Monday, November 29, 2010

A King Henry VIII Christmas

It is a cold and snowy Christmas morn at the castle. Once again, King Henry and his 6 wives gather
about the toasty fire and exchange heart warming gifts that bring tears to their eyes.

(Nothing like a gift that
touches one's heartstrings...)

To each of his wives Henry presents a copy of a book entitled, "How to Not Lose Your Head", and a framed picture of
himself with the caption, "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I am angry".

(Fair warning Henry, thank you...)

To Henry his wives present two special books entitled "How to Make Your Marriage Last", and "1001 Ways to Curb Your
Temper".....not that you need the help Henry, mind you...

Well, that's it- a small glimpse into the lives of the Tudors on Christmas morn...kind of gets you right in the heart, doesn't it?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Friendship, Friendship....

Have you ever watched that episode on I Love Lucy where Ethel and Lucy put on a show together to sing the song, "Friendship" and end up buying the same dress? That episode always makes me laugh because I think it is SO true- no matter how much you may like others, if they show up at an event in the same outfit as you, there is a slight "well how do you like that!" attitude that one feels that you now no longer look original!

And what's more, this type of situation DID happen to me in my college days. I spent hours looking for a formal dress that I was sure no one else would wear, walked in on the arm of my escort, and voila! There in front of me was a girl with the exact same dress on. I was embarrassed, and so was she, and everyone seemed to notice we had the same dress on! I couldn't decide if I thought it was funny or irritating, but to be honest I think I felt both!

(Luckily we didn't start ripping things off each other's dress as Lucy and Ethel did in this particular episode!)
Now that I think about it, I don't think any of my friends would want to dress like me anyway! So I have nothing to worry about!

Just for fun, I found this version on Youtube, although I have no idea who "Bumpy" and friend are... enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

So Many Ideas, So Little Time!

I am at the stage in my life that if I didn't have a big notebook with all the things I need to do written down, well, they would probably fall into the sea of forgetfulness!

Which is why I am thankful I have a super thick binder full of pages that I can write down all the ideas I have for my upcoming art characters...I get inspiration at the funniest times... (yes, even while going to church (oops!), cooking, sleeping, and the grocery store, to name a few!)

If you are like me, you must also carry a little notebook in your purse, satchel, briefcase or what have you also...because a 3 inch thick pink and white binder isn't handy to stick in your purse. And for heaven's sake, carry not one, but at minimum 3-4 writing utensils because you know if you don't the first few won't write when you really need them!

This little harlequin was one of my "out of the blue ideas I better write down before forgetting" and so glad I did, he was fun to create!

If you want a quick tip for how to come up with ideas for your craft, this is it.... have a big notebook (or two!) nearby at all times for those little
ideas that fly through your head and just don't settle unless you write them down!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Visiting New Places

My husband talked me into it, going along on an overnight business trip with him. I suspect he needed me with my gift for gab to go along and chatter in his ear to keep him awake at the wheel...but that could have the opposite effect if the truth be told!

I am glad I went along though, he took care of work business and I got to drive around a new town and find all the spots where I could add to my ever growing business supplies stash. I never pass up an opportunity to go in a new place and look for that unusual or different item that will add just the right tweak to my newest creation! It was such a fruitful expedition that I am thinking that even if uninvited, I may just stow away on his next business trip!

Never pass up a chance to go to a new place and go exploring for that spot that may add what you didn't have and should, it can really pay off!

I wanted to also thank the people at Showtime for contacting me this week and purchasing my Clarence the Clown to be used as a prop in a new and upcoming series , what a pleasant surprise! (Just goes to show you that you never know who will stalk your wares!)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hoard Those Supplies, Write Down Those Ideas!

When I first started out doing my specialty art work, you could have seen all my supplies in a small box. (And then I thought I had so much!)

But it seemed then that someone would always ask me if I could do so and so and I would then have to go out and get the necessary items...which then led me to buying things that I thought may be some day would be used to make this character and that character. And next thing I knew, I had to have better and more numerous places to put all my wonderful little goodies , doodads, fabrics, yarns, threads, and a host of other things!

