Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When The Sun's In Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, That's A Warning

Please take a few minutes to read this heart felt strory written by my friend and fellow bus driver. Thank you Megan for finding the words to share with us. Smiles and Hugs to you! Brenda

When The Sun's In Your Eye Like A Big Pizza Pie, That's A Warning

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who's spoiled? That'd be me!!!....nawww

Well, I've done it, I've signed up for another Doll Conference. This time it is in Ohio, which makes much more geographical sense. This time it is two classes, one on faces, and the other stick "puppet" Poppets...very very cool!!!! Plus, since I'm driving, I'll be able to load the van with wonderful embellishments and keep my options open for costuming...Not to mention a cooler full of late night nurishment! The conference isn't until the end of April, so, that leaves plenty of time for me to post about all of my excitement.!!Smiles to All, Brenda

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Busy Sunday...

Finished up the Potes that I had going...ok...I still have 4 more that need to be free-motioned...BUT...I was able to FINISH (and yes, those are capital letters, because finishing seems to be such a rarity in my little curious compulsive creative world) 7 Potes.
Next...onto the fact that I am going to be spending many hours in the lovely surroundings of the Minneapolis Airport...what's a crafty gal to do? Comfort Dolls. So, today is all about making as many doll flats that I can. This includes crazy quilting to muslin, drawing faces and then securing them to the flat, wonder-undering words, and then outlining the form itself...I'm hoping to have....I'm reaching into the sky to pluck out the magic number...and the winner is.....5 ready for the traveling adventure...
Also, "the ladies", my wonderful chickens, are going to their winter home today! Dr. Janelle has offered to foster them until next summer when we can be reunited again. I need to work on getting a "2 chicken production pet" zoning law passed in Valpo. I really have enjoyed the gals this summer.
Wednesday is rapidly approaching...3 days!
Smiles to All,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Little Pote That Could!

Here is #3

This is the second "pote": smaller than a tote, structured like a purse.
This time I used a painters canvas as the base structure and pockets...but I'm not starting at the beginning. First, I've painted with your basic cheapo acrylic paints with a textile medium added and watered it down for a softer feel, on cheapo muslin. After it dries, heat set with an iron. Next, more fun! drawing with the free-motion quilting. This part is always a brain shift for me. If I try to "control" what I'm doing, I make a mess of things. Just go with the flow of what you've painted, click those heels together and believe.

Onto the pote construction. Eh...I'm tired of writing...just take a look. I will say, it is pretty cool watching how the pote is evolving and what I'm happy with, and what I don't like.

Thanks for the read.

Smiles to All,


NM count down...7 days!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tote #2

So, here is the next tote. I learned a bunch from Nancy Baker, we were both at the Culver Farmer's Market together. She designs and makes wonderful jackets and totes, jewelry and diaper bags, just to name a few of the things she does. Her totes use zig-zag stitching combined with a crazy it...right up my alley...AND biggest thing of all, helps me loosen up and not worry about doing things "right".

Now I have the next platform to jump from and grab DH's old jeans, three pair have mysteriously shrunk. I'm using these for the stability. I didn't like that about my first tote, I wanted more structure, and denim has definitely provided that. I still need to put a velcro closure on. I cut out the back pocket of the jeans for the interior pocket for keys and cell phone...yes, it's amazing what can fit in the back pocket when your rear isn't filling it up!
I'm looking forward to the next tote...I bought a painting canvas for the interior this time...should help on making a "cleaner" interior for the tote.

Smiles to All,


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Painted Muslin

PA I N T I t B A b Y P a I N t i T! !

Here are the next 5 pieces to quilt. I think that I am going to make these into jean totes. I didn't water down the acrylic as much as I have in the past, so the fabric is a bit more stiff. I think this should add to the structure of the tote. What I have found with the first tote...the testing tote, is that I'm not a lover of the flimsy. I seem to like a firmer construction. Who da thunk it, me, Miss Lucy Goosey, me, Miss GoWhereverThe Wind takes me..structure. I guess I need it in some places of my life.



(Kvitova vs.Williams is on...AMAZING athletes)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

