Saturday, 1 December 2012

A tale of two Edwards and a recalcitrant muse

 Hi remember me? You may not as it's been over half a year since I have managed to blog, and nearly as long since I properly crafted anything. My muse ran away and hid for a very long time, eons in the life of the Internet. I've still been around, mostly just feeding my instagram habit, and occasionally wandering around Facebook and twitter when not having my nose in a book or reading the kindle app on my phone. 

Then a few weeks ago I got the urge to start crafting again and made a few dolls, Lydia the Librarian and Natalia the Maybe Assassin, a random assortment of pin badges to amuse myself and then I started an Edward Scissorhands doll. Now I have had an Edward Scissorhands doll on my list to make for over a year now, I just needed scissors, buckles and the muse to get it done. So earlier this week I scavenged a doll that I wasn't happy with and started making him into the delightfully sad Edward. It took a bit of fiddling about and finding that arms just weren't working for me and then he was done. Before I could list him my friend Flame said she would buy him and then before the day was over another friend lamented that she had missed out on snagging him and so I promised when I found another pair of scissors that I would make her a Scissorhands doll too. 

The very next day I found a lightly rusted pair of scissors (the ones on the left) an dragged out scraps of fabric to make a new Edward doll. My dolls are wonky and because I just use whatever scraps of fabric, lace and oddments I find, each doll I make is never the same. Really I just can't make anything with straight lines. So Edward Scissorhands II was created. 

I don't know how often I will blog now but I have ideas for more dolls that need making, and a few random craft projects to start while avoiding doing the housework and finishing tidying out all my hoarded craft supplies. Which really isn't that much considering I have just used up all my scissors and nearly all of my tiny rusty buckles, right? I really should stock up on some more of those.  I'm sorry it's been such a long time since I blogged but I'm happy to have my muse back inspiring me and to have stepped out of the mild fog of depression I was in. So I'm here if you need me or if you want to request a doll making....I do have plans for  Alice (Wonderland not the zombie killer but that isn't a bad idea either) and Beetlejuice dolls and perhaps a few more. 

Look at those sad eyes. Makes the heart melt.

Best wishes,


P.S. Happy December too. 

p.p.s. I have no idea how to do anything on blogger anymore. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Crafter...oo Magazine issue 3

follow the link below to find out how to buy
ISSUE 3,8757.0.html
There are 18 great projects in issue 3.
Plus lots of great features, books reviews, and a recipe by yours truly. 
Please pop over to Crafter...oo and support a great online magazine and small craft forum.  

Practically Imperfect in Every Way

My style of sewing is on the rough side. My stitches are wonky, my seams are anything but straight, but somehow that fits. I like the wonky ill fitting stitches that I use on my dolls and monsters. It gives them life and character. A part of me would love to be able to make a beautiful quilt with perfectly lined up squares. Wouldn't that be fantastic? But perfect isn't me, and I'm OK with that. Oh I still have my tics and the things that I make *have* to be just so. Perfectly imperfect.

fabric cuff made before we went away

A few weeks before we went on holiday I found a fabric cuff I had made well over a year ago. I put it on and was still quite happy with it's scrappy fabric, frayed edges and vintage buttons. I kept meaning to make some more, not so much to see but just to play with bits of fabric and to wear myself. So when i was packing suitcases and decided to take a partly sewn doll with me to finish while we were away I decided to fire up my sewing machine and sew a few scraps of fabric together to turn into a fabric cuff or two.
fabric cuff finished yesterday

I finished my packing early and ended up sewing a cuff while my friend Kate was visiting before we left. I ended up wearing that cuff most of the holiday and only worked on one of the other cuffs a bit before we headed back again then kept dragging my travel craft kit around with me determined that I would sit down and finish the fabric cuff or else. I'm not entirely sure what the 'or else' would be though.

modelling the fabric cuff and messing about with a TTV app. Also coffee. 

Yesterday in the car on the way to the dentist I sewed on the last button after much arguing with my buttons as to which would be used, in a lacklustre attempt not to think about the dentist, which let me tell you did not work in the slightest, ho hum. The cuff incorporates vintage buttons, scraps of text filled fabric, a slightly bent cog, and an old zip that was in an old sewing box I bought last summer while thrifting in Belper, Derbyshire. There probably isn't a straight line to be found on the cuff but that's fine and dandy with me. I love it anyway.

