Mystery Build 2012 – part two

Ralphie with the Willy Wonka character pieces made with polymer clay, Mystery Build 2012

Mystery Build 2012 – Plan B

The Mystery Build 2012 project began with a disappointing start for Christine. Her initial idea to make a Violet Beauregarde using the balloon in the kit fell to the wayside. The balloon decided to deflate before she could finish adding layers of paper and glue to it. Since the balloon idea was not working out, Christine began to brainstorm new ideas. She knew she only had small amounts of each of the materials in the Mystery Build 2012 kit. This caused her to “think small” but in a big way. She wanted to use her love of creating “little things” to her advantage in the challenge. This prompted her to decide to make the five main child characters in the movie as mini sculptures sitting on a golden ticket resembling a flying carpet. Her original pieces were sculpted with polymer clay as you can see on display with me (Ralphie the Bunny if you didn’t know) in the photo above.

Work in progress of Charlie made with polymer clay, Mystery Build 2012

Willy Wonka Characters sculpted in Polymer Clay

Christine watched a video at the Mystery Build 2012 website about using the plaster of paris from the kit. In the video it showed examples of how to cast the plaster using a variety of molds.  Using a mold was allowed if the final piece only consisted of a material from the Mystery Build 2012 kit. Since Christine had recently ordered silicone mold material to make molds with, she decided to make small original pieces of the characters from the movie using polymer clay. Then she could use the molds to make final pieces cast with plaster of paris.

In the photo above you can see how Christine first “sketched” her Charlie character onto the surface of the polymer clay. Then she began to sculpt out her design and remove the unwanted clay to create her final piece. This method is a type of subtractive sculpting, where material is “subtracted” from the piece.

Charlie from Willy Wonka made with polymer clay, Mystery Build 2012

The Charlie Bucket piece is almost done in the photo above. Christine still needed to sculpt his face and some patches on his clothing.

Willy Wonka characters being cast with plaster of paris, Mystery Build 2012

Willy Wonka characters being cast in plaster

The photos above show the process of casting the Willy Wonka characters using the plaster of paris.  It is a pretty messy process. Christine hadn’t worked with plaster of paris very often before doing this challenge. She found out that the plaster takes quite a bit of time to completely dry. To help it dry faster, she decided to set her pieces outside in the sunlight.

Golden ticket flying carpet base made with canvas, wire and plaster, Mystery Build 2012

A Golden Ticket Flying Carpet

There was canvas, wire, masking tape and plaster cloth included in the Mystery Build 2012 kit. Using these materials worked out well for Christine to create the “golden ticket” flying carpet for her characters to sit on. In my next report you will see everything come together as a final piece. Please stay tuned to see how the rest of her project comes into fruition.

Check out the rest of the Mystery Build posts by clicking the links below

Mystery Build 2012 – part one

Mystery Build 2012 – part three

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Mystery Build 2012 – part one

Ralphie next to deflated balloon

Mystery Build 2012 Challenge

Mystery Build 2012? What is that? And why am I, Ralphie the Bunny, standing next to a crumpled up, deflated balloon? I will fill you in on all of the details about these “mysteries.” Where do I begin?

The Mystery Build 2012 tin

The Mystery Build Tin

This year Christine decided to participate in a competition where her creativity would be challenged. She loves taking on new creative challenges. In this particular challenge, Christine needed to order a tin that contained a variety of “mystery” art materials. Then she needed to build a piece using only the materials in the kit. She did not have to use every item in the tin, but she could not use additional materials aside from adding paint and/or varnish to the surface of her piece.

Mystery Build 2012 kit contents

Mystery Build tin materials

You can see some of the materials inside of the kit in the photos above. Some of the supplies were wooden dowels in a couple different sizes, one piece of felt, wooden circles, a votive candle, a clothespin, plaster cloth, wooden balls, air dry putty, plaster of paris, air dry clay, a huge rubber band, a cork, etc. The tin itself could be used as part of the piece. Other “supplies” included on the supply list were the rule book and the zip lock baggies that held some of the materials.

Balloon inside of the Mystery Build kit

Balloon inspiration

Another item in the kit was a balloon. Christine decided to use the balloon in her first attempt at making a piece for the challenge. The theme for this year’s challenge is your favorite movie. One of Christine’s favorites is the classic 1971 version of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. She decided to use the balloon to make the memorable “blueberry girl” character, Violet Beauregarde. Christine used the newsprint and school glue from the kit materials to “paper mache” the balloon. Unfortunately the school glue was taking too long to dry. Before Christine was able to get enough layers of paper glued to the balloon, it began to deflate. And that’s why I’m standing next to a deflated, partially covered balloon in the photo at the beginning. What did Christine decide to do as a second attempt? Stay tuned to find out.

