Saturday, June 30, 2007

So.... here is the new boot ... an air cast for my fractured foot .. which by the way already feels better and less painful than it has for months.

It is a bit of a rigmarole to put on ... but not that big a deal when it is at least doing some good! Sure feels a lot better than getting pummeled at physio and coming home in agony!

The inside portion is like a little pillowed vest with velcro fasteners .. that encases the foot and leg to the knee. You first seat the heel as far back as it will go and close the fasteners.

Close the over fastener straps as well ....

Then ... turn the little white "inflate" button clockwise and pump up the inner air core with the blue cushion. What a great idea somebody had! At night it comes off and a tensor bandage and sock do the trick while sleeping so that my toes don't get caught on sheets and pull things apart again. That sure wakes me up with a start when it tweaks!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hello again blog and e-buddies! What a crappy week! This foot.... still.

I stubbed my toe in February... limped around on it for a few days and thought it was better. Guess not. Then when I got back on my treadmill..I must have further injured the foot. I have been hobbling around ever since. ...seeing a couple of different doctors plus my regular... (because my regular doctor is not always there nor does she have openings for months sometimes).....having xrays that showed nothing..then being sent to physio which made it much worse and then it finally totally ballooned, so I quit that and went back yet again to the doctor who ordered an MRI..but it is not until Aug 2... then finally ... saw a Sports Medicine doctor at the physio clinic... who said "tell me again why you haven't had a bone scan yet?" He said we could get one within a week...which we did. Today I finally got the results and there are multiple stress fractures throughout my foot. Great. We pummeled the bejeepers out of my foot for a month at physio...I should have quit after the first week..but persevered. Stupid me.

Anyway.... now I have an air cast. It is awkward to drag around..but the first step I took with my foot encased in it...was pretty wonderful after plenty of "painful" since the last week of February! Oh, I am so ticked. How come somebody could not have been a bit more clever before now (me included!). I dont know how many times I feels like it is broken. It feels like it spreads every time I put weight on hurts when I step on the damn thing. Sheeeesh!!
Plus... the past week...has been a whole horrible week of wondering if those dark patches that I saw on the screen were bone cancer. Well, the screen was right there wasn't it??......did they expect me not to rubberneck and watch the whole thing? then...come right home and do a bit of research on bone scans? Well...a little knowledge is usually not a good thing. Want an easy way to lose 5 pounds in a week?.... panic. That is it...just panic. Your appetite totally disappears... well, mine did anyway. And I did nothing but sleep. No cleaning... just pity or anger...alternating.

I have to say.... we just have to take the bull by the horns it seems when it comes to our own health . If you want a scan..demand it. If you feel like something is broken... say so umpteen times til somebody listens. Don't wait two or three weeks between doctor visits... don't be brave and continue with treatment if it or go every single week to the doctor's office 'til they do something. And if physio is their suggestion... when it makes the condition much worse... quit before you really wreck something. Man... it was finally a stab at some other opinion that led me to this guy. I saw him a few years ago and he helped me with a really bad shoulder. He is kind of a cocky guy, but... knows his stuff. And, the stupid thing is I almost cancelled the appointment for the scan it seemed to be getting somewhat better after I quit the physio... and didn't think I needed to overburden the health care system. When I called his office...he said .."Oh no you don't....... I need to have that scan... get over there!" Hahahah... thanks doc...we may be on to something here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shelli ... this is my representation of Tatiana Oles ...a Russian painter whose ACEO's I was buying last year. I wanted to see if I could do one of my own ... It is pen and ink and watercolour.

Mine is on the left ..... I still want to do some little white swirls .. but have yet to find White India Ink which is what Tatiana told me she uses for the white areas... anybody have another suggestion?
Can you see what is hiding in my garden? I didn't want to get much closer to get a pic .. and this is too small ... didn't want to frighten him any more than I already do on other days. The mommy bunny often leaves one or two of them in each yard of our cul de sac. This guy has been hiding under various bushes and darn it if we don't scare the poor little guy out at least every other day! I am sneaking around checking for him now if I mow or weed.... he is only about 7 inches .. She leaves them alone all day and only comes at night to feed them and play with them. I watch them through the blinds at about midnight..apparently they have no scent when they are little and so are safe enough as long as they stay hidden. Sure must get lonely though...waiting for Mom to show up. I want to pick him up and pet him.

