Sunday, May 29, 2016

Introducing: Pearl!

I finally ran out of reasons to not try making my first doll! This is Pearl. Pearl came to life when an artist friend of mine announced a contest revolving around a drawing she'd done. The rules were simple: keep the original elements of the drawing and have fun! I couldn't resist the temptation. Twenty people entered and five prizes were awarded last night. The results, including all of the wonderful entries, can be found here. And the other entries are worth ogling. They are all fantastic!

I had little less than a month to come up with concept sketches and put her together. Originally she was suppose to be pulling a wagon with her two stuffed toys in it. 

I wasn't able to finish the wagon in time for the contest deadline, but the most time consuming portion got done. Now I just need to paint the wheels and build the axle assemblies and handle. 

Yes. I lost my mind and designed a wicker wagon! The wheels are O gauge circus wagon wheels. I thought they were pretty and just the right size. I haven't decided on the final paint colors yet, but that is a project for later next week. 

Her plush toys are the original characters in the contest drawing and are entirely polymer clay. The stuffed kitty came out sort of teddy bear shaped, but that's ok. His eyes were sculpted to be buttons. 

The sentient flying marshmallow character (yes, you did read that correctly) also has a button face. I wanted to emphasize the plushness of the wings to be like the wings on stuffed toys I had as a child. 

The same marshmallow character is painted on the balloon. Since the original kitty in the drawing was holding the marshmallow on a string, the idea of the balloon was born.

The balloon was a bit of a challenge. If I had to change one thing about anything I did for this doll, it would be the balloon. It's solid clay, and therefore heavy. I should have made a ball of foil and covered it in clay instead. I do have some of that blue color left, so I may go back and remake it.

Now for details on Pearl! She's a little anthropomorphic kitty girl who is about 7 or 8 years old, based on her height. Her armature is pipe cleaner and she's padded in scraps of quilt batting. - Handy that I have that laying around! - Both of her hands wear sculpted to grip specific objects. Balloon in the left; wagon handle in the right.

Her body has been flocked (it's fuzzy) with flocking I cut myself from DMC Blanc embroidery floss.

She's sporting jaunty silk ribbons on her tail and behind her ear.

Her claws (sheathed) are "painted" to match her outfit. I used micro no-hole beads for the tips of her nails. Their color bled a bit in the oven, but I was able to hide that with flocking.

The details of her face were painted prior to adding her fur.

Her clothes are made from a current line of Moda quilt cotton and some blenders I found at the quilt shop. She's wearing pantaloons because, well, you know people always turn them upside down!

As for her name, I thought it was fitting to name her after my late friend, Pearl Jordan, who I had the pleasure of knowing through our miniature club but I didn't know long enough. She'd encouraged me to start trying dolls years ago after she saw some of my other clay minis. I wish she was here to see what I've come up with.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Running Late But I'm Here!

Sorry I'm so late posting today. I actually forgot it was Sunday and started piecing some quilt blocks this morning. Then FH went on a 30-mile bike ride and ended up needing me to come and rescue him. ;-)

So over the last week I finished a couple more bunny sculpts and finally made one I was happy with. All three are now painted and waiting to be flocked.

The color patterns for the seal point and grey/white bunnies came from a bunny calendar I had handy. Next up for them: dotting the eyes with gloss varnish and flocking the bodies so they're fuzzy.

I started making the flocking on Friday night and got about a third of the way through before my right index finger went numb. Apparently my scissors handle was too small and resulted in a pinch nerve. It's getting better, but typing is a tad fiddly.

There is an advantage to making my own flocking. I can create "tweeded" colors that are blends to help the fur look more natural. Plus I can get any shade I want, instead of being limited by what's available commercially.

Since these got finished before I started the blog post, I'm including them. Another Twitch streamer is collecting blocks for a Quilt of Valor project. I thought it would be fun to participate, so here's what I came up with.

Counterclockwise, starting at the top left: Single square with appliqued star; bow tie; 9-patch variation; snowball; and a flag. I played around with the flag design to take advantage of the fun fabric designs.

That's all for now. I've got some more sewing to do and I need to work on cutting flocking some more. See you all next week!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Start of A Bun

Last week was pretty crazy busy. I spent most of Monday and Tuesday dealing with storms, so I couldn't stream. I cleaned instead, which while not as fun was very necessary.

Wednesday I tried playing with some round hat boxes from the mini group meeting the week before, but they failed spectacularly. Not to be undaunted, I switched gears and played with some hat straw. I made two hats and apparently neglected to get a photo of them. Will have to remedy that at some point.

Thursday was much more fun! I did some pattern alteration and then sculpted a bunny.

I need to paint his face and then I'm going to flock him so he's fuzzy. I've never flocked a mini animal before, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Friday was a fun shopping day with a friend. Fat quarters, a remnant, and silk ribbon came home with me.

Saturday was the best though! Miss Hummingbird (not-so Little D's sister) is on a rugby team and she had a game. No pics of that as the girls are all minors. ;-)

But! FH and I went to a street festival and we got to see The Enigma perform! I've been wanting to see him live for decades! FH took this picture. I was sitting on a curb and FH was standing behind me. I still have bits of apple from the chainsaw portion of the act in my hair.

