Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009

Photo a week...

Cleo.... my sister's cat....

... good help is hard to find......



Oh, hey.... picture taking and email...my two fav things in the whole world.....




























Awwww... c'mon Mom... you know I love it... can I just send a few lines to Auntie Vee? ... pleeeeeez???














I promise I won't take too long.... I'll be off there before you know it.....














just a quick little message..... alright?....














have I told you lately that I love you?..... ....















You sure do smell nice......

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

photo intensive post....














My special doll that I've been working on for several months is finished and finally I sent her to the Hoffman Challenge. It was painful. I almost couldn't do it. But, several fellow doll makers and Mr. BV.. (my biggest fan and cheerleader) reminded me that I did make it for the challenge and I should send her. Now..I'm just keeping fingers crossed that she comes home in close to the same condition I saw her last.














There were lots of new-to-me techniques that I tried for this little lady. Here are some of the steps in making her wig. I used a tutorial I found online for those hardbody, store-bought fashion dolls... but, I figured what the heck...it's still a head. Gluing the completed wig on was a bit tricky...and I did get a bit of the wispy hair caught in the glue...so... there was a bit of tension...okay, there was a lot of swearing and frustration and there were almost tears.... but.... it finally did work out.

Her head is made of a slightly stretchy fabric...then needle sculpted around the nose, lips and eyes..











then a tea dyed piece of spandex glued and smoothed and smoothed...and smoothed some more... It's a great way to hide a center seam on a doll.











Just remember to leave plenty of extra fabric to arrange and tuck well back on the head. And...good luck on having no wrinkles!! It can take quite a bit of time to get it right. I made several heads.... 5 or 6 ... and didn't have much luck with any of them..... some of you heard those stories. Still and all, on the final head... (because I would have refused to do another )..... I had to do a bit of surgery beneath her chin to do away with one stupid stubborn wrinkle...but, it isn't visible .... Think I'll hang out my plastic surgery shingle.
Her little ear I just made from a tiny bit of the spandex material...and it isn't anatomically correct, nor is it wonderful...but, it is my first ear...and besides...as you will see in the final pics....most of it is not visible...and I pierced the lobes with a set of the most perfect tiny earrings that used to belong to my Mom. How I wish she could have seen this doll.....
























...plastic over her face to make sure no glue ruins her make-up...











oooohhhh....what a wispy, fine mess it all was !!!











There was lots of hand stitching, even some "semi ruching" as I call it, because it is not the real deal, but it allowed me to use a fair bit of the required material and make it look nicer than if it was just a flat panel tucked into the front of her dress.

I did all of the stitching and sewing before making it into a skirt for her gown... and it was a bit tricky for somebody who is still a novice at sewing ... I agonized over how to make sure it would all come together in the end.... but, finally it did. And..I even managed to line it...last.... to hide all the stitching on the inside of the gown and make it look tidy.
























The soft green material is also a Hoffman print, and it was not required, but I love the look of it next to the large paisley print. It is a bit difficult to tell in the picture...but the lace and organza trim on the bottom are also of the palest greens... the gold braid all stitched on by hand is a greenish gold.











The celery coloured fabric is satin one side and crepe on the other... a great two metre bargain chunk I found at a local Indian shop. Oh, what fun looking at the goodies in that shop... I managed to use it for the bows on the crepe-y side and trim on the satin side. I made tubes of it and ruffled and twisted and stitched it and voila...trims and bows.... I stitched the centers of the bows with gold thread.














Her chest began as pretty flat... and then with several suggestions ... again from fellow dollmakers, and of course, my in-house advisor... yep..the mister knows as much about the darn dolls as I do.... how could he not? I yak about them all the time and obviously he listens...gee how unlike a man eh? ...and then, he reminds me about things I have done in the past that I forgot already...hahahha.....hope he hangs around for a long time....











I added some conical shapes and stuffed them well ...I will stuff them even more firmly next time. As you can see...there would have been a noticeable transition between chest wall and the cones...so I carefully added some bits of stuffing after I pulled on her "sweater" of very lightly tea dyed spandex. I glued and stitched it tightly to her torso along the bottom of the spandex...











Lovely smooth breasts just like I wanted so that her very low neckline would be beautiful. Gathered the pullover tightly at the top of the neck and screwed on the head...then stitched her head firmly into position.




























There is too much to show in one post ! ... I should have done a week in the making or something... perhaps I'll do a few more pics on special areas......














If you go to their site you can click on "past challenges" to see some of the dolls from other years...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Photo a week...

When animals look directly into the camera lens it always makes me laugh... their noses look huge, but ..they look so.... uhm... appealing I guess would be a good word. So cute. ...














This little red girl stole my heart....











look how dainty she is....