Oh....and....look at my find while searching for ant powder at the hardware store! LOL...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

These are what I plant to attract butterflies and also the occasional hummingbird that flies to our part of the world. Penstemones... or ..I am trying to remember the other name..I think it is "goat's beard"..will look it up later.......

okay... it is beardtongue.. I was close...sort of.... lol
In my book on perennials it says "each flower appears to be sticking out its tongue . This is a stamen and may be hairy or bearded..hence the name." Said to attract hummingbirds.

Some of the Iris are still blooming...

... and these two said they wanted to stand beside a silly old cactus....they are almost finished... ears are pinned on..and of course... somebody is still missing legs!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Leonard finds a hat

This hat was with a stash of other unusual tiny knitted hats made for me by a girl in Vernon, B. C. My sister met her in a brain injury rehab. group and told me about her knitting. We only corresponded twice and then I lost touch with her. She made me some of the neatest little knitted hats....and so quickly... it took her only a week to do 15!! wish I could find Andrea again!! you can see...Leonard found my stash..and he kinda likes this one.

So... the new Bichon ..tail on now. Don't really know if it is a "he" or a "she" am not putting on any flowers or bows. I will just have some purple, some blue and some pink ready in case. The new owner can decide.

A beautiful sunny day! Heading to the fabric store. Must see what is available in Chinese type brocade ..perhaps some tiny matching prints or lovely colours to go with............ because .......... I have signed up for a challenge at Doll Street called the Song of the Lotus. It is being sponsored by Patti Culea, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Doll Street. She thought that since it is also the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong being returned to the Chinese... we would make it a double commemoration event. There are also other twists... she will be doing a tutorial on making the tiny silk shoes that the women made for themselves when they bound their feet... and we must place a pair in the hands of the doll...and, further..we must specify a certain colour for the whole piece and use it well as do the face with Chiu Chow make-up. Whew! a challenge indeed!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Managed to finish my second Bichon .. wondered if I could remember how I did the first was a few years ago now and I am not good with organizing pattern pieces and whatnot... pretty hit and miss in that department actually. It was a guessing game..but.. they are pretty close... too late now for any better pics... more later...

Soggy day

Perfect for making bears..

It rained all night and all day today... but , I was cozy and warm .. playing with fibers...

Guess what this is?

yup, it's a tail

....or this?

ladder stitching it closed ..... all one half inch of it.....

Those who make more or less "regular" sized bears will be shaking their heads ... wondering why we do it I suppose ... honestly? some days I wonder too! I need to make me a BIG bear!

..... hind leg and foot ......

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I'ze bizeeee

Nose down... well, noses all over the place actually.... in an attempt to get some of these guys finished! Too many on the go!

After not having done a bear at all for almost 2 years.... it seems I have forgotten everything I learned about bear making. Oh, alright... maybe not every single thing...but it sure seems like it.

I have been doing just dolls for all of that time...and now it seems I am having trouble retrieving information from those neglected files in the back corner of the darkened recesses. It took me over an hour the other day to get two simple little beads into position on Cedrick the II ...

First.. I had to pick and choose for some time just to find two the same size. They come on strings of 100 and even though they look pretty similar.. when you get them on the face..aaack!! nowhere near! Then... even with test eyes... getting them to be exactly on the same line opposite each other..not an easy task either. Then... tying them off and trying to sink them just that bit more... broken threads even when using button thread? trying off another only to discover that somehow it loosened when I buried the thread. Of course,... the ever popular.. just get the tip of the thread into the almost invisible hole of the bead and all of a sudden it pops into the air from the palm of my hand.. lands on the floor and rolls.. it is hardwood.......gotta find it so we don't step on it and scratch the heck out of the floor!! That was part of the ongoing renos at the "money pit". Just had them refinished a few years ago. So... some unladylike scrambling around on my stomach searching for it and wondering how there could be so much dust that I don't notice from my rather diminutive height of 5' 2"..... hmmmm... my eye sight is definitely going as well. Last ditch effort before the vacuum cleaner... jump out of my slippers and try the barefoot search... aha!! gotcha! and..ouch....

