Welcome to my blog!

Thanks for popping in. This blog will cover lots of crafty tips, tricks, ideas, projects, experiments and giveaways... among other things.
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That way, you can visit again real soon!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Out of commission - again! And a giveaway!!! Read on..

Hi all,

I've been out of commission since October 9th when *another* of the neighbor's trees hit our property (strange given we all trimmed before 'cane season). This time is was lightening that hit the upper part of the tree, instead of interior decay like the last tree. The decayed tree that hit the house in 2008 required a complete demo of the back of the house and a full rebuild. After a year of fighting with the insurance company, finding a contractor and the build itself, we ended up with a much nicer addition. This tree took out my shed, planting table, and yanked the phone and electrical lines off the house - initially. After the electrician replaced my weather head and repaired their end of things, FPL hooked us up.

Well... that's when things went from mild damage to YIKES! A flash fire started behind the electrical panel, ripped across the water heater wires, started to ignite the garage ceiling. I was in the garage with FPL guy! Let me tell you there is NO feeling - in the world - like watching your house start to catch fire!!! By the grace of god, the fire put itself out at the edge of the ceiling insulation. God is the only one that could have stopped it so quickly. There is a *suspicion* that what caused the fire is that FPL's meter box was full of rain water when the guy put it on the outside of the house, but we can't confirm that.

So... we were out of power for 6 days, and without phone or internet for 11 days. The estimated 30,000 volts of power that went through the house (a surge so strong the built-in breaker shut offs never engaged) killed my 2 yr. old washer, fried my fish tank pump, impaired a few cycles on the 2 yr. old dryer, and my electrician is suggesting the insurance company get us a new water heater given we can't assess what interior damage may be present from the surge. We are still in clean up mode with the tree/debris/charred ceiling - mess. And the fight with the insurance company has just began (please say a few prayers that the claim is settled much sooner than the last claim). This whole thing translates into zero clay time and I won't have time to finish my WIPs for Halloween. Boo.

But here's some good news for you: a Halloween Ornament Giveaway from artist Sylvia Smiser!

Go to:    http://www.anaboocreationsbysylvia.blogspot.com

Good luck to each of you.

I'm off to ... repair something.

Have a wonderfully creative day!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

New Pieces - Halloween and more....

I've been crazy busy the last couple of weeks as I've finished up lots of pieces. I made my smallest vampire yet. I also made my first Halloween ornaments - 3 witches, 2 Halloween shelf sitters and another kitty. And I made my first Winter Themed piece; snow bunny.
Here they are:

Li'l Vamp with mini candy dish - approximately 6" tall.

Cornelia Cone Shelf Sitter

(I love how she turned out!)

Trick or Treat Kitty

Matilda Shelf Sitter with candy dish

Corny Orni Witch

Mean Green Witchy

Sheila (a friend said it looks like Michael Jackson but I'm not seeing it haha)

Snowball Bunny (she wants someone to play with!)

I am pretty happy about how they turned out.

I really like the snow bunny, as she makes me smile.

I hope they all make you smile, too.

As always, I'm open to feedback, be it positive or negative, as feedback is always good.

I'm off to create.... something.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sports Characters

Although I know absolutely nothing about sports, aside from general names like: baseball, football, hockey, soccer, and golf, I decided to create a couple of sports characters. As usual, I didn't try to make them realistic. Instead I went for whimsical and a bit silly - my signature style. Given Creative Paperclay is my current medium of choice, these guys were made with that clay.Their armature was made with toothpicks, skewers, foam, wire, foil and the cats ear were made from wooden hearts cut in half. It took days to gradually build up the clay and create each sculpt. Once they were fully dried, I primed, painted and sealed it. Scrap ribbon was used for the bunny's pony tail ears and scrap embroidery thread was used for her shoe laces. Here are my latest creations:

Introducing Baseball Cat #15

Introducing Basketball Bunny #17

I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out! So pleased that they will probably be my prototypes and get teammates at some point in the future. I think my sculpting skills are gradually improving, and excited to see what I come up with next!

I'll be moving on to other sports themed characters (and finishing up the 75+ various projects at different stages of doneness!). Any sports themed suggestion would be appreciated, as would any and all feedback (positive and negative). So don't hold back, tell me what you think of my work (or is it play?).

Thanks for stopping by and please visit again.
I'm off to create... something.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What's on the work table this week?

What's on the work table this week? Bunnies, wizards and vampires, of course!

This is Chance.

I still need to figure out what he'll hold in his hands but I love him so far.
Doesn't he look positively optimistic? Yes, yes, he does!

This is Li'l Vamp. He's made out of a recycled sports drink bottle.

This is Li'l Vamp's big brother, he is currently unnamed.
He was made from a Dr. Pepper bottle.
He still needs a tie and some accessories.

This is my first attempt at a wizard. Here he is partially dressed.
He's made from different types of clay, painted, glittered and sealed.
As you can see he's a double secret keeper.
Secret keepers have hidden storage areas within the doll.

This is the same wizard with an over-hat and cloak on him.
I have some sewing to do on this cloak.
I dread dragging out my sewing machine and trying to thread it.

That's some of what I'm working on this week.

I'm off to create... something.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My art is much improved!!!

That's right, my skills have much improved if I do say so myself.

I'm not to the point where I'm going to win awards anytime soon, but I'm gaining insight and the act of practicing - almost daily - is leading to many new ideas and better sculpts.