Click on the following links to see more of the Mystery Build 2012 series

Mystery Build 2012 – part two

Mystery Build 2012 – part three

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Kids Art, cute bunnies, turtles, a unicorn & a cat

Ralphie the bunny at the window

Kids Art in the form of hand-painted bunnies & more

Kids art is the topic today and I, Ralphie, will be showing you some delightful pieces hand-painted by Christine’s nieces and nephews, Katrina, Kristin, Jordan and Andrew. Last month they came for a visit and they managed to squeeze in an art and craft day while they were here.

Andrew painting his bunny

It’s the “Andrew Paints a Bunny” movie! Very exciting. Christine’s nephew, Andrew, carefully hand-painted his bunny piece. He painted it black to represent their pet bunny, Midnight, who is a mini rex black bunny.

Kids painting their pieces of art

The photo above shows the rest of the kids painting at the table. They each selected two resin pieces to paint that Christine had already cast. All of them each painted a lil’ bunny sculpture. Katrina painted a cat for her second piece. Kristin painted a unicorn. Jordan and Andrew each painted a turtle.

Kid's artwork, turtles, unicorn, and a cat

Kids Artwork Show n’ Tell

Here are some pics of the kids art. Andrew painted the lovely bright red turtle. His big brother, Jordan, painted the golden turtle. Their big sister, Kristin, painted the lovely unicorn. And the oldest of the kids, Katrina, painted the vibrant blue kitty cat.

Kid's art, lil' bunnies

And last but not least, here are the wonderful lil’ bunny sculptures that each of the kids painted. Kristin’s is flocked like some of the bunnies that Christine has made. Andrew’s and Katrina’s resemble their pet bunny who has black fur. Jordan’s is painted with a nice red and blue outfit, which reminds me of an outfit worn by an Olympic athlete. It has a bit of an Olympic feel to it, doesn’t it? All of the kids artwork is fantastic. I hope you enjoyed the kids art show n’ tell.

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Frogs and snail shells

Ralphie on the bridge at the nature trail

Frogs-a-plenty and snail shells

Frogs and snail shells are the topic of discussion today. I’m here to share with you the frog filled visit that Christine and her niece, Kristin, had at a pond that is near the nature trail. They also created a little memento from their visit to the pond.

Pond near the nature trail

How many frogs did they find?

Earlier this year Christine discovered a new pond alongside the nature trail. Since there has been a drought this summer in Wisconsin, you can see the water level has lowered between the two photos taken in June and July of this summer. Despite the low levels of water, it looked like it might have recently rained in frogs instead of water. Christine and Kristin found close to 30 frogs when they were standing on the one tiny pier at the pond. At first it was hard to spot them, but the longer they looked in the water, the more that they saw them relaxing in the water. One …. two …. three ……. oh, there’s another one and another one! …… four ……. five …… six …….. look at that tiny one ………. seven ……. eight …….. nine ……. there’s one skimming over the water ….. ten ……. they are so cute!

Christine's niece Kristin on the pier at the pond

Kristin tried her best to catch a frog, but never got one. Those frogs were very quick!

Frog on a perch

“Frog King” of the Pond

Here’s a frog sitting atop his perch, maybe he’s the king of the pond. Besides seeing frogs at the pond, Christine and Kristin spotted some snail shells too. The shells were a lot easier to catch than a frog.

Frog in the pond

Ribbit, ribbit! That frog looks like he’s enjoying his time in the pond.

Snail shell on the pier

A snail shell shadowbox memento

This is the first snail shell that they found. Isn’t it nice? Unfortunately Christine forgot that it was sitting on the pier during her observation at the pond and crunch, she stepped right on it. Thankfully, Kristin managed to get another shell that they took back home with them. Later, Kristin painted the shell and Christine made a shadowbox to keep the shell in.

Snail shell shadowbox

This is how the shell now looks, safe inside a shadowbox to keep for years to come.

