Thursday, July 30, 2009

Collaboration project & Scotties!

Art Doll Quarterly has a challenged called "Upcycled". Chris & I decided to pool our ideas together & came up with these two dolls to send off to ADQ hoping they will get published. They are called "King Zenith & his Wizard Philco". Both dolls started with a beanie baby torso. Chris used the whole body for Philco. Zenith has a Troll doll head with appendages made using wool felt. Zenith is encrusted with beads and vintage findings. He has a Zenith emblem from an old table top Zenith radio as his crown, and he is holding a vintage lace darner. Philco has a radio tube from one table top that Chris took apart with his staff an old bamboo stick for shish kabobs, and a light bulb from another radio. Zenith is sitting on a throne made from an old candle holder with radio schematics & tubes. Philco is sitting on a volume tuner from some other old radio. We had fun making these together & decided we are going to do more of these projects. I love it that we can talk art together & even though we have different ideas on where the project will go, we have this in common & it keeps us laughing & having fun.

On another note. We just bought Coraline yesterday & I swear, but I laughed so hard I thought I was going to wet myself. WHY? Those Scotties are way too cute. When we saw the scene where the sisters had their dead Scotties all stuffed and dressed as angels, we were howling so much the threesome decided to join in with us. Frodo "Arrooed" so loud that he had laryngitis the rest of the day. I couldn't imagine a happier home than having 3 Scotties greeting you, can you? Oh and like the floor mat says..."No whining Allowed". LOL! My motto to be sure. It was too funny as every time the Scotties in the movie barked or woofed, our three would jump up & run over to the television to sniff around. Life with Scotties is definitely an acquired taste, but we love it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Whatcha think?

Chris made me a new logo for my blog. What do you think? It is a group shot of some of the beaded beanies that I still own.

Just got the bill for my domain name. I realized that I hadn't done a thing with that website in over 2 years, so I set Chris on a mission to rebuild He lost the original program he first built the site with, but he has another program that he's going to teach himself & work on a brand new website. I really need it as what it up there is so old AND I don't even look like the bio picture anymore. MOF, I think that was taken around 7 years ago when Fiona was very young. Now she's a fat old lady dog with her son getting gray hairs!

Oh well...enough. I've got to get in gear & get to work. Been working a lot lately as we are short staffed due to people quitting. Nice having the extra money. I plan on saving it all for my big trip to Tahoe for Bead Unique's Retreat. Can't wait! I heard that they are almost sold out.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Doesn't anyone care???

I am very disappointed in our media today. I was very excited to wake up this afternoon & find coverage today about one of the most momentous days in the history of the United States. Nothing! There was coverage about the Jonas Brothers, most about Michael Jackson, Health Care Reform, but nothing at all about the day 40 years ago when Neil Armstrong became the first man every to walk on the surface of the Moon. I had to search and found one tiny article about Buzz Aldrin. What is wrong with people today? I'm so disappointed that most people have no idea who Neil Armstrong even is! Maybe it is because of my age, and the fact that to me the mission to the Moon was such a big part of my life while growing up.

I spent my childhood in a suburb of Los Angeles during the late 50 early 60s. I can still remember when I got my issue of My Weekly Reader. I was just learning to read and would sit for hours going over every single word making my parents listen to me. One day I was reading about John Glenn being the first American astronaut in Space. I had no idea what an astronaut was, so I read it to my Dad asking him questions. He then told me that John Glenn was from Ohio where we originally came from. Then he took out a children's book of knowledge (maybe it was called that, will have to ask Mom), and showed me pictures of the Solar System. I was hooked! I had to read everything about the planets and the astronauts. I was obsessed with the Mercury Missions and wanted to see all those men brave enough to sit on top of a huge rocket & get propelled into Space. Heck, I wanted to be an astronaut. My Dad would let me stay home to watch every launch of the Mercury mission, and then later on with every Apollo mission. I saved Life magazine articles, and begged older adults to explain big words to me when I'd get stumped. My teachers helped me explore my fascination with the planets, and encouraged all students to do the same. So there I would be shut up in our house watching in glorious black and white the images from lift off to splash down.

