Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Another Mini Hat Fascinator

I've created another felt mini hat.  This one I did as all one piece so the brim took on a ruffled effect. I used  Plaid Stiffy as the stiffening agent this time.   I also stiffened some yellow organza and green satin which I cut to make the flowers.  My daughter caught me making it and insisted I add a lady bug--and give the hat to her.  Oh, and I should put it on a headband.  
This is the hat drying.  I used an apple sauce cup for the crown,  put a rubber band around it and then sat it in a large yogurt container.  The little white bowl on top is for weight.  Once it was dry, I used the yogurt container as a guide to draw a circle for the brim and cut it out.  

I stitched on a band of purple stretch velvet for the hat band, and then attached the flowers.  Last I made the lady bug from polymer clay with wires for the legs and antennae.     

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fascinators? Are Fascinating!

 Fascinators are hair decorations that often include mini hats.  I wanted to try making a hat from regular craft felt, and I found some instructions online.  I used a plastic cup to block my crown, and sized it with white glue.  The brim was steamed into a flat shape and then I sewed the two together.  I finished it with ribbon.  Getting the ribbon to be relatively smooth around such a small circumference brim was a bit of a challenge.  But steaming the ribbon into a circular shape, and steaming it again after it was stitched did the trick.
 The flowers are made from polymer clay.  I rolled some Super Sculpey semi-translucent clay very thin using a pasta maker, cut out the flower shape and rolled it up.  And of course, I made a place inside the flower for an LED.  I used some tin foil as a reflector inside a cone shape that makes the base of the flower.  I made a hole for a small LED in the bottom, and some holes for sewing on the side, and then baked it.  I sewed the LED to the hat first, placed the flower over it and sewed it in place.

 Close up of the hat.  The fluffy parts are two different types of tulle, layereed together and gathered.
The battery is on the inside with a snap acting as a switch.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Halloween light up Sunflower

As I mentioned in my previous post about the zombies, we had a Plants vs Zombies theme.  My daughter wanted to be a sunflower that would light up.  I'd just begun to play with soft circuits at this point, so I said, "okay!"  In February I started researching what I would need and ordered some El Wire to figure it out.  The El wire was actually pretty easy to use once I had played with some.  I ordered a driver for it, soldered the El Wire to a little plug and it was ready to blink.

Next I created a paper pattern.  I used a soccer ball as my head model and for a long time had soccer ball with a paper flower taped to it hanging out in the living room.

I started the head piece with craft foam to provide structure, but still be soft.
I sewed satin with an organza overlay for the petals.  I had to really baste it to keep it from moving all over.
Next I hand sewed the El Wire to the edge of the flower petals on the satin, and then flipped the organza layer over the El Wire.  (I haven't trimmed the inside edge of the flower so it won't fray while I'm handling it to sew on the El Wire.)
 I sandwiched the flower petals and the flower "face" in between the two sides of the headband.
 Here you can see the El Wire under the organza, and the face of the flower in the unfinished head band.  I put velcro on the head band to close it under the chin.  I also had to add some clear elastic to the back of the headband to keep it from slipping forward.  I finished the face with eyes created from the bowls from two black spoons, with a white highlight painted on.
 Here are the basic elements of the pot.  The pot had a rim that was supported with thin (1/2") upholstery foam.  And then a rod of fiberglass to form a hoop to keep the circular shape.  The bottom of the pot was basically a skirt that fell from the rim of the pot.
I enclosed soft rope in the hem of the "skirt" to help it hold its shape while hanging, but allow it to flex for walking.  
 I made the roots by applying a two part clear resin to bits of rope that I'd frayed.  The resin helped the roots keep their shape.
This is how the pot was tied on and formed the "dirt" of the pot.  This was a straight piece that was added to the Pot rim.  (I sewed it on before I sewed the rim and enclosed the foam.) It also serves as the channel the fiberglass rod was threaded into.  The top is gathered on a shoe lace which ties at the waist.  
 The leaves also used craft foam inside to give them body.  The stem is basically a "vest" that fastens in the back with velcro.  The bottom of the stem is tacked to the "dirt."

