Mixed Media

Mixed Media

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Crafting Tornado

My husband has informed me that it looks like a " craft tornado" has hit our house scattering projects near and far. The eye of the storm seems to be my work table, which is actually quite clean. I guess the problem with having so many projects going on at once is that I have them set-up to work on in stages. Yesterday both my Hoffman Challenge fabric and the miniature wallpaper from Spoonflower arrived. By the end of the night, I even managed to get the initial layer of oil paint applied to the first of my two Alabama babies.
I am thinking I will paint the second one with acrylics so I can see the difference (other than dry time). For now, I should really clean up the aftermath of my last few days of creative inspiration.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Alabama Indestructible Doll

When inspiration takes ahold of me, all my good intentions often fall to the wayside. When I found out that MAIDA (making antique inspired dolls and accessories) was hosting an Alabama Baby inspired members challenge from January 1st to March 30th 2014, my creative juices really got flowing. This Challenge combines both the need for research and the utilization of new techniques (have I mentioned how much I love learning new things?). Alabama baby dolls (also known as Ella Smith dolls, Alabama Indestructible dolls, and Roanoke dolls) were produced from 1899 to 1932 by Ella Smith of Roanoke Alabama. These dolls featured molded heads covered with glue and stockinette and then finished with oil painted features. They ranged in size from 8 to 36 inches with the most common sizes being between 12 and 27 inches. Mrs. Smith built a small factory in her home town of Roanoke to produce her dolls. This was one of the first doll companies to produce black baby dolls for the Southern market. For this challenge, I decided to produce two dolls. One black and one white. I have started with the black version whom I am calling "Macie" ( after Ella Smith's adopted daughter). So far I have created a pattern and sewn it using high quality, hand-dyed cotton fabric. I then stuffed it with wool stuffing. The head "stump" was primed with gesso and tacky glue and covered and sculpted with Premier Clay
( this was the closet thing I had on hand to Plaster of Paris). Once dry, the headed was sanded, coated with tacky glue, and covered with a 65/35 cotton polyester knit
Original Ella Smith dolls had an interesting skullcap that was stitched on to the crown of the head. I am assuming this was used to cover the stockinette edges. Thanks to careful application of the knit fabric, I didn't have much call for this addition. I did add some Premier clay to the top of the head though to reproduce the variance in textures seen on the original dolls. I am currently in the process of applying multiple layers of black gesso to the head, arms, and legs.

Friday, January 10, 2014

So Many Projects, So Little Time

Besides my dollhouse and Hoffman doll, I have a long list of other projects in the works. What can I say, I love a touch of chaos. Today I decided it's time to clean of my work table and get a few things checked off my list. I have two baby quilts that REALLY need finishing. One is for a dear friends sweet little girl. It is made from pink and gray fabrics primarily from Michael Miller's Zoology line.
The other is for my very own granddaughter, who should be making her entrance into the world any day now. Like my daughter, this quilt is a bit less traditional. It has a super hero theme and is made from several different lines produced by Robert Kaufman.
My goal is to finish piecing these quilts this weekend so they can be finished on the long-arm next week. I guess it's time to put in a movie, load a fresh bobbin, and get cracking!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Love a Challenge!

Nothing gets me motivated more than a challenge. Be it the challenge of learning something new or the deadline of a competition. To keep me on track with my dollhouse completion, I have decided to join the Undersized Urbanite competition. There are categories for both novice and experienced builders. The goal is to complete a room or rooms in miniature by May 12th, 2014 and post the end results to undersized urbanite.com. Since I also really enjoy the chaos of having multiple projects going at once, I have also decided to enter the Hoffman Fabric challenge. This years challenge fabric immediately brought an idea to mind.
I found a great online storefront called Batiks Plus, that allowed me to buy fat quarters of the challenge fabric which means I can get more bang for my buck. I am using this challenge as an opportunity to try some techniques I have never used before. I remembered something I saw in an issue of Soft Dolls and Animals
After a perusal of my fabric stash and art supplies, I realized I needed gesso, modeling paste, and gel medium. Thanks to Dick Blick, they will arrive at my doorstep in a few days. Time to bust out the sewing machine!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Wealth of Resources

Even though I am not currently in school, it seems that I can't embark on or complete any major projects without conducting a massive amount of research. It could also just be that I like doing research. In regards to my dollhouse project, the Internet has been both a valuable tool and a constant distraction. There is so much out there to read and buy. For basic instructions and tutorials, More Minis is the place to go. This is where I learned how to apply siding. It is so good that I felt confident attempting this on my very first build. eBay and Etsy have provided me with odds and ends needed for construction and decor. One Inch Minis by Kris is a fantastic place to learn how to build just about any piece if furnishing needed to complete a dollhouse. There are even sites like Spoonflower.com where you can design and produce your very own small scale fabric and wallpaper. These are a few of the ones that I have produced for this project.
I even found images from travel sites and old "women's magazines" to use as inspiration.

Time Flies

It has been years since I have written on or even visited my blog. Shame on me! In that time I have finished my degree, traveled to Italy and found out I am going to be a grandma (4 days and counting). Since I am taking a year off before graduate school, I decided to take on some projects I had back-burnered and try some things I have always wanted to. This is what has lead me back to my blog. I have decided to build a dollhouse and thought it would be a great idea to chronicle this journey. The house I chose as my first is the Orchid by Greenleaf Dollhouses I really liked he basic structure of this house, but knew I would like to add siding and personalize certain aspects like the stained glass and exterior gingerbread. I know this might be a huge undertaking for someone who has never built a dollhouse before, but I feel up to the challenge. So far, I have began construction on the exterior, including siding, and designed the stained glass.