31 October 2014

Autumnal display

I wasn't really in the Halloween spirit... until I saw Marceline's free ghost garland printable that is! I thought it was so cute that I decided to make an autumnal display. And it's a great way of reliving some memories from my autumn trip to Japan last year.

From left to right, there are:
Some dried flowers
One of my Petite Blythes in a mushroom outfit I made
A book of Keats poetry (with the poem about mists and mellow fruitfulness bookmarked)
A postcard from last autumn's trip to Kyoto
A miniature bed (because I want to hibernate!)
A devilish Momiji doll (highly appropriate, because momiji means autumn leaves!)
A book with autumn leaves on the back cover
Some leaves from one of my acer trees
A pot of chillies
A couple of kokeshi dolls with autumn leaf patterns on them
A red Japanese style teapot

 And, of course, the garland that inspired me to create the display!
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This month on emuse


Wow! It's been a super-crafty October for me! My holiday in Peru two years ago has provided so much inspiration for this Peruvian-themed month.

There have been over 20 Peruvian themed craft tutorials this month - my biggest month of tutorials ever!


At the end of the month I put some of the items I'd made together into a display.

I also reviewed a Peruvian cookbook, and I showed some of my favourite photos from my trip to Peru, including some from Santa Catalina Monastery, a particular favourite of mine.

It's been a really busy month! I can't believe how many crafts I crammed into the month. I'm glad that I've finally found time to make some projects inspired by my holiday two years ago, because I've been wanting to do so ever since I came back! Come back tomorrow, when my Nordic November will be starting, with all sorts of Scandinavian-inspired posts!

30 October 2014

This month I have been mostly...

Listening to:

Love, love, love this new album by Yann Tiersen, especially the final track, Meteorites, which has vocals by Aidan Moffat and reminds me of another song he did vocals for (Car Song by R M Hubbert). I listen to the Amelie soundtrack by Yann Tiersen all the time, but this couldn't be more different. It's really eclectic, with vocals in a number of different languages including Icelandic and Faroese. I'm also starting to listen to some of his other albums.

I also loved this video:

Ödland - Après avoir décroché les étoiles.

Reading:
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie was amazingly inventive, the most unusual science fiction I've read in years! It raised so many interesting ideas about gender, identity, religion and much more. I've already started reading Ancillary Sword, the second one in the series.

Watching:
Australian conspiracy drama The Code. I wasn't sure if I would like it as much as my usual Scandi Noir Saturday night viewing, but it was excellent, and had elements of lots of the Scandi Noir dramas like The Killing, The Bridge, Mammon, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I found the characters really compelling, especially Jesse - a great portrayal of someone with Asperger's Syndrome.

Eating:
I got some home-grown potatoes and apples from my parents, so I made a potato and apple bake, with some onion, pancetta and rosemary. I also made cauliflower rice for the first time, and had it with balti chicken pieces and a squeeze of lemon juice and some salad - delicious! And my couscous salad was a hit at a staff lunchtime get-together.

Oh, and I cut my hair! I really loved it long, but the split ends were causing it to get horribly tangled. So I chopped three or four inches off, and I think I like it!

29 October 2014

Peru display


My month of Peru-related posts is nearing an end, so I thought I would put together a display showing many of the crafts that I've done this month! There have been so many that I could not fit them all in the display!

I used the shadow boxes I showed you last month - they are a great way of putting together a group of related items to display or photograph.

On Friday I'll be giving a roundup of all the Peru craft tutorials from this month, and there have been a lot of them!






28 October 2014

Letter frames

Here's the final tutorial of my month of Peru-inspired crafts, but these letter frames are something that could be used for lots of other purposes! You could use them for a name (for a child's bedroom), or with a seasonal word, like Spring or Autumn, as part of a seasonal display.

This is a really easy craft that takes less than ten minutes!

I used a small set of Ikea frames that I found in a charity shop, but you could use larger frames. I think it looks good having a mixture of sizes and shapes of frames.