Here is the video of the El Wire blinking in the head piece.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Halloween Zombies

Last year after Halloween we started talking about having a family theme, and came up with Plants vs Zombies.  My daughter would be a sunflower and my son and husband would be zombies.  (I wasn't sure what I would be, but usually I don't have time to make anything for me anyway.)
Here is the zombie mask process I went through.  It stared with paper maché on a balloon.  I blew up the balloon--and made sure it was bigger than my son's head.  Then I taped the eye forms to it.  I used an Icee lid for the big eye, and newspaper covered in tinfoil for the little one.  I drew the mouth shape on the balloon so I would know where to stop, and where to apply the teeth.
It took several weeks (working on weekends) to build up the masks to solid thickness.  There were some surprises.  I had the mask out in the sun to dry, and the heat caused the balloon to pop.  For the first mask it was okay, it was thick enough and dry enough that I just needed to stuff it with news paper (inside a plastic bag) so it would keep it's shape as I added more wet paper.  The second mask's balloon popped way too early and it suffered some deformation.  I had to do some paper maché surgery on it to reconnect a broken jaw.
Once I had the masks to the thickness I wanted, I painted them with white gesso, and applied a band of fabric to the bottom to finish the edge.  (the fabric is the green in the photo below--it hadn't been gessoed yet.)

I had to get the height right to make sure the mouth was sitting at the person's eyes.  For that I wadded up newspaper for padding and glued a sheet of newspaper in the top of the mask to hold the padding in place.  The coffee cans have aquarium gravel in them to add some weight while the glue dries.  Next I glued in a foam head piece since the masks were bigger around than the heads they were going on.
The foam head piece.  I also drilled small holes in the sides and sewed in some clear elastic to function as a chin strap.  At this point I glued some window screening into the inside of the mouth to obscure the human face inside.
The next step was mixing up a batch of "zombie green" acrylic paint and painting the masks.  I added shading and highlights to accentuate the details.
This mask is the "deformed" one, so it has a little more "character" than the other one.

Here is the whole ensemble.  My son wanted to be a bucket head zombie.  The bucket is made from craft foam, which was painted with metallic paint.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Illustration Friday: Haunt

This morning my daughter asked if we could carve our pumpkins.  And then she said, "you should do an owl." Okay... But since I didn't have a better idea I went with that.  Then I asked my daughter (who's in elementary school) what she wanted to do.  "A horse."   (oh my!)

I found a simple horse outline online, printed it out and then taped it to the pumpkin.  A few lines into tracing it all the spines on the little plastic tracing wheel were bent.  In fact we broke all of the tools that came in the cheap grocery store kit working on her pumpkin.  So we moved on to a dress maker's wheel for transfer and a hand held scroll saw for cutting.  I had to help her position and turn the saw, but she did all of the cutting herself!  I'm so proud of how hard she worked on this.

 So those were the tools I used on my pumpkin, and I also used the pointy end of a potato peeler for the scrape away bit.  Kind of like scratch board on a pumpkin, except much more difficult.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Illustration Friday: Water

It has been a while since I've posted--and even longer since I did an Illustration Friday.  This week's prompt happened to be "Water."  And I was working on this as a demonstration.  I was teaching an art lesson to my son (I homeschool) using Liquitex Flexible Modeling Paste.  I wanted to see how it worked so I started playing around with it.  I also wanted to try to incorporate a photo using clear gesso.  That bit didn't work out the way I'd hoped.  The gesso blurred the photo and made it difficult to see, so I ended up re-painting the sting ray to get it to show up well.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


 We went camping this weekend and shared our campsite with some nesting ospreys.  There were five of them, the two parents and three fledged chicks.  It was a amazing when all five of them were flying around.

