Thursday, March 31, 2011


I've been pretty quiet this past week. Work has been extremely wicked with the Emergency Room full every night, and you know that means those folks need lab work done which means...I'm on the feet all the time. I get home in morning and after feeding the three Scotties, I'm in bed. Yet even when I get up my feet are aching. I bought new shoes, and they are making the pain a little better, but I think I'm going to have to break down & visit my Podiatrist again & see about getting more steriod shots. Sound awful, but it does work.

Chris & I are going to be having a vendor table at AFIC. I'm taking classes there, but Chris is going to man the booth Friday night, and then all day Saturday and Sunday. I'm so excited that he'll be able to show off some of the great work he has been doing in the past two years. He wanted for us to do a collaboration to show off at AFIC, and I agreed it would be fun to work together again. He went rummaging through the basement where we keep boxes of things we've accumulated in our thrift store wanderings. He found an old lamp and a box of Christmas tree lights from back when we were kids (think we found them at a flea market). So out came the vacuum tubes and he began on a lighted Rocket. He challenged me to then make an Astronaut that could ride the Rocket. I sat down and drew up a new doll pattern and began to audition fabric. I didn't want to paint the doll body to make it look like a space suit and was so excited when down deep in a box I found this fun fabric I bought last Halloween. I also wanted my doll to look cute, so instead of the big noses I usually sew for my dolls, I went for a tiny little bump of a nose & it worked fabulous. Then, it went to Chris & he came up with this perfect item for the Rocket Man's helmet. It originally came from a child's toy we found at the thrift store. Chris cut an opening in the bottom, and the Astronaut's head fit perfect. Then it was back to me to finish up the space suit. I added two life support packs on the front and back with crystals to mock lights blinking off an on, and I made a collar so the helmet would sit properly on the shoulders. Then back to Chris. He posed and mounted the Rocket Man. Then he plugged in the lamp. The flames light up and it really looks like it is headed for deep space.

We had so much fun working on this project together. We are now doing another piece I hope to finish and enter into Doll Street Dreamer's Steampunk challenge at AFIC. I've been drawing a design & he's been cutting and getting the pieces together. I'm so lucky.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scottie Sunday

I thought I'd do a little something different this Sunday and hope to carry
through with this idea. It is going to be called "Scottie Sunday" where I'm
going to share some of my Scottie Dog Antiques with you all. I don't think many
people know that before I got obsessed with beading and doll making, my biggest
passions was collecting Scottie Dog pieces. It all began back in 1989 when I bought my first Scottie
dog named FalaPink. We wanted a Scottie dog after going to Hyde Park and saw a picture of FDR with Fala hanging out the window of the car. On FDR's desk was Fala's collar. I grew up with Dauschunds so I had no idea how a terrier would change my life. Boy, did Fala ever do that. I remember taking him to my vet after purchasing him from an elderly couple on the south end of town. My Vet asked me if I knew anything about Scotties. Well, I didn't as I just thought they were cute. My Vet laughed and told me do I have a lot to learn as terriers are unique and have a wee bit of a controlling attitude and can be stubborn. And yes, I learned that real fast with Falakins. So with my new four legged baby boy taking over my life and changing it forever, I began to surround myself with trinkets and knick knacks making my house look like some Scottie dog museum.

This is one piece that I was lucky to find at a Scottie Dog Antique convention in Cincinnati called Wee Scots started by Donna Newton. This is a pair of Hubley bookends. They are cast iron and have been painted. This pair is in fair condition. Here is a little history of the Hubley company out of Pennsylvania:

Hubley Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1894 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by John Hubley and produced toys throughout its history. Early Hubley production consisted of many cast iron toys including various horse drawn vehicles, guns, and household objects such as doorstops and bookends. Many of their cast iron objects were dogs, and they are highly prized by collectors today. With the automotive age, cars, trucks, and other transportation became their focus. The Hubley Company made accurate metal replicas of Model A Fords and other cars for many years; for example, there are 7 Model A Ford body styles alone: Sedan, Station Wagon, Coupe, Roadster, Roadster Pickup, Victoria, and Phaeton. Though mass produced, Hubley toys and doorstops were painted by hand, so each has become a unique treasure appreciated both for its subject matter and the �folk art� quality of its paint, form and design. After WW II, die-cast zinc alloy models for the most part replaced the cast iron ones. In the casting process at Hubley, metalworkers would carve out a form of wood, or hammer the doorstop or toy design out in metal. The form was then pressed into finely compacted sand, making an impression. Cast iron heated to 3000 degrees was poured into the sand mold and, when cooled, the form would pop out and rough edges were filed off. In the decorating department, painters applied a base coat (usually white or cream but sometimes black) to the doorstop. Then, colorists used a variety of hues to highlight important details, usually only on the side that would face toward the room. Many doorstops bear identical color schemes, suggesting that decorators may have copied a model finished by a master artisan. A well-cast iron doorstop will be smooth in texture. Small chipping of paint is acceptable, but there should be no repainting of an antique item.

