Thursday, May 29, 2014

I've taken indecision to an entirely new level...but never mind that - look! It's Barney!

I'm a little late in sharing, but we got a puppy (who is not such a puppy any more!)!

Barney came complete with the name. He's adorable and very sweet and has a big friendship going with our calico kitten, Lyra. This made all our jaws drop, lemme tell you, because Lyra isn't friends with anyone. But Barney charmed her.

I forgot how much work puppies are, which kind of explains why I haven't been blogging.
But mostly, I've just been indecisive. I can't decide what to work on. I can't decide whether I should quit writing. Or quit making stuff. Or write more. Or make more stuff. Maybe I should forgo all carbohydrates. Or only eat carbohydrates. Maybe I should blog more often. But maybe I don't have anything to say. Maybe I am boring. Maybe I'll go eat a worm. But maybe they have carbohydrates.

You get the general idea. While I am being indecisive, I've made a few things. Mostly spooky things.

And I've had the pleasure to spend some time with some of my amazing family, who will hang out with me, even when I am indecisive. (But really, do they have a choice? :)

Hopefully you are all smiling and cavorting like Barney does when he sees you walk in the door. Only don't lick people's faces. They might not understand.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Art Abandonment and some crackle info

Greetings, campers!

Is it Spring in your neighborhood? I'm happy to report that the daffodils are officially blooming. As are my allergies! :)

I wanted to share a couple of things with you. One is called Art Abandonment. I found out about this group by following Michael DeMeng on Facebook (if you don't know his work, skip over and take at look at his fabulous-and-crazy stuff). The idea behind the group is that you make a piece of art, and then you abandon it for someone else to find. Hopefully bringing a smile and some mystery to the world.

I am going to abandon these guys just as soon as I figure out where (and get up the nerve).

Four little monster babies in their sleeping bags.

It's oddly satisfying to make something and know that you're just going to put it out there and walk away. I hope whoever finds them doesn't mind them crying all night long and eating them out of house and home.

Several people have asked me how I go about getting the crackle finish on my dolls and monsters. I use this stuff (Deco Art One Step Crackle):

Which, by the by, I used to be able to get at Michael's and now order on-line.

Here's my process:

I make the doll out of either sculpey or paper clay (you can use either, it makes no difference in how the crackle works).

I prime the doll with gesso. Then I give each doll multiple coats of paint.
Priming and painting the piece actually does make a difference in how the crackle works. It seems to need a sealed surface to stick to and crack properly, otherwise the effect is more like fine peeling paint. Which may or maybe not be what you want.

Sorry about the pics, I was upstairs in the laboratory with my cell phone.

If you're generous when applying the crackle, you'll get deeper cracks. An even coat will give you an overall fine crackle. Don't apply it so thickly that it runs. Also try not to rework the crackle too much, because it starts to crackle right away, as it is drying.
Hopefully you can see how the crackle finish looks before you apply the last coat of paint that will accent the cracks. It's shiny and you can see the cracks as you hold it under a light. You can also see where you missed painting the crackle (it will look duller/matte). I just dab on some crackle in those places and let it dry. For the baby monsters, I didn't put the crackle on their faces. I did seal the faces with a coat of gel medium.
The last step is the trickiest. First, make sure that the crackle is very dry (I leave them overnight). Then get two paper towels, one moistened (not soggy, squeeze the water out), and one dry.  Pour yourself a little black paint (or any color that is darker than the one you've painted your doll with, so it will show the crackle). Get a brush you don't care about (I have one I use for this).

(You can also pour yourself a glass of wine, but I would wait until I was completely done.)

Next paint an area of the doll with the black paint, completely covering it. The cracks should 'disappear' in this area you've painted. I use a brush that has already been destroyed by my loving care, and run it back and forth in different directions, forcing the paint into the cracks.

As soon as you've done that in one area, take your paper towel and wipe off the black paint. Use your moisten towel to feather the edges (so you won't get a black seam), or wipe off any areas you've mistakenly painted black. (This happens to me a lot! :) If an area is too dark, use your moisten paper towel to lighten it.

You'll have to work fast, so that the black paint doesn't dry on the surface (which is why I don't have pics). Work your way around the area that you've painted with crackle. You can go back and re-paint (and re-wipe) any areas where the crackle isn't dark enough. 

That's how I do it. I'm sure there are other products/techniques, but this works for me.
Here are two Halloween guys I made where I used the crackle on their bodies and the base, but not their faces:

That's it for crackling. As soon as I get my courage up, I'm going to abandon those monsters!
Happy Spring all!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

New dolls, an apology, and a pithy life observation...

All in one post!

