Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Winter Beauty

   I've begun the year by taking a woodland hike at a local trail to fulfill my intention to get out into nature more often. Greensboro has an astonishing number of hiking trails around the lakes that are our water supply, but there are other hidden gems about the city as well. This trail was near a library and school at the edge of town and was one we had never tried before. It was a lovely walk and we saw so many examples of nature's subtle winter beauty along the way.

Wild Rose Hips

Ethereal Milkweed Seeds

All kinds of dry grasses and seeds

The corked branches of young Sweetgum Trees

And of course all the various Lichens

This first walk was so much fun and, as you can see, full of winter delights! 

We followed it up this past weekend with a walk at the beautiful, old, BIG cemetery that is near our house. It's a fascinating place with an incredible amount of trees and plants that are not usually found in this part of the world, many of them (thankfully!) marked with tags for those wandering amateur botanists like ourselves. Next time we go I'll have to bring my camera so I can get some photos.

In the meantime I've also finally gotten back into the studio. (YAY!) The first order of business was to make some wings. That's almost always where I start with dolls, especially the little ones because I need a finished set of wings early in the process for them. These wings will be for a couple of Valentine pixies and I have pin dolls and a couple of ghastliness on the table as well. "Ghastlies for Valentines?" you might gasp. I would answer in my best Count Dracula voice, "But ov course, bwahaha!"

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Welcome 2020

  How is it 2020? Good grief, a new year and a new decade! I'm not sure I'm ready at all! 

I thought I'd share with you some lines from the wonderful book Wild Comfort by Kathleen Dean Moore and let her words serve as my New Years blessing for us all...

"May we find comfort in the 'repeated refrains of nature', the softly sheltering snow, the changing seasons, the return of the blackbirds to the marsh...
May we find strength in light that pours in under snow and laughter that breaks through tears...
May we go out into the light filled snow and among the meadows in bloom, with gratitude for life that is deep and alive! May Earth's fire burn in our hearts, and may we know ourselves part of this flame - one thing, never alone, never weary of life."


 I have set myself a few intentions for this year; 1- to get out into nature on a more regular basis and not let my health hold me back, 2- to try and blog more again and finally get some tutorials up, 3- to be more proactive with getting work done for holidays and shows and not wait til the last minute, 4-to actually make some of the ideas that I've had in the back of my head for ages, and lastly 5-to try and find ways to be happy even when the world seems dark. We shall see how it goes...
I am getting a good start by having a post up for the new year on time so maybe...?
 What about you? Any intentions that you'd like to manifest this year?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Under the Sea

     If it's summer it must be time for me to make a mermaid. So meet Sirene, denizen of the sea and friend of fishes both large and small. Doesn't just looking at her make you feel a bit cooler? 

Sirene is a one of a kind, soft sculpture, cloth art doll made by stretching a cotton knit "skin" over a fabric and wire armature. She has wired limbs, fins, and fingers making her very pose-able. Her webbed fingers and hand drawn face are needlesculpted and her fins are made from metallic silk organza. She has a tiny star fish in her multicolored hair, webbed ears, and a small loop on her back so she can be hung on the wall for display. When completely stretched out Sirene is 18 inches {45.72 cm} long.

NOTE: This is an Art Doll NOT a TOY and, because of her delicate fins and small parts, is Not suitable for small children.

This is the sweet little lady I'm currently working on. Stayed tuned for more details or come visit my instagram for updates and to follow my dollmaking adventures.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Playful Pins

    No matter the actual date, for me summer really seems to start when kids get out of school for summer vacation. I recently finished a batch of pin dolls and while I was photographing them I could hear kids playing in the yards and streets around me for the first time in awhile.Young voices laughing and shouting in play...what could be better?! I think that feeling of play found its way the photos I took...what do you think?

                 They're all pretty darn cute and in the shop now!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Spring Fairies in the Nest

Nothing is so beautiful as spring --
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy pear tree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling. 
       - Gerard Manley Hopkins

I've been busy making Spring fairies as the weather has warmed and the flowers in my garden have begun to bloom. 



and a little Spring Pixie

They're all in the shop if you'd like to see more.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bunny Season

    It's getting to be bunny season around here. The daffodils are starting to bloom, the maples are budding, the crocuses are up, and my nose is running... oh well, the rest are a lovely sight and the breath of spring bush in my backyard smells absolutely amazing. So Spring is definitely making an appearance. It's a bit soon and I'm a little worried that we'll have another frost that will set everything back but I'm enjoying it while I can. 
     But back to bunnies! These two sweet sisters are now here at the Nest and in my Etsy shop.


         Aren't they fun?! And lots of sweet details on these two as well.
          And of course they have angora tails for that bit of real bunny! 

Friday, February 2, 2018

From Concept to Finish - Designing A Doll

    I started this year off really wanting to try my hand at something new on the doll making front so I started poking around the studio looking into boxes of materials I've saved for that semi-mythical "someday" (you know that day, the one where you'll actually use that bag of corks or those gorgeous vintage handkerchiefs, making something wonderful that you've pinned on Pinterest. We all have them, right? Or is it just me?) and I came across this -

 This is a box full of weaving yarn ends that a friend gave me several years ago. They're the part of the warp that's left over after the weaving is finished and removed from the loom. My friend Carol, along with her partner Mac, make gorgeous wool and cotton throws  and she was looking for someone who might be able to reuse these yarn pieces. How could I say no to such woolly gorgeousness? So I took them home and put them in a box and, even though I've used pieces here and there over the years, I still have an overflowing amount. But...suddenly...inspiration struck. Wouldn't these make the most lovely rag doll hair? Why, yes they would! See?

    So now I just had to make a pattern. I wanted these dolls to be as simple as possible so I could keep the costs down and I had a general idea of how I wanted them to look so I started graphing and drawing.

 As you can see there were lots of notes and redos and crossing outs but after much trial and error I had something I could try. This little lady was my first attempt.

 I actually loved pretty much everything about her. But I did decide on a few changes for the next dolls. Mostly just process changes but I did go with prints for the legs this time.

        And I turned the yarn bundles into wefts so I could sew them on. Though this wasn't quite as easy as I expected, those flatter heads are a surprisingly challenging to cover. I'm used to round ones I guess.

 Once they were all done, and of course given lace trimmed drawers since people ALWAYS look up a doll's dress, I was so happy with how they turned out. And being me, I had to make a little darkling as well.

 I love her little raised eyebrow!

    Though I'm super in love with this one too 

Heck, I think they're ALL pretty wonderful...but I'm definitely biased. You'll have to judge for yourself. 

     You can find all five girls in my shop!