Monday, 31 March 2014

What do you do with your scraps? I've made this...and you can do too. Tutorial.

Fior di Cafe. Made with Guatemalan fabric, leather and cord scraps.
Hello there!

Are you lot at all like me, that I keep pretty much everything and wait for the right time to transform whatever I've kept into something else? Then you're probably as messy as me and whenever you need something you can't remember in which of the boxes, bags or suitcases you've stored it *sigh*; I wish I had a studio for it all.
But anyway...

I had a lot of cordleather and Guatemalan fabric scraps that I'd been keeping for a while and I've decided to make something with it, so I've made this little doll. It's probably more of a little girl's thing but I'm thinking of sticking one on a bag or similar to add a bit of colour, maybe on my traveling rucksack when I take it out again (hopefully soon!).

Or you could always decorate the curtains in your daughter's room, hang it somewhere in your garden or make her sleep in a little box. The possibilities are endless.

Materials you'll need. You can add your own too!
Right, so materials.

 - Cord, shoe-laces, yarn and similar stuff to make the arms and legs and sometimes your doll's hair.With the yarn, you should braid 3 pieces for a bit of thickness and consistency. Secure the ends in a knot.
- Leather scraps to use as hair and tiny round pieces of leather to make the eyes. I kept those after riveting handbags and purses, I knew they'd come in handy! (They're in the little transparent bag in the picture)
- Fabric scraps to make their little dresses.
- Studs, tiny rivets, beads, you name it, to decorate the dresses.
I bought these beauties at Chichicastenango market

In this picture we have 2 triangle shaped pieces of fabric, coverstitched to avoid the thread from sticking out. My triangles are not perfect and I don't pretend them to be, I'm not doll-maker and I see a lot of beauty in imperfection. My favourite pieces are always a bit asymmetric too, as you would have noticed by now if you'd known me :-)

Next, take your cord (or shoe-laces or braided yarn) and place them on a table on a vertical 'A' shaped position, these will be your 'legs'. Place your 'arms' horizontally over the legs (take your measurements placing your 'dress' over the 'cord', leaving enough fabric on the triangle's tip to fold over and hide on the back later on) and stitch them together. You can start by sewing the 'legs' together first, then adding the 'arms' and finally adding the front of the 'dress'.

Ok, I'm having to take a break here. This tutorial thing takes forever and I need some energy. I'm not telling you what I'm snacking on or I'll make you jealous. Ok, I'll tell you...'eggs alla coque'. Who said you could only have them for breakfast? Yummy!

Right, I'm back. That was amazing.

As you can see on the 2nd picture, I cut the knots before folding the leftover fabric over 'cause they made it a bit too bulky.

On the 3rd picture, I added the back of the 'dress' and stitched it all together making sure I caught everything hidden underneath. Note that I left a bit of leftover fabric again to fold it and cover the stitches on the back afterwards.

I added a few strategic stitches along the outside of the 'dress' to close it down. In my opinion, you don't have to go over the whole length but it's up to you.

 At this point, you're ready to make a 'head' for your doll. I've made mine cutting a cotton pad as in the picture. Use sharp fabric-cutting scissors for best results and make sure to shape a little 'neck' on it too; this you'll have to stitch between the front and the back of your 'dress'.
I thought a bit of colour would be appropriate for the face since 'Fior di Cafe' is a Guatemalan doll, so I soaked my cotton pads in guess what? Yes, you've guessed it, watered down coffee! (Any other ideas?)

Ta dah! We're, like, half way through now.
Time to gather your leather scraps. Mine are as colourful as possible, as usual.

Make sure the amount you choose covers the back of the 'head'.

Use a cotton bud to spread your white glue all over the back of the 'head' and place your 'hair strands' in a way that they cover the whole surface. (To use the 'cord' as 'hair in another one of my dolls, I found that hot glue worked better and a lot faster!)

The leather scraps should be long enough at the top to fold them over to the front and cover the 'forehead'. First, you'll have to let the glue set for a while though, coffee break anyone?

We're nearly there now, don't you give up!  Add some extra little scraps of 'hair' to cover possible gaps... Check that your glue is dry (I wouldn't know how long it takes, I kind of always start making or doing something else and end up going back to it the next day), turn your doll over, apply more glue to the 'forehead' and fold the leather over. Make sure you cover the sides of the head too, maybe using thinner strands of leather.

