Monday, November 15, 2010

New Workshops!

New Workshops begin November 16th at 2 sites! Faerie Couture begins at Cloth Doll Artistry and Lady Zen at Joggles. Both projects could make wonderful holiday gifts so if you are looking for something special check out my classes. These will be my last two workshops on line this season so I hope to see you in one or both workshops! Happy creating!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New Family Member

We welcome to Skeelhaven our newest FIC (Feathered Kid) Beaker, a grey and white cockatiel. Beaker came from the same bird rescue as Pellenore, who we selected in December) and they are actually just about the same age, which is 18 months. Their expected life span is 12 to 15 years and they share a cage as tiels are social creatures. They so far tolerate each other but have not bonded as best buds quite yet and are still trying to determine who is "Top Bird." It's taken a few days for each of them to begin singing again, and relaxing with each other, though Beaker is a sweetheart and loves to be pet when we are one on one. Pelly never liked fingers much so we hope he'll learn from Beaker. Right now he watches us pet Beaker with caution and seems to stand by to protect Beaker in case the dreaded finger inflicts the pain he imagines it will, but hopefully he'll catch on. Pelly hasn't wanted to snuggle with me since the arrival of his new "brother" but they will each sit on one of my shoulders, play pin ball with me or hang out in the studio together while I work. The cooler temperatures of late have been ideal for them to share a perch in the front window and watch the world together with a gentle breeze in their faces, as they are in the photo above. They also adore the screened in back porch. I think it will all work out wonderfully and am thrilled Pelly is no longer alone in his cage.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another New Workshop!

Fiber Face Collage has just officially been finished... just in time, too as the last lesson was posted on Joggles today! But the class will run again September 15th at Doll Street. Here are some finished photos of faces created for the class and put on fabric journal pages. Above are Cate and Jasmine, each created from photos.Rose and Celeste are above. Rose is created using all printed fabrics and Celeste actually wears fake eyelashes! Jane and Bonnabell are next. Jane is a flapper and Bonnabell is just a beautiful chick.
Viola shows techniqes for making wild faces with unusual skin tones, where Ako shows Geisha style makeup.
This last one was the original piece and not completed the same way. The fabric colors show through the face a little but I loved the pattern and include it in the class as well. There are 10 face patterns, as well as instructions on how to create a unique face from scratch or from an existing photo for your fiber arts. I had a blast creating this class! Join in on the fun at Doll Street. Look for Creative College.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Faerie Couture

I just finished samples for a new class! Faerie Couture will feature not one but TWO projects; the Faerie of Light and the Dark Faerie. From layered painting to create faux marble on a mannequin through layered and distressed costumes and wings these two pieces are a blast to create! Faerie Couture will premier at Joggles October 19th. Additional workshops at Joggles this session include Altered Fabric, September 22 and the new mixed media Lady Zen is scheduled for November 16th.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fiber Face Collage

I've been working on collage faces made of fabrics for an on line workshop I'm teaching called Fiber Face Collage and decided to include how to do a collage based on a photograph in the lessons. I created 2 from photographs. The first, which is above, I call Jasmine and she was a beautiful face I found on the internet and fell in love with. She'll get a curly fabric as hair later. Here's her original photo.
Next I used a photo of a friends beautiful daughter, Cate. I loved the pink and blue tones in the photo and hand dyed the skin tone fabrics with Dye-Na-Flow. Her hair is create with 8 different prints including calicos and batiks.
Here is Cate's original photo. Cate is currently on a trip to Atlanta so I can't wait to hear what she thinks about this piece using her as my inspiration. Her mom loved it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

New Sketches

I'm in my second SuziBlu workshop, "Goddess & Poet" and working on sketches. The first I did looked terribly out of proportion to me though I thought I measured appropriately. More than just a Streisand nose, she had an elongated face. The next one, with the same proportions still seemed long to my husband, but Elvish to me. She is graphite layered with Prismacolor pencil and the photo above.

So I tried again dividing the lower face into thirds not halves for the nose and got a much younger face. I've done this type of face on dolls many times so didn't wait to color her before moving on to the next face.
My fourth face compromised the measurements and seems to work though at the moment I feel her eyes are too far apart and the color looks too yellow in the scanned image but I didn't see it on the drawing. All of these are just preliminaries, to be layered with Golden translucent paints, and whatever other mixed media techniques Suzi throws at us. This goddess is in a jounal and we are to work on writing poetry as well... something I've not made time to do for years. I'm not into the whole "goddess thing" as far as religion goes, but Suzi explained it more on the level of celebrating all womanhood and the natural femininity we seemed to lose when fighting so hard to be equal to men who used to place us on pedestals and think of us as goddesses. Given my personal Rubenesque shape I think I could be a lovely goddess... LOL!
Suzi's classes are all done on video on her Ning network and though she gets a little off topic and wired sometimes it is really a good series of classes and fun. Goddess is teaching stylized faces though more advanced than the Petite Dolls class I took first. I hope to fit in Angles and Piety before September and ban my apprehension for the paint brush altogether. It's good to have a dream...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Finished Painting!

