Tag Archives: Arts and Crafts

DIY Blythe Face Guard

15 Apr

nimes travel 04I am going on a trip with some friends for a weekend next month. I’ve made a list of things to bring for that weekend, light clothing, comfortable shoes, camera- all of the usual stuff- BUT since this will be a weekend with other doll collectors like me, I figured a doll (or two) was in order.

Since I’ve met Nimes (Blythe Slow Nimes), I’ve never been without her for long. I take her almost everywhere, even to the most unexpected places, because she’s always such a pretty addition to the places I go to. Despite being reminded now and then that I do have other dolls to play with, I’ve decided Nimes will be my companion on my weekend trip next month.

There are, however, certain challenges to bringing a Blythe doll everywhere. When I travel within the city, I carry her in a clear plastic box or a small doll carrier. But this planned weekend is starting out with minimal luggage so that means not only do I have to be spare in my essentials, I will also have to squish my doll in with the rest of my things. This poses some problems with dirt and staining; her hands and feet have gotten dirty at times because of this. It’s a good thing a little washing did the trick but I’ve since learned to always wrap her in a white bird’s eyeweave diaper to prevent direct contact with things that can discolor or stain her.

Beyond this, there is also a problem of accidentally ruining her eyelashes or her face. Sometimes, when she is squeezed tight with other things, her face could get scratched or her eyelashes inadvertently folded. As such, face guards are a necessary addition to a traveler’s doll requirements.

I’ve only seen one type of face guards sold online and that is Cool Cat’s Face Guard for different dolls. They are very affordable (less that USD2 a piece) and well worth the money you will spend on protecting your Blythe’s face.

Cool Cat Face Guard 01

Each face guard is made of molded plastic and comes with an optional foam to put around the face. Rivets hold the elastic band in place. Very nice, right?

Cool Cat Face Guard 02

I’ve made a note to ask A♥ to get me some, but in the meantime, while I wait (and the real gist of this story was that I couldn’t wait, haha!) I was seized with the idea to make one. A DIY Lightbulb moment- ta-dah!

You know those plastic bits that come with your Blythe dolls, the ones designed to cradle the head or hold the feet?

Blythe Face Guard DIY 08

I’ve kept all of those in a separate box when I flattened the original boxes and carrier cardboard. I didn’t think I’d ever find a use for all of them but I was just hesitant to part with them all. But this afternoon, while looking around the house for an item that could serve as a potential faceguard, I suddenly thought of them.

Blythe Face Guard DIY 01

A quick inspection showed that this particular piece of plastic- the head cradle- works well when turned over and placed over the doll’s face. There were no points of direct contact to the cheeks, forehead, or eyelashes, and the smooth plastic was not likely scuff up the doll.

Blythe Face Guard DIY 02

I cut around the edges to reduce volume, making sure to cut in rounded corners to prevent pointy edges that can scratch. And then I manually bore two holes, one on each side, to thread ribbons or elastics to hold the face guard in place. And what do you know- it works perfectly!

Blythe Face Guard DIY 03

I tried using a ribbon first and while it was nice to look at, the ribbon also had more “give” and was looser than a thin elastic band.  Changing it into an elastic, or a garter, as we call it here in the country, made the fit better. Instead of knotting the elastic, I sewed the edges shut to prevent it from slipping through the holes in the side.

Blythe Face Guard DIY 05

See? It fits perfectly!

Blythe Face Guard DIY 06

Now, she is ready to travel!

Blythe Face Guard DIY 07

Try your very own DIY face guard- it’s quick, easy, and I love that we have repurposed and upcycled what was supposed to be thrown away. As Martha Stewart would say, “It’s a good thing.” 🙂

~0~

Happiness is… Repaint Project One 2014 (xx)

14 Mar

I’ve been meaning to ease myself back into repainting some of my old doll houses, but I wasn’t really sure I could commit to such a lengthy process right away. I’ve had the materials on hand for a while now, but I couldn’t get myself to jump in on a project. That is, until a perfect “practice” project came along.

