I had so much fun teaching the online Sea Spirit Ornament Workshop on A for Artistic that I am already busy working on a new online class to teach! The next class will be a full body doll with costuming. I will be teaching more watercolor techniques for the facial coloring along with more needle sculpting techniques. I so enjoyed seeing ornaments made in the Sea Spirit Class and wanted to share some of the pictures with you.
This is a Sea Spirit Ornament made into a Winter Fairy by Sarah Kochanowski
This is a Sea Spirit ornament made by Laurie Hutchison.
This is a Sea Spirit ornament made by Jane Galvan-Colson.
A few years ago I used Peggy Wilson's body pattern for her Long Tall Sally doll and designed this costume and hairdo that she is wearing with Halloween colors. I had so much fun dressing her! Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween!
I am so excited to be teaching an online needle-sculpting workshop for A for Artistic starting November 5th! It is an intermediate level workshop where you will learn a variety of techniques while creating a heirloom ornament for the holidays. I hope you will join me in the fun! If you are interested in taking the class you can click here for more information http://www.aforartistic.com/sea-spirit.html
My husband and I went to Ottawa this weekend to celebrate our
wedding anniversary. I am very fortunate to be married to my true
love, the man that brings out the best in me, and has become the best
part of me. We had an absolutely wonderful time this weekend. We
really didn't have any major plans of what we were going to do other
than walk around, have a nice dinner on Saturday,spend the night in
the city, and visit with the kids on Sunday. I had found online
Stella Luna Gelato Cafe and read about the very romantic story behind
Stella Luna. I wrote to Tammy and found out that yes they serve
gluten free gelato there so of course we had to go. The gelato was
just amazing! After checking into our hotel we wandered around the
park across from the hotel where they had artists selling their
wares. While doing this we heard the most beautiful music and walked
over to see what was going on. We stumbled upon the Capital Pride
Concert and decided to attend after enjoying a nice dinner out. We
had front row seats and thoroughly enjoyed the show that The Peptides
put on. I guess they are considered retro since they had many of the
dance moves my husband and I had way back when and I recognized the
dresses the female vocalists wore as similar to ones I had worn many
years ago when they were retro the first time. The hairdos were
before my time but adorable nonetheless. The audience was filled with
a nice group of young people that seemed to be enjoying the event
also. I just love going to Ottawa. It seems to always be filled with
art, music, and celebrations of diversity wherever you go.
Thursday, not only did I get to visit with my good friend Annie at
her shop Man in the Moon Bake Shoppe, I also had the honor of meeting
one of the most talented doll artists of our time, Nancy Wiley. Nancy
was at Annie's shop for a book signing to promote the new book she
illustrated with her dolls, The Little Red Riding Hood (which of
course I bought and now own a signed copy of). Nancy's work has
always inspired me and has been one of the reasons that led me to
walk down the road of becoming a doll artist. Her work has always
reminded me of a beautiful impressionist painting. She hand paints
each doll and its costume with oils creating the illusion that the
doll is walking right out of an impressionist painting. The painted
backdrop that often appears as part of the settings that she creates
for many of her dolls enhances this illusion. Not only is Nancy
amazingly talented, but she is also a very warm, down to earth
individual. She gave me lots of good tips and left me with a lot of
encouragement to continue down the road I am on. I also had the
pleasure of meeting Nancy's absolutely charming mom and beautiful
If you want to see why I have been so
inspired by Nancy Wiley's work, or if you would like to pick up a
copy of her new book you can check out her website here:
If that was not good enough for one day, I have to add in that I
had the most amazing gluten free cheesecake you can imagine at my
good friend Annie's place, Man in the Moon Bake Shoppe and Cafe.
