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71  Toy Soldier with instructions/diagram added in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: November 18, 2011 10:08:49 PM
A toy soldier I created to stand guard at my front door during the Holidays.  Surprisingly, he's made from mostly castoffs.  Can you find these items?

1 Paper Ice cream container
2 Gift wrap cores
2 Paper towel cores
1 Ribbon spool
1 two liter soda bottle
1/2 Cork
3 paper mache eggs
(Actually there are 5 eggs.  His feet are flat paper mache eggs)

With a bit of paint, trims, buttons, fur & feathers I transformed those throwaways into a Christmas decoration who stands about 2 ft. tall.

Thank you.  I'm happy that some of you like my little guy enough to want one.  Hopefully my instructions will help.  Unfortunately, I no gave him to my sister & she's a thousand miles from here so I can't give exact measurements.

Carefully clean & thoroughly dry the ice cream container.  Place it open end up on a table & stand the 2 paper towel cores at his sides.  This is so his shoulders will be straight.  Hot glue the cores to his sides about 2/3 of the way.  Leave the area at his waist so  you can slip the belt between his arms & body later.

While he's still upside down, place him on a piece of posterboard, cereal box, heavy cardstock or other very light weight cardboard.  Draw around all 3 pieces to make a single piece to cover his shoulders.  Follow the dotted lines on diagram A to fill in the area where the cores meet the ice cream container.Cut this piece out & glue it to the top of the ice cream container & his shoulders.  I don't know how long his arms are but you can cut them to any length you like.  I prefer shorter body & arms, & long legs.

Paint the entire piece red---I used acrylic but spray paint will work too.

I don't know if they still sell the flat, paper mache egg shapes but if you can t find them you can cut them out of  a foam core board or matboard.  Glue them to the bottom of the gift cores & paint them black.  Adjust his height---the cores will reach all the way to his shoulders.  You'll have to balance him on his feet.  Mine stood on his own when the gift wrap cores were placed apart & all the way to the back of the ice cream container so I hot glued them where they touched the back of the bucket, as well as around the top of the cores where they touched his shoulders.

Take the flat sides off of the ribbon spool so you have only a cardboard ring left.  Paint it black & glue it to the center of the ice cream container for his collar/neck.  Again, I can't give measurements for the paper mache eggs so you'll have to see which fits & looks best.  The diameter of his head should be about the same as the diameter of the soda bottle---perhaps a bit larger.

Use a sharp knife to cut a wine cork diagonally top to bottom & glue it on for his nose filling in any gaps with glue.  Paint his face & hands pink/flesh tone.  You can finish his face however you choose.  I used an ice pick to poke holes & glued purchased eyes into the holes.  Marker for his mouth & pink blush for his cheeks.  Glue his head & hands in place.

Cut enough of the top off of a 2 liter soda bottle so it will come down over the head.  Cut out the front section so it fits just above his eyebrows & in front of his ears.  Cover it with faux fur.  It will probably have to be done with several pieces of fur cut, fitted & hot glued on.  Feather glued on & 2 buttons glued on with a chain draped between.

You can draw his chinstrap on or glue on a piece of cording, shoelace, ribbon, etc. so it extends under the edges of his hat.

I added gold fringe to his shoulders & gold braid to his collar, epaulets, cuffs & between his buttons.  Also a stripe down the side of his legs.  I either cut the backs from the buttons with a wire cutters or poked holes with an ice pick to accommodate the shanks.  (Can't remember which)

His belt is a white faux leather with an old shoe buckle, glued in place.

I hope I've covered everything.  Let me know if you have any further questions & be sure to post photos if you make him.

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72  Grinch Christmas Ornament made from a gourd. in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: November 16, 2011 08:05:44 PM
I have no idea who designed the original Grinch ornament but he/she deserves plenty of kudos for the idea.  As soon as my friend posted a photo of one on her site, I knew I would make one for my daughter---He's her favorite Holiday character.  I wish I could take credit for the design but my only contribution is the furry collar. 

My daughter's was made with a gourd (same as my friend's) but I've since made a number of them & found that a paper mache egg works as well & is much easier to find.  There is also the advantage of consistency---not having to adjust the hat pattern to fit different sized gourds.

