Flowers and Fairies

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We’ve been blessed with rain twice in the last week, with a chance for more in a few days.  We are back in extreme drought, which makes any bit of rain we get very precious.  The plants are soaking it up and putting on a bit of a show.

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I finished putting in the plants in the newest flower bed in my back yard.  I’ve been planning this bed for a while and I’m super thrilled to get it in this year.  It will help keep my foundation watered, if nothing else.  The rain helped the plants in this bed immensely, as well as making my garden happy!  I am not sure why, by my tomato and pepper plants in containers on my patio have already put on fruit while those in my garden are about a month behind, even though they were planted the same time.

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In addition to gardening, I’ve been working on the Flower Fairy.  She’s all dressed up and has arms now!  She has a linen petticoat lined with a ruffle and a second petticoat of embroidered netting.  This is topped with her skirt of a silky gauze.  She was at this point 3 or so weeks ago when I went to the last CTADS meeting.  I attached arms that night and the next and there she sat until this weekend.  I got her bodice and corset constructed and embellished this weekend.  Now I have her sleeves to make, after which, I’ll need to give her a face!  Her head is already sculpted but I’m waiting to draw her face until I finish her costume.

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Her skirt and corset have been hand-beaded.  The beading on the corset took me most of the afternoon.

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I designed her bodice with flowers in mind.  I wanted the impression of flower petals and leaves opening up around her.

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I really like the asymmetrical hemlines in the fashion magazines right now, which is what inspired her skirt.

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New Doll: The Searcher, Intro and Progress

I started a doll for the All Dolls Are Art 2012 Silent Auction and she didn’t get finished.  I’ve picked her back up again after finishing my Stretching Art and Tradition piece as she’s one of the pieces I’m submitting for the Celebration of the Doll exhibit at IQF in Houston.  I had to pick a name for her, and called her the Searcher, although I haven’t really thought up for story yet.  I’ll give her a better name, like Lina, the Searcher of Dreams or some such thing once I’ve had a chance to figure her out.  Normally, this part of the process is the beginning of a doll for me.  In this case, not so much.  Any way, here’s the current state of progress.

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Her creation is an entertaining story of calamities.  I started out with the fabric for her tunic, which is some rayon challis I hand-dyed.  The same fabric is used for her pants.  I added the velvet for the apron and the turban to the mix, also one of my hand-dyed fabrics (this one, hand-dyed indigo velvet, is available in my Etsy shop).  Since I had a definite purple theme going, I pulled some purple toned hand-dyed skin fabric out of my stash, laid out the freezer paper templates, not really paying attention to grain on anything but the face, and started constructing her figure.  After I started stuffing, I noticed something weird.  The first piece I stuff is the torso.  It was really, really long.  Then I stuffed the legs.  Whoa!  More weirdness, one was really long and skinny, the other, short and fat.  Hmmmnn.  What’s up with this, you ask?  Unlabeled, one-way stretch fabric.  I also ended up with one long arm and one short arm.  Because I was short on time, I went ahead and put her body together and it was really wonky.  So, her costume design was conceived to cover up the flaws in her figure.  LOL.  I ended up with a pseudo 1001 Arabian nights costume crossed with an east Asian flavor out of the need to cover up the maximum skin and hide the figure.

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Later I added the purple daisy trim (hand-dyed too using similar colors, but not intended to go with this fabric).  Since I had more time, I dug through my stash of Treasures of the Gypsy trims and ribbons and added the purple and gold braid at the hem of the tunic, the beaded trim at her forehead, and the purple rick-rack at the neckline.  She’s going to get a necklace or a scarf to go around her neck.

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She’ll also probably get a ton of beads to bring some sparkle to her turban and veil.  I’ve yet to finish her make-up and finish her hands (nails) and sculpt her feet.  I haven’t decided if she’s getting shoes or not yet.

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I have another piece to start for Celebration.  This will be the last in my Seasons of Goddesses series, the Goddess of Winter.  I really really want to do her in blues, but to go with the other 3, I think I’m going to do her in winter greens and reds.  I’m going to pull out fabric for her probably tomorrow or Thursday.  I already have a good idea of the costume and just need to finalize some details on her figure before I draft her pattern.  My goal is to have her pattern available for sale in time for the Houston quilt show.  We’ll see how that turns out!

