Let me paint you a picture

In craftiness, like in conversation, I tend to go off on tangents.  I start out with one thing in mind, and before I know it, my mind is over in the corner looking at something shiny and I’ve changed subjects 30 times, and have no real idea how I got to whatever point I am making.  Then I have to rewind myself and figure out what the original topic was about…sometimes I can even figure out how I got from A to Q…and then I am super proud of myself.  The problem is when you go off in tangents during  conversations, especially if your talking to someone who doesn’t know your quirkiness, people generally tilt there head to the side and their eyes glaze over.  I think it must take a lot of energy to keep up with my randomness.

However, in regards to craftiness, tangents aren’t necessarily that bad.  I find that I work well that way.  I might start off with every intention to crochet today and end up making some jewelry.  Or start off thinking about polymer clay and end up with embroidery in my hands.  Percentage wise, I do significantly better if I let my mind veer off into whatever direction it chooses, because I get so excited that my hands just fly around like crazy monkeys, spreading joy throughout the land.

And that’s what happened to me a few days ago.

Everybody that crafts (well, basically everybody, I’m sure there’s got to be one or two people living under a rock with no Pinterest access that this doesn’t apply to) knows about alcohol inks.  I personally have had a couple bottles of them for probably a year now.  When I first got them, I thought: ‘Oh, this is interesting.’ and I may have, in the first week of owning them, done a few little random tests with them here and there.  And then I put them in a container and stowed them away…for the remainder of a year.

In the mean time, I was perusing the interwebs, seeing all kinds of interesting images (Pinterest, how I love thee!) and getting all fired up and whatever.  So anyway, one day I saw this awesome mermaid print/drawing that someone had done.  (I think the person sells on Etsy, but I can’t find the original inspiration to save my life…so I’m sorry if I copied you and your greatness and then forgot who you were, even though I love your work dearly.)  And seeing as how imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and how practice makes perfect, I set about copying this awesome mermaid on canvas.  And so I had drawn a relatively decent copy of the mermaid and colored her in with some watercolor pencils.  But the poor defenseless mermaid just sat there, on the white canvas, with no background whatsoever.  Oh, how sad she looked…for several months…while I decided just what to do about the background…

And then one day, while pulling out some ink pads from one of my crafty containers (so as to make a card), I saw the alcohol inks.  I promptly threw down the ink pads, grabbed the little bottles and went to work on my lovely mermaid’s blank background.

And here is the result:

"In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you."

“In a sea of people, my eyes will always search for you.”

Oh, happy day!  I had found the perfect thing…  And that quote, oh that quote…(which is painted in metallic acrylic paint, as is the border)  I do love a string of words strung together well.  I especially like this quote, and mixed together with the fact that the mermaid’s eyes are closed, it makes me think that she is remembering someone she loves…kind of beautiful and melancholy all at once.

 

And so, once I had started on the alcohol ink background, I pursued this tangent with vigor and delight.  And ended up with a few more images:

"I just want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares."

“I just want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.”

Just look at that snazz-tastic background! Oh, the drips and the pooling!  I die…  Additionally, I am super excited about those flowers.  (They are acrylic paint, both metallic and non, by the by.)

And then her:

"My heart won't miss you; my heart goes with you."

“My heart won’t miss you; my heart goes with you.”

Just look at the splotches…how exciting!  And a Johnny Cash song lyric to boot…huzzah!  I am quite undecided as to whether or not I like this girl…I have been trying to practice my face skills and my acrylic painting all at once, and I just don’t know.  She’s kind of growing on me.

 

And lastly, just an alcohol ink background, waiting for something to be done:

Fun with alcohol

Fun with alcohol

I am thinking of doing a paper collage over top in the shape of a house with a lovely Jane Austen quote that goes: “There’s nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”  But we will have to see where it goes, because, while I make plans, there’s nothing like a good tangent.

 

A gentleman caller

Stanley, The Gentleman Caller

Stanley, The Gentleman Caller

My mom will be very surprised to find out that she has a secret admirer.  Apparently, his name is Stanley.  He showed up at my door this morning, professing his love for her, telling me of his adulation for all the amazing refurbishing work she’s doing.  You, unlike Stanley, may not know that my mom is super talented at repairing and restoring old/worn-out/broken furniture…she’s a wizard!  One fine day, I am going to get with her and take some before and after pictures of what she’s applied her skills to, and then you will all be her admirers, just like Stanley.

