Illustration Friday - Highlight

The "highlight" of Josie and Ralph's day was sitting in the parlor together watching the boats come back into harbor before dinner.

I decided to do participate in this week's Illustration Friday "Highlight" challenge using my new IPad and some IPad art apps.  For this little sketch, I used IDraw, a vector drawing program for the drawing and Art Rage, a  paint program for the color.  I'm having so much fun drawing on the IPad. Will write more about it in some future posts.

Sullivan New Miniature Mohair Bear in Etsy Shop

I have added my new little Sullivan, a hand dyed and hand shaded miniature mohair bear, to my Etsy shop.  Sullivan is 3 1/4" tall and is dyed a pretty ochre color.  He is made of a sparse Schulte German mohair with hand shaded detailing.

Sullivan has big brown glass eyes and a distressed grey-blue silk ribbon scarf.  He would love for you to visit him on his Etsy page here.

Sadie and Olivia, New Bear and Bunny in Etsy Shop

I have added a new bear and  bunny to my Etsy shop.  They would love for you to come visit. :)

Sadie is a 6 3/4" hand dyed and hand shaded mohair bear with glass eyes and embroidered nose, mouth, and claws.  Sadie is wearing a vintage rayon ribbon headband.  She is made of an aged, sparse Schulte German mohair that I dyed a dusty rose color.  You can visit her here.

Olivia is a 7 " hand-dyed wool bunny with glass eyes and embroidered nose.  She is made of a lovely short Schulte German wool that I dyed a nice tangerine shade.

She has long, curly whiskers and is wearing a vintage flower by her ear. She can stand by herself.  You can visit her here.

Last Day for Chance to Win Beautiful Essie's Dolls Book!

Browsing through some doll blogs, I found that doll artist, Esther Verschoor is having a give away for a book on her wonderful dolls.  Today is the last day to submit a chance to win a beautiful book by Essie's Dolls, Vanessie by Esther Verschoor. Essie is a talented doll artist who makes dark art dolls.  She is from the Netherlands and is a member of the DABIDA doll organization there.  You can find her give-away post here.

Thrift Shopping in St. Louis

We were in St. Louis visiting friends and relatives.  As always when I visit a place, I love checking out the thrift and antique shops and flea markets.  This time I was on a mission to find vintage clothing or fabric to use for bear and doll clothing. St. Louis has two antique areas that I like to visit.  One is the Central West End and the other is Cherokee Street. Cherokee Street is less high-end than the Central West End and it is easier to find bargains.  There were several second-hand clothing stores there, but I didn't find anything for the dolls/bears.  I did buy a pair of cute earrings for my daughter (a modern combination of new and retro).

I also found some fun t-shirts and a small bag for my daughter at a Salvation Army store, and a vintage Japanese stuffed dog (for me) with a red beret at a thrift store near our hotel.

W.I.P. - Work in Progress, New Teddy and Rabbit

Here are two new critters, works-in-progress.  The first is a hand-dyed mohair teddy being stuffed with excelsior.

And here is a hand-dyed wool rabbit that I have pinned together to get a better idea of how it will look when finished.  I have eyes temporarily placed and am trying out nose thread colors.

It's so much fun when the pieces get to the place where their personality begins to show through. :)

Blogs Around the World - How to Read Wonderful Blogs in Other Languages

I love reading all kinds of craft blogs and especially enjoy learning about artists from other countries.  Until recently if a blog was in another language and didn't have a translation option, I would pore over the images and try to guess what the blogger might be saying.  Finally I found a Google translation bookmark that can be added to your favorites and will translate any page by clicking on it there.  The link is here.

Just pick the button for the language you want to translate to and drag it into your favorites in the sidebar.  Then when you find a blog in another language, click on the bookmarklet in your sidebar and it will translate the blog for you.  If you click on "older posts" on the blog, the next page will be translated also. The English translation definitely is good enough to give you the idea of what they are saying.

Here are some blogs in other languages that I have been able to enjoy using the Google translate bookmarklet:


Lolita Blahnik

Sara Morante

Japan Couture Addicts

Vintage traeume

Takiyaje Live Journal

AK Doll OOAK Doll

Projects Around the House - More DollHouse Work

This is the last summer before my daughter leaves for college.  She will be a freshman at MIT in the fall.  We are a homeschooling family, and I will especially miss times my daughter and I spent working on various projects together. (More about our experience applying to colleges as a homeschooler in an upcoming post.)

