Sunday, February 28, 2016

Video of the Week: Softness is Strength

I probably shared this one before.  But it's good to have the reminder frequently!

Students: How did Mr. Katz's Tai Chi instructor know he was weak?  Think about this when you practice this week! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Youngest in my Half-Way Home

It's a Bratz Kidz!  With too much lipstick and glittery eye shadow.  First, her hair...

It fell out in alarming amounts while being washed.  You can see a lot of kinking from her braids.
So, time for a boil wash!
Losing more hair with the dip and brush!  But it seems she still has enough when it has dried the next morning.

She is still waiting for feet and clothing, and having her pigtails put in, but here is the first re-paint before and after.  First?  I'm on the fence about re-doing...

Reversible Pencil Doll Skirt

Sweet Sweater for a Sweet Doll

This one is based on a sweater vest my mom crocheted for me!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Video of the Week: Elgar, Julian Lloyd Webber

Here is the third (slow) movement from Elgar's Cello Concerto played by Julian Lloyd Webber. (Conducted by Yehudi Menuhin.)  No, most of us won't play on a Stradavarius cello, but we can still aspire to a very sweet and gentle sound like this. 

Students: What do you notice about his bow hand that helps make smooth bow changes?
How much of his bow does he use?

Friday, February 19, 2016

An experiment in doll clothes

This was a kind of crazy idea for dressing a Bratz doll (make-under yet to come)!  I wanted to make her some tights from a sock.  Hmm.  I remember seeing how to make a sweater from a sock, too!  This one seems big enough for an all-in-one body suit!
First I cut slits for the arms.

Then the legs.

It's a little awkward around the hips...  Oh, and a piece I cut off makes an ear warmer!
Did anyone notice I forgot to turn things inside out before pinning?  Oh well.  I also sewed an angle across the shoulders to close up the neck line somewhat, while leaving it wide enough to pull on over the hips. 
And here she is.  Skirt (and feet) to come.  I zig zag finished the edges of the ear warmer, which stretched it a bit.  No longer as good a fit.  I wouldn't recommend making an outfit like this for a small child's doll as it's a bit tight and difficult to get the fingers to the ends of the sleeves without the fingers snagging.  Unless you really enjoy tugging the clothes on and off for your child, or she is one who likes to leave one outfit on her doll. I didn't think it was worth attempting to finish the ends of legs and sleeves.

Next time, the sweater and tights will be in two pieces!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mini crochet

I started making a pair of crocheted pants... but when they weren't looking that great, this skirt happened...
But her arms looked cold in that matching sweater, so...
Thanks for the chairs, Jean!  How did you know? (Should I make next summer's fairy garden to a different scale? Maybe one of these was a fairy in disguise?)

Rather than weave in ends after dark yesterday (navy and black are best worked in the daylight!), I gave Miss Brown Dress a shrug to keep her arms warm. Here's the back (pardon the hospital gown effect! ...might get back to the sewing machine and velcro in a few days).
Off to weave in ends now...

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The crazy doll lady, or second childhood?

I learned that I can make a shoe mold for Bratz dolls by using part of one of the original shoes.  Hopefully I'll find that link again and be able to share it here once I get into that project. 

But it meant another trip to the thrift stores to hunt down a shoe or two.  I thought I might find some shoes in the doll clothing bin, since the dolls to date have all come shoe-less and nekked.  No such luck, though I decided to take some brushes to go with the dolls to their next home. 

I was thinking, too, about the little Bratz baby I left behind the last time... maybe she needed me, too...  So over to the doll bin.  Thankfully, the baby has already found a new home!  And, well, look, I found some shoes! 

I pointed out to hubby that the dolls (and brushes) are only 25 cents each at the churches' thrift store.  Not mentioning the paintbrush(es), the silicone - we had the wrong kind, the yellow duct tape (stay tuned).  But the cost is not what worries him.  I was just reading on a facebook page about another doll rescuer having to take bins of dolls out to the barn, as there was no more room in the house... 

