Pretty Nostalgic Magazine featured my Regency Silhouette Christmas Ornaments tutorial as part of their online Advent Calendar of free projects at this link.
Happy Regency Christmas!
Pretty Nostalgic Magazine featured my Regency Silhouette Christmas Ornaments tutorial as part of their online Advent Calendar of free projects at this link.
Happy Regency Christmas!
The Festive 2012 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine is now available for sale in my Etsy shop. I'm terribly sorry, but I have already sold out of all the issues of the magazine that I had available. If you want to purchase the magazine, visit A Needle Pulling Thread magazine's website by clicking the link. On A Needle Pulling Thread's website you'll also find a link to buy the magazine for your I-Phone or I-Pad. This issue contains the pattern for my Oops-a-Daisy Christmas Tree Ornament Elves.
The pattern and instructions for making these elves is included in the magazine. The pattern will only be available in the magazine so if you have your heart set on making your own trio of cloth Christmas tree elves you'll need to get your hands on this issue of A Needle Pulling Thread.
If you purchase the magazine from my Etsy shop, (sorry, SOLD OUT) I'll also send you a PDF copy of the pattern pieces and face templates for the elves. Due to space limitations in the magazine, the pattern pieces are reduced in size, so the PDF patterns will mean that you don't have to worry about resizing the patterns. The PDF patterns are only available when you purchase the magazine through my Etsy shop.
Click the link to visit my Etsy shop to buy the Festive 2012 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine or any of my other patterns. SOLD OUT.
When I first designed the Oops-a-Daisy Christmas Tree Ornament elves for the soon to be released Festive 2012 issue of A Needle Pulling Thread Magazine I had no idea how much fun they would unleash.
And I have to say, I had fun over 4 days teaching with 2 lots of fabulous doll makers at Blue Haze Arts & Crafts in Chesham, Bucks, UK.
To Kim, who calls herself my very own "stalker" - Kim has recently done my Mystery Pattern, online and in-person classes. I must be doing something right when they keep coming back!
And Simona, who I have privately dubbed "Defender of All Things Frivolous". Simona says she only makes "frivolous" things because why spend your precious free time making something just because it is practical.? Here, here.
Although Doris DID strike a pose in her Crafter's Apron made from my free crafter's apron pattern. Want to make one yourself? Click the link to get the pattern and get ready to make like a supermodel.
If you are near Ontario, Canada, remember that I am teaching this class in Ingersoll in Southwestern Ontario (near London, Ontario, not to be confused with London, England, where I live) on November 17th-18th, 2012. Click here to find out more about this cloth doll making class in Ontario. There is still room in that class, so e-mail me if you'd like to run riot with some elves yourself.
I don't know about you, but when I read fiction, I don't really see the words. I just see moving pictures in my head, that is, if the book is good and convincingly written. So when I read a period novel, my imagination conjures up costumes for every character appropriate to that era.
So when the publishers of Margaret Dickinson's latest novel Jenny's War asked if I'd like to read her latest book, I jumped at the chance. The book is set in London and Lincolnshire during WWII and so the review would fit in very nicely with my historical costume theme for the month of March, here on the Magic Bean.
Pictures like this were popping into my head:
Sadly, the cover of the book is a disappointment from the point of view of someone who loves period and vintage clothing. The girl pictured is styled in a very modern way. A floral blouse does not a 1940's outfit make. Particularly, when paired with an extremely modern hair style and coat. If I had seen this book in the shop, I'm not sure I would have picked it up, simply because of the style of the cover.
However, I would have missed out on an enjoyable read. Like when I read Margaret Dickinson's last book, Forgive and Forget (click the link to see my review of that book), I found myself sucked into the book quickly. It wasn't hard to flip the pages and become involved in the story of war evacuee Jenny Mercer. Jenny's mother had next to no interest in her little girl. When the opportunity came to send Jenny away to the country, it was more convenient for Jenny's mother, Dot to have her out of sight and out of mind.
