December 13, 2009

Pod creatures

I took an online course from Pattee's (Odd-Dolls) Ning site. It was a lot of fun, and Pattee did a great job of demonstrating all her techniques. It was fascinating learning how other people put together a face - she used a really unique approach. I got carried away and made four, and haven't even used the eyes she sent with the kit. This was great fun!

I think this one is my favorite: and one peeking out of a shell:

December 5, 2009

head - work in progress

I made this head while I was waiting for a video to download the other night. I didn't have any eyes on hand, so I tried making some using black and gold glass paint on the back of some of the flat glass marbles that are used for displaying cut flowers. The glass paints are permanent once baked, and the gold turned out much better than the dark blue I had on hand. I was also hoping that the eyes might work like the portrait eyes that follow the viewer around the room. The trick Disney uses is to make the eyes concave instead of convex. It occurred to me that if they look like they are following the viewer, it wouldn't be so difficult to set eyes. I often get crossed eyes, because the position seems to change during baking and shrinking, and it ruins a lot of work.

Anyway, the eyes were much too big for the foil ball, which meant that he developed this rather mean expression on his face (of course, I helped along a wee bit!). He might have made a good Scrooge, but he said he was much more trollish.

December 2, 2009

tea cup fairy

I love making these little fairy babies. They are relatively quick and if they don't turn out the first time, it is easy to squish and remake. I made two of these as Christmas gifts for some friends. I sure hope they like them!

November 15, 2009

lack of posting

I have been somewhat negligent of late, so I just wanted to give you all an update and an excuse.

I started a new position and it is a bit overwhelming. It's not that I think I don't have the skills to do the job, but it is a huge job just to learn about the way people do things in a different organization, and to learn who all the people are that I should be working with. All that while trying to figure out what my job is, and actually produce something that I can be comfortable signing my name to.

I haven't been totally neglectful of my artworks either, although that has slowed down a bit. I made a number of things for Halloween, including a bunch of little glow-in-the-dark ghosts, a basilisk tooth in a box, and a few 'things in jars'. The things in jars are a lot of fun to make, because it doesn't take a lot to make them look quite real. In fact, when I showed one to my brother, He thought it was real and wanted to know what kind of animal embryo it was. They are quite difficult to photograph, so I haven't managed to get any good pictures, but I will try again when I have some sunlight.

August 24, 2009

Art Doll

I was inspired by many of the doll artists who participated in the Art Dolls Only Four Elements challenge, and decided to try some of the techniques they were using. I thought I would try the puppet body style on this doll, as well as trying a new medium (paper clay). The clay is very soft and creamy, but it is really difficult to make hands and feet that have any lyrical movement. I used straws to make sure that there was a nice smooth hole to string the limbs once it was completed, and used wooden beads for the ball joints. I was going for Tree Nymph, so the skin is painted with a kind of generic wood grain. Her dress has a ruffle on the front, and a long train at the back, and is made entirely by wrapping (no stitches). She is about 8 inches high.

August 9, 2009

Storm clean up

I haven't had a lot of time for art work this last week. A terrible windstorm blew through our area and broke twenty or so of our large trees (and many littler ones beside them were crushed under the weight when they came down). All the trees that fell into the yard have to be chopped up into logs and the branches and brush have to be raked up and burned. Some of the trees look like they were twisted where they broke, although the storm wasn't officially labelled a tornado.

It is hard to tell from the pictures, but most of these trees were at least 40 feet tall.

This one barely missed hitting the house. There were a few branches on the roof, but nothing was damaged, apart from the tree and the little cranberry bush it fell on.
This little pile of fallen trees was just one of many, and it took us two complete days to clean out the path.

We still have many days of clean up to do - we have only tackled two of five piles.
Although we lost a lot of trees, we aren't complaining. Nothing hit the house, and there was no significant damage. The storm continued on to Camrose (about 30 miles east of our house), where it killed one person and injured dozens who were attending an outdoor concert.

July 17, 2009

Earth Goddess

I made it! This art doll represents the earth element and was completed for the Art Dolls Only Elements Challenge.
This is my Earth Goddess. She is wearing a snow white gown and a spring green cape. She likes to keep her feet bare, so she can feel the grass between her toes, and she needs a crystal ball to learn the future of her planet....

July 16, 2009

Hand, hand, fingers, toes ...

...eyes and ears, mouth and nose.

I have had more than my fair share of troubles with this one, and she just didn't want to be ready for tomorrow. Perhaps she thinks it takes some of the mystery out of being the goddess of Earth if people know what she looks like.
My decisions to go outside my comfort zone and make a much larger doll, and to experiment with a new armature based on Dawn's tutorial probably didn't help much, either.
I think she will be ready for the unveilling tomorrow, though!