Lady Zen is now complete. She is not perfect, but then, neither am I! I used gold leafing for her collar and shaded it to show the texture. I added shadows to her costume, and dimensional crystals to her neckwear. I finally got the angle right so the metallic paints didn't confuse the camera lense and wash out or alter the color, alas you can't see the sparkle and shimmer as well. Refer back to the last sample of this work in progress and imagine merging the two backgrounds and you'll know what she really looks like. I'm working on mastering mixed media paintings not photography. For now, anyway. LOL!

Anywho, she was a blast to create and I will be offering her, or a sample very similar to her, as an on line workshop on Joggles, hopefully this fall.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lady Zen Again!

I've been working on Lady Zen again today. She is mostly done. The camera was readjusted so the colors aren't exactly right but you get the idea. Her collar was done with gold leafing. Now just for the record, in the past I have always been afraid of the paintbrush but this technique was so easy! I love mixed media! I'm a new addict but have to stop and finish writing a class!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WIP: Lady Zen

Well Lady Zen is bopping along and demanded I play with her today instead of doing what I was supposed to do. I suppose I should be grateful my Muse is popping in again to push me. Anywho, without further ado, I present the current status of my Lady Zen, still a work in progress. The background makes me mostly happy so next I will focus on the lady and try to make her more respectable (in an artistic way... I've nothing to do with her knickers!) and then I'll see what's next.
A close up shows you the lacey textured underlayer as well as the pressed and printed blooms.

As A Student

I've been taking an on line class with Suzi Blu for La Petite Dolls. I thought it was all painting but the paper doll is done with colored pencils and the background is mixed media so it's still fun and not too far from my comfort zone. My first drawing is below. This is a stretch for me as the doll face was supposed to be really simple and I've worked at shading and highlighting for years. It's not as simple as it's supposed to be, but simple for me. When the drawing is attached to a canvas she will be dangling from a bunch of balloons.

My second drawing is my own style. I used the Zentangle method of drawing to decorate her head piece and am working on the back ground with lots of textures, colors and flowers so she appears to be in a garden. My own garden is such a lovely place these days. Hopefully it won't be long until I get to post the new gazebo Craig is building for me. He'll eventually screen it in so my cockatiel Pelly can visit outside while I work in the garden. He'll love talking to all the birds out there!

Anywho, Lady Zen, as I've begun to call her, will have a torso to just past her waist with a bouquet in her nonexistant hands. Suzi doesn't teach hands in La Petite Dolls and I'm in serious need of drawing and painting skills before I do some one my own worthy of posting here! So both these drawings are still a little rough with the intention that we add to them after mounting them to the background. Hopefully I'll find time to work on them theis week but first I need to focus on the workshop I am still writing!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fiber Face Collage

My newest endeavor has been to work on flat collage faces made of fabrics and fibers for fabric journals. I'll be teaching this on Joggles late in July. So last night, working on a beginer level piece I struggles like the Dickens. I kept losing pieces. Things like eye brows would just vanish from my workspace. Then I learned why.
It seems that my lovely little cockatiel, Pellenore was helping himself to bits as I laid them in place and went to focus the camera. Caught in the act, my little man was sent back to his perch six times! He wasn't happy with scraps I gave him, he much preferred his life of crime. So I laid a piece I didn't want where he had been stealing my needed bits and he absconded with a scrap thinking he'd won. Pelly is in his terrible two's, we have decided, but I do like having him in the studio with me. We just need to work on the rules and obedience stuff I guess.

Anywho, here is the finished face, after I remade one eye lid that I never did find. The lashes were trimmed after this photo, and are loose fibers. The workshop will teach the faces which can be later attached to clothing, bags and other spectacular places, as well as the fabric journal I am making. Just wait till I show you the highly detailed faces! You'll love them!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More of My Garden

The above photo shows a cluster of plants in the shade. The large pink blooms are a geranium, while the pale smaller blooms are bleeding hearts. Above is a varigated hosta draping from a raised bed and the long leaves belong to a yellow bearded iris that was stunning, but needs relocated due to the lack of sun. Creeping sedum covers many areas of my garden and is the bright green low in the photo.

