Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slowly but surely

I'm getting more and more things sewn for my shop.  Sadly I have yet to list any of the new items! I reallly don't enjoy the listing process, but it is a necessary evil if I want to see the goodies I make! I am hoping to get several new pieces of clothing listed tomorrow.  I want to do some clay work in the next week, but I need to get these new clothing pieces up first!

I think my next clay adventure will be some St Patty's day goodies.  I want to try my hand at our favorite meal for March 17th...corned beef, cabbage, buttered potatoes and steamed carrots!  Mmmm just thinking about it makes me hungry!  I'd also like to make some dark bread as well as another favorite irish dish: Colcannon.  Mashed potatoes, steamed shredded cabbage and crispy crumbles of bacon.  Oh yes sooo yummy! Of course there will be cakes, cookies and cupcakes too!

 How about some pictures...  This is my dragon-chic from one of the Create a Monster packs.  I won't get into the irritation with Mattel for only putting one torso into a pack with 2 sets of other body parts...(hence the reason she has a grey body!)  Normally I use the matching grey parts as they are just plain smooth pieces.  But I wanted to showcase the wings with this top so I adding the pink dragon parts.  (Which are actually pretty neat!  The arms and legs are scaled and they have little fins!  She also has really cool ears!  There are starting to be folks selling cast versions of the torso in the correct colors so I will be getting a pink torso soon!!!)

Sorry back to the outfit!  The pink top I started back in GA in November.  I finally finished it this past week!  I used a Barbie pattern that I shrunk.  Initially I wasn't too happy with it. But now seeing a gal with wings I am realizing it's pretty much perfect!

The black skirt is a faux suede material. I used the selvedge edge with has an awesome fringe on it.  I love the way this outfit looks together, but have decided that both pieces will go into my new Mix and Match line.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have several tops and a couple of skirts loaded into my shop ready for sale!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Well Hi There! (lottsa words! ;-D)

It's me again!  Been kind of quiet again, but I've been working hard!  The weather was rather yuck for the 1st part of the week.  That slowed me down...big time.  I like to think that being born on the first day of summer/summer solstice/the longest day of the year makes me a sunlight loving girl!  I NEED sunlight to function and feel 'right'.  Well needless to say those grey days we had just drained my batteries.  So I stayed cooped up with my laptop, a book (or 3!) and my sewing. 

Two weeks ago I had a customer in my shop ask me to ship to Sweden...not a problem at all.  The day I shipped his order we began talking about a custom order!  (I really was blown away by the fact that he commissioned a 2nd order before the 1st one arrived!!!)  So the last 2 weeks have been spent in a whirlwind search for the perfect fabric and sewing an outfit unlike anything I'd attempted for Monster High! 

I am realizing just how spoiled I was living near Columbus GA...I had not only a Hobby Lobby, a JoAnns, and a Michael's but also a Hancock Fabrics all within 20 minutes of my house!!!  Well up here there in a Michael's about 35 minutes from here and our Walmart carries a small microscopic selection of fabrics.  That's IT!!!  The nearest town with a REAL fabric stores is 45 minutes to an hour away!!!  Oh the horrors!  I needed a teal and black striped fabric to go with the teal and black stripes socks the customer had.  And believe it or not, in the large shipping box (24x24 square) of all my fabrics, I had nothing like that!!!  Not even a black and WHITE stripe.  (I did play around with dyeing my own fabrics as I have several black and white fabrics, just no stripes!)

In the end I spent a day running around the shopping plaza 35 minutes away at every shop I could think of that might have textiles! I found the exact fabric I was looking for at a dress...however the dress was $13 and it was all BLACK...with a TINY black and teal shrug. UGH so NOT worth my $13.  I kept looking and found a few racks over a black and white striped pullover.  It was 100% cotton too so I knew I would take the dye perfectly!  AND it was only $7 for the shirt which was ALL stripes...ooh and some cute lace trim too!

