Monday, 9 December 2013

Another year nearly over.

Wow where has the time gone? this year has whizzed by on roller skates. Usually I'm really organised for Christmas, Cards written, present shopping finished, tree up etc, but not this year. My husband got my decorations down from the loft for me yesterday and I spent an hour or two with the children sorting through the decorations to choose the colour scheme for the tree this year. It was a bit sad as I had to throw away lots of glass baubles as they had broken, some of the baubles were bought when I first got married and from when the children were little. So the tree didn't go up yesterday but it will during the week, it takes me a few days to decorate the tree and our conservatory for Christmas but only a day to take it all down.

As its coming to the end of the year and with the new one just round the corner my thoughts have turned to what I want to achieve in the next year. I have already planned some new elves including a Super Elf, who got painted straight away. I also repainted some old elf bodies and turned them into winged fairy elves.

Super Hero Elf

I think you will see a few more Cloth Art Dolls next year including some made from my own designs. I hope to blog a bit more or have a bit more of a plan on what I want to write about. I haven't any plans for any new hobbies yet, but I expect something new will grab my interest at some point.

fairy winged spotty elf

fairy winged spotty elf

Until next time

Victoria x

Monday, 18 November 2013

Dr Who and me.

This weekend I will be at two Christmas Craft Fairs, the details of where and when are on my facebook page. Also I'm very excited about the fact that its the 50th anniversary episode of Dr Who and I love Dr Who. I think watching Dr Who on Saturday evenings was exciting and very scary, that and possibly Star Trek (TOS) were responsible for my love of sci fi.
One of my earliest memories is from when I was about 4 years old and seeing and episode that featured London and a giant rat in the underground sewers. There are so many memories of watching Tom Baker as the Dr and sat in front of the telly eating a tea of homemade chips, egg and sausages. I liked all of the following Doctors but I was very disappointed when it finished. 

When Doctor Who was brought back I was so pleased as I knew my children would love Dr Who as much as I do. They loved the Sarah Jane Adventures we used to sit and watch them back to back on CBBC on school holidays.
I have to admit David Tennant is my favourite Dr, Sarah Jane Smith was the best companion ever, River Song is a brilliant recurring character, baddies has to be the Master and for monster well no question it has to be the Daleks.  So Saturday night I will be locking the door turning off  the phone and will settle down to watch and The Day Of The Doctor, Happy Anniversary Dr Who.

See you next time
Vic xx

Friday, 25 October 2013

Father Christmas and my essential tools

Well its been a busy two weeks, not only have I finished the second father Christmas with his red suit, I have made four mini cloth art dolls. They have turned out really well, I made two Christmas ones and some flower fairies. The reason to make so many in one go is I have two craft fairs next month so I wanted enough to sell. Well I should say I did have four I sold the Green Christmas Fairy before I had taken any photos. I have a few other pieces to make for the fairs mainly felted acorns, and GreenMen Cloth art doll decorations. I also need to retake photos of my Christmas Elves so that I can list them on ETSY after Halloween.

Red Cloth Art Father Christmas Doll
Christmas Cloth Art Doll

I was considering recently the most essential tool I couldn't do without, well narrowing it down to just one for me is hard so I have listed a few for each craft I do. 

Jewellery -  Pliers (round nosed, snipe nose) and cutters.
Seed Beading - Thread, needle, scissors.
Metal Smithing - Saw, bench peg, hammer, drill and drill bits.
Lampworking - Torch, kiln, gas, didymium glasses.
Art Dolls / Sewing - sewing machine, scissors, material, thread.

I could add a lot more to that list including the materials like metal, beads, glass, glue and so much more.

See you next time
Vic xx

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Giveaway and Christmas

As you can see from the title I'm doing a giveaway and making things for Christmas. I'll tell you more about the giveaway later but first Christmas.

I decided in the summer that I was going to use the Troll pattern (by UteVasina) to make a couple of Santas / Father Christmas. Naturally they had to be made in green and red. Unfortunately I only had enough craft velour fabric to make one Father Christmas so I got on and made one while waiting for the Craft Velour to arrive.  He was great fun to make, I did a lot of measuring to get his trousers and clothing the right size. As usual I made the hair out of merino wool, putting on the beard was interesting and to be honest I wasn't sure for a while but I thought he certainly looked like a Father Christmas when I finished.

