Sunday, April 29, 2012

My mermaid doll pattern featured in Patchwork and Stitching Vol 13 No 2

I am so pleased to be a cover girl (well, my mermaid doll is really) on this month's Patchwork and Stitching magazine (Vol 13 No 2).

This month's magazine has a really interesting and unusual theme of fantasy style craft projects.  My mermaid dolls join pirate, goblin and fairy inspired projects.  The concept of the fantasy issue is both novel and a great way to get a group of projects together that all appeal.

As always, I am really happy with the photos of my mermaids in the magazine, and I had forgotten how pretty these girls look.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Expanding on an idea craftily - Carnival doll face brooch

I have been fascinated by Kewpie style carnival dolls now for about a year and have found many ways to explore this design (see my previous post - " One of my favourite doll stitcheries featured in Creating Country Threads Vol 12 No 1").

I have also wanted to make some embroidered brooches for some time and so I decided to combine the doll face design with a brooch.  The design is very simple and clean which I love and has a timeless quality about it. 

The ribbon frill is a nice counterpoint to the cotton fabric and is very collar-like which is the effect I wanted. It feels a bit like a circus performers collar.

The brooch  design came together really well and I was so pleased I have made it up for my Etsy store.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Craft Tutorial - Perfectly easy turning for doll and softie parts

Turning through sewn shapes, especially small and thin ones can seem really daunting sometimes, but I have found the most simple method possible.

The secret is the "pinch" - take the sealed sewn end of the shape and pinch shape apart at right angles and to use a chopstick.  I'll explain....

Step 1 - Sew and clip the curves of your shape.  Use a small stitch length as this gives the best and strongest curves.  Clip around the shape.  I use pinking shears (they are so quick and neat).

Step 2 - The "Pinch".  Grab a pinch of fabric on both sides of the sewn shape near the sewn in section. This means you are pulling the fabric apart at right angles. This forms a little pocket in the fabric.

Step 3 - Use the blunt end of the chopstick to insert into your little fabric "pocket" and push through the shape.


Step 4 - Run the blunt end of the chopstick along the inner seams to smooth the shape.

All done!

This method works well with all sized shapes  as on the smaller dolls below (although for the very small shape I prefer a blunted satay skewer to the chopstick as it's a lot smaller).

I always press the turned shape before stuffing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Little maids all in a row carnival doll bunting and science in Antartica

What does my new strip of carnival doll bunting have to do with science in Antartica? I shall explain.

I have just finished some bunting I have been planning for a while, made out of a tester strip of my Carnival doll fabric and using some backing fabric sourced from an op-shop.  The doll images are lined up front and  then back just like a set of cut out paper dolls on the bunting panels.  The colours work well with the backing fabric and it was a fun and quick project, just the way I like them.

And now the explanation about Antartica.

Friends of my parents have a daughter who as we speak is serving a 12 month stint in the science base in Antartica. When at home in Australia, she is keen on op-shopping for fabric.  As she is away for a year, she culled her stash, and part came to me.  So by a very long bow, my Carnival doll bunting is related to science in Antartica - easy!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My ATC Collection 5 - The final chapter (for now)

These groups of my ATC (Artist Trading Cards) are the last of the collection (for now).   One group are drawn from images of the American west, while the second group are a collection of ladies of grace.

I'll have to wait until the next burst of ATC juices flow.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Craft upcycling idea - Badge box from electronic equipment packaging

My husband has brought home electronics in those cool cardboard boxes with a magnetic closure, and these boxes are just crying our for upcycling.  I decided to upcycle one as a storage box for my badges and here is the result.

I lightly sanded the outside of the box and then collaged with scrapbooking paper, images out of old books, some hardware, stamps, and decorative tape.

On the inside I laced some scraps of velveteen to card and glued it on the inside of the lid and inside base.

On the bottom of the outside I glued four washers to act as feet for the box.  I covered the finished box in a layer of varnish.

My badges are very at home now!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One of my favourite doll stitcheries featured in Creating Country Threads Vol 12 No 11

This months Creating Country Threads magazine (vol 12 no 11) features my pattern design Vintage Toy Chest, a set of four stitcheries all about vintage toys.  There is a clown, two tin-style robots, and a kewpie-style doll.  

This doll is one of my particular favourite stitchery designs and really shows the development of a design in my craft.

Initially I started with a full body carnival style doll design (sans clothing), so that I could then dress the figure.  The first design, however, did not look quite right when sewn (not quite full enough) and filled, and did not really lend itself to clothing.  The design works well on bunting however (I have it in my Etsy shop in this form).


I then redesigned the figure to be dressed and a little fuller (that way the proportions work better when filling).  This is the version that became part of the the Vintage Toy Chest.  I also played with colour and the number of threads used in the rendering.

She was so lovely, however, I felt I could improve her by making her double-sided.  I experimented with her by creating a version that could be printed on fabric.  I used Spoonflower.  I really love the results (these are the soft dolls also featured in my Etsy store where you can see both sides and different sizes and facial versions explored as well).

So one idea, grew to many variations.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Craft tutorial - 6 steps to drawing a cloth doll facing using Pigma and Prismacolour

I have created a simple 6 step way to create a fast and effective cloth doll face.

The method uses only a limited group of colours - a sharp HB pencil, a Pigma Micron 01 fabric pen in brown, Prismacolour fabric pencils in Crimson Lake PC925, Tuscan Red PC937, and Goldenrod 1034, and a Gellyroll White fabric marker.