I am talking about a Licca dressing room I got recently through a Facebook contact. I got it at a very reasonable price, albeit it was not complete and was, in fact, missing a very important part- the cover for the main dressing room. It also had minor discolorations and small chipped parts. Still, I was very happy with the purchase because it was small enough to work on and not have the project drag on for days, or weeks even,

Brand new, the Licca dressing room would have looked like this (pictures borrowed from Playmoya Japan:

Licca dressing room

Licca dressing room 02

Licca dressing room 03

Very cute, right? I think it’s a very nice playset, functional too, as the shoe closet also serves as a carry case for a Licca doll when traveling.

Now, this was what I got, and mind you, I still loved it, flaws and all:

Repaint 02

This Licca dressing room was missing the hinged flap that serves as a cover to the room. As you can see, there are two exposed hinges on the side where the plastic hinge of the cover should be.

Repaint 01

The good news was that the door was in great condition, save for some dings on the sides and small scratches on the design in front.

Repaint 03The back and sides also just had minor discoloration strewn here and there in small, irregular patches of yellow.

It took me just ten hours to finish this project, spread over two days and with long drying times in between. I actually spent more time waiting for the paint to dry completely, so I did chores at home or worked with Alphonse while I waited.

The plan was to make it less childish in appearance by changing the color palette to one more suited for an adult doll collector. Choosing white and gray as its base colors and gold as an accent made this project elegant and less plasticky in appearance.

This is the finished project:

Repaint 04

Front

Repaint 05

Front with open shoe closet

Repaint 06

Back

Repaint 12

Details

I used a stone acrylic paint spray for the roof to add texture to the gray primer and base pant. The white I used was a mixture of flat white primer and pearly white acrylic spray. A bright gold was painted on selected parts to serve as accent color.  I also covered the cardboard backing with a printed sticker (printed on matte sticker paper and sealed with a clear sealant to prevent smudging or running) and kept the black and white theme on it to make it less fussy.

I sealed the whole thing with more clear spray and waited overnight for the seal to dry. Just this morning, I tried it on for a few pictures with my dolls, just to see how it would look with them.

Repaint 10

Nimes: “Hmmm… I hate it when I have nothing to wear… Sigh…”

Repaint 11 copy2

Sitti: “Oh, c’mon, Nimes, stop dawdling around! Wear your jacket and let’s go! We’ll be late for school!”

Success! I like that I now have an extra closet for Blythe doll clothes. I will keep looking for that missing hinged part or perhaps replace it in the future with a home made cover. Another option would be to hang sheer white curtains in front (with tiebacks) to keep the clothes covered when not in use. In any event, this modded set will certainly get a lot of use as Nimes, Sitti, and their Blythe sisters play dress-up.

Am I ready to remake a Sylvanian building now? You bet I am ! On to the next project!

Pika- Pika- Pick a Chu!

23 Oct

It’s no secret that I am a trying hard, desperate crafter-wannabe and that hasn’t changed at all in all these years. I think the desire to create, to embellish, and to bling has gotten even worse as my mind conjures more DIY possibilities for the things around me.

Take the case of my beloved Pikachu 3DS xl. It’s lovely as it is and terribly cute. And since this limited edition sold out on its release early this year, you’d see its price already horribly inflated in the market.  pikachu original

As such. the thought of “skinning” it gives me the heebie jeebies (okay, worse than that, actually). No one in his/her right mind would dare tamper with the original design for fear of ruining its value. And yet, my itchy fingers are nagging at me to do something.

Something to personalize it and yet won’t be irreversible in nature.

Hmmm… Something like this.

Can you recognize who they are?

Pika 01Meet Hello Pikachu and Dear Pikachu, Pikachu’s take on Sanrio’s most famous couple, Kitty and Daniel.

Of course, once you start on this path of craziness, it’s bound to get worse. *cackles maniacally* Some days, Pikachu just has an identity crisis on his hands, never knowing which superhero he wants to really be.