I moved off of the kitchen table to having a whole room to myself and from one cardboard box to 7 or more triple drawer units, and two multi mini drawer units that hand on the wall. (And I confess to needing twice as many as I type this!)

So, yes, I do hoard supplies, of all kinds,and I have an thick notebook that I keep alphabetized ideas in, sketches and the like for when I need direction. It is the best way I know of for any creative person to avoid having a dry spell in their creativity!

My husband says I have enough things to make 400 dolls...he's probably right, but
it doesn't stop me from seeing that perfect little item or fabric that begs to be taken home and added to my "someday I will need this" stash! One can never have too many supplies...right?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Inside Look At What I Do

For the curious, I wanted to show a little bit of the process it takes to make my art character dolls.....

I take a basic wooden clothespin-

Holes are drilled, wire threaded through, and clay is used to form the head, arms and shape of doll-

I then paint and design the doll's facial expression and begin the work on designing their costume-

The finishing touches are made on their costumes, sometimes requiring a bit of hand sewing-

Hair styles and finishing touches are added, now for the other character!-

Now the characters are complete, and ready to be displayed!- (Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan)

I hope you enjoyed the little mini tour, and seeing the process of what goes into making my creations!

Stop in again soon!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Just Do It!

Today I was looking over some of my first art doll characters that I made- can tell I was learning! But you know, everyone had to start out somewhere, right? So I kind of smile when I see those, and I like to keep them as
a reminder of how far I have come.

I used to only make female dolls because making male dolls scared me since the clothing was much more of a challenge. I couldn't figure out how to do it, so I avoided pushing myself to learn....but that bugged me.
So, I forced myself to get past my apprehensions and do it anyway...I don't know
how many made it to the trash bin, but I am sure there were quite a few that did!

I guess the moral of the story is, it is a good thing to stretch yourself. To try things that sound tricky, or hard. It feels good when you set a challenge and then
realize that if you try hard enough, you will see the reward.

Do I still try things that are new and potentially difficult? Yes indeed I do, and I will always try to do something new if I can- as a matter of fact, I have a book I keep new ideas in for me to try,(if I ever get around to it!).

If you are toying with some ideas to try and are scared to do it, my advice is to
go for it, you just may be surprised at the results!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Coming soon...

I often get asked what my next ideas will be or what will I be creating next....
which is why I am glad I have my "never ending" ideas book. It is a large spiral notebook with dividers and it is full of ideas of characters to do, what I want to add, pictures of how I want to do it, and so forth.

That really helps when you hit a stale me. And hitting that wall is something all artists or creators will do sooner or later.

Some of my upcoming designs include Rhett Butler, Tom Sawyer, Tatiana of Shakespeare's play, Mary Pickford, and a lot more.

Just for fun, here are some of my newest creations-

Friday, June 18, 2010

That's Life

Well, this has been quite the month, I must say. I had my twins just graduate high school, my husband has a tentative job change possibility, but the biggest shocker
was our daughter coming home after 3 years of college and telling us she had signed
up to join the Marines...(of course without talking it over with us first). Now I ask, where did THAT idea come from?

( Now I can see why some species are known to eat their young! )

Well, my husband and I are having to learn what we all must, and that is to make the best of what happens, there is no other alternative- (since we tried the kicking and screaming route but it didn't work!)

Times like this are what make me appreciate having an outlet in my creating. It's better to snip and cut fabric, glue and paint, and put my focus on something
that will distract me from the things I don't want to think about... or rather can't do anything about.

While it may not give a resolution to the problems at hand, it does help me realize that life is life and you just have to take it as it comes and deal with it one step at a time- which is all any of us can do!

This rainbow I took a picture of is a good reminder that things can get better after a storm.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cute Little Toads

Well, this is off the subject a bit but my son loves toads and frogs. He has for a long time, and I am afraid it's my fault...