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Nature trail exploring with Ralphie the Bunny

Ralphie riding in Christine's bike bakset on the nature trail

Ralphie gets his chance to visit the trail with Christine

Nature trail exploring is the topic of the day. Remember the other week when I wanted to visit the trail with Christine? That was the day when I showed you how she used photographs from the nature trail to inspire her watercolor artwork. There was one glorious day during the Spring, when I did get a chance to explore the inspiring trail with Christine. As you can see in the photo above, I was tucked into Christine’s bike basket for our inspiring ride.

Ralphie smelling the Phlox flowers on the nature trail

Beautiful Phlox wildflowers on the nature trail

Christine invited me just in time to see the last of the beautiful blooming Phlox wildflowers. Aren’t they pretty in all of their purple vibrancy? During the early Spring they can be found blooming in many spots on the trail.

Ralphie taking time to smell the Phlox flowers on the nature trail

I had to take some time to smell the Phlox flowers. Ahhhh….they are such a nice sight to see along the trail.

Ralphie sitting on a bench along the nature trail

As we beheld so many sights along the nature trail as well as a lot of sunshine, we took a break on a bench. Yikes…..I almost fell off of the bench. Since I am only a small felt bunny, the bench size did not accommodate my size very well. Nonetheless, it was nice to stop for a break before continuing our bike ride adventure out on the nature trail.

Ralphie the Bunny on the nature trail

Finding those spots of inspiration along the nature trail

I wanted to have a firsthand experience of the places where Christine finds inspiration. Whenever we stopped along the nature trail, I wanted to explore at ground level to find the hidden and overlooked nooks and crannies that Christine searches for. These are the places which ignite her imagination.

Ralphie relaxing on a leaf on the nature trail

There was a large green leaf in the shade that I had to jump on for some lounging and relaxing on our day in the warm and sunny Spring air. It was such a fun experience to see the trail with my own eyes and to see where Christine finds her inspiration. I hope you enjoyed your time. I will chat with you later.

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Cute fridge magnets for summer and studio clean up time


Assorted flip flop & sunglasses fridge magnets

Cute fridge magnets for summertime memories

Cute fridge magnets celebrating summer! Look at the fun and bright colors of these adorable and highly detailed flip flop magnets along with a pair of sunglasses magnet. It’s me, Ralphie, and I’m back to show you these cute fridge magnets created by Christine and also to give you another “in-the-studio” look at what goes on at her studio.

Ralphie near the silicone molds created by Christine of Lilly Bug Boutique

Organizing the silicone molds to make her fridge magnets

Christine sells a large variety of cute fridge magnets at her online store, Lilly Bug Boutique. She has assorted animals, food items, and objects like sneakers, ice cream trucks, etc. As you can expect, selling a large assortment of magnets means that she also has a large variety of silicone molds to create her fridge magnets with. One day I tried to help her organize her silicone molds. The molds shown here are just a fraction of what she has in her studio.

Ralphie by the silicone mold workspace

A silicone mold mess and time to clean up the studio

A silicone mold mess, oh yes! When Christine works on making new handmade silicone molds for her cute fridge magnets, her studio takes the brunt of many forms of messes. One such mess is the silicone mold material left behind while creating molds. You can see what I mean from the photo above. Although a messy studio can be cumbersome, it also is a necessity to create pieces such as Christine’s fridge magnets. Often she enjoys getting her hands dirty and making a mess. It all comes with the territory of being a creative person. However, there are moments where creative activity comes to a halt and cleaning and organizing take center stage.

Summer flip flop fridge magnets in orange, yellow and aqua blue

Studio status update: possibly new cute fridge magnet designs?

Right now the silicone mold material is cleaned up and Christine’s molds are put away and organized. Currently she is painting some extra magnet pieces to add to her store. Then coming up there will eventually be some new cute fridge magnet designs to share with you. This summer Christine is planning on developing some brand new cute fridge magnet designs to add to her store. Hopefully some new designs will begin to surface in the next couple of months. I will keep you posted with all of the details.

In the meantime, stop by and see some of Christine’s summer fun magnets and her other cute fridge magnets at her Etsy store. Enjoy your summer & stay cool!

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Glitter Queen – a behind the scenes view with Ralphie

Ralphie the Bunny with the work-in-progress Glitter Queen sculpture

Creating the Glitter Queen “Caroline”

Hello, it’s me, Ralphie the Bunny, here to give you another peek at one of Christine’s creations. Today I will give you a glimpse into Christine’s studio showing how she created her “Caroline the Glitter Queen” sculpture. For the glitter queen she used a burned out flood light bulb and hand-sculpted over it with Apoxie Sculpt. The beginning of our tour starts when Christine was almost done sculpting the piece. She made a flower bouquet for the queen to hold, so we will begin at the stage where she is going to permanently attach the flowers to the queen’s hands.