Cloth Art Doll, Father Christmas, Santa, Green, Yule

He is now ready to order in my Etsy shop and I will be making a start on the Red Santa at the end of this week. 

So to the Giveaway, I have been thinking of doing a giveaway for a while and I had just recently passed 100 likes on my FaceBook Business page . So naturally it seemed the right time to do the give away, but what to giveaway.  Well I have also been meaning to make my own original Cloth Art Doll from my own pattern design. Also I wanted to make a smaller doll that would not only use up the doll fabric scraps but would also be a little more cost effective for my customers. This is the first one of the Scrap Fairies.

I will need to make some very small changes to the pattern, but I'm pleased how the pattern worked out. So this original and first scrap doll is up for grabs on my facebook page  until Monday 14th October 2013 and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 15th Oct 2013.

see you next time
Vic xx

Friday, 20 September 2013

Stoats and Hares

Traveling to Bude this week has inspired this second blog post. The road I sometimes use is great for spotting wildlife. When I used to work at the newsagent, on the early morning journey I would see Deer, they would run down the middle of the road and jump into a field when they got to a gate or into the woods. 
This summer has been fascinating as we have seen lots of Stoats. We were going to our local beach one day and spotted a pair in the middle of the road either playing or fighting. Its times like that I wish I could blink and take a photo, but here is one from the internet, they look really cute but I also know they can be vicious but that is the way of nature. 

Not only have we seen deers and stoats, we occasionally see lots of Rabbits, foxes, badgers and birds of prey, we once saw a barn owl flying along the hedge, that was an amazing sight. The other animal we used to see a lot of are Hares, though over the last couple of years we haven't seen them as much, which is a real shame.

Talking about the hares brings me to what I've been busy at this month. Some of us on the Craft Pimp Forum Etsy team have been taking part in Mentor Month. I have been teamed up with Jill of Kiln Fired Art, she makes lots of beautiful items like fused glass, jewellery and my favourite her hand painted ceramic. Her mugs, plates and vases with Hares on are just beautiful. You must go and have a look at her shop on ETSY.

See you next time
Victoria xx

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Pumpkins & Dark Elves

The weather has suddenly decided its autumn, lots of showers and its noticeably cooler. Naturally now I'm thinking about halloween. As my friends and family know I love halloween and we try to grow our own pumpkins, unfortunately the past two years I have had to buy a pumpkin or two from a supermarket. This year our pumpkin plants have decided to fruit, unfortunately I didn't expect only one and certainly not this big.

Carving this pumpkin will certainly be challenging, I may have to get my children and their friends to help. I usually have the pumpkins in our porch but I think this year this one might have to go by the gate.  

I love dark things and after recently creating a treasury on Etsy called Dark Times with some gorgeous Art Dolls, I was inspired to make an elf into a dark art doll. Well I found an old wooden body that I had sanded down, the shape was ideal for the look I wanted and I had two, So now I was making two. After painting the bodies with a gesso primer and then acrylics I handpainted the face. If you follow me on twitter and facebook you may have seen sneaky pictures of their progress. Yesterday I finished off Marnie & Hester, as I was now calling them, by adding the merino hair and hand sewing witches hats.

I'm really pleased how they both turned out and I think I will be exploring the dark side a bit more.

See you next time
Vic xx

Art Doll

Marnie The Witch Art doll

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Cupcakes and Tan Danglers.

Today I decided I would make some cupcakes and it seems like forever since I made any. My two children wanted me to make chocolate ones but me being me I just had to make them a bit different, so we ended up with Turkish Delight cupcakes. I just made a basic chocolate cake mix and baked them then I had to wait for them to cool. While they cooled I cut up two Frys Turkish Delight to put on top. 

turkish delight cupcakes

Next came the fun part I used the apple corer to make a hole in the cakes. I then spooned some Rose Petal Jelly into the cake, I got the jelly from a local herbery called St.Kitts, then I covered up the jelly with the little plugs of cake I had cored out earlier. Then the fun part I iced the top with chocolate frosting which I added a dash of rose water to, now It just need the Frys Turkish delight on top. I had to test one out with my lunch of course and it was delish, perhaps the frosting could've had a bit more rose flavour in it but it was still nice. Next time my children want to make Lavender biscuits, yummy!

