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Thursday, January 26, 2012

A little Show And Tell...

I have been missing in action because life has thrown me some curve balls in the past week. Do you ever have weeks and days like that? You try to plan your days but they get totally engulfed by unexpected happenings, that's been my life lately. I am trying to fit in the completion of my first pattern, few curve balls there too. I have had to figure out a few problems with this as they arise, the learning phase is always the slowest, I am hoping this process speeds up as I become more comfortable with the process of turning my ideas into finished sellable patterns.

My pattern is almost ready, but until then I want to show you all doll # 2 for this pattern. She was made from the same pattern, just different face, socks, hair and apron embellishments. Here she is with Annie, I hope you like her! I have come up with thier official names, Emma Ann & Lindy!

Lindy's apron is embellished with vintage buttons!

Lindy's face was basecoated and painted in acrylics.

I know I said there would be a giveaway soon, I promise it is coming, once this pattern is done I will have time to make up something fun to giveaway! Stay tuned..

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vintage Show And Tell

I Love Vintage anything, always have, I love things that have been around, have a story and have been many places before I obtained them. I wish they could talk, I would love to know just where they've been. They represent a simpler time, a whole different way of life, they have character marks from years of wear, really who doesn't love that! I sure do. I thought once a week I would share tidbits of some vintage things I love.
This is a recent purchase of mine, I was so excited to see it on Etsy! I love the way these look and have wanted one for a long time. I have seen them in my travels, antique stores mostly, but most just do not have the charm I was looking for. This little sweetheart was perfect! It is a Circa 1907 Columbia 24 lb kitchen scale. I loved the patina this one has, the green is still very much in tact on this scale. Since green is my favorite color, I was even more thrilled with it. The best part is it actually still works very well.
Here is a better picture of the face of the scale. It was very dingy and had a coating of brownish gunk on it, but I took my trusy old magic eraser and it literally melted off. This is night and day compared to when I first got it, those erasers do an amazing job on everything. If you have never tried one, I highly recommend it.
Here are two more of my treasures. My aunt had a bookcase full of the Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann and Andy books, she had them all, my cousin and I spent hours reading them and playing with our dolls. These are still such sweet memories! The wonderful adventures Raggedy Ann and Andy had together were magical and we dreamed our dolls did the same things. The action packed stories were a lot of the reason I fell in love with this doll, and cherished mine so much as a child. A few years back I found these two books in a friends garage sale, I snapped them up quick. Needless to say I am so happy I have these wonderul pieces of history. These two copies are in mint condition, really don't look like they had been read or handled much. Inside it says that the price was $2.75, wow have things changed! The first copyright for these books was 1920 by P.F. Volland Company. The renewed copyright was 1947 by Myrtle Gruelle. In 1948 there was a copyright by Johnny Gruelle. My book says 1960 in it, that makes these books 3 years older than I am, oops I just gave up my age.
This sad little vintage scale was not what I thought it would be, I ordered it online and am not very happy with it. It is not in as good of shape as it appeared in it's photos, I even had the idea it was a shabby white from the pictures, low and behold it was rusty metal. All is not lost here, when the weather warms up in the spring, I will take it out, clean it up and will spray paint it, who knows it may be simply wonderful then.

Last but not least is my childhood raggedy ann, this doll was handmade for me. I loved her the most of all my dolls. She is probably upwards of 35 plus years old now, she has held up quite well really. I was always very careful with my dolls and took very good care of them. She is not longer played with but now has a special place in my glass cabinet. Thanks for letting me share a few of my vintage treasures!
I came across a blog that hosts a link party every thursday called Vintage Thingie Thursdays. If you love vintage you should check out all the blog posts on this subject. CLICK HERE to go there.

I have been working hard on finishing my first pattern, it is almost done! I have great respect for all you designers, a lot of thought and work goes into it. I am enjoying every minute of it though! My head is spinning with what I will do next, I do believe since Easter is coming my next pattern will be a bunny. But first I need to finish doll number 2 that will also be a part of this pattern.

Winter has arrived here, ground is white and the snow is falling, I can forget going straight into spring like I visioned may happen, wow was I wrong!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My Craft Room Tole Painting Tools

Hello sweet most of you probably know by now, I love to use painting on my dolls! I have had some requests to put some of my tole painting how to's on my blog, so here is a start. This first post will be focusing on what I use for painting tools in the craft room and their function. I eventually will post some pictures on a face as it gets painted. A video would be a nicer way to do this, but I am not confident in my movie making abilities just yet. I need to play with the movie settings on my camera.

