Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bouncing Buddha Babies

This afternoon I was walking around Chinatown in NYC and could NOT resist these little cuties.

I love Chinatown!

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Crown Jewel A-La-Found Object

All that glitters is gold, isn't it?  Let me show you how transform a sparkly "found object"into a crown jewel.  

This "jewel" is a Swarovski Schonbeck teardrop chandelier crystal.  It's been lying around in my stash box "like forever." I always knew I would use it someday!  I don't have a crystal chandelier hanging in my dining room, but goodness gracious, this crystal needs to be displayed.
On a doll, of course!  

The hat or "crown" turned out to look more like some sort of Persian Fez.  I wasn't really planning it, but it just sort of "happened" that way (like almost everything I do with my dolls!)  But I think it's a happy accident, and so I wanted to share.

The pairing of a simple hat with a large sparkly handmade ornament is really inspiring me.  Have you ever started a project and let it go on for a long time because you can't figure out where it's headed?  That's what has been happening with this doll.  Dragging on and on...  Finally finally finally, I reached a turning point.  The jewel is is "talking" to me.  It's the starting point for the development of the entire costume.  Call me crazy (aren't we all?)  but it's almost like the doll is beginning to tell me who she wants to be now.  Because of this thing on the hat!  Sometimes it can take forever to figure these things out.  Little things can really go a long way.

If you can relate and this is making sense to you, read on!

Anyway, that's my own haphazard (but logical?) doll making process and way of thinking.  On to more practical matters:  how to take a found object and make it into an opulent cabochon?

In order to put the crystal on the "Fez" just right, I thought it would be a nice touch to encrust it with beads.  That's the trick because the beads really make it "pop,"  Here's how I did it.

The first step is to decide what fabric you want to mount it to, and choose some matching seed beads.
I used matte gold colored beads, size 10/10.  You can use whatever size seed bead you want, or a combination.

I  used some fabric left over from her "crown," to create a base.  I originally thought that I could bead right onto the hat, but that was too awkward, and it's much easier this way.  Because the fabric is thin, I ironed it onto a white stabilizer.  Even if your fabric isn't so thin, it's always better to use the stabilizer.  It will make it easier to handle, and easier to mount onto the hat.

Next you'll want to do the actual entrustment of beads around the crystal (or found object of your choice).  From this point on we will refer to your found object as "crystal" although you can use something different.

Lay the crystal down over the fabric / stabilizer.  Because it will slip around, draw an outline using a mechanical pencil.
Bead along the outline, one bead at a time.
Keep going around the perimeter of the crystal, beading another "line" on top of the beaded outline you just created.  You can do picot stitching or any type of random beading you want.  Take up 2 beads at a time, or 3, or 1 according to your whim.

Make 4 or 5 built-up lines (think of building a stone wall with beads).  Check to see that the edges reach to the top of the crystal's edges.  Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of these steps.  But I hope you get the idea :-)

Once the bead encrustment is ready, cut away the fabric/interfacing from the crystal, leaving about 1/2" allowance.  Then trim the stabilizer only down to the perimeter, so only the fabric is left for the seam allowance.  The next steps are as follows:

Thread up a needle.  Turn your work around so you are looking at the wrong side,  and baste around the seam allowance.

Pull on the thread to gather up the edges.  They will naturally fold over to the back.  Sew this excess seam allowance flat onto the stabilizer, taking stitches across the diameter of the back wherever needed.  (go back and forth with your needle and thread).

Turn it over.  The crystal has been flipped up to show how nice and neat the ornament looks.  

Attach the ornament to the hat.  I chose gel medium because it dries clear and is strong enough to hold the crystal permanently.  Liberally brush it onto the back of the ornament.

Place it down on the hat and press.  Lift the crystal to expose the fabric and use your finger or the back of your paintbrush to make sure there aren't any bumps.  Make sure the crystal sits well in the bead encrustment.

Use pins to hold it in place while drying.

Once it is dry, you can adding a little E-6000 glue around the inner edges of the beads to make sure the crystal doesn't flip-flop around.  Carefully paint the edges of the crystal with the glue, and use a blunt object to press the beads into the glue so it stays in place.

Don't put glue behind the crystal itself, where you might see through to the fabric behind.  If your found object is opaque, then this won't matter. 

I hope you will try this idea the next time you are looking for something to inspire you.  If you're like me, I'm sure you have a box full of "treasures" just waiting to be transformed into "just the thing."  I'm totally inspired and tickled pink now.  Stay tuned to see how her costume evolves!  I think she's finally on her way.

Happy Dolling!

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