Here are my girls hanging out together, in various states of reform.  At least they are finally all clothed.  :-)
You can see my first attempt at boots that didn't really work - but are acting as stand-ins for now. 
The little girl is a Perfekta doll from my childhood.  She needs some cleaning up, and a little surgery on the compound fracture at her wrist, but I don't plan to give her a face lift.  She's only holding one shoe, because she lost the other a long time ago.  Maybe she will get a new pair of shoes if I can figure that out, but at least she has feet.

I thought this stack of quilting fabric looked like a great thrift store find for doll clothes!  I had a small supply of scraps to use, but now ...!!  (And, yes, I found more yarn, too... because, more doll sweaters!)

You can see above two of the "Charming Dresses" I made with the free pattern from  "Charming" partly because they can be made from a quilting charm!  I just love that they are reversible!  I still need to add Velcro to the back, but here you can see the other side of the dresses.  I made one a bit longer and added some more flare to the skirt portion - just because there was room in the fabric squares. Should I add some lace or something at the bottom or leave them plain? I'm leaning towards the clean, simple look. But haven't looked in my trims basket yet.
I had a little trouble with zig-zag stitching the elastic (remember, me, sewing machines?), so I made a casing instead. Oh, okay, here's a closer shot of the other side.
I'm curious if Mom or sisters know either of the fabrics on the blonde.  They came from Ohio Street.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Rescuing two more

While the first two dolls are not quite finished (I don't yet have the right stuff to make feet/shoes - our silicone is silicone II, which, according to the experts, doesn't work, and I need to buy some matte varnish for the faces), I thought it was time to see if there were more girls awaiting adoption at the thrift stores...  Here are three and four. One, complete with tattoos!

The first thing they needed was a good soak.

I've found a good resource and some like-minded folks for help in the Facebook group "Rescued Dolls", and invite you to join us if you are also doing this (From the site: *RESCUING has multiple meanings here. We will rescue dolls from the landfill by cleaning and restoring dolls to their former glory or to our own artist style THAT IS SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN. We rescue dolls from provocative, adult-like appearances for the sake of the young audience we entertain and support. Many times you will find a combination of the two ideals stated. ).

I'll be focusing on clothing until I get a smaller paint brush and the right materials for feet.  And maybe give these girls a little place to relax and hang out while they are here. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Video of the Week: Moon Over the Ruined Castle

Moon Over the Ruined Castle is a "Tonalization" piece in the Suzuki cello repertoire.  It appears first in book 2, introducing the backwards extension fingering, then in book 3 for playing in 3rd position, and later in book 3 in a new key for fourth position.  It is not included in the Suzuki CDs, however. 

I would like my students (those ready for backward extensions and/or 3rd position) to perform this as a group this spring!

So here is a lovely arrangement, apparently performed by Yo Yo Ma (there is little information on the YouTube - if anyone can confirm and let me know where this recording is from...)

Students: Tell me something about the composer, R. Taki OR make a drawing or painting to accompany this piece.

We can't go anywhere yet!

Personalities are emerging... 
I was absolutely right that my hand isn't steady enough anymore for even lines, and I was working with old paint... not sure how much that came into it... and yes, I really should have gotten a 00 or a 000 paint brush. I thought the 0 looked plenty small in the store!  I considered picking an out of focus shot to display to soften my "skills"...  but here you have it.  Imperfect, but so are real faces, no? :-)

The dress and sweater are crocheted (no pattern... yet), and the skirt is made from the edge of a pillow case with an elastic waist.

Even though they can see now, their hair is somewhat under control, and they are no longer naked...
They are still waiting for feet!  My first attempt at "oogoo" boots with acrylic/latex/silicone calk was not very successful.  I'll try again with straight silicone calk, hoping what we have is the "right kind" to make boots/shoes like this (DIY video).

Monday, February 1, 2016

Catching up on hats

I just realized I didn't yet share all the hats I made for the Christmas Charity Challenge!  I ended up only completing six by the 6th of January, but I did that in six days, so that was pretty good! (Preemie hats do work up quickly!

Here are the four preemie and baby hats I crocheted.  All patterns linked HERE.