Then... ears.... why on earth do they take so darn long to get on? Finally I resorted to the method given me by a doll maker for getting a head onto a body easier and with less stitching..aha again!! Great idea Judy! Thanks. Works for bears ears too.

Somehow the noses were the only thing that I did not forget.. I am happy to report that so far all of the noses turned out great! One small blessing for sure.

Onward with my task... today I am going to finish my second Bichon. I only ever made one and that was several years ago. My poodles all sold and I didn't even have one for myself to show anybody or to look at in my curio cabinet. So.. when I tried a Bichon... and he turned out cute... I kept it. Now.. finally the second one is about to be born. I wonder if I can remember anything about making one of those. So far... bits and pieces..he is the white guy at the back in the pic.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This was supposed to be a rat. Too cute for that eh? I think she is a little girl mousey.....a needle-felt and only half done... held up with needles and pins to get a look-see....

I love that little rat in the trailer for Ratatouille, the movie...but can't really remember what he looks like, so I must look for a pic. All of my things just seem to turn out... erm... "cutesy whimsical" or something...

Found a trailer and 10 min. video... this is going to be a good movie. I love "animateds".

The big debate rages on...and on... ad nauseum... .

Dolls are art. Hmmm
Bears are art. Hmmmmm.......

Personally? ... I don't get it. The bear and doll makers of the world seem to be protesting all the time that nobody takes us seriously (well, okay... they mean"them" not me and I mean "them" too...not me) ....that nobody calls what they do "art"... that they don't include them in juried art shows and galleries. So what? Who cares? As a matter of fact somebody yesterday on Doll Street suggested to another that she spit in the person's eye that told her she was not a "real" artist.. because she "just makes dolls". Brother...... what next? I can't figure out why it is such a big deal.

Others were talking about what is art... and why. This debate has been around since, well, ..... forever. If you check a dictionary, there are about 11 different meanings...including this one.. "cooking, sewing and housekeeping are household arts"..... mmm... yeh..... Maybe I subscribe to the one that says: "any form of human activity that is the product of and appeals primarily to the imagination" ...but that doesn't mean it should be juried into an art gallery showing.

Many of the doll makers in the discussion decided that art must "speak" to them; must have an underlying message or something.... huh?..... are they saying that dolls must only be made to carry or convey some special cryptic message? To whom? and why? Maybe I just don't understand what these people are saying. Most of them have some idea of what their own message is I am sure...but when others look at their dolls, how on earth are they supposed to figure it out? I think it goes beyond ridiculous when they then put up their little sign that explains what the doll symbolizes and what it is "about". It is not saying much on its own if it needs a hand written sign is it? Honestly, I just don't get it. Maybe they just mean that the dolls should be made for a reason and it can be as simple as Mingus ... he was made for a challenge on the doll site... they wanted a dungeon keeper... someone to also keep the rowdy jester dolls in I made him look .. uhm... well, you know.... as if he could handle the job. Actually he looks a lot like my Dad used to look. Really...I can show you pics.... He didn't get the position. A felty cute little animal did. There ya go...the right guy for the job is in the eyes and mind of someone else...

But the real thing about making this doll was that I wanted to try my hand at sculpting. He is the third one I have done with polymer clay...and I was trying for more features in a face. Trying to figure out how to do different lips... wrinkles and cragginess.. even a scar.... and I like him a lot. That is what counts for me.

My feeling is.....they really are just bears...they are just dolls. (alright, maybe with the exception of creations by Lisa Lichtenfels and a few like her) So what? Why can't people simply enjoy making them instead of being upset that nobody views their "stuff" as art?

