Thursday, January 28, 2010

Here's another wonderful doll artist I just found.

I found this lovely lady while reading blogs this morning.  She has the most imaginative dolls and she paints and makes prints, too.  I love the diversity and the use of so many textures in her dolls.  You can visit her blog or you can visit her Etsy shop.  Either way, you are in for a treat!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I found a new website with great online classes

In my nightly surfing, I came across this wonderful site, The ArtTrader Magazine.  At this site you can find all of the copies of the magazine since the beginning of print.  All are available for download, so you can read them at your own pace.  They are full of beautiful art and the articles are informative and interesting.  If you are not into ATC's or mail art, you can simply enjoy the beauty of the pages--they should help to inspire you to expand your artwork.  I downloaded all nine of the magazines and have been reading my way through them tonight.  I hope you will drop by and get your copies, they are free, because I know you will enjoy them.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Here's a wonderful video about Art Dolls

As I have said before, I am currently enamored of the Art Doll and want to learn how to make them.  I found a wonderful video about the NIADA that shows you a little about how this area of art is growing and that there are really quite talented people working in this media.  I thought I'd share it with you.  I hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful dolls and hearing the artist talking about them.  I know I did.


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

I've enrolled in my first online art class!

Several days ago, I posted about a class on faces from Norah'S Art blog.  Well, she finally got it set up and enrollment is now open.  So, of course, I hurried over to pay my money and get myself ready to go.  The class will start on Feb. 5th, but I think you can work at your own pace. So,hurry over and join the fun if that's the kind of thing you like!  If you visit her site, she has a cute video on it where she talks about the class while she is working on a lovely painting.

Another place to visit and learn is  She runs The Art Studio and has a Ning site with videos and classes.  I found her on YouTube and I recommend her video on sketchbooks.  Below is the first day's video for you to watch, but go to her site and join in the fun.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life can now be back to normal

Today my baby left to go home to Oklahoma.  I am already missing her.  We had a lovely time and I thoroughly enjoyed every second spent with her and the rest of the family.  As with all mini-vacations, you try to pack more into it than you have time for, so we were all getting really tired last night.

She just called to tell me that she had arrived, safe and sound, so I don't have to worry about her, but I still will.  She is my baby.  I'll always worry about her.

What was really nice was a trip to the local outlet mall here in Austin.  My sister, my oldest daughter, my youngest daughter and me all piled into the car and went shopping early in the morning.  For the longest time, we were about the only people there.  We really had fun.  I love seeing my girls together and getting along.  There was a time when I despaired of ever seeing such a thing.

Here are some pictures of a particularly funny moment during that day:

Here is my sister doing her "mind melding" with my daughters, and them playing the "mind meld" back. 

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Monday, January 18, 2010

My baby girl is here to visit!

Just a few lines today because my youngest daughter is visiting from Oklahoma.  She flew in yesterday and will be here a few days.  I will be having fun with her so will have little time to post.  By the way, here are a few pics of my two beautiful daughters.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I actually started another picture! I can't believe it!

With this new year, one of my goals was to do some kind of art every day.  I broke out my sketch book and I have been drawing in it, but not every day.  I found a great video class on increasing your creativity through the use of a sketchbook, so I am about to begin. 

As I was sitting in my studio sketching, I turned around and saw the pencil drawing I had done months ago and put up on my easel.  So, I found my pastels and I started working on it.  I don't think it will be a masterpiece, but it felt good to be working again. 

Here's where I am so far, but there is so much more to do.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Making art dolls in the playroom of life

Here's a lovely article that showcases the talent of a group of ladies.  I love finding these articles because art dolls are just now becoming noticed in the artistic communities.  I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did.
South Whidbey Record Arts & Entertainment, Island Life