On this day, July 20th, 40 years ago we were living in Portsmouth Ohio. It was a steamy typical Ohio Summer night. My Dad had grilled out hamburgers for us as a treat for this special day. He made us root beer floats, and all of use sat in our house with a small fan blowing hot air over all 7 of us watching Walter Cronkite talking to this person or that person waiting for THE MOMENT just was we were. Tension was so high! We were afraid to leave the room or else that minute in history would be gone. Then the there he was! Neil Armstrong stepped out of the LEM, and was climbing down the steps. In a crackling voice we heard his words as he put his foot down onto the Lunar surface. We all jumped up & yelled. I still remember that iconic scene when Walter was so happy he took off his glasses, wiped his eyes & smiled like a goof in front of all of America. He was so proud at that moment...and so were we. My Dad was so excited that he told us all to come out back. As a surprise he's found a pair of binoculars and we all took turns looking at the Moon trying to see the Astronaut walking on the Moon's Face. It was such a spectacular night. I couldn't sleep and would peek out the upper bedroom mirror looking at the radiant beams of a place Man now walked on. I spent the next days nervous until finally news came through that the Astronauts were safe. was so thrilling to be alive that day.

So though the rest of the world has decided to ignore this day, I will sit here and remember how exciting it was to be alive on that day. To look up at the shining Moon face and realize that it was really a place and not a picture in my books. Maybe the Nightly News will have something about this glorious day, but I'm sure there will other reports about some celebrity getting divorced. Our world is so different. Our views have changed, but deep in my heart, I still hold true to that thrilling time when Men wanted to reach out for the Stars, and they did!


ps...I just turned on my favorite television station...TCM (Turner Classic Movies), and they are showing movies with the theme of the I guess someone does care. Right now is a movie that Robert Heinlein wrote the script for. I'm going to watch that while I cook dinner.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seed Beads-Why?

First off, my computer is on the fritz! poor ole eMac has been with me for awhile, and I'll miss it when it is gone. Chris worked on it, but he thinks the power supply is dying on it as it gives me this zap/blink every so often. I totally freaked out the first time it was zapping at me. I actually woke Chris up from a nap begging him to help me to back up on this system. I admit that I'm such a procrastinaLinktor & haven't done back up in over a year. I was so scared that I was gong to lose not only images, but the articles I've written for magazines and class instructions. Thank goodness it is all now on CDs & Chris even did a backup to his hard drive & burned a DVD of everything for me. I'm computer shopping...again! We bought Chris a new system in May for his birthday present, and now it looks like it is my turn. I think I'm going to get an IMac.

So I finally got time to look at the blogs I follow. Marcia asked a very interesting question on her blog "why seed beads?". I got to thinking about why I love working with seed beads so much. I have one word...coloring! When I 4 years old, my Mom bought me the biggest box of Crayolas that you could get back then and a large coloring book. I have no idea if it was a Mickey Mouse coloring book, or a Bugs Bunny (Mom can't remember either), but she laid on the floor with me & taught me to color in the lines. I spent hours and hours coloring in books that I got for presents. Times when we had no money for coloring books, my Mom would take some butcher paper and scribble designs with a big black crayon and let me fill it in with different colors. Even to this day the smell of crayons takes me back to that time when she'd hand me a crayon, and then show me how to shade by simply pushing down harder onto the paper.

Then when I was 10, my Grandmother introduced me to embroidery with floss. My Grandmother loved to do designs on pillow cases, scarves and towels. From her, I learned how to thread a needle, do flowers using satin stitch, back stitch, and make those French knots. I would practice on scraps of thrown away materials. I found myself making doll bodies and using French knots for eyeballs. But for some reason, I lost interest in sewing...until I went to college. I needed to make a little extra money for fun things, and found that I could make really elaborate patches for jeans. Also, I liked to split the seams in the jeans and add colorful materials to make the really have big gigantic bells. I actually had guys bring me their pants just to patch with my funky designs. I also would doodle constantly with colored pencils my parents got me for Christmas. I had my whole dorm wall covered with these doodles.

When I started to work, I found I had plenty of time waiting for the bus so I started to sew again. This time I found crewel to be the perfect fit. Remember all those crewel kits with owls, and landscapes? Those were my favorite! I'd have my yarns all sorted out by color, and spend hours/days/weeks working on a project. My Mom & Grandma still have a crewel painting I'd done for them. Then I met Vicki Brooks who turned me on to cross stitch. How my mind just went crazy with all the patterns, and the choice of colors of DMC floss. For the next 20 years, I spent all my spare time exploring cross stitch. I'd buy magazines, books, and patterns not only to work on new projects, but to just look at the patterns. (I still have all of these). Then one day, I bought a kit from the local Cross stitch shop called Cross My Heart (might still be in town, but not sure). This kit only only blended the DMC floss to make unique colors, but it had beads! Mill Hill beads used to embellish the cross stitch samplers...I was hooked.