I do have a few of the Hubley door stops in my collection, but most of them have all be packed away for the future. Someday, Chris & I are going to get all those boxes out of the basement of closets and go through what I have. I collected for over 25 years so there is quite a bit of those pointy ear dogs residing in my house. I haven't sold any of them as I decided to just wait until I retire, and then "rehome" some of them like other members of Wee Scots passing on their treasures to me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

AFIC challenge

I've been working this week on the Artistic Figures in Cloth, which will be held
here in Columbus the last weekend in April,challenge doll. The theme this time is "Look Ma, No Stands". This means that you cannot use a doll stand or any visible means of support in your challenge piece. I wanted to come up with something a little different for this time. Two years ago, I actually won Best of Show: Original Pattern. That was my little spider rider called "Getting Motivated". Just as two years ago, I decided to tell a little story instead of just sewing up a doll. I'm know that I'm going to be ambitious with this latest piece that I'm going to call "Circus Grand Finale" with not two, not four, but seven individual dolls incorporated into one piece. I'm crazy! I actually drew up the design and came up with three different distinct patterns. I remember when I would never even think of trying my hand at drawing up my own pattern, but as I've taken more classes, studied how other doll makers work with pattern pieces, and actually got a little better at sewing, I'm developing my own style. Plus, all my dolls are small.

These are the four strongmen of the circus. They will be the bottom layer of a cake like piece. The hardest part getting these guys done was getting their legs into those shoes that contained the wire for the armature. I know the legs are a little whimpy for them, but any future strongmen type dolls will have a fatter or shall I say more muscular legs. I really don't like drawing eyes on cloth, so I decided to make their faces a little simple with sew on nail heads for the eyes, left over felt for the mustache, and wool roving for hair & chest hairs (my sister laughed when she saw their chest hair!). I used dyed cotton fabric that I bought from eleanor peace bailey years ago. It was a little tough to work with trying to turn those small pieces, but slowly and patiently I succeeded without blowing any seams out.

Stay tune for the next layer & if you are in Columbus the last weekend in April and would love to see the largest exhibit of hand made one of a kind dolls, the DoubleTree at Crosswoods is where all the fun will be held. Also, Chris & I will have a vendor's booth there.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

2011 Resolution

I know...two post in one day. But I didn't want to put these two pieces of jewelry in the blog announcement about Beading for a Cure.

My resolution for 2011 was to concentrate on practicing new beading techniques and to develop new pieces of jewelry. I've been busy making new necklaces and finished these two just in time to enter the Bead Maven's Vernal Visions contest with the deadline of March 21st. If you ever want to just spend some time looking at some delicious pieces of eye candy and pick up many ideas for beading and jewelry making, then definitely become a follower to this great blog where 5 top notch bead artist share ideas and projects with you. You won't be disappointed as it is an awe inspiring blog.

So here are the two necklaces I entered: This is Daffodil Spring which was inspired by a morning after getting off work looking at the ice covered world while the Three Scotties roamed the yard looking for rabbits. I looked down at the green sprouts around the patio and was just enthralled with the green sparkling promise of Spring Daffodils.

This second piece is what is left over from my big beaded collar called Na Pali Dream. Remember I said I tore it apart after putting in one only once and not liking it? Well, this is what I did with all those left over pieces cannibalized from that beaded collar. I like is so much better, and it actually looks good around my neck. It is once again inspired from that one moment in time standing on the north shores of Kauai looking over the Na Pali coastline as the mist from the surrounding water falls encompassed us. I frightened a small brown lizard who scurried from under the technicolored ferns. It was a mystical place and all this Winter with the snow, the ice, the frigid temperatures, and now the monsoon of rain, I think of that eternal place of Spring and beauty.Oh, by the way, Chris made a light box to take pictures of our new art pieces. Hasn't he done a wonderful job getting the diffused light to keep the harsh shadows from these? I can't wait to share some of the new items he's made. Also, he is going to be a vendor at AFIC next month here in Columbus. I'm going to have him post a few more of his robots in the coming weeks.