July 6, 2009

More encaustics

I have been enjoying playing with encaustics, in between sculpting my challenge doll, of course!), and I thought I would post a few images. These two are small (4 inches square).

This one is a bit larger (7 inches square):
They are all painted on solid board.

June 22, 2009

Art Doll Challenge

I am going to try to take part in an art doll challenge from the Art Dolls Only group. It may be difficult, because I have a lot of other committments during the same time period, so I will see how far I get, but I am excited about taking part. I started sculpting the hands out of polymer clay last night, and then went a completely different direction today and drew out a pattern for a cloth doll. I'm not sure which way I will go, but it isn't wasted effort which ever path I choose.

June 18, 2009


I put my name in a draw for Amber Dawn's International Charm Day and won a beautiful little shell charm. Amber does a wonderful job of presentation packaging as well, and included a little charm with her card. I was too late to get in on the give away this year, but I am looking forward to participating next year.

June 6, 2009

I was in Quebec city for a conference last week, and got an opportunity to slip into the museum there for a quick visit before closing one evening. I wanted to see the Egyptian mummy display they advertised, and was hoping to see one of Sekhmet's statues. Much to my amazement, one of the displays held a relatively crude terracotta goddess figure. Given the technical and artistic skill typical of the grave goods placed with mummies, this goddess figure was very rough and naive. It reminded me of the headstones I have seen on occasion in local graveyards, handcrafted by the grieving spouse from cement and steel plate.

The goddess image was about 4 inches long, with no breasts (unlike most 'Venus' figures), but she was very clearly given long curly hair and ears or earrings. The fingers were slashes cut into the end of the arm, as were the marks that form the pubic triangle. The slashes looked like they were made with a long bladed knife. The pubic area was filled with rows of dots and she had a squarish mound on the tummy area that she was kind of holding, although her fingers didn't reach that far. Archeological theory says that these were intended to represent rebirth in the afterlife, but it seems to me more like a form of sympatheic magic intended to ensure the deceased is reincarnated/reborn to a wealthy mother (hence the very wide hips and the earrings). The grave was estimated to be around 2040 to 1640 BC.

I was quite excited to finally see one of these 'goddess' images in person, although she was very different from anything I had seen before or expected to see associated with mummies. Although she was made from terracotta, I think I will have to try making one of my own.

May 24, 2009

Crow stamps

A few months ago I had an idea for an art piece very clearly visualized in my mind and I made these two stamps of crows that would be required. Then I put them away until I could get the black permanent ink required to make it work properly. I finally remembered they were there, and picked up the permanent ink to test them to see if they worked OK. These are only test stamps, so the color isn't really even, but i think the carving went well.

The real problem is that now I can't remember why I needed them - so much time has passed that I don't remember the original vision. Ah well, I am sure I can find some use for them.

May 20, 2009


Objects and Elements offers recycled sari silks. I use the spun sari silks to make pouches or medicine bag necklaces. It is difficult to crochet because of all the hanging strings, but the outcome is definitely worth it - the variegated colors are stunning!

May 19, 2009


Can you believe it - we have had snow for the last couple of days. The long weekend traditionally marks the time when the danger of frost is past, and most people spend the weekend planting their gardens. Well, this year we spend the holiday huddled inside against the cold and blowing snow. The dogs were all sick too, so everyone just moped around the whole weekend.
It's hard to compalin too much, though, because snow means moisture, which we are sorely lacking. All the ponds are dry, and we have been quite worried that the drought this year is going to be the worst yet. In fact, it is so dry that the trees are still refusing to leaf, but this snow should give them that boost of moisture that will encourage them to leaf out, and we can finally see some signs of spring. Yay!

April 29, 2009


I finally managed to try baking macarons last night. It takes a bit of advanced preparation, because the egg whites called for in the recipe have to be separated and left in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours before they can be used, and of course I never think of doing any baking except on a weekend. I used unblanched almonds, so there are lots lof little brown flecks, but otherwise I think they worked like they are supposed to. I even got little feet on most of them. I used a very basic recipe - I was quite disappointed to find that the luscious color of macarons is actually just powdered food coloring, and not flavour. I think I will try making them with a bit of cassis to see if I can't get them to make the same with a bit more flavour. I also tried putting them on a silpat, and that was a disaster. They didn't cook, and they stuck. The ones on parchment paper worked perfectly and slid off without any effort.

The recipe seemed small, and my weigh scale doesn't measure in such small amounts, so I doubled the recipe. I ended up with 8 or 9 sheets of cookies! I got bored with all the piping and started making them bigger and then made some heart shaped ones as well. This would be really pretty in pink or purple sandwiched with some purple jam.

