Sunday, August 17, 2014

dust scuppers plans

Don't you just hate it when you have a free day to craft & create and then the sun comes out and reveals that actually, dusting is probably more essential right now? :o(

Friday, August 8, 2014

Creative Confessions No 1...

So I kind of work in chaos, it has always been my way. I am self employed and so have to drop whatever I am doing when work comes up and sometimes won't have time to return to the project for days or weeks on end.  Having a dedicated work room obviously helps me form going completely insane on that score. At the end of the working day I can close the door and walk away from the mess and reminders of what I left half done. But sometimes the mess encroaches on my design workspace or just  has a habit of distracting me… and so I do my patented "Instant Fix Tidy Up".

The "Instant Fix Tidy Up" is possibly one of my worst habits… it involves finding out you have a visitor coming round and making the house look tidy and "myopically" spotless (i.e.: don't look too closely) in under an hour and then dashing off for a shower so I can look all calm and "yes, it's always this tidy" on said visitors arrival. This was much easier to achieve in my youth as I had boundless energy, no surplus weight and sound knee joints: I once carried a huge vintage leather sofa from a room at the front of my London flat across a very narrow landing and down a barely sofa width corridor all by myself to a smaller living room at the back while my flatmates were away for the weekend because I got fed up of asking for help to rearrange the furniture (yes, correct, I WAS a nightmare to live with).  These days I am slower and more flustered and so needed to learn lots of sneaky tricks to achieve that "tidy to the untrained eye" look in under an hour.

One of those tricks has backfired. Whenever I am happily hat making or perhaps creating an outfit for an almost finished doll and I hear that perky ping of an email summoning me to actual paid work, I grab all the bits on my desk, shove them in a carrier bag and push that into the general confusion of the dresser cupboard and forget about it. I do that every time. The result after 14 months of living here is that my work room might look a haven of craftiness to a visitor but actually it's a mess. When I open that cupboard door a matted, tangled and often surprisingly sharp edged growing profusion of arts and craft supplies burst onto the floor. Yesterday I spent the whole day untangling, dematting and SORTING everything out. I actually started this project in the Spring but work beckoned and things have kind of returned to the previous mess. Somethings even got thrown away because they were too tangled! But now the rows of glass coffee and jam jars on the dresser shelves are all full and colour coded with buttons, beads and other tiny things. Everything else is grouped into little labelled boxes and neatly stacked away in the base.

I promise, I promise, I promise to keep it this way, because now if I even have just an hour free to do my own thing, I can come in here and find what I need to hand and actually achieve something. We will see how well I do with this new resolution.

PS: Dear Kirstie, I love your Jolly Hockey-sticks approach to the world and very much enjoyed your show about how we can all fill our houses for free (provided we have a few hundred pounds set aside for bits and bobs, know a few handy craftsmen with power tools who will volunteer their time for peanuts and most importantly; manage to get to all those Argas, Butler Sinks and French Armoires before the Salvage/Reclamation and Vintage/Antique dealers sniff them out). I have always furnished my many homes this way and can safely say that in the last 10/20 years it has become a lot harder to do on a budget (mine is usually about 50p and a few mismatched buttons) as the whole Shabby Chic look went mainstream and all sorts of pre-loved stuff became very sort after by people who want to make money from it. So the timing of your show is very interesting… do you think maybe people give you such good stuff for free just because you are Kirstie and are making a TV show???

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Vintage Cloth Doll pattern - prototype

I have been working very long hours so far this year and so my time for Nightshade Dolls is pretty limited but I have been working away at lots of little projects in the wee small hours... hence the fact that I often come stumbling into the morning sunlight next day with tiny blinky eyes like a mole!

I am still hoping to do some doll making classes later in the Autumn and so I am currently working on a printed pattern. It is to be an original doll, Hortense, who has a very vintage vibe. I will sell the basic pattern in my etsy shop, it will be suitable for adventurous beginners. The classes will take the same basic pattern and add plenty of twists and techniques so that each class member will take home an OOAK truly original art doll at the end. I hope to teach more advanced techniques for sculpting, using gesso and paperclay and how to antique your dolls with various paint and crackle techniques. All that and thinking about how to incorporate vintage and recycled scraps to make for more interesting vintage outfits for your dolls.

That's the plan anyway, just hope I have enough time to get all this together. I have finished the pattern, made my 2nd prototype doll (pictured before tea dying) and am now tweaking the step by step instructions to make everything as easy as possible to follow. Phew... keep watching this space! ;o)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New hats in my shop

I listed some new hats in my etsy shop last evening and have another batch in various stages of finish, mainly Top Hats... so expect another shop update in the next week or two depending on my work schedule :o)

Also, I have been putting the finishing touches to patterns and instructions for cloth doll making. I am just in the process of road testing the first pattern to make sure everything is clear and easy to follow. Then I need to get round how to list PDF downloads on Esty and Bob's yer uncle! Watch this space.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Funny history video

The cause of World War One as a rap battle... very funny ;o)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tea Dying disaster

 have been ill in bed for the last few days (as soon as I put it in writing that I hardly ever get migraines anymore, wouldn't you know it?) so finally feeling a little more human this evening, I decided to do a spot of tea dying. I want to make an new outfit for my BJDs, they need to do some hat modelling and also I want to take photos for the Mad Tea Party blog event hosted by Fanciful Twist on the 12th of July. So I figured I would just tea dye lots of different fabrics, new and vintage and see what turned out best...

Good idea, except 20 minutes into my dying session with a flotilla tea bags floating blythely around in the sink, refusing to cause more than the slightest colour change in the fabrics, I decided to try something else. I mixed up some gravy stock cubes and poured those in on top. Bad idea. My mum has always sworn that during the war British women dyed their legs with "gravy browning" and drew lines up the back to imitate nylon stockings... that is as maybe but it had very little visible effect on my fabrics. It had rather a strong effect on their smell though!

So much so that George, my young fluffy chap, was very interested indeed when I went to peg it all on the line. So much of the fabric remnants are now extra-distressed and full of cat claw holes from someone who got a bit over excited by the beefy aroma. Lord!

The end result... no change there then!

Captain Beef-nostrils

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fever Ray

Can't stop playing this: Fever Ray, if I had a heart.

Love the creepy video too... it reminds me a little of Night of the Hunter (old B/W Robert Mitchum film), the surreal sequence where the children escape in the boat.