Saturday, April 28, 2012

Head to Toe

This bear was also in progress while I was working on the piece from my last post. I had a bit of a panic for a moment when I thought an ear had gone missing. Luckily it turned up. I mean I’ve seen bears with only one ear – maybe even on purpose but this one told me in no uncertain terms that she was not about to go around with only one ear.

I found the fabric for her top way back in January at The Quilter’s Market. I think it came from Japan and you can see how long it has taken me to get around to making it up. I still have some left and may yet think of another way I can use it.

Her feet peek out from her trousers which are made from another favorite cotton print. I guess I’ll always love fabrics whether they are meant for making bears or for making bear clothing.

I do really like bare bears where you can see and touch their fur. I also think that occasionally they like to put on clothes. How do I know this? They tell me, of course.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Love Lasts.

At last. A new piece for my bears&boxes series.

This is the front. I always hope that these things will have a little bit of a surprise. The front is meant to be the beginning of a phrase, which ends when you open the box. The painting process always makes my heart race even though I know I can start over again. Thankfully, this evolved without having to do that.

This piece is called “Love lasts.” It was inspired by a framed poster I have hanging in my foyer. It’s been with me since just before we got married. It has a photo of an old bear with that caption. Maybe it’s kind of silly but I do love it.

Now a close-up of the left side. Some of the detail which may not be so apparent in this photo is the depth that I tried to incorporate. The scalloped border at the top is raised and the letters at the bottom are set at an angle. Both of them cast a shadow which I think is rather nice. The clothesline displays a poem on fabric which supports the theme and the hanging bottles, though a bit quirky, have hearts and a key inside.


And here’s a close-up of the right side. You see here the loved and worn teddy bear friend sitting on the table. Above his head in brass letters: “OLD FRIEND”. It looks so obvious now that it’s finished but when I was working on it, I contemplated decisions like “Does it need words?” “What words?” “Do I have the right letters to spell out my choice?” “Should they swing freely below or be attached to the crosspiece?” If I wasn’t already nutty, it would be crazy making!

Here’s the little fellow all on his own. I love this little guy.
He turned out just like I wanted.

Now for a few close-ups of the details. This shows the left edge of the box with a glimpse of the transfer of one of my favorite quotes. I do like adding words to the edges of the boxes – it’s just plain ol’ fun to do.

These are the bottles that dangle from the clothesline. What?! Don’t you hang bottles from your clothesline? One day maybe I’ll do this in my back yard and call it yard art.

Oh look! The tiny window makes another appearance. All in the name of continuity – and fun!

Remember the paper maché box and bottle of glitter? They made a fine pedestal table and the wine corks made some lovely stools with fabric seats.

The hearts hanging in the table’s pedestal echo the hanging bottles across the way. It’s these features that are both fun and maddening that make these boxes a challenge to create.

Now I’ve come to the end and I am contemplating an idea for my next one. I have a few things that I need to be doing at the same time. What’s that thing they have in the Harry Potter books? A time-turner? That’s what I need!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two Worlds and a World of Twos

Regarding the two worlds, the first is a glimpse into an old world. This is a cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex. I took this photo at the opening of the new world below.

This world is part of the brand spanking new wing to our science museum. Over a decade in the works and many, many millions of dollars.  Here’s a view of one of many areas for exploration and learning in the museum.

And then a view from the ‘top of the world’.

Now for the world of twos. I’m still diligently persevering on the box project. Little by very little. Things seem to be falling into a world of twos.  Two unlikely objects here but they’ll work together nicely in the finished piece. (Fingers crossed!)

And then there are two wine corks. Weird, I know! But that’s how it goes.

Two box insides covered with some lovely paper saved for just such an occasion. (Who knew?!)

Two hinges although you can only see one being attached here.

And two hearts which may not even make into the final piece.

The big decisions are made. Now come the umpteen million little ones. This color or that. Fabric or paper. High or low. Cord or string. First or last. Now or later.

Oh, it’s later now. Time to give it a rest. Hopefully, I’ll finish it completely this coming week. And maybe two other things too!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Window into My Work

You can take that metaphorically or literally – either way I think it applies. I am still working on several things at once. Why focus when you can go in many directions at once, right?

