A fascination of mine that I have finally tried out this year is the wonderful world of doll customization. I picked up a Monster High Lagoona doll at the beginning of the year, and then a MH Robecca Steam shortly after. I repainted them quite a handful of times before finding the right mediums and sealers to look good and not have a bad reaction (pealing, cracking, etc.). I'm definitely still learning. I've made one outfit for Lagoona and two for Robecca. In May, a friend gave me Operetta with homemade clothing but with factory paint still on, so I decided to repaint her too! I ordered some Mr. Super Clear in May, but it took until this month to arrive because of some shipping complications, so I just finished repainting Lagoona and Operetta this month. I left Robecca with the slightly pealing face because other than the wrinkles on one side, it is fine since it is just for me
My local craft group has started doing a few organized craft swaps a year. This time around I was assigned to craft for my lovely friend handmadewithlove. She had a neutral colored lap blanket on her wish list. I didn't really have time for making a quilt and I don't know how to crochet or knit. I've been itching to do some more crafts with upcycled sweaters, so I found my way to my favorite second-hand store to scavenge some more sweaters to supplement my sweater stash. All of the sweaters had at least 70% wool content and were machine felted. I tried to get the biggest rectangles possible and saved a lot of scrap pieces for other packages.
I wasn't sure how to assemble everything at first, but I found a handful of ideas on the internet. My favorite technique and the one I wound up using was to put the edges of the sweater pieces against each other and use my biggest zigzag stitch to connect them. No rough seams on either side except for the ones from the sweater shoulders. I was pretty impressed how it stayed together. During the assembly process, I had to relocate a certain four-legged friend of mine and resort the rectangles. He thought it was fun to roll around in the middle and toss the pieces everywhere.
I originally planned to just make the sweater blanket, but I thought it was too plain. To go along with the "felted" theme, I added some needle-felted details.
This is my first time doing anything related to paper cutting as a crafting. This was a shrine that I put together as an angel package for kwality570 in the Whimsical Shrine Swap. One of here themes was Woodland Creatures, which is one of my favorite themes. She had a lot of inspiring dioramas on her Pinterest for this swap, and I found a particular artist, Brooke Weeber, whose style I really enjoyed and tried to mimic it a little, although the water and words are the only things that really resembles her work specifically.
Each piece was colored with watercolors - the fox and deer also have some color pencil - then outlined with an art marker, and then cut out by hand. It was a fairly meticulous job to cut all the pieces, and then I didn't even use all of them . Everything was assembled in layers. I used rolls of paper or little L's to attached everything to each other. My only regret is that the left side of the banner wasn't close enough to anything when I put it all together, so there is that silly, undecorated strip of paper holding it.
The base was a box from a set of mugs. I wish I knew what the mugs were like. They'd probably be my favorite if I had the set.
You can see that the tree hole has a few dimensions if you look from the side. I'll have to figure out how to prevent "peaking" at the ugly parts if I do this again.
I was also really in love with the box I used as the "base". My mother found a handful of them at a yard sale once and got them for me. I wanted to do something that involved both the top and bottom piece (i.e., leave the lid on with the decorations, and make someone open it up to discover the scene), but it needed to be something that could hang, and I really wanted the lovely Tiffany Blue part of the box to show instead of the bottom with was all floral, rose patterns.
I recently invited Ludi to dance with me in the IYP Swap R26, but with the scenario that we would pretend we were actually in the Carnivorous Plant Swap together since Ludi's swap slots were full and she was already in the IYP. This was a fantastic swap, and I'm so glad I had another opportunity to craft with her
She requested something to hang, and I know a lot of people did some beautiful textile sculptures for the Carnivorous Plant swap, but I decided to go back to an older skill of mine and carve up some stamps/blocks for making prints. I had never done multi-color block printing, and for some reason had it stuck in my mind that was the only acceptable way to make these prints. I'm really glad I thought so. Even though it was a lot of work to make all three blocks work together, I'm really proud of the outcome. In the end I realized that the prints worked best if I lined up one of the top corners. The bottoms must have been horribly crooked.
Here are a couple versions of the print on different colored papers with different colored inks:
And the blocks that I carved which are stained from pigment inks I use while carving to test the design:
I framed two prints on cork (I love cork!). One of them has a cross-section detail that I did in color pencils and watercolor to show a bee caught in one of the pitchers (yum!):
My little brother is such a champ. He's 17 and has cerebral palsy, hypothyroid, and epilepsy. He is mentally and physically disabled, but he still gets through life with a huge smile on his face, and is quite the social butterfly. For a few years, he has been insisting that every time we are together, we create some kind of art together. Usually this involves painting or drawing Disney characters to the best of our abilities.