I love to do mine simply because I have discovered that I can. I love making bears, dolls, ( I especially love doing eyes for some reason).... paper things, etc... ...and just want to be able to use new techniques every time I see one... want to learn new techniques every time I even hear about them .... to prove to myself that it can be done perhaps?... I have to confess...I don't really know.

Perhaps as simple as to be able to see how it turns see for myself and to show a few other people what I am able to accomplish.

This particular face has been shown on my blog before.. but just to illustrate a point... this is a technique that I was learning by taking a class. Cloth over cloth. It was very tricky... took about 5 hours to get that cloth overlayed onto the sculpted cloth face under it. But, I did it!! I was ecstatic to be able to accomplish it. The lips are formed with a tiny iron so that they have substance and do not just sit flat. Absolutely amazing to me! The rest of the doll is sitting, waiting to be finished...she is to be a Harpy... a mythological creature; part woman, part bird. She certainly will get done there are more techniques I have not yet tried, but real life intervenes.. other things need doing at the moment. Like tiles and plumbing etc...

My family and friends like to see what I have been making..but for heaven's sake...if I try to convince them it is art or it has some deep inner meaning...or should be viewed with an eye to interpreting something world changing or earth shattering...... ...well....

Why can't people just enjoy what they do? Enjoy the comments; be happy that anybody even bothered to stop and look at our small creations? .... enter them into challenges or competitions if they are inclined...but why worry if people in "art circles", or whatever they call their little cliques these days, don't accept dolls as art? Who cares? I don't........perhaps because I also don't happen to think welding some bolts and nuts together is art .... nor is the slapping of one big stroke of paint on a huge white canvas... nope..not to me.

I am more a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of deep analytical thought processes happening here about bears and dolls. I hate analyzing things to to get on with the business of living, and if, in that endeavor...I find some fun things to do.....I do them. Yup... dolls and bears.... and.... so much other interesting and fun stuff that I guess I just don't have time or inclination to ponder deep and disturbing things.... things like why is making dolls not considered

Okay...Laundry and Dusting are calling my name.....

...... same day...hours later............

Hahahahha... I was talking to my sweetie about the doll artist thingy... and he looked me straight in the eye and said... "Well, I think you are a doll artist"....... oh, no.... now I am in a total quandary ..hahahhah.......

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What a perfect day! The scent of the Korean Lilac (which is in full bloom) was wafting in through open windows. Wonderful. All the birdies chirping at the top of their little lungs... love it.

No wonder I don't sit in my "craft" room to stitch or sew.... not enough light... too close to neighbours on that side... no bird bath to watch the fun with the various birds... not close enough to the kettle ... ahahha... or to the outside table.... which is finally where I end up. The sun is not the best light I found out today. I find it harder to see my stitches especially if I get a really close match on thread. I used to think daylight should be best... but it is almost too bright or something.

The favourite light of doll and bear makers all over the world seems to be... an Ott light. I belong to groups of both and when it comes to talk of best lights...that is the one that is most common and most well loved. As a matter of fact..when I get that craft room organized so that I can actually keep most of my fuzz and fluff in there... I am getting a standing floor Ott as well as the table one I have already. It truly is much easier on the eyes and for some reason almost seems to magnify my stitches so that I can see them easily.

I have begun my second bear...and... also was needlefelting on a funny little guy.... not telling....

He may be a "she" when I get finished...and not the he I was trying for either.... ..but cute nontheless... well, I think he is anyway.

When I opened the patio umbrella earlier in the day...a poor little dazed bat flopped out and flew crazily away. Almost landed in my coffee cup! He was really velvety soft looking...a chocolatey dark brown. He probably was having a nice relaxing snooze in there, dreaming of hordes of mosquitoes. After he left, I was thinking it was kinda strange that it didn't freak me out. Usually if something unexpected like that happens, a person's heartrate ramps up a bit. Didn't even faze me today for some reason. Maybe because he moved not too quickly. Poor little guy...I bet I scared him more than he did me.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


... the "new" Leonard.. the one without the ladybug and he looks like he feels left out because he has no little buddy. I will find him a butterfly or bug..or something. He still needs just a bit of shading on his toes.

