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Birthday Books

Just another thought; birthday books… in a box of course!
Instead of a card.

I enjoy making these little accordion books fitted into matchboxes. I have beaten “publisher” into submission (on this at least- it still smirks from its lair) so I have a template the right size to work on. It makes it easy now, when I have a new idea to get it done straight away. It is actually quite good to be restricted by the page size when planning out the placement of words or stanzas (that focus thing again). I’ve been working on making nursery rhymes and stories and a little owl ; but recently did some “special birthday” ones and I thought they may be good for the shop, as custom options…

Here are some I prepared earlier… 21years…of shoes

matchbox book 21 years

21year birthday book

birthday book

shoes - birthday matchbox book

and lots of ducks!

ducks matchbox birthday book

yellow ducks concertina accordian

yellow ducks green matchbox birthday book

yellow ducklings

yellow duck feather trim

(it was a long story!)
Any thoughts welcome…

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Well – Tinkerbell did go to the ball, or Never Never Land…

Fairy Dress

The dress was a success, and has therefore moved off the ***(insert expletive of choice) *** sewing list, to the “I made it, yeah!” list.

sewing machine

green net

Just a tip, if using a (stretchy) leotard as a base for a (gathered and stiff) tutu, looks like a good idea; make sure the model is on hand to fit it on at all times! Otherwise you need a willing pair of hands to hold it into stretched mode whilst you fight with the gathers to pin them on. Not to mention while you herringbone petal points all round.
Such fun! Not really. More a labour of love.
The shoes were a labour of love too, but much more fun and we all agree looked fabulous. If only you could wear shoes like this everyday… then we would all feel like Tinkerbell.

TinkerBell Shoes

pompom shoes

I hand crocheted the pompoms with eyelash yarn. They were made as little spheres and then I stuffed them; I think they worked better then normal pompoms but eyelash yarn is weird to work with, in the end I was going on blind faith because I could hardly see the stitches for fronds…

And then…

There were some lovely left overs – lots of bits of bright green sparkly net (tulle) and beads. Some of the bits of net (those not trodden ALL around the house) were put to good use in the last event – “Trees”.

We had tree sprites, leaf bowls and lollypop trees.

The latter two were made with leaf rubbings from real leaves collected onsite. All pleasantly eco minded – the leaves were placed under old envelopes and rubbed with crayons to get the imprint of their veins; the beautiful patterns looked great against the blue print inside the envelopes.

green leaf rubbing

envelope rubbed leaves

The “bowls” were lots of bits of packing card from Ikea, helpfully cut into cross shaped disks!
They use them to protect stacked china bowls, so it was quite nice to give them a new life as bowls themselves.

card leaf trimmed box

leafy bowl

We also made miniature trees with the imprints and wooden twigs and sticks;

wooden tree

but my favourite was the tree sprites. I have always loved making little dolls from found natural “found objects” and also from wooden clothes pegs. This time they were both combined and the children made some gorgeous little creatures.

tree sprite

green peg sprite

clothespin sprite

Met a nice lady on Folksy – we swapped lantern ideas, her illustrated calico ones are one of those “simple-but-oh-so-effective-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that-before” ideas.

http://folksy.com/items/519253-tealight-jar-cover

It made me think of making my paper lace lantern with stiffened fabric – hmmm watch this space.
And
I’ve sold another fabric beetle.

Alexander Beetle Pin Cushion

And a Beetle Matchbox too.

I have always loved A. A. Milne’s poem “Forgiven” about a little boy who has a pet beetle which his nursemaid accidentally liberates from its matchbox. I did a workshop with this poem and bug in a box idea and I enjoyed it so much I went on to make my own version (slightly more refined LOL). This is what the children made:-

Beetle Orange Box

Orange Beetle Box

And this is what I made:-

Beetles

WonkyGiraffe Alexander Beetle Box

I was pleased with the nice quiver on the beetle when the box is opened.

Beetle Box

Making the Beetle Matchbox was a bit of a side trip from the matchbox accordion I am working on now, a Dark-Dark-Story.

DarkDark story matchbox

DarkDark matchbox WonkyGiraffe

Yes I know Mary-Mary etc still unfinished but I was inspired by Halloween…

Yes I know that has past… but I was on a roll, and it is nearly finished. Anyhow it is a story book “not just for Halloween but for life”.

My Nan told it to me; and everyone goes “oh – yes…” when I mention it. So I think it’s fairly well known. I will try to get it listed today Here it is. . Then maybe I will have time to get on and finish the other two.

I love prints of all kinds; and the print making process.

