As something a bit different, I have created this sweet little Afro-theme ornament. I just love her beaded dreadlocks and bright multi-strand bead necklace.
I have prepared about a dozen kits for anyone who might be interested in a simple sewing and crafting project. All the textiles used are original African printed cotton fabrics which have been recycled for these kits. Personally I associate black people with a vibrant and colourful cultural background, so I hope I have managed to capture this in this little doll.
The biggest surprise of the past couple of weeks has been the interest in my specs’ keepers. They are one of those accessories which disappear off the scene for awhile, and then for no apparent reason — return. And that’s what’s happened, and I have found myself stringing beads for hours on end for this seemingly simple creation.
Not that they are difficult to make, but when you no longer have nimble fingers, can be very fiddly and a source of great frustration, plus the occasional cuss, especially when — as happened to me today — all the beads fly off the thread into every corner of the room. Would you believe I have just found a dozen beads caught up in my hair too!
So for those who are looking to keep their goggles to hand, back in my Etsy store, as of today, a couple of new summery colours, and as usual, the possibility to contact me with your own colour choice. Use the personalisation box on the listing page to let me know.
At long last I have managed to add a couple more of these sewing kits to my Etsy store. This particular kit has been surprisingly popular — partly because of its simplicity that even a beginner can handle quite confidently, but also because of the mix of different elements and methods required to complete it.
Anyway, for those of you looking for a fun project — maybe even as a gift for someone — here’s the link to the Etsy listing…
One of my most interesting discoveries in recent months has been kumihimo braiding, a Japanese craft which has been around for centuries. The beautiful braids have been used for all sorts of situations that go from swords to cushion trimmings to traditional clothing. At its best, and probably most refined level, the braiding is combined with beading decoration, and certainly in this part of the world, is frequently used to enhance jewellery. In my research I have also come across some amazing articles of clothing which have been ‘constructed’ using yard after yard of flat kumihimo braiding in an incredible array of colour combinations.
In my own experimentation with the craft, I have been creating mono and multi-colour braids using techniques for 7, 8 and 10 warps for both rounded and flat braids. I have combined the braids with pendants of varying types, and with large round wooden beads which I have painted by hand, and also with semi-rounded wooden beads which I have covered in fabric. Some of the pendants are previously loved pieces of Indian jewellery which I presented in here some time ago.
The results of my endeavours are available on Etsy if you are interested in purchasing any of these ‘one-of-a-kind’ articles.
I always think that it’s a lot of fun being able to change my earrings often — I am not too bothered about having expensive jewellery, and out of preference have quite a few pairs of inexpensive ones to be able to change around as the mood takes me. And this is the thinking behind the offer I have put on my Etsy page at a time when people are looking for inexpensive gifts for friends and family So take a look and see if anything catches your eye so as to take advantage of the 5 pairs for only €15.00 which includes shipping to Europe. Here are just a few pairs as examples of those you can choose between.
We have recently added some new colours for the multi-strand recycled textile necklaces which have proved so popular this year. You can now find them in purple, white, coral, turquoise and mid-brown, in addition to the black, navy, light green and dark red previously listed. Contact us if you are interested and we will put your preferred colour up for you as a personalised listing to purchase on Etsy.
Thought I would take a break from the glue gun and the sewing machine, and put to rights a few images I had waiting for some digital darkrooming. I think it was last year (or maybe earlier) that I built up quite a collection of my photographs of flowers which got used for various things, including calendars – but I still had a collage collection to complete. Here you can see one of the set of five from the collection. I like the vibrant colours and the slightly different treatment – this sort of puzzle effect without the wonky edges.
Following an unexpected couple of requests, I have now added a couple more specs’ keepers to the collection. The one you see in the image is made with old gold silver lined Rocaille glass beeds and has an amber colour glass bead at each end of the thread and gold findings. The other one is a lovely midnight blue with cobalt blue glass feature beads and silver findings. I will be posting the image for that very shortly.
As promised, here are some earrings, and there are more on the way. These are super chunky and great fun – not for the weak hearted! All made using upcycled stretch fabric, and then ‘garnished’ with some lovely felted cord. Dangly glass beads at the base in coordinating colours. A sure way to get noticed this winter!
Funds were raised for the Japan disaster relief selling my little geisha bookmarks through Made4aid on Etsy. All proceeds from the sales went to Médecins sans Frontiéres / Doctors without Borders / Medici senza Frontiere who were working in Japan as part of the relief organization. It now seems appropriate to offer this little tutorial for other kinds of relief.
