Monday, November 29, 2010

Coupon Code at Bottom - The Nutcracker Ballet Ornament Tradition

Little girls dancing in the Nutcracker ballet is a tradition and each year they hope for a different part. I've had several people contact me to make special presents to commemorate their daughters' and nieces' roles. One woman's daughter was excited to play a Spanish Dancer and would it be possible to make a ballerina in the red and black costume.  She was to send me a picture of her daughter's costume over the weekend but I was so excited to begin that I scoured Google images for examples and here is what I came up with.

I used some red velvet hydrangea petals and a black tutu that I had leftover from my ill-fated Goth Petalbelle doll line. 

 I've since gone on a roll and tried to make as many dolls and ornaments as I could from the ballet.  Here is Clara holding her beloved Nutcracker.  I used silk dogwood petals for her nightgown and found the teeniest Nutcracker beads.  I especially like the way I styled her hair with part of it pinned in the back and falling around her shoulders.

The Snow Queen

And a quartet of ballerinas from The Waltz of the Flowers which I'm also calling Sugarplum Fairies. Costumes and colors vary from production to production, so I'm hoping to get away with it :)  I made the different colored paper flowers which decorate their hair. 

I'll try and post again in a few weeks and bid everyone a good holiday and new year. I know I've neglected my blog for the past two months, but I look forward to picking up again in January.

And just for my blog followers I have a coupon for 10% off your entire purchase in my store from November 29 to December 6.  Just enter code Petal9 when checking out.  And remember, I can change the color hair of all my dolls to make it more personal!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Take a Little Off the Top And Keep the Sides Long

When I design a new doll for my shop I usually don't know what kind of hair style she's going to have.  When I began making my dolls a few years ago I gave almost all my fairies stylish updos.  I loved how sophisticated they looked with their hair gracefully coiled but now it depends on how I've positioned her hands or her body, how fancy her dress looks, or how playful.  Hands clasped together across her body makes her look shy so she gets a side ponytail.  A fairy who wears a playful, flippy skirt usually gets to wear her hair around her shoulders. 

I prepare the bundles of mercerized thread I use for their hair beforehand, so I need to keep their "hair" long until the last moment since different styles require different lengths of thread.  I thought I'd show my new doll pre-hair cut.

What kind of hairstyle do you think she should get?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Peanuts and Emeralds

Actress Helen Hayes was sitting in the corner at a high-society cocktail party.  In her twenties, Hayes was quiet and shy and felt out of place with the rowdy crowd.  As she was thinking of an excuse for leaving, a handsome gentleman came over and offered her a dish of peanuts.  "I wish they were emeralds," he said.  They were married for 28 years.

I've always loved this story and I thought of it as I was making this fairy doll.  I gave her blond hair and a sweet smile.  She need something elegant to wear so I sewed a strip of black vintage lace together to create a beautiful, delicate skirt.  In her hands is a small silver bag.  I imagine Helen Hayes carrying a similar purse and would have had to put it aside as she reached for the peanuts. 

How did you and your partner meet?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Inside the Cigar Box

For a person who collects vintage papers and embellishments, finding a cigar box at a thrift store is extremely exciting.  Love letters?  Old photographs?  Pressed flowers?  Cigar boxes are just plain romantic and they never fail to disappoint.  I found this box at a my local thrift shop and it made my afternoon.

Definitely a major vintage find.  Inside I found several old wooden spools of satin-y mercerized cotton thread (Mercerized cotton thread is the same shiny thread used in embroidery floss).  There were some great vintage labels on a few.

But the best and one of the most prized items that you can find inside a cigar box was the vintage lace.

This is more detailed view of the lace.  It's so delicate and some parts look a little irregular so I'm tempted to think that it's handmade.

Again, I really have no idea what to do with the lace, but damn it, I'm glad I have it.  What would you do with this vintage lace?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Pitfalls of the Custom Order

I recently received a custom order from a lovely seller I met in the Etsy forums.  She purchased an angel ornament and asked whether my little bride doll could also be made into an ornament.  I tried doing this last year and it was a small nightmare.  The poor thing kept flopping around the ornament like a pair of pants in the dryer.  I thought I'd give it another ago and and to my surprise, voila! 

Solid.  You'd have thought she's was anchored in there with rebar.  These are pictures of my prototype which I was so excited about and listed in my shop right away. 

But when I tried to do the actual custom piece, holy mackerel, same old problems.  I had to take a cookie break (thin, crisp lemon cookies with lemon frosting I keep in the freezer-you should try it).  I finally finished the custom piece but I'm going to have to find a more efficient way of doing this.  Whew.  Potential good news, though.  I may have tracked down materials to make a wedding groom.  If I can pull this off I can make custom wedding cake toppers.  Oh, yeaaah....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

But There Must Be a Way to Use These...There MUST!

While looking for some glue and wooden beads in my boxes I came across these vintage buttons.  Aren't they beauties?

Here is a lovely salmon-colored button with open filigree work.

But these are the best.  They look like bakelite beads from the 20s, all warm and honey colored.   I especially like the round black one. Tres sophisticated, no?

I picked them up two years ago at the MakerFaire in San Mateo, the gigantic traveling fair that celebrates the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) movement.  These buttons were surplus or remnants from some factory and were being used in some awful free craft project.  I quietly picked these out and slipped them in my pocket, thinking, "You can't glue these to some cheap piece of metal.  They deserve better.  There must be a better way to use these.  There must!"  Problem is, I don't know what.

What would you do with these?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Half of a Wedding Cake Topper

Several people have contacted me to ask if my little bride doll can be made into a wedding cake topper and it's proving to be a major project.  The problem is that the men figures I make look so plain next to her.  Her gown is made from two calla lily blossoms stacked on top of each other.  Their long tips trail dramatically behind her as a grand train.  She looks like a queen.

The groom figures I've made look thin and puny.  I didn't even want to take a picture for the blog, they looked so bad.  I made a groom out of flower petals and he looked like he was wearing a dress.  Then I made it out of wire and he looked abnormally thin, like he had a tape worm.  Terrible.  I need a suave, dapper-looking dude, like Prince Phillip or Prince William, someone "fit for a queen."  Back to the drawing board.