Sunday, October 29, 2006

Making Handmade Candle Melts from Home by Stephanie Davis

By: Stephanie Davies

Candle tarts or "melts" are all the rage these days! Usually they are single packaged solid fragranced chunks of wax that you melt in a tealight potpourri burner or in an electric tart burner. Because there is no flame and the wax melts all at one time, you get more scent which lasts up to ten times longer than a regular candle of the same size.

Candle melts are available in many places, both online and offline, however you can even make them yourself in your own home by recycling old candles. This serves the purpose of using old candle wax instead of throwing it out, while at the same time scenting your home with delightful fragrances. Here are the items you will need to get started:

Old used candles or candle wax
Two old stove pans, one larger than the other
A candy thermometer
A mold for your melts - this can be a metal mini-muffin pan, thick plastic ice cube try, or any other small metal seamless container that won't leak.
A fire extinguisher (NEVER make candles without having a fire extinguisher handy in case of accidents!!)
A few drops of the essential or fragrance oil of your choice (optional)

Once you have gathered the above items, begin by adding your chunks and pieces of used wax to the smaller pot. Be sure to remove the wick, by cutting the wax away from the wick if necessary, and remove all foreign objects. Next fill the larger pot about 1/4 full with water, and place it on the stove. Set the smaller pot inside the larger pot to form a double boiler. IMPORTANT: Never, ever, heat wax directly on the stove - always use the double boiler method as wax can reach flash points very rapidly.

Turn your stove onto medium heat, and allow the water to heat up and melt the wax bits inside the smaller pan. This process takes about 15 minutes or so. During the time it is melting, stir the wax frequently and continue to check the temperature of the wax, which should never go higher than 180 degrees. Once the wax is entirely melted, add a few drops of essential or fragrance oil of your choice to the melted wax and stir it well. Make sure you only use essential oils or fragrance oils (fragrance oils that are made especially for candle making). Potpourri oils, lamp ring oils and other products are not suitable for use in candle products.

As soon as you have mixed in the fragrance or essential oils, immediately pour the melted wax into your molds. You can use just about any type of metal mold as long as it is seamless and doesn't leak, however mini-muffin pans are ideal! Make sure that the mold is small enough so that the finished product will fit inside of a potpourri warmer.

After pouring your wax, allow the melts to cool completely which takes up to 12 hours. You can speed this process up by placing the melts in the freezer for about 30 minutes after they have hardened a bit at room temperature. Once they are completely cooled, remove them from the molds by turning the mold upside down and tapping on it. And there you have your finished candle melts which you can use at any time!

Article by:

Stephanie Davies is a 27 year old Missourian with a loving husband and an 8 year old son. She currently owns her own business, Mystickal Incense & More, and sells handmade candles, incense, bath & body products and more at http://www.mystickalincense.com/ .

Article Source: www.ladypens.com

How to Dye Your Own Yarn by Emma Snow

Authored By: Emma Snow

Dying your own yarn is not difficult and can be fun! There are a lot of methods for dying, but the one I like best uses unsweetened drink mixes, such as Kool-Aid or Flavor-Aid and a microwave. You must use 100% wool yarn (or another protein fiber) for the color to take. I’ve used Fisherman’s Wool with good results. To prepare the wool, make bundles of about two ounces each, tied with a short string. (I use yarn to tie my bundles, and then keep the ties on index cards with details on the yarn and amounts of mix I used for future reference. I experiment a lot!)

Soak wool bundles in hot water with a squirt of liquid dish soap for ½ hour. While the bundles are soaking prepare your dye. You can use plastic cups for mixing. I like to mix up a bunch in a plastic container with a lid and store it for later use. Start with one package of drink mix for each ounce fiber you intend to dye. Mix with six ounces water and two ounces distilled white vinegar.

In summary: For each ounce fiber:
1 pkg. drink mix
6 oz. water
2 oz. vinegar

Feel free to experiment. The more drink mix you use, the brighter the color will be. You can mix several colors in separate cups and spatter the yarn with a turkey baster (or paint brush, or eye dropper…) or you can combine different flavors to get a blend.

Line a Pyrex-type glass casserole dish with plastic wrap, and remove the yarn from its bath. Carefully squeeze out the excess water. If you agitate the yarn too much it will start to felt, so you want to be very gentle! Place the yarn on the plastic wrap and pour the dye over it. Make sure all the yarn gets covered by the dye mix.

Wrap the plastic tightly around the yarn. You may want to secure the ends with masking tape, but it’s not necessary. Squish the liquid around again to make sure all the yarn has been covered. Microwave the bundle in the glass dish on high for two minutes. Remove the dish from the microwave and let rest for two minutes more. Check to see if the liquid is clear. Be careful, as it will be very hot! Keep hands and face away from the bundle in case steam is released.

If the liquid is not clear, return the bundle back to the microwave for another two minutes at a time. When the liquid is colorless it is finished. Remove the plastic wrap and rinse carefully in hot water. Feel free to let the yarn cool in the air. I set mine outside on the patio. As yarn cools you may use cooler water to rinse. (The more extremes it is exposed to, the more likely it is to felt.)