This summer my daughter and I are trying to finish our dollhouse.  This is a dollhouse from a Buttercup kit we started on a few years ago and have been slowly working on it together as her time permits. (You can view the original post about the dollhouse here.)  Now the outside is almost finished.

We covered the rectangular and round exterior windows with a thin layer of moss and then covered the moss with small seashells.  We used reindeer moss on the long arched side and front windows, but were undecided about how to finish the outside of the front door -- with a different moss than the adjacent arched windows, with seashells, or with twigs.  After much discussion and trying out different materials, we settled on twigs with a background of the reindeer moss.

Here is our progress on the door so far.  We used an X-acto mitre box and saw kit to cut twigs to the length of the door.  Then we glued them side-by-side over the moss.  The moss covers the bare door so the wood doesn't show between the twigs.  Here are some detail photos of us at work:

We found tiny hinges at A.C. Moore.  The hinges had teeny brass nails that we finally we able to hammer into the wood.  We will remove small sections of the moss on the house where the other part of the hinge will go and then glue back on the moss to cover the hinges.

We are trying to decide on a doorknob for the door.  This is one possibility that we like.

Teddy Bear Picnic Event at the Country Plus Shop, Hopkinton, MA

I am excited to have some of my bears represented at a wonderful event, Teddy Bear Picnic at the Country Plus Shop in Hopkinton, Massachusetts on Friday August 6 and Saturday August 7.  Marie Poole of Basically Bears will be showing my bears along with other wonderful bear artists including Vicki Stephan "Raspberies", Louise Bernier "Bear Witness", Tonni Bears, Sheryl Wells, Frances Harper, and Karen Seal.

Bear artists "Raspberies", Louise Bernier "Bear Witness", Jill Kenny "JK Bears", and Donna Bjerke "Bjerke Bears" will be making special appearances at the event.

Please come visit if you are in the area!!

Lucien and Dani, New Bear and Panda in Etsy Shop and on BearPile

Lucien is a sweet hand-dyed and hand-shaded bear made of sparse Schulte German mohair.  He is 7" tall and is wearing an antiqued copper necklace with a vintage brass bell.  He is in my Etsy shop and can be viewed here and on my BearPile gallery. Lucien has been sold.

Here is Dani:

Dani is a 6" panda made of hand-dyed and hand-shaded Schulte German mohair.  She is wearing a linen string collar with a rusty jingle bell.  She is listed in my Etsy shop and can be viewed hereDani has been sold.

I hope you can come visit them!

Chuck Berry and Blueberry Hill

Chuck Berry, rock and roll legend also known as "The Father of Rock and Roll", was born in St. Louis and still lives in a suburb of St. Louis today. He and the St. Louis landmark restaurant and music club, Blueberry Hill, have a strong connection going back many years.

Chuck Berry has been performing at Blueberry Hill for the past twelve years. He celebrated his 80th birthday there with a special standing-room only concert. And at the age of 83, he still performs a concert there one Wednesday a month. His concerts sell out, so buy tickets in advance.

Blueberry Hill is a perfect place to visit if you are a rock and roll fan. Located in the historic Delmar Loop area, there are shops and galleries to explore and the St. Louis "Walk of Fame" with stars of famous St. Louisans dotting the sidewalk. You can start your afternoon exploring the area and end off the evening with a casual dinner at Blueberry Hill.

When you enter the club, you are enveloped with rock and roll and pop-culture nostalgia. The walls are covered with memorabilia from Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley, pop-culture memorabilia, and vintage jukeboxes.

The food is casual, but delicious. Some of the Blueberry Hill specialties are the famous St. Louis Toasted Ravioli appetizers, chicken wings, and hamburgers. Waiters are friendly and can tell you about Chuck Berry's next concert date.

The next time you visit St. Louis, check out Blueberry Hill and the Delmar Loop.  If you are lucky, you can even catch a memorable Chuck Berry performance.  You can learn more about the Delmar Loop area here.

New Bear, Aleph, in Etsy Shop -- New Rabbit, Alice, on BearPile

I have two new critters available for adoption.

Aleph is the first of my new Min-elli series.  He is 4 1/2" tall of a sparse Schulte mohair that I dyed  and hand shaded.   He is wearing a copper and sterling silver chain collar.  His limbs are cotter-pin jointed.  He is available here in my Etsy shop.

Alice is a hand dyed rabbit of a sparse German mohair that I dyed and hand shaded.  She is wearing a skirt made of vintage lace trim and a vintage lace trim scarf.  She is holding a vintage millinery carrot.  She is cotter-pin jointed.  She is available here on BearPile.