Rose Chocolate Cupcake

So to the Tan Dangler, well I had a couple of sales last weekend so I decided I would like to treat myself to a piece of glass art from a very lovely Cornish artist Tan Grey. Her Etsy shop Tan Grey Glass is full of gorgeous glass creations. I have to admit I struggled to choose and I was very tempted to buy a fish bowl or tan dangler but I went for my favourite instead a moon gazing hare. It arrived today not long after I had finished the cakes. I have it on my wall in the sitting room now and I love it. 

Tan Dangler

See you next time
Victoria xx

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Off with her head!!!!

I'm not the Queen of Hearts or a Tudor monarch but I did have to chop the head off a stump doll I started making last week. She was going reasonably well and the grey faux silk with the white organza looked beautiful. 

So I had got her all dressed, arms and head sewn on then it was time to needle felt the hair on which was merino wool and angelina fibres. I was just adding the last piece and then snap my needle had snapped in the head. I tried desperately to get the needle out but it was gone and her head was stuffed very tightly so it wouldn't even squeeze out. I just didn't know what to do. I did have a lightbulb moment, I just needed to take her head off and make a new one which I did.  I still have the old head and took a photo of Selene holding it, and that needle is still in there it just won't come out.. 

Selene wasn't the only cloth art doll I made last week, I wanted to make a witch doll for myself. With this one I wanted to try out a new technique for the face which involves painting the whole of the face and head.  It went reasonably well I just need to get a brush pen as my fineliner didn't like the surface. Again I used the faux grey silk but with black organza this time, the hair colour was a problem I just couldn't decide, black was too harsh & grey too bland but I found some lovely magenta / plum wool. I feel she turned out really well. 

Cerridwen cloth art witch doll

My next Cloth doll projects will be a woodland fairy and then a couple of Santa's, but in the meantime here are some more photos of Selene and Cerridwen the Witch.

See you next time
Victoria x

selene moon goddess cloth art dollselene moon goddess and moon gazing hare

cerridwen cloth art doll

Monday, 12 August 2013

Butterflies, Bugs and Ducks

Yesterday my son came in telling me he saw a really pretty and maybe a rare butterfly on the flowers near our pond. We went to have a look and it was a really pretty Copper butterfly unfortunately we didn't have time to get our cameras as we were off out to lunch but I promised him we would be able to take photos when we got back.  
So a little while later and with the butterfly book to hand we stood and waited with our cameras at the ready. 


There were lots of insects on the fleabane flowers including my favorite Bumble bees. I also managed to get a lovely picture of a Hoverfly, they really fascinate me how they hover and flit about so it was nice to see one at rest. 

Silver Studded Blue Butterfly  Underside of butterfly wing

Unfortunately all the Copper Butterflies decided to disappear but that didn't matter as we had a lovely treat of about 5 or 6 Silver Studded Blue's flitting around. We had to wait patiently for them to settle on the flowers. I managed to get some really good close up photo's and then a Copper came back but my battery had died, so we decided to come back out again later. 

By the time our the battery had charged it was early evening and the butterflies had gone it was just the bumble bees and insects busy on the flowers. My son was trying to take a photo of a bumble bee but he got a bit close and she decided to crawl on the camera lens. So with no pretty butterflies and the wind swaying the flowers to much I decided to try and get a photo of our ducklings and ducks. This was tricky as they really hate you getting close but I managed to get a nice photo of the ducklings 

Buff Orpington Ducklings  

The adult ducks really weren't very sure and our dog wanted to play with them so I just had to take a quick pic. Hopefully we can get some photos of the other butterflies that have visited our garden this summer, maybe the ducks if they stay still long enough and hopefully our quails and chickens as well. 