I drilled a small hole in the top of the egg/gourd & inserted a kabob skewer with a dab of hot glue so I could paint the egg more easily. I made a stencil that I used to paint the white part of the eyes & then sprayed the entire egg with an acrylic finish.  When it dried, I put the stencil back in place & outlined everything with a permanent black marker.  I learned the hard way that the acrylic spray will cause the marker to run---even a permanent marker.  At this point I snipped the skewer off even with the egg & the stub was later hidden under the hat.

I folded a wedge shaped piece of fabric in half, sewed the one short seam, turned it & glued it in place.  I glued both long edges under for the hatband & hot glued it in place over the raw edge of the hat.   I glued the collar to a circle of cardstock, folding the edges to the inside, before I glued it to the bottom of the egg.  With the addition of the collar he can either hang or sit.  A puffy ball on the end of his hat & a gold cord for hanging finished him.

I made a number of these for friends & even taught a seminar at a motor home rally.  My daughter loves hers, as do my friends, & about 15 people left my seminar with cute little Grinch ornaments.

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73  Making Faces in Pottery, Ceramics, etc: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 13, 2011 08:51:51 PM

I seem to be obsessed lately with making faces---clay faces!  I've been taking clay classes for more than a year now & it seems that quite a number of my projects are faces.

When I began I intended to make only one.  I pressed the terra cotta clay into a mold, carved leaves & vines into it when it was leather hard & added leaves & a flower instead of hair.  She is finished in a deep bronze color & is named Ophelia.

 When I realized she was a good representation of Earth, I created a series of 3 more using the same basic mold.  Number 2 became Pyro representing Fire.  The third is Algae or Water.  Fourth is Zephyr who, of course, is Air/Wind.

I've since made a 5th that is not part of the series, even tho I used the same mold for the basic face.  I'm still trying to find a name for him.  To me he represents a person who tries to be so open minded he has no thoughts or convictions of his own.

The mold for all of them is about 7-8" long. 

I've abandoned the mold for the time being & created another series of 5 more faces.  I just modeled these from balls & slabs of clay.  These vary in size from about 4" to 6" & are named Monkshoods.  They remind me of hooded monks or flowers---There is a flowering plant named Monkshood.

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74  Fanciful beaded bird, Fanciful hat in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: November 12, 2011 08:39:11 PM
I'm at a bit of a loss as to where to post this item because, even tho it's clothing, it's not something most people would wear.  I hope it's OK here.

I created a very fanciful beaded bird to embellish an equally fanciful hat.  Beginning with 2 layers of fabric fused together, I cut out a very long bird shape (about 20" long) & sewed various beads individually over the entire surface.  I learned the hard way that it's not a good idea to try sewing thru the bonding material as it makes the fabric quite stiff.  My fingertips became very sore but I persevered because I wanted the finished piece to be stiff enough to keep it's shape.

After I completed the bird, I made the pattern for the hat.  It took several tries to get the size & shape I wanted.  It's fully lined & the fusible interfacing is the heaviest I could find---doubled.  The scalloped brim is just an added bit of whimsey. 

When I glued the bird on, it circled the crown almost completely.  I left enough gaps in the area under the wing so I can change the hatband as I desire.  A tiny gold earring holds the band fastened in the back.  It isn't really a wearable item but I've sewn a small ring under the front of the brim & it looks quite nice hanging in my bedroom. 

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75  Reversible mood apron in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: November 11, 2011 10:16:38 PM

I created an apron  from a sturdy hunter green fabric.  I first designed the pattern in a pinafore style that wraps across the back & buttons at the shoulders.  I made facings all the way round but sewed the inside edges  down so I could make it reversible without lining it completely.

I then used fabric paints to produce an array of fruits & vegetables on the front side with the reminder: "Fruits & veggies 4 good health".  My darker side appears on the back with a delicious assortment of goodies noting : "Chocolate 4 ever".  It can be worn with either side out, depending on mood but, it's probably easy to guess which is my favorite side.

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76  Decorated Beer Bottles for Gifts in Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 08, 2011 01:48:50 PM
I recently found a great recycle for those small beer, wine & cooler bottles. I've made some lovely small gifts for those occasions where you want to remember someone but don't want to spend a lot of money. 