When the yarn is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water and hang to dry. My neighbors know it has been a dying day when they see the multi-colored streamers swooping around my tree branches out front! On wet days I drape yarn on hangers and let it dry inside. Be sure to line the floor with towels or newspapers to catch the drips.

Just as few finishing notes: This microwaving method is best if you are dying a small quantity of yarn and want to achieve a mottled effect. For a more uniform effect, you can dye yarn in a large pan on the stovetop. I have also tried dying finished articles, which worked fine, although the color will settle deeper in some spots. One of the most charming results of dying with drink mixes is that the finished yarn smells something like its flavor. Yum!

Copyright 2006 Emma Snow

Emma Snow is a stay at home Mom, who loves crafts and is a contributor to the Craft Kits site at http://www.craft-kits.net/ . Emma second love is animals and she also writes for Dog Pound http://www.dog-pound.net/ .

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fall Leaf Collage by Rachel Paxton

Fall is a great time for kids to do fall crafts. Leaf collages are easy to make and can provide hours of fall fun. Kids enjoy looking for the leaves as well as using the leaves to create their creative collages.

Here's what you need for this fun fall craft project:

Fall leaves
Ornamental grasses
Flower petals
Waxed paper
Old crayons
Old cheese grater
Newspaper
Iron

This project can be done on two different days. One afternoon can be spent outside looking for different colored leaves, pretty ornamental grasses, and interesting flower petals. After the kids have a good collection, have them lay everything out on some newspapers to dry.

On a rainy day when there's nothing else to do or maybe on Thanksgiving Day while you're waiting for dinner to be ready,bring out the dried leaves and grasses to create the leaf collage.

Start by choosing the size of the collage. Tear off two pieces of waxed paper to the desired size. You will be pressing the leaves between the sheets of waxed paper.

You will be using crayon shavings to get the sheets of waxed paper to stick together. This also adds some color to the collages. Choose some old crayons in a variety of fall colors and use the old cheese grater to get some shavings from the crayons.

Working on a piece of newspaper, lay one sheet of waxed paper down and arrange the leaves, grasses, and flowers as desired. Sprinkle crayon shavings all over the sheet of waxed paper, so that when you iron the sheets together, they will completely stick together.

Next use the iron to press the two sheets of waxed paper together. Unless you're using an old iron, you should use a thin cloth between the waxed paper and the iron, or you might get crayon shavings on your iron, which will transfer onto the next thing you iron...believe me, I know!

That's it! These leaf collages look great hanging in a window as a pretty fall decoration. You could also hang them on the refrigerator, frame them, or even use them as placemats.


Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com/.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Wired Ribbon Pansy by Julia Camilleri

Here are some instructions on making a wired ribbon Pansy..

TWO BACK PETALS

Cut 2 X 10cm pieces of wire edged ribbon.
Overlap ribbons at right angles and stitch edge as in dia. 1
Pull thread gently and knot.
The stitched edge will be the centre.


TOP THREE PETALS

Cut 1 piece of ribbon 28cm long
Fold and pin as in dia 2.
Stitch the edge as in dia.2
Pull up thread gently and tightly and secure
This makes 3 front petals.
The stitched edge will be the centre

BUDS

Cut 1 x 6 cm piece of ribbon
Fold and Stitch as in dia. 3
Pull thread up to form petals
Bring petals together at base and stitch tightly together.

Place the two back petals (slightly higher) behind the three front petals, and stitch securely in place at the centre of pansy with matching thread. Using 4mm yellow silk ribbon threaded on chenille needle make a soft knot to fill in centre.

To finish off pansy stitch a few straight stitches around centre in black stranded cotton.


Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved — Written By Julia Camilleri on her "Julia's Place" Blog. For more crafting tips and techniques visit Julia's "Julia's Place" blog. Julia is a seamstress who specializes in crazy quilting, ribbon embroidery, and all things Victorian. She sells her handmade items on her "Ribbonwiz Etsy Shoppe." For more pictures of Julia's creations please visit Julia's Flickr site.

Covering A Lampshade by Julia Camilleri

Note: Julia posted "Covering A Lampshade" in three separate posts on her "Camille's Place" blog. It is being shown here in its entirety.


Yesterday afternoon, I started to cover one of the two lampshades I've been meaning to do for some time...

Sandra left a comment that she too has a shade to cover and needed some courage to go ahead and do it...So here goes Sandra...It really is quite easy.

You will need:
Bias tape to wind around frame
Fabric , and braid to match fabric, (Measure frame to estimate how much you will need)
Bead fringing or normal fringing
Quick clear drying tacky craft glue
Lots of pins



First off, start by covering the frame with the bias tape, this is so you will have something to glue the fabric panels to.


Next, take a piece of paper, big enough to cover one of the lampshade panels ... Place over the panel.
Press onto the wire panel to give you an outline for a pattern.

Cut out the paper pattern with an extra 3/4 inch (2.5cm) all around.

Now using this pattern...Cut out your fabric panels. My shade has eight panels.
If your fabric has a one way design on it...Make sure you cut the panels all in the same direction....
Now for the fun part..

Starting at the top of one of the panels.
Put some glue about 3-4 inches down on the covered wire panel ...Take fabric piece and place in position...Pin fabric piece to the bias tape underneath, pulling taut out to the sides as you go...Put plently of pins in, about every 3/4 inch or so.
Work your way down the panel... Doing a little bit at a time...Each time making sure the fabric is pulled very taut.
Once you apply the glue,you will need to work fairly quick as the glue dries very quickly.