See you next time.
Victoria x

Monday, 8 July 2013

Pinterest, Blogs & Sewing

I have just added a widget on the right hand side, can you see it? It will take you to my boards on Pinterest, I have lots of gorgeous things pinned on there as well as my own work, tutorials, etc. In fact I recently pinned a blog post on there about a problem I was having with my sewing machine. The tension was just not right and the thread from the bobbin kept getting snagged and however I tried I couldn't work out what to do. Well I had two options either send the machine back or find a solution on the internet. I always try the internet first and yes I found it in a blog post by rdrop and it worked. My tension was far too tight hence why the bobbin thread would just jam. I pinned the blog so I know where it was and others could also find it. Pinterest has become very handy for pinning things I want to look at later like tutorials and more. 

I was sewing a fairy when the tension needed adjusting, it was a bit of a challenge as she had wires through her legs and body so she can be posed. Also for some reason I don't like my cloth dolls at one point, this is when they are bald and with no clothes, I just think they are not looking good. But by the time I get the clothes and hair on I like them. 

For this fairy, who I called Oona, I used some of my favourite fabrics and some recycled from and old bridesmaids dress of my sisters. The skirt on Oona is a beautiful chiffon in a gorgeous blue that also has a purple sheen. The colours of her clothes also went well with her hair which was made from bamboo fibre. 

This is also my second blog post this month my first was for the Craft Pimp Blog, it was fun to write and was all about my first attempts at needle felting. You will find the post here  The Craft Pimp Blog has some great things on it including some regular items like The Market Place and Fridays Favourite. 

bye for now

Victoria x

Thursday, 13 June 2013

I love gift wrapping.

Well the title says it all I love wrapping up gifts be it a present for family or friends. And I really love wrapping up the items people have purchased from my etsy shop or website. I don't use lots of wrapping some items like jewellery and the odd elf will be sent in a gift box but them I will add a ribbon and tag to them.  
I do try to keep the wrapping simple but pretty, I use this lovely glitter lime green tissue paper. So I wrap first in the tissue then I use one of my personalised Moo stickers to stick it down.

Then I use the curling ribbon, I got them from a florists section at a garden centre at a very reasonable price and they will last for a long time. I could leave it at that but I do like to add a pretty tag. I bought some Gorjuss tags a few years ago while I was still  papercrafting and I use those and some Handmade with love tags I found at a craft fayre. Its not a lot and doesn't take long but I think it does look pretty.

At craft fairs I just normally wrap in tissue and add the sticker but as now my daughter comes to help me I may train her up and have her wrapping the customers purchases with me. Now I'm going to find some new pretty tissue as I'm down to the last few sheets of the glitter tissue paper. I'm hoping to find something really pretty. 

Friday, 7 June 2013

Rivers and Oceans

One constant thing in my life has been I have lived by a river and the sea, most of my childhood was spent in Bournemouth on the beach and down by the River Stour near my childhood home.
We used to spend the summer holidays down by the river with a net trying to catch minnows and putting them in a bucket. There used to be a lovely spot near to the bridge in Iford and my sister always caught more minnows than me.

Old Iford Bridge

We also used to row and sail down the river down to Christchurch Harbour or go to Tuckton and launch the boats. We would eat a picnic lunch either anchored near the reed beds or pull the boats up at Hengistbury Head. Of course we would then go and explore the Head and look at the  archaeological excavation sites there.

Hengistbury Head

I have been remembering all this as my son has been reading a Famous Five book by Enid Blyton for his schools 50's topic. I read lots of the famous five books when little and it has brought back those memories.

Now I'm still living by water but this time its the Atlantic Ocean. We don't have miles of golden sand and piers at our local beach but it still beautiful in fact I think more so. If its a stormy sea you can sometimes hear the waves pounding into the rocks at night. 

Duck Pool Beach
Sometimes we go down there in the early evening with friends, our children & dogs, no picnic tea but a beach bbq. The children and dogs explore the rockpools and often swim with their body boards. Hopefully they will have some great childhood memories like I do.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Cloth Dolls and Trolls

I have been very busy with all sorts things and little craft projects that I realised I hadn't made a cloth doll for a little while. Also I had to make a goth girl doll for my daugher, she had all the fabric and trims ready for me. 

Originally the doll was to have bubble gum pink hair but it just didn't look right so she ended up with blue hair which suited the doll better. The blue hair was originally intended for another doll I had planned but I decided it wasn't going to look right either.

