Monday, December 31, 2018

Miniature Gingerbread Houses (take two)

I say "take two" because it is only the second time to try Royal Icing and piping skills... hahaha... skills... that's a laugh!

This time I made the icing softer ... with many more tablespoons of water than Jemma suggests ...and still ... way too stiff to pipe.  So, after a lot of moaning, whining and wiping off about 17 doorways... and, then some swearing... I put the icing back in the bowl and added more water yet. By then, I'm sure there were dried crusty bits in it as well.

I tried again... but, by then, my hand was wobbly and I was totally ticked... so Mister BumbleVee said he would give one a try.  I managed to make only about two end pieces ... not great windows and doors...and his first one was a bit wobbly too... but, then...he became a piping machine!  He did all the rest of the pieces ...in total I had 8 houses, and at 6 per house that was a grand total of 48 pieces.. a lot of fiddly piping!

But, hours later, in spite of the silly icing never being the right consistency... he had managed to do all the pieces;  I waited til they were dry and assembled and added more "snow" ... which after awhile... became a bit messy too because my parchment bag was practically trashed.  I only had one piping tip and bag so made a couple of parchment ones;  well, Mr. BV did that too... ... hahahah... BUT... we did 'em, the little buggers!!

Since then, I have been watching many, many videos on piping, icing consistency, tricks and tips etc.... and, man, are some of those women ever amazing!!  I love one of them called Haniela... she does great stuff..and has lots of info to take in.  I will have to watch them again and then, make up another batch of icing and get busy practising on some parchment or something.  By next year I want my little gingerbread guys to look somewhat better than these.. but, I am showing them anyway... because darn it ...I am proud of our efforts.

Mr. BumbleVee says .. "don't show everybody our amateurish efforts".. but, I think they are cute and also..it is only the second time trying anything like this at all and his first time doing the solo piping, so .. here goes....

The worst ones, with no door sill... are mine.  The good ones are Greg's...
I think he is pretty good at this..... maybe I need to make him watch the videos and he can do them again next year.   Don't tell him I said that.



















I like to encourage people to give things a try even if you have never done it before ... who knows how it will turn out?  You may be quite surprised at how good you are at something.   You may have amazing beginner's luck... try something new for the New Year!






Monday, December 10, 2018

A few things on our tree

okay, well, there are a lot more than a few things on ours for sure.... but, we love it.

Probably best described as whimsical... although I like to think whimsical but adult and a bit classy as well.. 

Sure it has lots of little cuties in there ...but also some lovely glitz and sparkle a bit of glamour... 

Click on the photo and be transported closer to the tree...........

















                                                                                                   





























































There you have it.... some of my little sparklies... and fun things.....


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Timothy in the tree

Finished and still looking a bit worried even though he has buddies and friends in the tree with him .. there are other little bears... mousies in their walnut shells... a black sheep ... and several little owls and other birds.....


Where I placed him, I can see him from the kitchen ... watching and wondering.....




Friday, November 23, 2018

Why do they always look so worried? ...

He did have to sit on the dining table for days til I finally got around to finishing him.  Days just seem to whiz past don't they?

I had to re-think the size of his eyes and then, try to guess which of the 15 in the package of 4mm eyes were close to the same size.  They say 4mm, but of course, they range in size from 3 to 6 I'm sure of it.  There was a lot of uhm-ing and ahhh-ing til I made my decision.

How can you totally forget how to seat an eye properly?  Well, maybe there is no perfect way...I did look back at about 5 patterns...nobody actually mentioned how to do it the way I thought I remembered.... some tell you nothing at all... it's a great secret I guess... oh, well.  I did it my way eventually anyway... they look pretty good to me and are never going to pop out of there.  Carpet and button thread made sure of that.

There was a bit more trimming...inside the ears... and a bit more needle felting to get some extra depth in there as well ...and a bit of shading with a dry water colour pencil.  Then, some trimming around the nose and cheek areas... and, a bit more shading.

Finally a length of ribbon which was too wide but which I folded in half and stitched down... made a running stitch along the length of it .. ruffled it and stitched it into position.  They say to put on an alligator clip to attach him to the tree... we'll see if I decide to do that or not.  He could just sit on any branch I'm sure.

Here he is ... still with test eyes and just his nose finally embroidered and finished .. like I say...looking very worried isn't he?   You can click on the pics to see them even larger.































