Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Painting the Roses Red

Last fall my friend Janet and I were talking about what kind of things I would make for the shop this year. Suzette Rugolo has been coming out with doll patterns every couple of months or so since last year, in the ever popular theme of Alice in Wonderland.  I’ve been collecting the patterns as they come out so I suggested I make the series for the shop.

We agreed that would be so much fun, so this is the start. Suzette hasn’t come out with the Card Soldiers yet, and not sure what else she is going to do, but I have this design by Christine Shively and thought this would be a fun place to start.

These are adorable and tiny little guys, only measuring about 9” tall. As always I’ve put my own touches into the finished product. I contacted Christine to see if they are wired to stand, but she said no, they are either a wall doll or leaning against something, but she said go for it. These will be hanging on the wall or leaning, but for sure am not going to wire these little bodies.

I’ve made two changes. As you’ve read before I don’t like mitten hands or chubby hands, they drive me crazy. I feel like I can turn tiny fingers well now after all this time, so I redrew the hands and made them individual fingers. I know, I know…are you crazy, they are so tiny. But I did it, 40 little fingers stitched, turned and stuffed with not one blow out and stitched with cotton fabric that has no give... YES!!!

I’m making 4 of these little guys, each a little different fabrication and I drew out the other three card symbols as the pattern just had one, that would be the heart. This is where I’m at for now, and in a couple of days or so, I’ll have them all done.

A happy moment came a couple of weeks ago, I have a new camera and now my pictures should be much better. My other little digital has given me a few years and probably thousands of pictures and owes me nothing, but it came time for a change as I could see the quality of the images was fading and I was spending more and more time editing to make them somewhat acceptable…Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and part with old friends, so to speak.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

More Songbirds

I’ve been working on little things while watching tv at night. I made a few more of these songbirds for Christmas sales. Shhh, yes, I said Christmas sales. Don’t be alarmed, I haven’t lost it, but the ornaments I bring in are great sellers and I seem to need a few more each year.

I think it’s the way of the economy, people want hand made, but smaller hand made items and that’s fine with me. Whatever keeps the customers happy is what it’s all about. So to refresh, this is the one I did at the start of the year.


And, here are three more colours of songbirds.


That’s it for today. If you like these birds, you can find the pattern here.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mardi Gras Needlework Collection

In 2013 I started working on a tutorial. I got side tracked, sound familiar…. I do that from time to time. ;o(  However, I got back on track and put my mind to it that I had to finish this project. 

And that’s what I did. I love Jesters, Clowns, Pierrots and pretty much anything on that theme, so with that in mind, I created this needlework collection. I got it done in the same week of Mardi Gras, at least on the end of it, but done it is.

I hope if you like to do needlework, you might enjoy making this. If you’re not, don’t worry, you don’t necessarily have to be. The hat is the focal point of the set, and it’s all sewn except for the added stitched button on the top which could be replaced with anything you like.

It’s a big project, 19 pages for the instructions, then there are two other files to download that are instructions for putting together components of the set. Please click on “Free Stitching Projects” on the tab above and you will find three files to download. Mistakes happen, let me know if you find something.

They are: Mardi Gras Needlework Collection, 18th Century Scissor Shoe Fobs and last file on the page, Finishing Ornaments. To make all 5 projects, you need all three files. You will now be able to make scissor fobs, buttons (which could also be smaller fobs,


To cover the backs, I just used faces that were part of a fabric featuring Jesters and Mardi Gras specifically. You easily just cover both sides with fabric if you don’t do needlework.


a Jester ornament


A scissor case. While i haven’t embellished the case very much you certainly can. I just felt it would be handled a fair bit, so that any dangling beads etc. might be in the way.


And a Jesters hat, my favourite part of the set. This one is in Mardi Gras colours, but the one I made in 2013 is in black and white fabrics. I love these pincushions. So much fun and adds a fun feature to my worktable.



Here is the completed set all together.


