Wednesday, August 1, 2018

In the Secret Garden – Final Photos – Part 3

This project began with the name actually. Sometimes it’s the other way around. If you have read the classic book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, you’ll remember the state of the garden. I like to think of it as abandoned but not hopeless.

As I mentioned in the previous post, my secret garden needed a gate. That’s where I will begin. This is the back (or is it the front?) of the garden. The gate has rusted and is slightly overgrown.


This is a view from the other side of the gate. Flowers still grow and bloom inside.


And from a different point of view, the wall and brick walkway.


I did say something about the flowers having a unique feature. Maybe it’s a magical garden?  How so? Some of the flowers glow from within! Here is the best photo I could get that shows that ethereal quality.


Who keeps this garden? This little sweetie.


Here you can see the entire garden with the lights on.


And this is the teddy in her finest garden dress in the secret garden.


An aerial view.  Look closely at the bottom of the photo.  See the moss covered knob?  That’s the ‘secret drawer’ for the switch for the flowers. Winking smile


Finally a photo of outside the gate at the bottom of the steps.

You can see the enamel nametag at the bottom right in this photo.  There is also a cloth label  with more details on the bottom of the piece.


This was a terrifically fun challenge to make.  It was on my bucket list of pieces I wanted to try my hand at.  I’m actually glad I didn’t get to it a few years ago, because I doubt I would have thought to include the lights.  Or if I had thought about it, I probably wouldn’t have known how to work it out.  With each piece I learn something new. I hope you enjoyed seeing how I put it together. It is currently available.

Now I am ready to get back to another piece I left unfinished.  But first!  TBAI!  Also, just a reminder, if you are interested in seeing photos from the Tokyo show, Japan Teddy Bear with friends 2018, check out my piece parade Facebook page.  You can follow some of our adventures there and also on Instagram.

As always, thanks so much for reading!!!


Monday, July 30, 2018

Garden Flowers – Part 2

The flowers for this garden are created from flower beads. You might recognize that right away. I chose them for their translucence. I will show you why as we go along.

First though, I wanted a variety of lilies. I began with some calla lilies. Choosing colors was a challenge because I wanted some that would be striking but also complement the others in the set. And work within my plan.


I also wanted to vary their size and height. These were going to be placed in the back being the largest. Here I have them in a row assembling several of them at a time. The wire is an LED light and it was very, very delicate.  Hence the need for translucence.



Pink and white lilies were next.

gf-p2_4    gf-p2_5

Here is a small box lid edge to edge with flowers being glued on their stems.


The following photo had the first flowers I nervously placed first. It’s one of those things where you just have to hold your breath and hope all goes well. After that, it’s just more of the same progressing from the tallest in the back to the shortest in the front.


gf-p2_8   gf-p2_9

At one time this garden was only accessible if you had a key to the gate. So there had to be a gate. And I had to make it. This was one step that turned out much easier than I anticipated. I used a thick piece of metal rod to form the shape and then covered it with wire mesh. After that it was all paint and details to get the rusted effect.




Eventually I arrived at a point where I needed to add the base. This was one of those moments where I felt like it could easily go all wrong in a heartbeat.


These last few photos are detail photos. This first one is an aerial view of some of the flowers.


This is the left side of the wall on the back before I added the gate.


And this is the right side with a vine growing up.


Here is the gate in place on the back of the wall.


That completes all the construction photos. My next post will show the finished piece where it all comes together.

As always, thanks again for reading!


Saturday, July 28, 2018

Started Once, Started Twice

Hello again. I have some photos from a recent project that I thought I would share with you. It seemed like it took ages for me to create this piece but I had a ton of fun figuring out the details.

It started the first time with some foam core and telling myself that these things always begin with a question mark and then sort themselves out.  These are the parts of a foam core and Styrofoam sandwich.  These even look like pieces of bread!


I kept working on it but I was never quite happy with the direction it was going. It did not look authentic enough to me. Then another project diverted my attention which was another sign that I realize now was an indication that things were not right.


So much to my chagrin, I decided ‘lesson learned’ and off I went in a different materials direction.

To the waste bin, to the waste bin!

The second beginning, I decided to use Styrofoam only. I was learning as I went but it seemed that I finally had a plan I would be happy with pursuing. In resolving to start over, I failed to take a photo of the untouched Styrofoam, but I think a flat piece of Styrofoam is fairly easy to imagine.

Here’s the basic construction with what I was hoping would turn into a believable stone wall.  This is a view from what will become the back of the piece.


This shows the side walls a bit.


Then the painting began.  Layer one was this beige/tan color.


Then a charcoal/black on top of that.


Then many and various layers of many and various other colors.


Here things are beginning to take shape.  I have added a ‘brick’ walkway with moss growing between the bricks.


The view from above.


At this point, I began to think of how I could make the garden area look somewhat abandoned while still thriving.  I pulled out different kinds of greenery from my supplies trying different ones until it began to take on the character of the kind of garden I was aiming for.


With the major part of the structure completed, it was time to move onto the details.  What goes in a garden? Flowers!  I had to create a way to paint these bead caps all at once, hence the funky set up.


From brass to


primed to


a nice shade of green.


After these dried, it was time to construct some flowers, some very special flowers.  I will share how I put them together in my next post.

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018 TBAI Gallery Piece – “The Latest News”

Today I am happy to share the final photos of my gallery piece for this year’s Teddy Bear Artist Invitational in NY. It’s been a while since I cut those first pieces of foam core way back in March! And while I wasn’t able to work on it every day, I did manage to complete it eventually. That brings us to today and the photos.

Let’s begin with these two little bears who are fast friends and neighbors. They keep up with everything! And share all “The Latest News” between them, whether it is celebrations or happy days, correspondence or daily news, special events or postcards from abroad.


Their favorite means of communication is by tin can telephone – or leaning out the window!


The common area between their homes has those fantastical light-up mushrooms and a string of Mason jar lights overhead. There is a little bird eavesdropping which is where the phrase ‘a little bird told me’ comes from. ;-)


A little information about these teddies.  Their arms and legs are wired so they can be positioned.  Each of them has one magnet in a paw so they can hold their tin can phone end.  The bear in the above photo wears a vest trimmed with lace made by my great aunt ages and ages ago.


Each teddy has an open mouth so they can speak freely.  This one above wears a vest accented with a tiny pompom trim and tiny buttons.


I love the tiny slice of cake here.  Created by my daughter (find her work here), it matches the theme perfectly.  The detail in it can really be appreciated up close!


On the other side, the treat is three scoops of ice cream!  Hardly a single bite for us, but more than enough for a tiny bear.  Love the colors in it too!  (Also created by my daughter.)

2018-tbai-gp_tln_8     2018-tbai-gp_tln_9

Here you get a view of the tables and wall d├ęcor on each side.


This view of the back shows the wrought iron fence that joins rather than separates their two properties.  Each home has a bit of gingerbread trim on the eaves in both the front and back.

Thank you for following along with the progress of this piece!  I hope you can join us for TBAI in New York in August. Click here for details.  Now I am off to see about making some bears for my upcoming show in Tokyo.

Until next time,


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