Beading for a Cure 2011

This is the message I got yesterday from Beki. I'm still pretty much in shock that Mother's Love won Best Use of Kit: Non Wearable. I still remember working on her with all those delicious purples and bronze. I even took the head with me to finish all that beaded hair when I was in Seattle & then at Ocean Shores. Why am I shocked. Well, there are so many lovely pieces entered this year that it literally takes your breath away. Everything is auctioned on on eBay starting next week and all money goes to Layne's Legacy. So go over and do a little drooling at all the lovely entries, and start saving your money to help beat Colon Cancer and pick up some lovelies at the same time.

Beading for a Cure Auctions

Beki's message:

Here are your winners for the 2011 Layne's Legacy - Beading For A Cure competition!

I can easily speak for all the judges when I say it was very, very difficult for us to choose winners. All of the beadwork was just amazing!
Here is a little note from one of our guest judges, Diane Fitzgerald:

"Thank you for giving me the opportunity to judge this contest. One can see that each entrant put her heart and soul into making a beautiful piece and it was not easy to select my nominations. Even though not everyone could be awarded a prize, I hope that each person understands that they are a winner by contributing to this contest and I wish them all the best."
Please join me in congratulating all of the winners!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bead Club March

Before I tell you about Bead Club, I wanted to remind everyone that the 16th is the last day to register for contest to win a trip to 2012 Gem and Jewelry show in Tucson. That is one heck of a prize. I would love to win that. Imagine living here in the snow belt and being able to board a plane and spend time in Tucson with the warmer weather and BEADS! What could be better? I can't think of anything in the winter except if they also threw in an ice cream social every single night. Also, Artbeads is having a special 20% off Luck of the Irish Sale with a 20% discount of orders of $60 or more. But you only have until the 14th for this deal. The coupon code for that is ZZ-IRISH20

Now to Bead Club. Last night was the second time I attended. It is held at 1 Stop Bead Shop the second Friday of the month. Two of the girls decided to do a mini workshop during Bead Club time which really hit home base. It is always more fun to sit with a group of women working on a project while gossiping and getting to know each other. The project this month was from a magazine we all had using the 2 needle right angle weave. I can do RAW but had never tried using two needles. The project called for 6 feet of Fireline which to me is way way too much. I got it all tangled up in my first try and decided to cut it in half and use only 3 feet which was easy for me to handle. Everyone else thought the 6 feet was a little extreme too. The first round went well with the color coded needles criss crossing to get the RAW pattern, then it got really funky as the written directions and the diagrams were almost impossible to decipher. Twelve of use scratching our heads and trying to come up with ideas on what the designer was telling us made everyone frustrated. Now usually I detest being frustrated while trying to figure someone out, but this time having others sharing this feeling with me made it more tolerable & we were all actually laughing about being so frustrated. I finally gave up the second needle and just concentrated doing RAW with one needle and you know what...the end product looked exactly like what everyone else who were brave enough to keep on struggling with the 2 needle version had done. So you want to see what my project looked like when I got finished? Sorry. I tore it apart this morning when I got up as I hated how it puckered when zipped the pieces together. Now, I'm not defeated by this project (for a change) and am going to rework it using regular 1 needle right angle weave. I'm practicing on doing this because I'm going to be taking Marcia DeCoster's Raising Sun at B&B and want to make sure I have a good understanding of the basics before tackling this class. So all in all, I had a blast! It was so much fun to spend three hours sharing lives, beads, and laughter with new found friends. Hope to see some of you next month when Barb is going to be sharing a workshop on beaded rings.s

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My style

This is one of the new dolls I was working on these past two months when the weather outside was icy or snowy or just plain yuck. She is called The Wild Wet Ride. My goal for the past two years was to develop my own doll patterns instead of using those of others. Since I work on a much smaller scale than most doll makers, it was a little harder for me to find something that worked for me since I do intend to cover the doll with beads.