Annie's husband came up with a gluten free cheesecake that surpasses
any regular cheesecake out there (other than Annie's of course which
is also amazing because I tried it before I knew I had Celiac
disease). So I left the shop with wonderful goodies to bring home to
share and lots of good advice and inspiration to continue down my
If you want to have the most delicious baked goods, gluten free
and/or regular, great service, and wonderful conversation head down
to Man in the Moon Bake Shop and Cafe at 982 Route 34B, King Ferry NY
You can check out their website here:
I know I haven't been blogging but does it count that I have been
taking some trips to feed my artist soul? I went to the Van Gogh
exhibit in Ottawa Canada. It was wonderful and very inspiring. My
husband's favorite painting in the exhibit is Blossoming Almond Tree
by Van Gogh. It is very beautiful and pictures of it do not do it
any justice. Isn't that true of most paintings? While visiting in
Canada we went out to eat at a very gluten free friendly restaurant
that was just delightful. It is called the Cheshire Cat Pub in
Kanata. My husband and I went with our beautiful daughter in-law
Sandy, her husband Corwin (my bonus child), and our son Jason.
Everyone loved the food that they ordered and there were plenty of
gluten free choices which were all very delicious. It was nice to eat outdoors in their backyard patio dining area and the service
was wonderful! Yes you can have delicious food on a gluten free
To continue my impressionistic journey of inspiration I went to
the Philadelphia Museum of Art with my two favorite aunts where I
fell in love with Lydia in a Loge Wearing a Pearl Necklace by Mary
Cassatt. Again the pictures of this painting cannot do it justice.
It is a wonderful museum to visit. I will have to return again.
It will give me an excuse to visit my New Jersey relatives again
which is always an enjoyable trip. I always hate to say goodbye when
My last impressionistic journey for the time being was to visit
the Fenimore House in Cooperstown,
NY. There I fell in love with Josephine in the Garden by
Theodore Robinson. I wish you could see it in person because again
the picture doesn't do the painting any justice. It is filled with
light and peace. The garden behind Josephine is Monet's garden. I
went with my good friend Mary on this trip and we had a very
wonderful lunch at the Hawkeye Grill in the Otsega Resort. The
Hawkeye Grill is very gluten free friendly and they even list their gluten
free items on the regular menu. Not only was the food and service
very good, but the view of the lake was magnificent! I wish I had my
paints with me because I felt like I was in the middle of an
impressionistic painting waiting to be painted!
Now that I have become totally inspired it is time to settle down
and produce some art!
I always am amazed and
inspired by all of the talent exhibited by my fellow All Dolled Up
Cloth Doll club friends in Ottawa. I recently attended the June end
of the doll club season tea party. There I was amidst a sea of well
dressed and well hatted doll makers, one donning a hat that I had
seen worn by the Queen in photos not so long ago, others in beautiful
fascinators similar to those worn by guests of the royal wedding of
Prince William and Kate Middleton, and here I found myself in the Hat
of Many Unfinished Projects. I guess my idea of “going all out”
was different than the other members of the ADU. It all started at
5:00 AM the morning of the ADU tea party. I really hadn't thought
about what I was going to wear to the tea party but remembered
something sent to members to “go all out” with the hat. So,
since there had been a challenge to complete unfinished projects for
the past three months, and since I really haven't finished my
unfinished projects for the past three months (instead I chose to
start new ones, even the night before the tea instead of finishing
just one project I chose to start a brand new watercolor journal and
start a watercolor painting in it, is there such a thing as Artistic
ADD? ), I woke up with the “brilliant” idea at 5:00 in the
morning to attach as many unfinished projects as I could to a straw
hat of mine to wear to the tea party.
So I wore it to the tea party.
Have you ever heard about the universal dream of embarrassment where
you find yourself taking a test in your underwear? Well, it sort of
felt like that when I walked into the tea party with my Hat of Many
Unfinished Projects amidst all of the many classically dressed, well
hatted ADU doll club members. But, I took a deep breath, relaxed,
and went ahead with my plan to wear the Hat of Many Unfinished
Projects. I even brought another bagful of unfinished projects to
share in our show and tell segment of the program. I brought a set
of jewelry that needed to be completed but instead of completing the
project, I started another jewelry set. I brought dolls that I was
working on for a wedding cake topper that I had not yet finished.
I even brought the bunny that I had developed the pattern for, shared
with my doll club members and presented tips on how to complete the
bunny in March, and THEN NEVER FINISHED MY BUNNY! But all in all,
it actually turned out to be quite a fun tea party and my
embarrassment quickly faded as I was reminded so kindly by one of my
doll club friends that doll making should never be taken so
seriously that you can't have fun!