April 28, 2009

Encaustics - again

Since I had all my encaustic materials spread all over my work table, I decided to play a bit with some small boards 4x5 I had prepared. The first board was well primed and had a fairly smooth surface, so it was possible to treat the surface like the slick paper usually used for encaustics, and the brushstrokes are similar:

I think that the second one turned out more interesting. The surface was still rather porous (which makes for better adehsion anyway), and the final image looks more like an oil painting from the 1800s:

Although it is small, you can still see the trees in the foreground, and the creek, hills and bluffs in the background.

April 14, 2009


Rather than work on any of the sixteen projects I currently have underway, I decided to pull out my encaustic materials on the weekend and work on a rather large (for encaustics) painting. I spent a full day working on it, and another day struggling to make it look like the image in my mind. I finally decided to put it aside, because it simply wasn't working. I don't know if I will bother to spend the time scraping the wax off so I can reuse the board (it is a lovely 2 feet square), or just chuck the whole thing in the garbage. How frustrating! and a waste of a lot of time on the long weekend that would have been better spent raking grass.

April 5, 2009

Another fairy

I finished another fairy baby yesterday:
She is about the same size as the previous one (2.5 inches) and made from polymer clay.
Here she is asleep in her moss bed:

April 1, 2009

fairy baby

I finished this little fairy baby a couple of days ago:

She is about 2.5 inches long and made from polymer clay.

March 15, 2009

Lust cookies

After reading Dogs and Goddesses, I simply HAD to try making butter cookies. The only recipe I could find was for Cardamom cookies, and while they are tasty, they certainly don't inspire any lust or need to fulfill my deepest desires. Although, I was inspired to dig up a few ideas for paintings, so maybe they had more of an effect than I thought!

The book is definitely a must-read. It was hilarious, and I couldn't put it down. I am hoping for more from this collaborative of authors.

March 10, 2009

movies and books

I had to take a quick trip out east for work, and encountered a couple of quirky movies on the flight. The ‘Hollywood’ movie choices were pretty drab, and not really to my taste, so I started searching to see if there was something else I could watch. I decided to take a look at the Canadian movies. The first one I watched was called Evelyn: the Cutest Evil Dead Girl. This was a cute movie about a dead girl who tries to make friends with living people and after getting ridiculed, she tries to kill herself back to life so they will accept her. It is short and funny and very quirky.

I also read (there is a lot of time for reading while waiting for planes to arrive and depart) Joanne Harris’s new book “The Lollipop Shoes”. It is a kind of sequel to “Chocolat”, and the book and the movie explored the same theme – dealing with being different. It was curious how similar the two characters Evelyn (in the movie) and Zozie (in the book) were.

The second movie, called Just Buried had a lot of promise but the system died before I got very far into it. Just buried is about a young man who inherits a funeral home from his estranged father, in a town where there hasn’t been a funeral for over a year. He and the young female mortician who works for him then try to figure out how to drum up business. Now I am going to have to buy the DVD or figure out how to find this movie so I can finish watching it.

February 26, 2009

The Conservatory Overcoat GIVEAWAY!!!!

The Conservatory Overcoat GIVEAWAY!!!!

I followed a link and found this incredibly generous and talented wonam is giving away this beautiful coat. She took some wonderful photos of a romatic Valentie's day in a conservatory. The photos are wonderful, and allow everyone to share in their day. Definitely worth many return visits.

February 22, 2009

Beaver tails and canele

It all started when I was unloading the dishwasher. I was trying to shove some clean pots into the bottom cupboard, and they wouldn't budge. Something was in the way. I got down on my hands and knees and pulled everything out, and found the madelaine pan I had purchased many years ago and never tried. Aha! oh, but wait... Madelaines. Lemon madelaines. I have lemons in the fridge just waiting to be used for some luscious purpose....

I pulled out the pan, put all the other stuff back in the cupboard, and searched through my recipe library for a good recipe for madelaines. It is a weird recipe - mostly eggs and very little flour, so one could easily argue that madelaines are a good breakfast cookie (I often feel the need to justify what I stick in my face!). I was quite proud of them, and I thought they looked just like they should, tasted lemony and had a light cake-like texture.

I had been looking at Paris Breakfasts' blog the night before, where she was talking about caneles, so I figured I might as well try them while I was playing in the kitchen. I found a lot of references and recipes online, and eventually decided on the recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini mostly because all the other recipes called for a dozen eggs, and this one called for three. I don't have the required canele pans, but the recipes all referred to silicone pans, and the fact that the silicone pans are easier to use than the traditional copper. I do have a silicone muffin pan, and although it isn't as deep, I figured I could at least get an idea about whether caneles are the delicious magical treat every one claims they are. They are. They are supposed to look a bit burnt, although mine cooked quite a bit more quickly than the recipe suggested, because the pans are so shallow. They have a carmelly crunchy outside layer, and a custardy filling. I only filled the muffin pans three quarters full (and then they spilled as I was transferring them to the oven, because the damn pans aren't stable), so I would put the pan on a cookie sheet and fill them right to the top next time. They are easy to make, and definitely worth the effort. And since my silicone pans have this lovely rose shape, they are quite pretty as well!