Here you see from left to right some essentials in the craft room when painting, and as you can see by how grungy they look, they are well worn but loved. First is my water bin, mine happens to be a Donna Dewberry, but there are many good ones out there. A water bin is essential to keeping your brushes moist between colors, and frequently rinsed during the painting process. The grids on the right side are there to release paint from your brushes, this is done by gently dragging your brushes back and forth across the grids. Never dig your brushes in and around in circles or straight up and down here, you will damage them. If you don't release the paint properly, you run the risk of excess paint drying in the bristles resulting in a ruined brush! The left side of the bin is used to lay your brushes in after swishing all the paint out while painting, the water is clean on the left side since the released color is on the other side. I love that this particular bin has holes on the upper edges of different sizes to hold various brushes while painting.

Next you see a pallette knife, I have probably had this one for over 20 years! These are used to mix your colors together for custom colors, mixing water into paint that needs thinning etc.. a very useful tool to have.

The foam paper plate in the Donna Dewberry holder is my absolute favorite painting tool, I am in love with this! Donna Dewberry is the only one I know of that has come up with anything like this. It holds those cheap foam plates securily, your hand has something nice to hang onto as well. A paper towel for blotting extra water out of your brushes goes on the handle area. I use these plates as a pallette for my paints as I am working, I also use the plates as a surface to side load my brushes for shading. The reason the foam plates are so wonderful for loading your brushes for any stroke really, is that it is a nice slick non-porous surface and will keep the paint in the brush. As the plate becomes too icky, just throw it away and start fresh with another one. So so handy!!

The sponges you see here are Sea Sponges, they are wonderful for basecoating surfaces you want a mottled or marbled effect on. I use these a ton for basecoating my dolls faces instead of a brush, why? because a brushed surface will sometimes show brush marks, sponging does not. I love to take two or three colors on my plate, take a damp sponge and dip in an up and down motion until the three colors are melding together. Pouncing the loaded sponge onto your surface makes a nice slight variation in color and a wonderful basecoat with a bit of texture. If your paint is not covering well enough, spray your dollies head with a mist of water first, it helps the paint to cover a bit better.

I use Jo Sonya's Retarder and Antiquing medium a lot, mostly for preparing my surface for blending. For example, on a doll's face that I have basecoated, I can add a light sheen of retarder onto my cheeks or any area I want a nice soft shading, then when I add my color this allows me to blend the color out without harsh lines. Retarder extends the drying time of the paint, giving you time to move the paint around and work with it. You can either use a dry scruffy brush with most of the paint rubbed out on a paper towel for adding your paint, or add some paint and then use a dry soft brush to blend the colors out. Play with it, it is a wonderful thing! NOTE: this product will not work on fabric that is not basecoated first.

Next you see Folk Art spray matte sealer, I use this a lot to seal my finished paint projects, even though it does say (matte), it does have a soft sheen to it. It goes on nice , I really like it. This being said, I don't always finish off my dolls faces with this spray, it just depends on if I am okay with a soft sheen or not.

If you prefer a brush on varnish, then the Dura Clear matte works pretty well, I use it even on my finished snowman faces then before it is dry will sprinkle fine glass glitter, once dry it is on there! I do like Delta's brush on varnishes as well.

Here are more well worn and loved tools. This contraption is an Opti Visor, it is the only reason I can see to paint fine details such as eye lashes, linework etc... there is no painting for me without this essential tool. It adjusts to your head size and will go over glasses. I do have a tip here, do not over tighten your head gear, you can actually cut the blood supply off to your head, ask me how I know this!! I almost passed out in my porcelain class many many years ago because of a tight opti visor.

In the cup is a mechanical pencil, a caliper and you see an eraser. I like the mechanical pencils because you can get fine lead for them, I like very thin lines when I am drawing a pattern for painting. I use these pencils for drawing in my doll eyes, noses etc... before painting, I use a light touch and use the eraser if I did not draw it to my satisfaction. The caliper is wonderful to use for measuring even distance between dollies eyes, proper placement of nose in correlation to eye corners, mouth, all of it.