Now go ahead and do every second panel, leaving one undone inbetween.
When every alternate panel is done, put aside overnight to allow the glue to completely dry.

I'll post the next stage tomorrow...


Lampshade....Next stage.

Before I go on to the next stage, I though I would answer a question put to me in the comments:
Do I line the lampshade covers?... No, I don't usually line it as I try to pick fabric that is not see through or flimsy, but I did line a CQ shade that I made for the "Through Your Eyes Challenge: If You Can Imagine It, CQ It". ...You can see the lampshade here . I did find it very tricky to do.
It had to be lined as to cover all the Cq thread and ribbon ends on the back.
All I did was...After I Cqed all the panels, I tacked a piece of lining fabric to the back of each panel and just glued the panels to the frame just as I'm doing now.
Calidore, left a comment that she has successfully used a glue gun to do her shade, I tried it but I found the glue a bit lumpy and the glue stick I used did not dry clear, it was a bit yellowish, but if you find it easier to use a glue gun , by all means do.
I will have to see if I can get better glue sticks, I must admit, the ones I
used were what I found in Dh's shed...



Remove the pins and with a pair of small sharp scissors carefully trim back the excess fabric to the frame.


This next stage is a little more fiddly as you now don't have the open panels to put your hand into.

Just repeat the same process as before for glueing and pinning the panels onto the frame, but be very careful not to put too much glue and have it swish out onto the next panel, just put a thin line of glue right on the frame rib..
Now leave the frame to dry as before....The glue I used is almost instant drying, and it's ready to use in a couple of hours.
As before, when the glue has completely dried, remove the pins and carefully trim back the excess fabric to the frame.
Now, it's just a matter of glueing the braid on the shade.
Back a little later when I've glued some braid on...

Drum Roll Please!!...Lampshade Finished



I'm back...

Braid and bead fringing is all on and the lampshade is finished...

Start by glueing the braid down all the ribs...In my case it was all eight ribs.



When the glue on the ribs has dried, start on one of the ribs and glue the braid around the top of the shade.
Glue the braid on top, so that it sits a little on both the front and inside the frame.
next, glue the braid around the bottom of shade...Make sure you cover the ends of the braid on the ribs.

Let the glue dry off again....

Then lastly glue on the fringing.
I like to glue the fringing around the bottom on the inside of the frame.
I have seen the fringing glued underneath the braid, but if I want to take the fringing off for whatever reason, I can without having to also pull off the braid....
It looks lovely as it is, but I'm tossing up whether to add some folded ribbon roses at the top of the shade ...

I do hope my instructions all made sense...

Now off to do the other shade..


Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved — Written By Julia Camilleri on her "Julia's Place" Blog. For more crafting tips and techniques visit Julia's "Julia's Place" blog. Julia is a seamstress who specializes in crazy quilting, ribbon embroidery, and all things Victorian. She sells her handmade items on her "Ribbonwiz Etsy Shoppe." For more pictures of Julia's creations please visit Julia's Flickr site.

Press and Seal by Julia Camilleri

Press and Seal is made by the same people that make the Glad products.

Would you believe that it is not available here in Western Australia, although I believe it is available over east from a shop that sells stuff from the states, I don't know the name of the shop, so if anyone out knows please leave me a comment..

Well, this is what I have done with the press and seal.

First I picked out this basket from Carole Samples book of crazy quilting stitches.

Then, I cut out a piece of the press and seal big enough to cover the basket I'm going to trace.
The press and seal has a right and wrong side to it, so make sure you write on the side with the logo on it and not the other sticky side.
Using a blue Sharpie fine point pen I traced the basket,
I only traced off the main outline of the basket, I thought I would fill in the detail later with stitches freehand.

Position the press and seal with the drawing on it onto your block where you would like your basket to be.
There is no need for pins as the press and seal stays in position by the slightly sticky wrong side.
With your chosen thread, embroider over the lines going right through the fabric..

Stem stitch or chain stitch as I have done, the basket shape.
Here I have also stitched in some detail on the basket, but I think it's best to do that later, after the press and seal has been removed.
I soon found that out!
Iris did tell me, it's hard to get out of tiny places if there's too much stitching over it.
I did not think this was too much stitching, but it was enough to make it a little difficult to remove.

When you have finished the stitching..
Starting from the outside, carefully peel away the press and seal, I had to use a pair of tweezers to get it out from underneath the stitching.
You may be able to see, there is still little bits left in there that I will need to get out..

In my opinion..I think it's great!..I would however be careful not to use it on anything to small, and making sure to just do the outlines that are necessary.

Now to fill the basket with SRE flowers...


Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved — Written By Julia Camilleri on her "Julia's Place" Blog. For more crafting tips and techniques visit Julia's "Julia's Place" blog. Julia is a seamstress who specializes in crazy quilting, ribbon embroidery, and all things Victorian. She sells her handmade items on her "Ribbonwiz Etsy Shoppe." For more pictures of Julia's creations please visit Julia's Flickr site.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Casserole Caddy.. by Julia Camilleri

With all the Christmas lunches being held throughout the coming month leading up to Christmas, I would like to share with you a great little casserole caddy that I use to "take a plate" with food on it of course.