This big one is called a Mammoth... and unlike the mini's who are about 32 to 36... will grow to about 54 inches at the shoulders.... and walks away when it darn well feels like it..even when picture taking is happening.... the little guys were much more co-operative...although they all loved attention, and ear fondling, scratches and hugs.....





















This is the new addition to their place. He is supposed to be what is called a Red Spotted ... I don't know...I sure hope he gets some colour soon.... or they might have an albino on their hands.... for which they paid a huge sum...











Ever since I found Sheaffer's blog and had such fun reading it and learning a bit about donkeys, I've wanted to see some up close and to touch them. When I was at my sister's, we went to see these guys at a nearby ranch.... they had lots of them just waiting to tug at heart strings...... I want that little red girl.... of course, she is the only one not for sale. Oh, what am I saying.... I live in the city... although, she might like her very own lush green yard. I could build a fence... I could get rid of my noisy lawn mower. I could scoop tiny donkey poo...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photo a week...

I'm home again...but, obviously not yet organized. Here it is Tuesday already and I'm trying to sneak in with a Monday Photo.

This is one of my sister's cats.... please meet Mr. Thompson. He is such a softie... I was bugging him and put my kerchief on him....he just sat there. This would be the guy you could dress up and he would just hang out..... waiting for you to tire of it..... then he would roll over and catch some zzzzzz's....











He is a BIG guy, and I do mean big. He weighs in at 20 lbs. even though he has been on a diet for over a year. Ever since Mr. BV commented on his size and girth last summer. Vikki never has any overweight pets... and this one stumps even her. In her defense...he came to her as a huge guy. He used to belong to a sister-in-law. Her small animal vet says some cats are just like some humans.... doesn't matter about the amount they actually consume... they just manage to hang onto the weight. I think it has more to do with what I call his "efficiency of movement". He is slow moving....with the exception of a few times when he gets a bee in his bonnet and decides to hang a beating on some other cat around the property or perhaps decides to be silly ... playing wildly. Mostly, he likes to nap... saunter around checking out what you are doing.... give voice in hopes of an extra "scrumblie" or two ... press for a grooming with his comb.... or if he hasn't seen you for an hour, walk directly up to you and hold out his right paw in his high 5 sign. He's pretty cute.....for a guy....











Now that he is svelte (as we good naturedly called him) ...he wanders around with us as we pick weeds or feed horses....he can jump up onto the high beds now too... ... he plays with the mirror reflections when we have our nightly play time... (although, mostly, he does lie down to wave his paw at it instead of chasing it straight up a wall like the other two indoor cats might do) ...overall, much more active than he was last year. I figure if she keeps feeding him a bit less and he gets even more active... he will be more fit and be more active than ever by next summer.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Photo of the week













I'm at the farm..... playing in the mud...

don't you love my cute little booties?

Whew....what a workout trying to figure out how to access my computer from here and how to find a picture to use...on my sister's computer. Her own pics are toooooo big... huge files.... and I can't figure out how to get to my own picture files on my computer..so... next best thing is a pic available from the internet..... this little guy. Well, how could I resist?

The past few days it has been HOT and dry... over 100 F... but, overnight some rain blew in and today it is cool, wet and lovely. She lives on a parched hillside and even with us watering sparingly (because she is on a low recovery well...we had it gurgling yesterday) .... the lawn is dying....so we are almost giddy that there is natural moisture today.

I'm scooping poop, picking weeds, turning over compost, getting sweaty and filthy, petting, grooming and feeding her two horses... in general, getting my farm fix for the year.....

Mickey (her quarter horse) gashed his leg months ago... I thought it was higher on his leg from her description, but it is right where the hoof meets the leg... oh, and it was horrible to begin with...both the artery and the vein were severed.... the cut was up to the vet's second knuckle... he didn't hold out much hope... .it is still a bit ugly but, the vet is really impressed with what they have been able to accomplish with Vikki's diligence. He only comes every week or so to check how she is doing with his instructions. There still may be some cutting and resectioning of the healing tissue if they can't get the rest of the edges to meet properly.... ..but, mostly, it is healing well,....and hopefully.... can get more healing yet. Mickey is such a trooper... lets her do what she has to do with his hoof.... no complaints and no fuss... what a horse. She is still washing his hay and feeds him some holistic mash and he hardly coughs anymore either. I haven't heard it at all since I've been here. The vet can hardly believe he is the same horse that he diagnosed with emphysema two years ago and suggested putting down.... so far, so good. If Vikki ever needs a job...I'm sure veterinary assistant would be an easy row to hoe after all the cats, dogs and horses that she has nursed back to health and kept for more years than any animal usually lives.

Okay...off to visit a blog or two. We are playing in the house today because of the rain. Laundry, vacuuming, washing floors... baking..and scalloped potatoes so far... oh, and some ironing, and playing with cats..... that's always fun....