A note on facial feature placement: If you measure your dollies head from chin to the top, eyes for a younger face should fall  below the halfway point, an adults will fall on the halfway point. A human face has one eye width between the eyes and one on each side for a total of five eye widths across. The inner eye corner lines up usually with the outer nose edge, the outer mouth line will fall about mid eye width. The bottom of the nose wll fall on the halfway mark between the eyes and botton of the chin, the mouth is somewhere halfway point between the nose bottom and chin bottom. Eyebrows start from inner eye width usually. Draw all this out on paper or study a human face to see how things measure out, knowing this will help when freehanding your doll faces on. Most of these dolls are whimsical and these rules don't always apply, but it is still good to know the basics. Honestly, most of the time I just eye ball placement and go with it, is usually works for me.

The brushes you see here are my essentials for blending and making doll cheeks! The green brushes are Donna Dewberry's scruffy brushes, I use the medium size the most but recommend gettting them all. They are perfect for dry brushing. I dip a dry scruffy brush into a cheek color, swirl a few times on a paper plate to coat most of the bristles, I then go to a paper towel and in a circular motion scruffy off as much paint as possible, so only a bit comes off, test on a scrap fabric. Now in a circular motion "lightly" add your cheeks until the desired depth. You can also add your retarder to a basecoated face "not straight muslin", and add your cheeks in the same manor, it will result in a very soft nice cheek. Use these brushes for any application that requires a nice soft blend of color.

The pink brushes are my Jayne Houston brushes, they are wonderful for blending out applied color over retarder, they move the paint without making marks or lines, love these! I show the Pink Soap because these brushes are expensive, so taking care of them is important, always keep your brushes free from dried on paint and always wash in a brush cleaner after every use, blot excess water out and let dry.

This picture just shows an assortment of flats, rounds and liners that are useful for painting projects. I like to keep nice quality brushes, it makes a world of difference on how your paint will come off, even the most experienced painter will not paint as well with cheap brushes, and will be very frustrated. A nice brush can make even an unexperienced painter feel like they have some control of thier brush strokes.

Okay, now you see how addicted to buying brushes that I am, don't know why I am airing my dirty laundry like this, oh well LOL! You by no means need to keep a huge supply of brushes like this to paint, I have been painting for over 23 years, so I have accumulated a few! This nifty spinner my brushes are in, is a pampered chef kitchen utensil tool that makes a perfect brush bin!

I highly recommend  buying at least one good book on basic brush stroke work, here you see a Donna Dewberry book, but there are many good books out there. By practicing and learning the basics, you will be abe to apply these skills to pretty much anything. I also recommend buying a practice paper pad tablet for doing your practice strokes on, using plain paper will not take the paint well and you will be frustrated! If you plan on painting on fabric, take some scrap muslin and tape a piece to a foam plate, practicing on the fabric will give you the feel of how the paint behaves on this material. Just have fun!! Note: If you do not learn any other brush stroke, be sure to learn how to side load for shading, I use this one the most. This is what adds dimension to painted faces.

I am not sure where I got these, I have had them forever, but if you can find a good eye painting chart, it helps to see how to properly paint an eye. I love these because they show different expressions as well as different eye color variations. Remember though that dollies eyes do not have to be realistic, all of these things should be looked at as suggestions only, the best thing is your imagination!

Lastly I want to show you the paints I use for pretty much all my painting, I don't stick to one brand, I use all three brands depending on what color I want or like! They are all pretty much the same. I do like Delta's Burnt Umber the best, and I use a ton of it. I also like Delta's Red Iron Oxide for cheeks the best, as well as Folk Art Heritage Brick and Folk Art barnyard red. Folk art paints tend to be a bit thicker, but a bit of water is all that is needed to thin it down.

Part 2 will be painting on a doll's face, that is when I figure out how to present it well enough. I hope you got something out of this post and you will be inspired to pick up a brush and some paint!

I finally have the sign up to my newsletter here on my blog if you want to be on it. I will probably only send one once a month or when I have some news on a new pattern or giveaway!

Have a blessed Sunday...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prim Annie Pattern, My Surpise Package and other news!

Here is a peek at the finished pattern prototype. Annie will be my first official pattern for sale! I have been sketching my own things for years, making up my finished designs to sell, so I am excited to start on this adventure of actually sharing my ideas in patterns as I come up with them. I will be making another doll to go with this pattern, one that shows the face not sculpted, different hair, a different looking painted face and apron. I will announce here when this Prim Annie pattern is available.