It's so easy to make and it's great for carrying the hot casserole and keeping it warm till you get to your destination, I use mine for hot or cold food.

You will need:
1/2 metre (1/2 yd) of fabric
A 50cm (19in) square piece of lining fabric.
About 1/2 mt (1/2 yd) lace trim.
Wadding
2 Buttons
Cut a square measuring 19 inches of both the fabric and lining.
Cut a sq of wadding 18 inches sq, the wadding needs to be slightly smaller than the fabric sq's, so that when you hem around the edge it won't be too thick to turn.
Sandwich the three layers together and pin to hold in place.
Machine stitch rows about 3 inches apart to secure the layers together and give a quilted effect.
Turn the outside raw edges over twice to the lining side, and stitch around to form a hem, you may find the corners a bit thick, I start stitching in from the corners and trim the corners off, the raw edge will be covered up later.

Fold the remaining main fabric in two and cut to two ( 4 pieces)carry handles measuring 9 ins long x 3 1/2 ins wide ,
Cut one ( 2 pieces) cover flap measuring 10 ins long x 6 ins wide .
From the wadding cut two handle pieces, cut the wadding slightly shorter than the fabric and one piece for the flap also slightly shorter than the fabric.
You might like to round off the handle pieces for a nice look.
With two pieces of fabric right sides together and a piece of wadding on top stitch around the three layers leaving the bottom open to turn through to the right side.
Tuck in the raw edge of the bottom and stitch closed.
Do the same to all the pieces, and stitch around the outside about a 1/2in in to hold the layers in place together.

Turn all four corners of the caddy over twice onto the right side and stitch down.
Please refer to the pic, at this stage you might like to tuck in a piece of lace on each corner as I have.
Next place the flap under one corner and stitch in place, then place the handle pieces opposite each other on corners and stitch in place securely.
With the left over fabric, make a long tie, it needs to be long enough so that when opened flat the tie won't come out.
Now all you need to do is buttonhole the one of the handle pieces and sew two buttons on the other.
Thread the tie through and your done..

Enjoy.. These make great Christmas presents.


Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved — Written By Julia Camilleri on her "Julia's Place" Blog. For more crafting tips and techniques visit Julia's "Julia's Place" blog. Julia is a seamstress who specializes in crazy quilting, ribbon embroidery, and all things Victorian. She sells her handmade items on her "Ribbonwiz Etsy Shoppe." For more pictures of Julia's creations please visit Julia's Flickr site.

Glasses Case.....Attaching Frame by Julia Camilleri

I’ve been asked how I attach the frames to my purses..

I like to pick up vintage purses with frames from garage sales or Sunday markets when I can.

You can sometimes find very unusual frames on old purses and it’s a bonus if they are selling very cheaply, for just a few dollars.

Not all frames are the same size or shape, so I have worked out how to make up my own pattern for them

Open the frame and lay it right side up onto a piece of paper.

Draw around the inside of the frame, extend the line out at each side so that the pattern measures 5 inches across…

You should measure your glasses to make sure they will fit inside this measurement. This also allows for ¼ inch seams.

Now draw another line ½ inch above the frame outline to allow for the bit that goes onto the frame and a ¼ inch seam allowance…

I then measured down 6 ½ inches down at the sides for the length of the case…again make sure your glasses with fit, you may want to make it longer.

Cut a front and back, using this shape transferred onto fabric.
Cut two pieces of pellon for front and back.
Cut two lining pieces also from this shape.
Baste the pellon onto the back of the two fabric pieces;
Embellish the front as you wish.

Purse Assembly:

Pin front to back, right sides together.
Stitch the two pieces together all the way around with a ¼ inch seam starting and finishing at dots at either sides of the pattern.
Stitch together lining pieces, with a ¼ inch seam starting and finishing at dots, but leaving 2 inches open at bottom of lining to turn through later.

Now with purse right side out and lining wrong side out.
Place lining over the purse, so that the rights sides of lining and purse are together, stitch around the top from the dots on pattern, where the frame will be attached.
Clip back curved seam carefully.
Turn the lot through to the right side, check that the lining is fitting nicely.
sometimes you may need to take a tiny bit more on the seam.
Stitch closed the lining opening
Finger press or carefully iron press the top of purse..


Attach Frame:

I like to place the purse on the outside of the frame as sometimes the fabric is too thick and the frame won’t close properly with all the bulk on the inside.
Depends on the frame you use..

Fold and mark the centre of purse top and line that up with the frame centre.
Starting from the centre out, backstitch in position using two strands of matching thread or better still, if you have any, a strong thread like matching beading thread.
I like to finish the purse off by stitching beads over the purse frame covering the stitches.
If your frame needs a chain, just attach chain to clasp with jump rings.

I hope I made this easy to read and understand.


Copyright © 2006—All Rights Reserved — Written By Julia Camilleri on her "Julia's Place" Blog. For more crafting tips and techniques visit Julia's "Julia's Place" blog. Julia is a seamstress who specializes in crazy quilting, ribbon embroidery, and all things Victorian. She sells her handmade items on her "Ribbonwiz Etsy Shoppe." For more pictures of Julia's creations please visit Julia's Flickr site.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Process By Andrea Pratt

I'm almost there. I put the varnish on the final painting yesterday morning and framed the final drawing last night. I'd hoped to be able to pull off one more painting before the show, but no luck. While working on the last painting I thought I'd photograph it at various stages as I'd never done that with any of my landscapes.

