Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Exchange

Each Christmas our doll club, The Guilded Lilies draws names to create gift dolls at our party.  The party is tonight, first dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and then to our party barn for the gift exchange.

My Doll... I am leaving naming her to her new owner so I just call her Doll, is seated in a wooden chair that I hand painted.  She wears a silk chemise, cotton skirt and cotton over skirt embellished with embroidery stitches and beadwork.  She wears a peyote bead bracelet to match.  The colors are the favorites of the recipient, so hopefully she'll be pleased.

What you can't see is Doll's hair.  It's pulled back into 2 long ribbon braids at the center back and is 8 inches long on her 12 inch body.  The hair is long, wefted mohair so can be combed and restyled and her clothing can be removed to redress her for my friend loves costuming and "doing hair."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Finished At Last!

After weeks of working on my garden wall at last I have finished! Here's a view of the garden with the entire wall.
The Mosaic was fun to do but tedious one marble at a time.  I did the circles upside down on contact paper then pressed the whole section at once into place, then worked around them with random glass pieces and marble as well as some sea glass. There are also some little polymer faces in the center of most of the circles. The little mosaic alcove is in the shade year round and a couple of chairs and a small table will make this a fabulous spot for sipping iced tea with a friend!
I'm still transplanting flowers so the garden will be gorgeous in the spring.  I have several iris colors to add yet, in various shades of purple, white, yellow and peach. 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

This is one end of the wall.  to the left is the mosaic and beyond that another long wall of faux stone, just like this.  We've gotten some plants back in the beds finally, and it should be gorgeous come springtime. One end of the garden has a blue hydrangea while the opposite end has a magenta rhododendrum.  So far there are four rose bushes, assorted irises and calla lilies as well as other old fashioned flowers like foxglove.  There is an area with prairie plants and a shade area with assorted coral bells, lilies of the valley and bleeding hearts.  There are several different peonies as well.   This entire bed is 35 feet long by 16 feet deep and this shot shows less than half.

The Wall Continues...

The center section of the garden wall I've been covering with faux stones is 7 1/2 feet long by 2 feet tall.  It's recessed 12 inches from the main wall, without the lower raised bed attached.  I want to place a small set of table and two chairs there, heavy ones that won't get caught in storms, and decided to make it a little more interesting than the faux stone so I am creating a free form mosaic. 

The randomly placed pieces are placed one at a time. I laid the circle out, also one piece at a time, on clear contact paper and pressed it into the mortar, then left it to dry before peeling the paper back off the next day.  This way I could create several circles in various sizes on rainy days and wait for the sun to attach them. 

I used flat back marbles, sea glass, glass discs, ceramic tile and some irridescent glass rectangles and hexagons.  Some of the circles have faces placed in the center that are created with polymer clay or UTEE - Ultra Thick Embossing Powder in press molds.  I can't wait to get the rest of the circles up and fill in the detailed background!  Hopefully there will be sun tomorrow and I can get back to creating.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Etsy Site is Opened

Today I finally finished loading pics and text to open my Etsy Site .  4 E-Patterns 3 dolls and 6 Marrottes for sale.  I'm looking forward to creating more E-Patterns form workshops I've taught in the past.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Busy bee here with another new pattern that was a workshop only previously. Destiny, a 17 inch elegant doll is distinguished in sexy stiletto heels that show off her shapely legs and insert into her stand or allow her to stand freely. She can be Gothic in black with a spider tattoo on one breast or by changing the color and clothing options a glorious bride or elegant debutant.
Techniques in this pattern include needle sculpting a cloth face and applying cloth over cloth to hide face seams, step-by-step face color details, detailed bead work to create an elegant collar and wrist bands including the peyote stitch, picot stitch and free form beading as well as painting a faux marble base. Learn secrets to making elegant hands with tips to stitch and turn perfect fingers as well as techniques to properly wire, stuff and shape hands in realistic poses. 

This pattern is available at Dollmakers Journey and Craftsy, will be on my brand new Etsy site in the next few days, and will also be on Doll Street and at Joggles.