Also, with the finding my own path in the actually designing and sewing of the doll pattern is experimenting with the actually fabrics used in making the doll. I never really sewed on a machine until about 4 years ago, so most of the sewing terms and fabric vocabulary where all foreign to me. I even didn't know you should change the needle in them machine after so many uses. I thought you used it until it broke! Silly me. So this has all been a learning experience for me. I've taken many doll making classes in person and online. I've purchased doll makers patterns, doll making books, and doll making magazines always studying the patterns and how they were all put together. I've sat at my desk drawing patterns always referring to those other doll maker's patterns as a guide. Then I sat at the machine stitching away many times throwing away what I had done. I'm still a long long way before I can easily just draw, sew, stuff & be happy with what I am creating. I always feel like I'm using someone else ideas instead of creating something original. Then I read Lisa the Whimsical Bohemian who created the One World One Heart Blog Event this year, this one post of hers really made me stop and think. I'm going to reprint what really struck me to heart & have to please read this blog post of hers to see why it made me feel so relieved that I'm on the right track:

"Art should be created with your own authentic voice, artistic passion and original thought that comes together to form a piece of art. It could be "inspired by"what they've seen others do BUT.... the end result should be from their own innate ability to bring together various elements to form a finished piece of their own. Even learned technique should have a completely new spin put on it to make it solely their own. "

Isn't this a wonderful idea? I realized while reading her post that even though I am constantly on the road to learning new things from others being inspired by doll makers and bead artist, I am taking all that knowledge and wrapping it into something that is truly mine. My dolls will have faces that I needle sculpt a certain way that I like taking tips from this person and that person until that face being created with my eyes and fingers will be a reflection of what my mind and heart are combined to make. Then of course the beading! It all comes down to the beading doesn't it??

This year, I have decided to go back to my core and concentrate on more beading techniques. I want to feel confident in different bead weaving and other metal and wire techniques. Therefore sometimes I AM just being a copy cat making a necklace, earrings or a bracelet that looks exactly like the one in the class or article I'm learning from. But that is it...I KNOW they are are "homework" and with each turn of the tool or twist of a needle, I'm slowly slowing teaching my mind to "see" a new way to doing something. Meanwhile, my brain is struggling to see how I can incorporate that new learning experience to what I already can do. I will be taking all these lessons, let them percolate inside my Muse, and come back out baked into a way that will be mine. Simple? Not really, but being an Artist (and sometimes I do cringe calling myself that as I struggle with the thought that me, yes me is an Artist) is a road of learning, expanding and creating always looking for the new thought, idea, or process. It is a journey that can be thrilling all the way home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One World One Heart And Winter enchantment

I wanted to share with you the give aways I received from the One World One Heart blog event last month that whirled us all around the world visiting other artists' blog & sharing a look into other lives. I found so many new blogs to follow from this event and am enjoying learning new techniques and getting to know other artist.

First off, I got this wonderful heart shape mini quilt from Monique. I wrote & told her that Daisy loves the quilt & won't let go of it since she saw it emerge from the package. Monique also sent me an adorable card, but Daisy squirreled that away & can't find it. Then I got this two It was a cold wintry day here in Ohio when I shoveled my way out to the mailbox & two little pieces of Spring were there. They sit here so I can look at them instead of the gray gloom outside the window. Then another package came in smelling so wonderful, that Chris had to stand there when I opened it. There was a sampling of delicious soaps from Sweet Sally's Soaps. These are only a couple of the bars as the rest are in our bathrooms giving them enticingly wonderful scents. I don't know which is my favorite, yet. has also posted the entries for their Winter Enchantment Designs by bloggers. There are some great pieces here. is one of my favorite places to shop on line...yours???

Chris & I have decided to become vendors at Artistic Figures in Cloth this coming April in Columbus Ohio. Chris has been working on some new pieces to be for sale. I also have been working on a few things.

I just found out that Treasures of the Gypsy are also going to be a vendor at AFIC. If you've never ever ever seen some of their fabrics & trims then you are just going to be blown away. They usually don't travel East of the Mississippi, so Cyndy must have really worked hard to get them to come to AFIC. Even if you are not into dolls you MUST come just to visit Treasure of the Gypsy's booth. When in Albuquerque, I saw people dropping thousands...not hundreds mind you, but thousands of dollars as there are fabrics and trims you won't find any place else. So mark the last weekend on your calender to see some fabulous dolls and do some outstanding shopping here in Columbus