Thursday, September 20, 2007

Off Again

Just a drive by - I'm leaving today to head to Richmond, KY to Magic, Mischief and Mayhem hosted by the fun and fabulous Goddess of Beaderly Delights herself, Annie Hesse.

I'll just be there for this weekend, then returning home only to go back next weekend. Couldn't stay for the mid-week classes due to WORK. That dreaded four letter word that always gets in the way of my fun.

Anyway, just wanted to leave you with a picture of a doll I did at another workshop some years ago. This was a doll created with the coaching of a very talented doll artist named Akiko Anzai. Her work is equisite!

Akiko uses COTTON batting and stuffs VERY firmly. I still have blisters on my hands where the hemostats hit me. But I do love this doll!

I promise to post LOTS of pictures when I get back. I packed my camera AND the battery charger (and the sewing machine, the fabric, the beads, the tools and a change of knickers).

I'm ready to GO!

Monday, September 17, 2007


If you ever want to feel insignificant or just to bask in the glorious beauty of Mother Earth, just head yourself over to North Carolina.
There is something about the mountains that just takes my breath away. We hid out for the weekend in a lovely bed and breakfast called the Mountain Magnolia Inn in Hot Springs, NC.
It was relaxing, refreshing and in spite of a dead car battery - a wonderful all around weekend.

May you all find some bit of serenity this week!

This is the pathway leading to the Inn.

Here is the Inn - gorgeous, isn't it?

This was the view from our veranda - we spent many hours out there!

This is the view I want from my next front porch! (Can anyone say RETIRE?)

Last but not least, meet Suzette. Why Suzette? This is the French Broad river. I jokingly asked David "Which French Broad is this named after?". His reply - "Suzette - she was unforgetable!". After I smacked him, we decided to rename the French Broad, Suzette. So - here she is!
Have a peaceful and serene week. I know it won't be for me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Look What I Got!

My hubby is a chef - not just any chef, one that worked for royalty (but that's another story). Now he spends his time training the future chefs of America. He started his semester break last week - and LOOK WHAT HE DID FOR ME!

He is ex-military and very regimented and organized. I love to dye fabrics, fibers and anything I can get my hands on (the cats run when I start the process). My dyes, resists, mordants, etc were all a big mess in the basement. When I came home from work yesterday, hubby told me he'd been cleaning up the basement (usually that means just pitching stuff out). OH, OH! I thought - he threw away my stuff (I'm a self professed pack rat). When I went racing downstairs to see what happened, this is what greeted me:

It's my very own DYE STATION!

The cabinets hold the mordants, resist, tjangs, measuring spoons, etc. The containers are on the counter top. The dyes are in the shelves (this is the top to our dining room hutch that we removed to make the dining room feel larger). ISN'T THIS AWESOME?!?!?

All my PFD fabrics are organized and in shelves next to where I stood to take this picture. Now I have no excuses.

Look for some dyed fabrics coming to a blog post near you!

IT'S FRIDAY, FOLKS! Have a GREAT weekend. We're off to North Carolina, so I'll see you again on Monday.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

YES! That's right - Christmas.

My family celebrated Christmas this year on August 6. AUGUST 6!?!?!

Well, when you live in Indiana, your brothers live in Chicago, your parents live in Florida and your kids live in Kentucky, Texas and northern Indiana - you pick a time when you are all free and all don't have to contend with bad weather. We drew names and each bought a gift for the person who's name we drew. It was not only fun, but it didn't break the bank.

So why am I dreaming of a White Christmas?

WELL, having grown up in the frozen north and now finding myself just barely north of the Mason-Dixon line - one thing I absolutely cannot get used to is the HEAT! This August was the HOTTEST on record here. we had 25 days of TRIPLE digits! ACK!

The hot spell has now broken, and we actually awoke to 53 degrees this morning! AHHHH!

This Yankee is in heaven.

This made me yearn for wool sweaters, wool socks, hot chocolate by the fireplace, walks in the woods crunching through fallen know the drill. Is it any wonder the doll embellishments I'm packing up for Magic, Mischief and Mayhem doll seminars in Richmond, KY are all fall colors?

Anyway, I found this picture of our front yard taken in December of 2004 when we had a record 18 inch snowfall (unheard of in these here parts).

I love the snow! Well, as long as I don't have to drive in it...

Thinking cool thoughts for all of you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Express Your-Elf

I'm in an elfish mood. Why?
I am sick and tired of my poor sewing room. I don't dare call it a studio - it's a PIT! Hubby is on semester break and offered to help me clean it. Don't you know I said YES!
He came across this little guy while cleaning the top of my cutting table. This poor thing just needs some finishing touches. There's something very special about elves - maybe it's because I live in the woods.
Anyway I thought I would share him with you.

