Saturday, May 31, 2008

I won!

I need to stop jumping up and down here for just long enough to post these pictures. I am so excited! (Can you tell, LOL?!) I just got the e-mail telling me that I won both First Place in the Advanced category AND Viewer's Choice in Doll Street's Dark Fairy Challenge. I love this doll so much... it's nice to know other people like her too.

Without further ado, here she is. Meet Nightshade and her little pet Arachne.

I may try photographing her again. Or at least taking a close up of Arachne. I just couldn't figure out a way to show all her details.

Her head is cloth over clay. The head began as Jean Bernard's "Mother" mold. Her body is a heavily modified version of Sherry Goshon's "Cinnamon" made of a cotton/lycra blend fabric which was then gessoed and painted with acrylics. I collaged dyed tussah silk and flash onto her body as a kind of leotard, then added a skirt, bust ruffle, and sleeve drapes made of needle-lace.

Her wings are made of china silk and wire heavily painted and embellished with microbeads. Her boots and corset (and the nightshade vine) are made of apoxie sculpt, and her hair is tibetan lamb. The nightshade berries and the spider are beaded. The instructions for this very interesting and fun-to-make spider can be found here.


I was going to post some more photos I took with my new telephoto lens, but those will have to wait. This was much more fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Between our crazy-busy schedule and the crazy-awful weather we've been having, I haven't been able to do much more than dab at my paintings now and again. I had hoped to be done with both of them by now, but at least I'm making progress. I have only a few more bits of base color to lay in on my Laurely Birch style painting before I can start adding the details and bling that make her paintings so appealing. I've already begun to add some gold metallics...

Hmmm... gotta fix her lips and chin too I see.

I signed up for a class on Doll Street by Linda Misa to learn her style of collage painting. This is a FUN technique! I'm afraid that I got a little carried away with my background paint layers so you can't see much of the original collage any more, but I am still very pleased with the way the background turned out. Right now I'm a little stuck trying to decide how I want the mermaid's tailfins to look...

Family business called us up to Washington State earlier this month to attend our new baby granddaughter's baptism ceremony. My Dad even flew in from Iowa! I hadn't seen him since my Mom's funeral, and I didn't realize how very much I had missed him until I was able to hug him again. I couldn't resist having a group snapshot taken, even this is the sort of photo I usually avoid.

While Jake was holding Annika after church I couldn't help but take notice of their matching haircuts. This kind of photo is much more fun to set up and capture. I laughed my head off when I saw what I had done in the playback. I'm afraid that I have proven to my DIL once and for all that yes, I am a little demented.

Friday, May 16, 2008

One thing leads to another

I had so much fun working on the little beaded fetishes that I sort of got on a roll with beading this week. This is good because a lot of little annoyances came up in other areas of my life, and the repetitive stitching and the sparkly little beads were very soothing. I finished the two pink ones.

I plan to add a strand of beads between the "hands" to use as a hanger. I think they will look nice hanging on the bulletin board by my desk at work.

If you want to try one yourself, the templates can be found here, as well as a gallery of other beaders interpretations of the designs. I have just one tip -- don't stuff the shapes too full. Not too floppy either, but just full enough to hold a shape. Mine are a little fat, especially the one with the butterfly bead.

I started beading the little orange one, but while rummaging for more bead colors I picked up an old project that will eventually become the centerpiece of a new collar. I finished the bead embroidery this morning with my first cup of coffee. Now I just need to decide which color I want to do the edging with. It's going to be a pretty dramatic piece.

One thing I have noticed is how much faster I have become at this. That second fetish just flew off my fingers! Practice, practice, practice... if only everything were so much fun!

Just one last thing -- I finished my Dark Fairy doll and submitted photos to be judged. Now I just have to wait for the results. I will post photos as soon as I am allowed. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Waiting on Drying Time

I truly believed I had finished my Dark Fairy Challenge doll last night, but then I thought of one more thing I wanted to do, so I guess it's fair to say that the obsession continues. An obsession it has become! I worked straight through the weekend on it (OK, I did manage to get a little laundry done, but we went out for pizza again, LOL) and it has consumed every leisure moment so far this week as well. I am loving every minute of it.

I'll be able to share pictures soon -- the deadline for entries is next week -- but in the meantime I want to put up what I've been working on to pass the time while the the layers dry.

This first photo is of the canvas I posted a while ago with the decopodged gingko leaves. My intention is to create an image styled after the work of Laurel Birch, specifically the "Swan Goddess" from her Legends book. The leaves are adding such a cool textural element under the paint, really adding to the piece as a whole. I want to wait to work more on this one though until I can concentrate on the painting and do it real justice.

So far, so good!

These little guys I found on my beading desk. I have no idea when or why I began them, but I knew right away that they would make a fun pick-it-up-and-put-it-down project for me to play with that wouldn't suffer too badly if I got distracted. I can't believe I've almost finished the big one already!

Hey, I just discovered that this is my 180-something-th post on this blog. (Oh my!) I believe I will offer one of these beaded beings as a drawing prize for my 200th post. Sounds like fun to me!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Undercover creativity

It has been a busy and exciting week, and I am deep into the creation of a new doll, one quite different from any I have made before. Unfortunately, I can't share pictures here yet because it is destined for a challenge on Doll Street. It is coming along better than I could have hoped for though. I am experimenting with many new processes, and while none of them have turned out *exactly* as I had planned, each one has worked well in ways I couldn't have anticipated. Very exciting!

I do have a few things I CAN share -- both of the girls have Occasions this week, so I made them each a piece of jewelry to wear. We went to an absolutely wonderful bead shop in Poulsbo, WA last month. They had a delicious assortment of incredible sterling silver findings, and I HAD to have some, so I let each of the girls choose a pendant and a clasp for a necklace. I was amazed and amused at how the girls' choices reflect their personalities.

This one is Alice's, which she plans to wear to her first prom tonight. The pendant is a large pearl wrapped in silver, and the dangles are kyanite and pearls. They are strung together with seed beads, more pearls, and Swarovski crystals. That clasp is so beautiful that it should be featured in a necklace of its own, but I stuck to my word and let her put it on her necklace.

My Lydia is crazy about dinosaurs, so she was excited to find a pendant of fossilized ammonite. Her necklace is make of jade, dyed quartz chips, and "Vitriol" Swarovski crystals which are the coolest color, a green that flashes purple in the light.

We chose the colors to go with the dress I made for her originally, but she ended up wearing something else for the banquet. She still loves the necklace though.

I'll share one last picture before I close for today (and go check and see if my doll is dry enough to work on some more, LOL.) This is Lydia at her coronation as Marion County's Dairy Princess-Ambassador for 2008. She has been working toward winning the title since she was a little girl when her aunt was the princess. Congratulations Lydia!