Jan 08 2010, 4:17 PM · UPDATED

It’s not an art form at the forefront of the gallery set. But, as a form, it stands as one of the oldest and most cross-cultural of the crafts.
Even the cave dwellers made dolls.
Prehistoric study reveals that dolls were made to depict religious figures, as well as being used for playthings. Back then, they were made from such primitive materials as clay, fur or wood.
Up through the last century in most of the world, handmade dolls have taken their place in museums and art galleries in all manner of style and mediums. And, although many of the dolls of the past secured their place in the important annals of folkcraft, some dolls have even reached that fashionable pinnacle of modern high art through artists such as Hans Bellmer, a German artist who in the 1930s and ’40s created surrealistic dolls with interchangeable limbs. Much later came New York City artist Greer Lankton, who became famous in the 1980s for her theatrical window displays of drug-addicted, anorexic and mutant dolls.
Mutant dolls aside, today there is a healthy number of artistic groups creating art dolls, including one on Whidbey Island, which began in February 2009.
The South Whidbey Art Doll Round Robin or “Gals and Dolls,” as they have nicknamed themselves, was started by Eibhleis Mac Ian (pronounced ay-lish).
The small group of four women have been collaborating on unique projects that in one year produced a cast of about eight characters fabricated from various materials and the personalities of their makers. You can see these dollish characters currently on display at the Freeland Library through January.
Mac Ian started making dolls three years ago, collaborating with other artists through the mail.
“I was participating in round robins on an international scale,” Mac Ian said.
“But I wasn’t ever going to get to know these people by getting a box in the mail each month.”
An art doll round robin means each person in the group receives the doll on which she works for one month, using whatever tools and materials inspire the muse.
But, Mac Ian wanted to be present with the people with whom she was creating the dolls, at least sometimes. She put an ad in the local paper.
Ginny Snyder, Kate Boyle and Pam Winstanley responded immediately, and Gals and Dolls was born.
“Each of us made a plain doll at the beginning of the year and passed it along to each member, who added a little something as it came to them,” Mac Ian said.
The pieces are one-of-a-kind sculptures lovingly imbued with personality through clothing, embroidery, jewels, journals of their histories and evocative names such as “The Merrow,” “Rabbito” and “The Marked Woman,” among other qualities.
All the women expressed their enthusiasm for the group, not just because they are creating art, but for the combination of their varied gifts that come together in a clash of fun and art. They even meet in a separate friendship group called “Stitch and Bitch” at which a variety of craft is practiced while, ahem, talking.
“We’re all levels of artist,” Boyle said. “It’s nonjudgmental; we help each other because we all have different skills.”
Snyder agreed that it was predominantly the chance to be “goofy” with a group of like-minded sensibilities that makes the creating part of Gals and Dolls that much richer for her.
“Part of the idea is to find kindred spirits who you can share a playtime with and be creative,” Snyder said. “We don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Snyder pointed out that the dolls are less collaborative than they are a composite of all the skills and personalities of the group. Any medium can be used on the dolls and, in fact, the next round robin will not include dolls at all. They will create what’s called an “exquisite corpse,” based on a game invented by the surrealist André Breton.
Breton used words but in this case, an image is drawn onto a canvas, a section of which is given to each member of the group who has no idea of the whole and who will add what she will using various multi-media. The piece will be reassembled later to reveal a new image full of surprises.
Also planned for future endeavors is a bird to which each artist will add feathers, or at least her own idea of “feathers,” and later a round robin using sticks and stones.
“In the past it’s been almost spooky the way it comes together,” Snyder said.
Boyle said that she sees what the group is doing as the very essence of folkart in the modern world and that history shows folkartists to be predominantly women and influential to modern artists of both sexes.
“These groups have a place in art all over the world,” Boyle said.
The group will hold a presentation at the meeting room of the Freeland Library at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 to talk about what they do and how to start an art doll round robin.
“We feel that it would inspire other artists, as well as encourage those who may not think they are artists,” Mac Ian said.
She hopes to inspire other home-grown groups to form on the island and increase the dedication to art of all kinds on the South End.
South Whidbey Record Arts & Entertainment, Island Life Patricia Duff can be reached at or (360) 221-5300.