Now, Stanley happened to share his deep, dark secret with me this morning…it was just that kind of bare-bones-confession that happens when someone is crazy in love.  When Stanley woke up, before getting ready for the day, he looked like this:

Stanley before...you may have knowing him as the little drummer boy.

Stanley before…you may have knowing him as the little drummer boy.

Oh, you just don’t know his trials and tribulations.  Years of wearing that dumb hat rubbed off his hair to the point of no return.  Of course, Stanley is a glass-half-full kind of guy, he just says: ‘Thank goodness it wasn’t a helmet, otherwise I wouldn’t have any hair left at all.’  But, his true sadness is that the poor guy is made out of wood.  His hero, he admitted, is Pinocchio…because Pinocchio got to be a real boy in the end.  And while Stanley would love to be real, he says it would be great if the Blue Fairy would turn him into a real man instead.  Because that’s what my mom deserves.

I am taking him over to meet my mom later today, so wish him luck.  Although, he really is a gentleman, so luck might not have anything to do with it!

He's a little nervous, but he'll do fine.

He’s a little nervous, but he’ll do fine.

 

 

 

 

Recipe box redo

Do you ever look at something you own and think ‘Wow, that’s ugly’?  I do that sometimes…  Maybe it’s not ugly, but you just get tired of the way it looks after a while.  The same old same just doesn’t suit some things.

I have been, in the last couple of weeks, scrubbing the filth off my disgusting house cleaning up my house a little.  It is amazing how much more creative and productive I have been since the place is so nice and neat!  Having a clean house has made me want to do things I haven’t wanted to do in a long time!  Like bake.  I love to bake, don’t get me wrong, but I have no desire to do it amid filth…where wild animals that live in piles of random junk would come out and steal my baked goods under cover of dark…  But now that the random junk piles have been evicted, I have been quite the little cooking queen!  I’ve made sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin cupcakes and special cookies, known in my family as “Patty’s Cookies” (after my sister-in-law, who the recipe came from)…all in the span of a week.  This is a notable difference, because before last week, I doubt I have made three batches of cookies in the past three years…now I’m whipping them out like nobody’s business!

In making the cookies, I, of course, needed to look through my beloved recipe box.  Like many people, my recipe box holds recipes from many people I love, and recipes that are older than I am!  My recipe box is, in a small way, a chance to relive history and to connect with people I love very much.  A recipe box, to me, is very special.

But when I looked at mine, it did not look so very special:

 

Instead, it looked filthy and disgusting.  I mean, the layers of compacted flour and egg schmutz could be seen as endearing in a way…a sign of much use, if you will…but more easily, it could be seen as filthy and disgusting and cause a person to question why they haven’t died of the plague from touching it…

So, I decided to give it a good scrub down and to pretty it up a little to my current tastes.  After about half an hour of scrubbing scrunge off, I let it dry and mod podged some pretty scrapbooking paper on it.  After that I just sealed it with some Water Clean Up Polyurethane.  Mod Podge can be used to seal things, but sometimes it stays sticky even after it’s dry, as was the case with my recipe box, so I had to use the varnish over top.

And here’s the finished project:

 

Oh, don’t you just love scrapbook paper?  I swear I could just sit and look through mine and never make a project and still be happy just to get to look at it!  Pretty papers just give me a squishy feeling in my heart!

Here’s the inside of the recipe box, all nice and organized:

 

I even covered the little dividers in pretty paper!  I didn’t get a before picture of the inside, but trust me, this is so much neater and will save so much time in trying to find a certain recipe.

So that was my little project for the day…what crafty goodness have you been working on?  I’d love to hear about it!  If you have some pictures, I’d love for you to put a link in the comment section so I can check it out!

I’m off to be a responsible adult and pay some bills…but if I hurry, I can get back to crafting pretty fast, so wish me quickness!

