Friday, May 16, 2014

amelia earhart doll







This is a fun project for anyone who has ever wanted to engage in some doll making, but without making the doll completely from scratch. For me the, the most fun part about making a doll is to create clothes and accessories that will make the doll unique. Making the body is not something I have proven to be that talented at. So, lucky for me, I ran across this 18 inch cotton doll at the craft store many months ago. It cost $8. The doll is not particularly attractive but has bendable fabric limbs and happens to be the same size as the American Girl Doll, which wound up coming in handy because you can purchase clothing items that you don't want to sew. Aside from the actual American Girl store, lots of places sell knock off 18 inch doll clothing including Joann Fabric and Toys R Us.
First, decide what kind of doll you want to make. If it is a literary or historical figure you should pick some identifying items of clothing and determine what color hair and eyes the doll will need to have. The clothes that Amelia is wearing were sewn were from Simplicity Pattern 5733, which contains all the clothes patterns you would need for virtually any doll including a skirt, a blouse, a robe, a long coat, a short jacket and pants.
What our doll is wearing:
  • white blouse sewn from pattern with pearl buttons at neck
  • brown suede pants sewn from pattern
  • black scrunchy boots purhased in 18 inch doll section at Joann Fabric
  • Long jacket sewn from pattern using Pleather. I used only one layer of the jacket and instead of making a liner glued on long strips of fake fur along the collar and inside. The coat does not button or zip, it is just open.  
  • Suitcase made from an empty Altoid tin. I covered the outside in brown felt and put purple satin on the inside. I made some medals out of shrinky dinks to represent her French Legion of Honor and her Distinguished Flying Cross medal. 
  • Goggles- wait until the face is done so that you know how far the eyes are spaced. Then cut simple goggles out of Pleather, twice. Sandwich some clear plastic (i used transparency from a stationary shop) in between the Pleather and use Superglue.
  • Hat - there is a really great aviator hat tutorial here at thedeviantart site.
  • hair- I used orange yarn
  • face paint- acrylic paint.
After I dressed the doll in her clothes I ran into the dilemna of how to make her face and hair. For this I turned to my co-blogger Corinne. She is a talented painter and has some experience with dollmaking so she took over and made the face and hair. She painted a circle on the face using gesso then drew the features in pencil, then filled them in with acrylic paint. She made the hair curly by gluing the yarn in loops under the helmet. It might be possible to find orange yarn that is already curly but I had not found any so this worked great.
We really enjoyed making this doll, as we both are big Amelia Earhart fans. You may want to make a similar one or make one in homage to your own hero or heroine.






Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Recycled May Flowers

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April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. Here in the Midwest we have some tulips in our yard, but the terrible winter has delayed a lot of our Spring flowers. You can make these flowers in a few moments and transform your paper scraps into an adorable bouquet to tide you over until your garden blooms. This project originally appeared in the April issue of Kids Craft 1-2-3! 
Materials:
paper (I used a map, sheet music, and pages from a gardening catalog.)
stapler
glue
pipe cleaner
something for the center like circles of felt, buttons, circles of contrasting paper, pom poms

Steps
  1. Cut a piece of paper into a long rectangle. Try 4 1/2 x 12 inches or pick your own size.
  2. Fold the paper like an accordion with small folds.
  3. After the paper is folded up completely, staple at the halfway point and fan out the sides.
  4. Glue the sides open to make the flower.
  5. For the center you can do what I did and glue on a small circle of felt and a button on top of that. You also could attach circles of contrasting paper, tiny pom poms, or other center items. 
  6. I used tape to attach the back of my flowers to the pipe cleaners. You could also use a glue gun for a neater appearance.





Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tiny British Phone Booth

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 Since we are often making things that reference our love of British culture (Sherlock Holmes pillows, a Ms. Marple room box, etc.) we decided that it was time to make a little phone booth. The phone booth is small enough so that it can rest on a desk top or be included in a railway scene or used for whatever you want! I used blank Shrinky Dink paper but you could also make a phone booth out of cardboard, fimo, or fabric. The directions that follow are to make it out of shrinkable plastic. One drawback of this is that you will not wind up with perfection. My phone booth is a little crooked and the edges do not line up perfectly. However the translucence of the plastic does make for a nice effect.
Materials
  • shrinkable paper. I used two sheets size 5 x 8 inches and had some scraps left over for future projects
  • thin black Sharpie
  • colored pencils
  • scissors
  • printout of a phone booth image, taken from directly in front, sized at 3 x the size you want the final phone booth to be  
Steps
  1. Work on the scratchy side of the Shrinky Dink paper. Trace 3 identical phone booth sides around the outside and where the windows will be and cut them out around the outside carefully.
  2. Use colored pencils to fill in color and accents like the gold crown at the top
  3. Write the word "telephone" backwards and trace that using the Sharpie. Fill in around it in white
  4. Leave the windows blank
  5. Trace the back. This fourth side will be solid red
  6. Trim the booths so the top edge does not curl out like it does in real life, or it will be hard to glue them together, Make a straight line on three of them. 
  7. Bake in the oven at 350' for 1-3 minutes. This is where you can run into problems. You want the pieces to curl up while they are shrinking then relax back to being perfectly flat. You may want to use a toaster oven for better control and bake one or two pieces at a time. Flatten them with a spatula once they have relaxed back down and are still pliable.
  8. After the pieces cool you can assemble them. Mine did not line up perfectly so I made a tiny box out of card stock and glued the pieces onto this.  
  9. Enjoy! Now you can make one in blue, write "Police Box" on it, and make the Dr. Who fan in your life very, very happy.


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Friday, April 11, 2014

British Royal Guard Jumping Jack

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 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Do you think the King knows all about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
                                                                    Says Alice.

Did you ever run across the A.A. Milne poetry collection  When we Were Very Young? If you like Winnie the Pooh you will find his favorite boy featured in many of the poems.  Anyway that was just one stanza but it is a nice poem, and brings me to today's project: my Brtish Royal Guard Jumping Jack!


I think little kids are always really intrigued by the Royal Guard and their impressive outfits. At least I always was. Plus, I am a pretty huge Anglophile so I have always wanted to make a little soldier for our house. (See the bottom of this post for our many projects inspired by our love of English culture.)
I have some really incredible German craft books that my mom bought in the Sixties in Europe. This one is called "Tiere, Puppen, Hampelmanner" and is by Ilse Strobl-Wohlschlager. It contains some really fantastic jumping jacks that inspired me to make my own. Unbelievably, I did an internet search and this book is available at Amazon! In English! For like $5! So I did not know this when I started and I could not actually read the instructions, but I think I came up with a working jumping jack using her photos for inspiration.
First I cut out the body parts from card stock. There are lots of templates for jumping jacks floating around the internet to inspire you. The German book had a very stylized doll, with a pinched waist and pointy feet, which I totally copied.
You will note that I punched small holes at the shoulders, top and bottom of thigh piece and top of arm and foot pieces. These holes will hold the brads. So, check out how large your brads are and make sure your hole is the right size. The big brass fasteners you get at office supply stores don't work very well with this as they stick out all over the place. I used smaller brads from a craft store.
 I then punched an even tinier second hole at the top of the two arm pieces and the top of the legs. This second hole will be for the string. It should not be too close to the edge as it could tear if people get too rowdy with the jumping jack.


I glued tissue paper onto my body parts. The leg and feet pieces are black and the body is red. I also cut out a hat piece and covered it with black tissue paper. The chin strap is white paper colored black, cut to frame the face. I used Mod Podge to apply the tssue and put a few coats on top to make it a little sturdier.