I begin a painting with sketches and/or photos from my files, and draw the basic shapes quickly onto the blank canvas. Then I lay the underpainting down thinly. This is an important part of my process, though not always as successful as I'd like. I usually want the underpainting to be darker than the final work as I want its presence to be 'felt' and that's easier to achieve when painting light on dark. Though a lot of the process is intuitive, I do try and choose complementary colours (a la the colour wheel) to lie under the surface colours, to give it a bit of 'zing'. I use red a lot.

When the underpainting is laid down, I do a quick sketch, with a small sable brush, over the top in 'silver' (iridescent white with a little black). This means that when you see the painting at an oblique angle, you get a bit of shimmer around some of the edges of the shapes (impossible to show in these images). That's also why I use 1.5" deep gallery-wrapped canvas and continue the image around the sides: it creates the illusion that the painting occupies a three-dimensional space.
Once that's done I start work on the 'real painting'. I have no set order of process, though I often choose the more difficult parts first for practical reasons; if I can't nail them, then I can cut my losses and run! In this case I chose to do the top half of the painting first (trees and sky). You can see the underpainting peeking out around the trees.

At this point I got so involved with the painting that I completely forgot to take a next photo, and then one after that, so we jump ahead to the final product. After doing the bottom half of the canvas I went through the "this is such crap" phase where I repaint parts, sometimes two or three times (though with each layer I lose surface integrity so try and keep that to a minimum). For example, check out how the sky has changed between the second and final photos.


I am always awed by landscape painters whose work just flies off their brushes, nary an error to correct nor a hair follicle to yank from skull. One day maybe...

posted by Andrea Pratt January 24th, 2006 on her "Colouring Outside The Lines" blog.

Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved - Andrea Pratt. Andrea Pratt is an award-winning artist whose work is exhibited internationally. Check out her "Andrea Pratt" website for more info. http://andreapratt.homestead.com

New Painting by Andrea Pratt

I did it! I decided to forget about caution by jumping into my new series project with both feet and tackling a large canvas (48" x 48" x 1.5") FIRST. The following so-far-unnamed painting represents your average 40-hour workweek of labour. But since I hardly put in an average workweek I was still working on it at 8:00 on Sunday night.

I always start by making numerous thumbnail sketches in my sketchbook, working out composition. If it works small, then it will work large. I never make value sketches, though, because, as Robert Genn recently delineated, I am not a value painter but a colour painter. Values seem to work themselves out without too much input from me. Usually.






In spite of the strongly symbolic and abstracted elements, this painting feels like a landscape to me. The atmosphere and elements of landscape are all there, albeit reorganized and reinterpreted. I'm having a bit of a struggle figuring out how to name this one and the ones that follow. I usually have a formula, but this time I'm stumped. Any suggestions from those who've faced this before?






posted by Andrea Pratt May 29, 2006 on her "Colouring Outside The Lines" blog.









Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved - Andrea Pratt. Andrea Pratt is an award-winning artist whose work is exhibited internationally. Check out her "Andrea Pratt" website for more info. http://andreapratt.homestead.com

Phobia by Andrea Pratt


I love this week's Illustration Friday topic: phobia. Looking around for ideas this morning I spotted our faux antique phone, which reminded me of my own borderline phone phobia. So, I photographed it using available light.


Then I cropped and photoshopped it slightly (see directly below) and printed it in greyscale using a black and white laser printer.





Next I drew a grid pattern on the print and coloured a few random squares (but not the phone) with various types of pens and pencils.


After that I cut the grid into pieces and glued them randomly onto a piece of pink construction paper.



I scanned the collage, cropped and photoshopped it a little more and voila: an illustration of the anxiety I used to feel as a child when faced with the telephone.



posted by Andrea Pratt July 3, 2006 on her "Colouring Outside The Lines" blog.


Copyright © 2006 - All Rights Reserved - Andrea Pratt. Andrea Pratt is an award-winning artist whose work is exhibited internationally. Check out her "Andrea Pratt" website for more info. http://andreapratt.homestead.com

All About Cinnamon Dough by Megan Tucker

CINNAMON DOUGH


It's getting close to Christmas!! (I can hear you all groaning now!) Seems like it comes earlier and earlier every year! There are lots of things I LOVE about the season though and one of the biggest is passing down traditions and starting our own with the kids! One of our traditions is making handmade ornaments each year. The kids have come up with some fun ideas-like the year we took all those mismatched socks (Like the lost ones the washer eats!) and tea dyed them and hung them on the tree with mini clothes pins! We've done beading ornaments, paper ornaments, filled plastic ornaments, painted ornaments, but the one my kids love to do EVERY year is making cinnamon dough ornaments!!

There are TONS of recipes out there for this type of dough-I wanted to provide you with some links and some ideas for these, too! (Just a reminder-make sure you put a hole in the ornament before you bake or air dry them! We had lots of "bowls" of ornaments one year as we forgot that one step!)

