Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Finished Matchbox Doll

All my bags are packed... I'm ready to go...  No, not really. It is Spring Break for the local school district, but we're sticking around the old hometown for now. Funds are low and the days are crazy - Not a good combo for traveling. I don't mean to sound like I am complaining. I like my hometown and the weather has been amazing. As in, miracle kind of amazing. Flowers in March in Michigan kind of stuff here. Gorgeous. But I did just send out a swap to France the other day, and that does make me think of traveling. I used to travel almost constantly, and this stage of my life sees me as quite the homebody. Interesting stuff, life. Never easy to predict, but always interesting.

It is so spring-like out I can almost believe the season is really here. After such a cold year last year and such a hard winter, I am half expecting to wake up on April Fools Day to see two feet of snow. There are flowers blooming, so I am starting to make some real gardening plans. Ah well, if it snows again, it will melt again, right?

However, with spring break and spring weather and all that goes with that, I almost forgot to post my finished doll picture from a recent swap I was in. And I love her. I love her so much I am making more like her. It is my new evening past-time. I sit out with my husband (instead of closed away in my art room like usual, so that has been nice), and fold little boxes, and bend little metal skeletons, sculpt little bodies. I find it very soothing and fun. Yes, I do realize I am sort of fickle in my random craft pursuits. Sigh... what can I say? I'm scattered. I'll own it.

But anyway, here are the photos. You can tell by the pictures that I really got into this project. I just couldn't stop adding stuff. It was supposed to be a doll in a matchbox, but I added a little traveling trunk, that opens to make a small home for her. Like a mini dollhouse. I can't seem to finish large dollhouses but this size is about my speed.

Close up of the trunk. I stuck little vintage luggage labels all over it. I know, I am a dork.

Here is my 'steampunk fairy doll' in her little house. My swap partner's profile said she liked things in their own houses which led to this little creation. She's sitting on her matchbox bed in the picture. I put her inside the matchbox to ship her to keep her safe. She is traveling to France. Au revoir little steampunk fairy. I hope you get to your new home safely, or I will be très triste. (Ah, my high school French teacher would be so proud I can remember a few words. I'll have to mention it at the next family reunion, as she's now my aunt-in-law. Gotta love small towns.)

Here is all her loot out where it can be seen. I received that little silver tea cup in a matchbox swap awhile back. How cute is that? I adore it, but it fit with this little set so well, I had to add it in. What can I say? Steampunk fairy is a tea drinker, and she had a long trip ahead of her.
In this shot you can see her little goggles on the bed. They are far from perfect. My mom thought it was a crown when she saw them on her. But I got a kick out of making them. Even though my swap partner will probably be like, what in the heck is this thing? (I have no clue how to say that in French. No clue. Maybe I won't be mentioning my French lack of vocab recall to the aunt-in-law.)

In this shot you can see the gears in the headboard of the bed. That is really what started the whole steampunk fairy business. I started the bed first and then tried to build a doll that would look like she belonged to the bed. Then I built the box that looked like it would belong to the doll... etc. You can see why I haven't blogged much this month. lol

Like I said, I've been really into making these little things. I was sad to see this first dolly go, so I started making more. I've got a few in the works right now actually. I noticed that I am on post number 371 and I've never done a blog anniversary thing on here so I am a few years behind on that game. I do think I just had one, though. I believe I started in March a few years ago.

I've never hosted a giveaway either. So maybe when I hit post number 400 I'll have a small celebratory give away amongst the few souls who read here. (I know that it is sort of like having a celebration based on the fact that I talk a lot. lol) Anyway, I was thinking I'd give a little doll like this away when I hit that 400 mark. I don't know if that would even appeal to anyone really. I know this sort of thing isn't for everyone.  But of course, maybe by then I'll be into some other craft of the moment. Anything can happen in the span of twenty posts at least in my world!

Well, I am getting slap happy. Must be off to bed now. Good night, friends. Wishing everyone a relaxing continuation of the week. That is my personal goal. I want to take a few naps and pretend I am on vacation. Bonsoir!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March so far...

The month has flown by. Probably much to do with what feels like an early spring. We cram in walks and such as there is always that fear of waking up to two feet of snow. We are dressing in fewer layers this March than we wore last year at the end of May. Woohoo! Here is a bit of what we've been up to lately.

Batman visited. Here he is riding in his Batmobile, sidekick Wonderdog in tow...

