#handmade

Christmas Fair Signs

It was time, I decided, to get involved in something. We’ve been living here in Foxborough for a little less than a year and a half. I’ve made a few friends from church but other than that all I really know is that I can walk to the CVS, the post office, and the library. Oh, and recently, I also found out that the dentist’s office is just an easy walk away. Maybe going to the dentist isn’t something to be whooping about but for a non-driving person like me, it’s a convenience!

But I digress.

Early this year, there was a notice in the church bulletin from the Christmas Fair committee that they were welcoming anyone interested in getting involved. I told myself then, “There you go, you can do this.”

The Christmas Fair will be on the weekend of November 11 and 12. So far, all I’d done was to sew some table runners with seasonal prints on them. Betty, the lady in charge of Handmade Treasures Booth, provided the fabric and even had them all cut to size. All I had to do was sew the edges.

Last week, she asked if I would like to make signs for our booth. Of course, I would! I had been itching to use the Cricut and I had so many ideas for signs made of cut paper.

I decided to do some image searches for ideas and came across a stuffed doll. It was painted and decoupaged. Sewing it was a cinch because the stitching was done just on the outer edges, like a silhouette. This was a cute project for sure.

The link to the source led me to Stampington and Company’s Somerset Place. I did a quick read and knew I had the beginnings of my Christmas Fair signs!

First step was to paint the fabric with gesso. I had some leftover canvas from the bags I make. This one’s all wrinkly because I washed it. I know better now.

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Then I penciled in the general shape of the doll. I used acrylic paint thinned enough so it was like watercolor and did some washes to shade the head and neck. I also used watercolor pencils to add a bit more color. The hair was dabbed on with a firm-bristled brush. I painted in part of the dress only so I could keep the shape visible for the next step.

Painting the Doll

I didn’t have the kind of tissue paper that was used in the instructions but I did have some paper napkins with a Christmas print. I removed the second layer of the napkin and decoupaged the printed layer onto the doll’s dress, making sure I didn’t put glue outside of the dress.

Decoupaged Napkin

It was a rainy day when I did this so it took the Mod Podge a bit longer to dry. Well everything took longer to dry so I worked on a few other things in the meantime. When it finally felt dry, I peeled off the excess paper carefully.

Time to sew! I put another piece of canvas behind the painted one and sewed around the shape twice as suggested. Of course I forgot to take a photo of that step so the one below shows the doll after I’d stuffed it. I had to move the stuffing around a bit to get it shaped right after I took this shot.

Sewn and Stuffed

The original instructions were for the bottoms to be sewn just like the sides but I needed my doll to stand so she could hold up a sign. I cut out two ovals from a board–it’s that sheet on the left under the twine.

I used the first oval to push in the stuffing. I also used hot glue to stick the bottom edges of the doll onto the oval. This was something I made up as I went along, by the way, so I’m quite sure there are better ways of doing this!

Anyway, I covered the second oval with leftover canvas and again used hot glue to stick it to the bottom of the doll. It was just a matter of matching the shapes. It worked pretty well although I didn’t like the way the joined edges looked. There was a bit of a gap that gave an unfinished look. That’s where the twine came in handy!

Finished Bottom

She's all done!

More twine, tiny wooden clothespins, the sign, and she’s ready!

Ready For the Fair

I have a few more to make. Some of the signs will have to be really be just regular 2D ones but this one’s a keeper!

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#handmade · #wearableart · art · artwork · crafts

Wearable Art

I have a thing for creating art that’s wearable. Don’t get me wrong–I have nothing against art that’s hung on walls or that’s set on a shelf. I do those too. But art doesn’t have to just be there.

Just look at those designer clothes that have prints taken from an artist’s watercolor piece. The patterns on fabric that are used for quilts and clothes are made by artists too. Take a look at all the beautiful work on Spoonflower or Patternbank! Just recently, I discovered VIDA and uploaded some of my artwork on scarves and tops.

But this is a website about paper and for quite some time now, I’ve been thinking about putting the odd bits of paper I’ve stashed to good use. I don’t know about you but I have a habit of thinking twice before throwing cuttings from a project into the recycling bin, particularly if the pieces are big.

The best way to find good ideas about projects is to do a search. Nowadays, I find that if I go to Pinterest, it’ll be rare for me not to find something. So that’s what I did. And, I found lots of pins about paper beads!