This is how you can make small and medium size fobs. So cute.


I hope you will enjoy it. I’ve given you a few examples of what you could do, send me pictures if you make something with this tutorial. . I would love to see your interpretation of my design and I will feature you on my blog if you would like that…;o)

All I ask in return is that you give me credit for the projects I’ve designed and if you feel so inclined, pass along my blog link to anyone else you know that likes to stitch and/or likes Jester themes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Good Dental Hygiene

I’m busy finalizing some details on a new tutorial that I hope you’ll like. I actually started it a couple of years ago, but in the spirit of clearing up unfinished projects, I felt it was time to attack this project.

It’s a fun theme, if you’re into this type of theme, but I’m not saying what it is just now. In a couple of days I should have it all ready to go and will let you all know… Soon, very soon…

In the meantime while you wait, I thought I would give you a little update on the status of Radar. It’s been 8 months since he came to live with us, and as you know from a previous post, it’s been a huge learning curve for all of us. I would say trust and security have been his two biggest hurdles to overcome, but he’s really done that in a big way.

A few years ago, I got to learn first hand the implications of dental care for animals. It’s one thing that as pet owners we probably don’t think about as much as we should. We just assume that when animals show us they aren’t feeling well, that it must be an external problem or just feeling out of sorts.

I found this site that explains it well, what happens when cat’s teeth are not kept in check and how very important this care is. Dental Care for Cats 

So with that and knowing I have to make sure to take care of Radar’s teeth I would somehow have to check him out. What I did was over a short period of time, I started by gently slipping my finger in the side of his mouth and massaging his gums which he seemed to really like. Okay good. So off to the pet store to get supplies.

I picked up a kit with a finger brush, tooth brush and pet toothpaste. PLEASE do not use human toothpaste, just pet toothpaste. For a couple of days I just put some paste on my finger and poked that into his mouth to see how he would respond. He liked it….YAY…

Now guess what. We’ve advanced to the teeth brushing with the finger brush and he comes running now to have it done. The brush is very soft and the whole time I’m brushing his teeth, he’s trying to lick the paste off, so it’s all good… I never thought in a million years I would be brushing a cat’s teeth, but apparently it does happen, not that every cat will allow it, I got lucky. ;o)  Check this out, cute or what..

My hand on his neck is just for support, he gets so excited he’s moving his head all around trying to get to the brush and paste, so I have to hold him still  lol  I think we’ve got the trust and security covered, don’t you. ;o) See his little tongue sneaking out to lick….


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gracelynn Mist

My mixed media fairy is done. I am so pleased with how she turned out. Restraint was the operative word with what I added to the finished piece, it would have been easy to keep adding and adding, but in the end it would have lost it’s original appeal and looked like a jumbled mess. There is a lot of activity in the piece with the stippled garden theme, so really wasn’t necessary to add much.

For this doll, I made a name tag that is part of the final look. It has her name and information about her. I bound the edge with knitting ribbon and added a few bits and pieces of gold metal and a pretty rose cabochon I received as a freebie with an order, and as fate would have it, works perfectly with this. At the top of the tag is a bee. What garden is complete without a bee or two.


At the front is a tassel that drapes along the spine of the book. I added the same kind of dangle as the name tag, but this one is purple. A few beads strung on, and although it doesn’t show, there is a moon, a sun and some stars stitched the woven piece of the tassel. You need all those elements for things to grow. ;o)


In this picture you can see a letter F added just to signify a fairy resides here. A piece of scroll work on the opposite side, both painted with colours that tie them to the fairy. in this picture and the one above you can see some paper butterflies and flowers tucked in here and there, a dragonfly at the top of the tassel where it hangs over the edge of the book.


A view from the side shows you a better angle of how this is put together. I love this piece so much. Some things we do really are a labour of love aren’t they.