1. Lay out your frames to decide how to arrange them.
2. Select some patterned paper and coloured card that will work well together.
3. Cut patterned paper to the same sizes as the frame backs.
4. Cut plain coloured card into letter shapes. Make sure they will fit in the frame apertures! You'll see from how I did the P and e that you don't need to cut out the holes in the middle of the letters.
5. Stick the coloured card to the patterned paper.
6. Put the paper inside the frames, and arrange them in order!
Come back tomorrow to see the display I've put together of my Peruvian crafts!

27 October 2014

Peruvian-inspired outfit for a Blythe doll

When I visited Peru I loved the colourful traditional outfits that the people wore, especially on the floating Uros Islands on Lake Titicaca (where I also got an opportunity to try on some of the clothes!).


I'd already made a Peruvian outfit for one of my Petite Blythe dolls (she was my travel doll when I went to Peru), so I decided to have a go at making something similar in a larger scale. 
I experimented with paper pattern pieces until I came up with something I was happy with, and here it is! You can download the pdf of the pattern here.

I used felt to make the outfit, because I wanted bright colours (and also because it's so easy to sew!).

1. Cut out the pattern pieces from felt.
2. Sew a ribbon on the top of the skirt, making it long enough to tie in a bow at the back.
3. Add some ricrac braid or other trim.
4. Embroider some flowers and other embellishments.
5. Sew an inch or two at the back of the skirt, to keep it closed.
6. Braid some embroidery threads and sew some tiny pompoms to the ends.
She is of course accompanied by her pet llama!
I used a plain white t-shirt under the waistcoat. Although I based it on Peruvian clothes, I think it's also got a bit of a European feel to it, perhaps because of the ribbon that I used.

This should be a fairly easy pattern to scale to other dolls, I think. Just make the top of the skirt the same as the doll's waist measurement, and the length between the armholes on the waistcoat the same as the armpit to armpit measurement.


26 October 2014

Pottery-inspired clay pendant


I really wanted to make something inspired by Peruvian pottery, and the Inca calendar, so I came up with this pendant.

1. Roll out a flat disc of polymer clay.


2. Cut a circle from this. I used a plastic lid to do this.

3. Cut a hole in the middle. I used a sugarcraft cutter.

4. Press lines into the clay. I based my lines on another pendant I had, that had an Inca calendar design.

5. Use the circular cutters again, to trim off any distortion.

6. After baking, spread white clay in the grooves.

7. Scrape the clay off the surface as best you can, it doesn't matter if some is left, though.

8. After baking, sand the surface, then finish with matt varnish.

25 October 2014

Turquoise birdies


Turquoise is a stone that I saw a lot of in Peruvian jewellery, so today I'm showing you how I made some faux turquoise birdies.

To make faux turquoise from polymer clay, I first needed to look at some recipes. Luckily I had three, in the books Faux Surfaces in Polymer Clay by Irene Semanchuk Dean, The Polymer Clay Techniques Book by Sue Heaser, and Polymer: The Chameleon Clay by Victoria Hughes. I also found many more recipes online. They were all slightly different, but all had a similar principle: creating chunks of clay with fissures in-between filled by paint or dirt.

I wanted my turquoise to have quite a lot of variation of colour, so I mixed up various colours of turquoise as well as some other colours. I then placed them all in the fridge to harden for a few hours.
Meanwhile I got a little soil from the garden, and mixed in a little copper-coloured eyeshadow powder, and gold-coloured metal leaf. I also formed a couple of bird shapes from plain turquoise coloured clay.
I chopped up all the colours using a wavy cutter. Then I mixed in a little of the earth mixture, and covered the bird shapes with this, squeezing a little so it would stick, but not so much that the definition between the different lumps would be lost. I pierced holes for the eyes, and from top to bottom. From the remaining clay mixture I made two cube shaped beads.
After baking the beads, I rubbed them with brown acrylic paint and rubbed off what I could, then when this was dry I buffed them with the buffer attachment on my drill. Then I varnished them with a high gloss varnish. 

Buffed on the left and unbuffed on the right
Finally I put them together with some other beads to make a pair of earrings.