The Spring Hare Gift Guide

Mad as a March Hare

Boxing hares are one of the key indicators in the natural world that spring is on it’s way.  This behaviour marks the beginning of the breeding season, causing lots of unpredictable, frenzied action and excitement in the hares.  So much so that the term ‘Mad as a March hare’ was coined in the 16th century to describe a person acting in a similar way.  This also must have surely inspired the March Hare character in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The Spring Hare

spring hare ooak doll

The hare has become synonymous with spring.  Both are symbolically linked to fertility and the nocturnal hare is sacred to the Goddess of Easter, Ostara or Eostre.

The Handmade Hare

I have never witnessed this curious natural event in person and it is something I would very much like to see.  So in the meantime I have collated a collection of hare inspired goodies from independent UK designers and makers on Etsy.

hare necklace

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FenandCo

 

wire hare

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WireyCreatures

 

hare card

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PaintingPasserine

 

Lucy Hare

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LucyBrydonArt

 

hare cup

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/HudsonandMiddleton

You can discover more hare finds on my Pinterest board.

Small makeup bag by Vaudeville Hippie

Mother’s Day Gifts from UK Etsy Sellers

Mother’s Day UK 2017

Mother’s Day in the UK is approaching us on Sunday 26th March.  Celebrating and acknowledging all the wonderful things our mums do for us is important and should not be limited to this one day.

In recognition of this, here are some of our favourite handmade items from Etsy, a global marketplace of handmade, vintage and creative goods, that are available all year round.

This post features sellers from the United Kingdom, but you can be sure there are plenty of amazing makers in your local area destined to be discovered.

Handmade in the UK Wallet by Vaudeville Hippie

Billfold Wallet by VaudevilleHippie

Choose Handmade

There are many benefits from choosing handmade gifts.  The internet provides a greater variety of choice, which means you are likely to uncover a gift that is unique and different from the usual cliches that are available in the high street shops.

Painted Wooden Necklace Handmade in the UK by Vaudeville Hippie

Up-cycled Necklace by VaudevilleHippie

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

So lets celebrate the small independent makers and embrace some of the beautifully hand crafted items, by individuals and small businesses that have been created with passion and dedication to their craft.

Handmade Soap

Help your mum soak it all up with these hand crafted vegan soaps made out of luxurious essential oils and organic shea butter from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Aromawakening.

soap

Handmade soap by Aromawakening

Fabric Phone Case

Give a new lease of elegance to your mother’s phone and dress it in one of these lovely fabric phone cases by www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modernandvintage.

phonecase

Fabric phone case by Modernandvintage

Original Textile Art

Give a truly beautiful one of a kind  art doll to adorn your mum’s living space from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/pantovola.

pantovola

Textile art doll by Pantovola

Paper Flowers

Experience flowers that will last and with a unique twist by www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PaperBouquetsUK

flowers

Paper Flower Bouquet by PaperBoutuetsUK

 

Unique Jewellery

Try a gift that is simple and delicate with this special necklace from www.etsy.com/uk/shop/WishesontheWind

dandelion

Glass Dandelion Necklace by WishesontheWind

 

Happy Mother’s Day to All

For more handmade Mother’s Day gift ideas please visit our Pinterest board.

 

 

Bath Upchuck 2011

Bath Upchuck

Bath Upchuck

The Bath Upchuck is an annual one day circus convention organised by Bath University’s juggling club Gravity Vomit and is almost upon us, next Saturday 25th February 2017. It is held in the university’s large sports hall, which provides a great space to practise. Naturally the high ceiling provides jugglers with perfect opportunity to perfect their siteswaps with larger numbers of clubs, balls or rings.  There is also plenty of room for hoopers, poi and staff spinners too.

The event is split into a day session that is reserved for general practise, workshops and socialising with others who have a common interest.  And of course, like any good circus meet up the day ends with the much loved games, such as gladiators and endurance. Whereas the evening is a real treat with the nighttime  performances.  Top performers in their field showcase their acts.  This must be a daunting prospect for the performers because they are showing their skills to people who understand the techniques and theory behind them.

Our First Upchuck

So this was us in 2011, enjoying our first Bath Upchuck experience, with our local circus group The Boscombe Spinners.

Circus Conventions

I would thoroughly recommend to anyone who has not experienced a circus convention to give it a go. Vaudeville Hippie has enjoyed being a part of the circus community for several years now and many of our friends are through our shared love of practising object manipulation.

Vaudeville Hippie at Southern Lights Circus Festival 2010

Southern Lights Festival 2010

We have been to several gatherings of circus skills enthusiasts and  I must say that they are the friendliest events I have ever experienced.  Southern Lights Festival, that ran from 2007-2011  in Dorset, was an excellent example of this.  This is because conventions and festivals provide a space for experienced professionals and newcomers to practise side by and share ideas about the props and tricks they feel most passionate about. Or simply to pick up tips and advice about the technical issues they are struggling with. The sharing continues through the many workshops that are on offer at these events and nothing beats the thrill and satisfaction of learning a new trick.