My first bear of 2007 completed!! Yeh..yeh... I know it is no biggy to the bear makers out there... you guys are churning them out. And it almost seems cheating to make one that I have done previously..but I still think he is a cutie and wanted to start with him. Sometimes you make something and never even think to make it a second or third time.

But..I seem to have been in slow motion this whole year.. then other things interfere.. (well, I know they interfere at your house too)..but.. then, let me see,... I was doing dolls as well and it seemed too many other projects and , oh, yeh... the renovation... it goes on still and it is one full year this week.... and then... more excuses. I will just have to get my butt in gear. Lisa runs circles around me and she has three toddlers plus a couple of blogs and a group to moderate...yikes! how do some people do it?? I just gotta move more and if I could just get this ankle to move maybe I could hop a bit quicker. Plan A...and then Plan B...and now Plan C.. Sports Med. doctor on Monday.. ..sure wish somebody could figure out a way to get it moving again.

Nobody claimed the little blue bunny ..he is still hanging on the juniper... some little kid somewhere must be missing a cute little bunny.......

Thursday, June 7, 2007

My beautiful new hang tag!

Designed by Penny of Gotobed Bears. I think it is absolutely beautiful. Makes my fairy doll look like a fairy princess! The bear guys don't look bad

This is my first official hang tag and I decided to make it in ATC size... the small bears will have to ride on it like a flying carpet cuz many of them are much smaller than that!... or... I suppose I could reduce the size for a little one... and make a mini tag.

Today I saw something lying in my new bark chips as I drove away to the bank... when I came home it was still there. From a distance it looked like a diaper or a blue-ish plastic bag... but no, somebody dropped a fluffy bunny and it got a bit wet in last night's rain. I fluffed it up and hoping somebody notices him sitting on my patio wall. I thought about hanging him from the small tree in the front...but somehow that didn't seem quite right...although he sure has the ears for it. You know the kind...with a bit of velcro on each to stick them around a branch?... I just made a sign...going out to post it......

......I'm baaaack.... and thought this was kinda funny....

Chrissi posted some info about what goes inside her bears...'course, she makes bigger bears... and so she makes bigger pillows.. and Shantell makes hers heart shaped...but me... well..I am not sure what to call these. If a bear has a tiny mid section...they get a little round ball.. if they are longer.. sort of a teardrop or pear shape.. if they are my REALLY "big" guys... like, around a whopping 6 inches... they get ..uhm.... sort of an oblong... anyway... here is what my little pillows for shot look like. They get about half a teaspoon of shot... maybe a teaspoon if they are "heavyweights".

At one time I even thought making such pillows could be Enterpreneurial Idea number 999....... and my sister had some great ideas for company names. "Lead Bellies" ....but that went out the window pretty quickly...can't have folks thinking we use lead in there..... it is steel shot in mine people! Tiny, tiny sand, for the 2 inch bears. Some bears have plastic pellets. Then there was "TubbyTummies"... and my all time favourite... "Shot in the Ass" ...hahahha I did laugh! Or, "Butt Shott". Somehow we never got past laughing about it all. As usual. So, now someone can read this and make their millions. I am sure somebody overheard my Mom and me discussing putting wheels on our suitcases waaaaay back before anybody thought of it... we went to England with the full weight of luggage allowable...and I had to carry it all...she absolutely could not lift hers.... neither could I ...but I dragged it. We learned to travel light after that and many years later just looked at each other in disbelief and laughed our heads off when we saw the first suitcase with wheels.

Monday, June 4, 2007

This and that...

Look at the size of these things Pauline! Got 'em planted finally and they all seem to be doing great so far.

Another beautiful day weather-wise... although later it is supposed to rain a bit...good... we need some. Especially now that all my pots are planted...hurraaayyy! My brother wrote to tell me that the service by the smaller ferries in his area has been discontinued due to the debris and huge trees floating downriver...this,...after it was +36 C there for over a week! Now they are having major rainfall. Never a happy medium is it?

