Archive for November, 2010

DMC Project

Monday, November 29th, 2010

While in England DMC contacted me about doing a project for their booth at various trade shows.  When I arrived home there was a huge box awaiting me filled to the brim with every thread they manufacture.  They also sent me a birdcage to create a fairy scene inside.

I had met Mr. Davies last year at the Knitting & Stitching Show in London and purchased his magical book on knotted gardens.  I decided that was what I would do for the floor of the cage.  Yes.  I was out of my mind!  45 working hours later I decided to make a few changes. DMCFairyGarden1

My idea was to do cross-stitch, as shown with the black and white threads, a pond using seed stitch, then flowers using French knots.  I also started creating a path using a different stitch and woven leaves.  The photo to the right had taken me 45 hours.  So, I decided to knit some "grass" and use my embellisher (felting machine) to "grass" it up.  You can see the knitted piece before felting on the upper left side.

DMCFairyGardenGrass1 If you click on any of the photo's they'll take you to a larger image.

On the left is the knitted piece being "felted".  I find it helpful to felt on one side, then flip it over and felt on the wrong side.

DMCFairyGardenGrass2 This helps create the more grassy effect.  I also had to be careful to not catch my leaves.  I used a piece of tape to tape them towards the checkered walkway.

DMCFairyGarden4 After the grass was finished I started more French knots for flowers.  I used various threads from the magic box DMC had sent.  And the little curled up bits along the one path are made from DMC's Memory Thread.  This is beautiful threads wrapped around wire so you can shape it in any way you want. 

Because the knotted garden was taking even more time I decided to create a more fairyish scene by throwing down some Angelina along with the wool threads from DMC and felting them.  The tapestry I was working on is a 16 count linen, also in the box. 

It was now time to create the fairy that would reside in the garden.  I actually made 3 fairies, but ran out of time to complete them all.  I'll finish them after Christmas and take them to the CHA show in January and place them in the garden.

DMCFariyCloseUpBetter To create the fairy I reduced my "Leona" pattern by 30%.  Leona is normally 10-inches tall.  This reduced her down to 5 1/2-inches.  I had learned how to make fairy wings with Angelina and Angelina film from Rosemary Hernandez at the local doll club's Doll Camp.  Her sleeves and skirt were made from DMC's metallic threads.  Like a dummy I didn't take a photo of her before I placed her in the cage so didn't get many close-ups of her.  In her left hand she's holding a flower she's going to plant in the garden.

DMCFairyGardenFinished1 Even though she's too big for the garden, she still looks pretty cute.  She's actually one of the fairies that is planting the garden for the wee fairy folk, who are much smaller than the garden fairies.

DMCGardenFairyViewfromTop I created a few vines by wrapping some wire with DMC pearl cotton.  I added flowers I made with their wool thead.  You can see the vines in the photo taken from the opening in the top of the cage.

Now you know what I've been doing for the past two weeks.  John has been wonderful.  He's brought home dinner several nights so I could continue working.  I averaged 16 hours a day.  I did take Thanksgiving Day off until later in the evening.  And, Sunday's I only worked for a few hours in the afternoons and another two hours in the evening after church.

This was a fun project to work on and whenever you see DMC at any shows be sure to stop by and visit.  Don't forget, two more fairies will join in planting the garden.  Someday.

Doll Camp

Friday, November 19th, 2010

This past weekend found 16 of us getting away for a fun-filled workshop up in the mountain village of Julian near San Diego.  Doll Camp is sponsored by the local doll club – IOLCC.  A perfect name for a unique group of doll makers.  IOLCC stands for the Imitation of Life Construction Company, a Cloth Doll Society.  Karen Wooton came up with the name 20 years ago.  But, that is a story for another time.

DollCampWorking1Best We met at the Julian Meadow View Lodge, formerly known as Angels Landing.  In the center of the lodge is a conference room where the workshop was held.  Most of the participants stayed in the lodge rooms on either side of the conference room.  As you can see the room is quite large and very well lit.  We started the classes on Friday night, shown here.

DollCampWorking2 All of the furry bits you see in the foreground are some of the Tibetan skins I brought.  I also provided Fairfield Polyfil for those who needed stuffing.  It is my preferred stuffing as it is slickery and easy to needle sculpt.                                                                                                  For those who came long distances I brought 3 of my Bernina's.  I had just purchased a Bernina 380, which is a wonderful machine for classes.  It is one of Bernina's more affordable machines and a machine that isn't as heavy as some of their others.  

DollCampPattyFixingFace Saturday morning we colored the doll faces with Shiva Paintstiks then fixed them with Prismacolor's Workable Fixative.  This is similar to Krylon's Workable Fixative, but made by Prismacolor.  We didn't have the luxury of 3 days to allow the paintstiks to "cure", so fixing them allowed us to detail the faces later in the day.  Patty Smith is shown here spraying her dolls head.  You can see the beautiful area we were staying.  Julian is wonderful.  It is 4,000 feet up in our mountains, so not too high.

