Christmas Angels…..A love/hate relationship.  Sitting pretty up on top of the Christmas tree, but some of them can be so tacky. I sometimes wonder what exactly those Chinese manufacturers are thinking. (What do they think when they are making all this… excuse my discourtesy…crap!)

Here was the challenge–take a Chinese made angel and give her a makeover.  Again, not really the thing that I do.  I sculpt my own dolls, but here it is, my sister asked this favor of me.  So in my head, I’m thinking, “Ok, here is another exercise in costuming.”  There’s always something to learn.

My sister loved her beautiful face.  I had to agree, she is adorable.

Angel Face

And she didn’t want to change the angel’s style. She loved the winter angel theme, but 10+ years had taken a toll on this heavenly being, and she was no longer her immaculate white self.  She had yellowed with age and loosing plumage off her glorious wings.

Yellowed Angel

Of course I didn’t get a picture of her before I took her off the cone! but you get the idea.

After carefully taking everything apart, creating a pattern was easy seeing how the dress wasn’t going to change.  I used the pieces to make the new pattern and then cut them out of new, white satin.

Making a pattern

I actually loved the lace overlay which, I was surprised to find, had the pearl beads sewn on rather than glued.  I wanted to reuse it, so I hand washed it in gentle soap and it came back to life.  (and so did her face!)

Lace and Alien Arms

I sewed the pieces, on the machine were I could and some by hand, adding new fur to the skirt, and making a new muff and hat.

I definitely shortened her arms so they weren’t a weird, long, alien length. So not to scale. (Again, what do the Chinese think we actually look like?)

I also recreated her wings with new feathers which is always fun because I had bits of feather flying all over my studio.

Wings Old and New

I think she is ready for another 10 or so years.

Winter White Angel

Here’s the Close Up

Before and After

I promised myself no more art projects until some of my furniture gets cleared out of the garage since there is no room for the car!

Once upon a time, I thought that I would do furniture makeovers.

You can see that by reviewing some of my earlier posts like this and this. (and I still own these pieces.)

The chalk paint craze had just begun and I was making my own chalk paint, then using commercial brands.

I had accumulated a few pieces of furniture to redo.

But then I started making my art dolls and mixed media, and that consumed my time.

So, furniture sits in the garage, and friends say, “Oh, I found this and thought you might want it!”

And that’s how I ended up with this sad mess.

Really, I think it’s nice when friends think of me, and I then take it as a personal challenge to figure out how I can make it functional again.

I’m not the kind of furniture refinisher who wants to bring things back to perfection.

A vintage piece such as this was massed produced, and not the kind of antique that need to be returned to it’s former glory.

I wouldn’t have the time and expertise to make that happen, and besides, now I can have some fun with it.

I prefer to create a piece that looks well worn and has a story. A story and a history is what I have fun with.  After seeing this piece shown here as my inspiration, it was on!

I was going to paint the table all black, filling in the holes and gaps, but I was very intrigued with the joinery used for the oval table edge and I wanted it to remain visible.  I had an assortment of old, aged boards in my stash, and I enhanced the aging with paint and stain.

Don’t forget to use gloves!

Now this piece takes on a Victorian industrial look, curvy legs, well worn, kicked around a while, and oh look!

The wood underlying the missing top were from an old French cider barrel!

Well, not really, but that’s the story I’ve created for this piece. (wink, wink)

If you’re interested in the cabinet in the background, you can see how that came about here.

 

Products used to create this finish: Block letter stencils, French stencilblack artist’s acrylic, Varathane walnut stain, Deco Arts creme wax

(Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase from these links, I will get a few copper coins, but that doesn’t affect the price you pay!)

Charles is a bit of a devious character. You never know if he’s helping or hindering.  He’s prone to gambling, and may be winning under suspect circumstances.  But with his trusty gauntlets, he can disappear at the push of a button.

Charles is the next anthropomorphic character in my Steampunk Wonderland series.  Charles represents the Cheshire Cat in the Wonderland story.  As I was creating him, I got a bit of a Wild, Wild West vibe.  Instead of holsters, though, I created the steampunk gauntlets on his arms and his weapon is to simply disappear, just like the Cheshire Cat.

Charles is a one of a kind sculpture.  His head hands and feet are sculpted from paper clay with a wire armature with polyester fiberfill batting.  His claws are polymer clay. His tail is faux fur.   He is hand painted with acrylic paints and sealed with an artist quality matte varnish.  Clothing is sewn by me from a pattern created just for him.  The front of the vest is made from a repurposed, vintage, 100% silk tie. His white cotton shirt is embellished with pewter beads and he has a suede ribbon bolero tie.  His hat and gauntlets are made of a faux leather and embellished with mixed media elements.  Garments are not removable. (except for the hat)

  

 

His stand is custom made for him.  He will stand on his own with a little persuasion, but the stand provides added stability.

