Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is Santa wearing tweed?

My latest Santa is number 9 sculpted in my newest style. I'm seriously thinking about making a limited number of this style, perhaps stopping after I reach a dozen. I haven't made a final decision but it's a possibility.

I hate making the same thing over and over and that's what this is beginning to feel like. It's getting so they all look the same to me. Usually for me it's, "Been there, done that and moving on to something else now." I'm not saying I'm tired of working with paper mache clay, and I'm not tired of sculpting Santa, but I'm getting bored with this look. It could be I just need to take a few days off and do something else.

Since I began sculpting these little guys I've pretty much been at it seven days a week. In nearly six months I've only had about 10 days total where I wasn't working on them. With summer finally getting here, I should be spending some of my time in the garden and getting to those projects that I've had on hold. Perhaps I'll cut back from working on four or five at a time to only one. It'll feel strange and may take some getting used to, but I'm thinking it's the direction I'm heading in.

So, without further boring conversation I'd like to show you the new man on the shelf.

His coat was supposed to look like it's sewn from wool tweed, but I'm not sure if it doesn't look more like watered silk. Now that would be a bit strange.

From the photo it's hard to see the colors in the coat. The main color you seem to see is green but there are four more colors "dusted" in. I used a combination of methods for applying the paint on this coat. There are layered washes and some sponging and some of the paint was dry brushed on.

I've noticed that most of my bears look pretty much the same so I attempted to make one of the ones here in a different style.

Here's a closer look at the only other style bear I seem to be able to make. Perhaps I should have had one of my bear boys model for me, but I hate to bring them to work with me. They might start wanting to do it on a regular basis and then I'd really have a problem.

Here's the old style stuffed into the bag between the dollies.

This is a better close-up of the new styled bear. I'm pretty sure if we could see his back side he'd have that hump at the shoulders.

Here's the whole gang except for Mrs. Claus who's in the kitchen baking something that has cinnamon and ginger spices from what I can smell. Hope it's muffins. The other one not shown is the one for the giveaway. Can't show him now that there's something in his hands. That sure would make guessing easier though.

The whole point of this pictures is to show you what I mean about them starting to look alike. I was working on 4 other figures at the same time as this guy and without the paint they really did look alike.

Hope you enjoyed meeting the new guy. As I said there are some more in the making but when they're completed that may be the end of this style. Who knows, I may decide to make Halloween figures for awhile.

Here's a clue to what Santa is holding in the contest/giveaway:

There is a plate involved but it doesn't hold cookies or a sandwich or a turkey or ham or a sweet potatoe casserole. 

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

I wasn't sure if I wanted to call this one, "Santa and the bag from Oz" or "The bag crammed way too full." I got just a wee bit carried away when I was making the toys for this bag and put a whole bunch of them in there. Since the recent bag down sizing we've undergone to make shopping for mailing boxes easier, five toys poking out of the top of the bag makes for a really snug fit.

The day I was working on the bag I decided to take a break and call Maggie. During the conversation I told her how I had a lion and a bear in the current bag and she came back with, "A lion and tiger and bear..oh my,"  so I ended up with a lion and tiger and bear in the same bag. Originally I was going to have a goblin doll instead of the tiger. I think I really needed that break or we may have had the first goblin to go into the bag.

This guy was painted in much the same way as the last one. I used black gesso under the coat and boots. The color pallet I used is based on the red and green Christmas color theme but with a twist. I used terra cotta for my red and Italian Sage and rain forest green in the patchwork with Avocado green for the main part of the coat. The hat is terra cotta and the bag is russet. The coat is buttoned with large antique gold buttons.

The coat has patch pockets at either side. In the right pocket Santa keeps the candy canes that he places in the stockings. I believe the other pocket holds a hanky to wipe his hands with.

I've noticed the colors never come out quite the same in the photos. I'm not sure if it's the flash adding more light that makes everything just a bit lighter and flatter than in real life.

The doll at Santa's right shoulder is the first boy doll I've put into the bag because as everyone knows, boy dolls are more rare. This Santa puts the doll population ahead by one. You know what that means, right?

Just a reminder. Don't forget to enter the contest/giveaway that is going on right now.  One thing I failed to mention in the post about the giveaway is you can enter as many times as you wish to. Just leave me a comment with your guess as to what Santa is holding in his hands. So far no one has guessed correctly, so the entries will be placed into the second drawing. The prize for that drawing is going to be nice too, but I really need some good guesses here people.

Maybe I need to give a clue each post to help everyone. I really do want to give that Santa away so what do you think? Do you want a clue?

