Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Matchbox Collection

As I wrote the previous post about the monster matchbox, I realized that I now have the beginnings of a very nice altered matchbox colletction. Here's what I have so far:

I love that they are all so different and interesting, and that they are small, which means I could amass a very large collection without having it take over my house!

This cute felt bird box has a needle-felted worm for a drawer pull--so cute!  I got this one in a matchbox swap on Craftster; my inventive partner wanted the box to look tree-like, so she covered it with actual birch bark!

This next one should look familiar!  It's the monster book matchbox from my previous post.

I made this winged heart box last year as part of my first "go" at art abandonment. This was my practice box, and it ended up being the only one with wings on the heart.

I love this next box SOOOO much!  It came from the amazing Lime Riot when we did a personal swap. I love the tiny paper clay house on the outside, and the equally tiny felt heart on the inside.

The last one is from my second round of art abandonment; I made enough to give away, and still have one for myself!

Now that I see my little collection, I'm sorry I've missed the last couple of matchbox swaps on Craftster! I will have to keep my eyes open so I catch the next one. In the meantime, I think I will get more inspiration by looking huge variety of altered matchboxes that are on Pinterest.  If you like matchyboxes, you should check it out too!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

One More--no, TWO More Tiny Monsters

As soon as I signed up for the One Tiny Monster Swap on Craftster, I started imagining what sort of monster I might make.  Before I got my partner's questionnaire, I was thinking of making something with a matchbox, just because I love working with matchboxes! Inspired by the Monster Book of Monsters in the Harry Potter books, this is what I made:  a matchbox, covered inside and out in book-themed scrapbook paper, then "monster-ized" with the addition of fake fur, polymer clay teeth, and bead eyes. But what's inside?

...Another monster, of course! You can see that I cut off one side of the matchbox and glued the drawer to the cover, so it would open like a book.  But I thought it would be cuter to have another monster inside than to have book pages, so that's what I went with!

The one-eyed purple guy is hand-sewn from wool felt.  I think they are a great pair!

After getting my partner's swap questionnaire, I decided to make her a different tiny monster, but this duo was perfect to send to my Harry-Potter-loving partner in a Blythe doll swap I was also participating in.  So now everyone is happy--especially me, because I made another one of these for myself!  When I put it on the shelf above my computer, I realized that I have the beginnings of an altered matchbox collection, since I've made a couple of other ones and I've received a few in swaps. I will photograph them all together and show you my collection next week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Peaceful Dragonfly

Here's the second prayer flag I made for a partner in the Prayer Flag Swap Round 3 on Craftster (the first one can be seen HERE). As soon as I read that she liked dragonflies I knew that would be the central image on her flag; and the word "peace" was the most fitting one from her list.

I'm not happy with the way the word "peace" turned out though...I printed onto fabric using my computer printer, then stitched around it; maybe if it wasn't sewn on crooked I would like it better!  (I wasn't thrilled with my word on the other prayer flag either. I think I need to go back to my rubber stamps!)

All the fabrics were cut free-hand and machine sewn in place, leaving the edges raw.  The finished size is 5" x 8".  There is a hanging sleeve on the back.

After this swap I will have quite a nice collection of prayer flags; I intend to string them together and display them indoors (I haven't decided exactly where yet; I guess it will depend on the length of the string!) I will post a picture here when that is done.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

One Tiny Monster

The best thing about craft swaps is that they often compel me to make things I wouldn't otherwise think of making.  They broaden my crafting horizons. That's how it was in the One Tiny Monster Swap I just participated in on Craftster.  My good friend Susan forced insisted suggested I join it along with her; normally, the creative part of my mind doesn't think about monster-making, but I like knowing that it can if I need it to.

When asked to describe her ideal monster in three words, my partner for the swap wrote "fun, colorful, horns". She also said her favorite colors are purple and blue, and she prefers cute monsters to scary ones.  Looking at her Pinterest was helpful, because she had quite a few cute monsters pinned there.

So here he is! The only rule was that is had to be under 4" in each direction, so I started by drawing a 4" square and sketching a design inside it. Then I cut out the drawing and used it for a template. The purple fabric is fleece, which is great for making stuffies, because it stretches a bit when you stuff it, resulting in a nice firm creature.

I was thinking of adding spines down the back and tail, but I accidentally sewed that part before adding the spines, so I added a series of spots instead.

I LOVE how the horns came out! They are made of wool felt (as are the spots, belly, nose, and area around the eyes.) I'm sure I would not have added horns if my partner hadn't specified them, so that is a perfect example of how craft swaps help me grow and develop new skills.

This little monster fits right in with the color scheme of some of my Blythe dolls! I might have to make one for them to keep!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wishing you a day full of luck and laughter!