My best friend who I met through a Scottish Terrier group asked me to take her to the local bead shop in town on our way to an antique convention. I didn't really want to go, but as soon as I walked through the doors of Byzantium, I was enthralled with all those colors of beads winking at me. I didn't immediately get into beading, but it was always there calling me. I got tired of most of the American trade cross stitch magazines who were mainly printing patterns for country style or flowers. I wanted something different, so at a Barnes and Nobles bookstore, I found this magazine called Jill Oxton Cross Stitch and Beading. This was only the third issue where Jill had included beading. It was called square stitch. I fell in love. Once again, I dived in and became obsessed with square stitch and bought all the Delicas I could find. I made bracelets, earrings, and amulet bags. It was like coloring all over again, except this time I was using needle, thread, and beads!

During this time, my friend told me about this beading group on Delphi Forums. I joined & here is where I met someone else who'd change me so much. It was Cindy McCormick. Cindy did beaded dolls. I feel head over heels. I got my nerve up and wrote her an e-mail asking how I would start. She, Cynthia and all the others on Bead Art taught me how to bead a doll. What to know about that first doll? I was so proud that I made my own design and beaded both sides (I was doing the flat version that Cynthia and Cindy were doing at the time). Imagine my extreme disappointment when I put both sides together and the DIDN'T match! I was so frustrated. I wrote Cindy. She told me that they were TWINS and it just meant that I needed to make another doll. NO WAY! I wrote her & Cynthia that I was through. I was never going to make another beaded doll again. I almost threw away both the pieces, then for some reason my stubborn side turned on & I decided that by crackers, I was going to finish this doll. Don't ask me how, but I managed to get both sides put together, stuffed & finished. Twins is definitely a very ugly doll, but she is my first. I took a picture, scanned that picture, and sent the image to Cindy. She thought it delightful.

Well, that was a very long time ago. I've come so far since that day. Now I "color" with beads. I've been asked why do I do it, and I just laugh and say because I'm still a child inside enjoying colors. Hey, sometimes when I really wax my Nymo thread and whiff the wax smell, I'm back there on the floor with my box of 16 colors and Mom beside me.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Want to get published???

Below is information on the ongoing challenges for Doll Crafter & Costuming. Start out by getting a picture of your doll in the Gallery section. Remember though that a submission does not guarantee publication, but hey! try it!

Challenges for Doll Crafter & Costuming:

you can e-mail a .jpg to with your name and "Gallery" in the subject line. Include topic, doll's name, height & materials used, and your name with submission. You can also mail a picture to P.O. Box 5000, Iola, WI 54945-5000. Digital images should be 300 dpi resolution & measure around 3 inches by 5 inches.

November: Bling, Bling. Necklaces, earrings, tiaras...dolls with sparkle. Due July 15th.
December: Happy Holidays! Santas, elves, & other Holiday figures. Due Aug. 15th.
January: Winter Wonderland. Winter themed dolls . Due Sept. 15th.
February: BJD Beauty. Show off ball-jointed dolls. Due Oct 15th

Thursday, July 2, 2009 homework is late

Oh I've been a very bad girl. I have been keeping up week by week with my homework for Summer School, but I've been too lazy to download the pictures to my computer. Most of the pictures have been so fuzzy. I really must learn to use my CoolPix to take close ups instead of relying on using PhotoShop to crop. So that is my excuse. My dogs didn't eat my homework (hey it HAS happened when Frodo ate a whole spool of my orange Silamide, and my old cat Casper did eat the corners off a paper I did for school), but my photography skills are less than to be deserved. Sorry...teacher.

For the second week of SS, I pulled out my copy of Diane Fitzgerald's the Beaded Garden. LOVE this book. I used it way back in 2005 when I was working on Fantasy Swim. Week two and three were working on flowers. I did peyote flowers using different size beads, herribone flowers, and netted flowers. I think they look pretty good together even if the photos are bad. Then for this, the 4th week, I did a bug from Jill Oxton's magazine. I LOVE this bug. I don't have the issue up here right now, but I'll edit it later to tell you what issue it came from.

Tomorrow if I get up in time (gotta work tonight), I want to get to Bzyantium to turn in my proposals for Fall classes & to buy some more green delicas to make this other bug in the same article. I forgot how much I loved doing square stitch. It was one of the very first bead stitches that I taught myself. Who knows, I might make a whole bunch of these beetles to wear around my neck!

Hey, I actually realized that I can move the images around in different parts of the post...another thing learned in SS.