Thursday, November 13, 2008

Petula's Gallery showing

Petula Bloomfield, a brilliant artist and friend of the family, has a gallery showing in Amherst, MA. As we couldn't attend the opening, she gifted us with a private showing. Her work is primarily oil over acrylic. What is facinating about her technique is the dimension and texture she achieves and the absolutely brilliant, pure color she achieves. Her website is Enjoy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Healing doll for Judy

Judy is a loving and generous friend, inspiring artist and wonderful teacher. What she is not, is a victim. She has intentions!
To help her visualize those intentions I've created a healing doll for her. She wanted an angel with grace and great wings to keep her uplifted, but still grounded.
Judy's angel is created using a taupe colored silk duiponi, which I selected for its subtle texture and sheen. She is draped in a delicate lace which is embellished with seed beads. Her wings were first cut from Peltex which I backed with a copy of an old letter wthat I stitched, antiqued and burnished with copper colored pigment. For the front of the wings, I draped an ivory silk chiffon gathered into place with e-beads using a color pallete of greens, blue, and amber. Her face is silk covered paperclay and her hair is silk throwster waste and a variety of fibers and perle cotton. The fibers are repeated in her tassel, which also holds Judy's intentions in a private note to herself.
It is my hope that each time Judy looks at her healing doll, she will be reminded of all the power within her and all the beauty around her.

Friday, October 10, 2008

DollStreet Traveler #3

Meet Ronnie by Veronica Johnson. Poor Ronnie has had the misfortune to visit me while we are unpacking, recovering from the sale of our house and hunting for a new home. So she hasn't had much fun. But she did get the chance to spend some time in my sewing "nook" helping me to get things sorted. Ronnie is overdue to move on and will be heading out to her next destination this weekend.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ruth and Gerry's 60th Wedding Anniversary

September 11th 2008.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


My friend Jennifer Pears hand carves wooden dolls. I've always been fascinated by how she can get so much warmth and personality from a block of wood. When I first saw Pinocchio, something odd happened to me. I wanted him! My inner child screamed "Mine!" I followed Jen around like a puppy begging her to make one for me. She said no. And then last week she surprised me with a doll of my own. It's my birthday and Christmas rolled into one! I'll dress him eventually, but for now my inner child is just happy to marvel over that sweet little body, the perfect joints, the way the eyes catch the light. I'm a little worried though, I swear I heard a giggle the other night...
Thanks Jen!

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Artwork, too busy packing, so I thought I'd show some different art, the beauty of my garden this summer. Looking for a way to use these in my work. Going to try to create some transparancies with them I think for glass pendants... or maybe an art quilt... or...;.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Victory by Yvonne Howard

The second of the four Doll Street Traveling dolls has nearly completed her visit with us. Meet Victory by Yvonne Howard. Victory comes to us from North Carolina and she celebrates, well, victory with her pink t-shirt with its breast cancer ribbon, her sweet bracelet with its special charms and her pink and white sneakers and socks. These pics are from her visit to the Mountain Barn, a favorite local resteraunt. Our waitress, Stephanie was very excited to meet Victory. Stef is celebrating a year free from breast cancer and we are so very glad to share her joy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Charms! Specifically Domino charms. Before I go further I should warn you that these are seriously addicting!

I've used mini dominos as my base. You can use any picture, or piece of picture (copyright honorable of course) and glue down to your domino. These are from "Skinny Mini Potpourri" by "Altered by Design" ( which I bought at Joggles. Finish your edges with a metalic leafing pen, coat with several layers of dimension lacquer and add wires and charms. I'm experimenting now with dyes, transparancies and stamps. I'm also using larger dominos to make necklaces. Hope to post more pics soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

My First Doll Street Visitor Alexis! By Drusilla Esslinger, this lovely lady will be spending 3 weeks with me as a virtual vacation. She's already taken a tour of the garden and this is her favorite spot, the beginning of what we call the "fairy trail." Note that she came well prepared with her own camera!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Finally a doll is born

After 5 long months, I've got enough range of motion back in my hand and wrist to begin some creative work again. I signed up on Doll Street to do a Travelling Doll. Not a swap, the dolls go about and visit others in the group, exchanging gifts and sharing photos from the different locations. Great fun. My doll is off to visit Dayton Ohio and I'll be entertaining a doll from Madison Kansas next week.
The pattern for this doll, as well as the terriffic idea is from the brilliant Angela Jerichi.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

At Last!

At Last!
Since breaking my wrist last January I've been unable to do much of anything artistically. But I've discovered that I can use my embellishing machine with little difficulty.

