Thursday, February 16, 2012

colored pencil on wood

When I bought several (closer to a couple dozen) of these maple Kindergarten chairs from a sale at an elementary school I knew that I wanted to decorate them with illustrations that were in keeping with my own style. The pastels that I generally work with were not going to work here so I turned to colored pencils and was able to achieve the detail that I wanted. As you can see from the "before" photo the chairs required some loving care with sandpaper and wood glue. They do, however, still retain some of their distressed charm. I sealed the deal with an oil-based polyurethane that I applied with one of those sponge brushes. I kept getting air bubbles when I used a brush and a salesperson at my hardware store clued me in to the sponge brush.

The fairy chair and one illustrated with a cowboy are available at my shop.

Friday, February 10, 2012

make your own paper dolls

When my son was about four or five years old we would make paper dolls together. His figures were always heroic characters of the swashbuckling pirate variety or knights, kings and queens straight out of the Middle Ages. He would use crayons or markers and draw his figures on poster board. I would cut out the figures for him and then give him parchment paper so that he could create the costumes. His figures would then go on to storybook adventures in his toy castle or pirate ship. Since I am an illustrator it was just my sort of activity and there is nothing quite so special as the way a child sees the world and draws it.

I thought of writing this post when I added my own paper dolls at my Etsy shop this morning. It's so pleasant to occupy that fantasy world of childhood. I did a little online research about the history of paper dolls here. Did you know that paper dolls first appeared in the 1700s during the reign of Louis XV? Or that children in Colonial times attached the paper clothes to the doll with sealing wax? I'm going to get off the computer right now and do a real"hands on" activity!

Monday, February 6, 2012


Polymer clay is so much fun to work with since it is available in such luscious colors. I generally like to mix two or three colors together until swirly patterns appear. When you first open a package it is necessary to knead the clay so that the warmth of your hands make it softer and easier to manipulate. I used three simple bead shapes in my necklace. For the round beads I just rolled the clay into balls and used a toothpick for the opening, the tube shaped beads I made by rolling the clay as if I were making a snake and with the little triangles I rolled out clay with a rolling pin and then cut out the shapes with a butter knife. After following the package directions for baking them in your oven they will still be soft to the touch for a few minutes. I strung the beads on the cord that is pictured below and the spacer beads and barrel clasp I picked up at a craft store.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Batiked" Child's Chef Apron

I've been trying to come up with projects to do with children that use fabric since a friend gave me about 20 yards of a shiny synthetic cloth. The apron shape is cut out using pinking shears. The designs in the apron are created using an adaptation of batik. Instead of using hot wax I "drew" the designs on the fabric with Elmer's washable glue gel. After allowing the glue to dry overnight I painted the apron with diluted acrylic paint. Once the paint dried I washed the apron in the sink with hot water to melt the glue leaving the white designs that you can see in the photo. The paint can be set by tossing the apron in a hot dryer. The ties are grosgrain ribbon.