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11  Rusty the Moth Guy - mostly needle-felted art doll in Felting: Completed Projects by PerfectlyBohemian on: July 01, 2016 05:39:06 PM

I was sooo very excited to participate in the Strange Doll Swap in June, and when I got partnered with petskin for the first time in my swapping career, I was all the more excited. I decided to go with "moths" for the primary theme and "mushrooms" for the secondary theme of her list. I experimented and did somethings I don't usually do, and it was all a ton of fun. I really want to do more projects like this now Smiley

Rusty's body is needle-felted mostly of a plain white core fiber and then a nicer plain white top roving with four natural grayish insect-like arms, and dark natural wool accents around his eyes, legs, and forehead. Around his collar are bits of white wool locks from yet another batch of wool I have to give him a ruffled look. He has a fairly wimpy armature, unfortunately - I didn't realize how weighty he was going to get, and he didn't hold his pose well after handling and moving a lot. He can balance on his own, but his head looks down quite a bit Sad His legs were wrapped in jute twine with polymer clay claws to help provide a stable and durable foot.

For the non-needle felted bits, he has feathered ear tufts - each "ear" is three or four feathers stacked neatly and I built up the felting around them to hold them in and make them stand. You maaaay have noticed that Rusty has some abnormal "growth" on his back - mainly a few slender white mushrooms dotted with green and blue "moss". I made the mushrooms from polymer clay following a tutorial I found here. I added wires to the stems of the mushrooms, which are embedded into Rusty's humped back. The mossy bits are what I like to call "sweater droppings" or "wool pellets". They are the bits of balled up wool left in the corners of my garment bags when I machine wash/wet felt sweaters for craft projects. I have a couple bags of them because I always though I would find a purpose for them. Never through anything away, right? Wink They are also felted down in place. His eyes - which I am in love with - are made from big, flat beads that I had in my stash for a long while with plans to use for some steampunk-style accessories that never came to be. I layered on polymer clay with brushed on pastels to create the eyes. They are slightly insect like but not at the same time. The beads change from orange to green depending on the angle of light.

Now we are getting to the part where Rusty gets his name! The top of his moth wings were created using muslin fabric that I soaked for a few days in water filled with coffee grounds while the fabric was wrapped around rusty nails, screws, and hinges (kindly and gladly donated to me by geekgirl1000100). This was the biggest experiment of the project. I had never really dyed things by intentionally staining with things that tend to stain. I discovered that rust stain does not soak through fabric well. I attempted to get a symmetric look to the wings by doing two layers at once, but I wound up having to do one side and then the other (I had a small supply of rusty bits for this). I was really impressed by the overall result and found some things surprising. I expected the coffee to turn the fabric brownish, but it turned out more grayish. I added vinegar to the water bath because I heard it was good for making dyes brighter/hold better - I don't know about this and I'm not sure if it caused the coffee to change color either. Even though it was unplanned, I really liked the gray tinge around the outer bits of the fabric, but when I cut down the wings, I lots a lot of that. Finally, his wings are backed with felted sweater bits. I decided to intentionally mismatch the undersides of the lower wing parts since he is such a strange character, and it seemed fitting. Smiley

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12  Re: Strange Doll Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by PerfectlyBohemian on: July 01, 2016 04:04:02 PM
I received the cutest-creepiest darn art doll ever from petskin today! Look at those eyes!!! Also, it is the tiniest, lightest thing ever, constructed with paper clay and stained with coffee and acrylics, with a hat made with sweater scraps and a lovely lace, ruffle around its neck. Clothes fully removable! (The macaron is for the badge swap that we were also partnered for.) And looks at all spotted head and freckles! So cute! And the eyes are so piercing and creepy! I love it <3 Smiley

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13  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by PerfectlyBohemian on: June 18, 2016 11:45:33 AM
Alby and I have been busy this weekend already.

Yesterday we were on site all day for a Habitat for Humanity house. We were mostly doing the landscaping because the house was almost done, so not much excitement. But look at that straw we laid!! I forgot to take a picture of the tree we planted, but Alby was really helpful with digging the hole Wink

This morning we went to the Videri Chocolate Factory for a craft meetup. Not many people showed - only half the people who signed up - but it was a really nice morning.

Alby also got to wonder around my yard again for our outdoors photo challenge.

Day lilies:

Baby pumpkin (and way too much grass in my garden):

My "forest" behind our house:

One of the last mulberries from the mulberry tree that the birds have mostly picked clean:

My white hydrangea:

And here's a "stylized" photo Google automatically created just for fun Smiley

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14  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by PerfectlyBohemian on: June 07, 2016 07:10:06 PM
Alby joined me at a craft meetup over the weekend at a coffee shop in Cary, NC. Everyone worked on various crafts and enjoyed locally roasted coffee. I wound up taking home a small bag to try making myself later because it was a such a light roast, and it was so warm at the shop, we had to get iced beverages.

Alby checked out the coffee roaster. It's quite large! The roaster is the inspiration for the shop's mascot/logo that looks like a happy little coffee roaster Smiley

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15  Wet-felted Cat Cave Beds in Felting: Completed Projects by PerfectlyBohemian on: June 06, 2016 06:40:34 PM
I'm not much of a wet-felter yet, so these were experimental projects for me. My dear friend geekgirl1000100 teasingly sent me a Pinterest link to a cat cave quite a while ago putting in her "order".

I decided to try making one for a different friend in my local craft meetup group when we did a group swap and had a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, I didn't make it big enough, so her chubby little kitty Vashti just sleeps on top (the little kitty Penelope never had a chance to try it, I think). The colors were chosen to match my friend's living room - coral and green with touches of dark yellow.

