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Saturday, January 28, 2012

OK, Folks! Enough of this Messy Kitchen Table!!!

      I have HAD it with my messy kitchen table and I"m saying good bye to any pride I have left and showing you the state of my table. Truth be told, this isn't even the WORST it's ever been! I've actually been working (albeit, half-heartedly) for the last few days. But, as you can see, it's still looking pretty awful.
     It's the table of a person with ADHD, but that's no excuse for it. I CAN keep it clean and pretty!! I've done it before, and I can do it again and for longer. So, here's my promise: it WILL be clean by 5:00 PM PST, and I'd like you to check back in later today (Jan 28) and see the picture of my CLEAN TABLE.
      This is known as the General DeGaulle Method.  When he wanted to quit smoking, he announced to his entire staff that he already HAD, and then he, indeed, DID have to, or disgrace himself in front of the people who mattered to him.
      So, bye for now, I've got some cleaning to do. See ya later!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Threatening Black Sky

Glad I'm not in Kansas!! I'd run for the cellar!!!! LOL!! This was taken just before one p.m today.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter--It's been cold but this is our first snow. 1-14-12

The snow that was forecast is just beginning here at sunset. We aren't supposed to get very much--maybe an inch, they said. I know the area's kids will be glad they have the day off on Monday and will be hoping for more snow than an inch!

LaMont and I are going to join a ukelele band! Can we PLAY the ukelele? NO! But we bought vintage ukeleles this afternoon and plan on joining a group of our friends who just began to play. The name of our song will be "Catch Up" for awhile!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Toy Society Drop of 2012

It is a little white knitted bunny with big eyes:
I dropped him/her at the Aberdeen Timberland Library--taped him to the glass case on the right as you go in the front door. I was on my way to a meeting, and two hours later, when I came out, he/she was gone. Maybe the person will let the Toy Society know that White Bunny has been found.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Done At Last and in the Show!

      Well, I am happy to announce yet another project finished! I am SO MOTIVATED by deadlines, even if I usually miss them, but only by a little.  Luckily, I am also blessed to work with folks who tend to work with my disablilities and give me a little extra time to finish. It's sort of like having a 504 Plan, if you're familiar with educational jargon.
       Here is the finished doll, in her undressed state:
      I considered putting a wig on her, but decided that I liked her just fine as a little baldy. I will buy her one of those cute little girlie headbands that mom's buy for their bald daughters, to keep people from saying, "What a pretty little boy!" At a future time, she will probably get more weight, longer legs, and bigger feet, but for now, she is going to the show just the way she is.
      Here she is with her outfit on:

     I bought her outfit yesterday, before her body was completely finished, so I was very happy at how well everything fit. You can see that the "hair" on her head is very light--I wanted it that way. I painted small sections of her scalp at a time, and wiped off most of the paint. I liked the way it turned out.
     Here she is at the galley, between a couple of very interesting art pieces:
She is holding a little booklet that shows what she looked like at the beginning of this project.  She has been a lot of fun to make and I thank Judi Ward for generously sharing her technique of cloth over vinyl which I used for inspiration.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

My ReCycled Doll is Nearly Done

This is the vinyl thrift store doll head, I began with. I had already covered her face with Elmer's Glue, ready to cover it with T Shirt knit cloth, when I remembered (!!!) that I wanted to document the making of this doll.  SOOO, I wiped off most of the glue--it's still on her eyes and lips--and quickly took a picture before continuing. I wish I didn't do this so often--start without taking pictures. The head WAS on a doll, too, but, of course, I took her apart before thinking to take a really "Before" picture.  I'll try to do better next time.

The next step was to brush the glue back on her face and begin to put the cotton knit fabric over the vinyl:

Now the head is nearly all covered with the knit. I did put some batting,  over the eyes/under the knit,  so the eyelashes didn't show under the fabric. I could have removed the eyes completely, but chose not to. I have done that before, to use the eyes for something else, but it involves damaging the face quite a bit. I suppose heating the head in an oven might allow you to remove the eyes AND preserve the integrity of the face/head, but I've never done that. I only know that people who do reborn" dolls put them in the oven to set the heat-set paint and the vinyl doesn't melt at 225 or whatever.

I covered the top of the head with a circle of knit fabric, and then the head needs to sit until the glue is dry.
One important thing to remember in covering the head is to use one brush to put on the glue, and another, clean, dry, stiffer brush to enourage the knit to cling to the indentions on the vinyl--you do this by "poking" at the fabric-covered indentions with the stiff dry brush.  The fabric stretches quite easily to cover the head without wrinkling, but you don't want to stretch it TOO tightly. Practice will allow you to tell how much you can stretch the fabric. Judi Ward says that the T shirt cotton that is 5% lycra stretches a little better.  Where there is excess fabric, you trim it so that edges will butt together, rather than folding under or overlapping layers of fabric. You are aiming for as smooth a surface as possible 

The next step is to paint the cloth-covered head with gesso.  Gesso fills in the airspaces that all fabric has between its threads and it seals the surface so the paint won't soak into the cloth--it will now stay on the surface where you want it to. 

