Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday randomness

Last week has been a silent week here, my friends. And a silent week normally means I have some extra urgent projects or someone's sick. And the last one was a bit of both. 

Planning is useful and helpful, yes it is, but on weeks like those your ToDo list is getting out of control, it's manageable, of course, but the next thing you know is that the week is over, you've been crazy busy and nothing has been posted.

Now I'm back with LOT of stuff to talk/write about.

First, remember I've announced that challenge about turning my charity shop's "treasures" into fun and useful things? And yes, I've started with the spacecraft. Now the march is ending, but that basket is still full of timber waiting to re-incarnate. 

So I thought. And crafted, and re-arranged, and re-thought. And here's the new idea - I'm not only going to make disparate things, but a big chunk of content of that basket is turning into a farm. A play farm. We have one, a plastic one. And now we're going to have a funky one. Mixed of timber, FIMO, some leather scraps, possibly some virgin wool (sheep) and something else.

My little boy is going to turn one year soon (oh my, is that what I'm writing? One year, and he's going not to a be a sweet little baby anymore. One year... I just have to write it one more time to realize better. I remember writing the lines somewhere back in May last year, after the comeback from maternity clinic about new life, new challenges. And then it's getting more routine - diapers, nursing, walks, plays, simple and yet fulfilling family life. And yes, of course, there're things happening for the first time like giggling, laughing, crawling, going upstairs, standing up, teething, it's all magic and so new. And then comes the moment you tell yourself, my baby's turning ONE year, and it's just breath taking. One whole year, and it seems like this little baby boy has been living here since like ever. But it's just one year. A whole big first one year. It's magic, my friends. It's simply magic!). 

Anyway, this farm would be a nice little present, since yes, we have plenty of toys, and not going to buy any. But we need a birthday gift. So that's the focus of my recycling work in coming weeks - turning disparate old timber into a play farm. Side note though: there're some other projects coming along other than a farm. Stay tuned!

And today I'm sharing peeks into what comes next. More on that soon.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New Moomin house

REcycled materials this time: an old MDF shelf.

Remember, recently while talking about Moomins I've said that some pieces needed to be re-made. And here's the reason: the props for this projects live at my desk now, while we rearrange them, add new, work on old ones. And I have kids around, also friends of my little girl. They like to play with the Moomins, and that's how the house got an uplift - it was built anew. The old one was nice, but flat, nothing more than a decoration. The new one is more roomy, and inviting to play.

And it was made from an old shelf I've got from the charity shop - the measures of that board defined the measures of the house (the basic frame, without the frontal wall). The shelf gave me two vertical, two horizontal, and two askew sections, the leftovers were used for the small entrance construction.

The outer walls were covered with a placemat, which I glued and staple gunned additionally. The roof blocks are cardboard, that needs to be painted and varnished. Inner walls will be painted white. Window is FIMO (yes, I've got the entire house into the oven to bake that FIMO element, which could only be added at that step, lucky me, the house fit in perfectly).

To be honest, we do not need THAT detailing for our theater piece. It's more like thinking about sustainability, multi-purpose, usability  - the old house would fail at all those points, the new one scores more of those points

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

NEW - a toy spacecraft from recycled materials

REcycled items this time: wooden kitchen utensil, plastic caps.

Remember, I've been talking about recycling wood, and that I've recently purchased a big chunk of disparate wooden items in a local charity shop to turn them into toys/craft projects/whatever? Here's how I've re-purposed one of those items into a spacecraft

More on that: it was actually a piece of wood to be used to make well, mashed potatoes or something similar, like crash the walnuts. We had one of those when I was a little girl, and I think we still have one, but not use as much, because of many other fancy or not so fancy electronic devices to chop, crash and squash. Now I got a couple of them from the charity shop - a cylinder one and a couple of cone shaped.

And that how the cone shape turned into the body of that spacecraft. I apologize for not having the "before" photos, I have a cute little helper now, who pulls himself up everywhere and is curious about everything and anything what I'm doing. I got blurred photos and had to delete them.