Luckily the family home where Jenny eventually took refuge was the opposite of what she had previously experienced - warm, welcoming, loving and supportive. Interestingly, the Thornton family who sheltered Jenny were the subject of one of Margaret Dickinson's previous novels, Sons and Daughters. I haven't read Sons and Daughters myself (with its far more appropriately period cover, at least, not yet), but this book has been written as a stand-alone story. In fact, it was written in reponse to readers who wanted to know what happened to Jenny when she left the Thornton family. Obviously, I'm not the only one who gets attached to Dickinson's characters.
One element of the novel did give me pause however, and that was that I didn't feel that Jenny's behaviour was appropriate or entirely believable for her age at the beginning of the story. I felt Jenny's thumb sucking and tantrums when she first arrived with the Thornton's were more typical for a 5 year old, rather than a 10 year old. I would have assumed that given Jenny's mother's lack of attention which would have meant that Jenny was often left to fend for herself that she would have been more mature than her years, rather than the other way around. I'm certainly not a psychologist, but that element of Jenny's character did make the moving picture in my head falter while I struggled to suspend my disbelief.
However, I'm glad that I persevered as the rest of the novel did not disappoint. Jenny matured, despite having to return to her mother and her nefarious "Uncle" Arthur who involved her in their stealing and black market dealing.
Through it all, Jenny continued to draw and paint, having been introduced to art by Charlotte Thornton, a painter herself. I think it is so interesting that many of Margaret Dickinson's characters have creative souls. For Jenny, art was a solace and also a large part of the key to her happiness.
The other key was, of course, love. The love of the Thorntons, but most specifically of Georgie Thornton. Georgie had difficulty thinking of Jenny as anything other than a sort of sister to him, that is, until the end. I won't tell you the ending. You'll have to read the book yourself, but I will say that I thought the ending was surprising and brave. Jenny and Georgie were brave, but I felt that Margaret Dickinson was brave too. Not many romantic novelists would make such a bold choice for their romantic leading character. It was a more realistic ending. It was still romantic, just not picture perfect.
So if you want to take a page out of Margaret Dickinson's book and draw, like Jenny, take a look at some of these outstanding drawing tutorials. Although I most often draw faces on my cloth dolls, I do also have a sketch book, as it is essential to constantly draw and hone your skills. Check out these links:
Basic Anatomy of the Artist- Art School Online by Roger Elliot
Emotions and Facial Expression - by Jouman Medlej
The Basic Head - on Neon Dragon Art
Drawing the Human Eye - on Only Pencil
How to Draw Eyes- by Stan Prokopenko
How to Draw Nose- on Drawspace
How to Draw Expressions (click on the link and then click the image to see it larger) - by Lackadaisy on Deviant Art - read through the captions they are both hilarious and helpful!
How to Draw Lips - by Cataclysm X on Deviant Art
Drawing the Body
How to Draw the Human Body- on Neo Dragon Art
How to Draw Clothes (click on the link and then click the image to see it larger) - by Sugar Sugar Hyper Lolly on Deviant Art
Many of these links I found via a great list of drawing links on Design Your Way, click the link for even more drawing tutorials.
If you are looking to draw on some inspiration for either that 40's costume feel or for sketching and painting, look not further than between the pages of Jenny's War.
By the way, this is NOT a paid, sponsored post, but simply my opinion of the book. The publisher contacted me and asked if I would like to read a copy of the book as I had reviewed one of Margaret Dickinson's previous books. So read it I did. Enjoy it I did. I didn't mean to start speaking like Yoda, I'm not sure how that happened.
Inspiration can sometimes be elusive when you are creative person. But luckily they are lots of ways to get the creative juices flowing. Here are a few things that have gotten my 2012 off to a creative start, maybe they'll inspire you too.