I bought a science project from a curriculum company that said you could raise your own frogs. They didn't say what kind, I just assumed they were the run of the mill kind that you would find in any pond. And the success rate for the kit was pretty low so I figured maybe if we were lucky we'd succeed in getting one set of tadpoles to grow.

Not so...all 10 tadpoles lived and thrived. We did lose two eventually, so we had 8 African clawed frogs that all survived and it ended up costing my husband and I hundreds upon hundreds of dollars because we had to buy a much larger tank, several filters, food, and other assorted goodies to keep up with these good sized critters. (These aren't the kind of frogs you see in a pond so putting them there wasn't an option.)

All of this has served to encourage my son's enjoyment of amphibians and here where we live, there are toads EVERYWHERE. He finds them and brings them in for me to see...(from afar please, thank you!)

By the way, I will be reading the fine print if I ever buy any more science projects throught the mail!

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Christmas Carol Isn't Just For Christmas

I know some people think the story of A Christmas Carol is a holiday themed story, and yes, I have to agree it is, in one sense- but in another sense, not so much.

You see, the other day I was pondering on what I wanted to work on next and it hit me- the main characters from the Charles Dickens tale of A Christmas Carol. Yes, it was May, and yes, it is 90 plus degress out, but I happen to love the version with Patrick Stewart in it, he made the best acting Scrooge I have ever watched! Anyway, as I enjoyed the movie, I found myself getting out my supplies and work away I did.

Christmas or not, the message of the novel and the movie has a strong year round lesson about life and how it should be approached- and I felt that though most think it as a Christmas themed tale, I happen to believe it is more of a life themed tale.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oliver Twist and Charles Dickens

I am a fan of classic literature, (in case you haven't noticed!). I have slowly, but surely been working my way through reading all of Dickens great novels- including my most recent finished read, "Oliver Twist". I have to say thus far it has been one of my favorites!

I was so isnpired by the story, that I created a little Oliver Twist to add to my collection of finished works- so here is Oliver created from the sad little scene when Oliver walks up to the headmaster of the work home and feebly asks, "Please sir, may I have some more?" because he was still hungry.

Poor Oliver!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Creator's Block- We All Get It

If I go in my workroom and see all the fabrics stashed away, and the supplies I have collected- well, they seem to say "get in here and finish that Sheriff on Nottingham you wanted to do!" or "Isn't it about time you started crossing off one of those characters you have written down on your to-do list?" I really find myself at my most relaxed when I am sitting at my work table and finishing another project.

I have heard lots of other artists talk about "creator's block". Do I get that? You're darn tootin' I do! What do I do to get past it? That depends...I often will leave the work table and do something completely non related- like go out and pull weeds out of my flowers, or watch HGTV for a short bit, go for a walk, or -(one of my favorites) pull a book off my shelf and lose myself for while in a well written classic or bit of history. Sometimes I will even go as far as not to make a thing for a few days just to get away from the pressure of trying to make myself do what I think I should be doing.

I think the trick to keeping oneself from becoming too bogged down with always trying to be creative is to just let things be. If you don't feel like doing it, don't. Walk away a bit- however long you need to. Do something else for awhile, something fun, maybe even a bit out of the ordinary for you.

If ideas are your problem, then go look for them. Look through books or other places to get inspired,and keep an ideas notebook. I have a big binder that I have filled with pages of ideas and thoughts on projects I want to do. If I reach a blank, I reach for the notebook, and it jump starts my brain into getting busy.

What do YOU do when you reach that creative slump?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Artist

It's quiet here in the house...really quiet. My dear husband has taken our teens for a morning outing, and I am not used to the silence. I thought about trying my hand at cart wheels or back flips, but, well... I am not sure if I did that I could reach the phone to call 911...ah well, just think I will enjoy the solitude and not try anything foolish!

Anyway, I will sit and work on some items and see how much I can get accomplished. I have my own little work area:

Here you can see me doing one of many steps to design my little friends. I enjoy each and every one- can't really complain that I dislike any of the process.I do have my favorite part though, and that would have to be the actual creating of the costumes they wear, and the painting of the faces. I have to often ponder to decide what mood I want the character to express, and that is fun for me!