Back to the spacecraft: the main cone piece (the thickest one) from that wooden mashing kitchen utensil, PLUS the plastic caps (blue), PLUS a BIG cap from a bottle of washing liquid (green), some heavy aluminium wire, FIMO (as usual), and that's all! I twisted the wire ends, so that there's no chance they "leave" the caps where they are nicely enclosed with FIMO modelling clay.

Oh, I forgot a piece of chalkboard foil - see, I've doodled the happy alien face with a chalk? The distorted blue window frame was made of FIMO as well.

I'm preparing a tutorial on this spacecraft coming soon. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Upcoming pencil cases: SOMETIMES you win, SOMETIMES you learn

While making those pencil cases I suddenly noticed that at this very step there's a rare opportunity to see the BOTH sides of them in ONE picture - when the zipper is already sewn in, but the sides are not closed yet. 

And you know what? I guess those ones (not precisely those, but pencil cases in general) might be the only ones I'm gonna focus on in next months to fill my shop, which is still terribly empty. In small editions of four to six per design/colorway.

I'm gonna change designs, colorways for my cases, but neither the general idea, nor the look. I like the format, I like how I can easily make my favorite surface design techniques work together for them, I like that there're no complicated sewing operation once the surface is ready. There're LOT of "I like" about them, so be prepared to see more.

There's only one thing I'd like to improve about: I'd like to find the way how to plait my recycling principles into. Yes, of course I can simply put a patch here and there, and maybe that's what I'm gonna do, but for now I feel it could be something other than that. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Canvas, paint, stencil for a quick craft project WITH kids

Today a little tutorial about how to keep the kids busy for like half an hour with some ordinary acrylic paint, canvas, stencil, bubble-foil, glue and kitchen sponge.

There're FOUR steps:
  • coating the canvas and bubble-foil printing - let dry a couple of minutes. It's just THAT easy, using the kitchen sponge - kids LOVE it.
  • painting banana paper in necessary colors (this step I made alone, banana paper is fragile, so kids can easily tear it, when it gets wet because of paint).
  • sketching flowers, cutting, gluing on the canvas. In our case the kids applied the glue and I helped placing the flowers, because kids would be tempted to make a bouquet all over canvas. For this project flowers had to be in the bottom part, to leave the space for a coming bird. And honestly, I've been so tempted to help them sketch nicely rounded flowers. See, the ours are edgy, irregular and actually not what I'd have expected. But if that's what and how they draw, so why not?
  • after the glue is dry, print the bird (golden paint + stencil + kitchen sponge) and call it a day. The glue from the previous step has to be dry, otherwise, your stencil sticks to the canvas while applying the golden paint.

An the end I wanted to put a message on that canvas. Since this canvas had to be offered to the mum of the kid, we wanted to put something like "For my dear mum", but we hadn't time.

If it's appealing to you, or you're making this as a gift, go consider let you kid write a message on a piece of white silk paper, that you'd glue later when the message is dry. Silk paper becomes almost transparent when dry, and it looks like the message has been written directly on canvas.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

New truck of recycled materials

RECYCLED MATERIALS this time: plastic caps, plastic bottle from liquid soap.

The last car I made had the wooden trunk, this one has a plastic one. Why actually spend time making trunks if you can easily re-purpose an old plastic bottle - the bottoms of them are just PERFECT for trunk making.

And this is how it evolved - white trunk needed white wheels, but then the whole piece just looked drab, so I stained it with walnut stain so that the white details pop up.

There's also another pic so that you can see what the wheels look like when I bake them. As long as they are hot, I dismantle them, glue and joint them back. Done.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Moomins are evolving

You know what's a bummer about working with little plan? That's that: you may create something you actually do not need, and it's sort of wasting time, right? That's what happened to me working on Moomins: I made Snufkin (Snusmukriken) and Little My both in the same technique, because 
  • Snufkin is the best friend of Moomin, so he just has to be;
  • I didn't want to crochet all the guys, so those ones were great opportunity to try out some doll making other than knitting/sewing/crocheting;
  • and they are pretty similar in construction. 
They were almost ready as I realize, that I actually have no scenes with Little My. And Snufkin is actually not that important either.