Charles will be available for purchase in my Etsy store soon.

I am pleased to introduce you to the Duchess.  The Duchess is the next in the series of Pumpkin Head people that I hope to make many of.  In a previous blog post, I introduced you to Peter, Paul and Merry, several of my other Pumpkin Head people.

The Duchess oversees the merriment the ensues in the pumpkin patch on Halloween night for all the pumpkins that were not taken out of the field.  They come to life and have a soirée, as the Duchess would say, dancing and laughing the night away as music fills the air.

But the prim and proper Duchess is not the laughing and dancing type.  She aloofly sits and watches the merriment commence.  Then, as the night wears on, she tires easily and quietly nods off.  It would be impolite to tell her she was snoring just a little!

The Duchess Hubbard is fashioned after a Hubbard squash with her blue and bumpy flesh.  Her stem is from a curly willow branch. Her head, hands and shoes are sculpted by me from paper maché clay, painted with acrylic paints and sealed with a matte acrylic varnish.  They are attached to a wire armature and filled out with polyester fiberfill.

Her garments are all one of a kind, sewn especially for her by me.  Each pattern for my dolls are created individually for each doll.

She wears a hand embroidered jacket with a matching skirt, with a faux bustle and lining made with vintage moire fabric and trimmed with orange ribbon.

It is worn over a white and green striped dress made from repurposed material and trimmed with black ribbon.  Her overly tall pillbox hat is embellished with a vintage black button.  She has a drawstring pocketbook made with the same vintage moire fabric with a dried rose petal sachet inside.  Her shoes are laced and she has dark stockings with eyelet lace pantaloons.

The Duchess stands over 20 inches tall, the largest doll I have made.  She has jointed arms and legs which do not allow her to stand on her own, but allows her to sit easily.

She will be available soon on my Etsy store.  Follow my Facebook or Instagram page or sign up here on my blog to get notified.

The Princess Frog, the Littlest Mermaid is a fantastical creature whose inspiration came from a meme on social media. The meme went like this:

God: You’re an amphibian.
Frog: What does that mean?
God: It means you can breath on land and in the water.
Frog: OMG! You mean I’m a mermaid?
God: No no, that’s not what I-………
Frog: (whispers) I’m the littlest mermaid!

And so my Princess Frog, the Littlest Mermaid was born.

This little darling has a sculpted paper clay upper body and a fabric lower body stuffed with fiberfill.  The upper body is painted with acrylic paints, sealed with matte varnish, and metallic waxes and glitter added.  The lower body fabric also has painted accents and glitter added.  Her tail fin can be posed in different ways.  The belly and fin have hand beaded embellishments which include square sequins repurposed from a vintage ’70’s belt.  A handmade crown of glass beads on wire finish her ensemble.

 

She is available on my Etsy store.

This is a quick little post.

When I started sculpting with paper clay in 2012, I created a Santa.

I have recently been working on another Santa, and I wanted to share how my skills have progressed.

I can’t believe how far I have come!

Santa 2012

Santa 2019

Practice, practice, practice!

Although I have not sculpted a large number of dolls in those years, I have been watching many tutorials, learning, and making changes in how I sculpt.

I will be posting more on my Santa Elf soon!

 

 

So, the woods are full of little creatures.  You just have to believe they are there to see them.

On a walk in the woods, I passed this tiny woman creature along the path. She had a sweet kind face with golden eyes and smelled of lavender.

She told me her name was Maude. She collects mushrooms to take to the market.  (That’s the fairy market, not the people market).

Maude hadn’t had time to change out of her slightly soiled dress and apron with her hair in slight disarray from foraging for the mushrooms.  She was late to the market, so she had quickly donned her ‘goin’ to market’ vest and hat.

 

I bid her goodbye, but she has agreed to bring you some mushrooms if you’d like.

 

Maude’s head, hands, and feet are sculpted from paper clay and hand painted with acrylic paint and sealed with a matte varnish.  The body is a soft polyester fiberfill over a wire armature and Maude also has her body stuffed with dried lavender. She has natural fiber hair.

Her vest is created from a vintage velvet patchwork dress and embellished by me with hand embroidery.  The mushroom basket is created from woven card stock strips and the mushrooms created with paper clay and all hand painted with acrylic paints.

 

Update:  Sold!  Maude has gone to a new home!

Follow me on Facebook or Instagram