Being the eternal optimist that I am, I hope to get good enough to be featured in Art Doll Quarterly (ADQ). That is, once I get good enough and figure out how to write a query letter, intro letter and take photos in x size etc. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Here are some of my latest pieces, I hope you enjoy them.

I love this one! Do you?

1st kitty cat

Sporty Chick; she'll be shipped to Texas soon as part of a Pay it forward art project I'm part of. She's also going to a childhood friend, Laurie, who I re-friended via FB. I sure hope Laurie likes her!

This is my 2nd kitty cat. Her candy cup only holds a few piece of candy but she's super sweet.

Psst. top secret: her base is a recycled empty ribbon spool.

Vampee Bordaux is my first vampire ever. He'll be shipped to Canada soon, as he's going to one of my 5 Pay it forward FB friends.

Drats! All my really good update photos are on the other computer. I'll try to add them later.

Thanks for stopping by. Follow me to see what I'm doing next... I certainly have no idea what it will be. LOL

I'm off to create... something!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Chef for my kitchen

My kitchen accessories (hot pads, place mats etc) are chef themed. While shopping I stumble upon a variety of Chef Themed items, but I'm usually not 'in love' with them, so I don't buy very many.
That means I'll have an idea recurring for weeks or months - a semi-flushed out idea, but not fully figured out. Then one day I'll try to make my own item(s)! Today is the day! I started my first chef. I have great hopes that he'll turn out well.

Lately I've been a huge fan of Creative Paperclay and the rest of my clay stash (Celluclay, polymer clay and other types of paper mache'/clay) have been pushed aside for some time. I decided to drag out the Celluclay, a 'failed' face (one I made from polymer clay long ago), and use up some armature worthy pieces that are taking up a lot of space.

Photo 1 is my starting point: A coffee can for the body, industrial paper towel rolls (a friend got them from the factory he works at - with permission, of course), the old face, and a batch of Celluclay. I haven't figured out what I'll be using for the arms, but it'll come to me as I move along.

Photo 1 Notice the Legs (towel rolls) are slightly longer than the coffee can. That means I should have a pretty well portioned body once it's done (ignore the blue tape).

Photo 2 Duct taped open end of can. Wad of paper will be duct taped to ribbon spool for the hat. Popsicle sticks are shims.

I covered the open end of the coffee can with duct tape. Then I used popsicle sticks (thoroughly cleaned and dried) to 'shim' the middle of the taped area to meet the medal edges of the can. This end will need to be flush once I'm ready to attach the legs. The use of shims reduces the amount of clay I'll need to use. Then I taped the popsicle sticks in place. Next, I covered the entire coffee can with a layer of paper and let it dry. Next, I began covering the taped end with Celluclay and proceeded covering the sides with clay as well. Once I was halfway up the side, I flipped the piece over unto a paper plate. I continued to cover the coffee can's side and top.
I left a clay-free circle in the middle of the lid, a circle large enough for a toilet paper roll. I cut a toilet paper roll widthwise to shorten it. Then I measure the neck size I would need by cutting a toilet paper roll lengthwise, and putting it around the neck of my pre-made head. Once sized, I used duct tape to create a slightly smaller roll than the original size. I inserted the toilet paper roll into the clay free circle and continued to clay up to and around the paper roll.

Onto legs, feet and his hat. The legs were pretty much done given the strength of industrial towel rolls are many times thicker than household towel rolls. I folded up many layers of newspaper to create a rectangular shape the size of his foot. I duct taped around it to hold the paper in place. Then I folded up two corner of each rectangle to create rounded toes and duct taped them in place. Next I duct taped the rectangular mass of paper to the paper towel rolls. Finally, I added Celluclay and roughly shaped the feet.

His hat was made from a repurposed, plastic ribbon roll with one end removed. It fit his head perfectly! I used newspaper again to bulk up the shape of his hat, duct taped it in place and added Celluclay for the initial shape of his hat.

7/25/2011 Update: After the parts of his body were allowed to dry, I duct taped them together and covered them with more Celluclay. The Celluclay wasn't as smooth a texture as I would like so I did a 'smear coat' with ArtMind Clay Mache (please refer to 7/25/2011 product review blog for more details). The texture of his hat is what I got with Celluclay and the texture of his body is what I got after using a smoothing coat of ArtMind Clay Mache.

I'll add another update as he nears completion.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I'm off to recycle and create!
Update: March 11, 2012.
Yep, he's been stranded for months! I had some problems figuring out how to do certain things, like shaping his hat. I used folder newspaper to create the creases in his hat, along with the band. And I reworked his face with Creative Paperclay. He was sealed with a water based primer, and painted. Then I added scraps of fabric and ribbon for his scarf, waist trim, sleeve and pant trim. He's been sealed with several coats of matte finish, so that he can be cleaned with a damp cloth and enjoyed for years to come.
He's FINALLY done!!! And I really really like him overall! He's holding a spoon right now but he can also hold a small bucket on each which could hold sugar and sugar substitute packs. He could also hold a rod which could hold hot pads and a towel on each end. So there are many options for his usefulness.
Here are some photos of my kitchen accessories. I think it all works pretty well together.
What do you think of him? I'd love some feedback, both good and bad.
The name sign above the doorway has been in my other half's family for years and years.
I found this clock at a thrift store last week for $6!
With one of his buckets to hold sugar packs.
Thanks for stopping by!
I'm off to recycle and create! Have a creative day!