Monday, 31 December 2012

Decoupage Sample for Slack Space Class

My Lady Remembers


Back its an old bread board :-)

Scouting News

6x6 box

Figures and top header still to be fixed.

More instruction and ideas on how to achieve these looks ~~~

Come on over to Slack Space in Colchester for a FREE class.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Happy New Year - from Me & the Dolls

Well its the last day of 2012 - how quickly the year has flown. Happy New Year to followers, friends and those that drop in from time to time. I wish you all the best for next year.

Love this Black & White picture as this is how the dolls would have looked in a real vintage picture!

A final update on those dolls of mine - The Retro Divas are in their new homes and the last three Happy Scrappy Dolls - which I called Gods Little Helpers, as they were for members of the prayer and craft group from my church.

Gods Little Helpers were made from damask linen napkins - bodies and heads.

Small cotton and lace doilies for the blouses, with extra lace added to the sleeves and collars.

All had skirts from a really super drawn thread tablecloth, many washes had caused some threads to give but it was still great for the skirts.

Each had a little bit of jewelry added. 

Look at all that hair can you guess what it is? No not wool :-)

No 9 had little hearts for her cheeks.

She's hiding behind the fringe - nice pink flower necklace.

Shiny damask table cloth, absolute horror to sew and cut. Slid all over the place and frayed, frayed and then some more. Worst is there is loads more - which I may avoid using.

This year I am planning to do some more teaching - its more like inspiring. My classes are pretty loose in structure. Never you must do this or that. More like here's my take on this, this is what I used - now you go do your thing. Usually there is a big scrabble to grab a heap of materials I have brought from my extensive hoard. 

First class will be at Slack Space Colchester on Decoupage - Best News its totally FREE.

I've nearly finished the first two pieces, not quite dry yet so pictures delayed until Tomorrow. Reason, my friend Jean has had a bad time with a sick dog so I've spent a long time helping her - vets tomorrow - prayers would be appreciated as dear doggie Honey is not at all well, nor is Jean. I hope tomorrow is not a really horrible day.

Oh dear and at the start of the New Year as well. 

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

The Borrowers by Mary Norton & Rambling about Life.

Many years ago, when I was 9 we read a book at school called The Borrowers. BBC I Player The Borrowers Film. Today I watched this film. I just loved the book, the whole idea of using a sewing cotton reel as a table, safety pins as climbing hooks and all the other ideas the Borrowers came up with just grabbed my imagination. Oh and it stuck , so now you know what started me off on recycled art!

I started on my sewing apprenticeship as a handle turner by my Mothers sewing machine. I sat on a tall three legged stool and turned the handle of her Singer sewing machine. A really old one that had the long bobbin. I watched her make do and mend lots of clothes and curtains for the neighbours. A bit of extra pin money. Well I was only three then so not much use for any serious work. But sitting watching at that age you are just like a sponge, you soak up the information. When I sew now its just like a natural thing, its as if it's a part of me.

My Dad taught me how to use tools and garden. We spent many hours in his shed, me watching him mend things and  put lots of soles on shoes. So I was very lucky to feel comfortable using tools at a young age. I used chisels, scalpels, shears, chopped wood with a real axe and never cut myself. Dad gave me my own patch of garden and in it I grew those tiny wild strawberries, nasturtiums and orange daisies. All this before I was 9.

It was April 1963 when I first read the Borrowers and my dear Dad had just died, quite something to cope with at 9 years old. My reading and fantasy land that I lived in saved me. I read every book I could get my hands on, all the Borrowers books, all the Enid Blyton, all the Hugh Lofting Dr Doolittle, many horse and pony adventures, magazines, newspaper comics and Rupert Annuals.

When I wasn't reading I was designing clothes for my first Sindy doll, making Lego models, building doll furniture from Balsa Wood, farms were made for the lead animals, crochet scarves, sewed tapestries and embroideries.

I lived for a long time in that land of make believe and making stuff. In fact I am still there now. Funnily enough most of my things that I made as a child were leftover from Mothers sewing or Dads woodwork. So nothing changes, just now we are more wasteful so these is more stuff for me to use.

Nothing much changes in life, I still read everything I can and am happiest when I am beavering away at an art or design project.

