Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Here I go again!

I’ve been working on the next set of ornaments over the past few days. These are my own design, there are 24 of these in two designs. I’m only just this far, but feel okay with this. I know what I need to do on them and it’s like an assembly line to work on them, so it won’t be too stressful, so I’ve convinced myself to think.

The pictures are kind of strange but what I’ve done is make all the bodies and laid them out on the six different colours of hairy fabric that I’m using for their hair, trying to match the fabric colours to the colours of hairy fabric. Some colours just don’t work with others, but I have grey, plum, black, white, ivory, and milk chocolate brown. I did a fabric swap with a friend in the spring, so part of what she sent me, is the purple and the brown with gold roses.

The next step will be to make a head and make sure it’s the right proportions for the body, and once I know that, it’s off and running to get them together.

My cat was walking around with pretty sparkly feet the last couple of days, kind of hard to take given he’s a boy, he wasn’t as thrilled as me ;o~. There is just no way to contain the glitter, it just goes where it wants to. Every fabric except the burgundy, has flying glitter, but who can resist walking around with sparkles all over your face, clothes, pets and husband.

It makes a statement for sure. And when you leave home to run errands, you cause people to really look at you. They see a wayward sparkle on your face and don’t know how to tell you… That always amuses me..;o)

Back soon with more progress pictures.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

And done!

The last two designs for the Wizard of Oz ornaments are done. Today I have for you, the Tin Man and Glinda the Good Witch.

For the Tin Man, I used three different shades of grey wool felt. I didn’t have a silver funnel for his head, but I made these with card stock and painted them silver. Poor things have such a stunned look on their faces, not sure where that came from…;o)  The trim around the neck called for grey crepe paper which I don’t have, but I did have some grey lace. I just trimmed it a bit narrower and used that. Maybe it makes him a bit more glam.

The hatch he’s holding, came from a great seller on Etsy. Melissa is a very reliable seller and even crossing borders, my orders always arrive very fast. I finished both of these ornament sets the night before and yesterday the charms arrived so I could put the final touches on them. So thanks again Melissa for great service.

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Glinda is the last one to be done. I have turned one of them around, so you could see what I did for the feather effect. Cathy uses Dresden paper wings and also Dresden paper crowns. I didn’t have either of those, but the white feathers worked out nicely. The silver charm crowns from Melissa worked out perfectly. There wasn’t much opportunity to change colours for Glinda, but I used silver snowflake charms for the staff she’s holding and I did use two different snowflakes there, but that’s it… 

Today I’m going to switch over to clay and take a break from fiddly work… back next week with more doings from my worktable. Have a great weekend.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Here come some more!

Today I have two more sets to show you. Here I have Dorothy and Toto and the Lollipop Munchkins. I think I love them the most, the Munchkins that is. They are just so cute….. but then every time I finish a set I say that, but I think this time I really mean it… 21 Wizard of Oz ornaments done, 6 more to go and then on to the next batch….

If you’re stuck for ideas for Christmas this year, I really recommend Cheswick Company for ideas. She has all the holidays and seasons covered with big and small projects. I have no shares in Cathy’s business, honest. I just think these are brilliant and when someone. in this case, gets a hand crafted ornament, they know they are getting something special, that you took the time to make and not something that comes from a factory.

On top of that, everyone you give them to, or sell to, will have a unique gift because with just a few simple tweaks of fabric colours and/or embellishments, you are personalizing them. People love to receive things that are a one of, and not what everyone else has…. Just a thought…

Here are Dorothy and Toto. I know it’s hard to see, but up close and personal, Toto is a button. I had a light bulb go off and thought, that’s brilliant. As luck would have it, I found one card of little dog buttons, the last one they had and it’s a good size. Maybe a bit small, but we’ll call them Toto’s puppies.

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Cathy suggests painting Dorothy’s shoes red, but I have a bottle of red glitter Stickles and with patience, I used that to give Dorothy her ruby slippers..

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And the last ones for now, the Lollipop Munchkins. Didn’t I tell you they are cute. Had so much fun with their hair… That’s it for now. Two more characters to make before I head off to Wonderland to visit Alice and company.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

More from the factory

Today’s offerings are the Flying Monkeys and the Scarecrow. Later today the Lollipop Munchkins will be in the house.

Every ornament I make shows me how much detail Cathy goes into, to make these the best they can be. She’s such a fun designer. To see them on her Etsy page or Website, you don’t really get the full picture of how detailed they really are.

I have 4 more sets of three to make, then a few more Alice. After that, two sets of my own design. Pixies. So come back again soon.

The Flying Monkeys

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The Scarecrow

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ornament Factory is Open

The ornaments are under way. The first ones I’m working on, are the Wizard of Oz by Cheswick Company. Last year everyone was buying up the Alice ornaments like crazy and when I told them I was doing Wizard of Oz for this Christmas they got excited, so I hope the sales go as well.