Okay, okay enough rambling...on with the pictures!!! =D
Vann's Vision

Without the Jacket
 Ok so here it is!  Vann's Vision!  It is a horizontally striped halter neck body suit, with a 'vertically' striped double tiered skirt.  There is also a black faux suede military style jacket with teal cuffs and epaulets.  I've added a pair of silver toned dangle earrings and a smoky black purse.  My customer loved it as much as I did!

The original concept art for Vann's Vision!
This is the original concept art I drew for the outfit.  I think I did pretty darned good!  The bodysuit and the skirt are patterns designed by me.  The jacket is a shrunk down Barbie pattern.  (I like the look but future pieces will get tinkered with to fit a little better.)

Before you I didn't draw this...I have this really neat sketch book by  Fashion Angels . It has pre-drawn bodies and comes with a bunch of stencils for the clothing!  For someone who can't draw a lick, this is amazing!!!  I have drawn several more ideas for outfits that I plan to work on! It's neat (and NERVE WRACKING!!!) to draw a design and then bring it to life!  Although I think I will consult my fabric stash before drawing patterns since I am in a fabric store wasteland....oh how I miss all my fabric stores!!! lol

This picture is one I took that will be used in the listings for my new Mix and Match Collection.  Some times coming up with entire outfits (jewelry and accessories too) gets tiring or boring.  Sometimes I just want to work with something fun.  I decided to offer individual pieces at a lower cost. In this picture Draculaura (whom I think I will start calling in the books...much faster to type! lol)  yeah, Lala models the denim vest I made back in's stretch denim with a white ribbon bow and blanket stitching.  Frankie is wearing a teal skirt I made while I was messing around with dyeing fabrics for Vann's Vision.  The teal and black check is dyed the upper portion is not.  Ghoulia is wearing my Tiptoe Through the Tulips top.  I made this one a few weeks ago.  And Clawdeen is wearing another denim piece I made back in GA.  It's a pencil skirt edged in a double blanket stitch.  I love the way the double stitching made the hem flare out a bit!  These pieces will be listed in my Etsy shop this week!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Purple Check and playing with Resin!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.  Some days the words just don't come.  But I am here tonight.  In a very quiet house. The kids are all in bed already! 0_O Hubby is playing Xbox and I am trying to decide what to do.  Thinking about watching the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Don't get me wrong Johnny Depp is amazing!!!!  But Gene Wilder will ALWAYS be Willy Wonka to me! =D

I finally got around to accessorizing and listing the 2 outfits I made back in October/November when we were still in Georgia!  These were the outfits I made using a purple gingham ribbon I found at Walmart for $1...for a 5 YARD spool!!!! Abbey Bominable is modeling the dress that has been accessorized with a black oval purse with a white Cat's Eye oval stone 'clasp', a lilac edged black rose hair pin, a pair of silver drop earrings and a silver glass beaded necklace.

Clawdeen Wolf models the co-ordinating outfit.  The halter top matches the ruffle edged denim skirt.  I have added a fringed black satin wrap, and a hand made satin purse.  This outfit also includes a pair of Purple Velvet Swarovski crystal earrings.  (however those are for the standard earred MH gals, still trying to figure out how to make earrings for Clawdeen!)
I did some playing around with resin earlier in the week.  I had worked with Ice Resin last year and really liked it.  My intention is to mold and cast copies of some of the amazing early Barbie bottles I have collected.  I have tons of neat perfume, kitchen and bath styles.  While my results then were pretty good, the molding compound was not the best.  So last week I used a coupon at Michael's and picked up a box of Amazign Mold Putty and I also found a casting kit for babies hands and feet on clearance! I first played around with that and made molds of and then cast 2 pair of Monster High legs.  These will be my "lasts" for making shoes and boots for the Monster High dolls!  Hopefully this will allow me to us polymer clay and then make well fitting shoe forms! After doing just that I used the Mold Putty and made molds of the shoe forms I had sculpted and cast a pair of resin shoe bases.  (these didn't work out real well as the materials I chose to mix into them settled.  But they were ok for a first try.)  Since I had resin left over I filled some Barbie glasses...I made some martinis, water with lemon, a jar with a fish, as well as just randomly filled 2 other jars.  I love playing with resin but really need to get some more molds made so I can start casting those lovely bottles I have! :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's late, but hey it's still today!

