Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Linda's Review of Christmas Collage Cross-Stitch Picture - Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Cross-Stitch Kit - MH14-9306

I enjoyed stitching my Autumn Wreath so much I decided to create another cross-stitch picture with wood frame to add to my collection. This time it had a Christmas theme and this time it would be inserted into a wooden frame that I had bought versus the shadowbox picture frames that I have previously used.

The Christmas Collage - Cross Stitch Kit pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and half stitch as well as beads of various sizes for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the green perforated paper background untouched.

I decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in a  Matte Green with Red Bow 6 x 6 Solid Color Mill Hill GBFRFA8 Wooden Frame, which is shown in the picture above.  It's a 6" x 6" handpainted green wooden frame with a bow and without glass.  Unlike the shadowbox frames more of the perforated paper would be seen surrounding the cross-stitch picture.

The pattern called for a red frame and certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background like the picture shown below:

Linda's Review of Autumn Wreath Cross-Stitch Shadow Box Picture - Mill Hill Buttons & Beads Cross-Stitch Kit - MH14-7205

Since Fall is my favorite season for crafting I decided to create another shadowbox cross-stitch picture with a Fall wreath to add to my collection.

Like the other Mill Hill - Buttons & Beads Series patterns I had bought the Autumn Wreath kit included the pattern, embroidery thread, brown perforated paper, beads, button, 2 needles and instructions.

The Autumn Wreath Cross Stitch Kit pattern uses full counted cross-stitch and straight stitching as well as beads and buttons for emphasis and depth. The pattern also calls for certain areas of the perforated paper to be left untouched as the background. In this case they were leaving sections of the brown perforated paper background untouched.

I, once again, decided to frame my finished cross-stitch picture in a 5" by 5" white shadow box frame that is 1 1/2" deep and can stand on it's own or with its back picture stand (like the picture above) as I've been really happy with the way all my other cross-stitch shadowbox pictures have come out.

I also decided to once again utilize the rectangular wood frame jig that my darling husband built for me that I could tape the edges of my perforated paper to. The wood frame jig is a rectangular embroidery hoop of sorts, but without bending the perforated paper. He had made it out of 1/2" x 1" pine wood strips with an adjustable center strip that I used for this 5 x 5 square design.

I had learned from previous mistakes that I needed to draw diagonal lines to locate the exact center of the perforated paper as in the last perforated paper cross-stitch picture I had done was slightly off center by a few holes which caused a problem with inserting the needles in the holes along one of the edges of my frame. So, I drew a diagonal line across each corner to get the center point of the perforated paper.  I also drew diagonal lines across each corner of the pattern to get the center point as well.

I had also run into a slight problem with one of the perforated paper cross-stitch pictures I had previously created with the beads along the edge causing a problem when framing so this time I also drew squares on the perforated paper to show me where the 5" x 5" square was. Plus, I knew I wanted to square my picture so I needed to know where to end my stitching or where to add additional columns and rows of stitching..

My Tinytopia & The Magic of Little Things Online Class At Artful Gathering by Mary Jane Chadbourne

I don't know why it is that I can never do anything in moderation.  I try to, but always fall prey to loving what I'm doing and wanting to try this or try that.  That is definitely a formula for over doing and, one of these days, I am truly going to run out of space for everything I make.  Hubby and my sister would tell you that I'm way past that point right now.  They're probably right, but when my creative juices have a hold on me - I make way more than I should.

Such was the case with the miniature houses I made for the Tinytopia class I'm taking during the 2nd session of Artful Gathering.  My Tinytopia & The Magic of Little Things online class is being taught by Mary Jane Chadbourne, who is an amazing mixed media artist.  I love her class and love the way she teaches.  Her classes are always a lot of fun and filled with all sorts of different projects and methods to try.  I always end up buying the DVD from Mary Jane's class as she teaches so many different mixed media techniques which I like to go back and review once the class is finished.

This is the 2nd class I've taken at Artful Gathering taught by Mary Jane Chadbourne.  The first was "ART-S2-307 The Imaginarium: Anthologies of an Art Doll " which took in 2014 and I reviewed here.  That class was my first introductuion into mixed media and I loved it and Mary Jane's teaching methods so much I decided to take her Tinytopia class this year.