                                                                                     Close up of yesterday's cuff.

The first cuff I made and still wear....
While drinking coffee obviously.

p.s. I'm still trying to figure out this blogger update, everything keeps going weird on me. And why did I not get asked if I wanted to be ? I was happy with .com. *grouchy*  

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Miss Helena March: A doll story

Once there was a girl with hair the colour of sunsets and eyes that told stories if only you knew how to read them. Her name changes with the days and the months of the year. When last I knew her she went by the name of Miss Helena March. True names have power, but a nameless girl can call herself anything she likes. Names are turned as easily as coats, a twist of the tongue, a string of meaningless syllables. A stretch of letters scrawled in a hotel ledger.

She is a liar, a story teller, a traveller of the roads between time and reality. Her key opens doors to the past and to the almost was, and nearly is. Worlds in worlds.Earth but not our Earth.  Doors and keys and twisting realities.

 Her smile is sweet but wickedness and sorrow linger in her eyes. Her fingers twitch and she is ready to open another door. She is here one minute and gone on an adventure the next.

She collects clocks, and keys and funny little objects that each reality has discarded. Junk or trash, antiques or vintage. She travels the past and only she knows the things she will treasure most. She meets people and smiles that sweet sorrowful smile. She pours another cup of tea, lights another candle and plans another adventure, dreams of opening another door and sidestepping the world that is for one that isn't quite the same. Worlds within worlds and she has the key to slip between them all.

She is a girl with a key to worlds beyond our own. A little rusty key found in a puddle reflecting a perfect twinned sun sky that never was on this Earth. She takes the name of towns and cities, days and months, places she has been and we will never go. Where monsters roam, and magic lives and things aren't quite the way they are here. Today she is Miss Helena March. Yesterday she called herself Alene. She works in coffee shops, in diners, and in book shops. Small places. Unnoticed. A collection of name tags with the names of places she has been. Cities and towns. Universes and realities.

Miss Helena March was made for my very good friend Jaci. I finished the doll while we were away in the states. I could never quite pin down a name for Helena but I knew it had to be a city name and I was very nearly Roanoke or Alexandria, it could quite possibly be, the doll wouldn't tell me for certain, nor would she share her key with me. I left the doll unstained or grunged up and told Jaci she was free to stain her with coffee or tea if she wished a more aged look. I dare not make a mess of my parents kitchen like I do mine when I stain dolls at home.

 I have a few more dolls that I have been woefully neglectful in finding stories for but hopefully I shall attempt to fix that in the next few weeks. Like that poor steampunk Red Riding Hood that only has half a story written (the rest is in notes honest). If I can get the stories written I can list the dolls in my little etsy shop. Red really wants a new home to explore and she is pestering me to finish her tale and get her listed. Who am I to argue with dolls? Don't answer that!

Friday, 20 April 2012

Adventures in Thrifting in the Pacific Northwest

Ephemera and tins full of secrets.
The tins stayed at my parents as I ran out of room
and technically the flower tin is my mother's find.

Last Saturday we flew home from nearly three weeks holidaying in Northern Idaho visiting my parents. We all had a grand time despite some rather wild weather. True the weather is always wild and unpredictable in the mountains, or between the mountain ranges. The trip started off Sunday morning with a three hour drive to Heathrow then a ten hour flight to Seattle, a few hours sleep in the holiday in before waking at some inhumane hour to repack and stumble across to the Denny's down the street for bacon, terrible diner coffee (You should all know we are coffee snobs), and pancakes drowning in syrupy goodness.

Vintage Washington State tray $1.49
Last year I saw and Idaho one and wished I had bought it.

Um, cake. Not at all thrifty but it was damn nice.
From Chaps Cake in Spokane.