The snow melted and we've enjoyed watching the green emerge... Token seasonal shot of the Camperdown Elm. It is so mossy. It is beautiful, but I wonder if I need to be worried for it. I don't know enough about trees to know if the presence of moss is bad or not.

This is a dawn shot. I am so not a morning person. But my husband and I have been getting up early to work out at a 24 hour gym. I am training for this, a race to earn money for the National Brain Tumor Society, in memory of my cousin who battled cancer. I don't know if I will actually be able to race, but I am trying to whip myself into shape in time. If not I'll be on the sidelines cheering loudly. Dawn is amazing. I've seen too few in my life. This change has been good.

We like to drive by the lake in the morning after we work out. Snow fences still up, but probably for not much longer. Can you believe June is less than three months away? Can it be? That time flying thing...

I finally bought a thyme plant so I get to cross off one thing from my bucket list. Look how sweet and curly and gorgeous. The smell is heaven. It is my precious.

I've been working on a freelance project for the local paper. A bunch of advertorials, nothing exciting, but it has kept me busy. So the only crafty thing I've been up to is a tiny doll I am making for a swap on swap-bot. I plan on making her a little steampunk fairy.

Here I made the head out of paper clay on a wire frame body.

Here I started to paint her and it shows my first try at the gears in her middle, (I did them like I did the gear bead thing the other day). The DG3 medium keeps on clouding up and I keep removing them and trying different paint, sealing everything first, etc. Still, by the next day everything is cloudy. Tonight I tried my last attempt. I used permanent glue instead of the DG3. I hope it works, or she'll have to be sent out with a cloudy tummy. In this pic, I am starting to wrap the wire on her arms and legs with thread. This will keep her limbs movable.

Here she has her hair, wings and skirt, but you can see it is one of the times I had to carve out her gears. Sigh...

Here is a scale shot to show how small she is. She fits in a 32 count matchbox. (Which was the point of the swap. To create a doll in a matchbox bed. I'll have to get shots of the bed later.)

Here is a closer shot with the gears. Alas, this is one taken before the most recent clouding issue. Don't know exactly what is up with that. I have noticed metals on some of the gears rusting, or discoloring, but this is the first I've had a clouding issue. Wish I knew what was up. Hopefully the glue works because I love the little gear tummy when it is clear! It is kind of what makes it a steampunk fairy after all... (If you click on the picture it will blow it up larger to see the gears.)

I'll post the finished fairy later, cloudy gears or no. Hopefully no!

Wishing everyone a great week! I get my first mammogram on Wednesday, and that has me nervous. Always hearing horror stories about those, you know? I guess I get to see if they live up to their hype. lol Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good mail day = Good craft day!

Today was a good mail day! I won an auction for plastic vintage watch crystals for a steal on ebay and received them today along with my favorite magazine. It felt like Christmas! You might remember a year or so ago when I won some glass watch crystals? No? Well, here's a link for you. 

I've been using the glass crystals for mini plates and windows for miniatures, but I've had some brainstorms for other uses, but glass wouldn't work for the new ideas. Hence my need for plastic. What ideas? Oh, I am glad you asked. My heart is geeking out in glee over my newest little craft pursuit.

First though, I must share my artsy picture of the day. I like how the crystals mimic the bubbles that are in my half washed blender. Oops! I forgot to finish cleaning that yesterday. Oh well, if I had been quick to do all the chores, I would have missed the beauty in the mess, right? I wonder if that excuse would work on laundry? I could use some beauty in laundry perspective about now.

I put the crystals in an empty spice jar on my favorite shelf. I like keeping as many materials in sight as possible, so the supplies won't molder away in drawers, out of sight/out of mind. A few weeks back when I organized my kitchen I finally went through all my old spices and emptied out the ones that have been around longer than my children. I soaked off the labels put them to good use storing some of the little random things in the art room.

As I put the crystals away, the jar full of little gears caught my eye... hmmm.... So down a few jars came, along with my Judykins DG3 that I've talked about before here. See, this is why I like to keep stuff in sight. You never know when the old brain is going to put things together. I had planned on making pendants with the crystals, but I hadn't thought of putting gears in them until I saw them together on the shelf today. So of course that meant I had to do it right now! Better to make art than sort socks, grandma always said. Well, no she didn't, but my grandpa would have if he had ever been tasked with sorting socks. My heart tells me this is so.