You can see the original article here 
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 100 Tutorials of 2009

 I've been under the weather for about a week now, so I haven't got much to say unless you want to talk about sleeping.  Since I don't have anything new to show you, I found this wonderful list of craft tutorials for you to try out.  I plan to try the clothespin dolls soon!
It was a good year in the online crafting world. Here’s a list of 100 craft and sewing tutorials of 2009, not ranked in a particular order. I made a similar list last year that continues to be popular. This year I decided to include my own tutorials! Feel free to comment and link to your favorites, as I’m sure that I’ve left many off the list. It’s amazing how much creativity is out there. So go make something in 2010. Happy New Year! Those marked with an asterisk are pictured above.


Buttercup Bag from Made by Rae.*
Phoebe Bag from Artsy Crafty Babe.
Diana Hobo from Think Liz.
Ruffled Messenger Bag from Between the Lines.
Basic Messenger Bag from Mmmcrafts.
Lunch Bag from Amy Karol for Etsy’s How-Tuesday.
Kate’s Notebook Lunchbag from Design Sponge.
Reusable Snack Bag from We Wilsons.
Apple Backpack from Alpha Mom.
Perfect Box Pouch from Indie House.
Zakka-inspired Pencil Pouch from Noodle Head.
Zippered Pouch with Reverse Appliqué from Orange Flower.*
Fuzzy Felty Flex Frame Purses from Nicole Mallalieu Design.
Wild Things Tote from Courtney Russel for Bloesem Kids.*
Fat Quarter Tote Bag from Cicada Daydream.
Drawstring Gift Bag from A Little Red Ribbon.
Shoe Bag from Betz White.
The Everything Pocket Bag from Chickpea Sewing Studio.
Earth Day Spa Set from Stardust Shoes for Michael Miller Fabrics.
Little House Pouch from The Long Thread.*
Boat Tote from The Long Thread.
Water Bottle Tote from The Long Thread.


Glasses Case from Design Sponge by Kata Golda from her book Hand-Stitched Felt.
Rose Petal Tee from Appliqué Your Way by Kayte Terry for Etsy’s How-Tuesday.
Spring Ruffle Top from Made by Rae for Sew, Mama, Sew.
Ruffled Scarf from Craft.
Merfish Necklace from Resurrection Fern.
Tool Apron, excerpted from Lexie Barnes’ new book Sew What! Bags for Etsy’s How-Tuesday.
10-Minute Pillowcase Apron from from Betz White.


Kokeshi Stuffie from Melly & Me.
Fabric Checkerboard from Rashida Coleman-Hale for Sew News.
Mouse Softies “Jofus and Lally” from RicRac.
Warm Fuzzy Mammal Finger Puppets from Soto Softies.
Clothespin Doll Tutorial from Going Sew Crazy.*
Boo-boo Buddy from Simple Up.
Tooth Pillow from Mmmcrafts.
Love Bird from Molly Chicken.
Bunny Bowling from The Long Thread for Etsy’s How-Tuesday.
Little Red Riding Hood from The Long Thread.
One-Hour Softie from Ric-Rac.
How to Make a Socktopus from CraftStylish.
Felt Food by Dana of Made for So You Think You’re Crafty.
Alphabet Block Magnets from Plum Pudding.


Smocked Sundress from Heather Ross of Weekend Sewing for STC Craft.
Clothespin Hairclip Holder from Nested.
Corduroy Flower Skirt from Tea Rose Home.
Pocket Bib and Burp Cloth from Prudent Baby.
No Sew Scrap Scarf Tutorial from Grosgrain.
Owl Costume from Alpha Mom.
Flower Hair Clip Tutorial from A Hoot and a Holler.
Child’s Artwork Tote Bag from The Long Thread.
Dress-up Crown from The Long Thread.


Hex Pincushions from A Stitch in Dye.*
Miniature Patchwork Pincushions from The Purl Bee.
Knit Pincushion from Kristin Roach for Craft.
Wrist Pincushion from The Long Thread.