Behind the house we built a gorgeous area of various levels of raised beds. This triangle bed is the upper level and the grass path goes down hill two feet from this point. Can you see my fairy scampering to get out of the photo?
This is a rear view of the same triangle bed with an assortment of perrenials and a few annuals to fill in till things grow. The raised beds in the distance are vegetables, herbs and the boardwalk runs just behind the house from the drive to the studio doors.

This view shows the very back of the triangle bed and the lower level of the raised beds. White lights line the beds as well as the two arbor seats my wonderful husband constructed last summer. It's beutiful after dark as well.

Across the stone path from the triangle bed you can find my delpjiniums in blue, lavendar and white. I'm still looking for a pink one and a dark purple one to replace the plants I lost to deer years ago. With all the new housing devlopments near by the deer don't bother my garden as much, however they did find all the young fruit trees and we had to add fencing to keep the trees from being destroyed. The lattice work you see in the distance is the trellis side to one of the six foot long arbor seats. The seat is hidden by the bloomsThis view of the pond and beyond shows part of another arbor my husband and son built years ago, as well as the back path into the north garden I showed you yesterday. I just love the moss on the stones! Can you believe I transplanted it from the garden a few years ago as a 2 inch square on one stone?My little stone bunny sits beneath some roses across the path from the pond. Some of these roses also climb the arbor in the pond photo.

This last photo shows the end of the boardwalk. Three steps down are my studio doors which I love to prop open while I work. The birds are lovely to listen to. Now I have my own little bird Pellenore, a cockatiel. He visited the studio while I worked over the winter but I'll have to get him a harness or a second cage if he will vist while the doors are open. He loves talking to the birds through windows but even with clipped wings I'm afraid he'll want to go and party in the garden with the birds and fly away. We're thinking about adding a gazebo behind the raised beds and plan to screen it in to make him his own aviary. The porch swing in the gazebo will be so we can visit him. It's all about the bird, you know. LOL!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Joy of My Gardens!

I have been so blessed! My garden is overflowing with peonies, roses and other beauties. I'd like to share some photos I took today. My goldfish pond has a stone waterfall I built a few years ago and moss has graced the stones that get damp from the mist. I'm hoping the waterlily will finally bloom this summer.
This is the old driveway which shows a nice view of the north cottage garden and the edge of the boardwalk to the stairs and front door.
We built a garage on the opposite end of the house last year so have a concrete drive there and recently added a loop between them. Flowering trees and shrubs are along the side closest to the road. When they widened the road a few years ago they removed most of our shade trees and a beautiful blue spruce as well as a forsythia hedge, all of which helped to block road noise. Now we have a new hedge sprouting, alternating lilacs with the forsythias which was at my feet when I took this next photo. The house looks a lot smaller now that it is divided up like this. The dogeared fence hides the private hot tub garden.
I took several shots of the north garden which spans the width of our home while standing on one spot and then merged the photos for a quasi-panoramic view. Pathways wind through for access and raised beds next to the house create a nice shady place to sit most of the year. The landscape timber in front borders the driveway and actually follows a straight line, but if you stood across the drive where I stood this is how it would look as you visually scan the beds.
More photos tomorrow... I had camera and computer issues today and can't access them yet! Come and visit - you can see it all in person and sip some cinnamon iced tea!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

In Memory

In Memory of my Dad, Don Dildine, who passed last week...
I am one of Don’s four children and I’m here to share a few a few things with you about my dad. Dad wasn’t a super hero, a billionaire or a Pulitzer Prize winner. He was just an average, meek guy who loved his family and did the best he could with what he had.

Growing up Dad loved to take us on outings. He often wouldn’t tell us where we were going. Sometimes it felt like we were lost, just driving aimlessly or that he had no clue where we were going but we always seemed to come out with an adventure. We might end up on a stretch of road by the airport to pick bittersweet or at Lynds Fruit Farm to buy fresh apple cider. Then Dad would jingle his car keys and we knew it was time to head for home.

Dad had amazing patience. A good example is when I was a kid we had Aunt Donna and her family come and stay at our house for a couple weeks when they moved back from California. While they stayed with us I went with my two cousins and picked black berries. I carried the ones I didn’t eat home cradled in my pretty pastel shirt, which as I recall was probably new. Needless to say, the quart of berries made a royal juicy mess that I as a kid would never have observed on my own. When I excitedly showed the berries to Dad he ate one with a big grin on his face and then whispered to me, “Take this shirt to Aunt Donna right away so your mother doesn’t get mad about the mess on your shirt. Aunt Donna can get that stain out for you.” Years later when I was just 18 and driving his car, I had an accident. His response to me was not one of anger. He simply said, “Well, you had your shot and you muffed it. But we’ll work it out.” And we did.