 I fianlly finished accessorizing this fun green outfit! The skirt was one of the first Monster High pieces I made once I started sewing again.  I had paired it with a top made from that cute tulip material. But the front of the tip had a weird flare to it that made the girls look pregnant, so I decided to keep that one for myself and make a different top.  I know how I could have fixed it but wanted to do something different, since I already had something with the tulip material in my shop.  So after digging through my fabric stash I found this cute teardrop/paisley material that had the exact limey green in it!  I used some matching cording to make a halter top.  I trimmed out the armholes with lime green blanket stitching.
 Using more of the cording I braided a belt to accent the outfit.  In my remaining bead stash I found tiny blue and green speckled beads.  I fashioned a couple of dangly earrings.  Heck if those were bigger I'd wear them! =D

The last thing this outfit needed was a purse...I wanted something different...but what to make????  Then I remembered a tutorial that Casey of Casey's Minis did ,a few years ago.  It's a barrel bag purse!  I knew I had all the supplies and I knew this was perfect! I used some of the same sparkly green material as the skirt but stamped it with a large teal paisley-esque stamp.  I love the way it turned out and I think it makes a great finishing touch!

I'll be listing this one in my shop tonight. Then it's on to a burgundy/reddish outfit and I need to get started on the Teal and Black commisioned outfit that will be going to Sweden.

Last year I picked up a fashion design 'sketch portfolio' from Fashion Angels at Michael's.  It's designed for young girls.  The pages are filled with pre-printed figures and then there are 7 pages of plastic (sturdy!) stencils that allow you to draw the clothes onto the figures.  I can't draw to save my life so I thought this might be a good jumping off point for me to use in designing my own custom outfits.  Needless to say it sat and sat and sat...until last night!  I pulled it out and sketched out the rough idea for my commissioned outfit.  I must say I am LOVING this book!  I feel like a real fashion designer! =D  I emailed the preliminary sketch to my customer and he loved it! (that always make an artist feel good)
Today I discovered the bummer fact that my stock of teal fabrics was severely what did I do...I dyed.  Nope not fall over and croak DIE...DYE...yep I colored my OWN fabric! I felt like a mad scientist as I mixed up a batch of fabric dye and set to over dyeing some white and light colored fabrics.  As my 2nd batch was soaking I wished I had had some black and teal fabric. Alas I didn't, but what I did have was black and WHITE fabric, so yup into the dye bath that went too! 
I'll take pics of that fun bit tomorrow. For now I'm off to work on a burgundy skirt and then head to bed.  I want to be up bright and early tomorrow to get working again.  I am so energized and motivated it's not even funny! HUGS =D

Ready for the weekend!

   Considering what a 'bleh' state I was in on Wednesday, I got a much needed boost Thursday morning. I opened my email to find an alert from my Etsy store that I had a sale!  Woohoo, sold a couple of my cupcakes. The next email was another alert from Etsy, that I had a message. Turns out a doll collector in Sweden wanted to know if I could ship my Tulip Monster High doll to him.  Of course after checking the shipping prices I happily agreed.  While I was conversing with him I got ANOTHER alert for yet another cupcake sale! 5 minutes later my Swedish customer made his purchase.  So I skipped (ok not really but I was super happy as I drove) to the post office.
    I drove down the mountain to Michael's to return a set of markers I bought for my middle sons art class only to be told he didn't need the expensive one just simple crayola! (His list said Watercolor markers!)  While there I pulled up a coupon on my phone (LOVE that they are now taking online coupons through smartphones! Now I'll never be without a coupon again!) And bought a package of casting material.  I started off with a cheap 'lifecast' set, as I'm not entirely sure the Monster High feet will mold properly.  But I also found 4 new shades of embroidery blending filament, to use as tinsel on my Christmas trees for next year. Plus let's see some ribbon and other sewing stuff.