Pika 02

And then there’s this, an homage to one of my favorite modern literary characters (I made this for my friend Laser), here’s a truly confounding sight. Confundo!

Pika 03

Is this Harrychu or Pikatter?

Now,  should I being doing “Chu Chang” next?

Cross (Stitch) My Heart!

29 Nov

I am a frustrated crafter. I was all thumbs when I was growing up. I failed miserably in many craft-related projects and while I would get outstanding marks for Math and Science, my lowest grades were always Work Ed and predictably, PE (I was fat too, heehee.)

For some reason, there was always a disconnect between the vision in my mind and the things my hands could create. Science was easy compared to Work Ed. Everything was precise and accurate with Science; all you needed were steady hands, keen eyes (even myopics could handle the graduations in many cylinders) and an objective disposition. (Hey, my recipes look like chemistry notes! Honest!)

Arts and Crafts, however, were a whole new world altogether! You have to gauge the tension of your crocheting so the chains don’t wind up too small and too tight or too loose and too large. Knitting was an awful way to poke my eyes and rushing to the ER for a consult was an even more humiliating experience. (Lucky for me, I just scraped my corneas.) Embroidery was another one of my failings: I could never achieve the kind of satin stitches my mother could make. Mine always looked ragged, sparse, and bald. Boohoo.

Somewhere along the way, however, I discovered a craft that appealed to my less nimble fingers. It was no less tedious or creative or beautiful, but it was easy enough to start with for someone like me. It also felt more predictable to me (more so than other stitching crafts which relied a lot on gut feel and instinct) and to make things easier, I could use a cloth with holes! Hallelujah!

And so I discovered cross stitch, in the last few months of senior year in high school. This was my very first pattern. I bought it for PhP7.00 at SM North in 1985.

My first attempt, although awful looking and raggedy by serious standards, was still a considerable feat on my part, clumsy fingers and all. I gave it away as a gift to a friend, who did my self-esteem a favor by graciously displaying it in her new baby’s room. I have kept this pattern with me since then, and when I look at it, I remember my first project with great pride and joy.

Over the years, I have kept at this more than any other craft I dabbled on. Eventually, I did learn the basics of many crafts but nothing ever really caught on like cross stitching for me. I remember cross stitching my way through Psych rotation during clerkship in medical school. I always had a small project with me in my bag, for the very rare times when there were no emergencies of any kind on a duty night.

When Alphonse was diagnosed with autism, it was cross stitching that helped saved my sanity. Imagine the long hours waiting for therapies to finish and you can imagine how I lived many years in waiting rooms of different schools and therapy centers. Books helped, of course, as also the Gameboy (this was before the era of other handheld gaming consoles) but nothing eased those long hours like the repetitive motions of stitching.

Let me digress a bit and share a funny story from those cross stitching days:

Alphonse was two years old at that time, and still in diapers. I was cross stitching one afternoon while watching him play with a ball. He went up to me and tugged at my right hand. I looked at him but could not understand what he wanted me for. So I told him, “Baby, wait, just a few more stitches.” He waited a bit and tugged me again. I said the same thing again. A few minutes later, I saw him run to the bathroom. I dropped everything and ran after him. Then he stopped in front of the toilet, reached inside his diaper, grabbed a big round poo, dropped it inside the toilet and flushed it down the drain! Then he held out his grubby hand to me with a huge grin, as if to say “See, Mama? Now, wash me!” Well, you guessed right that I learned from that lesson very well. 🙂

I stopped stitching in 2009, after the trouble with my neck started. I couldn’t stand bending my neck for hours then. My arms and hands felt thick and even clumsier than usual. I packed away all my stitching books and supplies, a little sorrowful at the end of such a long relationship.

Recently, however, I rediscovered my stitching bug. And it all started with this wonderful picture by my friend Pornphan from her page called Sylvanian Corner:

I kept thinking, “What if I tried my hand on those pillows? Can I do it?” I wasn’t even convinced I could do it again, not after almost three years of a stitchless existence. But then, as it often happens to me, the universe sends me the answer another way. On the same day I found Pornphan’s picture, I discovered one of my friends (Hi, Sandee!) was into cross stitching too when she posted a picture of her weekend project. One comment led to another and soon after, she invited me into a Facebook group of Filipino cross stitchers (Hi, Margaret! Hi, Mamila! Hi, Michelle!).