Makes all the work worth while. These are the first ones.This year though, I won’t be making extras. I was doing that right up to a couple of days before Christmas, so not this time as much as I appreciate the enthusiasm I like to have some down time for a couple of weeks before the New Year hits and I start fresh with new projects.

I’m making three of each of the Wizard ornaments and each set of three will have slightly different colours to make it more interesting and personal for anyone considering buying them.T

he Cowardly Lion….

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The Wizard…. a friend came and saw what I was working on, saw the pants and renamed the Wizard, Fancy Pants. The pattern actually called for felt circles stitched onto the pants, but with all the buttons in my stash I figured, no time like the present to make use of them. I thought the look was perfect and they really do look like a Fancy Pants/ AKA….Italian Wizards… Those moustaches kill me….lol

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and of course, that nasty ole Wicked Witch. Various shades of green, but I think the lightest one looks the meanest… More pics soon.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Vintage Stocking

The last of my customer order is done with this stocking. This one is made with wool felt, lined with Christmas print cotton. The patchwork top is made with Christmas print cottons. The mouse and the pouch he’s sitting in (you can’t see that part ;o~) are made with wool felt.

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The way he’s sitting there, it’s kind of like…. Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house, not a creature was stirring !! Well except for the mouse. A little artistic license there. But he does look like he could be ready to cause a little trouble. He did manage to get into some of the trims and get them stuck on his head.

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The top of the stocking has a little bit of embellishment in the way of some feather and other stitches, a little beadwork, a felt and beaded mitten and a touch of brown velvet ribbon to finish off.  There are little bells from the tip of his hat to the tip of the stocking toe.

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On the heel I’ve done French knots and a bit more beading. I didn’t want to do any more than that. It would be easy to go a bit crazy, adding here, adding there and before you know it, the weight of it would pull the mantel down on Christmas Eve. ;o) See you soon with some ornament pictures…

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Christmas Stockings

I am working on a fourth stocking and will post that in the next couple of days, but here is what I’ve made so far. A nice change from dolls for a little while. No fingers and body parts to sew turn and stuff. ;o)

This Christmas Elf stocking is a custom order. The fabrics I used for this stocking are metallic printed cotton and are stitched in a patchwork fashion. The band at the top is rabbit (from my stash of many years and gifted to me) and is embellished with a variety of wired and velvet ribbons in about 4 different sizes.

The jingle bells were a little bit tricky to attach, only because the thread kept wanting to wrap around the bells already stitched on. There are 5 different sizes of bells, and the colour is slightly different all the way down, but it works. The stocking is lined with another metallic printed cotton.

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The next two stockings are heading to the tea shop in November. They are both a Cheswick Company design. The first one is called “Honour Christmas in Your Heart”. Both stockings are made with felt. Cathy doesn’t call for lining in her instructions, but I did line them just because I like that look. It just seems more finished. The lining in this one makes the stocking more whimsical and fun.

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This stocking design is called “Let it Snow” and given how much I whine and annoy everyone at Christmas that I want a white Christmas, it seemed only natural to choose a pattern with that name. I love the little Gnomes in this design. So cute. The lining is a cotton paisley print. Love it. So that’s it for tonight. Come back again soon and I’ll have the next stocking posted.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pomegranates

About 3 years ago, we did our local flavour trail tour, which in essence is a tour of local farms and what each one is producing. It’s a lot of fun and you can see not just what produce they grow, but some also have demonstrations and some even team up so you get to see more than one farmer at a location. This link will take you to the tour that just was.

We went to one particular farm where the family grown fruit trees. I think this man was born with green thumbs. I don’t think there is anything he can’t grow. He has the usual variety of apples and pears. Also, quince, figs, grapes and those are the types of things you expect most people to grow here. He doesn’t use any type of commercial fertilizers, he just know how to work the soil and it shows.

But he says, you can grow other things that wouldn’t be expected because he compares our climate to that of a Mediterranean one, making it possible to grow oranges, lemons and grapefruits. The oranges and grapefruit are in greenhouses and I have never ever seen those fruits so big and so healthy looking, the lemons grow up a wall of the house. Those lemons are huge, the size of a fist. Bob has Christmas lights around the lemons and nettings. If the temp drops below a certain point, the thermostat is set and will activate the lights. That bit of heat from the lights is all that the lemons need to keep going.

He grows a type of olive up the side of his house and too much to tell here but if you click on the link above to the Flavour Trail, he is listed as #3. He has pomegranate plants, we decided to give those a try since we both love pomegranates.

The back of our house is in full sun so we planted the tree against the house and supported it. It was about 2’ tall to start with, and quite wispy due of course to it’s size. Well, this is the third winter coming up, and to my surprize, this is what we spotted on the tree. It’s been a long, very good summer this year, and that probably has a lot to do with it. The blooms are bursting out all over and with luck, we will have pomegranates next year.

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Without actually measuring the blooms, I am guessing they are approx. 1 1/2” across.

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These pods have now burst open and it’s so pretty to see how they are adding a new dimension of colour to the all over green of the tree.