    I came home, made dinner for the boys and hubby and then got ready to go to dinner with some of the other Recruiter wives. Had a nice time, but honestly would have preferred to stay home and sew! lol  oh well.

   Amazingly good things continued this morning as I woke up to 2 MORE sales in my shop, including the teal and brown Monster High outfit from my last post!  That one is currently heading to the UK! AND I got another email from my Swedish customer asking if I could create an outfit to go with a pair of teal and black striped socks another Etsy artist was selling!  (there is something ridiculously encouraging about having a customer order a 2nd item before receiving their first one!!!)  So I spent the afternoon talking with him and sketching up a design!

    I also finished up a cute green outfit which I hope to photograph and list in my shop tomorrow! Sorry there aren't any pictures today, but hopefully I can share some tomorrow!  oooh hey how about these...these are polymer clay pillar candles that I have listed HERE!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Well darn...

Here it is almost a week between posts again. :-( I'd like to say I've been really really busy, but don't wanna lie. Honestly the last few days have just been blah.  The weather has been kind crappy and I've just felt well blah. Sadly I've listed nothing new in my shop (soooo need to fix that!), however I do have a few new pictures to share.

It started out with the fabulous teal and chocolate brown fabric.  I made a v-necked tank from it, with the intention of making a pair of brown leggings to go with it.  So I sewed these leggings (by hand) and well it took me a few hours.  Tried then on a doll and was horrified when I removed then to see her skin stained brown!!!  Yeah STAINED brown.  ugh seriously!  Thankfully between some acetone nail polish remover, a Magic Eraser and a light sanding most of the stain is gone.  I put the leggings in a bowl with a little soapy water (maybe 1/2 a cup) and microwaved it for 2 minutes...the water turned black coffee dark!  I rinsed and did it again, this time it was strong tea.  After the third rinsing I ended up throwing them into a small sauce pan with some more soapy water and simmering them for almost an HOUR!!!  I rinse them really well and then left to dry. It was with some heavy trepidation that I tried them on the doll the next day, but was grateful to discover all the excess dye seems to have been boiled out.  That being said I have decided NOT to sell the leggings as I'd feel terrible if they managed to stain someones doll.  So I had to come up with something else to go with the shirt.  I found some fun brown faux leather/suede and made a simple A-line skirt.  This outfit got a Swarovski crystal necklace, polymer clay bracelet and a cute plastic purse.  Hopefully this will be up in my shop tomorrow.
(BTW I'd like to thank Kathi from Beautiful Mini Blessings for the great post card of Birmingham AL on the wall as well as the cool globe on the desk.  Kathi sent me a big box of goodies that were too large for her 1/12th scale work, plus a ton of really cool fabrics and other fun stuff! =D)
This is another outfit I've been playing with. A few weeks ago I did a swap with April from April's Sea of Barbie Sweetness. In it was a ton of Bratz clothing.  Several pieces fit, but there were loads that were just ridiculously short. Part of the plan behind my doll clothes is to keep them more appropriate for young girls. So while I loved this tangerine crop top with these cargo pants, the original cut of the top was out of the question.  It took me a little fussin' and foodlin' but I finally figured out how to make it 'ok' in my opinion.  I sewed a blue 'body suit' into the top, so it's now a one piece top, that covers the midriff and tucks nicely into the cargo pants.  The purse is one  I've had for a while but it fit the outfit perfectly.  This one will stay in my permanent collection since it is 90% manufactured as opposed to being hand made.  (But I'm ok with that since I adore this outfit! =D)

Lastly I wanted to share this fun little scene with you.  My youngest son has taken to hanging out in my studio with me a lot here lately. He's been having fun setting up all kinds of scenes.  This one is a bake sale her did.  I love how he added steps from the table on the left to the sale up on the right.  he even asked me to cut him small pieces of green paper (which he added numbers to) for money!  He set up this one before the bake sale which was the 4 dolls sharing lunch! Love that little boy! =D