This bookcover was made for my physical therapist, Rose, who loves the great sunflowers she grows behind her barn.

I used a silk chiffon scarf overdyed in reds and a luscious golden brown silk haboti for the background. I felted them into a piece of Peltex then overstitched with a metalic bronze thread on the "barn" and a taupe silk thread on the "ground". I then couched in some bits of fancy yarns to add definition. The back cover is sunflowers worked in free motion embroidery. The sunflower and leaves on the front cover were done using a soldering iron to cut from synthetic chiffon and embellished with bronze acrylic paint. Beads embellish the spine and the two button closures are "hope" and a flying bluebird, symbols of the gifts Rose has given me these past months.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

What Tarot Card Represents You?

You are The Empress

Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents,
beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home
decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Basic Beaded Cabochon Part 4 (final)

Step 9: If you wish, more rows can be added at the base. Once you are done trim your base close to the stitching taking care not to clip any stitches! Add more thread if needed and add your finished backing, trimming both base and backing as evenly as possible

Step 10: To finish the edges you can use any embroider stitch you prefer, taking care to cover the edges completely. In the photo on the left, I’ve used a basic overhand stitch using 4 or 5 beads per stitch. A blanket stitch, Y stitch, or Lazy Daisy would work as well; just be sure to add enough beads that no thread appears.

In this photo I’ve used a scrumble stitch for the beginning of an ornate headpiece. I began by first coming back into my base peyote stitches for security, then added the three large blue beads in an overhand stitch. From the back, I picked up several seed beads and came back through the center bead then back down with more seeds. Back through my base row of peyote stitches to secure the weight, then to fill in the gap in the back and support the beads further I stitched a couple of overhand stitches with a seed – pearl – seed stitch. As a final touch I added a couple of tassels to the front of the scrumble, securing these into the peyote stitches on my base as well. I could finish in this manner around or simply match it on the other side for a stunning headpiece and finish the rest of the pendant with an overhand stitch of seed beads matching my base color

Step 11: To begin the pendant slide, center an even number of beads in peyote stitch into the base beads to the width you want your slide to be. Add a bead and bring your needle through the last bead in the previous row created. Continue your peyote stitch across, maintaining the same number of beads in each row. Create rows until you have enough rows to comfortably slide your neck cord into.

Attach the slide to the back of the pendant by taking tiny stitches into the back of your base fabric and back into the last row of beads across. As this area will take a great deal of stress, further strengthen by stitching through a bead then through both base fabrics and into a bead in the original base row of your beading and back through to the back of the pendant. Continue in this manner until you feel your slide is comfortably secure then knot off your thread inconspicuously into the fabric along side the slide. Run your needle between the two base fabrics a short distance coming out and clipping the thread so your tail is buried. Slide onto your neck cord and enjoy.


Basic Beaded Cabochon Part 3

Step 6: To begin your second row string one bead, skip one bead on your first row and bring needle through the next bead on the first row. You are doing a peyote stitch. You do NOT go back through the backing fabric. Continue around adding one bead, skipping a bead on the first row and going through the next bead. Keep beading flat against the side of the cab and snug.

Step 7: Depending on the shape of your cab, you may have to decrease in order to keep your beads snug against the cab. To decrease, if you have the same beads in a smaller size (size 15 in this case), you may use one of these, or simply skip two beads on the first row instead of one. In the next row, following the second photo above, add one bead into this space for a decrease.

Step 8: Stitch through all beads of your final row once bringing your thread snug as possible, and ending with your needle near one eyebrow. To cover the forehead, we will be stitching from eyebrow to eyebrow. To turn your needle around, stitch in to a bead one row below and come back up into the last bead you applied in the top row, now facing the other direction. Continue your peyote stitch from eyebrow to eyebrow taking care that your row is even on each side. Following the directions above, turn your needle around and continue back and forth, decreasing as needed until you are pleased with the coverage. Your final row or two will need a great deal of decreasing. If you have been able to cull smaller beads from your stash, use these, or I’ve found that keeping a stash of smaller silver lined crystal or smoke beads and using these in the final row gives a nice appearance to just about any design.

Sooner or later you will need to add a new thread. There are several ways to do this. On a pendant style as in our examples, you can hide a knot in the backing behind your cab. Bring your needle down through the lower rows, changing direction at least once to keep your thread snug, until you reach your base fabric. Bring the needle through the base fabric inside the stitching line, knot off in the back of the fabric under your cab and attach your new thread in the same manner and bring your needle back up to where you left off. If you cannot get behind the cab in your design, then knot off in the fabric someplace that will be covered with beads. As a last resort, if there is no place in the design to hide a knot you can bury the thread by working it back and forth in the beading, changing direction often and passing through the beads as often as possible. This will hold the thread tight and it will not need to be knotted.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Basic Beaded Cabochon Part 2

Step 1: Apply glue to the back of your cab. Do not go to the very edge of the cab, but stop a little way in. This will keep the glue from spreading outside the cab and making it difficult to sew the first row of beads. Press Cab onto backing material. If any glue escapes, clean up immediately. Let cab dry and check that cab is secure to backing.

