A little blog about the life of a somewhat lost dreamer....looking for my grace in this crazy world.

27 March 2016

Happy Easter all...

Yep, I've been absent from here again.  Life is busy, what can I say?  Since I was here last I did I couple more paper dolls, let me share with you...

  Lady Liberty, and her sister...
Miss Justice.

They were made using the same basic method as Miss Bunny.  What you may not be able to clearly see here (at least I can't in these photos), is that the white stripes in their skirts are an old book page that I've cut into strips.  The text on the page is the poem America the Beautiful.  I thought it was very appropriate.

I created a Day of the Dead hanging paper doll for another exchange.  The photo of that is over on Facebook.

Two altered dominos were also created for another exchange...

Yet another Day of the Dead theme (there seem to be a great many fans of this theme in the group), and

A little lady in pink.

I attended a lecture on campus about the effects of man and climate change on the Yellow River in China in ancient times.  It inspired me to try my hand at drawing a Chinese style dragon...



He's done in gouache and a bit of gold metallic.  Definitely not my usual style, but I had fun playing with this one.

Also created a new birth sampler...

I'd done her brother, William one three years ago, so it did seem only fitting.

Creativity has been abundant, I just wish time was as well.  But, since it isn't (and the older I get the more I realize how little time there really is), I'm going to go take advantage of what I have of it today.  I hope you all enjoy the holiday if you celebrate it, and if you don't, I hope you get to spend the day doing something you love!

06 March 2016

Paper dolls...

So, I'm participating in another exchange this week, the theme is "hanging paper doll".  Of course, I always do a trial run for anything like this, and, as it seems (in spite of what the weather is doing) spring is just around the corner and on my mind, a bunny came forth.

This is not the doll that I am sending in the exchange, but I do love how she turned out, so I thought I'd share.  First, I gathered supplies...

Technically, this is a paper doll exchange, and "technically" I did keep most of it paper, but there are other bits as well, and they are made from Sculpey. 

I used a mold to create the face, then sculpted bunny ears to add.

A bit of coloring was added and the head was baked to cure.  I also made arms and legs as I have often done for the other dolls I've shared in the past.

The body was created from some thin card board (think cereal box sort), and was padded with tissue paper.  It's about 8 inches tall and right at 2.25 inches wide at the widest point. 

I covered it with old book pages then so I would have a relatively even surface to work with.

Wires were inserted into the papered body that will later hold the legs in place, and using some of the decorative papers I create a "skirt" for the first layer.

A bit of tulle was used to make a poofy skirt and more layers of paper were used to finish up the skirt.  Once that was dry I added more paper to create a finished dress.

Legs were painted, details were added to the face.

And now, using wire, I assembled everything and added a loop of wire for a hanger.

And, here she is finished...my bunny hanging paper doll.  This led to a couple more bunnies, and a few that weren't bunnies.  I'll share photos of them later. 

I think I am really ready for spring to get here, and I know Miss Bunny all dressed in her finery is... what about you?

28 February 2016

Building a cage...

Angels have been making their way into my work again.  I've been working on another Santos doll, this time using wire.  It was sort of an experiment to see if I could do it before moving on to using it on a grander scale.  The good news is, it was really relatively easy, at least, it was once I got going.

Here's what I used...

A pair of needle nose pliers that could cut wire (I also found I needed a pair of round nosed jewelry pliers along the way), a ruler...

Both 19 and 22 gauge steel wire (the 19 gauge for the ribs of the cage, the 22 gauge to wrap around)...

A 3" clamp from my local Lowe's (they run when they see me coming these days)...

And a freakishly weird, yet somehow enchanting, piece I picked up at Michaels.  It was in the jewelry supply section, and was on clearance.

I cut 12' strands of the 19 gauge wire and constructed ribs for the cage.  A "hook" was bent into both ends of each wire, and they were gently folded over at the middle.  To keep the wires attached to the clamp I used the 22 gauge wire to wrap an X around the hook to keep it on the clamp.

Then the 22 gauge was used to wrap around those ribs at relatively regular intervals moving from the base toward the top.

The creepy, yet enchanting, weird angel thing was wired onto the cage once it was completed, and since the cage was so empty I added a heart that I had laying around, and there you go... another Santos doll finished.

Now that I know I can create a cage there are going to be some different ones in the works down the road.  So, what have you guys been doing, learning, or teaching yourselves lately?

21 February 2016

I missed last week...

And I'm going to miss this week too... there have been more funerals, and I will be attending one today.





I'll be back next week.

07 February 2016

So, you remember the photo I left you with last week? 

This is what I did with that...

First, I tore her apart...

Then I tried using acetone to remove her painted on face, but that didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped it would (or as others have made it seem), but that's ok, I have plans that I think will overcome this problem.

I spread white glue in her hair and arranged it, securing it with clear rubber bands to hold it until it dried.

In the meantime, I scuffed the very smooth surface of the cage I had found at Lowe's (they always look at me with a puzzled face when they ask if they can help me find something and I tell them I am looking for doll parts).

The plastic boobs were just a bit too prominent for what I wanted, so I decided to use strips of book pages to create a bit of a covering.

And kept adding strips as covering and to widen the hips a bit... then I covered her arms as well.  Since I had used text on the body I also covered the outside of the cage with the same strips to bring continuity to it.