This first recipe is one that I use quite a bit. For Christmas, we make some gingerbread ornies and put each one in a bag with a topper with the recipe and send them in with my kids for their classmates! Nothing better than passing a tradition on to another family!

GINGERBREAD DOUGH ORNAMENTS
3 TBS. SHORTENING
3/4 CUP WATER
1/2 CUP MOLASSES
3 1/2 CUPS FLOUR
1/2 CUP SUGAR
1 TSP. BAKING SODA
1 TSP EACH GROUND CLOVES, CINNAMON AND GINGER

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350 DEGREES
BEAT SHORTENING AND SUGAR TOGETHER UNTIL LIGHT AND FLUFFY.
STIR IN MOLASSES. SIFT THE DRY INGREDIENTS TOGETHER. STIR THEM INTO SHORTENING MIXTURE IN 3 PARTS ALTERNATING WITH A 1/4 CUP OF WATER EACH TIME. DOUGH WILL BE STIFF.
USE CINNAMON TO DUST COUNTERTOP AND ROLL OUT DOUGH TO ABOUT 1/4 INCH THICKNESS...USE COOKIE CUTTERS TO CUT OUT YOUR SHAPES. USE A STRAW TO POKE A HOLE FOR HANGING. COOK ON A COOKIE SHEET FOR 20 MIN. THEN TURN OFF OVEN AND LET COOL IN OVEN-YOU MAY NEED TO FLIP THESE A FEW TIMES. LET COOKIES AIR DRY FOR A DAY OR SO. YOU CAN PAINT THESE WITH ACRYLIC PAINT SEAL THE FRONT (SO YOU CAN STILL SMELL THE BACKS!) WITH MODGE PODGE OR POLYURETHANE SEALER OR (LET MOM OR DAD) DIP INTO MELTED CANDLE WAX TO SEAL AND SCENT.
*If you want a lighter colored gingerman, substitute LIGHT CORN SYRUP for the MOLASSES or go half and half. You can also use WHEAT FLOUR for a different look! If you want some PUFFY ornaments, substitute 1/2 the regular flour with self rising flour!

This second recipe is from Wendy at Simply Cute Crafts...She is in the process of adding more craft projects to her sight but check out her ADORABLE diaper cakes! www.simplycutediapercakes.com

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Salt (I use Kosher for a coarser look)
1/2 Cup Cinnamon
1 TBS Corn Starch
3/4 to 1 Cup Warm Water
Fragrance Oil (Optional)

I sift all of the dry ingredients together and then add the warm water a little at a time until you get the right consistency. If it's too sticky - add a little more flour. If it's crumbly - add a little more water.Knead for about 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth......if using Kosher salt it won't feel completely smooth. Then let is sit for about 30 minutes.....either in a zip loc bag or plastic container with a lid. You can let it sit on the counter top or the fridge. Then roll out to desired thickness 1/4 to 3/4 and start cookie cutting away or use a sharp knife and do them freehand.....that's how I do my stars, moons and kitties!Now I let mine dry on a cookie sheet and flip them about twice a day. Now you can dry them in the oven at a low temp 150 degrees or air dry them.

It usually take about 3-4 days to air dry, but can take longer depending on the thickness of the ornie.

You can wax dip them or I use Modge Podge Glossy and Brush that all over them to give them a glossy waxy look.

Twigs of Twigs & Sprigs has a great recipe on her sight
http://twigs-n-sprigs.safeshopper.com/133/cat133.htm?981

Susan of Simple Kneads has a recipe on her sight but she also sells a mix that you just add wet ingredients to-check our her sight for TONS of great ideas and patterns!
http://www.simplecountrypleasures.com/tipsnhints1.htm Susan's dough smells like cinnamon powder or sticks!

Rochelle from CinnaMinnies also sells her mix from her sight. She also sells kits that include her Cinnamon Clay, oil and a cookie cutter along with her tips and hints! Rochelle's dough is a SPICY cinnamon (think Red Hots)!!
http://www.cinna-minnies.com/

Here are links to some other recipes with some great ideas in there, too:
http://www.kidsdomain.com/craft/dough2.html
http://cookie.allrecipes.com/az/NonEdibleGingerbreadMen.asp
http://boards.hgtv.com/groupee/forums/a/tpc/f/4004031632/m/5021081042http://www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/christmasfun/kids.htm
http://www.recipegoldmine.com/crafts/crafts42.html

I like to use mini cookie cutters to cut out small versions of trees, hearts, stars, angels, gingers etc...and then I add them to potpourri or I put them in a mason jar! There are TONS of ideas that you can make besides ornaments!

Another dough that I like to use is Salt Dough. Here is a great site with a recipe and lots of ideas!
http://www.multihobbies.com/saltdough/index.htm

You can vary this recipe by using wheat flour and adding cinnamon or ground cloves to it. I find that if I dissolve the salt in hot water first it helps it have a smoother texture! If you want puffier ornaments substitute half the regular flour with SELF RISING flour. You can use some modge podge or polyurethane to seal these or you can dip them in scented wax.