Log Cabin Wash Cloths from The Purl Bee.*
Bed Caddy Organizer from Sew4Home.
Fabric Scrap Bowl from Linda Permann at Craft Stylish.
Reversible Tissue Box Cover from Pink Penguin.
Summer Tweets Bird Mobile from The Red Thread.
Yarn Basket from A Friend to Knit With.
Knot Trivet from Design Sponge.
Anneli’s Rag Pillows from Design Sponge.
Portrait Bookmarks with Amanda Blake Soule for Mothering magazine.
2010 Tea Towel Calendar from Just Something I Made for Dollar Store Crafts.
Magazine Paper Decorations from Jeffery Rudell for CraftStylish.
DIY Cake Stand from Tangarang.
Reversible Wine & Gift Bags from Sew4Home.
Paper Wine Bag from Daisy Janie.
Little Pink House Embroidery Hoop Frame from Checkout Girl for Sew, Mama, Sew!
Nesting Boxes from Oh, Fransson! for Sew, Mama, Sew!
Pintuck Pillows from The Long Thread.
Crooked Coasters from The Long Thread.
Cereal Box Journals from The Long Thread.


Stitch-a-Day from the Hand Embroidery Network.
Stencil and Potato Printing with Lotta Jansdotter for CraftStylish.
Little Mushroom Girl Embroidery Pattern from One Red Robin.


Mushroom Ornament from Cathy Gaubert.
Doily Window Decorations from Martha Stewart.
Little Forest Quilt from The Purl Bee.
Cereal Box Cardboard Houses from Bella Dia.*
Surprise Ball Ornaments from Skip to my Lou.
Furoshiki Basics from Etsy’s The Storque.
Book Wreath from Living with Lindsay.
Felt Balls Wreath from Pickles.
Yarn Gift Tag from A Little Hut.
Christmas in July Advent Calendar from Elizabeth of Oh Fransson! for Sew, Mama, Sew!
Sweater Stocking from The Long Thread.
Felt Ornaments from My Fantastic Toys.*
Winter Holiday Decorations from Wisecraft for Value Village.
Easter Basket adapted from a Zakka Sewing pattern, from Disdressed.
Spring Basket from Maya Made.
Felted Egg Tutorial from Wool Pets.
Fabric Easter Eggs from Retro Mama.
Fabric Pompoms from Once Wed.
Candy Corn Cone from Zakka Life.
Jack O’Lantern Hoop from Betz White.
Paper Bag Halloween Bowls from The Long Thread.
Valentine’s Day Heart Plush Toy from The Long Thread.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My New Year's Art Manifesto

I found this video on a blog for a contemporary Folk Artist and decided that this is exactly the idea I need to keep in mind this year.  I need to just do art for art's sake, not to "make" anything. I love watching this video!  I even just watch it without any sound and it is still fantastic.  This artist is absolutely joyful, playful, energetic, delighted, and talented.  Those are all qualities I aspire to have but would settle for having those qualities in my artwork.  Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Here's what happens when I have time to read art blogs

 I spent quite a bit of time this morning perusing my favorites and especially my favorited art blogs.  I have not visited some of them in a month and I was feeling a bit guilty.  I love looking at all the talent out there.  I am always inspired by what these talented people accomplish and share online.  One site had a really inspiring video about creativity that I have now watched twice.  Here's a great video that will make you think about yourself and your creativity:

Then on another site I found this wonderful video about art journaling that I hope you like:

This is from a wonderful blog that I hope you will visit because she is going to have an online class about painting faces that you can sign up for.  She says she will be starting it in a few weeks, so I hope you get a chance to join.  I am seriously considering signing up for it myself.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

So far this year is starting out with a bang.  I got up and showered and dressed to go to work and at 0545 the hospital calls me and cancels me due to decreased census.  Yea!!!!!!  I have a cold and was feeling pretty miserable anyway, so this is just a gift from the gods.

After I take a long nap, I plan to get up and work on my paper mache bunny.  I still haven't finished him and I really want to, so since I have a gift of this day, I think I should do it!  I will post pictures of the completed bunny when I get it finished. 

I went to the library the other day and checked out three wonderful books on art dolls.  I highly recommend them.  The first is The Art Doll Chronicles, the next is 500 Handmade Dolls, and the last is Sculpting in Paperclay.  They are delightful books full of beautiful pictures.  They do inspire me.

I'm still working on my New Year's Goals.  I know what they are, but I want to break them down into doable steps and plot them out during the year.  That is the only way I think I will get myself moving.  So, I'll let you know how that goes, too.

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