24 November 2014

Skulls, Bert, A Book, Balls and Other Things That Escape Me at the Moment...

Hello Readers!

Today I have a few things to show you. This post will be heavy on pictures because I made 14 mixed media skulls and I just had to take a picture of each of them despite the fact they all look rather similar! I've turned 10 of them into magnets and the other four will eventually get a hangy device so they can call themselves ornaments. (One hanging from a rear view mirror would be cool.)

In the last post I left you with a picture of my work table with skulls all over it. That would be these skulls! 
They started out as chipboard food packaging boxes. If memory serves me correctly, I took 2 cereal boxes, an ice cream cone box and a mac and cheese box out to use for these. I drew a skull template so all the skulls would be shaped the same. 

Each of them has two layers of chipboard so they are pretty stiff. 
I covered each with black paper and then painted shiny varnish on one the side that would become the front.

I used old cd's for the mirror tiles on them. Cd's are not easy to cut with scissors so I got out my tin snips---they look like this:
The tin snips cut through the cd quite easily and left a cool little pattern along each cut edge which I really liked. I simply eyeballed it and cut the cd's into roughly quarter inch strips and then cut the strips into roughly quarter inch squares. Some are bigger than a quarter inch, some are smaller and none of them are perfectly square. I glued them on with tacky glue.

The cd's flake when cut with the tin snips. In that I mean the silver backing on the cd's. It looked like a carnival on my kitchen table when I was done making tiles out of the cd's.
It took six cd's to make enough little tiles to do 14 skulls.

You can see around the tiles where the black paper shows through from underneath. That is where the silver backing flaked off.

For the eyes I cut aluminum (from cans) into roughly 3/4 inch circles. I used a miniature Reese's peanut butter cup for a template for the eyes. It was handy and it was the perfect size! After cutting out the rounds of aluminum, I cut a fringe around the outside of each one just to give it a bit of texture.

Some of the fringe on the eyes is laying flat, some of them I folded the fringe up slightly.

For the centers of the eyes I used vintage buttons. Most of these were shank buttons.

Most of them are plastic. I cut the shanks off with my wire cutters so they would lay flat when glued to the aluminum.

On a few of the aluminum eye pieces, I wove some crewel embroidery thread to give them a different look. I would have done more of them with the crewel thread but it was a pain to weave that stuff over aluminum. So only four eyes are woven.

The teeth are a large plastic zipper cut into the correct length to fit on the skull.

The noses are puff paint on silk material that I cut out in a nose shape. I had originally planned on using the silk for their noses but the glue bled through and they looked like crap. So I covered up the silk completely with the puff paint.

The skulls are about 4 inches tall and 3 inches wide. 

The four that do not have magnets will become two ornaments by gluing them back to back so they are double sided. I'll probably use some leather thong as a string by which to hang them.
I spent a couple days working on these guys.

This is the little green leather covered book I showed you all in the last post.

I found the button in the button jar when I was gathering buttons for the skulls.
It's a cute little book full of copy paper pages. It has 60 pages total and is about 2 x 3 inches.

This is Bert. My sister told me I should have called him Bertha. She hasn't laid eyes on him though. I was talking to her on the phone while Bert was being made. She was prompted to call him Bertha because he has boobs. Though you can't tell he has two wooden beads on his chest unless you pick him up and feel them! 

His chest was way too small for the rest of him and I hadn't yet decided if he was going to actually be a he or a she at that point. I'd sewn his pants on him before I gave him boobs. After I sewed those two wooden beads to his chest, one of the strings went slack and now one of his boobs is hanging down to his nonexistent belly button!  
This little doll is hysterical in that someone posted a tutorial to make a ballerina doll out of a wire armature and paper napkins on the Envie Group thread over at AFA a few weeks back. I made a wire armature from that tutorial with all intentions of making a paper napkin ballerina. 
That didn't work out for me. The wire armature wasn't tall enough and it didn't look anything like a ballerina. I put it down for a few days and let it stew. When I picked it back up it wasn't destined to become a ballerina any longer. 