Attaching the flower bouquet to the glitter queen

Attaching the bouquet to the glitter queen sculpture

In the photo above you can see how Christine secured the flower bouquet to the queen’s hands. She filled in the area between the flower stems and the hands with Apoxie Sculpt, so the flowers would stay securely in place on the sculpture. Since it takes a few hours for the Apoxie Sculpt to harden, Christine propped up the flower bouquet with a small piece of Styrofoam and polymer clay. This allowed Christine to work on other projects while the flower bouquet was being permanently cured to the glitter queen sculpture. Can you imagine standing there holding the flowers in place for eight hours?

Glitter queen work-in-progress

The glitter queen in the studio

This photo shows the queen in the studio as she is getting painted and closer to completion. As you can see, the majority of the queen is painted and her crown is attached. However, there are more details yet to be added as you will soon find out.

Glitter queen sculpture with tulle wrap

Silver trim or sans silver trim?

Now the queen’s face is painted on and she is wearing a tulle wrap. Also, a heart with the initial “C” has been added to the queen’s glittery crown and she is now wearing a pair of delicate pearl earrings. Another finishing detail that was contemplated was a piece of silvery trim to encircle the base of the crown? Hmmmmmm…….silver trim or no trim?

Glitter Queen shown in progression from beginning to end

The glitter queen in three stages

Wow… is “Caroline the Glitter Queen” shown in three stages of the process to complete her; the gesso stage, the hand-painted stage, and the finished stage. In the last photo you can see that she is now completed with all of the finishing details that a queen needs, such as a jewel necklace and a crown adorned with pearls. Did you notice the surface treatments done on the queen?

Glitter queen before and after antiquing gel

Before and after the antiquing gel

Christine wanted to give “Caroline the Glitter Queen” an aged look, so she used some gel stain to transform her sculpture. She used the gel stain color, maple, by DecoArt to antique the surface of the glitter queen. Using the gel stain certainly makes a difference. One other surface detail given to the queen is the glittery shimmer of the queen’s dress. A “Glitter Queen” without a glitter dress would be such a disgrace, wouldn’t it?

I hope that you enjoyed seeing how “Caroline the Glitter Queen” was created. She now lives in Utah in the home of the real-life “Glitter Queen” named Caroline.

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Watercolors of Woodland characters “work-in-progress”

Ralphie next to a stack of Christine's watercolor artwork

A work in progress look at Christine’s Woodland Character Watercolors

Christine’s whimsical woodland character watercolors are the focus of today’s update. And I, Ralphie the Bunny, am here to give you the behind-the-scenes details. I am about to show you a “work-in-progress” look at how Christine creates her whimsical watercolor artwork, such as her cute bunny watercolors and other woodland characters. Also, you will see how her photographs that were taken on a nearby nature trail help inspire her ideas for her artwork. In the photo above you can see me standing next to a large stack of watercolor artwork that Christine has been working on for the last few months.  She’s been trying to start an art coding system to keep track of her artwork including the ones shown here. As you can see from the stack of artwork, she has plenty of watercolors to keep track of. There are others that didn’t make it into the photograph. I digress….from the topic at hand. Let’s begin to show you what you came to see and what I intended to share with you.

Watercolor rose work-in-progress

Painting a rose in watercolors

In this first photo you can see how Christine painted a rose in watercolors. You might also notice a cute little bug character drawn in pencil. This image is taken from a section of one of her watercolors in a floral alphabet series with whimsical characters actively involved on each of the letters. This series was one of Christine’s favorites to work on.

Bunny characters in watercolors

Cute bunny watercolors in progression

In the photo above you can see a series of bunny characters as they were done in watercolors at different stages in the process. You may even recognize the sporty bunny in red in the lower right-hand corner. He was the one featured on the ceramic tile magnet from my last blog update.

Whimsical bug watercolor

A nature trail photograph develops into an idea

Here you can see how Christine sometimes develops her ideas from photographs. In the first section you can see a photograph that Christine took on one of her many bike rides on a nearby nature trail. She finds so much inspiration on the nature trail. There are many nooks and crannies on the trail where her characters live in her imagination. Whenever she finds an inspirational view, she snaps her camera to use for a future reference. In the second section you can see her pencil rendering of a balancing bug that was inspired by her nature trail photograph. Then in the last section, you can see her piece done in watercolors. Hmmmm…..maybe I can see if she will take me on a bike ride this summer. Then I can explore and find spots where her characters hang out.

