For my partner in the IYP, I created Santa's workshop to fill her Advent calendar. I made the wooden workshop and the trees, and the table out of thin plywood. The furniture is made mostly with balsa. The accessories are made mostly from polymer clay, but also from wire, wood, fabric, paper, cardboard...
The elves are bendable and pose-able. I made an armature with wire. I added heads and shoes with polymer clay and put them in the oven. Once cooled down, I wrapped embroidery floss around the hands shape with a needle. Then, I wrapped wool roving around their bodies and felted the roving with a three needles tool. After that, I sew, cut and, embroidered them some tiny clothes that can be removed. I made 6 elves who each are in charge of a part of Christmas. The elf in charge of the mail and the naughty or nice list.
The elf who stuffs the toys. Well, he just had a little accident and fell head first in the stuffing.
The carpenter elf is able to create lots of nice toys with all his tools.
This elf has lots of ribbons, tags and wrapping papers and can wrap toys real fast, and neat too.
The sewing elf has a sewing machine, but he also can sew by hand. He embroiders too and likes to choose fabrics from the many ones he stores on his shelves.
The cooking elf is very busy at this time of the year baking cookies and cakes an candies.
All the elves like to take an afternoon snack together. They talk together while enjoying the baked goods.
Here are some of the toys they made this afternoon.
This year, I made an Advent calendar on a winter theme. everything is built with construction paper and white glue. There's a bunch of trees as they are easy and fast to make, and you need a lot to create a forest.
It is mostly filled with cookies and chocolates, things tiny enough to fit inside the trees and log houses. The bigger items are inside the mountains.
The school with a bell on the roof, a modern log cabin with wide windows, a traditional Swiss chalet.
An A frame log house, a tiny mazot from the Alps, another chalet and a fairy house( or maybe a girl's house?) in the back.
The witch's cat was tired to fly on a broom stick on Halloween night. Sure, it was fun at first but he wanted to get treats too. So, he made himself a mask with a jack-o-lantern and went to town. He lifts his pumpkin head to reveal his huge smile.
Just turn the handle and he will show his face.
Here is a view from the back.
In order to create him, I first made a rough draft of the way it would move. Then it involved two separate steps. One, making the puppet: I drew the cat and planned the moving parts so his arms would be long enough to lift the pumpkin fully over his head. I tried to calculate it but in the end, I just drew and measured. Then I turned his body and head on one block on the mini-lathe. I used carving tools to make his ears and glue them on with wood glue. I sanded and painted it. I made the tiny pumpkins for the decor with a scroll saw. The pumpkin mask is made of papier mache with orange tissue paper. Second, making the moving mechanism and the box. I had planned to put a cam under the main rod to lift and lower the cat but I then realized that I would need a box twice as high as the cat! So, I decided to make a gear and a specially indented rod to go up and down. That took less space but needed more precision and a few tries to get the dents to fit in the indentations. calculations, drawing and paper model were necessary to get it to work. For example, you can not have 6,5 dents on the wheel! Then, I made them in wood. I had to find a way to keep the rod vertical and really close to the wheel, hence the bottom where the rod slides inside. I added a few pumpkins to decorate the bottom but still left the box open so one can see the mechanism at work.
I made this for my partner in the Vintage Halloween swap. I hope you enjoyed.
An advent calendar has one surprise everyday from December 1st till December 24th and sometimes a bigger surprise for December 25th. It's fun to make for loved ones but it's also great to receive. Most have little pockets or boxes to fill for each day. This swap would be for those who already have an empty advent calendar or no calendar at all. It could be for yourself or for anybody you choose. You would receive 24 little gifts already wrapped.
To minimize the shipping cost, you could send 24 gifts to one partner or two times 12 gifts to two partners. Half to all of the items should be crafted, a maximum of half of the items could be bought. example of bought items: supplies for your partner that you buy for the swap or that you have at home( fabric, ribbons, washi tape...), crafting kits( you could make these), food...
You could send 24 unrelated gifts or up to 24 gifts that go together, like mix-and-match jewelry, a winter inchie village with each house counting as one day, a miniature scene, doll accessories, felted food...
I had some white sheets that I spruced up with colors. First, I drew some basic shapes on paper.
Then, I took some Dye-Na-Flow, mixed a camaieu of colors and diluted them more for the background.
I took all the paints and brushes outside, along with the sheets. I put the sheet up on the swing which was fine until the wind came. With more wind, I had to finish holding the sheet horizontally in front of me.
This is a picture of the work in progress with a plank to prevent the sheet from blowing away. As you can see, the Dye-Na-Flow really flows so it makes wide lines that are not always the same width. It's better to let the drawings dry before adding the color for the background if you do not want them to bleed into each others.
Once I was done, I let it dry for a couple of days. Then I ironed it to fix the colors and just to make sure, I put the sheets in the dryer.
Of course, the cat had to test it.
And a last view for a closer look at the cat our at the design, up to you!
For a swap, I made watercolor paintings of my partner's dogs. I saw her white great Dane and the watercolor image of him/her came in my mind. Since it was the HoHoHo swap, it really didn't fit the theme. So, I drew dogs on fabric I used to make a tree skirt but the great Dane still wanted to come out. When I had every thing ready to ship, I took out the watercolors and decided to sent them as extra. I searched the web to find pictures of her dogs. I took me two days to paint the four of them. And now, I have discovered she has a fifth dog! I hope it's OK that he doesn't have his own portrait. So sorry, doggy, I didn't know you existed. I took very poor pictures of them, as I did not set the white balance and the whites turned out blue, truly blue. So I tried to fix the images on the computer but I lost some nuances.
You will notice one of the eyes is so dark you almost don't see it. It was that way on the picture but now, I think I should not have followed reality and instead put some clear half-circle around the bottom part of it. What do you think?
In the Ho Ho Ho swap, I made a stuffed Santa for my partner to sit on her couch. I drew it, then painted it on thick white fabric. I used only red and white and a very simple design to give it a modern Scandinavian feel. I tried to make it merry so people would want to hug him and smile. What do you think?
This is most of what I sent to my partner in the mini 13 days of Halloween swap. Many of my creations were inspired by her pinterest list.
Shimmering, shiny, color changing fairy's wings that she can insert in the back of a corset or wear with the support and ribbon harness.
Two skeleton dolls un-living in their coffin.
A mug with a raven and a nevermore spoon to go with it.
The chest she inherited from her cousins from Transylvania, full of memorabilia: Count Dracula's wooden welcome sign, Countess Bathory's journal, a handmade small notebook, a secret letter, an emergency blood supply, a seal with wax ( made from a button) and, a vampire necklace.
A folding top hat that fits in a two inches high box.
An Halloween umbrella for her mom:
Some creepy jewelry including a cameo necklace, a witch glass square and an anatomically correct heart.
Two voodoo dolls:
A Dia de los muerte mask:
A fairy house for her cat with hammock that my cat tested and and some catnip toys.
Snow White's box with mirror, potion bottles, handmade tiny cups and tweezers, book of potions, dripping candle light and poisoned apple.