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!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009



Next Monday, March 2nd, "Saving Grace", the TV series, will begin its new season.
My son, Skylar, has a small role (... he never says a thing) in this episode - he plays a guy at a bar that Holly Hunter eyes and then she wakes up in a car with him asleep beside her - and they are both NAKED!
yes, my baby did a NUDE scene.
...of course, we don't really even know if he is still in the episode or if his scenes got cut out - but just in case - watch and we shall SEE!
yes, I am his mom, but I can watch because I know that the film industry never shows naked men on prime time TV, even if they film them that way..... they only show women....besides, I've seen him before....

...also with a woman....a very long time ago....
...YOU will have to watch the show to see him NOW! (it's a good thing he doesn't read my blog....he'd shoot me!)
.....Skylar is presently in school at the Academy of Dramatic Art in New York City and they don't allow the students to participate in any film or theatre while they are in school - so this is the last legit piece he did before moving to the Big Apple.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Stuff and around the shop!

I have been working on several new necklaces and earrings, in anticipation of opening an Etsy shop in March. Click on any photo to see it closer.....
This is a variation of "shelter from the rain"... copper leaves, hammered, engraved and hand shaped. The color is a heat patina, and the blue patina is from ammonia. The links are all copper, with stones of picture jasper, poppy jasper, turquoise, and amazonite. The bird is polymer clay. Sealed with a light varnish and then Renaissance wax.

This is a copper wire hand with a nest woven on top with a polymer owl sitting on a bone skull. Above the owl is s string of cobra spines, all attached to a hammered steel goth heart handmade chain.

Next, another copper hand with a copper etched cuff heat patinaed and dipped in resin for strength and a polymer bird sitting on a bead of poppy jasper. Above hang jasper stone daggers and copper bells, and jasper chips.

...and lastly, a bone goddess moth with a carved bone face and wrapped wire antennae. Her attached wings are etched copper, fire patinaed. She is attached to a handmade copper bead strung on 4 strands of coral colored beads. I don't know what these beads are, exactly. They look like dyed coral to me, but they may be glass - they have flecks of brown and black in them.

I'm still working on my bird rosary and my goth baby bisque necklace.
Here's a new batch of birds right out of their 2nd time in the oven:
next they will be glazed with burnt sienna, raw sienna, crimson red, buff and black acrylic paints. Then they baked again to set the paint. Then they get different beak colors. Then #15 beads and/or micro beads are attached with liquid polymer clay and baked again, as eyes. lastly they are coated with 3 layers of future acrylic floor polish and baked once more. VOILA! Tuscan bird beads.
here's a little slide show from around my shop. My DH has a lumix camera that has unbelievable focus! You just move the lens up to what you want to shoot and the focus is perfect - no adjusting to macro for close -ups, etc. ...and it has a phenomenal zoom. I want one! So easy!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blushing Buttercream Pettiskirt GIVEAWAY!!!!

This is another giveaway Grosgrain is doing. She also has instructions on how to make one in case you don't win!

Blushing Buttercream Pettiskirt GIVEAWAY!!!!


Today is my mama's earth birthday. She was born 2-22-22 ...very magical! She'd have been 87 today...Instead she earned her angel wings the summer of '06.
Boy do i miss her!

Mama and her 5 daughters....that's me bottom row on the left

...mama always smiling and making us laugh.... and my wonderful mama.....

Saturday, February 14, 2009


OWOH is finally over for 2009. I have to admit, during the 5? 6? weeks it was happening - I became obsessed. Every night I would stay up way late - no time to visit my friends - and I would visit exotic blogs all over the world...911 blogs to get thru......(hmmm hadn't noticed that 911 blogs...)
Well, there is no rush now. I can leisurely explore all the incredible blogs I have bookmarked.
...and I WON... Eleven GREAT prizes! (I can hardly believe it!)

1. A lovely Dotee doll and a handmade paper tag book, decorated on both sides - both made by Brenda Lea. I have never owned a Dotee doll before - she looks so happy!

Brenda currently has a 29 days of Giveaways going on her blog! great stuff and much better odds of winning than OWOH! Check it out!

2. A One year subscription to The Essential Herbal, published by Tina Sams. WowWee! She has a free copy on her blog that you can download. It is jam packed full of herbal recipes for lotions, cookies, dinners..... and has tons of other herbal info, tips, featured articles, etc. Plus, she sells all kinds of other potions and salves, beads, creams, soaps, etc that she has made. You know how much I love this type of stuff!

3. Adorable polymer clay Teapot Earrings! made by Kelly Brabon of Leah James
in Australia.

Aren't the colors great? I just love teapots!

4. A Polymer Clay ATC. How cool is that? Made by Vanessa from Vanessa's Clay Adventures

This one....

or this one - Vanessa didn't say which one - but she did say there would be a surprise on the back!

5. A stunning pair of Red faceted crystal and brass earrings, made by Louise from Whispering Poppies

...and RED is my bestest favoritest color!

6. From Ruthie at Roseworks Jewelry, I won ANY ONE THING I wanted from her amazing ETSY store. You HAVE to go there! I think she is way UNDERPRICED! I loved this one:

But you know how much I love spiders, and this set was called "Saffron's Web" - it sounds just like me! ...and just look at it! Isn't it fabulous! and so I chose it....and now it's mine, all mine!

and her etsy store: roseworks jewelry

7. A gorgeous polymer rose pendant made by bunnykissd from "Diary of a Crazy Rabbit Lady, too". Bunnykissd also has a great etsy site! She's going to make this into a pendant for me!

8. A beautiful purse that Elizabeth Aggie Chen from Metamor4sis says she picked up in Thailand. She is going to put a surprise inside! Elizabeth's blog is really fascinating!

9. Oh My Gosh! An amazing bird quiltie that I SO coveted - all hand made by my Diva Friend Karen from Karen's Muse and Musings

Isn't it lovely!

10. A warm and cuddly minky lined baby stroller blanket made by Monica Kelly from Monicas Crafts. I, of course, love the spider fabric, but it will be a surprise which blankie i receive!

11. My last wonderful prize, this darling pair of green heart earrings, made by Terronda Clarke from Unique Commodities . Aren't they beauties!

I am very very thankful for all of the really terrific prizes i was so blessed to receive! One World, One Heart was such a generous event, and I look forward to it next year!
Thank you, everyone!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Well, today's the day! I used the random number generator, and counted and recounted, to be sure I was accurate!
Thank you everyone for ALL of you kind and wonderful comments! The OWOH Giveaway has been a blast! Today I started going through all the blogs on the OWOH website, starting at #1, and really checking out each blog. Wonderful friends to meet and keep!
OK. back to the topic at hand.....
....and the Bisque Baby Necklace will be flying off to:
Inge Bungart of Germany!
Congratulations, Inge!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Nothing beats a good friend......

My friend Claudia was visiting on Oahu last week and hopped over to Kauai to spend a few days with me! She was only here for 2 days, but I had a blast! The weather was uncooperative, cold and rainy...but we explored the island from one side to the are some pics....

Claudia and I....

Monk seal (an endangered species) we ran across at Glass beach.

Stormy ocean! We'd hiked into Donkey beach in search of those huge shells I had found before, but the tide was in and the waves were so violent it was too dangerous to get too close to the water...

...beautiful flowers on the hike down to the beach....

enjoying a Shave Ice at JoJo's in Waimea...a shave ice is like a very fine snowcone that just melts in your mouth....on the bottom is macadamia nut ice cream...yum!

..being silly in Hanalei

..chickens on the beach in Haena

...the end of a fun 2 days!