Monday, December 19, 2011

...happy holidays to all!

it has been a busy fall and beginning of winter. I have been delving into the world of fiber. A couple of fellow vendors at the Culver Market this summer turned me onto spinning with a spindle. Xenia and Felicia have wonderful alpaca fiber. I had never been exposed to the wonder of farm fresh fiber, it is WONDERFUL!! Well, the ladies were spinning away on their drop spindles, and curiousity got the better of me, and before I knew it, I purchased "Respect the Spindle" recommended reading for learning about drop spinning, and off I went. I'm really enjoying is my customary way...I couldn't stop there....yep...before I knew it I was offered an opportunity to actually have my own alpacas....I'm not kidding, a friend from high school had 2 left from her herd of 32 that she was looking for a, this is the only time I've every been asked about alpacas, sure someone has a dog, a cat, a bird, maybe a bunny...but alpaca??? YOU BET!!! I'm in!!!
You may ask...Brenda, I didn't realize you live on a farm? I don't. I'm located smack dab in the middle of Valpo....Unfortunately, a windy day occurred, and my fence installation skills are lacking and well, a fence panel fell "boys" then decided it was time to take a walk...what could have been a terrible incident ended up being an adventure for not only the alpaca, the police, but also the neighborhood. Everyone was extremely kind in rounding up the boys and now they are located with a foster family, still in town, but with the legitimate acreage!...what a hoot. you are now caught up with the story of "what has Brenda been doing with herself"! 
Christmas break is almost upon us, with the time off from driving bus, I am hoping to build a spinning wheel for myself. I seem to love a new experience!
Happy Holidays, and
Smiles to All,

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

...another new obsession...

I find it incredibly hard to believe that we are already almost through the month of July! Where does it go? I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. I have found yet another new distraction. One of the vendors at the farmer's market in Culver Indiana has rescued some Alpacas. OK, right there, HOW COOL! (wait it gets better) If you have never felt unprocessed alpaca fleece, it is amazing. All I can compare is to is wonderful light cotton candy that doesn't get sticky and you can snuggle up with. I am completely serious, I have never been in contact with anything so delicious that ISN'T food.
Anyway, she shears her Alpaca's, washes, and then handcards the fibers (all of this is new verbage as I didn't know a thing 2 weeks ago), then, she hand spins on a spindle the fibers into yarn. Now, if you know anything about me, one thing you do know is that I am a "process" creator...just love a process. So, of course, I jumped in with both feet. She recommended the book "Respect the Spindle" which is wonderful. It is chucked full of photos, instructions, history, and just a variety of different ways to make yarn. I also highly recommend the book. I bought a spindle, which was made from a wooden toy truck wheel, dowel rod and hook, really, that simple...and off I went.
Believe it or not, that isn't the best part of the story...she is bringing me a pound, yes, a pound of unprocessed fleece. I will get to do all of the work. I can't wait to wash and card the fleece...I don't have any handcards yet though...can you say "Christmas Present"?
Smiles to All,

Monday, May 2, 2011

What a wonderful weekend!

I am so fortunate! I just returned from Columbus Ohio and the (drumroll) Artistic Figures in Cloth  learning extravaganza!! (ok I'll settle down with the exclamation points, but really, there should be several more included) If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. The event is so organized and Cyndy Sieving's and her posse of helpers think of everything and are so helpful and considerate...smiles every minute, no matter what time of day. I took Natalie Hamade's "The Dame" class. What a hoot and my gosh, she simplified drawing a face so well, that I now am going to be fearless! (ok, one more) Thanks Natalie for making this event so much fun.
The next class I participated in was "Poppet" by the wonderful  Lillian Alberti. Two days of laughing and sculpting out of paper clay. Wonderful. (hmmm, I already said that, well, it's true.)
I still need to finish both of my projects. Hopefully, I will be able to keep this fantastic creating in the forefront, oh all those balls that juggle in the air, a few may fall. HA!
Smiles to All,

Monday, April 11, 2011

...ohhh what to wear

I am so excited about how this gal is coming together...It is a major challenge to teach myself about these joints and how they are all suppose to work, so, needless to say, they don't work "perfectly" they do work though!!! YEAH!! Now it is time to decide what I will have her wear. That was pretty funny as I was talking to my friend at work, I couldn't help but notice how perfect her shirt would make just a wonderful dress!! (She didn't!)

