Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ernestine completed

Posted by: Paulette
Just a few more pictures of the new doll that I've just completed. I made her a coat and a pair of suede tennis shoes. That coat took 2 hours to make. I stopped counting the hours by the time I got to the shoes. I really do this kind of thing because I like to, not for the money. I don't think people would be willing to pay for all of the hours spent.
I am happy that children all over will be playing with this doll.
Jacket untied

Purple suede shoes

Bad exposure, I know, but best one for true color of clothing
For a little while I was fascinated with the world of "art dolls." They are great fun, but it's not fair to tell a child that they aren't allowed to touch something that looks like a toy. I still like making them, but they cost a lot more than the ones for children, and there aren't as many people who want them.
What's really fun about sewing is watching a flat piece of fabric become sculpted into a 3-D form. And then when I paint on the face and add the hair, the magic really happens. The doll "comes to life." And of course you can't let them stay naked! I have great memories of the wardrobe that I had for my My Friend Jenny doll. My Mom sewed it for me for Christmas, and I'd had no idea at the time how much time and how intricate doll clothes were to sew!

Monday, May 30, 2011

A New Doll Ernestine

Posted by: Paulette
This post was supposed to go on my blog Craftewoman's workshop, but for some reason, I am unable to get back into it. So, I guess this is going to become a catch all. If you'd like to see my previous works, you can head over there.

I was contacted last week by a new author of children's books who wants a doll to take with her on her book signing tour. This is exactly the kind of challenge that I like. Give me a character to create, and my mind starts spinning with the possibilities. The last dolls I've made have were for Christmas. I've been focusing on home decor, and had no desire to make any more dolls this spring, until I got that Facebook message, and then I was excited to pull out the fabrics and stuffing and paints and all of the stuff needed to bring a character to life. It doesn't even matter to me that I will not be making a profit on this girl, and my new friend has some more characters in the works. Let me show you what I've been doing up until now.
 What you see here in the next few pictures is about 6 hours worth of work. I drew the pattern, copied it onto the fabric, sewed and cut it out. Pieced the head and body pieces together, stuffed and needle sculpted and jointed her in that amount of time. Her fingers are wired with pipe cleaners, and are poseable. Since I'd already died the fabric for some other dolls, I had just enough for this little girl. The fabric I've used is called Alova Suede. It's a knit that is a bit fuzzy.
Fingers wired with pipe cleaners


Freezer paper stencil ironed onto face
 Here you can see the freezer paper stencil that I've made to paint the whites of the eyes. I like to use this method because it keeps the eyes the same size and shape, and makes it easier to paint.
Face painting finished
 I've finished painting her face. I use acrylics with fabric medium.
Curly ponytails
 This is the first time I've made ringlets from yarn. I wrapped the yarn tightly around a dowel, wet it and then placed it in the oven set to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. It's like putting someone's hair in hot curlers. After removing the dowel from the oven, I let it cool completely before sliding the yarn off and then wefted it on my sewing machine using a stretch stitch between two pieces of paper. Each weft was hand sewed. First down the center of her head from forehead to nape of neck, and then around the ears and back to center of forehead. Then I caught the yarn into two pony tails and tied them off with some of the yarn, leaving out some shorter pieces.
Mostly dressed
Here you see her mostly dressed. She's still not done. I plan to make her some tennis shoes and a jacket. I made the daisy chain on her head from a scrap of lace that I beaded and painted and then sewed to her hair.
This doll is a character from  a book by Linda Lodding called The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister which has yet to be published. It has great illustrations and a clever story line. And best of all a moral. I can't wait to get my copy!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poppies Painting Tutorial

Posted by: Paulette
This painting was such an easy knock off. I thought I'd share with you how I did it!
I was really lucky and found a used canvas at the thrift store for $1It was huge, and just the right size for my mantle. You may have to purchase a canvas, or you can do this straight onto a piece of plywood. Since my canvas already had an UGLY painting on it, I gave it two coats of gesso. You can find this at art supply stores like Hobby Lobby.
After that was dry I gathered my other materials:
Craft paints, paint brushes, gesso
Not pictures above is the white paint I used. I didn't end up using the black or the green. All of the colors were mixed from the primary colors. However, If you would prefer to use colors that are already bottled and pre-mixed, you can do that too.
I'll be doing this demonstration on a piece of white copier paper, and so the amounts of mixed paint didn't have to be a lot. When I did the large painting, I used coffee mugs to mix my paint in. If you use oils or acrylics, your paint will go a lot further, and your palette will look a bit like mine.
Throughout the demonstration I will show you my palette, so that you can get an idea of how I mixed the paints.
Next, I plotted out my painting. Since I already had the Ballard painting to copy, I guesstimated that the design was in thirds. Top, center and bottom of the canvas. Then I looked at how the poppies were arranged in a sort of triangle, ending at the center third. Using pencil, I plotted this onto the canvas.