Our doll group had its annual potluck and last meet of the season and somehow I am going to be teaching a class on faces next year for the group. Huh?? how did that happen? I am the rookie here... I guess I will just be winging it; showing them what I have learned so far and using my own techniques... swear a lot?! hahahha... no... but seriously... what do I know? I better sew up a bunch of heads and get busy practicing.....

One of the TT' ers (Teddy Talk) did an epb class over the weekend...ohhhh how I wish I could do one of those. I better save my sheckels... she may come close enough to my end of the globe some day....and then... I go!!! Can hardly wait to hear more about the info... the fun....and to see the dolls they created.

Last night I began a little off-white needle is ages since I did one. Time to make a few bears I think.

I have commissioned a gal in England (Penny, from Gotobed Bears ) to make me a hang tag for my dolls and bears.... oohhhhhhh just wait til you see!! She does beautiful work. The samples she sent me are to try to choose... this is horrible...I want them all@! Normally I do one by hand ... as, and when, I sell something...but this.... this will be so much more professional and people will be getting a work of art as an added bonus when they purchase a bear or doll. As soon as I get it and tell time!

Then....I likely will be begging for some help with printing them off! All you computer buffs that are stopping by.... this is to let you know in advance.... they will be almost the same size as an ATC...just a tad larger I think... do I get a whole sheet to print out at the same time? there a way to then flip the sheet and actually get the reverse info to line up exactly under each picture? or is this wishful thinking?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Magical staffs... pixie chairs....

Here is my tiny bit of info regarding Apoxy Sculpt for the "dolling" people. I am not a pro by any means...I just tried it once and now, love to use it for making shoes, boots, staffs, pixie chairs...etc... sky is the is great for modeling, sculpting and repair work... I am not sure what the taxidermists use it for ..but that is the only place I can find to purchase it. Here is a pair of boots for my "cursed pirate"..oh!! and his bones too! And a well worn shoe for a clown dancer in the Moulin Rouge....

I like to make the shoes before I attach the legs...learned the hard is a wrestling match the other way.

You must have a protector of some sort on your work area (I have a large towel that I spread out) and also a small container of water nearby... you must keep your fingers lightly moist to handle it or it will just be sticking to you! If water drips from your fingers...wipe it up is like glue! Sticks really well to anything and everything. As a matter of fact..if you need extra strength or sticking power for something awkward... like, say... a skinny "bit" holding a larger "bit"?.. (the doll people will get it) add a bit of Apoxy Sculpt and it will never fall off......whatever "it is.
When I use it for shoes I just begin to apply it directly to the foot of the doll. It sticks to the cloth need to do anything else. I probably fiddle a lot more than I need to...but I like to add small amounts at a time so that I can control how they grow. You can sand it smooth once it hardens if you need to .... but if I can get a nice smooth finish when I am working with it I prefer that. It is air dry...hardens overnight.... you can paint it wet...or wait til it dries... a wonderful product really. Who likes waiting for things to dry to paint? .. Well, actually?! By the time I have had my neck bent forward for as long as it takes me to apply the amount I need and shape it...I am glad to rest my neck. The next day..if I decide they are not nearly large enough shoes for my doll ( I have a habit of giving all my dolls tiny feet...then I can just add more Apoxy Sculpt over what I have sticks problem. Did I mention that I love this stuff?

This is another shoe I did for a fairy doll ...I wanted to make them look like they had a soft suppleness to them... and paint them in sort of a watercolour look...the trim is a bit of a fancy ribbon...I love how they turned out. Around the top edge I put a very skinny "rope" of Apoxy Sculpt...that was awkward...!! to finish them off nicely. I paint my shoes with acrylic paint and even brush them with a bit of gold shine... a finger dipped in gold acrylic and lightly brushed on strategic areas. This doll was the winner in her category for a challenge. I surgically altered her legs as well as a few other bits and pieces...