This year has been an exceptional one for me as my art has sold very well, even managed to sell three items to customers in America. I've done some voluntary teaching, which was great fun. Met lots of lovely people. Enriched lots of my friendships. Walked 2 to 3 miles every day, rain, snow and shine round the lovely countryside. That's further than John'o'Groats to Land's End. Said my prayers and counted my blessings.

There have been some tough times too, depression reared its ugly head several times. But with the help of a few pills, counselling, my friends, prayers and doing my art I am now starting to feel more positive.

This year I have learnt to have faith in my art, work better in a team, that you need your friends and  bad things always seem to last longer than good, they don't its just we dwell on them more.

Next year I hope to continue with my art & design. Grow my business, teach some more and try something new. Now where did I put that art course leaflet????

What are you hoping for in the New Year - whatever it is I wish you all the best of luck. Make sure you get out there and take all the chances you can to make the best of yourselves.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Last Doll's before Christmas

Had a really rough week with a bad bout of depression, but determined to carry on making my doll's as they brighten my day. Retro Diva's all finished, well just got to sew on their hankies.

Pompii has sneaked into this group picture.

This is Diva 3, not got names for them yet. A lovely 1950's flowered curtain for her dress and spotty legs.

Such big blue eyes and lush pink lips. 

Diva No 1 A little more demure another 1950's curtain scrap for the dress.

My lovely friend Julie gave me a bag of fabric and most of the hair and legs came from that bag.

Diva no 2 onto the 1960's for this dairy and stripe curtain fabric. She's a bit of a square girl especially in the leg department.

Amazing how you can make a lovely flower hair decoration from the dress fabric. A white damask napkin has been used for the face and arms.

Next it's onto surprise dolls for ???

I seem to get on better with machine embroidered faces, rather than sewing by hand. All their legs and arms are sewn and stuffed. Tomorrow I'll sew up the bodies, stuff and then sew on the legs. Also got to make clothes for them as well. Then hair and find some trinkets to finish them off.

No more posts of these until after Christmas.

Happy Christmas to my band of followers and friends.

x Joan

Monday, 17 December 2012

1950's Retro Divas

Working on some new designs, when I should really be clearing up for Christmas!!!

Just love the 1950's fabrics I bought at the last retro fair in Colchester. Three Retro Divas, for Christmas Presents, Daughter, Granddaughter & Sons long term girlfriend.

 The floor - all the tiny scraps. These go in a bag, never throw bits away.

Two Divas cut out and ready to sew.

Face and Hair done. Made up and stuffed one leg. As you can see she has crazy legs, one side dotty other stripy. Little ballet shoes match the hair.

Loving her machine embroidered face and the flower hair clip. The hair clip is made from one of the flower and leaf patterns. I then used a tiny bit of wadding and pulled the middle together to make a raised centre. It's backed with very light interfacing as vintage fabrics can be delicate. Little bit of machine embroidery round the edge as well. I backed her face with interfacing, as I knew this fabric was a bit more delicate too.
Her face, arms and lace collar come from a chair back most of the lace was damaged and there was a hole in the fabric too. I love the darker beige shade, she looks like she has a tan.

Had a busy day, Carol singing at the Monday Take A Break Club. Molly came along, she's not too keen on our singing. Mammoth washing session, all the fabric I bought from Ebay and my own washing as well. Lovely lady I bought the fabric from sent a dog coat along for Molly. There are still some really nice people out there.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Tissue Paper and Plastic Bag Peg Angels

Well I thought I had finished making Peg Dolls for this year, but exciting news they are going to be showing of at The Ideas Hub Chelmsford on either 14th or 15th December.

 Here they all are hanging on the butchers hooks in the window of my studio. They were hanging over the radiator so the rising heat made them all twirl around. Looked really good too.

This time they are made from plastic supermarket bags and dressmaking tissue paper.

Wings are sheet music cut with those scissors that give a fancy edge. Or left over Christmas ribbon, the one with the wire along the edges. The pegs cost £2.50 per 24 and pennies for the rest of the materials. Where could you buy decorations at such a mini price?

I know you can see whose supermarket bags have been used but the whole idea is to use up what you have to hand, perhaps I should turn them inside out next time?