Dad loved good food. There was never enough lemon in a lemon pie, never enough dessert and he always had a candy stash by his chair, which he shared with the dog. We all lived to eat whatever he cooked on the grill. He made these fabulous burgers by placing tomato, onion and all the fixings between two patties and then he pinched the edges closed. He always had hickory chips on the charcoal for an extra smoky flavor. Just yesterday my sisters and I agreed any time we smell a charcoal grill we think of Dad’s out door cooking. We all knew food gifts were great and it wasn’t unusual for him to get several boxes of his favorite chocolate covered cherries at Christmas.

Dad always knew what his gifts were before he opened them. He’d pick up the gift, rattle the package and say, ‘Thanks for the cherries, or the neck tie or the beef stick’ and then would only peel the paper far enough to prove he had guessed right. He was a tough one to fool no matter how we wrapped things and we tried hard to disguise the packages for many years.

Dad celebrated the simple joys in life. He would take us to parades and even before he rattled his keys we always knew we had to get back in the car as soon as the last float was in view so we could pull out and follow the street cleaners down the road,. He assured us we would be home working in the yard long before anyone else got home. Dad also loved inviting lots of friends, neighbors and family to the house just to sit on the patio for an evening to watch the night blooming Cyrus in the garden bloom and wither in between dinner time and midnight. We had lots of gatherings like that on the patio.

My Dad gave me my quirky sense of humor. My favorite times with Dad were when we would be alone in the greenhouse or garage and watch shows like Benny Hill, Monty Python or Bugs Bunny. He loved to tease and wing puns and insults back and forth just to pass the time, which has turned into a pass time with my own children. A rule at our house is, “If we don’t insult you, we probably don’t like you.”

If Dad had ever visited your home he more than likely worked in your garden. He simply could not walk past a marigold without popping off the dead heads, nor could he walk past a weed without pulling it. He would stop by our home in Westerville on the way home from the golf course and we’d sit on the edge of a flower bed and chat as he pulled weeds I hadn’t gotten to. Frequently he showed up with plants or bulbs or shrubs that he found somewhere for next to nothing. He was a big advocate for trading plants and buying seeds for the cheapest prices. In his garden lectures he always said all seeds were made by big companies and that some were packaged cheap as off brands. The “high class” gardeners spent their money on the expensive seeds assuming it meant they were the best while the “smart gardens” spent their money on the same seeds at a low price so they could afford to buy more seeds and raise more plants. If you ever visited my Dad’s garden you more than likely took home an arm load of vegetables because he planted all those extra seeds really close together to choke out the weeds and always had more food than we could possibly use. He was very generous with his vegetables and his garden tips. If you watched the video when you came in you saw photos of his garden.

I have the Bible that was given to Dad the year I was born and have been reviewing the highlighted verses over the last few days. There was a recurring theme. Dad believed in being like the lilies of the field, that simply had faith and don’t worry whether God will tend them or not. Phrases like, “Do unto others”, “Trust in the Lord”, “Delight thyself in the Lord” and “The meek shall inherit the earth” were some of his highlighted verses, as well as Job 21:21 which says, “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace; there by good shall come unto thee.” Dad always knew one day he would see the pearly gates.

Over the last few years as Dad’s health deteriorated sometimes he didn’t have much to say. But as we ended our visits or phone calls and told him we loved him he would say, “Daddy loves you too.” We didn’t want to see him go and but we didn’t want him to be trapped in his weakened body any longer either. He had many good friends in his life time, a family that loved him and he was tired. All four of us kids made it to the hospital to say goodbye and to let Dad know we understood that he was ready to go. Last Wednesday night God jingled His keys to tell Dad it was time to go home.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lady Paisley

New Doll! New Doll! Okay, a variation of my Paisley Praise. I taught this in Georgia a week ago and didn't attach her wings before coming home. Then a doll club asked if when I teach their club if I could offer an alternative to creating an angel as some members don't "do" angels. So, I left the doll without the wings and will adapt the pattern to include the doll seated with her hands in her lap as she cradles a small bird or some similar lovely.
Let me know what you think. I think these colors are scrumptious!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Family Member

Welcome to the New Year! In December I adopted a third son... Pellenore is a 10 month old cockatiel and hopefully he will learn to talk as he keeps me company when I create. He's content out of his cage and loves to watch movies with me. Pelly also swings over my desk from a branch that we mounted to his cage. He still is quite shy and doesn't like to be hand held but we're working on that a little bit at a time. In the spring, when it's warmer in the studio he'll join me there, for now, he supervises me as I work at my desk editing on line classes and patterns. I'm sure he'll inspire a new doll... eventually. Right now he is more of a welcome distraction than an inspiration but we're still training me too.