It was still dark when we hit the Cascades Mountains. Dark, freezing cold, and soon the car was pelted with snow, sleet, hail, and we travelled trough patches of thick fog all across Washington state. A couple of stops were made on the 5 hour drive to refuel on coffee, snacks and stretch our legs. The Cle Elum Safeway is freaking terrifying at 5 am when you step through the back doors to find the toilets. I half expected zombies to come shuffling through and I didn't have a baseball bat or any decent zombie killing weapon. We found a little coffee shop and fed H various things to keep him happy while he played on his DS, ipod, our phones and the ipad.
Starry fabric, book, buttons, and a child's silver bracelet.
I can't wait to turn this lot into dolls.

The foul weather chased us into Idaho where it settled into snow and we collapsed at my parents home amid a pile of overly excited pugs. The weather for the rest of the holiday was just as wild but the last week there was mostly sunshine and we were so happy to see it. Last year when we visited it snowed everyday, not proper snow mind you it was something they call grapple which looks exactly like little styrofoam balls. It was so good to be in my other home, because no matter how long I live in England and have made a home here, America is still my home too. Not just because my dad is a wonderful cook and makes all my favourite foods but because culturally I will always be an outsider here no matter how blurred my accent becomes. The states always feel like home and after a year away I missed being in my parents home curled up with a little dog or two listing to H chatter on about whatever interests eight year old boys.

Pearl buttons and a rusty apple shaped cookie cutter.

A few vintage keys.
My mother found for me at an Estate Sale before we arrived.

We went out every day that we were there, going for coffee, breakfast, coffee, shopping, thrifting, and coffee. Did I mention coffee? You really can't go anywhere in the Pacific Northwest without being inundated with coffee everywhere, coffee shops, coffee sheds, Starbucks in most of the grocery stores. Coffee is everywhere. And coffee shops all have free wifi so I could happily instagram all the pictures I took and tinkered with.

Vintage wooden handled cookie cutter
(this has been on my list forever)

Vintage Montana license plate.
Bought on a day trip to Montana for authenticity.

Thrifting was the theme of this trip, along with coffee and candy. But mostly it was thrifting. On the weekends we went to Estate Sales and Garage Sales and in the week we went to thrift stores and junk stores. I didn't buy a ton of things though I did want to buy more than we did. It's a good thing I'm fussy about the things I buy, fussy and cheap that's me. I bought a lot of vintage buttons, which probably isn't a lot to some button addicts I know but is enough to keep me crafting for a long while.


Matt only grumbled a few times at all the thrift shops I made him take us. And H? Well H occasionally grumbled at the thrift shops but he was more than happy to rummage around Estate Sales and find a absolutely bargain box of lego, a bag of k*nex and a few other bits and bobs to occupy him for the rest of our trip.

Brass belt buckle and tiny glass vial from an antique/thrift shop in Wallace, Idaho.
Both items were .50 cents, and will be perfect for doll making.

Pearl buttons.
Most were from a junk shop in a mixed bag of buttons for two bucks.

Even Matt had fun finding some CDs in a huge Goodwill store in Spokane, and H found a skater jacket and a green shirt to his liking. Most of what I bought and brought back is craft related, buttons, vintage junk, a 1979 copy of the Sears & Roebuck catalogue, old keys, tins and books. Most of the toys H found we left at my parents home so he can build lego cities and k*nex contraptions next trip.

Sissy the pug is not amused.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

So I'm a bad blogger...again

You have probably figured that out already by the lack of any frequent posts for pretty much all of winter. Spring is coming and in two and a half weeks time we all go on holiday to visit my parents in the wilds of northern Idaho. I am so looking forward to getting away and seeing my folks and running around drinking too much coffee and buying tons of candy, Old Navy clothes and roaming around yard and estate sales. In the mean time I have a hell of a lot of organizing to do and for some reason the next few weeks are ridiculously busy.

I haven't been crafting though I have been routing through my craft supplies and have set out some fabric for a couple of dolls. I plan on sorting out a craft kit to take with me for crafting on the plane and in the car. Hopefully after our little vacation I will find my crafty mojo again and actually do a proper amount of crafting. One can hope anyway. Today I get my hair cut short so I best hustle and get some tidying done before the afternoon is over with. I may need more coffee to get me through it....I definitely need coffee to get me through tidying the house.. So this is me mooching to the kitchen to put the coffee machine on and I'm going to drink my coffee and go play with the buttons and fabric sitting on my desk. Can't get much better than coffee and vintage buttons can you?