Thursday, March 6, 2014

Regional Candy Swap - Oh Yeah!

   Mid-February, Heidi Kenney (the talent behind Yummy) announced on her blog that she was going to host a regional candy swap. The swap was an experiment, so this time it was limited to only 20 participants from the United States to see if things would run smoothly. Each participant was matched with someone from a different location. The purpose of the swap was to exchange candy unique to each person's area. Doesn't that sound awesome? I didn't have to think twice about joining the fun!


   I was pleasantly surprised when it was time to know who our swap partners would be. I was lucky enough to be matched with Heidi herself. The picture above shows all the goodies she sent from Philadelphia. Most of this candy was new to me; some I had never even heard of.


   Not only was the candy delicious, but Heidi took care to include a few extra nice details: Some of the candies even had little notes attached. She also wrapped the sweets in a candy-themed wrapping paper, included a super cute sticker book and the card shown below. She may not have known this, but that terrarium inspired card is right up my alley.


   My favorite treats among everything I received are the Lancaster's Vanilla and Caramel Soft Crèmes and the Zitner's Butter Krak Eggs. The caramels are melt in your mouth soft. Yum!


   Zitner's Butter Krak Eggs are super rich in a way that doesn't overwhelm: one goes a long way. These luscious chocolates are perfectly balanced for a pleasurable experience.


   My wife disagreed with my choices though. Don't get me wrong: she liked my favorites, but she LOVED Slo Poke. It's soft caramel that comes in bar form. Definitely good.


   Participating in this swap was a great experience and I can't wait to do it again in the future. If you want to see what I sent to Heidi, visit her blog.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Art Supplies Shopping Spree - Blick

   This past Christmas, I gifted myself an art supplies shopping spree. Isn't that awesome? :D

   I don't usually splurge like this, but there are SO many supplies I can't find locally. It's no fun to go to the art stores and not be able to find what you're looking for. I paint using all kinds of media for different effects, depending on my mood and what is available at the moment. That's why after lusting for some of these for a long while I decided to go ahead and get me a little bit of everything to try. And I've been having so much fun testing them.


   The spree included inks, watercolors, markers, pencils, pastels, crayons, you name it, but if I had to choose favorites (something akin to choosing a favorite child I must imagine) I'd choose the inks and soft pastels. Inks are super versatile and the colors are so bright! :D I even got me a couple of pearlescent acrylic inks and they're gorgeous. Soft pastels are my thing though, I realized last year while using them on a project that I just adore the softness and blendability of them, but I wanted better pigments, that were lightfast and more saturated; I found just that on Sennelier.

These guys have their gorgeous store right in front of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
As you can imagine visiting that store is now in my bucket list.

   These soft pastels are the first super fancy professional grade supply I ever put my mittens on (besides some boring colors of liquitex paint) and they do not disappoint. They're super soft and the colors are vibrant. :) I love the softness that can be achieved with pastels, but I need colors to be happy.


   There are so many items in this spree that I love, one post is not enough. I'll try and do some supply review posts in the future because I feel some of these items need their own space. I will leave you now with a painting I did a few days ago in which I used many of the supplies from this spree. I love how it turned out, plus it has a mango so...

I Found Sweetness - Super bad pic taken with my phone

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Micro Cuties

Charlotte - She loves retro fashion. 
   When I was a little girl, grandma used to give me tiny plastic dolls to play with. I loved those itty bitty dolls and for a long while I've been wanting to recreate that feeling, but I wasn't confident on my sewing skills. I imagined that making dolls that small with the level of detail I wanted to include would be too difficult. It wasn't until a couple of days ago that I found the motivation to actually try.

Phoebe - She's a glam rocker with a heart of gold.

   My sudden burst of motivation came from an instagram post by fellow artist Kelly White. A couple of weeks ago she started making miniature fabric bunnies dressed in felt clothes. I found the little critters extremely adorable and decided to try making my own miniature dolls. I designed several patterns, before finally making one I love. The finished dolls measure about 3" (7 cm).

Lilly - She loves nature and it shows in her style.
   Making these dollies was super fun and brought back cherished childhood memories. I find them incredibly cute and I hope you do too. I made a total of 8 unique dolls. Each one has a name and a short description that tells you a little bit about her personality. To see the rest of the series visit my Facebook page: Carrousel Dream Dolls.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Paint Splatters

Madison [mixed media on canvas panel - 11" x 14"]

   I love making dolls, but for some time I'd been feeling the need to do something more with my creative energy. It seems that painting is just what I needed. There's something freeing about painting that's just not present when I make dolls. My dolls are tiny in comparison to most handmade dolls and require a level of attention to detail that can be stressing. I'm a perfectionist and as such don't tolerate flaws in my work. Hence, even though I love making dolls, the process can be overwhelming at times.