DollCampLynnLookingforHead Lynn Tesch, from Georgia had flown in for Doll Camp.  She really got into fixing her dolls head.  So much so that she nearly fell down the mountain as her dolls head went rolling down hill.  She was able to save the head as several of us came to her rescue and held on to her as she reached for the head.   We'll never let Lynn forget that episode.                                                                  




One of the more popular events at any doll gathering is "show & tell".  Saturday night was the show & tell night and it was so exciting seeing what everyone brought.

DollCampMaryDollyFrancisCamel Mary "Dolly" Francis came from Arizona and brought her "Arizona Camel".  This is her doll clubs mascot and he goes everywhere Dolly goes.  You can click on the photo to go to a larger image to see the details on this wonderful creature.  We all thoroughly enjoyed Dolly's wonderful sense of humor.

DollCampCarolineSLVeggies Caroline Weber made two of the cutest veggies from one of Sally Lampi's patterns.  Caroline and her daughter, Jennifer, drove down from San Francisco.  Both are extremely talented women and it was fun having them at Doll Camp.

DollCampLoisDragon Lois Boncer, of Carlsbad, California, brought her 7-headed dragon, along with her adorable ballet class for children.  Lois is a past president of IOLCC and has a company called Aardvark to Zebras.  She's been featured in Soft Dolls & Animals and other publications.   Another very talented woman.

DollCampDeborahBeadedbracelet Deborah Ditson of Santee, California shared some of her amazing beadwork.  She, and her friend Martine met me at the San Diego Quilt Show and are first time doll makers.  They say.  Both made wonderful dolls during the weekend.

And, you can see by this photo how talented Deborah is.  Her beadwork is stunning.  I wish I had more photo's of some of her other pieces.

If you ever get a chance to attend a "doll" camp or any other retreat I highly recommend it.  It is a fabulous way of getting away from the phone, tv, computer, children, grandchildren, you name it.  We had great food, beautiful scenery and developed friendships that will last a long, long time.


High School Reunions

Monday, November 1st, 2010

John and I arrived home this evening after 4 hilarious days with some of our classmates from 1960.  This was our 50th high school reunion. PCHSClass60SchoolQuad1 The group to the right is just a few of us who went to the Saturday morning Continental breakfast and tour of the school.

From left to right are:  Steve Kerr,  Teddi Neal Nicolosi, Rosemary Davis Logan, Betty List Zaslowsky, Leona Spurling Nelson, Patti Medaris Culea and John Culea.

PCHSClass60CuleaKerr PCHSReunionCuleaKerr                    These photos show Steve Kerr and John Culea in 1958 and 2010.  These two were some of the "class clowns".  Steve refered to John as "you big dummy!"  He still does.

Steve was one of my favorite classmates from 1958 to 1960.  I loved his car almost as much as I loved Steve.  I didn't love Steve as a "boy friend", but as one of my best friends.  As you know I ended up marrying John in 1973.  But, in high school. I didn't like him.  I found my diary from high school and I wrote in my diary June 15, 1959 "Had a date with John Culea.  Didn't like him.  He kissed me at the door."  We've been married for 37 years so guess I got used to the kisses!

PCHSMemoriam We were amazed at how many of our classmates have gone on to Heaven.  We have lost 12, that we know of.  Two of the photo's are from a surprise birthday party my friend, Betty List, gave for me in 1958.  Shown are Anne Malmgren Raines, who went to heaven this year in March;  and Jim Round who was killed in a plane crash shortly after we graduated in 1960.  Below is Chuck Reedy, who was killed in a car accident in 1958. 

PCHSClass60MaryCoyles Below are a few of us who went to one of our favorite hang outs after football games – Mary Coyle's Ice Cream Parlour.  Mary Coyle's is still around and we had to go after the Homecoming game Friday evening.  Starting at the lower left is Rosemary Davis Logan, me, John, JoAnn Stephens Harte, JoAnn's husband Jim.  Then Teddi Neal Nicolosi, Leona Spurling Nelson, Hazel Schierbeek Andringa and her husband, Jack.  As you can see we can still enjoy ice cream sundaes.  What am I saying?  I'm a farm girl.  I always enjoy ice cream sundaes.  In fact, on our way home today John stopped in Dateland so I could have a famous date shake!

Our classmate, Bob Porter, and his wife Judie opened their amazing home to our class for our get-together Saturday night.  Bob and Judie are the most generous people John and I know.  They are very humble and are dedicated 100% to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Their home is built for entertainment.  We had Macayo's Mexican Restaurant do the catering and we all enjoyed catching up with what we have been doing the past 50 years. 

All I can say is I highly recommend attending your high school reunions.  They are fun, hilarious, emotional and rewarding.