Monday, November 30, 2015

Handmade Sherlock Holmes inspired Christmas Stocking

My daughter is a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes stories.  She wanted a Christmas stocking to show her obsession and I obliged.

I drafted up a simple stocking and used some wonderful fabrics found on Spoonflower to construct.  The outside is the iconic address of 221B Baker Street.  The inside is steampunk style cogs which I thought matched the thinking processes of Mr Holmes.

I finished the top of the stocking with a plate for a key hole.  The project probably took an hour and was well received by the fan.

Monday, October 12, 2015

DIY Ancient Egyptian Party Ideas - Thrifty Things to Make

I recently hosted my mothers 70th birthday surprise party. She has always been keen on Ancient Egyptian artifacts so it seemed a good choice. You can go with the really old Egyptian period, or the 1920's style Archeology and digs, or even Indiana Jones style adventures.



To keep costs down, I decided to create as much of the makings for the party as possible. Some worked better than others, but I thought I'd share the ideas and the outcomes to inspire your own attempt to walk like and Egyptian.

I had lots of notice for the party and was able to call on the talents of my dad who is very good at building to create some of the props.  I decided I would like a folding room divider that could be used as a backdrop for the photos as well as a nice keepsake for my mum. This mural would be of hieroglyphs. 
My father built a three panel screen just using lightweight disposal wood and hinges.  The panels are all 180cm tall and 48cm wide and are hinged. To decorate, I stapled calico on the frame.  I then added plaster bandage strips randomly over the surface to add depth like a rock wall.  I painted the whole surface with a couple of coats of flat white house paint, and then started to decorate.
The design was (hopefully) the words, "Mother Happy Birthday" in hieroglyphs - I googled this so it may not be right.  I first sketched and then painted on the images.  After the painting was dry I washed the whole surface with a runny brown paint wash to age it up a bit and then added a bit of pastels to give age to the pictures.  I then sprayed the front with a couple of coats of gloss clear lacquer. The back is just covered with black calico stapled on afterwards.

For the present table, I used the services of Spoonflower to create a couple of custom collages of Ancient Egyptian images and had them printed onto fabric.  I used these as a base for the table and also made a couple of throw pillows to match.

For the rest of the table decorations, I used an old but lovely sari as table clothes, as well as a couple of op-shop runners in ethnic looking colors or blue.

I also got my clever father to whip up a small box to decorate as a sarcophagus, just by adding some cardboard shapes to the outside.  For the details, I found a FIMO press mould of egyptian items and used this with translucent FIMO with gold paint rubbed over for effect.

I used a bunch more cardboard to create a giant sphinx (its about 80cm long and 35cm high).  I covered this in layers of sprayed on Aquadhere and sand.  Its got a nice rocky feel.

I used little wooden bunting from  Kikki K kit to make door and window bunting.

My sister, the cooking genius whipped up and amazing cake in the shape of a packing case containing a mummy.  The case was gingerbread, the inside filled with mud cake and the mummy was marzipan.  She decorated the whole lot with Persian fairy floss packing material.  Amazing!

The day was a wonderful success and my mother has lots of her very own "artifacts" to enjoy into the future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My First Book - Nouveau Paper Doll Art

After much creating, editing, manipulating, writing (and editing again!), I have finally created my first ever book - a paper doll creation set inspired by the Art Nouveau movement of the 19th and 20th Centuries.

This book has been a labour of love. I created all of the paper doll designs from scratch and by hand using collages of materials, pencils and ink. I created all of the artworks, words and images in the book.  It has been a fulfilling journey and very enjoyable.

I have learnt so much about design, Photoshop, publishing books, different file structures and much more.

To create the book, I used the Lulu publishers.

If you want to check out the finished product, go to Lulu here to see the preview: Nouveau Paper Doll Art on Lulu

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Sphinx made out of Recyled Cardboard


Yesterday, inspired by an Instructables idea I saw, I made an ancient Egyptian style sphinx out of recycled cardboard boxes. This project was a bit of a challenge.  It ended up being about 1 metre long and abut 1/2 metre tall.
I made it out of 46 layers of cardboard, recycled from boxes like shipping cartons. To create the design, I worked in layers.  I started at the nose level and then drew the sections upward first, ad then down.
The project was relatively fast (less than a day) and very cost effective (just recycled cardboard and PVA glue to join the layers at the end).  The only thing was the sore arm you get from such a lot of cutting cardboard.
But the effect is nice - a bit like layers of weathered stone.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Decorate Cheap Canvas Shoes with Sharpies and Doodling

I wanted to share my fancied up canvas shoes just using Sharpies and a few fabric pens.  I have tried two different decoration techniques and used some of the wonderful tangling that is all over the place right now.  I have used just cheap $5 Kmart canvas shoes for my make-overs and the decorating process was both fast and fun because I just made it up as I went along rather than planning my designs.