A few coats of an off white paint, and a wee bit of antiquing, some twigs from the dogwood tree sprayed with the same paint,  a heart full of bling that I had bought on clearance...

A pair of wings and a halo that were part of a Christmas ornament I had taken apart, some paper beads, and a coat or two of a polymer acrylic to protect all that paint, and here is what I ended up with.

I have to admit, I had expected this to take very little time, I mean, I was just going to glue things together and spray it all, but it took a great deal longer than I had expected her to.

Originally, I had created her for the exchange with the Facebook group, but that swap has been delayed since only four had signed up. I'm not sure that I'm going to participate in the swap now, but I'm going to have lunch with a friend and her mother this afternoon, so I think I'm going to abandon her while I'm out.  

Now, a couple of questions, does anyone know what that cage is technically called?  Even the folks at Lowe's couldn't tell me.  And, anyone have tips for removing the color from doll faces?

31 January 2016

On hold this week...

It's been a week.  Some has been bad, a co-worker went home after work and found her husband had passed away (unexpectedly), so there was great loss.  My credit card was apparently compromised (they caught it before it went through), so there was a sense of frustration.  But, my children visited, so there was also great joy. 

Here they are doing their best "American Gothic" imitations.  One of them obviously failing at it, but having a great time.

It's impossible to put into words how much I love these guys.

There's also something on the table though, so I'll be back next week with the outcome.  Hope all of you had creative and productive weeks!

24 January 2016

So...did you know this was a thing?

A couple of months ago I was invited to join a group on Facebook called "Altered Egos". It's a unique bunch, a talented one, that hosts all sorts of exchanges...or, swaps.  I've signed up to participate in a Spirit Doll Swap (done), a Winter Themed Ribbon Doll (sending as soon as the snow abates), an Altered Heart swap (don't know my partner yet) and a Santos Cage Doll (still a bit off).

Last week another exchange was posted... an altered mouse trap swap.  Seriously?  An altered mouse trap?  Who in the world would have thought of that?  Apparently, a great many folks, just search Pinterest or google it to see.  I'd never heard of such a thing.

Ever up for an adventure though, and knowing that there would be no work on Friday (it was already called due to the expected storm), I dropped by WalMart to grab a mouse trap.  They seem to be packaged in groups of four, and I think they were a whopping $2.00.

Honestly, I'd never seen this sort of a mouse trap up close.  I have had a couple of traps, but they were the catch and release sort, and they don't look anything like this.  There are a lot of little pieces that make up a mouse trap, some of them that really didn't seem like they'd be of much use to me for this project, so the first thing I needed to do was strip the trap.

Here it is naked.  Notice I didn't take off that huge spring...I was afraid I'd never get it back on there if I did.  The other pieces were easy enough to remove, they're basically just heavy wire bent and pounded into the wood (thin, very thin, pine wood).  It's worth mentioning that these things snap.  Hard.  I might have yelled ouch more than once while I was learning this particular lesson.  So, let me share some of the things I learned and the outcome of my very first altered mouse trip.

First thing I did was look around to see what I had on hand that I could use.  A bit of decorative papers, a set of wings, a set of legs and arms (I often make several sets of arms and legs at a time just so I'll have some waiting just for this sort of project).  Once these things were assembled I figured I could find whatever else I needed. (That's code for "I have no idea what I'm doing and have no plan".)

I did paint the face, and created a wee painting to use somewhere on the trap. And, I found that the binder clips are great for holding that bar that snaps... a really good thing since I only have two hands and really needed three for this project.

These things are really kinda small, I measured them to cut papers for each side and one for the back.  Regardless of my careful measuring, I had to do trim work once the papers were glued down.  It took some work to get the paper under that wire that is to the right of the R up there, I could have used a fourth hand, but instead used a pair of old scissors to wedge under there to slide the paper in.

When everything was glued into place I watered some black paint down and used a make up sponge to distress the edges of the trap and the papers glued to it.  Then I bent a bit of brass wire and used it to create a hanger/halo through some of the holes in the trap that had originally housed a loop of wire.

Well, check it out, now I have a mouse trap covered in decorative paper. This is just about the time where I was shaking my head wondering what in the world I was doing with this, yet I soldiered on.

I glued the wee painting on it, added some of the pieces back (I thought they might support the head I planned to use), painted the legs and arms rather decoratively.

Added things, took them away, tried a few other things, kept some, hated others, and finally, when I was relatively happy, put it all together.  This is what I got... a mouse trap altered into an art doll.  Sorta cool, huh?

You know me though, one is not enough...so I made another...

This time I knew a bit more about what I would need, so the gathering was much easier.

Pretty much the same process.  Still ended up trimming the paper even if I did measure carefully.

This time a crown was involved instead of wings.
This was the first time I'd used Aleen's Super Gel... was not impressed.

In the end though, she makes me giggle. (Yes, she does say "God save the Queen".  I woke up with that running in my head when I was finishing her up.)

And here we have it... sisters.  Both make me giggle.  Not bad for a first attempt I think.  Now I need to try some that are altered, but not into dolls, wonder what they'll turn out like?  For now I guess I'd best go sign up for the Altered Mouse Trap Swap, it seems like something I can pull off. 

If you guys are interested in participating, come check out the group.  It's a closed group, but we'll be happy to send you an invite...

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