Make your own geisha bookmarks by picking up the pdf instruction file below, or you can purchase them from me ready-made on my Etsy page.
Doll pattern pieces (see IMAGE 3):
You will notice that I suggest pattern or colour for some parts. This is all a question of taste according to the paper you have. It is quite nice to contrast the neckband with the kimono – the kimono with the belt – the kimono with the coat etc. After you have done the first one you will see what I mean.
If you are making more than one bookmark, don’t be a slave to the measurements. Cut out the first one correctly…and maybe do a template with some stiffer card – but you will see how things fit together and can snip away if there is any overlapping that you don’t like. My only suggestion would be not to alter the long side of the kimono to make it shorter. If anything, you might find it looks nicer a little longer. The same goes for the white neck…just make it shorter if you need to.
Let's start with the neck and body - use images 6 to 19 in the gallery as a guide. Don't forget to use a dab of glue at each stage to fix the parts firmly.
1.Fold neckband in half and stick at about 1cm down the neck piece, folded side towards top (Image 7)
2.Fold inwards the 2 extremes of the neckband to cross over one another (Image 8)
3.On the non-patterned side of the kimono, fold about 1 cm down across the short edge (Image 9)
4.Turn kimono over and with the patterned side facing you, fold down about half a centimetre along the short edge (Image 10)
5.Stick the neck with neckband at the centre top of the inside of the kimono piece (Image 11)
6.Fold inwards down the length of the kimono. Glue only the lower half (Image 12)
7.Fold back slightly the collar area of the kimono to partially reveal the neckband underneath (Image 12)
8.Repeat on the other side of the kimono (Image 13)
9.Fold inwards on the non-patterned side the 2 long edges of the belt so that they just meet in the centre (Image 14)
10.Stick the belt (folded edges inwards) on the front of the kimono so that the top part
just holds down the kimono collar (Image 15)
11.Glue the 2 ends of the belt to the back of the figure
12.Fold about 1 cm on the long edge of the non-patterned side of the coat (Image 16)
13.Take the coat and fold in about half a centimetre along the long edge of the patterned (right) side (Image 17)
14.Glue the coat, centre back to the wrong side of the doll figure (Image 18)
15.Here you can see more or less how your figure should be (as seen from the front) at this stage (Image 19)
Now for the head - use images 20 - 24 in the gallery as a guide. Don't forget to use a dab of glue at each stage to fix the parts firmly.
1.Fold both sides of hair inwards at a slight angle so that you form a squared off triangle, narrower at the top and wider at the bottom(Image 20)
2.Fold inwards about 1 cm on the narrower part of the triangle. Check to see that the head fits and the folded over section of hair covers approximately half of the face to act as a fringe. Use just a small spot of glue in the crease between the fringe and the back of the hair to fix the top of the head (Image 21)
3.Check to see that the neck is not too long to fit snugly under the face with just the clothing neckband on view. If it is too long, snip off a little and then glue the neck to the back of the face making sure that the hair does not get caught up with the glue(Image 21)
4.Your figure should now look similar to this image (Image 22)
5.Twist the stamen ends together leaving a flat open area at the bottom. If you are using a glue gun, you can add a blob of glue. If you are using a glue stick, it might be an idea to put a little piece of sellotape around the end to create a larger surface for the glue (Image 23)
6.Glue the stamens to the back of the hair checking that they are positiioned nicely. If you are using small flowers or beads, stick them to the front of the hair as a decoration (Image 24)
7.Please note that you have still NOT added facial features. We will do this at the very end
Last but not least, the background card - use images 25 -- 31 in the gallery below as a guide
1.Cut card to size, each approximately 20 cms x 5,50 cms(Image 25)
2.Mottle background using either rubber stamps or a kitchen sponge with almost dry paint cover in a colour similar to the background. You can of course use felt tips as a substitute. Just remember that you only want a very delicate, almost invisible effect. (Image 26)
3.Check the position of the figure and how much space remains above(Image 27)
4.Add a floral image with a rubber stamp (or hand painted/drawn) in a stronger colour in the space which remains above the figure (Image 28)
5."Distress" the edges of the card, either by rubbing lightly with a stamp pad or by flicking an almost dry sponge or by drawing the edge of a felt tip pen as described in point 2 (Image 29)
6.Punch a hole for the ribbon in the top of the card. I find it useful to remove the bottom cover of my double punch and use it the wrong way up which makes it easier to position the single hole centrally on the card (Image 30)
7.Glue the figure securely to the card base (Image 31)
8.Now you can add the ribbon and facial features to complete the bookmark (Image 32)
So there you go...hope you have fun making these!
When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.