And here you can see Gracelynn Mist busy reading. What is she reading, a cookbook of course. She is finding out how to make a lemon sponge cake, her expression says to me… “of course, that’s it”…



And from the back you can how the name tag became part of the doll art piece. Thank you for spending time here watching me bring this together. I hope you enjoyed each step as I brought Gracelynn Mist to life (so to speak).

Even though mixed media isn’t what I do so much, there are a few things I shared with you that maybe will help you somehow along the way. If you enjoyed watching the books being altered, do go to YouTube and search for altered books, you really will be inspired by the artists who have shared their videos.

Back soon, have a great week.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Mixed Media Fairy – final prep

Just a short post today. These pictures are just to show the final colours I added to the books, to bring the brightness back up. I use a deerfoot brush to get the effect.

deerfoot brush

And if you follow this link, you can watch a YouTube video on how to use these brushes.  Deerfoot Brush

In this picture you can see the new layers of bright green, a soft blue and with just a touch of pearl white.

Each time I added a layer, I let it dry, then added the next, dry and finish with the last one. If you don’t wait, you will turn your colours into a muddy mess. Also as you add each of the last layers, you will add less and less so you are creating touches of colour, not an overall mass of the same thing. Think of a flower garden and how certain colours pop out here and there, this is the same thing.


In this picture you can see how I painted the borders of each book a different colour as well I painted the back of them. You might think, why…but you will for sure be able to see parts of the backs even though you can see they are stacked. The last thing you want is someone lifting the whole piece up and seeing that you slacked off on the finishing. This is such a beautiful art piece, you really don’t want to skip steps.

You should be able to see the difference those last 3 layers of colour made to bring the brightness back. The painted borders in different colours also helps to break up the garden theme so it doesn’t run into book after book without a break.

And this is all for today. I don’t want to show you anymore than this, as I want you to see the completed doll soon, so you get the whole thing in a post of it’s own.. so check back in a day or two for the finale… ;o)


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mixed Media Fairy–stack of books

This is the base for the fairy. She will be resting on a stack of books. I’ve spent my time off and on today, prepping the base and the books. The stand is a simple 8” X 10” frame from the thrift store. I cut out the picture that was in it and gave it a rough sanding. A nice feature was the back of the frame, it had been finished with a piece of wood nailed on, bonus… I glued on some wooden feet, and after that dried, went outside and sprayed it all with gold metallic paint.


The next step was to prepare the books. There are tons of videos on YouTube for altering books. You’ll be there for hours watching them all. There is no right or wrong way to alter books, it’s all a personal choice.

Once I had them thinned out, I set about adding the paint. They are going  from stage to stage to stage up to the last picture. There is probably 7 or 8 layers of colour and I will be adding more in the morning to brighten up the edges more. The centers are not necessary to finish, they won’t be seen, other than the top book.

This is the first set of colours…doesn’t look like much but that’s why layers are so important. Right now they just look like colours that have run into each other and that’s good. Just a tip about this kind of project. If you aren’t going to see the whole surface of each layer, you still have to carry the colour close to the center so that when they are stacked up, you won’t see an unfinished/ unpainted area.


After the first layers were dry, I took the gold spray and blasted the sides of the books and onto the tops. At this point you might be getting kind of panicked because now the books are too gold and really washed out. But in this case, I wanted the edges of the pages to be gold and I’ll be adding colours on top of that. I also love to layer colour so this is fine with me to have them dulled down.


This is where I’ve left off for tonight. I’ve stippled layer after layer of colour around the edges and it resembles a garden when you see it up close. When this is put together, I’ll post closer pictures so you can see the layers better. The book at the top left is the bottom book and the stack will finish with the book on the bottom right on the top. So that’s it for this stage, I’m really pleased with how it looks.

When you see something in real life compared to online, there is such a difference. These books look so aged and vintage lying here on the floor, if you click on the picture you can see them a bit better.