Gaia [mixed media on canvas panel - 11" x 14"]

   Painting is the opposite for me. When I paint I let myself go. I don't pressure myself to be perfect, I simply go where the painting takes me. Mistakes can be easily corrected or worked into the final product. I do plan to sell my artwork eventually, but for the time being it's just my thing.

Moon Blossom [mixed media on canvas panel - 11" x 14"]

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Of Art Classes and Seemingly Dead Dolls

Mercedes - Day of the Dead inspired doll

   Some of you know that I've been experimenting with painting. Since that first post, I've discovered the vast world of online art classes. In my search for new techniques I stumbled upon Danita Art's online workshop Mixed Media from the Heart. For me, the best part of Danita's class is that from day one she encourages her students to find their own voice and create art that is true to them. I'll be sharing some of my recent paintings soon, but for now I'd like to share a doll.

   Curiously enough, joining a mixed media workshop inspired me to make a new doll. I guess, in a way, it's still mixed media artwork - just not the kind I was hoping for.

   How did this happen?

Las Catrinas by Danita Art | Available on Etsy


   If you browse through Danita's blog or her shop you'll notice that Frida Kahlo and the Day of the Dead are recurrent themes in her artwork. Seeing her beautifully rendered Catrinas made me want to create one of my own. Mercedes was born from this sudden urge.

Mercedes - Day of the Dead inspired doll
   She's yet another doll that has taken me way out of my comfort zone. Making her painted face was fun and scary at the same time. I wasn't sure if my collectors would be interested in such a doll, but I just had to make her. Lucky for me - my fear was unfounded. I fell in love with the finished doll and she was well received by others. In fact, she's already in her new Australian home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Teeny Babies: Halloween Style

Halloween 2011 photo by Jowei

   I've come to realize that Halloween might be my favorite holiday. I don't have much of a Christmas spirit and I can't unsee the sales pitch behind Valentine's, but there's something special about Halloween. All the free candy is a definite plus, but what really appeals to me is that there seems to be a bit of magic in the air. It's the time of the year were the weird and unusual becomes the norm.

   Not surprisingly, my most recent work has been influenced by Halloween. A couple of weeks ago I decided to give my Teeny Babies a new twist.

Teeny Babies available on Etsy

   It all started with Rüdiger, a Teeny Baby vampire. I made him on a whim and people seemed to love him. I asked around  for ideas on my facebook page and on Instagram. People were quick to respond will all sorts of awesome suggestions. I chose my favorites and started sewing.

Rüdiger a Teeny Baby Vampire
   When it was all said and done I had seven Halloween Teeny Babies in search of a new home. I made a werewolf, a black cat, a witch, a vampire, a boy that doesn't fear monsters, a baby Wednesday Addams, and a zombie. Picking a favorite was hard for me, but I finally chose Mary, the Teeny Baby Zombie.

   Do you have a favorite?

Teeny Babies available on Etsy

   Oz, the Teeny Baby Werewolf deserves a special mention. He was my first attempt at a double sided doll: one side shows his human face and the other his wolf. I was pleased with the results and might be making more in the future.

Oz showing his two sides


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Serendipity - Mixed Media Art Class

Andrea - 11 "x 14" Mixed Media on 80lb Paper

   I've been into art all my life. Painting was always something that amazed me and I've always wanted to try it, but mainly I just doubted myself so I had never really done it before. I actually took a class when I was in college and I thought it would be awesome, but there was too little time to learn all the different mediums and techniques plus the professor let his taste get in the way of critique. That didn't help with the self doubt. Then the other day I was browsing through a mixed media art group in Facebook and I found the most gorgeous painting. When I looked closely, the artist Juliette Crane was advertising an online class. :D It was a year-long class in mixed media called Serendipity. :D One of the goals of the teacher in this class is to teach the students to let go and have fun with what they're doing so that it gets reflected in their work. I registered myself as soon as I could and started having lots of fun painting this girl.


   This is my background that I made from painted papers and newspaper images of popcorn, nature and a bacteria. ;) I can't wait until I have all the supplies so that I can have lots of fun experimenting.


   This is a little bit forward in the process, I had already started with the face and the background was a lot busier. A couple of hours later Andrea came to be and I couldn't be prouder of my first painting ever. I think I'm going to frame it. ;D
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