I covered the wire armature with polyester fiberfill, wound thread around it to keep it there and then covered it with flesh colored silk from a blouse. I sewed his sweater to him in pieces, as I did with his pants as well. I love to sew but I am no seamstress. It would take a long stretch of the imagination to call me a real seamstress. I wing it all the way! I just cut out pieces for the pants and the sweater by laying the doll on top of the material and drawing around him to get the size somewhat right. 
For his hat, I had to look up a pattern to know what the pieces should look like. I free hand drew the pieces of the hat and hoped it would all work out once I sewed it together. Worked like a charm the very first try! The red pompom on top is glued, not sewn. It is the only thing that is not sewn on this doll besides his eyes and the snowman's features which are painted.
 His hands are doll hands and his feet are Ken's work boots that are two different colors! I'm thinking on painting his boots black but I haven't decided for sure that that really needs to happen.
He looked somewhat like a lumberjack before I turned him into "Ugly Sweater Dude" by sewing a snowman to the front of his sweater. I have trimmed the snowman's scarf since I took this picture of him.
Bert's about 6 inches tall. And he does stand by himself if you can get his hips to cooperate. 
I'm quite pleased with the little fella!

Bert's pants are fuzzy snake skin patterned material that was once a blazer. I made this little snake magnet out of that same material.

He's about 5 inches long. I should have used felt for his tongue instead of acrylic yarn. He's filled with a plastic bead soup. If you don't know what bead soup is, it is a lot of different beads all mixed together. I only put one magnet inside of him. Two magnets would have been better. He has plastic beads for his eyes. I took those beads out of the bead soup I put inside of him.

I finally finished the last of the wool balls from the last batch I made.

A couple of different angles to see what it looks like after embroidering. There's never a pattern, just freehand it all. This one is covered in chain stitches of all different colors.

And beings I really enjoy sewing balls, I made six more of them to embroider.

The blue one has it's wool covering already. The green, orange and white ones are waiting for their wool covers which will probably be done later today. Those red things int he bottom of the bag with the balls are the innards of future balls. They are two bottle caps taped together with little metal bits inside of them. Not all of the wool balls I've made have the metal bits inside. Only the ones that do, rattle. 
There are six layers to a wool ball:
two bottle caps
three plastic grocery bags taped around the bottle caps
a layer of thick cord wrapped around the grocery bags
a layer of thin string/thread wrapped around the thick cord
a layer of sweater material (usually felted) and
lastly a layer of colorful stitching with embroidery thread

Wool balls, least ways the one's I make, are truly a recycled project. The only thing not recycled in them is the embroidery thread and even some of that didn't cost me a dime. I've made about three dozen of these things and have absolutely no idea what the heck I will do with them. I've yet to test them out as dryer balls. Not sure they'd hold up in the dryer for any length of time. There are no knots in that embroidery thread on the outside of them. I just leave long tails that are hidden beneath the wool covering. 
They'd make good baby toys. Or dog toys if you have a dog that doesn't tear up his toys (unlike Fred who eats his toys!). They look cool just sitting in a bowl on a shelf too. I just keep making them because I can't help myself! I'll figure out what to do with them all eventually.

And lastly we have another fabric basket in the works. This basket is made with seams cut from four different silk blouses, a cotton dress and that snakeskin blazer the snake is made from. It is crocheted. I should be done with this basket in a few days time. 

I'm also still working on the red ribbon basket/tote and the little houses are still in the kitchen along with the zipper roses....Oh and I've started another crochet project that will be done soon also. It's a marble bag. I'm planning on liquidating some of my marbles in one of my etsy stores and I thought a cute little bag to go with them would be a nice touch. 
Yes, I know. One shouldn't lose their marbles, but there are no rules against selling them! Though there are those who would argue that I don't have enough marbles to be losing any of them, let alone willingly selling some of the off!

Thanks for hanging around .... till next time....
Be good to one another!
It matters!

22 November 2014

Works in Progress and Some Finished Stuff

Hello Readers!

I promised I'd show you a few things I couldn't show you in the last post because I hadn't taken pictures yet. You'll get to see those things later in this post. 
First off we have a bunch of altered envelopes. I put out a call for takers of some plastic doilies I had laying around, taking up space and all seven of them were claimed by folks in the altered envie group so I figured what the heck, we'll just jazz up some envies to send them in!

This is another attempt at the galaxy print painting.

I still don't know how to make good galaxies! 
This is a 9x12 manila envelope.
Acrylics on 9x12 manila envelope.
This is the frontside

and this is the backside. Again, a 9x12 manila envelope.
This is the front side. Her eyeglasses have dimensional magic for lenses. Doesn't show up at all in the photo, but looks pretty cool in hand!

