Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Oh, Dolly of Mine!

If you're not yet introduced to the delight that is the Waldorf inspired Doll, do I have a wondrous thing in store for you!...

Firstly... a few tasty facts from a lovely book - Kinder Dolls

(available from Amazon and most good bookstores)

"The typical Waldorf doll is made from sheep's wool and cotton knit fabric. It has a unique inner head which gives form but not detail to the face.  The origins of this type of doll come from a strong European tradition of doll making. Germany was the leading doll manufacturer in Europe in the 19th and early 20th century, dominating the doll market at home and abroad. Many dolls and toys were made at home during long winter months with materials that were at hand - wood, sheep's wool and cloth scraps. Individual people, notably Kathe Krusse, then developed these simple toys into commercial enterprises and the products found a ready market amongst the increasingly prosperous countries of Europe and America. However, dolls still continued to be made at home and the simplicity and charm of these formed dolls stuffed with sheep's wool ensured their survival despite the plethora of more sophisticated toys.

In Europe and later America, this type of doll became known as a "Waldorf Doll" and had a strong connection with Steiner education. Communities and Schools, based on Rudolf Steiner's methods were established in many different countries and the tradition of making this particular type of doll continued alongside the education.

Simple toys made from natural material are recognized as being of great importance for the wholesome development of young children."

As much as a fan I am of literature and information, the absolute pleasure that is a Waldorf Doll can really only be experienced when you see their beautiful little hand embroidered faces...

Corianna from Bamboletta Dolls

I am, only of very recent days, the proud owner of my very own Waldorf Inspired Doll... her name is Niah... and to say that I adore her is really quite a conservative statement... I am, in fact, now saving my pennies to have one of my very own from each of my favourite sellers. I have joined the ever increasing company of Crafters, Kids and Mummies who are tired of the mass produced, easily broken and even more easily disposed of  toy market and are turning to more earth and family friendly options.

Each and every one of these dolls have so much character and personality. They are, at least from the artists I am a fan of, impeccably made, with every detail lovingly hand stitched into existence. Be warned though, they are in high demand and not easy to come by... all three of the sellers I am a huge fan of sell out usually within minutes of listing a new doll... the other thing to be wary of is the rapid addiction which may be the result of your first purchase :)

OK... enough rambling... Let me introduce you to a few of my absolute FAVOURITES!!

Firstly, from Bamboletta Dolls:







And Finally, from Jem of Mine Dolls:



And because she is the most stunning Doll in all the world and because I'm most definitely not biased regarding this matter:


In honour of these beautiful and wonderfully loved dolls, as part of my Petit Lapin Collection (being released on FRIDAY!) I will be making little Pinnes made to fit Waldorf Inspired Dolls... (as with the baby pinnies, they are completely reversible!) My beautiful Niah modeled them for me :)

Sleepy Little Owl

Sleepy Little Owl (reverse side)

Up, Up & Away

Up, Up & Away (reverse side)

I cannot recommend these dolls enough, especially those of the sellers I've mentioned above, and I hope that those of you with little ones would look into adopting one (or three??) of your own, you most definitely won't be disappointed!!

Puss och Kram!!!
Little Miss Swan

Monday, 13 September 2010

How To... Mushroom Thumb Tacks!!

One trend I'm absolutely loving in the craft world at the moment, is the focus on all things woodland... Squirrels, Bunnies, Trees, Forests, Berries, Deer, Foxes, Owls and of course Mushrooms! So much wonder can be found on etsy at the moment... here are a few of my faves:

 Available from Trafalgar Square - I have 3 absolutely stunning prints from TS on my studio wall

 Available from Decoylab  (I loved this one so much I've bought two! hehe)

Available from SleepyKing  This store is one of my long time favourites on etsy, there are SO many gorgeous toys... I am still trying to decide which I love the most... (the fox is currently taking the lead)

Available from Maple Shade Kids This store is a recent find of mine, but I am already so very in love with all of the pieces. AND they are Eco Friendly... which makes me smile rather a lot.

SO.... with all of this inspiration, and the almost completion of my Studio, I felt it necessary to "woodland-ify" my little space, and could think of nothing cuter than some little mushrooms dancing across my walls (also, I am a decided non-lover of shiny gaudy gold...) so Thumb Tacks turned out to be the perfect solution!!

Firstly, I started with the wooden bases, which I purchased for an absolute steal (only $2 for 10!) from Goose Grease Undone 

(aren't they cute!) I painted them red on top, white base and red spots with Jo Sonja's Warm White and Napthol Crimson. Available online or from most craft stores.