This is Elwyn. He's special because he was created in a very FUN class - Wood Knots with Allison Marano. It was there that I met Carole "Molly" - the wonderful keep of the Doll Street Dreamers Internet group. We had SO much fun in class! Both of us worked away on our old Berninas and came up with these adorable little guys. No - I haven't finished his hat or given him his ears yet. But I love his little face!

It's getting late and I had a BLAH day at work. Think I'm going to call it a night.
It's OVER THE HUMP day tomorrow!

Monday, September 10, 2007

My Kids

Is there anything worse than MONDAY?
As I sat on the edge of the bed this morning trying to talk myself into dragging my weary old carcass into work, I thought of the many blessings I have in my life.
Here are the three main ones:

This was taken last spring at my daughter, Danielle's high school graduation. I LOVE this picture!

Danielle is the rose between the two thorns. My surprise baby born 9 years after the younger boy. I was told I'd never have any more babies after my second son was born. SURPRISE!
Danielle loves all things Japan. She is into Anime, Japanese history and has even been to Japan twice. She's studying at Indiana University, Bloomington and majoring in (surprise again) East Asian Languages and cultures. She also has a second major in computer science (yes, she's a self proclaimed geek) but that's only to feed herself. She's also studying music (but not majoring in it). It's a VERY competitive field and she doesn't want to lose her love of it. She plays viola, loves classical and orchestral music and has most recently started playing the piano. She is an artist in her own right - she can DRAW! Something that I cannot do. And YES - she understands why her mother still plays with dolls.

The *HAM* on the left is Eric. Eric was born a deep royal blue color having had the cord around his neck 3 times. His little heart would stop every time I had a contraction. My doctor was a general practitioner and couldn't perform c-sections. By the time they rounded up an anesthesiologist and an OB surgeon, Eric decided he couldn't wait any longer. Out he came - and proceeded to scowl at the world for the next 4 months.
As a baby, his favorite pass time was to slam his head against the crib by rocking back and forth on all fours. He had no fear at all growing up - even broke his thumb *surfing* on the hood of his older brother's car!
He went to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a film writer in 2001. September 11 destroyed that dream.
He then joined the US Air Force, met a girl and they were married. Eric was then called to duty in Iraq. While over there, his wife decided she wasn't going to sit at home and shortly after Eric returned, she dumped him for another guy. Eric is still looking for someone to love him.
After he was dumped, some friends took him to a comedy club to drown his sorrows. Once there, they dared him to get up on stage during Open Mic. He did it - the crowd liked him. So he decided to try it again sober the next week. He did it again - the crowd LOVED him.
Now he does it for money.
If you live in the Austin, Texas area - please visit the Velveeta Room or Cap City Comedy Club on the weekends. If you see a very tall, very skinny, very cheesy young man on stage - be sure and laugh extra loud. OH - and tell him his mother loves him.

Last (but not least) is my trainer kid. My oldest son, Joe. Growing up, Joe was always very serious. I used to joke he was 40 going on 5. (Now, he's 31 going on 10.) Most of this is due to the fact that he has a very stressful lifestyle. He's a second year resident in Emergency Medicine at the University of Kentucky School of Medicine. I couldn't do what he does! To relieve stress, he and his lovely wife, Dawn, ballroom dance. Having two left feet myself, I couldn't believe that a child of mine is SO coordinated!
Joe was always my brainiac. I remember waking up one Christmas morning when Joe was 4 and Eric was just a wee one. Joe was reading a book to Eric. I thought - oh how nice, he memorized a book. Until I sat down next to him and realized that this was a book they had got the night before and there was no way he could have memorized it - he was actually READING it to his brother.
They identified him as gifted kindergarten. The gifted programs didn't start until kids were older in the Houston, Texas school district we lived in, so Joe was often bored. When we moved to Kansas when Joe was in second grade, they asked us to let him skip second grade. In sixth grade, he was taking math and science with the seventh graders. He graduated #1 in his class from high school - and was given a FREE RIDE to college (he was a Ronald Reagan scholar at Eureka College). It was there that he met Dawn - and I gained another daughter!

So - today I am grateful. Even though I am not having much fun.
But tonight - I PLAY!
Have a good Monday!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday Bummers
First of all, Sundays are depressing - because tomorrow I return to the he** otherwise known as WORK.
Now I know I should be grateful that I have a job BUT I absolutely loathe what I do. I especially "love" the part of mediator - where you get to listen and resolve the conflicts between two warring (and I do mean warring) factions.
BUT today is especially depressing.
I got (for my upcoming birthday) a Cannon camera. A digital SLR camera. One that comes as a highly rated digital camera.
Does it work?
I've already exchanged it once, and this newer one is not working any better than the old one. It won't "talk" to my computer. It did once - then quit.
I'm just sick. Right now, all I have is a very expensive paperweight.
Any ideas?
Anyway, the second doll related part of this post is:


I don't know about the rest of you, but I find the most challenging part of making dolls the head. Why? Because it makes or breaks the doll. You can always cover up bad body parts with clothing or embellishing, but the head is right there front and center for the whole world to see.
Here are some of my "rejects" and some of my successes waiting for their body:

Here is my first attempt at a polymer clay head. Yes, I know - it's just in the beginning stages BUT it looks like it has cellulite! How on earth do you get this !(@*#^ stuff smooth? ARGGHHHHHH! Frustrating!