Lilly the Ladybug wandering under lilies

A lily photograph inspires Christine

Last but not least, here is a look at a new piece featuring Christine’s “alter-ego” Lilly the Ladybug. In the first section you can see the photo of some bright orange lilies that Christine once spotted along the trail. This photo served as inspiration for a watercolor of Lilly the Ladybug wandering under a patch of lilies. Christine experiences such delight whenever she finds hidden gems along the trail and as you can see her findings have served her well in creating her watercolors. We hope that you enjoyed seeing how Christine develops her watercolors from beginning to end.

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Watercolor artwork licensed at PR Gallery Inc.

Ralphie the bunny next to Christine's artwork

Watercolor Artwork by Christine is Licensed through PR Gallery

Hello, hello it’s me Ralphie the Bunny! I have not fallen off the face of the Earth as you may have been pondering. The reason for the lack of recent updates is because lately, Christine has been busy working on writing and creating new handmade pieces for her third magazine article for a craft magazine this year. She also has been working on new watercolor artwork for a company named, PR Gallery Inc. Another good bit of news is that sales have been picking up at her Etsy store, Lilly Bug Boutique. That’s just a little tidbit of what’s been happening and a short explanation for the lack of recent updates. Christine wishes that she could keep up at blog updates more often. In this update we’d both like to show you some sample pieces given to Christine from the company that she has her first art licensing contract with.

Christine's flower cart and sporty bunny character on ceramic tiles

Sample pieces from PR Gallery Inc.

As already mentioned, this year Christine has been working on making watercolor artwork for a company called “PR Gallery Inc.” This year she has created two different sets of whimsical alphabets in watercolors for PR Gallery. In addition, she has also done a few Mother’s Day themed pieces and some cute bunny character pieces for them. As the months have passed, her stack of completed watercolors continues to grow. Christine finds a lot of joy and contentment working on her watercolor artwork. Above you can see two samples of Christine’s artwork that were printed on ceramic tiles. Her mom-themed flower cart watercolor piece  is on a decorative wall tile and her sporty bunny character watercolor is printed on a smaller sized ceramic tile magnet. You can see more of Christine’s watercolor artwork printed on a variety of products at the PR Gallery Inc. website. Stay tuned for a new update showing the “work-in-progress/behind the scenes” of a few of Christine’s watercolors that she created for PR Gallery Inc.

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Bunny slippers magnets, adding the flocking, part 2

Ralphie by the bunny slipper magnets

Bunny Slippers with Flocking Story Continues

Cute bunny slippers are still on my mind. After my first flocking update featuring the bunny slippers, it’s been hard to forget about those fuzzy, soft and colorful creations. Thus, the story about flocking the slippers continues. In today’s update I will share with you an awesome flocking tip that Christine discovered while in her studio when she needed some purple flocking for one of her bunny slippers. Since she was feeling under the weather last week, I haven’t been able to talk to you for awhile. The last time I talked with you, I reported about how Christine adds the flocking to her bunny slipper magnets. And yes, how I wanted to dive into the colorful flocking powder! In the photo above you can see all of the bunny slippers completely covered in flocking powder and the magnets are getting glued on.

The bunny slippers covered in colorful flocking powder

A Very Useful Flocking Powder Tip

Here are the bunny slippers in the flocking application stage. Christine wanted me to share a flocking powder tip with you. As she was adding flocking to the slippers, she wanted to make a slipper with purple flocking powder. The problem? She had no purple flocking powder and she was having a hard time spotting some purple flocking powder online. After some thought, she decided to mix the pink and blue flocking powders together to see what the result was. To her delight, she was able to mix a purple color of flocking powder. So remember that if you need a certain color of flocking, try mixing some of the colors that you have to see what you end up with!

Colorful and fuzzy bunny slipper fridge magnetsThe photo above shows how the slippers look all done in their fuzzy flocked goodness! Christine has these adorable bunny slippers magnets at her Etsy store, Lilly Bug Boutique. At her store you can select your favorite color slipper from the bunny bunch. They are so soft and fuzzy to the touch.

So how did you like learning about how the bunny slippers were flocked? I hope you enjoyed it. Talk to you soon!

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