Last, but certainly not least!  I’m an aunt again for the third time this evening.  My newest nephew (Sawyer) arrived (early!) at 8:23pm.  Mom and baby are doing great!

A New Project for Valentine’s Day

I have been working on a very late birthday present up until Friday, when I decided to do my end of year (yeah, I do the end of year stuff in January) filing, which was preceded by needing desperately to clean.   This urge was, of course, precipitated by my inability to find something….  I need a better organizational system.  The archeological method isn’t working for me.  So, Saturday was devoted to a few errands and cleaning and watching the playoff’s.  The weather was beautiful, the way it is rarely before we get the next cold front blowing through.  I know, Texas doesn’t really get cold, cold fronts, but this one was supposedly an arctic blast.  Whenever one of these fronts starts dipping down, it drags moisture up from the gulf, which, IF WE ARE VERY LUCKY, results in a little bit of rain.  The big thing it does, is make everything cloudy and gloomy.  So, Saturday was a great picture day, if I hadn’t been cleaning that is.  I did take a few minutes to snap these wise guys on my tree.  I can almost see them “Hey, you!  You wanna piece of me?  Huh?  You wanna piece of me?”.  I think that obscure reference is from the Animaniacs, but I honestly can’t remember.

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Sunday morning, I woke up with a very sore throat and a head-cold.  That’s what I get for telling the girl at the hospital (long story short, sat in the ER with my Dad for a loose screw – his) that I never get sick….  I’m not getting the last laugh…  So, not working on the present, because I’m not giving the recipient his germs back… Yeah, he was out Friday sick; so I’m guessing he’s the donor of the germs.  Anyway, I slowly poked through cleaning up the paint studio.  Again, watched the playoffs, but the first game was so bad that I spent more time in the studio than out. 

I finally got space cleared enough that I could work and decided to try out a vague idea for a pin doll.  Even in my mentally challenged state, I came up with this pretty little girl.

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I’m trying her out as an idea for a class, but am also thinking of listing her in my Etsy shop.  She was a lot of fun, especially as I got to play with the Sizzix die-cuts and embossing folders.

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She is made from some small wood pieces, grunge board, copper wire and copper sheet metal, fibers, beads, pearls and is backed with felt and has a pin attached.  She’s almost 7” from wing tip to wing tip and is 5” tall.  I’m really happy with how she turned out!  I was thinking V-day when I came up with the color scheme, but I really like copper with reddish tones.  Of course, I love turquoise with copper too.  May have to make another one with turquoise!

A Little of This, a Little of That, a Lot of Progress

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I have been a busy bee this last week and have worked on, and mostly finished, a lot of things.  This means I have a lot of pictures to post this evening.  Above is what my bookshelf with dolls looks like currently.  Actually, this is only one of my bookshelves with dolls on it, but it has most of the completed pieces from this year, so far, including all three of my Goddess of Seasons series that are done or mostly done to date.

Modron has doubled as my Goddess of Fall and my CTADS doll in a year piece.  The theme for that was Monochromatic.  I chose shades and tones of brown, obviously.  She has a bit more work to go before she is done, but she was complete enough for me to take today.

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Here she is, with her headdress completed, and her cloak mostly completed.

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Her shoes peaking out from under her skirt.

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I took Diane Keeler’s Shoe class on Adele Sciortino’s A for Artistic online classroom.  I just finished these guys up yesterday. 

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I also finished her headdress up.

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Here are Modron, Sirona and Aine together.  I did not realize, until I put them next to each other that I gave them all green eyes.

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Patterns for Sirona and Aine are available on my Etsy shop and Modron should be available before the end of the year.

The other thing I had to have done for today was my Christmas ornament for our ornament exchange.  I made this Christmas bell last evening using some of my fabric paper, a left over head from me table favor dolls for ADAA, and some wool felt and wool felt balls.

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Donna got my ornament.  She made the Gourd Doll that I won at the CTADS retreat this year, so I’m happy that she now has something of mine.

Last but NOT least!  I finished up Annie’s book pages.  As a refresher, her theme is Carnival of Freaks.

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Here’s Electric Girl.  I used Angelina on the background and beaded the three fire balls.

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I also used this great orange lace trim on the edge.

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And here is the bottle imp.  He’s kind of hanging out in space, and I’m so pleased with how the background turned out, between the Shiva paint sticks, the foiling and the original bleached and over-dyed fabric.  I added some Tim Holtz gears and sequins to add a bit more depth.