Here I am with just a few of the many characters I have completed, and I hope to get even more done this Mother's Day weekend.

Take care everyone and have a happy Mother's Day, too!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My Latest Projects

Well, I did it again, I went out to a nursery not once, not twice, but 3 times this week...I have a huge weakness for planting flowers. I purposely leave gaps in my flower beds just so I can change the look every spring with different annuals. (I almost enjoy flower planting as much as creating my art miniatures!)

I did find time today after planting to go to my work table and create a couple of new characters:

John Keats, the English Poet

Antonio Vivaldi, the famous violinist

I may get into such a working frenzy today that I may even create a third character!
(We'll just see how it goes though- I may have to go plant some more flowers!)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Elizabeth Blackwell Miniature Art Charcter

Who was Elizabeth Blackwell you ask?

Originally from England, Elizabeth Blackwell and her family moved to the United States when she was still a young girl. After a dying friend told her that she would have rather had a lady doctor, Elizabeth then considered the possiblity of studying to be a physician. Later, she found the path to pursue that goal.

When she graduated from New York's Geneva Medical College, in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to earn the M.D. degree. She supported medical education for women and helped many other women's careers. By establishing the New York Infirmary in 1857, she offered a solution to one of the problems facing women who were turned away from internships elsewhere but determined to expand their skills as doctors. She also published several important books on the issue of women in medicine, including Medicine as a Profession For Women in 1860 and Address on the Medical Education of Women in 1864.

In honor of her accomplishments, I created this wooden miniature inspired by one of her portraits.

Thank goodness for lady doctors!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just for Fun...

It's that time of year again...planting and deciding what flower combinations I will put in the flower bed this year. The artistic side of me plots the colors and how I will plant them and where ...and the practical side of me thinks, ugh, weeding and digging! Oh well, to get something rewarding, one has to get their hands dirty, right?

So today I got out and planted a pink clemetis vine and some bluebell flowers. Last week I planted tomato plants because nothing beats a home grown tomato in taste fresh from the garden. Gardening is about as therapeutic as my art work is to me...but not quite!

Speaking of therepeutic, chocolate and vanilla are therepeutic, right? So with that in mind, take a look at this delicious collection of "chocolate and vanilla" goodies I discovered during one of my many excursions of shopping online!

Warning! It may leave you hungry!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Return of Good Weather- I Hope!

Well, things have been pretty warm here in Illinois lately. I got overzealous and decided to plant tomato plants- although I was told I shouldn't have until May 10th. (Shrug)....

At any rate, since I heard there was to be a frost last evening, I covered them with plastic bags just in case. Luckily there was no frost so all is well. I can hardly wait to taste a fresh garden grown tomato!

I also spent part of my day creating some new characters, since I can't seem to let a day go by without making something! (I feel restless if I don't!)

I decided upon making a Bride of Frankenstein, inspired by the old 1930's movie, and also made a Dracula, also from the old Hollywood version. I am not a fan of horror movies in any way, shape, or form- but the old vintage versions of the movie I have to admit though cheesy perhaps, are fun to watch!

So here they are, and try not to let them scare you too bad!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Poor Lady Jane Grey!

I love reading Tudor history, or any kind of history for that matter.... as long as it is written in an interesting format.

My featured character for the day is Poor Lady Jane Grey. Why poor? Because I don't think she really wanted to be the queen of England, especially at being such a young age (15-16). She was basically used by her parents, and maybe some others, to gain control of the English throne. And it ended up being a very short reign, the shortest in British history, being a length of 9 days before she was executed by other wannabe- in- power royalty members.

This particular character stands at 4 1/2 inches tall, and her costume is inspired by one of the few actual known portraits of her. Many of the details are duplicated as close as possible.

