Archive for May, 2009

Mad Hatter Tea Party

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Today, my sister and I hosted a Mad Hatter Tea Party.  I had read about hosting such a party in the Hallmark magazine (which is no longer published, unfortunately).  We had so much fun preparing for the party.
MadHatterTea1 We woke up to a surprise, though.  It was raining!  It never rains in sunny California.  Or, that is how the song goes.  But, never fear.  John ran out and got plastic to cover the patio roof (it is normally a lattice.  Lots of holes), and we busily decorated.

Those of you who know how Chapter 7 in the book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" starts know the table is correct.  It just isn't under a tree.  The first line of the chapter says "there was a long table set out under a tree….."

Our table was long and with lanterns and flowers, along with mismatched china and silverware we had quite a festive looking table.

Everyone arrived with fun hats, that was a requirement, and dressed in typical "tea" clothes.  I had set up a table inside with stuff to decorate hats if needed.  We didn't let the dampness slow us down.  We ate, drank tea and talked.

MadHatterTea2The menu included White Rabbit Tea Sandwiches, Mad Hatter's Party Pinwheels, Cheshire Cat Nibbles (fresh veggies), Cryphon Chopped Salad, The Queens Cream Scones,  Looking Glass Cake,  The Kings Clotted Cream,  Alice's Lemon Curd,  The Knaves Ginger-Lime Marmalade,  Curiouser Green Tea,  Tweedle Dumb & Tweedle Tea,  Nonsensical Tea and Dormouse Lemonade.


My sister wired gloves which held the menu's.  Such a clever idea.

I was also excited that peonies were available here in San Diego.  They are my favorite flower and not seen too often here in warmer climates. 

We put the flower arrangements in tea pots and served tea in wine carafe's.  After all, it was a mad tea.

MadHatterNameTags Being a doll maker/fiber person I had to make name tags from fabric for everyone.  The prototype was a real pain to turn.  The Patti C. you see had pointed tips to the hat.  You can see on Susan's that I rounded out the hat, which made it much easier to turn.

I used my trusty Bernina 440 to free motion stitch with decorative threads.  This made the name tags really stand out.  I could have machine embroidered everyone's names, but we had a few last minute changes in attendee's, thus I decided to hand write each person's name with permanent ink.

We had such a great time that I think I'll have to host another tea later in the year.  Maybe a fairy tea next time.

Spring Flowers

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

John and I returned last week from two beautiful weeks in Wisconsin, Illinois and Kentucky.  We were mostly visiting family and friends and looking around for places to relocate down the road.
This was the perfect time of year to visit the Midwest.  The flowers were in full bloom everywhere.

SpringFlowersontheFarm These beauties were all over the place at my uncles farm near where I grew up.

I had never seen this type of flower before and no one seemed to know, either.  I'll have to do some research.

SpringPeony My favorite flower is the Peony.  They come in several shades of pink.  This one is almost fuchsia. 
Everywhere we went the peonies were in full bloom and I loved burying my nose into them.  They have such a wonderful aroma.SpringFlowerswAnts

The flower below was scattered around the farm.  I hadn't noticed the ants until after I had taken the photo. 
These photo's were taken with my new Canon Rebel.  I'm thrilled with the quality of the images.

JohnatAllerton1 While near my home town, Bement, Illinois, I took John to Allerton Park to see the old Pioneer Cemetery where several of my ancestors are buried.  Unfortunately, due to all the rain they've had in the Midwest the cemetery is presently under water.  The Sangamon River is about a mile wide.  Where John is standing is .2 of a mile in from the Sun Singer.  The cemetery is .7 of a mile in but you can see why we had to stop.  We didn't have a boat, plus I wouldn't know where the trail was.  We'll have to go back when it has dried out.

ShanghaiGirlsCover One of my favorite author's new book arrived today.  Lisa See has written the book that inspired Chapter 5 in my Creative Cloth Exploration book.  "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" touched my heart and my Tome yahoo group did a fan exchange.  The other novel I love of Ms. See's is "Peony in Love".  That book inspired a challenge I did on Dollstreet.  We made beautiful Lotus shoes.
In this book Lisa See follows two sisters who come to America.  I can't wait to get started.  I know I'll love this book as much as her others.  I also know a challenge will come from this book, too.


