We were featured today on a very cool blog named "I Dreamed I saw..." http://www.idreamedisaw.com/ which is devoted to shopping: check it out! Our little Alice in Wonderland Paper Doll is being seen.
Friday, December 10, 2010
I've started work on my "Wizard of Oz" series, but of course I seem to be agonizing over Glinda's hair and dress in a way most unbecoming to an artist... i.e. just redoing it three times because I can't decide if curly hair or straight hair or stylized hair is best... or if poofy sleeves or drapey sleeves or fitted sleeves is best...and in the end I'm designing something so elaborate that even Lady Gaga would raise an eyebrow and say, "Perhaps that's a bit much..."
Glinda is promising to be more complicated with all her clothing and crowns than even my octopus-girl is, but in the midst of all the Glinda obsession... I went ahead and drew cute little Dorothy. With her messy braids and can-do attitude, a sweet farmgirl was a bit of a relief to draw instead of a mystical witch.
Tomorrow, I'll see that she is accompanied by Toto... and a basket... then a little color and she'll be ready to put on Etsy first. Then I'm going to just flip a coin on the Glinda issues so I can get onto the character that I'm REALLY excited about.... the very very wicked witch of the west.
Ooooooooooooo a green paper doll is going to be awesome. I've already decided I must include some stylized orange smoke for her as a backdrop... and of course her broom... and MAYBE SOME FLYING MONKEYS.
I need to calm down about it. (I just LOVE The Wizard of Oz.)
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I own a Wii, and my Wii is very central to my day-to-day life. I play video games on it, I watch Netflix on it, and I even do yoga with it. (I'm frightened to install the "Wii Shopping" channel because I'm pretty sure if I could - I would buy peanut butter, toilet paper, and designer shoes on it.)
One of the Wii games I've spent countless hours on is Animal Crossing. When I'm feeling creative, but not particularly in the mood to be productive, I will spend hours in the game either landscaping or creating custom outfits. Lately, I've been doing gigantic "ground banners" as I call them. Animal Crossing lets you make designs within the game to use as pathways, outfits, or wallpaper... I use the design slots to make giant pictures.
|Animal Crossing: City Folk : ground design comprised of (qty. 8) 32px x 32px design slots shared between two players. Outfit is a custom outfit created as a "pro-design".|
I decided to do the Five and Nineteen Blackbirds logo tonight - but have plans to make a little red fox, too which I can use as my town flag also. The game allows you to be endlessly creative and geeky. Here are some photos of my past endeavors:
|Animal Crossing: City Folk - ground banner comprised of (qty. 6) 32px x 32px designs - color pallette #16.|
|Animal Crossing: City Folk - ground banner comprised of (qty. 9) 32px x 32px designs.|
|Animal Crossing: City Folk - 32px x 32px ground banner (one design slot).|
|Animal Crossing: City Folk - an example of my interior design sense in the game. This was my 'cactus and fire' room, of course. Every house should have one. Custom outfit (pro-design).|
Posted by Megan Wampler at Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
I have an almost completed draft of the mermaid paper doll that will accompany my octopus girl. I seem to being doing The Little Mermaid in reverse... evil looking mermaids + pretty witches = confused children. Oh well... sometimes these things just get away from you.
I have several little tweaks to do on her, mostly where her waist meets her fish tail seems to be an awkward joint as I have it now. Not awkward if the mermaid is always going to swim in a straight line, but maybe I could do something more clever to give more options for poses. (In fact - I just had an idea for a third piece that will fit between the torso and the tail and disguise any bumps/weirdness when the doll is posed. Why didn't I think of this 45 minutes ago? Oh well.)
I've been doing paper dolls for three days straight so my eyes are a little blurry and I'm pretty sure I need to either decide to brush my hair or take that tremulous first step towards dred-locks. I also need to go grocery shopping... so the Mermaid will have to wait for her final form till after I acquire more Cheerios.