A month or two later, I decided to make one again, this time actually for geekgirl as a present for watching my cats for a week while I was out of town. The second try was a little too big, so it didn't hold its shape very well with the amount of wool I used. The colors were supposed to be a little more inspired by several spacey sci-fi shows that geekgirl is a fan of - blues, purples, grays, and flecks of yellow (I didn't tell her my inspiration for the colors Tongue).

I definitely have some more learning/practicing to do with wet felting before I'm comfortable doing it and happy with the finished products.

This is the first attempt (with Vashti as a model). It looked like the perfect size for my kitties to curl up in, so I didn't suspect it to become a much loved pancaked bed Tongue

And here is attempt two with my buff tabbies Gemini and Castor and geekgirl's kitty Rygel testing it out.

(Gemini would only go in while it was upside down)

(Castor had some growing room)

(Even fluffy Rygel had room for a friend)

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16  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by PerfectlyBohemian on: May 21, 2016 06:17:19 AM
I finally caught a cardinal! Our state bird! Not the clearest photos, but there was a male and female bird on the feeder when I got up this morning, so I hurried Alby up to come see. The lady Cardinal flew off, but this is better than nothing Tongue There's also a little sparrow for extra diversity Smiley

We also went to the Raleigh Little Theater last night to see a play called Beertown. It was a very audience interactive - audience members got to debate over which items presented at a town hall meeting were to be added or removed from a time capsule that is opened every 5 years.

During intermission, we got to go take a look at the time capsule items. Some of them were quite amusing - the proposed ones were a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, an old "Bee Kind and Rewind" sign from a fictional movie rental store that had gone out of business, and a telescope lends from the fictional university.

Some of the old items included a "jar of smoke", a license tag from the car of an old town hero, an editorial from the local newspaper, and a pie tin.

The time capsule itself was a beer keg. Tongue

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17  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by PerfectlyBohemian on: May 19, 2016 06:55:39 AM
Castor has been helping (or hindering) Alby's birdwatching:

But we have seen some sparrows, tufted titmice, and chickadees up close. I also scared off the one cardinal that Alby saw up close when I got excited and went scurrying for my camera - whoops:

Last weekend we did some gardening, but everything is tiny and sad looking right now. We do have some great hydrangea blooming right now and some pumpkins that are a bit early in the season though:

This is what a couple of my garden patches look like still - needs some work before things start warming up.
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18  You're Oh So Clever - Whimsical Fox Woodland Shrine in Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General by PerfectlyBohemian on: May 17, 2016 10:15:51 AM
In the recent Shrine Swap, I was partnered with kwality570 which I was very happy for. In the Whimsical Shrine Swap a couple years ago, I was her angel after her original partner flaked. I was super excited to make a companion piece for the "Oh Hello Deer" diorama I made her before (with her permission of course). I still had a couple of round boxes that matched the one I used for her first shrine from me and decided to do an opposite-ish night scene.

After doing some initial sketches, I sketched each piece individually, painted it, cut it out, rubbed the cut edges for a nice crisp black line, and proceeded to assemble in a layered scene. The "opposites" in this shrine are that the scene takes place on the other side of the tree from the first scene, it is night time instead of daytime, there is a female cardinal instead of a male cardinal, and the owl in the tree has taken off and is in flight. Previously, the fox was hiding behind the tree, and now he is pouncing around which a rabbit peaks out from a boulder. I tried to keep the feel of the scene very similar. I included mushrooms again, but this time they are slender white clusters instead of the fat spotted red mushrooms. There are a few things I forgot to do - like highlights and fine touches with color pencil after painting - because I was excited to put it together, and the fox looks like a more youthful pup than previously - perhaps this scene takes place first?  But I'm still happy with how it turned out Smiley

See the first "shrine" in the series here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=435660.0
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19  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by PerfectlyBohemian on: May 16, 2016 04:32:51 PM
Alby, Castor, and I are watching out the window for a Cardinal - our state bird - to visit the feeder hanging outside our window.

In the meantime, here's some more photos from our trip the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in Durham Smiley

One of my best pals StudioANF insisted on walking through the decorative greenery outside to help Alby pose in front of the sign - I'll save the photo of just Alby for his album, but I couldn't resist sharing this one I snagged of them being deviants Wink

We saw some pretty funky modern art in one of the galleries:

We saw some very classic art too, like this one by John Singer Sargent:

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20  Re: Traveling Little Visitor Swap Round 23 Gallery! in ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED by PerfectlyBohemian on: May 15, 2016 03:46:29 PM
How about a photo challenge?
Does your state or country have an official flower, animal, mineral, etc? Check the list if you don't know https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_United_States_state_symbols
and post a photo with your LV and one of them Smiley I couldn't find a list for countries. I'll look more in a bit.

Eek! A challenge indeed. The NC state flower - the Dogwood - has already come and gone for the year. Maybe I'll get lucky and find the state wildflower (Carolina Lily) somewhere... although it doesn't usually flower until midsummer. Perhaps it is time for an adventure to learn which pine is the Longleaf Pine and grab a photo with one of those for the state tree Tongue I'm done doing anything active today though - I have a horrible cold that I caught from my husband who caught it while traveling to/from Florida and terrible allergies from doing garden chores that I couldn't let go of for another day. Very exhausting.

Here's a peak at Alby's trip to the Nasher Art Museum from yesterday though. More photos later Smiley

This is a piece of a Fresco from Teotihuacan, Central Mexico, dated 400-550 CE, featuring a dancing, singing bird:
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