The book that has me disproportionately excited:
Why this books is stoking my creative fire:
I had a vague thought I'd like to design fabric. I figured fabric design and cloth doll design could be happy bedfellows. I hadn't realised how much this book would open my eyes to the possibilities offered by surface design. Suddenly in my mind, I am Amy Butler. In my mind, I have an assistant and an empire chock full of aesthetic appeal. I am now enrolled in an Introduction to Illustrator course at the Fashion and Textile Museum and it's all this book's fault. I read about other designers and how fabric design slots into their creative lives in the pages of this book and I thought "I can do that" and the book even told me how. Move over Amy, make room for me!
The blogs that are currently floating my boat:
Why this blog is keeping me interested:
Kim Kight, author of my new favourite book (see above gushing) writes a blog all about fabric, all the time. There's fabric and more fabric, plus interviews with fabric designers and even a forum that you can join to discuss, guess what, fabric.
Why I "heart" this blog:
A blog I found, through Kim Kight's book A Field Guide to Fabric Design: Design, Print & Sell Your Own Fabric; Traditional & Digital Techniques; For Quilting, Home Dec & Apparel, Tara Reed talks all about art licensing, a world I never really contemplated (or understood) before. I particularly loved this post about not staying in a place that is not working for you that Tara just posted. If that doesn't inspire you, I don't know what will.
The movie that makes me feel positive:
You know when you start thinking that your day is utterly hopeless because your waistband on your trousers didn't quite dry before you put them on, and you had to spend an hour on public transport sniffing someones armpit that was sitting exactly at your eye-level and you didn't have time to get a coffee and you just finished your book and have nothing good to read, and the list goes on. If you are having a "bad day", this is the movie you watch. Anna Friel being cheerful in the face of the Blitz, unfriendly in-laws and an unfortunate lack of indoor plumbing will make you feel shame for ever having complained about stinky armpits. Plus, she sews. And looks glamorous doing it.
What's inspiring you right now?
Creating your own stamps doesn't need to be high-tech or expensive. You can use simple materials to create one of a kind stamps to then make one of a kind fabric. Here are some simple projects to get you started on creating your own stamps.
Make a block print pencil bag by creating a stamp out of Styrofoam (polystyrene) trays to print on burlap with a tutorial from Factory Direct Craft Blog.
Kelly Wilkinson at Make, Grow, Gather shared a simple way to make stamps out of adhesive foam sheets.
Ellen author of 1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projectsguest posted at Indie Fixx and shared a really simple way to stamp tea towels using a stencil brush based on one of the projects from her book.
Learn the basics of carving your own stamps from a tutorial on the blog Punkin Patterns, plus get templates for cars and trucks to carve into stamps.
Craft Leftovers shared a tutorial to make a logo stamp. This would be perfect if you sell things on Etsy. I'm not sure I'd be up to carving out all those teen tiny letters, but the stamped image is really cool.
The Red Kitchen has a tutorial for using an artist's carving block to create custom stamps and showed how you can use them to make custom labels for your handmade items.
Joggles shared a video tutorial on how to carve stamps from Speedy Carve Blocks made by Speedball 6.75. or you can carve erasers:
Crafterella shares a cool way to re-use empty thread spools to make stamps with this tutorial.
Re-use plastic bottle caps by turning them into stamps with some simple puffy paint with a tutorial from Pretty Little Things.
The blog Creature Comforts shared a tutorial to carve erasers into stamps.
Alisa Burke ingeniously used cranberries as a stamp, see how she did it here.
Martha Stewart suggests using salad leaves as a beautiful rose stamps. Sounds weird, but looks marvellous.
If you love the idea of designing and printing your own fabric, then you might enjoy the book, The Printed Pattern: Techniques and Projects for Inspired Printmaking and Surface Design. This book is a really quick read (that is, if you are like me and read a book cover to cover). Created by a mother and daughter team it covers potato printing, lino printing, eraser printing, rubber stamp printing, vintage woodblock printing, stencilling and screenprinting. The projects have a clean, modern feel that is really appealing. The instructions are straight forward with some templates that you can use to recreate the patterns in the book, but with lots of encouragement to try your own designs. This book would be particularly good for people who just want to dabble, but don't want to have to wade through a wordy tome to get started.