My Blythe doll Claire is wearing a dress I made from the Party Dress pattern at Puchi Collective.  Her shamrock is on one of the wool felt scissors fobs I made last year in my heart-a-day challenge.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Doll Skirt Pattern Comparison

You may have noticed that this blog has not been as active the past few months as it has been in the past. That bothers me, because I love blogging and interacting with readers on a regular basis, and I've been thinking about it a lot. Since I started my other blog about Blythe dolls, my attention has been divided, but it seems that I don't have enough material for two active the obvious solution is to combine them. That's what I've decided to do. I am going to post everything here and let the Blythe blog go.

The main reason I wanted to get a Blythe doll (and another, and another...) is that there are so many crafty things a creative person can do with her; she needs a wardrobe, of course, but there are all the little accessories and furnishings that a dolly requires too. So Blythe and the things I make for her will fit in just fine here.  The emphasis will still be on crafting, with only the occasional "pretty dolly" picture! (I've got a great one ready for St. Patrick's Day!)

Okay, let's get this thing started with something for dolly sewists.  I came across two different free skirt patterns on two different blogs, and I wanted to compare them.  In the picture below, the doll on the left is wearing a very simple skirt made from a one-piece pattern I found at Miseducated. It is meant to be made from felt, so there is no hemming or sewing other than adding a snap or velcro to the back. I decided to make my fully-lined version from cotton fabric.  It looks great, and was almost too easy!

The skirt on the right is from a three-piece pattern at Hello Moshi. It was more complicated and time consuming, because I wanted it to be fully lined too, which meant I had to carefully and precisely cut six  tiny fabric pieces.

The Hello Moshi skirt is fitted; it's the one on the left in the picture below, with a distinct curve.  The Miseducated skirt lies completely flat. They look very different off the dolls, but ON the dolls, they look almost the same. I had to ask myself, why would I ever bother to make the complicated skirt, when the simple one is so similar?

Oh, I know!!  If I wanted to use a fabric with a linear print, it would definitely look better using the Hello Moshi pattern.  I would be able to place the pattern pieces on the print so it would line up properly all the way around the skirt.  If I used the simple Miseducated pattern for that, the fabric design would look wonky on the sides and back.

Since starting to sew doll clothes, I've been thinking more and more about sewing clothes for myself. The experience of comparing the fit and construction of two doll skirts has helped me envision what type of skirt would work best on me, so I'm hoping my thoughts translate into action soon!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Creative Birds

My first partner has received this prayer flag I sent her in our Craftster swap, so now I can reveal it here:

She loves birds and one of the words she chose was "create".  As soon as I read her questionnaire, this image of two birds building a nest popped into my mind, so it came together very quickly.  Since we both love bright, bold color, it was easy and fun for me to make this for her.

I printed the word "create" onto fabric using my computer printer.  If I could change one thing about this flag, it would be to add some hand stitching around the letters--I feel that they look too flat compared to the rest of the prayer flag.

The nest is composed of torn strips of fabric that I sewed end-to-end, then wrapped around my hand into a nice little bundle that I glued to the background.  I didn't want to flatten it out with stitching, so fabric glue seemed to be the best option.  Everything else is machine stitched in place, and all the fabric edges were left raw (I think it's more "artsy" that way!) The size is 8" tall and 5" wide, and there is a hanging sleeve on the back.

If you would like to know more about prayer flags, there is a wonderful blog you should read called The Prayer Flag Project.  People from around the world submit photos of their flags.  It's very inspiring!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Sewing Box from an Old Book

This is the project I entered in the current challenge on Craftster:  Bookworms.  
Voting doesn't start until March 10th (just in case you want to vote for someone...!)

I found a tutorial to turn a book into a sewing box HERE and I knew it would be 
perfect for my partner in the Book Lover's swap, which I had just started organizing 
when this challenge was announced.  So she got a new sewing box, and I got 
something I could enter in this challenge!  Win-win!

It started with this big, thick volume of Shakespeare I found for $1 at my local library. 
(People donate old books and the library sells them to fund their programs.)

First I removed all the pages--it was actually very easy to do 
with an X-acto knife:  
just one cut along the inside of the spine at the front and the back, and they all came 
out together. The pages aren't used in this project, so I saved them for something in 
the future.

Then I glued book-themed scrapbook paper to the inside of the covers, 
sandwiching in some ribbon to tie the box closed.  I measured and cut balsa wood 
into the sizes I needed to make the compartments, and used a hot glue gun to hold 
them in place.

I glued more of the scrapbook paper to the outside of the balsa wood to give the 
box a finished look.

I painted the top edges of the wood with gold paint.  The pin cushion is a simple 
circle of fabric stuffed with poly-fill and glued into one of the compartments.  I made 
a matching needle book to complete the package.

The most time-consuming part of this was the planning and the gathering of 
supplies; I've never worked with balsa wood before and I didn't really know where 
to buy it! (I ended up finding it at Michael's; in the future I will probably look for it 
on-line.) I worked slowly since it was the first time I had done it, but now that I have 
the experience, I think I could complete my next box in under two hours.  I like the 
way it turned out, so I will probably do this again, either for myself or a future swap partner.