It's all about birds this month at Alpha Stamps! This month, the design team members were all given a bird shrine, and since I've been having so much fun making toys lately, I couldn't help but make this shrine into a toy as well. My goal was to make it look like a well-loved toy from years gone by; you know, something you'd pick up at an antique shop or, I guess, at a thrift store.
The shrine comes with a front and a back, a plastic disk for the window, and two pieces for the inside. I used both of the inside pieces of the shrine to make a deep niche, and added some mini bird eggs and some micro beads to achieve a snow-globe affect. On the outside, I covered the shrine with black and white polka-dotted paper and colored it with Copic markers. It was way too bright and new looking, so I sanded it down quite a bit, and then brushed on some Cognac colored ink to make it appear aged.
After gluing all the pieces together, I drilled a small hole in the back to insert the winding key. It may look like it, but this is not actually a working toy. I used two sizes of wheels, 3/4" and 1 1/4". I painted them black, and then added a little turquoise to the inside. Once the paint was dry, I sanded them down and added an axle. Dowels would work best for this, but I didn't have any at the time, and I was impatient. I used the handle of an old paintbrush that just happened to fit. The wheels are attached with some E6000 glue.
The eyes are bead caps, and I just had to add a little crown on her head. I love these little crowns. I need to stock up on some more!
If you want to make a bird toy of your own, click here for a link to the supplies, including those awesome crowns.
I picked up an old rack with spice drawers at a thrift store not too long ago, and have had it sitting around unused. The little drawers are so cute, though, that I decided to use them to display some of my tiny treasures. I call this one "Baby Buttons" because of the old button card I used for the background. It was a perfect fit! The little china doll just seemed to need a friend, so I added in the dog, which was a carnival prize from long ago. I think they make a cute little vignette.
Between using wood for artist trading blocks and Mr. 'Coo's current woodworking project, we have lots of little leftover scraps of wood. I've been having the best time the last few days, making "windup toys" from the tiny blocks, none of which are bigger than 2" on any given side. A few years ago, I bought a bunch of old wooden blocks and other toy parts, and I dug through them to find bits and pieces to help construct the these rather bizarre toys. Some rusty bottle caps and some creepy eye charms to add to the fun.
At first I was just fiddling around, and came up with this. Once it was done, though, I thought of all the things it could have been, and thought it would be fun to make an entire collection of toys.
I like the first one, but as toys go, it doesn't look like too much fun. Since they all have windup keys, I thought they should look like they do something, so I decided to make the rest more mobile, and add wheels.
For the circus wagon below, the block at the top was conveniently already broken in half. I added some painted accents and some wheels made out of spools. The hand is a vintage charm with some sequins at the cuff.
Here's the third one I made. I really love the look of one wheel in the middle, but of course that won't balance on its own, so I added some doll hands to help keep it upright. I used Apoxie Sculpt to make the sleeves and attach the hands to the sides of the block.
Its windup key is in the back.
This metal propeller for this one was also in that box of old toys, as were the red metal wheels. I added a kickstand on the back of this vehicle to keep it upright.
Here's how it sits with its windup key:
Here's the final toy in the set (although I can't promise I won't make more!). I think it looks like a little weird animal.
One more shot of them, all lined up:
That was a lot of photos! Thanks for taking a look.
EDIT: One last one. I had one more eyecharm left, and lots of wooden blocks, so I added one more toy to the collection. This one has a big ole honkin' nose!
That's all for now. I've got an order in for more eyeballs, but word has it that my next Alpha Stamps package is on its way. I'll be busy with that for a while.
I'm currently co-hosting an Artist Trading Block with HSG, and my partner quaggy just received the block I sent her. She told me that some of her favorite colors are red and turquoise (love!), and that she collected vintage games. I went through my stash and found as many fun game pieces as I could, to use in her block. Here's what I came up with:
I've had these mini alphabet bottlecaps for ages. I'm so glad I finally found the perfect use for them! The top finial is a gamepiece resting on a domino. The "r" on the gear is her initial.
I'm so glad HSG suggested this swap. I love working with little blocks of wood, and there are certainly more of these in my future.
Happy New Year! Let's get the year started off with an altered tin. Here's a little something I whipped up for Alpha Stamps; it's my first project for 2014.
I love their new Bird Cages collage sheet: so many lovely wire cages! And because they're all black and white, you can use them as is, or color them with Copic markers to match your background paper. I chose a tall cage that had a sad little bird in it, and then used wires to have three colorful birds fly around the cage. I'm quite sure they're working on an escape plan for their incarcerated friend.
The trick to getting those birds to fly is to make a tight little curl on each end of a thin, but sturdy wire. This will give your glue something to grab on to. I like to use E6000 glue for a really good hold. (Don't you just love my gorgeous cutting board? I've had that thing since 1983. It's not pretty, but it works.)
Here's the inside of the tin. I used the same collage sheet as the colorful birds (Lady in Blue) for the image of the lady. She's layered on a doily and surrounded by little pearls. In this shot you can see the ribbon that goes around the lid of the tin as well as the way I attached the wire to the birds, which I painted black before cutting them out. This gives the paper a little more body and a more finished than a stark white background.
I made a couple of peg dolls for a swap recently, and really enjoyed it. Because the supplies I purchased made six dolls, I've been playing with the rest of them. Here's one I just finished: the Queen of Everything.
She's got a shiny scepter, a golden crown, and a flag proclaiming her royal title.
Here she is, ignoring you, you peasant!
I think I'm going to make me an army of peg dolls in 2014.
I have some great pots on my back patio that look great in the spring and summer, but not so good during the winter. The plants in the smaller two pots die back, as do some of the annuals in the large pot. Here's my winter solution: so easy to do, and best of all, it uses plant materials from the evergreen bushes in my back yard. I did this last year, and the greens lasted until the end of January.
This pot's daisies were completely dead, so everything in here is new. I still added some holly, some artimesia, a variegated leaves from an unknown (to me) bush, and some bright red nandina berries. Much better!
This first pot has a large Rosemary plant which still looks great, but I still added extra greenery around the edges. Much better!
And finally, this little herb pot has lavender in it, but it's very scraggly now. I filled it out a bit as well.
And a nice, but slightly blurry, view of all the pots and my very rainy back yard.
Do you ever just wake up and think, "I need to make something today."? I did, just this morning. I didn't want to just start something, I wanted to spend a little time in the craft room and make a little project, start to finish.
So, a Christmas ornament. I used a small 2" round tin, some scrapbook paper, micobeads, faux pearls, some tinsel, a few rhinestone stars, and a bottlebrush tree and a little vintage plastic Santa.
The snow on the bottom is Apoxie Sculpt clay with microbeads pushed into it. The clay is so great to use because I just simply pushed the tree and the Santa into it and it holds them in place.
Not a lot to it, but I love its sweet, simple vintage look. And it looks great on the tree.