#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.

#handmade · #karichapin · 2015 · bags · Divine Mercy · New Project · painting · sewing

New Year New Project

December came and went just like that.

Well, maybe not really since I was in a frenzy trying to finish handmade gifts that I said I wasn’t making. However, when funds are tight, it’s amazing how it becomes possible to shift the minutes so that there are pockets of it for keeping on track with the business of the day-to-day (read: eat regular meals and such) and still finish up gifts in time for handing over on Christmas Day.

I’ve been asked about the why of this craziness that comes when there are special occasions. Standard answer is that even if the giftee might not like the gift, there is, at least for me, the idea that when I made it, I put a bit of myself in whatever it was I made. The other more obvious one is that the gift will be unique to that person because it’s not something that will be found in any shop or bazaar. The third reason is that I really just like making things so I figure I’m sharing the joy of that in some way.

Something came out of making those four bags. I decided that 2015 will be the year I make bags. Here’s a little back story.

I’m normally a very calm person–ask my sisters. Most disastrous events in my life have come and gone without very much public drama from my end. I came to the conclusion that since I can have the attention span of a hummingbird, it may happen that I move on instead of dwelling.

But I had something happen to me that occupied my thoughts most of my waking hours. It got so bad that one day, I found myself talking to a picture I have on my cork board of the Divine Mercy. One of the things I do is to stop whatever I’m doing at 3:00 and say the short chaplet followed by a short novena. That particular day, I didn’t stop with the novena. I did what might horrify some staunch Catholics. I started berating God.

Yup, there I was, blubbering and sniffling and accusing Him of not paying attention. I went on and on about how He promised this and that and what more does He want–the usual rants of someone who won’t listen to reason because no answer will do.

Then I started answering my own questions. This happened very spontaneously–there was no lull in between the ranting and the answering where I could have thought things through. I just segued from demanding answers to giving them.

When I paused to blow my nose, my eyes shifted from the picture of the Divine Mercy to a large note I had pinned above it months before. I had written it because a friend suggested the idea sometime in the Spring. In large letters, I wrote: CAN YOU START THINKING ABOUT MAKING BAGS?

So I sat there, holding my tissue, and I said, “Oh.”

The Christmas gifts post printing and just before sewing.

My Facebook post showing the pieces I had painted.

The half-finished bag that I decided would be for my own use.

The finished bag with outer pockets that I love but proved to be more work than I intended!
Poetry by Virginia Lichauco de Leon that’s always been one of my favorites because I need more bouquets, I think.
The inside of the bag that I customized to suit my preferences.

A new bag in the making.

A close up of what the other side of the bag and handles will have.
I also began listening to Kari Chapin’s podcast just to keep the fire going. On Facebook, I told one of my friends that my project for 2015 is to be a geriatric Kate Spade. I should  have said middle-aged. I don’t think I’m geriatric quite yet.
As for the Divine Mercy, He was probably shaking His head and smiling, thinking I deserved to have a good cry anyway. 

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