Okay, here's a clue:

It is not a bear or a doll or a bird. It is not cocoa and cookies but that's the closest guess yet.  Does that help?

Hope you enjoyed seeing the newest member of the Santa Squad. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Contest Giveaway

Giveaway rules revised.

I can’t help but notice all of the blog giveaways. It’s always exciting, isn’t it? Well, I want to join into the excitement.

I needed to come up with an idea for a giveaway and so after dusting it off I put on the old thinking cap. At first, there was nothing so I strained and I strained and then POOF! The cap turned into dust leaving me in need of a good shampooing.

Since the cap was gone and hadn’t been working very well in recent times I had to try to come up with something on my own and I think I may have come up with an idea.

I’ve been working on a Santa that I’m going to show you in a moment, and he is going to be the prize in this giveaway. Now as you see from the title of this post it is not just a giveaway, but a contest.

I've decided the rules for entering the contest/giveaway needed to be revised as the last two on the first list may have seemed heavy handed to some of you. That was not my intention. This contest/giveaway is here not to promote more followers as I'm happy with those of you who already follow this blog. It is my way of saying thanks to all of you for your support and to allow one of you to win a Santa.

Here are the revised rules for entering the contest.

     1. You must be visibly following this blog.

     2. Leave a comment on this post saying you want to be entered into the contest.

     3. Make a guess as to what Santa is going to be holding in his hands.

The rules are fairly simple, right? If you do want to copy my giveaway button and put it on the side bar of your blog, that's up to you but not necessary to enter the giveaway. For those of you who did this prior to the revised post, thank you, and if you wish to do so feel free to remove it as it makes no difference on your chances of winning.

All entries with the correct guess will be eligible for the drawing which will be held on 
 Sunday July 24, 2011.

There will be a second drawing for those who entered but guessed incorrectly about what Santa is holding. The winner of that drawing will receive a prize to be announced at the time of the drawing.

Here is the Santa that will be awarded to the contest winner. Obviously he isn’t completed and won’t be until we have a winner. The reason for this is the winner is going to get a choice of picking the colors he is to be painted with or leaving the choice of colors up to me. Also, since there is no painting done yet, if there is a pattern choice for the coat that is also an option the winner can choose.

So, what do you think? Is this a contest you would like to enter? If so, good luck.
Okay, here's a clue:

It is not a bear or a doll or a bird. It is not cocoa and cookies but that's the closest guess yet.  Does that help?

 As always, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Santa and the Paisley Bag

Too keep myself from becoming bored or my work boring I like to add small details to each piece. When painting the clothing I'll paint patch work or quilt block patterns or like Santa and the puppy, I may even paint a winter scene. I like plaids and painted a Santa wearing a plaid scarf. I also like paisley. Now where to put paisley on a Santa? On his bag of course.

I tried something different with this Santa. I used black Gesso everywhere except for his face, beard and hair. I also omitted the antiquing stain, at least for now. I may decide to add it later.

I've been referring to the most recent Santas as the boot, belt, buckle and button Santas. This chap doesn't have a belt so I may have to change that to boot and button Santas.

After making the boots or feet coverings for the last figure, the boots on this one seem stubby. What do you think?

Remember I recently worked at putting the teddy bear and doll populations back in balance? I said the next Santa would have two dolls and one bear, and this is the Santa that sets things in perfect balance.

Here's a close look at the paisley bag and the three visable occupants. This is my first Raggedy Ann doll, which I have to wonder why it took so long since she's always been one of my favorite dolls. I think this Teddy looks happier than the last.

Raggedy Ann looks happy too, although she usually does. Maybe that's why I've always liked her.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing another one of the gang. Wait until you see what I'm working on and will be posting next.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Do you remember the Nossie? That’s right, it rhymes with Mossy. In case you missed it, or don’t remember let me give you a little refresher on the story behind this unique group of gift-bringers.

The Nossie are from a realm referred to as Not Quite Middle Earth which is a week's journey by donkey cart North-Northeast of the outer borders of Middle Earth.  Unlike our Santa who can deliver gifts to all of the children in just one night, it takes many Nossie to deliver the gifts on the eve of All Children's Day which coincides with the winter solstice.

This will help you recognize a Nosse in case you ever get the chance to see one:

1. On the average, a Nosse is less than four feet tall.

2. From all accounts Nossie are very vane about their appearance and insist on wearing richly decorated robes when making their deliveries.
These robes are embroidered with threads spun from real gold, and fine jewels are worked into intricate patterns and all in all these robes can be very heavy.
Wearing such robes can be exhausting, but a Nosse wouldn't think of being caught making his rounds wearing anything less.

