Friday, 31 January 2014

Sewing with plates!

Hello lovely people!

This is just a quick post about using polystyrene plates to teach sewing to younger children.  I was given lots of plates from a family member and I took these into school with a lot of blunt tapestry needles.  The plates are easily punctured with the needles and a bit of sellotape was used to secure the thread on the back of the plate.

One child made a face which I found very fun and creative!

 Some children stitched pictures of football shirts, hearts, flowers, faces etc and they all picked up the sewing very quickly.  This is a great activity to introduce children to sewing and very safe because they can't hurt themselves with the needles.

Dittery Dot

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Bunny And Me!

Hello lovely people!

This project has taken some time to create and now it has sparked off another plan for craft club!  Another post will follow! :)

I had an old wooden sewing box that was a bit broken and I saved some of the wooden drawers.  I wasn't sure what to do with them so they have lain in the shed for a few months.  I was thinking of making some weird creatures and displaying them in frames when I remembered I had some drawers.  So I fished them out and painted it up.

I was going to make weird creatures but ended up making a simple pattern for bunnies.  I wanted them to be a bit scruffy so I used lots of random stitching to hold the edges together and stuffed them.

I stitched the face first and found it hard to stitch through the weave as it kept moving around.  Once it was all stitched I added some bows and a wee tutu.  After this I decided to give it some arms and legs in different fabric.

After making this bunny I decided she needed a friend.  So I made a smaller pattern and created another bunny.

This bunny is just made from printed cotton and had been decorated with some cute vintage buttons and a small paper rose.

Once the paint had dried I glue gunned a piece of fabric onto the back and used this envelope I had made a while ago as my background.

I then placed my bunnies in and worked out how I wanted them to sit.  It was looking a bit bare so I made up a button tower to fill some space.

Once I had done this I made some tiny bunting and glued this in place as well.  So here is the finished box!

And as I have said this has given me a great idea for craft club!  And I think the children would enjoy making something similar :)

Dittery Dot

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Stamp It Update!

Hello lovely people!!

I have been practicing with my stamp making and have made a pin and a dittery dot! :)

I found it quite difficult at first but I just took my time and managed to carve out all the little tiny details.  The arms are tucked behind her back just in case you thought she had none!

The face was really difficult and I had to do it as a few different stamps...

Overall I am really pleased with the effect and can't wait to carve some more! :)

Dittery Dots

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sarah Burford

Hello lovely people!

It has been a while since I've had a lovely designer featured in a post.  Sooooooo I got in touch with a fantastic maker called Sarah Burford, who creates these stunning dolls and drawings!  

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I grew up in the Midlands watching a lot of old movies, sketching, reading and painting my way through childhood and my early teens.  I took a bizarre turn in my last few years at school and decided to study performing arts rather than illustration or textiles (which was what people presumed I would do) I was quite exposed to the theatre as a child and I loved the magic of it and showed natural flare for it in school - it gave me the confidence that I lacked.  After college and university I went on to work in professional theatre for the next decade or so (Its a tough business and I also spent an awful lot of time temping.)  

I lost ambition after having my little boy and decided to create a niche for my still ever constant sketching and making.  I started a blog to keep me creatively motivated whilst bringing up my little boy but it started to turn into something very exciting when I opened my Etsy shop in 2011.  My little dolls and illustrations seemed to charm people - especially the vintage scene - so the rest is history.  I also wear and collect vintage clothes.  My favourite era for fashion was the whimsy yet smart 1930's and I think I have enough vintage clothes in my wardrobe now to be able to wear a little vintage something everyday.  I like to mix up my eras with modern high street knits and separates, as I think all one decade can look a bit fancy dress.  I work from my kitchen table at home in Bristol with the radio or an old movie on in the background.  My life has taken a few twists and turns but I've never been more happy than I am now.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Anything that evokes nostalgia.  I've always been obsessed with fairy tales, vintage children's books, the circus, and old classic Hollywood.  I consider myself quite the fanatic when it comes to old movie stars and vintage clothes, costume and glamour are also a huge part of what inspires my work.

Can you describe your design process?

Anything can spark off a theme for me.. it might be the chorus girls in a 30's musical, an interesting hat, or sometimes just a piece of fabric.  I then work towards creating a series of dolls and illustrations based on this initial theme.  I sketch lots of ideas then think about colours and collect the fabrics.  A lot of my dolls are tea dyed so I often have bits of fabric and tea bags in pots and buckets around the kitchen.  My aim is to try and make the dolls look old as well as carry a feeling of nostalgia, so I use a lot of vintage fabrics or stain and fray new material to make it look old.  I'm a bit like that with my own vintage wardrobe... I love a piece that's still very wearable but may have a small stain or a few holes, it gives it history and I love that.  I rarely use templates for my dolls and prefer to just draw their heads and bodies straight on the the fabric - that way every doll is completely unique.  All of the dolls faces are similar but their expressions are always different.  I make everything by hand apart from their legs which I run up on my machine.  