Copyright © 2005—All Rights Reserved - Written by Megan Tucker. Megan is a professional crafter and the owner of AmericanPrim.com. Visit her website at http://www.americanprim.com/store/Default.asp/

Dollmaking 101 by Megan Tucker

Doll Making 101


The tools of the trade:
Sewing machine (obviously!) & sewing supplies (Quality thread, seam ripper, pins etc.)
Muslin
Fabric for dress, pantaloons, apron, slip etc....
Stuffing (and a pencil, chopstick, wooden spoon handle, dowel etc. help stuff)
Embroidery thread, yarn, wool etc. (for hair)
Doll making needle (I like the 5" ones-looks like a regular needle-just MUCH longer)
Buttons (for eyes or for decoration)
Barn Red paint or regular powder blush & a brush (for cheeks!)
Paint for shoes
Fine grain sand paper

OPTIONAL:
Kitty Litter, Poly Pellets etc. for weighting your dolls
Accessories-Flags, baskets, rusty keys, etc. to "customize" your doll
Candle Oil for scenting (see Recipe at end of article)
Turning Tubes or hemostats for turning
Tea or Coffee for staining



SOME THINGS TO REMEMBER:
*If you are not an experienced doll maker-buy some patterns! There are a TON of dollmakers out there who make easy to follow patterns that are chock full of diagrams and tips! This is a great way to learn shortcuts, to learn new techniques and to try different types of designs!
*Remember that you are just starting off...I am showing you a picture of my very first doll-no laughing now! 3 years later-I am designing my OWN dolls!


*Sewing dollies takes time-so TAKE YOUR TIME! I used to line my dolls up and make them assembly line fashion-suddenly the dolls started looking ALIKE! I wanted UNIQUE dolls so I started concentrating on doing one at a time!
*Some folks like their dolls to have a "theme"...Your fabric can inspire you-red, white & blue fabric for a patriotic doll, reproduction feed sacks for a mammy doll etc. Don't forget the accessories! A flag, a basket, an animal etc.
*When I first started out I used the cheapest Muslin that I could find-and that worked O.K.! Then I started trying different types and now I use the muslin that is already TeaStained. You can find this right next to the other muslin at Walmart or Joanns or other fabric stores. I use it because it has a tighter weave and doesn't unravel, tear or pucker as easily! It is the perfect shade for my ShabbyChic dolls but I can still stain it to make it even more prim and grubby!
*Here's a hint for epatterns...Print out the directions on regular paper but print out the pattern pieces on cardstock...Then you just have to cut them out and trace onto muslin!
*Every time that you trace a doll piece it gets BIGGER! I remember buying a doll made from one of my favorite designers and it was so much more petite than mine! But I was adding size by tracing around the original pattern pieces, then tracing that onto cardstock and then tracing the pieces onto the muslin! No wonder my doll looked like an amazon!
*You can use a variety of items for tracing your pieces-some use a mark-b-gone pen, colored pencils, carbon paper-I just use a regular No 2 pencil-slightly dull so it won't snag.

TEA OR COFFEE STAINING:
*Experiment to find the "recipe" that works for you. Remember that coffee will give a much darker look especially if you bake the doll in the oven. (Bake on the LOWEST setting for 10-15 minutes at a time-

KEEP AN EYE ON THE DOLL or set the timer!)
*I usually stain a couple yards of muslin at a time but if you are going to stain your dolls individually make sure you do it before you put on the face or hair (the coffee or tea makes the hair stiff and will stain the color of the floss) and DO NOT put your doll in the oven if it has poly pellets or any other weighting material in it! Buttons may also melt in the oven!

PAINTING YOUR DOLLS:
You can use either black or brown (I like burnt umber) craft acrylic paints. You don't need to add a fabric medium to the paint. There is no need to paint the entire doll, as the clothes will cover much of it. Some folks do-some folks don't. Apply one to two coats, let dry and sand LIGHTLY using fine grain sandpaper.

ONTO THE DOLL MAKING...
*Lay your pattern pieces out on the muslin-arrange them so that you use the least amount of muslin but make sure you leave room around the pieces to cut! The traced lines will be your sew lines! Sew the pieces according to the directions-leaving open where indicated or on the fold. Some folks will double sew the neck for added stability to prevent against "blow-outs." Trim all seams to 1/4" or less-clipping your curves and corners. (you can also use pinking shears for this) *Before you turn your body piece right side out, I recommend putting in a box seam to help your doll sit better. Match the bottom seam up with the side seam and sew across. Clip 1/4" from sew line.


*Turn all pieces right sides out-this is where the turning tubes or hemostats come in handy!
*Cut a slit through one layer of fabric on the body. If you are going to weight your doll pour in the poly pellets or use a snack size ziploc bag filled with kitty litter, sand, beans or whatever you use to weight your dolls. (The ziploc prevents moisture and bugs from invading your doll! Place stuffing around the bag and continue to stuff the body. Whipstitch the opening closed.



STUFFINGI like to use a wooden chopstick for stuffing my dolls...I spray the doll part lightly with warm water and use SMALL pieces of stuffing! Spraying with water will make the fabric shrink a bit and using small pieces of stuffing ensures smooth seams. Stuff only to where indicated on pattern. If your doll has a long narrow neck you can use a small dowel or chopstick to stabilize her neck. Push the chopstick up into her head and stuff around it. Make sure the chopstick extends into her chest.
*Once I have my pieces stuffed I like to paint the shoes before I attach the legs to the body. Follow the pattern diagrams. I let the paint dry and sand LIGHTLY with fine grain sandpaper. Some patterns have laces for the shoes-mark where the laces will go. I use 6 strands of embroidery floss or crochet thread.