In the meantime, here's an 'in progress' photo:
Monday, November 22, 2010
I wanted to do a quick paper doll today from start to finish, and managed to make this in the same time it took to listen to a Gershwin album. Viola. This is my friend's cat, "Hank". My friend didn't answer my texts today in enough time to weigh in on the design - so after the fact, I discovered that the real life Hank actually has a short/fluffy tail and my version is a little 'siamese-ish'. These things happen.
I'm not sure how if I'm going to list him on Etsy, or use him as a "bonus" throw-in when people buy a full paper doll, or maybe draw a girl that he goes along with? I just really like how his face is all black like a little cat-mask or something... he's a cool cat. Maybe I could draw a girl that has a mask that matches? Now there's an idea.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I think it's 5am. This is an unfortunate fact for me, but at least I'm almost completed with the new "Sea Witch" paper doll. Behold:
This is a rough draft. There's still a lot to fix... her hair is too hard to cut out, even though I'm a seasoned veteran with a craft knife. There's a weird dark patch in her hair I need to photoshop out. I have to add some flowers to her bodice cause I undershot on the modesty... and I have to fix the upper arms on this doll, too because I'm apparently a very slow learner.
Other than that, I think she's purty. I have a very neat background pattern for her layout which I'm excited about - but I need to grab a couple hours sleep. Final layout stuff can wait. (I'm going to need a soda in the morning as it is.)
Posted by Megan Wampler at Sunday, November 21, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I just realized that neither my mom or I posted the big news... we had our first sale! It was probably silly that as soon as the email about the sale hit my blackberry I called my mother one minute later to share the big news. IT IS A BIG DEAL. Until you sell that first item to a total stranger - you can't really feel any certainty that a business endeavor is anything but a lark, a whim, a fancy!
So that was exciting/motivating.
I finished up Snow White with all the touch-ups and fixed the fact that I seem to have some sort of mental block when figuring out the length of people's upper arms. Now her arms are a suitable length. Oh the little issues to making paper dolls...
Now of course, I'm debating the next project. I already have the horse almost complete on a Victorian Horse Woman doll so I could finish that up but I'm also thinking what I really want to do is The Little Mermaid. This train of thought led me to asking one of my friends, "Do all mermaids have either a clam-shell bra or just their chest covered by long hair? What if they're swimming and their hair drifts away? Wouldn't that distract all the other merfolk and make them swim into boat propellers and such?"
There was some thoughtful silence on the matter, and an eventual agreement that if I want to make a G-rated mermaid I'm going to have to make some sort of clam-shell/flower/seaweed halter-top of sorts cause I don't know if I like the idea of scantilly clad mermaids. (I have really settled into the Victorian mindset about my dolls that massive amounts of cleavage is ok but bare shoulders are SHOCKING. Jane Austen would agree with me.)
Also - I think I'm going to make the little mermaid blonde because Disney isn't the boss of me, and also because I remember in the version I read as a child she was blonde and all her sisters were brunette. Granted, it was a black-and-white illustrated book (with some very lovely woodcuts if I remember right) but my child's mind interpretted her lack of brunette-ness as blonde so... the end.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I can't believe how much faster the creation process was with Photoshop CS4. I did Snow White in one day today and it would have taken me three days to do it with Paint.Net. Also, I had no color issues even with (at times) 20+ layers going on.
I haven't included the coffin yet - I got to thinking that it would take another sheet of paper and really might need to be sold as a separate accessory anyway... so maybe it would be wiser to get more dolls up first and then come back and do playset-stuff? It's all sort of a guess what collectors would want, I suppose. I'm going to think more on it. Doing a glass coffin out of paper would mostly just mean a really delicate grid overlay maybe and that seems very fragile and annoying for people to cut out. I did give her an apple-blossom bouquet though just to be slightly morbid... and overall I think she turned out really well. I gave her elongated proportions because... well she's my doll and I'll make her legs too long if I want to.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I can just pretend that I didn't go silent for 3 months there, right? Sure I can. Watch me. (I had some stuff going on - but now back to business. Literally.)
So tonight I listened to two hours of one of my new favorite musical groups "Grizzly Bear", ate a turkey sandwich, and pondered what a girl would have to look like to inspire another woman to want to murder her just for being too darn pretty.