First the apology. Somehow, a few of the comments posted on my blog have ended up in some distant (and cruel) land where Blogger rules with an iron fist. I am so sorry.
I'm watching Blogger with a careful eye now.

Secondly, the pithy life observation: Have you ever noticed that some people can can I say this nicely...a little preoccupied with themselves? Like you could be holding a fire-breathing dragon at bay with your left hand while fighting a horde of rabid rabbits with your right and they would tap you on the shoulder and show you their hangnail?
Just an observation.
No judgement on my part.
Okay, a little judgement on my part.

Now for the visuals! I have been trying to use up all my Sculpey so I have an excuse to buy new Sculpey. Here is what I made.

 She likes having a bird on her head.

Babette, a little witch

Winnie and Babette hanging out.
Olive, a small skellie doll

Last but not least, I hope that Spring has sprung in your neighborhood and that you are skipping through daffodils and chirping with happiness.  My tulips bloomed in the living room! Yay!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Long time, no see...

How is everyone?
It feels like years since I've blogged.

Here's what I've been doing:
Eating too much.
Feeling cold.
Tapping my fingers waiting for spring to get here.
The last three were done in front of my space heater.

So other than being very crabby about winter, here are some of the things I made:

 These little Halloween paintings are 2 inches square. 

This one is a smidge bigger. 

 I'm playing with adding poly clay faces to fabric dolls.

Spooky girls, right? The bottom two have upholstery tacks for eyes (ouch). And I used glass beads for the teeth. I always feel like a doll dentist when I do that.

Okay, back to the freezing laboratory I go. 
We have had too much winter!
I blame the groundhog.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My phone and my laptop dislike me...

I must have offended them in some way, because my phone has decided it doesn't want to put the pictures I take into my photo stream.  The IT department at Smallcomb, Inc. (that would be my long-suffering DH) is working the problem.

Here is the one photo that was uploaded:

It's my super tidy and organized desk top.
I've been writing and doodling and finishing up the spot art for my middle grade novel.

I hope you are all well and warm and that your computers and phones and internet and Netflix are all playing together nicely.

Now I'm going to go smile at my phone and my laptop, so they'll know I like them.
Over and out.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, my friends!

Here is our lovely Christmas tree.
Here is Velociraptor kitten, after she conquered the lovely Christmas tree. She's tired. It's hard work.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Put on some tunes and dance. Twist and shout, baby.
I hope you get to enjoy some Christmas treats. But try not to look this happy about it. They look almost scary merry.

I hope Santa does not bring you this for Christmas.

And I hope you remember to pour the bubbly into a glass.

Most of all, I hope you feel the love of Christmases past, and that you smile all day from happy memories.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A new obsession, kitten update, and holiday cheer is officially here...

I have been drooling on-line over Christmas shadow boxes for months. I finally cracked and decided to make one myself. I used the sturdy bottom half from a box of Christmas cards (I should have mailed all the cards before stealing the box, but eh).There was glitter everywhere, and glue stuck to my shirt and leftover trim stuck to the glue and glitter all over that. Very glittery. Even the kitten had some glitter on her.
So now, along with all my other obsessions,  I am officially a shadow box addict. I now look at little cardboard boxes like some people might look at a t-bone steak or diamond jewelry.

The DH and I went to Frederick, MD on Saturday night to wander around and shop a little. It was cold out, but no wind! My favorite kind of winter weather. 

There were carolers, and lots of shoppers, and we discovered this sweet little bookstore called the Curious Iguana. 

But wait! I can hear you asking about our cute kitten. How is she? Why, she is exactly like owning a little velociraptor. She is the most kinetic creature on the planet. She stalks me. She attacks without warning. She flies through the air on her way to ripping apart some unsuspecting Christmas ornament.

(She is also very adorable, especially when she is asleep.)
Here she is stalking her prey. The Panda Express bag. Poor bag, it doesn't realize how close to danger it is.

Even Sophie, who outweighs the kitten by 90 pounds is worried that she's the velociraptor kitten's next victim.

Oh, no! She has attacked! Poor Panda Express! 

Sadly, Lyra the Velociraptor Kitten is victorious. Sophie the Gigantic Dog, is nowhere to be seen. We can only hope she escaped in time.

Here is a bag I attacked (thank you for introducing me to a new chocolate craving, Jim). If you feel like attacking a peanut butter cup, this is a good one. Justin's. I'm trying not to think about how good it was. 

It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here. The tree is up, the lights are on, and what is left of the Christmas ornaments are hanging cheerily.
So far, the snowmen in their village have not incurred the wrath of Lyra the Velociraptor Kitten.
But their days are probably numbered.
Ho ho ho!