THE FACE & HAIR
* I like to blush my doll's cheeks first-that way I won't get paint or blush all over the doll's nose and eyelashes. If you are using paint to blush the cheeks use a dry brush method. Put a small bit of paint on a paper plate and then dip a DRY stencil brush into it. Using a circular motion, dab it onto a paper towel until most of the paint is gone and it BARELY leaves a mark. Very lightly brush onto the doll's cheeks in a light back and forth motion. Remember, you can always add more but you can't take it off if you put on too much!
*I also like to do the face and hair before I attach the legs and arms. Following the pattern guidelines trace the face onto the muslin LIGHTLY. If you are using embroidery floss for the nose-use however many strands of floss the pattern indicates and your 5" doll needle. Tie a knot about 2" from the end of the floss and insert the needle in the back of the doll's neck (under the collar line) and come out at the bottom left corner of the nose. Take a stitch across the nose and back out the other side of the nose. Continue until you finish the nose and insert the needle back down THROUGH the head and out the back of the neck. Knot the threads and clip. If you are using embroidery thread for hair-this is a simple way of doing it. I like to use 6 strands. Take your needle from the front to the back on the head where indicated on pattern just below the seam, leaving a tail as long as you want the hair to be. Take the needle and go through the front of the head and back out the back, the same way you did the first time! Cut the thread the same length as the tail. Repeat until you have covered the head.


(I like to do the nose and hair before the face as it helps me to decide on the doll's expressions and size of the button's for eyes.) For the mouth, eyebrows, eyelashes and attaching the button eyes, I use one strand of black embroidery thread-tie a knot in the end like you did for the nose-enter from the back of the neck and come out on one side of the doll's smile. Backstitch the smile and on the last stitch go through the doll's head and out where one of the eyes will go. Attach the button and take the needle through the head to where the other eye will go. Attach that button coming out at the edge of the eyebrow. Take a stitch and come out where the other eyebrow begins and take a stitch. Going through the doll's head, come out where you'd like to have eyelashes. When you are finished with the eyelashes go through dollies head and out at the base of the neck. Tie off and clip. For dolls with big heads and/or long necks, I stitch HALF the mouth from the corner of the smile to the bottom. Then I do the eyes and eyebrows and lashes. I come down to the other outer corner of the mouth and stitch the last half of the smile and then back out the neck! It is a lot easier that way & you don't wind up scrunching the doll's head and neck trying to get that needle back out.

ATTACHING THE ARMS & LEGS
*To attach the arms and legs I fold the raw edge under 1/2" and whip stitch them onto the body where indicated. You don't have to fold under the raw edge-it is just the way I do it!



*Don't forget to sign your dolly! You can use a pigma pen (Found in the scrapbooking section) or a fine point sharpie. I sign my name, the doll's name and the date.

MAKING THE CLOTHES
*Follow the pattern pieces for making the clothes making sure to follow any instructions for doubled material or laying pieces on the fold.



Cut or Tear the skirt piece of the dress and sew a gathering or a running stitch about 1/4" away from one long edge. Gather the skirt and with right sides together match it to the bottom of the bodice. Pin & sew right above the gathering stitch.



Once you have both sides done remove the gathering stitch if you can see it.
With right sides together, match the underarm seams and edges of dress and sew the bottom of the arm and down the sides of the skirt on both sides. Sew across the shoulder seams leaving open where indicated on your pattern-or if you have cut on the fold-clip an opening for the head.
*I like to put the doll's dress on feet first-especially if the doll has a big head!
*Sew a gathering or a running stitch around the neckline and around the cuffs of the arms and legs (if indicated in the pattern)

MAKING THE LOONS
A lot of patterns will not give you an actual pattern piece for pantaloons or a slip (underskirt). They will simply tell you how long and tall the piece of material should be and most will have directions or diagrams for how they should be sewn.
For loons cut a piece of material the length and width indicated in pattern.

Fold from left to right.
Sew the side about 1/4" from edge (green marking)


Move the seam to the middle


Sew up one side close to seam, across a few stitches and back down other side (Purple marking)


Clip between the stitching making sure to clip the corners


Turn loons right side out and sew a running/gathering stitch around waist (red thread)


Put them on your doll and cinch tight. You may want to tack the sides to the doll's body.

NOW JUST ADD ANY ACCESORIES YOU MAY HAVE AND YOU ARE DONE! CONGRATULATIONS!


Recipe for Doll Perfume
VERY EASY!
1 oz candle oil
3 oz distilled water
Put in a spray bottle and SHAKE well before each application.
I have sprays that I made 2 years ago that still smell as strong as the day I made them. The spray bottles I use come from Michael's and are 4 oz clear plastic bottles with a white sprayer. I lightly mist the dolls when I am done and also before I ship them. The scent that gets the most compliments is CinnaBun. I wouldn't recommend any floral scents. Remember-a little bit goes a LONG way!

Copyright © 2005—All Rights Reserved - Written by Megan Tucker. Megan is a professional crafter and the writer of American Prim Blog