I still haven't finished the miniature house canvas projects from her class.  I'm working on them so, yes, there will be more to show you.  For now here's what I've made so far:

The picture at the beginning of this post is a collage of the 12 different miniature houses I made.

Nine miniature houses in a row.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Romantic Journey On Canvas Online Class at Artful Gathering by Debby Anderson

In July of this year I spent two weeks in crafting bliss working on my projects from Debby Anderson's "A Romantic Journey On Canvas" at Artful Gathering and have to tell you that I may have found a new passion - something I absolutely love.

I can hear you all saying - what a surprise, Linda! You've found a new passion. When it comes to crafting is there anything you've ever tried that you haven't absolutely loved? Probably not.

Well, it is true that I absolutely love to craft and love everything I've learned through my online classes, but when it comes to passion - well, that's a little different. I have a passion for the Victorian era - especially the dresses, for doll making, for genealogy, for floral design, and for history. To all this I would have to add mixed media. I absolutely LOVE mixed media.

My husband doesn't love it as mixed media utilizes lots of different types of supplies so my living room was an absolute mess. You couldn't even see any of the furniture in there. It was all covered with arts & crafts supplies of one sort or another - all needed for the mixed media projects I'd been working on for my online classes.

I have to tell you that I absolutely LOVED Debby's class.  Debby Anderson is an unbelievably talented and inspiring jewelry designer and artist.  Her online class was fabulous.  Her video's were very easy to follow and she explained everything she was doing beautifully.  I couldn't be more pleased with her class.  If you've wanted to try creating mixed media canvas collage dress form projects Debby's class is a MUST TAKE.

There were 3 projects in  Debby Anderson's "A Romantic Journey On Canvas" mixed media online class: one to create a corseted tutu, one to create a wedding gown, and one to create a mixed media angel collage.  I made two corseted canvas's - one on 12" x 12" canvas and one on an 8" x 10" canvas.  I've also created a wedding gown on an 11" x 14" canvas.

Here's my first corseted tutu on a 12" by 12" canvas:

Monday, September 28, 2015

My Bonnets and Beaus: A Regency Doll Project Online Class at Artful Gatherning Taught by Hall Levesque

I finally finished the Regency Era  paperclay and painted faces dolls that I was making based upon the Bonnets and Beaus: A Regency Doll Project online class that I've been taking during the first session of Artful Gathering.

The online class was taught by Hally Levesque who is an exceptional art doll artist, photographer and a bit of a history buff. Not only are her video's easy to follow and beautifully taught but they are sprinkled with historical tidbits of life with Jane Austen - which I loved.   Now why would that be? Hmmm.... History tidbits for a history buff....... Hmmm....

Since I never do anything in moderation I, of course, couldn't just make one doll. I had to make two.

I was looking forward to taking this class as it would be the first time I would be sculpting the dolls faces, hands, and feet out of paperclay and then painting them with acrylic paints. Acrylic painting of any sort is not my strongest skill - so I knew this would be very challenging. At the very least it was going to be interesting if not comical.

I had no problem with the costumes and cloth body. Sculpting the heads and legs was a bit of a challenge but I finally got the knack of it after experimenting a few times. Sculpting the fingers was much harder than I had anticipated and I ended up not liking mine. They looked like Frankenstein hands so I changed them into more of a solid hand.

Painting the faces was a real challenge. I just couldn't get them the way I would have liked them to be. Suffice to say, acrylic painting of doll faces is still not by strongest suit.

They say practice makes perfect so, who knows. Perhaps it's a skill I can master over time. Right now I wouldn't hold my breath.

Instead of using mohair for their hair I decided to use my sister's alpaca fiber from her Rock Garden Alpacas Farm. I used Zinnia's beautiful fiber for the doll in the white outfit and Ivy's fiber for the doll in the dark brown and black outfit. If you'd like to check out my sister's Rock Garden Alpaca Fiber Etsy store here. I LOVE working with the alpaca fiber. It makes fantastic doll hair.

I loved this class and would recommend it for anyone interested in making dolls or, specifically, historical period dolls.