One Big Family

It only takes a couple of visits to these circus events before you realise it is made up of a close knit community people. After a while faces become familiar from one festival to the next convention. We made friends with the people we camped next to at our first Play Festival and the following year camped next to them again and continued the fun where we left off from the previous year.

Vaudeville Hippie at Play Circus Festival

Play Festival 2013

The evening shows and end games really help to consolidate this family feel with friendly banter using well known circus heckles, but also admiration and support for the performances.

So this year why not get yourself a set of juggling balls, poi or hula hoop and join in the fun!

Links

Bath Upchuck 2017

Play Festival 2017

British Juggling Convention 2017

European Juggling Convention 2017

VaudevilleHippie Etsy Shop

 

#30dayjournal Harvest

Harvest

The very last challenge for the #30journal challenge, Lisa Sonora asked us to ‘harvest’ the best ideas and discoveries from the month long journaling process.

#30dayjournal - Day 31: Extra Task

#30dayjournal – Day 31: Extra Task ‘Harvest’

 

Finding Inspiration

#30dayjournal - Day 17

#30dayjournal – Day 17: When Sparks Fly sketchbook journal page

As mentioned in my ‘Week 3’ post this page was heavily inspired by the wonderful work of Ingrid Dijkers, Teesha Moore and Jenndalyn.  By creating this page I have discovered new opportunities with my own journal page making.  It helped me to established what I liked and valued within my own work and that I realised I prefer using hand drawn imagery instead of found images.

The Rabbit and the Hare

#30dayjournal - Day 19

#30dayjournal – Day 19: Use Whatever You Have Got

A couple of years ago I created a random doodle of the half human half rabbit character that found its way onto the page above.  This is a character I had always intended to come back to, particularly for for my cloth doll making.

30dayjournal - Day 22

#30dayjournal – Day 22 ‘Love the Moment (Right Now)

I had recently made a decision to revisit some other old work inspired by Spring and now that I was reacquainted with this character, it made sense to change the rabbit into a hare.

#30dayjournal - Day 23

#30dayjournal – Day 23: Accessing Your Genius

After a bit of research, I realised that the hare is a fascinating creature that has been highly regarded in many cultures.  Not only is the hare a symbol of rebirth and fertility but it also has strong connections to creativity, fire and the circle.  As a hoop dancer, who has dabble with a bit of fire dancing too, this seemed like a coincidence not to miss.

#30dayjournal - Day 25

#30dayjournal – Day 25: Dare to be Powerful

Since then, I have become a little obsessed and excited by using this incredible animal as a muse.

Artistic Mantra

#30dayjournal - Day 27

#30dayjournal – Day 27: Make Your Own Mantra

This journal prompt has helped to remind me that nothing is set in stone and that I am not committed to anything when making art.  Of course have an aim, but remember to keep an open mind and resist the temptation to become cross or angry if things do not go to plan.

#30dayjournal - Day 27

#30dayjournal Challenge Week 4

I finally completed the #30dayjournal Challenge set by Lisa Sonora.  And although I didn’t quite manage to journal everyday, I still found this process enjoyable and hugely beneficial to my artistic practise.  I have rediscovered some of the ideas and techniques I used to play around with on my textiles degree (oh so many years ago now!) and I feel that I have most certainly reconnected with a type of art that I used to create and feel most at home producing.

30dayjournal - Day 22

#30dayjournal – Day 22: ‘Love the Moment (Right Now)

#30dayjournal - Day 23

#30dayjournal – Day 23: Accessing Your Genius

#30dayjournal - Day 24

#30dayjournal – Day 24: Is Your Life shrinking or Expanding?

#30dayjournal - Day 25

#30dayjournal – Day 25: Dare to be Powerful

#30dayjournal - Day 26

#30dayjournal – Day 26: Focus on What Excites You

#30dayjournal - Day 27

#30dayjournal – Day 27: Make Your Own Mantra

#30dayjournal - Day 28

#30dayjournal – Day 28: Warrior Training: Focus to See the Light

#30dayjournal - Day 29

#30dayjournal – Day 29: Passing the Torch

#30dayjournal - Day 30

#30dayjournal – Day 30: Remember How the Sun Does it

Sparks the Robot 2

Back in the summer I blogged about completing this  hand sewn robot  based on a craft project from a Craftseller Magazine, which sadly stopped being published at the end of last year.

I enjoyed making this little fella so much I had to give him another try but in a lightly different colour scheme.