Too bad for Lady Jane that she happened to be in the wrong family at the wrong goes to show you that even then, relatives can be a nuisance and politics were often a game of greed and power struggles...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Taking a Day Off

I took a day off from my art work this past Monday...
It was my husband's birthday, so he took the day off and hung around the house. He isn't like me, in that if I have a special day, I don't want to cook for myself- I would MUCH rather go out and eat. I want someone else to mess up their kitchen , wait on me, and I like leaving the dirty dishes for someone else.. But my husband would rather I cook for him...

So, I asked him what he would like and this dish is what he asked for:
Cyclone Pasta- made with marinated, grilled chicken breasts, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, basil and garlic in a creamy spicy sauce.

And, for the dessert finale I made a three layer from scratch German Chocolate Cake.
It turned out to be two layers because I dropped the third layer in the kitchen floor upon removing it from the oven. Oh well, guess it saved some calories, eh?

All in all, I enjoyed doing it for him, and I think it was kind of nice taking a break from working on my art- sometimes we all should do that to recharge our creative batteries!

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Addiction

Do I have an addiction? I would like to say I don't...but I do.

What is my addiction you are wondering?- It's not donuts, (altho I wouldn't refuse one should you offer), not chocolate, (although if you paid me in chocolate instead of cash I don't think I would complain), visiting my in-laws,(eek!) or housecleaning,(now I ask you, what normal person would be addicted to that?)...

My addiction is buying fabric and supplies to enrich my artistic endeavors. I love going in to a fabric store and going up and down each aisle, sometimes 3-4 times, looking for just the right material for a project I have in mind. No matter that I have scads of fabric now to do 500 art doll miniatures, I must have more, just in

And supplies? Well, that is another problem! I have many little clear drawers full of little curiosities, embellishments, brocades, doo dads, and miniature replicas and other paraphenalia that will take me into the next century before I could use them all...but still, what if I run across something that will be just what I need for that next project? You can see my dilemma....

Well, I won't be harming anyone by this addiction, so I think I will happily keep feeding it, until I run out of places to put everything !

Am I the only one suffering with this malady? Say it's not so! :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Some New Things For Spring!

It's spring here where I live in Illinois- something about spring really gets me going. Seeing the trees budding, hearing birds out actively seeking their meals, watching for the first buds of the bulbs I planted last's a series of miracles!

To sort of celebrate the arrival of this refreshing season, I did a little window shopping and found some fun items that made me think "spring", so take a look and see what you think of some of my special finds!

Gorgeoous silk painted scarf in delicate spring colors by silkshop:

Adorable Spring Chicken bowl by PrinceDesignUK

A must have spring tote bag by LBArtworks:

And how about a refreshing spring cleaning with this vegan bar soap by SoapStore:

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Artist Behind the Art

I love to sometimes take a step back and look at all my art work that is carefully
displayed in a four level glass and oak case. I think about all the hours it took me to get the characters finished, and wonder how I found the time- especially with having 3 teens, 1 college student, and a husband underfoot!

But you know? As anyone who enjoys doing any sort of favorite activity, we find the time to do what we want. So that explains how I have dones hundreds upon hundreds of characters. If I didn't enjoy it, I sure wouldn't be doing it. If you can't find me doing the laundry or cooking, you will most likely find me amidst a pile of assorted fabrics, paint, and bits of wood and doodads- watching episodes of Andy Griffith, the Waltons, or Little House on the Prairie...or maybe watching Les Miserables or The Count of Monte Cristo.

I enjoy my artwork, and I really enjoy the creative outlet it provides-hope you have one too!

Monday, March 15, 2010


Discipline is a not so fun part of life, have you noticed? If we don't practice it, a lot of things could go downhill...FAST!

Think of are all warm and snug in your bed and that awful shrieking alarm goes takes discipline to get up and get going. If not, you could get fired from your job, or the kids could wreak havoc in the house, or someone else could beat you to that half price sale at Macy's.

Or,you are driving down the road and someone suddenly cuts you off, or signals left while turning right... it takes discipline not to honk at them, doesn't it? (Come now, confess...)