This Annie is a Sweet Bear Creek Whims Original Design (c) 2012

She sits completely by herself with a four piece body construction, no chair needed! Her head is made with a four piece pattern for a round head shape. This particular head was needle sculpted, there will be two versions to choose from in the pattern, one sculpted and one not. You cannot see the dimension in her face with a picture, so you'll have to trust me that it is needle sculpted. She was hand painted on her legs and face. She was coffee stained for a prim look. Her dress is homespun and apron is an antique doily, the heart is painted on. Her collar is also the antique doily. Rusty pins keep her apron on and rusty bells are on her shoes. Her hair is a wool blend. She is 12 1/2" sitting, and 22" to her feet. This doll will eventually be for sale!

She was a bit embarrassed, but I talked her into showing her underwear, front view and side view! Side view shows how round her body is which makes it sit so nicely.

Here is a closer view of the apron and painted heart!


I have to share something fun with all of you! I got such a nice surprise the other day when a package arrived for me from Carol Stuck! Was this my Birthday??? NO, did I do something to deserve this?? NO, it was simply kindness coming my way from a super sweet online friend... :-) Now aren't those the best kind of gifts to receive, the kind that are just because... YES!! She was so sweet for sending me some fun prim goodies to use for my crafting, I was so excited, and who wouldn't want to find a package at your door with treasures like this? Thank you Carol! Here you see two wonderful cheese boxes, look at the logos and colors still so vivid, I think I will make some seasonal things to fill them with. The cheese boxes are staying with me for my personal use. The vintage spools are beautiful, these will make some future project complete someday, that is if I can part with them, which is yet to be seen! Here they are..

Also, I have taken the pictures today for the first installment of pictures for my painting page. I will post here first then transfer them permanently to the painting tips page. The first round of pictures will show the equipment and brushes I use in the craft room for painting. Be looking for this within the week.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time to lose a few...

This is the time of year when everyone says to themselves, look at all that Holiday eating, it went straight to my hips!! I am working up to finally shedding a few, some substantial pounds. I am tired of feeling more tired than I should and am ready to have more energy! I am thinking of doing what works for me and that is more fruits and veggies, no snacking and less breads, sugars and empty carbs. I guess I should dust off that treadmill too. Oh Joy! I think I liked it better as a make-shift hanger.

In other news, be watching soon for another giveaway here!! I am excited to announce that I am working hard to get my first pattern ready for sale!. I am having trouble though, I cannot figure out a cute and catchy name for this pattern. SOOOO I thought I would have a NAME THAT PATTERN GIVEAWAY. :-) The suggestion I actually use wins! I will post a sneak peek of my finished doll soon, although there is much work to be done on the pattern itself. I will be offering my patterns in E-patterns and mailables.

I want to thank Kim of Old Road Primitives, and Carol of Buttermilk Creek Farms for thier encouragment to me on starting this pattern adventure! Sometimes all it takes is a gentle push from friends. I have over 24 years of experience in sewing and creating, so I do think I am ready to offer my ideas as patterns. I will have Carol and Kim critique the pattern before it is released so I know they are user friendly.

My tree is down and I am back to normal around here, Christmas is over and it is time to move on! I will be adding pictures soon to my painting tips page, I also need to fine tune it, but I am hoping that this will be helpful. My goal is to add enough pictures to that you can see some of the steps and techniques I use when painting.

 I hope you all had a wonderful Tuesday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Food For Thought

 I am amazed at how many in this country have bought the lie that socialism is what this country needs. They are brainwashed into believing that THEY will benefit somehow if government gets thier hands on yet more of the hard earned cash of the most successful in this country. REALLY? THEY won't see a dime, life for everyone becomes less, government just wastes more and expands it's power, we are the losers here, all of us if we allow this to happen.

I found this today and it speaks volumes as to what will happen to this country if the Obama administration gets thier way. As we go into an election year, we all need to think hard about what kind of country we want to be living in.

An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan". All grades will be averaged an...d everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. It could not be any simpler than that.

These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

OFG team white sale!

 The OFG team is having a white sale to make room for new items in 2012 CLICK HERE to see all the great deals!


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