It began last February when I was looking for a Valentine for my grandling.  He was 17 so the normal things wouldn't do.  After I washed a brown beer bottle & removed the labels,  I decorated it suitably for the occasion with painted hearts, I LOVE YOU's, etc.  Then I filled it with M&M's.  I found a small bag of them will fill the bottle & leave a small handful for me to munch on as I work.  I tied a few strands of raffia around the top, added some colorful beads & corked the bottle.  A little tag tied to the raffia finished it off.  Grandson loved it but, since I mailed it off to him, I don't have a photo of it.

Instead, I have pics of some I've made since then.  For those of you who don't have painting skills in your repertoire, don't dispair.  I've found other ways to decorate as nicely. 
The first bottle in the photo is one I painted with one stroke flowers.   I glued a few flat backed gemstones to the flower centers for a bit of sparkle.
For the second, I cut butterfly printed paper into small squares & used Mod Podge to adhere them in an overlapping pattern.  I tried to work it so most of the whole butterflies were showing.  The tiny butterfly I found in my stash looks nice tied to the top with a gold cord.
Bottle three is a clear cooler bottle that I filled with jelly beans after I Mod Podged thin strips of foil gift wrap with a few punched pieces interspersed among them.  Ribbon & beads for trim.
A coat of a light colored spray paint will give the bottle an entirely different, cheerier look.   I did that for bottle four.  Then I cut out flowers from tissue wrap & Mod Podged them in an overlapping manner.
The last is my lazy way bottle.  I found underwater creature stick-ons that I just peeled & pressed to the bottle.  Ribbon & beads again finished it. 
If you check, some of the bottle openings are just the right size for a dime to slip thru.  Decorated appropriately, it makes a fantastic gift for a newly expectant couple. Tag it with instructions for them to begin saving all of their dimes.  They'll add up quickly if they can get the grandparents-in-waiting to join in.  Open a bank account when it's full & refill until the baby is born.  It will give a nice beginning for baby's future.

Everything here can also be done with larger wine bottles but I've not calculated how many bags of M&M's it would take to fill one so you're on your own there.   

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77  Poseable porcelain doll---approx. 22" tall. in Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects by Jenxx on: November 06, 2011 07:35:50 PM

I acquired  a number of porcelain doll pieces but have very limited experience in the area of dollmaking.  Having to make up my own rules doesn't usually stop me so I began by painting vines & leaves on all the pieces to coordinate with a piece of Asian embroidered fabric I found.
I fashioned a wire armature for the body---purposely elongated the arms & legs in comparison to the torso.  After padding & covering the framework I attached the head, hands & feet. The wire armature makes her poseable.

For clothing, I designed the patterns for a high necked gold jumpsuit & long open robe, sewed them & dressed her.  Then I went hunting for hair, but couldn't find anything that I felt wouldn't detract from the rest of her.  I finally settled on NOTHING.  Instead I've used a piece of gold trim for a headband with a with a fanshaped fabric & button medallion for trim.   Strands of dangling multicolored beads finish it.

She's gone to live with a friend of mine but I have several more porcelain sets & hope to create some sister dolls some day soon

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78  Whopper Cheeseburger---28" in diameter! in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General by Jenxx on: November 06, 2011 04:30:15 PM

Whopper Cheeseburger---28" in diameter!

I've cooked up a king sized cheeseburger.  Being my own recipe, the ingredients are a bit unusual but have the advantage of adding absolutely no calories or fat to my diet. 

I  sprayed the bun fabric with a thinned brown acrylic paint to give it a toasty appearance.   Sesame seeds anyone?  It seems I toiled over the handcutting of about 131,723 sesames during the dark of one late night & glued them on individually.  (It wasn't really that many but it seemed so.)

The burger itself is a slab of upholstery foam covered with a textured brown upholstery fabric. 

Since this is a whopper, "Have it your way" with a choice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion.  Each of the ingredients is made individually so they can be organized in any order or left off completely.  All are provided with hook & loop tabs so they wil stack together to make a very unique pillow. 

I designed it originally for a pillow contest sponsored by the Creative Home Arts Magazine where it won 3rd prize.  My grandlet was the recipient of this first food sculpture.  You can see his reaction to it in the photo.
I later made a mini-burger that is only about 22" in diameter.  It's made along the same lines only smaller.

They can be considered as pillows or, because of their separate pieces, as toys.

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79  Carousel horse from a child's toy. ( eight photos) in Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed by Jenxx on: November 03, 2011 10:26:48 PM
I've long wanted to accept the challenge of creating a carousel horse from a child's bouncing toy.  When I found one at a flea market, I was "off and running".