This is my dear friend Vola at her home after we went out to lunch together a few weekends ago. Vola has been a dear friend for many many years. The way she lives her life is an inspiration to me and most who are fortunate enough to have crossed her path. A long time ago she tried to teach me how to quilt. I wound up making a quilted table runner, realized how much time, work, and effort is involved in quilting and decided to go off into the worlds of doll making, beading, painting, jewelry making, and collage. I may sometime go back to trying my hand at quilting when I feel I have more time to spend. But I still use the stitch she taught me that hides how the thread is tacked onto the quilt, and how to use it to end a thread you are using to quilt. I use it all the time in my doll making. But, that is a little off topic.
What is inspiring about Vola is that she spends her life every day trying to do something to make someone else's life just a little bit better. She lovingly works on quilts daily to give away to all that she knows, to the homeless,and to the children that are victims of domestic violence. When she is not busy making quilts to give away with love, she is knitting hats to keep those less fortunate warm in the cold winter months. I had the good fortune a year and a half ago of sitting beside her at her 90th birthday tea party. People from near and far came to wish her a happy birthday. Many shared with me how Vola had touched their lives in a very significant way by her acts of kindness during a difficult part of their life journey. I have always told Vola that when I grow up I would like to be like her and feel lucky to have her friendship as a part of my life for so many years. Not only does she inspire my art but she inspires how I try to live my life.
I started a cloth representation of Kuan Yin quite some time ago and for some reason she was set aside amongst my multitude of unfinished projects. I worked diligently during the last Figurative Artists Consortium Retreat in Ottawa on her hand beaded lotus blossom seat and never finished her. So I took her out this weekend, completed her lotus blossom seat, needle-felted mohair for her hair, and have little left but a few finishing touches to do.
For those who did not see the original post, and may be unfamiliar with Kuan Yin, she is known by many as the
goddess of compassion, one who hears the cries of all beings. She is
also known in Buddhism as a Bodhisattva, one who puts off Nirvana in
order to liberate all sentient beings. Many representations of Kuan Yin
depict her as a beautiful oriental woman in flowing gowns carrying a
vessel filled with the waters of compassion. She is often seen standing
or sitting on a lotus blossom. In the representation of Kuan Yin that I have created, she has golden colored skin and is seated in
the Bodhisattva pose.
I am so happy to be able to work in my gardens this season! When I work in the gardens I always keep in my mind a great respect and thankfulness for nature. I also look at the act of gardening as an active meditation and as an art form. So I am so pleased to be able to return to my work in the gardens and the beauty the gardens surround me with.
There is a story to the asparagus bed. Quite a few years ago when I had just prepared the bed for the asparagus but had not planted them yet I was near the bed weeding one of my rose beds. As I was weeding I noticed the ground in the bed rising. I stopped and really didn't believe my eyes and wondered what was going on. I went back to my weeding but kept an eye on the bed, with curiosity. Well the ground continued to rise until all of a sudden a very large turtle rose from the ground and walked out of the bed. I had never seen anything like that happen before. I imagine it had laid its eggs there in the soft, sandy soil, but never saw the baby turtles rise. I took it as a good omen and have had incredible luck with the asparagus in that bed despite the occasions when life gets too full and the bed goes unattended.
This is Glinda the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Although she is often depicted as a redhead she just could not resist having lavender hair to match her fine costume. She is a one of a kind original needle sculpted doll that I created for the MAIDA Storybook Challenge. She has just been shipped to Prims Magazine to be photographed for the article on the challenge. How cool is that!
I just completed another wedding cake topper. Mr. Furry Bear and Miss Velvet Kitty are ready for their wedding day! Miss Velvet Kitty chose a beautiful mermaid style wedding gown to wear. She is carrying a bridal bouquet of white and light green roses. Aren't they just a dashing couple!
Hi everyone! Well I have been a little behind in posting on my blog but wanted to share the results of a jewelry making spree I had at the end of the holiday season. I enameled the blue and red metal components with my friend Mary during a play day last spring.