Earlier this month, he wanted to make something out of clay with me while visiting. I taught him how to pinch off pieces of polymer clay and roll balls and logs to make the bodies of the animals. He did this all with his one "good hand". I helped even and smooth out the shapes for him, but he assembled most of the pieces. Sometimes I just held his hand/finger out and sort of used his hand to do the smoothing just so he could have the experience. He was really excited about them. I'm pretty surprised how they came out actually. These were the only photos I got because the next morning, he took them with him back down to Florida, so the colors are bit off from limited lighting in our dining room. My brother insisted that the giraffe be sticking out his tongue, that the tongue be blue, and that the giraffe also have Elvis-style hair.
I made this for Cackle in the Whimsical Shrine Swap. It was a mash up of a few of her themes: "Artist's Choice," "Insects," and "Botanical". The base I started with was a black solar-powered lantern from Target. For some odd reason, I like putting little characters in my bigger shrines, so the main focus of this one was going to be a fairy. She is wingless though, so I guess she is more of a pixie. Her body and flower petal skirt are polymer clay, her hair is made of mohair locks, her hat is felt, and her shirt is scraps of fabric. Other elements of the shrine include a felt and button moth inspired by Mister Finch, teeny mushrooms made based on a tutorial by Knickertwist (with polymer clay instead of paperclay though), a miniature nature shrine on the back based on an altered matchbox by Rackycoo, and several other items I saw on Cackle's Pinterest.
And the painting on the back is based on two photos of birds I that I took in my backyard
And here are some of the components before putting them inside:
The moth with its wings open didn't fit, so I actually just gave it to Cackle out of the shrine
I built this toadhouse for Ludi in the Woodland Creature and Enchanted Forest Swap. I hope that one day a toad actually inhabits it If not a toad, than hopefully a fairy will find it cozy enough.
The house started out as a 2 liter Mountain Dew bottle. I glued small polished rocks to it with E6000 because hot glue would not hold the polished rocks on. After that I used sanded grout to fill in the gaps:
That was the only progress I photographed... Afterwards I used hot glue to secure smoker wood chips for the roof. In this case the E6000 didn't dry fast enough and I couldn't get the bottle at a good angle to keep the shingles from sliding while drying. I added moss, feathers, and little acorn lamps as additional details to finish it off. And a little birdy friend for the toad.
I also sent a fence and flower pot for the toad's "yard":
This was so much fun to make. There was just a ton of drying time between gluing on rocks and shingles and then grouting the rocks.
This little felting project was for Ludi in the Woodland Creature and Enchanted Forest Swap. She had a couple of neat wet-felted birdhouses on her Pinterest, and I haven't done much wet-felting, so I thought I would at least give it a try. This is the first time I have wet-felted anything other than little balls for felted acorns. The hollow base part was wet felted around a balloon based on several tutorials I read. The swirly pattern was needle-felted onto the base and the rest of the decorations on the base were sewn by hand. The petals are a combination of needle- and wet-felting, as is the "stem" for tying it off to a tree. I'm definitely interested in trying this again. It took me forever, but I think I started getting the hang of it.
I made this little shrine for the Shrine Swap last year and just never got around to posting it. The base is a circular candy tin from Trader Joe's that has a nifty little window in it. I thought it was the coolest ever because you can close the shrine and still peak in. The shrine itself was pretty simple because I spent most of my time on a larger one. See my other shrine from this swap way back here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=425051.msg5058856#msg5058856
I made this little guy for MissingWillow for the Altered Spool Swap. This was such a fun little swap to get me back into swapping online again, although for some reason I was a real slowpoke on getting it finished. She listed 10 themes, so I had a lot to choose from, but I noticed she had commented on her desire for a zombie-sheep combination in another swap, so two themes became one I found a wonderfully bright green spool at a antique shop by the flea market. After searching the flea market for a spool less than 6 inches big for a couple hours, I was pretty relieved to find this one.
The sheep parts are all needle-felted with the exception of the ears which are a wool-poly blend. One ear is a tad bit nibbled by fellow zombie sheep perhaps. His legs have decayed a little, but he still gets by. His zombie infection must have been transmitted through that nasty bite in his side from a fellow sheep.
The scroll represents the unwritten story of how the great Lizzy saved Missing Willow Farm. The sheep, zombie sheep, and Lizzy are hand embroidered onto fabric which was then attached to some more of that lovely wool-poly blend felt. His scroll ties closed to a little red button on his belly. (Belly button! )