Because we know the man who organized the festival I was actually bale to meet The Enigma and chat with him, and the other performers, for quite a bit as we helped strike the set for the night.

That's all for now. I've got to read up on how to flock this bunny. There are some great tutorials on the CDHM site. See you next week!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Little Handbags

I think I went a bit overboard this past week. I wanted a break from hats and there was a neat modern handbag project in a mini mag that I'd recently picked up.

Monday's stream Saw me experimenting with different bits of thin leather. I learned that of the leather on hand, the thin suedes worked the best. So in this photo, only the mulberry leather bag (and the binder clip bag I made for funsies) were kept.

Tuesday I raided my stash of suede and pulled out three colors to play with. I also picked up some "bling" to make them spiffier. I also cut out several more bags in different colors and the card stock supports pieces. That took quite a while.

I thought it might be fun to use both sides of the suede so I could get different textures. Both of these blue bags are from the same piece of leather! :-)

Wednesday was a really long stream. I assembled 11 bags! The first red bag also got its decorations.

I had to call it quits around 7pm so I could eat something. Once I'd caught my breath, I did these two black bags quickly. Again, note the difference in the textures. Same leather piece for both.

So now I have lots of these bags. Not sure where all of them will end up, but I couldn't resist all the different colors. Sadly, the mulberry leather has the same texture on both side, so I can't get two different bags from that one. Also the other side of the leather that ivory bag (left front) doesn't have an appealing texture, so it's a singleton as well.

Thursday was mini group day. We organized more than we worked on projects. But we have 2 full Saturdays panned for this summer! And we've divided up this year's Festival dollhouse! So it was a productive meeting.

Friday I cleaned up many things downstairs. It was long overdue. And Saturday FH  and I watched the Derby with our neighbor. I made a cake that evening, but it's still setting up in the fridge and I'd prefer not to disturb it for a picture. If I can, I'll get one and add it to the post later.

For now, it's late (just barely technically Sunday morning) and I need to finish cleaning up the kitchen and go to bed. There is a "Welcome Home" party for "Little D"... who isn't so little anymore. He's all grown up and back from serving a tour of duty overseas. It's going to be a wonderful Sunday afternoon!

*** Edit: As promised, the Margarita Cake!
(That gel layer is tequila, grand marnier, margarita mix, and gelatin. Needless to say, must be 21 to consume in the US.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mini Millinery Madness

Note: Somehow this didn't get published on Sunday. Sorry for that!

Well perhaps not madness, but I'm certainly having fun with these little hats! In anticipation of June's mini group meeting, I started figuring out the top two fabric hat choices from Millinery Magic by Barbara Hillier Smith: the Gibson Girl and a flat brimmed hat.

I decided to make two of each hat; one in cotton and the other in silk. That way there's more than one example of each hat and everyone can see the effects of both fabrics. Then I decided I wanted to make the pillbox hat design for myself... just because.

So Monday and Tuesday were spent constructing mini hats. The Gibson girl hats are the black and white floral and the blue silk. I only made the flat brimmed hat in cotton on Monday. I needed to unearth my other silk colors.

Other silk was reclaimed and used for the other flat brimmed hat and a pillbox on Tuesday. The grey pillbox is cotton.

There were nasty storms on Wednesday, so I didn't stream. The PC needed to stay off and unplugged.

Thursday I decorated three of the hats. The rose silk pillbox's details were inspired by many of the pillbox hat images I found online. I used the same fabric to create the fan shape. The grey pillbox got a hefty bow out of mini rick rack, three silk roses, and a dark feather.

The blue silk hat got the royal treatment. Lace roselets, silk roses encrusted with silver no hole beads, silk leaves, feathers, a silk band, and some pearls. Here's another view of the blue silk hat's decor. I used some of the 2 mm glass pearls I had stashed away for a rainy day.

This flat brimmed hat got a cotton band. I need to make some daisies to attach to the back on top of the bow.

I'm still figuring out the bits and bobs for the other two hats.

Friday was a day for research. I combed through my entire stash of books and magazines looking for tutorials on parasols, purses, other hat designs, gloves, shoes, and anything else that might go into a hat shop.I came away with quite a stack and have chosen a few to test out and show to the mini club members. They can decide which ones they want to learn.

I also took the time and ordered several spools of 4 mm silk ribbon. My stash had never been large and I've already wiped out one shade of purple. So in a week I shall have a silken rainbow to work with.

Saturday I prowled through thrift shops looking for deals on silk blouses. I found a couple in colors that I don't already have. One is a silk-cotton blend in a delicate shade of purple and drapes ever so well. I'm already seeing at least one gown made from it in the future. For now though, I believe there will be a parasol and some gathered flowers on a hat of some sort. There was also a thin leather vest in a mulberry color. I decided to grab it up too.

That's all for now. I'm going to go tidy up the studio, do some housework, and perhaps play with that leather vest and some purse patterns. See you next week!