Although there are lots of ways to create relatively simple images by carving your own stamps, I am currently lusting after the TERESA COLLINS STAMPMAKER Machine Own Stamp Stencil Kit. With this machine you can make much more complicated images with finer detail. Apparently, you can even make stamps from photographs. You just use your home printer to create images to feed into the machine and it imprints your image onto a pack of gel which hardens into a stamp image. I want one. Badly.
So whether you want to make detailed stamps with a whizz bang machine or are happy stamping with a humble potato, there are lots of ways to make custom stamps. Break out the ink!
Normally, when I post a round-up of free tutorials that I've found and been inspired by on the web, they will be on a particular theme, but this time I decided to dedicate my entire Freebie Friday post to one artist - Alisa Burke.
Some may call it stalking. I call it admiration. Inspiration. Aspiration even. You can just call it what you want. I don't care. I am inspired, so I'm sharing.
Alisa Burke is a painter and free-wheeling mixed media artist. She writes books, she makes television appearances, she is a Bernina Artisan, she sells her beautiful art in galleries and boutiques. Graffiti, art history and fashion are all big influences in Alisa's work.
Alisa has so many free tutorials on her blog that I've just picked a few of my very favourites.
Alisa used stamping and scraps to create this free scrappy pillow tutorial.
Alisa shared her doodle pillow tutorial as excerpted from her first book Canvas Remix: Techniques For Creating Mixed-Media Accessories on Sew Mama Sew.
Alisa repurposed a black t-shirt to make this fabulous black and white numbers pillow complete with tutorial.
Upcycle some old fabric with Alisa's fabric scrap coasters tutorial.
Upcycle jeans into these fantastic potholders with Alisa's tutorial.
Use Alisa's tutorial to create fibre fill Fall placemats.
Alisa sassed up a plain baseball cap with patchwork. See how she did it here.
Alisa guest posted at I Am Momma Hear Me Roar and shared how to make this fab bracelet with safety pins, paper towels and fabric scraps.
Alisa guest posted on Whip Up and shared a great tutorial to make a monster lunch snack for a monster appetite.
Stamping comes up a lot in Alisa's work, here she shares how to make rolling pin stamps.
Create your own fabric using Alisa's technique of scoring pattern into foam to print onto fabric.
A woman after my own heart, Alisa Burke loves paper rolls. She painted these stunning paper roll angels and tells you how.
Alisa painted up paper rolls and old boxes to create this painted city scape tutorial.
When I look at Alisa's work I see freedom and looseness, an ordered messiness that it is all the more appealing because it isn't too perfect. I think Alisa's work appeals to me because it is in so many ways very opposite to mine. I see in her art my own need to get a bit messy sometimes. Granted, I get messy when I'm working. Blue paint in my belly button - normal. Dying my fingernails green -done it a few times. Paint/thread/stuffing (delete as appropriate) in my hair - an everyday occurance. One thread, bead or mark out of place on my work - never. I need to let loose, so I am really looking forward to the release of this book, Sew Wild: Creating With Stitch and Mixed Media by Alisa Burke. The book even includes a DVD!
Alisa talks about her newest book in this video:
Alisa is so creative and prolific that there are far more tutorials that she has created for you to explore. Visit Alisa's blog to be inspired all the more.
All the photos included in this blog post are Alisa's and are copyrighted, however, Alisa has kindly granted me permission to use the photos of her work. Thank you Alisa.
The Ingersoll Times Newspaper of course!
Read all about it! The Ingersoll Times, my hometown newspaper did a feature on me which is appearing in this week's paper. You can read the full article by the Ingersoll Times' John Tapley by clicking the link.
