Well, I think we can safely say the answer is D, so whatever your reasons for crafting your own Christmas gifts, here's some tutorials to help you out in your quest for a handmade holiday season. Just click the links to see the projects in question.
Zakka Life shared a cool tutorial to make a moving ballerina toy, that pirouettes her way around a tiny candy tin. You could replace the ballerina with a monster to make this project more boy friendly.
Gifts for Gals
Ornamentea shared a tutorial using simple silhouette printables and bevelled frames that can be converted into so many things such as jewellery or magnets, perhaps. Visit the Ornamentea site to download the free printable silhouettes and get the how to with the video below:
Make a great little gift for a hostess, this little apron to put over the washing up liquid, as designed by Camille Roskelley of the blog Simplifiy. Add a little note offering your help with the dishes and this gift would be even more appreciated by your hostess.
Jax also designed this key tag tutorial, which would be a great stocking stuffer.
Personalise a clock with my Babclock, clocking making tutorial. Just substitute the comic strip with something near and dear to the recipient's heart - a map, a photo, whatever you've got that's paper will do.
Gifts for Anyone
For anyone who needs a cosy place to read, this tutorial was written by Bonnie of Wonderfully Awkward as a guest blog post at Sew Happy Geek for a Reading/Knitting pillow tutorial.
For a smaller gift (Secret Santa gift for a work colleague perhaps?), this fabric key fob tutorial featured on the Sew4Home website is a real keeper. Of keys, that is.
Don't forget to visit my free tutorials page for more gift worthy tutorials. Now you've got the inspiration and the impetus, you just need the time. The clock starts now. Go!
I always start off my classes by asking each person what it is they want to get out of the class. Some people say that just want to have fun (which I'm all for) and others say they want to learn anything new while others say that want to learn a very specific technique.
I try to make sure that I concentrate on the things that people want to learn most. In my two day Ascending class at Blue Hazein Chesham, Buckinghamshire November 11-12th, we concentrated on face, fingers and toes.
I think that there were some wonderful faces that came out of that class. And I'm not talking about the faces we all pull while concentrating really hard. I mean doll faces. All the faces below are shown before having their eyelashes added. Even sans eyelashes they are looking pretty good, me thinks.
I didn't get a photo of Jo's doll face, but I did get a photo of Jo holding her very first cloth doll hand with articulated fingers. This was Jo's third cloth doll ever, having discovered cloth dolls only 3 months ago.
It was hard to say who was more excited about Jo's first attempt at fingers, me or Jo. I don't know about you Jo, but I felt like doing a victory lap. That's probably why I love teaching so much, doll making feels new to me every time someone discovers some little technique that makes them have an "aha moment".
For June, her "aha moment" came when we attached the head of her doll to the neck and the neck to the body.
So satisfying when a thing comes together.
Kim was most concerned about making feet and had a minor panic moment when she thought she'd made two left feet. But she hadn't. Panic mode over. You have to stay on your toes while doll making as it is easy to do something like make two left feet. Or even to just think you had.
Not everyone in the class wanted their picture taken, so some parts of the class will have to remain shrouded in mystery. I am liking the idea of being mysterious. I don't get to be mysterious very often. I almost feel like an International Woman of Mystery. I need to buy a cool pair of shades to go with my new image.
On my third day at Blue Haze, I taught my Dive Into a Book bookmark doll class.
Part flat doll and part 3D with little needle-sculpted toes, this class is perfect for beginners like friends (from left) Christine, Jenny and Carol.
And for friends Doris and June who are experienced doll makers, the Dive Into a Book class represented a way to practice their toe-sculpting, after having made their first stab at cloth doll toes in the Ascending class the two days previous.
So whether you bring your friends with you to class...
Or make them while you are there, cloth doll classes are a great way to spend your time. Of course, I would say that, as I teach cloth doll classes. I'll admit that I am a bit biased. But you can see for yourself that making little people from cloth really brings people together.
Kris and Kim from The DIY Dish shared how to make a gorgeous fabric mannequin pin cushion. It is beautiful as is, but if you added a head, she would also make a great Art Doll Pin cushion. Download the mannequin pin cushion pattern on the DIY Dish and watch the video below to learn how to do it:
Let your creativity take wing with some feathered friends. Birds make great decorations on Christmas trees or wreaths, but you'd be bird-witted if you didn't realise that birds can look equally good all year round. Here are some great bird tutorials:
Martha suggests making this beautiful nest as an Easter centrepiece, but as a doll maker, I just picture this as the perfect perch for a cloth doll. Or make it in different colours for a Christmas centrepiece.
Karen Bailey who writes the Todolwen blog has several bird themed tutorials to offer:
Even though I design and make cloth dolls, I haven't really gotten into the world of doll collecting. My joy is in the creation, not the collection of dolls. So, I wasn't really that aware of the whole world surrounding ball jointed dolls (known as BJDs). I first became aware of these pose-able dolls, mostly originating in Japan, China and Korea when Patti Culea created a cloth version of a ball jointed doll.
But I later started to appreciate ball jointed dolls for the delicious costuming and the expressive poses that their jointed bodies allow.
I wanted to do a round-up of free BJD tutorials, but in looking around the web, I found that I hadn't the least idea of what BJDs are actually about. Here's what I learned:
- when you buy a BJD they usually come to you bald and undressed and you have to dress them yourself
- people regularly completely take apart their BJDs, repaint the faces, put in new eyes, re-wig and dress them
Who knew! Well maybe you did, but I didn't.
I don't think that I'll be getting into BJDs in a major way. I have too much love for cloth dolls, but I found a number of these tutorials really inspiring and most of these tutorials will easily apply to cloth dolls.
If you want some more general information about ball jointed dolls, read this article. I found this article illuminating.
Make a Mardi Gras Mask with a video tutorial from Martha Boers as shared by BJD Collectasy:
I've only just scratched the surface of looking at tutorials for BJD dolls and as you can see, there are plenty. Some of the techniques are quite different from what you see in cloth doll making, but most are completely applicable to any style of doll making. I can see myself haunting a few BJD sites from now on.
Please feel free to link to my blog and tutorials, but please only include one picture from the project and include the name of my blog in your post. You are welcome to make any of the projects that I share for your personal use. Please do not reproduce my content or tutorials, in any language, without my explicit permission even if your intention is not to profit from it. Thank you