Before I close this post I have to share a beautiful doll with you.  This incredible doll was made by Abi Monroe.  She's named her Willow. 

I love everything about this doll.  Abi wrote that this was one of her first dolls.  As I wrote her, she needs to keep making dolls.

I'm presently working on a fun project that I will share soon.  I'm having a Mad Hatter's Tea Party for a few friends this weekend and am making fun name tags for everyone.  I'll take a heap of photo's with my new camera and share them here.  So, stay tuned.

Dazzling Daze Spring

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

It was a small, but really terrifc, group who gathered at my house for my Spring Dazzling Daze.  I had canceled it when everyone started dropping out, but one person had already purchased her airline ticket so we went ahead.  I'm glad we did.DazDazeSprgCyndi

We started with Cyndi Mahlstadt teaching her wonderful tree doll – Darcy.  Cyndi showed us how to bend wires, cut holes in an Altoid tin, paint it, rust it, create intricate hands with wires and paint them with nothing covering them (yes.  It can be done and it is fabulous), use Apoxy Clay to create a whimsical head in one of her molds, paint it, attach all kinds of stuff to make our Darcy into the lovely tree person she is. 

If you ever get a chance to take a class with Cyndi, do it.  She's outstanding.


The doll to the left is Cyndi's Fairy Godmother.  Cyndi has a magical way of working with found objects to create beautiful works of art.

Another thing I love about Cyndi's work is the way she uses the no-sew beads to enhance a figure.  You can't see them on this wonderful creature, but they are scattered around her face and body.

DazDazeBarbaraSweater Barbara Leftwich came down from Sun City to take Cyndi's class.  She's been bitten by the free motion knitting and crocheting bug.  But, all I can say is I'd like to get bitten by the same bug.  Here she is showing us one of her amazing sweaters.
Breathtaking, isn't it?  Better go check out Barbara Chapman's classes at the Black Sheep so I can learn how to do one of these sweaters.
DazDazeCathwBowls We started our workshop on Monday, April 27.  Tuesday night was our doll club's meeting (IOLCC).  I had invited
Kath Danswan to bring her silk cap bowls, and other beautiful work, to share.  Kath was to be one of the Dazzling Daze teachers, but we had to cancel her.  She was here from England teaching workshops up in the Los Angeles area. 
Everyone at the doll club meeting were truly taken with Kath's work.  Her book "Beautiful Bowls & Colourful Creatures" is a must have.  Look in my sidebar for her website to see more of her remarkable work.


Cyndi also shared some of her dimensional "flat" work.  This is a wall hanging she's been working on.  It is a combination of computer imaging and fabric manipulation.  Plus, heaps of other techniques.

After Cyndi's two days it was my turn.  I taught working with Shiva Paintstiks to create a soft, blended face and body.  This is a medium I'm very familiar with since it is similar to the oil paints I worked with when I did portraits.  The difference is there's no messy mixing.  Otherwise they are very much the same.  Other than the detailing of the eyelashes, eyebrows, etc., all the coloring is done with the oil paintstiks.


To the right is Michelle's doll. Michelle had flown out from New Hampshire.  She did a beautiful job with the coloring.  Her doll started white, so we dyed the fabric with a flesh color first, then she used the paintsticks for the shading, highlighting and coloring of the eyes and lips.
We did learn that it is best to wait the full 3 days before doing the detailing.  Even though our dolls were dry the next afternoon and we ironed them we mucked up several detaling pens.  If you can't wait, I'd recommend using the brush tips of the Micron's, Zig's, Copic's, etc.  Those won't get messed up.

Below is the group on our last day.  Both Michelle and I were having bad hair days as we blew a circuit breaker because we were both using our hair dryers at the same time.  Different parts of the house, but the electrician we had hired several years ago to fix the problem actually made it worse.  He's since gone out of business. 
It was a wonderful 4-days and I'm sure we'll have more.  My next Dazzling Daze will probably be in early December.  I've got a project in mind and I think it will be fun and exciting.  So, stay tuned.  I'll hopefully  have it finished in August and the dates firmed up.

In the meantime, happy doll making!