I think it is the all- the- same- but- all -different bit that gets me…

Looking at various artists work I enjoy seeing how different colourways of the same set of lines and shapes affect the look of the finished image. I like monochrome and colours- simple and detailed, all sorts of print and processes. From a more philosophical point of view I think I’m drawn to the suddenness of it, the irrevocable mark. No matter how long it takes to conceive of the block- and the time it takes to create it- once the ink or paint is on, there is that “bam” moment (ok , sometimes more than one, I know).

But the thing is it is done.
No alteration.
You can do another one if you don’t like it
You can do another one if you do like it
You can do another one to try another effect
Bam Bam Bam!
Love it!

Children love it too; and I love the “Oh look! Another one – another one -and-another one….” Realisation that they can make the mark they have created over and over again. Magic!
While drawing is sometimes hard to feel happy with- printing is such a simple joy.

bam bam bam. Look what I can do!

After an unfortunate incident with linocutting during ‘A level’ art, I went off printmaking for years. So most of my printing has been on this simple level; with children as the excuse to do it.
Lots of “this is a sample “efforts that I secretly want to keep- even if it they are in poster paint.
Like these “I made earlier” ! (a classic Blue Peter children’s’ TV quote for those of you not grown up in the UK)

printed birds

I made them when we had no photocopier at the environment centre- people were always asking for colouring pages. So I printed these with paint, for them to colour in.

printed bird

printed bird

They are made with cut out sticky-backed foam, on cardboard. The foam was (I think) a kind of gasket; an unusable / left over industrial product from a scrapstore. I just cut out the shape directly into it with scissors as it is quite thin. ( Good job it too, because I was later challenged to produce a helicopter and a footballer! ) It is very useful!
Then I made these when the actual printing was so appealing they wanted to have a go!

printed painted bird

printed painted bird

We did birds, trees, birds in trees… great fun.
Later on, on “Apple Day” we printed apple pictures with real apples ( only the ones we could not eat because they were unripe etc. ). More about this when I have some pictures from Apple Day at the reserve, later this month.

Which brings me to a handy tip for those of you who are uncertain about the paint/ children/ home furnishings combo, and clearing up.
You put the very slightly thinned paint ( ordinary poster/school paint ) onto a *plate and cover it with a thin sheet of sponge foam ( mine is from motherboard packing boxes) . You hold down the sponge with a grid of sellotape or elastic bands across the edges; so it stays put. This can then be used as a giant printing pad or with brushes instead of a paint pot. I will get some pictures of this – it sounds more trouble then it looks.

I’ve had a table set out with these for a whole weekend “drop in” event- and hardly ANY cleaning up!

*You can use ceramic plates or even paper disposable ones if it is for a one off event ( but you need to make sure these don’t get too soggy ). If you cover them with cling film between sessions they will last for a few days too!

So no excuses now! LOL

and no excuses for me to do some printing, thanks for the encouragement Chantal.

Cozy Frenzy

Very busy with a lot going on – more real blog later – but just for now because I have the photos ready, some earbud cosy pictures for my new listings
http://wonkygiraffe.folksy.com

They are fun to do !
Ideas just keep popping up, there will probably be wheels tomorrow – Singapore Grand Prix !

I need to amend the pattern for them as well… to include the little leaf widget.

cosies

Wonky Giraffe dennis menace cosy nests

wonkygiraffe earbud cosy nest

firework cosy

A gorgeous scrap worked really well.

firework wool

This one is very stretchy; a kind of boucle with a retro colour scheme.

pebble cosy

And of course some seasonal fare:-
pumpkin cozies

halloween cosy in ivy

Peepo…

smiley orange cosy

And because these are yummy
Liquorice Allsorts

liquorice  allsort cosy

pink liquorice cozy

Butterfly Days

I’ve been working on lots of things – at the same time as usual. It’s a wonder I ever finish anything. I was reading on another blog about limiting the creative theme to focus the creativity; but when I have a theme my brain immediately zips about with lots of different variations or uses for it. I can’t help it; and it makes finishing things so hard. As fast as I start something and prove concept, I have another idea; and then it is tedious to work on one thing when I’m itching to see what I can do with something else. Especially as, like most of us, I usually have to put it down in mid flow, to “do life”. This is why I am so often in a paper, wool and fabric chaos zone- one I have a definite love- hate relationship with. Sometimes I long for a nice normal uncluttered home- but a soon as I approach this holy grail… in starts to creep another muddle as I try to “just finish off this”.

For example yesterday- an “at home day”; having excavated my table the day before.
Started in the morning- over breakfast.
Decided to get on with the nursery rhyme boxes which I’ve been dying to do since I sold the Baa Baa Black Sheep one.

Got out “Mary had a little lamb”.
Remembered where I had got to.

Mary had a Little Lamb

Remembered the look I wanted for Mary – got out old needlecraft book to refresh my memory of the crinoline look.

crinoline

Cut out Mary, roughly.

