Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Worked my butt off - lots of ambulances and flu people in the ER today. Came home, had no Trick-or-Treaters, so more candy for ME!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Little Red

It's a beautiful Saturday, and I'll be headed to doll club in a couple hours. We'll be meeting at Roxanne's house in Newberg (Oregon). We've met there once before, and her home is lovely.

Our usual meeting place (fire station in St. Helens) is currently off-limits, due to the prevalence of H1N1 influenza. The hope is by preventing outsiders into the facility, the first responders will have less exposure to the virus and stay healthy so they can do their jobs. I can appreciate that. I got my H1N1 shot a few days ago, will no ill effects.
Little Red will be coming to doll club with me. I used Lucinda Durbin's Presbyterian doll pattern, a reproduction based on the original dolls. I had to adapt the pattern a little, as I wanted to try a photo face doll. She still needs her basket, and some sort of hair-do. You can find some information about these original dolls HERE, on Sherrie Nordgren's blog.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Wobblin' Goblin

I've been trying to remember the lyrics to a song my mom used to sing around this time of year. I looked it up on youtube, and was tickled to hear the original, as sung by Rosemary Clooney.

The Wobblin Goblin

There once was a sad little goblin,
Who had a broken broom
When he went anywhere, it would wobble in the air
And his heart would fill with gloom
He tried to hard to fix it every night
But he just couldn't get it working right

The Wobblin goblin with the broken broom
Could never fly too high
For right after take-off
Another piece would break off
And soon he would be danglin' in the sky!

Each evening just as he would leave the ground
His radio would say:
"Control tower to Goblin,
Your broom stick is wobblin',
You better make a landing right away."

It soon got so he could only ride
When the witches took him piggy back
Until at last, he used his brain,
And bought himself an aero-plane!

So if you look for him on Halloween
You'll see him zip and zoom
No harm can befall him, no longer can they call him,
The Wobblin' Goblin with the Broken Broom!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reigning Dolls & Bears club pin done

Today I finished my doll club pin, designed by club member Martha Checkett. Well almost done ~ I may add a little banner/scroll with my name, so I can use the pin as a name tag. The pin 3-1/2 by almost 4 inches in size. The head is about the size of a nickel.

Next, I'm going to try to finish my Little Red Riding Hood challenge doll, using a Presbyterian doll repro pattern by Lucinda Durbin. She just needs her hair and red cape. I've also got to finish our August challenge doll, using one of two patterns we selected from the old The Cloth Doll magazine.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tombstone Angel Wallhanging ~ prototype #1

Last night I added some detail stitching on my Tombstone Angel Wallhanging prototype. I tried adding the wing detail with the sewing machine, but didn't like the look. So I ripped that out and hand-sewed them instead, using thread just a little bit lighter in color. I also added some pupils, which helps a bit.

Today I'm drafting the Tombstone Angel pin doll/ornie version of the pattern. It's almost identical to the other angel, but a little fuller in the chest and wings.

Today's the perfect day to work on this project. The weather's stormy and gloomy ~ no reason at all to go outside. I'm planning to make Tombstone into a pattern. It takes me a really long time to write the instructions, but maybe I can get the bulk of it done today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkinhead Doll Finished

My pumpkinhead doll is finally done. Well maybe. I might still paint her some boots and possibly add some lace along the hem of her dress. Or maybe not. She's about 16 inches tall (from her feet to the top of her stem). Her clothing is removable. She's all cloth, with a paperclay sculpted over her badly formed stuffed cloth head. You'll notice I didn't include a photo of her stuffed head with my first progress photos.

She turned out just a little darker than I'd intended, especially after the wash of walnut ink was applied. It doesn't help that these photos turned out a little dark and grainy.

I wonder how the other doll club members' challenge dolls turned out?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Great Columbia Crossing

Today was the 28th Annual Great Columbia Crossing- a 10K/6.2 mile Walk/Run that crosses the Columbia River near its mouth. This is the third or fourth time I've participated. The sunrise this morning was gorgeous.

This year I walked with my sister. My son and nephew ran. Here I am with my youngest (Kyle). We got up very early and rode the shuttle bus to the Washington side of the Columbia River, where we had two hours to kill before start time. It was very breezy and cold - about 40 degrees, I think. Hats and gloves would have been nice - next year we'll be better prepared.

Three thousand walkers and runners gathered at the Dismal Nitchrest area. After a mile, we crossed the 4.1 mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge (usually open to vehicle and cycle traffic only) and finished in Oregon.

This is my sister and I (Deb's on the left, I'm on the right). It's not easy to have a good hair day with all that wind. I'm SO thankful it didn't rain this year.

We'd like to train for next year and try running it. Neither of us are natural runners, so I'm sure we'll suffer mightily, trained or not. The rise and span of the bridge are deceptively long.

This bridge is the longest continuous three-span truss bridge in the world. It rises 205 feet above the river, over a major shipping channel. It used to be a toll bridge, back when I was new to the area (some 23 years ago). Once the bridge was paid for, the toll went away. Hey! I see my friend and coworker Shaun in this photo. Many hospital staff participated today.

This photo was taken at the top of the span. We're just starting to get our autumn colors here. I think October is my favorite month. Very crisp and cool, but sort of risky for an event like this.

If you have time, check out the links in this post for a little history.

I really don't think we need to leave quite so early next year. The thing is, parking can be a challenge. I suggested we walk to the shuttles (about 1-1/2 mile from our house), but for some reason no one was interested.