Pussman & Co. Sweet Teddy Giveaway

Danielle of Pussman & Co., Pussman Stuffies is giving away the sweetest hand-dyed teddy to celebrate her three-year blogging anniversary.  There are two more days to join - until March 23!

You can join the giveaway here:

Please check out her wonderful blogs and other sweet teddies, too. :)  Pussman & Co, and PussmanStuffies.

Three New Teddies in my Collection

In the last few months, I have gotten three new teddies for my teddy collection.  Most of my small collection is artist bears.

This teddy came from Japan and is by Rutsu.  She has small, wonderful mohair teddies with a vintage look.

This teddy came from Russia and is by Natalia Tolstykina.   She has a blog here that you can translate automatically into English.  The teddy is made of vintage rayon and is quite heavy.  I love the unique face and all the handwork on this bear.

The third teddy is by an internet teddy friend here in the U.S., Sharie Reetz.  Her website is here, and you will also find links to her blog there.  Her little mohair bears are brimming with character and are so endearing.

Here they are all together. :)

Ellifolks_too - New Zazzle Shop

I found the Zazzle shop recently and decided to open a store there and put some in some products with my drawings on them. It's been a lot of fun so far. So far, I have some cards, mug, a baby's onesie, Keds shoes, and a skateboard.

If you'd like to take a look, you can visit my Ellifolks_too Zazzle shop here.

Memories of Paris

Paris - we visited Paris a few summers ago. It was like a surreal dream, ancient mingling with avant-garde, beauty everywhere. Some of my favorite memories are from that visit, and included a very special evening in which we visited my French penpal and her family and had dinner at her house. When you go to Paris, two must-sees are La Conciergerie and Giverny which is about forty-seven miles outside the city.

La Conciergerie, which dates back to Roman times, was built as a Roman fort, torn down and rebuilt as a castle around 1300 A.D., and was used as a prison to hold artistocrats and royalty during the French Revolution before they were guillotined. On the Conciergerie tour, we were able to walk through the prison up and down the ancient stone steps and view the prison cells. The cell where Marie Antoinette lived during her captivity has been recreated. The feeling of past history was overwhelming there.

Giverny, the beautiful home and garden of Monet is about forty-seven miles outside of Paris.

Giverny is a magical place, worthy of spending a full day exploring there. The best time to visit, of course, is the summer. In June or July, you can fully experience the magnificence of the garden. The garden is full of color, with flowers spilling out onto the paths. And across the road is Monet's famous water garden. The dream-like lusciousness is breathtaking.

Monet's simple, but exquisite house, has a pink exterior with green shutters. Ivy vines climb over the walls. His love of color extends from the garden to the house exterior and continues inside with each room painted a different striking color.

There is an lovely blog written by one of Giverny's guides that you may like to check out, Giverny Impression.

Winnie at Bear Pile

I just joined Bear Pile and plan to add more bears there regularly.

Winnie is my first bear up for adoption at Bear Pile.  She is 8 1/2" tall and is made of German mohair that I hand-dyed and hand-shaded.  She is wearing a handmade skirt of vintage lace and eyelet, a handmade necklace with a vintage vegetable ivory bead, and a vintage rayon bow by her ear.  She is cotter pin jointed and stuffed with excelsior and cotton batting.  She has a small muslin bag with stainless and steel shot in her tummy for a nice weight.  She is very loose jointed for a vintage feel, but can stand with help.

You can visit Winnie here.

One World One Heart Giveaway

I am excited to be participating in the One World One Heart  Giveaway this year. This is the third year Lisa of "A Whimsicial Bohemian" is hosting this wonderful event started to bring bloggers from all over the world together.  You can read more about it and see the list of all the participants (over 1000 so far!) by clicking on the logo below.  There are so many wonderful blogs to visit!


To enter a chance to win my giveaway:

1. Leave a comment on this post by February 15, 5:00 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.

2. Please be sure your comment takes me back to you, if not, make sure to leave a email address where you can be reached.

3. You should have a blog to enter as this is a blog event.

The winner will be picked on February 15 and notified by email.

For my giveaway, I am offering Clio,  a miniature wool needlefelted dog with onyx eyes, a mohair tail, and a green wool felt collar.  She is about 1 1/4" tall by 1 1/2" long, 2 1/2" including her tail.  She comes with her own little purple needlefelted rug and pink ball.  (The rug shows up bluish in the photos but is actually purple.)

Our dog Chloe was the inspiration for Clio.