Friday, November 22, 2013

My Craft Show last week

It was a busy day and lots of people came by.  It was nice to talk to everyone and I actually sold a few things.  Here are some photos from the sale.
I only put out the Rainbow Collection and made a catalogue available of all the others.  The next craft show on the 24th is going to have smaller tables, so I'll have to use my imagination.
This table ended up looking too busy.  I'll have to figure out a better way for it too.

So, if anyone is around this weekend, please join me at the R.A. Centre on Riverside Drive on Sunday the 24th from 10 to 4.   Lots of stuff to see.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Craft Show Looming

For those of you who are in Ottawa and are interested, I will be selling my dolls and ornaments and other stuff at two craft shows this year.  The first one is this coming Sunday November 17th from 10 to 4 at the Tudor Hall on Bowesville Rd.  The second one will be the following Sunday, November 24th from 10 to 4 at the R.A Centre on Riverside Drive.  Getting ready for them has been one of the reasons I have been so silent lately.  Once they are behind me I'm sure I'll have more to say.

Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Okay, It's November Already

Give a girl a break.  I've been busy with other things, and to be truthful, I can't always think of anything entertaining to write. Not that this will be entertaining, but I do have something to say.

I've been busy getting ready for a craft fair here in Ottawa on the 17th and as I was sitting here hand sewing I was thinking about how much I was enjoying what I was doing.  I was making embroidered felt Christmas decorations and I just really savoured the experience.  I love hand sewing and creating things from scratch.  I just wish I didn't wait so long to get started.  Here I am starting my sixties and I am just getting around realizing that this is what I like to do.  It makes me calm, it relaxes me and I feel like I have accomplished something once I'm done.  It's a very Zen-like feeling.

To think that I spent the first part of my adulthood rebelling against anything remotely domesticated.  I was anti-war (still am), anti-male domination (still am), anti-traditional female roles, anti-you name it.  I now realize that there is a place for all of that stuff we learned in home ec. I know I fought it, but I did learn to sew and I now love it.  I did learn to cook and I love that too.  So now I am finding peace doing the things that I railed against so many years ago.  Whoever said "Too soon old, too late smart" really hit the nail on the head.

So. getting back to my ornaments.  Here are some photos to show you what I'm talking about.  I did other colours as well, but they're already packed away.

And these are some of the lavender sachets I embroidered.
Here's a close up of one of my favourites
So that's all for now.  Don't know when I'll be back, but I'll try to make it sooner :)
Oh and I forgot to mention that my new website is almost up and running.  I'm so excited.  I'll let you know when you can take a peak.

Listening to Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and REM.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Is It Really July Already?

Well, actually it's almost August.  Summer has sped by like a freight train and I've embarked on a number of new projects.

But first, my sweet little granddaughter was born June 21st.  She's an absolute delight and she's keeping her parents on their toes.  I don't envy their sleepless nights, but it sure would be nice to have a little creature around here again.  As a newly minted member of the grandmother posse (there are 4 of us), I hope to get lots of baby time.  It's been thirty seven years since I held my own baby in my arms and I remember how wonderful it was to have a sweet little human being just snuggled up close and smelling like baby powder and simply soaking in all the joys of motherhood.  That is until she started screaming like a banshee and I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom till it stopped.  Luckily for me those moments were few and far between, but as a grandmother I can always hand off the child if she were to get too vocal.  Grandmotherhood does have its perks.

So, for my projects.  The first thing I tried was to make a dragonfly out of paperclay.  Not my most successful of endeavours, but it was my first try and it wasn't awful.  Here she is.

I really enjoyed working with clay though, so my next adventure is to design and construct a BJD, or a ball-jointed doll.  This is a lot more complex and requires a great deal more skill and talent than I think I have, but I'll try.  If it doesn't work out I'll move onto something else, like maybe learning to play the harp :)
The ball-jointed doll escapade was prompted by finding some incredible dolls on the internet and saying to myself, "Hey, why not do that?  How hard can it be?"  Here's one of the photos that piqued my interest. 
She is by a Russian dollmaker by the name of Ira-Deneiko.  She is amazing.  Her ball-jointed dolls are so lifelike and ethereal at the same time.
Then, there's  Marina Bychkova is the artist and her work is amazing.  Take a look for yourself.
Costumed Dolls
 So, as you can see, I have my work cut out for me.  You might not hear from me for awhile.  It just means I am either babysitting (I hope) or trying to perfect the ball-jointed doll.  Failing that, if you hear strains of harp music........

