Friday, April 30, 2010

Favorites on Fridays

Today, I decided that I can't hold out and be selfish, I must share one of my favorite artists with you--Michelle Palmer.  I just love the little drawings she does on fabric.  I literally check out her Etsy shop at least once a day to see what she is up to, and I always smile when I see that she has an update to her blog
Of course you KNOW that I HAD to buy some of her little teddy bear drawings.  The one above is only one of a little pile that I bought from Michelle.  And she has just delightful drawings of birds and nests.  When this cute little drawing of 4 baby birds (below) came onto her Etsy site, it was just the perfect little gift for my aunt.  I know my aunt will love it and I can't wait to send it to her.
Now I can breathe a sigh of relief.  You see, I was feeling rather guilty about keeping Michelle's work a secret to all of you.  But now you can check her out for yourself!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Poking Along

Yes, I've just been poking along all weekend.  A couple of pokes here.  A few more pokes there.  And a thousand more everywhere else.  As you probably figured out, I'm working on my first fully felted bear face.  I think he's coming along fairly well, but I think I need to step back from him for a while before I decide whether he's done.

Saturday night I was SURE that I had finished needle felting the bear's face.  That is until Sunday when I woke up to see a mouse's face looking at me.

That's just NOT right!  Okay, time to add some more wool here and a bit more there.  And poke and poke and poke some more. My directions seemed to add--continuing poking until you have punctured yourself at least 3 times and then get a band-aid to avoid getting blood on your bear's face.  I suppose it wasn't quite that bad, but I do have quite a few marks on my left index finger and thumb to prove I actually did the work.
Last night, I finally felt (oops, I really hadn't intended that pun, but it does work rather well!) I had a more teddy-bearish-looking face.  He's very different from most of my bears in that he is quite cartoonish, although I think he may have the impish look I was trying to achieve.  Overall, I think I'm pleased with how he's coming along.  He still needs some hand-coloring and a bit of work on his nose, but I think I'm going to put his head aside for today and work on his body.

Will I make more of these completely felted bear faces?  I don't really know.  It has taken hours upon hours upon hours to felt, so I'm going to have to think hard about it in the future.  But I'm sure I'll at least continue to add felted elements to my bears in the future.  And I always think that it is a good idea to learn new skills.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it! 

I'll get some photos of my progress posted later this week!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Favorites on Fridays

Every day I stumble down to breakfast blearied-eyed, make my breakfast, and plunk myself down at the dining room table to eat.  And then I smile.  How could I NOT smile with such an impish little smile grinning back at me from the corner cabinet?
My grandmother ADORED her little Kewpie doll and I adore her, too.  No, she's not in pristine condition--she's crazed and cracked.  But, boy, is she loved!  I'm told that she was a treasure bought at a fair for my grandmother, a little girl who had very few toys.  Grandma loved her doll and for several years even kept her Kewpie in the box while she played with it.  She felt like such a lucky girl.

And I have always felt like such a lucky girl to have my Grandma give her to me.  It was always like a treasure hunt searching through the boxes in my Grandma and Grandpa's attic.   Oh, how fun it was to see what might be hiding under the eaves.  So many old toys and books.  It was a magical fantasyland to me.  When I think back, there really may have only been a few boxes with the toys that I coveted and many, many more boxes of other things.  But, to me, the attic was literally FILLED with treasures.

Most of the toys were my Dad's and my Aunt's.  The Kewpie doll was the only remaining toy that I remember Grandma having and I don't remember Grandpa having any toys from his childhood at all.  Both Grandma and Grandpa grew up in the Upper Pennisula of Michigan during the time of lumberjacks and their camps.  In fact, Grandpa grew up in a lumberjack camp in the boarding house that his mother ran.  Because they didn't have many toys growing up, my grandparents made sure that their children had no lack of toys at all.  They knew how important play is to a growing mind.

Maybe that is one reason I am drawn like a magnet to toys--in particular, old toys.  And it's probably one of the reasons behind my passion for making teddy bears.  In fact, Grandma's sweet little Kewpie doll is currently the inspiration behind a new bear I'm creating using a lot of felting techniques for the facial features.  I don't know how my bear is going to turn out.  I'm not sure I can capture that ellusive impish glint that lights up Kewpie's face.  But, I'm going to try.  And, if is doesn't work this time, maybe it's worth trying again and again--chasing a memory in the look of an eye of a bear.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sign Up for Joanne's Wonderful Giveaway

I have just been itching to let you know about Joanne's giveaway at Desertmountainbear.  You just HAVE to sign up.  Ruth is absolutely stunning and her drawing on May 9th is inching towards us!
Actually, ALL of Joanne's creations are stunning!  I feel very privledged to be able to speak with authority that her reproduction bears are absolutely wonderful.  Do you want to see how I know with such certainty?  Okay.  Let me introduce you to my dear, sweet Elenor made by Joanne.
I just feel SO lucky to own sweet Elenor.  She sits happily on a little rocking chair in my living room so that I can see her every day.  And, believe me, I smile EVERY time I see her.  She just melts my heart.

So, now you know why you MUST zoom over to Joanne's NOW and sign up for a chance to win sweet Ruth.  Don't delay, click HERE!  I'm rushing right over there to sign up now, too!