This adorable little guy is from a pattern by Sarah Jones called "Keegannie". I love this face! So why is he in the head jar? I can't get his @(*&^$ eyelids on! I've tried FOUR times! He's in the head jar until I work up enough nerve to try it again.

This head was my first attempt at a male face. What was I thinking with all this color? He doesn't look very masculine. I need to try again.

This is a head from a book by Patti Culea. Again, what was I thinking with all this color? She looks like a runaway from the Chicken Ranch. "Scratch" this one.

I needed to make a head for a Round Robin doll. I thought I had it nailed. But what's up with the chipmunk cheek on the right? Egads - start again.

I LOVE THIS FACE! Yes, I need to finish her hair. But this is from the Vernal Muse class with Allison Marano. This is one of the best faces I've ever done. Unfortunately, it's the body I screwed up. I'm in the process of rebuilding it, but time is limited (see the start of the post for the reason why).

Last but not least - the beginnings of some Christmas ornaments. There was an article in one of the doll magazines by (I believe) Jackie Uetz. This was my interpretation. Again - love the face. I just need to find the right ribbon for the body.

OK, I'm done venting. Think of me tomorrow - and say a quick prayer.
Have a good week, all!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday Musings

Blogger ate my first post (I can see why folks get frustrated), so here goes again...
After a blah week at work, at having my muffler fall off my car after arriving home, I was greeted with a wonderful surprise!
To preface this, I must tell you that I belong to a wonderful, wacky, fun bunch of doll artists called the Doll Street Dreamers. Now, I'm nowhere near as talented as the rest of these ladies - making dolls is just something I love to do.
As part of a "Body/Costume Swap" I joined, I was paired with a doll artist who was to create two bodies - I, in turn, was to costume the two bodies.
My partner in crime for this swap is a VERY talented doll artist, Jan Dee. Now what I admire SO much about Jan is SHE DOESN'T USE A PATTERN! Gads - I've never made a doll without a pattern. Mostly, I'm scared I'll screw it up. Not that I haven't screwed up dolls using patterns before, but...
Anyway, about 10 days ago I got the first doll from Jan. Yesterday, the second arrived.
I thought nothing could top her first doll - from the soft, gentle features to her body painting (soft greens, my favorite) but I was wrong.
The second is EVEN MORE AMAZING!
I *think* I know how to costume them. But I'll have to think a bit longer.
Enough of the suspense, here they are!

And an even closer view:

Jan, I'm not sure you can have EITHER one back! (Only kidding.)
What they almost look like to me is alter-egos, the demure good girl - and the wild, wicked side she keeps hidden.
I'll have to think on this.

Anyway - back to my studio (or the fourth bedroom that passes as such). This is my only day to play each week.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Night Can of Tuna

Living (or should I say being allowed to live) in the same house as three cats has it's challenges. Every spring during the famous "spring shed", we play "tiptoe through the hairballs" every time we come home from work. The favorite chair is a favorite of felines and humans alike. But one tradition we've come to love is the weekly Friday can of tuna.
Now Friday nights are special. As someone who has been in the workforce for 35+ years, Friday can never come soon enough. I don't know if the cats can sense this or if they can smell that tuna coming - but each Friday they are rewarded with a can of solid white Albacore tuna in water (and the humans are rewarded with a nice bottle of Cabernet or Shiraz).
I now present to you the Tuna Lovers of Kentuckiana:

This is Sootz - the undisputed Queen of the Castle. She always looks at you as if to say "Peasants! Bring me my throne!"

This is April - littermate to Sootz. April is NOT the brightest crayon in the box. We've seen her leap from one piece of furniture to the next and MISS.

This is Tessa - a throwaway kitty who came to us all the way from Texas (long story). Tessa is the Matriarch of the house and the sweetest little thing on four paws. She is very comforting and seems to know when you need some purr therapy.

Last (but not least) is a picture of my newest grandson - Ozzie. My oldest is a Resident at UK Med Center (Emergency Medicine) and while he and his lovely wife, Dawn, have been married for 9 years, I have NO grandbabies. I do however have grand-furbabies. Ozzie is the baby. He's a wild man - but with a face like this, he can get away with anything.
Thanks for listening! May there be many cans of tuna in your Friday!