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Best Laid Plans

I can't believe I've let so much time go by since my last post.  It has been busy around here with guests and preparing for a baby shower and all that, but I really could have made the time.  I guess my main problem is writer's block.  I just couldn't think of anything to write about.

I've stopped making dolls for a bit while I was concentrating on making things for the baby shower, I've been scouring the internet for new and unusual recipes for food to serve at said shower, and I've been entertaining out of town guests.  I know, excuses, excuses.

I made this really cute diaper cake with little flying elephants made from baby washcloths, and some onesie cupcakes.  They were great fun.  Everyone got a kick out of them, including the mom-to-be.

The food was great!  Everything from real homemade cupcakes to salads, dips, sandwiches, a fabulous cheese tray, you name it.
It was so much fun to host and would definitely jump at the chance to do it again.  I just love the creative process and coming up with all of the games and decorations was my favourite part.
I've also a had a bit of time to try my hand at making more doll furniture.  This couch pictured is actually a chair pattern that I modified to make a sofa.  There is a doll in it right now, but from time to time I find my sweet tuxedo cat in it and the doll on the floor.  Maybe I should make one for him too :)
As I said earlier, I think I may be suffering from writer's block.  Can't think of anything interesting to say, except maybe that I think Chris Hadfield should get the Order of Canada.  What a wonderful wonderful man and a great inspiration to everyone!
Listening to Gotye and David Bowie.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Failure Is Not An Option

Okay, to be fair, I did say this would be a blog about my successes and failures of dollmaking.  And it is true that not all dolls that I make turn out to be masterpieces.  So it is only fair to show photos of the ones that didn't make the cut.  The ones that will be ripped apart to start all over again.

My latest underachievement is the black witch.  Try as I might, I just couldn't make her sinister enough and she wasn't quite pretty enough to be saved for other reasons.  Think "Good Girl Gone Bad".  So, it is with a heavy heart that I show you these photos and begin the process of deconstructing her.

I'm thinking that my next attempt might not even be a cloth doll.  When I make these dolls I cut out their bodies from fabric, stuff them, wire them, needle sculpt them, make their clothes, embellish them, give them hair and paint them.  It's a lot of work and quite often I have no idea how a doll will turn out till she's nearly finished.
I've gotten interested in clay dolls lately and I think that might be the route I'll take.  At least with clay you can see how you are progressing and make changes along the way.  Maybe I should take a class first.  I'm forever starting something I have no business doing because I don't know the first thing about it.  But, hey.  That's how I started out with the dolls.  I think I'm coming along nicely even though I know I have a long way to go. 
Until the next time I want to wish everyone a Happy Easter.  Have a great weekend.

Listening to Mumford and Sons, Lumineers, Stealers Wheel, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield, Heart, John Lennon.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Rainbow Girls Together

Awhile ago I had promised to show photos of my rainbow doll collection once they were finished.  They have actually showed up in a few random photos, but none have been the entire collection together.  So, here they are.
And now here they are separately.  The first is Violet. 

Next is Indigo
Then comes Blue
Then Green
Followed by Yellow
Then Orange
And finally Red
So, those are the girls.  Hours and hours of work went into making each one and I will be putting them for sale on Etsy very shortly.  Only problem is I don't want to part with them.  I get very attached.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Think The Groundhog Was Mistaken

Apparently our illustrious groundhog didn't see his shadow, which meant that we would have an early spring.  Or so the story goes.  Well, it is March 23 and we're more than knee deep in what only could be described as, well, snow.  If my memory serves me correctly Spring officially began 2 days ago.  Only here in Ottawa, there is no evidence of it anywhere.  Now, I don't blame the rodent, but I do feel a bit misled in thinking I could start wearing my shorts anytime soon.  No sense sitting on my front porch with my seed catalogue trying to decide where I'm going to plant everything when I can't even tell where my lawn ends and the road begins.  I'm a Canadian.  I will just get on with my mundane life and just wait for spring to miraculously appear. 

I've started my evil witch doll.  Well, I think she'll be an evil witch.  Try as I might, I just can't seem to paint an evil face. However, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Here are my options for her body and clothing.