So now I am rediscovering my old love for cross stitching. In the frenzy of finding a new community with a similar passion, I went to straight to work and unearthed my old floss box, my dowels and stands, my old patterns, books, and magazines.

After that, I organized a new box for my supplies, pink and Kittified, of course.

And then I went back to digging some more. Inside the storage box of supplies, I also found some finished, but unframed, projects. Who knew I could stitch? They bring back so many memories- and they all make me smile, of course.

I love the Hummel patterns and I collected quite a lot of the patterns in booklets. My father-in-law (who is based in New York) never forgot to send me one or two when he spotted them.

I love Japanese ladies and I like stitching patterns that go well with my house’s Oriental interiors.

These Chinese vases deserve a spot on my wall!

In the process of reconnecting with my stitching past, I also discovered a couple of WIP (Works-in-progress) that have shamefully lain dormant for years (they smell funky too, boohoo!). No excuses, there, I’m afraid. Bad Kittymama!

I haven’t touched a needle in ages before this last month and when I look at the projects that my new friends display on the community wall, sometimes, even my normally unflappable self feels a little daunted. Still, I am not giving up hope that someday, I will find my stitching mojo again, the one that kept me going through all those years. Cross my stitchy fingers! In the meantime, I console myself with the thought that once in the past- and hopefully again in the future- these fat, stubby, clumsy fingers created something beautiful out of pieces of thread and a cloth with holes. 🙂

Cross (Stitch) My Heart! I made this!

A project for my mother which, to this day, hangs in her room.

A Sylvanian Project for A♥

16 May

Us, 21 years ago

Last week, I thought of a gift to make for A♥ just in time for Mothers’ Day last Sunday. You see, on Mothers’ Day every year, as well as on all other special occasions of our lives including his birthday, A♥ never fails to give me presents. In more than 20 years of marriage, I have always been on the receiving end of his thoughtfulness and generosity.

I’ve never been able to quite measure up when it comes to giftgiving or reciprocate in a manner equal to or more than he has ever shown me his love, but he has never complained. Not once. So last week, inspired by a burst of creativity, I thought of a project to give to him on Mothers’ Day. I wanted him to have a gift that reminded him of me always- his crazy, spoiled, always-loved wife. And it had to be something I could make, not bought.

Guess what I did? I made… Okay, okay, okay, I am getting ahead of myself. Forgive me if I’m too excited for my own good. I guess I better start from the beginning.

Project: My Sylvanian Golfer

Inspiration: Golf! Well, A♥ learned to play golf because of work, and he has grown to love it. In fact, one of my earliest Sylvanian set-ups was inspired by his interest in the sport. This was before I was able to acquire Grandpa Roland Tailbury and his miniature golf set. 🙂

Materials:

  • a display case (I used the leftover plastic container from the Hello Kitty Diamond perfume- recycling always makes me feel creative, teehee)
  • measuring tape (for measuring, duh!)
  • green felt cloth
  • printed golf course background, measured to size
  • self-adhesive laminating film
  • glue gun
  • glue stick
  • miniature foliage
  • inkjet-friendly acetate
  • Sylvanian Families Grandpa Roland and selected pieces from his golf set (an extra set)

Procedure:

I printed two copies of a golf course background, measured according to the size of my container. I laminated the background using self-adhesive laminating film, setting the two pictures back to back with a glue stick. I cut the pictures to the size required by my container.

Using the bottom of the container, I traced the base and cut a round piece of felt to use as my golf course grass.

I attached the felt base to the removable bottom of the container. I also attached the background to the cylinder top.

To add interest, I added foliage using a glue gun. Then, I set the figure and selected accessories.