I like both results although the coloured pair featuring blue and yellow is my favourite.

To get the two-toned effect of red and yellow mixed, I just used the Ikea fabric pens.  These are a very inexpensive but surprisingly good quality fabric pen. These coloured mixed well - laying down the yellow first, then adding a bit of red and working more yellow over the top to stretch the colour.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Making Micro Sized Books

This week, I have been trying to make books of micro size. These are the result.  They are just 3cm wide by 5cm long and around 1cm thick all bound up.  I made them exactly like the larger sized, just very small.  The results look a bit like biscuits when all stacked up.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Building a Recycled House (Book) can be wonderful

 If life is made up of moments, then a journal is designed to capture moments and keep them in a special place.  I wanted to create a special journal for just that purpose and I have been learning how to do basic bookbinding with this in mind.  This is my house accordion fold journal note book.

To make it, I used around 85% recycled materials.  I used box board and some papers from Reverse Garbage.  Some of the other card and paper I got from unwanted old stationery at local offices.  I got hold of some artist canvas offcuts from a painter and swapped some felt offcuts.  I even recycled the elastic packaging from shoes to secure the book.

To make the book, I first created the panorama for the house skyline that forms the pages.  Each house is a little different to match real streets and each has a little bit of a different character.

I uses a mix of plain and lined sections on each page so you could draw or write or stamp to capture thoughts.

I made the covers from box board which I covered in fabric that I had first appliqued with little houses.
I am really pleased with the result.  It doesn't have a front or back, just two covers.  You can add thoughts to it randomly and it opens flat which is wonderful for left handers like me.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Trying out Bookbinding


I have been thinking about how to store my paper dolls and the idea came to me to make a custom book for storage.  So I have been doing some experiments in bookbinding.  It seems like a really more-ish craft. The results are fast to achieve and look nice.  For my first attempt used some old embroidery samplers I had worked and decided on an accordian style book.  I interfaced the linen samplers and glued them to box board.  I added some folded pages and the result worked well although the paper weight I used was a little too light.

For my paper dolls I am going to adapt an accordian fold to include built in pockets and on the front and back covers work an appliqued paper doll figure.  The accordian style works well since there is no front of back cover.  Stay tuned for how this one turns out.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Fast Fun DIY Project - Doodle Your Slippers

As the weather here in Brisbane heads towards winter, I have been searching for some new slippers.  But so many in the store feel dull and mumsy. So I decided to create my own and I am really pleased with the results.

My slippers are actually just a pair of cheap slip on canvas ones from Kmart (RRP $5).  I decided to dress them up with a little bit of zen doodling.  This was really fun.  This type of doodling works best when not really planned and to do the doodling I just used a couple of sized Sharpie pens which are permanent and nice and non-bleed on the canvas.


After creating the doodle, I added a little bit of colour.  I used some fabric markers I got from Ikea (again they were very cheap).  The best part of this project is the pens are still ready of use on a future pair of shoes and after this first attempt I reckon there are lots of wonderful designs I could do next time.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Adding colours to my Fantasy Paper Dolls

This week I have been colouring some of my recent paper doll designs in with coloured pencils.

I love a muted but also bold colour palette - this seems a contradiction I know. But I love working with strong colours that contrast against each other, but in keeping with browns, golds, and tans where it works. Of course to create my fish dog I had to include greens as well just to go against my own rules.


Perhaps in art its best not to set personal rules that you just end up breaking.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Telling a Story through Fantasy Paper Dolls


Images tell a thousand words as the old saying goes. I like the idea of paper dolls - images created on paper - telling a story, but even better, a story that can be enacted.  With this is in mind I have been dabbling in some new paper doll designs featuring a girl and her pet, but with a twist.  The girl is a fantasy figure with shape and texture inspired by fabulous and unreal places, other worlds and scapes of dreams.  Their pets are unique mash-ups.

The first pair of figures I have created are around a story of a girl who wants to own a dog.  Except the do is a fish dog.  I wonder what her mum will say to this pet.

The second pair is a warrior and her transport or possibly just best friend - a Robochicken. Will they be adventurers or saviours.

I have tried to inspire your imagination to wander when you see these characters.  They could lead you to all sorts of fantastic stories.