I don't really know where I'm going to go with it all, but it is a process.  Looking at everything now I can see that I'm not really keen on the black and gold fabric.  To me it's kind of matronly and somewhat stuffy.  There's not enough faux leather to make a whole outfit and the fake fur is just, well, it's just I don't know.  I just don't like it.  This is going to take awhile to figure out.  Stay tuned.
Listening to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

March Is Not My Favourite Month

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and also what would have been my mom's 87th birthday.  But she passed away on March 25th, 2011.  So, you can see whay I'm not really keen on this month.  However, I've decided not to let it get me down and we're going to have a St. Patrick's Day/Birthday remembrance dinner tomorrow, sort of.  It will be Irish, but vegetarian, because that's who I am.  The menu is:  for starters Guiness and cheese fondue, then leek and potato soup.  The main is Guiness, gorgonzola and mushroom pasties and dublin mash (carrots and parsnips).  I was going to make Bailey's Irish Cream bread pudding from Irish soda bread, but figured there's enough starch in this menu to choke a horse.  So we'll toast my mom, toss back a few and enjoy the day.

Well, I've finished my white creation.  After many days agonizing over what she is I have decided that she is a Snow Queen.  Here are a few pics.
Her crown is made from Christmas tree icicles and her hair is silk roving.

She has venice lace cuffs, an ornately beaded neckline and a staff made from copper wire and crystal beads.

I also made her a cape and embellished it with crystal beads on the lapels and silver trim with larger acrylic beads on the hem.
Her boots are buttoned up with acrylic beads and I used the same beads to make her heels.
I'm beginning to think that there are certain powers at play here that take over my creative process and things become whatever the powers want.  When I started out I wanted to have this really ethereal figure with wind blowing in her hair and her clothing wispy and drapey.  I was thinking along the lines of Stevie Nicks meets the Wicked Witch of the West. The Snow Queen is who I ended up with.  Not complaining, but I wonder what my next creation is going to look like.
Listening to Eva Cassidy, Fountains of Wayne, Gotye, Grateful Dead, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Corky and the Juice Pigs, They Might Be Giants and Walk Off The Earth.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

White Witch or Snow White?

All of my pattern pieces have been cut out and sewn and it's just a matter of turning right side out and stuffing now.  She's going to be a white witch, but the more I look at the material I think it looks like she might be a white witch going to her first communion.  Going to have to work on that a bit.
I have to admit that when I originally planned on this particular doll I thought that the material lended itself well to "witch", but the more I look at it we may end up with Snow White.
The following photos show how I'm trying to tart her up a bit.  The one thing I have to say is that my dolls never seem to end up the way they're planned.  They take on lives of their own.  One of these days I'll have to draft a pattern and stick to it.
I'll post the finished product in a little while.  Still trying to figure out who she really is.
Listening to Eagle Eye Cherry, Chris Rea, Leonard Cohen and Warren Zevon.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Furniture Making and Crosby Stills Nash and Young

This weekend I decided to make some Victorian furniture for my dolls to perch on while having their photos taken.  An ambitious project to say the least, but one I was willing to undertake.  I am always of the opinion that if you don't know it's impossible, then it can be done.  Are you following me?  What I'm basically saying is that I can do anything I put my mind to.  Really, how hard can it be?

So, lesson learned.  I can't do everything.  Very humbling, and annoying at the same time.  Furniture making is best left to the professionals.  There's designing, drafting, cutting, sewing, stretching, stuffing, leveling, huffing, puffing, you get the drift.  It's not for the faint of heart and this is only small scale.  Hats off to the people who choose to do this either as a living or as a hobby.  It's harder than it looks.

Thank heavens I was listening to some tunes while I did this or I would be everyone's worst nightmare at this point.  I get really cranky when things don't go my way and it takes me awhile to settle down. 

Anyway, while listening to CSN&Y, Ohio began to play.  For those of you who were around in the 70's, when this came out, you know it was a very powerful and moving song.  May 4, 1970 is a date I will always remember and everytime I hear that song I am so sad for the 4 students who were shot by the National Guard at a peaceful demonstration against the Vietnam War.  But I am so grateful that Neil Young had the guts to write it and even mention Nixon in the lyrics.  I think he managed to capture  the fear, frustration and anger felt by the youth across the country.

Neil Young also wrote For What It's Worth when he was with Buffalo Springfield.  Not an anti-war song, but an anti-police song.  Haunting nonetheless.  But enough about protest songs.