I cut a piece of green felt to wrap around the base of the diorama. This is what it looked like before I covered it.

And this is what the finished project looked like. To personalize it, I added a dedication (To A♥, My Favorite Golfer) using inkjet-friendly acetate and sealed the diorama shut. Easy peasy!

I gave the diorama to A♥ and he has brought it yesterday to his office for display. My gift may seem trivial compared to all he has ever given me, but I know he knows it comes with a lot of love and heart.

I ♥ you always, A♥! I hope you really like it. 🙂 And I hope you all did too! Happy Wednesday!

~0~

Update:

(photo from A♥, sent in at 5:40 pm via iMessage)

He loves it! Success!

A place of honor on his desk 🙂

DIY Day

17 Sep

I got a lot done yesterday (yay!) even if one of the nannies was down with the flu (I hope it really is just the flu).  After the kitchen chores and the daily bedroom clean-up, I found time to do some long overdue projects when Alphonse decided to stay outside and play during the day. I could never do any of them while Alphonse was around; he’s a very curious fellow and turns my things upside down when he gets interested. Sometimes, he even steals the scenery from my Sylvanian photo sessions, hahaha.

So what did I do yesterday?

First, I kittified my Kindle. See?

It took all of 30 seconds to stick that itty bitty thing but it’s something that I keep forgetting to do. I like that my Kindle is in a pink leather case but the Kitty head somehow tied all of it together. Vavavoom- instant bling!

Second, I got all of the new Hello Kitty items I collected last week and arranged them for a photograph. I have been very remiss in documenting my HK collection but hopefully, this will give me the impetus to start up again. The diecut bag and pouch from Gift Gate are denim and very casual so these are my everyday bags for now.  The bling stickers (aren’t they’re adorable?), the dispenser, the plastic pouch and HK Nerd necklace are my purchases from my Multiply friends (hello, Mia and Jing-jing!). The iPhone case is a gift from A. ♥  

Next, I worked on photo boxes. This one took a little longer but I was actually able to finish two yesterday. I’ve been following my forum friend Toukkero’s blog, Monta Suloista Kokoelmaa,  since she started sharing her Sylvanian collections online. She has all these really lovely photos of Sylvanians in different rooms and settings. Her blog is in Finnish and I do need Google Translate to get the gist of her stories but I am sure you all will agree that her pictures are amazingly cute! Toukkero is also very generous with her “secrets” and twice in her blog, she shifted to the English language so I can understand her instructions on photo boxes.

Inspired by my friend’s creativity and generosity, I worked on my own boxes. Not only are they meant to be beautiful, they also have the added bonus of being portable. Whenever I set up my work table, it takes a while to clean up everything. When Alphonse barges in, as he inevitably does each time I work on my photography, I scramble to keep everything away before anything catches his fancy. He really loves miniature trees and so far, he has snuck out and ran off with two from my set-up.

I added strings to the front and back edges of these sturdy double corrugated boxes so I can fold them up and carry them outside. The walls are made from a solid removable piece of illustration board that can be replaced with other designs as needed. I experimented with wrapping paper first but I think it’ll be better using scrapbook paper or boards in matte next time.  I love the design of this one so I opted to try it out but flash photography fights with the gloss of the paper.

Living Room photo box

Here's how it looks all set up with figures

Outdoors photo box

How I take photos- with two extra lights and the camera in a tripod

The carpet I use as grass comes from our Christmas tree set and I do have to return it soon as the Holiday season is just around the corner. That it serves another (and more important) purpose explains why I can’t cut it to box size. Instead, I stuck it down flat with some velcro stick-ons.

I’m happy with the boxes for now but I’m a little disappointed with the resulting pictures. I think it’s because I haven’t worked out the kinks on lighting. I am using a battery-operated lamp from Alex’s desk and a portable rechargeable reading lamp. I will try out the different kinds of light available in the house and see what works best. As you can see, almost everything here is DIY and comes from easily accessible materials.