 I managed to wrestle my sketchbook away from my kids long enough to get a sketch of one of the birds in flight.
This is our campsite, the nest is the blob in the tree in the background in the upper right of the photo.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mini Doll with LED

I made another miniature doll, and with this one I incorporated the soft circuit ideas that I have been working on.  The doll has a little backpack that acts as the battery holder (conductive threads sewn on the insides of the pouch make up the contacts for the battery.)  The conductive threads then run along the sleeves of the doll to her hands.  One holds the LED in place.  The other is on the other hand and acts as a switch when the hand comes in contact with the LED.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Miniature Doll

 I was inspired by this book: Felt Wee Folk at Michael's and decided to make a miniature doll myself. 
 Here's a close up
And this is for scale.  She is 3" tall.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Purse

My beloved old purse (which my Mom brought me from Peru) has died.  The strap came loose, and even after I restitched it, other seams in the bottom started to go.  So it was time to make a new one.

This is the interior pocket

This is the external pocket

 I also had an old back pack that fell apart about the same time.  So a took the zippers, straps, and buckles from that to add to my purse. The fabric all came from my fabric bin.  I didn't really like the drawstring closure on the original purse, so I put a zipper in the new one, and made the front pocket bigger.  The bottom is made from vinyl so I don't have to worry so much about where I set it down--I can just wipe if off.
And here is the finished purse. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Belize 2012

My husband and I went to Belize last week.  It was an amazing trip.  I chronicled it all in a journal, which I translated to my computer, complete with photos and all.  But I couldn't figure out how to transfer all the work I did from the Word document to the blog--and didn't want to insert all the photos all over.  So I published it as a PDF and it is available HERE.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Aniomagic Sparkle Headband

My first techno-textile project is a success! I bought a Sparkle kit from Aniomagic. So I made a headband with the Sparkle and four LEDs that came in the kit. And when I hooked up the battery they started blinking! The Sparkle is programmable via the website--but I haven't played with that yet.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Camera Cover

The new camera I got for Christmas needed a cover to protect it when I stuff it in my purse, etc. So I made one from some purple fleece. As I was figuring it out I thought it needed a decoration. I made a pattern from construction paper first--to make sure it would fit the camera. Then I drew the pattern on the back side of the fabric, and used pins to mark where it would be so I could embroider the body and place the appliqued wings. I made the wings by sewing with pink embroidery thread over organza backed with a Pellon stabilizer, and then carefully cut them out.
I ran into a snag in the documentation of the final product--since it is impossible to take a photo of the camera in its own case! So this is what it looks like, the strap comes out the openings on the side.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Easter Eggs

The kids and I decorated Easter eggs yesterday. Of course I made it more complicated than it needed to be--but they had fun. My daughter was telling me about watching the Reading Rainbow episode about Rechenka's Eggs. I remembered watching it before, and we had tried using crayon resist on eggs before without much success. But I thought, what if we had some of those wax pens?
And then I thought, well maybe I could make some? So I hunted on the internet and found something similar. Not as much info on wax pens as some other stuff. I cut apart a cat food can with a pair of tin snips. Folded the metal up and screwed it to a dowel for a handle.
I used bits of crayon for my wax. I didn't have as much control with the melted wax as I thought I would. It ran all over the eggs. I think spouts in my handmade pens were too big. The idea is to put a wax design on the egg, dip it in the dye, let it dry, put more wax on the egg, dip it in the dye--etc.
Below are my eggs after their final dye bath but before I chipped the wax off.
And here is the final result. This is the one that worked out the best. The others looked a bit random.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Pants overhaul

I modified another pair of my daughter's pants. These had gotten too short. There were no holes in the knees, yet, but the pattern had started to fade at the knees, so I added the patches to tie in the ruffles at the bottom and protect the knees from more wear. I did an embroidery technique on them this time. On the ruffles I ran three lines of machine basting stitches. Then I criss crossed a row of embroidery thread across two of the lines, and serpentined another line in and out of the third. I used the same serpentine technique for a line of stitching I put inside the square patches.