And this is the backside of the girl with the pink cateye glasses.
This fella's glasses also have dimensional magic for lenses. He reminds me of my old, friend, Doug....wild and crazy. May he rest in peace always. Man's been gone for about 27 years or so. This one is also a 9x12 manila envelope.

A fish for Mel! I originally put dimensional magic only on the fish, but I was way heavy handed with it and it was pooling outside the lines of the fish so I just spread it all over the front side of this 9x 12 manila envelope and called it good. Sorry, Mel. Your envie is a mess up! I do love that fish though! 

Unfortunately the postal meter strip that went on this envelope covered up a tiny part of the mouse at the top. Another 9 x 12 manila envelope with a doily in it. 

This is the front side of the envelope I made for my November partner in the envie group. I did make this envelope from the start! I usually just use a ready made envelope and pretty it up. This time we started from scratch with a mylar bag that chocolates came in. I've already eaten all the chocolates except for a few of the caramels. I drew the faces on separate pieces of paper and colored them with markers. They are taped to the mylar envelope.

There is a lot of tape on this envelope! A lot of it! All those lines are drafter's tape...the skinny lines. The rest of the lines are tape as well.  It says it is empty but it does have some chipboard inside to stiffen it up.  My partner likes the colors orange and teal together so that's the reasoning behind the color scheme.

I got a hair outta place and decided to rearrange the kitchen table, get rid of some stuff and generally clean it up. I like how much room I have on that table now! And as you can see, I've got stuff strewn all over it again already!  I added a shelf to the left hand side of the table and moved my paint water to the right hand side of the table. I may have to move those two things around and change them to opposite sides of the table when I do painting. I'm right handed and it should work out alright with the paint water on the right hand side, but I've always had it on the left hand side of the table. We'll see what happens next time I get around to painting. That shouldn't be a very long time. 

I unearthed these guys when I cleaned off the table. The fish needs a paint job and the four little paper mache birds need some wire legs. And that dish they are sitting in needs to find a new home!

The little houses have been moved off the table to a dish of their own, waiting on me to do something with them! I cut out some doors and windows for them last night. I used aluminum for that. I don't know if the doors and windows will actually be aluminum or not. These little houses are truly a work in progress! I'm wanting to Christmas them up a bit and use them as ornaments. I'm thinking the aluminum houses will never materialize into houses. Not by me anyway. We shall see what happens.

This is the little book I sewed together at my son's house last week. I still need to add a button closure to it before I can call it done. I have good sized bright yellow plastic button that I will be using for the closure. Just have to locate that button, cut a slit and sew the button on! 

While I was cleaning off the kitchen table, I was putting little things into a jar. Little things that I knew would come in handy for a mixed media work. 

That blue and brown 4x4 inch canvas has been sitting on the shelf in the kitchen for ages, waiting for me to do something with it! I took all those little bits and bobs and put them on this canvas. I made the white rose out of some remnants of zipper that weren't long enough for much. The red rose was made the same. I took the purple rose out of the pile of already made zipper roses. There's some yellow tulle there from the bumble bees I made a few weeks ago. A couple of ends of plastic bags that I was saving for a fish picture, some green eyelash yarn leftover from the ugly mermaid from a few weeks back and some other crap that was running rampant amongst the cups and boxes holding all my tools on the table. 

I like it! Not sure what the heck I'm going to do with it, but I do like it! I might put it on the wall in my bedroom. 

And more works in progress....that paper mache butterfly has been on that table for better than a year. And you all have seen those zipper roses more often than you care to remember! I'm going to get those roses off my table and done in the next few days.

This is one of the mug rugs I did while at my son's house last week. SOrry about the horrible picture! 

Here's a close up of the stitching. It has crouching, chain stitches and french knots mostly. I do love doing french knots! I really like how this little 4 x 4 (roughly...I never measure when making mug rugs) turned out.

This is the other owl mug rug I made last week. 

And lastly on the mug rugs, is the second sheep I did. I sent this one off the Oregon yesterday.

At the moment this is what is all over the kitchen table. I haven't decided if they will be ornaments or magnets. I'll show these off and tell you how they're made in the next post!

Stay warm! Thanks for hanging around till the end!
Be good to one another!
It matters!