Tag Archives: brave girls university

Frida Fail


Ok, so I know that the real Frida Kahlo did have a bit of a shadow, perhaps a bit of mustache, however, on my little Frida, it looks more like an ingrown hair problem.  As I predicted, the muslin I used was too thin for this project, and you can see the backside stitching pretty clearly through the front of the fabric.  I really think that had I doubled the fabric, used a canvas rather than a muslin, or perhaps used some cotton batting, this wouldn’t have happened.

So, as you can see, her hair is lying next to her, and I’ve let her sit overnight, to mull over whether she deserves hair, or whether she will be operated on, to remove her stuffing as a donation to the next Frida.

This poor little Frida probably has a small window of reprieve because of current weather conditions.  No operations will take place in this humidity.  My craftroom is so hot that I nearly sat in my underwear last night finishing her up.  Which leads me to my Third Lesson Learned with this doll, it’s only fun . . . when it’s fun.  I was really miserable sweating over my sewing machine last night.  I wasn’t rushing or anything to get her done, but I was suffering.  And, there’s no suffering in doll making.  The heat should break this weekend, so by then I’ll probably have a new plan.

Which may not involve clay – since it’s probably baking in it’s packaging in the oven that is my craftroom.

And, in other news, Brave Girls University did open it’s doors yesterday, and it’s packed packed packed with classrooms.  Of course, being it’s first day of launch, there are things that look a little wonky, broken links, and 404 misdirect pages where there should be classrooms, but these are all kinks that I have no doubt that will be worked out.  I was particularly impressed that, following the site crashing within minutes of opening, they had another, bigger server, waiting in the wings ready to go fifteen minutes later.   There is some content that hasn’t been uploaded yet, but there’s plenty to get you started.  Of course, with my limited craft budget, I started assessing the value immediately – and this is personal value – to me – my personal assessment of whether or not I want to spend $25/month on this particular subscription service.

My initial thoughts – the “university” is organized into four categories of classes (with some overlapping) – Melody Ross classes (the Dean of the University), Soul Work, Art and DIY.  I have little to no interest in Melody Ross’s classes, and very little interest in most of the Soul Work, which is why I was never interested in the original Brave Girls Club, that lacked the Art Class/DIY category independent of the “soul” work.    I do not believe in online therapy from untrained, unlicensed practitioners.  No judgment here – you like these kinds of classes, great! It’s just not something I’m interested in.  And, who knows, maybe I’ll try to have more of an open mind about it, and stick my toes in something to see what’s going on, but I don’t think so – there’s too much in the Art and DIY categories to keep me busy.

So, are the Art and DIY classes enough to justify my $25?  I think so.  But, I think I need to approach these videos like real classes as opposed to binge watching a la Netflix.  I easily could binge-watch my way through all of the content in a month.  But, what’s the point of that?

Well, you say, you did just that during your month at CraftDaily, right?  Yes, correct – but those classes sucked.  There, I said it.  They were dated, poorly filmed, lacked accompanying PDFs and patterns, and much could be found for free in affiliate sites.

I think there is a real quality to the content at BGU.   For instance, the class I was pulled into first was Katie Kendrick’s Layered Impressions (which by the way, is not in the Art Category, but  in the Soul Work group, so I guess I’m dipping my toes).

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Katie’s class was originally a four week workshop, that I think cost $100.  While I owned Katie’s book, Layered Impressions, and I’m a big fan of her work, that was over my general bright line price test for taking an online class.  Now, you can buy the DVD of the class for $100 through her website, or you can pay $25/month on Brave Girls and work through it there.  The difference between the original live class, and this class, I’m guessing since I didn’t take the original, is that there is no method of sharing on Brave Girls – no class forums, no private Facebook groups, no online photo gallery of student work, no teacher interaction other than access to teacher’s email for questions.  Without this compenent – the interaction with teachers and other classmates – it makes it hard to work through the material like a class.  Pacing is harder, doing the work without imput is not as fun, and making friends with other online art junkies is not happening.  So, can I commit to doing the work in a solitary fashion?  Watch the videos, do the exercises, and not move on until I’ve gotten the point of the lesson?

Well, I did try last night.  I watched the intro video, and the first exercise (using your nondominant hand to loosely create faces on telephone book pages – who has a telephone book????? – and then coloring in the face), and stopped.  Did not go on to the next lesson, did not charge ahead.  I didn’t do the exercise, because I was mid-Frida, but I’m going to try to do it before I move on.

And, if I stick to the plan, and treat class like class, and not like a movie, I should be good, and the content on the site should work for my $25/month.   Even if I just watch the Katie Kendrick class for the month of September, I’ll still be saving $75 off the cost of the original class.   But, I can see the non-interactive nature of the platform making it hard treat the site as “university” rather than a video repository.  Without this sharing component, I feel like I’m missing something on the site – did I miss a tab that I should have clicked on?  I’ve always gotten so much out of seeing other people’s work, and it’s such a big part of the learning experience.  There is a Facebook page – but it’s a business page, not a sharing group kind of page.  But we’ll see.