And so it was that I drew Snow White.
Snow White was probably a teenager when a woman suffering from a large amount of insecurity decided to expend the effort to take a hit out on her, but not expend the energy to follow-up properly and make sure she got her money's worth. I always thought that was a strange part of the story - but of course demonstrative of an age old fact which is that if you want something done you have to bake up some poisoned apples and do it yourself.
Anyway, it took me awhile to draw her hair - so this is as far as I got in one night. See her hair? That's time-consuming there... probably about 45 minutes just on hair. But I like her.
Tomorrow I'll do her dress and death shroud (yes, this is going to be a morbid paper doll replete with glass coffin and poisoned apple! yay!). Then probably another day to color it in.
I finally was able to get Photoshop installed on my computer. I would tell you all the lengths I had to go to, but it would sound a lot like one of those tapes that people listen to in order to get to sleep. Ambient, boring noise is all that story is. Thank god Photoshop is installed though. Paint.Net is terribly limiting.
Posted by Megan Wampler at Thursday, November 11, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Today I reset my sewing/quilting area so that I would have room to quilt several of the quilt tops that need to be quilted. The one I've been looking at today to begin quilting tomorrow is the one in the picture. Pebeo Paints were used to paint the small quilt top. I've enjoyed using these paints and have a couple more quilt tops that I've done with them that I will be quilting later in the week. All three tops are pretty abstract. I do love the colors I get when I use these paints. The picture I took doesn't show how bright the colors are--might have been better to have taken the picture during the day when the light was better.
Tomorrow is such a busy day but I should get a good start on quilting it. I've come up with several ways. Just need to decide which way is best. A good night's rest seems in order.
Friday, October 29, 2010
While I was in Kansas City, I got to go to JoAnn's, which is a store that is totally unlike the JoAnn's close to me. This one was huge with just the coolest stuff in it. I bought some beautiful red sheer fabric, some pink sheer fabric and some lovely camel colored wool which I hope to felt tomorrow. I so enjoyed looking through the store and finding things that I hadn't had access to before. I understand that this isn't the largest JoAnn's in Kansas City, but, you know, it was plenty big enough for me. Several things found their way into my shopping cart and I'll enjoy using them in my projects.
The architecture and just the scale of the buildings are so different. I took several pictures. These are a couple of my favorites.
The entire month of October seems to have been swallowed up by unusual events but I am now ready to settle down and get back to sewing and quilting with maybe a little time for crafts, too.
Monday, October 11, 2010
With the best of intentions last night I started on my gingerbread man but then realized that I needed to use just plain embroidery floss instead of crewel embroidery floss. I thought the crewel embroidery floss would make him look quite special but half way through I changed my mind. I didn't like the look. So I got sidetracked and watched Everybody Loves Raymond instead of picking out what I had done and starting over. But I do have a picture of what I did this morning.
For the gingerbread man and woman I'm making I needed some red felted wool. I had bought wool a couple of weeks ago but hadn't got around to felting it yet. I like to felt wool almost as much as I like to dye fabric. There are just a couple of things to watch out for when you felt wool. The most important one is that it is 100% wool because otherwise it won't felt. The other thing is that it does shrink so if you are buying a specific amount for a project and you are going to felt it, it would be a good idea to buy a little more than you think you'll need. Then when it shrinks, it won't matter.
I had some additional small pieces of wool that I hadn't felted yet so I threw them in to the washer also. These are different shades of red and pink so as you can tell the fabrics clash pretty good. But anyway this is how I felted these fabrics -- or any wool fabrics actually that I use.
I take the easy felting route and use my washing machine. Some women felt wool by hand and that is a little different set of directions. Both work equally well. But for me I always use my washer. For this amount of yardage I used the setting for the small load and set the timer for about 10 minutes and filled the washer with hot water. I changed the temperature setting for the rinse cycle to cold water and then let the washing cycle complete itself.