Monday, September 10, 2012

So the saga of the garden continues.  The raised beds were rebuilt out of 4" thick cinder blocks. I slapped on concrete and treated it like clay to shape faux stones.  You can see those stages below, left to right in two rows. 
The first layer of concrete laid out the shape of the edges of the stones and built it up slightly.  The second layer gave depth and made some stones almost 3" thick in areas.  The different shades of grey simply show wet and dry stones.
Craig laid a beautiful herringbone path out of white bricks. it really added class and improved over my previous flagstone that was shifting.
He also laid stacking stones for the driveway edge.  We didn't realize what a hill we were on until we went from one stone to four, each four inches tall.
We sprayed concrete dye onto the stones but hated the colors. So unnatural.  So I sponge painted every stone so it would be different from those directly around it and look more like real stones. Up close some would really fool you!
We lost a bunch of plants in the transfers back and forth and the hot summer weather, and all the peonies are pruned to the ground so the flowers look like a brand new bed but come next spring this place will be GORGEOUS! Thanks to Craig, my husband, who can build anything!!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I'm On A Roll!

I couldn't sleep again and was up at 4:30.  Is this what it's like to be manic?  Anywhoo, I pulled out another pattern that untill now has only been a live workshop.  The Dragonfly Rider.
The Dragonfly Rider checks on the forest every morning and carries messages back and forth in his satchel. The 9 inch rider wears leather boots and gloves and a silk tunic.  His face is sculpted in 100% cotton fabric, and his hair and rooted eyelashes are made of Tibetan Lamb.
The Dragonfly has elegant, translucent wings with an iridescent glow to them. His torso has a poseable armature that is wrapped in ribbon and can be covered or lightly embellished with bead work. 
Together this pair can be placed above a pedestal to appear flying or suspended from a ceiling for a more natural look.  Place them near your plants and they will both keep smiling forever!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I forgot to mention you can find Camille at Craftsy.  Soon the Etsy site will be up... I need a few more items....

Another new PDF Pattern!

     I couldn't sleep this morning so when I got out of bed before 5 am I decided to convert a pattern I used to teach only as a workshop into a PDF pattern so anyone can make this doll lovely doll.
     Camille is a cloth doll pattern to create a lovely flower faerie. Camille wears flower petals, soft leather beaded shoes and has wild faerie hair. Her wings unique construction allow every dollmaker to create a look of their own. Instructions include suggestions for alternate costuming as well as camellia petals. Detailed step by step instructions take the dollmaker through creating Camille and detailing her delicate face. Don’t you need a flower faerie in your home? I still have the original doll.
     One of the great techniques covered is how to create, shape and pose beautiful articulated cloth doll hands, including extended fingernails and bending the wrist for a natural look.

Camille's sandals are my own design created with leather and beadwork.


Monday, August 27, 2012

      After a few years away from designing I am proud to present a brand new pattern
With Love From Skeelhaven!

      Paisley Praise is named for one of the 8 fabrics used to create her gorgeous Renaissance style dress with bell sleeves.  Her wings are made of tattered cotton “feathers” on poseable wire. Paisley is kneeling with her arms out stretched and eyes closed giving thanks for all her blessings.  A variation, Lady Paisley, can be made with no wings, posed seated with her hands in her lap. Step by step instructions are included for needlesculpting and face painting techniques, in addition to creating this lovely doll body and costume. While kneeling, Paisley measures approximately 12” in tall.
     Paisley Praise will become available in September at Cloth Doll Patterns , Dollmakers Journey and Joggles .   This will also be my first PDF pattern, and will be for sale at Doll Street and Craftsy, so we’ll see how sales go there and if that does well I may update and convert more patterns for PDF versions!
      I made a variation of the pattern without wings and called her "Lady Paisley." Her photo is below. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Discount on Workshops!

Faerie Couture

To celebrate my favorite on line doll club being 15 years old in 2012 and continuing under new ownership I want to give back a little!  So I am offering $15 off  each of my currently running online classes at Doll Street. These include: Faerie Couture, Fanciful Fairy Wings, Handling Hands, Hey Doll Face, Lady Zen and the Queen of Hearts, photos below.    The discount code is DS15yearanniv, and the classes are self paced so you don'tr have to rush to keep up.  This discount is only available thru October 1st.  Usually these Doll Street discounts are only 10% and only offered to Doll Street members so this really is a big deal if you have been wishing to take any of my workshops!

Fanciful Fairy Wings
Handling Hands
Handling Hands
Hey Doll Face
Lady Zen
Queen of Hearts
Queen of Hearts

Thursday, August 16, 2012

More Garden

 So, here is the north garden, and the back hoe named Edward, blocking the pond area view.  The front row of blocks will be complete, it was left open to get in equipment such as the tiller, but you can see the shape of the walk better from this view. There is about 7 1/2 feet of garden on the outside edge of each walk, and on the east end it goes into the flagstone patio around the goldfish pond.