After removing the horse from the frame, he was mounted on a closet rod with a recycled patio umbrella stand for the base.  Several coats of white spray paint provided me with a great canvas so I was able to put some of my recently acquired one stroke techniques to good use (along with a few different strokes of my own).  I finished him off with several coats of acrylic spray and tied ribbons and flowers under the finial at the top.    

I bought beaded fringe for the reins but had everything else on hand except for the plastic discs I used to cover the holes left from removing the frame.  (Do they show in the finished horse?)

I've always found that the satisfaction I feel from arts and crafts comes from being able to say "I created it". Therefore, I take a lot of photos of my projects but keep very few of the finished items for myself.  My carousel horse is no exception.  He has found a loving home with a friend who has made him the pride of her carousel collection.  He's no longer mine but I can visit whenever I choose.  

In case anyone wants to try making one of these, I thought I'd let you in on a new idea for a great looking, easy base---thanks to my Hubby.  His floor lamp quit working so he stripped the light & wiring from it, drilled a hole in the side of the pole, & put a bolt thru to act as a "stop".  He slid the horse down over the pole so it rested on the bolt at the proper height.  I used a decorative wooden finial to finish the top of the pole where the light fixture was removed.

I've since found floor lamps at thrift shops for $10 to $15.  Just make sure it's one of the heavier ones.  Some of the light weight ones wouldn''t be sturdy enough.

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80  Easy Little Christmas Trees with tutorial diagram added in Winter Holidays by Jenxx on: October 31, 2011 09:25:06 PM
I made an assortment of small Christmas trees to use for ornaments.  The tallest is about 6" .   Simple cottons or blends of fabric look nice but I found I had to treat the edges to keep them from fraying.  I just dipped mine in a fabric stiffener before cutting.  An alternative that I also liked is a non woven interfacing----various weights give different effects.  
I began with 2 looooong narrow triangles of fabric. I folded a length of fabric in half & cut the triangles with a 4" base & the width of the folded fabric---About 22".
I sewed 2 lines of stitching along either side of the center.  This formed a narrow casing so I was able to thread the triangle onto a wooden kebob skewer.  I mounted the base in a wine cork cut in half crosswise.  By drilling a tiny hole in a wooden star, I was able glue it onto the point of the skewer.  
The first ones were simply gathered onto the skewer, left flat & decorated with flat backed gems.  I cut the edges of some with pinking shears & slashed some.  I also painted green ink on the centers of some to give the impression of snow tipped branches.
From this idea, I realized i could twist the fabric on the skewer & create dimensional trees.  I added gemstones to these or sprayed them with a glitter spray    Fun & easy to make.

Jdearien,I made these trees several years ago & don't have any to use as a reference but will try to give enough instructions to get you thru.  I don't have the fabrics to make more right now so I've drawn a diagram.  Hope it's sufficient.

To make a paper pattern:
 Draw a straight line on the paper the same as the width of your fabric---It will vary depending on your fabric.  You want to make the triangle as long as the fabric will allow.  This will be the center line of the triangle.  
Draw a base line across the bottom of the center line measuring 3" to 4" in length.  This will also vary depending on how wide (fat) you want to make the bottom the tree.
Draw a line from each end of the base line to the top of the center line to create a triangle.


Pin the pattern to the fabric according to the diagram & cut out. (2 layers of fabric.)

Sew 2 lines of stitching about 1/8" to 1/4" on either side of the center line to form a narrow casing.  Pink, slash or scallop the edges now.  Thread the fabric onto a wooden kebob skewer with the point extending slightly above the top of the fabric.  Add a touch of glue to hold it in place.  Push the fabric up from the bottom.  Adjust the gathers as desired---with or without twisting.  Glue the bottom.  Poke a hole in half a cork---I use an icepick---& glue to the bottom for the stand.  Separate the layers of fabric to give it more fluff.  Drill a tiny hole in a wooden star & glue it to the top.  Decorate.

I used several weights of interfacing for the trees I made & prefer a stiffer one.  Brush on some watered down green ink or paint along the center line & let it dry before gathering it onto the skewer to give the appearance of snow tipped branches.  

I don't know what else to tell you but, if you have any more questions---ask.
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