Posts Tagged ‘DIY

If you know me you know I’m a HUGE Wicked fan.  I’ve seen the show several time, and my favorite 26818_367497456222_2442604_nHalloween costume includes green face paint.  I couldn’t wait until I my kids were old enough to go with me, and 5 years ago I took K to see the show when she was just 6!  I had a whole day planned, including lunch at the theater prior to the show and an 18″ Madame Alexander Elphaba doll (you can call her the Wicked With of the West if you want, but we don’t!).  K has loved that doll for a long time, but has only recently been playing with her more.  Maybe that’s odd for a 10.5 year old to be playing more actively with a doll, but I love it and I hope she keeps playing with her!

The thing about these dolls that I can’t ever work around is the hair.  I don’t have a whole lot of it, and my daughters have pretty simple locks as well.  Seems that as soon as you unbox a doll her hair goes straight to frizz and there’s not much you can do about it.  I got one of those doll brushes they recommend you use with the wire bristles, and that did about zilch for poor Elphie’s mangled mane.  I figured she’d always have a ball of black, matted doll hair on her head, and life went on.  I’d managed to get it in a messy braid to keep it at bay, and K didn’t seem to care one way or another.

However, in the last few days, Elphie and K have been hanging out more.  It made me sad to see that beautiful green face surrounded by a rat’s nest!!  So, I took to Pinterest because I knew I had pinned a doll hair remedy in the past for just such occasion!  I found one on Simply Clean Living that looked like it fit my needs.  I rounded up supplies, and got to work on Elphie!


As you can see, she looks like a hot mess!!  The first thing I did was take out the braid that has probably been in her hair for, oh, I don’t know, 3 years!

Next I mixed 8 oz of water and 1 oz of Snuggle Fabric Softener Liquid in a jar.  I shook it up and poured it on Elphie’s head over a plugged sink.  Then I rubbed it through to the ends and let it sit in the mixture for a few minutes.  Right away I could pull the previously snarled hair apart.


I towel dried her hair, and mixed another 8oz water and 1 oz fabric softener in a spray bottle.  Then I took to sectioning it off and working the knots out.  Some parts work better with a wide tooth comb.  Some parts worked better with the wire doll’s brush.  You just have to try it out and see what works best for your doll’s hair.


There were times I had to lay her down on the floor with her hair laid out flat and rake the brush though it.  She lost quite a bit of hair, but honestly, you can’t really tell.  When I was done, the ends were still so frizzy and bulky.  I figured I’d try using my curling iron to smooth it out.  I did very small sections at a time, and it worked well for me.*

*NOTE: Adults ONLY should attempt the curling iron on the LOWEST SETTING!!!!!!  A doll’s hair is synthetic, and can melt if the heat is too high!  Be sure to test a tiny, hidden section before you go crazy with your iron.


It didn’t smooth out the frizz completely, but it did make it so much better.  I pulled up the sides of her hair like she had originally had it styled and K redressed her in the 18″ doll Elsa dress she got for Christmas.


And there you have it!  Another Pinterest win.  Be warned though that if your doll’s hair is as bad as Elphie’s was it WILL take you a long time.  I want to say that it took me about 2 hours to get her hair under control, but I think it was worth it.  And, seeing K’s face when she saw Elphie’s fresh look was definitely worth the effort.


Reading before bedtime ❤


(continued from Part 2)

After taking a few minutes to have a minor nervous breakdown over the fact that I would be creating a piece on the dark street I pulled myself together.  I still had plenty of time to practice and I knew I could successfully draw Rosie; the goal now was drawing her on the road and practicing with chalk pastels.  Luckily, we live on a cul-de-sac in a rural neighborhood.  The street that runs in front of my house is similar to the surface at Easton Town Center.  During the day we don’t get much traffic, so I was able to park my car on the street and draw on the road behind the car.  I went to a local art supply store and picked up a box of black chalk pastel sticks and a box of colored chalk pastels.  Again, my inexperience go the better of me!