technology and history...or...simplicity, yeah, simplicity

I was breaking down my booth at the Farmer's Market in Culver on Saturday. What a beautiful day, it had stormed earlier in the morning, but that blew through and left us with a nice clean day, with actual lower humidity, a brief intermission from the norm in Northwest Indiana. It was a good sales day too. It isn't a big market, but some vacationers will come through, and the locals will stop and visit, and it's just nice. (I know that isn't the best descriptive word, but, "nice" it was.)... What brings me to this post is, while I'm packing up, my cell phone rings, it's my sweetheart, he's waiting in a parking lot in Wisconsin for our grandson's folks. So, while I'm loading up my van, talking on my phone in the middle of Culver with my DH who is 245 miles away, another vendor walks by with his engine to his transportation...a horse.
I cannot describe the oddity, and wonder this brought me. It made me stop. And then...stop some more.
I knew the vendors in the corner came in with there wares on horse and buggy...but to watch the horse walk past me, and then to watch them hitch up, all the while talking on my cell phone to my DH... it was just...odd. Odd in a wonderful sort of way.
How wonderful is it, that we live in a place where lifestyles are SO vastly different and all of us still so very much alike. I think sometimes that they've got it much more together than technology. Granted, there trip home will take longer, but..really, how wonderful if that! A wife and her husband driving home together in SUCH a different fashion that the majority of us are accustomed to. No phone, no radio, no GPS. Just the steady cadence of the horses hoofs.
I think there is something there. If I'd venture a guess, it'd be like exhaling after a deep breath.
Smiles to All.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tote'n Takes Time!!!

Well, this has turned into more of an in depth research problem than I thought it would be. Yep, I've always had a problem with KISS. (Keep it simple, silly). My simple free-motion quilting experiment morphed into this.

I added some cool bold colors to border the painted work, and then finished out the front with the fabric that I'm going to use as the back.

Now, of course, I couldn't just line it. Really, what good is a tote without proper pockets. Now, I don't know if my pockets are "proper" but I think they will have no problem holding my ipod, phone, reading glasses, and note pad, or check book or wallet. On the other side of the inside, I made a single large pocket. I'm hoping it is big enough to hold an electronic reader, if not no biggy...I was too pooped, ok...lazy, to run downstairs to get mine to measure it.

So, with all that, I have only finished the front, inside liner with pockets and started the back. The back will mimic the front with the square quilting without the actual different colors...thought that would bring the whole piece together.

Now, for all you toters out there...phew, how do you do it?!? Tommorrow is mowing and actual housework, I'll see if I can make it make to this in by the afternoon. I am curious how it is going to turn out.
Smiles to All,

Monday, June 14, 2010

free motion quilting

I got a chance to take out the dyes yesterday. Here are a few that I painted. Today I am working on free-motion quilting them. I don't know what it is about the free-motion is just fun to watch the outlines emerge. Its a quick trip to the right brain. I love it!

It's a wonderful little vacation that I can take without even having to bother with traffic, let alone the metal detectors!

Smiles to all, Brenda

Friday, June 11, 2010

funny little thing...

Yesterday was another productive day!! That's all good and well, but the funny thing...I was applying the clear coat to the birdhouses. The process takes, oh, around an hour at the most, just because I will put several light coats on with in that time. (Not the funny part, phew) So, I walk out to spray another coat onto one of the small ones, and a bird flies out!! Now, I've been spraying this gourd every ten to fifteen minutes or so. The cutest little tufted tit mouse decided to begin building her nest, she staked her claim. So, who am I to displace such a wonderful little gal? (Note to self: cut opening after clear-coating, cannot afford to shelter all homeless birds)

Smiles to All,


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rainy days and finishing work.

Well, I can report that my steps per day has dramatically declined since the last day of the up side of that (because there is always an upside) is that I've really been able to get a considerable amount of artwork done. I was able to stain the birdhouse gourds and the barrettes today. Molly, would have to agree that rainy days do make you a bit lathargic though. ", I'm getting sooo sleepy." Time to pull out the poly-fil out of the closet, snuggle into the rocker and stuff some fairies while watching NCIS reruns. Ahh, all is right with the world.

Smiles to all,


Yesterday's Burnings

It was just a gorgeous Midwest summer day yesterday. Normally, we get the humidity. Not yesterday, 70's low humidity and just down right pleasant. (Yes, you guessed it, on days like that I DO take the time to do my hair, fellow frizzies can appreciate that).

So, after working in the front flower bed and talking with "the ladies" ( I just got laying hens...they are a hoot!) I settled down for some gourd burning. I've been working on dragonflies on the birdhouse gourds lately. A friend had made a request, and I was curious to see what I could come up with. I've got some great iridescent pulvers that help with that mystical shimmering quality a real dragonfly has. Below are the beginnings of some barrettes. I've used a martin gourd for these. They have a thicker shell and the natural curve follows the curve of the barrette.

Today...some more burning and I may get out some dyes and stains.

Happy Creating and Smiles to All,

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Good Morning, and Happy Summer VACATION!!