Smiles to All, Brenda

Monday, March 14, 2011

...look ma, no hands! (or arms, or foot, or back of cranium)

Here she is so far. I am completely amazed and thrilled with how she is coming along. I have had a lot of down time, just kind of walking around scratching my head trying to "understand" how it all works together. I have found that, once again, nothing works better than "doing". (The same way exercise works by doing...crazy concept!) Granted, she's not all together yet, I'm still working on making her hands, and arm joints. Her foot fell off today, which is good, now I know that I need to secure it better than just at the ball seam. (poor thing, you can see her foot just sitting there in the background) My goal is to have her completed, dressed and coiffed, so that I can take her for show and tell at the AFIC conference, that's the end of April, so there is still plenty of time, especially for a procrastinator like myself.
Now, onto her hands, and working on her torso so that she can sit all the way down...she's kinda has that dirty toilet seat squat going on right now... know exactly the position of which I speak! HA!
Smiles to All,

Monday, March 7, 2011

...slowly but...not surely

This may look like I've not gotten very far...I've been fixing things like...the abdominal area, adding breasts...and trying to figure out how in the world all of this goes together. I've found a sight that has helped me a bit on the steps, but isn't very detailed. (Boy, I really wish I read Japanese!) Obviously, I'm not going to complete this perfectly, the leg joints aren't the way the are suppose to be, the doll isn't able to get to a full right angle...things like deep the balls should go into the do the feet and hands get balled and then how does the hook work????..among other things of is coming along, and that I am extremely pleased with!!(what's the saying? Rome wasn't built in a day) : )
Smiles to All,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


yes, the title is me letting out some of my frustration. I am way in over my head with these BJD stuff, I'm still holding onto the edge, so that I am not drowning, but ...phew! Granted, I'm a newbie but I also seem to suffer from perfectionism. Now, I really didn't think I did, cause I put plenty of stuff out there that isn't perfect. But ohhhh, if you read the self help stuff, and I'm listening to Brene Brown's " The Gift of Imperfection"(wonderful wonderful book) um,but,  I suffer. Nonetheless, here I am in the deep end with all the swimmers. DIGging deep as she would say.
With all of that in mind, here is what I am up to. My first Ball Jointed Doll First, you make a Styrofoam model (never have done this, but pretty amazed that it actually comes out) then, you sand and form it a little more precisely....good...good....that seems to do fairly well too.

Now, cover the individual forms with the paper clay....EGADZOOKS! and actually make them look like a leg versus a tree stump? OK...a little stumpy, but here comes some magic....sandpaper. Ahhhh....a multitude of sins can be knocked off with sandpaper, and then what's pretty neat too, is that you can add more paper clay if you knock too much off.

Yeah!!! what? I've frozen.... it's time to cut my head in half and dig out the Styrofoam....let's cross the fingers and see what happens next....(I find that I'm hiding from this struggle with a cloak of gourmet jelly beans, and miscellaneous heads.) Forward I shall go!
Smiles to All, Brenda

Sunday, February 20, 2011


What a great weekend. First a sunny warm day in the middle of a Northwest Indiana winter. (giant smile) We got the rest of the wood pile moved to the front porch. My great new book arrived. Michaels had great coupons and I was able to start getting my supplies ready for Ohio. (even bigger smile, I used my Michaels gift card that I got for Christmas-thanks Mom and Dad). Dave was able to get out on the bike!!!(jumping while smiling) and I worked on learning about paper clay and painting are the results so far.

you can definitely tell both the progression of sculpture structure and painting. I've e-mailed our high school Japanese instructor to see if she can help with the translation of the book. Let's keep our fingers crossed, that would be AMAZING!Smiles to All, Brenda came!!

I finally got my book from Japan today! So exciting. Now...I really wish I read some Japanese! What I find so funny is that the pictures and numbers are in English, and under each heading is the English word...and then to add insult to injury a specific square with the only language is English "Advice" and then the advice given all in Japanese. To be fair. I knew that this book was not written in English. I also thought that the photos and the sequences would be exceptional. I am not disappointed! AMAZING! It has got my curiosity up so much that it's a bit of a has me thinking that I need to talk with our local high school and see if the Japanese class can do some extra credit by interpreting....hey...I think its worth a shot.
Smiles to All, Brenda

Friday, February 18, 2011, I don't read Japanese...

so, I'm sitting here eagerly awaiting my new book, Yoshida Style Ball Jointed Doll-Making Guide by Ryo Yoshida, and yes, all the instructions are in Japanese! Marina suggested it in her blog, and once I saw the photo's, eh...maybe I can muddle through with some help from the BJD bloggers. I am totally new to this, but I'm a lover of the "process" work, and from my understanding...gadzooks, it's a process!