Lastly, just before bedtime, I got started on the Sylvanian pizza store I was planning to make from an incomplete bakery set I bought on sale. I used stickers to mod this, not wanting to permanently alter it and make it unrecognizable. Besides, if I do change my mind, all I do need to do is peel off the stickers and make new ones for, say, an art museum or even a bookstore, as some of my forum friends have suggested.

I printed the stickers on photo paper, stuck them on, and used a cutter to cut the excess. The fluted edge of the canopies was a challenge but it just needed a steady hand and a lot of patience to get through it in one sitting.

Next step would be to replace the missing counter and put the extra accessories from the pizza sets I already have. The window on the left will connect the store with the  takeout pizza stalls, I will have to think through the idea of replacing the missing counter but I do have a few things in mind already.

I’m amazed I was able to do all these in one day. Thank you, Alphonse, for cooperating and giving Mama some hours to do as she pleases. Thank you to my boys (my loving husband A included) who complimented my handmade creations. And most of all, thank you to the Man Up There who never fails to remind me that a day is only as productive as one wishes it to be. I am tired, but it’s a good kind of tired.

Sewing Frenzy

2 Mar

sewing-project-01I like to describe myself as a nerd who discovered her arts and crafts bone a little late in life. I didn’t even realize I had it until I had my first child. My very first project was a series of small hand painted oven-baked ceramic pots to hold small baby things. My husband loved them and he loved the idea of personalizing our son’s nursery with handcrafted objects. Emboldened by the success of my first project, I soon discovered a passion for things my hand (and my heart) could create. I learned how to crochet properly, to knit, to do cross-stitch and embroidery. I dabbled in cardboard 3D puzzles, in paper tole and decoupage; why, I even learned to paint with watercolor! Add to this my experiments in the kitchen as I grew and learned as wife and mother, and I could say with all honesty that for a nerd, I wasn’t such a bad student of the arts.

Despite my successes, however, I could not sew, except by hand.

Machine sewing, for me, was the final frontier and the most frustrating part of my arts and crafts journey.  Blame the phobia I developed in grade school, when as a sixth grader, I accidentally pushed my  hand a little past the machine’s presser foot and I sewed a golden yellow thread across the breadth of my poor thumb. The needle went through my nail, through the nailbed, and through the bone of the distal phalanx. Ouch! Little Miss Firefly, I am most definitely not! (Check out her blog for all her cool, creative projects!)hk-dress-me-up-doll-brown

This week, however, was the impetus I needed to overcome this phobia. My beautiful Singer sewing machine (model number 1116, see picture above) has waited for me since Christmas, another thoughtful and generous gift from A, but I was too scared to do anything with it. When my latest Hello Kitty Dress- Me Doll arrived, I knew I had to get moving. After all, she was clad in such an immodest fashion that I simply could not leave her lying around the house in a state of undress! What would my sons think?  🙂

I remembered I had a pair of pajamas I bought at a thrift shop a few months ago that was in need of hemming. Cutting it short gave me enough fabric for two doll blouses, one for Fudge Brownie (the new suntanned Dress-Me Kitty) and Bee (my tropical HK Build-A-Bear). Moreover, unearthing a couple of pairs of torn jeans,  I decided to make my first pair of doll skinny jeans too. I made some mistakes in the process, but for a first time sewer, my projects didn’t turn out too bad.

sewing-02-copyBee and Brownie (or Fudge, which sounds yummier) in identical clothing

I like that I can make my dolls’ clothes and not spend a lot on ready-made clothing for them. And who knows? Once I get the knack of the machine (right now, I am very, very good with very, very straight stitches), maybe I can learn to make my own clothes too. In this time of want and need, that certainly can be a money-saving, even moneymaking, skill.

And with this, I realized once again that happiness is… realizing that the only limits are the ones you set for yourself, and nothing, not even five left thumbs in one hand, can stop you from making a dream come true.

This very late post is dedicated to Little Miss Firefly in faraway Ireland, she who constantly brings a dose of happiness to everyone she meets. Thank you for the friendship, dear Odette. You constantly inspire me to better myself.