I drew the face using a black Sharpie. (Pencil first.) After I colored the face I glued on the hair and chin strap. I also used black marker on the cuffs and collar and added a white tissue belt and gold accents using a paint pen.
 I attached the arms and legs loosely with brads so the limbs can dangle freely. Then I took a needle and some embroidery floss and rigged up the back. I tied a straight string between the arm holes. This needs to be tight but not tight enough that it causes the arms to pull up. Don't worry about the ends of the string until later. Tie a straight string between the top of the legs. Then Tie a string from he middle of the top string to the bottom string and have it hang down. I added a bead to the bottom. I don't really care what the back of this guy looks like so I trimmed the edges of the string and taped them down. You could probably do this neater if you are so inclined. My kids LOVE the jumping jack. I am going to make some more blank body part pieces and let them design their own. My daughter wants to make a princess and my son probably has some incredibly complicated design of his own.
Enjoy!
Other projects inspired by our love of England:
What is in Dr. Watson's Desk?


Ms. Marple's Desk


Sherlock Holmes Stenciled Pillow
 

The Parlor from Longbourn House
















Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Easter Shadow Box


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I bought my daughter the Melissa and Doug Pasture Pals toy many years ago. I still find the horses floating around the house on occasion but she never spent too much time playing with this toy. I have been looking at the box, which is wooden and has 12 compartments, thinking it would make a great shadow box. I finally decided to make a shadow box for Easter. The idea is that this is the place the bunnies live and work on the eggs. I used a combination of dollhouse accessories and hand made items to make up the house.  I have to say that every child who has walked into my house in the past week has been absolutely thrilled by this box and immediately demand that they be allowed to make their own diorama. 
I will go room by room and tell you what I included in my little workshop.

Here is what the box looked like originally. We painted the wood green and attached shingles across the top. I used dollhouse shingles and glued them on in layers. It is a little tricky at the corners because when you cut the shingles with scissors they splinter but I thought a rustic look was OK for the bunny house. 
I used strips of balsa wood to cover the edges of the walls. I just snipped them to the right length and glued them on with craft glue. The green paint shows underneath sometimes but I think it looks good.

I picked 4 different decorative papers that I think go well together and wallpapered the rooms with squares of paper.
Some rooms are carpeted with felt. The workshops have newsprint on the floor, and the first floor has burlap.
Top left corner room:
Dining room
This has a table I made out of a thimble and square of cardboard. The seats are two tiny wooden blocks from the Dollar Store. I purchased the cake at a dollhouse store.
Top row, second from left:
Reading room.
I made a simple bench using a Popsicle stick and wooden blocks and glued some little books on top of it.

Top row, second from right:
Game room
  I made a simple table using spools and plywood. I set up a card house using cards from a dollhouse store, glued on with tweezers to arrange the cards. I thought it was funny to imagine the bunnies making card houses in their spare time.

Top row, right corner:
Bedroom
I made a simple bunk bed out of craft sticks and painted it.
The key to cutting craft sticks without good tools is to score it a lot with an x-acto knife, then hold it in pliers when you snap it, The pliers seem to keep it from splintering. I made some pretty nice clean cuts for this project using this technique.



 
Middle Row, far left room
Egg storage room
 I made a crate by stacking and gluing balsa wood strips and used actual Easter candy to represent the unpainted eggs. It would have been better to make some out of polymer clay but the eggs I made looked really bad and the small jelly beans and chocolate eggs look good. You can just replace them each year. I tacked mine down using craft dots which hold stuff in place enough to keep everything from falling out, but are easily removable.
Middle row, second from left
Egg decorating room
This room was the most fun. I had some tiny glass apothecary jars which I filled with glitter. I made a table using a glass slide glued onto thimbles. If you are wondering where I find all these tiny thimbles, the Dollar Stores usually have bags of them in their sewing kit area. They are colorful and inexpensive and useful.
I made the paintbrushes by snipping a pointy toothpick in half and painting most of it brown. The tip is black and there is a band of silver around it.
The colored pencils are also made from pointy toothpicks, I painted them various colors and tried to emulate the zigzag created by a pencil sharpener. I put a glass bead on the table to show that they have a work-in-progress.
Middle row, second from right
Egg drying room
I made a shelf using yet another craft stick and arranged some foil-wrapped eggs and some colorful egg-shaped beads to show their work is drying and nearly ready to be packed up in baskets.
Middle row, far right side
Baskets
I made baskets by wrapping soda pop lids with felt and trim and put some Easter grass and eggs inside.
Bottom row, far left side
Croquet set. I bought this. I think of the ground floor as their play and outdoors area.
Bottom row, second from left
Dollhouse chair
Bottom row, second from right
Teeter totter. I made this with a craft stick and some strips of plywood and have it balanced on a chocolate egg.
Bottom row, far right side
Gardening room
I have here some garden tools hung on the wall and a basket of fruit and veggies from the bunny's garden. 
I would say the ground floor could stand some improvement, upon writing up this post. But overall it is a pretty cute Easter decoration and best of all can be packed up for next year without taking up a ton of space.
If you want to make some cute clay bunnies to go in the house, here is a tutorial from last week.