I am continuing to make some slow progress on one of the boxes I began working on. I got an idea and then things just sort of blossomed from there. I decided to remove the hinges for two reasons. One: It is easier to work on the pieces without them. Two: I wanted to put some more substantial ones on.

The photo below shows the beginning after getting some inspiration.

Here’s the next stage – and I really am starting to believe some projects work out better if you aren’t bound by preconceived ideas.

There are times when I cannot remember why I purchased some little doodad or whatnot and then comes the perfect placement for it. Like the window here. It’s only 7/8th of an inch square. I mean, where would you ever use something like that – except in the letter L? Or maybe another letter? A very, very tiny dollhouse? Okay, so there are loads of places you could use it. It’s just that apparently for me, it fits here quite nicely.

I added some texture for interest – there of loads of ways to do this. I don’t think I’ve used the same one twice.

In fact, I decided to use two different textures to emphasize the different levels. I thought it might be more subtle than using a different color of paint for each one. We’ll see.

Now my texturing is most likely dry and I can add some to the other areas. Do you know that old saying, “It’s like watching paint dry.”? Well, it is. Actually, the excitement level for watching texture dry is exactly the same!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mountain Montage


The above photo is a piece of art we saw in a window while in Asheville the last few days. It took me a minute to sort it out in my mind but when I did, I thought it was very clever. First, there are two books, intertwined with the pages folded in a decorative way. Next you see two figures; one on the top level and one below. Upon closer inspection, you can see the top one is dangling a string with a penny attached. Do you get it? I did – I think: A penny for your thoughts.

Insert chocolate here. Yes, I think I will.


These photos are from the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. If you have never been to Asheville, it should be on your ‘must experience’ list. Lots of interesting delights there like – Surprise! Chocolate!


and my husband loves their Lavender Crème Brûlée.


We were lucky to discover UNCA (University of North Carolina – Asheville) was having a free festival. While there, I took this photo of Millie the monkey and my husband. (Husband is on the right.)


Insert more chocolate here. Okay, but only because


I think you should have a good idea of what you can expect when you go to the Chocolate Lounge.  Check out the pretty wrappers.


Now back to the festival. We had an opportunity to make some wax hands. That was quite a unique experience and it was interesting to see how different people chose to pose.


This is the way mine turned out.


And this is the way my husband’s turned out. I think it was supposed to be ‘thumbs up’ but you know, Sebastian thought it was meant to be ‘hey, look at me!’


Here are the last photos from our trip that I wanted to share.  This rich dark pink dogwood tree in full bloom was beautiful . . .


and this is Tucker, an Australian shepherd – not mine but related in a way. Let’s call him a ‘granddog’. And he really is a grand dog. I think he’ll be smarter than me in just a couple of days! “Hey, Tucker!”


As you can see, I did not fall off the edge of the planet since my last post. I didn’t even fall off the mountain! Now I have to turn my attention back to the work at hand and put my hands to work. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Our peony in bloom!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Currently on the Table/s

Actually, these first few photos are of what was on the work table in between other projects. I finished this teddy for the overalls I made last week and then decided she also needed a sun hat.


The flowers in her pockets are vintage forget-me-nots which I use every time I can justify it. I don’t have a lot of them but they really do better out in the world rather than sitting in a jar on a shelf in my studio, don’t cha think?


She seems to be wondering why I took her hat away. Okay, little bear you can have it back. I hope to make her available for adoption relatively soon.


Next, I pulled out a couple of cigar boxes from my stash and decided that perhaps if I began working on them, a plan would soon develop. Kind of like a warm up before the big game. Actually, I have no idea what I am talking about – that made no sense, did it?

Anywho, the impressed letters in this one will certainly show through once I get down to painting and/or decorating it so I’ve gone and filled them in hoping I will stick with my as yet undecided plan.

Then I thought as long as the table is out of commission as an actual table to eat on, I might as well get another box prepared. I am hoping the gesso I plan to paint on this one will help fade the printing and make it easier to accept the paint. That is unless I decide to cover it with paper.

There you have it. No sense in watching the paint dry so I’m off to see what kind of other kinds of bear clothes I can make because – well, because – it just seems like a fun thing to do.


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