Monday, July 31, 2017

Make a Handkerchief Pretty

Handkerchief: /ˈhaNGkərCHif,ˈhaNGkərCHēf/
a square of cotton or other finely woven material, typically carried in one's pocket
and intended for blowing or wiping one's nose.
synonyms: hanky; kerchief, bandanna; tissue
"a monogrammed handkerchief"

There are all sorts of descriptions and histories of the handkerchief. But I think I like the handkerchiefs that are pretty, romantic, edged in crochet, or accented with embroidery. Adding art, something whimsical or romantic, can make a plain square of cotton special.

These pocket-handkins came four to a pack, from Collage, in Portland Oregon... a Sublime Stitching blank textile. Just the kind of souvenir I cannot resist... one that packs easily, and will inspire creative play.

I decided to revisit painting and embroidering. So, I drew a romantic little ratty, with her bouquet of pink posies. It's just a #2 pencil, lightly sketched on the square. You can even trace an image, like I did with a tea towel, in this tutorial.

The next step was to use acrylic craft paints to fill in color. I use water sparingly, and the cotton square was heavy enough, that none of the paint seeped through, which is nice. But to be safe, I keep waxed paper, or a plastic tray, under my paint projects... newsprint might stain leave marks on the fabric. The paints I use are Martha Stewart's acrylic craft paints. I use a smallish brush, applying thin layers of paint, so they can dry quickly and evenly, and so that I don't leave a thick, stiff feel to the fabric, with too much paint.

Then, I choose my floss colors, and use only two strands of thread to make simple outlining and detail stitches. French knots make perfect little flowers for a ratty's bouquet.

A bit of navy blue floss for her eye, and gray for her face, arms, and legs. A pale, sage-y green for the stems and leaves, and three shades of pink for everything, else, including all of those French-knot flowers.

After outlining her dress, and creating a belt of posies around her waist, I trimmed the edges in leaves, and more flowers.

I wonder, would I actually sneeze into this little handkerchief?
Would you?
Maybe your hand painted and embroidered handkerchief will be too pretty for nose-blowing, but it's still an easy and gratifying little project to make.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Make A Miniature Picnic

When Benevolent Order of Makers, (BOoMNerds on Instagram) was at the North County Mini Maker Faire, Maria and I taught crafting with paper clay. We love paper clay, because it's affordable, easy to use, and we can paint it, after it air dries. Making with the clay was a popular hands-on activity, so I ended up with a lot of loaves of bread from all the demonstrating we were doing.

Today I set up my paints, so I could paint all the miniature bread pieces. Baguettes, a bâtard, and a traditional slicing loaf... and bagels, and pancakes (not pictured.) Painting isn't just a fun, creative part of finishing the paper clay pieces, it's also a necessary step in protecting them, since any moisture could make them start to disintegrate. The acrylic craft paints seals the dried clay.

These are some of the things I made while we demonstrated how to make with paper clay. The baguettes are rolled from a small ball of clay, allowing the ends to get narrower. Then I use the side of a toothpick to gently dent across the tops of the bread so they appear to be scored. They've had plenty of drying time, now we need to get them painted, and sealed.

If you would like more tips and suggestions for making with paper clay, please follow this link, where we give a more complete paper clay tutorial.

To paint the bread, I used acrylic craft paints. First, I painted the whole loaf in a medium brown shade, being sure to get the entire surface sealed in a light layer of paint. Once the first layer was dry, I used a very dry brush to paint on a slightly darker shade of brown, to make it look like the bread has nice crust to it. The last part was adding the palest brown paint into the scores, where the bread would be less browned. I could add one last clear coat with a glossy acrylic paint... something you may notice in the picture of other breads I made. The decision to make the bread shiny is a matter of preference. I like them both ways; shiny, or matte.

Maria brought out some pretty props from her doll house, so we could depict a picnic, featuring a crusty French baguette, still wrapped, and tied with bakery twine! The little bread knife is one of our miniature make creations, too. Today I will finish painting bagels/donuts, and a cake. And we want to create some syrup for the pancakes. We may open a cafe, soon!