Monday, February 29, 2016


I am being featured this week on as the "Crafty Superstar" !

So each day this week we will share one our tutorials! 
Go on over and check it out, today's post is Paper Mache Animals!

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

3 -D Matchbox Valentine Diorama's

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I've said it before, I love to make things with little matchboxes, so it should be no surprise I am still coming up with things to do with them!
I was just sort of making this little diorama for myself for fun, when my son saw it. He really surprised me how much he loved it! So I thought, I could hide it away and give it to him for Valentines Day.
 I had to make a second one for my daughter too!

My daughter is quite the little writer these days, so she got a little wolf typing away! 
Typing on a Robin's Egg Blue vintage typewriter of course! 

Here is how easy this was to make;
I just used a regular old small matchbox.  Instead of elaborate decorating I simply covered everything with a black sharpie marker in one coat. Very smelly, but provided quick and easy results!

I traced the background for size, and did a simple illustration in pencil, added color with watercolors,and went back over the pencils lines with black pen so they stood out. 
I used regular white glue to attach to the back.
To create a 3-D effect, I made 2 more layers, same technique, paper-pencil-watercolor-pen. I cut the image out, but left a tab to attach to the inside of the box, and colored over the tab with black sharpie so it does not show.
The top layer needs it's tab to be the thickness of the inside of the box, so that it stands on top. The tab of the layer below should be half the thickness, so it rests in the middle.
Fold all the layers inside the box, and your little diorama is ready for someone to love!
I kept it simple for the covers (as you can see above) and just glued another drawn image to the front.

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Friday, January 29, 2016



 Sarah and I are still here and we are still making things. We just have taken a bit of a break with family and work obligations.
We have missed sharing our ideas with the craft community, but we never stopped searching out and
gathering ideas, we just haven't had the regular time to create and share. 

So we have things to share and soon! We hope to hear from you too!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

amelia earhart doll

This is a fun project for anyone who has ever wanted to engage in some doll making, but without making the doll completely from scratch. For me the, the most fun part about making a doll is to create clothes and accessories that will make the doll unique. Making the body is not something I have proven to be that talented at. So, lucky for me, I ran across this 18 inch cotton doll at the craft store many months ago. It cost $8. The doll is not particularly attractive but has bendable fabric limbs and happens to be the same size as the American Girl Doll, which wound up coming in handy because you can purchase clothing items that you don't want to sew. Aside from the actual American Girl store, lots of places sell knock off 18 inch doll clothing including Joann Fabric and Toys R Us.
First, decide what kind of doll you want to make. If it is a literary or historical figure you should pick some identifying items of clothing and determine what color hair and eyes the doll will need to have. The clothes that Amelia is wearing were sewn were from Simplicity Pattern 5733, which contains all the clothes patterns you would need for virtually any doll including a skirt, a blouse, a robe, a long coat, a short jacket and pants.
What our doll is wearing:
  • white blouse sewn from pattern with pearl buttons at neck
  • brown suede pants sewn from pattern
  • black scrunchy boots purhased in 18 inch doll section at Joann Fabric
  • Long jacket sewn from pattern using Pleather. I used only one layer of the jacket and instead of making a liner glued on long strips of fake fur along the collar and inside. The coat does not button or zip, it is just open.  
  • Suitcase made from an empty Altoid tin. I covered the outside in brown felt and put purple satin on the inside. I made some medals out of shrinky dinks to represent her French Legion of Honor and her Distinguished Flying Cross medal. 
  • Goggles- wait until the face is done so that you know how far the eyes are spaced. Then cut simple goggles out of Pleather, twice. Sandwich some clear plastic (i used transparency from a stationary shop) in between the Pleather and use Superglue.
  • Hat - there is a really great aviator hat tutorial here at thedeviantart site.
  • hair- I used orange yarn
  • face paint- acrylic paint.
After I dressed the doll in her clothes I ran into the dilemna of how to make her face and hair. For this I turned to my co-blogger Corinne. She is a talented painter and has some experience with dollmaking so she took over and made the face and hair. She painted a circle on the face using gesso then drew the features in pencil, then filled them in with acrylic paint. She made the hair curly by gluing the yarn in loops under the helmet. It might be possible to find orange yarn that is already curly but I had not found any so this worked great.
We really enjoyed making this doll, as we both are big Amelia Earhart fans. You may want to make a similar one or make one in homage to your own hero or heroine.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Recycled May Flowers

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April showers are supposed to bring May flowers. Here in the Midwest we have some tulips in our yard, but the terrible winter has delayed a lot of our Spring flowers. You can make these flowers in a few moments and transform your paper scraps into an adorable bouquet to tide you over until your garden blooms. This project originally appeared in the April issue of Kids Craft 1-2-3! 
paper (I used a map, sheet music, and pages from a gardening catalog.)
pipe cleaner
something for the center like circles of felt, buttons, circles of contrasting paper, pom poms

  1. Cut a piece of paper into a long rectangle. Try 4 1/2 x 12 inches or pick your own size.
  2. Fold the paper like an accordion with small folds.
  3. After the paper is folded up completely, staple at the halfway point and fan out the sides.
  4. Glue the sides open to make the flower.
  5. For the center you can do what I did and glue on a small circle of felt and a button on top of that. You also could attach circles of contrasting paper, tiny pom poms, or other center items. 
  6. I used tape to attach the back of my flowers to the pipe cleaners. You could also use a glue gun for a neater appearance.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tiny British Phone Booth