The next part is just putting the fabric in the dryer and drying them on hot for about 20-30 minutes depending on how much fabric is in the load. Mine this time was 25 minutes. Then after the fabrics had dried, I used a steam iron and pressed all my wool fabrics. And that's all there is to it. I now have some really pretty red (different shades) wools to use in my projects. I really like this one.
I have to work today so I won't get any more done on my projects. But tomorrow I hope to get quite a bit done since it is my day off.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Two projects are in the works right now. I'm doing a gingerbread man and a gingerbread woman off Megan's designs. Thinking I might make a cute little drawstring bag to keep them in out of the heart fabric. The cut out hearts are for a game that I'm working on and hope to get finished soon. My hand is still bothering me so it might take a few days. In the meantime there seems to be plenty to do.
The quilting books that I've been looking through have given me some neat ideas for small quilts. Traditional patterns are a favorite of mine. I love the old patterns from the 1800's and early 1900's like the Log Cabin pattern, the Courthouse Steps pattern which is a variation on the log cabin design, and the Drunkard's Path pattern which is also quite versatile. But I must admit I do love the bright fabrics and the art quilts, too.
There are several things that I need to get done on the business side of Five and Nineteen Blackbirds this week so my time will be a little limited on what I can get done on my two projects. The cards need to be laminated also--probably on Tuesday. The gingerbread people I'm going to work on tonight and I'll post a picture tomorrow so that you can see how they are coming along.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Today is play time. I do have a couple of things that I have to do but for the most part I'm coming up with a couple of ideas where the heart picture is involved. It will be fun to see if my idea works. Some of my projects work out and some . . well . . . just don't. But that seems to happen to everyone at some time or another. Recently I've been working on one project that after several hours of work just didn't ever look good. After several different ideas didn't work, I just scrapped it.
I also made a couple of books starring my grandkids for them to take home this weekend. It's the kind of thing that I enjoy doing and is fun. Pictures of the kids are put on pages with a few words telling what they did. Then after I print off the pages I take them to a store that laminates the pages and then all that remains is just putting the pages together into a book. The kids, I hope, will really like them.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
While I have waited for my hand to get better, I've been doing other things. One of those things is reading . . . a lot. While I read mysteries quite a bit of the time, I also love to look at quilting books. One that I've enjoyed enormously this week is Jinny Beyer's book, The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns. She researched for years for the patterns of the l800s and 1900s and then made up illustrative patterns for each one. The book inspires as well as being quite informative. She also is very meticulous in the detailing of where she found each of the blocks. So for a quilter who loves traditional design this book is just a little slice of heaven.
The other quilting book I've enjoyed is Quilts Sold!: A Guide to Heirloom and Antique Quilts by Kathy and Dave Prochnow. The color pictures are excellent of the antique quilts. So if you find time on your hands for whatever reason, pick up a quilt book and start looking through it. It is the next best thing to quilting.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
After church I went shopping for some supplies to finish up some of my projects. It was so much fun! Everything was either on sale or I had a coupon for it. Lovely.
For my bags that I make I needed some muslin so that I could quilt the outside fabric of the bag without it showing on the lining. And it was one of those wonderful sale items. Good quality muslin on sale for half price. Gotta love it! The best find, though, was a beautiful candy apple red wool that I'm going to felt this afternoon and use this week for a project. At $25 a yard it was beautiful--with a 50% off coupon--it was spectacular.
Candy corn is something I've wanted to make out of my hand dyed fabrics (orange & yellow) for awhile now. I used one of Megan's designs but realized after I stuffed it that there was a better option out there than stuffing. Namely, lofty batting so that the shape stayed true to what candy corn looks like. Now I just have to figure out the mechanics of how I want to do it.
I've almost got my little ghost perched on the second Trick or Treat Bag that I made. It is a cute ghost--all swirly and chubby. What a cheerful ghost! Just like ghosts should be at Halloween.
Tomorrow I'm going to dye some fabric specifically for some projects I have in mind. It's suppose to be in the upper 80's tomorrow and on my deck I suspect it will be over a hundred degrees. Perfect for dyeing fabric.