If you’ve never used a chalk pastel, or you’re not really familiar with them, they are basically a stick of pressed pigment.  They are very densely colored, easy to draw with, and easy to blend.  Also a little goes a long LONG way.  And, when I say they are easy to blend, you should also read this as “easy to smear all over the place even when you aren’t trying to blend!”  On my first attempt on our back patio I tried to outline Rosie using the sticks of black pastel.  Before I had finished her shoulders the top of her head had started to smear from me moving around.  I was just doing a quick sketch so I could learn the properties of the pastels so I hadn’t intended to draw the full figure.  She looked AWFUL!!!  I then attempted to color her in and she went from bad to worse!  The chalk pastels don’t really come in a “flesh” tone.  Since they are used by trained artists, they are meant to be blended.  You’re supposed to know how to mix 2 (or more) of the colors available to make the new color you desire.  Well, I’m not a trained artist, and I’ve been very happy with my Crayola peach colored chalk!!  I attempted to color Rosie’s face with the pastels, but all of her black outline smeared, her face looked like a zombie corpse thing, and she was bad bad bad.  Her hair did turn out great though, so there was a glimmer of hope.  I gave up on this attempt and vowed that I would NOT be coloring Rosie’s face with the chalk pastels.  I would just take my Crayolas with me for her face.  I wasn’t going to botch the face of my piece just because my experience in color blending is limited to none.

My next hurdle was the road.  Now that I knew chalk pastels were out for doing my outline I went old school.  I dug around in my kitchen junk drawer and came up with about 2.5 sticks of regular old white school chalk.  I knew this would work.  It really had to because my homemade chalk would not show up on the road and the chalk pastels would not stay put once laid down.  With my black outline and school chalk in hand I got to work on another practice piece.  This time on the road.  I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of it, and happy with the white school chalk on the dark surface.  I breathed a huge sigh of relief, and focused on getting to know all about Rosie as the person and not just the girl in the painting (to be continued…)


Street practice using basic white school chalk.

(continued from Part 1)

When I confirmed with the Chalk-the-Block organizer and myself that, Yes, I was in fact going to attempt Rockwell’s Rosie I became intent on finding out all I could about this ginger beauty.  At first glance she just looks like a dirty girl eating her sandwich on her lunch break.  On second glance you may notice she has several buttons across her overalls.  On third glance you may notice there’s a little something in her pocket.  On fourth glance you may notice…well, there’s a lot to notice.  And I’ll get into that in a bit.

I really wanted to know all about the details of this painting, and tried all the tricks I could think of to dig up the meaning of the 7 visible buttons that adorn Rosie’s overalls.  My super Google skills brought up little as far as specifics, but I did hit the jack-pot when I came across an amazingly beautiful and photo-filled blog, the eff stop (there are also photos of the breathtaking Rosie tattoo recently acquired by the author).  Lorri had done a fantastic job capturing the beauty of the painting as she hung in her permanent home, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art located in Bentonville, Arkansas.  I commented on her post asking if she had any info on the buttons.  She graciously sent me a stunning photo she had taken on her visit of those buttons!

Between the time I made my original comment on the eff stop post and the time Lorri sent me the button photo, I also reached out to the director of education for Rosie’s home museum.  The director was extremely helpful, and shared with me a brochure that was passed out during an “Art Talk” Crystal Bridges had held on Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter painting.  It not only included the explanation of the buttons in question, but also links to historical sites that helped identify the buttons.

Armed with the knowledge of Rosie’s symbolism, I got to work practicing.  My first attempt was a complete F.L.O.P.  I attempted to draw from a black and white copy of the original painting, and that just did not work.  I needed the defined lines.  So, I reverted to my old school days, and made a carbon copy of Rosie.  By coloring heavily on the back of the picture with a pencil, placing a clean sheet of paper under the picture, and outlining Rosie with excess pressure I was able to transfer an outline to the clean sheet.  Then I traced that pencil outline with a fine tipped pen, and I had my solid black outline that I’m comfortable drawing from.