Narwhal

Narwhal

Ta-da!  Here is a little soft toy narwhal that I made out of wool felt for my nephew.  I made it by adjusting a pattern found here: http://whileshenaps.typepad.com/whileshenaps/2012/11/free-christmas-sewing-pattern-pickle-ornament.html (She has the BEST blog, especially her how to make your own soft toy posts.  They are very clear…I can’ wait for her new book!)

I just added the flippers, the side fins, the tusk and changed the eyeball placement, and voila! a pickle becomes a narwhal!

Narwhal left

I am pretty excited about this guy, although not as excited as my nephew, who has a deep seated love for obscure animals…especially when I make them into soft toys for him!  He really is an appreciative guy, and that is something I love about him!  He always gets so happy when I show him something new I’ve done…I wish everybody was so easily pleased!

A doll for my sister…and an almost but not quite tutorial.

So far, I’ve only shared a few things, and all of them have been made from someone else’s patterns.  So today, I thought I would share something I made (a while ago), from start to finish, out of my own brain.  I’ll include a little about what I did, and so while this is not really a full fabulous tutorial, if you are a little familiar with sewing, you can get the picture of what’s going on. Hopefully, it will make a little sense anyway.

If you follow enough patterns, you realize that a lot of them are basically the same, and so I thought I would try my hand at it…

Doll pattern: put together

Try to ignore my little clay pieces, and focus on the doll…and yes, she is made out of construction paper.  Don’t laugh, it’s what I had (I ran out of cereal boxes, which are great fodder for patterns.)!  And it did  work…and that’s what counts, right?

Doll pattern: seperated

So now, here’s the same doll pattern, but in separate pieces (minus the legs…there wasn’t enough room on the table to spread those out too…but they were separate like the rest of it.).  The head and torso were one piece, and many doll patterns in this style do it that way.

Basically, at this point, I cut out all the body pieces in fabric. For the shoes, I used felt, so I cut that as well.  A note about the shoes being the exactly the same size as the leg piece: Using fabric (for the leg), you have to sew the right sides together and have a seam allowance (again, if you sew, you know this).  Since felt doesn’t fray, you don’t have to do it that way, you can just whip stitch it if you choose.  It ends up (if you take that into consideration), your felt shoes will fit pretty much perfectly onto your doll’s fabric legs if you started out with the leg and shoe pieces being the same size.  As you can see in here (if you overlook how blurry it is…):

Eek, I love these!

The same concept would work if you chose to do felt hair.  Originally, I was going to do felt hair but didn’t have enough felt but chose to go with yarn because it looked better.

Faces can be done either before or after you sew and stuff.  I usually end up doing it after, because that way I can mess around with the placement of things and pick what colors look better and the like.  If you do it before you sew and stuff, it is a little more difficult to make changes in my opinion, so I wait till after.

All I did for the hair was to fold a piece of paper in half, and lay yarn inside the folded paper.  Then you just run it through the sewing machine (paper and all), pull the paper off and you’ve got some great doll hair which you can braid or make buns in or let hang (I picked braids!).  All you have to do is use a few quick stitches to attach it to her head (again, I always mess with placement…maybe this doll has a short forehead, maybe she’s got a receding hairline…you never know till you play!)

What a doll face! I like her eyelashes. They slightly nudge out the shoes as my favorite thing about the doll.

For her dress, I just cut a rectangle with two rectangle shapes for her arms to go in.  I sewed up the important edges and hemmed the bottom and sleeves.  Then I put it on her (so that I could be sure the arms would go into their holes and turned over the top edge and did a quick straight stitch gather for the neck.  And voila!  Finished doll!

Here she is in all her finished glory.

So what do you think?  I hope this almost tutorial was helpful.  If you have any questions or anything at all to add, please feel free to leave me a comment!

Pixie

I have to say I love the Wee Wonderfuls book from Hillary Lang.  I have made several of the patterns in the book, and they are all easy to follow and well designed.  In fact, if you are new to sewing, the instructions are so well done, I would recommend this book over many others to help you learn the basics.

Pixie doll from Hillary Lang’s book Wee Wonderfuls

Pixie
My version of the Pixie doll from Wee Wonderfuls