The leaves are beginning to change and fall to the ground as well. I want to get some and trace their shapes. Some of the other blogs that I've been reading have some of the artists putting leaves, weeds, you name it from outside in with some fabric covered with water and are leaving it for the winter. I'm not sure I'd like the results although since all the main stuff is just laying around in your yard the only thing you'd lose is fabric if you didn't like it. I'll have to think about this one. I love color so much in hand dyed fabrics that this technique would have to give some really special results.
Looks like a fun week to be outside and do things. Fall is my favorite time of year.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Today I finally got one of my bags listed. It is "Twas The Night Before Christmas" bag. I'm pretty excited about that. Later today I'm going to list my Santa Bag. I need a couple more pictures though. Taking pictures of the bags seem to be a little tricky or maybe it is just the light and the fact that the bags are empty. I'll have to think up a different way to take a picture of my Santa Bag because it is so big.
When Megan came down over the weekend, she drew me some cute designs which I want to put on my Halloween bags so after I get that done, I will also list them. It isn't as hard to list things on Etsy as I thought it would be. Etsy has made it very easy to do.
Megan gave me several designs for Halloween and a couple of others which I'm pretty excited about using. All kinds of ideas are floating around in my head. This morning I enlarged the designs that Megan made for me so that they now fit several ideas that I have for projects. Now to get some of those projects finished and on Etsy!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
As you can see, I've got quite a lot of quilting to do. All of these are smaller art quilts and all are either hand-dyed fabric or painted with Pebeo paints. The backings are batiks. Luckily when I finished cutting the backings, I also cut and made the bindings so that part is well on its way to being ready to apply when I get my quilts quilted.
It has been a busy weekend and will probably get the things in Etsy tomorrow night late. But we've sure had a lot of fun this weekend.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Cuteness is what we are looking for when we need a package for our handmade items. When I was shopping yesterday, I found something that I think will enhance a couple of my still-in-the-process items. Packaging is just one of those things that I want to do with some of my items that will be coming up for sale later this month. I just needed something to put things in that would be attractive and, due to my lovely shopping trip yesterday, I think I’ve found a couple of pretty cute containers. A ribbon, a bow, and there it is! Cuteness.
Still working on a couple of things to put on Etsy when Megan gets here tonight but mostly have just a few things finished. Handmade does take a while longer in a busy life but so worth it. It is such fun to sew everyday and see things develop out of just a couple of pieces of fabric and some thread which is why I’ve loved to sew practically my entire life. It gives you such a good feeling to make things. I’m just sure that people who make things are happier.
Posted by Jackie Wampler at Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
At the library so many little kids enjoy reading and picking out their own books and they definitely want to carry these books home--all by themselves. Kids are generally pretty excited about it. But most of the time their books end up in plastic bags (donated by patrons who recycle their plastic bags to the library) instead of a cute, little bag just the right size for their hands.
So, yesterday I sat down and designed a pattern for a little kid’s book bag in which to carry home their library books. So much more fun than a plastic bag! I am going to use a sweet ladybug print on a yellow backgound that I think little girls will especially like. I’ve also got that ladybug print on a green background, too. So maybe I’ll make one out of that, too. I’ve taken a picture of the fabric so that you can see it. This week is pretty full so I may have to finish some of my projects next week. I have to work today, too, so I’m going to sew on my projects as much as I can now.
In other sewing news I’ve got a table runner design laid out (just need to tweak it abit) and three more bags cut out and ready to sew. Still working on tracing off the pattern for all of the applique pieces for Little Red Riding Hood--the quilt that Megan designed for me a while back. My husband just finished making me a light box so it should go much faster.
I’m pretty excited about all of my projects and hope to finish at least some of them soon. Megan is coming down this weekend so whatever is done we will put on Etsy.
Monday, September 6, 2010
I’ve been working on some bags for Halloween and for Christmas and will put them in our Etsy shop this next weekend. Ideas for things aren’t too hard to come by--just getting them from the idea stage to the finished stage is the real trick. Handmade does literally take a lot longer, especially if a new design or pattern is involved. Anyway, it does for me.