Here are the 6 steps (note I have drawn each separately rather than progressively so there a little variations in one face to the next - artistic imperfections would be a description)

Step 1: Lightly draw or trace the face using a sharp HB pencil.  Keep the detail limited.  This is really about getting the position of features and size right.  You can rub them off if they are not quite right.

Step 2: Mark the face in brown using a Pigma Micron 01 fabric pen.  I like to mark the eyes first and from the inside to the outside of the top lid, then the bottom of the eye in two stokes one from each side to meet in the middle at the bottom. I mark the irises next with a dot.

 I like to mark the eyelashes from inside to outside.  I like to mark the lips from the centre and do one half of top lip and then other half. Finally I mark the lower lip in one stroke.

Step 3: I add colour to the eyeballs and the lips.  The eyelid I mark a strong line of Tuscan Red (its really a dark foxy brown and great for brown eyes) all around the edge of the eyeball.

I mark the lips using Crimson Lake and one strong stroke at the top middle and bottom middle of the lip shapes.

Step 4: I shade the eyes and lips next.  To shade the eyes, I work in a wheel spoke type pattern from outside of eye to inside of eye lightening the stroke as I go to make the inner eye a little paler. I mark the eyes in Tuscan Red.

I also shade the lips from  outside to inside using Crimson Lake with the stroke becoming gentler and lighter as I move to centre of the lip.

Step 5: I add colour variation to the eyes and lips. This is by adding a little touch of Goldenrod to both the eyes and the lips.

For the eyes mark a line of Goldenrod around the iris and blend it into the Tuscan Red a little.

For the lip blend a little Goldenrod into the lip centre and fade it outwards.

Step 6: Add depth to the face.  I do this by firstly tracing over a little of my Pigma pen lines again to strengthen their colour.  I especially focus on the iris, the upper eyelid and the lower lip. I then add dots of Gellyroll white pen to the eyes on the right side of the iris and a couple of dots of Gellyroll pen to the right side of the lips (both from the same direction - I am assuming my lightsource for the face is from the right).
Add eyelid depth with a line of Goldenrod above the eye and then shade it upwards towards the eyebrows.

You are now done! Don't forget to press your face (under a cloth) to set the colours.

You can try variations with different colours (the one here is using Peacock Green PC 907 for the eyes and Magenta 930 for the lips).  You can blend a little red pencil on a fabric strip and mark blusher cheeks.  You could try different light angles for the Gelly White.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Three little carnival dolls ...

I have finally sewn up some of the fabric dolls I designed and got printed by the excellent team at Spoonflower.
I find them so cute.  The design is based on the retro carnival dolls you used to get at the local show.  My design is little bit Kewpie and also (subconsciously) a bit Joan off "Mad Men". 
There are three individual designs - a smiling lady in a pink dress, a gorgeous gal in red, and a third cutie also in red but with a cheeky wink.  They are small (just 11cm high by 5cm wide) and very tactile. 

My design is double sided and has worked so well, I have added some to my Etsy store.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Something sweet with my Tea(cup)

I have finished off my recent sugar shock softie project. It's just the right time of year for this colour combination and sewing keeps me from eating (all) of the chocolate.  I love the happy face and heart motif.

I thought the perfect accompaniment to this sugary treat is a wonderful retro aged teacup from my Grandmothers collection.  I won't need to add sweetness.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My ATC Collection 4 - Lively fairy tales and retro housewives

These are yet more of the collection of Artist Trading Cards (ATC's) I have created (I must have gone ATC - making crazy I think).

The first group are from some happier looking fairy tales including Puss in Boots.

The second group are my tribute to the 1950's housewife.

I hope you enjoy these groups.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My ATC Collection 3 - Blakes 7 and craft adventuring in space

These Artist Trading Card's are from my collection.  They are based around my favourite retro sci-fi TV love - Blake's 7. 


With fabulous 70's space fashions and clever plots, this show was always a treat.  The ATC's are using some stamps I had made from drawing done some twenty years ago. It's so good to keep an art flow over so long.

All the ATC's are my own creations and I have created the ATC's following a couple of rules:

  •     They are all made on playing cards I have sourced from op-shops
  •     I have tried to include text, images and where ever possible something you can "touch"
  •     They have to include at least some recycled elements
  •     I could not buy new materials, just use things in my stash

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My ATC Collection 2 - Russian fairytales and Peter Rabbit

These are the next in a series of my Artist Trading Cards (ATC's). 

I created the first group of ATC's from images from an op-shop children's book find of Russian fairy-tales (gosh, they were a bit grim too).  The pictures are lovely and worked well with a concept of flight. I added text and stamps around flying.

The second group are from The Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.  I especially like the card where I've added a hand-stitched detail. It's one of my favourites. The images are again recycled and I've only used existing materials.

Monday, April 2, 2012

My ATC Collection 1 - Gumnut Babies and Alice in Wonderland

These Artist Trading Card's are the first photos from my collection. 

One group of ATC's is a series about Alice in Wonderland, using images from an op-shop children's book.  This book was excellent with beautiful and lively pictures. I think it was from the 1970's.

The other group is all about May Gibbs' Gumnut Babies, a wonderful classic story with
amazing art.


All the ATC's are my own creations and I have created the ATC's following a couple of rules: 
  1. They are all made on playing cards I have sourced from op-shops
  2. I have tried to include text, images and where ever possible something you can "touch"
  3. They have to include at least some recycled elements
  4. I could not buy new materials, just use things in my stash