I always find that I only need to damp my brushes when painting, and when I need to wash them, I go to the sink, as the jars of water just go murky and taint the next colour... so, I attached a lid to my "palette" (a scrap of shiny cardboard). This allowed me to have just enough water to keep my brush damp and to control the flow of the paint, without having a jar of grey water ready to inevitable spill all over my new creations (I have an uncanny ability to accidentally destroy my own work!).

(and yes, I was properly chuffed with myself for coming up with this! hehe)

Next I decided to flatten the tops of my thumbtacks as I wanted the mushrooms to sit flush against the wall...
Hammering them with a hammer is NOT the solution to this:

Instead I used two sets of pliers and worked my way around the top, flattening as I went... This worked really well :)

Finally, I glued the two pieces together. I used Jewelry glue as I was attaching metal to wood. I find that leaving it for a few seconds to go slightly tacky helps with getting them to stick better... I use a German glue called Hasulith, which you can get from Beads Villiage for about $5.

(and no, I don't know why this picture decided that it wanted to be sideways...!?)

Allow to dry and then you have a super cute set of Mushroom thumbtacks!

I think they make the perfect addition to my walls!

Don't forget to visit my Little Miss Swan page for updates on my own Woodland Inspired collection Petit Lapin... which goes on sale FRIDAY!!!

Puss och Kram!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A Properly Good Studio and the end to Poorly-ness...

So... Finally getting over the ridiculous illness of the last month and today I went into over-drive clearing all the junk away, organising and setting up my studio... and I'm SO happy with the result.

I've set up two desks... one was to be used for art commissions and the other for Sewing.... but as it stands I've got one set up with the sewing machine and the other with beautifully folded piles of supplies ready to be transformed into the new Petit Lapin Collection... could I be happier with this result!??! I think not!

The tops of my jars and adorned with gorgeous washi paper tape (available on etsy and at paperchase as well as many online stores... So many fabulous colours and designs AND you can tear it, so no scissors required AND you can write on it... need I say more!??!) The baskets, jars, mugs (which were only 19c each!) and shelves are from IKEA, the boxes are recycled from online purchases, the desks were a gift from my beloved friend Jewell!! And the chest with baskets is from House and Garden.

I absolutely love my art and photographs on the walls... So many gorgeous pieces from all over the world offer me so much fabulous inspiration.... and more importantly... make me smile! I felt that regular gaudy gold thumbtacks (push pins) didn't do these gorgeous pieces justice, so I made my own little mushroom thumbtacks (push pins) and will hopefully have a little how-to of these soon! They're the perfect finishing touch to my walls.

(and, just in case you were worried that I'd suddenly become one of those organised people...)

The other huge relief of this week was the completion of the art commission... signed and delivered... 19 pieces for a Children's Charity... they're going to be used for their Christmas appeal this year... I'll have final pieces made into cards some time in the next few weeks, but here's a little sneak peak of a few of my faves until then::

Anyways... I'm off to bed... Lots of fun making of Petit Lapin pieces tomorrow!!

Puss och Kram!!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sjuk Liten Kanin... poorly little bunny...

Yep, feeling rather poorly... stupid chest cold! Have been couped up in bed all week and not getting any work done, which, unusually for me is actually rather frustrating... C'est la vie.

Anyway... I've decided to put up some of my prices for my new Petit Lapin Collection... This is not officially for sale yet... but will be up in 2 weeks... after I complete a big art commission. I really am very excited about it, but please be understanding and patient, I'll have the pieces up properly as soon as I can...

Here are some of the pieces and their costings: (Up, Up & Away Design shown - more designs to come in 2 weeks!!)

Reversible Pinny - $34 + p&h
The pinnies are all fully reversible and are handmade from Swedish Linen and Australian Cotton. Appliquéd on both sides with sweet childhood designs. They are joined at the top with snaps to make it easier for Mums and Dads to dress a wriggly bubba. At this point pinnies are one size (fits 6-12 months), however they can be worn in different ways up to toddler size...
6-12 months - full length pinny over nappy / bloomers
12 - 18 months - shorter pinny to wear with leggings etc.
Toddler - as a cute girly top... gorgeous with jeans!

Reversible Kimono Shoes - $18 + p&h
Shoes are also reversible. Handmade from Swedish Linen and Australian Cotton and Appliquéd to co-ordinate with the Pinnies and T-shirts. 3 sizes: 3-6 months, 6-12 months and 12-18 months.

T-shirts (girls and boys) - $14 +p&h
T-shirts are Appliquéd to co-ordinate with the Pinnies and Shoes. The Girls' T-shirts have cute little puffy sleeves (they look great under the pinnies or teamed with little jeans and kimono shoes!)

So there we have it! Prices!! These will be on sale from FRIDAY 18th SEPTEMBER in my etsy store.

Thanks so much for all of your lovely encouragement, now... back to sniffling and trying to get art done!

puss och kram!!