I then added some trees and the little house in the center left part of the drawing. I added the little house to make it "mine." And I didn't copy the exact placement of each tree.

Then I started mixing my paints to block in the colors. Cream and blue paint made a very light blue, that went above the hills. While the paint was still wet on the canvas, I added a little more of the dark blue, and scrubbed it into the light blue.
 Here you can see my palette, and how I mixed the two blues. Later you'll be adding the clouds, but after the paint has dried. You'll want to use a fairly large brush for blocking in the background colors.
Continue blocking in the colors; the oranges, yellows and greens.
Use the paint that you've already mixed to make the different greens. When you're finished blocking in the colors, let the canvas dry.

If you're like me, you're probably thinking that this looks really ugly right about now. Don't worry. It gets better.
When the background is dry, you're ready to start adding in the details.
This next part is all about dabbing and scribbling with the paint. You don't need to paint in each individual leaf. This type of painting is impressionist. Use lots of different shades of one color. Dip half your brush into green and the other half into yellow. Or half into green and the other half into red. It will all blend together and give that 3-D effect. Use a scruffy brush, and pounce it on the page.
Using the same scruffy brush and a very light touch, paint grass, and stems. Longer in the front, shorter as you move up the canvas. Use more than 1 color of green. I also added some clouds at this point. Using a little cream on the scruffy brush. I dragged the paint from the center of the cloud to each side. The I added just a touch of the red and blended it in really well. This was not part of the original painting. It had a very yellow sky, but I wanted some more contrast, and so made my sky blue. Since it's your painting, you can do whatever you want.

This next part may surprise you. Mix a purple with red and blue, and add a little yellow to it and now you have brown! Use this brown to sketch in the trunks of the trees. Remember to add a few branches in the crown of the tree peeking out.
This next part is the most fun, I think. The poppies! Still using your scruffy brush, that's been mostly cleaned off, dip part into red and part into that brown you made for the trunk. The two colors will mix together on the canvas giving the illusion of shadow in the flowers. Remember things that are closer to you will appear larger. So make the poppies in the center of the canvas the smallest.
This is what my palette looks like now. What a mess!

Use a bit of white and a bit of light green and maybe a little black for the center of the poppies, using a round brush. This is the one that has the bristles that some to a point, and give you more control. The poppies closest to you will have the most detail, but you still don't have to "draw" in the centers, just dab in the color.

Using a flat brush, load it with a bit of light blue paint, and block in the side of the house. Use cream for the front of the house and a rusty brown for the roof. If you want you can add some highlights to the roof by adding a bit of cream to the rust. I used a dark brown for windows. And I added some chimneys using the cream and brown paints. (When I was researching cottages, I found a picture to work from.)
Then add in your little trees and bushes around the house. Any imperfections will disappear.
Now sign your masterpiece and you're done!
My original painting above the mantle.

An introduction to Pinterest

Posted by: Paulette
I know I've been gone for a while and with good reason. I have been busy painting furniture, changing out light fixtures, visiting with family out of state, oh, and pinning.

Have you heard of Pinterest.com? It's this great new place to catalog all of the great ideas that you find on the web. I know we all have a bookmarks folder where we can be taken back to our favorite websites for great tutorials, and I used to keep a folder full of inspiration photos pulled from my favorite magazines. But to tell you the truth, I find more inspiration on blogs than in my magazines anymore. And it's free. And usually it's not expensive to do. I have several boards. Some of the names are "Decorating Ideas", "My Style", and "Yard Stuff."

To get started, head over to Pinterest.com and ask for an invite. In a few days you'll receive an e-mail with all the information you need to start pinning with their button. The you can "repin" someone else's idea, and on and on. Since the pin automatically keeps track of where the pin came from, all you have to do is click on the picture, and it will take you to those wonderful tutorials, or shopping sites.

I'd love to share more pics with you, but my computer us uber slow today, and I just wanted to whet your appetite. What are you waiting for? Go and see for yourself. Be careful though. It's addictive!