 


















Saturday, March 29, 2014

Easy Nancy Drew Lampshade

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I am still having fun with my cutting machine. Last week I made a Sherlock Holmes pillow using freezer paper. I had to follow up with my other favorite detective! To make this I used my Silhouette cutting machine but you absolutely can do it with scissors if you are a careful cutter. I printed out multiple copies of Nancy Drew's silhouette on black craft paper and cut them out. Then I took a Dollar Store lampshade and glued them on using matte Mod Podge. I added trim and pom poms and the shade was ready.  The base was clear glass and I covered with with black tissue paper and Mod Podge. I think the texture looks pretty good but it would be easy to find a base that doesn't need to be altered or to alter it in a different way like by painting it.
I actually was in such a hurry I didn't do a very good job placing the figures. It would be worth your time to use a ruler and mark off where you will put the cut outs. I also should have marked where the pom pom and trim would be placed as I will confess these are a little haphazard as well. However I am still pretty pleased with this cute little lamp and am already thinking about other shades I can make people like a Virginia Woolf shade for my mom or a Beethoven shade for Annabelle's music teacher. You can pick any image and see how easy it is!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Freezer Paper Silhouette Stencil

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I recently bought myself a Silhouette Portrait machine. I am usually the last person to find out about anything cool and I think in this case I once again have missed years of fun I could have been having using this amazing electronic cutting machine. I thought it was for scrap booking and never really paid attention to the other things it is good for. Anyway, one thing it does really, really well is cut intricate designs onto paper. This is good news for me because I like to make fabric stencils using freezer paper and it is pretty hard for me to cut freezer paper with a lot of accuracy using an x-acto knife because it tends to tear. Having said that, you can do this project without a machine if you have a lot of patience and are a careful cutter. I decided to have my first project be the man very close to my heart: Sherlock Holmes. You could pick any favorite silhouette or outline to stencil. It would also be really cute to make stencils of your children's silhouettes. For an easy way to get a good silhouette from a photograph see our old Christmas post Tiny Silhouettes.

Materials:
  • Freezer paper
  • iron
  • Cricut or Silhouette machine or tiny sharp scissors and x-acto knife
  • fabric paint
  • fabric to apply the silhouette to. I used a square of cotton.
  •  image that you want to use
Steps
  1. Trace your image onto freezer paper and cut it out or use a cutting machine. The shiny side will be facing down when you iron it on but up when you print it out so you may need to reverse your design.
  2. Iron the freezer paper stencil onto the fabric. It tends to be curly so I tack down edges and work slowly, making sure it is totally flat. After it is on then I go over it a bunch of times to make sure it is totally adhered at every edge.
  3. Fill in the stencil with fabric paint. 
  4. Let it dry according to the instructions that come with the fabric paint. Mine had to stay untouched overnight, then I heat set it with an iron.
  5. Now you may use your stencil. I made a patchwork pillow with mine.You probably have all sorts of other fun ideas!

You may want to check out another silhouette project featuring another detective.
Easy Nancy Drew Lampshade