I have a few different dolls planned and I purchased some patterns to make them. First I really wanted to make a mermaid and I decided that a stump doll would be the best way to represent her. I embellished her with lots of seaweed and she just needed to be holding something and luckily I had made some lampwork beads which were just right.

Last weekend I really needed to make something so I decided to start on the Troll pattern. It took a couple of days and with a bit of head scratching I finally finished him. I just love his hair which is made from merino wool and needle felted into his head, and I just couldn't resist giving him some bushy eyebrows. 

Using the patterns is good as I'm learning more each time I make a doll and I have lots of ideas all waiting to be made, including another couple of Stump Dolls a Fairy and some seasonal ones. And in between those I have found something else I enjoy making which is fabric insects, I made some for the a may challenge. They used up scraps of fabric and also gave me the chance to use the decorative stitches on my sewing machine.

Monday, 15 April 2013

A passion for reading and seed beads.

When I'm not crafting I read a lot, its my passion and pleasure. Being part of a book club and having a kindle has changed what I read over the years but I can't go a month without reading a book. My favourite all time author is Terry Pratchett, I started reading his discworld books many years ago, the first book I read was Wyrd Sisters and I recently enjoyed the Long Earth, a collaboration with Stephen Baxter.
I also do like vampire / paranormal type of books and my most recent favourite series is from a british author, Stephanie Hudson. I have read the first two books in her Afterlife saga and I'm hooked I couldn't put them down and I'm waiting a bit before I get the third so I can savour it over the school holidays. 

In fact the Afterlife saga influenced a piece of beaded jewellery I made. With the cold weather we have had I've worked indoors and I have rediscovered my love of seed beads. So I purchased a few tutorials from Lynn Davy , a fellow Craft Pimp member. I fell in love with this tutorial and found some stunning gilt lined seed beads that were perfect. I also purchased a few bits to embellish the necklace including a winged heart which was inspired by the hero in the Afterlife saga, Dominic Draven. It took at least 2 whole days work but I was really pleased how it turned out. 

Reading as you can see can influence and inspire my work so I'm now considering my reading as research, well thats what I'm telling my family anyway. Now where is my kindle.........

Friday, 8 March 2013

Bunting Queens

I spent a lovely day yesterday with two good friends making bunting. Why bunting? well I belong to the PTA at my son's school and we are having an Easter / Spring fair. We normally have one at Christmas but last year we just did a craft fair and decided to do an Easter / Spring fair instead. As we are hoping to hold the fair outside, the PTA thought it would be nice to have some bunting up and it had to be pastels. The three of us volunteered to make some bunting as it would be cheaper to make than buy.

I arrived at my friends house with my sewing machine, a few pieces of scrap fabric and three large rolls of bias binding I had found. She provided lunch, and my other friend brought her sewing machine and more fabric. well we had to start with a quick cuppa and then made a template out of paper and transferred it to the fabrics and cut them out with pinking shears. I know we could have sewn the edges together and turned them through but we needed the bunting to be quick to make and also get as much bunting out of the fabric as we could. 

We pinned the triangles to the binding and two of us sewed them up, while another carried on pinning. Well we got about five long lengths made, despite interruptions for lunch, tea and cake, re threading machines and swearing at the machines and lots of laughter. I must say the bunting looked brilliant, I will hopefully get a picture of the bunting on the day, but in the meantime here is a picture of a practise run I made Wednesday evening. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

A bit of luck and Cloth Dolls

I have been very lucky in the past few weeks. First I won a pair of beautiful earrings made by Kayleigh of Cyndra Arts, and then I also was lucky to be picked out by a kitten to win a gorgeous bracelet by Faith of Abyjem. So if you see a giveaway on a blog or via facebook twitter etc go have a look you never know you might get something gorgeous like these.

You will find Kayleigh's Etsy shop here        and Faith's Etsy shop here.

I have been busy with making stuffed toys and Cloth Art Dolls. These two beautiful Elves went to new loving homes. 

I have also made a pirate girl doll which is for sale in my ETSY shop along with a Teddy Bear and Cat.

There will also be a Chicken in the ETSY shop at some point. In the meantime I'm going to make a goth girl doll for my daughter and then I want to make a Stump doll maybe two possible as a mermaid and the moon. So its been a busy start to the year so far, and lots more to create as well.