My Halloween bag that I designed is for a little kid to use to take for the Trick or Treat part of Halloween Night. It would hold substantial candy without tiring the kid out. Which as I remember is the most important part of Trick or Treating right?
The original bag pattern I use was just too large for a small kid so I took it, made a few adjustments, and came up with this bag. I really like it but it did involve a lot of tweaking to get it right. The idea of this bag over a pillowcase or a plastic sack or even a hard-shelled plastic pumpkin is one that I especially like. As a kid, I dealt with all of those ways of carrying candy and each has its own particular downside especially the handles or lack of handles. The handles on this bag are kid-sized and reinforced a couple of times with extra stitching to make it comfortable. There is even a pocket in the front for something special.
Today is a good day and I’m going back to my sewing. Some days are just good!
Saturday, September 4, 2010
I picked an excellent day to dye fabric. High 90’s, lots of sunshine and heat. The fabric baked nicely for several hours in the sun on my deck and then overnight in my bathroom. Heat would be a key component to getting good results. The colors are bright and I'm very pleased with the results. The picture below is the dyed fabric from yesterday and certainly well worth the time spent.
I’ve dumped the water out of each container and have seen the most beautiful colors wash right down my sink. I’d love to have those colors. However, the fabric color itself is stunning right now. But after rinsing most of the dyes out of the fabric, I’ll put all of the fabrics into my washer with a little detergent and then dry them in my dryer. Afterwards I'll need to iron my fabrics so they will be ready for me to use. Only then will I see the final color.
Fabric changes color about three times before you get to the finished product which is why it is so difficult to match colors on different dye days or even different dye pots. Even big manufacturers who do a lot of dyeing will tell you to buy enough yarn, fabric, whatever from that specific dye lot because they can’t guarantee the exactness in color. The difference might be slight but there you go--if you need the color to be exact the slightness will surely show up jarringly in your project.
I think my colors are just beautiful! I’ll have the best time deciding how to use all these fabrics and in what projects. Sometimes I dye fabric for specific uses and other times like yesterday I just dye fabric for the sheer joy of it. Admittedly, I go towards the blues and the pinks. They have such charming names like Cherry Blush and Azure, but sometimes just plain names like basic blue and basic red.
If you are thinking about dyeing fabric, do a little research. If you know someone who dyes fabric, ask if you can either watch them or help. It is not as difficult as the books make it out to be but a little individual instruction can go a long way. Nor is it all that expensive when you start out small. Just be careful with the dye powders (wear a good mask) so that you don’t breathe any into your lungs while you are mixing the color dyes. The other thing is to always wear good rubber gloves so that you don’t dye you hands. I wear an apron, too. Of course, a little bit of carefulness goes a long way in not having to clean up messes. Also, keep any containers, measuring cups, and spoons separate and only for your dyes as well as anything else you might use for this.
I buy my dyes from Pro Chemical and Dyes and my fabric from Dharma Trading and am happy with both internet stores. Both stores carry dyes and fabrics but for some reason I bought my dyes from one and my fabric from the other. Why? I don’t remember but I’m happy with both. The fabric should be PFD fabric which means prepared for dyeing--which means it takes the dyes better. Commercial fabrics have a finish on them that doesn’t work well with dyes. Both stores will also give you detailed instructions on how to use their products--and all directions vary a little so read the ones that come with your specific products--then after you’ve done it their way begin experimenting with the dyes and colors because that is really where all the fun lies.
It would be wise to invest in a small amount of dyes (a couple of colors) and a small amount of fabric (mask & gloves, too) just to go through the process to see if you enjoy it as much as you think you would. Then if you enjoy it you can buy all the stuff to make whatever you want using dyes. Yesterday I just dyed fabric different colors. However, I did scrunch my fabric up in each container so that I’d get different variations of color on each piece. But I have made designs on the fabrics using various objects, actually painted dyes on fabric (I took Hollis Chatelain’s course a few years back) and have done quite a few other things with dyes. Fascinating things can be accomplished using dyes.
The possibilities are simply endless when you begin a new adventure.