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And that’s all of the progress.  I need to clean up a bit so I can start on my next project or two.  The first thing is a commission for a monkey made from a Karen Shifton pattern that Gypsy Pamela carries.  The next are presents for my niece and nephew.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday Boycott

I spent part of yesterday with my parents and my youngest brother, eating a delicious Thanksgiving meal and enjoying the company of my family.  I managed to love on all the family cats, including the shy ones.  My two were sacked out, Marigold on the bed where she’s been spending lots of time since the arrival of Marley, who was laying in bliss on the rug that he’s turned into his personal catnip patch. 

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My parents’ cats, were much more energetic, having had the smell of turkey pervading the house for 4 hours by the time I arrived.  I kept attempting to get pictures and mostly missed them, except for this one episode with Daisy patting my brother Andrew’s hand at the dining room table.

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After I left, I came home and worked on Modron.  I worked on her face, but wasn’t quite happy with it, so set it aside on the pile of fabric in the collection for her clothing and proceeded to work on her first layer of clothes.

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She tried on an under bodice and skirt, but the skirt wasn’t working, so I set it down for the evening and read a book.  Not the most productive of days.

Not being a person who likes or tolerates crowds, I don’t see the point of black Friday.  I spent an hour redoing Modron’s skirt and working out the pattern for her over-bodice, then I went to the post office to get my mail and took my camera.  I have been meaning to stop all week at the park between my bank and the post office, next to Brushy Creek.  The light has been so fantastic that I wanted to take pictures, but kept forgetting the camera.  Not today!

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It’s a really nice park, with what appears to be a half-mile or so trail that goes along Brushy Creek on both sides of the Interstate.

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This is the view back west, up Brushy Creek, from across Chisholm Trail.  Chisholm Trail is named for the Chisholm Trail, which runs right through this spot.  This was a lot water crossing that the cattle drives from South Texas used to cross Brushy Creek on their way to Kansas.

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Looking back east, you can still see the wagon ruts in the limestone bed of the creek.

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Because of the drought, the creek is pretty low and these ruts are exposed and full of leaves.

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And this is the round rock for which Round Rock is named.  This rock marked the low water crossing and the post office was sited here as settlement built up along Brushy Creek.  The settlement was originally known as Brushy Bend, but the name changed to Round Rock with the founding of the post office.

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A bit upstream there is a small dam and waterfall.  A great blue heron was wading above the falls and I kept stalking him upstream, hoping for a shot, but no such luck.  The best I got was a partial shot of him winging away upstream.

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There were several trees with really cool bark.  I had to take several pictures of this one, though, because you can actually see layers in the knobs of bark.  I had a very enjoyable hour walking around with my camera, enjoying the sunshine, moderate temperatures and the views.  Then I headed back home – yes, home – to eat lunch and spend the rest of my day working on Modron.

I got her over bodice done and the sleeves constructed and attached.  Modron is the Goddess of Fall (3rd in my Seasons of Goddesses) series, but I can easily see how I could modify her to make her a superb angel…. so that’s going on my list of dolls to work on (ever expanding!).

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Here’s her wrap around over-bodice.

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And her sleeve.  It’s lined with this cool, burnt-out velvet I got in one of the Gypsy’s fabric club packs.  In fact, all of this fabric so far is from fabric clubs from this fall.

As I worked on her clothing today, I figured out what her face needed.  The bluish green eye-shadow had to go.  And once I figured that out, I figured out she needed greenish eyes instead of brown.

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Isn’t this much better!

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Here she is, as she looks this evening.  I took a bunch of fabric out of her skirt.  It was too full before.  Now it’s perfect.

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I spent the bulk of the evening beading the trip onto her skirt.

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I’ve managed to go all the way round (all 20”) beading the sequins of the trip down on the top and just have to do the bottom.  Modron, in case I haven’t mentioned it, is also going to be my CTADS doll in a year piece.  Our theme this year is “Monochromatic”.  Obviously, she’s not taking me a year, having only been started in the last week.  I have to have her done by the unveiling on December 10, but should be done with her before I go back to work on Monday.

So, that’s how you boycott Black Friday – you spend some time outdoors in a park and the rest of it in your studio!  The day flies by, you accomplish a ton, refill the well a bit, and, best of all, don’t spend any money!