And here we come to a bummer turning into the stroke of luck - I still have no plan how to integrate those, and it'd be difficult to act them all in one piece with our four hands (mines and my little girl's). 

BUT! I love how they fit into the picture how it all of the sudden looks alive. Many adjustments have to be made yet,  we need backdrops, of course, and details, and finally the place to stock, but it start looking like something interesting and inviting to play.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Making gift wrapping paper - DIY tutorial

Sometimes you can easily pick up some nice gift wrapping paper. And sometimes all you see around is pink princesses, or cars, or you've already attended so many children anniversary parties, seeing all the same gift wrapping papers, that you can hardly imagine going to buy another roll of one of those. Well, that's me, my friends, sick of commercial glossy pink princess gift wrapping paper.

That's how it came to making a piece of my own paper, based of some old pieces of brown paper (yes, recycled) we had around. Pink, colorful, bold and with simple and fresh patterns. 

It was quick, easy and gratifying. It would be even more fun if we'd made it with my little girl, but I didn't have time. Next time we need gift wrapping paper, she'll certainly put her own twist on it. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Moomins - Snusmumriken and Pikko Mu from SCRATCH

I've bought recently a wood-burning pen. I wanted it since awhile but didn't have any idea what I I'd use it for. Until I had to make Snusmumriken (swedĂ­sh) and Pikko Mu (finnish) to complete our Moomin story. 

Yes in my book there're instructions how to crochet them, but as much as I do enjoy crocheting Moomins, I I knew I'd try out another technique for both aforementioned just for a change. And that's how I got to buy this wood-burning pen - to "draw" the faces on wooden spheres which I'd take as heads.

And as I've written recently I'm a bit behind my working schedule, so now I'm just sharing pics of how-to without much detail and only with this short description. Here's what I did so far:
  1. cut cardboard circles
  2. made/glued "layer cakes" with circles of different sizes, each size was cut three times, with intervals of 0,5 cm between different diameters (6 cm, 5,5 cm, 5 cm and so forth). Eight different sizes were made for Snusmumriken, six for Pikko Mu (and that was fast - a very quick way of making cones from scratch)
  3. drilled holes for legs and necks in dried cones
  4. made shoes of FIMO modelling clay, put them on pieces of wood sticks, baked
  5. burnt/drawn faces on wooden beads
  6. put together, checked, adjusted balance and applied some strong glue into holes to hold better.
That's all, come next week to them all!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

REcycled pixie - DIY tutorial

RECYCLED ITEMS this time: package cardboard, lace.

Today I'm sharing another short tutorial how to make use of package board and thrifted lace pieces to create some nice pixies/angels or whatever, you name it!

This time it all got started with a piece of old lace (not so old, but thrifted, something synthetic and cheap, but lace-y). The idea was to make advantage of the transparency of the lace, hence make the wings look airy and delicate

I tried out ironing the lace pieces between rhodoid plastic sheets.

Ironing them ONTO rhodoid with iron-on fusible interface (like bondaweb) didn't work, lace gets peeled off quickly and doesn't hold. I put the lace IN BETWEEN of two rhodoid sheets, ironed through the baking paper and called it a day. Not bad, my friends, not bad! A bit shiny though, because of rhodoid nature, but it's not bothering me so far. The first idea was getting them rigid with cornstarch, but I wanted it to be more play-proof (because my little girl is constanlty rearranging everything we create, so those pieces need to be torn-resistent).

And another important point is working with different materials:

1) the body of cardboard layers with chalkboard foil
2) wings in lace and plastic
3) head made of wooden sphere, FIMO, glass and wooden beads (eyes and nose). 

I started with two of them, but the second one is not coming out as I expected, so I have to adjust. Stay tuned, I'm going to get back with more of them.

Next step would be to try out making them with my little girl and seeing which twist would she put on them!