I remember making paper beads years and years ago. In fact, it was one of the projects I had my preschoolers do. Ours were big and clunky beads, perfect for little hands. But the pin that caught my eye today was this video tutorial.

The beads used here are fair trade beads. You can certainly make your own and then use them to make this Memory Bracelet:

If you’d like to give your support to the Kenyan women who made the beads, you can order them from The Bead Place where they sell the kit. Individual beads are also available, I think, and there are several Easy shops that offer them as well.

If you need tutorials and more ideas, there’s a wealth of them on this page on Pinterest.

For now, I think I’d like to try my hand at making less clunky beads from my paper scraps. It’ll be a good project to do while watching a video or two on Netflix, I think. More on that, by the way, in a future post.

artwork · Uncategorized

Recycling and Upcycling

Last May, we said good-bye to our little apartment above the flower shop in Connecticut and said hello to a duplex in Massachusetts. Needless to say, we were short of a few pieces of furniture here and there. To date, we still do not own a sofa so it’s convenient that we also don’t really know anyone, except our next door neighbor, Pete.

For the next five months, I also didn’t have a night table so my reading lamp was on the floor beside me. So were my books and other night time indispensables (iPad and phone!). We also didn’t have storage in the living room so boxes of videos were piled up against the wall along with the wooden crates that hold my husband vinyl collection.

Finally, one weekend, we decided to visit Ikea. I didn’t like the night stands I’d been seeing at Home Goods so I decided maybe Ikea will have something I can customize. That day, we came home with a beautiful, dark blue cabinet with glass panes on the doors. We also came home with a few useful doodads but no night table.

As my husband was assembling the cabinet, I noticed that the parts came in really sturdy, thick sheets of cardboard. They looked like corrugated boards on steroids! I kept saying how it would be a shame to just pack them off along with the other recyclables.

Then it hit me–why not turn them into a night stand?! Papier mache has been around for centuries, I thought. People have made furniture using the technique. I’ve made papier mache bowls in my childhood. I’ve decorated walls and doors with paper and glue (by the way, even if the glue isn’t waterproof, it’s not easy to remove). I’d never made furniture but I figured it’ll be a good project to experiment with and learn from.

So, to my husband’s dismay, I stashed some of the packing boards in my already crowded work room.

packing_boards

We don’t subscribe to any newspaper but every week we do get flyers, store and grocery newsletters and all kinds of junk mail. I started tearing those for my new project.

starting1

starting

If you like getting your hands in the thick of things, papier mache is a good project to try. Of course it made getting to the phone tricky but I made sure I had a towel nearby. At one point, I tried using gloves but the ones I had were a bit large so they didn’t work too well.

This was the time I plowed through a couple of audiobooks. I highly recommend Louise Penny’s mysteries. They’re the kind that you don’t want to stop listening to (or reading) and, at least for my part, will elicit a loud guffaw or two.

The project took me about three weeks to finish. I had to plug up some gaps and awkward spots with paper clay. I also wanted to soften the edges of the top a bit so I smoothed paper clay on those as well. Temperatures had also dropped by then and we’d been having quite a bit of rain so I made sure to give the piece enough time to dry.

top_view

When I finally had all the layers I needed, I gave it a coat of primer. Then I dug out my stash of odds and ends and got those in. I found a rose I had pressed some time ago as well as a petal from another rose that was given to me. The daisy at the bottom was also from my stash of pressed flowers. Then I cut out a stencil using my Cricut.

finished

Here it is, almost finished! It’ll remain in that almost finished state for a bit, I suspect. One of my Instagram friends said it can be the “happy project” that I can return to whenever I’m in between projects. I told her that was a really fantastic idea.

In the meantime, I really wanted to get my reading lamp at the right height and to give my corner of the bedroom a bit of cheer. As soon as everything was dry, I brought my papier mache creation upstairs and set everything up.

night_stand

There are magazines and more books on the lower level of my new night stand. The hubby liked the finished product too.

This was a project I truly enjoyed while feeling like I did a teeny bit for the environment as well. In fact, I’ve been thinking about what to do with all the junk mail that comes every week. One can have only so many night stands, right?

That’s something to think about for sure. This website is called Paper With Everything. Maybe it’s high time I did something about all the paper coming my way!