Friday, September 25, 2015

She's Here!

Darjeeling hasn't quite decided whether she wants to take a bath or not! I did tell her she would have to take her clothes off before she could, but she convinced me it wasn't proper to be seen naked on the internet. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tutorial: Christmas Gingerbread Man

It's been quite a while since I posted a tutorial on here and Alasse's recent posts reminded me of this one, so with Christmas looming here it is ~

Required Materials & Tools
Template plastic
Sharpie Extra Fine Point permanent marker
Tan coloured 100% wool felt (which is available from Mad About Felt)
4mm wide (6mm total width from top to bottom of zig zag.) white ric rac braid (hard to find, but is available from Lace and Beyond or Alacraft)
Perle cotton to co-ordinate with felt
Perle cotton - red for mouth
Tiny black buttons for eyes
Tiny red buttons for nose and front
Threads for sewing buttons on
Sewing needles & scissors
Polyester fibre filling

Firstly draw a freehand gingerbread man shape onto paper. Once you are happy with the shape, trace onto quilter's template plastic or if you wish, trace around a cookie cutter directly onto the plastic. I always use plastic for making pattern templates as the size doesn't change with repeated use and you will probably want to make quite a few of these for Christmas.

Cut out your template, lay it on a good quality wool felt (it keeps it shape and doesn't stretch like acrylic felt) and trace as many as you need, allowing two for each finished man. (Make sure the side with pen marks showing goes to the inside.)

Once you have them all cut out, cut lengths of ric rac slightly wider than the limbs, allowing enough to fold under the edge, do not have any raw edges showing. Pin and stitch each length by hand onto half of the gingerbread men, in the positions shown below.

Now you can add three tiny heart buttons to trim the front as I have done below, and one for the nose. Then add a couple of round buttons for eyes and embroider the mouth with perle cotton.

Place a trimmed man on top of a plain man, pin to hold in position and blanket stitch around the outside, leaving a small opening where shown for stuffing. Do not cut your thread.

Using small pieces of polyfibre fill your gingerbread man, beginning with the limbs, then body and work back to the opening. When you are satisfied your gingerbread man is stuffed neatly, close your opening with blanket stitch.

You can stitch a little ribbon loop to hang them on your Christmas tree, or a brooch back so you can wear them, let your dolls play with them, string them together to make a garland to decorate your home, use them as stocking fillers or add them to the top of your presents . . . I'm sure you will come up with other ideas yourself.

Most of all just have fun!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Oh No!

Look who slipped into my basket last night ~ yes, another PF Bonnie with modded ears and a face that looks like she's lost her mummy.

Photo by Petitemarine
How could I not bring her home she is simply adorable with a face-up by my favourite Aussie Artist ~ Petitemarine.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Felt Distraction

I have always loved playing with textiles, I also like working with wool felt. It is so versatile and is perfect for making so many different projects, like these pin cushions.

These have been fun to make and a wonderful distraction while I wait for my dolls.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Just What I Needed

Thanks Dustbunnie! I needed that info you emailed like a hole in the head. It appears Fairyland is coming up with some new temptations which should be released in October. My first impulse was wow! Then I looked at the tail on the larger doll and thought maybe not, but one sweet lady on DOA brought it to my attention that the larger one looked like a Seahorse and the little one a Mermaid. Then my heart sank, how on this earth am I ever going to afford both?

Still I have managed to do a little more on my fairy, but of course she does need a proper face up and the hair was a complete experiment ~ I glued mohair curls straight on to a silicone cap.

I finished the dress last night from Broderie Anglaise and Guipure lace that I purchased earlier in the day from Spotlight, then I made a circlet out of two toned pink paper flowers. The shoes I already had in my stash, but I'm not sure if they will stay.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Fairies from the Dark Side

While I'm in this frame of mind, I thought it might be interesting to show some male fairy artists. The first is Richard-Dadd, (his painting left) and if you click on the link you will perhaps understand why my title is Fairies from the Dark Side.

The second is another long time favourite, Arthur Rackham. I have spoken about him before, along with a post on Beatrix Potter (probably on a previous blog, as I can't seem find it here). Once again, the link gives you his background and readers of my vintage will probably recognise his work (shown below).

Of course no reference to dark fairies would be complete without including one very special illustrator, so recent, that even the youngest of my readers should be familiar with him ~ Brian Froud. (You can thank Alasse for reminding me about him.)

And simply because I love to share, here is another more recent artist, this time from the land of BIG ~ Texas! Let me introduce you to a whole gallery of lovely fairy art by Howard David Johnson.

Now a little fairy of my own ~ she's a work in progress. I used a pre-loved PF body with the recently acquired PF Soso Event face plate and wings from Bambicrony. I'm not sure what she is going to have on her head, it's a toss up between some sort of cap or a wig. I think I will make her a petal dress, but that could change if it doesn't work out the way I want.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015


Rene Cloke
Rene Cloke (1905-1995) was an author and illustrator of stories for very young children. She also illustrated several books for Enid Blyton, which included the Three Golliwogs, Brer Rabbit, Mr. Meddle, Mr. Pink Whistle and the Amelia Jane books. All of which still remain upon my library shelves.

However, she was possibly best known as a painter of fairy subjects, which were reproduced by a number of publishers, including Medici (greeting cards) and Valentine (postcards).

I have long been an admirer of her fairy paintings along with those of Margaret Tarrant (1888-1959), Hilda T. Miller (1876-1939), Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (1888-1960), Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) as well as other illustrators of their time with similar styles and interests.

Margaret Tarrant
Strangely, these women were all British apart from Ida, who was Australian. Ida was born in Carlton, Victoria, the youngest child of four and second daughter of the Rev. Dr. John Laurence Rentoul, an Irish-born Presbyterian minister and his wife Annie Isobel, née Rattray.

Ida's first illustration was published by New Idea magazine in 1904 when she was just 15 years of age, accompanied with a story written by her older sister, Anne Rattray Rentoul. In the years that followed, the sisters collaborated on a number of stories and after her marriage to Grenbry Outhwaite in 1909, she also collaborated with him on The Enchanted Forest (1921), The Little Fairy Sister (1923) and Fairyland (1926).

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite
I grew up reading hand me down books like The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley, Dulcibella & The Fairies by Alice Raiker and borrowed Cicely Mary Barker picture books, so I guess it's little wonder I became such a dreamer at school.

Still, I'm sure it was those very same books, which helped develop my very vivid imagination, without which, I would never have enjoyed such a successful and varied career.

This fondness I have of fairies, elves and other fictional creatures, is perhaps also the reason for my loving my tiny Fairyland dolls so dearly. In my opinion, my precious Real Puki's and Puki Fees along with the newly introduced Real Fees truly capture the qualities of the fairy and elf beautifully.

Cicely Mary Barker
Hilda T. Miller
Tales of fairies, pixies and other creatures of the forest bewitched me as a child and I'm afraid, even after all these years, the realm of fantasy still has a strong hold on my daydreams and my heart. It's the happy part of my life which holds no sorrow, nor regret.

Happy daydreams to you all!

There are elves at the bottom of my garden!