Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Blast from the Past.....

Often we are asked how we got started making Miniature Dolls ... and what were the first characters... ?? Well... in going through a lot of photos and files lately I am running into all sorts of little 'Blasts from the Past'... and this is one of them.... our very first Miniature Dolls.

We were commissioned back in 1995 to create various 'Railroad Characters' for a collector and friend Rod Johnston . He had this great idea of building a Beautiful Train Station and a working 1" Scale Railroad on his Property in Canada... with working platform, Trains, tracks etc... the only thing he was lacking were the People to inhabit the highly detailed setting. So Rod (who was a collector of our larger dolls) asked if we would be interested in creating the 1:12th scale miniature Train Dolls for him....

Hmmmmmm let me think.... Do I think it MIGHT be possible to convince Richard to do ANYTHING Train related...hmmmmm...might have to really twist his arm ...YEAH RIGHT!!!! Richard was Entirely Crazy about the idea and said YES YES YES...never mind the fact that we had never made anything at this point under 10 inches!!! As I have mentioned many times before here in this blog..."We love a Challenge"!!

So we taught ourselves how to scale down and think really small...that included sculpting, clothing, shoes, accessories ...the whole ball of wax...GULP!! Talk about on the job training..(no Pun Intended!!) But in truth...we knew we could do it before we even started ...we just wanted to do it well. He started with 8 Characters ...we did one a month our regular Bigger Doll Commissions...bouncing from Big to small was interesting in the end, Richard and I agreed that creating Small was so fun. We started to create Bigger dolls with 'smaller' dolls, puppets, babies etc.... things were growing smaller in our studios.... but to this point we still were not making 1:12th scale dolls to sell in shows or even advertise that we were making. Then some time later we received more commissions...for Wizards and Witches (something close to my heart) ... it was at that point that we made the turn to miniatures. Although we still create Bigger Doll Settings through commissions...primarily our focus these days are more geared towards miniatures.

The Photos above were taken by Rod and have been featured in magazines as well as a Video. Our characters were An Engineer, Conductor, Car Tonk,Brakeman, Hobo, Elderly waiting passenger, Red Cap, Attractive Passenger, a Traveling Anvil Salesman. Richard also made the luggage cart that the Red Cap is pushing and suitcases.

This was a joy to create...and we Thank Rod each day for giving us the 'directional push' into the Wonderful World of Miniatures....

Happy Wednesday All...

Jodi and Richard

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aunt Dodi's Chinese Chicken Salad Recipe

Hey There...

I posted this recipe that several of you asked for in the messages...but got to thinking many may not see decided to post here... It is really yummy, quick and knocks peoples socks off... you can add or change anything you want...this is just the exact recipe that my Aunt Dodi gave to me... I add things all the time...change is good and fun!
Aunt Dodi’s Chinese Chicken Salad

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 or 2 heads of lettuce
½ pkg Mufan Brand rice stick (follow directions on package for frying)
6 green onions chopped
1 small package sliced almonds (toasted in oven)
¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted in oven)
½ lb fresh snow peas (steamed in Micro Wave oven or stove)

2 tbles sugar
3 tbles. Rice vinegar
½ tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Sesame oil
1 tsp. Salt
½ cup oil
Mix in jar and set aside (can be made day earlier)

Teriyaki Sauce (Marinade)
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sherry
½ cup white Karo Syrup
½ cup sugar
chopped fresh garlic and ginger (any amount you desire)

Mix Marinade...Pour oven chicken in a baking dish, bake in 325 degree oven for 1 hour. Cool and cut into bite size pieces. Put the chicken in a zip lock bag with the marinade that you cooked in and let marinate again oven night. I drain it in the morning. Cook Rice Sticks. Oven toast almonds and sesame seeds. Lightly steam Peas till just soft but still crunchy. Tear lettuce and put in large bowl and mix in all other ingredients...adding the Rice Sticks last....toss well....serve. ENJOY!!!

While I am at it... my Aunt Shirley's Zucchini Casserole....