Oh......I do love my job. Not many vocations allot for 2 1/2 months off during summer and another month throughout the rest of the year....lucky gal I am.
I've been busy burning gourds of late. I had a request from a bus gal for dragon I shall try...and fairly excited about the outcome.
That's all for now.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Enchanted Doll Artist Conference NM

I am so excited!! I just got my money order to send off to New Mexico. Why? I'm going to my first doll conference. HOW COOL!! It is in Albequerque, a place I've never been to, and the first lone vacation I will have, gosh, I think ever taken, now that I think about it. I've always gone on vacations with family, friends, children, co-workers...but huh...the closest thing would be a day seminar in Chicago....
Wow, this is an adventure. I am extremely excited, getting to study under some of today's most popular "funky" doll makers, elinor peace bailey, Patti Culea. I've decided to take the 3 day class in armature making, and dealing with face and hands with polymer clay. I've dabbled with polymer, but have never really pushed myself, so, that's what I am going to do....push and challenge myself.
Very cool that I've got the opportunity and the support to take the time. It isn't until the end of July, plenty of work to do before then. I just wanted to share my excitement!!! Smiles to All, Brenda

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Early this week I found myself stuck in the muck and ooze of life. Usually I see that giant life sucking goop pond in front of me and walk around. Nope. Not this week, it seemed that the hill I was on just kept slanting just a little more. And, instead of turning around and climbing out, what did I do. Yep, sat right down as if it was a ride at a theme park and slid right down with a giant SPLASH!

I think that sometimes it's important to waller in a little grief and self, I wouldn't suggest the delusional depth that I sank to, but even at that, here I am on Saturday, able to write about it.

I'm not the greatest at confrontation. I've gotten much better at speaking my mind, and following and trusting, my gut. Now, I'm talking specifically about my son, who is in middle school. He has trichotillomania, that's where you pull out hairs, they can be arm hair, facial hair, the hair on your head. It's a nervous condition, likened to nail biting, fidgeting, a coping mechanism, that then takes on a life of it's own. You can imagine that in middle school, heading off to school with a lopsided thinning head of hair, well, that could be a bit difficult. Still, everyone needs to go to school, and life is always full of obstacles, it's in the climbing over that makes us strong and realize that we can do it....Yeah, oh big strong blog-writer Brenda. I hate it! It makes my stomach all churned up inside and makes me want to vomit....this situation also does the same thing to my son....anxious vomiting...which then...he gets his head all wrapped around it, and then being the brilliant 13 year old that he is...hmmm...I can use this to get out of school...Yeah, I know, arrrgghhhh! So, I indulged for a day, as allergies are crazy bad, and let him stay home. Day 2 comes. and I'm starting to feel a slight twinge of falsification on his part...but, he was hot, so it could be a bug....Day 3....forget it!!! sick or not sick, hair or no hair...your going to school. So here, I sound all tough on the outside, but inside, I'm a jumble of knots, and not knowing and feeling like the crappiest mother in the world...he's now late for school and I call to let them know he is coming..."why is he tardy", Umm, he was vomiting, so he needed to clean up. "your sending your kid to school vomiting?" Yep. thank you.

So, there is the long version of sliding into the muck and mire of life. Failure to the school, Failure to my child. Failure to all the Mother's in the World. Of course, I'm being dramatic, but sometimes, when you aren't in the "right" frame of mind, that's all it takes for you to sit down, and slide the rest of the way down.

Fortunately, I'm educated enough to know, kick your own ass, or else this is going to be much more painful than it needs to be. So, Wednesday, a partook in a nice long walk downtown, and then to the library where I found this wonderful book

"Stupid Sock Creatures" by John Murphy. Wonderful!!!

Nothing like some fresh air and silliness to bring me back.

Smiles to All,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

freemotion comfort doll

Funny, doing these two blogs...I feel a little disconnected!!!I'm not a compartmentalized kinda gal, everything generally just gets spued wherever I happen to be. So, please bear with me. If you'd like to view the "how to" on this, head on over to
this little gal is going to be fun to continue to make. - Smiles B.

following the whisper...

....I don't know if everyone suffers from this or not, I'm certain that I'm not the only one...but...why can it be SO difficult to follow the whim, the whisper, the dream? It seems some sort of brain shift happens. And not the happy one, brainshift, like when I'm sewing, or brain shifts into, well, not so pleasant thoughts. Thoughts that work seriously at defeating my whim.

Why is that? If I have to know why it is in order to get rid of it, can I get rid of it?And the really quirky thing is that it generally happens when I'm working on being happy, or productive, or on track. I know I personally have worries and fears, is that what gets in the way? I also know that sometimes I will say to myself, "what will people think"...usually I laugh, and shrug that one off, but sometimes, and this is when the brain is in its nasty place, I do think, what will people think...hmmm....why look at the negative, what if people actually that isn't where the bad brain goes, does it. More brain shift work ahead...maybe that's what I could use. Make a construction sign, and everytime "funk" happen I could post it..."underconstruction...brainshift ahead...proceed with caution"... HA!