Back soon with the final product….. I hope. ;o)


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mixed Media Fairy–Costume

Here she is in her finery. I’m just loving this fairy project. The dress part is organza that has been crinkled and curled using matches on the edges. I also held the matches close to the bottom edges and just let the heat melt the cut edges and travel upwards to make the segments longer and more interesting, almost like lace.

The word tag around her neck reads, “dream”, and isn’t that what fairies do. ;o) The hat is just so whimsical, almost like a Who from Whoville.


The wings are made with skeleton leaves that were dyed that gorgeous plum colour. So fragile, working with them is a  cautionary tale, as they can so easily tear. I surrounded the base of the wings with micro beads to add more stability to them but also because I just can’t stand unfinished edges and areas, the beads cover where the wings go into the body.

I found these skeleton leaves at 10,000 Villages in case there is a shop near you. They are known world wide, are a fair trade business. These leaves were prepared in the Philippines.


The costuming is so simple and sweet, why add more when less is so pretty as is.


A simple ribbon rose at the back of the hat, covers the joins of the twisted cord and necklace and makes for a simple and pretty little embellishment. 

Now on to the base for this little fairy to rest upon.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mixed Media Fairy

I have a couple of mixed media projects I’m wanting to do and they are constantly on my mind, so I’ll take a short break from ornaments and do at least one of the mixed media pieces now to stop that knocking on the side of my head by my muse, to get it done.

This is such a fantastic piece. It’s a half body fairy so far. I happened on a picture of it last year and couldn’t stop until I found the designer, which was easy to do because her style is so obvious. When it’s done see if you can figure it out, if I get it right. I won’t be doing all the details to the body that she would normally do, but I think it will still have a similar effect.

Here are the beginnings. A body shot, followed by her face and her looking at the fabrics she’ll be dressed in. A very simple costume using only two fabrics. The fabrics I’m using are a bright green stretch velour, and a plum colour organza. The organza in real life shimmers with different colours, and if I’m able to get a good picture of that, you’ll see how well it blends with the velour.

The rest of the piece with embellishments will pull it all together. The fairy herself is only approximately 6’ tall as she is at this point. The body fabric I’ve used is a batik that Colleen Babcock got me hooked on when she was here for workshops. I understand her thinking by choosing it, because the mottling is much like our own skin. We aren’t all one colour all over, we’re a blend of many….

Her hand is currently pinned to her head for purposes of getting the pose right. Although you can’t see it in the pictures, I used some Triple Thick glaze to give her the illusion of fingernails and a touch on her eyes and lips. Keeping it simple because the finished piece will be (hopefully) magical when it’s done.

I hope to have her costuming done tomorrow and then on to the mixed media portion. I’m really looking forward to that part with all the experimenting I get to do with it… See you very soon. ;o)


Friday, January 30, 2015

First Fairies

What a relief. An hour after my last post, I got an email to say that the jury selection for Monday was cancelled. If I had been selected it would have taken a couple of weeks for the case, and yes I do believe in doing our civic duty when called, but, who am I to complain about not having to attend. I’ve regained what might have been two weeks in a courtroom for two weeks in my workroom and that’s a good thing.

With that new found energy, I set about finishing my first 10 Shabby Rose Fairies for next Christmas sales. I am so happy that these have proven to be successful.  These ones have wings made of a variety of feathers, some big that will carry them a long way, some with small feathers for short trips, some feathers are polka dotted, one even has dyed rooster feathers. Can you pick out that one. I have each of them holding a fairy charm and this group has ballerina type straps around their ankles and sparkly trim around their necks and wrists.

Not sure what will happen with the next group, it’s always a surprize waiting to happen with fairies.


I also like to choose the faces of some of them to use on my hang tags, for this group I chose these little cuties.


This one I especially liked how she turned out with the unusual colours, so I’ll be making one like her for our tree and then see who else will join her.


For the next set of 10, I have to fabrics laid out, and they’ll be so cute, I’m sure. All polka dotty… ;o) See you soon.


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