I did this on an Altoid box for two reasons. I was too lazy to get paper for under the crystal and the box was right on my desk. And it also is a good way to show size perspective. Below is a close up of the back of the crystal which is the side I am filling. I basically filled the crystal (which is the glass face of a watch) with some of the DG3, then I layered in little watch gears one by one and then wrestled with the bubbles for awhile, trying to make it all appear to be seamless glass.
The DG3 shrinks as it dries so I have so far added a couple coats to it. This photo above is shows the pendant after I put in a second coat. I was hoping to attach a jewelry finding to the top and then use it as a necklace pendant. I suppose it could be wired into a bracelet or ring even. I am loving this! And I have 100 to play with! Woohoo!
Here is a shot of the front. Yes, I have NO fingernails at all, ignore my fingers please. I still need another coat and to find a thing to glue to the top to make it a pendant. I don't know why this tickles me so much, it just does. Probably because I've finally succeeded in creating something I will wear. I love little gears and things, so this is my kind of jewelry.

The sun was shining all day today! The snow melted enough that our snowman is barely a small hill. It was enough to get my old gears turning (Ha! Sorry, couldn't resist.) Corny pun, but true enough. It is fun to have a day when everything links together and turns out well. Now I am just hoping that I can resist the lure of the rest of the crystals until I can wrestle control of the laundry and chores that are already threatening to overtake my world. I should at least finish washing my blender!

Monday, March 1, 2010

View from my chair in the middle of Monday...

Usually, I shamelessly stage the photos I take; clear the tables, pick up scattered blankets, use creative angles. I see no problems with doing this, as this blog is the version of my life that I see in my head, and I like to think of myself as an optimist.

However, lately the more 'real' scenes have been capturing my eye and therefore my camera lens. Or maybe, I've just gotten lazier... ;0) Whatever my motivation (or lack thereof), I offer you this nice mess. Why? I have really no idea why. Just because I guess since you are visiting my blog, you might as well share in my moments. For good and bad. For clean and for cluttered. In sickness and in health. So help me, blog. Wow, I've finally lost it, haven't I?

This is the scene from my chair after I've just finished working with the kids for awhile. For better or worse, this is how we roll. At least until the mountains of snow melt and we can cart the whole shebang outside. Btw, the furry black puff at the bottom of the picture is my dog snuggling beside me. Oh, how I love that little creature.

Ah - here is a more artsy shot. Still cluttered, but the light hits the side of the basket and the water bottles in a way that calls to me. Also, shadows hide many flaws... Shadows are my photographic friends.

We'd finished our projects for the day, so here I am in the process of gathering tomorrow's things into the proper bins. Otherwise there would be kids on the little chairs, not boxes and folders. And I'd have cuter pictures to share with you instead of the mess I was too sluggish to tackle. Warm, sleepy puppy on my lap. That is a pretty good defense for laziness, at least it is in my optimistic, happy blog world.

Here is a shot that shows my favorite basket in the entire house. Under the 'coffee' table is the bin that holds the fun stuff; math manipulatives, human body models, chess pieces, all the good stuff. I've decided that even when the kids grow and move on, I will keep this basket complete with the good stuff. Either that or I will fill it with playmobil. Just because I think random containers of playmobil should be found more often in the homes of adults. I feel rather strongly about this.

The empty green bin is mine still waiting to be filled with tomorrow's agenda. Yes, even I have a 'to do' bin. Because, well... "Hello, my name is Candy, and I've been an organizational addict for..." I kid, I kid. No, no. Really, I don't. However, define 'problem'. There are no victims in my container addiction, now really. Let's not judge the girl from Michigan so soon after February, okay?

Sigh... Why am I writing this post again? Oh, yeah. Public shame. I forgot the theme for a moment.

Actually, on a less self depreciating note, I recently mentioned the changes we've been going through with education and how it has been tiring me out. We are finding a nice rhythm again, so to be honest, this cluttered, active scene makes me feel happy inside, and probably explains my urge to capture it on film.

My boy's reading hit that sweet spot and BOOM, suddenly I had to restructure our days to fit the needs of two very capable readers/writers. So it's all good. Well, except the clutter level maybe. But hey, clean table tops are over-rated, at least in my rose colored corner of the blogosphere.

By the way - Happy first day of March!!! Winter is so almost out of here! Woohoo!