Mary

Realize she is totally out of scale with the lamb.
Remember him? He had a little side trip when I did the lamb jars.

lamb

So; also realized the crinoline Mary was for a “Mary Mary Quite Contrary” box!

The other style matchbox doll (here in my shop) had been my original thought – but I think her vintage pantaloon undies short circuited my memory to ‘crinoline effect’ and mixed it all up.

doll

Bother.
So redid lamb smaller anyway, as quite liking the crinoline Mary and getting on well – end in sight.
Took some photos as I am trying to get on top of this blogging-as-you-go thing. ( Sorry, they’re a bit dim; dull day. )
Decided to photo the crochet from night before while I was at it – pumpkin cosies.

cosy collection

See how this distraction thing happens…?
Peep Po!

pumpkin

nests

smiley face

orange

Waylaid by Mr. WG’s arrival and second breakfast cuppa!

Then, necessary housework. 😦

During tidying decided to prep evening ‘easy to do TV project’ while I was as it and the light was good enough in the “wool mine” (AKA spare room).

So sorted out some tiny balls of weird and wonderful marl boucle etc. that are lovely but only big enough crocheting for tiny objects (i.e. cosy, finally something to use them for!).

Daughter arrived for Tinkerbelle outfit and party planning.

Green dye session to dye purchased leotard from white to Tinkerbelle green ( win some; loose some. No need to cut out fitted underbody / need to have dye bath in kitchen sink for couple of hours).

Meanwhile… made some Peter Pan silhouettes to hang from party ceiling!

Fitted Tinkerbelle overdress dress toile in old net curtain ( handy in the hall in a designated “really do not need; to leave the premises” pile ) but it did come in useful after all.

– Fits. Yeah! Relief.

*worked out pompom for shoes- persuaded her old satin shoes better than new ditto for partying in. Or messing up with pompoms.

Dinner.

TV and bit of mindless crochet ( preparation paid off – yeah ) – some more cosies from bag of nice wool.

Made two!

Fell into bed!

This morning … Oh dear!

Tink stuff still in hall by big mirror (fitting remember)!

Mary the lamb, 3 pumpkin cosies and the two marley ones, all sitting on my table reproachfully!
One pumpkin at a jaunty angle on Shelly doll’s head – courtesy: tinkerbell!

Shelly

Hmm; she looks a bit like I felt by the end of yesterday…

So I’ve typed this over breakfast. Badly.

Wonder when I’ll post it… 🙂

Anyone else have this sort of day?

It is fun though! Wonder what I’ll do today…

Every picture tells a story!
couldn’t resist this one
look away now if you are arachnophobic…
luckily I’m not or I would be as traumatised as Buster ( my first little character pegbag).
We were all watching TV, and Buster had just remarked on how a snackette would be nice…
when SUDDENLY…
The worlds fastest spider dashed across the TV and wall, and around the corner, and straight into… poor doggies MOUTH!
Where it proceeded to sit VERY STILL.
Which was rather obliging of it- although a bit mean of me because Buster was transfixed in horror-
as you can see by my first photo (sorry about quality- took quick point and click shot first in case “S“ moved).

a Spider eating PegBag

However I took advantage of the fact that both of them seemed to be in a state of shock, to take a couple more snaps- otherwise no one would believe me when I said it was a BIG spider!

Spider PegBag

One picture is quite clear- you can even see his leg hairs!

Spider

Anyway Mr WG was delegated to remove “S”- and to carry out this brave action; he helpfully returned with a yoghurt pot!
[Hmm- I absolutely am not going to comment on boys and their well known great ability to judge size!]
I went and got a MIXING BOWL.
Oh all right, a small one, ( Family Christmas pudding size to be exact).
Mr WG would not pause (or pose “S”) for any pictures- but I did get this blurry one, so you can see “S” went off in style, and quite unharmed….

Spider

and legged it PDQ by all accounts.
Mr WG was rather impressed by the turn of speed as he had not seen the original dash across our “feature wall”.

( Incidentally, the latter absolutely not OUR taste; we inherited it. It is fast approaching an age where it counts as “an original period feature” and working in the heritage world I feel guilty about GETTING RID OF IT! sigh. )

By the way- if anyone is interested in what a pegbag called Buster is doing hanging on the wall…- Buster is was my first toy dog as a baby; he is the exact faded teal colour of the old blanket I used to make the first character pegbag. He ended up as the inspiration for the shape and name too. So how could I sell Buster Pegbag now?

He was just hanging there as I’m revisiting that initial look; I feel the latter pegbags have gone in a different direction and I want to see which I prefer. Hmm

Any comments anyone? The others are on the website, http://www.wonkygiraffe.com or in the shops http://wonkygiraffe.etsy.com and http://wonkygiraffe.folksy.com

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