Here at home I make my own black sidewalk chalk.  It works great on the light color of the driveway and looks similar to a pencil.  I did a much better practice of Rosie with the outline as my guide, and I was more confident about recreating her at the festival.  I colored her in with my usual Crayola sidewalk chalk, she was looking good, and I was feeling good!  I should have known it couldn’t be that easy…


The Chalk the Block festival was being held at Easton Town Center.  In my naivete, I figured we’d be drawing on the sidewalk.  The light, smooth, even sidewalk.  Oh friends, how wrong I was.  While looking through the gallery of the 2012 event, I quickly noticed that the artists were not drawing on the sidewalk, they were drawing on the road.  The dark, coarse, bumpy road!!!  *audible gasp*  A quick email to the organizer confirmed that, Yes, we would be chalking on the road.  It also informed me that we would all be given a large box of professional chalk pastels which they preferred we use, EXCLUSIVELY, to create our drawings.  Now, I’d never used a chalk pastel in my life.  I’d also never drawn on the road before, save for the quick Scooby I did for my son’s birthday on the school playground, but that was more crumbly black top than road.  Welcome back, freak-out mode!!  (to be continued…)

Welcome friend!  I have a long story to tell you.  I hope you’ll follow along.  I’ll be breaking it up into a series so it doesn’t get too overwhelming!

A few months ago I posted how I liked to spend my summer months outside doing some sidewalk chalk art while the kids play.  We had a great summer, and I got to create some really fun pieces.  I also started posting my chalkings to Instagram (#notyourmommaschalk), and then sifting through the #sidewalkchalk posts.  I came across a few from a chalk festival in St. Louis.  I was unaware that such things existed, and knew I had to attend one.  I commented on one of the photos, and received a reply telling me about an upcoming festival about 2 hours from home.  Long story short, I submitted an entry and was selected to be one of 32 artists at the festival!!

I’ve only ever done cartoon characters, and my subjects have to have a solid black outline.  You can imagine the panic attack I had when I got an email from the organizer letting me know that they preferred the artists didn’t do a licensed character. *audible gasp*  They didn’t say we couldn’t do one, just that they preferred we do something more original.  So, I stressed for a day or two.  Thought about enlisting the help of my tattoo artist to draw me something original that I could copy (in exchange for crocheted goods).  Thought about trying tweak an existing character (IE: Tinkerbell as a Buckeye cheerleader). Stressed some more, and continued searching Google Images for inspiration.

As the event date loomed over me, and I had about 2 weeks to decide on a subject, I searched everything that came to mind.  Out of genius or frustration, I’m not sure, I searched Wonder Woman.  After skimming the usual images that pop up of classic and trampy Wonder Woman I glimpsed a face that I knew very well, and it was not the super hero of my search.  This was a face that I have grown up seeing, a face that many recognize, a face to define a generation, an icon of American history and the women of this great country.  She was also a face that had a twin.  A twin that I have loved deeply since I was a child.  This twin is not as famous as the other.  She doesn’t have a punchy catchphrase.  She isn’t as made-up.  She isn’t as clean.  What she IS is a hardworking, all American girl who did her job, did it well, and loved her country.

Meet the Rosie Twins:


If you don’t know, both of these images are a depiction of a World War II icon symbolizing the women of the time who had to pick up the factory slack when the men got shipped off to war.  She is known as Rosie the Riveter, and has quite an amazing history.  The Rosie on the left is the most well-known.  She was used on posters introduced by the United States Government in its propaganda campaign to entice women into war work.  The Rosie on the right is a painting done by the amazing Norman Rockwell.  It was used on the May 29th cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943.  While I am fond of both Rosies, the Rockwell holds a special place in my heart.  I have loved her for as long as I have known her, and that is a long time.

I had been toying with the idea of chalking a Rockwell here a home for a while.  I have been a huge Norman Rockwell fan most of my life thanks to my grandparents whose home was filled with Rockwell objet d’art.  I had never been brave enough to tackle such an iconic and artistic genius.  A Rockwell would be way out of my comfort zone.  For some crazy reason I thought a huge public chalk festival would be the perfect venue to try it out!!  Momentary insanity???  Probably…  (to be continued)

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 311 other followers

@Chalk_n_Awe on Instagram

There was an error retrieving images from Instagram. An attempt will be remade in a few minutes.