Oh, and I did get the T-shirt.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin head ~ painting done?

I've got most, if not all of the painting done today. Now I just need to decided if I should leave her be, crackle the surface, or just try a wash. My husband thinks the color's too brown, but I didn't want a cartoony orange.

I've got the upper torso masked off in preparation for a crackle/stain, or just a stain. Then I'll sew on the orange arms, which will be crackled or whatever.

For her dress, I found several green plaids in my stash from which to choose. I'm not sure what fabric I want to use for her legs. The pattern is a really simple design, so I may decided to tweak the feet just a little. Her dress will have to be designed after sewing on her arms and legs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tombstone Angel in Progress

We went to Boston about 7 or 8 years ago, and I took some photos of old tombstones. I was thinking the primitive angels would make great dolls. So while I was waiting for my pumpkin paint to dry (many layers), I made a prototype for a new doll/pin doll/wall hanging.

I decided to start with a small wall hanging so I could work out the kinks on an easier scale (a pin doll would be more difficult. I need to find some plexiglas or Mylar that isn't so shiny. One side is open so I can slide in various sentiments, quotes, or whatever (this one is by Benjamin Franklin). I also want to add some detail stitching to the wing feathers like the original below, pupils, and maybe even some shading with colored pencil.

Pumpkinhead ~ painting begins

I painted a coat of gesso on the doll and arms last night. I think the colored gesso might make a nicer base layer than the white. One more cup of coffee, then I'll begin mixing a batch or orange paint.

It's foggy this morning, at least on my side of the hill. I may post more photos today as I paint.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More pumpkin head

I had to take a look at some of the pumpkins at the grocery store, to get a better idea of how the stem looks. I used a scalpel to dig out a depression at the top of the head, then added the basic stub of a stem. When that dried, I added a little more detail.

Now that I take a closer look at the photos, I see where the doll's left upper eyelid crease is higher than the right. I'll add a little more clay. When that's dry, I'll paint the clay with gesso. I think I have some dark brown gesso, and I think that might work better for an under-layer than the usual white.

I sewed and stuffed the arms today, and will paint them with gesso, too. Then I'll mix up a big batch of orange, with some varying colors for interest.
I'm not going to pick out the colors for her dress until I see how the orange turns out.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Halloween Challenge Doll ~ a little more progress

My pumpkin head doll is coming along. I've added basic eyes and have filled out the face a little. I've still got to add a stem and do a little more refining. She was somewhat lop-sided, so I did some sanding after work last night - at least until it got too cold and dark outside. I hope she doesn't end up being too top heavy.

I'm going to use the arm/leg design that came with the pattern, as the point of this challenge was to use this particular vintage pattern. I've haven't started looking at fabrics for her dress, but I think an tiny print or plaid in autumn colors would look nice. I hope I have something like that on hand, because I certainly don't need to add to my fabric stash.

We're up early today, as we'd planned to walk to work like we did yesterday. It was a gorgeous day. But today it's 39 degrees, it's supposed to rain, and we've got to get groceries after our shift. I can do 39, but not 39 AND rain.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Don't judge me by my filthy oven

I really want to finish the sculpting my Halloween Challenge doll this evening, so I decided to push the drying process in the oven - the temp is at the lowest setting (170 degrees). I've been building up layers over the past few days and letting them dry naturally, but now it's time to get down to business. Once this is dry, I plan to make the eyes, build up the lips and cheeks a little, make a stem, and make the vertical grooves a pumpkin typically has.

I'm fairly new at sculpting in Paperclay, but I know it's super easy to sand. At this point I'm undecided as to whether the upper chest/back and arms will be orangish, greenish or brownish. I'll have to think on that. Maybe I'll even give crackling another chance - or not.

While I'm not intentionally advertising the Astoria Coffee Company, they do roast some nice beans...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

How's this for an inspiration piece?

How's this for inspiration for a Halloween doll? I was downtown picking up some little snaps and hooks/eyes at JoAnn's, and this caught my eye. I was sneaky and took a few quick photos on my cell phone today (cuz that guy in the window was watching me). I love the ghoulish monochromatic-ness of this doll. I didn't have time to run inside and check her price tag or the name of the artist, but will try to do that before she's gone from the display.

Treasures of the Gypsy doll DONE!

...and in the mail - although after going through all the paperwork for this challenge, I might be too late. One paper had a deadline of October 5, another said the "last week of September." Oh well, what's the worst that could happen - the doll won't be exhibited and the money to send and insure her (there and back) will be wasted. Hey, at least I sent the insurance form in by the July deadline!

Maybe it's just me, but this particular challenge has a plethora of paperwork, labels, instructions, etc. And as I was reviewing it all today, I remembered saying (about 2 years ago) I'd never do this challenge again. I still don't know if I got it all together correctly. The Hoffman Challenge is so much easier in this regard. But Pamela Armas is a wonderful gal, and has tons of treasures in her shop. You know, the kind of stuff you buy and set aside for that very special doll that you never make. I have a bit of silk purchased in San Francisco last fall at $75 per yard. It's one of those pieces that's been set aside for "something special." Am I the only one that does this?

Anyway, I'm pretty pleased with my ToG doll. But I'm just not very blingy when compared to other dollmakers that participate in this challenge. It's really hard for me to embellish, let alone to the nth degree. I have a hard time picturing in my head what and where to stick a doo-dad. In my opinion, Arley Berryhill is the BEST. Check out his Troll Queen for the Hoffman Challenge - now THAT'S embellishment!