So here's the sofa.  Put together with materials on hand, and not well executed.  I think I need to go back to the drawing board.
Stay tuned for more attempts at furniture making, or not.  Next time I try I might listen to something more uplifting.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Just a little Tease


Yesterday I said I'd be posting photos of the completed rainbow collection.  Here's just a teaser for now.  I have to wait for the right conditions to be able to photograph all seven together.  So, here's violet.

And here's green.

The others are in my previous posts.  As a reminder, the colours already posted are blue (yesterday), red, orange, indigo and yellow (2 days ago).

This week's project is going to be a white witch.  Here's all of my fabric and embellishments.  I just have to figure out how it's all going to come together.
There's lace, sequin flowers, beaded trim and ribbon.
And here is mohair, eyelash yarn and seed beads

This is the fabric selection
A photo of a white witch for inspiration
And Ann Hathaway for a potential hairstyle.
That should do it, but I know me and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that there will be many many changes along the way.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

I decided that with this post I'd let everyone in on my creative process when I'm starting one of my dolls.  Firstly you have to know that I have a lot of fabric.  A lot.  A whole lot.  I don't think I've ever passed up an opportunity to acquire fabric.  I've even been known to wake up from a dead sleep and realize I don't have, let's say, green fabric and stumble to the computer and log onto or or any number of sites and search for "that perfect fabric".  Eventually I realize how crazy that is and just power down and go back to sleep.  The true madness,  however,  is knowing that if go back to any of those sites  in the following days, my cart has been saved and all I have to do is press that BUY button and it will arrive at my front door sometime soon.
Anyway, back to my creative process.  I'll stand in front of my wall of fabric and decide which colours to pull.  In this case, I was thinking about the blue rainbow doll, so I pulled a bunch of blue fabric.  Then I got out some beads and threw those around and then added some yarn and mohair.
So,  I mix things up a bit, try to imagine what it is that I'm trying to create and this is the finished product.
Her hair is dyed blue mohair, her outfit is made with blue batik, her knees are round brocade beads, and her neckline and cuffs are Austrian glass beads. 

Here's a closeup of her face.

And here's a closeup of her tiny little waist.
Next week I'm going to show the process from start to finish with an entirely new creation and I'll also be adding a photo of the entire rainbow collection.
So, stay tuned.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Then Along Comes Corky

If you were to ask him, Corky would not be his name of choice.  More likely he'd choose something like Hannibal or Bruiser.  Something with more strength to it.  Corky just doesn't seem to be manly enough.

If you look up Tuxedo Cats on the internet you will be flooded with hundreds of sites devoted to the attributes of this charming feline.  Apparently tuxedo cats are smarter than your average feline.  It is said that other cats living in the same households benefit from their presence and that their intelligence may improve by at least 10%.  I'm not too sure...
Notice a bit of a pattern there?

Tuxedo cats are brave.
It is rumoured that a tuxedo cat named Buster flew 17 combat missions over Europe with the US Eighth Air Force during WW II. He was shot down in January 1944 and spent the remainder of the war in a German Prisoner of War camp, where he was credited with improving the standard of living through his diligent rodent control efforts. (credit:  Magrathea and Randy Wallace)
Tuxedo cats have a sense of whimsy.  Why else would you choose to decorate the Christmas tree in the Christmas tree?
They appreciate talent. Corky is especially fond of Elvis and Adele.  He was so disappointed to know that American Idol did not really bring Elvis back from the dead to sing a duet with Celine Dion.  He is even more disappointed to know that there will never be an Elvis - Adele collaboration.

Tuxedo cats have a good sense of humour.  Here he laughing at Conan O'Brien.  He is also exceptionally partial to Jon Daly and Letterman, but thinks Leno is over-rated.  He likes Modern Family and misses Arrested Development.

They are helpful.  Corky has been known to drop whatever he's doing just to help me type out a few letters, sew a few buttons or make a bed.  I am ever so grateful for the help, and it is no problem to me that my chores only take hours longer with his help.  What would I do without him?

Tuxedo cats always look dressed up.  In recognition of their formal attire, tuxedo cats are the only felines admitted to the Metropolitan Opera.  They are grateful for the recognition and many outdoor tuxedo cats can be heard singing their favourite arias at night.

As you can tell, we love our little guy.  I could go on and on, but this is a doll blog after all and I really should talk about my latest project.  Well, I'm still working on my rainbow collection, so instead I'll post a photo of the first rocker doll I made for my daughter.  Her name is Grace.
That's all for now.  Back soon.