And, now...here he is finished, with the pattern bear for comparison... yep, definitely has a more worried expression...


I love him....and have named him Timothy....

Once I put up the tree and have him in a place of honour... I'll take another pic of him of course.... but, for now... a bough I found recently will have to suffice.


















Thanks to Andrea Brewer for her free pattern in the old magazine I found somewhere and hung onto for years.... I'm glad I finally tried him.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

...in which I show you MY way to fix baldness....

Yep....I did it.  There I was merrily plucking out a few stray hairs and trying to clean up the nose area where I wanted to embroider his nose.   All of a sudden I realized I was looking at the fabric under the fur, not the fur...damn!!@#  Somehow just plucking on a few hairs had already gotten me too deep into it and the fabric was laid bare.   How could I have been so stupid?  I wasn't even in the exact centre of the nose for heaven's sake.  Me and my eyes.  Very frustrating.  Like I mentioned, they have gotten worse, and, even working with my big magnify9ing glass I still did a stupid thing.  Sigh......................so bloody annoying.

I was contemplating tossing the head in the bin.  Or wondering if I could just make a huge nose and cover up most of the mess...or maybe pluck out some on the other side and match up a bare patch and make a bare fabric snout surrounding the actual nose.  None of the those options appealed.

When Mister BumbleVee came home and asked how the bear making was going I told him my tale of woe.  He said, "Can't you just needle felt some fluff back in?"  HUH??@#!  How the heck would he think of that?  And, of course, at first I poo-poo'ed the idea saying it was rayon and it would probably leave big holes in the fabric and I didn't think it possible to get any kind of result..etc...  but, then, I thought about it and did dig out some felting needles and plucked out some of the rayon curly fluff from near a cut edge of the fabric I was using and needled some into the bare patches.  SUCCESS!!  Wow.  that really worked.

He had remembered that I needle felted a nose onto my scratty bunny.. and figured it could be done on any other animal I suppose.  I do remember doing Eddy, but it was lovely mohair and you can needle felt to your heart's content on that and not ruin it.... rayon, I was not so sure about.  But, I'm hear to tell you....it can be done.  It doesn't look quite the same even when I try really hard to find some shiny new long pieces of fluff..and, try not to needle it much .. so the curls stay a bit...but, it covered up the bare patches and looks great.  His whole snout area looks lighter anyway for some reason...probably because I did snip and trim things a bit ..trying for a nicer shape to the snout.

Click on the pics for close ups....the eyes and also the nose are "test eyes" ... things will move or change in size for sure.  And, his nose will be embroidered.
















Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos of the bald patches .. so you could see how wrecked the poor little guy was.  But, I do have photos of the fixed areas...and, I can't even tell you where they were really.   Somebody looked petty smug when I showed him the result.   There was a big cheesy grin.  He totally expects to get equal billing when we tell anybody I made the little bear head ornament on the tree I'm sure... and, well....he should....

It's weird when you think your guy is not really paying much attention to what you are doing hobby wise...and, then... they remember some reeellly important thing to help out when you totally forget about ever having done it.   Strange that........ he's definitely a keeper.

This is the first bear I made with this rayon fabric.  A wobble jointed bear named Leonard..he has a ladybug on his foot.  I knew it was a bit tricky to work with ...but, I went ahead with him anyway and he turned out fine.  Very cute actually... so I thought I would use it again.  IT gets a bit matted and flattened after handling and honestly, with rayon? ..you cannot, and I mean CANNOT just fluff it up or brush it out...it fuzzes terribly!  So... my advice ... mostly don't use it.  The chin gusset is part of this guy's nose area...it is softest suede as are the paw pads.
















This is what I plucked out to use for needle felting into his nose... the edge bits of some of the fluff.  If I tease it out gently...it doesn't fuzz or get dull .. and, then..try to needle it in with a bit of curl in place.  Tricky, but only jabbed myself one time...ouch... those needles are reeeeellllly sharp..  and then, you do have to wait a bit for the bleeding to stop before continuing.
















Here is my Scratty Eddy bunny that I made years ago.  The white snout is all needle felted wool with a pink embroidered nose.   It felts easily into lovely mohair like this...but, I wasn't sure about how the rayon would hold together for repeated stabbing ...somehow it did just fine.