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From those pretty pods and blooms, to hopefully this in the near future. I can’t wait…Do you eat pomegranates? You should, they are so good for you, but don’t take my word for it, read what Dr. Fuhrman says.  Back soon with more pictures of what I’m working on.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Favourite St. Nick

My Santa is done. Between getting the garden cleaned up and fall/winter veggies planted and other assorted household doings, my next Santa is done. I think this is my favourite one yet. It must be the old world look and his brilliant red coat, but whatever it is…..he is definitely my fav.

A few details. The instructions were lacking in places and too much time was spent on trying to understand what was expected, so rather than dwell on that I just went along and did what I know to do and the end result is virtually the same.

I added a shirt pocket to the coat (not part of the pattern) to hold Nicks pocket watch. I embroidered a tree branch on it like what is done on the bottom of the coat. The pocket watch I made using things from Steampunk stash and fortunately it came together beautifully. I had a small pocket watch, but the perspective was wrong, too small.

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The sack is supposed to have a flap, but I couldn’t make sense of it because once you add your embellishments to the sack there is no place for the flap to actually sit properly, so I left that off. In the sack, I put some snowshoes and an assortment of greens. In the bottom of the sack I added some zinc weights. By the time I added the tree in front, he was starting to lean a bit, and the zinc brought him back. Another reason I never do the complete finishes such as securing the sack until I’m sure it’s all together and working right.

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I used flannel for the cuffs top and bottom, the hood trim and the scarf. For the scarf I doubled the fabric rather than use felt. The fringe is the same for lampshades, I used two colours, blue and red to pick up those from the flannel. The tree is decked out in little gift boxes and a red cardinal. My sweet Radar saw that bird on my worktable and gently put his teeth over it, until I gave the “no” command. Not happy that I took that joy from him…;o)

The embroidery on his coat did not call for beads, but I added some delicas to give a bit of sparkle. This Santa stands approx. 26” tall. So all three Santa’s for my customer are 18”, 22” and 26”. I think that will make a great display for him.

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I so love this Santa. His face is done as mostly a pancake style, the only dimension to it, is his nose. The details are created with pencils, other than a white gel pen for the whites and sparkle of the eyes. The whiskers are mohair locks from a local fibre artist. I think the glasses make him so much fun, they give him such a big expressive face.

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Now off to make the stockings. Back soon, enjoy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Next Santa

The Santa I made recently for a customer was very well received, so well in fact, that he’s ordered two more Santa’s and two Christmas stockings. I have one of my Victorian Santa’s left from last Christmas and I’m going to tweak that one a bit for him, and that just leaves me one more to make. He definitely knows what he wants, and that is not a red and white Santa. However this new Santa does have a red coat but nothing at all like a Coca Cola Santa. This one is more a Vintage Santa, the other two are Victorian.

It’ll be done in the next couple of days, but these are just a few steps in the process to share with you. This particular Santa’s body frame is made with dowels rather than making a wire armature. The main part of the frame is built around the hips. One center dowel to go through the stuffed body up into the neck with two dowels going down for the legs. Smaller dowels are used to widen the hip area. 

After stuffing the body, there is still a portion of the hips showing. That portion is wrapped with duct tape and the bottom of the cloth body is gathered and secured around the hips. I added extra stitches between the legs to secure it more to the bottom of the body for more strength.The leggings come up and meet in the same area. I’m not a perfectionist and even though that area will never be seen due to the costuming, I will know it’s there. 

The first extra step I did was to enclose the bottom area of the hips. With muslin, I fashioned a bit of a diaper and stitched that in place. It just feels properly finished now.

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The second step is in regards to the body. It’s a muslin body but there is nothing in the costuming for a shirt to cover the body. I made this little tunic type top with a ribbed knit to cover the body. It’s sleeveless because I made the arms with velvet and once the coat sleeves are on, there won’t be much room to fit sleeves in there.

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The last thing I did was line the upper part of the shoes. In the directions, it’s not explained what to do with the flaps at the top of the shoes. I assume they are meant to wrap around the legs to add support. The lining will add more volume to the flaps, so better support. I used a vinyl fabric and did top stitching on the back. There are leather soles and the base is trimmed with black gimp. The lining is flannel and is the same fabric I’m using on rest of the doll.

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The extra steps, well, probably most might not worry about doing extra bits. My personal approach to my doll making is to do the best you can. If you have to take more time than others, who cares. Doll making should not be a race to the finish, it’s supposed to be fun. There is nothing I hate more than when I hear someone say, “oh that’s good enough” and that’s just not how you should view your work. Those kind of statements are maybe a sign that you’re not enjoying what you’re doing or worse, you think nobody will notice that you slacked off. I would feel so embarrassed and disappointed in myself if I did that and then tried to represent myself as a doll maker and artist.

Do your best work and when you give it as a gift or sell it to a customer, you will feel so good to know that if someone tries to peek inside the costume and they see all those nice finishes, they will see your good work shine through. More to come soon….;o)

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