Monday, April 30, 2007

Baby arms and legs

I'm making a baby.
I'm making soft doll parts that mimic hard ones (like porcelain dolls or old fashioned play dolls. I want the arms and legs to swing, and I want them to keep their shape. This is my design so far. I put round pieces of wood in the very ends and made a gathering stitch to close them up.

In this picture, you can sort of see where this is going. You are looking at an inside-out body pattern, and I'm inserting the leg through the neck and into the "leg" area of the body. It's closed, like a small bag. The other leg is already in, as you can see.Later I'll secure the legs and turn the body. Hopefully they will come out straight the first time!
Read more ...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Faerie Doll Stand

I just finished this very intersting faerie doll stand. It looks like a slice of log- perfect for a faerie!
I didn't really plan it that way, but it came out looking awesome. Best of all, I didn't put too much effort into it!

Materials needed:
  • Round piece of wood
  • Gesso
  • Burnt umber acrylic paint
  • Wooden dowel (or a stick)
  • Drill to make a hole for the stick (in my case, a husband with said drill)
  • Armature wire and needle nose pliers with a wire cutter
  1. Paint the surface and outside edges with gesso. Let it dry.
  2. Go over it with burnt umber paint
  3. Beginning in the middle, use your paintbrush to make a spiral pattern going outward. This will create the log-like appearance. The white gesso shows underneath.
  4. Paint the outside edges.
  5. Let dry.
  6. Drill a hole that can accommodate the dowel and 2 ends of the wire.
  7. Cut a long piece of wire. It should be almost triple the length to the doll's waist.
  8. Insert 2 ends of wire and the stick into the hole and make sure it's snug.
  9. Hold the 2 wires together and wrap them as one around the stick, like a vine.
  10. When you get to the waist, fold the remaining wire in half at the midpoint, so you now have two double wires.
  11. Bend them into a half-circle. It will hold the doll's waist.
  12. Use needle nose pliers to mash the wires together as needed.
  13. Remove the stick and wires, and put wood glue in the hole. Return and allow to dry.
  14. Before the glue dries, paint the wires and the stick. Allow your new stand to dry.
That's it!! Here is a close-up of the "log."

Posted by Picasa
Read more ...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

kids art zine

My girls and I are starting a new project. It's a mixed media blowout! I've made a list of all the things that "interest me" in art, but have not "had time for" and decided I'll "get my kids in on it." That way, I'll end up helping, and I bet the project will come out a family treasure.

Here is a list of things I've been tossing around in my mind:

  • Peacocks (I love peacocks. But the're not dolls LOL so I haven't had much ambition)
  • Lampshade (I want something "artsy fartsy" and recently my only lamp broke, so I've got this lampshade that is just sitting there screaming, "give me life!")
  • Quilt (I haven't done much quilting but I just feel like playing-)
This will be a long project but who cares!

I found a picture of an antique peacock quilt block on the intrenet. I really like the way it looks.
Here's the block:
This is what the whole quilt should look like

I bought some peacock fabric online which I'll use in the fan of the tail feathers.
I'll cover the lampshade with some of the fabric, too.
I'm having my daughters paint white muslin with peacock colors. I'll cut it up and do free motion embroidery with it. I can use that on the lampshade and in the quilt.
I will probably make some kind of medallion inside the quilt. Not sure yet. I have some empty wall space. It will look good on my wall!

Knowing me, I'll probably make some couch pillows and even some kind of doll too. Maybe something like a centaur- instead of half horse, half man, it can be half peacock half woman!

I am sure this is going to take forever and a day. But sometimes those are the projects that are the most meaningful! Especially when they are done in a group. And the best group is family!
Read more ...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hippy Wings

FRANCESCA- Hippy Faerie

Tutorial- Embossing on Fantasy Film for "Far-Out Wings"

click on the images to view a larger , more detailed version

I've invented a funky technique for making very "groovy" wings. The wings are easy to make, and fun. All you need is Fantasy Film, a simple stamp, embossing powder, an iron and some basic tools. They come out looking "brandished" and make me think of stained glass or "stained crystal" or ice.

Since my doll came out looking like a Hippy, her wings are Hippy wings! Can you see the smiley's?

The technique will be published in Soft Dolls and Animals Magazine, I believe in the Autumn or Winter issue.

You've seen this face before, in an earlier post (sometimes I just "know" a doll is not quite finished!) Here she is, smiling pretty once again, this time with her wings.

I would very much like to sell this doll.
$155 USD.
If you are interested, please email me for details:

Remember, there's a free pattern for this doll. You can make her, too!