You want to lose 10 or 20 pounds or more. There are two Oreos in the cabinet that you found..or you can have that pear sitting on the counter takes discipline to imagine that pear tastes as good as that Oreo. If you don't discipline the temptation, then you may just have to jog to Timbuktu and back to make up for it!

Sometimes I have to give myself a stern talking to..."Debbie, you know that you have 10 orders to fill and sitting here at the computer spying on Facebook friends while eating those two Oreos is not going to get those things done..." Not that I do that, mind you, it's just an illustration...

I have found discipline to be a hard, but necessary part of life. I don't always enjoy enforcing it,but I have found it to have its own rewards- a clean house, jeans that fit, orders that are done and ready to go, and I don't have to eat crow for not saying that perfect comeback zinger that could have started World War III.

Something to think about , right?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Parenting isn't for Sissies..Really!

Once in a while, (jokingly, mind you), I will tell my husband had I known what I was in for 21 years down the road when I said, "Yes, I will go out with you", I would have ran when I had the chance! (ok, maybe not, but still...)

You see, when we had our four kids I hopefully envisioned them being easy to steer in the right direction as they grew - you know, clean bedrooms, agreeing with most of our parental opinions with smiles on their faces,( Oh Mom and Dad, I really respect your years of experience and really see why you said "no"), eating what I fixed for dinner with exclamations of delight, ( "Oh Mom, the onions you put in this meatloaf are just the right touch!"), and never causing us too much hair pulling ...(so why am I almost bald?)

Well...taint the way it is... Right now we have one in college that we never know what she is going to come up with - she changes what she wants to do all the time so we figure she will be in college for the next 10 years....or longer.

The middle two are twins, and learning to drive via their dad...(my husband made the mistake of telling me to ride with one of them on their first driving lesson-SO not a good idea!)-I screamed when one of them tried to park the car at the post office, went over the parking bump, and headed for the window of the building. That will absolutely be the LAST time I ever get in on a driving lesson for any of them...period! (And they are glad too! )

I had no idea most of the talking I would do at this stage would consist mostly of the phrases, "Because I said so and I am older and wiser than you, that's why", and "as long as you live here and we pay your bills, you will", and " What is that dish of mold doing on your dresser?"

Ah well, if there is one thing I DO know, it is that nothing worth having in life is easy to come by. It does take work, lots of hard work, and it takes perserverence. It's not like we can sit down and quit, because life goes on with or without you so to keep working at it is a very good idea! Kids can surprise you how well they can turn out, if you just keep at least that is what my parents tell me. (Were they trying to tell me something?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Improving Where you Create...

I have been off my blog for way longer than I expected...I guess my online business
overcame my time to keep it going since it has been really busy the past few months...( not that I am complaining, mind you!)

Ar any rate, I have done some vast improving in my business and here are just a few simple ways I have done so:

A. Got my own work room- yes, no more working at the dining room table and having to clear everything off for dinner time- I really think if you want to create well, you have to be glad where you are working... now I have a 6 foot long folding work table so I can spread all my stuff out within convenient reach...Hurray!

B. Clear, multi drawer units and containers- no more scrounging through cardboard boxes on the floor looking for that "essence of fine
mist green" crushed velvet fabric....or losing that exquisite bauble that would have been the perfect touch to the finished creation of King Louis the 17th on his 63rd birthday...

C. Folders and organizers for all receipts and lightbox backgrounds- a real nice timesaver for hunting up just what I need

That is about it for now- I can't tell you how much easier things have been with just a few simple changes. My work is much more efficient, and I enjoy where my location is- so my creativity isn't as squelched! Which, if I may add, has increased now that I also keep a full ideas journal for any thoughts of new ideas for me to work on- and I have a daily planner of what I am going to create for the upcoming weeks each really helps when I am stymied for what to do that day. (It's kind of like a menu plan only it's about art work...:)

If you are thinking about getting organized to better your craft, I say do it!
You won't believe the difference it will make in more ways then one!