Zucchini Casserole

1 ¼ lbs zucchini (about 4 medium ones)
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
½ cup jack cheese
½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
3 tbles. Flour
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 4oz can diced green chilies
3 tbles. Butter
Parmesan Cheese

Parboil whole zucchini in salted water till semi soft about 4 minutes. Drain, cool and cube (leaving on skin). Mix all the ingredients together and then pour into a 9” casserole. Dot with butter…sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese…bake 30 minutes at 350.

I feel like Betty 'Freakin' Crocker..... I think I was channeling Julia Child there for a moment!!!

Have a great day all...Bon Appetite!


Monday, June 8, 2009 let me tell you about my day...and night!

So by now you probably thought I have either fallen off the face of the earth or been abducted by Craft Aliens and taken to planets void of Art so that our little group could spread the joy of Color and Crafts!!! NOPE... just been a very hectic weekend filled with projects and 'loose end tying' ....
So...let me talk about Friday 'Craft Day at the Creagers'!!! WHAT A FUN DAY IT WAS!!! Days like this always make me realize how fortunate I am in my life that I am surrounded by Good friends who are fun and talented and amazing to be around... recharged my batteries 10 times over! Everyone got here about 9:00am ...we always gab a bit and drink some coffee to catch up and share what products everyone brought to play with....and there were A LOT!!! We were 5 that day (one could not make it as she owns a Health Food Store and it has been busy) Each are brillant Artist in their field...Collage Artist and Painter (who is being featured soon on the Arizona Highway Magazine TV Show), Award Winning Beader, A Fine Art Cloth Artist, a Seamstress and Cloth Artist...and me. Each approaches things differently with their own unique touch...I love that. I don't think any of us really knew what we were going to create (purse skins were the plan) and I think we stuck with that pretty much. Speaking for myself I am so regimented in my doll making... staying with realism ...even if it is fantasy....that I wanted to do something avant guard / abstract ... finding a fun place to play! I LOVE Abstract...but try as I may...I just cannot get to the zone I would like to be in...again, to regimented even in that...I have always been fascinated with free art and I admire greatly those that can so easily achieve that look. create a full wall mural that makes no sense at all to the viewer...but thrills me to pieces!! So we jumped in and started gettin crazy with our gessoed canvas ...the idea was to make small purses either as a clutch or over the shoulder. Alice is very prolific and she made (painted) 8 to everyone Else's 2...but then that's our Alice....she is a girl on a misson and LOVES her art...she also loves fine glitter...which now my Patio, decking, driveway , pool and various parts of the house glimmer and glint when the light hits it just right... looks like there was a 'Fairy' Orgy here....!!lol.... We tease her and she gives us a hug...leaving behind slight traces of 'sparkle' our Alice! Kate is a brilliant artist who is capable of anything and her mind works in mysterious ways...she is capable of making something absolutely stunning out of absolutely nothing! She is an avid recycler and Free Bird who has this uncanny knack for bringing something that once was...back to life again! Sheila is an incredible Beader who makes jewelry so beautiful and detailed that it takes your breath away...she is a Scorpio like Richard so her ability to focus in great detail comes easy...she has the patience of jobe and creates till it's right. Jill (my sister) is sooo talented and remarkable with whatever she wishes to create...but for so long she has been focused on now newly retired ...she is learning to jump in again and reacquaint herself with art...I could not be more pleased!
We played for a few hours...and BOY were we has been 107 by day here...but the last few days we have been having weather in the low 90's with mornings at low 70's ...totally unheard of for our area at this time of I figure the Craft Gods were with us in our outdoor painting frenzy ...hmmmmm, maybe it was all that glitter...
We had a delicious lunch...painted some more.... and called it a day...relaxed, reinvigorated , rejuvenated and artistically replenished.
But it did not stop there.... we all decided to meet back here around 7:00PM for BBQ Chicken, salad and drinks... and allow our Mates to come...hee hee! We had a super time and all talked non stop until after 1:00 was a looooong day but I was not one ounce tired...we all agreed when leaving...we need to do this more often.
The rest of the weekend was filled with house projects...painting, moving furniture, getting ride of furniture, cleaning Oleander Trimming and other yard stuff.
Now it is Monday Morning and I am raring to get going with stuff... miniatures to make, dolls to pack and send and an article to write for a magazine.
Great being back in Bloglandia...
Have a Great Week Everyone