Scroll down till you see the previous post about her, and follow the link to the pattern if you haven't already downloaded it.

Read more ...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Charity Doll Drive

Would any of you ladies (and gentlemen) be interested in participating in a charity doll drive for poor Israeli children?

This morning, I received an email from a woman I know from Tzfat, Israel- a remote, mountaintop city I lived in for several years. It's a very special place-cobblestone lanes, mountain air- Tzfat is called 'the mystical city' and the 'city of Kaballah.' It's an inspiring place full of wisdom, wonderful people and- unfortunately- the economy is dreadfully slow. There are many poor children in Tzfat.

This past summer brought war, and Tzfat was bombarded with over 700 rockets. Some people lost their lives, others lost their homes or buisiness. It is a hard time. And the children suffer.

I visited Tzfat this Passover (just over a week ago) and although I loved being back there, I could feel the anguish in the air.

The email was asking for volunteer doll makers, in hopes of spearheading a charity doll campaign for Tzfat children. I thought I would draw on my own resources and ask anyone out there, reading my blog, if you'd like to help.

The dolls should be cloth baby/little girl type dolls that are washable, wearing a skirt or dress, and meant to be played with and loved. There are also many Ethiopian children who would cherish a doll- so ethnic dolls would be greatly appreciated as well.

Here is the link to the organization collecting the dolls:

Dolls should be sent to:
Lev U'Neshama
c/o Smolensky
P.O. Box 6432
Tzfat, 13229

or Rena Cohen
Ha Nassi 45/6
Tzfat, 13102

Please mark parcels as "educational item" and set the value below $40. Although we all know how priceless handmade dolls are, customs will charge a fortune for things mailed from outside Israel if they think they have a good reason to.

If you have a craft blog, will you consider passing this information along t your readers?
If you run an online journal, craft shop, belong to doll group, etc.- won't you please spread the word?

I know there are tons of charities out there- just doing my part in my corner of the world.

Thank You.
Read more ...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stamping Around on the Town

This is an old cobblestone street in the Old City of Tzfat, Israel. Tzfat is located in the mountains in Northern Israel, and has ancient historical roots. My friend lives on this very street, and it is where I spent the Passover holiday. I used to live in this city. It's an amazing place with mazy, twisty cobblestone roads that take you back to another era in time. It felt good to be back there.
My friend and I decided to have some fun with art, and used a photo of her street as a source of inspiration. Rather than trying to paint an exact rendition of it, we chose to use stamp techniques and straight geometrical shapes and lines to create a kind of contemporary, abstract look. We wanted to find out what we could do with the most simplest of "tools,"too.
Our "stamps" consisted of very simple things:
  • a piece of flat, flexible styrofoam
  • a bit of screening
  • a cucumber
  • a strip of bumpy foam
  • one square rubber stamp with a design on it
  • a piece of string

We used Jacquard fabric paints.

When looking at the photo, we focused on the rectangular shapes and the windy cobblestone lane. The buildings are just rectangles.

We used the different types of "stamping materials" to achieve different textures.

The photo below represents the buildings on the left hand side of our photo. The awning is represented by a cucumber peel.

Let's go through the techniques.
Paint the flexible styrofoam. We used purple and blue mixed with white.

Paint the flexible styrofoam, and lay some string on it. The string won't let the area it lays on stamp paint, so it looks like cracks in a wall.

Stamp it!

Now the right side of the cobblestone lane is composed of a sign post and one more building. We used a slice of cucumber to create the building. It really looks interesting.

The pole is created with a paintbrush

Jumping back to the left side: Paint over the screen. It leaves a very interesting pattern.

Now we make the cobblestone lane.
Cut out a "lane" shape from the flexible styrofoam. You can see the actual shape in the photo after the one which follows.

Use a fabric glue stick to make the foam sticky

Add cucumber snippets and lightly press them down as best as possible, to try to make them stick.

Add black and white paint to create cobblestones.

Stamp it down and then remove any remaining bits of cucumber with a tweezer.
Wonderful texture, isn't it?
Add greenery with a paintbrush. Just "dot on" different shades of green to simulate leaves.
Next, use a small square stamp for windows. Stamp with black paint. Allow to dry.
Using a paintbursh, turquoise is used to create the decorative feel on the windows and door, and awning.
Use the paintbrush to give it a "once over." The general shapes and interesting textures have been created with the stamping.
Here is the finished piece, once more:
And, just for fun, my dog on that same cobblestone road. (unfortunately they decided to tear up the road and redo it- make it more "modern." Can you recognize the same buildings? The new construction has been going on for over a year. I like the old better!

Read more ...