The left side Angel has sparkly ribbon braid and the Angel on the right has poppy seeds for hair. Those were collected from my allotment this year. The gold and silver string is lurex yarn that was left over from a crochet project - years and years ago!

If you are in Chelmsford come along and make some. You can leave them to decorate the Hub's tree or take one home for your own tree :-)

After a very long walk, with Molly, this morning it was good to relax in a warm studio making these this afternoon.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Indie & Aurelia More Happy Scrappy Dolls

Phew just finished number 5&6 in time for a visit to The Chelmsford Community Pop-up Shop Tomorrow. I hope they are going to have room for me to squeeze these in on my cushions stand. At least the dollies will be nice and comfy there.

Number 5 is Indie as she has lovely blue hair and Indigo is a blue dye.

Here she is sitting on some of my vintage cushions, with Pompii my Teddy bear. I've had him since I was 6 months old. He came to visit the  Ideas Hub last week.

A close up of Indie's face, she has little hearts for her cheeks and cotton bullion fringe for her hair. I think this fringing makes super doll hair.

This is number 6 Aurelia, she has yellow highlights and aurelion is a yellow colour. I have it in my watercolour paints. She's sitting with Blue Ted, I've had him since I was about 2. They are also on some of my handmade cushions.

Aurelia has little bunches - really tassels on furniture fringing. I'm having lots of fun with the fringing you can make loads of different styles with it.

So it's off to be sold for these two and number 3&4. Hope they make someone happy this Christmas.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

More Dolls 3 & 4 & Help from the Artists Way

My Happy Scrappy Dolls are coming along. Two sets of clothes made today, finishing touches, hair and faces also completed.

Happy Scrappy Doll 3 is Florelle she has a flowery skirt so took the name from that theme.

 A big lacy bow in her tasseled hair, a blue crochet doily shawl and a little bow button on her blouse.

She also has blue and cream lace hankie and embroidered flowers on her feet.

Next is number 4 Petunia.

A heart pendant has been sewn onto her shawl, which is a drawn thread mat. Her hair is a mix of embroidery silk and a pink crochet doily with with ribbons.

Her dress is a wonderful hand embroidered piece of muslin. It's got a few shabby bits and a hole but the embroidery is just wonderful. Her petticoat is made from a very early lace window panel.

Here they both are sitting on my dresser with the emergency lighting.

This week at The Hub our group that is following The Artists Way by Julia Cameron discussed stopping a habit that is holding us up time wise. The book suggests  - stop reading- but we all agreed that our computers are worse culprits. So I am banned from being on my PC between 8.30 and 18.30 hrs. Failed at lunch time, had to check ebay watched items and play a game of scrabble. Will try harder tomorrow.

I'm going to be demonstrating those Dolly Peg Angels at The Hub, hopefully Heather will remember to email me the times :-)

Very cold here - had to wear my fur ear flap hat, two pairs of woolly socks and Molly was happy to have her coat on too for our walks today.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Rose - Happy Scrappy Doll No.2

Rose is finished. Been a bit of a struggle as I have been very busy with lots of friends dropping in for chats or Tea, biscuits, a cuddle with Molly and lessons on making ladder yarn necklaces and napkin folding. So I've slacked a bit on the doll production.

She's very proud to model her nice new clothes.


 A smart check duffle coat with a real toggle and loop fastening and two patch pockets.

Here she is without her coat, so you can see her lace blouse, apron and skirt made with Rose & Hubble fabric - hence the name Rose!

A close up of her dear little face. Her hair is tasseled upholstery or cushion fringe. She also has a smart "gold" metal bow.

Now some pictures of the back and her knickerbockers. 

All the fabrics are vintage or repurposed, having been donated by friends, or left over from other projects. Some are purchased at auction where they have come from house clearances, some from charity shops and some from Ebay. The Ebay buys are always from those nice people who are clearing out their stash of horded goodies.

Also today I have been helping make machine knitted bobble hats for the Footsteps Mum & Toddler group. It's been a bit of a rush. we started weeks ago but these things always end up being a last minute nightmare. Hopefully we will have them all (26) finished by Tuesday.

Rose is going to visit the Hub in Chelmsford tomorrow and then will be my first doll for sale at The Chelmsford Community Pop-up Shop.

Bluebell is in a Pigeon Hole at Slack Space.