When it dries up, unleash the hairdresser in you and give your doll a haircut! (I went for the 'layered with a fringe' look, yeah!)

 A bit more glue for the 'eyes', use a marker pen to draw the lips, attach a safety pin to the back of the dress to use your doll as a brooch and you're ready to make some little girl happy (the little girl in you?) Just don't give it to a 2 year old, it wouldn't last long. 

 Oh! And as you can see, I've added a bit of leather at the front of her dress too, to make it prettier :-)

So there you go...Fior di Cafe and her friends.

And now...what do you do with your scraps? Food, photos, fabric, buttons, metal, anything goes! I'd be interested in knowing :-) 

Answers in a postcard or else you can leave a comment on here. 

Have a lovely week everyone!

Idoia xx

Monday, 24 March 2014

Bright nautical knot bracelets - tutorial.

I had a bit of trouble taking pictures on my own...

 Good morning, morning.

It's been a bit of a hectic week with 2 new English students ( not sure how full-time teachers do it to prepare their lessons? ), the Saturday evening restaurant job, the 'organic farming' course we're taking, all the regular weekly tasks and the extra flyer-ing job we had this week. It's been coming and going to the city every day; lucky for us, Ragusa is only 20min away.

To be honest, I've always preferred to have different little jobs rather than a full-time one at the same place, same time, same people, every day one but I do feel my head spinning with so many different things in it, sometimes. I always have a few homemade projects on the go at the same time too and this week I've only managed to finish this one...and run out of materials. Daaah!

See the recycled little charms? Got a bag full of jewelery scraps...

 I made my first nautical knot bracelet for my best friend's wedding a few years back but never thought anything of it and then last year I started to see them everywhere...I made that first one without any guidance, I'm a fisherman's daughter at the end of the day...

I bought the embroidery thread in a market in Guatemala

For this ones, I used a tutorial  that I found on Etsy

We went to this DIY - hardware shop the other day to do this 'flyer-ing' job for Roberto (we love the owner and he loves us back) and as usual I had a little walk around looking for possible materials. He took the piss out of me saying whether I was going to make my children's stuff with the coolest bright coloured synthetic cords that he had but so far I had a very positive response from lots of adults around me, so there you go...I'm off to the shop to get some more cord. See ya!

p.s. I tweaked the blog a bit so you can now share, subscribe and all of those things. I still don't know how to add pics of my shop, only managed to add a link...ideas anyone?

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

SPRING springs to mind...on the seaside


We've just had a couple of days of really warm weather so we decided to finally do something different on a Sunday. We set off nice and relatively early (meaning midday) after we all got together at ours, had coffee, said hello to the in-laws, etc. etc. all very Italian.

We got some traditional freshly made 'focaccia' and some beers and went to one of the countless beautiful beaches along the South coast to find that the sand had disappeared during the winter months, so we chose the alternative to the rocks and jumped the fence that separated us from an unused 'chalet'.
Luxury sailboats at Marina di Ragusa

Fruit vendor

Traditional Sicilian 'focacce'


 These structures are full of life (some of them oh so trendy!, you have to be seen there) during the summer months but suffer from an state of abandon in colder periods, only to be re-structured again come May-June...well I guess it was lucky for us, we had a lovely day relaxing right by the sea, surrounded by friends and food and we left the place 'better than it was before', a non-written code of the 'good squatter' ;-)
Run-down ceiling
'Squatting' an unused deck by the sea... 
Relaxing Sunday                                                                                                                        
But that was yesterday; today was another story.                                                                       I've been meaning to put this unique spring-y African wax print handbags up in the shop since Friday and haven't been able to find a suitable zip for them, what a mission! I've visited 3 different shops, one of them didn't have the colour I wanted (very hard to find brass, only gold and silver, agh!), another one was closed this morning (shops are closed Monday morning!) and by the time I finally managed to finish one of the two clutches I was planning to make, it was too late to take pics with natural light, so it's going to have to wait till tomorrow, again. PATIENCE and BREATH OUT.        

African wax print clutch purse hand bag on

African wax print clutch purse hand bag on