The bottomline – based on my initial thoughts and less than 24 hrs of tooling around the site – is that this site is a huge accomplishment for it’s founders.  I can’t imagine how hard it was to convince 80+ teachers to contribute their stand-alone content to this site.  I have no idea what their business plan is, and how everyone is getting compensated, but as far as the trickle down to the subscriber – it’s an awesome value, $25 a month is a steal if you’re treating the class like class and not like bingewatching the Walking Dead.  The only thing, as I mentioned, that I’m slightly disappointed about, is the lack of the ability to interact with other students taking the same class.

So, we’ll see how it goes.  And, I can definitely work on the Katie Kendrick exercise in an air conditioned corner of my house – no need to bake my faces in the craftroom.

Now, to rustle up a phone book!

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More Tildas


I had off Thursday and Friday for no other reason than “just because.”  Well, Thursday night we did go to see Van Halen in Camden, and I did feel like sleeping in on Friday, so it wasn’t totally for “just because” although sleep probably falls into a “just because” like cateogry.  In any event, I spent Thursday, busting out 2 more Tilda’s.   Tracing, sewing and cutting out the pieces takes literally no time.  The time suck comes from turning the tiny pieces and stuffing them so that they’re not lumpy.  Don’t want a tumor riddled Tilda.  I find the whole stuffing process pretty relaxing though – it’s one of the things I like about doll making.  I put on a podcast, and mindlessly wiggle little bits of fiberfil into the teeny, narrow limbs.How cute is my Tilda substitute fabric – thank you Craftsy – I bought nearly 45 fat quarters (2 different bundles) for under $40 during their last sale.  Can’t beat that!    Two fisted Tildas – easy peasy to make more than one at a time.   But now the question is, how many to make?  These two are for my age appropriate nieces – one is nearly 2 and the other is five.  I think I’m going to make one more – for my 8 year old niece.  She’s still into stuffed animals, but I don’t think dolls so much – so I think I’ll make her a Tilda Bunny.    And then, the dilemna – do I leave the two older nieces out?  The first was easy – I just asked Danielle if she wanted one, and she said she’d get back to me, which I took as her way of politely saying no.  I suspect the other niece would feel the same way, but I don’t want to leave her out – so she may be getting a tote bag instead.   I know that even at my age, I like having Tilda hanging around my craftroom, but I can see where 12 year olds would think she’s totally not cool.


I sent this photo to my mother-in-law to show her what I was making the girls for Xmas, and she thought I was making prototype clothes for them, and this was a mannequin.
Once I showed her this photo, though, she thought they were sweet.   I just hope the two year old doesn’t pull the ponytail right out of Tilda 3’s head.

Now, I’m taking a break from Tilda’s, and I’m back to art dolls, cloth and clay.  Yesterday, I did some free motion stitching and face painting – and I kind of like the results, but it’s way too big, and I don’t have enough stuffing to make a proportional body.  So, I think I’ll chalk it up to experimentation, and go smaller this time, with more of a pattern in mind than a total wing it job.  And, this weekend, I’m finally going to make Gritty Jane’s Cloth and Clay Doll from that workshop I took two years ago, but chickened out of making.  And I’m kind of obsessed with Danita Art’s cloth and clay dolls. She did a class on how to make them at Studio Creshendoh so I’m hoping that she turns the content into an online workshop – although I’ll probably be out of dollphase when that happens. She already has an online doll workshop – but those dolls don’t involve clay – just paint and cloth, and I’m not so intrigued with those – although I do like them. The class however, is over my normal online class pricetag, so for me to sign up it’ll probably take a few glasses of wine and a what the hell moment.

In the meantime, I did sign up for the subscription site, Brave Girl’s University.    At first, as I mentioned in a previous post, I thought the $25/month pricetag was on the high side.  The site bills itself as the Netflix of art and soul classes, but Netflix is only $7.99/month.  Of course, the form of access to content is comparable, but the content really isn’t, which is what moved me to try it out.  Once we got a list of teachers and some of the classes, and I saw that Stephanie Lee’s Homesteader’s Metalsmithing class was part of the package, I was in – since that class is over $100 to take alone.   It’ll be interesting to see if the whole class is part of the site, or just bits of it.   And, there are a few other big ticket classes as well, like Flora Bowley’s Brave Intuitive Painting.  But, there’s some content that I’ve taken before – Mindy Lacefield’s Paint Your Story, and Jeanne Oliver’s bit from Studying Under the Masters (and boy, am I NOT going to sit through her Van Gogh lecture again – that was interminable).    So, I’m in, for a few months at least.  And, I’m out of Craft Daily, Interweave’s subscription service online workshop site.  You can read my previous post, but I really wasn’t impressed with it, at all.  Especially, when an instructor said, you can refer to your worksheet for this or that, and the worksheet wasn’t available, which happened repeatedly.

So, I’ll let you know my thoughts on BGU later in the week, as the doors open tomorrow.

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