas crammed into one brain HAVE to be let out or else cause an injury. The wire is NOT cheap, but hey! I have a job now.

(I got my first real paycheck last week... woo hoo!)

Last but not least, I finally committed to a pose for my 2D/3D challenge doll, based on the masterpiece "Judith" by Gustav Klimt. The only downside to this choice is that Judith is holding a decapitated head in her hands, which means I have to make another head. This project just keeps getting bigger and bigger! Good thing I made extra eyes while I was at it.

The designer's instructions call for the doll to be painted with tinted gesso, but I decided to give her a coat of plain white gesso and THEN paint her, as I want to try to imitate Klimt's skin tones as closely as possible. I am using Genesis paints and having SO much fun. Once I got the hang of their eccentricities, I found them to be workable to the point of playfulness. Sheer delight! and then once I get a section just how I like it, poof! a little heat set and they are dry and ready for the next section.

I haven't quite captured the sleep-eyed stare of the original painting, but then again, it's supposed to be "inspired by", not an actual copy.

Klimt is famous for his gorgeous nudes, and this pattern does not disappoint.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Last weekend was the annual Black Sheep Festival in Eugene, OR. Black Sheep began years ago as a potluck picnic and has morphed into one of the largest fiber festivals in the west coast, if not the largest. It's not *quite* in my backyard, but the driving distance is reasonable so of COURSE I had to go. Lydia is crazy about the animals and also spins so she came with me, and Jake is just an all-around Nice Guy who came along to keep us company. And maybe babysit the Visa card, LOL?

We spent some time in the animal barns. I have pretty much given up on my dream of keeping flocks of my own, but I still like to get my fix of "clean sheep smell". Mmmmmmmmmmmm...

I would have LOVED to dig my hands into this guys fleece, but that would probably have freaked him out, so I settled for a photo instead.

The angora goats are so beautiful and so full of personality. Oooooh, I love mohair!

I found the Fantasy Fibers booth and loaded up on some of their "Mystery Batts". You never know what's in them, but it's always good stuff. Jake insisted on carrying the bags for me.

Lydia passed on fiber this year, but was very interested in the jewelry that seemed to be featured in every booth this year. I don't know if that's a new thing or if I just never noticed it before, but I sure came away with some good jewelry making ideas for myself. She eventually picked out a "Painted Pony" style pin accented with pearls. It looks really good on her denim jacket.

On the creating front, I have been making great progress on the sweater. I finished the main body and am now knitting off the edge with a simple lace border. I can't wait to get to the sleeves. I've never made a sweater in this style before... it's quite interesting in its construction.

I've been up to a lot more as well, but I'll share that in a later post. This one is already long enough.