If you missed out on the cloth doll making classes that I taught in Ontario, Canada this time round, fear not - I am teaching at the Creativ Festival in Toronto, Ontario October 21-23, 2011. Just so you know, for some reason they spell Creative without the "e". Perhaps "sans e" is regarded as more creative? Or should that be creativ?
The exact dates and times that these two course will be taught have not yet been set. But if you subscribe to my blog by clicking the link, you'll be sure not to miss it when the dates are set.
If you wear spectacles (as I do) then you will definitely need a fetching case to hold them. And if you are looking forward to the summer sunshine then you will need a glass case for your sunglasses too (hey, I may live in Britain, but it is best to be optimistic). Here are a few free tutorials and patterns for making your own eye glass cases.
Better Homes and Gardens shares an easy felt appliqued eye glass case tutorial here.
If you really dig the folk art, felt, applique vibe then you might also like this glass case tutorial with three little birdies stitched on from Wee Folk Art.
Or one of my favourite craft designers, Betz White, who uses re-purposed wool felt to create this cute as a button caterpillar eye glass case.
Woman's Day magazine also uses felt to create a super simple eyeglass case that would be great for beginners.
If you like your felt a bit more funky than folky, try this felt owl glasses case from Style Crush.
Crafty Ady shows you how to use a flex frame to create an eyeglass case - no chance of your spectacles slipping out.
Not sure what a "flex frame" is? Here it is:
Lisa Lam of Uhandbag shows you how to get to grips with a curved purse frame with her Dottie Glass Case tutorial. If you are in the UK, Lisa also stocks flex frames.
If you like Lisa Lam's style, she has a new book out on making bags:
The Artful Crafter features this eyeglass case tutorial made from leftover upholstery fabric - there is even room for two pairs of glasses in this case.
Make this simple pieced eyeglass case using fusible fleece, as featured on Craft and Fabric Links.
Debbie Colgrove shares a very straight forward tutorial for making a fabric eyeglass case on About.Com.
If plain is just not your style, check out this PDF tutorial from Embellishment Village for an embellished eyeglass case.
If you are a quilter and prefer your embellishment to be pieced, check out this tutorial from Craft and Fabric Links for a quilted seminole glasses case.
If you wear reading glasses then this ingenious eyeglass case from Marmadaisy will be perfect for you. This clever pattern combines a bookmark with an eyeglass case, so you can keep your glasses safe right with the book you are reading.
If you like to repurpose, then check out this tutorial from Two Shades of Pink which gives you two ideas to turn potholders into eyeglass cases.
Use this tutorial from Sew 4 Home to create this eyeglass or sunglass case from Pendleton Wool.
If making bags is something you'd really like to get into, you must check out this book from Amy Butler - it made me want to give handbags a try. The bag designs in this book are so unique, but they are truly drool worthy. They are certainly different than what is available to buy commerically and what I mean by "different" is "better". Check out Amy Butler's Style Stitches: 12 Easy Ways to 26 Wonderful Bags
But then isn't homemade always better?
After reading all about moi, I strongly suspect that all the free patterns this newsletter contains are going to get you excited. There are several free projects that you won't want to miss:
- Eve Leder's gorgeous rainbow coloured crocheted bunny (as seen Soft Touch® Poly-fil Supreme® fiberfill packaging)
- Betsy Bunny a free sewing pattern in time for Easter
- a stuffed polar bear cuddling an applique penguin designed by Janet Maurer
- Meryl Ann Butler designed the Fast and Easy Decorator Pillow pattern
- For Amigurumi fans there is a free pattern for a Japanese Maiden that designer Eve Leder says is the perfect beginner crochet pattern
To see any of these free patterns click here and download the April 2011 newsletter in PDF format (on the left of the screen).
If you want to make sure that you never miss out on any of Fairfield's newsletters (and any of those freebies) then just click "sign-up" in the far right, top corner of Fairfield's website.
For even more free patterns you can revisit past newsletters from Fairfield.
Let Fairfield know how much you like free patterns by liking them on their Facebook page and check out all the videos they have on their page while you are at it.