Once the gesso is dry, sand any rough areas, and put on more coats of gesso if you think it needs it. Always allow the gesso to dry and then sand lightly between coats. When you are pleased with the smoothness of the surface, you can then paint the head. I use acrylics although some people prefer oil paints. I usually am happy with two coats of gesso but I've heard of people using 20 coats or more. (I wish I could insert a cross-eyed face here, but I can't.)

Here is the (almost) finished painted head--she still lacks eyelashes (and a body!!):

Her head sat in that same shape for some months while I worked on other necessary, more urgent projects. Finally, I bought a pattern for her body, Judi Ward's ByeLo pattern, and that gave me a basic, simple pattern to use, although I had to enlarge it quite a bit. Once I got the body sewn together, I could see that it was too short for this doll's head, so I lengthened it three inches by cutting the body front and back in the middle and inserting a 3" band between the tops, and bottoms of those pieces. THIS IS NOT THE METHOD I RECOMMEND for getting a doll's body the correct size, but sometimes I just estimate wrong and this is my own doll, so I don't have to please anyone except myself and I'm not a perfectionist---I prefer this situation. If I had been making this doll for someone else, I would have felt it necessary to cut an entire new body in the proper length.

As I type this, her arms have an initial coat of gesso and are drying on our fireplace (natural gas); the first coat of gesso takes awhile to dry, as it is soaked into the threads of the fabric. The second coat dries quickly as it stays on the surface.  The paint will also dry quickly; sometimes I hurry things up with a hair dryer. Some people pop things in the microwave to dry, but I really prefer not to do that. I like to keep kitchen utensils and art utensils separate.

I WILL need to lengthen her legs later, to make them proportional to her lenthened body, but she has an important appointment to appear in a ReCycle, ReArt show tomorrow, so her too-short legs will have to do for now. As usual, I'm "pushing the envelope" on this project--it's the only way I seem to work, although I don't recommend this way to anyone else.

Luckily, this baby, yet unnamed,  is big enough to wear real baby apparel and so I do not need to sew clothes for her!! Yay! Carrying her, it occured to me that I should have put some sand in her behind, to give her a more realistic weight. I know Waldorf "heavies" weigh about five pounds, and kids like carrying them around because of the weight.

Anyhow, this is where I am on this project now. The next picture you see, she will be just about done. This is the third rather big project I have finished lately. You can see the other two on Thursamknitters.blogspot.com   That's my other blog. Happy New Year; I'm on a roll!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sister-in-Law Nancy's Tilapia

He's quite pretty for a dead fish!! She wasn't sure how to go about eating him, but once she started with her fork, he wasn't hard to eat:

My Friend Nancy's "Fiorella"

     Nancy says, "She's about 20 inches tall in her heels (painted wine cork glued to her feet). Rita and I decided on Fiorella for some reason. Rita is a writer and wildly imaginative. But the original Fiorella is a third grader I met while volunteering in the school library. Just like the name.  I like her...she turned out colorful but earthy."
     I like her, too. Nancy's dolls always have such wonderful clothes; Nancy had James Christensen's book and said she looks at it for costume ideas. I bought a copy too, because I need help with ideas for doll clothes.

Ten Christmas Toy Society Drops, 2011, on a road trip to Bellingham (dropped a little late, on Dec 31)

Left in Mount Vernon, WA.
At Skagit Valley Hospital, Mount Vernon, WA.
South Evertte, WA.
At West Oly McDonalds, last drop of the trip.
At rest stop in Federal Way, WA.
At Samaritan's Counseling Center, at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, Mount Vernon, WA.
At Bow Hill rest top, near Bellingham, WA. This is the only drop where I actually saw a lady approach the drop and look at it. Then she left without taking it. Then another woman approached it, but we were just leaving the area, so I didn't see if she took it or not. Sometimes adults are observed finding a toy but not taking it. I think they want to leave it for a child to find, but they are welcomed to take it for themselves. Many toy drops are found by adults who are as excited as kids when they find a toy. Some of them are so taken with the concept that they go on to become Toy Society members themselves.
At Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church, Mount Vernon, WA.
At Silver Lake rest stop, near Lynnwood, WA.
Another drop at Skagit Valley Hospital, Mount Vernon, WA.

As always, I hope that those who find my toys are kind to them--one member saw her toy tossed into the street by a couple of teenaged girls. I hope that this doesn't happen often, as all of us hope our toy brings a little bit of joy to someone who needs it. I also hope that some of them report their find to the Toy Society as the note inside asks. It's so exciting to go to the Toy Society site and see that someone has found your toy. This has only happened twice for me, but it meant a lot! Last Christmas, a mom posted a pic of her little boy who found one of my toys in a grocery cart at a local supermarket. She said he was SO excited to find it! This is why we do what we do.
Happy 2012 to everyone. Keep an eye out for my toys!!