In the back, beyond the 17 foot red brick fire ring is the main east garden.  A lot of plants are in pots here waiting to be watered as the sprinkler doesn't reach them on their six foot spiral stands.  The gazebo in the back was designed by Craig and of course, he built it, too.  There is an arched foot bridge that crosses a mini creek connecting a series of waterfalls to a 5 by 12-ish pond, with more fish right up against the gazebo. There are a couple benches around the pond shaded by the large maple.

I love little details in my garden! I have a fairy door and mini trees and shrubs as well as plants that don't grown above an inch tall.  Here you can see a fae dancing in one of those areas.  She is about six inches tall.

Elf boy is a larger statue, about 15 inches tall and sits near the stairs to the rear entrance to the large bed shown above.  He faces the gazebo and the morning sun. 

This view is the side of the same bed looking south.  The hydrangea blocks the view of the waterfalls  from here.  You may have noticed the yard slopes down, and so the rear of the garden appears raised.  See my little bunny friend?  I do get live bunnies in the yard but try to prevent them from getting into the garden and eating my goodies.  The deer like to come in too.  They ate all my tulip heads and or bulbs this year and a year ago all my rose blooms.  This year they have eaten all the leaves off my hostas.  Bambi may be beautiful and hoof prints in the garden may be fun to find but not when they have dug up all my new spring bulbs or irises.  Grrrrrrrrrrrr...  Still, I think the garden came out okay this year.  I just need to get that north garden planted again and finish the walls. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Garden Photos

This WAS my north garden before it was destroyed.  I pieced together photos for a panoramic view, which seems to bow out here but really is a straight line until you getcto the maple tree at left, and then it curves around the 10 by 5 foot pond at the corner of the house. But I'm sure you get the idea. The paths are flagstone in this photo and weeds adore them. (My back... not so much.)  I'll use the flagstone as stepping stones within the larger bed sections here and out back in the larger garden beds, as well as around this pond.  I'm looking foreard to seeing this garden looking lush again but I know it's going to take another 3 to 5 years before it fills in nicely again. Sigh. Needless to say, I am looking for some plant trades...

The Garden

So I promised pics of the garden in the spring. Well, How about late summer?

We recently destroyed, and by that I mean completely removed almost all plant life and the rotted landscape timbers to be replaced with more permanent objects.  Between the drive and the 36 foot long bed, as well as wrapping around the large maple and pond area that connect at the corner to the back of the house, we placed stacking bricks. Theses are the kind that the top one hasa little lip in the back so it never gets pushed out of place while it rests on the one below.  Now maybe less people will hit it with their cars if they are more concerned about their car being damaged. (?)

Next, the 12 feet of flower beds needed the walkways rebuilt.  Someone gave us a load of white bricks, which is really where the whole project started.  So Craig designed a new path layout (with my approval, of course!) and laid the bricks in a herringbone design.  Way cool! Didn't he do an absolutely gorgeous job?! That man of mine can do anything! The L shape on the right will be mirrored  "down" in this pic so there will be two entrances into the garden from the drive. There is also an arbor with an entrance at each end.  You can see the rose arbor at the top left.  It struggled through all the heat this summer but is doing well, finally and coming back.  The climbing Peace rose on the opposite side was just transplanted so it will need some time to catch up. 

My job was to work on the raised beds up against the house.  They are 4 feet deep and we wanted something that wouldn't rot or droop again when critters burrowed holes, so he used 4" wide cinder blocks.  Once the walls were built I got to be in charge of making them look good.  So I hand covered them with concrete to make the walls look like they were built out of real stones.  Later, when it's completely sculpted I will color the stones randomly with a variety of acid dyes so it looks like the stones were just like the other ones we're found and collected on the property.

So, you must think I'm crazy, right?  Actually it was fun! I did a base layer, which you can see on  the upper wall.  It is thin and flat and simply has the lines for the morter carved in so I know where rocks will be.  When it has cured I come back and slap on handfulls of wet cement (while wearing gloves, I learned the hard way!) and then it's all pretty much sculpting.  It's not as delicate as sculpting a face, and since it's a rock, who's to say I did it wrong?  The darker faux stones above were still were when I took this photo, in case you are wondering.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Consuming Shrubbery

I was so looking forward to a beautiful day working on building the new garden wall when walking out the front door and turning to walk down the wood walk I managed to trip over some of my husband’s strewn about hardware supplies, including a ten foot long piece of PVC pipe for our new garden sprinkler system, which I was attempting to kick out of the way and I somehow managed to gracefully (or not, as I actually have no memory of the fly time) flipped myself so my shin firmly and repeated slammed onto the step.  Somehow I don’t recall the bouncing.  My behind landed in the shrubbery with my feet elevated about to be consumed by branches.  At least, they wouldn’t give my feet back upon request.  The remainder of my left side must have also bounced off the corner of the elevated wood walk and into the waiting undergrowth.  My head was on the ground far lower down the hill than the rest of my body and I simply could not get out of the predicament.