3. As a rule Nossie are not in the least bit graceful and often trip over their own feet which can be as long as 1/3 third their height.
Also found in the reference concerning Nossie anatomy was the old saying, "He has two left feet" which was made after seeing a Nosse without his boots.

4. It is easy to recognize a Nosse by his very distinctive features which consist of larger than average eyes and nose and a beard hanging nearly to his feet.

5. Although it is sometimes said that a Nosse is all thumbs, that is not quite true as Nossie have only two thumbs per hand.
Despite having two thumbs per hand the Nossie are very talented toy makers.

What I failed to mention before is the Nossie are also a gentle race of people and love all living creatures.  You will never see a Nosse swat a fly or purposely step on a bug. They go out of their way to show kindness to all living things.

Today I am introducing you to Shelby Nosse and am going to tell you what I know about him. 

Shelby works all day every day in the toy factory set in the middle of the woods. He and the other Nossie work 360 days a year making toys. He loves making toys and is very good at it. His teddy bears are some of the best to come out of the toy factory. 

The foreman of the factory insists the Nossie take their breaks as test results shows that productivity is improved when this practice is adhered to. Unlike some of the other Nossie who like to hang out in the break room swapping stories, Shelby likes to take walks in the woods on his breaks.

This day he is not alone as he is accompanied by three little mice he's made friends with. When it is time to eat he shares his bread and cheese. Felix likes to eat out of Shelby's hand while Ullie and Otis enjoy their lunch sitting in a coat pocket.

Shelby is dressed in his everyday attire. You’ll notice that instead of wearing his fine handmade boots, his feet are bound in scraps of leather that have been tied on with cords.

The Nossie wear special robes and cloaks when making their gift deliveries but on a normal work day they are more practical with their attire and often their coats are shabby but always mended and clean.

If you look closely you will see that Shelby's hat is nearly the same color as his eyes. It was knitted for him by Essie Lu Nosse who is sweet on him and has been for many years, not that it's done her any good. Most male Nossie spend little time thinking of anything other than making toys.

Look closely and you will see that Nossie really do have two left feet. Shelby’s feet are also 1/3 his height.

I hope you've enjoyed spending this time with Shelby. Although he may not look like the ideal Santa, he fits all of the requirements of a true gift-bringer. He is kind, gentle caring individual who takes joy in bringing happiness to others.

Thank you for stopping by.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Off My Rocker is having a terrific giveaway

My First Giveaway!

Maggie from Off My Rocker is having a giveaway and I'm here to say, "You do not want to miss it!"

As most of you know, Maggie is my sister and the reason I'm sculpting again. She sent me an email with photos of this Santa and one other that she had made using a compound that she told me was paper mache clay. I could not believe that she had made these lovely little figures from paper mache. I had to see them in person and the minute I did it was love at first sight. I was hooked. I had to see what I could do with this strange compound. The Santa in the giveaway was the catalyst which induced my Santa sculpting frenzy.

Here are some of Maggie's Santa figures. As you can see, they are really detailed and each one is a treasure.  I think Maggie is caught up in the same Santa sculpting frenzy that I am.

Maggie is a very gifted artist. She doesn't just sculpt Santa figures either, she also makes the most amazingly imaginative art dolls.

This is one of my favorites. He's not just adorable to look at but he is standing on a music box. How great is that?

Here is another example of her work. I've seen this little darling in person and believe me the photo does not do him justice. He is the sweetest little fellow and I wouldn't mind adding him to my collection.

If you haven't visited her blog yet, now is the time to do it.  You really don't want to miss out on entering the giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Red and White Santa

I have never made a Santa wearing a red suit with white fur before and I know that many of you feel strongly about Santa in that color combination so this is for you.
This Santa is similar to the ones I’ve been making recently. There are differences as he’s wearing a shorter coat so more of his legs show and unlike the others his clothing is much brighter and lighter.
As I promised in my last post  the dolls and bears are staying in balance.
I hope you enjoy this Santa as much as I enjoyed making him.

To assure his hair and fur trim are distinguishable from one another I've blended some gray into the white.

Here's a closer look at the toys in the bag. The Teddy bear doesn't look very happy, does he?

I love viewing Santa from the side as I never get tired of looking at that profile. Handsome isn't he?

This Santa has curly hair unlike the last four of this style. Do you think he needs a trim?

In this shot you get a better look at the doll's face which is only the size of the tip of my index finger.

Hope you enjoyed you visit. The Santa shown here like the others that I've posted will be available for sale in my blog shop.

As always it's been a pleasure having you stop by.