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 Since we are often making things that reference our love of British culture (Sherlock Holmes pillows, a Ms. Marple room box, etc.) we decided that it was time to make a little phone booth. The phone booth is small enough so that it can rest on a desk top or be included in a railway scene or used for whatever you want! I used blank Shrinky Dink paper but you could also make a phone booth out of cardboard, fimo, or fabric. The directions that follow are to make it out of shrinkable plastic. One drawback of this is that you will not wind up with perfection. My phone booth is a little crooked and the edges do not line up perfectly. However the translucence of the plastic does make for a nice effect.
  • shrinkable paper. I used two sheets size 5 x 8 inches and had some scraps left over for future projects
  • thin black Sharpie
  • colored pencils
  • scissors
  • printout of a phone booth image, taken from directly in front, sized at 3 x the size you want the final phone booth to be  
  1. Work on the scratchy side of the Shrinky Dink paper. Trace 3 identical phone booth sides around the outside and where the windows will be and cut them out around the outside carefully.
  2. Use colored pencils to fill in color and accents like the gold crown at the top
  3. Write the word "telephone" backwards and trace that using the Sharpie. Fill in around it in white
  4. Leave the windows blank
  5. Trace the back. This fourth side will be solid red
  6. Trim the booths so the top edge does not curl out like it does in real life, or it will be hard to glue them together, Make a straight line on three of them. 
  7. Bake in the oven at 350' for 1-3 minutes. This is where you can run into problems. You want the pieces to curl up while they are shrinking then relax back to being perfectly flat. You may want to use a toaster oven for better control and bake one or two pieces at a time. Flatten them with a spatula once they have relaxed back down and are still pliable.
  8. After the pieces cool you can assemble them. Mine did not line up perfectly so I made a tiny box out of card stock and glued the pieces onto this.  
  9. Enjoy! Now you can make one in blue, write "Police Box" on it, and make the Dr. Who fan in your life very, very happy.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

British Royal Guard Jumping Jack

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 They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
"Do you think the King knows all about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
                                                                    Says Alice.

Did you ever run across the A.A. Milne poetry collection  When we Were Very Young? If you like Winnie the Pooh you will find his favorite boy featured in many of the poems.  Anyway that was just one stanza but it is a nice poem, and brings me to today's project: my Brtish Royal Guard Jumping Jack!

I think little kids are always really intrigued by the Royal Guard and their impressive outfits. At least I always was. Plus, I am a pretty huge Anglophile so I have always wanted to make a little soldier for our house. (See the bottom of this post for our many projects inspired by our love of English culture.)
I have some really incredible German craft books that my mom bought in the Sixties in Europe. This one is called "Tiere, Puppen, Hampelmanner" and is by Ilse Strobl-Wohlschlager. It contains some really fantastic jumping jacks that inspired me to make my own. Unbelievably, I did an internet search and this book is available at Amazon! In English! For like $5! So I did not know this when I started and I could not actually read the instructions, but I think I came up with a working jumping jack using her photos for inspiration.
First I cut out the body parts from card stock. There are lots of templates for jumping jacks floating around the internet to inspire you. The German book had a very stylized doll, with a pinched waist and pointy feet, which I totally copied.
You will note that I punched small holes at the shoulders, top and bottom of thigh piece and top of arm and foot pieces. These holes will hold the brads. So, check out how large your brads are and make sure your hole is the right size. The big brass fasteners you get at office supply stores don't work very well with this as they stick out all over the place. I used smaller brads from a craft store.
 I then punched an even tinier second hole at the top of the two arm pieces and the top of the legs. This second hole will be for the string. It should not be too close to the edge as it could tear if people get too rowdy with the jumping jack.

I glued tissue paper onto my body parts. The leg and feet pieces are black and the body is red. I also cut out a hat piece and covered it with black tissue paper. The chin strap is white paper colored black, cut to frame the face. I used Mod Podge to apply the tssue and put a few coats on top to make it a little sturdier.

I drew the face using a black Sharpie. (Pencil first.) After I colored the face I glued on the hair and chin strap. I also used black marker on the cuffs and collar and added a white tissue belt and gold accents using a paint pen.
 I attached the arms and legs loosely with brads so the limbs can dangle freely. Then I took a needle and some embroidery floss and rigged up the back. I tied a straight string between the arm holes. This needs to be tight but not tight enough that it causes the arms to pull up. Don't worry about the ends of the string until later. Tie a straight string between the top of the legs. Then Tie a string from he middle of the top string to the bottom string and have it hang down. I added a bead to the bottom. I don't really care what the back of this guy looks like so I trimmed the edges of the string and taped them down. You could probably do this neater if you are so inclined. My kids LOVE the jumping jack. I am going to make some more blank body part pieces and let them design their own. My daughter wants to make a princess and my son probably has some incredibly complicated design of his own.
Other projects inspired by our love of England:
What is in Dr. Watson's Desk?

Ms. Marple's Desk

Sherlock Holmes Stenciled Pillow

The Parlor from Longbourn House