I imagined I’d win $10,000 on one of those video shows had someone taped me, though I won’t be reenacting my adventure; not intentionally.  The shrubbery pressed me snuggly against the wooden walk structure, in their mind to protect me no doubt.  My feet were being held hostage in the uphill branches of another shrub, who I am quite sure believed it too was just doing its duty.  I was wedged in.  I could hear in my mind exactly what my eldest son would (and later did) say, “This is exactly why I’ve told you that you should keep a cell phone on you at all times.”  I seriously think that boy is turning into his parents with phrases like that.

I managed to get one arm entirely free, and the second arm could help to prop up my head to pitch in to access the situation. I was basically not getting out by myself unless I spent a great deal of time working my way through the fifteen year old bushes, which did not appeal. Partially as they were a gift from my deceased father and partially because it would hurt like the Dickens’s to go through them!  My dearest husband, who as you recall, left said items on the walk that tricked me into the catastrophe, was on the tractor not 100 feet away, but he would never see me, wedged down snuggly like a bunny.  The difference being the rabbit is sized to fit! My husband certainly would never hear a call for help over the boisterous engine noise either, so I needed an alternate plan.

That infamous ten foot long piece of PVC pipe that caused the raucous in the very beginning seemed to be my only hope to catch his eye.  I could wave it about like a flag.  Trust me.  From my position, waving anything was not an easy thing to do, but I did my best.  Of course at first, the moment the pipe went in the air, he turned the tractor away from my direction and I had to wait until he came back around.  When he did turn around he noticed me moving the pipe and just went about his business. He later told me his first thought at the time was, “What’s she doing with my stuff now?”  Then he caught on, came to my rescue and with quite a bit of effort he finally liberated me from the consuming shrubbery.  My Knight in Shining Armor.  (Who’s toy’s put me in the predicament requiring being rescued in the first place!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Busy Busy Busy!

Between working in the garden and writing classes lately I've been pushing myself nonstop!  The garden is shaping up beautifully, but is not quite ready for a spring photo shoot.  Soon, I promise... it's such a lovely place to just be.  I like to take a cup of tea out there early in the morning and just sit under an arbor or in the gazebo to listen to the birds and just breathe.  Sigh...
I can tell you about workshops! A brand new workshop called Bits and Bobs begins April 26th.  It's how to make all those little embellishment Bits and Bobs that you want to use but really don't want to go and spend and arm and a leg for to buy a package of six when you'll only use one.  Paper, fabric, fiber, and mixed medium goodies.  We create faux metal, do ribbon work, play with beads and sparkles and a little bit of clay.  We'll even add a little heat to some of our goodies for distressed finishes.

Bits and Bobs can teach techniques that can be suitable for most any style, from country to Victorian, modern to Steampunk, or even Gothic.  Whatever the project there is always a way to create an embellishment to dress it up just a little bit more!  Check out the online workshop at Joggles.

April 6th I'm repeating Lady Zen at Doll Street.  She's a canvas based textural mixed media piece embellished with pressed flowers, and wears a headdress filled with stylized doodling that suddenly seems to be a popular style these days, though I've been doing it ever since I was a kid.  Her face technique is step by step, layered and a pattern can be printed to be used right on the canvas for those that don't want to draw.  My coloring technique is really much easier than you'd think!  Come and play and check it out!

April 20th, by request, I'll be repeating my Queen of Hearts workshop at Doll Street.  She's of course from Lewis Carroll's Wonderland and a now available as a mixed media sculpture workshop incorporating paper, wire, air dry clay and fabric and does not require a sewing machine!   Learn techniques to work with fabric using fusible products and only a small amount of hand sewing.   The Queen's face includes glass eyes, dimensional eyelids and lashes, and some basic needle sculpting with knit fabric.   Her Majesty's hands are covered in fabric without a single stitch sewn!   No finger turning at all!  This workshop is great for those that would like to make a doll but don't want to use a sewing machine.

So check out my online workshops if you will, and hopefully I'll see you in a class or two.  Meanwhile, I'm back to bouncing between the garden and writing more new classes.  If you happen to be passing nearby, let me know.  I'd love to have you visit and share a glass of tea in the garden together.