Heaps of Hugs,

Friday, April 16, 2010

Favorites on Fridays

I can get excited about the most mundane of things and this week's "Favorite" is no exception.  Business cards.  Can you believe it?  I'm just tickled pink about my new business cards!  I bought them from and they are just stunning.  The cards are super thick and have a wonderfully smooth texture--here's the front of my card.
And guess what?  You get photos on the BACK, too!  I just LOVE these cards.

I only chose the one above photo for the back of my cards, BUT, if you want to, you can have a different photo for all 50 business cards for the same price.  Unbelievable! 

I don't know what other business cards cost, but these cost $21.99 for 50 business cards.  They also have mini-cards, postcards, greeting cards, and holiday cards.  I think I'm definitely going to have to try some more of their products because I just LOVE my business cards.  But I suppose you already figured that out!

You've got to check out MOO!  They ship all around the world and have two ships from the USA and ships from London where MOO originally started.

Okay, enough of my gushing.  I'm starting to sound WAY too much like an advertisement.  Oh, well.  I'm just SO tickled!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Heaps of Hugs,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Favorites on Fridays

A long time ago during the dark days of the Depression, a little girl named Dolores lived on a farm way, way in the northern penisula of Michigan.  Thankfully her father was one of the lucky men who had a job, but often it meant traveling far to the south to find any work he could.  You see, he supported two households--his own with his wife and daughter and his parents' with cousins who needed care.  Ten people in all.

Although poor, Dolores, or Dodo as she was affectionately called, didn't really feel it.  She only felt the love of the family.  And, oh, she was doted on.  "She looked like Shirley Temple," I was often told.  Little Miss Sunshine on the screen and their own little version in Dodo held hope for the future for this family.  Even Dodo's dear aunts in the great city of Chicago would spend precious money to outfit their little neice to look like the Darling of the Screen.

Shirley Temple meant happiness and easier days ahead.  And, oh, did Dodo love Shirley.  She felt like a dream dressed as her favorite star and admired the beautiful Shirley Temple dolls for sale.  Her parents and her aunts SO wanted to buy a Shirley Temple doll for their dear one who provided light in such days of darkness, but it was much too much out of their reach to be able to afford such a luxury.  But like all people of their day, they were resourceful.  Dodo's mother made her own version of a Shirley Temple doll and that doll was simply loved to pieces by Dolores.

I don't know what happened to that doll after Dodo died at the age of 10.  An infection took her just months, I've been told, before the release of the new wonder drug of the age, penicillin.  But she lived on in the hearts of the family and stories told particularly by her mother and aunts.  Stories told to another little girl many, many years later by a loving grandmother and by gentle great-aunts.  "You look so much like Dodo,"  I was often told with a look of love and hope in watery eyes.

So, you see,  Shirley Temple means a lot to my family. So when one particularly loved Shirley Temple doll on eBay went beyond my self-imposed limit I thought my heart was going to break.  Stuff and nonsense.  I had never gotten that way about a doll--I had never been much of a doll-person in the first place.  With a heavy heart I got up the next morning to find that Shirley was gone.  Someone had bought her.  I couldn't comprehend my dear husband's words--"I hope you like her.  Happy Valentine's Day!"  What?  I don't understand.  We don't exchange Valentine's gifts.  When I finally understood, I actually had tears of happiness.

Now my dear little Shirley Temple doll who was loved so dearly and passed tenderly on from person to person in another family until there was no one else to look after her sits smiling at me every day.  Not a day passes when I don't see her and smile.  And what is even better is that I know Grandma, Aunt Elaine, and Aunt Adele are smiling, too.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

100th post and So Much More to Happen

WOW!  Yippee skippy!  Woohoo!  Hurray!  Huzzah!  Yeah!

My 100th post and I still have so much to share with you.  First off, my next official blog giveaway will be on  June 16th.  Such an auspicious day, too.  It's the 1st anniversary of my blog and I will be giving away one of my Bingle Bear.  I'm not sure exactly how tall he will prove to be, but I am thrilled to say that I have designed him and am in the process of snipping him out in snatches of time that I steal from other things I really should be doing.  I'm VERY excited about him.  If he turns out to be everything I hope, he will join Toffee and be the next pattern that I release.

Next, tomorrow I plan to start my "Favorites on Fridays."  These may be favorite stories, objects, stores, artists, or just things in everyday life.  I've been trying to answer the questions of what inspires me.  I even considered getting one of those pretty cork or ribbon boards to put up in my studio.  I pictured what it would look like and where it would go, but then I couldn't think of a blasted thing that I would put on it.  That's when I realized that I arrange my home and life as a giant inspiration cork board.  So I thought I would regularly share snippets of what makes me tick.

Lastly, I'm really excited to be taking Judi Paul's felted faces class through Ebearz.  It will start in a little over a week and maybe I'll be able to show you pictures as I progress.

Thank you so much for joining me on this crazy journey called life--I so enjoy your company!

Heaps of Hugs,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dafffy-down-dillies Already!

I can't believe it--our daffodils bloomed today!  I think that's about a month early for us.
We had NO snow in March--also unbelievable!  I didn't want to say anything sooner for fear that I would jinx it.  AND the next two weeks of April look pretty mild.  We've even been in the eighties a couple of days.  Crazy.  So, it's possible that our winter is finished.  I can't believe it.  BUT, I'm SO happy about it!  We've already eaten several meals outside on our patio.  I'm loving it!

Heaps of Hugs,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter!

May you all savor the beautiful treasures and tiny miracles of the season.