Saturday, 31 January 2015

Foxes, Oh My

Well just in time for the end of the month I have a fox felt family.  A group of foxes is called a leash or a skulk.  Foxes are so beautiful with their red and white coats (most common fox in North America is the red fox).  They are social and nimble and have great eyesight and hearing.

I made these wee ones (about 6" tall) from a pattern by Cynthia Treen that I found on etsy. The instructions were very clear and they were fun to make.

Here is the big daddy Fox, Felix with his red jacket. His son follows his dad everywhere, taking his pet duck with him!:


 Next is Mama and her pup.  Mama has a lovely periwinkle coat with hood that keeps her warm and stylish.

Under her coat, mama has a very sweet yellow felt tunic:
Finally here comes the stylish auntie with her niece.  Auntie has a gorgeous lilac coat over her skirt while her favourite niece has a hand knit dress.  They are ready for shopping!

I hope you enjoyed this leash of foxes.  They were so fun to make.  They can stand on their own with help from their full tails but they prefer to hang and swing!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Dragon is Born

I have always loved dragons, their mystery, their strength, their spirit  and their protection of hearth and home.  Dragons are composite "mythical" animals that have both hot and cold blooded features.  As such, they are symbols of the changing seasons.

Last year I featured one of my dragon creations (a water dragon with mermaid riding him)  in a show at the Coast Collective and it was so well received that two customers wanted the piece!  This was personally satisfying as working in isolation one never knows how one's work will be accepted by the general public.  I sold the dragon to one lovely lady and promised the other that I would make another dragon/mermaid in 2015 for her own.  She was thrilled and requested a dark-skinned mermaid with straight black hair.

Last week I started choosing my fabrics for this project.  I knew that I wanted blues/purples for the dragon and greens for the mermaid.  Here are the fabrics I choose for the dragon:

I find that the fabric selection is a vital part of the creative process because as a doll maker you are in essence painting your doll art with the fabric as your palette.  If the colours in the fabric do not form a pleasing palette, then no matter how good your work, it will not resonate.

I love using Melinda Small Patterson's (Smallworks) dragon patterns as they are very detailed and excellent to use.  For this piece I used her "Kells Wyvern" pattern.

For the dragon's mermaid companion, I used Patti LaValley's "Mareena" mermaid pattern as she is a sweet young looking mermaid that is in a reclining position, perfect for my needs.  For the mermaid, I used four fabrics of green print and crazy patched them together so that I could decorate the seams with embroidery and beads as I love to do.  I thought this would be perfect for a mermaid as she picks of seaweed and foliage from the sea floor as she swims.

The resulting piece turned out very well and I am thrilled!  I hope my customer loves him as well.  Here is the proud water dragon's face:

Noticed that I painted his eye and enhanced the fabric by using metallic silver paint for his jaw line and top of his muzzle and horns.

The entire piece was inspired by my love of dragons and mermaids and living near the Pacific ocean.  I thought of a water loving dragon who soars near the waves picking up dragonflies along his daily fly by.  One day he spotted a beckoning beautiful mermaid who was not afraid to stay close to his flight path.  She jumped on his back and he took her for a ride that thrilled her to this very day.

 You can clearly see that I love to add details to my pieces and this dragon has a sequinned/beaded belly and beads on his claws that follow the pattern on the fabric.
The mermaid's face is painted using acrylic paints (eyes and mouth), pigma marker (eyelashes, brows) and chalk (shading, blushing, highlights).  The dragonfly on the mermaids's arm is beaded.  The dragon's tail also has dragonflies.

The mermaid's body and tail are beaded and I added beaded fringe to the dragon's tail.  For the mermaid's hair I took apart a doll wig that had the perfect black hair that I wanted and altered it to fit her head.  I had the perfect sequinned decoration for her hair in my stash.
A final look at my piece, showing the lace fingerless gloves, the facial features and painted fingernails of this sweet mermaid.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Bunny Sofia-Marie

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A dear friend of mine gave me an old Persian lamb fur coat that she was about to discard.  I always thought that although I would not wear a fur coat, it is a shame that fur coats that exist are left idle to waste away when they could be used to make beautiful animals.

Finally at the start of 2015 I decided to turn the coat into a large, lop-eared bunny.  I chose a pattern I had by "The Hughston Collection" based in Ontario, Canada.  

The bunny was fun to make but working with fur is very messy and I had to be careful not to breathe in the tiny fur that flies once you cut into the fabric.  I removed the coat lining and broke the coat up into manageable pieces, backing each piece with iron-on interfacing to stabilize it and make it easier to cut out the pattern pieces.  Once the pattern pieces were cut, I zigzagged each piece before stitching the pieces together to stabilize the cut edges.

I used the mink collar for her belly and part of her bunny tail.  The ears, nose and paw pads are from a faux ultra suede.  The muzzle is from a soft ivory "minky" fur (I would have used the mink but there was not enough for both the belly and the muzzle).

I am very pleased with the final result:


Sofia-Marie, sits at 20" tall, fully reclined she is 25".
 I named the lop-eared bunny Sofia-Marie since she spends her time hopping between the Tuscan countryside and the south of France.  She loves all things "shabby chic" as evidenced by her bows and collar piece.  Her locket contains pictures of her bunny mum and wee bunny brother.
A close-up of her face showing her blue glass eyes


Back of bunny showing her mink and minty tail.  The "gold" key in her back turns on her music box that plays "Down by the Old Mill Stream"
Sofia-Marie bids adieu and ciao!
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