Who are your favourite designers/ makers and why etc?

I love the work of textile artist Mister Finch   I'm never quick enough to purchase any of his pieces when he lists them in his shop - they're gone in a flash!  I'm also smitten with Susannah's little dolls at  Her charming little handmade characters live on a lavender farm in Provence, how could you not be interested in her unique little world!?  I also love the work of Emily Martin at Her work makes me feel like I've woken up in one of Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree books.

What is your favourite piece of work to date and why?

A little while ago I made a large doll (larger than my usual pieces) as part of the off duty chorus girl dolls.  I never sold her as I lost track of how long she took me to complete and this made her so difficult to price.  She now sits in various places on our shelves and we've got used to her being around.  She an element of rebelliousness about her, like she drinks too much gin and has the odd Lucky Strike smoke.

I also have a piece I made a couple of years ago which is of a cat and it reminds me so much of my little boy at his first Halloween party when he was 2.  We have the doll next to the photo of him dressed as an adorable little cat. 

 Do you have any advice for new designers?

You have to get your creations out there in order for people to know you exist.  Like it or not social networking is a huge part of getting yourself noticed...  It does have its pros and cons but if you work it to your advantage it can generate sales and your audience.  I quite enjoy it because I work all on my own and its nice to feel connected with other artists who are also perhaps working from home and lack a bit of day to day communication.  Find your style, this can take a while - you need to play around in order to find out your personal design process and what ultimately makes people say 'oh that looks like the work of so and so'.  Put into it as much as you want to get out of it.

Any new pieces in the pipeline?

Well I'm currently working on the 'Little Detective' dolls which are inspired by Nora Charles in The Thin Man movies from the 30's and 40's. I have a few pieces of art work to accompany them and hopefully a new paper doll, which will be available in my shop soon.  I'll probably make a few more of these detective style dolls.  I fancy a few in big tweed pants and matching jackets or capes...a bit Marlene Dietrich style maybe, we'll see.

Any exciting news to share?

I've just re-watched The Red Shoes for the umpteenth time so I may also create some work based around a glamorous ballerina somewhere in the 1940's.

I would just like to thank Sarah for taking the time to give this we interview! She has a lovely blog which you can view here.  You can also follow her on facebook and buy items in her etsy shop.  All photo's in this post are copyright of Sarah and I asked permission to use them.

Dittery Dot

Thursday, 9 January 2014

It's a wee baby doll :)

Hello lovely people!

This is just a quick post about another doll I've made.  She doesn't have a name yet and the person it is for doesn't know if its a boy or girl she is having.  So I tried to use a neutral colour for the blanket.  I hope she likes it :)

I used some tinny pins to hold the baby blanket together and added some blusher for some rosy cheeks.

I used some pretty Cath Kidson buttons to decorate the trouser legs and the front of her dress.

Dittery Dot 

Friday, 3 January 2014

Rubber Band Guns!! PING PING!!! OUCH!

Hello lovely people!

I hope you have had a nice Christmas! I have :)  I've been wanting to share this post since November but couldn't because they were made for Christmas presents!  Adrian came up with the idea and we painted and designed the rubber band guns.

The idea came from an epic battle that was fought in his mum's back garden where everyone was fighting to get a hold of a nerf or elastic band gun and fight to the death!! Hehe it was fun and seeing as there wasn't enough guns he suggested that we make personalized ones for everyone.  I designed the girls guns and Adrian did the boy's ones.

So first we sanded the guns down then covered them with masking tape to try protect the triggers and wheel.  Then we decided on colours and I spray painted them outside.

Once this was done we came up with designs for everyone in the family, which we drew on and painted.  Then a coat of matt gloss was applied to help keep the designs in place.

This was his mum's gun, she is a wonderful baker and makes lovely cakes so we decided she had to have a big juicy cake on her gun.

His step-dad got a Leeds united gun because this is his favourite team.

His brother got a tri-force on his gun and his girlfriend got a bunny from Alice in Wonderland.

His cousin got a gun covered in rainbows and daisys because of her daughter Daisy :)

His step-sister had cute cats on her gun and balls of wool on the other side and her boyfriend had the logo from the band he is in, The Idol Dead.  You can follow them on facebook.

Everyone really liked their guns and had a quick try with the bands.  We were relieved to see that they still worked!

Dittery Dot