These dolls are made out of paperclay, which is nice, it's inexpensive and easy to come by. So, I got my hands sticky and icky and full of goo. It was wonderful. I'm finding it to be sort of a fun medium. You can sand it, build it up, if you accidentally notch out the nose...just add more paper.So here are the results so far all are WIP (works in progress)...
The eyes in this guy were made by following Marina's tutorial. These are all much larger than the BJD's will be but it has been a good way to introduce myself to the medium. ALSO, I'm taking the Poppet class at the AFIC in Ohio with Lillian Alberti. This is also done out of cool, I'm learning!
It was pretty funny the other day my son came in and read the note on the oven, "Boys, there are heads in the oven, please remove them before you change the temp. Love you Mom" he is certain that there are some families where this is not only NOT the norm, but...would probably freak them out! Ha!
Smiles to All,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

...and the winner is...


#58 on Magic Carpet

I can't belive my doll gets to go all the way to Tuscany, Italy. She will have a stamp in her passport before I. (I actually get to get mine March 24th) Yeah to Mila, and thank you. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and checked out the Comfort Doll Program and bwh2. It has been such a pleasure to participate with everyone!

Friday, February 4, 2011 in form OR ...what else can I do with this

So here it is, the generic form I started with. I wish I could give credit to who first created this outline, but, I've forgotten which mag I pulled it from. Just a side note, don't you just love all the uses for recycled cereal boxes? : ) I went ahead an made one out of an animal print, and two out of a satin. I'm forcing...ok trying to make with the face so I drew her face using Y&C Fabric Mate marker. (epb sells a kit with specific colors for faces)
I decided to run with the animal motif and created a "mane" out of a turqouise boa. Then, I added some blue fur. I really wasn't digging the effect so...I added the gold beads...then some glitter...and then, well, I put modge podge on it for a contrast of texture. She still needs more somethin' somethin'...but she is now resting for her next inspiration.
On to the satin figure...

I remember the article I got this form from had and optional loop on the back, for hanging. I've decided I want her purely free-standing. Through the stuffing slit, I poked my hemos in pushing the stuffing to either side to make a space for tubing to be inserted. I went into the kitchen and found a McDonald's straw...perfect. I had an left over stand from another project that I will use as a base..

I really didn't like the offwhite petals, so I decided to use permanent markers to color them and then mute and blend the colors by apply alcohol...tadaaa, I like that much better now.Next. I glue on a sash and next to the application of the seed beads. I'm getting pooped and want to post, so, be continued.
Smiles to all,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OWOH 2011 - One World One Heart Giveway


Hi everyone! My name is Brenda, and I live in Northwest Indiana, outside Chicagoland. I'm an artist of varied medium. I've dabbled in polymer, porcelain, quilting and cloth dolls. I have a tendency to follow my curiousity. I am looking forward to attending my 2nd artistic doll conference,the AFIC, in Ohio at the end of April. I have signed up for 2 classes devoted to the face. (my largest nemisis) I am also the spokesperson for the Comfort Doll Project, a group of online artists who send in comfort dolls which are then placed in abused women's shelters
The doll I am giving away is from my study of form. Her foundation is polyfilled satin, needle scuplted face, and cotton hair. Her dress is made of individual silk flower petals, accented with her seed beaded bodice. She was a joy to make. What a wonderful way OWOH is to find her a new home.
Please leave a comment for me in order to be entered into this giveaway. February 17th I will be randomly pulling a name from a hat to decide the winner.
Thanks, for visiting my blog.
Smiles to All,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

...check out these eyes!

I was lucky enough to happen upon this post by Marin Lenz. She shared how she makes "glass" like eyes. So, I gave it a whirl....all I can say is HOW COOL! and of course a giant THANKS. These are my first set of eyes to use in an unknown doll somewhere down the line. Please take the time to check out Marin's blog and her wonderful work!
Smiles to All