Anyway, the cloud is lifting, and in case you are concerned, it never settles for long. Its just one of those questions that I want to throw out there into the cyber abyss and see if is sticks on anything.

I've been busy wood burning gourds, and freemotion quilting. So much fun.

Smiles to all,


Saturday, April 17, 2010

the next design...

Here is the next design that I am working on for free motion. I took a painting on fabric that I had done a few years ago, and then stashed away. Now I've found the next use for this as well as the previous. I am simply going along with the flow of the design. I think that this practice is going to help me get a more consist stitch. I'm not real concerned with it...I just think, like with everything, the more you do, the more consist you, I hope you enjoy.

the materials:

  • Apple Barrel Craft Paints

  • Delta acrylics

  • Delta Ceramcoat textile medium.

  • Muslin

Just have at it!!Fun and Smiles to all. Brenda

Monday, April 12, 2010

this weeks fettish: free motion quilting. What is it that makes me want to try all this stuff. Ahh, whatever, it's fun. So, I had a flower thing that I had painted on muslin and then outlined in permanent ink. Now, that is the perfect thing to give this quilting a whirl. Maybe it's cheating a little bit because I'm fol...lowing lines, but that's I go!
Since I'm a tool freak also, I wanted to get an extension table to help me...ahhh, $85, a little steep for a beginning whim. While I was chatting with our local shop, the owner suggested trying just to make one to see if it was worth the help for me...viola! My new extension table for me IZEK...(silly machine, but I do kinda love it for some things)

Then, I remembered I had some paintings of fabric that I had done a couple of years ago. Remember, some things ARE worth holding onto, there purpose may not become clear until the time is ready.

So now I am starting to free motion quilt. I think I like the facts that I have lines to help me for my first attempt. And, I'm pretty sure that I will draw lines on future ones, if only with disappear ink, to help out. Nothing wrong with a little help.

Now onto the sewing machine...she's calling my name. My DH won't be home for dinner so the DC will love that frozen pizza that is now in the oven...ok...I don't think it necessarily makes me a bad mom, just efficient...have a piece of fruit with it!

Smiles to All,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Decision...

I think I may be learning to follow what I think. I know that may seem a little goofy to some, but to me, it is AMAZING. I started reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Yep, downloaded it onto the Kindle and then...of course, I need to be multi-tasking, so I have it on my Ipod too. (I love my DH) What I am learning, is to just do it...I know that Nike alread has that slogan, and has been telling me that exact same thing for years, but I guess I am one who needs to hear it one thousand different ways a thousand different times, before one of those clicks in my brain.

With all that said. I'm following a whim...or as another artist calls it a "whisper". I saw some photos my son took on FB. I was in awe of many of them. They also called to me as inspiration. How wonderful would it be to interpret some of these into painted multi-media designs, and then make them into totes.

Now, my DH says..."Honey, do you quilt? Do you really make totes?" Nope is the answer. But you know what, I didn't jog, swim, or bike regularly and I participated in a triathlon.

Point well taken.
So, yes following my "whim" ... "whisper"..."thought" I don't know exactly how it will turn out. But I LOVE the process. ALWAYS have... and I suppose that is what I am learning, that that is just fine, I'm a process person, not a results person. (that would be my DH)

So to the sewing machine I learn how to free motion quilt.
Smiles to all,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What I'm up to...well, ok..what I'd like to be up to...

So, my friend Carrie came over with Art Doll Quarterly... and AWESOME publication with FUNKY and creative doll work. The cover was a corpse doll byJenny Alcantara and Sheri DeBow..incredible..

Carrie asked me how to make them...jeeeze...I don't know. So there it is. The wonderful 4 year old brain of mine that can't stay to one task to save my life says...lets find out. so here we go. I thought I'd journal a bit about the process and take some pho-tots and see what happens.

Thanks Carrie Sue! ; )
Smiles to All,

Sunday, January 31, 2010

funny how life works

Last Sunday I was lucky enough to be sitting eating brunch with my friend, Liz. She's come back into my life thru these wonderful social networks, we'd gone to grade school together, and then separate lives and now at 45, back to friendship. That right there...funny how life works and brings what you need, when you need it....

...but that wasn't what I was going to talk about... I was talking about wanting and needing a group, some people to connect to, to help inspire me creatively, and who look at the possibilities of life....

....then, my neighbor gave me a turkey.

Yep, a phone call and a thawed turkey brought me to my new adventure.
The Comfort Doll Project.

Our Comfort Dolls are all hand made and then when we collect 12 I will send them to Battered Women's shelters. I already in 2 days, have women who have written and want to participate. It's wonderful!!! If you want to know more about it check out:

So...take a risks...say what you want out loud to the universe....and then forgettaboutit...It's amazing how fast it will come to you!!

Smiles to All B.