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.

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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

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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.

 

 

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.

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?

Sea Goddess Cloth Doll for Penny

Inspiration

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This cloth doll was inspired by the colours of the sea.  My friend Penny is from Cornwall, she also happens to love blue and turquoise colours.  So when planning this doll I knew she would have to incorporate these ideas.

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The starting point was actually this vintage blue and turquoise patterned fabric, which I love and decided to use for some of the main body parts.

The Clothing

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Small scraps and lengths of of blue, white and turquoise fabric were sewn to the top of the bodice to create the essence of coral or seaweed.  Small pearls were sewn to some of the lengths to represent the creatures that may be found hiding amongst the coral reefs.

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A layer of netting was then added with additional embellishment of metallic foil stars to create a sense of depth and intrigue.

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Painting the Face and Body

Acrylic paint was used again to paint the face in cool blues and greens.  A little bit of silver was mixed in to provide some shimmer and sparkle to the doll’s skin.

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And as a development from my previous cloth doll’s, I ventured further to paint onto the body and arms.  To emphasise the sea goddess element I painted subtle fish scales down her arms, picking up more blue and green hues.

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Adornment

Additional beads, pearls and gems were sewn on by hand to adorn the body and features further.

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I was fortunate to have this perfect mixed blue textured wool to create her hair and finish the look.

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A Bob Marley Cloth Doll for Jill

We’re jammin’ –
To think that jammin’ was a thing of the past;
We’re jammin’,
And I hope this jam is gonna last.

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Bob Marley Doll, A new challenge!

This is the first time I have attempted to create a cloth doll inspired by a real person, and of course, the danger and challenge of this is trying to effectively create and capture the essence of that person.

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As with the previous two dolls, Rowan Foxglove and Lazuli, I used acrylic paint to try and paint a life like Bob Marley face.  This was such a challenge, because whilst I wanted the face to clearly resemble Bob’s features, I also wanted to retain a strong sense that this is still a cloth doll.  It was also difficult to fit the Bob’s features within the head and face template I had used, particularly his mouth.

The Dreadlocks

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Bob Marley’s dreads were created using a technique I first discovered in one of my earlier cloth doll’s, which is to rip up thin strips of T-shirt material. The ripping process slightly stretches the jesry fabric and in turn cause the raw edges to curl.  This, I have found is perfect for creating dreadlocks or thicker hair for your cloth doll and is a really effective alternative to using wool.

The Guitar

The cloth guitar was really fun to make.  Like the face, the details of the guitar were painted on using acrylic paint.

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Thick white thread and small wooden beads were used to create the guitar strings and tuning pegs.
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Black ribbon and rasta coloured beads created the final finishing touch of the guitar strap.

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A Cloth Doll for my mum, Guild Wars Inspired Ranger

“In a world torn by conflict, where human kingdoms are all but destroyed and guilds sacrifice all for a chance to control the Hall of Heroes, a champion must rise from the ruins of a once-proud land to lead refugees from the ashes and fulfill an ancient prophecy”. (http://www.guildwars.com/en/)

rowan foxglove

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This cloth doll, Rowan Foxglove, is the name of my mum’s online Guild Wars  character. Her design is loosely based on the ranger concept art for this game, however I have used a lot of creative license and adapted the look to suit the requirements for a cloth doll.

 eco warrior

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When designing Rowan, I always had the vision that her look would be influenced by that post apocalyptic, eco warrior aesthetic where clothing is fashioned and up-cycled from other garments in a thrown together need rather than for any fashion or style purpose.

make do and mend: the wrap top

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This was actually a scaled down version of customised top I had made for myself.  I took two small sections of the jersey cotton and part cut into tassels.  These were stretched to encourage the edges of the fabric to curl.

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This happened by chance, and it was really fortunate that when I draped the two pieces of jersey over her torso they hung nicely particularly when the tassels were tied together at the back.

the coat

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The coat is made from scraps of a mixed woollen fabric and sewn together using my favourite stitch, the blanket stitch.  I deliberately placed the stitching outside of the seam to make it visible and to enhance the ‘make do and mend’ design ethos.

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A small coordinating turquoise button has been used to decorate the front of coat.  I cheated a little and added a popper fastening in the inside rather than putting in a buttonhole.

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The design is asymmetric  and curves around the length of the doll’s body.

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the TRousers, boots and cuffs

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Real leather was used to make to boots, which were sewn together by hand.  The cooper eyelets were also punched through using a hand hole punch tool.

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Like Lazuli, Rowan also has leather wrist cuffs.  I discovered that this is a good creative solution to cover up the arm and hand join, which are made separately.

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The trousers are made from a denim material and when fitted to the doll’s body, they were a little bit wide.  So another creative solution was to include the golden thread at the hips and criss cross the thread to echo the laces on the boots.

the hair and face

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After the success of Amber’s doll, again I used acrylic paint to add the details and depth to the face.

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Once again, I used my stripped T-shirt material to create the hair, which is becoming my preferred method and it is a really nice way to use up old jersey tops.

A Cloth Doll for Amber

lazuli

“A bright blue pigment formerly made by crushing lapis lazuli.”

new design

Meet Lazuli, named by Amber, my friend and colleague at work and the person she was created for.

Amber has a wealth of creative interests and I always knew that this cloth doll would push me creatively to produce something that is entirely new.  This is the first doll that has been completely created from scratch, including the pattern for the body pieces.

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 The Inspiration

Now I must admit that I did a bit of Pinterest stalking to come up with the original design for this cloth doll.  I went through Amber’s boards with a fine tooth comb and picked out elements that I thought would work together.  Her pins had a strong presence of blue, turquoise and purple feel, which naturally found their way onto the design of the doll.

The face, head and hair

The design of the face was inspired by a pin from KelleeArt, an illustrator who has most notably worked on the Monster High characters.  I wanted to recreate the enlarged eyes and pouting lips from this style of illustration.

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Lazuli’s hair has been layered with different hues of blue and purple wool for each new layer, using a range of wool types to create texture and interest and to reflect the pinning board title ‘Hair’.

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The ear was inspired by another pin showing a leafy looking elf ear and I loved this unusual shape.

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painting the face

I have been very inspired by the painted cloth dolls from Pantovola Textile Folk Art by Anouk de Groot  I love the whimsical nature and individuality of these dolls and if I ever have any spare money would love to purchase one from  the Pantovola Etsy shop.

Therefore, rather than applying the details with water colour pencils and pigment pens, which I have been using up until now, I painted on the facial features with acrylic paint.  I referred to an image of Neytiri, the female character in Avatar to help create the blue tones needed on the face.  Painting definitely allowed me to achieve a greater level of depth on the face than the colouring pencils did.

the body, tail and wings

The body of this cloth doll was inspired 3D printed model from Bitgem.  When creating the pattern I narrowed the waist and accentuated the curves.

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This then led me to complete the look with a corset that was made out of real leather.  Matching arm cuffs were also added around the wrists.

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Like the image, I choose to include wings and a tail.

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the legs

The lower half of the legs are centaur shaped, again using my own pattern and I was pleased with the end result.

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However, I felt there was something missing when I assembled all the body parts.  I made a decision to recreate clubbing style fluffy boots.  This turned out to be an excellent way of using up tiny scraps of fabric.

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