Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bisque Baby Tutorial and Bananas.....

I have been working on some little bisque doll necklaces. The first thing you have to do is CLEAN the parts. I tried simple green, comet cleanser, an electric toothbrush, ammonia, and bleach. All of these things will take the basic dirt off, but inevitably there are stains on the face that won't come off. I even tried sand paper! Some stains just look like dirt, others I thought were rust - but now I think they are scorching!
I read somewhere that hydrogen peroxide works well to clean bisque porcelain - but that did nothing. You are also not supposed to soak them in any liquid, because the bisque is porous and can absorb liquids....but I did it anyway. Bleach whitened the porcelain, but it did not remove stains. I thought refiring them would burn off any embedded dirt - but this didn't work either.
So- what you see after a basic wash is what you get. They do take glass enamel paints well (glassline, thompson's, etc) - fired in the kiln - but the colors are so unreliable....i really need to do a test piece where i record what colors they turn into in the kiln. Pebeo glass paints, which are baked in an oven at 350 for 35 minutes, work really nice too, although not as smooth as the glass enamels. Both of these are hard to control details on the curved doll surfaces.
OK. Now I had all my parts ready. How should put them together?
Wire them! ....yeh right....... DO NOT, i repeat, DO NOT attempt to wire the limbs on. The bisque is sturdy enough, but not for wire. As soon as you pull the wire taut, it breaks through the holes in the tiny appendages and now that limb is scrap. I tried waxed sinew, but it was too thick. I tried nymo thread, waxed, but it broke too easily against the bisque hole openings....and I tried thin upholstery thread - this worked pretty well! The trick here is to put the limbs on taut enough so they hang straight and tight.
After trial and error, here is what worked consistently for me.
Using glide tooth floss, thread a bead needle. Check to be sure that the needle will go through all of your pieces. You can enlarge the holes a bit with a bead reamer - but you have to go really don't want to break the bisque. It is easier to just use a thin needle!
1. Anyway, thread your needle with the floss, double over and knot leaving a 3 inch tail.

2. Now add a #15 rocaille bead (or a #11 if a #15 is too small and slips through the limb hole). Then add the limb, go thru the body, through the opposite limb and thru another small bead.

3. Do not cut the thread yet. Pick up the tail next to the knotted end, and tie 3 or 4 knots by picking up the two ends and crossing under each other.

4. Now go to the other side and cut the thread about 3 inches from the body. Pull this tight. Be sure your limbs are lined up and facing the way you want them to be. Tie the two ends of this tail together once. Check it. If it is as tight as you can get it, tie the ends 3 or 4 more times, enough so that the knot does not pull thru the bead.

Repeat Steps 1-4 with the other two limbs.

When the doll is full assembled, cut the threads about 1/8 of an inch from the knots. Put a small glob of fabri-tac on a piece of paper or cardboard - anything actually - and rub it into a knot with your fingers. Add enough fabri-tac to make a small knob out of the knot. Flatten the knot with your finger against the bead.

That's it! happy doll stringing!

Two Christmas's ago my DH gave me a Vita-Mix. I LOVE my vita-mix! it will handle and mix the hardest ice, the thickest carrots. Lately I'm into fruit smoothies with protein powder .... the Vita-Mix makes them like soft freeze ice cream.....yummy!
A few days ago I noticed that we had a bunch of bananas right behind the house that had finally started to ripen. Not a big bunch, about a 25 pounder. They were apple bananas - about 4 inches long. When the green banana edge ridges start to round over, but are still green, it is time to pick the whole "bunch". After you have cut the stalk off, you cut the whole tree down.... there is always a new plant coming up beside it, and the old tree will die once the fruit is picked. Usually we hang the bunch on a nail on the lanai until they start to turn yellow. This time Lance put the bunch in the laundry room. As soon as I saw some yellow, I pulled the bunch out and gave it a wash with the hose and then picked off about 20 that were ripe. These I peeled, and then froze, and then packed in baggies for smoothies or cereal or banana bread. When we first moved here, I felt obligated to pick and process them all. I froze a ton of them, made a lot of bread, and dried a lot of banana chips. Now we just occasionally pick a bunch and leave the rest for the chickens and the wild birds. We probably have about 75 banana trees (and about 4 varieties) so we don't mind sharing!
Today the remainder were ripe so I peeled and froze them too! I just love frozen bananas in my smoothies!

..the whole small bunch with some ripe.

Peeled and ready to freeze. Yum!


Dale said...

How fabulously exciting! It must be great to be able to pick bananas in your own backyard! I am so excited for you looking at them.

Joanne Huffman said...

If I ever get those little dolls, I will come back here for the tutorial - very well written. The bananas look great.


jan said...

I wonder if a denture cleanser such as Polident might help with those stains ... ? just a thought.


jan said...

I wonder if a denture cleanser such as Polident might help with those stains ... ? just a thought.


Aileen said...

Wow Connie I love catching up on your blog you never know what you'll have to share! Not only did you share amazing photos and I learned about banannas but the picture you posted was awesome! You also shared a great tutorial, thanks so much for sharing a piece of your world!
Happy Creating!