Since I had already decided to dedicate my day to baking, I decided to try Beaver Tails. It was all over the news that Barack Obama stopped into a mall on his recent visit to Ottawa and while there he tried a Beaver Tail, which is supposedly a classic Canadian dish. I suppose that might be true if you live in Ottawa, but those of us in other parts of the country haven't ever heard of them. Of course, I have a recipe for stewed beaver tail, which was apparently a popular dish among settlers, but - ewww! The kind that Barack tasted was a pastry, so I hit the internet again. There are recipes all over the place for beaver tails, and they all seem to be exactly the same. They are a yeast-raised doughnut, but curiously, they also have eggs which help them rise quickly when they are in the oil (there's that great excuse to eat them for breakfast again!) Once you get the douhg prepared, it only takes about 2 minutes to cook them. They are great, and since I don't like anything really sweet, I just sprinkled a bit of icing sugar on them. I ended up making enough for my DH's social studies class.

February 17, 2009


I made these dangly bits several years ago, and finally got around to putting them together into this necklace:

clockwork flower pendant

I completed this clockwork flower pendant this evening:

This is a close-up of the flower:
Brass chain, steel tap, antique clock parts, brass guitar string nuts.
Approximately 12 inches long.

February 16, 2009

skull and tiger eye necklace

Looking at all the great art I found through visiting the participants in the One World One Heart event has given me the inspiration I needed to get creating again, although in a number of different genres. I am focusing on jewelry and artdolls for now, but I also need to complete two suits that I started last year.

I finished this skull necklace and matching earrings last night. It has bone skulls as accent beads, one large skull as a focal bead, and the remaining beads are flat tiger eye beads.

February 15, 2009

clockwork earrings

I was inspired by the work of Deryn Mentock and Dr. Insectus to dig out my jewelry projects and complete this pair of earrings. I absolutely LOVE steampunk style. These earrings have identical clockwork mechanisms, with lapis chips and small bulbs.

February 5, 2009


I finally managed to look at all the incredible bloggers who are part of One World One Heart this year - all 911 of them. At least, I think I got them all and didn't miss any. I was worried that I wouldn't get through them all before the February 11 deadline because the dial-up access was crashing every three pages. I didn't take a lot of time to investigate all the blogs, so now that I am done the quick pass through, I am going to go back and take my time looking at all the new blogs this wonderful event has introduced to me. I know, it means more time spent surfing and no time creating, but there are such a lot of inspiring blogs on the list, and a bit of inspiration can't hurt, right? If you haven't done so already, take some time and check out some of these blogs. The range of items that people are giving away is amazing - there are even things like personal coaching sessions, and books written just for the winner. There are some amazing and generous people out there.

January 20, 2009

One World One Heart

Congratulations to the winner of this giveaway:

Cindy from Ohio

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to play. This event was a great way of meeting new artists and seeing a lot of great art, and I know I will be spending the next few months spending more time perusing the sites included on the One World One Heart list.

I am so excited to participate in the One World One Heart event this year. If you want more information about the event, click the logo below:


I have visited all the sites of participants in the past, but this year I am able to play along. I will be giving away this stone goddess pendant:

She is carved from teal colored grout, and feels like real stone. Leave a comment on this post, and I will draw the name of the winner on February 12th.

Abstract made with interior housepaint

This is a painting made with a bit of leftover paint from the recent reno project. It isn't stretched yet, but will be about 2 feet x 3 feet when finished.

January 18, 2009

Finally, some sun

It was wonderful to get a break in the cold weather today. The sun was shining, and the temperature actually reached somewhere in the region of +8. There were lots of people walking around in t-shirts and short sleeves.

I always get into a slump after Christmas, and don't get a lot of art done, but I am feeling a bit more inspired the last few days. I have been painting a bedroom, and chose a dark raspberry color. I haven't painted a room that dark before, and it has been a lot more work that I anticipated. I had to paint the walls with a tinted primer, and it has taken 4 to 5 top coats to get the color to look even and not streaky. It looks pretty nice, although I'm not sure I would ever choose to paint such a dark color again. I still have to finish the ceiling (I am planning on using a heavily textured wallpaper) and touch up all the trim, but I will post pictures once that is completed. I thought I had an idea about how to furnish the room, but now I am not so sure, and will have to give it some thought. It was supposed to be a pretty girly room for the two granddaughters to use when they visit, but I am also trying to make it a bit more mature so that I don't have to redo the whole thing in five years.

I also used some of the wall paint to make an abstract painting, and I will post pictures of that as soon as it dries.