Step 2: Thread needle with beading thread as long as you can comfortably manage. Knot end of single thread and bring needle up from back of backing material close to the edge of the cab. String on four (4) beads.

Step 3: Hold beads flat along side of cab and bring needle down through backing material at end of fourth bead. Don’t go in so tight that you bunch your beads up, they need to lay flat. Bring needle back up between the second and third bead and between your row of beads and your cab.

Step 4: Bring needle back through last two beads in group and string on four new beads. Snug beads up against the first set and bring your needle back down through your backing at the end of the fourth bead and come back up between the second and third bead of this set. Continue around the cabochon in this manner keeping your beads snug and flat

Step 5: It is important that your beads cover all the way around your cab, which means your last row may be fewer than four beads. Add as many as necessary coming back up through at least two beads. If you have only added one bead that means you will be coming back up on the fourth bead of your last set. Bring your needle through all beads added and the first two beads on this round to bring your needle into position for the next row. At this point, if necessary, go back and carefully add glue along the back edge of your cab to make it more secure. Use a toothpick to apply glue and clean up any “accidents” immediately.
Part 3 to follow soon...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Basic Beaded Cabochon, Part 1

I’m doing a demo for my doll club, The Textile Tarts, on the basics of beading a cabochon. To keep in the doll theme, I’m beading polymer faces. The demo will be at the January 12th meeting. I’ll be posting the directions here for those who want to play along.

All of the faces used in these samples are created using commercially available molds and either Fimo or Sculpy III polymer clays. They are finished with Lumier, Pearl-Ex, and/or professional grade metallic paints. You can use anything, really, for your cabochon. The only requirement is that it has a back flat enough to glue down to your surface. If your focal piece isn’t flat enough, add a bit of cardboard or clay to the back until you have a flat surface.

For those of you who are attending the meeting, I’ll have some kits available for sale, in which case you will only need to bring scissors. I’ll also have some heads available for those of you with beads but no cabs. For everyone else, the supply list of what to bring if you want to play along is provided below.

Supply List:

Cabochon (Cab): Anything with a back flat enough to glue down. Large flat-backed beads, rhinestones, buttons (cut off the shanks and file smooth), pebbles and stones, even pictures mounted on a piece of corrugated cardboard or foam core board will work. If you don’t like clay heads, try a flat back stuffed cloth doll head!

Backing: any non-fraying material that you can get a needle through with enough body to support your cab. I’m using felt in my examples. It is cheap, easily found in lots of colors and I have lots of it. Color doesn’t matter; it will all be hidden under your beading. But if you are new to beading, match your backing to the color of your base row of beads. That will hide any gaps or mistakes. If you are making a free standing piece as I am here, your backing only needs to be a bit bigger than your cab. You can also bead a cab directly onto a finished piece such as a wall hanging, journal cover, doll or lager piece of jewelry.

Finish backing: In the case of a free standing piece such as a pendant, you will need to add a second backing once your beading is done to cover your stitches. Be sure your finish backing is something that will be comfortable against the skin and colorfast. I’ve used a piece of ultrasuede, again slightly larger than my cab. If you are working directly onto a finished product, you won’t need this.

Glue: Select an adhesive appropriate for the materials you are using. For most clays, tacky glue works just fine. For metal, glass and stone, try either E-6000 or Zap-a-Gap or similar product.

Beads: Any beads will do, but select size relevant to the size of your cab. In my samples I’m using size 11 seed beads. In the sample piece, my cab is about 1 ½ “, and I used about 400 size 11 beads; just about a full container.

Beading needle: John James size 10 appliqué or between is the best I’ve found. They eye is narrow enough to not get hung up on the bead but large enough to thread without too much frustration. Those skinny, flexible beading needles will prove difficult when sewing through fabric.

Beading thread: Do not use regular sewing thread. It isn’t strong enough and there are too many passes made through a tiny bead. Nymo or a braided nylon bead thread, such as Fireline, are good choices.

Scissors: Small and sharp, for snipping thread and trimming your backing.

That’s all you will need for a basic beaded cab. I’ll be posting part 2 tomorrow, and we can begin beading!