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Skater Girl Cloth Doll for Olive

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I really love the character of this cloth doll and was so much fun to make and photograph, which I tried to capture in this day dreamy pose.  I also discovered how real clothes can be cut, sewn and adapted to make mini versions for the cloth dolls.  Her T-shirt was taken from a section of a real skater Tee and the socks and beanie were originally a pair of socks.

The Outfit

Her outfit is fairly simple, so I am going to let the photos speak for themselves.

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The Skater T-Shirt

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Detail of the Dungarees

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The Beanie, Socks and Trainers

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The trainers were inspired by Adidas Shell Toes using a pattern that I made from scratch.  They were hand sewn using felt and embellished with eyelets and ribbon to create the laces detail.

I will be posting a tutorial on how to make the socks, beanie and trainers very soon.

#30dayjournal - Day 17

#30dayjournal Challenge Week 3

As I have progressed with this challenge (which I am now utterly behind on!).  I feel that these prompts have really helped me to identify and develop the visual language that I want to express as the Vaudeville Hippie aesthetic.  Now I am not sure whether this is because I am more regularly creating pages, and therefore I am becoming more confident with my journal page making, or if these prompts have tapped into the necessary part of my subconscious to allow me to express my ideas.  I think only time will tell.

#30dayjournal - Day 15

#30dayjournal – Day 15: The Art of Resting

#30dayjournal - Day 16

#30dayjournal – Day 16: If You Are Going Through Hell

#30dayjournal - Day 17

#30dayjournal – Day 17: When Sparks Fly

The page above ‘When Sparks Fly’ was a real turning point in my #30dayjournal challenge journey, because the the prompt asked ‘who rekindles my creative spark?’.  As mentioned in the #30dayjournal Challenge Week 1 post, I have been really inspired by the journal pages of Ingrid Dijkers, Teesha Moore and since then I have also fallen in love with Jenndalyn‘s pages, who I discovered on Pinterest. What most inspires me about all three of these artists is their use of pattern, and I therefore used pattern as my starting point. The pink background was most definitely influenced by Teesha Moore’s vibrant use of colour.

#30dayjournal - Day18

#30dayjournal – Day 18: Don’t Give Up

#30dayjournal - Day 19

#30dayjournal – Day 19: Use Whatever You Have Got

#30dayjournal - Day 20

#30dayjournal – Day 20: What’s Right With You?

#30dayjournal - Day 21

#30dayjournal – Day 21: – Find your Higher Purpose

My favourite page has most definitely has to be this one above; ‘Find Your Higher Purpose’.   I wanted to explore the journaling process, to help with the development of my cloth doll making.  This page really reflects where I am at and where I would like to explore next.  I have always been fascinated by the concept of ‘Goddess’ and the feminine devine.  This is a topic which I have come back to over the years and this is probably why I am so drawn to Tribal Fusion Belly and Hoop Dance, which both seem to fit effortlessly into this area too.

With Spring just around the corner, I really like the idea of embodying the story of Spring into my next cloth doll.  I will be sharing this new journey on this blog.

 

Jane Austen Inspired Cloth Doll

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”

Elizabeth Bennett, Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.

The Jane Austen Look

Like many of my cloth dolls, I started by creating a Pinterest board to research the period and style of clothing that have been featured in the many Jane Austen adaptations in recent years.  This cloth doll is mostly inspired by the character Elizabeth Bennet who was played by Jennifer Ehle in the BBC’s televised period drama in 1995 and also Kira Knightly in the 2005 feature film.

The Dress

The dress had two main stylistic features that I wanted to capture.  The first being the high waist and secondly the long hem in line with the ankle.  I opted to go with the more fitted design used in the the BBC version rather than the fuller shape that was used in the film.  This is mainly because I was using silk, which I felt would hang better and lend itself to the straighter look.

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Using a technique described in Patti Medaris Culea’s book ‘Creative Cloth Doll Collection’ I created the pattern from scratch by placing, draping, folding and then cutting pieces of kitchen roll onto the doll’s body to create templates that could be turned into paper pattern pieces.

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This was a new way of working and really the first time I have attempted to create a more complex garment of clothing for my cloth dolls.  As a finishing touch, the dress was embellished with decorative blue trim, which I also used on the bonnet and shoes.

The Bonnet

This was by far the most tricky aspect to create out of the whole outfit and it took me a while to figure out even how to create the shape of the bonnet, and again kitchen roll came to the rescue to help me visualise the shape I needed to cut the fabric into.

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I opted to use felt, because of its rigid nature, knowing that would hold the shape and be free from fraying.

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The Shoes

The shoes were created using the same felt and trim as the bonnet.

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I found that hand sewing the trim around the edge of the sole was quite an effective way to create the sides of the shoe, without having to create a complicated pattern first.

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Two strips of trim were then sewn across the top of the shoe to create the top section covering the toes.

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Have you ever tried making a doll wearing period clothing?  What challenges or successes did you have?